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Sri Lanka – The Ocean Pearl

Sri Lanka is an island neighboring India with many cultural elements typical for Southeast Asia. It’s usually known for its beautiful, tropical beaches, as they are common destinations for tourists.

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Medical Billing Process

When you have medical problems with your family, you seek the necessary help. How can you do anything but get the necessary help? You want to see your child or spouse get better, and if seeing a doc or going to a hospital is necessary you just do it. At least that is my attitude.

I am fortunate to have health insurance through my job. I know that many people do not have that luxury these days due to the rapidly rising cost of premiums. Health costs are astronomical; we all know it, we all hate it. What gets me though is that medical billing is like no other business out there.

How many businesses do you deal with that don’t tell you upfront pricing, can bill you for months and seemingly even years later from the various parties involved and can provide terrible service with no assurance of quality or outcome? Let me break that down.

When you head into a hospital for care, you have no idea what things will cost. Of course, they don’t always have time to explain every treatment option and applicable pricing for you to make a fiduciary decision at every step of the way. That said, it would be nice to know up front based on your insurance what your costs are going to be for the daily stay, doctor fees, etc. In the heat of the moment, you are not going to be ticking off a list of what you can afford, but I do know I am the type as a parent that I would like to have a daily summary of my increasing bill printed out so I know what to expect once treatment is finished.

Medical Billing Process

I always wonder if hospitals don’t want to produce an ongoing bill for you because they are afraid you will find their errors because it is so fresh in your mind. Do they wait months to start sending out bills so you have let the individual procedures and people involved slip your mind and just have to trust that they got things right? Perhaps they don’t have any idea themselves until they get some creative accounting underway and see what your insurance will tolerate, then send the remainder of costs on to you to cause another heart attack and start the treatment/billing cycle all over again.

Then comes the way billing takes place. Getting billed much later is not the only kick in the gut you are going to receive later on; it is the repeated kicks that really get you down. Usually, the facility itself is the first to arrive in your mailbox, large and in charge. After you work your way through that painful check writing process, then comes the treating doctor. Yep, they bill separately. Did you need any anesthetics in the process? Yep, different billing group for that. How about oxygen therapy…they have their own bill. Physical or occupational therapy…the list goes on. Even if all these treatments are housed and received under the same facility, they all have their own billing, and it all adds up big time.

Now, on to the quality of service and guarantee of outcome. Ok, I realize doctors cannot ensure you will always get better simply due to the nature of various injuries. I think I am typically a reasonable guy. I do think there should be some discount or reduction in costs if they fail to accomplish the tasks they set out to do. That kick in the gut I mentioned about delayed billing is nothing like the one you receive when you are paying for services that failed. I have a friend that talked to me about how painful it was to pay the bills for a difficult late-term miscarriage they went through. Yes, after having lost a child at nearly full term they had to pay costs that exceeded had the child actually been born. Let’s just kick them when they are really down.

Medical Billing Process

Given the fact that medicine cannot solve all things, at least there should be some measure of the quality of service received and the ability to challenge fees when those services do not meet the required criteria. I know I have personally experienced mistakes and failings that have gone on to actually hurt a child of mine in a very real way. Though I never took this to legal recourse, I likely could have. With so much fear of legal battles the medical field cannot even reveal an ounce of wrong on their part for fear of big liabilities; because of this, we have no means of oversight or quality assurance in the care we receive.

All this comes to mind because of the recently hospitalized care my son is receiving. He was quickly moved to a care facility for his needs, but now that we are working through the treatment we have begun talking to the billing department to get a handle on what our costs are going to be. We are finding that even after what insurance covers our costs of being in this outfit rival a full hospitalization. As I mentioned in a previous post, we have had very frank talks with his treatment team on the ineffectiveness of most of what they are doing, to which they actually agree. Will we receive a discount because of their lack of ability to effectively treat my child…of course not. 1/3 of the treatment team seems adept at what they are doing, and that is the primary side of what we came for anyway. So, for the other doctors involved, I really don’t feel justified in paying them for services they cannot effectively render. Of course, the cost of the facility is fixed, and the doctors are billing on top of that.

In the end, I will pay the fees and move on; I really do not have a choice. Before you receive any services they force documents on you that are essentially a blank check. You promise your life away so they will begin care. In effect, the document you sign says you will pay whatever they deem necessary to bill associated with the treatment of your child. Other than medicine, what business these days could get away with that?

$7m lawsuit against former-chef-turned-mining-CEO dismissed

A New York court has dismissed with prejudice a $7 million lawsuit filed against former Master-chef Australia contestant Aaron Thomas, 26, who was fired as CEO of his own company, Oakmont Resources, earlier this year.

A complaint filed in a New York state court in March claimed Thomas “misappropriated £4,247,000 (US$7.05 million)“ to finance a high-class lifestyle for himself and his girlfriends”.Oakmont Resources

Oakmont Resources owns and operates diversified mining and resource interests with specific emphasis on the exploration, extraction and sale of iron ore. The lawsuit asserted, “Shareholders were induced to invest in part on representations by Thomas concerning, among other things, his experience running companies of this kind, the fact that he purported to be a trained geologist and a protégé of certain well-known figures in the mining industry.”

Thomas’ lawyer, Rob Garson, told The New York Post that the New York City-based Thomas was satisfied that the “vexatious and baseless allegations” had been dismissed. As part of a recent confidential settlement, Thomas’s 25% stake in Oakmont was sold back to the company.

Oakmont Resources

Garson told the media that Thomas was looking toward the future and would focus on companies that operate with integrity, have strong returns, and create shareholder value for investors.

Michigan Vacation Ideas

Families with children of all ages have access to a wealth of vacation ideas in the Great Lakes state of Michigan. From enjoying the locally grown produce and exploring the vast freshwater coastline to walking across one of the longest suspension bridges in the world and touring a decades-old American auto plant, Michigan has something to offer beach lovers and museum aficionados alike. Because of Michigan’s shape similar to that of a mitten, tourist can explore in the “thumb” all the way to the “pinky” area and beyond.Michigan Vacation Ideas

Cherry Festival

Held in July each year, the Traverse City National Cherry Festival is an eight-day celebration that supports the local cherry industry with a parade, musical entertainment, a Blue Angels air show and food sampling and races, as well as vendor booths that feature everything from cherry-related souvenirs to cherry-mustard pretzel dips. Most of the activities are free, especially those for kids, but there are fees to enter the competitive running races, see the indoor music concerts (prices starting at $35). A driver’s license is needed to enter the beer tent.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

One of only four national lakeshores in the United States, Pictured Rocks is an expansive 40-mile stretch of shoreline that boasts waterfalls, rolling hills of sand dunes, beaches and sandstone cliffs. It is located on the edge of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Lake Superior, making it quite a lengthy car drive. It’s 400 miles from Detroit and 500 miles from Chicago, Ill. There is no fee to enter the park and the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Visitor Center is open all year, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., everyday except Sunday.

Michigan Vacation Ideas

The Mackinac Bridge Walk

The annual Mackinac Bridge Walk is held the Saturday of Labor Day weekend. For one time each year, participants can walk the five-mile span on the world’s third-largest suspension bridge. The Governor starts the walk at 7 a.m. and the bridge remains open to walkers until 11 a.m. Bridge walkers cross from north to south, as they start in St. Ignace and end in Mackinac City. It doesn’t cost money to cross the bridge on foot but if you take a bus back to your car, the fee is $5 per person. Upon finishing, you will receive a certificate of completion.

Ford Rouge Factory Tour

One of many exhibits at the Henry Ford Museum, the Rouge Factory tour is an up close experience for car buffs, historians, native Michiganders and all those who are interested in the technological innovations that make up a car and an industry. Adult nonmembers pay $15.00, youth nonmembers $11, and senior nonmembers $14; members of the museum generally pay about $2 less per ticket. Guests can spend anywhere from two hours to five hours exploring the tour in its five parts: two movies, guided tour, observation deck and gallery. The plant is open everyday except Sunday. They run tours around the clock starting at 9:30 a.m. and the last tour departs at 3 p.m.

Tours leave from the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich. Call (800) 835.5237 or visit http://www.thehenryford.org/rouge/index.aspx for help with planning a tour.

Oahu’s Luau Reviews

Hawaii is more than just great beaches and stunning views. You can learn a little of the culture at an Alii Luau hosted by the Polynesian Cultural Center on Oahu. As at every welcome in Hawaii, you are greeted with a fresh lei and enjoy such entertainment as hula dancing and steel guitar and ukulele music.Oahu's Luau Reviews

Wows and Woes

If you are accustomed to eating in high quality restaurants, be aware the food is almost flavorless. But you are here for the culture, really, not the food. Surprisingly, for a cuisine heavy on roast pork, there are vegetarian options.

Insider Tips

No cocktails with dinner; there is no alcohol served at all.

Oahu's Luau Reviews

Author’s Most Memorable Moment

The hula dancers encourage everyone to follow their lead and try dancing; I was picked out of the crowd and a man in a grass skirt practically dragged me up to dance in front of everyone. Embarrassing but memorable.

Bottom Line

The luaus are expensive, but if you think of it as entertainment plus dinner, it’s not that bad a deal.

Sri Lanka – The Ocean Pearl

Sri Lanka is an island neighboring India with many cultural elements typical for Southeast Asia. It’s usually known for its beautiful, tropical beaches, as they are common destinations for tourists. Its nickname, Ocean Pearl, speaks of its very clean and hospitable sand beaches, but also of the old job of pearl-hunting, that used to be an occupation in the country. Sri Lanka also appears in the tale of Ramayana. It is a predominantly Buddhist country, a fact that has become known worldwide when a Buddhist man claimed he has not eaten in 5 years.SRI LANKA

Sri Lankans abide a social hierarchy similar to the Indian one, albeit less strict. Castes don’t mix between each other and the Tamil community is quite large. Sri Lanka has one of the oldest flags in the world and used to be called Ceylon. If the name rings a bell to you, it’s probably because of the Ceylon tea. The country is the biggest tea producer and used to have coffee plantations in the past. Depending on the region, common foods include curry, rice, coconut milk or appam (string hoppers). Some people season their fruits, no matter how sweet, with salt and pepper.

People from Sri Lanka are friendly and open to socialize. They respect their families so don’t talk badly about your parents or siblings. Family gatherings can get quite noisy and are usually very joyful, with tons of food in sight. Members should earn the respect of the community and do their best to help the others; otherwise, the entire family loses face. Face is more of a moral code, similar to ‘dignity’ or ‘integrity’. Criticism or wrongdoings can cause a loss of face or humiliation, so Sri Lankans avoid voicing negative feedback or accusations. They are tactful and beat around the bush if they’re under pressure. Be aware, shaking your head from left to right means yes, unlike the Western gesture.


At work, they are formal, serious and cold. Once the program is over, the Sri Lankans changes completely. They enjoy hanging around with friends and socializing usually involves food. Nightlife is not that exciting, except for Colombo. Sri Lankans have their own dance called Baila. People may show up uninvited at your door since friends don’t announce each other of their visit.

Ask one of them to take you to Udawalawe National Park. Sri Lanka has a considerable elephant populace and you can admire it from here. Some other natural reservations include wild animals and breathtaking landscapes. No matter where you are, you can get to the beach. For a bit of history, go to Sigiriya. Sri Lankan nature is a perfect place for trekking. The Temple of the Sacred Tooth awaits for you if you are interested in a more spiritual experience.

Best Sea Fishing Bait

What kind of fish do you want to catch? Cod? Trout? Bass? Do you want live or dead bait? Do you want to buy worms in a jar or catch fresh mackerel for your expedition? Do you plan to be out in the middle of the ocean or standing on the shore? Once you know your fishing goals, you can choose a bait that fits best. There are many types of fishing baits out there–plastic worms, fish oils, sea scents–but nothing works better than real meat, especially in the ocean. Save your garden worms for the local pond; these baits are for serious fishermen, looking to catch some serious fish.Best Sea Fishing Bait


Ragworms are a common bait for sea fishing, and most fish love them. The problem is that small fish love them just as much as big fish. If you don’t want to give a little fish the chance to hook onto your line, then your best bet may be to opt for a bigger bait, such as mackerel or crab. These worms aren’t like your everyday worms; they have two pinchers that you have to be careful of. If you’re scared of being pinched, you can chop off the head, which gives a stronger blood trail but may cause the worm to fly off the hook during your cast. Use two to four worms on a hook, and make sure you hook each worm more than once.

Best Sea Fishing Bait


The lugworm can grow up to 1 1/2 feet long and is black or dark brown in color. There are two different species, the black and the blow, and either one attracts fish like honey attracts bees. On a good day, these baits will out-fish anything you can get your hands on. And when the cod are biting on lugworms, good luck trying to use anything else as bait. Fish love lugworms, and it’s probably the best bait for cod–especially small 1-to-2-pounders.

Peeler Crab

Crab is one of the best baits you can use. The turnoff is the extensive amount of work needed to put the crab on your hook. But if you’re sick of catching mackerel and want to try something different, crab is the way to go. Many of the rarer fish love crab, making it well worth the effort to put it on your hook.

Once you remove the leg, claws and shells, you’re ready to start casting. The crab meat is soft and will fly right off your hook when you cast it, so you’ll have to attach it with some elastic string, which you can find at any tackle shop. This bait is best used live, but watch out for the lungs–they’re poisonous.

Best Sea Fishing Bait


You’ll have to catch your own mackerel unless you know some place that sells mackerel strips. Once you kill it, you cut it into strips for your bait. When you hook your mackerel, make sure you put your hook through the patterned part, where the fish is toughest. Mackerel are used for catching bigger fish, but the hassle of catching, killing and hooking them makes other baits an easier choice.

Best Sea Fishing Bait


Sand eels are the first choice of bait for trout, salmon, bass, mackerel, garfish and pollack–you can catch a plethora of fish with this bait. Every sea fisherman has to know about the sand eel, the best bait in the water. There aren’t many fish that can resist a live sand eel dangling at the end of your hook. The way the eel swims around the water determines what type of fish will be attracted to it, so do your research and catch exactly what you want to. It doesn’t matter how you hook it; just make sure it looks natural and stays alive.

Malaysia – Its not all about the Petronas Towers

Little countries gained their reputation by being simultaneously the home of great urban centers and the host for amazing wildlife. Still, Malaysia manages to offer both of them. Monkeys, tigers or elephants roam freely through its jungles, while the cities master the art of occupying the skyline with business centers or other skyscrapers. The country has its fair portion of shoreline, to which many tourists love to come. The beaches are good for surf or just relaxation, with a tropical setting for their vacation.


The best way to start your tour is paying a visit to the Petronas Towers. The most exciting highlight is the sky bridge uniting the two towers. Kek Lok Si is a Buddhist temple that will charm you with its architecture. Try going to Batu Caves during New Year’s Eve, it`s a beautiful shrine and will allow you to observe some of the local traditions. For historical monuments, go to Malacca, the center of one of the earliest Sultanates or ask around for colonial towns, Malaysia still has some traces from the British Rule. Don`t forget the National Park and the Mulu Caves: these are the best spots for admiring the nature`s wonders. The hills from Cameron Highlands and a special center for the rehabilitation of Orangutans will be a delightful sight. If you want to see the seaside, Langkawi has great beaches.


Malayans are friendly and generous. They live in communities and place a great value on their family. Since the demographics are very diverse, they feel very protective of their culture. Not many dare to form relationships outside their usual circle of acquaintances and marriages unite in most of the cases people from the same community. While the people overall has some common characteristics, you need to see if the Malayan you’re talking to is Indian, Chinese or Muslim. Due to Ketuanan Malayu, a notion making the eulogy of Malayan history and people, foreigners see the locals as patriotic and conservative.

As Facebook Edges Closer to 1 Billion – Is Your Brand Engaged?

The magic number for Facebook is very close…most likely before the end of 2012 there will be over 1 billion active monthly users on the social network, but is your brand engaging with them in a beneficial way?

Months ago, we brought up the discussion around the disconnect between brands and consumers when it comes to social media, and as the socially-connected population grows it is increasingly important to make sure your social strategy matches with what your audience is looking for. On Facebook, your fans ultimately own your brand, and the content you put out there needs to be a conversation rather than a shouting match.facebook

Our own Facebook page is focused on highlighting Star Group’s agency culture and our involvement with clients and community outside of the work itself. Even though our content is an ever-changing process, we want to connect with our friends, colleagues and clients in a more personable way than simply touting our work on their behalf.

For your brand’s page, the goal is likely to be completely different and unique. Just because there is a potential audience of a billion, we all recognize that there are smaller numbers of targeted communities that will be receptive to specific messages.

facebook The grand total may be large…as Todd Wasserman notes in his Mashable article, already 526 million of current users are on Facebook daily (that’s almost 4 times the amount of total active Twitter users)…but in order to forge a connection with them, the content you create needs to be personalized and targeted.

Are you seeing the growth in Facebook users as a new challenge or a new opportunity? Do you have guidelines in place that help you stick to your brand strategy?

Prom Car Hire – Get A Luxury Ride

The tradition of prom is running from many years. On this night, a person takes his partner at a special venue for dance. This is like a romantic date and there will be only opposite genders in the prom night. If you want to follow the tradition of prom perfectly then you should choose a mind blowing car for your prom night. This could a big surprise for your partner that you get a very stunning car from prom car hire. She will feel really lucky to have you and you are able to make that night memorable only because of your selection of the luxury.

What makes car rentals so helpful?

No doubt, we people have everything but still there is something which we can’t afford and luxury cars are one of them. Similarly, if you are going to take your partner at the prom night then you should hire a luxury car. Due to this, you are able to make a strong impression on her and maybe you get a bright future from that day. The facility of the luxury car rental is running from many years. Not only for the prom nights but you can hire the car for her.

Improve Your Personality

It is true that, the car will help you to enhance your personality. You maybe dress very well but if when you came outside from the mind blowing car then it will be prove really amazing. Everybody will only see you only because of your car. This thing will boost your confidence as well. If we talk about the price of the car rental then it is not too much but you can save money for that day when you have prom night.

In addition to this, if you desire to make you journey to prom should be amazing then you should choose a classic car. No doubt, sports car would be the best option; if you are mature then you should try the classic luxury car option because it gives a touch of royalty. Nonetheless, old-fashioned vehicles are really superb so choose the option of any classic luxury such as Rolls Royals. This would be the ideal option for you because girls also love the classic cars. There is an option of self drive hire and other his chauffeur hire. If you choose two-seater car then self drive will be best option.

Romantic Restaurants in Miami, Florida

Miami, Florida is by far one of the most romantic cities in the world for fine dining. Restaurants nestled on the beach, or overlooking romantically lit palm gardens on those sultry evenings, are just the place to tell your lover that you only ever want to be where they are.

Romantic Restaurants in Miami, Florida 1


Contemporary American fine dining with a casual dress code, at the Hotel on South Beach, Wish is one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. Try the outdoor dining for an enchanting atmosphere where you will sample delicacies like the pan-seared foie gras, in blackberry compote, wasabi, white chocolate and almond crumbs. Dinner could be the oven-roasted swordfish, with roasted garlic vinaigrette or the pan-seared prime New York steak, with blue cheese, radicchio, and red wine syrup. Expect to pay more than $50 per person before the wine selection and be ready to enjoy every moment, bite and sip in this divine milieu.

At the Hotel
801 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 674-9474

Romantic Restaurants in Miami, Florida 1

Emeril’s Miami Beach

The first thought of eating at the Food Network’s “Bam” man’s restaurant is not a romantic one, but Emeril has class. Reservations are encouraged, there is valet parking at the entrance of the Loews Miami Beach Hotel and the restaurant is in the St. Moritz Hotel building; dress is business casual. The menu is Emeril’s “new” New Orleans with a Miami twist, Creole, Latin, and Caribbean.

Start with a nice bottle of wine from the extensive wine list and rev up the evening with the aphrodisiac appetizer crispy fried Louisiana oysters, pickled vegetables, and horseradish-yuzu tartar sauce. For dinner try the citrus barbequed salmon with andouille, and finish with the whiskey sauced bread pudding.

Emeril’s Miami Beach
1601 Collins Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 695 4550

Romantic Restaurants in Miami, Florida 1


This quiet, romantic, beautiful restaurant had its beginnings in Paris in 1927 where famed artisans, lovers, and food connoisseurs come to enjoy an unforgettable dining experience. The Kaspia in Miami mirrors this tradition with its list of caviars, ocean fare, and vodka to accompany every meal including dessert. Kaspia features some of the most amazing smoked fish available. It is casual elegant, Russian, French and European, expensive and absolutely worth it from the ambiance, excellent service and beautifully prepared food from a menu with surprising choices.

1220 Collins Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
(305) 674-7899

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