Adam And Eve On A Raft, And Wreck ‘Em
November 23, 2018 Ways To Get New Customers

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Adam And Eve On A Raft, And Wreck ‘Em
ways to get new customers
Jerry Poulimas got his first "slanguage" lesson eight years ago, when a customer plopped down on a lunch counter stool and said, "Gimme some Joe."

"I thought the guy thought my name was Joe, and I told him it wasn’t," says Poulimas, who was 15 and working after school in his parents’ diner. "No," the guy said. "Joe. You know, coffee."

Poulimas, who now manages the family-owned Angela’s Coffee Shop in the Fort Tryon section of upper Manhattan, still hasn’t mastered the arcane lingo of the hash house. But, he says, he’s picking it up, one crazy, colorful term at a time.

"It’s a language that’s close to extinction," says John Mariani, a New York food writer who once compiled a list of the most popular patois used by diner cooks and waiters, and authored The Dictionary of American Food and Drink.

Once, diners rang with calls for cackleberries (eggs), axle grease (butter), Zeppelins in a fog (sausages in mashed potatoes) and bossy in a bowl (beef stew).

Slang now? "It’s like Latin, a dying language," says Mariani.

There are several reasons, among them the disappearance of the brassy, sassy waitresses and countermen who made the colorful jargon part of their working routine during its heyday in the ’30s, ’40s and early ’50s.

At several diners around New York, managers said, employes don’t use slang, partly because there is no one to teach it, but also because orders to cooks are increasingly complex and thus require more exact terminology.

And some slang has gone mainstream — among it, O.J., BLT, stack, mayo, over easy, hash browns, sunnyside up and blue plate special.

Tradition is just hanging on at Angela’s, where Poulimas was shouting an order as a reporter walked in. "Whisky down," he yelled to cook Gus Delos. "And it’s walking." "That’s rye toast to go," he translated.

Diner slang has been around a long time. In 1852, a newspaper in Detroit printed some examples, and by the 1870s, black waiters made it popular. After World War II, soda jerks — another term that later crossed over into popular use — and drive-in waitresses added more terms. But by then, it was a fading fad.

"I didn’t know any of this until the cooks told me," says Poulimas, who started working for his parents when he was 11. "They told me to learn it to minimize confusion."

One specialty at Angela’s is the rice pudding that his mother makes every morning. What do the waiters call it?

"Rice pudding," says Poulimas. "Some things you don’t screw around with."

– Bill Bell (The New York Daily News)

The Lingo

Adam and Eve on a raft, and wreck ’em: Eggs on toast, scrambled.
A spot with a twist: Tea with lemon.
Axle grease: Butter.
Belch water: Seltzer or soda water.
Birdseed: Cereal.
Blowout patches: Pancakes.
Blue-plate special: A dish of meat, potato, and vegetable served on a plate (usually blue) sectioned in three parts.
Bossy in a bowl: Beef stew.
Bowl of red: A bowl of chili con carne.
Bowwow or Coney Island chicken: A hot dog.
Breath: An onion.
Bridge or bridge party: Four of anything, so called from the card-game hand of bridge.
Bullets or Whistle Berries: Baked beans.
Burn one, take it through the garden and pin a rose on it: Hamburger with lettuce, tomato and onion.
Burn the British, and draw one in the dark: English muffin, toasted, with black coffee.
Cat’s eyes: Tapioca.
City juice: Water.
C.J. White: Cream cheese and jelly sandwich on white bread.
Cowboy: A western omelet or sandwich.
Cow feed: A salad.
Creep: Draft beer.
Deadeye: Poached egg.
Dog and maggot: Cracker and cheese.
Dough well done with cow to cover: Buttered toast.
Drag one through Georgia: Coca-Cola with chocolate syrup.
Eighty-six: The kitchen is out of the item ordered.
Eve with a lid on: Apple pie.
Fifty-five: A glass of root beer.
First lady: Spareribs.
Fly cake or roach cake: A raisin cake or huckleberry pie.
Frenchman’s delight: Pea soup.
Gentleman will take a chance or Sweep the kitchen: Hash.
Go for a walk or On wheels: An order to be packed and taken out.
Gravel train: Sugar bowl.
Graveyard stew: Milk toast.
Hemorrhage: Ketchup.
High and dry: A plain sandwich without butter, mayonnaise, or lettuce.
Houseboat: A banana split made with ice cream and sliced bananas.
In the alley: Serve as a side dish.
Irish turkey: Corned beef and cabbage.
Jack Tommy: Cheese and tomato sandwich.
Java or Joe: Coffee.
Looseners: Prunes.
Lumber: A toothpick.
Maiden’s delight: Cherries.
Mike and Ike or The twins: Salt and pepper shakers.
Moo juice: Milk.
Mud or Omurk: Black coffee.
Murphy: Potatoes.
Nervous pudding: Jello.
Noah’s boy: A slice of ham.
On the hoof: Meat done rare.
Paint a bow-wow red: Hot dog with ketchup.
Pittsburgh: Meat charred on the outside while still red within.
Put out the lights and cry: Liver and onions.
Radio: A tuna-fish-salad sandwich on toast.
Sand: Sugar.
Sea dust: Salt.
Sinkers and suds: Doughnuts and coffee.
Vermont: Maple syrup.
Warts: Olives.
Whisky down: Rye toast.
Wreath: Cabbage.
Zeppelins in a fog: Sausages in mashed potatoes.


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Craig Miller, CTO of GridPoint
ways to get new customers
GridPoint: Enabling the stupid grid
(w apologies to David Isenberg)

GridPoint is the creation of Bill Nitze, former Assistant Administrator for International Affairs at the US Environmental Protection Agency (1994 to 2001) and general counsel for Mobil Oil in Japan, and currently president of the Gemstar Group, a nonprofit focused on market-based approaches to environmental problems. Along with Peter Corsell, director for energy markets at Gemstar, he got excited about the potential of photovoltaic (solar) panels, and they decided to follow Gemstar’s mission and create a company around the idea. Their plan was to turn solar panels from something usable only by hobbyists willing to learn a new craft, into a piece of equipment any homeowner could have installed by a contractor and thereafter manage automatically. The systems now in the market generally lack batteries and cannot function during a power outage, nor are most of them easily connectable to sell power back to the grid. Individual consumers simply don’t have much standing vis a vis the utilities, who see them as passive consumers. Nitze is chairman; Corsell is president and CEO. Bill is 62 and Peter is (gasp!) 27.

To build the system they hired CTO Craig Miller, who brings an impressive and relevant resume to the job. As former chief scientist at SAIC, he established SAIC’s Electronic Commerce Rapid Application Development Laboratory (EC RADLab™) and helped build GreenOnline™, a market for environmental products and services. At SAIC, he also built major components for the -billion air pollution emissions electronic marketplace which connects more than 2,000 power plants. In 1987, he designed PEDRO, the Department of Energy’s first and premier electronic data collection tool, which has operated since then without interruption.

Miller explains the context: The US sharply reduced its spending on the its electrical energy infrastructure in the early 1980s, when deregulation began and utilities started paying more attention to short-term returns than to the cost-plus, low-risk investments they had previously made under regulation (to simplify a little!). To extend that infrastructure today would be almost impossible, but we can use the resources better, in the US and elsewhere.

Electrical power is unique because the grid has no latency; it can’t store power in meaningful amounts. And in general, it operates only one-way: Producers sell power at variable costs to utilities who sell it at regulated prices to consumers, who typically account for 80 percent of consumption.

The prices paid by utilities to producers vary dramatically over time (across days and within each day). Utilities buy some power under fixed-rate contracts, but they can’t buy enough to cover peak demand. Thus energy prices can vary by a factor of 2 to 3 during a typical day (from night-time lows to evening peaks on a hot day), while soaring to 20 times the base on a super-hot or otherwise extraordinary day.

The heaviest industrial customers generate much of their own power, but are grid-connected and in some cases act as power producers. Many of them participate in utility “demand-response” programs, reducing demand or even supplying power at the request of the utilities in exchange for payment. Miller cites a case in 2001 where the New York State Intersystem Operator (ISO), who coordinate regional generation, including Con Ed paid industrial customers .2 million to shut down…because that enabled the ISO to save million. Both sides were better off.

But residential and small commercial customers are too small and unsophisticated to participate in these programs. That’s partly an artifact of regulation: Utilities charge regulated, fixed prices to consumers, although recently they have – with regulatory approval – experimented with some time-of-day pricing. It’s also due to the fact that a utility simply has no easy way of communicating with its customers on the necessary scale

PS – I’m an investr.

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