Honolulu Lite


Wednesday, May 2, 2001

Casino plan
wins support

The trouble with having a good idea is that someone else is always around to say they had it first and have the federal trademark and lawyers to prove it.

The truth is that mediocre minds think alike, so tons of people share the same ideas. It is only the great minds who get a little ahead of the curve and actually act on their ideas and make money off them. But even great minds sometimes think alike, which is why you suddenly have two identical movies in the theaters at the same time, like the two tornado movies and the two cartoon movies about bugs. It also wasn't too long ago that they came out with "Gladiator" with Russell Crowe and "The Patriot" with Mel Gibson, which were EXACTLY the same stories, just at different places and times in history. (And Crowe had the better uniform.)

I don't know how we got to talking about guys in skimpy fighting outfits when what we are really talking about here is gambling. Specifically, we're talking about my idea to open casino-hotels on the mainland called "Hawaii! Hawaii!," partially owned by the state.

The idea is to get the best out of gambling, which is to say, the money, while not having to deal with the worst, which is the wear and tear hoards of drunken, carousing gamblers wreak on the local infrastructure. We would build Hawaii-themed casino-hotels in Las Vegas and other places in order to take advantage of the basic psychological propensity of people to throw their hard-earned money away -- without having to see them sleeping in cardboard boxes afterward.

Local entertainers Keith and Carmen Haugen thought it was such a great idea that they wasted no time in e-mailing me to let me know that they thought of it first and a long time ago. Which is fine. I'm not bankrolling the idea, I'm just tossing it out there. The Haugens thought local airlines could offer cheap rates to Hawaii residents who wanted to go to Hawaii's casino to gamble. The clubs in the casino would also be a natural venue for Hawaii entertainers, especially since there's not enough work in Waikiki for all of them.

Another entertainer, singer Jimmy Borges, also loved the idea of "Hawaii! Hawaii!" Except he got a little carried away in his enthusiasm.

"In Hawaii! Hawaii!, everything would be double!," he bubbled. "You'd have the Kau Kau Kafe where they'd serve lomi lomi salmon, mahimahi and lau lau! In the Likelike Lounge, you'd have Ho and Ho (Don and Hoku) performing duets!" I said, "Jimmy, Jimmy ... you lolo!"

But that's the kind of reaction I've been getting. Retired reader Ray Sokugawa (retired from employment, not from reading the newspaper) got so excited he's ready to leave here and go work in a "Hawaii! Hawaii!" casino. See? He grasps the beauty of the plan. He'd still officially be retired in Hawaii, but he'd be LIVING in Las Vegas, where the cost of living is better. Plus he'd be making tips.

All you pro-gambling elected officials had better embrace "Hawaii! Hawaii!" while there's still room to claim credit! credit!

Alo-Ha! Friday compiles odd bits of news from Hawaii
and the world to get your weekend off to an entertaining start.
Charles Memminger also writes Honolulu Lite Mondays,
Wednesdays and Sundays. Send ideas to him at the
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 7-210,
Honolulu 96813, phone 235-6490 or e-mail

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