Passing Thoughts on Some “Q” and “R” Topics
Quail - Bird confused with a man in the brain of Vice President Cheney.
Quayle - Vice President easily confused with the brain of a bird.
Queen - Wife of a King. However, if the Queen is a married ruler, then she is the wife of a Prince. If she has a son, he is also a Prince, if he was fathered by the man who is now King. Some Queens, but not all, used to be Princesses. A King can marry someone other than a Princess, thereby making her a Queen. A King outranks a Queen, but an Ace outranks them both - as does a Joker if they have been made wild.
Queer - From a Low German word for something or someone a little unsatisfactorily different from the ordinary. Much used as an adjective in England. Also used for a while in America as a noun for male homosexual, which seems to have killed the use of the word here, until it was resurrected by the Fab Five of the Queer Eye TV show. “Gay” also now seems to be moribund for any purpose other than homosexual labeling. Therefore, if you are sick of hearing a particular word and would like to try killing it, start using it as a noun for homosexuals. Any nominees?
Question - Some people say there is no such thing as a stupid one. Yogi Berra said, “If you ask me anything I don’t know, I’m not going to answer”.
Race - Division of people by some physically identifying means to link them with a particular ethnic ancestry, traditionally done by genealogical methods and now being enhanced by DNA matching with databases presumed to be racially identifiable. Particularly in America, many racial heritages are mixed. A significant number of African Americans have some degree of white ancestry. Some Americans who think they are all white could be surprised by solid genealogical research or DNA testing. While I value knowledge of personal heritage, I question the use of race as a factor in government policy making, preferring instead to see socio-economic factors used. However, because racial prejudice is a fundamental reality, I continue to support anti-discrimination laws and believe in their diligent enforcement.
Radio - Part of a progressive development of devices for communicating between people, once considered so novel that the 1930 US census asked whether households owned one. Now mostly used in automobile commutes to communicate facts already known - traffic is a mess and you are stuck in it.
Railroads - Practical and efficient way to move passengers and freight, overwhelmingly replaced in the US by personal automobiles and long haul trucks.
Rape - Terrorism by males against females, without any war against it, because men are the ones who lead wars.
Rapture - The final cut in which some people will be taken to heavenly reward, apparently those who buy the right books and profess the right nonsense.
Real Estate - Parcels of land on our round planet, typically measured in squares and rectangles. The French philosopher Rousseau, as a precursor to the French Revolution said, “The first man who, having fenced in a piece of land, said ‘This is mine,’ and found people naive enough to believe him, that man was the true founder of civil society.”
Rebellion - Putting force behind the “we’re not gonna take it” mentality to fight the power that rules without consensus. Sometimes the unyielding position of the rebels is so wrong in principle that no consensus is possible, as when the US slave States started the War of Rebellion by wrongly insisting that the Constitution allowed them to secede from the Union and that slavery was not inherently immoral.
Recycle - Removal of items from the garbage discard process for re-use in some form, in order to save some costs and help save the environment, and to remind people that wasting resources is not good.
Reform - Term of perversion used by Republicans in general, and the Bush Administration in particular, to fool voters. Because of this abuse, I recommend we reform the law-labeling process by outlawing the use of the word “Reform” in the title of any bill. I propose to call my recommendation the “Reform Ending All Reforms” bill - also to be known by its acronym, “REAR”.
Refugees - Displaced persons who have been forced by circumstances to be someplace other than the place they would like to be. In the US for example, those forced from New Orleans by Katrina and all the working people who dislike their jobs.
Rehabilitation - To put back together or make better. One of the purposes of incarceration of criminals which is too often disregarded.
Religion - The answer to the meaning of life, or the opiate of the people? Depending on the person, probably a little of both.
Rendition - CIA version of rapture, without the heavenly reward.
Representative - One who takes action on behalf of others, such as elected officials who exercise their duties on behalf of the people who elected them, or sometimes on behalf of the people who paid to get them elected.
Republican - An American politician who believes the three most important things a government should do are: cut taxes, cut taxes and cut taxes.
Respect - Treating everything and everybody as worthwhile. In the Latin it literally meant to look behind or look back at again. The hardest people to respect are those who disrespect others.
Responsibility - Meeting the duties that come with what one has. The more one has, the more duties one owes. We all have responsibility for ourselves, but some people have talents and resources that should be used to help others in addition to helping themselves.
Restraint - Another of the purposes for incarceration of criminals. Some prisoners who can be rehabilitated are restrained for too long. Others, who never seem to make rehabilitative progress, are sometimes released too soon.
Retirement - When I retired, my Aunt gave me a card that said, “You’re retired. Now when someone says, ‘Have a nice day’, you’ve got a chance.”
Revolution - A dramatic change, like the overthrow of the British colonial government by the American colonists. Contrasted with the dramatic change in Iraq brought about by the American invasion and occupation - a fiasco, not a revolution.
Rhetoric - The art of discourse - the use of words. A subject no longer taught in most schools, which probably explains why people are so easily confused and misled.
Rich - Having a lot. If there is a poverty level below which people do not have enough to get by, should not there also be a rich level, above which people are agreed to have more than they will ever need? And should not people above the rich level have a responsibility to allow their excess to be used to lift those who are below the poverty level?
Ritual - Repetitive words or acts which can have a soothing value, be of no particular consequence or just be an annoying waste of time. We might all be surprised by the number of rituals in which we participate daily. Some day, keep a log of your ritualistic participation and see how many are soothing, how many inconsequential and how many annoying. Then enjoy the first, disregard the second and scrap the third.
Roberts - Chief Justice who, though certainly a conservative, seems initially to be a definite improvement over his predecessor in the manner in which he manages the Court. However, though very capable and well meaning, it does not at this point seem like Roberts will be able to elevate the Court’s discourse and decision making to a higher level, which would set a good example for the executive and legislative branches, the media, the political parties and the public.
Romance - Most notably the paperback novels with covers showing Fabio types with a hand on the outside of a female thigh. Some movies are romances, and a few are pretty good. The novels are written for women. The movies are made for both sexes. Real life romance has little chance of competing with fiction and film, except for the occasions when a man indulges a woman’s fantasies - most often done to get into her pantasies.
Russia - Part of the former “evil empire”. We always called the old USSR “Russia” and now have learned that Russia was only one of many nations ready to let the USSR dissolve. Soviet Communism was abandoned because visionaries like Gorbachev saw it was not worth the effort of trying to sustain it. Most people behind the Wall, growing up in a society without levels for poverty and wealth, did not like the meager one size fits all “comrade economic level”. When the Wall came down, they did not rush first for the freedoms offered at the churches and libraries; they opted instead for the supermarkets and clothing stores.