December 2007
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The SSQQ Newsletter
Written and Edited by Rick Archer
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Written by Rick Archer

This is the December 2007 issue of the SSQQ Newsletter.

The December 2007 issue is extensive.  I guess that is an understatement.  There are twenty stories.  That's right - Twenty.  And you know what?  Every single article is fun.   This is one of the most entertaining Newsletters I have put out.  Please Enjoy!

  Table of Contents - Click the Number of Your Story


STORY 01:  December Dance Parties: Bayou City Swing to play for us at the New Year's Eve Party
STORY 02:  Story One from the Hawaii 2007 Cruise
STORY 03:  The 2008 SSQQ Cruise Trip to Greece, Italy, and Turkey
STORY 04:  Is there a sequel in the works to "Dirty Dancing"?
STORY 05:  2007 Halloween Party Best Costumes
STORY 06:  Return of the SSQQ Christmas Puzzle
STORY 07:  Memory Aids for Women - an article by Ana Suarez-Veciano
STORY 08: 
The True Story of Snowball, the Amazing Dancing Bird
STORY 09:  Ballroom Dancing at Chandelier Ballroom on Saturday, December 15
STORY 10:  One of My Favorite People - Jaime Mabry... or is it 'Jamie Mabry'?
STORY 11:  An SSQQ Christmas Dance Story
STORY 12:  Googling and Oogling with Rick Archer
STORY 13:  Dear Abby - The Bra Used as Evidence
STORY 14:  Advice to Men - My Most Valuable Lesson as a Teacher
STORY 16:  Teacher faces Lashes for naming teddy bear "Muhammed"
STORY 17:  A British View of Western Dancing
STORY 18:  Right Angle Pictures
STORY 19: 
Breathtaking Grand Canyon Stupidity
STORY 20:  The SSQQ Joke Page Returns!

The Red and Green and White
Happy Holidays Salsa Dance!!

The party where Christmas, Mexico, and Salsa go hand in hand!

Saturday, December 8th
9:15 pm - 11:30 pm, $7 person
Salsa Music in Room 1

(Wear Red and White or Stay outta Sight!)


SLOW DANCING! - Jill (cpls only)



9:00 PM - 12 Midnight $7 PERSON

Dress Casual. 
Christmas Designs or something with Red and Green would be nice.  But if you are in a Bah Humbug mood, just wear clothes.

Note:  Much of the Dance Music will have a Christmas Twist to it. A Twostep to George Strait's MERRY CHRISTMAS STRAIT TO YOU or a Swing to FROSTY THE SNOWMAN is guaranteed to put you in a Christmas Mood.  Better watch or we will have you rocking around the Christmas Tree!



Featuring the Live Swing and Ballroom Music of Bayou City Swing

Monday, December 31st
9:00 pm - 1:00 am,  $35 per person

Formal Dress:
Coat & Tie for Men, Dress or Dress Suit for Ladies

Bayou City Swing plays a wide assortment of music.  In addition to Foxtrot and Big Band Swing music, we will Waltz, Tango, Cha Cha, and Rumba music in Room One

Western and Whip in Room Four

Cover Charge includes
Appetizers plus complimentary soft drinks, wine and beer.  Champagne, Noise Makers, Balloons and Silly Hats at Midnight

The SSQQ New Year's Party has traditionally attracted 200 people.  There is drinking, but never to excess.  The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed. SSQQ is cheerful, safe, comfortable and smoke-free.

What better way to welcome in the New Year than with Dancing!!


Back in May 2007, SSQQ took a marvelous cruise trip to Hawaii.  Never have we taken a more perfect trip!

The transportation was perfect.
The weather was perfect.
The ship was beautiful.
The Hawaiian Islands were beautiful.
Everything went smoothly.
We all had fun.

The only problem from the trip so far has been Rick Archer's inability to sit down and write about the trip and post the pictures.  It has been six months since this incredible trip and so far NOTHING has appeared.  The reason for my inability to write about the trip really boils down to the fact that this project is so big that I keep waiting for a stretch of time long enough to complete the project at one sitting. 

Well, that stretch never appears.  There is always something more pressing that needs my attention.   However, in mid-November I finally did begin the project.  It took four days to get organized and write one story.  That should give you an idea of how daunting this task is.  I was unable to get any further because it was time to begin work on the December Newsletter. 

So let's do it this way:  I will publish at least one story a month and see how that works.  I hope you enjoy Story One:  How to Hide an Enormous Volcanic Crater In Plain Sight.   
Hawaii 2007: Oahu and Honolulu


This story is written by Rick Archer

Starting in 2004, SSQQ has taken two cruises a year.  One cruise is our beloved dance cruise around the Caribbean while a second cruise is booked to a "destination".  

In 2004 we went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  In 2005 we went to Alaska.  In 2006 we went to New England.   In 2007 we went to Hawaii.  In 2008 we try our most ambitious trip yet - the
SSQQ Cruise to Greece.

The 2008 Greece Trip at a Glance:

Sunday, July 20th - Sunday, July 27th
Aboard Royal Caribbean's Navigator of the Seas

Day One: Rome, Italy -- Depart at 5:00 pm
Day Two: Sicily, Italy-- 10:00 - 6:00 pm
Day Three: Cruising the Mediterranean
Day Four: Athens, Greece -- 7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Day Five: Ephesus, Turkey -- 7:00 am - 7:00 pm
Day Six: Heraklion, Crete -- 7:00 am - 3:00 pm
Day Seven: Cruising the Mediterranean
Day Eight: Rome, Italy -- Arrive 5:00 am

Contact Marla Archer for more information at or phone her 713 862 4428

As I am sure most of you remember from your Ancient History courses, as far as the Western Civilization is concerned, Greece is where it all began.  

The people of the region attempted to explain the world through the laws of nature. They made important discoveries in science. They developed democracy, where people govern themselves rather than being ruled by a king. The Greeks also valued beauty and imagination. They wrote many stories and plays that continue to be performed today. The ancient Greeks developed a great many traditions that we take for granted without even thinking about their origins (for example, the Marathon and the Olympics). 

This are the reasons why Greece is often known as the Cradle of Western Civilization.

If it were not for the Greeks, we would not have the Democracy we take for granted.  If it were not for the Greeks, we might be speaking Persian today.  If it were not for the Greeks, we would not have the Trojan War, The Odyssey, the Spartan 300, Greek Mythology, Greek Philosophy, Greek Drama, or the Olympic Games. 

Obviously Greece has had a profound effect on the course of Western history.

The Civilization of ancient Greece flowered more than 2500 years ago.  Greece is an extremely mountainous country that makes it very difficult for agriculture.  Consequently the ancient Greeks were forced to adapt.  They became a sea-faring nation.  They also developed a passion for knowledge and culture.  As a result, Greece became the most advanced scientific country of its time.  Known for its advanced mathematics and astronomy, Greece is the country that gave us Archimedes, Ptolemy and Pythagoras.  Known for its medicine, Greece gave us Hippocrates and Galen. 

Perhaps what Greece is most famous for is its Philosophers.  The ancient Greeks seem to have been a most inquisitive group of people.  Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were prodigious scholars whose ideas were deeply influential.  Socrates was a rebel who taught people to question authority and to act on their own principles even if it meant challenging the established way of doing things.  Socrates is given credit for the ideas that led to the formation of Democracy.  Unfortunately, Socrates became so unpopular with the people who were in power that he was executed mainly for teaching people to think for themselves.  No wonder we admire these people!

Before Democracy came along, the existing systems of government in the Greek city states included Monarchies, Tyrannies, and Dictators.  Athens itself used Oligarchy as their system of government.  Oligarchy means 'rule by the wealthy few'.  But the scholars of Athens could see the selfish decisions of wealthy were ruining the morale of the people and preventing progress.  The scholars spoke up and made persuasive arguments in favor of this new idea called Democracy.  First Aristotle wrote the Athenian Constitution.  Then Solon, the Father of Democracy, implemented the new system. 

Later it fell to a man named Cleisthenes to continue the development of Athenian Democracy.  Cleisthenes was the grandson and namesake of a foreign Greek tyrant, the ruler of Sicyon in the Peloponnese.  For a time he was also the brother-in-law of the Athenian tyrant, Peisistratus, who seized power three times before finally establishing a stable and apparently benevolent dictatorship. It was against the increasingly harsh rule of Peisistratus's eldest son that Cleisthenes championed a radical political reform movement which in 508 ushered in the Athenian democratic constitution.

It was under this political system that Athens successfully resisted the Persian onslaughts of 490 and 480, most conspicuously at the battles of Marathon and Salamis.  These victories in turn encouraged the poorest Athenians to demand a greater say in the running of their city.

So it was in the late 460s that Pericles presided over a radicalization of power that shifted the balance decisively to the poorest sections of society.  It was Pericles who made this new system of government truly work. 

From 460 until 429 BCE when he died of sickness, Pericles controlled Athenian affairs. During Pericles rule, Athens reached it's greatest political, social, and economical power. He established a building project, which included the Parthenon, which today is still visible on top of the Acropolis.

It was the democratic Athens of Pericles that won and lost an empire, that built the Parthenon, that gave a stage to Aeschylus, Plato, Sophocles, Euripides and Aristophanes, and laid the foundations of western rational and critical thought.

Despite these incredible contributions, unfortunately Greece later fell on difficult times.  For nearly two thousand years, Greece was subjected to constant oppression by outside empires.  After its heyday with Alexander the Great, Greece was conquered by the Romans who ruled Greece for over a thousand years.  Next came 400 years of oppression by the Ottoman Empire and Turkey.   It wasn't until 1829 that the Greek people successfully regained control of their own land.   The next hundred years weren't any easier.  Greece was constantly subjected to further meddling in its affairs by European Countries and endured more problems with its longtime enemy Turkey.  Greece again came under subjugation when the Nazis invaded during World War II  (who can forget the immortal film Guns of Navarone?)

However, after World War II, with the help of the Marshall Plan, Greece began a gradual return to strength and autonomy.  Now that Greece has had 50 years of peace and independence, this country has begun to flourish.  Today Greece enjoys one of the highest standards of living in the world thanks in large part to tourism.  People are drawn from all over the world to see the spectacular beauty of this rugged mountain country as well as the fascinating islands that dot the Aegean Sea. 

As our SSQQ community begins to gray a bit, many of us are developing a desire to see the world and understand history better.  I cannot tell you how many people say this trip is something they have wanted to do their entire life.  It is no surprise that we are drawn to Greece as well as to Italy, Crete, Sicily, and Turkey.  After all, this is where it all started. 

I spoke to an SSQQ student who recently had visited Greece.  I asked her to sum up the most interesting thing about her trip.  She replied, "That's easy - I enjoyed seeing the Ruins!   As I walked around the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus (Turkey), my tour guide taught me more ancient history in an afternoon than I ever absorbed in high school and college combined.  It was absolutely fascinating!"

However, you don't have to be retired or near retirement to develop a fascination for the Mediterranean.  One day my daughter Samantha asked me for money to buy some Christmas presents.  Sensing an opportunity, I ask Sam, a Junior at Duchesne Academy,
to pretend she was a travel agent and identify some of the places she would like to see on our Greece-Italy-Turkey adventure.  Her eyes lit up - she had just finished studying Greece in her sophomore year.  Sam said she would be glad to help.  So she pulled out her notes from last year and started writing.

I was impressed with Sam's work.  I think we might just have a future Travel Writer in the family. 

Ten Places I Would Like to See in the Eastern Mediterranean
Samantha Archer
November 2007

10. Catacombs of Rome

While the Roman Catacombs are just on the outskirts of the heart of the city, you won’t want to miss something this rich in history (not to mention spookiness). The ancient peoples of Rome, the Etruscans, built the original catacombs. The Christians, who sought affordable ways to bury their dead with the body still intact, then adopted the practice of burying dead in the catacombs. The forty Roman catacombs, situated along via Appia, via Ostiense, via Labicana, via Tiburtina, and via Nomentana, are currently under the care of the Roman Catholic Church. The Catacombs of San Callisto house the crypt of the Popes, St. Cecilia, and the Sacraments. Maybe catacombs sound too creepy for your taste – but who knows what fascinating artwork and artifacts can be found down there.


9. Corinth

Today, Corinth is the second-largest city on the Peloponnesian Peninsula. In ancient times, it rivaled the likes of Athens and Sparta until its destruction by the Romans in 146 BC. The city was then rebuilt by Julius Caesar in 44 BC. Famous figures who have walked its grounds include Alexander the Great and the Apostle Paul, who wrote a famous epistle to the Corinthians. Sights to see in this ancient city include the Temple of Aphrodite, the Temple of Apollo, the Temple of Octavia (sister of Roman Emperor Augustus) and the Bema, the platform St. Paul pleaded his case in front of the Roman governor Gallio. Corinth is the perfect opportunity to get away from the bustle of Athens and still explore beautiful Grecian ruins.


8. Taormina

Taormina – a small city on the outskirts of Messina – holds a great amount of cultural history because it has acted as a crossroads between the many peoples who have called its lands home. The city itself has much to offer – the fountain in the piazza duomo, the monastery of the San Domenico, the Taormina Cathedral. The Cathedral houses the Byzantine Madonna, also called the non hand-made Madonna. Legend has it that this painting was left hidden inside a wall by angels – hence the name “non hand-made,” for it was made by the angels, not humans. An absolute must-see monument is the Palazzo Duca S. Stefano – the palace of the Duke San Stefano. Its thirteenth-century Gothic architecture also has a nearby garden of equal beauty. So take a stroll through the town and enjoy its architectural achievements – you won’t be able to miss the nearby Mount Etna, which serves as a backdrop to the town.


7. National Archaeological Museum

The National Archaeological Museum at Athens is considered one of the great museums of the world. It is home to some of the richest historical artifacts from one of the richest civilizations the world has ever known. The most interesting artifact by far is the mask of Agamemnon, found by Heinrich Schliemann in 1876 during an excavation of the ancient city of Mycenae. “I have gazed upon the face of Agamemnon,” Schliemann claimed. Attacks at the mask’s authenticity have been made – but that doesn’t make this artifact any less interesting. Agamemnon, who appears in Homer’s Illiad and a story of his own name by Aeschylus, is one of the more well-known characters in the vast arena of Greek literature. Other interesting artifacts with literature ties include Nestor’s Cup and Theseus’ Ring. Sculptures of Greek heroes and Gods are also found in the Museum – Marathon Boy and Poseidon of Cape Artemision among them.  These archaeological treasures are plentiful in the museum, so use your time to observe some of the remaining artifacts of the ancient world.


6. Great Theater

The Great Theater at Ephesus is thought to be the largest outdoor theatre from the ancient world. While it was originally built for 25,000 people, expansions made by Roman emperors made it large enough to hold an estimated 44,000 people. Built into Mount Pion in Ephesus, the theatre is one hundred feet high and those who feel like making the trip to the top will behold a beautiful spectacle of all the ancient ruins Ephesus has to offer. Historically, additions were made by the Roman emperors Nero, Claudius, and Trajan, and St. Paul delivered a sermon on pagan worship in the theatre. Use your time to see the historically important Ephesian ruins, but definitely make a trip to enjoy the beauty of the area on top of the theatre’s steps. 


5. Colosseum

Think Rome for a second – what immediately pops into your head? The Colosseum is one of the most well-known European structures, ranked with the Eiffel Tower of Paris and Big Ben of London. The Colosseum was completed in an estimated ten years, from 70 to 80 AD under the Emperor Vespasian. Spectacles of all kinds were held in the Colosseum – enacted were recreations of battles, sea battles, and dramas. The mechanization for these enactments were of mind-blowing proportions – especially those used to fill the amphitheater with water (they exist to this day). The mind-blowing size of the Colosseum, its cultural and historical importance, and its beautiful architecture make it a definite visit while in Rome.  


4. St. Peter’s Basilica

While a visit to the Vatican tops the list for most Rome-goers, many are attracted to St. Peter’s Basilica. From the striking beauty of the structure’s architecture to the artwork and sculptures housed there, the Basilica has some of the most gorgeous treats for the eye in Rome. Emperor Constantine began its construction in 342 AD, near the downfall of the Roman Empire in 476 AD. Pope Nicholas V restarted construction near a thousand years later, and today it stands as an amazing spectacle to behold. Besides the tomb of St. Peter, the bodies of Catholic British royalty Edward Stuart, Charles Stuart, and Henry Stuart are also entombed in the Basilica. As a side trip, take some time to see the Sistine Chapel – a complete spectacle on its own.


3. Acropolis

The Acropolis, known as the “sacred rock” of Athens, hold the most recognizable buildings in Grecian history. In ancient times, Athens was known as a city of art and architecture – a great deal of this is exhibited in buildings such as the Parthenon and the Temple of Nike. A great deal of the buildings on the Acropolis were built during the Golden Age of Athens (fifth century BC) under Pericles. The geometrical and architectural accomplishments are exhibited throughout the area. The Parthenon itself is also a representation of Athenian democracy. Be careful while exploring this Grecian treasure – it is illegal to steal even a rock from the site’s ruins.


2. Mount Etna

Mount Etna is definitely a sight to behold – as the largest active volcano in Europe, its dangerous beauty entices all who get to experience the volcano. While in Messina it is typically easy to see (weather permitting), getting a hands-on experience is something any adventurous soul would want to do. The volcano is 10,910 feet high (Mount St. Helen’s is currently 8,365 feet). The most famous eruption of the volcano is the 1669 eruption – it was also the most destructive. While Messina itself was not as affected as nearby towns, the region suffered from the lava flow. Take this opportunity to scale a European treasure – but watch out for the red stuff.


1. Palace of Knossos

Whether or not the rest of this list sounds appealing to you, this site is the one you do not want to pass up. The history of the Palace of Knossos is interesting beyond a doubt – the historical and mythological ties transcend any Mediterranean site out there. Excavated by Sir Arthur Evans in the early twentieth century, the Palace of Knossos was thought to be a centre of Minoan civilization. The advanced technology of the Palace – including plumbing – was an interesting find for turn-of-the-century archaeologists. The discovery of the artwork, the frescoes in particular, were also engaging. The Palace is also thought to be the origin of the legend of the Labyrinth and the Minotaur, the Greek half-man half-bull. Legend has it that Daedalus, father of disobedient Icarus, was captivated by King Minos and forced to design the Labyrinth. The Minotaur was not defeated until the Athenian Theseus killed it using his clever wit. However, these facts barely touch the interesting side of the Palace. Almost forty years ago, in 1970, a geologist by the name of H.G. Wunderlich happened upon the Palace – and made some particularly interesting hypotheses about the Palace. In his book, The Secret of Crete, he goes as far to suggest that the Palace itself was not a Palace of civilization – it was, in fact, a death Palace, built by the death-obsessed Minoans for their deceased. The fact that the island of Crete lies in between the European and the African sides of the Mediterranean made it a center for ancient ideas to pass through to the more modern European side. The Egyptians, famous for their treatment of the dead, plausibly transferred beliefs to the Minoans, who began to worship their dead as the Egyptians did. Evidence is found all over the Palace in support of Wunderlich’s theory – from the bull-jumping frescoes to the eerie throne room to the bones found buried near the Palace. The Palace is most certainly worth taking a look at for yourself – perhaps you might agree with his out-of-the-box suggestions.  


The 1987 movie Dirty Dancing is considered one of the greatest dance movies ever made.  A cult class that was made for next to nothing, Dirty Dancing struck a universal chord as a movie that was completely believable and extremely heart-felt.  It turns out there was a very good reason why the movie rang so true - the story was largely autobiographical.

Not too many people know the story behind Dirty Dancing.  The story was written by a woman named
Eleanor Bergstein.  She based the story in large part on her own childhood.   Born in 1938 in Brooklyn, New York, Ms. Bergstein and her sister Francine were the daughters of a Jewish doctor who was constantly busy and left much of the care of the girls to her mother.  Does that sound familiar?

The Bergstein family spent summers in the luxury resorts of the Catskill Mountains.  While her parents were golfing, Bergstein was dancing. She was a teenaged Mambo queen, competing in local "Dirty dancing" competitions. Later during her university years, she worked as a dance instructor at Arthur Murray dance studios

As an adult, Ms. Bergstein turned to writing and also tried her hand at scriptwriting.  She had success selling a screenplay that was made into the movie It's My Turn.  However, during production, Ms. Bergman became incensed when the producers cut an erotic dance scene out of the script.  This frustration sparked Bergstein's idea to write a more extensive story which focused on the "Dirty Dancing" competitions of her youth.

Ms. Bergstein was proud of her script and immediately set about trying to drum up interest.  She spent 10 years hawking a script around Hollywood only to have her screenplay was rejected by every major movie company. 

She even took to gyrating on tables in front of male movie executives.  "You do what you have to do.  I would get up on tables and dirty dance because people couldn't envision the dancing," said Bergstein. "They loved the soundtrack but they hated the script. Everybody told me how bad it was."

Finally Vestron, a fledgling studio, agreed to make her film, but not without grave misgivings.  "Even when we were making the movie they were telling me how terrible it was," she says of the producers at Vestron Pictures, who made the movie on a shoestring budget of $US5 million.  

Imagine their surprise when Dirty Dancing became a box office hit. 
It became the fifth-highest grossing film of 1987 and earned $US170 million at the box office. The film's soundtrack, which includes the Oscar-winning theme, Time of My Life, sold more than 39 million copies.

In addition to a powerful story about a young man from the wrong side of the tracks who is befriended by a pampered rich girl, perhaps the real clue to Dirty Dancing's phenomenal success is its dance finale – arguably the best ever – which manages to be both tear-jerking and life-affirming at the same time. "Everyone coming out of the theatre feels uplifted by it," Bergstein says. "There is a secret dancer inside us all."

Can Lightning Strike Twice?

Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights was a 2004 romance film hyped as a "re-imagining" of the 1987 blockbuster Dirty Dancing. It more or recycled the same plot while transplanting it from upstate New York to Cuba on the cusp of the revolution that overthrew Batista and brought Castro to power.

The movie featured s
olid dancing with a catchy Salsa soundtrack.  But for those who showed up expecting to have the time of their lives again, they were most likely be disappointed.

Although the story line worked the first time, Havana Nights was about as unimaginative a movie as has ever been filmed.  It was almost as if they took out a word processor and used "Find-Replace" for the entire plot.

The worst part of the movie had the Baby and Johnny clones dancing in some Havana nightclub while a full-scale revolution was taking place in the city.  Even more ridiculous, the parents came to watch the dancing.  It was all pretty absurd.   As believable as the original movie was, Havana Nights was just as much unbelievable.

To me, the highlight of the film was watching Patrick Swayze dance again in a cameo role as a dance instructor.  It was the same magic all over again. 

As I left the theater, I couldn't help but wonder why they didn't simply make this movie with Swayze as the star and tell about his life after the Catskills.  After all, it was Swayze's charisma that carried the original movie.  Why not film a movie that chronicled his adventures further down the road?


-----Original Message-----
Sent: Sunday, November 18, 2007 4:34 PM
Subject: Houston Whip

Dear Sir,

I read your great article as part of my research. I am a screenwriter in Hollywood.  I have been hired independently to write a treatment/concept revolving around Whip.

The contact has a friendly relationship with actor/dancer, Patrick Swayze, who will read the project and whose involvement could generate solid funding for the project.

Do you have any photos or songs or just advice I should include in the proposal? Swayze would probably do some sort of cameo where he is the older version of the lead character who's still winning contests at his age.

Is he a good enough dancer to master this dance? Maybe he already knows it. He's from Houston.


-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Monday, November 19, 2007 11:26 AM
Subject: RE: Houston Whip

The Houston Whip is a dance very similar to the West Coast Swing used out in Los Angeles. I am more than certain that a dancer of Mr. Swayze's ability could learn it without a great deal of trouble.

I have never met Patrick Swayze, but I feel like I know him. By coincidence, I am a former acquaintance of Patsy Swayze, Patrick's mother.  This lovely lady owned a jazz/ballet studio here in Houston on Ella and 34th. I went to her studio as a student for several years during the mid-Seventies.

After seeing her dance company perform at a Houston festival, I was so inspired I went up and talked to her afterwards. I signed up for classes the following week.  I got to know Patsy well enough to have coffee with her on several occasions.

Because I was the same age as her son Patrick, Patsy liked to talk about him during our coffee breaks. Patsy would talk on and on about her son Patrick who was just beginning his career in "Grease" up in New York. She explained how Patrick was a star football player at Waltrip who had busted up a knee.  She wasn't as concerned about his ruined football career as she was about how it made dancing so much harder for him afterwards.

I lost touch with Patsy after Urban Cowboy. Patsy did the choreography for the Urban Cowboy movie filmed here in Houston in the late Seventies, then shortly thereafter moved to Los Angeles. Although I never met Patrick, I did meet his adopted sister Bambi as well as Buddy, his younger brother.

As far as the Whip is concerned, off the top of my head, I can think of five stories I have written that would serve as an excellent start for any script.

The best story is "201 Nights of Whip Dancing". This is the story of how I went out Whip Dancing every night of the week for nearly seven months as a way to deal with a very deep depression following the breakup of a marriage.  Whip Dancing served as a form of self-therapy. I not only managed to heal myself, I fell in love with Whip Dancing all at the same time.

In other words, this is a story of redemption that just happens to involve Whip dancing as the vehicle.

Not only does the "201 Nights" story feature Whip Dancing as the salvation of my lost self-esteem, it starts with another interesting story as well.

These two stories give you the right to say "Based on a True Story" which always involves an audience more quickly than some imagination-based story.

Many dance stories revolve around dance competitions, but that theme has been used so many times (e.g. "Dance w Me", "Take the Lead", "Shall We Dance?") that it might be time to try a different angle. For example, one of the greatest dance movies of all time, "Dirty Dancing", didn't have anything to do with a dance contest. Dance Teaching can be an interesting subject in itself - some of the best scenes from "Saturday Night Fever" and "Dirty Dancing" involved the teaching aspects of dance.

On the other hand, a movie about dance teaching is not sure box office, now is it? "Shall We Dance?" w J Lo and Richard Gere should have been as a great as the original Japanese version, but the American remake somehow missed the magic of the original. Too bad because the Japanese original had me smiling from head to toe.

As a writer, you know yourself the best place to start is a story that normal people can relate to. "Dirty Dancing", for example, worked as a story because it involved a decent kid who overcame social prejudice and tough luck to succeed. "Saturday Night Fever" was easy to relate to because a working class kid used dance as a ticket out of the slums. In both movies, the dancing just happened to make good stories even better.

I am not sure which stories of mine you have read, but my best story about the Houston Whip is the "Sleazy Bar Party".

 The Houston Whip as you probably can gather is Houston's version of "Dirty Dancing". With a story this rich as a background, you shouldn't have any trouble coming up with an original script.

Here is another story - "Save the Whip"

Just to be sure, I have one more story about the Houston Whip titled "The History of Whip".

One more aspect to consider is the music. The Whip started as a dance that worked well to the Texas Blues. ZZ Top and Stevie Ray Vaughan are some modern day examples of the Texas Blues sound. You could have quite a soundtrack for a movie with the Whip in it. I put on the Blues during dance classes and people go crazy. You can't miss with a movie that has a good Blues soundtrack.

Let me know what you think.


 -----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Monday, November 19, 2007 12:08 PM
Subject: RE: Houston Whip

Two minutes after I sent you my first email, I had another thought.   "Dirty Dancing" never had a true sequel. Yes, "Havana Nights" was considered a sequel of sorts, but it missed the point - We liked Johnny in the original and wanted to know more about Johnny's life afterwards, not a couple kids in Cuba.

Why not connect Dirty Dancing I and Dirty Dancing II with a third movie using the Johnny character? In fact, it is such an obvious plot line that I am fairly certain the same idea has already occurred to Patrick Swayze. I would not be at all surprised if your project is probably shooting at this angle already.

Believe me, if the movie was well done, it would be a wonderful treat. There are boomers everywhere who would flock to see a Johnny-based Dirty Dancing sequel with Patrick Swayze in it.

Speaking from personal experience, when Patrick Swayze appeared in his cameo role in Dirty Dancing 2, I loved seeing him in action so much that I wanted to see him even more. It was a golden moment for all people like me who loved his role in the first DD movie.

I couldn't help but think at the time how much fun it would be to see a sequel movie that connected DD 1 and DD 2 to answer this question: "What happened to Johnny after summer camp in the Catskills"" We already know from Dirty Dancing 2 that Johnny became a dance instructor. Why not connect the two movies with Johnny as a Houston based dance instructor?

The Whip literally hit its stride here in Houston during the Sixties. Often called the "Dirty Whip", one of the reasons the original "Dirty Dancing" was so popular here in Houston was because DD 1 reminded people of the Whip.

By coincidence, Swayze's original "Dirty Dance" movie also took place in the Sixties.

How difficult would it be to come up with a story that has the Swayze character in Dirty Dancing 1 somehow finding his way to Houston, Texas, and running into the Whip, another form of Dirty Dancing? Of course he is immediately drawn to it and eventually becomes a dance instructor.

You could have some eye-catching Whip dance scenes reminiscent of DD 1 that would bring smiles to any audience. I have plenty of video for any choreographer to use for ideas. Plus there are enough old-time Whippers around Houston who would be more than happy to share stories of the Dirty Whip back in the Sixties.

Furthermore "Havana Nights" featured Johnny as a Salsa instructor. One of the best movies of all time was "Dance w Me", a story involving a Houston-based dance instructor dancing the Salsa. The Mambo - the dance featured in Dirty Dancing 1 - was the big dance hit of DD 1. The Mambo just happens to be the Sixties version of Salsa dancing. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch of imagination to get a steamy Latin Dance scene in the Dirty Dancing 3 sequel.

This new movie would be a completely believable transition, one that all fans of "Dirty Dancing" would immediately be drawn to.

I have one favor to ask. Make sure Patrick Swayze reads my two emails. I promise him this new movie would be a success. It is a great story which would be a crowning moment in his acting career.

 -----Original Message-----
Sent: Monday, November 19, 2007 5:14 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: Houston Whip

Dear Sir, Rick Archer:

Thank you ever so much for your entertaining, impressive, crucial, helpful, hooked-in, and enlightening reply.

More to come. Your input has helped fuel the essence of this project.

 -----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Tuesday, November 20, 2007 11:26 AM
Subject: RE: Houston Whip

Thank you for the kind words. After I sent you my first two emails, my wife and I talked about another "Dirty Dancing" movie.

She and I agreed the public has tired a bit of fantasy movies and computer-generated special effects. It is about time we had a movie with a story behind it.

Dirty Dancing I remains a hit movie without a TRUE sequel. But it won't be easy. They dropped the ball with the Saturday Night Fever remake ("Staying Alive") because the sequel was so unrealistic. The "Shall We Dance?" remake was tepid despite the fire power of Gere, Lopez, and Sarandon. The failure of this movie to capture anyone's imagination is still a mystery to me, but the warmth of the original failed to cross over to the American version.

Nor was "Havana Nights" much of a hit. No one even remembers who was in it other than Patrick Swayze. (By the way, did anyone ever point out that the overthrow of Batista occurred BEFORE Dirty Dancing I was supposed to have taken place, but that Swayze was thirty years older? Or was Swayze supposed to be just some anonymous teacher, not really Johnny? I suppose most people's grasp of history is so weak that no one cares.)

Dirty Dancing II was so lame that it is only redeeming quality was that it opened the door for a true sequel. From my point of view, Swayze's cameo in Havana Nights was the only highlight of the movie. My wife was begging for more dancing scenes w Patrick Swayze. I felt the same way. That's when I knew a true sequel was called for. Based on her reaction and that of the entire audience, I know the energy is there to revisit one of the greatest dance movies of all time.

You have a potential hit on your hands. Good luck in pursuing this project.

STORY 05 - 2007 Halloween Party Best Costumes TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Halloween Costumes just keep getting better and better.

The 2007 SSQQ Halloween Party was our best party ever.  The costumes were the best, the attendance was the best, the energy was the best, and everything went off smoothly.  What an amazing party!

As you can see, our Top 10 Costumes are nothing short of stunning.  In a moment you can click the link and see much larger photographs of these wonderful costumes.  In addition you will see the excellent costumes of our Runnerups.  Nor will we forget to mention the 250 excellent photographs taken by this year's photographer, Steve Gabino (seen pictured with Vivian Gustafson). 

When it came to choosing the winners, I much preferred couples over singles.  This explains why our winning photos included 15 couples and only 5 individual costumes. 

In addition, we had two group photos: The Pirates and the Monsters.  Although most of our Pirates and Monsters came as Individuals, together they are pretty impressive!

I have a challenge for next year: why don't some of you band together and create some sort of group?   Our best-ever group was the Wizard of Oz in 2004, but there are plenty of ideas out there for another Group.  You can some "Night of the Living Dead" Zombies or the Gods and Goddesses of Olympus.  It wouldn't be easy, but it sure would be fun.  good luck!

2007 Halloween Best Costumes
2007 Halloween Party Photographs

STORY 06 - Return of the SSQQ Christmas Puzzle TABLE OF CONTENTS

In 1996, Marla Jennings, one of our studio instructors (but not my wife), brought me a puzzle to look at.  It had pictures such as #8 that represented famous Christmas Carols.  If you would like to see what the puzzle looked like back then, click Original Copy.

The SSQQ web site came on line in 1999.  For the fun of it, I scanned in Marla's puzzle and shared it with my students.  The puzzle was intriguing and I got compliments from my students for adding it to the web site.  I didn't have much else on the web site at the time, so I just left it where it was.  The following year I reminded everyone where it was in case they wanted to try it again.

When Search Engines like Google became more powerful in 2001, people from all over the country began to locate my puzzle and try it.  Nor was it limited to the USA.  I got inquiries from Europe and Australia too.  Finally I figured out what was going on. 

Encouraged by all the interest, I started to add more clues that I made up myself.  #42 on the right is an example of a clue I created in 2001.

Today the puzzle has grown to 120 clues.  To my amusement, my puzzle has become internationally famous.  The SSQQ Christmas Puzzle is now the Number One Internet Christmas Puzzle in the world!

If you type "Christmas Puzzle" into Google, you can see that in 2007 the SSQQ Puzzle stands out as the most popular Christmas Puzzle in the English-Speaking world.   "Christmas Carol Puzzle" gets a #1 ranking out of 760,000 entries. 

If you would to try your hand at the Christmas Carol Puzzle, by all means do so.

The SSQQ Christmas Puzzle


STORY 07 -  Memory Aids for Women TABLE OF CONTENTS

(Rick Archer's Note: This is a fun article for all you ladies out there.)

Too many mind games these days

Ana Veciana-Suarez
Miami Herald
Wednesday, October 3, 2007

It's no longer good enough to drag myself from bed every morning to work out in the gym. Now, I'm told, I have to exercises my mind too.

Brain calisthenics - imagine cranial jumping jacks and neural toe-touches - are the rage for baby boomers these days. Magazines are full of brain teasers, world tricks, memory games and articles on brain healthy food. Sudoku, that addictive numbers puzzles, has become the mind's version of green tea.

Yes, the generation that wouldn't trust anybody over 30, that refused to grow up, that continues to work in retirement - my peers - has found a new obsession and turned it into a growing business: cardio for the mind.

There are brain gyms and brain workshops and companies that lure clients with their anti-aging exercises. The AARP offers tips on brain health, and the Alzheimer's' Association conducts Maintain Your Brain workshops for large corporations, Some heath insurers even offer brain-fitness camps and sell books encouraging brain-healthy living. It's not just the body that needs to be strengthened and sculpted anymore.

But frankly, these programs haven't impressed me much. Fads come and go, and science has yet to offer irrefutable proof that such exercising keeps forgetfulness at bay. In fact, doing crosswords may be the mental equivalent of slathering night cream on wrinkles.

Then I read that Nintendo has introduced a video game intended for baby boomers and their older parents, and I realized that mental workouts were more than my generation's refusal to go quietly into the night. Brain exercises are the latest search for the mythical fountain of youth.

Nintendo's Brain Age features 14 basic activities and several additional side games, including word-memory activities, simple math problems, syllable counting and read-aloud poetry. It promises to give "your prefrontal cortex a workout", according to the manual.


I'm not sure what the prefrontal cortex does, but I like to think of it as the brainiac version of abs.

I have not rushed out to buy Brain Age and have tried Sudoku only once, thought I do want to ward off midlife brain decay. But my problem is not so much one of recall and rapid response. I suffer, instead, from something no game or medication will change: selective memory, an ailment common among women my age. Or so my husband says.

I, for instance, forget dinner on the stove but remember - in astonishing detail - every single darn time he's messed up. And that's quite a long list, too, particular when catalogued without the aid of notes.

Really, who needs Nintendo and ginkgo biloba when you have a spouse?

(Rick Archer's Note: I was especially amused by this story because it is true.  Back in the Eighties I had a girlfriend named Judy Price who could remember everything I ever said in astonishing detail whenever it came time to win an argument.  She caught me in one contradiction after another, but she couldn't remember where she put her keys to save her soul.)
STORY 08 - The True Story of the Amazing Dancing Bird TABLE OF CONTENTS

Rick Archer's Note: In order to appreciate this amazing story, you first need to go watch this bird in action.
First click the link:
Snowball the Dancing Cockatoo  The video is only a minute long and I promise you will smile.  Then come back and read the story.


On Saturday, October 13, my friend Gary Richardson sent me a link to the video of a dancing bird.  As I viewed the bird in action, I was amused and impressed.  In fact, I was so impressed by the quality of the bird's dancing that I actually became SUSPICIOUS.

So I wrote Gary back and asked if he thought the video was legitimate.

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2007 10:16 AM
To: TFW Computers
Subject: RE: A cockatoo that can do West Coast Swing?

Gary, Do you think there is a chance that video is a fake? I noticed the video hesitated several times.

Otherwise that was very impressive. The bird had great rhythm. Some of the movements resembled actual dance steps.

-----Original Message-----
From: TFW Computers
Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2007 2:56 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: A cockatoo that can do West Coast Swing?

I thought it was real, myself.

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2007 3:08 PM
To: TFW Computers
Subject: RE: A cockatoo that can do West Coast Swing?

Do me a favor and look at it again. It's only a minute long.

I am very suspicious that any bird has moves that would be the envy of a human. Perfect rhythm, head bobbing to the music, dance steps that almost seem choreographed. Too good!

I mean, think about that video you sent me where a fake music machine plays music based on animated balls hitting the exact notes. How much harder would be to create a one-minute fake video of a dancing bird? First you film a bird who bounces around and pick out a few moves. If you pay attention, the bird only has about four moves that are repeated over and over again. He lifts his left leg over and over again. Think about how you can do a simple computer dance animation a dancer with maybe two frames alternating over and over again.

I think it is that one move where the bird starts to syncopate his footwork that really raised my eyebrow.

-----Original Message-----
From: Gary Richardson
Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2007 6:12 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: A cockatoo that can do West Coast Swing?

I still think the video is legit. My assistant Tim thinks it is real too.  Watch the other bird in the background to the left. He is doing something different and not repeating...same video.    Now what do you think?

The more I watched the video, the more incredulous I became.  Finally I decided to email the website and ask some questions.

 -----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2007 3:24 PM
Subject: dance video of cockatoo

I am writing to ask about the one minute video of a parrot on your web site that dances better than most humans could ever hope.

I am a professional dance instructor. I am very suspicious that any bird has dance moves that would be the envy of a human. Perfect rhythm, head bobbing to the music, dance steps that almost seem choreographed. Too good!

My biggest red flag is this question: Why would a bird necessarily dance with the same moves and dance steps that a human would use?
How hard would it be to create a one-minute fake video of a dancing bird? This bird is so good it seems like a Disney animation.

Would you mind terribly letting me know what the truth is? I am dying of curiosity!

-----Original Message-----
From: Birdlovers Only []
Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2007 7:02 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: dance video of cockatoo

You can see Snowball and myself on national TV on Monday. We will be on the Morning Show on FOX. I wish I could say the video was doctored because he puts us all to shame over here. As a matter of fact, I was dancing in front of him in the video and I was getting off beat... a couple of times he stopped because I think I was messing him up!!!

Hate to tell you this...Snowball's dancing is real.

-----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer []
Sent: Monday, October 15, 2007 10:46 AM
To: Birdlovers Only
Subject: RE: dance video of cockatoo

I believe you, but I have to admit I am astonished. My email was not an idle one. Since I own the largest dance studio in the country, I have been watching humans dance for thirty years. And because I teach that kind of dancing for a living, I am actually in position to judge the quality of the dancing and assess your pet's ability vis a vis human beings. Based on what I saw, your bird out-dances 99.8% of the human race.

Snowball does footwork syncopations that would make any dancer proud and has a sense of rhythm all dancers would be envious of. In addition I recognized dance moves that humans use and thought that was suspicious. Why would a bird have the same moves as a human?

So I concluded it was more likely to be a fraud than the real thing. So all credit goes to your talented friend and thank you for sharing her prowess.

I will write a story about Snowball for my next newsletter. Any information you wish to include would be more than appreciated. I will send you a copy of the story.

After FOX, surely David Letterman is next. Have fun on your carpet ride to fame. And thanks for satisfying my curiosity! I appreciate your help.

-----Original Message-----
From: Birdlovers Only []
Sent: Saturday, October 13, 2007 7:02 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: Re: dance video of cockatoo

Hi Rick,

I loved your email! It gave me a chuckle because I just finished answering an email from a scientist. Rather than go into the long drawn out explanation, I will paste it here for you to read. The top portion is my reply to his email.

Aniruddh Patel wrote:

Dear Bird Lovers Only Rescue,

I study music and the brain at The Neurosciences Institute (in San Diego) and am interested in how humans move to the beat of music. It has been claimed that humans are the only species that move in sync to the beat of rhythmic music, but the Sept video "May I have this dance" posted on your website (Snowball dancing) makes me wonder if parrots also have this ability.

May I ask a few questions about the video?

Do you have any info on Snowball's background? Was anyone dancing off camera when the video was made (could Snowball
be imitating?). Can he adjust his tempo to move in sync with music that has a faster or slower beat?

And finally, would you be willing to share the original video with me for scientific analysis of the timing of Snowball's movements in relation to the rhythm of the music?

FYI, I'm attaching an article I wrote in 2006 where I lay out some of the reason I (and others in my field) are interested in whether or not nonhuman animals can move to the beat of music.

Ani Patel

Aniruddh D. Patel, Ph.D.
Esther J. Burnham Fellow
The Neurosciences Institute
10640 John Jay Hopkins Drive
San Diego, CA 92121

858-626-2085 tel
858-626-2099 fax

Dear Dr. Patel,

Before I became founder and president of this rescue I used to work as a molecular biologist at the University of Chicago and also Rush Medical Center prior to that. So from one scientist to another, I admire your zest for learning more about Snowball.

When Snowball was relinquished to us, the previous owner brought a CD of the Back Street Boys. He told us that he would dance to other songs on the CD, but that this particular one he LOVED! He told us to put the CD in the player and watch Snowball dance. Snowball was on my arm at the time and he danced in wonderful rhythm to the music. We have seen many birds come through our rescue dance to music but none like Snowball. I almost fainted from the sight of this bird dancing better than I could ever hope to! In the video I was dancing in front of him, but there were times that he stopped dancing because I was throwing him off rhythm because I was dancing so badly! He'd pick the beat back up after ignoring me and get back into it again....until the next time that I'd throw him off. No one taught Snowball to dance. He did this all himself.

I had traveled to New York with Snowball so he could appear on national TV in front of a live audience this morning on the FOX Morning Show starring Mike and Juliet. Snowball tried to dance how he wanted to, but the camera man kept running up to him too quickly and closely and scared Snowball so he kept stopping.

As to whether he adjusts his dancing to the speed of the rhythm....YES. When a Santana song came on the radio, he had a slower dance step because the song had a slower beat than the Back Street Boys song.

I can help shorten your search for the answer as to whether an animal can move to the rhythm of the music...the answer is emphatically YES. (At least birds can...I cannot speak for other species)

I will have our computer expert send you instructions on you may download this video from a web site somewhere since I'm not sure myself how that can be done.

If you are ever interested in donating to our rescue, you may do so on our main web site or by going to our blog.

I hope I have been of help in your search for answers to your questions!


Rick Archer's Note:  Well, there you have it.  I started out as a skeptic and now I am a firm believer.  That bird can dance!

Pretty amazing story. Please do not be surprised if some of your future dance classes are taught by Snowball. I am considering hiring him for our Freestyle Class.  SSQQ may indeed be going to the birds.  Besides, maybe they are cheep cheep cheaper to pay.

STORY 09 - Ballroom Dancing at Chandelier Ballroom on Saturday, December 15 TABLE OF CONTENTS
Join us for an evening of Ballroom Dancing to Ed Gerlach and his Orchestra on Saturday, Dec 15th.

Robert and Nancy Kaechler will be your hosts.  They have three tables reserved.

This will be our fifth night of Ballroom Dancing at the spacious and lovely Chandelier Ballroom this year.  Our previous visit was back in September. 

As you can see from the picture above, our visits to the Chandelier are very popular.  Back in September we had over 40 guests!
We will dance to the Ballroom music of Ed Gerlach and his Orchestra.

8:30 pm to midnight, $12 per person
All dances require evening attire
beer, set-ups, soda & ice at bar for sale

Chandelier Ballroom, SPJST Lodge 88,
1435 Beall Street, Houston, Texas 77008

STORY 10 - Jaime Jamie Mabry TABLE OF CONTENTS

Jamie Mabry is one of my favorite people at the studio.  Even though I don't know her very well personally, just seeing her always makes me happy.

Jamie appears at the studio regularly three nights a week.  On Sundays she helps her good friend Linda Cook teach a Western class.  On Wednesdays Jamie is currently taking a Ghost Town along with Linda Cook.  More about that in a moment.  On Fridays Jamie helps her friend Steve Casko with his Western class while her friend Laura Graber helps Linda in another room.

The Three Musketeers - Jamie, Steve, and Laura - are a big part of Wednesday and Friday Practice Night.  You will see them over in the corner near the DJ booth chatting the night away.  They like each other so much that many times after Practice is over, the three of them will go talk in the Parking Lot as well. 

The Three Musketeers don't know this, but I know what time it is whenever they walk in the studio.   If I see them and it is Sunday, then it's 4:30 pm.  If I see them and its Wednesday/Friday, then it must be 7 pm.  They never arrive at the studio one minute early.  I think they sit and wait outside the studio so they can time their entrance perfectly.

One of the reason I like Jamie so much is that she keeps Steve Casko in line.  Steve teases me constantly.  Steve seems to have a complete dossier of stupid things I have said and done that he can refer to at a moment's notice.  But since Steve is so careful about what he says around me, I have never been able to get any good stories on him to use for counterattack.  On the other hand, Jamie orders Steve around in dance class all the time.  I get such a kick out of seeing her give Steve a hard time.  Sometimes when I hear Jamie speaking in another room, I will secretly put my ear to the wall and listen just in case Jamie is busy explaining to the class why the patterns Steve just taught them was all wrong.

Jamie Mabry, Steve Casko, Laura Graber

Another thing that is fun to do is watch the Three Musketeers dance together.  At any given moment, you will see Steve dancing backwards with Jamie leading him.   Jamie leads Western Swing better than any other woman except for Linda Cook.   She actually moves Steve around pretty well.  Other times Jamie will dance with Laura.  Sometimes I can't tell which one of them is the boy and which one is the girl.  In fact I think they go back and forth during each song.  What I don't know is whether it is deliberate or not.  I secretly think they accidentally flip back and forth between lead/follow without a second thought.

Jamie is an amazing Rhythm machine.  I have never danced with a woman who had a stronger sense of rhythm than Jamie does.  Furthermore she is almost impossible to knock off balance.  Jamie somehow overcomes practically any mistake I make without anyone even noticing that I screwed up.  And Jamie follows anything I throw at her without difficulty.  No wonder I like to dance with her so much!

Jamie has been helping to teach Western dancing here at SSQQ for many years now.  We are fortunate to have her help.  She started here as a kid and now she has become a lovely young lady.  I suppose I got the upper hand on her back when she was still a polite teenager.  That's when I started teasing her because she was so shy and easy-going.  Over the years I have asked Jamie to become a lead teacher on several occasions, but she has always said she prefers helping Linda and Steve.   However whenever we need an emergency dance teacher, Jamie has been kind enough to step in and do a great job.  Because Jamie studies the lead so carefully, she is a better Lead dancer than most of the men at the studio.   Because of her thorough knowledge of the man's part as well as the woman's, Jamie has the distinction of being the best Western teacher at the studio who doesn't teach.  Now that's an odd title.

Jamie did not teach on Wednesdays in November or December.  That's my fault and I feel guilty about it.  Here's the story.

As I get a bit older, there are times when I feel pretty worn out.   Whenever I taught a crash course on Saturdays, it meant that I would work six nights in a row.  That stretch of six days was tough.  So about six months ago I relinquished my teaching spot on Wednesdays to create a teaching position for our gifted Western teacher Scott Ladell.  Not only did I get Scott a permanent spot on our most important Western night, I enjoyed my extra night off thoroughly.  

However to my surprise Salsa grew so big on Thursday in September, I was forced to cancel our Ballroom Program on Thursday to create more space for Salsa classes.   With the loss of both Thursday and Wednesday, this meant I was only working three nights a week - Sunday, Monday, Friday.   I didn't mind a little extra time off, but only working three nights was ridiculous.  So in November I asked Linda Cook if she would kindly give her teaching spot on Wednesdays and move to Thursday so she could teach an additional Salsa class.  Linda loves Salsa, but she really did not want to leave Wednesday at all.  It turned out that she has made so many friendships over the years that Wednesdays at the studio is important to Linda.  So Linda and Jamie decided to take Scott's Ghost Town class on Wednesdays in November.  Mind you, these two women definitely do not need any more Western dance lessons.   They simply wanted to be at the studio so much on Wednesday that they would take a class if they couldn't teach!  As if I didn't feel guilty enough already about pushing Linda to Thursdays...

Jamie really enjoys our SSQQ Halloween Pages.  However Jamie prefers homemade costumes over store rentals or purchases.  Jamie made our Best Costume page a couple years ago in 2005.  She and her friend Lani Hutto (who is soon to return to Houston from her stint in the Army) to make the Best Costume page with her
Green Eggs and Ham outfit.

For the 2007 Halloween Party, Jamie came as a "Bad Girl", Laura came as a "Good Girl", and Steve came as a person who couldn't decide which type of woman he preferred.  It was a clever idea, but the lack of supporting accessories for their costumes hurt their chances of making the Best Costume Page.  Still, I was impressed with their concept and spent much of the party mulling over Steve's dilemma.

Jamie's latest project has been to help Steve become a better Whip dancer.   Jamie accompanied Steve to four months of Whip classes recently.  Steve's Whip dancing improved considerably in the process.

For some reason, a couple years ago I started misspelling Jamie's name.  I spell her name "Jaime."  It wasn't till last Friday, November 23, that I discovered I have been misspelling her name for several years now.  What I can't figure out is why she never corrected me!   Jamie was nice enough to email me to correct the name of a friend that I had botched in the newsletter, so why didn't she straighten me out on her own name?  I remain baffled.  I think deep down she just feels sorry for me.  I don't know how the subject came up last Friday, but soon I will begin spelling her name correctly.  However if you want to see her name misspelled one last time or two, click on the
December or January schedule and look for Friday. 

Oddly enough, I haven't always misspelled her name.  I started out spelling it correctly when I wrote a story about her eight years ago.  When I first published this story, Jamie was very embarrassed.  Hopefully reprinting it will bring her another round of teasing as well.  It's kind of paper scissors rock thing - I tease Jamie, Jamie pushes Steve around, Steve always teases me. 

I hope you will do me a favor and give Jamie a hard time about this story.  She deserves all the teasing you can give her!

From the December 1999 SSQQ Newsletter
Posted 12-20-99

Jamie gets an "A" in Country-Western Dancing!!

Jamie Mabry is a darling young lady who has been taking Western classes at SSQQ for over a year. She is so good at Western Swing that she joined the legendary Death Valley class and did very well. This summer she saddened us with the announcement that she would be leaving in September to resume classes up at Texas A&M.

However I have been secretly delighted to see her return practically every weekend to join us for Friday night Western dancing throughout the fall. My guess is Jamie hasn't completely adapted to life at A&M other than putting in the time necessary to complete her education. Since she is a senior, I suppose she might be reluctant to get too involved with student activities since she only has a limited amount of time left till she graduates.

One day in October Jamie let it slip that she was taking a C&W Dance class up at A&M for credit (unbelievable). I was immediately curious. I peppered the poor young lady with questions about the class. For one thing, Jamie suspected she knew more about Western dancing than her teacher did. The teacher was apparently a jazz teacher who had been roped into doing this against her will and better judgment. Jamie speculated openly about the chance her teacher had never been Western dancing in her life. The course consisted mostly of line dances, some of which were pretty corny. Furthermore the boys had no sense of rhythm at all. And they hated to be corrected. Jamie was astonished at how bad the dancing was.

When December rolled around I was very pleased to discover that Jamie did indeed receive an "A" in her dance class. I was curious about what the Finals consisted of, but I think Jamie became suspicious about my interest and started to be a little more reluctant to disclose any more damaging information.

I asked if the teacher ever noticed how good Jamie was and Jamie's reply was something to the effect that she wasn't sure if her teacher ever noticed anything. Well, whatever, SSQQ is very pleased to have contributed to Jamie's GPA and if she ever applies at SSQQ for a job, she should definitely plan on bringing her transcript with her.

STORY 11 -  An SSQQ Christmas Dance Story TABLE OF CONTENTS
Rick Archer's Note: This letter was originally sent to me in an email back in December 2001.  I like this story so much I usually add it to each December Newsletter so our new students can read it too.

Written by Frank Jefferson

Mon 12/17/2001 2:41 PM

Hi Rick,

My name is Frank Jefferson. I doubt you will remember me and my wife Jackie, but we remember your studio very well. We took lessons at SSQQ back in 1991 for about five months until my company transferred me to Denver that summer.

The reason I am writing is to tell you how your studio and dancing changed my life and my marriage eleven years ago. I ran across your web site the other day while I was visiting my oldest son here in Houston. He mentioned an interest in taking dance classes so I looked you up on the Internet. As I read some of your anecdotes, I started to reminisce about learning to dance Western at SSQQ. Then it occurred to me my Christmas story might be interesting to some of the people who visit your studio.

As 1990 neared its conclusion, things were going pretty well for me. My career as an accountant was going well, one boy was finishing his doctorate work at UT, my other son was in college and my daughter was a senior in high school.  I thought my marriage was doing pretty well, but as I look back I realize increasingly my wife and I were spending less and less time together. Part of the problem was I had become a golf addict.

Back then I played golf Friday, Saturday, and Sunday without question and usually managed to play a round during the week plus at least go practice my driving or my putting after work one or two other days. It was an obsession with me. I love the game with a passion (still do for that matter!). What other sport allows you to visit with friends, take a leisurely stroll through the woods and beautiful scenery, gives you some good exercise, and challenges you mentally as well as physically?

Even when I wasn't playing, I was reading golf magazines or watching a golf tournament on TV or on videotape. I may have physically been in the house, but mentally I was usually on the golf course. As I said, I was a golf addict.

Then came Christmas 1990. Christmas was always an agony for me since as usual I had no clue what to buy my wife for a present. What do you give the woman who has every possession she would ever need? I wracked my brains for what to get her. Finally in desperation I gave up and simply asked, "Jackie, what do you want for Christmas this year?"

It was almost like she had been waiting for this moment! Without hesitation her reply was to grab her purse and pull out a schedule listing your studio's dance classes. I think a girl friend had given it to her. She laid it out on the table, pointed to it, and simply said, "Frank, I want you to take a dance class with me in January." No anger. No pleading. No guilt trip or anything like that. This was just like my Jackie. I asked her a question and she answered me matter-of-fact. She wanted me to take a dance class with her.

For some reason, I was stunned. I had not expected this. Money I had to give. Going out and buying something was no big deal. Even building something like a porch would have been no problem. But committing some valuable free time to do something stupid like take dance lessons? You gotta be kidding!

But Jackie knew me too well. Deep down she knew I enjoy pleasing her. She held eye contact and said nothing. In fact she smiled the whole time. I think she knew exactly what was going through my mind. For a while I sort of felt set up, but eventually I realized it wasn't the worst thing in the world that she had asked me to do. I can still remember while she just sat there at the kitchen table watching me make up my mind! I think she enjoyed watching me squirm, something she has never denied for a moment.

It took me a long time to answer. Finally I realized I wasn't going to figure a way out of this. Despite my best efforts I could not come up with one good excuse so I gave up and said, "Okay. If that's what you want, you got it!" I wrapped up a letter and put it in a box. When she opened it Christmas Day, it said, "I promise to take a dance class with you in January!  Love, Frank"

Jackie gave me a big hug and grinned as my kids teased me unmercifully. What had I gotten myself into?

Two weeks later we started taking a Twostep class at your studio. I think the teacher was a lady named Sharon. Fortunately the class was on a Wednesday which was practically the only day I didn't play golf.

I was so nervous the first night. I did not know what to expect. At first I didn't even know if your studio really existed. We couldn't see anything from the street that looked like a dance studio. We had to walk down this long hallway till we found the place to register. Then we sat on some chairs in a big room with about 60 other people with a bunch of guys who looked just as worried as I was.

Once we got going, to my surprise the moves weren't very difficult. Within fifteen minutes Jackie and I were already dancing to music. Then came a shock. Sharon asked us to switch partners. Jackie hadn't told me about this! She grinned at me as suddenly I was expected to move to dance with a woman I had never seen before in my life. What had I gotten myself into? My heart sank with worry. Fortunately I soon discovered the moves worked with the other women in the class too. This was good!

In fact I began to enjoy dancing with everyone in class. Everyone was so nice!  Once I got on the wrong foot and accidentally stepped on a lady's foot. I didn't put all my weight on her foot, thank goodness, but it still had to hurt. Her name was Carol. She laughed and said don't worry about it. I just melted with gratitude at her forgiveness. From then on Carol and I became good friends.  At each class she would point at her foot and say it had almost healed, but could I aim at the other one instead just in case?  By an odd coincidence another time I ran Carol into the pole in the middle of the room.  This time as I stared in shock at my stupidity, Carol almost died laughing. "What are you trying to do, Frank, kill me?  Did someone pay you to do this?"

At the end of the evening, Sharon told us about Practice Night. Jackie asked if I would mind staying.  I looked at my watch and thought about work the next day. I was tired and ready to go, but then I saw that look on her face. Sure, why not? I said we could stay for a little while and see what it was like.

It turned out to be more of a challenge than I had expected. Without the teacher calling out the timing, I had a hard time figuring out how the steps fit the beat. And I couldn't tell a Polka from a Waltz from a Twostep to save my life if I had to. However Jackie came through like a charm. She told me to just dance and she would try to follow. Although I doubt I was anywhere near the beat, once this pressure was off, I started to enjoy plowing around the floor. I had an absolute ball! This was better than dodge 'em cars! The highlight of the night came towards the end. I had been so absorbed in counting "slow slow quick quick" to myself I was oblivious to everything around me. But after a particularly good run around the floor, I realized I had danced an entire song without making a mistake. I looked at Jackie and saw her beaming with pride and happiness. She was so grateful to be here with me that her smile brought actual tears to my eyes. I had not seen her smile at me in this way in a long, long time. I will never forget that moment.

To make a long story short, dancing became a hobby I looked forward to just like I did with golf. On days I knew I was going to dance class, I would hitch a ride to work. Then later Jackie would pick me up at work and we would go somewhere for dinner before class. We began to chat again just like we did earlier in our marriage. Then we would go to class and have fun learning the Western Swing. We would visit with some of the people we had grown to like before class and during breaks. Practice Night became pretty much a ritual with us as well.

Then in March 1991 I got the news - my company wanted me to transfer to Denver. God, how I hated agreeing to do it!  As I talked the move over with Jackie, I was surprised that golf never really entered my mind.  However one thing that kept going through my mind was where was I going to dance in Denver? But the money was too good to resist plus with my daughter leaving soon for college, it was less of a problem for the two of us to relocate than the other families in the firm.

Up in Denver we found no studio like yours was in existence. And Western dancing like you have in Houston was practically non-existent. But dancing was in my system now, so we decided to try Ballroom Dancing. To my surprise, I liked it just as much as Western. I even discovered I was able to tell a Waltz from a Tango and be able to keep the beat as well!

We discovered a 'dance underground' in Denver. Practically every night of the week a different studio would offer social Ballroom dancing, and on the weekends there were special events sponsored through a dance organization I am sure you have heard of called USABDA. The big moment for me was when I realized I was looking forward to a Saturday evening dance with my lovely wife just as much as I was looking forward to playing golf that afternoon!

I still play a lot of golf, but have cut back a little to make more time for my dancing as well. Recently I even let myself get talked into dance competitions. Can you believe that? We haven't won anything yet, but the point is I enjoy improving at dance just like I once obsessed over my putting. I realize my story borders on being sappy, but the truth is that dance has become the favorite activity for my wife and I to share.

Thanks again for helping us get started!

Regards, Frank Jefferson

(Rick Archer's Note: I would imagine stories like this one are more common than we might realize, but very few people take the time to write them down and send them to me. I am particularly grateful to Mr. Jefferson, whom I did indeed do not know, for sending me this poignant letter.)
STORY 12 -  Googling and Oogling  Rick Archer TABLE OF CONTENTS

Back in August 2007, I wrote a series of articles about
PROTECTING YOUR REPUTATION.  Although I did not get much feedback on the ten articles I wrote, I still consider it some of the best writing I have ever done. 

One of my ten Reputation articles dealt with
Google and its power to embellish or destroy reputations. 

I happen to have some first-hand experience with the Power of Google.  During 2007 I received seven different inquiries from former students and instructors hoping to improve their Internet Reputation by getting me to remove their name from an article I wrote about them. 

One issue involved a woman who had recently become a Christian.  She felt that the combination of listing her name beside pictures of her in a bikini on one of my Cruise Travel Stories was inappropriate.  What would her new boyfriend think of her?

Another issue dealt with a former instructor who was upset that my story had cost her a job.

A third story involved a man who had divorced the wife he met here at the studio and didn't want it known.

A fourth story involved a belly dance costume picture of a woman who preferred her name not be attached although she didn't mind the picture at all.

A fifth story involved a very nasty woman who behaved badly eight years ago and now didn't want the world to see her name attached to the story.

The sixth incident involved a divorce and a request not to have their names on the Internet any longer.

The seventh incident involved a broken engagement.  Again they didn't want their names appearing on the Internet.

As you can gather, my Google Article was an interesting story to write.  After I got through writing the story, for the fun of it I decided to Google my own name as well.  Lo and behold, guess what I discovered!


'Holy Smokes!' I thought to myself.  'My brain must be an open book!'

Sure I had a big crush on Scarlett Johansson, but I never realized that Google could read my mind!  

Google really is amazing!  

But what would my wife Marla think?

Then I remembered the big crush Marla had on a TV Weatherman.  She's in no position to chew me out!

I am guilt free on this Scarlett stuff.

Back when I first noticed my new notoriety, I was very flattered that such a beautiful young lady would be interested in me. 

It took me a while to come to grips with this fantasy come true.  I have to tell you - it went to my head.  I realized that I wanted the whole world to know about the relationship! 

However, right before I decided to finally go public with news of the affair, I decided to check out the story one more time. 

Imagine my chagrin when suddenly I got the news that my affair with Scarlett was over. 

How depressing!  Here today, gone tomorrow.  Oh well, I probably couldn't have afforded her.

Crushed and more than slightly disappointed, I decided to delve into the gory details.  This is what I discovered -

In 2006 there was a story generated by the media that Richard Archer was having a relationship with Scarlett Johansson while she was filming Woody Allen movie Scoop in London.  Archer later claimed he had never said anything of the sort.

It did in fact turn out to be a false rumor, which was confirmed when Johansson declared "I've never met him, and until all this started, I'd never even heard of him."

The media turned on Archer.  One newspaper publicly accused Archer of creating the rumors himself.

Archer responded, "A paper phoned our manager and said: '
We know he’s dating Scarlett Johansson, her people have told us.'   We told them it wasn’t true and that I’d never even met her. They ran the story anyway, saying I was secretly dating Scarlett Johansson. A week later they ran another story saying her people were denying it and that: 'Richard Archer is a fantasist.' and that I'd made the whole thing up for publicity.  The wankers.  It was quite funny until I ended up looking like a prick."

Oh well, I guess that means it's over between Scarlett and me.  Google did leave me with one consolation prize however:

In 2007, Richard Archer was nominated for "Sexiest Male"...

Well, it's about time!  By the way, there is no truth to the rumor that I started the rumor.  Well, maybe there's some truth to it....  ;-)

Reprinted from the Houston Chronicle

Oct. 9, 2007, 5:44PM
DEAR ABBY : Yes, Bra is evidence, but not of crime

Universal Press Syndicate

Dear Abby:

After an unhappy 12-year marriage, I divorced my husband. Six months later I met a divorced dermatologist online. We were immediately attracted to each other and, six weeks later, he invited me to move in with him, which I did.

Last week when I picked up our clothes at the dry cleaner and checked them as I put them into the car, I came across an expensive black lace bra, size 36DD. (I am a small B.) I was very upset and threw it onto the freeway on my way home.

When my boyfriend got home that night, I confronted him. He told me it had to have been mistakenly added to our order and asked me what I had done with it. When I said I had thrown it out, he became irate and ordered me to look for it.

The next day, his lawyer friend told me the bra was evidence in a sexual-assault case. He said it had DNA on it and he needed it for court. He said I should go back to the freeway and look for it. I did but could not locate it.

I feel guilty for losing my temper and for possibly causing the lawyer to lose this case. My boyfriend is still mad at me. How can I make this right?


Dear Trusting:

You need to develop a strong sense of skepticism. I have heard some tall tales in my time, but the one the lawyer told you takes the cake.

If the bra was evidence of a felony in a court of law, it would have been in police custody, not your laundry hamper. Also, once it had been through the dry cleaning process, any DNA would have been compromised.

Your boyfriend is not only a cheater, he's also trying to avoid buying the woman a replacement bra. Rather than making this right, you should be shedding the skin doctor.

Rick Archer's Note: My first reaction was to shake my head in wonder at this woman's amazing gullibility.  How stupid can you get? 

I originally saved this story so everyone could have a good laugh.  But when I looked at the story for a second time, my memory reminded me something very similar happened to me 34 years ago.  Back in those days I was Mr. Gullible.

I dated very little in high school and college.  I was the poorest kid in school at a rich kid's high school and everyone knew it.  My high school status was so low I decided it was easier to mind my own business.   I dated a little bit my Freshman year in College, but got my feelings hurt pretty bad when a girl I liked picked a rich guy over me.  To deal with the disappointment, I decided to try studying instead.  Plus I went to an all men's college at the time (Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland), which meant dating was pretty much an uphill struggle anyway.

So by the time I reached Graduate School, I was about as inexperienced as they come in my dealings with the Fair Sex.  It was just my luck that in Grad School I fell for a lady who turned out to be a two-timer.  Here I was full of trust and she told me some lies that were almost as ridiculous as that story above.  Despite my incredulity, I took her word for it which set me up for a painful fall down the line.  By the time I found out the truth, I got my feelings so badly hurt that it would be four years before I had the guts to try another serious relationship.

Isn't it a shame we always have to learn lessons like that the hard way?  No wonder people go around with their guard up all the time.

If you are curious about the gory details, read the story of Jan Thomas

STORY 14 - Advice to Men: My Most Valuable Lesson TABLE OF CONTENTS

Congratulations are in store for Jack Myers and Jo Wilson.  They became engaged in late November.  

Over the past year, Jack and I have become buddies.  I didn't know him very well when he signed up for my Intermediate Ballroom class back in August 2007.  One night, he was struggling mightily with a cha cha pattern.  I tried every trick in the book, but nothing worked.  I shrugged.  It was time for desperate measures - I would have to dance with him.  The question was whether Jack would recoil in terror or understand I was just trying to help.

So we danced together.  Not only was he a sport about dancing with me, Jack appreciated my help.  In fact, he was kind of amazed that I could help him with his footwork problem so quickly.  I smiled and explained that I had "back-led" him.

Back-leading means dancing the footwork of the Follow Role, but Leading at the same time.  In other words, I led Jack into the correct footwork.  After all, I lead women into the correct footwork all the time.  Why shouldn't it work in reverse?

This was not the first time I have danced as a "Follow", better known as the "Girl's Part".   In fact, I have danced the Follow Role off and on ever since 1984.  That was the night a strong-armed man nearly killed me when I was forced to dance with him.  Fortunately I survived my ordeal to learn the most valuable lesson I ever received in my career as a dance teacher.

As Nietzsche would say, "That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger."  No truer words were ever spoken in this case.

I am not going to give away what happened, but I will say that was the night that I learned the importance of learning both roles in dance thoroughly.  By learning to follow and do the double turns, I learned all kinds of lessons that made me a better instructor.

The Most Valuable Lesson Rick Ever Learned as a Dance Instructor


I have known Carl Hruska since the earliest days of the studio.  Carl was a big part of the SSQQ Winchester Era back in the early Eighties. 

I believe Carl's marriage to Angie is his first marriage.  That means that Carl has somehow managed to dodge Cupid's arrow at SSQQ for over 25 years!

That's quite an accomplishment at a dangerous place like SSQQ.  But you can only hold out so long. 

Angie is quite a gal.  I have danced and talked with her many times and have discovered a keen mind to go with a clever wit.

I think Angie's best line was, "You can tell I really love Carl when I am willing to give up a great name like 'Darling' to become Mrs. Hruska!"

Jean Williams started out at the studio as a very attractive young lady back in 2002.  Over the years she has taken Salsa, Whip, and Western classes.  She has also been an assistant in several classes.

Jean met Donald Taylor a couple years ago. I don't know if she met Donald here, but there is an excellent chance she did because Donald was enrolled in a dozen classes during 2006.

Their courtship included the 2006 Rhapsody Cruise.  It was on this trip that I realized this pretty girl had grown into a beautiful woman.   Jean was so lovely in every 2006 Cruise picture!   That's when it became apparent that she was in love.  What else could account for that kind of bloom? 

Jean and Donald got married in September 2007 a week before joining us for the 2007 Conquest Cruise. 

Talk about flying under the radar! 

Ruben Larez and Claudia Ochoa were married in June 2006 and I found out about it a year and a half later. 

Even more embarrassing to me, I had this lovely woman married to the wrong man for over a year!  In 2006, Gonz Manuelo married Claudia Guerrero... except that I listed him as marrying Claudia "Ochoa" instead. 

Fortunately, Linda Cook finally got it all straightened out.  After a flurry of emails, I had the right Claudia married to the right husband plus I scored this wonderful picture of Ruben and Claudia from their wedding in Puerto Rico.  What a beautiful bride!

Isn't it good to know our SSQQ Magic works to Salsa music too!

David Hathaway and Jamie Fitzgerald were married back in August, but I am just now getting caught up on everything. 

Dave and Jamie did not meet at SSQQ, but they definitely spent so many hours on the dance floor here over the past year that they are an honorary SSQQ Marriage. 

Dave and Jamie were fairly new to the studio when they came to their first Halloween Party in October 2006.  Since that time, the two of them combined to take 16 classes over the following year, an average of nearly one and a half classes a month.  Once you take more than 10 classes, you become an automatic SSQQ couple.  These guys are way over the limit!

In addition to their 2006 Halloween Picture, the other two pictures are from their trip on the SSQQ 2007 Conquest Cruise Trip.  I am not sure if it was their honeymoon, but I can promise you you they had a great time 'cause I watched them

On Monday night, November 19, Gus Donnell dropped by the studio to announce that he and Fran Zandstra are now officially engaged. 

Gus and Fran had just begun dating when they joined us for the 2006 Rhapsody Dance Cruise.  They were inseparable for that entire trip. 

They had so much on that cruise that they turned around and joined us for this year's 2007 Hawaii Cruise and 2007 Conquest Dance Cruise. 

You know, people let down their guard a little bit on these cruises.  Gus knew that I had so many incriminating pictures from these three cruises, he thought it was worth a special trip to the studio to ask me personally if I could please print one of their nice pictures.  Aren't they beautiful?
You know, I probably have a better picture of Jackie Chang and Jack Benard somewhere in my files, but this one is so lovely I choose it for their engagement picture. 

On Tuesday, November 13, Jack got down on one knee so he could look Jackie in the eye and ask her to marry him. 

It's a good thing she said yes because there was a whole group of people from the studio who were witnesses!  Jack had invited them to Jackie's house for dinner.  They did not realize the invitation included this kind of a surprise!

I can't help but tell you how happy I am for this couple.  I know they have a very deep, loving relationship because I see them nearly every day.  They make an extraordinary couple together.
Jack Myers recently proposed to the lovely Jo Wilson.  They announced their engagement in the second week in November. 

Back in September, I got to know Jack in my Cha Cha class.  Jack is not a fast learner, but he is very determined to succeed.  Seeing his frustration, I put myself in his arms and helped him figure out the lead to a difficult move.

Jack was surprised at how quickly I got him over the hurdle.  From that point on he was quick to ask me to help again.  Pretty soon he and I were dancing together all the time in class.   Well, naturally our affinity for one another started rumors.  People could see how happy we were together. 

But, alas, they were only rumors.  Jack was just a flirt.  He really had eyes for his pretty girlfriend Jo.   I will miss him.
Manny Angulo and Michelle Crossley got engaged in September.  Both Manny and Michelle are long-time students of SSQQ. They began dating in 2001 (I have a Halloween picture to prove it).   Their relationship worked so well I don't think they have been apart since.  Manny and Michelle also joined us for the 2003 Jubilee Dance Cruise which is where this picture is from. 

It is now 2007.  After six years, I think they know each other well enough to take the next step. 

I am very happy for both. 

By the way, aren't they gorgeous? 
I reported in the August 2007 Newsletter that Jeff Anderson and Lisa Ramey have announced their engagement, but at the time I didn't get a chance to add their picture from the 2004 Halloween Party. 

As I said previously,
Jeff has almost completely recovered from his August 2006 heart transplant

That's quite amazing.  I am so happy for both of them. 

It's true, my friend Carmen Vito is finally getting married.

Carmen is one of my basketball buddies.  He has also been part of the Swing Community here at the studio for a long time. 

However we haven't seen much of Carmen here at the studio lately because he fell in love with a pretty girl he met at work, the lovely
Nerina Faccini. Carmen dropped out of the dance world to pursue his relationship.

Actually Nerina has been to the studio several times.  I first met her when she came to the studio with Carmen for an Argentine Tango crash course.  It turns out that Nerina is from Argentina.  Not only Carmen been taking Spanish classes, he has been down to Argentina to meet the family. 

I think he has even learned to play a little soccer.   Carmen promises me he will send me a picture as soon as possible, but as I write he is in Australia and kind of busy.  Check back in the next Newsletter for a photo!

 -----Original Message-----
From: Kathy R
Sent: Tuesday, November 20, 2007 10:55 AM
Subject: SSQQ Baby

Hi Rick,

I know you track engagements and weddings that result from couples that meet at SSQQ, but I'm not sure if you track babies that result from those relationships.

Just in case you do, Phillip and I welcomed a son, Kyle Ritchie, on September 28th. He's a big boy - 9 pounds, 1 ounce and 22 inches long at birth. He's a lot of fun, but I miss sleeping. :)

Kathy Ritchie

P.S. I've found that two-stepping with him around the living room helps when he's upset!

(Rick's Note: Kathy met her husband Phillip in a Twostep class, so it is no accident her son is getting some early lessons.  Kathy is famous for one of the best Wedding Dance pictures ever.  Check out her photograph dancing swing with husband Philip Ritchie back in 2005. bottom of page)


Back in February 2006, I wrote a lengthy story titled Matchmaker that documented SSQQ's uncanny ability at creating relationships and marriages during our 30 year history.  As you can see from the December 2007 issue of our Newsletter, that tradition continues to be as strong as ever.

Unfortunately there was a period during the Nineties where I lost track of things.  When it came time to take note of all the SSQQ Weddings during the Nineties, I was convinced I had missed out on quite a few couples.  When I first wrote about this problem in a chapter titled 
The Nineties, I lamented my lousy job of documentation.  I had a term for all my missing couples: Flying under the Radar.

Fortunately from time to time people either come back to the studio for lessons or happen to run across the story and decide to check in.  Since I first wrote the article, I have collected the names of seven couples I missed the first time around. 

Here we read about three couples who met at SSQQ in the Nineties and emailed me to tell their story. 

Bob and Sharon Manning

-----Original Message-----
From: Bob Manning
Sent: Saturday, August 25, 2007 9:00 PM
Subject: Matchmaker Article

Hi Rick and the Gang,

I was on your website because Sharon and I are looking to take some more dance lessons. I was looking at your “Romance” section and noticed the weddings only went back to 1999.

Sharon and I met taking Jitterbug/Swing classes at SSQQ in 1991 and got married in 1994. Your organization has a formula for romance. We stopped taking lessons because of the distance to the studio (and we got busy, the sun was in our eyes, we tripped on a rock, …). We hope to start and see all of you again soon.

Bob & Sharon Manning – SSQQ Students 1991-1994

Kelly Keiser and Sandy Butcher

-----Original Message-----
From: Kelly Keiser
Sent: Friday, September 21, 2007 1:22 PM
Subject: 90s Wedding

Dear Rick,  Thanks for all the fond memories... dancing at Studebaker's, 4th of July and Halloween costumes, etc.  After years of volunteering in beginning classes, when I met Sandy in September, 1990 at a Wednesday night practice, the room blurred around her.  I could see no one else in the room.  We married a year later!

We are now retiring to be with our Grandson and watch the construction of our new home in Schertz, just North of San Antonio. Although we will now have the time to resume dancing, unfortunately it will not be here in Bellaire with SSQQ.

Best Wishes,  Kelly Keiser and Sandy (Butcher) Keiser

Mary Collins and Mike Moore

In October 2007, as I entered the studio I was greeted by a familiar face.  My wonderful friend Mary Collins... now Mary Moore... was at the studio to take a dance lesson.

Mary Collins was my assistant in Western classes for about two years in the late Nineties.  I believe she met her husband Mike while dancing at a Western club.   He took several lessons here at the studio during their courtship period.  Not only was Mary a great assistant, she was also my friend. I was very happy for her when she married Mike in November 1998.

However, as I feared, like many couples Mike and Mary faded into the sunset not long after they got married.  As I have said repeatedly, marriage is such a big step that people's priorities and lifestyles go through radical changes.

So it was quite a surprise after nine years to see Mary's smile again as I entered the studio.   Apparently Mike's grown daughter by a previous marriage wanted to learn some Western dancing, so Mike and Mary not only signed Melissa up at the studio, they came along with her! 

Guess what was the first thing I did when I saw Mike and Mary?  I took their picture, of course!  These guys are SSQQ celebrities after all. 

So how did Mary (Collins) Moore manage to fly under the radar when I knew her so well?

Mary's wedding doesn't completely qualify as a marriage that escaped my attention.  I have her marriage listed in two previous places on this page.  What I didn't have, however, were any pictures!  Even though Mary was a mainstay at the studio for several years,  I guess she wasn't a Halloween person.  I could not find a picture of her to save my soul.

However, Mary's wedding to Mike did have a special distinction.  I mentioned her upcoming wedding as part of the first
SSQQ Newsletter I ever published at the end of 1998.  And now I get to add their picture to the story.  Welcome back!


Douglas Peabody  (1949-2007)

I am sad to report that our friend Doug, 58, passed away on October 28, 2007.  One night in late October, Maureen Brunetti came to the studio in tears to tell me her close friend Doug had fallen seriously ill with kidney problems.  She said that Doug had just left Houston to seek treatment in his home state of New Hampshire at Dartmouth.  He died soon after.

After Doug passed away, Maureen had some words she asked me to include.  Douglas was a big part of the SSQQ Swing community for a long time.  He helped Maureen as her whip and swing assistant for many years.  As Maureen pointed out, Doug promoted dancing whenever and wherever he could.  He made business cards with SSQQ's address, website and phone number to pass out at dance venues.

People would be amazed at some flashy step, or just marvel at social, partner dancing and ask where could they learn to do that. 

Doug was ALWAYS happy to dance with beginning ladies and to tell the beginning guys to hang in there, they will get it and that it's worth it. 

Douglas Peabody will be missed here at the studio.

Thomas Richardson  (1921-2007)

My friend Gary Richardson lost his father recently.  Thomas Richardson, age 86, died on November 14, 2007. 

He had been at the hospital ICU up in Denton, Texas, when he passed away.  Mr. Richardson was just getting ready to celebrate his 66th wedding anniversary with Gary's mother Virgie before becoming so ill.

Gary and his father were very close.  In Gary's own words, "I should be the man my Father was. Everyone loved him. He was always kind and generous to everyone."

Mr. Richardson and his lovely wife were with us during the Alaska 2005 Cruise.  I can attest to the fact that Mr. Richardson was an intelligent and highly principled man who conducted his life with great dignity. 

STORY 16 -  Teacher Faces Lashes for Naming Teddy Bear "Muhammed" TABLE OF CONTENTS
From the Houston Chronicle

Nov. 27, 2007, 1:22PM
Teacher could be lashed over naming teddy bear Muhammad

Associated Press

KHARTOUM, Sudan — Sudanese authorities today questioned a British teacher who could face charges of insulting religion — a crime punishable by up to 40 lashes — after she allowed her young students to name a teddy bear Muhammad in a class project.

Gillian Gibbons was arrested Sunday after one of her pupils' parents complained, accusing her of naming the bear after Islam's prophet and founder. Muhammad is a common name among Muslim men, but giving the prophet's name to an animal would be seen as insulting by many Muslims.

Gibbons was being questioned on suspicion of abuse of religion — a charge that is punishable by up to six months in prison, a fine or flogging of up to 40 lashes under Sudan's Islamic law-based legal system.

Several Sudanese newspapers ran a statement today reportedly from Unity High School in Khartoum where Gibbons taught, saying the administration "offers an official apology to the students and their families and all Muslims for what came from an individual initiative." It said Gibbons had been "removed from her work at the school."

In the first official comment on the case, the Sudanese Foreign Ministry today played down the significance of the case, calling it "isolated despite our condemnation and rejection of it."

Ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadeq said it was an incidence of a "teacher's misconduct against the Islamic faith" but noted the school's apology.

The statement from the school in newspapers called it a "misunderstanding." It underlined the school's "deep respect for the heavenly religions" and for the "beliefs of Muslims and their rituals," adding that "the misunderstanding that has been raised over this issue leads to divisions that are disadvantageous to the reputation of the tolerant Sudanese people."

The Arabic statement was not officially confirmed by the school. But a person reached by phone at the school who identified herself as an administrator said the statement was correct. She refused to give her name, citing the sensitivity of the situation.

She said the school has closed for at least the next week until the controversy eases. The Unity High School, a private English-language school with elementary to high school levels, was founded by Christian groups, but 90 percent of its students are Muslim, mostly from upper-class Sudanese families.

The school's director, Robert Boulos, told the British Broadcasting Corp. that the incident was "a completely innocent mistake. Miss Gibbons would have never wanted to insult Islam."

Gibbons, 54, was teaching her pupils, who are around age 7, about animals and asked one of them to bring in her teddy bear, Boulos said. She asked the students to pick names for it and they proposed Abdullah, Hassan and Muhammad, and in the end the pupils voted to name it Muhammad, he said.

Each child was allowed to take the bear home on weekends and write a diary about what they did with it. The diary entries were collected in a book with the bear's picture on the cover, labeled, "My Name is Muhammad," he said. The bear itself was never labeled with the name, he added.

A former colleague of Gibbons, Jill Langworthy, told The Associated Press the lesson is a common one in Britain.

"She's a wonderful and inspirational teacher, and if she offended or insulted anybody she'd be dreadfully sorry," said Langworthy, who taught with Gibbons in Liverpool.

There were widespread calls in Britain for Gibbons' release. The Muslim Council of Britain calls upon the Sudanese government to intervene.

"This is a very unfortunate incident and Ms. Gibbons should never have been arrested in the first place. It is obvious that no malice was intended," said Muhammad Abdul Bari, the council's secretary-general.

British opposition Conservative party lawmaker William Hague called on the British government to "make it clear to the Sudanese authorities that she should be released immediately."

"To condemn Gillian Gibbons to such brutal and barbaric punishment for what appears to be an innocent mistake is clearly unacceptable," he said.

Omar Daair, spokesman for the British Embassy in Sudan, said embassy officials were in touch with Sudanese authorities and had met with Gibbons. He said he expected authorities to decide whether to bring her to court, and on what charges, within a few days.

"Her lawyer is trying to get her released on bail in the meanwhile," he said.

The case recalled the outrage that was sparked in the Islamic world when European newspapers ran cartoons deriding the Prophet Muhammad, prompting sometimes violent protests in many Muslim countries. The prophet is highly revered by Muslims, and most interpretations of the religion bar even favorable depictions of him, for fear of encouraging idolatry or misrepresenting him.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir earlier this month suggested he would ban Denmark, Sweden and Norway — where newspapers ran the cartoons — from contributing engineering personnel to a planned U.N.-African Union peacekeeping force in the Sudanese region of Darfur.

Al-Bashir's government already has tense relations with the West, which has widely condemned his regime for alleged abuses in Darfur where more than 200,000 people have died in a conflict that began in early 2003.


Rick Archer's Note: These people are not kidding around about using the name "Mohammed".  In certain Islamic countries, they take this name seriously.  I had an odd brush with this phenomenon myself.  I have long been fascinated with Dubai, an Arab country on the Persian Gulf that reminds me of Las Vegas.  I can't tell you how amazing it is the way they conquered the harsh desert and turned it into a metropolis straight out of a science fiction novel.  You should definitely check out my story! 

The genius behind this preposterous gamble is a man named Sheik Mohammed.  By chance, I reprinted an article about Dubai that referred to Sheik Mohammed as "Sheik Mo".   For my mistake I received the following email:

-----Original Message-----
From: Shams Islam
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 3:10 PM
Subject: Sheikh Mo?

You have used Mo for Mohammed referring to Sheikh Mohammed in your Dubai article. It is very offensive to call some one Mo. Can you please make the necessary change.

Thanks, Shams

Rick Archer wrote:

After thinking about your request for a couple weeks, I have decided to follow your advice. Please check my work and comment if you see any further signs of disrespect.

It is certainly not my intention to be disrespectful to a man I admire.

-----Original Message-----
From: Shams Islam
Sent: Monday, October 22, 2007 1:33 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: RE: Sheikh Mo?

Hi Rick,

We are a global nation and thus should be aware of other cultures and religions.

Your actions makes you a global player.
Love your site.

I moved to US from Abu Dhabi in 80s and the change there is unimaginable.


Although most Westerners consider the teddy bear incident ridiculous, I have to assume the teacher had at least an inkling of the trouble she was inviting by giving it the sacred name.  I certainly don't think lashing the woman is the correct response, but I hope she has the sense to apologize.  If someone is that touchy, I don't see the point in being disrespectful, especially when you are a guest in their country. 

Back when I was in college, I was outraged at the end of the movie Easy Rider when a hippie was assassinated for having the nerve to flash the bird at a couple of rednecks.  Later in life I realized the hippie was essentially committing suicide by antagonizing the rednecks.  I am not saying that it was right to kill the hippie.  I am saying that it would not have hurt the hippie to use a little common sense.  His actions amounted to a death wish.

STORY 17  -  A British View of Western Dancing TABLE OF CONTENTS

(Rick Archer's Note: I came across the following story about Western Dancing here at SSQQ in the oddest of ways.  One day I googled my name and suddenly found my name on a web site for Cambridge University over in England!

Curious, I read the article and realized it had been written by Paul Bolchover, a dance student here at SSQQ.  I did not even realize that Paul was originally from the United Kingdom.  Paul is a quiet, rather reserved gentleman who first visited SSQQ back in April 2006.  During his brief stay here in Houston, he has taken 30 dance classes at SSQQ. 

I have always admired his ability to pick up dance patterns faster than any other man in his class. However whenever I compliment Paul, he is always so modest that I don't know what to say next.  Paul keeps such a low profile, I bet very few people know who he is.  I researched my files for a picture, but came up empty.  The next time I see him, I am going to get his picture.

Amused to find my name in his article, I decided to google Paul's name.  Turnabout is fair play.  Lo and behold I discovered that Paul holds a 2001 PhD from Cambridge University!  His dissertation was "Dynamic Effects of Cooling of Geological Flows".  In addition, I discovered he is not only a member of the Mathematical GenealogyProject and The Archimedeans, but also the Cambridge Assassination's Guild.  You need to read this:

Another death was reported from Trinity College, where the notorious killer Paul Bolchover took the life of David Walker, both of Trinity College. It is understood that Bolchover's attack was a carefully-planned set-up, in which the late Mr. Walker was persuaded to give some pens to his would-be assassin to avoid losing them in a post-exam celebration at the local hostelry. When Walker returned to collect the pens, Bolchover shot him in the small of the  back - taking his victim completely unawares. Police are playing down rumours that David Walker had a drink problem which may have led to unawareness of a dangerous situation.

No wonder we don't have a picture of Paul!  He must be using SSQQ as a safe haven while he hides from the law back in England.  At first glance, Paul seems utterly gentle and harmless, but I always suspected he might be a truly dangerous man!

Beware!  There could be an assassin in our midst.  Feeling rather intimidated, I have decided to be extremely nice to Paul whenever I see him in dance class from now on.  Nor do I intend to let him know I am on to his secret! 

And now let us read Paul's article about SSQQ and Western Dancing.  Perhaps it will give us clues into how an assassin truly thinks.  By the way, when I went back to the original site of the article, I found a picture!   Ta Da!

A Letter from America: An insight into the Texas Twostep

By Paul Bolchover
January 2007

Reprinted from the Cambridge Dancers Club Newsletter

It had to happen: after 14 years in Cambridge, and 13 years as a member of the CDC (Cambridge Dance Club), work finally decided that it was time for me to move to Houston.  No one that knows me will be surprised that one of the first things I did was to check on the quality of the dancing out there, and it was with great difficulty that I dragged myself from the familiar comforts of Cambridge to the wilds of Texas.

Houston was fairly small until the oil boom of the 1970s.  Nowadays, it is a huge urban sprawl.  There are no planning restrictions, which means that new suburbs are continually being built on the edge of the city, while older housing inside the city falls into neglect or is redeveloped.

Houses are built out of timber, and the hot humid weather means that buildings only last for 30-40 years.  Despite the very cosmopolitan urban nature of Houston itself, you don't need to go far beyond the city limits to reach the wilds of Texas: small towns, with traditional values.  The oil industry has brought both fat cats and rednecks from around the states, bringing their own hometown traditions.  It came as a surprise to find that cowboy hats and boots really are considered to be part of normal clothing: it is not unusual to see several people wearing Stetson hats in the queue for passport control at the airport or out shopping.  People of both sexes wear a hat to dance classes, making underarm turns much more interesting!

Perhaps it's the traditional attitude of the people, but dancing is still very popular with all ages in Houston.  In particular, the "Texas Twostep" and "Polka", which are the traditional dances of Texas and most of the mid-west states.  While in the UK the freedom of the late sixties led people to reject partner dancing and to start dancing by themselves on the dance floor, the same does not appear to have happened in Texas:  Partner Dancing is very much a part of their culture, and people of my age will have picked up the Twostep and Polka at local honky-tonks while in their young teens.

Once I arrived at Houston, it was fairly easy to find somewhere to dance.  A metropolitan population of five million (forty times that of Cambridge) means a correspondingly larger number of dance clubs, in nearly every style imaginable.  I get my ballroom fix once a month, where the local ballroom dancing federation puts on an event that is best described as a cross between General Dancing, a CDC Ball and Ballroom Blitz. 

Early on, I decided not to take up ballroom lessons, but to try some new forms of dancing.  I certainly fell on my feet when I joined the SSQQ Dance Club: a club that is so like the CDC that the similarities are amazing.  SSQQ claims to be the largest dance club in North America, with around 1000 people attending classes each month.  Courses are 8 hours long, consisting of 2-hours classes for 4 weeks.  They teach several classes each evening, in several different styles of dancing: Twostep / Polka, West Coast Swing, Salsa, Ballroom (American style), East Coast Swing (a cross between Lindyhop, Jive, Rock'n'Roll and Ceroc), and various other miscellaneous styles. 

There is even a Glennis-like figure: the studio owner, Rick Archer, whose presence is felt over the entire club.  One advantage SSQQ has over the CDC is that they can teach all of their classes in a single venue.  This means that at the end of each evening, all of the classes merge, forming a big hour-long Practice Night for everyone.  The club has monthly dance parties corresponding to CDC balls, but there is nothing corresponding to General Dancing.  Instead, serious dancers go out to one of the many C&W clubs in town (think a Salsa club, but with cowboys).  A particular favourite is called "Wild West", which combined a saloon atmosphere with women in chaps at the bar a wooden dance floor, and dancing every evening until late.

Not long after arriving, I began to learn the Texas Twostep.  This dance (not to be confused with the "Nightclub Twostep") is best described as doing the armwork of Ceroc (or Salsa), while dancing the footwork of the Quickstep.  It progresses round the room: the basic step is in a fairly open dance hold, with the man facing line of dance starting on the left foot, going QQSS (forward close forward forward) with the woman doing the same in reverse.  Some people dance the second step as a forward, rather than a close.  This Twostep basic is essentially the same as the Quickstep, except with the man doing chasses forward, instead of sideways.  The Country & Western Polka is exactly the same, but with man starting on the left foot, going QQS QQS (forward close forward, forward close forward).

The Twostep can be danced to most slow to medium Country & Western music and the Polka to slow Country & Western cha chas danced at double speed or to fast Polka-like tunes.  Neither dance has a heel lead: the Twostep is fairly flat-footed, while the Polka seems to mainly be danced on the toes, though without the hop of the European Polka.

In general, steps taught in the Twostep can also be taught in the Polka:

They simply stretch the move on the final slow to last over the three steps of the second QQS.  In fact, in higher level classes, they only teach the routine in the Twostep, and leave it to the dancer to work out a Polka version.

The simplest steps that can be added are the turns from dancing forwards to dancing backwards: dancing forwards, the man starts swinging himself to the side on the final slow of the basic, does a half turn on the next QQS (which normally goes side close back) and goes backwards on the final Slow.  To turn from backwards to forwards, the man steps (back back side) on the QQS, and spins half a turn on the next slow (very similar to a Spin Turn).  The turns work identically in Polka.

Until around 1980, that was it!  There were a couple of advanced steps: the "Circle Turn", which is just going forward to backwards repeatedly and the "Reverse Circle Turn", which is the same but in the opposite direction (crossing your feet like in Viennese Waltz). 

In 1979, Travolta starred in the film "Urban Cowboy": a similar film to “Saturday Night Fever”, but with country music and Travolta dancing the Twostep.  The film was very popular (especially in Houston, where it was filmed), and suddenly all of the nightclubs stopped playing disco music, and started playing Country Music instead.  The youth of the day had previously been dancing to disco music with a partner dance referred to as the Aggie Jitterbug which was nearly identical to Ceroc - lots of arm movements, no footwork ("Aggie" is probably meant as an insult, since it refers to the Texas A&M university - a great rival to the University of Texas in Houston). 

These dancers suddenly found themselves restricted to Twostep music, dancing a dance with very little variety.  As a result they experimented, trying to fit stationary Jitterbug moves into the progressive Twostep rhythm.  Some worked, some didn't.  There was also a lot of influence from ballroom teachers who, on seeing a new trend, started holding classes and adapting US-style Foxtrot moves to fit.  No matter how complicated the steps get, the rhythm of the dances never change.  Unlike International Ballroom, where interest is added by fancy footwork and timing, in these dances, interest is added by underarm turns of your partner etc, while the timing remains constant.  A lot of beginning Twostep moves involve the "double turn" for the woman (actually a 1 1/2 three-step turn for the woman to the left, under the man's arm).  In this way, the modern Twostep (sometimes called the Western Swing) was born.

STORY 18  -  Right Angle Pictures TABLE OF CONTENTS

The SSQQ Newsletter owes much of its popularity to its own readers.  For many years now, members of the SSQQ community have regularly passed on some of the most amazing stories and pictures to me.

I save the pictures and publish the most interesting ones whenever the opportunity arises.  The two picture below were sent to me by Gerald McEathron. 

Gerald is a huge contributor.  He sends me all kinds of wonderful stuff.  For example, I published a picture he sent me as my favorite
Joke Picture of the Month back in March.  In June, I published a wonderful Father's Day story he sent me.  Plus Gerald sent me a neat story about the Grand Canyon you will read about in the next article.  By did way, did you know Gerald met his lovely wife Virginia here at SSQQ?  Not only did he meet Virginia here, Gerald proposed to her here!  They were married in 1998.

The Pictures Taken at the Right Angle fall into different categories.  The best pictures are these marvelous illusions of the soccer player with the nine foot arm and the headless acrobat.  However as you will see, most of the pictures are staged.  Nevertheless, these Illusion pictures are fun to take a look at.  Also contributing to the article are Loni Lewellyn and Milt Oglesby.

Right Angle Pictures

STORY 19 - Breathtaking Grand Canyon Stupidity TABLE OF CONTENTS
Our next story is so incredible you have to read about it to believe it. 

It is the story of a photographer who happened to catch a picture of another photographer seemingly taking an incredible chance at the Grand Canyon. 

Are you curious?   If so, visit
Grand Canyon Stupidity
STORY 20  - The SSQQ Joke Page Returns! TABLE OF CONTENTS

Back in the old days, I used to publish one Picture Joke each month.  However during 2007, I have been neglecting my Joke Page.  Since December is the last month of the year, I guess I have some catching up to do.  I have decided to list the winners for the entire year.

December 2007 - Did He Do What it Looks Like He Did?
Contributed by Chris Holmes

November 2007 - Why Getting Married in a Church is Still Considered a Good Idea
Contributed by Milt Oglesby

October 2007 - Who Cares if She Can Type!
Contributed by Dakota Wilhelm

September 2007 - What's Wrong with this Picture?
Contributed by Jim Landureth

August 2007 - Three Contenders for the coveted "Man of the Year" Award
Contributed by Milt Oglesby

July 2007 - Why Men Always Want Bigger Boats
Contributed by Chris Holmes

June 2007 - Father of the Year
Contributed by Milt Oglesby and Carol Gafford

May 2007 - Contributed by Letty Dougherty
The Much-Deserved Destruction of a BMW

April 2007 - The Story of F u c k i n g, Austria.
Contributed by Carol Gafford and Gareld McEathron

March 2007 - The Hungry Deer
Contributed by Gareld McEathron

February 2007 - The Sex Maniac
Contributed by Carol Gafford

January 2007 - The Tequila Trojan Horse
Contributed by Rick Archer

These are some pretty funny pictures.  You should DEFINITELY check them out! 
Picture Joke

The SSQQ web site is nine years old.  During this time, I have acquired about 600 jokes sent in by our readers.  When time permits, I list about 50 classic jokes from the past for your reading pleasure.  The December Jokes are ready!
Please visit our
Joke Hall of Fame

And here is a New Joke to add to our collection.  It was sent in by Milt Oglesby.  In case you don't like his joke, I have decided to publish his picture so you can give him a hard time the next time you see him at the studio.  By the way, Milt wears that same shirt to every Halloween Party.  As you can see, his shirt makes women faint.

Maybe I need to start paying him for his jokes so Milt can buy a new shirt for next year's party.

December 2007 Joke of the Month - The Pussycat
Contributed by Milt Oglesby

My husband and I live in a small town.  One December day we found an old straggly cat sleeping on our doorstep.  For a second I worried she might be dead, but the cat moved when I approached.  She was such a sorry sight.  The cat was skinny and starving, dirty, she smelled terrible, and her hair was all matted down.  I felt sorry for her and even my hard-hearted husband showed some sympathy. So I got him to put her in a carrier and we took her to the vet.  We didn't know what to call her so we named her "Pussycat."

The vet decided to keep Pussycat for a day or so. He said he would let us know when we could pick her up. Just as we were about to leave, my husband (always the complainer) opened his big mouth and said, "OK, but don't forget to wash her. That cat smells like a garbage dump."  He proceeded to remind the vet that it was his WIFE (me) that wanted to keep the dirty cat, not him.

My husband and my Vet don't see eye to eye. The vet calls my husband 'El-Cheap-O', and my husband and calls the vet 'El-Charge-O'. The men constantly bicker and trade insults.  They begin to snipe at one another from the moment they first see each other.  Today my husband got in the last word, but I knew it would not take the vet long to seek revenge.

How well I know both men.  The counterattack began the next morning.  My husband had an appointment with his doctor, who by chance is located in the same building as the vet.  In fact, their offices are adjoining.  On this day, the MD's reception room was full of people waiting to see the doctor.  

As the story was told to me, my husband had just sat down when a
side door opened and the vet leaned into the room.  The Vet had obviously seen my husband arrive.  Everyone looked up to see what was going on.  

The Vet looked straight at my husband and said in a loud voice, "Mr. Nelson, I followed your orders and your wife's pussy doesn't stink any more.  We washed it and shaved it, and now the pussy smells like a rose.  Oh, and, by the way, I think she's pregnant.  She must have been out on the prowl.  God only knows who the father is!"  Then he closed the door.

Now THAT, my friends, is how to get even in a small town!



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
SSQQ Front Page Parties/Calendar of Events Jokes
SSQQ Information Schedule of Classes Writeups
SSQQ Archive Newsletter History of SSQQ