Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 17, 2021

Reflections Of A Man And His Picture

On April 14 I learned that old time Moon of Alabama commentator anna missed, also known as Jack Chevalier, had died two weeks earlier. I wrote about it in

RIP Anna Missed:

Jack was an artist who lived on an island near Seattle. Jack contributed a lot to our discussions about the war the Bush gang waged on Iraq. He had been in Vietnam and could relate the ground reality.
The [picture] below is a gift anna missed sent to me back then. It's an oil painting on a thick piece of raw wood with small glass pellets sprinkled into it.
notebook #1

9"x 16"x 1"
oil paint and glass pellets on wood
by anna missed

In May Jack's wife, Kelly, contacted me:

I was very moved by your RIP post for Jack and by all of the old crew stopping by to say goodbye. That would have really tickled him. I planned to thank all of you there, but didn't get it done before the closing of comments on the post.

I am trying to compile a simple memory book for myself of people that connected to Jack and his artwork. I was wondering if you might be willing to send me a selfie with the picture - or just a picture of the picture with any reflection that you would like to offer.

Jack's connection to the Whiskey Bar and MOA community were very important to him. He continued to follow the blog ..... I thank you all for that.

Kelly also sent a link to an obit of anna missed which you may well want to read in full:

Jack Chevalier, Who Found His Life’s Purpose in Art, Dies at 72

A short excerpt:

Throughout the years, he kept working, creating, and supplementing his income from art with other jobs, primarily as a carpenter. After the attacks of 9/11 and the onset of war in Afghanistan and Iraq, Kelly said, Jack’s work became more overtly political. He also became a prolific blogger, joining an online community called The Whiskey Bar (now called The Moon of Alabama) and starting his own personal blog, called anna missed — a name he also used to sign much of his work in this period. On those forums, he met, conversed and shared his art with other like-minded intellects who opposed the wars.

The picture Jack gifted to me is signed anna missed.

When Billmon's Whiskey Bar closed its comment section because it had become too noisy, I opened Moon of Alabama as a place where commentators from Billmon's site, like me, could continue their discussions. Moon of Alabama was not intended to be an independent blog by itself. I myself did not have any interest in blogging. That only grew out of running Moon of Alabama after the Whiskey Bar shut down.

Anna missed was one of the few dozen commentators at the Whiskey Bar who had moved to Moon of Alabama. The war of terror in Iraq was at its high point at that time.

Yesterday I finished reading Scott Horton's new book Enough Already: Time to End the War on Terrorism. It is a comprehensive history of the war of terror the U.S. has waged and is still waging on the Middle East. A full review of the book may follow later. One of the milestones of that war which Scott discusses was the February 2006 bombing of the grand Shia mosque in Samara which ignited a war by the Shia against the Sunni.

Reading about it I seemed to remembered that incident well. I searched the blog and found that I had posted on it: "A joy for all who see". It was not clear at that time who had done the bombing. Had it been al-Qaeda's Abu Musab al-Zarqawi or were, as I suspected, the occupation forces involved? Anna Missed suggested that some Shia groups might have had an interest in doing it themselves.

Those were the typical discussions at that time. The war of terror moved anna missed just as much or even more than it moved me. We both felt outrage about it but also tried to stay analytical. Due to his Vietnam war experience Jack was even more cynical about the ongoing machinations than I could be. I had been a soldier myself but never in a war. Still there was some virtual camaraderie. An understanding that did not need words.

I think it was in 2010 that anna missed indicated that he thought about giving me one of his pictures. Unfortunately I no longer have that email exchange. But I remember that I went all giddy and suggested I would like this one, or better that one, or, no, that one. Jack calmed me down and made it clear that he would make the choice.

A few weeks later I got a note from the custom office that some package for me had arrived. I went there and the customer officer opened the package. The above picture, which I had never seen before, was in it. After convincing the custom officer that the picture was of no value and did not require any import duty I took it home and hung it up in my living room. It has been hanging there since.

I think that the picture is a memory of Jack from Vietnam. The visuals of Oliver Stone's movie Platoon and Coppola's Apocalypse Now come to mind. But it is also a piece on the war on Iraq. Wikileaks published the Collateral Murder video in April 2010. Anna missed had caught that scene two years earlier.

The picture has several layers of color which have interesting effects when one looks at it from different angles (see the heal of the hand).


Its meaning is also layered. Is the hand reaching up to the helicopter trying to take it down? Is it a 'go away' gesture or a begging for help? Isn't it all of that?

I often look at it and it is still a mystery to me.

Other anna missed pictures in the Barfly Art category show that many he made at that time were related to the Iraq war.

Around 2011 or so, when the war on Iraq calmed down, anna missed commented less and less at this blog though, as Kelly confirms, he continued to read it. His art also changed from war related motives to other ones.

I always had the feeling that Jack was still hanging around here. I am sad that he is gone.

Posted by b on June 17, 2021 at 19:04 UTC | Permalink


I contribute annually what I can which isn't much, but as you say, every little bit helps. I am posting this to say how important MOA is to me, and I suspect to many others. I live in central Australia and start my days with a visit. It's always a good start to a day, and makes me look forward to tomorrow. Thank you.

Posted by: Hal Duell | Jun 17 2021 21:17 utc | 1

You are thankful to Jack Chevalier for the insights he brought.

I am thankful to you Bernhard, for the same reason.

When there is an 'event' in the world that reeks of 'dodgyness' I know mainstream media will throw mud, not light on the circumstances.

I know of no other reliable source of information that provides very fast, very good analysis.

That is shocking. And dangerous for democracy and freedom.

You may not realise how important your work is.


Posted by: powerandpeople | Jun 17 2021 21:32 utc | 2

I noticed him, in the comment section. Pennies from Heaven is quite good too. But he chose well, good picture.
May he rest in peace.

be well, b, made it a quarterly contribution. Bank will take care of it. ;)

Posted by: LeaNder | Jun 17 2021 22:08 utc | 3

Man, this place was on fire back then; in our little drinking hole. You are missed,anna missed. Miss many moonbats ... I nearly teared up remembering this...

Why You Want a Physicist to Speak at Your Funeral

You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died.

You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy is created in the universe and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every BTU of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid the energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point, you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off you like children, their ways forever changed by you.

And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue in the heat of our own lives.

And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy is still around.

According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone. You’re just less orderly. Amen.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jun 17 2021 22:16 utc | 4

Thank you Bernhard; your tribute to Jack was moving. The work you do at MoA is invaluable; I'm glad to send you some money every month.

Posted by: DocHollywood | Jun 17 2021 23:08 utc | 5

This tribute, and the one you posted before, are truly moving, and make me sad that I had not yet discovered this site when Anna missed was active. But you, b, definitely continue to fight the good fight, along with several of the contributors whose insights and thoughts I always look forward to hearing.

My daughter recently made me very proud by asking where she could find alternative sources of information, sources that didn't just spout the "company line." It made me feel like I had done my small part in passing along a healthy skepticism of the pronouncements from Power. But you have done a vastly larger part, and it may interest you to know that although I recommended several sources for her to peruse, the very first and most highly recommended source of "real," evenhanded information I gave her was this site. I told her that while it was her job to never accept ANYONE'S presentation as flawless, or without personal bias, or as totally complete, this site could definitely be considered a touchstone for the truth, and would definitely give her a lot to think about. Thanks for that.

Posted by: J Swift | Jun 17 2021 23:08 utc | 6

The helicopter is the silhouette of an Apache, so I would guess inspired by Iraq more than Viet Nam. My condolences.

Posted by: ColdWarKid | Jun 18 2021 6:12 utc | 7

Posted by: Fyi | Jun 18 2021 1:15 utc | 7

Rather, an expression of compassion, having nothing to do with banality...Practice it.

Posted by: donten | Jun 18 2021 13:01 utc | 8

Sad to say it, but I don't think anna missed was anywhere near right over the 2006 Samarra bombing. In the end it was blamed officially on Sunni jihadis, because no-one wanted to overtly blame the US. But it was clearly US interests that were at issue, stirring up a civil war in Iraq, to divide and conquer, and very successful at first it was too. It was in the wake of that that there were all these calls in Washington for splitting up in Iraq into ethnic cantons. They continued for years, but it never worked, except for the Kurds in KRG, and more recently in Syria, where it's not really working either, except under under US military occupation.

It wasn't really worth reviving anna missed's opinion. I am sorry to say, but it was rather insulting and orientalist. The idea that a people would blow up one of their four most holy shrines, just for some political advantage, seems to me quite in the clouds. It's like saying the Irish catholics of NYC would blow up St Patrick's just for some passing advantage for NY. The essential point is that the US would not have been bothered one bit about blowing up a holy shrine of profound religious importance. It was just a bunch of ragheads over there anyway.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 18 2021 15:37 utc | 9

in contrast with Laguerre i think it's quite logical considering the Shia angle in the blowing up of the Samara Mosque, although not necessarily for all the reasons anna missed mentioned in that comment(for more on my opinions see my comments in the "joy for all who see" thread). Interestingly, in comment #4 in that thread, i linked to The Juggler, lifted from an '05 comment by anna missed.

More than anything else my memory of that era was that after 2 long years of strenuous efforts, the US had failed to instigated a civil war in Iraq, until that summer. It was really the incident of the Samara Mosque that kicked it into high gear.

It brought a tear to my eye reading this posting b. as always, thank you.

Posted by: annie | Jun 18 2021 17:32 utc | 10

@ J Swift | Jun 17 2021 23:08 utc | 6.. thanks for saying all that.. i see it much the same and appreciate the many interesting and informed people who post here..

Posted by: james | Jun 18 2021 18:44 utc | 11

Posted by: annie | Jun 18 2021 17:32 utc | 10

I don't want to be rude, but do you really think it's possible that a people would want to blow up its own holy sanctuary, for a brief political advantage? You must be totally American, for whom anything outside the borders is just politics.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 18 2021 19:59 utc | 12

I hafta agree with annie, even tho it probably isn't a great benefit, because one thing I loathe nowadays is pointless ad homs such as "you must be totally american" for which the easy response is "you must be totally an arsehole" - neither of them add anything to the discussion and the first the totally american crack was in response to a measured statement.

As per usual thewar continues with his/her egoistic claim that only he/she knows anything about 'arabs'. Even worse he/she claims to know all the members of 'a people' when he/she says " do you really think it's possible that a people would want to blow up its own holy sanctuary".
To make a statement like that even in the form of a rhetorical question implies that the person making it is familiar with beliefs & actions of every human who comprises that people. Altho there is no doubt that most Iraqi shia would be enormously upset by the destruction, it is also true that every large grouping of humans has its fair share of arseholes. This is most evident when the issue is about some human's political aspirations.
It is possible to conceive that some group of Iraqi shia wannabes decided that because other Iraqi shia would be so upset at the mosque's destruction, blowing it up was a necessary action to motivate them.

Now that isn't the view I formed as it seemed to me right from the beginning that amerika was the entity which would benefit the most, but nevertheless it was important to consider the possibility of shia involvement if only to demonstrate all options were considered. Exactly as anna_missed did.

Posted by: Debsisdead | Jun 19 2021 4:25 utc | 13

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