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Podcast 2019
Middle Kingdom Podcasts (2005-2017)

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The Language Company
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The Art of Procrastination


From The Chronicle Review by W.W. Pannapacker.

..."Productive mediocrity requires discipline of an ordinary kind. It is safe and threatens no one. Nothing will be changed by mediocrity; mediocrity is completely predictable. It doesn't make the powerful and self-satisfied feel insecure. It doesn't require freedom, because it doesn't do anything unexpected. Mediocrity is the opposite of what we call "genius."

Mediocrity gets perfectly mundane things done on time. But genius is uncontrolled and uncontrollable. You cannot produce a work of genius according to a schedule or an outline. As Leonardo knew, it happens through random insights resulting from unforeseen combinations. Genius is inherently outside the realm of known disciplines and linear career paths. Mediocrity does exactly what it's told, like the docile factory workers envisioned by Frederick Winslow Taylor."




My Chinese home


Heat. Love and interior wisdom. All the dirt, construction, heavy equipment

and the digging

filling old blue dump trucks with musty Stalinist leftovers.

Riding motorcycle vegetables, women waiting

behind baskets of produce. Produce.

Fields are eternally productive,

Patient greens turn down the sun.

Educational catastrophe inside the machine.

"Text me baby. Consume my voice, eat delicious 'what if's' and 'maybes.'






Roshi likens the breath during zazen to a windshield wiper,

each inhalation and exhalation simply cleaning the dust from one's mind,

the way a wiper cleans a windshield.



Dysfunctional decisions


After the kind man flew away from the archipelago on short notice with years on his extensive resume, for a new job in the Middle Eats to pay life's support expenses I returned home from his fare-thee-well dinner of delicious grilled fired fish and giant prawns swimming in garlic to find a medium sized cock-a-roach scurrying in from the back garden heading toward the dark safety of bags and boxes in a spare room.

A room filled with Turkish delight, a sweet gooey substance made of nuts, berries and flakey pastry. A room resplendent with bird songs, echoes of silk warbling blues riffs, improvisational bass lines and the sweet smell of a flute.

A room filled with sad, lonely spoiled crying children. Dysfunctional family futures.

A room dancing with the autocratic sensation remembering how he perceived his past decision late last year to decline a doctor's advice and proceeded with a dangerous medical exploratory option to check out the source of his internal distress. "No anesthetic," he said to Doctor Death. 

How this decision almost killed him. How this decision at that microscopic moment inside time, oh time, such a valiant teacher, an educator, how this decision cost him vast quantities of flood blood. How he claimed he saw and felt a warm light swarming him, flashing along his skeleton bathing him. How he needed transfusions. Lots of transfusions. Understanding by design. A frayed fabric. A needle dripping volunteered slavery.

Why do simple medical problems escalate into a life threatening crisis? Rash misunderstanding of how and why the human body says one thing and the ego intellect extinguishes flashing emergency lights, ignoring warning signals? 

Being a Super Hero has it's risks.

Plant a seed.

So it goes.




The Rice Farmer


Bali sunset light. A light of soft gentle music from a choir of painters. A tapestry on a loom of sky. Mountains stand strong and silent in the distance. 

Ducks settle down in their straw hut as a young waitress reads in an upstairs section of a bamboo restaurant. Business is slow.  Downstairs a child cries as someone slices dark green vegetables on a chopping block mixed with laughter. Motorcycles race along a twisted road blazing shrill horns. Birds and gekkos create twilight music as day slowly fades.

A narrow dusty dirt uphill path winds through the jungle. A woman with deeply lined brown skin wearing a purple sarong passes in and out of shadows. She maintains a steady pace balancing a stack of red bricks on a torn dirty yellow towel wrapped around her head. Her brown eyes glance down at the rocky terrain and up, straight ahead.

A gaunt rice farmer cleans debris from around rice stalks in a paddy near Monkey Forest Road. He wears faded blue shorts, a torn yellow t-shirt and sweat-soiled straw hat.

He pulls, smooths, and pats thick wet muddy soil in the water while tossing clumps on a pile of rocks at a construction project.

As daylight escapes he moves along a rice paddy terrace, stopping to splash water on his arms and legs removing the mud of his day with strong fingers and hands sliding up and down leather skin. 

Picking up an old hoe, he places it on a thin shoulder and continues along narrow edges inspecting adjacent paddies. Calloused feet trace a zig-zag pattern toward a dark horizen of trees and thick tropical forest. His figure becomes smaller and smaller.  

A slight breeze moves through green rice. Rice paddy water stands silent.