Three Wise Guys: Gold Medal's Worth, U.S. Flag on the Moon, Overshadowed Sibling
A Beacon of Light in Our Ever-Uncertain World*

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gentlemen (presumably):

How much gold is there in an Olympic gold medal?


Justin: How's this for a kick in the Speedo: The gold medal is actually silver covered with about six grams of gold plating. Beijing's medals were inlaid with whitish jade, which symbolizes honor and virtue in China.

Joe: I thought fake fireworks and lip-syncing symbolized honor and virtue in China.

Dan: Let it be noted that an Olympic gold medal's six grams of gold were worth about $165 at the Opening Ceremonies on Aug. 8. As of last week, they're worth about $160. Funny how the gold in Michael Phelps's eight-medal haul is materially worth $1,280, yet he's making tens of millions off its symbolism.

P.S.: If you're an Olympic champion who didn't get that lucrative endorsement deal, consider selling your medal now before the commodities index dips lower.

Dear Wise Guys:

Is our U.S. flag still on the moon? If so, what condition is it in?


Dan: Uh, we're not sure. Actually, six flags have been planted on the moon, but we haven't had a good look at them since the Apollo project was discontinued in the '70s. NASA assumes the flags stand, unless they were thrashed or crushed by errant meteorites, in which case those meteorites will be hunted down, apprehended and convicted of flag desecration.

Joe: Six flags, huh? I'll refrain from making a Dan Snyder joke. Turns out we'll know next year whether the flags are there. NASA is scheduled to launch its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, which will map the moon. If the flags are missing, I blame the Russians.

Justin: That would be quite a feat, since they've never walked on the moon.

Joe: No, but they have had robots on the moon. And Russian satellites have massive tentacles that can sweep out over unsettled territories and grab anything in sight.

Dear Wise Guys:

My office recently awarded me with a giant wooden plaque in appreciation of my hard work. I was thrilled and highly anticipated finally being the center of attention in my family. No more, I thought, would I be overshadowed by my older brother's Style Invitational successes, my sister's new house or my younger brother's SAT scores. Finally, at long last, it would be MY turn.

Until, not even 24 hours later, you "wise" guys started your motto marathon with the submission from Jeffrey, my younger brother. Any attention I could have received has been usurped once again, and, frankly, I am beyond depressed. Please tell me what I should do. Haven't you ever been in my position?

Sandy, the Middle-Child Syndrome Sufferer

Justin: Yes. Yes, I have. As an older brother, it's hard to not feel eclipsed when your sister's athletic accomplishments far surpass your own. Here is how I got over this: When I moved into my own place, I bought an entertainment unit with a trophy shelf. Then I drove to my parents' house and took all of my sister's awards from her closet and moved them to their new home above my television.

"My, you were quite the women's soccer player, weren't you?" my friends would crack. "Yes," I would respond, "I was." The moral: Steal your siblings' accomplishments and make them your own.

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* This week's motto was submitted by reader Emily Ale of Oakton. Have a question only the Three Wise Guys can answer? Send it to and await their words of wise-dom.

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