The Game Show Host Problem

The Game Show Host says, “Let’s see where we are.
You’ve got the jet ski package and the car,
The Cancun cruise, the autographed baseball…
Looks like a lucky day for you so far.”

The Lovely Lucy, made up like a doll,
Approaches, and the Host says, “That’s not all!
The Lovely Lucy has a bonus stored
Behind this curtain, if you make the call.”

The Lovely Lucy grasps the braided cord
And draws the drape aside. What unexplored
Frontier of TV avarice awaits?
The curtain, drawn, reveals a wall, three-doored.

“You’ve had some luck,” the Host reiterates.
“Here’s one last chance for you to best the Fates.
One door will lead you to Your Private Isle,
The other two, goats eating paper plates.”

You survey all three doors, and slyly smile.
The odds are one in three you’ll own an isle!
Of course, there’s twice the chance you’ll get your goat,
But one in three? Beats Vegas by a mile.

You tell the Host, “Door A.” He clears his throat
And asks you, “Are you sure?” He smooths his coat
And cracks a joke about you liking cheese
More than a home surrounded by a moat.

But then he says, “Would you indulge me, please?
You chose Door A. That leaves me these two keys.
Let’s use one on a door you didn’t pick….”
Door C reveals a goat with knobby knees.

(You’re so relieved you think you may be sick.)
The Game Show Host says, “Would you rather stick
With your first choice, Door A, or make a switch
And take what’s back of B?” Is this a trick?

You had one chance in three to wind up rich,
And now it’s one in two, right? After all,
With only two doors left, no matter which
You choose, it’s even odds. So, what’s your call?

If it’s a coin flip now, why change your mind?
You took Door A to start with. Might as well
Just trust your gut, because you’re flying blind.
If you should switch, and lose? That would be Hell.

“I’m staying with Door A,” you say. Baa’d move:
You’re twice as likely, now, to get the goat.
No, really! Run the numbers and they’ll prove
That you just took your boot off Kismet’s throat.

Consider: Starting odds were one in three
That Door A hid the island. Nothing’s changed
Because you’ve seen the Capricorn in C;
The odds on A are fixed, not rearranged.

Why, then, should you have modified your guess?
Because you’re picking A against the field
And now the field’s been cut in half, so yes,
Door B’s odds changed when Door C was revealed.

Look at it this way: There’s a two-thirds chance
The island wasn’t where you first surmised.
The goat behind Door C cannot enhance
A’s one-third chance, but B’s odds rise. Surprised?

You started with one A, and two “Not-A”
(The first “Not-A” was B, the second, C).
“Not-A’s” odds are two in three, okay?
Despite the goat, “Not-A’s” still two in three.

The odds on Door C, though, have dropped to nil
Since we’ve all seen the goat. So, to recap,
It’s one-third A, two-thirds “Not-A.” You will
By now, of course, have tumbled to the trap:

The odds on C are zero out of three,
But “Not-A’s” odds remain two-thirds, ergo
The whole two-thirds are now installed in B!

The Lovely Lucy wraps your goat to go.

Prompted by November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2011 – Day 30

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That’s Why They Call It “Evening”

Some mornings I awaken late;
On others I anticipate
The buzzer set the night before
And fling my feet from sheet to floor
Without a single snoozebar tap.
Both latter (great) and former (crap)
Reliably barometrize
The coming day. Before my eyes
Are cleared of crusty, goopy gunk
I’ll know I face: (a) Joy; (b) Junk.
But, here’s the thing: By end of day,
Twelve hours, give or take, away,
The day that was to be is done
And I’ve survived another one.
Before I lay me down to sleep
(Or flop in an exhausted heap),
That I rose early (or slept late)
Is swept from each diurnal slate.
The day became what it’s become
And I’m back where I started from,
Nocturnally recuperating.
Early? Late? Tomorrow’s waiting….

Prompted by November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2011 – Day 29

True Hollywound Story

The holly bush, that festive shrub,
Has leaves on which you shouldn’t rub–
Or even graze–your leg or arm:
This plant exists to do you harm.
The male has berries, small and red;
The female’s green unless you’ve bled
In great wet splotches on the leaves
That slash your calves and rip your sleeves…
Or have I got that wrong way round?
Are berries on the females found,
In which case it’s on males they ain’t?
I can’t recall. I’m feeling faint,
Lightheaded ’cause I’m bloosing glud
And tripping driply in the mud
Beneath the bush of laceration.
Grass looks soft. I’ll push my face in.
Siren sounds are bright and jolly,
Heard from underneath the holly.
Decking halls with holly boughs? You’re
Best off wearing leather trousers
Lest you end up next to me,
Exsanguinating ‘neath the tree.

Prompted by November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2011 – Day 28

Hip-Hip! Whatever.

Here’s to the mocking, distrustful and jaded,
The kinfolk of yin, when yang equals elated.
The bitter, contemptuous cynics among us
Who feast on fine truffles and taste only fungus.
The fervent Scrooge-groupies (until he recanted)
Whose attitude is, by default, disenchanted.
A toast to those most unencumbered by wonder,
Who set the bar low and then glumly slump under.
The ones for whom meh is a rallying cry!
There, but for unending giggles, go I.

Prompted by November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2011 – Day 27

Tough Row To Hoe? And How!

Back in the day
(As no poet would say)
If the rhyme wasn’t perfect
Well, that was okay.
As long as the spelling
Was similar, you
Were allowed to plough through
And rhyme you with, say, thou.
With all due respect
To great poets like Blake,
Symmetry rhymes with eye
Just as hoe goes with rake.
Burning brightly, Blake’s tiger
Stalks forests most fiercely,
But text me that rhyme,
I’ll write, “OMG srsly?”
I won’t say one style
Is better or worse
(And I’d much prefer riding
A horse to a hearse)
But telling my ear
That the sound in my head
Is supposed to defer
To the spelling instead
Of the way, when you say
It aloud, the word’s heard,
Is absurd! Every time,
I’m left scratching my beard.

Prompted by November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2011 – Day 26

Consumption Junction

Gimme gimme gimme
Lemme have that thing you’ve got,
Are you gonna finish that?
I’ll take it if you’re not.
I’m kinda stuffed from dinner
So I’ll wrap it up to go.
I might get hungry later on
And, well, you never know.

Count the things you own and add
The things you’ve thrown away,
And multiply the total by
The envy cast your way.
Consumption’s not the goal in life
But that’s how we keep score.
Success is how it feels to know
That you’re the one with more.

Your TV and my TV
Are practically the same,
But my TV has hi-fi speakers
Built into the frame.
Sixty-inch diagonal?
Mine’s measured side-to-side.
Of course, for me it’s just TV
And not a source of pride.

Count the things you own and add
The things you’ve thrown away,
And multiply the total by
The envy cast your way.
Consumption’s not the goal in life
But that’s how we keep score.
Success is how it feels to know
That you’re the one with more.

I like your neighborhood a lot.
I lived around the block
Until I got promoted
So I moved. That’s not a knock:
A starter home’s a special place,
The first you ever own,
But comes a time you realize
It’s something you’ve outgrown.

Count the things you own and add
The things you’ve thrown away,
And multiply the total by
The envy cast your way.
Consumption’s not the goal in life
But that’s how we keep score.
Success is how it feels to know
That you’re the one with more.

Prompted by November PAD Chapbook Challenge 2011 – Day 25