Friday, October 31, 2014

Plains Geometry: Parfleche

From yee Wiki:

Parfleche is a type of container made from buffalo raw hide that Plains people fashioned into containers and decorated with brightly colored geometrical designs.

A parfleche is a Native American rawhide bag, typically used for holding dried meats and pemmican.

The word was originally used by French fur traders (it was not a word used by the Native Americans). It derives from the French "parer" meaning "parry" or "defend", and "flèche" meaning "arrow", so called because the hide was tough enough to be used as a shield.

The original bags had graphics that were actually maps, general geographical depictions of the surrounding land. The river as a circle of life and mountains were the most common features.

Sixties Flashback: Happy Halloween

Dora Tse-pe Pueblo Pottery

My fascination with all things Native American art continues to grow...such are some examples of Dora Tse-pe's pottery...

Dora Tse-pe, a Tewa Indian born at Zia Pueblo in 1939, has developed her craft at San Ildefonso. Sometimes called "contemporary," she balances traditional methods with innovative juxtapositions of clays, colors, and textures.

Tse-pe learned pottery as a child from her mother, Candelaria Gachupin, gathering clay, sand, and the basalt that they added for temper (instead of volcanic ash). Basalt had to be stored in the ground to keep it from oxidizing. Dora would bring it home and bury it until it was time to make pots, when the basalt would be pounded and ground into a powder.

When Dora married and moved to San Ildefonso Pueblo, she already knew how to make pottery, but she watched Rose Gonzales, her new mother-in-law, make red and black pottery. "We didn't polish at Zia," says Dora, who has helped Rose gather clay and fuel for fire for ten years.

Dora says that she was inspired by Maria Martinez's son Popovi Da, by his son Tony Da, and by her mother-in-law, Rose, who came to San Ildefonso from San Juan Pueblo

Rose was making polished black pottery as she did at San Juan. Dora says Rose claimed she taught Santa Clara potters to carve and started women carving at San Ildefonso and that she is responsible for the great tradition of carving polished red or black pots.

Dora has received a lot of recognition for her work. The first prize she ever won was a blue ribbon at the 1969 New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque for a simple, plain black pot that she had polished and fired with Rose Gonzales

Rose often took Dora on workshop tours, and Dora took her own pots along, too. Dora says that every year at the Indian Market in Santa Fe, she gets some kind of ribbon, and that in 1988 and 1991 she won the prestigious Best in Traditional Pottery award.

Now Dora travels all over the country for shows and demonstrations and entertains workshop groups at her home on the pueblo. "I love to carve. I do some new things, but I will never get away from carving altogether. Some artists do crazy things. I won't," declares Dora, who has filled her home with traditional pots made by her mother at the Zia Pueblo.

Dora's innovation in clay work -- she sees her work as an extension of traditional pottery making -- is to combine various colored clays in the same piece, for instance, polished red clay combined with dull-surfaced, gold-flecked micaceous clay, or red polished clay combined with dull black and micaceous clays, or other combinations she works out. 

Micaceous clay, used years ago for functional pots by many different Indian cultures, is now being revived for its exciting orange and gold colors; Dora has accepted the challenge of finding the clay and working with it.

She also adds turquoise and coral to accent her deep carving technique or to mark a change of clay color on a pot. Dora complains that her galleries and collectors call her work "contemporary Indian." Dora dislikes the term because she considers herself traditional. She claims to be unaware of the path she is forging.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sonwai Tribute to Charles Loloma: Height Bracelet

Pictured here is an extraordinarily large 18K gold “Height Bracelet," inlaid with over 200 exotic stones and precious woods by Verma (Sonwai) Nequatewa, circa 2005

Verma Nequatewa (Hopi, b. 1949), also known by her professional name (along with her sister) “Sonwai”, is Charles Loloma's niece, his former studio apprentice, and the inheritor of his business and artistic legacy after his death in 1991. 

This astounding stacked-stone Height Bracelet might very possibly be Verma's finest effort to date in her long career and it took her over a year to complete. Verma made it on commission as a modern-day tribute to Loloma based on one of his most extraordinary designs, a design she took even further with this piece. 

The bracelet features approximately 200 individually set, hand-cut exotic stones and precious woods, including spiderweb and clear Lone Mountain, Nevada turquoise. 

This bracelet has been featured in a number of prominent books and articles on contemporary Native American jewelry. It measures 1 5/8 inches wide, with a 7/8-inch  maximum height, and weighs a hefty 186 grams or 6.56 ounces.

The piece is signed "Sonwai", marked "18K", and is stamped with the Sonwai Hummingbird hallmark on its interior.

"My life and my jewelry have been greatly influenced by two things. The first is by my good fortune to have grown up and to continue to live on the Hopi Reservation. This enables me to witness the grandeur of the landscape on a daily basis and to be involved constantly in the ceremonial activities that are taking place here. The second major influence is that of my uncle, Charles Loloma.

When Charles came back to Hotevilla, I was still in high school. As I watched and listened to him I became interested in helping him and learning art. I was most fortunate to be able to work with him, listen to him, and listen to his conversations with other artists of various kinds for those years of apprenticeship. His insight is a major factor in my work.

Charles taught that beauty is all around us on Hopi; in the environment, in the culture, in ceremony. By combining elements from what is a part of my everyday life, the finest of ideas, with the finest of materials, I can interpret a part of Hopi for people to see and wear.

Charles spoiled us by purchasing and using only the finest of stones. I continue to enjoy inlaying with only the finest of materials, looking for the inner secrets of each. Sometimes the idea for a piece comes from a stone -- the way it is shaped or the feeling it gives. From the stones comes the shape and structure of the inlay. My role is to allow the stones to become what they can, in the way that they need to be. When a piece is completed, it can then go on its own to create joy and happiness in others.” -- Verma "Sonwai" Nequatewa

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Henry Miller Quotes

Henry Miller (1891 -1980) is renowned for breaking with existing literary forms and developing a new sort of semi-autobiographical novel that blended character study, social criticism, philosophical reflection, explicit language, sex, surrealist free association, and mysticism.

His hallmark works in this mode are Tropic of Cancer (1934), Black Spring (1936), Tropic of Capricorn (1939), and The Rosy Crucifixion trilogy (1949–59), all of which are based on his experiences in New York and Paris, and all of which were banned in the United States until 1961.

Miller also wrote travel memoirs and literary criticism, and created watercolors.

Infographic: Alternatives to Milk

Source: Huffingtonpost

Friday, October 24, 2014

More Art Walkabout Photos

Don Mangus, Street Geometry, iPhone photo, 2014

Don Mangus, Fall Light, iPhone photo, 2014

Don Mangus, Poolside Patterns, iPhone photo, 2014

Don Mangus, Poolside Patterns II, iPhone photo, 2014

Edmond J. Fitzgerald Paintings

Edmond James Fitzgerald (1912-1989) 

A marine, landscape, and portrait painter, as well as combat artist during World War II, Edmond J. Fitzgerald was born in Seattle in 1912, one of seven children. He graduated from the California School of Fine Arts where he was a student of Lee Randolph

At age nineteen, Fitzgerald was part of the U. S. Geological Survey Expedition to Alaska, and was so taken with the geography, he returned annually for the next ten years, sometimes in the company of Eustace Ziegler who "influenced him more than any other artist." 

Ziegler and Fitzgerald had nearby studios on Pier 9 in Seattle on the waterfront. Another good friend and painting companion was Eric Johanson, with whom he painted near Index, Washington on the Skyhomish River. Fitzgerald also had a studio near Haystack Rock on the Oregon coast.

Fitzgerald served 26 years in the United States Naval Reserve. During World War II, he commanded an LST (landing craft) and had numerous subsequent combat and other naval activity art assignments.

In 1940, just prior to his naval service, he married Mary Louise Streets, one of his art students who became a ceramics artist and also worked with him on murals. The couple had two children, whom Fitzgerald sometimes used as models for figure and portrait painting. 

In 1940, they moved to New York City, and after the War, settled in Larchmont, New York where he had a studio from where he also taught art classes. 

Also, he used the Greenwich Village studio of his good friend Chauncey Ryder when Ryder was on vacation, and Ryder sponsored Fitzgerald's membership in the Salmagundi Club

Fitzgerald sometimes returned to the Pacific Northwest beginning 1946, when he did numerous landscapes of favorite places for a one-man exhibition at the Grand Central Galleries in New York.

Teaching assignments included Newark Academy of Art, Parson's School of Design, and the New York Academy of Design

Fitzgerald was a past president of the Allied Artists of America and the American Watercolor Society, for whom he became the first Honorary President and also a regular exhibition juror. 

Memberships included The Artist's Fellowship and the National Society of Mural Painters.

In 1977, his first wife died. The following year Fitzgerald married Margaret Trent, and they moved to her home town of Cincinnati. He died there from cancer in 1989.

He was the author of Painting and Drawing in Charcoal and Oil and Marine Painting in Watercolor.

Written by Lonnie Pierson Dunbier


Allan J. Kollar,  Edmond James Fitzgerald, N.A., A.W.S., Exhibition Catalogue for Kollar & Davidson, October 30-December 2. 1990.

Susan E. Meyer, 40 Watercolorists and How They Work

Haruki Murakami Quotes

Haruki Murakami (村上 春樹 b. 1949) is a contemporary Japanese writer. Murakami has been translated into 50 languages, and his best-selling books have sold millions of copies.

His works of fiction and non-fiction have garnered critical acclaim and numerous awards, both in Japan and internationally, including the World Fantasy Award (2006) and the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award (2006), while his oeuvre received among others the Franz Kafka Prize (2006) and the Jerusalem Prize (2009). 

Murakami's most notable works include A Wild Sheep Chase, Norwegian Wood, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Kafka on the Shore, and 1Q84. He has also translated a number of English works into Japanese, from Raymond Carver to J. D. Salinger.

Murakami's fiction, still criticized by Japan's literary establishment as un-Japanese, was influenced by Western writers from Raymond Chandler to Kurt Vonnegut by way of Richard Brautigan. It is frequently surrealistic and melancholic or fatalistic, marked by a Kafkaesque rendition of the "recurrent themes of alienation and loneliness" he weaves into his narratives. 

He is also considered an important figure in postmodern literature. Steven Poole of The Guardian praised Murakami as "among the world's greatest living novelists" for his works and achievements.

Two Charles Loloma Rings

Study: Putting Feelings Into Words

Affect Labeling Disrupts Amygdala Activity in Response to Affective Stimuli

Matthew D. Lieberman,
Naomi I. Eisenberger,
Molly J. Crockett,
Sabrina M. Tom,
Jennifer H. Pfeifer and
Baldwin M. Way

University of California, Los Angeles


Putting feelings into words (affect labeling) has long been thought to help manage negative emotional experiences; however, the mechanisms by which affect labeling produces this benefit remain largely unknown. Recent neuroimaging studies suggest a possible neurocognitive pathway for this process, but methodological limitations of previous studies have prevented strong inferences from being drawn. A functional magnetic resonance imaging study of affect labeling was conducted to remedy these limitations. The results indicated that affect labeling, relative to other forms of encoding, diminished the response of the amygdala and other limbic regions to negative emotional images. Additionally, affect labeling produced increased activity in a single brain region, right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (RVLPFC). Finally, RVLPFC and amygdala activity during affect labeling were inversely correlated, a relationship that was mediated by activity in medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC). These results suggest that affect labeling may diminish emotional reactivity along a pathway from RVLPFC to MPFC to the amygdala.

Address correspondence to Matthew Lieberman, Department of Psychology, Franz Hall, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90095–1563, e-mail:

Sunday, October 19, 2014

From Brain Pickings Weekly: An Antidote to the Age of Anxiety: AlanWatts on Happiness and How to Live with Presence

by Maria Popova

Wisdom on overcoming the greatest human frustration from the pioneer of Eastern philosophy in the West.

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives,Annie Dillard wrote in her timeless reflection on presence over productivity — a timely antidote to the central anxiety of our productivity-obsessed age. Indeed, my own New Year’s resolution has been to stop measuring my days by degree of productivity and start experiencing them by degree of presence. But what, exactly, makes that possible?

This concept of presence is rooted in Eastern notions of mindfulnessthe ability to go through life with crystalline awareness and fully inhabit our experience — largely popularized in the West by British philosopher and writer Alan Watts (January 6, 1915–November 16, 1973), who also gave us this fantastic meditation on the life of purpose. In the altogether excellent 1951 volume The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety (public library), Watts argues that the root of our human frustration and daily anxiety is our tendency to live for the future, which is an abstraction. He writes:

"If to enjoy even an enjoyable present we must have the assurance of a happy future, we are “crying for the moon.” We have no such assurance. The best predictions are still matters of probability rather than certainty, and to the best of our knowledge every one of us is going to suffer and die. If, then, we cannot live happily without an assured future, we are certainly not adapted to living in a finite world where, despite the best plans, accidents will happen, and where death comes at the end."

What keeps us from happiness, Watts argues, is our inability to fully inhabit the present:

The “primary consciousness,” the basic mind which knows reality rather than ideas about it, does not know the future. It lives completely in the present, and perceives nothing more than what is at this moment. The ingenious brain, however, looks at that part of present experience called memory, and by studying it is able to make predictions. These predictions are, relatively, so accurate and reliable (e.g., “everyone will die”) that the future assumes a high degree of reality — so high that the present loses its value.

But the future is still not here, and cannot become a part of experienced reality until it is present. Since what we know of the future is made up of purely abstract and logical elements — inferences, guesses, deductions — it cannot be eaten, felt, smelled, seen, heard, or otherwise enjoyed. To pursue it is to pursue a constantly retreating phantom, and the faster you chase it, the faster it runs ahead. This is why all the affairs of civilization are rushed, why hardly anyone enjoys what he has, and is forever seeking more and more. Happiness, then, will consist, not of solid and substantial realities, but of such abstract and superficial things as promises, hopes, and assurances.

Watts argues that our primary mode of relinquishing presence is by leaving the body and retreating into the mind — that ever-calculating, self-evaluating, seething cauldron of thoughts, predictions, anxieties, judgments, and incessant meta-experiences about experience itself. Writing more than half a century before our age of computers, touch-screens, and the quantified self, Watts admonishes:

The brainy modern loves not matter but measures, no solids but surfaces.

The working inhabitants of a modern city are people who live inside a machine to be batted around by its wheels. They spend their days in activities which largely boil down to counting and measuring, living in a world of rationalized abstraction which has little relation to or harmony with the great biological rhythms and processes. As a matter of fact, mental activities of this kind can now be done far more efficiently by machines than by men — so much so that in a not too distant future the human brain may be an obsolete mechanism for logical calculation. Already the human computer is widely displaced by mechanical and electrical computers of far greater speed and efficiency. If, then, man’s principal asset and value is his brain and his ability to calculate, he will become an unsaleable commodity in an era when the mechanical operation of reasoning can be done more effectively by machines.

If we are to continue to live for the future, and to make the chief work of the mind prediction and calculation, man must eventually become a parasitic appendage to a mass of clockwork.

To be sure, Watts doesn’t dismiss the mind as a worthless or fundamentally perilous human faculty. Rather, he insists that it if we let its unconscious wisdom unfold unhampered — like, for instance, what takes place during the “incubation” stage of unconscious processing in the creative process — it is our ally rather than our despot. It is only when we try to control it and turn it against itself that problems arise:

Working rightly, the brain is the highest form of “instinctual wisdom.” Thus it should work like the homing instinct of pigeons and the formation of the fetus in the womb — without verbalizing the process or knowing “how” it does it. The self-conscious brain, like the self-conscious heart, is a disorder, and manifests itself in the acute feeling of separation between “I” and my experience. The brain can only assume its proper behavior when consciousness is doing what it is designed for: not writhing and whirling to get out of present experience, but being effortlessly aware of it.

And yet the brain does writhe and whirl, producing our great human insecurity and existential anxiety amidst a universe of constant flux. (For, as Henry Miller memorably put it, “It is almost banal to say so yet it needs to be stressed continually: all is creation, all is change, all is flux, all is metamorphosis.”) Paradoxically, recognizing that the experience of presence is the only experience is also a reminder that our “I” doesn’t exist beyond this present moment, that there is no permanent, static, and immutable “self” which can grant us any degree of security and certainty for the future — and yet we continue to grasp for precisely that assurance of the future, which remains an abstraction. 

Our only chance for awakening from this vicious cycle, Watts argues, is bringing full awareness to our present experience — something very different from judging it, evaluating it, or measuring it up against some arbitrary or abstract ideal. He writes:

There is a contradiction in wanting to be perfectly secure in a universe whose very nature is momentariness and fluidity. But the contradiction lies a little deeper than the mere conflict between the desire for security and the fact of change. If I want to be secure, that is, protected from the flux of life, I am wanting to be separate from life. Yet it is this very sense of separateness which makes me feel insecure. To be secure means to isolate and fortify the “I,” but it is just the feeling of being an isolated “I” which makes me feel lonely and afraid. In other words, the more security I can get, the more I shall want.

To put it still more plainly: the desire for security and the feeling of insecurity are the same thing. To hold your breath is to lose your breath. A society based on the quest for security is nothing but a breath-retention contest in which everyone is as taut as a drum and as purple as a beet.

He takes especial issue with the very notion of self-improvement — something particularly prominent in the season of New Year’s resolutions — and admonishes against the implication at its root:

I can only think seriously of trying to live up to an ideal, to improve myself, if I am split in two pieces. There must be a good “I” who is going to improve the bad “me.” “I,” who has the best intentions, will go to work on wayward “me,” and the tussle between the two will very much stress the difference between them. Consequently “I” will feel more separate than ever, and so merely increase the lonely and cut-off feelings which make “me” behave so badly.

Happiness, he argues, isn’t a matter of improving our experience, or even merely confronting it, but remaining present with it in the fullest possible sense:

To stand face to face with insecurity is still not to understand it. To understand it, you must not face it but be it. It is like the Persian story of the sage who came to the door of Heaven and knocked. From within the voice of God asked, “Who is there” and the sage answered, “It is I.” “In this House,” replied the voice, “there is no room for thee and me.” So the sage went away, and spent many years pondering over this answer in deep meditation. Returning a second time, the voice asked the same question, and again the sage answered, “It is I.” The door remained closed. After some years he returned for the third time, and, at his knocking, the voice once more demanded, “Who is there?” And the sage cried, “It is thyself!” The door was opened.

We don’t actually realize that there is no security, Watts asserts, until we confront the myth of fixed selfhood and recognize that the solid “I” doesn’t exist — something modern psychology has termed “the self illusion”. And yet that is incredibly hard to do, for in the very act of this realization there is a realizing self. Watts illustrates this paradox beautifully:

While you are watching this present experience, are you aware of someone watching it? Can you find, in addition to the experience itself, an experiencer? Can you, at the same time, read this sentence and think about yourself reading it? You will find that, to think about yourself reading it, you must for a brief second stop reading. The first experience is reading. The second experience is the thought, “I am reading.” Can you find any thinker, who is thinking the thought, I am reading?” In other words, when present experience is the thought, “I am reading,” can you think about yourself thinking this thought?

Once again, you must stop thinking just, “I am reading.” You pass to a third experience, which is the thought, “I am thinking that I am reading.” Do not let the rapidity with which these thoughts can change deceive you into the feeling that you think them all at once.

In each present experience you were only aware of that experience. You were never aware of being aware. You were never able to separate the thinker from the thought, the knower from the known. All you ever found was a new thought, a new experience.

What makes us unable to live with pure awareness, Watts points out, is the ball and chain of our memory and our warped relationship with time:

The notion of a separate thinker, of an “I” distinct from the experience, comes from memory and from the rapidity with which thought changes. It is like whirling a burning stick to give the illusion of a continuous circle of fire. If you imagine that memory is a direct knowledge of the past rather than a present experience, you get the illusion of knowing the past and the present at the same time. This suggests that there is something in you distinct from both the past and the present experiences. You reason, “I know this present experience, and it is different from that past experience. If I can compare the two, and notice that experience has changed, I must be something constant and apart.”

But, as a matter of fact, you cannot compare this present experience with a past experience. You can only compare it with a memory of the past, which is a part of the present experience. When you see clearly that memory is a form of present experience, it will be obvious that trying to separate yourself from this experience is as impossible as trying to make your teeth bite themselves.

To understand this is to realize that life is entirely momentary, that there is neither permanence nor security, and that there is no “I” which can be protected.

And therein lies the crux of our human struggle:

The real reason why human life can be so utterly exasperating and frustrating is not because there are facts called death, pain, fear, or hunger. The madness of the thing is that when such facts are present, we circle, buzz, writhe, and whirl, trying to get the “I” out of the experience. We pretend that we are amoebas, and try to protect ourselves from life by splitting in two. Sanity, wholeness, and integration lie in the realization that we are not divided, that man and his present experience are one, and that no separate “I” or mind can be found.

To understand music, you must listen to it. But so long as you are thinking, “I am listening to this music,” you are not listening.

The Wisdom of Insecurity is immeasurably wonderful — existentially necessary, even — in its entirety, and one of those books bound to stay with you for a lifetime.

From Brain Pickings Weekly: Why Haters Hate: Kierkegaard Explains thePsychology of Bullying and Online Trolling in 1847

Celebrated as the first true existentialist philosopher, Danish writer and thinker Søren Kierkegaard (May 5, 1813–November 11, 1855) may have only lived a short life, but it was a deep one and its impact radiated widely outward, far across the centuries and disciplines and schools of thought. He was also among the multitude of famous writers who benefited from keeping a diary and nowhere does his paradoxical blend of melancholy and idealism, of despair about the human condition and optimism about the purpose of life, shine more brilliantly than in The Diary of Søren Kierkegaard (public library) – a compendium of Kierkegaard's frequently intense, always astoundingly thoughtful reflections on everything from happiness and melancholy to writing and literature to self-doubt and public opinion.

In an immeasurably insightful entry from 1847, 34-year-old Kierkegaard observes a pervasive pathology of our fallible humanity, explaining the same basic psychology that lurks behind contemporary phenomena like bullying, trolling, and the general assaults of the web's self-appointed critics, colloquially and rather appropriately known as haters.

Kierkegaard writes:

"There is a form of envy of which I frequently have seen examples, in which an individual tries to obtain something by bullying. If, for instance, I enter a place where many are gathered, it often happens that one or another right away takes up arms against me by beginning to laugh; presumably he feels that he is being a tool of public opinion. But lo and behold, if I then make a casual remark to him, that same person becomes infinitely pliable and obliging. Essentially it shows that he regards me as something great, maybe even greater than I am: but if he can't be admitted as a participant in my greatness, at least he will laugh at me. But as soon as he becomes a participant, as it were, he brags about my greatness."

That is what comes of living in a petty community.

It is unlikely that Kierkegaard was aware of what would become known as the Benjamin Franklin Effect – the Founding Father formulated his famous reverse-psychology trick for handling haters – and yet he goes on to relay an anecdote that embodies it perfectly. He recounts coming upon three young men outside his gate who, upon seeing him, "began to grin and altogether initiated the whole gamut of insolence." As he approached them, Kierkegaard noticed that they were smoking cigars and turned to one of them, asking for a light. Suddenly, the men's attitude took a dramatic U-turn – the seemingly simple exchange had provided precisely that invitation for participation in greatness:

"Instantly, all three doffed their hats and it would seem I had done them a service by asking for a light. Ergo: the same people would be happy to cry bravo for me if I merely addressed a friendly, let alone, flattering word to them; as it is, they cry pereat [he shall perish!] and are defiant... All it amounts to is play-acting. But how invaluably interesting to have one's knowledge of human psychology enriched in this way."

The Diary of Søren Kierkegaard may be short in both pages and lifetime covered, but it is a treasure trove of equally penetrating insights into the human experience. Complement it with Kierkegaard on our greatest source of unhappiness, then visit Anne Lamott's brilliant modern manifesto for handling haters.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Icons From the Age of Anxiety : Ebola: Landmark Outbreak in Dallas,Texas, USA

Ebola has broken out in the heart of the city I live in. As you might imagine it's an especially fearsome contagious disease for someone with OCD or other anxiety disorders. And for those "neurotypical" persons suffering recurrent rumination filled with irrational fear and loathing -- welcome to a bitter taste of the OCD experience. Anyway, without being overly alarmist, at the bottom of this post is some official information regarding disinfectants that some in Dallas may find helpful in the uncertain days ahead...

Nurses at a nationwide convention in Las Vegas staged a "die in" to dramatize the USA's lack of medical preparation and training for an Ebola outbreak. "It's not 'if,' but  'when'," they said. A Nevada healthcare official stated that such an Ebola outbreak was "extremely unlikely" to occur any time soon in the USA, and so, he was far more concerned about the spread of venereal disease in Sin City. The very next day, the nurses were proven correct on all counts when a Liberian visitor brought the contagion to Dallas.

Officials held news conferences and officials reassured the public that they were confident that they could halt any Ebola outbreak in its tracks. While they stressed that only close direct contact with "bodily fluids" from the afflicted could transmit the disease -- and thus it was "low risk" for the public. The hazmat suits worn by clean-up crews soon suggested otherwise -- that the virus could indeed linger in the environment and be very contagious.

Although told to quarantine themselves for a "wait and watch" self-monitoring period of 21 days, the family defied this request, showed an alarming lack of personal responsibilityand sent at least one "high risk" child, and possibly more, into public schools the following day. The need to socialize is a human trait that is hard to override long-term -- but this was the very next day.

Then, unfortunately, an intensive care nurse treating the Liberian patient came down with the virus, even though she was wearing protective gear. Once again, those demonstrating nurses in Las Vegas were proven correct in their warnings. A "break in protocol" was cited as the reason for the new case -- but no one has yet explained exactly what this "break" was. The apartment at the new Lakewood area location in Dallas was isolated and special cleaning crews were sent in. The nurse sought treatment and went into quarantine at the hospital within 90 minutes of being symptomatic.

The Dallas nurse's pet dog was also quarantined (at another location) as all mammals may act as carriers for the deadly disease. The pet dog of a case in Spain (another nurse) was recently euthanized as a public health precaution, despite pleas from the pet-loving public. It has not been explained how or even if such pets can be monitored with test for symptoms.

Hazmat crews arrived once again to disinfect the second apartment, and police are guarding it to make sure no one enters the building. TV news crews are still lingering around the site after several days, possibly to film "location shots" for their news updates. Ebola factoid flyers were issued to homeowners in the area in an attempt to ease fears. Only one "high risk" contact with the nurse was identified, and that person is also being monitored.

Chlorine Bleach: A Trusted Ally in the Battle against Ebola

By the Water Quality and Health Council, October 10, 2014

A group of San Diego women with close ties to the West African nation of Liberia is raising funds to help fight the Ebola outbreak in that country. Their chosen weapon:  buckets of bleach.  In a recent video, Deborah Lindholm, the founder of the group, Foundation for Women, describes life today in Liberia:  “There are no handshakes, no touching, no hugging; there is just complete and utter fear in Liberia right now…There are buckets of bleach all over the streets in Liberia and the people in Liberia and in the surrounding areas that have been affected by Ebola understand that if they keep their hands clean they can kill off the virus.

Hand washing is an extremely important component of infection control as germs picked up on the hands are readily transferred to the eyes, mouth and nose by touching.  

Keeping all settings clean—homes, healthcare settings, schools and workplaces—is another critical factor in infection control because it helps prevent hands becoming re-contaminated between hand washings.

Thousands of gallons of concentrated chlorine bleach and other critical equipment are loaded into the cargo hold of an airplane destined for Sierra Leone, September, 2014. 

World Vision and the American Chemistry Council coordinated the humanitarian airlift to help fight Ebola.  Chlorine bleach was donated by Olin Corporation; domestic transportation services for bleach were donated by CSX Corporation and the Buffalo and Pittsburgh Railroad; bleach bottling services were donated by The James Austin Company.

Using Bleach to Destroy Ebola on Surfaces

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “The Ebola virus can be eliminated relatively easily from surfaces using heat, alcohol-based products, and sodium hypochlorite (bleach) or calcium hypochlorite (bleaching powder) at appropriate concentrations.” 

The Ebola virus can live on inanimate surfaces, especially those that are soiled with blood or other body fluids from infected people.  In the later stages of Ebola, when patients experience internal and external bleeding, they may vomit blood or have bloody diarrhea, all potential sources of infection for those around them.

WHO recommends surfaces or objects contaminated with blood, other body fluids, secretions or excretions from Ebola patients be cleaned and disinfected as quickly as possible. 

The following information on bleach use against Ebola is based on a September, 2014 WHO guidance document:

As soon as possible after a spill of bodily fluids, clean the affected surface with a standard hospital detergent; then apply disinfectant.  This order of operations helps prevent the disinfectant becoming inactivated by organic matter on surfaces.
A 0.5% chlorine solution or a solution containing 5,000 parts per million free available chlorine is an effective surface disinfectant against Ebola.  

To prepare such a solution from liquid chlorine bleach or solid calcium hypochlorite, follow the directions in Examples I and II below.  Note that chlorine solutions have a limited shelf life, and should be prepared fresh daily.

Wastes, such as feces, urine, vomit and liquid waste from washing can be disposed of in the sanitary sewer or pit latrine with no further treatment.  WHO provides detailed guidance on Waste Management Procedures.

Don’t use bleach for everything: If an uninfected person is splashed with the bodily fluid of an infected person, as soon as possible wash the affected skin surface with soap and water.  

If a mucous membrane is exposed to infected bodily fluid, as soon as possible irrigate with copious amounts of water or an eyewash solution, not with chlorine solutions or other disinfectants.

 Bleach:  A Trusted Ally

In the rapidly unfolding saga of the West African Ebola outbreak, the critical role of surface disinfection is highlighted repeatedly by public health professionals along with public education, isolation and quarantine, contact tracing, good hygiene and personal responsibility.  

From sanitizing healthcare environments used for Ebola patient care, to airplanes used for international travel, to homes formerly inhabited by Ebola patients, chlorine bleach proves time and again to be a trusted ally in the raging battle against Ebola.

For further information on Ebola, please see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website and our article Ebola:  What You Should Know.


1. Disinfectants are defined by EPA as either hospital or general use types. Disinfectants destroy or irreversibly inactivate infectious fungi and bacteria, but not necessarily their spores.

2. Chlorine solutions of various concentrations are also recommended for machine-laundering contaminated linens, decontaminating equipment such as goggles and visors and even body bags containing Ebola victims.

In contrast to the above advice, a journalist covering the devastating West African Ebola outbreak, rather than using just soap and water, keeps a bucket of 0.5% bleach solution in her own apartment to disinfect her hands when she comes inside.
Here is the West African Ebola journalist's own caption for her photograph of her personal chlorine cleansing solution.