The Jack of Hearts

In a deck of playing cards, we use the term face card to describe a card that depicts a person rather than a number.  They have also been referred to as court cards and coat cards (I imagine from “coats of arms”).  There are many stories about the origin of playing cards, and there may be some truth to all of them.  This is not something that matters a great deal, but I do find it interesting.

Playing cards originated in China, but cards used in China did not have face cards.  Over time, as people interacted with one another with greater frequency, as they exchanged ideas and cultural practices, playing cards made a steady westward movement—first to Persia, the first to place face cards into a deck.  Their human form was a mounted vizier and a seated king.  From Persia, playing cards made their way to Egypt; the Mamluk created a third face card.  The best-preserved deck of cards can be found in the Topkapi Palace and we find that these cards avoided idolatry by featuring abstract designs for royalty.  Playing cards used by commoners may have been configured differently, however, which could explain the appearance of seated kings and mounted knights on Indo-Persian and European cards.

A third court-card may have had a special role to play in Spanish, French, and Italian playing cards.  By 1377, the most common playing cards were essentially structured as they are today: each suit containing a seated king and two knights, one of these replaced by a queen in 1400s France, and the other was changed from a knave (servant) (page) to a Jack.  The re-designation allowed card manufacturers to change the card’s abbreviation from Kn to J.

Jack of HeartsThe Jacks, popularly named in France, were Ogier the Dane (a mythical character from early French poetry) for the Jack of Spades, Hector, from Greek mythology for the Jack of Diamonds, Lancelot du Lac (Lancelot of the lake, baptized as Galahad) was one of the Knights of the Round Table in the Arthurian legends —our Jack of Clubs, and the Jack of Hearts, Étienne de Vignolles called La Hire, a French military commander during the Hundred-years’ War,

History remembers Étienne de Vignolles as the ablest military commander serving under the 17-year old field commander, Joan d’Arc.  He lived from 1390 to 1443 and may have participated in the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, where the French were first introduced to England’s longbow.  He was clearly aligned with the cause to restore Charles VII after 1418.  History remembers our Jack as loud, vulgar, and quick-tempered and his nickname La Hire may be a corruption of Ira Dei (wrath of God).  He first fought with Joan during the Battle of Orleans and became her trusted right-hand during all subsequent battles.  He led an audacious charge against the English at Patay in 1429, an action that resulted in the virtual destruction of the English field army and most veteran commanders.  Over the next several weeks, subsequent gains in territory permitted the French to crown their new king on 17 July 1429.

Seeking to tame the beast within his breast, Joan’s influence over La Hire was a positive one, including his attendance at Confession … which, in addition to the filthy beast, soon included most of his lieutenants.  At the end of Joan’s life, La Hire was one of only two French knights making the attempt to rescue her from English captivity.  It was thus that La Hire found himself imprisoned by the English until a ransom was paid for his release.  Afterwards, La Hire continued to fight the English during Charles VII’s re-conquest of Normandy.  La Hire was appointed Captain General of Normandy in 1438.  In a few years, our Jack of Hearts would be dead —the reason for his demise uncertain— as he vanished, wrote one romantic, in the mist of battle.

Bridge Over the River Kwai

We all recall the film starring William Holden, Jack Hawkins, and Alec Guinness.  Perhaps less memorable is the novel, which was the basis of the American/British film in 1957.  The novel was written by a French prisoner of war who was forced to participate in the Burma-Siam Railway project.  In his book titled Le Pont de la Riviêre Kwai (1952), Pierre Boulle later claimed that his character, LtCol Nicholson, was an amalgamation of French military officers whom Boulle observed did collaborate with the Japanese.

The fact that French officers collaborated with the enemy should surprise no one; the Vichy French were, after all, part of the Axis Powers.

Fred Seiker 1946The real allied commander of the Burma-Siam Railway prisoners was Lieutenant Colonel Philip Toosey, who passed away in 1975.  He has been recently joined in death by a comrade, Mr. Fred Seiker (shown left), who on 1 June 2017 passed away at the age of 101.  Both gentlemen were preceded in death by around 120,000 victims of Japanese atrocities, including Asian laborers and allied servicemen.

Mr. Seiker tells of his trials as a prisoner/slave laborer in his book entitled Lest We Forget.  He is right, of course: we should not forget the trial and suffering that he and others endured.  If we do forget, then we are doomed to repeat a very sad history—and we will deserve no less.

Rest in peace, Mr. Seiker.

Concluding: a bit weird

A mother, aged 47, lost her husband seven years ago.  Then she remarried; her new husband wanted to have a child, but nothing was working in the normal course of things.  In Vitro Fertilization wasn’t possible because the mother was “too old.”

What to do?  Oh, what to do?

Well, here’s their idea: the mother’s 30-year old daughter agreed to have a baby with her step-father.

Voila!  Problem resolved.

Now, if you think that is a bit weird, here’s a summary of the official surrogacy laws in England and Wales:

When a child is born, its mother is considered as the woman who carried the infant through pregnancy.

If this woman is married, her husband is considered the legal father, which means that the intended father has no automatic claim to legal parenthood.  If the woman is unmarried, it is possible (but not certain) for the genetic father to be considered a legal parent.

The surrogate (woman) is responsible for registering the birth of the child, so her name and that of the legal father will go on the birth certificate.

A “parental order” made possible by the 2008 Human Fertilization and Embryology Act, can then transfer full parental status to the intended parents.

The foregoing cannot happen until the child is six-weeks old, but must do before the child is six-months old, and strict conditions must be met.  One condition is that no money must be paid by the would-be parents to the natural mother or to an agency, except for legitimate expenses.

Applicants for the parental order must be husband and wife, a married same-sex couple, civil partners, or in a long-term relationship.  Note: Presumably, they must also be human species, but this has not been emphatically stated.

Another Attack

Well, here we are again; another Moslem attack upon the innocents of London.  What we know so far is that murdering filth have killed six people during attacks in two closely connected areas of London on Saturday night.  Three suspects have been shot and killed by police.

Once more, Enoch Powell correctly predicted these kinds of events in 1968.

The government’s political correctness is aiding and abetting the murder of innocent citizens.  When will government begin protecting the innocents as much as they protect, make allowances for, and hide the truth about Islamists?

Political correctness: the gift that keeps on giving.