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

Long time readers of the SSQQ Newsletter will notice a new look. I simply don't have the energy to fill in those 30 different categories each month.

Instead, I will write one 5,000 word Email Newsletter and tell you about all the interesting things to read and see.  That way maybe the Newsletter can start being "prompt" again.  6-8-05 RJA


This is the July 2005 issue of the SSQQ Newsletter written by Rick Archer.


Last month my right hand man, that is "woman" I guess I should say, Linda Cook, asked me to advertise her search for a new house and a new husband. I am pleased to report Linda has a bid down on a new house so keep your fingers crossed.

As for the new husband, she got several tempting offers, but decided she was too busy with the new house project to get married in June. Nevertheless, Linda asked me to thank all the men for their generous offers and to consider asking again in July.  She said I could have a commission if he's worth keeping.


Apparently I wasn't the only one who thought the final show of the summer hit "Dancing with the Stars" was totally rigged. Here is an article from the Internet that says it just the way I saw it:

"Thursday, July 07, 2005
Charlie McCollum, 11:00 AM in Charlie McCollum, TV

"Dancing With the Stars'' was barely off the air last night when the emails started. Almost all were unhappy with the outcome of the finale -- in which Kelly Monaco and her partner Alec Mazo (seen with the lovely "Dancing With the Stars'' trophy, at right) upset the favored John O'Hurley and Charlotte Jorgensen.

More than a few of the viewers who took time to email thought ABC had fixed the competition either because a) Monaco is the star of the network's "General Hospital'' or b) it wanted the younger couple to win. Certainly, there were a lot of people out there who disagreed with both the judges and the public on which couple was the best.

As much as I got hooked on "Dancing,'' I wasn't so invested in the outcome that the Monaco-Mazo win upset my sense of what's right and wrong with the world. And as juicy as a conspiracy theory may be, I don't think ABC would fiddle with the outcome. There are just too many ways something like that could leak out, leaving a really, really unhappy audience.

That being said, Monaco and Mazo weren't the best couple on the floor, no matter how many 10s they got from the judges. Mazo did an amazing job, particularly in the freestyle dance, of devising choreography that played to Monaco's strengths and covered her weaknesses as a dancer. And Monaco -- who, again, has come a long, long way since week one -- deserves props for trying some difficult lifts and carries that were pulled more from ice dancing than ballroom dancing.

But O'Hurley and Jorgensen were the better COUPLE. He was a full partner (and had to be because the man has to lead) and, together, they were smooth, elegant and actually did the various dance steps as they're supposed to be performed."

(Notes: there are many comments posted on the web site above. I would estimate 90% of the comments think the results were completely rigged. Here was my favorite:

" I watched Dancing with the Stars from the beginning. Obviously, the whole event was a set up to build unnecessary interest and "drama." Too harsh criticism in first episode led to "plucky" comeback kid storyline. Meanwhile John and Charlotta danced beautifully every week and won the hearts of all. I am outraged by what I see as a fraudulent, manipulative judging system. Giving Kelly and partner all 10s for her last dance--stumbles, drops and all--was dishonest and unfair. I hope ABC realizes what a great show they had and if they do it again, let the best pair win. John and Charlotta were robbed! Vivian"

Over the years, many people have asked, "Rick, why do you dislike dance competitions so much?"

The main reason is that most dance competitions totally offend my sense of fair play. It may be that I have totally warped instincts, but my outrage at some of the decisions I have seen is so strong that I find it healthier just to avoid them completely.

On Wednesday, July 6th, like a fool I broke my rule and watched the dancing in the final episode of "Dancing With the Stars".

In the final dance, professional dancer Alec Mazo partnered with Kelly Monaco to perform a crowd-pleasing Salsa number. As usual, Alec drew most of the attention with his stunning movements. Meanwhile Kelly grimaced as she struggled to keep up with her powerful partner. In the middle of the routine, the couple botched one acrobatic pretty obviously. That should have been a point off right there. Then at the end Kelly Monaco nearly fell on her head trying to finish another acrobatic stunt. That should have been another point off. Was I the only one in America who noticed it? Maybe not, but obviously the judges missed both flubs. They gave Kelly and Alec a unanimous across-the-board "10".

Last time I checked "10" was reserved for perfection. Not this time.

In my opinion, the judging process on the final night appeared rigged. If I didn't know better, I might conclude the ending was "scripted". So much for my sense of fair play.

They always say, "Don't bite the hand that feeds you!"

Ironically Channel 13 (ABC) was nice enough to do a feature on SSQQ and our own champion dancers Bryan Spivey and Lisa Palmer a couple weeks earlier as a lead-in to that evening's "Dancing with the Stars" segment. It was fun to see Bryan and Lisa get some well-deserved attention!

However unless ABC guarantees a level playing field for future dance shows, I think I will stick to TNT re-runs of "Law and Order". If I am going to watch fiction, I prefer to watch a show that doesn't completely offend my sense of justice.


We have a cool "Independence Day Swing Party" on Saturday, July 16th. Wear Red, White, and Blue or you'll be stew!

Patty Oh will be her Wonderful Wackoh Swing Patterns CC that night. Other crash courses include Argentine Tango (always a favorite!) with Don Fox, Lindy Hop with Gloria, Slow Dancing with Jill, and Zydeco with Ronnie.

Maureen Brunetti will be teaching a crash course on "Blues Dance" for the first time. It sounded like a very interesting dance.
Read more about it:

The following week will be the "Dude Ranch Western Party" on Saturday, July 23rd. The idea is to wear your sharpest Western duds. Don't be afraid to take a fashion risk!

Kevin Coleman makes his studio debut with a special Hip Hop Crash Course. He is a very talented dancer.

Another interesting Crash Course will be Daryl Armstrong's Ghost Town Patterns. We like to tease Daryl about this class because he is always telling people he doesn't know any Ghost Town Patterns. Nevertheless, people leave his class smiling. I always wonder how he does it!

My favorite cripple Anita Williams returns from foot surgery to teach the ever-popular Night Club Crash Course.

Susan Waring teaches Western Circle Turns, Leo teaches Beginning Twostep, Linda teaches the wonderful Synchronized Polka class, and Abbie rounds things out with a Beginning Western Swing CC.

Read more about it:


The July 2005 Dance Semester will start on Sunday, July 10th.

A special class at SSQQ is usually defined as a class that isn't offered every month.

Special classes in July include:

1. Swing Charleston II: Tandem Charleston - (Starts Sunday, July 10th! 4:30 - 6:30 pm)
2. Int Latin Hustle (Starts Sunday, July 10th! 4:30 - 6:30 pm)

3. Ghost Town 2 - Sunday, 7-9 pm
4. Beginning Whip/West Coast Swing - Sunday, 7-9 pm

5. Intermediate Ballroom Dancing for Cruises - Monday, 7-9 pm
6. Beginning Cha-Cha! - Monday, 7-9 pm
7. Beginning Ballroom Waltz - Monday, 7-9 pm

8. Intermediate Salsa 3 - Tuesday, 7-9 pm
9. Advanced Salsa 7 with Steve and Danielle - Tuesday, 7-9 pm (Ongoing, but special anyway!)

10. Super Advanced Western Waltz - Wednesday, 7-9 pm

11. Intermediate Salsa 3 - Thursday, 7-9 pm
12. Advanced Salsa 1 - Thursday, 7-9 pm
13. Martian Whip Technique I - Bryan Spivey, Thursday, 7-9 pm (note: there will be a Tech II class in August)

14. Intermediate Night Club - Scott, Friday 7-9 pm
15. Martian Whip with Bryan and Lisa, Friday 7-9 pm (Ongoing, but special anyway!)

16. Intermediate Salsa 3 - Saturday, 430-630 pm
17. Advanced Salsa 1 - Saturday, 430-630 pm
18. Beginning Merengue - Saturday, 430-630 pm
19. Zydeco - Saturday, 430-630 pm

For more details and lengthy descriptions of the classes above, please go to JULY EXTRA:

Please note if you missed the first week, don't worry about it. You can sign up in the second week without any problem since we spend the first hour reviewing what was covered in Week One.


On Saturday, June 11, we had an excellent Salsa Party featuring Mary Frometa and her band titled "Mary's Band". They put on a terrific performance at our Me Das Fiebre Salsa Party! Although I am not an experienced Salsa dancer, I do love Salsa music. I thoroughly enjoyed sitting on one of new couches listening to Mary's vocals and the pulsating Salsa beat.

The party was well attended with 150 guests. Since my limited Salsa knowledge forced me to play couch potato most of the evening, I was also thoroughly entertained by the dancing. I saw some terrific dancing all night long including some Steve Gekas' antics that had me in stitches. And my goodness there were so many pretty girls! Salsa is a very sexy dance indeed. The entire evening had great energy and great fun.

The pictures from the party are ready. I would like to thank Larry Parker for his excellent photography. And in particular I would like to thank my daughter Sam who put in 12 hours selecting the pictures, resizing them, and creating 16 pages on web site for you to see them. Thank goodness for her help. I certainly didn't have the energy to get it done.

By the way, there was one little hitch - I told Sam the party was "Caliente" instead of "Fiebre". My mistake. What do you expect from someone who owns a studio but can't even dance salsa? My point is don't tease Sam, tease me. It was my goof. But it would be about two hours of work to redo all the links and titles and that ain't gonna happen, so try your best to live with my first mistake in twenty-two years. I've had a couple sleepless nights, but I have almost come to grips with it.

I hope you enjoy the Fiebre, uh make that Caliente pictures thoroughly!!


Our Rhapsody trip sets sail on Sunday, September 25th for a week of fun-filled adventures across the Caribbean. Our current passenger total is 87. Based on the many nibbles from the Indecisive Crowd, we may still hit 100. However the price is going up soon, so this is a good week to make your move. More about that in a moment…

For people who are new to SSQQ or unfamiliar with our Travel history, SSQQ has taken one or two cruises a year for the past four years.

Like the proverbial Love Boat of TV fame, our passengers go non-stop 24/7 chasing each other all over the ship. We have 24-hour round the clock birds and bees activity. Besides the countless romances under the radar ("what goes on the ship stays on the ship"), we have had several important relationships develop that continued on shore after the trip.

Yes, believe it or not, our yearly cruises have become a major part of SSQQ's legendary reputation for creating romance. With the recent wedding of Luci Howard and Darren Burns earlier this year, we now have five marriages come out of these trips!

By now our group is so comfortable on the Rhapsody that we act as if we practically own the ship. Fortunately we aren't quite as out of control as I like to pretend. We are actually quite popular. The Rhapsody crew remembers us fondly. They love the energy we bring to their ship. In particular our dancing absolutely stuns the passengers and crew alike.

But our trips aren't just about Slow Dance and Romance. Over the years our group known as the Usual Suspects has found many ways to create mischief and trouble. Last September's trip set new standards for misbehavior and creative mayhem. For a review of all the antics and hijinks from last year's 2004 trip, be sure to visit:

Who knows what is in store for this year?

For starters, all the key players from last year's trip are returning with an evil look in their eyes. They all have a history of bad behavior dating back to kindergarten and each one is obviously spoiling for trouble!

Yes, it is true. Several of the Usual Suspects openly admit they are now in training as they vie for the coveted "Worst Behaved" award on this year's trip. Current champion George "Mr. Handsome" Sargent is fighting off talented contender Steve "the Great Gabino". Plus my money is on a new dark horse contender named Carmen "Hitman" Vito.

On the girl's side, Leslie "Goldmine" has already announced all the other girls are playing for second place. But Goldmine may be surprised to find several women are secretly scheming to give her a run for the money. My scouting report suggests that Gina Lollabridgida and the two Stephanies may just be ready to mount a serious challenge. Plus Phyllis Center of Attention appears willing to take hot-tub stuffing to amazing new heights (or should we say depths?)

Phyllis has already announced she is bringing a brand-new underwater camera. You immediately wonder if this camera is for snorkeling adventures? Are you kidding? No way! Phyllis could care less about fish and rocks. Instead she intends to get pictures of underwater fondling and groping in the hot tub! It is her contention that a lot of mischief went undetected below the surface of the water last year. This year she intends to do something about it.

Phyllis is a riddle. She can't decide whether she wants to report the story or be the story. Knowing her, the answer is probably both. One thing for certain - Phyllis thrives on getting people in trouble which accounts for her other nickname "Paparazzi".

I have noticed there seems to be a large offering of new candidates on board. Is there are wild card among our rookies? Are these newcomers well-behaved good boys and good girls? Or will Mr. Handsome's Jungle Juice bring out the monster in them? We will just have to find out!

This coming week is basically your last chance to sign up for the lowest rates. We have started our last week countdown. After Thursday, July 14th, we can't guarantee room availability or price.

Sad to say, things have taken a huge turn for the worse at the Royal Caribbean Ticketing Office since my June SSQQ Newsletter. I have some negative developments to report.

For the past year and a half, Marla has enjoyed a marvelous business relationship with an RCCL agent code-named CS. This young man gave Marla a tremendous amount of latitude in booking space. He was incredibly helpful at all times and made a lot of exceptions because he knew Marla was someone who could be trusted.

As a result Marla used CS's help on last year's trip to book people right up to the last minute at original prices. However the rumor is that by going out on a limb for Marla and perhaps other customers, he may have bent a few rules in the process. As a classic example of the adage that "no good deed" goes unpunished, in early June Mr. CS was terminated at RCCL. Marla doesn't know the full story since she has no way of contacting Mr. CS.

However, Marla has learned one thing for sure... Ain't no sunshine since he's gone.

The man assigned to take his place has turned out to be obstinate and uncooperative. Marla feels like she has hit a stone wall. You would think a phenomenal producer like Marla who has booked over 320 passengers for Royal Caribbean in the past two years would be given respect. Such is not the case. One thing the new guy does is fail to respond to her requests. For every five emails or phone calls, he responds to maybe one of them. His other favorite trick is to explain all the reasons why he doesn't intend to grant Marla's requests. He loves to explain the rules.

Even worse, he actually went out of his way to evict SSQQ passengers from the trip! You don't believe me? Yes, it is true!

At one point in June the new RCCL agent canceled the reservations of 15 different SSQQ passengers who had already put down their deposit on a cabin! Apparently the man did this just to prove some point about a rule Marla had violated. In other words, he decided to punish Marla for whatever mistakes her friend Mr. CS was responsible for.

Unfortunately I have trouble comprehending the lesson here because I had to watch as it took Marla over four hours of work to reinstate the 15 people who were thrown off the trip. It was a vindictive "make work" move on the man's part.

The upshot of this dark turn of events means that with the implementation of the new group policies and strict adherence to said policies, on June 22nd we lost 90% of our unreserved space.

As a result we only have 8 spots left. We are in possession of one balcony plus three inside cabins for the upcoming cruise. The pricing on these cabins remains locked in at the original rate only until Thursday, July 14th.

If you are sitting on the fence, now is the time to make your move.

Once these four cabins are sold, pricing will revert to the prevailing market rate. Since this sailing is nearly sold out, you can assume the price will increase.

We are holding 3 inside cabins at $539 per person and 1 balcony cabin at $869 per person. All of our Oceanview cabin space is sold. We can still get you onboard in an Oceanview, but you will have to pay the current rate of $679.

In other words, the good old days of waiting till the last minute are over.

That's too bad. If there is one thing we have learned, people love to wait till the last minute.

For example, we had to turn away 8 people for the July Alaska Cruise because they waited too long to sign up and the ship sold out. Plus two passengers ended up having to pay more because they missed our pricing cut-off.

Don't let this happen to you.

The prices WILL increase on July 15th or sooner when we sell the remaining space.

What are you waiting for? Sign up TODAY!

Email Marla Archer at marla@ssqq.com or call her at 713 862 4428. You have till the 15th of July. After that all bets are off about going.

For further information, visit:


SSQQ would like to hire a Western Band for a mid-November Western Party. Last month I asked for recommendations and several of you were nice enough to make some suggestions.

The current list includes:
1. Wild River Band
2. Cheyenne
3. Bill Hart
4. Two Tons of Steel
5. Clay Farmer Band
6. The Emotions
7. Southern Railroad

Wild River Band had the most votes followed closely by Cheyenne and Bill Hart. I am going to let you all vote one more time and then I will make my move next week. PS - don't bother voting for someone not on the list. Send your recommendations to Rick Archer (dance@ssqq.com)


Eleven people aced the June Logic Puzzle that dealt with players on a baseball team.

1. Roger Cantley (First Time Winner!)
2. Susan Arevalo (Right behind Ann at 20 months in a row!)
3. Steve Upchurch (Eight months in a row!)
4. Ritesh Laud (14 Months in a Row!)
5. Anita Leung (4 Months in a Row and won even though she got married this month!)
6. Randall Allsup (First Time Winner!
7. Holly Soehnge (Two months in a row, fifth victory)
8. Serita Serfoss (First Time Winner!)
9. Patty Harrison (Third Month in a row!)
10. Ann Faget (Our current champion at 21 months in a row!)
11. Karen Babb (Seventh victory, welcome back after a month off)

This particular puzzle drove me crazy. I was in a hurry and fell for a classic trap. Can't be perfect all the time! So our 11 winners can smile with the knowledge that they bested me on this one! Which leads us to our next story…


I was so bitter last month over flubbing my own logic puzzle that I decided to lash back and make other people miserable as well. You know how Misery Loves Company.

The July Logic Puzzle is one of the hardest puzzles I have ever solved. Yes, good news, I did solve it. And why is this good news? Because this knowledge immediately reassures lots of people out there who know beyond a shadow of a doubt they are smarter than me. Since they are logical people, they realize if I can solve it, practically anyone can solve it.

The Job Interview deals with five new dance teachers who are applying for jobs at five different dance studios. There are lots of variables to keep track of. You have to figure out the first and last names of the five applicants. You have to figure out the name of the owner of each dance studio. You have to figure out the dance specialty of each applicant. But trickiest of all, you have to figure out their interview schedule! This one was very difficult.

We currently have two women - Ann Faget and Susan Arevalo - who have solved each monthly logic puzzle for nearly two years straight. Plus we have a man - Ritesh Laud - who has aced everything for over a year. Why not give these three champions are real challenge this month??

Go for it! 2005 JULY LOGIC PUZZLE: The Job Interview


Anita Williams sent in this month's Joke Picture winner. The picture researches some of the consequences of riding on modern roller coasters. You will definitely enjoy the wonderful photographs of the Top Thrill Dragster roller coaster from the legendary amusement park Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.

Enjoy! http://www.ssqq.com/ssqq/jokepicture.htm


We have eleven new jokes this month. They were contributed by Chris Holmes (5), Carol Gafford, Judy Walsh, Gary Richardson, Milt Oglesby, and Loni Lewellyn.

Carol Gafford got Best Runner-up for her wonderful joke about a pestering parrot.

Chris Holmes won the Best Joke of the Month award for the second month in a row. His joke about the blonde who makes an amazing discovery about male anatomy rendered me nearly unconscious with laughter. As it was I fell out of my chair. Enjoy! http://www.ssqq.com/ssqq/jokesnew.htm

Newcomers to SSQQ may not be aware of how wonderful our joke page is. Over the years Newsletter readers have been sending in their favorite jokes. I dutifully collect them, edit them, and save them. We are now up to somewhere around 700 jokes.

July is no exception. I just got through listing 33 Hall of Fame jokes including these eight from last year:
July CS 26: The Lion Tamer - Chris Holmes
July CS 27: The Catholic Horses - Pat Roberts
July CS 28: An Update on the Cinderella Story - Leroy Ginzel
July CS 29: The Blonde Sells Her Car - Judy Walsh
July CS 30: A Day At The Beach - Ann Faget
July CS 31: Don't Step on the Ducks - Bett Sundermeyer
July CS 32: The Nuns at the Ballgame - Leroy Ginzel
July CS 33: The Old Farmer and the Pond - Loni Lewellyn

Occasionally I will get a joke that is pretty naughty. For example, this month there was a joke sent in by my friend Hieronymous Anonymous. You can read it and judge for yourself in the "best new jokes" section. That joke will eventually end up in a secret place known as the SSQQ Blue Jokes page.

I once had the Blue Side page "hacked into" by a Saint Agnes high school student who brought all kinds of anger to my email bin by forwarding the URL to every teenager she could think of. A few parents found out about the existence of the page and made my life miserable. Fortunately all I had to do was change the address. Anyone who wants to see the Blue Side can ask for the address on one condition: you have to email me from the email address we have on file for you.

I get a lot of great jokes sent to me each month that never get published. For example, this month Marcia Thomas sent me several excellent jokes that spoofed men. Unfortunately I have already seen them before and added them to our collection. The good news is that even though we have collected lots of jokes over the years, I would estimate that 25% of the jokes sent to me are new to the SSQQ web site.

If you have a good one, please send it in and share it with us! dance@ssqq.com


SSQQ struck gold this month again this month in the Romance department.

On May 26, 2005, James Bowling and Jennifer Klein got Married! You can read the story written by Judy Walsh and see the pictures contributed by Aisha Currie.

Congratulations to both!


My buddy Art Williams, aka the Wandering Salsero, asked me to help him promote an upcoming Salsa Rueda workshop next week.

For those of you unfamiliar with Rueda, it is a fascinating cross between Salsa and Square Dancing! Several couples dance the identical patterns in a circle (Rueda is Spanish for "Circle"). There is a leader who signals each new pattern. Since many of the patterns involve switching partners, people end up dancing with man different partners during each song.

A Rueda is a thing of beauty when it works. Unfortunately the success of the dance is easily sabotaged by the weakest link. Often a man or a woman who knows very little Salsa will get out there and thoroughly mess up the circle during the partner switches. If you are in a good mood, it can be comical to see two men suddenly dancing with each other! Another key element is how well the individuals know the names of the specific patterns and can follow the improvised choreography of the Rueda leader. If this sounds like fun to you, go read what Art Williams has to say.


And that's a wrap.

Thanks for reading this month's issue of the SSQQ Newsletter!
Rick Archer
dance@ssqq.com (email)
www.ssqq.com (the SSQQ Web Site)


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