New Restaurant Ideas!

Fiesta Italiano!

The restaurant is decorated as a Mexican town square all decked out for a fiesta! Mariachi bands wander though the square serenading the lovely senoritas and everyone is served tequila with what might be little worms in some of the bottles. If you get a bottle with a worm, you get a free appetizer! If you drink the whole bottle including the worm, you get two free appetizers and a coupon for the gastroenterologist a couple of doors down the street.

But the big attraction is the Pasta Pinata! Hit that sucker just right and everyone gets showered with steaming hot pasta and tomato sauce! Don’t get one of those dried pepper flakes in you eye, though! Ay yi yi, that hurts!


Set up as a normal appearing mid-market trendy restaurant — however all forms of written and audible communication are forbidden. Perfect for those social occasions when you feel you should go out with those friends or family members that you really don’t want to talk to.

When you call for reservations, the other end of the phone conversation is silent and if you’ve said when you want to come and the number of people on your party, they won’t listen, won’t write it down and won’t even acknowledge that you called. Their website is a blank page. You can make reservations though OpenTable but the staff is not allowed to read them.

Assuming you actually get in and get seated, the waiter will act out the items on the menu. You have to act out your order. You are not allowed to talk to anyone — not to the waiter, not to your dinner companions, not to anyone. Body language is strictly controlled and patrons communicating too openly by posture, gesture or whatnot may suddenly find that the staff has set up screens around them. Meaningful glances are also not allowed so special head bags are kept handy.

Some patrons will insist on making sighs or noises of appreciation or discontent. When this is detected, the staff will clamp a “jammer” to the offender’s table. The jammer buzzes at a level that drowns out the offending noise. People who get annoyed at the jammer and start complaining will soon find that they are unable to speak at a level louder than the jammer can generate. If the offending party tries to get up from the table, the jammer has the ability to use laser technology to neutralize the target. This is the entertainment provided for long term patrons.

If a jammer has been attached to your table, you are encouraged NOT to get up to use the rest room.

Paying the check at the end of the meal is a long, complicated process as they have to act out the bill and they are not allowed to read the denomination of the money or details of the check you provide nor communicate with a credit card clearing service if you try to charge your meal. Don’t try to get them to validate your parking, as you’ll just be disappointed.

Caveat Emptor’s

A neat, clean establishment with good food, a pleasant ambiance and efficient and capable waitstaff. All food is prepared assembly line fashion but chosen somewhat randomly based on what the last order processed was and what supplies are on hand. For example, if the last order taken was for a hamburger, only hamburgers are made until 2 key ingredients for making hamburgers are exhausted. As supplies dwindle, the chef can make up to two substitutions for ingredients he does have — for example, he’s out of hamburger buns but does have cornbread — he can substitute. He’s out of hamburger but has beets — he can substitute. The assembly line process is called a “run”.

If you’ve ordered during a run, regardless of what you’ve ordered, you’re going to get an item from the run. Hopefully, not from the end of the run as it may have substitutions and a grilled beet on cornbread with mustard, onion and relish is not anyone’s idea of a good lunch.

But the excitement comes in when the “Three’s a Charm” bell rings! That means that at least two key ingredients for everything on the menu are exhausted! Prices get slashed in half, but the chef gets to improvise with what he has left! Best to order something cheap and there’s no telling what you’ll be served!

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Rock Bottom BBS – EMail Service Change

Due to rising operating costs, Rock Bottom BBS will be discontinuing several of the email domain names it has hosted in the past. If you have an email account with us and have been using one or more of the domain names listed below, email service to that domain will be discontinued sometime between May 1, 2013 and July 31, 2013.  The decision on which domains to retain and which to discontinue was bas based on traffic patterns over the past 12 months. Domains with light or non-existent traffic were targeted for removal.

Our email system can use any of our domains and the default account email domain is RockBottom.Org. That domain is not changing.

The email domains BEING DISCONTINUED are:

  • GeezBot.Com
  • GeezBox.Com (domain being kept but email service being dropped)
  • Omniphobe.Com
  • SteepleDog.Net
  • SweetZombieJesus.Net

The domains being continued are:

  • RockBottom.Org
  • RockBottom.Net
  • CrapSalad.Com
  • MonkeysManana.Com
  • SleepyCat.US

If you would like to get a FREE email account at Rock Bottom BBS, please send an email to

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The Naughty or Nice List Explained!

Last Christmas I wrote about Santa’s present delivery process.  This year, we’re going to talk about the Naughty and Nice List.   So first, let’s examine what we know about the process: “He’s making a list.  He’s checking it twice.  Gonna find out who’s naughty and nice…”  So from this we can assume that Santa himself is the administrator of the list and the list is apparently managed in real time — otherwise he would not have to check it twice.  If there were a freeze date for list modification on say, December 22nd, the list at that date would be static and he could rely on its entries for delivery purposes.  This also implies that Santa is getting real time data feeds as he’s delivering presents so each child’s aggregate score may be fluctuating even as Santa approaches his house or apartment.  Clearly, though, once Santa is on your roof, he has to take the score as it’s computed at that time.  If you’re doing something really, really naughty as he comes down the chimney, that won’t count against you this year.

The fact that he has to check it twice seems to indicate that Santa’s memory is faulty or that there is a real possibility of the list changing while he’s looking at it.  Since Santa is really a wood spirit and wood spirits generally have good memories, we are pointed back to the probability of a highly volatile Naughty and Nice list.

The determination of being naughty or nice appears to be a transactional process.  For the sake of argument, lets call the atomic transactions “behavioral transactions” or B-trans.  To have a positive or negative effect, the B-trans must therefor have a scalar value of either positive or negative character and that value must be proportional to the naughtiness or niceness of the behavior being assessed– otherwise a really heinous act like burning down an orphanage could be wiped out but a relatively minor nice act, like not stepping on a petunia.

Thus, there is an aggregate score a child must earn to be termed naughty or nice.  Since we have all observed known naughty kids receiving presents and known nice kids getting squat, we must assume that either or both of two additional factors are considered: confidence intervals and trending.

The confidence interval concept would allow a buffer zone for those whose aggregate score may be right around the naughty/nice boundary layer.  How those children would be rated clearly must depend on additional factors.  Probably the most reasonable is trending.

Trending would allow weighting for those who while right on the line between naughty and nice but who have tended to be nicer recently to be given the benefit of the doubt that they are on the road to niceness and that even though they have an aggregate score that puts them in the naughty category, they are treated as nice.  Or conversely, a child who is generally nice but has been trending naughty could be categorized as naughty despite having an aggregate score that would be considered as nice.

For  behavioral forecast accuracy, the most reasonable approach for trending adjustments would be an auto-regressive time series analysis — that is, a child’s behavior today is most likely influenced by their behavior yesterday, and less so by their behavior the day before, etc.  Thus someone who was trending nice would probably continue toward nice, and one who was trending toward naughty should probably have the snot beaten out of them.

Clearly, the influence of the confidence interval and trending would only affect those children who were marginally naughty or nice.  Genuinely nice children would have to do something pretty horrible to tip the scale to the naughty side; and genuinely naughty children would have to do something way out of character on the positive side to get to the nice category.

Given the above, it is probably safe to assume that by mid-year, your categorization as naughty or nice is pretty well sealed.  So, by extension,  for those solidly on the nice list by, say October, you’d pretty much have to turn axe-murderer to flip to the naughty side.  And for those solidly naughty, you’d pretty much have to turn into Mother Theresa on steroids to get to the nice side.

So to all you truly nice kids out there, it’s too late to anything to make the naughty kids like you.  And to the naughty kids, I can tell you where to go to buy beer.

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The Myth of Presidential Promises

I am always amused by the claims made by everyone running for president.  Pure and simple, they just can’t do a lot of what they promise by themselves– if you want to change laws or even some major program, it has to be done by Congress, not the president.  Yes, the elected president is a spokesperson for his party and can influence what gets on the congressional agenda, but he has little means of fulfilling the bulk of his promises by himself.

With an evenly spit and gridlocked Congress, the president’s plans– any president’s plans– will get watered down or stalled.  It isn’t a Democrat or Republican thing, it’s a partisanship thing with neither side being willing to compromise.

Part two of this rant is the economy.  Depending on a bunch of factors, it takes nine months to two years for a economic policy change to be felt in the economy as a whole — and that assumes nothing else is going on to screw things up — like trouble in the middle east causing dramatic increases in oil prices.

For stuff Obama has initiated, their impact is really just begininning to really be felt now.  For stuff Romney would do if elected, those won’t be felt for nine months to two years from when he would take office on January 20th 2013 — meaning probably not until 2014 or 2015.  Virtually any improvement in the economy in 2013 would be due to programs and actions that Obama was responsible for — regardless of who wins the 2012 election.

So my prediction for the 2012 election season results is simple.  The House of Representatives will remain largely Republican.  The Senate will maintain it’s Democratic majority.  Whoever gets elected will see only a small portion of their programs passed.   But we will have plenty of finger pointing, accusations, drama and more congressional gridlock.

A Romney win means the Democrats get blamed for the ills of the nation and slowly the economy will get better.  An Obama win means the Republicans will get  blamed for the ills of the nation and slowly the economy will get better.

If you want to make real change in governmental programs, regardless of your political persuasion, the answer is to dump the current batch of congressmen and senators and replace them all with people who are concerned with doing what’s right for the country and not pandering to special interests.

Oh wait.  The special interests don’t want that.  Never mind.


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I don’t speak Italian…

… but doesn’t “Casa Visco” translate to something like “Sticky House”?

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It’s what’s for dinner!

Picture this.  A bunch of marketing and product management type folks sitting around a table trying to decide what to call there new food product.  Often, discussions like that involve trying to add some romanticized idea of far away places or bygone eras.  The guys who worked on this product just didn’t put any effort in at all.  ”Potted Meat Food Product”?  Maybe the meeting was late on a friday afternoon before a long weekend and they just wanted to get out early.

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A New Definition of Hell

CastleI was recently at a professional conference held at the Grand Floridian Hotel at Disney World. I could deal with the 8.7 Gazillion little kids running around. I could tolerate the omnipresent Mickey Mouse images abso-freakin’ everywhere (attached are pictures of the lamp and the arrangement of towels in my room).  Mickey is apparently revered here like Kim Jong Un is in North Korea.

The first thing to drive me me to violent acts, however, was the 80% Disney content on the TV system — and half of it is in Spanish, so you can get wholesome in two languages. You can get Fox News for some reason (but only in English).Mouse Towel

All the female staff members were dressed like Amish spinster aunties and the male staff members were wearing light blue seersucker suits with red vests and saddle shoes. And all so goddam pleasant.

The true horror of this place, is just that — all the staff — EVERY SINGLE F__KING MEMBER OF THE F__KING STAFF — greets you with a cheery “Hello there!”, “Where are you visiting from?”, “Have a Magical Day!”, “I hope you’re enjoying your stay with us!”, “How can we make your stay more pleasant?” ARGH!

I’m convinced that they all have explosive devices implanted in their heads and if they don’t act syrupy nice, the Evil Disney Overlords will exterminate them.  This really came across to me as the Village of the Damned.Mouse Lamp

I decided that I had to find out if they have belly buttons. Are they real humans or cleverly engineered robots? Not quite sure how I’ll find out. It may be on the news later….

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The Truth about 9/11

Oh, sure, we’ve all heard the various conspiracy theories about who was really behind the events on 9/11. But I’ll tell you what I think really happened. In the Fall of 2001 I worked for a company that specialized in security systems for buildings. We were working with a large cosmetics company who wanted to expand their research and development labs in central New Jersey. The plan was that the company was going to merge their European research operations in Nice on the French Mediterranen coast with their US research facility. Research scientists were to be relocated from one of the most beautiful places on the planet to a spot in the industrial belt with noise, pollution and traffic. The attack came while the planning and buildout of the new facility was still in process. Our client decided to halt the combination of the two research units and move their executive offices from New York to the New Jersey location  instead. Based on this fact alone, I am convinced that 9/11 was not the work of terrorists, but of cosmetics researchers who did not want to relocate from the French Riviera to New Jersey.

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The Two Thirds Rule

Think about this when you read about the news coverage of the bailout of the financial sector, the incoming administration, or even just your employers plans for the new year…

There was a professor my senior year in college who made a profound impact on the way I think. He would show how mathematical analyses could be fundamentally flawed, how inadequately tested theories would be put forth and generally accepted, and how improperly managed data could undermine the rigor of an analysis.

My favorite nugget was what I call “The Two-Thirds Rule”, which goes:

“Take a population to study. Divide it by whatever means or metric you wish into three equal groups: average, above average and below average. Now look at what you’ve got.

Two thirds of that population is mediocre at best…”

Now try not to think about the people controlling the world’s arsenal of nuclear weapons. Or about any government’s emergency response program after a natural disaster. Or about combating a pandemic. Or fixing the financial system.

Could we establish a plan or program to protect ourselves? Sure– but two thirds of the people on the team that develops the plan are mediocre at best…

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Analysis of Santa’s Delivery Process

OK, let’s think about this:

He makes a list and marks it with who is naughty or nice — suggesting that the proportion of naughty children to nice children is near equal and somewhat dynamic. If there was a significant skew toward naughty or nice he would employ blacklist/whitelist procedures to make delivery planning easier. This implies that there has to be a LOT of coal because nearly half of all little boys and girls are “naughty”. (This also raises the question of whether the list is maintained in real-time and if they use transactional guarantees to ensure that the integrity of the list is maintained — but I won’t go into that here — maybe next year…)

Is there a separate just-in-time delivery process for coal? If there were and considering the volume of coal delivery required, much more Christmas lore would be directed at that system. I think we can discount the JIT coal delivery hypothesis.

Is there a supply of coal on board that we can’t see? Probably not because the mass of the sleigh, toys and coal when Santa initiates his route would be considerable — and if he’s hauling coal, it would probably be for an additional power source to supplement the reindeer on the first half of the delivery route when the sleigh and cargo are heaviest. But coal must not be used for fuel or the sleigh would have a large boiler and smoke stack which is certainly not in any of the traditional images of the sleigh.

Is there coal mixed in with the bag of toys? If so, wouldn’t the good children’s presents be sooty and grimy from the coal?

Are there separate compartments in the bag for presents and coal? If the density of the coal is significantly different than that of the toys, that may make the bag unwieldy to manage. Also carrying a bag with a significant amount of coal into every home probably violates some local and regional ordinances.

Does he use his super Santa strength to crush the bad children’s presents into black lumps? That seems especially cruel and would consume a considerable amount of energy. And it’s probably not efficient to produce a toy and then crush it down into a lump just prior to delivery. (Though I admit this option appeals to me at some perverse level.)

No, I think the answer is elsewhere. Look again at the configuration of the sleigh. There is a component of the system architecture that can produce dark worthless lumps. In fact, there are eight of them (nine if you count Rudolf). So it’s not coal that’s being left to the naughty children…

I hope you’ve been good this year.
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