Alex Gibney’s Citizen K

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S1: The following recording may contain explicit language I can’t get more explicit than May with literal say it may.

S2: Monday, December 2nd, 2019 from Slate. It’s the gist. I’m Mike PESCA.

S3: Hey, good for Chuck Todd on Meet the Press. Moderator noticed and reacted to an egregious attempt by Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana to muddy the waters on supposed Ukrainian election interference. So good for Chuck. Bad for democracy. But it isn’t every interviewer who would recognize the shading of the truth that Kennedy was involved in.

S1: And who would react with appropriate ire. Really? Well done. Let’s listen.

S4: I believe the reporting by The Washington Examiner, you should read the article. Chuck, they’re very well documented. And I believe that a Ukrainian district court in December of 2008 game slapped down several Ukraine for Ukrainian official for meddling in our election is a violation of Ukrainian law. Now, I didn’t report those facts. Reputable journalists reported those facts. Does that mean that a Ukrainian Ukrainian leaders were more aggressive than Russia? No. Russia was very aggressive and they’re much more sophisticated.

S1: OK, stop it here. Up until now, this had been a hard hitting interview where Todd rightly pushed back on most of Kennedies descriptions and characterizations. He was justifiably skeptical. Then Kennedy goes all fancy bear on us and Todd just can’t believe it. Here now is that.

S4: But the fact that Russia was so aggressive does not exclude the fact that President Poroshenko now actively worked for Secretary Clinton.

S5: Now, if I’m wrong and effectively working as a secretary, I mean, my goodness. Wait a minute, Senator Kennedy, you now have the president of Ukraine saying he actively worked for the Democratic nominee for president. I mean, now, come on. I mean, I got to put up you realize the only other person selling this argument outside the United States is this man, Vladimir Putin.

S1: Good job, Chuck. It’s an outrageous claim. And I bet that most interviewers wouldn’t have been so correctly apoplectic. They’d have been more genteel. Maybe they wouldn’t have even noticed it. The difference between how an interviewer acts and what that interviewer points to as beyond the pale. It really matters. It really cues us as the audience for weeks. In fact, I’ve been sitting on this interview that was done by axios Jim VandeHei. He was interviewing the head of Customs and Border Control, Mark Morgan, and he was talking about the exact people and kinds of people who were setting the policies of enforcement.

S6: But it’s Donald Trump. It’s Mike Pence to you. It’s Ken Cuccinelli and Steven Miller. Then you look at the undersecretaries, the acting undersecretaries and the directors. Every single one of them is a white man. Do you think that the people who are affected by these policies need representation potentially from fifty one percent of Americans who are female? 18 percent are Hispanic.

S7: 13 percent are African-Americans as legitimate. Again, I think the premise of that question is it is it is a false premise. It was the premise is reality. What I miss is that’s the data and that’s it. So that’s not simply. That’s fair. I don’t know. I disagree because you’re saying because we’re white, somehow there’s an issue there. So what I can tell you is there was English lit because the white man and you’re dealing with something that affects we should be judged by the content of our character, not the fact that I am a white male.

S1: Without even getting into the inadequacy of how Morgan answered the question, VandeHei was absolutely right to stand up for his premise. There was nothing wrong with the premise. Morgan may object to what he perceives as the insinuation. He might cite reasons why that doesn’t matter, but the premise is the premise. And Morgan doesn’t get to reject it just because it makes him feel uncomfortable. There’s a lot of bad interviewing out there. I tried not to commit too much of it myself, but when good questions and good technique and good emphasis occurs, I say we should highlight it. And so we have on the show today how I spent my four day weekend. Maybe you’re like me. Yet so many of your optimistic plans come crashing down on the rocky shoals of intention, a fairly possibly overly full accounting of me attempting to do two hundred thirty errands in the sleet, a slog through cat sickness, cardboard box management and credenza removal issues. We all have him as challenging as it is raw. But first, speaking of Russia, and aren’t we always speaking of Russia to understand Vladimir Putin’s rise to power? It helps to understand who he took it from. The documentarian Alex Gibney has a fascinating film out about one oligarch who got on Putin’s wrong side and paid a huge price, seducing K with director Alex Gibney.

S8: Up next, Citizen K is the story of Mikhail. I want to pronounce it right. Hood Borowski It’s like the K in the sort of sounds like an H when you say it in Russian. He was one of the pre-eminent Russian oligarchs after communism fell. And this version of cartoon camp. Realism or gangster capitalism took hold and he ran huge companies, including Yukos, which was the oil company of Russian if you know Russian, you know, oil, which pretty much puts him as the richest one of the richest men in all of the post-Soviet Union.

S9: He was allowed to operate under the auspices of Vladimir Putin until he wasn’t his story.

S10: His whole story is told by the filmmaker Alex Gibney in the new documentary Citizen K. Thanks for joining me, Alex. Great to be here. So this is the title is a reference to Kafka, to Kafka and also Citizen Kane.

S11: It’s a double hack. So it’s a double whammy.

S12: Yeah, because. OK. So Citizen Kane, Charles Foster Kane, I guess in Xanadu, he did did coupla kind of stately pleasure dome decree. And we have we have heard Acuff Ski’s compound and we document his riches and we see the rise and fall. And there is no rosebud. But it is definitely dramatic in so far as it is a a classic arc.

S13: It’s a classic arc. And and over time, he inhabits more the Kafka character. He gets involved in the Kafka esque nature of the Russian judicial system and the K becomes a little bit more evident in the story.

S12: Let’s set up some history because there’s what you do in the documentary. Communism ends Gorbachev. Yeltsin is a oftentimes drunken, kind of clueless leader. But what Yeltsin does is he strikes a deal with the oligarchs who are clever enough to have taken advantage of the system at the time. And basically, he mortgages Russia’s wealth. He gives them he gives them an enormous amount of power and they use it. And from the very beginning, this very clever Ho Tarkovsky guy who started off in banking and then quickly went into wow or not so quickly went into the extractive energy, he benefits tremendously, but mainly because he’s very smart, very clever and knows how to take advantage of an opportunity.

S11: That’s right. I mean, he actually started off peddling black market blue jeans. Yeah. And computers. And then he gets a grubstake. He gets a bank and he starts figuring out how to trade in these weird vouchers that they had. Were they they were they created a voucher system to try to, you know, get everybody involved and interested in the whole idea of capitalism. So, you know, for small and medium sized enterprises, they create vouchers and most people didn’t know what to do with them. But people are kind of Korsky knew that you if you bought a bunch of them up on the cheap. The next thing you knew, you were owning companies. Right. But the big deal that you referred to was called the loans for shares deal. And basically in 1996 when Yeltsin was running for election and he had a 3 percent approval rating and he was running against a communist. Everyone is afraid it was going to go back to communism. So the deal and they but he was an a Yeltsin was a bad way. He couldn’t pay pensions and salaries. Right. So he went to the oligarchs as they were called for money. And they said, sure will lend you some money, but the collateral will be these huge companies, huge state owned companies that the state still owned at the time. And that’s how basically how Tarkovsky got for a song, this huge oil company called Yukos. Right.

S12: And I think he paid 300. The U.S. equivalent of 300 something million is worth five billion dollars. So now he’s one of the richest men in Russia. The guys who own the TV stations are one of the richest men in Russia. At the same time, a somewhat low level bureaucrat knows the system named Vladimir Putin is rising to power. When do their paths cross in a meaningful way?

S13: Well, he gets appointed president on Y2K by Boris Yeltsin. Yeltsin steps down and says, here’s my man, he’s gonna take over. And.

S11: As a leader, he initially takes, you know, he’s regarded by the oligarchs as kind of a liberal. He’s going to invest himself in liberal capitalism. And he sends a message, the oligarchs, look, you guys are great. You’re you’re. You know how to do business. And so long as you guys stay out of politics, we won’t have any kind of problem.

S9: Yeah. And I would just say he held up to that end of the bargain.

S11: Not exactly. I mean, you he moves against two of the oligarchs pretty quickly to the ones who who owned television or media empires. Right. And Putin, you know, took a big lesson from the 96 election of Yeltsin, which was where there was a lot of fakery by those so-called liberals that helped to get Yeltsin in power. And Putin’s lesson was, if you control the media, you control your political destiny.

S12: Well, this is why I say not that he is has ever done anything ethically. But if you just strictly look at if you stay out of politics, if you own a media company, you’re going to inevitably do news content. And that news content, if it’s anything close to non propaganda, is going to perhaps reflect poorly on a leader, which is what happened. But at the same time, as Putin sees it through his very black and white but probably realistic lens, you are interfering with politics. He essentially chases those two guys out of Russia.

S11: Correct. Yeah. And then the next person who’s on on the hitlist was Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Yeah. And how Tarkovsky starts to take an interest in politics. People accused him of buying seats in the Duma. The representative body in Russia. And he became more and more interested in promoting civic values and also promoting transparency in the economic sphere for some altruistic reasons and some selfish reasons. And selfish reasons were that he was embarking or wanting to embark on a merger with Exxon Mobil. Right. And that’s not Rex Tillerson isn’t in the documentary. But he could have been. He could have been. And so. So that’s one where Vladimir Putin takes notice for a couple of reasons. One, transparency to the idea of of handing over Russia’s natural resources to a foreign company.

S10: Right. Right. And not maybe not getting a stake in it and also creating maybe he sees that this would create an Hodor OFF-KEY, a very, very powerful figure who is aligned with Exxon Mobile. I guess the veteran just Exxon was aligned with Exxon. And the other thing that Hodo Robiskie does to inject himself in the politics is in this big nationally televised conference on corruption, he goes right at Putin, right at Putin.

S11: He basically accuses Putin of corruption. There was a crooked oil deal that had been done where, you know, a tiny oil company suddenly sold itself for, you know, a fantastic multiple to a pal of Putin’s. And how Tarkovsky called him out on it. And very quickly, you can see kind of Putin’s eyes light up and he starts to say, well, you know, you’re not so clean yourself, of course, which is true. Yeah, but you know, oligarch. But in a few months after that conference, executives from Yukos started to be arrested. And by I think the conference was in March. By October, Holocausts, he himself was arrested.

S10: So why does he think and why do you think that Putin didn’t do to him what he does to people who bother him? He can have them killed. He could have them disappeared. He could just not care about so-called. When we talk about public sentiment, it wasn’t overwhelming. There were huge protests, you know, sweeping cities. It was he got some support. So what’s the theory about why Putin let him go?

S13: Look, I think sometimes it’s more beneficial. Politically, again, we don’t know what Putin thought, but just guessing it’s sometimes more politically beneficial not to create martyrs, cause martyrs stand for something and particularly a martyr who’s inside the country. Right. So you have a guy in a prison in Russia. He stands for something. And people keep beating the drum of here’s a dissident who’s standing up for, you know, democracy and all that. So and he’s getting tremendous international pressure at a time when he wants to hold the Sochi Olympics. So for all sorts of reasons, maybe, you know, he lets the pressure off himself, the political pressure off himself by by letting her Tarkovsky not only not doing anything to him, but letting him out so that he can leave the country.

S1: Did you want to do this documentary because of the events, the mildew that we’re talking about or because of the character?

S13: I mean, whenever I do a documentary, I’m always looking for a character and a story that’s compelling. Yes. You know, because people come to me a lot and say, once you do something on this issue. Yes. And my thing is, well, that’s an interesting issue. But why should there be a film about it unless there’s a compelling character in a story? So the story in this one was hugely compelling. You have a guy who goes from nothing to the very top all the way back down to nothing again and then rises as a kind of, you know, dissident in exile. So that was incredibly compelling. And also, it tells us a lot about Putin along the way, which I thought was hugely useful coming out of the 2000 16 election. Yes. And the American election, that is. And suddenly we want to know, well, how does Russia work? Right. Because I don’t think we’ve been paying too much attention to Russia, to be honest with you.

S10: Well, I mean, quite properly, we should have seen them as a threat that’s containable unless you have someone at the highest reaches of power seeking to let them out of their box.

S14: Right. And to secure influence way beyond, say, their economic might.

S13: Now, you know, Russia is still a potent nuclear power. Yeah. And so, you know, there’s that reckoning.

S10: Well, Ukraine has nukes to people like this. There are nine countries with nukes. Ukraine’s one in South Africa wants to they could re up their program. Israel has nukes if they won’t say they will. But they do. But they do. What is your technique? I’ve talked to Errol Morris and some other documentarians. He have even invented an apparatus for doing an interview where I have a variation on the opera.

S13: Tell me about that. Well, his his apparatus is called the in terror trial. Yes. So I have a thing called I called the Tony Tron.

S14: It’s much more low tech is it’s called the Tony Tron because it was built by Tony Rossi, one of my one of the cameramen I like to use. And it’s basically a wooden box with mirrors. And so you put it over the lens. The lens looks forward and then you sit off to the side and then you mask yourself with, you know, some kind of a barrier. So the person’s looking into the lens and then they see you. The difference with Errol’s device is that, you know, you can hear me in the room. I’m pretty close to that person physically. Right. And in this case, we also had a further problem, which was that I don’t speak Russian. So we had a kind of simultaneous translation system so that while we were talking, it could be a conversation without us having to wait for a translator to give the answer.

S13: He speaks English. He he does understand English and he speaks English haltingly. But I think he felt if he’s telling his story, he wanted to be able to express himself in a sophisticated way. And in the Tony Tron, what is he? So it gives the appearance that he is making eye contact directly with the audience. He’s looking right into the barrel of the land. What are you looking at? So I’m looking at I’m at a 90 degree angle. I’m looking right at him. Yeah. And he sees me because of the mirrors in the box.

S10: What do you lose if it’s just the standard? You know, if I had a TV network, does it shoot the usually the way to do it is the questioner will sit off camera and the person in the interview will make eye contact. Off camera. And that’s what we’ll say. Sure. We won’t see someone staring into the lens. So what are the benefits and law?

S13: So, you know, the benefit in this case was with hot a cough ski. You separate him out from the others, so he becomes the key character.

S14: He’s the only person for whom I use the entire Tron. Some people do that differently, too. But in this case, I’ve done that in a number of films were certain key characters. I will shoot with the Tony Tron and the other ones. I’ll sit just off camera to emphasize a slightly different role. I think the benefits should get out of the person. Looking directly at the viewer is it feels more intimate. I mean, you’re looking right into their eyes. The disadvantages you sometimes forget that, you know, it’s an apparatus. It can feel forced sometimes. But I like the vibe depending on the situation. For me, I I I vary the approach, depending on what I’m trying to accomplish.

S10: When you’re doing a documentary, not on a historic figure, so not on Jimi Hendrix after he died, but on someone who’s right there in the room with you. Do you find it more challenging, more satisfying to do it with someone who is at least ambiguous then to do it with someone who is clearly heroic or clearly evil villainous? Yeah, because I think like when I think about your current subject, when I think about the Spitzer documentary, it’s another one, that salary. Even when I think about some of the Enron stuff, I think you really, really like the ambiguous characters.

S14: I’m interested in the gray, you know, and I think that good documentaries invest in the gray and propaganda does just the opposite. There’s a line in the film where it says over time, pools of gray separate into black and white. That had to do with the propaganda surrounding the mayor’s, you know, the story around the mayor where the story gets clearer and clearer, but not necessarily more true. I’m pretty interested in the gray because I think one of our one of our big problems and and for which the documentary can be a solution is to invest in complexity, you know, not without a sense of moral direction, but a sense that we all have failings, we all have greatness within us. And it’s exploring that, because too often it becomes a very easy.

S13: Task for people to say, well, I’m a good guy and that person’s a bad guy. Yeah. Therefore, all we have to do is get rid of the bad guys and everything will be fine. Well, I think there’s all a little bit of good and bad. I mean there’s a there’s a bit of good and bad in all of us. And the better we understand that the the the better off we’ll be, I think.

S10: Alex Gibney is the director of Citizen K. It’s about the trials, literal and figurative, of the former Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Depending on the city you live in, it might be playing now. Eventually, it’ll show up on Amazon. Great to talk to you. Great to talk to you. Thanks.

S9: And now the schpiel, the four day weekend misnomer, if it’s the majority of the week, it can’t be the weekend.

S15: It’s like a pop hit. That is one chorus, one verse and then mostly a fade out. It’s like a sentence that’s mostly a period. There is no sentence that is mostly a period full stop. Oh, wait. You know, it’s not the trip to fan that gets us groggy. It’s the indolence instilled by the four day weekend. You know about the Dunbar number. OK. That’s the idea that there’s a set number of people with whom one can have bonds and be bonded. Basically, it’s the number of people that’s a workable tribe. And Dunbar said that number was 150. That’s about the size of a workable group that our brains can understand. Anyway, just as we have the Dunbar number, I believe we should have the amount of leisure day number and that number is three. We understand what a weekend is. And we, by and large, understand what a three day weekend is.

S1: But anything bigger than a three day weekend, we just treat it like it’s an amorphous amount of time off. Oh, it’s like a week off. It’s just some time off, which probably will never end. But it’s not like a week off. It’s like four days off. But this chunk of four days has even less mobility because everyone thinks they could get everywhere else over Thanksgiving, thus making no one able to get anywhere. I’ve never, ever in my life achieved all the things I wanted to over a Thanksgiving break. Every Wednesday before Thanksgiving, I am high on possibility. Every Monday morning, returning back. Well, that didn’t get done. I think I need to reorganize my priority list. If I had exactly four items. Exactly one for each day. And Fridays was in total rest and digest. Maybe I can handle that. So my life, you need to know this. We moved, which probably isn’t the way to say it. We should phrase it more like one does with alcoholism or a learning disability. You never express it in the past tense. Right. So it’s I have dysgraphia I have moving. So right now I have moving. I am moving. So I have moving. It has been a compelling, multi-part process with more side plots and spanning over a longer period of time than Game of Thrones. Fun fact. We began the move. Brooklyn was its own independent city and Walt Whitman wrote for the Eagle.

S16: OK, it hasn’t taken that long, but it has been long. We love our new house, but there are a lot of things to do. So let’s start as I wake up Thursday, Thanksgiving morning, unpack boxes, install a new fangled doorbell, which is high tech breakdown. Twenty three cardboard boxes, bundle them for Saturday pickup. That’s low tech. Buy a shower curtain that’s needed by shower curtain hooks. Those are needed by a shower curtain liner. I don’t not understand the purpose of this thing. Didn’t get to assemble a new coat rack before our Thanksgiving dinner. So here’s Thanksgiving dinner. I go out with Michelle and her family to a restaurant in midtown Manhattan. The address is 888 Seventh Avenue. I know this address because there is a big sculpture of three eights on the corner. They’re very proud of those eights. I should have taken it as an omen. Number of the beast plus a third. The meal was good, too good. And my preparation literally not eating a thing all day beforehand may have been ill considered. When you consider that I got ill a.

S9: A lot of food. First I got full and then I got to full and then I got really full.

S15: And then I was about to burst. Now I want you to know during this continuum of discomfort that I’ve described, either between fallen to fall or to fall and ready to burst. That is when I had dessert. To be fair, it was pecan pie with ice cream so I can be excused. So afterwards, I need a little fresh air or whatever version of fresh air the area of 888 Seventh Avenue can offer. So I stagger outside and bent over a curb like a Gaelic lawn hockey player on strike. I refuse to hurl, but I’m in pretty bad shape. The moon’s in Wales, cut through the cold Thanksgiving air and they reach the ears of Michelle’s family huddled in a corner, the corner of seventh and fifty fifth. Maybe these four people whose relationship to Thanksgiving is sensible, sane and moderate attitudes entirely like my own before the actual food became available. So there I stand, doubled over emitting sounds and scarring these poor people who I’ve come to love. I pull myself up. I trudge over to them on the corner. Mike, are you okay? Asked Michelle’s mom.

S17: Oh, I answer.

S15: What happened, honey? Ask Michelle. I look up at that address sign and I admit it. I.

S18: Eh, eh.

S9: Too much. But I made it home in one piece which doesn’t accurately describe the quantity of pecan pie I consumed and the coat rack lay unassembled.

S1: The next day, Friday. Well, Freising comes to the house. This is the second time they came to the house. The first time went pretty well. We had internet for a day, but we had all these stray wires hanging off the side of our building. They dated back to the days of the telegraph, I guess. So we hired contractors who knew what they were doing. And one of the things that they were told to do is remove these extraneous wires. So these guys get uncharacteristically ambitious with that one and only that one task. And they do remove the old fraying wires that date back to the Ford administration. But they also remove the Verizons box that had been installed the day prior. So after a lot of haggling, we get Verizons comeback. And Friday is the day we get the Wi-Fi reinstalled. So then I set about to get the Alexi’s working and the doorbell working in the t.v.’s working because we’re embracing a non cable future. The Smart TV, however, has a trigger word. It’s open to suggestions. You can say this one word and it pops up and wants to help you. And that word and I want to just warn you, if you’re listening to the spiel within the vicinity of a Samsung TV, he might be perking up. Now that word is Bixby. If you’re listening from somewhere other than your living room, your Samsung t.v.’s ears are burning. This big speech system has a two-part flaw, as I could tell. No one could possibly have foreseen this one. It turns out there are a lot of words that a television can mishear as Bixby. Let’s also point out that television are known for omitting words and omitting pictures. Not so much for hearing the words. It’s very advanced Samsung TV except when it comes to maybe the hearing. OK. And a lot of words sound like Bixby. And the second flaw in this system is that the television is always hearing words because the television is always saying words. So once every 15 minutes, a TV show will say, I’m busy or Frisbee or Pictionary, thereby prompting my TV to jump up and act like an eager St. Bernard puppy who’s smacking himself in the face with his own tail.

S19: Hey, who’s that? Hey, some call me. Hey, can I help? Hey, what’s up?

S1: I got to figure out how to disabled Bixby or at least to teach him some life lesson about not being able to listen to others if you’re so intent on listening to yourself. Of course, I’m sure he’s going to come back at me with you. Say you want to fix me, but what? You really want to fix it yourself? You say you want to fix me. Bixby did something say Bixby also on Friday on unpack tons of boxes. Re bundle up the cardboard for Saturday, pick up rent a U-Haul to go to New Jersey the next day. Take our cats to the vet because the poor thing’s been inundated with the moving dust.

S15: And I’m, you know, handle possible mockery by the television. And I forget to assemble the coat rack. Saturday wake up. I find out that Saturday is not cardboard box collection day. Got a hold of some bad info. Back inside comes all the prepped cardboard boxes. But today is U-Haul day all day picking up items from a storage unit in New Jersey. Now, I used to rent U-Hauls from an actual U-Haul place, which meant interacting with an actual person who actually gave you the keys to an actual truck.

S1: You know, a service economy where a service is provided. This time, though, I rent from the U-Haul app, which gives you access to some cars parked in a supermarket parking lot that is unattended by an actual U-Haul employee. So rather than, hello, can I have a truck? Of course, because I am a human whose job it is to give you a human. The key to the machine, the only machine in this transaction now renting a machine becomes an exercise in interacting with another machine to see if you can earn yourself the points to earn a truck. It’s like around go. Except maybe don’t go because there are a lot of ways to get answers wrong. Take a picture of the plates. Send them to us. Take a picture of your license. Send it to us through the app. Take a picture of your face. Send that to us. Maybe you want to apply it. Filter there, buddy. Take a picture of the condition of the van and you mark send to us any scratches. Send to us with each click of the app. I’m confronted by my complicity in killing actual U-Haul jobs of U-Haul workers who should be working behind an actual U-Haul counter. Send a picture of the empty cargo bay. Killed a job. Send a picture of the empty cab. Another jobs gone. Note the mileage. No Christmas this year, kids. Mike just clicked away. Santa Claus. On the other hand, it turned me into an unwitting U-Haul worker.

S9: I got to say I hated. It’s a terrible job, so maybe it’s good that it goes away.

S1: That plus Andrew Yangs. Thousand dollars a month. Maybe everyone’s better off. Why am I complaining and having to do all the work at renting this van anyway?

S9: It’s not them hall, is it? It’s U-Haul. Let’s take a digression here to ponder these three brand names. You. Hall YouTube yoo-hoo y o h o an apt name for that product. Childish. It’s carefree. It’s not even serious enough to be chocolate milk. It is chocolate drink. Look at the label U-Haul, which is just the letter you and Hall. I think it wants connoted efficiency. You don’t have time for a Y and an O. You’re a busy working man or possibly a single mom moving to Indianapolis with two lovable Muppets and handyman Snyder. But I do wonder if they had gone with y0u hall. What would have happened? First of all, U-Haul. Sounds like an Israeli name of Eve U-Hauls. Schvitz party has enough votes in the Knesset to partner with good. That sort of thing. But if it was y0u hall you hall, then would YouTube have been the letter YouTube? And if it was YouTube, would Trump be president? Just asking. Are you all at over to the storage unit in New Jersey where we sift through all the artwork Michelet made while she was in college? Apparently she was auditioning to do future album covers for Styx. The Paradise was rock that day, I can tell you. And a lot of these old piece of artwork and other things were wrapped in old newspaper. And I had this thought one day when my kids are unwrapping their old artwork or old trophy’s or old gigantic collection of fidget spinners that are definitely gonna go up in value, they will not remark, hey, that’s wrapped in old newspaper. They will just say that’s wrapped in newspaper.

S1: All right. Pause to let the profundity sink in to three and then we’re back. We come sailing away from New Jersey to stop at Michelle’s sister’s storage unit in Harlem, then drop her off in Manhattan and back to Brooklyn.

S15: By the way, as a driver of a car, maybe you drive a car. When you see someone driving a U-Haul, if you’ve never driven a U-Haul before, you probably think, oh, that’s another driver, license driver on the road in possession of the requisite skill and experience. But after you have driven a U-Haul and then you see another U-Haul on the road, you probably like I you say, holy shit, get away.

S19: It’s a ticking time bomb. It’s a U-Haul. You come across three lanes and attack at any moment, but you hauled all day.

S15: But you know what I couldn’t do. That’s right. You hauled but you failed to assemble that coat rack. Now we get to Sunday, the morning return the U-Haul day late pickup camp, medicine, some unpacking, bundling boxes for the proper Tuesday pickup. Then a friend’s giving a fare where I learned my lesson. And what do I do? I eat a little bit beforehand because I’m smart, right? I wouldn’t want to eat less. I eat more. That’s the way to feel better. That’s what I always say. So we go to our old apartment for the final clean out. Steve, our landlord says we should clean the windows, clean the oven, have all items removed. Our house cleaner, Lauren, was there from the start of the day.

S1: You have a house cleaner. Must be nice.

S16: Yes, it is nice. That is why I have one. That is the reason everyone has a house. Cleaner has one. So our house cleaner says she’s going to take a large credenza. This was the plan. We have this one blast, huge piece of furniture we couldn’t find a home for. We put it on Craigslist. We got some interest. Then Lauren, the house cleaner, says, oh, I’ll take it. Great. Great. By the end of the day, she’s gonna get a guy there with a van, take the credenza away. So what do we do? We bring the garbage bags and the mops in the rags and the Windex and the easy off, which makes oven cleaning easier. We clean the windows from the outside. As per our lease, I scrub the oven pretty good, Michelle says proudly. Should clean the oven more regularly. When we lived here, and I said, yes, we should have. But knowing myself, I need to admit there is no universe in which I ever would have thought to clean the oven. After every use. It’s just not a thought that occurs to me.

S19: But Michelle says you’re the one who knew to get easy off. You kept saying we need to get easy off your insistant. Get the easy off. Oh, that just cause of the jingle.

S15: I knew that easy off make some and cleaning easier. I never connected that with the actual responsibility of actually cleaning an oven, just like I know what kind of soap to use on a wood floor. To wit, she doesn’t mean I’ve ever cleaned the wood floor, except I did on this day. I clean the wood floors and the walls and I clean the oven. By the way, now we have a self-cleaning oven, but we also have a U haul. It is an exact inversion of the natural order. But you know, it doesn’t have a U-Haul or the van that she said she was going to have. That’s Lauren, our house cleaner. It is now past 9:00 p.m. We text Lauren and say, are you gonna take this last giant credenza? That is so big it expands our collective understanding of credenza ism. And Lauren, text back. Yes, because of the weather. The guy who is going to pick it up with me didn’t want to come. And I am not going to take it. What we did listed on Craig’s List, when were you going to tell us this, which is never really the question you want to ask. The question you want to ask is, of course, how could you do this to me? But that’s a little victor me so that it becomes temporal. When were you gonna tell us? Not qualitative. What fresh l is. This there is no good answer. What our answers or reasons? I don’t know. All I know is there is a giant credenza. It weighs upon me. Can I haul it? No. Can you haul it? Unclear. Can it be gifted, granted, consigned or vouchsafed? I don’t know. Can it even be moved? Four days of weekend furniture yet to grapple with. Windows clear, but agendas stuffed along with bellies. Tonight. This night I shall actually be putting out the cardboard. God willing, it will find a home. And then in the wee hours of the morning, as dawn breaks.

S9: I know what I will be occupied with. Not assembling that coat rack.

S20: And that’s it for today’s show. Daniel Shrader, just producer, has no use for credenza. In fact, he used to have a three credenza day habit. Till he joined Credenza Enda’s Christine and Joe saturna promotion say this just producer is Daniel Sponser in Credenza Enda’s. Joyce says the first step of the 12 is the hardest, which is admitting that you’re trying to lift and move a really, really large credenza. The gist when a former Daily News gossip columnist reported on character actor Richard crna passing out drunk in his credenza. I remember the next day’s headline, Qur’anic Credenza, a four day bender career ender as A.J. Benza for adepero to Peru. And thanks for `listen.