The ATC Report

In Control – Vol. VIII, No. 7 (and 8)

Before we get to the questions and answers, a bit about the last episode of TAR:FE. First, we hope you weren’t fooled by the big promos advertising a “2-Hour Special Edition” of the race. We all know it was just two 1-hour episodes cobbled together to make a 2-hour show. After last episode, we devoted a whole column to trying to understand why all the other families seemed to hate the Weavers. After this episode, we believe the question has been answered.
Some of you may be sweating the fact that you never sent in a question. You think Steve & Dave might make up a question and put your name on it, and you would end up looking silly.
OK, enough about TAR:FE, it is time for the questions. Some of you may be sweating the fact that you never sent in a question. You think Steve & Dave might make up a question and put your name on it, and you would end up looking silly. It turns out you are right to be worried.

‘joe m’ inquires:
What is the Airspeed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow?

Here’s where most writers would jump on the obvious answer and say, “an African or European Swallow?” You would say, “I don’t know that”, and we would launch you into the gorge. Of course, we aren’t most writers. We say, WHAT KIND OF STUPID QUESTION IS THAT? Maybe this idea for a column wasn’t so bright after all. Jeez, if the questions don’t get any better…

Thank goodness ‘theamazingracer’ asks:
If you didn't run Season Four, which other season would you want to run?

Dave: For me it would be Season One. The original is always the best, and I know we could have beaten those two lawyers. What were their names again? Dick Brennan and Frisbee Boy…or something like that.

Steve: Season 1 for me also. But only because I want to hang around Emily…or Nancy.

‘Pbuttercup’ asks two questions, and adds a statement:
Do you think that they don't allow Canadians in the Race because they would have an unfair advantage?

Definitely. Most Canadians that we know have trouble remembering their own telephone number, and certainly would never be able to follow a complicated set of directions as might be found in a Route Info packet. Thus, they would obviously be handicapped and all the “normal” (American) teams would have an advantage.

What? Ohhhhhh…you meant the Canadians would have the advantage. Right. You must be Canadian, then. We’ll write slower.

[Steve & Dave’s note: The above was meant for humorous purposes only. We like our neighbors to the north. They have great fishing and cheap prescription drugs so we have no idea why they aren’t allowed to even apply for the Race. We’re semi-glad of that fact though, since it’s highly unlikely that we would have been selected for TAR4 if we had to compete against Canadians.]

If the two of you were to do a cameo like Kevin and Drew, in what capacity would it be?

Dave: Personally, I’m leaning towards male strippers in a foam bar.

Steve: We would pose as bearded wise men halfway up a mountain in Nepal. The teams would have to take a yak to reach us. Oxygen starved, we would let their next clue flutter 4500 feet to the ground.

I really enjoy your columns - keep up the good work!

Dave: You would think we might tire of hearing things like that, but you would be wrong. Thanks a lot!

Steve: Steve and Dave are hungry for attention. Don’t forget, we work for the government, where only high-level management is rewarded for their incompetence. So please keep the begging-induced compliments coming. Remember, the more adjectives, the better.
Itís Rayís fault. Oh sure, he writes a good article about Ďhisí Amazing Race, but thatís just a smoke screen to deflect the impending blame.

‘Tribefan’ poses the following questions:
How on earth did they come up with the idea for TAR:FE? Were illegal narcotics involved?

We’re obviously not at liberty to reveal the whole story due to ongoing litigation, but the documents that we are in possession of are quite clear about the originator of the actual idea, the pitching of same, pretty much everything – including the casting. It’s Ray’s fault. Oh sure, he writes a good article about ‘his’ Amazing Race, but that’s just a smoke screen to deflect the impending blame.

Who chooses Phil’s wardrobe and dresses him?

That would be multiple Oscar award-winner, Edith Head. After faking her death in 1981 she teamed up with noted fake-dead comedian Andy Kaufman to create one of Hollywood’s most sought after costumers. Phil and Bjork are just two of their notable accomplishments.

Why do you suppose there has been no attempt in subsequent Races to re-create the magic that was Steve & Dave?

Mainly because we foolishly decided to sell our rights to that phrase shortly after the conclusion of TAR4. You all know the story of how we had actually obtained Registered Trademark status on “The Magic That Is Steve & Dave®”. What you don’t know is the story of why that phrase is now the name of a ride at Six Flags Over Mid-America, and why Steve & Dave are doing a lecture tour entitled “Agents – Scum Who Will Sell Your Names And Not Give You A Dime”.

We got the last laugh though. It turns out that the ride doesn’t move very fast, kind of wanders around a bit, is in really bad shape, and only makes it five-twelfths of the distance it is scheduled to cover.

Stever and Daver

Steve & Dave are the first to try out Six Flags’ “The Magic That Is Steve & Dave”

What is your strategy for the All-Star Race?

Steve has already purchased a set of ‘My First Tire Irons’, and is busily reading “Tire Slashing For Dummies”. Dave has finally decided to get his knee replaced as well. Oddly enough, he decided to replace it with an elbow – so watch to see how that works out. Also, the fact that we continue to mail crisp Benjamins to the good-looking, trim, and intelligent casting agents.

I need a new job. Any suggestions?

We hear bubbaboy8 is looking for some help with graphic design. Perhaps you can hire on with him.

‘bubbaboy8’ inquires about the following:
Which of you guys learned to use Photoshop so well? Can I hire you for publication work?

Dave: Pretty much everything in our column is a joint effort. (Which means that we’re generally stoned to the bejesus when we write.) You know the old saying, ‘if you have to ask the price, you probably can’t afford it’. We may be easy, but we sure are cheap.

Steve: My partner is being humble. It is all Dave “My wife went to bed at 6:30, what am I going to do now” Cottingham that is so brilliant with the computer. I am still mastering “cut and paste”.

‘rabrab’ wants to know:
1: Which one should a Racer pack more of, energy bars or socks?

None of the above, little Miss Trick Question. Precious metals are a Racer’s best friend. On the oft chance you are in a country undergoing a governmental coup, and the local money is deemed worthless, you could still buy Doritos with a single silver bar. And having 1 lb. bars instead of 16 single-ouncers means you pack much less.

2: Who are your picks for the three teams most completely, hopelessly in over their heads? Three teams most prepared for what they got themselves into?

Steve: My first pick is the Job family. Husband Les, wife Hannah and their daughters Boobie and Dowanna. Failing to bring the Amazing Race essential, an alarm clock, they miss the first clue and spend the entire five weeks in their own private Sequesterville at a crappy Santa Monica hotel with lousy lunch buffets. Also, there’s the 2nd season team of Robert Blake and Bonnie Lee Bakley who had some “unforeseen” major problems before the race even began.

Dave: Who could forget that team from our Race, Steve. You know the ones I’m talking about – they showed up at the start line with only a case of beer strapped to their backs. What was their name again? Thank heavens that the staff had alternates available (Steve and Debra).

Steve: Oh yeah, them. They were….uhhhh…ahh, forget it. I’ll remember later. Well-prepared teams would most certainly have to have included yours truly – as we had real cool stuff like bottled water, watches that you could change to accommodate different time zones, and driving gloves.

Dave: No one else had driving gloves. No one else is even in the same ‘prepared’ league as us.
We might be the wrong team to ask about that, since our demise was brought about because we decided to drive quite a bit further to avoid digging in poo.
3: (This one's actually kind of serious.) In your opinion, how far away should a Detour option be to make taking it probably a bad idea, just on the basis of travel time involved?

Dave: OK, a serious answer. We might be the wrong team to ask about that, since our demise was brought about because we decided to drive quite a bit further to avoid digging in poo. In reality, it’s a very tough call to make.

It probably depends on the two choices. Generally, the choice that is closest is the one that will take the most time/be the more physically demanding/be the most disgusting. If it is something you don’t want to do (ala, dig through cow flops) then the second choice makes more sense, unless it’s quite a bit further away and you are trailing the pack (see paragraph #1). In that case you need to buck up and do the closest one.

In our case, we really did discuss the merits of both. We decided that trying to find a clue in a 15-foot tall pile of manure (with fresh being added at the top) could be very time consuming. We assumed that the clues would be buried in the middle of the pile, not placed delicately on the outside with big neon signs saying, “CLUE HERE”. We (incorrectly) reasoned that hauling the cheese was probably the easier (and less time consuming) of the two choices. Beside which, there was just no way we would even consider digging through sh*t.

So if/when faced with the decision, you should compare the distances, assume that the closer one is probably the one that’s going to be harder/take more time, figure your current place amongst the Racers, decide if you need to make up ground or can afford to lose a little ground, and make your decision. You will have plenty of time to kick yourself after you choose poorly and get eliminated. But definitely keep the cheese.

Steve: 13 miles.

‘emjaytee’ sent us these two gems:
Boxers, briefs or commando?

Dave: Most women we know don’t look good in any of those.

Steve: Speak for yourself Mister; I’m sure my wife looks great in her Camouflage commando briefs, except I can’t find her. I can just hear giggling.

How do you and Dave split duties when writing your column?

Steve: Good question. Usually I write a few ideas down immediately after the week’s episode is over, and e-mail them off to Dave. Over the next couple of days, I finish writing the column, and send it off to Dave again. Then I wait. We try to have it completely finished by Friday evening or Saturday morning, so I usually send another e-mail to Dave on Friday telling him when I’m sending the column (with or without his input) to TARflies. Then about 15 minutes before the deadline, I read the e-mail he sends me with his additions. I eliminate all of them and send my original column in.

Dave: Good question. Usually I write a few ideas down immediately after the week’s episode is over, and e-mail them off to Steve. Over the next couple of days, I finish writing the column, and send it off to Steve again. Then I wait. We try to have it completely finished by Friday evening or Saturday morning, so I usually send another e-mail to Steve on Friday telling him when I’m sending the column (with or without his input) to TARflies. Then about 15 minutes before the deadline, I read the e-mail he sends me with his additions. I eliminate all of them and send my original column in.

‘miri’ sends us the following two inquiries:
By what season will Phil's pants overtake his nipples?

Steve: Never! The chafing that would occur from denim rubbing on the soft tissue that is Mr. Keoghan’s nipples would prohibit it. Phil has advised Edith that he has yet to conquer his fear of being carbuncled. (Note: Look it up, you know you want to. Besides, I got $10 from Dave who said I couldn’t use “carbuncled” in a sentence.)

Dave: Ha!! I may owe you $10, but I’ll be collecting $20 from miri, who was foolish enough to bet me that you would never respond to a question about pants and nipples by using the word ‘carbuncled’.

Did I ask the above question just so I could say "Phil" and "nipples" in the same sentence?

It is unsafe to skip a day of medication and then double up on the following day. Please adhere to written instructions.

‘TAR7 Ray’ asks…errr…states…err…asks:
Everything is NOT my fault. Except Deana, who is preggers. I’m pretty sure the boys and I did that. Anyway, I’m starting to get really pissed at you two blaming me for everything. Jonathan’s temper is NOTHING compared to the wrath that is Ray. What? Oh…. a question. OK. How do you guys like your TIVO?

Excellent question Ray. TIVO is the best invention known to man next to heated seats! Isn’t that right, Canadians who can’t be on the Amazing Race?

Oh my!

Computer-generated image of Ray & Deana’s (as yet) unborn child.