February 2005
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The SSQQ February 2005 Newsletter
Written and edited monthly by Rick Archer


Previous 2004 Newsletters
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Contributed by Gary Richardson,
Leroy Ginzel, Anita Williams
ssqq employee of month RACHEL KOENIG, THE ZEPHYR!!
joke picture of the month BAD DAY ON THE JOB - Chris Holmes
CLEAN SIDE JOKES Story of the Burning Roof - M.Moore, D. Awad
BLUE SIDE JOKES Bondage and Discipline - Gary Richardson


FEATURE TWO   STORY IN THE NEWS: 2003 DARWIN AWARDS (contributed by Pat Roberts)
FEATURE SIX   STORY IN THE NEWS: Texas woman buys first ever cloned-to-order pet








This is one of the most extensive Newsletters we have ever published. There is a lot going on here at the studio.

Houston's top Swing Band, Ezra Charles and the Works, are playing here at SSQQ for our February 19th Valentine's Party.

Dance Classes start Sunday, January 30, and every day after that for a week!

SSQQ now has The biggest story of all is the triumphant victory march of SSQQ's Three Amigos and one Amiga!  Victor Marquez, Joel McClesky, and Randy Winfrey all won UCWDC World Championships a week ago and lived to talk about it. Actually, they didn't say a thing, but that amazing dance coach, Cripple Creek's very own incredible Anita Williams, wrote a wonderful story telling you how it all happened.

This means that including Texas State Swing Champions Bryan Spivey and Lisa Palmer, SSQQ now has SIX Champions all under one roof.  Are we blessed?  Yes, we are. If you only have time to read one story, this is the one!  Hat's off to all four talented individuals!

SSQQ is under attack by another Salsa group. At this same time last year we were forced to deal with Salsa Eddy and now it looks like the United Salseros are playing the same game.

The SSQQ July 2005 Cruise to Alaska is doing amazingly well. We are already up to 50 people and many more are talking about going.  And the September Same Time Next Year Rhapsody Cruise is up to 25! 

Speaking of cruises, the SSQQ policy asking people who want to be part of the SSQQ Group to book with SSQQ directly angered one SSQQ student quite a bit. That in turn made me decide to explain exactly where we are coming from. In order to do that, I had to explain in detail how the Travel Business works. FIVE

We received a bizarre phone call hinting that an SSQQ instructor is secretly hosting a Country-Western social club. Who could it be? Guess what, I don't have a clue. Maybe you do!  The Great SSQQ Mystery. SIX

Goodness gracious, Rachel Koenig had 50 women sign up for Belly Dancing in January!!  And seventeen men signed up to watch (just kidding). Read all about it! ssqq employee of month

Last week I made a complete fool myself when I sabotaged the hard work of our Hall Monitor. Was I embarrassed? You better believe it. I spent quite a bit of time soul-searching about the SSQQ House Rules. And I decided to write a letter to all of you explaining the reasons behind the SSQQ House Rules. If you are a philosophy major, I am sure you will enjoy this article. ELEVEN

We have ten winners of last month's difficult Knight Moves Logic Puzzle.
1. John Jones (First Time Winner!)
2. Mark Marshall (Second Time Winner!)
3. Susan Arevalo (Sixteen Months in a Row!)
4. Holly Soehnge (Third Month in a Row!)
5. Steve Upchurch (Fourth Victory!)
6. Stephanie Barrow (First Time Winner!)
7. Karen Babb (Five Months in a Row!)
8. Ritesh Laud (Ten Months in a Row!)
9. Ann Faget (Seventeen Months in a Row!)
10. Ruth Feng (Third Victory!)

Are you ready to join the SSQQ Logic Club?  If so, this month's puzzle is a fun one. There is a boy here at SSQQ named Casey Casanova who is dating five different SSQQ girls on five different nights. This is fiction, you say?  He is starting to have trouble hiding one girl from the next.  Doesn't sound like fiction to me. Hey, it's a fun puzzle. Go solve it!
NEW logic puzzle

Have you ever had a bad day at work?  Well, here's a picture story about the worst day at work you can imagine!
joke picture of the month

Oh boy, Violet Steplightly is back for the second month in a row!  This devious lady with the poison pen takes a close look at SSQQ's experiment with free Practice Nights. Wonder what she has to say?  TWO

SSQQ is accused of breaking up two marriages!  And our web site is called a BAD NAME!  Aren't we just a hotbed of sin all of a sudden! 

Oh my gosh, there's so much more. There are 33 terrific articles to read. You know what, here's an idea. Go to the table of contents and just click away!










Gloria Sanchez will offer a course in Beginning Lindy Hop on Sundays in February at 4:30. The last time Gloria taught Lindy Hop, the class was so popular it continued for nearly half a year!  Come discover the magic of America’s very first Swing dance, the Lindy!

The Lindy Hop was America's first Swing dance. It is a wonderful cross between Jitterbug, Charleston, and Shag. Popular in the 20s through World War II, the Lindy disappeared for 40 years, but has enjoyed a renewed interest stimulated by the emergence of 90's Swing music! People ask what is the difference between Swing and Lindy.

Generally speaking, Lindy consists of 8-count patterns and Swing of 6-count patterns, although both dances can have patterns using both counts. The Lindy's 8-count allows for greater styling and interpretive movement but, socially, the Lindy is danced to slightly slower music while Swing works better to faster music.

Intermediate Hustle
(formerly known as “Latin Hustle” will be taught on Sundays at 4:30 by Scott Ladell. Used to Disco music, Hustle footwork & timing is very similar to West Coast Swing & its patterns are very similar to East Coast Swing.

Rachel Koenig, also known as “the Zephyr” will be teaching a four-week BELLY DANCE class on Sunday evenings.
Put a little shimmy in your life! Let Rachel introduce you to the seductive art form of beginning belly dance! This course will cover snake arms, hip circles, hip shimmies, shoulder shimmies, and basic combinations to use on the dance floor in conjunction with swing and whip moves.

Loose, comfortable clothing is preferred. Try sweats and a crop-top t-shirt, leggings and a running halter top with a t-shirt cover, or just shorts and a t-shirt will do. A scarf, shawl or sarong is recommended to wrap around your waste as a hip sash to add emphasis to your movements.

Please take note that last month's course created a huge “buzz” at the studio.  Rachel's Saturday class in January had FIFTY WOMEN in it. Every woman we talk to says she plans to groove her moves and swerve her curves to the erotic, sensual music. Rumor has it this class increases their allure and makes them irresistible to men! One thing we can tell you - the men were so curious we practically had to post a security guard outside the door in January!

(Note: Rachel won "SSQQ Employee of the Month" for her marvelous Belly Dance class. To read more about it, click here )

Beginning American Tango will return to Mondays this month.  In case no one has told you, Tango is a very cool dance to learn.  Tango is a timeless symbol for the dark side of romance. The music is haunting and mysterious. 

With songs like "Jalousie" (Jealousy) and "Ecstasie" (Ecstasy), Tango takes it place in legend as the dance of pride, anger, and most of all, passion.  Stylish and very dramatic, Tango combines sleek, hip-locked, gliding steps with abrupt stops into fans, flicks, flares, dips, and lunges. The eerie music, sultry motion, and the haunting sense of dark moods barely under control make Tango a truly fascinating dance!

People ask about the difference between American Tango and Argentine Tango.

Most insiders consider American Tango vastly easier for the occasional dancer to learn and to use.  For starters, American Tango is more structured than its Argentine counterpart. Using Basketball for comparison, American Tango relies more on "set, predetermined plays" while Argentine Tango is more "improvisational, make-it-up on the spot".

In other words, if Tango becomes your lifestyle and you dance it on a nightly basis, the more challenging Argentine style might be preferable. But if you intend to dance the Tango just every so often, then American Tango is definitely the place to start.

Intermediate Ballroom - Tango, Foxtrot, Waltz, Rumba - will be offered on Mondays with Charlene by request of her January Beginning class.  This overview class covers further steps to all four of the major Ballroom dances.

The Rumba will be taught by Tracy King on Mondays in February. The Rumba is a slow, very elegant dance that is quite sensual and provocative. 

The Rumba was a popular dance in middle class Cuba before World War II. It was introduced into America in the 1920's and 1930s. Rumba is sometimes called the "Latin Waltz" or "a Waltz with a Sizzle". Indeed the patterns to both dances are practically interchangeable while the "Look" of the two dances is completely different.

The Rumba is a "spot dance" because it is danced in one spot on the floor. The character is romantic and sexy due to the style known used cuban hip motion.

Danced to certain popular music (e.g. the Beatles’ classic “And I Love Her”) and to slow beautiful Latin rhythms (Besame Mucho), a modern use for the Rumba is to slow jazz music such as Diana Krall's "The Look of Love" or Celine Dion's "Falling into You". It is an exceptionally graceful, sensual dance that is fairly easy to learn.

Scott Ladell continues his three-month course with Intermediate Night Club on Wednesdays. Night Club has become an important Country-Western competition dance. Night Club is very graceful and quite popular to western slow tunes.

Danced to slow, romantic songs, Night Club Slow Dance is an unusual dance perhaps best described as an "active" form of Slow Dancing. Combining a special blend of Latin footwork and Foxtrot patterns, Night club is a pretty dance to see and fun to use. Nor is it difficult to learn.

Although it is always nice to be in love and have the chance to dance standing still with your amour, but Night Club allows people without romantic partners to participate as well. You would be surprised at the number of songs that would normally be considered "Slow Music" that suddenly become exciting to dance to once you master this unique dance. 

This is a pretty cool dance. You will like it! 

MARTIAN WHIP is taught by Rick Archer on Thursdays. Houston City and Texas State WCS champions Bryan Spivey and 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.

On Fridays in February Scott will be teaching Ghost Town Level 10. Are you up for a challenge??

Intermediate Western Cha Cha comes to Fridays with Rick and Cher. This sexy, ultra cool dance is danced to Polka-rhythm Western music like “Neon Moon” and “Tequila Town”. The January Beginner class had 20 people, so come join the fun!

Cumbia and Tejano Dancing returns to Saturdays in February with by Luis Castillo.  There are three types of Cumbias: Tejano, Columbian, and Cuban. This course covers both the Tejano Cumbia, the Tejano Polka, and Cuban Cumbia (please note the Columbian Cumbia is covered in our Salsa classes).  The Tejano Polka (sometimes called the "Mexican Polka") uses a walking dance as opposed to the triple step footwork of the Texas Polka.

Rhythm and Blues Twostep
is a popular dance used in African-American nightclubs. Taught by Willie Bushnell and Ronnie Alexander, R&B Twosteppin' is a partner dance similar to Zydeco. The man and woman first dance in closed position, then the man "swings her out".

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



During the January Dance Semester, SSQQ began an experiment with Free Practice Nights Sunday Night through Thursday Night each week.
  • Insiders (i.e. people taking classes at the studio each night) will get in for free.
  • Insider/Outsiders (i.e. ssqq students with current month Class Receipts but who were not in class that night) who arrive after 9 pm will be charged $2 to participate.
  • Guest (i.e. people not currently taking ssqq dance classes) will be charged $3 to participate.
  • Our regular Friday Dance Night will stay the same as the old days. It costs $3 for Insiders, $4 for Insider/Outsiders/$5 for Guests. 

We have installed a vending machine in the Drink Room so you can purchase soft drinks from it at any time you wish. Probably sometime late in February we will add a second vending machine and stock it with bottled water.

The popcorn is still served at no charge and of course the water fountain is always be available.

Initial results from the change have been promising. There were several nights on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in particular where the dancers stretched wall to wall. Ballroom Practice has improved on Mondays and Whip has definitely picked up on Sundays. We will keep you posted.


(Editor's Note: Ms. Steplightly is one of our dance students who also loves to write. She has an interesting style of penmanship as you will soon see. In response to some pointed queries about Ms. Steplightly, I would like to reassure all of you that this is NOT a "nom de plume" for a certain Mr. or Mrs. Archer.  You have my word of honor on this. RJA)

Hello fellow dancers! I hope 2005 is treating everyone well so far.

Although the year is still young, I can already tell it will be a great year for dancing at SSQQ. Last year I lived for Practice Night. I am a dance junkie, what can I say? So when I see Rick has announced they are free, I am ready to jive in Zero-Five.

But surprise surprise, my social life is picking up! I met a boy, but I won't say where. You might have me pegged. Let's just say I have not been able to attend as many Practice Nights as I had expected to. Although my dance skills are eroding, my heart is aflutter. Nevertheless I still keep a close pulse on ssqq happenings and I have heard that the attendance has significantly increased from last month.

I wonder why? Perhaps people made New Year's Resolutions to spend more time on the dance floor. Perhaps people just wanted to take some time off during the holiday season, although I cannot imagine why anyone would want to do a silly thing like that. But here's my theory. Maybe people are staying for practice because they no longer have to pay for it.

That's right. Students don't have to pay. What about that? Personally I thought this was a great idea, but then I don't drink beer. I hear the beer drinkers would cry in their beer... if they could only get one!

So sad. No beer, no cheer, what are we doing here? I bet I know - chasing the babes!  C'mon boys, dancing is not about drinking beer. Save it for football. Dancing is about making the girls happy, making them pant and smile. You don't need beer for that, now do you?  Just a few dance moves and a little rhythm will go a long way!

I like free Practice. In the old days I had to skip Practice a few times because I either forgot to bring any money or the hall monitor did not have change for my twenty. Rather than sit and wait for her to accumulate change, it was easier for me to leave. This was difficult because I love Practice Night, but you can imagine how easy the "I don't have cash" excuse is for someone who just does not want to stay in the first place. After my first January class, I polled my classmates to see if anyone was staying for Practice. The general response was "Sure, why not? I mean, it IS free now." One excuse down.

I am a bargain shopper. When I grocery shop, I compare prices, product weight, etc. When I pay for a dance class, I show up for all the parallel classes. When I pay $2.00 for Practice, I drain every last drop out of the night. I am fortunate enough to live near the studio, so I can be in bed ten minutes after I step off the dance floor. However, I know others who live in the Woodlands, Katy, Spring, Cypress, Sugarland, Bay City, and Pearland, and they all have to work in the morning to support their dance addiction. Dancing all night is not the most energy-friendly option when working a nine-to-five, and these people are bargain shoppers too. They could not see the value in paying to dance only five or ten minutes, even if it was only $2.00. Whether you stay for one song or one hour, anyone can see the value in dancing for free. Two excuses down. I have a couple friends, an older couple, in my class. Actually they aren't that old, just older than me. They live in Bellaire. Now that's a tough drive.

They said they were too tired to dance after class. I looked at them and said, "You have got to be kidding! It's free, for crying out loud. Stay for a dance or two. You're going to forget everything you learned otherwise." When I left at 10 pm, there they were out there dancing their heads off. I think they are a mess.
Before the new Practice Night policy took effect, I was sometimes successful in convincing unwilling friends to pay for practice, but it often ended poorly. Most of the time, the problem was that I could only manage to convince women to stay, and then there would be a shortage of leads. One disappointed woman said, "We can chit-chat in the parking lot for free." Touché.

Last night one of my girlfriends wanted to tell me something about a boy. We stood right there in the middle of room yapping away. Guess what? Not one person came to tell us to pay or go. Don't think I didn't notice. What a pleasure it was to have a pleasant talk on a couch instead of sitting on top of someone's car wondering if I'm going to get busted. Did I mention I like free Practice Night? After the talk I went into Room 1 and managed three dances before I decided to call it a night.

Other incidents involved paying for Practice Night the next morning. I have received several angry e-mails from someone ranting (you know who you are, and YES YOU WERE RANTING) about how they were falling asleep at their desk after staying up too late. For the record, I did not twist your arm to stay at practice, then go to Wild West, and then go home with some random cowboy. What kind of dancing did you do there? Yes, I said it!! I can't say more or there goes my secret identity; oh we can't have that happen, can we? Another great change about Practice Night is that I see more instructors in attendance than I saw last year. I know the staff members are all tired after working a day job and then helping the rest of us remove our extra left foot in class, but it is great to see them stick around after class.

If nothing else, it is inspiring to see such experienced dancers as the SSQQ staff when they really let loose and flaunt their talent. Some of those people can dance!

So, friends, if you have not attended a Practice Night this year, do it. It is a great way to get to know your fellow dancers, and it is the best way to make use of your classes. Grab your buddies, get some popcorn, and join the fun in Room One. And as for you men, be sure to ask as many women to dance as you can. Who knows, one of them might be me! You will be in for such a treat. I smile a lot when I dance.

Yours in dance,
Violet Steplightly

Work like you don't need money,
Love like you've never been hurt,
And dance like no one's looking...





Story written by Anita Williams

Hi Rick,

I'm back from one of the most exciting World's Dance Championships imaginable with great news. Both Joel and Victor and Randy are UCWDC World's champions!

(FYI: UCWDC is short for United Country-Western Dance Council)

As you know Joel and Victor have been practicing since the first of last year in anticipation of going to Worlds. We have attended various competitions throughout the year in order to qualify. Overall we did very well. We won or placed in the top three at many of the events, but in addition to the victories we had a great time at these events competing and meeting new friends.

This was Joel's first year on the circuit. Many of the other pros were raving about him. Joel was indeed the golden boy!
He was so incredible at every competition. Since Victor had been on the circuit last year, it was old hat for him! He had to move to a harder division and he still did remarkably well. Victor has received many compliments from the other pros on the circuit. I keep hearing some of the guys refer to Victor as "The Man" since he is such a natural performer!

By the time Worlds got here, we were going out of our minds with the anticipation!


Unfortunately things quickly got crazy… First, our flight was cancelled; Joel called me en route to the airport to tell me. As luck would have it when we got to the gate Southwest put us on an earlier flight that was late in departing. I called Joel and Ruth and they came scurrying over to the counter to get on the same flight. I'm thinking, SWEET, this turned out to be OK, until we got to Nashville…and our luggage was still back in Houston! I would have panicked, but I'd been down this road before so I knew that when you compete, you NEVER check your costume or your boots. At least I had those with me!

When we got to the hotel I gave my hanging bag with the priceless costume/boot ensemble to the bell captain to take to our room once we got checked in. We get checked in with no problem. I called Joel, who was not feeling too well by the way, to see if he wants to go down to the ballroom and do a quick run through on our routines. He says OK so I decide to go get my hanging bag, well guess what, they can't find it. Panic sets in. WHERE IS MY BAG! They look and look as I stand there with the claim ticket in hand. I know Joel is waiting for me, so I call him to let him know that I need my bag so that I can retrieve my boots. Well it turns out that Joel had the hanging bag all along. WHEW!

OK, we go practice when, uh oh, we discover Joel is SICK! Not just a little cold, no, Joel has a fever and a glassy eyed stare. Even worse I lost my composure when I realized Joel was so white I could see through him! Joel made Casper the Friendly Ghost look like a surfer at Malibu. We go through runs and Joel disappears to collapse until the next day. Victor gets in and we run through his routines and now I'm thinking of two things, "Joel's sick and where is my luggage?!"

As many of you know I have had a problem with the joint in my ankle for quite some time. Prior to leaving for Worlds I visited with my doctor about having corrective surgery and we set a date. I have been limping now for months. I can't run, I can barely walk, and I dance in pain. I want this surgery so bad I can taste it! I am sick of Rick calling me "The Cripple". Now I'm mentally prepared for the surgery and the recovery time when guess what, my Doctor calls (right after the lost luggage and Joel sick incident) to tell me that he is canceling my surgery to go treat Tsunami Victims. All right, he is being noble and the poor flood victims are suffering a lot more than I am, but I've been in pain for six months waiting for this moment and now I'm getting even crazier. Lost Luggage, Joel sick, surgery postponed, I can barely walk much less dance, OK, I'm panicking!

I retreat to my room with tears in my eyes to continue the quest for the lost luggage when finally at 8:30 (after a series of phone calls to an automated voice mail system) it arrives.

AAAHHH, now I can sleep and tomorrow, competition day, will be great!! WRONG… I toss and turn all night. Nightmares of everything that can go wrong on the dance floor have me scared to death. I wake up coughing. Oh no, am I sick? Joel, I'm gonna kill you! Please don't let me be sick! I find a cough pill and somehow drift back to sleep again.

It seems like the moment I fall asleep the alarm goes off and the phone rings. I roll out of bed and prepare for the next six hours or so of competition, first with Joel in the Crystal Newcomer division, then after that with Victor in the Crystal Novice division. (Crystal is 30 - 40 years old) Yes things are SOO much better than the day before. I am busy drying my hair 15 minutes before I need to be in the ballroom when suddenly the room goes dark. There is NO POWER!!! I could go into a lot of detail here, but let me just say as I stood in the dark with droplets of water from my hair forming a puddle on the floor, I began to wonder what I had done to get the gods so pissed off at me!! Why Me, Zeus?

Then I think about the Tsunami people fighting for their lives and figure if they can survive, so can I. My bad attitude improves ever so slightly.

OK, I made it to the ballroom, Joel was wondering where in the world I was. I took one look at him and I knew it was going to be a rough day for us. Joel was so feverish!! Then he took one look at my hair and thought, "She looks worse than I do!"

Competition requires concentration and good health! We had neither! It probably requires good hair too. We don't have a chance. We managed to make it through his rounds. Believe it or not, Joel - bless his heart - did remarkably well, sick or not!! After we finished, I noticed Joel's fiancée Ruth was sick too. My paranoia kicks in again. Oh no, what if I am next? Now I had something else to worry about. Joel left after his competition and I did not see him again until the next day. He and Ruth spent the better part of Worlds hiding in their room trying to recuperate from their illness. It's just as well they disappeared. Dancers are a notoriously superstitious lot to begin with and probably would have treated Joel like an escapee from the Leper Colony.

Victor and I competed after that in the Crystal Novice division. Mr. Victory was on fire! I knew it was his day! I want to mention it was about this time I noticed that SSQQ instructor Randy Winfrey was dancing with his pro over in the Diamond Novice division (Diamond is 40 - 50 years old). Randy was on his game too! In fact I have never seen Randy dance better. I was hoping Randy would win, but then I started to worry he might compete against us later in another division. Oh great. Another thing to worry about! I was a nervous wreck.

We had to do it all again the next day, competing in what's called the "open" category. "Open" is just what it says, anyone can compete, regardless of age within their Division. So I had Joel in Open Newcomer and Victor in Open Novice. I tossed and turned the whole night worrying about Joel. He had worked so hard all year and to be this sick was heartbreaking.

The next day Joel felt a little better. Overall he danced much better than the preceding day and Victor had a good day too. Sure enough, it turned out that Randy had decided to join Victor in the open division competition. As I watched him dance, I could tell he was looking really good! This was going to be close!

Later on we gathered in the ballroom at 11:30 that night to get the results of the previous day's competition…this is so nerve-racking!!! The way they announce the results is to call the names in reverse. You just keep hoping that they don't call your guy's name, which literally means that he's the last man standing.

Well, all three of our men were the last men standing! Can you believe that! Yes, Joel and Victor and Randy each won his particular division. First place! I was elated, especially for Joel knowing what he had to overcome.

Fast-Forward to the next night. It was time to hear the results for the Open category. Both of my guys really wanted this one!! Joel ended up coming in second; I was ecstatic! Then it came Victor and Randy's turn. They kept calling names, no Victor, no Randy, no Victor, no Randy…It finally came down to just the two of them standing. Can you imagine, do you know how big America is? Then add guys from Europe and Mars and the other continents and the last two guys standing in the Universe are from SSQQ!! What are the odds of that happening?

All these people training the entire year to compete against each other and now two guys from the same dance studio in Houston are all that is left? What a remarkable conclusion! This is how they do it in the movies, but here the true story unfolds the same way! I am so nervous; I suddenly realize all my nails are gone. Who cares?

In the end they called Randy's name first. This meant Randy had placed second and Victor had won. We were all happy for each other. We hugged and shook hands and congratulated each other on our victories. There was a large crowd in the audience from Houston and they were all applauding for us. Once we got on the podium I whispered to Randy, "Wait till Rick Archer gets word of this!"

Victor, Randy, and Joel were amazing, but their success was not the only Local story up at Worlds. I also want to mention that we have quite a few ladies who are currently at SSQQ or who started here that did very well in their divisions also.

Christine Sandal came in third, Cher Longoria came in seventh (First Place in Twostep!!) and Priscilla Hamic came in ninth. And I just remembered that Gary Thorpe came in fourth in his category, but he's not a girl, is he? Okay, so what, we'll mention him too. Then Christine danced with her honey Victor and they finished fifth in the couples division. What an amazing group of dancers we have around this studio!

I have told these guys again and again what a privilege and a pleasure it has been took work with Victor and Joel. I have loved every minute of this experience with them. What a joy it has been to be their coach. I am so very proud of them. They both worked so hard and they deserve their titles completely, totally, and undeniably. Victor and Joel are AWESOME DANCERS!

(Editor's Note: Anita Williams is too humble to state the obvious. It is an amazing fact that Anita has coached Victor to two consecutive World Championships and now Joel to his first. Nor are Anita's accomplishments limited strictly to the "Coaching Realm". Back in 2003 Anita was a vital member of the SSQQ Heartbeat Dance Team that won the World Team Championship. At the same competition Anita won an individual Championship in the West Coast Swing division.

Add it up. Anita Williams is a Five Time UCWDC World Champion!

That is pretty impressive folks, especially when you see that she is practically crippled with her ankle problem. Fortunately she dances much better than she walks, but to perform as well as she does on that ankle and to have the strength to block out the pain is downright incredible. This is a very talented woman.

Another thing you may not realize is that when Victor and Joel are out there achieving all their glory, Anita is out there too! These competitions are Pro-Am. Joel and Victor are the amateurs; Anita is the Professional. No matter how much she hurts, for these men to win, Anita has to put on a show as well. Anita is quite a dancer in her own right!

For example, Houston Comet Coach Van Chancellor may have seen his US Women's Basketball Team win the Olympic Gold Medal last summer in Athens, but he wasn't out there on the court shooting the ball. By contrast, Coach Anita was out there on the floor dancing her heart out with both men. Joel and Victor could not have won without Anita matching them step for step and looking wonderful in the process. The point is: not only can Anita coach, the girl can also dance a lick or two.

Switching topics, did you know that Joel and Ruth are getting married on Saturday, January 29th.

I would say they are having a busy January!

And Randy is getting married to the lovely Melissa Gauthier on Saturday, April 30th.

Look what all this dancing does to these men!

It makes them so romantic….

And what about Coach Williams? Anita says her ankle surgery has been rescheduled for February 4th. After she heals, Anita says she will be fast enough to chase men again sometime around April. If you're a guy, my attitude is "why wait?" After all, the girl can dance, but heck, right now she's a sitting duck!

Switching off of Romance and getting back to Dance, I would like to mention Scott Ladell has begun training ladies to compete in the Western Pro-Ams just like Anita has been coaching the men. Scott is a pretty gifted dancer in his own right and his classes are extremely popular due to his teaching excellence. If you would like to compete or at least talk it over, contact Scott at

Bryan Spivey, the current Texas State Swing Champion, is accepting students to dance Pro-Am with him as well. If you want to get into the Competition West Coast Swing Game, contact Bryan at

Coach Anita should be up and running in April. If you are ready to let her work her coaching magic on you, contact Anita at

I would like to conclude by saying how grateful I am that SSQQ has been graced with the presence of so many talented people! My hat goes off to Victor Marquez, Joel McClesky, Randy Winfrey, Coach Anita, as well as to Cher Longoria, Christine Sandal, Gary Thorpe, and Priscilla Hamic. You all have opened the door and set a standard of excellence that will likely encourage many others to follow in your footsteps.








In 2005, Marla and I have two trips planned. In July we take a dream trip on RCCL's Radiance to view the magnificent beauty of Alaska. Then in late September we have our Same Time Next Year Rhapsody Reunion Cruise.




A trip as magnificent as the one we just completed has the makings of MANY SEQUELS. The easiest way to get an idea of what's ahead is to read again what just happened.

As most of you know, Marla and I got married aboard the 2004 Rhapsody Trip. This special event set the tone for the most spirited group we have ever seen. I cannot begin to explain all the trouble these characters got into. There was SO MUCH MISCHIEF it took me nearly two months to write about all the crazy things that happened. I completed the write-up on the Rhapsody Cruise just recently.

Including stories about the infamous "Elevator Ride", Da Jammer, the Attack of the Zombies, Champagne Night, Wedding Fiascos, Tales of the Captain, and of course the Legend of Mr. Handsome, the trip write-up makes for scintillating bed-time reading. Just pop that laptop onto your belly with a 20 foot Roadrunner Cable and read deep into the night!

PLUS in addition to all the vicious RUMORS, we have PICTURES of people like Mr. Handsome, Center of Attention, The Great Gabino, Lollobridgida, Grapevine, the Goldmine, and all the Usual Suspects. We have the Beatles Story, the Bloodbath Volleyball Match at Cozumel, Bar Hopping, Zizzling Birds and Bees Gossip, and best of all the Steamy Gatorade Hot Tub Tales. Do you want to hear some juicy scandal?? Do you want to see pictures of Mr. Handsome strutting in girl's? Do you want to see pictures of the Great Gabino sucking the blood right out of… well if I write more this email won't get past any of the spam censors, now will it??

Read for yourself! Then decide if you want to be part of the lunacy on the next trip!

Last year: http://ssqq.com/information/rhapsody2004home.htm
Same Time Next Year. http://ssqq.com/information/rhapsody2005.htm







"To be included as a part of the SSQQ group, you must book your cruise through SSQQ. NO EXCEPTIONS!"


Where do rules come from?  Usually one jerk does something so utterly stupid that they ruins things for the rest of us.

A simple example are Stop Signs in the middle of nowhere. We have one on a corner in the Heights where I live. One day there was a terrible two-car collision. Some idiot who ran a stop sign. So they added a Stop Sign in the other direction as well and made it a four-way stop. As a result for the past ten years I have to slow down and stop even though I see at most one car a month coming from the other direction. I might add that car always stops anyway because there is a Stop Sign on the other street. As I said, it only takes one jerk... 

People hate rules!  So do I for that matter. I am one of the biggest rebels on earth. But in my position as owner of SSQQ, I find myself making up rules all the time! 

One of the reasons I make up rules is to protect my business from predators. I am stunned at the number of people who continually try to exploit our business. Just as a simple example, practically every week our students leave the studio only to find flyers on their cars promoting a competing dance event. 
You don't believe me?  Last Spring in 2004 we had a very ugly incident when a man named Salsa Eddy repeatedly came to our studio to recruit our students for his dance program right on our own floor. He also enjoyed putting flyers on our cars.

And back in 1997 we had the humiliating experience of having a dance team stolen from us, teachers stolen from us, and our class syllabuses stolen from us by an organization known as HSDS.  As if that wasn't bad enough, just to rub salt in our wounds, they sent "agents" over to the studio to pass out flyers to our students right on the dance floor!  These incidents were so exasperating that they led to four solid years of bitterness between our two organizations. If you are curious, go read the "HSDS-SSQQ Swing Feud" at http://ssqq.com/archive/vinlin14.htm


Now we have yet another organization trying to muscle in without permission. For the last several weeks, the United Salseros have been gleefully announcing their activities by leaving flyers on the hoods of all the cars of our students.

Here's the latest flyer from Tuesday, January 26.

However I have to hand to these guys. They are throwing an angle at me that is unprecedented. They actually had the nerve to email me a thank you note for giving them permission to do this.

You don't believe me? Read for yourself.

-----Original Message-----
From: United Salseros
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2005 10:43 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: Thank You from United Salseros

I would like to say thank to SSQQ for allowing United Salseros to invite your students to our salsa events.  Our goal is to have a place that caters to the dancers.  We wanted a place that played great salsa music with very little/no interruption.  We wanted a place that would not increase the cost of water simply because salseros do not drink very much.  We wanted a smoke-free environment with plenty of space and a great floor at little cost to the dancers. 

I know that SSQQ students make up part of this crowd.  We are in no way trying to intrude on your classes or events.  We feel that purpose of teaching someone to dance is so that can use those skills outside of the classroom.  At this juncture, you are the only studio that allows us to disseminate our information.  And for that we are truly grateful. 

(No Name)


-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2005 11:14 AM
To: United Salseros
Subject: RE: Thank You from United Salseros

For your information, no one with authority has given you permission to advertise your events at my dance studio. 

I request that you stop immediately leaving flyers on our cars in the parking lot.  I have received many complaints from my students who do not appreciate this practice.

Thank you. 
Rick Archer


-----Original Message-----
From: United Salseros
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2005 1:15 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: RE: Thank You from United Salseros

Thank you for the response, although disappointing.  I have spoken with quite a few students from SSQQ and get quite the contrary.  Many posted messages that they would like to be approached and want to interact with dancers from other studios, clubs, etc. Would it be a problem if we contacted you directly and left flyers with you for those that are interested in the events? 

(No Name)

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2005 1:32 PM
To: United Salseros
Subject: RE: Thank You from United Salseros

Please just leave us alone.  We mean you no harm.

I would like to add it is very disconcerting to be dealing with a nameless, faceless organization. What do you have to hide?

I at least use my name.

Rick Archer

These various incidents have taught me that it's a dog eat dog jungle out there and we have to protect ourselves. If we don't, then as we have learned the hard way, people like the "United Salseros" will walk all over us.

There was a bizarre incident last summer where a couple had emailed Marla several times about going on the 2004 Rhapsody Trip. Then for reasons that still make no sense, they bypassed Marla and signed up for the trip with another travel agency. Oddly enough, they paid $170 more for their ticket than if they would have paid by booking through Marla.

Don't ask "why?" because I have never figured that one out.  But they did immediately ask if Marla would arrange their seating for them at our tables. They definitely wished to be part of our group. Since I did not have a rule forbidding this action and because I actually LIKED both people, I told Marla to make them feel welcome. But I decided this was this last time.

There had been several previous incidents along this line, but this was the incident that made me decide to put my foot down. Now you know where this rule came from:

"To be included as a part of the SSQQ group, you must book your cruise through SSQQ. NO EXCEPTIONS!"

This week I discovered it turns out that someone out there doesn't like this rule one bit. He complained bitterly about the injustice to an SSQQ Staff Member who passed his tale on to me. Here's the story:


As Julius Caesar once said in his Gallic writings, "Omnes viae Romam ducunt." Translation: "All roads lead to Rome".

However JC had very poor handwriting. For years no scholar was able to understand what his next sentence said. Just recently Caesar's mystery text has finally been deciphered. It turns out this is what it said, "All complaints will eventually reach Rick."

What an Amazing Prognostication!  And how true!  I get more complaints than you could ever imagine.

Recently I found out Thru the Grapevine that a certain SSQQ student was very bitter about our new cruise rule: "To be included as a part of the SSQQ group, you must book your cruise through SSQQ. NO EXCEPTIONS!"

The student was very bitter about this rule because he thought he could book next July's Alaska Cruise at a cheaper price than we had listed on our web site. It turns out this student had discovered a travel agent who in his opinion was selling the same trip at $49 less than SSQQ. He related this story to an SSQQ Staff Member who then passed it on to me.

I have no idea whether his claim is correct or not. My source preferred not to share his name or where he thought he could get a better price. All I heard about were the sour grapes.

Why do you suppose this gentleman was interested in this particular trip in the first place?

After all, there are a dozen cruise lines operating in the Alaskan waters and literally hundreds of trips to choose from next summer. How do you suppose out of all those infinite choices our Disgruntled Gentleman (DG for short) managed to choose this particular July trip to be the one he wanted to go on?

My guess it that he chose this one-in-a-hundred sailing because he knows a group from SSQQ is going. He knows this will be a great trip because SSQQ has a well-established reputation for putting together terrific group trips. He wants all the benefits being part of our group, but doesn't want to pay the extra $49. He figures because he has taken a dance class here at SSQQ, he should get included in the group automatically. Sorry, DG, the dance classes will get you some free popcorn at Practice Night, but that's on land. This is Sea we are talking about.

So let's analyze his thinking. What if DG was part of our group?  What would his benefits be?  My guess is DG wanted to come along because he heard being part of a large SSQQ Group has many advantages!!

As it stands, the SSQQ July 2005 Alaska Cruise has turned out to be a great idea. In the old days, I used to schedule our Summer Cruise Trips in January and announce them in February. Now that we actually have someone with some brains involved, Marla suggested scheduling the trip in October.  Why didn't I think of that?  As a result, we already have 50 passengers signed up in January and a huge buzz behind that solid number.  

What will our eventual numbers be? Let me just say that "100" is not out of the question. This may be an expensive trip, but it has turned out to be a trip a lot of people have wanted to take all their lives.

The whole reason most of us have never made it to Alaska before is because most of us were waiting for the right person or the right group to share the experience with. Traveling with a group like ours means you can always find a friend for any occasion.

Who on earth would want to take an exciting train ride deep into the heart of the magnificent Alaska forest alone?

Or what's the point of visiting the famous Denali National Park all by yourself? Eagles, caribou, grizzlies, and moose wander everywhere. Half the fun of seeing these animals is the chance to point them out to a friend or loved one!

What's the fun of witnessing the grandeur of the massive Hubbard Glacier or magnificence of America's largest mountain - the towering Mt. McKinley - all by yourself?

What's the joy of hiking rugged trails through glacial waterfalls outside Juneau alone?

And who would dream of taking a sea kayak trip on the protected harbor of Tongass National Park without a friend to share the boat ride?  

I suppose some people can be happy reflecting on the rugged beauty of Alaska all by themselves, but most people would rather have a friend to share this magnificent experience with.

One nice thing about our SSQQ Groups is how easy it is to make friends.

After a full day of excitement, Dinner Time becomes marvelous fun when you travel with a group like ours. People in our group become friends quickly. After turning everyone into stew in the hot tub and wining and dining them at our first Cocktail Party, the slows and the quicks all start to move at the same speed.

From that moment on each evening offers the chance to share stories of the fantastic adventures of the day. Imagine what the trip would be like sitting with a bunch of strangers all week. It is so much better to hang with a close group of friends who you will be able to see again back in Houston. When you travel as a Loose Moose instead of with the Herd, anyone you meet on the trip likely becomes "Here Today Gone Tomorrow". But when you travel with our group, a friend found in Alaska could become a friend for life.

If it is possible for the sightseeing to get old, SSQQ Dancing becomes another marvelous reason to be a part of the group. Let's face it, when SSQQ isn't around, dancing DOES NOT happen on these cruises - at least not the way we are used to dancing. We become instant Cruise Celebrities simply because our group brings so much energy to each trip.

And the trip doesn't end when you return home. There's an "After Trip" Party. There's the racy Trip Story. After all, what if you do something spectacularly naughty? How is the whole world going to find out without our cheerful gossip about the Trip? And what about the countless pages and pages of incriminating pictures to take you down memory lane that will stay on our website forever? Just imagine how amazing the Alaska pictures will be!

And what about Romance? If you are a couple, what could be more romantic than a spectacular adventure like this? Do you know that lots of couples like to go with our group? The proof is in the pudding - we literally have over a dozen couples that try to make each SSQQ trip they can. And the success of our trips with Singles is legendary. Who can take one look at our record-setting hot tub-stuffing parties and not immediately conclude that the birds and bees are way out of control?

There are many other advantages to traveling with a large group like ours that you would never get if you traveled alone. Due to the size of our large groups, we get free cocktail dance parties, we get champagne, we get dance lessons, and we get free room upgrades. And gosh, I bet those ship cabins sure get expensive without a roommate. SSQQ Cruises always make the "need-a-roommate" problem conveniently disappear.

The reason we insist you book with SSQQ if you intend to hang with SSQQ is as plain and simple as "Frontier Life". Back in the days of Cowboys and Indians, if you were afraid of the Indians, you lived inside the Fort. Or you lived near town. Or you lived near other people. A few close neighbors meant safety. It's called "Community". But it also meant you had to risk your own neck once in a while when the Community was attacked.

In other words, if you want the benefits of a group, then you must contribute to the group and accept the rules of the group.

After our last Rhapsody trip I wrote at great length why it is important for each person to stick together and be part of the SSQQ Group. If there is any doubt in your mind, please read what I had to say: http://ssqq.com/information/travelquestions.htm  (Travel Questions).

But when it comes to our Disgruntled Gentleman, I suppose it is the nature of the beast to want to have your cake and eat it for half price. After listening to the story of DG, the thing that made no sense to Marla was that he claimed he could find a way to improve on our prices. Marla did a quick Internet check that confirmed the SSQQ prices are currently running $150 to $350 below Royal Caribbean's list price for the same trip!  Take a look for yourself:

Here is how to understand the picture taken from the Royal Caribbean Web Site above.

First add $27 in taxes to each of the RCCL prices. This bumps up Interior Cabin from 1199 to 1226, Oceanview from 1534 to 1561, and Balcony from 1779 to 1806.  Now compare these prices to the SSQQ prices for the same categories:

As of January 26th, the RCCL price for an Inside Cabin including taxes was $1226 and our price was $1027. That is a $199 difference.

The RCCL price for an Oceanview was $
1561 and our price was $1216. That is a $245 difference.

The RCCL price for a Balcony was $
1806 and our price was $1452. That is a $354 difference.

Then for the fun of it I sent Marla to the web site of Houston's largest Travel Agency. Known for their excellent discounts, as of January 26th she found their Inside Cabin price was $1158 (our price is 1027), their Oceanview was $1483 (our price is 1216), and their Balconies were $1738 (our price is 1452).

After comparing our prices to Royal Caribbean's Internet list and to Houston's largest Travel Agency, it certainly appears like the SSQQ prices are actually quite a bargain.

I asked Marla why our prices were lower. She explained that our price is way below market for the simple reason that she got a Special Group Rate based on our group performance from our two trips last year.  In addition Marla got an excellent price by booking a group trip so far in advance!  Now thanks to Marla, SSQQ is an RCCL favorite.

Our Internet price is so low we have even had suspicious travel agents call up to question how we got that price. In other words, the SSQQ price is terrific.

So you might ask, "Even though the SSQQ prices are significantly lower than prices published on the Internet, is it still possible the Disgruntled Gentleman can actually find a price $49 lower?"

The answer is: Maybe.

It may be that DG was confused about the prices. Since it is common not to list hidden charges such as taxes and port fees, sometimes it is very tricky to make accurate comparisons.

However there might be another explanation. I
t is possible that Disgruntled Gentleman found a travel agent willing to discount their own commission.

The cruise industry would love to find a way to completely bypass Travel Agents. If they could cut out the middle man they could lower costs and boost profits. Several of our passengers on the recent trip almost signed up while they were still on board one day when an announcement came over the Intercom hinting at huge savings if people would book their next trip RIGHT NOW.  This was an example of how the cruise industry is trying cut out the middle man by booking customers on another trip before they even leave the ship

Do you blame them?  I certainly understand this thinking. Commissions to travel agents have been a curse to Cruise Lines because they can be manipulated to the Travel Agent's advantage.

For example, let's say Royal Caribbean wants $1500 per booking. If RCCL books the customers by themselves, they pocket the entire $1500. But if a Travel Agent gets involved they expect a commission in return for their service.  Assume RCCL will give the travel agent a commission of say $100.  However this opens RCCL to being undersold by the travel agent.

Here is how it works: If DG goes directly to the RCCL Web Site, he pays $1500.  But if Disgruntled Gentleman finds a convenient Travel Agent, he can pay the travel agent $1450, then the travel agent turns around and pays RCCL $1500. Then in a couple months further down the line the travel agent gets back $100 in commission. Disgruntled Gentleman saves $50, the travel agent makes $50, and RCCL loses out on $100.

Now you know one of the reasons the cruise industry would rather simply bypass the travel agents. It is true that if RCCL catches an agent doing this, they can lose their license. But it isn't easy to prove a transaction like this. Since $50 is better than nothing, I imagine some travel agents are willing to occasionally cut a deal under the table with certain customers.  As long as they are sure they won't get caught, this is a simple way to steal someone else's commission.

So maybe DG can save 50 bucks by using a cozy relationship with another travel agent. But now Disgruntled Gentleman is angry because we posted a rule insisting people book with our Group if they want to hang with our Group.

Why do you suppose we passed this rule?  Because we got burned by this exact situation on Rhapsody 2004.

To: Marla@ssqq.com
Thursday, July 29, 2004 5:22 PM


I hated to bother you with my late registration for the cruise since you seem to have a full plate, so I registered for the cruise along with my roommate, xx, on line using another agency.  I hope that doesn't screw things up for you.

Our  reservation code:  2248326  I didn't know if I should have told them that we were going with SSQQ.  Will you please seat us at one of your tables?

Thank you

The incident listed above was not the first time this has happened to us.  It is no secret that Marla organizes these trips because she receives a travel agent commission on each sale.  After several people tried to do the exact same thing to us on our previous Rhapsody trip as DG wanted to do on the Alaska trip, we decided we had no choice but to block the loophole.

We learned the hard way there are people out there - not many, but some - like clever Mr. DG who are quite willing to stiff Marla her commission, but can't wait to get in line to share the group goodies.

No one likes the smart guy who cuts in line. What's to prevent DG from trying to do it anyway?  Well, the threat of public ridicule is a very powerful deterrent. Once we take his picture, I imagine the thought of a story on the web site about "Mr. Moose on the Loose" trying to cut in on SSQQ Action would give even a hardened Herd Crasher pause for thought.

My attitude is "Veni, Vidi, Vici, GetLosti" which of course is Pig Latin for "Go fight the Indians by yourself."






On Tuesday, January 25, Linda Cook received the most curious phone call. A lady called the studio phone.

The woman said she had met one of our students that was on the rodeo committee.
The student - a male - had told her there was a group from our studio of students that met at different places to dance
She found out that an SSQQ teacher was the organizer of this and it cost $30 to join.
She wanted the teacher's name so she could join the group.
Linda replied she hadn't heard of this group.
Before she could ask another question, the woman said would have to get back with the gentleman to find out where they were meeting and hung up.

So my question is, does anyone in SSQQ-land know what is going on here?

Please email Rick Archer at dance@ssqq.com   Thank you.




adventures of a dance teacher: Joye Purser - The Lady Who Wanted To Lead


(Editor's Note: In another part of the February Newsletter, I talk about how various SSQQ rules originate. Here at SSQQ, we have a firm rule against same sex students dancing with each other either in class or at Practice Night. Although this rule was in effect before 1999, the unusual incident chronicled below had a lot to do with forming our resolve to stick to our guns. RJA)

February 1999

Back in the heyday of the Swing Resurrection, we had a bizarre run-in with one of our students. Joye Purser was an attractive woman around 28 years old. She was well-educated. You can tell this from her letter further below. I believe she either worked at or was a student at the Texas Medical Center.

Ms. Purser did not exactly look like an angry protester. They say looks can be deceiving, but she certainly didn't fit the profile. Nevertheless one day at the studio in February 1999 she threw the biggest tantrum we have ever witnessed from a student after we told her she would not be permitted to sign up for a group class as a "Lead".

We discovered her intentions the hard way. The instructor said, "Boys on one side, Girls on the other." Ms. Purser walked over to the boy's side. This raised some eyebrows. However it isn't unusual for someone to practice the opposite sex footwork like this at all. We don't particularly care; it doesn't hurt anybody.

But when the instructor told everyone to go get a partner, Joye immediately crossed the room, grabbed a woman and put her around the startled lady in Closed Swing Position. The look on the woman's face told the story - she was a complete stranger to Ms. Purser and was clearly uncomfortable with the situation.

The instructor had to choose between looking the other way or handling this awkward situation head on. Thank goodness the instructor decided to tackle the problem directly. Later the instructor told me it was the look on the woman's face that had guided her decision.

She asked Ms. Purser what the story was while 20 other people stood still watching the impromptu theater. This was their time that was going down the drain, so they might as well enjoy the show. Ms. Purser said that she had paid her money and wished to dance as a "lead". Ironically, it turned out she had paid the lower woman's "follow" rate since it was economically expedient to do so, but why split straws?

Now the instructor tried to explain that we did not allow students to dance with students of the same sex in dance class or at Practice Night. She added that we did allow instructors to dance with same sex students, but only as part of their official teaching duties.

Ms. Purser immediately launched into a speech about how she was being sexually discriminated against. She said we were violating her right to learn the dance role of her choice. The instructor threw up her hands and went to fetch Judy Archer.

Now Judy's class was also disrupted. After a ten-minute argument, Ms. Purser finally backed down and left the studio.

Did I mention that there were heated words and ugly things said? Ms. Purser had created quite a scene. While the arguing was going on, two couples in Ms. Purser's class had asked for a refund and exited. Ms. Purser's little tantrum had not only depressed everyone in the building, it also cost us cash as well.

And what were Ms. Purser's motives behind creating such a scene? I do not have a clue. I will say I believe her arguments were more political than they were sexual. One theory was that she was hoping to become a teacher. I doubt this because her stubborn defiance clearly cost her any chance that we would ever trust her.

The only additional piece of information I have is that Ms. Purser was the roommate of Yvonne Evrard. At that moment in time Ms. Evrard was a key dancer on the "Swinging Skirts and Mugz". Ms. Purser had been trying unsuccessfully to crack the starting lineup of this dance team. Perhaps her fervor to improve as a dancer fueled her defiance, but that really doesn't explain why Ms. Purser got so angry.

Ironically Ms. Evrard was the woman who was instrumental in leading a dancer revolt that put an end to Judy Archer's second Lindy Dance Team about four months further down.

I realize the impartial reader will say, "Surely there is more to this story." Guess what? There isn't. I was not directly involved with the argument. My only contribution to this story was a letter I wrote in response to Ms. Purser's written complaint.

I did not know either woman personally and I never did really understand why an issue that seemed on the surface to be so cosmically unimportant had escalated into such an ugly incident.

Whatever was driving these two women towards their mutual path of SSQQ sabotage I will never know, but there is no doubt their Twin Towers Reign of Terror was an enormously destructive force back in the Spring of 1999.

Letter from Joye Purser to Judy Archer
February 14, 1999

Dear Judy,

I apologize for forcing you to take a "just because…" stance regarding your prohibiting females from taking dance classes as "lead". There are a few more thoughts I want to express.

You said that the studio loses business because women are unhappy when they have to partner with another woman. Because no one pointed specifically to dancing with a woman-lead as their reason for not returning to SSQQ is not a reasonable assumption.

During the course of taking a group lesson, someone may have to be led by a poor dancer, a rough dancer, an old person, or an ugly person, or someone who smells; however this is not sufficient cause to prevent them from leading so why should one's gender be?

I have been a very regular customer at your studio. I have taken Acrobatics, Mambo, Lindy, I have participated in the Swing Extravaganza and many regular parties. I have been a faithful supporter financially and feel that my request should be considered more seriously.

My partner and I go out dancing very frequently. We are almost always asked by people where we learned to dance. In the past we had always referred to SSQQ and said positive things about our experience there. In the future, I will no longer recommend SSQQ to interested parties. In addition, I will share my latest experience and discourage them form attending the studio.

Your prohibiting me from taking the Swing dance class as a "lead" is a form of sexual discrimination. Because you have claimed to have had negative experiences in the past with individuals (i.e. women) you allowed to lead doesn't necessitate your creating this sexist rule prohibiting females from taking the dance of their choice (i.e. the lead role).

I feel that the stance you have taken is both unfair and based on spurious assumptions. This is my current opinion until I hear that the current policy of prohibiting females from taking a dance class as "lead" has changed. Please contact me at that time.

Although I may not be a part of your Lindy Dance Team, I have been a positive asset to your studio both by regular attendance and by increasing awareness of the studio among new dancers and bolstering your reputation with the dance community.

I hope that we can resolve this issue and continue to have a mutually beneficial relationship.


Joye Purser

Letter from Rick Archer to Joye Purser
February 15, 1999


I am sorry, but you are not going to win this one. Rules are made for a reason. Group classes mix large numbers of people together who all have individual needs. Many couples, for example, would prefer not to switch partners. Many individuals would prefer the room be colder or hotter, less crowded, move faster, move slower.

After twenty years of hearing every concern imaginable, at some point we simply had to say, "If you wish to take a group class at SSQQ, this is the way it is going to be. Take it or leave it."

In your case, you have chosen to cross a clearly drawn line in the sand. We have confronted this issue several times in the past. For every person in a group class who was in favor of same-sex dancing or did not care, we have had other people who opposed it. After several incidents, we decided what would be fairest to the majority sentiment would be to forbid Same Sex Dancing among students in our Group classes.

The fact that there has been so little open dissatisfaction with this stance indicates to me we have accurately judged the prevailing public sentiment of the Houston community. Same Sex dancing at SSQQ completely ceased to be an issue until you threw your tantrum in the middle of a dance class which embarrassed everyone.

Yes, we do bend the rules occasionally in special circumstances. We allow teachers, assistants, and volunteers (who are basically "teachers in training") to dance Same Sex, but we also make a special point to identify the special status of these people ahead of time. Even then, I assure you, there are people of both sexes who may "go along with it", but clearly do not appear to be comfortable with the idea.

Having danced the woman's part once or twice a week in classes over the years, I am in an excellent position to say with certainty that while women for the most part do not mind Same Sex dancing, the majority of our men are very uncomfortable with it. They usually accept it as a necessary evil if the class is terribly short of women. But even then there are also men who refuse to dance with me anyway and I respect their wishes.

Although I grant you that women as a rule are more open-minded about same-sex dancing than men, I can also guarantee you there are some women in class who do not dance with women at all. Have you considered their point of view? When do they get to have a say in your unilateral decision to dance "lead"?

Furthermore, I find your use of the term "sexual discrimination" offensive. I believe you owe us an apology. You have attempted to violate well-established societal norms without regard for the other women in the class. Then you have the nerve to believe you were discriminated against because we stood up for the other members of the class. Nor did you have the respect to ask our position on this controversial issue ahead of time. A simple request for permission would have been a pleasant courtesy.

We have refunded your tuition. We do not want your further patronage.

Rick Archer








Right around the time that Valentine's Day Swings it way into town, SSQQ will be delighted to boogie the night away to the delicious Swing and Blues music of Houston's homegrown band Ezra Charles and the Works!

Ezra Charles is the closest thing to a local band there is - he lives just a few blocks from SSQQ and is a next-door neighbor of Maureen Brunetti!

Based on the success of the terrific live band "Hit 'n Run" last August, I have been besieged with requests to have another big dance. I honestly don't have the strength for an "Extravaganza", but I think a big night of dancing sounds like fun to me.

Ezra will be playing on February 19th at our Annual Red and White Valentine's Dance. He and his band "The Works" are best known for their Swing music. However Ezra told me he actually prefers Blues music, i.e. Whip Music! That means that all of you better sign up for Whip Classes in January if you intend to dance every song at the party!

My friend George Grega was the matchmaker this time. He did the lighting for a wedding where Ezra performed in 2004. George liked the music so much that he approached Ezra about playing at SSQQ. Ezra thought it was a great idea. Then George turned around and tapped me on the shoulder with the same suggestion back in October. It took a while for me to get a second wind, but as I was preparing for the New Year, the thought popped back in my head. And that's the story folks!

Since Maureen is a close friend of Ezra's, I am going to put her in charge of telling us all about him in the next Newsletter.

We will keep you posted, but in the meantime start spreading the word!

-----Original Message-----
From: Maureen Brunetti
Sent: Monday, January 17, 2005 4:04 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Ezra Charles

Ezra Charles and the Works is my favorite Texas band. I go out of my way to attend events where they are playing.

They put out so much fun and high energy that it's impossible not to have a great time when you hear them play!

A favorite venue is the Kemah Boardwalk. It's a blast to get out there and show our stuff when the band is rockin'!!

We also love to see them and get to dance at Sambuca's downtown and The Balinese Room in Galveston. From ice houses to the Rocket's games to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo the band had wowed fans all over town and all over the state.

Ezra is pure rock 'n roll. Look for Whip, Lindy, Swing and an occasional cozy slow tune in the mix.  I can promise a great show and a great dance time.

He may even set the piano on fire!

One more thing: Ezra's music is great for swing dancing, and it gets even better with dancers rocking out on the dance floor.

To quote Ezra, "we tend to adjust our show according to the needs of the audience. if it looks like we have dancers ready to swing, we'll give it to you!"

Maureen Brunetti

(Editor's Note: Circle February 19th on your calendar and don't forget it is a Valentines Dance, so round up a great Red and White outfit!!  RJA)







 -----Original Message-----
From: Talbert, Mike
Sent: Friday, November 05, 2004 4:40 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: Beginning swing/jitterbug class

Mike and I met in the 60's and have enjoyed dancing through our nearly 36
years of marriage. We had avoided the "jitterbug" because we had different
styles. After one class with Maureen, we were able to enjoy dancing the
jitterbug together at a business meeting last week. We are looking forward
our remaining lessons in swing/jitterbug and signing up for other dance
classes. Thanks SSQQ and Maureen!

Sharon Talbert

-----Original Message-----
From: Miller, Chris
Sent: Tuesday, August 17, 2004 1:22 PM
To: 'dance@ssqq.com'
Subject: complaint Praise for SSQQ

I've been taking classes at SSQQ since January of this year. I've enjoyed them all. The instructors I have had, Darrell and Loni and Maureen and Tom, Jill and yourself have been wonderful. I look forward to taking more classes and have encouraged others I know to take classes at SSQQ.

I only wish I could tell you a way for more people to stay for practice night. As you know, if you don't practice it won't stick.

P.S. - don't let the whiners and complainers get you down! Who wouldn't want the perfect room temperature with wonderful dancers in an uncrowded room and their classes offered every night for the price of one and well behaved gentleman and this and that and the other......You'll never please them all but you'll rarely hear from the ones that are pleased.... which is most of us!

Chris Miller







-----Original Message-----
From: Alexander, Charlie - Houston, TX
Sent: Monday, November 01, 2004 9:58 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: Private Lessons

I have tried your group lessons and did not feel comfortable dancing with strange women, nor did I like my wife dancing with someone else - we want lessons so that WE can dance together, not with others. We didn't learn a thing from your group lessons and did not enjoy it at all so we have not been back for 2 years, Can you give us Private lessons for the 2 step, waltz, country whip etc. - when and how much and how long are the lessons

Charles Alexander

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer [mailto:dance@ssqq.com]
Sent: Monday, November 01, 2004 1:33 PM
To: Alexander, Charlie - Houston, TX
Subject: complaint Private Lessons

I am very sorry your experience here was so negative. I doubt you would like our private lessons either.

Rick Archer





Written by Rick Archer


As anyone in business knows, many organizations succeed or fail based on the quality of its Customer Service. 

The number one axiom in Customer Relations has always been "The Customer is Always Right."

However no one has ever come up with an axiom that covers this idea: "How to Decide Which Customer is always right".

As a business owner, I am often forced to make tough choices between sticking up for studio rules or bending the rules to make a customer happy. Now I have a question: "How does making an exception for an individual benefit the students who have already cooperated with the rule?"

One of the oldest SSQQ rules is "No Guests/No Watching classes". 


The last serious challenge to this rule came four years ago in February of 2001. One day a student brought along a guest. The Hall Monitor stopped them both and asked them to respect the rule by not coming in.

The student complained loudly about our refusal to let his friend watch. He refused to take "no" for an answer. He demanded to see the manager. In frustration the Hall Monitor came and got me.

Now I had the privilege of dealing with this customer. As I listened, I became aware that this man was quite persuasive. The gentleman listed several excellent reasons why we should allow his guest to stay. If memory serves, this is what he said:

1. I didn't know about your policy till now.
2. We have come all this way. You will force me to miss my class if my friend cannot stay.
3. Can't you make an exception this one time?
4. After all, one person watching will not make much of a difference.
5. Why don't you ask the students in the class if they would mind?

I replied that I did not intend to publicly ask the students to give permission. I have found that the individuals who object to the watching are also usually too shy to speak up as well. To my reply, the gentleman asked me, "Did you just make this up or do you have actual evidence to this effect?"

I replied that up till now I had based my decision on my instincts. However since he was so insistent, I decided I would indeed pose this gentleman's question to my Staff and Students alike using our March 2001 Email Newsletter.

In March 2001, first I stated the studio's position in the SSQQ Newsletter, and then I added this request: 

"Maybe some of our readers would like to explain the reasons why SSQQ should allow "Watching". Or maybe some of our readers would like to agree that "Watching" is not a very good idea. In other words, if you like or don't like the policy, please say something because at the moment one or two people are trying to bring guests to the studio almost every night. They are openly questioning the intelligence of our rule. So what do you think SSQQ should do?"

Fifteen people actually responded with comments. The Silent Majority of 4, 000 said nothing. Fourteen responses supported the "No Guest/No Watching" Rule. One person in 4,015 supported getting rid of the rule. I listed each person's answer. If you are curious for more information, go visit http://ssqq.com/information/watching.htm

TODAY - 2005

On Sunday, January 23rd, I was forced once more to choose between enforcing the rule or bending it to make three people happy. Here is what happened:

I was 10 minutes late to class yesterday. I knew my co-teacher was covering for me, so I didn't mind taking my time. At 4:40 pm as I walked the sidewalk past Radio Shack, I was puzzled to see three adults standing outside the door to the studio in conference with one another.

They stopped me and said I was just the man they wanted to talk to.  A gentleman proceeded to explain that he was already enrolled in a class and that he had brought two friends to start classes this week (this was the fourth week of class).  The Hall Monitor had already turned these three people away. She had told the three people that students could not start in the third week or fourth week without permission and that watching was not permitted.

So now this group asked me to give them permission. The student immediately gave me the ancient story (shades of deja vu; I know it by heart!!):

1. I didn't know about your policy till now.
2. We have come all this way (Pearland).
3. You will force me to miss my class if my friend cannot stay.
4. Can't you make an exception this one time?
5. After all, one person watching will not make much of a difference.

I asked to see the man's registration slip.  I expected it to say "No Watching Permitted" since all of our Walk-in Registration Receipts have the most important rules listed.

Instead he pulled out an "Online Receipt". This is when I found out the hard way that Online Receipts do not have the rules listed. Uh oh. I had never realized before that the Online Receipts do not have the SSQQ rules listed.  I had been ready to use that written document to prove that he should have known the rules ahead of time.  Now I was in a bind.

Now I had no way of knowing whether the man was breaking a rule he already knew about or whether he had made a mistake through ignorance of the rules.  As the owner and the person who makes the rules, I did not want to alienate the current customer or the potential customers.  At the same time I also wanted to support the "No Watching" rule in the worst way.

I realize the police say, "Ignorance of the Law is no excuse".  The difference is they could care less about keeping your goodwill.  This student had made me sincerely believe he did not know about the rule ahead of time. Therefore, because the Online Receipt did not forbid "watching" as I expected it to, I gave in. 

I immediately regretted what I had done. When I told the Hall Monitor to let them in, you should have seen the look of disgust on her face. She told me she had argued with these people for ten minutes!!  She said they had made her absolutely miserable with their refusal to respect her decision.  Now I had turned around and made her look like a fool.

Oh, great. They say a man's wife has more power over him than the State does. Well, add "Hall Monitors" to the list.

I won't do it again. Soon I expect to add the list of rules to the On-Line Receipts so that the Walk-in Receipts and the On-Line receipts both have the "Rules" listed. It is much easier to stand one's ground when you are certain the Rules have been posted correctly.

I made a mistake in this situation. After all, the Hall Monitor had already stood her ground. Now I basically sabotaged her efforts. It isn't much fun to stand up to people. There have been times where students are obnoxious, persistent, rude, and sometimes even ugly.  The SSQQ Hall Monitors do their best to greet the customers with a smile, but sometimes they have to stand up to people as well.  This is never very much fun, believe me.

So when I turn around and let these three people in after the Hall Monitor had gone to all the trouble to stand up to them and defend the rules, I am pretty sure I lost that Hall Monitor's respect that day.

Now that I am thoroughly ashamed of myself, I went ahead and wrote this letter defending the SSQQ House Rules. I hope you will take the time to read it and possibly even comment on it.


1. ADULTS AT PLAY: NO CHILDREN  ( http://ssqq.com/information/children.htm )
2. NO GUESTS/NO WATCHING  ( http://ssqq.com/information/watching.htm )
3. PLEASE SWITCH PARTNERS ( http://ssqq.com/information/switchpartners.htm )
4. PLEASE TURN OFF CELL PHONES  ( http://ssqq.com/information/houserules.htm )
5. NO REGISTRATION AFTER WEEK TWO ( http://ssqq.com/information/houserules.htm )
6. BRING RECEIPT EACH WEEK  ( http://ssqq.com/information/houserules.htm )
( http://ssqq.com/information/refund.htm )
8. BE NICE TO THE HALL MONITORS. ( http://ssqq.com/information/houserules.htm )

-----Original Message-----
From: G
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2005 10:58 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: Guest

Hi Rick, I'm GM, one of your dance studio students, participating each Saturday in the beginners salsa class. I'm from Mexico and a friend is coming tomorrow so I wanted her not to watch but to participate in the class paying what corresponds to it. I wanted to know if there was any inconvenience.

Thanks, regards - G

----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2005 11:11 AM
To: GM
Subject: RE: Guest

I wish I could help you, but we don't permit guests to watch and we don't allow registrations in the final week of class.

If we did allow guests, we would have people all over the studio just sitting there watching.

If we allowed late registrations, every class would slow down while we tried to catch the newcomers up to the rest of the class.

I hope you understand why we have these rules.

Rick Archer
SSQQ Dance Studio

(Editor's Note: It isn't easy to say "No" when someone asks as politely as this gentleman did. The truth is I wrote him back and gave him permission.)


Everybody has got to die, but I always believed an exception would be made in my case because I am so very special!! - William Saroyan

Rules are made for a reason. As you might imagine, all of our Rules favor the Silent Majority over the Vocal Individual. However we understand it is the nature of being human to ask for "Exceptions".

"What will it hurt if you let just one Kid in?"
"What will it hurt if you let just one Guest in?"
"What will it hurt if you let just one Stranger in to Watch?"
"What will it hurt if you let just one Student Register in the Third or Fourth Week?"
"What will it hurt if you let just one Volunteer in even though I don't have written permission?"
"What will it hurt if you let just one Couple not have to switch?"

You are absolutely right. If we make one exception it probably won't hurt very much. But you forget that everyone else is watching. There will be someone in the building who left their kid home today who wanted to bring him. Next week, maybe he will...

There will be someone in the building who wanted to bring his girlfriend visiting from out of town. He didn't bring her today, but maybe he will tomorrow.

And what is the Hall Monitor going to say? "Well, the lady on Sunday let some guy bring his kid in. Why can't I bring my kid in today?"

People who ask for an Exception are often amazingly self-centered. They only seem to see their side of the story. This article tries to show SSQQ's side of the story.

Before you ask for an "Exception", we ask one favor: Please try to understand our position. If we make an Exception for YOU, then we have to make an exception for everyone. When we make you happy, we end up making a lot of other people unhappy.

SSQQ is in the awkward position of wishing to please you and to simultaneously please every person in the building who have cooperated with our rules even though they would like to have the same exceptions made for them that you are asking us for.

Yes, we understand that you wish to have your friend from out-of- town watch your class.
Yes, we understand that you were gone for business and you wish to start in the third week of class.
Yes, we understand that your ex-husband did not pick up the children and you have nowhere to leave them.
Yes, we understand that you would rather dance only with your wife and no one else in the class.

SSQQ is an enormous place. On any given night there are 100 to 200 people in the building. The odds are excellent that on any given night there are probably ten or more people who were in the same position as you are, but abided by our Rules. If we make an Exception for you, we show disrespect for every one of these people who tried to cooperate.

The most simple way to illustrate our point is to play "It's a Wonderful Life". In this story, SSQQ Rules no longer exist.

Each night when you come to the studio, there are two dozen children running around, a dozen guests of students just sitting there watching, another dozen people who walked in off the street hoping to see what a class looked like, no one switches partners if they don't feel like it, a cell phone going off once every two minutes, six people in each class who are slowing everyone down because they are starting in the third or fourth week of class, unauthorized volunteers everywhere, and hopelessly over-crowded classes because no one checks receipts or enforces the rules.

Is this how the majority of our students want it? No, of course not.

Rick Archer
Do we make Exceptions? Yes, of course we do. We make them all the time. Here are some examples:

Patricia is visiting her daughter Jane from Boston. Jane wants her mother to watch her dance and meet her friends.

Right way to handle it:
Email Rick Archer dance@ssqq.com who will send an Email Approval Letter.

Wrong way to handle it: Just show up at the studio.

Joseph has a friend at work who has just gotten a divorce. Joseph has been trying to talk his friend into taking lessons, but his friend is shy. Joseph wants to bring his friend to the studio just to watch.

Right way to handle it:
Email Rick Archer dance@ssqq.com who will send an Email Approval Letter.

Wrong way to handle it: Just show up at the studio.

Frank has taken Advanced Western Waltz two times before. He has been away from town on business and wants to start in the Third Week of class.

Right way to handle it:
Email Rick Archer dance@ssqq.com who will send an Email Approval Letter or say, "No, Frank, sorry, but we have too many men signed up for this class already."

Wrong way to handle it: Just show up at the studio. You will be sent home.

Ralph has heard about SSQQ and wants to check it out before signing up for a class. He just shows up one night at the studio one night and wants to watch for a while.

Right way to handle it:
Come say hello to the Hall Monitor in Room 6 who will allow to watch the class in Room 6 for a couple minutes and answer questions.

Wrong way to handle it: Don't bully the Hall Monitor into letting you pass by the Hall Monitor door. You will be sent home.

Sophia is getting married and only wants to dance with her fiancé.

Right way to handle it:
Email Rick Archer dance@ssqq.com However the odds of getting approval are slim. Group Classes are for Groups, not individuals. The best way to handle this is to take a private lesson.

Wrong way to handle it: Just show up at the studio and demand to get your way. You will be sent home.

Jeffrey has his kids this weekend, but the babysitter just called in sick. He wants to bring his kids with him to class.

Right way to handle it:
Email Rick Archer dance@ssqq.com However the odds of getting approval are slim. SSQQ is a Playground for Adults. This is a place where boys meet girls and have fun. The moment one kid is in the room, Adults are forced to behave. Why would you do that to your fellow adults. Furthermore, Adults may behave, but children are another story.

Wrong way to handle it:
Show up at the door with kids in tow, say "Surprise!" and try to guilt the Hall Monitor into feeling sorry for you. Please don't do this. You will be sent home.

Rita has heard a class has six extra men in it and wants to help out by volunteering in the second, third, or fourth week.
Right way to handle it:
Email Rick Archer dance@ssqq.com who will send an Email Approval Letter.

Wrong way to handle it: Just show up at the studio. You will be sent home.

After a trial separation, John and his wife Mary decide to try again. It is the third week of class, but John wants Mary to come with him.

Right way to handle it:
Email Rick Archer dance@ssqq.com who will send an Email Approval Letter or say, "No, John, sorry, but we have too many women signed up for this class already. Can we reschedule you for next month?"

Wrong way to handle it: Just show up at the studio. You will be sent home.

Carol used to teach classes at SSQQ. She moved to Austin. She is in town and wants to see the old gang.

Right way to handle it:
Email Rick Archer dance@ssqq.com who will send an Email Approval Letter.

Wrong way to handle it:
Just show up at the studio. You will be sent home. If you worked here, you should know better.

You show up at the door and you don't like what the Hall Monitor has said. You demand to see the Manager, the Owner, Rick Archer or anyone RIGHT NOW!

Right way to handle it:
Email your concern to Rick Archer dance@ssqq.com

Wrong way to handle it:
Why stand there and argue? The Hall Monitors are the SSQQ Managers!! They know the Rules very well and they are paid to enforce the Rules.

Furthermore Hall Monitors are not empowered to make exceptions. That is not part of their job description.

Please do not ask to see me during class. I am teaching. What good is going to do the twenty people in my class if we give people the right to call me out? The Rights of the Group supercede the Rights of the Individual. The Hall Monitors have been told not to come get me during class unless it is an emergency.

However if you think it is that serious that I need to talk to you, I will speak to you either at Break or after class is over. If you have been rude to the Hall Monitor, you will be asked to go sit outside. If you have been polite, the Hall Monitor will give you permission to go sit on the Room 6 couch.

You have an Emergency and need to see someone in the Building immediately.

Answer: The Hall Monitors are allowed to use discretion. Tell them the problem. It is their call. Please respect their decision.

George doesn't like what is going on. He walks right by the Hall Monitor.

Answer: The Bellaire Police are five minutes away if we dial 713 668 0487. They are one minute away if we dial 911. The Bellaire Police like us. The Hall Monitors have the authority to call them if they choose to.

Please give the Hall Monitor your respect.

To Ask for an Exception, email Rick Archer, dance@ssqq.com




-----Original Message-----
From: Kyle Curry
Sent: Thursday, August 12, 2004 12:25 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: In Praise of SSQQ

Dear Rick, I know you are busy fielding the many complaints you receive daily about all the ills at SSQQ. I hate to take up any of your valuable time, but I can't help lodging an anti-complaint. It's rather lengthy, so forgive my verbosity and spelling errors in advance.

To begin with, in your August Newsletter you note, among other issues, that your studio lost money last year and was still suffering the effects of a weakened economy.

You wrote: >Did you know that last year the studio lost money in a weakened economy?< I would like to offer you a suggestion for increasing your revenue along with the reasoning behind my suggestion. Here is my suggestion:


I'm sure you have put much thought into setting your current prices for dance classes, along with market research and other techniques, so I won't question your business judgment. You have your reasons for charging what you do and I don't expect one email from a satisfied customer will be able to sway you in a new direction. You have to charge what the market will bear, of course.

However, if you will allow me to briefly list my reasons for offering you this suggestion I think you will see my logic. And if some of this logic could be included on your website more prominently, I believe other patrons will agree with my assessment of the overall value of taking classes at SSQQ.

Before I begin I would like to offer a formula which I have made up for the purposes of this email--don't look for it in your MBA textbooks. It goes like this: Price + Quality =
Value. Forget about the outdated notion of supply and demand for a minute and keep this formula in mind as I list my reasons below.

Reasons Why Rick should Raise Prices at SSQQ:

To begin with, the price to quality ratio at your studio is all out of balance. To explain:
your studio offers the highest quality dance instruction at the lowest price per hour of any place in the Houston area, or any area I have ever encountered. This means your studio offers much more value than other dance studios or any other types of classes for less cost. If I rated your studio on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest value, I would have to rate it at an 11 or 15 even, (which messes up the whole scale Rick!)

As evidence I ask you to simply call around to similar businesses and inquire about the cost of taking their classes. Other dance studios, yoga centers, karate schools, acting classes and other instructional venues, typically offer 4 to 6 hours of instruction a month at anywhere from $40 to $150 per month. That works out to anywhere from $10 to $25 per hour or so in most cases.

Furthermore, attending a weekend seminar in some specialty, such as advanced Yoga, Karate, dancing, or acting can cost as much as $300 to $500 dollars (or more) for about
12 to 14 hours of training. That works out to $25 to $40 per hour of training, or more, typically. (I realize I am speaking in generalities here, but as one who has attended all types of trainings in everything from computers to meditation to tennis camp, and who has also offered trainings and seminars in other fields, I do have a good idea of the costs of education and continuing education. Yes, one may find the occasional low cost class in "photo album decorating" or personal financial management of some sort. But these low cost seminars usually have back of the room sales or other revenue streams to support the business model.)

Now as a comparison let's look at SSQQ and what you offer to your patrons. If I were to take Beginning Two-Step/Polka at the $46 price for men and only attended one class per week, I would be getting eight hours (8 hours) of training for said price. That works out to $5.75 per hour. Already, we can see that your price per hour is much lower than other types of educational services. If I chose to attend a second class in Beginning Two-Step/Polka a second time per week I would be paying about $2.88 per hour; and if I managed to squeeze in a third class it would cost me only about $1.92 per hour of training. That's for men. For women it would be $4.75, $2.38, and $1.58 respectively.

At the $5.75 per hour rate your classes would cost approximately half of what other dance studios have charged me per hour of group training. At the $1.92 would represent less than 20% of the cost of other low-cost alternatives. Compared to Yoga or Karate classes or similar businesses, you are charging in some cases less than 10% or even less than 5% of what one would pay to pursue advanced training in those disciplines.

(Side note: something is wrong with this picture Rick. The Universe is out of balance in this scenario and we may all be sucked into a black hole at the center of the galaxy unless you restore order to the chaos by taking the drastic action of raising your prices for dance classes at SSQQ. Back to this idea later.)

I hope I have established that by any criteria your classes are ridiculously low priced.
Now let me list some of the quality issues I see with SSQQ. When it comes to quality at your studio, there is just too much of it. Let me elaborate.

First, by having students switch partners constantly during class, your classes provide patrons with a faster way to learn social dances than many traditional methods. Other schools and classes I have attended have a person dance with his/her partner, or assign partners for the duration of the class, (or they frequently have the instructor act as one's only partner if there is not a balance of men and women in the class). Thus the benefits of dancing with many different sizes and shapes of people (and thus learning to lead and follow) are not realized at most other dance studios as they are at SSQQ.

Second, your instructors are well trained and personable, and they go out of their way to insure that everyone in class masters the dance steps. And they also seem to really enjoy what they do.

Third, the instructors use a uniform method of teaching so that students can attend two different classes and review the same steps learned in a previous class. Yes, there are subtle individual variations in the styles of presentation among various instructors, but this only helps students further see that there are many approaches to mastering the same steps. The important point is that the same steps are covered in class 1 of Beginning Swing on Sunday as are covered in that same class on Monday, and so on.
So attending multiple classes, therefore, only serves to further the skills of students.

Fourth, your practice sessions, scheduled six nights of the week, offer the best opportunity to apply the newly learned dance steps. Some other dance studios have practice nights, but none have as many as your studio offers. And I won't even go into the ridiculously low price you charge students for admission to the practice session, nor the free popcorn and drinks you offer. Calling attention to that added value discrepancy would surely throw the Universe out of balance and leave us intersecting with all manner of alternate dimensions where sentient beings only dance to disco music.

So, Rick, can you see my point about raising your prices?

If only your website or other advertisements could demonstrate more clearly to current and prospective customers the high Value rating I assign to SSQQ, I cannot see how they would not appreciate the benefits and want to attend in record numbers, slow economy or not. Who doesn't love a bargain? My mother-in-law will buy a sweater in August (in Houston) if it is on a sale table at Mervyns for $5. And she already has about
40 sweaters in her closet at home!

People cannot resist getting something for a fraction of its perceived value Rick. I confess, I have secretly enjoyed going to SSQQ classes and thinking that I am getting about five times the dance instruction I was getting before at another studio for the same low price. I feel like I have been cheating you.

So charge me more!

How about $50 for men and $45 for women. Based on my unscientific estimates of attendance at SSQQ, such a modest price adjustment would generate a significant increase in monthly revenues.

Am I wrong? Is there something I don't know that would prohibit you charging more?
Surely there are dance studio secrets known only to you and a handful of elites around the world, but business is business, right?

And speaking of business, if you are worried about chasing away customers with "higher prices" remember that demand is more a function of perception than actually quantity of supply. In most cases today technology removes issues of limited supply while at the same time sophisticated marketing creates demand for products and services, independent of any "actual" demand that may exist in nature. Who needs Chia Pets, for example? But still, they are advertised and people buy them! (No disrespect to Joseph Enterprises, Inc. manufacturer of the Chia Pet intended.) And Diamonds, for example are extremely common, but because the diamond market is controlled entirely by a single large corporation, (which I dare not name) we consumers pay exorbitant retail prices for diamonds. Why do we do this? Because massive advertising campaigns convince us of the value of diamonds as gifts, bribes, etc.

So why couldn't you, at SSQQ, use sophisticated marketing techniques (such as maybe some flyers or handouts at the front and a note or two on your website's home page) to explain to customers of the High Value they will receive by attending dance classes at your establishment?

Now I know you are thinking, "Hey, we already do that." Well let me tell you Rick... it just ain't all that clear! For example, I found your website through a search engine, liked it, read a zillion of your articles, and thought I knew what all you offered. It wasn't until I took my first class at SSQQ that I realized I could attend other nights of the same class that month for free. When I was at class and heard this news I did a double take and asked the instructor to clarify this point. He said I could actually attend the Wednesday night and the Friday class of the same class I was currently enrolled in... FOR NO EXTRA CHARGE!

I was excited to learn I could attend more than one of the same class for two reasons.
First, I knew I would need additional instruction, since I have two right feet (it's a much worse condition than two left feet). Second, I suddenly felt I got double or triple the value I had expected. Remember the formula I gave above: Value = Price + Quality. I realized that by attending two classes a week of Beginning "Whatever" I would not only be gaining more instruction and thus become a better dancer, but also would be paying half as much per hour as I had expected. Bam! Instant Value Increase!

Specifically, I had an immediate paradigm shift in my thinking about SSQQ as an establishment. I went from thinking that it was a "good deal" to drive a little farther to go to your studio rather than other places closer to my home, to thinking it was an "incredibly great deal" to take classes at SSQQ and that I would be a complete fool to even consider going anywhere else to learn to dance socially. (I haven't even mentioned the added benefit of meeting lots of wonderful people in the classes. I know you can't advertise about how many people meet and fall in love at your place, but keep bragging about it whenever you get a chance. It is definitely another intangible benefit gained from using your services.)

In other words, Rick, I had an instantaneous experience of Value Increase when I saw Price fall and Quality go up. Wow. How often does one have this experience when trading for goods or services in today's economy? It's as if I bought a 5-pack of gum and found 10 pieces inside the wrapper and the flavor lasted twice as long as any other gum.

It doesn't get any better than that. And dance instruction doesn't get any better than what you offer. So I suggest you tell people how great you all are at SSQQ and use marketing and advertising techniques to increase the demand for your services. Start advertising like the diamond sellers do. "Dancing... Because he loves you" and so on...
How many women would prefer a man who can dance over one who buys them a big shiny diamond? (Maybe we should skip that question. Women are unpredictable when it comes to questions of jewelry and anniversary gifts). But you get my point, right?

Am I making sense here?

I'm sure dozens of others have made similar suggestions to you in the past, and you know best what to do with your business. So I'll leave you to it. Furthermore, I apologize for my rudeness in offering advice without being first solicited. However, it seemed to me that in your August Newsletter under the heading "Bitter Complaint" that you were secretly calling for suggestions that might solve the issues presented. I hope my suggestions above regarding the financial issues have not caused rancor or discontent in your email box. If all those other people can send you complaints, I figure a few anti-complaints might not hurt and might even help.

Best regards, Kyle Curry

P.S. Now all that remains is using technology to solve the problem of supply (six dance rooms vs. seven)... I'll leave that one to an engineer or somebody good with hands on stuff. Good luck.




-----Original Message-----
From: Madame X
Sent: Friday, November 12, 2004 4:29 PM
To: 'Archer, Rick'
Subject: Cha cha cha-os

Hi Rick - at practice last Wednesday, a very nice gentleman named Leonard came up as I was heading for the popcorn room, and asked if I wanted to cha cha. I told him I hadn't taken any cha cha classes but I was willing to learn if he would teach me the basic. So we went into room 5 and he taught me a basic step - 1 - 2 - cha cha cha. It didn't take long before I had picked it up and he started in on some patterns. I must say that he was a very good leader, and pretty soon we were doing all kinds of advanced moves. It was lots of fun! I was feeling pretty proud of myself, and even thinking about signing up for the super advanced class in December.

Then I went back into room 1. Joel came over and asked me for a triple two, another dance which I had never tried. My cha cha lesson had given me confidence, so I said sure. As you know, Joel is an excellent dancer, and, after showing me the basic, he was able to lead me through some triple two patterns without any trouble. Even more fun! By now I was really feeling cocky, so I told him about picking up cha cha and how much I enjoyed it. So he asked me for a cha cha. As soon as we started, I knew something was wrong. He was dancing to a completely different rhythm. Instead of 1 - 2 - cha cha cha, it was 1 - 2 - 3 - cha cha. Then you were supposed to move your hips to a bay-bee rhythm like you had a baby on your hip. He insisted this was the correct step for cha cha. I know Joel is a super advanced dancer, so I'm sure he is correct.

So now I'm confused (not unusual for me). How could two very good dancers be doing two different steps for cha cha? I'd still like to sign up for cha cha in December, but not if I don't know what they're doing. Please help! Thanks, Ann

P.S. please don't put this e-mail in the newsletter!

Madame X

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer [mailto:dance@ssqq.com]
Sent: Sunday, November 14, 2004 8:05 AM
To: Madame X
Subject: RE: Cha cha cha-os

"P.S. please don't put this e-mail in the newsletter!" How much is it worth to you??

You are caught in the dilemma btw street chacha and trained chacha. Traditional Latin cha cha music can be counted 4 and 1, 2 3, 4 and 1, 2 3. the "4 and 1" is the cha cha cha. This is much less confusing if I had some music to play for you, but I will do the best we can with words.

Western music - i.e. polka music - could care less about honoring the traditions of cha cha music. The singer is just looking for a hit song. Most of the time you can dance the cha cha to a western polka to a much simpler "1 - 2 , 3 and 4" cadence and it fits the music just fine. Same thing for dancing a cha cha to disco music which has the same speed as Polka music. I call this "street cha cha" as in "if the music doesn't force us into the 4 and 1 system, what difference does it make?"

So both men were right depending on what you are trying to accomplish. If it makes you feel any better, I have wrestled with the same dilemma. Joel is an incredibly well-trained dancer. He naturally would prefer to use the trickier system that will allow him to make points with the judges. Leonard just wants to have fun.

As for the hips, just move your hips and quit worrying about it until you and Joel decide to enter a contest. Then worry about it. Take super-advanced cha cha at your own risk.

Love, Rick

By the way, I won't print this email without your permission, but it is an interesting question and I am sure others would enjoy the clarification. Perhaps if I disguised the names and waited until January, you would let me print it.


Hi Rick - thanks for clearing this up, I suspected it was something similar to your explanation. I don't mind if you use this in the newsletter as long as you disguise the names. Thanks, Madame X




SUSAN SCHROEDER has been the SSQQ Registrar for the past two years. To say she was invaluable to our organization is a vast understatement. However Susan was a burnout victim of her own excellence. She tried so hard to do everything to the best of her ability, she found she had little time left over to run her own business as a Graphics Designer.  So one day she just threw in the towel and quit. So far her duties have been absorbed in part by Rick, Marla, and Linda Cook.  I doubt she will be easy to replace.

BETHANY DANIELS has been a Monday Ballroom instructor and a Thursday Martian Instructor for the past year.  Although she loves to dance, as a drama major Bethany openly admits her first love is the stage. Lately she has been getting so many new roles, it is impossible to be in two places at once.

PAUL HOLZHAUER has been assisting Rachel Koenig with her Sunday Western classes now for well over a year. Now that long-time Western teacher Tracy King is moving over to teach Ballroom on Mondays, Paul is being promoted to take Tracy's spot.


-----Original Message-----
From: Stan S
Sent: Monday, November 22, 2004 9:38 AM
To: rarcher
Subject: D

After having almost lost my marriage due to an affair I had with one of my dance partners at your studio, C L, take me off your distribution list!!!!!!!!  Taking dance classes with you all was the worst mistake of my life!

Stan S


-----Original Message-----
From: K G
Sent: Wednesday, January 26, 2005 3:43 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: wonderful pics

Thank you for the wonderful pictures on your website of my HUSBAND, A G and his girlfriend, C. They will be very useful!

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer [mailto:dance@ssqq.com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 26, 2005 4:12 PM
To: K G
Subject: RE: wonderful pics

With an attitude like that, it becomes obvious why he left you.

Rick Archer

-----Original Message-----
From: K G
Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2005 8:09 AM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: RE: wonderful pics

Maybe you should talk to C about my attitude before you judge me.

We've both been used.

And I think your webpage was very slutty. C agrees.

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer [mailto:dance@ssqq.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2005 10:00 AM
To: K G
Subject: RE: wonderful pics

You use the word "slutty" too easily. I say consider the source.

How discourteous of you to involve another person in your vendetta!  By the way, did you ask C for permission to use her name in this way or do you not understand the importance of a courtesy such as this?

And do you care to explain how were you used?

Rick Archer

-----Original Message-----
From: K G
Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2005 12:44 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: RE: wonderful pics

Since you would probably want to print this for your website, I will not aim my answers to you. Yes, C and I have talked. How do you know whether he has left me or not? Especially since he hasn't and we are still married.

 -----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer [mailto:dance@ssqq.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2005 6:05 PM
To: K G
Subject: RE: wonderful pics

If you are still together, what do you need the pictures for? Do you need larger prints?

Rick Archer







(This phone call was received on January 11th by Rick Archer from an unidentified woman.)

"Hello, do you teach salsa?" 

Rick - Yes, we have classes on Tuesday Thursday and Saturday.

"What is the charge?" 

Rick - 46 men 38 ladies for 8 hours of classes.

"I am an advanced salsa dancer. Do you have advanced classes?"

Rick - Yes.

"Where are your instructors from?"


Rick - I don’t know. Ecuador.

(Dead silence on the line.) 

Rick - Actually now that I think of it, they are from Houston. What difference does it make?

"Because if they are from Puerto Rico, then they know how to salsa correctly. It is obvious you do not have a first class establishment, so I will not be in need of your services.  Thank you."   (Click)












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

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

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

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


Jokes February 2005

Alligator Shoes - Gary Richardson

A young blonde was on vacation in the depths of Louisiana. She wanted to take home a pair of genuine alligator shoes in the worst way.... but she was very reluctant to pay the high prices the local vendors were asking for the highly prized shoes.

After becoming very frustrated with the "no haggle on prices" attitude of one of the shopkeepers, the blonde shouted, "Well then, maybe I'll just go out and catch my own alligator, so I can get a pair of shoes at a decent price!"

The shopkeeper said with a sly, knowing smile, "Little lady, y'all just go and give it a try, why don'cha!"

The blonde turned on her heel and headed out toward the swamps, determined to catch her self an alligator. Later in the day, as the shopkeeper was driving home, where he spotted that same young woman standing waist deep in the murky bayou water, shotgun in hand. Astonished, he pulled over to the side of the levee to see what she was doing. Just then he spotted a huge 9-foot gator swimming rapidly toward her. His mouth dropped open as he watched her take aim with lightning speed and shoot the creature right between the eyes without even flinching. With a great deal of effort she hauled it all by herself onto the slimy swamp bank. That's when the shopkeeper noticed several more of the dead creatures were lying nearby.

The shopkeeper stood on the bank and stared incredulously as the blonde struggled mightily until she was able to flip the massive alligator on its back. Then the blonde screamed a profanity in great frustration. She shook her fist heavenward in anger and shouted out, "Dang, this stupid alligator is barefoot too!!"

Hillary Clinton - Leroy Ginzel

Hillary Clinton goes to a primary school in New York to talk about the world. After her talk, she has a "question and answer" period. One little boy raises his hand and the Senator asks him for his name.


"And what is your question, Kenneth?"

"I have three questions: First, whatever happened to your medical health care plan? Second, why would you run for President after your husband shamed the office? And third, whatever happened to all those things you and Bill took when you left the White House?"

Just then the bell rings for recess. Hillary Clinton informs the children that they will continue after recess.

When they resume Hillary says, "Okay where were we? Oh, that's right, question time. Who has a question?"

This time a different little boy puts his hand up. Hillary points to him and asks him for his name.


"And what is your question?"

"I have five questions: First, whatever happened to your medical health care plan? Second, why would you run for President after your husband shamed the office? Third, whatever happened to all those things you took when you left the White House? Fourth, why did the recess bell go off 20 minutes early? And fifth, what happened to my best friend Kenneth?

Husbands and Wives - Leroy Ginzel

A man and his wife were having some problems at home and were giving each other the silent treatment. Suddenly, the man realized that the next day, he would need his wife to wake him at 5:00 AM for an early morning business flight.

Not wanting to be the first to break the silence (and LOSE), he wrote on a piece of paper, "Please wake me at 5:00 AM." He left it where he knew she would find it.

The next morning, the man woke up, only to discover it was 9:00 AM and he had missed his flight. Furious, he was about to go and see why his wife hadn't wakened him when he noticed a piece of paper by the bed.

The paper said, "It's 5:00 AM. Wake up, stupid."

Classic One-Liners - Anita Williams

Why is divorce so expensive?
Because it's worth it.

Why is air a lot like sex?
Because it's no big deal unless you're not getting any

What do you call a smart blonde?
A golden retriever.

What do attorneys use for birth control?
Their personalities.

What's the difference between a girlfriend and wife?
45 lbs

What's the difference between a boyfriend and husband?
45 minutes

What's the fastest way to a man's heart?
Through his chest with a sharp knife.

Why do men want to marry virgins?
They can't stand criticism.

Why is it so hard for women to find men that are sensitive, caring, and good-looking?
Because those men already have boyfriends.

What's the difference between a new husband and a new dog?
After a year, the dog is still excited to see you

What makes men chase women they have no intention of marrying?
The same urge that makes dogs chase cars they have no intention of driving.

What's the difference between a porcupine and BMW?
A porcupine has the pricks on the outside.

Why does Mike Tyson cry during sex?
Mace will do that to you.

Why did OJ Simpson want to move to Kentucky ?
Everyone has the same DNA.

Why do men find it difficult to make eye contact?
Breasts don't have eyes.

Did you hear about the dyslexic Rabbi?
He walks around saying "Yo."

Why do drivers' education classes in Redneck schools use the car only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays?
Because on Tuesday and Thursday, the Sex Ed class uses it.

Where does an Irish family go on vacation?
A different bar.

What would you call it when an Italian has one arm shorter than the other?
A speech impediment.

What does it mean when the flag at the Post Office is flying at half-mast?
They're hiring.

What's the difference between a southern zoo and a northern zoo?
A southern zoo has a description of the animal on the front of the cage along with... "a recipe".

How do you get a sweet little 80-year-old lady to say the F word?
Get another sweet little 80-year-old lady to yell *BINGO*!

What's the difference between a northern fairytale and a southern fairytale?
A northern fairytale begins "Once upon a time..." A southern fairytale begins "Y'all ain't gonna believe this shit..."

Why is there no Disneyland in China ?
No one's tall enough to go on the good rides




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

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



I nicknamed Rachel Zeph-Keonig "The Zephyr" a couple years ago when she offered to teach a Belly Dance Crash Course. Rachel got a kick out of the nickname because it rhymed with her last name of "Seff".  Rachel got married last November, but decided to keep the nickname anyway.

Rachel Zeph made some serious waves here at SSQQ with her Belly Dancing in January. She
offered a Saturday Belly Dance class in January that was attended by over 50 women!! 

Now you know why Rachel is our "Employee of the Month" - she really made a lot of people happy (and me too!)

The energy her class created was incredible. The ladies absolutely loved it! The men were pretty interested themselves - the women constantly had to kick out various male intruders who just had to poke their noses in to see what was going on!

Rachel is successful at this class because she is sexy, she is funny, she has the right curves for the part, and she keeps the ladies laughing!

Unfortunately Rachel is also a happily married lady. Why "Unfortunately"? Rachel cherishes every delicious free moment with her husband Dave. As a result she strongly resists any extra demands on her free time. She did the Saturday January class in response to all the requests from SSQQ ladies for her help, but clearly stated it would be ONE MONTH ONLY.

That was before the class drew 50 women. Guess what? Now they want more. How did you guess?

Rachel suggested we move the class to Sundays at 7 pm. She said she give up teaching her beloved Sunday Night Western class for a couple months and experiment with holding the class on Sundays. 

Starting on Sunday, January 30, we will see if her ladies are receptive to the new time spot. We will keep you posted!



2005 December – we skipped it!)


2005 January: Knight Moves!  

1. John Jones (First Time Winner!)
2. Mark Marshall (Second Time Winner!)
3. Susan Arevalo (Sixteen Months in a Row!)
4. Holly Soehnge (Third Month in a Row!)
5. Steve Upchurch (Fourth Victory!)
6. Stephanie Barrow (First Time Winner!)
7. Karen Babb (Five Months in a Row!)
8. Ritesh Laud (Ten Months in a Row!)
9. Ann Faget (Seventeen Months in a Row!)
10. Ruth Feng (Third Victory!)

The January Logic Puzzle was said to be one of the toughest puzzles we have ever listed. Even our current champion - Ann Faget - bellyached about it!  (But then Ann bellyaches all the time, so no big deal...)

 -----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, January 17, 2005 4:55 PM
To: 'Archer, Rick'
Subject: logic puzzle january 05 number 07 ann faget

Hi Rick - I finally solved it, but it was NOT fun. I admit I could have worked smarter, but I was trying to be so thorough following every path that I didn't see early enough how many led to impossible solutions. For instance, I did not perceive until late that D6 and E3 had to be reserved for moves 31 and 33. Anyway, here is my answer, name of attachment is knightmoves.bmp. If you can't open it, send me your fax number and I will fax it to you. BTW, I wonder how many recognized the clever word play on a Bob Seger song? Ann


Another one of our leaders, Ritesh Laud, had thoughts similar to Ann's:

-----Original Message-----
From: Ritesh Laud [mailto:ritesh_laud@hotmail.com]
Sent: Friday, January 14, 2005 10:58 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: logic puzzle january 05 number 07 ritesh laud

Hi Rick,

Actually I'm glad there wasn't a logic puzzle last month because I was on vacation the whole month and likely wouldn't have been able to get to it.  So now I can maintain my streak. That is, if my solution here is correct.

I've attached an Excel file with my solution. Yeah, I did it by brute force also. Lots of trial and error, especially in the giant hole between 16 and 25. My scrap paper here looks like a warzone.

Steve Upchurch also struggled, but at least he was nice enough to say it was fun.

-----Original Message-----
From: Upchurch, Steve
Sent: Monday, December 20, 2004 8:55 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Cc: Upchurch, Steve
Subject: logic puzzle january 05 number 04 steve upchurch


Attached below is, hopefully, my solution to the Knight's tale puzzle for January 05.

After trying to attack the puzzle head on from step #1 and which square do we go to from there,
It looked fairly daunting at first, but I found a beginning in the fact that Steps (or Positions)
14 and 16 only had one position between, namely 15, which had to be within the reach of both
and there was only one available solution.

Another very helpful observation was that the 4 corner squares were only accessible from
two other squares each. That meant one of the squares was 'from whence he came' and the
other was 'to where he went'. Plus this fact meant that those squares couldn't be used by any
other movements/steps/positions (what ever you want to call them).

Because of their locations, Positions 25 & 32 were about the same - left with only two squares
to come from and go to.

Because of these observations, it took me about an hour and a half. It was a really fun brain exercise.

Thanks, Stephen Upchurch

My hat goes off to all our brilliant warriors!

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!!  



Casey Casanova is a man who developed a very busy social diary here at SSQQ. After becoming the master of several different dances, Casey discovered that he was able to use his charm and grace on the dance floor to become quite the lady’s man!

As he prepared for the February dance semester, Casey signed up for five different dance classes: Tango on Monday, Salsa on Tuesday, Swing on Thursday, Western on Friday, and the Slow Dance crash course on Saturday.

Casey Casanova had an extra special reason for taking so many classes – he expected to see a different girl on every night!

Yes, it is scandalous but true. Over the past couple months Casey had used his dance skills to maneuver into the position where he was flirting with five different girls on five different nights here at the studio.

Unfortunately for the young ladies, none of them were aware of the existence of the other four. Such a naughty boy!

Casey would have been mortified if someone discovered his dalliances. Although at the time each romance was still more or less at the handholding, smooching level, each romance was definitely beginning to heat up.

To this point Casey preferred to keep his affairs secret till he was sure where his heart was leading him. But he began to enjoy his exceptional popularity perhaps more than was good for him. When things were platonic and pure, his style was no worse than roguish. Now it appeared he was on the threshold of crossing the lines of social decorum.

However Life has a way of reeling the Romeos in. Common sense dictates that when you date five girls at the same place in the same week, the odds of getting caught are pretty good. Sooner or later Casey’s Karma will catch up with him. Casey had best make his mind up soon or else he will find out the hard way he is flirting with disaster!!



Joke Picture


Bad Day on the Job - Chris Holmes

Ever think you are having a really bad day on the job?  Check out this picture!!



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

Contributed by Chris Holmes

 1. Two antennas meet on a roof, fall in love and get married. The ceremony wasn't much, but the reception was excellent.

2. Two hydrogen atoms walk into a bar. One says, "I've lost my electron." The other says, "Are you sure?" The first replies, "Yes, I'm positive..."

3. A jumper cable walks into a bar. The bartender says, "I'll serve you, but don't start anything."

4. Two peanuts walk into a bar, and one was a salted.

5. A sandwich walks into a bar. The bartender says, "Sorry we don't serve food in here."

6. A dyslexic man walks into a bra.

7. A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says: "A beer please, and one for the road."

8. Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other! : "Does this taste funny to you?"

9. "Doc, I can't stop singing 'The Green, Green Grass of Home.'" "That sounds like Tom Jones Syndrome." "Is it common?" Doc says "It's Not Unusual."

10. Two cows standing next to each other in a field, Daisy says to Dolly, "I was artificially inseminated this morning." "I don't believe you," said Dolly. "It's true, no bull!" exclaimed Daisy.

11. An invisible man marries an invisible woman. The kids were nothing to look at either.

12. A man takes his Rottweiler to the vet and says, "My dog's cross-eyed, is there anything you can do for him?" "Well," says the vet, "let's have a look at him." So he picks the dog up and examines his eyes, then checks his teeth. Finally, he says, "I'm going to have to put him down." "What? Because he's cross-eyed?! " "No, because he's really heavy."

13. I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day but I couldn't find any.

14. I went to the butcher's the other day and I bet him 50 bucks that he couldn't reach the meat off the top shelf. He said, "No, the steaks are too high."

15 I went to a seafood disco last week... and pulled a mussel.

16 . What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh.

17 . Two termites walk into a bar. One asks, "Is the bar tender here?"

(Editor's Note: I hate puns, but I hate these even more than usual because they are so clever!!

Remind me to punch Chris Holmes HARD in the shoulder the next time I see him. In fact now that I think of it, do me a favor and you punch him too if you see him first. Here is what he looks like!

Go ahead and punch those two girls too while you are at it. They are both troublemakers.

Punch 'em all!   Thank you.)







Main Entry: ant·arc·tic
Pronunciation: (")ant-'ärk-tik, -'är-tik
Function: adjective
Usage: often capitalized
Etymology: Middle English antartik, from Latin antarcticus, from Greek antarktikos, from anti- + arktikos arctic
: of or relating to the south pole or to the region near it

Main Entry: 1arc·tic
Pronunciation: 'ärk-tik, 'är-tik
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English artik, from Latin arcticus, from Greek arktikos, from arktos bear, Ursa Major, north; akin to Latin ursus bear, Sanskrit rksa
1 often capitalized : of or relating to the north pole or the region near it
2 a : bitter cold : FRIGID b : cold in temper or mood <an arctic smile>

So actually, sports fans, this is a quiz. Does anyone know where these two words come from? 

They come from the Greek word for bear (arktos).  The North Pole has polar bears. The South Pole doesn't have bears. ANT ARKTOS means no bears.

Now this was helpful, wasn't it?  You learn something new every day.  RJA

By the way, everyone gets to play this game. If you have a good vocabulary word, send it in!! Best word each month gets a free practice night. Be sure to add a sentence! dance@ssqq.com )




Joel McClesky, the amazing student of Anita Williams who has won every dance contest he has entered, recently told me that he and his long-time beautiful girlfriend Ruth are tying the knot on January 29, 2005.

I am so happy for them! This is one Wedding Waltz I would love to watch!

They will be a very beautiful couple, this I guarantee.


(Editor's note: the original article was in last month's January Newsletter, but I left the text underneath Michelle's letter to make it easier to find)

 -----Original Message-----
From: Michelle Wann
Sent: Saturday, December 18, 2004 4:49 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: RE: Newsletter

Rick, Thank you so much for the article in the newsletter!  It kinda took me by surprise - I’d forgotten that you always mention these things!  Anyway it was fun to read but I have a couple of things that I wanted to add.  :-)

A minor point first: I actually came to SSQQ in late 1998 right before the big swing explosion.  I actually learned swing from you and Maureen originally.  I took a year’s break and then some friends convinced me to come back in 2000.  This time, it stuck and I haven’t been able to leave.   :-)

 The first time that Trent actually danced with me, he didn’t even ask!  It was during a birthday jam for me a couple of years ago and he was one of the men in line towards the end.  I didn’t know who he was, but after dancing with him for 30 seconds, I knew I had to dance with him again - He was so smooth!  Later on in the same evening, a mutual friend introduced us to each other.  The next thing I know he is taking classes at SSQQ and we were able to get to know each other better, spending way too many nights in the infamous SSQQ parking lot - the beginning of many a romance.  :-)

I am very happy that you and Marla were able to come to the reception and help us celebrate.  I was surprised but pleased that so many people, including so many of my current and former students were able to come!

Next for us will be getting back into competition.  Trent and I won 2nd place at Novice Invitational in the Progressive Pro-Am category (these are routines) in our first competition together earlier this year against some of the very best in nation.  After taking a hiatus to plan for the wedding, we are ready to get back into the “swing” of things again, and hopefully I can join Bryan in the ranks of the elite at SSQQ.  Who knows? With Trent being a 1997 National Champion at Dallas Dance, anything is possible!

Thanks again!  Have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy new Year!

See you soon!

Michelle Wann Haynes


On Saturday, November 20, SSQQ Dance Instructor Michelle Wann married SW Whip Dance Instructor Trent Haynes.

Michelle originally came to SSQQ as one of the Swing Kids back around 2000. Michelle, Lise, Krista, Kimberly, Patty O, Gloria, Steve, and Bryan all teamed up to form quite a Brat Pack back when Swing was ultra cool.

Michelle is quite a dancer. Did you when Bryan Spivey first began his dance competition career in 2002, Michelle and Bryan became City Dance Champions together? Now how cool is that?

Michelle met Trent Haynes back in 2003 through (what else?) their mutual love of Whip Dancing. I am sure they found it amusing that they taught for dance programs that have been rivals for 25 years. However despite all the danger of their Montague and Capulet Romance, they were able to avoid having to kill themselves due to the fact that no one cared. Yes, in this era of Warm Feelings, we no longer shoot or disfigure SSQQ women seen dancing or romancing with men from other dance studios. There was a time when… but we won't talk about that. That's all water and body parts under the bridge as far as I am concerned.

Actually the only real debate is which program gets more credit for Michelle and Trent's Romance. The key figure here is none other than Trent's Mom, the lovely Jeannie Haynes (although these days I have a hunch she goes by "Jeannie Jenny" since her marriage several years ago to fellow Whip dancer Warren Jenny. However on the other hand I'm not sure how comfortable she is going thru life as Jeannie Jenny, gosh only knows what her middle name is, but I think out of respect for everyone concerned I will drop this line of blather and switch to another line of blather.)

Jeannie was once upon a time one of my very favorite dance partners. Back in the days of 1987 when I went dancing 201 nights in a row, Jeannie was a frequent friend to me out on the dance floor. As a result of our friendship, Jeannie and I had a long candid chat about Trent and Michelle during their reception dance.

First of all, Jeannie thinks Michelle is wonderful. So do I. So that was one area where we agreed right off the bat. I asked Jeannie how her son and Michelle met. Apparently Trent was forlorn after a previous relationship of his went south. He really was down in the dumps. Jeannie said he needed to get moving again. She suggested going over to SSQQ (aka the Enemy) and take a couple Western dance classes. This is known in the Biz as a change in venue.

Trent decided to take his mother's advice. Once here at the studio he noticed Michelle and was interested in meeting her. However he didn't have the nerve to make his move right off the bat. Things were much easier the night he saw Michelle on his own turf at the Southwest Whip Club. Much more at ease in his own building, he asked Michelle to dance and got to know her. One thing led to another and… they started to date, they got engaged, and then they got married!

Trent seems to fit in here at SSQQ just fine. He has substituted for Bryan Spivey in the Friday Martian Class on several occasions to great reviews. He also was one of the winners of the September SSQQ Monthly Logic Puzzle. I knew he had good judgment (he asked Michelle to marry him, right?), but I didn't know he was so smart in addition. Best of all, he and Michelle made the coveted SSQQ Halloween Costume Contest Top 10 in his very first try in 2003! Michelle came as a Pimp and Trent came as a Lady of the Night. I can't honestly lie enough to say they were a "handsome couple", but I can stretch things enough to say they were a "Striking Couple".

You are welcome to view their splendor for yourself:

Michelle and Trent invited many ssqq students and staff to come to their reception over at Melody Lane on September 20th. There were at least 100 people at the Reception dancing the night away. I probably knew about 75% of the guests. I felt a little uncomfortable, especially after they frisked me and removed my weapon, but relaxed after I discovered my Whip and their Whip are remarkably similar. Indeed I danced successfully with several Capulet Women and was embarrassed to notice I was secretly enjoying myself. But don't tell anyone!

Best Wishes to Michelle and Trent! By the way, our wedding couple was much more attractive in their Wedding Costumes than their Halloween Costumes, especially the lovely Michelle with her warmth and radiance shining for all to see!


I am disappointed to say our numbers were down from last year's impressive showing of 29 engagements and marriages. I keep track of these statistics on my Grapevine Page. You can review the names and dates at this address:

I have known that the studio has been responsible for countless marriages over the years. For example, it is a well-known fact that if you want to get married, just join the SSQQ Staff. where do you think Ben Liles met Diana? Or Daryl Armstrong met Joanne? Or Karen Clawsen met Dennis? Or former instructors Ann Bush and Brian White met? Or where Tracy King met Jeff Perry? Or Randy Winfrey met Melissa Gauthier? Or Jim Coulter met Ulrike Lange? Or Sharon Crawford met Bill Shaw? Or Rick met Marla?

I started keeping a closer track of SSQQ-related Romances when we developed our web site back in 1998. For the past six years we have averaged 23 Weddings and Engagements per year.

Here are the statistics:
1999: 23 Weddings and Engagements
2000: 30 Weddings and Engagements
2001: 21 Weddings and Engagements
2002: 18 Weddings and Engagements
2003: 29 Weddings and Engagements
2004: 17 Weddings and Engagements

However these statistics are underreported. Read the next two emails. Note that I received them in 2004 to report weddings that occurred two years earlier!

-----Original Message-----
From: Helen Croskell
Sent: Wednesday, August 25, 2004 10:27 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: secret ssqq wedding!

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

-----Original Message-----
From: Elsa Aldrich
Sent: Monday, October 25, 2004 1:47 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: slow dance and romance permission to re-take class

"Hello, Rick, My husband (Jay Schmieder) and I took beginning swing/jitterbug in 1998. I don't think you had computer registration then. May we take it again for half price? Jay and I met each other that year at SSQQ and married in 2002! We haven't been to SSQQ in a while and look forward to seeing it again. Elsa M. Aldrich"

My point is a simple one. Many people meet at SSQQ, then kind of drift away without telling "management" about their romance. Then the Romance heats up and boom!, next thing you know they get engaged.

Here is another example:

-----Original Message-----
From: TFW Computers
Sent: Tuesday, October 05, 2004 3:12 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Another Wedding engagement

"Jane Putnam met her fiancé at SSQQ maybe a year and a half ago and are now engaged to be married next Summer. You may already know this (I don't know), but I just got advised of such by her friend (neighbor) here at the store.

My customer's name is Mary Ann Sandland. I have known her and her late husband for many years. Unfortunately her husband passed away two years ago. She and I were talking in the store about how tough it has been (depressing, etc) and I have been telling her for some time to go to SSQQ and have fun...and she wants to do such and was planning on starting this month. However, scheduling became a problem this month with her plans so not yet.

Then she told me that she found out her neighbor Jane Putnam met her husband at SSQQ and they are now engaged to be married next Summer, probably in June. I asked her what night she goes to the studio and she said she thinks Friday nights. I said that I might know her by face, but the name didn't "ring a bell". She didn't know the man's name. Gary Richardson"

There are so many Romances that fly beneath the SSQQ Radar it is ridiculous! Here is another example:

December 2003


Guess what these people all have in common? They told us in 2003 that they were engaged, but then never checked back in to report they got married. Tsk Tsk!! Maybe they aren't married yet. I thought of that, but I bet some them are.

So Sports Fans, I have a favor to ask. First go check out the Grapevine.

After carefully checking out all the names, if you know of any SSQQ-related weddings and engagements out there that haven't been reported, I want you to turn them in!! That's right, expose those shy smoochers for what they are - "kiss but don't tellers!" Flings don't count but don't you agree all serious romances need to be reported? Of course you do! Send your names and anecdotes to the SSQQ Romance Hotline: dance@ssqq.com immediately!!




Contributed by CHRIS HOLMES (Chris deserves to be punched in the arm. Read why)

A store that sells husbands has just opened in Dallas, TX where a woman may go to choose a husband from among many men. The store is comprised of 6 floors, and the men increase in positive attributes as the shopper ascends the flights.

There is however, a catch. As you open the door to any floor you may choose a man from that floor, but if you go up a floor, you cannot go back down except to exit the building. So a woman goes to the shopping center to find a husband.

On the first floor the sign on the door reads: Floor 1 - These men have jobs. The woman reads the sign and says to herself, "Well, that's better than my last boyfriend, but I wonder what's further up?" So up she goes.

The second floor sign reads: Floor 2 - These men have jobs and love, kids. The woman remarks to herself, "That's great, but I wonder what's further up?" And up she goes again.

The third floor sign reads: Floor 3 - These men have jobs, love kids and are extremely good looking.

"Hmmm, better," she says. "But I wonder what's upstairs?"

The fourth floor sign reads: Floor 4 - These men have jobs, love kids, are extremely good looking and help with the housework. "Wow!" exclaims the woman, "very tempting. BUT, there must be more further up!"

And again she heads up another flight. The fifth floor sign reads: Floor 5 - These men have jobs, love kids, are extremely good looking, help with the housework and have a strong romantic streak. "Oh, mercy me! But just think... what must be awaiting me further on?"

So up to the sixth floor she goes. The sixth floor sign reads: Floor 6 - You are visitor 3,456,789,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping Husband Mart and have a nice day!

(Editor's Note: Do you have something interesting to contribute on this subject?  Send it
in!!  dance@ssqq.com )


Clean Side Jokes


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

February Clean Side Selections

February CS 01: Deaf and Definitely Dumb - Joseph Stuteville
February CS 02: The Speed Trap - Gary Richardson
February CS 03: Twins - Richard Weisberg
February CS 04: The Island - Doug Bates
February CS 05: Preparing to Re-enter Society - Gary Richardson
February CS 06: The Sausage - Donna Ruth
February CS 07: You Know You are in Arkansas When… - Pat Roberts
February CS 08: The Clone Drone - Sylvia Key
February CS 09: Story of the Burning Roof - M.Moore, D. Awad
February CS 10: The Pick-Up - Chris Holmes
February CS 11: The Phone Company Interview - Pat Roberts
February CS 12: Three Aggies in the Bar - Susan Schroeder
February CS 13: Airport Runway Snafu - S. Tucker, R. Wagner
February CS 14: Pearly Gates - Andre Faust
February CS 15: Dinner Out - Sylvia Tucker
February CS 16: The Construction Workers - Sylvia Tucker
February CS 17: Paying Better Attention - Leroy Ginzel
February CS 18: A Man's Secret To A Good Marriage - Patty Jones
February CS 19: A&M Math Class for Blondes - Kathleen Parker
February CS 20: Fred and the Preacher - Mike Guillory
February CS 21: The Devil and the New Englander - Jill Banta
February CS 23: Taking Time Off From Work - Chris Holmes

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:

February CS 09: The Story of the Burning Roof - Mary Tyler Moore and Debbie Awad

The three Firemen get an emergency call for a fire in progress. As they drive over, they talk about their failed marriages and express their bitterness towards women.

Fireman Jeff says, “Frank, who's the the meanest woman you ever knew?”

Fireman Frank answers, “That's easy, my ex-wife. She was a Redhead with a temper to match. She used to wear a tee-shirt to bed that said, 'Don’t touch me. I’m out of Estrogen and I have a Gun.' Hey, I have a joke. What do you call a Brunette in a room full of Blondes?”

Fireman Dave answers, “That’s easy. Invisible. I should know. My ex-wife was a brunette. She was so ugly, her hair matched her mustache. Hey, Hank, what went wrong with you and your wife? She was hot, man!”

Fireman Jeff replies, “Yeah, but every blonde joke ever written applied to her. She was so stupid she used to brag she had the best figure of any girl in the 3rd grade. Then after we were married her mother told me she was 19 in the 3rd grade. When she got pregnant, I asked her if the kid was mine. She said she wasn’t sure, but not to feel bad, she wasn’t sure if it was hers either.”

The three firemen shake their heads. They decide they hate all women, especially the ones with hair.

Meanwhile, on top of the burning building, a Brunette, a Redhead and a Blonde have temporarily escaped the fire by climbing to the roof.

The Three Firemen gather on the street below and are holding a blanket for the ladies to jump in. They exchange a dark smile between them.

First the Firemen yell up, “Jump! Jump! One of you gotta Jump! It’s your only chance to survive!”

The Brunette is the smart one. She is the first to realize it’s her only chance, so she jumps and SWISH! The firemen yank the blanket away. The Brunette slams into the sidewalk and explodes like a rude tomato.

The Fireman give each other high fives, then decide to try again. “C’mon! Jump! You ladies gotta jump!”

“Oh no! You’re gonna pull the blanket away!” says the Redhead.

“No! It’s just the Brunettes we can’t stand! They are so ugly. We’re OK with Redheads!”

“Nah. I don’t believe you. I ain’t gonna jump!” the Redhead hollers.

The Fireman who was married to the Redhead knows just what to say. “OK, Bitch. Don’t jump. Whatever you do, don’t jump! It’s the Blonde we want to save anyhow!”

“Goddamn that pisses me off!!” screams the Redhead. “OK, you sons of bitches! Here I come and when I land I’m gonna kick your stupid asses up and down the street!” The Redhead jumps and curses the firemen all the way to the ground. SWISH! The firemen yank the blanket away, and the lady is flattened on the pavement like a pancake.

Now the Blonde crawls to the edge of the roof and sees the Firemen giving each other jumping high fives. She frowns and hatches a plan. They’ll never fool her!!

Looking up and spotting the last woman, the firemen start to yell, “Hey Blondie, Jump! You have to jump!”

“No way! I’m not that stupid!! You’re just gonna pull the blanket away!” yelled the Blonde.

“No! Really! You have to jump! We promise won’t pull the blanket away!”

“Look, you guys can't fool me!!” the Blonde says, “I’m too smart for that! Nothing you say is gonna convince me that you’re not gonna pull the blanket away! So do what I tell you - Put the blanket down on the ground. Now back away from it...”




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

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

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

(Editor's Note: The Blue Side of Town Joke Page is one of the great secrets of the SSQQ web site. Anyone who is on the SSQQ Registration List is welcome to have access. This means if you get the Newsletter, you are invited to visit the naughty jokes page.

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


February Blue Side Jokes

February BS 01: Aggie Sex Change - Richard Weisberg
February BS 02: Bullets - Kathleen Parker
February BS 03: Blue Yoga - Lynn Bevis
February BS 04: Monica Revisited - Richard Weisberg
February BS 05: Statues in the Park - Mike Guillory
February BS 06: Oxymoron - The Sensitive Man - Gary Richardson
February BS 07: The Ranch Hand - Lynn Bevis
February BS 08: The Bus - Richard Weisberg
February BS 09: The Beverly Clintons - Judy Walsh
February BS 10: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly - Pat Roberts
February BS 11: The Golf Injury - Lynn Bevis and Pat Roberts
February BS 12: The Gas Grill - Leo Skiba
February BS 13: A Texas Wedding - Richard Weisberg
February BS 14: The Fishing Trip - Gary Richardson
February BS 15: Bondage and Discipline - Gary Richardson
February BS 16: Viagra - Tom Easley
February BS 17: Little Red Riding Hood - Pat Roberts


Although the Blue Side is off-limits to the outer world and only SSQQ Students are invited into the inner sanctum of "Dirty Jokes", each month we manage to find one that is on the edge of printable. This one barely made it past the censors.


February BS 15: Bondage and Discipline
Submitted by Gary Richardson

One day Mom was cleaning junior's room. Deep in the closet under a pile of dirty clothes she found an S+M magazine. On the cover was a picture of a partially naked man on his knees in bondage with a hooded dominatrix towering over him holding a whip. She let out a stunned gasp.

This was highly upsetting for her. She hid the magazine and cried most of the afternoon until the boy's father got home. She found the magazine and showed it to him.

She watched him carefully as he looked at it. She saw his eyes grow huge with astonishment. He shook his head, then handed it back to her with out a word. They just stared at each other.

She finally asked him, " Well, what should we do about this?"

Dad looked at her and said, "Well, I don't think you should spank him."





-----Original Message-----
Sent: Friday, January 21, 2005 2:14 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: IRS Letter


I don't know if you have seen this beauty in your travels around the internet but it is a classic.  I've seen a few different versions of it but it is supposedly based on an actual letter written to the IRS by a guy named Bob Mullen from Utah in the mid 90's.  There are also many more examples of "Is anybody listening in DC"  if you use a "Letter to the IRS" search on Yahoo.  Enjoy and share.

Dwight Stanley

A Letter To The IRS...

This, "Actual Letter to the IRS" has been making its way around the Internet for a year or two and is a marvelous example of genuine wit and satire at the highest level.

If dry razor sharp humor is your cup of tea, drink long and prosper.

Dear Sirs:

I am responding to your letter denying the deduction for two of the three dependents I claimed on my 1994 Federal Income Tax return.

Thank you.

I have questioned whether these are my children or not for years. They are evil and expensive. I feel it’s only fair—since they are minors, and no longer my responsibility—that the government knows something about them and what to expect over the next year.

You may apply next year to reassign them back to me and reinstate the deductions; this year, however, they are yours.

The oldest, Kristen, is now 17. She is brilliant. Just ask her! I suggest you put her to work in your office where she can answer people’s questions about their tax returns. While she has had no formal training, it has not seemed to hamper her knowledge of any other subject you can name. Taxes should be a breeze.

Next year she is going to college. I think it’s wonderful that you will now be responsible for that expense.

While you mull that over, keep in mind she has a truck. It doesn’t run at the moment so you have the immediate decision of appropriating some Health and Human Services funds to fix the vehicle or getting up early to drive her to school.

Kristen also has a boyfriend. Oh joy. While she possesses all the wisdom of the universe, her alleged mother and I have felt it best to occasionally remind her of the virtues of abstinence—and, in the face of overwhelming passion, safe sex. This is always uncomfortable and I’m quite relieved you will be handling it in the future.

May I suggest you reinstate Jocelyn Elders; she had a rather good handle on the problem.

Patrick is 14. I’ve had my suspicions about this one. His eyes are a little too close together for normal people. He may be a tax examiner himself someday if you don’t incarcerate him first. In February, I was rudely awakened at three in the morning by a police officer who was bringing Pat home. He and his friends were TP’ing houses. In the future would you like him delivered to the local IRS office or sent directly to Ogden, UT?

Kids at 14 will do almost anything on a dare. His hair is purple. Permanent dye, temporary dye, what’s the big deal? Learn to deal with it. You’ll have plenty of time since he is sitting out a few days of school after instigating a food fight. I’ll be sure to file your phone number with the vice principal. Oh yes, he, and all his friends, have raging hormones. This is the house of testosterone, and it will be much more peaceful once he has moved in with you.

DO NOT leave him or any of his friends unsupervised with girls, explosives, flammables, inflatables, vehicles or telephones. (I’m sure you’ll find the telephones a source of unimaginable amusement; be sure to lock out the 900 and 976 numbers.)

Heather is an alien. She slid through a time warp and appeared quite by magic one year. I’m sure this one is yours. She is 10, going on 21. She came from a bad trip in the sixties. She wears tie-dyed clothes, beads, sandals and hair that looks like Tiny Tim’s. Fortunately, your recent tax increase will help you offset the pinch of her remedial reading courses. "Hooked on Phonics" is expensive, so the schools dropped it.

Good news, though! You can buy it yourselves for half the amount of the deduction you are denying. It’s quite obvious we were terrible parents (ask the other two), so they have "helped" raise this one to a new level of terror. She cannot speak English. Most people under twenty understand the curious patois she fashioned out of valley girls/boys in the hood/reggae/yuppie/political doublespeak. I don’t.

The school sends her to a speech pathologist who has her roll her R’s. It added a refreshing Mexican/Irish touch to her voice. She wears hats backward, pants baggy, and wants one of her ears pierced four more times.

There is a fascination with tattoos that worries me, but I’m sure you can handle it.

Bring a truck when you come to get her, she sort of "nests" in her room, and I think it would be easier to move the entire thing rather than find out what’s really in there.

You denied two of the three deductions so I guess it’s only fair you get to pick which two you will take. I prefer you take the two youngest; I’ll still go bankrupt with Kristen’s college expense but then I’m free! If you take the two oldest, at least I have time for counseling before Heather becomes a teenager. If you take the two girls I won’t feel so bad about putting Patrick in a military academy.

Please let me know of your decision as soon as possible, as I have already increased the withholding on my W4 to cover the $395 in additional tax and made a down payment on an airplane.

Yours Truly,

Willoughby R. Winslow
791 Kingston Avenue
Piedmont, CA 94611-4462




(contributed by Pat Roberts)

Yes, it's the one we've all been waiting for ... the Darwin AwardS 2003.

For those not familiar with the Darwin Award, It's an annual honor given to the person who provided the Universal human gene pool the biggest service by getting KILLED in the most extraordinarily stupid way. As always, competition again this year has been keen.


* In September in Detroit, a 41-year-old man got stuck and drowned in two feet of water after squeezing head first through an 18-inch-wide sewer grate to retrieve his car keys.

* In October, a 49-year-old San Francisco stockbroker, who "totally zoned when he ran," accidentally jogged off a 100- foot-high cliff on his daily run.

* According to police in Dahlonega, GA, ROTC cadet Nick Berrena, 20, was stabbed to death in January by fellow cadet Jeffrey Hoffman, 23, who was trying to prove that a knife could not penetrate the flak vest Berrena was wearing.

* Sylvester Briddell, Jr., 26, was killed in February in Selbyville, Del, as he won a bet with friends who said he would not put a revolver loaded with four bullets into his mouth and pull the trigger.

* In February, according to police in Windsor, Ontario, Daniel Kolta,
27, and Randy Taylor, 33, died in a head-on collision, thus earning a tie in the game of chicken they were playing with their snowmobiles.

* Paul Stiller, 47, was hospitalized in Andover Township, NJ, and his wife Bonnie was also injured, when a quarter-stick of dynamite blew up in their car. While driving around at 2 AM, the bored couple lit the dynamite and tried to toss it out the window to see what would happen, but apparently failed to notice the window was closed.


TACOMA, WA Kerry Bingham had been drinking with several friends when one of them said they knew a person who had bungee-jumped from the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in the middle of traffic. The conversation grew more heated and at least 10 men trooped along the walkway of the bridge at 4:30 am. Upon arrival at the midpoint of the bridge they discovered that no one had brought a bungee rope. Bingham, who had continued drinking, volunteered and pointed out that a coil of lineman's cable lay nearby. One end of the cable was secured around Bingham's leg and the other end was tied to the bridge. His fall lasted 40 feet before the cable tightened and tore his foot off at the ankle. He miraculously survived his fall into the icy river water and was rescued by two nearby fishermen. "All I can say," said Bingham, "is that God was watching out for me on that night."
"There's just no other explanation for it." Bingham's foot was never located.


PADERBORN, GERMANY Overzealous zookeeper Friedrich Riesfeldt fed his constipated elephant Stefan 22 doses of animal laxative and more than a bushel of berries, figs and prunes before the plugged-up pachyderm finally let it fly, and suffocated the keeper under 200 pounds of poop! Investigators say ill-fated Friedrich, 46, was attempting to give the ailing elephant an olive oil enema when the relieved beast unloaded on him. "The sheer force of the elephant's unexpected defecation knocked Mr. Riesfeldt to the ground, where he struck his head on a rock and lay unconscious as the elephant continued to evacuate his bowels on top of him" said flabbergasted Paderborn police detective Erik Dern. 'with no one there to help him, he lay under all that dung for at least an hour before a watchman came along, and during that time he suffocated. It seems to be just one of those freak accidents that "schitt happens."



(contributed by Judy Walsh)

Below is an article written by Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated. He details his experiences when given the opportunity to fly in a F-14 Tomcat. If you aren't laughing out loud by the time you get to "Milk Duds," your sense of humor is broken.

"Now this message is for America's most famous athletes:

Someday you may be invited to fly in the back-seat of one of your country's most powerful fighter jets. Many of you already have ... John Elway, John Stockton, Tiger Woods to name a few. If you get this opportunity, let me urge you, with the greatest sincerity...

Move to Guam.
Change your name.
Fake your own death!
Whatever you do ..
Do Not Go!!!

I know. The U.S. Navy invited me to try it. I was thrilled. I was pumped. I was toast! I should've known when they told me my pilot would be Chip (Biff) King of Fighter Squadron 213 at Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia Beach.

Whatever you're thinking a Top Gun named Chip (Biff) King looks like, triple it. He's about six-foot, tan, ice-blue eyes, wavy surfer hair, finger-crippling handshake -- the kind of man who wrestles dyspeptic alligators in his leisure time. If you see this man, run the other way. Fast.

Biff King was born to fly. His father, Jack King, was for years the voice of NASA missions. ("T-minus 15 seconds and counting ." Remember?) Chip would charge neighborhood kids a quarter each to hear his dad. Jack would wake up from naps surrounded by nine-year-olds waiting for him to say, "We have a liftoff."

Biff was to fly me in an F-14D Tomcat, a ridiculously powerful $60 million weapon with nearly as much thrust as weight, not unlike Colin Montgomerie. I was worried about getting airsick, so the night before the flight I asked Biff if there was something I should eat the next morning.

"Bananas," he said.

"For the potassium?" I asked.

"No," Biff said, "because they taste about the same coming up as they do going down."

The next morning, out on the tarmac, I had on my flight suit with my name sewn over the left breast. (No call sign -- like Crash or Sticky or Leadfoot ... but, still, very cool.) I carried my helmet in the crook of my arm, as Biff had instructed. If ever in my life I had a chance to nail Nicole Kidman, this was it.

A fighter pilot named Psycho gave me a safety briefing and then fastened me into my ejection seat, which, when employed, would "egress" me out of the plane at such a velocity that I would be immediately knocked unconscious. Just as I was thinking about aborting the flight, the canopy closed over me, and Biff gave the ground crew a thumbs-up. In minutes we were firing nose up at 600 mph. We leveled out and then canopy-rolled over another F-14.

Those 20 minutes were the rush of my life. Unfortunately, the ride lasted 80. It was like being on the roller coaster at Six Flags Over Hell. Only without rails. We did barrel rolls, sap rolls, loops, yanks and banks. We dived, rose and dived again, sometimes with a vertical velocity of 10,000 feet per minute. We chased another F-14, and it chased us.

We broke the speed of sound. Sea was sky and sky was sea. Flying at 200 feet we did 90-degree turns at 550 mph, creating a G force of 6.5, which is to say I felt as if 6.5 times my body weight was smashing against me, thereby approximating life as Mrs. Colin Montgomerie.

And I egressed the bananas. I egressed the pizza from the night before.

And the lunch before that. I egressed a box of Milk Duds from the sixth grade. I made Linda Blair look polite. Because of the G's, I was egressing stuff that did not even want to be egressed. I went through not one airsick bag, but two.

Biff said I passed out. Twice. I was coated in sweat. At one point, as we were coming in upside down in a banked curve on a mock bombing target and the G's were flattening me like a tortilla and I was in and out of consciousness, I realized I was the first person in history to throw down.

I used to know cool. Cool was Elway throwing a touchdown pass, or Norman making a five-iron bite. But now I really know cool. Cool is guys like Biff, men with cast-iron stomachs and freon nerves. I wouldn't go up there again for Derek Jeter's black book, but I'm glad Biff does every day, and for less a year than a rookie reliever makes in a home stand.

A week later, when the spins finally stopped, Biff called. He said he and the fighters had the perfect call sign for me. Said he'd send it on a patch for my flight suit.

What is it? I asked.

"Two Bags."



Contributed by Bett Sundermeyer

MIDNIGHT VISIT by Fred Wickert

During my Air Force career I was stationed in Tokyo, Japan.  While there, I acquired a wife, a dog and a cat.

The dog, a honey colored Cocker Spaniel with a lot of white freckles on his nose, was named Freckles. The cat was yellow and white, without a tail, and we named him Blondie. Fortunately, they got along with each other very well.

Freckles and I had a relationship of deep and abiding love. When the Air Force sent my wife and I back to the USA on a plane, we were not allowed to bring animals. I had to send Freckles and Blondie on a commercial flight.
I took them to the airport and put them together in the same cage.

They were such good friends that I knew they would be happier and less afraid if they were together. People at the airport were amazed when they saw them. Everybody knew that dogs and cats just don't mix.

After picking them up at the airport in California, Freckles and Blondie traveled all over the United States with us, by car. They were always with us.

Half way through my career, I was transferred to Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland, to become one of the security force protecting the aircraft used by the President. Freckles and Blondie went with us.

After five years, I went to the war in Vietnam. This time, I had to go alone and leave Freckles and my wife behind. Blondie had passed away two years before.

When I returned a little over a year later, Freckles and I were overjoyed to be together again. I had been reassigned to Presidential Security for the remainder of my career, so we didn't have to move again.

In late autumn in the following year, I got up one morning at a very early hour. Freckles woke up and joined me in the kitchen as I prepared and ate my breakfast. I petted him for a few minutes, and then he went to the coat closet inside the front door. There was a folded piece of carpet in there that he liked to sleep on.

When I was ready to leave, I went to get my coat and hat from the closet. I reached down to pet Freckles and tell him goodbye, and discovered that he had died. I canceled my plans that day, built him a nice casket and gave him a decent burial.

About a year later, I was working the midnight shift. I was in a warm hangar, guarding the President's small airplane. Most people were unaware of the small plane, a four engine Lockheed Jet Star. At that time, they knew only of the Boeing 707.

I was seated at a small table at the front of the plane where everyone had to sign in and out, but at that early hour there was no one there but me.

Without being aware of becoming drowsy, I had fallen asleep.

If, in the military, you are found asleep on guard duty, you are court-martialed or severely punished. It would ruin a career and even a pension. I only had three years remaining before retirement.

Suddenly, Freckles was there on the table, licking my face!

He woke me up. I know it wasn't a dream because my face was wet with his saliva. I could feel him. It was real! He was there!

Just as I awoke, there was someone coming in the door on the other side of the hangar.

It was the Security Superintendent, who occasionally came in the middle of the night to check on us.

Freckles had just saved me and my career.

Yes, Freckles had passed away more than a year before. Yet, he was still with me and still faithful.

Now I know that there is life after death. And I know that Freckles is my Guardian Angel!



  March 10, 2004, 12:18AM

Wal-Mart shopper comes up zero with bogus bills
Atlanta Constitution

ATLANTA -- Maybe it was the funny-looking image of the Statue of Liberty that raised the cashier's suspicions.

Or maybe it was the number of zeros.

Either way, Janice Sanders, a cashier at the Wal-Mart store in Covington, Ga., thought better than to take the $1 million bill.

Yes, $1 million.

So Sanders called her manager, who called Covington police, who arrested the woman, Alice Pike, 35.

The federal government, by the way, doesn't make $1 million bills. They only go as high as $100 bills. In 1969, the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve System discontinued currency notes in denominations of $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 due to lack of use.

"This is the first time in my law enforcement career I've seen someone trying to use a$1 million bill," said Covington Assistant Police Chief Almond Turner, who's been an officer for 31 years. "It was green, but you could tell it was not a real bill."

Pike was being held Tuesday at Newton County Jail on $2,550 bail. She is charged with first-degree forgery.

On Friday, Pike tried to use a couple of Wal-Mart cards to pay for $1,671.55 worth of items. But she only had a total of $2.32 on the cards, police said, so she handed the cashier a $1 million bill. Pike then asked for change, police said. That would be $998,328.45. When police arrived, Pike pulled two more $1 million bills from her purse.

Pike told police she got the money from her husband, said Turner, who wasn't sure if the man had been questioned.


Texas woman buys first ever cloned-to-order pet

Nine-week-old "Little Nicky," was successfully cloned and sold for $50,000.

By The Associated Press
(12/23/04 - SAN FRANCISCO, CA) -

The first cloned-to-order pet sold in the United States is named Little Nicky, a 9-week-old kitten delivered to a Texas woman saddened by the loss of a cat she had owned for 17 years.

The kitten cost its owner $50,000 and was created from DNA from her beloved cat, named Nicky, who died last year.

"He is identical. His personality is the same," the owner, Julie, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. Although she agreed to be photographed with her cat, she asked that her last name and hometown not be disclosed because she said she fears being targeted by groups opposed to cloning.

Yet while Little Nicky, who was delivered two weeks ago, frolics in his new home, the kitten's creation and sale has reignited fierce ethical and scientific debate over cloning technology, which is rapidly advancing.

The company that created Little Nicky, Sausalito-based Genetic Savings and Clone, said it hopes by May to have produced the world's first cloned dog a much more lucrative market than cats.

While it is based in the San Francisco Bay area, the company's cloning work will be done at its new lab in Madison, Wis.

Commercial interests already are cloning prized cattle for about $20,000 each, and scientists have cloned mice, rabbits, goats, pigs, horses and even the endangered banteng, a wild bull that is found mostly in Indonesia.

Several research teams around the world, meanwhile, are racing to create the first cloned monkey.

Aside from human cloning, which has been achieved only at the microscopic embryo stage, no cloning project has fueled more debate than the marketing plans of Genetic Savings and Clone.

"It's morally problematic and a little reprehensible," said David Magnus, co-director of the Center for Biomedical Ethics at Stanford University. "For $50,000, she could have provided homes for a lot of strays."

Animals rights activists complain that new feline production systems aren't needed because thousands of stray cats are euthanized each year for want of homes.

Lou Hawthorne, Genetic Savings and Clone's chief executive, said his company purchases thousands of ovaries from spay clinics across the country. It extracts the eggs, which are combined with the genetic material from the animals to be cloned.

Critics also complain that the technology is available only to the wealthy, that using it to create house pets is frivolous and that customers grieving over lost pets have unrealistic expectations of what they're buying.

In fact, the first cat cloned in 2001 had a different coat from its genetic donor, underscoring that environment and other biological variables make it impossible to exactly duplicate animals.

"The thing that many people do not realize is that the cloned cat is not the same as the original," said Bonnie Beaver, a Texas A&M animal behaviorist who heads the American Veterinary Medical Association, which has no position on the issue. "It has a different personality. It has different life experiences. They want Fluffy, but it's not Fluffy."

Scientists also warn that cloned animals suffer from more health problems than their traditionally bred peers and that cloning is still a very inexact science. It takes many gruesome failures to produce just a single clone.

Genetic Savings and Clone said its new cloning technique, developed by animal cloning pioneer James Robl has improved survival rates, health and appearance. The new technique seeks to condense and transfer only the donor's genetic material to a surrogate's egg instead of an entire cell nucleus.

Between 15 percent and 45 percent of cloned cats born alive die within the first 30 days, Hawthorne said. But he said that range is consistent with natural births, depending on the breed of cat.

Austin, Texas-based ViaGen Inc., which has cloned hundreds of cows, pigs and goats, also is experimenting with the new cloning technique.

"The jury is still out, but the research shows it to be promising," company president Sara Davis said. "The technology is improving all the time."

Genetic Savings and Clone has been behind the creation of at least five cats since 2001, including the first one created.

It hopes to deliver as many as five more clones to customers who have paid the company's $50,000 fee. By the end of next year, it hopes to have cloned as many as 50 cats.

The company has yet to turn a profit.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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

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

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

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

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

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





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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Rick Archer
SSQQ Dance Studio
4803 Bissonnet
Email:   dance@ssqq.com
Phone:  713-861-1906


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