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Suspension questions

Hey folks,
    Driving home from my Thanksgiving break, I noticed a intriguing noise. It
appeared at highway speeds of around 70 mph, and was intermittant. I couldn't
seem to figure out whether the noise was from road irregularities or from the
    The closest description would be something akin to driving over rumble
strips that one finds on the shoulders of many highways or before toll-booths. 
Except the noise was not nearly as harsh or loud. A faint noise and vibration,
which could have easily been the road. 
    Thinking about the culprit of said noise led me to the realization that I
know very little about suspensions and the later half of the drivetrain of
cars. I guess I'm revealing my ignorance here, but I must admit that I have
only a vague sense of what many suspension parts actually do and how they are
related to function. 
    Since the struts on my Q are essentially toast, I thought perhaps I could
start a thread on basic suspension  theory. Obviously the main function of the
suspension is to maintain maximum wheel to ground contact over a variety of
road conditions, with a secondary function as so called "ride quality." 
If you have worn struts, like I do, the wheel bounces up and down.. not hugging
the road, and you have reduced contact. 
    Where I get lost is in the terminology.. control arms, tie-rods, bushing,
springs, sub-frames, wheel bearings, strut housings, ball-joints, CV-joints,
U-joints, etc.. I guess I *kinda* understand how all these things work
together, but.. not really. SOOOO master of knowledge out there.. how 'bout
lending a helping hand?
    And in regard to that noise I was hearing: I still haven't confirmed that
it was the car and not the road. If it was the car, my nearest guesses are that
it has something to do with the badly worn suspension or that it has something
to do with the Differentials. I recently replaced the fluid with a Valvoline
Synthetic. Okay kids.. take it easy and drive safe.
                               -Osman Parvez
                                89 200q (149K miles)
                                Siena College
                                Albany NY