WHAT IS NEW AT SSQQ
This is the
February 2007 issue of the SSQQ Newsletter.
As you may have noticed, I
skipped January. Please
forgive. You will soon see that I have been
busy writing all kinds of stories. I hope you will
agree the wait was
The major news this month is about our SSQQ Cruises
past and future. In addition to our
spectacularly successful late May trip to Hawaii, in
this issue Marla announces our annual dance cruise
aboard Carnival Conquest in late September.
I am pleased to announce I have finally completed
work on the cruise write-ups from last year's New
England Cruise and Rhapsody Dance Cruise.
I have put the finishing touches on a very
interesting story which covers the events that led
to the creation of SSQQ back in 1979-1980. I
think you will be shocked at some of the weird
twists and turns this story takes. If you like
watching soap operas, you may be amused at all the
stupid mistakes I made back when I was young and
foolish. However, you will be surprised to
discover that my mistakes somehow led to the
formation of this dance studio. Look for
SSQQ Slow Dance and Romance has been
going crazy! In the Newsletter we will
announce 1 new wedding and 5 engagements.
We have three Story in the News features this month.
One is a story of a New York man who threw himself
into the subway to rescue a man who fell due to a
seizure. One problem: a Subway Train was closing
fast! Our second story is the
improbable tale of Rambo Granny. And finally
we have three bizarre news tales to share.
Recently 25 brave SSQQ dancers headed over to
Chandelier Ballroom for a fun night of Ballroom
Dancing. Check for the story and
On a dark note, on Wednesday, January 31, one dance
student had their car towed by the Bellaire Police
and another car was nearly towed. The problem
was caused when the City redesigned the NO PARKING
zones on First Street without bothering to warn
anybody. This is an important story to read.
On a lighter note, I wrote a short column about the
man who published over a dozen books five years
after his death.
A couple notes on SSQQ Staff people trying to start
their own businesses. Rebecca Bangstein starts her
Saturday 12:30 to 1:30 exercise class on February
17. Caitlin Prescott writes about her
Personal Assistance job called "Two Pairs of Hands'.
Read the Newsletter for the details.
SSQQ has a new kid - Salsa instructor Jim Coulter
and his lovely wife Uli announce the birth of their
son Talon and share pictures.
On a second dark note, in 2006 SSQQ was forced to
pay nearly $17,000 more in rent than we paid in
2005. And it is starting to get even worse. If
you wish to be informed why we were forced to raise
our prices, you will get all the gory details in the
Oh, one more thing, be sure to read to very end - I
left an interesting tidbit down there.
Thanks for visiting the February Newsletter!
Here are the
Chapters in this month's Newsletter:
SEPTEMBER CARIBBEAN DANCE CRUISE ABOARD
THE CARNIVAL CONQUEST
CRUISE TRIP TO
HAWAII IS SETTING ALL KINDS OF RECORDS.
THE 2006 NEW
ENGLAND CRUISE WRITEUP IS COMPLETE
RHAPSODY CRUISE WRITEUP IS COMPLETE
A DANCE TEACHER: RISKY BUSINESS
THE NEW LOGIC PUZZLE AND THE WINNERS
FROM LAST MONTH
SLOW DANCE AND
IN THE NEWS: HERO RESCUES MAN IN NEW YORK
A NIGHT OF
BALLROOM DANCING AT THE CHANDELIER
PARKING PROBLEMS ON FIRST STREET
THE CONSPIRACY AUTHOR WHO WOULD NOT DIE
STORY IN THE NEWS: RAMBO GRANNY
BANGSTEIN'S SATURDAY EXERCISE CLASS
CAITLIN PRESCOTT's TWO PAIRS OF HANDS
A BRAND NEW SSQQ KID - INTRODUCING MR TALON
COMPLAINT OF THE
MONTH - WHY DID SSQQ RAISE THE TUITION?
STORY IN THE NEWS: BIZARRE NEWS CLIPS FROM
AROUND THE WORLD
FAVORITE STORIES FROM PREVIOUS ISSUES
01. ANNOUNCING THE
2007 SEPTEMBER SSQQ DANCE CRUISE
Sunday, September 23rd
thru Sunday, Sept 30th
This coming September, we will be taking our
first Caribbean dance cruise aboard the
beautiful Carnival Conquest.
This is a somewhat controversial move.
We have previously sailed on the Rhapsody
four times and the ship feels like home.
But the Rhapsody was inexplicably priced at
a price $400 higher than the Conquest.
We loved the Rhapsody, but at that price, I
don't think anyone is going to question our
Although we have asked several people, no
one has explained why Royal Caribbean priced
the Rhapsody out of the market. The
ship will be repositioning itself to Asia
this coming August. We can only assume
the high prices had something to do with the
Rhapsody leaving the Texas market. Marla
So now we turn our attention to the
Conquest. This magnificent ship is
much larger and much newer than the
I can think of three benefits to traveling
on the Conquest right off the top of my
First, we finally get a chance to visit
Jamaica (as well as Cayman and Cozumel).
This island is a tropical paradise.
There are some river rides and trips into
the interior that promise a chance to see
Second, we get to dance on stage! Back
in 2001 when we traveled with Carnival, we
had the best time dancing on the same stage
as the performers. With the ship's
orchestra playing a string of Big Band
standards, we had a marvelous night of
dancing at the Captain's Reception. In
fact, we danced so hard that there were
hundreds of people sitting in the theater
oohing and aahing at our moves. In
fact, many of these same people actually
thought our group had been hired to put on a
Third, the Conquest has an incredible water
slide. I can only wonder if Phyllis
will find a way to stuff people in it.
Probably not. If she can't get her
picture taken inside the belly of a snake,
We took 136 people for our dance cruise
aboard the Rhapsody in 2006. The
energy was unbelievable. This trip
promises to be just as exciting
Contact Marla Archer at 713 862-4428 or
with any further questions.
02. ANNOUNCING THE
2007 SSQQ CRUISE TO HAWAII!
Saturday, May 26th to Saturday, June 2nd
When we first announced this
trip in December, we had no idea that this
trip would fill up faster than any cruise in
our experience. The response was
simply phenomenal. As I write, we have
over 70 people going. And here's the
good news - there is plenty of room for
Hawaii is the Jewel of the Pacific Ocean.
It is one of the top vacation destinations
in America. However, as you know,
Hawaii is expensive. There is no way around
that. Still, this trip is well within reach.
This is your chance to see one of the most
beautiful places in the entire world for as
little as $1,500 per person ($750 air fare,
$750 inside cabin).
There is so much
to see that you will go crazy having to pick
from one exotic
destination after another.
Will it be a trip to explore a lush rain
forest or an expedition to witness
Or will it be a chance to view
orchid-scented botanical gardens or visit
one of the many stunning beaches?
Will you hike atop the lunar landscape of
Hawaii’s lava fields or will you visit
Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the
These will be tough decisions, but whatever
you choose, you can't miss. This is a
cruise trip you do not want to miss.
Contact Marla Archer at 713 862-4428 or
with any further questions.
STORY OF THE 2006
The SSQQ New
England was both amazing and frustrating at
the same time.
On the positive side, we had our chance to
see the changing leaves in the fall and some
of the most beautiful scenery in the entire
country. Visits to Martha's Vineyard,
Acadia National Park, and New Hampshire's
White Mountains revealed breath-taking
vistas. New England is truly a gorgeous
place to live.
We also got a chance to see history come
alive with trips to Salem Village, New
Brunswick, and of course by roaming around
However some of our excitement was tempered
by the inexplicable rudeness and
inefficiency of a cruise staff rumored to be
the worst in the Royal Caribbean fleet.
You will simply have to read the story to
understand the level of the incompetence we
CURSE OF THE JEWEL
Plus we had a couple who crashed our group
even though we told them not to. That
was a weird event.
According to one person who commented to me,
this was the most interesting cruise story
yet. The pictures alone are worth
taking a look at and the story is equally
From: TFW Computers
Sent: Thursday, January 18, 2007 7:57 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: New England Cruise
Rick, I read your articles on the New England cruise
Wow! Pretty bad!! Glad I didn't go.
No matter how great the destination is, a ship can
sure ruin one's vacation.... I was mad just reading
Very well written. Gary T. Richardson
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Friday, January 19, 2007 12:02 PM
To: TFW Computers
Subject: RE: New England Cruise
It is a misconception to think I did not enjoy this
Actually, this was an incredible trip.
Salem Village, Boston, Martha's Vineyard, Acadia,
the Titanic Museum, the crazy water ride in St John,
plus the beauty of New Hampshire on the last day - I
am very glad we went.
That said, I do intend to share my thoughts with
RCCL at some time in the near future.
For the moment, they are already paying for the poor
performance of their staff - we deliberately avoided
RCCL to go with NCL for Hawaii which, by the way, is
certain to become the largest non-Caribbean trip we
have ever taken. Plus Marla is considering using
Carnival for the late summer Caribbean trip.
(Update: Marla did go with Carnival. See
Carnival Conquest in September 2007).
Royal Caribbean's vaunted reputation for Nordic
efficiency took a Titanic size hit on this trip. The
image of the Princess people practically galloping
to their tender versus the stationary Jewel line
that snaked up the hill at Acadia is a sight I hope
I never have to see again.
Nevertheless, of the ten cruises SSQQ has taken so
far, I would rate this as my third favorite trip
behind Mardi Gras 2004 and Alaska 2005. Although the
Jewel's problems diminished my pleasure, I will
treasure my memories of this trip forever.
04. THE PICTURES & STORY OF THE
CRUISE ARE COMPLETE.
Well, it took me a
while, but my travelogue of the 2006
Rhapsody Reloaded Cruise is finally ready.
This August Cruise was an incredible trip.
It was without a doubt the most successful
trip we have ever taken.
So what took me so long to put the story
together? I attribute my writer's
block to 3 reasons.
First, my friend Gary Richardson put
together an overwhelming CD collection of
pictures. Although I am grateful for
all his hard work and the pictures were
great, I felt kind of overwhelmed.
Gary's CD had over 1,300 pictures of 136
different people! If you believe every
picture is worth a thousand words, imagine
how I didn't even know where to begin.
My second problem is going to sound silly,
but it took me so long to format and post
650 pictures, I was so tired I didn't have
much wind left. Furthermore, since
this was our fourth trip on the Rhapsody, it
was difficult for me to find new things to
say about the ship, the ports, the dancing,
and the hot tub nonsense. Maybe it is
time to switch ships after all.
But the third reason is the real reason - I
didn't have anything to talk about! I
have to tell you something - people have
learned to keep their mouths shut around me.
I got the feeling all sorts of interesting
things were happening all around me, but no
one would talk. I was unable to
penetrate this conspiracy of silence.
It was a wonderful trip, but next time I am
going to hire me an informant. Then
you will get a great trip writeup.
FEBRUARY CLASS HIGHLIGHTS – CLASSES BEGIN
SUPER BOWL SUNDAY,
Remember – if you miss the
first week of class, you can always start in the
second week. The Second Week Review will catch you
For even more detail on many
of the classes listed below, please visit
Special classes for
2 on Sundays at
4:30 pm with Jack Benard.
have three Swing classes on Sundays, but one of
three is always held at 4:30. This month
the 430 slot is Advanced.
GHOST TOWN 10
In response to the request for Parallel Ghost
Towns, we now will offer the same level on
Sundays and Fridays. If you miss one day, you
can make it up on the other. In addition Scott
is likely to throw in a bonus pattern as well!
II on Sundays at 7 will cover
TANGO and CHA CHA.
Jack Benard will be the teacher.
INTERMEDIATE BALLROOM on Sundays at 7 will cover
FOXTROT, WALTZ, AND RUMBA.
Jill Banta will be the
will cover ADVANCED TANGO and
CHA CHA patterns.
Marla Archer will be the teacher.
pm on Sundays, Dakota offers
ACCELERATED BALLROOM WALTZ II. Last
month's Accelerated class had over 50 people.
For more information
about this popular new program, you can read more about
reminder that we will no longer be teaching SLOW
DANCE as a regular four-week group class. That
said, there are special occasions like the First
Dance at a wedding, a fancy New Years Eve party,
a romantic standard at the Captain's Reception
on a cruise, or a sultry torch song at a
nightclub where the ability to Slow Dance would
sure come in handy. If you are getting married
or would simply like to learn to Slow Dance,
Marla Archer can teach you SLOW DANCE, WALTZ, or
FOXTROT in a private lesson. Contact her at
Marla teaches an average of 5 private lessons a
week to couples who need to learn how to Slow
Dance, Foxtrot, or Waltz at their Wedding
Reception. If you know someone who needs to
prepare for this important moment, read Marla’s
story about her Wedding Dance experiences,
and Lisa’s MARTIAN WHIP has moved to Mondays.
This turned out to be a very popular move as the
class has grown to 40 people. Not only do they
love the class, Monday Night Whip Practice
became a serious rocking event. If you are an advanced
Whip and West Coast Swing dancer, this is the
place to be on Mondays! By
the way, Bryan recently finished in the Top 12
of the National West Coast Swing Championships.
In other words, Bryan is now one of the top 12
male dancers in the country. Quite an
is phenomenal. Each Tuesday,
there is a Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced
Salsa class that average 80 to 100 people in
each class. In particular, Steve & Danielle
conduct their elite Advanced Salsa class each
Tuesday. The Tuesday Salsa Practice Night
hosted by Linda Cook is smokin’.
Ladell teaches INTERMEDIATE NIGHTCLUB on
Danced to slow, romantic western songs, Night
Club is an unusual dance that is best described
as an "active" form of Slow Dancing.
Combining a special blend of Ballroom patterns
taken from Rumba, Bolero, Foxtrot, and Waltz,
Night club is a pretty dance to watch and fun to
use. Nor is it difficult to learn.
A unique feature of Night Club is that it is
danced apart. This allows people without
romantic partners to dance to Slow Music in a
very stylish manner. You would be surprised at
the number of songs that would normally be
considered "Slow Music" that suddenly become
exciting to dance to once you master this unique
In recent years, Night Club has become a fixture
on the Country-Western competition dance
circuit. It works perfectly to Western ballads
such as "Breathe" by Faith Hill.
GHOST TOWN 2 in
February. Call it
“Ghost Town Lite” or “Training Wheels Ghost
Town” since this class is only slightly harder
than our Advanced Western Swing classes.
continues on Thursdays in
February with Dakota. Martian Technique is an advanced
program for the graduates of our Basic Beginner
thru Lunar program. It moves faster than Lunar
Whip, but nowhere near as fast as Martian Whip.
In other words, this class helps people bridge
the gap between our Basic West Coast Swing
Program and the highly
acclerated Martian Whip. Technique is a place where the classes are small and we
can concentrate on polishing your skills while
adding new material. This month Dakota teaches
his WEST COAST SWING SYNCOPATIONS AND TIMING
class on Thursdays!
and Cher will teach
INTERMEDIATE WESTERN WALTZ
on Friday. Western Waltz is considered the
"Romantic" Western dance. The stakes being what
they are, no sensible man should ignore this
important dance! The moves are quite graceful
and the music is very pretty.
the request of many Salsa students, Bjorn and
Rebeca Bangstein have moved their
Explosion on Saturdays to 2:00 pm. This has
turned out to be a great move. Not only did
they have 40 students in their class, they all
had plenty of room to dance! This move allowed
students to take both the Explosion class and
the 4:30 Advanced Salsa class back to back.
and Blues Twostep is
taught on Saturdays at 4:30 pm by Willie
Bushnell and Willie Green.
Also known as "Swingout", Rhythm and
Blues Twostep is a popular dance used in
African-American nightclubs. Taught by Willie
Bushnell, R&B Twosteppin' is a partner dance
similar to Zydeco. The man and woman first dance
in closed position, then the man "swings her
The Red and White
valentines SWING AND ballroom dance party!
9:15 pm - 11:30 pm,
Swing mixed with Ballroom Music
in Room One
All Swing music in Room 4.
(Wear Red and White or Stay outta Sight!)
CRASH COURSES (7 - 9 PM)
CINDERELLA'S WALTZ (ADVANCED
PATTERNS) - Rick
SLOW DANCING - Marla (couples only)
RUMBA - The Latin Dance of Romance - Jill
PUTTIN' ON THE RITZ: BEGINNING WALTZ AND FOXTROT -
VALENTINE SWING PATTERNS (ADVANCED PATTERNS) -
BEGINNING AMERICAN TANGO - Dakota
SALSA EXPLOSION DANCE PARTY !!
Saturday, February 17
9:00 PM - 12 Midnight
CUMBIA - Luis
BACHATA - Linda
MERENGUE - Hoover
LATIN CHA CHA - Jill
SALSA EXPLOSION (Adv Ptns) - Rebeca/ Bjorn
SALSA DIPS & LUNGES I Steve/Daniele (cpl)
SWEETHEARTS OF THE RODEO WESTERN PARTY!
9:15 pm - 11:30 pm,
TWOSTEP - Jaime
BEG WESTERN SWING - Robert
TRIPLE TWOSTEP - Scott
SWEETHEARTS OF THE RODEO! (Adv Ptns) - Linda
BEG WEST COAST SWING - Jack
WESTERN CHA CHA - Jill
Western in Room One plus Swing and Western Waltz
Whip in Room Four
07. ADVENTURES OF A DANCE TEACHER:
The Tale of Two Movies...
Urban Cowboy Meets Risky Business
Written by Rick Archer
This is the story about how
a volatile mix of Four Women - a Beauty, a Tragic Lover, a Social Outcast,
and a Mystery Woman - plus two huge Gambles -
one professional and one personal - set Rick
Archer on a wild Rollercoaster Ride...
... a Ride that culminated with Rick becoming Houston's
best-known Western Dance Teacher even though he began teaching
Western classes months before he knew how to Western Dance!
This wild tale explains how
Houston's most famous dance studio came into being.
08. THE SSQQ
NEW LOGIC PUZZLE:
SONG CHART PUZZLE
Back in the late 60s, one of the features on KATZ
Radio is the Friday evening “Top Seven Show”. Friday
is the night when the top seven hit records in the
Happy Valley listening area are played in order from
seven up to one.
This week six famous rock groups plus one solo act,
each recording for a different label, are in the Top
From the following clues, can you determine which
group has which number record and the record company
for which the group records?
THE SONG CHART PUZZLE
This one is pretty easy.
DECEMBER'S FOOTBALL LOGIC PUZZLE
RESULTS FROM January's CATS AND DOGS PUZZLE
2006 slow dance and
2007 SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE
Since I haven't put out a
newsletter in several months, it is no surprise that
we have had a flurry of Romantic activity.
Late last year my old friend Ernest
Zumparelli (probably a misspelling) and
my new friend Donna Morrison, a
recent California transplant, had their
wedding at Texas. Many SSQQ dancers
were in attendance.
Congratulations to both!
Late in December, I learned that Keith
Baker and Betty Missler were
planning to get married.
These guys have been dancing up a storm at
the studio for some time, but I did not even
realize they were dating. Shows how
much I know!
Therefore their engagement was a very
pleasant surprise indeed.
Matt Faulk and Amy Dietrich are only a
'sort of' SSQQ couple, but as you will, SSQQ
definitely played a part in this romance. Amy
and her friend Angela used to cause all kinds of
trouble here at SSQQ. But when Angela (a new
Mom - Dec 4) hooked up with her husband Allen, Amy
lost her running buddy. But Amy wasn't going
to sit still. She had the nerve to go out
dancing all by herself. Sure enough Amy met
the love of her life out on the dance floor.
In her own words:
Rick, I met Matt through dancing. I met
him at Wild West back in February. He
asked me to dance and of course I said
"yes" since I had no fear. I was taught
by the best. :)
We met again April 1 at Tumbleweed Texas
and the rest is history. He says he
loves that I know how to dance and that
I know how to follow. Apparently too
many "untrained" girls try to lead the
boys. Thanks again for teaching me
And now for an interesting story.
Stan Bailey and Joy Todd either
got engaged somewhere around Christmas time
and immediately left town. They won't
send me a picture, I don't have an accurate
story, and I don't even have any bodies
because they skipped town!
Joy was a buddy of mine. She was a
vivacious, outgoing, mischievous character
who claimed she wouldn't be hanging around
Houston for long. She was a contract
nurse who moved around the country from job
to job. Her contract would be up soon.
She said she preferred this gypsy lifestyle
because she had lost a wonderful husband to
illness and did not want to settle down.
By moving around from job to job, she had an
excuse not to get attached. That was
So imagine my confusion when one day Joy's
friends Lawren and Jan announced that Joy
was married or engaged to Stan, one of the
guys in her western dance class. I
didn't even know she had a boyfriend!
Apparently the two of them left town to move
to Arizona. Talk about a 180 turn!
Jimmy Hendricks and Debbie Lundin
met at the studio through Swing and Ballroom
dancing. Debbie, like Donna above, is
also a recent California transplant. I
don't know much about their story, but they
sure are an attractive couple. They
told Marla about their engagement on a
Sunday night at the studio back in January.
Remind me to ask Debbie how she feels about
marrying a famous Rock Star! I am sure
I am not the first to tease.
I know Mack Warren and Amy Giles
very well. I first got to know Mack on
our Jubilee 2003 Cruise. He is a good
friend of Gary and Nancy Schweinle.
They talked Mack in to coming along. He had
a great time and got involved in dancing.
Soon after that he met a beautiful blonde
lady named Amy in dance class. They
started going together almost immediately.
Together they went on our 2004 Rhapsody
Trip. And again on the 2005 Rhapsody
Trip. In other words, these guys have
been an item for three years.
And now they are ready to take it straight
to Number One. I am really excited for
these guys because they make each other so
By the way, this month's special joke is
about blondes, but let me tell you, it isn't
about Amy. This lady is super smart.
No one fools her.
10. STORY IN THE NEWS: HERO RESCUES
MAN IN NEW YORK SUBWAY
Man who fell on subway tracks is saved by a
Rescuer makes a heroic leap to push stumbler between
By CARA BUCKLEY
New York Times
NEW YORK - A quick-thinking commuter saved a man who
fell on the subway tracks by pushing him down into a
trough between the rails, allowing an approaching
train to pass over them, police said.
Wesley Autrey, a 50-year-old construction worker,
was waiting for the train on Tuesday about 12:45
p.m. He was taking his two daughters home before
heading to work.
Nearby, a man collapsed, his body convulsing. Autrey
and two women rushed to help. The man, Cameron
Hollopeter, 20, managed to get up, but then stumbled
and fell to the tracks.
The headlights of the No. 1 train appeared. "I had
to make a split decision," Autrey said.
So he made one, and leaped.
Autrey lay on Hollopeter, pressing him down. The
train's brakes screeched, but it could not stop
until after five cars rolled overhead.
Autrey heard onlookers' screams. "We're OK down
here," he yelled, "but I've got two daughters up
there. Let them know their father's OK."
He heard cries of wonder, and applause. Power was
cut, and workers got them out.
Hollopeter, a student at New York Film Academy, was
taken to a hospital. He had only bumps and bruises,
said his grandfather, Jeff Friedman.
Autrey refused medical help, because, he said,
nothing was wrong.
"I don't feel like I did something spectacular; I
just saw someone who needed help," Autrey said. "I
did what I felt was right."
A NIGHT OF
BALLROOM DANCING AT THE CHANDELIER
Chandelier Ballroom is
the name of an SPJST Lodge located in the
Heights on 15th Street and Beale near
Robert and Nancy Kaechler organized a group
of us to go Ballroom Dancing on Saturday,
January 15. The idea went over very
well - despite very well advertising, we had
25 people in attendance.
Jack Melick and his Orchestra played many
Big Band favorites for Swing and Foxtrot. In
addition there were songs for Waltz, Tango,
Cha Cha and Rumba.
The music was good, the floor was huge, and
we had plenty of great dancers to share the
evening with. In other words, we had a
Some people came as couples and some people
came by themselves, but everyone danced with
everyone as is the spirit of SSQQ. No
one sat still for long, I assure you.
And yes, some people were better dancers
than others and yes, many mistakes were
made. But you know what, no one minded?
We were there to have fun... and we did!
Good news - Robert Kaechler has
organized another SSQQ visit to the Chandelier
Ballroom on March 24 for a night of Ballroom
We will dance to the Big Band music of the Gary
Henneke Orchestra as well as Foxtrot, Waltz, and so
8:30 pm to midnight, $11 per person
All dances require evening attire
beer, set-ups, soda & ice at bar for sale
Chandelier Ballroom, SPJST Lodge 88,
1435 Beall Street, Houston, Texas 77008
2006 was the first year in the history of
the studio where SSQQ introduced a complete
Ballroom Dance Program. I
can't tell you how pleased I was to see that
many people had been curious about Ballroom
for some time and were more than happy to
give it a try.
Houston, Texas, has
had a long love for Western music.
Consequently, Western Dancing has dominated
the dance landscape for the past 25 years.
To its credit, Western Dancing has made
itself more interesting by incorporating the
best of Ballroom Dancing.
For many years, SSQQ has seen great interest
in Western Waltz, Western Cha Cha, and Night
Club classes. In other words, Ballroom
Dancing has been popular at SSQQ for a long
time, except that it has been disguised as
However, true Ballroom Dancing differs from
the Western version in certain ways.
For example, many of the Box patterns common
to Waltz, Foxtrot, and Rumba are unavailable
at a Western club because you will get run
Second, good Ballroom music is very pretty
to listen to. Don't get me wrong -
there are some beautiful Western Waltz
songs. But there also some beautiful
Irish Waltz songs. The point is - I like to
dance to all kinds of music. One night
it might be George Strait, the next night it
might be Frank Sinatra. Why choose?
Have them both!
Third, Western dancing ignores Tango.
This sexy dance is just too much fun to do
Fourth, once in a while it is downright fun
to dress up and look good! I can't
tell you how much fun our dancers had on the
Rhapsody Cruise with Ballroom
Dancing. If it wasn't the Captain's
Reception or the Crown and Anchor Ballroom
Dance, then the Ballroom floor in the
Centrum was crowded from wall to wall every
night with SSQQ Ballroom dancers.
That ship was rocking as we danced the night
away. And we will do it again this
Hawaii and aboard the
I am thrilled to see that Ballroom Dancing
has carved out a new niche at SSQQ.
This trip to Chandelier Ballroom was just a
start. I imagine the dancing will get
more sophisticated throughout 2007 as Dakota
Wilhelm's Accelerated class kicks in.
In the meantime, each week we get better and
better. Our weekly Sunday Night Ballroom
Dance averages 70 people who thoroughly
enjoy their night of Ballroom music and
dance. Come join us!
Doug and Sheryl
Viola and Ken
Paul and Jan
Andy, Doug, Terese, Nancy, Robert, Karen, and
Paul, Jan, Linda,
?? and Jerry
Nancy and Robert
Marla and Rick
Jack, Jackie, and
Maggi, Karen, and Ken
PARKING PROBLEMS ON FIRST
Wednesday night, January 31, 2007, the car of an
SSQQ student named Maggi Dodds was towed from First
Street by order of the Bellaire Police.
Adding insult to injury, Ms. Dodds was also ticketed
for parking in a NO PARKING ANYTIME zone.
I did not witness Ms. Dodd's car being towed. Nor
did I find out about this event until the next day.
I believe Ms. Dodds car was gone before we even knew
what was going on.
However at 9:15 that evening I did intervene in the
towing of a second vehicle. In addition I engaged a
Bellaire policeman in a lengthy conversation.
We saved the second vehicle from being towed, but
the incident shook up everyone who witnessed the
event. When the other people heard about it from me
or the other witnesses, they too were shaken up.
Naturally this incident provoked a great deal of
anger. The towing incident seemed so unnecessary
that people questioned the judgment of the Bellaire
Police Department and the City Government.
(The rest of this article contains maps, pictures,
and several stories. If you are an SSQQ student,
this is MUST READ because at issue is the safety of
First Street Parking Problems
THE CONSPIRACY AUTHOR WHO WOULD
Christmas my 15 year old daughter Sam asked me to
drop by a bookstore so she could look for Christmas
Presents. Once we entered the store, since
theoretically she might be buying something for me,
she told me to get lost.
So I roamed around. I rarely read any more
since I spend all my time writing on the website,
but I do enjoy 'listening' to books as I drive in my
car. This wonderful use of my time allows to
pretend like I am still reading books.
It also allows keeps my road rage at Houston's
traffic to a tolerable level. For example, I
think the multi-million dollar upgrades to the West
Loop btw the SW Freeway and the Katy Freeway have
actually made the traffic SLOWER. But by
listening carefully to books from David Baldacci,
Daniel Silva, and Nelson DeMille, I can avoid those
sickening feelings of disgust at the snail's pace of
So today in the
bookstore I roam around looking for new
audio books. There is a veritable
feast of new books out and I pick up five
new audio books. Then my eyes cross
another familiar name. Robert Ludlum.
I do a double-take. There before my eyes is
his latest book The Bancroft Strategy.
I could have sworn this guy died. In
fact, my memory tells me he died several
years ago. Yet new books from Ludlum
just keep popping up. In fact, new
Ludlum novels seem to appear with greater
frequency than James Patterson and John
Grisham, two other writers famous for
churning out novels like clockwork.
You know, once upon a time I enjoyed
Ludlum's books immensely. Books like
the Holcroft Convenant and the
Bourne Identity were some of the best
conspiracy novels I have ever read. Those
books kept me on the edge of my seat.
seemed like sometime in the mid-1980s the guy
stopped trying. He started to write using the same
formula for every novel. Ludlum seemed totally
burned out. One book was so boring, I didn't
even bother to finish it. So I wrote Ludlum
off my buy-list and switched over to Tom Clancy for
a while (till the same thing happened to him). But
that didn't keep me from noticing each new Ludlum
book when they showed up from time to time during
the 1990s. My eyes simply could not avoid the
Then Robert Ludlum died. I think it was
somewhere around 2001. Shortly after, I
noticed two new Ludlum books that same year. At the time I assumed
that one or two new ones might have been in the
chute ready to be published. But then another
one showed up in 2002. Another in 2003.
It seemed like there were an uncanny number of new
Ludlum novels that were being published. But
since I wasn't paying close attention, this
suspicion stayed at the back of my mind.
In 2005, I was given a copy of Ludlum's Ambler
Warning for Christmas. This was the straw.
I knew there could not possibly be THAT MANY books
on the verge of being published at the time of Mr.
Ludlum's passing four years earlier.
I never read the Ambler
but it stilled played a part in my life. You
see, that book sat there on my coffee table and
never moved from the spot. Every time I passed
that coffee table, I noticed the book. Every
time I saw that book, it reminded me that this guy was writing
books at a greater frequency now that he was dead
than when he was alive. And I found it highly
amusing that not one of the new books bothered to
mentioned that the author had been dead for several
years. I suppose some ad genius was worried
that small technicality might hurt sales.
Now a year later as Christmas 2006 approached, the
moment I noticed the Bancroft Strategy, I
laughed out loud. There he goes again!
As I gathered up the 5 books I intended to buy, I kept
chuckling to myself.
As I waited my turn to check out, I noticed another copy of
the Bancroft Strategy was on a display rack
next to my sales clerk. As the lady checked out my books, she asked me if there
anything else she could help me with.
I smiled at her. She was about my age and seemed to
be a good sport, so I pointed to the Bancroft Strategy
and asked her a mischievous question, "Miss, correct me if
I am wrong, but do you see this Ludlum book?"
"Yes, I see it. What about it?"
"Well, isn't this guy dead?"
"Yes, he is. Mr. Ludlum died five years ago."
"Well, if that's the case, how does he keep writing
The woman laughed. "Funny you should ask that.
Someone on the staff said the exact same thing the
other day. Mr. Ludlum is one our favorite authors. Here
at the bookstore we call Robert Ludlum the greatest
Ghostwriter of all time!"
kidding! I smiled. That was a good one.
Oh, by the way, Ludlum has two more books coming out
in 2007 - The Arctic Event and The Bourne
Betrayal. Way to go, Robert!
My theory is now that he is dead, he has more time
on his hands for writing.
I am thinking of actually reading one of his ghost
stories just to see if his writing has
improved any now that he is dead.
story in the news: rambo granny
Granny of Melbourne, Australia
Gun-toting granny Ava Estelle, 81, was so ticked-off
when two thugs raped her 18-year-old granddaughter
that she tracked the unsuspecting ex-cons down - -
and shot off their testicles.
The old lady spent a week hunting those men down --
and when she found them, she took revenge on them in
her own special way, said Melbourne police
investigator Evan Delp.
Then she took a taxi to the nearest police station,
laid the gun on the sergeant's desk and told him as
calm as could be: 'Those bastards will never rape
anybody again, by God.' Cops say convicted rapist
and robber Davis Furth, 33, lost both his penis and
his testicles when outraged Ava opened fire with a
9-mm pistol in the hotel room where he and former
prison cellmate Stanley Thomas, 29, were holed up.
The wrinkled avenger also blew Thomas' testicles to
kingdom come, but doctors managed to save his
mangled penis, police said. The one guy, Thomas,
didn't lose his manhood, but the doctor I talked to
said he won't be using it the way he used to,
Detective Delp told reporters. Both men are still in
pretty bad shape, but they're just happy to be alive
after what they've been through.
The Rambo Granny swung into action August 21 after
her granddaughter Debbie was carjacked and raped in
broad daylight by two knife-wielding creeps in a
section of town bordering on skid row. "When I saw
the look on my Debbie's face that night in the
hospital, I decided I was going to go out and get
those bastards myself 'cause I figured the Law would
go easy on them," recalled the retired library
worker. "And I wasn't scared of them, either--
because I've got me a gun and I've been shootin' all
my life. And I wasn't dumb enough to turn it in when
the law changed about owning one."
So, using a police artist's sketch of the suspects
and Debbie's description of the sickos',
tough-as-nails Ava spent seven days prowling the
wino-infested neighborhood where the crime took
place till she spotted the ill fated rapists
entering their flophouse hotel.
I knew it was them the minute I saw 'em, but I shot
a picture of 'em anyway and took it back to Debbie
and she said sure as hell, it was them, the oldster
So I went back to that hotel and found their room
and knocked on the door and the minute the big one,
Furth, opened the door, I shot 'em right square
between the legs, right where it would really hurt 'em
most, you know.
Then I went in and shot the other one as he backed
up pleading to me to spare him. Then I went down to
the police station and turned myself in.
Now, baffled lawmen are trying to figure out exactly
how to deal with the vigilante granny. What she did
was wrong, and she broke the law, but it is
difficult to throw an 81-year-old woman in prison,
Det. Delp said, especially when 3 million people in
the city want to nominate her for sainthood and a
REBECCA BANGSTEIN'S SATURDAY MORNING EXERCISE CLASS
Title: Cardio Salsa y Mas
Description: Dance and work-out to the beat
of salsa, merengue, cha-cha, samba, punta and
Time: Classes will begin
Saturday, February 17, 12:30-1:30
Price: Pre-registration fee $24 for 4 classes
$8 per class
For information, contact Rebeca
16. CAITLIN PRESCOTT's TWO
PAIRS OF HANDS
(Editor's Note: Caitlin Prescott is one of our SSQQ
Registrars. She has a very interesting
business as a Personal Assistant to busy people.)
2nd Pair of Hands has been
in business 6 years. Here are some of the
adventures we have had:
1. Paying a client's bills on a monthly basis
while she works in another city. She sends
signed blank checks to us and we pay her bills.
2. Writing letters for a client who has had a
stroke needs help staying in touch with family
3. Lots of house sitting for extended periods.
We now have clients who plan their vacation
around our availability.
4. Grocery shopping and running errands for
clients especially during the holidays
5. Driving to Austin to The Texas State Supreme
Court to file documents.
6. Being flown to Dallas to file documents in a
7. Decorating a wedding reception and making
sure the dance floor and DJ arrived.
8. Having a cell phone shipped to me and then
meeting a client at the airport to deliver it to
him. He was from Colorado and was on a layover
9. Doing all of a client's holiday shopping,
gift wrapping and over-nighting the presents all
over the country
10. Updated a membership list of a National
Attorneys Association and investigated companies
to run the conference.
11. Mail out postcards for businesses to let
their clients know they have moved.
12. Helped clients get bids for home repair,
moving and insurance.
13. Administrative help on an ongoing basis for
a Private Investigator, CPA, Executive Coach/HR
Trainer and Yarn shop.
14. Helping a bride with last minute errands,
making the reservations for out of town guests.
Getting the guests on a bus from the hotel to
the church on time.
15. Hand addressing and mailing out invitations
to a fund raising event and doing all of a
client's Christmas card, addressing and mailing.
16. We have searched a house for a couple of
unloaded handguns that the client misplaced.
17. Once a month we deliver flyers to 75 stops
in the Heights/downtown area advertising the 1st
Saturday Heights Association Day.
18. During Hurricane Rita evacuation, went to
client's hill country ranch to get it ready for
guests in the 5 houses on the ranch.
19. Drive pets to client's lake house in their
20. Take animals for grooming and to the vet
21. Met repair men and delivery men at client's
houses to let them in.
My perfect clients are people who realize that
they can have more quality time by letting 2nd
Pair of Hands handle their errands, house
sitting and pet sitting needs.
Remember we have gift certificates for all kinds
of occasions for the person who has everything.
2nd Pair of Hands
Your Personal Concierge
A BRAND NEW SSQQ KID - INTRODUCING MR TALON
From: Jim Coulter
Sent: Wednesday, December 06, 2006 9:28 AM
To: Rick Archer; firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Introducing our new baby boy!
We hope you are all doing well.
Uli, Alina &
I wanted to introduce our new baby
boy...Talon James Coulter.
Both Uli & the baby are doing great!
November 29,2006, 12:55 pm, 5 pounds
14 ounces, 19 1/2 inches
(Editor's Note: Jim
Coulter, our excellent Salsa instructor, met
his lovely wife Uli at SSQQ. So that makes
Talon a full-fledged SSQQ kid!)
COMPLAINT OF THE MONTH ONE - WHY ARE THE SSQQ PRICES
From: Yvonne E
Sent: Monday, February 05, 2007 9:48 PM
Subject: Question for Rick Archer
I would like to know why the SSQQ tuition has gone
up again. Are you trying to buy a new house or is
child support eating you alive?
All I ever read in your
newsletter is how big your classes are and how
parking is so terrible because boohoo you have more
students than you know what to do with.
Well, maybe someone needs to tell
you not everyone in Houston is living high on the
hog. Consider this: There was a
time when a single woman on a tight budget could
squeeze in a dance lesson at your place and still be
able to eat and put a roof over her head.
I am retired now and living on a
fixed income. These days with gas going
up, I am lucky to still be able to eat.
We won't talk about the
I used to be able to take two or three classes a
week. Now I just come to Friday night Western
dancing and hope I can find a class that needs a
volunteer. I have been around SSQQ long enough to
remember when classes were about $30 back in the
You ever thought of creating a
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Tuesday, February 6, 2007 10:57 AM
To: Yvonne E
Subject: re: Question for Rick Archer
I am sorry you are upset, Yvonne. I definitely
see your point.
In defense of my business decision to raise the
rent, I have a statistic to share with you:
SSQQ paid nearly $17,000 more in rent in 2006 than
it did in 2005. There is a reason for this
I wrote extensively about my Landlord problems back
in 2006. You can read the whole story by
Landlord Disputes or simply read this
In 2004, a new landlord took over operation of the
Bissonnet Shopping Center. I have a theory
that Lenox Hill, owned by Jacob and Haya Varon,
purchased this property as the final piece of the
puzzle. First they bought a building
next to Bissonnet Shopping Center that faces First
Street. This business had its own parking lot.
Then they purchased the Door Warehouse property and
turned it into a hospital.
But the hospital had absolutely no parking of its
own. However the Bissonnet Shopping Center
adjacent to the hospital did have parking. It
doesn't take a genius to put two and two together -
it is likely the Bissonnet Shopping Center was
purchased in part to obtain parking for the
hospital. Unfortunately the City of Bellaire
hasn't helped much - the City removed valuable
street parking right next to the Doctor's Office and
the Hospital. The Hospital was so strapped for
parking I heard they had to rent parking space at
the bank down the street. This reinforces my
theory that parking is as valuable to the landlord
as a stream might be on the property of a farmer or
After building the lovely hospital, the landlord set
about improving the Bissonnet Shopping Center.
The rumor is that they would like to turn the
Bissonnet Shopping Center into doctor's offices at
some point. In November 2005, I asked to
extend my lease. They turned me down,
saying it was not in their best interests at the
time to do so. Therefore I am down to the final two
years on my lease.
However just because they intend to get rid of SSQQ
doesn't keep them from passing on all maintenance
costs to my business. For example, the value of the
Bissonnet Shopping Center went up because the
Doctor's Office and the Hospital were now adjacent.
That makes all three properties more valuable, so
the City of Bellaire raises the property value.
And now that the property is more valuable, taxes go
up. And as the largest tenant, the landlord passes
on 33% of the tax hike to me.
So imagine how I felt when the landlord began to
install expensive new lights in the parking lot and
handed 33% of the bill to me. Nice lights, but
we didn't need them. The problem is that Lenox
Hill makes whatever improvements it wants, then
passes on one-third of the bill to me. This
practice improves their property immensely, but
remember I will be gone in two years.
I feel used.
SSQQ had to absorb a $17,000 rent increase for 2006.
And guess what? The nightmare is not over.
And imagine how I felt when I discovered my 2007
rent was going up another $350 a month back in
January. They were going to put in even more
lights and repave the parking lot. The
estimate for these upgrades was another $20,000 out
of my pocket.
In case you think I make this stuff up, read for
We would like to advise you that parking lot
repairs will begin soon, hopefully starting
early in January. The work will be done in
three stages in order to minimize any
inconvenience to you and your customers,
additionally this will allow us to continue
providing as much parking as possible during
We obtained a number of bids and the best
qualified and lowest bids amount to
$66,347.79 ($2.692 per sq ft) approximately.
This estimate includes:
of existing surface and resurface the
parking lot with asphalt
Re-striping of parking spaces
reinforcement for dumpster
enclosure (as per city of Bellaire
and increase exterior parking lot
As per the lease contracts, (see page 2,
section 2.3) these repairs are
reimbursable from all tenants, each
tenant’s portion is pro rated based on
their total square footage.
Enclosed please find a copy of the lease
pertaining to this. In order to
facilitate payment of these repairs,
Lenox Hill Holdings will amortize the
expenses for five years, as per the
lease. The monthly expenses will be
added to the rent invoices once the
repairs have begun.
The proportionate share of the
renovation for SSQQ is of $20,997.60,
payable over 5 years at $349.96
(calculated for 7800 sq ft).
Please contact us with any questions. We
are confident that the repairs described
above will add to the professional
business environment of the Shopping
Lenox Hill Holdings
One particular issue is that the Hospital is now
sharing the parking lot that used to belong
exclusively to the Bissonnet Shopping Center.
I am not positive what the exact status is, but my
hunch tells me that the Hospital should be picking
up a part of this parking lot repair tab.
In the meantime, I will be gone in two years and
they will have a beautiful new parking lot courtesy
of SSQQ and the other businesses that will also
probably be shown the door as their leases expire.
So now you know why I have raised my prices.
Perhaps someone out there has a solution.
BIZARRE NEWS CLIPS FROM AROUND THE WORLD: PEOPLE
HAVING A BAD DAY
fortunate to have Gary Richardson share these with
Fart Causes Fire in Hospital
A patient broke wind while
having surgery and set fire to his genitals. The
30-year old man was having a mole removed from his
bottom with an electric knife when his attack of
flatulence was ignited by a spark. His genitals,
which were soaked in surgical spirits, instantly
Surgeons at the
hospital in Kjellerups said, “It was an unfortunate
The man, who is suing the hospital, said, “When I
woke up, my penis and scrotum were burning like
hell. Besides the pain, I can’t have sex with my
Hippo Eats Dwarf
A hippopotamus walled a circus dwarf in a freak
accident. This tragic event took place in northern
Thailand according to a columnist in the Pattaya
The grapevine column reported: "A circus dwarf
nicknamed Od, died recently when he bounced sideways
from a trampoline and was swallowed by a yawning
hippopotamus waiting to appear in the next act."
"Veterinarians said Hilda the Hippo had a gag reflex
which caused her to swallow. More than 1000
spectators continued to applaud wildly until
suddenly they realized there had been a tragic
A woman almost bit off her husband's willy as he
cooked pancakes for tea - while she gave him oral sx.
In the heat of passion he lost his grip on the pan
and spilt boiling oil down her naked back.
She clenched her teeth on his willy and in agony he
bashed her on the head with the pain.
Both only admitted how they received their injuries
after "intense questioning" by hospital doctors in
The man needed treatment to his willy while the wife
had burns, two black eyes and a broken cheek bone.
20. JOKES OF THE MONTH - THE JOKE
PICTURE AND THE JOKE HALL OF FAME
We publish one
Picture Joke each month. The February
picture joke is called "The Sex Maniac". It
was sent in by my favorite newlywed Carol
SSQQ has acquired about 600 jokes over the last ten
years. Each month we roll another 50 or so for
your reading pleasure.
Please visit our
Joke Hall of
Fame. Here is one of my favorite Hall
of Fame Jokes taken from the February collection.
February CS 09:
The Story of the Burning Roof - Mary Tyler Moore and
The three Firemen get an
emergency call for a fire in progress. As they drive
over, they talk about their failed marriages and
express their bitterness towards women.
Fireman Jeff says, “Frank, who's the the meanest
woman you ever knew?”
Fireman Frank answers, “That's easy, my ex-wife. She
was a Redhead with a temper to match. She used to
wear a tee-shirt to bed that said, 'Don’t touch me.
I’m out of Estrogen and I have a Gun.' Hey, I have a
joke. What do you call a Brunette in a room full of
Fireman Dave answers, “That’s easy. Invisible. I
should know. My ex-wife was a brunette. She was so
ugly, her hair matched her mustache. Hey, Hank, what
went wrong with you and your wife? She was hot,
Fireman Jeff replies, “Yeah, but every blonde joke
ever written applied to her. She was so stupid she
used to brag she had the best figure of any girl in
the 3rd grade. Then after we were married her mother
told me she was 19 in the 3rd grade. When she got
pregnant, I asked her if the kid was mine. She said
she wasn’t sure, but not to feel bad, she wasn’t
sure if it was hers either.”
The three firemen shake their heads. They decide
they hate all women, especially the ones with hair.
Meanwhile, on top of the burning building, a
Brunette, a Redhead and a Blonde have temporarily
escaped the fire by climbing to the roof.
The Three Firemen gather on the street below and are
holding a blanket for the ladies to jump in. They
exchange a dark smile between them.
First the Firemen yell up, “Jump! Jump! One of you
gotta Jump! It’s your only chance to survive!”
The Brunette is the smart one. She is the first to
realize it’s her only chance, so she jumps and
SWISH! The firemen yank the blanket away. The
Brunette slams into the sidewalk and explodes like a
The Fireman give each other high fives, then decide
to try again. “C’mon! Jump! You ladies gotta jump!”
“Oh no! You’re gonna pull the blanket away!” says
“No! It’s just the Brunettes we can’t stand! They
are so ugly. We’re OK with Redheads!”
“Nah. I don’t believe you. I ain’t gonna jump!” the
The Fireman who was married to the Redhead knows
just what to say. “OK, Bitch. Don’t jump. Whatever
you do, don’t jump! It’s the Blonde we want to save
“Goddamn that pisses me off!!” screams the Redhead.
“OK, you sons of bitches! Here I come and when I
land I’m gonna kick your stupid asses up and down
the street!” The Redhead jumps and curses the
firemen all the way to the ground. SWISH! The
firemen yank the blanket away, and the lady is
flattened on the pavement like a pancake.
Now the Blonde crawls to the edge of the roof and
sees the Firemen giving each other jumping high
fives. She frowns and hatches a plan. They’ll never
Looking up and spotting the last woman, the firemen
start to yell, “Hey Blondie, Jump! You have to
“No way! I’m not that stupid!! You’re just gonna
pull the blanket away!” yelled the Blonde.
“No! Really! You have to jump! We promise won’t pull
the blanket away!”
“Look, you guys can't fool me!!” the Blonde says,
“I’m too smart for that! Nothing you say is
gonna convince me that you’re not gonna pull the
blanket away! So do what I tell you - Put the
blanket down on the ground. Now back away from
that’s a wrap for February. Thanks for reading this month's issue of the SSQQ
Oh, one more thing: by the way,
that Rambo Granny story (#14) was complete nonsense
according to Snopes.com, the Urban Legend web site.
I just didn't want to ruin a good story.
21. PREVIOUS STORIES OF INTEREST
(Note: for people visiting the SSQQ Newsletter for the first time,
here are the favorite stories from previous issues)
ADVENTURES OF A DANCE TEACHER:
LEARNING TO DANCE
Twice in my life, Dancing has helped rescue me from
a serious personal crisis.
In 1986, I used Whip Dancing to recover from a deep
depression brought on by a divorce. It is an
interesting story. You can find
it in Stories: 201 Nights
In many ways though, this 1974 saga is even more
remarkable because I started my climb from a much
tougher place. This story
explains how learning to Freestyle Dancing
helped me climb back from the deepest hole of my
The story follows the events of a nine month period
of my life, some of which you might find were pretty
unusual. Due the
discovery of an odd little book, one day I decided I
wanted to learn to dance. I had never danced in my
life, so I was surprised at how strong the desire
was. Unfortunately, after one lesson, I realized I
was absolutely terrible. This wasn't going to be as
easy as I hoped. Although I was discouraged, I
decided to continue. Even though learning to dance
was always an uphill struggle, I practiced with a
relentlessness that I didn't completely understand.
I often wondered why I took this project so
seriously. I certainly never imagined that pursuing
a skill like freestyle would accomplish the miracle
of resurrecting my shattered confidence. Nor did I
have any idea that dancing would help pull me out of
my terrible downward spiral.
Despite all the setbacks I encountered, I would not
give up. I got on the path for no better reason than
it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.
Then I discovered I felt better about myself when I
practiced my dancing. That is why I stayed with it.
DANCING WITH THE STARS
you know, recently former football star Emmitt Smith
and his professional dance partner Cheryl Burke were
crowned the winners of this weekly dance show.
They best the team of Mario Lopez and his partner,
professional dancer Karina Smirnoff.
This result was just as stupid as it could possibly
be. I had no complaints with the dancing of
Emmitt Smith. I enjoyed watching him immensely.
But for his dancing to be better than that of Mario
Lopez? C'mon now. What a joke!
Mario Lopez was the most gifted male dancer I have
seen on the show. He has a phenomenal talent for
dance. If he were to train and compete against
professionals, I imagine he would do quite well.
So let's just call the result what it was: a
The decision was not based on dancing, but on Emmitt
Smith's fame as a professional athlete.
A similar thing happened in the First season of the
show. In June 2005, hotsy totsy Kelly Monaco
and her partner Alec Mazo scored a narrow victory
over John O'Hurley and his partner Charlotte
Jørgensen. Kelly and Alec managed to get two
miracle 10s in their final performance despite the
fact that she nearly fell down twice in the routine.
The result was a complete farce.
I wrote about it in the newsletter at the time.
Dancing with the Stars 2005
completely skipped the Second season because I could
not stand how the outcome had been rigged in the
But one night in October 2006, my wife was watching
an episode of Season Three when I walked in, so I
decided to watch a while. I was impressed.
First the caliber of the celebrities had clearly
risen from D-List unknowns in Season One to people I
had actually heard of in Season Three. Second,
the majority of these people were very good dancers.
They were obviously taking their dancing seriously!
So Marla and I watched practically every week after
I skipped the final show because I was certain
Emmitt Smith was going to win and I knew it would
make me angry. I am not the only one who
thought this way. I grabbed the following quote of
the Internet. I took me about 20 seconds to find
someone who agreed with me:
THIS WAS A POPULARITY CONTEST THEN THIS IS THE
OUTCOME. IF PEOPLE WOULD BE HONEST AND ADMIT
THAT THEN I COULD BE OKAY.
IF THIS HAD HAVE BEEN A DANCE COMPETITION EVEN
EMMITT HIMSELF KNOWS THAT MARIO IS THE BETTER
Emmitt's popularity, the other reason I was certain
Emmitt would win is because America loves the
Underdog. Mario lost because he was too good!
Every Bubba and Yahoo in America resented this
gifted, pretty boy dancer and decided to teach him a
You know how I guessed? The same thing
happened to me once. Sharon Crawford
(Shaw) and I were the victims of the exact same
phenomenon back in 1988.
If you want to read a funny story, visit
MY GREATEST DANCE DEFEAT
IN COURT REVISITED
month I published a story about an ordeal I went
through in court of Judge Kathy Han regarding a
mistaken ticket I received for trash that wasn't
mine. Here is what I wrote in the November
MY DAY IN COURT
On Thursday, October 12, I
had the opportunity to spend four hours in Municipal
Court observing how justice is handled here in
I was there to dispute a ticket I had received for
placing heavy trash in front of my house prior to
pickup time. I thought this ticket had been given
to me in error so I intended to have my say in
court. Little did I know I would have to wait 4
They say you can't fight City Hall.
Throughout the day I was given several very
interesting lessons on the possible origins of this
The reason this story is interesting is that I
discovered the hard way they play dirty in trash
court. There is a fascinating shakedown game under
foot. You will just have to read the story to
understand what I am talking about.
I have written many stories
over the years, but this particular story made more
people mad than I ever would have imagined. I
received several emails commenting on the runaround
I wrote about. I will share with you the most
From: Brian N
Sent: Tuesday, November 14, 2006 5:30 PM
Subject: Kathy Han
Email I sent to Judge Kathy Han:
Judge Han, you should be embarrassed if the
story titled 'My Day in Court' is true. Your
position as a judge is designed to benefit
society, but in actuality it seems to be a
cancer. Although you failed to extend the same
courtesy to Rick Archer, I will give you the
opportunity to explain your side of the story
and how Rick Archer's treatment in your
courtroom was not a mere "shakedown" as he put
it. If it was a shakedown, you have no right,
absolutely none, to preside on behalf of the
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Tuesday, November 14, 2006 5:54 PM
To: Brian N
Subject: RE: Kathy Han
I will be curious to see if she responds.
From: Brian N
Sent: Wednesday, November 15, 2006 9:12 AM
To: 'Rick Archer'
Subject: RE: Kathy Han
I doubt she will respond. Regardless, I believe
you are correct; she is concerned about her
reputation. Perhaps a few more scathing emails
from others may be cause for change. I applaud
you for taking the time to document your
experience, despite the immateriality of the
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Wednesday, November 15, 2006 1:13 PM
To: Brian N
Subject: RE: Kathy Han
I am one of those people who firmly believe that
bullies will walk on people unless they think
someone is watching.
That is why I am grateful for the freedom our
media is given here in America.
THE STORY OF THE INCREDIBLE POT FARM!
the true story of a multi-million dollar Marijuana
Farm that was built in a cave underneath a house in
Tennessee. And guess what? They got
caught. Of course you will be curious how they
got caught. The pictures are awesome and
the story itself is very interesting. I give
the story a Must-Read status.
From: Malcolm C
Sent: Thursday, November 30, 2006 7:34 AM
Subject: Pot Farm
Hey Rick... Outstanding Web Page... Thanks
so much for all the work on 'Pot Farm'. Well
done, awesome, & interesting!!!
Thanks again, Mal C
On Nov 30, 2006, at 6:02 AM, Rick Archer
How did you find
that page? I was going to announce it today in
the new Newsletter and you
beat me to it.
Thanks for the compliment. I hope it didn’t show
I was rooting for the crooks…. ;-)
From: Malcolm C
Sent: Thursday, November 30, 2006 1:57 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: Pot Farm
I did a search in "Dogpile" for it... A friend
had sent it to me in an email previously (how to
do that is over my head), & I had saved it as a
"Draft", but I had lost it accidentally when I
was installing an updated email program...
I use it periodically when I minister at a Boy's
Prison camp in a "Keynote" presentation (they
love it)... Although I'm a pastor now, I'm a
retired Robbery-Homicide Detective, & it is a
great piece to share with the kids as an object
Re the "rooting for the crooks", yeh, it kinda
came across that way initially, but I thought
your analogies were really good, & at least from
my point of view, you brought it back "on track"
again very nicely...
Anyhow, the kids really appreciate it, as do I
(only now I can give you credit when I share
it), & I thank you once again for all the effort
you put into it...
respectfully, & with much gratitude,