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By Joe Heim, Justin Rude and Dan Zak
Sunday, December 16, 2007

In this era of Google swill, why not get answers from a trusted source? Send your question towiseguys@washpost.com and await their words of wise-dom.

Dear Wise Guys:

If you could get one thing from your girlfriend on Christmas, without being too luxurious (I am on an hourly pay), what would it be?

-- Felicia

Joe: I'll be happy with anything my girlfriend gets me as long as she first checks with my wife so they don't buy me the same thing. Oh, relax. I'm kidding. I wouldn't care if they bought me the same thing.

Justin: Here is the secret to buying gifts for guys: Make sure it has a simple interface and a powerful engine. It doesn't matter if you are buying a chain saw, car, blender, beard trimmer, weed whip or milk frother: You want to get as few buttons as possible on the biggest motor you can. A few Christmases ago, I got a blender from my girlfriend. It had a huge pitcher, one button and two settings: on and off. It sounds like a robot bear and can blend a Matchbox car collection as easily as it makes a margarita. As for the girlfriend -- I married her.

Dan: Awww. (Barf.)

Dear Wise Guys:

When I was a kid, my parents told me to use cold water when I ran the garbage disposal. Now that I have my own house, I am wondering if cold water is really necessary. What would happen if I used hot water?

-- Lisa

Dan: You've opened up Pandora's box, Lisa. The majority of Internet sources recommend cold water. It cools the motor, they say, and hardens grease, which allows it to be shredded and swallowed. But for professional advice, we called the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing (take a breath) and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada here in Washington.

"Well, I can tell you that," says the receptionist when we pose your question. "Hot." She transfers us to the director of organization, Kirk Smith, who agrees. "Cold water makes the grease gel into the pipes, so it'll plug the pipes faster," he says. "If it's hot, it'll at least get it out of the house."

Internet: Cold. UAJAPPFIUSC: Hot. We needed a tiebreaker, so we called InSinkErator, the Wisconsin company started by the man who created the first garbage disposal.

"Well, I can tell you that," says the receptionist when we pose your question. "Cold. Keeps the motor cool." We had her switch us to customer service, just 'cause.

"Cold," says Connie the service rep.

Why?

She laughs good-naturedly and affects a tone of sweet, weary resignation when she says, "I dunno." Based on this quick telephonic exchange over 780 miles, we like Connie. We trust in her why-less absolutism. You, Lisa, should probably just trust your parents.


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