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8:30 AM Friday, March 11, 2005: I visited two big real estate developments in the Coachella Valley yesterday. What was most fascinating to me was the laser-like precision of their marketing. One was a very upscale RV park, targeting RVs at 35 feet and longer. You get a parking space for your million dollar plus "bus" -- what they call very large RVs -- and a thousand square foot house with living room, kitchen, office, bathroom and garage. All for around $300,000. The second development targeted 55 year old+ people who want handsome houses (up to $850,000), a 30,000 square foot clubhouse with every pleasure known to mankind and closeness to a hospital. (The hospital is key.)

That evening we enjoyed dinner in the private dining room of a clubhouse of another, even more gorgeous development, perhaps the Valley's premier spot with residents reading like America's Whos Who. This time you buy the land and build your own house. Some of the housing sites cost $3 million, and the houses several million more. The golf courses, the views and the fees are spectacular.

The sales people tell me properties in this Valley are selling at a speed that's mindboggling, many off the paper plans, pre-construction. Prices continue to skyrocket. It's a bubble, clearly. But here it's continuing. I guess the motto is "give the world a gorgeous product in a warm clime and the buyers will come -- in droves and in $1.4 million buses. (I was in one yesterday. My jaw is still on the ground.)

Here's the valley. One of the towns not shown is called Indian Wells. It's next to La Quinta, It's where they're presently playing the Pacific Life Open Tennis Tournament.

This is center court at Indian Wells. Andy Roddick and Maria Sharapova have been practicing on courts next to me. I'm in heaven. It's called aged geriatric (that's me) star-fucking. Crass, but appropriate.

It touched 93 degrees yesterday, dropping down to 60 at night. There isn't a cloud in the sky. There hasn't been one since we arrived last Saturday. I hear it's horrible back east.

Another dumb blonde joke
A redhead goes into the doctor's office and says her body hurts wherever she touches it. "That's strange," says the doctor. "Show me."
She takes her finger and pushes her elbow and screams in agony. She pushes her knee and screams; then she pushes her ankle and screams. Everywhere she touches makes her scream.
The doctor then asks, "You're not really a redhead, are you?"
"No," she says, "I'm actually a blonde."
"I thought so," the doctor says. "Your finger is broken."

Harry Newton

This column is about my personal search for the perfect investment. I don't give investment advice. For that you have to be registered with regulatory authorities, which I am not. I am a reporter and an investor. I make my daily column -- Monday through Friday -- freely available for three reasons: Writing is good for sorting things out in my brain. Second, the column is research for a book I'm writing called "In Search of the Perfect Investment." Third, I encourage my readers to send me their ideas, concerns and experiences. That way we can all learn together. My email address is . You can't click on my email address. You have to re-type it . This protects me from software scanning the Internet for email addresses to spam. I have no role in choosing the Google ads. Thus I cannot endorse any, though some look mighty interesting. If you click on a link, Google may send me money. That money will help pay Claire's law school tuition. Read more about Google AdSense, click here and here.
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