Karma Crash

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Karma Crash[1]
The Other Side
Original Broadcast Date
November 5, 2000
Larry Block, Jack Kornfield, Joe Frank
Karma Style, Serious Monologue, 56 minutes
Preceded by: Dreamland: A Compilation
Followed by: Silent Sea

My girlfriend and I had broken up, we hadn't emailed or spoken to each other for about three weeks.

Karma Crash is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series The Other Side. It was originally broadcast on November 5, 2000.


Although Joe has broken up with Kate, hadn't spoken or e-mailed in 3 weeks, she still wants to see him. She calls, desperate to see him right now. She comes over to Joe's; they hug and kiss.

2:40: Late Friday afternoon, while Joe's at the station working on the show, Kate shows up, summoned by an e-mail that Joe insists he didn't send. She proves that she received the e-mail. They're both exhausted. They fight.

7:50: Joe re-injured his left foot, has trouble getting around; his house is a mess.

8:30: Joe recounts his dream of a white rabbit with its throat slit, bleeding to death.

9:10: Larry recounts his e-mail correspondence with Rosalie. She doesn't answer him enough. They have an '8-year history'. Joe thinks Larry's treating her badly.

16:00: Kate has 2 tumors, names them 'Joe' and 'Frank'.

16:50: Joe talks about Kate's gay friend Glendon (sp?), who moved files from Joe's old computer to his new one. Glendon gave Kate excerpts of Joe's journal about his relationship with another woman 2 years before.

19:00: Joe's driving east on San Vincente, between 26th and Bundy.[1] Joe says motorcycle cops wait with radar guns to bust speeders. Joe fantasizes pushing one of them over, fighting. He hopes it will end up with someone taking care of him.

20:50: In his next fantasy, he drives to the ER at Cedars-Sinai, tells them that he's going crazy, imagines that someone will take care of him. 'You know LA: it's a lonely town.'[2]

21:40: Rosalie's parents were death-camp survivors. He met her acting together 8 years ago.

22:40: Joe and Kate are at Wolfgang Puck's on Montana[3][4] Friday night. She drinks her and Joe's wine. She reminds Joe of all her grievances with him. Joe hits her, they leave. They sit in his car to stay warm. She recounts her childhood trauma, her infancy in a foster-home, more. Joe feels blamed. She gets mad because Joe is insufficiently sympathetic. Joe wants to go home, get some sleep. Kate wants to keep talking. He tries to kick her out of his car. Joe tries to drive off. She falls, but isn't hurt, wanted to scare him. Now she's ready to go home but can't find her keys. Now Joe has to decide what to do: he doesn't want her to spend the night at his home.

29:50: Joe recalls eating in a restaurant in Manhattan years ago when a car drove into it. The driver was dead; a woman, his passenger, was distraught. Only Joe went out to look at what happened; everyone else went on as though nothing had happened.

32:10: Larry recalls his earlier correspondence (at minute 9:10) with Rosalie. He wrote her a poem. He used a line from The runaway bunny, which he has to describe to Joe.[5] Larry wrote her, 'Today, I am 50 years old.'[6]

36:30: Joe drives around, trying to figure out what to do. She won't stay in a hotel. Kate pulls the keys out of the ignition, throws them into a lawn. They fight to get them first; Joe wins. She walks; Joe won't leave her on the street so follows in her car. She walks towards Joe's home - Kate expects Eva[7] will let her in. Joe drives home to warn Eva, but Kate doesn't show. Joe drives around looking for her, then returns home, finds Kate there. She undresses and gets into his bed. Joe gives her a valium; she sleeps. Joe sits, watching her.

42:40: Joe recalls the night, over 20 years ago, when his wife left him. They lived on Columbus Avenue in Manhattan. She told Joe she wanted to leave, dressed, packed her stuff, cried, left. Joe had been longing for and fearing her departure.

46:30: Jack Kornfield tells about the difficulties that even Zen masters (lamas, monks, etc.) have troubled relationships, imperfections. Women in the community tell of their problems as women. He quotes Sylvia Wetzel on the difficulties of women in the Buddhist community, how men and male images dominate.

51:10: Joe tells of driving in rural upstate New York years ago, stopping because an injured dog is howling in pain in the middle of the road, won't let anyone get near him. Someone shoots the dog. The experience haunts Joe for years.

52:20: Years after this incident, Joe's therapist, tells Joe he's like that dog: in pain but won't let anyone near. Joe finds this useless.

52:40: Joe says that 'they' say that god will not give anyone more pain than they can endure - Joe thinks this nonsense. Joe points out that the nature channels are full of pain.

53:20: Kornfield talks about why people enter spiritual life, quotes Rumi. He quotes 'the Hindus', 'The child in the womb sings, "Do not let me forget who I am!", but the song after birth becomes, "Oh! I've forgotten already."'[8] The true seeker admits how little s/he knows, how vast the universe is.

Legacy Synopsis
  • Joe had broken up with his girlfriend, but she wanted to see him. She visits. They walk together with her in tears. She meets with him again at the wrong time and they argue about Joe having sent an e-mail which he can not remember. He is working non-stop. They argue about work. They argue about getting back together.
  • Joe injured his foot and can not keep up with his life.
  • Dream of a white rabbit.
  • Larry Block - Writes a poem to a woman who has disappeared from his life. Her reply makes Larry feel better that she is messed up. Joe expresses contempt regarding Larry's attitude.
  • Joe meets with ex-girlfriend over a late dinner, she is worried about her health and compares Joe to cancer. She is also reading Joe's old private journal.
  • Joe driving - imagines confronting a traffic cop.
  • Larry - Working with an actress and having a magic/wonderful experience.
  • Joe and friend start arguing at dinner and he strikes her. She tells stories of how she suffered while growing up. She gets angry that Joe doesn't sympathize for her. She will not leave his car.
  • Joe remembers hearing a car crash and his investigation.
  • Larry - Responds with another poem.
  • Joe driving the ex around. Crazy behavior - fighting for car keys. Winds up at his house.
  • Joe remembers twenty years ago, his wife leaving him.
  • Jack Kornfield - A meeting of Zen Masters, who struggle with their own issues. Women encountering difficulty with being priests.
  • Joe driving in upstate NY countryside. Encounters traffic problem due to a dog hit by a car. Pain.
  • Kornfield - What draws people to a spiritual life?


Additional credits

From the broadcast, 'You've been listening to Joe Frank "The other side". This program was called "Karma crash" with Larry Block, Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield, and Joe Frank; production by J. C. Swiatek and Bob Carlson; music coordinator: Thomas Golubić; production assistance: Esmé Gregson'


I lived there for 20 years, didn't find it lonelier than anywhere else.Arthur Peabody (talk) 22:20, 18 January 2022 (EST)

I was one of the proles who lived far south of Montana.Arthur Peabody (talk) 22:20, 18 January 2022 (EST)


  1. 26th is the Santa Monica/Los Angeles border; this stretch is about a mile long, in the expensive Brentwood neighborhood; Brentwood country club is on the southern side of San Vincente. San Vincente goes through Santa Monica's wealthiest neighborhood.
  2. Joe seems to have a lot of friends.
  3. Yelp gives it 2.5 stars
  4. the street that divides the wealthy people from the trash
  5. Larry reads The runaway bunny at a birthday party for his mother in Bitter Pill.
  6. Larry was born in 1942; this show was released in 2000.
  7. Joe's uncle Ben's eldest daughter, Eva, born in 1934, thus 4 years older than Joe, is visiting for a week.
  8. Jack Kornfield is the only source I can find for this 'quote'.