2009 SSQQ Newsletter Issue Four
Written by Rick Archer
The April 2009 SSQQ Newsletter
Written by Rick Archer
APRIL DANCE PARTIES
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.
MUY CALIENTE SALSA PARTY ON APRIL 11
Beginning Salsa - Ulyses
Intermediate Alternate Exits - Teresa /Noe
Merengue Moves - Olga/ Luis
Beginning Cha-Cha - Martin
Dirty Bachata - Morris/Angelica (cpls only)
2 SENORITAS FOR EVERY HOMBRE - Dakota
(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.
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
SLEAZY BAR WHIP AND WESTERN PARTY ON APRIL 25
More about this next week.
MARIO ROBAU'S WEST COAST SWING INTENSIVE AT SSQQ DURING THE WHIP
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.
Sent: Tuesday, April 07, 2009 4:02 PM
To: Marla Archer
Subject: 2009 SSQQ Conquest Cruise
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
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
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
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
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
SSQQ Dance Studio
LET'S CHANGE THE SUBJECT
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.
WHAT A TANGLED WEB WE WEAVE
Contributed by Jim Dulaney
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
When Traute failed to get pregnant after six months, however,
Soupolos was not very understanding. He insisted that Maus have a
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
FRIDAY, APRIL 17 IS OFFICIALLY WESTERN WALTZ NIGHT AT SSQQ!
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
WE ARE CELEBRATING A VISIT FROM THE WALTZ KING!
From: Bill Stumph
Sent: Sunday, March 29, 2009 9:45 PM
Subject: Visit Friday, April 17
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.
(aka, THE WALTZ KING!)
RICK ARCHER'S NOTE:
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
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
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
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.
REVISITED: WHY I AM SENDING OUT THE SAME NEWSLETTER TWICE
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
For example, a lady named Debra with an 'oplink.com' email address
"I can't read this one either. I wanted to know about Mario's
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Transitional//EN"
<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> </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
<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.
APRIL 12-19: SSQQ LOST AND FOUND WEEK
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
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
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.
SPEAKING OF OXYMORONS
Contributed by Jim Dulaney
Oxymoron: A figure of speech in which incongruous or contradictory
terms appear side by side; a compressed paradox. Adjective:
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
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
LOS ANGELES SALSA INSTRUCTOR ACCUSED OF SEXUAL ASSAULT
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
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.)
ELIZABETH EATON PASSES AWAY
From: Frank Ybarra [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Friday, February 27, 2009 11:15 PM
To: SSQQ Newsletter
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
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
BAYOU CITY MAKING TWO BALLROOM APPEARANCES IN MAY
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)
REVISITED FROM LAST WEEK: WHAT'S IN A NAME?
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
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
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
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
SSQQ SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE CONGRATULATES FRAN ZANDSTRA AND GUS
DONNELL ON THEIR WEDDING!
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!
SSQQ SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE CONGRATULATES AMY ADAMS AND GERRY
FRANCES ON THEIR WEDDING!
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!
SSQQ SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE CONGRATULATES ADAM LATHROP AND RENEE'
LANDRY ON THEIR ENGAGEMENT!
From: George Parker
Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2009 11:05 AM
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!)
GEORGE PARKER HAS MORE TO SHARE!
(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
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.)
From: George Parker
Sent: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 11:51 AM
Subject: Hey from George Parker
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
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
NEWSLETTER STORY REVISITED: A SMALL ACT OF KINDNESS
Sent: Saturday, March 21, 2009 12:03 PM
To: Rick Archer
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
Keep up the good work.
May God bless you. M
Sent: Monday, March 23, 2009 1:11 PM
To: SSQQ Newsletter
Cc: Hans Hofmeister
Subject: Re: April 2009 SSQQ Great Story
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
Thank you, H
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.
RICK ARCHER'S NOTE:
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
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.
TWO JOKES TO SEND YOU ON YOUR WAY
(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
THE FAMOUS GOLF PRO AND HIS SON
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
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
As he approaches the bar he sees a big sign on the door saying:
"NERDS NOT ALLOWED- ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK!"
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
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
"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