Pod episode 4: “Go Bananas, or Go-Round! With R.D. Laing.”

R.D. Laing at play via Wikipedia

If you are feeling off, perhaps you need a good talking to; which is why I have devoted the second half of the podcast to the Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing. I discovered him in college on the alternative reading list for psychology. He was an existentialist psychiatrist.

This episode is sponsored by bananas. Not artificial bananas, but the natural mutant kind.

Also there is some discussion of mass transit, other libidinous foods, and when to say yes.

That’s all in episode 4 of the podcast, here called “Go Bananas, or go-round! With R.D. Laing.”

We are effectively destroying ourselves by violence masquerading as love.  – R. D. Laing


Pod episode 3: Wonderful Cake

This episode of the David Raffin podcast begins with an homage to the golden age radio show Escape!

Then a story about a trip filled with false fronts. But I must warn you, should you seek to emulate the trail, the poison gas has since been removed from those roadside pup tents. It was for the best. It was a terrible tourist draw.

(By the way, and this has nothing to do with the podcast episode so where better to place the observation but right here, I recently read George Orwell’s Such, Such Were The Joys and in this remembrance of British boarding schools he always refers to children as “it.” Was this the parlance of the day– that all children are gender neutral until they reach a specified age?)

Back to the podcast.
I close with Questions About Cake, a serious discussion of the history of sweets and death.



Podcast episode 2: Robot Pancakes with Gustav Hasford

This second episode of the David Raffin podcast is both delightful and delicious. It’s about pancakes and war. And it has robots in it. And Stanley Kubrick. Yes, all that in a 10 minute package. For free. Almost like it was made by a robot. For robots.

And it was.


“Hasford” by Unknown – en:Image:Hasford.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.


This episode also offers a story about Gustav Hasford, author of the novel The Short-Timers, which became the Stanley Kubrick film Full Metal Jacket.

If you want to know more about Gustav Hasford, you can track down some of his books. Perhaps visit

Which is maintained in his memory.

“The praise I seek from my readers is that they finish my books. After being alternately damned and praised for equally invalid reasons, I am content to trade fame for accuracy of interpretation. Fame, for a writer, is like being a dancing bear with a little hat on your head.”
– Gustav Hasford

Somewhere I have photocopies of his work as a young college student, copied from yellowing newsprint.



Podcast Episode 1: Tesla’s Wings

This is episode 1 of the new podcast. It includes the story Tesla’s Wings and a discussion of US currency.

Tesla’s Wings is a story from my new book, Tragic Stories Disguised as Jokes.





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.