Karma Redux

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Karma Redux[1]
Series
The Other Side
Original Broadcast Date
10/1/2000
Cast
Larry Block, Jack Kornfield, Kristine McKenna, Debi Mae West, Joe Frank
Format
Karma Style, 58 minutes
Preceded by: Pledge Drive, 2000-08-13
Followed by: Waiting For Karma

I haven't produced a new show in over a month.

Karma Redux is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series The Other Side. It was originally broadcast on October 1, 2000.

Synopsis

Joe hasn't produced a new show in more that a month, can't get himself to work; he watches a lot of TV, imagines going to another country, talks to friends on the phone.

1:40: Kristine McKenna is distraught, crying; she talked to her sister. They both agree that their father was terrible; Kristine thinks her sister has gotten over it but she hasn't.[1]

4:50: Debi Mae West calls: she's mad (but not at Joe), pacing. She's wet and naked.[2] She's learning to be a beautiful lotus blossom, waiting for a frog (man). She's unhappy that she isn't attracting the right kind of fellow, cries.

7:20: Joe tells us it's Wednesday night, that he has to have his monologue written for Thursday morning's recording session. Kate calls. She discusses the SAG (Screen Actors' Guild) strike. Joe wants to write his show instead, Kate wants to talk; they fight.

8:50: 'Friday morning, the day I gather all the elements and mix the show for that weekend', Kate calls, wants to go on a drive that afternoon. Kate goes alone, ends up in Big Sur, tells Joe her car had trouble, she's stuck in Santa Barbara.

10:20: Another week has gone by, it's Saturday, August 19 ('my birthday', says Joe)[3] Joe decides to spend it alone. Kate calls, distraught, had attended a lecture at the 'Bodhi Tree'[4] where she met a fellow (a Canadian DP with whom Kate worked) who disparaged Joe, who told her that Joe was trying date his girlfriend. Eventually they find out he was talking about someone else, Joe Stockton.

20:50: On the phone, an old woman (Joe's mother?) recommends he break up with Kate.

22:10: Jack Kornfield tells about the Buddha just after his enlightenment. When people ask him if he's a saint or deva or something special, he says that he's awake, that the goal of Buddhism is awakening. He tells the joke of the righteous man whose house flooded, waited on God to save him.

32:00: Joe tells about a woman he lived with in Washington DC; almost the whole time he wanted to leave her, but there was always a reason not to.

34:50: Joe remembers the time when he was 8 that he ran away from home, didn't make it to the elevator.

36:30: Joe feels uncomfortable when he eats in a restaurant alone.

37:00: Joe says it's easy to want to be alone when you have someone who loves you.

37:40: Joe recurs to the woman in Washington DC, the anguish he felt at how she would have to live on her own, how he'd put off separation, their complicated relationship.

39:50: Joe asks how we know we're in love. He recalls what he liked about the woman in DC.

43:40: Kornfield asks whether a life's path has a heart, says that a path without a heart is useless. He tells the 4 noble truths. He quotes Oscar Wilde's 'Vita Nuova', 'The most terrible thing about it (jail) is not that it breaks one's heart--hearts are made to be broken--but that it turns one's heart to stone.'[5]

46:30: Larry says that no quality of acting would have impressed the director at his audition, talks about taking control of his fate by failing deliberately, succeeding by achieving failure.[1]

49:50: Kornfield says the first step of meditation (also the last step) is to be here. He tells of the cartoon that depicts a guy brandishing a sign that bears the legend, 'Jesus is coming', followed by another guy whose sign reads, 'Buddha here now'. He misquotes James Joyce, 'Mr Duffy lived a short distance from his body.'[6]

51:20: Joe recalls 'one evening, years ago' when he lived in Manhattan. An ex-girlfriend called, wanted to see him. Joe thought it would be a good prank to stuff pillows under his shirt, tell her he had gained 70 pounds. She, grim, wanted to borrow $5,000 for an operation for her father. Joe knew the father was a reprobate, knew he wouldn't get his money back, wouldn't lend it. As she left, he took out the pillows; the joke didn't amuse her.[7]

54:40: Kornfield tells us the source of our suffering. His master would tell suffering people that they were attached.

56:50: Larry says what he'd do before he commits suicide. He says he counts shotgun blasts to the side of his head instead of sheep to go to sleep.

Legacy Synopsis
  • Joe: Has trouble coming up with a new show. It has been over months since he complete his last show.
  • Woman: in tears, terrible father, inconsolable
  • Joe on phone to an angry, naked Debi Mae West.
  • Debi: Sitting in bed, feeling bad and insecure
  • Joe: Kate called when Joe needs to work on his monologue. Joe records is shows on Thursdays. It is Wednesday night so this is his lash chance to finish his writing. Kate says she is in Big Sur but the caller ID says she is in Santa Barbara. Another phone call from Kate about a man that told Kate that Joe was cheating on her and is a womanizer. Joe asks Kate for the number of this man, he calls and leaves a message. Kate calls Joe back to tell him that the man had mistaken Joe for another radio Joe, Joe Stockton. Apologies all around. Joe finds it peculiar that he had so much in common with this other Joe such as testicular cancer.
  • Another woman (counselor?): Advising Joe to break up with Kate.
  • Jack Kornfield: Story of an enlightened handsome prince. Dharma and story of a flood and a faithful man. Change and process of life and death.
  • Joe: Living with a woman in Washington D.C. and stays with her unhappily, dreaming of leaving. Patterns and transitory relationships.
  • Kornfield: Path with Heart. Four noble truths.
  • Larry Block: Getting involved in self destruction. Thinks Kornfield's main message is avoiding self destruction. But you can be successful at self destruction.
  • Kornfield: Being here.
  • Joe: Ex-girlfriend comes by. Joe thinks it would be funny to pretend to be overweight by stuffing pillows under his shirt. She does not notice; she is not in the mood because she needs money to put her father through rehab and asks Joe to help. Joe declines because he thinks her father is a deadbeat. She will use her own money she saved for film school. Joe walks her back to the elevator and removes the pillows, saying he is not really fat. She is still not amused. Joe never sees her again.
  • Kornfield: Sources of suffering
  • Larry: Techniques to avoid suicide

Music

Additional credits

From the broadcast: ' 'You've been listening to Joe Frank "The other side". This program was called "Karma redux" with Larry Block, Kristine McKenna, Debi Mae West, Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield, and Joe Frank; production by J. C. Swiatek, production assistance: Esmé Gregson - music consultant: Thomas Golubić.'

Commentary

If you haven't read Dubliners, you should.

Miscellanea

  • Aug 19th Joe's birthday mentioned

Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 originally aired in The Nature Of Things
  2. She also was in Windows.
  3. 2000 August 19 was a Saturday.
  4. a new-age bookstore on the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica
  5. available in his Selected Prose
  6. Dubliners, 'A painful case' - the sentence is, 'He lived at a little distance from his body, regarding his own acts with doubtful side-glances.', which, I think, changes its nature completely. A raft of New Age meditationistas use the same sentence as Kornfield. Most don't cite a source.
  7. Joe tells the same story, embedded in a larger story about her and her father, in Pretender; she's Becky, the librarian at the school. It begins at 29 minutes.