||This is the May 2002 issue of the SSQQ Newsletter. It is written by Rick Archer.
MAY SCHEDULE OF SSQQ DANCE CLASSES.
Classes begin the week of Sunday, April 28.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MAY SCHEDULE
BEGINNING LINDY HOP with Gloria Sanchez will be offered on Sundays at 4:30 pm. Gloria's last Lindy class loved it so much the group stayed together for three months. Come find out the magic of this legendary dance!
Judy Archer offers RUMBA - THE LATIN DANCE OF ROMANCE on Sundays at 4:30 pm. The Rumba is a very sensual dance danced to certain popular music (e.g. the Beatles' classic "And I Love Her") and to slow beautiful Latin rhythms. The Rumba is an exceptionally graceful dance and fairly easy to learn.
Judy continues her Sundays at 7 pm with INTERMEDIATE TWOSTEP/POLKA CIRCLE
TURNS. Judy concentrates on the advanced footwork necessary to make clockwise and counter clockwise Circle Turns effortless and attractive. Intermediate Twostep will also include several other famous Twostep patterns such as Zigzags, Crossovers, Promenades, and Conversations. If you are interested in this course, we suggest you take it NOW. This course is typically taught in a Crash Course format, but once every six months we teach this extended four-week version of the class. It is extremely useful as a follow-up to Beginning Twostep/Polka.
The BEGINNING WHIP/WEST COAST SWING SUPERCLASS is back!! These 2 fascinating dances will be taught side by side on Sundays (Rick and Anita) and on Thursdays (Brian and Ann). Whip/WCS are danced to Disco, Blues, & Rock music. They feature fancy footwork, sexy hip motion, & flashy spins!
BEGINNING WESTERN WALTZ returns! The most-talked about Western class of 2000 and 2001 was the 4-month Western Waltz cycle taught by Sharon Crawford. After starting with Beg Western Waltz in May, Sharon took her class up thru Int, Adv, & Super-Adv in each following month. Starting Wednesday, May 1, Sharon will repeat this magical cycle again. If you stay for the entire 4 month program, you can expect to join the ranks of the finest Western Waltz dancers in the entire city. Don't miss it!!
Just a quick reminder that ADVANCED SALSA MAMBO returns to Thursdays in May with Judy Archer. She will teach Level 4 on Thursdays this month.
INTERMEDIATE NIGHT CLUB TWOSTEP continues on Fridays with the woman who got the entire studio dancing Night Club in the first place, Susie Merrill. Every C&W album has two or three romantic slow songs on it. Night Club Twostep is the dance that fits these ballads perfectly. Susie has taken the time to become the studio specialist in Night Club. Susie even went to the trouble of hiring Dave Getty, the national UCWDC director, to teach her dance team Heartbeat the latest developments in Night Club. You might be surprised at what she learned! The reaction here at SSQQ has been very favorable to this new dance. After class on Fridays, stay for our Western Practice night afterwards where we will Room 5 dedicated to this music exclusively!
THE ANNUAL SLEAZY BAR WHIP PARTY IS THIS SATURDAY, APRIL 27!!
Wear Red and Black and Watch Your Back.
Check your Guns and Knives at the Door; Leave your Morals at Home...
Saturday, April 27, 9:15 pm
The gorgeous blonde walked into a bar wearing the tightest pair of leather pants anyone had ever seen. Every guy in the joint nearly choked on his drink as eyes bulged and mouths dropped.
She just sat there alone for what seemed like an eternity. Finally one of the regulars regained his wits, screwed up his courage, and went over to sit next to her.
He smiled and said "Hi Honey, how do you get into such tight pants?"
"A gin and tonic is a damn good place to start," she replied
CRASH COURSES 7-9 PM
BEG C&W: TEXAS TWOSTEP - Kathleen
INT TWOSTEP: CIRCLE TURNS - Ann
GARY'S FAV SLEAZY GHOST TOWN PTNS - Gary
BEG WEST COAST SWING - Sandy
EAZY SLEAZY WHIP MOVES - Rick (fun, semi-sleazy moves, partner not necessary)
THE DISGUSTING SLEAZY BAR WHIP WORKSHOP - Ben (couples only, no switching, R-rated, beware!)
ATTITUDE AND HOW TO DRESS: Most people wear Black or a combination of Red and Black. The dangerous ones wear all red. Check your guns and knives at the door. Leave your morals at home.
MUSIC: Western Music in Room 1 plus requests
Sleazy Bar Whip Music in Room 4 (with the tables, it is more 'intimate' in the back room)
An email preview of the Sleazy Bar Party (contributed by Marion Sarmiento):
"Get your hips ready to shake for an evening of great fun. Those of you who are new to this event - don't worry, it's actually a lot tamer than you might have been led to believe (how really wild is the wild, wild, West after all?), although we get occasional characters that are very interesting to watch! What's more is you'll probably get to see dancers you don't usually see.
To new Whippers who have never been to this event, crash courses in country western and whip/ west coast swing precede the party, starting at 7 pm. I've found these to be a lot of fun, and they really set the mood. The teachers are great. You might want to check the SSQQ website for details about who's teaching what. The party itself starts at around 9:15 pm. Look forward to seein' y'all there!"
Tales of the Sleazy Bar Party!!
Have you ever heard the story about the origin of the Sleazy Bar Whip Party? You would be fascinated to discover in the second year of our party we were nearly busted by the Bellaire Police who entered the building under the impression gunshots had been fired at our party.
Suddenly they thought they had stumbled on the biggest Biker Gang in Bellaire history. One policeman even had his hand on his holster as he grimly surveyed the scene. Do you think I am kidding? I am not kidding. It is a bizarre and very interesting true story!!
Read the History of the SSQQ Sleazy Bar Whip Party.
SSQQ DANCE PARTIES IN MAY
THE MAYFLOWER SWING DANCE
Saturday, May 11, 9:15-Midnight $7
CRASH COURSES 7-9 PM
SWING ACROBATICS (Cpls Only, no switching) - Lise/Bryan
SLOW DANCING IN THE BIG CITY (Cpls Only, no switching) - Jill
ADVANCED SALSA - Judy
STEVE'S FAVORITE SWING PTNS- Steve Gabino
SWING CHARLESTON PTNS - Maureen
JUKEBOX SATURDAY NIGHT
Saturday, May 18, 9:15 - Midnight $7
CRASH COURSES 7-9 PM
BEG C&W : TEXAS TWOSTEP - Mona
DIRTY DANCING (Cpls Only, no switching) - Rachel
BEG CHA CHA - Martin
BEG WESTERN WALTZ - Vicki
LINDA'S FAVORITE DEATH VALLEY PATTERNS - Linda
Music: By request!! The idea behind the party is for our guests to pick the music. No requests, no music. The DJ is like a Genie; he is simply there to serve you! This party has been very popular for the past two years. Everyone thinks they could pick better music than the DJ. Well, here's your chance to prove it!
HEARTBEAT PERFORMS AT SSQQ ON MAY 18TH
SSQQ has a champion in its midst. Susie Merrill coaches a Western dance team known as Heartbeat. Its members are 95% drawn from SSQQ students who get bitten by the performing bug. They are really quite good. Heartbeat will be performing at the Dance Across Texas competition on May 25th and intend to use our upcoming May 18th party as an opportunity to strut their stuff and get some much needed experience a week ahead of time. Be sure to come and see these guys and gals do their number at the studio!
THE SSQQ - LEISURE LEARNING CARIBBEAN CRUISE
August 25 - September 1
Developments at a glance:
1. PRICES HAVE DROPPED $70.
2. APRIL 30 IS THE DEADLINE FOR OUR RESERVED ROOMS AT THE LOCKED-IN RATE.
3. YES, WE WILL BE ABLE TO FIND A ROOMMATE FOR YOU.
4. A NEW ARTICLE FROM THE CHRONICLE WRITTEN ABOUT OUR SHIP.
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 30 people who have committed to go on the trip, plus many people on the fence who say they want to go, but haven't made up their mind.
I have to admit I am baffled by the response to this year's trip. After taking 100 people last year, I fully expected to build on that momentum with an even larger trip this year.
Then this Sophomore Slump hit. Why are the numbers down??
Well, I think the answer is pretty simple - Houston's economy is shaky. Compaq was already having trouble, 9/11 devastated Continental, and the demise of Enron has affected the whole community with its ripple effect. These are three of the largest employers in the city!! Houston has taken some pretty big hits. I don't think it is anything more complicated than that. I think people are waiting till the last minute to make up their mind.
And what about this baffling development where Royal Caribbean dropped the prices $70 for the trip? This is unheard of. Although I am just as much in the dark as anyone else, I think we can surmise that if our group isn't signing up in force, then maybe the general Houston population isn't either.
Furthermore even though we don't have 100 people going doesn't mean the trip is devalued in any way. This ship is incredible. It looks like a floating palace!! You should see the pictures of this ship - it is just beautiful.
And I found an article in the Houston Chronicle archives by Harry Shattuck that was very complimentary of the Rhapsody. You should read it.
Last year our group was so large our members were scattered all over the ship. With the exception of some of the dancing, everyone pretty much went their separate ways. I imagine this year's group will bind together and do a lot of dancing together. This year we have two dance venues to choose from.
For starters, there is an elaborate Disco that towers above the ship! Known as the 'Viking Crown', it is a 250-seat air-conditioned lounge with picture perched high atop the ship, allowing panoramic views during the day and serving as the disco at night.
Then there is a 575-seat Lounge known as 'Shall We Dance' (yes, that is correct- 575 seats!!) that has a Ballroom Dance Floor dedicated strictly to Swing dancing, Ballroom music, and plenty of Slow Dance and Romance. And how hard do you think it will be to persuade them to play any kind of music we want after we show them what we can do??
Furthermore I would like to do some of the group things that were impossible on last year's trip. I would like have a Trivial Pursuits Contest, a Charades Night, and a team Jigsaw Puzzle Contest. Carnival did not lift a finger to help us with these things last year, but this ship has so many more resources I am sure we can find a room where we can have group activities.
And what about Swing Rueda this year? Last year we did Salsa Rueda - and we still may again! - but why not add Swing to our repertoire!!
That is bottom line. And if you need a roommate, don't forget we paired everyone up last year. This year should not be a problem.
Cruises are about fun. They are about beauty and luxury. We have a state-of-the-art ship at our disposal. Cruises are about adventure - how about walking the beach at Key West under the moonlight?
And cruises are about Romance. Don't be cynical - it's true. But someone has to make the first move
Please join us!!
If you have a general question about the trip, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
Phone: 713 957 1705
For more information about this year's cruise:
Story of Last Year's Cruise:
Pictures from Last Year's Cruise:
WHY THE WHOLE WORLD HATES LAWYERS
Written by Rick Archer
I am not feeling too warmly towards the legal profession this month. I just got through watching a true movie about how an innocent man from Conroe - Clarence Brantley - was put through a living hell by a corrupt Conroe justice system for 10 years. The story made my blood boil. At one point the man was just 5 days from being put to death for a crime he didn't do. Brantley was victimized by dishonest judges, district attorneys, and Texas Rangers. It was a pathetic indictment of people who should have been trustworthy. They were so crooked they destroyed the evidence used to convict Brantley because they feared a closer inspection of the evidence would actually exonerate him. It took a miracle to save him
and thank god Brantley was saved. If you get a chance to see the movie, definitely do so. It is currently showing on Showtime.
On a more personal level, recently I was subpoenaed for the first time in my life to appear as a witness at a preliminary divorce hearing. I am friends with both the husband and wife, but have never even remotely been involved in their private lives. Nevertheless I was commanded by the subpoena to print out emails and all kinds of documents. If I had complied with the letter of the order, I would have spent an entire day collecting this information. And yet there wasn't one piece of useful information to either person in the whole stack.
Nevertheless I dutifully printed out all my emails and carried them with me to the hearing. I had to interrupt my schedule to go sit around in a courthouse downtown for 2 ½ hours doing nothing. Not one attorney asked to speak with me. No one bothered to collect my 'evidence'. They had absolutely no use for me to be there, but subpoenaed me and a dozen other helpless people just out of sheer meanness. What absolute stupidity. What total pointlessness. No wonder Shakespeare suggested we all shoot the lawyers.
And then there is the story of Wenonah Blevins, age 83, who was forcibly evicted from her $150,000 home here in northwest Houston last year over an $814 delinquency bill to the local homeowner's association which turned around and sold her home!!! There's our legal system at work again distributing justice everywhere. Homeowner's associations seem to be the ten-ton bully on everyone's backs these days with their lawyers pushing people around. I was already feeling pretty angry about organizations like these when I received a curious email from two of the warmest people I know, SSQQ dance students Bruce and Shirley Kyckelhahn.
I have known Bruce and Shirley for at least 3 years, possibly longer. In my opinion Bruce and Shirley are intelligent, easy-going, decent human beings about my age who are a credit to society. They have grown children who I believe have graduated from college. In other words Bruce and Shirley clean-cut, friendly, unassuming nice guys. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that Bruce and Shirley are being sued by their homeowner's association for putting a gas light in the wrong spot on the corner of their property!! Can we allow people like them to take dance classes or is the possibility of corruption too high?
Here's the story:
SSQQ HAS A SCOFFLAW IN IT'S MIDST
Contributed by Bruce and Shirley Kyckelhahn
Thu 04/18/2002 7:22 AM
I'm sure that, never in your wildest imaginings, you would ever dream that amongst your student body lurked a Gas Light Felon.
Sure, you may have suspected something was seriously amiss. That many missteps? Class after class? Year after year? Couldn't possibly be accidental. This had to indicate the sort of person who would- gasp!- place a gas light where the homeowners' association Did Not Approve. But would such a person go through life cunningly disguised as a meek CPA? The truth about CPA's is finally being revealed daily in the news, isn't it?
Yes, it's true. YOUR student has Personally Aesthetically Offended the president of Briargrove Park Property Owners, Incorporated, by wanton misplacement of his Gas Light.
As proof, consult Thom Marshall's April 3rd Houston Chronicle article. For further substantiation, watch ABC's 20/20 tomorrow night.
Should be enLIGHTening. (Excuse me.)
Shirley, of course, lays all the blame at the two left feet of her dance partner. Still, she has to be held culpable, if only because she has deigned to dance with the criminal lo these many years.
Bruce and (guilty by association) Shirley Kyckelhahn
(Editor's Note: I asked Bruce to explain more about what was going on. Here is his reply:
"We built a house 2 years ago. Deed restrictions (d/rs) require gas lights since we have no city lights. We installed one. Association doesn't like where we put it. I read d/r's, determined that with respect to east/west alignment, we were in conformity with accepted practice throughout the neighborhood; as to north/south alignment, the d/r's did not give the association right to govern.
We went to Architectural Control Committee meeting with spreadsheet showing approx 30-40 "violations" throughout our section of 116 homes subject to this set of d/r's (I have subsequently expanded the list to 58 homes).
D/r committee chairman was not too pleasant; said they didn't care about others. As we left, he said, "Have a good evening, Bruce." Nothing like sarcasm. I asked what next step would be; they said the Board of Directors would review it. Next thing I got was what felt like an extortion letter from association attorney, Rick Butler, demanding we move it and pay him $200.
I, in essence, said "No."
We went back and forth. Finally the association sued, saying they had been harmed far in excess of $200 a day (in spite of Butler's contention that no damages have been specified).
This is a standard tactic of h/o attorneys, to try to scare the shit out of homeowners with the threat of financial ruin. For whatever reason, we decided not to buckle. Court-mandated mediation is the 25th; trial is set for the following week.
There's a lot more interesting details. For instance, during deposition, I recall one person was asked why he didn't like where we put our light. He said he found it personally aesthetically offensive. Presented with a copy of the d/r's, he was asked where it said that we were required to align our light with the others. He couldn't find it, he admitted. But, he said, if it wasn't in the d/r's, it should be, because they didn't like where we put it, or something along that line of thought. Unfortunately I don't have the transcript, so treat this as mostly hearsay on my part till I get a copy and can find his exact words."
(Editor's Note: Bruce directed me to an article in the Houston Chronicle written by columnist Thom Marshall on April 3, 2002. I would like to share a couple paragraphs from Mr. Marshall's article:
"Personally, I like Kyckelhahn's light location. If I had been picking a spot for such a light on that corner lot, I suspect I'd have put it in the same place - close to the street and right in the corner.
A document titled "Plaintiff's Original Petition and Application for Permanent Injunction" notes that the light "is not located at the center of the Property and set back to be in alignment with the front street lights on the lots located to the east of the Property." It further states that, "No amount of money can compensate the present and future owners of the lots within Briar Court Subdivision, for the harmful effect and irreparable damage caused by Defendant's conduct and actions."
Wow. I must be missing something. The placement of the gas light just doesn't seem like that big of a deal to me. I didn't see anywhere in the document where it claims the light's current location constitutes a safety hazard, or that its effectiveness in illuminating the area is diminished. And I don't understand how a light being out of line with neighbors' lights can cause "irreparable damage."
(Editor's Note: This story has to be one of the most meaningless assaults on common sense I have ever seen. Who the youknowwhat cares? I asked Bruce one more question:
Bruce, why in the heck are people so mean to each other over such total nonsense?
REAL BS. YOU SHOULD HEAR SOME OF THE HORROR STORIES I'VE HEARD SINCE GETTING ACQUAINTED WITH SOME PROPERTY RIGHTS ACTIVISTS OVER THIS. IT HAS GONE FROM BEING A "CASE" TO A "CAUSE."
(Editor's Note: And I am sure the lawyers are the ones paid to care. In honor of the legal profession, let's dedicate the rest of this month's Newsletter open season to Lawyer bashing!!
ARTICLE: THE STELLA AWARDS
Contributed by Pat Roberts
Subject: Do Lawyers Live In A great World Or What???
Most of the country has heard of the Darwin Awards given annually to the individuals who do the most for mankind by removing themselves from the gene pool. Now, we have the Stella Awards given to the individuals who win the most frivolous lawsuits ever. The Stella Awards are named in honor of 81 year-old Stella Liebeck, the woman who won $2.9 million for spilling a cup of McDonald's coffee on herself. The following are candidates for the first annual award:
1. January 2000: Kathleen Robertson of Austin, Texas, was awarded $780,000.00 by a jury of her peers after breaking her ankle, tripping over a toddler who was running amuck inside a furniture store. The owners of the store were understandably surprised at the verdict, considering that the misbehaving little fellow was Ms. Robertson's son.
(more Stella Award candidates to come!!)
Contributed by Chris Holmes
Did you hear that the Post Office just recalled their newest stamps?
They had pictures of lawyers on them...and people couldn't figure out which side to spit on.
Did you hear about the new sushi bar that caters exclusively to lawyers?
It's called, Sosumi.
THE LAWYER AND THE HORRIBLE SKI ACCIDENT
A powerful attorney was enjoying a well-deserved ski weekend paid by the fruits of his hard labor. Suddenly he heard a roar behind him and screamed as an avalanche came barreling down at him. Skiing as fast as he could, he narrowly avoided death by skiing over a ridge. After a horrible fall, he knew he had a badly broken leg, but at least he was alive.
Unfortunately nothing the doctors did seem to help the leg as gangrene set in. Finally the decision was made to amputate.
After the surgery, the lawyer awoke horrified to find they had cut off the good leg. He screamed for the doctor to get his ass into the room.
The lawyer stared at the doctor and said, "After I get through with you, I will own you."
The doctor smiled and said, "I don't think so. After I get through with you, you won't have a leg to stand on."
ADULT JAZZ CLASS IS COMING TO SSQQ ON WEDNESDAYS AT 6 PM
Crista Reuss began her Adult Jazz Class here at SSQQ on April 10th. She had 12 people the first week and a couple more the next. I believe we also have several SSQQ instructors taking the class. Crista said Jill Banta wasn't bad, but she reserved most of her praise for MG Anseman (aka Mother Goose to his closest friends). Crista said MG had tremendous natural grace which reminded her of a swan gliding across the waters. She said she at first thought of Gene Kelly when she met him, but has since changed her mind and sees MG as more the Patrick Swayze type.
I asked MG about this praise. He modestly credited his motorbike as the instrument which has helped him to develop such incredible balance and body control.
Crista's class is held on Wednesdays .....6:00-6:45 PM
. thru May 15th. They will break to get through May and the holiday weekend and pick back up June 5th for another session of 6 weeks. If you would like to join in May, my guess is Crista would pro-rate the remaining weeks. I think just the chance to be in the same room with an emerging star like MG is worth the price of admission!!
You can email Crista with questions at Pointe9958@aol.com
STELLA AWARDS CONTINUED
2. June 1998: 19 year-old Carl Truman of Los Angeles won $74,000.00 and medical expenses when his neighbor ran over his hand with a Honda Accord. Mr. Truman apparently didn't notice there was someone at the wheel of the car when he was trying to steal his neighbor's hubcaps.
MORE LAWYER JOKES
How does an attorney sleep?
First he lies on one side, then he lies on the other.
If a lawyer and an IRS agent were both drowning and you could only save one of them, would you go to lunch or read the paper?
AN ETHICS QUESTION FOR A LAWYER
A lawyer charged a man $500 for legal services. The man paid him with crisp new $100 bills. After the client left, the lawyer discovered that two bills had stuck together-he'd been overpaid by $100.
The ethical dilemma for the lawyer: Should he tell his partner?
SSQQ REGISTRATION FOR CLASSES
April was the first month that SSQQ used computers for Walk-In Registration as well as for On-Line Registration (which allows you to pre-register for classes and avoid standing in any line).
David Schroeder designed this massive system. To his credit it worked extremely well. It took our Registration staff a while to get used to, but once they adapted to using the computers they were very complimentary of the new setup.
(By the way, if you wish to develop software for business applications or get help with web design, I can't imagine you can find a more talented guy than David. Web:
Thanks to David's work, as I hoped, for the first time in studio history we had highly accurate rosters of classes. This meant that anyone who lost their receipt could get their name looked up by the Hall Monitor.
This month we will be adding computerized card swipe machines so things will go even faster. However nothing will ever beat the speed of pre-registering On-Line ahead of time.
I appreciate the patience all of you have shown while we make this shift to the next level of technology.
Oh, by the way, we had 1,200 registrations last month. In 25 years of business, this is the first time I have ever had a statistic of this nature. My estimate was always 1,000+. This extraordinary number means two things:
1. SSQQ is indeed a very busy place thanks to all of you.
2. I spent a lot of money to get a number almost identical to what my gut was telling me for free. I am sure there must be a Dilbert cartoon that deals with administrators like me.
STELLA AWARDS CONTINUED
3. October 1998: Terrence Dickson of Bristol, Pa., was leaving a house he had just finished robbing by way of the garage. He was not able to get the garage door to go up, because the automatic door opener was malfunctioning. He couldn't reenter the house because the door connecting the house and garage locked when he pulled it shut. The family was on vacation. Mr. Dickson found himself locked in the garage for eight days. He subsisted on a case of Pepsi he found in the garage and a large bag of dry dog food. Mr. Dickson sued the homeowner's insurance claiming the situation caused him undue mental anguish. The jury agreed to the tune of $500,000.00.
LAWYER JOKES CONTINUED
What do you call a lawyer gone bad?
What do you call a lawyer with an IQ of 50?
What's the difference between a lawyer and a liar?
A man walked into a lawyer's office and inquired about the lawyer's rates.
"$50.00 for three questions", replied the lawyer.
"Isn't that awfully steep?" asked the man.
"Yes," the lawyer replied, "and what was your third question?"
ADVENTURES OF A DANCE TEACHER - THE PISTACHIO CLUB
Written by Rick Archer
At this point I have written 32 different stories about different events in my dance career. Obviously there are other stories as well to be found on different parts of the SSQQ web site, but the best stories like how I got started as a dance teacher in 1977 and the various adventures since are all chronicled in this section of the SSQQ web site.
This particular story contains details of my first dance hangout. Back in the summer of 1978 the Pistachio Club was Houston's hottest Disco. This was place where I learned how to partner dance, where I hosted my first big bash (300 people!), and met my own dance teacher!
LETTER TO EDITOR - WATCHING DANCE CLASSES
Contributed by Debbie Awad Solomon
Sat 04/20/2002 12:10 PM
I know the vote is over on this particular policy, but I was just catching up with the SSQQ website. I must say that I constantly find it amazing that people are always questioning your policies (i.e, switching partners, no watchers, etc.). After all, you have been running SSQQ successfully for 20 years. You must be doing something right. And hopefully, in that time, you have figured out what contributes to making the atmosphere as much fun as it is. Coming back this month to take lessons after an absence of a year and half felt like a homecoming. I practically lived at SSQQ for most of 1998 and all of 1999. I always had a good time there, whether in class, practice or at parties. The only complaint I could ever make is that the rooms need expanding walls when the class is full. The instructors that I've taken classes with have always been patient about explaining anything I was having difficulty with and learning was usually accompanied to a lot of laughter.
Back to the watcher's rule, I did once have an out of town guest (my aunt from Canada) and I did request and receive permission for her to watch our class. However, it was Advanced Western Swing with Ben and the class was all pretty comfortable with each other by then. I still think the no watching policy is best for Beginning classes.
This has turned into an epic (must be because I love SSQQ so much or maybe I'm just verbose), so I'll close.
Dancing Debbie (Awad) Solomon
(Editor's Note: The story of our No-Watching Policy can be read in our General Information Section at
STELLA AWARDS CONTINUED
4. October 1999: Jerry Williams of Little Rock Arkansas was awarded $14,500.00 and medical expenses after being bitten on the buttocks by his next door neighbor's beagle. The dog was on a chain in its owner's fenced-in yard at the time. Mr. Williams was also in the fenced-in yard. The award was less than sought because the jury felt the dog may have been provoked by Mr. Williams who, at the time, was repeatedly shooting it with a pellet gun.
LAWYER JOKES CONTINUED
What's the difference between a lawyer and a vulture?
The lawyer gets frequent flyer miles.
What's the difference between a lawyer and a mosquito?
One is a bloodsucking parasite and the other is an insect.
Why did God make snakes just before lawyers?
Why does California have the most lawyers in the country, and New Jersey have the most toxic waste sites?
New Jersey got first choice.
A lawyer had a jury trial in a very difficult business case. The client who had attended the trial was out of town when the jury came back with its decision, which was for the lawyer and his client. The lawyer immediately sent a telegram to his client, reading, "Justice has triumphed!"
The client wired back, "Appeal at once!"
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: ADVICE TO MEN
Thu 03/28/2002 9:11 PM
OOOOO! Yeahhhhhh! Thank you so much for posting this information on your website. I've been dancing for about 7 years and discovered most of this information from personal experiences. I must say I am still learning and discovering, but it's great to read your examples and perhaps I won't fall too hard with the few remaining ones that I have to learn.
This information is the 'comb for the guys who haven't lost their hair'.
I love how you begin and end your article with the Waltz Kings. That's great story telling.
(please don't publish this email, thanks)
(Editor's Note: I know this gentleman asked me not to publish, but it is the only nice note I got all month. The article he referring to is my writeup on Advice to Men.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: THE MYSTERIOUS 'NO
PARKING' SIGNS ON FIRST STREET
from Pat Bradshaw
Tue 04/09/2002 1:27 PM
"Rick, what prompted the 'no parking' on the far side of First Street? You may have advised us and I just missed it. Parking is really becoming a challenge."
Pat, although there are 'no parking signs' there along First Street, they have NEVER been enforced to my knowledge. I have always assumed they are directed at daytime traffic. No one knows when they appeared or why they prohibit parking in a spot where obviously no one cares.
"Is it possible to work a deal with SBC across the street - that lot is empty in the evening."
I doubt SBC has much interest in dealing with us. Renting to us would open them up to liability concerns for one thing. I also don't think parking in their building would save you much time - Realistically the distance is barely reduced.
"Not that I don't need the exercise - but I had to park on the cross street at the end of the block week before last. I didn't feel very safe there for my car or myself."
I realize it is a bit of a walk, but I walk the same distance at many malls. As far as safety is concerned, this is BELLAIRE. The Bellaire PD has an active patrol. Women jog alone along this street. People walk their dogs along this street. I have never had an incident reported - Never. Ever. It is a safe area.
I would however recommend you ask someone to walk you to your car if you are leaving late from Practice Night. This is just common sense.
STELLA AWARDS CONTINUED
5. December 1997: A Philadelphia restaurant was ordered to pay Amber Carson of Lancaster, Pa., $113,500.00 after she slipped on a soft drink and broke her coccyx. The beverage was on the floor because Ms. Carson threw it at her boyfriend 30 seconds earlier during an argument.
LAWYER JOKES CONTINUED
What do lawyers use for birth control?
What is the difference between a tick and a lawyer?
A tick falls off of you when you die.
Why do sharks ignore lawyers stranded in the water?
Why does the law society prohibit sex between lawyers and their clients?
To prevent clients from being billed twice for what is essentially the same service.
What do you have when 100 lawyers are buried up to their neck in sand?
Not enough sand.
LETTER TO EDITOR: GROUP PRIVATE LESSONS
I am inquiring about private group lessons. I saw that private lessons are available. However, we have a group of about 10 people who are interested in taking a class together. They would rather not attend the regular classes due to schedule constraints, partners, and such. If a group lesson is possible, please contact me with more information at ( ). Thank you.
Lisa, we can take up to 4 people in a private lesson, but that is the limit.
Private/Group classes have been a source of much misery over the years both to my Staff and to the poor thankless person who tries to organize them (you).
1. Just for starters, busy people have tremendous difficulty coordinating their schedules for a lesson. If they have children it becomes a nightmare to find time in common.
2. 10 people is a HUGE number to coordinate. Even in this age of email you will be going around and around in circles.
3. Most people prefer time slots that are already taken up by our regular group classes. For example, how does Saturday at 11 am sound on a regular basis? And even if the adults agree on Saturday at 11 am, if kids are involved, then you have to worry about Junior's soccer practice or Sissy's play rehearsal at school.
4. It is extremely difficult to coordinate the skill and experience level of all the individuals.
5. When one couple misses, there are no makeups/parallel classes to attend.
This couple either drops out or slows down the class on the next visit.
6. Finding the times to practice are extremely difficult after private lessons. Some people practice, others don't - and the following week the difference shows. Often the practice never occurs at all. People start to get left behind or the ones who practice are penalized with boredom as they wait for the others to catch up.
7. People change their minds all the time. Get ready for another round of emails/phone calls only to find the instructor isn't available at the new time.
8. And I haven't even begun to discuss money issues, the root of all evil.
Sorry to be so pessimistic, but I have encountered legendary headaches over the years. This is a road to Misery paved with good intentions. Save yourself while you still can. Don't do it, Lisa.
Suggestion - Pick one of our regular group classes and get a group discount so you can show your friends you were trying as promised. You will save yourself a lot of misery.
Or find one other couple and do the private lessons together.
THE SSQQ NEWSLETTER REVISITED: DOOR WAREHOUSE TOWS SSQQ CARS
At the end of February, I reported that a half-dozen cars belonging to SSQQ students had been towed from the front of the Door Warehouse. Fortunately in March and April there have been no further incidents.
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.
It takes all kinds, doesn't it?
To read the background of the story, visit http://www.ssqq.com/ssqq/newsmar.htm
SSQQ SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE
One of the current mysteries at SSQQ is that our mystical marriage and engagement magic seems to have dried up. Not only did we have not even a single marriage or engagement to announce this month, we even had an engagement from last year called off.
SSQQ hasn't changed much, so what are the reasons? I have my hunches, but maybe our readers are clued in. Where has the Romance gone? If you have an answer, send your idea to
THE SSQQ MAY JOKE PAGE IS READY!
We have 29 classic jokes ready for you to read on our April Joke Page.
Here is one of my personal favorites from the May Jokes:
May CS 08: Minnesota
Submitted by Jill Banta
There was a boy who worked in the produce section of the market. A man came in and asked to buy half a head of lettuce. The produce boy told him that they only sold whole heads of lettuce, but the man insisted that he did not need a whole head, only a half head. The boy said he would go ask his manager about the matter.
The boy walked into the back room and said, "There's some jerk out there who wants to buy only a half a head off lettuce." Just as he was finished saying this he turned around to find the pushy man standing right behind him, so he added quickly, "and this nice gentleman wants to buy the other half." The manager suppressed a grin and okayed the deal. Eyebrows furrowed, the man grabbed the half head of lettuce and went on his way.
Later the manager called the boy in and said, "You almost got yourself in a lot of trouble earlier, but I must say I was impressed with the way you got yourself out of it. You may have a smart mouth, but you think on your feet and I like that around here. Where are you from, young man ?"
The boy replied, "Up north, Minnesota, sir."
"Oh really ? Texas is quite a ways from there. Why did you leave Minnesota ?" asked the manager.
The boy replied, "They're all just a bunch of ice-brain idiots and hockey players up there."
"Oh, that's interesting," replied the manager with an odd smile, "Did you know my wife is from Minnesota ?"
The boy replied, "No kidding! And what team did she play for ?"
STELLA AWARDS CONTINUED
6. December 1997: Kara Walton of Clamont, DE. successfully sued the owner of a night club when she fell from the bathroom window to the floor and knocked out her two front teeth. This occurred while Ms. Walton was trying to sneak through the window in the ladies room to avoid paying the $3.50 cover charge. She was awarded $12,000.00 and dental expenses.
LAWYER JOKES CONTINUED
What's the difference between a dead skunk in the road and a dead lawyer in the middle of the road?
There are skid marks in front of the skunk.
What is black and brown and looks good on a lawyer?
What do lawyers and sperm have in common?
One in 3,000,000 has a chance of becoming a human being.
If you see a lawyer on a bicycle, why should you swerve to avoid hitting him?
It might be your bicycle.
Two attorneys boarded a flight out of Seattle. One sat in the window seat, the other sat in the middle seat. Just before take-off, a physician got on and took the aisle seat next to the two attorneys. The physician kicked off his shoes, wiggled his toes and was settling in when the attorney in the window seat said," I think I'll get up and get a coke."
"No problem," said the physician, "I'll get it for you."
While he was gone, one of the attorneys picked up the physician's shoe and spat in it. When he returned with the coke, the other attorney said, "That looks good, I think I'll have one too." Again, the physician obligingly went to fetch it and while he was gone, the other attorney picked up the
other shoe and spat in it. The Physician returned and they all sat back and enjoyed the flight.
As the plane was landing, the Physician slipped his feet into his shoes and knew immediately what had happened. "How long must this go on?" he asked. "This fighting between our professions? This hatred? This animosity? This spitting in shoes and pissing in cokes?"
MAY JOKE PICTURE OF THE MONTH
Contributed by Anita Williams and Bett Sundermeyer
This month's picture is about a deer who has found a very creative way to avoid getting shot!
THE SSQQ BLUE SIDE JOKES ARE READY!
(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.
email@example.com This month there are 17 Blue Side jokes. Below is one of my favorites!)
May BS 07: Psychology Student
Submitted by Suzy Kish Wallace
A very shy guy goes into a bar and sees a beautiful woman sitting at the bar. After an hour of gathering up his courage he finally goes over to her and asks, tentatively, "Um, would you mind if I chatted with you for a while?"
She responds by yelling, at the top of her lungs, "No, I won't sleep with you tonight!"
Everyone in the bar is now staring at them. Naturally, the guy is hopelessly and completely embarrassed and he slinks back to his table.
After a few minutes, the woman walks over to him and apologizes. She smiles at him and says, "I'm sorry if I embarrassed you. You see, I'm a graduate student in psychology and I'm studying how people respond to embarrassing situations."
Frowning, he thinks for a moment, then responds, at the top of his lungs, "What makes you think you are worth $200, Slut?"
20 QUESTIONS - THE SSQQ INFORMATION PAGE
The SSQQ Web Site now has a question and answer section.
This area of our web site targets the following questions -
01. Private Lessons
03. Referring new students
04. Group Discounts
05. Switching Partners
07. Credit for Unfinished classes
08. Same Sex Dancing
09. Making up a Class
12. Need a Partner?
13. Watching Classes
14. Starting classes a week late
15. Repeating a Class
17. Husband Who Won't Dance
19. What level of class to take
20. General Questions (like why SSQQ doesn't have bottled water and why we don't have other locations).
If you have a question you want to have answered, let us know!! firstname.lastname@example.org
THE SSQQ APRIL PUZZLE - HOW OLD ARE THE THREE CHILDREN?
Contributed by Shayna Rubin
In April, we had a very tricky riddle about solving the ages of three children based on some very shaky clues. Nevertheless we had 10 people who solved this tough quiz. Congratulations are in order to these very smart puzzle solvers!!
1. Ed Jablonski
2. Viqar Anwar
3. Faye Thai
4. Randall Clark
5. Jordan Kossack
6. Jason Cagle
7. Francis Wiran
8. Matt Andruchow
9. Tim Crist
10. Susan Arevalo
THE MAY SSQQ CONTEST: THE CREATIVITY QUIZ!!
Contributed by Ralph Volz
Example: What does "12 = I in a F" stand for?
Answer: 12 inches in a foot.
Example: What does "365 = D in a Y" stand for?
Answer: 365 days in a year.
The SSQQ Creativity Quiz has 100 of these clues and you have to decide what they stand for.
Ralph Volz sent me a quiz with 57 of these clues. Then I decided to add 43 of my own to make a nice round number of 100. I have to admit as I put together the quiz I had a haunting feeling there were many number clues I was forgetting. Hopefully as you take the quiz, you will think of some clever ones I missed and submit them to improve the quiz!!
Many of these puzzles are pretty easy. I knocked off about 20 in the first ten minutes. Once you get the hang of it, you will probably do even better.
If you get 50 or more right, I will be happy to send you the complete list of the answers (after May 8).
Do you want to be known as the most Creative Person at SSQQ? Well, the seven best totals get listed in the June SSQQ Newsletter. The top prize is a free one-month dance class at the studio, 2nd and 3rd place get a Crash Course for two people plus the party afterwards, and 4 through 7 get a free practice night.
Contest ends Wednesday, May 8, 2002! Have fun!!
ROOM 5 IS AVAILABLE FOR NIGHT CLUB TWOSTEP PLUS SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE!!
Thanks to Leo Skiba's electrical work, Room 5 now has track lighting with a dimmer switch. This means we can have 3 types of music playing at any Practice Night. The only problem is we will have to use the CD player, but other than that the room is ready to go!
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: DANGERS TO WOMEN
Contributed by Bett Sundermeyer
(Editor's Note: For the past two Newsletters, we have had articles from SSQQ Newsletter readers discussing the tricks men use to get women to let down their guard. Here yet is another eye-opening letter discussing the same problem.)
Sent: Thursday, March 28, 2002 2:22 PM
Rick, I read the article about "Danger to Women". This story sounds VERY similar to a story that I heard on the news a couple nights ago. It happened to a woman just a few days ago in the Rice Village area. She was outside a restaurant (don't remember the name) in that very nice shopping strip off of Kirby and Rice or West University. I believe it was about 8:30 pm. A man pulled behind a woman in an "unmarked" car, partially blocking her car. He got out and tapped on her window. She said she rolled the window down slightly, I guess enough to hear the man. He said he was an undercover cop in an unmarked car and told her he needed her to get out of the car. He showed her an ID but it wasn't a badge. Her instincts told her something was wrong and she refused to get out of her car and proceeded to call her boyfriend on her cell phone. The man managed to knock the cell phone out of her hand and tried to unlatch her seat belt and push her over towards the passenger seat. She put up a big fight and he eventually ran off.
It turns out it was the same guy that burst into a company on I-10 a few weeks ago, demanding cash and sexually assaulting an employee there. He is believed to have committed many rapes in the area.
The one thing I learned from the news report, other than a reminder to be on the alert at all times, is that an undercover police officer in an unmarked car, will never stop a citizen. They will ALWAYS call for backup from a marked car and/or uniformed officer. I didn't know that. Just thought maybe some of your readers might not know it either. It's something that might save a life in the future.
URBAN LEGEND TIME
Contributed by Anita Williams
This is a true story about a recent wedding that took place at Clemson University. It was in the local newspaper and even Jay Leno mentioned it.
It was a huge wedding with about 300 guests. After the wedding, at the reception, the groom got up on stage with a microphone to talk to the crowd. He said he wanted to thank everyone for coming, many from long distances, to support them at their wedding. He especially wanted to thank the bride's and his family and to thank his new father-in-law for providing such a
As a token of this deep appreciation he said he wanted to give everyone a special gift just from him. So taped to the bottom of everyone's chair, including the wedding party, was a manila envelope. He said this was his gift to everyone, and asked them to open their envelope. Inside each manila envelope was an 8x10 glossy of his bride having sex with the best man. The
groom had gotten suspicious of them weeks earlier and had hired a private detective to tail them.
After just standing there, just watching the guests' reactions for a couple of minutes, he turned to the best man and said, "F---you!". Then he turned to his bride and said, "F--- you!" Then he turned to the dumbfounded crowd and said, "I'm outta here".
He had the marriage annulled first thing in the morning. While most people would have canceled the wedding immediately after finding about the affair this guy goes through with the charade, as if nothing were wrong.
His revenge...making the bride's parents pay over $32,000 for a 300 guest wedding and reception, and best of all, trashing the bride's and best man's reputations in front of 300 friends and family members. This guy has balls the size of church bells. Do you think we might get a MasterCard "priceless" commercial out of this?
Elegant wedding reception for 300 family members and friends...$32,000.
Wedding photographs commemorating the occasion....$3,000.
Deluxe two week honeymoon accommodations in Maui....$8,500.
The look on everyone's face when they see the 8x10 glossy of the bride
humping the best man...PRICELESS
There are some things money can't buy; for everything else there's MASTERCARD!!!!!!!
(Editor's Note: This is a fun story, but it is bullshit and it DEFINITELY is not true. It has been passed around since 1995. After I received this email, I went straight to the Snopes Urban Legend site. Just typing in the simple word 'Clemson' got me the word-for-word story that Anita sent me plus the debunking. The Snopes web site is amazing. Every suspicious story I run across seems to be on their site.
AND SPEAKING OF URBAN LEGENDS, GUESS WHAT?
Every one of those Stella Award stories turned out to false. As I read those Stella stories I just seethed with resentment. Then my built-in BS detector started to sound off. What if these stories weren't true? So I did a web search on the first person - Kathleen Robertson of Austin. I wasn't getting any sort of hits until I stumbled on something that directed me to the Snopes Urban Legend web site. 'Uh oh', I thought to myself.
Sure enough, there they were, all 6 of the Stella award cases. False, said Barbara Mikkelson, the woman who does the research. Not one lick of truth in any of them. She said like any good urban legend, there was just enough believability in each story to hook most people. Since the perception is that the lawyers are out of control, stories like the Stella Awards are pretty easy to swallow whole.
Well, guess what, I thought they were true, so the jokes on me too. And speaking of law jokes, here's one for the road, a classic!!
THE GENIE, THE SECRETARY, THE PARALEGAL, AND THE LAW PARTNER
A secretary, a paralegal and a partner in a city law firm are walking through a park on their way to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp. They rub it and a Genie comes out in a puff of smoke. The Genie says, "I usually only grant three wishes, so I'll give each of you just one."
"Me first! Me first!" says the secretary. "I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world." Poof! She's gone.
In astonishment, "Me next! Me next!" says the paralegal, "I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of pina coladas and the love of my life." Poof! He's gone.
"You're next," the Genie says to the partner.
The partner frowns and says, "I want those two back in the office after lunch."
AND THAT'S A WRAP!!
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
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.
SSQQ Dance Studio