March 2004
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The SSQQ March 2004 Newsletter
Written and edited monthly by Rick Archer

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HEADLINES

ONE THE NEW SSQQ 4TH OF JULY CRUISE TO COZUMEL AND CANCUN (JULY 3 - JULY 8)
TWO MARCH DANCE CLASSES BEGIN THE WEEK OF SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 29TH.
THREE UPCOMING DANCE PARTIES INCLUDING "BACK IN THE SADDLE" ON SATURDAY, FEB 28th
FOUR SUSAN SCHROEDER ANNOUNCES THE OPENING OF SUSIE Q'S QUICK STOP IN APRIL.
FIVE PROUD OF MY SCHOOL: SAINT JOHNS SCHOOL FINALLY GETS IT RIGHT!
SIX HALF-PRICE POLICY CHANGE EFFECTIVE STARTING IN APRIL 2004
SEVEN SSQQ WILL BE MAKING CHANGES IN OUR PRACTICE NIGHT SYSTEM STARTING IN MARCH.
EIGHT AN SSQQ STUDENT REPLIES TO THE COMPLAINT ABOUT NOT SWITCHING PARTNERS.
NINE THE STORY OF THE SSQQ NEWSLETTER
TEN END OF AN ERA: MOJO DANCE SHOES IS HAVING A MARCH SHOE SALE
ELEVEN SSQQ STAFF UPDATES FOR MARCH 2004
TWELVE  
THIRTEEN  
FOURTEEN  
FIFTEEN  
       

REGULAR FEATURES

COMPLAINT OF THE MONTH SSQQ IS CAUGHT PLAGIARIZING ANOTHER WEB SITE!!
BEST NEW JOKES OF MONTH 18 NEW JOKES THIS MONTH!! 
Contributed by Chris Holmes, Judy Walsh, Bett Sundermeyer, Carole Nelson, and Crista Reuss.
SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE WHO GOT ENGAGED THIS MONTH?
ssqq employee of month PATTY (OR) HOLMES AND BETHANY DANIELS
ssqq logic club WHO WERE THE WINNERS OF THE FEBRUARY PUZZLE? NOW ONLY 3 PEOPLE TIED FOR FIRST PLACE!!
NEW logic puzzle tHE NEW MARCH SSQQ LOGIC PUZZLE: THE FAMILY TREE
joke picture of the month JANET HAD A LITTLE COMPETITION AT THE SUPERBOWL!! - Contributed by Anita Williams
WORST NEW PUN OF MONTH VEGETABLE TRAGEDY.  Contributed by Judy Walsh
VOCABULARY WORD  THE SUSPENSE IS KILLING US!  Contributed by Ann Faget
VENUS AND MARS A Poem Contributed by Judy Walsh
CLEAN SIDE JOKES FEATURING A CLASSIC IRISH DRINKING JOKE FROM RODRIGO ARANDA
BLUE SIDE JOKES FEATURING A HILARIOUS ROADSIDE ESCAPADE STORY FROM MICHAEL BROCKMYRE
       

SPECIAL FEATURES

  FEATURE ONE   CITIBANK WANTS DEAD PEOPLE TO PAY UP! - Contributed by Pat Roberts
  FEATURE TWO   SPEAKING OF DEAD PEOPLE - Contributed by Pat Roberts
  FEATURE THREE   THE LEAP YEAR STORY - from Martha Brockenbrough of Microsoft Encarta Magazine
  FEATURE FOUR   ADVICE FOR DEALING WITH CHILDREN - Contributed by Lynn Griffiths
  FEATURE FIVE   BETTY THE SPY - A TRUE STORY ABOUT BETTY RICHARDSON FROM 1999
  FEATURE SIX   EENIE MEENIE MINIE MO: A YEAR LATER - THE AMAZING SW AIRLINES LAWSUIT REVISITED
       
 
 

START OF THE HEADLINE STORIES SECTION

 

STORY ONE

RETURN TO HEADLINES

 

 

THE SSQQ FOURTH OF JULY CRUISE TO COZUMEL AND CANCUN!
SATURDAY, JULY 3 - THURSDAY, JULY 8

 
 

Trip Write-Up
http://ssqq.com/information/celebration2004.htm
Registration form:
http://ssqq.com/information/registration04.htm

Travel Agent:
Marla Gorzynski
Marla@ssqq.com
713.862.4428

 
 
SSQQ Travel has scheduled an exciting 5-day Cruise on Carnival's 'Celebration', which sails out of Galveston. This is a Perfect July 4th Getaway!

As many of you are well aware, we took this same trip at this time last summer and ended up with 144 passengers. We had to turn away another dozen after the ship ran out of space. We had the absolute time of lives.

You definitely should read the story about last year's trip
http://ssqq.com/information/jubilee2003storyoftrip.htm

and see the great pictures that Gary Richardson took.
http://ssqq.com/information/jubileepics01.htm

SSQQ Cruise Trips have taken 330 people sailing over the past three summers. Last year we easily beat our 2001 record of 101! This year we have one more day so we can add Cancun to our itinerary plus we have a far superior ship. Building on the momentum from last year, maybe this year we will top last year's 144. After turning away so many people, at least we learned our lesson so this time we reserved pace for up to 200 passengers. Inconceivable? Maybe. Then again, Maybe Not.

So far we have two - Rick and Marla.

(Who is Going: http://ssqq.com/information/celebrationpassengers.htm )

This trip is a sprint. Hold nothing back! We leave on a Saturday afternoon. Party hard for five solid nights with your friends from the studio. Celebrate the 4th of July in grand style. What better way to take advantage of the long July 4th holiday weekend??? And we will be back early enough the following Thursday so that you can even work that day... (oh sure, ha ha).

DAY 1 - THE SSQQ WELCOME ABOARD PARTY. We generate so many passengers that Carnival rolls out the red carpet for us and gives us their Disco for unlimited mixed drinks plus hot and cold hors d'oeurves. After all the hassles of getting thru registration and getting your luggage aboard and situated in your cabin, this action-packed dance party is exactly the reward we ALL deserve.

DAY 2 - DANCE WORKSHOPS AT SEA. I think this year we will have a new agenda - a group dance performance at the Day 5 Talent Show. Maybe 'Two Girls for Every Boy' to the infamous Jan and Dean song of our youth or something equally goofy. We can talk it over ahead of time at our Pre-Cruise Trip Meeting at the studio.

One reason we enjoy Cruising on Carnival is THE CAPTAIN'S RECEPTION. What a pleasure! The ship turns its magnificent stage into a dance floor and invites everyone to dance to the Big Band tunes played by the ship's orchestra. They serve free mixed drinks and you have an hour to Swing Dance and Foxtrot in your finest clothes. Talk about Putting on the Ritz! This was one of our favorite events last year.

Naturally all the passengers are invited and many show up to fill the auditorium. But once they see how good our ssqq dancers are, they are too intimidated to get up there and join us. Instead they sit and clap for us! Now is that pleasure or what? We are all dressed up, we have a huge elevated dance floor, we always have at least 50 dancers who look terrific, there is wonderful live Glen Miller music, free drinks, and a huge audience who loves to watch us! WE ARE THE SHOW. Yes yes YES!

This year Day 2 is also the Fourth of July. Speaking of July 4th, we learned the hard way not to expect much from Carnival. Last year, the Jubilee REALLY dropped the ball and there was NO July 4th Celebration on board other than a bunch of foreign waiters running around with sparklers at dinner singing "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy" off-key. Humorous in an ironic way yes, but frankly we would rather have a party. This was a BIG disappointment last year.

We need to do better this year. Can you visualize NO CELEBRATION on the CELEBRATION? Of course not. I think we will needle the Carnival people to make an effort or AT LEAST GET OUT OF THE WAY so SSQQ can have its own Party!!

DAY 3 is another SNORKEL ADVENTURE AT CHANKANAAB BEACH IN COZUMEL. This was a very successful event last year.

Snorkeling is one of the easiest sports imaginable. If you can swim, you should be able to snorkel. Since Cozumel is an island, they are able to protect their waters from any mainland pollution. The water right below our ship is so clear you can almost see the bottom. Just 100 yards from where our ship docks there is water we can actually snorkel in for free if we wish.

As a group we will taxi to Cozumel's spectacular crystal-clear water spot known as Chankanaab and snorkel the afternoon away. The taxi ride is about $10, the protected and guarded beach is $5, and you can rent your snorkel equipment right there on the beach for $10. This is a marked improvement over the ship's price of $70 plus tip for a guided tour, which lasts maybe half an hour in the water at best. Plus at Chankanaab you have the whole day to relax and hang out with friends from the group.

This beach is so cool it has hundreds of curved lounge chairs to relax in and dozens of beautiful palm trees to shade you from the sun if you wish. Add to that the luxury of a young man who comes by periodically to offer cold beer at a reasonable price. No bugs on the beach with perfect blue water, clean sand, and temperatures around 75 degrees. Now we're talking Paradise!! You will quickly realize this is exactly what has been missing in your life.

And if you get hungry there are two restaurants. Chankanaab Beach is a place I definitely am looking forward to visiting again. Plus I have some history at this place (see last year's story). Who knows, maybe this year I will find my missing fin strap…

DAY 4 AT CALICA/CANCUN. This year's trip also includes the possibility of new adventures at Cancun. We did not go here last year so this should be interesting. Cancun is quite a playground. There are so many things to do!! There are many on-shore venues to select from! Choose from snorkeling in a tropical reef, sailing on a catamaran, visiting Mayan ruins, horseback riding, or join us on an adventure to Xcaret, an eco-archaelogical water park where you can snorkel in underground caverns. Too much fun!

And that night if you are still standing, maybe we can hook up the SSQQ Jukebox and have our own dance party!!

DAY 5 - in three words, Dance Dance Dance. We will schedule rooms for dance workshops in the morning and afternoon, then sign up for the Talent Show in the early evening and scream our head's off for each and every ssqq dancer. If we practice, maybe we can even have a group of us dance together!

EACH NIGHT OF THE TRIP: Carnival has excellent after-dinner shows that are always popular with our group. You will see everything from great dancing to magic to singers and acrobatics. These shows are worth getting a good seat for.

SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE. The legend of SSQQ Romances developing on our cruises is real. Unlike other cruises where you go alone or with family, you might have a fling but when you travel in a huge group like ours where you have the chance to actually get to know someone again, the Magic is potent.

We can predict that someone from this trip will get married as the direct result of risking their hearts and coming aboard. No one is safe.

I should know. Aboard this identical ship in 2001, Marla and I met and fell in love almost instantly. We are now engaged. In 2002 two couples - Carol Armand and Arthur Madrid/ Chuck Morton and Brenda Uffmann - grew closer together. Both couples are married now. The 2003 Cruise saw Anne Marchetti and Dennis Pechal fall in love. 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 there is always the chance of collateral romance! From last year's cruise, Cheryl Cormier and Pat Bradshaw were roommates. One is married and the other is engaged now. Talk about a coincidence! Both have assured me the trip softened them up so Cupid could finish them off once they returned to shore.

Last year's 2003 Cruise had sparks flying everywhere. In addition to the names I mentioned I know of several romances spawned on last year's trip that have been flying gently below under the radar ever since. These quiet romances deserve to be left in peace, but I am warning you now that they exist and could lead to you-know-what at any time. The legend of Romance on the SSQQ Cruise Trips is real and documented. Slow Dance and Romance is everywhere.

There are also many romances that I have been sworn to secrecy about that may never lead to marriage, but for the moment were special in their own way. I will leave this to your imagination.

DANCING. As you might expect, our group loves to dance as well. What do you think creates all that passion? Unfortunately this ship does not have any excellent dance floors other than the stage, which they let us use a lot during the day for our workshops. Consequently we use two small dance floors on another parts of the ship. Between breaks and after the dance band calls it a night, our group hooks up a boom box and dances the night away practically every night. You've heard of dancing on the carpet? Well, let's just say where there's a will there's a way. Everyone finds some place to dance, that I can promise. Nighttime dancing is a big part of our trip.

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 Dance
4. The Possibility of an SSQQ July 4th Bash
5. Snorkeling at Cozumel's Chankanaab
6. Snorkeling at Cancun's Xcaret
7. SSQQ Dancing at Sea workshops on Day 5 and poolside fun on the trip back
8. Evening Shows and Group Dancing afterwards each night.
9. The Wicked Danger of Slow Dance and Romance.

The timing is right and the ship is right. We will have the time of our lives, so hop on board and join us before the ship sells out!!!

We need your first deposit of $250 by March 11th. Carnival will sell every one of their 1486 available spaces on this highly traveled July 4th weekend time period in short order. YOU CANNOT WAIT!

Carnival is so confident that this trip will sell out that they will only hold our reservations till early March. This puts SSQQ in a definite "put up or shut up" position. This means we have to start getting some people to commit to the trip right away or our reserved space will be taken away from us.

If everyone waits for someone else to make the first move, you have missed the point. If you want to go, there is no risk to sign up now and relax while you see how the trip fills up. You can receive a full refund all the way to MAY 2. Carnival's refund policy allows anyone to reserve a cabin by credit card for $250. REPEAT: This money is completely refundable as late as May 2.

In other words you can put down a deposit to hold your cabin for over TWO MONTHS at no charge. There is no risk of losing your money, but there is a risk that we can lose our reservations if everyone waits till the last minute to make their move. Let us say this one more time: If you sign up now and something unexpected comes up, you have till May 2nd to get your entire deposit back.

The sooner people climb on board, the sooner the snowball effect we saw last year will begin. And who knows? If everyone who is interested shows their hand quickly, maybe the snowball effect will turn into an avalanche. Or should I say tidal wave? Maybe not the best marketing slogan. Let's try this one instead: Get out of the closet and make a deposit.

Marla Gorzynski will be our travel coordinator (email questions to marla@ssqq.com ). She has a direct phone (713 862 4428) and fax line to cut down on the phone tag that plagued our earlier trips. You can fax your Registration Form directly to her at 713 862 2550. If you don't like Fax, so far several people have emailed in the pertinent information and several people simply hand Marla or Rick the form at the studio.

One more time: The deadline to put down a $250 deposit is March 11th
THIS CRUISE WILL SELL OUT. SOME LEVELS ON THE SHIP ARE ALREADY SOLD OUT. IF YOU WAIT TOO LONG, YOU WILL NOT GO.

Put your deposit down now. You have till May 2nd to get it all back if you decide to change your mind.)

Email or Call Marla today. Please note if you don't get your call or email returned immediately it is probably because next week Marla will be on her SSQQ Mardi Gras Cruise from February 22 to February 29. She will be back in action Monday, March 1.
 
 
     
  STORY TWO RETURN TO HEADLINES  
 

THE MARCH SCHEDULE OF SSQQ DANCE CLASSES
The March Dance Semester begins the week of Sunday, February 29th.
http://www.ssqq.com/ssqq/schedule.htm

  HERE ARE THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MARCH 2004 SCHEDULE
http://www.ssqq.com/ssqq/extra.htm

In February, for the first time we offered a Ballroom class on 2 different nights. Dancing in the Moonlight was very successful. We had over 70 people register. This month INTERMEDIATE DANCING IN THE MOONLIGHT will be offered on Sundays as well as on Mondays.

The legendary Disco partner dance LATIN HUSTLE will be taught by Jack Benard on Sundays in March. The Hustle footwork & timing is very similar to West Coast Swing & its patterns are very similar to East Coast Swing. Offered once a year, so go for it!

BEGINNING WESTERN CHA CHA will be taught on Sunday evenings in March with Judy.

SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE will be offered on Mondays with Adele and Marty Raber. There are moments in every person's life where the opportunity to dance gracefully to a beautiful slow song becomes the most important skill imaginable. This is your chance to learn how. In particular we have a separate room for the students to polish their "Slow Dance" after class in case you are getting married and NEED to practice.

INTERMEDIATE LATIN CHA CHA will be offered on Mondays. Good class/Check it out!

Anita Williams will offer ADVANCED NIGHT CLUB on Wednesdays. Afterwards, Room 4 will be reserved for an evening of dancing to Night Club music.

BEGINNING WHIP/WEST COAST SWING returns in March on Thursdays and Fridays. SSQQ is the only place in town that allows you to take the course on 2 different nights for the price of one. Flashy footwork, sexy hip motion, intricate patterns, and eye-catching turns make Whip/WCS a popular option for advanced dancers. This is an especially good time to take this class because the legendary Sleazy Bar Whip Party is just around the corner in April & you will be ready!

MARTIAN WHIP 03 EXTRA is a special feature of the Martian Whip class. Martian Whip is taught by Rick Archer & Anita Williams on Thursdays while Jack Benard will teach the Martian Xtra class on Fridays. There is no overlap between the two nights which means you pay one price and get the second class for free.

Brian White brings back his amazing DEATH VALLEY series on Fridays in March with Level One. Advanced Western dancers have been asking for a challenge and HERE IT IS!!

Karen Scheider's SOFT SHOE TAP class on Tuesdays at 6 pm continues to be quite a success. This a very fun class and well-attended.
 

STORY THREE

RETURN TO HEADLINES

SATURDAY NIGHT PARTIES IN FEBRUARY


 


BACK IN THE SADDLE WESTERN PARTY
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 28TH
9:15 pm - Midnight, $7 Person
http://www.ssqq.com/ssqq/party04.htm

7-9 PM CRASH COURSES AT A GLANCE

BEG TEXAS TWOSTEP - Susan
BEG WESTERN SWING - Ann
BEG WESTERN CHA CHA - Brian
ANITA'S FAVORITE FOOTWORK PTNS - Anita
LINDA'S FAV GHOST TOWN PTNS - Linda
BEG WEST COAST SWING - Jorge

No dress code, Western Music in Room 1, Whip Music in Room 4, Requests in Room 6.

SATURDAY NIGHT PARTIES IN MARCH


THE SSQQ SAINT PATRICK'S DAY
SWING PARTY
Saturday, March 13, 9:15-Midnight,
Cover charge $7
http://www.ssqq.com/ssqq/party05.htm

CRASH COURSES 7-9 pm

SWING CHARLESTON - Maureen
BLAME IT ON THE BOSSA NOVA - Judy
BEG LINDY HOP - Gloria
SINATRA BOX FOX - Jill
INT SALSA MERENGUE - Jim
BEG WEST COAST SWING - Jack

WEAR SOME GREEN AND MAKE THE SCENE!!
Music Swing in Room 1 plus requests, Salsa in Room 4 plus requests.


THE SSQQ RED AND BLACK
WESTERN PARTY
Saturday, March 27, 9:15-Midnight,
Cover charge $7
http://www.ssqq.com/ssqq/party06.htm

CRASH COURSES 7-9 pm

BEG C&W: TEXAS TWOSTEP - Abbie
INT TWOSTEP CIRCLE TURNS - Linda
BEG WESTERN WALTZ - Vicki
SYNCHRONIZED POLKA - Amanda
PROM DANCING FOR TEENS - Diane
BEG WEST COAST SWING- Jack

Music: Western, Waltz in Room 1, Whip, WCS in Room 4, and whatever is asked for in Room 6.

 
 

STORY FOUR

RETURN TO HEADLINES

 
 

THE QUICK STOP IS COMING IN APRIL!

 
 


In April, Susan Schroeder (aka SusieQ) will bring you convenience of a mini-mart under the SSQQ roof. And just where will we be found? Rumor has it we are coming out of the closet and yes, this is correct - we will be selling our merchandise from the hallway closet that was once the home of the water cooler. But good news - the infamous Water Closet isn't quite gone yet!! Soon we will put to rest once and for all the single most-burning request at SSQQ - Why don't you sell bottled water?

When we open in April, Bottled Water will be sold at Susie Q's Quick Stop (Q-Stop for short). And service will not be Slow. It will be Quick!!

Speaking of Quick, do you occasionally rush to your class at SSQQ directly from work with no time to stop for a quick snack? At the Q-Stop you will not only be able to purchase bottled water, but we will have on hand Starbuck's chilled frappucino, fruit juice, fresh fruit, and packaged snacks.

Furthermore the Q-Stop will not only be open when you arrive at the studio, it will also be open during Break to provide the liquid or sustenance necessary to keep your mind alert for leading those fancy new moves or maintaining your energy for those exhausting double-turns. No longer will you be forced fight your conscience as you gulp down tasteless water fountain water or eat nasty stale popcorn in a desperate attempt at survival. From now on you will be able to re-energize in a healthy manner that will allow you to nourish yourself in a guilt-free manner!

Before our Grand Opening in April, we have a favor to ask. In order to have your favorite snacks stocked, we need to know what you want us to carry. Please send your ideas and orders to susan@ssqq.com. Then be ready for the grand opening of Susie Q's Quick Stop!

 
 

STORY FIVE

RETURN TO HEADLINES

 
 

SAINT JOHNS SCHOOL FINALLY GETS IT RIGHT.

 

Many people compliment me on my vocabulary and writing skills. I tell them without hesitation that I owe much of these skills to the magnificent education I received at Saint Johns School here in Houston. I went to Saint Johns from 1959 till graduation in 1968. To this day I think the education I received from SJS is the single biggest break I received in my entire life.

If you have a gifted child, Saint Johns is without a doubt the place to send them. Your child will receive the finest education imaginable at Saint Johns. Not only will your child benefit immeasurably from competing day in and day out against other children with equal talents, he or she will be taught by a talented staff at Saint Johns. And after your child graduates, he or she will have a terrific chance of being accepted at Rice, Stanford, Vanderbilt, or any of the amazing Ivy League schools. That is the kind of education that Saint Johns is famous for here in Houston.

Saint Johns is located in the heart of River Oaks on the corner of Westheimer and Buffalo Speedway. It was founded in 1946 shortly after World War II.  At the time, this location was pretty much out in the fields on the western tip of Houston. Imagine where the western tip of Houston will be in 2046, halfway to San Antonio?  That's my guess.

Since then Saint Johns and its bitter (and much respected) rival Kinkaid have grown to become Houston's two leading private college preparatory schools.  Kinkaid traditionally holds the edge in sports while SJS traditionally holds the edge in academics. Quite frankly, now that I am old enough to have some perspective, any parent would be thrilled to have their child go to either school. Both schools are very expensive. I believe Saint Johns cost in the area of $15,000 a year in tuition the last time I checked. Although typically the students at both schools are the children of Houston's wealthiest citizens, I know for a fact that Saint Johns definitely goes out of its way to find scholarship money for any student smart enough to handle its curriculum. I myself received partial scholarships for the 7th and 8th grade and a full scholarship through high school.

Did I mention how grateful I am to Saint Johns?  This place is scorned by some as catering only to the rich, but I know from first-hand experience the place has a big heart too. I may have been a good student, but I was always getting into trouble and fought their discipline tooth and nail. Thank goodness the administration saw that under my thin skin I was really trying hard to succeed at their school and showed infinite patience with me.


However despite its remarkable accomplishments in the academic area and the remarkable decency of the people responsible for Saint Johns School's 60 years of success, there has always been a bizarre stigma that has been allowed to persist at Saint Johns for over 50 years.

Did you know the Saint John's mascot is a "Rebel"?  Do you know that we are not exactly talking James Dean here?

During the years I went to Saint Johns, there was a magazine known as the "Johnny Reb". The acting side of the school had something known as "Johnnycakes". During the 60s there was huge, larger that life statue of a Confederate general that was trotted out at the football games.

All of this occurred before Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement of the 60s. The mascot was a reflection of Houston's prevalent social consciousness at the time. But by the time I got around to graduating just as Woodstock was around the corner, there had been enough blood shed and suffering during the 60s to make anyone with a brain think twice about keeping a "Johnny Reb" as a school mascot.

It is true that I never had a black classmate during the 60s, but as of the early 70s I heard that Saint Johns had voluntarily decided to integrate. Thank goodness. I assumed at this point it would be a good time to phase out the mascot. Right?

Wrong. Finishing college, going to graduate school, getting my career started, and all that stuff during the 70s, I didn't settle down until the 80s. I decided to volunteer to teach some dance classes at Saint Johns. It was then I was stunned to discover we were still the Rebels!!

Nostalgic to see the school that had meant so much to me for nine years, that evening I arrived early at Saint Johns to look around. I was very pleased to notice several handsome, obviously alert young men who just happened to be black and several lovely young women, just as alert, who happened to be black as they walked across the campus wearing the same uniforms as everyone else. I was just as pleased to notice quite a few students of Asian and Arabic descent as well. Saint Johns was clearly in the forefront of social change in this regard. And then I saw the name "Saint Johns Rebels" on a cheerleader's outfit.

I was stunned. You have got to be kidding. I shook my head in disgust. I could not imagine why someone in authority hadn't put their foot down and done something about this nightmare nickname. How could they turn a blind eye to a problem of this magnitude?

Think about it as a parent would. If you are a person of color and you are debating whether to send your gifted and talented son to a school whose nickname represents images of the most horrible time in American history, aren't you going to do everything in your power to find an equivalent school elsewhere?

This is Houston, Texas, in the 1980s. Surely someone in a school that teaches the civil rights accomplishments of Martin Luther King in its classroom would sense the disconnect between the prevalent social consciousness of the time versus the school's mascot that conjures images of racism, cruelty, and slavery? Apparently not. Or more likely no one had the guts to stand up and say something. That's my guess.

I was so pleased to note earlier this year that Saint Johns Alumni were asked what they thought about the Rebel nickname. Apparently the current Headmaster, John Allman, was doing everything in his power to spearhead the change.

On January 12th of this year I put my two cents in:

"You have my vote to change the "Rebel" name and I hope you do it quickly. It is, as they say, an anachronism.

The Rebel name has absolutely no relevance in today's understanding. For any person with half a brain it is an ugly symbol of the darkest period in American History. To an outsider, it hints strongly of the school's support for racism.

I know for sure the school does not support or condone racism in any shape or form, so why open the door for senseless misunderstandings?"


On Wednesday, February 18, 2004, I received the following news:
 

Dear Friends:

For the past several months, our School community has been reflecting on the significance and values communicated through our mascot. Deliberating this issue has given us the opportunity to examine the values that St. John's represents and to contemplate best how we express those values. St. John's today is a better school for having accepted this challenge and for having come to a decision together.

The Board of Trustees sought input from you: alumni, students, faculty, parents, and friends. With all voices heard, the time has come for a resolution that will enable St. John's to move forward. The Board has unanimously decided to select a new mascot, one that inspires affiliation, unity, and commitment within the St. John's community. In so doing, our school has the opportunity to find the right mascot to project our core identity to those outside the community. The following points guided our decision:

. Mascots are meant to unify. They are not meant to divide.
. A mascot that must be explained does not adequately represent a school.
. Our current mascot leads some to question our values and commitment to diversity.
. A mascot that demeans members of our community is inappropriate.

This week, a committee of students, alumni, faculty, and friends will be formed to direct an inclusive process for selecting a new mascot that will incorporate the school's traditional red and black colors. While the Board will approve the committee's selection of the new mascot, we encourage you to participate in this process by suggesting ideas that will rally our entire school community. The committee will soon let you know how you can get involved.

Ultimately, the committee must select a mascot that has broad appeal among students, alumni, and friends of all ages. Ideally, we would like the selection process to be completed before summer vacation begins, but we will take all the time needed to select the right mascot. Our School deserves a mascot everyone can support.

In making this decision, St. John's is not abandoning tradition, but seeking to confirm and project more accurately our school's most precious traditions and values. A new mascot can now bring together everyone in our community, convey the mission and vision of our school, and invite in new members whose contributions to St. John's will enrich us all.

Every Board member believes that this decision is in the best long-term interest of St. John's School, and we are hopeful that the process of selecting a new mascot will unify our community.

Respectfully yours,

James A. Elkins, III
Chairman, Board of Trustees
February 18, 2004



I immediately sent the following letter to Mr. Allman, the Headmaster.

"Aha! Rebels no more. Thank you, Mr. Allman.

It is my understanding that you personally took on the challenge to bring St. Johns to its senses and help us get rid of the pathetic "Johnny Reb" stigma. Congratulations on your success!

I have been ashamed of this name for about 40 years ever since I was old enough to realize what an affront the name was. For such an obvious move to have taken this long to bring about would make for an excellent tale, but I suppose we will never hear the inside story of the ridiculous and insipid obstacles I imagine you were forced to overcome. I am so glad you stayed with this issue. You have every right to be proud of what you have helped to accomplish. And good for the Board to back this change unanimously.

I met you briefly this past fall at an Alumni Reunion. Had I been aware of the stand you were taking on this issue I would have taken the opportunity to thank you personally. You have proven your leadership ability. Maybe this is a good time to take aim at a few more SJS traditions that could use some 21st century reexamination. You can count on my support for any more changes you think is necessary to move Saint Johns forward. Thank you again.

Rick Archer"

Guess what. I have never been more proud of my school than I am today. They finally got it right.

I guess social change is never graceful. Actually I think they got it right when they hired Mr. Allman. Isn't it marvelous what a good leader can accomplish?

 
 

STORY SIX 

RETURN TO HEADLINES

 
 

HALF-PRICE POLICY CHANGE EFFECTIVE STARTING IN APRIL 2004

 
 

-----Original Message-----
From: CT
Sent: Friday, January 23, 2004 5:51 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: classes taken before the computer era

Dear Rick,
I finally have a foot healed, and want to take the Ghost Town on Sundays and Martian Whip on Thursdays. Anyway, Steve and I would like to get credit for classes taken before the computer registered us so we can get half price. I took some of the Ghost Town and almost all of the Martian Whip.

Sincerely,
CT

Editor's Note: SSQQ Dance Studio has had On-Line Registration now since early 2001. In the past three years our computer system has kept track of approximately 15,000 transactions. Assuming our students have used the Account ID system we set up, he or she should have a history of each class they have taken at SSQQ within the past three years.

Furthermore each student can access their own history by going to the On-Line site and typing in their Account ID.

Starting in April, I think the time has come to rely on the computer for verification of any classes taken in the past. This means any Ghost Towns or Death Valleys taken before the modern era no longer automatically qualify for the half-price discount.

That said, if someone wishes to rely on my memory like CT above, they are welcome to email me to ask for an exception to this new rule. I don't feel like alienating any students over this issue, so feel free to ask me personally for the half-price discount. But don't ask Susan or any of the other Registrars for the same permission. They are expected to look your history up on the computer and deny you half-price if the listing doesn't appear. Please don't badger them on this issue; email me instead. Thanks. RA
 
 
 

STORY SEVEN

RETURN TO HEADLINES

 
 

SSQQ WILL BE MAKING CHANGES IN OUR PRACTICE NIGHT SYSTEM STARTING IN MARCH.

 


About this time a year ago, SSQQ decided to post someone at the front door to collect money throughout Practice Night. This move was forced upon us when another dance studio decided to use the SSQQ Practice Night as a way to solicit our students to come over and take classes at their place instead.

At that we instituted a controversial dual fee system. If you were currently taking an ssqq class, it was 3 dollars. If you were an outsider, it was 5 dollars. This move solved some problems and created others. The other dance studio immediately stopped conducting Practice Night raids.

But another problem developed when ssqq alumni who were taking classes elsewhere would drop by for ssqq Practice Night only to be charged $5. They objected strenuously and some refused to ever come back here again.

In addition to this awkwardness, Practice Night has ceased to be fun for the ssqq staff. Before they pretty much hung around doing whatever they wanted till it was clean up time. Now they were being paid money, but they were also expected to sit at the boring desk for an hour to collect money from the occasional straggler. Did I say "Boring"? Hey, I took my turn at the desk too. It was indeed "boring".

With this in mind, I have decided to ask the Hall Monitors to extend their shift to include Practice Night starting in March. I will relieve all instructors of the need to collect money and I am sure they will be grateful. No one has ever complained to me directly, but I am sure it was not a popular move.

Instead I will ask the staff to get back to what they are good at - Dancing with the students at Practice Night. If you get the opportunity to dance with an ssqq instructor at Practice night, be sure to tell me how much you enjoy having them around. It never hurts to discover you are appreciated!
 
 

STORY EIGHT

RETURN TO HEADLINES

 
 

THE FEBRUARY COMPLAINT OF THE MONTH REVISITED -
TO SWITCH PARTNERS OR NOT TO SWITCH PARTNERS?

 
 
Last month in February, we printed this Letter to the Editor in our infamous Complaints section:

-----Original Message-----
From: M P-B
Sent: Friday, January 09, 2004 9:18 AM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: Lessons for Newlyweds

"Hi,

Bill and I took lessons for a session, had fun learning, and want to learn more. We had one very big problem with the lessons. I had to dance with every sweaty-handed body grabber who panted in my ear, reached for my rear, and tried to push my body to his, or vice versa. They are not all like that, but our class had multiple versions of this kind of guy. Very unpleasant.

How about a class for those who want to dance primarily with their sweethearts, or at least a policy that allows married or attached people to dance together if they choose?

We would sign up in a minute. Until then, we just can't bring ourselves to do it.

Not alone in Houston,

MB P-B"
 

An SSQQ named Lisa Perkins decided to share her thoughts on the subject.

-----Original Message-----
From: Perkins, Lisa
Sent: Friday, January 23, 2004 12:41 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: SSQQ WON'T OFFER A GROUP DANCE CLASS STRICTLY FOR MARRIED PEOPLE

"Rick, Not that it needs reiterating, but private lessons are the perfect answer to your Married People complaint of the month.

When I first began lessons at SSQQ, I found it curious that married couples not only switched partners during class (as required) but that they also danced with other people during practice sessions. So, being the curious person that I am... I asked. If I had only waited and taken a few more classes myself, I wouldn't have needed to ask. What I discovered on my own was exactly what these married couples had shared with me - Dancing with different partners makes you a better dancer. When you dance with the same person all the time, you learn to "accommodate" their moves, their style, (their mistakes). Both partners do this... it's just a natural process that you do on an unconscious level.

Neither partner even recognizes they are doing so. It's amazing what you can learn in just a few moments by simply changing partners.

I've practically "worked a move to death" trying to figure out why it doesn't work with the same partner. Then, either he, or I will try the same move with someone else and DUH!

It becomes so obvious. Most couples don't mind switching partners at SSQQ. They are paying to improve their dancing, and switching partners is a very effective method for doing just that.

As to dancing with "every sweaty-handed body grabber who panted in my ear," I will admit that there always seems to be one dancer in every class who I do not look forward to dancing with, but I've never been "groped" or "body grabbed". Since I am single and don't get much of that, could you tell me what classes she was taking??

I must be taking all the wrong classes. ;-)
LP"


(Editor's Note: The SSQQ Policy for Switching Partners during group classes is easily the most controversial rule we have. You might be curious to know the story that prompted us to make this move.

We now have a section known "New To SSQQ". It consists of three pages. Page One covers where to find more information about various aspects of our operation. Page Two covers the History of SSQQ. Page Three covers the Philosophy of SSQQ.  You can visit this section of the ssqq web site at:
http://ssqq.com/information/ssqq1.htm

Here is an excerpt from the "Philosophy of SSQQ" that should explain EXACTLY why we insist everyone switch partners/no exceptions.

WHY WE INSIST THAT EVERYONE SWITCH PARTNERS, PART TWO -
A CLASS DISINTEGRATES BEFORE OUR VERY EYES.

"I will never forget the sweet couple that pulled me aside one night back in 1987 to beg me not to make them switch partners. They told me they were getting married and needed to practice for their wedding dance. They asked so nicely that despite my misgivings, I agreed to make an exception for them. I told them to dance in the corner and just wave by anyone who tried to dance with them.

I was teaching a very large Beginning Jitterbug class. We had 40 students signed up. That first week, 38 people stayed in the circle and switched partners while the single couple stayed isolated over in a corner.


In the second week, another couple asked permission. What was I supposed to say ? Now two couples were out of the Circle. It got worse - After the Break, two more couples joined them without bothering to ask. Now there were 4 couples not switching. I could see people whispering to each other what was going on.

By next time the class met for their third lesson, the class had separated into two groups. Half the class were the non-coupled people rotating in a circle on one side of the room while the other half of the class were couples who stayed at the other end preferring not to switch. I was totally caught off guard by this turn of events and did not have a clue how to deal with such an obviously divisive issue. No matter what I said or did, I risked alienating half the class so I felt helpless to correct the problem. What a mess. The morale in my class was pathetic.

The absolute nadir occurred when several ladies of the non-switching couples began to insist I give special attention to their partners. It seems their husband's leads and footwork were weak. They did not ask politely either. They were frustrated because they could see that their husbands were not improving like the "single" men were. In their words, their husbands were simply "not getting it". These women were the only ones who were frustrated. I came very close to losing my temper at this point. By not joining the Circle, these couples had literally taken themselves out of the Loop and now they expected me to give them special attention.

The lesson we learned from the Conan incident is that "Leads" are best taught to men by a female instructor who can spot a problem while rotating through the Circle. She is in a position to correct it on the spot and prevent bad habits from developing. However since the non-switchers weren't in the Circle, they were not receiving the proper attention.

The non-switchers were not improving at all and now the women were upset. So was I. My class had fallen to pieces. Reluctantly I took my female assistant out of the Circle and sent her down to concentrate on the couples. I worked with the Singles for the rest of the night while she helped the couples. It was a very long night.

By the fourth and final week of the Beginner class, attendance had dwindled to about 12 people. The wedding couple was nowhere in sight. I had a feeling they sensed that my favor to them had been the path to ruin. The class that night was not fun, but with so few people I was able to talk them into using the Circle again as a group... except for one couple that insisted on staying apart. Just shoot me. Quite frankly, no one finished that course in a very good frame of mind.

The final humiliation came a week later. Only seven people from the original group of 40 showed up for the Intermediate level. Normally at least 20 and sometimes 30 people will go on to the next level. I was furious to see that the problems created by accommodating the people who did not wish to switch had not only ruined my Beginner class, they had crippled my Intermediate class as well.

I was so disgusted I vowed that from now on even if I had to ask people to leave the class and refund tuition, I would rather do that than have people refuse to switch.

Most people do not mind "sharing", but if even one couple doesn't switch, then the selfish side of human nature is tempted to appear. From now on I wasn't going to give anyone a choice. This incident convinced me that for our Group Classes to work, switching is necessary.

Even today once in a while a couple will ask permission not to switch, but after the teacher gently insists they switch it, it ceases to be an issue after they rotate a couple times. They realize that by switching partners they can learn a lot more about leading and following different people than they could by dancing alone. They start to relax once they realize that dancing with different people is actually kind of fun.

The term "Social Dance" implies learning to dance with more than one person. Dancing is literally a "social skill". Someday you are going to have the occasion to dance with coworkers at a business-related party, with friends at a barbeque with a C&W band, with relatives and friends at a wedding, or with friends at a New Year's Party. These moments may be off the future somewhere, but the time to prepare for them is while you are taking our dance classes.

And when you get right down to it, isn't a big part of Social Dance learning to be "social" as well? Switching Partners is not nearly as difficult as some people imagine. Once you get used to it, you will see our point."




(Editor's Note: I am not saying that the SSQQ Switching Partners policy is universally liked. It isn't. Most people don't mind, but some people do. Those who mind usually decide to cooperate anyway, but others choose not to sign up for our classes and go elsewhere. It is impossible to please everybody, so we have to stick with what works for us.

For our Group Classes to be effective, we have no choice but to stick our decision to ask people to rotate partners. We hope this story helps our students understand how we came to this conclusion.)
 

 

STORY NINE

RETURN TO HEADLINES

 

THE STORY OF THE SSQQ NEWSLETTER

 
 
The SSQQ Newsletter has always been around the studio in one form or another since the studio was started in 1979. For most of these years people would pick up a paper copy of a current SSQQ Newsletter to keep up with current events.

When SSQQ began its web site in 1998, the first thing that became apparent to me was how easy it was to let the Newsletter grow. I was no longer bound by the need to contain our stories within a two-side 8 1/2 by 14 inch legal page. Our stories could be just as long as I wanted them to and it would not cost the studio one extra dollar.

The power of the Internet was starting to dawn on me.

In 2001 I began to email the SSQQ Newsletter out to our students. After about a year, I realized the newsletter was growing so big, my email program was constantly stalling because each email was taking too long to send. That is when I came to the conclusion I needed two Newsletters - a short one for the emails and a longer one contained on the ssqq web site.

Another problem developed when businesses started to block our emails. It became harder and harder to assume our students would all be getting the email announcements. Another obstacle developed as students placed Spam blockers on their personal email accounts to deal with the obscene proliferation of spam that currently plagues us all. Unfortunately the SSQQ Email Newsletter was getting blocked by many of these programs.

A third major problem has been the preference of many of our students not to share their email address with us. We have to respect that choice.

Today we still send out an abridged form of the newsletter by email, but realize at this point that not everyone will end up reading all of the monthly SSQQ Newsletter. Worst of all is some of own Staff!! I will ask a staff member what they thought about such and such an article and get back a blank look in return.

So next month I will try to write something about each member of our Staff and force them to read the Newsletter if only to find out what awful things I said about them. Look for the amazing SSQQ Staff Expose in the next issue! No dirt is too muddy to print, no gossip too false to print.

By the way, the March 2001 Newsletter was 8 pages long. The March 2002 Newsletter was 19 pages long. The March 2003 issue was 14 pages long. And as for this issue, it is currently 45 pages long and I am still typing. Goodness gracious.
 
 

STORY TEN

RETURN TO HEADLINES

 
 

END OF AN ERA: MOJO DANCE SHOES IS HAVING A MARCH SHOE SALE.

 
 
This is your last chance to get your dance shoes. You won't find lower prices on these quality dance shoes anywhere. MoJo Shoes will be gone from SSQQ by the end of March. We still have a few dance sneakers, practice shoes, sexy heels, and dance boots left. We also still have some dyeable white satin shoes for weddings and other special occasions.

For questions, please email Jill Banta at jillbanta@yahoo.com
 
 
 

STORY ELEVEN

RETURN TO HEADLINES

 
 

SSQQ STAFF UPDATES FOR MARCH 2004

 
 
Last month like a moron I said that "Paul Overstreet" would be joining our staff. I mean to say "Paul Holzhauer". I apologize for the brain lapse. Paul Holzhauer has been assisting the lovely Rachel Koenig (nee Rachel Seff) on Sundays for several years. I thought it might be nice if he could be given a little more credit for his unselfish contributions. Let me add the next time you see our refrigerator in the Drink Room, it was given to us by Paul. Be sure to remind him to drop by and pet it once in a while.

Lise Gagnon returned on Mondays in February as the new teacher of Zoot Suit Riot. To date she hasn't appeared to cripple or paralyze anyone. In fact her class of 15 students seems pretty happy to have her as their teacher.

The more beautiful than ever before Vicki Smith (nee Vicki Bernard) after her recent wedding will be leaving us at the end of March. Her reason is to start a family. Imagine finding something more important than dance!! I will miss her, Judy will miss her, and we all will miss this gracious, intelligent, and very likeable young lady.

As in Charlotte's Web, you lose a friend, you gain a friend. Julia Balakirova, Russia's loss and America's gain, will be taking Vicki's place on Sunday. And while Bethany Daniels is off to Israel, Julia will be assisting me on Mondays.

Ubiquitous gadfly Milt Oglesby will also be joining the SSQQ Staff in March. Why I added a troublemaker like him I will never know, but starting in June, Milt will be in charge of a grand SSQQ experiment - a Saturday Senior Citizens Only Dance Class. Milt believes this is a program that can grow to be an important part of the studio someday and after listening to what he has to say, I believe he may be right. As for now, I can barely get the guy to move his feet in West Coast Swing. I can only hope he talks better than he walks. And I hope he knows I am just teasing.
 
STORY TWELVE RETURN TO HEADLINES
   

 
  STORY THIRTEEN RETURN TO HEADLINES  
     
 
 
 
  STORY FOURTEEN RETURN TO HEADLINES  
     
 
 
 
  STORY FIFTEEN RETURN TO HEADLINES  
     
 
 
 

NO STANDING IN LINE – SIGN UP ON-LINE (SSQQ ONLINE REGISTRATION)
https://www153.ssldomain.com/ssqq/register/

 

START OF THE REGULAR FEATURES SECTION

  COMPLAINT OF THE MONTH RETURN TO HEADLINES RETURN TO REGULAR FEATURES  
 

MARCH COMPLAINT OF THE MONTH - SSQQ PLAGIARIZES ANOTHER WEB SITE

 
 
Last month I posted an article called "Kid Pictures". It was scathing satire directed at some pathetic little doodles scribbled by kids. Even though the entire page was in extremely poor taste, when I was certain no one was looking I admit I laughed out loud at some of the sarcastic comments made by the author. Shame on wicked me (but I liked it!)

A former ssqq instructor sent me this article about three years ago. She would be mortified if I ever revealed her identity. It took me three years to get around to posting it because the sarcasm is so savage. And naturally I ended up getting punished, as you will soon see. I felt guilty about publishing it, so in an odd way I am glad I was caught and given a good reason to get rid of the page.

You will probably say I got exactly what I deserved. You're probably right.

One day about three weeks after I posted the 10 pictures on the ssqq web site, I received two emails back to back accusing me of plagiarism.
 


-----Original Message-----
From: lakshmi (mailto:maddox@xmission.xmission.com) On Behalf Of maddox
Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2004 6:48 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: Plagiarized.

The page you have posted here:
http://www.ssqq.com/ssqq/kidpictures.htm

Was written by me. Here's the original:
http://maddox.xmission.com/irule.html
http://maddox.xmission.com/irule2.html

Please remove it. Thanks.

Maddox

 

REPLY
-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2004 9:17 AM
To: maddox
Subject: Plagiarized.

I apologize for my mistake and promise you it will not happen again.

The material was sent to me in an email with no attribution. I had no idea who was responsible for the work.

The page has been removed.

Rick Archer

 

-----Original Message-----
From: lakshmi On Behalf Of maddox
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2004 2:13 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Plagiarized.

Thanks for being cool about it, I appreciate it.

Maddox

I must say, this guy Maddox really knows his HTML stuff. When I got the original pictures, there was no identification on them at all. But when I went back to the web site, there on each picture was the address of Maddox's web site. That was so weird. I do not know how he did that. It was exactly like using invisible ink. First you don't see it, now you do. Too weird! Even my computer guru friend Gary Richardson didn't know how he did it after I showed him my puzzle.

Let me explain further. When I originally posted the Kid Pictures on the ssqq web site, I had no idea who owned them. But when I got the email telling me I had plagiarized the pictures, like a ghost the web site address magically NOW appeared on each picture. I don't know if he was able to activate something or how he found me. My guess is the ten pictures had some sort of hidden time delay system because suddenly I got two plagiarism emails in a row from two different sources. Talk about BUSTED!

Plagiarism is a huge problem on the Internet. I get sent so many jokes for example. I know they are published somewhere else, one of my students sees a good one, so they cut and paste it on to me. It's pretty easy to do.

I have a section of my web site devoted to something called the Einstein Puzzle. It was sent to me back in 1998 just as the Internet was starting to spread out to more users. I got in at the ground floor with this puzzle. Now six years later, my puzzle has been around so long that I have dozens of people emailing me each week about it. My page listing the puzzle is one of the top 10 most visited pages for the two words "Einstein Puzzle" according to Google. And my point is that I didn't make up this puzzle at all. Someone else made it up and someone else copied it and sent it on to me.

Plagiarism?? I think it is only plagiarism when you know where it came from. If it is an interesting item and you don't know the source, then I have never felt bad about adding it to the web site. Only three times have I received any complaints. The first one I can't remember what it was about, but I removed it back in 1999. The second one was about an article on "Night Club" that I published. Once the author identified himself, I added links to his web site and that made him happy.

There is a wonderful site on the Internet known as the Snopes Urban Legend Page. ( http://www.snopes.com )

It debunks most of the nonsense that flies around the Internet very effectively. It is so awesome that someone spends the time to actually track down stories and try to make sense of them. A good example is something called the Stella Awards given to the most outrageous lawsuits from each year. I read a couple of the Stella stories and they made me so mad I was ready to hate every lawyer in America more than I ever thought possible for the stupid lawsuits they represent. But after checking with Snopes, I discovered most of these stories were total hokum. I felt much better.

Here is a good example:

"Best Lawyer Story Of the year, decade and probably the century...

A Charlotte, NC, lawyer purchased a box of very rare and expensive cigars, then insured them against fire among other things. Within a month having smoked his entire stockpile of these great cigars and without yet having made even his first premium payment on the policy, the lawyer filed claim against the insurance company. In his claim, the lawyer stated the cigars were lost "in a series of small fires." The insurance company refused to pay, citing the obvious reason: that the man had consumed the cigars in the normal fashion. The lawyer sued...and won!

In delivering the ruling the judge agreed with the insurance company that the claim was frivolous. The Judge stated nevertheless, that the lawyer held a valid policy from the company in which it had warranted that the cigars were insurable and also guaranteed that it would insure them against fire, without defining what is considered to be unacceptable fire, and was obligated to pay the claim.

Rather than endure lengthy and costly appeal process, the insurance company accepted the ruling and paid $15,000.00 to the lawyer for his loss of the rare cigars lost in the "fires."

NOW FOR THE BEST PART...
After the lawyer cashed the check, the insurance company had him arrested on 24 counts of arson!
With his own insurance claim and testimony from the previous case being used against him, the lawyer was convicted of intentionally burning his insured property and was sentenced to 24 months in jail and a $24,000.00 fine. This is a true story and was the 1st place winner in the recent Criminal Lawyers Award Contest.
ONLY IN AMERICA...NO WONDER OTHER COUNTRIES THINK WE'RE NUTS!!!"

I thought this story sounded fishy, so I checked it out on Snopes. Sure enough, it was listed and sure enough, it was nonsense. Too bad, it was a fun story. I liked this one, but nevertheless I reported back to the person who sent it to me that it was a fairy tale. He like me was disappointed to find out it was false.

Let me say in my experience when it comes to anything you read on the Internet, if it seems too far-fetched to be plausible, it almost always turns out to be false.

Back in the early days of the SSQQ Web Site, I would actually quote the Snopes people on issues they debunked as a favor to students who would ask me about stories such as the one above. One day a Snopes representative emailed me using strong language to suggest I stop doing that. I pointed out I always attributed my information directly to them. After they took a closer look, they realized I was telling the truth and calmed. But from then on out of respect for their sensitivity, I stopped quoting them as well.

No one likes to be exploited.

That said, I must say I didn't appreciate the second email accusing me of plagiarism at all. Here it is:


-----Original Message-----
From: poo poopo
Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2004 6:07 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: Kids' pictures

Hey, asshole, you stole the kids pictures from "http://maddox.xmission.com/"
take it down you plagerists.

Hey, by the way, the comments you added suck, you actually managed to steal good material and turn it into shit, way to go fuckheads.

REPLY
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Tuesday, February 17, 2004 10:34 PM
To: poo poopo
Subject: Kids' pictures

I am unaccustomed to receiving emails from a moron, but I suppose anyone who calls himself "poop poop" can't be expected to represent the high end of the intelligence spectrum.

I was unaware I was "plagiarizing". It was sent to me three years ago without any explanation. I have removed it.

Rick Archer


Editor's Note: It was likely a fan of the Maddox web site who sent the second email. As you noticed, the first letter was professional. I don't blame Mr. Maddox for resenting having his work stolen. He may be coarse and profane, but he is also very funny. His work is very creative. And I am sure he prefers to keep his own work for his own uses.

After taking a look at the original page where my material came from, I see that Maddox runs one of the most popular web sites on the Internet. Let me will tell you one thing - I am DEEPLY IMPRESSED by whatever technology it is that he uses to guard his work. Having his web addresses pop up like that on pictures from my own web site was way too scary. This guy Maddox is way over my head when it comes to web tricks. I am not worthy.

By the way, if you wish to view the forbidden material, click here:
http://maddox.xmission.com/irule.htm
http://maddox.xmission.com/irule2.html
 

 
  JOKES RETURN TO HEADLINES RETURN TO REGULAR FEATURES  
 

BEST NEW JOKES OF THE MONTH

 
 

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 Collection".

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 dance@ssqq.com

 

THE CELESTIAL TRIO - Chris Holmes

Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, and Al Gore were in an airplane that crashed.
They're up in heaven, and God's sitting on the great white throne. God addresses Al first.
"Al, what do you believe in?" Al replies, "Well, I believe I won that election, but that it was your will that I did not serve. And I've come to understand that now." God thinks for a second and says, "Okay, very good.
Come and sit at my left."
Bill replies, "I believe in forgiveness. I've sinned, but I've never held a grudge against my fellow man, and I hope no grudges are held against me."
God thinks for a second and says, "You are forgiven, my son. Come and sit at my right."
God then addresses Hillary. "Hillary, what do you believe in?"
"I believe you're in my chair."
………………

A BLONDE JOKE SO SUBTLE YOU HAVE TO BE A BRUNETTE TO FIGURE OUT - Chris Holmes

A female blonde police officer pulls over a blonde in a convertible sports car for speeding. She walks over to the car and asks the blonde driver for some I.D. The blonde convertible driver searches through her purse in vain. Finally she asks, "What does it look like?"
The blonde police officer tells her, "It's that thing with your picture on it."
The blonde driver searches for a few more seconds, pulls out her compact, opens it, and sure enough sees her picture. She hands the compact to the blonde cop.
The blonde cop looks at the compact for a few seconds, then rolls her eyes, hands the compact back to the blonde convertible driver, and says, "If you had told me you were a police officer when I first pulled you over we could have avoided this whole thing."
………………

CONVERSATION ON A PLANE - Judy Walsh

Two strangers were seated next to each other on a plane. The guy turned to the cute blonde next to him and made his move.
"Let's talk." he said. "I've heard that flights will go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger."
The blonde, who had just opened her book, closed it slowly, and said to the guy, "What would you like to discuss?"
"Oh, I don't know," said the passenger. "How about nuclear power?"
"OK," said the blonde. "That could be an interesting topic. But let me ask you a question first: a horse, a cow, and a deer all eat grass. The same stuff. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, and a horse produces muffins of dried poop. Why do you suppose that is?"
"Oh brother," said the guy. "I have no idea."
So tell me," said the blonde, "How is it that you feel qualified to discuss nuclear power when you don't know shit?"
………………

THE COWBOY BOOTS - Crista Reuss

A lady went into a bar in Waco and saw a cowboy with his feet propped upon a table. He had the biggest boots she'd ever seen. The woman asked the cowboy if it's true what they say about men with big feet.
The cowboy grinned and said, "Shore is, little lady! Why don't you come on out to the bunkhouse and let me prove it to you?"
The woman wanted to find out for herself, so she spent the night with him.
The next morning she handed him a $100 bill.
Blushing, he said, "Well, thankee, ma'am.
Ah'm real flattered. Ain't nobody ever paid fer mah services before,"
The woman replied, "Don't be flattered... take the money and buy yourself some boots that fit."
………………….

WHY SSQQ INSISTS ON NAME TAGS - Carole Nelson

Two elderly ladies had been friends for many decades.

Over the years they had shared all kinds of activities and adventures. Lately, their activities had been limited to meeting a few times a week to play cards.

One day they were playing cards when one looked at the other and said, "Now don't get mad at me.....I know we've been friends for a long time.....but I just can't think of your name! I've thought and thought, but I can't remember it. Please tell me what your name is."

Her friend glared at her. For three minutes she just stared and glared and frowned at her. Finally she said, "How soon do you need to know?"
…………………………………………

WATCH WHAT YOU SPEAK, NOT WHAT YOU EAT - Chris Holmes

For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting medical studies.
1. Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
2. Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
3. Africans drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
4. Italians drink large amounts of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
5. Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than the British or Americans.
CONCLUSION: Eat and drink whatever you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.
……………………..

THE DOG AND THE TELEPHONE - Chris Holmes

An elderly lady phoned the telephone company to report that her telephone failed to ring when her friends called - and that on the few occasions when it did ring, her pet dog always barked right before the phone rang.
The telephone repairman proceeded to the scene, curious to see this psychic dog or senile elderly lady. He climbed a nearby telephone pole, hooked in his test set, and dialed the subscriber's house. The phone didn't ring right away, but then the dog barked loudly and the telephone began to ring. Climbing down from the pole, the telephone repairman found:
1. The dog was tied to the telephone system's ground post via an iron chain and collar.
2. The dog was receiving 90 volts of signaling current when the phone number was called.
3. After several such jolts, the dog would start barking and then urinate on the ground.
4. The wet ground would complete the circuit, thus causing the phone to ring.
Which goes to show that some problems can be fixed by just pissing on them.
………………………..

THE BLONDE GOES TO A FOOTBALL GAME - Gary Richardson

A guy took his blonde girlfriend to her first football game. They had great seats right behind their team's bench. After the game, he asked her how she liked the experience. "Oh, I really liked it," she replied "especially the tight pants and all the big muscles, but I just couldn't understand why they were killing that poor man for 25 cents. It was so barbaric!"
Dumbfounded, her date asked, "What do you mean?"
"Well, I saw them flip a coin and one team got it and then for the rest of the game, all the other team kept screaming was 'Get the quarterback! Get the quarterback!' Hel-LLLO...it's only 25 cents! I hate to think what they'd do if it was a whole DOLLAR!!"
…………………….

HEAVEN AND HELL - Chris Holmes

While walking down the street one day, a senator is tragically hit by a truck and killed. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.
"Welcome to Heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."
"No problem, just let me in," says the Senator.
"Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in Hell and one in Heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."
"There's no need! I want to be in Heaven," says the Senator.
"I'm sorry, sir, but we have our rules." And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator, and he goes down, down, down into Hell.
The doors open, and he finds himself in the middle of a beautiful green golf course. In the distance is a club and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him. Everyone is very happy and in formal dress. They run to greet him, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster and caviar.
Also present is the Devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing a jig and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that, before the Senator realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a big hug and invites him back while the elevator rises.
The elevator goes up, up, up, and the door reopens on Heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him...
"Now it's time to visit Heaven."
So 24 hours pass with the head of state joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by, and St. Peter returns.
"Well, you've spent a day in Hell and another in Heaven. Now, you must choose where you want to spend eternity."
The Senator reflects for a minute and then answers: "Well, I would never have thought it, I mean Heaven has been delightful, but it's kind of ho hum after the kind of life I have led. I think I would be better satisfied in Hell. They seem to be more my kind of people."
St. Peter smiles and says, "I thought so too. Truer words were never said."
So Saint Peter escorts him to the elevator, and down, down, down he goes into Hell.
Now, the doors of the elevator open, and he is in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags. And it's hot, hot, hot and the odor is just horrible.
Sweltering hot. Hot and miserable. The Devil comes over to him and smoothly lays his arm around his shoulder.
"I don't understand," stammers the senator. "The day before yesterday I was here, and there was a golf course and club, and we ate lobster and caviar and danced and had a great time. Now all there is a wasteland full of garbage, and my friends look miserable."
The Devil looks at the senator, smiles and says, "Yesterday was Campaign Day... today you voted for us."
……………………

HARLEY-DAVIDSON - Chris Holmes

The inventor of the Harley-Davidson motorcycle, Arthur Davidson, died and went to heaven. At the gates, St. Peter told Arthur, "Since you've been such a good man and your motorcycles have changed the world, your reward is you can hang out with anyone you want in Heaven."
Arthur thought about it for a minute and then said, "I want to hang out with God."
St. Peter took Arthur to the Throne Room, and introduced him to God. God immediately recognized Arthur and commented, "Okay, so you were the one who invented motorcycles, eh?!"
Arthur said, " Ah, Yes sir, that's me..."
God commented: "Well, what's the big deal in inventing something that's pretty unstable, makes noise and pollution, and can't run without a road?!"
Arthur was apparently embarrassed, but finally spoke, "Excuse me, Sir, but aren't you the inventor of woman???"
God said, "Ah, yes."
"Well sir," said Arthur, "professional to professional, I think you have some major design flaws in your invention:
1. There's too much inconsistency in the front-end protrusion.
2. It chatters constantly at low speed or high speed. In fact it never shuts up.
3. Most of the rear ends are too soft and wobble too much.
4. The intake is placed way too close to the exhaust.
5. Frequently it is difficult to turn even when you need it bad.
5. And the energy need to maintain it properly is outrageous!!"

"Hmmmm, you may have some good points there," replied God, "hold on."
God went to his Celestial supercomputer, typed in a few words and waited for the results. The computer printed out a slip of paper and God read it.
"Well, it may be true that my invention is flawed," God said to Arthur, "but according to these numbers, more men are riding my invention than yours..."
…………………

INDIAN STORY - Judy Walsh

This is the story of Onestone the Indian Brave. This was his Indian name given to him because he had only one testicle. After years and years of this torment Onestone cracked and said, "If anyone calls me Onestone again I will kill them!"
The word got around and nobody called him that any more. Then one day a young girl named Blue Bird forgot and said, "Good morning Onestone."
He jumped up, grabbed her and took her deep into the forest. There he ravaged her all day, he ravaged her all night, he ravaged her all the next day, until Blue Bird died from exhaustion. The word got around that Onestone meant business.
Years went by until a woman named Yellow Bird returned to the village after many years away. Yellow Bird who was Blue Bird's cousin was overjoyed when she saw Onestone and hugged him and said, "Good to see you Onestone."
Onestone grabbed her and took her deep into the forest where he ravaged her all day, ravaged her all night, ravaged her all the next day, ravaged her all the next night, but Yellow Bird wouldn't die!
What is the moral of the story?
You can't kill two birds with one stone.
…………………

KITTY HEAVEN - Bett Sundermeyer

A cat died and went to Heaven. God met her at the gates and said, "You have been a good cat all of these years. Anything you want is yours for the asking."
The cat thought a minute and then said, "All my life I lived on a farm and slept on hard wooden floors. I would like a real fluffy pillow to sleep on."
God said, "Say no more." Instantly, the cat had a huge fluffy pillow.
A few days later, six mice were killed in an accident and they all went to Heaven together. God met the mice at the gates with the same offer that He made to the cat. The mice said, "Well, we have had to run all of our lives: from cats, dogs and even people with brooms! If we could just have some little roller skates, we would never have to run again.
God answered, "It is done." All the mice had beautiful little roller skates.
About a week later, God decided to check on the cat. He found her sound asleep on her fluffy pillow. God gently awakened the cat and asked, "Is everything ok? How have you been doing? Are you happy?"
The cat replied, "Oh, it is WONDERFUL. I have never been so happy in my life! My pillow is fluffy, and those little Meals on Wheels you have been sending over are delicious!"
………………

MAD WIFE DISEASE - Crista Reuss

He was sitting quietly reading his paper when his wife walked up behind him and whacked him on the head with a rolled up magazine "Ouch!! What was that for?" he asked.
"That was for the race track ticket in your pants pocket with the name 'Mary Lou' written on it," she replied.
"Oh for goodness sakes. Two weeks ago when I went to the races, and 'Mary Lou' was the name of one of the horses I bet on," he explained.
"Oh honey, I'm so sorry," she said. "I should have known there was a good explanation."
Three days later he was watching a ball game on TV when she walked up and hit him in the head again, this time with an iron skillet, which knocked him out cold.
When he came to, he asked, "Now what was that for?"

"Your horse called to ask if you could meet her at the race track."
……………………

NAUGHTY BOY - Chris Holmes

I was happy. My girlfriend and I had been dating for over a year, and so we decided to get married. My parents helped us in every way, my friends encouraged me. And my girlfriend? She was a dream!
There was only one thing bothering me, very much indeed. That one thing was her younger sister. My prospective sister-in-law was twenty years of age, wore tight mini skirts, and low cut blouses. She would regularly bend down when near me and I got many a pleasant view of her. It had to be deliberate. She never did it when she was near anyone else. One day little sister called and asked me to come over to check the wedding invitations.
She was alone when I arrived. She whispered to me that soon I was to be married, and she had feelings and desires for me that she couldn't overcome and didn't really want to overcome. She told me that she wanted to make love to me just once before I got married and committed my life to her sister.
I was in total shock and couldn't say a word. She said, "I'm going upstairs to my bedroom, and if you want to go ahead with it just come up and get me."
I was stunned. I was frozen in shock as I watched her go up the stairs.
When she reached the top she pulled down her panties and threw them down the stairs at me.
I stood there for a moment, then turned and went straight to the front door. I opened the door and stepped out of the house and walked straight towards my car.
Just as I passed the porch, I saw my future father-in-law as he was coming out from the bushes. He must have been watching through the window. Behind him I saw my fiancιe who had been watching through the window beside him. With tears in his eyes he hugged me and said, "We are very happy that you have passed our little test. We couldn't ask for better man for our daughter. Welcome to the family!!"
The moral of this story is: always keep your condoms in your car.
…………………..

THE PREGNANCY - Gary Richardson

An eighteen-year-old girl tells her Mom that she has missed her period for two months.
Very worried, the mother goes to the drugstore and buys a pregnancy kit.
The test result shows that the girl is pregnant.
Shouting, cursing, crying, the mother says, "Who was the pig that did this to you? I want to know!"
The girl picks up the phone and makes a call. Half an hour later a Ferrari stops in front of their house; a mature and distinguished man with gray hair and impeccably dressed in a very expensive suit steps out of it and enters the house.
He sits in the living room with the father, the mother and the girl, and tells them: "Good morning, your daughter has informed me of the problem. However, I can't marry her because of my personal family situation, but I'll take responsibility. If a girl is born I will bequeath her 2 retail stores, a townhouse, a beach villa and a $1,000,000 bank account. If a boy is born, my legacy will be a couple of factories and a $1,000,000 bank account. If it is twins, a factory and $1,000,000 each.
However, if there is a miscarriage, what do you suggest I do?"
At this point, the father, who had remained silent, places a hand firmly on the man's shoulder and tells him, "Then I definitely think you should try again."
……………………..

THE PRESCRIPTION - Crista Reuss

A lady walks into a drug store and tells the pharmacist she needs some cyanide.
The pharmacist looked at her and said, " Why in the world do you need cyanide? That stuff is deadly!"
The lady then explained she needed it to poison her husband.
The pharmacist's eyes got big and he said, "Lord have mercy, I can't give you cyanide to kill your husband! That's against the law! They'll throw both of us in jail and I'll lose my license!"
Then the lady reached into her purse and pulled out a picture of her husband in bed with another woman and handed it to the pharmacist. "I have a feeling you know this woman."
The pharmacist was shocked to realize it was his wife in bed with a strange man. The pharmacist looked at the picture a second time, then replied, "Well now, you didn't tell me you had a prescription."
………………………..

THE TEXAS HUNTERS - Judy Walsh

A group of Texas friends went deer hunting and paired off in twos for the day. That night, one of the hunters returned alone, staggering under the weight of a twelve-point buck. It was pretty much the biggest deer they had ever seen.
After admiring the deer for several minutes, someone asked, "Hey. Where's Henry?"
"Henry had a stroke of some kind. He was carrying this deer and just keeled over. Too much for him. I think he's dead. I left him a couple of miles back up the trail," the hunter replied.
"You mean you left Henry laying out there and carried the deer back?" they inquired of him.
"Yeah. A tough call," nodded the hunter. "But I figured no one is going to steal Henry!"
…………………………

THE RECENT SUPERBOWL - Judy Walsh

After-game Highlights....
President Bush called the Patriots and complimented them on a great game.
Al Gore called the Panthers and said he thought they were robbed.
Bill Clinton called Janet Jackson.
 
 
  SSQQ EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH RETURN TO HEADLINES RETURN TO REGULAR FEATURES
 

 PATTY OR HOLMES AND BETHANY DANIELS

 


T
his 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!!   dance@ssqq.com

On the other hand, sometimes the move is dramatic enough to catch my eye so I can say something about it.

 


Original Message-----
From: Babak Fazeli
Sent: Tuesday, January 27, 2004 7:06 PM
To: dance@ssqq.com
Subject: Bethany Daniels and Patti Or

Hi Rick,

I would like to commend two of your employees, Bethany Daniels and Patti Or.

I am from San Diego, where I conduct clinical trial by day, and teach ballroom, latin, and nightclub by night. As I have been dancing competitively since 1990 and teaching since 1995, I have been through and around quite a few studios and interacted with many competitive dancers and instructors. I have become quite disenchanted with the prevalence of petty politics, backstabbing, cold shoulders and holier-then-thou attitudes. I love dancing and teaching, but all of the junk that comes with it can be demoralizing.

Knowing that I had to be in Houston for a week, I looked for a place to dance, discovering your studio's home page. Once in Houston (and after a 14 hour day), I attended your Monday night practice session. I quickly met Bethany, Patti, and a gentleman who's name I forget (which happened sometime while dancing with Bethany, I think). All three of them made me feel comfortable and included, and put great effort into seeing that I was introduced to several other people. Of course, Bethany and Patti were excellent dancers.

Toward the end of the practice session, when they learned that I was going to be in town to the end of the week, one of the two (I'm not going to tell you which) mentioned dancing at the Melody Ballroom on Wednesdays. In the world of petty, backstabbing ballroom dance, promoting dancing at another venue is, in the words of Captain Jack Sparrow, "No! Not good!" Where other studios would frown upon or discipline such actions, your employees were quite forthcoming. It shows that the culture of your studio and your employees attitudes are to dance and to teach dance for the sake of dance, and not for personal gain, power, or material wealth. I have yet to find another studio that is so enlightened.

Recently, upon reading your February newsletter, I learned that the night I attended had the lowest turnout in years. While I recognize that declining attendance usually leads to schedule changes, it did make me regret that I was unable to attend the Thursday practice, which both Bethany and Patti recommended vigorously, to see the studio in full swing.

If you wouldn't mind, please pass this on to Bethany and Patti, with my thanks. Should they ever come to San Diego, I will return the hospitality.

Thanks!
Babak M Fazeli

San Diego, CA 92130 USA

 

----- Original Message -----
From: Rick Archer
To: Babak Fazeli
Sent: Wednesday, February 04, 2004 10:02 AM
Subject: Bethany Daniels and Patti Or

What a nice letter, Mr. Fazeli. Of course I will pass it on to Patty and Bethany.

Our dance studio takes prides in being friendly and open. I have always chosen my instructors based on their warmth just as much as their dancing ability. Bethany and Patty exude warmth in addition to their obvious dancing excellence.

Although as a studio owner, I admit I reflexively rolled my eyes at their revelations regarding an obvious business competitor and vowed to torture both till the truth came out. Then I thought about it for a second and realized that knowing these two they would quickly size up the situation and recognize that as a visitor from out of town the right thing to do is inform you of different dance venues. In this situation they acted as a representative of the City of Houston and I fully support their actions.

My point is, these women think for themselves and see the places where to make an exception rather than blindly pretend that ssqq is the only place to dance. They may drive me slightly nuts, but think how blessed I am to have people of this caliber working for me.

By the way, the evening you chose to visit was actually a turning point in the studio's history. If you are curious, visit our Newsletter and click on the story titled "RICK ARCHER ADMITS HIS FIRST MISTAKE IN 25 YEARS."

http://www.ssqq.com/ssqq/news2004february.htm

Again, thank you for your nice letter and please visit us again on your next trip to H-Town.
Rick Archer
 


-----Original Message-----
From: Babak Fazeli
Sent: Wednesday, February 04, 2004 12:11 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: Bethany Daniels and Patti Or

Hi Rick,

Thank you for the reply and for passing it on. My understanding though, was that women are supposed to drive us men slightly nuts. That is why we are intrigued by them . . . . .

Babak

 


-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Wednesday, February 04, 2004 1:28 PM
To: Babak Fazeli
Subject: employees of the month Bethany Daniels and Patti Or

Touchι.


(Editor's Note: By the way, the lovely Patty Or is now the lovely Patty Holmes. She is one of the three ladies who all got married on the same day last November. And let me add that Patty's birthday is on Saint Patrick's Day. I am told this coincidence had something to do with her decision to adopt this English name when she moved from Hong Kong to the USA just one step ahead of the Chinese takeover back in the late 80s. Be sure to give her a big hug on St. P Day in March!!
Bethany Daniels is off for a three-week trip to Israel. Like any over-protective father, I worry about the danger, but I guess she is a big girl and can take care of herself. I obviously pray that she returns safely. RA)
 

  LOGIC PUZZLE RESULTS RETURN TO HEADLINES RETURN TO REGULAR FEATURES
 

THE WINNERS OF THE FEBRUARY SSQQ LOGIC PUZZLE: SSQQ MARRIAGE GOSSIP


THE SSQQ SUMMER CRUISE TRIPS!

The February puzzle dealing with Cruise Trips was extremely difficult. We had only 4 winners this month. Susan Arevalo sent it to me with the comment that she had found it extremely tricky.

So I gave it a try and decided I agreed with Susan - this was a very difficult puzzle! Eventually after much anguish I solved it, but not without much sweat and frustration. Naturally I wished to pass my torment onto others. I must have succeeded because only 5 people were able to solve it.
 

Announcing the 2004 February Logical Celebrities!!


1. Cynthia Roney (First time winner!)
2. Jeff and Connie Woodman (Eight months in a row!)
3. Ann Faget (Eight months in a row!)
4. Ritesh Laud (First time winner!)
5. Susan Arevalo (Seven months in a row! - she submitted it, therefore isn't it logical to suppose she also solved it?)

After last month's puzzle, we had three leaders - the Woodmans (Jeff and Connie) who solve these things like clockwork, the new dark horse leader Ann Faget, and the Puzzle Queen Mara Rivas. They all had solved seven puzzles in a row.

This month when I totaled up the winners I realized Mara was not among them. I emailed her to ask where her results were. Panic-stricken she wrote back and said she had forgotten all about it.

Mara sent in her answers twice, but they were slightly off. I am very sorry to say the SSQQ Puzzle Queen bit the dust this month. I feel very sad.

Mara is so like me. What she lacks in genius, she makes up for with persistence and hard work. I can say the same for myself. Whatever wattage might be missing can be amplified through hard work and determination. When it comes to 'determination', Mara is the epitome. But now she has fallen by the wayside. Will she pick herself up and try again next month? Or will she be too bitter to continue? I will let you know.

So now it is down to Ann Faget versus the Woodmans with Susan Arevalo just a month behind. This month's puzzle isn't tough enough to intimidate any of this bunch so I don't expect much change in the standings.

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 RETURN TO HEADLINES RETURN TO REGULAR FEATURES
 

THE MARCH SSQQ LOGIC PUZZLE: THE FAMILY TREE

 
http://ssqq.com/archive/logicpuzzle16.htm

There has been a complaint that the last few SSQQ Logic Puzzles have been too difficult.

Personally speaking, my attitude is that if I can solve them, so can anyone else.

But this month I decided to ease up a little and offer one that is challenging, but not so tough.

Have you ever listened to someone at a wedding with a large family talk about cousin this, sister that, brother in law, great aunt, blah blah, and you wish you had a pencil to diagram a flow chart just to keep up with all the names? Well, this puzzle should remind you of a conversation like this. It is tricky, but with a little concentration you should be able to get it.

Get your pencils ready. Get your ruler ready. Get some paper for that graph. On your mark, get set, Click that mouse!
http://ssqq.com/archive/logicpuzzle16.htm
  JOKE PICTURE OF THE MONTH RETURN TO HEADLINES RETURN TO REGULAR FEATURES
 

THE SSQQ JOKE PICTURE OF THE MONTH
Joke Picture

 


THE MARCH JOKE PICTURE OF THE MONTH - JANET HAD SOME SUPERBOWL COMPETITION!!
Contributed by Anita Williams

Guess what, the SSQQ Gossip Center has discovered that Janet Jackson was not the only fading Superstar stooping to new depths for some cheap publicity. Someone else was also performing at the Superbowl that night!

http://www.ssqq.com/ssqq/jokepicture.htm

  PUNISHMENT RETURN TO HEADLINES RETURN TO REGULAR FEATURES
 

THE WORST SSQQ PUN OF THE MONTH
(There is no such thing as a good pun...)

 
The Vegetable Tragedy
Contributed by Judy Walsh

Tired of constantly being broke and stuck in an unhappy marriage, a young husband decided to solve both problems by taking out a large insurance policy on his wife, with himself as the beneficiary, and arranging to have her killed.

A "friend of a friend" put him in touch with a nefarious underworld figure who went by the name of "Artie."

Artie explained to the husband that his going price for snuffing out a spouse was $5,000. The husband said he was willing to pay that amount but that he wouldn't have any cash on hand until he could collect his wife's insurance money.

Artie insisted on being paid something up front. The man opened up his wallet, displaying the single dollar bill that rested inside.

Artie sighed, rolled his eyes, and reluctantly agreed to accept the dollar as down payment for the dirty deed.

A few days later, Artie followed the man's wife to the local Kroger grocery store. There, he surprised her in the produce department and proceeded to strangle her with his gloved hands.

As the poor unsuspecting woman drew her last breath and slumped to the floor the manager of the produce department stumbled unexpectedly onto the scene.

Unwilling to leave any witnesses behind, Artie had no choice but to strangle the produce manager as well.

Unknown to Artie, the entire proceedings were captured by hidden cameras and observed by the store's security guard, who immediately called the police.

Artie was caught and arrested before he could leave the store.

Under intense questioning at the police station, Artie revealed the sordid plan, including his financial arrangements with the hapless husband.

And that is why, the next day in the newspaper, the headline declared...

"ARTIE CHOKES TWO FOR A DOLLAR AT KROGERS"
  VOCABULARY RETURN TO HEADLINES

RETURN TO REGULAR FEATURES

 
 

THE SSQQ VOCABULARY WORD OF THE MONTH

 

MUGWUMP - Submitted by Ann Faget

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.)

"He's too much of a mugwump to be a politician."
"The question divided the party caucus, with the partisans lined up pro and contra, and the mugwumps sorely perplexed."

(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! dance@ssqq.com)
 
  SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE RETURN TO HEADLINES RETURN TO REGULAR FEATURES  
 

SSQQ SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE!!

 
SSQQ SLOW DANCE AND ROMANCE: NO ONE GETS MARRIED OR ENGAGED THIS MONTH!

Nobody admitted to getting engaged in February. Valentine's Day was a big flop. Humbug. I am so Bummed!

I bet there was a Romance that no one told me about. C'mon, people, give it up! Dish some gossip. You know something you haven't told me yet. Send it in. If you want to be anonymous, that's cool, I don't care. Make 'em up if you want to! Just give me some names!
 
  VENUS AND MARS RETURN TO HEADLINES RETURN TO REGULAR FEATURES  
 

VENUS AND MARS

 
 
THE VENUS AND MARS OBSERVATION FOR MARCH


Contributed by Judy Walsh

THE FEMALE PRAYER:

Before I lay me down to sleep,
I pray for a man, who's not a creep.
One who's handsome, smart and strong.
One who loves to listen long.
One who thinks before he speaks;
when he says he'll call, he won't wait weeks.
I pray that he is gainfully employed.
When I spend his cash, he won't be annoyed.
Pulls out my chair and opens my door,
massages my back and begs to do more.
Oh! Send me a man who'll make love to my mind,
and knows what to answer to "How big is my behind?"
I pray that this man will love me to no end,
and never attempt to hit on my friend.
AMEN.


THE MALE PRAYER:
Dear God, I pray for a deaf-mute nymphomaniac with huge boobs who owns a bar.

AMEN.
 
 
  CLEAN SIDE 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 no one had a joke published in the March Newsletter so I don't have any "Hall of Fame" entries to announce this month. Fortunately we have 24 jokes from earlier times to share, including several excellent Irish jokes sure to raise a smile as we approach St Patty's Day!

March Clean Side Selections

March CS 01: The Irishman - Rodrigo Aranda
March CS 02: Men Bashing - Rick Archer
March CS 03: A Sure Sign of Stupidity - Gary Richardson
March CS 04: The Irate Customer - Robin Wagner
March CS 05: The Lazy Employee - Richard Bevis
March CS 06: Bad-Mouthed Cockatoo - Carel Von Staden
March CS 07: Watson and Holmes - Ted Jones
March CS 08: Bessie the Cow - Mike Gerstenberger
March CS 09: George Washington - Sharon Russell
March CS 10: Getting Smarter - Sharon Russell
March CS 11: The Bank Robbery - Sharon Russell
March CS 12: Blonde Story - Pat Roberts
March CS 13: Daughter's Big Mouth - Joseph Stuteville
March CS 14: Hillary at the Pearly Gates - Glen Hilford
March CS 15: The Good Luck Kiss - Mike Guillory
March CS 16: Sneaking into the Olympic Village - Mike Guillory
March CS 17: God, Moses, and Golf - Mike Guillory
March CS 18: Big City Lawyer & the Texas Rancher - Mike Guillory
March CS 19: Some People Just Can't Win - Mike Guillory
March CS 20: Winning the Contest - Mike Guillory
March CS 21: Dominated by Women - Pat Roberts
March CS 22: Watergate Aftermath - Robin Wagner
March CS 23: The Business Executive and Secretary - Susan Schroeder
March CS 24: Irish Shopping - Gerald McEathron

March CS 01: The Irishman - Rodrigo Aranda

Brenda O'Malley is home making dinner, as usual, when Tim Finnegan arrives at her door. "Brenda, may I come in?" he asks. "I've somethin' to tell ya."

"Of course you can come in, you're always welcome, Tim. But where's my husband?"

"That's what I'm here to be tellin' ya, Brenda. There was an accident down at the Guiness brewery…"

"Oh, God no!" cries Brenda. "Please don't tell me..."

"I must, Brenda. Your husband Shamus is dead and gone. I'm sorry."

Finally, she looked up at Tim. "How did it happen, Tim?"

"It was terrible, Brenda. He fell into a vat of Guinness Stout and drowned."

"Oh my dear Jesus! But you must tell me true, Tim. Did he at least go quickly?"

"Well, no Brenda... no."

"No?"

"Fact is, he got out three times to pee."
 
  BLUE SIDE RETURN TO HEADLINES RETURN TO REGULAR FEATURES RETURN TO SPECIAL FEATURES
 

THE SSQQ 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 access.

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. dance@ssqq.com  

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!!


March Blue Side

March BS 01: Noah's Ark - Ralph Volz
March BS 02: Monkey at the Bar - Chris Holmes
March BS 03: The Golf Pro - Mark Katz
March BS 04: Help the Poor Guy Out - Ralph Volz
March BS 05: Flea Flicker - Bett Sundermeyer
March BS 06: The Genie - Gary Richardson
March BS 07: Identical Twins - Sam Demora
March BS 08: Sexual Dysfunction - Debbie Awad
March BS 09: The Toughest Cowboy - Mike Gerstenberger
March BS 10: The Vibrator - Karen Davidson
March BS 11: Attitude Adjustment - Richard Weisberg
March BS 12: Mother's Advice - Ralph Volz
March BS 13: The Spinster - Judy Walsh
March BS 14: African Roulette - Mike Gerstenberger
March BS 15: The General - Richard Bevis
March BS 16: The Gas Station - Michael Brockmyre

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. This next joke is one of my very favorites. Enjoy!

March BS 16: The Gas Station - Michael Brockmyre

Late at night, a young man is taking his girlfriend for a spin in his new sports car. As he shows off what the car can do, she is thrilled at the speed. He decides to dare her.

"If I do 100 mph, will you take off your clothes?" he smirks.

"Oh, Yes!!" says his girlfriend excitedly. He smiles. This is a side of her he hasn't seen before. Typically she is the biggest prude on earth. But now as the speedometer climbs above 100, with a wicked smile he watches as she begins to peel off all her clothes. They blow out of the convertible as the wind catches them. Neither of them care - they are too turned on to notice!

Forgetting to keep his eyes on the road, the car hits a bump, skids onto some gravel and flips over. The naked girl is thrown clear of the convertible, but the young man is jammed beneath the steering wheel. He can't move and probably has broken ribs.

"Go and get help!" he cries.

"But I can't! I'm naked, my clothes are gone, and I have no shoes!"

"For crying out loud, pull my boots off and put them on. When you get to that gas station we passed, take them back off and cover yourself!"

This plan worked. Putting the boots on, the girl runs down the road and finds the service station. Now she takes one boot off and strategically places it over her privates while she hops on the other foot.

She pounds with one hand on the locked door. No one can hear her apparently. In desperation, she sticks the boot between her thighs and pounds with both fists. This works. A station proprietor comes to the door. She covers her breasts with her hands as he opens the door.

"Please help me! My boyfriend's stuck!" she screams frantically.

The proprietor looks at the boot between her legs, scratches his chin and says, "There's nothing I can do, lady. He's in too far!!"
 
 

START OF THE SPECIAL FEATURES SECTION

SF ONE     RETURN TO SPECIAL FEATURES
 

SPECIAL FEATURE ONE


CITIBANK WANTS DEAD PEOPLE TO PAY UP!
Contributed by Pat Roberts

"My Aunt died this past January. Citibank billed her for February and March for their monthly service charge on her credit card, and then added late fees and interest on the monthly charge...the balance had been $0.00... now was somewhere around $60.00)

I placed the following phone call to CitiBank:

Me: "I am calling to tell you that she died in January."

CitiBank: "The account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply."

Me: "Maybe, you should turn it over to collections..."

CitiBank: "Since it is 2 months past due, it already has been."

Me: "So, what will they do when they find out she is dead?"

CitiBank: "Either report her account to the frauds division, or report her to the credit bureau...maybe both!"

Me: "Do you think God will be mad at her?"

CitiBank:"...excuse me .....?"

Me: "Did you just get what I was telling you.... the part about her being dead?"

CitiBank: "Sir, you'll have to speak to my supervisor!"

(Supervisor gets on the phone)

Me: ''I'm calling to tell you, she died in January."

CitiBank: "The account was never closed and the late fees and charges still apply."

Me: "You mean you want to collect from her estate?"

CitiBank: ".....(stammer)"

CitiBank: "Are you her lawyer?"

Me: "No, I'm her great nephew." (Lawyer info given... )

CitiBank: "Could you fax us a certificate of death?"

Me: "Sure." ( Fax number is given )

( After they get the fax. )

CitiBank: "Our system just isn't setup for death..."

Me: "Oh..."

CitiBank: "I don't know what more I can do to help..."

Me: "Well... if you figure it out, great! If not, you could just keep billing her...I suppose...don't really think she will care...."

CitiBank: "Well...the late fees and charges do still apply."

Me: "'Would you like her new billing address?"

CitiBank: "That might help."

Me: " ( Odessa Memorial Cemetery #### Hwy 129 and plot number given. )

CitiBank: "Sir, that's a cemetery!"

Me: "What do you do with dead people on your planet?!!""
SF TWO   RETURN TO HEADLINES RETURN TO SPECIAL FEATURES
 

SPECIAL FEATURE TWO

 

SPEAKING OF DEAD PEOPLE - Contributed by Pat Roberts

(Editor's Note: Pat sent in this fascinating story back in 2001. I think it is actually a true story. If so, it is unbelievable!)


They say a government worker is like a shotgun with a broken firing pin - it won't work and you can't fire it. It appears the Post Office has raised the postage rate again. Apparently business isn't very good and they need to make more money. Doesn't it seem they are starting to raise the rate about once every year??

Now here's an idea. Since the average post office is cluttered with "Wanted" posters, why not put the faces of some of those criminals on postage stamps. Not only would this help the average citizen lick crime, but why not let the mailman look for the crooks while delivering the mail?? Then the reward money could go towards retiring the post office deficit.
………………………………………..

Speaking of the Post Office, you too might have a co-worker who never seems to even move any more. Here is an excerpt from the Birmingham Sunday Mercury (7th Jan 2001) sent to me by Pat Roberts:

"Worker found dead at desk for 5 days. The executives of a publishing firm are trying to work out why no one noticed that one of their employees had been sitting dead at his desk for FIVE DAYS before anyone asked if he was feeling okay. George Turklebaum, 51, who had been employed as a proofreader at a New York firm for 30 years, had a heart attack in the open-plan office he shared with 23 other workers. He quietly passed away on Monday, but nobody noticed until Saturday morning when an office cleaner asked why he was still working during the weekend.

His boss Elliot Wachiaski said "George was always the first guy in each morning and the last to leave at night, so no one found it unusual that he was in the same position all that time and didn't say anything. He was always absorbed in his work and kept much to himself." A post mortem examination revealed that he had been dead for five days after suffering a coronary. Ironically, George was proofreading manuscripts of medical textbooks when he died."

You may want to give your co-workers a nudge occasionally. I have asked my own Staff to periodically poke each other in the ribs just to be sure…
SF THREE   RETURN TO HEADLINES RETURN TO SPECIAL FEATURES
 

SPECIAL FEATURE THREE

 

THE STORY BEHIND LEAP YEAR

(Note: This article appeared in this month's issue of Microsoft's Encarta Newsletter. An especially gifted author named Martha Brockenbrough wrote it. I found this story to be very interesting.)
 

Dear Martha,

Why do we have leap year? And why aren't we required to leap?  And by the way, did you see what Miss Piggy did at the Superbowl?  (
joke picture of the month )

--Kermit the Frog

Dear Kermit,

Long ago, people needed to track the passage of days to assist with their survival--and not just to plan their birthday parties and weekly therapy sessions. These ancient people figured out that it took about 365 days to rotate through the four seasons. About is the key word here. It actually takes a little bit more than 365 days--about 365.25, in fact.

If we didn't have leap years, which are part of the Gregorian calendar that we follow, we'd get six hours behind every year. It doesn't sound like a lot, but over time, it adds up.

The adjustment doesn't sound too tricky, but again about is the key word. It actually takes Earth a tiny bit less than 365.25 days to travel around the Sun (365.242199, if you're keeping score).

To adjust for this, we skip the leap year three times each 400 years! We don't "leap" on those "century" years that are divisible by 100, but not by 400. That is, we have a leap year every four years, except those when a new century starts that is not a multiple of
400. This is why 2000 was a leap year, for example, but 1900, 1800, and 1700 were not.

February 2004 is considered bissextile--a word that sounds racy, but really only means we get that extra day that comes with a leap year.

Coincidentally, 2004 marks the 50th anniversary of a failed attempt by the United Nations to adopt a more accurate World Calendar. This would have been really cool. The calendar would have given us a 52-week, 364-day year that would have started on January 1 and ended with a dateless and dayless Year-End Day.

Imagine that! A day with no date and no name. It would have been good and freaky, and what's more, we would have gotten an extra one every fourth year between June and July. According to Encarta's calendar experts, the big problem with this approach is that it would have fussed with regular religious holidays. But I'll bet the media, who are trained to slap days and dates on everything, would have freaked out if this had been adopted. Banks would probably gripe, too. How would you fill out the date on the check? And employers might go nuts. How would people schedule meetings at work? Let's meet at noon on Year-End Day?

These issues seem so trivial, though, when you consider that we could have had the opportunity to experience days unhinged from the seven-day straightjacket known as the week. It could have been a holiday, where people were required to relax--do nothing, go nowhere, buy nothing, and simply think about the value and meaning of time. Sure, it might have brought down the American economy, but it definitely would have been a fun change of pace, and a preferable path to financial ruin than, say, irrational exuberance in the stock market.

The World Calendar, of course, wasn't the first attempt to keep our calendar in tune with the seasons. The Gregorian calendar we follow is plagued with 12 months of varying lengths, uneven quarters, and shifting dates and days of the week (which is why your birthday might be on a Monday one year and a Tuesday the next). Even with its complicated adjustments, every year, the Gregorian calendar gets us about 27 seconds off, which means that in about 3,200 years we'll be a day off--with leap years and all.

A 13-month solution called the International Fixed Calendar would have given us 13 months with 28 days each followed by a Year Day that would be associated with no week or month. We'd get an extra one of those after June 28 on leap years. Every month would start with a Sunday, and the extra month, named Sol (presumably after the Sun and not somebody's uncle), would fall between June and July. People didn't like this because it would have meant moving national holidays, but what's nutty about that criticism is that we could schedule national holidays so that they'd give us all three- or four-day weekends, instead of the midweek breaks that we currently have to juggle for certain holidays, such as Independence Day. Yeah, we'd have to stop calling it the 4th of July, but celebrating on July 6th seems worth it for a guaranteed three-day weekend.

And then there was the Perpetual Calendar, which the United States Congress snubbed.
Weeks (and business quarters) would all start on Monday, which makes sense for people who live in a world where quarterly reports are a big thing. They probably would have had better luck with this if they'd called it the Mondays Stink Already Calendar.

Perpetual anything sounds like a lot of work, especially for politicians who are only on the hook to work 138 days each year. (In 1992 the average American worked 226 days, according to the Economic Policy Institute Study of Current Population Survey data, a trend that has gotten worse and only proves my point that we need a blank day, just to unwind.)

You also asked why no one is required to leap. The only way to know for sure would be to determine the etymological origin of the phrase leap year. Why do we use the word leap? Why not something else, like bonus or extra year? Unfortunately, no one knows for sure. But in America, it's probably because our overworked people feel too tired to leap--unless it's into a nice, cozy bed with a good book.

Still, Kermit, you can leap if you want to, and on any day of the year. It may look silly, but exercise is good for your health.

And finally, no, Kermit, I missed what Miss Piggy did at the Superbowl, but now that I have seen the sordid picture I understand more fully why you would be preoccupied with Leap Year and not with Miss Piggy.  Write again soon!

Martha

SF FOUR   RETURN TO HEADLINES RETURN TO SPECIAL FEATURES
 

SPECIAL FEATURE FOUR

 


INNER THOUGHTS ON THE NATURE OF CHILDREN
Contributed by Lynn Griffiths

They say Insanity is inherited. This is likely true. Parents definitely inherit insanity from their children. Doesn't it seem like no matter what you tell them to do, they are bound to find a way to frustrate you? Some cynics say the surest way of getting something done your way is to forbid your kids to do it. This is definitely something to think about. Even someone with a heck of lot more power than the rest of us had to learn this hard way.

After creating Heaven and Earth, God created Adam and Eve. And the first thing he said was "DON'T DO IT!"

"Don't do what?" Adam replied.

"Don't eat the forbidden fruit." God said.

"Forbidden fruit? You mean we have forbidden fruit? Hey Eve...we have forbidden fruit!!!!!"

"No Way!"

"Yes way!"

"Do NOT eat the fruit!" said God.

"Why"

"Because I am your Father and I said so!" God replied, wondering why He hadn't stopped creation after making the elephants.

A few minutes later, God saw His children having an apple break and He was ticked! "Didn't I tell you not to eat the fruit?" God asked.

"Uh huh," Adam replied.

"Then why did you?" said the Father.

"I don't know," said Eve.

"She started it!" Adam said

"Did not!"

"Did too!"

"DID NOT!"

Having had it with the two of them, God's punishment was that Adam and Eve should have children of their own. Thus the pattern was set and it as never changed. Children are God's punishment to all us for the Original Sin.

BUT THERE IS REASSURANCE IN THE STORY! If you have persistently and lovingly tried to give children wisdom and they haven't taken it, don't be hard on yourself. If God had trouble raising children, what makes you think it would be any easier for you?

Now here are some other things to think about when it comes to kids:

Children are natural mimics who act like their parents despite every effort to teach them good manners.

Children seldom misquote you. In fact, they usually repeat word for word whatever it is you shouldn't have said.

99% of the time when something isn't working in your house, one of your kids probably knows why not.

The main purpose of holding children's parties is to remind yourself that there are children more awful than your own.

Never raise your hands to your kids. It leaves your groin unprotected.

You spend the first two years of their life teaching them to walk and talk. Then you spend the next sixteen telling them to sit down, shut up and listen.

No matter how hard you try to protect your children, they will eventually get arrested and end up in the local paper. Or even worse appear on the Internet in a video clip.

Mothers of teens now know why some animals eat their young, but don't forget that revenge is just around the corner. Always remind yourself that Grandchildren are God's reward for not killing your own children. And then you can take the same satisfaction watching their hair fall out as God did when Cain and Abel drove Adam and Eve insane.

ADVICE FOR THE DAY: Be nice to your kids. They will choose your nursing home one day. And if you are extra nice or (more likely) especially gifted at instilling guilt, they might even let you come live with them.

AND FINALLY: If you have a lot of tension and you get a headache, do what it says on the bottle, "Take Two Aspirin" and most important of all "Keep Away From Children!!"


(Editor's Note: If anyone should know a thing or two about raising children, it is my amazing Aunt Lynn from McLean, Virginia. Not only did Lynn raise four terrific kids of her own, she took wonderful care of her own mother as well. And as for Lynn's reward for not murdering her young, at last count she has 5 wonderful grandkids who give her so much pleasure! And if that isn't enough, she even helped raise me too! Now all of you who know me will agree that alone is quite an accomplishment!

Lynn Griffiths has always been the standard against which I measure all Moms. I have seen a few women perhaps equal her talent, but as far as I am concerned Aunt Lynn will never have worry about second place to anyone!)

SF FIVE RETURN TO HEADLINES RETURN TO SPECIAL FEATURES
 

SPECIAL FEATURE FIVE

 
 


BETTY THE SPY - A TRUE STORY ABOUT BETTY RICHARDSON FROM 1999
Written by Rick Archer

Editor's Note: Gary and Betty Richardson are two of my best friends here at the studio. Every computer at SSQQ has been made at Gary's computer store, TFW Computers. Not only has Gary built nearly twenty computers for me, he has been close to 80 for members of the ssqq dance community. Go read the list if you don't believe me - http://ssqq.com/information/tfwcomputers01.htm

The following is a true story that Gary told to me about his beautiful wife's adventure one summer several years ago. It is a very cute story that you can't help but enjoy! RA



"Harriet the Spy" is one of my daughter Sam's favorite movies. It is the story about a young girl who peeks through windows and around corners to watch people in action, then writes down her impressions. She is quite sneaky.

Betty and Gary Richardson drove up to Denton, Texas, over the May 15th Weekend in 1999 to celebrate their son Chris' graduation from North Texas State. Along with daughter Cindy and son Mike, Gary and Betty are about to achieve their life-long dream of putting their three children through college. What a proud moment this must have been for Betty and Gary!

On the way Betty surprised Gary by asking him to take a little detour over to Fort Worth.  Curious, Gary asked what was up. Betty told him she had found out that her father Bill liked to go Ballroom dancing every Friday night at the Stardust Ballroom. This has been his hangout for 16 years. Betty only sees her father once or twice or year to begin with and she has never seen him dance.

Betty whispered to Gary that she
has a secret desire to watch her father in action on the dance floor. One catch: Betty's Dad doesn't know she is coming. He doesn't even know she is in town. That's okay with Betty. She wanted to see what her Dad was really like in an unguarded moment.

Gary pointed out that Betty didn't even know if he is going to be there. After all he had been nursing a hurt foot and hadn't been dancing for nearly a month.  Betty replied out her father mentioned on the phone he thought maybe he might try dancing again this week. Gary pointed out that Fort Worth is a long way from Denton for a 'maybe'. Betty said she doesn't mind. Gary pointed out he will have to wear a coat and tie. Betty said she doesn't mind. Gary said he doesn't know how to Ballroom Dance. Betty said she doesn't mind. Gary was starting to figure out that whatever his excuse would be, Betty wouldn't mind. She wanted to do this.
 
So fast-forward to Fort Worth on Friday. Betty got Ready. She was very glamorous in her beautiful black sequined evening dress cut high. Betty always gets compliments on her lovely legs. And then she put her hair way up the air so she is four inches taller and added high heels so now she is six inches taller. She was ready to dance. Gary put on his tie and grumbled a little, but seeing the determined look in her eye decided not to say anything more.  Was Fort Worth Calling? Yes, it was.

Betty and Gary arrived at 8:30 pm. They found an inconspicuous corner spot at the Stardust and began to watch for Bill, Betty's father. Gary noticed the crowd was in its seventies and eighties and started to feel like a teenager again. Promptly at 9 Bill strode in wearing a sporty light blue blazer. Gary wondered to himself if the coat could glow in the dark.  This coat was lighthouse kind of bright. The whole room seemed to lighten a bit. Must have been Bill's presence. Or maybe the coat had something to do with it.

As Gary watched, it seemed that Bill was quite popular. He danced every dance. Once he looked over to the corner where Betty the Spy sat, but she quickly covered her face by looking down. Gary wondered if perhaps Betty was sneakier than he realized.

Then about twenty
minutes after the dance started, a "John Paul Jones" is announced. (By the way if any of our readers has a clue why these dances are named after the famous Naval hero, please let me know, dance@ssqq.com).
This is a dance where everyone dances with everyone. As Gary discovered, here at the Stardust they don't get in two circles like here at SSQQ, but rather just trade partners whenever the whistle blows.

Gary gave Betty a nudge. This was of course the perfect chance to make her move. But she wasn't quite ready.

Betty wanted to study her father in action some more. Gary nudged her again and pointed out there may not be a better chance for some time. This made sense, so Gary and Betty hit the floor.  Gary was a little nervous because he didn't have a clue how to Foxtrot.  Furthermore he was worried that Bill might recognize him so he located himself far enough to hide but close enough to watch.  Okay. Just how far away was that?  About twenty feet.

After five whistles, Betty suddenly ended up in her Dad's arms. His first remark was, "Oh, aren't I lucky!!"  

Gary was interested in Bill's reaction.  At first Bill was clearly pleased to have such a young and pretty lady to dance with.  But after about ten seconds had passed, Bill's expression changed to a frown. Now he clearly had begun to look at her intently. Then Bill said, "You know, you sure look a lot like my daughter."

"Oh really?" replied Betty, smiling at him. With her hair up, she had changed her normal appearance quite a bit. They danced the Foxtrot some more. Bill didn't take his eye off Betty for a moment.

Then Bill said, "You really do look a lot like my daughter. I have two of them, but you look a lot like one of them."

"Oh really?  What's her name?"

"Betty".

"Oh really?" Another smile from Betty. "Is she pretty?"

"Why yes, actually she is very pretty." 
They danced for a minute more. Bill ignored the whistle to change partners. Betty just continued to quietly dance and smile. Sometimes she looked at her father, sometimes she watched the other people. She didn't want to make this easy for her obviously flustered father. Finally Bill asked, "By some chance are you are Betty?"

"Why Yes I am!" Betty announced with a grin.  Almost at that moment, the whistle blew again. This time Betty deliberately separated to dance with a new partner, leaving her father standing there flabbergasted.  Fortunately some woman grabbed Bill to get him moving again. Betty watched her father Bill finish the song out of the corner of her eye. He was in a trance.

Bill was still in shock even when the song ended. In a daze, he walked over to his table. Gary and Betty followed him waiting to be greeted. Unfortunately Bill's social graces were temporarily lost. He just sat there speechless. He appeared to be stunned. The lion wasn't used to being followed to his lair. Finally another gentleman sensed Bill's shock and decided to help by pointing to some extra chairs and inviting them to sit down.  Betty and Gary joined Bill at the table.

Not much conversation ensued. Bill was quiet. Fortunately the music rescued the awkward situation as Gary asked Betty to dance.

It took 30 minutes after the initial encounter for Bill to finally snap out of his shock and began to show his natural warmth. Bill started to smile. Now he introduced Betty and Gary to everyone in the building. Everybody thought Betty's trick was precious and loved meeting her.  And since there were several more women than men, Gary was immediately put to work keeping the extra ladies busy.  For the rest of the three hour party, Gary and Betty danced nearly every song.

Gary wasn't really interested in spying. He was more worried about not knowing how to Ballroom Dance. The Orchestra played a lot of Big Band music. He was greatly relieved to discover his Twostep could pass as a Foxtrot.

Once that he got his dance confidence back, Gary found he was quickly becoming quite popular!  One 80-year old lady about 5 feet tall in a red dress called him "Sonny". This lady couldn't get enough of Gary!  One time on another John-Paul-Jones the red dress lady elbowed another woman out of the way to get another dance with him!  Gary complained that the women were fighting over him so much they tired him out. I tried to feel sorry for him until he mentioned he had led a Twostep move called, "the Big Bad Wolf Step."  Well, to these women, that is like throwing a match on dry timber in the forest. Gary never sat down again. He danced the night away! 

Gary also found out his Swing dancing worked just fine. And a Waltz was a Waltz was a Waltz. His only insurmountable obstacle was a Rumba. One lady even tried to teach him how, but Gary's hips didn't move quite the right way so as a public service he sat back down.

Then came a Polka!  Not George Straight, but a Lawrence Welk Oom-Pah Polka. No matter. But Betty and Gary didn't dance the Polka. Instead they decided to try the Whip instead since the speed of the music was about right.  

Betty's hips clearly worked better than Gary's!   And they worked just fine in front of Daddy no less!   Gary smiled when he remembered he could still outrun her father if necessary.  Everybody was watching and they started to clap!  Bill's eyes rolled out to the edge of his nose... is this really my little girl?

Fortunately, Bill took it the right way. He said to Betty after she got off the floor, "I have never in my life seen anything like that in my life. You are a great dancer, young lady!"  

I imagine Betty the Spy smiled. It was fun to be Daddy's little girl again.  She had way too much fun that evening.

 
SF SIX RETURN TO HEADLINES RETURN TO SPECIAL FEATURES
 

SPECIAL FEATURE SIX

 
 
THE AMAZING SOUTHWEST AIRLINES LAWSUIT

"Eenie Meenie Minie Mo, Take a Seat, We Gotta Go!"

These immortal words have landed SW Airlines in court. They are being sued by two irate passengers. You don't believe me? You will after you read the story below in just a second.

Sometimes in dance class, I need a lady student to demonstrate a move. For lack of a better method, for the past twenty years or so I have used the classic picking rhyme "eenie meenie minie mo".

I will start with the first woman in the row then point to each new lady as I go down the line, "eenie meenie minie mo, catch a lady by the toe. If she hollers make her say I'll take lessons every day."

Stupid? Of course. Offensive? I hope not. No one has complained yet. Effective? Absolutely. Someone always gets picked.  Invariably they feel paranoid about the entire process. When asked, they figured I was going after them anyway and just used the stupid rhyme to cover my evil plans to harass them.  But they all agree the process is harmless and soon over.

Did I say I have been doing it this way for twenty years?  Yes I did.  Is there any malice or hidden agenda?  I swear on a stack of Bibles I never gave any of this a second thought. I needed someone at random one day and the rhyme came to my head.

Did I know this rhyme was once associated with bigotry and racism. No, I did not, but now that I thought about it, I did recall there was a version that included a nasty racial slur.

While we are it, Did YOU know this rhyme was once associated with bigotry and racism??

I have asked several people at the studio if they had the slightest idea this rhyme could be considered a racial slur. Maybe one in five vaguely remembered something. As our memories from the 1950s and 60s fade, the nasty rhyme has become pretty obscure. I had completely forgotten about it until this story emerged.


Now you should read this year-old article from the Chronicle:

HOUSTON CHRONICLE
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2003

RHYME WITH A PAST LEADS TO RACIAL SUIT AGAINST SOUTHWEST AIRLINES
Kansas City, Kansas

A judge has set a trial date in a discrimination lawsuit filed against Southwest Airlines by two black passengers who were upset when a flight attendant recited a version of a rhyme with a racist history.

Grace Fuller, 48, and her sister, Louise Sawyer, 46, were returning from Las Vegas two years ago when flight attendant Jennifer Cundiff, trying to get passengers - who are not assigned seats - to sit down, said over the intercom, "Eenie, meenie, minie, mo; pick a seat, we gotta go."

The sisters say the rhyme was directed at them and was a reference to its racist version that predates the Civil Rights era.

"It was like I was too dumb to find a seat," Fuller said. Sawyer said fellow passengers snickered at the rhyme, which made her feel alienated.

The sisters are seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

US District Judge Kathryn Vratil last week dismissed the claims of physical and emotional distress but set a trial for March 4.

"The court agrees with plaintiffs that because of its history, the phrase 'eenie meenie minie mo could reasonably be viewed as objectively racist and offensive," Vratil wrote.

In the modern version of the rhyme, the second line goes, "Catch a tiger by the toe."

Airline attorney John Cowden said there was no intent to discriminate against any passenger.

Cundiff, who is white and was 22 at the time of the incident, said she had never heard the offensive version of the rhyme. She said she learned the Southwest Airline version from co-workers and used it as a funny way of getting fliers to sit down.

Plaintiffs attorney Scott Wissel said the sisters also want Dallas-based SW Airlines to stop using the rhyme and provide employee training to prevent such incidents.
…………….

Southwest Airlines Cleared in Race Discrimination Lawsuit
By David Thibault
CNSNews.com Managing Editor
January 23, 2004

(CNSNews.com) - A federal jury has decided that a Southwest Airlines flight attendant did not discriminate against two black passengers when she used a nursery rhyme to get passengers to pick their seats.

The plaintiffs, Grace Fuller and her sister Louise Sawyer, both of Kansas City had filed suit, objecting to the flight attendant's use of the rhyme that begins with the words, "Eenie, meenie, minie, moe."

"Eenie, meenie, minie, moe; pick a seat, we gotta go," flight attendant Jennifer Cundiff said over the plane's public address system in February 2001 as the Southwest flight was about to leave Las Vegas.

As CNSNews.com reported on April 16, 2003, Fuller alleged in the lawsuit that Cundiff's recitation reminded her of a racist version of the rhyme that includes a derogatory term for African Americans.

"Eenie, meenie, minie, moe; catch a n***** by his toe ..." was used as far back as the mid-19th century, according to the earlier report on CNSNews.com . The more modern version of the nursery rhyme substitutes the offensive phrase with the words, "Catch a tiger by the toe."

Fuller had alleged that Cundiff caused her to suffer a small seizure on her flight home and that later at home, she suffered a grand mal seizure that required her to be bedridden for three days.

Cundiff testified in the trial that she had never heard the racist version of the nursery rhyme and that she was only trying to add a dose of humor to get her passengers into their seats so the plane could take off.

Fuller criticized the verdict, insisting that the all-white jury had conspired against her and her sister.

"If we had jurors of our peers then we would have won the case today, and we should have won the case today, with all the evidence shown," Fuller said. "It's a shame that the jury pool we had to draw from did not have one black and not one minority," she said. "Something has to be done to make sure there is justice in America for blacks."

Fuller and Sawyer accused Southwest of violating a 1981 civil rights law that bars businesses from discriminating against minority customers. They said they decided to sue after the airline failed to take their complaints seriously.

Scott Wissel, the attorney for the women, had argued in his closing argument that Cundiff's use of the rhyme was the equivalent of a racial slur.

John Cowden, the lawyer for Southwest Airlines, said he was pleased with the verdict because, "All along, Southwest Airlines has contended that it did not intentionally discriminate against the two ladies."

Cowden had argued to jurors that the case, at best, was "an argument that something [that] is not politically correct" and at worst, represented nothing.
 


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 don’t 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 don’t even know what is causing it.

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 REGISTRATION)
https://www153.ssldomain.com/ssqq/register/

     
  AND THAT’S A WRAP FOR THIS ISSUE (AND DON’T 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 dance@ssqq.com

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

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

 

 

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