This is the October 2006 issue of the SSQQ
WHAT IS NEW AT SSQQ!!
THE RHAPSODY RELOADED
CRUISE IN AUGUST
On Sunday, August 27, 136 wild and crazy
SSQQ dancers climbed aboard the Rhapsody
down in Galveston. As I predicted,
more than few individuals completely lost control for a week.
I will not know the extent of the damage
until the official pictures are posted.
know that some of the evidence is so disastrous that one
person has already begged for (and received)
a special removal of damaging footage from
our upcoming Cruise Picture CD. As I write,
Gary Richardson is editing over 1,000
pictures from the trip. He reports record
numbers of inquiries from
people wondering what
it would cost them to "edit
out" certain other
pictures as well.
Let's just put it this way - the hot tub was
way out of control. I am not going to write
one more thing about it until I see the
pictures. And why do I have to wait for the
pictures? Because I was too afraid to go
anywhere near that whirling, sizzling
radioactive center of sin while aboard the
ship. Marla dropped by one day only to be so
shocked she didn't have the courage to
Yes, this was definitely a wild trip.
And did we have fun? Oh my, we all had a
wonderful time. I cannot begin to tell you
all the nice things our guests said to Marla
and me about what a great time they had.
Some people have paid the ultimate
compliment to Marla by asking her to arrange
cruises for their own family. One man even
inquired about taking his church singles
group out to sea. One suggestion - keep them
away from the hot tub.
Here is a date for you: Friday, October 6, 9
pm. That is when we will have our Post-Trip
Wrap-up Party at the studio. Gary will
unveil all the pictures from the trip and
present them as a slide show for the whole
world to see. Everyone is welcome to come
sit and watch the pictures whether you were
on the trip or not. After all, it is Friday
Night Western Dancing. You can dance a
while, then watch pictures for a while, then
go dance some more.
Please note if you were on this year's trip,
the party is "on the house". Last year's party went
way past midnight and was quite an affair. The main
for our cruise passengers to attend is to find out
as soon as possible what pictures might be out there
for them to worry about. In other words, they
need to be there in self-defense.
Let me add that last year's Post-Trip Party involved
amazing fun just listening to what each
person had to say as they tried to defend themselves
when certain pictures raised eyebrows.
KOOL KAT KLUB SWING AND BALLROOM PARTY
On Saturday, September 16, we had over 100
people attend our Kool Kat Ballroom Party.
It was a phenomenal turnout.
seemed to have a great time dancing Tango,
Swing, Cha Cha, Rumba, Foxtrot, and Waltz.
Even as we approached closing time, there
were still dozens of people dancing.
For those of you who have read my
suggestions that the time to learn more
about Ballroom Dancing is "NOW" and turned
out last Saturday to see things for
yourselves, I want to personally thank you.
I cannot remember having more fun dancing at
a party than that one.
For the record, the next Ballroom Party will
be in early November. I will remind you in
the next Newsletter.
CHANGES ARE COMING IN THE EAST COAST SWING
After the sudden simultaneous resignation of
three of our Swing teachers in July (Patty
O, Krista, Gloria), I was left in shock.
Nothing awful happened to cause the move.
One of them decided it was time to move on
and the other two decided it wouldn't be as
much fun without their buddy, so it was time
to follow her out the door.
This unexpected blow left me scrambling.
Losing three-quarters of your Swing Staff
has a way of knocking the wind out of you. I
immediately turned to the only person who
could bail me out of this fix - Maureen
Brunetti. Maureen graciously agreed to come
back to the Swing Program and teach two
nights a week.
Thank goodness Maureen's friend Steve Gabino
stuck around as well. Not only has he
continued to teach his Monday class, but he
has subbed on Sundays several times and
given invaluable help in building new Swing
And thank goodness Jack Benard has returned.
Jack has given us a wonderful shot in the
arm just when we needed it.
Like Maureen, Jack took up the
slack left by the departure of the Three
Dancing Caballeros by teaching Swing two
nights a week.
And Marla Archer said she would
pitch in and help too.
That left us one teacher short.
It was time
for me to teach East Coast Swing again.
Although I was reluctant to give up teaching
Tango on Sundays, I didn't have much choice.
That said, to my surprise
I have found out
how much fun it is to teach Swing again.
Very few people have been around
long enough to know
that I was actually the studio's lead Swing
teacher for the first seventeen years of the
studio's history. Seventeen years is a long
time, but on the other hand I haven't taught
any Swing since around 1994 which was twelve
years ago. To most people, I am a "brand new
My former wife Judy Archer became such an
expert at Swing back in the 90s that I
decided to hand the entire program over to
her and let her run with it. She did a great
job. However her legacy has run its course
and now I am glad to be involved again.
Since my return, I have been giving the
Swing program some thought. My first move
was to add a brand new Swing class on
Sundays at 430 pm. I did this as part of the
upgrade in our Ballroom Program. If someone
was taking Ballroom at 7 pm, this
new class would
allow them to come early on Sundays and
learn Swing dancing at 430 pm as well
as Ballroom at 7. One
trip for two dance classes would save time
After two months of observation,
I have concluded this extra Swing class was a good
it allows for symmetry in the Swing
program again with parallel classes being
offered on both nights. It also allowed us
to offer Advanced Swing Jitterbug on two
nights again, a move that has been widely
But you know me. I wasn't going to stop
MONDAY MONDAY: EAST MEETS WEST
By coincidence, Bryan Spivey's decision to
return to college at night paid off with
unexpected dividends. Bryan was forced to
move his popular Martian Whip class to
Mondays. I never would have guessed, but
moving Martian Whip from Thursdays to
Mondays has been a real blessing. The WCS
energy on Monday has been phenomenal. His
class had been successful on Thursdays, but
on Mondays it became even more successful.
Attendance nearly doubled overnight!
Furthermore, there has been a marvelous
bounce from this move. Previously the East
Coast Swing crowd rejected the Ballroom
classes on Monday. And the Salsa people on
Thursday have treated the Whip people as if
they were from another planet (they are
right by the way, we are all from Mars).
But now on Mondays, the East Coasters and
the West Coasters love each other. Every
Monday I see many of my Whip class students
scoot down to Room One for some east coast
swing dancing at Break and at Practice Night
and I see the East Coast crowd drooling when
they come down to check out the Whip
Finally we have some great synergy on Monday
nights. I could not be more pleased!
However, the newfound popularity of Monday
Martian Whip presents a looming problem.
I said, moving Bryan and Lisa Palmer's
Martian class to Monday Night has given that
class a real shot in the arm. In September
Martian had 30 "paid" people plus five or
six staff members as well. We also have a
strong crop of up and coming new dancers. If
the Martian Whip class continues to grow as
I expect, realistically they will outgrow
their room and we will have nowhere to put
them unless Room 1 becomes available.
Therefore, starting in November, we are
going back to six rooms on Monday. We will
move Martian Whip to Room One and every
class will have its own room. I don't think
anyone will miss using that curtain we used
to divide Room One into two sections.
And losing the curtain will have an
important symbolic effect: Moving back to
six rooms on Mondays will be the "final
curtain call" making the end of the former
6 IS COMING
Once upon a time, we had a super-advanced
Swing program known as Zoot Suit Riot. I
doubt there will be any more Zoot Suit
classes. Those days are over. Taking its
place, I would like to have six Advanced
Jitterbug levels with a parallel class on
Sunday and Monday. Each level will be
offered twice a year. It shouldn't be that
hard. After all, we once had 7 Zoot Suit
For starters, we will offer Advanced
Jitterbug IV in October. We will then create
Adv Jitt V for November and Adv Jitt VI for
The recent increase of interest in Swing
Dancing owes much of its resurgence to the
new interest in Ballroom Dancing in general.
DAWN OF THE BALLROOM ERA AT SSQQ
As I reported last month, starting in January 2007,
Dakota Wilhelm will begin teaching an Advanced
Ballroom class known as "ACCELERATED BALLROOM". This
class will be open to anyone who demonstrates
proficiency in the six major Ballroom dances (Swing,
Foxtrot, Waltz, Rumba, Tango, Cha Cha).
In preparation for the start of this program, in
September and throughout the Fall, we will begin
teaching Intermediate and Advanced Ballroom classes.
Slowly but surely, the old system of offering
Beginning, Intermediate, and Advanced sections of
one dance at a time will be phased out.
I proposed that everyone take a good look at
Ballroom Dancing. After all, Ballroom Dance is where
it all began. Western, Salsa, and Swing are all
offshoots of Ballroom Dancing.
What is unique about Ballroom Dancing is the
emphasis on Romance. The music is sometimes
haunting, sometimes sexy, and sometimes beautiful.
The appeal of Ballroom Dancing is that there is
always a man and woman wrapped in each other's arms
expressing that music in extraordinarily graceful
ways through the individual dances.
Many SSQQ students are reaching the same stage of
life as me - a time when words like "Romance",
"Sophistication", "Style", and "Beauty" begin to
acquire an increased appreciation. I have already
discovered that Ballroom Dancing embraces each of
these words and allows people to express them
I would be deeply grateful if all of you would read
my article on Ballroom Dancing here at SSQQ. I think
it is time to take Ballroom Dancing to the next
level here at SSQQ. By the way, this article
includes an unusual story about my first-ever
Ballroom Dance class. You may be curious to read how
the future owner of the largest dance studio in the
country was totally humiliated in his very night of
Real World Ballroom Dancing. Good story.
YOUR TUITION IS RISING IN JANUARY: THE
And now for the bad news - Yes, tuition is rising in
January. Due to increased costs in our Common Area
Maintenance fees, our rent has risen over a thousand
dollars a month in just two years! I protested the
most recent surcharge and received a letter from
their attorney telling me to pay up or else.
I suppose I could contest the costs in court, but
based on previous experience, I find the only ones
who win are the lawyers. So I threw in the towel and
paid the increases.
I wrote a story about the CAM dispute to explain the
reasons behind the rent increase.
I included the incident where a Doberman almost bit
Bryan Spivey. All in all, this story will explain
why I often come to the studio with a frown on my
THE HALLOWEEN PARTY IS SATURDAY, OCTOBER
Doors open at 9 pm. Cover
charge is $15.
Of all the many things we do at SSQQ, the
studio is probably more famous for its
Halloween Party than anything else. As they
say, our Halloween Party is a "Tradition".
This year's party is our 29th in the series.
That, folks, is a lot of Halloween Parties.
So why is our party so much fun?
For starters, many of the costumes that our
guests wear are phenomenal. We take a
picture of each guest and add it to our web
site. Who wants to be seen in a crummy
outfit? As a result, people actually put
some thought and effort into their costumes
and it pays off. The costumes are always
Second, we have an excellent Haunted House.
It may be an "amateur production", but our
Haunted House is definitely creepy. What
makes it so scary is that we keep the room
pitch dark. Then we pump up eerie music from
movies like "The Exorcist" and "Halloween"
to make sure your nerves get on edge. And
you never know just who or whom you might
meet in the Haunted House. By the way, no
fair cheating by turning on a flashlight. No
one's going to get hurt so be brave and
grope your way through just like everyone
else. What's Halloween without a thrill?
IS A GRAVEYARD SMASH!!
Third, we have the Monster Mash Line Dance,
plus Thriller and many other favorite line dances
to entertain both the dancers and the
Nothing makes people laugh harder than the
goofy Monster Mash at our
party. If you would to read the story
about where it came from, click MONSTER MASH
way, if you would like to learn these dances
in advance, we are teaching them for free at
the studio. Here is the schedule: We will
teach the Halloween Party Line Dances
starting Friday, Oct 20, 6-7 pm. We skip
Saturday the 21st. Sunday the 22nd will be
6:30-7 pm. Then we will have them every day
from Monday thru Friday, Oct 23-Oct 27,
always from 6-7 pm. These dances are
impossible to learn on the spot, so please
join us in advance!! The lessons are free.
Just show up. Everyone is welcome whether
you are signed up for an October class or
not. By the way, don't worry about looking
bad. These are the only set of line dances
on earth where if you look bad, everyone
thinks you are terrific.
Fourth, we have a marvelous light show
provided by our friend George Grega and his
GJG Productions Company. The eerie strobes
fill up Room 1 throughout the evening to
enhance the pleasure of your dancing.
Fifth, we decorate the studio lavishly.
There are monsters everywhere just watching
your every move. And not all of them are
paper cutouts either
Best of all there are so many people to
dance with and have fun with! Attendance is
always over 200 people and two years ago we
almost reached 300. This party is always a
As always the music will include a mixture
of Western and Swing music in Room One plus
a Tango and Waltz or two, Whip music in Room
Four, and Salsa music in Room Five. With
great dance music and the infectious energy
of the night, the dancing is fast and
furious all night long.
This is a great party. Don't miss it!
PS - If you would like to see pictures of
last year's party and read about the history
of previous SSQQ Halloween Parties, visit
By the way, Good News -
Bellaire Assistant Police Chief Byron
Holloway has agreed to patrol our parking
lot again this year. Chief Holloway has been
on the SSQQ Halloween Beat for half a dozen
years now. No matter how crazy our party
gets, it is wonderful to know we will always
be safe with him around. Thanks to his
careful eye, we have never had an incident
in the parking lot. Your cars are safe, our
doors are safe, he makes sure patrol cars
come through the parking lot on a regular
basis, and literally keeps the place
peaceful. Chief Holloway is the reason we
can have fun because he keeps an eye out for
us. He is also nice enough to give us
permission to use the "Forbidden Side" of
First Street for extra parking. We are very
fortunate to have Chief Holloway as our
friend. Be sure to thank him every chance
you get before and after the party. His
continued presence is a big reason our party
is so successful.
DECORATING FOR THE HALLOWEEN PARTY: Friday,
October 27, 10 am.
Each year the decorations get more
elaborate. As a result, we have to start
decorating a day early. Whatever we don't
finish on Friday, we can do the rest on
Saturday. Including the Haunted House, we
decorate four different rooms.
Anyone who is free during the day on that
Friday is invited to join us at the studio
for the big project. This is strictly a
volunteer labor of love, but if you promise
to stick around for four hours, we will
treat you to lunch and make sure you come to
the Halloween Party as our guest. To
participate, just show up!
THE UPCOMING OCTOBER DANCE SEMESTER -
CLASSES BEGIN SUNDAY, OCTOBER 1.
Remember - if you miss the first week of
class, you can always start in the second
week. The Second Week Review will catch you
Special classes for
SWING/JITTERBUG returns to Sundays at 4:30
pm with Jack Benard. As we announced last
month, we are upgrading our Ballroom Dance
program. Of the six major Ballroom Dances we
concentrate on, Swing is by far the most
popular and practical dance of them all.
Consequently we teach Swing separate from
the other 5 Ballroom Dances but at the same
time - Sundays at 7 pm. At the request of
several Ballroom students, Jack has begun a
three-month Swing program on Sundays at
4:30. This way a student can take Swing on
Sundays at 4:30, then stay for their
Ballroom class at 7 pm.
2. SUPER GHOST TOWN 5. Scott and Cher will
be teaching Ghost Town 5 this month on
Sundays at 4:30 pm. Then Scott will teach
the exact same Ghost Town on Fridays as
well. In other words, for the first time in
the history of the studio, we will have a
parallel Ghost Town.
I made this move because our students
requested it. They said the material was
tough to hang onto since the class moved so
fast. Now if you miss one day, you can make
it up on the other. Clever patterns in this
Ghost Town: Octopus, Rattlesnake, Rodeo
Romeo, and Windstorm.
In addition Scott is likely to throw in a
bonus pattern as well!.
3. At 7 pm on Sundays, Dakota continues his
FOUR-MONTH TANGO class with INTERMEDIATE
TANGO. This class will advance one level
each month through December. This class was
incredibly popular in September with 70
people sign up for it! The energy is
4. BEGINNING BALLROOM on Sundays at 7 will
cover TANGO, CHA CHA, AND SWING this month.
Jill Banta will be the teacher.
5. INTERMEDIATE BALLROOM on Sundays at 7
will cover FOXTROT, WALTZ, AND RUMBA. Marla
Archer will be the teacher.
6. Our first ADVANCED BALLROOM class makes
it debut on Sundays at 7 in October. Taught
by Jack Benard, it will cover ADVANCED TANGO
AND CHA CHA patterns. As we have previously
reported, we are using the Fall classes at
SSQQ to prepare for Dakota's ACCELERATED
BALLROOM program which makes its debut in
January 2007. You can read more about this
7. Quick reminder that we
will no longer be teaching SLOW DANCE as a
regular four-week group class. That said,
there are special occasions like the First
Dance at a wedding, a fancy New Years Eve
party, a romantic standard at the Captain's
Reception on a cruise, or a sultry torch
song at a nightclub where the ability to
Slow Dance would sure come in handy. If you
are getting married or would simply like to
learn to Slow Dance, Marla Archer can teach
you SLOW DANCE, WALTZ, or FOXTROT in a
private lesson. Contact her at
Marla teaches an average
of 5 private lessons a week to couples who
need to learn how to Slow Dance, Foxtrot, or
Waltz at their Wedding Reception. If you
know someone who needs to prepare for this
important moment, read Marla's story about
her Wedding Dance experiences, please visit:
8. Rick Archer debuts the
first-ever ADVANCED SWING JITTERBUG LEVEL 4
on Sundays at 7 pm. This class will also be
offered with Jack Benard on Mondays at 7 pm.
9. On Mondays in October, Maureen Brunetti
brings back one of the favorite Swing
classes in studio history with SWING
CHARLESTON II. Please note this is an
Advanced class, so if you are a beginner,
steer clear. However if you are an
experienced Swing dancer, but missed her
previous class last month, you can still
join this month's LEVEL II.
10. As we reported last month, Bryan and
Lisa's MARTIAN WHIP has moved to Mondays.
This turned out to be a very popular move as
40 people signed up in August and September.
Not only did they love the class, Monday
Night Whip Practice became a serious rocking
event. The class is growing so fast that we
will be moving it to Room One in November.
If you are an advanced Whip and West Coast
Swing dancer, this is the place to be on
11. 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'.
12. Sharon Crawford-Shaw continues her
three-month Western Cha Cha class with
INTERMEDIATE WESTERN CHA CHA on Wednesdays
at 7 pm.
13. Rick teaches Ghost Town One in October.
Call it "Ghost Town Lite" or "Training
Wheels Ghost Town" since this class is only
slightly harder than our Advanced Western
14. Martian Technique resurfaced on
Thursdays in September, and now we continue
this class in October. Martian Technique is
an advanced program for the graduates of our
Basic Beginner thru Lunar program. It moves
faster than Lunar Whip, but nowhere near as
fast as Martian Whip. It is a place where
the classes are small and we can concentrate
on polishing your skills while adding new
material. This month Rick teaches more of
his beloved ROCK AND GO/ALTERNATING TRIPLES
class on Thursdays!
15. Rick and Cher will teach BEGINNING
WESTERN WALTZ on Friday. Western Waltz is
considered the "Romantic" Western dance. The
stakes being what they are, no sensible man
should ignore this important dance! The
moves are quite graceful and the music is
16. Willie Bushnell has Rhythm and Blues
Twostep, also known as Swing Out, starting
on Saturday at 430. A partner dance that is
popular in African-American nightclubs, R&B
Twosteppin' is a partner dance similar to
Zydeco. The man and woman first dance in
closed position, then the man "swings her
17. At the request of many Salsa students,
Bjorn and Rebeca Bangstein have moved their
Saturday Salsa Explosion on Saturdays to
2:00 pm. This has turned out to be a great
move. Not only did they have 40 students in
their class, they all had plenty of room to
dance! This move allowed students to take
both the Explosion class and the 4:30
Advanced Salsa class back to back.
SPECIAL LADIES-ONLY SALSA
14, Noon to 1:30 pm $12
register, just show up!)
At the request of her students who love her,
Salsa Dancer Extraordinaire Rebeca Bangstein
has agreed to teach a Salsa Styling
Workshop. Sorry, guys, but this one is
Ladies Only. You can't even pay to watch.
Spinning, spotting, hip motions that would
make Shakira blush, arm movements, and maybe
even some pouty expressions will turn each
lady from a meek, unnoticed body taking up
space on the floor into the hottest, most
dangerous woman on the floor.
ready to accept the consequences -
take this class at your own risk!
would like to announce
her new Salsa Cardio Exercise Class, which
will start in November. It will be held
every Saturday from noon to 1 pm. We will
have more information about the class in our
next Newsletter, but now you know to keep
your eyes posted for more news!
PARTIES IN SEPTEMBER - THE HOEDOWN WESTERN
AND WHIP PARTY
Saturday, September 23rd
9:15 pm - 11:30 pm
Cover charge $7
CRASH COURSES 7 - 9 PM
$14 Person, $22 Couple
BEG C&W : TEXAS TWOSTEP - Rhonwyn
BEG WESTERN WALTZ - Jill
NIGHT CLUB - Scott
DAKOTA'S FAV GHOST TOWN PTNS - Mr. W
SYNCOPATED POLKA PTNS - Linda
JACK'S FAVORITE WHIP PATTERNS - Jack
TO REGISTER FOR A CRASH COURSE, PLEASE COME
AT 6:45 AND SIGN UP AT THE DOOR
Party at a Glance:
Dress: Dress Hoedown or Expect a Showdown
PARTIES IN OCTOBER - MOONDANCE SALSA PARTY!!
Saturday, October 14th
9:15 pm - Midnight
Cover charge $7
CRASH COURSES 7 - 9 PM
$14 Person, $22 Couple
ZYDECO - Ronnie
CUMBIA/TEJANO - Luis
BACHATA - Linda
LATIN CHA CHA - Jill
SALSA DIPS AND LUNGES (CPLS) -
DAKOTA'S FAV SALSA PTNS - Martin
TO REGISTER FOR A CRASH COURSE, PLEASE COME
AT 6:45 AND SIGN UP AT THE DOOR
Party at a Glance:
Music: Salsa in Room 1
Dress White and Dance all Night!
STORIES IN THE NEWS -
THE SPAM KING WHO MADE
Story submitted by Rick Archer
Editor's Note: Every day I am greeted by
anywhere from one to two hundred spam
emails. Once in a while, the title is so
absurd that I can't resist taking a peek. I
am always amazed at how ridiculous the
pitches are. Not even the STUPIDEST MORON on
the planet would fall for these traps. Or
After shaking my head in disgust, the next
thought that rolls into my head is "why do
they even bother?" I mean, how on earth can
anyone convert this nonsense into any real
money? So I hit the 'delete' key in smug
satisfaction at the total futility of their
efforts and go about my day.
Given my mindset, you can imagine that I
read the following story with total
incredulity. At one point, the Spam King was
said to be making over half a million
dollars a month sending out Spam. Half a mil
a month! Are you out of your mind!!? You
gotta be kidding, right? Well, maybe they
weren't kidding. This story left me
dumbfounded. Read it for yourself.
AOL WANTS TO LOOK FOR GOLD AT SPAMMER'S
Aug. 16, 2006, 12:57PM
By TED BRIDIS
WASHINGTON - Dig this: AOL believes a
renegade Internet spammer buried gold and
platinum on his family's property in
Massachusetts and wants to bring in
bulldozers to search for the treasure and
satisfy a $12.8 million judgment it won in
The family says it knows nothing about any
buried treasure and will fight AOL's
The Internet company said it intends to
search for bars of gold and platinum that
AOL believes are hidden near the home of
Davis Wolfgang Hawke's parents on two acres
in Medfield, Mass., and near his
grandparents' home in nearby Westwood.
Hawke's ex-girlfriend, Patricia Lingenfelter,
told investigators he confided to her that
he had once buried cash in his mother's
garden. She called Hawke "fundamentally
lazy" and said she believes he likely buried
gold on the property owned by his parents
and grandparents, according to court records
unsealed today in the case.
AOL won a $12.8 million judgment against
Hawke last year in U.S. District Court in
Virginia but has been unable to contact him
to collect any of the money he was ordered
to pay. AOL accused Hawke of violating U.S.
and Virginia anti-spam laws by sending
massive amounts of unwanted e-mails to its
subscribers. It won its case in a default
judgment against Hawke, who didn't show up
"I don't care if they dig up the entire
yard. They're just going to make fools of
themselves," said Peggy Greenbaum, Hawke's
mother. "There's absolutely no reason for
them to think that Davis Hawke would be
stupid enough to bury gold on our property.
My son is long gone." Lingenfelter, the
ex-girlfriend, said Hawke buried cash but
worried it would be damaged by water. She
said he regularly left alone on overnight
hiking trips carrying a fireproof safe and
shovel, but he never confided where he
buried his loot.
"I would ask him and then he would give me
the same thing. 'It's none of your business.
It's mine,'" she said.
At the height of Hawke's Internet
activities, experts believe, Hawke and his
partners earned more than $600,000 each
month - much of it cash - by sending
unwanted sales pitches over the Internet for
loans, pornography, jewelry and prescription
The head of J.J. Teaparty Inc. of Boston,
Miles Coggan, told AOL's lawyers that Hawke
bought $350,879.50 worth of gold from the
company between August 2003 and March 2004,
court papers said. Hawke told Coggan he
earned the money "selling pills on the
Internet," Coggan told lawyers. "They were
millionaires, if only briefly," said Brian
McWilliams, a journalist who interviewed
Hawke and wrote extensively about him in
"Spam Kings," a 2004 book about e-mail
spammers. McWilliams said Hawke lived a
nomadic life as an adult, eschewed luxuries
and described burying his valuables.
"Hawke lived like a pauper really,"
McWilliams said. "He drove a beater of a
used car, an old cop car. He never owned a
house or anything." Greenbaum said her
husband and father intend to challenge AOL's
plans to dig on their property and search
their two-story, 3,000-square-foot home in a
wooded residential area of Medfield, a small
town about 20 miles southwest of Boston. She
said AOL's lawyer notified the family that
the company intends to use bulldozers and
geological teams to hunt for gold and
platinum on their property.
In court papers, Hawke's grandfather told
AOL's lawyers, "I have no interest in
helping people find him." But Robert J.
Davis said he knew nothing about any gold
buried on his land. He described his
grandson as highly intelligent but allowed
he was "maybe not great on common sense."
Greenbaum said she has not talked with her
son in more than a year and complained about
the embarrassment and humiliation he brought
to the family. Greenbaum said the family
believes Hawke buried gold in the White
Mountains 130 miles north of Boston.
She said he once confided to her that he
used proceeds from sending Internet spam to
buy gold - rather than expensive homes or
cars - because it would be more difficult to
seize in lawsuits. She told AOL's lawyers
that Hawke once quipped that people will
need to dig up five states to find his
money. "We don't know where is he," she
said. "We certainly wouldn't allow him to
put any gold on our property."
AOL said it will try to accommodate Hawke's
parents by not being too obtrusive.
"The dig isn't something out of "Treasure
Island," AOL spokesman Nicholas Graham said.
"This is a court-directed, judge-approved
legal process that is simply aimed at
responsibly recovering hidden assets." To
win a judge's permission for the search, AOL
submitted receipts reflecting large
purchases by Hawke of gold and platinum
bars, Graham said. The company indicated it
believes Hawke buried the loot on his
parents' property using a shovel.
STORIES IN THE NEWS: MAN ACCIDENTALLY
DIVORCES HIS WIFE IN HIS SLEEP
Contributed by Phyllis Porter
(3/28/06 - NEW DELHI, India) - Village
elders ordered a Muslim man in eastern India
to leave his wife after he accidentally
divorced her in his sleep, a news report
Aftab Ansari uttered the Urdu word for
divorce, "talaq," three times in his sleep,
prompting his worried wife to discuss the
matter with her friends, according to the
Press Trust of India news agency.
Under Islamic law, a husband need only say
"I divorce you" three times to secure a
permanent end to his marriage.
Muslim leaders in the couple's village in
West Bengal state found out and decreed that
Ansari's unconscious utterances constituted
a divorce, PTI reported.
But 30-year-old Ansari said he had no
intention of leaving his wife of 11 years.
"I have not given talaq. When I uttered
talaq three times I had taken medicines to
help me sleep," he was quoted as saying in
The religious leaders said that before
remarrying, the couple would have to be
apart for at least 100 days and that the
wife, Sohela, would also have to spend a
night with another man and then be divorced
PTI reported that the couple has been
ostracized because of their refusal to abide
by the decision of the village leaders.
(Editor's Note: Normally I would add
something clever about what I think of the
Islamic Law cited in this instance were I
not terrified I would be burned by Muslims
or poisoned by my American wife.)
STORIES IN THE NEWS - THE ELEPHANT'S MEMORY
Aug. 16, 2006, 12:57PM
By Quame Mbuto
Reuters news service
Nairobi, Kenya - In 1986, Mkele Mbembe was
on holiday in Kenya after graduating from
college. On a hike through the bush, he came
across a young bull elephant standing with
one leg raised in the air.
The elephant seemed distressed so Mbembe
approached it very carefully. He got down on
one knee and inspected the elephant's foot,
and found a large thorn deeply embedded in
it. As carefully and as gently as he could,
Mbembe worked the thorn out with his hunting
knife, after which the elephant gingerly put
down its foot.
The elephant turned to face the man and with
a rather stern look on its face, stared at
him. For several tense moments Mbembe stood
frozen, thinking of nothing else but being
Eventually the elephant trumpeted loudly,
turned and walked away. Mbembe never forgot
that elephant or the events of that day.
Twenty years later he was walking through a
zoo with his teenaged son Tapu. As they
approached the elephant enclosure, one of
the creatures turned and walked over to near
where Mbembe and his son were standing. The
large bull elephant stared at Mbembe and
lifted its front foot off the ground, then
put it down. The elephant did that several
times then trumpeted loudly, all the while
staring at the man. Remembering the
encounter in 1986, Mbembe couldn't help
wondering if this was the same elephant.
Mbembe was overtaken with an unusual
combination of fear and love. He hesitated,
then summoned up his courage and climbed
over the railing to the gasps of the other
onlookers. Jumping down, Mbembe made his way
into the enclosure. He walked right up to
the elephant and stared at the giant animal
Suddenly the elephant trumpeted again,
wrapped its trunk around one of the man's
legs and swung him wildly back and forth
along the railing, killing him.
Probably wasn't the same elephant.
(Gotcha. Thanks to Patty Jones for sharing
that touching story with us.)
GARY RICHARDSON SELLS ANOTHER COMPUTER!
As you will read in future Newsletters, Gary
Richardson was the co-MVP of our recent
Rhapsody Reloaded Cruise Trip. Not only did
he make a lot of people happy by conducting
late-night dancing aboard the Rhapsody
attended by as many as 70 people at 1 am in
the morning, he took a phenomenal number of
pictures that will soon be published on the
SSQQ web site. His contributions went way
past anything we had the right to expect of
him. He did it for one reason - Gary loves
to make people happy.
Gary and I have had a special friendship for
years. He has been a huge part of the
studio's success in so many ways, but most
of all he has been my computer guru for the
past eight years.
Back in August, Gary emailed me to say he
had sold another SSQQ computer to our
Wonderful Western dance instructor Rachel
Koenig. Gary likes to keep track of who he
sells his computers to, especially if they
are from SSQQ. Rachel's computer was the
110th computer he has sold to someone from
SSQQ. This remarkable total means that over
the years he has averaged selling over one a
month to someone from SSQQ!
I emailed Rachel the following letter:
"Rachel, I own 20 TFW computers. Btw you and
me, I could save a couple dollars buying one
over the counter somehow.
That said, I would have no way of knowing
the quality of my computer because I am sure
the transaction would be made with some
anonymous person who will be gone in two
Even more important, what I could never buy
in a million years would be the kindness and
unfailing help he and his staff have given
me over the past eight years. If you ever
run into a computer problem - he will have
That is why I keep going back to him.
Gary is my friend and I thank you for
Rachel emailed back:
From: Rachel Seff Koenig, Ed.D.
Sent: Monday, August 21, 2006 12:21 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: your new Gary computer
"Yep - I agree that Gary is great.
We lost power at our house with a bad storm
a couple of weeks ago and ever since then,
our 5-year old Gateway computer has been on
Dave brought it in to Gary over the weekend
and it turns out the motherboard was
fried... Dave said Gary was really, really
But more importantly, Gary is going to be
able to save all of our data and files,
including all of the pics of baby Zach!
Here is the list of
people from SSQQ who have bought computers
Gary Richardson's TFW Computers
STORIES IN THE NEWS - THE SPIRIT OF TONYA
Sept. 13, 2006, 6:19PM
BACKUP PUNTER MAY HAVE STABBED STARTER
By PAT GRAHAM AP Sports Writer
© 2006 The Associated Press
GREELEY, Colo. - In a scenario reminiscent
of Tonya Harding vs. Nancy Kerrigan, the
backup punter at Northern Colorado has been
accused of stabbing his rival in the leg,
that is, his kicking leg.
Mitch Cozad, a sophomore from Wheatland,
Wyo., allegedly attacked Rafael Mendoza in a
parking lot this week. Arrested on a charge
of second-degree assault, Cozad was freed
Wednesday on a $30,000 bond.
Mendoza, who was treated and released at a
Greeley hospital, will miss at least
Saturday's game at Texas State.
"Rafael is a competitor and wants to get
back as soon as he can," said head coach
Scott Downing. "When that occurs, I don't
The incident conjured up images of the
rivalry between figure skaters Harding and
Kerrigan. Harding was banned from the sport
for life after her former husband hired a
hit man to smack Kerrigan on the knee with a
"I guess the only identified motive (in the
attack on Mendoza) at this point in time is
the competition for that position," Evans
police Lt. Gary Kessler said.
But Downing wasn't so sure.
Cozad and Mendoza, a junior from the Denver
suburb of Thornton, were competitive, he
said, but no more than players at other
"No different than starting quarterback or
starting right tackle," he said. "Everyone
was held accountable to the same level."
Asked if there was any jealousy between the
two players, he said, "I have no idea. That
would all be conjecture."
Cozad was suspended from the university and
the team and was evicted from his dorm room,
said director of athletics Jay Hinrichs.
Cozad had no listed phone number in Greeley,
and a phone message left at his Wyoming
address was not immediately returned.
The stabbing took place Monday in Evans, a
small town adjacent to Greeley and about 50
miles north of Denver. The Greeley Tribune
first reported the story in Wednesday's
Kessler said Mendoza, averaging 37.6 yards
per punt on nine punts in the two games, was
attacked from behind and stabbed in his
right thigh after parking his car outside
his Evans apartment about 9:30 p.m.
The assailant fled in a black Dodge Charger,
Kessler said. About 10 minutes after the
attack, a liquor store clerk told police
that two men in a car matching that
description stopped outside the store,
stripped tape off the license plate and
The clerk gave police the license number,
and the car was traced to Cozad, who was
arrested Tuesday, Kessler said.
THE RESULTS OF THE SEPTEMBER LOGIC PUZZLE -
THE ZODIAC NUDIST COLONY
We had nine winners who were able to solve
the Zodiac Nudist Colony Logic Puzzle. I was
2006 September: The Zodiac Couples
1. Randy Piniola (7 months in a row!)
2. Cherie Maddox (First Time Winner)
3. Jonathan Bish (First Time Winner)
4. Kim Rynearson (First Time Winner)
5. Mara Rivas (3 months in a row!)
6. Ann Faget (33 months in a row!)
7. Anita Leung (15 months in a row!)
8. Susan Arevalo (32 months in a row!)
9. Ritesh Laud (25 months in a row!)
AND NOW FOR THE OCTOBER 2006 LOGIC PUZZLE -
THE WEDDING ANNIVERSARY
The four siblings of the Brown family - two
brothers and two sisters - liked to do
different activities together.
One month they decided to take dance lessons
at SSQQ. All four people loved their lessons
and decided to stick with it. Amazingly,
over the course of the next year, each of
the 4 siblings met their future spouse while
taking lessons here at the studio.
Not surprisingly, the four 'outsiders'
blended in beautifully with the Brown
siblings. As a result, all four couples grew
very close and enjoyed every opportunity to
On one occasion, three of the couples got
together at the dance studio to celebrate
the anniversary of the fourth couple.
The three couples that were not having an
anniversary each brought a different gift
certificate for the special couple (one gift
was a Tango lesson).
From the following clues can you find the
full names of all 4 couples (one husband is
Rick, and two last names are Black and
White), identify the couple having the
anniversary, and determine which present
each of the other couples brought?
Think you can solve it? If you want to give
it a try, here's the link:
SSQQ OCTOBER LOGIC PUZZLE
STORIES IN THE NEWS -
COMPUTERS OF THE FUTURE
Carol Gafford sent in the most amazing
photos of computers of the future that you
can carry in your pocket. You have to see it
to believe it!
COMPUTERS OF THE FUTURE
No, it is not a joke. Promise. This is
on the level
PICTURES OF CHINA
Gary Richardson sent in some of the most beautiful
pictures of China I have ever seen.
STORIES IN THE NEWS - THE FIFTEEN
MILLION DOLLAR DANCE LESSON THAT WENT BAD
(Story submitted by Jacqueline Chang)
From the Wall Street Journal
Thursday, August 3, 2006
Pursuit of Ballroom Glory:
Banker Now Regards $15.4 Million Lessons As
a Serious Misstep/ Ms.
Wong Sues Dance Coach Who Called Her 'a Cow'
By KATE LINEBAUGH
August 3, 2006; Page A1
HONG KONG -- As the top Asia private banker
for HSBC Holdings PLC, Mimi Monica Wong
knows how to make wealth last. But these
days, she is better known for the millions
she lost perfecting her rumba.
Two years ago, Ms. Wong agreed to pay $15.4
million for eight years of unlimited
Latin-dance instruction. About half of that
sum she paid up front, in cash. The
61-year-old widow recently said she was
"looking for the last bit of glory in life."
But the arrangement soured even before it
Now Ms. Wong is suing her dance instructors
in a Hong Kong court seeking the return of
her $8 million pre-payment. The instructors,
15-time world Latin dance champion Gaynor
Fairweather, of the U.K., and her Italian
husband Mirko Saccani, are countersuing for
the $7.4 million outstanding under the
Hong Kong has no shortage of big spenders.
Home to some of Asia's great fortunes, the
city of about seven million boasts the most
Rolls-Royces per capita in the world. Yet
even here, the equivalent of $5,000 a day
for eight years is a lot to pay for dance
"It's just ridiculous," says Keith McNab, an
Argentine tango instructor in Hong Kong who
charges about $70 an hour. "No one could
actually take enough lessons to make it
In a letter to a local newspaper, a Hong
Kong civil servant said such sums could
inspire a career change. "Ladies, I am now
available to give dancing lessons," wrote
John Shanahan, a senior officer at the
city's anticorruption watchdog. "Payments
are accepted in advance. Pole dancing costs
But for many women in high-society Hong
Kong, dancing is serious business. At glitzy
charity balls, Chinese tycoons sometimes
turn into wallflowers as their wives dip and
twirl in the arms of a paid partner -- often
a younger Western man. Among this crowd,
it's not uncommon to fork over $500 for an
afternoon social event called a "tea dance."
Hong Kong has "some of the craziest prices
in the world," says Walter Wat, president of
the Hong Kong Ballroom Dancing Council.
The sums approach the stratosphere when a
dancer hits the international "pro-am"
circuit, where aspiring amateur dancers,
mostly female, take part in competitions
with professional partners. Daily lessons
are necessary to master the five dances that
make up competitive Latin ballroom --
cha-cha, rumba, samba, jive and paso doble.
There are also travel expenses, entry fees
and the cost of costumes for two.
It was this kind of dancing that grabbed Ms.
Wong. She rose to the top, just as she had
in private banking, and she loved it. "It's
like, you know, winning Wimbledon," she said
in a recorded conversation with a friend
that was referred to in court. Ms. Wong, Ms.
Fairweather and Mr. Saccani all declined to
comment for this article.
Off the dance floor, Ms. Wong has an
impressive rιsumι. A graduate of Columbia
University, she worked her way up HSBC, the
world's biggest bank by assets, to become
head of its private banking business in
Asia. The daughter of a Hong Kong shipping
magnate, Ms. Wong is known for her
composure, elegance and perfectionism at any
In 2000, Ms. Wong began taking lessons from
Ms. Fairweather, who ruled the Latin dance
world for 15 years with her then-partner
Donnie Burns. The pair is credited with
injecting a new flair to the form, and for
slowing down the samba to allow for more
swagger, according to Hong Kong dance
teachers. For their service to dance, each
was awarded an Order of the British Empire,
a lesser honor than knighthood.
Under Ms. Fairweather's tutelage, Ms. Wong
increasingly devoted herself to dancing.
Often she would dash away from work at lunch
for two hours of lessons, only to put in two
more at the end of the day, according to
statements made in court. Ms. Fairweather
would labor over her student's dress
designs, drawing floral patterns and hiring
seamstresses to affix hundreds of Swarovski
crystal beads, she testified in court. "To
me, she was everything," the 49-year-old Ms.
Fairweather told the court.
After two years of instruction with just Ms.
Fairweather, Mr. Saccani became part of the
package. According to court statements, Mr.
Saccani instigated longer-term contracts
with Ms. Wong for greater and greater sums,
paid well in advance. After he began
instructing Ms. Wong, according to court
testimony, he bought a Ferrari.
In 2002, Ms. Wong paid $135,000 for a fixed
number of lessons and competitions. Shortly
afterward, she shelled out $1.3 million for
a two-year package of unlimited lessons
The work paid off. With Mr. Saccani as her
partner at the 2003 Emerald Ball Dancesport
Championships in Los Angeles, Ms. Wong won
the title of "Top Gold Lady."
On top of what she had spent already, Ms.
Wong then agreed to pay $15.4 million over
eight years for exclusive access to Ms.
Fairweather's and Mr. Saccani's services.
Ms. Wong swallowed the high prices because
"she was desperate to continue and could not
bear to throw away all her hard work,"
according to her closing statement to the
What upended the multimillion-dollar dance
partnership was an incident on a Wednesday
afternoon in August of 2004. At the Li Hua
restaurant, a favorite afternoon dance
venue, Ms. Wong and a group of other women
were taking part in a mock competition.
That day, the banker was heavier in her step
than usual, according to statements in
court. In front of fellow dancers, Mr.
Saccani shouted at her to "move your arse,"
and called Ms. Wong a "lazy cow," according
to court documents.
Other dance teachers testified his verbal
abuse contained threats of physical
violence. Instructor Philip Redmond told the
court he heard Mr. Saccani say, "If you do
it again, Monica, I'll smash your head
against the wall." Mr. Saccani denies having
said anything beyond some "motivational"
language, though he admits to shouting
expletives at her.
Two days later, she cut short another
practice session. That night, in the taped
conversation submitted to the court, she
told a friend that the money involved was
"stupid," "crazy" and "completely out of
hand." The two sides fell out further over
the following days and Ms. Wong quickly won
a court order to freeze the bank accounts of
Ms. Fairweather and Mr. Saccani say they
remain ready to fulfill the terms of the
contract. "It's not fair to have such love
and work put into a person and one day she's
not there," Ms. Fairweather told the court.
The publicity around Ms. Wong's case hasn't
been good for a private banker, a job that
prizes discretion, other bankers say.
However, HSBC stands behind its banker, and
after a brief leave of absence to attend the
two-week hearing, she is back at work
helping Asia's wealthy plan their financial
future. A judgment in the court case is
expected later this summer.
At night, there is still the cha-cha. Ms.
Wong has a new instructor, whom she is
paying, according to statements in court,
$21,000 a month.
(Editor's Note: As an interesting footnote,
Jackie Chang, the lady who sent in the
original story, "googled" around and located
this extra picture of Ms. Wong. Now
you can see the "lazy cow" for yourself in
action with Mr. Saccani. She looks
pretty light on her feet to me, but then you
can't trust anything you see on the
Internet, can you?)
FOLLOWUP TO THE STORY ABOVE: HSBC BANKER MONICA WONG WINS LATIN DANCE
By Clare Cheung
Sept. 6 (Bloomberg) -- HSBC Holdings Plc
banker Mimi Monica Wong won a Hong Kong
lawsuit seeking the return of HK$60 million
($7.7 million) in fees she paid for Latin
``They took her money, for services in the
future which she would never take up,''
Deputy High Court Judge Gerard Muttrie said
in a 59-page written judgment today.
Wong had sued her Latin dance teachers Mirko
Saccani and his wife Gaynor Fairweather for
the return of the fees, part of a HK$120
million advance payment. He humiliated Wong
in front of others at a practice session in
August 2004. Media reports of the case made
the 61-year-old head of HSBC's private
banking unit in Asia a household name in the
Saccani, 31, admitted swearing and screaming
at Wong at the practice session in Hong
Kong's Li Hua Restaurant, and calling her a
``lazy cow'' to motivate her, according to
Russell Coleman, a lawyer for the dance
teachers, had told the court that jealousy
and an emotional breakdown had led Wong to
plan for an ``exit strategy'' for the return
of the money after she found the audience's
attention and applause were focused on
another dancing couple at the practice
``I accept that Ms. Wong was humiliated by
Mr. Saccani's treatment of her,'' Muttrie
ruled. ``The conduct went much further than
the motivational language she had accepted
in the past,'' he said, rejecting the
defendants' case that the contract couldn't
be terminated without their consent.
The Judge also dismissed a counterclaim by
the teachers for outstanding payments of
$7.6 million. ``To seek to be paid 4 million
pounds for services which will never be
taken up is'' a ``windfall,'' he ruled.
Coleman couldn't immediately be reached for
Wong, who took two weeks off work for the
trial from HSBC, Europe's largest bank by
market value, will meet reporters at 4 p.m.
today local time, according to a faxed
statement from her legal adviser Herbert
``Ms. Wong is pleased that the dispute has
been resolved in her favor. She hopes that
this matter can be brought to an end as
quickly as possible,'' the statement said.
Gareth Hewett, HSBC's Hong Kong-based
spokesman, declined to comment on the case.
Wong, who agreed to pay the HK$120 million
to the couple for eight years of unlimited
dance lessons and competitions from 2004,
has said she continues to be passionate
about Latin dance and has a new teacher.
Her dance achievements include first prize
in the over-50 age group at the Los Angeles
Embassy competition in September 2002 and
the ``Top Gold Lady'' award at the May 2003
Emerald competition in the same U.S. city.
``Ballroom dancing is a pastime enjoyed, I
am told, by some very wealthy people in Hong
Kong's high society,'' Muttrie noted in his
In the Asia-Pacific region, the number of
millionaires rose 7.3 percent to 2.4 million
last year, according to a Capgemini SA and
Merrill Lynch & Co. report in June. That
compares with a 6.9 percent increase to 2.9
million in North America and a 4.5 percent
rise to 2.8 million in Europe.
Citigroup Inc. and UBS AG were the region's
leading managers of personal wealth with $61
billion of assets under management each in
2004, according to a 2005 Credit Suisse
Group report. HSBC ranked third with $39
The case is No. HCA2061/2004 in the Court of
First Instance of the High Court.
Last Updated: September 6, 2006 03:22 EDT
COMPLAINT OF THE MONTH - DANCE CLASS
From: Donna G
Cc: Jim and Karen B
Sent: Wednesday, August 30, 2006 3:00 PM
Subject: dance class refund
Last July, Jim & Karen B and Bill and Donna
G decided to take a dance class together.
Bill and I sort of knew how to country
dance, but Jim was just learning. So, we
decided to refresh our dancing and learn
something new, and spend four delightful
Fridays with our friends.
We signed up for Western Swing 2015AX on
Fridays, starting August 11 through Leisure
Learning. Jim enrolled both the Bs and the
Gs through Leisure Learning and received all
the paper work. However, at the first
session, Bill G had a business meeting and
was out of town. No problem as we were the
more experienced and felt we could catch up
the next week. However, when we attending on
Friday, August 18, we were not in the class
10 minutes, not even enough time to switch
to new partners, than one of your people
(Addie?) told us we weren't good enough for
the class and needed to go to the beginning
Two Step Class. We were most distressed as
we KNEW the two step; we only needed a few
minutes to adjust our differences to your
style. But we weren't given the opportunity.
The purpose of taking the class; learning
with our novice friends had been defeated.
We left and were told we could be reimbursed
(I think it was Debbie?).
Since Jim B paid with his credit card for
both Bill and me, it is his card that need
reimbursing. I have cc'd this to Jim so he
can respond with the necessary information
concerning his card.
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Tuesday, September 19, 2006 2:30 PM
To: donna g
Subject: dance class refund
Donna, I just recently read your email for
the first time.
The four of you had a nice idea: take a
dance class with your spouses and friends.
It sounds like fun to me and I wish things
had worked out better.
But from the studio's point of view, the
instructor most likely did the right thing
by asking you to move back to the less
challenging Beginning Twostep class.
Beginning Western Swing is a technical dance
that requires a thorough knowledge of
Twostep. Although people get misled by the
title "Beginning", veteran dancers at SSQQ
know it is actually more of an intermediate
class that is based on previous knowledge of
Twostep footwork, leads, and timing. In a
sense, taking Western Swing without a strong
basis of Twostep is like trying to run
before you learn to walk. It is not fair to
the class to slow things down while
Quote from your letter: "We were most
distressed as we KNEW the two step; we only
needed a few minutes to adjust our
differences to your style."
Since I was not there, I am in no position
to attest to the caliber of your Twostep.
This is what I do know: You yourself said,
"Bill and I sort of knew how to country
dance". You added, "Jim was just learning".
Then you said that both couples completely
missed the first week of class!
Not only were you a month behind the
students in the Beginning Western Swing
class, you were a complete week behind the
class as well. Beginning Western Swing is no
a walk in the park even for people who just
finished the Twostep class and it is a very
difficult class to catch up to.
In order for Group Classes to work, the
skill level needs to be fairly homogenous.
In this case, I imagine our instructor did
the right thing for the sake of her class.
I too have sent people back to an easier
level at various times. I don't do it often
and I always do it with regret, but there is
no point in ruining a class while some
individual struggles in the process.
Unfortunately this sounds like a very
awkward situation. The instructor had a
class to teach and no previous rapport with
you four people to know how to broach such a
sensitive request. I completely understand
how this directive could have been taken the
wrong way. My regret in this instance was
that I was not there to negotiate a
compromise. This should have been something
we could have worked out. For this I feel
However, realistically, we all have students
waiting for us to teach. The needs of the
group usually demand our immediate
attention. The dark side is this doesn't
leave much time for discussion.
I would love to have you try again. I will
be more than happy to donate an hour of my
time to catch you up, then let you start
Beginning Western Swing in October.
From: Donna G
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2006 12:14 AM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: complaint of the month dance class refund
Rick from SSQQ and Leisure Learning,
The two of you need to get the description of your
classes straight. After my husband and I were
dismissed from the Beginning Western Swing class
after ten minutes in the class "because we did not
have the skills" although my husband and I both have
danced the two step together for years, I called
Leisure Learning about a refund, and I was told by
them that YOUR Class was to be a BEGINNING class and
they had NEVER been told that the two-step was a
pre-requisite, that SSQQ were to teach it as a
beginning class. I have underlined the portion of
this letter that states the opposite of what LL told
me. How is a person suppose to know what class to
take and still enjoy herself when both sides are
telling two different stories?
So....I lost $14 for LL registration and then
another $20 for dropping a class. I was out $34
because of this.
In RED, I have added my
comments to some of your statements, Rick.
is what I do know: You yourself said, Bill and I
sort of knew how to country dance . You added,
Jim was just learning . Then you said that both
couples completely missed the first week of
class! No, only Bill
and I missed the first class - not both couples.
Jim and Karen were there.)
(Not only were you a
month (No, we were only
a WEEK behind) behind the students in
the Beginning Western Swing class, you were a
complete week behind the class as well.
Beginning Western Swing is no a walk in the park
even for people who just finished the Twostep
class and it is a very difficult class to catch
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Thursday, September 21, 2006 5:52 AM
Subject: RE: complaint of the month dance class
Ms. G wrote:
Rick from SSQQ and Leisure
Learning, The two of you need to get the description
of your classes straight.
to your letter:
Ms. G, I have
absolutely no control over what other people say.
What I do have control over is the written word.
That said, I now beg to differ with your contention
that Leisure Learning and SSQQ do not have our
This quote below is taken directly from the LLU web
Western Swing is also known as Two-Step with
Turns. Men double turn the ladies as they
Two-Step and Polka around the floor. The Western
Swing is extremely popular because ladies love
to spin and the men enjoy leading the intricate
double patterns. Once you have learned to
Two-Step, Western Swing is the next step up.
Class size: 1-50.
I invite you
to go look for yourself:
already written to apologize to you for your
inconvenience and I have also offered an hour of my
personal time at no charge in a wasted attempt to be
of service to you.
I thought you might appreciate my attempt to remedy
the misunderstanding, but I guess not.
It appears instead you would rather debate points
than accept my offer to give you what you signed up
for: a chance to learn Western Swing.
COMPLAINT OF THE MONTH TWO -
Sent: Saturday, September 16, 2006 3:17 PM
I love taking classes with your school!!
This is not the first time I have visited
your website but your website seems to be
getting worse. Having taken classes with
your organization I can honestly say that
your website does not capture the
creativity, professionalism and experience
that you offer.
I am part owner in a web design company. I
humbly suggest that you look into their
services or the services of any professional
web development company to create the
professional appearance you deserve.
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Monday, September 18, 2006 9:33 AM
I do the best I can. Considering I am a
dance teacher, not a web designer, I suppose
there is always room for improvement.
(Editor's Note: One thing that may cause a
problem is screen settings. The SSQQ Web
Site is set for a 1024 by 768 pixel screen
resolution. Many people have their monitors
set at 800 by 600. People with weakened
vision prefer the 800 by 600 setting. If you
are viewing the website in 800 by 600, I
imagine the appearance of the web site could
2006 JOKE PICTURE OF THE MONTH - THE
CAT IN THE WATER BOAT DISASTER!!
Judy Walsh submitted the October Joke
Picture. It is a picture of a bizarre
boating accident where a cat is screaming
bloody murder. You will just have to see it
SORRY FOLKS, NO NEW JOKES AGAIN THIS MONTH,
BUT WE DO HAVE 53 HALL OF FAME JOKES
I am taking another month off in the Jokes
Department. But when I get around to it,
I've got lots of great new jokes so stay
In the meantime, the Hall of Fame Jokes for
October are ready (31 clean side, 22 blue
you are too lazy or too busy to visit the Jokes this
month, here are two of my favorites from October:
October CS 14: Winter at the Indian
Reservation - Marlane Kayfes
The young Indian man had just finished his
graduate school training. He had studied
hard for six long years in preparation for
his future role as 'Tribal Leader' for his
Indian tribe. Now it was autumn. Today he
was conducting his very first tribal meeting
on the remote reservation.
At the end of the meeting, one of the elders
stood up and asked the new 'Chief' if the
winter was going to be cold or mild. The
young man was taken aback, but carefully hid
his feelings as his leadership seminar had
prepared him to do. Since he was an Indian
Chief trained in a modern society, he had
never been taught the old secrets. When he
looked up at the sky, he didn't have a clue
what the weather was going to be.
Nevertheless, he knew he had to respond
quickly to give the appearance of
competence. To be on the safe side, he
replied to his tribe that the winter was
indeed going to be cold. Several of the
Indians smiled and nodded in agreement at
his confident show of wisdom. This
prediction indicated that the members of the
village should begin to collect wood for the
As he watched how diligently the villagers
brought in the wood, the new Chief worried
about his prediction. Being a practical
sort, after several days the young man got
an idea. He went to the phone booth, called
the local office of the National Weather
Service and asked, "Is the coming winter
going to be cold?"
"At first it appeared it would be a mild
winter, but our latest indications say it
looks like this winter is going to be quite
cold indeed," the meteorologist at the
weather service responded.
Reassured, the Chief went back to his people
and told them to collect even more wood in
order to be prepared. However a week later
he noticed his latest order had prompted the
tribe to gather what seemed to be a near
mountain of wood.
Now he was sweating for two reasons: it
wasn't even remotely cold and his people had
gone to a lot of work based on his
prediction. He nervously called the National
Weather Service again. "Is it going to be a
very cold winter?"
"Why, yes it is," the man at National
Weather Service again replied, "we now think
it's going to be one of the coldest winters
Flabbergasted, the young Chief again went
back to his people and ordered them to
collect every scrap of wood they could find.
Two weeks later the temperature had only
dropped at most a degree or two, yet the
stack of firewood was so tall it had become
a local tourist attraction. The Chief
frowned as he watched all the people dressed
in shorts and Hawaiian shirts taking
pictures of 'Firewood Mountain'. But when he
saw a TV station truck arrive to take
footage of the event, he completely
Frantically he called the National Weather
Service again. "Are you ABSOLUTELY sure that
the winter is going to be very cold?"
"Absolutely," the man replied. "The latest
indications suggest that it's going to be
one of the coldest winters ever."
"The word 'Suggest' isn't good enough. How
can you be so sure?" the Chief asked.
The weatherman replied, "The Indians are
collecting wood like crazy!!!"
October BS 19: The Halloween Party
Submitted by Sharon Russell and Page
A couple was invited to a swanky masked
Halloween Party. The wife got a terrible
headache and told her husband to go to the
party alone. He, being a devoted husband,
protested, but she argued and said she was
going to take some aspirin and go to bed,
and there was no need of his good time being
spoiled by not going. So he took his costume
and away he went.
The wife, after sleeping soundly for one
hour, awakened without pain, and as it was
still early, she decided to go to the party.
In as much as her husband did not know what
her costume was, she thought she would have
some fun by watching her husband to see how
he acted when she was not with him.
She joined the party and soon spotted her
husband cavorting around on the dance floor,
dancing with every nice chick he could, and
copping a little feel here and a little kiss
there. His wife sidled up to him and being a
rather seductive babe herself, he left his
partner high and dry and devoted his time to
the new stuff that had just arrived.
She let him go as far as he wished;
naturally, since he was her husband. Finally
he whispered a little proposition in her ear
and she agreed, so off they went to one of
the cars and had a fast and furious bang.
After it was over, she got out of there as
quickly as she possibly could. She had never
been so disgusted in her life. Her husband
who she had trusted so much acted like
Conan, grunting and pawing and screaming at
After she got home, she put the costume away
and got into bed, wondering exactly what
kind of explanation he would make for his
behavior. She was sitting up reading when he
came in and asked what kind of a time he
had. He said, "Oh, the same old thing. You
know I never have a good time when you're
'Oh, sure', she thought to herself. Then she
asked, "Did you dance much? And where's your
He replied, "I'll tell you, I never even
danced one dance. When I got there, I met
Pete, Bill Brown and some other guys, so we
went into the den and played poker all
evening. But I am a little embarrassed to
tell you I don't have that Zorro outfit you
got for me... that idiot Steve, you know,
the guy you hate so much, showed up without
a costume. When he saw I wasn't going to
need mine, he begged me to give it to him.
He took off with some tramp in a French Maid
outfit and I never saw him again."
(Note: you can find these two jokes and 50
others on our Joke Page. Enjoy!
And that's a wrap for October.
Thanks for reading this month's issue of the SSQQ