March 2000
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posted 03-31-00

Martha Ng and Haim Levy Get Married !!

Martha Ng and Haim Levy were married on Sunday, March 26. They were married in a traditional Jewish ceremony. Gary and Betty Richardson were in attendance and passed on this information to me. Martha and Haim met here at the studio a couple of years ago. Although I haven't seen them around lately, Gary says they are "fixtures" at the Longhorn on Tuesdays, so i am pleased they are still dancing!  

Congratulations!  Or should I say, "L' Chayim!"

posted 03-28-00

Profiles in Courage

Maria Sklodowska (1867-1934), better known today as Madame Curie, was born November 7, 1867 in Warsaw, Poland. She would become famous for her research into radioactivity, and was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. In conjunction with her husband Pierre, Marie Curie discovered that  uranium ore, or pitchblende, contained much more radioactivity than could be explained solely by the uranium content. 

The Curie's began a search for the source of the radioactivity and discovered two highly radioactive elements, "radium" and "polonium." The Curie's won the 1903 Nobel prize for physics for their discovery. In 1906 Pierre, overworked and weakened by his prolonged exposure to radiation, died when he was run over by a car.

Madame Curie continued her work on radioactive elements and won the 1911 Nobel Prize again, this time for chemistry for isolating radium and studying its chemical properties. She was also instrumental in developing the use of X-rays to would help to locate bullets and facilitate surgery for soldiers injured in WW I. 

In 1934, at the age of 67 Madame Curie died of leukemia, thought to have been brought on by her prolonged exposure to radiation during her research. As they say, you can always tell who the pioneers are by the arrows in their backs as you pass them on the trail. 

I believe Marie Curie – as well as her husband Pierre - deserves to be called a Hero. Both people bravely took incredible personal risks to make important contributions to Mankind. I would imagine other scientists, such as the AIDS researchers, often wonder if they could inadvertently meet the same fate as the heroes profiled in today’s story.

I for one feel pretty fortunate to have people like Marie and Pierre Curie to look up to. I might add if any of our readers have a hero of their own they would like to nominate, send in their story!!

posted 03-28-00

Item in the News

Gary Richardson has shared with us this interesting story. An observer of Oklahoma’s government sent him a tidbit regarding a demand made recently by Oklahoma's "Textbook Committee". Apparently this same committee achieved worldwide recognition last year when they got an "International Bonehead Award", but the observer tantalizingly failed to add what for. 

The Textbook Committee made it into the news again this time with their impassioned demand that a sticker be inserted into all of the state's science text books with the following paragraph: 

"No one was present when life first appeared on Earth. Therefore, any statement about life's origins should be considered as theory, not fact."

Apparently the Oklahoma Senate denied this request. It seems a counter demand was made that the same sticker be required in all bibles and religious textbooks. This request caused so much hilarity and pandemonium that both demands were thrown out.

posted 03-23-00

Sarah Milford and Brady Pasemann Announce Engagement

This just in from Sarah Milford - 

Not sure if you remember us or not (Brady Pasemann and Sarah Milford) but we recently got engaged (Feb. 14) and are due to be married in August 2000.  I just have to say that if I hadn't decided to take C&W classes at SSQQ, then I never would have met Brady!  We met in August 1997 in a Ghost Town class and we started 'officially' dating in October 1997.  (FYI, Dennis Taupo will be one of his groomsmen.)  Just thought I'd say 'thanks' for the great classes and let you know of yet another couple who got together at SSQQ!

(Editor's Note - If I'm not mistaken, isn't Feb 14 "Valentine's Day"??  That is the same day that Kenneth Parker proposed - see shortly further down the page. Hmm. I guess that would be a nice day for asking the question. 

I remember this couple very well. In fact, it was Brady who once told me he taught SSQQ Instructor Dennis Taupo practically everything he (Dennis) knew about Western Swing. I spoke to Dennis just last night and he said it wasn't true. Dennis also said he wasn't engaged. The reason I am printing this is that a young lady asked me just the other day if Dennis was "available" since she thought he was cute.

But that's another story - this writeup should be about Sarah and Brady, so here goes: Congratulations!!) 

posted 03-21-00

More Fabulous SSQQ Volleyball !

On Saturday, March 18, we had 19 excellent athletes square off for 5 1/2 hours of volleyball. Yes, that's right...5 1/2 hours!!  We played from 11 am till 4:30 pm. To read more about the action-packed day, click here.

Bizarre Death Stories !

Death of course can happen at any time. No one could function if they spent their time worrying about it. Hence we learn to ignore this ugly possibility as much as possible. However, the following stories include some the most unusual ways of dying imaginable. Some were just plain bad luck and others were the result of incredible stupidity. Even more bizarre, I know for a fact that several of these incidents are absolutely true and I am fairly sure several more are true as well. However, I might add that a couple are too far-fetched even for me. 

Decide for yourself...

posted 03-16-00

It's An SSQQ Population Explosion !

Ben and Diane Liles are going to have Twins !

Ben and Diane Liles are going to have Twins !  I might add their story is pretty incredible. Last year and the year before that, Diane was fighting for her life with breast cancer. She bravely underwent chemotherapy, suffered a lot, and thank goodness won her fight. 

Last fall Diane and Ben got married right before Halloween. Diane has a grown daughter, but Ben - till now a confirmed bachelor - very much wanted children. Unfortunately this would be much too risky for Diane to attempt. I was told the increased estrogen from pregnancy would put Diane in too much danger of a recurrence. 

So together Ben and Diane decided on a New Age solution - a surrogate mother. First they chose a highly-praised specialist in Dallas. Then they chose a surrogate mother. Then they chose an egg donor in addition to Ben's providing the male half of the equation. Sound complicated?? It sure did to me. 

In the space of just a couple months, Diane and Ben got the wonderful news that all their efforts were not in vain. Not only that, but they will have twins!! Goodness gracious. 

Lest you think Diane is not involved, guess again. Not only is she there for every doctor visit and every tough decision, but she is working an incredible amount of overtime as a nurse to help pay for this extremely expensive process. 

I might add the joke is that Ben has just begun to "show". Hmm. 

What a remarkable story !!

Daryl and Joanne Armstrong are going to have a Baby !

Yes, it is true. Popular instructors Daryl and Joanne Armstrong are going to be first-time parents probably some time this summer. I am very happy for both of them. 

On a lighter note, Daryl has not yet told me what the theme of the baby shower will be.

Rodrigo and Nelly Aranda have a Baby Boy !

I have just been told that SSQQ Rodrigo Aranda and his wife Nelly are the proud parents of Rodrigo Aranda-Roman as of Wednesday, March 8th. Their son weighed 8 pounds and 7.4 oz and he was 20.5 inches long at birth. 

I of course thoroughly enjoyed Nelly knitting baby clothes while she watched her husband play Volleyball here at my house on several different Saturdays. She had the biggest smile on her face. I could tell this is one baby that was going to get a lot of affection. 

Congratulations to both parents !!

Bram and Katsumi Weisman are going to have a Baby !

Bram and Katsumi Weisman report they are expecting their first child sometime in late March. 

Bram of course is a former fabulous Whip student who met and married his lovely wife Katsumi last summer as was reported in the "Grapevine". Congratulations to both !! 

Politicians take note, SSQQ is preparing quite a voting block for the year 2020.

posted 03-16-00

Kathleen Alexander and Kenneth Parker Announce Engagement

I heard a rumor that Kathleen Alexander and Kenneth Parker are engaged. Apparently this important question was proposed on Valentine's Day. I am just trying to figure out why it took me a month to find out about this. Hmmph. 

Kathleen, who assists me in my Wednesday Night Western classes, tells me I have permission to reveal this little secret to the world, so now we all know. Congratulations !!

Kathleen writes this :

Just a little background - we met a year ago.  Carolyn introduced us - they were in some classes together.  We just started off as friends because I personally was never going to pay another man the time of day as long as I lived!!  However, he has turned out to be the sweetest, kindest man (next to my late father, whom no one can ever hold a candle to) I think I’ve ever met.  So, who could resist?  

My favorite SSQQ story about him happened in Death Valley last summer.  There was a really hard pattern that all the men were having trouble with.  When Gillian got around to Kenneth, she asked if he got it.  When he said. “No,”  Gillian said really loud with frustration, “Well, shit!  If you don’t have it nobody does!”

If getting married is one of your goals, one of the world's most effective ways to accomplish this is to join the SSQQ Staff !  In addition to Kathleen, Janet Wukman as well as one-time SSQQ Staffer Suzy Kish have also gotten engaged recently. 

Last year it was Ben Liles, Renee Risinger, and Rodrigo Aranda from our staff who got married. 

Previously it was Daryl and Joanne Armstrong, Heidi Collier Moynihan, Mary Collins Moore, Susie Allen Merrill, Linda Rooks Decker, Beth and Allen Hentges, Jeff Heiber, and David Baggesse. Coincidence ?? Nah, our teachers are pretty wonderful. This is just more proof !!

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posted 03-07-00

The Brand New SSQQ Newsletter is Here !

At 1 am in the morning, Tuesday, February 29th - the special Leap Year extra day no less (I've been waiting for this opportunity for 4 years) - we launched the SSQQ Newsletter. 

Mind you, every organization on Earth sends me newsletters. I get them from the Tango people, the Swing people, the Scottish Dance Society, the Salsa Club, you name it. We even have another SSQQ Newsletter dealing with the movements of the SSQQ Insiders put out by Tom Flaherty (

The event that prompted the start of the SSQQ Newsletter was our upcoming Career Day, an event that I felt deserved a wider audience. 

SSQQ has an active attendance of perhaps 1,000 people a week, but our email list is close to 5,000. By reaching the larger audience, I felt that at least I had done my best to publicize this event whereby the SSQQ Community gets to make business connections that have nothing to do with dancing.

However I too get between 30 - 50 emails a day. I know from first-hand experience how 5 or more unsolicited and unappreciated emails pop up daily in my inbox from people I have never heard of in my life. This is what we endearingly call "Spam".

So my first duty was to apologize to everyone for appearing unasked in their E-mailbox. I figured 20% of the people would enjoy the Newsletter, 20% would tell me to get lost, and 60% wouldn't say anything at all.

Well, I was sort of right. Maybe 5% responded favorably, 5% wanted to be deleted, and the rest never said a thing. In my college days, this was referred to as the "Silent Majority". Plus a lot of emails came back as no longer in use (10%-15%).

Many people think I am Mr. Computer Wizard. Wrong. I am an amateur. Like an idiot, I loaded up 5,000 emails in my email message and hit send. No way. The message : Too Many Recipients. So I sent 2,500. NO. 1,000. NO. 500. NO. 10. YES. Ah, less than 500, more than 10. Eventually I discovered the magic number was 99. Once I got started it was tough to stop. I cut and paste my message 50 TIMES !!! I think I even sent it to the same group twice a few times judging from the responses. It was an ordeal that lasted from 2 am till 6 am. Then I had to sleep a while and answer 500 replies. Yuck. 

Hopefully I will master the intricacies of Bulk Email for the next try in March. 

I added an interesting feature to the Newsletter - Letters to the Editor. It gives you an idea what the response was to our SSQQ Newsletter.

posted 03-07-00

Seven Newcomers Dominate SSQQ Volleyball Action !

The Amazing Mr Big was credited with the biggest turnout in SSQQ Volleyball history. He warned us he was coming with this warning - LICENSE TO KILL. On Saturday, March 4th, a record 19 players showed up consumed with curiosity to see this Volleyball Beast perform legalized road kill.  

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