Karma (Part 5)

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Karma (Part 5)[1]
The Other Side
Original Broadcast Date
Larry Block, Kristine McKenna, Jack Kornfield, Joe Frank
Karma Style, 60 minutes
Preceded by: Karma (Part 4)
Followed by: Karma (Part 6)

"I mean I can think of people that... there were times in my life, where the sun so rose and set on them..."

Karma (Part 5) is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series The Other Side. It was originally broadcast on May 21, 2000.


0:30: Kristine McKenna talks about people she thought she couldn't live without in the past but can now, while there are people she hasn't gotten over. She talks about 'really being in love', how powerful it is, how her romances have fared.

6:30: Joe imagines Kate's future lovers, first a wealthy older Hollywood type, 'Felix Handelsman', who names his yacht after her.

9:30: Joe is tormented by grief at the thought of her, but doesn't answer her calls or e-mails: he's cut himself off completely from her but is obsessed with her.

10:50: Joe imagines Kate's next lover is a brilliant young screen-writer, winner of the biggest advance ever for his first script, a man so thoughtful and widely-read Kate can learn a lot from him; compared to him, Joe is a 'retarded schoolboy'.

12:20: Joe imagines Kate's next lover is a champion triathlete, next to whom Joe is a 'failed physical specimen'.

15:20: Kristine offers her opinion of Joe's relationship with Kate, whom she hasn't met.

18:00: Kate keeps on e-mailing and calling[1] She's worried about him, imagines terrible things happening to him. She sold her TV show, will get $40K each for 13 episodes.

21:30: Jack Kornfield quotes some of 1 Corinthians 13:1-9[2] to introduce a talk about loving-kindness, how much better our lives will go if we practice it. He mentions Matthew Fox's theory of 'allurement'.[3]

26:40: Joe tells of his gay cousin who moved to California to charm 2 wealthy older women, inherit their money.[4] This introduces the story of his mother's hairdresser (Bruce) to whom she pays a lot of attention, goes to a Mother's Day dinner with him. Joe imagines this fellow hoping to displace Joe as her heir.

31:30: Joe imagines Bruce and his mother at a café in Mallorca at a table next to Kate and Felix Handelsman, who become friends.

34:40: Kornfield tells how difficult it is to see sick children. He tells of a horribly-burnt child, barely recognizable as human. He's stuck for words. He tells of Mother Theresa asking the prisoners at San Quention to pray for her. He tells the story of Ishi, the last member of the Yahi tribe (California). He says that love is all that matters.

40:20: Kristine says that we want love, tells of her romance with a man she describes as 'major wreckage', a man with both a wife and a girlfriend. She knew this guy's faults, had read an article about him in a magazine years before. He had a brain aneurysm, flew to Houston (where he lived), went to the hospital, got into bed with him. Before that he duplicated Edward Weston's photographs with his wife in Death Valley with Kristine (nude). Kristine says that she got into the relationship with him because she wanted to escape her life. She says she experienced incredible happiness with him.

48:20: Joe tells stories from Kate's childhood in Wales. When she was 8 or 9 she attended a dance school, which required a 2-hour bus trip. Her father would withhold the bus fare until the last minute, then throw it on the floor. Once a man on the bus ejaculated in her face.

50:40: Joe talks about relationships and the painful memories that persist after they end.

52:20: Joe nearly faints while driving on San Vincente.[5] When he gets home, Kate's left a message (from Rome, working on a show) on his machine: she wants him to call her machine to leave her a message just so she can hear her voice. Joe wonders what will happen next.

54:00: Kornfield leads a loving-kindness meditation.[6]

Legacy Synopsis
  • Kristine McKenna: Getting over love, unbearable endings. The initial "big bang" love can't last forever. Risking the unknown.
  • Joe: he imagines Kate's next lover.
  • Kristine: she analyzes Joe's relationship with Kate
  • Joe: Kate calls him on various pretexts.
  • Jack Kornfield: material benefits of loving kindness. Allurement instead of gravity.
  • Joe: his gay cousin is left money in the wills of two elderly women. His mother begins spending time with a young, gay hairdresser and Joe worries. He imagines his mother and her hairdresser meeting Kate and her new lover. He imagines a fight with his mother.
  • Kornfield: meeting burned children in a hospital. Ishi teaches the Kroebers a funeral song.
  • Kristine: Falling in love comes with certainty. A bad relationship. Repeating bad relationships. Getting into bed with a married man in the hospital. Repeating Edward Weston's nude sand dune photos.
  • Joe: Young Kate daily begs her father for bus money to go to a dance academy. A man ejaculates onto her on the bus. Remembering a lost lover. Joe calls Kate on a film set in Italy.
  • Kornfield: a loving kindness meditation set against a tense, fast beat.



  1. Joe must have started reading and listening to them.
  2. 'Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal…'
  3. Fox was a curious fellow, a priest the Roman Catholic church kicked out, switched to the Episcopal church, did a lot of new-agey things
  4. Joe's uncle Ben had only daughters, but his aunt Sonia Spiegel (neé Batschewa Passweg, Joe's mother's older sister) had a son, Michael, born in 1935. He ended up in Oregon. I don't know that Joe's story refers to him, or even if it's real.
  5. a nice street on the north edge of Santa Monica; Joe seems to live north of Montana (another street in Santa Monica), which divides the wealthy from the riff-raff (including me)
  6. backed by Rinôçérôse's '323 Secondes De Musique Repetitive', music I find at odds with the mood of the meditation.