October 2008 SSQQ Newsletter Issue One
Written by Rick Archer
THE NOVEMBER DANCE CLASSES WILL START THE WEEK OF SUNDAY,
QUICK REMINDER: SSQQ 2008 CARNIVAL POST-CRUISE PARTY WILL BE
HELD FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17, 9 PM. No charge if you were on
either of this year's trips.
WHAT'S GOING ON WITH RICK?
People at the studio have been sending me emails wondering
why it has taken me so long to post the November schedule on
the web site. These same people have also been asking where
the SSQQ Newsletter has disappeared to. After all, I was
sending out an issue practically every day for a while back
there in September.
September. Hmm. Seems like years ago, doesn't it? As you may
remember back from September, I was criticized for sending
out too many Newsletters and sharing too many details about
the untimely deaths of our friends Gary and Michael.
Well, quite frankly, I went into a tailspin after Gary and
Michael's funerals. Too much Ike, too much depressing
economy, problems with the landlord and so on. I didn't feel
like writing anything. Nothing seemed important enough to
talk about after what we went through. I am sure every one
of you know exactly what I am talking about.
Plus I got a new computer from my friend Gary Richardson. It
is a great computer, but it has two drawbacks. One, it uses
the new Vista system... there is so much I cannot figure
out! Fortunately as always Gary has shown infinite patience
while I try to get a handle, but my confusion is limitless.
None of the programs work exactly like they did on my
previous computer. I hate change I hate change I hate
change... you get the picture.
Also Gary installed a chess game on the computer. He thought
he was doing me a favor, but it was an evil move. I love
chess as long as I don't have to play humans. Dating back to
my days as high school chess champion, I have long observed
that humans get their feelings hurt when they lose. That
includes me, incidentally. I hate to lose to humans. Hmm.
Let me change that. I hate to lose to anything, man or
machine. However, the nice thing about computers is they
couldn't care less if I win and they don't make fun of me
when I lose.
So I decided to try Gary's chess game. My goodness what a
pathetic program; the computer chess game lost to me
repeatedly at every level.
Ha ha. No challenge for an incredible player like me.
Then I reached Level Seven. At Level Seven I only won 1 of
the first 10 games. Not only did I lose at an alarming rate,
I realized the computer kept statistics including my
cumulative score. There were no statistics at the lower
levels because I didn't play each level more than a couple
times. These Level Seven statistics revealed an alarming
fact - I was getting beaten a lot!
Determined to teach Level Seven a lesson, I kept playing and
playing. I got a little better, but after the first 100
games, I had only won 40 times. No one beats me 60 times out
of 100. I was determined to show who the master was!
I went insane playing Level Seven day and night. End one
game; start another. Marla, bless her heart, left me alone.
She knows when I go autistic, it's better to cross her
fingers and hope I return to my senses.
One week later I have now played Level Seven 450 times.
Fortunately the computer plays the same moves so I have
begun to get a bead on its strategy. That plus a liberal use
of Control Z (the Take back button), my winning percentage
has improved to 55%.
With my self-esteem somewhat restored, I am slowly regaining
enough control of my sanity to put out a Newsletter.
But I had a nightmare last night. I dreamt I entered Level
THE 31st ANNUAL SSQQ HALLOWEEN PARTY IS ON SATURDAY, OCTOBER
Most of us aren't really quite in the Halloween mood yet.
The depressing news on Wall Street is scary enough for most
Also, we didn't catch any breaks from the Calendar. Our
party will be held six full days before Halloween even hits,
days we could have used to further encourage our Halloween
spirit to reemerge. Oh well, look on the bright side - this
frees you up for two weekends of Halloween Parties!
There is a hint of sadness in my heart about this year's
party. Thanks to our ongoing problems with the landlord -
stuff so awful I haven't even had the heart to write about
yet - this may well be our final Halloween Party at the
Bissonnet location. Hopefully there will be future Halloween
Parties somewhere else, but my crystal ball is murky at the
Since I have no idea what tomorrow will bring, if you are a
big fan of the SSQQ Halloween Party, I encourage you to
participate in what might be the end of an era.
PREPARING FOR THE OCTOBER 25 SSQQ HALLOWEEN PARTY
A very popular feature of our Halloween Party is the Monster
Mash and the other Halloween Line Dances. To completely
enjoy our party, you should make an effort to learn these
During the Halloween Party we turn the studio into a scene
reminiscent of the famous "Thriller" video. Monsters line
the floor to perform our Line Dances. What a treat it is to
see Frankenstein and the Mummy getting down to the tunes!
Whether you are on the floor or just watching, the Monster
Mash, Thriller and many other favorite line dances entertain
both the dancers and the spectators.
Nothing makes people laugh harder than the goofy Monster
Mash! "They did the Mash; it's a Graveyard Smash!" The only
drawback is these six Line Dances are pretty tricky. No one
can learn them on the spot. So we offer to teach the Line
Dances during the week of the party at no charge. Everyone
is welcome to learn the dances whether you are taking
classes in October or not. We don't care; the more the
Our first night of Halloween Line Dancing will be Friday,
October 17, at 6 pm. However if you can't make it Friday, we
have six more opportunities for you to learn. Here is the
schedule for Line Dance training:
2008 HALLOWEEN LINE DANCE SCHEDULE
1. FRIDAY, OCT 17 (6-7 pm)
2. SUNDAY, OCT 19 (6:30 - 7:10 pm)
3. MONDAY, OCT 20 (6-7 pm)
4. TUESDAY, OCT 21, (6-7 pm)
5. WEDNESDAY, OCT 22, (6-7 pm)
6. THURSDAY, OCT 23, (6-7 pm)
7. FRIDAY, OCT 24, (6-7 pm)
8. SATURDAY, OCT 25 - THE SSQQ HALLOWEEN PARTY!
If you aren't in the Halloween mood yet, I am positive
learning these line dances will help you do so. The
workshops are free; just show up. Furthermore, you don't
have to be currently taking classes. Just come on by and
have fun. We would love to have you. Remember, there is no
charge. To participate, just show up!
DECORATING FOR THE HALLOWEEN PARTY:
We will be decorating for the Halloween Party on two
Friday, October 17, 11 am - this is the day that our good
friend Dracula makes his first appearance. We totally
decorate Room 2 and Room 3 so we can have a week of monsters
watching us dance during class.
Friday, October 24, 11 am - this is the day we put up the
Haunted House in Room 6 and finish any decorations in the
other four different rooms.
Anyone who is free during the day on either Friday is
invited to join us at the studio for the big project. This
is strictly a volunteer labor of love. To participate, just
WE TAKE A BREAK FROM HALLOWEEN STUFF TO REMIND EVERYONE
THE 2009 SSQQ CRUISE TO BARCELONA!!
A LETTER FROM MARLA ARCHER:
It's hard to believe that it is now the middle of October
and the Halloween party is just around the corner.
I won't deny that it has been an incredibly rough ride over
the course of the past few months. First, we were hit with
all the devastation from Ike and then the enormous effort
towards recovery. If that weren't enough, the economy went
With all this doom and gloom, it feels awkward to be
pitching another cruise. But you know and I know that trips
must be planned in advance, so I will put forward my hopes
that we can make our 2009 Barcelona Cruise to Spain, Italy,
and France a reality.
There are two ways to look at things. You can surrender and
stop enjoying life or you can make the most of an
extraordinary opportunity. We are a resilient people and
economic recovery will be on the horizon.
Like Rick and I, many of us are at the stage in our lives
when we see our retirement not so far off in the distant
future. We have worked hard our entire lives so we can begin
to enjoy everything the world has to offer. I worry about
the economy just like all of us, but I am not going to stop
living my dreams just because of the bad news.
Our September 2009 Barcelona Cruise is easily the most
ambitious trip I have ever planned.
Here is just a snapshot of the places we will have the
chance to see - the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Vesuvius and
Pompeii, the stunning architecture of Barcelona, the
marvelous museums and ruins of Rome, the museums of Florence
complete with Renaissance paintings and Michelangelo's
David, the casinos of Monaco, the fabulous beaches of Nice,
plus all the incredible shorelines of Northern Italy and
I know every one of you leaf through the Travel magazines
and say to yourself these are places you want to see some
day. Well, I say let's go see them next year.
I have completed an extensive write-up on the SSQQ 2009
Barcelona Trip our website detailing each port including
photographs of all the highlights. I hope you will take the
time to review our extensive itinerary.
It is now time to sign up for the cruise!
A $250 deposit will hold your spot on the trip all the way
until final payment on July 15th, 2009. That is right, you
have nine months to save for this fabulous cruise! However,
registrations need to be in to me by Tuesday, October 28th.
You may email or fax me the information or simply hand the
form to Rick or me at the studio. http://www.ssqq.com/travel/barcelona2009registration.htm
If you are sitting on the fence and want to wait and see, I
need to let you all know that we need at least 20 passengers
to make this trip a go! We currently have 10. Many of you
have told me you were planning on going, but of course that
was before all the headaches began. So now I need a show of
hands to see whether this trip can be a reality or not.
I have decided to reduce the cancellation penalty to $50
through the end of this year due to the unusual economic
circumstances. In other words, if you are fairly sure you
want to go, this will allow you to "commit" without having
to be 100% positive.
I hope you will decide to join us for another trip of a
lifetime! Don't miss out on this wonderful experience!!!
A big thank you to all our past passengers who have made
these trips so great!
SSQQ Dance Studio
713 862-2550 fax
WE TAKE ANOTHER BREAK FROM HALLOWEEN STUFF TO DISCUSS -
HEADACHES FROM LAST SUMMER'S 2008 CONQUEST CRUISE.
One month ago, I wrote the story of the
attempted to crash the party on the August 2008 Caribbean
Now I have finished the dark story about Destructo and
Oblivion, the twin terrors of destruction whose antics sent
my experience of last summer's cruise into a tailspin from
which I never quite recovered.
These two women made me angrier than I have ever been before
on a cruise. So what exactly did they do wrong? To find, you
will have to go to the web site and read the story.
DESTRUCTO AND OBLIVION:
AND NOW: BACK TO HALLOWEEN
THE 1981 SSQQ HALLOWEEN PARTY FROM HELL
No one should come to our Halloween Party without having
first read the absolutely true story of the 1981 SSQQ
Halloween Party from Hell.
This year marks our 31st Annual Halloween Dance Party. I
would like for you to take a moment and wrap your brain
around the number THIRTY-ONE.
Thirty one years of SSQQ Halloween Parties. Is that amazing
or what? This means the SSQQ Halloween Party has been a
phenomenal success for a long, long time.
People are always thanking me for throwing such an exciting
and well-organized party. Of course I appreciate the kind
words, but I always have to smile to myself because I
remember there was a time when our Halloween Parties were
not very well organized.
In fact, there was one particular party in 1981 where all
hell broke loose. Due to some mistakes I made, the 1981
Halloween Party from Hell turned out to be a complete
catastrophe. Yes, that was the year our Halloween Party
careened badly out of control. I ended up paying a pretty
stiff price in the process. Of course you assume I am
exaggerating. Well, guess what, I am NOT exaggerating. You
will just have to read the story to believe it.
One small warning - "The SSQQ Halloween Party from Hell"
turns out to be a pretty good Ghost Story. So if you are
alone at home and it is nighttime, be sure to keep some
lights on with your trusty dog nearby to keep you company in
case you get the willies.
THE SSQQ HALLOWEEN MOVIE MONSTER PUZZLE
In 2000, I published a Monster Quiz on the SSQQ web site
that consisted of 40 pictures from various Horror Movies. I
personally scored 27 on the test. I was very proud of my
score and clung to the fantasy that I was way better than
the average guy in my knowledge of Halloween Monsters.
In 2006 a new dance student named Tresa Frazier decided to
give my puzzle a shot. I was astonished to see Tresa scored
37 out of 40! This was no ordinary woman!
Tresa and I struck up a correspondence. I quickly discovered
her score was no accident. Tresa took Halloween even more
seriously than I did. My kind of girl!
Tresa offered to help me expand my Monster Quiz and I
readily accepted her offer. As a result, in 2006 our picture
puzzle doubled from 40 to 80 pictures. In addition, Tresa
was kind enough to write an interesting story about her love
affair with Monsters.
In 2007, Tresa and I collaborated again to expand the
Monster Puzzle to 104 movies. In addition, we added an
Answer Page so you can check how you did. For the fun of it,
I added a Halloween Trivia Test as well.
With 104 pictures, I challenge our readers to try the puzzle
The first person to solve the puzzle gets a free pass to
this year's Halloween Party. When you solve the puzzle, the
solution page will tell you what to do to claim your prize.
MORE ABOUT THE 2008 SSQQ HALLOWEEN PARTY
This Saturday, October 27, marks our 31st Annual Halloween
Dance Party. As always, we expect anywhere from 200 to 300
guests. Actually, last year our attendance was close to 400
Thirty one years of SSQQ Halloween Parties. Is that amazing?
Thirty one years is a long time.
As you might guess, the parties keep getting better and
better. There are a lot of reasons why the studio party is
an automatic slam-dunk success.
For one thing, SSQQ Party has a rich tradition of excellent
Halloween costumes. Costumes and Dancing go hand in hand.
People feel less inhibited when they wear costumes,
especially Monster Costumes.
Plus it is a fun party. There is an unspoken understanding
that Halloween invites the Devil in everyone to emerge -
misbehavior is not only expected, it is appreciated. Sure
people act a little naughty. It's Halloween, what else do
Another reason for the party's success is that we have
dancing on three different floors. In addition to the
Country-Western and East Coast Swing dancing in Room One, we
have Jack Benard supervising the Whip dancing in Room Four
and Linda Cook's Salsa dancing in Room Five. You have never
seen so much dancing in your life!
In case you didn't know, SSQQ has the best "Amateur" Haunted
House around. Everyone hates the SSQQ Haunted House for a
single reason - it is ridiculously scary!
It may be an "amateur production", but our Haunted House is
definitely creepy. What makes it so scary is that we keep
the room pitch dark. Then we pump up eerie music from "The
Exorcist" and "Halloween" very loud to make sure your nerves
get on edge. It takes at least 5 to 10 minutes to slowly
inch your way through the winding maze shrouded in darkness.
And you never know just whom you might meet in the Haunted
House... But you know what - if you survive the Maze, it
sure gets you in with the Halloween Spirit!
PS - I better not catch anyone using their cell phones to
light up the maze. What a bunch of babies! No one gets hurt
in the Haunted House, so what are you afraid of? Quit being
such a coward. A little walk in the dark is good for
STUNNING COSTUMES AND PICTURES.
One reason our party is a perpetual success is due to the
wonderful lengths our guests go to wear great costumes. Yes,
you can come to the party even if the best you can do is
wear gym clothes, but we ask you to try to do better.
Let's face it - getting a good costume is a lot of work. But
like any activity you put energy into, wearing a good
costume turns out to be fun. It is marvelous to be
surrounded by fabulous costumes wherever you look and to
know that you are contributing to the fun! Who wants to be
seen in a crummy outfit?
As a reward for the effort it takes to get a costume, we
make a point to take your picture. For many years we have
taken costume pictures and published them on the SSQQ web
site. As a result, since the SSQQ Party has a rich tradition
of excellent costumes, people actually put some thought and
effort into their costumes and it pays off. This year,
erstwhile SSQQ Swing instructor Steve Gabino will be back to
take your pictures, so no slacking off.
By the way, if you are worried about dancing in your
costume, just plan to take off the bulky parts when the
dancing begins. A few years ago, Linda Cook and her daughter
Samantha came as two trees with a hammock hung between them.
After some great pictures and lots of laughs, Linda's tree
was seen sitting peacefully next to Dracula for the rest of
the evening as Linda danced the night away. The only problem
was that Linda forgot the hammock. Tired of that stupid old
coffin, after eating one of the guests, I believe Dracula
spent the night in Linda's hammock instead.
Speaking of costumes, I would like to remind everyone to go
look at the pictures from last year's party. You can see the
250 pictures taken by Steve Gabino. Not only will it bring
back memories for those who came last year, you will get
plenty of ideas for costumes to wear this year.
Then I want you to go see the Best Costumes Page from last
year. One note of warning - you will of course be saddened
to see the picture of Gary and Tracy Schweinle. Gary loved
our Halloween Parties so much. I know he will be in my
thoughts for sure at this year's party.
One more thing - Many people use "no costume" as a reason
not to come to our party. Don't let that stop you. We allow
everyone a little leeway for their first Halloween Party.
Maybe on your second visit we get tougher, but First-Timers
are welcome to come to the party with a mediocre effort.
However don't just show up in blue jeans. You have to try a
little. Get a mask at a drugstore on the way over. Or wear
some ugly clothes that don't match and scare people. How
hard is that? Most of all - PARTICIPATE! For heaven's sakes,
don't miss this great party for any reason at all.
Even Cher Longoria makes an effort. I told her I was so sick
of her stupid Devil costumes. So last year Cher came as Snow
White. Boring. Besides, Cher was so out of character she
probably had trouble figuring out how to put on the costume.
How she wore it with a straight face was a real testament to
her ability to fool people. Fortunately her stupid computer
can't read anything I put on the ssqq web site. I can say
anything I want about her with total impunity!
However I going to her shop for a haircut in a few minutes,
so I think I will wait till after the haircut to publish
this. Wouldn't want to lose an ear, you know. By the way,
you can see her picture on page one.
CARNIVAL OF VENICE - THE MOST BEAUTIFUL MASQUERADE BALL
Speaking of costumes, my friend Carol Gafford shared her
pictures from the 2006 Carnival of Venice. This is your
chance to see 28 of the most beautiful Masquerade pictures
imaginable! Someday I would like to travel to Italy to see
this in person. What stunning beauty. It is almost
unimaginable to see costumes so wonderful.
FACE THE NATION
As I watched last night's McCain-Obama debate, I was
impressed with the good job turned in by the narrator Bob
Schieffer. I was reminded that three weeks ago Mr. Schieffer
said one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard on
TV. I will share his words with you.
Face the Nation (CBS News) - Sunday, September 28, 2008
"And finally, I went back to Oxford, Mississippi, Friday to
cover the presidential debate.
It was the first time I'd been back on that campus since
1962, when I was sent there as a young reporter to cover
what would be my first big story, the enrollment of James
Meredith, the first African-American to attend the
Of all the stories I've covered, including Vietnam, the most
terrifying experience I ever had was that night on the
campus of Ole Miss when a riot broke out. Hundreds were
injured, two people died as protestors tried to stop a black
man from attending a tax-supported state school. Meredith
remained under armed guard until he graduated, but his
enrollment marked a turning point in the civil rights
Yet, when I came back to the campus Friday, all that seemed
long ago and far away. Where the state's governor had once
defied federal law and snipers had fired into crowds of
journalists and mobs had set fires, black and white students
were working together to welcome reporters and official
Mississippi governor Haley Barbour called it a fine day. Ole
Miss was hosting a presidential debate that included the
first African-American to capture a major party presidential
nomination. Everyone had joined hands to ensure it went off
perfectly, and it did.
We still have a long way to go in this country to ensure
that every American is treated fairly, but as I walked
across the Ole Miss campus Friday it helped me understand
that in less than my lifetime we have also come a very long
way. It was a fine debate, but it was so much more.
It was a significant moment in American history."
THE SSQQ JOKE OF THE DAY
Contributed by Gareld McEathron
(RICK ARCHER'S NOTE: I suppose I should list a Halloween
joke, but this one will do just fine.)
SURVIVORS OF THE CRUISE SHIP TRAGEDY
A cruise trip on the Pacific goes all wrong. An enormous
tsunami capsizes the ocean liner, the ship sinks, and there
are only 3 survivors.
Bob, Tom and Debbie manage to hang on to a life raft. Days
later the ocean currents take them to a small uncharted
They live there for a couple of years doing what's natural
for men and women. But what should be an Eden-like existence
is instead a cauldron of total misery.
Indeed, the triangle creates unbearable pressures for
Debbie. The men bicker constantly over who gets her next,
why she seems to prefer one over the other, why she
withdraws all the time, and so on. No matter what she says
or does, Debbie cannot do enough to please either man.
Debbie is blamed for everything. All the men ever do is
fight, complain, point fingers and sulk. Everyone is
miserable, but most of all Debbie.
Debbie feels absolutely horrible about her existence. One
day she goes into the water and drowns herself.
The men are too late to save her. Full of grief and remorse,
they carry her lifeless body back to shore.
Debbie's suicide was tragic, but Bob and Tom managed to get
through it. After a while, Bob and Tom's resistance to
nature's urgings waned, and the inevitable happened. They
knew what they were doing was completely wrong, but they
couldn't help themselves.
At first they experienced vague naggings, but their needs
were too powerful. Well, a couple more years went by and
their misgivings intensified. Bob and Tom began to feel
absolutely horrible about what they were doing. Finally,
after a long talk, they decided to do the right thing.
They buried Debbie.