Thursday, August 31, 2023

Land Contracts: That's Really Not How That Works

Land contracts can be a great way to purchase a property. They also have a lot of pitfalls and the opportunity for far more issues than a normal mortgage.

Got a call today that exemplified one major issue with them:  What happens if the seller dies before they deliver the deed to the property to the Buyer?

Well, to prevent that as part of the deal you should have the deed conveying the property to the buyer placed in escrow right when you sign the contract.

Of course, these folks didn't do that. 

So Seller dies.  Buyer has already paid off the land contract. Buyer would like a deed now.

Seller's next-of-kin apparently are fighting with each other and don't want to sign anything.

So Buyer's son calls me to ask what they can do.

Well, to fix it you can open a probate estate on the dead Seller and have the Court order the property be transferred to Buyer as the contract has been fully paid.

Of course, this takes time and money to do. Bit of a process but nothing too horrible.

Of course this fellow doesn't want to pay, so the good idea fairy has him ask me a question:

 "What if we just sign a deed with the Seller's name on it giving it to the Buyer, and file it, an no one will know any different because after all Seller is dead?"

NO, very much abso-bloody-lutely not. 

You see, I explain to him, what you plan to be doing happens to be called fraud and is a really dumb idea. Not only does it mess up title and create a bad deed, but it also exposes them to criminal charges for fraud.    

Idiot however thinks it's a great idea because they won't have to pay an attorney or open probate.  I again reiterate that not only is it really stupid, it's also illegal and he should not try that under any circumstances.

This is a great example of being penny-wise and pound-foolish, especially as the pounding they may get as a result of this stupidity may happen in jail.

I tell him again that the proper way to fix this is to open up probate and get it legally transferred. Anything short of that is going to cost them a lot more in the long run and they should not try to record a fraudulent deed.

So I'm not going to be retained to fix their problem, which is fixable.

 I expect these idiots to go ahead and create a much bigger problem for themselves to save a few bucks that is going to cost them a heckuva lot more to try and fix.

Tuesday, August 29, 2023

Cruise Day 12 - Disembarkation and Iceland On Our Own

With great reluctance, we woke up on our last day and got ready to get off the ship.

We had chosen one of the latest times to depart, as our hotel in Reykjavik wouldn't be doing check-ins until 11:00 am anyways.

We ended up having breakfast in the local bar as that was the only place still serving breakfast.  Apparently we missed getting our last breakfast in at Hudson's by a matter of minutes as they had stopped serving.

Having decided there was no way we could stowaway for another cruise, we disembarked at our appointed time after breakfast, entered the terminal and picked up our luggage.

We then found ourselves in a very long line for a taxi to the city center. 

Eventually, we got a taxi, driven by a very amiable fellow named Jens. He gave us some details as we drove to our hotel.  Very nice guy and we arranged with him for a pickup at the hotel for our departure in a couple days.

We got to the hotel too early to formally check in so stored our luggage in their storage room and decided to walk to downtown Reykjavik.

 Reykjavik is a very nice and quite walk-able small city.

We passed by some neat street art:

We then headed down the main drag

The main street was car-free and had a "red carpet" out for pedestrians.

Lots of shopping, including a rather famous (and pricey) watch shop.

The raincoat store beside the watch shop had a neat door sign, and offered neat belts made from watch straps from next door - pretty much infinitely adjustable, and always in time to keep your pants up.


All this strolling around built up an appetite, so we stopped and sat outside at Forsettin Cafe to get a bite to eat.

I had a local Boli beer to go with a traditional Icelandic Cod Stew which we shared around along with some amazingly done Salmon and some other great little bites.

That sure hit the spot, and we then went for more of a walk around. and after wandering the area and checking more stores out, we walked back to the hotel and got all checked in.

We then all had a power nap and then went out a wandering yet again, as we later had a rendezvous that evening for our next adventure.

Monday, August 28, 2023

Cruise Day 11 - Last Night on Board

For the last night on board we decided to dine at a specialty restaurant and also do another special activity.

First, however, we sadly headed off to our cabins and packed for our departure and got our suitcases outside the cabins to be picked up for departure. 

We decided to try the French restaurant on board to make it a special night. Turns out it was a great choice. We got dressed up for it, and checked in for our reservation.

The food and service were top-notch. I'd have to say it was the best specialty restaurant on board.

I had the Dover sole and it was exquisite.

 Certainly some of the best fish I've ever tasted, anywhere.  All other dishes served were similarly wonderful. The desserts were pretty killer, too.

After dinner, we had paid for and booked the kids on a fun activity -- racing.

There happens to be a multi-level go-kart track on the Norwegian Prima, which is pretty amazing. It tended to get booked up rather quickly.

There were a couple of crashes during the race, but no one went over the side and interestingly enough, any crash causes all the carts to automatically stop where they are until reset by the operators.

Even after being hit from behind by an overeager fellow in one of those crashes, Leah stuck with it and ended up in second place out of 15 cars.

After that we admired the sunset for our last night on the cruise. A Disney ship was pulling out of the harbor, which made for some lovely sunset photos.

We then headed back to our cabins for the last night.

Not Flying This Weekend

Well this weekend on Sunday I was set for my first international flight ever in the Archer.

Was going to fly to Toronto Island Airport, CYTZ. Being a slightly less than 2-hour flight, it would knock the pants of the typically 5+ hour drive time to get there.

Weather was great, finally.  

The night before I had filed electronically with US CBP as required a minimum of two hours before the fight, and called Canada Customs in the morning, also as required with no issues.

Filed an IFR flight plan direct to Toronto Island Airport, got the plane topped up with fuel and was ready to go.

Got my clearance direct, initial altitude 3,000 expect 7,000 in 10 minutes and good to go, headed to the run up area and started the run up.

All instruments good, all systems functioning, get to the flight plan portion and enter the flight plan enter CYTZ and:

Waypoint not found.


Try again:

Waypoint not found.

Tried again, same result, tried other Canadian waypoints and nothing.

Well, so much for flying direct, and that hosed the trip as I would have had to cancel IFR, refile VFR, and then gotten routed around Toronto International's airspace which would have messed up the flying time considerably and would have required redoing the USBP clearance with a two hour minimum as VFR instead of IFR.

Turns out the maintenance guy for the club, without telling anyone, did not renew the subscription for Canadian maps for the club's GPSs.  To say I am not happy about that is an understatement.

Well, definite first world problem that, but quite annoying and it sure messed up the plans for the weekend.

Friday, August 25, 2023

Cruise Day 11 - Reykjavik - Sky Lagoon

For Reykjavik we decided to do tours on our own rather than the ones offered by Norwegian.  

We did this as the cruise ended in Reykjavik we had no worries of an activity going overtime and missing the boat. We would be back on board for one more night and then disembarking the next morning.

So after a leisurely morning and breakfast, we setup our own trip to Sky Lagoon.

Not as well known as the famous Blue Lagoon, it has some advantages - being closer to Reykjavik, so less time spent getting back and forth and, since it is lesser-known, it tends to be a lot less crowded.

The passes we bought included transport from the cruise terminal, so we got picked up by a cab specifically sent for us, with a very nice and informative driver.

Sky Lagoon is right near the Reykjavik airport - a smaller airfield not to be confused with Keflavik airport that has international big jet service.

Sky Lagoon offers thermally heated waters in a stunning environment.


Yes, the water was very pleasantly warm and it was great to swim/wade in.

It has a neat infinity wall where it creates an illusion that the Lagoon goes on right into the ocean.


There is also a waterfall you can stand under or just admire.


They also had a bar you could swim up to, with local beer, cider, cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages drinks on tap.  Most civilized. Icelandic beer is good stuff.

We did the full "Ritual":

This ritual was a lot of fun and a very relaxing experience.  Getting into the cold plunge, which was seriously cold, after being in the warm lagoon was rather bracing to say the least. The sauna was great, as was the steam room .

The ritual ends back in the lagoon where you can relax in the warm water or do the cold plunge again. We did and had a contest as to who could stay in the cold plunge the longest - yes, I won that one - and then I had to get back in the lagoon quick to warm back up again. 

We then had a snack there at the Lagoon which was awesome.  Lots of small Icelandic dishes like gravlax - fresh cut to order, a pate of some sort, Icelandic cheeses, freshly made bread and crackers and all of it was fantastic and hit the spot after the spa.

We then got to watch a helicopter flying around the pattern at Reykjavik airport as we waited for our same cab driver to come pick us up.


We then headed back to the ship after a very enjoyable and relaxing day at Sky Lagoon.  

If you visit Reykjavik, I'd really highly recommend going to Sky Lagoon if you want a nice relaxing time in some lovely warm water.  You come out feeling like a million Icelandic Krona (That's only US$7,579, so you can feel like a millionaire at a bargain price!).

Cruise Day 11 - Reykjavik

We arrived in Reykjavik in the morning of Day 11.

Interestingly, we tied up right near these two ships:

These are the former Icelandic Cost Guard patrol Ships Tyr and Aegir, both veterans of the Cod Wars. Iceland does not have a navy and relies on its Coast Guard instead.


Both ships since been sold off from the coast guard in 2022, and have been renamed Oceanus V and Poseidon V, but the new owner has yet to repaint or remove the Icelandic Coast Guard stripes on the ships.

That Was A Lot Of Rain

Got caught in quite a storm last night driving home from jitsu. Lots and lots of lightning and thunder and massive amounts of water coming down.

There was so much water on the road that when driving I didn't just leave a wake, I was producing waves on both sides of the car that were reaching the windows. Indeed, the water would slow the car down considerably in spots.

It was worse around jitsu, as they are doing road construction and likely have the sewer grates covered to prevent dirt coming in, so there was a lot more water on the road around there. 

Made it home safely, driving carefully and no major issues. 

The storm was certainly more enjoyable from indoors, though I got soaked twice - first going from jitsu to my car just a few yards away (needed the shower anyways) and then car to home (probably needed the second shower as well) .

This morning along the roadway there's a nice pond, complete with ducks, where there had only been a ditch before.

That's a lot of water dropping in a very short time.

So much so the storm from two nights ago fouled traffic at Detroit Metro Airport, due to both pumps failing, and again, road work with covered sewer grates leading to flooded out highway tunnels and lower areas on the highway, not to mention the sheer volume of water.

Didn't lose power but lots of other people certainly did, and Ingham County got to sadly experience a tornado, which is never a good thing.  

Update:  It's now confirmed that three tornadoes touched down in the state during this storm, ranging in power from EF0 to EF1, causing at least one death and a lot of property damage.

Cloudy and low IFR out today, which puts the kibbosh on a planned flight.

Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Fudging The Numbers Biden Bureau of Labor Statistics Style

Every time the Biden Administration touts great numbers in employment, the numbers  trumpeted as signs of a great economy under Biden, but then are later quietly "revised"  -- meaning majorly reduced, often by astonishing amounts.

Mish Talk: BLS Job Revisions Show Every Job Report in 2021 Was Total Garbage

December 2022:  Biden administration overstated Q2 job growth by 1 million: Philadelphia Fed 

And today, via Instapundit:  UNEXPECTEDLY!  500,000 jobs could disappear in dramatic revision of US government data: report.

Funny, that.  Rather remarkable consistency in overstating the jobs created, and then quietly and without much, if any, coverage revising it downwards.

In short, under Biden, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports appears to have been consistently politicized to support the administration.  BLS reports initially depict a rosy and growing jobs market to support Bidenomics when the actual facts quietly once revised after the announcement has been made reveal it not to be true.

Monday, August 21, 2023

Cruise Day 10 - At Sea Again

This was our third day at sea.

We were supposed to visit Isafjordur, Iceland. It was not to be.  Apparently there was an issue with the docks being overcapacity, and the ship couldn't visit as planned.

So instead we got a nice slow cruise in the waters off of Iceland.

 On deck was chilly and windy, so most people stayed inside.

This led to pretty crowded areas especially at lunch so we put on sweaters/sweatshirts and had on lunch on deck by Indulge as there was no seating inside at all.

We left Iceland behind and there was not much to see but the rather bleak Greenland Sea.

We did hit the hot tub, which had steam rising above it nicely given the difference between the water and air temperature. Getting out was a tad chilly-making.

We took in a show together and then I played some more craps and came out a bit ahead, making up for the loses of prior sessions nicely.

For dessert, there was nothing like heading to the bar and getting a mudslide.

Tasted even better than it looked.

It was a nice relaxing day at sea.

A Red Dot Is A Cheat Code

Most especially when mounted on a shotgun.

Aiming both much quicker and more accurate that relying on a bead or ghost-type rifle sights.

Especially with my new shotgun.

The Tavor TS-12.

3 tubes of 5 rounds each with one in the chamber for 15+1 shots without a reload.  You can also ghost load it, if you so desire,  for a remarkable total of 17 rounds on board and ready to go. Plus, as my friendly local dealer remarked, it looks like a space gun.

The push button at the front of the trigger guard allows you to quickly rotate the next tube into position after you've emptied a tube.  It's both intuitive and very fast to hit it with your trigger finger as the support hand rotates the new tube into position. 

There is a loading port on either side of the firearm, and shells can also be easily ejected from the tubes without cycling the firearm.

Cross bolt safety is right where you would expect it to be, and it is solid and easy to operate, and the charging handle is similarly easy to use.

In short, I should have bought this rather than the Turknelli from the outset and would have been a lot happier.   It's actually more ergonomic, handles better, is much easier to take down and clean, and is much more reliable.There's something to be said about buy once, cry once.

Size-wise it's pretty darn amazing.


Same barrel length, in a much more compact package, with more rounds on board to boot.

For whatever reason, the recoil impulse is also softer than the Turknelli - the heavy 12 pellet 00 Buck recoils subjectively much softer in the Tavor than the Turknelli, and bird shot is a non-issue recoil-wise - you can keep it on target and just launch 16 rounds of birdshot without pause. I also found I did not get any gas in the face when firing the TS-12.

The Tavor TS-12 also balances better and you can shoot it much more easily and accurately with one hand.

Spencer and Tosh both tried it for the first time Saturday, and they both liked it quite a lot.

500 rounds through the Tavor TS-12, a mix of 00 Buck and birdshot so far and zero issues.

I'm certainly liking this shotgun.

Friday, August 18, 2023

Cruise Day 9 - Akureyri, Iceland

We arrived early in Akureyri, Iceland.  Akureyri is the fifth largest town in Iceland with about 20,000 inhabitants.

The tour was to take in nature and, Leah's favorite animal, horses.

We started off from the port and first headed to the Lystigarður Akureyrar, the Akureyri botanical gardens there.

Lots of nice plants and flowers and it was a very pleasant stroll


Then we went to an Icelandic horse farm to see the rare Icelandic Horse.

The icelandic Horse has more gaits than any other horse, 5 to the usual 4.

The 4 are walk, trot, canter, and gallop.

The fifth is Tölt and the sixth is the flying pace

We got to see the horses in action.

The Tölt is so smooth you can carry a glass of wine on horseback and not spill any as you move at a decent clip.

She rode up and down the line at a fast clip without spilling a single drop.

Pretty neat to see. The horses after the demonstration then got to mingle and get petted by the horse enthusiasts in the crowd. 

The owner of the horse farm, the bearded gentleman above, talked about the horses.  Among many interesitng things, he stated that due to concerns about the spread of certain horse diseases into Iceland, once an Icelandic horse leaves Iceland to be in a show or is sold and transported to another owner off the island, it can never return back to Iceland.

After that we went to the Goðafoss waterfall.

Named for an event where a Viking that converted to Christianity allegedly threw the idols of the Norse gods into the falls. The waterfall is quite spectacular.

Next, we went to  Laufas, an historic manor farm with a manor house dating to 1866 built for the priest, alongside the church built in 1865, replacing earlier churches that had been on that spot since 1047.  The manor house has buildings that were interconnected with turf roofs.

The interior is arranged as it was historically in the 1860s.


Pretty cramped quarters but very functional/

The turf roof design was rather interesting.

Iceland was rather poor, and glass for windows was costly to import. Originally, windows were not made of glass but instead from the amnions, perioneum, and even skate skin scrapped thin to form a screen window.


These windows were rather fragile, and vulnerable to both harsh winds and cats.

We then got to depart the tour before it got to the ship for some free time in Akureyri.  Some people stayed on the bus but many got off to wander around.

We wandered around I went to a bookshop that had books in both both English and Icelandic.

It seems the ILOH is popular even in the far north of Akureyri, Iceland/

 You could also get a set of Harry Potter translated into Icelandic.

I bought a work Icelandic Historical fiction, in English,  Swords of Good Men, by Snorri Kristjansson.  It's quite good, and once I finish I'll need to pickup the next two in the trilogy on Amazon.

Tash found an Icelandic craft shop and got some good Icelandic wool for weaving and other crafty stuff.

We then headed back to the ship. took a nap after a long day on foot, and then headed to dinner.

For dinner we decided to try the Hibachi Specialty restaurant.

It has a significant difference from your standard Hibachi - they don't use fire as part of the entertainment while cooking the food.  Open flames on a cruise ship are heavily frowned upon.

Even without the fire, the hilarity of our chef was above and beyond that of a standard Hibachi restaurant.  The guy was hilarious and the performance was top rate.


and the food was not just amazing but there was way more than a typical Hibachi restaurant, indeed it had special "I Love You" Rice: 

Simple fantastic. The entertainment itself was worth the price of the meal, and the meal was more than worth the price.

It was a very long but amazing and fun-filled day.

Thursday, August 17, 2023

Democrat Math - Spend Over $100 Million to save $50 Million

Our Democrat County Executive is touting his cunning plan to save $50 million in rehab expenses of existing county government buildings by buying some buildings in Pontiac, rehabbing them, doing some demolition, and moving County government officials there.

 The Detroit Free Press: Oakland County has ignored downtown Pontiac for too long. We're reinvesting in it.

Of course, it's going to end up costing a lot more than the claimed $100 Million. Count on it.

The more you dig into it, the more it appears to not just be an attempt to help out the City of Pontiac.  Sure, by moving government employees there and paying for locating them it will boost real estate prices and  increase occupancy in a blighted downtown.  It will also boost the Pontiac's coffers as the city has an income tax and those employees will have to pay it.  

But, it also looks like this is a way also to bail the city out its longstanding trouble with the Ottawa Towers/Phoenix Center area. Now the County will be responsible for tearing down the Phoenix Center rather than Pontiac, and all the cost of rehabbing buildings in the name of "reinvesting".

One interesting part of this deal is the Towers are being purchased by the County for $19.2 million from Tarik Dinha.

Mr. Dinha apparently purchased those towers back in March 2021 for $7.1 million from the city.

That's one heckuva nice return on his investment for him for holding them for a couple years, courtesy of not just County taxpayers, but State and Federal taxpayers through use of Covid funds as well. 

It is indeed a great bailout of the City Dems by the County Dems.

This deal also bails out the City from a $6 million dollar judgment - funny Coulter doesn't mention that.

Now instead of having all of County government in one complex, where the parking is very easy, you can find everything you need in one spot, it's going to be split with some of the operations moved to downtown Pontiac.

In short, this deal is a case of the County Democrats bailing out the City Democrats -- and using your money to do it and making it less convenient for the taxpayer to access county services conveniently, while claiming they are doing it for a more noble and glorious purpose.

Cruise Day 8 - At Sea And Circling

The eighth day was another relaxing day at sea.

The highlight was the announcement that we were crossing the Arctic Circle on the way to Iceland.  Kinda cool.

Other than that nothing remarkable to report on that day. Eating, strolling, playing some craps (and losing some of my winnings but having fun anyways). 

Certainly we were not bored by any means  lots to see and do, went to some comedy shows, hit the hot tub, and had a good time.

The next day we reached Iceland.

Wednesday, August 16, 2023

Cruise Day 7 - Alesund, Norway

We arrived in the port of Alesund nice and early.

We then got on a bus and took a ferry across the Fjord there.

We were able to get off the bus and wander around the ferry and take in the landscape.

Again, it's another stunning fjord.

We then got to take a gondola to the top of Mt. Stranda.

Mt. Stranda is popular for skiing in the winter at 2,592 feet tall.

If you have a fear of heights, being in a Gondola on the way up the mountain may not be for you.

Leaving the Gondola, we climbed a bit higher over the very rocky terrain, and were just under the clouds and able to have a beautiful view.

There was still a patch of snow on the mountain.

Maneuvering amongst the rocks took quite a bit of balance work, as the rocks often shifted, some were slippery, and there were bits of moss and muck abounding.  

I definitely got a workout walking the mountain.  After some time sightseeing, we then made our way back to the Gondola station to take it back down and continue with the tour.

Since we had worked up an appetite on our trek up and down Mt. Stranda, the next stop was a feast.

It was an amazing buffet of traditional Norwegian food. Cooked salmon, gravalax, and much more, including many interesting local beverages to try.

The food was amazing, the desserts heavenly, and everyone was very well fed before they left.

We then toured Alesund, including the heights above it where the Germans had emplaced some bunkers in World War 2 and learned a lot of the hisotry of the town.

Sadly we weren't allowed to explore those, but we went to a promontory to view the town from above.

The tour guide gave an excellent narration throughout the day, covering the history and culture of the area.  She also noted that strawberries in Norway will be sweeter than strawberries we are used to as the northern climate encourages them to make sugar quicker.

So, after the tour ended, we wandered into a grocery store to buy some and test the theory.

We then walked to a park we had seen on the way and tried the strawberries.

The survey was unanimous that these were some of the best strawberries we've ever had, so her claim had definite merit.

It was a great day in Alesund and the area around it.