The ATC Report

"In Control" - Vol. XI, No. 1

(that's right, JUST DAVE. Steve's on vacation and I'm taking ALL the credit!!! Bwahahahahahahahahaha! Oh wait...there could be blame too...)

by Steve & Dave

A great number of people think that we really put forth a lot of effort each week to write this column. Under normal circumstances, we would gladly admit that they were correct and go on about our business. But as we watched the days go by after Sunday' s show and came to the grim realization that we really had nothing to write about this week, we decided that it was time to make a clean breast of it.
You see, each week our column is mostly nothing more than a pre-written, "fill-in-the-blanks" effort.
You see, each week our column is mostly nothing more than a pre-written, "fill-in-the-blanks" effort. While we're sure that probably doesn't make a whole lot of sense to you right now, we're prepared to explain.

Perhaps you remember the following gem from our column after Leg 4 last season:

"We speculate that Dave may have ruined our chances for an interview of this type by calling Bert repeatedly and asking questions along the lines of, "Do you have Prince Albert in a can?" and, "Is your refrigerator running?" In any event, Steve and Dave have agreed to abide by the terms of the Order of Protection and will remain at least 500 feet from Bert's residence, and will also cease all calls to Mr. Van Munster."

Here's how that paragraph looked before we decided to include it in an actual column - back when it was just another entry in the Steve and Dave column database:

"We ruined our telephone interview with [RACER'S NAME] by repeatedly asking questions along the lines of ‘do you have Prince Albert in a can?' and, ‘is your refrigerator running?'" (Possible restraining order?)"

Notice the similarities? Of course you do! It's the exact same paragraph - only we punched the first one up and included actual names. But we don't stop there. Once we've got a winner, we aren't ashamed to use it again. Look at the following, taken from our column a mere two legs later:

"D: Yep, still here. (Sound of phone ringing, then being picked up.)

Bert Van Munster: Hello?

D: Uhhhh, Mr. Van Munster, this is the power company...is your refrigerator running?

BVM: Cottingham? Meitz?? Will you two idiots ever grow up? (Sound of telephone being slammed down.)

S: Oh, way to go, you dork! Why do you always have to do that?

D: (Uproarious laughter.)"

Even though the dialogue has been markedly changed, it's still the same old joke about a refrigerator running, and it still involves a telephone call. Are you starting to understand how we "write" this column every week? Maybe this will help clarify things. Let's go all the way back to TAR5. Look at the following:

Tonight also showed all future contestants the importance of being able to read maps. To begin with, it is a good idea to know where you are on the map (try and avoid doing a Tribiani with the map, though - it pisses Chandler off). Once you've determined your location, determine where you want to go. Then figure out a route that goes from where you are to where you want to be. It may sound complicated, but with a little practice you should be errorlessly navigating distances in excess of tens of feet in no time. By the way - the arrow pointing towards the "N" should always point toward the top as you are looking at the map. The "N" stands for "North", which is Latin for "do I get fries with that?"

Here's how that was originally stored in our "Column Database":

Tonight also showed all future contestants the importance of being able to read maps. To begin with, it is a good idea to know where you are on the map (try and avoid doing a Tribiani with the map, though - it pisses Chandler off). Once you've determined your location, determine where you want to go. Then figure out a route that goes from where you are to where you want to be. It may sound complicated, but with a little practice you should be errorlessly navigating distances in excess of tens of feet in no time. By the way - the arrow pointing towards the "N" should always point toward the top as you are looking at the map. The "N" stands for "North", which is Latin for "do I get fries with that?"

It was completely unchanged! We could have included that paragraph in any episode of any season we wanted it was so generic. Are you starting to understand that this column-writing gig isn't so hard after all?

Every episode, we just dig through our database of material, select some stuff that we can easily string together into a couple of pages' worth of type, include names as needed and send it in! Piece of cake, huh?

We know you're thinking, "yea, but where could I possibly get a whole database full of stuff that I could use?" That's the truly easy part. When you're at work, just listen to the conversations going on around you - you are sure to hear something funny. Write it down. Occasionally, even YOU might say something funny - write it down. (Unless your screen name has an "E", "R", or "S" in it - in which case you think you are funny, but should really just be writing down stuff that other people say). Every so often, just take all the funny stuff you have written down and put it in a database - bingo!

As far as the race goes, Jon Vito and Jill got eliminated, Romber came in first, and the ratings for the first show were the lowest since Season 4...oddly enough, the season featuring Steve and Dave, and one of only 3 seasons not represented in "All-Stars". Yea, we know - a lot of you thought that Steve and Dave actually were on All-Stars when you saw two fat bald guys with huge backpacks on leg one, especially when one of them fell and hurt himself. The similarities are startling, but that was Kevin and Drew. We, on the other hand, are already planning our comeback in a later season as gay-coalminer-beauty queens.

Now for those of you keeping score at home, we just filled over 90% of our column with stuff that we had written before. You still think it's tough writing a column?