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January 27, 2023 57 mins

EPISODE 121: COUNTDOWN WITH KEITH OLBERMANN

A-Block (1:43) SPECIAL COMMENT: Yesterday I proposed that to crowd this corrupt Republican farce, "The Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Government" off the stage, the Democrats needed a similar investigation in the Senate. Suddenly there are far more important reasons than politics and counter-programming. The New York Times' post-mortem on The Durham "Investigation" shows ethical corner cutting and possible criminality. And the deeper dives into the ex-FBI agent arrested Monday show the outlines of the possibility Charles McGonigal took Russian money long before 2021. What if these are just two pictures of the same conspiracy taken at different times? What if this is ALL about an effort to protect Russian Government Intelligence Agencies, and Trump? And even worse: what if The New McCarthyism of the "Weaponization" subcommittee is just the newest photo of the same cover-up?  Start that investigation now, Senators.

B-Block (14:57) EVERY DOG HAS ITS DAY: Cookie, in Ft. Lauderdale (16:07) THE WORST PERSONS IN THE WORLD: Sports Owner James Dolan-Moron; Fascist Congressmen threaten an investigation of one company refusing to start paying another company for a product it currently gets for free; and George "Jew-Ish" Santos turns out to have posted offensive Hitler jokes (22:30) THINGS I PROMISED NOT TO TELL: Numerology time. One birthday boy's greatest scoop, about a guy whose birthday was the day before, that aired on 8/8/88.

C-Block (28:43) FRIDAYS WITH THURBER: His epic story of deception and the Brooklyn Dodgers: "The Catbird Seat."

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Transcript

Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:04):
Countdown with Keith Olderman is a production of I Heart
Radio and now we know who and watch. The Senate
Select Investigative Committee needs to investigate John Durham, William Barr,

(00:32):
Charles mcdonagall, and Kevin McCarthy. How Durham got appointed special
counsel by Bar to investigate a case that time has
confirmed never existed in the first place. If laws were
broken by Bar in making that appointment, if laws were
broken by Durham in trying to create a crime that

(00:53):
never occurred. What crimes were committed by Bar and Durham
to pervert the Department of Justice into a collective accessory
after the fact in the cover up of Trump's conspiracy
with Russia, and when mcgonaghal first began to work for
the Russian Oligox de Pasca in two thous or in

(01:15):
two thousand sixteen, when McGonagall was supposed to be leading
the first FBI investigation into Trump and Russia. I admitted
it yesterday and I will admit it again now that
my reasons for such a Senate investigation were purely cosmetic.
It is the democrats best play, and thus the nation's

(01:35):
best play, to counter effect the cynical and corrupt forest
the Republicans intend to play out in the house where
that monkey Jim Jordan's will direct the new McCarthy ism
in defense of and at the direction of the seditionist Trump.
But in an impressive coincidence of timing, it turns out
there is a there here. The New York Times postmortem

(02:00):
on the Durham quote investigation unquote chronicles a series of
ethnic violations that would have gotten Tucker Carlson's producer fired.
The thrust of Durham's exercise in fabrication was to discredit
intelligence memos critical of Trump, so he used discredited intelligence

(02:20):
memos discredited Russian intelligence memos critical of George Soros. Durham
actually went to a federal judge to get access to
the emails of a vice president at a Sorrows funded
pro democracy organization and waived his obviously false Russian intelligence
memos at the judge she turned him down. He then

(02:44):
sent a deputy to see her personally to insist she
changed her ruling. She turned the deputy down. So now
Durham went around two court orders against him and got
instead a grand jury to demand the emails. He got them.
They showed nothing, no case or filing Durham ever brought

(03:05):
even referred to the rumor the emails supposedly proved, let
alone the emails themselves. That is not just hypocrisy by Durham.
It's enough to get him disbarred. And in two thousand nineteen,
when Durham and Bar actually did turn up possible evidence
of a crime, and bar gave Durham the power to
conduct a criminal investigation, somebody leaked that new power to

(03:28):
the media. The right wing echo chamber immediately concluded bar
was about to indict Hillary Clinton, or Obama or Biden
or f DR or all of them. In fact, the
possible criminality was by Trump. Early in Bar even said

(03:49):
publicly on the record the potential criminality did not involve Clinton, Obama, Biden,
any of them. He never mentioned that it did involve Trump.
He never shut down the Durham farce. In fact, as
the election neared, bar Per the time sources quote pressed
Mr Durham to draft a potential interim report centered on

(04:10):
the Clinton campaign and FBI gullibility or wilful blindness. It
was so unethical such a replacement of responsible investigation and
prosecution by Trump's wet dreams of revenge and bars political leanings.
So what's the word weaponized? That one of Durham's longest

(04:34):
standing associates and colleagues resigned from his team in protest.
The Durham investigation is a spring of ethical corners cut,
or to be less charitable, crimes of malicious and unjustified prosecution,
enough to last a summer's worth of hearings. And if
the Republicans are going to stage a dog and pony

(04:56):
show in the House using stuffed toys, it is the
obligation of the Democrats to stage one in the Senate
starring real wild animals, posing real dangers to this nation.
And if that were not enough, there is still Charles mcdonagall.

(05:16):
We know the New York Field Office of the FBI
went rogue in the fall of two thousand sixteen. We
knew it in the fall of two thousand sixteen. Rudy
Giuliani seemingly spent the entire month of October on Fox
News insisting Trump had quote a big surprise or two
that you're going to hear about in the next two days.
I'm talking about some pretty big surprise. Giuliani had been

(05:40):
the U S attorney in New York working with the
FBI Field Office in two thousand sixteen. His law firm
represented a union, the FBI Agents Association, And that quote
was on October. The comy letter about Anthony Weiner's laptop
was on October, two days later, exactly as Giuliani said

(06:04):
it would play out. Giuliani's next big statement on Fox.
I sure have a lot of friends who are retired
FBI agents, close personal friends. All I heard were former
FBI agents telling me that there's a revolution going on
inside the FBI and it's now at a boiling point.
That Giuliani statement was on November four, So who told Giuliani?

(06:29):
Who was Rudy Giuliani source or sources? An independent news
site with the unsettled name spy Talk has a long,
galling analysis of the career of Charles McGonagall, told from
the viewpoint of an anonymous former colleague who paints the
picture of McGonagall as brilliant, but jealous, gossipy, and malicious.

(06:50):
Could he have fed Giuliani directly or indirectly quote I
would not doubt that Charlie played a role in the leaks.
Spy Talk quotes the man directly wouldn't surprise me. It
just wouldn't surprise me. And then there is the Yale
history professor Tim Snyder. He stitched together Russia's known interference

(07:11):
on Trump's behalf in two thousand sixteen with the careers
of Charles mcgonagal of Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, of
Oleg Derrick Posca. The man Manafort owed millions too and
gave briefings too on the Trump campaign. The man McGonagall
is now accused of going over to and working for

(07:31):
it is entirely inconceivable. Snyder wrote that McGonagall was unaware
of Russia's two thousand sixteen cyber influence campaign on behalf
of Trump, even I was aware of it. Slander continues.
The FBI did investigate cyber later, but this was after
the election and missed the Russian influence operations entirely. That

(07:54):
was an obvious counterintelligence issue. Why did the FBI take
so long and miss the point? I will just repeat
what informed people said at the time. This sort of
thing was supposed to go through the FBI counter Intelligence
section in New York where tips went to die, that
is where McGonagall was in charge. It would have been

(08:18):
the responsibility of an FBI section whose head is now
accused of taking Russian money unquote. This implication is clear,
and it too is worthy of a Senate hearing. Charles
mcdonagall's connection to Russia to Derrick Posca made date back
not to one but to were earlier two years ago.

(08:45):
He was getting twenty five thous dollars a month from
Oleg Derrick Posca for help getting sanctions removed from Derrick
Posca's companies? Was he paid before that? Was he in
fact not just an unregistered illicit foreign lobbyist or agent,
but either actively connected to the Kremlin spine network or
just there to make sure nobody in this country investigated

(09:05):
the Russians, especially when it came to Trump. And as
if the Democrats needed one more reason to actually launch
their own investigation of the federal government weaponized not against
Trump but for it our Durham and bar and McGonagall
and Derrick Posca merely two parts of the same story.

(09:30):
Do they constitute photos of the same operation to serve
the interests of Trump and Russia in this country? But
two photos taken in different years. And then there is
the darkest theoretical yet is the third photo of this long,
long campaign to protect not just Trump but also the
Russian intelligence services? Is this a picture of Kevin McCarthy

(09:54):
and Jim Jordan and the least Stefanik assembling the House
Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government? Is
the new McCarthy ism, in fact, just the old Durham
investigation and the even older compromised FBI New York Rogue
Field office of Charles McGonagall. Let's ask a few questions

(10:20):
under oath in front of the Senate, in front of
the cameras all summer. Let's remember to subpoena Kevin McCarthy.

(10:47):
Still ahead screenshots of George Santos on Facebook making offensive
jokes referring to Hitler. He may even have to revise
his most famous line, he may not be jewishh You
know how to revenge yourself against the government when it's
threatening to take away your liquor license for your hockey
game games. Stop selling liquor at your hockey games. That'll

(11:07):
show him, that'll stick it to the man. We'll go
inside the slightly functioning brain of James Dolan. So don't
wear your good shoes. Worst persons coming up, and it's
Friday with Thurber and the great short story that merges murder, misdirection,
the Dodgers and Red Barber. The catbird Seat. That's next.

(11:32):
This is countdown. This is countdown with Keith old Woman
still ahead on countdown. George Santos is two to two
liars in one. He lied that he's the descendant of

(11:53):
Holocaust survivors, and he also somehow used to post Hitler
jokes on Facebook. On a happier notes, Thurber's The catbirds
Seat is great short story coming up first. In each
tradition of Countdown, we feature a dog in need you
can help. Every dog has its day to Fort Lauderdale
and Cookie, and I swear this is a coincidence. I

(12:16):
heart Animal Rescue. Cookie was a gorgeous chocolate colored dog,
maybe even a chocolate lab, who gave birth to a
litter and was trying to protect it when she was attacked,
shot and with a machette, possibly by what she thought
was her human. She survived, the two pups survived. People
Founder got her into surgery. She's made it. It was

(12:37):
expensive and surely on behalf of this mess we call mankind.
She deserves it. I heart Animal Rescue needs your help
to pay off the bills. They're doing a fundraiser which
you can find on Cuddly or linked to from my tweets.
Donations and retweets are gratefully accepted. I thank you, and
Cookie and her pups thank you. Now the daily roundup

(13:17):
of the misgrants, morons and dunning Krueger effects specimens who
constitute today's worst persons in the world the Bronze. There
are a lot of stupid sports owners, especially here in
Fun City, but James Dolan is a first ballot unanimous
Hall of Famer. He is the inherited money dork who

(13:40):
owns the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, Madison Square Garden,
Radio City Music Hall, and who has recently been caught
using facial recognition technology to prevent fans who work with
or four companies that are suing him, or fans he
doesn't like from just going to see the Rockets or
the Knicks or the Rangers. And by the way of

(14:01):
those three, the Rockets are the likeliest to win the
NBA title or Hockey Stanley Cup. Anyway, the facial recognition
technology saga has gone down so poorly here that politicians
are talking about it being illegal and about taking away
Dolan's license to sell liquor at the Garden as punishment
or ending the garden's annual forty three million dollar mystery

(14:24):
tax abatement. Now Dolan has come up with his retaliation.
Listen to this for a genius threat. They're being extremely
aggressive and they're saying we're going to take away your
liquor license, he said on the Fox news station in
New York. They're basically doing this for publicity. So we're
gonna give him some publicity. We're gonna pick a night,

(14:45):
maybe a Rangers game, and we're going to shut down
all the liquor and alcohol in the building. And he
held up a piece of paper towards the camera and
has a photo of the chairman of the State Liquor
Authority with his phone number and email on it, and
Dolan asked fans to contact the man to abuse him,

(15:05):
because naturally, if you own the team and you cut
off the beer sales at the hockey rink that you own,
the fans are gonna blame the government, not you. Never you,
You're James Dolan. You're a god to these people. Idiot.
Dolan added, This isn't gonna bother me because I've been

(15:28):
sober twenty nine years. I don't need the liquor. Good
for you on that, sincerely. You do know, however, Dolan,
that just because you stopped drinking, the brain damage doesn't
just go away, right. The runners up the bevy of
fascist congressmen who've gone on all of their propaganda outlets.
For instance, Congress and Waltz of Florida, Congress from Jefferson

(15:48):
Van Drew of New Jersey, and have threatened to hold
congressional hearings because Direct TV has dropped the Newsmax channel
for some reason. Men like Van Drew and Walts keep
leaving out one little detail here. News Max has always
given its seven brainwashing feed for free two carriers like

(16:10):
Roku and Direct TV, but suddenly it has demanded Direct
TV pay Newsmax for Newsmax. Direct TV said, thanks, So,
Waltz and man Drew want congressional hearings about one company
deciding not to buy another company's product in America, which

(16:33):
is I believe called communistic, socialist, anti capitalism terror. Little
but our winner, George Santos, that is your real name,
Jacqueline Sweet at the Long Island Patch hyper local news
site with another in the seemingly bottomless pit of jaw
droppers about the Congressman who never was his sweet reports,

(16:56):
one that is sadly not funny, intentionally or otherwise. Remembering
the Santos false claim number one seventeen, I think it
was that he was the descendant of Holocaust survivors and
his excuse, let me check the list thirty nine B.
Excuse number thirty nine B that he never said he

(17:17):
was Jewish. He said he was jew Ish. What's the
Patch headline on the news story George Santos posted quote
deeply offensive comment about Hitler Comma Jews. Screenshots from over
a decade reviewed by Patch show representative George Santos has
what the a d L called a deeply offensive social

(17:38):
media history. Patch got a screenshot of santos Facebook post
from two thousand eleven. This is a comment about a
photo posted by a friend showing a military salute. He
added to it quote high Hitler height Hitler lal lal
la la law, somebody kill her. The Jews and black

(17:58):
mostly lal lal lal lal dumb spelled d u M. George.
We regret to inform you that Milkshake Duck is also
a Nazi. Today's Worst Person. And now this is my birthday.

(18:24):
I'm ruling eight years old. Now I'm I'm sixty four.
I'm the Beatles song today is when I'm sixty four,
the song I first heard when I was eight years old.
It's harrowing. So I'm taking a half day. The rest
of the podcast, I'm going to give you what in

(18:45):
TV they would call encore presentations of Friday with Thurber
The Catbirds See, which is a really great story, and
I must say I read it really well. And speaking
of for a thing I promised not to tell as
I mentioned birthday and yesterday, I gotta laugh, as I
always do on January twenty six, when it's Wayne Gretzky's birthday,
because my contention is it's his birthday in order to

(19:06):
remind people that today is my birthday. Anyway, gret Sky
and I first interacted in when I got the greatest
scoop of my sports or news career by basically doing nothing. Well.
I did answer the phone a couple of times and
I put on makeup. The date is August eight, eight,

(19:28):
eight eight. You are there just after dinner, the phone
rang in my office at Channel five in l A. Hi,
I'm a viewer. I took a deep breath. You you
never knew where a call that started like that was

(19:49):
going to end up. I just wanted to Janoah. I
was out golfing at Riviera at the Riviera Clubs afternoon
and Bruce McNall, the owner of the Kings, well, he
just walked through the locker room saying, hey, guys, if
you want to buy your seasoned King's tickets, do it now.
I just traded for Wayne Gretzky. The price is going
to go up next week. To be polite to the viewer,

(20:12):
I asked a few questions, but frankly, the story was
pretty stupid. This was the second week of August and
there was a lot of talk that the Edmonton Oilers
We're going to trade Wayne Gretzky, the most famous player
in hockey, and there was nearly as much talk that
that trade would send him to us in l A.
But the owner of the King's just telling passers by

(20:34):
at random in a golf clubhouse that he had just
made the trade. I was suspicious that I was being pranked.
Fifteen minutes later, my phone rang again. Hi, I'm a
big fan of yours and I watch every night. Here
we go again. I was just having lunch with a
friend of mine out here at the golf course in

(20:54):
bell Air. And and like an hour later, freaking Bruce
McNall shows up in the dining room and asks for
everybody's attention, and he says he's just completed the deal
for Wayne Gretzky. And and now I was beginning to
get actually worried. I was a lame duck as the
sports director of Channel five in Los Angeles, and four
months there had been rumors that I was moving down

(21:15):
the street to Channel two in Los Angeles. There had
been these rumors mostly because I was moving down the
street to Channel two. The deal had been done months earlier.
We were going to announce it that week. In fact,
as these two guys called in, I had actually been
busily packing up my Channel five office. My thought now

(21:35):
was that the sportscaster at the local NBC station, who
had a bit of a substance problem and a nasty
temper and a real dislike for the fact that I
was nearly as popular as he was, was setting me up.
I had once managed to mislead him into thinking we
were about to break a story about a big l
a football trade. There was no breaking story because there

(21:56):
was no trade, and he had actually mentioned it on
the air, having clearly stolen it from me because I
was the one who had made it up. And oh
was he furious at me? For all I knew he
wanted to embarrass me. Three weeks before I moved into
direct competition with him at five, six and eleven. This
August eight was, in fact my first day back after

(22:18):
I had burned all my Channel five vacation time. And
for all I knew, this guy at NBC had been
having his staffers call me for a week with made
up sightings of mcnal confirming a Gretzky trade that frankly
I never believe was going to happen. I mean not
to get two side tracked here, But one day my
phone rang and it was a kid who said, Hi,
Mr Olberman, I'm sorry, but I'm a finalist to be

(22:40):
an intern here at Channel four for Fred Rogan, and
Mr Rogan says, I can have the spot, but only
if I call you up right now and say I'm sorry.
If I call you up and I tell you to
go f yourself. The kid did not say f. To
his credit, he used his real name, Bill Weir. He

(23:00):
later became a sportscaster for the third network station in
l A, then a correspondent for ABC and now CNN,
and I have not let a year go by since
without reminding him of his f yourself internship phone call.
He said, Life paid him back by making him work
with the guy for several months. Anyway, back to Gretzky

(23:21):
night to supposed listeners have called to say that Bruce mcnal,
the owner of the l A Kings, is apparently trapesing
through golf locker rooms and dining rooms at country clubs
to tell them he has completed a trade for the
babe ruth of hockey, Wayne Gretzky. And they're calling me
because they like me. I'm suspicious, And now the phone

(23:42):
rings again. This guy was playing golf at the l
A Country Club. Same story, mcnal, by your King's tickets. No,
I just got Gretzky. The next caller had been at
yet a fourth club. I think will share or something.
If this was a prank, it was a big one,
and bluntly I had begun to admire. It finally came

(24:03):
a fifth call. You don't know me, but I watch
you every night. I stumbled onto a story. I think
you want to run tonight. I said, which golf course
were you at? And he said, excuse me. I was
in my office all day and so so was my
uh my missus. She's on the phone with me. She
she works for Bruce mcnal, the King's this time. I
grabbed a pencil, Honey, why don't you take it from here?

(24:26):
And she did. She worked in the finance office and
she had, literally, she said, just made out a check
for fifteen million dollars to the owner of the Edmonton Oilers,
Peter Pocklington, she said, and the note memo were you're
white right? What it's for? I was told to put
in Wayne Gretzky. She also had seen the trade contract

(24:46):
identified the players that Kings were going to give up
with the fifteen million to get Kretzky. They were Jimmy
Carson and Martin Jellina. There were also draft choices, but
she didn't know or didn't remember the specifics of which ones.
Now breathless, I asked her if I could call her
back through the switchboard of the l a for Orm
where the King's and McNall's offices were, just to confirm

(25:08):
she was who she said she was. She said, I could,
I did, she was. I believe. In fact, she turned
out to be the only person on the McNall financial
team that did not get charged with something. So now
I went in to talk to my news director and
to the producer of our newscast. We were not on
until ten PM. It was now about seven. They were
very excited, and they said that given that I had

(25:31):
exact details from a King's source, plus the four witnesses
to the owner of the team shooting off his big
bazoo at every golf course he could reach, that we
should run it, and that we should run it as
the lead news story right at the start of the
newscast that night, which we did. The King's would not
confirm it, obviously, but as soon as I got off

(25:52):
the air with my sports cast the second time I
reported this story, a reporter from the Associated Press was
on the phone asking me to read him my script,
which he then quoted word for word and it out
on their sports wire. It was on the back page
of the New York Post the next day. My friends
called me from New York to say, Hey, your sportscast

(26:14):
is on the back page of the New York Post
along with this big picture of Wayne Gretzky. The leak
caused the Kings to move up the announcement of the
deal from their original plan, which was Thursday the eleventh,
to the next night, Tuesday. The nights A King's vice
president told me at the press conference that the Oilers
were enraged because they had wanted to hold off until

(26:35):
the eleventh because the deadline for their season ticket holders
to get their deposits back were Wednesday. The Kings were
nice enough to let me of all the TV guys
interviewed Gretzky First Live, and I congratulated Wayne on the move,
and he actually congratulated me on the scoop and I
said I didn't do anything but answer the phone, and
he thought about it for a second and said pretty

(26:56):
much the same for me, and we've been friendly ever since.
But the laziest scoop of all time did eventually come
back with a sting from me and some payback. A
year later, we all submitted our best stories for consideration
for the local Emmy for Best TV Sports Reporting for
the calendar year night I submitted Surprise, Surprise, the Gretzky scoop.

(27:20):
The Emmys were always judged by a committee of television
types from a different city, so he didn't have that
home l A Bias. And the guy from NBC, who
I had first thought was pranking me about the Gretzky story,
had somehow found out that the Emmys for would be
judged in nine in Ohio. In Columbus, Ohio, I think,

(27:41):
so he managed to get an interview with Morgana the
Kissing Bandit, who was this scantily clad bucksom woman you
may remember, who in the old days of innocence, used
to bribe her way onto Major League Baseball fields and
bounce out onto the plate or the mound, and she'd
go and kiss stars like George Brett and Nolan Ryan

(28:01):
during games. Morganna Morgana Roberts lived near Columbus, Ohio, So
sure enough, at the Emmy's the next year, my exclusive
report of the trade of Hockey's greatest player, Wayne Gretzky
was one of the finalists for the Los Angeles Best
TV Sports Reporting Emmy. But in the ceremony and it
was at some old landmark Hotel in Pasadena. They showed

(28:24):
clips of all the pieces that were finalists and then
announced that the winner was Fred Rogan k NBC for
being chased by MORGANA The Kissing Bandit. My agent stood
up and booed. My girlfriend punched me in the arm
and said let's get out of here and go drinking.

(28:46):
We left to the number one story on the countdown.
And since it is the weekend addition, it's time for
some James Thurber. The cat Bird's Seat combines two of
my all time favorite things, Thurber and baseball broadcasting. As

(29:10):
Thurber will reveal in the story, the title comes from
a catchphrase used by the Brooklyn Dodgers legendary announcer Red Barber,
the man who trained Vince Scully and is my late
friend Vin's only true competition for greatest baseball play by
play man of all time. I met Red Barber once
I interviewed him for CNN. He called me Keith throughout

(29:31):
the interview. I was so starstruck. It's pretty much all
I remember from the interview. Anyway. Bert Lancaster bought the
movie rights to this story, and he got Billy Wilder
to commit to direct it. Well, how come, you've never
heard of this perfect sounding film, The Catbird Seat, directed
by Billy Wilder. They sold the rights and in nineteen

(29:55):
sixty the film was made, but they relocated it from
Manhattan to Scotland, starring Peter Seller's dressed up as an
old and as Mr Martin. It's okay unless you've read
the story or had it read to you from the
Thurber Carnival, The Catbird Seat by James Thurber. Mr Martin

(30:22):
bought the pack of camels on Monday night in the
most crowded cigar store on Broadway. It was theater time
and seven or eight men were buying cigarettes. The clerk
didn't even glance at Mr Martin, who put the pack
in his overcoat pocket and went out. If any of
the staff at F and S had seen him by
the cigarettes, they would have been astonished, for it was

(30:45):
generally known that Mr Martin did not smoke and never had.
No one saw him. It was just a week to
the day since Mr Martin had decided to rub out
Mrs Old Jean Barrows. The term rub out pleased him
because it suggested nothing more than the correction of an error,

(31:06):
in this case, an error of Mr Fitzweiler. Mr Martin
had spent each night of the past week working out
his plan and examining it as he walked home. Now
he went over it again for the hundredth time. He
resented the element of imprecision, the margin of guesswork that
entered into the business. The project, as he had worked

(31:29):
it out, was casual and bold. The risks were considerable.
Something might go wrong anywhere along the line, and therein
lay the cunning of his scheme. No one would ever
see in the cautious, painstaking hand of Irwin Martin, head
of the filing department at F and S, of whom

(31:50):
Mr Fittweiler had once said, man is fallible, but Martin isn't.
No one would see his hand, that is, unless he
were caught in the act. Sitting in his apartment drinking
a glass of milk, Mr Martin reviewed his case against

(32:10):
Mrs Old Jean Barrows, as he had every night for
seven nights. He began at the beginning. Her quacking voice
and braying laugh had first profaned the halls of F
and S. On March seven. Mr Martin had a head
for dates. Old Roberts, the personnel chief, had introduced her

(32:33):
as the newly appointed special adviser to the President of
the firm, Mr Fitzweiler. The woman had appalled Mr Martin instantly,
but he had not shown it. He had given her
his dry hand, a look of studious concentration and a
faint smile. Wow, she said, looking at the papers on
his desk. Are you lifting the ox cart out of

(32:55):
the ditch? As Mr Martin recalled that moment over his milk,
he squirmed slightly. He must keep his mind on her
crimes as a special advisor, not on her peccadillos as
a personality. This he found difficult to do. In spite
of entering an objection and sustaining it, The faults of

(33:16):
the woman as a woman kept chattering on in his
mind like an unruly witness. She had for almost two
years now baited him in the halls, in the elevator,
even in his own office, into which she romped now
and then like a circus horse. She was constantly shouting

(33:36):
these silly questions at him. I left in the ox
cart out of the ditch. Are you tearing up the
pea patch? Are you hollering down the rain barrel? Are
you scraping around the bottom of the pickle barrel? Are
you sitting in the cat married seat? It was Joey Hart,

(33:56):
one of Mr Martin's two assistants, who had explained what
the gibberish meant. She must be a dodge of in.
He had said, Red Boba announces the dodging games over
the radio, and he uses these expressions, picked them up
down south. Joey had gone on to explain one or
two tearing up the pea patch meant going on a rampage.

(34:20):
Sitting in the catbird seat meant sitting pretty like a
batter with three balls and no strikes on him. Mr
Martin dismissed all this with an effort. It had been annoying,
It had driven him near to distraction, but he was
too solid a man to be moved to murder by
anything so childish. It was unfortunate, he reflected, as he

(34:44):
passed on to the important charges against Mrs Barrows, that
he had stood up under it so well. He had
maintained always an outward appearance of polite tolerance. Why I
even believed you liked the woman mispaired, His other assistant
had once said to him, he had simply smiled a

(35:06):
Gavil wrapped in Mr Martin's mind, and the case proper
was resumed. Mrs all Jean Barrows stood charged with willful, flatant,
and persistent attempts to destroy the efficiency and system of
F and S. It was confident material and relevant to
review her advent and rise to power. Mr Martin had
got the story from Miss Pere, who seemed always able

(35:27):
to find things out. According to her, Mrs Barrows had
met Mr Fitweller at a party where she had rescued
him from the embraces of a powerfully built, drunken man
who had mistaken the president of F and S for
a famous retired middle Western football coach. She had led

(35:49):
him to a sofa and somehow worked upon him a
monstrous magic. The aging gentleman had jumped to the conclusion
there and then that this was a woman of singular attainments,
equipped to bring out the best in him and in
the firm. A week later, he had introduced her into
F and S as his special adviser. On that day,

(36:14):
confusion got its foot in the door after Miss Tyson,
Mr Brundage and Mr Bartlett had been fired and Mr
Munson had taken his hat and stalked out mailing. In
his resignation letter, Old Roberts had been emboldened to speak
to Mr Fittweiler. He mentioned that Mr Munson's department had
become a little disrupted, and hadn't they perhaps better resumed

(36:37):
the old system there. Mr Fittweler had said, certainly not.
He had the greatest faith in Mrs Barrow's ideas. They
require a little seasoning. Little seasoning is all, he had added.
Mr Roberts had given it up. Mr Martin reviewed in
detail all the changes wrought by Mrs Barrows. She had

(36:58):
begun chipping at the cornices of the firm's edifice, and
now she was swinging at the foundation stone with a pickaxe.
Mr Martin came now in his summing up to the
afternoon of Monday, November two, just one week ago. On
that day, at three pm, Mrs Barrows had bounced into

(37:19):
his office. Boom. She had yelled, are you scraping around
the bottom of the pickle barrel? Mr Martin had looked
at her from under his green eye shade, saying nothing.
She had begun to wander about the office, taking it
in with her great popping eyes. Do you really need
all these filing cabinets, she had demanded. Suddenly. Mr Martin's

(37:44):
heart had jumped each of these files, he had said,
keeping his voice even plays an indispensable part in the
system of f and s. She had brayed at him, well,
don't tear up the pea patch, and gone to the door.
From there she had bawled, but you share had I've

(38:04):
got a lot of fine scrap in here. Mr Martin
could no longer doubt that the finger was on his
beloved department. Her pick axe was on the upswing, poise
for the first blow. It had not come yet. He
had received no blue memo from the enchanted Mr Fitweller

(38:26):
bearing nonsensical instructions deriving from this obscene woman. But there
was no doubt in Mr Martin's mind that one would
be forthcoming. He must act quickly. Already a precious week
had gone by. Mr Martin stood up in his living room,
still holding his milk glass. Gentleman of the jury, he

(38:47):
said to himself, I demand the death penalty for this
horrible person. The next day, Mr Martin followed his routine
as usual. He polished his glasses more often and once
sharpened and already sharp pencil, but not even Misspaired noticed.
Only once did he catch sight of his victim. She

(39:10):
swept past him in the hall with a patronizing hi.
At five thirty, he walked home as usual and had
a glass of milk as usual. He had never drunk
anything stronger in his life, unless you could count ginger Ale.
The late Sam Schlosser, the s of F and S,
had praised Mr Martin at a staff meeting several years

(39:30):
before for his temperate habits. One of our most efficient workers.
Neither drinks nor smokes, he had said, The results speak
for themselves. Mr Fittweiler had sat by, nodding approval. Mr
Martin was still thinking about that red letter day as
he walked over to the Shafts restaurant on Fifth Avenue

(39:50):
near Fort Street. He got there as he always did,
at eight o'clock. He finished his dinner and the financial
page of the New York Sun A quartered at the nine.
As he always did. It was his custom after dinner
to take a walk. This time he walked down Fifth
Avenue at a casual place. His gloved hands felt moist
and warm, his forehead cold. He transferred the camels from

(40:13):
his overcoat to a jacket pocket, he wondered as he
did so, if they did not represent an unnecessary note
of strain. Mrs Barrows smoked only Lucky's. It was his
idea to puff a few puffs on a camel after
the rubbing out, stub it out in the ashtray, holding
her lipstick, saying Lucky's, and thus dragged a small red

(40:37):
herring across the trail. Perhaps it was not a good idea.
It would take time. He might even choke too loudly.
Mr Martin had never seen the house on West twelfth
Street where Mrs Barrows lived, but he had a clear
enough picture of it. Fortunately, she had bragged to everybody
about her ducky first floor apartment in the perfectly darling

(41:02):
three story red brick. There would no doorman or other attendants,
just the tenants of the second and third floors. As
he walked along, Mr Martin realized that he would get
there before nine thirty. He had considered walking north on
Fifth Avenue from Shrafts to a point from which it
would take him until ten o'clock to reach the house.

(41:22):
At that hour people were less likely to be coming
in or going out, but the procedure would have made
an awkward loop in the straight thread of his casualness,
and he had abandoned it. It was impossible to figure
when people would be entering or leaving the house. Anyway,
there was a great risk at any hour if he
ran into anybody, he would simply have to place the

(41:42):
rubbing out of Old Jean Barrows in the inactive file forever.
The same thing would hold true if there was someone
in her apartment. In that case, he would just say
that he had been passing by, recognized her charming house
and thought to drop in. It was eighteen minutes after
nine when Mr Martin turned into twelfth straight. A man

(42:04):
past him, and a man and a woman talking. There
was no one within fifty paces. When he came to
the house halfway down the block. He was up the
steps and in the small vestibule, and no time pressing
the bell under the card that said Mrs Old Jean Barrows.
When the clicking in the lock started, he jumped forward
against the door. He got inside, fast, closing the door
behind him. A bulb in a lantern hung from the

(42:26):
hall ceiling on a chain seemed to give a monstrously
bright light. There was nobody on the stair, which went
up ahead of him along the left wall. A door
opened down the hall on the wall on the right.
He went toward it, swiftly on tiptoe. Well, for God's sakes,
let who's here? Baled Mrs Barrows, and her braying laugh

(42:47):
rang out like the report of a shotgun. He rushed
past her like a football tacker, bumping her. Hey, quit shoving,
she said, closing the door behind them. They were in
her living room, which seemed to Mr Martin to be
lighted by a hundred lamps. What's that to you? She said,
you're as jumpy as a goat. He found he was

(43:09):
unable to speak. His heart was wheezing in his throat.
I yes, he finally brought out. She was jabbering and
laughing as she started to help him off with his coat. No, no,
he said, I'll put it here. He took it off
and put it on a chair near the door. Your
hat and gloves too, She said, you're in a lady's house.

(43:34):
He put his hat on top of the coat. Mrs
Barrows seemed larger than he had thought. He kept his
gloves on. I was passing by, he said, I I recognized,
is there anyone here. She laughed, louder than ever now,
she said, we're all alone. You're white. Is a sheet?

(43:56):
You funny man? Whatever has come over you. I'll mix
you a toddy. She started toward a door across the room.
Scotch and soda all right, but say you don't drink,
do you? She turned and gave him her amused look.
Mr Martin pulled himself together. Scotch and soda will be
all right, he heard himself say. He could hear her

(44:18):
laughing in the kitchen. Mr Martin looked quickly around the
living room for the weapon he had counted on finding one.
There there were and irons, and a poker, and something
in a corner that looked like an Indian club. None
of them would do it. Couldn't be that way. He
began to pace around. He came to a desk. On
it lamb metal paper knife with an ornate handle. Would

(44:41):
it be sharp enough? He reached for it and knocked
over a small brass jar. Stamps spilled out of it
and fell onto the floor with a clatter. Hey, Mrs
Barrows yelled from the kitchen. Are you tearing up the
pea patch? Mr Martin gave a strange laugh. Picking up
the knife, he tried its point against his left wrist.

(45:01):
It was blunt. It wouldn't do. When Mrs Barrows reappeared
carrying two highballs, Mr Martin, standing there with his gloves on,
became acutely conscious of the fantasy. He had wrought cigarettes
in his pocket, a drink prepared for him. It was
all too grossly improbable. It was more than that, it

(45:26):
was impossible. Somewhere in the back of his mind a
vague idea stirred sprouted. For Heaven's sake, take off those gloves,
said Mrs Barrows. I always wear them in the house,
said Mr Martin. The idea began to bloom, strange and wonderful.

(45:53):
She put the glasses on a coffee table in front
of a sofa and sat on the sofa. Come over here,
you odd little man, she said. Mr Martin went over
and sat beside her. It was difficult to get the
cigarette out of the pack of camels, but he managed it.
She held a match for him. Laughing well, she said,
handing him his drink. This is perfectly mirabless you with

(46:15):
a drink and a cigarette. Mr Martin puffed, not too awkwardly,
and took a gulp of the highball. I drink and
smoke all the time, he said. He clinked his glass
against hers. Here's nuts to that old windbag fitweiler, he said,

(46:35):
and gulped again. The stuff tasted awful, but he made
no grimace. Really, Mr Martin, she said, her voice and
posture changing, you are insulting our employer. Mrs Barrows was
now all Special advisor to the President. I am preparing
a bomb, said Mr Martin, which will blow the old

(46:57):
goat higher than hell. He had only had a little
of the drink, which was not strong. It couldn't be that.
Do you take dope or something, Mrs Barrows asked coldly.
Heroin said Mr Martin. I'll be coked to the gills
when I bumped that old buzzard off. Mr Martin, She shouted,

(47:19):
getting to her feet, that will be all of that.
You must go at once. Mr Martin took another swallow
of the drink. He tapped his cigarette out in the
ashtray and put the pack of camels on the coffee table.
Then he got up. She stood glaring at him. He
walked over and put on his hat and coat. Not
a word about this, he said, and laid an index

(47:41):
finger against his lips. All Mrs Barrows could bring out
was it really? Mr Martin put his hand on the
door knob. I'm sitting in the catbird seat, he said.
He stuck his tongue out at her and left. Nobody
saw him go. Mr Martin got to his apartment walking

(48:06):
well before eleven. No one saw him go in. He
had two glasses of milk after brushing his teeth, and
he felt elated it wasn't tipsy in his because he
hadn't been tipsy anyway. The walk had worn off all
effects of the whiskey. He got in bed and read
a magazine for a while. He was asleep before midnight.

(48:26):
Mr Martin got to the office at eight thirty the
next morning as usual. At a quarter to nine, Old
Jean Barrows, who had never before arrived at work before ten,
swept into his office. I am departing to Mr Fittweiller now,
she shouted. If he turns you over to the police,
it's no more than you deserve. Mr Martin gave her
a look of shocked surprise. I beg your pardon, he said.

(48:50):
Mrs Barrows snorted and bounced out of the room, leaving
Miss Parrot and Joey Harton staring after her. What's the
man with that old devil? Now, asked Miss Pared. I
have no idea, said Mr Martin, resuming his work. The
other two looked at him, and then at each other.
Miss Peared got up and went out. She walked slowly
past the closed door of Mr Fittweiler's office. Mrs Barrows

(49:14):
was yelling inside, but she was not braying. Miss Pared
could not hear what the woman was saying. She went
back to her desk. Forty five minutes later, Mrs Barrows
left the President's office and went into her own, shutting
the door. It wasn't until half an hour later that
Mr Fittweiler sent for Mr Martin, the head of the
filing department. Neat quiet, attentive, stood in front of the

(49:36):
old man's desk. Mr Fittweiler was pale and nervous. He
took his glasses off and twiddled them and made a
small roughing sound in his throat Martin, He said, you
have been with us more than twenty years. Twenty two, sir,
said Mr Martin in that time pursued the President. Your

(50:00):
work and your manner have been exemplary. I trust so, sir,
said Mr Martin. I have understood, Martin, said Mr Fittweler,
that you have never taken a drink or smoked. That
is correct, sir, said Mr Martin. Uh yes, Mr Fittweiler

(50:20):
polished his glasses. You may describe what you did after
leaving the office yesterday, Martin, he said, certainly, sir, he said,
I walked home. Then I went to Shrafts for dinner. Afterward,
I walked home again. I went to bed early, sir,
and read a magazine for a while. I was asleep
before eleven. Ah. Yes, said Mr Fittweiler. Again. He was

(50:45):
silent for a moment, searching for the proper words to
say to the head of the filing department, Mrs Barrows.
He said, finally, Mrs Barrows has worked hard, Martin, very hard.
It raised me to report that she has suffered a
severe breakdown. It has taken the form of a persecution

(51:05):
complex accompanied by distressing hallucinations. I'm very sorry, sir, said
Mr Martin. Mrs Barrows is under the delusion, continued Mr Fittweiler,
that you visited her last evening and behaved yourself in
a an unseemly matter. He raised his hand to silence

(51:28):
Mr Martin's little, pained outcry. It is the nature of
these psychological diseases, Mr Fittweiler said, to fix upon the
least likely and most innocent party as the source of persecution.
These matters are not for the lay mind to grasp, Martin.
I've just had my psychiatrist, Dr Fitch on the phone. UH.

(51:49):
He would not, of course commit himself, but he made
enough generalizations to substantiate my suspicions. I suggested to Mrs
Barrows when she had completed her UH story to me
this morning. It she visit Dr Fitch before I suspected
a condition to watch, she flew, I regret to say,

(52:11):
into a rage and demanded requested that I call you
on the carpet. You may not know, Martin, but Mrs
Barrows had planned a reorganization of your department, subject to
my approval. Of course, subject to my approval. This brought you,
rather than anyone else to her mind. But again, that

(52:32):
is a phenomenon for Dr Fitch and not for us.
So Martin, I'm afraid Mrs Barrow's usefulness here is at
an end. I'm dreadfully sorry, sir, said Mr Martin. It
was at this point that the door to the office
blew open with the suddenness of a gas main explosion,

(52:54):
and Mrs Barrows catapulted through. It is the little rat
denying it, she screamed. He can't get away with that.
Mr Martin got up and moved discreetly to a point
beside Mr Fittwealer's chair. You drank and smoked at my apartment,
she bawled at Mr Martin, And you know it. You
called Mr Fittweiler an old wind bag and said you

(53:15):
were gonna blow them up when you got coked to
your gills on your heroine. She stopped yelling to catch
her breath, and a new glint came into her popping eyes.
If you weren't set to drab, ordinary, little man, she said,
I'd think you'd planned it all, sticking your tongue out,
saying you were sitting in the cat buried seat because

(53:37):
you thought no one would believe me when I told it.
My god, it's really too perfect, She brayed loudly and hysterically,
and the fury was on her again. She glared at
Mr Fittweiler. Can't you see how he has tricked us,
you old fool. Can't you see his little game? But

(53:58):
Mr Fittwealer had been surreptitiously pressing all the buttons under
the top of his desk, and employees of f As
began pouring into the room. Stockton said, Mrs Pittweiler, you
and Fishbine will take Mrs Barrows to her home. Mrs Powell,
you will go with them. Stockton, who had played a
little football in high school, blocked Mrs Barrows as she

(54:18):
made for Mr Martin. It took him and fish Mine
together to force her out of the door into the hall,
crowded with stenographers and office boys. She was still screaming
imprecations at Mr Martin, tangled and contradictory imprecations. The hubbub
finally died out down the corridor. I regret that this

(54:39):
has happened, said Mr Fittweiler. I shall ask you to
dismiss it from your mind. Martin. Yes, sir, said Mr Martin,
anticipating his chiefs that will be all. By moving to
the door, I will dismiss it. He went out and
shut the door, and his step was light and quick

(55:03):
in the hall. When he entered his department. He had
slowed down to his customary gate, and he walked quietly
across the room to the double New twenty file, wearing
a look of studious concentration. From the Thurber connorable The
Catbird Seat by James Thurber. Countdown has come to you

(55:41):
from the studios of Old Run Broadcasting. Empire World headquarters
is in the Sports Capsule Building in New York. Thank
you for listening here the credits. Most of the music,
including our theme from Beethoven's Ninth, was arranged, produced and
performed by Brian Ray and John Philip Chanelle, who are
the Countdown musical directors. All orchestration and keyboards by John
Philip Chanelle, guitarist, bass and drums by Brian Ray, produced

(56:03):
by T K O others. Other Beethoven selections have been
arranged and performed by No Horns Allowed. The sports music
is the Olderman theme for me ESPN two and it
was written by Mitch Warren Davis courtesy of ESPN, Inc.
Musical comments from Nancy Faust. The best baseball stadium organist ever.
Our announcer today was Jonathan Banks from Breaking Bad. Everything
else is pretty much my fault, So let's countdown for

(56:26):
this the seven and fifty second day since Donald Trump's
first attempted coup against the democratically elected government of the
United States. Arrest him now while we still can. The
next scheduled countdown is Monday. Till then, I'm Keith Alderman.
I'm old, good morning, good afternoon, goodnight, and good luck.

(57:03):
Countdown with Keith Alderman is a production of I heart Radio.
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