Monday Magazine ——-October 27, 2014.



Welcome to the Bumbastories Monday Magazine, which features no ads, no promos, no UTubes, no quotes, no re-posts, and a minimum of saturated fats. In fact, this week’s magazine promises to be brief, or at least not so long-winded. We open with a song to accompany the Science Section, which could be a little tough without a little song, but could worth your time, being it’s about Time. The song is Up A Lazy River, the Hoagy Carmichael classic, played unfortunately by yours truly. Tough luck. Maybe later you can check out the Mills Brothers version.

Science Section: It’s about time!

A Dialogue:

Simplico: OK. Let me get this straight. You’re telling me that time is just a construct too? Time isn’t “real”, it’s only something we make up?

Sympatico: Yes. The concept of time is something we use to help us understand reality.

Simplico: So what’s real then? Hurry up, tell me quick. I don’t have much time.

images-8Sympatico: Humans are hard-wired over years (not so many) of evoluti0n to understand time and space as dimensions that are absolutely rigid and immutable. We imagine a coordinate system – like some three-dimensional graph paper – stretching out indefinitely in both directions. Time is usually visualized as a giant clock ticking regularly, our timeclocks at work, our digital displays, our lifetimes measured out in hours and minutes. Time goes on forever and forever. It’s a homo sapiens thing, a human failing. I don’t think animals have any conception of time as we do……..

Simplico: Try telling that to my dog when he’s hungry and has to wait for his dinner.

Sympatico: I’d tell him that time can shrink and expand when you’re moving at very high velocities. Tell your dog to hop onto some fast spaceship and have his dinner “to go”. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity tells us that time and space can be bent and altered and that the only thing that’s constant is the speed of light squared- and the Theory of Relativity has been proven correct a zillion times. If it were wrong, your cell phone wouldn’t work. Time is a human concept and it has changed over (excuse the expression) time and across cultures. Before the invention of clocks, people just chilled and moved a lot slower….”

Simplico: Unless a lion was chasing them.

Sympatico: This is true. You did have to be careful of lions in the old days. Amyhoo, they didn’t worry about being productive back then or about “wasting time”. …

Simplico: Talk about “wasting time”, let’s get this over with. So tell me, why is the speed of light a constant in the universe?

Sympatico: I’ll have to think about that. Give me some time. images-5

Simplico: Gotcha!


And now some songs that Bumba has been working on as part of the Chester’s Songs CD that will be a companion piece to the One Life and the Phantom Speaks novels. What? A music CD to accompany a novel?

Walk That Lonesome Valley is a traditional spiritual that I suppose I learned from Pete Seeger. The other song is one that I could never figure out the chords on. Once I decided to put it on the CD, I looked up the lyrics and chords and was delighted to find the chords very simple. It is a great chord progression, written of course by Holland – Dozier – Holland at Motown and sung so wonderfully by Levi Stubbs and the Four Tops. The two songs are both cited in the books. While I’m doing a “Reach Out”, let me ask (beg) on behalf of all the people who listen and read this blog (all two of them) that, if you can sing and live in the Los Angeles area (the Southland, we like to call it) that you contact poor Bumba and help him with the singing. Meanwhile, please sing along!




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, who were apparently indifferent to his presence. Without the paparazzi and his usual entourage he looked anyone else. The celebrity had thought that he was special. “Maybe I’m just like everyone else after all,” he said to himself. “This is much better'” he considered, as he sipped his iced coffee.

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

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.


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.