WHAT IS NEW AT SSQQ
Written by Rick Archer
This is the December 2007 issue of the SSQQ Newsletter.
The December 2007 issue is
extensive. I guess that is an understatement.
There are twenty stories. That's right -
Twenty. And you know what? Every single
article is fun. This is one of the most
entertaining Newsletters I have put out.
Table of Contents
- Click the Number of Your Story
STORY 01: December Dance Parties:
Bayou City Swing to play
for us at the New Year's Eve Party
STORY 02: Story One from the Hawaii 2007 Cruise
STORY 03: The 2008 SSQQ Cruise Trip to Greece, Italy,
STORY 04: Is there a sequel in the works to "Dirty
STORY 05: 2007 Halloween Party Best Costumes
STORY 06: Return of the SSQQ Christmas Puzzle
STORY 07: Memory Aids for Women - an article by
The True Story of Snowball, the Amazing
STORY 09: Ballroom Dancing at Chandelier Ballroom
on Saturday, December 15
STORY 10: One of My Favorite People - Jaime Mabry...
or is it 'Jamie Mabry'?
STORY 11: An SSQQ Christmas Dance Story
STORY 12: Googling and Oogling with Rick Archer
STORY 13: Dear Abby - The Bra Used as Evidence
STORY 14: Advice to Men - My Most Valuable Lesson
as a Teacher
STORY 15: SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE - 14 STORIES IN
STORY 16: Teacher faces Lashes for naming teddy
STORY 17: A British View of Western Dancing
STORY 18: Right Angle Pictures
Breathtaking Grand Canyon Stupidity
STORY 20: The SSQQ Joke Page Returns!
STORY 01 - DECEMBER
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Red and
Green and White
Happy Holidays Salsa Dance!!
The party where Christmas, Mexico, and Salsa
go hand in hand!
9:15 pm - 11:30 pm, $7 person
Salsa Music in Room 1
(Wear Red and White or Stay outta Sight!)
CRASH COURSES (7 - 9 PM)
CUMBIA - Luis
BEG SALSA - Alex
SLOW DANCING! - Jill (cpls only)
LATIN HUSTLE - Scott
BACHATA - Linda
ADV SALSA EXPLOSION! - Rebeca/Bjorn
CHRISTMAS DANCE PARTY !!
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21st
9:00 PM - 12 Midnight $7 PERSON
Dress Casual. Christmas
Designs or something with
Red and Green would be nice.
But if you are in a Bah Humbug mood,
just wear clothes.
MUSIC WILL BE WESTERN, SWING, AND
WALTZ IN ROOM 1. WHIP
MUSIC IN ROOM 4.
Much of the Dance Music will have a
Christmas Twist to it. A Twostep to George
Strait's MERRY CHRISTMAS STRAIT TO YOU or a
Swing to FROSTY THE SNOWMAN is guaranteed to
put you in a Christmas Mood.
or we will have you rocking around the
TEXAS GIRLS HAVE ALWAYS
KNOWN HOW TO BE THE BELLE OF THE BALL...
SSQQ NEW YEARS PARTY
Live Swing and Ballroom Music of Bayou City
9:00 pm - 1:00 am, $35
Coat & Tie for Men, Dress or
Dress Suit for Ladies
City Swing plays a wide assortment of music.
In addition to Foxtrot and Big Band
we will Waltz,
Tango, Cha Cha, and Rumba
music in Room One
Western and Whip in Room Four
Cover Charge includes
Appetizers plus complimentary soft drinks,
wine and beer.
Champagne, Noise Makers,
Balloons and Silly
Hats at Midnight
The SSQQ New Year's Party has
traditionally attracted 200 people.
drinking, but never to excess.
The atmosphere is friendly and
relaxed. SSQQ is
cheerful, safe, comfortable and smoke-free.
What better way to welcome in the New
Year than with Dancing!!
STORY 02 - STORY ONE
FROM THE 2007 HAWAII CRUISE
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Back in May 2007, SSQQ
took a marvelous cruise trip to Hawaii.
Never have we taken a more perfect trip!
The transportation was perfect.
The weather was perfect.
The ship was beautiful.
The Hawaiian Islands were beautiful.
Everything went smoothly.
We all had fun.
The only problem from the trip so far has
been Rick Archer's inability to sit down and
write about the trip and post the pictures.
It has been six months since this incredible
trip and so far NOTHING has appeared.
The reason for my inability to write about
the trip really boils down to the fact that
this project is so big that I keep waiting
for a stretch of time long enough to
complete the project at one sitting.
Well, that stretch never appears.
There is always something more pressing that
needs my attention. However, in
mid-November I finally did begin the
project. It took four days to get
organized and write one story. That
should give you an idea of how daunting this
task is. I was unable to get any
further because it was time to begin work on
the December Newsletter.
So let's do it this way: I will
publish at least one story a month and see
how that works. I hope you enjoy Story
One: How to Hide an Enormous
Volcanic Crater In Plain Sight.
Hawaii 2007: Oahu and Honolulu
STORY 03 - THE 2008 SSQQ
CRUISE TRIP TO GREECE
TABLE OF CONTENTS
This story is written by Rick
Starting in 2004, SSQQ has taken two cruises a year.
One cruise is our beloved dance cruise around the
Caribbean while a second cruise is booked to a
In 2004 we went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
In 2005 we went to Alaska. In 2006 we went to
New England. In 2007 we went to Hawaii.
In 2008 we try our most ambitious trip yet - the
SSQQ Cruise to Greece.
The 2008 Greece Trip at a Glance:
Sunday, July 20th
- Sunday, July 27th
Aboard Royal Caribbean's Navigator of
Day One: Rome, Italy -- Depart at 5:00
Day Two: Sicily, Italy-- 10:00 - 6:00 pm
Day Three: Cruising the Mediterranean
Day Four: Athens, Greece -- 7:00 am -
Day Five: Ephesus, Turkey -- 7:00 am -
Day Six: Heraklion, Crete -- 7:00 am -
Day Seven: Cruising the Mediterranean
Day Eight: Rome, Italy -- Arrive 5:00 am
Contact Marla Archer for more
firstname.lastname@example.org or phone her 713 862
As I am sure most of you
remember from your Ancient History courses, as far
as the Western Civilization is concerned, Greece is
where it all began.
The people of the region attempted to explain the
world through the laws of nature. They made
important discoveries in science. They developed
democracy, where people govern themselves rather
than being ruled by a king. The Greeks also valued
beauty and imagination. They wrote many stories and
plays that continue to be performed today. The
ancient Greeks developed a great
many traditions that we
take for granted without even
thinking about their origins (for example, the
Marathon and the Olympics).
This are the reasons why Greece is often known
as the Cradle of Western Civilization.
If it were not for the
Greeks, we would not have the Democracy we
take for granted. If it were not for
the Greeks, we might be speaking Persian
today. If it were not for the Greeks,
we would not have the Trojan War, The
Odyssey, the Spartan 300, Greek
Mythology, Greek Philosophy, Greek Drama, or
the Olympic Games.
Obviously Greece has had a profound effect
on the course of Western history.
The Civilization of
ancient Greece flowered more than 2500 years ago.
Greece is an extremely mountainous country that
makes it very difficult for agriculture.
Consequently the ancient Greeks were forced to
adapt. They became a sea-faring nation.
They also developed a passion for knowledge and
culture. As a result, Greece became the most
advanced scientific country of its time. Known
for its advanced mathematics and astronomy, Greece
is the country that gave us Archimedes, Ptolemy and
Pythagoras. Known for its medicine, Greece
gave us Hippocrates and Galen.
Perhaps what Greece is most famous for is its
Philosophers. The ancient Greeks seem to have
been a most inquisitive group of people.
Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were prodigious
scholars whose ideas were deeply influential.
Socrates was a rebel who taught people to question
authority and to act on their own principles even if
it meant challenging the established way of doing
things. Socrates is given credit for the ideas
that led to the formation of Democracy.
Unfortunately, Socrates became so unpopular with the
people who were in power that he was executed mainly
for teaching people to think for themselves.
No wonder we admire these people!
Before Democracy came along, the existing
systems of government in the Greek city states
included Monarchies, Tyrannies, and Dictators.
Athens itself used Oligarchy as their system
of government. Oligarchy means 'rule by the
wealthy few'. But the scholars of Athens could
see the selfish decisions of wealthy were ruining
the morale of the people and preventing progress.
The scholars spoke up and made persuasive arguments
in favor of this new idea called Democracy.
First Aristotle wrote the Athenian Constitution.
Then Solon, the Father of Democracy, implemented the
Later it fell to a man named
Cleisthenes to continue the
development of Athenian Democracy. Cleisthenes
was the grandson and namesake of a foreign Greek
tyrant, the ruler of Sicyon in the Peloponnese.
For a time he was also the brother-in-law of the
Athenian tyrant, Peisistratus, who seized power
three times before finally establishing a stable and
apparently benevolent dictatorship. It was against
the increasingly harsh rule of Peisistratus's eldest
son that Cleisthenes championed a radical political
reform movement which in 508 ushered in the Athenian
It was under this political system that Athens
successfully resisted the Persian onslaughts of 490
and 480, most conspicuously at the battles of
Marathon and Salamis. These victories in turn
encouraged the poorest Athenians to demand a greater
say in the running of their city.
So it was
in the late 460s that Pericles presided over a
radicalization of power that shifted the balance
decisively to the poorest sections of society. It was
Pericles who made this new system of government
until 429 BCE when
he died of sickness, Pericles controlled Athenian
affairs. During Pericles rule, Athens reached it's
greatest political, social, and economical power. He
established a building project, which included the
Parthenon, which today is still visible on
top of the Acropolis.
It was the democratic Athens of Pericles that won and lost an
empire, that built the Parthenon, that gave a stage
to Aeschylus, Plato, Sophocles, Euripides and
Aristophanes, and laid the foundations of
western rational and critical thought.
Despite these incredible
contributions, unfortunately Greece later fell on
difficult times. For nearly two thousand
years, Greece was subjected to constant oppression
by outside empires. After its heyday with
Alexander the Great, Greece was conquered by the
Romans who ruled Greece for over a thousand years.
Next came 400 years of oppression by the Ottoman
Empire and Turkey. It wasn't until 1829
that the Greek people successfully regained control
of their own land. The next hundred
years weren't any easier.
constantly subjected to further meddling in its
affairs by European Countries and endured more problems with
its longtime enemy Turkey.
Greece again came under subjugation when the Nazis invaded during
World War II (who can forget the immortal film Guns of
However, after World War II,
with the help of the Marshall Plan,
Greece began a gradual return to strength and
autonomy. Now that Greece has had 50 years of
peace and independence, this country has begun to
flourish. Today Greece enjoys one of the
highest standards of living in the world thanks in
large part to tourism. People are drawn from
all over the world to see the spectacular beauty of
this rugged mountain country as well as the
fascinating islands that dot the Aegean Sea.
As our SSQQ community begins to gray a bit, many of us are
developing a desire to see the world and understand
history better. I cannot tell you how many
people say this trip is something they have wanted
to do their entire life. It is no surprise
that we are drawn to Greece as well as to Italy,
Crete, Sicily, and Turkey. After all, this is
where it all started.
I spoke to an SSQQ student who recently had visited
Greece. I asked her to sum up the most
interesting thing about her trip. She replied,
"That's easy - I enjoyed seeing the Ruins!
As I walked around the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus
(Turkey), my tour guide taught me more ancient
history in an afternoon than I ever absorbed in high
school and college combined. It was absolutely
However, you don't have to be retired or near
retirement to develop a fascination for the
Mediterranean. One day my daughter Samantha
asked me for money to buy some Christmas presents.
Sensing an opportunity, I ask Sam, a Junior at
to pretend she was a travel agent
identify some of the places she would like to see on
our Greece-Italy-Turkey adventure. Her eyes
lit up - she had just finished studying Greece in
her sophomore year. Sam said she would be glad
to help. So she pulled out her notes from last
year and started writing.
I was impressed with Sam's work. I think we
might just have a future Travel Writer in the
I Would Like to See in the Eastern
10. Catacombs of Rome
While the Roman
Catacombs are just on the outskirts of the
heart of the city, you won’t want to miss
something this rich in history (not to
mention spookiness). The ancient peoples of
Rome, the Etruscans, built the original
catacombs. The Christians, who sought
affordable ways to bury their dead with the
body still intact, then adopted the practice
of burying dead in the catacombs. The forty
Roman catacombs, situated along via Appia,
via Ostiense, via Labicana, via Tiburtina,
and via Nomentana, are currently under the
care of the Roman Catholic Church. The
Catacombs of San Callisto house the crypt of
the Popes, St. Cecilia, and the Sacraments.
Maybe catacombs sound too creepy for your
taste – but who knows what fascinating
artwork and artifacts can be found down
Today, Corinth is the
second-largest city on the Peloponnesian
Peninsula. In ancient times, it rivaled the
likes of Athens and Sparta until its
destruction by the Romans in 146 BC. The
city was then rebuilt by Julius Caesar in 44
BC. Famous figures who have walked its
grounds include Alexander the Great and the
Apostle Paul, who wrote a famous epistle to
the Corinthians. Sights to see in this
ancient city include the Temple of
Aphrodite, the Temple of Apollo, the Temple
of Octavia (sister of Roman Emperor
Augustus) and the Bema, the platform St.
Paul pleaded his case in front of the Roman
governor Gallio. Corinth is the perfect
opportunity to get away from the bustle of
Athens and still explore beautiful Grecian
Taormina – a small city
on the outskirts of Messina – holds a great
amount of cultural history because it has
acted as a crossroads between the many
peoples who have called its lands home. The
city itself has much to offer – the fountain
in the piazza duomo, the monastery of the
San Domenico, the Taormina Cathedral. The
Cathedral houses the Byzantine Madonna, also
called the non hand-made Madonna. Legend has
it that this painting was left hidden inside
a wall by angels – hence the name “non
hand-made,” for it was made by the angels,
not humans. An absolute must-see monument is
the Palazzo Duca S. Stefano – the palace of
the Duke San Stefano. Its thirteenth-century
Gothic architecture also has a nearby garden
of equal beauty. So take a stroll through
the town and enjoy its architectural
achievements – you won’t be able to miss the
nearby Mount Etna, which serves as a
backdrop to the town.
Archaeological Museum at Athens is
considered one of the great museums of the
world. It is home to some of the richest
historical artifacts from one of the richest
civilizations the world has ever known. The
most interesting artifact by far is the mask
of Agamemnon, found by Heinrich Schliemann
in 1876 during an excavation of the ancient
city of Mycenae. “I have gazed upon the face
of Agamemnon,” Schliemann claimed. Attacks
at the mask’s authenticity have been made –
but that doesn’t make this artifact any less
interesting. Agamemnon, who appears in
Homer’s Illiad and a story of his own
name by Aeschylus, is one of the more
well-known characters in the vast arena of
Greek literature. Other interesting
artifacts with literature ties include
Nestor’s Cup and Theseus’ Ring. Sculptures
of Greek heroes and Gods are also found in
the Museum – Marathon Boy and Poseidon of
Cape Artemision among them. These
archaeological treasures are plentiful in
the museum, so use your time to observe some
of the remaining artifacts of the ancient
6. Great Theater
The Great Theater at
Ephesus is thought to be the largest outdoor
theatre from the ancient world. While it was
originally built for 25,000 people,
expansions made by Roman emperors made it
large enough to hold an estimated 44,000
people. Built into Mount Pion in Ephesus,
the theatre is one hundred feet high and
those who feel like making the trip to the
top will behold a beautiful spectacle of all
the ancient ruins Ephesus has to offer.
Historically, additions were made by the
Roman emperors Nero, Claudius, and Trajan,
and St. Paul delivered a sermon on pagan
worship in the theatre. Use your time to see
the historically important Ephesian ruins,
but definitely make a trip to enjoy the
beauty of the area on top of the theatre’s
Think Rome for a second
– what immediately pops into your head? The
Colosseum is one of the most well-known
European structures, ranked with the Eiffel
Tower of Paris and Big Ben of London. The
Colosseum was completed in an estimated ten
years, from 70 to 80 AD under the Emperor
Vespasian. Spectacles of all kinds were held
in the Colosseum – enacted were recreations
of battles, sea battles, and dramas. The
mechanization for these enactments were of
mind-blowing proportions – especially those
used to fill the amphitheater with water
(they exist to this day). The mind-blowing
size of the Colosseum, its cultural and
historical importance, and its beautiful
architecture make it a definite visit while
4. St. Peter’s
While a visit to the
Vatican tops the list for most Rome-goers,
many are attracted to St. Peter’s Basilica.
From the striking beauty of the structure’s
architecture to the artwork and sculptures
housed there, the Basilica has some of the
most gorgeous treats for the eye in Rome.
Emperor Constantine began its construction
in 342 AD, near the downfall of the Roman
Empire in 476 AD. Pope Nicholas V restarted
construction near a thousand years later,
and today it stands as an amazing spectacle
to behold. Besides the tomb of St. Peter,
the bodies of Catholic British royalty
Edward Stuart, Charles Stuart, and Henry
Stuart are also entombed in the Basilica. As
a side trip, take some time to see the
Sistine Chapel – a complete spectacle on its
The Acropolis, known as
the “sacred rock” of Athens, hold the most
recognizable buildings in Grecian history.
In ancient times, Athens was known as a city
of art and architecture – a great deal of
this is exhibited in buildings such as the
Parthenon and the Temple of Nike. A great
deal of the buildings on the Acropolis were
built during the Golden Age of Athens (fifth
century BC) under Pericles. The geometrical
and architectural accomplishments are
exhibited throughout the area. The Parthenon
itself is also a representation of Athenian
democracy. Be careful while exploring this
Grecian treasure – it is illegal to steal
even a rock from the site’s ruins.
2. Mount Etna
Mount Etna is
definitely a sight to behold – as the
largest active volcano in Europe, its
dangerous beauty entices all who get to
experience the volcano. While in Messina it
is typically easy to see (weather
permitting), getting a hands-on experience
is something any adventurous soul would want
to do. The volcano is 10,910 feet high
(Mount St. Helen’s is currently 8,365 feet).
The most famous eruption of the volcano is
the 1669 eruption – it was also the most
destructive. While Messina itself was not as
affected as nearby towns, the region
suffered from the lava flow. Take this
opportunity to scale a European treasure –
but watch out for the red stuff.
1. Palace of Knossos
Whether or not the rest
of this list sounds appealing to you, this
site is the one you do not want to pass up.
The history of the Palace of Knossos is
interesting beyond a doubt – the historical
and mythological ties transcend any
Mediterranean site out there. Excavated by
Sir Arthur Evans in the early twentieth
century, the Palace of Knossos was thought
to be a centre of Minoan civilization. The
advanced technology of the Palace –
including plumbing – was an interesting find
for turn-of-the-century archaeologists. The
discovery of the artwork, the frescoes in
particular, were also engaging. The Palace
is also thought to be the origin of the
legend of the Labyrinth and the Minotaur,
the Greek half-man half-bull. Legend has it
that Daedalus, father of disobedient Icarus,
was captivated by King Minos and forced to
design the Labyrinth. The Minotaur was not
defeated until the Athenian Theseus killed
it using his clever wit. However, these
facts barely touch the interesting side of
the Palace. Almost forty years ago, in 1970,
a geologist by the name of H.G. Wunderlich
happened upon the Palace – and made some
particularly interesting hypotheses about
the Palace. In his book, The Secret of
Crete, he goes as far to suggest that
the Palace itself was not a Palace of
civilization – it was, in fact, a death
Palace, built by the death-obsessed
Minoans for their deceased. The fact that
the island of Crete lies in between the
European and the African sides of the
Mediterranean made it a center for ancient
ideas to pass through to the more modern
European side. The Egyptians, famous for
their treatment of the dead, plausibly
transferred beliefs to the Minoans, who
began to worship their dead as the Egyptians
did. Evidence is found all over the Palace
in support of Wunderlich’s theory – from the
bull-jumping frescoes to the eerie throne
room to the bones found buried near the
Palace. The Palace is most certainly worth
taking a look at for yourself – perhaps you
might agree with his out-of-the-box
STORY 04 - IS THERE A
SEQUEL IN THE WORKS
TO DIRTY DANCING?
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The 1987 movie
Dirty Dancing is considered one of
the greatest dance movies ever made. A
cult class that was made for next to
nothing, Dirty Dancing struck
a universal chord as a movie that was
completely believable and extremely
heart-felt. It turns out there was a
very good reason why the movie rang so true
- the story was largely autobiographical.
Not too many people know the story behind
Dirty Dancing. The story
was written by a woman named Eleanor
based the story in large part on her own
childhood. Born in 1938 in
Brooklyn, New York,
Ms. Bergstein and
her sister Francine were the daughters of a
Jewish doctor who was constantly busy and
left much of the care of the girls to
her mother. Does
that sound familiar?
family spent summers in the luxury
resorts of the Catskill Mountains.
While her parents were golfing,
Bergstein was dancing. She was a teenaged
Mambo queen, competing in local "Dirty
Later during her university
years, she worked as a dance
instructor at Arthur Murray dance studios
As an adult, Ms.
Bergstein turned to writing and also
tried her hand at scriptwriting.
She had success
selling a screenplay that was made into the
movie It's My Turn.
production, Ms. Bergman
became incensed when the producers
cut an erotic dance scene out of the script.
This frustration sparked Bergstein's
idea to write a more extensive story which
focused on the "Dirty Dancing" competitions
of her youth.
Ms. Bergstein was proud
of her script and immediately set about
trying to drum up interest. She spent
10 years hawking a script around Hollywood
only to have her screenplay was rejected by
every major movie company.
She even took to gyrating on tables in front
of male movie executives. "You do what
you have to do. I would get up on
tables and dirty dance because people
couldn't envision the dancing," said
Bergstein. "They loved the soundtrack but
they hated the script. Everybody told me how
bad it was."
Finally Vestron, a fledgling studio, agreed
to make her film, but not without grave
misgivings. "Even when we were making
the movie they were telling me how terrible
it was," she says of the producers at
Vestron Pictures, who made the movie on a
shoestring budget of $US5 million.
Imagine their surprise when Dirty
Dancing became a box office hit.
It became the fifth-highest grossing
film of 1987 and earned $US170 million at
the box office. The film's soundtrack, which
includes the Oscar-winning theme, Time
of My Life, sold more than 39 million
In addition to a powerful
story about a young man from the wrong side
of the tracks who is befriended by a
pampered rich girl, perhaps the real
clue to Dirty Dancing's
phenomenal success is its dance finale –
arguably the best ever – which manages to be
both tear-jerking and life-affirming at the
same time. "Everyone coming out of the
theatre feels uplifted by it," Bergstein
says. "There is a secret dancer inside us
Lightning Strike Twice?
Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights
was a 2004 romance
film hyped as a
"re-imagining" of the 1987 blockbuster Dirty
Dancing. It more or
recycled the same plot while
transplanting it from upstate New York to
Cuba on the cusp of the revolution
that overthrew Batista and brought Castro to
The movie featured solid
dancing with a
for those who showed up expecting
to have the time of their
they were most likely be
Although the story
line worked the first time, Havana
Nights was about as unimaginative a
movie as has ever been filmed. It was
almost as if they took out a word processor
and used "Find-Replace" for the entire plot.
The worst part of the movie had the
Baby and Johnny clones dancing in some
Havana nightclub while a full-scale
revolution was taking place in the city.
Even more ridiculous, the parents came to
watch the dancing. It was all pretty
absurd. As believable as the
original movie was, Havana Nights
was just as much unbelievable.
To me, the highlight of the film was
watching Patrick Swayze dance again in a
cameo role as a dance instructor. It
was the same magic all over again.
As I left the theater, I couldn't help but
wonder why they didn't simply make this
movie with Swayze as the star and tell about
his life after the Catskills. After
all, it was Swayze's charisma that carried
the original movie. Why not film a
movie that chronicled his adventures further
down the road?
WOULD THE WHIP
BE USEFUL FOR ANOTHER DIRTY DANCING MOVIE?
Sent: Sunday, November 18, 2007 4:34 PM
Subject: Houston Whip
I read your great article as part of my research. I
am a screenwriter in Hollywood. I have been
hired independently to write a treatment/concept
revolving around Whip.
The contact has a friendly relationship with
actor/dancer, Patrick Swayze, who will read the
project and whose involvement could generate solid
funding for the project.
Do you have any photos or songs or just advice I
should include in the proposal? Swayze would
probably do some sort of cameo where he is the older
version of the lead character who's still winning
contests at his age.
Is he a good enough dancer to master this dance?
Maybe he already knows it. He's from Houston.
MY FIRST REPLY:
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Monday, November 19, 2007 11:26 AM
Subject: RE: Houston Whip
The Houston Whip is a dance very similar to the West
Coast Swing used out in Los Angeles. I am more than
certain that a dancer of Mr. Swayze's ability could
learn it without a great deal of trouble.
I have never met Patrick Swayze, but I feel like I
know him. By coincidence, I am a former acquaintance
of Patsy Swayze, Patrick's mother. This lovely
lady owned a jazz/ballet studio here in Houston on
Ella and 34th. I went to her studio as a student for
several years during the mid-Seventies.
After seeing her dance company perform at a Houston
festival, I was so inspired I went up and talked to
her afterwards. I signed up for classes the
following week. I got to know Patsy well
enough to have coffee with her on several occasions.
Because I was the same age as her son Patrick, Patsy
liked to talk about him during our coffee breaks.
Patsy would talk on and on about her son Patrick who
was just beginning his career in "Grease" up in New
York. She explained how Patrick was a star football
player at Waltrip who had busted up a knee.
She wasn't as concerned about his ruined football
career as she was about how it made dancing so much
harder for him afterwards.
I lost touch with Patsy after Urban Cowboy.
Patsy did the choreography for the Urban
Cowboy movie filmed here in Houston in the
late Seventies, then shortly thereafter moved to Los
Angeles. Although I never met Patrick, I did meet
his adopted sister Bambi as well as Buddy, his
As far as the Whip is concerned, off the top of my
head, I can think of five stories I have written
that would serve as an excellent start for any
The best story is "201 Nights of Whip Dancing". This
is the story of how I went out Whip Dancing every
night of the week for nearly seven months as a way
to deal with a very deep depression following the
breakup of a marriage. Whip Dancing served as
a form of self-therapy. I not only managed to heal
myself, I fell in love with Whip Dancing all at the
In other words, this is a story of redemption that
just happens to involve Whip dancing as the vehicle.
Not only does the
"201 Nights" story feature Whip Dancing as the
salvation of my lost self-esteem, it starts with
another interesting story as well.
These two stories
give you the right to say "Based on a True Story"
which always involves an audience more quickly than
some imagination-based story.
Many dance stories revolve around dance
competitions, but that theme has been used so many
times (e.g. "Dance w Me", "Take the Lead", "Shall We
Dance?") that it might be time to try a different
angle. For example, one of the greatest dance movies
of all time, "Dirty Dancing", didn't have anything
to do with a dance contest. Dance Teaching can be an
interesting subject in itself - some of the best
scenes from "Saturday Night Fever" and "Dirty
Dancing" involved the teaching aspects of dance.
On the other hand, a movie about dance teaching is
not sure box office, now is it? "Shall We Dance?" w
J Lo and Richard Gere should have been as a great as
the original Japanese version, but the American
remake somehow missed the magic of the original. Too
bad because the Japanese original had me smiling
from head to toe.
As a writer, you know yourself the best place to
start is a story that normal people can relate to.
"Dirty Dancing", for example, worked as a story
because it involved a decent kid who overcame social
prejudice and tough luck to succeed. "Saturday Night
Fever" was easy to relate to because a working class
kid used dance as a ticket out of the slums. In both
movies, the dancing just happened to make good
stories even better.
I am not sure which stories of mine you have read,
but my best story about the Houston Whip is the
"Sleazy Bar Party".
Whip as you probably can gather is Houston's version
of "Dirty Dancing". With a story this rich as a
background, you shouldn't have any trouble coming up
with an original script.
Here is another story - "Save the Whip"
Just to be sure, I
have one more story about the Houston Whip titled
"The History of Whip".
One more aspect to
consider is the music. The Whip started as a dance
that worked well to the Texas Blues. ZZ Top and
Stevie Ray Vaughan are some modern day examples of
the Texas Blues sound. You could have quite a
soundtrack for a movie with the Whip in it. I put on
the Blues during dance classes and people go crazy.
You can't miss with a movie that has a good Blues
Let me know what you think.
MY SECOND REPLY:
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Monday, November 19, 2007 12:08 PM
Subject: RE: Houston Whip
Two minutes after I sent you my first email, I had
another thought. "Dirty Dancing" never
had a true sequel. Yes, "Havana Nights" was
considered a sequel of sorts, but it missed the
point - We liked Johnny in the original and wanted
to know more about Johnny's life afterwards, not a
couple kids in Cuba.
Why not connect Dirty Dancing I and Dirty Dancing II
with a third movie using the Johnny character? In
fact, it is such an obvious plot line that I am
fairly certain the same idea has already occurred to
Patrick Swayze. I would not be at all surprised if
your project is probably shooting at this angle
Believe me, if the movie was well done, it would be
a wonderful treat. There are boomers everywhere who
would flock to see a Johnny-based Dirty Dancing
sequel with Patrick Swayze in it.
Speaking from personal experience, when Patrick
Swayze appeared in his cameo role in Dirty Dancing
2, I loved seeing him in action so much that I
wanted to see him even more. It was a golden moment
for all people like me who loved his role in the
first DD movie.
I couldn't help but think at the time how much fun
it would be to see a sequel movie that connected DD
1 and DD 2 to answer this question: "What happened
to Johnny after summer camp in the Catskills"" We
already know from Dirty Dancing 2 that Johnny became
a dance instructor. Why not connect the two movies
with Johnny as a Houston based dance instructor?
The Whip literally hit its stride here in Houston
during the Sixties. Often called the "Dirty Whip",
one of the reasons the original "Dirty Dancing" was
so popular here in Houston was because DD 1 reminded
people of the Whip.
By coincidence, Swayze's original "Dirty Dance"
movie also took place in the Sixties.
How difficult would it be to come up with a story
that has the Swayze character in Dirty Dancing 1
somehow finding his way to Houston, Texas, and
running into the Whip, another form of Dirty
Dancing? Of course he is immediately drawn to it and
eventually becomes a dance instructor.
You could have some eye-catching Whip dance scenes
reminiscent of DD 1 that would bring smiles to any
audience. I have plenty of video for any
choreographer to use for ideas. Plus there are
enough old-time Whippers around Houston who would be
more than happy to share stories of the Dirty Whip
back in the Sixties.
Furthermore "Havana Nights" featured Johnny as a
Salsa instructor. One of the best movies of all time
was "Dance w Me", a story involving a Houston-based
dance instructor dancing the Salsa. The Mambo - the
dance featured in Dirty Dancing 1 - was the big
dance hit of DD 1. The Mambo just happens to be the
Sixties version of Salsa dancing. It wouldn't be too
much of a stretch of imagination to get a steamy
Latin Dance scene in the Dirty Dancing 3 sequel.
This new movie would be a completely believable
transition, one that all fans of "Dirty Dancing"
would immediately be drawn to.
I have one favor to ask. Make sure Patrick Swayze
reads my two emails. I promise him this new movie
would be a success. It is a great story which would
be a crowning moment in his acting career.
Sent: Monday, November 19, 2007 5:14 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: Houston Whip
Dear Sir, Rick Archer:
Thank you ever so much for your entertaining,
impressive, crucial, helpful, hooked-in, and
More to come. Your input has helped fuel the essence
of this project.
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Tuesday, November 20, 2007 11:26 AM
Subject: RE: Houston Whip
Thank you for the kind words. After I sent you my
first two emails, my wife and I talked about another
"Dirty Dancing" movie.
She and I agreed the public has tired a bit of
fantasy movies and computer-generated special
effects. It is about time we had a movie with a
story behind it.
Dirty Dancing I remains a hit movie without a TRUE
sequel. But it won't be easy. They dropped the ball
with the Saturday Night Fever remake ("Staying
Alive") because the sequel was so unrealistic. The
"Shall We Dance?" remake was tepid despite the fire
power of Gere, Lopez, and Sarandon. The failure of
this movie to capture anyone's imagination is still
a mystery to me, but the warmth of the original
failed to cross over to the American version.
Nor was "Havana Nights" much of a hit. No one even
remembers who was in it other than Patrick Swayze.
(By the way, did anyone ever point out that the
overthrow of Batista occurred BEFORE Dirty Dancing I
was supposed to have taken place, but that Swayze
was thirty years older? Or was Swayze supposed to be
just some anonymous teacher, not really Johnny? I
suppose most people's grasp of history is so weak
that no one cares.)
Dirty Dancing II was so lame that it is only
redeeming quality was that it opened the door for a
true sequel. From my point of view, Swayze's cameo
in Havana Nights was the only highlight of the
movie. My wife was begging for more dancing scenes w
Patrick Swayze. I felt the same way. That's when I
knew a true sequel was called for. Based on her
reaction and that of the entire audience, I know the
energy is there to revisit one of the greatest dance
movies of all time.
You have a potential hit on your hands. Good luck in
pursuing this project.
STORY 05 - 2007
Halloween Party Best Costumes
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The Halloween Costumes
just keep getting better and better.
The 2007 SSQQ Halloween Party was our
best party ever. The costumes were the
best, the attendance was the best, the
energy was the best, and everything went off
smoothly. What an amazing party!
As you can see, our Top 10 Costumes
are nothing short of stunning. In a
moment you can click the link and see much
larger photographs of these wonderful
costumes. In addition you will see the
excellent costumes of our Runnerups.
Nor will we forget to mention the 250
excellent photographs taken by this year's
photographer, Steve Gabino (seen pictured
with Vivian Gustafson).
When it came to
choosing the winners, I much preferred
couples over singles. This explains
why our winning photos included 15 couples
and only 5 individual costumes.
In addition, we had two group photos:
The Pirates and the Monsters. Although
most of our Pirates and Monsters came as
Individuals, together they are pretty
I have a challenge for next year: why
don't some of you band together and create
some sort of group? Our
best-ever group was the Wizard of Oz in
2004, but there are plenty of ideas out
there for another Group. You can some
"Night of the Living Dead" Zombies or the
Gods and Goddesses of Olympus. It
wouldn't be easy, but it sure would be fun.
2007 Halloween Best Costumes
2007 Halloween Party Photographs
STORY 06 - Return of the
SSQQ Christmas Puzzle
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHRISTMAS CAROL PICTURE PUZZLE
In 1996, Marla Jennings, one of
our studio instructors (but not my wife), brought me a puzzle to look at.
It had pictures such as #8 that represented famous
Christmas Carols. If you would like to see
what the puzzle looked like back then, click
The SSQQ web site came on line in 1999. For
the fun of it, I scanned in Marla's puzzle and
shared it with my students. The puzzle was
and I got compliments from my students for adding it to the web site.
I didn't have much else on the web site at the time, so I just left
it where it was. The following year I reminded
everyone where it was in case they wanted to try it
When Search Engines like Google became more powerful
in 2001, people from all over the country began to
locate my puzzle and try it. Nor was it
limited to the USA. I got inquiries from
Europe and Australia too. Finally I figured
out what was going on.
Encouraged by all the interest, I started to
add more clues that I made up myself. #42 on
the right is an example of a clue I created in 2001.
Today the puzzle has grown to 120 clues.
To my amusement, my puzzle has become
internationally famous. The SSQQ Christmas
Puzzle is now the Number One Internet Christmas
Puzzle in the world!
If you type "Christmas
Puzzle" into Google, you can see that in 2007 the SSQQ Puzzle stands
out as the most popular Christmas Puzzle in the
English-Speaking world. "Christmas Carol
Puzzle" gets a #1 ranking out of 760,000 entries.
If you would to try your hand at the Christmas Carol
Puzzle, by all means do so.
The SSQQ Christmas
STORY 07 - Memory
Aids for Women
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Note: This is a fun article for all you ladies out
Too many mind games these days
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
It's no longer good enough to drag myself from bed
every morning to work out in the gym. Now, I'm told,
I have to exercises my mind too.
Brain calisthenics - imagine cranial jumping jacks
and neural toe-touches - are the rage for baby
boomers these days. Magazines are full of brain
teasers, world tricks, memory games and articles on
brain healthy food. Sudoku, that addictive numbers
puzzles, has become the mind's version of green tea.
Yes, the generation that wouldn't trust anybody over
30, that refused to grow up, that continues to work
in retirement - my peers - has found a new obsession
and turned it into a growing business: cardio for
There are brain gyms and brain workshops and
companies that lure clients with their anti-aging
exercises. The AARP offers tips on brain health, and
the Alzheimer's' Association conducts Maintain Your
Brain workshops for large corporations, Some heath
insurers even offer brain-fitness camps and sell
books encouraging brain-healthy living. It's not
just the body that needs to be strengthened and
But frankly, these programs haven't impressed me
much. Fads come and go, and science has yet to offer
irrefutable proof that such exercising keeps
forgetfulness at bay. In fact, doing crosswords may
be the mental equivalent of slathering night cream
Then I read that Nintendo has introduced a video
game intended for baby boomers and their older
parents, and I realized that mental workouts were
more than my generation's refusal to go quietly into
the night. Brain exercises are the latest search for
the mythical fountain of youth.
Nintendo's Brain Age features 14 basic activities
and several additional side games, including
word-memory activities, simple math problems,
syllable counting and read-aloud poetry. It promises
to give "your prefrontal cortex a workout",
according to the manual.
I'm not sure what the prefrontal cortex does, but I
like to think of it as the brainiac version of abs.
I have not rushed out to buy Brain Age and have
tried Sudoku only once, thought I do want to ward
off midlife brain decay. But my problem is not so
much one of recall and rapid response. I suffer,
instead, from something no game or medication will
change: selective memory, an ailment common among
women my age. Or so my husband says.
I, for instance, forget dinner on the stove but
remember - in astonishing detail - every single darn
time he's messed up. And that's quite a long list,
too, particular when catalogued without the aid of
Really, who needs Nintendo and ginkgo biloba when
you have a spouse?
(Rick Archer's Note:
I was especially amused by this story because it is
true. Back in the Eighties I had a girlfriend
named Judy Price who could remember everything I
ever said in astonishing detail whenever it came
time to win an argument. She caught me in one
contradiction after another, but she couldn't
remember where she put her keys to save her soul.)
STORY 08 - The True
Story of the Amazing Dancing Bird
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Rick Archer's Note: In
order to appreciate this amazing story, you first
need to go watch this bird in action.
First click the link:
Snowball the Dancing Cockatoo
The video is only a minute
long and I promise you will smile. Then come
back and read the story.
On Saturday, October 13, my
friend Gary Richardson sent me a link to the video
of a dancing bird. As I viewed the bird in
action, I was
amused and impressed. In fact, I was so
impressed by the quality of the bird's dancing that
I actually became SUSPICIOUS.
So I wrote Gary back and asked if he thought the
video was legitimate.
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2007 10:16 AM
To: TFW Computers
Subject: RE: A cockatoo that can do West Coast
Gary, Do you think
there is a chance that video is a fake? I
noticed the video hesitated several times.
Otherwise that was very impressive. The bird had
great rhythm. Some of the movements resembled
actual dance steps.
From: TFW Computers
Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2007 2:56 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: A cockatoo that can do West Coast
I thought it was real, myself.
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2007 3:08 PM
To: TFW Computers
Subject: RE: A cockatoo that can do West Coast
Do me a favor and look at it again. It's only a
I am very suspicious that any bird has moves
that would be the envy of a human. Perfect
rhythm, head bobbing to the music, dance steps
that almost seem choreographed. Too good!
I mean, think about that video you sent me where
a fake music machine plays music based on
animated balls hitting the exact notes. How much
harder would be to create a one-minute fake
video of a dancing bird? First you film a bird
who bounces around and pick out a few moves. If
you pay attention, the bird only has about four
moves that are repeated over and over again. He
lifts his left leg over and over again. Think
about how you can do a simple computer dance
animation a dancer with maybe two frames
alternating over and over again.
I think it is that one move where the bird
starts to syncopate his footwork that really
raised my eyebrow.
From: Gary Richardson
Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2007 6:12 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: A cockatoo that can do West Coast
I still think the video is
legit. My assistant Tim thinks it is real too.
Watch the other bird in the background to
the left. He is doing something different and
not repeating...same video.
Now what do you think?
The more I watched the video,
the more incredulous I became. Finally I
decided to email the website and ask some questions.
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2007 3:24 PM
Subject: dance video of cockatoo
I am writing to ask about the one minute video
of a parrot on your web site that dances better
than most humans could ever hope.
I am a professional dance instructor. I am very
suspicious that any bird has dance moves that
would be the envy of a human. Perfect rhythm,
head bobbing to the music, dance steps that
almost seem choreographed. Too good!
My biggest red flag is this question: Why would
a bird necessarily dance with the same moves and
dance steps that a human would use?
How hard would it be to create a one-minute fake
video of a dancing bird? This bird is so good it
seems like a Disney animation.
Would you mind terribly letting me know what the
truth is? I am dying of curiosity!
From: Birdlovers Only [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2007 7:02 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: dance video of cockatoo
You can see Snowball and myself on national TV
on Monday. We will be on the Morning Show on
FOX. I wish I could say the video was doctored
because he puts us all to shame over here. As a
matter of fact, I was dancing in front of him in
the video and I was getting off beat... a couple
of times he stopped because I think I was
messing him up!!!
Hate to tell you this...Snowball's dancing is
From: Rick Archer [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2007 10:46 AM
To: Birdlovers Only
Subject: RE: dance video of cockatoo
I believe you, but I have to admit I am
astonished. My email was not an idle one. Since
I own the largest dance studio in the country, I
have been watching humans dance for thirty
years. And because I teach that kind of dancing
for a living, I am actually in position to judge
the quality of the dancing and assess your pet's
ability vis a vis human beings. Based on what I
saw, your bird out-dances 99.8% of the human
Snowball does footwork syncopations that would
make any dancer proud and has a sense of rhythm
all dancers would be envious of. In addition I
recognized dance moves that humans use and
thought that was suspicious. Why would a bird
have the same moves as a human?
So I concluded it was more likely to be a fraud
than the real thing. So all credit goes to your
talented friend and thank you for sharing her
I will write a story about Snowball for my next
newsletter. Any information you wish to include
would be more than appreciated. I will send you
a copy of the story.
After FOX, surely David Letterman is next. Have
fun on your carpet ride to fame. And thanks for
satisfying my curiosity! I appreciate your help.
From: Birdlovers Only [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2007 7:02 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: dance video of cockatoo
I loved your email! It gave me a chuckle because
I just finished answering an email from a
scientist. Rather than go into the long drawn
out explanation, I will paste it here for you to
read. The top portion is my reply to his email.
Dear Bird Lovers Only Rescue,
I study music and the brain at The
Neurosciences Institute (in San Diego) and
am interested in how humans move to
the beat of music. It has
been claimed that humans are the only
species that move in sync
to the beat of rhythmic music, but
the Sept video "May I have this dance"
posted on your website (Snowball
dancing) makes me wonder if
parrots also have this ability.
May I ask a few questions about the video?
Do you have any info on Snowball's
background? Was anyone
dancing off camera when the video was
made (could Snowball
be imitating?). Can he adjust his tempo to
move in sync with
music that has a faster or slower beat?
And finally, would you be willing to share
the original video
with me for scientific analysis of the
timing of Snowball's movements
in relation to the rhythm of the
FYI, I'm attaching an article I wrote in
2006 where I lay out
some of the reason I (and others in
my field) are interested
in whether or not nonhuman animals
can move to the beat of music.
Aniruddh D. Patel, Ph.D.
Esther J. Burnham Fellow
The Neurosciences Institute
10640 John Jay Hopkins Drive
San Diego, CA 92121
Before I became founder and president of this
rescue I used to work as a molecular biologist
at the University of Chicago and also Rush
Medical Center prior to that. So from one
scientist to another, I admire your zest for
learning more about Snowball.
When Snowball was relinquished to us, the
previous owner brought a CD of the Back Street
Boys. He told us that he would dance to other
songs on the CD, but that this particular one he
LOVED! He told us to put the CD in the player
and watch Snowball dance. Snowball was on my arm
at the time and he danced in wonderful rhythm to
the music. We have seen many birds come through
our rescue dance to music but none like
Snowball. I almost fainted from the sight of
this bird dancing better than I could ever hope
to! In the video I was dancing in front of him,
but there were times that he stopped dancing
because I was throwing him off rhythm because I
was dancing so badly! He'd pick the beat back up
after ignoring me and get back into it
again....until the next time that I'd throw him
off. No one taught Snowball to dance. He did
this all himself.
I had traveled to New York with Snowball so he
could appear on national TV in front of a live
audience this morning on the FOX Morning Show
starring Mike and Juliet. Snowball tried to
dance how he wanted to, but the camera man kept
running up to him too quickly and closely and
scared Snowball so he kept stopping.
As to whether he adjusts his dancing to the
speed of the rhythm....YES. When a Santana song
came on the radio, he had a slower dance step
because the song had a slower beat than the Back
Street Boys song.
I can help shorten your search for the answer as
to whether an animal can move to the rhythm of
the music...the answer is emphatically YES. (At
least birds can...I cannot speak for other
I will have our computer expert send you
instructions on you may download this video from
a web site somewhere since I'm not sure myself
how that can be done.
If you are ever interested in donating to our
rescue, you may do so on our main web site
or by going to our blog.
I hope I have been of help in your search for
answers to your questions!
Rick Archer's Note: Well, there you
have it. I started out as a skeptic and now I
am a firm believer. That bird can dance!
Pretty amazing story. Please do not be surprised if
some of your future dance classes are taught by
Snowball. I am considering hiring him for our
Freestyle Class. SSQQ may indeed be going to
the birds. Besides, maybe they are cheep
cheep cheaper to pay.
STORY 09 -
Ballroom Dancing at
Chandelier Ballroom on Saturday, December 15
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Join us for an evening of
Ballroom Dancing to Ed Gerlach and his Orchestra on
Saturday, Dec 15th.
Robert and Nancy Kaechler will be your hosts.
They have three tables reserved.
This will be our fifth night of Ballroom Dancing at
the spacious and lovely Chandelier Ballroom this
year. Our previous visit was back in
As you can see from the picture above, our visits to
the Chandelier are very popular. Back in
September we had over 40 guests!
We will dance to the Ballroom
music of Ed Gerlach and his Orchestra.
8:30 pm to midnight, $12 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
STORY 10 - Jaime Jamie Mabry
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Jamie Mabry is one of my favorite people
at the studio. Even though I don't know her very well
just seeing her always makes me happy.
Jamie appears at the studio regularly three nights a
week. On Sundays she helps her good friend Linda Cook
teach a Western class. On Wednesdays Jamie is currently
taking a Ghost Town along with Linda Cook. More about that
in a moment. On Fridays Jamie helps her friend Steve Casko
with his Western class while her friend Laura Graber helps Linda
in another room.
The Three Musketeers - Jamie, Steve, and Laura - are a
big part of Wednesday and Friday Practice Night. You will
see them over in the corner near the DJ booth chatting the night
away. They like each other so much that many times after
Practice is over, the three of them will go talk in the Parking
Lot as well.
The Three Musketeers don't know this, but I know what
time it is whenever they walk in the studio. If I
see them and it is Sunday, then it's 4:30 pm. If I see
them and its Wednesday/Friday, then it must be 7 pm. They
never arrive at the studio one minute early. I think they
sit and wait outside the studio so they can time their entrance
One of the reason I like Jamie so much is that she keeps
Steve Casko in line. Steve teases me constantly.
Steve seems to have a complete dossier of stupid things I have
said and done that he can refer to at a moment's notice.
But since Steve is so careful about what he says around me, I
have never been able to get any good stories on him to use for
counterattack. On the other hand, Jamie orders Steve
around in dance class all the time. I get such a kick out
of seeing her give Steve a hard time. Sometimes when I
hear Jamie speaking in another room, I will secretly put my ear
to the wall and listen just in case Jamie is busy explaining to
the class why the patterns Steve just taught them was all wrong.
Jamie Mabry, Steve Casko, Laura Graber
Another thing that is fun to do is watch the Three
Musketeers dance together. At any given moment, you will see Steve
dancing backwards with Jamie leading him. Jamie leads
Western Swing better than any other woman except for Linda Cook.
She actually moves Steve around pretty well. Other times Jamie
will dance with Laura. Sometimes I can't tell which one of them is
the boy and which one is the girl. In fact I think they go back
and forth during each song. What I don't know is whether it is
deliberate or not. I secretly think they accidentally flip back
and forth between lead/follow without a second thought.
Jamie is an amazing Rhythm machine. I have never danced with a
woman who had a stronger sense of rhythm than Jamie does.
Furthermore she is almost impossible to knock off balance. Jamie
somehow overcomes practically any mistake I make without anyone even
noticing that I screwed up. And Jamie follows anything I throw at
her without difficulty. No wonder I like to dance with her so
Jamie has been helping to teach Western dancing here at SSQQ for many
years now. We are fortunate to have her help. She started
here as a kid and now she has become a lovely young lady. I
suppose I got the upper hand on her back when she was still a polite
teenager. That's when I started teasing her because she was so shy
and easy-going. Over the years I have asked Jamie to become a lead
teacher on several occasions, but she has always said she prefers
helping Linda and Steve. However whenever we need an
emergency dance teacher, Jamie has been kind enough to step in and do a
great job. Because Jamie studies the lead so carefully, she is a
better Lead dancer than most of the men at the studio.
Because of her thorough knowledge of the man's part as well as the
woman's, Jamie has the distinction of being the best Western teacher at
the studio who doesn't teach. Now that's an odd title.
Jamie did not teach on Wednesdays in November or December. That's
my fault and I feel guilty about it. Here's the story.
As I get a bit older, there are times when I feel pretty worn out.
Whenever I taught a crash course on Saturdays, it meant that I would
work six nights in a row. That stretch of six days was tough.
So about six months ago I relinquished my teaching spot on Wednesdays to
create a teaching position for our gifted Western teacher Scott Ladell.
Not only did I get Scott a permanent spot on our most important Western
night, I enjoyed my extra night off thoroughly.
However to my surprise Salsa grew so big on Thursday in September, I was
forced to cancel our Ballroom Program on Thursday to create more space
for Salsa classes. With the loss of both Thursday and
Wednesday, this meant I was only working three nights a week - Sunday,
Monday, Friday. I didn't mind a little extra time off, but
only working three nights was ridiculous. So in November I asked
Linda Cook if she would kindly give her teaching spot on Wednesdays and
move to Thursday so she could teach an additional Salsa class.
Linda loves Salsa, but she really did not want to leave Wednesday at
all. It turned out that she has made so many friendships over the
years that Wednesdays at the studio is important to Linda. So
Linda and Jamie decided to take Scott's Ghost Town class on Wednesdays
in November. Mind you, these two women definitely do not need any
more Western dance lessons. They simply wanted to be at the
studio so much on Wednesday that they would take a class if they
couldn't teach! As if I didn't feel guilty enough already about
pushing Linda to Thursdays...
Jamie really enjoys our SSQQ Halloween Pages. However Jamie
prefers homemade costumes over store rentals or purchases. Jamie
made our Best Costume page a couple years ago in 2005. She and her
friend Lani Hutto (who is soon to return to Houston from her stint in
the Army) to make the Best Costume page with her
and Ham outfit.
For the 2007 Halloween Party, Jamie came as a "Bad Girl", Laura came as
a "Good Girl", and Steve came as a person who couldn't decide which type
of woman he preferred. It was a clever idea, but the lack of
supporting accessories for their costumes hurt their chances of making
the Best Costume Page. Still, I was impressed with their concept
and spent much of the party mulling over Steve's dilemma.
Jamie's latest project has been to help Steve become a better Whip
dancer. Jamie accompanied Steve to four months of Whip
classes recently. Steve's Whip dancing improved considerably in
For some reason, a couple years ago I started misspelling Jamie's name.
I spell her name "Jaime." It wasn't till last Friday, November 23,
that I discovered I have been misspelling her name for several years
now. What I can't figure out is why she never corrected me!
Jamie was nice enough to email me to correct the name of a friend that I
had botched in the newsletter, so why didn't she straighten me out on
her own name? I remain baffled. I think deep down she just
feels sorry for me. I don't know how the subject came up last
Friday, but soon I will begin spelling her name correctly. However
if you want to see her name misspelled one last time or two, click on
and look for Friday.
Oddly enough, I haven't always misspelled her name. I started out
spelling it correctly when I wrote a story about her eight years ago.
When I first published this story, Jamie was very embarrassed.
Hopefully reprinting it will bring her another round of teasing as well.
It's kind of paper scissors rock thing - I tease Jamie, Jamie pushes
Steve around, Steve always teases me.
I hope you will do me a favor and give Jamie a
hard time about this story. She deserves all the teasing you can
December 1999 SSQQ Newsletter
Jamie gets an "A" in
Jamie Mabry is a darling young lady who has been taking Western
classes at SSQQ for over a year. She is so good at Western Swing
that she joined the legendary Death Valley class and did very well.
This summer she saddened us with the announcement that she would be
leaving in September to resume classes up at Texas A&M.
However I have been secretly delighted to see her return practically
every weekend to join us for Friday night Western dancing throughout
the fall. My guess is Jamie hasn't completely adapted to life at A&M
other than putting in the time necessary to complete her education.
Since she is a senior, I suppose she might be reluctant to get too
involved with student activities since she only has a limited amount
of time left till she graduates.
One day in October Jamie let it slip that she was taking a C&W Dance
class up at A&M for credit (unbelievable). I was immediately
curious. I peppered the poor young lady with questions about the
class. For one thing, Jamie suspected she knew more about Western
dancing than her teacher did. The teacher was apparently a jazz
teacher who had been roped into doing this against her will and
better judgment. Jamie speculated openly about the chance her
teacher had never been Western dancing in her life. The course
consisted mostly of line dances, some of which were pretty corny.
Furthermore the boys had no sense of rhythm at all. And they hated
to be corrected. Jamie was astonished at how bad the dancing was.
When December rolled around I was very pleased to discover that
Jamie did indeed receive an "A" in her dance class. I was curious
about what the Finals consisted of, but I think Jamie became
suspicious about my interest and started to be a little more
reluctant to disclose any more damaging information.
I asked if the teacher ever noticed how good Jamie was and Jamie's
reply was something to the effect that she wasn't sure if her
teacher ever noticed anything. Well, whatever, SSQQ is very pleased
to have contributed to Jamie's GPA and if she ever applies at SSQQ
for a job, she should definitely plan on bringing her transcript
STORY 11 - An SSQQ
Christmas Dance Story
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Note: This letter was
originally sent to me in
an email back in December 2001. I
like this story so much I usually add it to each
December Newsletter so our new students can read it
A CHRISTMAS DANCE STORY
Written by Frank Jefferson
Mon 12/17/2001 2:41 PM
My name is Frank Jefferson. I doubt you will
remember me and my wife Jackie, but we remember your
studio very well. We took lessons at SSQQ back in
1991 for about five months until my company
transferred me to Denver that summer.
The reason I am writing is to tell you how
your studio and dancing changed my life and my
marriage eleven years ago. I ran across your web
site the other day while I was visiting my oldest
son here in Houston. He mentioned an interest in
taking dance classes so I looked you up on the
Internet. As I read some of your anecdotes, I
started to reminisce about learning to dance Western
at SSQQ. Then it occurred to me my Christmas story
might be interesting to some of the people who visit
As 1990 neared its conclusion, things were
going pretty well for me. My career as an accountant
was going well, one boy was finishing his doctorate
work at UT, my other son was in college and my
daughter was a senior in high school.
I thought my marriage was doing pretty
well, but as I look back I realize increasingly my
wife and I were spending less and less time
together. Part of the problem was I had become a
Back then I played golf Friday, Saturday, and
Sunday without question and usually managed to play
a round during the week plus at least go practice my
driving or my putting after work one or two other
days. It was an obsession with me. I love the game
with a passion (still do for that matter!). What
other sport allows you to visit with friends, take a
leisurely stroll through the woods and beautiful
scenery, gives you some good exercise, and
challenges you mentally as well as physically?
Even when I wasn't playing, I was reading
golf magazines or watching a golf tournament on TV
or on videotape. I may have physically been in the
house, but mentally I was usually on the golf
course. As I said, I was a golf addict.
Then came Christmas 1990. Christmas was
always an agony for me since as usual I had no clue
what to buy my wife for a present. What do you give
the woman who has every possession she would ever
need? I wracked my brains for what to get her.
Finally in desperation I gave up and simply asked,
"Jackie, what do you want for Christmas this year?"
It was almost like she had been waiting for
this moment! Without hesitation her reply was to
grab her purse and pull out a schedule listing your
studio's dance classes. I think a girl friend had
given it to her. She laid it out on the table,
pointed to it, and simply said, "Frank, I want you
to take a dance class with me in January." No anger.
No pleading. No guilt trip or anything like that.
This was just like my Jackie. I asked her a question
and she answered me matter-of-fact. She wanted me to
take a dance class with her.
For some reason, I was stunned. I had not
expected this. Money I had to give. Going out and
buying something was no big deal. Even building
something like a porch would have been no problem.
But committing some valuable free time to do
something stupid like take dance lessons? You gotta
But Jackie knew me too well. Deep down she
knew I enjoy pleasing her. She held eye contact and
said nothing. In fact she smiled the whole time. I
think she knew exactly what was going through my
mind. For a while I sort of felt set up, but
eventually I realized it wasn't the worst thing in
the world that she had asked me to do. I can still
remember while she just sat there at the kitchen
table watching me make up my mind! I think she
enjoyed watching me squirm, something she has never
denied for a moment.
It took me a long time to answer. Finally I
realized I wasn't going to figure a way out of this.
Despite my best efforts I could not come up with one
good excuse so I gave up and said, "Okay. If that's
what you want, you got it!" I wrapped up a letter
and put it in a box. When she opened it Christmas
Day, it said, "I promise to take a dance class with
you in January! Love,
Jackie gave me a big hug and grinned as my kids
teased me unmercifully. What had I gotten myself
Two weeks later we started taking a Twostep
class at your studio. I think the teacher was a lady
named Sharon. Fortunately the class was on a
Wednesday which was practically the only day I
didn't play golf.
I was so nervous the first night. I did not
know what to expect. At first I didn't even know if
your studio really existed. We couldn't see anything
from the street that looked like a dance studio. We
had to walk down this long hallway till we found the
place to register. Then we sat on some chairs in a
big room with about 60 other people with a bunch of
guys who looked just as worried as I was.
Once we got going, to my surprise the moves
weren't very difficult. Within fifteen minutes
Jackie and I were already dancing to music. Then
came a shock. Sharon asked us to switch partners.
Jackie hadn't told me about this! She grinned at me
as suddenly I was expected to move to dance with a
woman I had never seen before in my life. What had I
gotten myself into? My heart sank with worry.
Fortunately I soon discovered the moves worked with
the other women in the class too. This was good!
In fact I began to enjoy dancing with
everyone in class. Everyone was so nice!
Once I got on the
wrong foot and accidentally stepped on a lady's
foot. I didn't put all my weight on her foot, thank
goodness, but it still had to hurt. Her name was
Carol. She laughed and said don't worry about it. I
just melted with gratitude at her forgiveness. From
then on Carol and I became good friends.
At each class she
would point at her foot and say it had almost
healed, but could I aim at the other one instead
just in case? By an
odd coincidence another time I ran Carol into the
pole in the middle of the room. This
time as I stared in shock at my stupidity, Carol
almost died laughing. "What are you trying to do,
Frank, kill me? Did
someone pay you to do this?"
At the end of the evening, Sharon told us
about Practice Night. Jackie asked if I would mind
staying. I looked at
my watch and thought about work the next day. I was
tired and ready to go, but then I saw that look on
her face. Sure, why not? I said we could stay for a
little while and see what it was like.
It turned out to be more of a challenge than
I had expected. Without the teacher calling out the
timing, I had a hard time figuring out how the steps
fit the beat. And I couldn't tell a Polka from a
Waltz from a Twostep to save my life if I had to.
However Jackie came through like a charm. She told
me to just dance and she would try to follow.
Although I doubt I was anywhere near the beat, once
this pressure was off, I started to enjoy plowing
around the floor. I had an absolute ball! This was
better than dodge 'em cars! The highlight of the
night came towards the end. I had been so absorbed
in counting "slow slow quick quick" to myself I was
oblivious to everything around me. But after a
particularly good run around the floor, I realized I
had danced an entire song without making a mistake.
I looked at Jackie and saw her beaming with pride
and happiness. She was so grateful to be here with
me that her smile brought actual tears to my eyes. I
had not seen her smile at me in this way in a long,
long time. I will never forget that moment.
To make a long story short, dancing became a
hobby I looked forward to just like I did with golf.
On days I knew I was going to dance class, I would
hitch a ride to work. Then later Jackie would pick
me up at work and we would go somewhere for dinner
before class. We began to chat again just like we
did earlier in our marriage. Then we would go to
class and have fun learning the Western Swing. We
would visit with some of the people we had grown to
like before class and during breaks. Practice Night
became pretty much a ritual with us as well.
Then in March 1991 I got the news - my
company wanted me to transfer to Denver. God, how I
hated agreeing to do it! As
I talked the move over with Jackie, I was surprised
that golf never really entered my mind.
However one thing
that kept going through my mind was where was I
going to dance in Denver? But the money was too good
to resist plus with my daughter leaving soon for
college, it was less of a problem for the two of us
to relocate than the other families in the firm.
Up in Denver we found no studio like yours
was in existence. And Western dancing like you have
in Houston was practically non-existent. But dancing
was in my system now, so we decided to try Ballroom
Dancing. To my surprise, I liked it just as much as
Western. I even discovered I was able to tell a
Waltz from a Tango and be able to keep the beat as
We discovered a 'dance underground' in
Denver. Practically every night of the week a
different studio would offer social Ballroom
dancing, and on the weekends there were special
events sponsored through a dance organization I am
sure you have heard of called USABDA. The big moment
for me was when I realized I was looking forward to
a Saturday evening dance with my lovely wife just as
much as I was looking forward to playing golf that
I still play a lot of golf, but have cut back
a little to make more time for my dancing as well.
Recently I even let myself get talked into dance
competitions. Can you believe that? We haven't won
anything yet, but the point is I enjoy improving at
dance just like I once obsessed over my putting. I
realize my story borders on being sappy, but the
truth is that dance has become the favorite activity
for my wife and I to share.
Thanks again for helping us get started!
Regards, Frank Jefferson
Archer's Note: I would imagine stories like
this one are more common than we might realize, but
very few people take the time to write them down and
send them to me. I am particularly grateful to Mr.
Jefferson, whom I did indeed do not know, for
sending me this poignant letter.)
STORY 12 -
Oogling Rick Archer
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Back in August 2007, I wrote a series of articles
PROTECTING YOUR REPUTATION. Although I
did not get much feedback on the ten articles I
wrote, I still consider it some of the best writing
I have ever done.
One of my ten Reputation articles dealt with
and its power to embellish or destroy
I happen to have some first-hand experience with the
Power of Google. During 2007 I received seven
different inquiries from former students and
instructors hoping to improve their Internet
Reputation by getting me to remove their name from
an article I wrote about them.
One issue involved a woman who had recently become a
Christian. She felt that the combination of
listing her name beside pictures of her in a bikini
on one of my Cruise Travel Stories was
inappropriate. What would her new boyfriend
think of her?
Another issue dealt with a former instructor who was
upset that my story had cost her a job.
A third story involved a man who had divorced the
wife he met here at the studio and didn't want it
A fourth story involved a
belly dance costume picture of a woman who preferred
her name not be attached although she didn't mind
the picture at all.
A fifth story involved a very
nasty woman who behaved badly eight years ago and
now didn't want the world to see her name attached
to the story.
The sixth incident involved a
divorce and a request not to have their names on the
Internet any longer.
The seventh incident involved a broken engagement.
Again they didn't want their names appearing on the
As you can gather, my Google Article was an interesting story to
write. After I got through writing the story,
for the fun of it I decided to Google my own name as
well. Lo and behold, guess what I discovered!
ROMANTICALLY INVOLVED WITH SCARLETT JOHANSSON!!
'Holy Smokes!' I
thought to myself. 'My brain must be
an open book!'
Sure I had a big crush on Scarlett
Johansson, but I never realized that Google
could read my mind!
Google really is amazing!
But what would my wife Marla think?
Then I remembered the big crush Marla had on a TV
Weatherman. She's in no position to
chew me out!
I am guilt free on this Scarlett stuff.
Back when I first noticed my
new notoriety, I was very flattered
that such a beautiful young lady
would be interested in me.
It took me a while to come to grips
with this fantasy come true. I
have to tell you - it went to my
head. I realized that I wanted
the whole world to know about the
However, right before I decided to
finally go public with news of the
affair, I decided to check out the
story one more time.
Imagine my chagrin when suddenly I
got the news that my affair with
Scarlett was over.
How depressing! Here today,
gone tomorrow. Oh well, I
probably couldn't have afforded her.
Crushed and more than
slightly disappointed, I decided to delve
into the gory details. This is what I
In 2006 there was a
story generated by the media that
Richard Archer was having a
relationship with Scarlett Johansson
while she was filming Woody Allen movie
Scoop in London.
Archer later claimed he had never said
anything of the sort.
It did in fact turn out to be a
false rumor, which was confirmed when
Johansson declared "I've never met him,
and until all this started, I'd never
even heard of him."
The media turned on Archer.
One newspaper publicly accused Archer of
creating the rumors himself.
Archer responded, "A paper phoned
our manager and said: 'We
know he’s dating Scarlett Johansson, her
people have told us.'
We told them it wasn’t true and that I’d
never even met her. They ran the story
anyway, saying I was secretly dating
Scarlett Johansson. A week later they
ran another story saying her people were
denying it and that: 'Richard
Archer is a fantasist.'
and that I'd made the whole thing up for
publicity. The wankers. It
was quite funny until I ended up looking
like a prick."
Oh well, I guess that
means it's over between Scarlett and me.
Google did leave me with one consolation
In 2007, Richard Archer was
nominated for "Sexiest Male"...
Well, it's about time!
By the way, there is no truth to the rumor
that I started the rumor. Well, maybe
there's some truth to it.... ;-)
STORY 13 - Dear
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Reprinted from the Houston
Oct. 9, 2007, 5:44PM
DEAR ABBY :
Yes, Bra is evidence, but not of crime
Universal Press Syndicate
After an unhappy 12-year marriage, I divorced my
husband. Six months later I met a divorced
dermatologist online. We were immediately attracted
to each other and, six weeks later, he invited me to
move in with him, which I did.
Last week when I picked up our clothes at the dry
cleaner and checked them as I put them into the car,
I came across an expensive black lace bra, size
36DD. (I am a small B.) I was very upset and threw
it onto the freeway on my way home.
When my boyfriend got home that night, I confronted
him. He told me it had to have been mistakenly added
to our order and asked me what I had done with it.
When I said I had thrown it out, he became irate and
ordered me to look for it.
The next day, his lawyer friend told me the bra was
evidence in a sexual-assault case. He said it had
DNA on it and he needed it for court. He said I
should go back to the freeway and look for it. I did
but could not locate it.
I feel guilty for losing my temper and for possibly
causing the lawyer to lose this case. My boyfriend
is still mad at me. How can I make this right?
TRUSTING in L.A.
You need to develop a strong sense of skepticism. I
have heard some tall tales in my time, but the one
the lawyer told you takes the cake.
If the bra was evidence of a felony in a court of
law, it would have been in police custody, not your
laundry hamper. Also, once it had been through the
dry cleaning process, any DNA would have been
Your boyfriend is not only a cheater, he's also
trying to avoid buying the woman a replacement bra.
Rather than making this right, you should be
shedding the skin doctor.
Archer's Note: My first reaction was to shake my
head in wonder at this woman's amazing gullibility.
How stupid can you get?
I originally saved this story so everyone could have
a good laugh. But when I looked at the story
for a second time, my memory reminded me something
very similar happened to me 34 years ago. Back
in those days I was Mr. Gullible.
I dated very little in high school and college.
I was the poorest kid in school at a rich kid's high
school and everyone knew it. My high school
status was so low I decided it was easier to mind my
own business. I dated a little bit my
Freshman year in College, but got my feelings hurt
pretty bad when a girl I liked picked a rich guy
over me. To deal with the disappointment, I
decided to try studying instead. Plus I went
to an all men's college at the time (Johns Hopkins
in Baltimore, Maryland), which meant dating was
pretty much an uphill struggle anyway.
So by the time I reached Graduate School, I was
about as inexperienced as they come in my dealings
with the Fair Sex. It was just my luck that in
Grad School I fell for a lady who turned out to be a
two-timer. Here I was full of trust and she
told me some lies that were almost as ridiculous as
that story above. Despite my incredulity, I
took her word for it which set me up for a painful
fall down the line. By the time I found out
the truth, I got my feelings so badly hurt that it
would be four years before I had the guts to try
another serious relationship.
Isn't it a shame we always have to learn lessons
like that the hard way? No wonder people go
around with their guard up all the time.
If you are curious about the gory details, read the
STORY 14 - Advice to
Men: My Most Valuable Lesson
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Congratulations are in
store for Jack Myers and Jo Wilson.
They became engaged in late November.
Over the past year, Jack and I have
become buddies. I didn't know him very
well when he signed up for my Intermediate
Ballroom class back in August 2007.
One night, he was struggling mightily with a
cha cha pattern. I tried every trick
in the book, but nothing worked. I
shrugged. It was time for desperate
measures - I would have to dance with him.
The question was whether Jack would recoil
in terror or understand I was just trying to
So we danced together. Not only
was he a sport about dancing with me, Jack
appreciated my help. In fact, he was
kind of amazed that I could help him with
his footwork problem so quickly. I
smiled and explained that I had "back-led"
means dancing the footwork of the Follow
Role, but Leading at the same time. In
other words, I led Jack into the correct
footwork. After all, I lead women into
the correct footwork all the time. Why
shouldn't it work in reverse?
This was not the first time I have danced as
a "Follow", better known as the "Girl's
Part". In fact, I have danced
the Follow Role off and on ever since 1984.
That was the night a strong-armed man nearly
killed me when I was forced to dance with
him. Fortunately I survived my ordeal
to learn the most valuable lesson I ever
received in my career as a dance teacher.
As Nietzsche would say, "That which doesn't
kill you makes you stronger." No truer
words were ever spoken in this case.
I am not going to give away what happened,
but I will say that was the night that I
learned the importance of learning both
roles in dance thoroughly. By learning
to follow and do the double turns, I learned
all kinds of lessons that made me a better
Most Valuable Lesson Rick
Ever Learned as a Dance Instructor
STORY 15 - SLOW DANCE
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I have known
Carl Hruska since the earliest days
of the studio. Carl was a big
part of the SSQQ
back in the early Eighties.
Carl's marriage to Angie is his
first marriage. That means
that Carl has somehow managed to
dodge Cupid's arrow at SSQQ for over
That's quite an accomplishment at a
dangerous place like SSQQ. But
you can only hold out so long.
Angie is quite a gal. I have
danced and talked with her many
times and have discovered a keen
mind to go with a clever wit.
I think Angie's best line was, "You
can tell I really love Carl when I
am willing to give up a great name
like 'Darling' to become Mrs. Hruska!"
started out at the studio as a very
attractive young lady back in 2002.
Over the years she has taken Salsa,
Whip, and Western classes. She
has also been an assistant in
Jean met Donald Taylor a couple
years ago. I don't know if she met
Donald here, but there is an
excellent chance she did because
Donald was enrolled in a dozen
classes during 2006.
Their courtship included the 2006
Rhapsody Cruise. It was on
this trip that I realized this
pretty girl had grown into a
Jean was so lovely in every 2006
Cruise picture! That's
when it became apparent that she was
in love. What else could
account for that kind of bloom?
Jean and Donald got married in
September 2007 a week before joining
us for the 2007 Conquest Cruise.
Talk about flying under
Ruben Larez and Claudia Ochoa were married
in June 2006 and I found out about it a year
and a half later.
Even more embarrassing
to me, I had this lovely woman married to
the wrong man for over a year! In
2006, Gonz Manuelo married Claudia
Guerrero... except that I listed him as
marrying Claudia "Ochoa" instead.
Linda Cook finally got it all straightened
out. After a flurry of emails, I had
the right Claudia married to the right
husband plus I scored this wonderful picture
of Ruben and Claudia from their wedding in
Puerto Rico. What a beautiful bride!
Isn't it good to know our SSQQ Magic works
to Salsa music too!
David Hathaway and
Jamie Fitzgerald were married back
in August, but I am just now getting caught
up on everything.
Dave and Jamie did not meet at SSQQ, but they
definitely spent so many hours on the
dance floor here over the past year
that they are an honorary SSQQ Marriage.
Dave and Jamie were fairly new to
the studio when they came to their
first Halloween Party in October
Since that time, the two of them
combined to take 16 classes over the
following year, an average of nearly
one and a half classes a month.
Once you take more than 10 classes,
you become an automatic SSQQ couple.
These guys are way over the limit!
In addition to their 2006 Halloween
Picture, the other two pictures are
from their trip on the SSQQ 2007
Conquest Cruise Trip. I am not
sure if it was their honeymoon, but
I can promise you you they had a
great time 'cause I watched them
On Monday night, November
19, Gus Donnell dropped by the studio to
announce that he and Fran Zandstra are now
Gus and Fran had just begun dating when they
joined us for the 2006 Rhapsody Dance
Cruise. They were inseparable for that
They had so much on that cruise that they
turned around and joined us for this year's
2007 Hawaii Cruise and 2007 Conquest Dance
You know, people let down their guard a
little bit on these cruises. Gus knew
that I had so many incriminating pictures
from these three cruises, he thought it was
worth a special trip to the studio to ask me
personally if I could please print one of
their nice pictures. Aren't they
You know, I probably have
a better picture of Jackie Chang and Jack
Benard somewhere in my files, but this one
is so lovely I choose it for their
On Tuesday, November 13, Jack got down on
one knee so he could look Jackie in the eye
and ask her to marry him.
It's a good thing she said yes because there
was a whole group of people from the studio
who were witnesses! Jack had invited
them to Jackie's house for dinner.
They did not realize the invitation included
this kind of a surprise!
I can't help but tell you how happy I am for
this couple. I know they have a very
deep, loving relationship because I see them
nearly every day. They make an
extraordinary couple together.
Jack Myers recently
proposed to the lovely Jo Wilson.
They announced their engagement in the
second week in November.
Back in September, I got to know Jack in my
Cha Cha class. Jack is not a fast
learner, but he is very determined to
succeed. Seeing his frustration, I put
myself in his arms and helped him figure out
the lead to a difficult move.
Jack was surprised at how quickly I got him
over the hurdle. From that point on he
was quick to ask me to help again.
Pretty soon he and I were dancing together
all the time in class. Well,
naturally our affinity for one another
started rumors. People could see how
happy we were together.
But, alas, they were only rumors. Jack
was just a flirt. He really had eyes
for his pretty girlfriend Jo. I
will miss him.
Manny Angulo and Michelle
Crossley got engaged in September.
Both Manny and Michelle are long-time students of SSQQ.
They began dating in 2001 (I have a
Halloween picture to prove it).
Their relationship worked so well I don't
think they have been apart since.
Manny and Michelle also
joined us for the 2003 Jubilee Dance Cruise
which is where this picture is from.
It is now 2007. After six years, I
think they know each other well enough to
take the next step.
I am very happy for both.
By the way, aren't they gorgeous?
I reported in the August
2007 Newsletter that Jeff Anderson
and Lisa Ramey have announced their
engagement, but at the
time I didn't get a chance to add their
picture from the 2004 Halloween Party.
As I said previously, Jeff has almost
completely recovered from his August 2006
That's quite amazing.
I am so happy for both of them.
It's true, my friend
Carmen Vito is finally getting married.
Carmen is one of my basketball buddies.
He has also been part of the Swing Community
here at the studio for a long time.
However we haven't seen much of Carmen here
at the studio lately because he fell in love
with a pretty girl he met at work, the
Carmen dropped out of the dance world to
pursue his relationship.
Actually Nerina has been to the studio
several times. I first met her when
she came to the studio with Carmen for an
Argentine Tango crash course. It turns
out that Nerina is from Argentina. Not
only Carmen been taking Spanish classes, he
has been down to Argentina to meet the
I think he has even learned to play a little
soccer. Carmen promises me he
will send me a picture as soon as possible,
but as I write he is in Australia and kind
of busy. Check back in the next
Newsletter for a photo!
From: Kathy R
Sent: Tuesday, November 20, 2007 10:55 AM
Subject: SSQQ Baby
I know you track engagements and weddings
that result from couples that meet at SSQQ,
but I'm not sure if you track babies that
result from those relationships.
Just in case you do, Phillip and I welcomed
a son, Kyle Ritchie, on September 28th. He's
a big boy - 9 pounds, 1 ounce and 22 inches
long at birth. He's a lot of fun, but I miss
P.S. I've found that two-stepping with him
around the living room helps when he's
(Rick's Note: Kathy
met her husband Phillip in a Twostep class,
so it is no accident her son is getting some
early lessons. Kathy is famous for one
of the best
Wedding Dance pictures ever.
Check out her photograph dancing swing with
husband Philip Ritchie back in 2005. bottom
Back in February 2006, I wrote
a lengthy story titled
documented SSQQ's uncanny ability at creating
relationships and marriages during our 30 year
history. As you can see from the December 2007
issue of our Newsletter, that tradition continues to
be as strong as ever.
Unfortunately there was a period during the Nineties
where I lost track of things. When it came
time to take note of all the SSQQ Weddings during
the Nineties, I was convinced I had missed out on
quite a few couples. When I first wrote about
this problem in a chapter titled
I lamented my lousy job of documentation. I
had a term for all my missing couples: Flying under
Fortunately from time to time people either come
back to the studio for lessons or happen to run
across the story and decide to check in. Since
I first wrote the article, I have collected the
names of seven couples I missed the first time
Here we read about three couples who met at SSQQ in
the Nineties and emailed me to tell their story.
From: Bob Manning
Sent: Saturday, August 25, 2007 9:00 PM
Subject: Matchmaker Article
Hi Rick and the Gang,
I was on your website because Sharon and I are
looking to take some more dance lessons. I was
looking at your “Romance” section and noticed
the weddings only went back to 1999.
Sharon and I met taking Jitterbug/Swing classes
at SSQQ in 1991 and got married in 1994. Your
organization has a formula for romance. We
stopped taking lessons because of the distance
to the studio (and we got busy, the sun was in
our eyes, we tripped on a rock, …). We hope to
start and see all of you again soon.
Bob & Sharon Manning – SSQQ Students 1991-1994
and Sandy Butcher
From: Kelly Keiser
Sent: Friday, September 21, 2007 1:22 PM
Subject: 90s Wedding
Dear Rick, Thanks for all the fond memories... dancing at
Studebaker's, 4th of July and Halloween costumes,
etc. After years of
volunteering in beginning classes, when I met Sandy
in September, 1990 at a Wednesday night practice,
the room blurred around her.
I could see no one else in the room. We
married a year later!
We are now retiring to be with our Grandson and
watch the construction of our new home in Schertz,
just North of San Antonio. Although we will now have
the time to resume dancing, unfortunately it will
not be here in Bellaire with SSQQ.
Best Wishes, Kelly Keiser and Sandy
Collins and Mike Moore
In October 2007, as I
entered the studio I was greeted by a
familiar face. My wonderful friend
Mary Collins... now Mary Moore... was at the
studio to take a dance lesson.
Mary Collins was my assistant in
Western classes for about two years in the
late Nineties. I believe she met her
husband Mike while dancing at a Western
club. He took several lessons
here at the studio during their courtship
period. Not only was Mary a great
assistant, she was also my friend. I was
very happy for her when she married Mike in
However, as I feared, like many
couples Mike and Mary faded into the sunset
not long after they got married. As I
have said repeatedly, marriage is such a big
step that people's priorities and lifestyles
go through radical changes.
So it was quite a surprise after nine
years to see Mary's smile again as I entered
the studio. Apparently Mike's
grown daughter by a previous marriage wanted
to learn some Western dancing, so Mike and
Mary not only signed Melissa up at the studio,
they came along with her!
Guess what was the
first thing I did when I saw Mike and Mary?
I took their picture, of course! These
guys are SSQQ celebrities after all.
So how did Mary (Collins) Moore manage to
fly under the radar when I knew her so well?
doesn't completely qualify as a marriage
that escaped my attention. I have her
marriage listed in two previous places on
this page. What I didn't have,
however, were any pictures! Even
though Mary was a mainstay at the studio for
several years, I guess she wasn't a
Halloween person. I could not find a
picture of her to save my soul.
However, Mary's wedding to Mike did have a special
distinction. I mentioned her upcoming
wedding as part of the first
I ever published at the end of 1998.
And now I get to add their picture to the
story. Welcome back!
I am sad to report that our
friend Doug, 58, passed away on
October 28, 2007. One night in
late October, Maureen Brunetti came
to the studio in tears to tell me
her close friend Doug had fallen
seriously ill with kidney problems.
She said that Doug had just left
Houston to seek treatment in his
home state of New Hampshire at
Dartmouth. He died soon after.
After Doug passed away, Maureen had
some words she asked me to include.
Douglas was a big part of the SSQQ
Swing community for a long time.
He helped Maureen as her whip and
swing assistant for many years.
As Maureen pointed out, Doug
promoted dancing whenever and
wherever he could. He made
business cards with SSQQ's address,
website and phone number to pass out
at dance venues.
be amazed at some flashy step, or
just marvel at social, partner
dancing and ask where could they
learn to do that.
ALWAYS happy to dance with beginning
ladies and to tell the beginning
guys to hang in there, they will get
it and that it's worth it.
Douglas Peabody will be missed here
at the studio.
Thomas Richardson (1921-2007)
My friend Gary Richardson lost his
father recently. Thomas Richardson,
age 86, died on November 14, 2007.
He had been at the hospital ICU up in
Denton, Texas, when he passed away.
Mr. Richardson was just getting ready to
celebrate his 66th wedding anniversary with
Gary's mother Virgie before becoming so ill.
Gary and his father were very close.
In Gary's own words, "I should be the man my
Father was. Everyone loved him. He was
always kind and generous to everyone."
Mr. Richardson and his lovely wife
were with us during the Alaska 2005 Cruise.
I can attest to the fact that Mr. Richardson
was an intelligent and highly principled man
who conducted his life with great dignity.
STORY 16 - Teacher
Faces Lashes for Naming Teddy Bear "Muhammed"
TABLE OF CONTENTS
From the Houston Chronicle
Nov. 27, 2007, 1:22PM
Teacher could be lashed over naming
teddy bear Muhammad
By MOHAMED OSMAN
KHARTOUM, Sudan — Sudanese authorities today
questioned a British teacher who could face charges
of insulting religion — a crime punishable by up to
40 lashes — after she allowed her young students to
name a teddy bear Muhammad in a class project.
Gillian Gibbons was arrested Sunday after one of her
pupils' parents complained, accusing her of naming
the bear after Islam's prophet and founder. Muhammad
is a common name among Muslim men, but giving the
prophet's name to an animal would be seen as
insulting by many Muslims.
Gibbons was being questioned on suspicion of abuse
of religion — a charge that is punishable by up to
six months in prison, a fine or flogging of up to 40
lashes under Sudan's Islamic law-based legal system.
Several Sudanese newspapers ran a statement today
reportedly from Unity High School in Khartoum where
Gibbons taught, saying the administration "offers an
official apology to the students and their families
and all Muslims for what came from an individual
initiative." It said Gibbons had been "removed from
her work at the school."
In the first official comment on the case, the
Sudanese Foreign Ministry today played down the
significance of the case, calling it "isolated
despite our condemnation and rejection of it."
Ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadeq said it was an
incidence of a "teacher's misconduct against the
Islamic faith" but noted the school's apology.
The statement from the school in newspapers called
it a "misunderstanding." It underlined the school's
"deep respect for the heavenly religions" and for
the "beliefs of Muslims and their rituals," adding
that "the misunderstanding that has been raised over
this issue leads to divisions that are
disadvantageous to the reputation of the tolerant
The Arabic statement was not officially confirmed by
the school. But a person reached by phone at the
school who identified herself as an administrator
said the statement was correct. She refused to give
her name, citing the sensitivity of the situation.
She said the school has closed for at least the next
week until the controversy eases. The Unity High
School, a private English-language school with
elementary to high school levels, was founded by
Christian groups, but 90 percent of its students are
Muslim, mostly from upper-class Sudanese families.
The school's director, Robert Boulos, told the
British Broadcasting Corp. that the incident was "a
completely innocent mistake. Miss Gibbons would have
never wanted to insult Islam."
Gibbons, 54, was teaching her pupils, who are around
age 7, about animals and asked one of them to bring
in her teddy bear, Boulos said. She asked the
students to pick names for it and they proposed
Abdullah, Hassan and Muhammad, and in the end the
pupils voted to name it Muhammad, he said.
Each child was allowed to take the bear home on
weekends and write a diary about what they did with
it. The diary entries were collected in a book with
the bear's picture on the cover, labeled, "My Name
is Muhammad," he said. The bear itself was never
labeled with the name, he added.
A former colleague of Gibbons, Jill Langworthy, told
The Associated Press the lesson is a common one in
"She's a wonderful and inspirational teacher, and if
she offended or insulted anybody she'd be dreadfully
sorry," said Langworthy, who taught with Gibbons in
There were widespread calls in Britain for Gibbons'
release. The Muslim Council of Britain calls upon
the Sudanese government to intervene.
"This is a very unfortunate incident and Ms. Gibbons
should never have been arrested in the first place.
It is obvious that no malice was intended," said
Muhammad Abdul Bari, the council's
British opposition Conservative party lawmaker
William Hague called on the British government to
"make it clear to the Sudanese authorities that she
should be released immediately."
"To condemn Gillian Gibbons to such brutal and
barbaric punishment for what appears to be an
innocent mistake is clearly unacceptable," he said.
Omar Daair, spokesman for the British Embassy in
Sudan, said embassy officials were in touch with
Sudanese authorities and had met with Gibbons. He
said he expected authorities to decide whether to
bring her to court, and on what charges, within a
"Her lawyer is trying to get her released on bail in
the meanwhile," he said.
The case recalled the outrage that was sparked in
the Islamic world when European newspapers ran
cartoons deriding the Prophet Muhammad, prompting
sometimes violent protests in many Muslim countries.
The prophet is highly revered by Muslims, and most
interpretations of the religion bar even favorable
depictions of him, for fear of encouraging idolatry
or misrepresenting him.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir earlier this month
suggested he would ban Denmark, Sweden and Norway —
where newspapers ran the cartoons — from
contributing engineering personnel to a planned
U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force in the
Sudanese region of Darfur.
Al-Bashir's government already has tense relations
with the West, which has widely condemned his regime
for alleged abuses in Darfur where more than 200,000
people have died in a conflict that began in early
Rick Archer's Note:
These people are not kidding around about using the
name "Mohammed". In certain Islamic countries,
they take this name seriously. I had an odd
brush with this phenomenon myself. I have long
been fascinated with
Dubai, an Arab country on the Persian Gulf
that reminds me of Las Vegas. I can't tell you
how amazing it is the way they conquered the harsh
desert and turned it into a metropolis straight out
of a science fiction novel. You should
definitely check out my story!
The genius behind this preposterous gamble is a man
named Sheik Mohammed. By chance, I reprinted
an article about Dubai that referred to Sheik
Mohammed as "Sheik Mo". For my mistake I
received the following email:
From: Shams Islam
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 3:10 PM
Subject: Sheikh Mo?
You have used Mo for Mohammed referring to
Sheikh Mohammed in your Dubai article. It is
very offensive to call some one Mo. Can you
please make the necessary change.
about your request for a couple weeks, I have
decided to follow your advice. Please check my
work and comment if you see any further signs of
It is certainly not my intention to be
disrespectful to a man I admire.
From: Shams Islam
Sent: Monday, October 22, 2007 1:33 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: RE: Sheikh Mo?
We are a global nation and thus should be aware
of other cultures and religions.
Your actions makes you a global player.
Love your site.
I moved to US from Abu Dhabi in 80s and the
change there is unimaginable.
most Westerners consider the teddy bear incident
ridiculous, I have to assume the teacher had at
least an inkling of the trouble she was inviting by
giving it the sacred name. I certainly don't
think lashing the woman is the correct response, but
I hope she has the sense to apologize. If
someone is that touchy, I don't see the point in
being disrespectful, especially when you are a guest
in their country.
Back when I was in college, I was outraged at the
end of the movie Easy Rider when a
hippie was assassinated for having the nerve to
flash the bird at a couple of rednecks. Later
in life I realized the hippie was essentially
committing suicide by antagonizing the rednecks.
I am not saying that it was right to kill the
hippie. I am saying that it would not have
hurt the hippie to use a little common sense.
His actions amounted to a death wish.
STORY 17 - A
British View of Western Dancing
TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Rick Archer's Note: I came across the
following story about Western Dancing here at SSQQ
in the oddest of ways. One day I googled my
name and suddenly found my name on a web site for
Cambridge University over in England!
Curious, I read the article and realized it had been
written by Paul Bolchover, a dance student here at
SSQQ. I did not even realize that Paul was
originally from the United Kingdom. Paul is a
quiet, rather reserved gentleman who first visited
SSQQ back in April 2006. During his brief stay
here in Houston, he has taken 30 dance classes at
I have always admired his ability to pick up dance
patterns faster than any other man in his class.
However whenever I compliment Paul, he is always so
modest that I don't know what to say next.
Paul keeps such a low profile, I bet very few people
know who he is. I researched my files for a
picture, but came up empty. The next time I
see him, I am going to get his picture.
Amused to find my name in his article, I decided to
google Paul's name. Turnabout is fair play.
Lo and behold I discovered that Paul holds a 2001
PhD from Cambridge University! His
dissertation was "Dynamic Effects of Cooling
of Geological Flows". In addition, I
discovered he is not only a member of the Mathematical GenealogyProject
and The Archimedeans, but also the
Cambridge Assassination's Guild. You need to
Another death was
reported from Trinity College, where the
notorious killer Paul
Bolchover took the life of David Walker, both of
Trinity College. It is
understood that Bolchover's attack was a
carefully-planned set-up, in which
the late Mr. Walker was persuaded to give
some pens to his would-be assassin
to avoid losing them in a post-exam
celebration at the local hostelry. When
Walker returned to collect the pens,
Bolchover shot him in the small of the
back - taking his victim completely
unawares. Police are playing down rumours
that David Walker had a drink problem
which may have led to unawareness of
a dangerous situation.
No wonder we don't have a
picture of Paul! He must be using SSQQ as a
safe haven while he hides from the law back in
England. At first glance, Paul seems utterly
gentle and harmless, but I always suspected he might
be a truly dangerous man!
Beware! There could be an assassin in our
midst. Feeling rather intimidated, I have
decided to be extremely nice to Paul whenever I see
him in dance class from now on. Nor do I
intend to let him know I am on to his secret!
And now let us read Paul's article about SSQQ and
Western Dancing. Perhaps it will give us clues
into how an assassin truly thinks. By the way,
when I went back to the original site of the
article, I found a picture! Ta Da!
A Letter from America:
An insight into the Texas
By Paul Bolchover
Reprinted from the
Cambridge Dancers Club Newsletter
It had to happen: after 14
years in Cambridge, and 13 years as a member of the
CDC (Cambridge Dance Club),
work finally decided that it was time for me to move
to Houston. No one that
knows me will be surprised that one of the first
things I did was to check on the quality of the
dancing out there, and it was with great difficulty
that I dragged myself from the familiar comforts of
Cambridge to the wilds of Texas.
Houston was fairly small until
the oil boom of the 1970s. Nowadays, it is a huge
urban sprawl. There are no planning restrictions,
which means that new suburbs are continually being
built on the edge of the city, while older housing
inside the city falls into neglect or is
Houses are built out of timber,
and the hot humid weather means that buildings only
last for 30-40 years. Despite the very cosmopolitan
urban nature of Houston itself, you don't need to go
far beyond the city limits to reach the wilds of
Texas: small towns, with traditional values. The
oil industry has brought both fat cats and rednecks
from around the states, bringing their own hometown
traditions. It came as a surprise to find that
cowboy hats and boots really are considered to be
part of normal clothing: it is not unusual to see
several people wearing Stetson hats in the queue for
passport control at the airport or out shopping.
People of both sexes wear a hat to dance classes,
making underarm turns much more interesting!
Perhaps it's the traditional
attitude of the people, but dancing is still very
popular with all ages in Houston. In particular,
the "Texas Twostep"
and "Polka", which are the
traditional dances of Texas and most of the mid-west
states. While in the UK the freedom of the late
sixties led people to reject partner dancing and to
start dancing by themselves on the dance floor, the
same does not appear to have happened in Texas:
Partner Dancing is
very much a part of their culture, and people of my
age will have picked up the Twostep and Polka at
local honky-tonks while in their young teens.
Once I arrived at Houston, it
was fairly easy to find somewhere to dance. A
metropolitan population of five million (forty times
that of Cambridge) means a correspondingly larger
number of dance clubs, in nearly every style
imaginable. I get my ballroom fix once a month,
where the local ballroom dancing federation puts on
an event that is best described as a cross between
General Dancing, a CDC Ball and Ballroom Blitz.
Early on, I decided not to take up ballroom lessons,
but to try some new forms of dancing. I certainly
fell on my feet when I joined the SSQQ
Dance Club: a club
that is so like the CDC that the similarities are
amazing. SSQQ claims to be the largest dance club
in North America, with around 1000 people attending
classes each month. Courses are 8 hours long,
consisting of 2-hours classes for 4 weeks. They
teach several classes each evening, in several
different styles of dancing: Twostep / Polka, West
Coast Swing, Salsa, Ballroom (American style), East
Coast Swing (a cross between Lindyhop, Jive,
Rock'n'Roll and Ceroc), and various other
There is even a Glennis-like figure: the studio
owner, Rick Archer, whose presence is felt over the
entire club. One advantage SSQQ has over the CDC is
that they can teach all of their classes in a single
venue. This means that at the end of each evening,
all of the classes merge, forming a big hour-long
Practice Night for
everyone. The club has monthly dance parties
corresponding to CDC balls, but there is nothing
corresponding to General Dancing. Instead, serious
dancers go out to one of the many C&W clubs in town
(think a Salsa club, but with cowboys). A
particular favourite is called "Wild West", which
combined a saloon atmosphere with women in chaps at
the bar a wooden dance floor, and dancing every
evening until late.
Not long after arriving, I
began to learn the Texas Twostep. This dance (not
to be confused with the "Nightclub Twostep") is best
described as doing the armwork of Ceroc (or Salsa),
while dancing the footwork of the Quickstep. It
progresses round the room: the basic step is in a
fairly open dance hold, with the man facing line of
dance starting on the left foot, going QQSS (forward
close forward forward) with the woman doing the same
in reverse. Some people dance the second step as a
forward, rather than a close. This Twostep basic is
essentially the same as the Quickstep,
except with the man doing chasses forward, instead
of sideways. The Country & Western Polka is exactly
the same, but with man starting on the left foot,
going QQS QQS (forward close forward, forward close
The Twostep can be danced to
most slow to medium Country & Western music and the
Polka to slow Country &
Western cha chas danced at double speed or to fast
Polka-like tunes. Neither dance has a heel lead:
the Twostep is fairly flat-footed, while the
Polka seems to mainly be danced on the toes, though
without the hop of the European Polka.
In general, steps taught in the
Twostep can also be taught in the Polka:
simply stretch the move on the final slow to last
over the three steps of the second QQS. In fact, in
higher level classes, they only teach the routine in
the Twostep, and leave it to the dancer to work out
a Polka version.
The simplest steps that can be
added are the turns from dancing forwards to dancing
backwards: dancing forwards, the man starts swinging
himself to the side on the final slow of the basic,
does a half turn on the next QQS (which normally
goes side close back) and goes backwards on the
final Slow. To turn from backwards to forwards, the
man steps (back back side) on the QQS, and spins
half a turn on the next slow (very similar to a Spin
Turn). The turns work identically in Polka.
Until around 1980, that was
it! There were a couple of advanced steps:
the "Circle Turn", which is just going
forward to backwards repeatedly
and the "Reverse Circle Turn", which is the
same but in the opposite direction (crossing your
feet like in Viennese Waltz).
In 1979, Travolta starred in the film "Urban
Cowboy": a similar film to “Saturday Night Fever”,
but with country music and Travolta dancing the
Twostep. The film was very popular (especially in
Houston, where it was filmed), and suddenly all of
the nightclubs stopped playing disco music, and
started playing Country Music instead. The youth of
the day had previously been dancing to disco music
with a partner dance referred to as the Aggie
Jitterbug which was nearly identical to Ceroc - lots
of arm movements, no footwork ("Aggie" is probably
meant as an insult, since it refers to the Texas A&M
university - a great rival to the University of
Texas in Houston).
These dancers suddenly found themselves restricted
to Twostep music, dancing a dance with very little
variety. As a result they experimented, trying to
fit stationary Jitterbug moves into the progressive
Twostep rhythm. Some worked, some didn't. There
was also a lot of influence from ballroom teachers
who, on seeing a new trend, started holding classes
and adapting US-style Foxtrot moves to fit. No
matter how complicated the steps get, the rhythm of
the dances never change. Unlike International
Ballroom, where interest is added by fancy footwork
and timing, in these dances, interest is added by
underarm turns of your partner etc, while the timing
remains constant. A lot of beginning Twostep moves
involve the "double turn" for the woman (actually a
1 1/2 three-step turn for the woman to the left,
under the man's arm). In this way, the modern
Twostep (sometimes called the Western Swing)
STORY 18 -
Right Angle Pictures
TABLE OF CONTENTS
The SSQQ Newsletter
owes much of its popularity to its own
readers. For many years now, members
of the SSQQ community have regularly passed
on some of the most amazing stories and
pictures to me.
I save the pictures and publish the most
interesting ones whenever the opportunity
arises. The two picture below were
sent to me by Gerald McEathron.
Gerald is a huge contributor. He sends
me all kinds of wonderful stuff. For
example, I published a picture he sent me as
Joke Picture of the Month back in
March. In June, I published a
Father's Day story he sent me.
Plus Gerald sent me a neat story about the
Grand Canyon you will read about in the next
article. By did way, did you know
Gerald met his lovely wife Virginia here at
SSQQ? Not only did he meet Virginia
here, Gerald proposed to her here!
They were married in 1998.
The Pictures Taken at
the Right Angle fall into different
categories. The best pictures are
these marvelous illusions of the soccer
player with the nine foot arm and the
headless acrobat. However as you will
see, most of the pictures are staged.
Nevertheless, these Illusion pictures are
fun to take a look at. Also
contributing to the article are Loni
Lewellyn and Milt Oglesby.
Right Angle Pictures
STORY 19 - Breathtaking
Grand Canyon Stupidity
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Our next story is so incredible you have
to read about it to believe it.
It is the story of a photographer who happened to catch a
picture of another photographer seemingly taking an
incredible chance at the Grand Canyon.
Are you curious? If so, visit
Grand Canyon Stupidity
STORY 20 -
The SSQQ Joke Page Returns!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Back in the old days, I used to publish one
Picture Joke each month. However
during 2007, I have been neglecting my Joke Page.
Since December is the last month of the year, I
guess I have some catching up to do. I have
decided to list the winners for the entire year.
December 2007 - Did He Do What
it Looks Like He Did?
Contributed by Chris Holmes
November 2007 - Why Getting Married in a Church is
Still Considered a Good Idea
Contributed by Milt Oglesby
October 2007 - Who Cares if She Can Type!
Contributed by Dakota Wilhelm
September 2007 - What's Wrong with this Picture?
Contributed by Jim Landureth
August 2007 - Three Contenders for the coveted "Man
of the Year" Award
Contributed by Milt Oglesby
July 2007 - Why Men Always Want Bigger Boats
Contributed by Chris Holmes
June 2007 - Father of the Year
Contributed by Milt Oglesby and Carol Gafford
May 2007 - Contributed by Letty Dougherty
The Much-Deserved Destruction of a BMW
April 2007 - The Story of F u c k i n g, Austria.
Contributed by Carol Gafford and Gareld McEathron
March 2007 - The Hungry Deer
Contributed by Gareld McEathron
February 2007 - The Sex Maniac
Contributed by Carol Gafford
January 2007 - The Tequila Trojan Horse
Contributed by Rick Archer
These are some pretty funny pictures. You should
DEFINITELY check them out!
The SSQQ web site is nine years old. During
this time, I have acquired about 600 jokes sent in
by our readers.
When time permits, I list about 50 classic jokes
from the past for
your reading pleasure. The December Jokes are
Please visit our
Joke Hall of
And here is a New
Joke to add to our collection. It
was sent in by Milt Oglesby. In case
you don't like his joke, I have decided to
publish his picture so you can give him a
hard time the next time you see him at the studio.
By the way, Milt wears that same shirt to
every Halloween Party. As you can see,
his shirt makes women faint.
Maybe I need to start
paying him for his jokes so Milt can buy a new
shirt for next year's party.
2007 Joke of the Month - The Pussycat
Contributed by Milt Oglesby
My husband and I live in a small town.
One December day we found an old
straggly cat sleeping on
For a second I
worried she might be dead, but the cat
moved when I approached. She
was such a sorry
sight. The cat was
skinny and starving, dirty,
terrible, and her hair
matted down. I
felt sorry for her and
even my hard-hearted husband showed some
sympathy. So I got him to put her in
a carrier and we took her to the vet.
know what to call her so we named her
The vet decided to keep
Pussycat for a day
or so. He said he would let us know when we
could pick her
Just as we were about to leave, my
the complainer) opened
his big mouth and said, "OK, but don't forget
to wash her. That cat
smells like a garbage
remind the vet that it was his WIFE (me)
that wanted to keep
the dirty cat, not him.
My husband and my Vet don't see eye
to eye. The vet calls my husband
'El-Cheap-O', and my husband and calls the
vet 'El-Charge-O'. The
bicker and trade insults.
They begin to snipe at one another
from the moment they first see each other.
Today my husband
got in the last word,
but I knew it would not take the vet long to
How well I know
both men. The counterattack began the
next morning. My husband had an
appointment with his doctor, who
by chance is
located in the same building
as the vet.
In fact, their offices
are adjoining. On this day, the
room was full of people
waiting to see the
story was told to me, my husband had just
sat down when a side door opened and
the vet leaned into the
The Vet had obviously seen my husband
looked up to see what was going on.
The Vet looked straight at my husband
and said in a loud
voice, "Mr. Nelson, I
followed your orders and your wife's
pussy doesn't stink any more.
it and shaved it,
and now the pussy smells like a rose.
Oh, and, by
the way, I think she's pregnant.
She must have been
out on the prowl. God only
knows who the father is!"
Then he closed the door.
Now THAT, my friends, is
how to get even
in a small town!
TABLE OF CONTENTS
And that's a wrap for this issue!
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Rick Archer at
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