October 2004
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If a Headline is in YELLOW, it is an article left over from last month.

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


Previous 2004 Newsletters

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Contributed by Judy Walsh, Chris Holmes, Ann Faget, Douglas Peabody/Maureen Brunetti
ssqq employee of month GLORIA SANCHEZ
joke picture of the month WHY WOMEN LIVE LONGER THAN MEN - Contributed by Judy Walsh
VOCABULARY WORD NOISOME Contributed by Ann Faget
VENUS AND MARS Orgasms at the touch of a button - Contributed by Bett Sundermeyer 
CLEAN SIDE JOKES Gone Fishin' Cajun style - Contributed by Chris Holmes
BLUE SIDE JOKES FEATURING  "Shipwrecked" - Contributed by Mike Gerstenberger


FEATURE ONE   STORY IN THE NEWS: Love at First Sight  
FEATURE TWO   STORY IN THE NEWS: Kin of DWI victim awarded $24.7 million
FEATURE FIVE   STORY IN THE NEWS: Arabs lament ties to terrorism








There are quite a few things going on at the studio this week.

First things first. Due to some unfortunate last-minute cancellations, we have a spot available on our Rhapsody cruise for one single man and one single woman at a discounted fare. We have till Friday to fill these two spots. (Sorry, a couple can't go unless you are willing to sleep in different cabins!!) Call Marla at 713 862 4428 immediately! Or email to marla@ssqq.com

Second things second. Marla and I are getting married on Sunday, September 26th. Wish us luck!

Third things third. Daryl and Joanne Armstrong present their amazing Tattoo, Leather and Lace Dance Party on Saturday, September 25th. It is my understanding that this party is at least 7 years old. Up till now, the party has always been in Rocky Kneten's hidden photography lab in the middle of nowhere, but in 2003 the party moved over to SSQQ.

Daryl and Joanne intend to bring their special brand of debauchery straight to our door!! The music will include Whip, Western, and Swing.

Daryl is very insistent that everyone complies with the dress code for the party: This includes TWO VISIBLE TATTOOS, LEATHER, AND AS MUCH SKIN AS POSSIBLE. To show how open-minded he is, Daryl said he would slide on the Lace if it was obvious someone was making a good-hearted effort to dress indecently. However if you think Daryl is kidding about the Tattoos though, he is not. I know from personal experience you either have the Tattoos or don't come to the party. Daryl promises to stick you with a tattoo himself if you are too lazy to take care of the problem yourself.

A rule is a rule. Remember there is a 'Two' in Tattoo. That means Two Tat-twos or Sing the Blues!! (Please Note that no one has to wear a Tattoo to attend the Crash Courses. The Tattoo Rule is Party-Only.)

Well, what else can possibly be interesting after those three announcements??

Wouldn't you like to know? Pictures and story can found in this Newsletter further below.


Saturday, October 30, starting at 9 pm - 1 am. Cover Charge $14

"SHALL WE DANCE" MOVIE REVIEW - Written by Judy Archer

This Ballroom Dance movie is a remake of an early 90s Japanese film of the same name. Here is a brief plot synopsis:

An overworked Chicago accountant (Richard Gere), tired of the boring routine that his life has become, sees a beautiful dance teacher (Jennifer Lopez) through a window and decides to start taking lessons from her in order to get to know her better, and as the joy of dancing enters his life, he discovers that it might just be the secret to saving his troubled marriage. As the accountant's skill as a dancer improves, he eventually signs up for the Chicago Crystal Ball Dance Competition. And how will he do?

(You can read a more extensive review further below)


Rick Archer's Note: Kevin Mazeika is my hometown hero. After an abysmal showing at the Sydney Olympics, the U.S. gymnastics committee turned to Kevin as a new leader in 2001. The results were immediate - the United States brought home two consecutive silver medals in the World Championships of 2001 and 2003 followed by a near-miss of the Gold Medal in the team competition at the recent Athens Games.

I grew up with Kevin through the Friends Meeting (Quakers) here in Houston. Since he is 11 years younger than I, we never had much in common. Instead I was much closer to Kevin's older sister Peggy as we shared many a Sunday activity together. These days Peggy helps Kevin run the Houston Gymnastics Academy, which is located just down the street from SSQQ near the corner of Gulfton and South Rice.

Read the complete story behind Kevin Mazeika's triumphant role in returning the United States to gymnastic glory on the ssqq website! (see below)


From: Rana B
Sent: Monday, September 06, 2004 9:09 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: adventures [Fobidden Word] , shAggie, Jitterbug, Bah Humbug... I need to learn the Charleston!!

Mr. Archer:

Today's Internet search consisted of finding fact and fiction relating to the 1920s. I was honestly searching for ideas to incorporate into the 20s Christmas party I am organizing for my company. I thought it would be a fantastic idea to learn and then teach the Charleston to my coworkers and bosses as part of the evening's fun....

As Internet searches often do, my search went terribly random and I found myself at your site. Two hours later, I have read the entire Shaggie Saga and wish I had the power of pen and prose that you possess.

How's this for irony? In one week, I will land in Aggieland - College Station to be exact. After reading the saga, I now have two missions for my otherwise unremarkable trip to visit my granny.

1) To wear my University of California at Davis Aggies sweater as much as possible
2) To meet my new hero (that would be you) and let him teach me as much Charleston as I can learn in one sitting.

How far is Houston from College Station and might I schedule a lesson on September 15 or 16?

Thank you kindly,

Rana B
Sacramento, CA

Rick Archer's Note: It has now been over four years since the Adventure of the Shaggie Jitterbug. The whole story was so absurd it probably belonged in Ripley's Believe it Or Not. Even today it seems too stupid to be true, but then that's what it seemed like four years ago as well. In a nutshell, Texas A&M threatened to file a trademark infringement lawsuit against SSQQ for teaching an obscure little swing dance that is popular in only place in the whole world. Can you guess the name of the dance and the place where it is popular??

This is a true story. It is also a pretty funny story. You will enjoy a good laugh. If you are curious to know more about this ridiculous adventure, please visit:


Okay, okay, I admit this particular story is no tear-jerker nor is it amusing. It is a story about a company that sells the artwork that appears on the SSQQ website. It is also a story about a thick-headed policy that may someday backfire against the company. And it is a story about the first "Bill Collector" in the history of SSQQ. Read all about it in this Newsletter (see below)


Find out why! (see below)

(see below)


(see below)

We had one couple get married and one couple get engaged. Who are they?
(see below)

VENUS AND MARS - About something special for women that comes at the touch of a button!!
(see below)


(see below)

Plus Clean jokes and Blue jokes galore, the joke picture of the month, pun of the month, vocabulary word of the month and plenty more!!












Gloria Sanchez will offer a course in Carolina Shag on Sundays in October at 4:30 pm for the first time in a year. Shag is similar to West Coast Swing. Just as Houston loves its Whip, Shag is the much-beloved dance of N & S Carolina. The syncopations & footwork make this a tough course. Advanced East/West Coast dancers only, please.

Intermediate Latin Hustle will be taught by Scott Ladell on Sundays at 4:30.

Some Like it Hot will be taught by Charlene Tees. It will cover 4 famous Latin dances that are NOT Salsa including Cha Cha (the sexy dance equally perfect for Santana tunes, Latin music, and Western too!) , Rumba (the sensual Latin dance of Romance), Samba, & Bossa Nova. These popular dances are easy to learn & fun to use.

Dancing in the Moonlight covers 3 famous Ballroom dances that share identical footwork - Foxtrot, Waltz, & Rumba. After mastering the subtle differences in styling & timing, you can learn 3 dances at once!! Learn to dance to Sinatra Foxtrots (“Way You Look Tonight”), smooth Jazz Rumba music (Diana Krall’s “The Look of Love”), and beautiful Irish Waltzes (“Greensleeves)! Taught by Rick and Bethany.

Intermediate Ballroom with Judy Archer covers advanced patterns to Foxtrot, Waltz, and Tango.

Don’t forget Sharon Crawford’s much-anticipated Intermediate Western Cha Cha. Cha Cha is the famous Latin dance that works beautifully to slow Western Polkas with a romantic Latin feel such “Neon Moon” and“Tequila Town”. Don’t miss it!

Martian Whip is taught by Rick Archer and Bethany Daniels on Thursdays. Houston City WCS champion Bryan Spivey and his dance partner Lisa Palmer teach the Friday night sequel known as the Martian Xtra class. There is no overlap between the two nights which means you pay one price and get the second class for free.

Scott Ladell is a Competition Western dancer who has recently joined the SSQQ Staff. So far Scott has gotten one compliment after another for his interesting choreography. He will be offering Ghost Town 12 on Fridays in October. Should be exciting!

Beginning Western Waltz returns on Fridays with Rick, Susan and Cher. This dance is important to all you cowboys because it is beautiful, graceful, romantic, and most of all irresistible to the ladies. A man who can Waltz will never be lonely again…

Cheryl Denise will be teaching Club Dance on Saturdays at 4:30 pm in October. Also known as “Freestyle” and “Disco Dancing”, Club Dancing is the most common form of dancing there is! This is your chance to learn some moves from a dance artist. Cheryl was a regular performer in the renowned Carnival San Francisco who has recently moved to Houston. Should be exciting!!

Rhythm and Blues Twostep is a popular dance used in African-American nightclubs. Similar to Zydeco, the man and woman dance in closed position until the man swings her out. The basic is a 6-count whereas Zydeco is an 8-count. Since the patterns are kind of similar, it can get confusing to learn without some guidance. Also known as Steppin’ and Swing Out in different areas, R&B Twostep is the perfect marriage between East coast and West coast swing. It has east coast footwork but has a strong west coast flare. It is danced mainly to R&B music such R Kelly's "Step in the Name of Love."


Saturday, September 25th, 9:15 - Midnight, Cover Charge $7


(This party is so bizarre we will wait till the next Newsletter to avoid scaring any further business away.)

Saturday, September 13th, 9:15 - Midnight, Cover Charge $7


SLOW DANCING - Marty and Adele


The Tattoo Leather and Lace Party is an annual event hosted by Daryl Armstrong and his lovely wife Joanne, and possibly their close friend Rocky Kneten. It is my understanding that this party is at least 7 years old. Up till now, the party has always been in Rocky Kneten's hidden photography lab in the middle of nowhere, but in 2003 the party moved over to SSQQ.

Daryl and Joanne intend to bring their special brand of debauchery straight to our door!! The music will include Whip, Western, and Swing.

Daryl is very insistent that everyone complies with the dress code for the party: This includes TWO VISIBLE TATTOOS, LEATHER, AND AS MUCH SKIN AS POSSIBLE. To show how open-minded he is, Daryl said he would slide on the Lace if it was obvious someone was trying to dress indecently otherwise. If you think Daryl is kidding about the Tattoos though, he is not. You either have the Tattoos or don't come to the party. Daryl promises to stick you with a tattoo himself if you are too lazy to take care of the problem yourself.

A rule is a rule. Remember there is a 'Two' in Tattoo. That means Two Tat-twos!

Please Note that no one has to wear a Tattoo to attend the Crash Courses. The Tattoo Rule is Party-Only.

Since everyone is going to look pretty weird, Rocky Kneten will provide a photo opportunity for everyone. Rocky is a professional photographer. Last year in 2003 had a last-minute job come up so he was unable to attend the party. If his schedule permits, Rocky will create a picture laboratory so you can take home some interesting memories. Rocky has some stories to tell about some of the pictures incidentally, but I don't know if you can talk him into sharing them.

We have named Rocky's photo adventure "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". Never has there been a more perfectly apt term for an event.

Daryl Armstrong is a pretty busy guy these days. For one thing, his wife Joanne gave birth in 2003 to their second child Aly to go with their son Austin.  Daryl and Joanne are making steady progress towards opening up a coffee shop, but it is still pretty much in the planning stages.

Over the years at SSQQ, Daryl has been notorious for his interesting dance classes. For one thing, he openly will tell anyone who asks that he can barely dance. Or he might tell them that he usually doesn't have much insight into what he is teaching. Despite his self-deprecating style, Daryl's dance classes have always been among the largest classes at the studio. Daryl is famous for four things: his themes for every dance class (Hawaiian Shirts, Red Underwear, Sunglasses, Elvis, and so on), his Margarita Tours, his Tattoo Leather and Lace Parties, and. Daryl is also known for having probably the sharpest wit of all our instructors despite some serious competition. Daryl is such an amazing guy. Over the years I have always enjoyed watching his antics. In fact, two years ago I wrote a story about Daryl you will definitely enjoy reading.
The Daryl Armstrong Experience:

Saturday, October 9th, 9:15 - Midnight, Cover charge $7


ZYDECO - Ronnie
TEJANO - Linda
SALSA DIPS AND LUNGES (CPLS) - Steve and Danielle

Music: Swing in Room 1, Tango, Waltz, and Foxtrot in Room 4, Salsa in Room 6.


Saturday, October 30, starting at 9 pm - 1 am.  Cover Charge $14
We have an awesome 7-foot Frankenstein waiting for you in the Haunted House. We haven't fed him since last year. He has been instructed to eat the first guest attempting to enter not wearing a costume.

Last year the Mummy joined the other creatures in the Haunted House. He was a little shy last year, but this year he is looking for someone to hug in the dark. It might be you!!


Obviously we will have quite a bit to say about this party in next month's Newsletter, but for now why not review some of the pictures from last year's 2003 party:



Many of you wasted your youth watching too much TV and too many movies. Now as an aging adult, you may regret terribly all those hours down the drain where you could have been writing a famous novel or studying more to get the grades that would put you into the graduate school of your dreams.

Now - finally after all these years - comes an opportunity to have something, anything to show for your terribly misguided and misspent youth. You can take the SSQQ Halloween Monster Trivia Contest. Try to identify 40 pictures from the famous and not so famous horror movies of the past 70 years. For every Frankenstein and Dracula, there will be a few pictures so completely obscure that only people who have a history of watching useless, long-forgotten movies have any chance of winning! In other words, Slackers have the best chance! You could be the one!


Have fun!!

(PS- Previous Participants Prohibited From Winning. And if you have played before, SSQQ Scout's Honor Not to Help Anyone! Let's have a level playing field. This is a Very Important Major Contest after all!!)  Only a real Monster would ever Cheat at something like this!





The SSQQ Extravaganza was an all-day Dance Event on Saturday, August 28. When we say "All Day", we mean "All Day". The doors opened at 9 am and the band and music equipment guys left at 2 am the next morning.
And you know what?  It was all worth it. This was one of the most exciting events in SSQQ history. The only sad thing is that in a day of one highlight after another, we have almost no pictures to show for it.  Some day I am going to finally grasp the importance of taking pictures!! 

After all, I did at least have the sense to bring along a camera. Where I failed was in forgetting to hire an official photographer.

I stupidly assumed I would be able to take pictures. But I missed the first set of classes because I wanted to play basketball that morning. I missed the second and third set of classes because I had to teach. And I missed the evening classes because I was too tired to move.  And I missed taking pictures at the party because I started to have so much fun I completely forgot that I worked here. What a dumb excuse!

The day started with 6 crash courses from 9:45 am to 11:15 am. Bryan Spivey's "Musicality and Hitting the Breaks" was a big hit with 30 people in attendance. Scott Ladell's "Triple Two" workshop was a big hit as well with 20 people. In fact, I received so many compliments on the Triple Two class that I decided to ask Scott to teach a 4-week class on Fridays in November. I have already received an enthusiastic thumbs up on that decision:

-----Original Message-----
From: Goins, Robert
Sent: Tuesday, September 21, 2004 7:03 AM
To: 'dance@ssqq.com'
Subject: Thanks for the Triple Two Class


Thanks for putting the Beginning Triple Two Class on the schedule in November. I hope this SERIES of classes will turn out like Sharon Crawford's Waltz Classes, my question is what can I do to help promote this class, I definitely plan on telling everyone I know about the class but was wondering if we could start promoting it during the break? This will be a fun class and Scott is a great teacher, Thanks again.  Robert Goins

Charlene's Beginning West Coast Swing had 15 people while Judy's Beginning Swing and Linda's Western Swing Review class each totaled about 10.

The second session from 11:30 am to 1 pm saw Bryan again lead the list with 35 people for his "Advanced WCS Patterns". Scott Ladell again took second with 20 people in his Latin Hustle class. Rounding out the list was Rick with 12 in my Easy Polka Patterns class while Patty and Judy each had 8 people in their Swing workshops.  

The third session ran from 2 pm to 3:30 pm. Lise Gagnon expressed great delight in knocking Bryan into second place with her "Ladies' Hip Body Motion" workshop. Her class was conducted behind closed doors with no men in attendance. I heard there were 30 women there, but I will never know as my entrance into the inner sanctum was blocked at the door. "No peeking" was the word as I was sent packing. After watching how well Lise moves when she dances the Whip, I can understand why the ladies packed the room looking for some hints.

Bryan didn't do too bad himself. He had 25 men learning WCS footwork and styling. His class and Lise's class merged towards the end so both sexes could practice their new moves on each other. This is a time when a camera would have really come in handy.

Linda Cook's "Synchronized Polka" class was also a big hit with 25 people in attendance. This is always a very popular class.  Gloria Sanchez' Balboa class did well with 15 students.  Anita taught her "Slow Burn" Hip Hop class to 10 students while my exciting Western Waltz class brought up the rear with 4 loyal students.  Normally we would have canceled a class with this few students, but I liked the 4 I had, so I swallowed my wounded pride and taught the class as if there were 50 people screaming and chanting for me.

The evening session was very well attended. Bryan regained his supremacy with a tie for first place. He had 30 people take his Dips/Lunges/Stunts WCS class. However Maureen Brunetti packed them in as well with 30 students of her own in "Swing Charleston", a much-loved Crash Course.  Linda Cook came in third with 20 people in Beginning Twostep, Scott Ladell had 15 in his Ghost Town class, and Ben had 10 in his goofy Western Swing Role Reversal class. I have to say, watching a woman lead a man in Western Swing is a sight to behold.  The men complain that the women can't lead, the women complain that the men can't turn worth a damn. The complaining and whining is almost deafening, but everyone seems to laugh and have a great time in the process!!

A little after 9 pm the Beach Ball Dance Party started.  Charlie Cotrone and his Hit 'n Run Band started off the evening with "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison. I love this song!  Marla and I were the first people on the floor. We were quickly joined by many other couples.  Next came "Neon Moon" by Brooks and Dunn.  The band played one famous hit after another.  One of their strengths was 60s and 70s Motown Music. "Soul Man", "Mustang Sally", "Honky Tonk", "Midnight Hour", "Old Time Rock and Roll", and "Knock on Wood" were some of the Whip songs we danced to.  The Band was also very good at Santana music. We heard "Evil Ways", "Black Magic Woman", "Oye Come Va", and "Smooth" as the evening progressed.  Anyone who knew how to Cha Cha had a big smile indeed throughout the evening dancing to these hits!  Interestingly, each song was also easy to dance Whip/West Coast Swing to as well.

I am a big Van Morrison fan.  I was thrilled to dance to tunes like "Moondance", "Brown Eyed Girl", "Domino", and "Wild Night". Oh, I was having too good a time!  Every song the Band played was easy to dance to because they were careful to play the songs at the original speed the songs were recorded at.  One dancer after another commented to me on how perfect the speed of the music was. This was not an accident - Charlie Cotrone asked his wife Lisa to have me write down the speed range for each song before the party started.  They went to A LOT OF TROUBLE to get the speed right on the dot and they were successful beyond my imagination. I was very proud of them!

The Swing people were astonished at the number of songs they were able to dance to. Hit 'n Run play some great Swing music of all types. In addition to the Van Morrison music, we heard "Jump Jive and Wail", "House of Blue Lights",  and "The House is Rocking" plus great 50s hits like "Johnny B Goode", "Tequila", "Whole Lotta Shaking", "Jailhouse Rock", and "Hound Dog".  The Swing people are used to getting the short end of the stick at parties like this, but not tonight. The Swing Kids danced their backsides off.

The Western people were probably the only ones who were a little disappointed.  Hit 'n Run played lots of Western music such as "Better Man", "Fool Hearted Memory", "Friends in Low Places", "Neon Moon", "Amarillo by Morning", "Don't Rock the Jukebox", "Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind" and "Fast as You", but I think they were hoping for a higher percentage of Western music. We played lots of Twosteps during the Band Break and that seemed to help cheer them up.

In addition to the band, we were in for a lot of excitement during Intermission. We had not one, not two, but THREE performances to enjoy!   Cheryl Denise, our scintillating Samba dancer from San Francisco, offered to perform the Samba at Break to help promote interest in her class. I had no idea what to expect, but it sounded like fun to me. I was just as thunderstruck as everyone else to see her appear out of nowhere in a Vegas-style outfit moving her gorgeous body in ways that can only be described as "arousing", especially if you are a guy. I'm a guy and that's how I would describe it...

How could the evening be complete if there weren't at least a little criticism? 

"If I were to email a complaint of the month could/would you guarantee it remain anonymous?

Saturday was tremendous fun to have live music for a change. I am guessing the question you are hearing is "Did Rick know in advance what the Samba lady would be doing & wearing?"  At least that's the question I heard from several people."

Well, to be honest, I didn't know exactly what to expect, but I had seen a picture of the lovely Cheryl in her Samba costume and was actually hoping she would wear the same outfit.  I guess I am used to seeing dancers similar to Cheryl perform at night on our Rhapsody cruises and didn't even give it a second thought. And you know what, I thoroughly enjoyed Cheryl's marvelous dancing at our party. She was magnificent!! 

After Cheryl, Bryan Spivey and Lisa Palmer performed a West Coast Swing routine for us. They too were magnificent!  I cannot begin to tell you how beautiful Lisa is to begin and to see her dance so gracefully was a wonderful treat. Bryan is usually something of an attention-magnet himself, but he toned down his own style to allow Lisa to shine. And Shine She Did!!  Judging by all the smiles and applause, I was not alone in my appreciation.

At 8:30 pm, Bryan had just finished teaching his Fourth Workshop of the day. He was drained and ready to drop. He just wanted to find the nearest bed and collapse. Or the nearest hamburger stand and refuel... whichever came first.  The poor guy was running on empty. He looked at me and said, "Rick, would you mind terribly if I begged off on that performance tonight?"

I knew exactly how tired Bryan had to be. One side of me had total sympathy for his exhaustion. No one but me even knew he had planned to perform. And I also knew the party would be a big success whether he performed or not.  But the other side of me knew that most of our students have never seen Bryan and Lisa perform and that they would be amazed at how talented the two of them are. This was Bryan and Lisa's chance to shine in the spotlight.  So I suggested to Bryan that he go have a bite to eat and relax a while. I told him he could make a lot of people happy by dancing that night, but if the energy failed to return, I wouldn't be in the slightest upset with him. But if some of the spark came back after food and some rest then I would be proud of him if he hung in there.

Bryan and Lisa put on a great performance. I have recently made a tape of it and will play it at the studio if you remind me.  Then you can see for yourself just how good they are!

After Bryan and Lisa left the floor, Anita Williams and Scott Ladell took center stage.  Anita is a seasoned performer who lives for the spotlight. Scott is Anita's equal in talent, but has nowhere near as much experience in performing as she. So naturally he was a bit nervous as they took the floor. Scott needn't have worried at all - both of them were excellent as they danced a flashy Western Swing routine.  Scott and Anita are the pair who have begun a Western Competition Dance Program here at the studio. You can read more about them by Clicking Here).

Thank you, Cheryl.
Thank you, Bryan and Lisa.
Thank you, Scott and Anita.

The five of you made a lot of people very happy and excited with your dance performances. It was easily the finest group of performances in the history of my studio. You are all exceptional performers!

There were actually even more performers that night.  George Grega is a friend of mine who happens to have an unusual profession. He owns a company that puts on parties and events. For example, when Clay Walker performed at the Aquarium Club as part of Baseball's All-Star weekend here in Houston last July, George Grega supplied the lights, the sound equipment, the stage, and more. His
GJG Events Services company had a lot to do with the success of our Beach Ball Party as well. Not only did he supply our terrific stage, but he provided the music equipment and a great light show as well. But George didn't stop there. He decided to invite some of his friends along.  For starters, our bandleader Charlie Cotrone has been George's friend for many years. It was through George that I met Charlie in the first place. George has been a fixture in the performing world for some time in sort of "background capacity". George has worked in the theater for years. In fact, this is how he started his business by providing the lights and sound to organizations like "Theater Under the Stars". Along the way he has met many talented actors, singers, and dancers, a veritable Houston Who's Who of performers. So he decided to invite several of his favorite singers to accompany Charlie and his band.  First John Mendoza sang "Friends in Low Places".  Then the beautiful and statuesque Kirsten Chambers sang "All of Me".  Unfortunately the mike wasn't working properly so we could fully appreciate her contribution.  Then late in the evening a young high school student named Whitney Conkling sang "Walking After Midnight". My ears perked up immediately!!  Wow!!  This girl can sing!  She has a growl that you cannot teach. Her voice and passion reminded me of someone like Tina Turner. I think she would be a great singer for a Blues band or a Western band. This kid has a future. I asked George if she had an agent. George just smiled. Apparently I wasn't the first person to comment she has that kind of talent. Wow!!  By the way, I have Whitney singing on tape. If you remind me, I will be happy to play her performance at the studio.

And why didn't I take more pictures?  Well, something strange happened.  I danced the first couple songs of the night with Marla. I had originally heard Hit 'n Run play at the wedding of George Grega's daughter Tanya back in January. At the time I had been impressed with how much I liked their music and how much fun they were to dance to.  Marla had missed the wedding due to business, but now she was smiling and saying the same thing, "Hey, this band is fun!"   So I danced a couple more songs.  The next you knew, the floor was packed.  Everyone else was saying the same thing - these guys are great to dance to!!

One great dance song after another followed.  I could not sit down!  It was the most fun I had had dancing in years!  Then it dawned on me why I liked the music so much.  I had picked it all myself!!

Charlie's lovely wife Lisa had called me in the middle of the week to ask my help in building a play list.  As we talked on the phone, she named song after song that the Band could play and I would give an enthusiastic response every time I heard a song I liked.  So it turned out the playlist consisted completely of songs I liked!!   I guess it was no coincidence after all that each song played that night got my ringing approval.  Well, hey, I paid for the Band so shouldn't I get to pick the music?  And wasn't it nice of everyone to keep me company at my own personal party?  So I guess I have to admit I was a little selfish that night - I decided to enjoy my own party. 

And you know what?  I think practically everyone in the house had almost as much fun as I did.  The party was a major success.

 -----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, August 30, 2004 3:53 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: EXTRAVAGANZA Great Workshops


I think Saturday was a huge success. The Triple Two-Step workshop was my favorite and I hope it's offered more often - maybe even as a regular class. Scott did a great job and I really enjoyed it.

Thanks for all your hard work!!


-----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, August 30, 2004 10:47 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: extravaganza Absolutely Awesome Party Saturday Night

Rick, considering I've been coming to the Studio for almost 6 years, and have attended many events, I have to tell you Saturday's Extravaganza was the best! Every class I took was fun and the instructors were fabulous (Bryan, Scott and Lise). And the party and the added entertainment were the most fun I've had in a long, long time. My legs still ache from all the dancing.

Thank you (and your ever-awesome staff) for all the hard work. It was an event to be remembered in the history books!!!!!!!












PHONE MARLA IMMEDIATELY AT 713 862 4428 OR EMAIL marla@ssqq.com

 SSQQ has scheduled a 7-day Cruise aboard Royal Caribbean’s floating palace known as the “Rhapsody” at the end of September. The dates for the sailing are Sunday, September 26, thru Sunday, October 3.

Something that makes this particular trip out of the ordinary is that Marla and I will be getting married aboard the ship.

Marla and I connected on the SSQQ Cruise back in August 2001.  I had known her for about six months previously as a student, but had never actually talked. On the first night of the cruise, there was a midnight dance at the Disco.  As I walked in, I saw Marla standing in the door watching the dancing. She appeared to be getting ready to leave so I hustled over and asked her to dance.  We danced freestyle for a while and then sat down. Over Margaritas we began a conversation. I was amazed at how much chemistry we had right from the start.  The rest is history.

We have never been apart since.

Originally Marla and I thought we would get married in Estes Park, Colorado, since that is where I proposed to her over Memorial Day 2003.  We had intended to get married in front of the Stanley Hotel (famous as the inspiration for “The Shining”) with the Rocky Mountains as our backdrop. But on our recent trip there this year, we realized how impractical the entire plan was.  I think the final straw was when I had to carry four pieces of luggage up three flights of stairs at the Stanley. We checked in at 10:30 pm after a long drive in the mountains only to find their elevator was broken. I discovered it had been broken for six months. Somehow the place didn’t seem quite as romantic any more.

So we went back to the drawing board. Marla wanted to get married aboard the Rhapsody. After all, we met on an SSQQ cruise, why not get married on one?   Made sense to me.

Unfortunately when we checked in June for availability, there was already another wedding scheduled!  Amazing.  It turns out they only do the weddings while the ship is docked in Galveston each Sunday. Unfortunately someone had already beat us to the punch.

But if you know Marla, she doesn’t give up.  It didn’t hurt that as the trip’s travel agent she had access to people in high places.  So for the first time, there will be two weddings on the same trip!

The first wedding party gets the “Shall We Dance” Lounge and we get the Disco. Makes sense. After all, that’s where it started.

The problem is that due to 9/11 restrictions, the ship will only allow 35 guests. And Marla and I count in the total!  That leaves 33.  So most of our wedding guests will be immediate family and a few landlubbers who aren’t going on the trip. 

Marla was depressed at having to leave so many people off the list. Then she had the idea to spring for a lavish Reception later in the day for everyone who is going on the cruise. After pulling some more strings, we now have a wedding reception for 113 people later the same evening in the “Shall We Dance” Lounge in addition to our earlier party. 

That makes two wedding receptions in one day plus the huge “Tattoo Leather and Lace” Party the night before at the studio.  I imagine I will be a tired boy on this trip.  But you know what?  I am looking forward to it. I think everyone is going to have a great time.

Lately we have had several women drop off at the same time that several men were joining. The boy-girl ratio is definitely starting to improve. That makes me feel good because that improves the chances that I will see some sparks fly between some of our guests on our Honeymoon trip. 

As they say, “Who’s next?”








Written by Rick Archer for the August Newsletter

Although most of you think of SSQQ as “Home” and take it for granted, in the big picture of things you might be surprised to find our studio is one of the largest dance studios in America.  In terms of sheer numbers of students, we might even be THE largest  (does anyone know of a larger studio?)

And how did this come about?  We accomplished this impressive feat by being “different”.  Right from the start SSQQ separated from the pack by emphasizing social dancing for the fun of it over dance competition.

Traditional dance studios emphasize dance competitions and dance exhibitions.  Through the use of private lessons, most studios motivate their students towards excellence by targeting various dance competitions.  Although we teach private lessons as well, our reputation has been built on our Group Lesson program.  It is the Group Lessons that account for our attendance numbers, numbers I might add that are practically unheard of in the dance industry.

SSQQ has always emphasized Group Lessons with the aim of making dance fun to learn and fun to use. I might add our Group Lessons are also a lot less expensive than private lessons.  This helps to make learning to dance a much more affordable hobby.

Even our studio dicor is different. Our walls are not lined with trophies from dance competitions or with pictures of past dance champions.  Instead they are filled with pictures of countless students having fun dancing. 

Over the years our main measure of success has been the thousands of students we have taught to dance.  We are also proud of the several hundred couples that have met here at the studio and gone on to get married.  I might add the Marriages are just the tip of the iceberg.  Throw in a dollar for every romance we have assisted and I could retire right now.

Still SSQQ has been the object of much criticism over the years from Houston’s dance community. We don’t teach styling, we don’t teach technique, we don’t teach frame, we let our students dance sloppy without any correction.  We have no dance champions and we don’t stress excellence.

You get the idea. 

It is true that we don’t train dance champions. Dance champions will never emerge from a group class, even if it is an “Elite Group Class”.  I completely agree that at some point, private lessons are a mandatory step for anyone who wishes to achieve excellence in the world of dance.  However as you will see, our group classes are a marvelous place to get started.

One reason SSQQ has not trained a dance champion is due to the simple fact that we haven’t ever tried to.  I have never had the interest to play that game, but the main reason is that I never have had the time.  Running this enormously complex business has always been a full-time job.  I gave up teaching private lessons years ago simply because I no longer had the time.

Nevertheless I have always felt that if there were some teachers here at the studio that wanted to put their mind to it, SSQQ could become a force in the world of competition dancing as well. 

This hunch became a fact last January 2003.  During a New Years 2003 Competition our wonderfully gifted longtime dance teacher Susie Merrill took her legendary Heartbeat Dance Team to the UCWDC World Dance Championship. 

Over the previous six years Heartbeat had been a consistent winner in dance competitions throughout Texas and nearby states. The team had become so deep and so talented that Susie decided to take aim at the highest target. She set the Worlds Western Dance Competition as their ultimate goal.  To her delight, Heartbeat did indeed win the World Championship in the “Team Category” despite some tough competition. 

Susie has been an SSQQ Instructor since the late 80s.  Her original team started in 1997 as an offshoot from fiddling with a Western dance known as “Triple Two”.  She recruited some SSQQ instructors and advanced dancers to help her. Just by playing around they developed such a clever routine that Susie asked permission to let them perform here at the studio. After a big round of applause the whole group was hooked and decided to get even more serious. They continued to practice for another year and a half just for the fun of it. They honed and modified their routine.  In 1998 they decided to go on a road trip. It began innocently enough as they were just going to go to a small competition in nearby Austin to dance an exhibition. Their routine was very well received, but something happened. As the team members watched the other people compete, they began to imagine dancing just as well as some of those people did.  The fire was burning. The team decide!

d to get serious and dance competitively.  From then on, each individual took it upon himself or herself to do whatever it took to improve as dancers. Many of them began taking private dance lessons in addition to their team practices.

The 2003 victory at Worlds was the culmination of all those efforts. 

Heartbeat consisted of 24 dancers who trained right here at the studio.  Let me point out that all but one of these dancers was recruited from the ranks of current and former SSQQ students.  As I said, our group lessons may not be enough to win a dance contest, but they give you a heck of a great start. One question the competitors constantly asked was, “Where do you find so many men who can dance so well?”  

However it wasn’t easy.  The long hours of training plus the stress of keeping up with rules changes and upgrading the routines took its toll.  The struggle for Heartbeat to win the Worlds was so great that Susie practically fell apart from exhaustion after it was all over.  She was offered a job teaching science up in Longview, Texas, which is where she and her husband Bill have their retirement home. The temptation to “get away from it all” was too great so she jumped at the offer.  For the past school year Susie has been up in Longview, which explains why some of you newer members of the studio may not have heard of her.

Losing Susie was a fatal blow for Heartbeat.  Unfortunately there was no obvious successor.  Without their charismatic coach, the members of Heartbeat decided it was better to go out on top.  After a tearful farewell party here at the studio in January 2003, they disbanded.  I have noted there must be some serious fun in this competition game because ever since many of the members speak to me of their yearning to start all over again and raise the phoenix from the ashes.

One person who decided she would keep going is Anita Williams. At the Austin competition that really brought the team’s focus together, Anita was one of the people who had been inspired to take private lessons.  Her work paid off in a big way.

While Anita and her 23 fellow dancers were busy winning the team championship at World’s in 2003, Anita was the only Heartbeat member to win an individual competition (3 different people entered).  With her teammates cheering for her, Anita won first place in the West Coast Swing Worlds competition to add to her victory as part of Heartbeat. 

Unfortunately soon after her victory, several of Anita’s body parts decided to give way. She suffered an infuriating series of knee and foot injuries that required several surgeries to fix.  While her own dance career was postponed as she healed, Anita decided she enjoyed competitive dancing so much that she turned to coaching. 

Her first student was Victor Marquez who just happened to have been her dance partner on Heartbeat.  After the smoke cleared from the team victory, Anita approached Victor with this request - She wanted to try her hand at being a pro and compete with him as the “amateur”.  Anita made it clear to Victor that this was going to be a learning process for her. She said that most of what she could offer was her experience as a former competitor. Victor said yes and so it began.

Anita and Victor began putting routines together in late February 2003 to prepare for their first event in May at the Texas Classic. From there they went to New Orleans, then another event in Houston and a final event in Dallas.  Working the competition circuit had two purposes - first to get invaluable experience and second because they needed to compete in at least three UCWDC sanctioned events to qualify to compete at Worlds. 

Victor and Anita had so much success at the local competitions that they were encouraged to go to Worlds.  They spent November and December working hard at practicing and structuring the routines.  As a result, they were well prepared for the Big Show.

Not only did Victor and Anita dance the five required dances, they put two other dances on the floor as well!  They were very pleased by how comfortable they felt.  They knew they had danced well and by watching the other couples knew they had a chance to place high.  But first they would have to suffer an agonizing wait for the results.  After dancing New Year’s Day, they had to wait three days for the awards ceremony!  Anita was a nervous wreck the entire time. She couldn’t stop thinking about what the results might be. Talk about cruel and unusual punishment!!

Anita felt certain that Victor had a great chance to win but the waiting nearly shot her nerves for life.  Finally the awards day came.  Anita burned several more cat lives when she discovered the ceremony had been delayed. 

Finally the Awards Ceremony began just one hour before they had to take a taxi to the airport.  Would this be enough time to get to Victor’s results??  Anita was through with her fingernails so she started to bite her toenails instead.

Fortunately after all that waiting, Victor’s division was one of the first announced. Anita was on pins and needles as they read each placement in reverse order. When they got to the #3, she could hardly breathe. Then they announced the #2 winner it wasn’t Victor.  Since he was the only one that hadn’t been named, this meant he was the last man standing. Victor won! 

Not only did Victor win, his scores were superior.   He had basically trounced the field. Anita decided to call him “Victory” as his new nickname.  The man definitely deserved the moniker.

This impressive championship motivated Victor and Anita to continue working together in 2004.  Plus Anita had something else up her sleeve - she recruited a second dance partner!!  Early this year, Anita began working with SSQQ student Joel McClesky as well.

Not long after the big win at Worlds Anita spied Joel in the SSQQ Martian Whip class.  Using the confidence she had gained from working with Victor, Anita persuaded Joel to compete with her as well.  Fortunately Anita’s stable of thoroughbreds does not currently compete against one another.  Due to his previous victories, Victor competes at a higher level than Joel.

I have watched these two men train with Anita on several occasions. Every now and then I drop by the studio on a Saturday. Each time I see Anita and Victor dancing.  Usually Joel is also there sitting on the couch waiting his turn.  Or maybe I will see Victor watching while Anita works with Joel. Or maybe Anita would sit and let Joel practice with his girlfriend Ruth or Victor dance with his girlfriend Christine. They are always training! 

The hard work recently paid off.  Over the weekend of Friday, July 16th, Victor, Joel, and Anita had an exciting weekend in New Orleans at the Dance Mardi Gras UCWDC competition. Mr. Victor was indeed the Victor again in his competition, but Anita had a new thrill as well - this time Joel won his competition as well.  This means Joel has now won two competitions, the first being here in Houston at “the Texas Classic” in May. That’s a pretty good start.

Victor and Joel’s victories are no accident. I happen to know that both men are “Naturals” when it comes to dance.  These men moved gracefully from the first time I saw them. Nor is it surprising that Anita picked them - she can spot talent!  But you know what, I think Anita is a “Natural” too. Not only is she a great dancer, it looks like she has the makings of a great coach.

Joel and Victor’s success was not the only SSQQ news this weekend.  In all there were EIGHT SSQQ students and teachers who won or placed in their divisions. 

In the C&W competition, Cher Longoria, Christine Sandal, Joel McClesky, and Victor Marquez won their divisions.  Randy Winfrey came in second in his division. Priscilla Hamic came in fifth in her division.

Cher Longoria was the only person to enter both sides of the competition. After winning her Western contest, Cher came in fourth overall in her division as well. I loved her victory message to me, “I won”.  My reply? “Good.”

While Joel and Victor are indeed “Naturals”, let us not overlook another amazingly gifted male dancer. The entire Houston dance community is aware that SSQQ Whip Instructor Bryan Spivey is one of the finest young talents to come along in many a year.  When you see him dance, you realize he moves his body better than most women, but somehow manages to look quite masculine in the process.  In the Mardi Gras West Coast Swing competition, Bryan Spivey won his Pro-Am division in impressive fashion. Dancing Pro-Am with Lisa D’Amico against a crowded, deeply talented field, the odds were not in his favor. Nevertheless in classic Julius Caesar fashion, Bryan came, saw and conquered. 

When you put Bryan, Victor, and Joel side by side, we are reminded of the classic query mentioned earlier, “Where on earth do you find all these men who can DANCE???”

And guess who the top-rated Coach was?  Actually Anita is too modest to accept my praise. I don’t know how anyone can beat a coach whose only two students both won first place, but I learned long ago the world of competitive dancing can yield some strange results. Nevertheless Anita insisted I say that all she knows is that as a “Coach” she placed somewhere in the top 10% out of 42 different dance professionals. Not bad for a woman who dances wonderfully but can’t even walk without a limp!!

We have always know that SSQQ is a great place to get started dancing if your objective is to learn to social dance.  After this weekend, it is no longer idle speculation that we may have the seeds of a competition program as well.

We have three instructors who are ready to roll up their sleeves and help all comers with Western and West Coast Swing right now.

Anita Williams can train a male dancer to compete Pro-Am either in Western or West Coast Swing.  If you are interested in learning more about details, contact her at anitawilliams1@juno.com

Scott Ladell has recently joined the SSQQ staff. He is a very experienced Western dancer. Working in conjunction with Anita, Scott is ready to train a female dancer to compete in a Western Pro-Am. You can reach him at scottladell@houston.rr.com

Our recent college graduate Bryan Spivey still has Amateur dance status. He isn’t ready to go Pro-Am just yet.  I think he is thoroughly enjoying taking everything one step at a time. However Bryan said he will be happy to work with anyone male or female who wishes to improve their WCS dancing with a future eye towards competition.  You can contact him at bubbamotion@yahoo.com

And one more thing - the next time someone corners you at Wild West and tells you the only way to get any good at dancing is to go learn someplace else, set ‘em straight.  Thank you.







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






The major change at the studio staff involved the retirement of Brian and Ann White from teaching. Ann White, then known as Ann Bush, joined the SSQQ staff in the summer of 1999. Brian joined about a year later in September of 2000.  Along with fellow SSQQ instructors Ben Liles, Anita Williams, Martin Anderson, Jill Banta and Mo Hendrix, Brian and Ann were founding members of the Heartbeat Dance Team coached by Susie Merrill from 1997 through January 2003.  This was the dance team that won a world UCWDC championship in January 2003. However the climb to the top was so arduous that Susie decided to retire from coaching soon afterwards.  I might add it was during their time as members of the dance team that Brian and Ann started going together. 

After a four year courtship, last November 2003 Brian and Ann got married.  As they settled into married life, I imagine some of the excitement of working every Friday night after a long work week lost some of its allure. Ann and Brian were highly respected teachers here at the studio for a long time. I know they will be missed.  However, once they recharge their batteries, I would not be surprised to see them take another stab at teaching. I wish them well.

I would like to welcome Scott Ladell to our staff. Scott will be taking one of the open teaching spots on Friday. Scott is an expert Western Swing instructor who has been a competition dancer for some time. He is also an excellent Western Swing choreographer and prefers to teach upper level Western Swing classes.  So expect some interesting patterns once Scott gets settled into teaching here. He will start with Ghost Town 11 in July on Fridays.

Also the lovely Gina Garza has joined the staff as an Assistant on Fridays. In addition to holding down a full-time job, Gina is also pursuing a master's degree in business at Rice University. She tells me she comes to the studio to regain her sanity.  Somehow, I understand completely.  Gina got her picture in this month's Newsletter.  Go visit the Sock Hop Pictures!!






Long ago in January 1999, America was in the midst of an enormous Swing reincarnation. The heyday of Swing Dancing was in the 1920s and 30s with the emergence of Big Band music. Swing Dancing hit its peak of popularity during World War II, then like the Dinosaurs mysteriously disappeared from the face of the earth soon after the war ended.

50 years later Swing Dancing roared back to life during the late 1990s. 1990s movies like "Swing Kids" and "Swingers" hinted at a Swing Comeback, but it took the famous "Jump Jive and Wail" Gap Commercial of April 1998 to skyrocket Swing Dancing to the very forefront of American consciousness.

Riding the powerful surge of interest in Swing Dancing, SSQQ decided to try something new for the start of 1999 - an entire day of Swing Workshops followed by a party featuring live Swing music. We named it "Extravaganza" and extravagantly successful it was!

Our gamble paid off in a big way. Over 200 people had the best time of their lives all day long. But outside the doors of the studio, one poor human being was stuck with the Promethean task of single-handedly protecting the entire day's activities from a disastrous failure.

What horrible thing went wrong that day??? Don't you want to know!!

Story of the First Extravaganza: http://ssqq.com/information/advent41.htm





Written by Judy Archer


The new “Shall We Dance” movie starring J Lo and Richard Gere is a remake of the Japanese movie of several years ago and stays fairly true to the original version.

Richard Gere (“John Clark”) is a mostly happily married man with a boring job who is looking for some excitement; he sees Jennifer Lopez (“Paulina”) looking out the window of Miss Mitzi’s Dance Studio from his evening train. One night he finally works up enough courage to go see what it’s all about. He signs up for the Beginning Ballroom class, which consists of Gere and two other guys, with Miss Mitzi as the instructor. Miss Mitzi is a pleasant older woman who likes her gin flask a bit too much and Paulina is a tragic, frustrated ballroom dancer who is hiding from her disappointing life. (Sigh.)

Other characters, in the broadest comedic sense, are Bobbie – overblown, overdressed, overacted, as the ballroom dance queen wannabe and the attorney who dances in disguise, with false teeth and false hair – a closet ballroom dancer.

Anyway, Gere’s wife, played by Susan Sarandon, doesn’t know why he’s late every Wednesday night so she hires a private detective to scope it out. After some back and forth, Gere enters a dance competition with the Boberator which ends abruptly when they fall down and Bobbie’s skirt comes off. Yada yada yada.

Gere dances with J Lo a couple of times; once in a very nice Argentine Tango scene and again for a Quickstep. J Lo also does a great dance scene by herself. Most of the rest of the dancing is pretty forgettable, but the Gere/J Lo scenes alone are worth seeing the movie. I’m not sure it portrays ballroom dancing in the best possible light but it was fun and I’d recommend it as long as you don’t take it too seriously.

(Editor's Note: Joey called me last week to ask if anyone at the studio would like to preview the movie as a publicity promotion. Judy Archer was nice enough to volunteer to go see the advance screening.  She was joined by David and Susan Schroeder, Charlene Tees, and Sandy Lenarduzzi. 

Sandy also reviewed the movie for me: "
Thanks for the free ticket...it was a great flick!"







(Rick's Note: Kevin Mazeika is a hometown hero.  After an abysmal showing at the Sydney Olympics, the U.S. gymnastics committee turned to Kevin as a new leader in 2001.  The results were immediate - the United States brought home two consecutive silver medals in the World Championships of 2001 and 2003 followed by a near-miss of the Gold Medal in the team competition at the recent Athens Games.

I grew up with Kevin through the Friends Meeting (Quakers) here in Houston. Since he is 11 years younger than I, we never had much in common. Instead I was much closer to Kevin's older sister Peggy as we shared many a Sunday activity together.  These days Peggy helps Kevin run the Houston Gymnastics Academy which is located just down the street from SSQQ near the corner of Gulfton and South Rice.

On Sunday, September 12, I noticed extra cars in the parking lot as I came to work. Somebody was having a private party over at Charlie's Barbeque.  A couple hours later I was surprised to see none other than my friend Peggy at the studio. It turns out the party next door was in honor of her brother Kevin.  She invited me to come meet our conquering hero! 

That was an offer I thoroughly appreciated getting!  I had been following the exploits of the gymnastics team carefully and wanted to thank Kevin personally for his instrumental work in bringing the American team to the reach the very top of its potential.

Being Head Coach of the U.S. team is no picnic.  This is a sport where the difference between first place and second place is usually determined by one or two "Tenths" of a point. Add in the fact that each athlete must live with an often erratic subjective judging system and it has to drive them nuts to lose by such a small margin.  Witness Ms. Khorkina of Russia who went ballistic with bitterness over the scores she was given in a narrow loss to America's Carly Patterson, the gold medal winner in the women's all-around.

Given this kind of pressure, a further problem is that each member of the Olympic team usually has a different coach.  My guess is that every one of these coaches either openly or secretly covets the head position that Kevin Mazeika occupies. Plus I am sure they each have a different idea how the Head Coach should run things or make the best use of their particular athlete. As a result the internal politics must be brutal.

So how does someone in such a high-profile position handle all the intense personalities?  For example, I asked Kevin what it was like to work with Bela Karoly, the famous and quite controversial coach on the woman's side of gymnastics. Kevin simply smiled at me and said nothing. I think I could learn from him!!

I also asked for his insider's take on the brutal controversy surrounding Paul Hamm who's gold medal is currently being contested in a world governing court. Kevin smiled and said nothing. I think I could learn from him.

I also asked about the gymnastics controversy where Blaine Wilson was forced to change practically his entire routine on the bars at the last minute by a judge's ruling. Blaine Wilson was badly
out  of sync as a result and ended up taking a brutal fall from the bars that had him land flat on his back after his hand slipped trying an unfamiliar maneuver. Kevin smiled and said nothing. What I learned is when you are at the top, you quickly share your views in public sparingly!!  This man clearly knows how to keep his opinions to himself.

This was my insight into how Kevin survives and even thrives in the jungle of International Gymnastics. I tip my hat to him!!

I have reprinted an article from my friend Kathleen Ballanfant's excellent local paper, Southwest News. We keep copies of each issue here at the studio in case you are ever curious about local events and politics.)

Men's US Gymnastics Coach Returns to Houston After Successful Run

By Tom Manning
Southwest News

It was impossible to leave Kevin Mazeika a voice mail message at his office last week. That's because his mailbox was filled with messages from friends and colleagues congratulating him on his successful stint in Athens with the U.S. Men's Gymnastics Team.

Mazeika, a lifelong Houstonian and head coach at the Houston Gymnastics Academy on South Rice, coached the men's squad to an Olympic Silver Medal in the team competition and helped Paul Hamm win the men's all-around gold last week in Greece. Mazeika returned to Houston last Wednesday, and two days later was back at the academy, working with what may very well be some of America's future Olympic hopefuls.

"There's been a great response since we've come back," says the 43-year-old Mazeika, whose wife and two daughters were able to make the journey to Athens with him. "Everyone was so supportive of us and they're so proud of our success as a team. There's been a real strong connection among all of us. We put in a lot of work, but this is the fun part."

Mazeika was named coach of the U.S. men's team in January, after a successful stint coaching the team to a silver medal at the 2003 World Championships in Anaheim. The success the men's team had in that competition made the U.S. a medal front-runner in Athens, just four years after the squad failed to earn any individual or team medals in the 2000 Sydney games.

"We knew going in we were a contender, but the Olympics is a different animal," Mazeika says. "The hype and the pressure is unlike anything you experience at other competitions. It's one thing to talk about it, it's another to get there and see how overwhelming it can be. But the reality of it is, we were there to do gymnastics, and we had to put everything else out of the way."

But reaching contender status in the first place is something the men's team had to struggle to achieve.

After the U.S. was shut out in Sydney, Mazeika, who has been on the U.S. National Team's coaching staff for 16 years, participated in a "coaches' summit" aimed at returning men's gymnastics to elite status on the world stage.

"We put together a model of what we wanted to do and we followed it very closely," Mazeika says. "We looked at the execution we were going to need from our athletes, the consistency we were going to need from our coaches, we explored every aspect of the sport and how we could improve. But the most important thing was to put all of the egos aside and focus on the entire team, not just individual athletes. I thin we saw the results of all of those aspects in Athens."

A year after that summit, Mazeika coached the U.S. to a silver medal at the 2001 World Championships, then to another one in 2003. In fact, 2003 was the most successful season the U.S. team has had since 1979, finishing behind the Chinese team by just seven-tenths of a point.

Once he was named Olympic coach, Mazeika focused on organizing his athletes and their individual coaches.

"I had to get all of them on one game plan," he says. "Then it was my job to determine lineups and who does what event, which is crucial."

China, along with Japan and the U.S., came to Athens as favorites to take gold. The U.S. team included Jason Gatson, Brett McClure, Blaine Wilson, Guard Young, and twins Morgan and Paul Hamm.

The U.S. struggled early in the team competition, but rebounded strong to finish second to Japan. The margin of victory was slim, as Japan outscored the Americans 173.821 to 172.933.

"We knew the Japanese team was strong; we never counted them out," Mazeika says. "We had a few rough routines, but the guys finished strong."

With the team competition over, the athletes could focus on their individual routines, and Mazeika had a front-row seat for what soon became three days of controversy surrounding the U.S.'s most successful gymnast, Paul Hamm.

Despite a nasty fall on the vault, Hamm took gold in the men's all-around, beating South Korea's Yang Tae Young. But a scoring controversy involving Young led many to question whether Hamm truly earned his gold.

Two days later, Hamm was to follow esteemed Russian gymnast Alexei Nemov on the horizontal bars. Nemov completed an incredible routine and was rewarded with what many in the crowd felt was a sub par score. Ten minutes of boos and whistles followed, all while Hamm waited for the dust to settle and for his on the bars.

When he finally got to go, Hamm's routine tied for the gold medal, but the tiebreaker went against him and he settled for silver, his third medal of the games.

Mazeika said the controversy surrounding Hamm was intense.

"It speaks to what an incredible competitor he is," Mazeika says. "First, you've got the overall stress of the Olympics, then you've got the all-around controversy surrounding him, and you top that off with ten minutes of booing, and he still comes out and nails his routine. He rose to the pressure."

With the Olympics over, Mazeika can now focus all of his attention on the academy, which last semester boasted 1,200 students from ages 16 months and up. After competing for 14 years as a gymnast himself, Mazeika now works with scores of young athletes, as well as continuing to coach 2001 national champion Sean Townsend.

"We focus on the fundamentals and the basics when they're young, and then they work up to higher levels," he says of his students.

While an Olympic year can mean a boost in enrollment of 30-50%, Mazeika says that most parents are realistic about their children's' chances at Olympic stardom.

"The Olympics is every four years, and you take six athletes," he says. "It's a goal to aspire to, but we don't have parents who are putting that type of pressure on their kids. Developing into an Olympian is a process. At the end of the day you have to say to yourself that you worked as hard as you could, but it's the journey that you've got to enjoy, not just the destination."





Story written by Coach Anita Williams

Rick, we’re at it again! The 2004/05 competition year began with a great start for SSQQ student Joel McCleskey and Victor Marquez.
First, I’ll begin with Joel. I met Joel when I taught WCS on Thursdays and I was immediately impressed with his natural ability. I don’t remember how we got on the subject of competition, but somehow we did and I managed to persuade him to give it a try. We began working in late January in preparation for a UCWDC event here in Houston this past May.

First time out, Joel won 1st place in his division. He took first in Triple-Two, Two-Step, Waltz and WCS. We got a 2nd in Night Club. Way to go Joel!

Our very own World Champion Male Crystal Newcomer, Victor Marquez, placed second overall in his division at the same event. He won three of his five dances, Night Club, Cha-Cha, and WCS, came in 2nd in Two-Step and 3rd in Waltz. Victor had to move up to a much more challenging division this year because of his win at World’s last January and we have all new, more difficult routines. Then to make things worse we got a late start because of my knee operation. We’re just now getting comfortable with the routines, so I feel pretty good about the possibility of winning "Overall" at some future event.

On that note I’d like to mention that your new addition to your staff, Scott Ladell, is a fellow competition coach. If there are any ladies out there who are interested in pursuing competitive dancing, they may want to consider Scottie for an instructor. Scottie is an excellent teacher. I might also add that he has won a few competitions himself, he’s pretty impressive!

Both Scottie and I enjoy the process of taking people through the competition circuit. If students are interested or have questions about competing, we would love to talk with them!

On that note, we’re busy preparing for our next event in July in New Orleans and for an event in Phoenix early August. I’ll pop you a note to let you know how we make out…

(Rick's Note:  Anita Williams is a long-time SSQQ instructor. She was a member of the World Champion Heartbeat Dance Team in 2003 and also won an Individual World Championship at the same competition in the West Coast Swing division. Over the past two years she has begun to put together an impressive resume as a Western dance coach. If you have aspirations to compete, contact Anita. If you are a guy, she can coach you. If you are a lady, Anita can get Scott involved. If you are a couple, Anita probably won't know what to do.  The nice thing about Anita is that she is honest and direct. If she doesn't think she's the right coach for you, she probably can put you in touch with the right person.  Either way, contact Anita at
anitawilliams1@juno.com )


The Sordid Shaggie Jitterbug Saga Revisited

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

From: Rana B
Sent: Monday, September 06, 2004 9:09 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: adventures [Fobidden Word] , shAggie, Jitterbug, Bah Humbug... I need to learn the Charleston!!

Mr. Archer:

Today's Internet search consisted of finding fact and fiction relating to the 1920s. I was honestly searching for ideas to incorporate into the 20s Christmas party I am organizing for my company. I thought it would be a fantastic idea to learn and then teach the Charleston to my coworkers and bosses as part of the evening's fun....

As Internet searches often do, my search went terribly random and I found myself at your site. Two hours later, I have read the entire Shaggie Saga and wish I had the power of pen and prose that you possess.

How's this for irony? In one week, I will land in Aggieland - College Station to be exact. After reading the saga, I now have two missions for my otherwise unremarkable trip to visit my granny.

1) To wear my University of California at Davis Aggies sweater as much as possible
2) To meet my new hero (that would be you) and let him teach me as much Charleston as I can learn in one sitting.

How far is Houston from College Station and might I schedule a lesson on September 15 or 16?

Thank you kindly,

Rana B
Sacramento, CA

Rick's Reply:

Hi Rana,

Talk about the Internet taking you to some strange places! Isn’t that the most ridiculous story you have ever read?

You have made my day. I got such a big kick out of what you in your letter, I went back and re-examined my story. I haven’t even looked at it for four years, but you got me curious. Once I was there, I got a burst of creativity and made some changes to the start and to the end.

You had no way of realizing it, but your letter gave my story the perfect ending it needed!!


When you see what I did, you are bound to get a grin. Promise.

Now as to that Charleston lesson…. I personally don’t know much Charleston, but I have a lady at the studio that does. Her name is Judy Archer.  She is an expert!!  You can reach her at
judyarcher@houston.rr.com  I will arrange for a free private lesson. Your inspiration is worth that much to me!

Thanks again for the nice letter!


(Editor's Note: It has now been over four years since the Adventure of the Shaggie Jitterbug.  The whole story was so absurd it probably belonged in Ripley's Believe it Or Not.  Even today it seems too stupid to be true, but then that's what it seemed like four years ago as well. Here is a snapshot of the story:

The Infamous Texas A&M-SSQQ Trademark Snafu!
Story written by Rick Archer

On Saturday, July 10, 1999, I was in a bad mood. I had just finished teaching a Crash Course for an obscure dance known here at the studio as the "_____ Jitterbug".

There were only 10 people in the class, the bare minimum for a class to be held. In fact, earlier in the evening I had considered canceling the class when I saw how few people there were. I only hesitated because one young lady, an A&M graduate, begged me to continue. She said she had been trying to teach her boyfriend how to do this dance for months, but couldn't explain it to him without hurting his feelings. I smiled and said I would go ahead and teach the class. However once it was over, I made a mental note to put this class in the closet and stick to offering classes that actually made some money for us.

With this class on the deep backburners, you can imagine my shock when I received an email on February 4, 2000 from an A&M alumnus named Stephen Huzar which accused my dance studio of EXPLOITING his Alma Mater by teaching the "_____ Jitterbug"!

Ever since Mr. Stephen Huzar fired the first shot in his stunning email to me, I tried to tell the A&M community that we meant no harm. My words fell upon deaf ears. There would be no peace pipe. Our dance program was treated as a major threat. A&M University, aka TAMU, could not idly sit back and risk being exploited!!

Forced to act quickly before SSQQ had a chance to mobilize and strengthen, TAMU dropped a huge legal bomb on the studio.

And just what exactly was all the fuss about? And how did this sordid saga begin?

In his letter Mr. Huzar wrote these immortal words:

Should you not refrain from using the trademarks, quite honestly, I (and I’m sure many other Houston area Forbidden Words) would find it a blatant act of greed on both the part of SSQQ and Leisure Learning magazine and rather disgusting that you would contribute to end the noble act of raising scholarships for worthy students.

Well, that got our attention!

What the heck did we do wrong? After investigating the matter further, we discovered we were under attack for the crime of using a WORD connected to Texas A&M University without permission. We were said to be guilty of exploiting the University by invoking a TRADEMARKED WORD.

Unaccustomed to being accused of Greed, as a goodwill gesture, on March 25th, SSQQ held a Benefit Dance Class in honor of the "beloved dance" of Texas A&M. This event not only attracted over 40 people, it generated a nice check in the amount of $500 for Texas A&M. The studio did not keep a cent lest we be accused of further greed.

The A&M Benefit proved to be useless. The very next day SSQQ received a threatening letter from a Michigan law firm. The letter said in very strong language that SSQQ was infringing on A&M trademark rights. We would be sued by the University for our crime unless we stopped using the Forbidden Word immediately!

And what exactly is the "Forbidden Word"? 

Do you actually think I am stupid enough to tell and risk being sued by A&M??   No way!

You will just have to figure it out for yourself.  If you are curious to know more about this ridiculous adventure, please visit:



Earlier this year in March 2004, I received word from Paul Motard that his friend Miles Cochran had passed away at his parent's home out in Arizona. I was so stunned I actually didn't have the heart to post the notice.

Miles Cochran took dance lessons here at SSQQ from 1998 through 2001. Miles wasn't exactly the greatest dancer in the world, but he was definitely one of the most conscientious. I cannot recall another student who ever tried harder than he did!
Each year at the studio there are several people who stand out as key members of our community. Most people just come to SSQQ to learn to dance, but a few discover there is a great bunch of people here that they can hang out with and have fun. Miles was a part of our group during his years at the studio.

Miles was a very handsome man who was also very modest. He was quiet, easy-going, and very aware that dancing did not come naturally in a world where all his friends were dancers. Nevertheless he stayed with it and got pretty good at Western dancing.

Miles was so unassuming and down to earth, you can imagine my shock when I discovered he worked for the Houston Police Department. I could not believe it! My experience with police officers to date had been one of intimidation and fear. More than once I had felt bullied by a Houston police officer during my periodic traffic ticket adventures. Their sarcastic and authoritarian style had trained to stay as far away from a cop as possible!

But now I met a guy who was friendly, interesting, and not even the slightest bit arrogant. I realized my attitude was in need of serious adjustment. He asked me one favor - please don't tell anyone he was a policeman. I honored his request and kept the information under wraps.

One day I complained to Miles about another traffic ticket I had received. I was angry about the ticket because it seemed like such a cheap shot. Before I decided to fight it however, I thought I would ask Miles what he thought.
To my surprise, Miles went way out of his way to help me. But I never got to tell the story because he asked me not to.

Now - many years later - I think it is time to share this story about a very nice man who is no longer with us - Miles Cochran.

July 01, 1999
Rick Archer Beats the Rap with a Little Help From a Friend!

Ever get stuck with a parking ticket that cost $700 before? That's a lot of money for parking ticket. I was sick in my stomach with nausea when I pulled the tickets off my windshield. Thank goodness, with a little help from my friends, I beat the Rap!

Here at SSQQ, people consume a lot of soft drinks. I mean A Whole Lot of Soft Drinks! So where do all those drinks come from? Sam's Wholesale Club. My carpenter Salomon and I go to Sam's about once every two weeks. Everyone at Sam's knows me because I have huge orders.

For the past 10 years people have stared in shock when we bring up our train of seven metal carts to the front counter.
Certainly the Managers at Sam's know me... Each cart holds 42 cases of drinks. Including the cleaning supplies, toilet paper, popcorn bags, hand towels, and light bulbs, 10 cases of wine, and the 300 cases of beer and soft drinks, we make quite a sight! I am good to Sam's and the Sam's Club people are good to me. They always tell me to bring my two trucks up close to the front door so their personnel can assist us in transferring the drinks from the carts to the trucks. Having these young men help us load the trucks is indeed a big help, especially in the summer when it is so hot!

On May 19, Salomon and I finished loading my Pathfinder. The young men who helped us got a nice tip and walked back into Sam's. As I strapped on my seat belt I noticed a mysterious green envelope on my windshield. I took a look: it was a $350 Fire Lane violation!!

I was absolutely stunned! I had been loading drinks in this exact area at the suggestion of the Sam's Management for the past 10 years. No one had ever told me this was a Fire Lane. I got out of the Pathfinder. There was nothing on the pavement to suggest a Fire Lane. No paint, no lines, Nothing. Then about 20 feet further down I saw a sign. I couldn't read it because I was beside it, not in front of it. In other words, the sign was facing a direction where I couldn't see what it said. So I walked the 20 feet to look at it directly. Surprise!! The sign said "Fire Lane". Mind you, I had to be standing right in front to read it, but there it was.

Whenever we go to Sam's we park in the parking lot like everyone else while we are collecting our drinks. Then while as I stand in line getting my seven flatbed carts checked out, Salomon goes and brings the two trucks up closer. In fact, we park the trucks just outside the front door in an open area no one uses. Then he comes back in and helps me and the Sam's assistants roll the heavy carts out the door to the trucks.

Today it took Salomon 5 minutes to come back in the store and help me take the seven carts. In that short period of time, by chance someone had given us the ticket.

How could they be so precise? I guessed that some civil servant was probably just sitting in an air-conditioned car waiting for his chance. The moment Salomon reentered the store, he jumped out and wrote the tickets. Like I said, Salomon wasn't away from the trucks for more than 5 minutes.

Now as I walked from the telltale Sign back to my Pathfinder I noticed Salomon's truck had a ticket too. This meant we had 2 tickets totaling $700. You can guess how mad I was.

In my opinion, this was a pretty cheap shot. Plus it was a strange ticket. There was not even an official court date like on other tickets I had received. It just said I had 45 days to go downtown and "request an Instanter Hearing".

Oh boy, go downtown and ask for permission to go to court. Just my idea of fun! What the heck is an "Instanter Hearing" anyway?

I was so mad I let the two tickets sit on my kitchen counter like bird poop on a windshield for three weeks. Then I decided to show the tickets to Miles Cochran.

Recently I learned that he is a Detective in the Sex Crimes Unit at HPD. I had asked him about his job several times, but he always got very quiet so I was never exactly sure what his position called for.

Miles took a look at the tickets and frowned. He asked if I could make a copy of them. He took those copies and said he would investigate those tickets. A week later he reported the tickets were on the level. Nevertheless Miles didn't like them either; he offered to help me fight it.

One day without letting me know, Miles took a camera over to Sam's and photographed the location. Then he asked some more questions at his office and showed the pictures to fellow officers.

A couple days passed and Miles called me to explain it wasn't two trips downtown but just one. He said he had learned a mediator, not a judge, processes these violations immediately. Since the office was right across the street from his office, he volunteered to go to the hearing with me. I accepted without too much hesitation. Miles gave me directions to the Police Station downtown.

On Wednesday, June 30, I entered the new police building at 1200 Travis. I was in for a couple surprises. I discovered you have to stand in line just to enter the building. One at a time you go to a desk and present your driver's license and state your business before they issue you a pass.

The officer at the desk asked me why I was there. I mentioned my appointment to see Officer Cochran of the Sex Crimes Unit. At this, the officer quickly looked up from his computer terminal and eyed me carefully. "Mr. Archer, Are you here to Register?"

Register what? My face drained of color. I assumed he was asking if I intended to register as a Sex Crimes Offender. Oh, Great! I quickly reassured the officer my visit had nothing to do with any sex crimes. He studied me closely for any telltale signs that would reveal without a doubt that I was a Pervert. Disappointed at not seeing a big P on my forehead, he frowned suspiciously and issued me a pass and told me to go to the metal detector.

I took out my keys and placed them beside my clipboard, then walked through. Whoop, Whoop, Whoop the alarm sounded. The officer in charge discretely put his hand on his hip pocket. He suggested I empty my pockets. When I nervously tried to jam my hand in my pocket, he suggested I reach for my pockets a little more slowly. I breathed very deeply and did what he said. I SLOWLY brought out two dimes and a penny. This time I made it through the metal detector successfully.

Badly shaken, I stumbled to the elevator. I have never committed a crime in my life other than snitching some comic books in the eighth grade (I got caught; my career in crime ended when the manager clubbed me over the head with a Batman comic book), but I was already shaken enough to confess to practically anything. I felt guilty of something all the way to Miles' office!

I entered the 11th Sex Crimes Unit. Miles was the only person in there. He showed me the photos he had taken at Sam's. He asked to me explain where I had parked and what my thought process was. He suggested I let him do the talking. It is not easy to agree to let someone else talk for me, but I guessed he knew the right things to say. I agreed to shut up.

We walked across the street. The whole process was very informal. We only had to wait maybe ten minutes. The Adjudicator took one look at the pictures that the Officer had taken of the location and said the case was dismissed because the lane was improperly marked. The Adjudicator was very polite and even apologized for my inconvenience. I was amazed.

Justice was served thanks to the clever work of my hero!

(Rick's Note: This was the first time in my life I have ever gotten close enough to realize that not all policeman are angry, hostile bullies. Once when I was in college I had been maced on campus by some idiot cop who assumed I was a drug dealer. Until now that ugly incident had remained as my picture of all cops - stupid and quick to pull the trigger. Now I discovered that Miles was the exact opposite of my stereotype. He was a decent man who didn't like seeing me pushed around so he came to my defense. Without his help, I am sure like most sheep I would have coughed up the $700 just to get it over with.

Let me add that my subsequent experience with Chief Holloway of the Bellaire Police Department has further taught me that police officers can be friends as well as authorities. By coincidence one day during Christmas Season at Sam's Club, I ran into then Officer Holloway of the Bellaire Police Dept - he has since been promoted to Assistant Chief. He came over to me and said hello. I had not noticed him out of uniform. We had a lengthy talk about his job. I told him how grateful I was for the fine work of his department at handling two recent ugly incidents at the studio - a car thief was caught in our parking lot plus an illegal tow was prevented by the quick intervention of a passing Bellaire officer who thought something looked out of order.

It was my experience with Miles Cochran that convinced me to join the "100 Club" that assists the families of fallen police officers. I will always be grateful to Miles for being the first person to show me the "human side" of the Police Department. After he helped me, at the time I recall feeling guilty and ashamed by my shortsighted opinion of "cops".
It has taken me four months to decide to say something about his passing. His death was shrouded in some mystery and to be honest I would rather not pry. All I know is that Miles was very good to me and that he was a very kind man. This is the memory I will keep of Miles. I will miss him very much.



On Wednesday, March 16, Channel 13 came to film our Western classes and do interviews.  The following Monday, May 21, they returned to film the Swing and Ballroom classes.

We were told the following:
1) The show would be run on their Sunday at 7:30 AM slot.  Yes, that is correct. AM.
2) The show would likely air on Sunday, July 4th.
3) They would call us or email us when it was ready to air.

The program aired on Sunday, June 27. I missed it. So did everyone else. Oh well. So much for my blip with fame.

At first there was a total lack of Richter activity in my Email Box, so I assumed no one else in Houston saw it either. 

However I did manage to get one email after all:

-----Original Message-----
From: Janice
Sent: Monday, July 05, 2004 10:48 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: channel 13 New Registration local TV show

Would it be possible to sign up for the Beg Feestyle taught by Rick from 6-7pm Mon. July 5th and then also sign up for the Beg. Swing/Jitterbug taught by Patty from 7-9 pm on July 5th?  If so, I would like to sign up for both.  May I do that upon arriving this evening? 

I saw a "piece" done on your dance classes on Sun. June 27th on a local station.  Having looked on the web for dance classes, I had come across your "SSQQ" and had read much of what you offered on your website.  Seeing the TV story affirmed for me that this is indeed what I wish to do.  If I don't hear from you, I'll show up this evening. 

On Thursday, August 4, I was picking up my shirts at the cleaners here in the Heights. The quiet Hispanic woman who has been collecting my shirts for about five years without saying a word looked at me in an odd way. She asked, "Are you a dance teacher?"

I laughed and said yes. Then I asked how she had discovered my secret identity.

"I saw you on TV."  End of conversation.

This fifteen minutes of fame stuff sure is intoxicating.

I did manage to acquire a copy of the original tape. It is actually very well done. I will start showing it at Break Time.







In November 1984 I received my first issue of Clipper, a magazine of Clip Art that was created by Dynamic Graphics. This art service is headquartered in Peoria, Illinois. 

My first issue did not have many good pictures, but one picture did catch my eye. This silly little Valentine picture started a love affair I had with a Dynamic Graphics artist that lasted nineteen years.

Over the next few years I developed a rapport with a woman named Marilyn Jennings who was a customer service representative. I asked her about the artist, but discovered she was sworn to secrecy.

Apparently this particular artist was so gifted that the company was super-paranoid about revealing his identity. I was bitterly disappointed because I admired his artwork greatly. Marilyn was nice enough to promise to research all the back issues of Clipper magazine and find his other work.

Of course I paid a pretty penny for each picture, but each picture was worth it. The picture here on the right was one I purchased from a previous issue. A copy of this picture hangs on the wall at the studio in Room 4.
Marilyn whispered that his name was "Chris" and that she believed he worked out of Chicago. And that was all she wrote. In nineteen years, that's all I ever knew about this artist. Chris from Chicago. Marilyn said she could lose her job just for revealing that much! 

Marilyn has been retired now for several years and I think "Chris" is too, but still I think I am taking a huge chance and sharing my big secret with all of you!!

Some of you may recognize his style. I have his pictures hanging all over my studio!!  Now you know where the pictures came from. 

As you might gather, I respected the position that Dynamic Graphics took. Maybe they were worried someone would cut them out of the middle and commission artwork from Chris directly. As long as I got a couple Chris pictures in every issue, I didn't mind paying the $40 or $50 charge.
Then I discovered there were Chris pictures in another magazine published by Dynamic Graphics called "PMS". This absurd title was short for "Print Media Services". I wonder if their staff was aware the readers might think it stood for something else. I certainly got my fair share of laughs out of it!

Still I couldn't bear the thought of missing a Chris picture so I started to subscribe to PMS as well as Clipper each month. Now Dynamic Graphics was sending me two issues a month to the tune of over $100.  I didn't care. I was happy to get the extra artwork! 

One page of each issue was devoted to a photography. This was wasted space in my opinion. They usually put 4 pictures to a page. I never used any of them. I wanted the artwork. The photography was a nuisance, but since it was only one page per issue I decided to ignore it.

Once a year Dynamic Graphics sent out a questionnaire asking me to rate their service and offer my opinions. Every year I would say, "cut the photography and stick to your strength which is artwork."  After all "Graphics" is "Artwork.  Anybody can take a picture, but it takes skill to draw pictures of the quality you see here.
In 1996, the studio was running pretty low on funds. We were barely breaking even, so I canceled half my subscription. I no longer received PMS.  Fortunately along came Swing Dancing in 1998 and our coffers were soon restored. I reinstated my PMS subscription after a two-year break.

Not longer after that, several developments occurred with Dynamic Graphics. First they offered me a third Art service known as "Designers Club" at a discount. I didn't care for it much, but the discount made it seem worth a gamble. Then they began to offer their artwork on CDs as well as in magazine form.

Through the tutelage of my friend Gary Richardson, I had begun to use computers for my graphics. We even put up the rudimentary SSQQ web site in 1998 as well, a move that would eventually take the studio to a great period of expansion.
The new CD format meant the pictures would be in color as well as black and white. I drooled at the thought of getting color!!  So I signed up for the CD-Rom format, a move I never regretted. Now I began to receive Chris' marvelous artwork with color added!!  I was pretty excited at this development.

Around the same time Dynamic Graphics started pushing its photography branch. Calling this division "Creatas", offer after offer to get exciting photographs rolled in, but all I did was yawn. If I want a photograph, I had a camera.  It takes an artist to create art. I would pay for artwork, but I was disgusted at paying for photos. I had no need for photos.

Dynamic Graphics sent these huge photo albums full of one picture after another at no charge. I didn't care. I threw them away. I figured they were testing the market.
Then one day there was an ominous development. With my November 2000 Clipper CD came a big yellow sticker proclaiming "Now includes 20 Royalty Free Stock Photos Each Month!" 

Dynamic Graphics had decided to offer fewer pictures and more photos. I didn't like this change one bit. The glasses pictured at right were part of this issue. If I needed a picture of glasses, don't you imagine my digital camera could do the job at NO CHARGE?  Why do I need someone else to take random pictures? I was now being charged for a bunch of photographs that had absolutely no relation to my business.

All the while DG was sending me three CDs a month: Clipper, PMS, and Designers Club. I believe the monthly bill was around $160. There were more and more photographs and fewer Chris pictures in each issue. Plus the Designers Club material was practically useless. Since the studio was doing okay financially, I went along with the slow erosion of value in the product.

I did enjoy the color. There were still many beautiful Dynamic Graphic pictures that took my breath away. My web site was getting prettier all the time!!  My art collection after all these years had become vast. I had several pictures to choose from for practically any situation. I received many compliments on my use of artwork on the web site. I told anyone who asked I owed my success to Dynamic Graphics. 
I also added Dynamics Graphics had done well by me as well. By the end of 2002, I estimate the studio had sent this company close to $50,000. Do the math: $150 a month times 12 is $3,000. Twenty years times $3,000 equals $60,000. Yes, Dynamic Graphics had probably paid a few bills along the way with our checks.

Then in January 2003 came the fateful moment. The announcement arrived that Clipper and Designers Club were being phased out and replaced by a new service known as "Liquid Library".  I would still be getting two CDs a month. One would be totally artwork. The other would be nothing but photographs. And I would be paying more money. What a deal!!
One entire CD per month of photographs!!  What on earth did I do to deserve this treasure, I wondered.  Suddenly I had a full CD full of pictures of strangers frowning at computers and exciting pictures of dish of cherries. 

I actually got the feeling that Dynamic Graphics could not give away these photographs nor could they sell these photographs, so they decided to trick us into paying for them whether we liked it or not. 

I asked the customer rep if I could just pay for the Artwork and skip the photographs. She said this was not an option.
I patiently explained to the woman that if I needed a photograph, I could take one with my own camera. She said that Dynamic Graphics hired leading professionals to use their artistic talent for taking quality pictures.

I added that most of the photographs were of total strangers.  I said my customers preferred pictures of themselves on the web site, not of people they didn't know.  The customer representative basically said, "This is the way it's going to be. Take it or leave it." But the thought of missing even one new Chris picture was more than I could bear. So I gave in.
If I had known Chris was not going to be part of the "Liquid Library" for much longer, I probably would have quit on the spot. The last time I saw a new Chris picture was one year ago in October 2003. Since then every month I receive my new issues of artwork, I always wonder if Chris is going to make a comeback.

But after an entire year, I have given up. It is with great sadness that I have seen Chris pictures disappear. I can only assume that like the rest of us he was approaching retirement age.

No explanation was given by Dynamic Graphics. You would think they would acknowledge the passing of their greatest artist, but I guess not.  Personally, I think this artist was a genius. I think this man had an amazing talent.  
Now as we approach November 2004, we are just one month away from my 20th anniversary of subscribing to the Dynamic Graphics art service.

Recently a bizarre situation developed with a woman at DG named Patricia Mann. In late August she called the studio to complain about a missing payment. Judy Archer, who pays our bills, answered the call herself and said she would handle it.  A couple days later I received the very first fax my business has gotten in the past three years. The fax basically said we owed them money for an unpaid bill. I went to the checkbook only to see that Judy had just sent in a payment for the same amount. I incorrectly assumed that was the bill Ms. Mann was talking about and quit worrying about it. One week later I received an email from Ms. Mann inquiring about the unpaid bill.  I think you can follow the story from here.

-----Original Message-----
From: Patricia L. Mann
Sent: Wednesday, September 08, 2004 3:19 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: re: liquid library service
Importance: High

Good afternoon Rick.
I have been unable to reach you by phone to advise of a past due invoice.
The invoice number is 348208 in the amount of $181.74. This invoice is for the May liquid library and the June Print Media service. The invoice is dated april 30th 2004.
We have received payments on a regular basis except for this invoice.
We have a special service available to all our customers at no additional charge to you. We can auto charge your monthly invoices on a credit card. After your card is charged each month we would send you a paid receipt.
Please advise if I can set you up for auto charge and when we can expect remittance for the past due invoice as it is delaying your current monthly shipments.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Thank you for allowing us the privilege of being your image provider.
Have a great day.

Patricia L. Mann
Dynamic Graphics Group
Account Specialist

Here is a Photograph I Paid For,
But Didn't Ask For.

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer [mailto:dance@ssqq.com]
Sent: Wednesday, September 08, 2004 5:27 PM
To: Patricia L. Mann
Subject: RE: liquid library service

Ms. Mann,

This is the third time you have contacted us. First my assistant received your phone call. Then I received your fax. Now you have emailed me.

Please calm down. I don't know what the problem is. We sent the check - I saw the listing. We have always sent the check for nearly twenty years.

When the returned checks come in, I can see if it's there.

Don't worry about it. I will simply pay the balance if after glancing thru the returned checks I see the one we sent to you missing.

Rick Archer

When Dynamic Graphics puts out quality pictures like this, I am a thrilled customer
-----Original Message-----
From: Patricia L. Mann
Sent: Thursday, September 09, 2004 8:42 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: RE: liquid library service

Good morning Rick.

I apologize for bothering you.

With this reply I will note your account and watch for the payment.
I appreciate the reply. With this it will not be necessary to contact you again regarding this matter.

Have a great day.
Patricia Mann

Finally some newdity!!  Here is an exciting photograph of a nayked pregnant woman.
I was forced to pay for this.

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer [mailto:dance@ssqq.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 2004 7:07 AM
To: Patricia L. Mann
Subject: RE: liquid library service

Received canceled checks today and our check to dynamic graphics was in there.

#4971 dated august 17 in the amount of 181.74

Rick Archer

Here is an example of the artwork that makes Dynamic Graphics a quality service.

-----Original Message-----
From: Patricia L. Mann
Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 2004 8:33 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: RE: liquid library service

Good morning Rick.
We are in receipt of check number 4971. Invoice number 375333 was paid with that check. We have not received payment for invoice 348208 dated April 30th for the May Liquid Library and June Print Media Service. Once this invoice is taken care of you will be paid to current.

If you like, we can place that on a credit card to clear immediately or you can submit a check.

I look forward to hearing from you.
Have a great day.

Oh boy, a picture of a plastic warning light!!
Why I am forced to pay for this is beyond me.
My digital camera could do just as well.

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer [mailto:dance@ssqq.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 2004 10:21 AM
To: Patricia L. Mann
Subject: RE: liquid library service

Now I understand. It is obvious that somehow the bill got misplaced. However I am reluctant to pay by credit card. The simple thing to do is add in the payment when I receive my next bill.

By the way, I noticed I haven't received a mailing in some time. Nor have I seen a bill. If I am not mistaken, I haven't seen anything since early July.

You aren't by some chance "holding" my shipments till I pay this outstanding bill are you?

Rick Archer

Another picture I liked a lot.
I love the Dynamic Graphics artwork.

-----Original Message-----
From: Patricia L. Mann
Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 2004 10:40 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: RE: liquid library service

The only shipment I can see that is being held is your September shipment.

We have made a shipment each month to the following address: xxxx street, Houston, TX 77007.
If this is not correct please advise so I can correct your account.
Please let me know the last issue you received. I will replace the issues missing.

I am unable to release the September shipment until the open invoice is remitted. Do you have a fax number and I will fax it to you?

If not, let me know and I will place a copy of that invoice in the mail.
Thank you

Patricia L. Mann

Wow!!  They sent me a picture of a
metal chair!  Just what I hoped for!!

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer [mailto:dance@ssqq.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 2004 11:25 AM
To: Patricia L. Mann
Subject: RE: liquid library service

Ms. Mann, I don't appreciate having any shipment withheld for several reasons.

First, you now hold the distinction of being the most aggressive bill pursuer in the history of my business. For twenty-five years, my company has paid every bill ever sent to us. We have never had a bill collector contact us before so pardon my inexperience with the phenomenon. You also hold the record for variety of approaches with three different forms of contact. You have a) phoned us, b) faxed us, and c) contacted us via email. Not once did you bother to point out our service was being interrupted.

Second, I have been doing business with your company since 1984. We are just one month short of TWENTY YEARS. That means out of 239 bills to date, we have paid 238 and you are in possession of an email from me promising to pay the missing bill as well.

But this isn't good enough for you, is it?  No, my current issue will be withheld until payment is made.

I imagine the root of the problem is very simple: We never received the bill. As you can see from our recent payment, check number 4971, we paid the latest bill we have received. But rather than believe us over the postal system, you assume the worst.

Today I have just found out for the first time there is a missing bill from April. This means your company is in jeopardy of being swindled for $181 from a customer that has been a loyal, constant customer for twenty years and to protect yourself from further damage, you have withheld shipment of more pictures until the bill has been paid.

Do you understand the meaning of the word "overreact"?

Furthermore I have been paying god only knows how much money for the past couple years for an endless series of photographs that I never asked for and HAVE NEVER USED. I don't need your professional pictures of smiling faces of anonymous people I don't know or care about. If I want a photograph, I imagine my digital camera will take any picture I want.

I only pay for these photographs because I am forced to. I originally signed up for ARTWORK, but now you stuff these useless photographs down my throat and expect me to pay for them in order to receive the ARTWORK I originally contracted to buy. I hate your policy. Any company with a conscience would allow me to pay for what I want and not require me to pay for something I don't want by using the artwork as ransom. It is basically akin to asking a father for the hand of a young woman in marriage only to be told to take the ugly sister as part of the deal.

Now I have just discovered you are strong-arming me for a payment on a bill most likely lost in the mail. You are not secure enough to take a chance even though you have an email from me promising to pay any outstanding balance just as soon as I get my returned checks - which was today. Nice touch.

Excuse me for not appreciating how I am treated in the least.

I will send you a check today. My congratulations to you on your successful bill collection effort. All you ever had to do was simply add the unpaid balance to the next bill.

Rick Archer

-----Original Message-----
From: Patricia L. Mann
Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 2004 2:10 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: re: liquid library

Good afternoon Rick.
I apologize that I have angered you in any way.
I feel if we had been able to speak personally we would not have gotten off on the wrong foot.
It is not now, nor has it ever been in the past my practice to be overly aggressive or to strong arm anyone I contact. In no way have I felt that we were in jeopardy of being swindled.

The September issue will be released for shipment immediately.  (Rick's Note: On Sept 21, one week later, we still have not received this issue. So much for "immediately")

Liquid Library is an all purpose image resource and we try hard to include content that meets the needs of all our customers.
I sincerely thank you for allowing us the privilege of being your image provider, and hope you will accept my apology.
If you will verify your address is correct and the issues you are missing, I will have them replaced.
Have a great day.

Patricia L. Mann

Oh boy, a picture of a hand using a Mouse!
I love this one!

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer [mailto:dance@ssqq.com]
Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 2004 3:26 PM
To: Patricia L. Mann
Subject: complaint of month liquid library

Thank you for the form letter.

You did not even begin to address my concern about being expected to pay for Photography CDs that I do not want.

Over the years I have used your artwork extensively. For the most part, I have been very pleased.

I was a huge fan of your company until the unilateral DG decision to force me to accept the photography included in "liquid library". This material is completely useless to my business.

And now I have this awkward bill collecting incident to add to my Dynamic Graphics experience.

The check is in the mail.

Rick Archer

Cool!!  A picture of some guy in a suit holding up a barbell!!  What imagination!


I will leave the story on this note: Ms. Mann assured me "
Liquid Library is an all purpose image resource and we try hard to include content that meets the needs of all our customers."

I have been forced to accept a CD of photographs now for the past 22 months. And I am forced to swallow platitudes such as "we try hard to include content that meets the needs of all our customers" while paying $60 a month for photos I don't need and don't want.

Just for the fun of it, I decided to try an experiment. I took this picture from the November 2000 Dynamic Graphics photography collection. It is truly a picture to admire: a pencil and a notepad. How creative!!  How many years of Photography training do you suppose it took to acquire a skill of this magnitude??

Then I attempted to make a similar picture using my four-year old Sony Mavica digital camera. I asked my daughter Samantha to model for me, created a scene, and pushed the button. The entire process took two minutes. I copied the picture onto my hard drive so the floppy disc could be reused.  You be the judge of my work. Now I have to admit the lighting isn't perfect, but there is an artistic use of shadow. You know what?  I like this photograph for one reason in particular: It didn't cost me a single penny.  I think I will send Ms. Mann a copy.

You don't suppose Ms. Mann would pay me $60 for it, do you?





-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, June 22, 2004 10:22 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: A Message To Rick Archer

Good Morning Rick,

I hope this message reach you without delay/problem. I wonder if you can give me a call at (W), so I can discuss several concerns with you.

My hours of work is Monday to Friday, 8:00AM to 5:00PM. I will be out from 1:00PM to 2:00PM for lunch. However, if you can just leave me a call back number that I can get in touch with you.

I am in the Intermediate Salsa class, going on to the advance level hopefully soon. However, there are several concerns popped up recently and I hope you can assist in either resolving it, relieving it, or eliminating it.

I have talked with Linda one time about one of my concerns. She suggested me to sent you a E-mail. I did not like the idea at the time, but now with this other issue coming up, I believe it is necessary that I talk with you, and soon.



I spoke with this woman for fifteen minutes by phone. She was upset because one of the men in her class had propositioned her for sex. Apparently he did it in a very crude, bold and vulgar way.

She was deeply offended. The man was highly disrespectful to her. And she resented his continued presence in class so much that she would not return until he was removed.

She only knew the man by his first name. I looked it up and found there was only one man with this name listed. I looked up his history. He had repeated Intermediate Salsa three times without bothering to move up.  My guess is he was no longer taking the classes simply to improve as a dancer.

So what do I in a situation like this?  My gut told me she was telling the truth. I have never received a complaint of this nature before in all my years. Not that I am so naive as to think it hasn't happened before, but simply no one has bothered to tell me about it.

Since the man appears to be a complete stranger to her, it also doesn't seem likely she is getting back at him for anything.

So I wrote the man this letter:

Mr. X,

I have received an extremely bitter complaint from a female student who shares a class with you.

She has accused you of making a highly vullgar secksual proposition to her on the premises of the studio in June 2004. She was deeply offended by this gesture and angered enough to bring the incident to my attention.

I do not know your side of the story. I simply know she identified you as the man who upset her. I also know that she provided enough information to make me feel she is telling the truth.

That said, I can't prove it. I chose not to confront you at the studio last week. As impersonal as email is, at least it allows us both to communicate about a sensitive matter without embarrassing you at the studio. If you feel this woman is in error, I am willing to hear your side of the story.

For now, I would greatly appreciate it if you would refrain from taking dance classes at SSQQ in July 2004.

This does not mean you are proven "guilty" or admitting anything. It just means I would prefer you stay away and let this woman's anger subside for at least one month.

Thank you.

Rick Archer

Rick's Note:  In the Special Features section of this month's Newsletter, there are two incidents dealing with school supervisors who suspend or transfer school personnel whose only guilt was trying to do their jobs. In both cases I felt the Administrative people overreacted.

In this case, the man has yet not had a chance to defend himself.  This means I could be wrong.  On the other hand, the punishment is pretty light. He is not identified. He will not be fined. He will not be imprisoned. And he will not be threatened in any way. I simply politely asked him to give the woman a wide berth for a month. More than likely, we will never see her again. Most women find it easier just to move on. I will keep you posted on further developments.

In the meantime, let it be known that SSQQ is as much church as dance club. We won't tolerate disrespect to anyone. We want people of all sexes, all religions, and all races to feel completely at home here. And we don't like sexual predators.  Let's just leave it at that. 





The following is a succession of Email exchanges that left me very frustrated with the entire situation.

Ms X, I have just finished sending the following letter to “Mr X”.  I thought you would want to know.
(Editor's Note: Read letter in blue type above)

Hi Rick,

I tried to call the number listed on the bottom of your earlier e-mail, 713-861-1906, but did not get any answer or able to leave a message.

If it is possible please give me a call at xxxx. If you have not sent out the following message to "Mr.X". Please hold it until we talk first. Thanks.


I am sorry, Ms X, but it went out already per our conversation. I tried calling, but no answer.

Can you tell me “HOW” did it went out?

I mean was it went out “DIRECTLY WITHOUT ATTACHMENT” to Mr. B’s e-mail address?  Was it strictly between you (SSQQ) and Mr. B. communicating without “attachment” & “copying”?


Your name was in no way involved.


Thanks. That is my main concern, based on the "offensive behavior " of Mr. X with an age like his to act the way he did. That makes me fear for his possible irrational and potential retaliation.

If I could have found you on Thursday, 06/24/04, that might save you the trouble of writing the letter. However, since I was not able to find you, with the new information I received on Thursday , I am considering the options of

(1) retaking the intermediate Salsa class, ( 2) to call you and find out which day Mr. X. signed up for advance class, so I can sign up for the other day; I learned that the advance class is different, student can only take the "registered day" class.

However, everything is too late now, I wonder if you are aware of that Mr. X has already signed up for the advanced class, he did it on 06/24/04. I am also wondering "what" reaction/response you received from the e-mail from yesterday, or did you receive any at all!

At present time, I don't know which option I will take after all these happened. I might just go some where else for the safety issue.

I appreciate your concern, good intention, and the effort in "confidentiality" of all parties involved. I did try my best in finding you on Thursday, couple your staff also helped in locating you for me but unsuccessful. I did not expect you to do anything from the beginning. I kind of know the very difficult position you are. I was just hoping may be you had previous experience and could shad some light on helping me deal with it. But, I was not expect an E-letter be sent out in such a casual indifferent manner and way.

After all, thank you for your assistance.


Ms. X,

I left for my trip to California the day I sent you my last email and have been too swamped since my return to respond to your email.

The incident you discussed with me involving Mr. X has not been handled well, but it was handled about the best it could be under the circumstances.

You and I specifically agreed to meet on Thursday, June 24, so you could point out the man who was rude to you. You did not meet me as you had promised. Since you did not assist me, I was left with three options:

1.   confront the man at the studio
2.   email the man
3.   do nothing

Unfortunately I had only your description to go on.  How would you like to confront someone who might turn out to be the wrong person?  So I chose not to pull him aside and decide such a sensitive issue in PUBLIC.

I did not want to let the incident pass without doing something, so I ignored Option 3. That left Email.

I emailed the man at the only address I had for him. I did not know for sure if I had the right man. I did not know for sure exactly what he had said.  And furthermore since you did not even show up as you promised, my confidence in you was undermined.  This is why it occurred to me you had decided to simply avoid the studio. (Your words: With this newest development I can’t help but to think about the  last comment on your respond,” may be we will never see this woman again.......she will just disappear and never come back.”)

Despite all these misgivings, I wrote the man anyway and sent you a copy as well. Your name was not identified nor was your email address.

He never responded. Why he is at the studio this month is beyond me.  Maybe his Spam Catcher deleted the message. Email cannot be trusted.

And you didn’t show up.  So what else was I supposed to do?

Rick Archer
SSQQ Dance Studio

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2004 3:49 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com


With all you said below; fact or not, consistent or not, agreeable or not, contestable or not, etc.; I guess the main point is not being addressed. Could you possibly tell me this, "Are you planning to carry out and follow up the "SUSPENSION" you posed on this person?

It's not matter one way or the other anymore after this latest e-mail from you.

As I stated in my e-mail dated 07/14/04, I had technical difficult while writing/sending my last e-mail, dated around June 30 or July 1. If that e-mail went out in one piece, and reached you without problem, that should help clear several major points in your e-mail below. Then, if you would like to re-address/re-send another response to my inquiry, I will be more than happy to overlook this one below.

On that last e-mail, I stated everything clearly about how "impossible and unsuccessful" of an mission I went through on Thursday, June 24, 2004 trying to find you. Not only that I can back myself up with solid evidence, I also have several witness to support my effort in trying to find you that night.

It is more than disappointed to be accused of something that is not true. It is more than saddened to learn that as a business owner, your attitude is this great indifferent and irresponsible.

"On that last e-mail, I stated everything clearly about how "impossible and unsuccessful" of an mission I went through on Thursday, June 24, 2004 trying to find you. Not only that I can back myself up with solid evidence, I also have several witness to support my effort in trying to find you that night."

Ridiculous. Ask an instructor. Ask the hall monitor. I run the place. I was there. Every instructor was aware of the problem that Thursday night. They even went to the trouble of pointing out who they thought the man was. Therefore I don't accept your statement. Bring on your witnesses.

"It is more than disappointed to be accused of something that is not true. It is more than saddened to learn that as a business owner, your attitude is this great indifferent and irresponsible."

I have not accused you of anything. What are you talking about?

Nor am I indifferent. I have gone to much trouble attempting to accommodate you. This is my tenth email plus I went out of my way to stop writing the Newsletter to make one very significant phone call directly to you.

It is you, Ms X, who dropped the ball by not showing up. Take some responsibility.


Editor's Note: As you can see, I was getting increasingly frustrated with this woman's actions. To be told I was impossible to find in my own studio was the height of absurdity.  All Roads lead to Rome and all doors at SSQQ lead to Room 2 which is where I was teaching that night.

This story had several more twists and turns. 

One of my Staff people took the time to identify the same man as someone who had made her feel quite uncomfortable on several occasions.

Then I was alerted to the fact that Mr X went ahead and signed up for further dance classes in July despite my email.

He had specifically asked the Registrar what nights I was not at the studio and proceeded to sign up for those nights.

Exasperated, I decided to do nothing.

Then on the final night of classes in July, an instructor came up to me with a bizarre story.

It seems Mr X had been dancing with a woman in class and commented on her "beautiful feet".  He then added a highly inappropriate comment about women's feet in general.

The instructor said the woman was on the premises so I talked with her in the presence of her boyfriend. What she said seemed sincere. I believed that she was telling the truth.

That added up to 3 separate complaints.

By chance, Mr. X was dancing at Practice Night. I asked to speak with him privately.

I confronted him with what had been said about him. As he replied, I realized that not only had he gotten my original email - AND CHOSEN TO IGNORE IT BY SIGNING UP FOR CLASS ANYWAY - but he had also read my article about him in the July Newsletter "Complaints" section.

He explained that he had received my email After he had signed up for class, but I didn't buy it. The email was sent nearly two weeks before he signed up.  Not only was I amazed at his nerve, but tThis is when I realized I was dealing with someone who probably did not tell the truth.   

He said the two specific complaints were wrong. He asked if I would listen to his side of the story.  I said no. I said I had already made up my mind. I wasn't convicting him of a crime. I simply did not want him at the studio.  I said he could return in October if he wished and left it at that.

He berated me for not listening to his side. Quite frankly, the moment he said he had received my email after signing up for class, he lost my trust. Now I just wanted to get it over with.

The truth is I do not know what the real story was here, but 2 separate incidents and a complaint from someone I trust was very difficult to overlook.

This entire incident had become a real energy drain.  Caught between the woman who kept criticizing me for mishandling the affair and being insensitive and the man who accused everyone of lying and me for being insensitive by not listening to his explanations, I was starting to feel quite disgusted.





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 dance@ssqq.com


Jokes October 2004

Aging Gracefully - Pat Roberts

Have you been guilty of looking at others your own age and thinking ... surely I cannot look that old? You may enjoy this short story.

While waiting for my first appointment in the reception room of a new dentist, I noticed his certificate, which bore his full name. Suddenly, I remembered that a tall, handsome boy with the same name had been in my high school class some 30 years ago.

Upon seeing him, however, I quickly discarded any such thought. After all, this balding, gray-haired man with the deeply lined face was way too old to have been my classmate.

Still, my curiosity continued to nag at me. After he had examined my teeth, I asked him if he had attended the local high school.

"Yes," he replied.

"When did you graduate?" I asked.
He answered, "In 1971. Why?"

"You were in my class!" I exclaimed.

He looked at me closely and then the son of a bitch asked, "What did you teach?"

Comments Heard at the Athens Olympics - Chris Holmes

Here are some comments made by NBC sports commentators so far during the Summer Olympics that they would like to take back:

1. Weightlifting commentator: "This is Gregoriava from Bulgaria. I saw her snatch this morning during her warm up and it was amazing."

2. Dressage commentator: "This is really a lovely horse and I speak from personal experience since I once mounted her mother."

3. Paul Hamm, Gymnast: "I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father."

4. Boxing Analyst: "Sure there have been injuries, and even some deaths in boxing, but none of them really that serious."

5. Softball announcer: "If history repeats itself, I should think we can expect the same thing again."

6. Basketball analyst: "He dribbles a lot and the opposition doesn't like it. In fact you can see it all over their faces."

7. At the rowing medal ceremony: "Ah, isn't that nice, the wife of the IOC president is hugging the cox of the British crew."

8. Soccer commentator: "Julian Dicks is everywhere. It's like they've got eleven Dicks on the field."

9. Tennis commentator: "One of the reasons Andy is playing so well is that, before the final round, his wife takes out his balls and she kisses them... Oh my God, what have I just said?"

Hospital Chart Comments - Douglas Peabody/Maureen Brunetti

In 2002, a physician friend sent the following list of howlers supposedly gleaned over the years from various medical charts.


1. She has no rigors or shaking chills, but her husband states she was very hot in bed last night.

4. The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.

5. The patient has been depressed since she began seeing me in 1993.

6. Discharge status: Alive but without my permission.

8. The patient refused autopsy.

9. The patient has no previous history of suicides.

18. Occasional, constant infrequent headaches.

19. Patient was alert and unresponsive.

20. Rectal examination revealed a normal size thyroid.

21. She stated that she had been constipated for most of her life, until she got a divorce.

Doctors and Lawyers - Ann Faget

As everyone is well aware, there two professions that just plain don't like each other: Doctors and Lawyers. Now that I think about, actually no one likes Lawyers, but that's another story.

One doctor in the Vail, Colorado Medical Clinic had had enough of Lawyers for a lifetime. Barely able to afford his astronomical and ever-increasing malpractice insurance, the doctor had just gotten off the phone with his accountant arguing over medical insurance problems. He was already in a bad mood when he walked into the emergency room.

A loud-mouthed man was demanding to be treated immediately, disregarding a long line of people lined up ahead of him. The nurse begged the doctor to see him first just to shut him up.

The man had cut himself badly in a skiing accident. He would need many stitches in several different places.

The doctor said to the patient, "I recommend I give you some sedatives before anaesthetizing these areas. The pain-killing shots themselves are likely to hurt a lot."

"Like hell you're going to give me any sedatives. I'm a lawyer and I intend to stay alert in case a dumbass doctor like you makes the slightest mistake!!"

The doctor lost his temper and pointed to the tray of instruments next to lawyer. "Fine, asshole, suture yourself." He then stomped out and didn't look back.

The doctor immediately went to his office and hit a stock of Jack Daniels he kept just for days like this. A couple drinks later, he felt much better. Just then his beeper went off.

The doctor had been paged to the OR for an emergency amputation. Since he was the only available surgeon in the hospital at the time, he had no choice but to respond to the page.

He quickly scrubbed before starting an operation on a patient with a gangrenous leg. The man had severely broken both legs in a horrible skiing accident, but even worse all the antibiotics in the world had failed to stop a spreading infection in one of the legs. There was no choice; the leg had to be cut off just below the knee to save the man's life.

Shortly after the operation, the doctor was busy collecting his gear when his operating assistant, a young intern, came screaming up to him. "Ohmigod, Doctor, there has been a horrible mistake. Somehow you accidentally cut off the wrong leg! Even worse, I just found out this guy's a lawyer! What are you going to do??"

The doctor smiled. "Well, I guess I better go cut off the other leg!"

"But Doctor, this guy's supposed to be a real sonofabitch. When he wakes up, he's going to sue you, me, and the hospital for everything we own!!"

"Ah, hell, don't worry about it. Put something in the notes about gangrene in both legs, then lose the damn things. That way in court he won't have a leg to stand on!"



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!!   dance@ssqq.com

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



Gloria Sanchez joined the SSQQ Staff in December 1999. She came to the studio as part of the Swing era in the late 90s.  Over the years, Gloria has been an integral part of the Swing Scene and the SSQQ Swing program.

I will be honest - Gloria can be hard-headed and is more than willing to stand her ground. She and I have been at odds on a few issues over the years. She will never be accused of being a "yes" person. Gloria speaks her mind candidly at all times, even if it means disagreeing with the boss at times.

Gloria is an extremely talented dance instructor. Her specialty is training people to how to dance off-the-beaten-path Swing dances. For example, during the past year, she has taught classes in Lindy Hop, Balboa, and Carolina Shag. Just between you and me, I personally don't know how to dance any of those dances and I dance for a living!  That's what I mean by "off the beaten path".

Normally for a teacher to specialize in such little-known dances is suicide.  Not Gloria. Her classes make consistently. What is even more amazing is that her students keep begging for another level!   In December 2003 Gloria wrapped up the year with Lindy Hop level 5.  This means she had students stay with a dance most people have never even heard of for five consecutive months. Then in January 2004 Gloria started teaching Beginning Lindy again. I figured she had fished that pond dry. Nope. Gloria took that class through 4 straight months. She only stopped because I asked her to take a month or two off to let Maureen teach Swing Charleston.

Then in July Gloria began teaching Balboa, another dance most people have never heard of. I targeted this class for one month and out.  Then came a request from her students for Intermediate Balboa in August. And Advanced Balboa in September. How on earth does she keep these classes floating? 

Well, I don't know how she does it. I don't take her classes.  But the most likely explanation is that she is a skilled instructor.  I highly compliment Gloria Sanchez on her accomplishments.

In October Gloria takes on another obscure dance - Carolina Shag. Now this dance is a big deal in South Carolina. But here in Houston, no one has a clue what it is like. If you see a Carolina Shag course go to Level 5, I promise to make it a front page story. 





2004 September

1. Connie and Jeff Woodman (Fourteen Months in a Row of Victories!)
2. Wendy Wilkinson (First Time Winner!)
3. Mark Marshall (First Time Winner!)
4. Michelle Glick (Two Months in a row; could be a player!)
5. Trent Haynes (First Time Winner!)
6. Steve Upchurch (Two Months in a row; better keep an eye on him!)
7. Karen Babb (Two Months in a row; a potential champion?)
8. Paul Foltyn (Two Months in a row; Michelle, Steve and Karen better watch out!)
9. Susan Arevalo (Thirteen months in a row of victories!)
10. Ann Faget (Fourteen Months in a Row of Victories! The current co-leader makes it to the next round)
11. Ritesh Laud  (Seven Months in a Row!)
Mara Rivas   (Fifth Month in a row!!)

I forget to list the winner's of the August puzzle. We had the largest number of solvers in history!!

2004 August

1. Deepak Jain (First Time Winner!)
2. Ruth Feng (First Time Winner!)
3. Sorrell Warren (Third month in a row!)
4. Neal Pellis (First Time Winner!)
5. Paul Foltyn (Previous Winner; Welcome Back!)
6. Karen Babb (First Time Winner!)
7. Michelle Glick (First Time Winner!)
8. Pamela Frederick (First Time Winner!)
9. Mara Rivas (Fourth Month in a row!!)
10. Penney Goodwin (First Time Winner!)
11. Steve Upchurch (First Time Winner!)
12. Susan Arevalo (One Year in a row of Victories!)
13. Marlies Whitmoyer (Second Month in a Row!)
14. Connie and Jeff Woodman (Thirteen Months in a Row of Victories!)
15. Ann Faget (Thirteen Months in a Row of Victories!)
16. Ritesh Laud (Sixth month in a row!)

We can always use some new players in the SSQQ Logic Club. Check out this month's new puzzle and send me an answer!!  You can be a Contender!!   And as an added bonus you never know whom you might end up living with!  




This month’s puzzle is a toughie!!

As a tribute the fame of the Greek Muses, Madame Raisa Kechko created her very own ballet in their name to be performed by Moscow's Imperial Russian Ballet Company.

While preparing for the end of the performance of an original Russian ballet, "The Greek Muses", Madame Kechko took special care that her 9 dancers would receive their well-deserved recognition by using a staggered departure schedule from the stage.

Using the program listings to keep track of the nine Muses and their particular disciplines, it is your job to complete the program with the first and last names of each dancer, the role they danced, and their number onstage during the various Curtain Calls.

I thought this was a tricky puzzle, but it was very cool!  It also played fair; I didn't find any dirty tricks. Give it a try:



Joke Picture


Contributed by Judy Walsh



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

Contributed by Randy Winfrey

Two boll weevils grew up in S. Carolina. One took off to Hollywood and became a rich star. The other stayed in Carolina and never amounted to much--and naturally became known as the lesser of two weevils.





NOISOME - Submitted by Ann Faget

Okay, admit that you don't know the answer. Let's try multiple choice:

a) egotistical
b) noisy
c) annoying
d) autochthonous
e) irritable
f)  obnoxious
g) folk singing
h) the latest Salsa Dance
I) sentimental
m) nuisance

If you want to know the answer,
click here.

By the way, everyone gets to play this game. 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! dance@ssqq.com )





-----Original Message-----
From: Helen Croskell
Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2004 10:27 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: RE: SSQQ Newsletter September 2004


It never made the grapevine so I guess we're 2 of the "little people" at SSQQ, but Steve Kooper and I were married last year and SSQQ is to "blame". We met there in just my second week of my two-step career. So you can chalk another one up to the SSQQ match-making-magic! We are blissfully happy and still dancing our hearts out.

Helen Croskell

(Rick's Note: SSQQ has become a really big place over the years. We have an enrollment of 1,100 people a month. Some of these people become regulars, but the majority of our customers enjoy their classes for a month or two, then move on.

I will be honest and say I do not know who Steve and Helen are. Maybe if I saw a picture...  My point is there are a lot of terrific relationships that occur at SSQQ that fly completely beneath my radar and this was one of them.

I am grateful to Helen for sharing her experience!  I love knowing that the studio remains one of the best places in the entire city for people to meet and have fun together. Thank you, Helen, and Congratulations to both you and Steve!!)


-----Original Message-----
From: Fink, Kathy
Sent: Tuesday, September 14, 2004 10:26 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: slow dance and romance September SSQQ Engagement!

Hi Rick!  Here's another SSQQ engagement for your newsletter. :)

Phillip Ritchie and I met in February 2002 in Beginning Two Step/Polka (MG on Sundays, Ben on Wednesdays, and Ann on Fridays!) - although he didn't technically ask me out until Beginning Western Swing! We both took western and swing classes at SSQQ up until he joined the Navy in October 2002 and moved to Pensacola, Florida. I continued to take classes (your West Coast Swing class!) while he was in Florida up until he became stationed in Corpus Christi (and I started spending all of my time there!).

Phillip surprised me by coming into Houston last weekend. He proposed on Saturday night at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse (also the site of our first date) and I accepted! He has finished his Navy flight training and will be receiving his pilot wings on Friday. I will be pinning the wings onto his uniform at the ceremony and he wanted to be able to say his fiancée pinned them on. He will then be moving to Jacksonville, Florida for 8 months while I stay in Houston to plan the wedding. After that, we will be moving to Whidbey Island, Washington for his first 3 year sea tour (he will be flying the P-3 Orion for any aviation fans). I've already checked and there are a few places to country dance in Seattle (about 1 1/2 away from Whidbey Island) although I'm sure it won't be the same!

I am attaching a couple of pictures of us to jog your memory since we have not been at SSQQ in a while. One is of us at the Longhorn Saloon shortly after we started dating. The second is us at last year's Navy Birthday Ball. The picture always makes me think of SSQQ because all I heard that night on the dance floor was Phillip growling "these people don't understand the line of dance!!!". :)

Expect to see us for a private lesson or two sometime before the wedding so we can brush up on our dancing! Thank you so much for creating such a great atmosphere for people to learn to dance and to maybe even find their special someone. When I signed up for my first class, I never in a million years would have guessed that I would meet the man I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I recommend SSQQ to all of my single friends and remind them that you just never know...

Thanks again!

Kathy Fink

(Rick's Note: Congratulations!  You guys make a very cute couple!!  Keep me posted on the wedding date!)




Orgasms at the touch of a button
- Contributed by Bett Sundermeyer

Turned On!!

The manufacturers say sales are about to hit the 4,000 mark
Women around the world are being told they can now have an orgasm at the touch of a button. The makers of "Slightest Touch" say their device can give women longer, better and more intense orgasms.

They claim their device can trigger an orgasm without touching a woman's genital area.

According to the manufacturers, Slightest Touch works by stimulating the body's sexual nerve pathway.

Courtesy of the Slightest Touch

Women start by drinking an electrolyte sports drink 20 minutes before using the device. They then apply two white electrode pads inside their ankles. These pads are connected to the Slightest Touch device, which is about the size of a personal stereo.

With the flick of a switch, women can literally get turned on. The device stimulates the nerves sending gentle pulses up the woman's leg for between 10 and 30 minutes leaving women on the verge of climax.

"The Slightest Touch does not provide an orgasm," said Cherisse Davidson, the company's director of customer support. "It gently stimulates the sexual nerve pathways taking the woman to a pre-orgasmic plateau where she dangles on the edge of orgasm for as long as she wants.

"From there, gentle stimulation can then effect the orgasm."

BBC News Online has been unable to get independent scientific verification that the product works.

But Ms Davidson, who first tested the device three years ago, insists it is effective.

"It can be of great benefit to many women," she told BBC News Online. "I've been using mine for three years and I just love it."

She said the product can help women who simply want to improve their sex lives and those who have problems achieving orgasm.

However, the Slightest Touch, which sells for $139.95, is not suitable for everyone.

It is not recommended for women taking anti-depressants, those who are pregnant or those with some underlying medical conditions such as heart problems.

The product which was launched in the United States six months ago is now starting to getting attention in Europe.

Ms Davidson said the company had now sold almost 4,000 devices - some to customers in Britain.

However, the UK's FPA, formerly the Family Planning Association, urged women to get professional advice before spending their hard earned cash.

"If women feel they have problems with either sex or relationships, it's better to go and get professional advice about the possible causes, before spending a lot of money on a particular product," said a spokeswoman.

(Rick's Note: Yet another sign that men are becoming obsolete.

Do you have something interesting to contribute on this subject?  Send it
in!!  dance@ssqq.com )


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!!

The October Clean Side Jokes

October CS 01: The Three Vampires - Bill Mayo
October CS 02: The Son in Law - Chris Holmes and Leslie Wagner
October CS 03: Aesop's Fable - Donna Ruth and Phil Spruell
October CS 04: The Law of Physics - Gary Richardson 
October CS 05: The Mink Coat - Mike Gerstenberger
October CS 07: The Heart Surgeon and the Car Mechanic - Suzy Kish
October CS 08: The CIA - Pat Roberts
October CS 09: The Magician Dad - Mike Guillory
October CS 10: The Preacher's Donkey - Donna Mullen
October CS 11: The Blonde in the Blizzard - Anita Williams
October CS 12: The Cheese From Heaven - Judith Walsh
October CS 13: Cinderella at 75 - Lynn Griffiths
October CS 14: Winter at the Indian Reservation - Marlane Kayfes
October CS 15: The Dress - Gary Richardson
October CS 16: Holy Golf - Pat Roberts
October CS 17: Gone Fishin' Cajun style - Chris Holmes
October CS 18: The Traveler - Bett Sundermeyer
October CS 19: God Sends an Email - Chris Holmes
October CS 20: The Hillbilly and the Army - Marla Gorzynski
October CS 21: The Cherokee Chief - Gary Richardson

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:

October CS 17: Gone Fishin' Cajun style - Chris Holmes

(Hint: If you have trouble reading this joke, don't despair. Please note it is not exactly written in English. My computer's spell check went nuts over this one.)

Boudreaux been fishin down by de bayou all de day and he done run outa night crawlers. He be bout redeye to leave when he seed a snake wit a toad frog in hits mouth. He knowed that dem big bass fish likes toad frogs so he dun decided to steal that froggie. That snake, he be a cottn mouthed water moccasin so'd he have to be real careful like or he'd git bit.

He snuk up behind de snake and grabbed him roun de haid. That ole snake di'nt lik hit one bit. 

He commemced to squirm'n an wrapped itself around Boudreaux's arm try'n to get free, but Boudreaux, him had a real good grip on his haid, yea.

Well Boudreaux pried hit's mouth open and got de frog and put's it in his bait can. Now Boudreaux knows that he cain't let go of de snake or hit's goin' ta bite him good, but he had a plan.

He reached into de back pocket of'n his bib over-hauls and pulls out a pint o' moonshine likker. 

He pours a couple of draps inta de snakes mouth.

Well that snake's eyeballs roll back in hits head and hits body goes limp.

Wit dat Boudreaux toss's duh snake inta da crick then he goes back tuh fish'n.

A while later Boudreaux dun feel sumptin tapp'n on his barefoot toe.

Well, he slowly look down and dare be dat water mocassin, and he gat two toad frogs in his mouth!!





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. dance@ssqq.com  

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.

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. dance@ssqq.com

October Blue Side Jokes

October BS 01: The Harmonica - Debbie Awad
October BS 02: The Good Samaritan - Mike Gerstenberger
October BS 03: Hooked on Ebonics - Gary Richardson
October BS 04: Three Wishes - Chris Holmes
October BS 05: The Country Dance - Gary Richardson
October BS 06: First Date - Patty Jones
October BS 07: The Farmer's Wife - Debbie Awad /Mike Gerstenberger
October BS 08: Tickle Me Elmo - Donna Ruth
October BS 09: The Six Presidents - Kerry Pelham
October BS 10: Mother Knows - Dana Pattison
October BS 11: Hotel Robbery - Donna Ruth
October BS 12: Dangerous Diplomacy - Judy Walsh
October BS 13: Bug Man - Mike Gerstenberger
October BS 14: What Goes Around Comes Around - Mike Gerstenberger
October BS 15: The Disgrace - Robin Wagner
October BS 16: Shipwrecked - Mike Gerstenberger  (see below)
October BS 17: Desert Island - Kendra Heath
October BS 18: Ski Trip - Donna Ruth
October BS 19: The Halloween Party - S Russell and P Brunkhorst
October BS 20: Halloween Happening - Judith Walsh
October BS 21: Bartender - 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 one barely made it past the censors.

October BS 16: Shipwrecked 
Submitted by Mike Gerstenberger

A redneck from Alabama, a sheep, and a dog were survivors of a terrible shipwreck. They found themselves stranded on a desert island. After being there a while, they got into the habit of going to the beach every evening to watch the sun go down. One particular evening, the sky was red with beautiful cirrus clouds and the breeze was warm and gentle. It was a perfect night for romance.

As they sat there, the sheep started looking better and better to the redneck. Soon, he leaned over to the sheep and put his arm around it. But the dog got jealous, growling fiercely until the redneck took his arm from around the sheep. After that, the three of them continued to enjoy the sunsets together, but there was no more cuddling.

A few weeks passed by, and lo and behold, there was another shipwreck. The only survivor was a beautiful young woman, the most beautiful woman the redneck had ever seen. She was in a pretty bad way when they rescued her, and they slowly nursed her back to health.

When the young maiden was well enough, they introduced her to their evening beach ritual. It was another beautiful evening: red sky, cirrus clouds, a warm and gentle breeze; perfect for a night of romance.

Pretty soon, the redneck started to get those particular feelings again. He fought them as long as he could, but he finally gave in and leaned over to the young woman, cautiously, and whispered in her ear...

"Would you mind taking the dog for a walk?"




Does Love at First Sight Exist?

by Martha Brockenbrough
(Note: Ms. Brockenbrough writes for the Microsoft Encyclopedia Encarta.  This interesting article was part of their monthly newsletter.  MSN_Newsletters@hotmail.com )

Part I: Love at First Sight

When you're in the question-and-answer business like I am, you get a lot of questions. My e-mail is always full of messages--it's like having a two-year-old in your inbox. Because I'm human and need a little time to sleep--and also because I have an actual two-year-old at home--I can't possibly answer all the queries that come in.

Sometimes I get questions that I simply can't answer, no matter how well-rested I am. For example:

Does Patsy love me? Or, Is Herman the ONE?

Without a working crystal ball, I can't tell if you're really in love or if someone loves you. I could make something up and tell both e-mail writers that Patsy and Herman are secretly dating each other. But that wouldn't be very nice, considering the fact that real hearts are on the line. Nor would such tomfoolery be worthy of Encarta, which is, after all, an encyclopedia full of glorious, actual facts, not just stuff people like me have made up for their own amusement.

So when a reader asked recently, "Does love at first sight exist?" my initial reaction was a huge sigh and the temptation to answer, "Of course not. Just ask Patsy."

My skepticism about love at first sight puts me in the minority, it turns out. A British survey taken around Valentine's Day found that almost 66 percent of participants believe in it.

Can two out of three people be wrong? Or is it possible that love at first sight exists after all? I suddenly had to find out.

As I learned, like so many things in life, the answer depends. But not necessarily on the things you might think.

Part II: Don't believe everything you read

Love is a very popular topic in literature. It always has been, even in such unexpected places as the Bible. Don't let anyone ever tell you that studying religion is boring, not with lines like, "O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely."

This expression of yearning comes from the Old Testament's Song of Solomon, which is about as mushy as it gets. Though experts disagree over some aspects of the Song, everyone pretty much agrees it's about love and romance, "kisses of his mouth," and even more stirring things.

Then there's the legend of Helen of Troy, whose face launched a thousand ships--and the Trojan War. This story even has a love-at-first-sight component. It seems a man named Paris chose Aphrodite as the most beautiful of the goddesses. His reward was the world's most beautiful woman, Helen, who happened to be happily married to a Greek king. But then love at first sight struck.

Under the influence of Aphrodite, Helen agreed to leave her otherwise happy marriage and go to Troy with Paris. And thus started the decade-long Trojan War, which experts believe occurred sometime between 1230 and 1180 B.C.

Shakespeare's Romeo finds love at first sight when he crashes a party and meets Juliet. And it has to be true love, because both of them end up dead, right?

Well, according to experts, not exactly.

Part III: What is that loving feeling?

So what were Romeo and Juliet feeling when their eyes met across the proverbial room?

Most likely, psychologists will tell you, it was something that's not quite love.

"Lust at first sight exists," explains Pepper Schwartz, a University of Washington sociologist who specializes in love and relationships.

We all have certain "markers," Schwartz says--certain things that ring our love bells. These might include eye color, a type of build, or even the way someone dresses. It's hard to say how these markers develop, and why certain people appeal to us more than others, she says.

Roanoke College psychology professor Galdino Pranzarone describes this as a "love map." Each of us is programmed in childhood and early adolescence to look for certain characteristics.

"Once your love map is in your brain, it is there for life and rather immutable," Pranzarone says. "Thus we tend to pick types of people for our successive relationships, whether in dating or marriage."

So, how did we develop our love maps and marker preferences?

Researchers have made the case that we are attracted to people who look like we do. But it isn't only similar features that dictate who we'll spend time mooning over. For example, the BBC reports that partners often have similar lung volume, neck and wrist circumference, metabolic rate, and ear lobe length.

Other theories say it's our noses that cause our hearts to pound when the right person is in the room. In an experiment conducted in 1995, the Swiss researcher Claus Wedekind took the T-shirts from a bunch of sweaty men and asked women to rate them. The T-shirts the women rated highest turned out to be from men with immune system genes that were dissimilar from theirs. Researchers say this is possibly because diversity in immune system genes can lead to producing healthier offspring. The T-shirts that the women rated lowest were the ones that reminded them of their brothers and fathers.

It seems that people are more likely to have feelings of attraction when they're in a stimulating--even scary--environment. Schwartz describes a study in which men who had just crossed an unstable bridge were more likely to call a woman at the other end who gave them her phone number than they were when the same woman stood at the end of a stable bridge.

So you can only imagine the heart-pounding hormonal rush that occurs in the scariest environment of all: the middle school dance.

In any case, it's not just our hearts that race when we get that loving feeling. Chemicals wash through our body, and certain parts of our brain work differently. In the early, crazy stages of love, three chemicals called neurotransmitters rule: norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin.

Serotonin is linked with depression and other disorders. That's why it's probably a good thing that love progresses beyond the early, crazy stages, or more people would end up like Romeo and Juliet.

Norepinephrine, meanwhile, makes your heart pound and your palms sweat. Dopamine, manufactured in the very unromantic liver, helps regulate emotion. Together, dopamine and norepinephrine can steal your appetite and keep you awake at night.

Dopamine is not only activated by love, but also by nicotine and cocaine use. In fact, studies have shown that four areas of the brain activated by euphoria drugs are the same as those that get switched on by love.

Other studies have shown that people addicted to certain drugs, like cocaine, have a shortage of dopamine in their brains. It's not clear whether the drug abuse causes the shortage, or whether the shortage causes the abuse. What is clear, though, is that the feeling, whether drug- or love-induced, is essential. It's so essential that some people will do things that are bad for them just to experience it.

What's also clear is that love might not only break our hearts; it might even break our brains.

Part IV: So, is it really love?

Most modern relationship experts will tell you that there's no such thing as love at first sight, because love is more than just attraction.

You can tell you're feeling love, Schwartz says, when you communicate well, understand the world together, tolerate each other's flaws, and create a unique connection--something you just don't feel with anyone else.

This isn't something that can happen in five minutes, or even in all six episodes of "reality" TV shows like The Bachelor.

Some people get lucky, and the person they felt an instant attraction toward turns out to be someone they can also live with--despite the way they chew their breakfast cereal or mouth the words when they're reading.

When you're old and gray and celebrating your 50th wedding anniversary, you can say, "I knew it from the moment our eyes met."

But you didn't, really. You felt attraction, and over time it developed into love. Love at first sight makes a good story, but the much more common story is one that doesn't get told--when so-called love turns out to be either nothing, or an embarrassment. People don't call this sort of thing love at first sight, says Schwartz. "They just call that a dumb thing to do."

Mother Nature would call it a good way of getting grandchildren. Cavemen and cavewomen generally didn't live long enough to celebrate their golden anniversaries. As long as they could stick together long enough to conceive a cavebaby and raise it to childhood, the species would go on.

And that, says Roanoke College's Pranzarone, was the point. Even today, lots of relationships end after this stage of the relationship is completed.

"Worldwide, studies indicate that divorces peak in the fourth year of marriage," Pranzarone says.

Despite this depressing statistic, love remains important. How important is it? One theory ranks it third among six things that motivate humans. The first motivator is physiological (like eating and sleeping). Then come safety and security, followed by love and belonging. After love comes esteem, then fulfillment, then curiosity.

So, no matter how advanced we get, we'll always be susceptible to the call of love at first sight. It even happened to me, once--the first time I saw my dog. Ten years later, we're still as happy as can be. I wonder what the experts would have to say about that.




Kin of DWI victim awarded $24.7 million

Driver, rental car firm and insurance company all must pay

Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

The $24.7 million verdict: Who pays??
Jeffrey Lamont Tate: $14.82 million
Progressive County Mutual Insurance Co.: $4.94 million
Enterprise Leasing Co.: $4.94 million

A Harris County jury on Wednesday awarded $24.7 million to the family of a woman killed by a drunken driver who had rented a car despite having multiple citations and a suspended license.

Jurors held the driver responsible, as well as his car insurance company and the rental car agency.

Helen Nettles, 56, died after the car driven by Jeffrey Lamont Tate hit her pickup from behind on Nov. 29, 2000, while he was intoxicated and driving at high speeds, according to court documents. Nettles' truck struck a light pole and burst into flames.

Tate pleaded guilty to a charge of intoxication manslaughter with a vehicle and is serving a 13-year sentence.

His insurance company, Progressive County Mutual Insurance, had arranged for him to rent a car from Enterprise Leasing Co. the day before the crash, said Richard Mithoff, attorney for Nettles' family.

Just days earlier, Tate had been released from the Harris County Jail after being cited on a charge of driving while intoxicated. He also had a suspended license.

"In two months, he had two DWIs and he could not drive legally," Mithoff said. "And they nevertheless went ahead and arranged for the rental car."

Enterprise spokeswoman Christy Conrad told the Associated Press that Tate had presented the company with a valid driver's license. She said the company previously reached a confidential settlement with the Nettles family and the settlement will stand, despite the jury's verdict.

Tate's attorney, John Causey, said his client was happy to get the case behind him and was concerned about Nettles' family.

Causey said the proceeds of a $20,000 insurance policy Tate had were turned over to the family shortly after the crash.

He said Tate has no other assets.

Progressive's lawyer, Kevin Hood, declined to comment.

The civil jury award came after a five-day trial.

(Rick's Note: Okay, I admit this one has me stumped. I fail to see why the Enterprise Leasing Company is any way responsible here. Can anyone explain to me why this company is liable?  All they did was lease him a car. Anyone have a clue??)




Sept. 8, 2004, 8:01PM

Frustration sometimes expressed

Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

My flight landed at Bush Intercontinental Airport at 8:30 a.m.

That's one of those tricky times when I couldn't ask a friend to pick me up - there's too much traffic in both directions.

Plus, some of my friends actually have jobs.

But no worries. There's a METRO bus called the 102 Bush IAH Express. Best of all, it's only $1.

That's a sweet deal. I figured I'll take the bus to downtown, hop on the METRO train to the Medical Center, then transfer to the No. 2 bus, which'll drop me practically on my front step.

I'll beat the expensive parking at the airport, and avoid taking a taxi, where they shake you upside down until every penny falls out of your pocket.

Plus, I liked the sound of that word "express."

What does "express" mean to you? I generally think "direct" or "nonstop." Certainly it means "really fast."

Before I left, I checked the route on METRO's Web site. Click on it yourself: www.hou-metro.harris.tx.us/pdf/routes/102-iah.pdf.

According to METRO's itinerary, the 102 Bush IAH Express makes five stops between Terminal C and downtown. Sounds good to me.

You know how when you get off a long flight, you just want to get home, right?

Ever want to just scream?

I knew I was in trouble when the bus left the airport and didn't turn onto Interstate 45. Instead, it started hitting side streets and feeder roads.

And stopping. And stopping. And stopping. And stopping.

Stop with the stopping already!

I wasn't counting, but I swear the bus stopped 20-plus times before we reached Gallery Furniture "on I-45 between Tidwell and Parker."

Along Greens Road, we stopped every two blocks. Then we made some weird turns on small streets. I thought I saw Hansel and Gretel dropping bread crumbs so they'd remember how to get back.

I've always thought that Houston should provide a cheap, fast way for visitors to get from the airport to downtown. Other big cities do it.

The 102 Bush IAH Express sure isn't the way to do it. This was nothing but a local bus used by local residents to get to work or go shopping or whatever.

That's fine. Those people need public transportation, too.

Just don't call this bus the "Airport Express." Only two people on the bus, me and one other schnook, got on at the airport and rode it to downtown.

How come the METRO Web site said the bus makes only five stops when it really makes dozens of stops?

And that's not counting the time the driver got out of the bus, left the door open and the motor running, to go inside a convenience store for an orange soda.

"We don't put every stop on our Web site. There isn't enough room," a METRO spokesman said. "The Web site is more to show you approximately how long the trip takes."

So how come you call it the Bush IAH Express?

"In METRO terminology, it's an express bus if there is at least a six-mile stretch where it doesn't make any stops," the METRO spokesperson said.

True, once the bus reached Greenspoint Mall, it jumped on I-45 to downtown. But that was after all those other stops.

The spokesman counted the "official stops" between the airport and downtown. There are 37 stops.

And it's OK for a driver to leave the door open and the motor running while he goes inside a convenience store. Drivers are allowed rest stops. Because the bus has a diesel motor, it's better to leave it running.

It took me two hours to get home.

Obviously two things need to be done:

1. Get the word "express" off the front of the 102 Bush IAH Express bus.

2. Get a real express bus between the airport and downtown.





(Story contributed by Bett Sundermeyer)

Subject: Tazers

This is a story from a fellow clay shooter named kirk. Funny as hell!

Dear Friends,

My wife Toni is fond of saying that my last words on this earth will be something akin to, " Hey y'all, hold my beer and watch this!" Well, I have outdone myself once again. No doubt you will see this true story chronicled in a LifeTime movie in the near future. Here goes.

Last weekend I spied something at Larry's Pistol and Pawn that tickled my fancy. (Note: Keep in mind that my "fancy" is easily tickled). I bought something really cool for Toni. The occasion was our 22nd anniversary and I was looking for a little something extra for my sweet girl. What I came across was a 100,000-volt, pocket/purse-sized Tazer gun with a clip. For those of you who are not familiar with this product, it is a less-than-lethal stun gun with two metal prongs designed to incapacitate an assailant with a shock of high-voltage, low amperage electricity while you flee to safety. The effects are supposed to be short llived, with no long-term adverse affect on your assailant, but allowing you adequate time to retreat to safety. You simply jab the prongs into your 250 lb. Tattooed assailant, push the button, and it will render him a slobbering, goggle-eyed, muscle-twitching, whimpering, pencil-neck geek. If you've never seen one of these things in action, then you're truly missing out--way too cool!

Long story short, I bought the device and brought it home. I loaded two triple-a batteries in the darn thing and pushed the button. Nothing! I was so disappointed. Upon reading the directions (we don't need no stinkin' directions), I found much to my chagrin that this particular model would not create an arch between the prongs. How disappointing! I do love fire for effect. I learned that if I pushed the button, however, and pressed it against a metal surface that I'd get the blue arch of electricity darting back and forth between the prongs that I was so looking forward to. I did so. Awesome!!! Sparks, a blue arch of electricity, and a loud pop!!! Yipeeeeee . . I'm easily amused, just for your information, but I have yet to explain to Toni what that burn spot is on the face of her microwave.

Okay, so I was home alone with this new toy, thinking to myself that it couldn't be all that bad with only two triple-a batteries, etc., etc. There I sat in my recliner, my cat Gracie looking on intently (trusting little soul), reading the directions (that would be me, not Gracie) and thinking that I really needed to try this thing out on a flesh and blood target. I must admit I thought about zapping Gracie for a fraction of a second and thought better of it. She is such a sweet kitty, after all. But, if I was going to give this thing to Toni to protect herself against a mugger, I did want some assurance that it would work as advertised. Am I wrong? Was I wrong to think that? Seemed reasonable to me at the time.

So, there I sat in a pair of shorts and a tank top with my reading glasses perched delicately on the bridge of my nose, directions in one hand, Tazer in another. The directions said that a one-second burst would shock and disorient your assailant; a two-second burst was supposed to cause muscle spasms and a loss of bodily control; a three-second burst would purportedly make your assailant flop on the ground like a fish out of water. All the while I'm looking at this little device (measuring about 5" long, less than 3/4 inch in circumference, pretty cute really, and loaded with two itsy, bitsy triple-a batteries) thinking to myself, "no friggin' way!" Friggin' way--trust me, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

What happened next is almost beyond description, but I'll do my best. Those of you who know me well have got a pretty good idea of what followed. I'm sitting there alone, Gracie looking on with her head cocked to one side as to say, "don't do it buddy," reasoning that a one-second burst from such a tiny lil' ole thing couldn't hurt all that bad (sound, rational thinking under the circumstances, wouldn't you agree?). I decided to give myself a one-second burst just for the hell of it.

(Note: You know, a bad decision is like hindsight--always twenty-twenty. It is so obvious that it was a bad decision after the fact, even though it seemed so right at the time. Don't ya hate that?)

I touched the prongs to my nayked thigh, pushed the button, and HOLY **************! DAaaaauuuuuuMN!!! I'm pretty sure that Jessie Ventura ran in through the front door, picked me up out of that recliner, then body slammed me on the carpet over and over again. I vaguely recall waking up on my side in the fetal position, nipples on fire, testicles nowhere to be found, soaking wet, with my left arm tucked under my body in the oddest position. Gracie was standing over me making meowing sounds I had never heard before, licking my face, undoubtedly thinking to herself, "do it again, do it again!"

(Note: If you ever feel compelled to mug yourself with a Tazer, one note of caution. There is no such thing as a one-second burst when you zap yourself. You're not going to let go of that thing until it is dislodged from your hand by ! a violent thrashing about on the floor. Then, if you're lucky, you won't dislodge one of the prongs 1/4" deep in your thigh like yours truly.)

SON-OF-A-***** that hurt! A minute or so later (I can't be sure, as time was a relative thing at this point), I collected my wits (what little I had left), sat up and surveyed the landscape. My reading glasses were on the mantel of the fireplace. How did they get there??? My triceps, right thigh and both titties were still twitching. My face felt like it had been shot up with Novocain, as my bottom lip weighed 88 lbs. give or take an ounce or two, I'm pretty sure.

By the way, has anyone seen my testicles? I think they ran away. I'm offering a reward. They're round, rather large, kinda hairy, and handsome if I must say so myself. Miss 'em . . . sure would like to get 'em back.





Arabs lament ties to terrorism

(Editor's Note: There is a saying that it is very difficult to explain the thinking of an irrational mind to a rational person.

I for one cannot see the logic behind the kidnapping innocent women like the Italians who are simply trying to help and the cold-blooded murder of innocent children in Russia.  Nor can I figure out the thinking behind the Palestinian suicide bombers who murder unsuspecting and unarmed Israelis in cold blood?

What exactly are the terrorists trying to accomplish?  Is it revenge?

If the terrorists are trying to win freedom for their people, this is not the correct route. The closest I have seen a majority territory come to leaving its larger country in recent times was Quebec.  Last time I checked not one person died in the Quebec separatist movement.

Have any of these brilliant freedom fighters ever studied Mohatma Ghandi?  This is the man who managed to convince the British Empire to vacate India without resorting to violence.

Or have they studied our American hero Martin Luther King?  An admitted admirer of Ghandi and his methods, Reverend King accomplished the amazing feat of bringing a bigoted South to its senses through his patience and brave approach using non-violent protest.  In the process Mr. King had to stand against many of his own people who preferred bloodshed to sit-ins.  Mr. King is now a much-loved national hero while many of the proponents of violence who opposed him are now long forgotten.

I for one was pleased to read that many members of Islam are just as opposed to the sickening use of violence as I am.

Sept. 9, 2004, 7:18AM

New group claims Baghdad kidnappings Italian women taken by loyalists of al-Qaida leader

Associated Press RESOURCES

BAGHDAD, IRAQ - A previously unknown Islamic group claiming loyalty to a leader of al-Qaida took responsibility on Wednesday for the armed kidnapping Tuesday of two Italian aid workers.

A group calling itself Al-Zawahiri Loyalists said it had kidnapped the two Italians, Simona Pari and Simona Torretta, declared the women to be "spies" and promised to use them to "burn the hearts" of Italy's prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, and of the Italian people.

The group appears to be named for Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian physician who is believed to be the second-in-command of al-Qaida.

There was no way to authenticate the message, which was posted on a Web site used by Islamist groups.

The group made no demand of Italy's government, but instead said it intended to inflict "punishment" on Italy for basing troops in Iraq in support of the American-led forces here.

The two women were kidnapped from their home on Tuesday, when a group of about 15 armed men surrounded their house, barged inside and dragged them into a waiting convoy of three cars. The women worked with an Italian group called Bridges to Baghdad, which provides health services, water treatment and education to Iraqis.

Sept. 8, 2004, 11:53PM

Arabs lament ties to terrorism
Commentators denounce attacks, say they're ruining Islam's true image

New York Times

BEIRUT, LEBANON - The brutal school siege in Russia, with hundreds of children dead and wounded, has touched off an unusual round of self-criticism and introspection in the Muslim and Arab world.

"It is a certain fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, but it is equally certain, and exceptionally painful, that almost all terrorists are Muslims," Abdel Rahman al-Rashed, the general manager of the widely watched satellite television station Al-Arabiya said in one of the most striking of these commentaries.

Writing in the pan-Arab newspaper Al Sharq al Awsat, Rashed said it was "shameful and degrading" that not only were the Beslan hijackers Muslims, but so were the killers of Nepalese workers in Iraq; the attackers of residential towers in Riyadh and Khobar, Saudi Arabia; the women believed to have blown up two Russian airplanes last week; and Osama bin Laden himself.

"The majority of those who manned the suicide bombings against buses, vehicles, schools, houses and buildings, all over the world, were Muslim," he wrote. "What a pathetic record. What an abominable 'achievement.' Does this tell us anything about ourselves, our societies and our culture?"

Writing in the Jordanian daily Ad Dustour, columnist Bater Wardam noted the propensity in the Arab world to "place responsibility for the crimes of Arabic and Muslim terrorist organizations on the Mossad, the Zionists and the American intelligence, but we all know that this is not the case."

"They came from our midst," he wrote of those who had kidnapped and killed civilians in Iraq, blown up commuter trains in Spain, turned airliners into bombs and shot the children in Ossetia.

"They are Arabs and Muslims who pray, fast, grow beards, demand the wearing of veils and call for the defense of Islamic causes," he said. "Therefore we must all raise our voices, disown them and oppose all these crimes."

In Saudi Arabia, newspapers tightly controlled by the government were even more scathing. Under the headline "Butchers in the Name of Allah," a columnist in the government daily Okaz, Khaled Hamed al-Suleiman, wrote "the propagandists of jihad succeeded in the span of a few years in distorting the image of Islam."

"They turned today's Islam into something having to do with decapitations, the slashing of throats, abducting innocent civilians and exploding people," he said. "They have fixed the image of Muslims in the eyes of the world as barbarians and savages who are not good for anything except slaughtering people.

"The time has come for Muslims to be the first to come out against those interested in abducting Islam in the same way they abducted innocent children," he added.

"This is the true jihad these days, and this is our obligation, as believing Muslims, toward our monotheistic religion."

(Editor's Note: There is a saying that it is very difficult to explain the thinking of an irrational mind to a rational person.

I for one cannot see the logic behind the kidnapping innocent women like the Italians who are simply trying to help and the cold-blooded murder of innocent children in Russia.  Nor can I figure out the thinking behind the Palestinian suicide bombers who murder unsuspecting and unarmed Israelis in cold blood?

What exactly are the terrorists trying to accomplish?  Is it revenge?

If the terrorists are trying to win freedom for their people, this is not the correct route. The closest I have seen a majority territory come to leaving its larger country in recent times was Quebec.  Last time I checked not one person died in the Quebec separatist movement.

Have any of these brilliant freedom fighters ever studied Mohatma Ghandi?  This is the man who managed to convince the British Empire to vacate India without resorting to violence.

Or have they studied our American hero Martin Luther King?  An admitted admirer of Ghandi and his methods, Reverend King accomplished the amazing feat of bringing a bigoted South to its senses through his patience and brave approach using non-violent protest.  In the process Mr. King had to stand against many of his own people who preferred bloodshed to sit-ins.  Mr. King is now a much-loved national hero while many of the proponents of violence who opposed him are now long forgotten.

I for one was pleased to read that many members of Islam are just as opposed to the sickening use of violence as I am.




The Most Beautiful Hotel in the World!!
contributed by Gary Richardson

This is actually not a story, but rather some fun pictures.

Gary sent me pictures of the unbelievable
Burj Al Arab Hotel. This hotel is in Dubai which is in the United Arab Emirates. The Emirates are neighbors of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.  I believe that is the Persian Gulf in the picture.

This hotel is obviously one of those places where if you have to ask how much it costs, then you probably shouldn't bother.  But since you are curious,
Rates start at $2000 USD per night and go up to $7000+ per night!!

In August 2004 SSQQ Instructor Mona Nashed visited this hotel and brought back some pictures. She also has a riddle for you to solve! 

Click here to enjoy the awesome pictures: The Most Beautiful Hotel in the World!!





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 dance@ssqq.com

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
Email:   dance@ssqq.com
Phone:  713-861-1906


Answer to Noisome:  ANNOYING, NOXIOUS

From Ann Faget:

Hi Rick - My word of the month is one that fooled me for a long time - Noisome. I used to think this word meant noisy or full of noise, which doesn't seem unreasonable. Actually, it has nothing to do with noise.

Noisome - Noxious, harmful; offensive to the senses and especially to the sense of smell; highly obnoxious or objectionable.

I found two example sentences from literary sources:

from Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing - "Foul words is but foul wind, and foul wind is but foul breath, and foul breath is noisome, therefore I will depart unkissed."

from Frankenstein by Mary Shelly - "His blind and aged father lay in a noisome dungeon, while he enjoyed the free air."

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