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Podcast 2019
Middle Kingdom Podcasts (2005-2017)

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The Language Company
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MK 70


A human, pig and chicken join forces to survive at the bottom of the ocean during a pandemic.

MK 70 reveals all. Happy ears.



Sleepy Heads


It is a Monday at 6:45.

They call it Stormy Monday...and Tuesday is just as bad...

Someone wearing a pressed blessed green shirt of palm fronds stands in front of an open rusty green iron gate to welcome green students. 

Martial Catholic music blares from tinny loudspeakers. The church is under permanent construction. It is filled with towering grey artificial plastic golden arches made of compressed dust. Air conditioning ducts lie scattered in the vestibule, purple garments hanging by a broken thread in a chastity of lotus blossoms. A sharp shaft of blessed light from heaven plays along a contorted floor wearing cracked bells tolling at a nearby school. The church has gone underground in deep dark shadows filled with sin, jealousy, regret, sloth, lies, and enough parking spaces for a choir of angelic forms in the rising middle class.

Miles of cars and black tinted SUVs pull up at the entrance. Sleepy-eyed kids extricate themselves from interior dull air conditioned nightmares. A green whistle blower directs traffic. 

Blue clad office boys unload suitcases filled with text books, water bottles, lunch baskets, severed cultural connections and maps of the universe. Tired, sleep deprived children stand passive, waiting for someone - a maid, a driver, a mom, a dad, a perfect stranger to hand them a suitcase handle, a plastic grip on life. 

They drag their cumbersome baggage along recently mopped tile floors, through a very narrow gate wearing a shiny silver lock, around corners and hoist it onto little shoulders, or drag it clattering up two flights of stairs. 

Click-clack-click-clack, down long empty corridors filled with echoes of childhood.

An elementary girl waits in the sun. Her right hand is empty. Exhaust from idling cars and trucks fills the air. It is choking everyone.  

She is exasperated. She looks angry, tired and completely bored. Suddenly she begins to rapidly open and close her empty right hand. It opens and closes with a desperate spasmodic fever. She stares straight ahead, her brown eyes locked on green gates. She sees a beautiful green tropical distinct distant rain forest. She smells wild purple orchids inside deep shade near a flowing river. It is cool and refreshing.

"Give it to me! Give it to me!" says her grasping hand. Someone hands her a plastic suitcase handle. She drags her baggage into a cave.



J.G. Ballard (1930-2009)


J. G. Ballard, 15 November 1930- 19 April 2009. 

CrashEmpire of the Sun, The Drowned WorldThe Atrocity Exhibition...

Understanding by Design. Large to small. General to specific.

Cut through desire, habit, fear. Laser perceptual ability.




Brown moth


It was waiting on a bedroom wall. A Navajo cloth, gently.

It walks up a fold and rests. Big black eyes, soft brown speckled wings. 

Slowly carry it out of the room, across bamboo floor mats toward night, into an open garden under half moon, shadowed morning glories, papayas trimmed in darkness.

The moth feels this air, a sound of humming night below the surface, adjusts its antenna and lifts off into a shadow, silent wing flight free.



Applied Appliance English


Good afternoon students. My name is Mr. On. It rhymes with song, gong, long gone.

It is 17:10 p.m. If it was 18:01 p.m. I would say good evening, however it is still afternoon. It is late in the day. Class will meet twice a week for two hours. Show up on time, do your assignments and be prepared. Nothing more, nothing less.

We are gathered here today in the glorious People's Appliance Factory #8 to begin our basic, simple English lessons.

Your supervisor informs me that you are here both by choice and chance. You have the choice and this is your chance. Am I clear? Do you understand me? Choice and chance. 

Now, I know most of you have been working since early morning in the factory. It is the end of another long mind numbing grueling tedious day on the killing floor.

English has brought us together. We face unique and amazing challenges to acquire a foreign language. To use said language with meaning. To hopefully become fluent. It will require your undivided attention, focus and electrical energy.

We will practice speaking, reading, listening and writing. These are the four basic skills. Reading and listening are foundations in your learning process. Learning occurs in the context of task-based activities. In other words you learn by doing. You do and you understand, as the Chinese say, said, did, done.

We will cover, in exhaustive detail, four important appliances and their English connections.

They are: washing machines, air conditioners, vacuum cleaners and microwave ovens!

These machines are now an important part of everyone's life. You know this because it is your job to put them together. It's like English, putting words together makes a simple sentence. Some have meaning and some are gibberish.

Please open your creative notebook. Using a simple writing tool I would like you to consider the following questions. Please answer them using your basic English. 

Why am I here? Am I a machine, a tool? What exactly is a machine? What is my motivation to learn English?

Your supervisor has instructed me to motivate you. She expects me to motivate you to complete the assigned tasks and arrive on time. Her management style instructed me to use fear as a form of discipline with you. We are all well aware how the power and threat of fear motivates humans. 

Fear of starvation. Fear of poverty. Fear of failure. Fear of not meeting social expectations. Fear of ______.

Thank you for your attention. See you next week when we discuss parts and functions of a washing machine.