December 2002
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THE ANNUAL HEARTBEAT TURKEY TROT WESTERN DANCE AND LIP SYNC SHOW will be held this Saturday, November 23. In addition to two performances by the fabulous Heartbeat Dance Team, there is a strong possibility of an exhibition by the reigning National Division I Showcase Champions Chad Guidry and Dawn Haight the same night. 

Throw in the marvelous singing talents of the Supremes, Beach Boys, and Frank Sinatra at the Lip Sync Show later on and you can see why this is one of our top parties of the year!

This is probably the only SSQQ party of the year where even if you can't dance a lick, you can still have a marvelous time. 


Classes begin the week of Sunday, November 24.


Sunday afternoons in December (starts November 24th) brings the return of this favorite course. Christmas and New Year is the only time of year many people dance at all. This special course covering the lost art of Formal Dancing is very useful! Rick Archer will cover new patterns for Slow Dancing, BoxFox Foxtrot patterns, Waltz, plus Dips and Lunges . Following this course, you will likely become the best Formal dancer at your Holiday Party! (Partner not necessary). 
(Please note on Mondays Jill Banta will teach a Beginning level of the same course!)

BALBOA SWING comes to SSQQ on Sundays taught by Gloria Sanchez. It is an 8-count shuffle danced very close together moving back and forth. Many Balboa dancers do Swing, switch to Balboa periodically, then move back to Swing. Very cool dance. 

ARGENTINE TANGO returns to SSQQ Sunday evenings in December. Offered for the first time in over year, the class will be taught by Judy Archer. American Tango is more structured & memorized, while Argentine Tango is more creative and improvisational. With an emphasis on intricate footwork including foot flicks, leg wraps, and swivels, Argentine Tango is a wonderful dance! It is also considered trickier than American Tango. Room 4 will be reserved for Argentine Tango practice each Sunday evening immediately after class. 

Sharon Crawford presents ADVANCED WESTERN CHA CHA on Wednesdays. Western Cha Cha has become a big part of Western dance competitions. Used to romantic slow Polka music with a Latin feel to it ("Neon Moon", "Tequila Town"), Western Cha Cha is a pleasant alternative to Polka. Cha Cha is easy to learn, fun to watch, & joy to dance. 

Rachel Seff, also known as the Midnight Zephyr, will teach a lady's only BELLY DANCE Class on Fridays at 6 pm starting in January. She had over 60 people at her recent Belly Dance Crash Course on November 9. Interest in this class has been phenomenal. 


On SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 23, we will have our Annual Heartbeat Turkey Trot Western Dance and Lip Sync Show Party. The music will be Western, Swing, Waltz, and Whip/WCS.



9:15 - Midnight

The Heartbeat Turkey Trot November 23 Party is a favorite here at the studio. It is called the 'Heartbeat Party' because the members of the Heartbeat Dance Team serve as your hosts and hostesses throughout the night. 

The Heartbeat Dance Team is preparing feverishly to participate in the World Championships sometime around New Year. They have some wonderful dance routines to perform for you that will knock your socks off. 

Then later in the evening the various Heartbeat members perform with other SSQQ Staffers and students in our Annual Lip Sync Show. In the Lip Sync Show we do our best to parody famous performers with offbeat skits. Some of these acts are so funny you think your sides might burst!! 

Saturday, December 7


SLOW DANCING! - Victoria/Loni (cpls only)

9:15 - Midnight

THE SSQQ CHRISTMAS PARTY, Friday, December 20th (9:15 pm - 12:30 am)

The SSQQ Christmas Party is unusual in that much of our music has a Christmas twist to it. Thanks to the many Western performers such as Garth Brooks and George Strait, there are many Christmas songs that are excellent Twosteps and Polkas. And there is a lot of Christmas Swing music as well. We play normal dance music as well, but the emphasis is on dancing to Christmas songs. 

There are many Waltzes played at the SSQQ Christmas Party. It turns out there are many Christmas Carols that turn out to be Waltz-tempo such as "What Child is This?", "The First Noel", "Silver Bells", "Away in a Manger", "It Came Upon a Midnight Clear", and several others. If you like to Waltz, you will love this party!

For a nice Dress suggestion, wear clothing with Red or Green or a Christmas Theme shirt/pullover. 

THE 2002 SSQQ NEW YEAR'S PARTY, Tuesday, December 31st.
(More about this in the next Newsletter)


It is difficult to believe, but our 24th Annual SSQQ Halloween Party turned out to be the best party we have ever had. I don't know how we do it, but every year seems to get better and better. 

I imagine we had over 300 people join us. If you don't believe this total, go check the pictures for yourself and start counting the faces! You might find the number even higher. 

Why was the party better this year? 

One. We had not one negative incident. My thanks as always to Assistant Bellaire Police Chief Byron Holloway for patrolling our parking lot and keeping things safe. 

Two. The Haunted House was even better this year. Thanks to Judy Archer, Frankenstein made a sensational debut this year. He just looked awesome!! 

Three. The Costumes were better than ever. Unlike the early years of the party, everyone now makes a real effort to come up with an attractive costume. The costumes were unique, colorful, and imaginative. 

Four. We hired a professional photographer to take pictures this year. Tim Knight, Gary Richardson's talented assistant at TFW Computers, was on hand all night to snap photos. As a result we had the finest pictures ever taken. It is incredibly difficult to capture dance on film, but as you survey the gallery of pictures, you will find one marvelous action shot after another. When my daughter Sam helped me add pictures to the web site, she exclaimed, "Gee, Dad, these are the best pictures I have ever seen at the party!" 

You can order a CD of all the wonderful Halloween pictures for $15. On the CD prepared by Tim are 400 photos plus a slide show that will put the pictures up on your computer screen one after another automatically. It may seem like a lot of money, but I can assure you Tim put the equivalent of a 40 hour week into the preparation of the CD. This will give you a chance to see your own picture in greater detail, but also have wonderful pictures of everyone who attended this year's party. 

Tim scanned in each photograph at such a high resolution that you can take any picture from the CD and have it reproduced at a print shop in perfect condition. It is quite a marvelous CD. 

You can obtain the SSQQ Halloween CD in one of three ways: 
1. Email Tim Knight at and order one. 
2. Phone Tim at TFW Computers, 713 461 8660, during each weekday.
3. Ask Gary Richardson for a copy if you see him at the studio. He plans to bring copies with him to the Saturday, November 23, Heartbeat Turkey Trot Party.


Here are the items on the SSQQ Web Site related to this year's party: 



So who won the Best Costume contest? Go see for yourself!!


Includes these 4 stories -
1. Tales of the Crypt 
2. The SSQQ Haunted House 
3. The Halloween Party from Hell 
4. The Story of the Monster Mash 


This new article covers my favorite costumes from 25 years of SSQQ Halloween Parties. I answer these intriguing questions: 
1. Who is the lady with the great figure who set the original tone for great costumes in the early years?
2. What two ladies are her spiritual successors in recent years? 
3. What famous Star Wars character once mysteriously showed up each year?
4. Why doesn't Rick wear a costume any more?
5. Which are the most creative costumes over the years?
6. Which is the Best Halloween Costume ever?
7. Two SSQQ Staff people have won the Best Costume Contest. Who are they? How did they win?
8. Which are the most famous coincidences of people wearing costumes that match someone they have never met before? 
9. What are the favorite costumes of women and why?
10. What was the most outrageous dance costume ever? 
(Hint: SSQQ Staffers wore this one!) 

And many many more items to see!


3 Contests in One!
Puzzle 1: Find the Duplicate Picture - limit 20 winners
Somewhere in our 200 pictures, the same picture appears twice. 
Prize: Free Practice Night in December 2002
Puzzle 2: Find the Objects - limit 10 winners 
Somewhere in our 200 pictures, these objects appear. They are tricky, but not impossible.
Prize: Free Turkey Trot Party, Saturday, November 23rd. 

Puzzle 3: Needle in a Haystack - One Winner only 
There are 10 pictures which are pretty obscure. I would imagine it would take an hour or two to locate all ten. Therefore I will make the prize significant -
Prize: Free 4 week class in December.
When I have a winner, I will announce it immediately on this page so you don't have to waste your time.


If you have any interest in solving fun puzzles, this will be a real favorite. We have 50 pictures with clues to famous Christmas Carols and Songs such as "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree". It's your job to match the 50 Picture Puzzles to a Clue List of 100 famous Christmas Songs. 

You will have a blast solving the mystery of each picture, we promise!! And this is a great way to gently ease into this year's Christmas Spirit. 

Sponsored by Judy Archer

"One of my most enjoyable Christmases ever was in 1998 when SSQQ collected toys to be donated to needy children in Houston. We had a tremendous response from students and staff and we all felt great about helping a child have a better, more hopeful, Christmas.

We would once again like to collect toys for donation. It's easy to do. Simply buy a toy for any age child and bring it to the studio. We'll set up a spot in Room #6 for collection. The best part? No wrapping! Either put the toy in an open gift bag or just leave as is. My absolute favorite part is buying the studio's share of toys for donation!

Please remember how lucky we are and how happy you can make a needy child this Christmas with a simple gift of caring."

Judy Archer
SSQQ Dance Studio
713 789 3026


Ken Hoffmann in the Houston Chronicle asked this interesting question - Thinking about that famous statue where Atlas is seen standing tall holding the Earth on his shoulders, just what is he supposed to be standing on?


Sat 10/26/2002 11:07 AM
Email to Rick Archer:

"p.s. guess what, Rick? Tim and I are engaged and getting married in January! thank you for creating the space where we could meet. I remember thinking, "what kind of a geek am I going to meet at dance class?" then, I realized, "I'm in that dance class - I'll meet a geek just like me, and we'll have a blissful blast being our geeky selves and doing our geeky thing together." thanks for making such a safe and wonderful place for these two geeky hearts to find each other, dancing!
Laura Jean Brzozowski
(Editor's Note: This announcement makes me happy for many reasons. First of all, Tim and Laura Jean have been going together for some time and right for each other. Each time I see them, they look so very happy to be together. Second of all, my Universe will be a better place if I don't have to spell 'Brzozowski" any more. It will give me a chance to type or pronounce Laura's name "Bell". That will save me a lot of trouble. As they say, 'Saved by the Bell'!) 

Tue 10/29/2002 1:46 PM
I am surprised and disappointed to see no mention of the closing of the Texas Longhorn Saloon on you web site (other than the mention that Wild West will be open tonight).
You have a great web site but I still can't believe that you didn't write up SOMETHING about the demise of one of the best places to dance in Houston.
Maybe you are still working on it but it has already been several days…."

Rick Archer's Reply:

"This past weekend I had a Halloween party to run. The decorations still have not been put away nor the pictures posted on the Internet. I suggest you write the story."

(Editor's Note: I never got a reply, so I guess I will say a few words about the passing of the Longhorn. Since the mid 90s, the Longhorn was a major part of the Houston social dance scene. With its excellent large circular floor and convenient location, the Longhorn was a popular place to go Western dancing for many years. There have been rumors that the Longhorn was in danger of closing, but these rumors have been around for over a year. After a while people began to ignore them. Unfortunately I guess they turned out to be true. 

Long-time SSQQ Instructor Ben Liles originally organized the popular SSQQ Tuesday Night Western Dancing program at the Longhorn back sometime around 1997 or 1998. Tuesday Night at the Longhorn has been a longstanding SSQQ institution. 

The Longhorn closed the day before the SSQQ Halloween Party. On the following Monday, October 28, the manager of Wild West called me to ask if the SSQQ group would be interested in moving their activity to his place. Ordinarily Wild West is closed on Tuesdays, probably because they couldn't make any money with the whole world going to the Longhorn. I said I would be happy to post a message on the SSQQ Web Site. 

Apparently someone got the message. Emails swirled around Houston at a rapid pace. Just 24 hours after I posted the new information about Wild West, 200 people showed up on the following evening for Tuesday dancing. Information moves fast these days, doesn't it?)


This month's picture is yet another bizarre look at a rapidly self-destructing Michael Jackson. After the embarrassing photos whizzed around the Internet, Prince Michael refused to appear in court until the court photographer promised not to take any more pictures of him. 

Two days later the whole world was shaking their head at MJ again after he was seen holding his baby boy out over the railing of a balcony. The baby probably wasn't in much danger, but Dad still wasn't showing much common sense. 

And what in the world is wrong with his nose?

We have several classic jokes ready for you to read on our December Joke Page.
Here is one of my favorites:

December CS 24: Sold the Suit - Susan Schroeder

When the store manager returned from lunch, he noticed his clerk's hand was bandaged, but before he could ask about the bandage, the clerk said he had some very good news for him.

"Guess what, sir?" the clerk said. "You know that suit you offered a $20 bonus for selling? Well, while you were gone I finally sold that terrible, ugly suit we've had so long!"

"Do you mean that repulsive pink-and-blue double-breasted thing?" the manager asked.

"That's the one!"

"I hope you aren't kidding. That's great!" the manager cried as he handed over a twenty. "I thought we'd never get rid of that monstrosity! That had to be the ugliest suit we've ever had! But tell me. Why is your hand bandaged?"

"Oh," the clerk replied, "after I sold the guy that suit, his guide dog bit me."


(Editor's Note: The Blue Side Jokes are one of the great undiscovered secrets of the SSQQ web site. Anyone who is on the SSQQ Registration List is welcome to have access. All you need to do to subscribe is email me from the email address you use to register for classes and request it.

Contributed by Jane Downs

REDARGUE \Red*ar"gue\ v. t. (Latin redarguere, meaning to accuse, charge with) To disprove; to refute; to confute; to reprove; to convict. Archaic 

Ex: Sometimes we redargue our friends and family, so self-righteous are we, until we realize it s too late, that maybe we were wrong.


The Mexican Fisherman

An American businessman was at the pier of a small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with just one fisherman docked.

Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. The American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them. The Mexican replied, "Only a little while, Senor."

The American then asked, "Why didn't you stay out longer and catch more fish?"

The Mexican said he had enough to support his family's immediate needs.

The American then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos. I have a full and busy life, Senor."

The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You are obviously a very talented guy. You should spend more time fishing. With the proceeds, you could buy a bigger boat. Then with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats and eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the processor and eventually open your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then LA and eventually NYC where you will run your expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But Senor, how long will this all take?"

To which the American replied, "15-20 years."

"But what then, Senor?"

The American laughed and said, "That's the best part. When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."

"Millions, Senor? Then what?"

The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

(EDITOR'S NOTE: This fascinating story appeared in last year's December Newsletter. I like the story so much I decided to share it again. It was contributed by Pat Roberts.)


Would you like to teach Western dancing out in Katy? The Katy Independent School District has an opening for a Western teacher and other dance classes as well in their adult education department. 

Contact Lois Bell at or call her 281-396-6365


Buried deep in the pages of the Nov 14 Houston Chronicle, I discovered news of a $5 million Flood bill sponsored by erstwhile Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee and Kevin Brady. The purpose of this legislation is to study whether the frequency and severity of flooding is increasing in Harris County. 

5 million dollars of tax payers money. Here, let me save y'all some money - Hell yes it's increasing. Why not spend some of that money on drainage improvements or is that just too difficult to understand?? 


You have my vote for AT&T as the worst corporation I have ever done business with. I am certain if I try hard enough, some other company can be found that is more poorly run than AT&T, but up to this point AT&T is the hand's down winner for "WORST COMPANY" in my book.

Here is a pathetic story. 

SSQQ does not use long distance phone service very often. Maybe once every couple years I find a reason to call someone, but I usually use my home phone and not my business number. This inexperience is the reason I was so easily ambushed. AT&T took me down faster than the Spaniards killed the Aztecs with the Plague.

Back in the spring of 2002, my assistant Jill Banta tried to renew our Norton Anti-Virus subscription on-line. Something went wrong. Frustrated, we couldn't leave the business computer exposed to viruses so we decided the next step was to call Norton on the phone. We could not find a 1-800 number listed on their web site, but we did finally locate a number where we could call them long distance. 

Figuring it would be a long wait, we decided to use the business phone since it had a speaker phone option. This way we could work until someone came on the line to speak to us. This trick worked just fine. 20 minutes later someone came on the phone and solved the problem. 

I don't pay the studio bills. I give them to Judy Archer. So without much thought I handed Judy the studio bills from AT&T for March, April, and May. It didn't dawn on me at the time that these were new bills. 

Then on June 25 I decided to review the bills before handing them to Judy. I noticed SSQQ was being billed $15.20 a month for long distance. Huh?? I hadn't made any long distance calls to anyone in ages. Why was I being billed? What was I being billed for? There wasn't even a number listed that I had called. 

I read the fine print. "AT&T applies a $11.95 minimum charge to accounts when long distance usage falls below $50. Based on your business needs, you may qualify for additional AT&T products and services that could result in avoiding this charge. For more information contact the Billing Inquiries number."

Without much hesitation I picked up the phone. I braced myself for a wait, but it turned out to be far worse than I ever imagined. First I was instructed to decide whether I spoke English or not. Then I was told my communications would be taped for my protection. Then I was instructed to punch in my number. Then I was instructed to punch in my account number. Then I was instructed at another level to punch in my phone number again. Finally I was given the privilege to quit punching in numbers and just sit there and wait. 

To add to my ordeal, a repeating tape started to play stating that "a survey by JD Powers and Associates listed AT&T Number 1 in customer satisfaction!" Over and over and over again I listened to this stupid message!! I was ready to scream when suddenly the phone went dead for no reason. I stared blankly at the phone. I was sick with frustration. Ten minutes were gone down the drain. Now I would have to start all over again. 

Yes, I told the computer I wanted English.
Yes, I was told the call was being recorded again.
Yes, I punched in my phone number again.
Yes, I punched in my account number again.
Yes, I punched in my phone number again.
Yes, I got to listen to the JD Powers tape again. 

I wondered if this was a nightmare. It wasn't. Nightmares aren't this scary. 

Thirty minutes - YES, 30 !@#$%^! MINUTES - later a billing representative came on the line. And you will not believe the first thing he said to me. Guess. "Can I have your phone number and account number, please?" Unbelievable. 

So I told him my problem. I finally came to understand how I had gotten stuck with AT&T in the first place. It seems my business phone did not have a long distance service on it when I called Norton Anti-Virus. So I had been assigned to AT&T on a rotating basis. As I understood it AT&T had set up my account behind my back using existing phone records from somewhere. No warning had been given. No signatures were required. No permission on my part was necessary. And no contract had been sent. SSQQ was now an AT&T customer.

Furthermore I was going to be billed 15 bucks a month automatically for not using my long distance service. Over the past 3 months SSQQ had already paid $45 for this privilege before I even caught on to the problem.

I explained that SSQQ didn't need long-distance phone service. All of my long-distance work is done through toll-free phone numbers, the Internet, and email. My home phone could handle the other one or two calls I might make if necessary. I had only used the business phone because the speaker phone made waiting easier. "Please cancel my service," I said. 

The representative argued me. He said that wasn't a good idea. Huh? He said if I signed up for this option and that option, then my service would become free. You gotta be kidding. I said for the second time cancel my service. He argued with me again. Now I lost my temper. I said in a raised voice, "I WANT YOU TO CANCEL MY ACCOUNT!!! WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO GET YOU TO LISTEN TO ME!?!"

I swear on a stack of Bibles that I had to tell him three times to cancel the service before he finally agreed to do so. My blood pressure was so high that I thought I would pop a blood vessel. As I hung up the phone sweating and panting, the thought crossed my mind that Dracula could not be harder to kill than AT&T. 'Number One in Customer Satisfaction according to JD Powers and Associates'. Where do they get this stuff??

Finally I calmed down and called Sprint. The lady was very nice, but said I would have to have a minimum charge for long distance with Sprint too for long distance. The good news was that the charge would only be $5 a month. I said never mind, but could I change my home phone long distance service to Sprint instead without a minimum charge? That she could do. If I didn't call anyone long distance, then I wouldn't be charged. Good. Now I was happy. 

In July I got another bill from AT&T. I wrote in red ink on the bill that I had already canceled my long distance service. In August I got yet another bill from AT&T. Livid, I wrote in red ink on the bill that I had already canceled my long distance service and that I had written the same thing the month before. 

In September I got a third bill. Now I knew for sure that my ordeal on June 25th had done no good. AT&T was not going away. 

So on September 18 I wrote them a letter which basically asked them to cancel my service. Here is what I said: 

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

ATT Bill 
Acct xxx yyy zzzz aaa with SSQQ Inc/Richard Archer 


Back in the Spring of 2002, my assistant made a long-distance call on my business phone (713 861 1906) to attempt to rectify a problem regarding our Norton Anti-Virus protection renewal. 

Unbeknownst to her or to me, this automatically created a long-distance service for my business with ATT. This service is unnecessary since my business is strictly local. I make almost no long-distance calls other than the odd problem which could just as easily been handled in another way. 

Shortly thereafter I began receiving bills such as the one I have enclosed. They were paid for several months by my staff as part of our monthly routine bill payment.

Then one day I noticed the ATT bill myself. I was curious since no one had made a long-distance call in several months. 

1. I was shocked to find that I had been assigned an ATT long-distance account that required NO Signature and no contract approval. 
2. Then I was shocked to find I am forced to pay 15 dollars a month minimum charge despite not making one call.

This means I have been paying for a service that I don't want, I don't need, didn't ask for and HAVEN'T even USED! Nice racket. 

I made a phone call to an ATT service representative in July 2002 canceling my service. It did not solve the problem. Since then I have continued to receive bills nevertheless. I am quite sure a record of this call can be retrieved if this problem continues to fester. This was a fascinating call. First I was disconnected after ten minutes. The second time I sat there for 30 minutes waiting for a representative. Imagine the absurdity of being on hold for 30 minutes listening endlessly to your tape touting the JD Powers and Associates survey listing ATT as #1 in customer satisfaction. I punched in my telephone number four different times for your computer. Little good this did - when your service rep finally did answer, he required me to list my phone number again! 

Since that call in July, I have written notes on each ATT monthly bill explaining that I canceled my service, but this has done no good since I continue to receive my bill like clockwork. Now I am trying a written letter to inform you my long-distance service is canceled. 

First you 'sign me up' behind my back without my permission. Then you bill me for a service I don't use. Third, you don't even remove me from your billing despite my excruciating 30-minute call to your offices in July. Now I am forced to spend nearly an hour writing this letter. 

What kind of business do you run?? 

Now, kindly remove my service. Please be professional and do the work your 'representative' was supposed to have done back in July and cancel it. Furthermore, please clear my account of all charges since July. Finally, a written notice to the effect that the service has indeed gone to its well-deserved extinction would greatly be appreciated. My address is on the bill and the envelope.


Rick Archer

On September 19, I sent the letter to the billing address by certified mail. I have the receipt. I dreaded making another phone call. Writing the letter seemed easier. 

But did the letter work? No, of course not. In October I received my usual bill. 

AT&T lives. Dracula has been hired as their public spokesman. I believe JD Powers and Associates recommended him as the perfect corporate symbol. 

Did I ever receive a reply to my letter? No. 

My next step?? Beats me. 

Does anyone have a suggestion? Email it to Rick Archer, 

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