Archive | July, 2012

Why do Ghosts Wear Clothes?

28 Jul

Why do ghosts wear clothes?

This question has bothered me for some time because anytime I hear a ghost story, with the possible exceptions of Casper the friendly ghost and Slimmer from Ghost Busters, they are always wearing some sort of clothing.  From Lincoln, to the Tower of London, to haunted houses, to every possible ghost story you hear, they are never naked.  Why?  
Take the Lincoln Ghost.  The White House is supposedly one of the most haunted places in the world with numerous sightings of different ghosts for hundreds of years (this probably explains why the people living and working there are crazy: you might round a corner and get a stern look from a judgemental spook).  Lincoln is the most famous and has been reported to be seen all over the White House.  Sometimes he’s in the bedroom or he is just staring out a random window with his hands behind his back.  What I want to know is whether or not Lincoln is always wearing the same clothes or is a ghost allowed to make a wardrobe change?  I mean, people have reported seeing him for over a hundred years, was he always in the same coat?  
This also raises the question: if you were a ghost, what clothes would you be wearing?  If the clothes make the man, shouldn’t they also make the ghost?  As a ghost,  I think I’d need three outfits: one for summer, one for winter, and one for Spring and Fall.  The Summer outfit will be dockers, nice shoes, and a t-shirt.  The Winter will include my snow boots, jeans, a sweater, and a jacket.  For Spring and Fall, I wear the same outfits, so I’d probably go with some walking shoes, chinos, t-shirt, sweater vest, and a jacket.  
Another issue is why have I never seen a ghost wearing shorts or in short sleeves?  Is there a dress code for spirits?  If there is, it appears to be business casual because they have long pants and long sleeved shirts.  When I thought about this, all I could think was I spent my living years trying to be able to dress like I’m a flood victim only to die and spend eternity haunting people in my business casual wardrobe.  No wonder ghosts always appear to be grumpy: they aren’t comfortable!  This also might explain why they haunt people: they’re just looking for a change in underwear.  For all we know, when the ghostly Lincoln stares out the window, he isn’t contemplating the horrors of the Civil War.  He’s wishing he wasn’t wearing his most itchy pair of wool briefs.  
The other question of becoming a ghost is what sort of ghost you would be.  I think the ghost you become is probably determined by how you interacted with people in your life.  For me, I’d be a poltergeist.  Why?  I keep in touch primarily via phone, email, and text messaging.  I’d be never seen, but heard, which would be the most annoying of all ghosts.  So, if that’s the case, ghostly sartorial concerns are moot.  
And, yes, these are the sorts of thoughts that kept me out of the really good schools.
Further Bulletins as Events Warrant
PS I don’t believe ghosts exist for the record.  

The Joy of Sickness

27 Jul

I’m been sick for the past three days and, I can safely say, I now envy the dead.  

It’s one of those viruses where I’m shivering in 80 degrees yet still sweating, my left foot is hot while my right foot is cold, the only calories I’ve taken in are from cold medicine, and I wish I was in a coma.  To make matters worse, there’s a fly trapped in my room whose buzzing, I’m pretty sure, is making my ear drums bleed. 

There are scientific benefits to this situation because I achieved independent confirmation of the Higgs Boson “God Particle.”  I can feel all of the standard model particles smashing against my body.  There are still unnamed particles out there, but once I stop hallucinating, I’ll publish the notes I’ve taken.  
I’ll also post my ideas on how Greece can leave the Euro in an organized fashion (I had a dream where I was attending a symposium with the great Economists and the idea was essentially fix the new Greek Drachma to the Euro where 1 Drachma buys 1.1 Euros; deflates Greece’s debt; but Drachmas can only be exchanged with Euros for several years.  The flea woke me up before we discussed how to prevent funds from taking advantage of a fixed currency regime, but I digress.)
This virus also has military applications as well.  As far as I can tell, my teeth have suddenly grown nerve endings and merely biting down on a piece of bread is so torturous it makes water boarding look a spa treatment.  A Super-Villian could conquer the world with this virus; all he or she would need is a clever marketing name.  Something that sounds sinister but is still scientific.  I would suggest names like the “Gia Strain,” “The Flea Plague,” or wait until a celebrity or athlete comes down with it, then name it after them.  Who wouldn’t be scared of “Brad Pitt’s Disease”?  The last suggestion you’d have to careful with because if you name if after a Paris Hilton, people will think it’s an STD.  
Meanwhile, I’m out of Advil, so I have to psych myself up to go to the store.
Further Bulletins as Events Warrant

The Upside to Cancer

19 Jul

Yesterday, I was drunk dialed by Sunil, a friend from college.  

Sunil is one of my bitter finance friends who, while a very nice guy, openly admits he hates his life, regrets every decision he has ever made, and currently works for a boss who was mentioned as a reason a coworker killed himself in the suicide note.  The bosses’ nickname is “Skeletor” from He-man and they keep Skeletor action figures in their desks.  They have one He-Man doll awarded to the last person who out-smarts the boss.  About once a month, their office gets together to have a beer and a group therapy session.  They’ve all agreed, if their boss dies, they are going to drive a stake through his chest at the funeral to make sure he doesn’t show up to the office the next day if the afterlife rejects him.  They’d all quit, but they are so grossly over-paid none of them will leave despite the abuse. 
Sunil is a lot of fun to talk to.
I see it’s him and I pick up.     
Me: You better not be complaining to me about not getting into Yale or about your emotionally infantile ex.  
Sunil: I’m drunk.   
Me:  What time is it there?
Sunil:  Doesn’t matter.  I might have testicular cancer…I don’t know what I should do….what would you do?
Sunil, sophomore year, was the first person to point out I’m one of those guys with theories (bad ones) and plans (idiotic on a good day) for everything.    
Me:  Well, if I ever come down with testie cancer, here’s my plan of acton:
1) The first thing I would do is freeze some sperm 
2) Start working on the speech I’m going to give to my child when they ask me why they look like polar bears.  
3) If the doctors only have to remove one nut, I would try to convince them to do it for half price since they are only going to do half the work.  If it’s both, I’d see if I could get a 2 for 1 special.  [Sunil is starting to laugh.]
4) Realize there’s an upside to this!  You won’t run into J.’s problem (Sunil and I have a friend who knocked up a call girl; it’s a girl: he’s excited to be a Dad).  You can determine when you have the kid.  You can control your testosterone levels.  And, you don’t have to worry about being kicked in the crotch anymore!  Think of how liberating that would be.  This would also be a great party trick: the Amazing Sunil can be kicked in the nuts with no pain.  Plus, you don’t have to worry about your boss coming after your balls anymore.  They’re already gone!  There’s always an upside.
A laughing pause.
Sunil: Do you realize you’re insane?
Me: I think everybody else is crazy.  The big question marks about this I know they give you fake nuts afterwards so you still feel like a man…
Sunil:  I’ve never felt like a man.
Me (thinking):  Me neither…anyways, my question is, in terms of nut size, is it just one size fits all or is this like getting a pair of shoes where, y’know, they try to get an accurate fit..
Sunil:  Good questions to ask.
We chatted for a bit, then I asked the question which had always bothered me about this issue.
Me:  This surgery will cost roughly $15,000 to $25,000.  Basically, you are being neutered, like a pet.  Vet’s charge something like $150 for this.  Pets seem to do fine.  If people are just a bunch of animals, why not have a vet do it and save some money?
Sunil started laughing so hard he couldn’t talk.  I continued.
Me: Let’s call a vet and ask.
So, we conferenced called in a vet.
Vet:  How can I help you?
Me: We would like to know if are willing to cut the balls off of an animal.  
Vet (laughing): We do that all the time.  It’s our speciality.  What’s the animal?
Me:  It’s called a Sunil.
Sunil (laughing): Yeah, it weighs 220 pounds and is roughly 5 feet 6 inches long.  
We kept this up for awhile and, when the vet figured us out, I’m pleased to report he found it really funny.  After we explained why were doing it, and he wasn’t on a radio show, he observed:
Vet: I’ve always wondered that myself.  What’s the difference between Pet medication and Pet Surgery and human stuff?
Sunil: $15,000 to $25,000!
Further Bulletins as Events Warrant

Hospitals should be ranked on to how attractive the staff is

13 Jul
I was visiting a former coworker, Tony, being treated for lung cancer in a hospital yesterday (whenever I visit someone in a hospital, I have to remind myself not to ask how many people have died in their bed, how many corpses are in the basement, and how close is the morgue to cafeteria).  
Finding the room, I asked him how he was being treated.
Tony: “Great!”
Me: “This is a good hospital for your condition?”
Tony: “No idea.  But, the nurses are really hot.”
I had noticed this and, to be honest,  I felt like I had walked onto the set of a beer commercial when I was trying to find his room.  That’s when I had an idea: why don’t we rank hospitals based on how attractive the staff is!  
And, I don’t just mean the hospital staff is filled with beautiful women.  Hospitals will need to be staffed with handsome men as well.  That’s the only fair way to do it because sick old ladies should get eye candy as well.     
Why do I think this is a good idea?  Here’s some reasons.   
Ranking hospitals according to the staff looks seems less subjective than what is going on.  The current hospital ranking systems reeks of spaghetti logic, ad hoc adjustments, and sometimes seems the only difference between being ranked 34 and 35 is if the Chief of Medicine bought the authors lunch.  I have the suspicion most illnesses are treated the same throughout the country; having the beautiful float around you while you stay there would improve patient moral and help with healing; and, it also gives the hospitals a good marketing plan.
This plan could be used to increase revenue.  People pay extra if they know they are getting a high-quality standard of care and being bathed by a beauty would increase the standard of care.  
If I was in charge of marketing for a hospital, I would make a commercial where a voice over states: “It sucks you are sick and I know many of you will die slow, painful deaths; but, if you come here, these are the beautiful people who will give you sponge baths and change your diaper.”  The TV spot then shows the hospital staff waving and the narrator continues by saying, “Voted the most attractive staff in the United States by both Chronically Ill andHypochondriac Quarterly, our staff members are so pretty they get out of traffic tickets just by smiling.  You’ll never want to get better if you come here.  Being poked and prodded has never been more fun!  When you need a hospital, think smart and sexy.  Think of our hospital!”  
Other potential marketing slogans could include “You’ll want our doctors and nurses to give you a colonoscopy,” “We are so good looking, you’ll beg your ambulance driver to come here,” or “After seeing our staff, you’ll pray we never cure diabetes.”
I think this would be a good way for hospitals to raise money to treat poor patients and fund research.
Here’s how they can use this for charity fundraisers: we already have Fire-fighter and cheerleader calendars where funds are used to promote charitable causes.  It is a very easy and good way to raise money because it is a proven strategy.  Why not employ the same strategy for hospitals? We could sell calendars with titles like, “The Caring Women of St. Jude,” “The Macho Men of National Jewish’s Emergency Room,” “The Best Sponge Bathers at Sky Ridge,” or even “The Sexy Men of the Oncology Department.”   
This would be a worthy cause and I think it would work and sell.  Besides, buying a calendar is a lot better than being hit up for a donation every few months. 
There are potential objections: the first is that this would demean the image and of health care workers and hurt patient trust.  I don’t think this is the case because the general impression of the health care industry can’t get any worse.  Showing a sense of humor about yourself improves peoples’ opinion of you and might reduce lawsuits.  The next objection is basing your medical decision on looks is dangerous.  My response is the only people who have informed consent about medical procedures have advanced degrees.  We should stop pretending we can actually judge if someone is good at a profession we have no chance or desire to understand and go with something easy we do naturally: are they hot?
Who’s with me on this?
Further Bulletins as Events Warrant

I Have a Funny Idea to Fix the Economy

10 Jul
I have an idea.
The world economy is a in a free-fall right now.  We have thrown the following three levers:
1.  Government has attempted to stimulate demand through massive expenditures (didn’t work)
2.  Interest rates have been cut to the point where rates can’t be lowered anymore (see Europe and how well that is working)
3. We have attempted to stimulate consumer demand through lower payroll taxes (not working)
All of these attempts are meant to do one thing: create jobs.  Once people have jobs, they will spend money, borrow money for houses, invest again, and stabilize the banks.  
Corporations are sitting on trillions of dollars of cash that has been accumulating for years because they are too scared to spend it.  They are scared because the cost of a new employee is unknown versus the payoff of what a new employee will earn.
The most direct way to solve this is to give an incentive for corporations to hire people; that is, they need to know a new employee will earn the company more than it costs them.  They don’t know this right now, so they don’t hire.  Let’s remove that risk.
We drop the corporate tax rate to zero. At this point, every board of directors on the planet will be assured a new employee will add to profits, more people will get hired, and we will have economic growth.
With a zero corporate tax rate, A) corporations will expand and hire more people, hence stimulating the economy or B) they will increase dividends or bank deposits (stabilize the banks), the stock market will increase because the corporations are worth more, increasing the wealth effect, people will spend more money, and we’ll grow the economy.
Once the economy is growing again, we go do what we did in the nineties: economic growth wiped out the deficits and good things started to happen.  No one seems to remember during the early nineties we talked about how we could never pay off our national debt.  We did through economic growth; the best cure for poverty.   
This seems to me to be the next lever we can throw.   Businesses pay a small fraction of taxes anyways, so I’m not really worried about the decrease in Government revenues.  Besides, we are adding to the debt anyways, so let’s try something different.  
Where is my logic wrong?


Why is it so hard for the middle-aged to get together?

8 Jul
I remember back in high school where it took roughly 30 minutes for a group of twelve of us to hang out, plan an activity, or throw a party.  Maybe two phone calls were required to get twenty people together.  It was easy and fun!  I loved it!  Now, since my friends are all middle-aged, getting people together requires the strategy, tactics, and planning usually associated with Special Forces Operations.  
The idea, just the thought, of getting people together is exhausting.  It would require weeks of careful planning, multiple phone calls, and carefully constructed negotiations involving people who won’t even be there.  I mean, I feel like I have to get approval from each of my friend’s Party Approval Committee to see if they can come out.  It’s a lot like, when you were a kid, knocking on your neighbors door, having the Mom answer, and ask if Steve can “come out and play.”  When the Mom said “no”, we’d get disappointed, kick some dirt while walking away, and think to ourselves we could hardly wait until we were grown up so we could do whatever we want.
HAHAHAHAHA, way to go, Belitz!  Let’s miss the obvious observation that, as adults, to get someone to a party, you have to get babysitters,  permission from spouses, check work schedules, check the day-timer, make sure kids don’t get sick, and the host has to give detailed information when the party begins and when it will end so all of this will be planned.  The number of phone calls involved getting a single friend to a party is probably around 5 to 7.  
The reason for this is simple: adults do not have control of our lives.  The last time I remember having personal freedom and the ability to do what I want pretty much whenever I wanted was in college.  Since then, I have slowly lost control of my own life.  This gets even more troublesome when you have employees.  They view you as the person in charge, but they are, in fact, in charge of you.  Why?  Because you can’t do anything without them first doing something.  I felt like I had to bluff them to create the illusion I was the boss of my own life.
For instance, my family has a house in Vail.  I want to have a Vail weekend sometime this summer and invite whoever can make it.  Getting this done will require a hundred or so hours of collective work on our part.  I’ve already put three to four hours into this and I haven’t even got a date yet!  Even in my mid-twenties, when I throw a party up there, all I had to do was tell some people how to get there and when they should be there to get it done.  That era of my life appears to be over, unless I take some drastic change.  I want a social life back!  I want to have a group of friends who can get together quickly, like in college or high school.  
I think I need to make friends with people in their mid-twenties.  This way, they are adults, have some money, but aren’t burdened with over-sight committees consisting of spouses, children, babysitters, and work.  
I think this is the only way I can get this done.
Further Bulletins as Events Warrant

How Another Naked Pic of Me Ended up on the Web

5 Jul
Another CTBelitz in the nude pic ended on the web.  This happened on Tuesday around 5 PM.
M. and I make bets with each other a lot.   M. works for the fund I call Sub Rosa Capital.   
I’m on a bit of a losing streak.  I lost a bet where I had to dress up as a cowboy for a day.  I decided to push on that bet and go double-or-nothing on another bet. I ended up losing (I couldn’t believe it that Kennedy sided with the conservatives on Obamacare).  Since she is a heavy drinker, I was hoping she would forget about this, so, when she called me out on not fulfilling the terms of my lose, I was surprised.
Me: “Really?  You were taking that seriously?”
M. “Yes…and you need to do it…today.” 
Pause while I thought.
Me: “Why today?”
M. “I’m pissed and I’m taking it out on you.  That’s what friends are for”
Me: “That’s mature and also explains why I’m your only friend [she didn’t deny this].  What happened to you?” [There’s a ton of reasons why M. could get pissed, but why we aren’t increasing the stakes for another bet was somewhat of a mystery to me.]
M. “I had to give a BJ last night and it wasn’t to the beautiful Irishman on the third floor.”
Me: “Was this with your husband?” [M. is the breadwinner in her family; her husband stays home with the kids.  This isn’t bad in-and-of itself, but he really sucks at.]
M. “Yes, and he didn’t do the dishes last night.”
Me: “Oh %&*$&, I’m dead aren’t I?”
M. “Oh yes.”
The bet was as follows: the loser had to go through a drive through naked during rush hour.  No clothes; only shoes.  Nothing more.  The complete trip must be made naked from the moment you leave the house, to when you get to the car, driving there, and then driving back; all must be done in the nude.  
There are several things I didn’t don’t think about when making this best.  The first is how I had to get to my car when it is parked outside without being arrested for indecent exposure.  Conducting a look-out the FBI would be proud of, concluding the area was clear, I ran to my car.  I could have earned a place on the Olympic track and field team in how quickly I sprinted.  The next problem is, what do I drive like?  I don’t want to get pulled over, yet I don’t want to attract attention to myself.  I decided to drive a casual three miles over the speed limit and look like I was coming back from swimming.  I went for broke and pulled a gangster-lean while driving [one hand on the wheel; the other resting casually on the passenger seat.] 
The next thing I only thought about while I was doing this was, what am I going to tell the person giving me food?  I decided to get in front of the story James Carville Cajun style.
Fast Food guy: “Welcome to Taco Bell, how may I take your order?”
Me: “Three soft tacos, a Dr. Pepper, and that’s it.”
Fast Food Guy: “Is there anything else?”
Me: “Yeah, head’s up [no pun intended].  Um, I lost a bet and I have to do this naked.”
Fast Food Guy: “Okay…” [Laughing.]  Are you in a frat…”
Me: “No, I am not.”
Fast Food Guy: “High School?”
Me: “No, but one of my stress dreams lands me back there…”
Fast Food Guy: “How old are you?”
Me: “Thirty-one.”
Fast Food Guy: “Seriously?”
Me: “Yup.  Please don’t spit in my food.”
Fast Food Guy: “Pull around please.”
I pulled up and greeted the entire staff of the Taco Bell laughing at me.
Me: “Here’s my money.”
Fast Food Guy: “Don’t tell me where you were keeping your wallet.”  [They thought this was so fuuuunny.]
Me: “Can I have my food now please?”
Fast Food Guy: “Here you go.”  [He took out his camera phone and took a picture.]  “Here’s a burrito, on the house.” [Laughing.]
Me: “Thank you.”
Fast Food Guy: “Don’t keep the drink between your legs.”  [They all laughed again.]
Me: “Thanks.”  [Taking food.]  “Have a good day.  Is this picture going to end up on the internet?”
Fast Food Guy: “Already on Facebook.”
The worst part about this story is that this isn’t the most humiliating naked pic of me on the internet.
Further Bulletins as Events Warrant
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