Mexican call centers staffed with deported Mexicans with American accents


This week’s episode of the This American Life podcast has a segment about Mexican citizens, with perfect American accents, who are deported back to Mexico and get jobs working in call centers speaking to Americans. As someone who works in a call center, this segment interested me greatly. It begins at the 27 minute mark.

From episode 520: No Place Like Home, This American Life:

Phone Home
Seth Freed Wessler reports on people going the opposite direction over the US/Mexico border. Each year hundreds of thousands of people are deported from the US to Mexico — tens of thousands more choose to leave on their own — and lots of them make the journey after years and years living in the states. Wessler explains how customer service call centers in Mexico are capitalizing on the fact that many of these people speak English with American accents. They’re hiring such people, and using them to staff customer service lines for American companies. But, for those who’ve left the US, taking calls over and over from the place they used to call home, it can be a complicated experience. (11 minutes)

I can attest to the fact that some people calling into a call center only want to speak to someone who sounds like them. It’s not just native American speakers who ask to speak to an American. I’ve had people ask me, in perfect English, to speak to someone who speaks Spanish. I hate when this happens. Instead of getting a Spanish speaker, I’m required to conference in a Spanish interpreter. Often times, the interpreter speaks worse English than the original caller. These calls quickly become cumbersome and unnecessarily difficult. The original caller will usually grow tired of waiting for the interpreter and just speak over them, in perfect English. The Spanish interpreter will then either disconnect from the call or stay on the line, silent, so that they can avoid getting the next call.

I once had to get a Vietnamese interpreter and the man had one of the greatest voices I think I’ve ever heard. He sounded like a voice actor or a radio DJ. I asked him if he spoke any other languages so that I could call him directly if and when I needed an interpreter. Unfortunately, he only spoke Vietnamese and English.

If only the world was like Star Trek, where everyone spoke articulate and well accentuated English, even the godless Klingons. That, or I had the language skills of C-3P0, who according to him, was fluent in over six million forms of communication.

Statue of Hitler kneeling in prayer placed in former Warsaw Jewish ghetto

Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan created a statue of Adolf Hitler kneeling in prayer and then placed the statue in the middle of a former Jewish ghetto in Warsaw, Poland. The ghetto at one time was the home of 254,000 Jews as they awaited transportation to the Treblinka death camp. To say that some people have a problem with this being placed in such a historically significant site is an understatement.

Can anyone really blame them?

The statue is creepy. The fact that it was placed in a former Warsaw Jewish ghetto just seems unnecessarily rude. Art at times can be provocative, but this just seems more like trolling.

Rabid skunk bites woman at Jimmy Buffett theme restaurant


A woman was at Cheeseburger in Paradise, a Jimmy Buffett-inspired theme restaurant in southern Maryland, eating lunch when a skunk walked into the establishment and bit her.

The skunk was captured and then shot in the restaurant’s parking lot. The skunk’s brain was tested and it was confirmed that it had rabies. You know who else needs to have their brain tested? Anyone that would eat at a Jimmy Buffett-inspired theme restaurant. The only thing I can think of worse than being bit by a rabid skunk is having to eat at a Cheeseburger in Paradise, listen to the music of Jimmy Buffett, or be around people who are fans of Jimmy Buffett.

I hate Jimmy Buffett. I always have, I always will.

Someone supposedly paints house like an American flag in protest of homeowners association (Update)

There’s a photo that’s been appearing in my news feed on Facebook. Quite a few of my Facebook friends have been posting it. It shows a house painted like an American flag. This is what appears in the Facebook post:

This man was told by his Homeowners Association that he couldn’t fly the American Flag in his yard. Click like if you think his response is a #win!

I’m not buying it. Sure, I believe someone really painted their house to look like an American flag, I just don’t believe they did it in protest towards their homeowners association.

For one thing, the home appears to be quite old. Homeowners associations exist almost exclusively in newer, planned neighborhoods. It wouldn’t surprise me if the home in the photo is one-hundred years old. I imagine getting people who live in older homes to retroactively join a homeowners association would be a lot like herding cats.

Secondly, it’s illegal for a homeowners association to bar someone from displaying the American flag. The federal Freedom to Display the American Flag Act of 2005, makes it illegal for a homeowners association to restrict homeowners from displaying the American flag on their property.

It’s literally a federal offense for a homeowners association to restrict flying the American flag.

Lastly, homeowners associations generally always have restrictions on what color or colors you can paint your house. If they have one rule, it’s that. The idea that a homeowners association would forbid someone from flying the American flag, but allow someone to paint their home like a flag, is absurd. It was made-up by someone who has never lived in a neighborhood governed by a homeowners association.

I see something like this on Facebook and wonder how anyone could believe it.

UPDATE: Thanks to commentator Erin for posting a link to the real story behind this paint job. It had nothing to do with a homeowners association and flying the American flag and instead had everything to do with a guy acting like a jerk towards the local historical society.

The National Enquirer publishes photos of Whitney Houston in casket


The National Enquirer, the grocery store check-out newspaper of record, has photos of Whitney Houston in her coffin. The picture was taken at a funeral home in New Jersey. One of the images graces this week’s cover.

Some are pretending to be outraged by this. They say that the picture is in bad taste and crosses a line, whatever that means. Of course it’s in bad taste. It’s a photo of a dead body in a golden casket. The photo’s not what’s in bad taste, it’s the act of dressing up a corpse and making a spectacle of it that’s in bad taste. It’s morbid and tacky.

A corpse is something to be disposed of, not something to decorate and display like an expensive dress-up doll.

This isn’t the first time the National Enquirer has done something like this. They posted a similar picture when Elvis Presley died and it sold about a bazillion copies. They also posted a picture of Michael Jackson in a casket.

When I die, I want to be placed in a cardboard box and shoved in an incinerator, like a frozen hamburger in the broiler at Burger King.