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By Joe Heim, Dustin Rude and Dan Zak
Sunday, November 25, 2007

Have a question only the Three Wise Guys can answer? Send it to wiseguys@washpost. comand await their words of wise-dom.

Dear Wise Guys:

Is it possible for one to be guillotined and, as the head tumbles into the basket, be cognizant of the separation? Could a particularly remorseless individual still be capable of sticking out his or her tongue at the observers? Physicians will not return my calls.

Fred

Dan: As a Buffalo Bills fan, I can report that cognizance endures grumpily after decapitation (and it's especially unpleasant when Tom Brady wields the blade). The Internet brims with compelling anecdotes about post-beheading antics from the French Revolution through the 20th century, but none of them is substantiated.

So we called the George Washington Neurological Institute and talked to a neurologist. As her colleagues chortled incredulously in the background, she assured us it was impossible to answer because life after decapitation has never been studied. But I was able to squeeze a theoretical guess from the giggling quorum: Not bloody likely.

Dear Wise Guys:

Love the new column. I'm a doctoral student, 24, smart, considerate, romantic, good-looking (so my mother and daily gawkers seem to tell me). However: Couldn't get a date with a mutually interested dude if I paid someone (which right now sounds mighty tempting). Any tips on how to be more approachable to guys?

For example, I've tried many times -- because I'm tired of not being approached but stared at from afar -- walking up to hot dudes at parties and starting small chitchat ("Hi. How's it going? I don't think we've met [smile]. My name is . . .") and notice he looks like he's stuttering and so nervous.

Frustrated in the South (but proudly an East Coast gal)

Joe: Dear Frustrated in the South (and, yes, we know you're speaking metaphorically): First of all, if you are gawked at daily -- assuming it's not just because you dress funny -- it's possible that you are just too hot for your own dating good. Any guy who is approached and chatted up by a beautiful woman is going to be either suspicious or possibly stunned. That should explain the nervousness and stuttering. Or perhaps you're hitting on them in clear view of their girlfriend/wife, and they're anticipating imminent fisticuffs.

In any event, you need a new approach. How about going up to guys who aren't that hot? It's a documented fact that most hot dudes are dumb as cakes. So sidle up to a slightly less handsome guy and you may be rewarded with witty repartee, intellectual curiosity, kindness and, who knows, maybe even a date.

Justin: Maybe you should just stop hitting on undergrads.

Dear Wise Guys:

I was wondering if you would happen to know where and how I can recycle CD and DVD cases? I am trying to be environmentally conscious and hate to throw away a box of these. I've called my county recycling services and did numerous searches on the Internet but can't seem to find any information.

Marina

Justin: This is an issue close to my heart, as anyone who has been menaced by the teetering seven-foot stack of empty jewel cases in my closet can attest. The reason you are having trouble getting rid of your techno-trash in an enviro-friendly way is a matter of supply and demand.

As David Beschen of GreenDisk, an Issaquah, Wash., company that has been recycling information-age detritus for 15 years, explains: "With almost any recycling it is a question of volume: If I can get enough of anything, I can recycle it. To recycle a CD or its case, you need truck-load or container-load quantities, about 40 to 44,000 pounds."

That volume makes it unreasonable for the county to process cases at the residential level. However, you can send your empty cases to GreenDisk on your own, and the company will handle them for you. Its clients include the Environmental Protection Agency. Not a bad endorsement. Visit http://www.greendisk.com for specifics.


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