Tag Archives: england

It’s near the 1st of the month, mail is due…

After reading the title of this entry,  you may be scratching your head and wondering what in the world I am talking about. (or maybe not)

What I am talking about today is blackmail, where does the word come from and where would soap opera plots go without it?

This is the important part — Its origin had nothing to do with the post office, but it does have to do with rent…

Mail in this sense was an old Anglo-Norse term for rent or tribute. During the time of border warfare between England and Scotland, freebooters extorted payment from farmers of the area in exchange for protection and immunity from plunder. As the inhabitants were generally very poor, the tribute was paid in “black mail,” that is, grain, meat, or the lowest coinage (copper), as opposed to “white mail,” which was silver. In time the word took on the meaning of any payment extorted by threat of exposure of an incriminating secret.

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Long Live the Queen (01/24)

Just catching up from the weekend here…

Before leaving the house on Saturday for a friend’s 30th birthday, I caught a bit of a documentary on the English Parliament because nothing pumps you up  for a Saturday night out like The Queen of England.

Put your hands in the air!

Put your hands in the air!

However, it’s good thing that I took those few moments because it afforded me the opportunity to learn something new.

The Queen is Head of State of the UK and 15 other Commonwealth realms*.

*(a Commonwealth Realm is any one of the sixteen sovereign states within the Commonwealth of Nations that recognize Elizabeth II as their respective monarch.)

The realms originally were self governing Dominions* within the British Empire. This status changed with the granting of full independence to each realm.

*(Dominions refers to one of a group of semi-autonomous polities that were nominally under British sovereignty, constituting the British Empire and British Commonwealth, from the late 19th century)

The realms are as follows:

Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis

Inadvertently, this has helped me to solve the mystery of the Canadian 20 dollar bill:

Now it makes sense, eh?

Now it makes sense, eh?

I can’t even count the number of times that I have held one these in my hands. Although, at the time I was more likely distracted by the fact that I gave the currency exchange $20 American dollars and they gave me $24 Canadian dollars back. (Why that was a whole drink for free!)

It is probably the fault of the libations consumed that I never questioned the Queen of England presence on this beautifully colored currency. Oh the memories…

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