Today's rant: Hawaii

It was worth the listing fee to be the first person in history to use an Ebay ad as a blog. Somewhere on this page is a beautiful home and potential B&B for sale as well. In the safest place on earth.

After observing human nature for sixty years I see that most folks are basically nice….but some of them….well, ‘clueless’ is too impolite a word, and calling people dumb as a bag of hammers wasn’t attracting many buyers either, so maybe I’ll just say that a lot of people don’t have a well-developed sense of situational awareness. Or, as I sometimes mumble…”Here’s your sign”.

I used to try and explain risk management. I am alluding to California here, but every state is the same. It is a simple fact of life that basic homeowner’s insurance does not cover earthquakes, landslides or flood. If one of those is involved, you are not insured. Period. But you can’t tell anyone that; people simply won’t believe their insurance doesn’t cover everything. The San Andreas fault runs right down the length of the state and NO ONE in California has earthquake insurance. Smart? Nope. But insurance DOES cover….volcanoes.

Insurance is a brilliant concept. It is sold as ‘protection’ but it isn’t. It doesn’t ‘protect’ you. A .45 automatic protects you. An insurance company is like a casino. You place a wager that your house is going to burn down or you are going to die and they cover the bet because you are betting against YOURSELF. Friend, whenever you bet against yourself, it’s a sucker bet. You can’t win unless you lose everything you own or die. The insurance company might replace the walls but the new, empty house is going to smell like wet ashes for years…..or a barbeque pit if no one got home before little Fluffy went up like a Roman candle! Poor thing, scrabbling at the wall until…

Insurance can’t restore a lifetime of memories and personal effects or the kids pictures…all the family keepsakes and heirlooms. The very things that make your life ‘yours’… the treasures you have saved; your grandmother’s wedding ring, the first pair of shoes, pictures, diplomas….everything. Gone forever. Your personal things, your favorite things, the one-of-a-kind things. You can get on with your life but you can never get back what you lost. And you have usually lost everything. The insurance company can’t take you back in time to re-live those special moments or the thousands of memories of the vacations and the graduations and the weddings. Or the real valuables which are under your bed. It’s not the house you want to save. It’s the contents. People move all the time. What you can’t replace, and what you can’t insure because they are priceless, are the things you take with you which make it your home.

“It’s all right, Dear! We’re protected.” Think about it. YOU aren’t. Someone ELSE is, you are just paying for it. If it happens to be LIFE insurance, you are protecting your wife’s NEXT husband and if it’s me, I want to thank you now, before it’s too late. I do appreciate it!

SoCal burns down every five years or so and destroys thousands of homes and everything in them. Lava comes through Hawaii every thousand years and destroys five homes. But not the contents, because you have time to pack up and move. And there is another astounding fact about Hawaii: Rainforests don’t burn. Hawaii is probably the safest place in the world. We have the cleanest air, the cleanest water, we aren’t a potential terrorist target, and no one wants to invade us.

If something DOES happen to your uninsured house, you will have the great pleasure of dealing with FEMA, which used to be known as “The Disaster Agency”. It’s still the Disaster Agency. Changing the name didn’t make it any less a disaster. FEMA is now part of Homeland Security, the biggest…….er… the second biggest joke of the century. FEMA will never be able to rebuild New Orleans, which is in worse danger NOW than it was before Katrina hit. The BEST you can hope for from them is a complete IRS audit because five minutes after FEMA gets your name, the IRS knows you have lost all your receipts. They don’t do that? OH, YES THEY DO!

This is the same Homeland Security that makes you take off your shoes in the airport to see if they are stuffed with explosives and blasting caps. The things Richard Reid (the ‘shoe bomber’) was wearing looked like overstuffed chunks of pizza dough with fuses hanging out. I seem to remember hearing about duct tape holding the layers together. He was also ratty, unshaven and acting psychotic. No wonder he got through security. They probably thought he was Keith Richards.

“Your shoes!” the screener sneers. I presume the female in the white and blue tent means to ask politely if I will take of my shoes so they can x-ray them, but she doesn’t. They have an attitude, and you can’t argue with them because they can declare ANYTHING you have as contraband and confiscate it. ….but sometimes they forget, and say “Do you want fries with that?” They are the least employable people available, working in a job for which they have no interest or expertise, and they hate the work. That’s not security. They don’t know what to do so they confiscate your water bottle. The idiots are always confiscating Audi keys. The teeth on your house key could amputate a leg, but Audi keys retract when they are in your pocket, so they must be switchblades. Google for it if you don’t believe me.

In all honesty though, they did find another guy trying to get on a plane in 2005 with elevator tennis shoes held together with duct tape. The shoes tested positive for explosives. They confiscated the shoes and let the man get on the plane after he told the TSA geniuses……in very broken English… he had no idea how explosives got in his shoes. True story. I realize ethnic profiling is a terrible thing, but guess where this guy was from. No, not New York. I guess if I were a terrorist I’d fill my boots with nasty spores and spread them to everyone in the airport when they MADE me take them off. Nothing like exploiting the enemy’s weak spot, eh? “Hey, what’s that”? Foot powder. Who’d know the difference, the highly trained TSA screeners? They used to confiscate tiny nail clippers in case someone rushed the cockpit and tried to check the pilots for hangnails. But they let you take your pens and pencils onboard. They automatically assume everyone is a terrorist until we complete what must be very similar to checking into a supermax prison. And they still get it wrong nine out of ten times. http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,2218275,00.asp

if someone did manage to get an ounce of C4 on an airplane and set it off, all he’d probably do is blow his toes off unless the other passengers happened to notice some idiot trying to light himself on fire and beat the crap out of him like they did Richard Reid.

Then “security” wants us to walk barefoot through the same place a million people have already walked barefoot. Everything anyone has ever stepped in is on that floor. There are filthy scabs, body parts, AIDS, EBOLA, H5E1, FLESH-EATING VIRUS, DRUG-RESISTANT STAPH, every type of STD and tuberculosis, worms, parasites, little bugs hopping on and off everyone in line…. and I am going to walk through that sewer and then use my hands to put my shoes back on over whatever I just stepped in so I can take it home and and share it with my family? Not a chance, pal. I either wear disposable surgical scrubs or paint my feet with latex and let them peel it off in the strip-search room while they are running the latex through the explosives sniffer (no, I am not kidding). While people are trying to get their shoes off, their kids are crawling on the floor putting lumps of greasy hairballs in their mouth. GAAAAAAAAA!

That one stupid shoe inspection idea is the best vector for spreading a pandemic or helping a terrorist attack imaginable and we are doing it to ourselves. It’s just a show so you think the government is doing something. Their newest idea is a lot better though, because I do feel safer knowing there is probably a senator or congressman in the bathroom watching out for me. He taps you with his shoe when it’s safe to get on the plane. You know, I really don’t care what people do on their own time. It’s none of my business or anyone else’s. But I care when the people at the pinnacles of government who are representing ME and MY country to the world are all liars, cheats and horse thieves. If it were up to me I’d string a few of them up. More than a few. They have forgotten who is working for whom. I am a citizen of this country, not the subject of a monarch. I vote for people who promise to do what I want them to do, and then they don’t. I’m a patient person, but I’m about tired of it.

Hurricanes: Almost the entire eastern seaboard of the U.S. is at or below sea level. There is nothing to stop a hurricane from coming ashore anywhere, anytime and doing huge amounts of damage. Hurricanes are made of wind. The Big Island is made of rock. Over 4,000 square miles in area and almost 14,000 feet high in two places. It’s the biggest rock in the world. Bigger than Mount Everest. Wind doesn’t bother us. Hurricanes simply disintegrate if they get too close. This island has never been hit by a hurricane. 500 foot tidal wave? The west coast will be gone, I won’t have to walk as far to get fish and my house will be worth about 5 million dollars. Bring it on!

Volcanoes: MILLIONS of people a year come to see our volcanoes since Mark Twain wrote about them in the 1800s. They are not explosive volcanoes, they are mild and beautiful. And the lava flows about one mile an hour when it flows. Kilauea has been erupting since 1983. It’s one of our main tourist attractions. It’s not dangerous. Most of the world’s premiere astronomical observatories are on top of Mauna Kea. There has been a volcano observatory on top of Mauna Loa since the 1800s watching Mauna Loa and Kilauea. It’s still there. Same place. No one in modern history has ever died from a volcano here, although once a tourist went and stood exactly where he was told not to stand and fell through a skylight into a lava tube. Made a “pssssst’ noise and a little puff of steam, that’s about it. Happened so fast he didn’t have time to say “OH, SH……”.

This home is at the edge of a narrow area of land called Lava Zone 1. It is insured but, because it is just inside Lava Zone 1, there is a volcano damage insurance cap on the dwelling of $100,000. Lava did come through this area, before Columbus discovered America but , if it happened again, you would have a week or two to make arrangements to move your possessions and even the house. And that, my friends, is unique in the world. It will never get too cold here, or too hot, and you can’t starve. It’s impossible. Food falls off the trees all year long and grilled rat isn’t so bad once you get used to munching on the tiny little feet. But some people prefer beef or fish and we have the largest privately owned cattle ranch in America on this island. Parker Ranch. There is fresh local fish every day and lobster in season.

I want to live a few years in the Pacific Northwest. To sit by a stream and try to hook a trout with a fly rig…..or just pretend to fish, drink a few cold beers and listen to the birds. I don’t want to hear any people, sirens or car horns. I don’t hear any here and I don’t miss it. If you have cash or a free-and-clear all-season home on some wooded acreage with a trout stream or two up in the wilds somewhere, even off the grid, give me a call. Maybe we can work something out.

Hawaii is a very liberal state. You can go to a doctor and get a prescription for marijuana and you can grow enough for yourself and two friends…supposedly they also have prescriptions. There isn’t much crime here. A lot of people still don’t lock their doors.

People here are building as fast as they can because the next wave of forty-niners from California is coming again, just like they did after the 2003 fire. Are they building new houses in Lava Zone 1? Of course. You can look it up on the county website. Forest fires, floods and the San Andreas fault are problems we don’t have. This house is still here, still safe, still peaceful. But it’s not as quiet at night anymore. The frogs are singing their song. A lot of people can’t hear them, but they are getting too loud for me. Then again, a new warning just went on Viagra bottles that taking it can make you go deaf, so almost every male in America could adapt, no problem. πŸ™‚

I’ll admit the insurance is high. About two bucks a day. But the property tax is ……….wait for it……….. less than $100 a year. And hey!

You can keep the sign. πŸ™‚

Oh….what about the house? First of all, I’m not going to try to ‘sell’ it. When the right person comes along they’ll want it and that will be that. I might throw in a free set of Ginsu steak knives, though. Even so, I suppose I ought to put in a few particulars. The video crew finished today and are doing the editing at their studio. When it is finished I’ll put it on the Internet somewhere and link it.

This property abuts a private land trust. The adjacent lot is for sale. We have no heating or cooling bills but we have cable and high speed Internet. Dish TV is available and the Post Office delivers mail.

The property includes lemon, tangerine, fig, avocado, papaya, passion fruit, coconut, breadfruit (ulu) and guava. There is a lava rock wall and locking gate. Mail delivery, paved streets. There is a 16,000 gallon concrete catchment system and it’s overflowing. We get a lot of rain here.

Inclusive in the sale of the property: A 4 month old $1800.00 riding mower with extended warranty, second riding mower with trailer hitch and street legal trailer, 15 gallon sprayer operated on and from new riding mower, 7.5 hp chipper/shredder, three year old top of the line oven, two similar refrigerators, washer, dryer, a new “whole house” Bosch Aqua Star water heater, 2 weed-eaters, 2 back pack Solo sprayers and miscellaneous gardening tools. The two car garage has a concrete floored attached storage shed 10’x16′ filled with miscellaneous lumber and the attached screened 12 x 20 concrete floored addition is accessible through an interior 40″ wide door; perfect for wood working. House also has a triple osmosis filtration system and additional under house filters. There are three independent garden sheds on the property. Two sheds are 8’x11′ and one is 6′ x 8′ allowing for waterproof storage of all lawn and garden equipment and additional storage. There is a highly prized Sandalwood tree on the property line also old growth. This home and property are free and clear, not on lease land. Complete title will transfer. Want more pictures? Yours for the asking!

The mapquest map is accurate; you can see that the property backs to a private trust. Sperling’s Best places has demographics here: http://www.bestplaces.net/city/Leilani_Estates_HI-51544562000.aspx although they are not representative of the average home price in this particular neighborhood which is in the high 300s to mid 400s. This is the third most popular area on the Big Island, the other two being Hilo and Kailua-Kona, our two largest cities. But the prices and weather are better here. http://www.trulia.com/home_prices/Hawaii/Hawaii_County-heat_map/

You can find out almost anything you want to know from the official local source: The county government. http://co.hawaii.hi.us/

We are in the Puna district of Hawaii County, the fastest growing area in the state because real estate is still undervalued. We have property booms every few years and they will continue as long as the earth exists. Thanks for visiting!