A.A. Bondy
American Hearts

Leaves in the Gutter

For What I Don't Become

The Thick of It
BBC America

Saddest Ghost Lamp

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Another Great Moment in Drudgery

10:23 EST:

11:00 EST:

The story, as you may have guessed, makes no mention of rape.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Next Season on NBC: Fear Factoring Drills

NBC Universal honcho Jeff Zucker on "Deal or No Deal": "Look, I think the best ideas are the simplest ones. And Deal or No Deal, which Howie hosts and is a huge hit, is not complicated. It’s not hard to figure out. And it’s impossible to stop watching."

Wikipedia on "Deal or No Deal": "To calculate the probability that the top prize will actually be reached, the following simplifying assumptions can be made:

  • Deals are most often accepted when there are two cases left. This is when the deal value is closest to the expected value of the remaining cases.
  • Since the variance of a $1,000,000-or-nothing deal is so high, virtually all contestants would accept a carefully constructed banker's deal in that situation. That means the top prize will be hit only when the two remaining boxes are of high value (say, $200,000 or more)

The likelihood, then, that we have a top prize winner is:

(the number of different two-case combinations with one $1,000,000 and the other $200,000 or more) /

(the total number of different two-case combinations) *

(the probability of picking the correct case of the two left)

= {5 \over {26 \choose 2}}*{1 \over 2}  = {5 \over 650}  = {1 \over 130}

Based on the assumption that the contestant will choose to take the banker's offer when there is one case with $1,000,000 and one case with an amount less than $200,000: At 1.5 contestants per episode, this would mean that $1,000,000 prize would be awarded about once every 87 episodes. However, since several contestants have taken deals earlier in the game with the $1,000,000 prize and another amount of $200,000 or more still on the board, these odds are likely too high.

  • The only time the $1,000,000 prize was ever chosen in the U.S. version was by LaKissa Bright, who ended up with a bank offer for $215,000, ironically after removing the third highest case, $500,000. Thorpe Shoenle holds the record for most money won on the American version, with $464,000.

This assumption amount set at $200,000 is only applicable to the U.S. version and is quite arbitrary. Similar arbitrary assumptions could be made based on the game boards of other versions. In addition, the assumption that humans exhibit fully rational thinking is rarely true, especially under stressful circumstances like in a game show. The contestant can also be a fame seeker wanting to be a $1 million dollar winner, possibly leading to his taking the additional risk."

Monday, August 14, 2006

Return of Chavez

Matador is releasing a Chavez box set, a kind of sad project considering they only produced two records and a handful of comp singles. But I'm going to buy it just for the tour DVD with commentary by... Gary Marshall. Also, they're going to reunite for some dates.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Mixed Messages Vol. IV

"The implication ... that American Jews put the interests of Israel before those of America, raises the ugly specter of 'dual loyalty,' a canard that has haunted Diaspora Jews from time immemorial." --Alan Dershowitz, April 2006

"One cannot discuss at any respectable dinner table what many respectable people are thinking themselves. This is the matter of where do Arab Americans really stand on terror. It's a question that Kenneth Chadwell, assistant U.S. attorney for the Detroit area, asked about the Lebanese Shia who make up about 30,000 of the 100,000 people in Dearborn, Michigan: 'Are they loyal to the United States or to this group Hezbollah?" The answer is not simple. Still, the question is not simple at all. For example, there's what's called a 'resistance tax' in Dearborn which goes to support Hezbollah. This and other manifestations that new Arab immigrants have brought their fiery passions from Lebanon to America intact. They have not really left the 'old country' behind, and some of them are making themselves at home by committing criminal acts. (By the way, 15,000 come from the area of Bint Jbeil, where the frantic fighting in southern Lebanon took place last week.)" --Martin Peretz, August 2006



We're tooling around the eastern seaboard, waiting for the movers to catch up with us and meet us in Brooklyn. But two developments compel me to post: 1) My father has started a blog. If anyone is interested in starting a "When Dads Blog" support group, shoot me an e-mail. I can't do this alone. And 2) Avocet bass player Erik Trojner took the above Rock God photograph of Avocet guitar player Rob Kent during my last weekend in Chicago, which was spent in the loud confines of Kingsize Sound Labs making an Avocet record, and I'd like people to look at it.