The ATC Report

"In Control" - Vol. XII, No. 9

Anyone claiming that they were actually surprised by tonight's NEL? OK, anyone claiming that they were actually surprised when TK and Rachel's flight got them into Osaka so far behind everyone else? Na, we didn't think so. Along those lines, Steve and Dave present "10 Ways to Make Up Three Hours On The Rest Of The Field (Mostly Legal)".

10) Set all the other racers' clocks back three hours. This will cause them to oversleep and be late leaving the checkpoint.

9) Place scrap booking kits in your opponents' travel pouches.

8) Kneecap everybody. If you aren't familiar with the expression "kneecap", then you haven't been watching enough Sopranos. See picture below:

7) (For Superman only) Fly backwards really fast around the entire planet right after getting your departure clue. This will cause time to go in reverse, and you can gain the three hours back. Wait a it backwards around the planet, or forwards that would cause time to go in reverse?

6) Bribe production with "really good backrubs" to let you leave earlier.

5) Change everyone else's clues to read, "Fly to your next destination on United Airlines ONLY", which guarantees delays for them. (If you don't get this one, you may want to turn the sound up on the local news, or subscribe to a more prominent newspaper than the local "Bugstomper Gazette and Merry Shopper".)

4) Sudoku for everybody! (Although, you might want to make them a bit harder than the one below. Hint: what comes after 3, and before 5?)

3) While they are sleeping, secretly "wax" the opposing teams' floors with Crazy Glue. During the time it takes them to figure out that it is Crazy Glue and not an increase in the force of gravity, you're miles ahead!

2) Our support for our brothers walking the picket lines in Hollywood prevents us from actually making an entry for this number.

And, the #1 way to gain three hours on the rest of the field...

Insinuate that tire flattening might occur if they don't wait the three hours that you demand!

OK, so maybe it didn't work for us, but we're pretty sure it will work for someone. Eventually. Maybe.

A message from Dave:

On October 8, 1952, a baby boy was born to a farmer and his wife in a little town north of Springfield, Illinois. His parents named him Richard, but all who met him knew him as Rick. He was the 3rd of what would become four children, and was the only boy.

His sisters claimed that he got away with things that they never did while they were growing up - a fact that Rick would never dispute, but would always laugh about. Once Rick started laughing, his sisters would eventually join in as well.

Rick loved sports - he played them all, and was pretty good at them too. While in High School, Rick's date for the Senior Prom was the girl he would fall in love with and eventually marry.

After High School, Rick held a couple of jobs until one day he got "the call". Rick became a minister. His first congregation was in southern California, but eventually he "found his way home" again and became a Pastor at a church in Springfield - near his parents and his hometown. During this time, he also spent endless hours studying, eventually earning his Doctorate in Biblical Studies.

Finally in early 2007, Rick accepted the job as pastor at the church he had grown up in - the church his parents still attended.

On the morning of December 21, 2007, Rick, another minister, and a pilot that attended the church in Springfield, flew to Cincinnati to visit another minister, who was a friend of all three of them. That afternoon, they flew back. Minutes from arriving safely back in Springfield, the plane crashed killing the three men aboard.

The wake was supposed to last for four hours. The funeral home stated that they didn't think they could handle the expected crowd, so the wake was moved to a church. They were right. Around 2000 people came to pay their last respects to Rick's family. The wake ended up lasting over five and one-half hours.

The next day, Rick was buried. The funeral procession was over half a mile long and almost completely filled the roads of the small cemetery in which he was laid to rest.

I guess we never really know how many people one life touches until it is over. I found out how many lives my brother-in-law Rick had touched during the days after he was taken from us. I heard the stories of Rick spending hours visiting and praying with those who were hospitalized. I heard the stories of the sermons that Rick gave, and the powerful messages within. I heard the stories of how Rick had brought comfort to other families when they had lost a loved one. I even heard the story of how Rick helped a distraught couple that had just given birth to a special needs infant. I heard more stories than I can ever possibly remember. But mostly, I heard the story of how everyone remembered Rick's smile.

Someday, we will find out what caused the airplane that Rick was traveling in to crash. Someday, we will find out why God brought him home when he did. Someday, maybe all of this will make more sense than it does right now.

Until then, I miss you Rick.