February 2007
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The SSQQ Newsletter
Written and Edited by Rick Archer
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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 worth it.

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 "Risky Business".

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 pictures.

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 Newsletter.

Oh, one more thing, be sure to read to very end - I left an interesting tidbit down there. 

Thanks for visiting the February Newsletter!

Rick Archer

Here are the Chapters in this month's Newsletter:










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 judgment.

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 thinks 

So now we turn our attention to the Conquest.  This magnificent ship is much larger and much newer than the Rhapsody. 

I can think of three benefits to traveling on the Conquest right off the top of my head.

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 stunning beauty.

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 show! 

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, why bother?

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 e-mail marla@ssqq.com with any further questions.




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 more!

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 breathtaking waterfalls?  

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 Pacific?

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 e-mail marla@ssqq.com with any further questions.




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 Boston.

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 ran into.

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 good.  

Original Message-----
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 last year.

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 your article.

Very well written. Gary T. Richardson

-----Original Message-----
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 trip.

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.



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 cruise 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. 



Remember – if you miss the first week of class, you can always start in the second week. The Second Week Review will catch you up.  SSQQ SCHEDULE

For even more detail on many of the classes listed below, please visit  EXTRA

Special classes for FEBRUARY include:

  1. ADVANCED SWING/JITTERBUG 2 on Sundays at 4:30 pm with Jack Benard.   We have three Swing classes on Sundays, but one of three is always held at 4:30.  This month the 430 slot is Advanced.
  2. SUPER GHOST TOWN 10 - Scott 
    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!
  3. BEGINNING BALLROOM II on Sundays at 7 will cover TANGO and CHA CHA. Jack Benard will be the teacher.
  4. INTERMEDIATE BALLROOM on Sundays at 7 will cover  FOXTROT, WALTZ, AND RUMBA. Jill Banta will be the teacher.
  5. ADVANCED BALLROOM II will cover ADVANCED TANGO and CHA CHA patterns.  Marla Archer will be the teacher.
  6. At 7 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 this at SSQQ BALLROOM PROGRAM
  1. Quick 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@ssqq.com   

    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, please visit:
  2. Bryan 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 accomplishment!
  3. Tuesday Salsa 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’. 
  4. Scott Ladell teaches INTERMEDIATE NIGHTCLUB on Wednesdays.

    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 dance.

    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.
  5. Linda teaches 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.
  6. Martian Technique 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!
  7. Rick 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.
  8. At the request of many Salsa students, Bjorn and Rebeca Bangstein have moved their Saturday Salsa 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.
  9. Rhythm and Blues Twostep is taught on Saturdays at 4:30 pm by Willie Bushnell and Willie GreenAlso 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 out".



The Red and White valentines SWING AND ballroom dance party!

Saturday, February 10
9:15 pm - 11:30 pm,  $7 person

Swing mixed with Ballroom Music in Room One
All Swing music in Room 4.

(Wear Red and White or Stay outta Sight!)


SLOW DANCING - Marla (couples only)
RUMBA - The Latin Dance of Romance - Jill


Saturday, February 17
9:00 PM - 12 Midnight   $7 PERSON

SALSA EXPLOSION (Adv Ptns) - Rebeca/ Bjorn
SALSA DIPS & LUNGES I Steve/Daniele (cpl)



Saturday, February 24
9:15 pm - 11:30 pm,  $7 person


Music :
Western in Room One plus Swing and Western Waltz
Whip in Room Four



The Tale of Two Movies... Urban Cowboy Meets Risky Business

Written by Rick Archer
February 2007

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.



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 Seven.

From the following clues, can you determine which group has which number record and the record company for which the group records?


PS - This one is pretty easy.


  1. Anita Leung
  2. Julie Amazing
  3. Norman Nolasco
  4. Eric Avera
  5. Randy Piniola
  6. Susan Arevalo
  7. Ann Faget
  8. Dave Baxter
  9. Ritesh Laud
  10. Daniel Leinhos
  11. Ed Beideman
  12. Julie Arthur
  13. Al Bahler



  1. Anita Leung
  2. Randy Piniola
  3. Susan Arevalo
  4. Ann Faget
  5. Ritesh Laud
  6. Mara Rivas



09. 2006 slow dance and romance  PLUS 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:

Yes, 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 everything!


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 her choice. 

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.  Congratulations!

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 happy!

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. 




Jan. 3, 2007, 4:58AM
Man who fell on subway tracks is saved by a quick-thinker
Rescuer makes a heroic leap to push stumbler between the rails

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."




Chandelier Ballroom is the name of an SPJST Lodge located in the Heights on 15th Street and Beale near Shepherd. 

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 great time!

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 Dancing

We will dance to the Big Band music of the Gary Henneke Orchestra as well as Foxtrot, Waltz, and so on

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 Western Dancing.

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 over.

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 without. 

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 last
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 year in
Hawaii and aboard the Conquest.

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 Lisa (??)

Paul, Jan, Linda, Bill

?? and Jerry

Nancy and Robert

Marla and Rick

Jack, Jackie, and Hoover

Maggi, Karen, and Ken



On 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 your vehicle.
First Street Parking Problems








Last 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 the traffic.


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.

But it 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 clever titles.

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 Warning, 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 was 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 books?"

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!"

No 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.






14. story in the news: rambo granny

The Rambo 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 recalled.

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 medal.




Title: Cardio Salsa y Mas

Description: Dance and work-out to the beat of salsa, merengue, cha-cha, samba, punta and bachata.

Time: Classes will begin Saturday, February 17, 12:30-1:30 pm

Price: Pre-registration fee $24 for 4 classes

On-site registration: $8 per class

For information, contact Rebeca Bangstein at rmbangstein@sbcglobal.net



(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 and friends.

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 Dallas court.
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 to Mexico.
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 vehicle.
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





----Original Message-----
From: Jim Coulter
Sent: Wednesday, December 06, 2006 9:28 AM
To: Rick Archer; pateson@aol.com
Subject: Introducing our new baby boy!

Hey everyone!  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!

Statistics:  Born 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!) 



-----Original Message-----
From: Yvonne E
Sent: Monday, February 05, 2007 9:48 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
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 roof.

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 1990's.

You ever thought of creating a scholarship program?

-----Original Message-----
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:

$16, 695.

SSQQ paid nearly $17,000 more in rent in 2006 than it did in 2005.  There is a reason for this ridiculous increase.

I wrote extensively about my Landlord problems back in 2006.  You can read the whole story by clicking
Landlord Disputes or simply read this abbreviated version.

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 rancher.

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 yourself.

January 2, 2007

Dear Tenant,

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 this process.

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:

  1. Removal of existing surface and resurface the parking lot with asphalt
  2. Re-striping of parking spaces
  3. Concrete reinforcement for dumpster
  4. Dumpster enclosure (as per city of Bellaire requirements)
  5. Repair curbs
  6. Install and increase exterior parking lot lighting

    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 Center.


    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. 


(Aren't we fortunate to have Gary Richardson share these with us?

Freak 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 caught fire. 

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 wife.

Surgeons at the hospital in Kjellerups said, “It was an unfortunate accident.”

Hippo Eats Dwarf
Bangkok, Thailand

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 Mail.

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 mistake."


Teatime Love Bite
Budapest, Romania

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 Carioca, Romania.

The man needed treatment to his willy while the wife had burns, two black eyes and a broken cheek bone.



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 Gafford-Mullet.

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 Debbie Awad

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 Blondes?”

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, man!”

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 rude tomato.

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 the Redhead.

“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 Redhead hollers.

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 anyhow!”

“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 fool her!!

Looking up and spotting the last woman, the firemen start to yell, “Hey Blondie, Jump! You have to jump!”

“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 it...”

And that’s a wrap for February.  Thanks for reading this month's issue of the SSQQ Newsletter!

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.

Rick Archer
dance@ssqq.com  (email)


Please direct questions, comments, and contributions to:
Rick Archer at 

Table of Contents
Bottom of Page CHAPTERS

(Note: for people visiting the SSQQ Newsletter for the first time, here are the favorite stories from previous issues)


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 entire life.

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.



As surely 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 popularity contest. 

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

I completely skipped the Second season because I could not stand how the outcome had been rigged in the First Season.

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 that.

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:



Besides 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 lesson. 

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



Last 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 Newsletter:

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 Houston, Texas.

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 hours! 

They say you can't fight City Hall. 

Throughout the day I was given several very interesting lessons on the possible origins of this saying. 

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 interesting one.

-----Original Message-----
From: Brian N
Sent: Tuesday, November 14, 2006 5:30 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
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 people.

Brian N

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.

-----Original Message-----
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 "alleged" crime.

-----Original Message-----
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.


This is 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.

-----Original Message-----
From: Malcolm C
Sent: Thursday, November 30, 2006 7:34 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
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 wrote:

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…. ;-)


-----Original Message-----
From: Malcolm C
Sent: Thursday, November 30, 2006 1:57 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: Pot Farm

Hi Rick...

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 lesson...

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...

Sincerely, respectfully, & with much gratitude,  mal


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