1802, Citizenship For Territory

Just four years after the 1798 Naturalization Act, United States legislators were once again scratching away at their parchments. The administration of Thomas Jefferson sought to repeal the Naturalization Act of 1798. He believed that under “the ordinary chances of human life, a denial of citizenship, under a residence of fourteen years, is a denial to a great proportion of those who ask it” (www.northamericanimmigration.org).  It seems Thomas Jefferson came to the same conclusion blogged by the gringa May 29, 2015, in my post titled “1798, Immigrant Until Death”. The naturalization process was designed to deny an immigrant an opportunity at citizenship by establishing residency periods that would fulfill the average immigrant’s natural life span, thus being denied citizenship by death.  In April 14, 1802, as recorded in the Library of Congress, the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America got together. It was out with the old, in with the new, the new conditions of citizenship, that is, with the 1802 Naturalization Act:

Section 1 stipulations

  • The immigrant shall declare an oath at a United States state or territorial court that three years prior to admission into the country it was the immigrant’s “bona fide” intention to become a citizen of the United States and that the immigrant renounces any prior allegiance to any foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereign and must particularly name that prince, potentate, state or sovereign.
  • At the time of citizenship application, the immigrant shall declare an oath before a United States state or territorial court that the immigrant supports the Constitution of the United States and renounces all allegiance to every foreign prince, potentate, state or sovereign of which the immigrant was previously subject to, and must specifically name that prince, potentate, state or sovereign. These proceedings shall be recorded by the clerk of the court.
  • Documentation must be provided to prove residency requirements have been met. The court cannot accept an oath as testamentary proof of meeting residency requirements. The act states “Provided that the oath of the applicant shall in no case be allowed to prove his residence”. Residency requirements are five years within the United States, one year within the particular state or territory of the court where citizenship proceedings are being held. In addition to documentation of residency requirements, the immigrant must also satisfy the court that the immigrant has “behaved as a man of good moral character attached to the principles of the constitution of the United States and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same”
  • If the immigrant previously carried a hereditary title or was of foreign nobility, the immigrant must expressly renounce such title or order of nobility. Such renunciation shall be recorded in the court. No immigrant who was a native citizen or subject of any country or state at war with the United States at the time of citizenship application shall be admitted to be a citizen of the United States unless the immigrant met all other citizenship requirements and can prove residency began before January, 29, 1795, and had resided in the U.S. for at least two years, with the preceding year being in the state or territory of the court where citizenship application has been made. The immigrant must declare an oath supporting the United States Constitution and entirely renounce allegiance to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereign and specifically name the prince, potentate, state, or sovereign of prior allegiance. If the court is satisfied that during the term of two years the immigrant “behaved as a man of good moral character attached to the constitution of the United States and well disposed to the good order and happiness of the same”, the clerk shall record all and any immigrants who resided within the jurisdiction of the United States between January 29, 1795 and June 18, 1798, may, within two years after the passing of this act, be admitted to become a citizen without compliance to the first condition specified in Section 1.

Section 2 stipulations

  • In addition to Section 1 requirements, all free, white immigrants who arrive in the United States after the passing of this act must register and obtain certificates if they desire citizenship. Free, white immigrants 21 years of age or older must report to the clerk of the nearest court upon arrival into the United States. The report will determine the immigrant’s name, birthplace, age, nation of migration origin and intended place of settlement. The court clerk will record the report and issue to the immigrant a certificate with the seal of office for a fee of 50 cents (about the modern day equivalent of $11, according to http://www.davemanuel.com). If an immigrant is under the age of twenty-one years or is in service, the immigrant’s registration shall be made by the parent, guardian, master, or mistress.

Section 3 stipulates

  • Any immigrant naturalized by the authority of any court of the United States of common law jurisdiction, and such court having a seal and a clerk, that immigrant, having been naturalized, “shall enjoy… the same rights and privileges as if he had been naturalized in a district or circuit court of the United States”.

Section 4 stipulates

  • Children of persons naturalized under any of the laws of the United States or who previously became citizens under the laws of a particular state, and are under the age of twenty-one years when their parents became naturalized, and are currently residing in the United States shall be considered citizens of the United States. Children born outside of the United States are to be considered citizens of the United States provided that the father is a US citizen and has not been convicted of joining the army of Great Britain during the revolutionary war.

Section 5 stipulates:

  • All prior naturalization acts are repealed.

 Once again, the question must be asked. What did all of this mean to an immigrant in 1802? What conditions within the country motivated Congress to invest the time and effort to repeal past legislation and enact new naturalization law?

The most distinct change from the 1798 Naturalization Act requirements was the residency period. Residency requirements were reduced by about two-thirds of the previous time required. Court and document fees were also reduced from an overall total of $4.50 in 1798 to fifty cents in 1802. It was becoming a little easier to become a United States citizen provided you were a white male.  The race and gender requirements remained the same. Excluded from US citizenship were women and non-whites. However, the gringa is hopeful that the pendulum is beginning to swing in favor of the immigrant. Now that residency requirements actually make it possible to survive long enough to become a citizen, racial and gender equality issues could now become an issue to fight for.

Although there are many details, the 1802 Naturalization Act has streamlined, simplified, and economized the process of becoming a United States citizen. For an oath of intention and allegiance, renunciation of title, renunciation of allegiance to nation of origin, five years, and fifty cents, a free, white, male immigrant could become a United States citizen. The new law clarified citizenship status for immigrants who had been naturalized in any U.S. court other than a district or circuit court prior to this act. The new law established citizenship status of children born to fathers that were U.S. citizens regardless of where the child was born, except in cases of children fathered by men convicted of serving the British during the Revolutionary War. The Naturalization Act of 1802 made it possible for many new citizens to fill the ranks of the United States population records much more quickly. It would then seem the United States government saw population growth as a good thing in 1802.

By 1802 the United States had enjoyed nineteen years of recovery from the end of hostilities with Great Britain and establishing independence as a nation. The only military conflict the U.S. was involved in was the First Barbary War that commenced as a naval war in 1801. As reflected by the “Enabling Act of 1802”, the U.S. was preparing to enter into a period of geographical expansion (www.ohiohistorycentral.org). Continental expansion and the need for more settlers, rather than soldiers, was more than likely the motivation for relaxing naturalization standards. According to the Northwest Ordinance of 1787 (www.ourdocuments.gov), with regards to a U.S. territory, “whenever any of the said states shall have sixty thousand free inhabitants therein, such state shall be admitted by its delegates into the Congress of the United States, on an equal footing with the original states in all respects whatever”.  This ordinance established the requirement of a population of 60,000 before a territory could achieve state status. So, once again, please understand that the U.S. was not making things easier for the immigrant because of a humanitarian reason. There was a strategic national interest behind the 1802 Naturalization Act. The United States had a need for warm bodies to fill the population requirements in order to expand the nation’s borders. Expansion meant control of more natural resources. More natural resources meant greater national wealth. Once again, the U.S. is motivated by the most common motivators of all time, power and greed. A humanitarian viewpoint on immigration has yet to enter the mind of the typical American legislator. The gringa’s advice to the immigrants in the barrio, find a way to convince Congress there is a significant national benefit to immigration reform. In the United States legislature, money talks. Immigrants will get their immigration reform when the U.S. government realizes it will result in increased wealth and power for the nation.


Proud Laborers of the Barrio

From time to time I hear politicians, as well as certain people in the media, stirring the “class warfare” pot. They all remind us we better stock up on our provisions.  Gather up your pitchforks and torches.  And, for God’s sake, don’t forget to pile up all the junk you can find to safely barricade your “domain”.  Class warfare? Seriously? I don’t know about you, but this gringa and all her neighbors in the barrio do not have time for such nonsense.  We’ve got mouths to feed and the only way to do it is to work, work, work.  If the gringa is not pounding away at the keyboard working (or playing Spider Solitaire), scrubbing a toilet, laundering yet another load of stinky socks and unmentionables,  then she’s having adventures with the Latin man of her dreams or basking in the glory of the presence of the kids and grandkids. And, as far as I can tell, all the people in the barrio are doing the same. So, why all the paranoia and fear-mongering from the politicians and media?

Recently the gringa and her caveman escaped the barrio for “uptown” (which means we went a few blocks west).  We had lunch at a local restaurant. The lady in the booth behind us was talking on her phone to a family member. She was giving this person directions to the neighborhood pool from her home. Overhearing her directions (yes, I am a notorious eavesdropper), I was able to determine that I was familiar with the neighborhood she lived in.  It is an exclusive, gated housing development.  All the homes back up to a golf course. Many of these million dollar plus properties are of the most modern designs incorporating the latest technology. Sometimes they are marketed as “smart homes”.  I easily drew the conclusion that this was probably a wealthy woman.  As she explained the details of purchasing a seasonal pool pass for the neighborhood pools she concluded by expressing her dismay that because these were “public” pools even people that did not reside in her “village” could get these passes, they just had to pay more.  It seemed disturbing to her to find herself sunning next to a table where one of these poor families had set up camp so she explained if she had to go she preferred to go early and on a weekday.

My husband and I have taken our kids and grandchildren to these pools numerous times over the years.  What I would like to know is how can a rich person know another person is poor when you are all basically wearing underwear that passes as outerwear simply because the fabric is lined? Does the working class gringa and her familia have a glowing, poor person aura?  Do we exude a distinct barrio fragrance? Do the wealthy have a poor person detector implanted discreetly in their body? Perhaps it is my banged up, duct taped ice chest that has seen many seasons of use at the pool, the beach and the campground that gives me away. Maybe it’s the twenty dollar haircuts we all sport from Great Clips. She might be able to detect the presence of an eight-dollar-a-bottle Clairol redhead (before I went blonde). However, most likely it is the Wal-Mart brand drinks and snacks that always litter the table. Yes, that’s probably it. I shop generic. Ya know, the “more bang for your buck” method of shopping? Perhaps we are seen pulling through the parking lot in our old, beat up mini-van with the one broken door that has the lock duct-taped down so no one makes the mistake of unlocking and opening it because we’ll never get it closed again if they do! But, don’t hate the van, it was paid for! I do know, however, that our manners are not the dead give-away. We may be working class and can’t afford Gucci, but, by golly, being polite and considerate is a freebie to all!

Please, have no fear, rich folk, if you find yourself side by side with the poor folk. We are all out for the same thing, just a little fun in the sun.  Heck, just think about it. That beautiful park you are enjoying is manicured regularly by some working class Joes. Speaking of manicure, your lovely toes and fingers are sporting a mani/pedi compliments of some working class gal (or guy). That bottle of sparkling water you’re enjoying with your organic what-not tidbit was trucked to your favorite store by a person just like my husband. Chances are many of the things that make your life easier and more pleasureable are made possible by the working class. And it is highly likely many of these working class laborers are immigrants who are here to build a better life, not take yours.

As you pass another taco truck or landscape crew salute the courage of these men who, like my husband, left behind all that they knew to enter a foreign country, often all alone, not even knowing the language. And yet, they are making it on their own. As you pick up your clothes at the dry cleaner or enjoy an immaculately clean home thanks to a wonderful house cleaning service, take a moment to admire these women.  These are women who have often survived a life of extreme disadvantage and possibly risked a dangerous journey to immigrate. The hope for a better life was worth the risk to them. Rather than consider working class immigrants suspiciously, consider them heroes. One day their children and grandchildren will owe all of the opportunity and privilege they enjoy to these brave men and women. Our country is enriched by people like this. They are landscapers, cooks, crop harvesters, nannies, seamstresses, truckers, handymen, busboys, hair stylists, etc. They are not just immigrants, they are immigrants who have come to embody all that is American. They are America.

So, please, all you wealthy folk out there who are concerned that us working class folk are biding our time until just the right moment to shriek, “BURN THE WITCH!” and come after your Bentleys and Birkenstocks, it just ain’t so.  There is no need for you to clean out your local Wholefoods Market of Perrier and organic bon- bons.  There’s no reason to have KBR on your home security networks’ speed-dial.  You see, first of all, we working class folk simply don’t have the time to engage in revolt. I stated some of the whys and wherefores of that in the opening paragraph.  But, we also don’t have the extra moolah to fund such an effort. I mean, have you seen how much a pitchfork costs these days? Extras like that are simply not in a barrio budget.  The familia of the barrio spends all of their money on their family and a better life. They will not waste a nickel on something that is going to just cause trouble for another. Most barrio families came here to leave that kind of trouble behind. The simple truth of the matter is, working class people are just not the type of people to bang on your door, poke their hand out and demand a piece of your pie.  Working class people are proud.  Working class people are humble.  Working class people are independent.  We do not want what is yours.  We are satisfied with what is ours.

The barrio is a beautiful place.  The gringa doesn’t want to live anywhere else in the world. You can keep your golf course real estate and your mansion that talks to you. I am happy with my patio garden and an apartment I can clean from top to bottom in about forty-eight minutes flat leaving the rest of the day for my own pleasure. When we moved here the Caveman and I joked we were gonna “slum it” until all the kids were finished with college.  You see, wealthy people don’t sweat tuition. The truly poor get financial aid. Working class people pay every single dime.  We don’t make enough for us not to sweat it and we make too much for the government to think our kids need help. But, we don’t complain. We are proud that our oldest has finished, two are still at it, and the youngest, showing much promise, will soon be on his way.  So, even though it may have started as a temporary move to the barrio, now I want to stay for life. We may not have much but we always have enough, and, of love and laughter and good times, we have plenty. So, what in the world is there to fight for? All of our dreams that really matter have already come true.

Baby Bird Rescue 101

A few weeks ago some of the neighborhood girls “gifted” me a fledgling blue jay. My reputation has been well established by my grand-daughter among her barrio playmates. When the crisis arose, these girls knew where to go with the little orphan.  The gringa knows birds.

As I held this fuzzy little creature with its enormously wide baby beak, I knew if it survived the next 24 hours I was in for a complete upheaval of my day to day life, at the beck and call of this little guy round the clock.  I would also be entering into a life of crime.  Using Google to search for information about how to care for a fledgling blue jay, I was disappointed with the lack of information available.  It seemed only two options were offered on what to do in such a predicament:  a. Return the baby bird to the nest; or, b. hand the baby bird over to a wildlife rehabilitator.  It seemed these well-meaning bird rescue professionals had not really thought this through.  Real life is usually not that simple.

Returning the fledgling to the nest was out of the question. These giddy, little girls couldn’t even remember where they had found it.  Even if they had, a blue jay typically has a nest at the most extreme height possible in a tree.  At my age there is no way I was climbing any tree, not even a bonsai.  Setting the baby on the ground beneath the tree, hoping that the parents would return to care for it, was also not an option.  These little girls would most likely hang around to watch, preventing the parent birds from approaching, not to mention all the other kids who would eventually join in, many bringing their dogs with them.

The second option, release the bird to a wildlife rehabilitator, sounds logical.  However, reality is a completely different story. There simply aren’t enough wildlife rehabilitators out there. My experience has been that they have criteria that determine whether or not they will take in a rescue. One of those determining factors is usually how demanding the rehabilitation will be regarding time and effort.

For example, I once rescued a fawn that had been hit by a car.  Its jaw was broken so it was unable to suckle a bottle.  I spoon fed it goat milk.  When the wildlife rehabilitator learned of this, she would not accept the fawn until it was eating on its own.  I think she expected the little girl to die.  She didn’t.  I spoon fed that baby her goat milk rations for a week until she could suckle that darn bottle.  Then the wildlife rehabilitator wouldn’t accept her until she was grazing on her own!  I was fortunate that at that time the hubby and I had not downsized yet and still had a backyard.  We also had an 8’x10’ chain link dog run that became a deer stall.  Eventually she was grazing.  Finally, the wildlife rehabilitator would take her to join a herd she was releasing on some private land.

I was pretty certain the job description of feeding a baby blue jay every 15-20 minutes would not be a welcome undertaking.  This was confirmed in my ensuing conversations with the local wildlife management center.  When I called I told them what the case was and they advised the above two options.  I explained that the girls did not remember the location of where the bird was found.  They advised me just to put it outside in a safe place and leave it.  The parents would find it.  I informed them we had a very active community.  There were lots of children and dogs outside, all over the property.  It would not be safe.  I was told to keep the kids and animals away for about two hours.  I told them they were crazy and out of touch with reality.  That was not a reasonable, workable request. It’s as if they had a mantra of “the parents will return” and could not think outside the box of their perfect, imaginary, wildlife world.  It seemed they didn’t want it.  Even worse, it seemed they didn’t want me to help it.  I’m sorry, but allowing a healthy animal to die for the sake of complying with bureaucratic deficiencies and unrealistic expectations is not an option for me.   Despite all of the fear-mongering the Wildlife Management Office tried to instill in me about my inability to provide proper nutrition and hygiene that would probably result in the death of the baby bird, I chose to attempt to help it anyway.  I am proud to say he is thriving.  They seem to think this is more difficult than rocket science.  If you can raise human children, puppies, kittens, etc., you can use the good sense God gave you and figure out how to feed a bird.  I mean, as far as I can tell wildlife rehabilitators are simply human beings with an acquired knowledge on a particular subject.  They’re not super-humans or aliens.  I can learn what they learn.  I can implement that knowledge.  I can be successful.

So, for all of you fellow bird whisperers out there, I will offer suggestions that are sorely lacking in the public information arena on the subject of rescuing and raising baby birds.  But, beware, you will be embarking on a criminal enterprise.

DETERMINE THE IDENTITY, DIET, AND ENVIRONMENT OF YOUR RESCUE:  Most people are familiar with the identity of the local bird species.  Google some images just to make sure.  Research the diet of the adult birds of that species.  Baby birds eat the same diet as the parents. It is simply watered down a bit into a mushy, regurgitated mess which you can replicate.

GATHER SUPPLIES:  You will need some soft cloths that you can throw away after soiled, newspaper, paper towels, eye dropper, medicinal syringe, plastic storage containers, perches of various diameters (or tree branches), toys, multiple food and water dishes (at least two of each), some type of well-ventilated cage, a sheet or blanket to cover the cage.

SETTLE THE LITTLE BUGGER IN:   The first 24 hour period is the most critical.  Before you do anything else, create a safe place for the bird.  For my rescue I started out with a small dog crate.  I lined it with newspaper, added a multi-tined antler, set upside down, for a perch, and shredded a small dishtowel and formed it into a mound at the very front of the crate.  I then wrapped the baby bird in a washcloth and cozily snuggled him into the mound. I put him where I could see him while I prepared food.

FOOD PREPARATION:   Please note I offered food either at room temperature or straight out of the refrigerator.  Keep in mind that these feedings will also contain the water intake as well so always add proportional water amounts.  I discovered blue jays are omnivores.  The greater part of their diet is grain based and includes vegetable matter, fruits (such as berries), and proteins (insects, small frogs, even carrion).  Suitable substitutes for my bird’s dietary needs could be found in my own kitchen.

FEEDING:  The first week I used baby food:  beef, turkey, chicken, cereal with berries or fruit, peas, sweet potatoes, green beans.  I added enough water to make it easy to draw up in an eye dropper.  The first day I fed every 15-20 minutes. I attempted three eye dropperfuls, but he usually consumed two.  It was a tricky procedure because the baby bird did not understand what I was doing and would struggle.  I kept him gently swaddled in a washcloth with one hand.  Using the edge of one of my fingernails I would gently wedge his beak open just a tiny bit, enough to slip in the tip of the eye dropper.  As soon as he would sense the liquid he would begin to accept the food.  The best advice I can give about portions is that small, frequent feedings are the best.  Also consider the size of his “crop”, which is a small pouch that is a temporary storage area for the food and is part of the esophagus.  After about a day of feedings like this, he began to open his mouth on his own as well as squawk to let me know when he was ready to eat.  His first night I fed him about three times throughout the night.  After that I began to cover his cage and he would sleep through the night.

The second week I graduated him to a sturdier diet that was mashed rather than pureed.  His feeding times became hourly.  My many recipes over the past few weeks have contained a grain/veggie/fruit/protein blend combined from any of the following ingredients:  brown rice, whole wheat spaghetti, grits, oatmeal, cream of wheat, carrots, spinach, peas, green beans, sweet potato, papaya, banana, mango, applesauce, baby food beef/turkey/chicken, scrambled egg, imitation crab meat, shredded tilapia. The solid foods need to be boiled until they are very soft. I then strain the water and transfer it to a plastic storage container.  I use the base of a large, sturdy plastic tumbler to grind it to a paste.  Then I add fresh water to moisten it, keeping in mind this is his source of water as well as food.  The paste was too thick for the eye dropper so I switched to the medicine syringe.  I cut the tip off the syringe close to the body of the syringe and used a fork tine to open it up a little wider, then sanded it smooth.

He has continued this diet throughout his third week, but is gradually beginning to eat on his own.  When he progresses into his fourth week I will make a visit to the local pet store for mealworms and crickets (dear God, I can’t believe I’m actually PLANNING to “buy bugs”).  To introduce him to insect hunting I will use the bathtub for containment.  I don’t want those suckers loose in the house.  When he gets the hang of it I anticipate he will greedily dispatch them as soon as I toss them his way in his cage.  That way I don’t have to worry about unwanted guests around the patio or sneaking into the apartment.

HYGIENE:  For the first couple of days, if he got messy I would gently clean him with a warm, wet paper towel, drying him thoroughly with a washcloth.  Much to his dismay this meant gently spreading out his wings but he eventually grew to like his grooming sessions.  When he was better adjusted, I used the water sprayer in the shower to let him experience “rain”.  The water would be cool and the spray on a gentle setting.  I would place him on the antler perch out of reach of the spray.  He could go in and out of the water as he pleased.  This also enabled him an opportunity to practice flying, making daring attempts to perch on the shower curtain.  Eventually he was successful.  I would usually do this while I was cleaning his cage.  I replaced the paper whenever it was soiled but at least once a day, sometimes twice, I cleaned the inside of the crate with a sponge and mild dish soap.  I would dry the cage, dry the bird, and, voila, all clean again.

MOVING OUTDOORS:   By the third week, I was fairly certain he would survive into adulthood and I could release him.  It then became important for him to move to an outdoor cage.  Our night temperatures were a safe temperature, in the mid 70’s. During the day my patio would provide adequate shade and protection from direct sun, wind and rain.  I moved him to the patio, into a flight cage that allowed him to exercise and fly around. He had additional toys and tree branches at various levels.

At this time I began offering a small bowl of bite size food tidbits.  I started out with four tidbits each of a protein, grain, vegetable, and fruit (example: tilapia, whole wheat spaghetti, peas, and banana).  Knowing how many tidbits were in the bowl helped me know how much food was consumed.  For about a week he only responded to the food bowl with curiosity and played with the food.  Soon he began eating everything in his bowl early in the morning before his first feeding.  I was a late sleeper and he would be too ravenous to wait for me.  I hung a chunk of suet and cuttle bone and scattered seed on the floor of the cage at various points.  I positioned the scattered seed so that it would not be directly under perches in order to avoid being soiled by droppings.

Although my routine was to feed hourly, he was now able to wait longer if I had other things to do away from home.  These time extensions between feedings encouraged him to eat the food left in his cage.  This was also when he began bathing himself in the large, shallow bowl of water in his cage. I knew now he was on his way to becoming independent.

BONDING & COMPANIONSHIP:  Like most birds, his nature is to establish a strong bond. He has bonded with me and I don’t know if he will want to leave when the time comes.  The next month or so will determine whether he will leave or want to stay.  It’s his choice.  When my little bird is ready, I will attempt to release him.  If he flies away, I will be happy for him.  If he has bonded to me, his cage door will remain open.  He will be free to come and go as he pleases.  I do not consider myself his “owner”.  But, I admit, it will be very hard to say good-bye.

THE LAW:   Unfortunately, everything I have done, though right, good, moral and ethical and, my only workable option, is actually criminal in this country.  I think this is absolutely absurd.  It is just another example of how lawmakers in their marble state houses are totally out of touch with the realities of life as a regular person.  According to the Migratory Bird Act it is illegal to own any native bird species.  Well, I don’t own him.  I think he actually owns me.  It is also illegal to rescue and care for these birds if you are not a licensed wildlife rehabilitator.

I contacted a local wildlife management center and they didn’t seem to think this little guy needed help.  It is not my desire to break the law, but, rather, due to the inadequacy of Federal Wildlife Management to provide enough wildlife rehabilitators that participate with this law, I am left to either live with the possible death of a healthy animal I could have helped weighing on my conscience or, I can become a criminal.

I would love to be a legitimate wildlife rehabilitator but my research has revealed that I don’t measure up to their standards.  To rescue and rehabilitate most native bird species, a federal permit is required.  My apartment and patio would not meet their space standards.  The rescues would have too much exposure and contact with the humans and other animals of the household.  So, working class folk such as this gringa, who obviously have the skills and abilities to succeed as wildlife rehabilitators, are prevented because they can’t afford the square footage and cage guidelines.  Until permit laws reconsider such things, and the law becomes more flexible to allow for situations like this, or more wildlife rehabilitators exist that actually want to believe you when you tell them the little bird needs help and will receive these orphans with open arms, good-hearted, capable people in the barrio will rescue and rehabilitate at their own risk.

I hope sharing my experience has been helpful if you have found yourself with a baby bird on your hands this spring.  You should probably copy and paste, or share, this article.  I won’t be at all surprised if some government wildlife Nazi, er, I mean, agent, eventually comes knocking and asks me to remove this helpful information.  I don’t think they want us regular folk helping out without guv’ment approval.  Hopefully this gringa won’t be going to the slammer!

Soccer In The Barrio… Pffft!

Sunday and Thursday are the official soccer days of this household.  In the early days of my relationship with my husband I would go with him to the park believing, in my devoted, little heart, that I would cheer him on.  I soon learned that I hate soccer and began taking a book or a bag of knitting.  Now I don’t even bother going at all.

Soccer fans are true fans, in the whole sense of the word fan is derived from. They are FANATICS!  When my husband’s soccer buddies meet me for the first time they are shockingly amused when I make it very clear to them that I HATE SOCCER. Then I have to explain why, knowing I am delivering the highest insult and they will never look at this Gringa the same way again.

I am an American country girl who grew up in a small school where basketball and American football were the primary sports.  Anybody who was anybody played.  If you played golf, you were a nerd who was afraid to sweat.  If you played tennis, you were a baby who was afraid to get knocked around.  If you wanted any chance at all of any level of popularity and acceptance, you played basketball or football.  Soccer was not even in my vocabulary back then.  Needless to say, when I met my husband and was finally exposed to the sport, I was clueless as to the rules.  All that I was certain of was that you kicked a ball into the opponent’s goal to score, prevented opponents from doing the same, and you did not touch the ball with your hands.  That remains the extent of my knowledge and it’s all I care to know now.

Growing up watching the Dallas Cowboys legends of Tony Dorsett and Roger Staubach, back when Tom Landry showed the world an NFL coach could train champions AND have class, I suppose I became spoiled to the ideal athlete who could take a hit, a hard hit, and not roll around the field crying like a baby, faking an injury in order to manipulate the game in their favor.  That is the real source of my abhorrence of soccer.  I think soccer players are big babies.  If you get your leg broken, by all means roll around in agony.  However, if you are just putting on a show, people like myself, who want to watch a sport and not a soap opera, turn the channel or leave the stadium.  That’s not what I tuned in for.  I was expecting to see athletes who busted their bums to develop a skill that would win a game, that skill being athletic, not dramatic, in nature.  For drama I go to the theatre.  So, professional soccer teams, if you want to win the hearts and minds of the American majority, ya gotta toughen up and play with some grit.

Now, putting those criticisms aside with the understanding those opinions primarily apply to professional soccer, I will confess I do enjoy watching amateur matches.  These are the guys that play with their hearts and souls, whether in the spirit of true competition or just for fun.  I don’t see them play-acting.  Probably because they know their buddies, comprising both teams, will see right through it and either kick their ass or make fun of them for being a “puto” (my best English translation, “man-whore”).  Occasionally someone will also get into a fight, which is very exciting.  Since the amateur games lack referees, there’s no third party to prevent the overabundance of testosterone from leading to a bit of rough stuff, which will eventually piss someone off.  Finally, a tackle! A hit!  Now those are some moves I can really understand.  When my husband comments, “Oh, that was an awesome pass!”, or, “He can really touch the ball!”, I don’t have a clue what that means.  But a shove and some “in your face” verbal abuse, or maybe a quick tussle on the ground that involves every player dragging them apart, now that takes me back to some American football.  That’s when I love soccer.

So, as my Latino Loverboy leaves for his playdate, I shout out the door, “Have fun!  Don’t get in a fight!”  Later, when he returns all sweaty and smelly, I ask, “Did you have fun?  Did you get in a fight?”  This Sunday he said he didn’t get in a fight.  I was disappointed.


Thursday night is always salsa night for this gringa. I’m not sure what the significance is of Thursday where Salsa music is concerned. In our neck of the woods, most of the nightclubs that play the latest popular dance music on the weekends have a special “Latin” themed night on Thursdays. In Old and Middle English, from which Thursday is derived, it means “Thor’s Day”. Thor, through various twists and turns of linguistic travel throughout the ages, can be traced back to an origin found in ancient Rome’s Jupiter, the god of sky and thunder. So, dear reader, you ask, “What does Jupiter have to do with Latin Thursdays at Houston nightclubs?” Well, not a damn thing.

What is interesting about the Latin Thursdays nightclub scene is that it provides strong evidence that Houston needs many more nightclubs that feature Latin music every night they are open. The northern suburbs of Houston are especially in need of dance clubs dedicated to Salsa music.

People who faithfully show up, week after week, rain or shine, for Latin Thursday are people who love to dance. We want more Salsa! We want more Merengue! We want more Cumbia!  And, judging from the crowds who pour in from open to close in order to swing and twirl and twist while at the same time desperately attempting to avoid crushing the insteps belonging to lovely ladies in 5-inch heels wiggling just millimeters away , what we need more than anything is… BIGGER DANCE FLOORS!

I look forward to date night with my passionate Peruvian. We live for Thursday. It’s the best day of the week. I suppose that’s one more thing we want… WE WANT MORE THURSDAYS!