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

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


Previous 2004 Newsletters

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Contributed by Anita Williams, Judy Walsh, John Hall, Chris Holmes, Gary Richardson, Judith Williams
ssqq employee of month MELANIE JONES AND JILL BANTA
VOCABULARY WORD  SOLIPSISM Contributed by Rick Archer
VENUS AND MARS WOMEN'S ASS SIZE - Contributed by Patty Jones 
BLUE SIDE JOKES FEATURING  " Lessons on the Beach" - Judy Walsh


  FEATURE ONE   STORY IN THE NEWS: Cruise Passengers Told to Abandon Ship  
  FEATURE TWO   STORY IN THE NEWS: Mouse in the soup
  FEATURE THREE   STORY IN THE NEWS: German court rejects man's brothel demand
  FEATURE SIX   STORY IN THE NEWS: The Most Beautiful Hotel in the World!! - contributed by Gary Richardson








September welcomes an exciting new face to the studio, Cheryl Denise! Cheryl will be teaching a class in Brazilian Samba here at SSQQ on Saturdays at 4:30. Cheryl has been performing as a dancer, a vocalist, and as an actress for 25 years. Recently she performed in San Francisco as a "Sambista" in Canto do Brasil and appeared in the renowned Carnival San Francisco. Now she has moved to Houston and is anxious to resume her teaching career as well!

September brings us Daryl and Joanne Armstrong's infamous "Tattoo Leather and Lace" Party on September 25th. SSQQ survived this party last year and may survive this year's sequel. For those of you who don't read between the lines well, this is not your "ordinary" SSQQ dance party. Let's just leave it that.

Believe it or not, there is still space available on the SSQQ September Cruise. We are up to 120 people threshold and continue to get last-minute nibbles. With a huge wedding reception scheduled, two Coat and Tie Big Band Dances, 4 SSQQ dance workshops, a Ballroom Dance combo in the Centrum, and after-hours dancing scheduled every night of the trip, most of our passengers will likely need a vacation to recover from their vacation!

Last month we wrote a story about how 8 different SSQQ dancers either won or placed in the New Orleans UCWDC Mardi Gras Dance Competition. I mentioned at the time that SSQQ may be on the verge of developing a dance competition training program. Since then Scott Ladell has began training his first SSQQ student while Anita William's talented duo of Victor Marquez and Joel McClesky both won separate dance competitions in August.

The SSQQ Extravaganza is coming on August 28th in conjunction with our annual Beach Ball Party. During the day we will have 24 dance workshops to choose from and at night we will dance to the music of our first live band five years. HIT AND RUN is a terrific dance band that will play Western, Swing, and Whip music all night long. This entire day is going to be Something Special!! Won't there be some stories!!

The SSQQ Logic Club exploded in August!! We have long suspected that many highly intelligent people frequent the dance studio. Quietly they are referred to "The Handicapped". Did you know that intelligence and the ability to dance are negatively correlated?? Let me add if you understand what this means, then you understand what I mean.

SSQQ has been a haven for the overly-bright for some time. We do our best to nurse them slowly past their brains and into their senses. You can spot them easily - they are the ones who carefully watch their feet when they dance lest the feet develop a mind of their own. It is a wonderful coincidence that intelligent people not only take forever to learn how to dance, they also usually earn a lot of money. SSQQ has been more than happy to exploit this phenomenon for years. Although they may be called "handicapped" out of earshot, to their faces we refer to them as our "Favorite Customers". One particular Ph D is so especially hopeless we have a special nickname for him. We call him "Rent Check"!!

One of the ways we make sure our "Best Customers" feel right at home is bait the trap by offering a monthly Logic Puzzle. The overly-bright cannot resist solving it immediately!!  Usually we stick our Logic Puzzle somewhere in a deep corner of the SSQQ Web Site. For example, in July we only had four or five people participate. However once in a while we need to bring some new "Favorite Customers" out  of hiding so in August we actually put the link to the Logic Puzzle in the email Newsletter. The results were astounding!!

We had a record number of participants!  16 people in all turned in the correct answers. I had no idea how rosy our future profit margins were looking until these results poured in!  Thank goodness for overly-smart people. And isn't it wonderful that here at SSQQ they have found an institution that truly appreciates them for what they are!

By the way, lately it has become nearly impossible to finish the Web Site Newsletter before this email goes out. This month is no different. We will begin adding bits and pieces of the September Newsletter on the SSQQ Web Site beginning Thursday, August 26th.

Did you know we have a feature in the SSQQ Newsletter known as "Stories in the News"?  As you know I have a weird job that calls for me to work nights.  In the evening while you play, I work.  However there is a flip side to this coin. Many of you people are working very hard for a living while I have nothing better to do at 8 AM than drink my coffee and calmly read the paper.

As a result of this relaxed approach to the news, I catch lots of stories that you might miss and I just love sharing them with you!!   Some are funny, some are serious, some are tragic. I think they are all interesting.  You decide.









1. By student request we will be offering Gloria Sanchez' Adv Swing Balboa. This class has been very popular, so be sure to join in on Sundays in September at 4:30 pm.

2. The legendary Disco partner dance Latin Hustle will be taught by Scott Ladell on Sundays in September. Hustle footwork & timing is very similar to West Coast Swing & its patterns are very similar to East Coast Swing.

3. The Beginning Whip/West Coast Swing Superclass is back!! These 2 fascinating dances are taught side by side on Sunday and Thursday. Whip and WCS are danced to Disco, Blues, Pop & Rock music. WCS features fancy footwork & flashy spins while Whip has that sexy hip motion. Rick Archer and Charlene Tees teach on Sundays while MG Anseman pitches in to help Charlene on Thursdays.

4. Beginning Ballroom will be taught by Judy Archer. This is a much-requested class that returns on Mondays after a five-month absence. Learn the basic steps to Foxtrot, Waltz, and Tango and stay for practice after class!

5. Slow Dance and Romance will be offered on Mondays w Rick & Bethany. There are moments in every person's life where the opportunity to dance gracefully to a beautiful slow song becomes the most important skill imaginable. This class is perfect for people getting married or to simply dance gracefully at a jazz bar when a sultry love song calls you to the floor!

6. Charlene will teach Intermediate Tango on Mondays in Septembers - Fans, Lunges, and Promenades!

7. September brings us Sharon Crawford's much-anticipated Beg 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!

8. Martian Whip is taught by Rick Archer and Bethany Daniels on Thursdays. Houston City WCS champion Bryan Spivey and his 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.

9. 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 Death Valley 2 on Fridays in September.

10. Bachata returns on Saturdays with Linda Cook. Bachata is a slow salsa dance very similar to the Bossa Nova.

11. Cheryl Denise will be teaching Brazilian Samba in September on Saturdays at 4:30 pm. Samba is the national dance of Brazil and is famous as the Parade Dance of Carnivale in Rio! Cheryl was a regular performer in the renowned Carnival San Francisco who has recently moved to Houston. Her class should be very exciting!!

12. SSQQ is continues to offer a special Saturday dance program named "Senors and Senoritas" from 1:30-3:30 pm. Taught by Milt Oglesby and Susan Arevalo, the SASS CLASS as it has come to be known features all kinds of dancing and has a built-in practice night at the end of each class. If you have any questions, email Milt at For more information,


Saturday, September 11th, 9:15 - 1 am, Cover Charge $7

Swing dancing will be in Room 1, Salsa dancing will be in Room 4, and Tango dancing in Room 6.
Dress Code: Wear whatever you like!

(Note: To Register for a Crash Course, you simply show up the night of the party and sign up at the door!)



The idea behind the KOOL KAT KLUB party is to assume you are a Kool Kat, male or female variety, on your way to a night of hot Swing dancing at the Koolest dance club in Harlem. As most of you know, Harlem was the epicenter for the birth of Swing music in the 20s and for the Lindy Hop at the same time. Harlem later became the home of some of the most famous Jazz artists in history.

Now it is your job to dress Kool. Don't ask us how to dress. You are supposed to just "know". Like a hotel so expensive that anyone who has to ask shouldn't bother, anyone who doesn't have a clue how to dress "Kool" doesn't deserve to come to a Kool Swing Party like this one.

Swing Nerds stay away. Hot Kitties and Bad Cats only.

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.)




The SSQQ Extravaganza is an all-day Dance Event on Saturday, August 28.
Doors open at 9 am and stay open till after Midnight!!

There will be six Crash Courses offered at 4 different times in the day, meaning you have 24 classes in all to choose from!
The BEACH BALL PARTY later that night will feature the first live band at SSQQ in 4 years. HIT 'N RUN is headed by Charlie Cotrone featuring Rick Keith on Keyboards. George Grega has known Charlie and his band for many a year. Earlier this year in January I went to the wedding of George's daughter Tonya. While there I was very impressed with how good the band was. I had no idea they were personal friends of George. After I complimented George on the selection of the band, George smiled and said, "Why don't you ask them to play at the studio?" And that's how it happened.

Now thanks to George, he has made sure that Kirsten Chambers and Kimberly Mendoza will be singing for us! Both ladies have sung for the Houston Grand Opera as well as TUTS and the Gilbert & Sullivan Society. In the words of George, they also enjoy the chance to let their hair down and sing a few "done me wrong songs". Actually I have cleaned up George's words. What he really said is they like to sing in dangerous, off-the-beaten-path places. The exact word was "slumming". I suppose next to the Grand Opera, SSQQ might be a step in the wrong direction, but I bet these gals will be amazed at how many people will be dancing. Rumor has it they may even bring some more of their singing friends along to join in the fun!

As for the Extravaganza, there are four sessions offering workshops in Beginning and Advanced West Coast Swing, Beginning and Advanced Swing, Beginning and Advanced Western, and even some Hip Hop Line Dances!


The big news at SSQQ is our huge Dance Extravaganza this Saturday, August 28, followed by our annual Beach Ball Party.
The first part of the day features 24 different hour and a half workshops to choose from. These workshops range from Western to Whip to Swing to Hustle to Hip Hop. There are advanced classes and beginner classes, meaning there is something for everyone to take all day long. The last time we held an Extravaganza, we had over two hundred people attend. Here's betting we beat that total!!

The Beach Ball will feature our first live dance band in over five years. Charlie Cotrone brings Hit 'n Run to the studio for an evening of Western, Whip, and Swing music. As an added feature, there will be special guest vocalists for many of the songs. GJG Event Services will provide the Stage and my friend George Grega will bring in his beautiful light show for the occasion.

During the Band Breaks, we will have everything from a dance performance by Scott Ladell and Anita Williams to the infamous Beach Ball Cha Cha Line Dance to the amazing Beach Ball Surf and Sand Polynesian Fertility Ritual. You certainly won't want to miss that, especially you single folks!!

Assistant Police Chief Byron Holloway of the Bellaire Police Department went way beyond the line of duty to get permission for us to park on both sides of First Street all day long. As you know, parking is usually prohibited on the east side of the street, but for this all-day event we can park safely on either side of the street. Visitors to our annual Halloween Party will recall that Chief Holloway provides security for the studio every year. We are very fortunate to have a friend like him.

Stathy Demeris of Charlie's Barbeque has been kind enough to provide a 10% discount all day long to eat next door at his restaurant. This will make re-fueling much more convenient!! Just tell them you are from SSQQ.

Susan Schroeder of the SSQQ Quick Stop will have sandwiches and munchies galore for Couch Potatoes too lazy to even venture out the door!!

This should be a very COLORFUL party. Don't forget it is a BEACH BALL! This means all of you men need to wear the brightest, loudest Hawaiian shirts imaginable. And you women should wear next to nothing! (Think "Olympic Beach Volleyball" attire!!) Or at least wear a pretty sundress if perhaps the Beach Volleyball look is not your style. The point is to dress so loud you can barely hear the music.

By the way, did you know if you register in advance for all 4 sessions of the workshop, you get the dance party for free? What a great deal!

Workshop Schedule:
Beach Ball Party Information:
Register in Advance:

Did you know we had over 200 people at our first Extravaganza in 1999? And why did it take us another 5 years to have another one? Something TERRIBLE happened at the first Extravaganza. Something so traumatic happened that only now the scars have healed sufficiently to try again

Story of the First Extravaganza:









 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

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

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

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.











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:





(By the way, did you know the price of the class drops to 36 men/26 ladies permanently after the first month??)


The SSQQ SASS CLASS is the brainchild of Milt Oglesby.  He believes there is a lot of interest on the part of "Senior Citizens" (defined as anyone 50 and above) to find opportunities to dance and socialize with people their own age.

I don't know why I am so worried about being delicate. After all, I am 54 and a card-carrying AARP member. Therefore I feel I have every right to speak of this group as "us" and not "them".  That said, I will simply say this isn't exactly the Hip Hop crowd but rather the Hip Replacement crowd.  After that crack, I am sure they love having me represent them!!

But let's face it, growing old ain't for sissies and a twisted sense of humor is our main weapon in the battle against the ravages of time.  Another main weapon in the battle is Dancing.  Social dancing is good for the spirit, good for the exercise, good for the concentration, and good for the waistline. It's also a great way to visit with friends.  And rumor has it that dancing is a potent defense against Alzheimer's, but I forget who told me that. ;-)

After several months of planning, Milt's first Sass Class got off the ground this past June 2004.  Attendance was excellent: Milt told me there were well over 20 people in attendance.  There's 21 in the picture and that doesn't include the countless volunteers.

Milt correctly anticipated there would be more women than men. I don't mean to be indelicate, but demographics show that women begin to outnumber the men after everyone turns 50. I would prefer not to discuss the reasons behind this shift in the ratio, but Milt found a good solution. He went out and recruited several of his friends here at SSQQ to volunteer to be "Leads". 

That clever idea seemed to make things go much better.  Milt forgot to list all his volunteers, but I know at least some of their names: Susan Arevalo, Susan Waring, Phyllis Porter, and Gareld McEathron. If I left anyone off the list, blame Milt.

Milt told me they were a very well-behaved group for about ten minutes, then cut loose and got rowdy for the remainder of the month. To put it lightly, they did everything possible to live up to the name of their name.  One of the few joys of aging is getting to the point where you no longer give a D___. about decorum and this group was definitely out of control most of the time.

Just between you and me, Milt can be a real pain in the you-know-what with his smart-aleck remarks in class, so I am thrilled that he was surrounded with 20 students all behaving just as badly as he does. Karma in action!!

The Sass Class covers the basics to all sorts of dancing.  There's plenty of music during class and after class Milt has half an hour of free Practice Time at the studio where everyone hangs out and dances with each other for the fun of it.

Milt's goal
is to graduate each group to another level while opening the door for newcomers with an easier class.  As with many great adventures, I expect Milt will change a few things along the way.  I have little doubt Milt's original vision will end up looking like a winding Colorado river with all the twists and turns he will make as he gets more experience. 

Milt's eventual
goal is to get all his students familiar with the basics of several types of dances so they will become more confident social dancers.   

In July, his Numero Uno Assistant, Susan Arevalo, will take the new beginning students and he will take the "original 20" on to a new level. Milt's goal is to have 75 to 100 Seniors in this SASS program in December.

After the great start he had in June, I wouldn't bet against him!!

The following is a note from Susan:

Hi Rick,

I think the class was a great success. We had 20 students but needed more men. Milt has a natural talent for keeping the class moving and having fun at the same time. I'm sure everyone enjoyed themselves. I hope I do as well with the new class next month.

I see this class becoming a place for seniors to come and have fun, meet people, and learn to dance, a social skill, all at the same time. In the months to come I hope we can get several levels going at once and maybe see a little flexibility at that time where if a person felt like one week he needed a level 1 class, say in Swing, but the next week he'd like a level 2 class in C&W that they could easily switch.

Next month I will be teaching the level 1 (with Garald as my assistant), while Milt teaches level 2. I believe the plan is too continue to add on to the dances we've started with levels 2 and 3, but then we'll get to a place where we'll let the students vote on what dances they'd like to learn the next month. I hope this let's us keep a continuing crowd of familiar faces coming to dance on a Saturday afternoon, with new recruits working their way up the levels.

Susan Arevalo







June 29, 2004 Update:  The area around the former Door Warehouse building has been completely encompassed by a chain-link fence. Obviously something is afoot.  In the meantime, the parking lot has eroded to a series of potholes. Hopefully an upgrade to the parking lot will be part of the plans for the massive overhaul of the area.  RJA

The Previous Article from the June Newsletter:

or the past two years, I have watched with some concern as important real estate changes have taken place around the Bissonnet shopping center SSQQ calls its home.

Last year I noticed when the tenants in the quiet building next to Charlies BBQ were told to vacate the premises. After they left, that building was expensively remodeled and is now home to "First Street Surgical Center". You cannot have missed the iron gates and gorgeous landscaping that now adorn its premises. So clearly this building went upscale!

A big SSQQ story from a year ago was the illegal towing of SSQQ cars from the abandoned Door Warehouse building at the edge of the SSQQ parking lot. After the Door Warehouse went bankrupt, the space was up for rent, but instead was purchased by the same people who also own the First Street Surgical Center. The good news is the towing threat seems to have disappeared. There are no threatening signs on that building anymore and no incidents in over a year.

Two months ago I was informed by my landlord that he had decided to sell the 4803 Bissonnet to Dr. Varon, who just happens to be the owner of the First Street Surgical Center and the Door Warehouse building. For anyone who has ever played Monopoly, Dr. Varon appears to have accomplished a Monopoly of his own on the First Street/Bissonnet corner.

Now comes further news that the Bellaire City Council has approved plans for First Street Surgical Center to put up a Sky Bridge that will connect the Surgical Center to the Door Warehouse building. In other words, you will still be able to use that little secret passage street that runs between the Surgical Center and Door Warehouse, but there will be a sky bridge above your head.

The new owners of my building have not met with me yet so I am uncertain as to the long-range plans. The rumor is they intend to not disturb the leases of anyone in the 4800 Bissonnet Shopping Center.

It has been suggested the reason they bid so aggressively on this property was to acquire rights to the parking lot which would in turn support their investment in the Door Warehouse building.
This all remains to be seen. Another rumor is the addition of a second story to the Door Warehouse building to meet the Sky Bridge as well as added parking under and around the Door Warehouse building.

Further rumors have extensive new landscaping being added to our shopping center by our obviously well-heeled new landlords. That would be nice.

Now if they could just fit some of the potholes in our parking lot… but let's give them time to ease in to the difficult task of managing three extensive properties all at once.

I will keep you posted of new developments. In the meantime, here is a story that I have reprinted from Kathleen Ballanfant's excellent local newspaper, "Village and Southwest News":

By Michelle Leigh Smith
Reprinted From The Village and Southwest News

Bellaire will soon have its first skybridge, requested by the First Street Surgical Center. Council voted unanimously to approve the request after reconsideration of a previous direction given to the Planning and Zoning Commission to determine whether the concept of sky bridges should be allowed in the City of Bellaire.

Mayor Pro Tem Phil Nauert proposed an amendment directing City staff to grant the permits for the skybridge since there was no existing rules on the books about skybridges and secondly, to direct P&Z to look into drafting skybridge guidelines.

"I could not support this amendment," said Pat McLaughlan. "I see the City of Bellaire would be receiving no consideration for the abandonment of street right of way.

Siegel explained that the amendment was not to abandon the ROW. The ROW stays in our possession. I understood I may be a little slow, but I'm having a real problem understanding what it is these people want. The first few pages of the brochure are concentrated on the Skybridge. They show extensive landscaping with palms and fountains. It sounds like if they are doing this extensive landscaping over the entire parking lot that they have an interest in the entire center where Radio Shack is located. I think we need to deal with it in an integrated manner. Cindy interjected, "Can I try to explain. The issue is about the Skybridge. They have bought this whole area, including the center. They bought the Door Warehouse, they are putting $8.5 million in. The center will be upgraded and they will add a new professional building where the Door Warehouse is."

Council voted Nauert had a point of order. "Public discussion is closed. I don't think it's in our purview to tell them what to do with the center. What an egregious extension of our effort beyond what is legally allowed us. It is an opportunity only for us to make a mistake. I would like us to continue only with discussion of the matter at hand."
Davison said, "I think the one element that we're missing is fact that we didn't do our housekeeping. I agree that in the absence of an ordinance we should grant this."

Jeffrey asked if the city would be giving up any utilities underneath the property.

"I think the way it is looks good," Jeffrey said. "I think it will add tremendous value to our City."
Nauert's amendment passed 6 to 1, with McLaughlan dissenting.

The ordinance then passed unanimously.







  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 )


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
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.







-----Original Message-----
Sent: Saturday, July 31, 2004 10:41 AM
Subject: Int. Western Waltz

Hi Rick--

Was checking out the schedule for August on-line & didn't see Intermediate Western Waltz scheduled for Friday nights or for that matter any night. Am I missing something?

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, August 03, 2004 4:43 AM
Subject: Waltz in August?


I thought I heard you say in Beginning Waltz on Fridays that there was going to be an Intermediate Waltz this month. I don't see it in August or September. Do you suspect there will be one coming up any time soon, or should I look for some other track to get on?


-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, August 03, 2004 11:44 AM
To: ''
Subject: Waltz Syllabus

Enjoyed the Waltz Class! Hopefully we can do an intermediate class in the future. If possible could you email or mail a syllabus for the beginning Waltz Class?

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, August 3, 2004 10:55 AM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: RE: Your Waltz Class

What happened to the Int waltz class in August?
 You were our instructor a couple years ago and we were ready to make a comeback just because you were teaching it. My wife and I have been waiting for two months to take your class!

(Editor's Note: Including four verbal discussions at the studio, I have now had eight different inquiries unhappy about the loss of the Intermediate Western Waltz class. Here is the story.)



-----Original Message-----
Sent: Friday, July 30, 2004 10:55 AM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: RE: Your Waltz Class

“Curious to read all of your complaints this month.   Especially to see if they are what I suspect they will be about.   I have certainly heard a lot of complaining from the Thursday and Friday night Whip people about it being TOO crowded ("and why would they take us out of room 1 when it was already crowded with us").   Too, I am hearing the swing people complain (among others) about room 1 being used for two classes at once...they don't like it at all.

I know for one, I certainly find room 4 too small for our whip is elbow to elbow and I got my ankle hurt two weeks ago so much it was still hurting all day at Six Flags a week later.   We are just too close together to be doing the patterns.

I know you just love to hear me complain, too.   I know, too, you have your reasons, I am sure.”

Rick Archer's Response to Susan Schroeder:

I don’t know what else to do except cancel Friday’s Int Western Waltz in August. Please take it off the Online List and refund the students registered."

Complainant's Response:

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Saturday, July 31, 2004 9:22 AM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: RE: August 2004 SSQQ Newsletter

 Extremely fast response.   I am impressed!   Hope it works out for the best. 

Rick Archer's response:

You may be impressed, but I had to fire an instructor plus refund money in addition to irritating people who wanted to take the class. I have now received seven compliants about canceling the class.

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, August 03, 2004 2:38 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: FW: Waltz in August?

I assume you cancelled the class, not due to my comments, but more so due to complaints about class size and two classes having to be in one room. Am I correct? Do you feel you made a wrong decision. I hope I didn't influence wrongly. You know, I hope, that I only want to help.

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer []
Sent: Tuesday, August 03, 2004 3:48 PM
Subject: complaint Waltz in August?

I canceled the class solely due to your complaint. It was a terrible business decision, but I knew that in advance. It not only cost me money, but more important it disappointed a lot of people including the teacher who lost her position.

I have fielded many complaints about the studio, but I don't recall many stronger than yours. What you said hurt a lot. I don't intend to use your name. However the students deserve an explanation.

Editor's Note: Everything has consequences.

In the past several months there has been an enormous amount of "Complaining" at the studio.  The incident regarding the Western Waltz class is merely the tip of the iceberg. If I have the energy, I will list the others as well. For starters, simply go to last month's July Newsletter and read the SIX complaints from June 2004

In this case, I take responsibility for the decision to offer two classes in Room One on Mondays and Fridays. The problem on Monday was caused by the fact that we have to find a way to make room for a Ballroom program. Monday was the logical choice because Ballroom music and Swing music are compatible. However last month listed an entire array of complaints from students forced to share Room One on Mondays.

As I said before, more complaints will force me to cancel on of the Monday Night Swing classes.

Now one month later we have an indirect complaint about the two classes in Room One on Fridays. The complaint is not from a student forced to share Room One, but rather a student in Room 4 who wants to have the Big Room for their class without sharing the space.

I know, too, you have your reasons, I am sure."

The complaint about the crowding in Room 4 hurt a lot because I was trying desperately to find a way to offer Western Waltz (and Western Cha Cha) on a night besides Wednesday.  Not everyone has the chance to take Beginning Western Waltz on the single month it is offered by Sharon Crawford on Wednesdays. Too bad, wait till next year.

This important class needs to be offered at other times during the year as well.  I thought offering it on an alternate night (Friday) was a good idea. 

Unfortunately the situation on Fridays did not work out as I hoped it would.

Here is what happened.  Due to Bryan Spivey's charisma as a Whip dancer and teacher, July drew the largest attendance in the history of Martian Whip. The sudden increase of nearly 20 extra students took me by surprise.

Once I saw this increase, I knew the time would come when I would have to phase out the double use of Room One on Fridays. However because registrations always drop in August, I expected the size of the August class to dwindle which would buy me one more month. I had originally planned to offer Friday’s Western Waltz one more month, then phase it out naturally in September.

I agree with the complainant that Room 4 was crowded in July. I know this because I checked. I also know that there was enough room to get the class taught.  I teach the same group in an even smaller room on Thursdays. If people are considerate of space, the class can work.

But I am sure the students would like to have had more room. I would like a bigger studio too. Who is going to pay for more space?

There is an old saying: "
Complaining is good for you as long as you're not complaining to the person you're complaining about."

Well, I took this complaint personally. It was one of those "damned if you do and damned if you don't" feelings. I had not heard one complaint about the crowding in Room Four. Not one single complaint. Most people accepted the situation as uncomfortable, but something they could live with.

However one student decided to complain... and complain strongly.
Due to the power of the complaint, I felt I had no choice but to make the move back to six classes for six rooms one month sooner.

Now as a Consequence,

  • I have currently received 8 different complaints about the Waltz class being discontinued (with more likely to follow),

  • one teacher has lost a job

  • the studio will lose more revenue at a time when we are barely breaking even.

Whenever someone complains – which is always their right – they usually are not in the position to see the big picture.

It is true that I stay in business because I try to make my students happy. But sometimes it seems like every time I make one person happy, I end up alienating someone else. In the process, this studio gets less and less fun to operate.

There is a less than perfect situation for some class every night of the week.

The Salsa crowd has put up with overcrowding and heat for some time. The Swing people have to contend with two rooms on Monday. Some classes are in rooms that are difficult to cool as well during the summer. Other students in Room Two watch people endlessly walk through their room with little consideration that there is a class in progress.

On the other hand...

Where else can you take the same class on two or three different nights a week for no extra charge?

We could solve the crowding problem very easily by eliminating all Parallel Classes.

For example, i
n the case of the Thursday and Friday Martian Whip class, our students enjoy the wonderful privilege of being given two classes for the price of one.

This is why I get frustrated because some students want it all. The situation in Room Four was not intolerable or desperate. It was working as people adapted to less space.

But rather than accept that the class was crowded as an inevitable by product of the popularity, I got a strong complaint which added of course they were mostly speaking for “others” who were too timid to speak for themselves.

Did you know that last year the studio lost money in a weakened economy?  Did you know our sister organization - Leisure Learning - is in the same position and has reduced the size of its schedule to cut printing costs?

You would think our students would cut us some slack, yet instead I receive constant complaints.

“It is too crowded!!” “It is too noisy!!” “It is too hot!!” “It is too cold!!” “There aren’t enough guys!!” "There aren't enough women!!"  "Why isn’t this class being offered?” “Why can’t we have a bigger room?”

I even received a complaint in June that a class was too small. Someone asked for their money back because there weren't enough people taking the class to make it interesting.

Why all the Complaints?

Oddly, the studio is LESS CROWDED than it was before 9/11. We are down 20% from that point in time, but perversely I receive more complaints about crowding. That's right - less people and more complaints about crowding. Don’t ask me why. Maybe we are all getting older and less tolerant of discomfort.

For a business operating at a Break Even point, it is foolish for me to consider renting more space… especially considering how shaky the economy is and how serious the threat of another attack is.

So what do you want us to do?  If the complaints continue, these are the next steps.

  • Is it time then to start putting restrictions on attendance?

  • Do you wish for us to instill size controls in our classes?

  • Are you ready for us to turn people away from the doors once a class fills?

  • Do you prefer we put an end to the parallel dance class system?

  • Should we charge more money for our classes as another way to boost income and simultaneously suppress attendance?

Do you like any of those choices?  Of course not. Fortunately for you and unfortunately for me, the problem will correct itself. Any time there is this much negativity, the attendance in the following month automatically drops. I cannot win for losing.

As I expected, my Martian Whip class on Thursday in August was only HALF its size in July. And that class that complained about sharing Room One on Mondays only had EIGHT people this month.

There lesson here is anytime you want to thin a class, just bellyache. That will solve the problem.

I wish more people were grateful for what they have at this studio and be more willing to periodically adjust to less than perfect conditions. We are at the point where practically any move I make will simply alienate just as many people as I satisfy.

I will conclude this article with a little story.

Back in the early 90s, I had two very odd habits when I taught class. If I needed a line of dance, I would put duct tape down on the floor. It worked fine, but I suppose it would have been better if I didn't always just leave it there.

When we installed our new floors in the late 90s I was informed the duct tape habit was a thing of the past. That habit disappeared. Now I use a carpenter's square instead.

My other curious habit was taking off one shoe whenever I needed to clearly illustrate something that had to do with a certain foot. "Now watch where I place my right foot on this move..."

Unfortunately it is often dark in my room when I dress for dance class. Nor do I pay much attention. As a result, occasionally I have been know to accidentally put on a sock with a hole in it. Big deal. Who cares?  At least that's what I thought. 

One night I took off my shoe in class only to reveal a gaping hole in the heel of my sock. I was roundly teased by the entire class who thought it was the funniest thing that had ever happened.

I replied mostly in good humor, "Well, you can either learn to live with the hole in my sock or we can raise tuition so I can buy some new socks!!" 

Everyone immediately pointed out that maybe the hole wasn't as big as they first thought it was. (Actually it was enormous.)

The following week when I entered the room I noticed a large grocery bag on a chair in the middle of the floor. It was full of brand new socks. With it was a note, "Please don't raise tuition!!"

Moral of the Story: If you guys will work with me and keep the complaining to a dull roar, we can continue to have the best dance studio in the whole wide world.  Or you can drive me nuts with more complaints and I will be forced to cancel parallel classes with a crowding problem. 

You decide.





-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, June 22, 2004 10:22 AM
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 vulgar sexual 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


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


Jokes August 2004

Bureaucracy - Gary Richardson

A man owned a small ranch in West Texas. The Wage and Hour Department of Texas claimed he was not paying proper wages to his help and sent an agent to interview him.

"I need a list of your employees and how much you pay them," demanded the agent.

"Well, there's my hired hand who's been with me for 3 years. I pay him $600 a month plus free room and board. The cook has been here for 18 months, and I pay her $500 a month plus free room and board. Then there's the half-wit that works about 18 hours a day and does all the dirty work. He makes about $10 a week and I buy him chewing tobacco," replied the rancher.

"That's the guy I want to talk to; the half-wit," says the agent.

The rancher says, "That would be me."

Wedded Bliss - Judith Williams

A newlywed couple had only been married for two weeks. They just returned from a lengthy honeymoon.

The husband was very much in love. Nevertheless he could not wait to hit some sports bars and party with his old buddies.

So, he said to his new wife, "Honey, I'll be right back."

"Where are you going, coochy cooh?" asked the wife.

"I'm going to the bar, pretty face. I'm going to have a beer."

The wife said, "You want a beer, my love?" She opened the door to the refrigerator and showed him 25 different kinds of beer, brands from 12 different countries: Germany, Holland, Belgium, Japan, India, etc.

The husband didn't know what to do, and the only thing that he could think of saying was, "Yes, lollypop, but at the know...they have frozen glasses..."

He didn't get to finish the sentence, because the wife interrupted him by saying, "You want a frozen glass, puppy face?" She took a huge beer mug out of the freezer, so frozen that she was getting chills just holding it.

The husband, looking a bit pale, said, "Yes, tootsie roll, but... at the bar... they have those hors d'oeuvres that are really delicious... I won't be long; I'll be right back. I promise. OK?"

"You want hors d'oeuvres, poochi pooh?" She opened the oven and took out 5 dishes of different hors d'oeuvres: chicken wings, pigs in blankets, mushroom caps, pork strips, etc.

"But my sweet honey at the know... there's swearing, dirty words and all that..."

"You want dirty words, cutie pie?



And they lived happily ever after. Isn't that a sweet story?

The School Play - Chris Holmes

Two little boys in first grade were chosen to be the leads in their first school play. It was to be a Shakespearean Play.

The first little boy was to say "My fair maiden.... I have come to snatch a kiss and fill your soul with hope".

The second little boy was to reply by saying "Hark! A pistol shot!"

Unfortunately the little boys didn't bother to practice their lines. On opening night in the school auditorium, the boys were a bit nervous, knowing that all the seats were going to be filled with grown- ups.

The teacher told them to take their places on the stage and to remember to speak very loud as soon as the curtain goes up.
The curtain rose and looking out upon the audience the two boys were terrified. They stood there frozen. So the teacher whispered for them to begin.

The first boy yelled out these unforgettable words. "My fair maiden.... I have come to kiss your snatch and fill your hole with soap!"

The second boy screams out... "Hark! a shistol pot, a postle shiss, A pot of shit, horse shit, cow shit, bull shit. Ah heck, I never wanted to be in this stupid play anyway!"

The audience left howling.

Why You Should Never Send a Woman to the Hardware Store - Judy Walsh

Bubba was fixing a door and he found that he needed a new hinge, so he sent his wife Mary Louise to the hardware store.

At the hardware store Mary Louise saw a beautiful teapot on a top shelf. She admired it while waiting for Joe Bob, the manager, to finish waiting on a customer.

When Joe Bob was finished, Mary Louise asked how much for the teapot.

Joe Bob replied, "That's silver and it costs $100!"

"My goodness, that sure is a lotta money!" Mary Louise exclaimed. Then she proceeded to describe the hinge that Bubba had sent her to buy, and Joe Bob went to the backroom to find it.

From the backroom Joe Bob yelled, "Mary Louise, you wanna screw for that hinge?"

To which Mary Louise replied, "No, but I will for the teapot."

The Curse - Gary Richardson

An old man goes to the Wizard to ask him if he can remove a "Curse" he has been living with for the last 40 years.

The Wizard says: "I will try. First, tell me the exact words that were used to put the curse on you."

The old man says without hesitation: "I now pronounce you man and wife."

The Lawyer, Rabbi, and Holy Man - John Hall

A lawyer and two friends--a Rabbi, and a Hindu holy man--had car trouble in the countryside and asked to spend the night with a farmer.

The farmer said, "There might be a problem. You see, I only have room for two to sleep in the house. So one of you must sleep in the barn."

"No problem," chimed the Rabbi. "My people wandered in the desert for forty years. I am humble enough to sleep in the barn for one evening." With that he departed to the barn, and the others bedded down for the night.

Moments later a knock was heard at the door; the farmer opened the door. There stood the Rabbi from the barn. "What's wrong?" asked the farmer.

He replied, "I am grateful to you, but I just can't sleep in the barn. There is a pig in the barn, and my faith believes that is an unclean animal."

His Hindu friend agrees to swap places with him. But a few minutes later the same scene reoccurs. There is a knock on the door.

"What's wrong?" the farmer asks. The Hindu holy man replies, "I, too, am grateful for your helping us out, but there is a cow in the barn. In my country cows are considered sacred and I can't sleep on holy ground!"

That left only the lawyer to make the change. He grumbled and complained, but went out to the barn.

Moments later there was another knock on the farmer's door. Frustrated and tired, the farmer opens the door, and there stood the pig and the cow.

The Coincidence - Judy Walsh

A man went into a local tavern and took a seat at the bar next to a women patron. He turned to her and said, "This is a special day, and I'm celebrating."

"What a coincidence," said the woman, "I'm celebrating, too".

She clinked glasses with him and asked, "What are you celebrating?"

"I'm a chicken farmer," he replied. "For years all my hens were infertile, but today they're finally fertile."

"What a coincidence, the woman said. "My husband and I have been trying to have a child for years... Today, my gynecologist told me I'm pregnant! How did your chickens become fertile?" she asked.

"I switched cocks," he replied.

"What a coincidence," she said.

Abbott Buys a New Computer - Anita Williams

If Abbott and Costello were still around today their famous sketch "Who's on first?" might have turned out something like this....


ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: Thanks. I'm setting up an office in my den and I'm thinking about buying a computer.
COSTELLO: No, the name's Lou.
ABBOTT: Your computer?
COSTELLO: I don't own a computer. I want to buy one.
COSTELLO: I told you, my name's Lou.
ABBOTT: What about Windows?
COSTELLO: Why? Will it get stuffy in here?
ABBOTT: Do you want a computer with Windows?
COSTELLO: I don't know. What will I see when I look in the windows?
ABBOTT: Wallpaper.
COSTELLO: Never mind the windows. I need a computer and software.
ABBOTT: Software for Windows?
COSTELLO: No. On the computer! I need something I can use to write proposals, track expenses and run my business. What have you got?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yeah, for my office. Can you recommend anything?
ABBOTT: I just did.
COSTELLO: You just did what?
ABBOTT: Recommend something.
COSTELLO: You recommended something?
COSTELLO: For my office?
COSTELLO: OK, what did you recommend for my office?
ABBOTT: Office.
COSTELLO: Yes, for my office!
ABBOTT: I recommend Office with Windows.
COSTELLO: I already have an office with windows! OK, lets just say I'm sitting at my computer and I want to type a proposal. What do I need?
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: Word in Office.
COSTELLO: The only word in office is office.
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: Which word in office for windows?
ABBOTT: The Word you get when you click the blue "W".
COSTELLO: I'm going to click your blue "w" if you don't start with some straight answers. OK, forget that. Can I watch movies on the Internet?
ABBOTT: Yes, you want Real One.
COSTELLO: Maybe a real one, maybe a cartoon. What I watch is none of your business. Just tell me what I need!
ABBOTT: Real One.
COSTELLO: If it's a long movie I also want to see reel 2, 3 &4. Can I watch them?
ABBOTT: Of course.
COSTELLO: Great! With what?
ABBOTT: Real One.
COSTELLO: OK, I'm at my computer and I want to watch a movie. What do I do?
ABBOTT: You click the blue "1".
COSTELLO: I click the blue one what?
ABBOTT: The blue "1".
COSTELLO: Is that different from the blue w?
ABBOTT: The blue "1" is Real One and the blue "W" is Word.
COSTELLO: What word?
ABBOTT: The Word in Office for Windows.
COSTELLO: But there's three words in "office for windows"!
ABBOTT: No, just one. But it's the most popular Word in the world.
ABBOTT: Yes, but to be fair, there aren't many other Words left. It pretty much wiped out all the other Words out there.
COSTELLO: And that word is real one?
ABBOTT: Real One has nothing to do with Word. Real One isn't even part of Office.
COSTELLO: STOP! Don't start that again. What about financial bookkeeping?
You have anything I can track my money with?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: That's right. What do you have?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: I need money to track my money?
ABBOTT: It comes bundled with your computer
COSTELLO: What's bundled with my computer?
ABBOTT: Money.
COSTELLO: Money comes with my computer?
ABBOTT: Yes. No extra charge.
COSTELLO: I get a bundle of money with my computer? How much?
ABBOTT: One copy.
COSTELLO: Isn't it illegal to copy money?
ABBOTT: Microsoft gave us a license to copy money.
COSTELLO: They can give you a license to copy money?
ABBOTT: Super Duper computer store. Can I help you?
COSTELLO: How do I turn my computer off?
ABBOTT: Click on "START"...



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

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


In August
SQQ has two winners of the highly-coveted "SSQQ Employee of the Month" Award.


Melanie Jones was part of the great Swing era here at SSQQ.  A natural athlete, Melanie was especially gifted at Acrobatics.  She helped Paul Foltyn teach his Acrobatics class on a regular basis.

In the summer of 2001 Melanie greeted me with a long face. An employee of Continental Airlines, she had decided to accept a transfer to their offices in New York.

Indeed just a couple days after Melanie reported for work in the Big Apple, 9/11 hit. You don't suppose Melanie missed home a little bit?

Recently Paul got a late start looking for an assistant to help him teach his summer Acrobatics class here at SSQQ. He emailed me wondering if I knew anyone. I made a couple suggestions then forgot all about it.

On Sunday, July 11, I was shocked to see Melanie Jones in class as Paul's assistant. She had FLOWN all the way from New York to help!  Talk about Dedication!

Although it is correct Melanie likely flew for free, it is still pretty impressive to come several thousand miles to teach a dance class. Thank you, Melanie.

And as for you other instructors who give up the thought of driving to class at the sight of a raindrop, let this be a lesson!

It is my belief that Jill Banta is the answer to a mystery I have been mulling over. By accident, I ran across a story about missing dogs in the Houston Chronicle because there was a "hit" on the word "SSQQ" when I was researching their archives.

The story said an SSQQ instructor had found a missing dog, taken it home, and reunited the dog with its owner. For the longest time I thought Maureen Brunetti - who lives in Bellaire near the studio and loves dogs - had been the finder. But when I re-read the article, I noticed it said the instructor (who was unnamed) in the story lived in the Heights. Jill Banta, former instructor Gillian Tilbury, and I are the only three instructors I know of who lives in the Heights. It wasn't me. It might have been Gillian. But my money's on Jill, our Good Samaritan.  Story of Missing Dog




1.   Sorrell Warren  (Second month in a row!)
2.   Susan Arevalo  (Eleven months in a row!)
3.   Ritesh Laud  (Fifth month in a row!)
4.   Ann Faget  (One Year in a Row of Victories!)
5.   Connie and Jeff Woodman (One Year in a Row of Victories!)
6.   Mara Rivas  (Third month in a row!)
7.   Marlies Whitmoyer  (Welcome back to a previous winner!)

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 deals with the order of 16 playing cards. I thought it was a tricky puzzle, but definitely in our league. You don’t have to be a Mensa to nail this one. Give it a try:


Joke Picture




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


The Lone Ranger and Tonto - Ralph Volz

The Lone Ranger and Tonto walked into a bar and sat down to drink a beer. After a few minutes, a big tall cowboy walked in and said "Who owns the big white horse outside?"

The Lone Ranger stood up, went face to face with the stranger, and said, "That horse is mine. Now what's the problem?"

The cowboy looked at the Lone Ranger and said, "I just thought you'd like to know that your horse is nearly dead outside!"
The Lone Ranger and Tonto rushed outside and sure enough Silver was ready to die from heat exhaustion. The Lone Ranger got the horse water. However Silver still looked pretty sick. 
Seeing this, the Lone Ranger began to run circles around the over-heated animal in a desperate attempt to help create a breeze to help him feel better. It seemed to make a difference, but the Lone Ranger began to tire. After 15 minutes, the Lone Ranger turned to Tonto and said, "Tonto, do you mind taking over for a few minutes?" 

Tonto said, "Sure, Kemosabe" and took off running circles around Silver. Not able to do anything else but wait, the Lone Ranger returned to the bar to finish his drink. A few minutes later, the cowboy came over and tapped the Lone Ranger on his shoulder. 

Irritated, the Lone Ranger stood up, turned around, and said, "Okay, what's wrong with my horse this time ?"

The cowboy looks him in the eye and says... "Nothing, but it looks like you left your Injun runnin'."





SOLIPSISM - Submitted by Rick Archer

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

a) egotism
b) selfishness
c) the religion of the people in "The Village"
d) autochthonous
e) superficiality
f)  introspection
g) folk singing
h) the latest Salsa Dance
I) a fable
m) extraterrestrial

If you want to know the answer, click here.

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




On Saturday, July 10, Gary and Cheryl got married at Cheryl's church in Wallis, Texas. 

Marla and I were invited to the wedding. It turned out Wallis is practically a suburb of San Antonio. It is so far west of Houston that it isn't even on my key map!  Naturally we got lost and arrived a little late. We got what we deserved - there were so many cars we parked so far away that practically needed a shuttle!

The ceremony had just started when we arrived. We saw many familiar faces. I must have counted over 30 people from the studio, but I really never got a good look so there could have been more. In fact, there were so many people at this wedding that they were literally OUT THE DOOR!  Marla and I stood in a reception area just outside the chapel with about 25 other people. We took turns poking our noses in to watch the ceremony.

I have to be honest. I think Cheryl and Gary got married, but I didn't exactly "witness" it. All I can say is I heard someone getting married.

From what I was told by people who could actually see what was going on, Cheryl and Gary made an unusual fashion statement by wearing hunting outfits. I happen to think that was a great idea!! I am going to ask Marla if we can do that for our wedding too.

A couple days ago Cheryl and Gary took one of my Ghost Town classes. I have to say Gary was the best dancer in the class. That Cheryl knows how to bring out the best in a guy!!


Story written by Sharon Crawford

Bill and I met about 10 years ago when he was in my whip class, but we didn't really get to know each other until about a year and a half ago. He had returned to the studio after a long absence and signed up for my waltz class. A few weeks later we ran into each other at a play at the Hobby Center and he realized (1) that I was single and (2) that I enjoyed doing things other than dance.

Although we both love to dance, we also both enjoy many other activities. Bill has an infectious zest for life and we have enjoyed traveling, snow skiing and wake boarding (well he wake boards, I just ski).

In April, Bill surprised me with an engagement ring. We had gone to Fredricksburg to spend the weekend with my 3 sisters and their husbands. We had all just sat down for dinner when he placed this box in front of me.

It was very special having all of my family there and of course before long everyone in the restaurant knew what was going on.

There was a very good duo playing music at the restaurant so naturally Bill and I had to get up to dance. I suppose we danced fairly well.

I was very amused when a lady at the table next to us whispered to Bill that I was very lucky to have found a man who likes to dance.

(Editor's Note: Speaking of how lucky Sharon was to find a man who can dance, can you imagine the pressure on Bill when it comes time to Waltz at their wedding?  Sharon Crawford of course is the Most Famous Waltzer in Houston, Texas. 

Everyone will be watching. I mean EVERYONE!!  One mistake and he's gonna hear about it for a long time.  If I were Bill, I would just let Sharon lead. Who's gonna notice??  I would never tell!!)


Monday, August 02, 2004 9:06 AM
Email from Fran Landry to Rick Archer:

"Rick Jacobs and Fran Landry met a little over 2 years ago in May 2002 at SSQQ & we are getting married on September 18th, 2004.

Thanks for giving us the opportunity to meet and fall in love!!!


(Editor's Note: This couple has been in many of Sharon Crawford's Western Waltz classes, but I am embarrassed I don't know them by name. I emailed Fran to send me more information, but haven't heard back yet. Congratulations to both!!)




WOMEN'S ASS SIZE STUDY - Contributed by Patty Jones

There is a new study out about women and how they feel about their asses!

I thought the results were pretty interesting:

85% of women think their ass is too big...
10% of women think their ass is too little...

The other 5% say that they don't care, they love him, he's a good man, and they would have married him anyway.

(Rick's Note:
I welcome any and all contributions.
Bring it on!! )


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!!

Okay, everyone, a round of applause for the following jokes:

August CS 28: Being an Elementary School Teacher - Pat Roberts
August CS 29: The Safari Dog, Leopard, & Monkey - Pat Roberts/C Holmes
August CS 30: Old Ladies Driving - Andre Faust
August CS 31: The Short Hot Love Letter - Chris Holmes
August CS 32: The Baby Photographer - Judy Walsh

These five jokes were part of our "Best New Jokes" section from last year's August issue. This year they have made it to "Hall of Fame" and will be viewed by many generations to follow. Joke Immortality is very important! 

You can read #29, "
The Safari Dog, Leopard, & Monkey", below.
The August Clean Side Jokes

August CS 01: A Marriage Maid in Heaven - Hieronymous Anonymous
August CS 02: The Mole Family - Judy Walsh
August CS 03: The Magician and the Parrot - Judy Walsh
August CS 04: Southern Magnolias - Pat Roberts
August CS 05: Marital Bliss - Sam DeMora, Robin Wagner, Rick Archer
August CS 06: Al Gore - Richard Bevis
August CS 07: Blind Date - Donna Ruth
August CS 08: The Son-In-Law - Debbie Awad
August CS 09: Take Me Out to the Ballgame! - Gary Richardson
August CS 10: Pulling a Fast One - Kathleen Parker
August CS 11: Desert Island - Crista Reuss
August CS 12: The Lone Ranger and Tonto - Ralph Volz
August CS 13: What's Heaven Got To Do With It ? - Kendra Heath
August CS 14: Conscience - Debbie Awad
August CS 15: Bill Clinton and Judgment Day - Jill Banta and Sam DeMora
August CS 16: Inviting a Friend to Dinner - Robin Wagner
August CS 17: Down by the Cemetery - Richard Bevis
August CS 18: Case Dismissed - Sharon Russell
August CS 19: The Terrible Food - Jackie Chang
August CS 20: The Cuckoo Clock - Judy Walsh
August CS 21: Gorilla up a Tree - Jill Banta
August CS 22: The Magic Elevator - Donna Cook
August CS 23: The Pope & the Hairdresser - Andre Faust/M Gerstenberger
August CS 24: A Lawyer Dies Young - Donna Cook
August CS 25: Bill Gates in Hell - Jill Banta and Carole Nelson
August CS 26: The Pope and the President - Dana Pattison and Judy Walsh
August CS 27: Houston Evacuation Plan - Sam DeMora
August CS 28: Being an Elementary School Teacher - Pat Roberts
August CS 29: The Safari Dog, Leopard, & Monkey - Pat Roberts/C Holmes
August CS 30: Old Ladies Driving - Andre Faust
August CS 31: The Short Hot Love Letter - Chris Holmes
August CS 32: The Baby Photographer - Judy Walsh

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:

August CS 29: The Safari Dog, the Leopard, and the Monkey - Pat Roberts and Chris Holmes

A wealthy man decided to go on a safari in Africa. He took his faithful pet dog along for company. One day the dog starts chasing butterflies and before long he discovers that he is lost. So, wandering about he notices a leopard heading rapidly in his direction with the obvious intention of having lunch. The dog thinks, "Oh Boy, I'm in big trouble now." Then he noticed some bones on the ground close by, and immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat.

Just as the leopard is about to leap, the dog exclaims loudly, "Man, that was one delicious leopard. I wonder if there are any more cats around here?"

Hearing this a look of terror comes over the leopard. He halts his attack in mid stride and slinks away into the trees. "Whew", says the leopard. "That was close. That dog nearly had me."

Meanwhile, a monkey who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use. He decides to trade news of the deception for protection from the leopard. Off goes the monkey in hot pursuit. But the dog hears the commotion and notices the monkey heading after the leopard with great speed. He figures that something must be up and begins to analyze the possibilities.

Meanwhile the monkey soon catches up with the leopard and reveals how the dog tricked the cat. Then he strikes a deal for himself with the leopard.

The cat is furious at being made a fool of. He wants revenge!! The leopard says, "Here monkey, hop on my back and come with me to watch what's going to happen to that conniving canine!"

Angry and impatient, the leopard doesn't even bother with stealth. He just comes roaring through the jungle with the finesse of an elephant.

The dog hears the leopard coming with the monkey on his back. He has decided on his plan. Instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers and pretends he hasn't a clue as to their presence.

Just when they get close enough to hear, the dog says, "Where is that damn monkey!?! I am so HUNGRY!! He takes too long. I sent him off half an hour ago to bring me another leopard and he's still not back yet!!"




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

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

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

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

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

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

August Blue Side

August BS 01 : Potential versus Realistic - Judy Walsh
August BS 02 : The Little Old Lady and the Bet - Richard Bevis
August BS 03 : Lessons on the Beach - Judy Walsh
August BS 04 : The Sexy Camel - Mickey Hammond and Richard Bevis
August BS 05 : The Cold Nights on the Farm - Suzy Kish
August BS 06 : Artificial Insemination - Maureen Brunetti
August BS 07 : Little Billy - Judy Haley
August BS 08 : King Arthur's Court - Richard Bevis
August BS 09 : The Kinsey Report - Carole Nelson
August BS 10 : The Alligator Bet - Judy Walsh
August BS 11 : Pussywillows - Mickey Hammond
August BS 12 : Lessons from School - Richard Bevis
August BS 13 : Wedding Night Jitters - Chris Holmes
August BS 14 : The Bakery - Judy Walsh
August BS 15 : The Duck - Kendra Heath
August BS 16 : Hillary and Bill - Gillian Tilbury
August BS 17 : The Magic Sandals - Debbie Awad
August BS 18 : The Smart-Mouth Parrot - Patrick Steerman
August BS 19 : The Man from Iowa - Judy Walsh
August BS 20 : The Little Fireman - Mike Gerstenberger and Gary Richardson
August BS 21 : Ladder to Success - Bill Mayo
August BS 22 : The Winners! - Dana Pattison
August BS 23 : Turner Brown - Mike Guillory
August BS 24 : How God Takes People to Heaven - Judy Walsh
August BS 25 : The Lost Episode of Gilligan's Island - Kathleen Parker

Although the Blue Side is off-limits to the outer world and only SSQQ Students are invited into the inner sanctum of "Dirty Jokes", each month we manage to find one that is on the edge of printable. This next joke is one of my very favorites. Contributed by former SSQQ Instructor Mary Collins, it is a classic display of very poor judgment on my part by printing it… which automatically means it's a great joke!  

August BS 03 : Lessons on the Beach
- Judy Walsh

A mother and father take their 6 year old son to a newde beach. As the boy walked along the beach, he noticed that many of the ladies had brests far bigger than his mother's. Frowning, he informed his mother of this fact. She told her son, "The bigger they are, the dumber the person."

The boy, pleased with the answer, goes to play in the ocean but returns to tell his mother that many of the men have larger pointy things than his dad does. His mother replied, "The bigger they are, the dumber the person."

Again satisfied with her answer, the boy returns to the ocean to play. Shortly after, the boy returned again, and promptly tells his mother, "Daddy is talking to the dumbest girl on the beach and the longer he talks, the dumber he gets!"





Contributed by Anne Marchetti, SSQQ Crusier of 2003.

Cruise Passengers Told to Abandon Ship  
Thursday, August 05, 2004

A thousand cruise-ship passengers got the fright of their lives when a prankster took over the vessel's public-address system and told them to "abandon ship."

The Miracle, a Carnival Cruise Lines (search) vessel, was only hours away from arriving in New York last Saturday after a week-long Bahamas jaunt, reports the New York Daily News.

Suddenly, at 3:45 a.m., came the "abandon ship" announcement, jolting passengers out of bed.

"People freaked out," Chris Vig, 36, of New Hyde Park, N.Y., told the Daily News. "It was absolute panic."

Thinking terrorists had taken over the ship, hundreds of formerly relaxed vacationers in their pajamas gathered on the third deck, waiting for further announcements.

Ten minutes later, according to Vig, another voice came over the PA, telling passengers everything was fine.

It turned out someone had snuck into a room that, as Carnival officials later put it, was "normally locked and unoccupied," switched on a microphone and made the scary statement.

"Multiple announcements were made by ship's personnel, including the vessel's captain, assuring guests that the initial announcement was an apparent prank and to disregard it," a Carnival statement said. "The captain then personally met and talked with numerous guests to offer further reassurances."

In reality, said Vig, it took the captain about 40 minutes to show up to calm down the panicked passengers.

The identity of the prankster remains unknown.




June 2, 2004, 11:01PM

Mouse in the soup - Customers accused of trying to hoax Cracker Barrel

Daily Press

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - A woman who said she found a mouse in her soup at a Cracker Barrel restaurant last month made up the whole story, the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office announced this week.

Carla Patterson, 36, and her son, Ricky Patterson, 20, both of Hampton, Va., were both charged Tuesday with attempted extortion and conspiracy to commit a felony after they tried to get Cracker Barrel to give them money in the hoax, said Howard Gwynn, Newport News' commonwealth's attorney.

Carla Patterson was eating at the Newport News restaurant on May 8 when she said she discovered the mouse in a bowl of vegetable soup. Her screams prompted other patrons to leave the restaurant, and the incident caused Cracker Barrel to stop serving vegetable soup at all its 497 stores nationwide.

The Pattersons were arrested Tuesday after a sting operation in which officials from Cracker Barrel met the Pattersons at an undisclosed location and handed them a check, with law enforcement officials witnessing the handover from nearby, Gwynn said. The police department's economic crimes unit had developed the plan for the arrest after gathering evidence in recent days, police said.

Julie Davis, a corporate spokeswoman with Cracker Barrel's headquarters, near Nashville, Tenn., said the Pattersons had demanded $500,000 from the company,

Under the deal that Cracker Barrel had arranged with the Pattersons for the sting, the restaurant chain was to turn over the money in exchange for pictures of the mouse that Ricky Patterson had taken with his cell phone camera. Also as part of the deal, Davis said, Ricky Patterson was to publicly admit that he had made up the story.

But instead of getting to keep the check, the Pattersons got arrested.

The Newport News store suffered greatly in the incident, she said, with business slowing down substantially. The store's workers lost tips, and some were transferred to other stores to make up hours they lost to the slowdown.

Davis said Cracker Barrel had undertaken an in-depth investigation as soon as the mouse was found in the soup.

But when the laboratory analysis of the small, black mouse came back, Davis said, it was clear that something was amiss.

For one thing, she said, the autopsy showed that the mouse had not drowned, and was not cooked. The mouse did not have any soup in its internal system. The mouse, Davis said, died of a skull fracture.

Also, an audit of the vendor that provided the soup indicated it would have been impossible for the mouse to make it through the soup-making process in one piece, Davis said.

Patterson, the vice president of athletics for a youth football and cheerleading association with the city's parks and recreation department, could not be reached for comment.




March 5, 2004, 8:22PM

German court rejects man's brothel demand -  Welfare recipient wanted state to pay

Associated Press

A court Friday rejected an unemployed man's demand for four government-paid brothel visits a month to ensure his "health and bodily well-being" while his wife is abroad.

The 35-year-old welfare recipient sought about $3,050 a month to fund the brothel trips, along with eight pornographic videos and transport costs to and from a video store. He sued the state after authorities refused to pay for his Thai wife to fly back to Germany.

A court in the town of Ansbach threw out the claim, saying social security benefits already cover "everyday requirements." It said the man, who was not identified, would appeal -- at taxpayer expense.

Amid Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's drive to broadly trim welfare-state programs, court decisions in favor of welfare recipients have recently caused an uproar in Germany.

In August, an unemployed Frankfurt man won state-funded treatment with the impotence drug Viagra. Later, another court ruled that German social services must pay a 64-year-old expatriate's $875-a-month rent in Miami.





June 16, 2004, 1:07AM

Rain delay: 'Told you so' premature on light-rail line elevation
Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

Heavy rains temporarily washed out MetroRail line service this weekend, prompting proponents of building light rail above ground to say, "I told you so." However, few responsible taxpayers would agree that spending millions of additional dollars on elevated tracks would have been worth it to avoid last Sunday's few minutes of transit downtime.

The past few days' rain served as a useful test of how well the Main Street rail line could cope with torrential downpours over the famously flood-prone Midtown and Texas Medical Center areas. Rail service was down only about one hour Sunday, despite a slow-moving storm that dumped several inches of rain along the rail route that day.

High water along the 7 1/2 -mile rail prevented trains from passing at a stretches of track downtown, in Midtown and in the Museum District. It was the train's first instance of impassable flooding.

The interruption in service prompted a monorail advocate to point out that an elevated train would not have flooded. That's true, but taxpayers would have shelled out millions of dollars more per rail mile to have avoided that scant hour of disrupted service.

High water stalled buses along Main Street, too, by the way.

A more massive storm, such as Allison in 2001, might cause much longer interruptions of rail service, but that sort of weather system is rare. It would take an awful lot of rainfall - more than even Sunday and Monday's generous downpour - to cause flooding severe enough to stop trains for extended periods.

If anything, the recent rains showed that elevating the four voter-approved light rail extension routes to be built in coming years is probably not worth the expense.




  Paper: Houston Chronicle Date:
SUN 06/01/03 Section:


At the corner of Tuam and Whitney in the Montrose area, a black-and-white flier is secured ever so carefully to a utility pole, a thumbtack for each corner to hold it in place for the days or maybe weeks to come. Not even blustery, warm breezes nudge it.

It reads in capital, bold letters: "LOST DOG . . . REWARD!" You can just sense the anxiety, the uncertainty behind those words scrawled in black marker.

The pooch has been missing since April 29, the flier says. She was last wearing a silver choke collar with a blue dog-bone tag.

Small black lab / dalmation with white on her chest and paws. Approx. 25-30 lbs. Brown eyes, and big ears. Answers to Julie or Julianne. Family misses her terribly and offers reward. Please call (713) 869-1540 or (281) 654-6063 and ask for Juanita.

Every day, countless pets from dogs, cats to birds - across the area and the country - go missing, whether they wander off or are stolen. Each day, new heart-tugging fliers go up at corner utility poles or stop signs. And new, frantic searches commence - sometimes lasting days, months. Years even.

Some families eventually give up hope. Others press on.

Sonic and Perky On Jan. 31, Hallie Vanderhider's sons arrived home from school about 3 p.m. They let out the beagles, Sonic and Perky, to play in the back yard before they left for the gym.

When Vanderhider, a chief financial officer for Merchant Bank, got home about 6 p.m. there was no sign of the dogs.

The gates were closed. No holes at the fence line.

Vanderhider guessed that a technician with a utility company may have come to read the meters and the dogs snuck out. But those companies said none of their employees visited her home that day.

"We truly don't know how they got out," she says.

Sonic is a 2-year-old male. Perky, a female, is 6 1/2.

Sometime between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., the inseparable dogs wandered away or were snatched. "I said, `At least they have their tags,' " Vanderhider recalls.

Or so Vanderhider thought. One of her 16-year-old twin sons gave the dogs a bath the night before and forgot to put the gold, dog-bone shaped tags back on.

"All of a sudden my son got this terrible look on his face and said, `Oh, my God, I forgot to put the tags on,' " she says.

The search began immediately. They canvassed the neighborhood. They walked the banks of nearby Spring Creek, where dogs are known to play. They pounded the asphalt, calling their names until 1 a.m.

Vanderhider and her sons went home and made signs to post around the neighborhood. After a couple of hours of sleep, she was back searching.

They posted laminated fliers on bright yellow paper all around the Spring Creek Oaks subdivision:

LOST BEAGLES, SONIC - M, PERKY - F, $$REWARD$$ Vanderhider ordered six specially made signs - about 2 feet tall and more than a foot wide. She made another dozen on large plywood. The signs and fliers cost $500. Her reward offer was another $1,000.

"They are just tremendously important to me," Vanderhider says of her pets. "They're part of the family."

Almost five months later, the loss and the not knowing still weigh heavily on her.

"I'm still so emotional," Vanderhider says. "They are truly like children almost."

They searched all weekend. Vanderhider even took two days off from work to walk the creek. She put out food hoping it would draw them out of the nearby woods. She visited pet shelters to see if they had been turned in and went so far as to call shelters in San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Austin and Dallas.

She posted ads on the Internet and in local newspapers. She called Beagle Rescue.


Vanderhider could only find solace in the fact that road maintenance in her area had not picked up any deceased beagles along the roadways.

"You hope someone is taking as good of care of them as you would," Vanderhider says.

She guesses her 200 fliers - in English and Spanish - cover about 15 square miles.

Vanderhider received about 100 phone calls but only one held promise. Someone had found two beagles - one male, one female.

The Vanderhiders rushed over but oddly it was another set of lost beagles. They were heartbroken.

"But I have to say I'm very grateful to the people who called," Vanderhider says. "They were gracious enough to take the time to call me."

Because the family was so close to the beagles, the breeder who supplied Sonic and Perky offered the Vanderhiders two more beagle puppies - Chad and Natalie, Sonic's half-siblings. After some thought, the family took them.

"They have the run of the house," she says. Just like the previous beagles.

Initially, she ran a lost classified ad in the paper for more than three months straight. But as the costs piled up, she now only runs the ad occasionally. She also runs an ad in the neighborhood newsletter Spring Creek Oaks Scoop.

"I just can't give up," she says. "I still call the shelters and try to (visit) them once a week or so, thinking, `Just maybe.' "
Gizmo's legacy

Four years ago, on a stormy May 13, the weather let up just enough so that the Keenan family could let the family dog, Gizmo, out to do her thing.

About 15 minutes later, they called for her. And called. And called.

"We went to let her in, and she never came," Evan Keenan recalls.

There was no sign of her in the back yard. Not a trace.

She had always been terrified of lightning, and there were plenty of thunderous strikes that day. And she had been known to sneak out every now and then.

They searched their Spring neighborhood. Checked with neighbors. The vet. And looked under the backyard deck.

They put up computer-made fliers with the Lhasa apso's picture. Despite their best efforts, "she never came home," Keenan says.

As the family looked for their missing pet, they discovered search resources were disconnected. Keenan, who is in Web development, created

"I thought, `There has to be a better way to do this,' " he recalls. "There was no central location or hub to post your pet."

The site will re-launch this month and offer free postings of lost-and-found pet announcements. He plans to add a similar e-mail alert system to let people know when a pet in their area becomes missing. All he hopes for are some success stories.

The search for a pet can take a toll on a family. The Keenans had Gizmo for more than eight years. The family's four children adored her.

"She was part of the family," Keenan says. "We have family pictures. She was a good ol' lap dog."

Gizmo slept with the girls. Every other weekend she had a standing appointment with a groomer who put colored bows, depending on the season or holiday, in her hair.

"You go through a period like you would a loved one who is missing," he says. "You start to get very depressed, and you feel kind of hopeless.

"Then you get into the lull of waiting and waiting."

As the days went by, the family searched the area some more. More inquiries to the neighbors. Surely she couldn't have gone very far.

About a month after Gizmo went missing, the first report of a sighting came in.

When the family went to see the dog, it was the right breed. Wrong pooch.

"We were excited," says Kristin Dancy, the Keenans' 15-year-old daughter, who was closest to Gizmo, "just to get let down."

Even the family's other dog, Sadie (part golden retriever, part cocker spaniel), mourned Gizmo's disappearance.

"She cried," says Nicki Keenan, the mother. "They were buddies, and Gizmo acted like her mother. Sadie didn't know what to do with herself."

After about five months, Evan Keenan pulled all the fliers. But while the active search has stopped, it's hard to quell hope.

Every once in a while, Keenan makes a point to look around for Gizmo, in that off-chance that she just might be around.

"I've kind of given up on it," he admits. "We can only hope someone found her and is taking good care of her."

That gives them some comfort, but they needed more.

On June 12, 2002, Douglas entered their lives. He's a cute, goofy basset hound Keenan bought for his wife's birthday. Really, it was a gift for them all - to fill the void left by Gizmo.

"To this day, we can be out somewhere and see a dog that looks like (Gizmo) and wonder, `Is that our dog?' " he says.

New search tactics With 68 million dogs and 73 million cats in the United States, there are plenty of opportunities for pets to go missing.

There are not hard statistics on the numbers of pets lost each year. However, one estimate goes as far as saying that 2 million dogs are stolen annually.

Now, the Internet is helping pet owners cast a wider net in the search for their beloved cats and dogs, pet advocates say.

More Web sites are popping up, such as and Pets 911 ( to help owners find their pets faster. There are several dozen on the Internet, and each seeks to be more of a clearinghouse for lost-pet resources.

"The Internet is simplifying that process so you don't have to go to all the shelters or make fliers," says Julie Pasquinelli, spokeswoman for Pets 911.

Pets 911 is technically nationwide, but it is more locally known in Scottsdale, Ariz., where it is based. Its services are free, including posting a lost or a found announcement or locating area shelters.

The site, which went nationwide in 2000, is ZIP-code driven. "It's a timesaver and covers more area," Pasquinelli says. "It absolutely does work. And we want to be that one-stop place (to look for pets)."

She says, in general, pets don't end up very far away from home, but when they do, posting on the Internet can lead to faster happy reunions if they have traveled a long distance.

According to National Pet Recovery, a paid pet-finder service on the Internet, more than
80 percent of dogs recovered by them are 12 to 40 miles away from where they became lost. More than 90 percent of the cats it recovers are found within six miles.

Houston residents who own a dog or cat must license the pet with the city's Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care. Those living outside city limits must license pets with Harris County Rabies / Animal Control.

Licensing is more than just a requirement - it's an avenue to reunite lost pets with owners, says Kathy Barton, spokeswoman for the Houston Department of Health and Human Services. If a pet is picked up by the city's Animal Control, the license can be read and the owner tracked down.

Of course, the city can also find owners through a rabies tag or a simple identification tag. Pets are held at the city's Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care (BARC) shelter until the owner is reached or for up to two weeks, Barton says. After that the pets may be put up for adoption or transferred to the Houston Humane Society or the Houston Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals for adoption.

However, if a pet has no tags, is in poor health and has no potential for adoption, the animal is euthanized, Barton says.

BARC picks up about 20,000 cats and dogs annually, and last year about 10 percent of that number - mostly dogs - were reunited with owners, city statistics show.

The county also picks up about 20,000 pets, and last year about 8 percent (once again, mostly dogs) were reunited with owners, says Colleen Hodges, education/public relations coordinator for the county's animal control. More than 2,000 were adopted or sent to a rescue shelter. The rest, about 15,000 cats and dogs, were euthanized in 2002.

The county, at a minimum, holds animals without tags for three days. Animals with tags, six days.

"You have about three days, but don't plan on more than that," Hodges says, adding that shelter space is an issue. "Don't wait. Don't wait."

Unfortunately for pet owners, the city no longer posts pictures of pets picked up on the Internet, Barton says, because of potential liability in the event the city fails to post a pet's photo. The city's legal department is working on appropriate disclaimers to resolve that issue. Until then, owners must call the shelter or visit in person.

The county does post pictures of animals brought into its shelter at

Other methods of tagging your pet include tattooing and inserting a microchip. Barton says the chips are not fail-safe.

"There is no universal scanner (for chips)," she says. "And the chip can migrate around a pet."

She suggests the old-fashioned tag. Just make sure the tags are always secure. "If you put a tag on, a 6-year-old can read it," Barton says.


Some pets do make it back to their owners, whether they guide themselves home or a kind stranger takes them in until the rightful owner is found.

Wayne and Susan Snow are two of the lucky ones.

One day in late March, Wayne Snow was unloading groceries and left the front door open so he could make trips to the car. During the unloading, the family's Brittany spaniel, Penny, wandered off.

The Snows were worried. They live in Bellaire off busy Bissonnet, which can be unkind to pets.

They searched the house first. Then the back yard. Then, they jumped in the car to see if they could spot Penny, an older dog who needs daily arthritis medicine and is deaf.
Three hours later, no sign.

The next day, the Snows posted about 50 fliers with a photo of Penny lying in the grass. They called nearby veterinarians and neighbors, frantically searching for their beloved Penny.

Penny, named for her copper coat, didn't have her tags on. She's a house dog, and the Snows would put them on her only for walks.

They held off calling their son Paul, a Texas Tech University sophomore, who had initially received Penny as a gift from a friend. They didn't want him to worry. They were worried enough.

Three days later, the Snows got a break. A woman who sometimes manages Susan Snow's antiques shop noticed a "found" poster board with a description similar to that of Penny. She jotted down the number and gave it to Snow.

The description of a brown-and-white dog on the poster board was hopeful. She called and described Penny. It was a match.

The woman, a dance instructor, found Penny wandering the parking lot of SSQQ Dance Studio on Bissonnet where she teaches. She took her home that night.

Snow recalls driving by that parking lot, not seeing Penny. "She could've been walking by a car's wheel while we were driving by, and that's why we didn't see her," Snow says.

The dance instructor, who lives in the Heights, said she would bring Penny to the studio just before her class so the Snows could pick her up.

As Wayne Snow pulled up to the studio, he could see through the large glass windows. "Penny had her nose stuck to the window," he recalls, as if she knew he was on his way. "When I saw her, I knew it was her. It was pretty exciting."

Snow says the woman's teenage daughter looked heartbroken when he arrived. Apparently, she had grown attached to Penny, who smelled of a young girl's perfume.

The instructor refused to take a reward. Instead, Susan Snow, wanting to show her appreciation, bought her a $50 gift certificate to the Mason Jar restaurant.

"I think it was meant for (Penny) to be back home with us," Susan Snow says.

That night, the Snows tore down all the fliers. They didn't want to clutter the poles and stop signs.

Soon, other missing-pet fliers will take those spots.




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!!

Here are some brief facts and figures.

here are 202 suites, each with it's own concierge and butler assigned.

- It's $75 U.S. just to get in the gate to look at this place!!!!
- built on an island accessible only by bridge from the mainland.
- entrance on mainland includes an elaborate water park.

- it took 18 months to build, and had the top 5 architects in Europe to design it.
- the cost of it, is estimated at over 80 million U.S.
- the hotel opened this June 2003 for tourists.
- take a good look at the design & detail, its unbelievable !!!
- There are no AAA discount rates.
- complete with its own water park!

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

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

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


Answer to solipsism:  egotism.
the philosophical theory that the self is all that you know to exist.
"My solipsistic meditations lead me to realize what a clever boy I really am.

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