WHAT IS NEW AT SSQQ
Written by Rick Archer
This is the August 2007 issue of the SSQQ Newsletter.
This Newsletter will be marked
departure from previous Newsletters. I have
just finished writing a Nine Chapter article on
Reputation. I am so tired from an entire
month of writing about incredibly stressful stories
that dredge up pain from three of the five worst
incidents in my life that I have very little left
for the finish line.
July was a very odd month for me. I have good
news, I have bad news, I have sad news. Where to
We can start with some good news. Our attendance for
the month of July at the studio was an amazing 1,350
students. We are squarely on pace to have 15,000
students for 2007.
This is clearly our best year since 2000. Thank you
all very much, especially my friend Doug Ferris who
is practically 100 of those students all by himself.
Doug will explain what I mean if you buy him a drink
in the hot tub on our upcoming September Dance
The correct place to start is
to honor the memory of
On Tuesday, July 3rd, John passed away after a
John was a very brave man. I could not help but
stand in awe of his stoic courage throughout his
John will be remembered for many years here at SSQQ
as the man who helped Sharon (Crawford) Shaw create
the finest Western Waltz class our city has ever
John was a friend to many of us here at the studio.
During the fourteen years he shared with us, John
left an indelible mark on all of us with his dancing
ability, his willingness to help us learn to Waltz,
the many CDs of beautiful Western Waltz music that
he so unselfishly passed out by the hundreds, and by
his gruff exterior that disguised a genuinely kind
After writing the story of his years at SSQQ, I was
filled with regret that I never took the time to get
to know this man better on a personal basis. I
cannot begin to tell you how much I found admire
about John as the accolades from those close to him
began to roll in.
As a personal favor to me, please read the story of
John Jones. I would like for you all to get to know
this man on a much deeper level. There was a
lot going on under his Grouchy Gus exterior, that
PARKING LOT UPDATE
In my opinion, our current landlords continue to
make life very difficult for SSQQ students and their
Not only have they placed Tow Signs in practically
every corner of the parking lot, Radio Shack
actually had the nerve to
try to tow an SSQQ vehicle on July 16th. We were
able to get the car down from the tow truck, but the
hostility generated between Radio Shack and SSQQ
students was unpleasant indeed. Just the fact that
the landlords would sanction this kind of situation
leaves me disappointed. The Radio Shack manager has
every right to keep his two spots open in front of
the door. But he made the wrong phone call. All he
had to do was dial SSQQ and we would have gotten the
car removed faster than the tow truck.
Do me a favor - please don't park in front of those
stores when they are open. These businesses depend
on access to their entrances during their working
hours. I completely support their right to keep
their parking spots open. Like I said, the only
thing Radio Shack did wrong was dial the wrong
Here is a word to the wise - no matter what the
signs say, it is okay to park in front of the stores
when they are closed.
I heard that some more people got their cars
ticketed on First Street. You have to read the signs
carefully. There is a stretch of parking spaces that
are perfect for parking, but some consultant for the
City of Bellaire decided to mark them off limits.
There is a rumor that someone who lives next to that
stretch on First Street calls the Bellaire Police
every night of the week to come ticket cars. There
is a simple solution - don't park there.
Besides the tow signs, our current landlords - Jacob
Varon and Haya Varon - appear to have permanently
confiscated from six to twelve parking spots for the
sole and exclusive purpose of their hospital. These
same spots were once used by SSQQ for the first
twenty-eight years of our stay at Bissonnet. These
spots clearly are included in the parking lot
diagram of our lease, but that doesn't seem to
matter. While many of these spots stay empty, we
walk longer and further each week.
What makes it stranger is there is a perfectly good
parking lot that appears to be owned by the same
people at the Plastic Surgery building next to
Charlies BBQ. If my landlord doesn't own it, then
why is there a sky bridge that links the hospital to
the Plastic Surgery center?
My point is - why can't the hospital use the Plastic
Surgery parking lot and let us have our original
parking spots back?
While their own Plastic Surgery parking lots remains
totally empty at night, our people are forced to
walk longer and further each week.
Adding insult to injury, when it came time to
repaint the parking lot and find a spot for the
handicapped parking spots, our Landlords knew
exactly where they wanted to put them. They took
away three more SSQQ parking spots by placing the
handicapped spots squarely in front of the SSQQ
Practically every night those three spots sit there
empty while we walk longer and further.
Are they trying to tell us something?
A GOOD WALK IS GOOD FOR YOUR
Although I paint a glum picture of the Parking Lot,
there is also a bright side - isn't it nice to have
a security guard hanging around at night? Let's be
grateful for that. Do me a favor and be nice to
them. Let's be friendly. They are not the enemy. In
fact, several of the men have been described as very
The presence of the security guards has made First
Street much safer. You may not realize this, but the
City of Bellaire did actually add about 20 parking
spots on First Street earlier this year. So there
are places to park, but you have to walk a bit.
Last night I went to watch the "Bourne Ultimatum".
Good movie by the way. I timed my walk to the movie
from the shopping center parking lot. You guessed it
- same time as a walk from First Street to SSQQ.
My point is that the walk to SSQQ is longer only
because of our bad attitude. We are irritated at
Bellaire for preventing us from using perfectly
logical parking spots and at the landlords for
confiscating valuable parking spots when plenty of
valuable parking stays
empty in the spot next to
But the walk itself really isn't as bad as we think
it is. Plus with the addition of the security guard,
it is a perfectly safe walk as well. It is all how
you look at it.
THEFT AT SSQQ
Speaking of the parking lot Security Guard, we might
need a security guard at the studio. SSQQ has a
thief. Money, a cell phone, a blackberry, and a
wallet have been stolen recently on the premises of
SSQQ. I count five instances so far - and let me
apologize to the victims. I am so sorry this
Theft of valuables at nightclubs has long been a
headache, especially for women. But we have not had
a thief at SSQQ in fourteen years. That's pretty
remarkable when you think about it. Our students
treat the studio like it is home. A random glance
around the place shows shoes, purses, umbrellas,
even cell phones strewn everywhere.
Soon the thief will be caught or leave under a cloud
of suspicion. We already have a good idea who it is.
But for now, Ladies, put your valuables in your
trunk and treat the studio as if it is a nightclub.
WILL RICK RETIRE?
I was asked recently if I intend to retire. When
people start towing cars, believe me, I get so angry
that I really do think I am ready to retire. And
when people start stealing money from people they
know, that just shows how desperate some people are
in this world.
But then something small happens and I cheer up. For
example, one day Leroy Ginzel came up to me and
asked me not to retire. Leroy said this place would
just not be the same. The students would not know
what to do if I wasn't there to insult them or
embarrass them with a color-coordinated award.
Besides, half the fun of coming to the studio was to
see if this would be the day I would lose my temper
again and go Vesuvius (a legendary incident). That
Leroy really knows how to craft a sweet compliment,
But then my good friend Leroy Ginzel told me his
real reason for me to stick around. "Hey Rick, no
one writes a Newsletter like you do. I went out and
bought some new reading glasses just because one of
your old stories was in small print!"
So that's really all it takes. As long as I feel
appreciated, I will put up with the landlords, the
parking lot, and the thieves. I will listen to
people complain about the bees in the light
fixtures, the toilet problems, the ice machine, the
broken couches, the dead bugs the cleaning people
miss, the broken popcorn machines, and whatever else
as long as you promise to read the Newsletter.
By the way, I can talk about Leroy all I want
because he isn't around right now. Leroy is
somewhere between 70 and 150 years old, but sure
enough, he was busy climbing some mountains during
July. Leroy was especially proud to tell me how he
out-climbed his gorgeous 25-year old daughter and
her boyfriend up some glacier last summer. Amazing
guy. Seriously now, Leroy
is older than some of the mountains he is climbing,
but he is as spry as a wildcat.
I guess if Leroy can climb mountains at age 200, I
am young enough to dance a few more years. Since I
am not going to retire any time soon, then it
becomes obvious that SSQQ is going to move. SSQQ has
outgrown its space and its welcome. Where and When I
do not know. We either leave in 2010 or we leave
With that in mind, I have addressed
THE FUTURE OF SSQQ in an article that you
BRYAN SPIVEY RESIGNS
So that's how it is. One day Leroy makes me
feel good about what I am doing, then something like
Bryan Spivey quitting comes along and I am ready to
Did you like my segue? Yes,
on July 10, 2007. Bryan
Spivey announced his resignation at SSQQ. Since he
was more than slightly circumspect about listing his
reasons, the rumors immediately began that I had
pushed Bryan out the door. Nothing could be further
from the truth. I asked Bryan to stay.
But Bryan refused to reconsider.
My immediate reaction to Bryan's leaving was
despair. How do you replace a dance champion? I was
ready to cancel the entire Whip program and be done
with it. Then Marla, my wife, and Cher, my
assistant, both began to cheer me up and promise
things would work out. Just give it a chance.
Although he offered to
stick around for the rest of month, the fact of the
matter was that there was no one to replace him.
You don't just find championship dancers with their
hat out looking for work. And there
wasn't anyone else on the SSQQ Staff that could step
in at a moment's notice.
The only person on the Staff besides Sharon Shaw
with any experience teaching Martian Whip was me
myself and I. But gee whiz, I had not taught Martian
Whip since 2002! That's what I hired Bryan for - to
take SSQQ Whip into the 21st Century.
Nor would it be easy merging Bryan's class with my
inexperienced class. But what choice did I have? I
had to merge two classes with vastly different
levels of experience at a moment's notice.
So I will admit I was shaky taking over Bryan's
class the first night after he quit (JULY 16).
Fortunately I had an ace in the hole - Cher
Longoria, my assistant. Cher was an enormous help.
With Cher keeping me propped up, I made it through
the first class. Then I began to get my sea legs
back. With Cher's help, my class responded to my
leadership and people were starting to adjust to me
taking his place.
Suddenly the new 'merged' class began to click. The
new quarterback was completing passes!
People were learning and laughing. For the entire
month of July, the attendance was excellent. We
finished out July on a high note with 50 people on
Monday and 30 people on Friday. (By the way, if you
are one of the people who were in that class, thank
you for giving me a chance).
If you would like to understand more about Bryan's
CHANDELIER BALLROOM - SEPTEMBER
Robert and Nancy Kaechler are hosting our next trip
to Chandelier Ballroom on Saturday, September 1st.
Gary Henecke will be at the Chandelier that day.
Sounds like fun. Marla and I will be there too.
A Lesson you fail to learn the first time becomes a
Lesson you are doomed to Repeat.
ABOUT THE REPUTATION TRILOGY
On June 27, I happened to read a column in the
Houston Chronicle written by Thomas Friedman, a
three-time Pulitzer Prize winner who writes
currently for the New York Times. Mr. Friedman's
article absolutely fascinated me. His
main point was that never before in history has the
potential for damaging our Reputation been greater.
By chance, the very same day as I first read this
article, Alex, a young friend of mine
here at the studio,
was being publicly ridiculed for a salsa crash
course he taught at the studio back in early June.
Someone had videotaped his class and posted the
video on YouTube. For
several days, dozens of people viewed the clip and
offered various smart-ass remarks. I really felt
sorry for the predicament Alex had gotten himself
into. His first
mistake was allowing people to videotape his class
even though my entire staff knows (and so did Alex)
that videotaping is not permitted at SSQQ in any
group class (private lessons are permitted).
Fortunately YouTube took down the video
clip and the problem faded into obscurity (I
will share the whole story with you next month). But
my fascination with Thomas Friedman's article had
been ignited. I began to think through my own past
and realized just how correct Mr. Friedman was about
everything he said.
In a flash, I realized three stories from my past
would serve as the perfect vehicle to share Mr.
Friedman's wisdom with the rest of you.
This is the story of how my first wife brutally
slapped me three times in public.
This dark 1986 event was very embarrassing.
24 of my best
friends in the world were there to witness the
And who gets slapped three times? Most people only
get one slap. What made me so lucky? Although no one is
ever blameless, in my opinion I had done next to
nothing to deserve this. Nevertheless through "Spin"
- a careful manipulation of the facts - plus a
glaring absence of communication on my part, this
incident backfired on me to become my fault.
I fell into a dark depression.
I had just learned one the hardest lessons of my
So naturally your next question is, "What did you do
to deserve getting slapped three times in a row?"
TRILOGY STORY TWO: HARVEST MOON
This story took place in 1998. You
will read how my second wife and I
allowed a rival dance studio steal our once-dominant
position as the best Swing Dance Studio in Houston
right out from under our noses. Our failure to
properly respond to a Smear Campaign led directly to
The story covers events
surrounding a scheduled dance performance over at
Rice by the SSQQ Swing Team. Word
leaked out that my second wife and I had
deliberately snubbed the leader of the Houston Swing
Dance Society. Did
our snub have something to do with the color of his
skin? You will be amazed at how much damage these
unchecked rumors caused SSQQ.
Small rumors soon became vicious rumors when I chose
not to refute these ridiculous allegations.
But why not? Why
did I choose NOT to refute these allegations if they
weren't true? Good
You will have to read the story
for that answer.
This is the story of how I threw a horrible temper
tantrum at the dance studio.
This incident took place in 2000.
I screamed at two students demanding a Refund
and threw hundreds of dollar bills on the floor.
I was completely out
of line. The next morning I awoke to find the
students had sent a poison pen
version of the story flying across the Internet.
They were going to take
down my entire Western program for revenge.
Yet despite my terrible
behavior, miraculously I managed to rescue myself
from this potential disaster
to emerge without a scratch. I
was completely forgiven and the studio didn't suffer
a cent of damage.
What was different? Well,
this time I stood up for myself and my Reputation. I
had learned my lesson from the previous two
paid attention to the lessons learned from my
previous two adventures and used my experience to
rescue victory from the jaws of defeat.
There is a valuable message at the conclusion of
each story - if you don't stand up for yourself, you
are doomed in the Court of Public Opinion.
There are some powerful lessons to be learned here.
Thanks to the inspiration of Alex and Mr. Friedman,
I have shared these lessons with you.
The Reputation Trilogy
With my Houdini-like
escape from the deadly email, I had begun my Metamorphosis
into a person who not only understands the need to stand up
for his Reputation, but one who does it skillfully.
In the summer of 2007 I
visited an active volcano site in Hawaii. I could not
understand why the guides forced us to walk single file and
insisted on walking beside us to make sure we cooperated.
When we got to the active lava flow, I had my answer - the
new hot lava is almost identical in appearance to the
hardened lava. We all know about the Red Lava from Dante's Peak
and other volcano movies, but this kind of lava was a
deadly, highly camoflouged assassin I knew nothing about.
guides, any of us could easily have lost a foot before we
ever knew what happened. The guides protected us.
Now I am offering to be your guide in the Court of
Public Opinion. I have a valuable contribution to share with
the rest of you...
A chance for you to avoid risking your own
Reputation by learning from SOMEONE ELSE'S MISTAKES.
might just save your Reputation from going through a lava
field some day.
SSQQ REPUTATION ON THE LINE
my stories about
Reputation, I devoted a Chapter to answering several
direct questions about the studio.
- - IS THE SSQQ
SALSA PROGRAM BELOW AVERAGE?
- - WHY ARE THERE
SO MANY EX-SSQQ STUDENTS?
- - IS THE QUALITY
OF SSQQ INSTRUCTORS POOR?
- - DOES RICK RUN
OFF HIS BEST INSTRUCTORS?
- - DID RICK RUN
- - WHAT DOES THE
FUTURE HOLD FOR SSQQ?
SSQQ Reputation on
WHERE IS THE
HAWAII CRUISE WRITEUP?
Our Hawaii Cruise back in May was
the most incredible cruise
experience in SSQQ history. 80
people on the trip had the best time
of their lives! They are so pumped
for the next trip that Marla is
pretty sure she wants to take us to
the Greek Isles in August next year.
Better brush up on your Greek
Mythology and start saving your
Eurodollars - we are going to Rome
too! Maybe I will take a side trip
to see my friend Vesuvius.
Speaking of cruises, I intend to get
to work on the Hawaii Cruise story
in August. You have my firm promise
on that. I feel a story starting to
erupt! That is, unless I erupt at
the studio first. Ha ha.
For the moment, I thank you for
sending me all those wonderful
ANOTHER TRILOGY - MARLA
THE CRUISE DIRECTOR, GARY THE COMPUTER
WIZARD, AND RICK THE WRITER
Most dance studios base their Reputation on
Dance Competitions. A wall of trophies is
supposed to reflect the measure of the
studio's excellence. The
Matchmaker Story explains why the
studio prefers to be famous for its Social
Activities. We do not have a wall lined with
trophies, but we can point to 500 marriages
spread out over 30 years of business as a
different measure of success.
One of the later Chapters in the Matchmaker
Story covers the
Love Boat Era. This chapter explains
how three people got the studio's cruise
adventures started - Marla Archer, Gary
Richardson, and myself. Together we are
quite a team.
The LOVE BOAT story begins like this:
"The advent of my writing career coincided
with two people who came into my life that
would change the course of the studio
One person who changed the course of the
studio forever is my talented wife Marla. It
was Marla who took the dance studio in a
totally new direction with her cruise
genius. Marla is absolutely perfect for her
role. Thanks to her love of travel, Marla
was a born Travel Agent before I ever met
her. Marla had already taken a dozen cruises
and planned countless trips when I first met
her on our 2001 cruise. It didn't take long
for me to realize she had a skill and I had
a dance studio that were meant for each
other. When you combine Marla's background
in sales combined with her love of travel,
you know you have a great start. Where Marla
has grown the cruise business though is her
Over the past ten cruises, everyone at the
studio has learned you can take Marla at her
word. If she tells you this is the lowest
price she can find, you know she means it.
If she says she thinks the ship will sell
out soon, you know she means it. The only
thing missing is some good old-fashioned BS.
That's what Marla
has me for. I write the stories. Unlike
Marla who is inhibited by her natural
tendency towards honesty, I am more than
willing to embellish a Travel Story. And
guess what? No one seems to mind. They know
when I am kidding and they know when I am
quite serious. Together Marla and I are
quite a team.
The third person in this story is Gary
Richardson. My writing career began with his
emergence into my life. In 1998, I bought my
first real computer from Gary. The problem
was that I didn't have a clue how to use a
computer. Furthermore I didn't know anyone
else who could show me. Gary said he would
teach me how to use the computer. That began
an adventure where I drove over to his
computer store on Gessner every day for a
month. I would sit in his computer store
like a piece of furniture practicing on the
computer. Whenever I would get stuck, Gary
would come over and show me the next step.
Once I was ready to take the computer home,
now it was time to use it for something. So
I wrote a story. And another story. And
another story. This was the same time the
Internet was coming into its own as a tool
used by everyone. Gary got me in right at
the ground floor. Thanks to Gary's computer
genius and my writing, the SSQQ Web Site
continues to show up on Google's Top Ten
List for "dance studios" even though we have
never spent a dime to get it there. Gary had
created a monster.
Together, Marla, Gary, and Rick make a
pretty good team. By the way, if you ever
want to ask a computer question from someone
you can trust, email Gary at
build you a computer, get rid of a virus, or
show you how to convert your Roadrunner
And while you are at it, tell him what your
favorite song is. Gary will be our DJ on the
upcoming September Dance Cruise.
THE SOUND OF WEDDING BELLS
Jean Williams and Don Taylor, our beautiful couple
from last year's Rhapsody Cruise, have announced a
Longtime SSQQ student and friend Carl Hruska and
Angie Darling have announced their engagement. Carl
is one of those rare 50-year-old bachelors. I first
met Carl in dance class around 1982. His big smile
confirms that even the most confirmed bachelor is
vulnerable if they hang around SSQQ. It may take 25
years, but no one is safe from Cupid's arrow.
Jeff Anderson and Lisa Ramey have announced their
engagement. This is a remarkable story. Jeff has
almost completely recovered from his August 2006
The fact that Jeff feels strong enough to begin the
next chapter of my life with this beautiful woman
gives me goosebumps. It makes me proud of Jeff, it
makes me proud of Lisa for her courage to face her
own fears, and it makes me proud of the doctors and
the early volunteers who made a beautiful story like
One of the dark stories that emerged from the early
days of the heart transplant business (1967) were
all those brave souls who didn't make it while the
doctors were trying to figure out how to transplant
the most important organ in the body. These people
were part hero; part 'what do I have to lose'? Dr.
Christian Barnard is famous for this quote, ""For a
dying man it is not a difficult decision because he
knows he is at the end. If a lion chases you to the
bank of a river filled with crocodiles, you will
leap into the water, convinced you have at least a
small chance to swim to the other side."
Through the bravery of these people, the early
doctors discovered the hard way that problem was
related to the body rejecting the new transplant.
That led to the emergence of the wonder drug
Cyclosporin (1983) which made a huge difference in
the success rate. Today in the 21st century, the
brutal lessons of the past have made it possible for
people like Jeff to have a real fighting chance of
survival. That is why we must acknowledge these
heroes of the past.
Despite the improvements, nevertheless, we all know
it takes a tremendous amount of guts to undertake an
operation this risky. And if you only knew what a
great guy Jeff is, you would understand why it is
valuable to keep him around!
Jeff's fight for survival makes the engagement of
Jeff and Lisa truly a modern day miracle.
In Jeff's own words, "It's great to be alive and
enjoying each new day." That
is something we all should take to heart…
SPEAKING OF HEROES,
PLEASE READ ABOUT DR Wafa
A TRULY HEROIC ARAB
The Prophet of Islam said:
"I was ordered to
fight the people until they believe in Allah and His
And Dr. Wafa Sultan replied to this ideology
with a message of her own:
KILLING PEOPLE FOR WHAT THEY BELIEVE IN"
SSQQ is more than a dance studio. Sometimes SSQQ is
like a college campus where people are free to
exchange thoughts and ideas. We take this freedom
We all know about Al-Quaeda. We all know about the
suicide bombings in Israel. We all know that someday
the kind of horror we read about elsewhere could
come a lot closer. Our friends in New York and
London serve as proof that no border is safe.
There is no free speech in much of the Arab world.
The kind of freedom to say what is on our minds here
in America does not exist in many Arab societies.
Here is a quote. Sorry, I do not know the author's
name (and maybe the author would prefer it that
"And that is why there are not true Muslims in the
word, because they may not choose to cease to be
Muslims. If a Muslim tries to become a Hindu or a
Christian or even a simple unbeliever, some
fanatical Muslim will kill him..."
It is that kind of dangerous climate that makes Dr
Wafa Sultan a true
American Hero in her own right. 20 years ago, Dr
Sultan was a medical student at a university in
Aleppo, Syria. In the middle of her classroom,
Muslim thugs entered and shot her professor to death
right before her eyes. He was killed for his
outspoken political views. His death was total
validation of the quote above, "if a Muslim tries to
become even a simple unbeliever, some fanatical
Muslim will kill him…"
Despite knowing full well from her professor's death
what can happen when you speak up against terrorism,
Dr. Sultan immigrated to the United States and
became an outspoken opponent of certain Islamic
teachings and philosophies. On February 21, 2006,
Dr. Sultan, a Syrian American psychiatrist, went on
Among the things she said was the battle within
Islam was one between the forces of barbarism and
modernity, and that the violent, reactionary side of
Islam would lose. And that was just for starters!
Here are some more of her quotes:
"Brother, you can believe in stones, as long
as you don't throw them at me. You are free to
worship whoever you want, but other people's beliefs
are not your concern, whether they believe that the
Messiah is God, son of Mary, or that Satan is God,
son of Mary. Let people have their beliefs."
"All the useful scientific books that you have
today are theirs (the Western culture), the fruit of
their free and creative thinking."
"The Jews have come from the tragedy of the
Holocaust and forced the world to respect them, with
their knowledge, not with their terror; with their
work, not with their crying and yelling. Humanity
owes most of the discoveries and science of the 19th
and 20th centuries to Jewish scientists. 15 million
people, scattered throughout the world, united and
won their rights through work and knowledge."
"We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up
in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single
Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jew
protest by killing people."
"The Muslims have turned three Buddha statues
into rubble. We have not seen a single Buddhist burn
down a Mosque, kill a Muslim or burn down an
embassy. Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by
burning down churches, killing people and destroying
embassies. This path will not yield any results. The
Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for
humankind, before they demand that humankind respect
After reading those statements, I would be surprised
if you didn't agree with me that this woman is a
hero. Indeed, I was so shocked by what
said that I stared at the Internet video with my
mouth agape and my eyes bulging. This women
I invite all of you to view her famous video.
Please do this for me. She has risked her life by
speaking her mind. This woman deserves all the
support we can give her and it starts with hearing
her message. She inspired me and she will inspire
you. The world needs more people like her.
If you have not previously
seen this video, immediately click on this link and
watch for yourself. This is a woman risking her life
to speak her mind and openly condemn extremely
ruthless people for their barbarism and cruelty.
If she is killed tomorrow or this video is removed
tomorrow, you will regret not seeing it.
Repeat, this woman is risking her life with every
word she says.
transcript from February 21, 2006. Here is the
The clash we are witnessing around the world is not
a clash of religions or a clash of civilizations
It is a clash between two opposites, btw two
It is a clash between a mentality that
belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality
that belongs to the 21st century.
It is a clash between civilization and
backwardness, btw the civilized and the primitive,
btw barbarity and rationality.
It is a clash btw freedom and oppression, btw
democracy and dictatorship
It is a clash btw human rights, on the one
hand, and the violation of these rights, on the
It is a clash btw those who treat women like
beasts and those who treat them like human beings.
What we see today is not a clash of
Civilizations do not clash, but compete.
Al Jazeera Narrator: I
understand from your words that what is happening
today is a clash btw the culture of the West and the
backwardness and ignorance of the Muslims?
Yes, that is what I mean.
Al Jazeera Narrator: Who
came up with the concept of a clash of
civilizations? Was it not Samuel Huntington? It was
not Bin Laden. I would like to discuss this issue,
if you don't mind…
The Muslims are the ones who began using this
expression. The Muslims are the ones who began the
clash of civilizations.
The Prophet of Islam said: "I was ordered to
fight the people until they believe in Allah and His
When the Muslims divided the people into
Muslims and non-Muslims, and called to fight the
others until they believe in what they themselves
believe, they started this clash and began this war.
In order to stop this war, they must
re-examine their Islamic books and curricula, which
are full of calls for takfir and fighting the
My colleague has said that he never offends
other people's beliefs. What civilization on
the face of this earth allows him to call other
people by names they did not choose for themselves?
Once he calls them Ahl Al-Dhimma, another
time he calls them the "People of the Book," and yet
another time he compares them to apes and pigs, or
he calls the Christians "those who incur Allah's
Who told you they are "People of the Book"?
They are not the People of the Book, they are
people of many books.
All the useful scientific books that
you have today are theirs, the fruit of their free
and creative thinking. What gives you the
right to call them "those who incur Allah's Wrath,"
or "those who have gone astray," and then come here
and say that your religion commands you to refrain
from offending the beliefs of others?
I am not a Christian, a Muslim, or a Jew. I
am a secular human being. I do not believe in the
supernatural, but I respect others' right to believe
in it. I respect others' right to believe in it.
Muslim Cleric: Are you a
You can say whatever you like. I am a secular
human being who does not believe in the
Muslim Cleric: If you are a
heretic, there is no point in rebuking you, since
you have blasphemed against Islam, the Prophet, and
These are personal matters that do not concern you.
OTHER PEOPLE'S BELIEFS
Brother, you can believe in stones, as long as you
don't throw them at me. You are free to worship
whoever you want, but other people's beliefs
are not your concern, whether they believe
that the Messiah is God, son of Mary, or that Satan
is God, son of Mary.
Let people have their beliefs.
The Jews have come from the tragedy of the Holocaust
and forced the world to respect them, with their
knowledge, not with their terror; with their work,
not with their crying and yelling."
Humanity owes most of the discoveries and science of
the 19th and 20th centuries to Jewish scientists.
15 million people, scattered throughout the world,
united and won their rights through work and
"We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a
German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew
destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jew
protest by killing people."
The Muslims have turned three Buddha statues into
rubble. We have not seen a single Buddhist burn down
a Mosque, kill a Muslim or burn down an embassy.
Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning
down churches, killing people and destroying
embassies. This path will not yield any results. The
Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for
humankind, before they demand that humankind respect
(END OF VIDEO)
To quote: "What must
not be overlooked as well is the importance of the
role that Al-Jazeera played in the showing of this
interview. We have
seen much criticism of the Qatar-
based television station here in the US but one must
wonder after viewing this exchange whether or not
that criticism is accurate.
That Al-Jazeera would have the audacity to air such
statements that are viewed as blasphemy by Islamic
clerics is an enormous display of freedom of speech
in the cloistered world of Muslim countries.
This action was
far braver than printing a couple of
Candor of Dr. Wafa Sultan
by Bill Doskoch on Sat 11 Mar 2006 01:45 AM
Dr. Wafa Sultan, a Syrian American psychiatrist,
went on al-Jazeera on Feb. 21 and said the battle
within Islam was one between the forces of barbarism
and modernity, and that the violent, reactionary
side of Islam would lose.
The effect of that outburst has been, er,
In response, clerics throughout the Muslim
world have condemned her, and her telephone
answering machine has filled with dark threats.
But Islamic reformers have praised her for saying
out loud, in Arabic and on the most widely seen
television network in the Arab world (al-Jazeera),
what few Muslims dare to say even in private.
"I believe our people are hostages to our own
beliefs and teachings," she said in an interview
this week in her home in a Los Angeles suburb.
Dr. Sultan, who is 47, wears a prim sweater and
skirt, with fleece-lined slippers and heavy
stockings. Her eyes and hair are jet black and her
modest manner belies her intense words: "Knowledge
has released me from this backward thinking.
Somebody has to help free the Muslim people from
these wrong beliefs."
Perhaps her most provocative words on Al Jazeera
were those comparing how the Jews and Muslims have
reacted to adversity. Speaking of the Holocaust, she
said, "The Jews have come from the tragedy and
forced the world to respect them, with their
knowledge, not with their terror; with their work,
not with their crying and yelling."
She went on, "We have not seen a single Jew blow
himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen
a single Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a
single Jew protest by killing people."
She concluded, "Only the Muslims defend their
beliefs by burning down churches, killing people and
destroying embassies. This path will not yield any
results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they
can do for humankind, before they demand that
humankind respect them."
Her views caught the ear of the American Jewish
Congress, which has invited her to speak in May at a
conference in Israel. "We have been discussing with
her the importance of her message and trying to
devise the right venue for her to address Jewish
leaders," said Neil B. Goldstein, executive director
of the organization.
She is probably more welcome in Tel Aviv than she
would be in Damascus. Shortly after the broadcast,
clerics in Syria denounced her as an infidel. One
said she had done Islam more damage than the Danish
cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad, a wire
Dr. Sultan's life
changed in 1979 when she was a medical student at
the University of Aleppo, in northern Syria. At that
time, the radical Muslim Brotherhood was using
terrorism to try to undermine the government of
President Hafez al-Assad. Gunmen of the Muslim
Brotherhood burst into a classroom at the university
and killed her professor as she watched, she said.
"They shot hundreds of bullets into him, shouting,
'God is great!' " she said. "At that point, I lost
my trust in their god and began to question all our
teachings. It was the turning point of my life, and
it has led me to this present point. I had to leave.
I had to look for another god."
She wrote an essay for a website called Annaqed (The
Critic), run by another Syrian expatriate in
An angry essay on that site by Dr. Sultan about the
Muslim Brotherhood caught the attention of Al
Jazeera, which invited her to debate an Algerian
cleric on the air last July.
In the debate, she questioned the religious
teachings that prompt young people to commit suicide
in the name of God. "Why does a young Muslim man, in
the prime of life, with a full life ahead, go and
blow himself up?" she asked. "In our countries,
religion is the sole source of education and is the
only spring from which that terrorist drank until
his thirst was quenched."
Sultan no longer practices Islam.
"And that is why there
are not true Muslims in the word, because they may
not choose to cease to be Muslims. If a Muslim tries
to become a Hindu or a Christian or even a simple
unbeliever, some fanatical Muslim will kill him..."
(Editor's Note: And that
is why I admire this woman... because some fanatical
Muslim may her kill Dr. Sultan too. It really
isn't that hard to kill somebody, especially someone
like her who doesn't have an army of body guards.
She is very brave.)
RICK'S RANT - STOP
KILLING PEOPLE FOR WHAT THEY BELIEVE
Watching Wafa Sultan stand up
and speak her mind on the video really hit home.
It made me want to share a story with you... a silly
story, yet a deeply serious story on another level. But first a
We all recoil in horror at the barbarous
atrocities currently attributed to Arab terrorism.
9-11, the senseless suicide bombings in Israel, and
the horrible beheading of Daniel Pearl. I
don't even have to dig to come up with examples.
These three sickening images came instantly to mind.
But you know what? As much as we
condemn the Islamic Militants, they aren't the first
savages on the face of the Earth to murder innocent
people for what they believed in. I am no
history expert, but I can rattle four simple
examples right off the top of my head - The
Holocaust, the Inquisition, feeding early Christians
to the lions, the Crusades. History is replete
with stories where people died horrible deaths for
what they believed in.
We had great fun in the Da Vinci Code
watching our heroes dodge murderous religious
zealots to uncover the truth about Christian
origins. We all know the Catholic Church has a
horrible history of persecution and religious
Back when I was a little boy,
say 10 years old, I came across a book of famous
paintings in my mother's book collection. One
picture caught my eye. I stared at it for a long
time, then suddenly burst into tears. It was
really a terrible picture. I remember it had
to do with the Huguenots. So I typed
'Huguenot' in Google and came up with a picture and
"Consider Pope Pius V.
When he was Grand Inquisitor, he sent Catholic
troops to kill 2,000 Waldensian Protestants in
Calabria in southern Italy.
After becoming pope, he sent Catholic troops to kill
Huguenot Protestants in France. He ordered the
commander to execute every prisoner taken.
Pius also launched the final crusade against the
Muslims, sending a Christian naval armada to
slaughter thousands in the Battle of Lepanto in
And he intensified the Roman Inquisition, torturing
and burning Catholics whose beliefs varied from
After his death, he was canonized a saint. He still
is venerated by the church."
So as much as I decry Arab
Terrorism in today's world, I do not wish to single
these people out as the only monsters in human
history. They are just the latest barbarians.
They also happen to be the greatest threat to
civilization on today's earth. They kill
innocent people at the drop of a hat. Which is
all the more reason that I admire Wafa Sultan for
speaking out against them. She literally could
be dead in tomorrow's headline for what she has
bravely stated and no one would be surprised.
Why do people have to die for what they believe in?
During my college days, I spent a lot of time
studying philosophy and religion. One thing I
discovered is that lots of people have lots of
different ideas. When you are in college, you are
surrounded by a lot of bright people with time on
their hands to discuss very serious topics. I
loved the free exchange of ideas.
This is America at its best - Land of the Free, Home
of the Brave. I could talk about any subject I
wished without any fear that I might die for my
words or be brought in front of a tribunal.
That is why I admired Dr. Sultan for saying this, "All
the useful scientific books that you have today are
theirs (the Western World), the fruit of their free
and creative thinking."
But on the other hand, I also discovered it was
almost impossible to convince other people that my
religious views were correct. College is where
I learned the hard way that the two most difficult
conversations in the world revolved around religion
One day a close friend of mine and I compared notes.
We discovered we were both frustrated because we
were having a hard time convincing other people that
our ideas were correct. The problem was simple
- there really wasn't any way to prove what we
believed. That's why it was called a "Belief".
If you can prove something, then it becomes a "Fact"
and no longer a "Belief".
This "Belief Business" was hard work. We were
frustrated out of our minds trying to explain why WE
were RIGHT and THEY were WRONG. We were
arguing ourselves into a brain aneurysm over things
like the meaning of certain Bible passages.
These were topics that had no right answer and no
way to prove that our position was the correct one.
Finally I came to a blinding
discovery - why bother? Since I had never
successfully convinced anyone that my views were
correct... and they had never successfully convinced
me that their views were correct... why bother?
That is when I learned my lesson - let people
believe what they want. As long as they
threatening to hurt me (or KILL ME), it was a lot easier just to
let people believe whatever they wanted to. My
life improved immediately.
I am going to finish my rant with three things: some
background information and two emails.
A SILLY YET
VERY SERIOUS STORY ABOUT THE INFAMOUS
EINSTEIN LOGIC PUZZLE
I am going to keep this short. The
is a mildly difficult logic puzzle that has
been whizzing around the Internet as long as
I have had email. I originally posted
the Einstein Puzzle on the SSQQ web site in
1998. I told people to email me if
they wanted to have their answer confirmed.
Because I kept track of all correspondence
related to the Einstein Puzzle, a year later I
started a second page
Letters which I have added to
many times since.
At this point I have collected
nine years of letters regarding the Einstein Puzzle.
I have been amused to discover people enjoy reading
the correspondence. Their interest has made
the SSQQ Einstein Puzzle page so popular that it has
been one of the top three Internet destinations for
many years now. If you type "Einstein Puzzle"
into Google, the ssqq link should pop up near the
One of the odd tangents that I have catalogued is
the people who contend there is no correct answer.
Here is my favorite example:
Sent: Thursday, January 11, 2007 5:08 PM
Subject: Eintstein's Puzzle
I figured out the puzzle and I think the
(CORRECT ANSWER) owns the fish. Right? But
my Dad says my answer is wrong, that no one owns
the fish because it is not in the Clues section.
I am writing because I need to know if I am
right or Dad is right.
I live in Minnesota, in the twin cities.
(Nowhere special). Also I am 13 years old.
:) I think it took my about 45 minutes to
figure it out, but I'm estimating. I feel
a little wierd emailing you but I trust you not
to be some kind of mad pshyco.
(How did she figure me
out so fast?)
Here is another take on the
found an interesting web site where it is
claimed that 98% of man-kind cannot solve the
puzzle because there is a flaw in their logic.
We can all deduce our way to solving most of the
matrix of animals, people, colours, drinks and
cigarettes, but this gentleman stipulated that
finishing the matrix does not mean the (CORRECT
ANSWER) has the fish.
We can assume there is a fish, and that the
(CORRECT ANSWER) has it since he doesn't have
the other animals, but logically speaking there
is no proof in the hints of a fish' existence.
Therefore the (CORRECT ANSWER) could well own a
monkey, cow or no pet whatsoever.
I found it an interesting take on the puzzle,
because that would be a logical oversight many
people would make, and therefore the only answer
that 98% of people don't come up with.
Now that you have enough
background, here is the email that I wished to share
Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2007 10:40 AM
Subject: Einstein Puzzle
I recently ruffled a lot of feathers at an MSN
group I'm in. The head manager had posted the
Fish version of the puzzle, calling it a quiz.
I remembered working on it back in the 80s when
Einstein was credited with creating it before he
Anyway, the manager after criticizing and
demeaning me intensely, considering herself
very intelligent and creative ("right-brained
like Einstein" as she claimed), was emphatic that
the CORRECT answer was that the owner of the
Fish could not be determined because the fish
was not called a pet either in the question nor
in the clues and that was supposed to be
ambiguous enough to overcome any logic employed
in arriving at any other answer.
She claimed superior logic showed that the
ambiguity superseded any other conclusions AND
that the answer ("no determination possible")
was in the 15 clues AND therefore did not make a
lie out of the last statement about the solution
being in the 15 clues.
After meeting so many
power-mongers who will say and distort anything
just to stay in control and have their way, it
was a pleasure to come across your site with
such thoughtful respondents and you as the host.
Kudos for all the other background info provided
on this puzzle.
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2007 11:53 AM
Subject: RE: Einstein Puzzle
Bless your heart! I
am getting a big chuckle out of your
predicament; shame on me. ;-)
Here is a review of the facts: The puzzle lists
5 houses, 5 nationalities, 5 colors, etc etc.
Furthermore the opening statement says:
These 5 owners drink a certain drink, smoke a
certain brand of tobacco and keep a certain pet.
No owners have the same pet, smoke the same
tobacco, or drink the same drink.
The implication is that there is FIVE of
everything. This is a LOGIC PUZZLE. Logic
Puzzles are not riddles. They are supposed
to be fun brain exercises that have a unique
solution just like Crossword and Sudoku. Logic
Puzzles are supposed to play fair. If A, then B
and so on.
If this was a "Brain Teaser", then maybe I would
suggest the manager's position might have a
But as it stands there are FIVE OF EVERYTHING
with one exception… there are four pets… dog
- bird -cat
- horse… and the first thing the puzzle
does is list the FISH as the fifth pet.
Uh oh... Well, now that I
think of it, your manager has a point - the FISH
is not identified as a pet. Such an
insight! But the puzzle says there
are five pets. By your manager's logic, why
should we assume the dog
- bird -cat
- horse are pets?
Maybe the water is a pet. Maybe someone
smokes tea. Your manager thinks she is
clever, but her assumptions lead us to
absurdity. Wouldn't it be easier to simply
take a leap of faith and try solving the puzzle?
After all, the puzzle is very easy to solve if
you treat it like a LOGIC PUZZLE instead an
existential investigation into God's true
purpose for mankind.
More than likely, the addition of the Fish in
the opening question saves the person who
created the puzzle an extra line of clues. It
could be just as simple an explanation as that.
There are people who do not agree with me. In my
Einstein article, Wayne Renaud stated this:
to this puzzle is, I believe, to understand that
the question 'WHO HAS FISH? is itself NOT one of
the facts, and that we are not entitled to add
to the given facts by inferring an additional
'fact' within the question."
Well, that's Mr. Renaud's opinion. I don't
But notice that Mr. Renaud said 'I
Now that is honest. Everyone has a right to
believe whatever he or she wants as long as they
don't hurt other people who don't share their
go killing Buddhists because they don't worship
As for my beliefs, I BELIEVE Mr. Renaud and
everyone else has the right to believe what he
or she want to believe without having someone
else try to bully them into submission,
ESPECIALLY on something like the Einstein Puzzle
which is the Ultimate Trivial Pursuit… a lowly
logic puzzle that was elevated to cosmic
importance just because someone lied and claimed
that Einstein wrote it and a bunch of dopes had
fun pretending it was true. Oh Please.
Let your manager argue all she wants. You can
direct her to my web site and ask her to write a
letter which I PROMISE to post defending her
I personally think you are brilliant for combing
the Internet to find someone like me who agrees
with you! Now that is clever. And complimenting
me so I will agree with you… that's
I conclude my article with
this advice - We think we are not in the Dark Ages
any more, but let me remind you that the victims of
the Holocaust are only 60 years in the past.
And that Josef Stalin murdered 20 million Russians
to make sure the rest of them saw things his way. I
suppose that's one way to get a consensus of
I realize that none of us would dream of
murdering someone for their beliefs (unless we were
threatened with harm). What a shame it is
that we still have people on this planet who think
that God actually wants people killed on his or her
But while we are at it, maybe we should stop
bullying people as well for their Beliefs.
Try Friendly Persuasion instead. We will all
This is the end of our August Newsletter
Don't forget to read
SSQQ Reputation on the Line
PS - this point marks the
end of the August Newsletter. There is no more
Here are the
Chapters in this month's Newsletter:
THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO INFORMATION BELOW
THIS POINT FOR THE AUGUST NEWSLETTER.
I AM KEEPING IT BLANK SO ALL THE LINKS STAY
INTACT FOR WHEN I START ADDING FEATURES
AGAIN IN SEPTEMBER.
The August Newsletter essentially has been
transferred over to the story titled "ssqq
reputation on the line"
FAVORITE STORIES FROM PREVIOUS ISSUES
THE JUNE CLASS HIGHLIGHTS – CLASSES BEGIN
the week of Sunday, June 3.
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.
For even more detail on many
of the classes listed below, please visit the EXTRA
Special classes for
FIEBRE SALSA PARTY
9:15 pm -
Cover charge $7
CRASH COURSES 7-9 pm
BEG SALSA - Olga
INT SALSA - Martin
CUMBIA/TEJANO - Linda
MERENGUE - Jill
ADVANCED SALSA PATTERNS - Jim
SALSA TIMING AND MOVEMENT- Alex
THE AMAZING SSQQ SOCK HOP
9:15 pm -
Cover charge $7
CRASH COURSES 7-9 pm
PARTY LINE DANCES - Rick
BEGINNING SWING - Jack
DIFFICULT SWING ACROBATICS - Paul (Couples Only)
The GREAT GABINO'S FAV ADV SWING PTNS - Steve G
BEG WEST COAST SWING - Patty/Joe
BRYAN'S WCS STUNTS AND ACROBATICS CLASS - Bryan
Spivey (couples only!)
STORY OF SCOTT LADELL AND SIX SSQQ LADIES AT
THE TEXAS CLASSIC
07. BALLROOM DANCING WITH YOUR HORSE
The 67 Million Dollar Dry
11. BALLROOM DANCING IS
BEING ADDED TO THURSDAYS
TEST FOR SAMRT PEOPLE
Answer to Brain
THE SCHOOL BUS QUESTION
THE SSQQ ARCHIVES:
16. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR -
This was a new feature that
began with the April 2007 Newsletter. For
many years, the most popular section of the entire
Newsletter has been the complaint section.
It dawned on me the other day that I get lots of
email that is actually quite pleasant and almost as
interesting as the much-loved complaints.
I hope you enjoy this new feature.
have something you would like to say or comment on,
send it to
A FATHER'S DAY
Story contributed by
TWO COMPLAINTS OF THE MONTH:
COMPLAINT OF THE MONTH:
20. JOKES OF THE MONTH - THE JOKE
PICTURE AND THE JOKE HALL OF FAME FOR JUNE
We publish one
each month. This month my friend Letty
Daughterty shares a fabulous picture of a BMW with
its windows bashed to smithereens for a good reason:
it parked next to a fire hydrant and the firemen
SSQQ has acquired about 600 jokes over the last ten
years. My favorite joke from the June Hall of
Fame was given to us by Chris Holmes. You can
read this joke and nearly 100 others at our
Joke Hall of
that’s a wrap for June. Thanks for reading this month's issue of the SSQQ
PREVIOUS STORIES OF INTEREST
(Note: for people visiting the SSQQ Newsletter for the first time,
here are some favorite stories from previous issues)