March 2005
Home Up April 2005

2005 Newsletters

January February March April May June
July August September October November December

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


Previous 2004 Newsletters
Previous 2005 Newsletters

Bottom of Page



BEST NEW JOKES OF MONTH BEST NEW JOKES OF THE MONTH: 9 NEW JOKES THIS MONTH!! - Contributed by Gary Richardson, Leroy Ginzel, Anita Williams, Lynn Griffiths, Judy Walsh, Mae Neihouse, Phyllis Porter
joke picture of the month THE JOB INTERVIEW - Contributed by Milt Oglesby
WORST NEW PUN OF MONTH THE DISASTER AT SEA -  Contributed by noted troublemaker Ann Faget
VOCABULARY WORD HORS DE COMBAT - Contributed by noted troublemaker Ann Faget
VENUS AND MARS THE MARRIAGE GAME  - Contributed by Carol Gafford
CLEAN SIDE JOKES Dominated by Women - Contributed by Pat Roberts
BLUE SIDE JOKES The Gas Station - Contributed by Michael Brockmyre


FEATURE TWO   STORY IN THE NEWS: gang rape convictions in pakistan thrown out.
FEATURE FOUR   STORY IN THE NEWS: SENDING OLD MEN TO WAR (contributed by noted troublemaker Chris Holmes)
FEATURE SIX   STORY IN THE NEWS: lawsuits that make you want to throw away the legal system








2005 March Newsletter What's New

The Newsletter is a week late this month. So what's new about that? Nothing. Writers should never be expected to be completely punctual. The creative process cannot be rushed unless you don't mind a boring Newsletter.

The big news of February was our highly successful EZRA CHARLES SWING DANCE on February 19. Estimates of the crowd put attendance at 150.

The Swing Dancers were unanimous in their joy. They got a chance to practice their Lindy, their Balboa, their Swing Charleston, you name it, on a big floor to lots of great Swing music. They were in Swing Paradise. You should see the pictures!

Even lots of West Coasters turned out in hopes of some good Whip music, but they didn't get a strong enough dose so we calmed them down for the moment with Whip music in Room 4 plus a promise to find a great band for THEIR party.

The Ezra Party would not have been a success without our friend GEORGE GREGA. He owns a very successful business of that stages "Events". If you have a big bash planned - Wedding, Dance Party, Concert - he can provide the Stage, Lighting, Sound, and Videography for practically any sort of party. His company known as GJG Productions has become a phenomenal success. Last year George saw Ezra play at one of the weddings he was producing and immediately wanted to bring him over to SSQQ. It turns out that Swing is George's favorite dance. In other words, George wanted me to throw the party so he could dance at it. In the process George got to show off all his wonderful toys and enjoy them personally!

George not only deserved a good time, he needed to have some fun! While it is true that George is having phenomenal business success, parallel to that over the past year he has encountered a string of bad luck that is starting to approach biblical disaster proportions. All he needs is to get swallowed by a whale and Jonah can move into second place.

A year ago, George awoke in the middle of the night to find his entire row of condominiums were seriously on fire! It seems a young man had gotten drunk, parked his car in the garage and then passed out. Somehow this foolish act turned into a major fire. George's home was a total ruin as were those of his neighbors. The accident itself was pretty fishy, but all George knows for certain is that he had to move out of his house for a year plus he lost so many valuable items.

Not too long after that George took his equipment down to Corpus Christi for a TG Shepherd concert that he was producing. In the middle of the night, thieves gutted one of trucks and stole about ten thousand dollars worth of camera and music equipment. Unbelievable.

About a month ago, George was finally able to move back into his rebuilt home. I imagine the joy of finally having his house back was incalculable. Two weeks later - just when he had finished completely moving back in - he came down to the first floor one morning only to find his entire bottom floor two inches deep in water! Every piece of furniture and the entire floor were ruined. Rain? No. It turned out that debris from the fire a year earlier had gotten stuck in the city's sewage system when the fire fighters were putting out the blaze. Now it was totally clogged it up. No one knew about the problem because no one had lived there for a year. If George didn't have bad luck, he wouldn't have any luck at all.

I think George needs to get back into Whip class so he and his friend Gary Richardson can have the night of their lives dancing to a live band at our Sleazy Bar Whip Party in late April. It turns out the Whip Dancers at the Ezra Party whined so loud that I broke down and promised them a band of their own. Oh please Rickypoo, please!! They were unanimous in their choice of who to invite.

Which gives me the opportunity to announce that Luther and the Healers will be playing their powerful Rhythm and Blues music at the Sleazy Bar Whip Party on Saturday, April 23. Luther and the Healers are the "house band" at the Big Easy. They are extremely well known and very popular. It should be a great party!

There will be photographs, so be sure to comprehend the dress code - Wear Red and Black or watch your Back, Dress Sleazy or your night won't be Eazy.

The SSQQ ALASKA CRUISE scheduled for July 16 - July 23 has reached a very critical moment. Prices for this trip have skyrocketed due to the extreme popularity of Alaska trips during the summer. Let me add the Cruise Industry says this is shaping up as the biggest year in history for cruise trips to Alaska.

Each Saturday I play basketball with Alan Fox, the owner of one of the largest travel agencies in Houston. Not long ago Alan told me he has never seen demand for Alaska trips like he is seeing this year. Here is a brief blurb from his Newsletter:

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 3:40 PM
Subject: Vacations To Go Cruise Newsletter

"This year is starting strong for all the major cruise regions, with both bookings and prices ahead of last year's pace. Last year at this time, people were booking cruises an average of 72 days before departure; this year, they're booking an average of 94 days before departure.

That's quite a swing, an advance-booking curve that hasn't been seen in this industry since before 9-11, and it indicates that travelers are more confident this year about planning international vacations. It also means ships will likely fill up a bit earlier than they have in recent years.

The hottest ticket in 2005 may well be the Alaska cruisetour, which typically consists of a 7-day Alaska cruise combined with a 3- to 14-day land tour of Alaska's interior. About half of all Alaska cruisers opt to add a land tour before or after their cruise.
I've heard that the pace of sales of Alaska cruisetours this year exceeds the best year in history, which is a strong indication that they will sell out earlier than usual."

In a nutshell, even though it is only March our Alaska ship is on the verge of selling out!!

I am not going to fib and say this trip is cheap. In fact, this is an expensive trip. What we will say is that right now the SSQQ price for this trip is $200 to $500 a person below market price. This discount is available because we booked the trip back in November! However the discount disappears in Two Weeks. Come March 18 the price skyrockets.

REPEAT: SSQQ has its space reserved and price locked in for TWO MORE WEEKS. After that, the space is GONE.

This is not a Bluff. On March 18 we have to release our unsold space. From that point on we cannot guarantee space much less the current price!!


The moment we release our remaining cabins, Royal Caribbean has people on a wait-list ready to snap up the unused space in an instant.


The good news is after March 17, you still have another month and a half before you have to make your final decision.

Please note that you can still back out of the trip and get a COMPLETE REFUND UP TILL MAY 7TH.

So there is no reason not to lock in a cabin at a tremendous bargain by acting now. Not only will the prices jump, the ship will sell out of all cabins soon after.

Act now!

Email Marla Archer at or call her at 713 862 4428.

Newcomers to the SSQQ Newsletter do not realize that what you receive by email is shall we say merely the tip of the iceberg. What you are reading now is merely an overview. To read all the stories I am about to mention, you will need to go to the SSQQ Web Site at and click in to whatever catches your fancy.


2005 February: Casey Casanova!

1. Susan Arevalo (Seventeen Months in a Row!)
2. Steve Upchurch (Fifth Victory!)
3. Anita Leung (First Time Winner!)
4. Ritesh Laud (Eleven Months in a Row! - one more makes a year!)
5. Stephanie Barrow (Two Months in a Row!)
6. Ann Faget (Eighteen Months in a Row!)

Special congratulations are due Ann Faget for assuming the Throne this month. For a year and a half, she has shared the leadership with my friends Connie and Jeff Woodman. But in February they missed the deadline, so now Ann stands on top of the mountain as the undisputed SSQQ Logic Puzzle Champion!!

This month Ann is clearly the star of this month's SSQQ Newsletter! Not only has she become the league leader in the coveted Logic Puzzle Race (with a magnificent total of 5 whole people on her tail!), Ann contributed the Vocabulary Word of the Month (hors de combat) and the Worst Pun of the Month. Wow! That's like getting Three Newsletter Oscars in one month, which is probably a record for this little Newspaper.

You would think Ann would be celebrating her ascent to SSQQ Celebrity, but this is not the case. In fact, Ann is afraid to show her face at the studio because she is MARKED for punishment. Yes, folks, I put out a HIT Contract on Ann because her puns have made me suffer too much. You can read about the story in greater detail by checking our "Worst Pun of the Month" category. After you see how bad her pun is ("Disaster at Sea"), you will quickly agree with her designation as "Noted Troublemaker" along with a fellow partner in crime Chris Holmes. Yes, indeed, Ann had better watch her step!

Milt Oglesby is to be commended for his informative Joke Picture of the Month offering. Milt helps us understand exactly what most employers are looking for in their job candidates.

Nanci Loren is the SSQQ Employee of the Month. Her Little Dutch Boy impersonation saved the Ezra Charles Party from doom.

Mara Rivas messed up bad! Yes, the SSQQ Woman of the Year for 2004 scheduled a side trip for the intrepid members of the upcoming Alaska Cruise, but the Great Gabino saved the day!! And you ask, what is on earth is Rick talking about?? Well, none of this really happened. It is all nonsense. I am just trying to get some of you interested in this month's Logic Puzzle which concerns visits to various Aleutian Islands. Want to join the SSQQ Logic Puzzle Club and be a star like Anna Banana? Here is your chance!

2005 March Logic Puzzle: Aleutian Island Hopping

We have nine brand new jokes this month contributed by Gary Richardson, Leroy Ginzel, Anita Williams, Lynn Griffiths, Judy Walsh, Mae Neihouse, and Phyllis Porter. My favorite was the "Hollywood Squares" joke by Mae Neihouse containing clever adlibs from the excellent guest stars on this classic TV show. Funny stuff!

SSQQ Slow Dance and Romance struck gold this month. Two couples got married. Curious to know who they are? Then go visit the web site!!

My friend Carol Gafford sent in this month's Venus and Mars selection. Quite frankly, I wish men could write women-bashing material as well as the women do. When it comes to poison penmanship, the girls got it over the boys big-time. Carol's clever takes on the joys and boys of Marriage are hysterical reading.

Last month I was angry at the United Salseros for leaving flyers on our cars without permission, then having the nerve to email me to thank me for giving them permission! Now that was a clever idea. After complaining about their behavior, I received yet another email telling me they have every legal right in the world to plaster our student's cars with flyers anytime they want. Maybe so, but it is still unethical.

In this month's Newsletter I print the latest letter from the Salseros. In this letter they chastise SSQQ for keeping our student's captive!!

Salsero Quote: "I just think that it is sad that you would handicap your students... You really do not want your students to venture outside the playground."

Well, now you know. Last month SSQQ had a Slutty Newsletter and this month SSQQ handicaps its students and prevents them from dancing outside our doors. Sometimes you have to wonder how we manage to stay in business!

About that Slutty Newsletter article, a friend of one of the involved parties wrote me a serious letter expressing concern that maybe I should not have published that article in the first place. To be honest I had some misgivings about putting that story in last month's Newsletter. My reply to the serious letter will explain my reasons for doing so.

If you didn't get a chance to read Anita William's excellent story on the victory of her two students Victor Marquez and Joel McClesky last month at the UCDWC World Championships, I included this story again in this month's Newsletter. You really should read it. Not only is the story wonderfully entertaining, you will discover that SSQQ Instructor Randy Winfrey is also a World Champion!! And by the way, Trent Haynes, you are right, I forgot to mention that your beautiful wife (and SSQQ Whip Instructor) Michelle Wann Haynes is also a Houston City Whip Champion. We have so many Champions here I can't even keep track of them all!

A very interesting section of every Newsletter is our "Special Features". In this section I put stories from the news or letters that I think are important, funny, or interesting.

This month in Special Features we have an interesting story about how the government complained to a man about dams built on his property by beavers. It leads to some precious plays on words: "You better take care of that dam problem!!" Another story is deeply troubling. It features the ongoing problems of a young Pakistani woman who was - fill in the blank - by five men in retribution for an indiscretion done by her brother. In other words, the wrong person suffered for the crime of another. It is a terrible story. And then comes the ludicrous story of an Oklahoma judge who is being charged with a crime too bizarre to believe (and it sounds like he is guilty!). The fourth story about why old men should be sent to war is a humorous piece contributed by Noted Troublemaker Chris Holmes. The fifth story is a reprint of story from the March 2002 SSQQ Newsletter about a ridiculous lawsuit filed against Southwest Airlines. Our sixth and final story is a letter from a man commenting on my Website article dealing with Responsibility and Absurd Lawsuits. I don't like our legal system very much. As I get more and more "first-hand" experience with the law profession, I find myself discovering why lawyers and the legal system are losing the public's respect for the law.

I did some writing of my own this month. In my 46th chapter of "Adventures of a Dance Teacher", I revisited the single most humiliating moment of my entire career as a businessman in the curious story "Temper Tantrum". Definitely not my finest hour...

This story about how I lost my temper back in 2000 is an example of a complicated situation that I simply didn't handle very well. I don't think most people realize just how difficult running this studio can be at times. The number of people I deal with can be staggering at times. Each and every one of these people occasionally have a small request to make of me.

Here is one of my recent favorites:

-----Original Message-----
From: O - Beaumont
Sent: Thursday, March 03, 2005 10:39 AM
Subject: What to Wear

"Hi my name is David and I have registered for the salsa lessons on Thursday nights. Not that it matters to me so much but my girlfriend wants to know what we should wear. I have no clue.... Please help..."

This harmless, simple request means little until you multiply it times the 4,000 emails a month that I receive and the 1,000 I reply to.

We lost an incredibly valuable administrator at the start of 2005 named Susan Schroeder. A computer genius and a graphics designer by trade, Susan single-handedly did all the Registration work here at SSQQ for two years, ran her "Quick Stop" Store and even began a one-woman campaign to make the studio look nicer. She was an unquestioned success at everything she laid her hands on. Then one day in early January without warning, Susan quit. I begged her to come back, but she wouldn't see me, talk to me, or even consider returning.

As a result of Susan's sudden departure, I had to pick up the pieces and help with the Registration work that Susan did so capably for so long. I quickly began to get some clues what part of the problem was - computers will KILL YOU if you let them. Susan's husband David said there were many times when Susan spent six hours a day strictly handling email and all the details associated with this job. I now believe him.

I think the Computer age along with email and the Internet have made this job so complex that I work harder now than I did back in the 90s. It has gotten to the point where I think I spend at least 3 hours a day simply reading and responding to email. I wonder if other people have noticed how much trouble email can be if you let it.

Violet is back this month. Yes, our mysterious "in-house writer" with the nom de plume "Violet Steplightly" shares a fascinating story about her date for the Ezra Charles Party.

Her story starts off like this:
"Don't get involved with a man who refuses to dance," she said as she shook her finger at me. "He'll never understand the SSQQ mentality!!"

Several people have inquired who Violet Steplightly is. Unfortunately they didn't offer enough money so the secret is safe with me. I will give you a hint though. Violet is a girl. That should narrow it down some. And boy can she write!! Or should I say, "And girl, can she write!!" Her story is so interesting even a clunky guy like me thinks it is fun to read!

Enjoy your SSQQ Newsletter!
Rick Archer









Gloria Sanchez will offer a course in Intermediate 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 1st 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.

Advanced 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.

Belly Dancing will be offered again on Sunday at 7 pm in March

Rachel Koenig, also known as “the Zephyr” will be teaching a four-week Belly Dance class on Sunday evening's.
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!

Intermediate American Tango will be offered on Mondays in March

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 example, 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 the place to start.

Some Like it Hot will be taught by Tracy King on Mondays in March.

This is the perfect chance to learn the basics of four famous Latin dances: Cha-Cha, Rumba, Mambo and Samba. Before Ricky Martin brought Salsa to the forefront, Cha-Cha was the most popular Latin dance of all. Today Cha-Cha is still one of the sexiest and easiest dances to learn. Rumba is a hot, sensual, slow Latin dance that works very well to sexy slow Jazz music. Mambo is the predecessor of Salsa. Brought to fame in Dirty Dancing and Havana Nights, Mambo is a pretty sexy dance in its own right. Samba is the famous dance of Carnivale in Rio de Janiero, fast and scintillating!

Dancing In the Moonlight will be taught by Charlene Tees in March.

Foxtrot, Waltz, and Rumba are three dances that share extremely similar footwork based on the boxstep. By grouping the three dances together, the learning time can be cut dramatically. Sinatra music is synonymous with Foxtrot such as "Witchcraft", "The Way You Look Tonight", and "New York, New York". Waltz is Cinderella's legendary dance of romance. It is danced to classics such as "You Look So Good In Love", "Could I Have This Dance?", "Greensleeves", and "Auld Lang Syne". Less is known about the mysterious Rumba, the Latin equivalent to Waltz. This graceful, sensual dance is perfect for Latin jazz, slow salsas, and popluar music such as "Under the Boardwalk", "Yesterday", and "It's Now or Never". This course is perfect in preparation for weddings, jazz combos on a dinner date, and New Year's Eve. It is also a perfect class to take for a cruise trip. The three dances work perfectly to the Atrium bands playing ballroom classics.

Scott Ladell continues his three-month course with Advanced 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 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! 

 The Beginning Whip/West Coast Swing Superclass returns in March on Mondays and Thursdays. SSQQ is the only place in town that allows you to take the course on 2 different nights for the price of one. Flashy footwork, sexy hip motion, intricate patterns, and eye-catching turns make Whip/WCS a popular option for advanced dancers. This is an especially good time to take this class because the legendary Sleazy Bar Whip Party with Luther and the Healers playing the hot blues is just around the corner in April. Start now and  you will be ready to misbehave along with everyone else!

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 March Scott will be teaching Ghost Town Level 11. This Ghost Town is particularly interesting because the patterns are taught to Polka-rhythm. Are you up for a challenge??

Advanced 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!

BACHATA returns with Linda Cook on Saturdays.
Bachata is danced to slow-rhythm Salsa music. It is a Latin dance that originated in the Dominican Republic. It is based on an ancient African dance rhythm known as 'Ibo' brought over by slaves stolen from the Nigerian Kwa tribe in the early 1800s.  The dance is very similar to bossa nova and is considered just as naughty.

Long considered disreputable music of the lower classes, bachata was not played on commercial radio until recently, even though it had a huge grassroots following. In many ways the history of bachata is similar to that of American blues. Originally a rural, guitar-based form, bachata was the music of the poor and uneducated. The lyrics often contained raw double-entendres and bawdy sexual innuendoes.

And now that you know that Bachata is sometimes known as the Salsa version of "Dancing Down and Dirty", come learn how to dance it!

ZYDECO will be taught on Saturdays with Willie Bushnell and Ronnie Alexander.

Zydeco is a Creole Swing Dance that is extremely popular in the Houston area.  

Zydeco dance music originated in the state of Louisiana in the United States. Similar to Cajun music, Zydeco is more heavily influenced by blues and music from the West Indies. Fast and bouncy, Zydeco uses instruments such as the accordion, saxophone, and washboard. It was popularized by American singer and accordion player Clifton Chenier, often called the "King of Zydeco music." 

It is difficult to describe what the dancing looks like, but we will try anyway. Zydeco combines elements of Swing dancing and Freestyle. This means you have the turns from Swing mixed in with lots of get down and boogie moves. Zydeco is fun, it's sexy, and it is pretty easy to learn! This is a great Saturday night class that will have you laughing all night long!


Hey dancers!

As I said the last time I wrote, I met a boy. He's a nice guy, but he does not dance . . . ever. My good friend, Goody Two Shoes, tried to warn me.

"Don't get involved with a man who refuses to dance," she said as she shook her finger at me. "He'll never understand the SSQQ mentality."

Between you and me, I thought she was being a little closed-minded and judgmental about my new boyfriend. And I really hate to admit this, but I initially thought she was being a little smug just because Mr. Shilly-Shally finally came to his senses and asked her out. **They are doing well. In fact, you've probably seen them dancing and remarked on how cute they look together (yak)** Well, it turns out that in my case Goody Two Shoes was absolutely right.

In case I've been too subtle with this point before, I'll be perfectly blunt now. I love dancing. It's become my raison d'etre, the very essence of my sparkling joie de vivre, I just plain dig it. The greatest thing about being single, and at SSQQ, is that I never have to explain myself for wanting to dance, and I'm constantly surrounded by people who feel the same way I do. One Saturday in late December, some of my friends and I decided we simply couldn't wait for the start of January classes to get our dance fix, so we strutted our stuff into a local dance club. The air was smoky, and we had to dodge drunken flailing on the dance floor, but the music was good, so we managed to have a fun evening. After a few turns on the dance floor with my favorite partner, I went to the bar for some ice water. Okay, it was a rum and coke, so sue me. I sat down at the bar, and the man next to me turned and said, "You looked really great out there." I noticed when he said that he was checking out the hem on my miniskirt, so I should've known he wasn't talking about my dancing. But I was tipsy, (I mean experiencing a dance-induced endorphin rush!!) so I giggled and began playing the flirting game.

His name is Will (as in Will you be mine), and he's SO cute - a slightly younger, blonde version of Johnny Depp. We talked for a while, and my friends tactfully maintained their distance. That was nice of them, but it also meant I didn't get to dance the rest of the night. I kept hoping that Will would ask me to dance with him, but he never did. I thought perhaps he was intimidated by the SSQQ men in my group. If I may say so, these men are extremely talented dancers (they stay for Practice), so I can understand why he might have felt that way. The evening passed, the DJ announced last call, the club emptied, and Will asked for my phone number. Normally I wouldn't give my phone number to a strange man in a bar, but I'm a huge "21 Jump Street" fan, so I threw reason out the window.

I enjoyed my dates with Will. We saw great movies, ate great food, and had great conversations. But something was missing . . . me. Will was great company, but I was not dancing. I was skipping classes and my beloved Practice Nights for our dates, and the whole thing was leaving me feeling empty, faded, downright bummed. The mere suggestion that I turn down a date in order to go to dance class sent Will into a jealous fit. He was convinced that men ONLY go to dance classes to pick up easy women, and our relationship would be in jeopardy if I exposed myself to such an atmosphere. He refused to believe that my dance partners were just friends.

Ever the peace keeper, I sacrificed my personal happiness to the Gods of Love. However, I finally offered a compromise. I invited Will to join me for the Red and White Valentine's Swing Dance. I was excited about getting to see Ezra Charles and the Works, and I thought Will could at least appreciate hearing a live band. It was a little tougher to sell Will on the idea than I had originally hoped, but I had not lost my eyelash batting techniques, and I eventually won. Will made his SSQQ debut on Saturday, February 19, and I even got him enrolled in a crash course. Don't think I didn't notice (and enjoy) the jealous looks you ladies gave me when I entered the room on Will's arm. Alas, such petty joy fades so quickly. Instant Karma got me, it knocked me off my feet.

I still don't understand Will's aversion to dancing, the man has rhythm, but he had the most pained grimace on his face during the entire class. His expression didn't change all night except when he'd glare at me for dancing with another man during the class rotation. He made it quite clear during break that he didn't care for switching partners, and he made an extremely crude reference to switching partners in life, but I won't repeat that here.

I never thought a dance class could be emotionally painful, but Will proved me wrong. I hoped he would lighten up during the party, but I was mistaken once again. The lively music of Ezra Charles and the Works didn't even brighten Will's mood one bit, and he pouted like a child. I felt sorry for anyone who tried to engage him in conversation only to receive clipped, snotty responses. Will wouldn't even say hello when I introduced him to some of my closest friends. I tried to be cheery, but I was utterly humiliated by his performance. I understand that not everyone in the world likes dancing. My fellow dancer enthusiasts call them freaks behind their backs, but to each his/her own I say. What really disappointed me was that Will didn't even attempt to make the best of a fantastic situation. I was exposing him to great music and great people. And the worst part was that I kept trying to please him. You'll recognize me from now on because I plan to get "Sucker" branded on my forehead.

It did not take long before I was fed up. Will and I had a little talk when we left SSQQ that night (which I might add was at 10:00). I told Will that dancing is a big part of my identity, and I emphasized that I refuse to change who I am to make someone else happy. Will said I'd be lonely for the rest of my life with that kind of attitude. That was when I sent him on his way. He had not even pulled out of my driveway before I hopped in my car. I drove straight back to the party.

For the record, I've never been lonely, and I'm especially not lonely now. When I walked back into the studio, Will-free, my friends lovingly welcomed me back, and they made sure I never left the dance floor for the rest of the night. Goody Two Shoes even loaned me Mr. Shilly-Shally a few times. You know, we really have some great people at SSQQ. How could I possibly be lonely when hundreds of fascinating and friendly people flock from all over the city to one dance studio month after month?
I haven't missed a class, or a Practice, since my Battle of the Will, and I don't intend to let anyone come between me and my love of dancing ever again. I don't need to worry about meeting "that special someone" because I have all the companionship I need from my SSQQ family. And we all shine on . . .

Thanks for reading! Stop by next month when we find out if Casey Casanova is more than just a Logic Puzzle character. Does SSQQ really have an amorous amigo who woos clueless classmates? Practice saying that three times fast until the next newsletter comes out. :)

Yours in dance,
Violet Steplightly




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.


Trip Status as of March 3, 2005

The SSQQ ALASKA CRUISE scheduled for July 16 - July 23 has reached a very critical moment. Prices for this trip have skyrocketed due to the extreme popularity of Alaska trips during the summer. Let me add the Cruise Industry says this is shaping up as the biggest year in history for cruise trips to Alaska.

Each Saturday I play basketball with Alan Fox, the owner of one of the largest travel agencies in Houston. Not long ago Alan told me he has never seen demand for Alaska trips like he is seeing this year. Here is a brief blurb from his Newsletter:

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2005 3:40 PM
Subject: Vacations To Go Cruise Newsletter

"This year is starting strong for all the major cruise regions, with both bookings and prices ahead of last year's pace. Last year at this time, people were booking cruises an average of 72 days before departure; this year, they're booking an average of 94 days before departure.

That's quite a swing, an advance-booking curve that hasn't been seen in this industry since before 9-11, and it indicates that travelers are more confident this year about planning international vacations. It also means ships will likely fill up a bit earlier than they have in recent years.

The hottest ticket in 2005 may well be the Alaska cruisetour, which typically consists of a 7-day Alaska cruise combined with a 3- to 14-day land tour of Alaska's interior. About half of all Alaska cruisers opt to add a land tour before or after their cruise.

I've heard that the pace of sales of Alaska cruisetours this year exceeds the best year in history, which is a strong indication that they will sell out earlier than usual."

In a nutshell, even though it is only March our Alaska ship is on the verge of selling out!!

I am not going to fib and say this trip is cheap. In fact, this is an expensive trip. What we will say is that right now the SSQQ price for this trip is $200 to $500 a person below market price. This discount is available because we booked the trip back in November!  However the discount disappears in Two Weeks. Come March 18 the price skyrockets.

REPEAT: SSQQ has its price locked in for TWO MORE WEEKS.
(PS- You have my word of honor this is not a BLUFF.)

On March 18 we have to release our unsold space. From that point on we cannot guarantee space much less the current price.


The moment we release our remaining cabins, Royal Caribbean has people on a wait-list ready to snap up the unused space in an instant.


The good news is you still have another month and a half before you have to make your final decision.

Please note that you can still back out of the trip and get a COMPLETE REFUND UP UNTIL MAY 7th.

So there is no reason not to lock in a cabin at a tremendous bargain by acting now. Not only will the prices jump, the ship will sell out of all cabins soon after.

Act now!!   Email Marla Archer at or call her at 713 862 4428.


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:
Same Time Next Year.







"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.

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:  (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.

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."







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


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
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


-----Original Message-----
From: United Salseros
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2005 4:34 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: RE: Thank You from United Salseros

We never meant any harm to you. I personally do not think that we have caused any. I chose to contact you because that is something that had never been done directly. In my last email, I asked if you would have a problem with us contacting you directly. I take it from the tone of your email that you would.

We have contacted other studios and one agreed to give our flyers to its instructors and decided to let the instructors chose if they want to disseminate the information to their students. They were honest and specifically stated that they solely promote their own events. But they also saw the potential of being affiliated with us, because any advertising of their studio is good. It was probably a difficult compromise from them. But, they can also see that we do the legwork and they can reap the benefit.

Many students and former students of SSQQ thought that a mutual support between SSQQ and others in the scene would be beneficial to you because you get such a bad rap from some of your former students. I never really had an opinion because once again, I do not know you. But, I can definitely see how they reached the conclusions that they have. I personally, do not think that the bad publicity will have a great effect on your business. You already have the longevity needed to survive. You have your own venue and can control it without compromise. I just think that it is sad that you would handicap your students. Again, I can only speak for United Salseros, but we are not trying to compromise your classes or events. We just wanted to afford your students the same opportunities that we afford everyone else that we can contact. You will be left alone as you desire.

But to leave your mind at ease about whom I am. My name is Crystal Moody. My partner and I are former students of SSQQ. I attended socials there well after I discontinued taking classes. I always enjoyed the large wooden floor and the space to practice. Not to mention that it was nice to have a soda after working up a thirst from dancing. When I started practicing with a group, I would still pay $3 on Thursdays just to practice on your floor. We are neither nameless nor faceless. I still get your newsletters. But you choose not to associate with others outside of SSQQ. If you ventured beyond those walls at least once, you would know who we are. We work with all organizations, clubs, groups, and associations that want to support the salsa scene in Houston. We decided to get started with this venture after returning from New York in August. Recently, we have had dancers perform on ABC and were able to get our events and those affiliated with the events advertised on television free. We do not hold events for money. My partner and I have affluent jobs. The money goes to pay for expenses incurred.

And it is very clear that although you hold yourself out as a social dance school, you really do not want your students to venture outside the playground. For the record, I came to SSQQ for months and I still have no clue who you are. I make it a point to introduce myself to everyone that comes to our events and listen to their wants. I apologize if we offended any of your students. That was never our intent. I also apologize if we offended you in any way. However, living here in Texas, you are clearly aware of the saying "you get more flies with sugar".

For your information, by law, I do not need your authorization to hand out flyers "outside" of your studio. I only state that to address your comment. I have never handed out flyers inside of any studio, club or other venue without the express consent of the owner. I would not disrespect you. We only continued because of the positive feedback that we received from your students. So, tell them that you do not want them to know about events outside of SSQQ. And please explain why.


Thank you for sharing your name, Ms. Moody.

The reason you have never met me is simple. I do not teach Salsa. I am an administrator, not an instructor.
I am not difficult to speak to. I answer all my email and do not dodge people. As you have discovered, I am very easy to reach through email.

I do resent a completely absurd statement such as “I would like to say thank to SSQQ for allowing United Salseros to invite your students to our salsa events.”

Let me share an email with you, Ms. Moody:

From:    G, TAMMEY
Sent:    Wednesday, January 26, 2005 7:56 AM
To:        'Rick Archer'
Subject: flyers on all the cars


I just want you to know that the past two Tuesday nights I have gone out to go home and there are post cards on all the cars. The students just keep bringing me one after another because they think you are under attack. I left one in the Hall Monitor book but they are from Melody Club advertising Salsa.  

Have a good day, Tammey”

For the record, Ms. Moody, I have had a dozen people drag your flyers back into my studio irritated that someone had the nerve to put them on their windshields. One of the nice things about our studio is that people are never solicited in any way, but that has ended thanks to you.

No one with any authority gave you the slightest permission. How do start a conversation with such an obvious falsehood? Yet
you seem to be surprised that I react to your statements with negativity.

There is a right way and wrong way to approach people. “After the fact” is clearly the wrong way.

Another problem is that my studio was under a serious attack by one of your business associates Salsa Eddy just one year ago. After all the misery he caused us with his lack of ethics, your approach has evoked an eerie sense of déjà vu in my mind.  If you are an ethical business person, you will have no problems dealing with me. However you have clearly started on the wrong foot, a serious misstep for a dancer I might add.

You wrote: “
because you get such a bad rap from some of your former students

Could you be more specific?  Vague accusations are empty air, empty words, and a waste of time. If you have something to criticize, say it to me directly. You have my attention, Ms. Moody.

You wrote: “I just think that it is sad that you would handicap your students.”

How ridiculous is that statement?  Handicap them from what?  Not giving you unfettered access to them?

I run a dance school. We teach people how to dance. Our students are not prisoners. They come here of their own free will and leave the same way. These people are free to do whatever they want.

Many of my students and many of my instructors are deeply connected to the Salsa community in their own way. I am sure many of these people cross your path all the time. Where on earth are you coming from?

You seem to have an awful of energy towards an organization that is noted for minding its own business and leaving other people alone. I don’t know what I have done to deserve such insults from a total stranger, but as for me, I simply resent your uninvited intrusion into our activities.

Perhaps if you had started out using your name and asking me for exactly what it is you want instead of being sneaky, we could have done business.

Rick Archer


I have absolutely no axe to grind with Ms. Moody or the United Salseros as long as they leave SSQQ alone. We are a DANCE SCHOOL.  We teach Salsa and we also teach Ballroom, Swing, Zydeco, Whip, and Country.

Why they choose to criticize us for not being more "connected" to the Salsa community is ridiculous. Many SSQQ instructors and students participate in United Salseros programs all the time. But they do it as individuals, not as collective members of SSQQ.

We don't bad mouth other teachers or other dance programs. We don't prevent our students from taking classes at other places.

We do try to keep COMMERCIALISM to a minimum.  No one knows this, but we could fill two tables with flyers of things that people ask us to promote.  Fortunately in this day of Electronic Email, there are dozens of email groups that do a very good job of this.

 I have heard from my instructors that the people at the United Salseros are actually pretty nice. 







Adventures of a Dance Teacher is a series of different stories written by Rick Archer about his various ups and downs in the World of Dance. As of March 2005, the total is up to 46 and there are five more stories just waiting around till enough free time opens up to write them all!

In another part of the March Newsletter, I talk about how various SSQQ rules originate. Here at SSQQ, we have a firm rules about when Refunds are given and when they aren't. This particular incident involving a Refund request taught us the value of writing our policies as clearly as possible.  RJA

April 2000 - The Story of the Couple Who Asked for a Refund Half an Hour After their Class Ended.

For many years, the SSQQ House Policy on Refunds was "Ask for your Refund Before you leave the building. Once you leave the Building, we will give you Credit, but not a Refund". In the twenty years we had this policy posted from 1980 to 2000, this had always meant to ask for a Refund during class or just as you were leaving class.

However, if you read what it says literally, it means as long as you are in the building that first night, you can ask for a Refund. This is the story of how a couple of students exploited that loophole and made me furious in the process.

As I near my 30th year in business, I can only recall getting in a serious argument with a customer on this one occasion. However I didn't just lose my temper; I completely exploded!!

To read the entire story, visit







hi rick--

the ezra charles dance was a total blast!  i wore myself out dancing and loved it.  i hope the event was a financial success so that ezra can return.   regards, Doug


Thank you for having Ezra Charles play at the studio. My friends and I had a great time.

I hope you and Marla had fun as well. See you soon.  Smooch. S


I started going to SSQQ six years ago next month. I have had a countless number great times at the studio but last night was the best time I've ever had there. The studio looked great and everyone seemed to be having a wonderful time. I regularly go see Ezra play live but having him play on our "home court" just seemed to kick it up a notch!! Congratulations on a fantastic evening!!

Steve G



Great dance party this past weekend. Colleen & I feel it was the best dance party ever put on by SSQQ. Hope many more to come with same venue. Thanks.


What about Johnny Dee and the Rocket 88's for the Sock Hop?  Maureen B

You are definitely feeling ambitious, Maureen.

First a quick lesson in band economics.

It is difficult to make a profit off of a live band. The first 100 guests pay the band. The next 30 guests work here and are attending for free. The next 30 guests pay for the photographer and the refreshments.

What you don’t know is the number of complaints I received about the $20 cover!!  I will simply say I was angry the whole night after the third complaint. That’s when I sat down to cool off.  So add in the cost to my nerves of worrying about losing money and the aggravation of the listening to the complainers spout off and you have a rough idea why we aren't going to do this more often.

It is true that a live band adds energy to the studio that may reflect in more students.  Lets hope so! I am experimenting with this theory in 2005. We have had two excellent results so far so I am in a optimistic mood.

That said,

a) I doubt I can afford Johnny Dee. I barely made money on Ezra and I thought his price was very fair.
b) The sock hop will make more money without a band than with a band since it has “legs” of its own.
c)  Next party to get a live band will be whip in April, then salsa in June – the sock hop is June and my nerves can’t take two bands in one month.
d) Maybe western after that. Swing needs to get in line. I have a lot of people to make happy.

Nevertheless I love Johnny Dee. He would be perfect for the studio!  Maybe I can book him in advance for something later in the year.

Thanks for the idea!

No problem, Rick... by the way, your prices for Ezra were fine. My friend in San Antonio is charging the same thing this weekend at the Blue Bubble Ballroom... and I don't think that includes refreshments.


One more thing: Luther and the Healers will be playing at the April 23 Sleazy Bar Party.
Don't miss it!!







-----Original Message-----
From: s
Sent: Tuesday, February 08, 2005 4:39 PM
Subject: complaint filth!

Hi Rick,

I know you don't want to hear this but people are complaining about the trash cans running over.............and every night I work someone comes running up to me and saying WHERE ARE THE PAPER TOWELS? WHERE ARE THE DRINK CUPS? WHERE IS THE TOILET PAPER.........and I want you to know that I DO NOT MIND GETTING THESE THINGS AND PUTTING THEM OUT, BUT MOST OF THE TIME IT'S WHEN I AM WORKING THE DOOR AND HAVE A LINE OF PEOPLE COMING IN AND CAN'T LEAVE...a lady came running up to me in at this time with her hands ringing wet...........also the floor in the popcorn room is a dirty mess.....AND CAN'T THE CLEANING PEOPLE PLEASE PUT OUT HAND SOAP? we never have any.

Also I talked to T and she and I both agree they we don't mind emptying the trash so it is NOT an eye sore for the people coming in if it will help person went so far as to ask me if I have gone to such and such dance studio and when I replied NO they said well the place is very clean and the floors are like you are flouting on them and there are lots of SSQQ people going there...I told them SSQQ is the best deal in town and No I have not gone over there.

Now I hope you don't get mad at me....but I am just trying to make our place a nice place to dance......If I am out of line by telling you this....just say so by email and I won't bring it up

your friend, S

I have been trying to solve the problem of cleaning the studio for the past five months. This difficult problem has either directly or indirectly cost me two of my most valuable Staff members Judy Archer and Susan Schroeder.

We have hired a business known as Sanserve starting in March. Hopefully putting professionals to work will make a difference. I will keep you posted.






 -----Original Message-----
From: SC
Sent: Tuesday, August 10, 2004 2:34 PM
Subject: Complaints at the studio vs. happy students

I was in one of those shared room swing classes when you announced you might be dropping classes as an answer to the "overcrowding" problem. I think that, without knowing it, you solved the problem for our group in the moment, by announcing your decision to us in class to drop classes.

As a group, none of us wanted to lose the classes we were taking if that was the consequence of having more space, and we let you know that. And you acted accordingly. BRAVO! Students and teachers were willing to be more accommodating to make the situation work for all after that.

By the sound of your newsletter, it seems that you are reaching the conclusion bit by bit that you simply cannot please everyone.  It doesn't work to try to solve every single problem or complaint of individuals because it causes more problems to the studio as a whole. I don't think there's anything wrong with telling people you have looked at a situation, and that you have no better solution. And if that does not work for a particular individual, perhaps the solution for that individual is not to attend the studio anymore.

As long as you are interested in what your students think, and if there is a question, put it to the group. Let those who attend your studio, teachers and students, have a say in what happens, not just an individual with a problem. There are many of us who are very happy with your studio and who are interested in the outcome of complaints and problems because we are all affected by your decisions.

I think if people read the your newsletter they will see that you are all about solving problems, if there is a way. For me, that knowledge goes a long way. I am willing to put up with some things simply because I know you're doing your best. And there are certainly enough intelligent people in the studio as a whole to offer solutions if they see them. People just need to know what the problems are. And I know the door is open if I have a legitimate complaint or problem. I also know that the world does not revolve around me and in a group situation such as a dance studio, there are always factors to be considered of which I know nothing.

As one who loves to dance, I would give up many things to keep the diversity and opportunity available at the studio. I think you have a great setup. I only wish I had found it years ago.

Keep up the good work, and thanks for all you do.





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

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.


( )

-----Original Message-----
From: G
Sent: Friday, January 28, 2005 10:58 AM
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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

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,






THOUGHT-PROVOKING QUESTIONS - Contributed by Judith Williams

Why do we press harder on a remote control when we know the batteries are flat?

Why do banks charge a fee on "insufficient funds" when they know we're already short?

Why does someone believe you when you say there are four billion stars, but check when you say the paint is wet?

Why doesn't glue stick to the bottle?

Why do they use sterilized needles for death by lethal injection?

Why doesn't Tarzan have a beard?

Why does Superman stop bullets with his chest, but ducks when you throw a revolver at him?

Why do Kamikaze pilots wear helmets?

Whose idea was it to put an "S" in the word "lisp"?

What is the speed of darkness?

Are there specially reserved parking spaces for "normal" people at the Special Olympics?

If the temperature is zero outside today and it's going to be twice as cold tomorrow, how cold will it be?

If people evolved from apes, why are there still apes?

If it's true that we are here to help others, what are the others doing here?

If someone with a split personality threatens to commit suicide, is it a hostage situation?

Do you cry under water?

How important does a person have to be before they are considered assassinated instead of just murdered?

If money doesn't grow on trees then why do banks have branches?

Why does a round pizza come in a square box?

How is it that we put man on the moon before we figured out it would be a good idea to put wheels on luggage?

Why is it that people say they "slept like a baby" when babies wake up every two hours?

If a deaf person has to go to court, is it still called a hearing?

Why do people pay to go up tall buildings and then put money in binoculars to look at things on the ground?

Why do doctors leave the room while you change?
They're going to see you naked anyway.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Rick Archer"
To: "Judith T. Williams"
Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 10:08 AM
Subject: RE: : WHY

Hey Judith, after reading all this I'm wondering why I was stupid enough to give you my email address.

Miss you! Smooch and hug. Rick

-----Original Message-----
From: Judith T. Williams
Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 11:14 AM
Subject: Re: : WHY

Why do you say that?  Why, I thought most of these quite thought-provoking!

From: "Rick Archer"
To: "Judith T. Williams"
Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 12:08 PM
Subject: RE: : WHY

I am trying to write a newsletter and instead I find myself wondering why there should or shouldn't be apes just because we descended from apes.

And by the way, shouldn't we have "ascended" from apes?

Why did we DESCEND from apes?  Does this mean apes are better than us?

Answer that, smarty pants.

 -----Original Message-----
From: Judith T. Williams
Sent: Thursday, March 03, 2005 10:50 AM
Subject: Re: : WHY

You got me, Darling!





-----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
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 []
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 []
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 []
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


-----Original Message-----
Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2005 8:05 AM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: newsletter issue

The article about the guy wanting to be taken off the list because of an affair he had with someone at the studio -- I know the woman that he was referring to. Unfortunately, you didn't cover the identities well enough, hence, there are a few people who know who she is too.

My friend is hurt and embarrassed. Of course, the majority of those who are reading the newsletter have no idea of who she is. But, some of those who do maybe didn't know about this particular part of her business. She has already received an email from someone who figured out it was her who was being referred to. Other student friends who do know about it are furious about this being aired in the newsletter.

I know of some things that you have to deal with in running the studio and all the trauma and drama that brings. I understand why you put a note of that type in the newsletter, but I don't think it occurred to you the ramifications it could have.

I don't want you to be upset with me about writing this. I want to let you know the undercurrent of things that are on the minds of students which could be disruptive to the studio that I love so much. In the overall scheme of things, this issue might not be too much. But if a student, whether it is my friend or not, is hurt or embarrassed, my motherly instinct is to say something. If her friends are angry, it is my duty to let you know it.

Even if I ask you not to, I know you might put this in the newsletter. My thoughts are that it is not necessary to run a dialogue about something sensitive like this; it will just add to the emotion that is already out there. We don't even know how or if it affected anyone else. I am cautioning you against upsetting your customers.



-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2005 10:33 AM
Subject: newsletter issue

These are very serious points.

I appreciate the courage it took for you to write this letter. I have no desire to embarrass you for sticking up for a friend.

If I do decide to publish it, your name will not be involved.

I do not know who this man is you describe. I do not know a thing about this incident. I was also unaware that this incident was such a "cause celebre". If I had been aware this affair was so widely known about, I would have been more discrete.

I do regret that I did not disguise the names better. However I have a problem that you may not be aware of - the credibility of what I report in the Newsletter is only as good as my reputation for telling the truth. People actually ask me if I make this stuff up. Well, I don't. What I print has no power if I soft-soap everything. Nevertheless I did make an error by not disguising the names better.

I assume the friends are angry because someone's reputation has been compromised, but no one seems to care about the other letter. Why not? Because no one knows who it is and no one cares. And this is my point. 99.9% of the community doesn't care. The only ones who care already know!

My wife had no idea who was involved in either situation. Nor did she care. The only people who know are likely to be people who already know. The only people who care are likely to be the ones who already know.

As for the woman who somehow "guessed" the correct identity, if the incident did occur, the initials allow anyone to deny it if they wish to.

You feel a loyalty to defend a friend. However I do not share this loyalty. I do not know this woman very well. But I have received three negative reports on her from three different sources. I believe every one of them. This letter that I printed was the last straw.

I have something to say to you that I did NOT say in the Newsletter. I don't actually like what happened one bit. I didn't spell it out, but the hidden message behind both incidents to the general community was "behave yourself". I put these letters in as a "caution sign" for everyone. My studio is not a place for predatory behavior on the behalf of either sex.

You may not have noticed, but I held onto the letter re your friend for several months. But when I got the other letter, I decided enough was enough. I decided I was going to keep getting letters like these if I didn't do something about it.

If I had my preference, I would rather neither incident would have ever occurred. Now you know why I printed the two incidents.

Rick Archer


SSQQ is not a church. But it isn't a bar either. It is a place where people come to dance and have fun. I want visitors to the studio to feel safe.

In one of the incidents written about, someone lied about their marital status. This deceit led to a very decent person getting hurt.

I don't like people who deceive other people.  It is true that people need love, but gosh what a shame there is so much shit they have to put up with to get some. I apologize for the bad word, but felt it was appropriate here. 

SSQQ is a very nice place. The entire studio is filled with many terrific people. But I have to be honest and tell you all there are predators here too. I am sorry for this, but hope that a word to wise is sufficient.

It is the few jerks in the world that force all the rest of us to be on guard all the time.

I published these stories simply as a warning to everyone.







Editor's Note: Throughout the years, we have done our level best to be accommodating to the needs of our students. Although some people would disagree, we generally get high marks for being friendly, polite, and understanding.

However once in a while some of the complaints or expectations just get under my skin. Here are a couple email exchanges that left me rolling my eyes.


-----Original Message-----
From: MR
Sent: Friday, February 25, 2005 12:29 PM
Subject: schedule question from current member

Hi,  I am currently taking a class there. I was wondering if you can change or offer salsa, merengue, and bachata on Mondays and Sundays because I spoke to other members they would like to take the class on those days. So if there is a demand can you offer it?

Thanks,  MR

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Friday, February 25, 2005 3:17 PM
To: MR
Subject: RE: schedule question from current member

The schedule has been the same for over ten years. It isn’t going to change. Try private lessons to accommodate your free time.

-----Original Message-----
From: MR
Sent: Friday, February 25, 2005 3:27 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: RE: schedule question from current member

Thanks, I may just try that.


Over the years, I periodically get suggestions to change the SSQQ schedule.

I don't think people give it a second thought how preposterous this idea is from my perspective.

Tell you what. Let's pretend I do it. I have decided to switch Monday and Tuesday classes in April.  First I email a dozen instructors on Monday and tell them they are switching to Tuesday. Then I email a dozen Tuesday instructors and ask them to rearrange their schedule so they can start teaching on Monday.

Then I email 30 volunteers on both nights and see if it is a problem for them to switch nights.

Then I phone Leisure Learning. I schedule classes with them about five months in advance so this will be a tough call, but I make it anyway. I tell them to disregard the SSQQ schedule printed in their 70,000 catalogues. Ask them to explain the switch to anyone who calls in to register. Then I ask them to update their web site. Then I ask them to phone all the people already registered on Tuesdays and Mondays and ask them to switch nights.

Then I explain to the 100 students who are used to coming to the studio on Tuesdays for Salsa that they need to come on Mondays instead from now on.  Then I do the same thing for the 100 Swing and Ballroom students who are used to taking classes on Mondays.  You think they will mind?  Nah.

The shame of it is, Salsa is is already offered Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

At some point it boils down to "here's our schedule; hope it works for you."


-----Original Message-----
From: DR
Sent: Friday, February 04, 2005 8:19 AM
Subject: crash courses

I am interested in signing up for the beginning two step/polka classes but unfortunately am only able to take Saturday classes. I was wondering how much instruction I could actually get from a crash course. My husband and I are very interested in learning to dance together and would love to take a more in depth class but as I was looking at the schedule our best bet would be the crash courses. Any more information on these classes would be appreciated.

Thank you, DR

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer []
Sent: Friday, February 04, 2005 9:25 AM
To: Donna R - Kingwood
Subject: RE: crash courses

Crash courses are just what the name implies - a two-hour class in one dance subject. If you stay for the party after and practice every chance you get, chances are the material will "stick" for a long time. However if you go home and don't practice, the material will slip from memory quickly.

-----Original Message-----
From: DR
Sent: Friday, February 04, 2005 9:30 AM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: RE: crash courses

Do you think there will ever be any Saturday classes for beginner two step/polka classes?

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Friday, February 04, 2005 12:14 PM
To: D R - Kingwood
Subject: RE: crash courses

I never say "No", but our schedule has been the same for twenty years.

Consider trying a private lesson for Saturday western private lessons.
We can do that.

-----Original Message-----
From: DR
Sent: Friday, February 04, 2005 12:53 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: RE: crash courses

Thank you but I am not looking for private lessons. I guess I will continue in my search.

By the way, are you planning to open up a studio here in Kingwood??


Back in the 70s I was in graduate school for clinical psychology. One of the professors in our department had landed a half-million grant to study social discrimination. He recruited several graduate students to assist him with his project. I took a look at his prospectus and privately thought it was ridiculous, so I passed on the offer. I also had trouble understanding why the government would spend a half-million dollars on something this obvious. But who am I to have a say??

My officemate agreed with me, but he needed the money so he accepted.  After his first day on the job he told me a story that soon had the entire Psychology department in stitches.

The idea was to have a graduate student hitchhiking on a major highway near the University. One would be dressed like a hippie with beard, peace symbol, sandals, long hair, ragged jeans, you get the picture.  He would write down the ratio of cars that stopped to pick him up versus the number of cars that just kept driving.

Then the next day he would dress as a clean-cut Junior Future Farmers of America type. He would take off the wig and fake beard, wear some nice clothes like a button-down shirt and slacks. He would then write down the same statistics.

Theoretically after a couple of weeks of alternating his outfits, the graduate student would acquire enough statistics to prove the theory that clean-cut people get more hitchhike offers than the hippies.  This asinine study was about as clever as doing a study in a bar to see whether women with large exposed breasts and hot pants get hit on more often than women who wear long pants and cover their assets. You think I could get a grant to study that??

So my office companion goes out to his assigned spot on the highway. It was his "clean-cut" day.  By coincidence that day a real-life hippie got dropped off not too far down the road and immediately started hitchhiking as well on the other side of the road.

Over the next hour or so, car after car after car stopped for my friend to offer him a ride. Each time he politely explained he was actually just doing a study and the car would then take off.  Meanwhile the hippie hadn't gotten one offer at all.  He had absolutely nothing else to do except watch incredulously as Mr. Clean Cut sent one driver after another down the road.

Finally the hippie couldn't take it any more. He walked over to Mr. Clean Cut and said, "Hey Man, what the H___ is your problem?   What are you waiting for, a ride to your F___ing Living Room??"

Whenever I have a dance student who asks me why we don't have a studio in their neighborhood or why we don't offer our classes on a night or time more convenient for them, I always am reminded of the Hippie Who Couldn't Get a Ride.












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


2005 March Jokes

The Lottery Winner - Leroy Ginzel

A woman hurries home, screeches her car into the driveway, runs into the house, slams the door and shouts at the top of her lungs, "Honey, pack your bags. I won the lottery!"

The husband says, 'Oh my God! What should I pack, beach stuff or mountain stuff?"

"Doesn't matter," she says. "Just get the hell out!!"

Eleven People Hanging on a Rope - Lynn Griffiths

Eleven people were hanging on a rope under a helicopter. Ten men and one woman.

The rope was not strong enough to carry them all, so they decided that one had to leave, because otherwise they were all going to fall.

They weren't able to name that person, until the woman gave a very touching speech. She said that she would voluntarily
let go of the rope, because, as a woman, she was used to giving up everything for her husband and kids, or for men in general, and was used to always making sacrifices with little in return.

As soon as she finished her speech, all the men started clapping their hands in appreciation.

Eighteenth Birthday - Leroy Ginzel

Today be my baby girl's 18th birthday. I be so glad that this be my last child support payment! Month after month, year after year, all those damn payments!

So I call my baby girl, LaKeesha, to come to my house, and when she get there, I say, "Baby girl, I want you to take this check over to yo momma house and tell her this be the last check she ever be gettin' from me, and I want you to come back and tell me the 'spression on yo mama's face."

So my baby girl she take the check over to her. I be anxious to hear what she say and what she look like.

Baby girl walk through the door, I say, "Now what yo momma say 'bout that?"

She say to tell you that "You ain't my daddy .... and watch the 'spression on yo face."

The Synagogue Audit - Judy Walsh

At the end of the tax year the Tax Office sent an inspector to audit the books of a synagogue. While he was checking
the books he turned to the Rabbi and said, "I notice you buy a lot of candles. What do you do with the candle drippings?"

"Good question," noted the Rabbi. "We save them up and send them back to the candle makers, and every now and then they
send us free box of candles."

"Oh," replied the auditor, somewhat disappointed that his unusual question had a practical answer. But on he went in his own particularly obnoxious way: "What about all these matzo purchases? What do you do with the crumbs?"

"Ah, yes," replied the Rabbi, realizing that this inspector was trying to trap him with an unanswerable question. "We
collect them and send them back to the manufacturers. Every now and then they send a free box of matzo balls."

"I see," replied the auditor, thinking hard about how he could fluster the know-it-all Rabbi. "Well, Rabbi," he went on, "what do you do with all the leftover foreskins from he circumcisions you perform?"

"Here, too, we do not waste," answered the Rabbi, getting tired of this unusually rude auditor. "What we do is save up all the foreskins and send them to the Tax Office, and about once a year they send us a complete dick."

The Coma - Gary Richardson

Bubba's sister is pregnant and is in a bad car accident, which caused her to fall into a deep coma. After nearly six months, she awakens and sees that she is no longer pregnant.

Frantically, she asks the doctor about her baby.

The doctor replies, " Ma'am, you had twins - a boy and a girl. The babies are fine. Your brother came in and named them."

The woman thinks to herself, "Oh, no! Not Bubba; he's an idiot!"

Expecting the worst, she asks the doctor, "Well, what's the girl's name?"

"Denise," the doctor answers.

The new mother thinks, "Wow! That's a beautiful name! I guess I was wrong about my brother. I really like the name Denise." Then she asks the doctor, "What's the boy's name?"

The doctor replies, "Denefew."

Hollywood Squares - Mae Neihouse

Remember the Original Hollywood Squares and its comics? These great questions and answers are from the days when the Hollywood Squares game show responses were spontaneous and clever, not scripted and (often) dull, as they are now.

Peter Marshall was the host asking the questions, of course.

Q. Do female frogs croak?
A. Paul Lynde: If you hold their little heads under water long enough.

Q. If you're going to make a parachute jump, at least how high should you be?
A. Charley Weaver: Three days of steady drinking should do it.

Q. True or False, a pea can last as long as 5,000 years.
A. George Gobel: Boy, it sure seems that way sometimes.

Q. You've been having trouble going to sleep. Are you probably a man or a woman?
A. Don Knotts: That's what's been keeping me awake.

Q. According to Cosmo, if you meet a stranger at a party and you think that he is attractive, is it okay to come out and ask him if he's married?
A. Rose Marie: No, wait until morning.

Q. Which of your five senses tends to diminish as you get older?
A. Charley Weaver: My sense of decency.

Q. In Hawaiian, does it take more than three words to say "I Love You"?
A. Vincent Price: No, you can say it with a pineapple and a twenty.

Q. What are "Do It," "I Can Help," and "I Can't Get Enough"?
A. George Gobel: I don't know, but it's coming from the next apartment.

Q. As you grow older, do you tend to gesture more or less with your hands while talking?
A. Rose Marie: You ask me one more growing old question Peter, and I'll give you a gesture you'll never forget.

Q. Paul, why do Hell's Angels wear leather?
A. Because chiffon wrinkles too easily.

Q. Charley, you've just decided to grow strawberries. Are you going to get any during the first year?
A. Charley Weaver: Of course not, I'm too busy growing strawberries.

Q. In bowling, what's a perfect score?
A. Rose Marie: Ralph, the pin boy.

Q. It is considered in bad taste to discuss two subjects at nudist camps. One is politics, what is the other?
A. Paul Lynde: Tape measures.

Q. Can boys join the Campfire Girls?
A. Marty Allen: Only after lights out.

Q. When you pat a dog on its head he will wag his tail. What will a goose do?
A. Paul Lynde: Make him bark?

Q. If you were pregnant for two years, what would you give birth to?
A. Paul Lynde: Whatever it is, it would never be afraid of the dark.

Q. According to Ann Landers, is there anything wrong with getting into the habit of kissing a lot of people?
A. Charley Weaver: It got me out of the army.

Q. It is the most abused and neglected part of your body, what is it?
A. Paul Lynde: Mine may be abused, but it certainly isn't neglected.

Q. Back in the old days, when Great Grandpa put horseradish on his head, what was he trying to do?
A. George Gobel: Get it in his mouth.

Q. Who stays pregnant for a longer period of time, your wife or your elephant?
A. Paul Lynde: Who told you about my elephant?

Q. When a couple has a baby, who is responsible for its sex?
A. Charley Weaver: I'll lend him the car; the rest is up to him.

Q. Jackie Gleason recently revealed that he firmly believes in them and has actually seen them on at least two occasions. What are they?
A. Charley Weaver: His feet.

Q. According to Ann Landers, what are two things you should never do in bed?
A. Paul Lynde: Point and Laugh.

The Old Sausage Trick - Gary Richardson

Two career drunks were extremely thirsty one Saturday night and decided to go to the store to get some cheap booze. In the store, the first drunk says, "All right, I have .87 cents; how much do you have?"

His friend replies, "I have a dollar. What can we get for $1.87?"

The first drunk spots a big Italian sausage on the rack for only $1.80 and gets a great idea. "Hey here's what we can do, "he says. "We'll buy that sausage there and put it in my pants. We'll go into the bar and order our drinks; after we drink all the drinks we want, I'll pull out the sausage and you start sucking on it. They will kick us out of the bar and we won't have to pay anything!"

The second drunk agrees and they head off to the bar. They walk in and order two beers and drink them down. After several more rounds, the first drunk whips out the sausage and the second starts sucking on it.

The bartender yells "What the hell are you doing? Get out of my bar!" The two men run out laughing.

"That was great, and it didn't cost us a cent," says the second drunk. "Let's do it again!"

So off they run to another bar for a repeat performance. This continues throughout the night.

At the end of the night, after about the 20th bar, the second drunk says, "Man what a great night. All this drinking is making me hungry. Hey pull out that sausage and let's eat it.

"Sausage?" Says the first drunk. "I think I ate the sausage about eight bars ago!"

Money and Marriage - Phyllis Porter

On their wedding night, the young bride approached her new husband and asked for $20 for their first lovemaking encounter.

In his highly aroused state, her husband readily agreed. This scenario was repeated each time they made love for the next 30 years. Each time he thought it was a cute way for her to afford new clothes and other incidentals that she needed.

Arriving home around noon one day, she was surprised to find her husband in a very drunken state. Over the next few minutes, he explained that his company had gone through a process of corporate downsizing and he had been let go. He started to cry as he said it was unlikely that at the age of 55 he'd be able to find another position that paid anywhere near what he'd been earning. Therefore they were financially ruined.

Calmly, his wife handed him a bankbook, which showed thirty years of deposits and interest totaling nearly $1 million. Then, she showed him stock certificates issued by the bank, which were worth over $2 million. She added that they were the largest stockholders in the bank. Then she explained that for 30 years, she had charged him for sex and these holdings were the results of her savings and investments.

Faced with evidence of cash and investments worth over $3 million, her husband was so astounded he could barely speak, but finally he found his voice and blurted out "If I'd had any idea what you were doing, I would have given you all my business!"

Estrogen, Pregnancy and Women - Anita Williams

Q: Should I have a baby after 35?
A: No, 35 children is enough.

Q: I'm two months pregnant now. When will my baby move?
A: With any luck, right after he finishes college.

Q: What is the most reliable method to determine a baby's sex?
A: Childbirth.

Q: My wife is five months pregnant and so moody that sometimes she's borderline irrational.
A: So what's your question?

Q: My childbirth instructor says it's not pain I'll feel during labor, but pressure. Is she right?
A: Yes, in the same way that a tornado might be called an air current.

Q: When is the best time to get an epidural?
A: Right after you find out you're pregnant.

Q: Is there any reason I have to be in the delivery room while my wife is in labor?
A: Not unless the word "alimony" means anything to you.

Q: Is there anything I should avoid while recovering from childbirth?
A: Yes, pregnancy.

Q: Do I have to have a baby shower?
A: Not if you change the diaper very quickly.

Q: Our baby was born last week. When will my wife begin to feel and act normal again?
A: When the kids are in college.




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

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



Nanci Loren is our Saturday Hall Monitor on the third and fourth Saturdays of each month. As I was eating dinner on Saturday, February 19th, the night of the Ezra Charles concert, I received a call from Nanci explaining that the sink in the men's room and a sink in the women's room had overflowed and flooded the floors not only in our main restrooms but the water had migrated to our drink room as well.

It was the worst plumbing disaster in the history of the studio!!

Not only did Nanci take it upon herself to single-handedly MOP UP water from three different rooms, she also called a dozen plumbing companies trying to locate someone to deal with the emergency.

I was expecting 200 people that night for the Ezra Party. Take a guess how well I handled this news? I was worried out of my mind.

However by the time I reached the studio, the water was off the floor and the plumber was on his way. He found the problem was related to adjoining sinks so he cut off the water to both and came back on Monday to fix them.

Nanci Loren wins the SSQQ "Little Dutch Boy" award for February. She was a Tower of Power as she handled our worst-ever plumbing disaster.  Nanci literally saved the party. I am very grateful to her!!





2005 February: Casey Casanova!  

1. Susan Arevalo (Seventeen Months in a Row!)
2. Steve Upchurch (Fifth Victory!)
3. Anita Leung (First Time Winner!)
4. Ritesh Laud (Eleven Months in a Row! - one more makes a year!)
5. Stephanie Barrow (Two Months in a Row!)
6. Ann Faget (Eighteen Months in a Row!)

My hat goes off to all our brilliant warriors!

Several of our winners considered the February Puzzle was easier than the January Puzzle but for some odd reason we had fewer winners. Occasionally we get some wrong answers too and the Casey Casanova puzzle set a record for "wrong answers".

I was sad to see our Co-Champions Connie and Jeff Woodman finally drop out of the Logic Puzzle leadership. I emailed to ask why I didn't get an answer and this is what I got:

-----Original Message-----
From: connie & jeff woodman
Sent: Tuesday, February 08, 2005 5:07 AM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: january Logic Puzzle

so sorry we missed our chance at the puzzle...we were traveling quite a lot during jan and time slipped away.....but, for some good news......i am scheduled to have hip replacement on mar 10, so i plan to be back in action very shortly after that....wish me luck!

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Tuesday, February 08, 2005 11:00 AM
To: connie & jeff woodman
Subject: RE: january Logic Puzzle

I wish you a lot of luck!!  I have a few body parts of my own that could use some upgrades, so I love this bionic stuff!  I look forward to seeing you dance again, Connie!



Well, you know what this means: Ann Faget is our new champion!   She has been sharing the crown for a year and a half, but know she sits on the throne all by herself!   Congratulations! 

But Ann will never rest easy. Right behind her is Susan Arevalo just waiting for the chance to ascend to the throne!   What if Ann gets the wrong answer one month?

She's out in the cold!!  Fortunately Ann has excellent cold weather clothing due to her skiing prowess. 

-----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, February 14, 2005 8:49 PM
To: 'Archer, Rick'
Subject: logic puzzle february 05

Hi Rick - THANK YOU for finally having an easy logic puzzle. What a relief to get one that's fun and quick to solve. I signed up for Intermediate Night Club this month and I had taken one class (very enjoyable) when I went skiing (Aspen Snowmass).

Unfortunately, I fell and twisted my knee, so I think I will be hors de combat (now there's a good candidate for word of the month) for the rest of the month. I still had a great time skiing.

See you in March, Ann

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!!  






One day during the SSQQ Alaska Cruise, a group of intrepid adventurers decided to take a visit to the Aleutian Islands. This wasn't a "ship-sponsored" tour but rather one that Mara had investigated ahead of time on the Internet and talked her friends into joining.

Mara had read there was a ferry that took off from Unimak Island at the very tip off the Alaskan Peninsula. Each day the ferry was scheduled to visit six different islands that day including Attu, Atka, Adak, Amchita, Tanaga, and Kiska. So the group rented a car at Ketchikan, Alaska and drove down to Unimak, Island.

However once they got on board the ferry, the Group - which included George (Mr. Handsome), Steve (The Great Gabino), Gary (Da Jammer), Mara, Veronique (Very Unique), and Phyllis (Center of Attention) realized they had misunderstood how the trip worked. They would only be able to visit one island all day long!

The Aleutian Islands have a very interesting history, especially back in WW II when several of the islands were actually occupied by the Japanese. And there were different volcanoes to see, polar bears, whales, seals, kayaking trips, and glaciers too.

The Group was so disappointed once they realized their mistake. Mara was embarrassed that she had misunderstood how the ferry trip worked. Now they would be limited to seeing just one of the six islands on the trip.

That is when the Great Gabino had a great Gabino idea! Why not have a different person get off at each port, tour the island, take pictures, and give a report on their island later that night during dinner! Such a clever boy!

The group immediately agreed this was a very good plan!

The map shows the route taken by the ferry from Unimak Island.

From the clues given below, can you name:

  • each of the 6 islands in the order they were visited,
  • together with the name of its main port,
  • and the name of the passenger who left the ferry at each of these stopping points?

2005 March Logic Puzzle:  Aleutian Island Hopping


Joke Picture


Bad Day on the Job - Milt Oglesby

This highly intelligent picture deals with the important topic known as "Job Interviews". Milt's insightful picture will give you a good idea of the sort of things a boss will typically look for in his ideal candidates!


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

Contributed by Noted Troublemaker Ann Faget

 A tanker carrying a load of blue paint and a tanker carrying a load of red paint collided yesterday in the Gulf of Mexico.  All the survivors were marooned.

Editor's Note: I hate puns. Last month Chris Holmes sent me 17 of the damn things! They were all terrible and they made me groan!

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

"A dyslexic man walks into a bra."

So I put out a contract on Chris Holmes. I told anyone who spotted him at the studio to punch him HARD in the shoulder the moment you see him.  He deserved it!

This month noted troublemaker Ann Faget decided to get in the act by sending in that terrible pun above!  I told her a long time ago I hated her puns, but she continues to torment me because she thinks she can get away with it.

Here is an example from January 2005:

When Beethoven passed away, he was buried in a churchyard. A couple days later, the town drunk was walking through the cemetery and heard some strange noise coming from the area where Beethoven was buried. Terrified, the drunk ran and got the priest to come and listen to it. The priest bent close to the grave and heard some faint, unrecognizable music coming from the grave. Frightened, the priest ran and got the town magistrate.
When the magistrate arrived, he bent his ear to the grave, listened for a moment, and said, "Ah, yes, that's Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, being played backwards."

He listened a while longer, and said, "There's the Eighth Symphony, and it's backwards, too. Most puzzling." So the magistrate kept listening; "There's the Seventh... the Sixth... the Fifth..."

Suddenly the realization of what was happening dawned on the magistrate; he stood up and announced to the crowd that had gathered in the cemetery, "My fellow citizens, there's nothing to worry about. It's just Beethoven decomposing!!"

Innocent, decent people at my studio (including me) are suffering at the puns of this woman. So I gave her this warning (and Chris too!)

March 2005   Email to both Ann and Chris,

Okay, you two, Let it be known that I retaliate to psychic pain with brutality because I am not smart enough to retaliate psychologically!  

Chris knows he continues to be a marked man for sending me a video with a woman losing her dentures in mid-air that was disgusting!

Now Ann has sent me a horrible pun.

Ann, this paint pun is going to cost you a punch in the arm when I see you again just like I hit my friend Chris all the time (and he deserves it!). I realize that boys are not supposed to hit girls, but sometimes I still gotta do what I gotta do. Some mistakes are so much fun to commit they need to be repeated and hitting people in the arm is one of them.

In retrospect it was a somewhat clever pun but it made me groan with pain. You KNEW I would suffer when you sent it. Now you will have to pay the price for your evil deed in sending it to me. 

I love you both but you can’t keep sending me this stuff with im-pun-ity.


I got zero reply from either of them. No apology, no contrition, no attempt to soothe my pain. So I decided to put out a contract on Ann too.  The problem was that I didn't think I had HER PICTURE!  So I devised a secret plan.

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Monday, February 28, 2005 11:34 AM
Subject: have you ever been to one of our Halloween Parties?

If so, what year? Just curious. Rick

 -----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, February 28, 2005 12:37 PM
To: 'Rick Archer'
Cc: 'Chris Holmes'
Subject: RE: have you ever been to one of our Halloween Parties?

Rick - you can't fool me, I can see right through your devious mind. You are just asking so you can find a picture of me and put it in your next newsletter so people will recognize me, along with instructions to punch me in retaliation for sending in a great pun. Rick, you have things bass-ackwards.

You should be grateful to me and Chris for providing you with fresh primo humor to help spice up your newsletter - but no! Poor Chris has his picture published along with an open invitation for anyone to give him a punch the next time they see him. And it's not enough that you have promised to personally give me a punch the next time you see me. Now you are hatching a sinister plan to put out a punching contract on me also. Well I have you foiled on two counts. First, I have never been to a SSQQ Halloween party, so you don't have any pictures of me. And second, my knee injury will prevent me from attending classes during March anyway.

Now if you're really nice, I might consider coming back in April. For instance, instead of pun-ishing us, I think you should reward us, say with a free practice night. Oh wait - the practice nights are already free. So how about this? Maybe, if you shower us with the praise and respect we deserve, instead of threats, we will continue to help you write your newsletter. ;-)


Curses!  I have no idea how she managed to see through my plot!!!  But I am more devious than Ann realizes.  The problem is that Ann has caused pain to a LOT OF PEOPLE with her impudence.  She has psychically damaged more people with these kinds of puns than you would imagine and now her past is catching up with her!!

Last night there was a LINE OF PEOPLE volunteering to give me pictures of this notorious Punster.

Here is exactly the picture we need!  Look at Ann!  She is laughing at all of you this very minute with joy at the pain she has caused.

The next time you see this woman, punch her in the arm!  Don't feel guilty; you are doing the right thing!  And don't be fooled by some stupid limp from a phony ski accident.

Ann is a noted actress, so be wary of her devices. She lives for deception!  Just hit her. She deserves it. And hit Chris too while you are at it.  Thanks!  You are doing a noble service for the entire dance community!






Contributed by noted troublemaker Ann Faget

Word of the Month
Hors de combat - no longer able to participate, out of action due to injury or damage; from the French, meaning 'out of the fight'.

"After injuring her knee after a day of skiing on the slopes, Ann was hors de combat at SSQQ the following month for dancing, but she was still able to brilliantly win the logic puzzle, vocabulary word, and worst pun awards!"

"Following the disastrous conclusion of his affair with Monica, Bill declared himself hors de combat romantically."

"Although he was wounded in the latest skirmish, Sir Galahad was by no means hors de combat!"

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! )





Joel McClesky, the amazing student of Anita Williams who has won every dance contest he has entered, married his beautiful girlfriend Ruth on January 29, 2005.

I hope Ruth didn't wear her Halloween costume to the wedding, but if she did, she would have looked great!

Hopefully this handsome couple will share some stories and some pictures of the ceremony with us soon.



-----Original Message-----
From: Larry Leising
Sent: Friday, February 25, 2005 11:59 AM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: slow dance and romance congratulations!

At 05:36 PM 2/24/2005 -0600, Rick Archer wrote:
Hi Larry and Cathy, I just wanted to congratulate you on your wedding last year! You definitely were flying under the radar, but you tempted fate by taking my Whip class!

I have a  couple questions - do you mind if I say something in the Newsletter?
Would you refresh my memory on Cathy's name before it became "Leising"?

Larry Leising Replies: We were married on July 10, 2005.
Cathy's maiden name is Canale and she just moved here a few years ago from New Orleans.

We went to Alaska on our Honeymoon and have several hundred pictures to prove it.
It was a wonderful trip in spite of nearly being canceled because on the previous trip our ship hit an iceberg!

We highly recommend the glacier walk and the whale watching excursions. I have attached a couple of photos from our cruise.

We have had many positive comments on our dancing (thanks to SSQQ) and were even shown dancing on the cruise video!

We have completed the East Coast, West Coast, C&W, Salsa and Swing sequences (beginner to advanced) and look forward to repeating many of those again to refine our moves. Rick, thanks for providing many happy
memories and we look forward to many more!

Rick Archer wrote: You both seem very happy. I enjoy watching the many exchanges of affection btw you.

Yes, married life is good for us, we hope it is as good for you!




Contributed by Carol Gafford

Marriage - Part I

Typical macho man married typical good-looking lady and after the wedding, he laid down the following rules:

"I'll be home when I want, if I want and at what time I want and I don't expect any hassle from you. I expect a great dinner to be on the table unless I tell you that I won't be home for dinner. I'll go hunting, fishing, boozing and card-playing when I want with my old buddies and don't you give me a hard time about it. Those are my rules. Any comments?"

His new bride said, "No, that's fine with me. Just understand that there will be sex here at seven o'clock every night ........ whether you're here or not."

Marriage (Part II)

Husband and wife had a bitter quarrel on the day of their 40th wedding anniversary! The husband yells, "When you die, I'm getting you a headstone that reads: "Here Lies My Wife - Cold As Ever " "Yeah?" she replies. "When you die, I'm getting you a headstone that reads: "Here Lies My Husband - Stiff At Last"

Marriage (Part III)

Husband (a doctor) and his wife are having a fight at the breakfast table. Husband gets up in a rage and says, "And you are no good in bed either," and storms out of the house. After sometime, he realizes he was nasty and decides to make amends and rings her up. She comes to the phone after many rings, and the irritated husband says, "what took you so long to answer the phone?" She says, "I was in bed." "In bed this early, doing what?" "Getting a second opinion!"

Marriage (Part IV)

A man has six children and is very proud of his achievement. He is so proud of himself, that he starts calling his wife, "Mother of Six" in spite of her objections. One night, they go to a party. The man decides that it's time to go home and wants to find out if his wife is ready to leave as well. He shouts at the top of his voice, "Shall we go home 'Mother of Six?' His wife, irritated by her husband's lack of discretion, shouts right back, "Anytime you're ready, Father of Four."

Marriage (Part V) The Silent Treatment

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 is 5:00 AM. Wake up."

Men are not equipped for these kinds of contests. God may have created man before woman, but there is always a rough draft before the masterpiece.

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


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!!

March CS 01: The Irishman - Rodrigo Aranda
March CS 02: Men Bashing - Rick Archer
March CS 03: A Sure Sign of Stupidity - Gary Richardson
March CS 04: The Irate Customer - Robin Wagner
March CS 05: The Lazy Employee - Richard Bevis
March CS 06: Bad-Mouthed Cockatoo - Carel Von Staden
March CS 07: Watson and Holmes - Ted Jones
March CS 08: Bessie the Cow - Mike Gerstenberger
March CS 09: George Washington - Sharon Russell
March CS 10: Getting Smarter - Sharon Russell
March CS 11: The Bank Robbery - Sharon Russell
March CS 12: Blonde Story - Pat Roberts
March CS 13: Daughter’s Big Mouth - Joseph Stuteville
March CS 14: Hillary at the Pearly Gates - Glen Hilford
March CS 15: The Good Luck Kiss - Mike Guillory
March CS 16: Sneaking into the Olympic Village - Mike Guillory
March CS 17: God, Moses, and Golf - Mike Guillory
March CS 18: The Big City Lawyer and the Texas Rancher - Mike Guillory
March CS 19: Some People Just Can’t Win - Mike Guillory
March CS 20: Winning the Contest - Mike Guillory
March CS 21: Dominated by Women - Pat Roberts - FEATURED JOKE THIS MONTH!
March CS 22: Watergate Aftermath - Robin Wagner
March CS 23: The Business Executive and Secretary - Susan Schroeder
March CS 24: Irish Shopping - Gerald McEathron
March CS 25: The Celestial Trio - Chris Holmes
March CS 27: Conversation on a Plane - Judy Walsh
March CS 28: Cowboy Boots - Crista Reuss
March CS 29: Why SSQQ Insists on Name Tags - Carole Nelson
March CS 30: Watch What You Speak, Not What you Eat - Chris Holmes
March CS 31: Heaven and Hell - Chris Holmes
March CS 32: Mad Wife Disease - Crista Reuss
March CS 33: The Pregnancy - Gary Richardson
March CS 34: The Prescription - Crista Reuss
March CS 35: Texas Hunters - Judy Walsh


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

March CS 21: Dominated by Women - Pat Roberts

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

God waited for the women to go and then looked at the lines. The line of the men that were dominated by their women was 100 miles long, and in the line of men that dominated their women, there was only one man.

God became angry and said, “You men should be ashamed of yourselves. I created you in my own image, but made the mistake of giving your free will. Now ever since that damn Eve, I see that every last one of you were all whipped by your mates.”

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

The man replied, “I don’t know, God, my wife told me to stand here.”



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

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

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

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

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.

March Blue Side

March BS 01: Noah’s Ark - Ralph Volz
March BS 02: Monkey at the Bar - Chris Holmes
March BS 03: The Golf Pro - Mark Katz
March BS 04: Help the Poor Guy Out - Ralph Volz
March BS 05: Flea Flicker - Bett Sundermeyer
March BS 06: The Genie - Gary Richardson
March BS 07: Identical Twins - Sam Demora
March BS 08: Sexual Dysfunction - Debbie Awad
March BS 09: The Toughest Cowboy - Mike Gerstenberger
March BS 10: The Vibrator - Karen Davidson
March BS 11: Attitude Adjustment - Richard Weisberg
March BS 12: Mother’s Advice - Ralph Volz
March BS 13: The Spinster - Judy Walsh
March BS 14: African Roulette - Mike Gerstenberger
March BS 15: The General - Richard Bevis
March BS 16: Naughty Boy - Chris Holmes
March BS 17: The Gas Station - Michael Brockmyre    FEATURED JOKE THIS MONTH

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.


March BS 17: The Gas Station - Michael Brockmyre

Late at night, a young man is taking his girlfriend for a spin in his new sports car. As he shows off what the car can do, she is thrilled at the speed. He decides to dare her.

“If I do 100 mph, will you take off your clothes?” he smirks.

“Oh, Yes!!” says his girlfriend excitedly. He smiles. This is a side of her he hasn’t seen before. Typically she is the biggest prude on earth. But now as the speedometer climbs above 100, with a wicked smile he watches as she begins to peel off all her clothes. They blow out of the convertible as the wind catches them. Neither of them care – they are too turned on to notice!

Forgetting to keep his eyes on the road, the car hits a bump, skids onto some gravel and flips over. The naked girl is thrown clear of the convertible, but the young man is jammed beneath the steering wheel. He can’t move and probably has broken ribs.

“Go and get help!” he cries.

“But I can’t! I’m naked, my clothes are gone, and I have no shoes!”

“For crying out loud, pull my boots off and put them on. When you get to that gas station we passed, take them back off and cover yourself!”

This plan worked. Putting the boots on, the girl runs down the road and finds the service station. Now she takes one boot off and strategically places it over her privates while she hops on the other foot.

She pounds with one hand on the locked door. No one can hear her apparently. In desperation, she sticks the boot between her thighs and pounds with both fists. This works. A station proprietor comes to the door. She covers her breasts with her hands as he opens the door.

“Please help me! My boyfriend’s stuck!” she screams frantically.

The proprietor looks at the boot between her legs, scratches his chin and says, “There’s nothing I can do, lady. He’s in too far!!”






It has come to the attention of the Department of Environmental Quality that there has been recent unauthorized activity on the above referenced parcel of property. You have been certified as the legal landowner and/or contractor who did the following unauthorized activity:

Construction and maintenance of two wood debris dams across the outlet stream of Spring Pond. A permit must be issued prior to the start of this type of activity.

A review of the Department's files shows that no permits have been issued. Therefore, the Department has determined that this activity is in violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, annotated.

The Department has been informed that or both of the dams partially failed during a recent rain event causing debris and flooding at downstream locations. We find that dams of this nature are inherently hazardous and cannot be permitted. The Department therefore orders you to cease and desist all activities at this location, and to restore the stream to a free-flow condition by removing all wood and brush forming the dams from the stream channel. All restoration work shall be completed no later than January 31, 1998.

Please notify this office when the restoration has been completed so that a follow-up site inspection may be scheduled by our staff. Failure to comply with this request or any further unauthorized activity on the site may result in this case being referred for elevated enforcement action. We anticipate and would appreciate your full cooperation in this matter. Please feel free to contact me at this office if you have any questions.

David L. Price
District Representative
Land and Water Management Division


Dear Mr. Price:

Re: DEQ File No. 97-59-0023; T11N; R10W, Sec. 20; Montcalm County

Your certified letter dated 12/17/97 has been handed to me to respond to. First of all, Mr. Ryan De Vries is not the legal landowner and/or contractor at 2088 Dagget, Pierson, Michigan. I am the legal owner and a couple of beavers are in the (unauthorized) process of constructing and maintaining two wood "debris" dams across the outlet stream of my Spring Pond.

While I did not pay for, authorize, nor supervise their dam project, I think they would be highly offended that you call their skillful use of natural building materials "debris." I would like to challenge your department to attempt to emulate their dam project any time and/or any place you choose.

I believe I can safely state there is no way you could ever match their dam skills, their dam resourcefulness, their dam ingenuity, their dam persistence, their dam determination and/or their dam work ethic. As to your request, I do not think the beavers are aware that they must first fill out a dam permit prior to the start of this type of dam activity.

My first dam question to you is: (1) Are you trying to discriminate against my Spring Pond Beavers or (2) do you require all beavers throughout this State to conform to said dam request? If you are not discriminating against these particular beavers, through the Freedom of Information Act, I request completed copies of those other applicable beaver dam permits that have been issued. Perhaps we will see if there really is a dam violation of Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Protection Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994, being sections 324.30101 to 324.30113 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, annotated.

I have several concerns. My first concern is - aren't the beavers entitled to legal representation? The Spring Pond Beavers are financially destitute and are unable to pay for said representation so the State will have to provide them with a dam lawyer. The Department's dam concern that either one or both of the dams failed during a recent rain event causing flooding is proof that this is a natural occurrence, which the Department is required to protect. In other words, we should leave the Spring Pond Beavers alone rather than harassing them and calling their dam names. If you want the stream "restored" to a dam free-flow condition - please contact the beavers - but if you are going to arrest them (they obviously did not pay any attention to your dam letter being unable to read English) -- be sure they are read the Miranda rights first. As for me, I am not going to cause more flooding or debris jams by interfering with these dam builders.

If you want to hurt these dam beavers - be aware I am sending a copy of your dam letter and this dam response to PETA. If your dam department seriously finds all dams of this nature inherently hazardous and truly will not permit their existence in this State, I hope you are not selectively enforcing this dam policy or once again both the Spring Pond Beavers and I will scream prejudice!

In my humble opinion, the Spring Pond Beavers have a right to build their unauthorized dams as long as the sky is blue, the grass is green and water flows downstream. They have more dam rights than I do to live and enjoy Spring Pond. If the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection lives up to its name, it should protect the natural resources (Beavers) and the environment (Beavers' Dams). So, as far as the beavers and I are concerned, this dam case can be referred for more elevated enforcement action right now. Why wait until 1/31/98? The Spring Pond Beavers may be under the dam ice then and there will be no way for you or your dam staffs to contact/harass them then.

In conclusion, I would like to bring to your attention an environmental quality (health) problem in the area. It is the bears. Bears are actually defecating in our woods. I definitely believe you should be persecuting the defecating bears and leave the dam beavers alone. If you are going to investigate the beaver dam, watch your step! (The bears are not careful where they dump!) Being unable to comply with your dam request and being unable to contact you on your dam answering machine, I am sending this response to your dam day office via another government organization - the USPS.

Maybe someday it will get there.

Stephen L. Tvedten





EDITOR'S NOTE: I published a story about this same woman in the SSQQ Newsletter two months ago. At the time I thought that Mukhtar Mai, also known as Mukhtaran Bibi, was a very courageous woman.  Now I am convinced she is leading an unbelievably difficult life at the hands of some barbaric people in Pakistan. She is the victim of ignorance and injustice. My heart goes out to her.

If you wish to read the previous article, click here. It is "Special Feature 3".


March 3, 2005, 9:08PM

Gang-rape convictions tossed out
Pakistani judges cite prosecution and police errors in celebrated case
New York Times

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - Five men sentenced to death in 2002 for their role in a gang rape that was approved by a council in a remote Pakistani village had their convictions overturned Thursday. A sixth man convicted in the case had his death sentence commuted to life in prison, lawyers in the case said.


The circumstances of the rape, in June 2002 in Meerwala, a dusty farming village in southern Punjab province, set off worldwide outrage and brought swift demands for justice. The government moved quickly to bring the case to trial.

According to the prosecution, the Meerwala council ordered the gang rape of Mukhtar Mai, 30, as punishment for the alleged illicit sexual relations of her brother with a woman from a rival tribe, the Mastoi.

It was later revealed that Mukhtar's brother, Shakoor, had been molested by Mastoi men who tried to cover it up by accusing him of having illicit relations with the woman from their tribe.

Efforts to settle the dispute failed, and the Mastoi, angry over what was considered a violation of their honor, demanded revenge. That revenge was delivered in the council approval of the rape of Mukhtar.

Fourteen men were charged in the case and six of them — the leader of the village council, a council member and the four men suspected of carrying out the rape — were convicted and sentenced to death in August 2002.

The ruling of the court was widely hailed at the time by the public and human rights advocates, but the six men who were convicted maintained their innocence and appealed.

Two High Court judges, in their decision on Thursday, quashed the convictions, citing holes in the prosecution case and faulty procedures in the police investigations, Pakistani news media reported.

Defense lawyers said the court decision in 2002 had been "largely influenced by media hype and government pressure."

Incidents of gang rape are not uncommon in Pakistan, but this case gained international prominence because the assault was approved by the panchayat, or village council.

The councils have no legal authority, but are used regularly in remote areas because of the poor reach of central authority and the influence of a centuries-old feudal system.

An outcry raised on behalf of Mukhtar prompted the government of the president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, to act swiftly.

It ordered that the case be heard in an anti-terrorism court, provided Mukhtar with six police guards for safety and presented her with $8,300 in compensation.

She used the compensation money to set up schools in her village.

"I am in pain. I will ask my lawyer to challenge this decision," Mukhtar told the Associated Press.

She came forward publicly following the attack in an effort to press the government to seek justice, and her name has been widely published. She has been honored by human rights groups in Pakistan for her courage.

Mukhtar said the overturning of the death sentences had intensified her fear, but she would not be intimidated.

"We are afraid for our lives," she said of herself and her family, "but we will face whatever fate brings for us."




Feb. 9, 2005, 12:39PM

Judge's embarrassing troubles continue
Associated Press

AP file
Donald Thompson

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Jurors and others in Judge Donald Thompson's courtroom kept hearing a strange whooshing noise, like a bicycle pump or maybe a blood pressure cuff. During one trial, Thompson seemed so distracted that some jurors thought he was playing a hand-held video game or tying fly-fishing lures behind the bench.

The explanation, investigators say, is even stranger than some imagined: The judge had a habit of masturbating with a penis pump under his robe during trials.

The lurid allegations have led to criminal charges against Thompson, brought an embarrassing end to a solid career and shocked many of his colleagues. The case could also lead to a wave of appeals from defendants claiming that the judge was not paying attention while presiding over their cases.

Thompson, a 58-year-old married father of three grown children, has denied the allegations, and said the pump was just a gag gift received from a hunting buddy on his 50th birthday. He retired in August after being threatened with removal from the bench, but still faces indecent-exposure charges brought against him last month.

"We're certainly saddened by the thought that the prosecutor filed charges," said Clark Brewster, Thompson's attorney. "We thought all this was dealt with when he resigned. We didn't feel like anything that was alleged rose to the level of criminal charges."

The trials during which he allegedly used the pump included murder cases as well as a libel suit in which a jury ordered the company that publishes The Oklahoman, a Web site and a TV station to pay $3.7 million.

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson, who filed the paperwork to remove Thompson from the bench, said he would be surprised if the scandal did not lead to appeals. But he said: "I don't know if they will be successful. They will still have to show actual prejudice to the point that something was done in error."

Jim Wall, police chief in the small town of Sapulpa, said he had heard rumors of the judge's behind-the-bench activities for about a month, but added: "You've got the most powerful man in Creek County, and I think a lot people were intimidated by him."

Police built a case against the judge after one of Wall's officers testified during a 2003 murder trial. From the witness stand, the officer saw a piece of plastic tubing disappear under Thompson's robe. During a lunch break, officers took photographs of the pump under the desk.

Investigators later collected carpet samples, Thompson's robes and the chair from behind the bench, and found semen, according to court records.

A former state legislator and a judge with more than 20 years on the bench in Creek County in eastern Oklahoma, Thompson was well-liked in the community and had helped many young prosecutors and judges learn their jobs. But those who know him said he had become withdrawn in the past few years.

Thompson's court reporter, Lisa Foster, told authorities that she saw him use the pump at least 10 times during trials. She said the first time in court was in 2000, but she did not tell authorities. "I didn't want to be found dead in a ditch somewhere," she told The Associated Press.

Foster told authorities she saw Thompson use the device almost daily during the August 2003 murder trial of Kevin Vomberg, a man accused of shaking a toddler to death. The case ended in a hung jury. The whooshing sound could be heard on Foster's audiotape of the trial.

When jurors at the trial asked the judge about the sound, Thompson said he hadn't heard it, but would listen for it.

Foster and a bailiff were fired by Thompson after giving statements against him.

"I always thought he was an excellent trial judge," said Don I. Nelson, who tried more than 40 cases before Thompson as the prosecutor assigned to his court.

Nelson handled a murder trial during which authorities say Thompson used the pump. The jury ended up convicting the defendant on the lesser charge of manslaughter.

"I never heard anything that was going on," Nelson said. "I was completely shocked and couldn't believe it."




Contributed by Noted Troublemaker Chris Holmes

Sending old men to War

If I could, I'd enlist today and help my country track down those responsible for killing thousands of innocent people in New York City and Washington, D.C.

But, I'm over 50 now and the Armed Forces say I'm too old to track down terrorists. You can't be older than 35 to join the military. They've got the whole thing backwards. Instead of sending 18-year-olds off to fight, they ought to take us old guys. You shouldn't be able to join until you're at least 35.

1) Researchers say 18-year-olds think about sex every 10 seconds. Old guys only think about sex a couple of times a day, leaving us more that 28,000 additional seconds per day to concentrate on the enemy.

2) Young guys haven't lived long enough to be cranky, and a cranky soldier is a dangerous soldier.

3) If we can't kill the enemy we'll complain them into submission. "My back hurts!" "I'm hungry!" "Where's the remote control?"

4) In some countries, an 18-year-old hasn't had a legal beer yet and you shouldn't go to war until you're at least old enough to legally drink. An average old guy, on the other hand, has consumed 126,000 gallons of beer by the time he's 35 and a jaunt through the desert heat with a backpack and M-60 would do wonders for the old beer belly.

5) An 18-year-old doesn't like to get up before 10 a.m. Old guys get up early (to wee-wee).

6) If old guys are captured we couldn't spill the beans because we'd probably forget where we put them. In fact, name, rank, and serial number would be a real brainteaser.

7) Boot camp would actually be easier for old guys. We're used to getting screamed and yelled at and we actually like soft food.

8) We've developed a deep appreciation for guns and rifles. We like them almost better than naps.

9) They could lighten up on the obstacle course, however. I've been in combat and didn't see a single 20-foot wall with rope hanging over the side, nor did I ever do any pushups after training, and the running part is kind of a waste of energy. I've never seen anyone outrun a bullet. I can
hear the Drill Sergeant now, "Get down and give"

10) An 18-year-old has the whole world ahead of him. He's still learning to shave, to actually carry on a conversation, to wear pants without the top of the butt crack showing and the boxer shorts sticking out, to learn that a pierced tongue catches food particles, and that a 200-watt speaker
in the back seat of a Honda Accord can rupture an eardrum.

All great reasons to keep our sons at home and to learn a little more about life before sending them off to a possible death. Let us old guys track down those dirty, rotten cowards who attacked our hearts on September 11.

11) The last thing the enemy would want to see right now is a couple of million old farts with attitudes.



commentary by Rick Archer
reprinted from March 2002 SSQQ Newsletter

“Eenie Meenie Minie Mo, Take a Seat, We Gotta Go!”

These immortal words have landed SW Airlines in court. They are being sued by two irate passengers. You don’t believe me? Please read on.

Sometimes in dance class, I need a lady student to demonstrate a move. For lack of a better method, for the past twenty years or so I have used the classic picking rhyme “eenie meenie minie mo”.

I will point to the woman I need for the demonstration and point to each individual as I go down the line, “eenie meenie minie mo, catch a lady by the toe. If she hollers make her say I’ll take lessons every day.”

Stupid? Of course. Offensive? I hope not. No one has complained yet. Effective?
Absolutely. Someone always gets picked. Invariably they feel paranoid about the entire process. When asked, they figured I was going after them anyway and just used the stupid rhyme to cover my evil plans to harass them. The process is silly and soon over.

Did I say I have been doing it this way for twenty years? Yes I did. Is there any malice or hidden agenda? I swear on a stack of Bibles I never gave any of this a second thought. I needed someone at random one day and the rhyme came to my head.

End of Story??

Not quite. You must read this article from the Chronicle:

Houston Chronicle
Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Rhyme with a past leads to racial suit against Southwest Airlines
Kansas City, Kansas

A judge has set a trial date in a discrimination lawsuit filed against Southwest Airlines by two black passengers who were upset when a flight attendant recited a version of a rhyme with a racist history.

Grace Fuller, 48, and her sister, Louise Sawyer, 46, were returning from Las Vegas two years ago when flight attendant Jennifer Cundiff, trying to get passengers – who are not assigned seats – to sit down, said over the intercom, “Eenie, meenie, minie, mo; pick a seat, we gotta go.”

The sisters say the rhyme was directed at them and was a reference to its racist version that predates the Civil Rights era.

“It was like I was too dumb to find a seat,” Fuller said. Sawyer said fellow passengers snickered at the rhyme, which made her feel alienated.

The sisters are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

US District Judge Kathryn Vratil last week dismissed the claims of physical and emotional distress but set a trial for March 4.

“The court agrees with plaintiffs that because of its history, the phrase ‘eenie meenie minie mo could reasonably be viewed as objectively racist and offensive,” Vratil wrote.

In the modern version of the rhyme, the second line goes, “Catch a tiger by the toe.”

Airline attorney John Cowden said there was no intent to discriminate against any passenger.

Cundiff, who is white and was 22 at the time of the incident, said she had never heard the offensive version of the rhyme. She said she learned the Southwest Airline version from co-workers and used it as a funny way of getting fliers to sit down.

Plaintiffs attorney Scott Wissel said the sisters also want Dallas-based SW Airlines to stop using the rhyme and provide employee training to prevent such incidents.

After reading this article in astonishment, it took me several minutes before I remembered there was indeed a racist version of the rhyme. To be absolutely honest, that ‘version’ had not crossed my mind in over 40 years. I had completely forgotten about it.

If my rhyme has ever offended any reader who heard it in class, I am sorry but please understand nothing disrespectful is meant. It is the only picking rhyme I know besides ‘she loves me, she loves me not’. I suppose I could get a supply of flowers to keep on hand…

I wonder why the incident on the plane could not have been defused with a simple explanation from the bewildered attendant who had no idea what the problem was. After all, the announcement was made blindly over the intercom by a woman who had never heard the nasty version in her life. Why did these women take it so personally?? And was the affront so horrible it needed to be taken to court?? These women did not deserve to be disrespected, but based on what the article said it doesn’t seem the attendant meant to hurt them in the first place. I certainly hope there is more to the story than was reported.

Thinking about this story reminded me of an experience from my youth.

When I was 13, my mother worked in the Houston Medical Center. She made friends with a young black man named Marion Ford who was in dental school. When he graduated, he offered to do a crown on a chipped tooth that I needed. My mother didn’t have a lot of money and Dr. Ford offered to do the work at a discount since he was just getting his practice established. It was a kind offer that benefited all three of us.

One Saturday morning I got on the bus and went all the way to an area known as Kashmere Gardens. I was pretty terrified since I was the only white person on the bus.

During the hour ride I received many hostile stares. Race relations in Houston 1963 were very tense. Then as I walked to his office at 5109 Lockwood Street, I remember a man stopped me to ask what I was doing in his neighborhood. Yes, in case you were wondering I was very afraid. I said I was going to Dr. Ford’s office. He finally stepped aside to let me pass.

I spent nearly the whole day at Dr. Ford’s office. He worked on me whenever there was a break in his schedule. As Dr. Ford attended to his other patients, I grew tired of studying my eighth grade Latin book. That was the day I was supposed to memorize the Lord’s Prayer in Latin. “Pater Noster qui es in caelis, santificuter nomen tuum…”.

So I went outside his office to get some fresh air. For lack of anything better to do, I started throwing rocks against a tree in the front yard of his office. I threw towards the street with my back to his office. I wasn’t a very accurate thrower to begin with, but the street was fifty yards away. My errant tosses were no threat to persons or property.

To my surprise, a teenager came up to me from the sidewalk. He looked pretty angry. He told me he was going to fight me and that I better put up my fists. I started to put up my fists, but first I wanted to know what we fighting about.

This young man was not happy about my question. He insisted again that I fight him. I repeated that I would fight him if he would just explain what we were fighting about.
Finally with a sigh of exasperation he said he wanted to fight me because I had thrown a rock at him.

Now I understood. I patiently explained that I was merely throwing rocks against the tree. I pointed to a pile of rocks that had successfully struck the tree. He said that wasn’t good enough. He said that was my pathetic excuse because I was afraid to fight him. I said that was not true. I said I had never meant to throw a rock at him and apologized if I had hit him.

He said I had not hit him.

Well, how close did I come? Twenty feet. That’s when I realized this kid was looking for an excuse to beat me up. I have little doubt this teenage tough from the wrong side of the tracks had a lot more experience with fighting than a soft, over-protected white kid like me did. I just didn’t feel like getting beat up for something as stupid as this.

I said again I did not want to fight him. I promised that I meant no harm. I apologized that he got that impression. Then I offered him my hand. He reluctantly accepted my handshake and left. He seemed very disappointed.

I might add that I stayed in Dr. Ford’s office the remainder of the afternoon. With nothing else to do I studied the Lord’s Prayer which to this day I can still recite in totum.
Amazing the things that stick in your mind.

From my own experience and the SW Airlines incident I can only conclude that old wounds take a long long time to heal. I suppose we cannot expected the pain created by two hundred years of slavery and one hundred years of racist evils after that to be healed in one generation.

Be that as it may, it is my hope that anyone who attends my studio be they Black, White, Hispanic, Asian, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Jew, straight, gay, from another planet or from Dallas will experience that they are very welcome here just as long as they treat everyone with the same kindness and respect that they themselves deserve.

All human beings need to see past our differences and realize we are one people. That said, hatred is a powerful emotion. Like radioactivity, once hatred is activated it seems to take eons to dissipate. Hatred is blinding, maddening, and all-consuming.

Today we have the power to eliminate our species from the Earth completely. Be it another Holocaust, a nuclear war, or a lethal plague, there is a huge chance someone’s hatred will spin so badly out of control it will mean the end of the human race. Without some sort of forgiveness and understanding, our world is in terrible trouble.

It is the responsibility of each individual to find a way to get along before it is too late.




 -----Original Message-----
From: Dan Crook
Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2005 12:14 PM
Subject: Lawsuit response

Just a note - I read your article and wanted to give you an example of something I had seen take place while in college. In 1985 I worked in Greeley, CO for United Lumber - we had a 8' fence with barbed wire at the top surrounding the facility. The building was equivalent to a 2 story block structure and had flood lighting. A burglar got over the fence, scaled the building by grabbing onto the gutter downspout and made it to the top. He then managed to get the grate off the exhaust fan, dismantled that and crawled through the vent line inside the building. At one point his weight was too much and he fell through and landed on some molding in a display.

One section of the molding pierced his leg and he could not move. When the owner arrived he found this guy in a pool of blood smoking a cigarette and called 911. Shortly after the burglars arrest he filed a lawsuit claiming that if the exhaust grate had been reinforced so no entry could be gained this would not have taken place. The case went to court and a jury was summoned. The burglar won on this one contention, not in the millions but in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Ever since I witnessed this event I will never trust a jury to give a fair judgment - it's not their money nor can you trust people with this kind of judgment.

Just FYI - Have a good week - Dan Crook


I have long believed our law system is highly flawed. I collect stories on lawsuits that would make your eyes pop out. If you are curious, visit:

What is Wrong With Our Legal System??
written by Rick Archer, July 2001

Is it just me or do other people agree that our legal system is completely nuts?  Is there no common sense left?


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

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

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


Bottom of page

SSQQ Front Page Parties/Calendar of Events Jokes
SSQQ Information Schedule of Classes Writeups
SSQQ Archive Newsletter History of SSQQ