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!

Monday Magazine ———-September 22, 2014.

Welcome to this Monday’ s Monday Magazine.

This week’s Mag features a Seasonal Update, an AISOTB, a Science Section, an Art Section…..etc etc


Hey, it’s September 22! YIKES! It’s Autumn. Summer is over apparently. (Here in California, though, we’re not so sure this summer will ever end). Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year is upon us. Wednesday night! YIKEs again! Time flies. YIKES!

A Happy, Sweet New Year to all!



Bumbastories would like to remind all readers that all contributions, submissions, and suggestions to the AISOTB section are welcome, and that contributions can reference not only buses, but all forms of mass transportation, i.e., trains, ferries, monorails, bicycles etc.

As I sat on the train I said to myself, “Drat! It’s Monday already and I still haven’t completed the Monday Magazine. This As I Sat on the Train will have to be a quickie.

The subject of this train report is the Los Angeles subway, and, let me tell you, those trains sure are quick!

To paraphrase Herman Melville, “Thar’ she blows!” IMG_0519IMG_0520IMG_0521

And IMG_0525 IMG_0526 IMG_0527“Thar she goes!”



Note from the Editor: If you remember, last week in the Magazine, Bumbastories promised to provide an update on Max Born’s 1962 book, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. This book review was supposed to be written by our roving reporter and retired science teacher, George Packard. However when this editor handed Packard the assignment, he suggested I do it myself. “It’ll do you a lot of good,” he told me, as he walked out the door of the Bumbastories newsroom. The son of a gun had a smile on his face.

So, this editor has been left holding the bag. The Max Born book is a good one, but somewhat awkward in its presentations of the math, a bit hard to follow, at least for me. I quickly realized I needed to return to the fundamentals. Again! It seems I’m always at the beginning. But how could I ever hope to understand Relativity and Quantum Physics if I didn’t even understand Galileo’s planks and pendulums? (Not to mention Max Planck’s plancks and plenckulums!).

Back to Galileo I went. Back to1638. Galileo insisted we look at nature (to perform careful experiments) to  determine the quantitative relationship between force and motion. Upon close examination, Aristotle’s system was inadequate. Contrary to Aristotle, motion does not require the constant application of a force, said Galileo. Things will keep on moving on their own once impelled by a force. The law of inertia was set forth. As Born insightfully points out, Galileo was able to realize that friction, which retards motion to varying degrees, is a secondary, incidental effect. To quote Planck, “It is just this intuition, which correctly differentiates what is essential in an occurence from disturbing subsidiary efects, that characterizes the great scientist.”

The concept of acceleration, the change in velocity over time, was studied in nature (via experiment, via Galileo’s polished wooden planks and shiny marbles), Acceleration was described algebraically. as a function of time (The planks enabled Galileo to slow down the velocity of falling objects so as to be able to measure the time elapsed as they fell through measured space).

imagesInterestingly, Galileo was quite aware of the boldness of his new experiential or “scientific” approach. At the outset of his 1638 Discourse on The Two New Sciences, he takes pains to point out that predictions made by Aristotle’s and Euclid’s idealized reality – a world of perfectly straight lines with no thickness) – can take us very far, but can be contrary to what we perceive with our senses. A revision of the Aristotilian view was in order. Indeed, ever since Galileo got the ball rolling (down the plank) science has continually altered and refined its models to accomodate new evidence.

Editor’s Note: This editor will be working in the coming weeks on getting a better handle on fundamental physics. It’s a noble quest and a journalistic responsibilty as well. Let those marbles roll down those plancks….er planks!



One Life The buzz in the World of Art is all about the release of Stephen Baum’s second novel One Life or The Lives of Chester Knowles. And then there’s that bit of confusion regarding Baum’s third release, The Phantom Speaks or More in the Lives of Chester Knowles, which was also released last week. Which should we read first?

In an attempt to shed some light on the matter, Bumbastories presents a brief excerpt from our exclusive interview with the author conducted just yesterday at his home in Los Angeles.

INTERVIEWER: Well, Sr. Baum, I’ve looked at The Phantom Speaks and it surely is a cute and entertaining little book. But shouldn’t I read One Life first?

BAUM: The answer is yes. It’s only logical to read the first book, One Life or The Lives of Chester Knowles first and then to read the sequel…..

INTERVIEWER: I’ve noticed that in One Life, an obsession with logic is a characteristic of many of your characters…..

BAUM: Huh? Well, nobody’s perfect. However, I do like for things to make sense. That’s why Bumba is selling the two books together for the price of one. Just check it out on Bumba Books.


The Phantom Speaks (a promo for a sequel)

Originally posted on Every Day Another Story:

Stephen Baum’s The Phantom Speaks, is a charming little sequel to his highly-acclaimed novel One Life or The Lives of Chester Knowles. The Phantom, the novelist’s reincarnation of the deceased Chester Knowles, picks up the ball where Chester left off – and takes us on a literary end-run through the fields of astrophysics, analytical psychology, modern American politics, and also some of the barnyard noises. He’s quite a phantom.

PhantomSpeaks_1ST COVER copy

Ably assisted by several of the other One Life characters, the Phantom attempts to resolve several of the more persistent questions regarding Chester’s death and reincarnation. Taking the reader on a mad-cap and irreverent romp, the Phantom and his supporting cast of One Life characters – all of them remarkably well-drawn and charming in their own right – somehow succeed (and don’t ask me how) in bringing the Chester Knowles One Life story to a safe and satisfying touch-down.

View original 56 more words

Monday Magazine —— September 15, 2014


This week’s Monday Magazine features a brief News update, a Special Report from the Beach from roving reporter George Packard, an Arts Report, and a sing-a-long song,

News Summary and Anaysis from the Bumbastories Team of Political Pundits, Puny Punsters, and Procrastinating Prognosticators

The “situations” in the Middle East remain unresolved. Achh! Achh again! The only discernible trend is that it just gets worse. “Worser and worser,” says one of our keen international pundits (who refuses to be identified for fear his seventh grade grammar teacher might come after him).

As every media story seems to be focused nowadays on President Obama’s incompetence, Bumbastories finds it interesting that no one is giving him credit for his foreign policy successes. For several years, Obama has been criticized for not being assertive enough in Syria and in Iraq. Well, give the guy credit. Imagine if he had armed the Syrian opposition early on! Imagine if American combat troops were back in Iraq! Obama was prudent, nay perspicacious. Or perhaps he just checked out the U.S. track record for Middle East military interventions. In any case, Kerry is trying to get the Arabian sheiks and moneybags to come to a behind-the-scenes accord, which is quite proper and admirable, but also kinda funny.

As for a full Bumbastories Weather break-down, it’s still real hot in L.A. Hottest year in history.

Report from George Packard, Roving Reporter

George Packard, hard-working reporter and ever-roving, made it to the beach again. On the look-out for Breaking News Stories, George found only breaking waves, and as for a news scoop, that’s right, he could only find a IMG_0350couple of plastic shovels (sorry ’bout that). Still, George Packard had a lovely time. In fact George had a lovely time any and every time he went to the beach.

“Nothing beats the beach,” said George. IMG_0389




Arts Review
Bumbastories is proud to announce the release of Stephen Baum’s second and third novels.
In case you are not aware, Stephen Baum is the guy behind Bumba and George Packard and the rest of us, the guy pulling the strings – and I suspect he is pulling our legs too. Watch out he doesn’t pull yours. In any case, Baum has written three novels, which we at Bumbastories recommend. We have read all of Baum’s books and like them very much. But as we have already mentioned, we are not very objective since Baum is pulling our strings. So if any reader or blogger would like to review either of these two books, let Bumbastories know.

Links to purchase both of these books One Life of The Lives of Chester Knowles and The Phantom Speaks, as well as Baum’s first novel Up In The Bronx are found on the new Bumba Books Page. For more information about these books, reviews, and side stories, check out One Life and the The Phantom Speaks categories.

And now, The Bumbastories Sing Along. We suspect that many of you are not singing along. I believe that Bumbastories has made it abundantly clear to the public that singing along, playing along, tapping your feet along with these songs is very highly encouraged. This song, Let It Be, is rated 97 out of a possible 100 on the ‘you have to sing along with this one’ scale. So, no excuses. Join in.

When I find myself in times of trouble…….

The Phantom Speaks

Following nearly two years of editing and procrastination (mostly procrastination) I have finally printed up copies of my mini-novel The Phantom Speaks, which is a sequel to the One Life or The Lives of Chester Knowles novel, which I also had printed up recently and am releasing simultaneously.

I am hoping that I will be able to sell the two novels as a set, on the Bumba Books Page The Phantom Speaks

Both books take extensive literary liberties. These are free-flowing, free-falling books. They may not be for everyone. Perhaps it is because it took me so long to write these novels that as they proceeded they grew increasingly loose and creative (some would say dissociative). By the time I finished the Memories section of One Life and began the sequel The Phantom Speaks, I was just having myself a good time with it. The result is something surprisingly entertaining I think. Spoiler Alert: Although each of the characters from the One Life book receives his or her own chapter to entertain the reader, it’s the Phantom who gets the final word most the time. Illustrated wonderfully by the very talented Alexandria Skaltsounis, The Phantom Speaks is simply a fun read.



The Phantom Speaks is available on Amazon Buy "One Life" on Amazonand other online outlets. It is not yet available as an ebook.


And it’s also available here at Bumbastories Just click on the icon Buy "Phantom Speaks" on PayPaland order through Pay Pal.


One Life The Phantom Speaks You can order The Phantom Speaks together with the One Life or the Lives of Chester Knowles novel – together in one slick package and mailed to your home directly, postage included, for the unprecedented price of whaa?

Indeed we recommend you read the One Life first and The Phantom sequel second. So this economical combo package is recommended.


For more info on how to purchase any of Stephen Baum’s books or CD’s click here.

One Life or The Lives of Chester Knowles

It’s out, folks!!!
Bumbastories is proud to announce the second printing of Stephen Baum’s second novel One Life or The Lives of Chester Knowles .
It’s available through Amazon and the other book sellers. The book is also available right here. Just click on the book cover.

IMG_0469     Thanking you for your support and hoping you enjoy the book!



Bumbastories Weekend Sing-Along

A couple of songs, recorded the other day, for you to sing along with. The words are very kindly provided by Bumba, so you have no excuse not to join in. We’re even giving you a selection of three songs. If you don’t like one, then try another.

First, Banks of the Ohio

I asked my love to take a walk, just a walk, just a ways with me

And as we walked then we would talk about our coming wedding day

So only say that you’ll be mine in our home we’ll happy be

Down beside where the water flows

Down by the banks of the Ohio.

I took her by her lily-white hand

I led her down that bank of sand

I pushed her in where she would drown

I watched her as she floated down

Only say…

I started home bout quarter past one

I cried my God what have I done?

I killed the only woman I loved

Because she would not be my bride

Only say…

Very next day at half past four

Sheriff walks right through my door

He said, “Now son, dontcha try to run

You’re gonna pay for this deed you’ve done”

Only say…

Certainly a sad, sad lament, a tragic story. Why is it such a pleasure to sing?

To continue, sing along with Worried Man Blues, a prison song that speaks of heavy worries, but holds a sort of hope. Maybank and Bumba like to play these songs, but you will definitely help if you sing along.

Worried Man Blues

It takes a worried man to sing a worried song

It takes a worried man to sing a worried song

It takes a worried man to sing a worried song

I’m worried now, but I won’t be worried long

Over by the railroad tracks I laid down a stake

Over by the railroad tracks I laid down a stake

Over by the railroad tracks I laid down a stake

When I woke up I had shackles on my feet

It  takes a worried man…..

I asked the judge what might be my fine

I asked the judge what might be my fine

I asked the judge what might be my fine

He said twenty-nine years on the Rocky mountain line

It takes a worried man……

Around my leg I got twenty-nine links of chain

Around my leg I got twenty-nine links of chain

Around my leg I got twenty-nine links of chain

And on each link the initials of my name

It takes a worried man….

Editor’s Note: You’ll notice that sometimes the lyrics differ from the traditional ones you might know. Firstly, there are many versions of these old folk songs. It’s just something that happens over time. Secondly, Bumba gets them wrong sometimes. For instance, the lyrics in Worried Man Blues about laying down a stake over by the railroad tracks seems to be something that Bumba has come up with. He’s not sure himself, but he likes the image and he’s also too lazy to go check.


Long Black Veilanother sad one, but a popular folk/country song nonetheless, as it is beloved nonetheless – by nuns as by men and women of all habits and persuasions – as a good song to sing along with. Please feel free. And have a good weekend! And please note the new Page called Bumba Books in the newly-formatted Header. All of Stephen Baum’s (that’s Bumba to you) three novels are available there for purchase. More info and special offers to follow. Check it out.

Ten years ago on a cold, dark night there was somebody killed ‘neath the town hall light

There were few at the scene, but they all did agree

That the slayer who ran looked a lot like me

She walks these hills in a long black veil

She visits my grave when the night winds wail

Nobody knows, nobody sees, nobody knows but me.

The judge said, “Son what is your alibi? If you were somewhere else, then you won’t have to die”

I spoke not a word though it meant my life

I had been in the arms of my best friend’s wife

She wallks these hills…….

Now the scaffold is high and eternity is near

She stood in the crowd and shed not a tear

But sometime at night when the cold wind moans

In a long black veil she cries o’er my bones

She walks these hills in a long black veil

She visits my grave when the night winds wail

Nobody knows, nobody sees, nobody knows but me.