Tuesday, July 31, 2007
I have nothing against any (or no) religion, but these people have ruined another evening for me and my family. We can't watch TV, we can't use the telephone, we can't even have a normal conversation. There's no way to shut out the noise.
Can we talk priorities? I'm trying to watch American Chopper, and they're trying to impress god. Don't get me wrong: these are good people, the celebration is not entirely unpleasant, and I have Tivo.
Monday, July 30, 2007
Puerto Ricans became US citizens in 1917, and Puerto Rico's constitution came into effect in 1952; Constitution Day, July 25, is a Puerto Rican holiday.
"In the case of Puerto Rico, it must be noted that the name "commonwealth" for our present political status has no juridical value or international recognition. It came into acceptance after Puerto Rico's Constitutional Convention on February 4, 1952. Resolution No. 22 was approved establishing that "commonwealth" was the most convenient translation for "Estado Libre Asociado" because "Free Associated State" had juridical implication that was unacceptable to the U.S. Congress.". Guillermo Moscoso, The San Juan Star
So, the Puerto Rican constitution is valid only insofar as the US Congress says it is.
Puerto Rican residents cannot vote in presidential elections, have one non-voting representative in the House, and none in the Senate. Still, Puerto Rican residents consistently favor continued commonwealth status over statehood, and only a small minority favors independence. Puerto Ricans living in the US have full voting rights there.
Islanders don't pay federal income tax on money earned here, but we do pay local taxes, and contribute to Medicare and Social Security.
I doubt that Puerto Rico's status will change in my lifetime, and that's fine by me.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
There were no manuals for the test in English or Spanish because "they haven't come in."
So we took the test cold. It was brutal, with questions like "What is the fine for drag racing on a public road?". There were a half a dozen questions about specific fines alone, and we both pretty much guessed. I got a 70 on the test (the minimum required to pass), and Carol got a 95.
The worst part was getting our names right, which took us two hours. They insisted on Carol using the name on her birth certificate (Puerto Rican women on the island do not adopt their husband's last name). We had to go to a lawyer, conveniently located in the building, to certify that she was know by at least three names. Similarly, they insisted that I use my mother's maiden name, which I could not even spell. The helpful woman running the show suggested that perhaps I didn't have a mother, and that I dropped from a plantain tree. She was visibly offended that I didn't want to use my mother's maiden name. We finally convinced her that we needed to use the names that appeared on all of our other documents, such as credit cards, deed to the house, etc. We also had to produce Puerto Rico voter registration cards, US passports, Mass driver's licenses, birth certificates, and our marriage certificate, which we had to return home for.
We finally got our licenses at 5 PM, and there was much joy.
The most popular beer is Medalla (meh-die-ya), which is made in Puerto Rico. Medalla comes in 10 ounce cans. Until recently, beer had to be sold in 10 ounce cans by law, to prevent imports of the more popular 12 ounce cans from the mainland.
I moved here three years ago with Carol, my Puerto Rican wife of nearly 30 years, to help take care of her family.
I lived near Boston for nearly 20 years before coming here. After 17 years the high-tech company for which I worked had no further use for me, or I them. Had I known what living here would be like, I would have done it several years earlier.
I was inspired to start this blog by another blog I just discovered: Blog Rican. The author is a Puero Rican currently living in Portland, Oregon. She writes beautifully and her blog is fascinating.