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So, when an earthquake damages your Washington Monument, who are you going to call? According to an article on NPR: the difficult access team from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc. (WJE), that’s who! These guys have a pretty simple thing going on: they’re engineers, who are also hot shot rock climbers, who rappel up to and repair hard-to-reach damage on important structures like national monuments.
Wait, wha??? That’s ridiculous, right?? Kinda makes you wonder, if this is the job-part of their job, what extra stuff do they do to keep things interesting? (Full disclosure: they say the Washington Monument is the most iconic they’ve fixed, but let’s just ignore that, okay?)
Netflix made quite the splash with their innovative strategy of "Upsetting Every Last Customer We Have" recently, and CEO/Co-Founder Reed Hastings took a lot of heat for his heartfelt, earnest email explaining that he would make everything better by splitting the company in two, enraging and baffling everyone even further. But while everyone is busy flipping out over a company having the gall to try and charge enough so that they can stay afloat, our CEO and resident pontificator Matt Rutledge took some of Hastings' email to heart after bashing it on Google+.
A self described "Elite" Netflix member (we looked and couldn't really find any evidence that such a thing exists) and no stranger to penning a letter from the desk of the CEO, Matt's always been an innovator, ready to enact a bold new strategy as soon as someone else does it first. That's why many Wooters woke up to find this email in their inbox this morning...
Recently we made a big splash in the news- Well, not US, per se, but our namesake. See, the Oxford English Dictionary, the "premier" dictionary of the English language, decided to include the term "woot" in their hallowed pages of definitions, alongside such esteemed company as "noob," "retweet," and "mankini." Now we know we're not the top dogs or anything, but we've been at this internet stuff long enough to know when you toot your own horn and when you affect a properly-unenthused tone lest everyone tear you apart for enjoying something. Plus, it's not like they got the definition right: "a statement of elation?" Psh. Everyone knows it should read "coolest website on earth." So we were content to let the news die down.
Except that people kept pointing it out. First came the tweets, then the emails. Then came the phone calls from our dear aunts, uncles, and grandparents who still don't really know what we do or how we make money at it, but know that they just saw the company name in a news article and that's a pretty big deal. Which isn't to hate on our loved ones for thinking of us; we appreciate their enthusiasm! We just got enough feedback on the whole thing that we figured we should address it.
And we found a dirty little secret about the Oxford English Dictionary...
After announcing yesterday that it was discontinuing its TouchPad tablet and exploring "strategic alternatives" to its PC manufacturing business, electronics giant HP has gone into hiding to "sort of get my head together", it said in a statement released through a publicist today.
"First, much love to my fans, and don't worry about me," the multinational corporation said in the brief but rambling announcement. "I'm not crazy. I'm not on drugs. I just needed a little time to step away from the insanity, be alone with my thoughts for a little while, and figure out who I am again."
Rumors about the HP's fragile emotional state had begun flying when the company failed to make a scheduled nightclub appearance in Atlantic City last night. By morning, Twitter was ablaze with so-called "#HPsightings", including reports from South Africa, Paris, and the Greek island of Naxos.
The statement expressed amusement at the #HPsightings phenomenon, but added "You haven't found me yet, and I promise you, you won't. Please stop trying. I'll be back in a little while. And you'll be seeing more of me once I get my mind straight again.
"But probably not that much more."
According to a recent report on NPR, two New York-area pizza places are duking it out for the title "oldest pizza place." Papa's Tomato Pies of Trenton, NJ is arguing that, because Lombardi's (long considered to be the oldest) was closed for a decade, that voids their claim. The article made me wonder about other such heated restau-rivalries. After doing some research, I've uncovered three that I think are worth sharing:
In the lively bar district of Rock Island, Illinois, two bratwurst carts each claim to be the original. Tom Shepard, owner/operator of Dawgs2Go, tried to end the argument by pointing out that his competitor - Chris Melvins, proprietor of Best Wursts - closes his stand nightly. Since his stand remained open at all times, Shepard argued, there was no question that he should be officially be crowned the "longest continuously open mobile bratwurst establishment" in the Quad Cities. Melvins countered by pointing out that, while Dawgs2Go did technically remain "open" 24 hours per day, Shepard set aside certain times of day as "no dawg zones" and often operated his cart in remote locations, such as inside his locked garage.
In Reading, Pennslyvania, a rivalry between the two oldest frozen yogurt shops in town took an odd turn when a health inspector uncovered what he called "an unidentified, partially-built machine" in the basement of Daisy's Dairy. Daisy Galls claimed it to be "just a silly project" but an unnamed source leaked to the media that the device was, in fact, a failed time machine, with which Galls had planned to erase all traces of its crosstown enemy, Micky Moo's, from history.
In Alma, Michigan, the dispute between the town's two longest-standing vegan donut shops continues to escalate, each constantly claiming an earlier open date than the other. As it currently stands, Rounders has released a statement in which the proprietor, Richie Albins, says he has reason to believe that "the single-celled organisms" that evolved into his ancestors made "the single-celled organism equivalent of vegan donuts." Yolinda Hynes, of GlazeHaze, responded with hard evidence - namely what appears to be a simple pinkish rock that she believes a series of scientific tests will reveal to be a petrified GlazeHaze raspberry frosted donut made in prehistoric times.
We've waited long enough for this! Thanks to the recently trending hashtag #imthetypeofperson, the people of Twitter finally have an opportunity to tell us a little bit about themselves! And not a moment too soon; they were way too shy and reserved until now. Lets learn about what types there are out there...
I'm not sure which is more impressive: your politeness or your precision microwave control.
For the last three or four months DC (Detective Comics, home of Superman, Batman, etc., in case you're not a regular at your local Android's Dungeon) has teased that in September they'll be relaunching the entire universe, with 52 titles getting brand new "Number One" issues. For DC, it's a chance to reinvigorate the brand and attract new readers who might be turned off or confused by the extensive continuity. Additionally, they're going to introduce "a more modern, diverse DC Universe" with "character variations in appearance, origin, and age," which is a press-release-way of saying "We're going to make Batman Mexican. Deal with it."
Comic book fans, notoriously easy to anger, have taken the news with the expected gamut of emotions: nerd rage, worried contemplation as to the effects on their favorite characters/storylines, pessimism at a blatant cash grab, and naive optimism that THIS will be the change that sticks. I guess I'm in favor of anything that might introduce a new audience to comics and thus keep them in business. In general, I'm in favor of a comic universe sticking to its own continuity: dead people should stay dead, and "HUGE, EPIC CROSSOVER" events should have lasting effects on the world if they're that important. But nitpicking continuity issues is for basement-dwellers with too much anger to contain. It seems like in making this move DC has been taking to heart the angry letters they undoubtedly get from people counting the compartments on Batman's belt.
But this isn't really about DC; they're just the inspiration. See, if the people behind cultural icons like The Flash and Wonder Woman can just cast it all to the winds and try to reboot everything, what's stopping everybody else? Here are some comics we feel are in dire need of a universal reboot:
People often wonder what it's like in the Woot Writers' Room. They like to ask about how cool it is, how we get any work done when we're constantly tweeting and posting about neat crap we find on the internet, and if they can get a job here. But the truth is we spend most of our day in a chat room collaborating on ideas and having some serious discussions that we sometimes scrub lightly for profanity and post here.
Like today, when I found this amazing video on Reddit that shows baboons kidnapping puppies and raising them as pets and posted it in the writers' chat room: (Editor's note: skip the first minute if you don't want to see a baboon treating a puppy rougher than most people like to see puppies treated)
We here at Woot are no strangers to the joys of cleaning and displaying various animal pieces in your home, so we can appreciate the enthusiasm some people have for taxidermy. After all, it's an art, and it's a way to commemorate and memorialize your triumphant kill, a favorite pet, or maybe just that thing you thought was a Chupacabra in your yard. Of course in every profession there is an upper echelon, but Terrible Taxidermy focuses on one of those lower echelons. Way lower...