March 14, 2010

Stepping Out

Hello everyone,

This is probably obvious to everyone here, but I've chosen to abandon the blog. It was too much time to keep up with it. That said, I also feel good about what has been accomplished here. I think it's fair to say that this serves as a fairly decent resource where there aren't too many.

If you do have questions that haven't been addressed on here, feel free to shoot me at e-mail at . I don't check it much but I will reply eventually.

Thanks for all the fun on here! I'll leave you with a photo:

Hasta luego!

June 4, 2009

El GPS Boricua

A friend (you know who you are!) posted this video and I thought it was just too funny to not post. If you've ever been driving in Puerto Rico you'll know exactly what this is talking about. It is in Spanish though.

May 29, 2009

Sotomayor!! Sotomayor!!

Gosh, guys, it's been forever! I'm sorry! I had the craziest semester ever, I really did, but hopefully now I'll have a chance to post a couple things in here every once in a while (I don't want to be overly ambitious). Also I'm planning my next trip to the island so posting will get more and more frequent as I get more and more excited--I haven't been in nearly a year and the wait is already unbearable!

Anyways, I'm sure we've all heard quite a bit now on Sotomayor, some of it disturbing, and some really inspiring. I don't feel a need to link to most of it but I did find it cute that it caused Slate to put up an essay titled "Why are we in Puerto Rico?" I don't think I entirely agree with some of his history "facts", but it's pretty interesting that Sotomayor apparently supported secession, at least back in her undergrad days. I doubt though that anyone will hold that against her now, unlike some of her rulings.

We'll see how that turns out soon enough, I suppose.

April 4, 2009

Leave Elvis Crespo Alone!

As I'm sure you've heard, the famous merengue-singer Elvis Crespo is in trouble for masturbating on a plane. That said, I must call attention to this fabulous video a la Chris Crocker in response to all the publicity he's gotten. It is hilarious--and for those of you who need it, there are English subtitles!

March 31, 2009

Callá' but doing okay - alcohol, Johnny Depp, and homocide

As you've noticed and as I keep referencing, I've been real busy. I kind of went in over my head this semester and I guess it's showing. Anyways, I've missed a whole lot. Aníbal going free, for example. I haven't touched the Elvis Crespo masturbating scandal because... well... it squicks me out.

But I'm taking a moment to share a couple things. First off, Johnny Depp is in Puerto Rico, meeting fans while filming The Rum Diaries. I've read the book and I'm really interested in seeing how Puerto Rico is represented in the movie, especially considering the time that's passed. I'm not a big Johnny Depp fan (and occasionally feel like I'm the only person in the world who feels that way) but... I don't know. I'm an optimist but I don't trust celebrities, so...

Anyways, more seriously, Gil the Jenius has calculated that Puerto Rico's murder rate, if taken from the U.S. rate which encompasses the island, would be the 7th highest in the world. Yikes! It seems a little high still... I don't know. Definitely a must read.

March 10, 2009

30,000 to be unemployed

I know I have been quiet for a little while, but I've been getting a lot of comments, some of them quite heated. Keep it up guys--a lot of you have really interesting perspectives.

Anyways, as I'm sure everyone is aware (at least by now), Governor Fortuño has announced that 30,000 government jobs will be cut to deal with the financial crisis. I have mixed feelings. On one hand, the government really needed to be downsized anyways. On the other hand, it's incredibly irresponsible of the government to throw all these employees out in the cold, especially considering there's no way most of them will be able to find jobs on the island at the moment (the unemployment rate is ridiculous). Impending disaster anyone?

February 22, 2009

Nación nómada - Nomad Nation

El Nuevo Día has got an interesting article up at the moment about Puerto Rican migration. Today's level could potentially overcome that of the 40's and 50's--which wouldn't surprise me one bit. With the economy of the moment hitting Puerto Rico even harder than it is the U.S., I'm sure we could easy reach unprecedented levels of migration soon. This migration wave is very different though, as the article points out. Skilled, educated workers are unable to find jobs on the island and are accepting offers on the mainland instead. Worth reading.

February 16, 2009

Word of the Week: El Difícil, and Puerto Rico does not speak English

Sometimes it seems near impossible to find people who won't speak to you in English on the island: one tiny whiff of gringo-ness and you may find yourself having to explain in your native tongue* that no, you don't know their second cousin living in the state adjacent to yours. But the truth is that plenty of people of don't speak English well on the island. I was particularly interested in this article which claims that an entire 137 potential jury members couldn't serve in the jury for the famous Aníbal case (still ongoing, of course) because their English wasn't at an appropriate level.

They make some interesting points in the article, mostly because they start drifting into politics in a way they normally avoid. Honestly it reads more like something I'd write than something produced by El Nuevo Día based on the positions they take, surprisingly.

La mayoría de los que saben inglés en el país pertenecen a la clase media y alta, mientras que la inmensa mayoría del país es de la clase pobre, subrayó el antropólogo Jorge Duany.

“La distribución de las destrezas lingüísticas en inglés está mal distribuida, la mayoría de las personas que lo hablan vienen de escuelas privadas, donde se enseña inglés como único idioma. Esto crea un discrimen por razón de clase, porque sólo la clase media y alta pueden pagar por el colegio donde enseñan en inglés”, expresó Duany.

Las razones que explican el escaso dominio del inglés en la Isla incluyen las deficiencias en la enseñanza pública; la poca migración de estadounidenses hacia la Isla, distinto de Texas y Hawai, donde el inglés no es la lengua original; y que en la vida cotidiana en Puerto Rico no hace falta inglés, dijo Duany. Además, en Puerto Rico ha habido una resistencia lingüística, porque en la primera mitad del siglo XX se trató de imponer el inglés como idioma de enseñanza.

“El español se ha visto como un símbolo de la identidad puertorriqueña”, dijo Duany.

The majority of those who speak English in Puerto Rico belong to the upper and middle classes, while the country is mostly comprised of the lower class, emphasized the anthropologist Jorge Duany.

"The distribution of linguistic skills isn't even; the majority of people who speak [English] come from private schools, where English is taught as the only language [as in all the classes are taught in English]. This creates class discrimination, because only upper and middle classes can pay for schools that teach in English," Duany expressed.

The reasons for scarcity of the command of English on the island include deficiencies in public education; the lack of American migration to the island, unlike Texas and Hawaii, where English is also not the original language; and that English isn't necessary for daily life in Puerto Rico, said Duany. Additionally, there has been a linguistic resistance in Puerto Rico because in the first half of the 20th century the U.S. attempted to impose English as the language of all education on the island.

"Spanish has been seen as a symbol of Puerto Rican identity," said Duany.

Along with this point the scholar Jorge Duany makes (shoddily translated by yours truly--although to be fair some of the writing wasn't too great), I'd like to point out something in the title--"el difícil".

El difícil (literally "the difficult one") is a Puerto Rican term coined to describe English. I think the term is very telling, especially in this context: while no other countries have similar nicknames for English (as far as I know; fill me in if you know anything), Puerto Rico, due to its uneasy and persistent relationship with English, has nicknamed it in a way that reflects its position as an obstacle, rather than a method of ascension (professionally, socially, politically, or otherwise)--while it can be used that way, more often than not it isn't.

Anyways... I'm not really sure where I'm going with this and it's getting a little longer than I'd like, so I'll cut it off here. Comments, criticisms, and the like are, as always, welcome.

* This occasionally happens to Puerto Ricans as well if they happen to seem like gringos for whatever reason, despite having lived their whole lives on the island. So don't take it too hard if it happens to you.

February 11, 2009

Pretty much the most ridiculous thing I've seen all day

This one really takes the cake: Mayagüez politicians are suggesting funding a search for sunken treasure in order to pay for the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games. Now I understand the importance of hosting this, but the chances of them pulling this off are slim. I mean, come on now!