June 2000
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Stephen Kirk and Jennifer Smith Get Married!

(Editor's Note:) I received this email letter from Christina Galletti who married Michale O'Briain last December. In the letter she mentions Stephen and Jennifer's wedding. As i have said before, I don't always know about these weddings, but it seems like the Grapevine always catches up with them sooner or later!  Congratulations Stephen and Jennifer!  

Christina is a sweetheart. She patiently put up with me calling her "Carmen" for maybe five years. In fact she didn't even bother to correct me for a long time, thinking perhaps there was actually a woman named Carmen in her class I was referring to. 

Oddly, I have received compliments over the years (though not as many lately) for remembering names. However if I somehow get someone's name wrong at first, it takes a real effort to reverse it in my brain and get it right. 

Last night I saw a tall, slender pretty lady enter the Whip Practice night. I was happy to see her, but remembered I had troble with her name. I thought carefully and said, "Hi, Ann!" 

She smiled back and said, "Carol". Nuts. I have the same trouble with a man named "Bob" - I call him "Bill". My basketball friend "Glen" was "Doug" for a long time and I still get it wrong if I am distracted. Christina is a lovely woman with some wonderful Spanish good looks. As far as I am concerned, she should have been a "Carmen". But I will do my best to get her name right from now on! 

Hi Rick Archer! This is Christina nicknamed by you as Carmen .We are doing just fine and I will go back to the studio hopefully with Michale .Otherwise I will have to go back alone!!!

We had been real busy but we haven’t forgot you all I received your email of congratulations.  We spent our honeymoon in Paris and later on we went to Dublin Ireland to meet Michale’s family. Ireland is absolutely beautiful and his folks are great.  I wanted to write you soon and feel bad I haven't. I learnt a lot in your place and at certain times it was like a family to me. Thank you Rich, plus Judy and Sam make the place especial.

I am letting you know another couple from the studio got married. Stephen Kirk and Jennifer Smith on May 19th.They did it out side in the park downtown and they had a beautiful reception at the Plaza Pentfloor.

Jennifer and Stephen met in SSQQ 6 years ago. She was very patient with this nice Irish guy.  The  four of us danced  a lot in the reception and we told everybody where we had learnt all our dance steps/By the way Jennifer and Stephen chose a C&W music as their first piece.

They are going at the end of July to North Ireland for a second reception! They will be moving to their new house in the Heights still under  construction .  May be you already knew about their wedding  but  just in case, I thought you needed to know!!!!!  I will try to get them back  to the studio for a waltz class that we are all interested in.  Take care and always you will have a place in our hearts! 

Christina (Alias Carmen).


Theresa Hazel and Tim Cyr Get Married!

Sharon Russell was nice to send us this writeup about the marriage. Tim and Theresa are excellent dancers. They have taken many of the Western Swing and Whip classes here at the studio. I remember seeing them practice very hard here at the studio to get their Waltz routine down cold before the wedding, so I am glad to read in the article how well their dance turned out!

Dear Rick:

Theresa Hazel and Tim Cyr were married at St. Theresa's Catholic Church on Saturday, June 17.  The bride and groom took the Western Waltz classes all the way through the "Super" Advanced Waltz (Waltz IV?) -- plus many other classes at SSQQ.  Their reception was at Shanghai Red's.  Tim and Theresa's first dance was a waltz (of course).  They danced to "When I Said I Do" by Clint Black and Lisa Hartman Black.  They performed excellently!  It was so beautiful.  Even the DJ, who has seen some of everything, said that was the most beautiful opening dance he has ever seen and the guests gave a long round of applause to Tim and Theresa.  

Unfortunately, tragedy struck later during the reception.  Theresa's father, Jack Hazel, had a heart attack and had to be rushed to the hospital.  Everyone gathered together and formed a prayer circle to help Theresa through the difficult time when her father was being attended to by the EMTs and his condition was unknown. 

Shane called Tim and Theresa earlier this week and found out her father was still in ICU at Hermann Hospital but was expected to be moved to a regular room later in the week.  Shane kindly left this voice-mail on Andy Pettigrew's machine.  He also said that her parents had come all the way from one of the Dakotas (I know he said which one but I can't remember) to be here for Theresa's wedding.

SSQQ was well represented by:  Andy Pettigrew, Sharon Russell, Darryl & Joanne Armstrong, Shane, Gary, and 2 Beckys (sorry I don't have everyone's last names).

Sharon Russell

It is of course an incredible nightmare to have a parent stricken like this. My hope is that Theresa's father makes a full recovery. Rick Archer


David Mammone and Alison Terzakis Get Married!

On May 2, Dave Mammone and Alison Terzakis got married in Lake Tahoe. This attractive couple met here at the studio about three years ago. Dave and Alison were members of the famous SSQQ Cruise Trip back in the summer of 1998. I haven't seen them at the studio lately and now we know why! They were busy!  Congratulations! 

Diplomacy:  The Quest for World Domination and Free Pizza!!

On Friday, June 2nd, 7 would-be Napoleons gathered at my house to play a game known as “Diplomacy.”  In order


Diplomacy:  The Quest for World Domination and Free Pizza!!

On Friday, June 2nd, 7 would-be Napoleons gathered at my house to play a game known as “Diplomacy.”  In order of arrival, we had Brian (No Last Name), Bob Noblitt, Anita (Swamp Fox) Williams, Tom Flaherty, Jeannie Finn, Steve Frolich, and of course myself. 

Here is a fairly good description of how the Game works:

"Diplomacy” is a sophisticated game that rewards both military strategy and the ability to make strategic alliances. Each player represents one of Europe’s major powers at the turn of the last century. In the early 1900’s Europe was a seething cauldron of intrigue, alliances, and secret pacts that eventually pulled the entire continent into World War I including Russia, Turkey, Austria/Hungary, Italy, France, England, and Germany. The only time “Chance” ever enters into the game is at the start when you pick the country you represent. After that, there is no further “luck” involved and no dice rolling. 

The game quickly boils down to simple math. If two powers wish to move into the same territory, it is a 1 to 1 standoff unless a third power decides to “support” your action, making it 2 against 1. You must gain the cooperation of your neighbors as you attempt to outwit your fellow players in diplomatic negotiations. By forging alliances based on mutual interests and trust with other players, you seek the ultimate control of Europe. 

You actually bargain and cut deals with other players in order to gain an advantage. Then at some point just when you get ready to launch a major attack on the enemy and you have left your back unguarded to an ally, imagine the surprise when one of your “allies” turns against you and sends units into your Homeland!

The addition of the “Treachery” aspect is a fascinating feature that places this game several psychological cuts above simply rolling the dice. The players soon find they need cunning and cleverness to combat the deception and back-stabbing that characterized the diplomatic relations of these same countries during this complex period of European history.

Sometimes described as “Risk” for adults, the Machiavellian aspect of “Diplomacy” allows its players to learn some interesting lessons in the subtle art politics that can be carried over into Real Life.

So here is how the Game went. Early Alliances included Russia (Jeannie) and Turkey (Tom). No, despite the rumors, we did not call Mr. Flaherty “Tom Turkey” to his face. I believe we called him “Mr. Turkey” if my memory is correct. England (Rick) and Germany (Steve) formed a non-aggression treaty. France (Brian), Italy (Bob), and Austria-Hungary (Anita) did a lot of talking, but to my eyes never quite jelled with an alliance. This would prove to be their downfall. 

Austria-Anita had problems right from the start. England-Rick tried to get Austria into a three-way alliance with Germany, but Anita had trouble following directions. Early in the game, I had given Anita a crib sheet to help her write the complex directions for her troop movements. Right before the “writing Directions” phase ended, Austria-Anita wadded up my crib sheet and tossed it at me. I still am not sure what this gesture meant, but Anita soon discovered that without any strategy, Turkey and Italy got Hungary and, like Hannibal Lecter, ate her for lunch. Yumm!

France and England immediately began to butt heads, both involved in a standoff for control of the English Channel. Brian had the temerity to suggest that when he got control of this area, he would rename this famous body of the water the “French Channel”. Hmm. England was not amused. 

However France had a problem. Initially pre-occupied with England, France was stunned to discover that Italy quickly invaded the French port of Marseilles. France-Brian was getting a firm lesson in the difficulty of defending two fronts simultaneously and trying to expand at the same time. England smiled because Italy had signed on as an early ally of England. France was forced to retreat!!

Germany-Steve was doing well. Unworried about traditional enemies such as France or England, plus secretly pleased at Austria’s problems, Germany was able to quickly invade Scandinavia and gain strength. 

Russia-Jeannie never made much progress through the game. A strong ally of Turkey, Russia was frustrated to find that Germany’s superior strategy flanked her much of the time. As Austria and Russia both found, diplomacy is nice, but strategy and the ability to anticipate your opponent’s moves were also critical. 

On the other hand, Italy-Bob and Mr. Turkey were having a good time. Mr. Turkey had only one direct enemy: Austria-Anita. He just waltzed up the Balkan Peninsula and grabbed Serbia, Rumania, Greece, Bulgaria almost at will. Since Russia was on his side and with Austria-Anita in strategic disarray, Mr. Turkey had nothing to fear.

Italy-Bob also flourished. Austria and France had no clue how to attack Italy. During Phase One, Italy had success invading southern France, the Iberian Peninsula, and Austrian homeland. Italy-Bob was a serious threat!

Phase One of Diplomacy involved expansion into unguarded territories such as the Balkan Peninsula, Spain/Portugal, and Scandinavia. Early winners in the expansion process were Turkey, Italy, England, and Germany. They got more free slices of the pie than their neighbors did. Since you are rewarded for expansion, this made the winners stronger than the losers and allowed them to begin to dominate head-to-head struggles with their enemies. 

In Phase Two, the strong began to devour the weak. Germany advanced on Russia with some help from England. Turkey was so strong it annihilated Austria with some help from Russia and Italy to forced Anita out of the game. Austria was the first country to go since it had no allies and three enemies. Anita was a good sport and took her drubbing well – she decided to borrow some of my cat food to go home and feed her new baby bird that had fallen out of a nest. My take on this move was that lost birds of a feather were flocking together. England never did figure out why Austria had ignored its strategic advice. 

Only one loser from Phase One managed to reverse his fortune. England noticed that France-Brian did not have a prayer against Italy with England on its back. England decided Italy was a greater threat than France, so England forged an alliance with France and began to push Italy back. Italy soon lost its hold on Marseilles (southern France) and Spain. Italy was in retreat!

Then something terrible happened. The World was quickly coming to an end!  Yes, the players suddenly decided it was getting late and they wanted to go home. England-Rick was in a quandary. Russia was in deep trouble due to Germany’s approach. England had a long-term goal of attacking Turkey. The plan was to first chew up Italy with France’s help, then to carve up the Turkey with the help of Germany and France in a three-pronged attack. Then with Turkey out of the picture along with Russia and Italy, France, Germany, and England would begin Phase Three against each other. At least this was the plan. 

England had not counted on the real world desire for the players to have lives beyond Diplomacy. Apparently the lure of Free Pizza only goes so far. Their bellies fed, their curiosity satisfied, the game was losing interest. Fine, that happens all the time to players who see they have no realistic chance, but England did not anticipate EVERYONE deciding to quit in fifteen minutes. 

Shaken by the unanticipated abrupt end to the game, England made a bad move – I turned on my allies. I secretly poached one of Germany’s territories captured from Russia (St. Petersburg) and one of France’s territories (Portugal). However, I made the mistake of forgetting there was one move left. Clearly miffed by England’s betrayal, France talked former enemy Italy into a sour grapes, cheap shot act of revenge. Combining their remaining strength, on the last play of the game, France kicked England out of Spain with the help of Italy. This proved significant because it cost England the overall victory. France and Italy were clearly pleased. Their move was very similar to Saddam’s move of igniting all of Kuwait’s oil wells. 

Furthermore, Germany wasn’t very happy either. Despite its best finish in memory, all Germany could do was fret and fume about England’s move into St. Pete. In other words, Germany did not bother to remember that England’s alliance had allowed him to knock off Russia, no mean feat. Instead, Germany left with bitter feelings concerning England’s backstab in St. Petersburg. 

Nor did France-Brian show any gratitude towards England. England’s rescue had allowed him to pull a Lazarus and return from the dead. Did France remember this? No. All France could talk about was one silly little backstab in Portugal. Did England ever attack Paris? No. Did England ever molest his Brest despite many pleasant opportunities? No. So what could account for all France’s venom over one little peccadillo in Portugal of all places?  England’s theory is that Brian had been upset from the start due to the refusal to rename the English Channel to the French Channel. Plus I was unable to remember his last name. Details are the hobgoblins of small minds.    

Unfortunately, France was actually able to get some revenge. Despite the fact that Italy had once been on the verge of annihilating France, all France cared about was getting back at England for a single, almost unnoticeable indiscretion. France’s seizure of Spain on the last move of the game cost England the victory. It was an obvious case of what have you done for me lately. England was forced to settle for second place.

Germany came in third. This is the best showing Germany has ever had. Germany always loses because it is an easy country to dislike. As people sit down at the board, they have to attack someone. After all the war movies we have seen, Germany is ALWAYS the bad guy, so people naturally gang up on Germany. Not this time: Steve Frolich quickly expanded into Scandinavia during Phase One and by the final move of the game had captured Russia’s Moscow. Germany was poised to move on Turkey. However, we ran out of Pizza. Deprived of fuel, Germany was thwarted again. Oil, Pizza, whatever, it seems Germany always has supply problems.

Mr. Turkey was the winner. He had no one ever attack his homeland. His only enemy was a strategically impaired, alliance-less sitting duck that was easy pickings. Tom Flaherty played a flawless game. He was just on the verge of carving up Italy when the game ended. Unfortunately his main ally- Russia - was near vaporization. It is unclear if Mr. Turkey would have been able to forge a new alliance against the three-way Axis of Germany-England-France in Phase Three. However, knowing Mr. Turkey, I have little doubt he would have tried to sweet-talk one of them into switching sides.

Either Tom or I will host another Diplomacy Game in the first week in July. If you are interested in playing, contact me at dance@ssqq.com  I might add if you decide to play, watch out for Jeannie Finn and Tom Flaherty. They took a copy of the rules home with them. This is never a good sign. 

But you won’t have to worry about me. After seeing the pain on the faces of my friends in France and Germany, I know now I could never betray another country. I have learned my lesson.


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