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.








Monday Magazine —— September 8, 2014

Welcome to the Bumbastories Monday Magazine.

This week’s Mag features the Funny Pages, a Science Report, a couple of songs, a couple of Breaking News news flashes, and that’s about it.

Some Very Short Poems

Bumbastories apologizes to the real poets out there, but wants to offer some very short poems to those of limited attention span. What was I saying? Oh yeah, some short poems…..

A baseball poem:

In nineteen hundred and sixty-one

Roger Maris hit 61

An extremely short Musical Poem:


A short but very heavy philosophical poem:

Nothing lasts forever

And so does forever

Another short poem:

Run fasss……

The shortest poem in the world

Did you hear it?


Dear Abby Bumba, An Advice to Writers and Lovelorn Bloggers Column

Dear Bumba,

I’ve been working on a science fiction novel about plants, how they take over the earth, which someone said already happened. Is that true? Anyhow, I won’t give anything away about the plot, but let me tell you, it gets pretty bizarre. I’ve been working on character development and wonder how to name my leafy characters. I wonder whether plants could have first and last names like people.


Perplexed Vegetarian Science Fiction Writer


Dear Vegetarian,

Yes. I know a lot of plants that are Herbs.



News Flashes and Breaking News

News Summary and Analysis: Terrible

Los Angeles weather update: Real hot

Bumbastories recommendations: Try to take it easy his week. Eat a lot of watermelon if you can, as it is very healthy.


And now a song to accompany the SCIENCE SECTION: Pick A Bale of Cotton.

“What? You mean that old Leadbelly song?”

Yes. Click to hear a recent field recording of two men (spoiler alert. It’s Bumba and Maybank) who are both out standing in their field. And, to our great regret, that field is not music. It’s a cotton field. In any case Hop Down, Turn Around Pick A Bale of Cotton.


For me, it’s a never ending story, an endless task: this attempt of mine to understand General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics! Like Sisyphus I push the cosmological rock up and down the hill. I figure that before I die I want to understand general relativity and quantum physics – or at least get a bit of a handle on one of those multiple universes out there.

I used to read mostly fiction. But now it seems I read science books and math books. Popular science books, not the serious kinds that a scientist might read, but stuff designed for the curious amateur. It seems nearly every one of these books needs to recount the history of science, starting with Galileo or Newton, and then on to Einstein’s great breakthroughs – all in order to introduce quantum theory and higher cosmology. You have to start from the beginning, see?

Like a child that seems to never tire of hearing the same story again and again, I read about the history of science. I never get too far in most these books. There are certain limits to my ability to handle complicated equations, there are a number of conceptual walls I keep butting my head against. I still don’t get it. So I go back to the beginning to hear the wonderful story again. I must confess I read the Bible in this way as well. I always start at the beginning and get lost in the desert somewhere during the Exodus. So I return to the Genesis stories again and again. Which isn’t so bad because as far as the Bible is concerned, the Genesis stories can’t be beat.

All this by way of introducing several science books that provide a good exposition of the development of modern physics.

Recently I read IMG_0298

and IMG_1660

Also recommended areimages-2 and ALL of Stephen Hawking’s books. And please, anyone who can explain the universality of Planck’s constant, please gimme a call.

Max Born’s 1962 Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is a jewel. IMG_0430The Nobel Prize winning Born graced us with a wonderfully clear and succinct exposition of Einstein’s monumental theory of relativity. It is a pleasure to read Born’s presentation of the story of modern physics, starting with Classical Mechanics and the Newtonian World System,  the Laws of  Thermodynamics, and Electromagnetism, and finally arriving at the Relativity Theory and Cosmology (as it stood in the early 1960’s). It’s a fine, fine book by a great scientist who was, of course, a major player in many of the great scientific breakthroughs of the last century. Bumbastories has assigned George Packard to do a proper book review and promises additonal updates on this book.


And to conclude, a song, On the Other Hand, the Randy Travis favorite, performed by Bumba and Maybank the other day.

A good week to all!

Monday Magazine Section—-Special Labor Day Edition —– September 1, 2014


This week’ Monday Magazine salutes the working men and women of this world. It’s Labor Day in the U.S. This is not a day to honor the “job creators”. Neither to honor investment bankers, oil barons, sons of oil barons, captains of industry, scalpers, schemers, or celebrities. No, Labor Day is for the working stiff, the union man, the working woman – on whose backs the whole shebang or house of cards called the global economy rests. Here’s to the workers. May they obtain fair wages. $15 minimum wage. May the sweat shops be closed. May the workers unionize. May they fight for their rights. Happy Labor Day!!

Bumbastories Special Labor Day Weekend Magazine highlights beach coverage, a song, a story, a little song, and maybe a smile.

IMG_0324An As I Sat On the Bus Thing (#39 in the AISOTB Compendium)

A Special Bumbastories Report on Los Angeles’ #534 bus

I sat on the 534 bus. On the way to the beach! Yes, the 534 bus – one of Los Angeles’ best kept secrets – goes to the beach! The MTA bus that comes every 20 minutes or so schlepps all the way from mid-City to Zuma Beach at the Ventura County line, which is quite a trek for anybody, but especially for a metropolitan bus. The 534 does its best.

Setting out at Fairfax and Washington the 534 goes down Venice Bl and gets on the freeway at Robertson (which allows for a connection to the Silver Line train) and speeds (traffic on the freeway permitting!) out to Santa Monica. IMG_0327The bus meanders a bit in Santa Monica and then gets onto the PCH south of the Santa Monica pier. Next stop is Temescal Canyon (which is probably your best bet to get off if you want to swim or ride your bike). But the bus continues all the way up the PCH to famed Zuma beach! As intrepid Bumbastories reporter I was determined to ride the bus all the way.

It was only in the name of journalistic integrtiy and heart-felt professionalism that I had taken upon myself this reportage on the full 534 route. George Packard had also volunteered to do the 534 story. He figured, sly bastard, to go to the beach and call it reporting and journalistic integrity etc, etc. Ha! George said he hoped to find a scoop, some CNN-style Breaking News story up there in Malibu. I called his bluff, and took the story myself. George was grumbling and mumbling on his way out the office, muttering something about missing the Paul McCartney concert last month.

“Screw George!” is what I say. Let him go out and do his roving reporter thing. Let him come up with a scoop.

To return to the 534 bus, it’s a long, long ride up the PCH past Malibuand up to Zuma Beach – over an hour. IMG_0336The good part about taking the bus, however, is that instead of sitting in your car like a dummy in traffic, you can relax on the bus, sit back, read a book, do the crossword, even write a blog article!IMG_0351

Bumbastories would like to conclude with this political message:




Oh, and I even found a scoop for George Packard! IMG_0350



Just to keep things somber (or is it sombre, mssrs, I can’t decide?) here are two versions of the St. James Infirmary. The first is double-sombre. The second one a little up beat, if that’s possible.


For more information on this geat old song, and for full discussion of the beauty of sad songs, click on the St. James Infirmary Compendium in the Library Section (that square all the way on top).




And now, for the conclusion to the Ted Morris, Los Angeles Private-Eye Story – the fifth and final chapter of a short story long on genre. To read parts 1,2, 3, 4…. click on 1 ….   2      and 3. and 4

If you recall (and even if you don’t) when last we checked in on Ted Morris and Angelina Marquez, it was 1968 and Los Angeles private eye, all-around good guy, Ted Morris picked up Angelina Marquez from Adelante prison in his Chevy Impala and brought her back to her family in L.A.  It was a sad day, if you remember. Robert Kennedy had been assassinated the day before at the Ambassador Hotel.

Ted and Angelina had quickly settled into a nice, two-bedroom West Hollywood garden apartment. The year was now 1970. Time marches on, even in short stories. Ted had quit the detective business and, together with an old police buddy, Joe Peterson, had opened up a sandwich shop on Santa Monica Blvd. Angelina worked there as a waitress when she wasn’t busy studying for her LPN accreditation. Her son Francisco, also worked there. Ted had of course informally adopted young Francisco over the years. This spring young Francisco would be graduating from UCLA with a degree in Political Science. Francisco was a good kid.

Ted Morris took a break from behind the counter at the sandwich shop. Things had worked out well for Ted Morris and his little family. But Ted Morris the shopkeeper was still Ted Morris the private-eye. And Ted Morris the private eye knew that good luck is great, but that trouble is always around the corner -especially with his wife Angelina. Angelina was still a pistol.

In fact, Ted Morris could now see her approaching. Walking toward his restaurant. She was coming down Santa Monica Blvd. The woman still moved like a cat.


To Walk On

To withdraw

To retreat

Is a sad way to go

Always to walk on.

Happy Labor Day and a good week to all! images-1