Honolulu Lite

by Charles Memminger

Monday, November 22, 1999

Is that your
final answer?

MY sources tell me that in order to capitalize on the wildly popular game show "Who Wants to Be Millionaire?," a local television station is planning a Hawaii version.

But in order to be true to the state's present economic hard times, the Hawaii show will be called "Who Wants to Be Bankrupt?"

The format will mimic "Millionaire," except instead of strobe lights arching over the stage at intense moments, there will be volcanoes erupting and the sound of small businesses crashing.

I got my hands on a tape of the first segment. Here are some questions from "Who Wants to Be Bankrupt?"

Bullet $100 Question: To obtain a a non-bid government contract in Hawaii, a business person has to: A) Make a large campaign donation to a major political candidate; B) Make a large campaign donation to a major political candidate; C) Make a large campaign donation to a major political candidate; or D) Make a large donation to a political candidate.

Bullet $200 Question: Name one thing that is NOT taxed in Hawaii: A) Air; B) Dust mites; C) Ice cubes; or D) Placido Domingo.

Bullet $300 Question: Bishop Estate bases its monthly lease rates on: A) the amount of money Bill Gates spends on a year's supply of Clearasil; B) 100 percent of the income of the business leasing the property; C) Pi times the square root of the national security budget; or D) Dickie Wong's alimony payments.

Bullet $400 Question: A small business person in Hawaii is someone who: A) Used to be a large business person; B) Enjoys sticking needles in his/her eyeballs; C) Is like a homeless person, except with a cellular phone; or D) Is about to become a resident of Las Vegas.

Bullet $500 Question: The average home mortgage in Hawaii is: A) Big enough to choke a camel; B) The leading cause of most police/hostage standoffs; C) Larger than Ghana's gross national product; or D) a real booger.

Bullet $1,000 Question: The purpose of the Honolulu City Council is to: A) Find new and exciting ways to take your money; B) Enforce harsh zoning regulations on everyone except council members who want to run commercial wedding chapels; C) Squabble over Andy Mirikitani's definition of "live sex act"; or D) Dunno.

Bullet $2,000 Question: If you quit after getting this question right you would be: A) Missing out on the joy of missing a harder question; B) Criticized for making money at the expense of the poor; C) Forced to pay the city's new "So You Won $2,000!" tax; or D) smarter than the average bear.

Bullet $10,000 Question: If you see a guy riding around town in a white, stretch limousine he's: A) Probably not from around here; B) The president of the United States going to play golf with Gov. Ben Cayetano; C) On his way to the courthouse to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection; or D) Some nerd going to his high school prom by himself.

Bullet $64,000 Question: Gasoline costs more in Hawaii than anywhere else in the country because: A) Gas molecules are heavier near the equator and so it costs more to transport them; B) Chevron hopes that by keeping gas prices high, Hawaii residents will drive less and the world will be a greener place; C) Gas stations have to charge more to keep those little flower beds weeded; or D) Costco can't get a gas distribution permit.

Bullet $1 Million Question: The chance of you winning this is: A) Nil; B) A hoot; C) Ludicrous; or D) A laugh riot.

Charles Memminger, winner of
National Society of Newspaper Columnists
awards in 1994 and 1992, writes "Honolulu Lite"
Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
Write to him at the Honolulu Star-Bulletin,
P.O. Box 3080, Honolulu, 96802
or send E-mail to or

The Honolulu Lite online archive is at:

E-mail to Features Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 1999 Honolulu Star-Bulletin