Q . What does HMO stand for? A. This is actually a variation of the phrase , "HEY MOE." Its roots go back to a concept pioneered by Moe of the Three Stooges, who discovered that a patient could be made to forget the pain in his foot if he was poked hard enough in the eye. Q . I just joined an HMO . How difficult will it be to choose the doctor I want? A. Just slightly more difficult than choosing your parents. Your insurer will provide you with a book listing all the doctors in the plan. The doctors basically fall into two categories: those who are no longer accepting new patients, and those who will see you but are no longer participating in the plan. But don't worry, the remaining doctor who is still in the plan and accepting new patients has an office just a half-day's drive away and a diploma from a third world country and the thir d grade. Q. Do all diagnostic procedures require pre-certification? A. No. Only those you need. Q. Can I get coverage for my preexisting conditions? A. Certainly, as long as they don't require any treatment. Q. What happens if I want to try alternative forms of medicine? A. You'll need to find alternative forms of payment. Q. My pharmacy plan only covers generic drugs, but I need the name brand . I tried the generic medication, but it gave me a stomachache. What should I do? A. Poke yourself in the eye. Q. What if I'm away from home and I get sick? A. You really shouldn't do that. Q. I think I need to see a specialist, but my doctor insists he can handle my problem . Can a general practitioner really perform a heart transplant right in his/her office?A. Hard to say, but considering that all you're risking is the $20 co-payment, there's no harm in giving it a shot. Q. Will health care be different in the next decade? A. No, but if you call right now, you might get an appointment by then. To Your Good Health (because as you'll see, you'll need it!) HEALTH QUESTION & ANSWER SESSION with Dr. Kenmiester: Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true? A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap. Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables? A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products. Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake? A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up! Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio? A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc. Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program? A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good ! Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you? A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING !!! ... Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you? Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle? A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach. Q: Is chocolate bad for me? A: Are you crazy? HELLO Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around! Q: Is swimming good for your figure? A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me. Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle? A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape! Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.