Monday, July 18, 2011


This is a cautionary tale for those who believe the future of our medical care as a nation lies in single payer or Obama Care or whatever else you wish to call it. To date in this tale no lives have been threatened, but the slippery slope is clearly defined. Someday lives will be lost and it won't matter whether you call it a death panel or a rationing board or bureaucratic lunacy.

It all began a few weeks before I was to run out of a medication I have been taking daily for several years. My first step was to place a call to the doctor and ask they phone in the prescription to MEDCO. MEDCO is a mail service provider of prescriptions contracted from Blue Cross under a so called “Cadillac” plan for federal employees. Not so fast my patient friend; first I had to make an appointment. Fortunately for me this only took a few days so plenty of medicine left.

Someone from the doctor's office called in the prescription that very day. All is well. A few days later a computer generated phone call from MEDCO told me to call them or they would not be able to fill the prescription. I did so. The MEDCO representative advised that I needed an additional authorization from the doctor. This concept of getting two authorizations still baffles me, but in the spirit of having no choice, I called the doctor's office again.

The doctor's office phoned back to say they had complied with the MEDCO request. All is well. A few days later a computer generated phone call from MEDCO told me to call them or they would not be able to fill the prescription. I did so. The MEDCO representative advised that I needed an additional authorization from my doctor. My response was that this had previously been provided.

After half an hour or so on the phone allegedly speaking with a supervisor, I was advised that the medication would be at my home by the following Wednesday. Complete with apologies, all is well.

A few days AFTER the medication had not arrived, I placed a call to MEDCO. They advised that I needed an additional authorization from the doctor and the prescription was under review by a pharmacist. I, by now having totally lost the ability to control my growing anger, demanded to speak to a supervisor.

The supervisor, who identified herself as Dominique, came on the phone some 15 or 20 minutes into the call. At this point I needed Xanax more than the prescribed medication. She advised that the medication would be at my house the following Tuesday. All is well.

On Monday a computer generated phone call from MEDCO advised that if I failed to call them they could not fill the prescription. By now I was in need of counseling as well as drugs not normally obtained legally.

The first person to whom I spoke after going through several minutes of efforts in getting past the computer voice, advised I needed an additional authority from the doctor. I screamed. She immediately transferred me to a supervisor. After the obligatory 15 minutes of listening to their elevator music, the supervisor came on the line.

This supervisor advised me that it was not actually anything additional from the doctor, but that I needed approval for an over the limit medication. He said they did not have one on file, but would search for an answer and call me back. Please note that none of the other MEDCO representatives had told me this. In fact. I had been promised the medication at least twice.

At this point my blood pressure must have been through the roof. In an act of desperation I phoned Blue Cross, hoping that since they contract with MEDCO and my plan is with them help would be forthcoming. Jennifer was polite and wanted to help. She put me in contact with CAREMARK who seems to be in charge of medications. The lady from CAREMARK, after my continued expression of helplessness agreed to contact MEDCO to tell them that I in fact had an approval for over the limit medication.

MEDCO again, and this time Doug assured me that my medication would arrive next Wednesday. At that point it will have been a month since the process began. I don't know what will happen, but so far every call has begun as if there had been no previous contact with MEDCO. I confess to getting upset. I confess to being less than polite at some point in the process. I confess to having seen Ground Hog Day.

I have been out of the medication for over a week now. (Alive but in some discomfort.) I still don't know why my medication requires so much approval, or why MEDCO chooses to delay filling the prescription, but one can imagine it is expensive. These people have jobs in the private sector. Imagine for just a moment that you have to deal with a bureaucrat in a union. If that thought does not horrify you, . . . you have no children, no relatives, no intelligence or no soul.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Should I Buy An English Bulldog?

Buying an English Bulldog is not just buying a puppy. While all puppies require an investment of time and money, the bulldog can require more of both. Many of the traits we love in bulldogs contribute to medical problems. The bulldog's independent and somewhat stubborn nature will likely make training more difficult. If you just want a dog, then an English Bulldog is not for you.

Rescuing a dog from the pound might cost a couple of hundred dollars for spaying or neutering and necessary shots. There is little doubt you will love your puppy regardless of ancestry; which will probably be unknown. In this circumstance you have a dog with only a small investment.

But if your heart is set on an English Bulldog then prepare for a longer and much more expensive process. It is important to research breeders in order to make certain your future bulldog doesn't come from a puppy mill. After locating a reputable breeder, hopefully relatively close to home, it is a good idea to take a trip to their location.

A close inspection of the breeder's facilities and a look at both the female and male bulldogs is essential. It won't hurt to review the medical records of both dogs that either are, or are to be, the parents of your bulldog. You will want to know how often the females are bred; every other year may be best. Of course checking with other customers who have purchased bulldogs from the breeder is also a very good idea.

Instead of a couple of hundred dollars, an English Bulldog will likely cost a couple of thousand dollars. Prices for a purebred English Bulldog can range from a thousand dollars to well over three thousand. Of course the price is merely a down payment. That is true because of veterinary costs you could incur.

Let me provide you with the story of my current English Bulldog. He first had surgery to remove lashes which were growing into his eyes. At the same time he had soft palate surgery to make it easier for him to breath. All English Bulldogs are subject to breathing problems due to their physical structure.

Later he had knee surgery and emergency eye surgery for an ulcer. These medical costs ran into the thousands. We paid one thousand five hundred dollars for the dog and have close to five thousand dollars in his medical expenses.

Bulldogs often require special diets which means you can't buy just any food for them. They also frequently have skin and allergy problems. Even the healthiest bulldog will require more attention than the average dog. For example, their wrinkles have to be cleaned on a regular basis since they are subject to yeast infections.

An English Bulldog is a loyal companion good with both children and adults. They quickly become family members and you will truly love your bulldog. Bulldogs don't generally require a great deal of exercise. Playing with them for a few minutes several times a day is enough. Walks are never too long and definitely not in hot weather. Bulldogs make you, and everyone who sees them, smile.

If you can provide the care and time needed, than an English Bulldog is definitely for you. However, if there are doubts about your ability to properly care for one, please consider another pet.

Check out It's A Kean World for fun: Dog Supplies and Training for great dog articles; RV Fun and Facts for the true cost of RV ownership.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Why Bulldogs Look Like That

Among the many breeds of dogs there is one that stands out as being particularly interesting to look at, whether a pup or fully grown. In the United States we call these dogs English Bulldogs. I say in the United States because in Great Britain, where bulldogs originate, they are just bulldogs plain and simple.

Question: How do you make a bulldog smile? Answer: You don't, he makes you smile. One look at the wrinkles, wide stance, and flat faced appearance of the bulldog and it is hard not to smile. Their looks and disposition contribute to making the bulldog one of the most popular dogs in the United States. They are fiercely loyal dogs who are happy just to spend time being around their owners.

Records fail to make the true origins of the bulldog clear, but some things are for certain. Most everyone agrees their name comes from the cruel sport of bull baiting. Bulldogs were also used to control and corral bulls in England. In the middle of the 19th century bulldogs ceased to be “sporting” dogs when the “sport” of bull baiting was outlawed.

While the popularity of the bulldog waned after bull baiting was banned, in a few years they became a show dog. But none of this explains just why the bulldog looks the way it does; so let's move along.

Dog breeding was not the science hundreds of years ago that it is today. Breeders would mate dogs based upon their appearance. And in doing so they eventually obtained many of the physical traits we see in bulldogs today. The bulldog's nose is high on the head to let the dog breath easily while maintaining a firm grip on a bull.

Some believe the wrinkled skin allowed for give and there was less of a chance that a bull's horns would break the skin. Of course being very low to the ground made them a tougher target for the bulls. It has been thought the wrinkles on a bulldog's face make it easier for tears to drain away from its eyes. The bulldog has a powerful jaw that gives it a vise-like grip.

Combine all of this with strong hind legs and you have a dog that looks tough but is really quite gentle and good with children. Of course the bulldog was at one time aggressive, however for over 150 years they have been bred as companions and family pets. At one time there was a reason for the looks we find so adorable in today's English Bulldog.

For more information about English Bulldogs check out Dog Supplies and Training. Also great articles about caring for any type of dog. Pictures and savings on things like a flushable dog poop bag as well.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Review of Montgomery South Campground

RV parks vary in amenities and price as much as the hotel/motel industry does. In RV parks as in hotels you can go from Motel 6 to New York Rich. But the key to a good RV park is for the owners to know their niche. In other words, be what you can comfortably be and charge accordingly. That pretty well describes the Montgomery South Campground, though one might suggest the price is a little on the high side.

Sometimes you want all the amenities and none of the hassels. Sometimes you just want a nice place to spend the night where you feel secure. Sometimes a place like Montgomery South RV Park is just right. We spent a quiet night there and with most of the amenities one might expect.

There are 30 sites, most of them gravel, all of them large and pull through. Clean restrooms that are particularly nice with chairs, mirrors and showers along with WiFi and full hookups are included. 30 and 50 amp service is available at all sites. There is no cable, but they indicate five channel are available. They also sell propane, which is a nice feature.

Montgomery South RV Park is between 12 and 14 miles south of Montgomery, Alabama, depending on the map you read. It is located at Exit 158 off of I-65. 1/8 mile east and one mile north on Venable Rd and you are there.

The owner was on site to greet us and in general the staff was very helpful and friendly. The office has a large television and an inviting couch or two. I'm looking out the window of my RV and watching traffic whiz by on I-65. However the noise does not seem to be a problem at all.

I paid $26 with a discount. The park is a Good Sam park and is rated in Woodalls. The accept most major credit cards.

The WiFi signal is not as strong as I would like it to be, though generally it is servicable. There are several acres of pastureland for walking your pet. I think you will find this a great place to spend the night.

Montgomery South RV Park is located at 713 Venable Rd. Hope Hull, AL 36043. Their telephone number is 334-284-7006 and their email address is: resv@

RV Fun and Facts is a great site for RV owners and prospective owners. Get the truth about RV costs and ownership. Great tips and links as well.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Internet Money Maker Or Scam?

Billions of dollars are being made on the Internet. Wouldn't it be nice if you could grab a few thousand of those billions? How hard could it be? A question asked by many and legitimately answered by very few. Let's examine the basic aspects of making money on the Internet and determine what is factual and what is merely a polished version of a very old scam.

First the basics, which you likely understand. Making money on the Internet, as opposed to making money by facilitating the Internet, is simple to explain and difficult to accomplish. There are normally three steps: create a web site; put your own or someone else's information or products for sale on the site; get visitors (potential customers) to your site.

Creating a web site is remarkably easy this day and age. There are many places that will host your web site for free. Even if you have nothing to sell there are many, many affiliate programs. So having a web site and something to sell is fairly easy. The problem is getting people to visit your web site.

But what about all those people who promise you can make a fortune with just a few clicks of the mouse? Ask yourself this question. If these people are making so much money, why are they willing to sell you the secret? They do videos allegedly from exotic locations with pictures of yachts, mansions and flashy cars. Does it make sense to promote a product that gives away their “secret?”

Maybe it is just a newer version of the old “stuffing envelopes” scheme. You would respond to an ad promising money for stuffing envelopes by sending a few dollars and they would tell you to do what they are doing. So you place ads and people send you money and it goes on and on.

Of course today things are a bit more complex. Some of the promoters offer to build you a website or several cookie cutter web sites. Many provide CDs and instruction booklets. Once you are on one of their e mail lists you will get daily sales pitches for the latest money making scheme. Each scheme better than the last and requiring even less of your time. Of course they all require a payment.

If you pay attention (but not money) to the advertisements for a while you can pick up some useful information. For example; find a niche. Get yourself into a small corner of the very big room that is the Internet. One possibility, instead of dogs, try dog collars. Don't plan on making a lot of money right away and treat your Internet business as a job. If you spend 10 minutes a day on your Internet business you will be rewarded appropriately (not well).

There is a great deal of information on the Internet explaining how to make your web site more visible. Much of the information is free. If an advertisement promises you easy money with little work: do not fall for the scam. There are certainly legitimate companies which provide information for a fee. But prior to paying anyone learn the basics on your own. That way at least you will know what you are buying.

Jack Kean maintains two niche web sites: RV Fun and Facts and Dog Supplies and Training. Both of which he continues to refine. One of these sites has been profitable, the other has not. Feel free to guess which is which.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Paul B. Johnson State Park

A few miles south of Hattiesburg, MS on highway 49 you will find the Paul B. Johnson State Park. It is a jewel in the rough. We pulled in for a single night's rest and were amazed at what we found. After some hesitation at driving over the spillway (no problem) we found a great pull through site. This was important to us because we did not want to unhook the car and tow dolly.

The best things about staying at a kind of out of the way State Park can be scenery and price. The Paul B. Johnson State Park certainly offered both. This is the type of park you could spend a night in, but it would be much more relaxing to spend a week.

The Paul B. Johnson State Park is located at 319 Geiger Lake Road, Hattiesburg, MS 39401. The telephone number is 601-582-7721.

My newest ebook How To Decide If An RV Is Right For You is available through RV Fun and Facts or at Amazon. More information and pictures at the Paul B. Johnson State Park are also at RV Fun and Facts.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Review of Timberlake Campground at Ross Barnett Reservoir

Timberlake Campground is part of the Mississippi State Parks system. It is located on the southeast corner of Ross Barnett Reservoir. There are 108 sites available for overnight rental and they range from the older shaded section to the newer section which has little shade but great satellite reception. The roads are paved as are all the sites, but of course the newer sites seem larger and are certainly on solid pads.

Timberlake Campground is a great location for those interested in fishing in the Ross Barnett Reservoir. Created by the damming of Jackson' Pearl river, this 50 square mile expanse of water provides sailing, water skiing, bass fishing and a variety of water sports.

143 Timberlake Dr.
Brandon, MS 39047

For a more complete review check out RV Fun and Facts. You will find other campground reviews and great articles on RV ownership.