Author Archive | TunaGhost

CBS DEMOCRATIC DEBATE: Foreign Policy Suddenly Got A Lot More Important

I won’t lie, I had totally forgotten there was going to be a Democratic debate on Saturday.  In my mind, the biggest story of the weekend would be Ronda “Rowdy” Rousey being fed a new victim at UFC 193 and I was looking forward to a first-round victory via manslaughter.  That never happened, which came as a complete and utter shock to me and everyone else in the world with the possible exception of Holly Holm, who as the world’s best female boxer likely realized long before the rest of us that even a monster is vulnerable to being punched in the fucking face two-dozen times.  Shoulda touched those gloves, Ronda!

But Holm sending Rousey to the hospital to have her lip stitched back together obviously wasn’t the biggest news of the weekend, and neither was the CBS Democratic Debate.  It was Friday night when I first started hearing about trouble in Paris; a friend living there suddenly “checked in as safe” via Facebook and before I knew it I was seeing reports of a terror attack that left over a hundred dead, a number that seemed impossibly high (but later proved, sadly, to be true).Read the rest

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4th Republican Debate: Does Any Of This Even Matter?

The title may lead one to believe that I’ve been hit by a wave of apathy regarding this election, that I can no longer see the point of covering the endless parade of bullshit, and that my rampant alcohol abuse and bizarre interest in this election have combined into a soul-crushing nightmare devoid of meaning and decency destined to crush me into the dirt.  Some of you are no doubt already nodding your heads, thinking this was inevitable because believing there was ever any meaning to be found here was the first step down a very steep hill and into the ditch that will soon become my grave.  After all, the most recent debate, hosted by Fox Business News and the Wall Street Journal, was a pretty boring affair and it kinda seemed like most media outlets grew tired of covering it immediately after it had finished.  It’s only natural that one would finally give up and admit that there’s no point in reporting on the debate performance of greasy liars and conmen, especially when nothing terribly interesting happened aside from Rand Paul tearing off his shirt to reveal the face of his father, which had been grafted onto his torso as in the custom of his tribe.… Read the rest

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CNBC Debate Part II: The Aftermath

I hadn’t planned on writing a follow-up to my previous piece on the CNBC Republican debate, considering the powerful emotional trauma it had caused within me.  Writing two articles for every debate is not something I’m willing to subject myself to.  Things are still tense down at the 7-11 — poor Chiaki, a pleasant young woman that works the register, still watches me with obvious fear whenever I browse the aisles, although her middle-aged co-worker smiles lasciviously and throws me a couple winks, making me wonder what horrible things I must’ve said to them while on that weekend bender.  Also I apparently started a secret handshake with the kindly, toothless old grandfather that spends most of his day getting drunk out front, which I believe is the primary cause for the eye-infection I’m currently battling. 

But while the debate itself was a goddamn joke, things have been happening since it aired; and given my horrible addiction, I must report those things.  Read the rest

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Who Lost the CNBC Republican Debate? Answer: I Did

IMG_0363After watching the CNBC Republican debate, I went on a three day bender that ended with me waking up on the floor of the ladies’ room in a nearby McDonald’s.  My Chuck Taylor’s were crusted with dried vomit and someone had pissed in my jeans.  Not for the first time, I was forced to ask a lot of hard questions about some of the decisions I have made in my life. 

Not about the drinking, though; several doctors have told me that I have a rare disease that requires at least a bottle of red wine a day to keep me on steady ground.  Rather, I had to ask why I ever decided to write about politics, why I couldn’t seem to stop, and what it would do to me if I couldn’t quit this horrible addiction.  Waking up in a puddle of piss is, while not a traditional way to regain consciousness, the least of the terrible fates that lay in store for people who can’t get the monkey off their backs.Read the rest

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Who Really Won The Democratic Debate? It’s Complicated (Duh)

Pop quiz: who is Frank Luntz?  If you answered “someone who answered most of his phone calls in November of 2012 by first taking the gun out of his mouth,” you get half a point.  If you answered “someone sloppily sculpted from a wad of dough,” I’ll give you three points for being unnecessarily mean. But if you answered “one of several GOP pollsters responsible for the warped view of reality under which the 2012 Romney campaign was operating for the last legs of the 2012 presidential race,” then congratulations, you win! You’re a politics nerd! Either that or you’re actually Frank Luntz, in which case you should just navigate away from this page now because some people have already started drinking and they’re only gonna get meaner.


I mention Frank Luntz because he’s the guy who ran the Fox News focus group that examined the recent Democratic Party debate. This focus group came to the conclusion that, contrary to what the overwhelming majority of popular pundits reported, Bernie Sanders came out victorious over Party favorite Hillary Clinton.Read the rest

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This past Sunday The Simpsons began its twenty-seventh season, spurring yet another round of the question “Jesus christ, how long is this thing gonna keep going?”  Not long ago, when it was reported that voice actor Harry Shearer was retiring and presumably taking the half dozen characters he voices — including Ned Flanders, Mr. Burns and Principal Skinner — with him, Fox maintained that the show would go on regardless (although they eventually caved and offered him more money).  If the loss of those characters didn’t prompt any talk of shutting down The Simpsons, it’s fair to conclude that there are no plans to retire the show in the near future. 

As a big fan of the show, I’m perfectly okay with this.  I grew up watching the show, great swathes of my memory are dedicated to it, I play the iPhone game religiously and I’ll likely end up with a Simpsons tattoo at some point in the near future.  Read the rest

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Let Hunter S. Thompson guide you through the election season

51m74hame4LI love the US election season. I think it’s because I live overseas now and I don’t have to sit through commercials or look at billboards, which is a blessed relief. Also, for better or worse my guy won the last two elections, and I joyfully took sustenance from the flowing tears of the Republicans standing around in abject shock that they had lost, then lost again. Each mouth agape in bewilderment, each wail of disbelief, each and every tear filled me like wine and I immediately wrote a letter to Apple demanding that they include a picture of Nelson Muntz in the emojis package for the next iPhone OS update. 

Of course, I was also around for the George W. Bush years when the shoe was on the other foot, watching the democrats run Frankenstein in 2004 and clawing at my hair when they seemed to actually expect him to win, as if a man who couldn’t excite a crowd if his hair suddenly caught on fire had a chance against the political skullduggery of Bush, Cheney, et al.Read the rest

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Does Metaphysics Matter? Part 2: “Okay, stay with me here”

"Eternity of a moment" Giorgio de Chirico

“Eternity of a moment” Giorgio de Chirico

Read part 1 here.

Let’s start with a couple propositions:

The Identity of Indiscernibles 

Two objects are identical when they share all the same properties.

The Indiscernibility of Identicles:

If two objects share all the same properties then the two objects are identical. 

At a glance, they both seem obvious enough that even mentioning them feels like a waste of time.  Things get a little more complicated, however, when you consider the “position” of a property, since it’s also agreed upon by all that no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time.  If object x and object y truly share all the same properties, including position, then x and y are truly “identical” in that they are the same object.  Even this isn’t terribly controversial (although some have argued against it), but when you apply it to real life something odd can occur, as seen in the following example. Read the rest

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Does Metaphysics Matter? Part 1: “Not really, no”

The Drunken Gentleman Carlo Carra, 1916

The Drunken Gentleman – Carlo Carra, 1916

Years ago in Busan, South Korea, I was in bed when my girlfriend, in what I believe to be an attempt to share interests with each other, asked me what exactly someone studies when they study metaphysics.  I considered giving her the definition my professor had offered my class years and years ago on the first day of my first metaphysics course — “Metaphysics is the study of being qua being” — but I refrained from doing so because most people quickly lose interest after hearing that sentence spoken aloud.  Instead I opted for a metaphysical topic often used early on in any philosophy department’s curriculum, that of Universals and Particulars.  “It’s like, um, we know that there are green things,” I explained, “but, like, is green actually a thing?” (I’m usually more eloquent, but we were both fairly stoned at this point.)  She responded by bluntly telling me that was the most useless thing she had ever heard of before rolling over and going to sleep.Read the rest

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THE BAYESIAN CONSPIRACY: Not World Domination, Just Optimization, or: How to be right almost all of the time, or at least not wrong most of the time

225px-Thomas_BayesOne of my favorite H.L. Mencken quotes is the following: “The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule.” I find this as accurate now as it was when Mencken first wrote it, and I imagine it won’t only be the cynics in the audience agreeing with me. But is the reverse also true?  Is the urge to rule humanity ever a false front for the urge to save it? The Bayesian Conspiracy would like to think so, but then that’s exactly what a group dedicated to ruling humanity would say.

But first: Thomas Bayes is behind all this. Thomas Bayes, born in 1702 to a reverend Joshua Bayes, was a fellow of the Royal Society and was “one of the first non-conformist ministers to be publicly ordained in England.” His Philosophical Transactions became the basis of a statistical technique, now called Bayesian Estimation, for calculating the probability of the validity of a proposition on the basis of a prior estimate of its probability and new relevant evidence.Read the rest

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