Casino Night and Trivial Pursuit Fund Raiser a
PS- To read more about how Cole is
On Saturday, September 23, SSQQ
staged a Fund Raiser Party for Ben and Diana Liles and their young son
Cole. The party raised $2,000 plus many spirits as well. The party in a
word was "Fun"!
I was in charge of Trivial
Pursuit. We decided to divide into SSQQ Staff versus the Intellects.
Lindy Hop Triplett was the Captain of the Intellects while the Staff
quickly suggested that Maureen Brunetti was far more qualified to lead
the Staff into battle than the studio's owner.
The Intellects included Lindy Hop,
her very nice friend Lenny, Wilbert, SSQQ's smartest woman Debbie Awad
(she won a contest last year to prove it!), Debbie's fiancee, Ralph
Harp, and Mike Freidberg.
The SSQQ Staff included Maureen,
me, David Armand, Fran and Bill (who are not on the Staff quite yet),
plus Margie Saibara and Ted Jones.
Team SSQQ got off to a quick start
largely through the efforts of David Armand who is currently a student
at the University of Houston and still accustomed to using his brain on
a daily basis. However when the Intellects discovered David got most of
his information from watching the Disney Channel, they decided to tease
him for the rest of the night. Jealous, I guess.
It turns out that the Intellects
did not "click well" as a team. Mike Friedberg knew many of
the answers, but he was so soft-spoken that most of the time his
suggestions were ignored. Too bad. For one thing, Mike knew that
"Nantucket" was a better answer as the major fishing island of
Massachusetts, but somehow "Martha's Vineyard" was submitted.
Tsk. Another time Mike was pretty sure that "Mickey and
Minnie" was Janet Jackson's tattoo in an unmentionable area of her
body, but was overruled for "Chip and Dale". David was almost
incontrollable in his delight - anyone who watches the Disney Channel
would have gotten that answer easily. I might add the "Playboy
Channel" might have been an equally useful venue in answering this
one. (But I am just taking other people's words for it.)
However, the Intellects had an
advantage. They knew our weakness. Me. I was the only person on my team
who claimed to know anything about Sports. For the game winning
question, they deliberately put me on the Free Throw Line by choosing
the "Sports" category. The question: "What sport is
covered in the Japanese magazine 'Waggle'?" My suggestions were sumo wrestling, gymnastics, volleyball, and
badminton. These are all sports that the Japanese excel at. The team
decided to choose "Badminton". The answer? "Golf". Phooey.
So we proceed to roll the dice for
another 30 minutes trying to land on the damn middle again. Instead of
blaming me for suggesting "Badminton", I believe the dice
roller was largely responsible for the Intellects catching up to us.
Suddenly they too had six pies and were heading towards the
I was given another crucial sports
question. "Who was the first black baseball player to become
captain of his team?" I smartly dissuaded my team from Jackie
Robinson and suggested Willie Mays and Roy Campanella. Largely because
of his fabled reputation as a leader, I went with the Dodger's
Campanella. Nope. Willie Mays. My team had lost all confidence in me,
but not Team Intellect. They knew they could always count on me.
Fortunately Team Intellect blew a
game-winning answer themselves, giving us another chance. Naturally they
chose "Sports" again. "Which was the winning-est college
basketball program in the 1980s?" This one was pretty easy. Michael
Jordan was their legendary player. Dean Smith retired as the winning-est
coach of all time. The percentage guess had to go to University of North
Carolina. Yes. That was correct.
I looked around and saw that my
team was stunned. I had finally gotten one right with the game on the
line. They were so pleased they tried to carry me off on their
shoulders, but I was humiliated when they dropped me on the floor. Gee
whiz, guys!! Still, the victory was sweet.
My thanks to all who participated!
Largely through the coordinating efforts
of Event Organizer Extraordinaire Susie Merrill plus the hard work of
her Heartbeat Dance Team, Casino Night was a huge success. Susie and the
Heartbeat went way way way out of their way to put together a
highly-professional Gaming Room complete with Blackjack, Roulette,
Craps, and Poker. The Dealers were slickly outfitted and the Cocktails
waitresses were stunning in their short skirts.
Dealers included Tom Flaherty, Andrew
Wupper, Tony Hsu, Daryl Armstrong (looking resplendent in his Hawaiian
Shirt Dealer's costume!), Paul Foltyn, Dan Carr, Brian White, Randy
Goshorn, plus I believe
Rocky Kneten and Laura Wilde. Forgive me if I get any of the details
wrong because I was only in the Casino Room for 10 minutes before it
shut down. Later I was told the moment I entered people started leaving
so they had no choice. Thanks a lot.
The fetching Saloon Girls included Vickie
Huddleston, Ann Bush, Mo Hendrix, Candi is Dandy Angulo, and the
legendary Swamp Fox herself Anita Williams. Actually Anita was
quite fetching indeed as she went to get several drinks for me during
the evening. Later however Anita looked very tired. I asked her what was
the matter and she said she was exhausted from counterfeiting a million
dollars earlier in the day.
Paul Foltyn had some very clever ideas
for being a successful dealer. He said he kept his clients entertained
with jokes. "Why did the coach flood the gym?- He wanted to put his
subs in". "Why did the Coach send in the Second String? - He
wanted to tie up the game." There were only two people at
Paul's table when I talked with him. ;-)
After Paul and I managed to shut down the
place, Daryl Armstrong auctioned off the prizes. As you
might imagine new Dad Daryl was hysterical. For example, every time his lovely wife JoAnne was
about to win something, Daryl managed to keep the bidding open till
another bid came in. Going one, going twice, going four times, going
twenty times... Daryl had to stay on his toes because
JoAnne bid on practically everything!! (I honestly don't know how
he affords her.)
Some of the bidding was bizarre. For
example, Marty Shea made a couple of music CDs to give away. JoAnne, as
you might expect, immediately wanted them and put in a nice starting bid
of 250. Sitting in a rocking chair, Leroy Ginzel then bid 25,000!!
As you might guess, that shut everyone else up quickly. What the guests
didn't know is that Marty and Adele Raber had bet everything on their last
throw of the dice and come up a winner. They had to leave early, so they
gave their chips to Leroy and asked him to bid on the Music CDs as a
proxy. Leroy was just doing what they asked, but the rest of the people
were gasping. 'What was on those CDs?', they wondered. Poor Marty Shea
predictably was besieged with requests to make copies for everyone else.
He has since opened up his own music-production company.
Another time Candi is Dandy Angulo made an
enormous bid for some item. Immediately the bidders were suspicious
because Candi had been a fetching high-heeled waitress all evening. When
had she had the time to accumulate that much wealth? No one had seen
her gambling. Had she been raiding the coffers when no one was
looking? Or had she used her ample charms to beguile some besotted
guest and separate him from his gambling lucre? With dollar bills
hanging from every conceivable spot, Candi at first was quite defiant.
"I was very busy" was her initial reply, but when she saw all
the eyebrows raised at that comment, she realized that maybe she had sent
the wrong message. Candi quickly reminded everyone that maybe her handsome
husband Manny standing nearby had contributed some to the family stash. Oh
In fact all the bidding was very unpredictable.
Things that were actually worth something were often obtained for
practically nothing (unless of course poor JoAnne wanted it). Other
items that in my diplomatic opinion were junk were hotly-contested
items. Take the incident of the rocks. There was this stupid bag of rocks that Susie
brought along. Apparently the Waitresses were expected to wear balloons as
part of their costumes. The only problem was that Randy filled them with
too much Helium and the Saloon Girls were
turning into Balloon Girls. This was a real problem because one unnamed
waitress had chosen not to wear underwear. Plus another waitress was
looking at everyone's hand and signaling to the Blackjack Dealer. We had
to get a ladder to pull them down off the ceiling. Then Susie solved
everything by adding the
Rocks to weight them down to everyone's obvious disappointment.
However, that's not what the customers
wanted. There was a lot of betting going on about which waitress forgot
to wear underwear, but there was only one good way to find out. The
bidders tried to buy the entire Rock Collection so the girls
would float to the ceiling again. Thus the spirited bidding. Susie
however put a quick end to this nonsense by popping everyone's bubble.
Literally. The Air Waitress Team was grounded.
Many people asked why I bothered to stay
late for the Auction bidding. Although I didn't appreciate it, everyone
had a big laugh at my expense when I lost all my gambling money early on
with one pathetic throw of the dice. I replied that Susie would have
auctioned off the furniture if I hadn't stayed.
All in all, Casino Night was a very fun
evening. I have not given nearly enough credit to all of the many people who worked
hard to make it a success. For example, there was one gentleman who
loaned his excellent Craps table for the evening, but I am sorry I
forgot his name. Although Ray and Janet Wukman couldn't make the
evening, they donated several wonderful auction gifts as did Larry
Carlton, Helen Villasenor, and several other people. And Mitch Istre went to a lot of
trouble to bring his entire CD collection and sound
system with him to DJ the evening. I was sorry to see that he remembered
to take his excellent equipment home with him.
Other people with less glamorous jobs who
were equally important included Donna Tillery who took care of the money
(but didn't get to have much fun alone by herself!), Terry Hale who
single-handedly cleaned up the big mess after an excellent Potluck Dinner,
and Bill Merrill who performed countless duties such as carrying things in
and out, decorating, cleaning up, and a million other odd jobs.
My point is that whether I chronicled
their efforts or not, actually many people contributed a lot of time and
effort into making the night terrific. However no one could ever have
predicted the best contribution of all. In the middle of the night to
everyone's shock and joy, Ben and Diana strolled in with their darling
little son Cole!!
I don't know about the other people, but
I was astonished. I didn't realize Cole had become strong enough to be
released from the hospital, but sure enough there he was all comfy and
bundled up in a car seat. Naturally I was terrified to breathe on the
little boy, but that didn't prevent me from grinning a lot! It was
so cool to have Cole there as the Guest of Honor on his own night!
Later Ben and Diana went back into Room 4
to get away from the noise and the evil influences of the gambling and
wicked women of Casino Night. I hadn't seen Diana in two months ever
since the emergency birth back on July 28th. Diana has been through so
much herself that I was just as happy to see her as I was to meet Cole.
She is a pretty amazing woman. Apparently Diana works as a pediatric
nurse at Texas Children's hospital. If ever there was a home to be born
premature into, I think Cole picked the right one!! And watching
Ben as he took Cole out of the car seat to hold against his shoulder, I
could tell Cole was in good hands too! Ben also exerts a magic
influence over his son. The moment Ben held him against his shoulder,
Cole grunted and turned purple with effort. I will spare you the reason
What a lovely, special evening!!
Thanks again to all who participated!
PS- To read more about how Cole is progressing, click
Rick is Impressed with Modern Technology
Judy and I broke down and decided to
get Caller ID. No one ever calls us, but just in case they do, we wanted
to be ready. Judy in particular has trouble with names and thought if she
could read the name, she could remember it better. Well, not surprisingly
a week went by and no one had called yet. As I walked by the phone, I
noticed Caller ID had been activated so I decided it was time to find out
if it worked. With Judy keeping a close eye on the home phone, I went into
the office and called from the studio phone. I heard the phone ringing in
the other room.
So I went and asked Judy what it
said. Judy had a very curious look on her face. She showed me the
It said, "SSQQ Dance Stud". I was amazed at just how
sophisticated modern technology has become! We should have bought
this a long time ago.
Rick Archer Disagrees with the Pope.
No one asked for my opinion, but
I decided to offer it anyway. I think over-population is our planet's
greatest problem and I also think very little is being done to deal
with this time-bomb. My guess is at least a few other people out there
agree with me.
At some point countries will run
out of enough water and food to feed their population. At this point
they will wage
war to steal another country's resources in a manner similar to
Saddam's ruthless grab of Kuwait several years back. These predictable
battles will of course solve the population problem in its own way.
However I had hoped people far more influential than I would consider
other less cynical solutions such as finding ways to curb population
growth before the problem solved itself through bloodshed and
Unless some miracle technology
comes along to change things as they are today, my attitude is each
person should have the right to replace him or herself and stop there.
However this simple idea appears to be just my wishful thinking. I
also think being unprepared to raise a child properly is a far greater
crime against society than most of the crimes people get locked up
However my idle hope that people
who are in a position to make a difference might start preaching a
message similar to mine was rudely dashed when I read the September
6th Houston Chronicle.
Pope John Paul II took to task married couples who decide to remain
childless. John Paul decried that, in the face of many children who
don't have parents, "there are so many couples who decide to
remain without children for reasons not rarely selfish."
The Pope went on to make further
enlightened suggestions such as condemning in-vitro fertilization (I
am sure the Liles family will appreciate this news), calling it
"a morally reprehensible practice". He also pointed out that
anyone who is not a faithful Catholic cannot expect to attain full
salvation from earthly sin. The Vatican declaration added that other
beliefs - including I assume Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, and Protestants
- have defects that render them inferior.
Pardon me while I disagree with
all three positions in disgust. But that's just my opinion.
Email from Charles Masino
DEAR MR. ARCHER,
“THE POPE IS A DOPE” ON YOUR PUBLIC WEBSITE?????
I DO NOT SUPPORT ANTI-CATHOLIC BIGOTRY. I ALWAYS WELCOME INTELLIGENT DISCOURSE, BUT INSULTS SIMPLY DEMONSTRATE YOUR IGNORANCE. WHEN YOU HAVE THIS ASSIMILATED INTO YOUR “MUSCLE MEMORY”, YOU MAY PLACE MY NAME BACK ON YOUR
A FORMER SSQQ STUDENT
P.S. ALTHOUGH MY PRAYER TIME IS ALREADY DEDICATED TO, AMONG OTHER THINGS, STARVING CHILDREN IN IRAQ, COUPLES UNABLE TO CONCEIVE, AND PREMATURE BABIES, I WILL PRAY FOR YOU AS WELL.
Rick Archer's Reply to Mr Masino.
I am sorry you find my point of view
upsetting, but I stick to my position - given a planet struggling to
feed the people that are already here it is ludicrous to criticize
people for not having babies, there is nothing immoral about having in-vitro
children if you have the love and resources to care for them, and I
doubt seriously a truly loving God would penalize someone for
worshipping Him through another religion if the devotion was sincere.
I will agree the title of my
article was disrespectful and perhaps should be toned down. However it
reflects my sentiments so clearly that the title is likely to remain.
I also respect your right to voice
your opinion. Furthermore, tomorrow I will add your comments to my web
site so that you have the right to disagree.
(Editor's Note: I might add I decided
to change the title of my original piece as a result of Mr. Masino's
letter. However the content remains the same. For the record, I am not
even remotely "anti-Catholic". I am however anti-stupidity.)