Episode 12: Gergory

Two Cents Plus Tax

Episode Twelve: “Scams”


Transcript has been lightly edited for readability.

(theme song plays)

K: I’m Krystal.

C: I’m Caitlin.

K: And this is …

K & C: Two Cents Plus Tax!

C: Hello hello.

K: We’re back.

C: We are back. How is everybody?

K: (sighs) 

C: (laughs) 

K: Wait—

C: That good! (laughs) 

K: No, I’m doing okay, I think. You know, it’s—

C: That’s convincing.

K: I mean, yeah. It’s one of those times where it’s like, you know, people as how you’re doing and it’s almost like a convention, you know, to just say, “Oh I’m fine!”

C: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. 

K: Because you don’t wanna necessarily get into all the stuff, so I will just say I’m fine. (laughs) 

C: You’re fine. Okay, Toshio, how are you?

Toshio: Alive. And breathing.

C: So we’re all doing fantastic, is what it sounds like.

K: (laughs) Yup, just thriving. We’re talking about a topic that’s very near and dear to you. You know, close to your heart.

C: It is. It is.

K: So I feel like this is a good one to go in on before you have to go back to work.

C: Yes. Agreed. And what are we talking about today?

K: I mean, if you were smart, you would have come up with one of these, so you wouldn’t have to go back to work, but we are talking about (laughs)

C: Touché!

K: —we are talking about scams today, which is like—

C: Scams!

K: —everyone’s favorite topic.

C: Yes. And as you know, I respect scams.

K: We all do. Our IRS, you know, very important to us. We respect scams and we respect the IRS. Not the government one. I don’t respect them.

C: No. Not at all.

K: (laughs) But yeah, I mean, this is a topic … it’s one of those that like, we can do one show for an hour, but we could probably do twenty shows on this topic—

C: Mm-hmm.

K: —because there’s so many different types; so many different characters; like … there’s just so many places it could go.

C: I know. (laughs) 

K: But yeah. I mean, I know you’re like the scam expert, so maybe you should like—

C: The scam queen.

K: Yeah. (laughs) I don’t wanna say scam goddess, cuz that’s already something, so. 

C: Right. Yes. Laci Mosley is the scam goddess. 

K: Yep. Mm-hmm.

C: She has that podcast named that, so I will not take that from her. 

K: (laughs) 

C: But I do love a scam, and I should clarify. When I say I love scams, I’m not talking about … I love scamming your everyday person. 

K: Right.

C: I like scams where we are ripping off corporations—

K: Mm-hmm.

C: —where we are taking back our money from, say, Amazon or Google or … what’s the one that hates gay people? Home Depot, like—

K: (laughs) That could be so many companies. I was like—

C: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Where we’re finding a way to just give our money back to where it belongs. Take our money back. 

K: Right.

C: So not like, you know, the mom-and-pop scams on your telephone saying, you know, you’ve won twenty dollars or whatever.

K: But I do find those ones kind of interesting. Like those scams on regular people, I find incredibly interesting. I mean, we can get into it at another time—

C: We can.

K: —later. But like I do find those very like … what’s the thinking here? (laughs) But yeah.

C: Yeah. One time I got a telephone call and it was the one that was like, you know, it’s a very common one where they’re leaving you voicemails saying it’s the IRS or social security—

K: (laughs) Yeah.

C: —and, you know, you have to call back, and so I think I was in the car, and … I don’t know. Normally I do not pay any attention, but I called back and I was like, “Who … who is this?” And he goes, “Federal agent!” 

K: (laughs)

C: And I just started laughing so hard!

K: Of course.

C: I died laughing. It was so funny. Just like, “Who is this?” “Federal agent!” Okay. (laughs) 

K: Yeah. Definitely convincing. You got me. (laughs) Like … no way. 

C: (laughs) Yeah. How bout you? Have you ever been scammed? Either of you?

K: Mm, no? I don’t think so. I’m very like … I don’t know if it’s part of my nature, or if it’s just I’m very vigilant, but I’m very sort of … I don’t know. I don’t put a lot of information about myself on the internet—

C: Mm-hmm.

K: —there’s not a lot of photos of me. Like I try to be very … I try to keep an eye on like who’s in my orbit, you know. I don’t know. I feel like I’m pretty on top of it. And also, because I’ve been on the internet for so long, like … you know about all the internet kinds of scams that other people who maybe aren’t as knowledgeable tend to fall for—

C: Mm-hmm.

K: —and I just … no, I don’t—I’ve not been scammed. Fortunately. But, you know … (laughing) there’s always time, I guess.

T: I feel like I’ve done more scams than I have—

K: Mm.

C Ooh! What scams have you done?

T: I mean—

K: Again (laughing), don’t incriminate yourself!

C: Allegedly.

T: Yeah, this is … I mean, I’ve been banned from Ulta

K: (laughs) 

C: Do tell!

T: —deservedly so, perhaps, because at the time, there was like a drought in a product as seen on TV; it’s called Crepe Erase

K: Mm-hmm. It’s the little drops that make your … you know, the creases around your eyes like … tighten, right?

T: Exactly, yeah. Or you know, Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman

C: Jane Seymour

K: (laughs) Yeah, Jane Seymour.

T: Yes.

C: It turns you into Jane Seymour?

T: Spokesperson.

C: Oh, okay.

K: Wow, that’s awesome.

T: Or she credits her lack of turkey neck, I guess, to—

C: This Ulta product? Okay.

T: —this product.

K: Cool.

T: And yeah, Ulta will have these stackable sales where you can just buy a ton of a products—

K: Mm.

T: —at a low low low low price, and so I was buying like multitudes, and you’re not supposed to buy stuff to resell. I was reselling it on eBay … 

K: Yeah, but they—how … 

C: How did they find out, yeah?

K: —they can’t tell you what to do with it. Yeah. (laughs) Like I mean, if you buy it, it’s whatever you wanna do with it!

T: I got kinda lazy, and I was just … I just started having them send it directly to this eBay—

K (laughing) Oh, Toshio.

T: —processing center that sends stuff with receipts. (laughs) 

C (laughs) 

K: (laughs) This is not going where I expected it to go, with that question. I’m like (laughs) what is happening?

C: I love it!

T: It’s … yeah, so I’m no longer able to purchase anything from Ulta.com.

K: (laughing) Amazing.

C: Ever?! Like how did they ban you?

T: They … I just have a blanket ban. And I asked them … I did ask them to reconsider a year later.

K: (laughs) 

C: Uh-huh. (laughs) 

T: And they said no. 

K: Oh my god. (laughs) That’s amazing.

C: I love that story! I love this story! 

K: That’s so good. (laughs) That is not what I was expecting, but that’s incredible. (clears throat)

T: Find that one hot product that—

C: Wow.

K: I didn’t know Crepe Erase was … it’s the jam, I guess.

C: Jane Seymour says.

T: Well, now the market’s flooded.

K: Oh, okay. Now it’s (laughs) … now cuz of Toshio, the market is flooded.

T: I’ve done similar things. There was like a … some kind of hair product. What was it called? And then … I mean, there’s the whole dropshipping, which … in the end, these are scams that pay out very little.

K: What is dropshipping? I don’t know what that is.

C: Yeah.

T: Dropshipping … like when you buy … you go on these sites like … Aliexpress is like—

K: Mm-hmm.

T: —the name one. Like Ali Baba. They make fakes of different kinds of purses, or what have you. I don’t do this anymore, but they have another site that they own called Taobao.

C: Called what? Sorry?

T: Taobao. T-A-O-B-A-O. 

C: Okay. I had—okay.

T: Yeah. They have a lot of products. They’ll have like a Versace bikini—

C: Mm-hmm.

T: —three dollars, cuz that’s how much it costs to make that kinda thing.

K: Mm-hmm.

T: And sometimes it’ll come and it’ll look like the real thing—not that I really actually know what a Versace bikini looks like, cuz I’ve never seen one in real life.

K: (laughs) 

T: But close enough to where … you know. There’s no signs of counterfeiting.

K: Mm-hmm.

T: And then you can sell it at close to retail. And then the people who are buying it still feel like they’re getting a great deal!

C: But what’s dropshipping?

K: I’m googling it right now. Apparently it’s a retail fulfillment method where a storefront does not keep the products itselves in stock. Instead, when it sells a product, using the dropshipping model, it purchases the item from a third party and has it shipped directly to the customer. I never heard of that in my life.

C: I never heard of that either!

K: But it makes sense if you’re thinking about like … you know, Amazon, or any kind of like—you know, Walmart.com also does this now too—where they have other vendors who are on their site, but you go to like Amazon and you order stuff, but it can come from like any vendor, not just Amazon.com and their shipping—or their warehouses or whatever. So I’m assuming that’s what happens when you like buy from these other third-party sellers, that you are getting stuff that maybe sometimes they don’t have it in stock—

T: Exactly.

K: —but like Amazon does, so they just ship it to you. 

T: Right. And—

K: I don’t know—I don’t even understand how this works (laughs), but I mean, I get that it happens, cuz it makes sense. 

T: In some cases—I don’t know if you’ve ever bought anything off of a site that wasn’t Amazon, but then got it in an Amazon package—

K: Mm-hmm.

C: No!

T: —but that’s kind of another form of dropshipping, where people will like comparison shop. God, I’m getting into the weeds, and this is so boring.

K: (laughs) Every time we have an episode where you talk about something, Toshio, I’m like, wow! There’s so much going on!

C, K, & T: (laugh)

T: In the world of couponning and stacking discounts

K: I know! I’m just like, this is not what I expected, but I really like it.

T: (laughs) 

C: He is a multifaceted man. Trust me.

K: Apparently! (laughs) I’m learning that. I’m learning that.

T: (laughs) Love & Hip Hop, I think it was maybe season 3, one of the girls proclaimed that in order to become a millionaire, you have to have seven streams of income.

K: Mm.

C: Which is something you have repeated to me several times already.

C, K, & T: (laugh) 

C: In all seriousness, I have heard this from you several times—

K & T: (laugh) 

C: —where you’re like, I’m a … you have to have seven streams of income to become a millionaire. I didn’t realize it was from Love & Hip Hop. (laughs) 

T: Yeah. Yeah, that’s where I … you know, it’s my bible. 

C: That’s where you get all your wisdom. 

K: That’s probably why I’m doing … I’m doing poorly, cuz I only have one stream of income. (laughs) That’s my problem, is I—

T: I’m not—

C: No, we have two. We have two. 

K: (laughs) Oh yeah, this is definitely—

T: Y’all have two! Yes.

C: Jobs and the Patreon. Except the Patreon doesn’t provide income. (laughs) 

K: Only five more to go.

T: Exactly. Yeah. But believe it or not, I am not a millionaire. 

K: (laughs) 

C: Yet.

T: I probably, in some cases, I’ve—like when Crepe Erase … there were other people that started to notice this uptick in the demand, and then immediately I was … I live in a 262-square-foot studio, and I had bought all of this Crepe Erase. I had nowhere to store it.

K: (laughs) Oh my god. 

T: And so you can get into trouble like that, where you just … you predict that it’s gonna—

C: Wait, did the mail … your mail room at your apartment; did they take notice of you getting all these packages from Ulta?

T: Um …

C: Who raised the alarm?

T: Right. Right, right. Well, I think—I feel like it might have been the address, because it’s—

K: Mm.

T: —in Kentucky, eBay has like its own … like it’ll ship to other countries that, you know, Crepe Erase … I don’t know if it’s illegal, or if it’s just not widely available. But I was getting a lot of orders from overseas, and instead of having Ulta ship it to me, I would just have them ship it directly to the eBay center, the processing center in Kentucky, and they would ship it to Nigeria or … you know, Bangladesh—

K: (laughing) Oh my god. This is like … I feel like I’m watching Catch Me If You Can right now, where I’m just like, wow, like so much stuff is happening! (laughing) How is this happening? It’s just like … this is incredible.

C: I know. I really love this story. This is a scam! This is … this is why I love scams, Toshio, like that was … that was beautiful. 

K: Yeah, but you’re not like—the reason that it’s good is cuz you’re not like scamming the customer. Right? Like this—

C: No! Not at all.

T: They’re still getting, yeah. They’re still getting a … like, a deal, and I’m making … you know, probably—I’ve made less than ten bucks a pop. 

K: Mm-hmm.

T: And a month’s supply of Crepe Erase.

K: That is like … wild, though. (laughs) Wow. Okay, where do we even go from that? Like I’m—

C: I don’t know. Maybe we should just end the episode here. 

K: The episode should have been about Toshio’s scams specifically (laughing), like not just about—

T: (laughing) Oh no.

C: I know.

K: Like wow, I did not know that’s where it was going, but I love it.

C: I don’t know if you guys wrote down any scams that you enjoyed. 

K: Yeah.

C: I did. So (clears throat) I wrote down—

K: (laughs) 

C: (clears throat for effect) (laughs) 

K: (laughs) Yeah, I know. Clear your throat. Make sure you’re really ready to talk about this. 

C: Right. So I wrote down a few of my favorites. 

K: Mm-hmm.

C: And I’m sure that you all will have opinions and can kind of join in on some of these. The first one that came to my mind was the JT LeRoy scam

K: Oh yeah. Mm-hmm.

C: —where this character, this persona, was created in the literary world; fooled everyone; all these celebrities—

K: I—(sighs). Yeah. Uh-huh.

C: —and then, turns out like, this was not in fact a real person. Have you ever read JT LeRoy?

K: No.

C: Okay. So—

K: I mean, I know all about it. But I never read … yeah, him.

C: —I did at the time. Yeah. And I know—okay, so I know Toshio has stuff to say too, because they made several documentaries. I have not seen the documentaries, so yeah. JT LeRoy wrote The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things and … I think it’s called Sarah. They made a movie out of The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things with … ugh, Asia Argento, so do not get me started on her. 

K: (laughs) 

C: Do not get me started, cuz I will say things that will get me in trouble, but she made a movie about that. But essentially JT LeRoy was a … that was the pen name of someone named Laura Albert, and then it was assumed that JT LeRoy had been this … I don’t know if they were considered non-binary cuz it’s been a long time since I have read the book and kind of gotten into that, but someone who had come from serious trauma—

K: Mm-hmm.

C: —in the South; had gone through major abuse; and then had started writing. And then whenever, eventually years later, would go out in public, someone named Savannah Knoop, K-N-O-O-P, would dress in a wig and a hat and pretend to be JT LeRoy. And so Laura Albert, who was the actual person, had gotten all these celebrities involved, like Courtney Love and Billy Corgan and all of these people. Shirley Manson from Garbage. All of these people—Tom Waits, I remember—and they were all just like, oh my god, like JT LeRoy’s such an incredible writer; all of these things. So Toshio, yeah, do you have any comments? Cuz you’ve seen the documentaries, which I have not. 

T: No! I don’t have any tea, unfortunately, although I do know the person who was Laura’s personal assistant. 

C: Woo! That is tea. Also, I forgot to mention that within these documentaries—which again I haven’t seen, but you have—so Laura Albert had been secretly recording all of these conversations with celebrities who thought that they were actually talking with JT LeRoy, who they were not. 

K: Mm-hmm.

C: So part of that was just scamming all these celebrities and I’m assuming getting things paid for and getting clout and all of those kinds of things. 

T: Yeah. I know that regardless of all of the scams, like she scammed every celeb—yeah, all these celebrities, and it was a little bit pre-Twitter.

C: Yeah. Yeah.

K: Mm-hmm.

T: So, I mean, they were outraged—

C: (laughing) Yes.

T: —cuz they had been basically doin PR—

C: Yes.

T: —for someone that they thought was someone else. That said, yeah, I mean I guess it was kind of in the same vein as um, what was it called? When Oprah got super pissed

C: Oh! Uh, Gray.

K: A Million Little Pieces? Is that what you’re talking about? 

T: Yes! Yeah.  

C: Was it James Gray?

K: Frey. James Frey.

C: Frey! 

T: Yeah. Yeah yeah yeah yeah. And he had presented this book as his story, you know. And it turned out not to be the case.

C: Mm-hmm.

T: And it was in Oprah’s book club. 

K: Yeah.

T: And so she was pissed!

C: I forgot about that! That was hilarious, when she put him on the show.

K: (laughs) 

C: Oprah was mad!

T: It’s been scrubbed.

K: It’s really weird. I don’t … yeah. The JT LeRoy thing, I knew about, but I just always was like, how are people thinking that this is real? (laughs) Like I don’t know, when I saw images of the like, person who was supposed to be them and stuff—

C: Mm-hmm.

K: —I’m just like, this is clearly just like somebody in a wig and like—but I didn’t know if it was like … at first, when I first heard about it, I thought it was like … is this like performance art or something?

C: Mm-hmm.

K: Like I didn’t understand how everyone was like, no this is a real—and this is the person, and they have this happen to them, and this is their story, and reading all that, and I was just like … are celebrities just much more gullible than I am? Maybe I just don’t trust like a lot of people (laughs), but I was just like, this seems weird. I mean, I obviously found out about it after the fact, but I was just like, oh yeah, no, this totally makes sense how this could all be phony.

C: Mm-hmm.

T: Yeah. 

K: But I was just like, I don’t know. Maybe I’m just much less … much less guileless, I think? Than celebrities? I don’t know. But it just felt very weird to me, like … okay. (laughs) But I think also too, part of it is like, whenever you present with this intense, intensely traumatic backstory, people want to be … what’s the word? Like they want to believe you and they wanna sort of do nice things for you, you know?

C: Yeah.

K: They wanna sort of try to improve your circumstances, and so in that way, I could sort of see how people were like, oh, this is really great. This person is taking … not great, but you know, they’re taking this trauma and they’re sort of channeling it into their art, you know? Creating something … I can understand wanting to support that. But yeah, it just was very (laughs) … that whole thing was very like … I don’t know, man. Are you guys really paying attention? Cuz it seemed very obvious to me after the fact, though. But maybe if I were very wealthy, I woulda just been like, no, of course. Of course this makes perfect sense.

T: As far as the celebrities go, I feel like the worst thing that happened to them was like they got tricked into reading a book.

C: Yeah. (laughs) 

K: (laughs) They’ll never get those hours back! Yeah. No, that’s really funny. But I think also too, when you’re a celebrity, stuff like that just doesn’t … you know, it blows over and people probably don’t even remember this. Again, because like you were saying, it happened before like the Twitter kind of era, so I think anything that’s pre-this version of social media that we know, it’s kind of a little bit memory-holed.

C: Mm-hmm.

T: Yeah. 

C: Right.

K: Until you like see it on a list or something and you’re like, oh yeah, that did happen! (laughs) 

T: That’s why we’re bringing it to the people.

K: Exactly! People have to know about it.

T: I mean—

K: So you can go see those pictures, cuz they’re very like—I mean, come on guys. (laughs) 

T: (laughs) Yeah, the wig choice was … 

C: It was a choice! Yeah.

T: It was like a Lifetime movie … wig, yeah.

K: It was bad. It was real bad.

C: It was like a Halloween store wig.

T: Yeah.

K: Yeah! I’m like, come on. Like some measure—but then again, you can—I can see people sort of convincing themselves like, oh, they’re sort of just going incognito. They don’t wanna—they’re not really trying very hard, and they’re putting on a costume so they don’t want people to see the real them or something. 

C: Mm-hmm. 

K: Like I can understand maybe sort of convincing yourself in that way. Cuz I’m sure nobody saw that wig and was like, yes. 

C: Real hair.

K: This is a real person’s hair. (laughs) Yeah.

C: Right.

K: Like, no way.

T: Right. Which is the performance that, I mean, any band or actor—I mean, we laud and give lotsa money to people who I guess are a little bit different from what Laura Albert did. But in the end, I guess she won, because she ended up writing … she wrote on Deadwood

K: Oh, did she?

T: —after all that went down. Yeah.

K: I didn’t know that.

T: She wrote like some other screenplays that were successful.

K: My favorite thing that came outta the JT LeRoy thing was there was an episode of Law & Order about it—

C: Ooh!

K: —and that’s my favorite. It’s with Vivica Fox and it’s really good. Like she’s incredible in it. I’m just like, oh, man, remember Vivica Fox and how like good she is at acting?

C: Was she the … oh, that—

K: Yeah, so she was basically the Laura Albert kind of … so I guess the way that it worked in the episode was that like, she had someone who was pretending to be this person with this backstory or whatever, but it turned out that the stuff that had actually happened was real—

C: Right.

K: —but it happened to her, and so she was like, you know … she posited herself as like this person’s sort of PR manager, like their kind of protector and whatever. But truly the person that was supposed to be the JT LeRoy character was like just someone she hired to do this. It wasn’t that the stories were fake. It was that they were real; they just happened to her and not this other person she was putting forward. It’s a really good episode. 

C: I would love to see it!

K: It’s called Sweetie.

C: Oh, Sweetie!

K: Yup. It’s good. 

C: Have you seen—speaking of Vivica—have you seen Two Can Play That Game, with her and Morris Chestnut?

K: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.

C: Any thoughts?

K: It’s good. (laughs) I don’t know! I don’t know why she like kinda fell off. It’s kind of weird, to me, cuz—

C: I don’t know either, actually.

K: —she was … through the 90’s and like early 2000’s, like mid-2000’s, she was like a huge actress. Like she was in Independence Day. That’s not a … you know. That’s not nothing. (laughs) 

C: No.

K: And then she just kinda like went away, which is a bummer. 

C: Yeah. Kill Bill—yeah. Kill Bill, she was in that.

K: Oh, yes! She was so good in Kill Bill! Man.

C: She was really good in Kill Bill, but I don’t really remember anything past that other than like Curb Your Enthusiasm.

K: Mm-hmm. Just little one-offs, yeah. Yeah, it’s kind of a bummer. Come back to us, Vivica.

C: Yeah. I wonder what was going on.

K: I don’t know.

C: Well, what about y’all? Do y’all have any favorite scams? That was just one of my favorites.

K: Yeah, one of mine—I don’t know if you’d call this like a … a scam or a scandal, but like (laughs) maybe about like fifteen, sixteen years ago, I got like really obsessed with the movie Quiz Show. Do you guys know that movie?

C: Oh! I do know the movie. But I haven’t seen it in like twenty years. So everything you tell me will be new.

K: Oh man. I love that movie. So good. It’s so good. Okay so the movie is basically … it’s a sort of based-on-a-true-story movie by Robert Redford about the quiz show scandals in the 1950’s. There was … like all of these quiz shows, and the most popular one was one called Twenty-One. And it was on NBC, and in the movie, the way that it’s posited is that like it was always going up against, I believe, I Love Lucy in the ratings, and so they were always trying to get the ratings higher and higher, because it meant that they could get more money from the advertisers, and the advertisers would make more money, blah blah blah. And so they’re like, how can we get our show to be not only the most popular quiz show, which it already is, but how can we get it to be, you know, like I Love Lucy in the ratings repeatedly? And their idea was like, well if we get contestants that people like, and we can keep them on the show for a number of weeks, then we can make sure that our ratings stay high. And so the way that they would get contestants that they liked to stay on the show for as long as they wanted is they would get people that they knew tested well, and they would just like give them the answers. And so they would have people on the show that they would be like, okay, you’re doing really well; we’re gonna keep you on. And then once that person’s sort of ratings started to dip, they’d get someone new in there, try them out, see how their ratings went. And like everyone was in on it. The producers of the show; the advertisers; the network; everybody was like … knew about it. But it was kind of a kept secret, because the actual contestants were getting money out of it, obviously, like they were winning on the show, and they got paid. Every week they got whatever the winnings were. And so they were like, well we don’t really … no one really had a reason to sort of talk about it, but then (laughs) there was a contestant, Herb Stempel, who was like a … I think he had been a veteran, and he was this Jewish guy from Queens, I think who was like, pretty smart, but, you know, really relished sort of … he was kind of like a character, and so his ratings on the show were really high. But he sort of got bumped for this guy named Charles Van Doren, who was basically the opposite of Herb Stempel in every way, like this incredibly like Aryan-looking man.

C: Mm-hmm. (laughs) 

K: Super wealthy, from a prominent family, like his parents were like professors. And so he got on the show and became like really, really popular. Like probably the most popular person that they’d had as a contestant forever, and Herb Stempel was like, mad that he got bumped for this guy, because he was like … well in the movie, they make it seem like this is the kind of thing that’d been happening to him his whole life, right? Like he was this underdog and could never get ahead, and there was always guys like this, from this kinda family, with these kind of privileges, that were always gettin all the breaks. And so he ended up going to a judge in New York and being like, hey, these shows are like … fixed, you know? And the judge was like, uh, that’s not good. (laughs) And so this attorney from DC found out that this like … they were doing an investigation, and he was like, I wanna go up and investigate. And so he went up to investigate the … you know, what was going on, talked to all the previous contestants, and nobody would really talk to him except for Herb. And that’s kinda how everything came out. And there was like all these trial—not trials, but like televised hearings on it, like … it was a huge deal in the fifties. And in the movie, Herb Stempel is played by John Turturro and Charles Van Doren was played by Ralph Fiennes

C: Mm!

K: —looking like, the most beautiful Ralph Fiennes has ever looked. (laughs) 

C: (laughs) 

K: Like if you saw him in like Schindler’s List and you were like, oh, he’s really hot, and then you saw him in this movie? Like, wow, he’s really hot but in a different way! That’s amazing. (laughs) But yeah, it’s just a really good movie and a really interesting story, because it totally was happening for years and no one said anything, cuz everyone was getting what they wanted out of it. And then they, you know, just met the wrong guy, and he was like, you wronged me! (laughs) And now I have to make it right for myself. But I love it, and I love that story of like, that everyone was so … the entire country was enthralled by the fact that like one show was fixed. I’m like, that’s every show now. (laughs) You know what I mean?

C: Yeah. 

K: Like all reality shows are like kind of fake and, you know, it’s just like, I think now people just go into watching TV with the understanding that like so much of it is massaged in a way that you like … don’t know about, but you kinda know about. So it was kind of just like a different era, you know?

C: Right.

K: It’s just a really interesting … it’s like one of my favorite movies. It’s not like a great movie … I mean, it got nominated for like Best Picture—

C: Yeah!

K: —but I think it’s one of those movies that people kinda forget happened, cuz it’s like, oh, it’s good, and now no one will ever think of it again. But I just find it really charming and fun to watch.

C: Excellent choice. I will have to rewatch that.

K: Yeah. If you wanna see Ralph Fiennes lookin real good … (laughs) that movie—

C: I like John Turturro, too, so—

K: He’s so fun in that movie! Like he’s … you know, everyone knows John Turturro and his deal, but he just gets to be really like the ultimate like … neurotic, just talkin a mile a minute, sayin really funny stuff. You’re just like, yeah, this guy is really good at this. (laughs) Like this kind of character.

C: Yeah. Toshio, do you have any? You were talkin about like millions.

T: I mean … 

C: Go for it!

T: There’s a recent documentary—

K: Mm-hmm.

T: —yeah, that kind of … it’s a similar … it’s like a game-related scam that was kind of run by a four-tier mafia family (laughs)

K: (laughs) 

T: —in NewYork, and the FBI seems like they spent way more money on actually like investigating the scam. Basically the stickers that you used to get on McDonald’s cups—

C: Yeah.

T: —when you would buy … I feel like you had to buy at least a large.

K: Yeah, I think they were on like cups and fries. 

T: Ooh. There we go.

C: Yeah. I remember the Monopoly game.

K: Yeah, for sure.

C: So you’d get those stickers …

T: So you remember, but you don’t see them anymore because—

C: Right.

K: (laughs) 

T: —the grand prize I think was usually like a million dollars, and it was, for many years, it was being stolen from the rest of us.

C: Ooh!

T: Because yeah, there was some foul play. (laughs) 

K: Yeah, I think people really liked that documentary. Like—

C: I haven’t seen it!

K: I think people were more enthralled by the characters involved, like you were saying, Toshio.

T: Yeah.

K: Like everyone just seemed so like … how did these people (laughs) do—

T: Oh, yeah.

K: It was very interesting to think about. And also too, it makes me mad, like in retrospect, because I was like, I’m gonna win something! (laughs) Like … I’m never gonna win anything! Annoying! 

T: (sighs) Yeah! And now I think, I mean … you don’t usually hear about who wins sweepstakes. However, at the company that I worked for when I first moved to San Francisco … (sighs) it was a tech company. I worked in editorial (laughs) and we would run these like—

K: (laughs) Okay. We’re not gonna kick you off the show!

T: (laughs) These banner ads that we would run for like a whole year as the company was starting; it was an email to help yoga moms who drive their Hybrid SUV to Whole Foods live a greener life … was like literally the archetype of the person that we were sellin, you know, eco-friendly crap to. 

K: Mm-hmm.

C: You worked for Gwyneth Paltrow. Just sayin.

T: Basically. Yeah. 

K: (laughs) Amazing. Great.

T: I mean … wannabes. For sure.

C: Yes. Yes.

K: Oh yeah, probably those types. 

T: So yeah, if you forwarded info about the newsletter or whatever … daily email, daily tip on what to buy, if you wanna go green, eco-consumerism—

K: (laughs) 

T: —buy more and you can save the world (laughs)—you could win a trip to New York City if you forwarded it to a friend. And that … was fake. That never materialized.

C & K: (laugh)

K: Oh my gosh.

T: And later, the two people that started it sold the startup to Disney for twenty-five million dollars. 

K: Cool.

C: Good for them.

K: They’re the real winners, honestly. (laughs) 

T: (laughs) There was another instance … they had this really ridiculous launch party in New York City where they had like a … a carbon-offset … what do they call the bulls—

K: The mechanical bull! 

T: Mechanical bull, thank you. 

K: Yeah.

T: The swag bags had the name of the company on them, and the bags that they had printed were like the cheapest reusable bags imaginable—

K: Mm-hmm.

T: —and so one of my bosses was like, alright, everybody, we need to get together and we need to pull these tags out of these bags, because the bags were made from like some … you know, BPA-containing plastic—

C & K: (laugh) 

T: —in China, and (laughs) … that wasn’t the vibe, so.

K: Oh my gosh. This is incredible. That’s a scam in and of itself—

C: Oh, it definitely is.

K: —(laughing) everything you just described. Oh my goodness.

C: Mm.

K: Pretty much most tech companies are kind of scams, because they’re just like … you know, inflating the cost of these companies that like are doing stuff that we already do, but they just came up with a more complicated way to do it. Like we already have taxis, but like Uber exists and is worth like billions of dollars or something (laughs), and it’s like, why … that seems like it shouldn’t happen. (laughs) But yeah, anyway. Tech is a whole other subject we could spend a million hours on.

C: That’s an episode.

K: For sure. 

C: Yeah, my favorite scams—I think I enjoy the counterfeit scams—

K: Mm!

C: —quite a bit, which is one reason why I really enjoy the TV show Good Girls

K: Oh, uh-huh. (laughs) 

C: —which is women doin … you know, makin money in their washing machine.

K: Like literally doing that. Yup.

C: But one of my other favorite scams … again, this is a literary scam. So I do enjoy ripping off these industries that deserve to be ripped off. So the publishing—the literary world; all of these where it’s, you know, millions and millions of dollars. But Lee Israel

K: (laughs) Oh, yeah.

C: —who wrote the book and subsequent movie that was produced, Can You Ever Forgive Me, starring Melissa McCarthy as Lee Israel, where she was down on her luck. She had been a really successful writer, and then it just kind of dried up and she couldn’t get work, and so she started making these forgeries of famous authors and selling them to antiques dealers and collectors and becoming these authors, you know, writing in their voices, and people believed her for quite awhile. And if you haven’t seen the movie, I thought it was a really fantastic movie.

K: It’s a really good movie. Richard E. Grant is really good in it. They’re great together.

C: Yes. Yeah, fantastic acting and yes. Yeah, Richard E. Grant and Melissa McCarthy. Really great together. 

K: Yeah, that movie was like … it was very interesting cuz I’d not heard of this story either, but it kinda like … like you were saying, it activated my scam radar, but also the part of me that is super interested in, you know, as a former … well, intended archivist, which never happened (laughs), the idea that someone was forging these letters from these well-known people and selling them to both collectors, but also stealing stuff from institutions like libraries and stuff—

C: Right. 

K: —and like, you know, selling books—like that was very interesting to me, because, you know, it’s kind of … if you’ve ever worked in archives or any kind of special library or something that has these kinds of things, you know just how strict the guidelines are for accessing these materials for reasons exactly like this.

C: Right.

K: Like you can check out … usually you get like one item or you get like one box at a time, like it’s very—depending on the institution—it’s very like they keep a tight leash on all of this stuff for a reason, and this is one of those reasons. Because they A) don’t want people to steal things; but they also don’t want people to copy stuff.

C: Right.

K: Like sometimes they don’t even let you see the original materials. They’ll … they have used copies that they will give you so that you can, you know … whatever you’re researching or whatever. But yeah, that was a really interesting story, and also too in the movie, one thing—I don’t know what the actual Lee Israel was like, cuz I think she died like—

C: Yeah, she’s passed.

K: But she didn’t seem like … she seemed like a very unpleasant person (laughs).

C: Yes.

K: Like in the movie, I was just like, I kinda get why her life is kinda the way it is, cuz she seemed very like … not fun to be around.

C: No. No, she … right, she seemed like a very fractious personality, and one that did not enjoy being around other human beings, and she—

K: Even when other people tried to be around her … (laughs) like, nope.

C: Right, she was not having it, which is … another reason why I love that movie is like, here’s a woman who is not inherently likable doing very questionable things. Like do I condone her stealing these things? No, I don’t.

K: Right.

C: But the story itself is very interesting. 

K: Yeah.

C: And you do root for her in a way, you know, watching her get away with all these things, people being like, oh, no one can write like Dorothy Parker, and she’s like, motherfucker, I can!

K: I can, yeah. (laughs) All these others—

C: Yeah! 

K: Yeah. It was really … I don’t know. Yeah, you’re right in that the characterization was … it definitely was not like, oh, we’re trying to make this person into—we’re trying to sanitize their image. It was like not that at all.

C: Right. No.

K: They were just like, this is how she was and this is what she did, and she was really good at it for a time, and it all kinda like came crashing down. 

C: Right.

K: But yeah, it was interesting too, like all the lengths she went to like do … she had all these different typewriters that she would type on, and she did stuff to make the letters look a certain way, and she could do all the handwriting. It was just like, amazing. Like just everything she—

C: There was skill!

K: Yeah, for sure.

C: There was skill involved.

K: Yeah. Yeah. And like you’re saying, it kind of is on the border, because it’s like sometimes she was scamming, you know, individuals, and sometimes institutions. But like the people who she was scamming, who were buying her letters, like most of them were very wealthy people (laughs)

C: Right.

K: —and so it was kinda like, eh, it’s fine. Like, they can part with some of that money. She did not have anything. That’s the whole reason she was like … very basically almost about to be kicked out of her apartment—

C: Yes.

K: —and had no money and nowhere to go, and was like, this was her last kinda resort, to do this. But yeah, that was a—it’s a really good movie, if you guys haven’t seen it. 

C: Yes.

K: Definitely recommend Can You Ever Forgive Me.

C: I wanna read the book. I haven’t read the book, but—

K: Oh, I haven’t either!

C: I’ve only seen the movie. Yeah, I’ve only seen the movie, but I really wanna read the book. 

K: Mm-hmm.

C: Um, we’ve just gotten a note here. Toshio, can you speak on the note? Cuz I found that interesting.

K: (laughs) 

T: Yeah, I’m incriminating myself quite a bit—

C & K: (laugh) 

T: —but all of these things happened in the distant past.

C: You said you— 

T: So Laci Mosley talks about using photoshop all the time—

C: Okay.

T: —and about how that has helped (clears throat) and how we’ve come so far from … I remember in college, like buying, with a fake ID in Oregon, like … Hawai’i—I had a fake Hawai’i ID—that I sent a check in the mail to … Sweden? One of the Scandinavian countries—

C: Yes.

K: (laughing) Oh my god. Toshio, what are you talking about?

C: And wait—can I say something about this, cuz I remember this, and this is one of the funniest things. Can I say what your first name is? 

K: Was it McLovin? (laughs) Like, super—

T: Yeah, yeah, it’s Gregory.

C: Yeah. So Toshio’s first name is actually Gregory. So when I met Tosh, he was actually Greg. So … so that’s another scam.

K & T: (laugh) 

C: But anyway. He sent off—so I had a fake ID at the time from Nova Scotia, which is another story.

K: Oh my god, you guys. (laughs) 

C: And this had another woman’s face on it, but I used it for like five years. 

K: (laughs) 

C: And … yeah. Anyway. That was my scam. But so Tosh sent off this check to get a[n] ID from Hawai’i for the name Gregory, but the name (laughs) … the name that came back on his ID, instead of Gregory, it was Gergory. (laughs) 

K: (laughing) Oh no!

T: (laughs) Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, at the time, this was pre-hologram on the ID; this is pre-Real ID, so … and Hawai’i’s IDs at the time were … I mean, it had a rainbow on it and that’s how you could kind of tell it apart from just like a regular piece of plastic.

K: Right.

T: So I figured Asians—there’s Asians in Hawai’i—

C: So I hear.

K: (laughs) There’s Asians in Oregon. It’s not like there aren’t Asian people on the west coast.

C: No, only in Hawai’i. Only in Hawai’i.

T: No, and tons of Native Hawai’ians, you know, end up having to head out to the west coast. But—

C: Gergory. 

K: Oh my gosh. Gergory.

T: Yeah. Gergory.

K: Incredible stuff. That’s so good. 

C: I love that. I love that story.

K: That is amazing. I have never had a fake ID, but mostly cuz I don’t drink, so I never was like, oh I need to have this to drink before I’m legally able to, cuz I was like, I don’t want to … I don’t care to do that.

T: None of us drink anymore. 

C: It was good to get into shows, though, as a college student. 

K: Oh, yeah. That is true. I remember being very annoyed by many a like … even when I first started college, cuz I was seventeen, so even like eighteen-and-over shows, I couldn’t go to. (laughs) 

C: Mm-hmm.

K: So that would have been, yeah, a really … that woulda been nice, to have that. Yeah, I always used to be real mad at twenty-one-and-over shows. Now I’m like, yeah. They’re the best. (laughs) 

C: Yeah.

K: But yeah. That’s a good point. 

C: And also, if you’re in a wheelchair, they do not fuck with you. Like I used that—it literally did not—

K: (laughs) If you have a fake ID?!

C: Yeah! It did not have my face on it. It was another woman’s face.

K: Oh, yeah. People don’t—like, yeah. They—

C: And they’re like, maybe something happened to her, I don’t know. 

K: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

C: Like, they’re not gonna question me. And I used it successfully for four years. I was only turned down once. 

K: Wow.

C: So yeah, and one time I went out to eat and I did order alcohol, and I was like eighteen. Anyway, and the guy’s like, “Can I see your ID?” and I was like, sure. And he made some joke, like, “Oh, you know, my ID, I don’t really look like that anymore.” I was like, “Hahaha! Me neither.” And it was just a little private joke to myself. He never knew. I still got my margarita.

K: That’s incredible stuff. That’s really funny—but you’re right though, like if you … it’s very—so that’s maybe kind of a category of scam, is when you have a disability, it’s … sometimes you can get away with stuff. (laughs) I won’t say that I personally have ever done that, but—

C: Toshio … Toshio just said it was lightweight reparations.

K: Exactly. If you wanted to, you could be like, I have to miss class today because of disability reasons! 

C: Mm-hmm.

K: You don’t have to go … no one’s gonna question you (laughs) if you wanna go into like, say, a venue or something and they don’t allow bags or whatever, but you have a backpack? No one’s gonna say anything to you; [they’ll] just be like, it’s fine. 

C: Mm-hmm.

K: And, “Oh, you can’t bring things in? Just put em in my backpack.” (laughing) Nobody’s gonna question me or ask—again, not saying I’ve ever done this stuff, cuz I’m innocent. But—

C: I have. (laughs) 

K: (laughs) No, I totally have. Everyone has. If you have a disability, sometimes you gotta make it work for you, cuz so many other times it doesn’t, so like when you can take advantage, you should.

C: Yeah. We get absolutely nothing, so like, I’m gonna bring in a fucking backpack. Deal with it.

K: Yeah! I’m bringing all of my food into the movies! Yes.

C: Yeah. There are some good … what are some other good disability scams? So I definitely did the school thing. So back in high school—I was walking then, and they just assumed that like I could leave whenever I wanted to. So I drove; I had a car for like a year. I can’t drive anymore. But I would drive to school … my junior year, maybe? 

K: Mm-hmm.

C: And we had like security guards and all that. I would just leave the school, like walk out in front of the school, and my friends would come with me sometimes. They just assumed that like, she’s got a limp! She’s gotta go!

K: (laughs) Somewhere! To the doctor.

C: Yeah! so like I would just leave school. And they’re like, okay! Like I remember the security guards just opening the door for me and letting me go. Now, is that cuz I was white? Maybe. Like there coulda been more going on—

K: Yeah.

C: —but I also don’t think so. I think it was because … this is like 1999—and in Arkansas, so it was like, you know, 1979—

K: (laughs) 

C: —so disability awareness was not a thing. They were just like, you know. “Limp? She must gotta go to the hospital!”

K: (laughs)

C: I’m sure that’s what they were thinking. (laughing) Like, I’m sure. So I did use that to my advantage. 

K: Yeah. For sure.

C: For sure. And like I stayed home constantly, and I would get letters, you know, from the courts, being like, you missed too much—

K: You’re truant! Yeah. (laughs) 

C: Yeah. You’re truant; you’ve missed too much school, and then it’d be like, “She’s got a disability.” “Okay! Nevermind.”

K: Yup. Yup. 

C: And like, frankly, I probably coulda gone to school, but it was a hellish time, so like … I don’t know. Why not take advantage?

K: Yeah. For sure. I mean, I definitely did … I mean, I always feel awkward saying this, but I liked high school. (laughs) I liked being in high school, so I never wanted to like, skip. But college was different, just cuz it’s like, you’re on your own—

C: Yeah.

K: —you’re living wherever; you’re doing whatever. And like, sometimes you just don’t wanna do stuff. (laughs) You’d rather do whatever it is that’s not in your class, or, you know, whatever like discussion section you have to go to or something, and so you just kinda say like , oh … disability reasons. I can’t be here, or I have to transition late, or can I get an extension, or whatever it is. And honestly, I’ve never had it not work. (laughs) 

C: Yeah.

K: Like, even in graduate school, it was just like, oh yeah, fine. Totally fine (laughs), like no one—

C: See, I never did that in college or grad school, and I wish I had. 

K: I did, all the time. Mostly cuz I’m a procrastinator, like I’m a huge … I work better—maybe this is not technically true, but it is because I always put myself in this situation—but like, I work very well under pressure (laughs). So when I have a lot of time to do something, I’m not gonna do it early or quickly. It’s probably gonna get done at the last minute. But it will get done well (laughs), you know? And so in college, I was always like, ooh, I did not plan my procrastination well. I have too many things due at the same time, so some of these I’m gonna need … you know. I’m gonna need an extension. I’m gonna need to turn it in whenever. And then you just say, like … hey. I need … I had to do XYZ, like can I get an extra … you know, week or something? And again, it didn’t ever not work for me. (laughs) So … remember the hipster grifter? From like a couple of years ago? (sighs)

C: That was on my list. Yes, ma’am.

K: That one was so—this is where I think like … you sort of touched on it, but you were like, oh, maybe they let me do it cuz I was white. And I’m like, this is why I think that like class and like race kinda plays into it—

C: Mm-hmm. 

K: Because when you talk about like scams, especially the ones that are like really high-profile and that have to do with like getting tons of money or a lot of money from different people, a lot of different people—very rarely are these like Black people pulling off these scams—

C: Exactly, yeah.

K: —and I think that there’s just this idea—and it happens because like Black people are—at least in western society, they’re inherently suspicious. And so they don’t get to sort of insinuate themselves into situations where they can like … get this kind of money from these kinds of people. It’s just really interesting. And the hipster grifter was kinda interesting cuz everyone was like, oh, she’s white, right? And it was like, no she’s not white.

C: No, she’s Korean.

K: Yeah, and so—

C: She referred to—she referred to herself as Korean Abdul Jamar. 

K: (laughs) So ridiculous. 

C: She—yeah.

K: I could not stand that whole thing. I was just like, what is everyone’s problem? (laughs) Like—

C: Oh, my god. I was reading up on it—

K: —it really made me mad, honestly. 

C: Yeah. I was reading up on it again yesterday because, you know, that was a monumental scam that … anyone who is anyone is talking about it.

K: But it was like, she got to scam those dudes cuz—people—because they all wanted to have sex with her. You know? Like that’s the whole deal. (laughs) 

C: Yeah. She was very cute. 

K: And it’s like, everyone was like, I don’t know how it happened! It’s like, well, cuz you wanna like—

C: Bone her. Yeah.

K: —bang this person. (laughs) You know? And again, that’s another reason I think like, it doesn’t really always work for Black women, at least not in this kind of … you know, at this kind of level, or this kind of frequency. I mean, it probably does work. I’m sure there are a lot of Black women who scam other Black people. That’s probably not that difficult. Or I mean, (laughs) it’s difficult, but I mean it doesn’t reach this level of like … cultural saturation—

C: Mm-hmm.

K: —that these kinds of things do. And I think that’s just really interesting, that like … yup. Lotta scammers, but they’re all pretty much not Black. 

C: Right.

K: You know, you got some Asian people in there; I’m sure some Latinx people get in there too, but … yeah. It’s interesting … it’s an interesting thing to think about. But—

C: Toshio says it’s a white person’s game. And that’s true.

K: It really, truly is. I didn’t wanna like—and exactly. They fail up. They’re allowed to. Like that … the movie The Woman in the Window just came out on Netflix—

C: I just watched that!

K: And, um, that was a whole scamming—that has like a scam attached to it because the author Daniel Mallory, the author that—he didn’t write it under his—he wrote it under a pseudonym.

C: Mm-hmm.

K: But like, the author Daniel Mallory was like a huge scammer.

C: Really!

K: Like this white guy who said he had—yeah! He … oh my god. There’s a super long New Yorker article about it from a few years ago. It’s wild. (laughing) It’s one of the reasons why you know my friend Danny Lavery … his middle name is Mallory, and he’s like, I can’t go by Daniel Mallory anymore (laughing) because this guy ruined it! He’s like the bad Daniel Mallory, and now I have to go by Daniel M. Lavery, because you know, otherwise people will think I’m associated with this dude. 

C: Ooh, I’ll—I’m gonna read that! I had no idea.

K: It’s wild. He basically was like … scammed his way into some kinda like professor position or something at like Oxford or Cambridge or something, and—or then scammed his way into like an editor position at some prestigious UK publisher, and then like lied and said he had brain cancer, and it was a whole—

C: (gasps)

K: —it’s like … please go read it. It’s wild. 

C: I will! I will. 

K: Daniel Mallory. It’s so intense. But yeah, like that kind of thing … yeah, they are allowed to fail up. Cuz like if a white guy comes and says like, oh I … you know, went to Oxford, people are like … probably. 

C: Right.

K: Like, it might be true. You know? No one’s really gonna necessarily question him, especially if he presents in a way that like … makes you believe that that might be true. Like he’s wearing the right clothes and speaking the right way … but yeah. They’re allowed—white people (laughs) are allowed to sort of like insinuate themselves, cuz everyone just assumes that like … yeah, why would we question that? 

C: Right.

K: Of course they have the things they say they have, or know the people that they say they know, like … sure (laughs). You know? Yeah. It’s just wild. Oh! Oh, man. (laughs) I don’t even wanna get into this, but Toshio put in a comment about Carolyn Calloway

C: (laughs) 

K: —and, yeah. I … who is worried about her not doing fine? (laughs) Like she’s a white woman who was on Instagram and has like thousands of mill—possibly even millions of followers?

C: I don’t know.

K: She’s doing okay. They let her keep—

C: White women are doin okay. 

K: They truly are! Like that should be the (laughs) … that’s the takeaway from this scams episode. White women—

C: (laughs) Yeah. White women are doin okay. 

K: Scams.

C: Well, I think that’s a good stop, or a good place to end there for now. I mean we’ve only barely scratched the surface on scams.

K: For real.

C: This should be Scams, Part One.

K: Yes, for sure! (laughs) We will return.

C: Because we didn’t even like, get in there. But for time, I think now we’re gonna get into a little Two Cents, No Tax, and Krystal, you are up this week.

K: Up as in I answer the questions?

C: Yes. (laughs) 

K: Okay, good (laughing), because I was like … uhh. Okay, great!

C: Right. Okay, so the first one I have for you is—and this is a little interesting, because we just mentioned something she starred in. 

K: Oh no.

C: But the actress Amy Adams.

K: Um, I’m pro-Amy Adams.

C: Okay.

K: I think she’s a really good actress. I think she makes questionable choices, or at least she has in the like last couple of years. I think when she was in Arrival and that whole period, I think everyone was like, man, she’s really great and she’s gonna win all the Oscars! And then she kind of didn’t, and so everyone’s like what’s going on with Jessica—or with Amy Adams? Is she okay? (laughs) Like in her choices? And then she did like American Hustle, and like …yeah, she’s just doing—and then she did that Hillbilly Elegy

C: Ugh.

K: —which is like, why would you do that? But yeah, I’m pretty—I think she’s fine. I think she maybe needs a different agent or something (laughs), because she’s making really weird choices, but I generally have positive feelings for her. Towards her. Yeah.

C: Okay.

K: Yeah.

C: How do you feel about dogs?

K: I’m pro-dog. I think this is maybe a controversial opinion, but—you know, because I’m on the internet—but I’m more pro-dog than cat. I don’t love cats. 

C: Mm-hmm.

K: Most cats hate me. I don’t know why, but they just do. And I’m like, well I feel the same about you, so … but no, I don’t mind cats. They just don’t like me. But I’m more pro-dog than cat. I love a dog. I don’t have one. We’ve never had one, like my immediate family, like my mom doesn’t like animals. She says she does, but like she actually doesn’t. I’m like, no. I’ve seen you around animals. You actually hate them. So we just never had any pets, but like when I was growing up, my grandma always like had, you know, a dog. After we were—like her grandkids—were born, she would just always let the grandkids name the dogs—

C: Aww!

K: —and so like she just had … she’s had dogs named Simba (laughs) and you can imagine when that was—you know, where she got that one. She’s had dogs named Pepper. And the last one she had—she hasn’t had a dog in awhile, actually. But the last one she had, she let my cousin, who was like three, name it at the time, and she was like, oh, what do you wanna name it? And my cousin was like, purple! And so the dog was named Purple, and (laughing) my grandma had a dog named Purple for like six years or something. So yeah, I’m pro-dogs. I love seeing people’s pics of dogs on the internet. My manager at work has a dog; an old, old pug—

C: Aww.

K: —and I love when we’re in meetings and I can see her (laughs) … she’s so funny. But yeah, I’m pro-dog. 

C: I am too, obviously, and shoutout to our production assistant Chico.

K: Shoutout to Chico!

C: You know, this wasn’t on my list, but what you just said kind of spurred that thought. How do you feel about when parents let their children name their baby?

K: Oh!

C: Does that make sense, what I just said?

K: Yeah, like—

C: Okay.

K: —when they let the older sibling name the younger sibling.

C: Thank you. I’m a little dehydrated. I, uh—

K: (laughs) No, it’s fine! Take a sip if you need to. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered that like in my own life. In my family, like … (laughs) mostly my mom names all the kids, almost. (laughs) 

C: Mm-hmm.

K: All my cousins in my generation, she’s named pretty much all of them. Except for my cousin named Shaquille, who’s named after—obviously (laughing) you can guess who he’s named after.

C: Yeah.

K: But—

C: Shaquille Johnson. 

K: Yeah. The famous Shaquille—

C: Who works at the bank down the street.

K: —that everyone knows.

C: Yeah.

K: Yeah, no. But yeah, my mom pretty much named all of the kids, and now everyone’s comin up with all of these really interesting, unique names—

C: Mm-hmm.

K: —but I don’t think I’ve ever really experienced it. I think it would be kinda funny, actually, if people did it; if they let their older kid name their younger kid, cuz you’d have a kid named like, what, like Butthead or something? (laughs)

C: Yeah. (laughs) 

K: You know what I mean? Like where do you draw the line? You know? 

C: Yeah.

K: Cuz kids don’t know that many names. They know like … you know, names of people they know, so.

C: Right. Yeah, I’ve known a few people who’ve done that, and I find it interesting. I do not have children, and I’ll tell you right now, I would never let a child name my child

K: (laughs) It’s dicey. It’s for real dicey. I might let them do the middle name. You know what I mean? Like if it was something that like … you were like, okay, I know I want this name for the first name, and then maybe let the older sibling be the middle name? I don’t know. It’s … you could get yourself into some trouble for real.

C: Okay. And then my final one is a food one. 

K: Okay.

C: How do you feel about pesto?

K: I like it. I know it can have like cheese in it and stuff, which is like … doesn’t it have cheese sometimes?

C: You—yeah. I mean, it doesn’t have to. I used to make vegan pesto—

K: Yeah. Okay. 

C: —is super easy. You just omit the parmesan, and I can’t tell the difference.

K: Yeah, that’s pretty much … I also can’t, but I prefer it without the cheese.

C: Mm-hmm.

K: But yeah, I’m a fan of pesto. I love pasta, and I like eating pasta with sauce, but I don’t like any kinda cream-based sauce.

C: Right.

K: So I’m always a fan of something that doesn’t have a cream in it—

C: Yeah.

K: —so yeah. I’m a fan of pesto sauce. I never make it, cuz it’s like … tedious to make (laughs)

C: You have to have so much basil to make a little bit of pesto. You have to have like three pounds of pesto to make a cup of ba[sil]—wait. Did I just say— 

K: Three cups of—yeah. (laughs)

C: You know what I mean! 

K: Yeah, no. It’s true.

C: But it is one of my favorite sauces. Like, I am a sauce ho. I think I’ve explained that before—

K: Ohh, see, I’m not.

C: Oh, god, like I need sauce on everything.

K: Oh, that’s my nightmare. (laughs) I’m very the opposite.

C: Yeah, I know. We definitely have opposite food tastes. 

K: I want my food to be like—

C: You want a dry rice cake.

K: (laughs) Pretty much! 

C: (laughs) 

K: I want my burger to have a tiny bit of like … ketchup, and that’s it. Maybe a little bit of mustard if that’s an option, but like mostly just a tiny bit of ketchup. Yeah, I don’t really like a lot of sauces. I don’t … 

C: Ugh, god.

K: I always say that I don’t like wet food. I don’t want my food to be wet. I’m sorry! (laughs) 

C: (laughs) I mean, tomato, tomato. 

K: Yeah, exactly. (laughs) 

C: Okay, well thank you for your opinions. I value them and appreciate you.

K: (grumbles, laughs) 

C: So what are you reading, listening to, or watching this week, Krystal?

K: You know what? I came not prepared, cuz I did not watch anything new or interesting. But—

C: You know what, I didn’t either.

K: Okay, good. I’m glad. But I did find one thing that I do want to watch.

C: Okay.

K: And it’s a new movie—I think it just came out yesterday, maybe? Yesterday being Friday the 14th of May. But it’s a movie called Together Together, starring Ed Helms and our beloved Patti Harrison.

C: (gasps) Ohh!

K: So basically … the premise is like actually kind of cool. So the premise is Ed Helms is like this middle-aged guy in San Francisco who’s like alone, but he doesn’t feel like lonely, you know? He just doesn’t have a partner or any kids, but he has like parents and a job that he likes and stuff. But he does want to be a father. And so he sort of starts the process of trying to find an egg donor and a gestational surrogate, and his gestational surrogate ends up being Patti Harrison. And so the movie about them sort of—and she is sort of at the opposite point in her life, where she’s like in her twenties, kind of aimless, and like doesn’t really know what she wants to do with her life or time (laughs), and so she decides to do this thing cuz she thinks it would be interesting. And basically the movie, from what I’ve read and seen of interviews and little clips of it, is that … them sort of figuring out the path forward and like … how do they like … what kind of relationship should they have when she’s the surrogate but they’re not like a couple, but when people see them together, they’re like, oh, man and woman, obviously. (laughs) You know?

C: Right.

K: And so they’re constantly having to be like, we’re not together together, which is where the title comes from.

C: Okay!

K: So yeah, it just seems like a really cute, sweet movie, like Ed Helms seems really charming in it; Patti Harrison seems really charming in it. So I’m really looking forward to watching it. I think it’s on Amazon? It’s on a streaming service. If you google it, I’m sure you will find … I’m pretty sure it’s Amazon, though.

C: Yeah. And she’s been promoting that on her Instagram.

K: Oh, yeah. Okay.

C: Cuz you know—

K: I saw it randomly. I don’t know how I came across it, but I went to see like, did she talk about it? And then I was like, oh yeah, she totally (laughs) … you know, Instagram doesn’t show you stuff chronologically or whatever, so sometimes you miss things.

C: Yeah. Oh right, and she’s still banned from Twitter—

K: (laughs) She is.

C: —but she is on Instagram. And actually, speaking of, I forgot … speaking of Patti Harrison, I did start watching the new season of Shrill

K: Oh, okay!

C: —and Patti is good.

K: Good.

C: And I’m only like a couple episodes in, so I wanna finish it before I talk about it anymore.

K: Yeah. Okay.

C: But once again, Patti Harrison just … 

K: Killin it.

C: She is such an icon. She’s so funny. I love her so much.

K: Killin it, yeah. It’s interesting too in this role, because it seems like—again, if you know her on Twitter or Instagram, you know her like … persona. It’s very much the opposite of that, or it seems like, in this movie. So I’m really interested to see how she plays like more pathos and like emotion—

C: Mm-hmm.

K: —cuz it seems like the movie is kind of full of that, so I’m really lookin forward to watching it. Yeah.

C: Awesome. Well, any last thoughts on anything, including scams?

K: I mean, there’s so many other ones that we just didn’t—

C: I know!

K: I know like as soon as we stop this recording, I’m gonna think of like fifty more, where I’m like, why didn’t I talk about—like the one … anyways. Yeah. There’s a ton.

C: (laughs) 

K: There’s a ton more. We can do probably like twenty more episodes on it, so maybe we’ll have to revisit in the future.

C: I think we definitely need a revisit in the future.

K: Yeah.

C: So we can just say this is Scams, Part One.

K: Yeah. Stay tuned for more. (laughs) 

C: Stay tuned.

Alright, well until next time! I’ll say goodbye.

K: Bye!

C: Bye!

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