Three Wise Guys: Nonalcoholic Beer, Mixing Recyclables, Grim Runway Models

(By Danny Hellman)
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By Joe Heim, Justin Rude and Dan Zak
Sunday, October 5, 2008

Dear Wise Guys:

My husband and I drink only nonalcoholic beer. We were debating over a cold one whether you could get inebriated from drinking nonalcoholic beers. More to the point: How many nonalcoholic beers would it take to catch a righteous buzz?

Your abstaining but fun-loving fans

Joe: You'd drown before you got drunk.

Justin: You ha`ve to be drunk to drink nonalcoholic beer.

Dan: I make sure I'm drunk when I write this column.

Hi, guys:

I was walking to work from my house on Capitol Hill this morning, and I noticed that the city recycling crew was picking up our recycling and putting it into a truck that was remarkably similar to a trash compactor. In fact, I could hear the items being compacted. I was wondering how the city could possibly recycle the items if they are all mixed together and crushed. I thought plastic, paper, glass and metal had to be separated to be recycled.

Confused Recycler

Justin: We can't even make up an answer to this one, so I tracked down Bruce Parker, president and CEO of the National Solid Wastes Management Association. He thinks it unlikely that the recycling truck was compacting the material. "They are probably just pushing it to the back of the truck to make room for the next load," he says.

And it doesn't matter that the recyclables are mixed together, he says, because the new recycling facilities have high-tech sorters. "They have a big conveyor belt that moves the stuff along while electrical currents and convection systems elevate the material," he says. "Optical sorters use infrared light to identify types of paper and cardboard, and big magnets sort the ferrous metals. So everything that's recyclable gets put in its right place."

Sounds pretty good. I could use one of those facilities to clean my garage.

Dan: I don't know; a government conspiracy sounds much more compelling. And it won't be long before those optical sorters start sorting humans.

Joe: Dan just shotgunned his 66th nonalcoholic beer.

Dan: Which means I'm only a quarter of the way toward drinking 264 nonalcoholic beers, which would technically equal the amount of alcohol in three bottles of Yuengling. Note that 264 bottled beers equal nearly 25 gallons of liquid, and my body is processing and expelling it too quickly for me to maintain and build upon the scant amounts of alcohol delivered to my bloodstream via nonalcoholic beer. To answer the previous question: I'm peeing my pants, but it's not because I'm hammered.

Dear Wise Guys:

Why do fashion models never smile? They walk down those runways looking grim and unhappy. Could it be hunger pains?


Joe: Anger is always in fashion. I also think that designers want the focus to be on their clothes, not the model. If the model smiles, it distracts from the clothes. I ran this theory by several fashion experts, and none of them got back to me, so I'm taking that as confirmation that I'm right.

Dan: You try smiling when you're tottering on towering heels on a slippery surface in front of hundreds of people. These models aren't grim; they are deep in concentration to avoid falling. Search "hazardous runways" on YouTube. They fall all the time!

Justin: Smiles might also be scarce because models are often forced to wear ridiculous clothing. To grin would be to acknowledge the charade for what it is. A scowl keeps everything serious and mysterious.

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

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