The SSQQ April 2004 Newsletter
Written and edited monthly by Rick Archer
Previous 2004 Newsletters
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||APRIL DANCE CLASSES
BEGIN THE WEEK OF SUNDAY, MARCH 28TH
PARTIES INCLUDING "BROKE AND PENNILESS" ON SATURDAY, APRIL 10TH
AND THE INFAMOUS SLEAZY BAR WHIP PARTY ON SATURDAY, APRIL 24TH.
||UPDATES ON THE SSQQ
4TH OF JULY SUMMER CRUISE TO COZUMEL AND CANCUN (JULY 3 - JULY
8): PREPARE FOR A BRUTAL VOLLEYBALL MATCH PLUS PERHAPS THE
SCARIEST NIGHT IMAGINABLE! ALSO: IT'S TIME TO MAKE YOUR MOVE!
ANNOUNCES THE OPENING OF SUSIE Q'S QUICK STOP IN APRIL.
||MG ANSEMAN SURVIVES A
SERIOUS MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT.
||SHARON CRAWFORD WORKS
HER WESTERN WALTZ MAGIC AGAIN.
PS - IT ISN'T TOO LATE TO JOIN HER BEGINNING CLASS THIS WEEK!
EXCHANGE STUDENT FROM GERMANY SEEKS HOME IN HOUSTON FOR ONE YEAR
PASSION AND VANITY: THE STORY
OF THE 2004 SSQQ MARDI GRAS TRIP!
AWAITS ANY PARTICIPANT IN THIS SUMMER'S SSQQ CRUISE TRIP - TOM
EASLEY WILL BE JOINING US! BRING SEVERAL PAIRS OF SUNGLASSES
OR RISK SERIOUS EYE DAMAGE!
THE SSQQ MOVIE REVIEW: DIRTY DANCING 'HAVANA NIGHTS'
- SAMANTHA ARCHER
||SSQQ STAFF UPDATES
FOR MARCH/APRIL 2004
START OF THE HEADLINE STORIES SECTION
SCHEDULE OF CLASSES
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE APRIL 2004 SCHEDULE
The April Dance Semester begins the week
of Sunday, March 28th
Don't forget you are perfectly welcome to start classes in the
Second Week of the April Dance Semester!!
HERE ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE APRIL 2004 SCHEDULE
Gloria Sanchez will teach SUPER ADVANCED LINDY on Sundays at 4:30 pm
on Sunday. You can't expect to see another 4th level Lindy class
come around again soon, so if you are a big fan of Lindy, come join!
Last week's class had a dozen people sign up.
In February, for the first time we offered a Ballroom class on 2
different nights. Dancing in the Moonlight was very successful with
over 70 people. The Intermediate level had another 30 people enroll
in March. This month ADVANCED DANCING IN THE MOONLIGHT will be
offered on Mondays. It marks the first Advanced-level Ballroom class
SSQQ has offered in several years. Taught by Judy Archer, expect
many highy-intricate Waltz, Rumba, and Foxtrot patterns. The first
week saw 14 people register for this class.
Mondays brings BEGINNING TANGO to the forefront. Taught by Rick
Archer and Bethany Daniels, last week 25 people danced stealthily in
the dark to eerie Tango songs such as "Jealousy", "Ecstasy", and
"Midnight Passion". Yes, this is Dancing we are talking about. With
a perfectly even boy-girl ratio and a high level of talent in the
class, we covered quite a bit of ground. We can take a few more
people in Week Two as well!
The most-talked about Western class of 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003
was the annual five-month WESTERN WALTZ SUPERCLASS cycle taught by
Sharon Crawford and her partner John Jones. Starting with BEGINNING
WESTERN WALTZ in April, Sharon will take her class thru Int, Adv,
Super-Adv, and Super-Duper Adv each following month. If you stay for
the entire 5-month program, you can expect to join the ranks of the
finest Western Waltz dancers in the entire city. For each of the
last four years, the first level has seen attendance bordering on
100 students. Indications are that this year will be no exception.
Don't miss it!!
MARTIAN WHIP is an accelerated Whip and West Coast Swing class
taught on two different nights at SSQQ. Rick Archer & Bethany
Daniels teach the Thursday Night class. Then in a class known as
MARTIAN XTRA on Friday evenings, Houston City Swing Dance Champion
Bryan Spivey and his partner Lisa Palmer cover the latest
developments on the Houston dance scene. The classes are completely
separate, which mean if you miss Thursday, you can come instead on
Friday and not have to worry about being behind. In other words,
there is no overlap between the two nights. On the other hand, you
only have to pay one price to get the second class for free by
registering on either night. SSQQ is the only dance program in
Houston that still includes Whip in its basic format. Although we
agree West Coast Swing is the main dance system, there are aspects
of Whip that blend perfectly with West Coast. The two Martian Whip
classes show how to interweave the two dances together to create a
DEATH VALLEY will be taught for one more month in April on Fridays
and then will take a break for a while. Brian White brought back
this challenging Death Valley series on Fridays in March and
continues the program in April. Advanced Western dancers have
PARTIES IN APRIL
BROKE AND PENNILESS SWING PARTY
SATURDAY, APRIL 10TH
9:15 pm - Midnight,
$8 Person ($7 IF YOU LOOK POOR - NO DISCOUNTS IF YOU LOOK NICE.)
7-9 PM CRASH COURSES AT A GLANCE
SALSA DIPS AND LUNGES I - - Martin and Judy
ARGENTINE TANGO - Don Fox
BACHATA - Linda
ADV JITTERBUG PATTERNS - Maureen
BEG LINDY HOP - Gloria
Swing Music in Room 1, Ballroom or Salsa Music in Room 4, Ballroom
or Salsa in Room 6.
THE SSQQ SLEAZY BAR WHIP PARTY
Saturday, April 24
9:15 pm - Midnight
Cover charge $7
CRASH COURSES 7-9 pm
BEG C&W: TEXAS TWOSTEP - Melissa
INT TWOSTEP: CIRCLE TURNS - Linda
BEG WESTERN WALTZ - Jill
NEW GHOST TOWN PATTERNS - Scott Ladell
EAZY SLEAZY WHIP - Rick
BEG WEST COAST SWING - Charlene
DISGUSTING SLEAZY BAR MOVES- Ben cpls only
WEAR RED AND BLACK OR WATCH YOUR BACK.
CHECK YOUR GUNS AND KNIVES AT THE DOOR; LEAVE YOUR MORALS AT HOME...
Music Whip in Room 1, Western and Waltz in Room 4, Swing in Room 6
UPDATES ON THE SSQQ 4TH OF
JULY CRUISE TO COZUMEL AND CANCUN:
IT'S TIME TO GET OFF THE FENCE AND GET
THE PARTY STARTED!
SSQQ has scheduled a 5-day Cruise on Carnival's
'Celebration', which sails out of Galveston on July 3rd and returns
on July 8th. This is a Perfect Summer Getaway!
First of all, let's review why this trip will be great:
1. The SSQQ Welcome Back Party on Day 1.
2. SSQQ Dancing at Sea workshops on Day 2.
3. The Captain's Reception Big Band Swing Dance in front of 500
4. The July 4th Bash
5. Snorkeling at Cozumel's Chankanaab
6. Rick Archer and Tom Easley's Beach Volleyball Challenge. Who can
7. Snorkeling at Cancun's Xcaret Water Park.
8. SSQQ Dancing at Sea workshops on Day 5 and poolside fun on the
9. Evening Shows and Group Dancing afterwards each night.
10. The Wicked Ever-present Danger of SSQQ Slow Dance and Romance!
NOW IS THE TIME TO STOP THE
COMPLAINING, GET OFF THE FENCE AND JOIN US!!
Marla and I have encountered a bizarre swirl of negative energy
surrounding this summer's July 4th Trip. We have received an
all-time record number of complaints.
The majority of the complaints are about the cost of the trip. For
starters, let's deal directly with the negative energy.
QUESTION: WHY IS THIS TRIP SO EXPENSIVE? I HAVE SEEN IN THE PAPER
THAT I CAN SAIL FOR $299 ON CARNIVAL. WHY SHOULD I PAY $689 FOR THIS
CRUISE ON THE SAME SHIP?
Answer: The $299 price applies to the April 10th sailing only.
Practically no one under 60 cruises in April, so they have plenty of
space to fill.
The next best price is at the very end of summer when the price
drops back down to $349. We need to add this price is for the very
bottom of the ship. When you hear the phrase "Rock Bottom" Price, in
this case it means you will sleep in bunk beds on the BOTTOM LEVEL
of the ship and you will ROCK a lot as you sleep at water level.
Furthermore these prices do not include taxes.
Summer time is peak season for cruises. There are no cheap fares in
the summer. If we were to take this identical cruise one week later,
the price is the same. The price does not drop significantly until
August 14 when it goes to $499 and then $349 on August 23. Like
skiing at Christmas time, you have no choice but to pay higher
prices during the peak season. Summertime cruises are expensive, but
they are worth it when you realize that meals and entertainment are
included in the price.
QUESTION: WHY CAN'T WE GO ON THE RHAPSODY?
It is true that Royal Caribbean's Galveston-based Rhapsody is a
superior ship to Carnival's Celebration. But Rhapsody's price tag
would be prohibitive for many people. People are already driving us
nuts by complaining about Carnival's $700 price tag for this trip.
What would they say if we pointed out that the Rhapsody's prices are
$250 to $300 more expensive?
And please be reminded that the majority of the fun is generated by
the SSQQ Group. We create our own fun whether it is Carnival or
QUESTION: WHY IS THIS YEAR'S TRIP SO MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE THAN LAST
Answer: There is a ridiculous rumor that this trip is more expensive
than last year. Yes, this trip is more expensive for the simple
reason that we are out at sea ONE EXTRA DAY AND NIGHT!
Do the math yourself: Last's year's FOUR NIGHT cruise was priced at
$559 inside cabin, $609 outside cabin. This year's FIVE NIGHT cruise
is $689 inside cabin, $746 outside cabin. The RATE PER DAY last year
was $140 inside cabin, this year the RATE PER DAY is $138. The RATE
PER DAY last year was $152 outside cabin, this year the RATE PER DAY
In other words, the relative price is the same. Last year's trip got
Cozumel. This year's trip gets Cozumel AND Cancun.
QUESTION: IF THE PRICE IS CHEAPER AT OTHER TIMES, WHY SHOULD I GO ON
THE SSQQ JULY 4TH TRIP?
Answer: You should go on July 4th because that is when the SSQQ
group is going!!
Are you crazy? There is NO WAY you will ever have as much fun on a
cruise without our Group Madness to keep you company!
IT'S A WONDERFUL CRUISE!!
Let's play a game called "It's a Wonderful Cruise".
In this game, it is your job to pretend you are the Jimmy Stewart
character and you are busy feeling sorry for yourself because YOU
ARE ABOUT TO MISS THE BOAT!
You are in a bad mood because maybe you aren't as rich this year as
you were at the same time last year. Since you are in a crummy
humbug kind of mood ("I'm Soooo Poor!"), you are thinking the
unthinkable by contemplating skipping this summer's SSQQ cruise.
This means you will miss a great vacation with your friends!
THINK WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IF YOU DIDN'T GO WITH US BECAUSE IT MIGHT BE
CHEAPER SOME OTHER TIME
You wouldn't have SSQQ dance workshops during the day.
You wouldn't have the SSQQ group to dance with in the wee hours of
You wouldn't be part of the SSQQ Swing Dancers when we perform to
the wild applause of 500 people at the Captain's Big Band Dance
You wouldn't be part of the SSQQ Chankanaab Beach Volleyball
You wouldn't snorkel in any underground caves at Cancun's Xcaret
You wouldn't get to read about your adventures or your group's
adventures in our stories.
You wouldn't get to gaze at your beautiful pictures on the SSQQ
You wouldn't get the chance to be blackmailed by me for any trouble
you get into. Plus you wouldn't have anyone in our group to tempt
you to get into trouble.
Your chances of falling in love would virtually disappear because
you wouldn't be with our incredibly romantic group. Let's review the
SSQQ Cruise Slow Dance and Romance Record:
In 2001 I met Marla on the SSQQ Summer Cruise. She and I fell in
love aboard the very same ship we are sailing on this summer and
have never been apart since.
In 2002 three couples met Cupid's arrows. Carol Armand and Arthur
Madrid are married now. Chuck Morton and Brenda Uffmann are married
now. And Marian Schoppe met her future husband on the same cruise.
Marian just announced her engagement!
In 2003 Anne Marchetti and Dennis Pechal fell in love during the
cruise. They are engaged now. For that matter, so are Linda Malin
and Bill Holden. And from the same cruise, Ann Keyes and Jerry Grimm
are now married.
And if your dream was to bypass romance and simply fool around, you
definitely wouldn't be able to do that either if you don't go.
You would miss having fun with your friends and you wouldn't get to
meet any new friends.
You would kick yourself after we came back once you discovered how
much fun we had EVEN THOUGH YOU DIDN'T COME WITH US
If you didn't go with us, you would miss out on a lot of fun!
And saddest of all, we wouldn't have as much fun without you!
QUESTION: WHY HAVEN'T 150 PEOPLE SIGNED UP FOR YOUR TRIP LIKE THEY
DID LAST YEAR?
Now that's a good question. The superficial answer is that money is
tighter in Houston than it was last summer. There is nothing we can
do about that. If the money isn't there, it isn't there.
But the deeper answer is there are plenty of people who have said
they would like to go, but can't make up their mind because no one
else is going. This is the real problem. Money is always a concern
no matter what year it is. This year the problem seems to be that no
one wants to go because all the fence sitters are still sitting.
Everyone has seen the success of our previous cruises and now they
can't understand why more people haven't signed up yet. It doesn't
make any sense. Okay, I agree, it doesn't make any sense. But if you
think about it, the only thing missing is the perception that this
trip will be fun!
It is just like a party. Someone has to start causing mischief or
else there won't be any mischief. If you want more people on the
trip, sign up. It won't cost you anything in case you change your
mind. Someone has to get the Ball Rolling!!
If you sign up today, you have till May 2nd to get your money
refunded completely. In the meantime, by signaling your interest,
you can get some of the "UNDECIDEDS" to make their move as well. /
And what if everyone decides to stay home? Too bad, you guys will
miss a great trip.
Don't worry about me. Guess what? The Mardi Gras Cruise proved to me
we can have just as much fun with a small group as with a big group.
If anything, I got to know more people on a personal level during
the Mardi Gras trip than I ever did with the larger groups. The
group had a marvelous time! Furthermore I have more fun every time I
take a cruise.
I am really looking forward to this year's trip a lot!!
For starters, I have my fiancιe Marla and my daughter Samantha
coming along. How can I beat that?
Second, I have my friend Tom Easley plus his beautiful wife Margaret
and his children Tommy, and Ashley coming along. Tom Easley is the
single funniest guy I know. I can't wait to watch him put every
person on the trip in stitches with his stories.
Furthermore, Tom is an awesome volleyball player. Get two more
athletes and we can have two-on-two volleyball all day long at
Cozumel's Chankanaab Beach. If others want to play volleyball with
us, hey, join the fun!! I love sports and I am going to have a good
Third, I fully intend to go crazy and have another Tom Easley Look A
Like Night. You will have to read the story to understand. I cannot
wait to see Marla dressed as Tom Easley.
Fourth, I finally get to visit Xcaret, an amazing eco-archaelogical
water park where you can snorkel in underground caverns. I hear this
park is fabulous; finally I get to see it for myself!
Fifth, there are some great people who are signed up besides Tom and
Margaret that I can have a blast with every day of the trip!
We have taken 330 people sailing over the past three summers. (2001:
101, 2002: 86, 2003: 144). If this summer only has 20 people, I am
going to have fun. I am going to have FUN whether we have 50 or 500
That said, there's plenty of room for more. Join our trip today.
Put your $250 deposit down now. You have till May 2nd to get it all
back if you decide to change your mind.
Call Marla Gorzynski at 713 862 4428 or email her at
Her fax number is 713 862 2550.
More information about this year's trip:
You definitely should read the story about last year's
In addition, you will enjoy the great pictures that Gary Richardson
took of last year's trip.
And you will not believe the things that happened on the Mardi Gras
Trip!! Definitely check out the pictures and misadventures from our
latest cruise, the 2004 Mardi Gras Trip:
See who is Already Signed Up for this year's trip:
STOP HAS ARRIVED!
BEWARE THE DANGER OF THE DAVID...
Susan Schroeder (aka Susie Q) new store opened this past week at the
studio. I immediately discovered my daughter Samantha was their
biggest customer with Twix wrappers decorating the studio office
where she does homework. Hmm.
The Q Stop is located in the closet area where the water fountain
used to be. It brings you convenience of a mini-mart under the SSQQ
I have been told that sales of bottled water have been brisk. Amen.
Bottled water has been the single most requested item at the studio
for years. Thank goodness that problem is finally put to rest!!
It has been very amusing watching Susan's debonair husband David,
also known as Mr. Susan, sit in the closet. On the first night he
wore the expression of a caged animal as he got used to the confined
spaces of the "Closet". The second night he looked more like a
neglected puppy. However David quickly adapted. Since then he has
dropped his passive 'polite behavior' and begun to develop more
aggressive ways attract business as it goes by.
Now for some reason, someone always stops to talk to David. I even
saw one person pat him on the head. How sweet. It was sort of a
'look at that puppy in the window' reaction. Then I noticed
practically everyone was stopping to talk to David. Curious to know
how David went so quickly from "totally ignored" to "terribly
popular", I observed him in action the other night.
David has quickly developed a Killer sales technique known as "The
Stick and the Shtick". The little hallway going from our entrance
Room 6 to main body of the studio is so narrow that David has
discovered how easy it is to poke people who fail to pay attention
to him with his "Attention Stick". That's right, he pokes people who
ignore him with a stick as they walk past. Quickly people learned to
look at him automatically in self-defense. Did I mention his
favorite new movie is "Walking Tall"? Once you pay attention to him
- a mandatory exercise to avoid the Big Stick - then you get the
most amazingly clever sales pitch, also known as the "Big Shtick".
David is Yiddish in case you didn't know. Or Amish. Or Republican. I
can't remember. His favorite motto is "Speak Softly and Swing a Big
Shtick". Oy vey.
Items on the menu vary, but a cursory glance reveals fresh fruit
side by side with chips, cookies, and candy bars. In the
refrigerator I have spotted lots of bottled water and a variety of
chilled beverages such as Welch's apple, grape, and orange-pineapple
juice, V8, Fruit2O no-cal flavored spring water and Red Bull.
There are plenty of snacks too-including fresh fruit, nuts, and
granola bars for the healthy diet conscious, and plenty of candy
bars and cookies to satisfy those with a sweet tooth.
I am sure it is just a matter of time before pizzas, coffee, and ice
cream hit the menu as well.
Did you know that Susan did all the remodeling work? Any of you with
a memory of that dirty, ugly former closet will be amazed at the
beauty of this area. From judging from how attractive the Q-Stop
Closet looks, I think Susan could easily make a small fortune as a
carpenter or judging from the tasteful dιcor, perhaps a home
decorator as well. Where do you find women like this?
Susan reminded me to mention she is ready to stock anything within
reason. Please send your ideas and orders to
I would to take a moment and say it is not true that Susan rents out
sweaters to help people with the arctic conditions at our studio. At
least not yet anyway.
On the other hand, you can purchase aspirin in abundance the next
time you get a headache listening to my poor jokes. I promised Susan
I would allow my bad sense of humor to run unchecked for the next
couple weeks to help students developed a drug habit.
So the next time you visit the studio and have a sweet tooth, a
thirst or a headache, be sure to check out the Q-Stop. Don't forget
to pat David on the head for good luck. He doesn't bite!!
Oops, let me rethink that. He won't bite if you remember to pat him
on the head!!
MG ANSEMAN SURVIVES A SERIOUS MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENT
Around midnight on Friday, March 19, SSQQ Instructor MG Anseman
suffered a serious motorcycle accident near Gonzalez, Louisiana
(just south of Baton Rouge). A native of Louisiana, MG had just
finished visiting his mother and was heading back to New Orleans to
spend the evening with his son. Yes, he survived. No, he is not
paralyzed. Yes, his pretty face was skinned up a little bit.
MG was driving at high speed around a highway curve when suddenly
the bike hit a rock. The motorcycle fish-tailed out of control
making huge S-swerves. MG was unable to hit the brakes as long as
the bike was swerving so he rode the bike helplessly as it kept
heading towards the edge of the road. MG told me the idea is to
"Look Where You Want to Go" and the bike will likely head there.
Unfortunately human nature dictated he look for danger. So he
"Looked" hard at the one place where he DID NOT want go and sure
enough that's where the bike headed.
After a frightening 150-foot career towards disaster, the bike
finished its uncontrollable skid by flying right over the edge of an
8-foot ditch on the side of the road. Helpless to control the bike's
path, MG was thrown clear of the bike and landed left shoulder first
on a gravel surface, smashing the left side of his face and neck as
After landing hard on his left shoulder, MG sustained 4 fractured
vertebrae - 2 in his lower neck and 2 about shoulder blade level. In
order words, he broke his neck!! But he is not paralyzed. His only
worry is numbness in his left hand. He can move his arm and hand and
he can feel pressure, but has lost any sensitivity in the
fingertips. He is in a neck brace as a precaution against the danger
of moving his neck and making things much worse. He also suffered a
bruised lung, but that has begun to heal nicely and is no longer a
Although MG will hurt me for revealing that he wasn't wearing a
helmet, hopefully I will still be able to move faster for the next
few months until his anger cools off! Without the protection of the
helmet, he skinned his face up pretty badly and sustained a bad cut
over his eye.
Getting thrown off a bike flying nearly full-speed over a cliff-like
edge sounds like a pretty dangerous accident to me. Although I think
we will all agree he was hurt badly, in some ways it could have been
a lot worse. MG pointed out that six more feet and he would have hit
a tree and been dead. One more inch on his face and he could have
lost an eye. And his neck brace is a constant reminder that he
narrowly missed being paralyzed.
Let's face, MG is lucky to be alive. Did I mention the bike hit the
ground so hard it made a two-foot deep hole for itself?!?
Once MG realized he was still alive, his next thought was how to get
himself out of this mess. After all he was stuck out of sight at the
bottom of an 8-foot deep gully. MG got up out of the mud and walked
several feet over to the bike to search for his cell phone.
Unfortunately it was stuck inside his jacket inside the motorcycle
saddlebag and he could get his hand on it, but was too weak to pull
it free. Then he lost strength and had no choice to but to lay down.
Motionless, totally alone in the dark, he wondered if he was ever
going to get out of this mess before an alligator came along and ate
him for dinner. Any of you who followed the recent Houston story of
the man who lay helplessly paralyzed out of sight behind a concrete
freeway barrier for 36 hours after a rear-end car collision will
realize MG was in just as bad a predicament - No one could possibly
see him, he thought!
Fortunately the motorcycle landed at an angle that left its lights
flashing up into the sky like a lighthouse sending off a powerful
beam. Soon a car stopped to investigate.
As MG lay there, he heard a man call back, "I see the motorcycle,
but there's no one there! I guess he walked off and hitched a ride!"
MG's eyes bulged at that statement and he started bellowing as loud
as he could for help! At that, his rescuers found him and stayed
with him until an ambulance could get there. MG stayed conscious the
whole time and even had enough strength to protest when the EMT guys
started to cut his beloved $500 motorcycle jacket off with scissors.
Apparently they could not risk turning MG over due to his injuries,
but it didn't make him feel any better. Normally he would have
kicked their butts, but not this time. Oh well.
When I talked to him on the phone Sunday morning at the Baton Rouge
hospital, MG was in process of having the nurses wash mud and gravel
out of hair plus a frog or two. They had been running tests on him
all day long on Saturday and hadn't had the chance to completely
clean him up. His voice was pretty shaky, but he was able to talk.
Bless his heart, MG spent half the conversation apologizing for not
being able to teach class that night.
He was hospitalized in Baton Rouge for two days and change. He came
back to Houston on Monday. At that time he was in serious pain and
unable to sleep. He and his wife Gay were trying to arrange to see a
doctor here in Houston, so I decided to simply welcome him and leave
it at that.
On Wednesday, March 31, I called again. Things were much better! He
had been able to see a spine doctor on Monday. The lady did some
more MRIs on him and proscribed pain medication that helped
immensely. MG was able to sleep the night both nights since I talked
to him on Monday and felt so much better. May I say he actually
The two of us counted his many problems and his many blessings. He
pointed out he was worried about his mother who is not in good
health and worried about his business that he cannot give his full
attention to. Among his blessings he mentioned his wife Gay who is
busy taking great care of him, his narrow escape from more serious
injuries and the dramatic reduction in pain. He said he could not
wait to get back to the studio. I said to take his time, but he says
he misses his friends and he misses dancing. Sounds like the road to
recovery to me.
MG says he has ridden his last motorcycle. This is the second
serious accident he has been in and says he doesn't want to find out
if the third time is the charm. I hope he sticks to his decision.
And thank goodness he survived!! Now we can tease him about that
helmet for a long time!
MG says please NO FLOWERS! Now I know that he fears flowers worse
than Superman fears Kryptonite. He adds that he welcomes cards and
phone calls. If you want to say hi, call MG at home 281-980-6245. If
you want to send a card,
3110 Pecan Ridge
Sugarland, Texas 77479
If you decide to send flowers, do it like I did and send them
anonymously. After all, he will be walking again soon.
SHARON CRAWFORD WORKS HER
WESTERN WALTZ MAGIC AGAIN!!
For the past four years, Sharon Crawford's Western Waltz program has
been without question the single most popular course at SSQQ.
Believe it or not, the Beginning level of Sharon's Western Waltz
class has AVERAGED 100 STUDENTS!! Incredible.
There are several reasons for Sharon's success.
First of all, Sharon and her partner John Jones teach 5 consecutive
months of Western Waltz. That's right: Five months. After April's
Beginner level, you have the Intermediate level in May, Advanced in
June, Super-Advanced in July, and Super-Duper Advanced in August.
For the past four years, anyone who completes the five-month cycle
becomes a truly exceptional Waltz dancer.
Second, Sharon Crawford has reached a near-mythical cult status as a
great teacher. Although she is very humble about her ability, Sharon
is not only a goddess to watch on the dance floor, she also breaks
down the steps very well. In addition she offers the women some
excellent tips on styling and following.
Third, with that many people in the class, you are guaranteed plenty
of people to practice with after class. Sharon's WW students love to
stay for Practice Night and Waltz the night away. It is a very
impressive sight to even one couple demonstrating their knowledge of
advanced Waltz patterns, but in this case you might see up to twenty
couples with the same ability all at once!
Fourth, it becomes the social event of the season. This class is so
popular it gives you a chance to hang out with some really great
dancers and very nice people each week. Plus the Western Waltz is
SOOO Romantic! Also known as the Western dance of Romance, Waltz is
a uniquely flowing, graceful dance. Like Swans, Roses, and Gems, the
Waltz is another symbol of Grace and Beauty in our culture. As two
people dance beautifully together in each other's arms, Cupid has a
field day with easy targets all over the floor for his flaming darts
of passion. Even the most bitter, hard-hearted victims of love begin
to soften up and amaze themselves by considering another stab at
romance with the pretty Waltz music to cheer them on.
And who knows, maybe Sharon and John will even offer yet a Sixth
level this year if you ask them nicely enough. By the way, don't be
put off if Sharon says 'no' to the idea of Level 6 the first ten
times you ask. She prefers to automatically say no and think about
it hours on end in the middle of the night. Eventually she might say
'yes' just to get some sleep.
This year the numbers are down a little bit. Sharon's first night
had 'only' 75 students, still a preposterous number in its own
right. However many people did not even know about the class because
the Newsletter was late getting out. Anyone who wishes to join in
the second week is welcome. By the way, the first week of class had
a nearly perfect balance of men and women.
Don't be surprised if there is little drop-off in attendance in the
second month because quite a few people are planning to "join in
progress". At this point there are many "graduates" of Sharon and
John's Waltz program who have forgotten practically everything. Many
of these people like to sign up as a repeat starting in the second
or third month to review the patterns. Plus they enjoy Sharon's
class so much that they sign up just to enjoy the dancing and for
the chance to see their friends again.
BALLROOM DANCER EXCHANGE STUDENT
FROM GERMANY SEEKS HOME IN HOUSTON FOR ONE YEAR
On Friday, April 2, I received a phone call from David Godwin
representing the Center for Cultural Exchange. He had a request from
a 16-year-old German high school student named Johannes Benno asking
to be placed in a home in the Houston area. What made him a little
trickier to place was his request to be put in a home that would
give him a chance to pursue his hobby of ballroom dancing. That is
why the agency contacted me. They thought maybe I would know
I immediately thought of tricking the agency, forcing the young man
to teach classes for free in exchange for letting him sleep on the
couch at the studio, and feeding him the leftover stale popcorn. I
changed my mind when I figured one of you would rat on me. And I
know you would!
Instead, I will tell you a little about the program and see if any
of you out there might be interested. Johannes will spend a school
year here in Houston. Wherever you live, he will go to the nearest
local high school.
As far as his interest in dancing, you are welcome to let the young
man have the run of the studio any night of the week. Johannes would
likely end up as the best German Twostepper in the world.
The representative told me something interesting - they will place a
boy in a one-parent home with either a man or a woman. In other
words, you don't have to have a traditional Mom and Pop home anymore
to be considered. Some of you empty nesters out there might be
willing to allow Johannes to borrow Junior's unused bedroom for a
year. Personally, I was pretty tempted to volunteer myself. The
young man seems like a very bright kid and full of life.
Here is the brief email letter from the agency representative David
Godwin about Johannes:
Fri 04/02/2004 12:23 PM
It was nice talking to you. Thanks for the information on ballroom
dancing. It was very helpful in my understanding of it.
I am attaching the bio on Johannes. He will have his own spending
money and insurance. He will attend the local high school. The host
family will provide him with room and board. They would treat him
like a family member and should be assigned household chores.
If for some reason the match does not work, we will replace him to
another home. He will be assigned a local CCI representative to
assist him and the family in resolving any problems that might
occur. In my experience with hosting, there have been very few
problems. The kids are so glad to be able to come to the USA to
Let me know if you have further questions.
To read about the Exchange Program, click here:
To read about Johannes Benno, click here:
To read his letter requesting to be an exchange student, click here:
BLACKMAIL, PASSION, AND
VANITY: THE STORY OF THE 2004 SSQQ MARDI GRAS TRIP!
This past February saw 39 Brave SSQQ Cruisers dare to walk down the
wicked streets of Mardi Gras straight into the center of New
Orleans, the infamous City of Sin!
Huge crowds, amazing Parades, pulsating Bands, Bead Tosses, Drinking
to Excess, as well as an unimaginable supply of nayked brests
awaited us. Yes, all the terrible things they say about Mardi Gras
turned out to be true. Even worse, we had a lot of fun! Yes, the
decadence of Mardi Gras rubbed off on us and we thoroughly enjoyed
We were even stupid enough to take pictures of our follies and
chronicle our adventures as well. Our reputations will be ruined
Along the way you will read about why our ship was forced to dock
100 miles from Mardi Gras, how an obstinate SSQQ woman ignored my
pathetic blackmail threat (and paid for it by having the entire
sordid story printed), how we were surrounded at all times by
and painted brests everywhere the eye see (with pictures to prove
that the men did everything possible to make sure no nayked brest
got ignored!), how a beautiful woman from our fell deeply in love
with a major celebrity on board, and how a handsome dashing member
of our group had way too much fun
and paid for it with a vicious
attack on his ego!
AN EMERGENCY WARNING - TOM EASLEY WILL
BE JOINING US ON THE SSQQ FOURTH OF JULY CRUISE.
DO NOT COME ON BOARD WITHOUT YOUR SUNGLASSES NEAR YOU AT ALL TIMES!!
This is an emergency warning. Tom Easley and his family are coming
on the SSQQ Summer Cruise this year. Do not fear his family - they
are wonderful, normal and in fact should be largely credited with
holding Tom in check these past 18 years.
It is only Tom Easley that you have to fear. Like the Hulk, I fear
his inner demon may be poised to return at any time. It has been too
well, read on.
Tom Easley is one of my best friends, a fact that I am somewhat
embarrassed to admit. Back in the mid 1980s along with his usual
partner in crime Mike Fagan, Tom Easley was the source of a great
deal of pain and embarrassment for their SSQQ friends.
You will soon discover that at one time there was no more hideously
dressed human being on the planet than Tom Easley. Do you know how
you automatically shield your eyes from the glare of the Sun? For an
entire year the clothes Tom wore hurt eyeballs across Houston in
much the same way. In 1986, Tom Easley caused beautiful women
throughout Houston to shield their eyes from the pain. Now that I
think of it, I recall most men recoiling in terror at his ugliness
as well. So did small children, dogs, cats, and hamsters. Medusa,
Cyclops or the Gorgon Monster could not have been any scarier than
Nor could the Phantom of the Opera or the Elephant Man have walked
into a restaurant and drawn more gasps of fear than Tom did on a
regular basis. The usual words to describe Tom's clothing varied
between "grotesque, bizarre, shocking, blinding, ghastly, gruesome,
and monstrous". Speaking of Monstrous, it was a well-known fact that
Godzilla could dress better than Tom.
Furthermore Zombies from the "Night of the Living Dead" could not
have frightened gentle, civilized people any more than Tom's garish
outfits. You don't believe me, do you? Once you read the story of
Tom Easley, there won't be one shred of doubt in your mind that at a
difficult point in his life, Tom's hideous clothing wreaked havoc
throughout the city.
Today Tom masquerades on a daily basis as a respectable bastion of
decency. But I think it is just a disguise. I know Tom's earlier
reputation all too well and think it is all an act. Just one little
setback and the Real Tom could reemerge at any time.
Although today Tom dresses very nicely and has started to look
almost handsome at times, I also know that he has never apologized
for what he once did to us. And therein lies the rub - Since Tom
still doesn't understand what he did was wrong and has never sought
help, the potential exists that just one serious psychic jolt could
bring the Monster in Tom back to life.
The reason I feel compelled to bring this story to your attention is
that Tom Easley is coming with us on the 2004 SSQQ Summer Cruise. I
bring you this message as a public service. Since Tom has a known
past as a threat to public standards of fashion decency, it is only
fair to warn all of our fellow passengers that they are at serious
risk of eye pain and embarrassment. Now at least all of you will
know how serious the threat is and be prepared to can make your own
Furthermore - this hurts me to confess - Tom once had me under his
influence. Yes, at one point in my life, Tom's fashion deviancy
rubbed off on me and like an idiot, I appeared in public looking
just as awful as he did. Now lately I have felt stirrings of another
fashion eruption stirring not only in Tom's mind, but my own inner
psyche as well. Like any volcano about to explode, there are seismic
warnings that would be foolish to ignore. In other words, if he
goes, I go.
And yes, in conversations with Tom plus in my own nightmares, I have
felt warnings that at some point on the upcoming cruise trip there
will be a night where all hell breaks loose. That Caribbean Black
Magic could be more than we could take. We could break loose this
summer and resurrect our mutual madness.
Yes, it is true, on this summer's cruise there is the terrible
potential for "The Return of the Infamous Tom Easley Look a Like
Night", a night more frightening than all the SSQQ Halloween Parties
in history all lumped together. This could be the night when Terror
is only the Beginning.
You must read this story for your own safety. Otherwise I cannot be
held responsible if you walk straight into a ghastly Fourth of July
Apparel Peril. Remember, I am serious. Do not neglect this warning!
THE SSQQ MOVIE
DIRTY DANCING 'HAVANA NIGHTS'
WRITTEN BY SAMANTHA ARCHER
If romance and dancing is your thing, you might want to invest your
time in seeing Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. Set in 1958 in Havana,
Cuba (it was filmed in Puerto Rico), this movie is all about the
passion of dancing, with a huge romantic twist.
Katey Miller is a studious, quiet girl who has just been moved to
Havana with her mother, father, and sister. Her family is a part of
the upper-class of Havana, which also means Katey is expected to
date within this 'upper-class' barrier. But when she discovers
Javier Suarez (Diego Luna), who happens to be a waiter from her
hotel, she simply cannot stop herself from letting her family's
dancing background take over.
Together, Javier and Katey hatch the plan of entering a latin
ballroom dance contest at The Palace, a snazzy big band ballroom.
All Katey wants to do is have fun, and help Javier with his terrible
financial situation by winning the grand prize of $5,000 and a trip
to America. So they practice day and night long in her hotel's
ballroom, growing closer together spiritually, though you have to
face it: these two cannot dance together, yet.
Javier is just too free-spirited, and Katey is all about rules and
So, drum roll please! It's the moment you all have been waiting for:
Yes, from all of those rumors you've been hearing, it's true:
Patrick Swayze plays the part of a dance instructor at Katey's
hotel, who helps Katey lose her sense of formality and loosen up.
And I'd have to say, even though I still haven't seen the original
Dirty Dancing, Mr. Swayze is the best dancer in the movie.
Katey and Javier finally begin to click, moving as one and
compromising with each other to come up with the best routine
possible. But I can't spoil the rest movie for you, can I?
Well, I can say one thing:
This movie makes you want to get up and DANCE in the aisles! The
soundtrack is one of the best I have ever heard. Right after the
first time I saw this thing, all I wanted to do was go out and buy
that soundtrack! From Santana to Black Eyed Peas, it has it all. Now
some can complain that the music is too contemporary for the movie,
but I do beg to differ. I loved that edge the music put to it.
I know what you all are wondering: Is this movie really worth
seeing? The answer is yes! I wish I could compare more to the
original movie, but I really can't. All I can say is this movie has
the top three things I look for in a movie:
1. Good music
2. Reasonable plot
a lot of romance.
Also, the pluses for all you dancing fanatics is:
1. Patrick Swayze
2. Great dancing routines And I can assure you that after people
read this review and see the movie (even though it is unfortunately
out of theaters but not on DVD) you'll be hearing the sounds of
Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights pounding through the studio's boom
(Editors Note: Patrick Swayze stole the show in a two-scene cameo
SSQQ STAFF UPDATES FOR
Jack Benard's departure for California was not the only serious
problem I had to deal with in March. Counting Jack, I lost 5 lead
instructors in one month! And I was a zombie to boot.
SSQQ has begun to resemble a MASH unit.
For starters we have the accident poster boy, MG Anseman.
Next we have the two dancing divas, Rachel Seff Koenig and Anita
Williams, both sidelined with matching knee injuries.
Martin Anderson will be out for a while having some surgery.
There are so many people beat up around here, I suppose my
month-long bout with a horrible sinus condition I picked up on the
Mardi Cruise barely counts. But let me tell you, there are a
half-dozen people from that same trip who have that same nasty
cough. Sore throats, headaches, fatigue, coughing, sneezing, chest
phlegm, you don't want it. A lot of people on the ship caught the
same thing. Whatever the bug was, it was One Bad Bug!!
Let me add that my battle with the virus was so exhausting it kept
me from working on the Newsletter which accounts for why it is over
a week late this month.
OF THE REGULAR FEATURES SECTION
COMPLAINT OF THE MONTH
- THIS MONTH RICK DOES THE COMPLAINING!!
My In-Box is completely empty of complaints this month, a small miracle. I
can't remember the last time this happened. I suppose I could make up a BS
complaint and rant and rave about it, but you might be surprised to know I
don't do that.
So instead this month I will do the complaining.
INCIDENT ONE: On the recent cruise trip, I taught a Beginners Cha Cha
workshop aboard the ship. The class was free; anyone could join. We even had
a woman from Los Angeles show up who had met our group in the infamous Hot
At the start we had 20 people including 9 men and 11 women. I asked one of
my advanced woman dancers if she would mind dancing Lead, a term that more
or less means dancing the boy's part. Although I hadn't asked her in
advance, the lady was nice enough to agree to dance lead as she had on our
previous cruise as well. Her sacrifice balanced the class perfectly.
As most of you know, in our classes we rotate partners frequently. This time
however someone threw a monkey wrench into my plans. After the second or
third rotation, the Lead lady offered to dance with another woman member of
our group. The woman flatly refused to dance. Instead the woman sat down in
a chair and watched instead, leaving the Lead Lady standing there wondering
what to do. I watched the entire scene in quiet fury.
It has been my experience over the years that women do not mind dancing with
other women. This took me by complete surprise and the "Lead Lady" as well.
Flustered by the rejection, now the lady who had once been willing to dance
lead didn't want to "Lead" any more. Instead she switched back to being a
girl. After a putdown like that, I didn't blame her a bit.
Immediately two other ladies showed up. Their arrival coupled with the
original Lead Lady's defection back to the Girl's Team meant the Lead-Follow
ratio was way out of unbalance. I knew this was going to happen - this was
the reason I had asked the advanced lady dancer to dance Lead in the first
place. But Miss Rejection's move effectively ruined those plans.
Miss Rejection had another surprise for me. Whenever we rotated again, if
the man was a good dancer, Miss R would pop up out of her seat to dance with
him. But if the next guy wasn't a good dancer, she developed the unusual
habit of sitting back down only to jump back up again if she considered the
next man worthy of being allowed to dance with her.
As you can imagine, I didn't like this stunt one bit. Did I say anything?
No. I had never encountered such a high level of rudeness before. Since she
was part of the group, I didn't see the point of calling her down. The main
reason I said nothing is that it is impossible to discuss an issue this
sensitive on the spot. How am I going to take her into a corner and talk
about this without the other students watching?
Don't forget, if I single her out on the spot or toss her out of the class,
the rest of the trip will be effectively ruined for her. Furthermore, it
interrupts the class. What are they supposed to do during our conversation?
We only had the room for a limited time so I decided to press on.
My question is: What should I have done? What would you have done? What
would Miss Manners do? Does Miss R have the right to participate in the
class? Or should I have asked her to leave? Or asked her to stay in her seat
if she wasn't going to rotate like everyone else?
I would like to know what to do the next time something like this happens.
Therefore I am soliciting advice.
I will print all comments anonymously in the next newsletter or list your
name if you ask me to.
INCIDENT TWO: Is there a Twilight Zone? After the Cha Cha incident, an
eerily similar situation presented itself to me just three weeks later.
In the first two weeks of my Beginning Western Swing class, there had been
more women than men. My two excellent lady assistants, Mona and Kerry, had
danced the Lead part to balance out the class. However in the third week
there was a surprising surplus of men.
Even with Mona and Kerry dancing as women again, there were still four more
men than women. I explained to the entire class that I had decided since we
were so out of balance for a while I would dance the "Follow Part".
Addressing the group, I said this might make some of the men uncomfortable,
but that I would appreciate their cooperation since I felt I could improve
their leads this way.
The fourth man that rotated to me suddenly stepped back and decided not to
dance with me. At first I was ready to look the other way, but then I
changed my mind. I realized that although none of the other men had seemed
particularly happy to dance with me, at least they had cooperated.
Over the years I have discovered that every time I make an exception, it
comes back to bite me. I firmly believed that if each man in the room saw me
allow one guy to brush me off, then some of the others would soon follow.
This same man had once done the exact same thing to me in the exact same
class! The first time this happened a year earlier I told him the next time
he came around I expected him to dance with me. He left the room before
rotating to me again.
In other words, he respected me enough to repeat my class, but he didn't
respect me enough to dance with me.
So I said, "Please either dance with me or leave." Without a word, he left.
I did not like this incident one bit when it happened and I still don't like
it. I did not enjoy confronting the gentleman nor did I enjoy making him
feel uncomfortable by insisting he dance with me. Again, the problem was
that I wasn't in a position to bargain or reach a compromise while I am
teaching a class. Any conversation not only disrupts my class, but also
serves to call unwanted attention to the student.
I have to consider the entire group. The men have paid me to teach them how
to dance. I think I have the right to dance with them whenever the situation
calls for it.
Unfortunately I am not convinced I did the right thing. I think what I
should do in the future is play the "Alamo Game", i.e. draw a line in sand
ahead of time. First I will announce I am dancing as a "Follow" and explain
it is strictly professional. Then before I dance with any man (or ask any
woman to dance with a woman), I will ask if this causes a problem for anyone
and say if they are unwilling to rotate they are welcome to sit down ahead
of time and watch for the remainder of class.
Again, I would like to know what other people think. As before, I will print
any comments anonymously or list your name if you specify you wish me to.
BEST NEW JOKES OF THE
Over the years, we have
been sent countless numbers of jokes by our Newsletter Readers.
We have kept what we thought were the best. At this point
we have now have a Hall of Fame collection of over 600 jokes.
Many of them are real gems. We rotate these jokes on a monthly
basis so over the year you get to read them all.
In addition to our
"Classics", we also get many new jokes each month sent in by our
students. This section contains our favorites. At
the end of each year we add these jokes to the "Immortal
By the way, getting a
joke selected isn't very easy since we have been collecting
jokes for so long. It's tough to find a new one. So if you
send in a great joke and nothing ever happens, trust us - it is
already on the Web Site. If you don't believe us, email
and ask about your joke!! I am serious. I will show you
where the joke is.
We greatly appreciate any jokes you would like to submit. Send
them to Rick Archer at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Blondes and the Houston Police Department - Chris Holmes
The Houston Police Department desperately needed a blonde woman
to do undercover work as a waitress in a bar frequented by known
criminals. Three blondes set in the office to apply for the
position. The detective conducting the interview looked at the
three of them and said, "So ya'll want to be a cop, eh?"
The blondes all smiled and nodded.
The detective got up, opened a file drawer and pulled out a file
folder. Sitting back down, he opened it up and pulled out a
picture and said, "To be a good detective, you must be able to
detect. You must be able to notice things such as distinguishing
features and oddities, such as scars, etc."
So saying, he stuck the photo in the face of the first blonde
and withdrew it after about two seconds. "Now," he said. "Did
you notice any distinguishing features about the man?"
The blonde immediately said, "Yes I did. He has only one eye!"
The detective shook his head and said, "Of course he has only
one eye in this picture! It's a profile of his face! Try using
your brain next time! You're dismissed."
The first blonde hung her head and walked out.
The detective then turned to the second blonde and stuck the
photo in her face for two seconds, pulled it back and said,
"Notice anything unusual or outstanding about this man?"
"Yes! He only has one ear!"
The detective put his head in his hand and exclaimed, "Didn't
you hear what I told the other lady? This is a profile of a
man's face! Of course you can only see one ear! You're not smart
enough to work for us. You're excused, too!"
Sniffling quietly, the second blonde hung her head and walked
Rolling his eyes in disgust, the detective turned to the third
blonde and said, "This is probably a waste of time, but here,
take a look at this picture." Then he flashed the photo in her
face for a couple of seconds and withdrew it saying, "All right.
Did you notice anything distinguishing or unusual about this
"I did! This man wears contact lenses!"
The detective frowned, took another look at the picture and
began looking at some of the papers in the folder. He looked up
at the blonde with a puzzled expression and said, "You're
absolutely right! His bio says he wears contacts! How in the
world could you tell that by looking at this picture?"
The blonde rolled her eyes and said, "Well, duh! With only one
eye and one ear, he certainly can't wear glasses!"
The Fall - Leroy Ginzel
Sean McMurphy was staggering home with a pint of booze in his
back pocket when he slipped and fell heavily. Struggling to his
feet, he felt something wet running down his leg.
"Please Lord," he implored, "let it be blood!!"
Drinking Again - Pat Roberts
Sean McMurphy staggered home late after another evening with his
drinking buddies. With his shoes in left hand to avoid waking
his wife Margaret, he tiptoed as quietly as he could toward the
stairs leading to their upstairs bedroom, but misjudged the
bottom step in the darkened entryway.
As he caught himself by grabbing the banister, his body swung
around and he landed heavily on his rump. A whiskey bottle in
each back pocket broke and made the landing especially painful.
Managing to suppress a yelp, McMurphy sprung up, pulled down his
pants and examined his lacerated butt cheeks in the mirror in
the dark hallway. Cursing softly, he managed to find a large
full box of band aids before proceeding to place a patch as best
he could on each place he saw blood.
After hiding the now almost empty box, he managed to shuffle and
stumble his way to bed.
Morning, he awakens with a screaming pain in his head and butt
to find his wife staring at him from across the room, and hears
her say: "You were drunk again last night!!!"
Forcing himself to ignore his agony, he looked meekly at her and
replied: "Now Maggie, what on earth would make you say such a
"Well," she said, "for starters, there's your bloodshot eyes,
the front door was left open, there's broken whiskey bottle
glass at the bottom of the stairs and there are drops of blood
from your face all through the house. Speaking of blood, you
have blood all over your butt, blood all over the sheets, and
most pathetic, it's all those band aids stuck on the downstairs
Little Johnny - Chris Holmes
Little Johnny was in his 4th grade class when the teacher asked
the children what their fathers did for a living. All the
typical answers came up -- fireman, policeman, salesman, doctor,
Johnny was being uncharacteristically quiet, so the teacher
asked him about his father.
"My father's an exotic dancer in a gay cabaret and takes off all
his clothes in front of other men and they put money in his
underwear. Sometimes, if the offer is really good, he will go
home with some guy and make love with him for money. "
The teacher, obviously shaken by this statement, hurriedly set
the other children to work on some exercises and took little
Johnny aside to ask him, "Is that really true about your
"No," said Little Johnny, "He works for the Democratic National
Committee, but I was too embarrassed to say that in front of the
The Potato Patch - Leroy Ginzel
An old man lived alone in Idaho. He wanted to spade his potato
garden, but it was very hard work. The ground was extremely hard
and filled with huge rocks. His only son, Bubba, who used to
help him, was in prison.
The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his
"Dear Bubba, I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I
won't be able to plant my potato garden this year. I'm just
getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. If you were
here, all my troubles would be over. I know you would dig the
plot for me. - Love Dad
Bubba thought about what his father said, then sent him this
"Dear Dad, for heaven's sake, whatever you do, Dad, don't dig up
that garden, I think that's where I buried those BODIES!!"
Soon Bubba got another letter from his father.
"Son, you won't believe what happened. This morning a dozen FBI
agents and local police showed up with huge earth movers. They
dug up the entire area out back all day long. Whatever they were
looking for, they sure didn't find it. They left mad without an
explanation and they didn't even bother to put the dirt back!"
Bubba sent the following letter:
"Dear Dad, why not go ahead and plant the potatoes now? Love,
The Sheep Bet - Chris Holmes
The Whiz Kid was driving 80 miles an hour in his brand new BMW
when suddenly he screeched to a hairpin stop beside a roadside
fence. The Whiz Kid had spotted a herd of sheep. He was headed
to a Frat Party Reunion and thought it would be a great joke to
bring a sheep along to present as a sex object for some of his
old buddies. He could just see the laughter now. The smell of
the burning rubber was still in the air as he rolled down his
window and called to the shepherd.
"Hey buddy, if I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in
your flock, will you let me borrow one of your sheep for a
The shepherd sized up the young man who wore a Broni suit, Gucci
shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie. The shepherd looked at
Mr. Groomed to Zoom and calmly answered, "Sure. But I get $10 if
Mr. Groomed to Zoom parked his car, whipped out his IBM Thinkpad
and connected it to a cell phone, then he surfed to a NASA page
on the Internet where he called up a GPS satellite navigation
system, scanned the area, and then opened up a database and an
Excel spreadsheet with complex formulas. He sent an email on his
Blackberry and, after a few minutes, received a response.
Finally, he printed out a report on his hi- tech, miniaturized
printer. He turned to the shepherd, handed him the sheet of
paper with the math used to make his conclusion and said, "You
have exactly 1,586 sheep".
"That is correct, take one of the sheep," said the shepherd.
He watches the young man select one of the animals and bundle it
into his car. Then the shepherd says: "If I can tell you exactly
what your business is, will you give me back my sheep plus the
"There's no way you can guess what I do. I have a very important
job. OK, why not?" answered the young man.
"You must be a consultant," said the shepherd.
"That's correct," answered the disappointed Mr. Groomed to Zoom,
"but how did you guess that without using any technology?"
"No guessing required," answers the shepherd. "You turned up
here although nobody called you. You want to get something for
nothing. You gave me an answer I already knew, to a question I
never asked, and you don't know crap about my business.
Now hand over $10 and give me back my dog."
SSQQ EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH
RETURN TO HEADLINES
RETURN TO REGULAR FEATURES
This award goes to an SSQQ Staff member who does something beyond the
call of duty. In any given month, there are always at least 100 quiet
acts of simple kindness performed by someone who works at SSQQ for which the
person gets no credit, but our organization benefits from the gratitude.
The problem for me is that these many moments usually occur way under my
radar. So if you have an instructor to nominate, please
let me know and why!!
On the other hand,
sometimes the move is dramatic enough to catch my eye so I can say something
Friday, March 26, was Jack Benard's final night as an instructor here at
SSQQ. After his final Martian Whip class we had a going-away Whip party for
Jack that was well attended by over 70 of his friends and students.
I spent most of the party sitting on the couch in Room 2 sipping my wine.
One person after another stopped to chat and ask why I wasn't dancing. I
would give them my usual "I'll be dancing in a couple minutes, blah blah
blah" answer, but inside I didn't even want to move. I was much too
depressed to dance.
Gary D'Antoni came by and said, "Rick, you are not a happy person. It's my
job to read people and I can tell something is bothering you." I smiled and
said he was correct.
Several people in a row came by to ask permission to take an extra wall down
just to make enough space for all the dancers. I snapped at a couple of them
until finally I crawled off the couch and began to take down the extra wall
that separates Rooms 4 and 5, biting a couple more heads off in the process.
Rick was not a happy boy.
Gary D'Antoni was right. I was in a very bad mood. I hated the very thought
that Jack was leaving. It made me sick in my stomach. I felt like I was
losing my lucky charm. I couldn't help but think how ironic it was that at
this same time one year earlier, no one would have dreamed of bothering to
ask me to take the extra wall down. It wouldn't have been crowded enough to
The reason it was crowded tonight was Jack's magic. He was the reason this
place was rocking.
One year ago in April 2003 I was in another bad mood. I was practically the
only person who had stayed for Whip Practice Night that night. Although the
overall registration for our Whip and West Coast Swing program had healthy
numbers - 84 students were registered that month - practically none of them
were staying for Practice Night. It had been that way for several weeks and
it was getting worse. This fact depressed me a lot.
First of all, Whip and WCS may be a lot of fun to dance, but it takes a lot
of practice to get good enough to hit the Pleasure Zone. Compare learning to
Whip to rock climbing. It's hard work to get to the top, but once you get
there the view is awesome. Whip and WCS require a certain level of mastery
before they become fun to dance. If no one was practicing, I was positive
they would drop the dance just short of the moment when the "Fun" would kick
Second, what's the point of learning to dance something as hard as Whip and
West Coast if you don't use it? Isn't the whole point of learning to dance
so that you can dance? Whip/WCS dancing is a lot of fun. Why just take the
class and go home? To me, that's like buying skis, but never skiing. Same
Something had to be done. My mind turned to Jack Benard as a possible answer
to a huge problem. And when I say 'huge', maybe 'insurmountable' might be
the next suitable synonym. It was a dark moment for me. Hiring Jack to teach
would be a gamble, but I was running out of options. I carefully went over
what I knew about this somewhat mysterious guy.
Jack Benard took Whip lessons from me back in the mid 90s along with former
SSQQ instructor Beth Bowman. He was incredibly tall, ridiculously shy, and
like many people at the studio suffered the handicap of being so bright that
he couldn't move his feet without his brain being heavily involved. His tall
body and overly analytical mind doomed him to be very mechanical in his
early attempts to master the Whip. Another handicap he fought was his
inability to hear the music very well. I remember how he used to constantly
count in hopes of staying close to the beat.
Another problem was his height. With his 6' 7" frame, Jack's partners rarely
came much higher than his chest, something he also felt self-conscious about
at first. However Jack was fairly relentless. He practiced and practiced his
dancing. What nature had robbed him of in terms of natural dance ability he
made up for with a determination that spoke volumes about his character.
There was a reason Jack pursued his Whip with such a passion. Jack has told
me several times that Dancing helped him conquer his acute shyness. It isn't
that easy to get to know him. For example, even though we were acquaintances
for 10 years, I never knew Jack on a personal basis. Jack is very insular.
If you ask him a question, he actually thinks about his answer for a while,
then responds when he is ready to, but not before. Small talk is not his
My guess is this natural reserve extended to the fair sex as well. Always
awkward around women, Jack said that dancing was his rescue. He developed so
much self-confidence from dancing that he finally escaped a shell of shyness
that had haunted him his entire life.
Jack joined the ssqq staff in the late mid 90s as a volunteer assistant. He
would help me and others teach the Whip. Jack refused to be paid because he
wanted to keep open his option to compete someday. Jack became Sharon
Crawford's assistant in Martian Whip when she taught the class around the
turn of the century.
When Sharon decided to cut back her teaching duties early in 2000, I admit I
completely overlooked Jack as her replacement. Jack was not exactly a born
self-promoter and I had no idea of his teaching talent at the time. Instead
I brought in Michael Stephens and Beth Bowman to take Sharon's place. At the
time, this couple had just won a city dance contest and had quite a
reputation. Jack was nice enough to stick around for a while, but soon tired
of his third-wheel status. It was also at this point that Jack decided to
make a serious career change.
Jack had worked as a chemist for one of the local oil companies here in
town, a job that paid well but one he wasn't very happy with. He never said
anything, but I imagine office politics drove him crazy. Sometime in late
2000 Jack told me he had left his chemist job and decided to open his own
business, a hypnosis clinic.
I immediately raised an eyebrow. This was a very big gamble, I thought to
myself. My four-year stint as a social worker back in the 70s had taught me
that helping people overcome their problems is a very difficult task.
Furthermore hypnosis is a skill with a somewhat shady reputation. Jack said
he would need to take time off from the staff to devote all his time to it.
I said I understood. People have the right to pursue their dreams and I
wished him well.
Jack drifted in and out of the studio for the next couple years. He loved to
teach West Coast Swing crash courses on Saturday nights, so this is how he
kept his irons in the fire. Then one day early in 2003 he asked permission
to teach a Latin Hustle class here at the studio on Sundays. Now I raised
As a background to this part of the story, the Latin Hustle was once the
love of my life. It is a fluid partner dance that works beautifully to Disco
music. Combining footwork similar to Swing and hip motion similar to Salsa,
it is a very pretty dance. During my early days as a Disco Dance teacher in
the late 70s, I taught different levels of Hustle classes practically every
night of the week.
When Disco died an early death here in Houston due to the opening of "Urban
Cowboy", I was beside myself with depression over the loss of my beloved
Latin Hustle. But it was doomed! For example, during the early days of the
new 'Urban Cowboy' era, whenever the DJ would periodically put on a Disco
song I would try the Hustle again. It was not to be.
I vividly remember getting run over by Western dancers whenever I tried to
dance the Latin Hustle. One guy laughed after knocking me off balance and
jeered, "Didn't anyone tell you Disco's Dead??" Ha Ha.
I can read the writing on the wall. Bowing to the hostility behind the
"Disco Sucks" and the "I was Country before Country was Cool" slogans of the
day, I put away my Hustle and began to master the Twostep and Western Swing
for the next three years.
Once Western dancing had lost some of its challenge, I got interested in
learning how to Whip in 1982. I discovered I loved Blues music far more than
I had ever cared for Disco music. Even better, I loved the sexy, naughty,
intricate moves of the Whip. My Latin Hustle days faded even further into
Once in a while out of nostalgia I would offer another Latin Hustle class
here at the studio, but I never saw much interest in it. People would ask
for a class and I might get 10 people max. Ho hum. Nor was there any
interest in Intermediate levels. I gave up even bothering to offer another
class. So here was Jack Benard asking permission to teach a Hustle class! I
scoffed. Be my guest. I expected him to fall flat on his face.
So it was with fascination when I noticed Jack Benard was teaching a class
with nearly 30 people in it! How the heck did he do that? Don't forget, the
Latin Hustle was in a highly dormant state. Some would even say the dance
didn't even have a pulse.
I kept my eye on Jack. The next time I looked Jack had an Intermediate Latin
Hustle class with 20 people in it! I was amazed. And Jack had an Advanced
Latin Hustle class as well. I was amazed. It occurred to me I had seriously
underestimated Jack's ability as a dance teacher.
Now as I sat alone on the couch that night in March 2003 staring at my empty
Whip Practice Room, I figured if Jack could breathe life into an extinct
dance, what could he accomplish with a living, breathing, kicking dance like
Whip and West Coast?
I decided it was worth the risk!!
Jack started teaching an Intermediate Whip/WCS class with Michelle Wann as
his partner in April 2003. I can still remember the Practice night after his
first class. Jack and I danced with two women. After each song we would look
at each other and say, "Change Partners". There were all of four people. The
two ladies soon became exhausted and left. I think Jack wore them out!
I pointed to the empty room and told Jack this is what I had meant when I
said the Practice Night energy had dropped to an all-time low. He smiled and
said we were going to change that.
I swear I wanted hug the guy at that moment for his support. I was so
grateful to have Jack's strength to lean on. I had been depressed about the
state of things and now I had someone offering to help me fight. It was like
having a buddy in the foxhole ready to take on the world. I was instantly
recharged with the determination to turn this around.
Four weeks later, the Sleazy Bar Whip Party in April 2003 was one of our
best in years. We started the dance with Whip back in Room 4, but the
attendance was so large that we were forced to move the crowd into Room 1.
It was fun to see a lot of good Whip dancing! I smiled a lot throughout the
party. This was a good omen.
During the Sleazy Bar Party, I kept my eye on my foxhole partner. Every time
I looked, there was Jack smiling while he danced with yet another woman who
barely came up to his chest. At 6' 7", Jack was pretty easy to spot. It was
never Jack and the Beanstalk - Jack was the Beanstalk!
Fortunately the women didn't care if Jack was a giant; he was gentle and fun
to dance with. There was actually a line of women waiting to dance with
Jack! In fact I laughed as one woman accused another of cutting in line
ahead of her. I had never in my career seen something quite this silly
happen before! Here were two grown women fighting over the next dance with
"No, I'm next!"
"No you're not! I am!"
"You cut; it's my turn!"
"You lost your spot when you danced with someone else!"
"Did not! It's still my turn!"
"You moved away. Too bad."
"Well, I'm back, so tough toenails!"
Although in some ways I envied Jack his popularity, truthfully I was glad it
was him and not me. I never could figure out where Jack got that kind of
patience and stamina for his Marathon Nights of Whip. The man would dance
non-stop at Practice Night!! He took all comers whether they were experts or
beginners. When he had danced with every woman in the room, he started over!
I never had a conversation with him for the simple reason that he never sat
down. Attendance at Whip Practice Night grew and grew. The women would stay
to dance with Jack. The men would stay to dance with the women. It was
awesome to watch.
One night I walked over to dance with a lady who earlier had asked me to
save her a dance. Just as we walked on the floor, suddenly she bolted from
me and ran over to Jack instead. She had noticed that by some miracle Jack
had come free. Calling to me from across the floor, she explained that she
could dance with me any time, but Jack might be tied up for the rest of the
Ordinarily I would have been insulted, but for some strange reason I
actually understood. A dance with Jack was one Hot Ticket!
The past year was one of the finest years for the SSQQ Whip/West Coast Swing
program in many years. Charlene Tees came along at the same time and proved
to be a terrific addition to our team. Michelle Wann, Anita Williams,
Bethany Daniels, and MG Anseman all contributed a great deal as well. I
can't begin to say how proud I am of all six instructors. In addition we
were fortunate to develop a large team of volunteers to help us teach. This
group included Patty Harrison, Jorge Rodriguez, Joe Thayer, Cher Longoria,
Rey Velasquez, Bruce Hanka, Judy Foster, Gary Schweinle, and BK Moring. More
recently we have been fortunate to attract yet another level of volunteers
such as George Sargent, Milt Oglesby, Phyllis Porter, and Kerry Pelham. The
studio is so fortunate to have this kind of support.
Yet with all this help, you know exactly whom I credit most for stopping the
downhill moment and turning it around. Jack was clearly the MVP.
To an outsider Jack would be a tall, ungainly guy who didn't say much or
even dance at a championship level. But to his students, he radiated warmth
and encouragement. Jack quickly became so popular on Thursday that I decided
to ask him to teach on Friday too. Sure enough, attendance in the Friday
class picked up immediately. I never audited one of Jack's classes, so I
don't know what his teaching style was. To be honest the source of his
charisma was a mystery to me, but it was unmistakably there. Whatever magic
he used, it worked wonders! I teased him that he must be using some of his
hypnosis tricks. Attendance grew and grew, both in the Whip classes and at
Practice Night. Jack was pure magic.
Then one night in December 2003, Jack showed up at the studio with a long
face. I asked what had happened. He said his hypnotism clinic had gone
bankrupt. Uh oh. A sense of dread came over me. It had long been rumored
that Jack wanted to return to his beloved California someday. This might be
it, I thought to myself. Without a full-time job to hold him here, he might
move back to California and start over.
Sure enough, in the middle of March 2004 Jack stopped me before class to
tell me he had accepted a job as a hypnotist at a clinic in Beverly Hills,
California. He looked very upset. I immediately told him it was okay, that
we had a young man named Bryan Spivey who was ready for a promotion. I told
Jack that he had done a magnificent job helping return our Whip program to
health and how grateful I was for his immense contribution. Humble as
always, Jack refused to take any credit for the turnaround. Then he added
the only reason he was still in Houston was because he loved to teach at our
studio so much. Otherwise he would have been gone long ago.
My heart pounded with sadness, believe me, but I decided it would be better
not to show it. Like a kid heading off to college, you know your going to
miss him, but since it's the next place for them to be there's no sense
making him or her feel guilty about it. That's the way I felt about Jack.
There was something he needed to do in California, so I had to set him free.
That still didn't make it easy for me. I have been in mourning for some time
now. I felt just like a coach seeing a star high school basketball player
head off to college. He (She) is not only a great talent, but a great kid
too. You know your gonna miss 'em, but you have to do the right thing and
let them go.
In the year that Jack worked his magic, our attendance grew by 50%. In March
2004, we had 123 registrations as opposed to 84 from March 2003. Sometimes
the attendance in Jack's classes were so big, he had to use Room One just to
fit them all in. Who did Jack think he is, Sharon Crawford?
Two days ago, I answered the studio phone. The man identified himself as
"Robert". He wanted to know what night Jack was teaching Beginning Whip. He
had Heard It through the Grapevine that Jack was a great dance teacher. I
patiently explained that Jack had just left for California. I heard him
softly cuss over the phone. He began to bitch and moan about his lousy luck.
Finally he stopped for a second, then asked, "Who are you going to get to
take his place?"
Before I could answer, Robert started to laugh. He said it just dawned on
him who he was talking to and that I taught the same class that Jack did. He
said he didn't mean to be so disrespectful! It was sort of like a guy dating
two girls who sings the praises of one girl to the other, a definite dating
No-No. For some reason, I did not feel insulted at all. After all, I was
used to it by now.
Ironically each time for the past year whenever I would go to choose an
"SSQQ Teacher of the Month", Jack was the first person who crossed my mind.
This is the absolute truth. Like an idiot I have watched in awe for 52
straight weeks as Jack has worked his subtle magic without once getting
around to acknowledging his contributions.
There are so many terrific instructors who work here that someone would do
something or something unusual would come along each month that would be
interesting to write about whereas Jack's work was constantly excellent, but
never headline grabbing. It was getting to the point where I figured I was
going to have to create a "Lifetime Achievement Award" for the guy.
Take Cary Grant. Although Grant was one of Hollywood's finest talents, he
never won an Oscar. He was nominated several times, but because he was so
amazingly consistent and effortless in his work, none of his roles really
stood out. Each year another actor would get the nod instead of Cary Grant.
Robert Redford is another excellent actor who suffered a similar fate. Jack
got the short end of the "Teacher of the Month" stick in the same way.
I knew that any month I wanted to, I could choose Jack, but I NEVER chose
him because he was my ace in the hole. Any time it was convenient would be
Jack's turn. Finally it got ridiculous. Last month I decided I was tired of
putting off a story about this talented man. I made a firm decision after
last month's "Teacher of the Month" selection that no matter who did what,
it was Jack's turn hell or high water. Two weeks later he resigned. Serves
me right, huh!
At Jack's Going Away Party, I avoided him all night. I just could not bear
to dance in the same room with him or say goodbye to him. Finally after
sitting on the couch for well over an hour, I decided it was time. I went
in, waited for a song to end, then shook his hand. He and I gave each other
a big hug. I honestly think we were both on the edge of tears, but don't
tell anyone. He and I seemed to think alike - let's make this short and
sweet. With that I said goodbye and left, noting with some amusement a line
of six women waiting for their next dance with Jack.
For any man out there feeling lost, lonely, and unappreciated, Jack Benard
will always be an icon for the wonders that dancing can do for someone's
social life. I hope there are a couple of you guys out there who take notice
of Jack's transformation from Geek to Sleek and realize there's nothing
stopping you from accomplishing the same thing. Women love to dance and they
love the men who make it fun for them.
Despite the fact that I never knew Jack on a personal level, I always knew
that Jack was my friend. Although there was always a definite air of mystery
about him and there were things about him I didn't quite understand, my
lasting memory is that Jack's presence always made me feel secure. Whenever
he was around, I felt stronger.
As long as I live, I will remember it was Jack who picked me up when I had
fallen. For this and all the other memories, I will miss Jack Benard
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THE WINNERS OF
LAST MONTH'S SSQQ LOGIC PUZZLE
The March puzzle dealing with a Family Tree turned out to be a
lot harder than I thought. We had only 4 winners this month, all
One of the winners, Ann Faget, had this to say about the puzzle:
"Hi Rick - this month's puzzle was REALLY confusing! This is the
first time I'm not 100% sure of my answers. Please don't tell
anyone if I don't get it right. But if I am in the first three,
please give the prize to someone else since I will be out of
town on 3/27. Thanks, Ann"
It is a shame that Ann gave her hard-earned victory away because
she needs all the dance practice she can get! Especially in Whip
class where she promised to return after dropping out!
The nine-month two-way between the Woodmans (Connie and Jeff)
and Ann Faget continues with Usual Suspect Susan Arevalo nipping
on their toes just WAITING for one to slip. Susan's been in the
money for eight months straight. Not one rookie broke through
this month and several previous winners were turned away at the
door. However February's Logic Rookie of the Month looks like a
serious player with his second straight march to the victory
stand. The Big Three better watch out!!
If we can't break this tie soon, we may have to have a
Puzzle-Off where Jeff, Connie, Ann, and maybe me (it may be hard
to believe but I solve these stupid puzzles too!) plus maybe our
logic hall of famers Mara and Marlies where we all sit down with
three puzzles and say 'ready set go!!'
It will be fun to watch the steam rise as our minds work
By the way, Hey, there's room for everyone to play!
And did you know we give away free dance classes? Anyone with
enough brains to solve these puzzles probably suffers like Ann
Faget whom I love to tease because she always gets me back from
acute intelligence handicaps when it comes to dancing, so here's
a way to use your brains to get much-needed help!
This short little puzzle had more wrong answers submitted than
any previous puzzle. Now I don't feel so bad for not being able
to solve it the first time. I played with it on the plane trip
back from my ski trip to Aspen on Superbowl Sunday, but couldn't
figure it out. I had to put it down and pick it up again to
finally crack the mystery. What I can't understand is how
something that SHORT can be that tricky, but it is.
So here are this month's champions:
1. Susan Arevalo (Eight months in a row!)
2. Ritesh Laud (Second month in a row!)
3. Jeff and Connie Woodman (Nine months in a row!)
4. Ann Faget (Nine months in a row!)
By the way, we could use some new players in the SSQQ Logic
Club. Check out this month's new puzzle and send me an answer!!
THE NEW LOGIC PUZZLE
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SSQQ LOGIC PUZZLE
AT THE HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL GAME
With a nod to the March Basketball Madness, here is a fun logic
puzzle with a B-Ball theme to it.
At a recent High School basketball game, the incoming freshmen
were expected to sit together in one particular section of the
bleachers where the teachers could keep an eye on them.
Accordingly each of the 20 members of the class was assigned a
specific seat in a special area over in the lower corner of the
stands. The Freshman seating section consisted of 4 rows, 5
students to a row.
Seats 101 through 105 formed the front row, with 201 through 205
directly behind the first row, 301 through 305 the third row,
and 401 through 405 on the fourth row.
From the following clues, can you give the students' full names
and list the exact the seat number where each child sat??
Get your pencils ready. Get your ruler ready. Get some paper for
that graph. On your mark, get set, Click that mouse!
PICTURE OF THE MONTH
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THE SSQQ JOKE PICTURE
OF THE MONTH
THE MYSTERIOUS BEER COLLECTION.
Contributed by Judy Walsh
This month's picture is actually something of a puzzle. It
features a collection of beer bottles and it's your job to
figure out exactly what it is you are looking at. It took me
several minutes, but then I don't drink beer. My hunch is that
beer drinkers all think alike and should pick up on the riddle
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THE WORST SSQQ PUN OF THE MONTH
(There is no such thing as a
THE SSQQ PUN OF THE MONTH: A Frog Walks into a Bank
Contributed by Judith Williams
A Frog walks into a bank...
A frog goes into a bank and approaches the teller. He can see
from her nameplate that her name is Patricia Whack.
"Miss Whack, I'd like to get a $30,000 loan to take a holiday."
Patty looks at the frog in disbelief and asks his name.
The frog says his name is Kermit Jagger, his dad is Mick Jagger,
and that it's okay, he knows the bank manager.
Patty explains that he will need to secure the loan with some
The frog says, "Sure. I have this," and produces a tiny
porcelain elephant, about an inch tall, bright pink and
Very confused, Patty explains that she'll have to consult with
the bank manager and disappears into a back office.
She finds the manager and says, "There's a frog called Kermit
Jagger out there who claims to know you and wants to borrow
$30,000, and he wants to use this as collateral."
She holds up the tiny pink elephant. "I mean, what in the world
The bank manager looks back at her and says...
"It's a knickknack, Patty Whack. Give the frog a loan. His old
man's a Rolling Stone."
THE SSQQ VOCABULARY WORD OF THE MONTH
KERFUFFLE -Submitted by Ann Faget
A kerfuffle is a disturbance or a fuss.
It is a big word that basically means you have your panties in a
Example: Everyone in the Bush Cabinet was in a huge kerfuffle
over the Richard Clarke allegations.
So here's a question for you smarty pants out there: Who
remembers the meaning of "Mugwump", our word from last month? No
one? That's what I thought. Here is an instant replay for you
MUGWUMP: A regular member who bolts a party and adopts an
independent position; one who is undecided or neutral (as in
politics) often as a result of an inability to make up his mind,
a fence sitter. (Historically, a bolter from the Republican
party in the election of 1884.)
(Editor's Note: I think this is a dangerous word. If you call
someone a 'Mugwump', you better be sure they have an extensive
vocabulary or else be ready to duck. I for one had not a clue
what it meant and feel energized from adding to my vocabulary. I
intend to call everyone a "Mugwump" in class this month as a way
to see the extent of Newsletter reading.
Thank you, Ann!
By the way, everyone gets to play this game. Ann sent hers in just a couple
weeks ago. If you have a good vocabulary word, send it in!! Best word each
month gets a free practice night. Be sure to add a sentence!
SSQQ SLOW DANCE AND
MARCH SSQQ SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE: PAT
BRADSHAW AND KENT MAHAFFEY GET MARRIED!
(Editor's Note: Last month I complained bitterly that there were
no Valentine's Romances to report. Thank goodness Pat
Bradshaw-Mahaffey sent this letter proving me wrong!)
"Guess what, Rick, there was Valentine romance after all! Here
is the story!
Last summer - right before the July 4th cruise - my good friend
and "roommate" on the cruise, Cheryl Cormier, introduced me to a
dance friend that she had known for some time while we were out
dancing at West Wind. Can you imagine - not sharing your dance
friends! This dashing dancer was Kent Mahaffey.
Well to make a long story short - WE have been dancing together
ever since that night. Believe it or not - we are a mixed dance
family - he was a Marilyn's trained dancer -- we CAN actually
We were married February 14, 2004 here in Houston. All of our
families and many friends joined us to celebrate. We had a
wonderful wedding party. Our dancer friends proved to know how
to have fun --- I have pictures! Then Carnival cruised to Mexico
for seven days! (February was not the best for weather - but we
had a great time.)
We will see you soon again at the studio.
Here are a couple pictures (not the best dance form), but we had
fun with Mitch in the background!
(Editor's Note: The "Marilyn's" that Pat referred to is
Marilyn's Traveling Dance Studio. It is not a well-known story,
but Marilyn Courtney actually applied to teach for me back
sometime around 1980/81. She audited one of my classes for one
month, then decided she would rather be on her own and turned
around to open her own dance studio. I have never seen her
since. For the last twenty years our studios have co-existed
peacefully. It is my understanding that these days Marilyn
teaches over at Wild West. It is indeed good to know dancers
from the two different studios can not only dance together, but
even fall in love. Congratulations to both Kent and Pat!)
SSQQ SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE: MARIAN SCHOPPE GETS ENGAGED TO
MYSTERY CRUISE GENTLEMAN!!
Wed 03/17/2004 5:03 PM
From Gary Richardson:
"Hey Rick, Do you remember the two pretty sisters on the cruise
last year that sat on the other side of the dining room from us
all. The sister with the dark hair just got engaged to a
gentleman she met on the cruise. They have been going together
every since and didn't know each other prior to meeting on the
ship. This was reported to me by her sister Janet last night
(blonde, short, real cute) while we were dancing at the Wild
Yes, I most certainly do remember those two pretty sisters!
Their names are Marian and Janet Schoppe. However as you will
soon read I am ready to maim one of them!!
On the 2002 SSQQ Summer Cruise, we had two beautiful women
missing in action! There were so many people aboard our trip
that it wasn't until the second day when I did a head count at
dinner. That is when I realized we were definitely missing
someone. Back in the cabin I reviewed the list of passengers.
This is how I discovered that one of my favorite passengers -
Janet Schoppe - was nowhere to be found. Nor was her sister
Janet Schoppe had taken several of my dance classes during the
spring of 2002. Janet had so much fun with the dancing that she
talked her lovely sister Marian into joining her on the cruise
trip. I never actually had a conversation with Marian that
entire trip, mostly because she disappeared almost from the
Curious to find my missing passengers, at dinner the third night
I prowled around the dining room only to find lo and behold that
Janet and her sister Marian were sitting on the opposite side of
the floor at a small, intimate table for 6. They were laughing
and smiling deep in conversation with the other guests at their
table. Undaunted, I interrupted the conversation to say, 'Hi,
where have you been and what happened to you guys?'
Marian just smiled while Janet explained this table is where
they had been seated from the start. Due to the seating snafu,
the sisters had been essentially culled from our group.
I immediately invited them both to rejoin the main group of 86
people. To my surprise, neither woman seemed interested. They
said they had made friends with their waiter. Oh really? I had
no choice but to respect their wishes. Instead I sent my friend
Gary Richardson over to their table to at least get a couple
pictures to prove they really did come along.
That was about it for the Marian on the trip. I never saw her
again. At least Janet joined the group for a couple dancing
activities. The next I saw Marian was on TV of all places. It
turns out she appears fairly frequently in local commercials. I
was surprised to find out Marian not only had a voice, she was
extremely poised as well. Thank goodness for television! I asked
Janet about the TV commercial. Janet explained that her sister
Marian had participated in several beauty contests when she was
younger and parlayed this experience into modeling and acting.
That was the last I heard of Marian for two years until Gary
sent me the email recently. I then discovered I did not have an
email address to ask Janet any questions. Frustrated, I had to
wait four days till Janet showed up in my Martian Whip class.
Janet confirmed that sister Marian had indeed met a man on that
trip and had been going with him ever since. She also PROMISED
to email me more information, but now two weeks later I haven't
seen a word!!
Therefore I am going to simply relay what little Janet told me.
She said that one night on the cruise Marian had attended a
singles dance. At the dance she met a gentleman who was not with
our group and hit it off with him immediately. As a result they
spent the rest of the trip with each other. Janet rolled her
eyes as only someone who has been 'deserted' can do. Although
she was clearly pleased at her sister's good fortune, Janet also
would have enjoyed a little more company. Too bad Janet didn't
spend more time with our group!!
This story means we have our first confirmed engagement in
studio history without a name! Marian Schoppe to wed John Doe!!
Now there's a headline for you.
Next month, though, I won't let you down. I am going to track
Janet down and turn her on the dance floor a hundred times until
I get the entire story out of her!! Expect the complete story of
another SSQQ Cruise Romance involving Marian and the Mystery
SSQQ SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE: CYNDI RICHARDSON IS ENGAGED TO MIKE
My friends Gary and Betty Richardson report their beautiful
daughter, Cyndi, got engaged to Mike Atchison this past weekend.
They have been going together for over two years now.
(Editor's Note: Sadly I am unable to count this as an SSQQ
Romance. The truth is that the beautiful Cyndi dropped out of
dance class the moment she met Mike through her church. Dance
refugee that she is, I still am very happy for her!! Maybe she
and Mike will sign up for lessons for their wedding dance,
another thriving ssqq side business!)
VENUS AND MARS
THE VENUS MARS OBSERVATION
Contributed by Marla Gorzynski
Everybody on earth dies and goes to heaven. God comes and says,
"I want the men to make two lines. Make one line for the men
that dominated their women on earth and make another other line
for the men that were dominated by their women."
God waited for the women to go and then looked at the lines. The
line of the men that were dominated by their women was 100 miles
long, and in the line of men that dominated their women, there
was only one man.
God became angry and said, "You men should be ashamed of
yourselves. I created you in my own image, but made the mistake
of giving your free will. Now ever since that damn Eve, I see
that every last one of you were all whipped by your mates."
Now a smile came over God's face and he sees the solitary man in
the other line. "Behold the one man on earth who stood up and
made me proud. Learn from him! Tell them, my son, how did you
manage to be the only one in this line?"
The man replied, "I don't know, God, my wife told me to stand
RETURN TO HEADLINES
RETURN TO REGULAR FEATURES
THE SSQQ CLEAN
SIDE JOKE PAGE
Clean Side Jokes
Over the years, SSQQ has been fortunate to
receive many jokes sent to us by our Newsletter readers. We have
compiled them into our Monthly Joke Page. At the end of the
year, I will add the jokes that appear in our "Best New Jokes"
column into this monthly "Hall of Fame" section. This way your
jokes will become immortal!!
Last year we had three new jokes published in the April 2003
Newsletter that have been added to our "Hall of Fame" entries
listed below. Drum Roll please for Loni Lewellyn, Donna Mullen,
and frequent contributor Leroy Ginzel. You can their
contributions among the regular April Clean Side Jokes listed
April Clean Side Jokes
April CS 01: The Eye Puzzle - Rick Archer
April CS 02: Air Force One Crashes - Chris Holmes
April CS 03: Take Me Out to the Ballgame! - Mike Guillory
April CS 04: Chocolate Chip Cookies - Chris Holmes
April CS 05: The Kind Lawyer - Gary Richardson
April CS 06: Doctor, Doctor, Mr. MD - Gary Richardson
April CS 07: Diagnosis Please! - Marty Shea and Joseph
April CS 08: First Grade Logic - Gillian Tilbury
April CS 09: The Aggie, the Longhorn, & the Pig-Mike
April CS 10: The Smart Dog - Pat Roberts
April CS 11: Rocket Scientist! - Melissa Hogan and Richard
April CS 12: A Nice Gesture Rewarded - Judy Walsh
April CS 13: The Bad Development - Mike Guillory
April CS 14: The Cross Examination - Mike Guillory
April CS 15: Another Good Comeback - Mike Guillory/ Richard
April CS 16: The Sailor Finds a Room - Mike Guillory/ Sharon
April CS 17: The Jewish Funeral-Richard Weisberg/ Joseph
April CS 18: Marriage and Parents - Joseph Stuteville
April CS 19: The Smuggler - Joseph Stuteville
April CS 20: Doctor's Diagnosis - Rodrigo Aranda
April CS 21: The Drunk Looks for Jesus - Amy Hovatter
April CS 22: The Lawn Mower - Chris Holmes
April CS 23: The Robbers - Susie Merrill
April CS 24: The Blonde and the Redhead Make a Bet - Loni
April CS 25: The Preacher's Ass - Donna Mullen
April CS 26: Role Reversal - Leroy Ginzel
Each month I reprint one of my favorite jokes of all time in the
Newsletter. This month I shine the SSQQ Hall of Fame Spotlight
April CS 09: The Aggie, the Longhorn, and the Pig
A student from Texas A&M University, a student from The
University of Texas, and a pig were in the hospital waiting
room, each awaiting the birth of his firstborn child. Suddenly,
the lights went out.
Fortunately, power was restored shortly thereafter and the head
nurse made her way to the waiting room.
"I've got good news and bad news for both you gentlemen and Mr.
Pig," she announced. "Despite the electrical outage, two healthy
young boys and one healthy piglet have been delivered. "However,
since the lights went out at the most inopportune time, we
aren't sure which firstborn belongs to whom. The only way we
know to resolve the problem is to draw straws and have the
winner choose first."
The three proud papas agreed this was the fairest way. The UT
grad won the drawing.
He was escorted into the delivery room and looked at the three
newborns for a painstakingly long time.
Finally, with head bowed, he scooped up the piglet and headed
for the door.
The nurse gasped. "Sir, are you quite certain that you've made
the right choice?!!" she asked with a frown.
"No, I'm not," replied the Longhorn. "But I just couldn't run
the risk of choosing the Aggie!"
(Editor's Note: to any of you upset Aggies out there
and ready to twist me into a pretzel,
you might note how easy it is to change the re-telling of this
"No, I'm not," replied the Aggie. "But I just couldn't run the
risk of choosing the Longhorn!!"
Many jokes get sent to me that have simply re-worded the main
characters in the telling.)
RETURN TO HEADLINES
RETURN TO REGULAR FEATURES
RETURN TO SPECIAL FEATURES
BLUE SIDE JOKES!
The Blue Side Jokes are one of the great
secrets of the SSQQ web site. It is
your reward for taking dance classes at SSQQ.
Anyone who is on the SSQQ Registration List is welcome to have
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.
Although the Blue Side is off-limits to the outer world
and only SSQQ Students are invited into the inner sanctum of
Dirty Jokes, each month we manage to find one that is
printable. Please see below!!
(Editor's Note: The Blue Side of Town Joke Page is 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 naughty jokes
Bad news - I discovered some kids were circulating this address
around town, so I have moved it to a new location. In the
meantime, you can still read the three "Newest" Blue Jokes at
April BS 22: It Could Get Worse - Chris Holmes
April BS 23: The Dangerous Looking Biker - Chris Holmes
April BS 24: The Mini Skirt - Gary Richardson
All you need to do to get the new address is to email me from
the email address you use to register for classes and request
April Blue Side Jokes
April BS 01: The Frog and the Well-Hung Man - Michael Brockmyre
April BS 02: Aging Gracefully - Michael Brockmyre and Robin
April BS 03: The Minister and his Congregation - Andre Faust
April BS 04: Venus and Mars Again - Cindy Sue Cortez
April BS 05: Bull Story - Gary Richardson
April BS 06: How Yodeling Was Invented - John Anderson
April BS 07: 10 Things Men Know About Women - Gail Sink
April BS 08: Bubba and His Friends - Kathleen Parker and Jill
April BS 09: National Poetry Contest - Richard Weisberg
April BS 10: Sexual Disfunktion - Bett Sundermeyer
April BS 11: The Camping Trip - Bett Sundermeyer
April BS 12: The Chicken Studd -Tracy King
April BS 13: The Doctor's Exam - Judy Walsh
April BS 14: The Gorilla - Pat Roberts
April BS 15: The Anniversary Present - Kathleen Parker
April BS 16: Be Careful Who You Sleep With - Bett Sundermeyer
April BS 17: The Fireman - Carole Nelson
April BS 18: Cake or Bed - Jerald Anthony
April BS 19: The Marriage Competition - Crista Reuss
April BS 20: The Friendly Neighborhood - Pat Roberts
April BS 21: The Mask - Rick Archer
April BS 22: It Could Get Worse - Chris Holmes
April BS 23: The Dangerous Looking Biker - Chris Holmes
April BS 24: The Mini Skirt - Gary Richardson
Although the Blue Side is off-limits to the outer world and only
SSQQ Students are invited into the inner sanctum of "Dirty
Jokes", each month we manage to find one that is on the edge of
printable. This next joke is one of my very favorites.
Contributed by SSQQ Instructor Tracy King, it's a classic!
April BS 12: The Chicken Studd
This farmer has about 200 hens, but no rooster, and he wants
chicks. So he goes down the road to the next farmer and asks if
he has a rooster. The other farmer says, "Yeah, I've got this
great rooster, named Randy; he'll service every chicken you got,
Well, Randy the rooster costs a lot of money, but the farmer
decides he'd be worth it. So, he buys Randy. The farmer takes
Randy home and sets him down in the barnyard, giving the rooster
a pep talk, "Randy, I want you to pace yourself now. You've got
a lot of chickens to Service here, and you cost me a lot of
money and, I'll need you to do a good job. So, take your time
and have some fun," the farmer said with a chuckle.
Randy seemed to understand so the farmer points toward the hen
house and Randy took off like a shot. ~WHAM~ He nails every hen
in there THREE or FOUR times and the farmer is just shocked.
Randy runs out of the hen house and sees a flock of geese down
by the lake, ~WHAM~ He gets all the geese. Randy's up in the
pigpen, he's in with the cows. Jeez, Randy is jumping on every
animal the farmer owns.
The farmer is distraught, Worried that his expensive rooster
won't even last the day. Sure enough, the farmer goes to bed and
wakes up the next day to find Randy dead as a doorknob, stone
cold, in the middle of the yard. The farmer is sick in his
Buzzards are circling overhead.
The farmer, saddened by the loss of such a colorful animal,
shakes his head and says, "Oh, Randy, I told you to pace
yourself. I tried to get you to slow down, now look what you've
done to yourself."
Randy opens one eye, points toward the sky and says, "Shhh.....they're
START OF THE SPECIAL FEATURES SECTION
a Special Note
from Rick Archer about Email, the SSQQ Newsletter, and Spam.
I now receive an average of 150 spam emails a day. Because
I run a business where people email me at random from all over the world on
a variety of subjects, I am reluctant to install filters.
The problem with this kind of volume is the potential I
can accidentally delete valuable emails from ssqq students, especially when
I dont recognize the name. To minimize this possibility, please be sure to
put a title with some thought behind it in the Subject box when you are
trying to contact us.
As for the SSQQ Email Newsletter, more and more people
report that it is being blocked at their jobs as Spam. This leaves me no
choice but to make the Email I send out as innocuous as possible.
For that matter you may stop receiving the SSQQ Email
Newsletter at any time for reasons that are out of my hands. A month ago, I
had over 600 Newsletter Emails sent to students with Yahoo accounts bounced
back to me. I contacted Yahoo and was given no explanation why the emails
bounced. It is tough to correct a problem when you dont even know what is
In the future, I suggest you automatically go to the
Newsletter on the SSQQ Web Site a couple days before classes start and read
the latest news whether you get an email reminder or not.
NO STANDING IN LINE SIGN UP ON-LINE (SSQQ ONLINE
||AND THATS A WRAP FOR THIS ISSUE (AND DONT FORGET TO GO
TO THE WEB SITE FOR THE COMPLETE NEWSLETTER!!)
As you can see, the SSQQ Newsletter is written to a large
extent by its readers. Many people contribute jokes, pictures, and
interesting items each month. Anyone is welcome to join the fun!
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!
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!
SSQQ Dance Studio