Monday Magazine ——- October 20, 2014

This week’s Monday Magazine features a 52-word story called The Celebrity, a section on the moon, an Arts Section, a Book Review, and a few of Bumba’s songs and artwork.


The Celebrity

The iced coffee at the Starbucks revived him. He was safe. He could catch his breath. The paparazzi had lost his trail.

“Funny,” thought the celebrity. No one recognized him. He sat among the people. And no one recognized him. Without the paparazzi and his usual entourage he looked anyone else. Strange. He thought he was special. “Who was he, anyway,” he asked himself as he sipped the coffee, which was quite good.


Moon Stuff

Moon Eclipse and Moon Tides. Click to hear Moon Tides

And a bit of the recent Lunar Eclipse

IMG_0597IMG_0591 IMG_0585 IMG_0584 IMG_0578


Arts Section


The literary world is astir images-1and a-buzz images-2 with the prospect of listening to a new companion CD to the second of Bumba”s (Stephen Baum’s) novels. Following the response – or lack thereof – to his first novel/music pairing (the novel Up in the Bronx and the CD Up in the Bronx and Down in L.A.), it is curious to this reporter, and frankly concerning, that Baum is currently at work on yet another musical companion piece to accompany his second novel One Life or The Lives of Chester Knowles.

“I can’t help it,” explains the author. “I guess I’m just a musical kind of guy. And so are my books. I don’t get it either. But nearly all the characters in One Life, as well as in The Phantom Speaks, tend to express themselves in musical terms and make all kinds of weird references to country music.”

Verily, throughout the One Life/The Phantom Speaks saga there are innumerable references to jazz and country blues favorites. But why Baum should go to all the trouble to record his own home-made versions of these admittedly very nice songs is beyond this reporter’s limited grasp. Simply put: Why would anyone go to all that trouble?

“Well,” responds Baum, “I thought that the multi-media concept was not only original, but exceedingly cool. I’m even planning on embedding some of these songs into the text of an ebook – if that can ever be done. Meantime, I’ll make the CD, and the reader can simply listen to the CD whenever she or he chooses, and thus augment and extend his or her reading experience. I believe this is a musical and a literary first.”

Although this reviewer must admit that this is indeed the first time he has ever heard of a literary novel coupled with a musical soundtrack of songs performed by the author himself, all the same it seems a bit of a waste of time. In this reporter’s considered judgment, there must be a good reason why no one ever did this before.

However, Baum appears undeterred by the naysayers. His list of songs include Hank Williams’ Half As Much, Leadbelly’s Irene Goodnight, Randy Travis’ On the Other Hand, and Hoagy Carmichael’s Georgia and Up a Lazy River, among others. There is one original Baum composition on the CD, called Lonely Times, which truly does belong to the One Life narrative. Click to hear. (Baum is still working on it).


Book Reviews

CD or no CD, One Life or The Lives of Chester Knowles and The Phantom Speaks have received very positive reviews.

See S. Johnson’s reviews of both books. In case you didn’t know SteJ’s wordpress site is a gem.


Geometrical Art


Penrose Tiling

Sweet Dreams and Happiness

101612194I wrote this song back in the Bronx nearly forty years ago. Yikes! And I still play it every now and then! A couple of days ago I was playing around with it and with adding back-up tracks. The song is included somehow in my novel Up in the Bronx.The lyrics, as well as two paragraphs of explanation about the chord progression, are actually on page 25 of Up in the Bronx. It’s true. I’m not sure anymore why I put the scene into the book. I guess I simply wanted to share my love for the music. It’s an enchantment with that urban rock and roll progression, the doo-wop song. A nostalgic sort of feeling for the Bronx I suppose. As I was saying, it’s in my novel Up in the Bronx, which is largely an autobiographical coming-of-age in the Bronx in the seventies novel.

The song  Sweet Dreams and Happiness is presented on that CD I recorded to accompany the book, which is titled not surprisingly Up in The Bronx And Down in LA. To find out how to purchase the book and/or the CD go to Bumba Books. Anyhoo, here’s a Bronx song.

Sweet dreams and happiness

Baby don’t you fall

Go home and pick up what’s left

I’ll meet you in the hall

All I need’s

My baby when I call….

Now love’s around the corner

So why’dja walk all around the block?

Go on, do what you wanna

Someday it’s gonna have to stop

All I need is my baby when I call….

Monday Magazine ———October 13, 2014.

imagesYesterday was Columbus Day. Hurray!

Yes, Oct 12, 1451 was the birthdate of the great man who “sailed the ocean blue” and launched the beginning of the end for native peoples in the Americas. Christopher Columbus, inexplicably lionized in the Americas, as well as in Spain, Italy, and indeed all around the (round) world for his “discovery” of America, looms tall as a landmark figure. For Columbus signals the beginning of the long era of Western European imperialism and world domination. images-2Five hundred years of colonialism. The good old Empire!

But at what stage of social and political evolution are we now? World dominance and (increasingly overwhelming) responsibility is firmly in the hands of the North Americans. In confederation with the Europeans and Eastern powers, the Americans police the world (the third world) and siphon off most of the wealth. The “new” world order, particularly its wheels of finance, rolls on. Since Columbus, western civilization has certainly made some great advances, but plunder remains the guiding principle. Remarkably, many native cultures have survived the centuries of conquest, albeit there are fewer and fewer places left in America for them. All the same, they survive. And survive proudly.


images-1In fourteen hundred and ninety-two

Columbus sailed the ocean blue

What a guy with his three little boats

And of course his Columbus Day Sails


Continuing in a sombre tone, here’s House of the Rising Sun, sung by Bumba three days ago. Perhaps there should be a House of the Rising Sun Compendium on this blog. Perhaps not. Please sing along. In fact, if you’re not going to sing along, you probably shouldn’t click on this song.


But now to perk things up a bit, here’s Somebody Stole My Gal. Written by Leo Wood in 1918 and a big hit world-wide, it’s a song I must’ve heard the song hundreds of times as a kid. But when I heard Jim Kweskin and the Jug Band’ s rendition I realized what a terrific song it was. It uses straight-up ragtime chords, and it’s fun to play.


Sports Report

IMG_0620The Dodgers, our much-heralded and over-hyped L.A. team are already out of the playoffs. Boo-hoo. This billboard, put up only last week, is already painfully out-dated. tough luck. Wait’ll next year. Mighty Casey has struck out. The Dodger season is gone. Caput. Finito. Ferrtig. Gamarnou. It’s over. The season has drawn to a swift and sour conclusion for our multi-million dollar boys in blue and their over-stuffed multi-billion-dollar organization. However the Cardinals and the Giants, the Orioles and the Kansas City Royals are still in it and playing some fine baseball! God bless the great American game of baseball!

As for the Dodgers. Eff them.

And Eff Fox Sports 1 and Time-Warner Cable too.
Book Review

SteJ wrote an excellent review of my book The Phantom Speaks. Bumbastories would like to recommend, however, that you read the first book, One Life or The Lives of Chester Knowles before The Phantom sequel. See Bumba Books.
A pleasant week to all!

On Talking To Myself

The Internal Dialogue

There I was

Talkin’ to myself

Reflecting, introspecting

Thinking it over

And over

Obsessing over my own thoughts –

The internal dialogue

images-2Carlos Castaneda’s Don Juan labeled it correctly. The internal dialogue, the racing thoughts, the random neuronal firings and busy work our brains have been trained to do: to maintain a sort of dialogue with one’s self. A constant chatter. The Easterners call it “monkey mind”. That internal dialogue can be quite a stone around the neck, lemme tell ya.

“Stopping the internal dialogue” was, for Don Juan,  a necessary step to be mastered by a sorcerer or seeker of knowledge so that she or he could “stop the world” – and thus become accessible to the spirit.

Ah, the internal dialogue. There’s the rub!

Here I am: thinking endlessly, talking to myself, writing – even about the internal dialogue!
OK, I’ll say no more.
But leave you with a song….

Georgia On My Mind (with apologies to Hoagy Carmichael and Ray Charles)

The Monday Report


This week’s Monday Magazine features an in-depth Report on the Economy, an As I Sat On The Bus story, and a song to make it go down easier.

Bumbastories Economic Report

The following report was distilled (this report is 80% proof) from weeks of careful and systematic observations made while riding my bicycle.

1) For some reason there’s an awful lot of construction going on recently in the city of Los Angeles.

2) For some reason, probably another reason, there are very few garage sales of late.

To conclude: Construction work is up. Garage sales are down.

Somewhat Original Song by Bumba

imagesA song for your listening and reading-along-with pleasure. It’s a song about the city of New Orleans, which includes a slower, minor-key section about the Katrina hurricane. – which I’m not sure really fits. Overall, the song would make a great promo for New Orleans tourism. I have never been to New Orleans, but hope to make it there someday soon. As a fan of American folk and jazz music, New Orleans tugs at my heartstrings (and guitar strings too).

Going On Down to New Orleans

As I Sat On The Bus

George Packard, roving reporter for Bumbastories, sat on the Culver City #1 bus.IMG_0567

The scoop he made last week (actually it was a double scoop milk shake at the new Carl’s) had only whet his appetite for more scoops.IMG_0534

George calculated that, regardless of where he looked, he had approximately an equal chance (close to zero) of landing a scoop. The odds, low as they were, were distributed evenly across the Los Angeles time-space continuum. Guided by clear logic and sound journalistic practice, George opted to look for a Breaking News story at the beach. George rode the bike to the beach, but took the bus back.

As George Packard sat on the bus, he said to himself: “No scoop today, but what the heck, at least I got to the beach!” IMG_0559


A pleasant week to all!

Number and Number

The Beauty of Numbers images-7!

The Glory of Mathematics!

The Music of the Heavenly Spheres!

Interrupting Voice: “Oh no! Not again! Please, Bumba, no more math. Actually I like the spiritualism, but please no numbers. And no math. You see, it’s because, well, I just don’t like it. It’s like an allergy I have with math. Math (some people say maths) makes me sneeze. Anyhow, I don’t believe in math, maths, or mathematics either.”

Well, you should use a handkerchief if you have to sneeze. Mathematics is the science of patterns.


images-3And math is more than just numbers. Numbers, though, tend to fascinate. Since the set of numbers is infinite, all those numbers inherently contain and form a lot of relationships, a lot of patterns. If you play with those numbers you can wind up with nearly anything – which explains the marvels of numerology pretty much. And there are all kinds of numbers: counting numbers, odd numbers, even numbers, binary numbers, fractions, negative numbers, rational numbers, irrational numbers, squares, square roots, cubes, exponents, transcendental numbers – each of which is manifested in nature – even the imaginary numbers are manifested at the sub-atomic level. Imagine that!

And you can also try to take nearly anything in nature and describe it (eloquently of course) with numbers. Which is what most of physics is about. So, keep playing with those numbers! And keep watching out for those patterns. images-2And keep playing that Country Music.

Here’s a Hank Williams song about fractions. Well, one fraction, the half. If You Loved Me Half As Much As I Love You.

Monday Magazine ———September 29, 2014

George Packard Reflects

images-3 It was a pleasant enough crowd at McDonald’s. As George sipped his iced coffee, he looked out at the assorted crowd of plain ol’ folks at the other tables. He sat in a comfortable side booth at a shiny, clean little table. George placed several sheets of paper on the table before him and took out his pen.

George Packard, retired schoolteacher and roving reporter for Bumbastories, had not written for a long time. George yearned to write something that was not “George Packard, roving reporter”. George wanted another voice, another role to play. All this chasing after scoops was getting a bit long in the tooth.

The other day George had noticed that the newly reconstructed Carl’s Jr. on Fairfax and Olympic had already opened. imagesDoggonnit, he had missed the Grand Opening Ceremony! Too bad. It would have been a scoop! Being a roving reporter was fraught with frustrations; the job was not all it was hyped up to be.

“Never mind the scoop,” thought George.

George Packard roved on.


Sports Poem

Predatory instincts pull on the leash

How to control them?

Project them onto the playing field

Play ball!

Now, there’s good sport!

A joie-de-vivre shining through

Goal!!!! images


Science Section

IMG_0515I hit the stacks at the libraries. Again, I needed to find a good, elementary physics book to bring me up to speed on the fundamentals of physics. I had this thing about getting a handle on Quantum Mechanics and Relativity Theory. I found Isaac Asimov’s classic, The History of Physics, to be the best so far, the most useful to me. As with all of Asimov’s works, the language is delightfully clear. His breadth of scientific knowledge is stupendous. Asimov also probably holds the Guiness World Record for most books written – hundreds of them – and good books! – What a writer!

Asimov clarifies the concept of inertia as expounded by Galileo. He explains Newton clearly. I will let you know when I understand relativity and quantum physics. Meanwhile Asimov’s 745 page tome – which includes ample chapters on Relativity, Quanta, and Particle Physics – should keep me busy for a while!


George Packard Gets His Scoop!

Roving reporter knocks down a Double Scoop (Milkshake)

George Packard, roving reporter stopped by as soon as he could at the newly-reconstructed Carl’s Jr. on Fairfax and Olympic. (See earlier George Packard reports on this major reconstruction project in earlier issues of the Monday Magazine)

It was a very pleasant surprise. IMG_0531

The design was the same as the old Carl’s: two rows of booths with a partition (that featured a Carl’s Star) running down the middle, some smaller tables alongside, the rest rooms in the same place. It was eerie. After all, they had totally razed the old Carl’s and started from scratch! The counter was in the same place when you walk in, and nearly identical. The new Carl’s looked like the old Carl’s – only cleaner!IMG_0534

Hat’s off to Carl’s!

And a pleasant week to all!