The ATC Report

"In Control" - Vol. XI, No. 2

You know, a recap of the leg from our standpoint. What's the worst that could happen? You quit reading our stuff and start reading Carissa's? Yea, right.
We thought we might try something we've never actually done before. No, we're not talking putting a Volkswagen in the Principal's Office (we did that back in High School). We're talking about writing a column that actually deals with the most recent episode of the race. You know, a recap of the leg from our standpoint. What's the worst that could happen? You quit reading our stuff and start reading Carissa's? Yea, right.
Teams started the leg to discover that they had to fly to Santiago, Chile and then travel to the headquarters of Codelco, the world's largest copper mining company. The first two teams to depart, Rob & Amber and Danny & Oswald, both managed to secure tickets on multi-leg flights which would get them into Santiago at 1:50 AM - although they each took different flights prior to sharing the last leg into Santiago.

Eddie Murphy seemed to have the inside track, but was surprised when Alan Arkin snagged the award for "Best Actor in a Supporting Role". Rumor has it that Mr. Murphy even left the theater shortly after he lost. Some had thought that Mark Wahlberg might be able to pull off an upset here on the basis of his strong performance in "The Departed", but it was not to be.

Mary & Dave decided to wait for Charla & Mirna as both teams departed the checkpoint, which turned out to be fortuitous for C & M as they managed to get their car stuck in a deep rut shortly thereafter. In one of those situations that could only have been arranged by the producers, Dave and Mary just happened to have a tow strap and pulled Charla & Mirna from their predicament.

When Kevin & Drew managed to get themselves stuck in what appeared to be the same rut sometime later, Kevin proved that Dave & Mary's kind gesture wasn't so kind by attaching the now infamous tow strap to himself and pulling their car out of the rut. Drew showed his gratitude by attempting to run Kevin over. All the remaining teams arrived at the airport in time to book themselves onto a flight that would arrive in Santiago at 2:30 AM - a full 40 minutes after the leading two teams.

After the best supporting actor Oscar®, there seemed to be an abnormally large number of foreign language film awards this year. Did anyone actually see any of these films except for those college-student artsy-fartsy types? We sure didn't. And who really cares about "Achievement in Sound Editing" or "Achievement in Sound Mixing"? Could you tell us what the difference is? That's why the dang Academy Awards show runs so friggin' long - because they show all these awards that no one even cares about, and then subject us to speeches by three different guys who apparently know how to ‘mix sound'.

Wow, only $299 for a full pound of silver coins on QVC's "The Coin Vault". And with silver hovering around $15 dollars an ounce...wait a minute...
Could this be the spark that ignites a bitter rivalry all season long? Or was it just the editors' way of letting us know that one of these two teams will be eliminated this week? Only time will tell!
As the last teams are boarding their flight to Santiago, Drew decides that he won't allow Dave & Mary and Kevin to be the only ones who get to pull things out of a hole this episode. He spots D&M's backpacks in the overhead bins in first class and pulls them out. Could this be the spark that ignites a bitter rivalry all season long? Or was it just the editors' way of letting us know that one of these two teams will be eliminated this week? Only time will tell!

Finally all the teams are headed to Santiago, but we discover that Rob & Amber and Danny & Oswald's plane has been delayed. Big deal. The producers try to sell it as though it's the end of the world, but as we see in the very next scene, all the teams arrive at Codelco in the same time frame.

At Codelco, the clue turns out to be this leg's Roadblock. The team member performing the roadblock has to enter the nearby boardroom and search for hidden letters on or around the directors who are having a "bored meeting". When unscrambled, these letters then spell the name of one of the locations depicted in pictures hanging around the room. Eric (Eric & Danielle) and Joyce (Uchenna & Joyce) are the first two to enter and start on the Roadblock.

To no one's surprise (except maybe Simon Cowell), Jennifer Hudson wins Best Supporting Actress. She really can sing.

Is Clint Eastwood on crack? He looked totally confused, almost as if the person next to him was speaking a foreign language instead of English. Perhaps he should have worn his hearing aid instead of his glasses.

All the teams finally arrive at the Roadblock and most have even solved it, but Joyce is still wandering around the room trying to figure it out. She finally sees the picture of Chuquicamata on the wall and heads out, sharing her solution with Ian as she goes. Teams now have to fly to the city of Calama and head to the world's largest open pit copper mine. In a strange twist of fate, this mine is known as the Chuquicamata mine, which is the same name as depicted on the picture in the boardroom! Why teams did not head to the coast to fish for sharks after they figured out the letters spelled "A aquatic chum" is beyond our knowledge.

What a surprise (not). Forest Whitaker won the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Idi Amin in "The Last King Of Scotland". That's just fun to say...Idi Amin. Idi Amin, Idi Amin, Idi Amin. Now leading off for the White Sox, number 11, Idi Amin...

BJ and Hawkeye try to make Frank happy by pretending to argue but the ruse escalates into an actual fight, as the insults turn real.

Steve and Dave have never seen so many hot lesbians since the "L Word" on Showtime. Ellen DeGeneres, Melissa Etheridge, and don't get us started about Helen Mirren.

Once teams got to the mine, they opened the clue to find this leg's Detour. The choices were "By Hand", or "By Machine". What kind of choice is this? You could either stand outside and (by hand) place and tighten 7,326 washers and bolts so as to attach a wheel to a huge construction truck, or you could get into a front-end loader and use your 6-foot deep scoop to dump a pile of gravel to a depth of about three feet. Duh, use the machine! Not our All-Stars though. Most of them chose to attach the washers and bolts. Did we forget to mention that the washers had to be oriented correctly as well?

Another big non-surprise. Helen Mirren just won the award for Best Actress for her work in "The Queen". On one of the pre-Oscar® shows, Barbara Walters noted that Ms. Mirren had done some nude scenes in her earlier years. Hmmmm....nude Helen Mirren....

After completing the Detour, teams discover that they have to drive to a place called the "Valley Of The Moon". While in the Valley of the Moon they will be restricted to a maximum speed of 40 KPH. (Pay attention now, this may be important and may come into play later.) Upon leaving the Valley Of The Moon they will enter the "Valley Of The Dead" (location of: THE PIT STOP), where they can increase their speed to 50 KPH. Teams who chose the ‘By Machine' portion of the Detour quickly finished and were on their way. Everyone else (read: most of the racers) struggled to place and tighten the washers and bolts, except for Dave & Mary who just schlepped them on any way they could. Sadly for them, the person they were to get their clue from was also there to prevent schlepping, and they had to redo 2,601 of their washers and bolts.

Finally, Martin Scorsese got his Oscar® as Best Director, for "The Departed". It's an award long overdue for Mr. Scorsese, but he should have received it for The Godfather (parts 1 or 2, but not 3 - that one sucked).

Incredible! The Mythbusters just showed that adding a Mentos to a Diet Coke really does cause it to explode out of the bottle.
This also gave Mirna a chance to display her multi-lingual skills and kibitz with the locals. She got out of her car and began to speak a different language by simply pronouncing the English words with the accent of the country they were in (Chile).
All the teams finally completed the Detour and were headed for the Pit Stop, with the exception of Rob & Amber, who wisely chose ‘By Machine' and had already won the leg. At the entrance to the Valley of the Moon, the producers had thoughtfully set up a barricade where they employed several locals to remind the racers of the 40 KPH speed limit within. (See, we warned you this might be important.) This also gave Mirna a chance to display her multi-lingual skills and kibitz with the locals. She got out of her car and began to speak a different language by simply pronouncing the English words with the accent of the country they were in (Chile). (Then again, does Chile really have an accent of its own, or would it just be a Spanish accent?) The barricade guards respond by answering her with Spanish words spoken in an American accent. Satisfied, she returns to her car and heads into the valley.

With five teams in the hunt for elimination (Dustin & Kandice, Terri & Ian, Dave & Mary, Charla & Mirna, and Kevin & Drew), the tension is incredible.

At this point we have our first ‘surprise' of the evening. Many had tabbed "Little Miss Sunshine" for Best Picture, while others had chosen "Babel". But the award went to "The Departed" - which actually makes sense. If Scorsese is the Best Director, shouldn't the film he directed be the Best Picture? Any film in which Lenny DiCaprio takes a bullet between the eyes is pretty damn good in our book, anyhow.

As the remaining racers exit the Valley of the Moon, Drew (of Kevin & Drew) makes a fatal mistake. Failing to read his clue (which tells him he can increase his speed), failing to notice the speed limit sign (which now says 50 KPH, as the home viewers are reminded 5 or 6 times), and even failing to spot the large billboard erected by the production staff (which said, "Hey Drew, you can speed up now"), he plods along at 40 KPH - convinced that the other racers zipping by him are all breaking the rules.

At this point we were mortified that our two favorite racers could make such a dumb mistake. Thank heavens that a certain big-boned moderator over at TWoP pointed out that it was obvious from the show that Drew hadn't had nearly enough sleep, and that he probably shouldn't even have been driving since lack of sleep results in the same symptoms as being drunk. Thus, his camera crew was completely justified in ordering him to slow down to 40 KPH while all the other racers were allowed to speed merrily along without penalty.

In any event, the 40 KPH (and the wrong turn) end up costing Kevin and Drew as they stepped onto the mat in last place and were eliminated. At this point we would normally make several jokes about Drew's seeming lack of sportsmanship as he was informed of his elimination, but we now know it was just the booze talking. Or lack of sleep. Or something.

Steve & Dave's Disclaimer:

After we read what we had written, we came to a startling conclusion. We thought that our TiVos were taping The Amazing Race, but it appears as though they may actually have been taping whatever channel we tuned into at the time. While this may have led to a somewhat disjointed column, we just don't care enough to go back and write the whole darn thing over again. Even if we had, all we would have done was steal the story from the CBS website, change a few words, and add a couple of jokes about Drew's tantrum after being eliminated. We prefer disjointed.