The ATC Report

“In Control” – Vol. XV, No. 3

Once again tonight's leg reminded us just how unique every season is. There were two things on this episode that we feel compelled to talk with you about. The most obvious was the elimination of Zev and Justin, and we will get to that in just a couple of minutes. But first we wanted to touch on something that we found incredible, and just a little sad.

Recognize that woman? She's (arguably) one of the most famous women in American history. Of course, we show her in the context of walking off of Air Force One along side her husband so it becomes a little easier to identify Jacqueline Kennedy.

But still, we were astounded that so many of the racers could not figure out who she was in the picture they were given. We wondered if it was actually the context of the picture that gave the racers fits, or if they were just generally...well...ignorant. So, we cooked up a little test. We decided to show this season's cast a series of other famous people and places to see if they could identify them. The results were somewhat disconcerting.

Two of the current crop of racers stated that the above picture was of Martin Luther King, Jr. Another three claimed that it was Martin Luther. One thought it was Don King. Still another thought it looked a lot like Homer Simpson. Only Zev was able to correctly identify the picture as that of our current President, Barack Obama.

Here's another one that caused some grief amongst the current season's racers. When asked what the above was, fully 75% of the racers identified the picture as a photo of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis. One of them stated that they believed it was a photo taken directly above Jessica Simpson. Two claimed that it was a picture of a road sign bearing the international symbol for an "M" intersection (whatever THAT is). Once again, only Zev was able to peg this one as the logo for McDonald's restaurants.

Surely all the racers would be able to recognize these four guys, right? Surely not. 60% of them thought that they were the Three Stooges (which leads us to believe that the problem might be far deeper than just recognition ability). Another 25% named them (clockwise from upper left) Groucho, Chico, Harpo, and Zeppo, aka the Marx Brothers. One poor lout stated unequivocally that they were "the Wilke quadruplets" (whoever those folks are). Once again, Zev came to the rescue and noted that they were the Beatles. He further pointed out that the picture used appeared to be from the cover of the "Let It Be" album, and that two of the four were now deceased.

To be honest, we weren't holding out much hope by the time we got around to showing the group this photo. Boy were we surprised. 23 of the 24 racers were able to easily identify this as a photo of your hosts for this column, Steve & Dave. (There have been charges that we used a very liberal definition of correct identification. While some of you may feel that giving credit for the answer "two out-of-shape fat guys" was improper, we felt that said answer hit upon the very gist of who we are. So sue us.) Unfortunately, Zev was the only one who failed to get this one right, although his answer of ‘Steve McQueen and Paul Newman' was pretty darn close.

So maybe the producers were expecting a bit much by including that devastatingly tricky picture of Jackie Kennedy as a clue. Then again, maybe the racers this season really ARE that dumb.

Which brings us to tonight's unfortunate elimination. Hey, we really liked Zev and Justin, and we were sorry to see them go. Watching Phil eliminate them brought to mind other bad ways to lose The Amazing Race. Here then are Steve and Dave's Top 10 Worst Ways To Lose The Amazing Race:

10) Running towards checkpoint when zeppelin crashes on you.

9) Instructed to head to final destination city of Chicago, via Midway airport. Inadvertently book passage to Midway Island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

8) You and another team reach the final clue box simultaneously. They fail to read clue properly and take cab the 3 miles to checkpoint instead of walking/running. They have to go back and do it over, and still beat you by over half an hour.

7) During first leg you fail to realize that you have to only do one of the two ‘Detour' options, not both.

6) During leg in Fiji, accidentally stumble onto locale of current ‘Survivor'. Get voted out at subsequent tribal council and Philiminated as well.

5) Your name shows up on terrorist watch-list, United States refuses to allow you back into the country.

4) That ever-so-helpful cabbie who helped you to a first place finish this leg also stashed 3 Kg of cocaine in your backpacks. You get nabbed at the border and spend the next 25 years in a Turkish prison. (Which is strange, since you were leaving Spain and heading to India at the time.)

3) Producers spring brand-new "Start Over" clue on you as you lead the pack towards the finish line. You have to run the entire race over again.

2) Staffers find cabbie mentioned in #4 above and spend evening in a coked-out stupor. Inadvertently fill next day's clue envelopes with Monopoly money and Community Chest/Chance cards. Yours says, "Go directly to jail. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200".

And the #1 Worst Way To Lose The Amazing Race...

1) Refuse to dig through a 15-foot tall pile of cow manure, decide to haul cheese across a village square instead, and end up getting beat by three all-girl teams (well, two all-girl teams and a pair of gay guys).

Steve & Dave disclaimer: We know that people afflicted with Asperger's Syndrome do not suffer from impairment to their mental abilities. Asperger's generally tends to cause problems in the social arena, not the intellectual one. Thus, we are in no way indicating that Zev is less smart than any of the other yahoos he raced against this season. In fact, we're pretty sure he's a lot smarter than most of them. Likewise, our comment about losing to three all-girl teams was not meant to imply that being gay equates to being female, or that there is some type of stigma attached to losing to women and/or gays. We actually like Tian, Jaree, Monica, Sheree, Chip, and Reichen. We only said it for humorous purposes. It was more of a knock on our abilities than it was on theirs. Furthermore, we're sorry that this disclaimer is actually longer than the rest of the column. We really didn't have a lot of material this episode, so we filled our column with a lot of pictures. That's generally a good sign that we don't have a lot to say, by the way. If you see a bunch of pictures in our column, figure that we're pretty short on the written word. Then when what we DO have turns out to be mostly offensive, we end up writing one of these disclaimers. It's a vicious circle. Not enough material equals lots of pictures; lots of pictures equal a high probability that something we wrote is going to be offensive; something we wrote being offensive equals a lengthy disclaimer. There are those who have even suggested that we might try to cut back on the offensive stuff, but what do our wives really know about writing? You see? There we go again. Now we have to note that we weren't implying that wives in general (and ours specifically) know nothing about writing, but were again trying to get a laugh. Do you see how these disclaimers can tend to get rather lengthy?