Season 2, Episode 25: Special Foreign Correspondent Julie O'Yang - (People's Republic of China)

In which your host and newly minted Special Foreign Correspondent Julie O’Yang discuss the nuclear-tipped dong competition that was the Chinese Communist Party’s 70th birthday celebration, Xi Jinping’s quite deliberate emulation of Chairman Mao throughout the festivities, what this display of bravado signifies for the fates of Hong Kong and Taiwan, and the means by which young Chinese citizens make their ascent in the Party. Also detailed: Julie’s own trajectory as an author and a Chinese dissident, now happily situated in Europe.

This will be a recurring segment, as China is a vast, fascinating, and (above all else) strange place full of mystery and contradiction. Your questions will be warmly received at keithpetit@gmail.com, and they shall be answered posthastily.

Intro Music: 垃圾場 (Garbage Dump) - 何勇 (He Yong)
Entrance Music: 广场 (Square) - Carsick Cars
Outro Music: China Girl - David Bowie
The Author’s Work: The Little Yellow Book - Julie O’Yang
Macy’s National Day Parade: Only On CCTV
Some Shit Racist Hiphop from the Mainland - Gua Laowai
This Video was in No Way Financed by the CCP: Who is Xi DaDa?

Neither America Nor Europe Would Be Secure Without The Kurds - Keith Petit (Omaha)

In which your host lambastes the human lamprey his countrymen and -women call their president and that human lamprey’s most recent (and most grievous) decision: to subject the Kurds to genocide at the hands of Erdoğan’s pro-Russia, pro-Assad Islamist paradise. Other matters addressed: how to discuss politics with one’s parents (don’t), and some hype for our looming interview with Chinese dissident Julia O’Yang tomorrow morning at 8 AM sharp.

Fuck authoritarianism in all its forms. Long live Hong Kong, long live Taiwan, and long live liberal America.

Intro Music: Guns Before Butter - Gang of Four
Outro Music: Cunts Are Still Running the World - Jarvis Cocker
The Kurds Served Alongside Us in WWII: Twitter Link

The Semi-Annual State of the Podcast Address - Keith Petit (Omaha)

In which your host, for want of better options, delivers a totally unconvincing State of the Podcast Address, ruminates upon his recent streak of podcasting misfortune, the demise of the four seasons (the human-fueled deviation in our annual weather patterns, not Frankie Valli and company), the modern working world and how it ties into the broader fragmentation of our society, and how your host intends to maximize his week of socioeconomic worthlessness for the benefit of his audience.

Intro Music: If Only - Queens of the Stone Age
Outro Music: The Royal Scam - Steely Dan
Link to the Work of Our Upcoming Guest: The Little Yellow Book: Quotations from Xi Dada by Julie O’Yang
A Gratuitous Steely Dan Concert Review: Countdown to Empathy: The Latter Half of an Evening with Steely Dan - Yours Truly

The Moon Represents My Heart Which Represents My Appreciation for Whatever Audience I Have Left - Keith Petit (China/Taiwan/Nebraska)

In which your host attempts to explain the chaos behind and betwixt the David Liebe Hart interview and his own rant re: Taiwan, Hong Kong, Mother China, et al. He also, in the wake of the second anniversary of the show, serenades his audience with a tasteful Taiwanese selection, sung in proper East Asian karaoke room fashion, complete with excessive reverb and an unrealistically high score from the feel-good machine displaying stock footage on a constant loop.

Intro Music: Hardcore UFOs - Guided By Voices
Karaoke Interstitial: The Moon Represents My Heart - 項程鎮
Outro Music: Welcome to the Working Week - Elvis Costello

The Two-Year Anniversary Show (feat. Your Host: David Liebe Hart)

I have nothing to say or to contribute to the description of this two-year anniversary special. You should probably just listen to it. Nothing went as planned. Everything went perfectly. A song about 9/11 was recorded at some point.

Intro Music: These Eyes - The Guess Who
Collab Jam: I Wish 9/11 Never Happened - David Liebe Hart (feat. Keith Petit on shit melodica)
Outro Music: Bodhisattva - Steely Dan
David Liebe Hart’s Instagram (featuring a picture of Monty Melvin being abducted by aliens)
Art By David Liebe Hart: artbyliebehart.com
Help preserve the memory of Monty Melvin by dialing WGN repeatedly at (773)-528-2311.

Hashtags Will Not Save Hong Kong; Neither Will America - Keith Petit (RPCV: China - 2009-2011/Taiwan)

In this mega-mini podcast, your host draws from his three-ish years teaching and living in the Han Chinese world (in both Sichuan Province and Taiwan) in order to explain why the looming Golden Age of China isn't such a great thing for the world, and why America (in its current incarnation) will do precisely nothing to help their long-time allies in Hong Kong, Taiwan, or elsewhere — both because their leadership is beholden to the very same corrupt, authoritarian, semi-superpowers of the world doing the dirt, and because America (to some extent) has become just such a place itself. Admittedly, this is very much an opinion piece — objectivity bedamned — and your host happens to possess an especially defined opinion on the matter.

Fuck authoritarianism in all its forms, and 香港加油!

Intro Music: Revolution - The Beatles
Outro Music: Revolution 1 - The Beatles
Soul-Crushing Tiananmen Square Interviews: A Day to Remember

The Sunn O))) Electric Kool-Aid Hua Jiao Test - Keith Petit (RPCV: China - 2009-2011)

In which your host settles a festering nine-year-old bet with fellow RPCV and arch nemesis Andrew Moose by ingesting one hundred hua jiao (Sichuanese numbing peppers) to the soothing ambiance of indie drone metal pioneers Sunn O))). While nothing so degrading can exactly be termed a success, your host is pleasantly surprised by all of the ways in which the experiment was not an unmitigated disaster and a permanent stain on his reputation.

Your move, Moose.

Intro Music: That’s Inside of Me - Eddy Current Suppression Ring
Hua Jiao Guzzling Interstitial: Aghartha - Sunn O)))
Outro Music: Comfortably Numb - Roger Waters and The Band (feat. Van Morrison)
Wikipedia’s Official Sichuan Pepper Dossier: Hua Jiao

A Death on the Airwaves - Keith Petit (Omaha/Papua New Guinea)

In which your host airs at least some of his remorse regarding The Great Interview That Wasn’t: his brilliant hour-long chat with Dr. Don Kulick, anthropologist extraordinaire, that (courtesy of Amolto Call Recorder) went unrecorded and will never be heard by anyone — not your host, not his guest, not his audience, not the CIA: nobody.

In a feeble attempt to compensate for this ill-timed technological catastrophe, your host offers a review of Dr. Kulick’s most recent book — A Death in the Rainforestand his full-throated endorsement thereof. Detours include the Steely Dan recording “The Second Arrangement,” which does not exist, and previews of upcoming interviews with fine folks from Uzbekistan and Iraqi Kurdistan, conversations which certainly do exist, so long as your host’s laptop continues operating.

Intro Music: So Good At Being in Trouble - Unknown Mortal Orchestra
Outro Music: Show Biz Kids - Steely Dan
The Book in Question: A Death in the Rainforest by Dr. Don Kulick
Dr. Kulick’s Various Other Anthropological Preoccupations: Don Kulick

The Night I Was Outclassed By Econo Lodge® - Keith Petit (Omaha)

In which your host celebrates two full months (and one half-finished day) of joyful/mundane sobriety, previews his gaggle of upcoming guests (Uzbekistan! Afghanistan! A Uighur! A Kurd!), and preserves for posterity the occasion that he very nearly bankrupted Econo Lodge® — that most economical of lodges — by losing six plastic keycards during the course of a single one-night stay. (One imagines that this is some sort of world record, but not the sort of record that one stakes any claim to whatsoever.) This mini-episode is presented to you in NTSQA (Not-Totally-Shit-Quality Audio), facilitated by a magical Spandex pop filter that it took your host two years, 74 interviews, and eighteen dollars to purchase.

Intro Music: Incinerate - Sonic Youth
Outro Music: Blue Motel Room - Joni Mitchell

Season 2, Episode 24: Craig (Turkmenistan)

When your host first decided to go Stanhopping a few weeks ago, he didn’t exactly pencil Turkmenistan into his schedule. A year before, he went searching for a Real Live Turkmenistani Citizen, but there were no takers: those who were Turkmenistani figured your host for a member of the secret police, and those who had been to Turkmenistan — well, nobody had actually been to Turkmenistan.

Enter Craig: a pseudonymous Turkmenistani citizen living in exile. He left the country when he was seventeen to pursue psychology in Europe. He intends to become a talk therapist. He does not intend to return to his native Turkmenistan. As a homosexual, it is doubtful that it would be safe for him to do so.

With impeccable English and a keen eye for political nuance, Craig tells the story of his upbringing, his departure, and his year of homelessness in a foreign country. Straining his memory to recall things he’d probably rather forget, he then details the dictatorial bric-a-brac that makes Turkmenistan one of the strangest — and one of the cruelest — countries on Earth.

Intro Music: Climbing Up The Walls - Radiohead [Zero 7 Mix]
Entrance Music: Hatrið Mun Sigra - Hatari
Background Music for a Semi-Impromptu Sermon/Distillation of The Ruhnama: Comments (If All Men Are Truly Brothers) - Wilco
Outdated and Perhaps Seriously Misguided Vice Documentary: The Happy Dictator
Is Turkmenistan’s President for Life Actually Dead?: “Weekend at Berdi’s” - Foreign Policy
File Under: Read it if you Dare … : The Ruhnama by Turkmenbashi, et al (several one-star reviews)
Your Moment of Zen: Turkmen President Falls Off Horse, Media Silent

Season 2, Episode 23: Benjamin (Tajikistan/Iran)

There are many stans, but only Tajikistan is Tajikistan. Our host sits across the world from the pseudonymous Benjamin, an American scholar of Persian language and literature and a walking Wikipedia of Central Asian fun facts. Tajikistan was Ben's first real trip abroad, and he liked the place so much that he married it. (Real Live Tajik in-laws can be heard clunking around in the background.) On this episode, Ben floats a theory that Persian and Tajik are, in fact, the exact same language – a suggestion that is sure to piss off Iranian and Tajikistani listeners alike. Ben offers his take on the brutal Tajikistani Civil War and its origins, relates his personal experience of the 2015 government crackdown on free speech, explains why the hell he decided to master Esperanto during his free time, and (urged on by his host) explores the wide world of traditional Tajikistani sport. Horses and goats are involved, simultaneously.

Intro Music: Stolen Moments - The Six Parts Seven
Entrance Music: Nargisi Mastona - Abdullo Nazriev
Outro Music: Boo to You Too - Nick Mason’s Fictitious Sports

Season 2, Episode 22: Ardit Kola (Albania)

In which your host and the dauntingly articulate Ardit Kola spend about ten minutes parsing modern Albanian politics before shooting down a series of progressively irrelevant conversational wormholes, among them: Incels, boulder warfare, bringing a buckshot pistol to a European summit, Hellbanianz, dogs with smartphones, and The Universal Shittiness of Call Center Labor (which might just be spawning the next generation of empaths). Also covered in the course of this roundabout discussion are the recent Albanian mayoral elections, the bizarre disappearance of the entire Albanian Democratic Party in protest of … something or other, and the state of LGBTQ rights in Albania (not as dire as you might think). During the interview, your Albanian guest drops the neologism “You do you, girl” on two separate occasions, a fact of which your host (for no reason known even to himself) is unspeakably proud.

Intro Music: Over - Ours Samplus
Entrance Music: Lucky You (feat. Joyner Lucas) - Eminem
ExpatPod Book Club Selection: The Highland Lute by Gjergji Fishta — now available for the eminently reasonable price of $1,074.77 USD, with free shipping and handling if you subscribe to Amazon Prime® right now.
The Official Insta of an Albanian Street Gang Based in the UK: HELLBANIANZ

Season 2, Episode 21: Laura Winterfell (Kazakhstan/Brooklyn)

In which your caffed-out host talks Central Asian democracy with Kazakhstani-Brooklynite activist Laura Winterfell. She recounts how a potato-shaped man with all the charisma of a doorknob quietly reigned over one of the largest countries on Earth for thirty nightmarish years, and then retired (without actually retiring) but not before renaming the capital of Kazakhstan after … himself. Laura discusses the various anti-authoritarian projects that consume what free time she has: from marches and protests in Times Square to crowdfunding the reimbursement of the ludicrous fines and legal fees slapped on native Kazakhstanis for exercising their constitutional right to peacefully protest the abuses and excesses of an almost comically corrupt regime. Detours include fascistic felines, the art of appearing as an extra in a rap video, Borat, and Thom Yorke’s new solo album — Anima — a multi-medium masterwork that your host hasn’t even had the time to watch or listen to yet. This episode, like all others before it, is dedicated to the legacy of Nursultan Nazarbayev. Enjoy your retirement, bud. Grab a vodka tonic and hit the links. Go ahead and shoot nine while you’re at it. You’ve earned it, big guy.

Intro Music: Sudden Organ - Yo La Tengo
Entrance Music: Assorted Spellbinding Traditional Kazakh Music - Korkut Ata
Yes, Of Course The Resistance Has An Instagram Page - Free Kazakhs

Season 2, Episode 20: Niku (Albania/Greece)

In which your host sits down over a soothing Gatorade® bottle of Fijian kava and enjoys a maximally chill convo with his now-official Albanian Beard Bro, the mononymous Niku. With saintlike patience, Niku fleshes out the nuances of Albanian politics to his troglodytic host, describes the glories of Albanian cuisine (think: Italian, Greek, and Turkish food slamming together in the most delicious car wreck of all time), and highlights the many scenic spots that Albania has to offer, most of which have yet to be infiltrated by the man-bunned backpackers of the Western world. Bonus features of the podcast: the blood feuds and sworn (female) virgins of northern Albania. Niku also narrates his first impression of the State of Texas — where he may, American dictatorship permitting, relocate to live with his Albanian wife and her thoroughly Texan relations. This is, perhaps, one of the most pleasant interviews I have ever had the privilege of taking part in — and I have interviewed some pleasant motherfuckers in my day.

Intro Music: Himni i Flamurit - Albanian National Anthem
Entrance Music: Te Molla - ARNON
Outro Music: Wind of Change - Scorpions
ExpatPod Book Club Selection: Broken April - Ismail Kadare
The Sworn Virgins of Northern Albania (A Glimpse): Sworn Virgins - National Geographic
Get Yo Ass to Albania, Son: EURO Travel and Tours

Do Not Stick Your Head in That Vat, Bicho - Keith Petit (Georgia: The Country)

In which your host ruminates on past misbehavior abroad — including a tense standoff in which (in an alternate universe) he was bludgeoned to death with an eight-foot wand and left for dead in a wine vat — and previews his upcoming guests: if Albania, Papua New Guinea, anthropology, or linguistics happen to be your jam, ExpatPod's got you, fam.

Intro Music: Behave Yourself - Booker T and the MGs
Outro Music: Back at the Chicken Shack - Jimmy Smith
ExpatPod Book Club Selection: A Death in the Rainforest: How a Language and a Way of Life Came to an End in Papua New Guinea - Don Kulick