July 2002
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The SSQQ July 2002 Newsletter
Written and edited monthly by Rick Archer






































The SSQQ Newsletter has become much too big to email in its entirety. From now on I will email all the articles related to the business of running SSQQ plus snippets of the other columns contained in the larger SSQQ Newsletter. However the bulk of the Newsletter will appear on our web site. It is 3 times larger than the email version.

You are now reading the 'EXTENDED NEWSLETTER'.  Welcome!


Sometimes in life you do get a second chance. Many people from SSQQ passed on this year's trip when they looked at the original price. Well, things have changed dramatically.

You have been given a last-chance opportunity for the time of your life! If money has been your obstacle in signing on to the cruise list-poof-this problem has magically disappeared. The cruise prices have dropped from a dramatic $180 to $260 per cabin on this trip since it was first announced back in March. 

Apparently the cruise line overestimated the demand for a traditionally slack time of the year - back to school - and badly overpriced their tickets. Now they have caved in and are desperate to fill their ship. 

You now can cruise for a mere $75 a day!!! Where else can you have luxury lodging, limitless meals, and nightly entertainment all included for this ridiculously low amount--- not to say the chance for Slow Dance and Romance on the High Seas!?!?!

On a day per day basis this year's cruise on The Rhapsody of the Seas now COSTS LESS than last year's cruise on Carnival.  (A year ago you paid anywhere from $105-$125 per day.) No more whining about the expense associated with the luxury digs; you now have the chance to take advantage of all the benefits of a luxurious four-star ship and pay less than a moderate line! 

This is last call for you to be included in all the FUN!!! We set sail on Aug. 25 for 8 days filled with sun, fun and adventure and 7 nights that we leave only to you to imagine and make a reality. . . .Don't miss this chance!!!!

Classes begin the week of Sunday, July 7th. 


SWING ACROBATICS comes to Sundays in July at 4:30 pm. Taught by Paul Foltyn, this is a very special class offered twice a year. It covers well-known acrobatic patterns that are sure to draw every eye in the room straight to you!! PARTNERS ONLY. Plus there is no switching of partners due to unusual nature of the class.

Judy Archer brings ADVANCED SALSA MAMBO 3 to Sundays at 4:30 pm. This is a chance to learn Salsa in a room that isn't quite so crowded for a change!

July features the start of a new WHIP/WEST COAST SWING SUPERCLASS cycle. Over the years, July has marked some of our strongest Whip and WCS classes since summers are all about taking on big new challenges. People have been watching the WCS videos at the studio in June and we have noticed a 'buzz' about the July class. SSQQ has the only program in Houston city where you can take this difficult class on 2 different nights (Monday/Thursday) for the price of one. Thus the "Superclass" title.

BEGINNING WESTERN WALTZ is back! We will offer this wonderful dance on Sunday evenings. Judy Archer will cover all the details for the legendary Western dance of romance!

HIP HOP STREET JAZZ has made to SSQQ on Mondays at 6 pm. Michele Franzwa is on the dance team at Texas Tech and a performing Hip Hop team in Houston. This is your chance to learn the secrets of this fascinating dance style! Kids welcome.

ADVANCED WESTERN WALTZ is offered for the first time this year on Wednesdays in July. The most-talked about Western class of 2000 & 2001 was the 4-month Western Waltz cycle taught by Sharon Crawford. The magic has been repeated in 2002 - Sharon's first two Western Waltz classes in May and June were so large we had to turn students away. Now comes your opportunity to join the ranks of the finest dancers in the city with Advanced Western Waltz in July followed by Super Advanced in August. Don't miss it!!

SUPER-ADVANCED NIGHT CLUB comes to SSQQ for the first time in July. Night Club Twostep continues on Fridays with our first-ever Super-Advanced level. Susie Merrill, the lady who got the entire studio dancing Night Club to begin with, has been scouting for the most graceful and intricate Night Club moves to teach in this course. Every C&W album has 2 or 3 romantic slow songs on it. Night Club Twostep is the dance that fits these ballads perfectly. Then after each class on Fridays, you are invited to stay for our Western Practice night afterwards where we will have a room dedicated to this music exclusively!


Saturday, July 13

Dress: Wear Red, White, and Blue or You'll be Stew!

Music: Room 1 for this party is devoted strictly to Swing Dancing. Room 4 will feature Salsa, Tango and requests. 


BACHATA - Linda 

Saturday, July 27

Dress: Casual, Western if you wish
Music: Western in Room 1, Whip in Room 4



The Hoedown Party is the party where we have our Annual Sadie Hawkins Manhunt. This year you ladies will hunt men for cash as well as glory. Expect this to be an amazing event.

The championship SSQQ dance team HEARTBEAT will again be performing at our Hoedown Party. They cleaned up at the Texas Classic competition on May 25th and brought the house down here at SSQQ when they last performed on May 18th. You have to see these people to realize how entertaining they are! 

Here is what Susie said about her team's recent performance:
"I was very proud of my team on the 18th. They had their best ever performance at the studio. Everyone seemed to laugh, applaud and enjoy. I have to say that the most comments I got were about Diana Liles. With just 5 couples she was in the front for almost everything. She is really a performer. She just smiled and played with the audience. The group really did have a good time.
The following week we did have a nice group from the studio show up for the Texas Classic, so we had our own cheering section. It was really nice to see so much support from the people at SSQQ. 
Do you remember John Neece? He came to the studio for several years-tall, dark hair (a little long), mustache. He took just about everything. He has been working with Cheryl Forrester Guidry for a number of years and began competing a couple of years ago in Pro-am. He stayed to watch the team for the first time. He was amazed at how hard the routine is and how good the dancers are. He could not stop telling me how impressed he was! I will try to get an email to you for the next newsletter. I also started putting together a photo layout of Nationals for you for the website. Unfortunately, it is not finished. I will try to get to it this week." 
(Editor's Note: Yes, Susie, please get your publicist to put that photo layout together for us!) 

At our Hoedown Party, Susie Merrill, the Heartbeat Coach, will be teaching her favorite Death Valley Patterns as a Crash Course. Susie wanted me to remind everyone if they are interested in joining the Heartbeat Team, she will be doing tryouts and interviews at this party. Please say something to you if you want to know more about performing for her team. And maybe take her class to see how she teaches and to get a feel for her style. 


Jill Banta is our lead Registrar. She asked me to remind everyone to register using our On-Line Registration system. https://www.crystaltech.net/e-cats/index.cfm

Although we are taking several aggressive steps to speed up Walk-In Registration for July, the truth is you can save yourself a lot of time if you register in advance using the Internet for your classes. 

One gentleman pointed out he was afraid of getting his credit card number stolen using the Internet. Frankly I am just as superstitious as the next guy and I understand this point of view. But you may be worrying needlessly about this problem.

Here are three facts:
1. We are now entering our 12th month of On-Line Registration. In a year's time, we have not had one report of credit card theft. This is the absolute truth. 
2. When you bring your credit card to the studio, we send the same information over the Internet from our computers that you would be sending using your computer. In other words, it is no riskier using your Internet connection than it is using ours… and we have not had an incident yet. 
3. I would estimate we have had about 5,000 successful credit card transactions without a report of theft so far. I am not saying it is impossible because I do not understand hacking enough to guarantee anything. I am simply saying so far things have gone without a hitch. 

If you are going to take a dance class in July, please use the On-Line system. It will get you through the door much faster!!


One of the reasons SSQQ moved to a computerized Registration system is to keep a better tab on the size of classes. This helps us prevent overcrowding our rooms. 

As a feature of our On-Line system, we now have a Bulletin Board called "Special Announcements" on the first screen of On-Line Registration. 

In June, this Bulletin Board allowed us to announce that several classes had been closed including Judy's popular new Salsa Level 8, Sharon's Intermediate Western Waltz, and Beginning Salsa on Thursdays. 

It also allowed us to explain which classes were closed to a particular sex. In other words, when a class had 8 more men than women or vice versa, we closed that class to whichever sex would make the imbalance worse. We still allowed couples to register, but a single man or a single woman without a partner was asked not to enter in the second week if this would make things worse. Using this trick we were able to improve the boy-girl ratio of several classes.


Thursday, June 27, 2002 6:31 PM 
Rick: I tried to register on line to repeat beginning ballroom on Tuesday nights, but on repeat column it says no. My partner & I would like to repeat if we can get the usual 50% fee. Please advise if we can get the repeat charge and how should I register. Paul.

Fri 06/28/2002 9:41 AM
Paul, you are certainly welcome to repeat the class, but so many students were using the half-price feature 'illegally' that we had to remove it from on-line. You can of course register for half price by using walk-in registration the night of the class.
As usual in life, the selfish actions of a few people force moves that impact a larger group. Please forgive!

Rick Archer

(Editor's Note: In June, Judy Archer offered Salsa Mambo Level 8 for the first time ever. I had been discussing my reservations about the half-price feature which was part of our On-Line Registration process. I said we could use Salsa 8 as a monitor to see how many people decided to register for full price and how many people would use the half-price feature. 

It turned out 5 people registered for half price. That is 10% of the entire class registered as 'repeaters' for a class that had never been offered before. These people gave themselves a $100 discount. 

Then I had David Schroeder, the mastermind of our Registration system, run a report for all of the Registrations. He found that 1 in every 7 students registered as 'repeaters' for half-price. My guess is this number should be closer to 1 in 20. The point is that it appears this feature is being exploited. 

Anyone can still register for half-price using Walk-In registration. 

Furthermore in a year when we develop a better data base, we can allow half-price registrations again for On-Line people because the computer will be able to access a 'History' of what you have taken. This new system we have is pretty wonderful. 

By the way David Schroeder is an awesome programmer if you ever have a computer business application you need help with. Email him at schroeder@e-cats.com


I would estimate 75% of SSQQ students use the Bissonnet exit off the West Loop heading south to get to the studio. As most of you know, this area is under construction. The trap is located at the corner of Fournace Street and the West Loop southbound feeder. 

There is a light at Fournace Street just after you leave the West Loop on the feeder street that has only two lanes. The left hand lane is designated 'Left Turn Only' although there is clearly an area you can drive to on the other side of the street. You are required to turn left whether you life it or not. The lane on the right allows you to cross Fournace and continue to stay on the feeder. 

The reason the trap is so effective is that about 90% of the travelers want to stay on the feeder. This means the car lines in the right lane are pretty long. Since there is practically no traffic in the left lane, it is very tempting to simply stay in the left lane, cross Fournace and try to merge with traffic on the other side. You probably see the 'Left Turn Only' sign, but you take your chances anyway figuring no one cares. DON'T DO IT. At any hour of the day there are always one, even two police cars just sitting there in plain sight waiting for you. Watch out. Even with a trap this obvious, there is almost always someone getting a ticket. 

A year ago I was told a story about a man who met a woman through Internet dating. He was an airline pilot, very handsome, very sophisticated. The woman and the pilot began a romance that quickly flourished. It reached the point where two months into the relationship the man uttered the "L" word. 

With that in mind, it came as a huge shock to the woman when the relationship fizzled just weeks later for no obvious reason. The man acted weird and said he had started to get cold feet. Despite letters and phone calls, the man who said he was in love with her just one month earlier was soon gone. There were no fights, no lovers' quarrels, and no obvious problems. One day out of the blue he decided he didn't think they 'clicked' well enough to take things any further. These are of course the dangers of any romance, but the abrupt 180 degree U-turn nevertheless left the woman hurt and confused. As she picked up the pieces, nothing made any sense.

Rarely do we get a chance to peek behind the scenes and see what is really going on in these situations, but this story had another chapter. By coincidence six months later the woman ran into this man in a neighborhood grocery store parking lot. Ignoring his lady companion who was sitting in the car watching him, the man struck up an animated conversation right there in the parking lot. 

Apparently the spark was back, at least in his mind. She could tell he was fascinated with her again so she wasn't very surprised to hear from him the day when he phoned to ask her out for a date. After dinner, they went back to his house where they began a conversation. 

She asked him why he had gotten so weird the first time. He explained that although his feelings for her were real, he admitted his conscience had begun to bother him because it turns out he also had a wife in Dallas. Astounded by his candor, the woman asked a couple more questions. As she listened to him explain, she felt the anger rising in her. She suddenly got up off the couch, grabbed her pocketbook and left to go her car. His hopes for an amorous evening were ruined by his big mouth. She left him hanging there and never heard from him again. 

As she thought about it, she realized his profession as a pilot gave him the freedom to effortlessly carry on relationships with two or more women in different cities. How were they supposed to catch him? 

He used the Internet to find his victims. The woman who told me the story surmised that there had been others before her and others after her who had fallen for the same well-conceived trap. In her words, he was pretty smooth and knew all the lines. Apparently they had been polished through years of practice. 

She was so disgusted by his blatant treachery it took her nearly a year and a half before she could trust a man enough to try again.

This story has colored my perceptions of Internet dating for the past year. Stories in the news of women being murdered by men they met on the Internet only served to confirm my view of the Internet as a place filled with predators and danger. 

My view remained the same until recently I heard something last week that made me wonder. I was at Gary Richardson's Floppy Wizard Computer Store when a woman called the store and introduced herself as 'Debbie from SSQQ'. I was kind of curious since I don't have a 'Debbie' on the staff, so I decided to talk to her myself. It was Debbie Awad, a former student. 

Gary has been giving discounts on his computers to SSQQ students for several years now and has sold over 50 computers. Debbie was a recent recipient of a new computer and was calling for help with her modem. Since Gary was busy with another customer, I chatted with Debbie until Gary could get free for her. 

Known to me as Debbie Solomon until her marriage a couple of years ago, I have long enjoyed her sharp mind and quick wit. She is a great Trivial Pursuits player and back in 1999 Debbie won a spirited contest to become known as 'SSQQ's Smartest Woman', beating out two ladies on the SSQQ Staff, Kathleen Parker and Karen Clawson. Interestingly, all three ladies were single at the time and have since very happily remarried (both Karen and Kathleen met their future husbands here at SSQQ!) 

I asked Debbie how she met her husband since I knew he didn't dance. She said she met him on the Internet. I was amazed. I told her I thought only evil people were on the Internet. I began to ask her some more questions. This is when I found out that her friend Ruth Ann Manison had also met her husband through the Internet. Ruth Ann was one the organizer extraordinaire of activities for the SSQQ In-Crowd back in 1998 through 2000. 

And then I remembered that Susie Merrill, SSQQ instructor and aforementioned coach of the Heartbeat dance team, had also met her husband Bill through the Internet in 1999.

It surprised the heck out of me that I actually knew 3 different women who met husbands through the Internet. This strongly challenged my perception that Internet dating was a dangerous no-win proposition. 

So now I am curious - and I imagine some of our Newsletter readers are as well - about what really goes on with Internet dating. A lot of people in the SSQQ Community have had experiences with Internet Dating. It occurs to me that if each of us shares a story, maybe our entire group can get a better picture of what really is going on out there. 

I have a favorite expression - experience is a comb that life throws you after you have lost your hair. Maybe not all of us have to learn things the hard way. It is my hope that our readers will contribute their own real experiences - then we will all be the wiser for it and maybe even get to keep our hair in the process. 

Does anyone in our SSQQ community have an Internet Dating horror story of their own to share? Are the predators limited to men? Does anyone have another success story like Debbie's to share? Are there any funny stories? Any unusual stories?

I invite all of our readers to share whatever story or stories you wish for the next Newsletter by emailing your story to me before the next issue. 

Here are the ground rules:

1. Every story will be published anonymously. 
2. I will not share the name of the person writing the story with anyone. 
3. I think you all know me well enough to realize I will not exploit these stories for any purpose other than to share them with a larger audience. 
4. If I think the story is nonsense or made up, I reserve the right to not include it. 
5. I reserve the right to edit a story if I think it is a bit long.
6. If you are too embarrassed to share your identity with me, you can snail-mail me the story to 4803 Bissonnet, Bellaire, TX 77401 or simply put it in an envelope and stick it under the door to the studio office or DJ booth when no one is looking. (I would prefer a floppy disk so I don't have to re-type the story!)

One of my favorite things to do at the Renaissance Festival is watch the Mud Eaters. They have a pet saying that the success of their performance is related to the audience. Lousy audience, lousy show. Excited audience, good show. The same thing goes for the Internet Dating article.

To make the article on Internet Dating interesting to all of us, many of our readers need to participate. I have lots of space on my web site so write as much as you want. 

Please take the time to send your story to dance@ssqq.com 
Thanks, Rick Archer


August 25 - September 1

Developments at a glance: 

For money questions, room descriptions, rates, and detailed stuff like that, contact our travel agent Anne Adams.
Email: Aadams@vacationstogo.com
Phone: 713 957 1705 

SSQQ has scheduled a 7-night Caribbean Cruise on Royal Caribbean's 'Rhapsody of the Sea'. This year's trip will set sail the last week in August 2002. We will depart from Galveston for adventures to Key West, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. 

We currently have 48 people who have committed to go on the trip. I think we have enough people right now, but it would be nice if we could get some more men to join us!! There are currently 12 more women signed up for this cruise than men. I imagine these ladies would enjoy some company out on the dance floor. 

The prices have dropped $80.

Inside cabin-deck 2 (double occupancy) - was $730, now is $650
Inside cabin-decks 3,4,7 or 8 (double occupancy) - was $750, now is $660
Ocean view cabin-deck 2 (double occupancy) - was $850, now is $770
Ocean view cabin-decks 3 or 4 (double occupancy) - was $890, now is $830
Balcony cabin-deck 7 (double occupancy) - was $1200, now is $1120. 

Let me add if you are 55 years or older, you can knock another $100 off your ticket. 

Let me repeat my GUY TALK from last month's issue one more time:

If you are a single guy and there is some way you can get yourself on this trip, then you should do just that in the flick of an eye. Cruise Trips are unbelievable opportunities to find romance. I happen to know exactly what I am talking about. 

I believe women derive their resistance to men's charms from the land and the soil. It is called 'Mother Earth' after all. But once you get a woman off of land, they just go to pieces. There is something about cruises that make women shall we say more affectionate.

If you don't believe me, just for starters go rent 'An Affair to Remember' with Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant, the classic love story of a wonderful romance that began aboard a cruise ship. You will see that a trip at sea renders women wild with spirit. 

Then think about the 70s TV hit 'The Love Boat'. This show lasted 9 years!! Yes, 9 years! I never watched it. You never watched it. Someone had to watch it… yes, women watched it. Now you are catching on. Women watched it. They loved this show! Women are all about romance and for some reason cruise ships capture their fancy. 

Assuming you have a little more going for you than the average dork, all you have to do is be in the right place at the right time and it wouldn't hurt to smile a little… well, you aren't going to be in the right place if you don't get on this cruise!

A cruise is probably the easiest way to find an adventure of the heart there is. You are with your friends for 7 days and 7 nights. During the day you get to know some of the ladies on the trip. You talk to them at the pool or at lunch or during dance class. Eventually you find the lady that you feel the most rapport with and you ask if she will join you for the dancing later on. The moment you are waiting for is the slow song. 

During the evening, you talk, you dance, and you flirt. Eventually the beautiful love ballad you have been waiting for will get played. Now is your chance to hold your lady friend close in your arms and move real slow. As she looks out over your shoulder there is the ocean outside glistening under the moonlight. The music, the ocean, the moonlight, and the dancing will all thrill her. She will be mesmerized! As we all know, Slow Dance leads to Romance.

After the dance, now is your chance to invite this lady out of on the deck. The two of you sip Margaritas under the Moonlight and talk. And talk some more. 

Guys, if you have any sense at all, you will join this trip as fast as you possibly can. 

Cruises are about Romance. Don't be cynical - it's true. But someone has to make the first move… The ladies made their move - 34 women are already on board. Now it's YOUR TURN. 

Answer the siren call to romance - These women want you to join them. 

Don't disappoint them - now is the time to make your move! 

Note: If you have a general question about the trip, contact me at dance@ssqq.com
Roommates should not be a problem. We paired off very nicely last year and this year is no exception.

For money questions, room descriptions, rates, and detailed stuff like that, you would be better off contacting Anne Adams.
Email: Aadams@vacationstogo.com
Phone: 713 957 1705 

Pictures of the Rhapsody. This ship is incredible. It looks like a floating palace!

An article from the Houston Chronicle archives by Harry Shattuck that was very complimentary of the Rhapsody. You should read it. 

For more information about this year's cruise:

Story of Last Year's Cruise: 

Pictures from Last Year's Cruise: 

Contributed by Chris Holmes

Here is a very simple little test comprised of four questions to determine the level of your intellect. These are easy questions, so one of the ground rules is you must answer all four in one minute or less. Write down your answers. And no cheating. On your mark, get set....GO!!!

1: You are competing in a race, and overtake the runner in second place.
In which position are you now?

Write down your answer. 

2 : If you overtake the last runner, what position are you now in?

Write down your answer.

3 : A simple math problem. No fair using a calculator! 

Take 1000. 
Add 40.
Add another 1000.
Add 30.
1000 again.
Plus 20.
Plus 1000.
And plus 10.

What is the total ?

Now write down your answer. No fair double-checking!

4. Marie's father has five daughters:

1. Chacha
2. Cheche
3. Chichi
4. Chocho
5. ????

Question: What is the fifth daughter's name?

Write down your answer. 

Now go check the bottom of the page and see how you did. 


I know evil exists in the world. Just for starters I realize 6 million Jews were executed in cold blood by the Nazis. That remains my standard by which all evil is measured. 

But I still have tremendous difficulty understanding the reasoning behind the hideous bombing of innocent human beings in Israel. 

It is totally barbaric to kill little children, young girls on the way to school, lovers in the prime of their youth, old retired people, and all the other innocent people who are simply trying to live their life in Israel. 

What possible monster of a religion is Islam that allows its religious leaders to defend such an insane, barbaric policy? How do they justify this bloodshed?

I support the right to a Palestinian homeland. Our President has shown his support. My guess is most of the world agrees at this point. But the constant insane killing of defenseless people is not the way to achieve this goal. 

I realize the Israelis overreact with their own cruelty all too frequently, but put yourself in their shoes. If your loved one was murdered before your eyes in such a manner, wouldn't every bone in your body be consumed with thoughts of hatred and revenge? 

I now believe an Evil of the same magnitude as Nazi Germany exists in the Arab world. It is disturbing and frightening to behold.

I hope we can avoid another world war, but the events of today when followed to their logical extreme certainly point to this possibility. We are at war now. The only question is how far will it escalate. 


from the May 27 Houston Chronicle

Bill Clinton made a brief stop in Brunei on Sunday, spending the day playing golf at the plush Empire Hotel and Country Club in the capital city of this tiny oil-rich sultanate. He was to attend a dinner hosted by Brunei's ruler, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, before departing for New Zealand late Sunday. In Singapore on Friday, Clinton warned that "terrorists find fertile ground" in poor nations in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, and that rich states should help lift these countries out of poverty. 

He was paid $250,000 for the one-hour speech.

(Editor's Note: Does this story disgust anyone else as much as it does me? And am I the only person who thinks he is getting a kickback for something sleazy he did?

Wed 05/29/2002 10:27 AM


Actually, I think Bill Clinton did some wonderful things as president, made a bad mistake, and was crucified for it by his political opponents on mainly political grounds. I think he should do the same as every other past president, and do what he can do to help bring world peace. And he should be paid for his speaking engagements in the same manner and degree as every other past president. Which is what your story reflects.

I also think that if you are going to make political statements in your newsletter, you should provide the opportunity for your readers to read opposing viewpoints, like mine.
Thank you.

Mary Beth Gaines

(Editor's Note: I think the guy is a crook, but okay, you got it. I have printed your reply as I promised.)


Most of you don't know Howard Kurc except perhaps Sharon Crawford and maybe some of my veteran staff members like Ben and Susie. Howard was a wonderful guy who took lessons here at the studio for the first time back in the late 80s. He took lots of Western classes and took some of my early Martian Whip classes. I noticed with a smile that I named one of my favorite Martian Whip patterns after him called "Howard Be Thy Name" on September 29, 1989. 

Howard had a great sense of humor. He always made me laugh with his sly grin and the impish twinkle in his eye. Howard was something of a rogue and a troublemaker. A very handsome, down-to-earth guy, Howard always had the amazing power to keep me in my place because he was an even better BS-er than I am if you can believe that it is possible. 

Early this year, January 2002 is my guess, I was tickled to see Howard reappear at the studio. He introduced me to his fiancιe Darlene Raspberry. They were going to start Beginning Twostep that night. He caught me on the run and I never got a chance to give him more than a cursory 'hi, how are you, let's talk soon, gotta go'. Our paths didn't cross again which I now regret terribly. 

In the middle of May, Darlene got me on the phone to say that her beloved Howard had died in her arms of a heart attack. They were remodeling a home in Cuero, Texas, and Howard was in the process of painting. Suddenly he fell faint. Darlene rushed to him and cradled him in her arms as he passed away. I cannot imagine a more painful moment for any person than what happened to Darlene. 

Howard, 65, apparently had premonitions of his departure. He had recently changed his will to make sure Darlene would get the house in Cuero. On another occasion, he had mentioned something to her about a weird chill that passed through his body. On the night before his death he complained of extreme tiredness and had needed to lay down and rest. 

Darlene said that she and Howard had only a year or so together. She had known him for a long time as friends while she was married. One night after her divorce, Howard got up the courage to tell her he had loved her from afar for a long time. When she fussed at him for not telling her sooner, he said that would not have been right. 

Then Darlene felt guilty because she kept Howard at arm's length for some time while she got up the courage to take the chance of caring again. After she finally accepted him completely into her life, they had six wonderful months together. 

This story is tinged with much joy and much sadness. Rest in peace, Howard. And my love to Darlene as she tries to cope with her tremendous loss. 

Written by Rick Archer

For the past two months I have been writing stories that involve my overall dislike and distrust of the legal profession. Obviously once you make it to adulthood, you learn to avoid sweeping statements like 'I hate all (Fill in the Blank)' and learn to differentiate the good from the bad. And as I have been reminded, everyone says the hate lawyers till you need one. 

Did you know I have been divorced now for a year? Today Judy and I continue to work together in harmony here at the studio. We are nice to each other. We don't argue over money. And we share a wonderful daughter together. We don't argue over time spent with our daughter. We let the other person see the daughter whenever they wish whether it is their night or not. We take turns nicely on vacations and holidays. 

A year ago when we realized we needed to part, Judy and I decided we could do a better job of deciding what was fair than an outside party. Both of us agreed that whatever money one side won over the other would be neutralized by lawyer's fees, so what was the point of fighting? 

We both made compromises and ended up with an amicable divorce. Sure there have been hurt feelings every now and then, but things have worked out well. We had a very nice attorney who remains a friend to both of us. All the attorney ever did was tell us what the law said, discuss ways to break an impasse and reduce friction. She was a healer and helped both Judy and I see the big picture when we got bogged down in details. I think the divorce cost us a little over $1,000. 

Not everyone does it the same way as Judy and I did. For example I have been involved in a stupid legal game now for three months. Once a month a young man with dirty blonde hair walks up to me at the end of a dance class and hands me a subpoena ordering me to appear the next day or the day after in court. This has happened three months in a row. 

It seems that Mr. X is seeking a divorce from Mrs. X. They both took dance lessons here at SSQQ and I know them socially outside of the studio. My daughter for example has taken a trip with the children of Mr. and Mrs. X and has been to their house. I have played volleyball and basketball with Mr. X. In other words, at one point in time I considered both people my friends. But I also had a strong hunch that Mr. and Mrs. X were having marital problems. I minded my own business and tried not to take sides. 

Finally I heard the bad news - Mrs. X was being sued for divorce and Mr. X wanted full custody of the kids. I rolled my eyes. Mrs. X had been a stay-at-home Mom with those children and loved them dearly. She was a great mother. They would be lost without her. If Mr. X won, it would be a travesty because it was obvious the children needed their mother. What in the hell was this guy thinking? 

So I got subpoenaed for the first hearing. I had no idea what Mr. X wanted from me, but I showed up and spent nearly three hours of my morning just sitting there. The idiot Mr. X had subpoenaed about 20 other people as well. Every one of them could be easily identified by the smoke coming out of their ears as their precious time was being wasted needlessly on this utter stupidity. Mrs. X said they were basically subpoenaed for harassment purposes, including her boss at work. She said this was a very expensive process to subpoena witnesses, but that Mr. X's father was a wealthy retired attorney who was determined to intimidate her into giving up the kids. He had deep pockets and was willing to spend money to wrestle custody of the children away from her. This kind of cold hatred was painful to watch. My sympathies now clearly rested with Mrs. X. I was no longer neutral. 

The subpoena had ordered me to bring a copy of every email or other document involving Mrs. X that I had. Dutifully I wasted two hours of my time searching for and printing out 30 of the most inane emails imaginable. I brought them with me. Did the lawyer even bother to ask me for them? No. Did the lawyer even bother to speak to me at all? No. Did anyone bother to tell me why I had been asked to appear in the first place? No. 

Then we were told by Mrs. X's attorney we could go. A deal had been struck to postpone the fight for another day. Angry but determined to be civil, I approached Mr. X and Mr. X's father. I told him I was more than willing to give a deposition at any time and any place. I also told him I had absolutely no dirt to share… which is the truth so help me God as they say. Then I politely asked him not to subpoena me again, adding that I would come voluntarily if he asked me. 

So what did I get for my offer? At the second trial, this time I was the ONLY person subpoenaed other than some cop who got paid by the taxpayers while he got to do nothing. I got to waste yet another valuable day. Lucky me. This was in May. 

Last week, I was subpoenaed for yet the third time. This one really hurt because it conflicted directly with a doctor's appointment. I would have to get back in line and postpone my appointment just so I could make another futile visit to the divorce court for no reason. 

I emailed Mrs. X to get Mr. X's email address so I could plead for mercy. Later that day I got a phone call from Mrs. X that blew my mind. First the good news - I did not have to come to court the next day because they had settled. Wonderful!

I asked Mrs. X what had happened. She said she and her separated husband had met with a judge who did mediation. After listening to both sides of their story, the judge gave them joint custody and got them to settle on pretty much everything Mrs. X had thought was fair in the first place. 

The bottom line? Mr. X spent $120,000 in a ridiculous, cruel custody battle and had come away with nothing more than he could have gotten for free on Day One. Mrs. X said the judge gave him exactly what he deserved despite all his pathetic legal maneuvers. Whether Mrs. X was a good wife or a bad wife or somewhere in between like most of us was not the issue. Mrs. X was a good mother. She had never done anything to deserve losing her children. This man wasted all this money and lost the respect of people like me who were once his friend trying to accomplish something that any idiot could see was hopeless.

Now Mrs. X says their joint life savings are pretty much all gone in this legal battle. The equivalent of a college education for one of their children was lost needlessly because her husband substituted arrogance for common sense. No wonder the woman wants a divorce - who could stand being married to someone that stupid? 

And what about his lawyer? What did she accomplish? She made a lot of people like me and Mrs. X miserable. The children were not helped, the clients were not helped, people's lives were damaged by the fight, but the lawyer only accomplished one thing - she got the money.


Oh boy! The latest issue of Inside Houston had a 'Best of' section and SSQQ got Best Dance Studio. We also won the same award last year. Thank you. 


Hi! Found your website when looking for dance classes for adults in the Houston area. I am definitely a candidate for two left feet training! 

However, I live a looooooong way away from your studio-- Hwy. 290 and Hwy. 6 area. Any chance you know of studios in this area? Location's not a total deal breaker, but knowing me convenience will go a long way toward encouraging me to join and continue!

Susan O'Brien

SSQQ has no other locations and no plans to open any. That isn't to say we won't expand some day, but I will avoid it as long as I possibly can

The obvious reason is financial. SSQQ has to make a minimum of $20,000 a month just to break even. The overhead to run an attractive dance studio is prohibitive. The modern trend in Houston is for the best instructors to rent space at a dance studio and avoid having their own facility. The number of successful social dance studios has significantly dwindled in Houston over the years just because it is so expensive. 

In addition there is the phrase 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.' I have students who come from Katy, Woodlands, Spring, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Pasadena, Baytown, Channelview, LaPorte, Deer Park, Galveston, League City, Clear Lake, Pearland, Alvin, Friendswood, Sugarland, Stafford, Missouri City, Richmond, and Sealy. 

And let me add not one of these communities sends us enough students to even begin to support a large dance studio. Not even Sugarland. I might add Sugarland is 12 minutes away now that 59 has been widened. 

I realize the drive is an inconvenience, but it is worth it. We have a lot of fun here.
Rick Archer
Fri 05/31/2002 11:33 PM

I see a comment on your FAQ's page about someone not wanting to drive from Highway 6 and 290 to your studio.

Is she kidding?

I live 10 miles West of Magnolia (right smack in the middle of nowhere with nothing but trees and coons around me) and am gleefully anticipating the long drives into the city when I begin classes in June. SSQQ comes highly recommended and I won't even consider classes anywhere else.
Jason Heise

(Editor's Note: Thank you, Jason!)

Contributed by Peggy Head

When women go wrong, men go right after them! 

When caught between two evils I generally pick the one I've never tried before. 

Marriage is a fine institution - but I'm not ready for an institution. 

All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else.

Women with "pasts" interest men because men hope that history will repeat itself.

If you put your foot in it, be sure it's your best foot.

I like a man who's good, but not too good-for the good die young, and I hate a dead one.

Women want certain things in marriage-the right to a title and a front seat in the lap of luxury.

It isn't what I do, but how I do it. It isn't what I say, but how I say it, and how I look when I do it and say it. 

Personally, I like two types of men-domestic and foreign.


In February, a half-dozen cars belonging to SSQQ students were towed from the front of the Door Warehouse. Fortunately since then there have been no further incidents. 

There was never any warning given that this ruthless policy was to begin. 

As the height of hypocrisy, the Door Warehouse continues to park its truck in the SSQQ parking lot on nearly a daily basis. Plus obviously cars belonging to customers and employees can always be seen in our parking lot. 

These people should be ashamed of themselves. 

However something strange happened. For two nights in a row in June, the Door Warehouse truck was actually left in the SSQQ parking lot overnight. We had every right to legally tow it and give them a taste of their own medicine.

I couldn't do it. I find towing so absolutely cruel that I just couldn't bear to haul them off. If anyone ever deserved it, the Door Warehouse does, and I still couldn't pull the trigger. 


SSQQ Staff Member Diane Murrell was featured in an impressive story about her on June 18th. Diane has 4 boys. One of them, Lance, suffers from autism. Diane's experiences with her son inspired her to write a children's book, "Tobin Learns to Make Friends". Diane also illustrated it herself. 

Lance definitely thinks it is a pretty good book since he reads it practically every day - he just doesn't realize it is about him!

In fact, Diane's book is her publisher's best-selling children's book and has been nominated for the prestigious Caldecott Medal, a very impressive honor indeed.

I have known Diane has a special gift with kids for some time. I was so impressed by her rapport with children that I gave her the opportunity to learn how to teach dance to children about a year ago. Since then she has taught one children's group after another. She has received a lot of praise for her work.

I taught social dance to 7th graders for about 5 years. I hated nearly every minute of it. I did a good job and the material I taught was right on for what they needed, but I could always tell that I just was not connecting to any of these kids at a deeper level. But when I saw Diane interact with kids, I could see her charisma. 

Diane Murrell is indeed a very talented lady. If you would like to contact her about children's dance or her book or the Chronicle article, her email address is dvmurrell@hotmail.com

Contributed by Pat Roberts

Moses and Jesus were in a threesome playing golf one day. Moses pulled up to the tee and drove a long one. The ball landed in the fairway, but rolled directly toward a water hazard. Quickly Moses raised his club, the water parted and it rolled to the other side, safe and sound.

Next, Jesus strolled up to the tee and hit a nice long one directly toward the same water hazard. It landed right in the center of the pond and kind of hovered over the water. Jesus casually walked out on the pond and chipped the ball onto the green.

The third player got up and sort of randomly whacked the ball. It headed out over the fence and into oncoming traffic on a nearby street. It bounced off a truck and hit a nearby tree. From there, it bounced onto the roof of a shack close by and rolled down into the gutter, down the drain spout, out onto the fairway and straight toward the aforementioned pond. 

On the way to the pond, the ball hit a little stone and bounced out over the water onto a lily pad, where it rested quietly. Suddenly a very large bullfrog jumped upon a lily pad and snatched the ball into his mouth. Just then, an eagle swooped down and grabbed the frog and flew away. As they passed over the green, the frog squealed with fright and dropped the ball, which bounced right into the cup for a hole in one.

Moses turned to Jesus and said, "I really hate playing with your Dad."

Contributed by Jane Downs

This is a moral/ethical dilemma that was once actually used as part of a job application. The candidate who was hired (out of 200 applicants) had no trouble coming up with his answer.

Here is the question: 
You are driving along in your car on a wild, stormy night. You pass by a bus stop, and you see three people waiting for the bus:
1. An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.
2. An old friend who once saved your life.
3. The perfect man (or) woman you have been dreaming about.

Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing that there could only be one passenger in your car? Think before you continue reading.

You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first; or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to pay him back. However, you may never be able to find your perfect dream lover again.

What would you do? 

(Editor's Note: I accidentally left the answer off the email Newsletter last month. I did have the solution on the web site, but most people didn't realize it. This drove people nuts. I had 40 people email me for the solution. Several people, Dorothy Garcia for one, emailed me the correct solution. Now if you missed it the first time, here it is:

The moral question is who do you give the ride to, the woman who appears to be in danger of dying, the old friend who once saved you, or the potential love of your life? What would you do? 

One person had this very creative answer. 
He simply answered: "I would give the car keys to my old friend, and let him take the lady to the hospital. I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the woman of my dreams."


Goodness gracious, just two months ago I was lamenting the dearth of engagements and weddings around SSQQ and now in June suddenly we had 5 in one month!!

I guess the legendary SSQQ wedding factory is still cooking after all. Good!


Well, guess what, people who met at SSQQ are starting to get married again!!
I received this email from Philip Easterling:

Thu 05/30/2002 7:08 PM
"Hello, Rick,
I just got back from my trip to California, which is why I've haven't replied until today. The names of the people getting married are Linda Perez and Mike Benrud, and they have taken salsa mambo classes at SSQQ. Thanks for mentioning them! Enjoy your week off, Philip"


A rumor has been shared with me that Ken Fowler and Renee Greene are engaged and to be married soon. Renee is Karen Clawson's former roommate. Karen is an SSQQ Staff member who assists Sharon Crawford on Wednesday. Karen talked Renee into taking the western class where she met Ken. We haven't seen either of them lately since their last class in April; I hear the wedding plans have been cutting into their dance time!


Wedding bells will be ringing soon for Kim Gillespie and Rick Lybarger. Kim and Rick met through dancing at SSQQ about this time last summer. Kim and Rick's mutual friend Michelle Crossley spilled the beans the other day when I asked, "How are Rick and Kim doing these days?" 

"Oh, they're getting married." Ah. Then lo and behold Rick and Kim came into together the next night for a Friday Practice Night. I looked them both in the eye and confirmed the rumor is definitely true!

I think this is great for both people. Kim is a vivacious, funny, brown-eyed beauty whom I affectionately call "Jungle Kim". A school teacher by trade, Kim used to wear some bizarre jungle hat to class which led me to her nickname. Kim came to the studio as part of a Second Baptist Singles Group that signed up together. Out of about 40 people, Kim is the only one who really stuck with it. Rick Lybarger may be a lawyer, but he is one of the very few lawyers I genuinely like. Best wishes for both!!
Thu 06/06/2002 7:36 AM
Rick, I am writing to tell you about something REALLY special that happened the other night. Monday night Jerald and I were hanging out at the house ( I can tell you now since you figured out we have been dating for sometime now.) when Jerald suddenly disappeared. He emerged from the back room holding a teddy bear. He claimed that the teddy bear, which was dressed in a black tuxedo, was a gift to tell me thank you for bringing him out to meet my family. (Like that makes any sense) 

When I pressed the little voice box in the bears hand I heard Jerald's voice say "Will you marry me?" Jerald was on one knee holding a ring and said "Will you?" I, of course, found this to be truly romantic and after a period of shock and silence (Yes, I was actually speechless. Believe it or not I do shut up once in a while.) I consented with a hug, kiss and a feeling of total joy. Now that I have gone through the whole long story, which I am sure you did not REALLY want to hear, I would like to tell you that Jerald and I are getting married. I am giving you this information so that Jerald and I can join the ranks of the many happy couples brought together by SSQQ. Forget the fact that I'm excited and telling the whole world. I wanted you to know!
Hope you are having a great day. Stacy


Before the SSQQ Sock Hop Crash Courses on June 22, I stopped in at the Starbucks at South Rice and Bissonnet to pick up a white chocolate mocha to help get me through the night. I was wearing my black leather jacket and looking about a tough as your average 50 year old can look when suddenly I started hearing cat calls and woo-woos from over in the corner. It was none other than the beautiful Ms. Natalie Arnold and her handsome boyfriend, the amazing Swing dancer Bryan Spivey who were both giving me a good-natured hard time. I had seen Bryan and Natalie at this same Starbucks several times before. I think they secretly live there.

About two hours later it was time to start the Sock Hop Party. I always begin the party with the Stroll just because it is a fun way to get everyone's picture as various couples 'stroll' towards the camera. Bryan came up to me with a worried look on his face and said he needed a favor. Sure, Bryan, what? 

"I want to propose to Natalie!!"

Ah. Okay. I can help with that. In 25 years of business, no one has ever included me in on a wedding proposal before, but I have to say I was incredibly cool about it. I told Bryan to be calm and that I knew just how to handle it. Bless his heart, Bryan visibly relaxed - he went from near panic to panic under control. 

I told Neal Pellis, our swing teacher who was handling the camera, that Bryan was going to propose to Natalie and to focus the camera on them when it happened. Then I got the Stroll going as I always do. After about 4 minutes, I went over to Bryan to tell him this would be a good time. Only one problem. Natalie was nowhere to be seen; she had gone to adjust her costume. Oh. 

Undaunted I put on 3 more minutes of Stroll music. Fortunately Natalie soon returned. Bryan immediately started to take her for a Stroll down the corridor. They were surrounded by many of their friends, but I don't think any of them knew what Bryan was up to. When they made it halfway down the Stroll Lane, I stopped the music and announced we had a special event while Neal continued to film away. 

Bryan got a big grin on his face. He fished in his pocket for a ring, then got down on one knee and proposed to Natalie. At this Natalie finally realized what on earth was going on. She had been totally taken off guard. As he knelt on the floor, her slender body shook with what were likely tears of joy. She clearly was too moved to speak so she just clung to Bryan while the rest of us watched and clapped and cried a little too. 

Finally you could see Bryan talking. I think he was asking 'The Question' for the second time. This time Natalie replied. You could see her nod 'yes' and Bryan raised his fist in triumph. It was really very sweet. 

I turned down the lights and put the music on. Natalie and Bryan hugged and slow danced for the majority of 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'. It was a pretty good song for the occasion, I have to say. 

We got it all on film. It was a special moment for all of us, believe me. 


Amanda Keiser, our beautiful Western instructor who looks like Bridgette Fonda, sent me this fascinating riddle several years ago. I didn't answer it at the time, but I have always admired the clever answer. 

"What is greater than God, more evil than the Devil, poor people have it, rich people
need it...... and if you eat it you will die?"

The answer will be at the bottom of this page.

Contributed by Patty Jones

"Has it ever occurred to anyone that having a smoking section in a restaurant is like having a peeing section in a swimming pool?" 

(Editor's Note: I realize that smokers often feel like the whole world hates them. Well, guess what, when you light up around non-smokers, we do!!

Smoking is unbelievably obnoxious to people who don't smoke. The bodies of smokers have adapted and they may not realize how nasty their smoking habit is to others, but non-smokers choke and gag almost on impact. For example, I start to sneeze the moment it hits me. And when I ride in the taxi cab of a driver who smokes, I have a headache by the time we get to the airport. 

One of my basketball friends said he spent a lot of time at the allergist's office during his childhood only to have his miserable conditions mysteriously disappear when he started college. It was only then did he realize that his parent's constant smoking had caused his years of suffering. 

Furthermore, recent studies on the medical effects of second-hand smoke suggest it is more far dangerous to the non-smokers than previously thought.

If smokers want to kill themselves, that is their business, but they shouldn't have the right to hurt the people around them. Never have I heard the stupidity of allowing smoking in public places put so succinctly as the one-liner above does.)

We have 25 classic jokes ready for you to read on our June Joke Page. 

Here is a great joke from the July Joke Page that has long been one of my favorites.

July CS 25: The Seeing-Eye Dog
Submitted by Carole Nelson
Two men were walking their dogs around the local country club and discussing their recent game of golf. The first man's dog was a big German shepherd, and the second man's dog was a Chihuahua. The first man says, "Let's go into the club and get a drink." 
The second man says, "but we can't take our dogs into the club, and I don't wanna leave Chiquita outside." 
So the first man says, "Oh, sure we can take our dogs inside, just do as I do, and say what I say." 
So, the first man puts on his sunglasses, taps the floor with his golf club, walks into the club, and asks the waiter for a place to sit. The waiter says, "Sorry sir, but you can't have your dog in here." 
The man does his best Stevie Wonder impersonation of staring left and right in confusion, then says, "Not even Seeing-eye dogs?" The waiter immediately apologizes and gives the man a seat. 
The second man watched this whole scene and laughs hard. He decides to go for it. He puts on his sunglasses, pull out his putter, and taps his way in with little Chiquita wagging her tail beside him. He asks the same waiter for a seat. The waiter frowns and says, "I'm sorry sir, but you can't have your dog in here." 
The second man says, "Not even seeing-eye dogs?" 
Then the waiter laughs and says, "That first guy was fishy, but you gotta be kidding, man, you expect me to believe that Chihuahua is a seeing-eye dog?!" 
The second man thinks for a moment, then replies, "Oh no! You mean they sold me a Chihuahua?!?"

Contributed by Jane Downs

shilly-shally (SHIL ee SHAL ee) (Reduplication of the question 'shall I?') n 
1. The act of hesitating or state of being hesitant 
2. To procrastinate. 
3. To be unable to come to a decision; vacillate 

"The young man could not bring himself to make the proposal. Finally his father said, 'don't be such a shilly-shally! Ask that girl to marry you!"

(Editor's Note: Jane Downs sends in the most amazing words for us. Thank you, Jane!

Contributed by Rick Archer

This month's picture is about an unusual paternity problem. The mother claims a famous Tire Icon is the father of her child!! 



(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. dance@ssqq.com This month there are 18 Blue Side jokes. Below is one of my favorites!)

July BS 18: Me Tarzan, You Jane
Submitted by Mary Collins

One day Jane met Tarzan in the jungle for the first time. She was very attracted to him; he was so muscular and handsome.

During her questions about his jungle life, Jane asked how he managed for sex. "What's that?" Tarzan asked. So Jane found a huge banana and plunged it repeatedly into an overripe mango. 

Tarzan nodded immediately with understanding. "Oh, Tarzan use hole in trunk of tree," he replied. 

Horrified, Jane said, "Oh, Tarzan, you have it all wrong! Let me show you how to do it properly!"

With that, she took off her clothes, laid down on the ground, and spread her legs wide. "Here, Tarzan," Jane said pointing to the appropriate spot, "put your big banana in here." 

Tarzan removed his loincloth, stepped closer, sniffed a couple times, stepped back, then suddenly gave Jane an almighty kick in the crotch!

"OWWWWWW!" Jane screamed in agony. Jane rolled round and around on the grass writhing in agony as Tarzan watched her with a worried look. Finally she managed to breathe again. With a gasp Jane said, "Gee whiz, Tarzan, what in the hell did you do that for?"

"Tarzan check for bees first!" 


Each month we have a Newsletter Contest of some sort. In June we visited Mr. Dracula's Neighborhood. This was a logic puzzle with some pretty creepy characters. 

We had a record number of people solve it. Congratulations to the following:
1. Beth Boudreau
2. Delain Goddard
3. Verondia Nevil
4. Chuck Snyder
5. Faye Thai
6. Jason Cagle
7. Sara Fielder
8. Eric May
9. Brittany Feldman
10. Cynthia Wallet
11. Susan Arevalo
12. Ken Proctor
13. Jordan Kossack
14. Donna Kayfes 
15. Kathy Sturr
16. David Diaz
17. Barbara Benvides
18. Michael Black
19. Ana Maria La Fuente


The SSQQ Jungle Retirement Home sponsored a series of lectures one week. It featured talks given by five talented members of the community. 
Starting on Monday and continuing through Friday, each day a different man would present a talk about his favorite hobby. Your job is to guess: 
1. Each speaker's first name.
2. Each speaker's last name
3. His previous profession before retirement
4. His current hobby
5. The day on which he spoke.
The first 10 correct answers get a Free Practice Night in July!! Email to Rick Archer, dance@ssqq.com


Contributed by Gary Richardson 

"Men are like fine wine. They start out as Grapes, and it is a woman's job to stomp on them and squash them until they mature into something with which you would like to have dinner with.

Women are like fine wine. They all start out fresh, fruity, and intoxicating. Then they turn full-bodied and lush enough to drive men out of their minds, but with age they go sour and give them a headache." 

Editor's Note: For over twenty years, SSQQ has had a simple refund policy - if you want your money back, ask for it before you leave on your first day or night of class. After that, forget it. 
People have wondered why we are so inflexible. First of all, I think two hours is plenty of time to make up your mind. 
But the real reason we are so adamant about refusing refunds is that they are an enormous time suck besides being basically unpleasant to deal with. 
Perhaps you will see what I mean in this exchange of emails below. 
If you have any comments about our refund policy, feel free to share them with me. 

Monday, June 03, 2002 10:10 AM
Hello, I believe I successfully enrolled in the Latin Carnival class starting June 2nd. See transaction confirmation below for my credit card purchase. I was at your office yesterday for the class but was disappointed to hear you had no record of me, and I did not receive proper attention in resolving the issue. So I would like a refund of my fee.

Please advise whether there is any other information you require.

Stephan Weaver

Mon Jun 03 10:27:32 PDT 2002
Mr. Weaver, I acknowledge there is something very odd about your transaction - we have no record of it. 

When you register on-line, you receive a receipt. All you have to do to
attend the class is show the receipt at the door. Did you not receive a

Our computers were down yesterday when you arrived so there wasn't much we
could do about the problem on the spot.

If there is something we did wrong, I would like to know about it.

Were you denied entrance to the class?
Did you participate in the class?
What was it that left you so dissatisfied?

Rick Archer

Tuesday, June 04, 2002 12:16 PM
Mr. Archer, my latest statement confirms that my VISA credit card was charged May 18th for $44 by "SSQQ INC 713-861-1906 TX." 
Stephan Weaver

Tue Jun 04 17:27:42 PDT 2002
You did not answer my questions. 
Rick Archer

Wednesday, June 05, 2002 10:30 AM
Mr. Archer,
As I implied in my previous email, questions of enrolment and records logically precede questions of customer service and subjective quality. You and your staff have stated they have no record of me. I'd like to get that straight first.

Your staff had an attendance list printed June 2nd (14 days after my enrolment) showing four people in the class; I wasn't one of them. The second staff member I talked to said, precisely, "No, we have four people in the class [showed me their names]. You're not on the list." No further questions or clarifications, and she started talking to someone else. I turned from cheerful anticipation to disdain in a matter of seconds. Not a good inauguration to a fun evening.
So yes, I was dissatisfied and not impressed. Many salutations and greetings for return customers, a bit of confusion and no warmth for me and at least one other newby.
Stephan Weaver

Letter from Rick Archer to David Schroeder, registration system programmer
David, is something wrong with the system that I need to know about? Neither Jill nor I can find this man's name on a roster. However we have his email in our system. Can you figure out what is going wrong?
Rick Archer


We saw this one other time. There is not something wrong with the system. If the Registrar or Student does not hit "Continue" on the eProcessing confirmation page then the student's record will not get added to the Roster and will not get a confirmation email.
David Schroeder

Wed 06/05/2002 12:36 PM
Mr. Weaver,
I am curious why you are so quick to blame my studio for your problem. From my point of view:
1. You showed up without a receipt
2. Your name was not on a list.
3. I asked both women who worked the desk that day about your problem. Neither Registrar has the slightest memory of who you are. I wonder if you even talked to them.
4. Our computer system was down when you showed up so we had no way to deal with the problem at the time.
5. You expect us to refund money we don't even know we have. 
6. And furthermore you refuse to answer my questions despite the fact that I have asked you to answer them on two different occasions. For the record, you still haven't answered the following:

Did you not receive a receipt?
Were you denied entrance to the class?
Did you participate in the class?
As we continue to go round and round with these emails, just what is it that you expected these people to do? It sounds to me like they told you the truth. You weren't on the List. So what? The important thing is whether you were allowed to participate in your class or not.
You signed up for a dance class, the teacher was there and the class was held - WERE YOU DENIED ACCESS TO THE CLASS????? Since you have chosen not to answer my direct question on the two occasions I have asked it, I feel confident in concluding you were indeed permitted to participate.
Furthermore I took the trouble several days ago to ask my programmer to investigate your original email. His conclusion was that you simply made a mistake. My hunch is that he is right. We have had over a thousand people successfully show us their receipt. You are apparently in the minority of 2 people. I included his report for you to study at the end of the email.
Isn't it about time that you cut us some slack and took some responsibility for your own situation?
Mr. Weaver, based on our written policy, you are not due a refund. Furthermore based on your obvious lack of candor, you are receiving a lot more cooperation than you are giving.
Nevertheless you may have your money back.
Unfortunately for you we do not have a way of canceling your mistake other than the old-fashioned way. You will simply have to accept that I am telling the truth.
If you want your money back, you are welcome to come to the studio with your credit card and we will 'swipe' it thru. 6:30 pm any evening except Saturday thru June 7th. Ask for Jill Banta. Please bring whatever documentation you have including the authorization number so we can type in the correct number.
Rick Archer
SSQQ Dance Studio

Thu 06/06/2002 10:27 AM
Mr. Archer, thank you, I will come for a refund. I feel No guilt.
Stefan Weaver

About a year ago I wrote about Pound, Virginia, the town that tried to outlaw dancing. Since then I found out that our wild and crazy Whipper Judith Williams went to college not far from this place which begins to explain a lot of things about Judith. I figured this story is so interesting some of our newer readers would enjoy hearing what happened!

Contributed by Patricia Bradshaw

(Editor's note: Pat even took the time to visit the Snopes Urban Legend site which concluded this story is probably true. The letter was written by Lindsey Yeskoo, the wife of Paul Yeskoo, a Christian Foreign Service Officer serving in Shanghai. It details her experience of meeting the President when he was in China several months ago. Mrs. Yeskoo confirms writing the writing the letter; the only question remaining is whether she made the story up or not.)

"Dear Family! 

It is a dull, polluted Monday morning here in Shanghai and we await news of President Bush's safe arrival back in Washington D.C. He just left here less than twelve hours ago. Everyone is breathing a sigh of relief that no terrorist incidents occurred here over the past days. Security was tight, as you will have seen on TV. On Friday afternoon, a crowd of 600 consulate/embassy staff + families were invited to a reception in the Atrium of the Shanghai/Portman complex, at 3:15pm, to meet both GW and Colin Powell. We waited a LONG time (due to all the security we had to go through), but our anticipation outweighed our tired bodies and sore feet. (We had left the house just after 10:30am in order to do all this!). 

Finally, Bush was announced, and it was SO INCREDIBLE to see him walk in with Powell and take the podium before us, especially with all the recent events. Quite emotional for us all, actually. He gave a tremendous, candid yet heartening speech, and then was escorted down to the floor to meet the crowds. Everyone was of course behind a tight rope, and there were Secret Service men and security everywhere. There was no way he could meet all, but he sure did a great job of shaking hands with as many as possible. Colin Powell followed immediately behind him; he did not seem so engaging, surprisingly. Maybe the Secretary was (understandably) tired and distracted after his previous trips to Pakistan and India. Anyway, the three kids and I were in the very front row, and had an extraordinary experience with President Bush. 

Bush came along and shook Chris's hand first, noticing that he was all dressed up, and said, "You're looking sharp today, boy!" Chris was SO PROUD and SO PLEASED at the recognition (if only GW had known what a struggle I'd had to get him to wear a jacket and a tie!). Then he shook my hand and I told him how much we value his strong leadership at this time, that we are 100% behind him. He went on and took the girls' hands and talked to them. Then I leaned over and mentioned that we pray for him every day. He stopped dead in his tracks (a definite security NO-NO . . . the SS men got REALLY antsy). 

He searched my eyes as if to see how much I really meant what I was saying. Then he gave me the most amazing and unexpected personal response, Paul said for a good 20-30 seconds. He told me what the effect has been on him, waking up every day of the crisis and knowing within himself that he is being faithfully prayed for. He almost pleaded with me not to give up, but to persist with it, for this is only the beginning. Then he looked me even more squarely in my eyes, and gave me a very personal and specific series of instructions about the very things he most needs prayer for, on behalf of himself and of the nation. He urged me that the threat against America is very great, and that one of our focuses in prayer to God needs to be "the shielding of America" . . . and wisdom for him as he leads the country through this time. I don't know why, but as I looked straight back at him directly into his face, he let me see for those brief moments a tiny part of the agony he himself is going through, and the weariness. He finished the conversation by putting his hand on my right shoulder, almost as if it were the close of a commissioning, but affectionate too in a brotherly sort of way. 

People were pressing in at this point and almost knocking the four of us right into Bush. Many of them were the Chinese staff who work for Paul, who would not have understood ANY of that conversation; but others caught snippets and came afterwards to ask me WHAT we had been talking about. The President moved on. Needless to say, the whole experience was unforgettable. I cannot begin to tell you how deeply it has affected me. Certainly, I do not think I have ever prayed for a leader or government or nation (or world!) so extensively has I have done since then. It was really quite an unusual and unexpected and powerful encounter. 


If you took more than a minute, you cheated. Now let's see how you did. 

Question 1: You are competing in a race, and overtake the runner in second place.
In which position are you now?


If you answered that you're now first, then you're completely wrong. You overtook the second runner and took their place, therefore you're second.

Question 2: If you overtake the last runner, what position are you now in?


Last place. If you answered second-last, once again you're completely wrong. Think about it... How can you overtake the person coming last? If you're behind them then they can't be last. The answer is impossible!! 

Question 3: Take 1000. Add 40.
Add another 1000.
Add 30.
1000 again.
Plus 20.
Plus 1000.
And plus 10.

What is the total ?

Answer: 5000??? Wrong again!!!!

The correct answer is 4100. Try again with a good calculator. Today is clearly not your day!! Although you should manage to get the last question right...

Question 4: What is the name of the 5th daughter?

Marie's father has five daughters:
1. Chacha
2. Cheche
3. Chichi
4. Chocho
5. ????

Answer: Chuchu??? WRONG!!!!!

It's obviously Marie!!! Read the question properly, you moron!!!!!

If you missed any of the questions, you are clearly the weakest link....

Contributed by Gary Richardson

A couple was getting married, and it was only three days before the wedding. The bride calls her mother with some bad news. 
Mom," she says, "I just found out that my fiancι's mother has bought the exact same dress as you to wear to the wedding." 
The bride's mother thinks for a minute, then asked, "Does she know I have the same dress?"
"No, I didn't."
"Well, good, then don't worry," she tells her daughter. "I'll just go and buy another dress to wear to the ceremony." 
"But mother," says the bride, "that dress cost a fortune. What will you do with it? It's such a waste not to use it." 
"Who said I won't use it?" her mother asked. "I'll just wear it to the rehearsal dinner."

"What is greater than God, more evil than the Devil, poor people have it, rich people
need it...... and if you eat it you will die. What is it ??" 

Answer: Nothing. Nothing is greater than God, nothing is more evil than the Devil, poor people have nothing, rich people need nothing, and you will die if eat nothing. 

Anyhow, there is little bit more to this story. Legend has it that 80% of a class of Stanford students got this wrong, and 80% of 4th graders got it right. When I first tried to solve the riddle in 1998, I think Amanda just added this to make me feel more stupid. It worked. I am so stupid that not only did I not have a clue what the answer was, but that I had the nerve to assume I was as smart as a Stanford student because I got it wrong just like they did. 
Amanda then pointed out that just because I got it wrong doesn't mean I am as smart as a Stanford student because their wrong answers were probably smarter than my wrong answers. Now you know why Amanda has not received much in the way of promotions in all these years 


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!

And one last thing - don't park in front of the Door Warehouse.

Rick Archer
SSQQ Dance Studio
4803 Bissonnet

Email: ssqq@houston.rr.com 
Phone: 713-861-1906

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

The End


The SSQQ Newsletter started in January 2000 as a way to update our students on upcoming classes and parties.  Once it became obvious that most SSQQ students had email addresses, the idea was to replace written material and save on wasted paper. The idea quickly caught on in ways we didn't anticipate.

We soon discovered how easy it was to publish all sorts of information.  This allowed the SSQQ Newsletter to evolve into a "Do-It-Yourself" Newspaper. Members of the SSQQ Community began to contribute all sorts of articles, jokes, pictures, puzzles, vocabulary words,  and letters to the editor. 

As a result over half of each Newsletter is written by the readers themselves. Our readers are the reporters.  We just edit what you send us and give it back.

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