The ATC Report

In Control – Vol. VIII, No. 2

Well, the Amazing Race (Family Edition®) has managed to make it from New York City all the way to Middleburg, Virginia (just outside Washington). It’s taken them at least three days to make the trip, but we checked and they could have done it in about an hour and a half if they had flown. Of course, that wouldn’t have made for exciting shots of families screeching/yelling/arguing during various tasks along the way.

Two of the original ten “families” have managed to get themselves eliminated, two first place teams have won huge prizes, we’ve had more shots of insolent kids than we can remember, and the best show on television is quickly becoming one of the biggest train wrecks ever.

Now, understand there are no two bigger fans of the Amazing Race than Steve and Dave – literally and figuratively (Dave = 6’3”, 240lbs; Steve = 6’5”, 300lbs). We’ve done the research, talked to Phil, Bertram, Elise, and the scores of apparently well-rested crew and associates, and have determined that they pretty much agree with us. It’s certainly not the racers’ fault. You can see the abject disappointment in their collective faces as they read another clue that takes them to a point no further than grandma travels in her daily mall walk, instead of a country where tuna pizza and lamb intestines are a daily staple. It’s not the advertisers’ fault, as Travelocity will not make scads of money booking expensive trips to Pennsylvania and our nation’s Capitol instead of boring places like Bali, Thailand, or Peru. Could it be Leslie Moonves’ fault, king of the #1 network on television, secure in his position and looking for a little “minor controversy” to spice up his otherwise drab and tedious billionaire life? Or maybe the fault lies with Jerry Bruckheimer, who thinks everything he touches turns to gold and apparently has forgotten about “Kangaroo Jack.”

No, no, nope and nein.

It’s Ray’s fault.

There, now don’t you feel better knowing where to place blame until #9 starts? Let him know how you feel by posting in his forum. You’ll sleep better after venting. We do. Just use a nom de plume. Or even a fake name.

We do have to admit that the Civil War Detour was really visually (and viscerally) stunning. [Quick quiz from Steve & Dave: was there really a Civil War battle fought near Middleburg? Answer appears later in the column.] Unfortunately, the tedious Spy vs. Spy Roadblock had us wondering if perhaps an elective root canal might not have been a little less painful. And here’s a hint to the Gaghan family – if you have searched for your clue for two hours in one location, odds are good that you’re in the wrong spot.

Something for the Paolo family to consider - the “E” on the gas gauge does not mean “Everything’s fine.” And Empty is just that, no matter how large that tank is. Unless your mother tells you, in which case it’s time to get back at her for all the times she told you to sit on the potty when you didn’t have to go.

Okay, enough of the show. Here are some more things that we found that are Ray’s fault:

The sky is NOT blue, it just looks that way because it’s Ray’s fault. No really! The blue color of the sky is due to “RAYleigh” scattering. (Look it up if you don’t believe us.) As light moves through the atmosphere, most of the longer wavelengths pass straight through. Little of the red, orange, and yellow light is affected by the air. However, much of the shorter wavelength light is absorbed by the gas molecules. The absorbed blue light is then radiated in different directions. It gets scattered all around the sky. Whichever direction you look, some of this scattered blue light reaches you. Since you see the blue light from everywhere overhead, the sky looks blue.

The real reason the Cubs lost a 3-0 lead and a playoff series to the Florida Marlins? Not because of a fan named Bartman. It was Ray’s fault.


It’s Ray’s fault that Washington D.C. is NOT in the state of Washington. The District of Columbia (aka the “D.C.” in Washington, D.C.) does not qualify for statehood based on population. According to 2004 census figures the District of Columbia had 553,523 people living there. The minimum for statehood is 553,524. If Ray lived there it would be a state. And the folks in Spokane and Seattle would have to change their addresses to show their new state of Itneverstopsfuckingraininghere.

The first ever atomic bomb dropped? Not by Paul Tibbets, as those revisionist historians would have you believe. It was Ray.


Answer to Steve & Dave’s Quiz: Yes, there actually was a minor Civil War battle fought near Middleburg, Virginia. It occurred June 17-19, 1863 as Lee was marching to invade Pennsylvania in what would lead to the Battle of Gettysburg. It was a skirmish between Major General J.E.B. Stuart (CSA) and Brigadier General David Gregg (USA), and resulted in about 400 casualties total. We don’t know why the producers never told you, but we thought you might like to know. Of course, had the producers elected to travel but a few miles southeast of Middleburg they could have had the racers on the more famous Manassas battlefield site, home to the battles of the First and Second Bull Run. Thus endeth today’s history lesson. BTW – the reason behind the Union’s loss at both First and Second Bull Run? Ray’s fault. Actually Ray’s great, great, great grandfather, but from the same DNA strand so we blame Ray.