The Bumbastories Monthly Weekend Magazine

IMG_1107Table of Contents:








Whilst Angelenos celebrated and reveled images-2 images-3 in this week’s unseasonably moist weather (actually just some mild showers, a bit of mist and a bit of cooler spring weather), and whilst the meteorologists wet their fingers, held them up to the wind, and happily announced that there’s a good chance for an El Nino, big rainfall next winter (actually the meteorologists stick their fingers not in the air but in the ocean to test the temperature) – whilst all of these scientific calculations, mist-ifying phenomena, celebrations, reveling and other revelations were going on, the West Coast drought remained critical – particularly in the long-term.

Water consumption, according to LA Times reports, has been reduced statewide by 13%, far short of Gov. Brown’s goal of 25% voluntary reduction. Much more water needs to be conserved. Yes, but how? At whose expense? The politics of water management and control of water resources in California has a long and mostly crooked history. All the same, the politicians in Sacramento will need to intervene extensively with mandated usage limits, rate increases, and construction of infrastructure that will recycle waste water. After all, if you look around, Californians, you’ll notice a lot of desert. And a lot of people…….

Meanwhile, at the Bumbastories Institute for Sustainability and for the Obtaining of Government Grants and Individual Contributions, research scientists report a major breakthrough in water recycling. It’s a bit “hi-tech” and beyond the understanding of most laymen (Please see diagram below). Some of the scientists at the Institute have dubbed their invention “The Plug”. Others are calling it simply “The Stopper”. According to the scientists, the regular insertion of “The Plug” into kitchen and bath drains, together with the occasional use of another piece of technology called “The Pail”, combined with another technique the scientists call “bailing water”, results in significant water recycling savings! “Use that soapy water to flush the toilet. Or throw it out on your new low-maintenance, lawn!” said one of the hi-tech guys at the Institute.images-4

Gee! What will they think of next?



The following field recording was purportedly made by Alan Lomax about 80 years ago. However, it’s also possible that it was recorded sometime last week.


Here’s some info on how to obtain Stephen Baum’s novel titledIMG_1095 One Life or The Lives of Chester Knowles



The jukebox at the Step Inn Bar and Grill in West Middleton, Connecticut was playing Bridge Over Troubled Water, an old Simon and Garfunkle song. In a side booth sat Richard Cory, together with his friends Marco, Henry and Franz. Richard Cory, who bore no relation to that other Simon and Garfunkle song called Richard Cory, was gesticulating with his hands, waving them up in the air. Finally he smacked them down loudly on the hardwood table. He leaned forward and announced to his friends:

“Let me tell yez. I’m a victim too. That’s right, a victim too. Of this rotten, effen, capitalistic, sadistic, corporate, capitalistic society  that….”

Here Richard’s words slurred, as he had been drinking beers all night.

As the four friends staggered out the bar onto the still-wet sidewalk, Richard added, leaning against Marco, “And let me tell you something. I ain’t gonna live like this in this dumb-assed town for the rest of my life neither.”

“Well, none of us were ever going to live past 25 neither too. And here we are,” responded Henry with a chuckle.

“Yeah. It all changes, my brother. It all changes,” added Marco.

“Oh, go fuck yourselves,” said Richard Cory.


Note from the Editor: We thought that this might be the beginning of a little novella. So, if you like, you can continue this story yourself. Write the next chapter!



Bumbastories would like to recommend very highly to one and all the music of Madagascar.

The folk music of Africa shines brightly, but is only occasionally brought to light in the West. Paul Simon, Taj Mahal and others have introduced African music to their repertoires. But for most, the mainstream commercial rock/rap/glitz is all they hear. Which makes Malagasy music such a great treasure. In my musical meanderings amongst the stacks of CDs at the public libraries I was lucky to chance upon Malagasy music maybe 15 years ago. The first Malagasy musician I heard was the monumental Rakotozafy, who remains the island’s great musician. Compared on the album cover to the blues giant Robert Johnson, I would place Rakotozafy  closer to the Babe Ruth level. He is a magnificent musician. He plays the valiha, a Malagasy cross between a sitar and a banjo. The Malagasy instruments have beautiful tone. The numerous musical styles of today’s Madagascar are a unique mix of Indian, African, and local traditions. Rakotozafy, who died around 1968, only made one album titled Rakotozafy, valiha malaza, famous valiha. As I say, it is a gem.

There are several fine anthologies of Malagasy music. The Rough Guide to the Music of Madagascar of the Rough Guide series, all of which are quite good, is worth a listen. The
World Out of Time, a two-CD set, is excellent. The Moon and the Banana Tree anthology is also a very good one. Simply there is a wealth of great music and great musicians in Madagascar. Talking of great musicians, Rajery, another valiha player, is a marvel, a phenomenal musician. Justin Vali too. Check it out.


Wishing everyone a pleasant week



15 thoughts on “The Bumbastories Monthly Weekend Magazine

  1. Hang on a minute, I watched a documentary in the cinema about how your part of the world has been utterly destroyed by earthquakes, I think The Rock was involved somehow, he always seems to be around when bad stuff happens, like The Scorpion King.

    1. There you go with your geology rant: always going on about the Rock. To correct you on your history, Superman saved California from that Lex Luther-engineered earthquake back in Superman I. As for the Scorpion King, I always shake out my shoes in the AM.

  2. I have been trying to do my part with the gray water from the shower and use it to water our dying plants. Oh, so sad. Mostly, my neighbors’ lawns look quite nice. What’s up with that, Stephen? I think if they wanted to get to that 25% and really pushed, people could do a lot more. They need a marketing campaign or something. I enjoyed your music!

    1. Thank you, Amy. Voluntary saving is only symbolic and educational. Most people won’t conserve unless forced. It’s the role of government to address the larger societal problems. Raising the price is the most effective and simplest way to reduce waste.

  3. The Plug”and “The Stopper”—surely that takes a degree from MIT to figure out? 😉

    Really sad to see such drought in California though. Those of us in states without a problem often take our H2O for granted. Reminds us not to.

  4. Thank you for keeping us informed with delightful stories. Yes, the water situation in California is drastic. We tore up our lawn years and years ago and planted California native plants. Cutting back on using water is becoming a daily challenge. My recent water bill for two months was $77, so perhaps we’re doing something right.

  5. Stephen, wonderful as always! I will chime in on the water conservation: we collect shower water in pails and water our various plantings with it. Valencia is a particularly hot and dry place but we have recreated Santa Paula in our yard, so we feel a responsibility to recycle gray water every way we can. We are also getting rid of all of our lawn by planting drought-tolerant coverings instead, under the eagle eyes of the HOA, who are still not allowing us to do this on our own (we are supposed to file bureaucratic reams of paperwork first). We figure they won’t notice if we do it gradually. 😀

    1. Good luck with it. I confess I received conservation inspiration when the bathtub spigot was dripping and I placed a pail underneath and then started dumping the water down the toilet.

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