May 2004
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The SSQQ May 2004 Newsletter
Written and edited monthly by Rick Archer


Previous 2004 Newsletters

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Editor's Note: Due to serious technical problems using Time Warner's Roadrunner service,
we were only able to put out a partial Newsletter in May.  And the problem is still not fixed



BEST NEW JOKES OF MONTH 6 NEW JOKES THIS MONTH!!  Contributed by Chris Holmes, Leroy Ginzel, and Pat Roberts.
joke picture of the month THE MYSTERIOUS BEER COLLECTION!! - Contributed by Judy Walsh
WORST NEW PUN OF MONTH A FROG WALKS INTO A BANK.  Contributed by Judith Williams
VENUS AND MARS Two Observations this month, one from Crista Reuss and one from Marla Gorzynski.
CLEAN SIDE JOKES FEATURING  "The Aggie, the Longhorn, and the Pig"  BY Mike Gerstenberger











The May Dance Semester begins the week of Sunday, April 25th



Maureen Brunetti's SWING CHARLESTON I returns in May. This high-energy course has always been a huge favorite at SSQQ. Taught Sundays at 4:30 pm, Swing Charleston patterns are flashy, eye-catching patterns that are fun to learn and awesome to see!!

THE BEGINNING BALLROOM SUPERCLASS will be taught Sunday afternoons and Monday evenings in May with Judy and Charlene. Learning the four major Ballroom dances
In one month isn't easy, so in May you can come on two different nights to cover Waltz, Foxtrot, Tango, and Slow Dancing.

BALLROOM FOXTROT will be offered on Sunday evenings all by itself with Judy. Here is a great opportunity to learn quite a bit about this classic Big Band music dance.

SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE will be offered on Mondays w/ Judy. There are moments in every person's life where the opportunity to dance gracefully to a beautiful slow song becomes the most important skill imaginable. Please note we will have a separate room for students to polish their "Slow Dance" after class in case you are getting married & NEED to practice. Let us add if you are getting married in June, this is the perfect course to take to prepare for that "First Dance".

Rick Archer & Bethany Daniels will offer INTERMEDIATE TANGO on Mondays. Many students were stunned to discover they survived his teaching last month and several students even appeared to be having fun… Join us on for some serious Tango dancing each week after class! .

BACHATA returns in May on Tuesdays with Linda Cook. Bachata is a slow salsa dance very similar to the Bossa Nova. This class is typically offered only a couple times a year, so don't miss it!

Sharon Crawford and John Jones continue their Lord of the Waltz Saga with INTERMEDIATE WESTERN WALTZ scheduled for Wednesdays in May. As usual Room 4 is crowded every Wednesday after class with some of the finest Waltz dancers in Houston practicing their Carousels and Rolling Twinkles to their heart's contest. Several graduates from previous years plan to join in progress, so expect another big turnout.

The BEGINNING WHIP/WEST COAST SWING SUPERCLASS returns on Sundays and Thursdays in May. SSQQ is the only place in town that allows you to take the course on 2 different nights for the price of one. Flashy footwork, sexy hip motion, intricate patterns, and eye-catching turns make Whip/WCS a popular option for advanced dancers.

GHOST TOWN POLKA PATTERNS 11 w/ Brian White was an especially popular Western class taught last October. Brought back by special request, this is your chance to learn some fancy patterns to add your list of clever things to do to Polka-rhythm Western Swing.



9:15 to Midnight, $7 Person.
Wear Red and Black and Watch Your Back.
Check your Guns and Knives at the Door; Leave your Morals at Home...

MUSIC: Sleazy Bar Whip Music in Room 1, Western Music in Room 4

The gorgeous blonde walked into a bar wearing the tightest pair of leather pants anyone had ever seen. Every guy in the joint nearly choked on his drink as eyes bulged and mouths dropped.
She just sat there alone for what seemed like an eternity. Finally one of the regulars regained his wits, screwed up his courage, and went over to sit next to her.

He smiled and said "Hi Honey, how do you get into such tight pants?"

"A gin and tonic is a damn good place to start," she replied…

  • BEG C&W: TEXAS TWOSTEP - Melissa
  • NEW GHOST TOWN PTNS - Scott Ladell

Note: if you know little Whip or West Coast Swing but wish to participate in the party, take Charlene's Beginning West Coast Swing class. If you have had a couple month's of Whip and WCS, take Rick's Eazy Sleazy class. Partners are not required and it isn't too decadent. However Ben Liles Disgusting Sleazy Bar Class is everything it is advertised to be: nasty, down and dirty, prurient, and not for the faint of heart. Bring a partner and NO SWITCHING ALLOWED.

A REVIEW OF THE SLEAZY BAR PARTY (contributed by Marion Sarmiento):

"Get your hips ready to shake for an evening of great fun. Those of you who are new to this event - don't worry, it's actually a lot tamer than you might have been led to believe (how really wild is the wild, wild, West after all?), although we get occasional characters that are very interesting to watch! What's more is you'll probably get to see dancers you don't usually see.

To new Whippers who have never been to this event, crash courses in country western and whip/ west coast swing precede the party, starting at 7 pm. I've found these to be a lot of fun, and they really set the mood. The teachers are great. You might want to check the SSQQ website for details about who's teaching what. The party itself starts at around 9:15 pm. Look forward to seein' y'all there!"


Have you ever heard the story about the origin of the Sleazy Bar Whip Party? You would be fascinated to discover in the second year of our party we were nearly busted by the Bellaire Police who entered the building under the impression gunshots had been fired at our party.

Suddenly they thought they had stumbled on the biggest Biker Gang in Bellaire history. One policeman even had his hand on his holster as he grimly surveyed the scene. Do you think I am kidding? I am not kidding. It is a bizarre and very interesting true story!!

Read the History of the SSQQ Sleazy Bar Whip Party.


The Texas Whip is a sexy Swing partner dance that originated right here in the Lone Star State.

Also known as Push in the Dallas area, the Whip is quite similar to the national dance known as the West Coast Swing. This is no surprise since in a way the Whip and the West Coast Swing are long-lost brothers. They were both born in California during World War II, but were separated at birth. Texas GIs returning after the war brought the dance they learned out in California along with them.

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. Back in those days you had dark, smoky lounges with plenty of cheap beer and a rough crowd looking to let off steam after a hard day's work. The jukebox played a steady stream of Texas Blues. You had horny men and rough women partner dancing to a raw, angry sound pounding out rhythms best described as Stripper music. Things got smoky.

Legend has it the Whip started as a "pickup" dance that fit the suggestive "get down & dirty" lyrics like tight pants clinging to a well-curved woman. The man would lean against the bar drinking a beer or smoking a cigarette with one hand while a woman would grab his other hand for balance. Inspired by the music, she would start to roll her hips, then glide forward and back to the beat. As she strutted her stuff, the man would act cool and pretend to ignore the performance, but no doubt the corner of his eye tracked her movements like a hawk measuring its prey!

Nowadays mostly nice girls and respectable men dance the Whip. The SSQQ Sleazy Bar Whip is an annual event that pays homage to those nasty bars of yesteryear.

If you are curious to learn more about the Whip, you can read the "History of Whip" on the SSQQ web site.



9:15 pm - Midnight, $7 a person


SLOW DANCING (Cpls only) - Jill
LATIN HUSTLE - Neal/Maureen

Wear some Flowers or Hit the Showers!!

9:15 pm - Midnight, $7 a person


DIRTY DANCING (Cpls Only) - Bryan




Marla Gorzynski

It has been one week since I made the decision to cancel the July 4th cruise aboard the Carnival Celebration. I agonized over this move since my best friend Tom Easley and his family were coming plus some really neat people from the studio. However I was surrounded by a swirl of negativity about the Carnival line.

Fortunately 90% of the responses said I did the right thing by canceling. Typical of the feedback was this letter from Bill Holden:

Monday, April 19, 2004 4:19 PM

"Rick, you've obviously already received your two cent's worth on this, but let me add this in passing: I've only been cruising twice, but I would never want to go on a Carnival cruise again either!!
Bill Holden"

(Note: Bill first went on last summer's SSQQ Carnival Jubilee cruise and then again on last February's SSQQ Royal Caribbean Rhapsody Mardi Gras cruise. He and I are in complete agreement about Carnival.)
So in retrospect, why on earth did I schedule the Celebration trip in the first place?
Good judgment comes from experience. Unfortunately, the experience usually comes from bad judgment.

I made the mistake for 144 reasons!  144 is number of people we took on last summer's trip aboard Carnival's Jubilee. None of us liked the Jubilee at all. What a piece of junk. Here is an excerpt from my write-up of last year's Summer Cruise:

"In my opinion, the Carnival Jubilee lost in almost every category when compared to the ship we sailed on in 2002, Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody. That doesn't mean our trip was a failure. Actually in many ways, it was the finest trip we have ever had. Our group had such powerful positive energy that we often created our own fun.

However as for the ship itself, the Jubilee should be sent straight to the bottom of the ocean as quickly as possible. Maybe they should send the Celebration with it."

We really did have a great trip last year in spite of the Jubilee. I assumed people would remember the good times and forget about the bad. And although the Celebration was the sister ship to the Jubilee, surely the Celebration couldn't be as bad as the Jubilee…

On Thursday, April 14, I decided to write something nice about the Celebration to promote our July 4th trip. Although the Jubilee and the Celebration are identical, I had heard the Celebration had been refurbished. So I went to the Internet for corroboration. What I found blew my mind - there was one review after another that blasted the Celebration out of the water!!

I knew I didn't care for Carnival very much, but I had no idea how widespread the animosity was throughout Texas. Tales of Carnival's pathetic Galveston ships and poor business practices were splattered on one web site after another. Instead of finding good news to pass on, I realized in poker terms it was time to fold 'em. What was the point of pushing an inferior product when the Rhapsody was available to all of us? So I swallowed my pride and pulled the plug on the trip.

Case Closed.


I predict we will have the greatest dance cruise in SSQQ history aboard the Rhapsody in late September. The prices are the lowest of the year and I bet the Rhapsody will let our group use the beautiful "Shall We Dance Lounge" with its great circular dance floor to our heart's content.

We will show off our dancing to the Big Band music of the Captain's Reception and again at the Crown and Anchor Party. Come on board and help us put on a terrific dance show for the crew and all the passengers!

We have already recruited half the passengers from the canceled trip to participate in the September trip. And there is room for plenty of others.

We need a $250 deposit by May 16th to hold a spot. This money is completely refundable up to the date of final payment on July 18th.

If you are interested in the trip, you should read more about it on the SSQQ Web Site.

You can also call Marla Gorzynski at 713 862 4428 or email her at





SSQQ Stabbed in the Back by Roadrunner


In the past two months SSQQ has been badly hurt by some questionable business tactics implemented by Time Warner Cable's Roadrunner Broadband Internet Cable service.

As you know, once a month we send out an email notice to over 6,000 current and former students using our Roadrunner connection. Not only does this memo remind current students about upcoming classes, it also keeps our name in the minds of former students. Many of our past students may not be currently interested in lessons, but they often know someone who might be interested. This simple reminder creates many of our referrals. Over the years, the SSQQ Newsletter has been an invaluable tool for promoting our business.

I write the SSQQ Newsletter myself. Sometimes the Newsletter is so comprehensive its length is the equivalent of a 60-page book. After I publish this lengthy document on the ssqq website, I then send out the monthly email reminder complete with links by using software on my computer.

For the past four years I have used Time Warner's Roadrunner Cable service to send these notices. I have two accounts with Roadrunner - one here at my house and one at the studio. The combined bill is over $200 a month. When you throw in my bill for Time Warner's Cable TV, I pay well over $300 to this corporation.

Roadrunner is a good product. It is fast and reliable. I have been satisfied with the service to date. Furthermore I have previously recommended Roadrunner many times to people uncertain whether to go with cable, DSL, or phone modems.

Unfortunately my high regard for Roadrunner declined precipitously in the past week. Recently I discovered Roadrunner was directly responsible for causing my business several thousand dollars in damage.

Yes, several thousands of dollars is correct. Enrollments have dropped sharply in the past two months compared to the same time last year. The coincidence between Roadrunner's slick trick and the drop-off in SSQQ business seems suspiciously linked. Here is the story.

In late February 2004 I had absolute fits trying to send out the March monthly email notice. The program must have stopped sending emails on 20 different occasions. Furthermore many of the emails were bouncing back to me as "failed sends" in record numbers. I was completely unable to even send the final 600 emails at all. The program locked up and would not longer function. I could not imagine what had caused so many problems.

I immediately left on the Mardi Gras cruise so I was unable to tackle the problem immediately. When I got back I purchased some new bulk email software that my friend Gary Richardson had located on the Internet. David Schroeder, the man who designed the ssqq web site, was kind enough to install it for me. I hoped the new program would solve our problems, but had a nagging feeling that it was really something else. Unfortunately I was right.

The first time I sent out the April Newsletter on April 6th, the new bulk email program seemed to work. Slowly but surely I watched the computer "blink" one at a time as it sent out another email. When I got home from dance classes that night, I noticed the program said it was 67% done after about 5 hours of work. Satisfied with the steady progress, I went to bed. Imagine my surprise when I woke up the next morning to discover a message that the emails had failed completely.

Not one email had been sent even though it looked like the program had been working.

Sick to my stomach, I had no clue what had gone wrong. I talked to my computer experts for a couple days, and then tried to send it again. By this time, classes had started for the month and the delay was costing us badly. The second send brought more bad news: This time 1,990 emails were sent and 4,400 had failed.

Susan Schroeder was the person who came up with the first clue. Curious about a bizarre virus warning message that directed her to the Roadrunner web site, she poked around and discovered the following message buried somewhere deep within the Roadrunner policy section.

"Road Runner and your cable company are dedicated to an ongoing effort to protect you, our Road Runner customers and the Road Runner network from spam, e-mail viruses, and other unwanted e-mails. We would like to make you aware of a few changes that we are implementing regarding the amount of outgoing e-mail that you will be able to send per day from the Road Runner outbound e-mail servers. This limit will have no affect on web access or on the ability to download and read e-mail. This change is being made as an effort to reduce spam, increase the safety of the network, and better serve you.

Currently, a Road Runner subscriber can send e-mail to 1,000 recipients per day per IP on the outbound e-mail servers. Unfortunately, spammers who take advantage of virus-infected customers for the purposes of sending spam can abuse this generous email recipient setting. Typically, infected customers are unaware that their computer is being used to send spam. Once a user had reached the limit, their e-mail will be refused by the e-mail servers for the next 24 hours. While these limit changes should help control spam, they will not impact most subscribers as the average subscriber sends e-mail to approximately 50 recipients per day."

Well, there it was. Roadrunner had decided to limit its customers to 1,000 emails a day.

Had Roadrunner bothered to inform its customers? No.

Or at least they never told me or anyone else I knew.

Would a simple message have helped? In my case, it would have helped a lot. Two consecutive ssqq mail outs were a complete waste due to Roadrunner's secret decision.

It took me several days to calm down. Once I got over my anger and my depression, I decided to call Roadrunner to discuss solutions. On Wednesday, April 14, I was told there was a new service known as "Vanity" which would allow me to send out as many emails as I wanted for a mere ten dollars more per month. Since the new policy was costing me thousands of dollars, I was ready to throw in the towel and say "uncle". Sign me up.

After I subscribed, almost immediately I realized what a mess I had gotten myself into. After a Roadrunner tech man walked me through the steps, I slowly began to realize I now had two different companies attempting to use my "" domain name. Sure enough, none of my new Roadrunner email addresses worked on my email program. Error messages screamed at me because it is impossible to have the same domain name in two different places. That is like having two identical street addresses in the same city.

I know enough about the Internet to know you must have a distinct address. Only one company can service a "Domain". What Roadrunner was basically doing was attempting to force me to move my email service from my current company - Crystal Tech in Phoenix, Arizona - over to them. Crystal Tech had done a good job. I certainly wasn't going to support a company like Time Warner that in essence had crippled me and now was forcing me to give them more money and more control over my business.

I am sure the Sopranos would have approved. I began to feel like I was being extorted.

I canceled my "Vanity" account. 'Good riddance', I thought to myself. Now I tried to use my Crystal Tech account to send out my emails. Nothing doing. The email program rejected all of my settings. I felt cursed. Nothing I tried using Crystal Tech worked. Back to Roadrunner.

Now I tried another technique reminiscent of the Chinese water torture were they drive you crazy one drip at a time - I sent out a bulletin 1,000 emails at a time.

I had developed another headache - the July 4th SSQQ Cruise was simply dead in the water due to a strong Carnival backlash here amongst the studio insiders. On Friday, April 16, I decided to cancel the SSQQ July 4th Cruise aboard Carnival.

At the same time I rescheduled the trip to a September sailing aboard Royal Caribbean.

This was a message I had to get out immediately since decisions about the old and new cruise needed to handled on the spot.

So I cut my 6,500-name email list into 7 parts. I mailed out my first Thousand on Friday morning using a Roadrunner email account. The first thousand went without a hitch.

Just to see whether Roadrunner was bluffing or not, I sent out another Thousand. This time only 350 messages got through. 650 were rejected.

On Saturday morning, I sent out the third Thousand from my house. This time they all went through.

Then I drove over to Gary Richardson's TFW Computer store. Gary let me send out my fourth block of 1,000 using his Roadrunner account.

As I sat at Gary's store for two hours while the emails went out, I had time to think. It was then that I realized I had TWO Roadrunner accounts - one at home and one at the studio. I called a Roadrunner tech guy who confirmed I could send a thousand from work and a thousand from home each day using the same email account. Gee, thanks, Roadrunner!!

However since I had no intention of going to the studio on my off-day Saturday, I waited till Sunday to send the fifth Thousand from home and the sixth Thousand from work.

Susan Schroeder was nice enough to use her Roadrunner account to send out the seventh block of emails on Monday while I Re-sent the Second block that had only had 350 successful sends.

Are you starting to understand that this was an enormous headache for me? These were not the hated Spam emails we have grown to hate appearing in the In-Box a hundred times a day. This was a legitimate business application using Roadrunner's service that I paid $200 a month for.

Roadrunner had not only caused me a severe disruption by limiting my service, they made no attempt to warn me in advance or send me Error Messages to explain why my email program was no longer working. If it hadn't been for Susan's curiosity, I would probably still be in the dark and screaming my head off!

As if I didn't scream my head off a lot anyway…
I felt like a little guy on a little boat in a big angry ocean during a storm. Gigantic Roadrunner reduced my service and did not even bother to inform me. And when I complained, they said 'tough'.

Take it or leave it. Sort of the way a bully talks.

On Monday, April 19th I decided to call my other email company again. This time the tech guy at Crystal Tech was able to catch an error that a dozen other people including me had missed. He discovered a very minute setting in my email program that would make it work. Thank goodness. Finally there was a light at the end of the tunnel…maybe.

What kind of recourse do I have against Roadrunner? Probably none.

I have a history of losing my battles with Time Warner. One year ago I built a new bedroom to my house using an adjoining lot purchased ten years earlier. As a result, my house now resembled a giant "L". Since I watch a lot of cable TV, I asked Time Warner to extend a cable to stretch my current service to include the new bedroom.  This didn't seem like too big of a chore. All I had to do was pay for it, right??

When their serviceman came out, he noticed I lived on a corner. Rather than use the current telephone pole to extend my service, he said it would be a lot easier to string a new cable from a telephone pole on the other street that was much closer than to use the original pole. Sure, I said, go for it.

To my surprise the next month I got not one, but two bills from Time Warner for my cable TV service. It turned out they billed by the pole! Two poles, two services.

They asked if I had two water bills. Yes, I did, one for each street. They asked if I had two light bills. Yes, I did, one for each street. Well, there you have it, two telephone poles, two cable services. But I pointed out that just because I had two electric bills and two water bills didn't mean I was using more water or energy!! I complained that I could only watch ONE TV AT A TIME!!

Furthermore it had not been my idea to make things easier for the serviceman to string my cable to a second pole. It was his suggestion in the first place! No one told me that I would now be paying two bills a month.

I have complained about the double billing every two months for the past year. Recently I pointed out I have now paid an extra $1,000 for the unnecessary second service. They said if I wished to cancel one or both of my services I could. That was the best they could do. Take it or leave it.

Thanks, Time Warner.

Thanks, Roadrunner.

In a moment of monumental irony, today as I wrote this article I received a Newsletter from Roadrunner! What a coincidence. Titled "April Trracks Online", it took me a while to figure out the double 'R' in Trracks stood for Roadrunner. How clever.

Complete with over 1,500 words of happy talk about the Beep Beep Joys of Roadrunner, not once did they mention the new Thousand limit. They got the Hype, but they don't have the Heart.

Of course you have to wonder if they sent out their Newsletter 1,000 at time…

It's too bad actually. I like my high quality Time Warner Cable TV service. And I like my high-speed Roadrunner Internet service. But I sure don't enjoy how they push me around while taking my 300 bucks!

Perhaps a satellite Dish could replace Time Warner's cable. And DSL would probably do just as well as Roadrunner. Maybe that's the American Way - cut off your nose to spite your face to teach the giant bully a lesson! What a joke. You know and I know Time Warner would not even blink if I canceled my service.

I guess the lesson here is don't ever let a company become a monopoly because the incentive to do good service goes right out the window.

It must be fun to hold all the cards.

Fortunately I do have one good alternative. Please check out the return address on your next SSQQ Email Newsletter. It will say "ssqqnewsletter @ "

This means I will be routing the newsletter through Crystal Tech where I can send all 6,500 in the same day. Thank goodness.

Crystal Tech is an excellent organization for web hosting and email.
Their technical support is incredibly superior. I highly recommend them.

This month there will be no fancy May newsletter on the SSQQ web site. The two weeks I have spent trying to dig out the hole caused by Roadrunner's secret little sucker punch was just too much to overcome.

Hopefully if the notice you are reading goes through, I can turn my attention to writing a superior June Newsletter!

EDITOR'S NOTE:  The first attempt using Crystal Tech in an attempt to bypass Roadrunner was not terribly successful.

As you can see, less than 40% of the emails reached their target audience.

Guess it's back to the drawing board.

Rick Archer
Thursday, April 22nd.








Around midnight on Friday, March 19, SSQQ Instructor MG Anseman suffered a serious motorcycle accident near Gonzalez, Louisiana (just south of Baton Rouge). A native of Louisiana, MG had just finished visiting his mother and was heading back to New Orleans to spend the evening with his son. Yes, he survived. No, he is not paralyzed. Yes, his pretty face was skinned up a little bit.

MG was driving at high speed around a highway curve when suddenly the bike hit a rock. The motorcycle fish-tailed out of control making huge S-swerves. MG was unable to hit the brakes as long as the bike was swerving so he rode the bike helplessly as it kept heading towards the edge of the road. MG told me the idea is to "Look Where You Want to Go" and the bike will likely head there. Unfortunately human nature dictated he look for danger. So he "Looked" hard at the one place where he DID NOT want go and sure enough that's where the bike headed.

After a frightening 150-foot career towards disaster, the bike finished its uncontrollable skid by flying right over the edge of an 8-foot ditch on the side of the road. Helpless to control the bike's path, MG was thrown clear of the bike and landed left shoulder first on a gravel surface, smashing the left side of his face and neck as well. Ouch!!

After landing hard on his left shoulder, MG sustained 4 fractured vertebrae - 2 in his lower neck and 2 about shoulder blade level. In order words, he broke his neck!! But he is not paralyzed. His only worry is numbness in his left hand. He can move his arm and hand and he can feel pressure, but has lost any sensitivity in the fingertips. He is in a neck brace as a precaution against the danger of moving his neck and making things much worse. He also suffered a bruised lung, but that has begun to heal nicely and is no longer a concern.

Although MG will hurt me for revealing that he wasn't wearing a helmet, hopefully I will still be able to move faster for the next few months until his anger cools off! Without the protection of the helmet, he skinned his face up pretty badly and sustained a bad cut over his eye.

Getting thrown off a bike flying nearly full-speed over a cliff-like edge sounds like a pretty dangerous accident to me. Although I think we will all agree he was hurt badly, in some ways it could have been a lot worse. MG pointed out that six more feet and he would have hit a tree and been dead. One more inch on his face and he could have lost an eye. And his neck brace is a constant reminder that he narrowly missed being paralyzed.

Let's face, MG is lucky to be alive. Did I mention the bike hit the ground so hard it made a two-foot deep hole for itself?!?

Once MG realized he was still alive, his next thought was how to get himself out of this mess. After all he was stuck out of sight at the bottom of an 8-foot deep gully. MG got up out of the mud and walked several feet over to the bike to search for his cell phone. Unfortunately it was stuck inside his jacket inside the motorcycle saddlebag and he could get his hand on it, but was too weak to pull it free. Then he lost strength and had no choice to but to lay down.

Motionless, totally alone in the dark, he wondered if he was ever going to get out of this mess before an alligator came along and ate him for dinner. Any of you who followed the recent Houston story of the man who lay helplessly paralyzed out of sight behind a concrete freeway barrier for 36 hours after a rear-end car collision will realize MG was in just as bad a predicament - No one could possibly see him, he thought!

Fortunately the motorcycle landed at an angle that left its lights flashing up into the sky like a lighthouse sending off a powerful beam. Soon a car stopped to investigate.

As MG lay there, he heard a man call back, "I see the motorcycle, but there's no one there! I guess he walked off and hitched a ride!"

MG's eyes bulged at that statement and he started bellowing as loud as he could for help! At that, his rescuers found him and stayed with him until an ambulance could get there. MG stayed conscious the whole time and even had enough strength to protest when the EMT guys started to cut his beloved $500 motorcycle jacket off with scissors. Apparently they could not risk turning MG over due to his injuries, but it didn't make him feel any better. Normally he would have kicked their butts, but not this time. Oh well.

When I talked to him on the phone Sunday morning at the Baton Rouge hospital, MG was in process of having the nurses wash mud and gravel out of hair plus a frog or two. They had been running tests on him all day long on Saturday and hadn't had the chance to completely clean him up. His voice was pretty shaky, but he was able to talk. Bless his heart, MG spent half the conversation apologizing for not being able to teach class that night.

He was hospitalized in Baton Rouge for two days and change. He came back to Houston on Monday. At that time he was in serious pain and unable to sleep. He and his wife Gay were trying to arrange to see a doctor here in Houston, so I decided to simply welcome him and leave it at that.

On Wednesday, March 31, I called again. Things were much better! He had been able to see a spine doctor on Monday. The lady did some more MRIs on him and proscribed pain medication that helped immensely. MG was able to sleep the night both nights since I talked to him on Monday and felt so much better. May I say he actually sounded cheerful?

The two of us counted his many problems and his many blessings. He pointed out he was worried about his mother who is not in good health and worried about his business that he cannot give his full attention to. Among his blessings he mentioned his wife Gay who is busy taking great care of him, his narrow escape from more serious injuries and the dramatic reduction in pain. He said he could not wait to get back to the studio. I said to take his time, but he says he misses his friends and he misses dancing. Sounds like the road to recovery to me.

MG says he has ridden his last motorcycle. This is the second serious accident he has been in and says he doesn't want to find out if the third time is the charm. I hope he sticks to his decision.

And thank goodness he survived!! Now we can tease him about that helmet for a long time!

MG says please NO FLOWERS! Now I know that he fears flowers worse than Superman fears Kryptonite. He adds that he welcomes cards and phone calls. If you want to say hi, call MG at home 281-980-6245. If you want to send a card,

MG Anseman
3110 Pecan Ridge
Sugarland, Texas 77479

If you decide to send flowers, do it like I did and send them anonymously. After all, he will be walking again soon.





For the past four years, Sharon Crawford's Western Waltz program has been without question the single most popular course at SSQQ.

Believe it or not, the Beginning level of Sharon's Western Waltz class has AVERAGED 100 STUDENTS!! Incredible.

There are several reasons for Sharon's success.

First of all, Sharon and her partner John Jones teach 5 consecutive months of Western Waltz. That's right: Five months. After April's Beginner level, you have the Intermediate level in May, Advanced in June, Super-Advanced in July, and Super-Duper Advanced in August. For the past four years, anyone who completes the five-month cycle becomes a truly exceptional Waltz dancer.

Second, Sharon Crawford has reached a near-mythical cult status as a great teacher. Although she is very humble about her ability, Sharon is not only a goddess to watch on the dance floor, she also breaks down the steps very well. In addition she offers the women some excellent tips on styling and following.

Third, with that many people in the class, you are guaranteed plenty of people to practice with after class. Sharon's WW students love to stay for Practice Night and Waltz the night away. It is a very impressive sight to even one couple demonstrating their knowledge of advanced Waltz patterns, but in this case you might see up to twenty couples with the same ability all at once!

Fourth, it becomes the social event of the season. This class is so popular it gives you a chance to hang out with some really great dancers and very nice people each week. Plus the Western Waltz is SOOO Romantic! Also known as the Western dance of Romance, Waltz is a uniquely flowing, graceful dance. Like Swans, Roses, and Gems, the Waltz is another symbol of Grace and Beauty in our culture. As two people dance beautifully together in each other's arms, Cupid has a field day with easy targets all over the floor for his flaming darts of passion. Even the most bitter, hard-hearted victims of love begin to soften up and amaze themselves by considering another stab at romance with the pretty Waltz music to cheer them on.

And who knows, maybe Sharon and John will even offer yet a Sixth level this year if you ask them nicely enough. By the way, don't be put off if Sharon says 'no' to the idea of Level 6 the first ten times you ask. She prefers to automatically say no and think about it hours on end in the middle of the night. Eventually she might say 'yes' just to get some sleep.

This year the numbers are down a little bit. Sharon's first night had 'only' 75 students, still a preposterous number in its own right. However many people did not even know about the class because the Newsletter was late getting out. Anyone who wishes to join in the second week is welcome. By the way, the first week of class had a nearly perfect balance of men and women.

Don't be surprised if there is little drop-off in attendance in the second month because quite a few people are planning to "join in progress". At this point there are many "graduates" of Sharon and John's Waltz program who have forgotten practically everything. Many of these people like to sign up as a repeat starting in the second or third month to review the patterns. Plus they enjoy Sharon's class so much that they sign up just to enjoy the dancing and for the chance to see their friends again.






On Friday, April 2, I received a phone call from David Godwin representing the Center for Cultural Exchange. He had a request from a 16-year-old German high school student named Johannes Benno asking to be placed in a home in the Houston area. What made him a little trickier to place was his request to be put in a home that would give him a chance to pursue his hobby of ballroom dancing. That is why the agency contacted me. They thought maybe I would know someone.

I immediately thought of tricking the agency, forcing the young man to teach classes for free in exchange for letting him sleep on the couch at the studio, and feeding him the leftover stale popcorn. I changed my mind when I figured one of you would rat on me. And I know you would!

Instead, I will tell you a little about the program and see if any of you out there might be interested. Johannes will spend a school year here in Houston. Wherever you live, he will go to the nearest local high school.

As far as his interest in dancing, you are welcome to let the young man have the run of the studio any night of the week. Johannes would likely end up as the best German Twostepper in the world.

The representative told me something interesting - they will place a boy in a one-parent home with either a man or a woman. In other words, you don't have to have a traditional Mom and Pop home anymore to be considered. Some of you empty nesters out there might be willing to allow Johannes to borrow Junior's unused bedroom for a year. Personally, I was pretty tempted to volunteer myself. The young man seems like a very bright kid and full of life.

Here is the brief email letter from the agency representative David Godwin about Johannes:

Fri 04/02/2004 12:23 PM

"Hi Rick
It was nice talking to you. Thanks for the information on ballroom dancing. It was very helpful in my understanding of it.

I am attaching the bio on Johannes. He will have his own spending money and insurance. He will attend the local high school. The host family will provide him with room and board. They would treat him like a family member and should be assigned household chores.
If for some reason the match does not work, we will replace him to another home. He will be assigned a local CCI representative to assist him and the family in resolving any problems that might occur. In my experience with hosting, there have been very few problems. The kids are so glad to be able to come to the USA to study.
Let me know if you have further questions.
David Godwin"

713-880-4142 home
713-767-3453 work
713-301-7276 cell

To read about the Exchange Program, click here:

To read about Johannes Benno, click here:

To read his letter requesting to be an exchange student, click here:







This past February saw 39 Brave SSQQ Cruisers dare to walk down the wicked streets of Mardi Gras straight into the center of New Orleans, the infamous City of Sin!

Huge crowds, amazing Parades, pulsating Bands, Bead Tosses, Drinking to Excess, as well as an unimaginable supply of nayked brests awaited us. Yes, all the terrible things they say about Mardi Gras turned out to be true. Even worse, we had a lot of fun! Yes, the decadence of Mardi Gras rubbed off on us and we thoroughly enjoyed being corrupted.

We were even stupid enough to take pictures of our follies and chronicle our adventures as well. Our reputations will be ruined forever.

Along the way you will read about why our ship was forced to dock 100 miles from Mardi Gras, how an obstinate SSQQ woman ignored my pathetic blackmail threat (and paid for it by having the entire sordid story printed), how we were surrounded at all times by nayked and painted brests everywhere the eye see (with pictures to prove that the men did everything possible to make sure no nayked brest got ignored!), how a beautiful woman from our fell deeply in love with a major celebrity on board, and how a handsome dashing member of our group had way too much fun… and paid for it with a vicious attack on his ego!

These stories of the trip, amazing pictures, and much more await you!





The Story of the Infamous Tom Easley Look A Like Night:


This is an emergency warning. Tom Easley and his family are coming on the SSQQ Summer Cruise this year. Do not fear his family - they are wonderful, normal and in fact should be largely credited with holding Tom in check these past 18 years.

It is only Tom Easley that you have to fear. Like the Hulk, I fear his inner demon may be poised to return at any time. It has been too long since… well, read on.

Tom Easley is one of my best friends, a fact that I am somewhat embarrassed to admit. Back in the mid 1980s along with his usual partner in crime Mike Fagan, Tom Easley was the source of a great deal of pain and embarrassment for their SSQQ friends.

You will soon discover that at one time there was no more hideously dressed human being on the planet than Tom Easley. Do you know how you automatically shield your eyes from the glare of the Sun? For an entire year the clothes Tom wore hurt eyeballs across Houston in much the same way.

In 1986, Tom Easley caused beautiful women throughout Houston to shield their eyes from the pain. Now that I think of it, I recall most men recoiling in terror at his ugliness as well. So did small children, dogs, cats, and hamsters. Medusa, Cyclops or the Gorgon Monster could not have been any scarier than Tom Easley.

  Mike Fagan and Tom Easley. 
They were so ugly they had to wear sun
glasses just to be in the same picture together!!

Nor could the Phantom of the Opera or the Elephant Man have walked into a restaurant and drawn more gasps of fear than Tom did on a regular basis. The usual words to describe Tom's clothing varied between "grotesque, bizarre, shocking, blinding, ghastly, gruesome, and monstrous". Speaking of Monstrous, it was a well-known fact that Godzilla could dress better than Tom.

Furthermore Zombies from the "Night of the Living Dead" could not have frightened gentle, civilized people any more than Tom's garish outfits. You don't believe me, do you? Once you read the story of Tom Easley, there won't be one shred of doubt in your mind that at a difficult point in his life, Tom's hideous clothing wreaked havoc throughout the city.

Today Tom masquerades on a daily basis as a respectable bastion of decency. But I think it is just a disguise. I know Tom's earlier reputation all too well and think it is all an act. Just one little setback and the Real Tom could reemerge at any time.

Although today Tom dresses very nicely and has started to look almost handsome at times, I also know that he has never apologized for what he once did to us. And therein lies the rub - Since Tom still doesn't understand what he did was wrong and has never sought help, the potential exists that just one serious psychic jolt could bring the Monster in Tom back to life.

The reason I feel compelled to bring this story to your attention is that Tom Easley is coming with us on the 2004 SSQQ Summer Cruise. I bring you this message as a public service. Since Tom has a known past as a threat to public standards of fashion decency, it is only fair to warn all of our fellow passengers that they are at serious risk of eye pain and embarrassment. Now at least all of you will know how serious the threat is and be prepared to can make your own choices.

Furthermore - this hurts me to confess - Tom once had me under his influence. Yes, at one point in my life, Tom's fashion deviancy rubbed off on me and like an idiot, I appeared in public looking just as awful as he did. Now lately I have felt stirrings of another fashion eruption stirring not only in Tom's mind, but my own inner psyche as well. Like any volcano about to explode, there are seismic warnings that would be foolish to ignore. In other words, if he goes, I go.

And yes, in conversations with Tom plus in my own nightmares, I have felt warnings that at some point on the upcoming cruise trip there will be a night where all hell breaks loose. That Caribbean Black Magic could be more than we could take. We could break loose this summer and resurrect our mutual madness.

Yes, it is true, on this summer's cruise there is the terrible potential for "The Return of the Infamous Tom Easley Look a Like Night", a night more frightening than all the SSQQ Halloween Parties in history all lumped together. This could be the night when Terror is only the Beginning.

You must read this story for your own safety. Otherwise I cannot be held responsible if you walk straight into a ghastly Fourth of July Apparel Peril. Remember, I am serious. Do not neglect this warning!






If romance and dancing is your thing, you might want to invest your time in seeing Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. Set in 1958 in Havana, Cuba (it was filmed in Puerto Rico), this movie is all about the passion of dancing, with a huge romantic twist.

Katey Miller is a studious, quiet girl who has just been moved to Havana with her mother, father, and sister. Her family is a part of the upper-class of Havana, which also means Katey is expected to date within this 'upper-class' barrier. But when she discovers Javier Suarez (Diego Luna), who happens to be a waiter from her hotel, she simply cannot stop herself from letting her family's dancing background take over.

Together, Javier and Katey hatch the plan of entering a latin ballroom dance contest at The Palace, a snazzy big band ballroom. All Katey wants to do is have fun, and help Javier with his terrible financial situation by winning the grand prize of $5,000 and a trip to America. So they practice day and night long in her hotel's ballroom, growing closer together spiritually, though you have to face it: these two cannot dance together, yet.
Javier is just too free-spirited, and Katey is all about rules and form.

So, drum roll please! It's the moment you all have been waiting for: Patrick Swayze!
Yes, from all of those rumors you've been hearing, it's true: Patrick Swayze plays the part of a dance instructor at Katey's hotel, who helps Katey lose her sense of formality and loosen up. And I'd have to say, even though I still haven't seen the original Dirty Dancing, Mr. Swayze is the best dancer in the movie.

Katey and Javier finally begin to click, moving as one and compromising with each other to come up with the best routine possible. But I can't spoil the rest movie for you, can I?
Well, I can say one thing:

This movie makes you want to get up and DANCE in the aisles! The soundtrack is one of the best I have ever heard. Right after the first time I saw this thing, all I wanted to do was go out and buy that soundtrack! From Santana to Black Eyed Peas, it has it all. Now some can complain that the music is too contemporary for the movie, but I do beg to differ. I loved that edge the music put to it.

I know what you all are wondering: Is this movie really worth seeing? The answer is yes! I wish I could compare more to the original movie, but I really can't. All I can say is this movie has the top three things I look for in a movie:

1. Good music
2. Reasonable plot
3. And… a lot of romance.

Also, the pluses for all you dancing fanatics is:

1. Patrick Swayze
2. Great dancing routines And I can assure you that after people read this review and see the movie (even though it is unfortunately out of theaters but not on DVD) you'll be hearing the sounds of Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights pounding through the studio's boom boxes.

(Editors Note: Patrick Swayze stole the show in a two-scene cameo performance!!)





Jack Benard's departure for California was not the only serious problem I had to deal with in March. Counting Jack, I lost 5 lead instructors in one month! And I was a zombie to boot.

SSQQ has begun to resemble a MASH unit.

For starters we have the accident poster boy, MG Anseman.

Next we have the two dancing divas, Rachel Seff Koenig and Anita Williams, both sidelined with matching knee injuries.

Martin Anderson will be out for a while having some surgery.

There are so many people beat up around here, I suppose my month-long bout with a horrible sinus condition I picked up on the Mardi Cruise barely counts. But let me tell you, there are a half-dozen people from that same trip who have that same nasty cough. Sore throats, headaches, fatigue, coughing, sneezing, chest phlegm, you don't want it. A lot of people on the ship caught the same thing. Whatever the bug was, it was One Bad Bug!!

Let me add that my battle with the virus was so exhausting it kept me from working on the Newsletter which accounts for why it is over a week late this month.


Susan Schroeder (aka Susie Q) new store opened this past week at the studio. I immediately discovered my daughter Samantha was their biggest customer with Twix wrappers decorating the studio office where she does homework. Hmm.

The Q Stop is located in the closet area where the water fountain used to be. It brings you convenience of a mini-mart under the SSQQ roof.

I have been told that sales of bottled water have been brisk. Amen. Bottled water has been the single most requested item at the studio for years. Thank goodness that problem is finally put to rest!!

It has been very amusing watching Susan's debonair husband David, also known as Mr. Susan, sit in the closet. On the first night he wore the expression of a caged animal as he got used to the confined spaces of the "Closet". The second night he looked more like a neglected puppy. However David quickly adapted. Since then he has dropped his passive 'polite behavior' and begun to develop more aggressive ways attract business as it goes by.

Now for some reason, someone always stops to talk to David. I even saw one person pat him on the head. How sweet. It was sort of a 'look at that puppy in the window' reaction. Then I noticed practically everyone was stopping to talk to David. Curious to know how David went so quickly from "totally ignored" to "terribly popular", I observed him in action the other night.

David has quickly developed a Killer sales technique known as "The Stick and the Shtick". The little hallway going from our entrance Room 6 to main body of the studio is so narrow that David has discovered how easy it is to poke people who fail to pay attention to him with his "Attention Stick". That's right, he pokes people who ignore him with a stick as they walk past. Quickly people learned to look at him automatically in self-defense. Did I mention his favorite new movie is "Walking Tall"? Once you pay attention to him - a mandatory exercise to avoid the Big Stick - then you get the most amazingly clever sales pitch, also known as the "Big Shtick". David is Yiddish in case you didn't know. Or Amish. Or Republican. I can't remember. His favorite motto is "Speak Softly and Swing a Big Shtick". Oy vey.

Items on the menu vary, but a cursory glance reveals fresh fruit side by side with chips, cookies, and candy bars. In the refrigerator I have spotted lots of bottled water and a variety of chilled beverages such as Welch's apple, grape, and orange-pineapple juice, V8, Fruit2O no-cal flavored spring water and Red Bull.
There are plenty of snacks too-including fresh fruit, nuts, and granola bars for the healthy diet conscious, and plenty of candy bars and cookies to satisfy those with a sweet tooth.
I am sure it is just a matter of time before pizzas, coffee, and ice cream hit the menu as well.

Did you know that Susan did all the remodeling work? Any of you with a memory of that dirty, ugly former closet will be amazed at the beauty of this area. From judging from how attractive the Q-Stop Closet looks, I think Susan could easily make a small fortune as a carpenter or judging from the tasteful décor, perhaps a home decorator as well. Where do you find women like this?

Susan reminded me to mention she is ready to stock anything within reason. Please send your ideas and orders to

I would to take a moment and say it is not true that Susan rents out sweaters to help people with the arctic conditions at our studio. At least not yet anyway.

On the other hand, you can purchase aspirin in abundance the next time you get a headache listening to my poor jokes. I promised Susan I would allow my bad sense of humor to run unchecked for the next couple weeks to help students developed a drug habit.

So the next time you visit the studio and have a sweet tooth, a thirst or a headache, be sure to check out the Q-Stop. Don't forget to pat David on the head for good luck. He doesn't bite!!  

Oops, let me rethink that. He won't bite if you remember to pat him on the head!!






My In-Box is completely empty of complaints this month, a small miracle. I can't remember the last time this happened. I suppose I could make up a BS complaint and rant and rave about it, but you might be surprised to know I don't do that.

So instead this month I will do the complaining.

INCIDENT ONE: On the recent cruise trip, I taught a Beginners Cha Cha workshop aboard the ship. The class was free; anyone could join. We even had a woman from Los Angeles show up who had met our group in the infamous Hot Tub.

At the start we had 20 people including 9 men and 11 women. I asked one of my advanced woman dancers if she would mind dancing Lead, a term that more or less means dancing the boy's part. Although I hadn't asked her in advance, the lady was nice enough to agree to dance lead as she had on our previous cruise as well. Her sacrifice balanced the class perfectly.

As most of you know, in our classes we rotate partners frequently. This time however someone threw a monkey wrench into my plans. After the second or third rotation, the Lead lady offered to dance with another woman member of our group. The woman flatly refused to dance. Instead the woman sat down in a chair and watched instead, leaving the Lead Lady standing there wondering what to do. I watched the entire scene in quiet fury.

It has been my experience over the years that women do not mind dancing with other women. This took me by complete surprise and the "Lead Lady" as well. Flustered by the rejection, now the lady who had once been willing to dance lead didn't want to "Lead" any more. Instead she switched back to being a girl. After a putdown like that, I didn't blame her a bit.

Immediately two other ladies showed up. Their arrival coupled with the original Lead Lady's defection back to the Girl's Team meant the Lead-Follow ratio was way out of unbalance. I knew this was going to happen - this was the reason I had asked the advanced lady dancer to dance Lead in the first place. But Miss Rejection's move effectively ruined those plans.

Miss Rejection had another surprise for me. Whenever we rotated again, if the man was a good dancer, Miss R would pop up out of her seat to dance with him. But if the next guy wasn't a good dancer, she developed the unusual habit of sitting back down only to jump back up again if she considered the next man worthy of being allowed to dance with her.

As you can imagine, I didn't like this stunt one bit. Did I say anything? No. I had never encountered such a high level of rudeness before. Since she was part of the group, I didn't see the point of calling her down. The main reason I said nothing is that it is impossible to discuss an issue this sensitive on the spot. How am I going to take her into a corner and talk about this without the other students watching?

Don't forget, if I single her out on the spot or toss her out of the class, the rest of the trip will be effectively ruined for her. Furthermore, it interrupts the class. What are they supposed to do during our conversation? We only had the room for a limited time so I decided to press on.

My question is: What should I have done? What would you have done? What would Miss Manners do? Does Miss R have the right to participate in the class? Or should I have asked her to leave? Or asked her to stay in her seat if she wasn't going to rotate like everyone else?

I would like to know what to do the next time something like this happens. Therefore I am soliciting advice.

I will print all comments anonymously in the next newsletter or list your name if you ask me to.

INCIDENT TWO: Is there a Twilight Zone? After the Cha Cha incident, an eerily similar situation presented itself to me just three weeks later.

In the first two weeks of my Beginning Western Swing class, there had been more women than men. My two excellent lady assistants, Mona and Kerry, had danced the Lead part to balance out the class. However in the third week there was a surprising surplus of men.

Even with Mona and Kerry dancing as women again, there were still four more men than women. I explained to the entire class that I had decided since we were so out of balance for a while I would dance the "Follow Part". Addressing the group, I said this might make some of the men uncomfortable, but that I would appreciate their cooperation since I felt I could improve their leads this way.

The fourth man that rotated to me suddenly stepped back and decided not to dance with me. At first I was ready to look the other way, but then I changed my mind. I realized that although none of the other men had seemed particularly happy to dance with me, at least they had cooperated.

Over the years I have discovered that every time I make an exception, it comes back to bite me. I firmly believed that if each man in the room saw me allow one guy to brush me off, then some of the others would soon follow.

This same man had once done the exact same thing to me in the exact same class! The first time this happened a year earlier I told him the next time he came around I expected him to dance with me. He left the room before rotating to me again.

In other words, he respected me enough to repeat my class, but he didn't respect me enough to dance with me.

So I said, "Please either dance with me or leave." Without a word, he left.

I did not like this incident one bit when it happened and I still don't like it. I did not enjoy confronting the gentleman nor did I enjoy making him feel uncomfortable by insisting he dance with me. Again, the problem was that I wasn't in a position to bargain or reach a compromise while I am teaching a class. Any conversation not only disrupts my class, but also serves to call unwanted attention to the student.

I have to consider the entire group. The men have paid me to teach them how to dance. I think I have the right to dance with them whenever the situation calls for it.

Unfortunately I am not convinced I did the right thing. I think what I should do in the future is play the "Alamo Game", i.e. draw a line in sand ahead of time. First I will announce I am dancing as a "Follow" and explain it is strictly professional. Then before I dance with any man (or ask any woman to dance with a woman), I will ask if this causes a problem for anyone and say if they are unwilling to rotate they are welcome to sit down ahead of time and watch for the remainder of class.

Again, I would like to know what other people think. As before, I will print any comments anonymously or list your name if you specify you wish me to.

Rick Archer



Over the years, we have been sent countless numbers of jokes by our Newsletter Readers.  We have kept what we thought were the best.  At this point we have now have a Hall of Fame collection of over 600 jokes.  Many of them are real gems. We rotate these jokes on a monthly basis so over the year you get to read them all.

In addition to our "Classics", we also get many new jokes each month sent in by our students.  This section contains our favorites.  At the end of each year we add these jokes to the "Immortal Collection".

By the way, getting a joke selected isn't very easy since we have been collecting jokes for so long. It's tough to find a new one.  So if you send in a great joke and nothing ever happens, trust us - it is already on the Web Site.  If you don't believe us, email and ask about your joke!!  I am serious. I will show you where the joke is.

We greatly appreciate any jokes you would like to submit. Send them to Rick Archer at


The Blondes and the Houston Police Department - Chris Holmes

The Houston Police Department desperately needed a blonde woman to do undercover work as a waitress in a bar frequented by known criminals. Three blondes set in the office to apply for the position. The detective conducting the interview looked at the three of them and said, "So ya'll want to be a cop, eh?"

The blondes all smiled and nodded.

The detective got up, opened a file drawer and pulled out a file folder. Sitting back down, he opened it up and pulled out a picture and said, "To be a good detective, you must be able to detect. You must be able to notice things such as distinguishing features and oddities, such as scars, etc."

So saying, he stuck the photo in the face of the first blonde and withdrew it after about two seconds. "Now," he said. "Did you notice any distinguishing features about the man?"

The blonde immediately said, "Yes I did. He has only one eye!"

The detective shook his head and said, "Of course he has only one eye in this picture! It's a profile of his face! Try using your brain next time! You're dismissed."

The first blonde hung her head and walked out.

The detective then turned to the second blonde and stuck the photo in her face for two seconds, pulled it back and said, "Notice anything unusual or outstanding about this man?"

"Yes! He only has one ear!"

The detective put his head in his hand and exclaimed, "Didn't you hear what I told the other lady? This is a profile of a man's face! Of course you can only see one ear! You're not smart enough to work for us. You're excused, too!"

Sniffling quietly, the second blonde hung her head and walked out.

Rolling his eyes in disgust, the detective turned to the third blonde and said, "This is probably a waste of time, but here, take a look at this picture." Then he flashed the photo in her face for a couple of seconds and withdrew it saying, "All right. Did you notice anything distinguishing or unusual about this man?"

"I did! This man wears contact lenses!"

The detective frowned, took another look at the picture and began looking at some of the papers in the folder. He looked up at the blonde with a puzzled expression and said, "You're absolutely right! His bio says he wears contacts! How in the world could you tell that by looking at this picture?"

The blonde rolled her eyes and said, "Well, duh! With only one eye and one ear, he certainly can't wear glasses!"

The Fall - Leroy Ginzel

Sean McMurphy was staggering home with a pint of booze in his back pocket when he slipped and fell heavily. Struggling to his feet, he felt something wet running down his leg.

"Please Lord," he implored, "let it be blood!!"

Drinking Again - Pat Roberts

Sean McMurphy staggered home late after another evening with his drinking buddies. With his shoes in left hand to avoid waking his wife Margaret, he tiptoed as quietly as he could toward the stairs leading to their upstairs bedroom, but misjudged the bottom step in the darkened entryway.

As he caught himself by grabbing the banister, his body swung around and he landed heavily on his rump. A whiskey bottle in each back pocket broke and made the landing especially painful.
Managing to suppress a yelp, McMurphy sprung up, pulled down his pants and examined his lacerated butt cheeks in the mirror in the dark hallway. Cursing softly, he managed to find a large full box of band aids before proceeding to place a patch as best he could on each place he saw blood.

After hiding the now almost empty box, he managed to shuffle and stumble his way to bed.

Morning, he awakens with a screaming pain in his head and butt to find his wife staring at him from across the room, and hears her say: "You were drunk again last night!!!"

Forcing himself to ignore his agony, he looked meekly at her and replied: "Now Maggie, what on earth would make you say such a mean thing?"

"Well," she said, "for starters, there's your bloodshot eyes, the front door was left open, there's broken whiskey bottle glass at the bottom of the stairs and there are drops of blood from your face all through the house. Speaking of blood, you have blood all over your butt, blood all over the sheets, and most pathetic, it's all those band aids stuck on the downstairs mirror!"

Little Johnny - Chris Holmes

Little Johnny was in his 4th grade class when the teacher asked the children what their fathers did for a living. All the typical answers came up -- fireman, policeman, salesman, doctor, etc.

Johnny was being uncharacteristically quiet, so the teacher asked him about his father.

"My father's an exotic dancer in a gay cabaret and takes off all his clothes in front of other men and they put money in his underwear. Sometimes, if the offer is really good, he will go home with some guy and make love with him for money. "

The teacher, obviously shaken by this statement, hurriedly set the other children to work on some exercises and took little Johnny aside to ask him, "Is that really true about your father?"

"No," said Little Johnny, "He works for the Democratic National Committee, but I was too embarrassed to say that in front of the other kids."

The Potato Patch - Leroy Ginzel

An old man lived alone in Idaho. He wanted to spade his potato garden, but it was very hard work. The ground was extremely hard and filled with huge rocks. His only son, Bubba, who used to help him, was in prison.

The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

"Dear Bubba, I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won't be able to plant my potato garden this year. I'm just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. If you were here, all my troubles would be over. I know you would dig the plot for me. - Love Dad

Bubba thought about what his father said, then sent him this letter:

"Dear Dad, for heaven's sake, whatever you do, Dad, don't dig up that garden, I think that's where I buried those BODIES!!"

Soon Bubba got another letter from his father.

"Son, you won't believe what happened. This morning a dozen FBI agents and local police showed up with huge earth movers. They dug up the entire area out back all day long. Whatever they were looking for, they sure didn't find it. They left mad without an explanation and they didn't even bother to put the dirt back!"

Bubba sent the following letter:

"Dear Dad, why not go ahead and plant the potatoes now? Love, Bubba."

The Sheep Bet - Chris Holmes

The Whiz Kid was driving 80 miles an hour in his brand new BMW when suddenly he screeched to a hairpin stop beside a roadside fence. The Whiz Kid had spotted a herd of sheep. He was headed to a Frat Party Reunion and thought it would be a great joke to bring a sheep along to present as a sex object for some of his old buddies. He could just see the laughter now. The smell of the burning rubber was still in the air as he rolled down his window and called to the shepherd.

"Hey buddy, if I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you let me borrow one of your sheep for a while?"

The shepherd sized up the young man who wore a Broni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie. The shepherd looked at Mr. Groomed to Zoom and calmly answered, "Sure. But I get $10 if you're wrong."

Mr. Groomed to Zoom parked his car, whipped out his IBM Thinkpad and connected it to a cell phone, then he surfed to a NASA page on the Internet where he called up a GPS satellite navigation system, scanned the area, and then opened up a database and an Excel spreadsheet with complex formulas. He sent an email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, received a response.

Finally, he printed out a report on his hi- tech, miniaturized printer. He turned to the shepherd, handed him the sheet of paper with the math used to make his conclusion and said, "You have exactly 1,586 sheep".

"That is correct, take one of the sheep," said the shepherd.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and bundle it into his car. Then the shepherd says: "If I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my sheep plus the $10?"

"There's no way you can guess what I do. I have a very important job. OK, why not?" answered the young man.

"You must be a consultant," said the shepherd.

"That's correct," answered the disappointed Mr. Groomed to Zoom, "but how did you guess that without using any technology?"

"No guessing required," answers the shepherd. "You turned up here although nobody called you. You want to get something for nothing. You gave me an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked, and you don't know crap about my business.

Now hand over $10 and give me back my dog."



his award goes to an SSQQ Staff member who does something beyond the call of duty.  In any given month, there are always at least 100 quiet acts of simple kindness performed by someone who works at SSQQ for which the person gets no credit, but our organization benefits from the gratitude.  The problem for me is that these many moments usually occur way under my radar. So if you have an instructor to nominate, please let me know and why!!

On the other hand, sometimes the move is dramatic enough to catch my eye so I can say something about it.


Friday, March 26, was Jack Benard's final night as an instructor here at SSQQ. After his final Martian Whip class we had a going-away Whip party for Jack that was well attended by over 70 of his friends and students.

I spent most of the party sitting on the couch in Room 2 sipping my wine. One person after another stopped to chat and ask why I wasn't dancing. I would give them my usual "I'll be dancing in a couple minutes, blah blah blah" answer, but inside I didn't even want to move. I was much too depressed to dance.

Gary D'Antoni came by and said, "Rick, you are not a happy person. It's my job to read people and I can tell something is bothering you." I smiled and said he was correct.

Several people in a row came by to ask permission to take an extra wall down just to make enough space for all the dancers. I snapped at a couple of them until finally I crawled off the couch and began to take down the extra wall that separates Rooms 4 and 5, biting a couple more heads off in the process. Rick was not a happy boy.

Gary D'Antoni was right. I was in a very bad mood. I hated the very thought that Jack was leaving. It made me sick in my stomach. I felt like I was losing my lucky charm. I couldn't help but think how ironic it was that at this same time one year earlier, no one would have dreamed of bothering to ask me to take the extra wall down. It wouldn't have been crowded enough to care.

The reason it was crowded tonight was Jack's magic. He was the reason this place was rocking.

One year ago in April 2003 I was in another bad mood. I was practically the only person who had stayed for Whip Practice Night that night. Although the overall registration for our Whip and West Coast Swing program had healthy numbers - 84 students were registered that month - practically none of them were staying for Practice Night. It had been that way for several weeks and it was getting worse. This fact depressed me a lot.

First of all, Whip and WCS may be a lot of fun to dance, but it takes a lot of practice to get good enough to hit the Pleasure Zone. Compare learning to Whip to rock climbing. It's hard work to get to the top, but once you get there the view is awesome. Whip and WCS require a certain level of mastery before they become fun to dance. If no one was practicing, I was positive they would drop the dance just short of the moment when the "Fun" would kick in.

Second, what's the point of learning to dance something as hard as Whip and West Coast if you don't use it? Isn't the whole point of learning to dance so that you can dance? Whip/WCS dancing is a lot of fun. Why just take the class and go home? To me, that's like buying skis, but never skiing. Same idea.

Something had to be done. My mind turned to Jack Benard as a possible answer to a huge problem. And when I say 'huge', maybe 'insurmountable' might be the next suitable synonym. It was a dark moment for me. Hiring Jack to teach would be a gamble, but I was running out of options. I carefully went over what I knew about this somewhat mysterious guy.

Jack Benard took Whip lessons from me back in the mid 90s along with former SSQQ instructor Beth Bowman. He was incredibly tall, ridiculously shy, and like many people at the studio suffered the handicap of being so bright that he couldn't move his feet without his brain being heavily involved. His tall body and overly analytical mind doomed him to be very mechanical in his early attempts to master the Whip. Another handicap he fought was his inability to hear the music very well. I remember how he used to constantly count in hopes of staying close to the beat.

Another problem was his height. With his 6' 7" frame, Jack's partners rarely came much higher than his chest, something he also felt self-conscious about at first. However Jack was fairly relentless. He practiced and practiced his dancing. What nature had robbed him of in terms of natural dance ability he made up for with a determination that spoke volumes about his character.

There was a reason Jack pursued his Whip with such a passion. Jack has told me several times that Dancing helped him conquer his acute shyness. It isn't that easy to get to know him. For example, even though we were acquaintances for 10 years, I never knew Jack on a personal basis. Jack is very insular. If you ask him a question, he actually thinks about his answer for a while, then responds when he is ready to, but not before. Small talk is not his strength.

My guess is this natural reserve extended to the fair sex as well. Always awkward around women, Jack said that dancing was his rescue. He developed so much self-confidence from dancing that he finally escaped a shell of shyness that had haunted him his entire life.

Jack joined the ssqq staff in the late mid 90s as a volunteer assistant. He would help me and others teach the Whip. Jack refused to be paid because he wanted to keep open his option to compete someday. Jack became Sharon Crawford's assistant in Martian Whip when she taught the class around the turn of the century.

When Sharon decided to cut back her teaching duties early in 2000, I admit I completely overlooked Jack as her replacement. Jack was not exactly a born self-promoter and I had no idea of his teaching talent at the time. Instead I brought in Michael Stephens and Beth Bowman to take Sharon's place. At the time, this couple had just won a city dance contest and had quite a reputation. Jack was nice enough to stick around for a while, but soon tired of his third-wheel status. It was also at this point that Jack decided to make a serious career change.

Jack had worked as a chemist for one of the local oil companies here in town, a job that paid well but one he wasn't very happy with. He never said anything, but I imagine office politics drove him crazy. Sometime in late 2000 Jack told me he had left his chemist job and decided to open his own business, a hypnosis clinic.

I immediately raised an eyebrow. This was a very big gamble, I thought to myself. My four-year stint as a social worker back in the 70s had taught me that helping people overcome their problems is a very difficult task. Furthermore hypnosis is a skill with a somewhat shady reputation. Jack said he would need to take time off from the staff to devote all his time to it. I said I understood. People have the right to pursue their dreams and I wished him well.

Jack drifted in and out of the studio for the next couple years. He loved to teach West Coast Swing crash courses on Saturday nights, so this is how he kept his irons in the fire. Then one day early in 2003 he asked permission to teach a Latin Hustle class here at the studio on Sundays. Now I raised another eyebrow!

As a background to this part of the story, the Latin Hustle was once the love of my life. It is a fluid partner dance that works beautifully to Disco music. Combining footwork similar to Swing and hip motion similar to Salsa, it is a very pretty dance. During my early days as a Disco Dance teacher in the late 70s, I taught different levels of Hustle classes practically every night of the week.

When Disco died an early death here in Houston due to the opening of "Urban Cowboy", I was beside myself with depression over the loss of my beloved Latin Hustle. But it was doomed! For example, during the early days of the new 'Urban Cowboy' era, whenever the DJ would periodically put on a Disco song I would try the Hustle again. It was not to be.

I vividly remember getting run over by Western dancers whenever I tried to dance the Latin Hustle. One guy laughed after knocking me off balance and jeered, "Didn't anyone tell you Disco's Dead??" Ha Ha.

I can read the writing on the wall. Bowing to the hostility behind the "Disco Sucks" and the "I was Country before Country was Cool" slogans of the day, I put away my Hustle and began to master the Twostep and Western Swing for the next three years.

Once Western dancing had lost some of its challenge, I got interested in learning how to Whip in 1982. I discovered I loved Blues music far more than I had ever cared for Disco music. Even better, I loved the sexy, naughty, intricate moves of the Whip. My Latin Hustle days faded even further into memory.

Once in a while out of nostalgia I would offer another Latin Hustle class here at the studio, but I never saw much interest in it. People would ask for a class and I might get 10 people max. Ho hum. Nor was there any interest in Intermediate levels. I gave up even bothering to offer another class. So here was Jack Benard asking permission to teach a Hustle class! I scoffed. Be my guest. I expected him to fall flat on his face.

So it was with fascination when I noticed Jack Benard was teaching a class with nearly 30 people in it! How the heck did he do that? Don't forget, the Latin Hustle was in a highly dormant state. Some would even say the dance didn't even have a pulse.

I kept my eye on Jack. The next time I looked Jack had an Intermediate Latin Hustle class with 20 people in it! I was amazed. And Jack had an Advanced Latin Hustle class as well. I was amazed. It occurred to me I had seriously underestimated Jack's ability as a dance teacher.

Now as I sat alone on the couch that night in March 2003 staring at my empty Whip Practice Room, I figured if Jack could breathe life into an extinct dance, what could he accomplish with a living, breathing, kicking dance like Whip and West Coast?

I decided it was worth the risk!!

Jack started teaching an Intermediate Whip/WCS class with Michelle Wann as his partner in April 2003. I can still remember the Practice night after his first class. Jack and I danced with two women. After each song we would look at each other and say, "Change Partners". There were all of four people. The two ladies soon became exhausted and left. I think Jack wore them out!
I pointed to the empty room and told Jack this is what I had meant when I said the Practice Night energy had dropped to an all-time low. He smiled and said we were going to change that.

I swear I wanted hug the guy at that moment for his support. I was so grateful to have Jack's strength to lean on. I had been depressed about the state of things and now I had someone offering to help me fight. It was like having a buddy in the foxhole ready to take on the world. I was instantly recharged with the determination to turn this around.

Four weeks later, the Sleazy Bar Whip Party in April 2003 was one of our best in years. We started the dance with Whip back in Room 4, but the attendance was so large that we were forced to move the crowd into Room 1. It was fun to see a lot of good Whip dancing! I smiled a lot throughout the party. This was a good omen.

During the Sleazy Bar Party, I kept my eye on my foxhole partner. Every time I looked, there was Jack smiling while he danced with yet another woman who barely came up to his chest. At 6' 7", Jack was pretty easy to spot. It was never Jack and the Beanstalk - Jack was the Beanstalk!

Fortunately the women didn't care if Jack was a giant; he was gentle and fun to dance with. There was actually a line of women waiting to dance with Jack! In fact I laughed as one woman accused another of cutting in line ahead of her. I had never in my career seen something quite this silly happen before! Here were two grown women fighting over the next dance with Jack!

"I'm next!"
"No, I'm next!"
"No you're not! I am!"
"You cut; it's my turn!"
"You lost your spot when you danced with someone else!"
"Did not! It's still my turn!"
"You moved away. Too bad."
"Well, I'm back, so tough toenails!"

Although in some ways I envied Jack his popularity, truthfully I was glad it was him and not me. I never could figure out where Jack got that kind of patience and stamina for his Marathon Nights of Whip. The man would dance non-stop at Practice Night!! He took all comers whether they were experts or beginners. When he had danced with every woman in the room, he started over! I never had a conversation with him for the simple reason that he never sat down. Attendance at Whip Practice Night grew and grew. The women would stay to dance with Jack. The men would stay to dance with the women. It was awesome to watch.

One night I walked over to dance with a lady who earlier had asked me to save her a dance. Just as we walked on the floor, suddenly she bolted from me and ran over to Jack instead. She had noticed that by some miracle Jack had come free. Calling to me from across the floor, she explained that she could dance with me any time, but Jack might be tied up for the rest of the night!

Ordinarily I would have been insulted, but for some strange reason I actually understood. A dance with Jack was one Hot Ticket!

The past year was one of the finest years for the SSQQ Whip/West Coast Swing program in many years. Charlene Tees came along at the same time and proved to be a terrific addition to our team. Michelle Wann, Anita Williams, Bethany Daniels, and MG Anseman all contributed a great deal as well. I can't begin to say how proud I am of all six instructors. In addition we were fortunate to develop a large team of volunteers to help us teach. This group included Patty Harrison, Jorge Rodriguez, Joe Thayer, Cher Longoria, Rey Velasquez, Bruce Hanka, Judy Foster, Gary Schweinle, and BK Moring. More recently we have been fortunate to attract yet another level of volunteers such as George Sargent, Milt Oglesby, Phyllis Porter, and Kerry Pelham. The studio is so fortunate to have this kind of support.

Yet with all this help, you know exactly whom I credit most for stopping the downhill moment and turning it around. Jack was clearly the MVP.

To an outsider Jack would be a tall, ungainly guy who didn't say much or even dance at a championship level. But to his students, he radiated warmth and encouragement. Jack quickly became so popular on Thursday that I decided to ask him to teach on Friday too. Sure enough, attendance in the Friday class picked up immediately. I never audited one of Jack's classes, so I don't know what his teaching style was. To be honest the source of his charisma was a mystery to me, but it was unmistakably there. Whatever magic he used, it worked wonders! I teased him that he must be using some of his hypnosis tricks. Attendance grew and grew, both in the Whip classes and at Practice Night. Jack was pure magic.

Then one night in December 2003, Jack showed up at the studio with a long face. I asked what had happened. He said his hypnotism clinic had gone bankrupt. Uh oh. A sense of dread came over me. It had long been rumored that Jack wanted to return to his beloved California someday. This might be it, I thought to myself. Without a full-time job to hold him here, he might move back to California and start over.

Sure enough, in the middle of March 2004 Jack stopped me before class to tell me he had accepted a job as a hypnotist at a clinic in Beverly Hills, California. He looked very upset. I immediately told him it was okay, that we had a young man named Bryan Spivey who was ready for a promotion. I told Jack that he had done a magnificent job helping return our Whip program to health and how grateful I was for his immense contribution. Humble as always, Jack refused to take any credit for the turnaround. Then he added the only reason he was still in Houston was because he loved to teach at our studio so much. Otherwise he would have been gone long ago.

My heart pounded with sadness, believe me, but I decided it would be better not to show it. Like a kid heading off to college, you know your going to miss him, but since it's the next place for them to be there's no sense making him or her feel guilty about it. That's the way I felt about Jack.

There was something he needed to do in California, so I had to set him free. That still didn't make it easy for me. I have been in mourning for some time now. I felt just like a coach seeing a star high school basketball player head off to college. He (She) is not only a great talent, but a great kid too. You know your gonna miss 'em, but you have to do the right thing and let them go.

In the year that Jack worked his magic, our attendance grew by 50%. In March 2004, we had 123 registrations as opposed to 84 from March 2003. Sometimes the attendance in Jack's classes were so big, he had to use Room One just to fit them all in. Who did Jack think he is, Sharon Crawford?

Two days ago, I answered the studio phone. The man identified himself as "Robert". He wanted to know what night Jack was teaching Beginning Whip. He had Heard It through the Grapevine that Jack was a great dance teacher. I patiently explained that Jack had just left for California. I heard him softly cuss over the phone. He began to bitch and moan about his lousy luck. Finally he stopped for a second, then asked, "Who are you going to get to take his place?"

Before I could answer, Robert started to laugh. He said it just dawned on him who he was talking to and that I taught the same class that Jack did. He said he didn't mean to be so disrespectful! It was sort of like a guy dating two girls who sings the praises of one girl to the other, a definite dating No-No. For some reason, I did not feel insulted at all. After all, I was used to it by now.

Ironically each time for the past year whenever I would go to choose an "SSQQ Teacher of the Month", Jack was the first person who crossed my mind. This is the absolute truth. Like an idiot I have watched in awe for 52 straight weeks as Jack has worked his subtle magic without once getting around to acknowledging his contributions.

There are so many terrific instructors who work here that someone would do something or something unusual would come along each month that would be interesting to write about whereas Jack's work was constantly excellent, but never headline grabbing. It was getting to the point where I figured I was going to have to create a "Lifetime Achievement Award" for the guy.
Take Cary Grant. Although Grant was one of Hollywood's finest talents, he never won an Oscar. He was nominated several times, but because he was so amazingly consistent and effortless in his work, none of his roles really stood out. Each year another actor would get the nod instead of Cary Grant. Robert Redford is another excellent actor who suffered a similar fate. Jack got the short end of the "Teacher of the Month" stick in the same way.

I knew that any month I wanted to, I could choose Jack, but I NEVER chose him because he was my ace in the hole. Any time it was convenient would be Jack's turn. Finally it got ridiculous. Last month I decided I was tired of putting off a story about this talented man. I made a firm decision after last month's "Teacher of the Month" selection that no matter who did what, it was Jack's turn hell or high water. Two weeks later he resigned. Serves me right, huh!

At Jack's Going Away Party, I avoided him all night. I just could not bear to dance in the same room with him or say goodbye to him. Finally after sitting on the couch for well over an hour, I decided it was time. I went in, waited for a song to end, then shook his hand. He and I gave each other a big hug. I honestly think we were both on the edge of tears, but don't tell anyone. He and I seemed to think alike - let's make this short and sweet. With that I said goodbye and left, noting with some amusement a line of six women waiting for their next dance with Jack.

For any man out there feeling lost, lonely, and unappreciated, Jack Benard will always be an icon for the wonders that dancing can do for someone's social life. I hope there are a couple of you guys out there who take notice of Jack's transformation from Geek to Sleek and realize there's nothing stopping you from accomplishing the same thing. Women love to dance and they love the men who make it fun for them.

Despite the fact that I never knew Jack on a personal level, I always knew that Jack was my friend. Although there was always a definite air of mystery about him and there were things about him I didn't quite understand, my lasting memory is that Jack's presence always made me feel secure. Whenever he was around, I felt stronger.

As long as I live, I will remember it was Jack who picked me up when I had fallen. For this and all the other memories, I will miss Jack Benard greatly.



The March puzzle dealing with a Family Tree turned out to be a lot harder than I thought. We had only 4 winners this month, all previous winners.

One of the winners, Ann Faget, had this to say about the puzzle:

"Hi Rick - this month's puzzle was REALLY confusing! This is the first time I'm not 100% sure of my answers. Please don't tell anyone if I don't get it right. But if I am in the first three, please give the prize to someone else since I will be out of town on 3/27. Thanks, Ann"

It is a shame that Ann gave her hard-earned victory away because she needs all the dance practice she can get! Especially in Whip class where she promised to return after dropping out!

The nine-month two-way between the Woodmans (Connie and Jeff) and Ann Faget continues with Usual Suspect Susan Arevalo nipping on their toes just WAITING for one to slip. Susan's been in the money for eight months straight. Not one rookie broke through this month and several previous winners were turned away at the door. However February's Logic Rookie of the Month looks like a serious player with his second straight march to the victory stand. The Big Three better watch out!!

If we can't break this tie soon, we may have to have a Puzzle-Off where Jeff, Connie, Ann, and maybe me (it may be hard to believe but I solve these stupid puzzles too!) plus maybe our logic hall of famers Mara and Marlies where we all sit down with three puzzles and say 'ready set go!!'

It will be fun to watch the steam rise as our minds work feverishly!

By the way, Hey, there's room for everyone to play!

And did you know we give away free dance classes? Anyone with enough brains to solve these puzzles probably suffers like Ann Faget whom I love to tease because she always gets me back from acute intelligence handicaps when it comes to dancing, so here's a way to use your brains to get much-needed help!

This short little puzzle had more wrong answers submitted than any previous puzzle. Now I don't feel so bad for not being able to solve it the first time. I played with it on the plane trip back from my ski trip to Aspen on Superbowl Sunday, but couldn't figure it out. I had to put it down and pick it up again to finally crack the mystery. What I can't understand is how something that SHORT can be that tricky, but it is.

So here are this month's champions:

2004 March

1. Susan Arevalo (Eight months in a row!)
2. Ritesh Laud (Second month in a row!)
3. Jeff and Connie Woodman (Nine months in a row!)
4. Ann Faget (Nine months in a row!)

By the way, we could use some new players in the SSQQ Logic Club. Check out this month's new puzzle and send me an answer!!



With a nod to the March Basketball Madness, here is a fun logic puzzle with a B-Ball theme to it.

At a recent High School basketball game, the incoming freshmen were expected to sit together in one particular section of the bleachers where the teachers could keep an eye on them.

Accordingly each of the 20 members of the class was assigned a specific seat in a special area over in the lower corner of the stands. The Freshman seating section consisted of 4 rows, 5 students to a row.

Seats 101 through 105 formed the front row, with 201 through 205 directly behind the first row, 301 through 305 the third row, and 401 through 405 on the fourth row.

From the following clues, can you give the students' full names and list the exact the seat number where each child sat??

Get your pencils ready. Get your ruler ready. Get some paper for that graph. On your mark, get set, Click that mouse!

Joke Picture


Contributed by Judy Walsh

This month's picture is actually something of a puzzle. It features a collection of beer bottles and it's your job to figure out exactly what it is you are looking at. It took me several minutes, but then I don't drink beer. My hunch is that beer drinkers all think alike and should pick up on the riddle instantly.


(There is no such thing as a good pun...)

THE SSQQ PUN OF THE MONTH: A Frog Walks into a Bank
Contributed by Judith Williams

A Frog walks into a bank...

A frog goes into a bank and approaches the teller. He can see from her nameplate that her name is Patricia Whack.

"Miss Whack, I'd like to get a $30,000 loan to take a holiday."

Patty looks at the frog in disbelief and asks his name.

The frog says his name is Kermit Jagger, his dad is Mick Jagger, and that it's okay, he knows the bank manager.

Patty explains that he will need to secure the loan with some collateral.

The frog says, "Sure. I have this," and produces a tiny porcelain elephant, about an inch tall, bright pink and perfectly formed.

Very confused, Patty explains that she'll have to consult with the bank manager and disappears into a back office.

She finds the manager and says, "There's a frog called Kermit Jagger out there who claims to know you and wants to borrow $30,000, and he wants to use this as collateral."

She holds up the tiny pink elephant. "I mean, what in the world is this?"

The bank manager looks back at her and says...

"It's a knickknack, Patty Whack. Give the frog a loan. His old man's a Rolling Stone."





KERFUFFLE -Submitted by Ann Faget

A kerfuffle is a disturbance or a fuss. It is a big word that basically means you have your panties in a bunch.

Example: Everyone in the Bush Cabinet was in a huge kerfuffle over the Richard Clarke allegations.

So here's a question for you smarty pants out there: Who remembers the meaning of "Mugwump", our word from last month? No one? That's what I thought. Here is an instant replay for you absent-minded ones:

MUGWUMP: A regular member who bolts a party and adopts an independent position; one who is undecided or neutral (as in politics) often as a result of an inability to make up his mind, a fence sitter. (Historically, a bolter from the Republican party in the election of 1884.)

(Editor's Note: I think this is a dangerous word. If you call someone a 'Mugwump', you better be sure they have an extensive vocabulary or else be ready to duck. I for one had not a clue what it meant and feel energized from adding to my vocabulary. I intend to call everyone a "Mugwump" in class this month as a way to see the extent of Newsletter reading.

Thank you, Ann!

By the way, everyone gets to play this game. Ann sent hers in just a couple weeks ago. If you have a good vocabulary word, send it in!! Best word each month gets a free practice night. Be sure to add a sentence!



(Editor's Note: Last month I complained bitterly that there were no Valentine's Romances to report. Thank goodness Pat Bradshaw-Mahaffey sent this letter proving me wrong!)

"Guess what, Rick, there was Valentine romance after all! Here is the story!

Last summer - right before the July 4th cruise - my good friend and "roommate" on the cruise, Cheryl Cormier, introduced me to a dance friend that she had known for some time while we were out dancing at West Wind. Can you imagine - not sharing your dance friends! This dashing dancer was Kent Mahaffey.

Well to make a long story short - WE have been dancing together ever since that night. Believe it or not - we are a mixed dance family - he was a Marilyn's trained dancer -- we CAN actually dance together!

We were married February 14, 2004 here in Houston. All of our families and many friends joined us to celebrate. We had a wonderful wedding party. Our dancer friends proved to know how to have fun --- I have pictures! Then Carnival cruised to Mexico for seven days! (February was not the best for weather - but we had a great time.)

We will see you soon again at the studio.

Here are a couple pictures (not the best dance form), but we had fun with Mitch in the background!

(Editor's Note: The "Marilyn's" that Pat referred to is Marilyn's Traveling Dance Studio. It is not a well-known story, but Marilyn Courtney actually applied to teach for me back sometime around 1980/81. She audited one of my classes for one month, then decided she would rather be on her own and turned around to open her own dance studio. I have never seen her since. For the last twenty years our studios have co-existed peacefully. It is my understanding that these days Marilyn teaches over at Wild West. It is indeed good to know dancers from the two different studios can not only dance together, but even fall in love. Congratulations to both Kent and Pat!)


Wed 03/17/2004 5:03 PM
From Gary Richardson:

"Hey Rick, Do you remember the two pretty sisters on the cruise last year that sat on the other side of the dining room from us all. The sister with the dark hair just got engaged to a gentleman she met on the cruise. They have been going together every since and didn't know each other prior to meeting on the ship. This was reported to me by her sister Janet last night (blonde, short, real cute) while we were dancing at the Wild West."

Yes, I most certainly do remember those two pretty sisters! Their names are Marian and Janet Schoppe. However as you will soon read I am ready to maim one of them!!

On the 2002 SSQQ Summer Cruise, we had two beautiful women missing in action! There were so many people aboard our trip that it wasn't until the second day when I did a head count at dinner. That is when I realized we were definitely missing someone. Back in the cabin I reviewed the list of passengers. This is how I discovered that one of my favorite passengers - Janet Schoppe - was nowhere to be found. Nor was her sister Marian.

Janet Schoppe had taken several of my dance classes during the spring of 2002. Janet had so much fun with the dancing that she talked her lovely sister Marian into joining her on the cruise trip. I never actually had a conversation with Marian that entire trip, mostly because she disappeared almost from the start!

Curious to find my missing passengers, at dinner the third night I prowled around the dining room only to find lo and behold that Janet and her sister Marian were sitting on the opposite side of the floor at a small, intimate table for 6. They were laughing and smiling deep in conversation with the other guests at their table. Undaunted, I interrupted the conversation to say, 'Hi, where have you been and what happened to you guys?'

Marian just smiled while Janet explained this table is where they had been seated from the start. Due to the seating snafu, the sisters had been essentially culled from our group.

I immediately invited them both to rejoin the main group of 86 people. To my surprise, neither woman seemed interested. They said they had made friends with their waiter. Oh really? I had no choice but to respect their wishes. Instead I sent my friend Gary Richardson over to their table to at least get a couple pictures to prove they really did come along.

That was about it for the Marian on the trip. I never saw her again. At least Janet joined the group for a couple dancing activities. The next I saw Marian was on TV of all places. It turns out she appears fairly frequently in local commercials. I was surprised to find out Marian not only had a voice, she was extremely poised as well. Thank goodness for television! I asked Janet about the TV commercial. Janet explained that her sister Marian had participated in several beauty contests when she was younger and parlayed this experience into modeling and acting.

That was the last I heard of Marian for two years until Gary sent me the email recently. I then discovered I did not have an email address to ask Janet any questions. Frustrated, I had to wait four days till Janet showed up in my Martian Whip class. Janet confirmed that sister Marian had indeed met a man on that trip and had been going with him ever since. She also PROMISED to email me more information, but now two weeks later I haven't seen a word!!

Therefore I am going to simply relay what little Janet told me. She said that one night on the cruise Marian had attended a singles dance. At the dance she met a gentleman who was not with our group and hit it off with him immediately. As a result they spent the rest of the trip with each other. Janet rolled her eyes as only someone who has been 'deserted' can do. Although she was clearly pleased at her sister's good fortune, Janet also would have enjoyed a little more company. Too bad Janet didn't spend more time with our group!!

This story means we have our first confirmed engagement in studio history without a name! Marian Schoppe to wed John Doe!! Now there's a headline for you.

Next month, though, I won't let you down. I am going to track Janet down and turn her on the dance floor a hundred times until I get the entire story out of her!! Expect the complete story of another SSQQ Cruise Romance involving Marian and the Mystery Man!!


My friends Gary and Betty Richardson report their beautiful daughter, Cyndi, got engaged to Mike Atchison this past weekend. They have been going together for over two years now.

(Editor's Note: Sadly I am unable to count this as an SSQQ Romance. The truth is that the beautiful Cyndi dropped out of dance class the moment she met Mike through her church. Dance refugee that she is, I still am very happy for her!! Maybe she and Mike will sign up for lessons for their wedding dance, another thriving ssqq side business!)


THE VENUS MARS OBSERVATION NUMBER ONE (Note: if you notice any misspellings, they are deliberate)
Contributed by Crista Reuss
"There is more money being spent on brest implants, Veeagra, and peanis enlargement than on Alzheimer's research.
This means that by 2020, there should be a large elderly population with perky bouobs and huge erectshuns and absolutely no recollection of what to do with them."

Contributed by Marla Gorzynski
Everybody on earth dies and goes to heaven. God comes and says, "I want the men to make two lines. Make one line for the men that dominated their women on earth and make another other line for the men that were dominated by their women."

God waited for the women to go and then looked at the lines. The line of the men that were dominated by their women was 100 miles long, and in the line of men that dominated their women, there was only one man.
God became angry and said, "You men should be ashamed of yourselves. I created you in my own image, but made the mistake of giving your free will. Now ever since that damn Eve, I see that every last one of you were all whipped by your mates."

Now a smile came over God's face and he sees the solitary man in the other line. "Behold the one man on earth who stood up and made me proud. Learn from him! Tell them, my son, how did you manage to be the only one in this line?"

The man replied, "I don't know, God, my wife told me to stand here."

Clean Side Jokes


Over the years, SSQQ has been fortunate to receive many jokes sent to us by our Newsletter readers. We have compiled them into our Monthly Joke Page. At the end of the year, I will add the jokes that appear in our "Best New Jokes" column into this monthly "Hall of Fame" section. This way your jokes will become immortal!!

Last year we had three new jokes published in the April 2003 Newsletter that have been added to our "Hall of Fame" entries listed below. Drum Roll please for Loni Lewellyn, Donna Mullen, and frequent contributor Leroy Ginzel. You can their contributions among the regular April Clean Side Jokes listed below.

April Clean Side Jokes

April CS 01: The Eye Puzzle - Rick Archer
April CS 02: Air Force One Crashes - Chris Holmes
April CS 03: Take Me Out to the Ballgame! - Mike Guillory
April CS 04: Chocolate Chip Cookies - Chris Holmes
April CS 05: The Kind Lawyer - Gary Richardson
April CS 06: Doctor, Doctor, Mr. MD - Gary Richardson
April CS 07: Diagnosis Please! - Marty Shea and Joseph Stuteville
April CS 08: First Grade Logic - Gillian Tilbury
April CS 09: The Aggie, the Longhorn, & the Pig-Mike Gerstenberger
April CS 10: The Smart Dog - Pat Roberts
April CS 11: Rocket Scientist! - Melissa Hogan and Richard Weisberg
April CS 12: A Nice Gesture Rewarded - Judy Walsh
April CS 13: The Bad Development - Mike Guillory
April CS 14: The Cross Examination - Mike Guillory
April CS 15: Another Good Comeback - Mike Guillory/ Richard Bevis
April CS 16: The Sailor Finds a Room - Mike Guillory/ Sharon Russell
April CS 17: The Jewish Funeral-Richard Weisberg/ Joseph Stuteville
April CS 18: Marriage and Parents - Joseph Stuteville
April CS 19: The Smuggler - Joseph Stuteville
April CS 20: Doctor's Diagnosis - Rodrigo Aranda
April CS 21: The Drunk Looks for Jesus - Amy Hovatter
April CS 22: The Lawn Mower - Chris Holmes
April CS 23: The Robbers - Susie Merrill
April CS 24: The Blonde and the Redhead Make a Bet - Loni Lewellyn
April CS 25: The Preacher's Ass - Donna Mullen
April CS 26: Role Reversal - Leroy Ginzel

Each month I reprint one of my favorite jokes of all time in the Newsletter. This month I shine the SSQQ Hall of Fame Spotlight on:

April CS 09: The Aggie, the Longhorn, and the Pig
Mike Gerstenberger

A student from Texas A&M University, a student from The University of Texas, and a pig were in the hospital waiting room, each awaiting the birth of his firstborn child. Suddenly, the lights went out.

Fortunately, power was restored shortly thereafter and the head nurse made her way to the waiting room.

"I've got good news and bad news for both you gentlemen and Mr. Pig," she announced. "Despite the electrical outage, two healthy young boys and one healthy piglet have been delivered. "However, since the lights went out at the most inopportune time, we aren't sure which firstborn belongs to whom. The only way we know to resolve the problem is to draw straws and have the winner choose first."

The three proud papas agreed this was the fairest way. The UT grad won the drawing.

He was escorted into the delivery room and looked at the three newborns for a painstakingly long time.

Finally, with head bowed, he scooped up the piglet and headed for the door.

The nurse gasped. "Sir, are you quite certain that you've made the right choice?!!" she asked with a frown.

"No, I'm not," replied the Longhorn. "But I just couldn't run the risk of choosing the Aggie!"

(Editor's Note: to any of you upset Aggies out there and ready to twist me into a pretzel, you might note how easy it is to change the re-telling of this joke.

"No, I'm not," replied the Aggie. "But I just couldn't run the risk of choosing the Longhorn!!"

Many jokes get sent to me that have simply re-worded the main characters in the telling.)



The Blue Side Jokes are one of the great secrets of the SSQQ web site.  It is your reward for taking dance classes at SSQQ.  Anyone who is on the SSQQ Registration List is welcome to have access.

All you need to do to get the address is to email me from the email address you use to register for classes and request it.  

Although the Blue Side is off-limits to the outer world and only SSQQ Students are invited into the inner sanctum of “Dirty Jokes”, each month we manage to find one that is printable. Please see below!!

(Editor's Note: The Blue Side of Town Joke Page is one of the great secrets of the SSQQ web site. Anyone who is on the SSQQ Registration List is welcome to have access. This means if you get the Newsletter, you are invited to visit the naughty jokes page.
Bad news - I discovered some kids were circulating this address around town, so I have moved it to a new location. In the meantime, you can still read the three "Newest" Blue Jokes at this location:

April BS 22: It Could Get Worse - Chris Holmes
April BS 23: The Dangerous Looking Biker - Chris Holmes
April BS 24: The Mini Skirt - Gary Richardson

All you need to do to get the new address is to email me from the email address you use to register for classes and request it.

April Blue Side Jokes

April BS 01: The Frog and the Well-Hung Man - Michael Brockmyre
April BS 02: Aging Gracefully - Michael Brockmyre and Robin Wagner
April BS 03: The Minister and his Congregation - Andre Faust
April BS 04: Venus and Mars Again - Cindy Sue Cortez
April BS 05: Bull Story - Gary Richardson
April BS 06: How Yodeling Was Invented - John Anderson
April BS 07: 10 Things Men Know About Women - Gail Sink
April BS 08: Bubba and His Friends - Kathleen Parker and Jill Banta
April BS 09: National Poetry Contest - Richard Weisberg
April BS 10: Sexual Dysfunction - Bett Sundermeyer
April BS 11: The Camping Trip - Bett Sundermeyer
April BS 12: The Chicken Stud -Tracy King
April BS 13: The Doctor's Exam - Judy Walsh
April BS 14: The Gorilla - Pat Roberts
April BS 15: The Anniversary Present - Kathleen Parker
April BS 16: Be Careful Who You Sleep With - Bett Sundermeyer
April BS 17: The Fireman - Carole Nelson
April BS 18: Cake or Bed - Jerald Anthony
April BS 19: The Marriage Competition - Crista Reuss
April BS 20: The Friendly Neighborhood - Pat Roberts
April BS 21: The Mask - Rick Archer
April BS 22: It Could Get Worse - Chris Holmes
April BS 23: The Dangerous Looking Biker - Chris Holmes
April BS 24: The Mini Skirt - Gary Richardson

Although the Blue Side is off-limits to the outer world and only SSQQ Students are invited into the inner sanctum of "Dirty Jokes", each month we manage to find one that is on the edge of printable. This next joke is one of my very favorites. Contributed by SSQQ Instructor Tracy King, it's a classic! Enjoy!

April BS 12: The Chicken Stud
Tracy King

This farmer has about 200 hens, but no rooster, and he wants chicks. So he goes down the road to the next farmer and asks if he has a rooster. The other farmer says, "Yeah, I've got this great rooster, named Randy; he'll service every chicken you got, no problem."

Well, Randy the rooster costs a lot of money, but the farmer decides he'd be worth it. So, he buys Randy. The farmer takes Randy home and sets him down in the barnyard, giving the rooster a pep talk, "Randy, I want you to pace yourself now. You've got a lot of chickens to Service here, and you cost me a lot of money and, I'll need you to do a good job. So, take your time and have some fun," the farmer said with a chuckle.

Randy seemed to understand so the farmer points toward the hen house and Randy took off like a shot. ~WHAM~ He nails every hen in there THREE or FOUR times and the farmer is just shocked.

Randy runs out of the hen house and sees a flock of geese down by the lake, ~WHAM~ He gets all the geese. Randy's up in the pigpen, he's in with the cows. Jeez, Randy is jumping on every animal the farmer owns.

The farmer is distraught, Worried that his expensive rooster won't even last the day. Sure enough, the farmer goes to bed and wakes up the next day to find Randy dead as a doorknob, stone cold, in the middle of the yard. The farmer is sick in his stomach.

Buzzards are circling overhead.

The farmer, saddened by the loss of such a colorful animal, shakes his head and says, "Oh, Randy, I told you to pace yourself. I tried to get you to slow down, now look what you've done to yourself."

Randy opens one eye, points toward the sky and says, "Shhh.....they're getting closer."





















a Special Note from Rick Archer about Email, the SSQQ Newsletter, and Spam.

I now receive an average of 150 spam emails a day. Because I run a business where people email me at random from all over the world on a variety of subjects, I am reluctant to install filters.

The problem with this kind of volume is the potential I can accidentally delete valuable emails from ssqq students, especially when I don’t recognize the name. To minimize this possibility, please be sure to put a title with some thought behind it in the “Subject” box when you are trying to contact us.

As for the SSQQ Email Newsletter, more and more people report that it is being blocked at their jobs as “Spam”. This leaves me no choice but to make the Email I send out as innocuous as possible.

For that matter you may stop receiving the SSQQ Email Newsletter at any time for reasons that are out of my hands. A month ago, I had over 600 Newsletter Emails sent to students with Yahoo accounts bounced back to me. I contacted Yahoo and was given no explanation why the emails bounced.  It is tough to correct a problem when you don’t even know what is causing it.

In the future, I suggest you automatically go to the Newsletter on the SSQQ Web Site a couple days before classes start and read the latest news whether you get an email reminder or not.



As you can see, the SSQQ Newsletter is written to a large extent by its readers. Many people contribute jokes, pictures, and interesting items each month. Anyone is welcome to join the fun!

If you have any comments, suggestions, requests, complaints, jokes, pictures or poetry to share, please send it to me, Rick Archer, at

And thanks for reading all the way to the bottom! …. I might add I do have reason to believe some of you simply scroll to the bottom to look for any little surprises I hide down here. ;-)   Anyhow, thanks to all for making it this far!

Rick Archer
SSQQ Dance Studio
4803 Bissonnet
Phone:  713-861-1906



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