Monsieur Jacques d’Nalgar is a working curmudgeon with a cat-killing curiosity in politics, religion, history, and other manifestations of irrational human behavior. He resides in Hot Springs, Arkansas, a semi-autonomous region of the United States (a waning political experiment on the third planet of a minor solar system in a remote corner of the Milky Way galaxy), with his wife and other assorted wildlife. Jacques is a son and grandson of Baptist preachers, missionaries and educators. He was born in Beirut, Lebanon, where his father was a school headmaster for more than 30 years (and before that, a B-17 navigator in the last months of WW2). He grew up in the Middle East during the turbulent 50s, 60s, and 70s, but left just before Lebanon’s 15-year nightmare began in earnest. Most reputable historians do not associate the onset of that tragic conflict with his departure. He returned for a visit in 1978, three years into the civil war. His right eye still occasionally twitches as a result. After college in Oklahoma and working for a large oilfield servicing company now forever identified with the dark lord Dick Cheney, he moved his family to Hot Springs in 1994. Jacques spends most of his time reading, blogging under a barely-disguised snotty “Freedom Fries” pseudonym, and staring at the sun. He works tirelessly for the OAFS (Obsessive Alliteration-Fondness Syndrome) Foundation, as both its only benefactor and sole beneficiary. Jacques’ political pilgrimage has meandered across much of the left-right continuum. Once a staunch conservative (by all standard litmus tests), he found himself suddenly adrift when the rest of the country lurched hard-right after 9-11. He is a frequent critic of our national love affair with wars, rampant nationalism in general, and the resurgent, xenophobic frenzy that masquerades as patriotism. He once defined his religious confession as Zen Baptist, a burgeoning movement (of one) within the Southern Baptist Convention seeking to reclaim the mantle of Christian orthodoxy from fevered fundamentalists just itching for Armageddon. When evangelicals embraced the tangerine wankmaggot Trump and rejected Jesus, the futility of his quest was apparent. He abandoned the family faith and embraced Episcopalians' peculiar cocktail of ancient traditions and progressive inclusion. Monsieur d’Nalgar may be reached by sending him your questions telepathically, or by sending him money. He prefers the latter.
Feb 14 2019
Why Get Donkey?
By Ben “Swamp Donkey” Brenner, Sunday, November 11, 2018
It’s not even a road, see. No signs, no arrows. Just trees that part briefly, and then a narrow dirt track going low and slow away from the flat top black top. Follow that road down and you’ll pass three trailers settin’ amongst the trees and weeds and camaros. In one of ‘em lives a woman thinner than anything you’ve ever seen. Once she was something … [more]
Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2019/02/14/going-down-the-road/
Feb 04 2019
How does anyone in the current political environment believe that our country will survive the partisan bickering and name calling to ensure the so-called “domestic tranquility?” I think these words were lost long ago when we decided to take care of everyone’s needs according to their abilities. We forgot to ask those who pay for perceived needs to forgo that for which they worked their entire lives. How is it that liberals can determine … [more]
Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2019/02/04/recent-observations/
Feb 03 2019
Trump’s attack on his own intelligence services was both extraordinary and expected
Policy professionals always struggle to square sound foreign policy with the effective domestic politics that political leaders require. This tension cannot be completely resolved, although its intensity varies, depending on circumstances and personalities.
This conundrum has … [more]
Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2019/02/03/trumps-post-truth-presidency/
Jan 25 2019
Seems a mea culpa – Latin for “Oops!” – is in order. Who knew our prodigal practitioner could issue a challenge and then dictate rules of engagement for any who dared? My last ramble apparently strayed far afield from doctor’s orders.
Oops! #2 – my last letter left the impression that China’s “Great Wall” was something of a success. It was not. Like Sam Cooke’s song, don’t know much about history. Especially sixteenth century Ming Dynasty history. It is … [more]
Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2019/01/25/what-we-should-be-talking-about/
Jan 21 2019
Time to Break the Silence on Palestine
By Michelle Alexander, Jan. 19, 2019
On April 4, 1967, exactly one year before his assassination, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stepped up to the lectern at the Riverside Church in Manhattan. The United States had been in active combat in Vietnam for two years and tens of thousands of people had been killed, including some 10,000 American troops. The political establishment — from left to right — backed … [more]
Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2019/01/21/my-conscience-leaves-me-no-other-choice/
Jan 16 2019
George Bernard Shaw is credited with this bit of wisdom: “If you want to tell people the truth, you’d better make them laugh or they’ll kill you.” John Naisbitt, American author and speaker, was perhaps following that sage advice when he wrote “leadership involves finding a parade and getting in front of it.”
If you’re looking for a parade to get out in front of, there’s a ridiculous one right under your noses. Day after day, and … [more]
Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2019/01/16/everyone-loves-a-parade/
Jan 09 2019
A poem to progressives plotting mass exodus
By Lauren Zuniga, November 18, 2010
There is a sick pit in your stomach.
A plantation in your front yard.
The static flicker of black and white.
An absurd talking picture,
where sepia skin is now villain.
You are not sure who to trust anymore.
Everyone walks backward in your neighborhood.
You are surrounded by billboards with hate-sized font.
You are looking for a secret handshake.
A fish with feet drawn … [more]
Permanent link to this article: https://levantium.com/2019/01/09/oklahoma-is-worth-the-wait/