So, how’s that government shutdown going for you so far? After one day, I’m sick of it already. So is the brilliant Charlie Pierce, who sums up my feelings pretty perfectly here.
I’m a huge fan of game shows, as I think I’ve said here a few times. I’ve watched more reruns of “Card Shark” and “25,000 Pyramid” than is healthy for a 38-year-old adult male like myself.
So anytime I learn about a new game show, or one that’s been around a while that I’ve never heard of, I get pretty excited.
Especially one as psychologically interesting as this one, that I read about first on Joe Posnanski’s excellent blog.
It’s called “Golden Balls,” (yes, that’s really the title) and it aired in England between 2007-2009. The general idea is this: Two contestants come on the show and work together to build up a pot of money, through a whole series of contests that are too complicated to explain here.
But the basic gist is, at the end of the show there’s a certain large “pot” left, let’s say $75,000 pounds.
And to figure out how it gets split up, the host places two “golden balls” in front of them, with the word “split” inside one, and “steal” inside the other, and asks both players if they choose “split” or “steal.”
Each player is to look at the contents of the ball, and in a few minutes, will reveal which he/she has chosen.
If both players choose “split,” they split the money evenly and everyone’s happy. If both players choose “steal,” then each player gets nothing, zilch, nada.
But if one player chooses “split” and the other chooses “steal,” than the player who said “steal” gets to take the entire pot home.
The truly fascinating part happens when the two players discuss what they will do, as they swear up and down to each other that they’ll both choose “split” and be happy with half the money. Watch this clip here for what I’m talking about.
Just brutal, right? I mean, this is human emotion and behavior at its most naked. I watched that clip three times to see if I could detect anything Sarah’s emotions or words that tipped me off to what she was about to do, and I got nothing.
Anyway, most of the show’s interactions happen like this, in this variation of the Prisoner’s Dilemma. But then there was this episode between Ibrahim and Nick, where Nick totally turns the game on its head. I thought this was brilliant, how he basically forced Ibrahim toward the outcome Nick wanted (it gets good at 2:35).
Anyway, you get the idea. I so wish this show would come to America. Then again, there could be bloodshed at the end of each show, so maybe not.
**OK, moving on, this video went viral Tuesday and I totally understand why. A writer named Marina Shifrin wanted to quit her job, so she did it in the way we all do: She waited until 4:30 a.m., went to her office, put on a Kanye West song, and resigned via YouTube video while dancing hilariously.
I love this so much…, particularly her great dance moves.
And P.S., the company responded with a video of their own.
**Finally today, a story that warms my heart, from Deltona, Fla., a city I have spent quite a lot of time in, very little of it happily (Deltona is not a nice place. I’m sorry, but it’s not. It’s a fairly large city halfway between Daytona Beach and Orlando, with lots of crime; and as my friend and former co-worker in Daytona, Casey told me when I first moved there, “If something bad happens in the world and you want to know who did it, look to Deltona first.”)
Anyway, a man walked into the town’s water office on Sept. 23 and tried to pay his utility bill with… crack cocaine.
Stunningly, that is not an accepted form of currency at the water comission.
I only hope this genius was arrested and reminded that for God’s sake, if you’re paying your bill in drugs, pot is a much better way to go.