Go, pursue a dream
Odd though that may seem
Time here to live
Your energy give,
Life's new leases teem...


Take forever to die
'Fore you finally say "Bye-bye"
So you'll cease to exist,
But ever persist
In being immortal thereby

What good is honor
When you're a goner?
– Ranked more than life
Compensations a'rife
In the end a Heavenly spawner

Growing old, call friends
Comparing your ends
To eager beginnings
With energies thinning
Discussing what Heaven portends

Improbables rule
If sometimes cruel;
Where dreams abide
Let them be a guide
To ward off seeming a fool

Reality waits
While a dream creates
A fanciful scene
That could intervene
In what existence dictates

Live life, have fun
After all, only one
Might be what you get
So don't place a bet
On what's coming after it's done

Comicbooks bring ya
Stories which sing ya
An ultra-reality
Yeah, a modality
Into which they can string ya

Telling tales out-of-school
Might well turn the fool
Cast as the butt
Embarrassed somewhat
To come back and be spitefully cruel

At the mercy of the system
The choice: Go with d'em
Or stubbornly resist
At which point they'll desist
Then you'll be off to abyss-dom

Like a flat rock
Taking a walk
Skip o'er a smooth pond
To a future beyond
What can be seen from the dock

To up and compete 
Don't sink down and cheat
Be bigger, faster, more, less
Unafraid of largesse
In giving yourself a front seat 


About The Cooper-Grant & Center-City Areas, and Camden at-large


Sex pills can't do it

But there's imagination...

A GOOD idea...

  In April, I went for an X-ray, – an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) at The University of Pennsylvania Hospital. The whole ordeal took about an hour of my lying perfectly still as they ran my body through a long tube where they took subsequent electronic pictures of my brain, my spine and my thorax. Not the most pleasant of experiences, having to suppress an itch or a twitch here or there in the interest of getting just the right shots of my innards with no do-overs. But hey, you do what they tell you, and then listen carefully to what they tell you after: That there was "no change" in my condition of TM (Transverse Myelitis), which we all pretty much suspected from the outset. Oh well, I'm old, having lived my life in relatively good health, and am thankful I'm not in pain, though I'm confined to a wheelchair most of the time, and sleep only sporadically with the constant twitches. So no real reason to take the pictures, except to do a final check-up, and reassure the doctors (and supposedly myself) that despite the TM, my condition is good. So, my wife drove us home, and we went on with life such-as-it-is.
     On July 5th we got the bill.  $33,942! Thirty-three-thousand-nine-hundred-and-forty-two dollars! "You gotta be kidding!" I thought, remembering, what, about an hour of electronic picture-snapping is all. Oh, and a note that "Your physician will bill separately for professional services." That came later, $1,230 for a three-minute consult and a glance at the X-rays.
     Medicare, not being dumb and getting sucked in by the inflated bill, paid $2,116.36 for the scans, and $160 for the doctor, what the services were probably really worth, of course, and I paid my share, $194.37 plus $180. Okay, that seems reasonable.
     But wait-a-minute… What happens to the difference? The $31,631 plus $1,044? Since they're right there on the bills, somebody has to be responsible for them, no? Otherwise, why put them on bills? For Medicare to figure a percentage on? Ah! That's it, Medicare pays a certain percentage of the total amount, the Hospital of the UofP and the doctor write off the difference as lost fees, and, poor UofP's accountant has to subtract that from their profit (Oh yes, hospitals and doctors are profit-making entities, in case you haven't heard) for the year at tax time. No dummies, they, or their Wharton-School accountants. I mean no way is what I got worth, or costs even near the amount they bill, so there must be a reason...
     Wait – another factor: Insurance. I betcha that $33,942 plus $1,230 are the figures that go to my insurance carrier, if I have medical insurance to supplement my Medicare; and of course the premiums charged by insurance carriers are based upon the bills they receive for such amounts, which, no dummies they, of course negotiate down to a reasonable amount (just like Medicare) acceptable between HUP, doctors, and their companies. And they're all pals, in the medical-billing racket together, so what money actually passes between them is top-secret from the customers who buy the insurance, to protect them from being bankrupted by the huge amounts billed by the medical industry. Scary. And it's meant to be scary, to get you to buy insurance coverage. Does the old shibboleth "protection-racket" ring any bells?
     No wonder the whole medical-insurance-drug cartel, and their pocketed-politicians are complaining about the Affordable Care Act. The ACA is a step in the right direction, counter to the huge profits that keep them all in business—and in money—to run for office.  

Henry Francisco PortWhitmanTimes