There were Four Newsletters in March 2009
The March 2009 SSQQ
Written by Rick Archer
TO GUEST TEACH MARTIAN WHIP
On Monday evening, March
2, Mario Robau Jr will be the guest teacher for the SSQQ Martian
Mario and I met for
coffee on Thursday, February 19. Mario said he would check his
calendar and get back to me. Here is what he said:
“Hi Rick, this is Mario Robau. It’s about 1:50 in the afternoon and
March 2 is in fact a go. It looks like we will be set with no
problems. I look forward to teaching there on Monday the second of
March. We’ll talk to you later.”
And with that phone
message, a new era at the studio has begun: the arrival of Mario
Robau at SSQQ.
Long time veterans of the Houston Dance Community will recognize
this name immediately. But I imagine there are at least a couple
newcomers who will ask the question, “Who is Mario Robau?”
Mario Robau, 41, grew up
here in Houston. He is a graduate of Sharpstown High School and the
University of Houston. Back in the mid Eighties, Mario’s father was
an accomplished Whip dancer. As the legend goes, Mario Senior lured
his son to a Whip class by promising him a beer. I guess to a
teenage boy that’s a powerful incentive!
What Dad did not know was that he had a dance prodigy on his hands.
Junior, as Mario is often referred, turned out to have an enormous
gift for dancing. He learned to dance so fast!
As David Letterman says, one of the major signs of aging is when you
‘recall’ history instead of reading about it. Here is an anecdote
about Mario that is probably not well-known.
My own dance teacher was
Glen Hunsucker, the gifted jazz dancer. In addition to Ballroom
dancing and Hustle, Glen was also my Whip teacher.
I remember there was an unusual dance competition in 1985. There
was actually some serious prize money involved, enough to entice my
mentor Glen into entering. It was probably the only Whip contest
Glen ever entered. At the time, Glen was considered the finest
jazz dancer in Houston. He was also a phenomenal Hustle dancer.
Whip was probably not his dance, but since he was my hero, I assumed
he would win the Whip contest too! I thought the man walked on
So imagine how incredulous I was to discover this unheard of 17-year
old kid had defeated the finest dancer in Houston. I was in shock.
I did not see the competition and for the life of me could not
figure out how Glen – Superman – had lost.
Fortunately a friend of mine named Lester Buck handed me a copy of
the competition. I watched in disbelief as Mario won this ‘David
versus Goliath’ matchup fair and square. I had to admit the
decision was legit. Although Glen was clearly a more polished
dancer, Mario looked better at what he was doing. Glen’s style was
a little too pretty. His style was more ‘ballroom’ while Mario was
more ‘barroom’. Mario danced the Honky-Tonk style more suited to
the Whip. In other words, Mario got down and dirty.
And that’s how I first
heard of Mario Robau.
I was 35 at the time;
Mario was 18 years younger than me. I was not at all happy at the
arrival of this new talent on scene. I might as well tell the truth
– back in those days I was deeply jealous of his ability. When I
first heard of Mario, I had been dancing the Whip for about two
years. People told me I was pretty good. I had ambitions of being
one of Houston’s top Whip dancers. I didn’t want anyone cutting in
line ahead of me.
But now I was worried. If Mario could beat Glen, what chance did I
I had one year of glory. In 1986, I embarked on a crazy period in
my life known as “The Streak”. I went Whip Dancing after dance
class 201 Nights in a row. True story. Dancing every night of the
week does have its benefits. I became a very good Whip dancer that
Mario helped things by
leaving town. Shortly after his 1985 victory, Mario moved to Dallas
for a year or so. I think he had just finished high school and
wanted to learn more about the Whip from the experienced dancers up
there such as Gary Long. For most of 1986, Mario was nowhere to be
seen, but everyone continued to talk about him. I sure didn’t miss
him! I was thrilled to have the stage to myself. Enjoy it while it
Sure enough, when Mario returned to Houston in 1987, it was all
over. Whatever Mario had learned up in Dallas had turned the guy
into a dance machine. He may have been a kid, but Mario was so
good! I watched him dance a couple times and hung my head. I was
good, but Mario was better. Much better. Mario was only half my
age, but he could do stuff on the floor I had never even seen
before. His style was so mesmerizing! Sometimes I would watch him
dance and forget there was a woman out there with him. I just
couldn’t keep my eyes off him!
But while I watched in awe, I sensed a foreboding. A dark shadow
had come over my own dance ambitions. The future didn’t look quite
as bright any more.
This began a very stressful period of my life. I had some growing
up to do.
I wasn’t the only who noticed how good Junior was. Suddenly every
Whip dancer in the city lined up to take a class from Mario Robau Jr
over at Southwest Whip Club. He wasn’t even twenty years old, but
no one cared about his age. The young man had genius written all
My advanced Whip classes were directly affected. Over the next two
years, my classes dwindled as Mario began his ascendency. My
advanced students had gone about as far as I could take them; it was
time to find a new challenge. They made a beeline for Mario’s
Fortunately Mario’s brilliance did not hurt my studio financially.
Houston is a big city. Although I lost a lot of talented students
to Mario, there were always plenty of new students coming up through
the ranks to turn my attention to.
My pocketbook may have been intact, but that didn’t keep me from
stewing. I felt like road kill! I had just gotten steamrolled by a
kid half my age.
The movie “Amadeus” (1984) kept rolling through my mind. This movie
told the story of how Salieri, a good composer but not great, had
gone insane when his place in history had been destroyed by the
emergence of some unknown kid named Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.
Salieri was pretty good, but Mozart was a genius. Mozart is still a
legend today, but let’s face it, if not for the movie, none of us
would have ever heard of Salieri. While I was licking my wounds,
Salieri’s fate seemed an eerie parallel to my own. I had felt the
taste of glory in 1986. But those moments seemed long gone. I was
having a hard time accepting that I had been passed by a meteor on
the way to the stars.
In late 1987, something unusual happened. Out of nowhere, I was
suddenly given the opportunity to take control of the entire studio
here at Bissonnet. Up to this point, I had been responsible for two
rooms a night five nights a week. That’s ten classes a week.
Was I ready to take on five rooms a night seven nights a week?
That’s 35 classes a week. Or to put it more bluntly, was I ready to
take on a rent three times what I was currently paying?
That made me take a deep breath.
I had a decision to
make. The Whip was my passion. I absolutely loved the dance! I
could stay small, concentrate on the Whip and try my hand at dance
competitions just like Mario. Or I could give up my dance dreams
and concentrate on running a huge dance studio.
As you can guess, I chose running the dance studio.
It was actually a fairly simple decision to make. If I chased after
Mario, where would I get the energy to run a major dance studio at
the same time? Besides, Mario had made the choice easy for me. He
was so good. I knew I wasn’t going to catch him. Who was I
So my life changed directions. I dropped out of the Whip Scene and
concentrated on expanding my social dance program. I retreated to
my castle and minded my own business. Literally.
I also did something new – I posted the name “SSQQ” on the door for
the first time. I was on my own now.
Mario used the next
twenty years to become one of the most famous dancers in America.
During the late Eighties and throughout the Nineties, Mario won
dance competitions local, statewide, and national on a regular
basis. He competed against the top dancers in the country and won
on a consistent basis. His fame as a dancer was incredible.
Using a style reminiscent of Alexander the Great, Mario conquered
Houston in short order. Then he conquered Texas. By the early
Nineties he was competing on a National Stage. By the 2000s Mario
was teaching internationally as well. With few worlds left to
conquer, I imagine Mario now has his eyes on Mars and the rest of
the solar system. Why else would he agree to teach Martian Whip?
But Mario has always had a lot more going for him than just his
dancing ability. Over the years, Mario has developed many skills
unique to the dance industry.
For starters, Mario became a proficient public speaker. Using his
confident manner, his sense of humor and his vast knowledge of the
major players, Mario’s leadership ability made him a natural choice
to become the emcee of many competitions. Mario became widely
respected as the leader not just of the Houston dance community, but
the entire country.
Mario has a great personality. He is comfortable and confident
teaching small groups and large groups. In the Nineties, Mario
began to travel extensively to give dance workshops across the
country. His natural rapport with strangers made it easy for him
became an ambassador of Swing Dancing wherever he went. Not only
did Mario spread the Whip to other parts of the USA, he helped usher
Houston into the new West Coast Swing era in the late Nineties.
Unlike some gifted
dancers who don’t have a clue what their feet are doing, Mario
always knows EXACTLY what his feet are doing. He has developed a
reputation as a terrific dance instructor. But Mario didn’t stop
there. After working with Glen Hunsucker – yes, Mario and Glen
became close friends further down the road – Mario was able to
expand his talents into jazz movements and dance choreography.
Mario’s ability as a choreographer made him the man to go to if you
wanted to win a dance competition. Besides his dancing ability,
Mario has an uncanny understanding for music as well. He can take a
song and visualize dance movements that accentuate highlights in the
For example, Mario is the first person I know of to teach classes
here in Houston on “Hitting the Breaks”. In many R&B songs, there
are spots where the music literally stops for a moment. Mario would
not only teach people how to anticipate these Breaks, he would make
suggestions on things dancers could do to make themselves
interesting during these moments.
Mario is a rare combination of exquisite dancer, excellent teacher,
and musical technician. He is also quite a businessman.
As if he doesn’t have
enough talent, over the years Mario has learned how to organize
dance competitions. He has mastered the art of scheduling dance
events and workshops, line up hotels and accommodations, and
publicizing the events. He has learned to network and cooperate
with all the major dance personalities throughout the country (no
mean feat indeed).
Mario has learned to wear all the hats. He not only organizes the
events, he usually emcee the events, conducts workshops, competes,
performs, tell jokes and sometimes he even deejays the party
afterwards. Mario has played a key role in the incredible upsurge
of dance events throughout the United States.
When Mario is not the
organizer, he frequently visits events as the ‘guest personality’.
Along the way Mario has developed a lifestyle the rest of us can
only barely comprehend. He travels to one city after another
year-round. Boston-DC-LA-Denver-New York. When the United States
grew too small, he expanded to other countries - Australia, Russia,
France, United Kingdom among others.
Forty weekends out of the year sees Mario in some city other than
Houston conducting workshops, emceeing dance competitions, you name
it. This is how Mario Robau has become one of the most famous dance
personalities in America. If Cable TV ever opens up a “Dancing with
the Stars” Network, I imagine Mario will be the likely choice for
THE HOME FRONT
In late 2007, Mario
abruptly resigned his position as Director of Southwest Whip after a
twenty year stewardship. I don’t know the details and have the
sense not to ask. For the past year and a half, Mario has kept a
low profile here in Houston. I did not know much about what was
going on. I heard Mario was teaching a few private lessons locally,
but not many.
One of the people taking private lessons from Mario was Cher
Longoria, my talented dance teacher. One day Cher asked me for
permission to conduct her private lessons with Mario here at the
studio. I said I didn’t mind. After all, the studio pretty much
stays empty during the weekdays. Besides, Mario wasn’t representing
the competition any more. Why not?
Cher’s request got me to thinking about the old days. Why was I
willing to allow the man whose name was synonymous with so many
tough times back in the Eighties use my studio?
Maybe I needed to give this a little more thought. That’s when the
other side of the debate kicked in. Yes, Southwest Whip is still a
business competitor today, but Mario has clearly parted ways. Mario
is on his own now. To my knowledge he isn’t offering any classes
Furthermore, at this stage of our lives, Mario and I probably have
more in common than we have differences. Can two old warriors be
Anyone who has ever taken a class from me knows I love teaching Whip
and West Coast Swing. I have taught these dances for 25 years.
That said, I have chosen to teach Whip for social dancing only.
When students with great talent come along, I openly admit I cannot
help these people at the competition level. There is a limit to my
knowledge of the dance.
For all these years, I have anguished over this gap in our dance
program. I have lost so many good students to Mario and Southwest
Whip I could scream. But Mario doesn’t work there any more…
Mario Robau is widely considered one of the finest dance instructors
in all of America. In fact, the more I thought about it, my mind
kept coming back to the same thought: MARIO IS THE BEST THERE IS.
My advanced Whip students would love to have the chance to learn
from Mario! But would Mario be interested in teaching here? Why
not take a chance? So I asked Cher to make a gentle inquiry.
Mario’s quixotic reply was “I’m a businessman. Give him my phone
We didn’t talk on the phone, but we did exchange emails. That’s
when I discovered that Mario is just about the busiest man I know.
Mario had competitions to supervise. Mario had a cruise to South
America. Mario had to be in Chicago/Atlanta/Moscow/United Kingdom/
you name it. This guy’s lifestyle was wearing me out just reading
After three months of working out the details via email, on
Thursday, February 19, we finally found the time to sit down for
coffee. Mario was surprisingly upbeat about giving this détente a
chance. Mario emphasized several times that he enjoys teaching and
that he misses teaching ongoing group classes. He also mentioned
the possibility of creating the occasional social dance opportunity
like a night out at the Big Easy. I think he misses the good old
days of getting the gang together for a night of dancing.
Mario made it clear that
he would like to take over my Martian Whip class here at SSQQ.
Realistically, he said he doubted he could make the class every
week. March was the perfect example – he could only see one open
Monday on his calendar. So at some point we would need to find a
capable substitute. We decided we would cross that bridge when we
got to it.
I said the simple thing to do was schedule my March Martian Whip
classes the old way and simply let him guest teach on the one night
he was available. Mario nodded and said that made sense.
So on Monday, March 2,
Mario will guest teach our Martian Whip class. I will teach the
other three nights plus Jack Benard will continue his Friday night
program (Martian Whip includes both Mondays and Fridays for the same
After that Monday night,
Mario and I will sit down for some more coffee and talk about the
THE MARTIANS ARE COMING
Now I have
a favor to ask. I need the rest
of you to back me up. I want
you to sign up for Martian Whip
in March. This is our BEST
CHANCE to give Mario a huge SSQQ
Welcome. I want you all to help
me show the finest Swing
instructor in the United States
that we want him here.
Or put a
different way, YOU need to show Mario that YOU want
him here. Mario may have heard more applause than
you or I can imagine and he may operate on a
different life space than the rest of us, but I am
pretty sure he still enjoys being appreciated.
I know when Sharon Shaw teaches her Western Waltz
classes, she sometimes gets a hundred people. I
know when Linda Cook teaches her Salsa classes, she
sometimes gets a hundred people.
One hundred people for a difficult dance like
Whip/West Coast Swing might be stretching things a
bit, but let’s try anyway. At least we are sure to
have quite a crowd! I want you to fill Room One to
the brim. I want you to help me make Monday, March
2, an amazing Rock and Roll dance event at SSQQ.
Mario’s class will run from 7-9 pm. Then comes
Practice Night. We will turn on the music, open up
the cooler, turn down the AC, turn on the popcorn
machine, and start smoking! Let’s have one heck of
a Practice Night dancing West Coast and Whip till we
drop. Doors stay open till everyone is too worn out
Please come and help usher in the new era of Mario
Robau at SSQQ.
Mario Robau and
Mario Robau and Samantha Buckwalter
201 NIGHTS OF
MARIO ROBAU’S HOME PAGE
AN ANECDOTE FROM THE GOOD OLD DAYS:
- A HOMECOMING OF SORTS
For you old-timers,
here’s a trip down Memory Lane.
In a way, Mario’s upcoming visit to SSQQ brings one interesting Whip
story full circle. Only a few people know this, but Mario Robau is
the man who inadvertently gave “Martian Whip” its name.
To this day,
is one of my best friends. Mike first came to my attention at the
1984 Halloween Party when he put on an unscheduled Break Dance
exhibition that brought the house down. He was quite a character!
How many Rice University Computer Science PhD’s are also
accomplished Break Dancers?
Mike started learning the Whip in January 1985. Thanks to some
natural ability and his previous dance experience, he made rapid
progress. Mike improved so quickly that I invited him to join me
and my former wife Pat over at the Four Palms for a Sunday evening
of Whip Dancing to a live band. The three of us rode together.
Mike was fascinated by the dancing and loved the music.
When they announced there was a friendly dance competition that
night, Mike turned to Pat and asked her to join him on the floor.
Pat smiled. Sure, why not?
Mike didn’t win. Not
only did he not win, later on one of the regulars the club pulled
Pat and me aside. This guy said, “Pat, you need to ditch this guy.
You have what it takes to be a star dancer, but that weird guy is
going to hold you back. He doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell
of ever winning anything.”
This guy was pretty
rude. He obviously didn’t realize that Mike was our close friend.
On the way home, Pat told Mike what the man had said. Mike was
crest-fallen. He asked me what I thought. I said that his habit of
incorporating bizarre break dance movements into the Whip was
probably not a very good idea.
The Whip had originated as a popular as a way to pick up women.
These old guys had a fixed idea of what the Whip was supposed to
look like and didn’t think Mike’s New Age Break Dance moves belonged
in the dance. As we had this chat on the way home, I was reminded
of the time when Mario had beaten Glen the same way – Glen’s
clean-cut, graceful moves were precise, but Mario’s sexy interplay
with his dance partner was more what the judges were looking for.
Mike’s style was hardly sexy. In fact, I secretly agreed with the
judges that it was kind of weird. When Mike was dancing socially, I
could have cared less about his break dance stuff. I knew he was
just having fun. It was Mike being Mike. But when Mike was
performing, that was another story. I tried to tactfully steer him
towards the more traditional ‘down and dirty’ look, but it was like
talking to a wall.
Mike refused to conform. Mike was a Rebel. The battle lines were
drawn. Mike kept entering that contest, Mike kept adding Break
Dance moves, Mike kept losing, and the regulars kept hinting that
Pat would win if she got a better partner.
Mike was getting
exasperated. He knew he was a good dancer, he saw how much the
crowd enjoyed watching him, but he couldn’t catch a break from the
judges. No one was willing to bend a little.
Finally Mike sought the advice of another friend, Mario Robau Jr.
Mike and Mario were buddies. Mike figured that since Junior was hip
to the Break Dance scene, he might be more sympathetic.
So Mike popped the Big
Question. “Mario, what do think of my dancing? Why do I keep
getting criticized all the time?”
Mario replied bluntly,
“Mike, you have great leads, great footwork, perfect timing, but
your style is strictly from the Planet Mars. Are you sure your
parents are not aliens?”
That quip from Mario became a major part of Mike’s journey through
the World of Whip. We teased Mike about it all the time, but our
criticism backfired. It made Mike more determined than ever to win
on his own terms. Mike became incredibly committed to improving his
I am proud to say that Mike got the last laugh.
In 1987, two years after Mike had started learning the Whip, he
caught a break. Due to the Dallas influence, a new competition dance
category was created called "Contemporary Whip". Mike smiled like
the cat that sees the canary join the household. Yum! This one’s
This new format was a
perfect fit for Mike's natural style. To heck with the less
forgiving Traditional Whip. Mike and his dance partner Debbie
Anglin developed a routine based on acrobatics, break dancing, and
jazz dancing, plus spectacular moves that only Mike had the natural
ability to lead.
Their hard work paid off!
In 1987, despite
receiving more criticism than probably any dancer in history, Mike
Fagan won the Texas State Whip Championship in Contemporary Whip.
Mike was weird as usual, but now at least he was 'fascinating
weird'. This new category was practically designed for him!
While his critics at the Four Palms had never won anything in their
lives, Mike was now a State Dance Champion. Ah, sweet revenge!
This victory was no mean feat for an Earthling, much less someone
accused of having the footwork of an Alien. I was really proud of
Mike, especially since I knew what he had to overcome. I thought he
deserved a reward so I renamed my advanced SSQQ Whip class to
“Martian Whip” in Mike’s honor.
Let me quickly add that Mario Robau’s influence played a major role
in Mike’s victory. Mario was one of the few people on this planet
that Mike respected enough to listen to. It was Mario’s advice and
coaching that helped Mike alter his style just enough to make the
judges smile instead of frown.
That was 1987. It is now 2009. Since Mario played an important
role in naming the class, it is more than fitting that Mario takes
his own turn at the helm of Martian Whip.
And that’s a Wrap for
March 2009 SSQQ Newsletter Issue Two
Written by Rick Archer
MARIO ROBAU TO GUEST TEACH MARTIAN WHIP AT SSQQ ON MONDAY,
As I wrote in our
previous newsletter, the most famous dance instructor in all of
Houston will be at SSQQ to teach the Martian Whip class on Monday,
Unfortunately, due to his busy schedule, Mario will not be able to
teach here again in March. However the current plan is for him to
begin teaching on Mondays full-time in April.
I invite all SSQQ Whip Dancers past and present to consider signing
up for Martian Whip this month. I will be teaching the other Monday
classes and Jack Benard will conduct his popular Friday program as
One value to taking Mario's class this coming Monday will be to
assess the talent level and the speed at which Mario teaches. This
will give you a strong indication whether you are up to speed for
the April program or not.
There will be a dance party starting at 9 pm on Monday. Everyone is
welcome. Please bring food! I will supply the drinks.
If you did not read the previous Newsletter where I first announced
Mario's arrival, you can read it on the SSQQ web site.
RESPONSE TO MARIO'S ARRIVAL
Rick Archer's Note: I received many email responses to the
announcement of Mario's decision to teach here at the studio. I will
now share my favorites.
Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 2:08 PM
Subject: regarding Mario Robau
Hi Rick, G and I will be there Monday night......sounds great!
I think the information was fabulous,,, wonderful reading. I
certainly enjoyed it ALL! So much info about Mario and the fabulous
stories about the two of you!
Yes, Mario is a very gifted dancer, choreographer and teacher....he
took almost a year to teach his advanced class about musicality.
What a gift he gave to us. Dancing has been more fun since
then...who would have thought dancing could be even more fun!!
We sure hope this works out for you two. We look forward to being at
SSQQ Monday night and being in Mario's class.
Oh, by the way, I just found the anecdote part of the letter......
that is such a crazy story about Mike Fagan! I have been laughing
for way too long. It was so much fun to read!
Thanks and much love, P
Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 3:16 PM
To: SSQQ Newsletter
Subject: regarding Mario Robau
Rick, I love reading all your stories in the newsletter. Very
entertaining! You may be a gifted dancer but you are also a gifted
From: JAY SHAPIRO
Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 3:52 PM
Subject: regarding Mario Robau
Your article about Mario blew me away! I've taken a half dozen
workshops from Mario over the past two years at various weekend
events here in the Northeast and from the first experience have been
carrying on about this amazing person. I've got his 6 DVDs and
return to them to refresh my memory on how to do this or that step.
Some of the material I haven't mastered yet, but it's reassuring to
know I've got a bit of Mario in my DVD cabinet!
I'm well into my 60s, started dancing about 3 1/2 years ago and then
discovered West Coast Swing here in NYC about 2 years ago. That was
that. WCS is the only dance I want to dance. By learning to dance
WCS, at least to some small extent, I discovered that whatever my
chronological age may be, I've got the spirit, soul and inner life
of a 35-year-old!
I dance a couple of nights a week and have taken private lessons and
classes locally off and on over the two years. I'm no where's near
the dancer I'd like to be and I'm sure never will be. But at least
knowing about Mario, I know I've found as good a resource as you can
find in this universe, including Mars, for improving connection,
musicality, technique and step vocabulary.
I am glad I signed up for your newsletter. I found it just from
surfing the net on WCS sites. I came across SSQQ one day and signed
on for the newsletter. Always enjoy reading them. One of these days,
I'll take a trip to Houston and check it out. Not that far by jet
The common denominator for some people throughout the country is
their shared interest in WCS. I first encountered Mario at the
"Boogie Bash" in Columbus, Ohio in the summer of 2007. That crowd
tends to be more mature, so I was astonished to witness the thrill
and excitement among a group of some 80 people in their 50s, 60s and
70s as they were first exposed for the first time to a Rock-n-Go.
The noise level in that ballroom was huge as all those "teenagers"
started talking at once, first at how hard it seemed and then, once
they'd gotten it, how hyped up they were in doing it.
For me it was not only my first contact with Mario, it was also my
first experience of dancing WCS outside of NYC. And, to my huge
satisfaction, I was able to "speak the language" well enough to hold
a modest "conversation" with some of those Columbusites...I.e, I was
dancing with complete strangers and it was working. Since then, I've
had the pleasure of "conversing" with people in the Connecticut,
Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and DC WCS communities and
it's just great how we all fall right in with the dance. Since that
summer of 2007, I'm still keeping up an email correspondence with a
lady who I danced with in Columbus as we share stories about the
dance events we've attended.
In the same way, keeping up with SSQQ's doings is part of that
shared interest. And now the Mario article just puts the icing on
Thanks for all your work on behalf of this wonderful all-American
dance. As you know, it's also become another fine American export
and you can find WCS venues in London, Australia, Japan, France,
etc. Click on the following to see a WCS venue and studio operating
in Tokyo which was started by a Japanese dance student who spent
some years studying social dancing in NYC and was especially taken
up with WCS:
Thanks again for a terrific article. It will be passed on to many of
my friends and acquaintances in the New York WCS dance community.
Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 4:56 PM
To: 'SSQQ Newsletter'
Subject: regarding Mario Robau
Rick, This is great news....the combination of Mario's great talent
and passion and your untiring and MOST SUCCEFFUL effort of getting
CITY OF HOUSTON to dance makes for a fun and exciting combination.
This will help expand the number of Whip/West Coast dancers in
Houston exponentially and add some excitement and buzz......
I agree Mario should have a regular class and should teach
weekly...that is his element...He is a wonderful instructor and
lights up when he is sharing his knowledge..at the same time he
makes it entertaining and fun for his students.....A HOUSTON TALENT
IN A HOUSTON INSTITUTION....I think SSQQ is a great venue and you
are a GRACIOUS host with a BIG HEART.
MOST SUCCESSFUL effort of getting a CITY OF HOUSTON to dance: by the
way the dance scene in Houston is one of the best in the country and
primarily thanks to your effort ...you have inspired and instilled
more confidence by making the process more fun and less intimidating
in more dancers....allowing them to learn more ..... that in turn
has led to Houston having more advanced dance studios teaching
different advance forms of dance...thanks to you they get a stream
of fresh students joining their classes.
It is as if your effort is like preparing a child from KG thru 12
and letting them go forward to specialize at other institutions.
In the past when I was in Mario's classes I noticed that the
majority of the students had progressed from SSQQ's Martian classes
to his classes. If there is any way of informing (I bet they would
jump at the opportunity) and encouraging them to come back I would
not be surprised that we can fill up the large room and more.
I commend you on taking this bold step forward not only growing as a
fine Human being with a great heart but also attempting something
wonderful regardless of its outcome.
Best of luck and prayers for success always!
RICK ARCHER'S NOTE: This writer has spoken correctly on several key
1) "I agree Mario should have a regular class and should teach
weekly...that is his element"
When Cher Longoria asked me permission to let Mario use the SSQQ
studio to conduct their private lesson, the first thing that crossed
my mind was what a shame it was that Mario wasn't currently teaching
classes. Someone with his talent comes along once in a generation.
2) "It is as if your effort is like preparing a child from KG thru
12 and letting them go forward to specialize at other institutions."
I have been teaching group classes now for over thirty years. With
that kind of background, I should know what I am talking about.
"Group Classes" are the same thing as public school education. There
are too many people making too many mistakes for me to correct
And when I do "Correct Everything", the class ceases to be fun. So
like an NBA referee, I swallow my whistle and allow my students to
have more fun. I simply make sure the women aren't mangled too
If a student is willing to practice his or her tail off after class,
then Group Classes will take a lot of people a long way.
What Group Classes cannot do, however, is teach large numbers of
people PRECISE FOOTWORK and PRECISE LEADS. That is what private
lessons are for. Dance Champions are made in Private Lessons.
What SSQQ has always tried to do is get people started dancing and
give them every opportunity to practice. But I have long been aware
that the people with a GIFT FOR DANCING may leave us for a talented
teacher to take them to the next level.
For the first time, SSQQ is poised to offer an "advanced degree" in
Whip and West Coast Swing students. This, of course, is all up to
Mario, but it is my hope that he will challenge our students like
they have never been challenged before.
3) "I commend you on taking this bold step forward not only growing
as a fine Human being with a great heart but also attempting
something wonderful regardless of its outcome."
How perceptive of the writer!
I have suffered more for this stupid dance over the past thirty
years than any man should. I am going to spare you the gory details,
but I have literally had my heart broken over this dance on four
occasions that I can think of.
At this point in my career, all I wish to do is contribute. My first
love in life was the Whip and now I like West Coast Swing too. I
love the music and I love how much fun this dance is. But Whip/WCS
is not easy to learn. If I can do something to promote the dance,
then I am willing to try.
Yes, the cynical among you may think that the almighty dollar is
behind this, but you are wrong. I have bills to pay like everybody
else, but I approached Mario for one reason only - I wanted him to
start teaching again here in Houston. I believed that SSQQ has a
neutral-enough reputation that would allow people throughout the
city to feel comfortable accepting Mario in this new location.
We are nobody's enemy. SSQQ teaches people to learn to dance for the
fun of it. If some of our students have a special gift, I have
accepted it when they had to leave SSQQ to find their next master.
Over the years, many of these people have headed straight for Mario.
But I can't be an effective teacher if I don't care about my
students. I do grow attached. My students become my friends. If
having Mario teach at SSQQ can persuade my friends to stick around
longer and grow under his guidance, then you will begin to
understand what it is I truly want.
I want my friends to stick around.
So when this writer says 'regardless of the outcome', I confess I am
not certain this experiment will work out. It takes two to Tango.
Mario is his own man. Mario does not answer to me in any shape, way
or form. Nor does he owe me anything. How much energy Mario invests
into the SSQQ project will come from within him. Nor will he allow
you or me to bully him. We have to let him decide what it is he
wants to do on his own terms. Otherwise he will simply disappear
without a word.
Whatever is going through Mario's mind at this time is not being
shared with me! Mario is the most private person I have ever dealt
with. He has shields on top of shields. Nor do I criticize him for
this. When you travel the circles Mario does, I bet you quickly
discover the less you say, the better. And the less you promise, the
That said, I took a chance for this reason: the Houston Dance
Community deserves to be led by its greatest leader. There are a lot
of people out there who do not listen to me, but will listen to
This city used to have a thriving social scene for the Whip. People
knew where they could go on a Friday or a Saturday night to a
neutral territory for Whip Dancing. Mario has made it clear to me
that the Houston Dance Community has its loyalties spread in too
many directions with no common purpose.
I asked Mario to come to SSQQ for two reasons: to teach advanced
students again and to help bring West Coast Swing dancing alive
throughout the city. Both Mario and I both miss the days of the Four
Palms and the Rusty Bucket. It is time to get this city dancing Whip
again (or West Coast if you prefer).
I have done my part and will continue to do so. Mario may not be the
great communicator, but if he sends me any smoke signals I promise
to pass them on.
In the meantime, now it's up to all of you to join the party. I want
to see you people at the studio on Monday. If you want this strange
relationship to work, you have to help!
DAKOTA WILHELM OFFERS SUPER SALSA ON SATURDAYS STARTING IN MARCH
Lost but not forgotten in all the fuss is Dakota Wilhelm's new Super
Salsa class starting Saturday, March 7th.
By an odd coincidence, last week Dakota walked into Starbucks at the
same time that Mario and I had our meeting. Along with Scott Ladell,
I consider Dakota to be the best male dancer on the SSQQ Staff.
Like many excellent instructors, I am not sure if Dakota always
enjoys the structure of being told what to teach. Dakota thrives
when he makes his own decisions. The students in his Accelerated
Ballroom classes on Sunday evenings at 7 are incredible for their
loyalty to him. This kind of loyalty can only come from excellent
With that in mind, I asked Dakota to begin teaching a Super-Advanced
Salsa course on Saturdays. Steve Gekas teaches an awesome
Super-Advanced Salsa class on Tuesdays, but our Salsa program is so
vast I am certain we have enough advanced Salsa dancers to support
Dakota's class as well.
Super Salsa begins Saturday, March 7, 430 pm. Give it a try!
ANITA WILLIAMS RETURNS WITH MORE SUNDAY LINE DANCING AT 3:30 - 4:30
To register, just show up.
On Sunday afternoon, March 1, at 3:30 pm, Anita Williams will return
for her second month of teaching Line Dances. This four-week class
will cost $30.
I believe Anita had a dozen students in February. They seemed to
really love the class, but I will add there was a lot of confusion.
One of the things my studio is famous for is telling the wrong
person what's wrong. No one wants to actually complain to the person
in charge. They would much rather complain to someone else and hope
the grapevine filters their complaint to the intended target.
In Anita's case, some people wanted her to review more. Other people
told me they wanted her to review less. Other people told me they
wanted more Western music. Other people told me they wanted more
Western music, but faster. Or Slower. I estimate I fielded about 20
different requests last month. Interesting. I was not previously
aware that Anita doesn't speak English.
Here's the deal. Anita has been a part of the SSQQ Staff off and on
for ten years. Right now Anita is not an 'official SSQQ instructor'.
Anita is literally a major player on the nationwide Line Dance
circuit. One of these days I will get her to confess to all the
contests she has won, but Anita is notoriously bad at
self-promotion. So just take my word for it - Anita is the MASTER
when it comes to Line Dancing.
Whether Anita can teach klutzes to line dance I don't know, but I
bet she can. Anita is brilliant.
Now what Anita's students need to understand is that Anita does not
work for SSQQ. She is renting the room. This means that when you
come to pay, Anita doesn't have a credit card machine. Nor is there
any On Line "Line Dance" Registration. Anita is her own boss.
Besides, she never listened to me anyway when she worked here, but
that's another story. ;-)
Bring her a check that is made out to 'Anita Williams', give her
cold hard cash or make her an offer she can't refuse. Just don't try
to pay SSQQ.
Now as for "Questions", you can continue to ask me, but it is much
more effective if you ask Anita directly. I have no doubt that she
bites, but I heard that she has had her shots. Or maybe try email if
you are worried about being bit. You can email Anita to ask
questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
CHANGES IN THE SSQQ BALLROOM PROGRAM
Sent: Saturday, February 21, 2009 1:31 AM
Subject: dance classes
I was looking over your schedule and I did not see any intermediate
ballroom classes such as foxtrot or waltz and I was just wondering
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Sunday, February 22, 2009 3:12:18 PM
Subject: ballroom dance classes
We used to offer two months of Foxtrot and Waltz (beg and int
levels) in the same class.
In Beginning Foxtrot/Waltz, the first hour would be Foxtrot, the
second hour would be Waltz. In other words, you got about 4 hours of
Foxtrot and 4 hours of Waltz.
In Intermediate Foxtrot/Waltz, the first hour would be Foxtrot, the
second hour would be Waltz. In other words, you got about 4 hours of
Foxtrot and 4 hours of Waltz.
Then it dawned on us that offering an entire month of each class
separately accomplished the same thing and was less confusing in the
process. If you take Beginning Foxtrot, you get eight hours of
Foxtrot, the same amount of time if a student had taken both the Beg
and Int Foxtrot/Waltz class.
And if you take Beginning Waltz the following month, you get eight
hours of Waltz.
In other words, taking Beginning Foxtrot and Beginning Waltz in
back-to-back months gives you the same amount of material as the old
Beginning and Intermediate system. And, as I said, it is a lot less
confusing to stick to one dance for a month.
I have discovered that teaching Ballroom Dancing is different from
our other programs. If you learn Western Dancing, you could actually
learn Twostep, Polka, Waltz, Night Club, Synchronized Polka, and
Triple Two. But to keep it simple, you could stick to Twostep and
Polka and still cover 90% of the music.
Swing Dancing is even easier: Swing Dancing covers all the music.
Same thing for Salsa. Same thing for Zydeco. Same thing for West
But Ballroom Dancing involves six different dances, all of them
fairly equal in importance. "Ballroom Dancing" is a general term
that is used to refer to about a dozen different dances, including
dances like Cha Cha and Rumba that are considered Latin Dances as
Here at SSQQ, we offer Beginning-level courses in the five most
important Ballroom and Latin dances: Foxtrot, Waltz, Tango, Cha Cha,
and Rumba plus a special class on Slow Dancing. Swing Dancing is
taught in its own separate course.
Under our new format, you can learn all five dances by taking
Ballroom Dancing for five months.
For Advanced Ballroom classes, consider Dakota's accelerated
SLOW DANCING RETURNS AS A FOUR-WEEK CLASS ON SUNDAYS IN MARCH
Very few people know this, but my lovely wife Marla teaches ten
couples a week how to Slow Dance at their wedding. The reason people
don't know this is because she does it during the day in private
Along the way, Marla has gotten pretty good at teaching Slow
Dancing. There is a reason she stays so busy: happily married
couples keep referring their friends to her when it is their turn to
Here at SSQQ, we say that Slow Dance and Romance go hand in hand.
There are special occasions like the First Dance at a Wedding, a
fancy New Years Eve party, a romantic standard at the Captain's
Reception on a cruise, or a sultry torch song at a nightclub where
the ability to Slow Dance would sure come in handy.
Formal Dancing for these occasions comes in three forms: Slow
Dancing, Foxtrot, or Waltz.
When it comes to Slow Dancing, the blunt truth is that most people
don't have a clue how to Slow Dance gracefully. Women are lucky
because they can probably wing it, but the men don't do very well
when they are forced to fake it. Sad to say, they usually flub
As a word to the wise, there are certain moments in life when the
ability to dance gracefully to romantic music becomes a mighty
important skill to have.
Like the ability to change a tire comes in handy at an unexpected
time, the smart person learns how to Slow Dance AHEAD OF TIME...
because you never know when you will need to know how to Slow Dance.
Learning to Slow Dance is especially important to couples who are
getting married. At least these people have of knowing when their
time is due. As a result, they have the luxury to prepare in
Classic romantic standards like Natalie Cole's "Unforgettable", "At
Last" by Etta James, or American Graffiti-era hits like "In the
Still of the Night", "All in the Game", "Only You", and "When A Man
Loves a Woman" become special to dance to when you actually "Know
How" to Slow Dance properly.
Slow Dancing is a derivative of Foxtrot. Most people can shuffle
from foot to foot, but when it comes to Slow Dancing well, the
majority of people are clueless. This course covers ways to Slow
Dance gracefully with several footwork combinations. Marla will
explain how different songs may require different timing and
Slow Dance has not been offered as a four week class in three years.
If you are in the mood, here's the chance this Sunday!
HOUSTON GRAND OPERA
My wonderful friends Pat and Jess Carnes are involved in promoting
an upcoming Houston Grand Opera event on Saturday, March 7. In case
you have forgotten, Jess Carnes won a Halloween Best Costume award
for his scintillating turn as a the 7 foot tall Hula Dancer complete
with grass skirt and coconut shells. http://www.ssqq.com/halloween/halloweenbest2008.htm
Here is what Pat Carnes had to say about the Houston Grand Opera:
"The Best Little Opera Guild in Texas" (Houston Grand Opera Guild)
invites you to an evening of "Music, Divas, and Desperados",
Saturday, March 7, 7:00 pm at the Briar Club.
Dancing to the StringBenders, a country band with a rockin'
attitude. Entertainment includes singers and dancers, featuring
SSQQ's own Ruth and Joel McCleskey.
(RICK ARCHER'S NOTE: Joel is a three time UCWDC dance champion, but
his wife is even better and just as pretty. Joel and Ruth put on a
stunning exhibition for us at last December's Christmas Party. The
chance to see them perform is worth the admission right there!)
For more information or to purchase tickets, see http://www.hgoguild.org/SocialSpring.htm
I am sure Pat will answer any of your questions, but I can answer
one of the top of my head: No, Jess will not be giving Hula Lessons
any time soon. But then it doesn't hurt to ask!
Contact Pat at PatriciaCarnes@cs.com
HOW SMART IS YOUR RIGHT FOOT?
Milt Oglesby sent this in. I have little doubt he practices this all
"You have to try this, it takes 2 seconds. I could not believe
this!!! It is from an orthopedic surgeon...
This will boggle your mind and you will keep you trying over and
over again to see if you can outsmart your foot, but you can't. It's
pre-programmed in your brain!
1. Without anyone watching you (they will think you are
GOOFY.......) and while sitting at your desk in front of your
computer, lift your right foot off the floor and make clockwise
2. Now, while doing this, draw the number '6' in the air with your
right hand. Your foot will change direction.
I told you so!!! And there's nothing you can do about it! You and I
both know how stupid it is, but before the day is done you are going
to try it again, if you've not already done so.
(RICK ARCHER'S NOTE: I have seen Milt actually show this to women at
the studio during Break. He uses it as his latest ploy to pick up
JOKE OF THE DAY
(RICK ARCHER'S NOTE: We haven't had a joke in several issues. Here's
three to distract you from doing your work just a little longer.)
JOKE OF THE DAY ONE: WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Contributed by Gareld McEathron
A man returns home a day early from a business trip. It's after
midnight. While en route home he asks the cabby if he would be a
The man suspects his wife is having an affair and he wants to catch
her in the act. For $100, the cabby agrees.
Quietly arriving home, the husband and cabby tip toe into the
bedroom. The husband switches on the lights, yanks the blanket back
and there is his wife in bed with another man!
The husband puts a gun to the naked man's head.
The wife shouts, 'Don't do it! I lied when I told you I inherited
HE paid for the Corvette I gave you.
HE paid for our new cabin cruiser.
HE paid for your season Pittsburgh Steelers tickets.
HE paid for our house at the lake.
HE paid for our country club membership, and HE even pays the
Shaking his head from side-to-side, the husband lowers the gun. He
looks over at the cabby and says, 'What would you do?'
The cabby replies, 'I'd cover his butt with that blanket before he
JOKE OF THE DAY TWO: THE FISHING TRIP
Contributed by Gary Richardson
One man's hobby was fishing; he spent all his weekends near the
river or lake, usually paying no attention to weather.
One Sunday, very early in the morning, he went to the river as
usual. However he didn't feel very good. It was bitterly cold and
raining. After he got out of his car, he stood there shivering for
several minutes. He shook his head and muttered something to himself
about getting old, but to even his own surprise, he decided to pack
it in and return back to his house.
He came in, went to his bedroom, undressed, and lay near his wife.
The sun was just now coming up. "What terrible weather today it is
today, honey," he said to her.
She yawned and stretched without bothering to open her eyes. "Yes,
but can you believe my idiot husband still went fishing!"
JOKE OF THE DAY THREE: THE IRISHMAN
Contributed by Rodrigo Aranda
Brenda O'Malley is home making dinner, as usual, when Tim Finnegan
arrives at her door. "Brenda, may I come in?" he asks. "I've
somethin' to tell ya."
"Of course you can come in, you're always welcome, Tim. But where's
"That's what I'm here to be tellin' ya, Brenda. There was an
accident down at the Guiness brewery..."
"Oh, God no!" cries Brenda. "Please don't tell me..."
"I must, Brenda. Your husband Shamus is dead and gone. I'm sorry."
Finally, she looked up at Tim. "How did it happen, Tim?"
"It was terrible, Brenda. He fell into a vat of Guinness Stout and
"Oh my dear Jesus! But you must tell me true, Tim. Did he at least
"Well, no Brenda... no."
"Fact is, he got out three times to pee."
SO MANY TOPICS, SO LITTLE TIME
Here is a list of all the things I meant to include in this week's
dynamic graphics!!!!! frank
Lost and Found
gary's 90 / 10 Principle
Rick Archer Song help
joke what would you do
joke picture safety awards dulaney
linda's salsa party
problems reading the previous newsletter
11 Most Expensive Catastrophes in History
unexpected video activity
joke picture Motivational Posters dulaney
Valentine's Day (GOOFY)
lenox hill problems
joke picture little men
ballroom dance classes
Did you know dulaney re information video
Thought You Would Like to Know
teddy bear gareld joke picture story
Five Minute Management Course joke
the great dance party flipflop
found the article
wedding pics dena snyder
wedding announcement loni and doug
the great matching outfit conspiracy
Maybe I can get to some of these topics in next week's issue. You
know what, writing this Newsletter wears me out. I hope you
And that's a Wrap for this week! It's only thirteen pages long.
Talk to you soon,
The March 2009 SSQQ
Newsletter Issue Three
Written by Rick Archer
MARIO ROBAU VISIT WAS A HUGE HIT
On Monday, March 2, Mario Robau was the
guest teacher for our Martian Whip class. It was an amazing evening.
Estimates vary from 70 to 80 people. No one was tall enough to see
over all three rows, but someone counted one row of 25 people and
multiplied by 3. Very clever!
Quite likely the total would have exceeded 100 people if I had
relented and sold one night tickets. I did not wish to sell
one-night tickets because that I would have alienated the people who
played by the rules and signed up for the entire month.
Besides, we topped 100 anyway. At least another 20 people dropped by
at 9 pm for our party after Mario's 7-9 class. The place absolutely
teemed with champion dancers.
I was deeply pleased to see former students from many different
generations. Representing the Eighties were my three musketeer
friends Mike Fagan - yes the Rebel I wrote about recently - as well
as his close friends Ted Jones, a former state champion in his own
right, plus Tom Easley. Representing the Nineties was Mike Dorman,
another champion. Representing the 2000s were Glenn and Paula
Morris, dance champions, as well as Michelle Haynes, yet another
champion. And that's just a little name-dropping for starters. Cher
Longoria said she had never seen so much talent at any dance event
that wasn't a competition. The Stars came out tonight!
It was a night where Houston's dance royalty came out to welcome
back the King, Mario Robau.
Although his weekend World Tour continues non-stop, Mario had been
off the Houston Stage for nearly two years. What sort of reception
Houston's Dance Community was quick to reassure Mario that he has
indeed been sorely missed. The energy was so high! I had asked
people to make this class a success to show Mario how much we want
him back, but nothing had prepared me for this kind of outpouring.
The sight of 100 people dancing deep into the night was reason for
celebration. The man with all the talent was back. Or was he?
That was the question on everyone's lips. Would Mario teach in April
as he had earlier indicated? Or would he change his mind and vanish
like the wind? After all, everyone senses that Mario is always being
torn in so many directions. The entire world beats a path to his
door with projects.
A friend of mine asked Mario point-blank whether this was the start
of a comeback or was he just passing through?
Mario's answer? He smiled and said, "We'll just have to see."
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY!
Joy Al-Jazrawi and her sister Gina are
still celebrating their victory in the Best Group Costume Contest at
our Halloween Party. In fact, they are already planning to their
outfits for next year!
These two ladies are truly SSQQ's twin bundle of happiness. Joy and
Gina exude megawatt warmth wherever they go. Their smiles are a
wonder to behold. I always feel happy when these ladies are around.
Still, as much as I enjoy Joy, she isn't nearly as perfect as other
people think she is. I know for a fact that Joy has let me down.
There is a certain Dragon Lady that Joy is supposed to protect me
from. Joy promised to stick by my side whenever this threat appears.
But every time the Dragon Lady enters the room to attack, Joy my
bodyguard ditches me and leaves me to the mercy of this dangerous
woman. As I squirm my way to safety, I can see Joy in the corner
chuckling at my discomfort.
Plus Joy can be a real pain sometimes. For
example, whenever there is a cute guy in another dance class, her
knees begin to hurt and she disappears. And where does she disappear
to? You guessed it... her knees feel much better in the class with
the cute guy in it. She openly admits cute guys make her knees feel
better. I could have fun with that remark, but I am too nice to
Plus Joy is always pointing stuff out that
irritates me. For example, last week she asked why there had been
two March Newsletters and it wasn't each March yet. Who cares!!!
Sometimes Joy can be a real Pain in youknowwhat.
Speaking of "Pain in the youknowwhat", Joy has been spreading
malicious rumors about me. Joy continually runs into me on the dance
floor bumper car style. Now I am a gentleman so I am prevented from
saying that her bumper is superior to mine. But to claim that I have
deliberately run into her is just plain wrong. Everyone knows I am
always totally balanced and in total control on the dance floor. If
you want my opinion, this is Joy's doing. Ask Joy's dance partners.
They all think it is their own fault, but this has happened far too
many times to be an accident. These men are innocent dupes. Joy is
deliberately setting them up to crash into me. Tsk Tsk.
Joy refuses to wear blue jeans. I offered to buy her a pair of jeans
for her birthday, but NO NO NO. Doesn't she know it is important to
wear blue jeans? Joy is too stubborn to budge. I would reveal her
bizarre reason for not wearing blue jeans, but it shorten my life
span. Joy is an attorney. She swears she knows a way to commit
murder and get away with it.
Gina has planned a blowout Birthday Party for Joy at Wild West on
Saturday, March 7, starting at 7:30 pm. All the best people and many
of the worst are planning on coming. It's a Saturday night; what
better way to have fun than to dance and hang out with the crowd?
Plus Free Birthday Cake! That's practically a meal right there!
Gina says that Joy's Birthday Cake was specially created to be
compatible with beer. I am not quite sure what that means, but if
the cake is even remotely as sweet as Gina, it will sure taste
great. And maybe some of Gina's sweetness will rub off on JJ.
Just show up. No gifts necessary. Your presence is all the reward
Joy would ever ask for. But watch out for her on the dance floor.
Take it from me. The girl can be dangerous out there.
BESIDES JOY, THERE ARE SOME STRANGE PEOPLE OUT THERE
(RICK ARCHER'S NOTE: Speaking of Birthday Cake and Beer, I imagine
the vast majority of you don't give a second thought to having a
beer now and then, especially if the moment calls for it.
I am not a big drinker, but I enjoy a drink when the occasion calls
for it. Last night I had a margarita along with my enchilada. Yum! I
enjoyed it thoroughly. It was my first drink this week. I might have
another one Saturday night; you never know!
Not everyone feels that drinking alcohol is acceptable. For example,
yesterday out of the blue I got this amazing email. The sheer length
of the letter indicates probably thirty minutes of typing, maybe
Draw your own conclusions. As for me, I was slightly astonished.)
Sent: Thursday, March 05, 2009 4:38 PM
Subject: Terrible That Wedding Couple is Shown Drinking Alcohol on
Hi, I was doing a Google image search for something, and up came a
picture of this middle aged couple holding champagne or wine
glasses. It was on your site, and I found out it had to do with them
getting married in 2005, it was an email congratulating this couple
on their marriage. Their name is (xxxxx). It is just terrible that
this couple would drink alcohol. What a bad example this sets! They
are making it look like you use a mind-altering drug to celebrate
and have a good time. They wouldn't smoke pot. Heaven's no. That's
because drugs are bad and it is bad morals to use a mind-altering
drug. But they are using a drug! Alcohol is a DRUG! Ask any drug
abuse website or a doctor. Just because alcohol is legal doesn't
make it right! Here they are, grown adults, and they are using a
DRUG to celebrate. I'm not saying they are drunk or anything. But
how are they any better than a common pot-smoker? Except for not
breaking the law, they aren't any better! They are after the SAME
psychoactive effect! This sets a terrible example. Nobody should
drink alcohol. A grown adult should be WELL PAST the age where they
want to use a drug, legal or not. We can hardly chastise our youth
for underage drinking, when grown adults make alcohol look so fun,
romantic, acceptable and sophisticated. A grown adult needs to set
an example and NOT DRINK. yet this couple, well beyond the age where
they would want to experiment with a psychoactive drug to see what
it is like, is STILL using a psychoactive drug to celebrate and
socialize. They think it is all romantic and sophisticated and just
"the thing to do". Why can't they take a stand and set an example
and NOT DRINK! Besides being a drug, alcohol is terribly unhealthy!
It is a TOXIN. It poisons cells. Alcohol has been linked to cancer,
heart disease, brain and liver damage. New studies show that alcohol
SIGNIFICANLTY increases the risk of breast cancer in women. Even
moderate drinking increases this risk. So this woman is increasing
her risk of breast cancer by consuming this chemical which she wants
to use in order to get a "buzz" or whatever one gets from this
psychoactive drug. It just makes me sick. I would be fuming if I saw
them in person, drinking booze. They think champagne is all elegant
and sophisticated. And this just gives the pot-smokers justification
to continue THEIR drug use. I know, because pot-smokers online have
told me. And I don't blame them! Why should they stop smoking pot,
when grown adults, happy and well-adjusted, want to use THEIR drug
in the form of alcohol! Booze drinkers are no better than
pot-smokers, except they aren't breaking the law. They are after the
SAME psychoactive effect. Of course they'll use excuses like,
"Everything in moderation." Oh brother. That's like saying smoking a
joint is okay in moderation! Again, I bet this couple would NEVER
smoke marijuana. Yet they think nothing of using a mind-altering
drug in the form of alcohol. No wonder pot-smokers call booze
drinkers hypocrites. I would never drink champagne or wine or
anything like that! Anyway, I saw this picture and it just really
upset me. It is terrible this nice, happy, well-adjusted middle aged
couple would use a DRUG to celebrate and be social. They should set
an example and NOT DRINK! And you should not post a picture like
this on your website where anybody can see it! Thank you and take
THE AMAZING T-MOBILE DANCE VIDEO
Contributed by Gary Richardson
There is a video making the rounds of an incredible dance event that
took place at the Liverpool, England, Street Station on January 15,
The event was a recent commercial from T-Mobile that included what
seemed like a cast of thousands. Basically a bunch of confederates
are walking around in a train station when they bust out in dance
and go wild. Meanwhile the surprised onlookers go "what the f***?"
and a couple old people question if they remembered to take their
medication. You have to see this. Can you imagine if you were just
been passing through on your way to catch a train? Such an
is remarkably fun to watch.
video explains the story behind the dance commercial. It is
also fun to watch.
ARE YOU AS SMART AS A FIFTH GRADER?
Contributed by Annie Fletcher
I took a so-called
Fifth Grade test recently. I got maybe two out of 10. It was
pretty sad. See how well you can do.
As if I weren't feeling stupid enough, Annie Fletcher passed on a
difficult math quiz titled "5th Grade Math Problem".
I confess I actually solved this problem a year ago, but it gave me
fits. So I tried again. I still didn't get it right until the third
try. Mind you, I made nothing but A's in Math for the majority of my
grade school career. So don't think this humiliation sat well with
This is supposed to be a 5th grade math problem. I promise it is not
a trick question. It is a real math problem. Don't bother playing
games like saying that a bus has no legs. Treat it as a straight
math puzzle and do the arithmetic.
FIFTH GRADE MATH PROBLEM
There are 7 girls in a bus.
Each girl has 7 backpacks.
In each backpack, there are 7 big cats.
For every big cat there are 7 little cats.
Question: How many legs are there in the bus?
Okay, let's see how well the rest of you do. When you think you have
the answer, email Rick Archer,
I will send you the answer sheet plus the
puzzle so you torment your friends.
I will also report in the next newsletter how the studio did as a
group. If you wish your answer remain anonymous, let me know.
Contributed by Gareld McEathron
This is a fun trip down memory lane. You get to read some of the
famous Burma Shave commercials with a neat Statler Brothers song in
You may need to watch it twice; once to watch the Burma Shave signs
and once to catch all the pictures. Listening to the music of the
Statler Brothers makes this trip really great!
You probably need to be over 50 to seriously enjoy it because most
folks under 50 would have no idea what these pictures are all about.
were definitely a pretty goofy era.
THE GREAT MARCH DANCE PARTY FLIP FLOP
I traditionally schedule a Swing Dance Party for the Saturday
closest to St. Patrick's Day. So what happened to the Swing Party
originally scheduled for this night?
On Monday, February 9, Maureen Brunetti, our famous Swing
instructor, informed me there is a big Swing dance elsewhere this
same weekend. Maureen said SSQQ has been going head to head with
this same event now for several years. She said that people have
been complaining for a long time that it is a shame they have to
choose. I replied that I had no idea of the conflict till now, but
that I didn't see any reason why our "Irish Party" had to be Swing
The more I thought about it, if anything, it would probably make a
better Western Party! Instead of Western Waltzes I could play Irish
Waltzes - same speed of music! Instead of a Country-Western Polka
John Paul Jones we could have Irish Polkas... very fun dance music
So I decided to Flip-Flop the March dance parties. The March 28
Western Party is now the Red and Black Swing Dance and the St
Patrick's Irish Party on March 14 is officially a Western Dance.
OUR NEXT DANCE PARTY: SAINT PATRICK'S WESTERN PARTY
Saturday, March 14, 9 - 11:30 pm
7-9 pm Crash Courses
Register at the door; it goes very fast
BEG C&W: TEXAS TWOSTEP - Robert
INT TWOSTEP: CIRCLE TURNS - Linda
SLOW DANCING - Marla (cpls only)
BEG SYNCHRONIZED POLKA - Scott
ADV IRISH WESTERN WALTZ PTRNS- Rick
BEG WEST COAST SWING - Patty & Joe
That Synchronized Polka class will be a perfect preparation for the
Big Irish Jig Dance later in the evening... 10 minutes long! And you
Waltz experts will love the patterns I will challenge you with. I
promise this will be the biggest WALTZ PARTY of the year!
Don't forget to wear Green or don't make the Scene.
DO NOT VIDEOTAPE IN DANCE CLASS! AND DON'T TAKE PICTURES EITHER
From: Sonja Strathearn
Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 6:40 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: unexpected video activity in argentine tango class
Hi Rick, Yesterday in our Tues class we had a minor incident that
wasn't a big deal - but I thought I should mention it to you.
Noe was teaching on his own. I was with my child in the hospital
getting his hand stitched (after he punched a window at home having
a temper tantrum - sigh).
During the class Noe related to me later, that one of our students
started videoing while he was teaching without his permission. He
did not want to interrupt what he was trying to say, so he spoke to
her about it as soon as he could get to her when he was finished.
She is a student who means well, needs a lot of explanation and she
is European with sometimes not such a command of understanding
English very well - kind of the persistent type. You know the sort.
I don't think she knew of the studio policy about videoing during
class and was just ignorant about it. If I had been there I could
have probably nipped it in the bud, but Noe was doing the best he
could. She had given me her email in the past, so I will email her
and explain again what is appropriate - only in private lessons, not
in a class situation, and always with permission of people involved.
We'll also make an announcement in our class so others don't think
they can also do it.
Perhaps you could say something again in the studio newsletter -
although I know not everyone gets it, maybe it would help.
By the way, my son (8 yr old) is fine, there wasn't a cut tendon
like they thought - and even though Lane is in Florida at a
conference I am holding up ok. These things usually happen when the
doctor of the house is gone! Sonja
(RICK ARCHER'S NOTE: There are two good reasons why taking
pictures and videotaping classes is prohibited at the studio.
One reason is PRIVACY. Do you think it is fair to the other people
in the room to take their picture?
Of course not.
Our students have the right to take classes without having to worry
where their image might show up. We actually had some fool post a
video of an ssqq dance class on YouTube without permission. The
video was used to embarrass someone for looking ridiculous while
The old saying is to "Dance Like No One is Watching". That's a lot
more difficult to do when there are cameras in the room.
The other reason is IT IS NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.
If we let people tape our classes, then our classes cease to be our
own property. What will stop people from bootlegging free copies of
patterns to friends? Certainly most purposes for taping are more
benign than that, but we still won't let it happen.
NO CAMERAS IN CLASSES, NO VIDEOTAPING OF CLASSES ALLOWED
HERE'S AN INTERESTING STORY: RV RETIREMENT
(RICK ARCHER'S NOTE: I first printed this story in March 2008. Marla
looked at me and I looked at Marla and we both nodded this sounded
like too much fun. Marla and I actually made it to the RV show at
Reliant a few weeks back. You never know.)
My guess is that every once in a while you just want to say to heck
with it all, get in your car and head out into the wild blue yonder
to see the world. I know I sure do!
In February 2008, my buddy Leroy Ginzel sent me an email complete
with photographs of a super duper luxury Recreational Vehicle. Quite
I had no idea that RVs could look so comfortable! The more I stared
at those at those pictures, the more curious I became. So I did a
little research and came up with a very entertaining story. Up till
now I have been satisfying my own wanderlust with Marla's excellent
cruises. But once that RV fantasy came into my head, I have been
thinking about it every day. It seems almost within my reach! But do
I have the guts to go for it?
I know a lot of people here at the studio who have already reached
retirement age or are knocking on the door like I am. If you are a
Boomer, I GUARANTEE you will find this story fascinating. And if you
are a youngster, I have no doubt you will be amused as well.
Go read it right now:
The RV Lifestyle
SSQQ SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE:
DENA JACKSON AND CHUCK SNYDER GET MARRIED... THREE YEARS AGO!
From: Dena Snyder
Sent: Friday, February 13, 2009 7:04 PM
Subject: Wedding Pics
Hey Rick, As I was reading your latest newsletter, I realized I told
you about our engagement, but never reported back on our wedding.
Gotta keep the SSQQ Romance stats up!
Chuck and I met in Ben's Beginning Two Step class in February 2002,
and he was the first guy to ask me to dance when Ben told us to
partner up. We were friends for several months before we started
dating that May. We were married on September 30, 2006. Here are a
few pictures from our wedding and first dance.
Evidently Ben's class was a big hit - there was another marriage
that also originated there (Philip Ritchie and Kathy Fink). And, by
the way, my advice to anyone who complains about not having a
special someone is always... go to SSQQ!
We plan to brush up on our dancing skills this year, and hope to see
you at the studio soon!
Dena Jackson and Chuck Snyder
Rick Archer's Note:
Chuck and Dena met in February 2002, then joined us for the August
2002 Rhapsody Cruise. But that was the last time I saw them. As you
can see, their courtship covered 4 years (2002-2006). Since the
final three years of their courtship took place away from the
studio, I would never have known their complete story if Dena had
been not kind enough to check in 2 1/2 years later to report about
I call this phenomenon "Flying Under the Radar" - couples who meet
at the studio, then disappear to pursue other activities. The story
of Chuck and Dena is a perfect example why I believe the true
wedding totals at SSQQ are probably under-reported by 20%. For every
4 couples I know about, there is a fifth couple that met at the
studio and moved on without a trace. Or maybe they reported the
engagement, but got busy and forgot to tie up the loose end. This
explains why I emphasize including "engagements" in my total just in
case I don't hear about the "wedding" further down the road. For
example, Chuck and Dena were listed on my site as "engaged", but it
took three years to add in this final piece of the puzzle. Since I
take so much pride in the studio's uncanny ability to help create
matches, it makes me very happy to bring closure to Chuck and Dena's
SSQQ SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE:
DOUG GEPHART AND BONNIE LONI LEWELLYN ANNOUNCE THEIR ENGAGMENT!
On Valentine's Day, Doug took his sweetheart Loni on a dinner cruise
out into Galveston Bay.
The Colonel Paddlewheel Boat is an authentic replica of an
1800-style Paddlewheeler that sails from Moody Gardens down in
Galveston. This 800-passenger paddlewheel boat takes guests on
year-round hour-long cruises in Offatts Bayou. The boat features a
large dance floor.
So Doug invited Loni out on the dance floor on Valentine's Day, was
handed the microphone, got down on one knee... and popped the
Now Doug is pretty tall and Loni is pretty... and short... so Doug
and Loni were eye to eye when she gushed with joy and said 'Yes!'
Doug knows how to do it the right way! I know one guy who really
messed up his proposal, so it warms my heart to hear of another guy
who knocked it out of the Ballpark in his own pressure-filled
Loni has been helping Daryl Armstrong teach his Wednesday Western
class for many years now. I give her a lot of credit for keeping
Daryl's basic insanity within socially-acceptable norms. No easy
I have had a big crush on Bonnie Loni for many years. She is just
the sweetest and kindest person. Even though she claims to be of
Cuban descent, I prefer to pretend she is Scottish so I can call her
SSQQ SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE:
LUIS CASTILLO AND OLGA BOCHAREVA GET MARRIED!
It is my understanding that SSQQ instructors Luis and Olga were
married on Saturday night, February 28. However I am waiting for the
So I will write again soon about this special event.
SSQQ SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE:
LEO SKIBA AND REBECCA KOCH GET MARRIED!
From: Leo Skiba
Sent: Thursday, January 22, 2009 10:12 AM
Subject: Taking a class
Rick, I'm going to make my bi-annual appearance at the studio to
take Beginning Twostep or Beginning western swing. A few friends of
mine wanted to take the class and I said I'd take it with them. I
think Rebecca will come along as well.
On a separate note, Rebecca and I got married a couple weeks ago on
a ski trip on top of Sunlight Mountain, Colorado.
RICK ARCHER'S NOTE: I am very happy for this lovely couple. Leo was
a dance instructor here at SSQQ who 'retired' in 2004. I mentioned
his wedding a few Newsletters back, but thought I would add some
As the recent engagement of instructor Bonnie Loni, plus the wedding
of Luis and Olga plus the wedding of Leo and Rebecca show, one the
fastest ways I know to get married is to become an SSQQ Instructor.
SSQQ Dance Instructors are hot tickets! I have been marrying off one
instructor after another for thirty years. Let face it, Slow Dance
and Romance go hand in hand. Learn to Dance and Romance is sure to
Here is Leo's story:
Leo played a major role at SSQQ in the first of the 2000s. He
started taking classes in 2000. Leo was not only a natural dancer,
he practiced all the time. As a result, Leo became a great dancer.
He was also really good about dancing with the beginners. I was so
impressed that I actually hired him to come on our 2001 cruise as a
'dance host'. Leo was a great addition to the trip.
Pretty soon after the 2001 Vera Cruz Trip, Leo became a Western
Volunteer. Soon after that he joined his friend Wil as an Assistant
Instructor. Leo was promoted to instructor in December 2003.
In early 2005, during Western Practice Night Leo met a pretty
brunette named Rebecca. Leo became a different person overnight.
Whereas he once danced with every girl in the room all night long,
Leo lost complete interest in the group. The reason was obvious -
Leo had fallen in love!
I watched their romance develop with a sense of doom. I had a hunch
that Leo's loss of interest in dancing would cost me an instructor.
After all, Leo had gotten his job in the first place when his good
friend Wil had gotten married and resigned as an SSQQ instructor.
Sure enough, not long after he and Rebecca completed their 2005
Rhapsody Cruise, Leo did indeed resign to move on to the next stage
of his life.
So now three years later we have the final piece of the puzzle. Leo
and Rebecca have taken their commitment to marriage. When I saw them
again in February 2009, they didn't seem like Newlyweds but rather
people who been married for a long time. They were totally content!
If you are interested, I wrote a long story about Leo's time here at
SSQQ in my Matchmaker Saga. After all, Leo's interest in dancing
paid great dividends - he met his wife here!
Story about Leo
THOUGHT YOU WOULD LIKE TO KNOW
Sent: Saturday, February 07, 2009 9:28 AM
Subject: Thought You Would Like to Know
Rick - -
Just finished reading the latest issue of the Newsletter and could
not resist the impulse to write. This past Thursday, February 5th,
Jose and I celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.
How did we celebrate this special night? Dinner at Tony's, Cafe
Annie or some other posh place in Houston?
No, we jointly agreed that the place we wanted to be was at SSQQ in
our advanced salsa class with Martin, Michelle, and Alex.
Why, you ask would we do this? First, because SSQQ is a place we
feel comfortable and relaxed (there is no need "to put on the dog"
there.) Second, we have alot of fun with the instructors and many
students with whom we have crossed paths in various classes. And,
last but not least, one of the things that has helped to keep our
marriage strong for all these years is our mutual love to dance. In
fact, that is how we fell in love in the first place.
SSQQ is just such a wonderful place for us to be together. It gets
us out of the house and away from the kitchen AND television. All
music is danceable, and there are lots of friendly people. Not only
that, but when we get stuck, ( i.e. either Jose's air partner or I
refuse to follow his excellent lead) there is always someone around
to help us figure out where we got lost.
You often talk about the number of romances SSQQ has produced, and
the list is quite impressive! I just thought you might like to know
also that the atmosphere you have created for social dancers can be
just as important for "long timers" who work hard to stay in love
for the long haul.
25 years and counting. . . . . . . . Polly and Jose
JOKES OF THE DAY
THE SYMPATHETIC BLONDE
Contributed by Chris Holmes
A Blonde is watching the news with her husband when the newscaster
"Two Brazilian men die in a skydiving accident."
The blonde starts crying to her husband, sobbing "That's horrible!!!
So many men dying that way!"
Confused, he says, "Yes dear, it is sad, but they were skydiving,
and there is always that risk involved."
"Of course there's risk! There's risk washing dishes and picking up
the Newspaper. But how could so many young men in the flower of
their life have died at once?"
"Gee, honey, just two guys died."
"Huh. Really? No, I think a lot more guys died than just two."
After a few minutes, the blonde, still sobbing, says, "How many is a
EXCITEMENT IN THE SWIMMING POOL
Contributed by Judy Walsh
A filthy rich Florida man decided that he wanted to throw a party
and invited all of his buddies and neighbors.
He also invited Leroy, the only Redneck in the neighborhood. He held
the party around the pool in the backyard of his mansion.
Leroy was having a good time drinking, dancing, eating shrimp,
oysters and BBQ and flirting with all the women.
At the height of the party, the host said, 'I have a 10 foot
man-eating alligator in my pool and I'll give a million dollars to
anyone who has the nerve to jump in, that is if he lives to
The words were barely out of his mouth when there was a loud splash.
Everyone turned around and saw Leroy in the pool!
Leroy was fighting the gator and kicking its ass! Leroy was jabbing
it in the eyes with his thumbs, throwing punches, head butts and
choke holds, biting the gator on the tail and flipping it through
the air like some kind of Judo Instructor.
The water was churning and splashing everywhere. Both Leroy and the
gator were screaming and raising hell.
Finally Leroy strangled the gator and let it float to the top like a
dime store goldfish. Then Leroy slowly climbed out of the pool.
Everybody was just staring at him in disbelief.
Finally the host says, 'Well, Leroy, I reckon I owe you a million
'No, that's okay. I don't want it,' said Leroy.
The rich man said, 'Man, I have to give you something. You won the
bet. How about half a million bucks then?'
'No thanks, I still don't want it,' answered Leroy.
The host said, 'Come on, I insist on giving you something. That was
amazing. How about a new Porsche and a Rolex and some stock
Again Leroy said no.
Confused, the rich man asked, 'Well, Leroy, then what do you want?'
Leroy said, 'I want the name of the Sumbich who pushed me in the
NOT THE SHARPEST KNIFE IN THE DRAWER
Contributed by Chris Holmes
Robert's father was not doing very well. A terminal illness had
entered the final phase. The doctors gave the elderly man a couple
months to live.
Robert got the bad news. Outwardly he frowned, but inwardly he was
Robert was due to inherit a fortune when his sickly father died. The
man was a widower and had also outlived all his relatives and most
of his friends.
Robert and his father had never gotten along well. The old man could
barely stand his rotten nature, his gambling, his womanizing, his
drinking, and laziness. Robert had barely worked a day in his life,
preferring to suck off of his father's wealth instead. His parasitic
lifestyle didn't bother him at all.
"So what if he doesn't like me?" Robert thought. "I'm his only heir.
The old man's got plenty of dough. Heck, why bother working?" Of
course Robert didn't like his father's constant needling, but he had
gotten used to it. Who cares? Let him rant and rave as long as the
money kept coming like it always did.
What a cosmic joke! Once his jerk of a father died, Robert was set
Robert was getting friskier by the moment thinking of all the things
he was going to do with that dough. He decided he needed a woman to
enjoy it with.
So Robert went to a singles bar and he searched until he spotted a
woman whose beauty took his breath away. He thought of a quick way
to get into her pants.
"Right now, I'm just an ordinary man," he said, walking up to her,
"but within a month or two, my father will pass away and I'll
inherit over 30 million dollars. Show me a good time tonight and
I'll take you on a trip anywhere you want to go!"
The woman raised an eyebrow. She let Robert buy her a drink and sit
beside her. As she sipped her drink, she asked him a couple
questions to see if he was on the level.
Robert could see she dug him. Her smile grew broader with each tale
he told her about the money. Later that night the woman indeed went
home with Robert.
As they pulled into his driveway of the house his father had bought
for him, Robert couldn't help but be pleased that his clever ploy
had worked so effortlessly. This woman couldn't wait to get her
hooks into him! The only trip she was going on was right here in his
bed. In fact, he decided to have some fun and make her envious. He
taunted her all night long with the things a guy like him could do
with that kind of money. He knew that kind of talk would drive a
gold digger like her wild with temptation!
He had been right about her. He bragged about his money all night
long. The woman just smiled quietly, but he could tell she listened
to every word he said about what a fool his father was. It was so
much fun to see the power his money had over foolish women like her!
He couldn't wait to play this game again.
But, sorry to say, his little game was only played once.
Four days later she became his stepmother. Four days after that
there was a new will.
And that's a Wrap for this week! It's only fourteen pages long.
Talk to you soon,
2009 SSQQ Newsletter Issue Four
Written by Rick Archer
THE INCREDIBLE SAINT
PATRICK’S WESTERN DANCE PARTY!
Saturday, March 14, 9 - 11:30 pm
7-9 pm Crash Courses
(Register at the door; it goes very fast)
BEG C&W: TEXAS TWOSTEP - Robert
INT TWOSTEP: CIRCLE TURNS - Linda
SLOW DANCING - Marla (cpls only)
BEG SYNCHRONIZED POLKA - Scott
ADV IRISH WESTERN WALTZ PTRNS- Rick
BEG WEST COAST SWING - Patty & Joe
JOHN PAUL JONES
ALERT: THE IRISH JIG DANCE
Polka is a fun class. It will be a perfect preparation for the Big
Irish Jig Dance later in the evening… 10 minutes long! Irish Jigs
are polka-rhythm Irish songs that are really fun to dance to. Some
of the songs like the “Rocky Road to Dublin” are pretty fast, but I
have found some slower tempos to use for the Big Dance.
A lot of Irish music
is the same speed as our Western Polkas. However I will be the
first to admit these Irish Jigs have a bounce to them. So if you
feel like putting a hop in your Polka, go right ahead! But the
music is energetic and fun. Even the grumpiest human usually is
grinning head to toe after ten minutes of Irish Jigs!
Someone in class asked
me what a "John Paul Jones" is. This oddly-name tradition is a
Party Dance Mixer. A John Paul Jones (JPJ) is a group dance where
the men and women form two concentric circles. The men are on the
outside facing the ladies on the inside.
While the music plays,
the men circle the ladies in a counter-clockwise direction while the
ladies move in a clockwise direction. During this rotation, the
person in front of you is constantly changing.
When the whistle
blows, both circles stop. Each male is supposed to dance with the
lady in front of him. However, unless the numbers are perfectly
balanced, there is always an odd man out so to speak. However
experienced dancers don't give up that easy. They know that there
is often a potential partner lingering on the other side of the
room. They will move to the center of both circles where it is
easiest to spot a single man or lady to dance with.
Partners will dance
for a minute or so, then comes the next whistle. This second
whistle indicates the two circles need to reform and start a new
This system allows 50
men and 50 women the chance to dance with a up to 10 different
partners during a ten-minute John Paul Jones. It is a wonderful
"Mixer" activity, i.e. a chance for everybody to dance with
One neat thing about a
John Paul Jones is that even guys with a limited number of moves can
have fun – you may only have a minute’s worth of moves, but that’s
all you need! And even though the Irish Jigs are energetic,
rotating in the circle gives you a chance to catch your breath.
Veteran JPJ dancers
are well aware of the other benefits - the chance to dance with
someone new and break the ice, the chance to dance with some of the
best dancers even if you are a beginner, the chance to ditch a jerk
after the longest minute in your life, as well as the chance to
flirt with dozens of people as the faces fly by in the rotating
An Irish Jig John Paul
Jones adds a special air of suspense to the evening - you never know
when you might get Lucky!
IRISH WALTZ ALERT!
You Waltz experts will
love this party. I promise this will be the biggest WALTZ PARTY of
the year! For some reason, there is a great abundance of very
pretty Waltz music to be found in these various Celtic music
collections. Every album I buy seems to have at least one marvelous
Waltz. Not only are the songs recorded at a danceable speed, the
lyrics and the melodies are very beautiful. Two warnings – some of
the Waltzes are a little faster than you are used to. And some of
songs are so sad, you might begin to cry right in the middle of your
By the way, I will be
teaching an advanced Western Waltz Crash Course this same night.
The patterns I will challenge you with Easy the first hour and Hard
the second hour. So there is something for everyone. However if
you are a total Waltz beginner, let’s not try to fake it.
One more thing: Wear
Green or don’t make the Scene. Erin Go Braugh! (Ireland Forever)
Our Saint Patrick's Swing
Dance Party is one of my favorite parties of the year. You can
expect lots and lots of beautiful Irish Waltzes so consider taking
the Irish Waltz crash course!
In addition, a fun part
of the night is an Irish Jig John-Paul-Jones. A lot of Irish music
is the same speed as our Western Polkas. If you feel like putting a
hop in your Polka, go right ahead. Even the grumpiest human usually
is grinning head to toe after ten minutes of Irish Jigs! This is a
fun party so we hope you will join us!
St. Patrick's Day Quiz
NOTE: Encarta is an encyclopedia created by Microsoft. I
purchased a copy a few years back. Every now and then I get
an email from Encarta that has some really interesting
stories. Now that I think of it, their Newsletter is a lot
more intelligent than my Newsletter. That explains why I
borrow their stuff all the time.
this neat St. Patrick’s Day Quiz to get you all in the
mood. I am dying to know if the studio’s three most famous
Irish people Conor O'Muirgheasa, Cher Longoria and Diane
Murrell can beat my score! )
St. Patrick's Day Quiz
to wear green on March 17! St. Patrick's Day, which has its
origins in Ireland, is now celebrated in many parts of the
world -- a chance for everyone to be Irish for a day and
wear a shamrock, drink green beer and watch a lively parade.
Ace our St. Paddy's Day quiz and your friends will be green
with envy. Luck o' the Irish to you!
- St. Patrick's Day honors
Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, also called the
Apostle of Ireland. He is credited with:
a) Making the
shamrock Ireland's national symbol
Ireland to Christianity
c) Driving the
snakes out of Ireland
d) All of the
- A popular St. Patrick's Day
tradition is wearing green clothing. What does the green
a) The green
on Ireland's flag
emeralds on St. Patrick's bishop's scepter
d) The wealth
of the leprechauns
- The first St. Patrick's Day
parade in the United States was held in which city?
a) North Bend,
b) New York
- In Irish folklore, a leprechaun
is a small magical man who has a hidden pot of gold at the
end of the rainbow. What is a leprechaun's usual job?
- In Ireland, where St. Patrick's
Day is an important religious holiday that happens to fall
during Lent, many enjoy a traditional meal that includes
colcannon -- boiled potatoes and this vegetable, mashed
together with butter:
- The shamrock, Ireland's national symbol, is from
the Irish "seamrog." What does this translate to?
d) Sweet hope
- Which is a classic Irish toast, especially when
having a pint of stout or lager at the local Irish pub?
- In Chicago, what popular St.
Patrick's Day tradition started in 1962?
a) Dyeing the
Chicago River green for a day
b) Free green
beer at Wrigley Field
the Sears Tower antennas green
Leprechaun Parade on the Magnificent Mile
- Baseball's Boston Red Sox was
the first team to play in green jerseys to mark St.
Patrick's Day. In what year did this lucky tradition begin?
- Which Caribbean destination is only one of three
places in the world where St. Patrick's Day is an official
BOTTOM OF NEWSLETTER. Good luck, Conor, Cher, and Diane!)
JOY’S BIRTHDAY PARTY
In last week’s issue, I
reported that Joy Al-Jazrawi was having a birthday party at Wild
West on a Saturday night. I added that the whole world was
Joy’s wonderful sister
Gina immediately got worried. She hadn’t counted on me posting the
information in the Newsletter. After all, it was Gina who had
promised everybody some birthday cake. I mean, Gina is gifted, but
she doesn’t know how to turn empty beer cans into birthday cakes and
feed the masses if you follow my biblical allusion.
So Gina panicked and went
out to buy three more birthday cakes to make five in all. Sure
enough, the whole world did show up. 80 people dropped by to wish
Joy a Happy Birthday, waltz her around the dance floor and consume
the promised cake.
This created some
unexpected benefits for me. The next day when I showed up for my
Sunday Waltz class, Lo and behold, there were three wonderful
scrumptious Birthday Cakes sitting on a table in my room. Oh, the
Joys of Joy’s Excess Birthday Cake!!
I was so pleased to see
my good deed of announcing Joy’s BD Party had been rewarded! So
often all the wonderful things I write go completely ignored, but
this time I reaped what I sowed! Despite the masses of people to
attend Joy’s Party, there was all this cake laying left over.
Sure enough, my Waltz
friends and I happily consumed Joy’s Birthday Cakes for the rest of
the day. And these cakes were BIG cakes. You have no idea how far
these cakes go! In fact, I think there is some still sitting there
if any of you want some.
I am thinking of
announcing another birthday party for Joy soon. I will make sure
Gina knows about it.
CONQUEST DANCE CRUISE
Since I last mentioned
this year’s Dance Cruise two Newsletters ago, we have added 24 more
29. James Culotta
31. Jim Duncan
32. Denise Duncan
33. Gordon Grant
34. Janis Peccia
35. Linda Fleischer
36. Jo Ann McCracken
37. Gareld McEathron
39. Karl RoraBacher
40. Velma Roppolo
41. Lisa Mallett
42. Jon Monteith
43. Linda Wade
44. Richard Greason
45. Toni Maciel
47. Leah Maciel
48. Deborah Jenkins
50. Sam Lathrum
51. Vivian Gustafson
52. Steve Gabino
You may have noticed
the last name on that list – Steve Gabino. Steve has agreed to be
our official Cruise photographer and late night DJ.
As most of you know,
Gary Richardson has done a remarkable job filling this role since
2003. But Gary has a problem – he has no one to watch his computer
store while he takes this week-long trip. Last year, Gary actually
had to close his store for a week to go on our trip. In his mind,
that was simply too big a sacrifice to try again.
When Gary read my
recent Newsletter story about The Great Gabino and the wonderful job
he has been doing as our Halloween Party photographer, he felt like
Steve could fill his shoes. I agree!
Quick reminder that
the deadline for Cruise Registration is coming up next week. After
this deadline, there is a chance that Conquest will remove our group
discount and begin to charge the prevailing rate.
I realize in this
uncertain economy, everyone prefers to wait till the last moment on
everything, but there is also something to be said for making your
move now if you really want to go.
Sent: Thursday, March 12, 2009 7:10 PM
Subject: Conquest info
Well, our 2009
Conquest first deposit deadline is just around the corner. Yes,
hard to believe but the registration forms need to be in by next
Wednesday, March 18th. We recently added 23 people to our group
since the last posting.
We are currently up to
53 people who will be enjoying the beautiful Western Caribbean on
Carnival's fabulous Conquest from August 23rd through August 30th.
Our annual cruise event is a week-long party that is surely not to
Be sure to schedule your vacation time accordingly, and then either
email or fax me your registration form so you can join us for
another fun-filled week of adventures as we dance our way across the
Don't miss out on all
A couple years ago, I
wrote a story about a Pot Cave in Tennessee. To my surprise, my
story became a huge Internet favorite. I ended paying a couple
hundred dollars in Web Site surcharges because the whole world
clicked in to read my story.
The story involved these
crooks who converted a cave into a massive underground marijuana
farm. Now for those of you who are not A&M graduates, one major
component for growing dope is LIGHT. And there ain’t much of that
Well, the pot farmers
installed grow lights. BIG GROW LIGHTS! Suddenly they were paying
a small fortune in electrical bills which cut down on their illegal
profits. Then they had a bright idea. Why not tap into the power
lines illegally and get some free juice? Brilliant!
Except that the power
company noticed it was losing a lot of power somewhere. Plus there
were bizarre fluctuations in the power grid. So they got nosy.
You guessed it… the
criminals got caught because they were too cheap to pay for the
Here is a recent letter
on the story:
Sent: Sunday, March 08, 2009 12:00 AM
Subject: pot cave
I love this story!!!
The thing that gets me no one thought of getting their own
Heck, I have 2 generators and I'm just a carpenter.
I think it is
hysterical to see a smaller crime lead to the big crime being
Thanks for your great
RICK ARCHER’S NOTE:
Can any of you explain why the generator idea wasn’t any good? I am
guessing the gas to run these generators would have cost more than
the electricity, but maybe some of you can explain it better. After
all, I may be weird, but I don’t have a criminal mind.
FIFTH GRADE MATH QUIZ
You all had a lot of fun
trying to solve last week’s math puzzle about the cats on the bus.
Out of the 20 people who
responded, 9 got it right on the first try. That’s a lot better
than I did… I solved it on my fourth try a year ago and on my second
try last week.
We have some very smart people around here.
It is kind of upsetting
to realize how much smarter all of my dance students are than I am,
but on the bright side I now have a wonderful pool of people to
consider hiring as Registrars.
SSQQ SLOW DANCE AND
ROMANCE: OLGA BOCHAREVA AND LUIS CASTILLO GET MARRIED!
Olga and Luis are both
SSQQ Salsa Instructors. Luis Castillo has been at the studio since
2001. He caught the rise of Salsa here in America all the way back
to the “Living La Vida Loca” days. Luis began teaching Cumbia and
Merengue for us in 2003.
Olga Bochareva came to the US from Russia. She began taking Swing
classes here at the studio in the summer of 2005 and soon moved over
to Salsa. I believe Olga became an Assistant Instructor here in
late 2006. I am really happy that the studio was able to help these
two special people find each other!
As I have pointed out many times, one of the fastest ways to get
married in the entire Universe is to become an SSQQ dance
instructor. The recent wedding of Leo Skiba plus the upcoming
wedding of Gerry Frances plus the recent engagement of Loni Lewellyn
underscores this point dramatically. So when you have not one, but
two instructors who are single, you are definitely daring Cupid to
make a move. Luis and Olga’s wedding is simply the latest story in
a long line of SSQQ instructors to find love on the dance floor.
(see pictures from
As you all know, Salsa
has been the top program at SSQQ for most of the 2000s. Linda Cook
has done an admirable job of keeping the energy high for all these
years. Linda took over guiding the Salsa program from my ex-wife
Judy in late 2004. Since Judy had built our Salsa program from
scratch, at the time we all wondered if the bonfire was about to go
out. To our delight, Linda made the program even bigger.
People often ask me, “Rick, Salsa is your biggest program. Why
don’t you teach Salsa?”
Linda is much more easygoing than I am. Her laid-back approach is
probably the right touch for the Salsa crowd. When I look at all
that energy, I figure Linda must be doing a pretty good job. Since
I am such a control-freak, I have little doubt I would stick my nose
in there and mess things up. So I step aside to let Linda work her
wonders. As I watch things from a distance, I can’t help but be so
proud of what Linda has accomplished! All the credit goes to Linda
plus help from the great instructors like Steve, Jim, Jill, Maureen,
Martin, Dakota and the many others who make it all happen.
The downside of this hand’s-off arrangement is that I don’t get any
gossip about the SSQQ Salsa community. They have a lot of fun and
they don’t talk about it to me. I hear stories of wild Salsa
parties that go on to the early hours of the morning… maybe it is
better that I don’t know.
When I find out that Luis
and Olga are getting married, I am practically the LAST PERSON at
the studio to know. This explains why I have no juicy details to
share other than Luis and Olga are off somewhere on a honeymoon
The one thing I know for
sure is that all this Salsa dancing will inevitably lead to
something called “Romance”. You simply cannot have all these
beautiful women moving their bodies to the fast, pulsating Salsa
beat and not get the blood boiling in the men. These guys become
easy prey for Cupid’s darts.
March 2009 marks the
third Anniversary of the SSQQ Matchmaker Story. SSQQ has quite a
reputation for creating marriages. The Matchmaker Story is the
article I wrote that actually explained the reasons behind the
studio’s legendary success. At the time, I was worried that talking
about this phenomenon might actually damage the subtle magic behind
it. I shouldn’t have been so fearful. I am proud to announce that
counting Luis and Olga’s wedding, we have had 46 SSQQ marriages
since I first wrote the story three years ago.
Obviously the Magic lives on!
In the "Matchmaker" story, I explained the recipe for how Dance
leads to Romance.
For those of you who
have been too busy to read the entire article, I will give you a
Dancing turns out to
be a simple, graceful way to get to know people with their guard
down. in a relaxed setting. For a variety of reasons, SSQQ has
always seemed to attract a high number of intelligent, educated,
down-to-earth people. With such a large group of talented people, it
is easy to find any number of people who have a lot of things in
common with you besides dancing.
At SSQQ, you can take
a class with someone, dance with him or her at Practice Night, and
strike up a conversation at Break or after class. Talking to
strangers is always difficult, but it is much easier when you have a
common reference point like dancing and the studio to start with.
It is important to
note that if you were to meet the same person in a club, it would be
much more difficult to start a conversation. As I said, SSQQ has a
way of putting people at ease. It is a natural setting as opposed
to an artificial, forced environment like a club where the pressure
is on to 'make a move' or 'come up with a good line'.
The next step is the
art of dance itself. After a simple invitation to dance is
accepted, once you put a man and woman in each other's arms, you
allow chemistry to begin. You have eye contact. You have a smile.
You have touch. Your senses and instincts go to work immediately.
Who you see is who you
get. You have a person right in front of you who will not airbrush
their picture, doctor their profile or lie about their age and
weight. You don't have to respond to 15 Internet ads. Nor do you
have to e-mail back and forth to negotiate the complicated first
This is a living,
thinking human being who has signaled interest in you by agreeing to
share a dance.
Cupid's magic starts
to work immediately.
Not my magic, but
the Matchmaker Article:
In Chapter One titled
"Discovery", I talk about how absolutely stunned I was the day
before the start of the new Millennium. This was the moment when I
first grasped how effective the dance studio was at creating
marriages and engagements. Up till now I had a hunch the studio was
good at connecting people, but I had never looked at the complete
picture before. This moment literally took my breath away.
In Chapter Two titled
"Turf", I explain the connection between dance and romance in
greater detail. I begin to explain in general why dancing is so
effective at creating romances. Then I go into specific stories
about several former students and the lessons they taught me along
For example, I talk
about the concept of how "Marriage is the Death of Dance".
I explain how people
grow more confident through dancing and actually make themselves
more attractive to the opposite sex in the process.
I explain how the
dance studio can actually help people recover from a broken heart
And I discuss the
issue of whether SSQQ is a dance studio or a singles group.
In Chapter Three
titled "The Eighties, I start telling the background of the SSQQ
Social Program. I talk about how the movie "Urban Cowboy" got the
ball rolling even more effectively than "Saturday Night Fever".
Then I talk about how
my bizarre 1986 Streak where I went Whip Dancing 201 nights in a
row. This strange time in my life actually created so much energy
that several marriages and several Texas State Dance Championships
were the end result. You will just have to read it to believe it.
My story on the
Eighties at SSQQ includes the tale about the wackiest character in
the studio's long history, how the loss of two key leaders nearly
crippled the studio, about the woman who saved the studio, about the
time I lost an entire dance class to another dance studio, and how a
computer chess game saved me from a descent into madness.
In Chapter Four titled
"The Nineties", I talk about the Studebaker Days, how the
instructors replaced the students as the new studio "In Crowd",
about a long list of dance instructors who parlayed their dance
skills into marriages, and about the studio's slow but steady
erosion into a mere shell of its former self.
In Chapter Five titled
"The Comeback Kids", I write about a man with amazing charisma and
the people around him who spun the studio inside out, upside down,
and turned the whole place around. I talk about how three leaders
put the studio on their backs and turned the studio absolutely on
fire as the Millennium approached. And I mentioned a small
contribution that I made that would pay off in a big way further
down the road.
In Chapter Six titled
"Millennium Madness", I talk about the fever pitch at which people
started to get married at SSQQ. I write about an amazing moment in
studio history when three female instructors all got married on the
same day. Then I discuss the problem known as "Flying under the
Radar" which prevents me from knowing the true number of SSQQ
In Chapter Seven
titled "Love Boat", I talk about two important individuals who made
contributions that transformed the studio and how the eight SSQQ
cruises have resulted in a phenomenal number of marriages and
relationships. I talk about why SSQQ Slow Dance and Romance Magic
becomes even more effective out on the high seas. I conclude the
chapter with advice on three very important subjects:
Participation, Community, and Contribution. You will enjoy this
In Chapter Eight
titled "Bon Voyage" I discuss my theory that one reason Ballroom may
be making a comeback is due a growing desire to see more "Glamour"
in our lives. Nothing wrong with tee-shirts and blue jeans of
course, but once in a while wouldn't it be nice to dress up and go
to a beautiful dinner club and dance the night away to an
In this chapter, I
discuss the amazing effect that SSQQ cruises have had on our studio
and how the new studio "In Crowd" has grown to include not only the
instructors, but a long list of "Usual Suspects" and other
celebrities from our cruises.
I conclude the chapter
with speculation about where the studio is headed plus a fetching
vision of what might lie ahead for the cruise program.
I hope you all will
take the time to learn about the history of how SSQQ became the
Romance Center of Houston, Texas. It is a pretty neat story.
FOLLOWUP ON THE
Did you know that two
people accused me of actually writing that preposterous letter from
last week’s Newsletter? Did you know that one of those people was
my own wife?
My question is: I
realize you all think I am weird, but do you really think I am THAT
WEIRD? I mean, that woman was very disturbed. Now I am worried
what you must think of me.
So my attitude is this:
If you are going to openly speculate that I am really weird, then
that gives me permission to include some really weird stuff in the
Newsletter. I mean, if your opinion of me is THAT LOW, then maybe
I should do something really awful to justify it. So I have decided
to print something that is really awful.
READ THIS AT YOUR OWN
RISK (Warning: This joke is in very poor taste)
Contributed by anonymous
A man is waiting for wife
to give birth. The doctor comes in and informs the dad that his son
was born without torso, arms or legs. The son is just a head!
What a tragedy! But the
dad loves his son and raises him as well as he can, with love and
After 21 years, the son is old enough for his first drink. Dad takes
him to the bar and tearfully tells the son he is proud of him for
facing his handicaps and making the best of them.
Dad orders up the biggest, strongest drink for his boy. With the
entire group of bar patrons looking on and the bartender shaking his
head in disbelief, the boy takes his first sip of alcohol.
The alcohol has a bizarre
effect on the poor boy. He struggles and twitches, then suddenly…
Swoooop! A torso pops
out! The boy had a body all along… it was just trapped inside!
The bar is dead silent;
then bursts into a whoop of joy. The father, shocked, begs his son
to drink again. The patrons chant "Take another drink"! The
bartender still shakes his head in dismay. He is sure nothing good
is going to come of this.
Swoooop! Two arms pop
The bar goes wild. The
father, crying and wailing, begs his son to drink again. The patrons
chant "Take another drink"! The bartender goes to the back of the
bar and crosses his arms. By now the boy is getting tipsy, and with
his new hands he reaches down, grabs his drink and guzzles the last
Swoooop! Two legs pop
The bar is in chaos. The
father falls to his knees and tearfully thanks God. The boy stands
up on his new legs and stumbles to the left....then to the right....
then lurches out of control through the front door, into the street,
where a truck runs over him and kills him instantly.
The bar falls silent. The father moans in grief.
The bartender sighs and
frowns, "That boy should have quit while he was still a head."
EVILS OF ALCOHOL: LAST WEEK'S
ANTI-ALCOHOL RANT REVISITED (click
here to reread RANT)
NOTE: In last week's Newsletter, I printed a very
strange letter condemning a picture on my web site of two
people with two champagne glasses toasting their wedding.
I see no reason to embarrass the couple in question by
naming them, but I assure you it was a very innocuous
picture. I promise you we have many pictures on the
ssqq website that are far worse. For example, any
Cozumel story from our summer cruises is bound to yield
pictures that are far more naughty.
found the woman's rant to be very disturbing. I was
surprised at the number of people who commented on that
One person at the studio - I actually can't remember who it
was - said the letter was so bizarre they assumed I had
written it. I can't help but mention how odd I thought
that comment was! Then that same night when I
got home, Marla asked me about the letter too. She
also asked me if I had written that letter.
For your information, I don't make any of this stuff up.
One, I don't have to. Two, that would be wrong.
But I can't help but wonder just how strange do you all
really think I am?
I realize I write some pretty silly things on the website,
but that alcohol rant was really OUT THERE. No, I did
not write that letter. I may be weird, but I am not
how about a terrible joke about the Evils of Alcohol?
It was 8 in
the morning. The winos were sound asleep in the
pews as they tried to recover from their drunken stupor.
Too much Mad Dog 20/20 last night. Now it was time
for their free meal at the church shelter. But
first they had a little ritual to get through.
With his usual punctuality, at 8 sharp the Reverend
confidently strode into in the room. He surveyed
the scene with disdain. When will these people
ever learn? So now he called to his flock to wake
Slowly but surely, the winos stirred uncomfortably.
Let's get it over with. The price for their meal
was this daily lecture from the Reverend.
The Reverend launched into his usual diatribe about the
evils of alcohol. As always, he droned on and on
and on. The winos could barely keep their eyes
Today, however, the Reverend had a new wrinkle. He
took out two drinking glasses. Into one glass he
poured water, into the other glass he poured gin.
The gin got their attention. They hoped maybe he
would forget the bottle...
Then the Reverend pulled out a worm and ceremoniously
dropped it into the water. Sure enough, the worm
swam happily around the glass.
Now the Reverend pulled the worm out of the water and
dropped it into the gin. Poof! The worm
quickly disintegrated, its body destroyed.
The Reverend had a look of delight on his face.
"And now, you sinners, what can we deduce from this
experiment!" The Reverend asked the question with
the same triumphant air that comes with knowing that
only one obvious conclusion could be drawn.
"Yes, I know, Reverend" came a voice from the back, "it
means if you drink alcohol, you'll never get worms!
Now let's go eat!"
In addition to the two people who asked if I had written the
"RANT" myself, I received 9 emails commenting on the
woman's letter. Here is my favorite response:
Sent: Monday, March 09, 2009 7:03 AM
Subject: Regarding the
Horrendous pictures of a couple drinking what appears to
be CARBONATED soft drinks on your site
Dear Mister Archer,
I was looking thru your website, in search of a
dance class on the Michael
Jackson Moonwalk, When much to my chagrin, I
spotted this picture:
I am quite flabbergasted and astounded that you have the
audacity to show people drinking CARBONATED soft drinks
in your website.
It is a well-documented, if not researched, fact, that
CARBONATED soft drinks can lead a normal person down the
road to harder, more sophisticated soft drinks, such as
Monster, Red Bull, and SoBe No Fear.
Not to mention tooth decay, obesity, and
How dare you!
ANOTHER BIZARRE LETTER
RICK ARCHER’S NOTE: Now
that I realize you all secretly think I make this weird stuff up, I
think I will publish some of my poetry, but pretend it isn’t mine.
Yes, it is true I write sensitive poetry all the time. That’s what
I do with all my free time. But I am afraid you will laugh at me if
I tell you I wrote it. I am tender, so it would hurt me if you
laughed at my poetry.
So I think I will print some of my poetry, but pretend it is another
Bizarre Letter sent to me by a dance student. Now mind you, I
really wrote this myself.)
Sent: Tuesday, February 03, 2009 1:34 PM
Subject: Re: SSQQ Online Registration Confirmation for A
I really hope that my
shoes are in the car
Maybe I picked them up
and then put them
Down somewhere else
but I am worried bc
I have really really
uncomfortable shoes on
And I just am not
going to be able to dance
WTF is up with
I don't want to be
dancing with a bunch of
Strangers the whole
point is that we are supposed
To be doing this
together I don't think I should
Be required to dance
with just any guy
I am not so sure about
What do think about
Me and baby
ANOTHER SICK JOKE: THE OCTOMOM!
From: Judy Walsh
Sent: Tuesday, March 03, 2009 3:32 PM
Subject: Best Octomom Joke
I'm sure you all know
who the "Octomom" is. She is the brilliant lady who has twice
undergone in vitro because she likes having kids.
Most recently she had eight babies (hence the title "Octomom") and
prior to that she had six babies.
This woman has no job, no means of income whatsoever, and just is
creating lots of little welfare recipients. Anyway, I heard this on
the way to work this morning and it cracked me up. So, enjoy….
“Did you hear
that Denny's has put out a new breakfast item called the "Octomom
It comes with fourteen eggs, no sausage, and the guy at the next
table gets to pay the bill!”
SPEAKING OF OCTOMOM, THIS IS A MUST-SEE VIDEO
Contributed by Jim Dulaney
it this very minute before they take it off the air.
11 MOST EXPENSIVE
DISASTERS IN HISTORY
Contributed by Chris Holmes
Okay, you have
definitely heard of most of these events. The Titanic is on the
list. Exxon Valdez makes the list. So what other disasters are
included? Think ahead of time. See if you can anticipate at least
five more of the disasters on the list ahead of time.
It shouldn’t be that
hard. I have heard of every one of them but two.
JOKES OF THE WEEK
Contributed by Tresa Frazier
Traveling down the
interstate and needing to use the restroom, I stop at a rest area
and head to the restroom.
I was barely sitting
down when I heard a voice from the other stall saying:
"Hi, how are you?"
I'm not the type to
start a conversation in the restroom and I don't know what got into
me, but I answered, somewhat embarrassed,
"Doin' just fine!"
And the other person
"So what are you up
What kind of question
is that? At that point, I'm thinking this is too bizarre so I say:
"Uhhh, I'm like you,
just traveling through!"
At this point I am
just trying to get out of here as fast as I can when I hear another
"Can I come over?"
Ok, this question is
just too weird for me but I figured I could just be polite and end
the conversation. I tell them:
"No..I'm a little busy
Then I hear the person
"Listen, I'll have to
call you back on the cell. There's some
idiot in the other stall who keeps answering all my questions!"
Contributed by Anita Williams
A good Irish man, John
O'Reilly, met regularly with his toastmasters club. One evening
they were hitting the Guinness Stout and having a contest at who
could make the best toast.
John O'Reilly hoisted his beer and said,
"Here's to spending the rest of me life Between the legs of me
That won him the top
prize for the best toast of the night! He went home and told his
wife, Mary, "Guess what? I won the prize for the best toast of the
She said, "Aye, and
what was your toast?"
John hesitated for a
moment, then said, "Here's to spending the rest of me life Sitting
in church beside me wife."
"Oh that is very nice
indeed, John!" Mary said.
The next day Mary ran
into one of John's toasting buddies on the street corner. When he
saw Mary, the man chuckled leeringly and said, "John won the prize
the other night with a toast about you, Mary."
She said, "Aye and I
was a bit surprised meself! You know, he's only been there twice!
Once he fell asleep
and the other time I had to pull him by the ears to make him come!"
EXCESSIVE BADNESS PLAGUES THE
Bob Graham and
Ana Torres have been giving me headaches. This rotten
couple are the studio's notorious Fashion Rebels. Every week I
warn them to knock it off with the color-coordinated stuff,
but every week they keep sneaking into class wearing these
ridiculous matching outfits!
What is worse is
that other students encourage them to keep it up. I am
worried that the entire studio may end up defying me on my
prohibition against deliberately wearing matching outfits.
This is wrong.
It is wrong wrong wrong. It is very wrong.
Now in case
these people seem familiar, just three weeks ago I wrote
about them in the Newsletter.
Here is some of what I said at the time:
From Issue Two, SSQQ February Newsletter
click here to read
entire story about Bob and Ana
Who are these scary people?
Or, to paraphrase the Lone
Ranger, "Who are those masked men?"
For two straight years, there has been a very scary couple
that has REFUSED to take their masks off. This presents a
real problem for me. You see, many people who come to the
SSQQ party worry about people who don't take off their
To them, this goes straight to their deepest fears that REAL
MONSTERS DO ATTEND THIS PARTY. I refuse to confirm or deny
this allegation other than to say it is a distinct
possibility. Let me add this is a subject I prefer not to
write too much about for fear that it might affect
attendance. There have been mysterious disappearances over
the years. People come to the Party and then we never see
them again. I just tell them they met someone cute and have
better things to do than dance, but deep down I admit I
That said, I openly admit this
particular 2008 Monster couple (Chucky and the Spike-haired
Alien Babe) are flesh and blood human beings. But other
people didn't know this. Chucky and Spike certainly did
frighten a lot of people at this year's party. I got a lot
Actually, it is kind of ironic that
Ana Torres of all people gets "The Big Ugly" Award. What the
world doesn't realize is that inside her Monster Costume
lurks the face of a real beauty! When
it comes to 'inner beauty', someone surely had Ana in mind.
But Ana packs a lot of 'outer
beauty' as well.
That's right, Ana Torres is not only one of the
sweetest ladies I know, she is knockout pretty!
In my book, a woman this
beautiful who spends an entire evening looking gruesome and
repulsive two years in a row marks her as one heck of a neat
girl! So when you see me
hugging her as I am wont to do every time I see her, now you
know why I think Ana is so special!
And while I am giving out compliments, Bob is definitely one
of the nicest guys I know as well. He and Ana fit like a
glove with their smiles and warmth.
You might be surprised to learn that despite the fact that I
really both people, Bob and Ana are in BIG TROUBLE with me.
One week ago on Wednesday, January 28, these two characters
showed up for my Ghost Town class wearing Matching Green
outfits. Now, here's the deal. It is obvious the two have a
lot of affection for each other. I don't have a problem with
that. But when they wear Matching Color-Coordinated Outfits,
they cross a line. People who are lonely see how happy they
are and how obnoxiously cute they look together and they get
envious. That's right - Bob and Ana are guilty of flaunting
their happiness in front of an entire class (secretly, I
think they are getting back at all of us for not
appreciating them enough when they are ugly.)
So last week I gave them a warning - no more cute
color-coordinated outfits! Knock it off.
Imagine my consternation when they wore the exact same
obnoxious matching green outfits to the studio on Monday,
February 2. The nerve! So I chewed them out again! They
deserved to be chewed out!
Excessive cuteness is a serious fashion crime at SSQQ.
I figured two warnings should do it. You would thing a word
to the wise should be sufficient. Wrong! On Wednesday,
February 3, Bob and Ana were in my Ghost Town class. It was
a big night. There were over 200 people at the studio that
night! 50 of them were in my class. Fifty people is a lot of
people to keep track of. So I was a little preoccupied.
But then it happened. Twenty minutes into class Bob and Ana
made a big mistake - they stood next to each other. When I
saw them wearing color-coordinated Burgundy outfits, I
nearly went ballistic. The nerve!!! It didn't matter that
they both turned Barney-purple with embarrassment. That
ain't gonna get them off the hook. They were TOO CUTE!!
Shame on both of them!
You know, Once is an incident. And Twice is a coincidence.
But THREE TIMES IS DELIBERATE! They are both guilty of
deliberately being TOO CUTE! This burgundy incident was no
accident. Trust me. I have been around too long. I know when
people are being deliberately color-coordinated because I am
an expert. I am telling you they did it ON PURPOSE as a
shameful attention-getting device!
And I told Bob and Ana I was going to teach them a lesson
and write them up in the newsletter. Do not feel sorry for
them. Do not try to make them feel better. They are getting
what they deserve! This unacceptable behavior is tantamount
to publicly sticking their tongue out at me! Tsk Tsk!
So let this be a warning to Bob and Ana and any other
color-coordinated couples that this kind of behavior will
not be tolerated at the studio. Knock it off! From now on,
cute couples must wear un-matching outfits or expect to be
publicly called out.
It is hard enough to be lonely and see a couple together
that is so obviously happy together. But when they start
dress alike, that is TOO MUCH. And I have to tell you,
everyone in that room agreed with me. Bob and Ana had gone
too far. They were TOO CUTE FOR WORDS!
Let me explain
something. The SSQQ Color-Coordinated Award goes way
back in time. It originated back in the Eighties as a
way to acknowledge two total strangers who came dressed in
For example, on
Friday, March 6, Gail Tschirhart and Richard Abuzalaf showed
up for Beginning Western Swing wearing shirts that matched
perfectly. Aren't they adorable!!!
Just to show you
how SERIOUSLY we take this award, here is a pop quiz to test
your color knowledge. What color name most accurately
describes their shirts? Answer below.
01 atomic tangerine
02 burnt sienna
03 carrot orange
09 orange peel
11 persian orange
12 pink orange
As you can see,
we take this award very seriously. As you can see,
color-coordination is very powerful stuff. It takes
Two to Tango and Two to be Color-coordinated. One
person alone is no big deal, but two matching people stand
out in a crowd! This award was always meant to honor
people like Gail and Richard who accidentally looked great
together, not two trouble makers like Bob and Ana who go out
of their way to be attention-thiefs!
People go out of their way to say how adorable they look
together. Well, heck, they are cheating! It
isn't fair to wear matching outfits. It makes other
people feel less adorable.
Gail Tschirhart and Richard
Bob and Ana have committed
a very serious FASHION CRIME!
It is illegal for two people who already like each other to
deliberately come to the studio wearing matching outfits.
What is worse is that Bob and Ana's fashion crime wave has begun to
affect other people. Their badness is contagious! Look
how rotten they are. Deliberate Color-Coordination is breaking
out all over the studio! Pretty soon everyone will be wearing
Tangerine outfits like Gail and Richard! It won't be special
any more to give out the award!
All the proof you need is
right before you. That is Liana Waldberg wearing a matching
purple outfit with our Color Bandits. She is clearly infected
with a bad case of Color Cuteness. Look how happy she is!
She knows that when she matches our Bad Examples, she is much too
hot. Look at the grin on her face! Liana knows that in
the of presence of our notorious duo, she is irresistible.
That's not fair to other people. This is just getting
ridiculous. Liana is cute enough as it is. She gets
enough attention around here without having to cheat. It isn't
right for Liana to participate in this studio's fashion epidemic!
Let's face it. Thanks to our ringleaders, our studio has a
real problem on its hands. If you don't believe me, take a
good look at our final picture. Do you see my point now?
This has gone too far!
Don't you agree that Bob and Ana have to be stopped before this gets
any worse? They sure have a lot of nerve!
Look how happy they are. They make me so mad!
Patrick's Day Quiz ANSWERS
Erin Go Bragh!
You got 7/10 correct.
Good Score! Now go Challenge a
(Rick Archer’s Note:
I admit I guessed on every single question. I did okay. I think it
is because Disney’s “Darby O’Gill and the Little People” was my
favorite movie as a kid.)
1 - You were Incorrect
The correct answer: D All
of the above
Your answer: C Driving
the snakes out of Ireland
St. Patrick's Day is a
holiday honoring Patrick (389?-461?), the patron saint of Ireland,
also called the Apostle of Ireland. It is celebrated annually on
March 17, his feast day and the anniversary of his death. St.
Patrick was a missionary who worked to convert the people of Ireland
to Christianity; he was appointed successor to St. Palladius, first
bishop of Ireland, sometime after 431. His use of the three-leafed
shamrock to explain the doctrine of the Trinity led to its being
regarded as the Irish national symbol. He is also credited with
having driven the snakes out of Ireland.
2 - Correct!
The correct answer: B
Ireland's lush landscape
Your answer: B Ireland's
Green, the national color
of Ireland, symbolizes the Emerald Isle's lush landscape. A popular
tradition of St. Patrick's Day is to wear green clothing -- and for
reasons unknown, those not sporting green get pinched by those who
3 - Correct!
The correct answer: D
Your answer: D Boston
The first St. Patrick's
Day parade in the United States was held in 1737 in Boston --
organized by the Charitable Irish Society of Boston, the oldest
Irish society organization in the Americas (founded in 1737). More
than 100 U.S. cities now hold St. Patrick's Day parades and
festivals. New York City's parade, which began in 1762, is one of
the biggest. It marches up Fifth Avenue and traditionally stops at
St. Patrick's Cathedral.
4 - Correct!
The correct answer: B
Your answer: B Shoemaker
In Irish folklore, a
leprechaun (from the Old Irish "lobaircin," or "small bodied
fellow") is a mischievous little male fairy with magical powers who
has a hidden pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. A leprechaun
usually works as a shoemaker or cobbler. Leprechauns actually had no
relation to St. Patrick's Day until sometime after 1959, when Walt
Disney Studios released "Darby O'Gill and the Little People." The
film introduced America to a happy and funny leprechaun, rather
unlike the crabby little fairy of Irish folklore. The cheerful
leprechaun soon became a symbol of both St. Patrick's Day and
Ireland in general to American audiences.
5 - You were Incorrect
The correct answer: C
Your answer: B Turnips
In Ireland, St. Patrick's
Day is an important religious holiday celebrating the conversion of
the Irish to Christianity. Many enjoy a traditional meal that
includes colcannon -- boiled potatoes and cabbage mashed together
with butter. The day is also seen as a reprieve from the sober weeks
of Lent, and adults may drink a pint of ale (called "drowning the
shamrock") and allow their children some candy. Businesses are
closed, except for some restaurants and pubs. People attend church
services honoring St. Patrick and learn about his life. Many Irish
people wear sprigs of real shamrock and greet each other by saying,
"Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh," or "May the blessings of St.
Patrick be with you."
6 - Correct!
The correct answer: B
Your answer: B Little
The shamrock is from the
Irish "seamrog," meaning "little clover." It is the common name for
any of several trifoliate clovers native to Ireland. The shamrock is
the national symbol of Ireland -- most shamrocks, especially the
rare four-leaf clover, have been considered by the Irish as good
luck symbols since earliest times. Shamrocks or various
representations of the plant are worn by celebrants on St. Patrick's
Day. The hop clover is widely accepted as the original shamrock
picked by St. Patrick.
7 - Correct!
The correct answer: B
Your answer: B Sláinte!
On St. Patrick's Day, if
you are lucky enough to be having a tasty pint of stout or lager at
an Irish pub, the perfect toast would be "Sláinte!" (Irish for
"Cheers!" or "Toast!"). Otherwise you would be toasting with
"Sandwich!" ("Ceapaire!"), "Sweater!" ("Geansaí!") or "Computer!" ("Ríomhaire!").
Many Irish-themed pubs in the United States, just for the special
St. Patrick's Day holiday, go as far as serving green beer -- beer
with a few drops of green food coloring added.
8 - Correct!
The correct answer: A
Dyeing the Chicago River green for a day
Your answer: A Dyeing the
Chicago River green for a day
A popular St. Patrick's
tradition since 1962 has been dyeing the Chicago River green for a
day. The idea came to Stephen Bailey -- business manager of the
Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local Union #110 -- when he was
approached by a plumber whose coveralls were covered with green dye.
This dye, a perfect "Irish green" to Bailey's eye, was originally
used to detect the illegal dumping of sewage into the river. After
some experimentation and trial and error, Chicago now uses 40 pounds
of a vegetable-based, non-polluting green dye to turn its river
green. The Sears Tower antennas have been illuminated with green
lights for St. Paddy's Day since 1997.
9 - Incorrect
The correct answer: D
Your answer: B 1967
Baseball's Boston Red
Sox was the first team to play in green jerseys to mark St.
Patrick's Day in 2004 (their socks, however, stayed red). The "Luck
o' the Irish" must have been with them, for 2004 proved to be a
banner year for the Red Sox. Their 98 wins in the regular season
were followed by a history-making American League Championship
series, when they overcame a 3-0 deficit to the Yankees, beating
them in seven games. The Red Sox became the first team in Major
League Baseball history to recover from a 3-0 deficit. The pot of
gold was a Red Sox World Series championship -- their first in 86
10 - Correct!
The correct answer: C
Your answer: C Montserrat
The Caribbean island of
Montserrat -- along with the Republic of Ireland and the Canadian
province of Newfoundland and Labrador -- is one of the three places
in the world where St. Patrick's Day is an official public holiday.
In Montserrat, March 17 also commemorates the martyrdom of those who
died in a failed slave uprising in 1768, when African-Montserratian
slaves revolted against the island's Irish plantation owners.
Montserrat, the "Emerald Isle of the Caribbean," hosts a week-long
celebration of the St. Paddy's Day holiday.
AND THAT’S A WRAP FOR
THIS ISSUE! This issue was only 20 pages long. Thank you for
reading to the bottom, although I realize that probably only Conor
O'Muirgheasa and Diane Murrell made it this far. They wanted to be
sure some stupid Texas Boy like me didn’t beat ‘em at their own
And did Cher make it this
far? Very unlikely. She is still probably watching the Octomom
See y’all at the Irish
Western Party on Saturday!