April 2009
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Issue One

The April 2009 SSQQ Newsletter  - Issue One
Written by Rick Archer


The merger is complete. Houston's most famous dance teacher is joining forces with Houston's most famous dance studio.

I for one think the merger will work. You want to know why? Because Mario and I both want the same thing - to see as many people enjoying West Coast Swing as possible.

Do you know the other reason I think the merger will work? Because 80 of you went to bat and showed up on Monday, March 2, to send a powerful signal to Mario that you support his decision to come teach here. That was quite a show of hands. And feet too!


Starting Monday, March 30, Mario will begin teaching his Advanced Whip/WCS Dance class. The class will meet 4 Mondays 7-9 pm. As it stands, Mario expects to be there every Monday this month. Since this class is being taught by the brightest star in the sky, it makes sense that we give our Monday class its new name. You Martians are being upgraded to "Solar Whip".

And who is welcome to take the class? You decide. Take the first class. You have an hour to decide whether you belong or not. If you think you need to drop back a level, I will be teaching Martian Whip in the room right next to Mario. It is that easy. If Mario's class is over your head, then come see me.

Monday, March 30, is the dawn of Solar Whip. Don't miss it!


Ah, the Sleazy Bar Whip Party. The night when men are encouraged to grab women in socially-sanctioned misbehavior. What more could a boy ask for?
Why women put up with this I am not sure, but a part of me thinks they are secretly amused themselves. After all, it is kind of fun to be chased and desired. However, don't expect our ladies to admit to anything. Women have been winning this game for centuries by keeping their cards to themselves. Don't expect them to change now.

Saturday, April 25, 7-9 pm. (Register at the door)

Mario asked me if he could help. How long do you think it took me to accept that offer?
Mario said he would be happy to teach the infamous Sleazy Bar Whip Workshop right before the party on April 25. In fact, Mario grinned and said he would get a kick out of it.

I want to tell you something... the moment Mario said this, I starting wondering who I could get to teach in my place that night. I think it would be marvelous fun to see Marla roll her eyes and laugh at me trying to be sexy for an entire evening!
If my own first instincts are any indication, you are looking at the Sleaziest Whip Workshop in studio history. This is exactly the opportunity men with fast hands have been looking for. All I can says is, ladies, wear plenty of clothing. Put some socks in the right places. The guys will never know the difference.
Friday, April 24, 7-9 pm. (Register at the door)
"The Legend of the Houston Whip" is another crash course Mario will be teaching that same weekend.
For those of you who have heard of the Whip, but aren't quite sure what the deal is, here is a brief background.
The Whip is a sexy Swing partner dance that originated right here in the heart of Texas. Also known as "Push" in the Dallas area, the Whip is quite similar to the national dance known as "West Coast Swing". This is no surprise since in a way the Whip and West Coast Swing are long-lost brothers. They were both born in California, but separated at birth.

West Coast Swing originated out in California during World War II. The dance was born of necessity when two giant forces collided. Thanks to the war effort, the population of California doubled during World War II. By coincident, World War II took place at the height of the Big Band Swing Era.

There were a lot of kids who wanted to Swing Dance in their free time. Since it was impossible to double the size of the dance floors overnight, the Swing Kids figured out a way to make the space-guzzling Jitterbug go in a straight line. Ask me sometime and I will show you how Jitterbug and West Coast Swing have the exact same timing and footwork. I think you will be surprised!

Now you know how the New York East Coast Swing became the California West Coast Swing.

The Whip traces its roots to a bunch of Texas-born GI's who returned home from California after the long fight of World War II. After their return, the Whip was spawned in the dives, bars, honky-tonks, and western joints that surrounded the Texas oil fields and refineries back in the late 40's and early 50's.

The music played in these bars was Texas Blues. The thing to remember is that Swing music was fast. When the fast West Coast Swing hit the Texas Blues, the dance slowed down quite a bit. In addition, the raunchy blues music encouraged the women to move their bodies to the rhythms.

Now you know how the California West Coast Swing morphed into the Texas Whip.


In the Nineties, the West Coast Swing began to emerge in Houston. West Coast Swing has a lot going for it. For one thing, WCS works better to faster music. For another, the ladies enjoy the tricky footwork and the freedom of movement. The West Coast Swing is a prettier dance, more fluid, more graceful. The West Coast Swing also has the advantage of being a National Dance rather than a local and regional dance. West Coast Swing is danced throughout the USA as well as in Europe, Australia, and other parts of the world.
If you learn the Whip, you can only use it in Texas. Plus on certain parts of the Planet Mars.

Most people don't have the time or energy to learn two dances. Like VHS and Beta, one had to go. Guess which dance won?

That said, guys like Mario and I know something the rest of you don't - when the lights are low and the music is right, the Whip encourages women to move their bodies in ways that make strong men weak. Give me the West Coast Swing in the daytime, but give me the Whip in the darkness. You can rest assured it will be very dark at SSQQ the night of the party.

Mario suggested he teach a workshop on the Houston Whip as part of the SSQQ Sleazy Bar Whip Party Weekend. His two-hour Workshop will cover the history of the Whip, the evolution of the Whip, the woman's hip motion, and the men's double-resistance leads.

Friday through Sunday, April 24 - April 26

For several years now, Mario has been conducting weekend seminars known as the "Intensive".

During 12 hours spread out over three days, up to 20 couples receive a thorough education in a wide number of dance-related topics such as the fine points of leading, following, and connection, syncopations, musical Interpretation, music theory, and pattern selection to fit the music plus techniques that will separate you from the majority of dancers on the dance floor.

If that seems like a lot of material, now you know why it takes 12 hours to absorb it all. I can only assume the odd name "Intensive" means that it is intense.

As if the Intensive wasn't enough, Mario suggested that anyone participated in his Intensive be allowed to attend his Friday and Saturday Whip Workshops as well. Sure! Why not go all in?

There are religious retreats, business retreats, sports retreats, and personal growth retreats. Why not have a dance retreat? This is a marvelous opportunity to totally immerse yourself in dancing for over 20 hours during the SSQQ Whip Weekend. This is a chance to live and breathe dancing for three solid days.

Imagine the improvement you can make in such a short time. The biggest problem most people have is they take a class, go home, and forget it. Not this weekend. There's dancing after the Friday Workshop and of course the Sleazy Bar Party follows the Saturday workshop. On then you have Sunday to talk with Mario about what the next step is on the ladder to self-improvement.

I will be coordinating the Whip Weekend Intensive. I will be answering the questions and registering the participants. And if my wife has her way, I will even be participating myself. Talk about reversal of fortunes... can you imagine the amount of teasing I am setting myself up for?

Let me know if you are interested. dance@ssqq.com

I have listed a great of information about Mario's Intensive. You can read it all at this spot:


Last but not least is the party that makes me laugh and makes me smile. I will be sharing anecdotes about the April 25 Sleazy Bar Whip Party throughout the month, but for now I will keep it simple.

If Rick Archer tells you the Sleazy Bar Whip Party is a good thing, a lot of people usually take me at my word. For example, in our previous Newsletter, I told you the Irish Jig at the St. Patrick's Dance Party was going to be fun. I still have people thanking them for the head's up; the Irish Jig was wonderful fun!

I am telling you the Sleazy Bar Whip Party is a lot of fun.

Now what if Mario Robau tells you the Sleazy Bar Whip Party is a good thing? Then you know a lot of people are going to show up.

But what will happen if both Rick Archer and Mario Robau both tell you the Sleazy Bar Whip Party is the place to be? Then you might have a dance party with 200 people dancing themselves silly deep into the night. Could be interesting.




Saturday, March 28
9:15 - 11:30 pm $7 cover

Wear Red and Black or Watch your Back!!

7-9 pm Crash Courses
Register at the door; it goes very fast

SWING ACROBATICS - Paul (cpls only)

Music: Swing all night long in Room 1. Party DJ will be Steve Gabino.



There is one person at this studio that I will not allow to get lost in all my talk about Mario Robau. That person is my friend Sharon Shaw.

Sharon Shaw's legendary Western Waltz program begins anew in April 2009 on Wednesdays with Beginning Western Waltz, the first step in a five-month cycle.

Veteran SSQQ dancers know this story well, but we always have newcomers to the studio so let me tell Sharon's story again.

Sharon taught her first extended Western Waltz class back in April of 2000. In that year, Sharon had over 70 people sign up for Beginning Western Waltz in April. Due to the high energy of the class, naturally we scheduled a follow-up Intermediate class in May. However there was no drop-off! Not only did the same 70 people stick around, the class grew a little bit as experienced Waltz dancers joined in progress to share the fun. Soon the students started begging for more levels. Sharon and her longtime friend John Jones added an Advanced level in June. Then came Super-Advanced in July. That first year was a sensation.

In 2000, Sharon and John stopped at four levels, but when the same thing happened the following year, they found a way to add a fifth month of Western Waltz in 2001. At that point, the popularity of Sharon's class had grown so great that we had to actually begin limiting its size!

As far I am concerned, Western Waltz is its own reward. It is a graceful and flowing dance, the music is beautiful to listen to, and the women smile throughout the song. For a man, Waltz is not physically demanding at all, but it does engage the brain since there are important leads on practically every step of every pattern. And for the women, the styling of the arms and the turns put a premium on learning balance and technique. I wouldn't say Waltz is difficult, but it requires a lot of concentration.

What makes Sharon's Waltz class exceptionally fun is that many of the dancers stay after class to practice. Before you know, all that practice pays off - the entire room is wall to wall with beautiful Waltz couples swirling and twirling across the floor! As a result, many of the finest Waltz dancers in Houston claim they owe their skill to Sharon class!

Sharon's Five Month Western Waltz cycle in 2009 marks her tenth year of teaching the best Western Waltz in the entire city. You do not want to miss it.

By the way, Sharon's close friend John Jones passed away after a lengthy illness in July 2007. John was also my friend.

This is the perfect opportunity for me to remember John. Everyone at SSQQ owes John a huge debt because he was instrumental in helping Sharon create our Western Waltz program. I miss John a lot and I know Sharon does too along with a lot of other people in the dance community. If you would the story of John's contribution, please visit http://www.ssqq.com/stories/advent03.htm


Thanks to Mario's decision to join us, he set off a big chain reaction. There are all kinds of changes for the April Schedule.

First and foremost of course, Mario will take over for me on Mondays. My Martian Whip class will become Mario's Solar Whip class. That sets off a number of switches.

On Monday at 7, I will swap places with MG Anseman and teach his Martian Whip Technique class in April.

On Sunday at 7, MG will take my place teaching Martian Whip Technique.

On Sunday at 7, I will teach Intermediate Whip/West Coast Swing.

Patty Harrison and Joe Lachner will help MG with his Technique class on Sundays.

Jack Benard's Friday Martian Whip class will go on sabbatical for a while till we figure out how Mario's arrival affects the overall program.

Friday Hustle Alert! Since Mario will be teaching "The Legend of the Houston Whip" Crash Course on Friday, April 24, there will only be three Fridays available. So Scott Ladell has offered to teach a 3-Friday Advanced Hustle class in April. Yes, the 3-week tuition will be prorated.

Scott's move to Hustle sets up another round of musical chairs. I will take Scott's place in Friday Ghost Town in April. Jack Benard will take my place in Intermediate Western Swing on Fridays in April.


Now that Mario is joining us, I am not quite sure what we will do with Jack's Friday Night Martian Whip program. As I told Jack, we should give Friday Night Whip Dancing a rest in April and get adjusted to Mario.

Then we can make an educated guess what to do with Friday Night in May. When I told Cher Longoria this scenario, she commented, "Why don't you just ask everybody what they want to do on Fridays?"

Why not indeed.

Cher's point is that she is a member at this health spa that is always making announcements, but never bothers to ask its clients what they want to do. She wishes for once these people would interview some of the intelligent customers like her before making their sweeping changes.

With that in mind, I will take Cher's advice. WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO WITH FRIDAY NIGHT?

Make your suggestion to dance@ssqq.com All emails will be considered private. You will not see your email printed unless I expressly ask your permission to do.


Speaking of taking suggestions, here is an example.

From: T
Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2009 3:12 PM
To: 'SSQQ Newsletter'
Subject: Super Salsa

I went to class last Saturday and there was a big imbalance of guys to girls in the Adv 3 class.

So a couple of people talked me into staying in Dakota's new Saturday class, which was more balanced (in fact, a few more girls).

The class was rather complicated for me - I've only taken a couple or so of the Tues night class in recent months - and almost left, but ended up staying. I ended up liking it.

I may go again this Saturday, if that's O.K. with you guys. I definitely want to take it again.

I would like to take this opportunity to say again that I think all of your salsa instructors are excellent, particularly Martin (whom I know gets some grief on occasion) since he tries so hard to break down the details and fundamentals, and plays a fair amount of music for us to dance to. It is a pleasure to take classes with any/all of your teachers.

Which brings me to my last point - a group of us really liked the Rueda class last summer. But we cannot seem to get it together as far as continuing to practice unless we are coordinated via a class.

So, if there is ever an opportunity this year to work another Rueda class - or two - into the schedule, I think you would have enough students to make it worthwhile. Just a thought.

RICK ARCHER'S NOTE: In response to this letter, I decided to add Rueda to the schedule for May on Thursdays. However my decision is tentative. If you think this is a good move, drop me a line and tell me why. This will help me promote this unusual dance for next May.

Or if you want something else on Thursday, tell me. dance@ssqq.com


From: Marla
Sent: Friday, March 20, 2009 3:58 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: Cruise Talk

Cruise registrations have heated up this week! It must be the great Spring weather.

Barcelona Cruise

We are now up to 45 passengers headed to the Magic Triangle of the Western Mediterranean leaving from Barcelona, Spain.

We have eight new passengers sailing with us since the last posting.

Welcome Aboard to:

Jon Monteith
Linda Wade
Bruce Hanka
Mara Rivas
Mike Manuel
Heather Bell
Shannon Broadbent
Paul Broadbent

Reminder, we still have both a lady and a gentleman in need of a roommate to share an inside cabin. The group rate is $896 per person.

Royal Caribbean is currently running a special savings to Crown and Anchor members (past Royal Caribbean guests). I can apply the savings to this group cruise. Savings run from $65 to $150.

If you are still sitting on the fence, NOW is the time to join in on all the fun. We are getting dangerously close to 50 passengers. Once we hit this number, all kinds of wonderful things will happen. http://www.ssqq.com/travel/barcelona2009.htm

You may email or fax me (713 862 2550) your registration info: http://www.ssqq.com/travel/barcelona2009registration.htm


Boy, oh boy, this cruise is coming together quickly.

As of today, we have 64 passengers signed up for the cruise. . .

We had an odd coincidence on the last three cruise registrations. All three passengers had the same last name of Taylor and they weren't related!!!!!

Welcome Aboard, Trenton Taylor, Deborah Taylor, and Linda Costigan Taylor! I received all three registrations within minutes of each other. It was just too weird! Maybe it's Fate. Think about it.

This means if they fall in love and get married, they don't even have to change their name!

Well, if your name isn't Taylor and you still want to join the fun, please send me your registration info http://www.ssqq.com/travel/conquest2009registration.htm ASAP. You may email or fax me the info.

A $250 will be required to reserve your place.

I never know when my group space will be taken away, so don't wait too long.


Last week I published a difficult St. Patrick's trivia quiz. I got 7 out of 10 and felt wonderful!

In fact, I did so good that I dared our two true Irish people - Conor O'Muirgheasa and Diane Murrell - to see if they could beat me. Alas, I didn't hear from either of them. I can only assume that they knew when they were beat.
Then Marla dropped by my office. She got 9 out of 10 right.


Last week I asked this question about the pot cave: "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."

Here is the original email:

From: E
Sent: Sunday, March 08, 2009 12:00 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: pot cave

I love this story!!!

The thing that gets me no one thought of getting their own generator?? Heck, I have 2 of them and I'm just a carpenter.

I can't get over the irony. A smaller crime led busting the big crime. LOL!

thanks for your work

RICK ARCHER'S NOTE: After I posed the question about the generator, I received four replies from SSQQ's leading criminal minds. Here is what they said.)

1. Good question about the generator. I am guessing with the amount of electricity they used, it would have cost a small fortune to run their operation off a generator.

It is a fun story. It should be made into a movie.

2. Generators in caves would kill you from the fumes.

3. I don't think the generator would have worked out very well.

1.) Fuel - Needs gas and it's a lot less efficient than the local electric company at converting the thermal energy into electrical energy. Probably would have cost a lot more to generate the same amount of electricity.
2.) Emissions - creates a lot of fumes that would need to be vented or the guys would have been asphyxiated inside the cave. Plus plants don't really like polluted air.
3.) Noise - maybe an issue, maybe not but I would think loud noises might generate unwanted attention.

I'm surprised they were able to tap into a high voltage transmission line without killing themselves!

Should've used solar panels or those fiber-optic tubes that can transmit light - sorta like flexible skylights.

Nice story!

4. The same principle that makes learning to dance with 30 people at a large studio cheaper than learning the same material thru private lessons.....is exactly why electricity from a generator is easily 10-50 times more than what the power company can sell it to you. I worked in a power house for 6 years and the turbines that use natural gas or coal that are the size of a locomotive can do it so much cheaper and efficient than a small gasoline engine ....even with all the extra wiring and distribution costs. A lot of people were surprised during Hurricane Ike at just how costly those generators are to run.

(RICK ARCHER'S NOTE: Those are some good answers! I am beginning to wonder with all this criminal talent hanging around the studio, maybe we also have a few horticulturist's to help me with a certain side activity I am contemplating!)

Did you miss the story the first time? If so, Go read POT CAVE


I regret to inform everyone that Bob and Ana not only wore matching green outfits to the Saturday St. Patrick's Party, they also both wore purple outfits to Wednesday's class. Even more disturbing, there were a dozen Purple People Eaters running around the place thanks to the devious efforts of Ana. She is so bad! How dare she defy me on such an important issue!
I don't know what I am going to do. It is turning my hair white.



RICK ARCHER'S NOTE: Speaking of important issues, Long-time SSQQ Newsletter subscribers will recall my many long, drawn-out arguments about REFUNDS.

Believe it or not, we have not had one single REFUND argument in nearly four whole weeks! Isn't that amazing?

The last REFUND argument I had was covered in the February Newsletter Issue Two.

Well, here's another one. I know a lot of you love these arguments, particularly Patty Paddycake Harrision (aka Ms. Barcelona Baby) so you will be tickled pink to discover a really good Refund argument this week! Here goes.


On Saturday afternoon, March 7, Marla Archer came home at 6 pm and collapsed on the couch. She told me she had just been through the longest Refund argument of her life.

She said that no matter what she told the woman, the woman just stood and kept on arguing. Marla said the woman refused to respect our rules. Finally Marla said 'enough is enough. Email Rick Archer if you are unsatisfied with my decision'.

It is important to note that the Refund woman had no idea she was arguing with Marla, my wife.

That same day, the Refund woman took Marla's advice and emailed me.


From: S
Sent: Saturday, March 07, 2009 5:16 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: Refund

Hi Rick,

I'm emailing in regards to getting a refund for the Beginning Salsa class that I signed up for.

Unfortunately, some things came up that will keep me from attending the class. I went up to the studio this evening for my refund and was met with some less than nice service from one of the women in charge.
I had signed up for the Thursday night class, but since it was a parallel class to the Tuesday and Saturday one, I came tonight at 4:30pm instead (I called earlier in the week and was told this was fine to do). I have not attended any of the classes this week; thus, I felt it was suffice after reading your refund policy online to get my refund back this evening (again, it was the first week of classes and I had yet to attend anything). I've taken a Beginning Swing class at the SSQQ before and just loved it. Sadly, the costumer service tonight was beyond unsatisfactory. I'm disappointed and would like my refund.

Please let me know how I can go about this.


From: Rick Archer
Sent: Sunday, March 08, 2009 10:00 AM
To: S
Subject: RE: Refund

Our rules on this issue are specific. They are posted on the walls at the studio, on our web site, and on your receipt.

From the SSQQ Web Site:

"Once the One-Hour Grace Period on the First Night of class is over, no Refunds will be issued. This rule applies to Online and Walkin equally. No exceptions. If you do not wish to continue to take your class, your tuition will be placed in your account as "Credit".

You cannot cancel a class by email; only in person. However you may use email to postpone taking the class you signed up for to a later date. You may use email to switch to another class in the same month (until the end of the second week). You may use email to postpone your class to a later date. You can even transfer your class credit to another person in the form of a Gift Certificate."

Here is what our records show:

"Beginning Salsa Thursday $40.00 -- CC - Online"

This means you signed up for Thursday and you came in for your refund on Saturday. Saturday is two days after your 'first night' of class. The registrar was correct: You were two days late.

You say that our service was less than satisfactory. I am sure you say this because you are unhappy that they held their ground. In your situation, I was told you continued to argue even after the rule was spelled out for you.

Now I am sure you will say the same about me because I will now say the same thing: You were two days late.

THIS IS WHAT YOU WROTE: "I called earlier in the week and was told this was fine to do"

Let me explain. There are two people who answer the phone - Linda Cook and me. Since I did not tell you any such thing, that leaves Linda Cook.

I have CCed Ms. Cook on this issue. If she says to me that she told you this was 'fine to do', I will issue you a refund.

I will let you know what Ms. Cook says. Until then, your tuition will be credited to you, but not refunded.


From: Linda Cook
Sent: Sunday, March 08, 2009 10:45 AM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: Refund

When someone calls I tell them your rules for 1st night 1st hour. Perhaps she thought any 1st night of a parallel class.


From: S
Sent: Sunday, March 08, 2009 10:21 AM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: Refund

No, I did not argue with anyone last night, my friend.

The woman talked down to me as a child. I asked her to please treat me as an adult, and then listened to what she had to say. I think she was a bit frazzled due to their computers crashing and I simply received the backlash. I stayed there, smile still on my face, despite her unfriendly demeanor.

Yes, I did speak to you this week. When I say that you told me it was fine, I was referring to the fact that I was told it was fine to show up to the lessons any day this week (Tuesday, Thursday, and/or Saturday), despite the fact that I had signed up for the Thursday class, because these are parallel classes.

This being the case, I was under the impression that so long as I came to the studio in person during the first week, and asked for a refund within the first hour of class, I would be granted my refund. Again, I would love to take this class, however, unfortunately cannot due to some circumstances that came up.

Can you please just give me a refund so we can be done with this?

From: Rick Archer
Sent: Sunday, March 08, 2009 11:20 AM
To: S
Subject: RE: Refund

YOUR WORDS: "This being the case, I was under the impression that so long as I came to the studio in person during the first week, and asked for a refund within the first hour of class, I would be granted my refund."

I am not your friend. You have a lot of nerve telling my registrar that 'I called earlier in the week and was told this was fine to do'.

I most certainly did not give you permission to come get your refund after the class started.

And you wonder why my staff lost their patience with you - we don't appreciate being lied to.


From: S
Sent: Sunday, March 08, 2009 11:36 AM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: Refund

Let me explain this again.

I called earlier this week and was told I may attend the Tuesday, Thursday and/or Saturday class as they are parallel classes.

This being the case, I was under the impression I could attend any of these classes and so long as I asked for a refund within the first hour of class, I would receive one.

I do not like your tone with me about this matter. No one was lied to. It seems like there's been a huge breakdown in communication between you, me and your register. Please give me the refund and this matter can be over with.


From: S
Sent: Monday, March 09, 2009 6:21 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: Refund

Mr. Archer,

I have yet to hear back from you. Please let me know when I can expect for my money to be refunded. Thank you.


-----Original Message-----
From: H
Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 6:30 PM
To: SSQQ Newsletter
Subject: AWeber ssqqnewsletter: This Lead Unsubscribed:

This lead has unsubscribed by following the link at the bottom of one of your AWeber messages, and decided to provide comments.


I am unsubscribing solely because of your treatment of one of my friends, Ms. S.

She has told me she was treated in an extremely rude manner. I have taken a swing class and a few crash courses from y'all and had a great time.
However, I will never support what I thought was a great operation.

S is a extremely understanding person and can't imagine how anyone could be so rude to her.

There may have been a misunderstanding but no decent person would be so rude.


-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Wednesday, March 11, 2009 1:14 PM
To: H
Subject: refund issue

Mr. H

The issue of Refunds at my dance studio is a recurring headache that has no simple solution.

You once thought we had a fine operation, but now that you have heard Ms. S's version, you say that you will not be able to support our business again.

I am now contacting you with the thought of asking you to be the Judge of what is fair.

As the middle man in this event, you of course are aware there are TWO sides to every story.

I will now explain SSQQ's position.

Here is our Refund Rule:

Once the One-Hour Grace Period on the First Night of class is over, no Refunds will be issued. This rule applies to Online and Walkin equally. No exceptions. If you do not wish to continue to take your class, your tuition will be placed in your account as "Credit".

Ms. S signed up for a Thursday class. We have documentation backing this up. She walked in on Saturday demanding a refund. The answer was "NO".

She was two days late.

We told her we would credit her account. We gave her the option to take her original class or another class at a later date. She was unhappy with that decision. She wanted things her way.

There is an old saying, 'argue till you get what you want. Don't take NO for an answer.'

At that point, your friend began a very persistent argument with one of our registrars. She did not raise her voice and she did not use profanity, but she would not accept our decision either. I have witnesses in case you don't wish to take my word.

We told this lady her chance to get a refund had passed and that we would give her 'Credit' instead to be used at a later date. The Registrar said this to her FOUR TIMES. That was not the answer she wanted. So Ms. S stood at the desk and argued and argued and argued.

The registrar was polite the first two times, she was firm the third time, and she was blunt the fourth time. Then when the registrar said enough was enough, Ms. S turned around and emailed me to say she had been treated rudely.

Under the circumstances, what does she expect?

In addition, Ms. S told a fib. This didn't help matters any. She told the registrar that a person she had spoken with on the phone had promised her she could get a refund after the deadline. There are only two people who answer the phone - myself and Linda Cook. Since Ms. S's story changed as to the 'day' she spoke with someone on the phone, I did not know which day she actually called us.

I contacted Ms. Cook. Linda Cook said she never said this. I have the email from Ms. Cook if you doubt my word.

Ms. S then indicated by email it was ME she spoke to. Here are her own words:

"Yes, I did speak to you this week (INDICATING SHE SPOKE TO ME, RICK ARCHER). When I say that you told me it was fine, I was referring to the fact that I was told it was fine to show up to the lessons any day this week (Tuesday, Thursday, and/or Saturday), despite the fact that I had signed up for the Thursday class, because these are parallel classes. This being the case, I was under the impression that so long as I came to the studio in person during the first week, and asked for a refund within the first hour of class, I would be granted my refund. Again, I would love to take this class, however, unfortunately cannot due to some circumstances that came up."

I can guarantee this - I remember every phone conversation that involves word 'REFUND'. No person called me to ask for a refund last week.

Ms. S originally told the Registrar she had been told point-blank she could get her refund any night the first week. As you can read for yourself, in her email Ms. S changed her story to say she had been given the 'impression' that she could get the refund after the deadline.

When people change their stories, it only serves to make us more cynical and less trusting.

So it boils down to my word against her word. I would expect you to back your friend, but I think you will at least see we don't take these situations casually.

Ms. S is very persistent. On Sunday, March 8, I responded to Ms. S's email to say "NO" myself. Ms. S has responded three times since to disagree with me.

That means we have told her "NO" seven times.

Mr. H, this game of "wear down their resistance with your persistence" gets very old. Try playing this game sometime and see how much you enjoy it.

In her situation, she sees things strictly from her point of me. "Why can't they make an exception for me? I was confused. I misunderstood the rules."

What Ms. S doesn't know is that people have been running this same argument past us for over 30 years. Speaking for myself, I get very TIRED of arguing with people. I have written over a dozen articles on the subject of REFUNDS and not a single one of them did a bit of good other than make me more determined to hold my ground.

My studio gives service, but we will not be SERVILE. There is a difference. We do not feel obligated to spend our time arguing with people round and round and round. There has to be a realistic limit, don't you agree?

I have instructed my Staff to give the information politely on three occasions. After the third time they give the information, they have the right to terminate the conversation. I instruct my Staff to say that they are following the rules and the next step is for the customer to email Rick Archer, dance@ssqq.com

And that now it is time for the customer to stop the argument. I will not allow the customer to decide how much time we are going to invest in the argument. That limit is not going to be determined by the customer and we will not give in to what we think is an unreasonable demand. If basketball referees have the right to decide when an argument ends, then so we do. We don't expect the customer to agree with us, but we will not spend all day on an argument that is cut and dry like Ms. S.

Mind you, we are not discussing a critical issue. We are talking about whether $40 is refunded or becomes credit. Not once has Ms. S explained why it was so important to get that $40 back instead of simply waiting for a more convenient time.

You probably do not know this about me, but I am honest. I set up the rules, I post them on the wall, on the Internet, and on people's receipts.

And I play by those rules.

Is it asking too much to expect my clients to play by the rules?

One of the things I have discovered is that people change their minds.
People change their minds ALL THE TIME.

People enjoy dancing, they want to learn to dance, they like our teachers and they like our classes, it's great entertainment... But let's face it, the moment something more important comes along, dance classes are expendable.

People dump SSQQ Dance Classes in a flash. That's one of the reasons students like our studio. Our parallel classes give them more flexibility to squeeze SSQQ into their busy lives. Or they can finish their class at a later date.

For example:

From: BD
Sent: Tuesday, March 10, 2009 3:38 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: Credit

Rick, I signed up for the Tuesday night Salsa class and thoroughly enjoyed the first night. However, I am down with the flu today and cannot make Thursday or Saturday of this week either. Although the rest of the month is not a problem, I'm very concerned about falling behind by missing the second week (I'm not a quick study when it comes to dancing). Would it be possible to transfer my fees to next month? Thank you for your help.

I gave this woman permission to retake her class next month at no charge. SSQQ does as much as it can to allow people to time shift. But sometimes situations occur that make people think they will not really want to dance again for a long, long time. That is when a "Refund" becomes more important.

As I already said, dance classes are regrettably expendable. Dance classes are extremely vulnerable to whimsy because they are a "leisure time" activities. Unlike food, water, shelter and oxygen, no one needs dance classes. Nor is the dance business immune. People are notoriously self-centered when it comes to other people's time. For example, I have a dental hygienist who sends out TWO email reminders, a self-addressed postcard, and has her receptionist phone me as well! When I asked why the overkill, she rolled her eyes and said the no show rate for cleaning teeth - an optional activity - was two customers a day. Most people didn't even bother to call! Finally she decided to put her foot down and overwhelm people with reminders.

I assume you will agree dance classes are even more susceptible to no-shows. This means the moment something more important or more interesting comes along, dance classes get put on hold. And since during a month's time something is bound to happen, there will be times when life gets in the way of every student's dance career.

And you know what? - I don't have a problem with that!!

I have a problem when people expect us to jump through hoops the moment they change their mind.
I have a bigger problem when they suddenly think they deserve their money back.

SSQQ has a strong "No Refund" Rule for the simple reason that I will not allow my business to be disrupted EVERY TIME one of our 1,200 students a month CHANGES THEIR MIND.

We aren't like some dance studios that make you sign an expensive contract. Nor do we sell hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of dance packages. Nor do we strong-arm our students into taking more lessons.

We sell one-month dance classes at a very reasonable price. People say all the time, "Gosh, Rick, your classes are cheap!" Although we prefer the word "affordable", that's right, our classes are cheap.

In addition, the classes are also "expendable". And people do change their minds.

But with $35,000 in overhead per month, we intend to use our student's money (which we appreciate greatly, by the way) to help us stay in business whether these people show up or not.

Based on the rules we have established, when a student signs up for a dance class, they are making a non-verbal contract with us that in essence says:

"I acknowledge that no one at your business forced me or tricked me into coming here.

I think I am interested enough in dance to show up at this place 4 times in a 30-day period. I understand if I lose interest for any reason or something more important comes up, I can take the class over again at a later date.

But if I choose to stick around after one hour of my first class, I won't get my money back no matter how much I kick, scream or holler. That's the risk I take. I understand that a Deal is a Deal."

In conclusion, I have no doubt that the majority of the time Ms S is a very nice person, but in this situation she did not like our rules and did not accept responsibility that her time to get the Refund had passed. She then chose to argue in a very inappropriate way.

Do you still think SSQQ was wrong? If so, then why? And how would you handle this recurring problem?

Or do you think SSQQ had the right to handle things as we did?

By the way, here is another story on refunds at SSQQ if you care to research our position more thoroughly.


I now await your decision on what is right in this affair.

RICK ARCHER'S NOTE: No reply was sent.

AND THAT'S A WRAP FOR THIS ISSUE! This issue was only 20 pages long, same as last week!
Thank you for reading to the bottom.
Rick Archer



And thatís a Wrap for this issue!

Issue One Issue Two Issue Three Issue Four Issue Five
Issue Two

The March 2009 SSQQ Newsletter Issue Two
Written by Rick Archer

The April 2009 SSQQ Newsletter
Issue Two
Written by Rick Archer


After fielding about half a dozen complaints tonight and zero compliments, I have decided to make a couple tweaks to the April Friday night schedule.
No Adv Hustle on Fridays in April.
Scott goes back to teaching Ghost Town on Fridays in April.
I go back to teaching Intermediate Western Swing on Fridays with Cher Longoria.
Jack will teach a special 3-week Friday BEG WEST COAST SWING class to get people ready for the Sleazy Bar Whip Party on April 25.
Basically I had several people DEMAND a Beginning WCS class so they could get in on the fun at the Sleazy Bar Party. Now why didn't I think of that myself?

Friday through Sunday, April 24 - April 26

I first announced Mario's Intensive at 5 pm on Friday. When I got home at 11 pm, I had 9 registrations. We are already 25% full! Amazing.

If tonight's revelations are any indication of the level of interest, I think this event will be a sell-out.

I don't know about you, but I'm impressed!


It turns out that Joy Joy Al-Jazz-Dancer is a whiz at State Capitals. So am I. But in a head to head battle on Wednesday, Joy Joy beat this Boy Boy fair and square. Well, she only beat me by one. But she did win.
That's when I challenged her to World Capitals, something I am pretty good at.
So while I was slaving away Friday writing Refund articles and a 20 page Newsletter, Joy was memorizing World Capitals all day long! No fair!
Joy did really well too. She aced most of the World Capitals thanks to her sister Gina who knew exactly what countries to feed Joy.
Then I noticed that Gina had not asked for one African nation. Not one! The last time I checked, there are over 50 countries in Africa.
Now that's kind of suspicious.
I am pretty good at African capitals. I mentioned Angola, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Rwanda... Joy suddenly developed a keen interest in dancing! That's right... the moment Africa came up, Joy split the scene. Any time she came close to me for the rest of the night, all I had to do was name another African country and boom... back on the dance floor Joy went.
Hmm. It was only fun while she was winning.

Recently I wrote a story about an unusual coincidence that happened to me my Senior Year in high school.
Back when I was in high school, my Senior year was a non-stop catastrophe. I was dangerously close to messing up my chance to go to college. In a nutshell, I was an angry lonely kid who was very self-destructive.
Just as I was teetering on the edge of making some horrible mistakes, a parent whom I had admired from afar for nine years showed up out of nowhere to help me.
This lady and I had never talked before in our lives. However, a 20 minute talk in a parking lot literally changed the direction my life was headed.
I have to warn you - I had a miserable childhood. This story is deeply personal and full of many unflattering moments from my past.
I don't mind telling the truth for a simple reason - it has a happy ending. The story is very long (what's new?), but it also carries an important message about the Power of a Small Act of Kindness.
If you are curious, here it is:

And that's a wrap. No compliments on reading all the way to the end. It's only two pages!
See ya. Rick Archer

Issue One Issue Two Issue Three Issue Four Issue Five
Issue Three

The March 2009 SSQQ Newsletter Issue Three
Written by Rick Archer


The April 2009 SSQQ Newsletter
Issue Three

Written by Rick Archer





I have several who say they can't read the SSQQ Newsletter in the format I am using. 


So I am going to send the Newsletter in two formats and let you all tell me which one works the best. 


One format is HTML, the other is text.  Keep me posted!








It's official.  Mario Robau has begun to teach his Monday Night class.  And what an amazing start!

87 people signed up for last Monday's Solar Whip.  And at evening's end, there were smiles all around.  Mario had delivered as promised.  He worked variations off the Anchor Step for two hours... and everyone felt challenged in the process. 

Don't ask me how he managed to keep 87 people interested in the Anchor Step.  If you are that curious, there's always next Monday.

Meantime, Marla and I kept our minds off the lawsuit by watching two dance classes compete for the top spot.  In the past, Sharon Shaw's remarkable Western Waltz program has generated classes over 100 people. 

On Tuesday morning, Marla announced the race was over.  Sharon stood at 50.  Mario had 87. She was convinced that Mario had won.   I told her to hold her horses.  The fat lady hadn't sung yet!  

Marla asked me exactly who the fat lady was.  Oops.  Uh, gosh, let me get back to you on that!

This time it was Dewey and Truman all over.   All day Wednesday one by one people kept registering for Waltz.  By game time it was official.  Sharon had eked out a narrow victory with 92. 

Guess what?   It is all win-win.  This is one contest where nobody loses.  My hat is off to both talented individuals. 



After fielding about half a dozen complaints, I have decided to make a couple tweaks to the April Friday night schedule.

No Adv Hustle on Fridays in April.  Scott goes back to teaching Ghost Town on Fridays in April. 

I go back to teaching Intermediate Western Swing on Fridays with Cher Longoria.

Jack will teach a special 3-week Friday BEG WEST COAST SWING class to get people ready for the Sleazy Bar Whip Party on April 25. 

Basically I had several people ask for a Beginning WCS class so they could get in on the fun at the Sleazy Bar Party at the end of April.   We have 12 people signed up so far so the class is a definite "GO".


Friday through Sunday, April 24 - April 26

By the way, Mario's Intensive at the end of April is now 60% full.  If you are interested, check out the write-up. 




One of the most flattering things in the world is to find out someone has named something special after you.

One person who takes the Name Game seriously is Stephen Colbert from Comedy Central.  Stephen Colbert recently won a contest to have a new section of the International Space Station (the bathroom) named after him.

The name "Colbert" beat out NASA's four suggested options in the space agency's effort to have the public help name the addition. The new room will be launched later this year.  It will be attached on the edge of the Space Shuttle as a floating outhouse.

NASA's mistake was allowing write-ins.  Colbert urged viewers of his Comedy Central show, "The Colbert Report" to write in his name - and they complied, with 230,539 votes.  It wasn't even close. "Colbert" clobbered "Serenity", one of the NASA choices, by more than 40,000 votes.

NASA wasn't happy.  It immediately said it reserves the right to choose an appropriate name. Agency spokesman John Yembrick said NASA will decide in April, but will give top vote-getters "the most consideration."  

Heck, I say name it "Colbert".  Anyone who wants his name on an orbiting outhouse probably deserves the distinction.

From what I gather, entering Colbert's name in competitions has become something of a tradition for fans of his late-night TV show, "The Colbert Report".  Also named after him are a peregrine falcon in California, some nearly extinct bug plus a flavor of Ben and Jerry's ice-cream, "Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream".

Speaking of the Name Game,  Gina Nelson, sister of the infamous Joy Joy Al-Jazz Dancer who cheats at capitals, is cooking a belly dancer in her tummy as we speak.   That's right, a new member of the next generation of SSQQ Nation is on the way.  I am positive that kid is listening in dance class.  I see him shifting around at the same time I give my best footwork suggestions.  I have spoken with Gina repeatedly about perhaps paying half-price for the kiddo, but she steadfastly refuses to pay unless I can find him a partner. 

I thought this crack deserved an Octomom retort, but resisted the urge. 

So my thoughts turned instead to naming the kid.  I told Gina I would be more than happy to sponsor a Newsletter write-in campaign to invite suggestions on the new name.  Gina politely put the kibosh on that bright idea. 

Then I suggested she name the kid "Rick" and save herself some time.  Or "Rickie" if it's a girl.  Wouldn't that be a nice name?  

You might be surprised to know I have had my name used before.  Last year my next neighbor named his new cocker spaniel "Ricky Dog".  I guess you have to take your honors in this life where you can find them. 

I figured if Gina would just listen, it might be nice to upgrade on "Ricky Dog". 

Two days ago on Wednesday, I saw Gina waiting in line for water during Break.  Noting her belly had grown a bit, I was instantly reminded to start teasing her some more.  "Hey Gina, have you decided to name the kid after me yet?" 

Gina burst into smiles!   "Yes, Rick, I did.  I talked my husband into naming my son after you.  He's all for it.  I hope you are happy now!"

I grinned.  "Gee, that's great!  'Rick' is a great name.  Good move!  You can't go wrong!" 

That's when Gina's sister Joy Joy Al-Jazz Dancer snuck up from behind, kicked me in the butt and shouted "April Fool's, you Fool!"

I never saw it coming.  They got me good.

And that's a wrap.  Only 11 pages this week.

See ya.  Rick Archer

End of April 2009 SSQQ Newsletter Issue Three

Issue One Issue Two Issue Three Issue Four Issue Five
Issue Four

The March 2009 SSQQ Newsletter Issue Four
Written by Rick Archer

The April 2009 SSQQ Newsletter
Issue Four

Written by Rick Archer




SSQQ has been described over the years as naughty and nice.  Although most of the time we are Apple Pie Nice, April is the month where we lean towards the 'naughty' side.  Including the DIRTY BACHATA CRASH COURSE at the Salsa Party and the SLEAZY BAR WHIP CRASH COURSE at the Whip Party two weeks later, there will be some serious hip to hip contact in April.  Circle the dates now.



Beginning Salsa - Ulyses

Intermediate Alternate Exits - Teresa /Noe

Merengue Moves - Olga/ Luis

Beginning Cha-Cha - Martin

Dirty Bachata - Morris/Angelica (cpls only)


(each man must register with two ladies; no exceptions)


Please note Dakota is teaching a very interesting crash course - two girls for every guy.  Now there has been some confusion on this class.  The printed schedule says "Two Hombres".  Well, that's what happens when you let a guy who failed Spanish do the schedule. 

For the record, Dakota's class is "Two Senoritas for every Hombre", but if you want be perfectly correct, I suppose that could also be "Two Senoras" or "One Senora and One Senorita" or "One Senorita and one guy in drag".   Sorry, I don't know the Spanish on that one.  Whatever.

At the last Latin Party, Dakota put on a sizzling exhibition where he danced with two lovely ladies at the same time.  This of course looked like so much fun that the spectators asked if they could learn how to do it.  And now you know where this class came from!

As always, this party promises to be a huge bash.  Linda Cook had one reminder - bring food.  The more food, the later the dance will go.


More about this next week.


Friday through Sunday, April 24 - April 26

By the way, Mario's Intensive at the end of April is now 67% full.  If you are interested, check out the write-up. 



From: Marla  

Sent: Tuesday, April 07, 2009 4:02 PM

To: Marla Archer

Subject: 2009 SSQQ Conquest Cruise


Hello Everybody,


I have some terrific news pertaining to our Western Caribbean Cruise aboard Carnival's Conquest sailing on August 23rd, 2009.


After an hour of negotiations with Carnival during my recent vacation in Colorado, I was able to get Carnival to agree to modify our rates to a recent "Group Super Saver" program.  The new rates will reflect a $100 to $120 savings per person.


The new rates are as follows:


Inside Category 4B cabin is now $515 per person double occupancy.

                                           Oceanview Category 6B is now $635 per person double occupancy.

                                           Balcony Category 8B cabin is now $805 per person double occupancy.


In addition to the fabulous rate reduction, we have been given an extension on our group space until April 25th.  On April 26th our rates will return to the prevailing rate, SEE CURRENT RATES BELOW IN RED.


If you have a friend who has been sitting on the fence, now is the time for them to come onboard.  It won't get any better than this.  I guarantee you that!


As of Wednesday, April 1st, 2009 the PREVAILING RATES are as follows:

Inside Category 4B cabin is $665 per person.  $150 MORE

Oceanview Category 6B is now $785 per person  $150 MORE

Balcony Category 8B cabin is now $955 per person  $150 MORE


For all of you 64 passengers who have already signed up and supported our cruise, YES, you will be charged the lower cruise rate.


Although I prefer not to talk about my side of the business at length, I want you to know that I always have your best interests at heart.  This change of the Group Terms has cost me a whopping $1673. 

The easiest way to say 'thank you' is to keep going on the cruises.  Your support means a lot to me.

By the way, if we get two more people for Barcelona in September, we get a free cocktail party.  Airplane prices are as low as I have seen them in a long time.  So who will be our special "Cocktail Couple"?  


Marla Archer

SSQQ Dance Studio








RICK ARCHER'S NOTE:   One of my favorite movies is "Soapdish".  This was a 1991 comedy film which tells a backstage story of the cast and crew of a popular fictional television soap opera.  The film is a send up of the silly plots and characters on daytime dramas and of backstage shenanigans.  The plot twists were so unbelievable that you couldn't help but grin. 

Now we have another interesting legal case, certainly one far more amusing than my own, that seems taken from "Ripley's Believe it or Not".   This story is so bizarre that I am forced to admit that even the Fictional "Soapdish" script would be challenged to top it. 

Yes, I checked it out on the Internet.  I am absolutely stunned that it appears to be legitimate.

Contributed by Jim Dulaney

Apr.01, 2009

In Stuttgart, Germany, a court judge must decide on a case of honorable intentions in a situation where a man hired his neighbor to get his wife pregnant.

It seems that Demetrius Soupolos, 29, and his former beauty queen wife, Traute, wanted a child badly, but Demetrius was told by a doctor that he was sterile.

So, Soupolos, in a desperate attempt to calm his wife's protests, hired his neighbor, Frank Maus, 34, to impregnate her.  Since Maus was already married and the father of two children, plus looked very much like Soupolos to boot, the plan seemed good.

Soupolos paid Maus $2,500 for the job.  For three evenings a week for the next six months, Maus tried desperately, a total of 72 different times, to impregnate Traute.


When his own wife objected, Maus explained, "I don't like this any more than you. I'm simply doing it for the money. Try and understand."

When Traute failed to get pregnant after six months, however, Soupolos was not very understanding.  He insisted that Maus have a medical examination.

The doctor's announcement that Maus was also sterile shocked everyone except his wife, who was now forced to confess that Maus was not the real father of their two children.

Now Soupolos is suing Maus for breach of contract in an effort to get his money back, but Maus refuses to give it up because he said he did not guarantee conception, but only that he would give an honest effort.



This month, Sharon (Crawford) Shaw has another enormous Western Waltz class.  There are a hundred people crammed into Room One from one wall to the next.   However I haven't heard any complaints.  They appear to love every minute of Sharon's class. 


On Friday, April 17, thanks to a visit from a former SSQQ celebrity, I have decided to have a special Western Waltz night here at SSQQ.   Every seventh song will be a Western Waltz.  You have my promise on that.




From: Bill Stumph

Sent: Sunday, March 29, 2009 9:45 PM

To: dance@ssqq.com

Subject: Visit Friday, April 17


Hi Rick!!


My lovely wife Diane (Huber) and I will be in Houston and would like to come by the studio for Practice Night on Friday, April 17.  We are hoping you will be there so that we can say Hi and catch up on the last 17 years or so.  Will you be at the studio that night?


We still live in San Diego and are still dancing.  Hope to see you!  Let us know.


Bill Stumph







Long ago, back in the days of the Winchester Club, Gilley's and "Urban Cowboy", Bill Stumph was the undisputed Waltz King here at the studio.  We are talking about 1981.


Bill was way ahead of the rest of us guys and that includes me.  We had no idea of the awesome effect that dancing a Waltz had on women.  There were no Western Waltz dance classes in those days.  Bill must have taken a Ballroom Waltz class or something behind our backs and figured out how to adapt it to the Western floors. 


There was no denying his success.  Women pestered Bill all night long for a Waltz.   We would have a party.  All night long women would ask me when the next Waltz was coming on.  They would announce to me that they were "Waltz girl number six" on Bill's dance card.  What a racket!  The seriousness in these women's eyes made me realize Bill was really on to something.  In my idle moments, I wondered if he was charging for each dance.  Maybe I could get a cut.  Play some extra Waltzes, get a kickback.


You know how you say to yourself, "If I only knew back then what I know today?!"  Such a lament!   Gee whiz, Bill cleaned up with his Waltz ability.  He only knew a few steps, but that still put him miles ahead of me and everyone else.  Bill is a pretty nice guy, so I think he will forgive me for saying this, but I don't he knew any super-duper Waltz patterns to compare with Sharon Shaw's modern day course.   I think "Crossovers" was his biggest go-to move.  But that was enough to put him way ahead of the rest of us stiffs.

It didn't matter than Bill's Waltz moves were Intermediate at best because the rest of us were too stupid to even learn the basic step.  It's like the old joke about the two men in the tent with the growling bear outside.  As one man puts on his shoes, the other guy says, "What are you doing?  You can't outrun a bear!"  "Maybe not, but all I have to do is outrun you!"


Bill was the first guy I ever met who understood that all women are transformed into Cinderella at the Ball whenever a Waltz comes on.  Women absolutely love to Waltz and they are helpless to resist the Mythology!

I was so amused by Bill's prowess on the dance floor that I later wrote a story about him on the web site.  That is when I named Bill the "The Waltz King".   You guys in particular should go read the story!   It will definitely help you with your love life.




Another man who was pretty famous at SSQQ for his Waltz dancing was JOHN JONES.


In the mid-Nineties, a friend of Sharon and mine named John Jones began to study the Western Waltz in earnest.  Thanks to a fledgling new industry known as "dance tapes", John ordered Western Waltz videotapes from around the country.  Every Wednesday night John would practice his new moves with his wife Mary down in Room Three. 

John quickly became the greatest Waltzer in the history of SSQQ.   He was more graceful and knew more patterns than any man in studio history.   However, John was a complicated guy.  He never danced the Waltz on a social basis like his counterpart Bill Stumph.  Bill clearly used the Waltz in the same practical way the Three Musketeers used their swords.  Bill enjoyed the attention of the Fair Sex and realized the Waltz was the perfect vehicle to gain an advantage.  John Jones, however, might dance with Sharon and Mary and no one else.   John wasn't shy, but he was kind of a loner.


That didn't keep the rest of us from noting how good John was.  Whenever I would go to the drink room, I would see two or three people lingering in the doorway to watch in awe as John and Mary danced around the floor in Room 3.  Mary of course looked like Ginger Rogers.  What amazing dancers John and Mary were and what a lovely dance!  


So many people asked John Jones about where he had learned so many awesome moves that he decided to suggest to his friend Sharon that she teach a course.   And that is how Sharon (Crawford) Shaw's wonderful Western Waltz program got its start.  Sharon will be the first to tell you that John deserves much of the credit.  John Jones was the inspiration!


Sad to say, John passed away a couple years ago.  He was the toughest guy I ever met.  We are all in great debt to John for helping Sharon create the SSQQ Western Waltz program.  I miss him and I know Sharon does too.  To this day I think about him whenever I dance a Waltz at the studio.



Today thanks to Bill Stumph, John Jones, and Sharon Shaw, today's SSQQ Western Waltz program is enormous.  That is quite a legacy. 


So who will be the next SSQQ Waltz King?  Drop by Friday, April 17, and decide for yourself.




In last week's Newsletter, I reported that I have a couple people who say they can't read the SSQQ Newsletter in the format I am using. 


For example, a lady named Debra with an 'oplink.com' email address wrote this:


"I can't read this one either. I wanted to know about Mario's classes."


<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN"


<html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">




<div><font face="Arial" size="2">The March 2009 SSQQ Newsletter<br /> Issue One<br /> Written by Rick Archer</font></div> <div><font face="Arial" size="2"></font>&nbsp;</div> <div><font face="Arial" size="2">MARCH SSQQ DANCE SCHEDULE <br /> </font><a href="http://clicks.aweber.com/y/ct/?l=NFKVZ&m=1ZJzWAtXR64iI9&b=aYDr_.ghFmUcSIWvMrRLXw"><font

face="Arial" size="2">http://www.ssqq.com/ssqq/schedule.htm</font></a><br


<font size="2"><font face="Arial">............</font></font></div>"



So I sent out two Newsletters and asked people if they could read both and which one was better. 

I would estimate thirty people responded to my experiment.  All thirty people said they could read both.   Most people said either one was fine.

Of the people who did express a preference, HTML was chosen by about 60%.  So the winner of the Newsletter Format election is HTML.   Ho hum.  Not quite as exciting as the Obama-McCain race, was it?


Thank you for your help.





-----Original Message-----

From: Maggi Dodds

Sent: Saturday, January 31, 2009 5:49 PM

To: Rick Archer

Subject: Lost and Found


Rick, what do you think about a note in the newsletter about all of the clothes that are in the closet and under the counters there at the studio to be laid out on a table for one week and then whatever isn't

claimed then will be donated to the Star of Hope Women's and Children's Shelter.  Fathers stay there also with their children so they can use any kind of clothing articles.  If people would like to bring in extra used clothing, I would be happy to deliver that to the shelter also.  It was just a thought so the closets can be cleaned out.


RICK ARCHER'S NOTE: This is a marvelous idea.  We will place everything on a table in Room One.  It will remain there for one week.  Come take a look.  Whatever isn't claimed will go. 


Please note you can bring some old clothes of your own.  Put them in a cardboard box and set them under the table for distribution.


One more thing:  thank Maggi for having the initiative to think of something this practical.  She is a dear soul.


Contributed by Jim Dulaney

Oxymoron: A figure of speech in which incongruous or contradictory terms appear side by side; a compressed paradox.  Adjective: oxymoronic.

Top 45 Oxymorons!

45. Act naturally

44. Found missing

43. Resident alien

42. Advanced BASIC

41. Genuine imitation

40. Airline food

39. Good grief

38. Same difference

37. Almost exactly

36. Government organization

35. Sanitary landfill

34. Alone together

33. Legally drunk

32. Silent scream

31. Living dead

30. Small crowd

29. Business ethics

28. Soft rock

27. Butt Head

26. Military Intelligence

25. Software documentation

24. New classic

23. Sweet sorrow

22. Childproof

21. "Now, then ..."

20. Synthetic natural gas

19. Passive aggression

18. Taped live

17. Clearly misunderstood

16. Peace force

15. Extinct Life

14. Temporary tax increase

13. Computer jock

12. Plastic glasses

11. Terribly pleased

10. Computer security

9. Political science

8. Tight slacks

7. Definite maybe

6. Pretty ugly

5. Twelve-ounce pound cake

4. Diet ice cream

3. Working vacation

2. Exact estimate

1. Short SSQQ Newsletter




By Ari B. Bloomekatz and Kenneth R. Weiss April 6, 2009

Alex Da Silva, a salsa dance instructor and choreographer for Fox's "So You Think You Can Dance," was arrested Saturday on suspicion of sexually assaulting four of his students, according to a statement from the Los Angeles Police Department.

Da Silva, 41, is accused of assaulting the students in his two homes in the San Fernando Valley over the last six years, police said. He is being held in lieu of $3.8 million bail.

Alex Da Silva, of 'So You Think You Can Dance,' accused of rape. Authorities said the four victims were all students of Da Silva at the time of the assaults.

"The victims allege that he lured them to his homes in North Hollywood and Van Nuys," the statement said. "He then used a ruse to get them into his bedroom, where he raped them."

Da Silva won the World Salsa Championships in 2002 and 2007 and teaches at the Edge Performing Arts Center in Hollywood and the Mayan club in downtown Los Angeles, police said. Because Da Silva is a well-known figure in the salsa and dance communities, news of his arrest traveled quickly.

"It's big news in the salsa scene," Darrell Alatorre, owner of Mama Juana's restaurant and dance club in Studio City, said Sunday. "Everybody knows who Alex Da Silva is if you dance salsa regularly. He really was respected. That's the shock you're going to hear." Alatorre said Da Silva taught at his club for about five years before he left about five months ago. Alatorre said Da Silva didn't always let him know if he needed to miss a class and would send a sub-par substitute.

Alatorre said Da Silva carried his head high "because he's the world champion." He would often be seen teaching celebrities he had brought to the class. "The girls all knew him and the girls all talked to him. He was a guy who didn't really have to go after girls," Alatorre said. "That's just the type of guy he is, he's well-known in the scene," he said.

Vicky Ngo, 33, a psychologist who lives in Los Angeles, said news of Da Silva's arrest was "scary." Ngo took about four lessons from Da Silva a few years ago and said "he's pretty big in the [salsa] community." Anyone with information about possible assaults involving Da Silva is urged to call Van Nuys detectives.

(RICK ARCHER:  As a rule, dance teachers are a law-abiding bunch.  There was some guy up in Conroe who impersonated a famous former dance instructor in order to get a job.  He was convicted in 2008 of carrying on a five-year relationship with an underage dance student.

Other than that, I have never heard much in the way of criminal behavior among dancer instructors.  Still, there are bad eggs everywhere.  The thing I don't get about the story above is why this man would use force.  The story indicates he was attractive enough to do things the right way.)



From: Frank Ybarra [mailto:fybarra@usa.net]

Sent: Friday, February 27, 2009 11:15 PM

To: SSQQ Newsletter

Subject:  Elizabeth



I have some very sad news.  I felt I should tell you, because your classes were the start of it all.  My darling wife Elizabeth passed away three weeks ago.  We are both in our sixties, but dancing kept us young at heart and active.  I met Liz there in the C/W classes and just fell in love with her.  We married and have had the best five (almost six) years of my life.  She and I just clicked.  She was my love, my friend, and the absolute best wife a man could ever ask for. 

I tell you something.  What we learned there wasn't wasted.  We traveled extensively until about three months, ago when her illness just dominated our time.  But we made it a point to dance in every new place we went to.  That became our little mantra.  "We must dance at least once here".  And, boy did we dance, occasionally in some very strange places and towns.  It was so much fun.  I'm not that good a dancer, as you guys surely know.  You taught me to dance a little.  She taught me to enjoy it a lot.  Don't get me wrong, I tried very hard to remember our lessons.  My feet are like bricks, and my head is twice as hard.  But like Liz always told me, we'll just keep doing it until we get it right or we get tired.  Either way, it was a lot of fun and she was such a good sport to put up with me. Always had a smile for me, so pretty.  We came back here for a class from time to time.  We really liked your school. She always wished we had more time to take more lessons.


I took her to Lexington Kentucky to rest in her family plot. I will have a memorial service for her on March 15th here in Houston.  There will be snacks and a little music.  A chance for friends and family to share a little time with all the wonderful memories that this great woman left all of us.  She will be missed.


The Medical Center is starting the "Dr. Elizabeth Eaton Fellowship" for interns, I'm not absolutely sure as to that title, but it will be something along those lines.  I know this is not the kind of story for your newsletter, but consider it between friends.  I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you and your staff.  You are all talented, gifted, kind people. I will always have a special place in my heart for all of you. You started it all.  


Thanks again, Frank Ybarra      


(RICK ARCHER'S NOTE: Frank and Elizabeth met at SSQQ in 2004.  They were married in June 2005.  Last year, Frank sent me a very moving story about his return to Vietnam.  He and Elizabeth retraced some of his steps from the war.  It was tough on him to relive some of the memories, but he said he cherished the experience.


There is a bit of mystery surrounding Frank's wife Elizabeth.  Apparently she was very humble.  I really liked her.  Elizabeth had a real spark.  I could tell she was very bright.  Whenever I got nosy, she always told me she was a librarian.  So each week I would ask her some stupid book question in class.  She always answered with a smile and seemed knowledgeable.


Then Frank's story mentioned the "Dr. Elizabeth Eaton Fellowship for interns".  That's when I knew I had been had.  Elizabeth was obviously an extremely talented physician!


I don't know about you, but that was an incredibly moving letter that Frank wrote about his love for his wife Elizabeth.  It is very obvious that the time they did get to spend together was a wonderful experience.  Very sad and very beautiful.)                                                                                                                       




From:  Andy Wright [mailto:Andy.Wright@lyondellbasell.com]

Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 4:44 PM

To: Rick Archer

Subject: Bayou City playing for dances in May




Our band is playing a couple of dances in May that I wanted to let you know about in case your students would like to come:

"         Friday, May 15 - St. Luke's United Methodist Church - Armed Forces Day dance - 7:30 to 10:30 - $10 or $15 per person (not sure of exact admission price)

"         Saturday, May 30 - Friendswood United Methodist Church - 5th Saturday dance - 7:30 to 10:30 - $10 or $15 per person (not sure of exact admission price)



One of the most flattering things in the world is to find out someone has named something special after you.

In last week's Newsletter, I reported that I was the victim of a cruel practical joke.  To refresh your memory:

"Speaking of the Name Game,  Gina Nelson, sister of the infamous Joy Joy Al-Jazz Dancer who cheats at capitals, is cooking a belly dancer in her tummy as we speak.   That's right, a new member of the next generation of SSQQ Nation is on the way.  I am positive that kid is listening in dance class.  I see him shifting around at the same time I give my best footwork suggestions.  I have spoken with Gina repeatedly about perhaps paying half-price for the kiddo, but she steadfastly refuses to pay unless I can find him a partner. 

I thought this crack deserved an Octomom retort, but resisted the urge. 

So my thoughts turned instead to naming the kid.  I told Gina I would be more than happy to sponsor a Newsletter write-in campaign to invite suggestions on the new name.  Gina politely put the kibosh on that bright idea. 

Then I suggested she name the kid "Rick" and save herself some time.  Or "Rickie" if it's a girl.  Wouldn't that be a nice name?  

You might be surprised to know I have had my name used before.  Last year my next neighbor named his new cocker spaniel "Ricky Dog".  I guess you have to take your honors in this life where you can find them. 

I figured if Gina would just listen to me, it might a nice upgrade on "Ricky Dog". 

Two days ago on Wednesday, I saw Gina waiting in line for water during Break.  Noting her belly had grown a bit, I was instantly reminded to start teasing her some more.  "Hey Gina, have you decided to name the kid after me yet?" 

Gina burst into smiles!   "Yes, Rick, I did.  I talked my husband into naming my son after you.  He's all for it.  I hope you are happy now!"

I grinned.  "Gee, that's great!  'Rick' is a great name.  Good move!  You can't go wrong!" 

That's when Gina's sister Joy Joy Al-Jazz Dancer snuck up from behind, kicked me in the butt and shouted "April Fool's, you Fool!"

I never saw it coming.  They got me good."

It is with mixed feelings that I now report on an unsettling development from the past week.  SSQQ Newsletter readers were so amused by my story that they have begun to stop Gina and ask her "how is Little Ricky doing today?"

Just in case you aren't as old as dirt like I am, back in 1952 the entire nation was obsessed with the birth of "Little Ricky" on the "I Love Lucy Show".   Noting Lucille Ball's real life pregnancy, the show's writers spun off one script after another involving Ricky Ricardo's son-to-be Little Ricky.  It didn't matter to the writers if Lucy's baby was a boy or a girl in real life.  As far as the show was concerned they were going to have a boy regardless (fortunately they did end up having a boy).   Soon the watch for "Little Ricky" became a national pastime unrivaled until the Obamas, our nation's current soap opera, decided to search for a dog.

Unfortunately last Friday I think Gina was taken a little off-guard by the sudden interest in her own "Little Ricky".  Alas, I haven't seen her in a week!

Do me a favor... no more "Little Ricky" jokes for a while.  I miss Gina. 


Gus and Fran were married on March 21.  Unfortunately Marla and I were out of town, so I don't know much about the wedding and I don't any pictures to share.  Maybe Gus and Fran will send me some pictures when they get the chance.

In the meantime, I think they are wonderful wonderful people and I am super-happy for both!


Gerry and Amy were married on March 28.  Unfortunately my camera stopped working.  So I used OJ Bowman's camera... but she hasn't sent me the pictures yet.   So your intrepid reporter is feeling more insipid than intrepid.  As soon as I get the pictures, we will have a good story!

In the meantime, I think they are wonderful wonderful people and I am super-happy for both!



-----Original Message-----

From: George Parker

Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 11:05 AM

To: dance@ssqq.com

Subject: add another notch to SSQQ's cupid arrow


Hey Rick & Linda & Jamie,


just thought ya'll would want to here about another couple that met at SSQQ & are now engaged to be married.  Adam Lathrop & Renee' Landry are the happy couple.  Adam is a friend & co-worker who I talked into going to SSQQ shortly after he moved to Houston.  He & Renee' met the second night he was there.  Adam asked for Renee's hand in marriage this last weekend at a hill country vineyard north of Austin.  They are still working on the date.



PS - here is a letter about the engagement from Adam.

" A little over two and a half years ago I had recently accepted a new job in Houston with a large engineering firm. Shortly after I started work I befriended a tall MacGyver resembling fellow by the name of George Parker.

He was a great friend and encouraged me to join the local dance scene. I have to say I was slightly taken back at first but knew I enjoyed learning and the proper technique in country western dancing only seemed natural to learn in Texas. So after a month of hounding me I finally gave in and joined up at the best little dance studio this side of the Mason Dixon. The first class seemed fun and everyone was very friendly. A month came and went and I found myself intrigued by all the technicality of proper positioning and foot work, Second class here I come!!! By this time it was early November and the first class of the month was behind me. I didn't know at the time but there was a certain dark haired amazingly beautiful woman that had been coming to class with an old double left footed friend.

The two of them had been taking classes on other nights and it just so happened that on the second Wednesday class of the month their schedules aligned with mine. As far as I was concerned this night was unlike any other. I was eager to learn more about two step and eager as well to have Linda and Jaime spin me around the floor in a blur of arms and legs akimbo!

I had showed up a little early checked in and walked through the dimly lit hall of destiny. I entered the main room and surveyed the couches, as they always were so very comfortable and reminded me of my grandmothers back home. It was then that my heart literally skipped! In my quick scanning of the couches my eyes fell upon an absolutely gorgeous woman with a red knee length skirt, tan turtleneck top and her hair pulled back into a headache inducing bun. Nervous and honestly quiet weak at the knees I wobbled with spaghetti legs in tow to the bathroom to collect my thoughts and compose a quick a pep talk. Pep talk firmly in pocket I exited the bathroom head high and chest out! Had I been born a bird at that point I would have been a peacock because buddy the show feathers were out!! I walked ever so gracefully toward the couch where this mystery angel happens to have fallen. I'm not sure how I mustered the courage or even if my first words to her were completely audible at all but before I knew it conversation had been started and the memories had begun. Class soon started and I learned absolutely nothing except how not to lose your lunch when Jaime and Linda used you as a spin trainer for other persons in the group. You see my head was still in the clouds reliving the encounter I had just had with the angel but I digress. Dinner and pride intact, class soon took its first break and I happen to walk up right behind the angel again. Imagine my excitement as well when I noticed that the tightly kept bun (very librarian-esque if you ask me) was now gone and replaced by beautiful long locks of wavy brown hair. As break carried on I danced with said angel for what seemed like only seconds. I was keeping my cool very well. Some other men had taken the angel (who at this point I had realized was in fact a real woman and not an imaginative figure) out on the floor.

I spoke with my good friend George whose wisdom was beyond measure! I was on edge with anticipation with what words he might utter that would help my situation...."be cool" he says. Wow! I thought wiser words might never have been spoken. Break ended and for the next couple weeks the angel and I courted, slowly growing on each other. For the next two and a half years we danced, we laughed, we loved we fought and I lost. Through it all though, we stayed true to each other. The Angel I've spoken of so dearly is in fact my dear Renee. The love of my life and keeper of my heart, that angel will now soon be my wife and I couldn't be happier with how everything has turned out. I look back on all the decisions in my life that lead me to her and one always stands out above the rest.

Had it not been for SSQQ's top recruiter (George "The Dancing Queen" Parker) or the wonderful staff there at SSQQ I would never have met my Boo. I would like to send my sincerest of thanks to everyone there at the studio especially Rick for opening the studio and Jaime and Linda for making every class so much fun. You all hold a special place in both Renee and my hearts.


(RICK ARCHER'S NOTE: Isn't that a great story!  Many thanks to Adam, a modern-day Cyrano de Bergerac to be sure, for writing such an entertaining account on being smitten.  If his engineering career ever wavers, I see a future in romantic fiction.

I just have to add one thing... did your eyes perk up like mine did when you saw the passage 'George "The Dancing Queen" Parker'?   Wouldn't you love for me to delve into that one!)


(RICK ARCHER'S NOTE: George Parker is currently in dance exile.  George is one of our absolute top Western dancers.  After Becky Bratton was promoted to instructor, she asked George to be her assistant.  Then after they would dance... and dance... and dance.  For the latter part of 2008, every Wednesday and Friday, George and Becky Bratton would burn up the floors dancing the Western Swing. All the girls were mad because they wanted to dance with George too. 

Then suddenly none of the girls got to dance with George.  He was sent to Chicago by his company Fluor on a major building project on a six-month project. 

So what did George decide to do with his free evenings?  Take dance classes, of course! 
Here is an account of his adventures.   I hate to say this, but reading between the lines, oh my gosh, I am super-worried that George might be learning to line dance!   I am very suspicious.)

-----Original Message-----

From: George Parker

Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 11:51 AM

To: dance@ssqq.com

Subject: Hey from George Parker



Hey Rick,


Congratulations on getting Mario on your staff at the studio.  I've heard his name a bunch up here.  He's like a god to the really advanced dancers I've met.  I've kept in touch with a few people & it sounds like things are going well at the studio despite the current financial problems in our nation's economy.  That's no surprise to me.  SSQQ is a special place.

I've become a regular member of two studios up here.  Neither one comes close to having the warm friendly feel that SSQQ has. 

I do miss it . . .

the creaky floors, the smell of popcorn, the couches that swallow you up when you sit in them, your corny jokes, random male screams coming from Daryl's room, people smiling & having a good time. 

Anyway.  The project I'm on has cut out all overtime.  This gives me lots of free time.  Hence the double studio attendance along with two nights a week at the club.

I've been taking Hustle & West Coast on Tuesdays and Double-two on Wednesdays.  Fridays & Saturdays are club night.  Got in with a group that really likes to "hit it hard" on the floor between all the line dancing sets.  I had to start from the beginning at both studios.  Tried to keep a low profile but they figured out real quick I'd been exposed to this stuff.  The West Coast instructor has been trying to fix my "Texas Tug" as she calls it.  According to her, Texans have too strong of a lead.  

I've been working hard at following her instructions.  The therapy seems to be working 'cause last night she actually gave me a compliment. 

So that's about it.  One of these days I'll get back to Houston for good.  When I do you'll be sure to see me at SSQQ.  Oh . . . and tell Holly I said Hi.  She's still the only girl that ever lost her gum while I spun her.


Later, George Parker



-----Original Message-----

From: M

Sent: Saturday, March 21, 2009 12:03 PM

To: Rick Archer

Subject: Article




Words cannot explain how moved I was when I read your article "A Small Act of Kindness".   I was moved to tears.  I really appreciated you sharing your story with all of us. 


The story shows how a person can truly open up and show their human side with all of their frailties and problems and how one person can truly make a difference in another person's life.


You truly were blessed by God when he sent the right people to you at the right time to encourage you in life. 


I too have been the recipient of a kind word at the exact moment when I needed it most.


I later told that person how much that kind word meant to me at the time.  I do not think that they even realized how much it meant to me.


Keep up the good work.

May God bless you.  M


From: H

Sent: Monday, March 23, 2009 1:11 PM

To: SSQQ Newsletter

Cc: Hans Hofmeister

Subject: Re: April 2009 SSQQ Great Story


Hi Rick,


Thanks for writing the great story about your inspirational meeting and overcoming difficulties. It reminded me of my own high school days in some ways, as I sacked groceries and mowed lawns too, with a mower I bought myself. The value of the inspirational meeting is a great theme. Another theme that your story brought to mind is how easy it is for someone that age to have a frustrated attitude versus a winning attitude. Mentors can make a big difference. If my career path ever leads me to be a teacher I will especially keep this story in mind.


Thank you, H



From: K

Sent: Tuesday, March 31, 2009 12:35 PM

To: SSQQ Newsletter

Subject: kindness story


Wow, what a story, and what an amazing lady, along with your "adoptive" parents at St. John's.


I would comment on your sperm donor parent but I'm not allowed to use obscenities here.  Suffice it to say that the sweetest revenge is your many successes.


Thanks for sharing the story.  K.




Besides the three notes above, I would like to thank the many people at the studio who have taken the time to discuss the story with me.

The "Small Act of Kindness" story revolves around an incident from my Senior year in High School.  On a spring afternoon in 1968, the mother of a classmate coincidentally ran into me at a remote location.  To my surprise, this lady struck up a deep conversation.  Her insight and warmth literally lifted an enormous burden from my shoulders.

You would have to read the story to understand why this moment was so important to me, but take my word for it that this unlikely conversation meant the world to me at the time.

I wrote the story because there is an important lesson in it - a small act of kindness can just possibly turn a life around.  One warning - this is a not a pretty story.  However, it is an interesting tale to be sure. 






(RICK ARCHER'S NOTE: With the famous Masters tournament underway, I thought you golf fans would enjoy one of my favorite stories.  I believe this is a true story.  I read about it in Sports Illustrated.)



Submitted by Rick Archer


Sam Snead is a famous golf player. His heyday was in the 50s when he dominated the Professional Golf Tour much as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, and now Tiger Woods have done since.

One of Sam's sons, Chip, was good enough to become a professional golfer in his own right later on. I have heard a rumor that Sam's other sons were named Putt and Drive, but find this a little hard to believe.

One day Sam and his son Chip were playing at the famous Masters Golf Course just for the fun of it. No tournament, no hoopla, no fans - just Father and Son playing a round of golf like millions of other ordinary human beings.

Apparently there is one particular hole on the Masters Course that makes almost a 90 degree turn. Although I am not a golfer, I have heard that a hole with this design is called a "Dogleg".

As Chip was preparing to drive off the tee, Sam asked him to stop for a moment.  Pointing to an impressive wall of pine trees, Sam said, "You know, Chip, back when I played the Masters I used take a gamble and loft my drive over those trees. I always shaved one or two strokes off my score and not once did I get burned."

For those of you unfamiliar with golf, this meant despite the fact that Snead could barely see the hole through the cracks in the trees, he lofted the ball over the trees directly at the green as the crow would fly.  His other choice would be one drive down the fairway, turn left, and then hit again.

This idea had not even occurred to Chip. He stopped and surveyed the pine trees. They were tall and majestic. They formed a barrier that in Chip's mind must have seemed just as daunting as the mighty Himalayas themselves. However Chip was not one to recoil from his father's challenge. He was too good a golfer in his own right to back down from a Father-Son competition like this.

So Chip turned his stance and aimed his drive right at the trees. Boom! The ball didn't even come close to clearing the trees. In fact it hit only about halfway up. Frowning, Chip tried again. No better luck. Chip drove for a third time, putting every ounce of strength into the swing. Although this was his best drive of the three, the golf ball hit only about 2/3rds of the way up, knocked a branch loose, then disappeared into a clump of bushes.

Chip shook his head.  To think a golfer would try a shot like this in a tournament would be akin to professional suicide. 

Disgusted, Chip threw down his driver and turned to Sam Snead who had been watching in silence as his son tried to match his father's feat. "Dad, gee whiz, I know you are in the Hall of Fame, but how in hell did you ever get a drive over those damn trees!!!"

Sam stared at the trees for a while, permitted himself a small smile, and then turned to face his son.

"You know, Chip, now that I look at those trees, I bet they weren't quite as tall back when I was playing."




Submitted by Jill Banta


A truck driver hauling a tractor-trailer load of computers stops for a beer.  

As he approaches the bar he sees a big sign on the door saying:


The truck driver smiles.  He hates nerds too.  This place is okay.  He goes in and sits down.

The bartender comes over to him, sniffs, frowns, then asks him what he does for a living.  This doesn't sit well with the truck driver.  Looking the bartender straight in the eye like a real man would, he replies, "I drive a truck. You got a problem with that?"

The bartender says the driver smells kind of nerdy.  He keeps sniffing.  Now the truck driver starts to understand.  He says, "Calm down, buddy, that smell is from a bunch of computers I'm hauling. I don't like it either."

The bartender looks him over a little longer, then says, "OK, you're no Nerd. Besides truck drivers can't always choose what they have to carry. Here's your beer."

As the driver sips his beer, a skinny guy walks in with tape around his thick glasses, a pocket protector with 12 kinds of pens and pencils, and wearing a belt at least a foot too long.  In a whiny, nasal voice, he asks, "May I plug in to your wall to recharge my Laptop?"

Without a single word, the bartender pulls out a shotgun and blows the guy away.  Then he mutters, "Guy can't even read.  The only good nerd is a dead nerd."


The dead nerd lies there on the floor in a pool of blood.  Shocked, the truck driver asks him why he did that.  The bartender says, "Don't worry about him, there are Nerds everywhere.  This is California.  Nerds are over-populating Silicon Valley and there simply are not enough geek jobs for all of them.  Half of them are on welfare because they aren't fit to get real jobs. They will starve if something isn't done. Nerds are in season now and the good thing is you don't even need a license to shoot one."

Now that makes sense.  Nodding with agreement, the truck driver finishes his beer, gets back in his truck, and heads back onto the freeway. Suddenly he veers to avoid an accident. The load shifts and the back door breaks open.

Now the truck's computers and accessories spill out all over the freeway.  Cars on the highway screech to a halt everywhere and hundreds of people come running up. A little shaken, the driver slowly climbs out. He is stunned to see a frenzied mob surrounding the truck grabbing up the computers.

Oh my gosh, it is a scene straight out of "Night of the Living Nerd"!  What a horrible picture!

They are everywhere.  Engineers, accountants, and programmers all wearing the nerdiest clothes he has ever seen.  They are literally foaming at the mouth grabbing monitors, modems, terminals, keyboards, chips, hard drives... anything they can get their hands on!   They are making little geek noises of excitement.  They can't help themselves.  Grab grab grab.  This is awful!

The truck driver can't let them steal his whole load!  Remembering what happened at the bar, the driver pulls out his gun and starts blasting away, felling several of them instantly.

A highway patrol officer comes zooming up. He jumps out of the car screaming at the truck driver to stop shooting.

The truck driver says in exasperation, "What's wrong, Officer?  I thought nerds were in season. Look at them! They are all over the damn place!"

"Well, sure they are," answers the patrolman, "But that doesn't mean you can bait them!"


And that's a wrap.  Only 33 pages this week.  A lot of electrons displaced.  I hope no one notices I am a grown-up nerd.

See ya.  Rick Archer

End of April 2009 SSQQ Newsletter Issue Four

Issue One Issue Two Issue Three Issue Four Issue Five
Issue Five

The April 2009 SSQQ Newsletter  - Issue Five
Written by Rick Archer


On Thursday, April 16, 2009, at noon, Dakota Wilhelm told me over the phone that he was quitting immediately.  His stated reason was that he isn't making enough money at the studio.  He also said he wasn't happy working here any longer.

I accepted Mr. Wilhelm's decision with mixed feelings.  I consider him to be a talented instructor who is popular with his students.  At the same time, it is no secret that we have had our disagreements.

The situation that led to his resignation began in March 2009.   At the end of February, Mr. Wilhelm accepted Linda Cook's offer to teach Super Advanced Salsa on Saturdays. 


In the middle of March, I received the following email.

From:  (a student taken from Adv Salsa and moved to Mr. Wilhelm's class)

Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2009 3:12 PM

To: 'SSQQ Newsletter'

Subject: Rick or Linda


"I went to class last Saturday and there was a big imbalance of guys to girls in the Adv 3 class.


So a couple of people talked me into staying in Dakota's new Saturday class, which was more balanced (in fact, a few more girls).


It was rather complicated for me - I've only taken a couple or so of the Tuesday night classes in recent months - and almost left, but ended up staying.


I may go again this Saturday, if that's O.K. with you guys.


My question is - I would like to pay for the difference between the two classes (since the Adv 3 is a repeat for me), but I do not know how to do this - can you give me some direction here?  Do I need to pay one of the ladies at the front desk?  (I usually pay online.)"




From: ssqq newsletter

Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2009 4:02 PM


Subject: RE: Rick or Linda

Don't worry about the money.  It was kind of you to offer, but I don't have a problem.   Support Dakota's new class by taking it again next month.



What this letter means is Mr. Wilhelm went to another class in the middle of the month to find extra men to balance his boy-girl ratio. 

This letter raised my eyebrow.  I do not like having students moved from one class to another.  In general, I am firmly against this idea. 

This doesn't make a lot of BUSINESS sense.  I think it is wrong to invite students to move from one class to another.  Why take chances?  Leave them right where they are!

Students choose which class they wish to take for a reason.  In this case, these men paid money out of their own pocket to take a specific class.  We do not know their reasons why they chose Adv Salsa.  Maybe they have a friend in the class.  Maybe they have their eye on a pretty girl.  Maybe they like the teacher in the class they signed up for.   Maybe they don't feel like taking a tougher class just yet.  Most of all, maybe they don't feel like being nudged to move to another class.  

As far as I am concerned, this is a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.  You don't grab paying customers out of a class.  You say 'thank you for taking a class from us' and let them be.

They chose Advanced Salsa for a reason - this was the class they wanted to take! 



I spoke to my wife Marla about the email.  She said she would handle it.  One day later Marla and I left town for a week's vacation.  That is when I more or less forgot about the email.


I am not at the studio on Saturdays.  Marla Archer is in charge on the Saturdays when I am not there and Linda Cook is in charge on the Saturdays when Marla is not there.

On Saturday, April 4, Marla was handling registration for the Salsa classes.  In Marla's own words, this is what happened:


"As I was pulling the cash and checks out of the cash box at approximately 5 pm, Ana (the Registrar) was having difficulty handling an adjustment and asked me for help.  The student was moving from Advanced Salsa 4 to Super Salsa 4, and she didn't know how to do the transaction. 

That is how I became aware that several male students had been asked to move from the Advanced Salsa 4 class into the Super Salsa class to balance out the boy/girl ratio. 


Remembering that my husband had asked me to put a stop to this, I told Dakota's assistant Karen that this was against studio rules. 

Dakota was teaching, but noticed the commotion and asked what was going on.  I told Dakota that he wasn't allowed to pull students from other classes, but if a student wished to move into his class we would make the proper adjustment on the computer. 

He then said, "Can't I have them as my volunteers?"   I looked at the volunteer list and noted Dakota already had 3 ladies listed as his April volunteers.  The limit for volunteers is 3. 

I responded "No, you can't take paying customers and turn them into volunteers for your own needs.  That is not how you run a business." 

He then asked me what he was supposed do.  As a compromise, I agreed to let him have one of the men and told him to figure out who that would be. 

At 5 pm on Saturday, April 4th, there were 6 men and 9 ladies signed up for the class.  Assuming Dakota told his three female volunteers not to participate, things wouldn't be bad at all.  With Dakota and the one male volunteer, that would balance the class to 8 men and 9 ladies.  I left the studio thinking there shouldn't be a problem."



Marla told me about the incident when she came home.  I asked her why Mr. Wilhelm didn't use volunteers like everyone else to solve the boy-girl ratio.  Marla shrugged and replied that his three volunteers were all women.  It didn't make any sense to her either.



One week later there was another incident on Saturday, April 11.  The Hall Monitor sent the following email to Marla on Monday.



To: Marla@ssqq.com

Sent: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 9:56 AM

Subject: Saturday Salsa class


"Marla we had the same situation this Saturday as it was last Saturday when you were there for registration.

Dakota's helper Rickie went and got some men out of the advanced class so that all the women will have men to dance with. I informed them that this was the same kind of problem that we had had the previous Saturday.

I told Dakota that this wasn't allowed.  So he told me to tell you that he didn't feel that it was ok for some of the other teachers to pull people into their classes to help if there aren't enough people.

And that if the class was to make this is what is needed to be done.  So I didn't argue with him or make a scene.  

So now I am letting you know the situation.  I hope that you aren't upset with me. "


I was stunned as I read this email.  Based on what I had just read, Mr. Wilhelm had defied a direct order from Marla.  Not only did he defy her order, he did so even though he was warned by the Hall Monitor not to do it!


I sat back and thought about it.  There was one incident in March.  There was a second incident in April.  Now this was a third incident.  If I have an instructor who won't do the things the way I ask him to, then I don't need him teaching this class. 


So I canceled the class effective in May. 



From: Rick Archer

Sent: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 11:53 AM

To: Dakota Wilhelm

Subject: saturday salsa class is canceled


"Dakota, Marla told you point-blank on the first Saturday of April that you may not go into someone else's class and remove students.  We have a 'volunteer program' that is supposed to address a poor boy-girl ratio.  Now I see that you didn't listen to a word Marla told you.


As far as I am concerned, this Saturday class has been one constant headache for me.  It is terminated.


You may ask Linda Cook for your previous Saturday class back.  The decision is up to her."



Please note from the email above that I did not fire Mr. Wilhelm as has been suggested. 

My gut feeling was this class was going to turn into a recurring monthly headache.  One thing I knew for sure - I didn't want my teachers taking students out of one class and putting them into another anymore.   Since no one was willing to use the volunteer system correctly, the simplest way to solve that this boy-girl ratio problem was to put the class to rest.  

An hour later I received this email from Linda Cook.


From: Linda Cook

Sent: Tuesday, April 14, 2009 12:48 PM

To: Rick Archer

Subject: Re: saturday salsa class is canceled


"Dakota came to me to ask what to do.  I looked to see who in my adv. class was repeating and then asked them to go help.  They were standing around as I was over men and agreed to help out.  This is also a good way to show them they can handle his class.


The men are afraid it's too hard. He has a great class and can fill in Rebecca's spot fine, he just has a rep for hard moves.


 This is silly as Steve's Tuesday is a hard class. I'm sorry if I got Dakota into trouble, he came to me for help this was the best solution for the situation, everybody happy and maybe the men would take this class.


 I checked on them and they said they were working hard but that Dakota was really helping them so they could see it was doable."



I frowned as I read Linda's letter.  I had not known till now that Mr. Wilhelm had gone to Linda to ask permission. 


On the one hand, I had Mr. Wilhelm defying a direct order from my wife. 


On the other hand, I now realized Mr. Wilhelm had at least asked permission from the senior staff member on the premises. 


I thought about it for a day.  On Wednesday, I phoned Linda and discussed it with her.  After listening to her account of the events, she suggested I give it another try.  So I decided to relent.   I sent this email.



From: Rick Archer
Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 2009 3:34 PM
To: Linda Cook; Dakota Wilhelm
Subject: Super Salsa Reinstatement

"Saturday Super Salsa class has been reinstated at Linda Cook's request."

I assumed the problem was solved.  Then out of the blue I started receiving emails trying to confirm the rumor that Mr. Wilhelm was no longer teaching his course.  Hmm.  This was news to me. 

That is when I discovered Mr. Wilhelm had taken his case public.  Now emails came rolling in to insist that I give Mr. Wilhelm his class back. 

The problem with taking your case public is that you do not allow for problems to be worked out quietly behind the scenes.  In this case, I had already changed my mind and reinstated the class.  No one ever had to get upset.   

Too late now.  Some very ugly emails began to roll in.  Isn't it interesting how no one ever wants to hear the other side of the story before rushing to judgment?

On Thursday, I received this email. 

From: Dakota Wilhelm
Sent: Thursday, April 16, 2009 9:50 AM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: Super Salsa Reinstatement

"Rick, I sent you a message yesterday about us getting together. Do you have time today? We need to talk. There is a lot we need to go over and discuss. Please email me back or give me a phone call to work out the details."



From: Rick Archer

Subject: RE: Super Salsa Reinstatement

To: Dakota Wilhelm

Date: Thursday, April 16, 2009, 11:08 AM


"Today is booked.  We can meet tomorrow at Starbucks Bissonnet and Rice at 5 pm if you wish."



On Thursday, April 16, 2009, at noon, Mr. Wilhelm called me at my home.  He said he wasn't happy at the studio.  He resigned effective immediately.

I asked him to reconsider.  He said his mind was made up.


I asked him to finish out the month.  I pointed out we had no one to replace him.  Mr. Wilhelm said he did not wish to do so. 


Twenty minutes later I called him back to ask him again to reconsider.  He said he appreciated my phone call, but his mind was made up.


So there you have it. 


Mr. Wilhelm's decision leaves two classes without an instructor for the remainder of the month.  Half of the Salsa tuition is automatically credited to each student; one quarter of the Sunday Ballroom tuition is credited as well. 

If you prefer a refund, Refunds can be obtained during Registration Week at the studio.  Bring your credit card and see Marla Archer.

Based on the tone of the negative emails, I can see that so far many people have blamed me for everything that has happened here.   I hope this review of the facts will change your mind. 

Rick Archer

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