Monday, November 21, 2011


I've told Lana to kick me if I ever take the beauty of 
the California Central Coast for granted.
I caught this moment as I was working on a forthcoming
post on twilight.  The shape on the right is the back
of Mount Hollister.  The dome on the left reminds me 
of old lava dome caps I've seen.  That or one of the
Mayan temples I saw in Guatamala or Belize that had
been "claimed" by time and jungle growth.
I read with more than a little personal interest the US Army has suspended use of the anti-malaria medicine
Mefloquine.  It was called a "Zombie drug" by Dr. Remington Nevin who published the report that got it banned.
"It's dangerous and should have been killed off years ago," said Dr Nevin.  There have been complaints that it casued
psychiatric and physical side effects.
For several years my assignments took me into
malaria zones in the world and I went through several 
cycles of anti-malaria meds.  One cycle was with
Mefloquine.  I recall Mefloquine was 
prescribed for this trip because I was also getting a strong yellow fever shot in combination with another inoculation and Mefloquine was apparently the reccomended protocol.  The infectious disease doctor said it can cause vivid dreams in some and it can also cause stomach troubles.
My photographer began having stomach issues on the long
Atlantic crossing.  I remember arriving in Athens, exhausted from the flights, getting to the hotel mid afternoon just as a thunderstorm began to rumble the city.
I thought I was dreaming, but realized I was awake as 
I watched the stained glass lampshade over the light above the bed, "bleed down" into the room.  A loud thunderclap
caused the the "melting" light to vibrate like the line
on an oscilloscope. When I realized I was awake and not 
asleep I thought I was loosing my already tentative grip on reality.  Then I remembered the doctor's admonition about
vivid dreams. I switched to taking the daily pill earlier and that helped a bit, but a couple of weeks later as I tried to sleep on a cot in a tent on the edge of the Great Rift Valley in Africa, the night sounds of big cats, varieities of monkeys, birds, water buffalo snorts and elephant all seemed to swirl around the edge of my tent with kind of menace. Interesting trip.  That was the last time I took
Mefloquine.  Probably a good thing it is being dropped by the Army, but malaria kills close to a million people a year.
The UC system has been ordered to review the police response policy and tactics after the pepper spray incident at UC Davis and the baton incident at Berkley. 
One account quoted an official as saying 
the Davis students, sitting with locked arms were
being violent and were not using non violent civil disobedience.  Have we forgotten that linked arms
is a symbol of non violent protest?
I've covered a fair share of marches, demonstrations, sit ins and other protests.  I was knocked out by a flag pole
being wrestled over by a cop and the demonstrator who was waving a Viet Cong flag.  I've felt the sting of tear gas
from canisters fired to break up a demonstration.
Once I was slammed against a bus and my tape recorder
was yanked from my hands by a zealous cop.  Another cop came to my rescue and dressed down the jerk.  By the way
that jerk was, a couple of years later, busted, indicted and convicted on corruption charges. 
America has been through this sort of thing many times, but
it seems we forget the lessons. 
Occupying a sidewalk could have a principle behind it, but it  sad for a movement to find their watershed moment is
the occupation of a sidewalk.
It is sad that authorities feel that power must be displayed 
and demonstrated in the face of people who are 
sitting or marching with linked arms.  
From where I see things, it seems both sides in these
incidents have so tunneled their vision they have
lost sight of larger principles.
What is gained by occupying a sidewalk?
What is gained by violently disrupting people who are
sitting peacefully and chanting?
Will the Republic rise or fall on either?
The movement can find more powerful and effective ways to shape the public debate?
Law enforcement can meet non violent demonstrations
in non violent ways.
Before the UC investigation is released perhaps
we should all read and recall
the Chicago Police Riot
and the Walker Commission Report.
We should all know better by now.
See you down the trail


  1. I think the cop who sprayed those kids has been suspended, at least temporarily.

    The effects of your anti-malarial drug sound like an acid trip, as I've heard of them.

  2. When I went to western Africa a few years ago I took Malarone instead and had some interesting side effects as well. Though not as pronounced as yours, I felt very out of it for a few days. They Yellow Fever vaccination prior to my trip made me much more ill than anticipated. It was much like getting 6 to 8 flu shots at one time and gave me a bit of vertigo. All worth it for such a beautiful continent. I'll take it!