May 2006
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The SSQQ Newsletter
Written and Edited by Rick Archer
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This is the May 2006 issue of the SSQQ Newsletter written by Rick Archer.



There are two kinds of SSQQ Newsletters. One is short with the bare necessities. What you see in your email is the entire Newsletter for the month.  The other kind of Newsletter is so long that much of the information has to be read at the SSQQ Web Site. 

This May issue is an “Iceberg Newsletter” – there is much more to read at


When I woke up on Monday, April 17, the Rhapsody Reloaded Cruise total stood at 73.  When I went to sleep Thursday, April 20, the Cruise total stood at 105.  We added 32 people in four days.

Believe me when I say Marla was one very busy lady. Marla could not even finish a cup of coffee without someone new calling to sign up.  It was an incredible stretch to be sure.  I would call it a Landslide!

The pace has slowed down a bit since then.  We added 5 more people this week.  Our current total of 110 makes this the 3rd largest sailing of our 10 trips so far.  Since the Rhapsody Reloaded Cruise doesn’t sail until August 27, we have four more months to catch Number Two at 120.  Maybe we will even threaten the record of 144!  But even if only one more person joins up, this cruise seems destined to be our wildest ride yet!

We have Center of Attention and Alpha Hussy signed up to cause all sorts of trouble. Plus we have two new femme fatales who intend to give Center and Alph a serious run for their money as the Dynamic Duo of this trip. Judging from the glint in their eye, these two gals are dangerous.

You men might need bodyguards.

As you know, last year we barely missed setting an important HOT TUB STUFFING RECORD!!  This year, we simply will NOT be denied. 

In fact, I predict we will take more people on this cruise than any previous SSQQ cruise. The record stands at 144.  But you know what?  We were cheated last year, so this year we are going to make up for LOST TIME and go absolutely banana strawberry watermelon nuts on this trip. 

We will set new marks for inconceivable stupid adult misbehavior... and do a lot of dancing in the process. After all, The Rhapsody Crew not only remembers us, they love us!  And several of our women love them!!   Hmm.
Read the writeup.

There actually is plenty of room left on the trip, but most of the space is in Oceanview.  The Balconies and the Inside Cabins are gone!  Only the middle-priced cabins are left and fortunately there is lots of them left to sell. 

For you bargain hunters, Marla has 8 spots left at the $638 Group Rate in Oceanview.  Marla has till Friday, April 28, to sell these spots. 

Next week Marla can still get cabins for you, but the price will be what is called the “Prevailing Rate”.  This rate, also known as “Market Rate” and “Daily Rate” is likely to rise significantly.  For example, Marla’s Inside Cabins were selling at $498. The Prevailing Rate is now $618.  That is a pretty stiff rise!   In other words, Oceanview could be selling at $700 next week for all we know.

If you want to go, you should call now.

Email or phone Marla during the day at 713-862-4428.


Marla says there is space available for our New England Trip. This “Autumn Leaves are Falling” trip leaves out of Boston on September 30. This is your opportunity to take a marvelous trip with the SSQQ Group to an area steeped in history and painted with beauty.  The ship’s route hugs the rugged New England coastline, which gives everyone a spectacular daily look at some of the prettiest scenery in America. 

Obviously this trip is more expensive than Rhapsody Reloaded, but it is well worth it for you Texans who have never visited this beautiful part of the country.

This is an especially active trip with six ports in six days.  According to Cher Longoria who just signed up yesterday, there are many excursions to choose from, plenty of places to visits and lots of things to see.

Email or phone Marla during the day at 713-862-4428.


Special classes for May include:

  1. Beginning Western Cha Cha with Rick on Sundays at 4:30 pm.  Cha Cha is a marvelous dance which just happens to work perfectly to many Western Polkas. The women get to flirt and move their hips while the men get to chase the women… everyone is happy.

    Linda’s GHOST TOWN 12 starts Sunday, April 30, at 4:30 pm. GT 12 features some pretty complex patterns such as “Romance Novel”, “Sizzling Samba”, “Roll Out the Red Carpet”, and “Sassy Chassez”. 

    Dakota start our Ballroom Sunday program with a two-month RUMBA RHAPSODY class at 7 pm.  Rumba is one of the great undiscovered joys in the dance world.  Rumba is an incredibly sensual dance used to slow Latin and smooth Jazz rhythms.  Visualize Diana Krall singing “The Look of Love”, then consider how you would dance to such a song. Rumba is your answer – slow, slinky, and provocative.  Rumba is easy to learn and terrific fun to dance.
  2. Linda’s BEGINNING BALLROOM I on Sundays at 7 will cover Foxtrot, Waltz, and Swing this month.  
  3. Marla teaches BEGINNING TANGO Sundays at 7 pm. Stylish and very dramatic, Tango combines sleek, hip-locked, gliding steps with abrupt stops into fans, flicks, flares, dips, and lunges. The eerie music, sultry motion, and the haunting sense of dark moods barely under control make Tango a truly fascinating dance!
  4. Rick teaches ADVANCED TANGO Sundays at 7 pm.  Featuring a review of the Fallaway, the Boomerang, and Side Switch Flares, this class will then bravely venture into the Suicide Lunge and Viennese Cross Turns.  Are you ready for a challenge?
  5. Jill Banta rounds out our Sunday Ballroom lineup with BEGINNING FOXTROT.  Foxtrot is dance of Inaugural Balls, Wedding Receptions, and Formal Dinners. It is also the dance to use to all Sinatra lounge music. The Up-Town cousin of the Texas Twostep, the Foxtrot can be used to a wide variety of music ranging from Van Morrison's "Marvelous Night for a Moondance" to Sinatra's "New York, New York" to "Mack the Knife" by Bobby Darin.
  6. Scott Ladell brings his favorite dance in the world, HUSTLE, to Mondays.

    Scott starts off his four-month Hustle cycle with Beginning Hustle in May.  Hustle, also known as the Latin Hustle, is the famous Disco Dance from the Saturday Night Fever Era. This flashy partner dance is a clever combination of Swing footwork and Latin hip motion. The patterns and footwork are actually taken from Swing while hip motion and feel of the dance is more similar to Salsa. Hustle is a unique blend of both dance styles. Hustle is used to Disco music and soft R&B hits. A very smooth, flowing dance, Hustle
    has a huge following at SSQQ. Come join the fun!
  7. Dakota and Susie start off a new Whip/West Coast Swing Superclass cycle with Beginning Whip/WCS on Mondays (and Thursdays) at 7 pm. 

    SSQQ has the only program in Houston that allows you to take this difficult class on 2 different nights (Sunday/Thursday) for the price of one. Plus SSQQ is the only program that still teaches the legendary Texas Whip.  Although our emphasis is on the popular West Coast Swing, the Whip with its naughty moves and eye-catching hip motion brings Texas Heat to the class as well
    .  Then stay and join us after class for our popular Monday and Thursday West Coast Swing practice night at 9 pm!
  8. Bryan and Lisa teach a special Monday West Coast Swing class known as "WCS TECHNIQUE I."  

    Taught by two-time Texas State Whip Champions Bryan Spivey and Lisa Palmer, as the title suggests, this is a "Finishing Class" that reviews everything you learned in the first four months of SSQQ West Coast Swing with an eye on Polish, Style, and Technique. 
  9. Tuesday Salsa is phenomenal.  Each Tuesday, there is a Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced Salsa class that average 80 to 100 people in each class.  In particular, Steve & Danielle conduct their elite Advanced Salsa class each Tuesday.  The Tuesday Salsa Practice Night hosted by Linda Cook is smokin’. 
  10. Sharon Crawford-Shaw begins her final series of Western Waltz with INTERMEDIATE WESTERN WALTZ on Wednesdays at 7 pm.
  11. In addition to Beginning and Advanced Whip/WCS on Thursdays, Texas State Whip Champions Bryan Spivey and Lisa Palmer bring you MARTIAN WHIP.

    Martian Whip is dedicated to teaching the most Advanced West Coast Swing patterns.  This class is especially useful for students considering competing or performing at some point.
  12. Scott Ladell teaches Intermediate Night Club on Friday. Danced to slow, romantic songs, Night Club is an unusual dance perhaps best described as an "active" form of Slow Dancing. Combining a special blend of Latin footwork plus Ballroom patterns from Rumba, Foxtrot, and Waltz, Night club is a pretty dance to watch and fun to use. Nor is it difficult to learn.  
  13. Willie Bushnell has Zydeco starting on Saturday at 430.  Zydeco dance music originated in the state of Louisiana. Similar to Cajun music, Zydeco is more heavily influenced by blues and music from the West Indies. Zydeco is fun, sexy, and pretty easy to learn! This is a great Saturday class that will have you laughing all night long!


Starting Sunday, April 30, the Sunday Western classes will start at 4:30 and the Ballroom classes will start at 7 pm. 

We are making this switch because Ballroom Dancing currently has no opportunities for Practice Night.  Western Dancing on the other hand has Wednesday and Friday Practice Nights.  In addition, Western dancers who finish on Sunday at 6:30 will have a short dance practice after class plus they can always organize a group trip over to Wild West just down the street.

This switch permits us to organize a weekly Ballroom Tea Dance at 9:05 pm. 

In Room One, we will have all kinds of Ballroom Music: Swing, Foxtrot, Waltz, Rumba, Tango, and Cha Cha on a rotating basis.  In our side rooms, we will play music unique to each dance class held that evening. In other words, if your Tango class was in Room Two, we will play Tango music in Room Two during Ballroom Practice.

Please note we will skip the popcorn and switch to complimentary Iced Tea and Cookies in Room One.  Plan to stay after class each week and practice!!


My long-time friend Sharon has decided to make 2006 her final year at the studio. 

Ironically, I had just gotten around to telling the entire world how Sharon saved the dance studio back in 1989-1990.  For about two years, Sharon was probably more valuable to the studio than I was.  She literally carried me and the studio on her back!

Last month Sharon began her final Western Waltz cycle here at the studio. Believe it or not, 100 loyal students showed for Beginning Waltz and enjoyed every single moment.

This coming Wednesday, May 3, Sharon will be starting her Intermediate Western Waltz cycle for the final time.  We will need to limit the size of the class, so as a word to wise, I suggest you sign up swiftly.


Saturday, May 13th
9:15 pm – 11:30 pm

Cover charge $7

Crash Courses 7-9 pm

ZYDECO - Ronnie
SLOW DANCING (Cpls only) - Marla
SINATRA BOXFOX - Marty and Adele


Saturday, May 27th
9:15 pm – 11:30 pm

Cover charge $7


DIRTY DANCING (Cpls Only) - Ben


Two months ago I announced I had completed work on the most important story I have ever written in my time at SSQQ.

Known as the “Matchmaker Story”, I carefully explained the reasons why SSQQ has averaged 25 marriages and engagements a year for the past 7 years. 

This article was so long it had nine chapters.  In Chapter Seven, the “Love Boat” Chapter, I wrote at great length about the need to PARTICIPATE.

The following is an excerpt from the “Love Boat” Chapter:

There are many lessons that can be drawn from our stories, but the overriding theme above all others is that the SSQQ Playground will work for anyone as long as you PARTICIPATE.   

SSQQ Slow Dance and Romance Magic is available to everyone.   But don't sit around and wait for it to happen.  Focus on the Journey, not just the Goal.  Some people waited years to find the right person.  Make it fun every step of the way.  

If you are interested in dancing, then make it one of your hobbies and put some energy into getting good at it.  Organize your free time around dance activities. 

Get out there and dance at every opportunity.  Not only is dancing healthy for you, some of the brightest, most active people in the world absolutely love to dance.

There are several direct ways to make it happen.

1) Take a dance class.  Become a good dancer.  Some people meet the love of their life in the first class they take, but the vast majority of our marriages started as friendships and developed over time.   Most of these friendships developed in dance class.

2) Practice Night.  Since the 'Turf' is built around social dancing, the better the dancer you are, the more confident you will be in every social situation involving the studio or dancing as your dance skills improve.  Therefore, when your class is over, don't head to the Exit Door... head to the dance floor.  Practice Night at SSQQ is FREE to anyone taking a dance class that month.  Get out there and dance. Ask someone to dance.  Accept all offers.  Learn names.  Smile.  Get to know people. 

3) Friday and Saturday Night Parties.  A great number of the single people come to our weekly Friday Night dance and our Saturday night parties.  This is 'Where the Creatures Meet'.  Because people don't have to get up and go to work the next day, they dance hard and are looking for adventure.  Do NOT miss the Halloween Party.

4) Become a Volunteer.  Our instructors are hired directly from the ranks of our Volunteers.  Anyone in a leadership role at the studio sees their profile improve immediately.

5) Read the SSQQ Newsletter.   Figure out what's going on, read about the celebrities, look for ways to contribute.

6) Take the Cruise.  Modern-Era SSQQ celebrities are either Staff, great dancers, or participants in one of the yearly cruises.  You get your name and your picture published for all the world to see.  And if you misbehave enough, maybe you will make it to the fabled 'Usual Suspect' team of all-star troublemakers and be lucky enough to have me write terrible things about you.

7) Become a phenomenal dancer.  In a program organized around dancing, the best dancers attract every eye in the room.  People like the Waltz Kings became the men in demand for a reason - women love to dance and these men made it fun for them.

If you are good at Western or West Coast Swing, consider dance competition.  Currently the dance studio has several men involved in training people to compete.  Consider asking them to form a dance team.  Some of the best times the studio has ever seen revolved around the Swing Kids and Heartbeat in the late Nineties. 

8) Contribute.  Join a Group.  Plan an Adventure.  Not everyone can become a great dancer, but everyone can organize activities and plan adventures.

The history of the studio romances shows time and again that every person who has ever become a mischief leader or a great dancer has been rewarded many times over. 

Some people organize Hill Country Tours with stops at famous Honky Tonks like Gruene Hall.  Others throw parties in their home.  Others organize Margarita Trips.  Others rent a couple beach houses down at Surfside for the weekend.  Others organize visits to Dickens on the Strand.  Others organize weekend trips to San Antonio.  Others organize Rodeo activities.   Others organize ski trips.

Don't look to other people to get the party started.  Get it started yourself.  The leaders always get the biggest rewards.

To read the entire article, please visit


From: Ann From
Sent: Sunday, March 05, 2006 8:08 PM

To: Rick Archer
Subject: Dance competition winners!

Hey Rick -

The results are in, from this weekend's regional swing dance competition...including people from Houston, Dallas, Oklahoma, & other various states...

Dancing as a couple, Mitch and I placed THIRD in the Newcomer Division. 

Mitchell won FIRST place in a competition where they scramble the couples.  Way to go Mitchell!!

We will compete again as a couple this year and hope to improve next time.  For winning first, Mitchell qualified for a national competition in Jan. 2007 to be here in Houston.

Ann From

RICK’S NOTE: Mitch and Ann From trained under Bryan Spivey in preparation for the March 3 Newcomer Competition over at the Melody Club.  Both Mitch and Ann are phenomenal dancers, so it little surprise to me that they did so well in their first-ever dance competition.  

However their success in the competition is only the second-best thing to happen to them recently.  On November 5, 2005, Ann gave birth to their first child, daughter Lindsey.  Be sure to check out the SSQQ web site for a picture of the entire family – Mitch, Ann, and Lindsey (future whip dancer extraordinaire!)


2005 was the SSQQ Year of the Refund Arguments. In addition to the very complex MBA Refund Struggle I wrote about in a recent Newsletter, there were several other situations as well.

Here at SSQQ, we have a very simple Refund Policy.  You can get a Refund on your first night of dance class without any problem whatsoever.  You have till the end of Break to request it.  The first hour of each dance class is a Grace Period where you can take the class and decide whether this is the right class for you or not.  If isn’t the right class, you can go to the Registrar and either ask for your money back or change to another class.  I promise there is no meanness and no arguing. We typically give about a dozen Refunds back each month under these circumstances.

But after that hour is over, we are pretty firm that no more refunds will be handed out. If you are unhappy with your class we will try to find a way to give you credit for it, but we won’t give you any money back.  An hour should be enough time to make up your mind.

I think most people know where we stand at this point. In four months this year we have had only 5 requests for Refunds after the Grace Period was over. Not one of the requests turned into any sort of a bitter experience. This is in stark contrast to 2005 where we had at least a half-dozen very bitter arguments.

If my experiences in 2005 taught me anything, I discovered it does very little good to argue about Refunds.  Here is one of the examples that taught me this lesson. I received the following complaint about a week ago:

-----Original Message-----
From: R P
Sent: Monday, April 17, 2006 3:39 PM


Subject: Wow, bad taste in making an example of my cousin

 “You can fully reprint this word-for-word on your pathetic site. 

 Your dance studio sounds like it is providing the bare minimum of customer service by showing up and providing dance lessons.  Frankly, anyone who claims that providing a service that you said you would provide as a matter of course in the business that you run is an idiot (yes, you are an idiot).  Look up customer service on the internet and you will find that it typically means catering to the customer.”

If you are curious to read the entire story, please visit REFUND ARGUMENTS


Gosh, we sure have a lot of catching up to do on Logic Puzzles for 2006. 

The May Logic Puzzle deals with the books of Charles Dickens.  Each book such as “Tale of Two Cities” and “David Copperfield” has on its cover a famous London location such Piccadilly Street, Westminster Abbey, and the London Bridge. Your job is to match the correct cover to each book.

The Dickens logic puzzle is very ingenious.  Although it is a fair puzzle and doesn’t play any dirty tricks, unfortunately it is not an easy puzzle either. I enjoyed solving this puzzle a great deal, but I have to warn you it was very challenging.


Oddly enough, we have had two articles of clothing go AWOL so far this year.

At the 2006 New Years Party, Iqbal Nagji discovered his coat was missing. On further inspection, he found another coat that was practically identical in appearance, but didn’t fit.  It is very likely that someone accidentally switched coats.  The “wrong coat” hangs in my DJ booth at the studio in case someone reads this story and puts 2 and 2 together.

One year ago Mara Rivas loaned Marla Archer a black satin tie-up-front sleeveless “Sleazy Dress” for the April 2005 Sleazy Bar Party. Unfortunately Marla didn’t feel comfortable wearing it, so she hung it in the studio’s office next to the TV and wore something else.  Neither woman gave the dress much thought until the 2006 Sleazy Bar Party. When Marla went to look for it in the office, it was gone. Perhaps the borrower will return it.


Recently my friend Chris Holmes sent me some amazing pictures of the New Orleans levees that broke.  As we all know, when these crude structures broke, the City of New Orleans was almost totally ruined and many lives were needlessly lost.  It was a disaster of near-Biblical proportions.

The sad thing is that New Orleans took only a glancing blow from Katrina, the kind of hit the levees were supposed to withstand. However, as you will see for yourselves in the Levee picture, the concrete wasn't any thicker than an average traffic barrier on the Katy Freeway Contra-flow lane.

If hadn't been for these substandard levees breaking in the middle of the night, New Orleans would still be thriving today. Instead countless people lost their lives, hundreds of thousands lost their homes, and misery was rampant while the helpless world watched the images of despair and depravation in horror.  Today much of the city lays in ruins.

Seeing as how just a few month’s earlier National Geographic had run a long story that related how weak those levees were, it was obvious that many people knew
the city was in a dangerous position.  Why didn’t we build better defenses??   This disaster was – as they say – a real eye-opener because the blame does not go to Mother Nature, but to human beings who should have known better.  Makes you wonder about the politics involved that would produce such a shoddy effort.


By the way, I have not yet had the opportunity to tell the world just how much Chris Holmes contributes to every issue of the SSQQ Newsletter.  This quiet, unassuming man has his pulse on the most interesting stories and pictures imaginable. I don’t know what his sources are, but I for one am deeply grateful he likes to pass them on me.

REALLY appreciate all the things Chris sends me. I don’t know how he manages to get plugged in to so many different places, but I smile every time I see an email from him. He has contributed so much to the Newsletter/Joke Page over the years.

Thank you very VERY MUCH, Chris.

For more information about Chris Holmes,


On Wednesday, April 19, the car of George Parker and several other students were towed from the parking lot at 4900 Bissonnet.  This location is about a block west of the studio and is located on the other side of Bissonnet.  So far there have been no further incidents.  Please avoid this spot. 

It was a cowardly action. A simple note under the door would have solved the problem.

The towing was probably legal, but in this case certainly the “Punishment” far exceeded any perceived “Crime”.  Obviously the students who were towed meant absolutely no harm to the business.  Why such a cruel action was taken escapes me.

They claimed the action was taken because their parking lot was littered and a window was punched in. 

I take exception to both claims.  As you know, we no longer serve soft drinks at Practice Night. It is highly unlikely that there is any serious litter problem.

It is also highly unlikely that any SSQQ students broke their window.  A disgruntled customer would seem a more likely suspect, but I guess they had to find someone to take out their wrath on. Let me add I asked what “evidence” they had that it was an SSQQ customer, but they declined to offer any.

The people who had their car towed each have my deepest sympathy.

If this happens again, I will update.  In the meantime, avoid the parking lot.

DUBAI CITY, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Contributed by Carol Gafford

One of the most remarkable cities in the world is Dubai City. It is currently undergoing an unbelievable transformation right in the heart of the Arab world.

Considered the World’s fastest growing city, it is estimated that there are 90 billion dollars worth of projects being built in Dubai City right this minute.

Using the success of our own Las Vegas as a model that a hostile environment can be tamed to meet man’s will, there is one fairy tale structure after another being built.

Among the accomplishments are the Burj Al Arab Hotel, considered the world’s most expensive and beautiful hotel.  Nearby you can see the Burj Dubai Tower. When it is completed in 2008, it will become the world’s tallest building.  In the middle of the desert you can see the world’s largest theme park being built. Known as “Dubailand”, when finished in 2009 it will feature full size Jurassic Park-style dinosaur recreations among other things.  Or you can visit the world’s biggest ski dome at the Mall of the Emirates. That’s right, they are building a ski slope in the middle of the desert. 

And you can go to the shores of the Persian Gulf and view fantastic man-made islands featuring some of the most expensive houses in the entire world.

Dubai City is definitely something out of a science fiction novel. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if you thought I was making this up!   Recently my friend Carol Gafford sent me some amazing pictures.  Definitely do yourself a favor and go look for yourself!


We have some serious catch-up work to do on the Joke Pictures.

I would like to thank the following people:

January: Gary Richardson – Bad Parent!
February: Marla Archer - Home Early
March: Carol Gafford – the Men’s Bathroom
April: Chris Holmes – Alligator Dinner
May: Bett Sundermeyer – Truck Artwork

The May pictures give examples of the latest rage in Europe: Painting murals on the side of trucks. Many companies have discovered their trucks can act as moving advertisements by painting eye-catching murals on their delivery trucks.  The result is some amazing optical illusions. In addition, there is something very peculiar about the pictures. See if you can uncover the riddle!

And that's a wrap for this issue!
Thank you for visiting with us.
Rick Archer

Please direct questions, comments, and contributions to:
Rick Archer at

Table of Contents
Bottom of Page
01 - What's New 05 - Cruise/Travel Updates 12 - Letter to Editor 15 -Joke Picture
02 - CLASS HIGHLIGHTS 11 - Slow Dance & Romance  13 - Complaint of the Month 16 - Best New Jokes
  14- NEW Logic Puzzle 03 - 1ST party 04 - 2ND party 20 - Stories in the News 17 - Hall of Fame Jokes
SSQQ Front Page Parties/Calendar of Events Jokes
SSQQ Information Schedule of Classes Writeups
SSQQ Archive Newsletter History of SSQQ