DR extra: Do the Math, Henry Rollins


This is a demo for a radio program from about two years ago.
Henry Rollins was not harmed during the recording of this show, nor was the Dalai Lama.
Also, a song is sung.
(MP3 at the end after the two bonus Dalai Lama stories. The audio is different than the stories.)

Post Papal Nirvana Blues
by David Raffin

Is a retired Pope “Pope” or “ex-Pope”?
The Pope’s a quitter. 
Remember, the Dalai Lama retired. So he could move to Florida. Learn to meditate. 
Roomies? Sitcom?

The Pope & Dalai Lama living together in Florida sitcom will be called “Post Papal Nirvana Blues.”
In the sitcom, when the Pope enters the apartment he will always forget to duck and his hat will nearly be knocked off.
At the end of the pilot episode the Pope will shrug his shoulders and say, “So I’m not infallible.”

Sparks fly when the Dalai Lama has a lady over and she starts a fight over doctrine. The Pope refuses his blessing. Also, noisy neighbor.
The Dalai Lama’s catch phrase is, “I’m trying to reach Nirvana here!” Also, he surfs. It makes the Pope nervous. He worries.
In one episode the Pope, the Dalai Lama, and a Rabbi walk into a bar. It’s a three parter. Same story, three points of view.

Please mail me my Emmy. I’m playing clarinet the night of the awards. For the first time.
“Post Papal Nirvana Blues” stars Artie Lange as the Pope, Tommy Chong as the Dalai Lama, and Gilbert Gottfried as himself.
 My Rom-Com will be about a sous chef who falls in love with a head chef and complications that ensue. It will be titled “Whisk You Away!” Delivered entirely in Dr. Seuss style verse. Also stars Gilbert Gottfried.

New Dalai Lama, same as the old Dalai Lama
by David Raffin

The Dalai Lama is retiring. He’ll likely move to Florida. What will he do with his time? Same as anybody, relax, learn to meditate.

When the Dalai Lama retires to Florida I fear that he will not be able to relax. He will always have followers standing over him inquiring about his impending passing and subsequent rebirth. They’ll lean over and say, “When will you die? Soon? We need a new Dalai Lama. Could you hurry, please?”

Being the Dalai Lama is a strange thing, a never ending job. In order for there to be a new Dalai Lama, the old Dalai Lama must die. Then he will be reincarnated and resume leadership as the new Dalai Lama. New. Not improved. The Dalai Lama, being an awakened one, is done improving. Meet the new Dalai Lama, same as the old one. Only the packaging changes. The package change is done in the old, traditional way and does not include the input of focus groups. The old Dalai Lama has warned the Chinese government of this, because they are new to the game of marketing and are eager.
Also, you can’t aspire to be the next Dalai Lama. The old Dalai Lama, and I mean the really old one, the first, is monopolizing the position. There is no upward mobility. It is a static system. Sure, you can become enlightened, but you can’t become the Dalai Lama. Parents don’t tell their children they can become the Dalai Lama if they just work hard enough at it. But they could become a Lama.

My favorite Dali Llama is the painting of a Llama done by Salvador Dali. The Salvador Dali Llama.

I do not understand why the Dalai Lama must always be a man. I think this robs the Lama of a wider experience he could have in the world. In Hinduism, which, like Buddhism, started in India, you can be reincarnated as anything. Some things are higher prestige and some are lower.
I would like the next incarnation of the Dalai Lama to come packaged as a Llama. He would be the Dalai Lama Llama. I think this would be a fine thing, and give the Lama a change of pace.
The faithful would go out into the field and spread a blanket before the llamas to seek out which one may be the Dalai Llama. Among the items on the blanket would be an item that belonged to the previous package of the Dalai Lama.
One faithful would say to another, “I think this is the Lama. Yes, this one, he has kind eyes.”
And that one would be the Dalai Lama Llama.
Unless he chooses not to pick the item on the blanket. Then he could live a quiet life of llama contemplation. But this would leave his followers without either a Lama or a llama, which would be doubly sad.

Privately, the Dalai Lama refers to his privates as the “Dalai Lama’s package.”

I saw the current package of the Dalai Lama give a talk before a crowd of people and celebrities. Someone in the crowd asked him if, since a goal of Buddhism is the elimination of suffering, whether he, the Dalai Lama, an enlightened one, suffered.
And he said that “yes” he did. So we know that he suffers. He carries his share of baggage. It is possible the Dalai Lama Llama could carry more baggage than the previous incarnation of the Dalai Lama.
Luckily, enlightenment shields him from depression.
In the west, depression is an epidemic. Even pets suffer from it, and there is prescription medication available for them that you may “ask your vet about.”

In the west, depression is defined as those suffering from a lack of desire; people who may be sitting under a tree waiting in vain for enlightenment to strike.
Buddhism teaches that life is suffering, that suffering is caused by desire; desire being the root. Therefore, in order to stop suffering you must quell your desire.
You become enlightened when you no longer want things. This makes it hard to become enlightened, if your desire is to become enlightened. The old dharma catch-22. This is why working hard on your enlightenment bears less fruit than simply sitting under a tree.

If you have a “lack of desire” in a Buddhist culture you are “enlightened.”
Meanwhile, in the west, you’re just sick. Sorry.

An excerpt from my user manual

I don’t know if you can tell this just by looking, but I move my mouth through a process of mind control. The fact that you can’t tell this, it seems seamless, is part of the art; or rather, the magic of the act.

Up close I am life sized. This is explained in the manual, though I know no one ever reads instructional guides. But this is alright as I am also fully automatic. Please do not be unduly alarmed.

–This is an excerpt from my user manual. I know it is strange to mention the fact that no one reads user manuals in my user manual but it is a very meta user manual.

One all-purpose excuse for not having shown up

I’m sorry I did not make our scheduled appointment. My absence was unavoidable.
Our appointment, unfortunately, fell immediately after my earlier appointment with the Medusa.
I could not make our appointment because I had turned to stone.
I don’t like it anymore than you do.
Thank you for your understanding.

Yesterday I saw…

I saw a man with a giant afro. At a distance it looked like a giant cowboy hat. It is impossible to express the joy of this sighting.
Blame psychogenic alexithymia, if you must.

A sign at a rest stop stating “You cannot be forced into work” translated into many languages. Whoever hangs these posters are unfamiliar with the peculiarities of capitalism in society. Also they hang these signs over the sinks, showing they are unaware that 90% of men do not wash up in the bathroom. And that is another reason to avoid shaking hands.
Or perhaps they do know these things. I enjoy a good conspiracy theory.

I thought: “People don’t ride trains enough because there aren’t enough trains. There aren’t enough trains because there isn’t enough track. Society has gone off track.”

I ate at a vegan restaurant. I like to eat at vegan restaurants because they have a wider selection of food I want to eat. I ate at Papa G’s vegan organic deli. It looked like this:

Tempeh, corn, mashed potato with mushroom gravy. Papa G's Portland, OR.
Tempeh, corn, mashed potato with mushroom gravy. Papa G’s Portland, OR.

A cat tried to steal my love.

Spontaneous Combustion and you (& me)

I have never seen anyone spontaneously combust, even though when I was a child they seemed to talk about this on TV regularly. I’ve never even walked into a room and had people say “You just missed it. There was a spontaneous combustion. Say, Clark, you’re never here when spontaneous combustions happen. If I didn’t know better, I’d suspect you were Superman.”

I hear spontaneous combustions used to be so common that Reader’s Digest used to run a popular monthly feature titled “The Lighter Side of Spontaneous Combustion.” It was a different age. Now we know that spontaneous combustion is not funny; and encouraging the average person to come up with a supposedly amusing anecdote about it is simply encouraging them to light someone aflame for fifty dollars and a national byline. And what publication would pay fifty dollars for an amusing anecdote these days? Perhaps combustion is on the wane because the death of print has taken the profit out of it. For exposure, of course, someone may do it for free. But print is dead. And in a visual medium people would suspect special effects, that is, foul play.

In addition, society has lost its spontaneity. All combustion must now be planned. There are city and county-wide burn bans. Burning requires a permit. Smoking is frowned upon. There are issues of air quality and global warming. Clothing is fire retardant, and so is the blood of the average person, through chemical absorption.

Today if you see someone burst into flames you can be confident someone started that fire, rather than standing there wondering whether that’s the sort of thing that “just happens” and then talking about your concerns to a documentary crew.

It is, I suppose, possible that these things do happen spontaneously and there is now a government coverup regarding them. It’s one thing to believe in spontaneous combustion, but quite another thing to believe in the government coverup of the same. If anything the authorities would rather you believe fires just happen than that someone is starting them. Especially if people are being burnt up by large corporations. Yes, sometimes fire just happens.

You and me
and a fire set by thee
and I’ll see you on the news tomorrow
Me and you
and a stormy hullabaloo
that’s one hot story to follow.



Insult to Injury

The US medical system has long claimed to be exceptional.

For example, every medical billing department has a team on staff to add insult to injury. They wanted to know if they could keep them under the new law.

And the answer was, “Yes, if you like them.”