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Three Wise Guys: Hate Mail, Rating Two "King Kong" Movies, Electrocuted Fish

Sunday, August 10, 2008

To the boss of Three Wise Guys:

Whoever thought up, began and continues this column ought to be fired. It's stupid, not funny and is a total waste of paper and ink. Joe, Justin and Dan, go get a real job. Flip hamburgers if you have to, but please go away.

Al

Deb the boss: I'm on maternity leave, Al. I was enjoying life. Until you sent these guys a negative comment. Obviously you are not aware of their emotional fragility. I had this baby to get away from them for three months. Now they're calling me three times a day asking if they're good enough, smart enough, if people like them. And I have to lie continually to make them feel better. Also, I think you're old enough now to know that "stupid" is a bad word, and I don't want to hear you use it again. Go to your room and play with your toys. I don't want to have to give you a timeout.

Dear Wise Guys:

Recently, there was a listing in The Post's TV Week for two versions of "King Kong." The 1933 version was rated four stars, and the 2005 version was rated three stars. What are the criteria for awarding the stars that have a 75-year-old black-and-white movie receiving more?

A Pair of Kings

Justin: Listen, Mr. Brody and Mr. Black, I don't care how many times you write, we aren't giving your movie four stars. Nice pseudonym, though. Besides, the people you really have to harass are the folks at Tribune Media Services who provide TV Week with its movie lists and ratings.

And while I agree that there are a few head-scratchers among those ratings, this case is not one of them. The original is a classic that helped define a genre. On the other hand, only three years after its theatrical release, the film the two of you made with Peter Jackson is remembered mostly for its length.

Dear Wise Guys:

So I was down at our beach place in Southern Maryland watching an intense electrical storm. There was an absolutely huge amount of lightning over the river. The next day, sailing the Potomac, I noticed numerous dead fish, and this question struck me: Do fish get electrocuted and killed by lightning?

Andy

Dan: Yes, they do. Fish get zapped if they're in small, shallow bodies of water or if they're extremely close to the lightning strike at the surface. When Gary Martel ran a trout hatchery a while back, lightning killed several thousand trout with one bolt. They were in a small, knee-deep body of water next to metal aerators, surrounded by a metal framework. It was a perfect environment for a fish fry, says Martel, chief of fisheries at the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. But if lightning hits the open sea, the electricity dissipates over the surface, and deaths are unlikely.

Joe: Can an electric eel be electrocuted by lightning?

Dan: You just blew my mind.

Joe: Can it?

Dan: Martel doesn't know but guesses yes. I don't know, either, but I'm going to guess no, simply because I want to believe that the eels have been storing electricity from lightning strikes and are planning to help humanity cleanly power its industry when we run out of fossil fuels. That news conference will happen any day now.

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

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Kittens: We're in the market for a motto, as you might have heard. More than 100 suggestions poured in over the past week ("Three Men, One Brain," "Stud Service for Inquiring Minds" and the adorably direct "Less Than Four, More Than Two"). But we want more. How should we brand our column? What should be our mantra, our credo, our tag line? E-mail ideas to wiseguys@washpost.com with "motto" in the subject line. Whoever submits our favorite gets to join us as a guest Wise Guy or Gal in an upcoming column.

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