February 2002
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The SSQQ February 2002 Newsletter


For the last two months of 2001, we had one web site problem after another. Earlier this month we completed our move to a new server called Crystal Tech. The improvement was instantaneous. The address stays the same: www.ssqq.com 

You may have noticed a new look to our front page. We are currently redesigning the site slowly but surely. We are regrouping some of our pages. For example, I noticed four different pages dealing with "Registration" and decided to consolidate them. As a result, don't be surprised if some of the links don't work; please report them to us so we can fix them faster. dance@ssqq.com


Did you know the SSQQ Web Site is one of the most visited dance studio web sites on the Internet? I did a recent web search on the Google Internet Search Engine and entered the words "dance studio" http://www.google.com/

Out of 959,000 entries on January 17, 2002, SSQQ Dance Studio was in the 3rd spot. Not bad. Do you think it is my poetry?


Our new February dance semester begins Sunday, February 3. 

We are well aware that the above date conflicts with Super Bowl Sunday, but obviously this game will be a rout with the Rams easily beating the Patriots. Nevertheless if you decide to watch the game, you can always switch to a parallel class later in the week. After the game becomes hopeless, you can always come for the second hour on Sunday or if all else fails simply start the following Sunday in Week 2. You can join at the same time as all the other Super Bowl truants. Rams 45, Patriots 7. Yawn. 


1. February marks the return of the legendary Lindy Hop, America's first Swing dance. Taught by Gloria Sanchez, this special course assumes you can already Swing dance and are ready to make your move up to join the Swing
elite. Learn the new timing, the unique styling, all the clever footwork, and discover why Lindy is so much fun!

2. Judy Archer brings back her rare and special 4-week class on Advanced Twostep and Polka on Sunday afternoons 4:30 pm. Drawing on Ballroom/Foxtrot background, Judy has several intricate and unusual patterns to teach. 

3. At 7 pm on Sundays Judy begins her Intermediate Western Waltz classes. Waltz is of course the classic Western dance of Romance, but trickier to learn than people realize...

4. Slow Dance and Romance is one of our most unusual courses. Taught by Jill on Mondays, you learn the Lost Art of Formal Dance. Foxtrot, the Walking Slow Dance, and the Rhythm-Switch Slow Dance are invaluable to know at certain special times... 

5. Zoot Suit Riot 1 on Mondays starts a new Super-Advanced Swing series with Judy.

6. Ghost Town 10 is a new Ghost Town level taught by Rick Archer on Wednesdays at 7 pm. Assume that all the easy Ghost Town moves are already in some other level and all that is left are patterns too frightening to imagine. Therefore this course is not for the meek of heart. Therefore be ready to be challenged. 

7. Martian Whip began a new era in January. The initial reaction was very favorable to the new format. This class combines the super talents of State Whip Champions Ted Jones & Margie Saibara with the fabulous women's WCS footwork of Joanne Spuck. Thursdays will cover advanced styling techniques for both men and women in the first hour along with adv patterns taught by Rick Archer in hour 2. Then on Friday there will be a review of Thursday in the first hour followed by difficult patterns in the 2nd hour. Sign up for either night and get the 2nd night at no extra charge. 

Let me add that Martian Whip had over 70 people sign up in January, an unheard of total. We also have gotten several very nice compliments on the new format. Here are two from last week's class: 

Scott - "This was my first time tonight. When I saw how much stuff we were going to cover, I said 'no way'. I am amazed at the amount of material we covered and at the number of people who got the hang of it."

Laura - "Oh good, I danced so hard tonight now I can go home, eat ice cream and not feel guilty."

8. SSQQ's toughest Western Swing class, Death Valley, returns on Fridays in February with Heartbeat Coach Susie Merrill, expect lots of tough patterns & the latest in 'western dance technique' from Susie every week, then stay for the big Friday night Western dance afterwards at the studio. 


THE SSQQ RED AND WHITE VALENTINES PARTY - Saturday, February 9, 9:15 pm - Midnight $7

Crash Courses 7-9 pm
WALTZ (the Dance of Romance) - Judy
SLOW DANCING! - Jill (cpls only)

Music Swing in Room 1, Latin and requests in Room 4
Wear Red and White and Dance All Night!

THE SSQQ HONKY TONK WESTERN PARTY - Saturday, February 23, 9:15 pm - Midnight $7


The original idea was to dress like you are going to Gilley's, but no one seems to have clothes that ugly any more, so wear whatever you want and just bring your dancing feet. 

Music Western, Swing, and Waltz in Room 1, Whip/West Coast in Room 4
Dress Tough or You Won't Dance Enough



I was told by a student recently that they were worried whether the transactions were 'Secure' or not. So I asked David Schroeder about it. He wrote back:

Thu 01/10/2002 2:28 PM
"Rick, Yes, the Online Registration is secure. 

When a user gets to Steps Two and Step Three he is told that. And when he presses Submit on Step Three he is warned about it. Step Two text - "All credit card information is encrypted using our Secure Transaction Server."
Step Three text - "Secure Credit Card Transaction Processing" with accompanying logo of "eProcessing Network - Secure Transaction Processing" 

David Schroeder

(Editor's Note: I might add that we had over 200 people use On-Line Registration in January, a new record. This accounts for about 20% of all registrations. I have yet to receive word of even one problem. The only complaint so far is that people occasionally want to change their mind about what they registered for. Unfortunately this problem can only be handled at walk-in registration. On-Line Registration is best for those who are pretty sure what they want to take.)

Contributed by Chris Holmes

Several cannibals were appointed as engineers in a defense company. 

"You're all part of our team now," said the boss during the welcoming ceremony. "You can earn good money here, and you can go to the cafeteria for something to eat, so please don't trouble any of the other employees." 

The cannibals promised. 

Four weeks later the boss returned and said, "You're all working very hard and I'm very satisfied with all of you. However, one of our janitors has disappeared. Do any of you know what happened to him?" 

The cannibals all shook their heads no. After the boss has left, the leader of the cannibals said to the others, "Which of you idiots ate the janitor?"

A hand raised hesitantly, to which the leader of the cannibals replied, "You stupid fool!!  For four weeks we've been eating Team Leaders, Consultants, Supervisors and Project Managers and no one noticed anything, and YOU had to
go and eat the janitor!"


We have been unable to update this feature for two months due to our web site problems, but this month we are back with a passion! Making up for lost time I printed three new gems. 

February's picture is an affectionate jest at our President. I was directed to it by Marion Sarmiento. 

January's picture is a bizarre message sent to a deceased friend. It is a doozy of a picture! It was contributed by Bett Sundermeyer. 

And December's picture is a Hall of Fame picture contributed a couple of years ago by SSQQ Instructor Gillian Tilbury that I resurrected from the Archives. You cannot fail to crack up at this picture. It depicts a powerful counterattack in the proverbial endless Battle of the Sexes. Enjoy!!




Yes, folks, I cruelly discontinued this much beloved section of the SSQQ Newsletter for the Holidays out of respect for the Season of Goodwill to Mankind. Several of you clearly were not in the Holiday Spirit. One person after another stopped me to complain about no complaints. However it is a new year now so it's time to let the dirt fly again. 

Here are three letters to read: a complaint, a letter from a witness to the event, and my own response.

Thu 12/06/2001 1:02 AM
Dear Rick:

I would like to share with you the humiliation I went through at SSQQ. It was about 8:30 PM in class when I was rudely disturbed while attending a class by a person claiming to be an employee of SSQQ. 

Most of all, I have no idea what provoked him to pick on me from all the people in the classroom. During the second half, while I was making a name tag, we struck a conversation and he started asking me if I am registered
for this class or not, apparently he did not see me before or whatever his rationale was. I thought he was joking asking such a question. Anyway, I told him I signed up for this class and two step and then left to join the class.

About ten minutes later, while I was in the middle of dance and in front of everybody this gentleman marches towards me and told me that my name is not on the roster and I had to leave. Although was holding the registration in one hand and he did not bother to look over. He stood next to me and said, "you are not on the roster and you need to leave." He implied that I am like a thief in the grocery store for coming without paying for it.

I don't know if you ever had been accused of cheating or kicked out of an institution or called a cheat or a thief in front of an audience in a restaurant, studio, grocery store or anywhere. It is humiliating to go through such a process in front of many of your colleagues. As a banker and a very conscientious person, I hold myself in a very high ethical standard. It was a nightmare and none of your clients should go through this. I had a problem sleeping wondering if I would ever run into the people again and wondering what would they think of me if they see my face again.

I am baffled, disturbed and hurt by this episode. You are the boss and so you should know what happened.

(Email Letter to Rick Archer from a student who witnessed the event.)
Wednesday, December 05, 2001 10:37 AM

I dropped in early last night for dance practice, and I was the unfortunate witness to a confrontation outside the studio with a disgruntled person. 

Since I was early, I could not enter the studio and was within earshot of the event. There was an individual arguing vehemently with the Hall Monitor (I assumed the discussion was regarding his removal from the class). He was obnoxious and abrasive, and the Hall Monitor tried patiently to explain to him the policies regarding proof that he had signed up for the class. He kept demanding that the Hall Monitor accompany him to his car to show him the receipt. The Hall Monitor wisely told him he could not leave the studio, but he would await his return. This individual later returned, went in to the intermediate class and started a ruckus that the Hall Monitor had unfairly removed him. 

I considered this to be totally inappropriate behavior. Personally I thought the Hall Monitor handled the situation with great composure and respect. 

Email Letter from Rick Archer to the Complainant
Mon 12/10/2001 3:12 PM

I have now reviewed carefully four documents: Your report, the Hall Monitor's report, an instructor's report, and that of a student who witnessed the incident.

I am sorry you were embarrassed.

However you need to see things from my studio's point of view. Our Hall Monitor program was established 18 months ago to reduce a huge number of people from wandering around the studio who were showing up and claiming they were a volunteer. The situation had become a real headache. Since this policy was established, things have become much more organized.

Now the Hall Monitor is paid to do a job - ask people for their receipt. 

You didn't have one.

Then he or she is supposed to look your name up on a roster. Your name did not appear on one of the rosters.

Furthermore, the Hall Monitor said you made the comment that you are being given free classes. Whether you were jesting or not, this made you seem even more suspicious.

Finally, you naively think someone who has never met you in his life should take your word for it that you paid when it is his job to do the exact thing he did - prevent you from participating without simple documentation.

I do not enjoy the report of this confrontation at all, but please help me understand why I should criticize the Hall Monitor when on the surface it appears he was simply trying to do his job.

Look, I am not happy that you were embarrassed. Our studio is about having fun, not pushing people around. 

However we have to have rules. You did not produce a receipt as requested and your name wasn't on the roster. Whether his style was to your liking or not isn't the question - I am sorry the Hall Monitor rubbed you the wrong way, but the fact remains that this person did what he was hired to do. 

Please forgive the incident and forget about it. You are a nice guy. You are always welcome here.

Rick Archer 

(Editor's Note: This incident was so aggravating to me that I have decided to invest $10,000 in a new computer system designed to upgrade the SSQQ Registration process. Starting in March - or April if necessary - we will use computers for walk-in registration. Combined with our already successful On-Line Registration system, this will allow us to have a computerized recording of all class rosters. This will hopefully prevent incidents such as the one above from happening again.)

Written and contributed by SSQQ Instructor Rachel Seff

1. Slither only people you know.
2. Thou shall not slither with a sweaty neck.
3. Thou shall not slither a women if she has already declined a previous follow-through.
4. Do not criticize or correct your partner's moves.
5. If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.
6. Leave the teaching to the instructors.
7. Let the man lead. 'Follow' may be an 'F' word, but it isn't a bad word.
8. It is ok to say 'no thank you' to a dance invitation, but it means you must sit out for that entire song. 
9. Use deodorant.
10. Altoids should be your best friend.

(Editor's Note: Rachel is a published author and has a PhD from A&M. In addition as you can see from her writing she lives life on the sassy side. I really admire her 10 Commandments!)


Since many of you actually work for a living - which is a good thing - I worry perhaps that it is difficult for you to have the time to carefully peruse each item in the daily news in search of gems. 

Since you support me through your wonderful job efforts, I feel the need to return the favor and keep you posted on stories your diligence may have caused you to miss. 

Since I work evenings, my most relaxed time of the day is in the morning. There is nothing I enjoy more than drinking coffee while turning the pages
of the Chronicle looking for items you might miss. Here is an amazing story about a young Russian man who was suffocated then likely crushed beyond recognition while trapped in a garbage truck. Even more incredible is this happened despite one repeated cell phone call after another for help. 

His body has not yet been found since it is probably buried somewhere beneath tons of garbage. 

Jan. 27, 2002, 11:32PM

Los Angeles Times 

MOSCOW -- The young man was intoxicated but on his feet when he left a billiards hall early Jan. 9. He later awoke to find himself tumbling inside a moving garbage truck, dodging massive blades slowly grinding collected refuse into pulp. 

For 23 minutes, according to a transcript of a series of calls made on his cell phone to Moscow's 911 rescue service operators, 25-year-old Taras Shugayev pleaded, cried and begged for help, saying he was being squeezed.  

But the operators only advised him to alert the driver by banging from inside the truck, and no discernible action was taken by Moscow's various police forces. 

According to one rescue service spokesman, the operators dismissed the report as a prank. 

"Are you in a joking mood to be calling us like this at 6 o'clock in the morning?" a police dispatcher reportedly said. 

By his FOURTH call, during which the rescue service appeared focused mainly on trying to learn who might have put him into the truck, Shugayev was desperate. 

"This is it, I think, I am suffocating. This is it," were the last words recorded. 

Police didn't respond until more than 24 hours later, when the youth was reported missing by his family. They retrieved his phone records, and, with the help of the rescue service recordings, pieced together what might have happened. 

Now they are sifting through a suburban dump, looking for possible remains. 

Shugayev's case, which came to public notice in Moscow newspapers last week, has sparked a criminal investigation and thrown an uncomfortable spotlight on the callous indifference that can mark everyday life in this often harsh city of 9 million people. 

Was Shugayev stuffed into a garbage bin by muggers who prey on drunks? Did some acquaintance throw him into a garbage truck as a practical joke? Were the people at the other end of the line too jaded, busy or tired to respond to the possibility that a life was in danger? 

"I simply don't know who to blame," Shugayev's shaken father, Boris, said.  

Police expert and crime writer Marina Alexeyeva said, "This horrendous story demonstrates once again that life is stranger than fiction, especially in Russia." 

She added, "Only in Russia could they hire complete lunatics and plain idiots to work in such a critically responsible agency as the rescue service, just because they pay their operators peanuts. The man is dying. He is calling the only people who can and should save him, and in return he is bombarded with the most stupid and immediately irrelevant questions -- like who put him there and how can they get in touch with them." 

Natalia Kochergina, a spokeswoman for the rescue service, said the investigation was continuing but asserted that her records show that the operators involved notified police within three minutes, as required. A traffic police spokesman disputed that account, saying the police have no log entry showing they were ever alerted. 

"All the necessary phone calls were made. There is no doubt about it," Kochergina insisted. "The problem is that at 6 a.m., the police simply treated this report as a joke." 

In incomplete transcripts published in the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, the caller reports his situation at 6:20 a.m. and is asked to explain how he got into the truck and then to say where the truck is heading. 

"I am being turned and twisted here, but I am still alive. Please call the traffic police," he pleads. 

The call breaks off. A minute later, a different operator answers the second call and asks again where he is. 

"How am I supposed to know?" he answers. "It is totally dark in here." 

The operator tells him to take matters into his own hands: "Can you identify your presence, so that the driver would stop the truck and help you out of it, young man? Have you got something to knock with? Where is the driver?" 

"He can't hear me. I have found out already that he can't hear me!" 

The call disconnects again, and by the third phone call, at 6:31 a.m., the operator begins to sound irritated with the caller for not trying harder to alert the driver. 

"I have nothing to knock with! I am being squeezed!" the caller explains. 

The operator replied, "Your hands are free since you have been able to dial the number. Find something in the garbage." 

During the final call, starting at 6:35 and ending at 6:43, the operator persists in asking who played this "trick" on him: "Can you remember your friends' telephone number? We will find out in a second where you are." 

The caller isn't heard from again. 

Anatoly Galibin, the driver of the state-of-the-art Mercedes garbage truck that police suspect was involved, said he would have thought it improbable that anyone could have been dropped into his truck from a garbage bin. 

He agreed, however, that if someone were covered by garbage, it might have gone unnoticed. And any cries for help wouldn't have been heard.  

"If he was really inside and no one came to the rescue, he was doomed," concluded Galibin, who blames police. He said his truck passed right in front of several traffic posts and a police station. 

"The police usually know which trucks work where, and they could have easily tracked us down if they had wanted to," the driver said. "They could have saved the guy." 

Alexeyeva, a former police colonel, said she also is outraged. 

"It all goes to show," she said, "that the life of a human being still doesn't interest anybody in charge in this country."


The SSQQ Newsletter strives to be a complete newspaper. One item that has been missing so far is a column on helpful hints. Here are some thoughtful uses for Coca Cola. 

Are you a Coca Cola drinker? The next time you ingest a cool refreshing Coke consider these alternate applications:

1. To clean a toilet: Pour a can of Coca-Cola into the bowl. Let sit for one hour, then flush clean. The citric acid in Coke removes stains from vitreous china.

2. To remove rust spots from chrome: Rub with a crumpled-up piece of Reynolds Wrap aluminum foil dipped in Coca-Cola.

3. To clean corrosion from car battery terminals: Pour a can of Coca-Cola over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion.

4. To loosen a rusted bolt: Applying a cloth soaked in Coke to the rusted bolt for several minutes.

5. To bake ham: Empty a can of Coca-Cola into the baking pan; wrap the ham in aluminum foil, and bake. Thirty minutes before the ham is finished, remove the foil, allowing drippings to mix with the Coke for gravy.

6. To remove grease from clothes: Empty a can of Coke into a load of greasy clothes, add detergent, and run through a regular cycle. The Coca-Cola will help loosen grease stains.

Editor's Note: Here is my personal story about the magic of Coca Cola. 

From time to time I am asked about the glamour of owning a big famous dance studio. Well, those of you who have been around the block a couple times know running a business is not always as glorious as other people think it is. 

For example, one of my less pleasant activities involves cleaning out the drink cooler. We currently have a brand new cooler, but the previous one stuck around for about ten years. The old cooler probably should have been put out to pasture sooner than it was since it had a major drainage problem. It was a good thing I cleaned the cooler since no one else on earth was stupid enough to do it. This surprises me because it was such a highly rewarding activity. I would make about $3 from all the change that had fallen to the bottom. Those nickels and dimes really start to add up! 

What I haven't told you is that no one wanted the money for a good reason - it was buried under a pond of slime at the bottom because the drainage hose would get clogged up. Even my desperate-for-money kid wouldn't help me. I would tell Sam all she had to do was pick the coins up off the bottom and it was all hers, but one look at the slime and she vanished.  

The problem was caused by an inconsistent thermostat. Once in a while a few cans at the bottom would freeze. They would swell up and out would explode an icy coca cola mush. Once out of the can, the coke mush would melt and head toward the drain. However as it drained the sugary liquid was too thick and it tended to slowly clog up the drainage tube. Once the liquid could no longer drain, it would stay on the bottom of the cooler to create a
slimy muck....etc etc. Do you get the picture here or should I write more descriptively? 

To prevent this from happening I had to unclog the drainage hose periodically. I found the fastest way to clean out the hose was to put it to my mouth and blow real hard... out came the muck!! Such fun! Do you want me to write more about this part? Let me know. 

Normally when the hose was clear, the sugary syrup would drain to pan under the cooler. One day about two years ago after cleaning the hose, I noticed the drainage pan was caked almost to capacity with dried sugary residue.  

Coca Cola becomes pitch black and crunchy liked caked sand when it dries. I decided to clean the pan for the first time ever. I found most of the crunchy gook softened with soapy water and just washed out. I was able to scrape the crustiest part off with a kitchen knife. Little did I know that cleaning the pan for the first time was actually 'ruining' it. I would find this out soon enough.

After the pan was clean, I put it back underneath the cooler. I ran water through the cooler to make sure the hose was back on correctly and the pan was set right. I was irritated to see water run to the floor. This obviously meant I didn't put the pan back right. So I did it again, but there was still more water on the floor after my second drainage test. So I adjusted it again and again and again - four times in all, but the water just kept dripping like there was nothing there to catch it!  

Finally I got down on my hands and knees to see what was wrong. To my amazement I saw the water drip right THROUGH the pan as if it wasn't even there! Earlier I thought I simply had not put it back in right, but now I saw the water passing directly through the pan. 

Baffled, I took the mysterious pan outside. I held it up to the sun. Tiny rays of sunlight revealed a hundred pin-prick holes in the pan where Coke Acid had eaten through solid metal. These holes were invisible to the naked eye unless you looked for them very carefully. Mind you, this was thick metal it had eaten through!!

Do you believe we drink this stuff? I love Coca Cola! But if you ever see water dripping out of my belly while I teach class, go get me some silicone juice in a hurry. I wouldn't want to miss a day without some sweet battery acid remover in my stomach.

Submitted by Pat Roberts

The owner of a golf course in Gainesville was confused about paying an invoice, so he decided to ask his college-educated secretary for some mathematical help. 

He called her into his office and said, "You graduated from the University of Florida, right? Help me out here. If I were to give you $20,000, minus 14%, how much would you take off?" 

The secretary thought a moment, then replied, "Everything but my earrings."

Contributed by Patty Jones

Finally....the "Explanation." 

1. The nice men are ugly. 
2. The handsome men are not nice. 
3. The handsome and nice men are gay. 
4. The handsome, nice and heterosexual men are married. 
5. The men who are not so handsome, but are nice men, have no money. 
6. The men who are not so handsome, but are nice men with money think women are only after their money. 
7. The handsome men without money are after a woman's money. 
8. The handsome men, who are not so nice and but at least heterosexual, don't think we are beautiful enough. 
9. The men who think a woman is beautiful, that are heterosexual, somewhat nice and have some money, are often shy. 
10. But women never find out they are shy because the men who are somewhat handsome, somewhat nice and have some money and thank God are heterosexual, are too damned afraid to MAKE THE FIRST MOVE!!!! 
11.The men who never make the first move automatically lose interest in women when they take the initiative. 



The following email was sent to me on Tue 11/20/2001 9:24 AM

"If you haven't already received love letters for the gentlemen who replied to the Complaint of the Month in your December newsletter on Tuesday, October 30, 2001, let me be the first! He sounds like a dream dancer!

(*smile*) As one who loves to learn new moves even before I learn them in class, I would love to get a chance to dance with this guy (although I may already have!) Plus, any man that writes that long of an explanation must be great marriage material! (LOL!)

I want a name, description, phone number, and blood type! (*wink*)"

(Editor's Note: We keep all of our Newsletters around for a year. If you wish to read the response this young... and (may I say) ... very beautiful lady is referring to, visit the December Newsletter at http://www.ssqq.com/ssqq/newsdec.htm

Scroll down to the section titled 'Here Are Some of the Responses'.  The gentleman's letter is dated Tuesday, October 30, 2001. It starts like this, "Hey Rick, I was just perusing the news letter and a few comments popped into my head. Actually what started this was your "Complaint of the Month". I just wanted to let you know that you can tell that nice lady that she can come back to Thursday's Whip Practice Night without fear in November because I will be there for her to dance with, if she doesn't mind dancing with someone just barely out of Intermediate. She'll be safe from "Criticism and Correction" because I don't feel it is my place to correct anybody on the Dance Floor."

I might add this gentleman was responding to comments in the November Newsletter where women complained about how men made them miserable out on the dance floor.


Gary Richardson is my friend who owns TFW Computers. He has built over 10 computers for me over the past 5 years. For example, Gary built and designed the computer system that plays our music at Practice Night and parties. 

One thing I really appreciate is that Gary sends all of his customers warnings about new viruses. Yesterday I got a warning from him regarding the "Photos from my Party Virus". In his email Gary strongly recommended updating my virus protection immediately, so I immediately did so. One hour later I got hit with an email containing the exact virus he warned me about, but it was harmless thanks to my virus protection. 

This isn't the first time this has happened. Since Gary is "in the business", he usually hears about new viruses before the rest of us and passes on a heads up to the rest of us. If you would like to be added to his virus warning list, email Gary at Grichardson@houston.rr.com



By the way, Gary tells me some of you Newsletter Readers have been blaming his computers for the SSQQ Web Site problems. Let me tell you, it ain't his fault. The company I had - Huge Hosting - was pathetic. Believe it or not, I got an email from Huge Hosting today that you have to read. Here is an excerpt: 

"Dear Valued Customers:

As you may know, Huge Hosting acquired the hosting assets of Verado Holdings Inc. this past October. The purchase included the following operating systems: SlipNet, Sirius, Transport Logic, Internet Express, Hypercon,
Firstworld, and Fastlane.

To be perfectly honest, each system was in dire need of a major upgrade in most aspects including technical components, network platforms, and the billing systems. I have never before witnessed such neglect in a business platform, and this reality took us by surprise. I sincerely regret the impact many customers experienced this past month."

(Editor's Note: What a bunch of BS. My web site worked just fine until Huge Hosting took over. It was so bad they had no tech support on weekends or after 5 pm. During the day, you had to leave a voice message to get tech support. "We are currently busy helping other customers. Leave your name and number and the nature of your problem..." 

What does that tell you? This company was so screwed up, they couldn't even bill people properly!!  Read this from an earlier email: "During the month of November as we began to update the billing system acquired with the customer base, we were unable to apply charges to our customers whose service is billed by credit card. These are charges that would normally be associated with your service for December."

The last line of today's letter was great: "If you no longer have an account with us, please let us know..."


Thu 12/27/2001 9:17 AM
Rick - about your comment in the Jan 2002 newsletter: "Lately I have felt too stupid to own a computer". Don't.

Remember that the computer industry boomed thru the 1990's - and is now many times the size it was ten or fifteen years ago. This isn't just dollars GDP - it's people, experience, and complex technology. Briefly - the vast
majority of the people in the industry today knew little or nothing at all about computers 10 years ago. This isn't just you - this applies to your (soon-to-be-ex) web hosting company also. I can vouch for the fact that the technology is enormously more complex - I started in the business in 1979. If I had any idea what was going to happen to computers, I probably would have kept that job at the garden shop. Every week I run into someone with a horror story like yours - and believe me, you're getting' off easy! The only way things will get better throughout the industry is to do what you've just done - fire the incompetent companies and go with what works. (PS: what you described in the newsletter is called a "DNS" error and could/should have been fixed within minutes.) 

There are a lot of places in Houston (and other towns) selling computers parts and services cuz it has a better profit margin than used cars or mattresses or vinyl siding or local/long distance phones. Not to slam those businesses - but computers are the most complex machinery ever invented by humans, and there are business people who think they can sell it like a commodity. Typically, they "trim costs" by dumping the experienced people, buying the cheap equipment, etc, you know the drill.

In a complex industry, this doesn't work in the long run. Look at HMOs to see what commodity-brokering can do to a complex technological industry. Much of the dot-bomb was caused by reality stepping in and correcting this
misperception of the bizniz wizkids. What happened to www.ssqq.com was simply a ricochet, a sort of "collateral damage".

As you've discovered, staying online means you gotta stay on top of your technology, and react fast when things go south. This doesn't mean you're stupid - it means you're gutsy enough to get into the fight in the first place. I'm sure you're aware that there's lotsa biznizzez out there about your size that aren't even brave enough to get on the web.  

Don't be discouraged by net snafus - just remember: The meek may inherit the earth, but only after the rest of us are through with it.

Scott Wade
Senior Engineer (NASA)

(Editor's Note: Bless your heart. This letter could not have come at a better time when it did. Thank you, Scott.)


I have had one request after another to list thumbnail pictures and bios of the SSQQ Staff Members. Now that the web site is fixed, Jill Banta has been working pretty hard to get this new location up and running. 

Currently there are about 8 biographies listed, but I have another 10 in my email box that will go up pretty darn soon. 

Let me know what you think about this new feature. ( dance@ssqq.com ) Any suggestions will be appreciated!



If you have visited the new SSQQ Web Site lately, you may have noticed several changes. One page I am working hard on is our Questions Page.  http://www.ssqq.com/information/questions.htm

So here is my question to you - Do you have a question you would like answered about the studio? This is a great time to ask it because I am working on this FAQ page tomorrow. Ask and you shall be answered. Do me a favor and bring it on!  Thanks.


Surprise, Surprise, here is actually a note about Dancing in this month's Newsletter. Imagine that.

If you are new to the studio, every Tuesday SSQQ meets at the Longhorn Saloon for Western dancing. The floor is large, the music is generally pretty good, and the SSQQ crowd borders close to a 100 people at times. It is a great place to practice Western Swing, plus they have a lot of West Coast music as well. The Longhorn is located in the Northwest Mall.

Let me add that if you are poor, there is an excellent free buffet at the Longhorn till about 7:30. If you have lost your shirt in worthless Enron stock, try dancing for food. 

Thanks to SSQQ Instructors David and Susan Schroeder, on Wednesdays City Streets sponsors Swing Dancing. I don't know much about it since I work that night, but you can email David for more information at schroeder@e-cats.com

City Streets is on Richmond one block outside the Loop.


SSQQ dance students Jerry Moore and Vicki Bara have announced their engagement! Actually, there is an amazing story behind this engagement shared with me by Leroy Ginzel (thank you very much!)

Vicki is a school teacher in the Clear Creek Independent School District. 

One day just before school was out, she was paged through the public announcement system and told to go immediately to the gym. She went reluctantly. She rolled her eyes thinking one of her students had done something wrong. 

When she opened the double doors to the gym, she gasped as she saw a red carpet stretched across the gym floor with rose petals strewn on it. At the end of the carpet was Jerry Moore in his cowboy boots, a western tux and cowboy hat. He got down on one knee holding a rose in one hand and a ring in the other hand. 

Astonished, Vicki walked down the carpet to Jerry where he proposed to her in front of the whole school. After she accepted with an overwhelmed mixture of smiles and tears, Jerry whisked her away to a secret location in a limousine waiting outside the gym. 

I have to say, when people talk about 'Style', I would imagine this maneuver rates right up there. 

However things aren't all perfect. From what we gather, all the other single female teachers at the school have been giving her a hard time ever since. Too damn bad. Get over it. Tell them to move over to SSQQ and find their own man. 

Congratulations, Vicki and Jerry!

(Editor's Note: As many of you may remember, SSQQ had an amazing total of 30 weddings and engagements back in 2000. We were on a pace to equal or exceed that total last year till something we now call 9-11 occurred. Here at SSQQ there has only been one more marriage in the 4 1/2 months since. 

With Jerry and Vicki's announcement, I am glad people are getting brave enough to start planning for the future again. 

I might add if you know of any SSQQ weddings or engagements, please report them immediately to gossip central at dance@ssqq.com   Don't you agree no one is allowed to fall in love at our studio without the whole world being informed immediately?)


Speaking of 9-11, there isn't much that is funny about this tragic event, but I have seen a few weak stabs at humor. 

I am reminded of a dark humor quip from comedian Paul Rodriguez: "Sometimes I think war is God's way of teaching us geography." 

Certainly most of us had no clue where Kuwait was before the Gulf War and thanks to the riveting movie "Black Hawk Down" I now know that Mogadishu is the capital of Somalia. 

But 9-11 has definitely drawn attention to the most geographically ignored location on earth, the Stan Countries. Believe it or not, I actually wrote a story about the Stan countries a couple years ago and then last year I ran across a Dave Barry story about the Stan countries as well. You can read both articles if you are curious at http://ssqq.com/archive/geography.htm

My interest in Geography - which I recount in more detail in the article mentioned above - led me to publish my very own Geography Quiz on the SSQQ web site. You might be surprised at how many people from around the Internet actually visit the SSQQ web site to take the quiz... and praise it too! 

This month's SSQQ Quiz is the infamous SSQQ Geography Quiz. If you have taken it before, please disqualify yourself (and I know who you are!). 

Yes, you can use the Internet and any resource you wish. 

Best answer gets a free 4-week dance class in February. Everyone who submits a set of answers more intelligent than your average dog gets a free Practice Night in February for your effort. Plus I will publish the names and rankings of all the players in next month's Newsletter so everyone can see how smart you are!

Please note this quiz is not a walk in the park. Here are some of the more recent comments I have gotten about the SSQQ Geography Quiz: 

Sat 01/26/2002 3:24 PM
Thank you very much for your prompt reply and the additional information on those geo questions that I missed. I'd be very interested to be a recipient of any other quizzes that might be forthcoming...................again, thank you, it was a good research test! 
Regards, George Schuler

Tue 01/15/2002 2:33 PM 
Dear Rick, Thanks so much for providing the quiz, and for your prompt, thoughtful, intriguing reply. I've since passed on the quiz link to several other people. I enjoyed the quiz a lot. I am sort of a professional geographer, being a map maker. But we mostly make maps of the highways of Virginia--and it's fun to stretch once in a while. Thanks. David Patton
Mon 10/29/2001 7:31 AM

From Rick Archer to Marty Mazur
Nice work, Marty, on the geography quiz. By the way, I just noticed you teach at Penn State. I was born in Pennsylvania and all my aunts and uncles went to Penn State! Back when I was in college, we used to have some fun at family gatherings. I would root for the University of Texas and they rooted for Penn State during the famous bowl games back when Nixon was president. UT won the first game and I had a lot of fun at their expense, but then Penn State won the next year. Boo.

Mon 10/29/2001 10:31 AM
From Marty Mazur to Rick Archer

I actually don't teach here at Penn State. I work in a research lab. I've lived here long enough now (13 years) that I'm starting to think of myself as a Pennsylvanian.

I used to travel to Texas now and then on business when I worked in California. I spent some time in Houston and El Paso, not much in any of the other cities of your immense state. PS: Do you still have last year's geography quiz anywhere around? I enjoyed your first one a lot. 

Okay, Sports Fans, here is the SSQQ Geography Quiz:

Email your answers by Friday, February 9, to be eligible for the free class prize. Good luck!


The December Microsoft Encarta Newsletter had a fabulous quiz on Great Opening Lines of Novels. Here is an example of the first question: 

1. "As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect." 
a) Faust, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 
b) Angels and Insects, A. S. Byatt 
c) The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka 
d) Kiss of the Spider Woman, Manuel Puig 

The following people - all of whom I hate - got a perfect score on the quiz:

Sylvia Tucker , Richard Kummins, Jane Downs, Alena Oetting, Dorian Myers, Letitia Taitte, and Marlane Kayfes. 

Also doing very well on the quiz were: Angie Treinen, Gene Gilliam, and Maureen Brunetti

I might add everyone who took the quiz did better than I did. Last time this quiz gets offered. From now on I am only going to publish quizzes that allow me to feel superior to at least someone. 

Thanks to all the above for playing even though I don't like you. Oh, the answer to the question above was Metamorphosis.

Contributed by Chris Holmes

A man staggers into an emergency room with two black eyes and a golf club wrapped tightly around his throat. Naturally the doctor asks him what happened.

"Well, it was like this," said the man. "I was having a quiet round of golf with my wife when she sliced her ball into a pasture of cows. We went to look for it and while I was rooting around, I noticed one of the cows had something white at its rear end. I walked over and lifted up the tail and sure enough, there was my wife's golf ball...stuck right in the middle of the cow's butt. That's when I made my mistake."

"What did you do?" asks the doctor.

"Well, I lifted the tail and yelled to my wife, 'Hey, this looks like yours!'" 


The joke above reminded me of one that Mike Gerstenberger sent me a year ago. Enjoy!

A farmer named Hank is sitting in the neighborhood bar getting soused. His best friend Jim wanders in and spots Hank.

"Hey, why are you sitting here on this beautiful day getting drunk?"

Hank replied, "Sometimes things happen that you just can't explain."

"Come on, Hank, So what happened that's so horrible?"

Hank shook his head. "You won't believe me, but here goes. Today I was sitting by my cow milking her. Just as I got the bucket about full, she took her left leg and kicked over the bucket."

Jim smiled, "Okay, Hank, that's a pain, but nothin' to get smashed over."

"Well, that's not all that happened."

Jim nodded, "Okay, so what happened then?"

Hank continued. "I took her left leg and tied it to the post on the left. And then I sat back down and milked her some more. Just as I got the bucket about full, she took her right leg and kicked over the bucket for the second time."

Jim smiled. "Again? No wonder you were mad. But still that's no big deal." 

Hank shook his head. "There's more to the story." 

Jim nodded, "So what did you do then?"

Hank said, "I took her right leg this time and tied it to the post on the right. Then I sat back down and began milking her for the third time. Just as I got the bucket about full, the stupid cow knocked over the bucket with her tail. At this point I have been milking her and tying her up for 30 minutes and I have nothing to show for it." 

Jim nodded in sympathy. "Anything else happen?"

Hank went on, "Well, I knew she had at least another bucket left in her, but I didn't have any more rope. I decided to take off my belt and tie her tail to the rafter. Wouldn't you know it, my pants fell down at the same exact same moment as my wife walked in the barn!"


Would someone please explain to me why the media is beating the crud out of George Bush over the Enron Fiasco? I am having a hard time figuring out what Mr. Bush has done wrong.


In last month's Newsletter, I mentioned there are horror stories everywhere regarding air travel. In fairness to the industry, I went skiing over Christmas and experienced nothing to complain about. I did however receive an interesting reply to my Newsletter article from Ms. Dance Etiquette herself. Enjoy. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2001 4:49 PM 

Rick - Loved the newsletter, as usual. Thought I'd share my own nightmare travel story with you. 

I was flying back to Houston last month after a 4-day recruiting trip in Indiana. Knowing all of the new hassles with security, I got to the airport quite early. I passed the time by walking through all of the airport shops.

One shop right by the entrance to the gates was Bath and Body Works. I love all of the yummy hand-lotion products, and so I put on a bunch of lotion. And I mean a bunch of lotion - hands, arms, elbow, face, etc. I then proceeded to walk through security. I go through the medal detector.

BEEP! My high heels set off the alarm. Shoes come off. Try again. BEEP.

So the Security guy walks in and runs a magic detector wand around my body (most men should be so lucky).  It appears a wire in an undergarment is setting things off. Security guy acknowledges this quite loudly and lets me through.

Whew, I thought. Thank goodness that's over. Nope, not yet. BEEP! Now my BAG goes off.  (I only travel with carry-ons). Three green-beret army guys walk over to me and ask me to step aside. Apparently, my bag has tested positive for hazardous materials. Now the entire mass of people at the security gate is staring at me with eyes of suspicion. And I'm completely mortified. Hazardous materials?!? What did it test for? The army guy checks the scanner. T-N-T.

T-N-T?!?  So they start opening my bags, which after a 4-day trip is full of dirty clothes and not packed very neatly. They go through each item and hold it up as if on display. Had I known I would be doing this, believe me, I would have packed much sexier items. Then they ask me all these questions. Who are you? Where do you work? Who do you know? Etc. All very non-eventful answers. Finally, one of them asks me about perfumes and lotions. 

Yes, I'm wearing perfume that I put on in the morning, and yes, I have on lots of lotion because I just lathered up with all of the Bath and Body Works stuff. 

Ahhhh, they say. Did you know that the most women's hand crème contain glycerin?  And what is the main ingredient in T-N-T?!?   TriNiTro glycerine. 

(Editor's Note: When Rachel told me the story in person, she was smiling. Apparently the Green Berets were actually pretty decent with her considering the seriousness of the situation. Good for them!  My guess is Rachel is too cute and too unthreatening to fit the typical terrorist profile.)


Alan Fox, owner of the Vacations to Go, the travel agency that we used for last summer's cruise, sent me this: 

"Just in case any of you know someone who is looking for a career change, the travel agency side of my company is growing and hiring sales people to sell cruises and tours. It's a straight commission job after the first 3 months, and all the customers call us about a deal they have seen on our Web site, www.VacationsToGo.com

The average agent makes $40k-50k, with a few in the $70--85k range. No experience is necessary, and there are good travel perks. If you know anyone that is interested, they can email me or fax me a resume, at 713-978-6003.
Or email to afox@vacationstogo.com



Ted Weisgal, the owner of Leisure Learning, asked me recently if I knew anyone who might be interested in hosting their popular Murder Mystery dinners. From the LLU catalogue:

"If suspense, mystery, intrigue, an opportunity to be in the action, a superb gourmet meal and the chance to meet new friends strike your fancy, attend one of these fabulous evenings of adventure. Singles and couples are invited to play this exciting Murder Mystery game where everyone is a suspect and only one character hopes the murder is not solved. To add to the fun of this evening, you're invited to come in costume for your role as a doctor, cheerleader, minister, journalist, model, actor/actress, ship captain, etc. The game begins right after the salad is served and continues throughout the evening." 

If you don't feel like dancing for meals, try murder instead. Contact Ted if interested at 713-529-4414


I get several calls a week for Hip Hop Dancing. If any of you readers can teach this stuff or know someone who can, I bet this would be a successful class! dance@ssqq.com



Here is yet another little story in the Chronicle I don't think any of you would want to miss out hearing about. Beware the wrath of a woman scorned, Chapter One Trillion and One. I have a suggestion, guys, tell your wife where you are going once in a while. Or at least give her your cell phone number.

Houston Chronicle
January 10, 2002
By Rosanna Ruiz

A Houston woman was indicted recently on charges of making false statements to the FBI after she told agents her husband was a terrorist who received an email shortly before the September 11th New York attacks that included macabre images of a skull, an airplane, and the World Trade Center. 

Authorities said Shahlah Jaffer Hussain, 39, was so furious with her husband, Fouad Esshassah, that she contacted the FBI four days after the terrorist attacks with her elaborate story.

She told FBI agents her husband received the email on September 8, and that he often entertained guests at their Houston apartment who she now recognized as men who resembled several terrorists at large who were wanted for questioning. 

Hussain also claimed her husband had a Hamas symbol tattooed on his left arm, indicating his allegiance to the group responsible for many of the suicide bombings in Israel. 

However FBI investigators failed to turn up one connection between the husband and terrorists, said Assistant US Attorney Jay Hileman. Checks of the man's email and his left arm also failed to support the wife's accusations. 

Hussain was indicted on January 2. She faces up to 5 years in a federal prison and a fine of $250,000 if convicted. 

During a December 19 hearing, an FBI agent said the woman was upset with her husband because he left Houston for an extended period and did not leave word of his whereabouts.

Submitted by Lesa Myers

Cruciverbalist  (noun) - A crossword designer or enthusiast.

"In a suburban town in Connecticut, Cora Felton has some small measure of notoriety as the Puzzle Lady, reputed constructor of syndicated crosswords. The much married and generally alcoholic Cora, though, is a front for her niece Sherry, the real cruciverbalist in the family" 

(Editor's Note: I am a big Crossword Puzzle fan, so you know I really appreciated this one!)

And by the way, as you can see, the SSQQ Newsletter is mostly written by people just like you who send stuff in. If you have any comments, suggestions, requests, complaints, jokes, pictures or poetry to share, please send it to me, Rick Archer, at ssqq@houston.rr.com 

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

Rick Archer
SSQQ Dance Studio
4803 Bissonnet
Email: ssqq@houston.rr.com 
Web: www.ssqq.com
Phone: 713-861-1906

"No trees were harmed in the sending of this message. However, a significant
number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced."




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