The Angina Dialogues

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The Angina Dialogues[1]
The Other Side
Original Broadcast Date
Larry Block, Jack Kornfield, Joe Frank
Karma Style, 57 minutes
Preceded by: Fire And Ice
Followed by: Love Prisoner

"I was walking past a church, off of Central Park West, you know."

The Angina Dialogues[1] is a program Joe Frank produced as part of the series The Other Side. It was originally broadcast on March 11, 2001.


Larry quotes a church's announcement of an upcoming sermon, 'Being god ain't no day at the beach' which stimulates he and Joe to talk about god's problems. Larry tells Joe that his father-in-law offered to pay him and Jolly $10K to get a religious wedding ceremony. (They had married at city hall.) Larry finds a young, hip rabbi to do the ceremony. Larry says that the midwife did a poor job of circumcising Zachary, didn't cut off enough.

5:20: Larry explains his secular connection to Judaism to the rabbi. The rabbi says that god prays too. Joe quotes, 'God wept at the gates of Auschwitz'.

7:30: Joe points out that god did nothing at Auschwitz.

8:00: Larry attends services at 'this funky little temple, this old carriage house'. A different rabbi led the service. Larry's rabbi says there's no money in services, the money is in weddings and funerals. Larry and Joe talk about the other services rabbis are supposed to perform.

10:50: Jack Kornfield tells us that we can train our hearts; the state of our hearts has more to do with our happiness than external circumstances.

12:50: Larry recounts a story of a great rabbi of Manhattan, Shmuel Abramowitz. A Catholic woman confesses to premarital sex doggie-style - the priest can't forgive her; then she went to a Presbyterian minister who also objected to anal sex. Rabbi Abramowitz tells her it's okay. She's surprised that he's understanding when the Christians weren't. The rabbi replies, 'Honey: what do the goyim know from (a bleeped out word, possibly Yiddish)?'

16:20: Larry and Joe quote King Lear.[2]

18:20: Larry mentions the movie Fifteen Minutes. Joe and Larry talk about eliminating violence from movies, the alternatives

19:50: Joe explains why Great Neck high school chose the giraffe as its mascot.[3]

21:00: Larry and Joe talk about Robert Frost's poems.

22:20: Kornfield quotes a Hindu saying, 'When a pickpocket meets a saint, he sees only a pocket.' to introduce a talk about how our interests blind us to other things.

23:40: Larry tells Joe that the best psychiatrist would prescribe termination to him.

25:00: Larry tells Joe he's at the end of his alcohol and drugs, expects Dr G[4] will prescribe anti-depressants.

26:00: Larry tells Joe he's an addict, needs intoxicants, wonders how Gallo will react.

28:00: Larry tells Joe nothing is better than the first shot of scotch followed by the first swallow of Negro Modelo.

28:40: While Larry and Joe are on the phone Vinnie, the painter, has come by to bid on painting Zachary's room; he wants his room painted the color of hashish. Zachary wants Larry to take him to Amsterdam to sample its drug scene.

32:20: Kornfield reads a poem from Rilke:

Sometimes a man stands up during supper
and walks outdoors, and keeps on walking,
because of a church that stands somewhere in the East.
And his children say blessings on him as if he were dead.
And another man, who remains inside his own house,
stays there, inside the dishes and in the glasses,
so that his children have to go far out into the world
toward that same church, which he forgot.

33:20: Larry tells Joe he used to live on the 27th floor (He lives on the 37th now.) He had a neighbor, Nick, who had a Greek accent. Larry would hear loud conversations late at night; the fellow was talking with his aunt in Greece. He disappeared for 3 weeks. Larry greeted him on his return: his aunt had died, Nick had gone back to settle her affairs. Because Nick always complained about NYC, Larry asked him if he planned to return to Greece. Larry repeats his story until Joe gets angry with him. Nick, angry at the suggestion that he return to Greece, asked Larry why he didn't return to Israel.

43:40: Kornfield says we can strengthen our hearts when we don't just follow our habits. His master, Ajahn Chah, would send disciples to practices different from their habits.

46:40: Larry tells Joe about consulting Dr G because his family thinks he's a drunk.

48:20: Larry tells Joe about his appointment with Gallo. Gallo opines that it's better to be happy than wealthy. Gallo suggest Larry is to blame for his unhappiness. Larry thinks it's bizarre that he's responsible for his life.

54:40: Joe asks Larry if there has ever been a time in his life that he didn't use substances. Larry says no, asks Joe if Joe thinks Larry is responsible for his life.

55:50: Kornfield recommends accepting things as they are. He says the 2 main paths to enlightenment are self-inquiry and surrender, says that they're the same.

57:10: Kornfield talks about instant gratification, that enlightenment is not instant.

Legacy Synopsis
  • Larry Block and Joe: Having compassion for God. Larry gets married by a young, hip rabbi. Where was Superman during the Holocaust. "God wept at the gates of Auschwitz." A slick Rabbi only does parties.
  • Jack Kornfield: Happiness doesn't depend on external circumstances.
  • Larry and Joe: The story of a great Rabbi who comforts a catholic woman after she confesses to anal sex. Nihilism and King Lear. Violence in Shakespeare and resolving conflicts through Chess tournaments. The giraffe as a school mascot. The road less traveled.
  • Kornfield: Our interests limit what we see.
  • Larry and Joe: Writing a book about a psychiatrist who recommends suicide. Being prescribed anti-depressants. Zak is in the bathroom smoking pot. Addiction, mixing liquor and drugs. A painter arrives.
  • Kornfield: Men or their children walking toward a church.
  • Larry and Joe: An unfinished story that gets repeated over and over again: a neighbor who seems a nice guy has screaming fights with his Aunt in Greece. After he disappears for a few weeks and returns, Larry shares that he had hoped the man had been left some property and come into a better life. The man responds with a bizarre ethnic insult.
  • Larry and Joe: a psychiatrist suggests Larry is responsible for the problems in his life.
  • Kornfield: self knowledge and surrender, instant gratification.


Additional credits

From the broadcast, 'You've been listening to Joe Frank "The other side". This program was called "The angina dialogues" with Larry Block, Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield, and Joe Frank - production: Bob Carlson, production assistance: Esmé Gregson'


  1. The title alludes to Eve Ensler's 'The vagina monologues'
  2. Joe says the word 'nothing' appears 114 times in King Lear; I count 33.
  3. Great Neck North's (the successor to Great Neck) mascot is 'Blazer the wonder goat'; South's is 'Rebels'.
  4. Arnold Gallo