The Illumination of Patrice Viviere

The Illumination of Patrice Viviere IMG_0793

Five months before his death Patrice Viviere sat in the nave of Seville’s Santa Maria de la Sede cathedral. He had been coming to the cathedral every morning – ever since he had been abruptly “retired” from his post at the Ministry of Agriculture. Patrice had not informed his wife Marthe of his abrupt “resignation”. For over a month now Patrice had left for work at the usual time, taking his sandwich and red apple. But he came to the great Iglesias instead of to the office.

Seeking religion, meaning, salvation. Patrice had never been a religious man, but perhaps it was not too late to begin.

Patrice regarded the large crucifix of our Lord high above his head and assumed the proper attitude of reverence. Shifting forward onto the kneeling bar, hands clasped, his gaze raised toward the giant crucifix, Patrice waited for an answer to his prayer.

But no answer came. The Son of God did not respond. Father Pedro had advised him “Wait, my son. Jesus, the Son of God will talk to you”.
But the Son of God, the long, beautiful personification of human suffering and forgiveness on the giant cross was silent. Patrice waited.
But while he waited, while he came to the cathedral every morning for five weeks already, Patrice noticed that his gaze, his attention, generally came to rest on the stained glass rosette high above the crucifix.

The rosette was beautiful. Simple and clear, it’s symmetry called to Patrice. Patrice realized that it was this simple rosette which had brought him back to the Iglesias each morning. It was the circular window that called to him. The sunlight beamed through the stained glass in a sort of celebration. Patrice returned his gaze to the crucifix. He struggled to pray a bit. He repeated the rosary. But always it was the rosette window, high on the church wall, that called to him. Patrice could not comprehend why this should be. But surely it was so. IMG_0842


Monday Magazine Section —– August 18, 2014

Welcome to the Bumbastories Monday Magazine

We regret to announce that this week’s magazine contains nothing particularly significant. But since our aim is simply to entertain, maybe it’s OK that the magazine sits on the weak end of the significance spectrum. How significant is significance, anyway? Last we heard, the jury is still out on the significance question. However the jury is in and the verdict delivered on the subject of “Meaning”. Please see the Funny Pages entry on “The Meaning of Life”. Also see song at end of the magazine, a song Bumba wrote a long time ago which is clearly not very meaningful, but is quite sweet nonetheless.

That being said, George Packard, our roving reporter, is still out there: doggedly determined and decidedly dead-earnest not only about alliteration but also about journalistic significance. George wants to lasso some “breaking news”, a scoop. Ya gotta admit, social significance is nice in a magazine. But, as we were saying, this week’s Monday magazine is a bit low on significance. And meaning too.


The Meaning of Life

The Meaning of Life

The Buddha was asked by one of his disciples about the meaning of life.

By way of response, the Buddha held up a flower.

“Do you mean to say,” exclaimed Rami Medran “that the meaning of life is a flower? Just a little flower?”

“The meaning of life is anything you chose,” responded the Buddha slowly, “If you like, the meaning of life is my fat ass.”

“Oh no, oh no,” gasped Suri Ba’an, “That cannot be.”

“OK,” drawled the Buddha, “the meaning of life is your fat ass. Or, if you like, a tiny flea that is crawling around your fat tooches, searching, poor thing, for his meaning of life.”

“Aah! The Buddha means to say that the meaning of life lies within the examination of life itself. The noble quest, the struggle of the mind to make sense of the maya of existence!’ countered Suri Ba’an.

“OK,” said the Buddha. “Let me put it this way. The real meaning of life is the line at the 7-Eleven convenience store.”

“What is this, sire? This 7-Eleven?” they asked.

“It’s a combination of two prime numbers together with too high prices. Don’t you get it, dudes? I’m only kidding.”

“Aaaaaaahhh,” they all sighed.

“Right. I was only kidding. The ultimate in meaning, the bottom line on the meaning thing is Jack Nicholson.”


All right, here’s some quick social commentary:


“Hey! How come eveybody is always so busy with their phone? I don’t get it.”

Question: Is that it? Is that the extent of Bumbastories’ social commentary and insight into the plight of modern civilization?

Answer: Well, it’s a start, isn’t it?

Question: How about the relationship between the military-industrial-media complex and the widening stratification and disparities between the social classes?

Answer: Yeah, that too.


And now for a sweet song, Desert Wind….

Wishing everyone a pleasant week.

Monday Magazine ——–August 11, 2014.

image Welcome to this week’s Bumbastories Monday Magazine Section

Featured this week on the magazine are a new Funny Pages section, the old familiar AISOTB essay, a book review, a special Music Review, and a suggestion box for amendments to United States Constitution.


Now for some Funny Pages!images-2 DSCN0365
Digging deep into the Bumbastories archives ……..

Inspirational Fruits and Vegetables

A picture tells a thousand words…. And that’s probably a couple of hundred more words than anyone wanted to hear in the first place… All the same, the wisdom of fresh produce remains a source of inspiration (and roughage) for the poet and green grocer alike! Here are two inspirational and (thankfully) very brief poems:

I know a fruit and I ain’t tellin’

But there’s no hiding a


I don’t care what food you eat

There’s one vegetable that can’t be





Chuckle, chuckle. Mon Dieu. That was presque tres drole. Bumba’s humor can’t be beat!








and now an AISOTB:

From the Back of the Bus


As I sat at the back of the nearly-empty bus, the fact imagethat I was going home continued to wash over me in waves. In my head I heard The Band singing

“Oh, to be home again.

With my very best friend.

They call him Rag-Time Willie”.

Oh to be home again. I was really going to be back in my house, back in those familiar rooms. I leaned forward and grasped the handrail of the empty seat in front of me. My parents, older for sure, would be there to greet me at the door. Yes. At long last I was headed home.



This week’s featured book is Joseph Campbells’s The Mythic ImageIMG_0180

This magnificent coffee table book is a fine introduction to Campbell’s work and to his fascinating field of study: Comparative Mythology. The combination of Campbell’s incisive discourse together with beautifully formatted illustrations and high quality reproductions is a special treat. As Campbell himself states in the Preface to the 1974 hardcover edition:

“My thanks for the extraordinary beauty of this volume, giving satisfaction to my wish that the reader should take delight in its art, are to Miss M. J Abadie, whose own art, skill, and loyal devotion through many trials and difficulties made possible a book in which the verbal and pictoral strains can be experienced simultneously, in accord.”

This book is so rich it could take me years to finish. I will not even try to review it. Only to recommend it. And to recommend Mr. Campbell to anyone interested in serious reading and stimulating thought and meditation.

My thanks to Ste J. who lit a fire under my you-know-what and got me interested in ol’ Joe Campbell again.



Music Review


Paul sings Let It Be and Dodger Stadium lights up (on their cell phones).

Lucky for me that our editor Bumba was busy editing and that George Packard, our roving reporter, was out roving someplace. Because it was I, Stephen Baum, who drew the choice assignment of covering the Paul McCartney concert at Dodger Stadium. I’d never seen Sir Paul perform before so…WOW. The view at Dodger Stadium did not lend to intimacy. Ticket prices were exhorbitant, even for the nose-bleed seats, but no complaints from this reporter. The 70 years young Paul and his band were in top form, playing McCartney hits for three hours straight. What with the pyrotechnics on the Live and Let Die number and the fireworks at the final curtain, it was a great show. Truly, the amazing Paul McCartney is a treasure.




And finally, a suggestion box for the Americans in the audience. And for the non-Americans/illegals/wetbacks/internationalists and other lost souls/bloggers out there. Instead of taking to arms (which nobody is going to do I don’t think) let’s put on our thinking caps and draft a couple of amendments to the U.S Constitution. Send ‘em in via the comments section and then we’ll see about drafting a petition, and then…Well, maybe a couple more drafts.images-7






More Blues



Here’s another blues I’ve been working on. I like to think that I’m breaking new ground with new blues progressions. Which is silly, because here’s nothing ever new about the blues. As for the lyrics, I’ve noticed of late that I often use the same phrases again and again. It’s a matter of some concern. It’s a matter of some concern. It’s a matter…..

The great Irving Berlin reportedly said that he only had one melody that he used over and over. Naturally, I can’t confirm whether he really said that, as I never spoke with the man myself. Berlin himself seemed to be ignoring the amazing wealth and rich variety of songs he himself composed. He also (reportedly) played in only one key, which is also hard to believe. However at my level of talent it is quite believable that all my songs could be the same one. Certain lyrics keep popping up in all my songs – like movable type, or bad pennies.
Undeterred, I’ve been working on this one recently. A very simple (At its best simplicity is elegant. At its worst, just simple) blues. I added a second track of harmonica. The Low Down Blues


I woke up this morning with the low down blues

Nothin to win

And nothin to lose

Hey, I got the low down blues


There been some things that are troublin my mind

But this loneliness……

I just can’t seem to leave thes blues behind

Hey, I got the low down blues


Hey, I got the low down blues

Hey, them low down blues

Hey I got the low down blues

And they be troublin on my mind







Monday Magazine Section ====August 3, 2014.

A Note from the Editor

On behalf of all the members of the Bumbastories staff, I would like to offer some explanation as to why this Bumbastories Sunday Magazine Section has had its name changed to Monday Magazine Section. As you may or may not be aware, this Bumbastories blog is titled Every Day Another Story. For a brief while we at Bumbastories believed ourselves capable of answering the daily writing challenge: every day another story. Quite rapidly, though, Every Day Another Story devolved into a de facto “story maybe every couple of days” kind of thing.

Then we arrived at the weekly Sunday Magazine format!

And we’re even late on that!

So, with an admission of our incorrigible sloth, and with a touch of realistic goal-setting, Bumbastories has pushed back the deadline yet another day and will now publish the Monday Magazine Section.


⦿⦿⦿⦿⦿⦿⦿⦿⦿THE MONDAY MAGAZINE SECTION⦿⦿⦿⦿⦿⦿⦿⦿⦿⦿⦿⦿


George Packard, retired schoolteacher and roving reporter for Bumbastories was back out there – roving the streets of Los Angeles on his bicycle. Looking for a scoop.

Exciting stuff, no?

George thought so too.

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George Packard, roving reporter, roved on….



How ’bout a song to move us along today? Click to hear Bumba playing Up a Lazy River or the umpteenth time. Bumba says he can’t help it. He uses the song to practice his chords.


And now for the thrilling continuation of the Ted Morris, Los Angeles Private Eye of the Raymoond Chandler ilk story.


Ted Morris picked up Angelina Despaigne from the Adelanto Federal Prison out past Victorville the day after Robert Kennedy got shot. It was a sad, sad time. For every one. Even the prison guards seemed to be in shell-shock.

Angelina Marquez walked quickly out of the big prison door and got into the car. She had tears in her eyes. Stiffly she sat next to Ted Morris in the car. She held her duffel bag on her lap.

“Drive, baby,” she spoke, looking straight out at the road ahead. She watched coldly as they passed through the prison gates, which were slowly opened for them after a quick inspection of Morris’ visitor’s pass and Angelina’s release papers.

Ted Morris, tough and hardened Los Angeles private eye, found himself crying too as he eased the low-riding black Chevy Impala onto Rte 395 and headed toward L.A. It was the emotion of Angelina’s release together with all the accumulated sorrow and held-back tears of the Kennedy assassination. The last chance had been shot down. It was the final nail in the national coffin. It was too hard a blow. As he drove he reached with his free hand down into his trousers’ pocket to get his handkerchief. He felt Angelina’s hand clutch his. He patted and then grasped her thin fingers with his big paw, as he carefully steadied the big Chevy on the road. Rte 395, long and straight and dusty lay ahead of them.

“At least you’re coming home,” he said, drying his eyes. “We’re all glad about that.”

“You’ll see'” he continued. “Francisco’s fixed you a party.”

“Ted Morris,” she began. “How do I thank you? Ever?”

“Hey, Angie, you know we made a deal.” He turned to look at her briefly. She was smiling as a tear ran down her cheek.



A Happy Monday and a Happy Week to All!




Mood Indigo

images-2Yesterday at a little group gathering, I was asked what my favorite song was. Immediately I replied “Mood Indigo”.

Most of the company (young and white) hadn’t heard of the song. I was surprised. Duke Ellington, the 20th century’s greatest composer unknown to them.  It struck me as sad. So, this morning, still sad and in my own personal mood indigo, I found myself at the piano playing Duke Ellington’s Mood Indigo and…..

The song was one of Ellington’s earliest, written together with Barney Bigard and Irving Mills back in 1930. It’s the beautiful horn arrangement and, of course the magnificent playing of the Ellington Orchestra and particularly the three three horns up front, that makes this song so special to my ears. Bumba just bangs it out on piano here. But if you like it at all, then check out any of Ellington’s recordings of the song. Ellington is a treasure and your life will be richer for it. Check it out. If you’ve never heard Johnny Hodges and the Ellington Orchestra, check it out. if you’ve heard Ellington before, well, I’ll leave you alone.


The Blues

The Blues. The 12 -bar blues. I wrote a new blues song! Of course there’s nothing ever new about the blues, but it’s fun to work on it. I used two tracks, which is also fun. And now that I do the math, that’s to say count, I’d have to call it an 8-bar blues. But after the third or fourth bar I lose count. It’s called Gonna Sing Away The Blues

Staggering right along (after a couple more bars) the second song here is definitely not a new blues. It’s one ot the oldest! Easy Rider, also called CC Rider, which is no relation to the CC IND local or to the A Train for that matter (pardon the New York mass transportation references). Easy Rider is played here with the sparse use of just two chords – which is how Leadbelly did it. Leadbelly is the great master of the blues so I would check him out if you’ve never heard him. Meanwhile you can click on Bumba doing Easy Rider on two tracks (sorry, no train)