TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE: THE SSQQ CRUISE TO MARDI GRAS AND COZUMEL!!
SSQQ has scheduled a 7 Day Cruise to visit the 2004 New Orleans' Mardi Gras. We will sail aboard Royal Caribbean's beautiful Rhapsody of the Seas. We leave Sunday, February 22nd, and return on Sunday, February 29th.
Since we first wrote about this trip a month ago, we have filled two-thirds of our space.
Count on reaching New Orleans Monday evening in time for a wild night of dancing on Bourbon Street. Then after a little rest, on Tuesday we hit the peak of Mardi Gras during the legendary Fat Tuesday, the day of Parades, revelry, and legalized insanity.
We will remain in New Orleans Wednesday till 6 pm, then it is off to the sparkling warm waters in beautiful Cozumel. While others shiver stateside in the middle of winter, our group will work on getting great suntans at the famous Chankanaab Beach.
This exciting trip promises to be the experience of a lifetime!
SSQQ NOW HAS THE LOWEST PRICE IN TOWN BUT YOU BETTER HURRY!!
(check out to see who is already going to Mardi Gras:
As I write the November Newsletter, the SSQQ Mardi Gras prices are still significantly lower than anyone else in town (or the country for that matter). For example, over at Vacations to Go, the Houston-based travel agency that sponsored the first three SSQQ cruises back in 1998, 2000, and 2001, their prices listed for this trip are still $44 per person HIGHER for an Oceanview Cabin and still $34 per person HIGHER for an Inside Cabin. This is the same difference in price from a month ago.
These numbers are surprising since we have found that Vacations to Go prices are usually among the lowest in town.
Therefore, if you have any desire to go - we realize thinking three months ahead of time is an incredible task for single people - YOU SHOULD MAKE YOUR MOVE NOW!
IT COSTS YOU ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO MAKE A RESERVATION.
If you decide not to go, then you can get your entire deposit refunded as long as you ask for it before December 13th.
REPEAT: You know the game - after you make your deposit, you then have till December 13th to completely make up your mind (December 13th is the last day you are entitled to a full refund of your $250).
BUT YOU MUST PLUNK DOWN $250 NOW TO RESERVE THE RIGHT TO GIVE YOURSELF TWO MORE MONTHS TO MAKE UP YOUR MIND.
This trip is a surefire hit. The Mardi Gras IN NEW ORLEANS is an incredible experience. YOU WILL HAVE A BLAST! He (or She) who hesitates is lost. Please DO NOT wait to call or email us today.
email@example.com (Marla Gorzynski email)
713 862 4428 (Marla Gorzynski phone)
Check out the ssqq web site for the price, to see who is going, and further promotional information -
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HIGHLIGHTS OF THE OCTOBER 2003 SCHEDULE
BALLROOM FOXTROT will be offered on Sundays in October with
Judy Archer. Foxtrot is the Uptown cousin of the Texas Twostep
- they both have similar timing & patterns. Foxtrot is the
epitome of Fred Astaire and Formal Dance. In this course you
will learn all the variations off the Box Step, Twinkles,
Parallels & much more!
An INTERMEDIATE LEVEL of the legendary Disco partner dance
LATIN HUSTLE will be taught by Jack Benard on Sundays in
October. This course has proven to be a very popular listing.
SWING CHARLESTON with Maureen Brunetti is one of the
flashiest, most popular Swing courses in studio history. Swing
Charleston patterns are eye-catching, heart-pumping fun. Swing
Charleston will be offered for only ONE MONTH, so don't miss
BEGINNING WESTERN WALTZ, the Western dance of Romance, will be
offered on Sundays at 7 pm with Judy Archer. Offered in time
to get you ready for Christmas dancing and New Year's Parties,
Western Waltz is exceptionally beautiful and marvelous fun to
NIGHT ON THE TOWN covers 3 famous Ballroom dances that share
almost identical footwork - Foxtrot, Waltz, and Rumba - which
allows you to basically learn 3 dances at once!! Taught by
Charlene on Mondays, it will feature Sinatra Foxtrots, Irish
Waltzes, & smooth Jazz Rumba music.
Jill Banta will offer a special course in Latin Dance called
"SOME LIKE IT HOT" on Tuesdays in October.
October brings us INTERMEDIATE WESTERN CHA CHA with Sharon
Crawford on Wednesdays. Cha Cha is the famous Latin dance that
works surprisingly well to slow Western Polkas with a romantic
Latin feel to them (e.g. "Neon Moon").
GHOST TOWN 11 will be offered on Fridays with Brian White. As
you might gather, this particular Ghost Town level is pretty
tough and no doubt Brian will have some Halloween Nightmare
patterns to frighten you into dance paralysis...
BEGINNING NIGHT CLUB will be offered on Fridays with Anita
Williams. This lovely dance is popular at the Western Clubs as
an option used to the slow-tempo ballads such as Faith Hill's
TO REGISTER FOR UPCOMING CLASSES ON-LINE
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THE SSQQ HALLOWEEN
PARTY IS AROUND THE CORNER!
Saturday, October 25, starting at 9 pm - 1 am.
Cover Charge $12 (half-price for SSQQ October 2003 Volunteers - bring your card!)
Please note the minimum age to attend the SSQQ Halloween Party is 15. Anyone this young must also be accompanied by an adult. It must be clear to anyone under the drinking age that we expect them to honor the drinking laws. Thank you, Rick Archer
STORY THREE: BELLAIRE POLICE CHIEF BYRON HOLLOWAY WILL BE BACK TO PATROL THE PARKING LOT DURING THE HALLOWEEN PARTY.
Good news I: Assistant Bellaire Police Chief Byron Holloway will return again this year to patrol our parking lot and keep things safe for us. In these troubled times, we are indeed fortunate to have him.
Good news II: Chief Holloway has given us permission to park our cars on the side of First Street where there are "No Parking" signs. I want each and every person attending the party to personally thank Chief Holloway for helping us again this year. Bring him some cookies, shake his hand, and give him a hug. Do whatever it takes to let him know how grateful we are to have his presence! Our party is always extremely fun in large part because we know he is outside patrolling the premises so we need to give credit where credit is due!
STORY FOUR: WEARING A HALLOWEEN COSTUME TO THE SSQQ PARTY.
When you come to the SSQQ Halloween Party, you better wear a costume!! We take costumes VERY SERIOUSLY and we keep photographic evidence that indicates how hard you tried. Tim Knight of TFW Computers did an excellent job last year and will be back again this year to document each and every visitor to the party. Knock yourself out a little!!
People whine to me all the time, "How can I wear a good costume and still dance??" Well, here's the answer - get the best darn costume you can find. Wear it while you stand in line to enter the party. Wear it while you get scared out of your wits in the Haunted House. Wear it for thirty minutes in Room 2 while you drink a glass of wine, eat Judy's cookies and walk around checking out the other costumes. Seeing all the costumes is wonderful fun!!
Be sure to get Tim Knight to take your picture. Have him take another. Why go to all that trouble and not get your picture taken? Its free! Then dump your costume like everyone else does on the couch in Room 2 and go Boogie.
By the way, Tim Knight will make a CD of all the Halloween Costumes and you pick up a copy at the studio about a week after the party. Gary Richardson will have them at Wild West too. 713 461 8660 to order a copy or email to
Linda Cook did this exact thing last year. She came as two trees and a hammock. You don't believe me?? Well, check it out:
After that picture got taken, the hammock and the trees spent the rest of the party watching TV in Room 2. And that's how to wear an awesome costume and still have a great time dancing!!
STORY FIVE: A REVIEW OF THE BEST 2002 HALLOWEEN PARTY COSTUMES
There are always literally hundreds of terrific costumes at our party. Last year I think we had close to 300 people!!
There are always many highly creative and unusual costumes that have people shaking their heads with laughter and amazement. Costumes are a huge part of the fun! And now it is time to pay honor to the costumes that turned heads and got the tongues wagging.
The best costume last year was worn by Bryan Spivey, Lise Gagnon, and Kimberly Smith as the three naughty girl scouts. Bryan looked so nice in his dress!! And I heard the three of them wore special merit badges for bad behavior. Just a rumor.
My buddy Stevie Wonder, aka Steve Bahnsen, is in the SSQQ Halloween Costume Hall of Fame. He has worn his Carmen Miranda costume previously, but I enjoy seeing his ample naked belly so much I had to include him again among the best of the best.
Tim Knight, our photographer, brought a friend along named Robert who wore an incredible Crusaders costume. That was a great outfit!!
And Linda Cook and her son Ben came as the Trees and the Hammock. How clever!!
Carmen San Diego (bless her heart - I always forget her last name!) and her friend Pat Bradshaw came together as Wall Flowers. Anyone with the guts to deliberately look bad to stand out gets my vote!! They were terrific in an inverse sort of way.
One man came with a real carved Pumpkin on his head. That is also quite brave. What did it smell like in there? Unfortunately, I never learned the identity of Mr. Pumpkinhead, but he has my vote!!
Bett Sundermeyer wore a very creative costume as good and evil. How clever!!
Sometimes less costume is better. A couple of young and beautiful girls wore practically nothing. Works for me. They got my vote!!
I don't know who the hot-blooded Granny was, but it sure was a cute outfit!
And last but not least, ALL the guys at the party were ogling Bruce Hanka's HOT HOT HOT date in the skin-tight Catwoman outfit. In fact Bruce's excellent Joker costume was barely noticed. I raised an eyeball myself - this young lady was gorgeous!! And there was a mystery involved since she was clearly 20 years younger than Bruce. And who did this beauty turn out to be? None other than his daughter! Bruce Hanka has a very lovely daughter indeed. I know he has to be immensely proud of her! And I appreciate his honesty by revealing her identity. It certainly put my curiosity to rest.
BEST OF THE REST: THE RUNNERUPS
Honorable Mention awards go to the following:
Susan and David Schroeder for their, uh, Vegas outfits. Actually I am sure they know exactly what the costumes were, but I don't want to take a chance of getting it wrong by saying what I think they were
Randy Winfrey and Melissa Gauthier were colorful pirates!
Mara Rivas, Kathleen Rose, and Galina Oxley were eye-catching French maids!
I think the legendary guy who does Darth Vadar made a re-appearance. He was a big hit at our first Halloween Parties back in the early 80s. I wrote about him in my Costume Hall of Fame story. I hope he comes again so I can tell him how much I appreciate his costume.
Maggie Lewis a terrific Little Bo Peep looking for her sheep.
Marlane Kayfes and Jim Colby were impressive Romans.
Patrick and Letty Dougherty continued their tradition of excellent costumes with outfits conjuring images of Arabian Nights or Greek Mythology. I need to do a better job of interviewing our winners about their costumes!!
And my favorite costume that didn't make the Top Ten was Sorrell Warren as a marvelous Don King. He was great! Some people wear the costume, but Sorrell seemed to be in character as well all night long.
Thank you to all for the great show you put on in 2002!!
STORY SIX: THE SSQQ HAUNTED HOUSE
This is the night when a Scream is only the Beginning.
The SSQQ Haunted House is my favorite part of the Halloween Party. I get such a kick out of putting it together. We hang huge black felt curtains from the ceiling to create a maze. Then we make as pitch black as possible to create a highly disorienting effect. People walk VERY SLOWLY through the maze because they can't see a thing. To improve the ambiance, we have music from Psycho, the Exorcist, and Halloween playing in the background.
And there are interesting moments along the way. The less said, the better
Last year in 2002 we introduced an awesome 7-foot Frankenstein. He was there waiting for you in the Haunted House. We haven't fed him since last year. This year he has been instructed to eat the first guest attempting to enter without a costume. This way he gets fed and we don't have to give a refund either.
The SSQQ Haunted House may be an amateur job, but we have been told it is quite effective. I get compliments from many people saying the place gave them the absolute creeps.
That makes me happy!
And while I am it I guess I will let you in on a secret: the Haunted House is safe. We have never had an accident or a problem.
If you would like to read some interesting stories about the SSQQ Haunted House and other bizarre things that have happened over the years, you should take a look at our "Tales of the SSQQ Halloween Party". Not only is there a very funny story about the Haunted House, but there are stories about Dracula's coffin, the Monster Mash and our line dances, the Guest Who Wouldn't Leave, and curious stories about our various mishaps over the years.
When you get there, click "SSQQ Haunted House".
Pictures from the 2002 SSQQ Halloween Party:
STORY SEVEN: GREATEST COSTUMES IN THE HISTORY OF THE SSQQ HALLOWEEN PARTY
As you probably have gathered, over the past 25 years the SSQQ Halloween Party has created a tradition of excellent and unusual costumes. In tribute to these wonderful years, I wrote a story about the History of Costumes. Most of the fun is just in the looking. For some of us veterans, it is also in the memories.
As you read the comments and look at the pictures, you will find the answer to these intriguing questions:
1. Who is the lady who has hands down the Best Figure in the history of the party?
2. What famous Star Wars character mysteriously shows up each year?
3. Why doesn't Rick wear a costume any more?
4. Which are the most creative costumes over the years?
5. Which is the Best Halloween Costume ever?
6. Two SSQQ Staff people have won the Best Costume Contest. Who are they? How did they win? (Actually, with Bryan, Kimberly, and Lise's victory from last year, I need to update this section!!)
7. Which are the most famous coincidences of people wearing costumes that match someone they have never met before?
8. What are the favorite costumes of women and why?
9. What was the most outrageous dance costume ever?
10. SSQQ Western teacher Chris O'Rourke is famous for coming to the party half-naked. Curious to see what he wears?
AND SOMETHING NEW THIS YEAR
GEORGE GREGA PLANS A SURPRISE FOR THE 2003 PARTY. WHAT COULD IT BE??
Dr. George Grega has been taking many dance classes lately in preparation for his daughter Tania's wedding this coming January. George is a former University of Houston professor who since his retirement from UH has started an unusual new business. Over the years George has specialized in providing the lighting for plays at Theater Under the Stars and other productions. He is now providing a service which will handle all aspects for events such as weddings, plays, musicals, dances, and so on.
Partly to help promote his new business and partly as a huge favor to me and to the many friends he has made here at the studio over the past several months, George offered to bring in his technicians to put in awesome lighting in Room 1 plus special effects such as the fog machine. He is also installing state of the art sound equipment in the Whip Dance Room.
I have no idea what is going on, but anyone who has visited the studio gasps at the huge towers of equipment and metal bars hanging from the ceiling. Something
good bad weird who knows
is going to make this year's party AMAZING.
Another part of George's production is videography. He will have a professional videographer taping the entire party including our line dances and other events. This will allow George to produce a commemorative videotape of the evening. If you wish, you can purchase a copy for a nominal price further down the road, but this is more of a favor to our guests than a plan to make some money.
My guess is the price tag for George's service at the party would start at $3,000 and rise from there. The equipment alone appears to be worth something in six figures.
I WOULDN'T MISS THIS YEAR'S PARTY FOR ALL THE TEA IN CHINA.
By the way, if you are curious about Dr. Grega's company and the services it provides, I wrote a brief story about his business in the August Newsletter.
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|SSQQ DANCE PARTIES IN NOVEMBER
THE SSQQ BLACK AND WHITE SWING PARTY
Saturday, November 8th, 9:15 - Midnight, Cover charge $7
7:00 - 9:00 PM CRASH COURSES
$14 person, $22 couple
SWING CHARLESTON - Maureen
BEG LINDY HOP - Patty O
BRYAN'S FAV SWING PATTERNS! - Bryan
ADV MERENGUE - Linda
BEG LATIN CHA CHA - Judy
BEG SALSA MAMBO - Michele Y
Music: Swing music in Room 1, Latin in Room 4, requests in Room 6.
Wear Black and White or Be Negative all Night!
THE SSQQ TURKEY TROT WESTERN DANCE
Saturday, November 22nd, 9:15 - Midnight, Cover charge $7
7:00 - 9:00 PM CRASH COURSES
$14 person, $22 couple
BEG TWOSTEP - Leo
BEG WESTERN SWING - MG
BEG WESTERN WALTZ - Jill
JITTERBUG ACROBATICS - Paul (cpls only)
DIRTY DANCING - Rachel/Wil
ANITA'S FAVORITE HIJACKS - Anita & Rick
Music Western Room 1, Whip Room 4
Dress Hot to Trot or Get Ignored a Lot!!
THE SSQQ RED AND WHITE HAPPY HOLIDAY DANCE
Saturday, December 6th, 9:15 - Midnight, Cover charge $7
CRASH COURSES 7-9 pm
FREESTYLE - Jill
BEG NIGHT CLUB - Anita
BEG WESTERN WALTZ - Judy
LISE'S FAV SWING PTRNS - Lise
SLOW DANCING - Maureen (cpls only)
BEG C&W: TEXAS TWOSTEP - Kimberly
LINDA'S FAV GHOST TOWN PTRNS - Linda
Music: Swing and Latin music in Room 1, Western and Whip in Room 4, requests in Room 6.
Wear Red and White or Stay Outta Sight!
RESULTS OF THE OCTOBER LOGIC PUZZLE RESULTS - THE MONSTER NEIGHBORHOOD!
Our previous month's Logic Puzzle was the most popular logic puzzle in SSQQ History. In September we set a new record with twelve winners!!
We almost matched that total in October with eleven winners. Here are the names of our brilliant 11 puzzle solvers for October in the order they submitted their answers. Nice work, everyone!!
1. Todd Kristofik
2. Mara Rivas (The infamous Brain Robber wins for the third month in a row!)
3. Susan Arevalo (Third month in a row)
4. Manny Hernandez (after a two month absence, he wins for the fourth time this year)
5. Carolyn Van Hoof and Jon Bracksieck (First Timers!)
6. Robby Thompson (Tied with Mara and the Woodmans for first place with four months in a row)
7. Marlies Whitmoyer (Three months in a row!!)
8. Jeff and Connie Woodman (Fourth month in a row!)
9. James McCormick (Second time winner)
10. Ann Faget (Two months in a row, Three time winner)
11. Marla Gorzynski (squeezed in a solution at the last minute for her second victory)
And where were Christina Montalvo, Sabriena Watts, Ryan Borelo, Elicia Anderson, and Jackie Chang this month? They were all winners in September but didn't keep their Streak alive.
In recent months, I have written stories about the dynamic duo of Mara Rivas and Marlies Whitmoyer. One Friday night a couple months they got together and took Marla Gorzynski and Patty Harrison out drinking and dancing at Wild West. Marla in case you don't know is my fiancιe and Patty is my wonderful Whip assistant on Sunday. Well, guess what? M and M tried to get M and P drunk. Let me tell ya, I'm still hearing gossip related to that evening!
Well, guess what else? The next thing you know Marla, competitive devil that she is, decides to submit a Logic Puzzle entry in September. No way she's gonna let M and M get the goods on her.
So Marla, where's the answers to the October puzzle? "I'm too busy!!"
Finally I threatened Marla that I was going to publish the top ten reasons Marla was too busy to do the puzzle. Ten minutes the answers were dropped on my lap.
The power of Gossip is second only to the power of Gravity as a major force in the Universe. I think the power of Gossip is so great it should be studied in Physics. The threat of Gossip got Marla moving when nothing else - appeals to her pride, gentle prodding, comparisons to the brilliance of M and M, etc - didn't work.
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AND NOW FOR THE OCTOBER SSQQ LOGIC PUZZLE -
THE HALLOWEEN MAGAZINE MIX-UP!
Difficulty Level: Very Hard.
Jeffrey Ghost delivers mail for the Post Office. His delivery route includes the posh 10-story Haunted Towers Apartment House.
There are 10 Monster families which reside at this building (one family per floor). Each family gets 3 different publications a day. The delivery schedule to the Apartment House includes 10 different magazines in all.
Unfortunately for Jeff, it rained today. When he began pulling the magazines from his not-too-waterproof sack, he found all the labels stuck together in a gummy mess. Jeff was pretty worried because he knew from experience just how ugly things could get if some of these Monsters didn't get their favorite magazines on time!
Undaunted, Jeff sat down in the lobby to figure out which magazines to stuff into the mailboxes of each Haunted Towers family.
By close examination of the following clues can you determine which floor each happy family lives on?
Editor's Note: The Magazine Mix-up Puzzle is the second hardest logic puzzle we have offered to date. It took me about two hours to solve it. The first two people to send in the correct answer will get two free tickets to the SSQQ Halloween Party. The next two winners will get a Crash Course and the Dance Party afterward in the month of November. Everyone else will get one of the two Parties free.
Plus we will tell the world how smart you are in the next Newsletter! Send in your answers immediately! Oh boy.
Now let's set the stage for the contest. Connie and Jeff Woodman have solved the puzzle four months in a row. So has the Brain Robber Mara Rivas, the all-time champ. And Robby Thompson, stuck out in California or Colorado somewhere on a computer programming assignment, has four victories in a row as well. It's a THREE-WAY TIE, sports fans!
And this month's puzzle is one that will definitely separate the men from the boys. Who will be on top in next month's Newsletter?
And will Marla throw in the towel or rise to the occasion? The Tension! The Suspense! Tune in next month!
And now: Ready, Set, Go!!
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THE SSQQ SIDEWALK BISTRO - FURTHER
Just for the record, as we wrap up October, amazingly all four chairs, all four bushes, and the table are still
there after three full months. Unfortunately I over-watered one
of the bushes which almost died. Oh well.
Gary Thorpe and friends may be waiting for me tonight at the Bistro to try to get their names in this month's Newsletter, but it is too late. Marlane Kayfes beat them to it!
From: Marlane Kayfes
Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2003 1:31 AM
Subject: New Homeowner
Knock on wood, I should be closing on a townhouse in little more than a week. Yes, my first foray into home ownership, and you played a part. A few weeks ago, my realtor, fellow SSQQer Julie Wolf with Prince Properties, wanted to meet me on a Friday night to review and sign my offer papers. Julie knew I was taking a dance class at the studio on Friday nights and we were pondering where a quiet place was nearby where we could meet. Eureka! I reminded Julie that you have that lovely table and chairs right outside the studio. Problem solved. Julie met me after dance class. We reviewed and I signed the offer papers right outside the studio, then we both came in for some dances. Julie faxed the offer to the seller the next morning. If there's any luck in the world, there must be some in your table and chairs. The seller didn't refuse my offer, but within a week we negotiated an agreeable contract. And so far everything's on track for closing.
Unfortunately it's further out than I really wanted-off of Beechnut, just inside the Beltway. But it's not too bad a drive and a straight shot down
Beechnut/Braeswood to the Med Center.
This might amuse you: The first realtor I worked with (for a day) kept asking me what area I wanted to live in. I kept telling her that's not an option - price would dictate where I buy and I was looking to her to tell me where the
houses/townhomes are that I could afford, the closer in the better. She kept pushing me to tell her what I wanted and in what area. Finally I said "OK, I want a 3
br, 2.5 bath single family residence with an attached garage in the Museum Area, Montrose or Heights for less than $90,000." She told me I was being unrealistic. Well, DUH!
At Wild West the following Tuesday I was bitching to Julie about it and that's when I learned that Julie is a realtor. We hooked up and she was right there, sending me listings in my price range all over town (well, within limits) and she really helped me narrow my search. Now that's what I'm talking about!
Ta ta - gotta go, gotta pack. Off to the Hill Country in the morning for Tonk Tour #5.
(Editor's Note: Did you know that SSQQ Instructor Charlene Tees is also a realtor? I have noticed there are so many talented people at SSQQ you can probably find the right person for practically any business need. One of these days we should do an SSQQ Web Site Yellow Pages. But it is so much work!! I will think it about it tomorrow.)
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|PSYCHOLOGICAL TEST - HOW CRAZY ARE YOU ???
Contributed by Sandy Lenar Doozy
A psychological test - This is an authentic psychological test. It is a story about a girl. While at the funeral of her mother, she met a man whom she did not know. She thought he was amazing, her dream guy, and she fell in love with him but never asked for his number and could not find him after the funeral. A few days later the girl killed her sister.
Question: What is her motive in killing her sister?
(Editor's Note: The answer is just slightly further down the page)
Contributed by Chris Holmes
Have you ever received an email that said you better pass it on or you will receive a horrible virus in ten minutes?? The recent movie "The Ring" somehow managed to scare the heck out of people with a premise this stupid.
Have you ever heard of the 5 cent per email tax being suggested in Congress? Don't worry, it is a well-known Internet Hoax.
Here is a very clever spoof on all the garbage we get on a daily basis through Spam Email. Do yourself a big favor and click on the link below. It is very funny. (PS- there is no virus at the other end; I have visited it three times without a problem)
ANSWER TO SANDY'S PSYCHOLOGICAL TEST - HOW CRAZY ARE YOU ???
Contributed by Sandy Lenar Doozy
Question: What is her motive in killing her sister?
Answer: She was hoping that the guy would appear at the sister's funeral.
According to Sandy, if you answered this correctly, you think like a psychopath. This was a test a famous American psychologist used to test if one has the same mentality as a killer. Many arrested serial killers took this test and answered it correctly.
Sandy added this in her note:
"Rick, if you didn't answer correctly - good for you. But if you got the answer correct, please let me know so I can take you off my e-mail list ... unless that will tick you off, in which case I will be nice to you for a change."
"I guess I am healthy, Sandy. I gave it ten seconds of thought, decided it was BS and not worth my time. Then I peeked at the answer. The moment I saw the answer I was thrilled that I hadn't bothered to think longer. That must mean I'm normal. Still, you better watch out for me in the Haunted House this year
. Ha ha ha"
" Hey Rick....you know what's scary....the man who does my nails answered this correctly!!!!!!!!!!!
"I hear your nail guy plans on coming to the Halloween Party
THE INCREDIBLE SSQQ HALLOWEEN MOVIE TRIVIA CONTEST WINNER - JUDY WALSH
On the SSQQ website, I have put out pictures from 40 different Halloween movies such as Carrie, the Shining, and
Night of the Living Dead. The contest was to see who could identify the most pictures. This year's winner is amazing Judy Walsh. Congratulations! You will be reading more about Judy later in this month's Newsletter.
1. 37 - Judy Walsh
2. 35 - Robby Thompson
3. 34 - Eva Lue
4. 33 - Marla Gorzynski
5. 27 - Neil Pellis
6. 23 - Rick Scolari
Thank you all for playing!
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BEST NEW JOKES OF THE MONTH
The SSQQ Web Site rotates jokes on a monthly basis. At this point we have a Hall of Fame collection of over 600 jokes, many of them real gems. Nevertheless we get some wonderful new jokes each month
sent in by our students which we will eventually add to the immortal collection. But
first you get to preview them!
By the way, getting a joke selected isn't very easy since we have been collecting jokes for so long and it's tough to find a new one. Nevertheless we greatly appreciate any jokes you would like to submit. Send them to Rick Archer at
BLONDE JOKE (ATTENTION MARLIES WHITMOYER!!)
Contributed by Loni Anderson Lewellyn
A blonde girl enters a store that sells curtains. She tells the salesman: "I would like to buy a pink curtain in the size of my computer screen."
The surprised salesman replies, "But, madam computers do not have curtains..."
and the blonde said: "hellooo.... I've got windows!!!!
THE AGGIE SCIENTIST
Contributed by Paul Eustace
A scientist from Texas A&M University has invented a bra that keeps women's breasts from jiggling and prevents the nipples from pushing through the fabric when cold weather sets in.
After a news conference announcing the invention, the scientist was taken outside by a large group of cowboys, who kicked the shit out of him.
THE PARKING TICKET
Contributed by Al Crane
A timeless lesson on how consultants can make a difference for an organization...
Last week, we took some friends out to a new restaurant, and noticed that the waiter who took our order carried a spoon in his shirt pocket. It seemed a little strange when the busboy brought our water and utensils, I noticed he also had a spoon in his shirt pocket. Then I looked around saw that all the staff had Spoons in their pockets.
When the waiter came back to serve our soup I asked, "Why the spoon?" "Well," he explained, "the restaurant's owners hired Accenture to revamp all our processes. After several months of analysis, they concluded that the spoon was the most frequently dropped utensil. It represents a drop frequency of approximately 3 spoons per table per hour. If our personnel are better prepared, we can reduce the number of trips back to the kitchen and save 15 man-hours per shift."
As luck would have it, I dropped my spoon and he was able to replace it with his spare. "I'll get another spoon next time I go to the kitchen instead of making an extra trip to get it right now." I was impressed. I also noticed that there was a string hanging out of the waiter's fly. Looking around, I noticed that all the waiters had the same string hanging from their flies.
So before he walked off, I asked the waiter, "Excuse me, but can you tell me why you have that string right there?"
"Oh, certainly!" Then he lowered his voice. "Not everyone is so observant. Accenture also found out that we can save time in the restroom. By tying this string to the tip of you know what, we can pull it out without touching it and eliminate the need to wash our hands, shortening the time spent in the restroom by 76.39 percent."
"After you get it out, how do you put it back?"
"Well," he whispered, "I don't know about the others, but I use the spoon."
(Editor's Note: Al won the coveted NOVEMBER BEST NEW JOKE AWARD! He will receive an exciting absolutely FREE Practice Night for his effort. Now be sure to congratulate him when you see him at the studio!)
LOTS OF PUN-ISHMENT
Contributed by Pam Fontenot
1. Two peanuts walk into a bar. One was a salted.
2. A jumper cable walks into a bar. The bartender says, "I'll serve you, but don't start anything."
3. A sandwich walks into a bar. The bartender says, "Sorry we don't serve food in here."
4. A dyslexic man walks into a bra.
5. A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm and says, "A beer please...and one for the road."
6. Two antennas meet on a roof, fall in love, and get married. The ceremony wasn't much, but the reception was brilliant.
7. Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other, "Does this taste funny to you?"
8. "Doc, I can't stop singing 'The Green, Green Grass of Home.'" "That sounds like Tom Jones Syndrome." "Is it common?" "It's not unusual."
9. Two cows are standing ! next to each other in a field. Daisy says to Dolly, "I was artificially inseminated this morning." "I don't believe you," said Dolly. "It's true, no bull!" exclaimed Daisy.
10. An invisible man marries an invisible woman. The kids were nothing to look at either.
11. Two hydrogen atoms walk into a bar. One says, "I've lost my electron." The other says, "Are you sure?" The first replies, "Yes, I'm positive..."
13. A man takes his Rottweiler to the vet and says, "My dog's cross-eyed. Is there anything you can do for him?" "Well," says the vet, "let's have a look at him." So, he picks the dog up, examines his eyes, then checks his teeth. Finally, he says, "I'm going to have to put him down." "What?! Just because he's cross-eyed?!?" "No, because he's really, really heavy!!"
14. Apparently, 1 in 5 people in the world are Chinese. And there are 5 people in my family, so it must be one of them. It's either my mom or my dad...or, maybe my older brother Colin or my younger brother Ho-Cha
But I'm pretty sure it's Colin.
15. I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day but I couldn't find any.
16. I went to the butchers the other day and I bet him 5 bucks that he couldn't reach the meat off! the top shelf. He said, "No, the steaks are too high."
17. A man regained consciousness in the hospital after a serious accident. He shouted, "Doctor, doctor! I can't feel my legs!" The doctor replied, "I know you can't, I've cut your arms off".
18. I went to a seafood disco rave last week and pulled a mussel.
19. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly. But when they lit a fire in the craft, it sank.... proving once and for all that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.
20. What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh.
NOTES TO AND FROM PILOTS AND SERVICE ATTENDANTS, I.E. AIRPLANE MECHANICS
Contributed by Bett Sundermeyer
(Editor's Note: Last month Bett's stories about things said to lawyers in court were one of the big hits in the Newsletter. Some of these exchanges below are equally amazing.)
After every flight, pilots fill out a form called a gripe sheet, which conveys to the mechanics problems encountered with the aircraft during the flight that need repair or correction. The mechanics read and correct the problem, and then respond in writing on the lower half of the form what remedial action was taken, and the pilot reviews the gripe sheets before the next flight.
Never let it be said that ground crews and engineers lack a sense of humor.
Here are some actual logged maintenance complaints and problems as submitted by Qantas pilots and the solution recorded by maintenance engineers.
P = The problem logged by the pilot.
S = The solution and action takenby the mechanics.
P: Left inside main tire almost needs replacement.
S: Almost replaced left inside main tire.
P: Test flight OK, except auto-land very rough.
S: Auto-land not installed on this aircraft.
P: Something loose in cockpit.
S: Something tightened in cockpit.
P: Dead bugs on windshield.
S: Live bugs on back-order.
P: Autopilot in altitude-hold mode produces a 200 feet per minute descent.
S: Cannot reproduce problem on ground.
P: Evidence of leak on right main landing gear.
S: Evidence removed.
P: DME volume unbelievably loud.
S: DME volume set to more believable level.
P: Friction locks cause throttle levers to stick.
S: That's what they're there for.
P: IFF inoperative.
S: IFF always inoperative in OFF mode.
P: Suspected crack in windshield.
S: Suspect you're right.
P: Number 3 engine missing.
S: Engine found on right wing after brief search.
P: Aircraft handles funny.
S: Aircraft warned to straighten up, fly right, and be serious.
P: Target radar hums.
S: Reprogrammed target radar with lyrics.
P: Mouse in cockpit.
S: Cat installed.
P: Noise coming from under instrument panel. Sounds like a midget pounding on something with a hammer.
S: Took hammer away from midget.
THE HUNGRY VAMPIRES
Contributed by Judy Walsh
Two vampires wanted to go out to eat, but were having a little trouble deciding where to go. They were tired of the local food in Transylvania and wanted something a little more exotic. After some discussion, they decided to go to ITALY because they had heard that ITALIAN food was really good. So off they went to ITALY and ended up in VENICE.
On a bridge over one of the canals, they hid in the shadows and waited for dinner. A few minutes later they noticed a young couple walking their way. As they neared, the vampires made their move. Each vampire grabbed a person, sucked them dry and tossed the remaining bodies into the canal below. The vampires were extremely pleased with their meal and decided to have seconds. Another young couple approached a few minutes later and suffered the same fate as the first -- sucked dry and tossed into the canal below. Our vampires are now fairly full but decide to get dessert. In a short while a third young couple provides just that. As with the first two couples, these people were also sucked dry and tossed over the rail into the canal. The vampires decided that they had had a marvelous dinner but that it was time to head back home.
As they started to walk away they began to hear some singing. They were puzzled because no one else was on the bridge. As they listened, they realized that it was coming from the canal. They looked over the rail and saw a big alligator in the water under the bridge, feasting on the bodies. They listened as the alligator sang:
".....Drained wops keep falling on my head..."
THE BLACK PANTIES
Contributed by Judy Walsh
Karen lost her husband almost four years ago and still hasn't gotten out of her mourning stage. Her daughter is constantly calling her and urging her to get back into the world. Finally, Karen says she'd go out, but didn't know anyone. Her daughter immediately replies: "Mom! I have someone for you to meet.
Well, it was an immediate hit. They took to one another and after dating for six weeks, he asks her to join him for a weekend in the Catskills. Their first night there, she undresses as he does.
There she stood nude except for a pair of black lacy panties, he in his birthday suit.
Looking at her he asks: "Why the black panties?" She replies: "My breasts you can fondle, my body is yours to explore, but down there I am still in mourning."
He knows he's not getting lucky that night. The following night the same scenario. She's standing there with the black panties on, and he is in his birthday suit ... except that he is wearing a black condom.
She looks at him and asks: "What's with this ... a black condom?"
He replies: "I want to offer my deepest condolences."
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FAMOUS HALLOWEEN MOVIE LINES TRIVIA QUIZ
Contributed by first by Daniel Evans
1. Leave her alone, you bitch!
2. They're all gonna laugh at you!
3. I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.
4. They're here!
5. I see dead people.
6. Here's Johnny!
7. We're not in Kansas any more!
9. Mother isn't feeling well.
10. I'll hurt you if you stay
11. I'm a sweet Transvestite
(Editor's Note: Wasn't that fun? Answers are at the bottom of the page.)
HOW THE SSQQ NEWSLETTER WORKS
After I get through writing the SSQQ Newsletter, it is not unusual to see the entire document takes up to 50
pages!! At the moment I am halfway through and my word count is already above 14,000.
Emailing the entire Newsletter would be prohibitive. So what I do is email information about the highlights of upcoming classes and parties plus tidbits about some of the stories in the Newsletter. What I send to all people on the email list is a mere tip of the iceberg, perhaps 10% of the larger Newsletter contained at the SSQQ Web Site.
The idea is to use the email as a reminder to click over to the Extended SSQQ Newsletter on the website. Not everybody understands this. Here is a quick correspondence from Bronnie Browne to illustrate my point.
Unable to sleep I am up at 4 am and was most pleased to see the SSQQ newsletter had come in and I could have a leisurely read. I was even more interested to see there was an article about the odious Longhorn Jackass listed as Story 8. But when I scroll down to it there seems no link and no content beyond the byline. Did you leave something off in error??
I keenly await more, Bronnie"
The complete version of the SSQQ Newsletter can read at:
This is where you will find the rest of your story. Rick"
"Silly me. Thanks! Bronnie"
STORY TEN: THE FASCINATING TRUE STORY OF HOW SSQQ GOT ITS START, WARTS AND ALL.
After 25 years in the dance business, there is no doubt that a man named Glen Hunsucker will forever remain the single most influential person in my career.
Glen was my dance teacher for six years from 1978 to 1984. He gave me the valuable training I needed to become an effective dance teacher.
It was Glen who saved my skin in 1980 when I was thrown out of my first dance studio. By offering his own studio as a safety net, he stepped in to save my skin at a time when I had no other options.
For the next eight years following the rescue I subleased space from Glen at Dance Arts. These years were the most financially profitable era of my career. These years were also a period of great expansion for my business. In many ways I liken the Dance Arts era to the protective period a parent gives a child to grow up and prepare to take of himself.
Finally in an odd twist of fate, it was Glen who indirectly donated his studio to me, the pivotal move that opened the door for SSQQ to become the largest dance studio in the city of Houston.
And yet there is a mystery about why Glen's importance to the studio has never been revealed before.
Long-time readers of the SSQQ Newsletter and the SSQQ Web Site know I love to write about every important or interesting event that ever occurred during the studio's long history. And yet the story of Glen Hunsucker is at best the hundredth story I have written. Doesn't that seem an odd position for the story of the man I have named as without a doubt the single most important reason my career has succeeded? By all rights, shouldn't Glen's story have been the one of the first?
The reason I have avoided writing about this episode in my life is that I always wanted this story to be a tribute, but hesitated because it also reveals controversy and a great tragedy, one that I have never completely come to grips with. Unlike many of my stories which include elements of humor and irony, the story of Glen Hunsucker is mostly one of pain and unresolved feelings. On the one hand I wanted to tell the world Glen's great ability, but on the other hand I wanted to protect his reputation... Does this sound like a conflict to you?
My uncertainty over the correct path to take explains why it has taken me so long to get up the nerve to write about this man who was so pivotal in my life for ten years and so instrumental in my career.
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VOCABULARY WORD OF THE MONTH WITH JANE DOWNS -
SYNESTHESIA noun 1. A condition in which one type of stimulation evokes the sensation of another, as when the hearing of a sound produces the visualization of a color.. aka "A joined sensation"
EXAMPLE: After hearing "The Thrill is Gone", I couldn't help but noticed the Blues music made me see Blue and feel Blue.
(Editor's Note: Got a good word to share?? Please send it in.
I have a confession to make. The lovely Jane Downs hasn't actually contributed a new Vocabulary Word in many a month. Recently I have been publishing some of her greatest hits since she used to send me three and four words a month and I would pick one. But alas I haven't heard from her in ages. If any other Newsletter readers would like to submit a word or if Jane would like to resume her previous vocation, please do!! Send your bizarre or unusual word to Rick Archer at
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SSQQ SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE - ANN THEALL AND ED JABLONSKI GET ENGAGED.
Sent: Friday, October 17, 2003 5:12 PM
To: SSQQ Dance Studio
Subject: the straight story...
It is my proud pleasure to give you the straight story (before Rachael Seff and Melissa Gauthier confuse you with their rumors) on the engagement of Ann Theall and myself.
We met several years ago, long before our association with SSQQ, at our church (sorry, you can't claim that we met at SSQQ!). Worse, I was even taking dance lessons at the time at (shudder!) another studio across town, but nonetheless was (barely!) able to impress her with my dancing ability. Somewhat later (a few months), Ann discovered SSQQ, and then was able to clearly recognize that my dancing skills needed improvement at a better studio. She subsequently recommended SSQQ to me. I took (she re-took) Rachael's Intermediate C&W class together and have been hooked on SSQQ ever since. It has been off and on for several years before we two bowed to the inevitable. Our kids all get along well, and we are looking forward to a happy future together.
So, do YOU owe Ann a bonus commission for her bringing in my business to you? Or do I owe YOU a bonus commission for training me to be a good enough dancer for her to finally agree to marry me? Hmmmmm...
Thanks for the opportunity to give you the true story, sincerely, Edward J.
P.S.: What you CAN claim is that SSQQ ladies tend to expect higher standards from their men. I believe that after taking a few of your classes, few of the ladies would later pick a partner who is a non-dancer !
(Editor's Note: Ann Theall is an SSQQ Volunteer Instructor. She is also a very gifted dancer. If we helped improve Ed's dancing to the point that he is now acceptable to her as a lifelong dance partner, then I think the studio deserves a little credit.
Congratulations to both!)
SSQQ SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE - SSQQ INSTRUCTOR MICHELLE WANN AND TRENT HAYNES GET ENGAGED.
From: Michelle Wann
Sent: Tuesday, October 21, 2003 3:44 PM
Subject: Re: engagement to trent haynes
I have to say, if only we could have taken a picture of the look on your face when you saw the ring and said, "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" :-) priceless - I loved it!
How about "everyone should take Whip and West Coast Swing classes at SSQQ because it is a hot and sexy dance where you might meet the man or woman of your dreams?"
How about that? :-)
Ok seriously ( I do *try* to be serious *sometimes*)...
"I am very happy to announce my engagement to Trent Haynes. Those who know him know that he is a loving generous man who happens to be a wonderful dancer. We have not decided on a date yet, but I will keep you posted."
Thanks for asking about my engagement!
(Editor's Note: Michelle Wann is one of the world's great sweethearts. I think she is terrific. Smart, pretty, funny, warm
this girl's got it all. I love to dance with her and I love her humility. Did you know she and Bryan Spivey won a big Houston City Championship this year? You would know unless I told you because she is very down to earth.
I know Trent Haynes mostly by his reputation as one of Houston's best dancers. I believe he has won many contests although that's an end of the dance world I don't pay much attention to. I have only talked to Trent Haynes once. He seemed very nice. I knew his mother Jeannie very well. In fact I taught her how to Whip. She was a great dancer! I wish both Michelle and Trent the very best.
The shock Michelle mentioned was real. SSQQ has become an unbelievable wedding factory for our staff. Sometimes it seems like half the people working here are engaged or recently married or on the verge of getting engaged.
For the record,
1. Rick Archer is engaged to Marla Gorzynski.
2. Linda Cook is engaged to Timm Chavez.
3. Paula da Silva got married just a year plus ago.
4. Tracy King and Jeff Perry got married just a year plus ago.
5. Rachel Seff is getting married to Dave Koenig in November.
6. Ann Bush and Brian White are engaged and to be married in December.
7. Carol Armand met Arthur Madrid here and married him earlier this year.
8. Jim Coulter met his wife Ulrike here and married her a year and half ago.
9. Vicki Bernard met Johnny Smith here and will marry him in November.
10. Michelle Wann just announced her engagement to Trent Haynes.
11. Patty Or is getting married to David Holmes in November
Perhaps I should add that Ben Liles met his wife Diana at the studio, Daryl Armstrong met Joanne here, and Karen Clawsen met Dennis here.
Plus I know a couple other staffers who could succumb to old ssqq slow dance and romance magic at any time, but I don't wish to jinx them by saying something!!
If you want to get married, join my staff. It's that simple. Sometimes I tease we should rename the SSQQ Web Site to the SSQQ Wed Site.
TRACY AND JEFF PERRY HAVE THEIR BABY!!
Back in August of 2002 I wrote about Tracy King's wedding to Jeff Perry, the handsome man she met here at the studio. Now just as I have written about Daryl and Joanne Armstrong and Ben and Diana Liles, it's time to announce the birth of Tracy and Jeff's first child, Kaylyn!! If memory serves, the unusual name 'Kaylyn' is the mixture of Tracy's mother and Jeff's mother's names.
"Dear friends and family--
Sorry to communicate in the mass fashion, but time is limited now.
Kaylyn Sage Perry was born Thursday, October 16 at 2:04 pm. She weighed 8 pounds, 1 ounce and was 20 inches long.
Here is the short story: I woke up in early labor Wednesday morning, went to the hospital that afternoon and was sent home because I was not far enough along. At 2:00 am Thursday morning I was admitted to the hospital in major labor. Many more hours later, including 2 and half of pushing, the doctor decided that a C section was necessary. At 2:04 pm, Kaylyn was born. After a 30 hours of labor, Mom, Baby, and Dad were all well.
Saturday afternoon, Kaylyn had a fever of 102 degrees and went to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. The fever came down quickly, but she staid in NICU for observation, testing, and the results of blood cultures until last night. She is perfectly healthy and happy and there is no explanation for the fever.
Finally, Mom, Dad, and Kaylyn spent the night at their own home last night. Kaylyn has brown hair and blues eyes and is strong as an ox. She is also independent and willful and wonderfully sweet. We will send photos as soon as we can get home long enough to get organized.
Tracy, Jeff, and Kaylyn"
LETTY AND PATRICK DOUGHERTY HAVE A SIX-MONTH OLD DAUGHTER NAMED ELLIE.
Editor's Note: Letty and Patrick met here at SSQQ. They were married on Saint Patrick's Day a couple of years ago. The last time I saw them was a year ago at the Halloween Party. Letty is one of our most famous costume artists and naturally the two of them won an "Honorable Mention" in the yearly costume contest. Since then, Letty has obviously found something more important to do than come up with a new costume!!
From: Letty Dougherty mailto:Lettydougherty@aol.com
Sent: Friday, October 10, 2003 12:22 AM
We're tickled pink to announce the six month birthday of our daughter Elizabeth Marie.
Precious is she and oh so sweet. Tiny hands and adorable feet. Given to us by God above, a darling daughter for us to love.
Ellie is full of energy and is very healthy. She currently weights 16.2 pounds and is 24 3/4 inches long. She has two lower front teeth and her ears have been pierced. She is still nursing and she is eating solid foods. She plays around with the bottle but will not drink milk from it.
Patrick and I have been blessed with a high energy spirited child. I call her my Chile pepper. There is never a boring moment with her. I am glad I am staying at home. We are involved in many activities and educational programs that are definitely essential for her development.
Here are Ellie's milestones:
Physical Dev: Sits alone and stands with support, loves to jump up and down, turns over easily and uses rolling over to move around room. She loves to dance and exercise with mommy.
Senses and Reflexes: She holds objects, pulls hair and objects, grasps, bangs on objects, likes to play with food and wants to eat grown up food. She loves to take baths.
Mental Dev: She plays vigorously with toys, shows greater interest in details, says "nam nam" when she is eating and of course she says "mama", she gets excited when objects fall. Loves to watch cartoons and hear music.
Social Dev: She enjoys people, loves to play, giggle and laugh, recognizes family members and friends, shows humor and teases, smiles at self in mirror, vocalizes pleasure and displeasure and lastly, shouts for attention.
Ellie is very lovable, affectionate, strong, cuddly, sensitive, intelligent and sociable. We are so proud of her. We thank God for all the blessings, family and friends He has given us.
Letty, Patrick and Ellie"
ASHLEY EASLEY WINS A GYMNASTICS COMPETITION!
Tom Easley is one of my best friends. He met his beautiful wife Margaret here at the studio and married her back in the mid eighties. Tom is such a character that I devoted a page on my web site to his unusual exploits. http://ssqq.com/information/advent11.htm
Tom mentioned to me that his lovely daughter Ashley recently won a prestigious gymnastics event run by the former national Romanian and American Olympics coach Bela Karolyi. I was unaware that Ashley was heavily involved in gymnastics but I remembered noticing right from the start just how remarkably athletic she was. Therefore nothing Tom told me surprised me very much about Ashley's great accomplishment. Tom added she finished second the year before so this success was not at all unexpected. I asked Tom to give me more details and Margaret answered with this:
"The event was held at Bela Karoly's ranch outside of Waverly, Tx. I think it was called the Judge's Gold Cup competition. It was basically a district qualifier for state. This is the man that coached Nadia Comanchi, Mary Lou Retton, and Kerry Strug to victory. He was the coach of the US Olympic women's team that won the US the gold medal in Atlanta 96.
We met him that day before the competition and he was very sweet and friendly. I shook his hand as he welcomed us (he was in the parking lot directing traffic) and he wished Ashley luck. My only regret is that we missed having our picture made with him. Ashley's was the last award announced (since it was the highest) and by the time we got through, he had left after posing for many adoring moms.
I don't know what Tom told you, but Ashley won first place for highest overall score in level 4 (this is the second to the lowest level in competitive gymnastics, so she's not QUITE ready for the Olympics). She scored a 37.5 out of 40 points. She would have done better, but she fell off the beam doing her split jump. Since she usually does well on this event, I asked her why her focus was so off after the competition. I discovered a quick trip to a certain place would have made more than a wee bit of difference."
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MORE ABOUT THE LEGENDARY LONGHORN JACKASS!!
Stories of the Legendary Longhorn Jackass began to filter in on a regular basis back in 2000. Since then LJ sightings have become pretty frequent although I don't publish all the stories I hear about this guy. Even though the Longhorn closed last year, his legend continues. Apparently like the rest of the studio he moved over to Wild West as well.
One woman managed to get a photo of the guy. First she asked her husband to go stand next to him. While she pretended to photograph her husband, she got a scary picture of LJ instead.
And to read some of the stories about LL Cool J (Legendary Longhorn Cool Jackass), click here:
In the October Newsletter, we had a fascinating story about how Mac Riley deliberately risks the ire of Mr. LL Cool J by whisking victims right out from under his nose.
Now this month we have yet another take on this bizarre predator from Bronnie Browne:
Mon 10/06/2003 11:40 AM
It is a few days later, but I have finally got to the stories about the Longhorn Jackass. Mac is not the only protector of unwitting victims. A friend of mine, Jim, does a sterling job of both warning beforehand and checking after the encounter and the two of us often operate in tandem.
I have forewarned some women myself having had a most unpleasant encounter with the man before I knew who he was. I've come to know the type he preys upon: A woman usually sitting alone and not knowing anyone.
I remember that situation well from my early days before discovering SSQQ when you know no one and any dance offer is welcome. I now like to keep an eye out for LJ prey and I have a story to tell about the Jackass.
There is one particular night of which I am quite proud when I saw a "new" woman sitting alone at Wild West. It wasn't too long before the LJ moved in and he monopolized her for quite some time. She didn't look too keen on the situation. The off-floor body language said it all: He plunked down right by her, leaned in to her and she leaned away, but he didn't take the hint. In fact it got worse and I could see the strained polite smile on her face getting harder to maintain.
After a while I couldn't bear it, so worked out a ploy to "rescue" her. There was no one on her other side, so I walked by as if going to the restroom and then acted like I recognized her. I gave her a little hug and spoke right into her ear saying "You don't know me, but act like you do if you want to get away from this man. If you don't just play along and I won't bother you any more."
Well, she did need rescuing, so I continued the pretense of long-lost friendship and pointed out where I was hanging out for the night with the SSQQ gang were standing and told her to feel free to come over whenever she wanted. I then left with the LJ not knowing what had happened, but frowning with the thought that it wasn't in his interests.
She did come over very soon after and thanked me. I explained about him and she said she was visiting from Florida, didn't know anyone and had gone out dancing hoping to meet some people. She got more than she bargained for. But then I introduced her to my friend, Jim, who is dance etiquette personified and he danced with her several times so she had a better idea of Houston dance community members.
Just thought I'd share that with you. The man is a CREEP.
(Editor's Note: Not only will Sandy Lenard Doozy's nail person be in the Haunted House, but I have invited the Longhorn Jackass to be there as well!!
While we are it, if any of our readers are desperate for a Halloween costume, has anyone thought of coming as LL Cool J? You would be a hit, I guarantee it. ;-)
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SSQQ COMPLAINT OF THE MONTH I - THE SSQQ WEB SITE IS MEDIOCRE
From: Mitchell, Jan
Sent: Friday, October 10, 2003 2:35 PM
Subject: Website suggestions...
"I see from your "credits" that you have a "professional" website designer, but I've gotta tell you, it's VERY confusing to read. With every click on a home page button (Schedule, Register, Parties, etc.), it seems like I'm in a totally different place. None of the pages look the same, not to mention the buttons on each of them. This makes it VERY hard to navigate.
This is my first experience with your school, your site, etc., and I don't want to appear to be only critical, but in this techno-savvy day and age, I recommend that you put a more professional image out there by having your site redesigned so it a) looks like you have only ONE company with ONE image and ONE "look", and b) doesn't look like someone put it together in their garage. (Right now it looks like a 13-year-old made it with Front Page or something.)
Sorry if I'm sounding "harsh". It's just a suggestion...."
"Jan, I do all the work myself. It is an immense web site with several hundreds of pages, some of which haven't been updated in five years. I am definitely not a professional, hence the amateurish look.
Please forgive the mess. "
I hope I didn't offend you...I have a good designer for my own site who can help you if you want to contract it out: www.sevendesignavenue.com. Honestly, I don't get a cut! I just like her work and have had a great customer experience. : )
COMPLAINT OF THE MONTH - RICK ARCHER IS AN ARROGANT ASS AND MORE.
(Editor's Note: Suggestions that I am an "Arrogant Ass" and "Arrogant Bastard" have lurked in the shadows for a long time.
This moniker got its start in 2000 when a man wrote an email to me to complain that I was literally an "Arrogant bastard". I lost my temper and had a few things to say to him and everyone else about that letter. If you are curious, you can read the story by clicking below.
Now in October 2003 a gentleman by the name of Eric Hermida, aka the Half-Breed, used a take-off on the AB slogan and converted it to AA instead. Sounds like a blood type. I am AA negative.
As you read, I invite you to decide whether Mr. Hermida called me an "AA" or not. He claims he didn't. I think he did. You can be the jury. Let me know your verdict.
Eric took every Salsa class we had to offer a couple years ago. When the Salsa Eddy nonsense started, he decided it was time to abandon SSQQ. His letters explain at great length exactly why he felt so disgruntled about me and about SSQQ.
In an odd way Mr. Hermida's letters can actually be seen as a compliment. No one could ever have the insight into my personality or my organization that he displays without caring a lot about this place at one point in his life. At any rate, read on at your own risk!!)
From: Half-Breed [aka Eric Hermida]
Sent: Saturday, September 27, 2003 1:21 PM
Subject: ID cards, SalsaEddy, "at war", etc...
I've watched with much amusement and dismay at the happenings over the years at SSQQ. At most times I've felt you've been quite the arrogant ass, but in retrospect, I realize that I don't always have the ability to view things in your perspective because of the fact that I am not you, nor do I have any insight as to why you do certain things, nor do I have any true vested interest in the studio other than to learn and socialize. For the former (me thinking of you as an arrogant ass) I apologize (in part) to you for judging you without truly knowing you. I do however feel that at times you have a tendency not to take the other persons view in perspective, and can be rather arrogant in your persona. I've come to realize that is just part of your personality and we should just accept it as is.
In regards to the whole Salsa "at war" issue... my dismay comes from that way the salsa community gets 'split' by having to side with one studio or another. I've always hoped that instead, all the salsa studios could just get together and have a 'summit' of some sort, iron out these issues of direct attack, and do what it takes to promote salsa within the community. Maybe I'm just a little more idealistic than most.
I did take issue with the way some of the regular salsa people have been treated when there was the appearance that they might have had some connection with Eddy Deynes. Too many times have I watched my friends crucified for having a friendship/relationship with Eddy, without realizing that they have no direct nor indirect connection with how Eddy or the other groups do business. Only afterwards, when it was learned that my friends were unjustly accused of committing some atrocious act or another, did they recieve some sort of apology. Guilty until proven innocent in a nutshell.
I'll have to admit that after watching several of these attacts directed at bystanders who are guilty of nothing other than 'guilt by association', did I myselt decide to personally abstain from attending your studio. Eddy's socials are still on Fridays, and I've attended a couple. I consider Eddy Deynes to be within my circle of friends, he has done nothing to me personally that would give him status otherwise. When Eddy decided to directly compete with your studio (the first 'true' attact from my viewpoint) by having a salsa social on Tuesdays, I decided enough was enough. I personally abstained from attending his studio as well. Currently I attend neither your studio, nor Eddy's, nor anybody else's. The amount of antagonism between the 'street salsa' studios and yours has made salsa in any of the studios an unpleasant experience. I heard a seeming ridiculous story of "spy's" being sent over from SSQQ to Eddy's studio to report on who's attending his socials, so that they can be blacklisted at SSQQ. Somehow this all comes to the point of ridiculous in my limited viewpoint.
I fully realize that you are in direct competition with other studios for business. The issue is how the competition is viewed in the salsa community. Instead of friendly competition to raise awareness, promote dance as a wholesome alternative to binge drinking or anything else otherwise not healthy, I see a lot of needless bickering and fingerpointing. If you've ever been sickened thoroughly during an election to watch the endless muckraking and mudslinging of one candidate to another, then you can hopefully see what I see. Instead of dealing with issues in the salsa community and promoting a wonderfully healthy, fun, clean activity like salsa, all we salseros get to see are studio bashing and negativity.
I'm fairly well known in the salsa community. I used to do some amateur promoting with my weekly Salsa Calendar. Most people view me as an above average dancer (not great, but I can live with that) and I'm glad I have a reputation as a good lead. A lot of people ask me where I learned how to salsa like I do. My answer? SSQQ. I regularly attended classes at SSQQ for over 3 years on an almost monthly basis (9 out of 12 months per year approx). I've referred 20,30, maybe almost 50 people to your studio over the past 4-5 years I've been dancing salsa.
But here's one thing I've come to realize about your studio that maybe you don't. You have a niche market that the other studios don't. You have a distinct advantage that SalsaEddy, SalsaAzteca, Guaguanco, Guajiro, Cosalda, Kyuco, etc, do NOT have. Your association with LLU provides your studio more beginner salsa recruits on a monthly basis than ALL THE OTHER STUDIOS COMBINED. You should be proud of that.
Another thing that I've come to realize about your studio that you may not want to come to grips with is that with the advantage you have over the other studios is also your weakness. Because of the sheer number of students in your beginner/ intermediate classes, its more of a matter of quantity vs quality. With 1 teacher and 1 assistant, it's almost impossible to teach 60-80 new people how to correctly dance salsa, teach technique, teach style, teach clave, etc... you show them the basics, after that its purely sink or swim. The ones that don't get it, thankfully drop out after a month or two due to lack of personal attention. The ones that do get it move on. Occasionally, you'll get a couple that don't get it at all, but they still strive to move forward in the classes, and within 3 short months, with no willingness to practice, and absolutely no true concept of rhythm, timing, lead/follow, foot placement, etc, they are Advanced. Wooohooo! These are the people that make me get to my last point.
These people who are allowed to be called advanced dancers simply because they've attended 2 previous classes screw up what the truly advanced dancers are trying to learn. In a couple of cases that I personally know of, there are students who have never taken a single salsa class anywhere, that are allowed to just jump in on your advanced class, without any prerequisite or skills assessment. The people who 'get it'... who actually have the right to be called above average dancers (intermediate plus), wind up getting frustrated with that situation. So what happens next?
Well, they start asking around... "Hey, who's that bald guy over there? He's a damn good dancer. Does he teach?".... "Who's the kid doing all that styling? Damn, they don't teach that at SSQQ, can he teach me that?"... "WOW!, you mean that there's more to salsa than just forward/back 123-567... there's freestyle, footwork, tricks, pauses" In essence, the other studios offer things you don't. Your studio provides a very basic and necessary background to a beginner salsero. Basics, practice, repetition. But if a true salsero wants to become advanced, he/she has to move on and try other instructors, studio, workshops, congresses, etc... Now, these other studios aren't stealing your students. You've taken Joe Salsa and taught him as much as he/she is gonna get from your studio. Now, they graduate to something a little different, more advanced, more stylish, clean up the technique, learn style, footwork, shines, etc... If you've done your job right, and you continue to promote a FUN, safe atmosphere in which to dance salsa in, one night, when Joe Salsa is bustin' a move on the floor, somebody is gonna come up to him and ask, "Where'd you learn to dance like that?". And if you've laid a good basic groundwork, and left the door open for Joe Salsa to come back on a good basis, they'll say, "Go to SSQQ, it's by far the best value for your money to learn salsa. After you get the basics down, you can shop around for different instructors, but if you haven't gone at least 6 months at SSQQ learning all that they have to offer, you haven't taken full advantage of one of the best studios around."
In summary to all of the above, I'd like to finish with a couple of things:
Kudos to you for finally realizing that the people like me who have spent years at SSQQ promoting SSQQ for you for free, deserve the same recognition as someone who currently attends your classes. I'll come by sometime and pick up my card sometime soon.
Please realize that all we want is a fun place to dance and that we'd rather not 'pick sides'. Kiss and make up, call a salsa summit, do whatever it takes, but lets make salsa fun again.
Relish the fact that you get more salsa rookies thru your door than any other studio, but also realize that some day the little birdie is going to leave the nest. You offer things other studios don't, and other studios offer things that you don't. In the end, its all a wash and you still make buttloads of money, and if you've done your job right, every person that leaves your studio will refer 20,30, 50 more back to it, just like I have.
As an FYI, there's a website called http://www.fortheloveofsalsa.com/ For the Love of Salsa that is promoting 1 free day of salsa lessons on Octover 11th. I didn't see SSQQ on the list. Hopefully I'll see SSQQ giving back something to the salsa community. A little goodwill goes a long way.
FYI #2: Jorge Mercado who teaches at UH, and has a non-profit organization called Houston Salsa Dancers, gives scholarships to underprivileged kids to go to college if they attend his classes. He is organizing the Houston Salsa Congress and has had to put it off because of a lack of an adequate place to hold the workshops. SSQQ with its different rooms and staging areas provides exactly what Jorge might be looking for. You have a wonderful opportunity here to do several things:
1. support a wonderful non-profit venture using a salsa related event
2. promote SSQQ in a new way to a wide range of salseros from the city and from other cities/countries
3. be the first to lay down the 'gauntlet' thrown by the other studios and just be 'big' about things
I appreciate the time, I appreciate the many wonderful friends and memories that SSQQ has given me over the many years, and I appreciate your studio. Have a great year and maybe I'll see you at SSQQ sometime soon.
"At most times I've felt you've been quite the arrogant ass."
Not exactly the most effective way to put me in a warm-hearted mood, Eric, but if it makes you happy to insult me I guess that is your right.
"I've always hoped that all the salsa studios could just get together and have a 'summit' of some sort"
Eric, I mind my own business.
This has two meanings. One, it means I leave other organizations alone. Two, it means I will take any action necessary to prevent exploitation by people such as your friend Eddy who goes around putting his business cards on every car in my parking lot. I cannot imagine a more low-class disrespectful move. Nor does he deny doing it.
It amazes me that people like you and Red Angeli keep harping at me about the discord in the Salsa world as if I had something to do with it. I never did one thing to harm Salsa Eddy. All I did was tell the man in no uncertain terms to quit lying to our faces about his unsavory actions of recruiting our students on studio premises behind our backs. First Eddy promised Judy Archer that he would never recruit our students to take lessons at his studio, then the moment I confronted him about one student in particular who had spilled the beans about what Eddy was up to, Eddy admitted the student was correct.
"My dismay comes from that way the salsa community gets 'split' by having to side with one studio or another."
What the heck is wrong with you, Eric? Where do you get ideas like this? No one is being forced by SSQQ to choose sides. You are welcome to dance here tonight as long as you don't call me an "ass" again. No one has been banned. Nor do we have a blacklist.
Do you honestly believe anyone in the Salsa World gives a flip about this stuff? Here at SSQQ all we are trying to do is teach people to dance well for an inexpensive price. At the same time we don't even begin to pretend we are movers and shakers in the world of salsa politics.
I have no desire have a meeting with Salsa Eddy even if it would make you happy. If he is successful due to his own actions and talent, more power to him. But what kind of fantasy world do you live in to think I have any reason or desire to interact with a man who has tried to harm and exploit my studio?
Here is a warm fuzzy for you, Eric. Salsa Eddy has left my studio alone now for the past six months. We get along great now.
"I did take issue with the way some of the regular salsa people have been treated when there was the appearance that they might have had some connection with Eddy Deynes. Too many times have I watched my friends be crucified"
Would you care to document the alleged crucifixion of your friends? Was anyone beaten? Threatened with bodily harm? Yelled at?
Of course not. We simply asked a couple people to leave. Aren't you getting a little carried away here? And let me add that "crucifixion" is far too serious a word to be used in this context.
"I heard a seemingly ridiculous story of "spies" being sent over from SSQQ to Eddy's studio to report on who's attending his socials, so that they can be blacklisted at SSQQ."
Eric, you have my word of honor and may God strike me dead if I am lying that I know of absolutely no such scheme. I would fire anyone who cooked up such a far-fetched plan. This is SSQQ you are talking about. We leave people alone. We do not go out of our way to look for trouble. We aren't the Sopranos. We don t intimidate anybody, spy on anybody, steal students from anybody, lie to other dance professionals or in any way try to harm their businesses. At SSQQ we mind our own business and respect the right of any honest instructor to make a living teaching people how to dance.
"Another thing that I've come to realize about your studio that you may not want to come to grips with is that with the advantage you have over the other studios is also your weakness. Because of the sheer number of students in your beginner/ intermediate classes, its more of a matter of quantity vs. quality."
Come to grips with what?? Give me a break, Eric. I think you are guilty of exaggerating the difficulty of learning to dance Salsa. As you well know, lots of people learn Salsa just by watching in the clubs. Others buy videotapes and learn it. Anyone will tell you that 90% of learning to dance is simply Practice Practice Practice.
When I was learning to dance, I took private lessons from a very good instructor. Despite all the wonderful one on one advice I received, I never made much progress as a dancer until I started to practice. And I might add that most of what I have learned about leading came from practice. Where my instructor helped was showing me the moves. After that I did the rest myself. So don't waste my time with that nonsense about how our students aren't receiving enough benefit from individualized instruction.
And when it comes to providing opportunities for our students to Practice, SSQQ is still light years ahead of the other studios.
Furthermore it doesn't matter if there are 20 students or 60 students as long as they can see and hear the instructor and have room to move.
And for that matter a strong case could be made for the energy and excitement generated by having so many dancers in the class rooms and during practice night. My guess is most people would prefer to take classes with a large, enthusiastic group of 50 people than a class of 5.
You speak so eloquently of the beauty of small, intimate classes at the other studios. Gosh, Eric, doesn't it get a little boring for a guy to dance with the same two women all night long? Switch partners. Ola Carmen. Switch partners. How ya doing Dulce? Ladies and Gentlemen, Mambo Number 2. I guess learning everyone's name isn't too tough. There's one big advantage.
In September 2003 we had 300 people taking Salsa classes at SSQQ. This means on any given night there are literally hundreds of men and women to dance with and hundreds of people to meet. Any lady learning to dance Salsa at SSQQ might dance with 30 to 40 different men a night. She's going to learn everything there is about following in short order and have a blast in the process.
And a man learns to lead countless different women just like he would in a club. And what a joy having 40 different women move their bodies and their hips in his arms all night long! This is more fun than most men deserve, but women love to dance so much that even a nerd becomes Apollo once he learns to dance.
At SSQQ, there are so many beautiful women taking Salsa classes I constantly catch myself staring in awe and disbelief as they walk by. If I were a hot-blooded single young man, I would take every Salsa class SSQQ had to offer. And I would practice every night after class just for the chance to dance with these talented, lovely ladies and put them in my arms.
Dancing Salsa at SSQQ is an enormous pleasure.
And you know what? I bet all these long-winded notes from you and Red are really just cover-ups for the fact that you both miss dancing here a lot, but you can't swallow your pride and admit it.
Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2003 1:15 PM
Subject: Re: Re: Re: comments
First of all... LOL... Rick, I ask you to reread the first section. I did not CALL you an ass. I wrote the original email in 2 sections because I was interrupted. I did take time to reread the first part and was concerned that it might not be the best way to start out an email, especially to someone you really don't know. I reread it several times and was satisfied with the intent. Let me give you just a small perspective on my viewpoint. I've had 3 separate face to face contacts with you. In none of the times we interfaced did I come out of it with any sort of warm fuzzy. 1) when i first started classes and in passing I said "hello" to you cause we made a momentary eye contact, you blew me off completely. Maybe you didn't hear me although there was nobody else w/in 10 feet of you. I guess you were distracted with something on your mind. 2) another time when I was still fairly new at your studio, I asked you a question regarding "Why xxxx" Sorry, i don't remember the question nor the response, but it didn't seem to be a question that would be out of line, and you gave me a truly sarcastic and biting answer. 3) one time I was talking with one of your instructors about 10-15 minutes before classes were starting. The instructor was doing nothing in particular when we started conversing, and I was actually asking her a question regarding classes. For some reason, you came up to me and the instructor and asked me if I had something better to do than bug your instructors and shoo'ed me off. Now, I've got a fairly good sense of self-esteem, and I don't need redemption nor validation from you, but lets just say that in NONE of our brief instances of chance happenings have I gotten anything resembling a warm fuzzy, especially considering I spend money at your place of business. So, if in my personal opinion of you at the time was to view you as an ass, then it was based solely on our interaction together. Please understand one last point, I never called you an ass, neither to your face or to anybody else, it was merely my personal opinion and I was actually apologizing to you for merely having an UNvoiced opinion of you. But, you are correct that my personal opinion/apology still may not have been the best was to start an email. LOL.
From your statements regarding SSQQ minding there own business, then I would guess that you definitely don't feel any need nor want to form friendships/alliances/relationships with other studios. No biggie to me either, how you conduct business then is solely you and Judy's business. I'm also to assume based on the statement that you don't care to be involved in any way in the upcoming Houston Salsa Congress. So be it as well.
In regards to the salsa community being 'split' by some of these issues and the way some of my friends were treated... well, sorry Rick, but I don't believe you stay in touch with the salsa community like I do. I'm not sitting in my mad doctors studio dreaming of ways to spread malicious gossip. Basically, I'm at the level of involvement where I hear lots of stuff going back and forth. The purpose of the email was to inform you that there is some discord in the salsa community, and I'm just relaying back to you that some people who are aware of the "infighting" between studios causes some people to feel uneasy. Also, sure, crucifiction is definitely too harsh a word by sheer definition. It doesn't change the fact that 2 of my friends were told to leave your studio only to find out later that they have no connection to Eddy other than a friendship. Instead of asking directly to these 2 people, "hey, this is what happened, do you have any involvement?", they were told to leave. Later, when the facts proved out otherwise, were they told... "oooops, sorry". As for the SSQQ "spy", I did preface that statement as "seemingly ridiculous", and I'm merely letting you know that someone said it. I believe you that you would have no part in something as ridiculous as that, but it just goes back to my original statement of students feeling uncomfortable with the discord between studios. If something like this is 'getting around', then obviously it means something to somebody. Also notice please that while I consider Eddy to be a friend, I do not condone business practices that I personally feel to be less than honorable. While I do not currently take classes at your studio, neither do I at his.
As to the student/teacher ratio... well, you somewhat put words in my mouth. First of all, I did not 'speak so eloquently of the beauty of small, intimate classes'. Secondly, I'm not wasting your time with the benefits of individualized instruction. If you don't find the benefits of individualized instruction, then why does SSQQ offer private lessons? You could go ahead and shut down that aspect of your business right now since it makes no difference to teach on a 1-on-1 basis as compared to a 60-on-1 basis. Also, I've met a huge number of people while taking classes at your studio. I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP WHEN I TELL YOU THAT TWO OF THE PRINCIPAL REASONS PEOPLE HAVE LEFT YOUR STUDIO IS: 1)overcrowding, 2) much, much, much slower students affecting the quality of learning for the average/ above average crowd. I've heard it time and time and time again. Now I'm just making you aware of it. If you care not to even take it into consideration, then again... it's your business. As for the practice goes, I won't disagree that the practice sessions are better with more people, but I can't say the same for instruction aspect of it.
Three last things:
1) you pretty much dismiss these 'long winded notes' from myself and Red, and probably even Claire as petty jealousy or attitude, or disdain... Let me clue you into something. I know myself, I know Red, and Claire. None of us wouldn't have written a single word if we didn't care. That's right, we love salsa, we care about SSQQ, we care about the studio and its instructors. Most people could look at a situation with apathy and just shrug their shoulders and say "so what". Claire, Red, nor myself are like that. If you wish to look at our insights, observations or questions as the ranting and ravings of lunatics who should be locked up, then so be it. Maybe the time AND COURAGE to write these emails is fully wasted on you. Regardless, I still wish you, Judy, and SSQQ the best of luck in the future, and may you prosper beyond your current successes.
2) I noticed you pretty much like to dissect the negative aspects of emails and shoot them back with the editors reply. I've also said some very positive things about SSQQ, its methodology and structure, but I notice you never take note when someone says something in a positive light about your studio. Do you care to comment at all about the 20+ people I've referred to you studio? Do you care to comment at all about the fact that I've never once walked up to you and said, "Rick, I've referred 20+ people to your studio, where's my discount, where's my free classes?" I refer people to your studio because I truly feel it is one of the best damn values in Texas in which to learn the basics of Salsa, not because I require recognition nor money.
3) about me making baseless references to the reasons why people have left your studio, all you have to do is ask. That's right, ask the people. You have the means in the next newsletter to poll everybody with an email address.
For people currently taking classes:
-- did you learn what you came here to learn?
-- do you feel the number of people in the classes directly attributed to the outcome?
-- if you could change anything, what would you change?
For people no longer taking classes:
-- the same questions,
-- why did you leave our studio?
-- if still taking classes elsewhere, why did you pick another studio over SSQQ?
If you feel that your business is perfect and you have no need to grow, change, accommodate, then all the above was pointless and I congratulate you on having created the perfect business. Again, have a great day and a prosperous year.
"At most times I've felt you've been quite the arrogant ass".
OK, I reread what you said in Letter I and Letter II and yes, I now agree with you, Eric, you didn't call me an ass. You simply "felt" that I have been an ass. Welcome to the Bill Clinton school of word games.
I am sorry you feel like I am an ass. There is no doubt that I can be brusque at times. I am frequently in a hurry at the studio and have offended people on many occasions with my tendency to interrupt or be short. If this makes you feel that I am an ass, touchι for pointing out my one of my many shortcomings.
We offer private lessons for the simple reason that people request them. Obviously our main focus is on group classes.
Yes, I appreciate the people you have referred to the studio. Thank you.
No, I do not feel my business is perfect. With over a thousand students a week, it is impossible to meet the specific needs of each person. Many of the fast learners get bored and many of the slow learners get frustrated by the pace. This is the risk of group classes. But we do the best we can to match our teaching pace to the ability of the majority of the students.
I would prefer not to poll my students for their reasons why they leave the studio. I am confident they are perfectly capable of emailing me with whatever they have to say just as you have done. What I prefer to notice is the amazing number of people who continue to do repeat business at ssqq with little to no prompting on our part whatsoever. For this I am grateful.
Finally, I have read everything you said very carefully and it is obvious you have analyzed both me and my business very thoroughly. Thank you for your input and insights.
Sent: Friday, October 03, 2003 3:45 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: more comments
"Thank you Rick for your professionalism and courtesy in your last email. Regardless of the situation, my only wish is that any insight, whether opinion or fact, be used to help you gain a better understanding of how outsiders view your business. Sometimes, we can be so close to a situation that we don't always take into account someone else's concept of the same issue. Perception = reality.
I truly wish SSQQ continued success in the years to come. Every one of the friends I've referenced, and many I've not, is a result of a chance meeting at your studio and I feel forever blessed by their friendships. I thank SSQQ for the opportunity to have met so many quality friends, and I hope to make many more friends in the same manner over many more years to come.
I look forward to next months newsletter and will hopefully
be taking classes again soon if time and schedule permits.
proud SSQQ alumni
STORY TWELVE: A NEW SSQQ POLICY - SSQQ ALUMNI ARE NOW WELCOME TO ATTEND PRACTICE NIGHT FOR THE SAME PRICE AS EVERYONE ELSE WITH "CARD".
Effective Sunday, September 28, SSQQ Alumni will be able to attend any Practice Night for the same price as current students.
For the sum of $1 to defray printing costs, anyone who has taken 12 or more SSQQ one-month classes at any time during SSQQ's tenure of business can apply for a card that will permit the discount.
The simple way to get the card is to request it from Susan Schroeder during Registration hours (7 pm - 8 pm) or to ask Rick Archer or Judy Archer directly.
Please note if you took your classes before September 2001, then we will be unable to look your history up on the computer. Nevertheless ask Rick Archer anyway. It would be very difficult to take 20 classes at this studio and not have him remember you.
In case you gathered there might be a connection between Red Angeli's complaint and this new policy, you would be correct. Although I didn't appreciate much of his logic, I see his point that many former students feel "pushed away" and alienated from our premises.
Hopefully the advent of the new "SSQQ Alumni Card" will help soothe some of the hurt feelings.
THE NOVEMBER JOKE
PAGE IS READY
November Clean Side Jokes
November CS 01: The Ancient Scrolls - Robin Wagner
November CS 02: The Baked Beans - Gary Richardson and Richard Bevis
November CS 03: The Smarter Sex - Maria Carter
November CS 04: Attorneys and Physicians - Lynn Bevis
November CS 05: Management - John Hall
November CS 06: Salesman of the Year - Bill Mayo
November CS 07: I Am So Ugly - Pat Roberts
November CS 08: The Evil Brothers - Rich Barrett
November CS 09: The Word Perfect Help Line - Hieronymous Anonymous
November CS 10: Is Hell Expanding or Contracting? - H. Anonymous
November CS 11: Liposuction and God - Maureen Brunetti
November CS 12: The Genie and the Law Firm - Mike Fagan
November CS 13: Sold the Suit - Susan Schroeder
November CS 14: The Woman Lawyer Plays Golf - Ralph Volz
November CS 15: Gladys and Mabel - Carol Nelson
November CS 16: The Bum and the Two Dollars - Sam DeMora
November CS 17: Lucky in Vegas - Gary Richardson
November CS 18: A Tale from Africa - Sandy Baggett
November CS 19: The Afghan Quarterback - Chris Holmes
November CS 20: Norm's Blonde Wife - Pat Roberts
November CS 21: The Wife Who Wanted to Be Six Again - Pat Roberts
November CS 22: Parrot Learns Meaning of Thanksgiving - Judith Walsh
Here is a sample joke from the November collection. It is one of my all-time favorites!!
November CS 14: The Woman Lawyer Plays Golf - Ralph Volz
Four lawyers in a law firm lived and died for their Saturday morning round of golf. It was their favorite moment of the week. Then one of the lawyers was transferred to an office in another city. It wasn't quite the same without him.
A new woman lawyer joined their law firm. One day she overheard the remaining three talking about their golf round at the coffee table. Curious, she spoke up, "You know, I used to play on my golf team in college and I was pretty good. Would you mind if I joined you next week?"
The three lawyers looked at each other. They were hesitant. Not one of them wanted to say 'yes', but she had them on the spot. Finally one man said it would be okay, but they would be starting pretty early at 6:30 am. He figured the early Tee-Time would discourage her immediately.
The woman said this might be a problem and asked if she could possibly be up to 15 minutes late. They rolled their eyes but said this would be okay. She smiled and said, "Good, then I'll be there either at 6:30 or 6:45."
She showed up right at 6:30 and wound up beating all three of them with an eye-opening 2-under par round.
She was a fun and pleasant person the entire round. The guys were impressed! Back in the clubhouse they congratulated her and happily invited her back the next week. She smiled and said "Sure, I'll be here at 6:30 or 6:45."
The next week she again showed up at 6:30 Saturday morning. Only this time, she played left-handed. The three lawyers were incredulous as she still managed to beat them with an even par round despite playing with her off-hand.
By now the guys were totally amazed, but wondered if she was just trying to make them look bad by beating them left-handed. They couldn't figure her out. She was again very pleasant and didn't seem to be showing them up, but still
Each man began to harbor a burning desire to beat her!
In the third week they all had their game faces on. But this week she was 15 minutes late! This had the guys irritable because each was determined to play the best round of golf of his life to beat her. As they waited for her, they figured her late arrival was some petty gamesmanship on her part. Finally she showed up.
This week the lady lawyer played right-handed which was a good thing since she narrowly beat all three of them. However she was so gracious and so complimentary of their strong play, it was hard to keep a grudge against her. This woman was a riddle no one could figure out!
Back in the clubhouse she had all three guys shaking their heads at her ability. They had a couple beers after their round which helped the conversation loosen up.
Finally one of the men could contain his curiosity no longer. He asked her point blank, "How do you decide if you're going to golf right-handed or left-handed?"
The lady blushed and grinned. She said, "That's easy. When my dad taught me to play golf, I learned I was ambidextrous. I have always had fun switching back and forth. Then when I met my husband in college and got married, I discovered he always sleeps in the nude. From then on I developed a silly habit. Right before I left in the morning for golf practice, I would pull the covers off him. If his you-know-what was pointing to the right, I golfed right-handed; if it was pointed to the left, I golfed left-handed. All the girls on the team thought this was hysterical."
Astonished at this bizarre information, one of the guys shot back, "But what if it's pointed straight up in the air?"
She said, "Then I'm fifteen minutes late."
to the Top
THE SSQQ OCTOBER BLUE SIDE JOKES ARE READY!
(Editor's Note: The Blue Side Jokes are one of the great secrets of the SSQQ web site. Anyone who is on the SSQQ Registration List is welcome to have access. This means if you get the Newsletter, you are invited to visit the dirty jokes page.
All you need to do to get the address is to email me from the email address you use to register for classes and request it.
November BS 01: The Faxed Letter - Pat Roberts
November BS 02: The Grandson - Mike Gerstenberger
November BS 03: Desire - Judy Walsh
November BS 04: The Naked Nuns - Pat Roberts
November BS 05: Revenge - Bill Mayo
November BS 06: The New Baby - Pat Roberts
November BS 07: The Texas Midget - Kathleen Alexander
November BS 08: The Old Men in the Whorehouse - Lynn Bevis
November BS 09: Superman Gets Aroused - Maria Carter
November BS 10: Barbie's Letter to Santa - Gail Sink
November BS 11: Bee Sting - Judy Walsh
November BS 12: The Motorcycle - Leslie Wagner
November BS 13: Dave Works Hard - Mike Gerstenberger
November BS 14: The Pig Farmer - Albert Navarro
Let me add that number 14, "The Pig Farmer", is so funny that most people split their guts when I get reach that amazing state where I am sober enough to remember it at the same time I am drunk enough to have the nerve to it. Unfortunately it is much too raunchy for these pages.
Here is a sample joke from the November Blue Side Collection. It too is one of my favorites!!
November BS 13: Dave Works Hard - Mike Gerstenberger
Dave works hard at the plant and spends most evenings bowling or playing basketball at the gym. His wife thinks he is pushing himself too hard, so for his birthday she takes him to a local strip club.
The doorman at the club greets them and says, "Hey, Dave! How ya doin?"
His wife is puzzled and asks if he's been to this club before.
"Oh no," says Dave. "He's on my bowling team."
When they are seated, a waitress asks Dave if he'd like his usual Budweiser. His wife is becoming uncomfortable and says, "You must come here a lot for that woman to know that you drink Budweiser."
"No, honey, she's in the Ladies Bowling League. We share lanes with them."
Then a voluptuous stripper comes over to their table and throws her arms around Dave. "Hi Davey," she says, "Want your usual table dance?"
At this Dave's wife, now furious, grabs her purse and storms out of the club. Dave follows and spots her getting into a cab. Before she can slam the door, he jumps in beside her and she starts screaming at him.
The cabby turns his head and says, "Looks like you picked up a real bitch tonight, Dave!"
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THE NOVEMBER JOKE PICTURE OF THE MONTH
- WHY PEOPLE SHOULD NOT GET DRUNK AT PARTIES.
Contributed by Judy Walsh
This month's picture is so outrageous that I don't feel the need to say a word. The picture speaks for itself.
(Editor's Note: If you think this month's joke picture is bad (and it is!!), let me tell you that Judy Walsh recently sent some pictures that were so AWFUL she begged me to never reveal it was her that sent them in.
Yet she showed NO FEAR of discovery when she sent the Black Panties Blue Side Joke to me nor did she show much conscience when she sent that awful "Drained Wops" pun joke. You can read both monstrosities in our "New Joke" section of this month's newsletter.
You would think she would demand anonymity for those two jokes, but Judy didn't give it a second thought.
That should give you some idea of how AWFUL those pictures were. And yes, they were indeed Anonymity-level AWFUL. Hmm.
And don't forget that Judy Walsh is the winner of this month's Halloween Movie Trivia Contest. My guess is that she wasted most of her youth watching too much TV and too many movies. She has had a Big SSQQ Newsletter month!
I wonder what her Halloween Costume will be. If it is anything like those "pictures" she will definitely be in the running for most outrageous costume.
Now let me reveal it was Judy's suggestion that SSQQ schedule the Mardi Gras and sure enough she soon signed up to go with us on the Cruise to Mardi Gras in January.
I predict Judy will end up as the leader of the SSQQ Mardi Gras Wild Bunch!!)
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THE NOVEMBER BRAIN TEASER - THE MISSING
Contributed by Judith Williams
3 salesmen check into a cheap motel. The man behind the desk said the room costs $30. Each man pays $10 and goes to the room.
A while later the clerk behind the desk realizes the room was only $25, so he sends the bell boy to the three men's room with $5.
The bell boy stops and wonders how he will split $5 evenly without having to exert more than the minimum necessary effort so he pockets the $5, pulls out 3 One Dollar bills. Then he goes to their room and hands each man a one dollar bill.
This means each man paid $9 for the room which totals $27. Add the $2 that the bell boy kept which makes $29.
Where is the other dollar? (Answer at bottom of the page)
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SSQQ EMPLOYEE OF MONTH AWARDS TO
David Schroeder is the man who designed the SSQQ Web Site, the SSQQ Newsletter, the SSQQ Email List, and the SSQQ On-Line Registration System. Right there I would have to say he has played a phenomenal role in the growth of our business.
The reason I am citing David as October's "EOM" is for a feature he added to the Registration System several years ago that came in pretty handy recently.
Late in September, I heard of an ugly incident which if true would constitute the single worst case of abuse of an SSQQ instructor by a student. Since I did not see what happened first-hand, I have decided to be deliberately vague.
From what I have pieced together, the problem started in class one night when a female student was having difficulty learning to turn properly.
At Break that night I was sitting on the couch in room 2 with 3 other people when the student came up to me and asked if we had a form by which she could critique an instructor. I said no, but if she had a complaint she could email me and make her points known. I gave her my email address. This satisfied her so she left. Let me add I have never heard from her.
Later during Practice Night I discovered that the student had spent the rest of the evening telling several fellow students in her class out loud what a poor job the instructor was doing at teaching her how to turn. I have no doubt that our instructor overheard at least some of this complaining. I suspect she got her feelings hurt and who could blame her?
The instructor told me that the woman confronted her directly as well that the teacher was terribly ineffective at teaching her how to turn. The teacher's fellow instructor added when I spoke to him that he never saw his counterpart do or say anything wrong or inappropriate. If anything he said he noticed her giving the woman more direct attention than any other single woman in the room.
The complaining student left the building before I learned how she had spent the class berating the instructor and humiliating her. This was too bad since I definitely had some questions to ask and a few things I was prepared to say.
Since I couldn't talk to her face to face I prepared to write her the next day and explore the incident further. I was frustrated to find she has no email listed with us.
So I decided I no longer wanted this student on studio premises. I looked at David Schroeder's registration system and realized he had programmed in a feature that allows us to input Warning Messages.
David knew that over the years there had been times when a student made him or herself unwelcome at the studio. Strictly on his own initiative he put the Warning System in. This way we could not only track hot check passers, but students who had worn out their welcome.
Unable to contact the student by email, instead I put a message into the system warning the Registrars not to permit this person to register again without my permission. To everyone's surprise, the woman showed up several nights later to register for more classes.
She was asked to wait a minute. Two minutes later one of the Registrars finished a registration order and came over to explain the problem. To her credit, the woman left without a scene.
Thank you, David.
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DID YOU KNOW?? 20 QUESTIONS - THE SSQQ INFORMATION PAGE
The SSQQ Web Site has a question and answer section.
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. Husbands Who Won't Dance
19. What level of class to take
20. Parallel Classes
Plus 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
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AND THATS A WRAP FOR THIS ISSUE
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!
One more thing. In case you were wondering, this issue of the SSQQ
Newsletter is equivalent in length to 25 pages.
Rick Archer SSQQ Dance Studio
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ANSWERS TO FAMOUS HALLOWEEN MOVIE LINES
3. Silence of the Lambs
5. Sixth Sense
6. The Shining
7. Wizard of Oz
10. The Fly
11. Rocky Horror Picture Show
Answer to Brain Teaser:
The price of the room was switched from $30 to $25 so you can't use the $30 any more in the math. Use the $25 figure instead. The bell boy kept $2 for himself. The men paid $27. $27 - $2 = $25 which is the new price of the room. The men overpaid by $2 due to the bellboy's shady handling of the refund.