Aretha Franklin’s Estate Is A Mess & Nobody Is Surprised

Aretha Franklin was a local legend around these parts.  Raised in Detroit, she became famous and was one of the most famous and influential singers of her time.  Her records sold millions, and she was popular from the 1960’s all the way through her death in 2018.  Her impact on the music industry is without question.  However, following her death, details on Aretha Franklin’s estate started to come out.  And, boy, it was a mess.  That’s about the only way to describe it.

Unfortunately, that would come as no surprise to those that knew or followed her.

estate
Aretha Franklin’s estate will be like a complicated maze with many questions.

A History Of Money Related Lawsuits

One of the things that often came out about Aretha is that she was usually involved in some sort of legal turmoil.  As can be reasonably expected with someone of her celebrity and wealth, a lot of the turmoil centered around money.  As far back as 1999, she was reported to have a history of not paying her bills.  Even more recently, she was sued for not paying association fees for a condo she owned.  Any condo owner usually considers this a fairly simple task.

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Are You Keeping Your Fundraising Cause In Mind?

Fundraising can be a noble thing.  If you have a solid fundraising cause, it can provide great benefit. Raising money to cure or prevent disease, or to help people is great. But here at work, an ongoing fundraising campaign is missing the mark.

fundraising cause
Does your fundraising cause align with your strategy to raise money?

Missed The Mark On Fundraising

Our organization’s main fundraising event is to support a heart health walk.  Teams from different parts of the organizations walk to support heart health.  They raise money with pledges and fundraising activities.

The department in which I work has typically been one of the top teams in terms of raising money. We’re usually in the top three for the whole organization.  It’s pretty cool.

This year they decided they wanted to step it up.  So, in addition to gathering pledges, they’re also raising money by selling snacks.

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What The Polar Vortex And A Gas Explosion Taught Me About Human Nature

Last week, Michigan and much of the Midwest went through the coldest spell in 25 years when the polar vortex blew arctic air upon us.  It was a brutal stretch.  We saw high temperatures barely above zero.  Low temperatures were in the minus-teens.  Factor in the wind chill, and it felt like 40 or 50 below-zero.  It sucked.  Luckily, it was only for a few days, and temperatures like this aren’t regular occurrences.  But, as much as the cold weather seemed to be ‘the event’, it turned into something more.  And I learned a lot.  I learned about human nature. About good people and unfortunately about selfishness.

frozen pipes

Our Polar Vortex

It got cold last week.  Really cold.  The last time it was this cold was 25 years ago.  I remember that because I was a student at college doing an internship where I had to drive 50 miles one-way, five days per week.  So, walking to my car and starting it each morning was a nightmare.  I didn’t have an app to start my car back then.  Remote start was still a dream.  It was walk to the car, put the key in, hope it started, and wait for it to warm up.  So, yeah, I remember the last one.

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You Should Pay More To Shop At A Small Hardware Store

Lately, I’ve been going to a small hardware store on the way home from work when need arises.  It’s convenient and the service is great.  Still, they’re a bit higher priced.  The other morning I was going to meet my dad for breakfast.  Across from the restaurant is a Lowe’s.  I figured I’d stop in and get a few things to save some money.  What a big mistake.

I had a pretty small list:

  • Screws to mount a small TV
  • Pesticide for our rose bushes
  • Globe light bulbs for the bathrooms
  • Rubber gloves

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Why Are Michigan Roads So Bad? 10 Things To Know

The past month has seen roads in Michigan deteriorate to never before seen conditions.  Potholes and cracks are everywhere.  The freeze and thaw cycle has been especially bad this year, turning many roads to near gravel. But, Michigan isn’t the only state with this weather.  So, why are the roads so bad?  The answer isn’t as simple as any one thing.  Here are ten things to know about why Michigan roads are so bad.

Taxes and Spending

  1. Michigan drivers pay a lot in fuel taxes.  Michigan is one of the top five states in terms of taxes collected at the pump.  This infuriates a lot of drivers.  Common sense tells you that higher taxes should mean better roads.  Unfortunately it doesn’t work out that way.  So why?
  2. Michigan doesn’t allocate sales tax at the pump to roads. Most states assign all taxes collected at the pump toward roads.  Michigan only allocates the fuel taxes specifically toward roads.  The sales tax portion goes to the general fund.  This means our spending levels are among the lowest in the nation per capita.
  3. Voters said no when given a chance to correct this.  A few years, it was put before voters to allocate the sales tax on gas toward roads.  This would have infused a ton more money into the roads.  But, it required an increase in the sales tax rate, which required it be put before voters.  They said no.  I wonder how many regret this decision now.

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Smartphones Are Really Kind Of Dumb

Aren’t smartphones great?  They take care of everything, right?  Well, maybe not everything.  But they’re totally smart and intuitive, aren’t they?  After all, smart IS part of the name.  Personally, I don’t think we’re there yet.  Smartphones have made our lives easier in many ways. But they still have a lot of things that could be improved.  In fact, I have come up with five reasons that smartphones aren’t all that smart.  Yet.

Battery Life And Charging

Apple recently caught a lot of heat because they were purposefully slowing down older phones.  Why?  Because the batteries were wearing out, and would last longer if the phone did less.  So, Apple sent an update to make the phone work slower.  Oh, and the age of some of these phones was less than two years.

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Why Block Ad Blockers?

I browse with Google Chrome.  On my laptop and desktop computers, I always install ad blocking software.  I’d install it on my mobile version if I could do so without having to root the device.  It always amuses me when I come across a site that will block ad blockers.  The site refuses entry when it detects that you are running ad blocking software.  Instead of loading the requested content, you get a page refusing you entry until you disable to ad blocking software.  Or disable it for their site, anyway.

The Case For Blocking Ad Blockers

Many sites exist only by selling advertising.  I get that.  Without placing ads that generate revenues, the site couldn’t exist.  So the case for ad blockers is easy: More revenue.  Without revenue, the site wouldn’t exist, so it makes sense to maximize ad value, right?

It’s not that simple.

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Airline Nightmare: You Can Be Right But Still Be Completely Wrong

The airline industry has really been under fire.  My 7-year old commented that the recent misstep has been the “fifth bad story” that he’s seen recently.  This latest airline nightmare had Delta kick a family off their flight because they wouldn’t give up the seat their infant was using.

Here’s the thing: They were actually right.  But then they turned into being completely wrong.

Where Delta Was Right

Delta had overbooked a flight, which seems to be the source of so many problems.  In looking things over, they found that one ticketed passenger wasn’t on the plane.  As it turns out, they had booked another ticket on another flight and already left.

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Avoid Walmart Site To Store Around The Holidays

Amazon has pretty much set the bar for online shopping, especially if you’re a Prime member.  Click, order, and a couple of days later, you have a box with your items.  It works great.  So great that other retailers have had no choice but to offer online ordering.  Walmart Site to Store is one such offering, where you can order from the retail giant and pick up at a nearby store.

You’d think that a company the size of Walmart, one of the biggest in the world, would have this process down.  However, as our recent experience shows, thinking this is kind of, well, wrong.

Christmas Gift: New Bikes For The Kids

Both of our kids learned to ride bikes without training wheels this last summer.  Our youngest, age 5, actually caught on first, which then pushed our oldest, age 7, to get it down.  Our daughter was riding a bike that we bought secondhand, and she loved it, but by the end of summer it was apparent that she was too small.  This wasn’t a big deal as we only paid $15 for the bike (and we can probably turn around and sell it for that).

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Terrible Costco Coupons Equals No Costco Trips This Month

December, it seems, is the holy grail of food months. Buying food, groceries, etc.  What better month to count on than December, right? So, if that’s the case, it’s really amazing that Costco is trying to shoot themselves in the foot with a terrible coupon insert.  The Costco Coupons book that we eagerly look forward to was a total dud..

As a result, we haven’t gone to Costco. Those two things go hand in hand, as it turns out.

Our Costco Coupons Habits

We have been Costco members since before we got married.  That means it’s been over ten years now.  Wow, does time ever fly!

During that time, Costco has always sent out a monthly coupon book.  For three weeks out of every month, members can enjoy savings on a handful of items. It’s always been a good mix of general merchandise, electronics, and food.  Until this month.  This month, Costco pretty much eliminated the food category.

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