Showing posts from June, 2021


  The dark loneliness left you to fill in the blanks about the place. Such it was in the almost deserted Great Asian Mall. A giant place framed by an endless parking lot with only a few cars Greatness had long left this place. I learned the owner a man from Vietnam resided far away, the mall floors unswept. The closed shops with windows covered by newspaper sat side by side like forgotten tombstones, only names remained.   There’s a sadness here, but the far end of the mall still has life. There a cosmetic art school, Asian market, dim sum restaurant and Vietnam sandwich shop kept the lights on. Everyday, debris from each would fill the mall space between them. Each fighting with the other to keep entry ways clear. You could see stacks of crates and pallets moving all the time. Money still flowed here. The women at the cosmetic school sat at attention, all hoping for a better future. Numbers on paper hung on wall boards. Some hawking services, some seeking the lost. The dim sum found

A $4,853 Bottle of Tylenol

  If you want to be immersed in abstract thinking, be dazzled by statistics, or ponder what is wrong with our health care system, look no further than hospitals and how they bill. A recent trip to the hospital for an operation left me scratching my head regarding our health system. It’s not the skilled care and great results the hospital delivered. It’s the cost of the services and how it impacts different individuals that dazzles me. My bills for surgery and overnight stay came to $49,450, including a hospital pharmacy bill of $4,853. Fortunately between medicare and my insurance carrier, I only paid a small fraction of this bill.  The way hospitals charge is at best confusing. While raw rates are in part based on cost, they also are for market positioning. Those raw rates are forced much lower if the patient is medicare or medicaid. The balance left is further settled at a lower negotiated rate with major insurers. The hospital simply writes off the difference. Thats all good


    The small towns of the South are full of small buildings with tales to tell. Such is the case in Rock Hill, SC. Some of these buildings are little gems that need no tales, some wear their tales on their sides, and other bear the notes from many endeavors. The building at 528 S. Dave Lyle Boulevard (pictured above) is beautiful to behold, even if you didn’t know its history. It has one though. Build in 1909 it was the headquarters for the Afro-American insurance Company which grew to have many offices in the South. It is listed in the National Historical Buildings and also in the Greenbook. Some buildings hint at their purpose by the architecture. The building at 114 Oakland Avenue looks like piano keys on the side. If you turn the corner, you find an elegant piano featured in the only showcase window. Turns out that the building houses Marshalls Piano Company. The Marshall family founded the buisness in 1925 and still operate it today. The company features pianos from $3,500 to $


Henry David Thoreau once said, “Not until we are lost, do we begin to understand ourselves.” When you are lost though, it can be difficult to find the “Lost and Found” department for people. There are many ways you can find yourself lost. Too many problems and failures in the rear-view mirror of life, loss of love, no one to reach out to, being stuck in a remote place, shoved aside by society and loosing the strength to risk. All these and many more can leave you frozen in time, unable to take advantage of opportunities or new relationships, even if they pass by you everyday. The world is a dynamic and wonderful place. Most of us recover from being lost. We gain a new spirituality, find internal peace with what has passed, meet a special person, rediscover our dreams or finally risk finding that new opportunity. The time lost gives us space we need to gather our resources and venture again. For some, it’s a much longer journey than others. They find only darkness i