2002 Quarter 3
Home Up 2002 Quarter 4

JULY 2002


It has become obvious that the Newsletter has become much too big to email in its entirety. From now on I will email all the articles related to the business of running SSQQ plus snippets of the other columns contained in the larger SSQQ Newsletter. 

The Newsletter has been very helpful in many ways, but its usefulness was never more apparent than in June when we decided to offer two classes - Advanced Salsa Mambo Level 8 and Beginning Hip Hop - that were not on the printed schedule. Both classes were huge hits despite offering them at the last minute.

Classes begin the week of Sunday, July 7th. 


SWING ACROBATICS comes to Sundays in July at 4:30 pm. Taught by Paul Foltyn, this is a very special class offered twice a year. It covers well-known acrobatic patterns that are sure to draw every eye in the room straight to you!! PARTNERS ONLY. Plus there is no switching of partners due to unusual nature of the class.

Judy Archer brings ADVANCED SALSA MAMBO 3 to Sundays at 4:30 pm. This is a chance to learn Salsa in a room that isn't quite so crowded for a change!

July features the start of a new WHIP/WEST COAST SWING SUPERCLASS cycle. Over the years, July has marked some of our strongest Whip and WCS classes since summers are all about taking on big new challenges. People have been watching the WCS videos at the studio in June and we have noticed a 'buzz' about the July class. SSQQ has the only program in Houston city where you can take this difficult class on 2 different nights (Monday/Thursday) for the price of one. Thus the "Superclass" title.

BEGINNING WESTERN WALTZ is back! We will offer this wonderful dance on Sunday evenings. Judy Archer will cover all the details for the legendary Western dance of romance!

HIP HOP STREET JAZZ has made to SSQQ on Mondays at 6 pm. Michele Franzwa is on the dance team at Texas Tech and a performing Hip Hop team in Houston. This is your chance to learn the secrets of this fascinating dance style! Kids welcome.

ADVANCED WESTERN WALTZ is offered for the first time this year on Wednesdays in July. The most-talked about Western class of 2000 & 2001 was the 4-month Western Waltz cycle taught by Sharon Crawford. The magic has been repeated in 2002 - Sharon's first two Western Waltz classes in May and June were so large we had to turn students away. Now comes your opportunity to join the ranks of the finest dancers in the city with Advanced Western Waltz in July followed by Super Advanced in August. Don't miss it!!

SUPER-ADVANCED NIGHT CLUB comes to SSQQ for the first time in July. Night Club Twostep continues on Fridays with our first-ever Super-Advanced level. Susie Merrill, the lady who got the entire studio dancing Night Club to begin with, has been scouting for the most graceful and intricate Night Club moves to teach in this course. Every C&W album has 2 or 3 romantic slow songs on it. Night Club Twostep is the dance that fits these ballads perfectly. Then after each class on Fridays, you are invited to stay for our Western Practice night afterwards where we will have a room dedicated to this music exclusively!


Saturday, July 13

Dress: Wear Red, White, and Blue or You'll be Stew!

Music: Room 1 for this party is devoted strictly to Swing Dancing. Room 4 will feature Salsa, Tango and requests. 


BACHATA - Linda 

Saturday, July 27

Dress: Casual, Western if you wish
Music: Western in Room 1, Whip in Room 4



The Hoedown Party is the party where we have our Annual Sadie Hawkins Manhunt. This year you ladies will hunt men for cash as well as glory. Expect this to be an amazing event.

The championship SSQQ dance team HEARTBEAT will again be performing at our Hoedown Party. They cleaned up at the Texas Classic competition on May 25th and brought the house down here at SSQQ when they last performed on May 18th. You have to see these people to realize how entertaining they are! 

Here is what Susie said about her team's recent performance:
"I was very proud of my team on the 18th. They had their best ever performance at the studio. Everyone seemed to laugh, applaud and enjoy. I have to say that the most comments I got were about Diana Liles. With just 5 couples she was in the front for almost everything. She is really a performer. She just smiled and played with the audience. The group really did have a good time.
The following week we did have a nice group from the studio show up for the Texas Classic, so we had our own cheering section. It was really nice to see so much support from the people at SSQQ. 
Do you remember John Neece? He came to the studio for several years-tall, dark hair (a little long), mustache. He took just about everything. He has been working with Cheryl Forrester Guidry for a number of years and began competing a couple of years ago in Pro-am. He stayed to watch the team for the first time. He was amazed at how hard the routine is and how good the dancers are. He could not stop telling me how impressed he was! I will try to get an email to you for the next newsletter. I also started putting together a photo layout of Nationals for you for the website. Unfortunately, it is not finished. I will try to get to it this week." 
(Editor's Note: Yes, Susie, please get your publicist to put that photo layout together for us!) 

At our Hoedown Party, Susie Merrill, the Heartbeat Coach, will be teaching her favorite Death Valley Patterns as a Crash Course. Susie wanted me to remind everyone if they are interested in joining the Heartbeat Team, she will be doing tryouts and interviews at this party. Please say something to you if you want to know more about performing for her team. And maybe take her class to see how she teaches and to get a feel for her style. 


Jill Banta is our lead Registrar. She asked me to remind everyone to register using our On-Line Registration system. https://www.crystaltech.net/e-cats/index.cfm

Although we are taking several aggressive steps to speed up Walk-In Registration for July, the truth is you can save yourself a lot of time if you register in advance using the Internet for your classes. 

One gentleman pointed out he was afraid of getting his credit card number stolen using the Internet. Frankly I am just as superstitious as the next guy and I understand this point of view. But you may be worrying needlessly about this problem.

Here are three facts:
1. We are now entering our 12th month of On-Line Registration. In a year's time, we have not had one report of credit card theft. This is the absolute truth. 
2. When you bring your credit card to the studio, we send the same information over the Internet from our computers that you would be sending using your computer. In other words, it is no riskier using your Internet connection than it is using ours… and we have not had an incident yet. 
3. I would estimate we have had about 5,000 successful credit card transactions without a report of theft so far. I am not saying it is impossible because I do not understand hacking enough to guarantee anything. I am simply saying so far things have gone without a hitch. 

If you are going to take a dance class in July, please use the On-Line system. It will get you through the door much faster!!


One of the reasons SSQQ moved to a computerized Registration system is to keep a better tab on the size of classes. This helps us prevent overcrowding our rooms. 

As a feature of our On-Line system, we now have a Bulletin Board called "Special Announcements" on the first screen of On-Line Registration. 

In June, this Bulletin Board allowed us to announce that several classes had been closed including Judy's popular new Salsa Level 8, Sharon's Intermediate Western Waltz, and Beginning Salsa on Thursdays. 

It also allowed us to explain which classes were closed to a particular sex. In other words, when a class had 8 more men than women or vice versa, we closed that class to whichever sex would make the imbalance worse. We still allowed couples to register, but a single man or a single woman without a partner was asked not to enter in the second week if this would make things worse. Using this trick we were able to improve the boy-girl ratio of several classes.


Thursday, June 27, 2002 6:31 PM 
Rick: I tried to register on line to repeat beginning ballroom on Tuesday nights, but on repeat column it says no. My partner & I would like to repeat if we can get the usual 50% fee. Please advise if we can get the repeat charge and how should I register. Paul.

Fri 06/28/2002 9:41 AM
Paul, you are certainly welcome to repeat the class, but so many students were using the half-price feature 'illegally' that we had to remove it from on-line. You can of course register for half price by using walk-in registration the night of the class.
As usual in life, the selfish actions of a few people force moves that impact a larger group. Please forgive!

Rick Archer

(Editor's Note: In June, Judy Archer offered Salsa Mambo Level 8 for the first time ever. I had been discussing my reservations about the half-price feature which was part of our On-Line Registration process. I said we could use Salsa 8 as a monitor to see how many people decided to register for full price and how many people would use the half-price feature. 

It turned out 5 people registered for half price. That is 10% of the entire class registered as 'repeaters' for a class that had never been offered before. These people gave themselves a $100 discount. 

Then I had David Schroeder, the mastermind of our Registration system, run a report for all of the Registrations. He found that 1 in every 7 students registered as 'repeaters' for half-price. My guess is this number should be closer to 1 in 20. The point is that it appears this feature is being exploited. 

Anyone can still register for half-price using Walk-In registration. 

Furthermore in a year when we develop a better data base, we can allow half-price registrations again for On-Line people because the computer will be able to access a 'History' of what you have taken. This new system we have is pretty wonderful. 

By the way David Schroeder is an awesome programmer if you ever have a computer business application you need help with. Email him at schroeder@e-cats.com


I would estimate 75% of SSQQ students use the Bissonnet exit off the West Loop heading south to get to the studio. As most of you know, this area is under construction. The trap is located at the corner of Fournace Street and the West Loop southbound feeder. 

There is a light at Fournace Street just after you leave the West Loop on the feeder street that has only two lanes. The left hand lane is designated 'Left Turn Only' although there is clearly an area you can drive to on the other side of the street. You are required to turn left whether you life it or not. The lane on the right allows you to cross Fournace and continue to stay on the feeder. 

The reason the trap is so effective is that about 90% of the travelers want to stay on the feeder. This means the car lines in the right lane are pretty long. Since there is practically no traffic in the left lane, it is very tempting to simply stay in the left lane, cross Fournace and try to merge with traffic on the other side. You probably see the 'Left Turn Only' sign, but you take your chances anyway figuring no one cares. DON'T DO IT. At any hour of the day there are always one, even two police cars just sitting there in plain sight waiting for you. Watch out. Even with a trap this obvious, there is almost always someone getting a ticket. 


A year ago I was told a story about a man who met a woman through Internet dating. He was an airline pilot, very handsome, very sophisticated. The woman and the pilot began a romance that quickly flourished. It reached the point where two months into the relationship the man uttered the "L" word. 

With that in mind, it came as a huge shock to the woman when the relationship fizzled just weeks later for no obvious reason. The man acted weird and said he had started to get cold feet. Despite letters and phone calls, the man who said he was in love with her just one month earlier was soon gone. There were no fights, no lovers' quarrels, and no obvious problems. One day out of the blue he decided he didn't think they 'clicked' well enough to take things any further. These are of course the dangers of any romance, but the abrupt 180 degree U-turn nevertheless left the woman hurt and confused. As she picked up the pieces, nothing made any sense.

Rarely do we get a chance to peek behind the scenes and see what is really going on in these situations, but this story had another chapter. By coincidence six months later the woman ran into this man in a neighborhood grocery store parking lot. Ignoring his lady companion who was sitting in the car watching him, the man struck up an animated conversation right there in the parking lot. 

Apparently the spark was back, at least in his mind. She could tell he was fascinated with her again so she wasn't very surprised to hear from him the day when he phoned to ask her out for a date. After dinner, they went back to his house where they began a conversation. 

She asked him why he had gotten so weird the first time. He explained that although his feelings for her were real, he admitted his conscience had begun to bother him because it turns out he also had a wife in Dallas. Astounded by his candor, the woman asked a couple more questions. As she listened to him explain, she felt the anger rising in her. She suddenly got up off the couch, grabbed her pocketbook and left to go her car. His hopes for an amorous evening were ruined by his big mouth. She left him hanging there and never heard from him again. 

As she thought about it, she realized his profession as a pilot gave him the freedom to effortlessly carry on relationships with two or more women in different cities. How were they supposed to catch him? 

He used the Internet to find his victims. The woman who told me the story surmised that there had been others before her and others after her who had fallen for the same well-conceived trap. In her words, he was pretty smooth and knew all the lines. Apparently they had been polished through years of practice. 

She was so disgusted by his blatant treachery it took her nearly a year and a half before she could trust a man enough to try again.

This story has colored my perceptions of Internet dating for the past year. Stories in the news of women being murdered by men they met on the Internet only served to confirm my view of the Internet as a place filled with predators and danger. 

My view remained the same until recently I heard something last week that made me wonder. I was at Gary Richardson's Floppy Wizard Computer Store when a woman called the store and introduced herself as 'Debbie from SSQQ'. I was kind of curious since I don't have a 'Debbie' on the staff, so I decided to talk to her myself. It was Debbie Awad, a former student. 

Gary has been giving discounts on his computers to SSQQ students for several years now and has sold over 50 computers. Debbie was a recent recipient of a new computer and was calling for help with her modem. Since Gary was busy with another customer, I chatted with Debbie until Gary could get free for her. 

Known to me as Debbie Solomon until her marriage a couple of years ago, I have long enjoyed her sharp mind and quick wit. She is a great Trivial Pursuits player and back in 1999 Debbie won a spirited contest to become known as 'SSQQ's Smartest Woman', beating out two ladies on the SSQQ Staff, Kathleen Parker and Karen Clawson. Interestingly, all three ladies were single at the time and have since very happily remarried (both Karen and Kathleen met their future husbands here at SSQQ!) 

I asked Debbie how she met her husband since I knew he didn't dance. She said she met him on the Internet. I was amazed. I told her I thought only evil people were on the Internet. I began to ask her some more questions. This is when I found out that her friend Ruth Ann Manison had also met her husband through the Internet. Ruth Ann was one the organizer extraordinaire of activities for the SSQQ In-Crowd back in 1998 through 2000. 

And then I remembered that Susie Merrill, SSQQ instructor and aforementioned coach of the Heartbeat dance team, had also met her husband Bill through the Internet in 1999.

It surprised the heck out of me that I actually knew 3 different women who met husbands through the Internet. This strongly challenged my perception that Internet dating was a dangerous no-win proposition. 

So now I am curious - and I imagine some of our Newsletter readers are as well - about what really goes on with Internet dating. A lot of people in the SSQQ Community have had experiences with Internet Dating. It occurs to me that if each of us shares a story, maybe our entire group can get a better picture of what really is going on out there. 

I have a favorite expression - experience is a comb that life throws you after you have lost your hair. Maybe not all of us have to learn things the hard way. It is my hope that our readers will contribute their own real experiences - then we will all be the wiser for it and maybe even get to keep our hair in the process. 

Does anyone in our SSQQ community have an Internet Dating horror story of their own to share? Are the predators limited to men? Does anyone have another success story like Debbie's to share? Are there any funny stories? Any unusual stories?

I invite all of our readers to share whatever story or stories you wish for the next Newsletter by emailing your story to me before the next issue. 

Here are the ground rules:

1. Every story will be published anonymously. 
2. I will not share the name of the person writing the story with anyone. 
3. I think you all know me well enough to realize I will not exploit these stories for any purpose other than to share them with a larger audience. 
4. If I think the story is nonsense or made up, I reserve the right to not include it. 
5. I reserve the right to edit a story if I think it is a bit long.
6. If you are too embarrassed to share your identity with me, you can snail-mail me the story to 4803 Bissonnet, Bellaire, TX 77401 or simply put it in an envelope and stick it under the door to the studio office or DJ booth when no one is looking. (I would prefer a floppy disk so I don't have to re-type the story!)

One of my favorite things to do at the Renaissance Festival is watch the Mud Eaters. They have a pet saying that the success of their performance is related to the audience. Lousy audience, lousy show. Excited audience, good show. The same thing goes for the Internet Dating article.

To make the article on Internet Dating interesting to all of us, many of our readers need to participate. I have lots of space on my web site so write as much as you want. 

Please take the time to send your story to dance@ssqq.com 
Thanks, Rick Archer


August 25 - September 1

Developments at a glance: 


For money questions, room descriptions, rates, and detailed stuff like that, contact our travel agent Anne Adams.
Email: Aadams@vacationstogo.com 
Phone: 713 957 1705 

SSQQ has scheduled a 7-night Caribbean Cruise on Royal Caribbean's 'Rhapsody of the Sea'. This year's trip will set sail the last week in August 2002. We will depart from Galveston for adventures to Key West, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. 

We currently have 48 people who have committed to go on the trip. I think we have enough people right now, but it would be nice if we could get some more men to join us!! There are currently 12 more women signed up for this cruise than men. I imagine these ladies would enjoy some company out on the dance floor. 

The prices have dropped $80.

Inside cabin-deck 2 (double occupancy) - was $730, now is $650
Inside cabin-decks 3,4,7 or 8 (double occupancy) - was $750, now is $660
Ocean view cabin-deck 2 (double occupancy) - was $850, now is $770
Ocean view cabin-decks 3 or 4 (double occupancy) - was $890, now is $830
Balcony cabin-deck 7 (double occupancy) - was $1200, now is $1120. 

Let me add if you are 55 years or older, you can knock another $100 off your ticket. 

Let me repeat my GUY TALK from last month's issue one more time:

If you are a single guy and there is some way you can get yourself on this trip, then you should do just that in the flick of an eye. Cruise Trips are unbelievable opportunities to find romance. I happen to know exactly what I am talking about. 

I believe women derive their resistance to men's charms from the land and the soil. It is called 'Mother Earth' after all. But once you get a woman off of land, they just go to pieces. There is something about cruises that make women shall we say more affectionate.

If you don't believe me, just for starters go rent 'An Affair to Remember' with Deborah Kerr and Cary Grant, the classic love story of a wonderful romance that began aboard a cruise ship. You will see that a trip at sea renders women wild with spirit. 

Then think about the 70s TV hit 'The Love Boat'. This show lasted 9 years!! Yes, 9 years! I never watched it. You never watched it. Someone had to watch it… yes, women watched it. Now you are catching on. Women watched it. They loved this show! Women are all about romance and for some reason cruise ships capture their fancy. 

Assuming you have a little more going for you than the average dork, all you have to do is be in the right place at the right time and it wouldn't hurt to smile a little… well, you aren't going to be in the right place if you don't get on this cruise!

A cruise is probably the easiest way to find an adventure of the heart there is. You are with your friends for 7 days and 7 nights. During the day you get to know some of the ladies on the trip. You talk to them at the pool or at lunch or during dance class. Eventually you find the lady that you feel the most rapport with and you ask if she will join you for the dancing later on. The moment you are waiting for is the slow song. 

During the evening, you talk, you dance, and you flirt. Eventually the beautiful love ballad you have been waiting for will get played. Now is your chance to hold your lady friend close in your arms and move real slow. As she looks out over your shoulder there is the ocean outside glistening under the moonlight. The music, the ocean, the moonlight, and the dancing will all thrill her. She will be mesmerized! As we all know, Slow Dance leads to Romance.

After the dance, now is your chance to invite this lady out of on the deck. The two of you sip Margaritas under the Moonlight and talk. And talk some more. 

Guys, if you have any sense at all, you will join this trip as fast as you possibly can. 

Cruises are about Romance. Don't be cynical - it's true. But someone has to make the first move… The ladies made their move - 34 women are already on board. Now it's YOUR TURN. 

Answer the siren call to romance - These women want you to join them. 

Don't disappoint them - now is the time to make your move! 

Note: If you have a general question about the trip, contact me at dance@ssqq.com Roommates should not be a problem. We paired off very nicely last year and this year is no exception.

For money questions, room descriptions, rates, and detailed stuff like that, you would be better off contacting Anne Adams.
Email: Aadams@vacationstogo.com 
Phone: 713 957 1705 

Pictures of the Rhapsody. This ship is incredible. It looks like a floating palace!

An article from the Houston Chronicle archives by Harry Shattuck that was very complimentary of the Rhapsody. You should read it. 

For more information about this year's cruise:

Story of Last Year's Cruise: 

Pictures from Last Year's Cruise: 

Contributed by Chris Holmes

Here is a very simple little test comprised of four questions to determine the level of your intellect. These are easy questions, so one of the ground rules is you must answer all four in one minute or less. Write down your answers. And no cheating. On your mark, get set....GO!!!

1: You are competing in a race, and overtake the runner in second place.
In which position are you now?

Write down your answer. 

2 : If you overtake the last runner, what position are you now in?

Write down your answer.

3 : A simple math problem. No fair using a calculator! 

Take 1000. 
Add 40.
Add another 1000.
Add 30.
1000 again.
Plus 20.
Plus 1000.
And plus 10.

What is the total ?

Now write down your answer. No fair double-checking!

4. Marie's father has five daughters:

1. Chacha
2. Cheche
3. Chichi
4. Chocho
5. ????

Question: What is the fifth daughter's name?

Write down your answer. 

Now go check the bottom of the page and see how you did. 


I know evil exists in the world. Just for starters I realize 6 million Jews were executed in cold blood by the Nazis. That remains my standard by which all evil is measured. 

But I still have tremendous difficulty understanding the reasoning behind the hideous bombing of innocent human beings in Israel. 

It is totally barbaric to kill little children, young girls on the way to school, lovers in the prime of their youth, old retired people, and all the other innocent people who are simply trying to live their life in Israel. 

What possible monster of a religion is Islam that allows its religious leaders to defend such an insane, barbaric policy? How do they justify this bloodshed?

I support the right to a Palestinian homeland. Our President has shown his support. My guess is most of the world agrees at this point. But the constant insane killing of defenseless people is not the way to achieve this goal. 

I realize the Israelis overreact with their own cruelty all too frequently, but put yourself in their shoes. If your loved one was murdered before your eyes in such a manner, wouldn't every bone in your body be consumed with thoughts of hatred and revenge? 

I now believe an Evil of the same magnitude as Nazi Germany exists in the Arab world. It is disturbing and frightening to behold.

I hope we can avoid another world war, but the events of today when followed to their logical extreme certainly point to this possibility. We are at war now. The only question is how far will it escalate. 

from the May 27 Houston Chronicle

Bill Clinton made a brief stop in Brunei on Sunday, spending the day playing golf at the plush Empire Hotel and Country Club in the capital city of this tiny oil-rich sultanate. He was to attend a dinner hosted by Brunei's ruler, Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, before departing for New Zealand late Sunday. In Singapore on Friday, Clinton warned that "terrorists find fertile ground" in poor nations in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia, and that rich states should help lift these countries out of poverty. 

He was paid $250,000 for the one-hour speech.

(Editor's Note: Does this story disgust anyone else as much as it does me? And am I the only person who thinks he is getting a kickback for something sleazy he did?

Wed 05/29/2002 10:27 AM


Actually, I think Bill Clinton did some wonderful things as president, made a bad mistake, and was crucified for it by his political opponents on mainly political grounds. I think he should do the same as every other past president, and do what he can do to help bring world peace. And he should be paid for his speaking engagements in the same manner and degree as every other past president. Which is what your story reflects.

I also think that if you are going to make political statements in your newsletter, you should provide the opportunity for your readers to read opposing viewpoints, like mine.
Thank you.

Mary Beth Gaines

(Editor's Note: I think the guy is a crook, but okay, you got it. I have printed your reply as I promised.)

Most of you don't know Howard Kurc except perhaps Sharon Crawford and maybe some of my veteran staff members like Ben and Susie. Howard was a wonderful guy who took lessons here at the studio for the first time back in the late 80s. He took lots of Western classes and took some of my early Martian Whip classes. I noticed with a smile that I named one of my favorite Martian Whip patterns after him called "Howard Be Thy Name" on September 29, 1989. 
Howard had a great sense of humor. He always made me laugh with his sly grin and the impish twinkle in his eye. Howard was something of a rogue and a troublemaker. A very handsome, down-to-earth guy, Howard always had the amazing power to keep me in my place because he was an even better BS-er than I am if you can believe that it is possible. 
Early this year, January 2002 is my guess, I was tickled to see Howard reappear at the studio. He introduced me to his fiancιe Darlene Raspberry. They were going to start Beginning Twostep that night. He caught me on the run and I never got a chance to give him more than a cursory 'hi, how are you, let's talk soon, gotta go'. Our paths didn't cross again which I now regret terribly. 
In the middle of May, Darlene got me on the phone to say that her beloved Howard had died in her arms of a heart attack. They were remodeling a home in Cuero, Texas, and Howard was in the process of painting. Suddenly he fell faint. Darlene rushed to him and cradled him in her arms as he passed away. I cannot imagine a more painful moment for any person than what happened to Darlene. 
Howard, 65, apparently had premonitions of his departure. He had recently changed his will to make sure Darlene would get the house in Cuero. On another occasion, he had mentioned something to her about a weird chill that passed through his body. On the night before his death he complained of extreme tiredness and had needed to lay down and rest. 
Darlene said that she and Howard had only a year or so together. She had known him for a long time as friends while she was married. One night after her divorce, Howard got up the courage to tell her he had loved her from afar for a long time. When she fussed at him for not telling her sooner, he said that would not have been right. 
Then Darlene felt guilty because she kept Howard at arm's length for some time while she got up the courage to take the chance of caring again. After she finally accepted him completely into her life, they had six wonderful months together. 
This story is tinged with much joy and much sadness. Rest in peace, Howard. And my love to Darlene as she tries to cope with her tremendous loss. 

Written by Rick Archer

For the past two months I have been writing stories that involve my overall dislike and distrust of the legal profession. Obviously once you make it to adulthood, you learn to avoid sweeping statements like 'I hate all (Fill in the Blank)' and learn to differentiate the good from the bad. And as I have been reminded, everyone says the hate lawyers till you need one. 

Did you know I have been divorced now for a year? Today Judy and I continue to work together in harmony here at the studio. We are nice to each other. We don't argue over money. And we share a wonderful daughter together. We don't argue over time spent with our daughter. We let the other person see the daughter whenever they wish whether it is their night or not. We take turns nicely on vacations and holidays. 

A year ago when we realized we needed to part, Judy and I decided we could do a better job of deciding what was fair than an outside party. Both of us agreed that whatever money one side won over the other would be neutralized by lawyer's fees, so what was the point of fighting? 

We both made compromises and ended up with an amicable divorce. Sure there have been hurt feelings every now and then, but things have worked out well. We had a very nice attorney who remains a friend to both of us. All the attorney ever did was tell us what the law said, discuss ways to break an impasse and reduce friction. She was a healer and helped both Judy and I see the big picture when we got bogged down in details. I think the divorce cost us a little over $1,000. 

Not everyone does it the same way as Judy and I did. For example I have been involved in a stupid legal game now for three months. Once a month a young man with dirty blonde hair walks up to me at the end of a dance class and hands me a subpoena ordering me to appear the next day or the day after in court. This has happened three months in a row. 

It seems that Mr. X is seeking a divorce from Mrs. X. They both took dance lessons here at SSQQ and I know them socially outside of the studio. My daughter for example has taken a trip with the children of Mr. and Mrs. X and has been to their house. I have played volleyball and basketball with Mr. X. In other words, at one point in time I considered both people my friends. But I also had a strong hunch that Mr. and Mrs. X were having marital problems. I minded my own business and tried not to take sides. 

Finally I heard the bad news - Mrs. X was being sued for divorce and Mr. X wanted full custody of the kids. I rolled my eyes. Mrs. X had been a stay-at-home Mom with those children and loved them dearly. She was a great mother. They would be lost without her. If Mr. X won, it would be a travesty because it was obvious the children needed their mother. What in the hell was this guy thinking? 

So I got subpoenaed for the first hearing. I had no idea what Mr. X wanted from me, but I showed up and spent nearly three hours of my morning just sitting there. The idiot Mr. X had subpoenaed about 20 other people as well. Every one of them could be easily identified by the smoke coming out of their ears as their precious time was being wasted needlessly on this utter stupidity. Mrs. X said they were basically subpoenaed for harassment purposes, including her boss at work. She said this was a very expensive process to subpoena witnesses, but that Mr. X's father was a wealthy retired attorney who was determined to intimidate her into giving up the kids. He had deep pockets and was willing to spend money to wrestle custody of the children away from her. This kind of cold hatred was painful to watch. My sympathies now clearly rested with Mrs. X. I was no longer neutral. 

The subpoena had ordered me to bring a copy of every email or other document involving Mrs. X that I had. Dutifully I wasted two hours of my time searching for and printing out 30 of the most inane emails imaginable. I brought them with me. Did the lawyer even bother to ask me for them? No. Did the lawyer even bother to speak to me at all? No. Did anyone bother to tell me why I had been asked to appear in the first place? No. 

Then we were told by Mrs. X's attorney we could go. A deal had been struck to postpone the fight for another day. Angry but determined to be civil, I approached Mr. X and Mr. X's father. I told him I was more than willing to give a deposition at any time and any place. I also told him I had absolutely no dirt to share… which is the truth so help me God as they say. Then I politely asked him not to subpoena me again, adding that I would come voluntarily if he asked me. 

So what did I get for my offer? At the second trial, this time I was the ONLY person subpoenaed other than some cop who got paid by the taxpayers while he got to do nothing. I got to waste yet another valuable day. Lucky me. This was in May. 

Last week, I was subpoenaed for yet the third time. This one really hurt because it conflicted directly with a doctor's appointment. I would have to get back in line and postpone my appointment just so I could make another futile visit to the divorce court for no reason. 

I emailed Mrs. X to get Mr. X's email address so I could plead for mercy. Later that day I got a phone call from Mrs. X that blew my mind. First the good news - I did not have to come to court the next day because they had settled. Wonderful!

I asked Mrs. X what had happened. She said she and her separated husband had met with a judge who did mediation. After listening to both sides of their story, the judge gave them joint custody and got them to settle on pretty much everything Mrs. X had thought was fair in the first place. 

The bottom line? Mr. X spent $120,000 in a ridiculous, cruel custody battle and had come away with nothing more than he could have gotten for free on Day One. Mrs. X said the judge gave him exactly what he deserved despite all his pathetic legal maneuvers. Whether Mrs. X was a good wife or a bad wife or somewhere in between like most of us was not the issue. Mrs. X was a good mother. She had never done anything to deserve losing her children. This man wasted all this money and lost the respect of people like me who were once his friend trying to accomplish something that any idiot could see was hopeless.

Now Mrs. X says their joint life savings are pretty much all gone in this legal battle. The equivalent of a college education for one of their children was lost needlessly because her husband substituted arrogance for common sense. No wonder the woman wants a divorce - who could stand being married to someone that stupid? 

And what about his lawyer? What did she accomplish? She made a lot of people like me and Mrs. X miserable. The children were not helped, the clients were not helped, people's lives were damaged by the fight, but the lawyer only accomplished one thing - she got the money.


Oh boy! The latest issue of Inside Houston had a 'Best of' section and SSQQ got Best Dance Studio. We also won the same award last year. Thank you. 


Hi! Found your website when looking for dance classes for adults in the Houston area. I am definitely a candidate for two left feet training! 

However, I live a looooooong way away from your studio-- Hwy. 290 and Hwy. 6 area. Any chance you know of studios in this area? Location's not a total deal breaker, but knowing me convenience will go a long way toward encouraging me to join and continue!

Susan O'Brien

SSQQ has no other locations and no plans to open any. That isn't to say we won't expand some day, but I will avoid it as long as I possibly can

The obvious reason is financial. SSQQ has to make a minimum of $20,000 a month just to break even. The overhead to run an attractive dance studio is prohibitive. The modern trend in Houston is for the best instructors to rent space at a dance studio and avoid having their own facility. The number of successful social dance studios has significantly dwindled in Houston over the years just because it is so expensive. 

In addition there is the phrase 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it.' I have students who come from Katy, Woodlands, Spring, Conroe, Humble, Kingwood, Pasadena, Baytown, Channelview, LaPorte, Deer Park, Galveston, League City, Clear Lake, Pearland, Alvin, Friendswood, Sugarland, Stafford, Missouri City, Richmond, and Sealy. 
And let me add not one of these communities sends us enough students to even begin to support a large dance studio. Not even Sugarland. I might add Sugarland is 12 minutes away now that 59 has been widened. 

I realize the drive is an inconvenience, but it is worth it. We have a lot of fun here.
Rick Archer
Fri 05/31/2002 11:33 PM

I see a comment on your FAQ's page about someone not wanting to drive from Highway 6 and 290 to your studio.

Is she kidding?

I live 10 miles West of Magnolia (right smack in the middle of nowhere with nothing but trees and coons around me) and am gleefully anticipating the long drives into the city when I begin classes in June. SSQQ comes highly recommended and I won't even consider classes anywhere else.
Jason Heise

(Editor's Note: Thank you, Jason!)

Contributed by Peggy Head

When women go wrong, men go right after them! 

When caught between two evils I generally pick the one I've never tried before. 

Marriage is a fine institution - but I'm not ready for an institution. 

All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else.

Women with "pasts" interest men because men hope that history will repeat itself.

If you put your foot in it, be sure it's your best foot.

I like a man who's good, but not too good-for the good die young, and I hate a dead one.

Women want certain things in marriage-the right to a title and a front seat in the lap of luxury.

It isn't what I do, but how I do it. It isn't what I say, but how I say it, and how I look when I do it and say it. 

Personally, I like two types of men-domestic and foreign.


In February, a half-dozen cars belonging to SSQQ students were towed from the front of the Door Warehouse. Fortunately since then there have been no further incidents. 

There was never any warning given that this ruthless policy was to begin. 

As the height of hypocrisy, the Door Warehouse continues to park its truck in the SSQQ parking lot on nearly a daily basis. Plus obviously cars belonging to customers and employees can always be seen in our parking lot. 

These people should be ashamed of themselves. 

However something strange happened. For two nights in a row in June, the Door Warehouse truck was actually left in the SSQQ parking lot overnight. We had every right to legally tow it and give them a taste of their own medicine.

I couldn't do it. I find towing so absolutely cruel that I just couldn't bear to haul them off. If anyone ever deserved it, the Door Warehouse does, and I still couldn't pull the trigger. 


SSQQ Staff Member Diane Murrell was featured in an impressive story about her on June 18th. Diane has 4 boys. One of them, Lance, suffers from autism. Diane's experiences with her son inspired her to write a children's book, "Tobin Learns to Make Friends". Diane also illustrated it herself. 

Lance definitely thinks it is a pretty good book since he reads it practically every day - he just doesn't realize it is about him!

In fact, Diane's book is her publisher's best-selling children's book and has been nominated for the prestigious Caldecott Medal, a very impressive honor indeed.

I have known Diane has a special gift with kids for some time. I was so impressed by her rapport with children that I gave her the opportunity to learn how to teach dance to children about a year ago. Since then she has taught one children's group after another. She has received a lot of praise for her work.

I taught social dance to 7th graders for about 5 years. I hated nearly every minute of it. I did a good job and the material I taught was right on for what they needed, but I could always tell that I just was not connecting to any of these kids at a deeper level. But when I saw Diane interact with kids, I could see her charisma. 

Diane Murrell is indeed a very talented lady. If you would like to contact her about children's dance or her book or the Chronicle article, her email address is dvmurrell@hotmail.com

Contributed by Pat Roberts

Moses and Jesus were in a threesome playing golf one day. Moses pulled up to the tee and drove a long one. The ball landed in the fairway, but rolled directly toward a water hazard. Quickly Moses raised his club, the water parted and it rolled to the other side, safe and sound.

Next, Jesus strolled up to the tee and hit a nice long one directly toward the same water hazard. It landed right in the center of the pond and kind of hovered over the water. Jesus casually walked out on the pond and chipped the ball onto the green.

The third player got up and sort of randomly whacked the ball. It headed out over the fence and into oncoming traffic on a nearby street. It bounced off a truck and hit a nearby tree. From there, it bounced onto the roof of a shack close by and rolled down into the gutter, down the drain spout, out onto the fairway and straight toward the aforementioned pond. 

On the way to the pond, the ball hit a little stone and bounced out over the water onto a lily pad, where it rested quietly. Suddenly a very large bullfrog jumped upon a lily pad and snatched the ball into his mouth. Just then, an eagle swooped down and grabbed the frog and flew away. As they passed over the green, the frog squealed with fright and dropped the ball, which bounced right into the cup for a hole in one.

Moses turned to Jesus and said, "I really hate playing with your Dad."

Contributed by Jane Downs

This is a moral/ethical dilemma that was once actually used as part of a job application. The candidate who was hired (out of 200 applicants) had no trouble coming up with his answer.

Here is the question: 
You are driving along in your car on a wild, stormy night. You pass by a bus stop, and you see three people waiting for the bus:
1. An old lady who looks as if she is about to die.
2. An old friend who once saved your life.
3. The perfect man (or) woman you have been dreaming about.

Which one would you choose to offer a ride to, knowing that there could only be one passenger in your car? Think before you continue reading.

You could pick up the old lady, because she is going to die, and thus you should save her first; or you could take the old friend because he once saved your life, and this would be the perfect chance to pay him back. However, you may never be able to find your perfect dream lover again.

What would you do? 

(Editor's Note: I accidentally left the answer off the email Newsletter last month. I did have the solution on the web site, but most people didn't realize it. This drove people nuts. I had 40 people email me for the solution. Several people, Dorothy Garcia for one, emailed me the correct solution. Now if you missed it the first time, here it is:

The moral question is who do you give the ride to, the woman who appears to be in danger of dying, the old friend who once saved you, or the potential love of your life? What would you do? 
One person had this very creative answer. 
He simply answered: "I would give the car keys to my old friend, and let him take the lady to the hospital. I would stay behind and wait for the bus with the woman of my dreams."


Goodness gracious, just two months ago I was lamenting the dearth of engagements and weddings around SSQQ and now in June suddenly we had 5 in one month!!

I guess the legendary SSQQ wedding factory is still cooking after all. Good!


Well, guess what, people who met at SSQQ are starting to get married again!!
I received this email from Philip Easterling:

Thu 05/30/2002 7:08 PM
"Hello, Rick,
I just got back from my trip to California, which is why I've haven't replied until today. The names of the people getting married are Linda Perez and Mike Benrud, and they have taken salsa mambo classes at SSQQ. Thanks for mentioning them! Enjoy your week off, Philip"


A rumor has been shared with me that Ken Fowler and Renee Greene are engaged and to be married soon. Renee is Karen Clawson's former roommate. Karen is an SSQQ Staff member who assists Sharon Crawford on Wednesday. Karen talked Renee into taking the western class where she met Ken. We haven't seen either of them lately since their last class in April; I hear the wedding plans have been cutting into their dance time!


Wedding bells will be ringing soon for Kim Gillespie and Rick Lybarger. Kim and Rick met through dancing at SSQQ about this time last summer. Kim and Rick's mutual friend Michelle Crossley spilled the beans the other day when I asked, "How are Rick and Kim doing these days?" 

"Oh, they're getting married." Ah. Then lo and behold Rick and Kim came into together the next night for a Friday Practice Night. I looked them both in the eye and confirmed the rumor is definitely true!

I think this is great for both people. Kim is a vivacious, funny, brown-eyed beauty whom I affectionately call "Jungle Kim". A school teacher by trade, Kim used to wear some bizarre jungle hat to class which led me to her nickname. Kim came to the studio as part of a Second Baptist Singles Group that signed up together. Out of about 40 people, Kim is the only one who really stuck with it. Rick Lybarger may be a lawyer, but he is one of the very few lawyers I genuinely like. Best wishes for both!!


Thu 06/06/2002 7:36 AM
Rick, I am writing to tell you about something REALLY special that happened the other night. Monday night Jerald and I were hanging out at the house ( I can tell you now since you figured out we have been dating for sometime now.) when Jerald suddenly disappeared. He emerged from the back room holding a teddy bear. He claimed that the teddy bear, which was dressed in a black tuxedo, was a gift to tell me thank you for bringing him out to meet my family.(Like that makes any sense) 
When I pressed the little voice box in the bears hand I heard Jerald's voice say "Will you marry me?" Jerald was on one knee holding a ring and said "Will you?" I, of course, found this to be truly romantic and after a period of shock and silence (Yes, I was actually speechless. Believe it or not I do shut up once in a while.) I consented with a hug, kiss and a feeling of total joy. Now that I have gone through the whole long story, which I am sure you did not REALLY want to hear, I would like to tell you that Jerald and I are getting married. I am giving you this information so that Jerald and I can join the ranks of the many happy couples brought together by SSQQ. Forget the fact that I'm excited and telling the whole world. I wanted you to know!
Hope you are having a great day.

Before the SSQQ Sock Hop Crash Courses on June 22, I stopped in at the Starbucks at South Rice and Bissonnet to pick up a white chocolate mocha to help get me through the night. I was wearing my black leather jacket and looking about a tough as your average 50 year old can look when suddenly I started hearing cat calls and woo-woos from over in the corner. It was none other than the beautiful Ms. Natalie Arnold and her handsome boyfriend, the amazing Swing dancer Bryan Spivey who were both giving me a good-natured hard time. I had seen Bryan and Natalie at this same Starbucks several times before. I think they secretly live there.

About two hours later it was time to start the Sock Hop Party. I always begin the party with the Stroll just because it is a fun way to get everyone's picture as various couples 'stroll' towards the camera. Bryan came up to me with a worried look on his face and said he needed a favor. Sure, Bryan, what? 

"I want to propose to Natalie!!"

Ah. Okay. I can help with that. In 25 years of business, no one has ever included me in on a wedding proposal before, but I have to say I was incredibly cool about it. I told Bryan to be calm and that I knew just how to handle it. Bless his heart, Bryan visibly relaxed - he went from near panic to panic under control. 

I told Neal Pellis, our swing teacher who was handling the camera, that Bryan was going to propose to Natalie and to focus the camera on them when it happened. Then I got the Stroll going as I always do. After about 4 minutes, I went over to Bryan to tell him this would be a good time. Only one problem. Natalie was nowhere to be seen; she had gone to adjust her costume. Oh. 

Undaunted I put on 3 more minutes of Stroll music. Fortunately Natalie soon returned. Bryan immediately started to take her for a Stroll down the corridor. They were surrounded by many of their friends, but I don't think any of them knew what Bryan was up to. When they made it halfway down the Stroll Lane, I stopped the music and announced we had a special event while Neal continued to film away. 

Bryan got a big grin on his face. He fished in his pocket for a ring, then got down on one knee and proposed to Natalie. At this Natalie finally realized what on earth was going on. She had been totally taken off guard. As he knelt on the floor, her slender body shook with what were likely tears of joy. She clearly was too moved to speak so she just clung to Bryan while the rest of us watched and clapped and cried a little too. 

Finally you could see Bryan talking. I think he was asking 'The Question' for the second time. This time Natalie replied. You could see her nod 'yes' and Bryan raised his fist in triumph. It was really very sweet. 

I turned down the lights and put the music on. Natalie and Bryan hugged and slow danced for the majority of 'Twinkle Twinkle Little Star'. It was a pretty good song for the occasion, I have to say. 

We got it all on film. It was a special moment for all of us, believe me. 


Amanda Keiser, our beautiful Western instructor who looks like Bridgette Fonda, sent me this fascinating riddle several years ago. I didn't answer it at the time, but I have always admired the clever answer. 

"What is greater than God, more evil than the Devil, poor people have it, rich people
need it...... and if you eat it you will die?"

The answer will be below.

Contributed by Patty Jones

"Has it ever occurred to anyone that having a smoking section in a restaurant is like having a peeing section in a swimming pool?" 

(Editor's Note: I realize that smokers often feel like the whole world hates them. Well, guess what, when you light up around non-smokers, we do!!

Smoking is unbelievably obnoxious to people who don't smoke. The bodies of smokers have adapted and they may not realize how nasty their smoking habit is to others, but non-smokers choke and gag almost on impact. For example, I start to sneeze the moment it hits me. And when I ride in the taxi cab of a driver who smokes, I have a headache by the time we get to the airport. 

One of my basketball friends said he spent a lot of time at the allergist's office during his childhood only to have his miserable conditions mysteriously disappear when he started college. It was only then did he realize that his parent's constant smoking had caused his years of suffering. 

Furthermore, recent studies on the medical effects of second-hand smoke suggest it is more far dangerous to the non-smokers than previously thought.

If smokers want to kill themselves, that is their business, but they shouldn't have the right to hurt the people around them. Never have I heard the stupidity of allowing smoking in public places put so succinctly as the one-liner above does.)

We have 25 classic jokes ready for you to read on our June Joke Page. 
Here is a great joke from the July Joke Page that has long been one of my favorites.

July CS 25: The Seeing-Eye Dog
Submitted by Carole Nelson
Two men were walking their dogs around the local country club and discussing their recent game of golf. The first man's dog was a big German shepherd, and the second man's dog was a Chihuahua. The first man says, "Let's go into the club and get a drink." 
The second man says, "but we can't take our dogs into the club, and I don't wanna leave Chiquita outside." 
So the first man says, "Oh, sure we can take our dogs inside, just do as I do, and say what I say." 
So, the first man puts on his sunglasses, taps the floor with his golf club, walks into the club, and asks the waiter for a place to sit. The waiter says, "Sorry sir, but you can't have your dog in here." 
The man does his best Stevie Wonder impersonation of staring left and right in confusion, then says, "Not even Seeing-eye dogs?" The waiter immediately apologizes and gives the man a seat. 
The second man watched this whole scene and laughs hard. He decides to go for it. He puts on his sunglasses, pull out his putter, and taps his way in with little Chiquita wagging her tail beside him. He asks the same waiter for a seat. The waiter frowns and says, "I'm sorry sir, but you can't have your dog in here." 
The second man says, "Not even seeing-eye dogs?" 
Then the waiter laughs and says, "That first guy was fishy, but you gotta be kidding, man, you expect me to believe that Chihuahua is a seeing-eye dog?!" 
The second man thinks for a moment, then replies, "Oh no! You mean they sold me a Chihuahua?!?"
Contributed by Jane Downs
shilly-shally (SHIL ee SHAL ee) (Reduplication of the question 'shall I?') n 1. The act of hesitating or state of being hesitant 2. To procrastinate. 3. To be unable to come to a decision; vacillate 
"The young man could not bring himself to make the proposal. Finally his father said, 'don't be such a shilly-shally! Ask that girl to marry you!"
(Editor's Note: Jane Downs sends in the most amazing words for us. Thank you, Jane!
Contributed by Rick Archer

This month's picture is about an unusual paternity problem. The mother claims a famous Tire Icon is the father of her child!! 


(Editor's Note: The Blue Side Jokes are one of the great undiscovered secrets of the SSQQ web site. Anyone who is on the SSQQ Registration List is welcome to have access. All you need to do to subscribe is email me from the email address you use to register for classes and request it. dance@ssqq.com This month there are 18 Blue Side jokes. Below is one of my favorites!)

July BS 18: Me Tarzan, You Jane
Submitted by Mary Collins

One day Jane met Tarzan in the jungle for the first time. She was very attracted to him; he was so muscular and handsome.

During her questions about his jungle life, Jane asked how he managed for sex. "What's that?" Tarzan asked. So Jane found a huge banana and plunged it repeatedly into an overripe mango. 

Tarzan nodded immediately with understanding. "Oh, Tarzan use hole in trunk of tree," he replied. 

Horrified, Jane said, "Oh, Tarzan, you have it all wrong! Let me show you how to do it properly!"

With that, she took off her clothes, laid down on the ground, and spread her legs wide. "Here, Tarzan," Jane said pointing to the appropriate spot, "put your big banana in here." 

Tarzan removed his loincloth, stepped closer, sniffed a couple times, stepped back, then suddenly gave Jane an almighty kick in the crotch!

"OWWWWWW!" Jane screamed in agony. Jane rolled round and around on the grass writhing in agony as Tarzan watched her with a worried look. Finally she managed to breathe again. With a gasp Jane said, "Gee whiz, Tarzan, what in the hell did you do that for?"

"Tarzan check for bees first!" 


Each month we have a Newsletter Contest of some sort. In June we visited Mr. Dracula's Neighborhood. This was a logic puzzle with some pretty creepy characters. 

We had a record number of people solve it. Congratulations to the following:
1. Beth Boudreau
2. Delain Goddard
3. Verondia Nevil
4. Chuck Snyder
5. Faye Thai
6. Jason Cagle
7. Sara Fielder
8. Eric May
9. Brittany Feldman
10. Cynthia Wallet
11. Susan Arevalo
12. Ken Proctor
13. Jordan Kossack
14. Donna Kayfes 
15. Kathy Sturr
16. David Diaz
17. Barbara Benvides
18. Michael Black
19. Ana Maria La Fuente

The SSQQ Jungle Retirement Home sponsored a series of lectures one week. It featured talks given by five talented members of the community. 
Starting on Monday and continuing through Friday, each day a different man would present a talk about his favorite hobby. Your job is to guess: 
1. Each speaker's first name.
2. Each speaker's last name
3. His previous profession before retirement
4. His current hobby
5. The day on which he spoke.
The first 10 correct answers get a Free Practice Night in July!! Email to Rick Archer, dance@ssqq.com
Contributed by Gary Richardson 

"Men are like fine wine. They start out as Grapes, and it is a woman's job to stomp on them and squash them until they mature into something with which you would like to have dinner with.
Women are like fine wine. They all start out fresh, fruity, and intoxicating. Then they turn full-bodied and lush enough to drive men out of their minds, but with age they go sour and give them a headache." 

Editor's Note: For over twenty years, SSQQ has had a simple refund policy - if you want your money back, ask for it before you leave on your first day or night of class. After that, forget it. 
People have wondered why we are so inflexible. First of all, I think two hours is plenty of time to make up your mind. 
But the real reason we are so adamant about refusing refunds is that they are an enormous time suck besides being basically unpleasant to deal with. 
Perhaps you will see what I mean in this exchange of emails below. 
If you have any comments about our refund policy, feel free to share them with me. 

Monday, June 03, 2002 10:10 AM
Hello, I believe I successfully enrolled in the Latin Carnival class starting June 2nd. See transaction confirmation below for my credit card purchase. I was at your office yesterday for the class but was disappointed to hear you had no record of me, and I did not receive proper attention in resolving the issue. So I would like a refund of my fee.

Please advise whether there is any other information you require.

Stephan Weaver

Mon Jun 03 10:27:32 PDT 2002
Mr. Weaver, I acknowledge there is something very odd about your transaction - we have no record of it. 

When you register on-line, you receive a receipt. All you have to do to
attend the class is show the receipt at the door. Did you not receive a

Our computers were down yesterday when you arrived so there wasn't much we
could do about the problem on the spot.

If there is something we did wrong, I would like to know about it.

Were you denied entrance to the class?
Did you participate in the class?
What was it that left you so dissatisfied?

Rick Archer

Tuesday, June 04, 2002 12:16 PM
Mr. Archer, my latest statement confirms that my VISA credit card was charged May 18th for $44 by "SSQQ INC 713-861-1906 TX." 
Stephan Weaver

Tue Jun 04 17:27:42 PDT 2002
You did not answer my questions. 
Rick Archer

Wednesday, June 05, 2002 10:30 AM
Mr. Archer,
As I implied in my previous email, questions of enrolment and records logically precede questions of customer service and subjective quality. You and your staff have stated they have no record of me. I'd like to get that straight first.

Your staff had an attendance list printed June 2nd (14 days after my enrolment) showing four people in the class; I wasn't one of them. The second staff member I talked to said, precisely, "No, we have four people in the class [showed me their names]. You're not on the list." No further questions or clarifications, and she started talking to someone else. I turned from cheerful anticipation to disdain in a matter of seconds. Not a good inauguration to a fun evening.
So yes, I was dissatisfied and not impressed. Many salutations and greetings for return customers, a bit of confusion and no warmth for me and at least one other newby.
Stephan Weaver

Letter from Rick Archer to David Schroeder, registration system programmer
David, is something wrong with the system that I need to know about? Neither Jill nor I can find this man's name on a roster. However we have his email in our system. Can you figure out what is going wrong?
Rick Archer


We saw this one other time. There is not something wrong with the system. If the Registrar or Student does not hit "Continue" on the eProcessing confirmation page then the student's record will not get added to the Roster and will not get a confirmation email.
David Schroeder

Wed 06/05/2002 12:36 PM
Mr. Weaver,
I am curious why you are so quick to blame my studio for your problem. From my point of view:
1. You showed up without a receipt
2. Your name was not on a list.
3. I asked both women who worked the desk that day about your problem. Neither Registrar has the slightest memory of who you are. I wonder if you even talked to them.
4. Our computer system was down when you showed up so we had no way to deal with the problem at the time.
5. You expect us to refund money we don't even know we have. 
6. And furthermore you refuse to answer my questions despite the fact that I have asked you to answer them on two different occasions. For the record, you still haven't answered the following:

Did you not receive a receipt?
Were you denied entrance to the class?
Did you participate in the class?
As we continue to go round and round with these emails, just what is it that you expected these people to do? It sounds to me like they told you the truth. You weren't on the List. So what? The important thing is whether you were allowed to participate in your class or not.
You signed up for a dance class, the teacher was there and the class was held - WERE YOU DENIED ACCESS TO THE CLASS????? Since you have chosen not to answer my direct question on the two occasions I have asked it, I feel confident in concluding you were indeed permitted to participate.
Furthermore I took the trouble several days ago to ask my programmer to investigate your original email. His conclusion was that you simply made a mistake. My hunch is that he is right. We have had over a thousand people successfully show us their receipt. You are apparently in the minority of 2 people. I included his report for you to study at the end of the email.
Isn't it about time that you cut us some slack and took some responsibility for your own situation?
Mr. Weaver, based on our written policy, you are not due a refund. Furthermore based on your obvious lack of candor, you are receiving a lot more cooperation than you are giving.
Nevertheless you may have your money back.
Unfortunately for you we do not have a way of canceling your mistake other than the old-fashioned way. You will simply have to accept that I am telling the truth.

Mr. Weaver, based on our written policy, you are not due a refund. Furthermore based on your obvious lack of candor, you are receiving a lot more cooperation than you are giving.

I will be happy to issue you credit.

Rick Archer
SSQQ Dance Studio

Thu 06/06/2002 10:27 AM

Mr. Archer, I think I prefer your "gift certificate" option. I feel No guilt.

Stefan Weaver


About a year ago I wrote about Pound, Virginia, the town that tried to outlaw dancing. Since then I found out that our wild and crazy Whipper Judith Williams went to college not far from this place which begins to explain a lot of things about Judith. I figured this story is so interesting some of our newer readers would enjoy hearing what happened!

Contributed by Patricia Bradshaw

(Editor's note: Pat even took the time to visit the Snopes Urban Legend site which concluded this story is probably true. The letter was written by Lindsey Yeskoo, the wife of Paul Yeskoo, a Christian Foreign Service Officer serving in Shanghai. It details her experience of meeting the President when he was in China several months ago. Mrs. Yeskoo confirms writing the writing the letter; the only question remaining is whether she made the story up or not.)

"Dear Family! 

It is a dull, polluted Monday morning here in Shanghai and we await news of President Bush's safe arrival back in Washington D.C. He just left here less than twelve hours ago. Everyone is breathing a sigh of relief that no terrorist incidents occurred here over the past days. Security was tight, as you will have seen on TV. On Friday afternoon, a crowd of 600 consulate/embassy staff + families were invited to a reception in the Atrium of the Shanghai/Portman complex, at 3:15pm, to meet both GW and Colin Powell. We waited a LONG time (due to all the security we had to go through), but our anticipation outweighed our tired bodies and sore feet. (We had left the house just after 10:30am in order to do all this!). 

Finally, Bush was announced, and it was SO INCREDIBLE to see him walk in with Powell and take the podium before us, especially with all the recent events. Quite emotional for us all, actually. He gave a tremendous, candid yet heartening speech, and then was escorted down to the floor to meet the crowds. Everyone was of course behind a tight rope, and there were Secret Service men and security everywhere. There was no way he could meet all, but he sure did a great job of shaking hands with as many as possible. Colin Powell followed immediately behind him; he did not seem so engaging, surprisingly. Maybe the Secretary was (understandably) tired and distracted after his previous trips to Pakistan and India. Anyway, the three kids and I were in the very front row, and had an extraordinary experience with President Bush. 

Bush came along and shook Chris's hand first, noticing that he was all dressed up, and said, "You're looking sharp today, boy!" Chris was SO PROUD and SO PLEASED at the recognition (if only GW had known what a struggle I'd had to get him to wear a jacket and a tie!). Then he shook my hand and I told him how much we value his strong leadership at this time, that we are 100% behind him. He went on and took the girls' hands and talked to them. Then I leaned over and mentioned that we pray for him every day. He stopped dead in his tracks (a definite security NO-NO . . . the SS men got REALLY antsy). 

He searched my eyes as if to see how much I really meant what I was saying. Then he gave me the most amazing and unexpected personal response, Paul said for a good 20-30 seconds. He told me what the effect has been on him, waking up every day of the crisis and knowing within himself that he is being faithfully prayed for. He almost pleaded with me not to give up, but to persist with it, for this is only the beginning. Then he looked me even more squarely in my eyes, and gave me a very personal and specific series of instructions about the very things he most needs prayer for, on behalf of himself and of the nation. He urged me that the threat against America is very great, and that one of our focuses in prayer to God needs to be "the shielding of America" . . . and wisdom for him as he leads the country through this time. I don't know why, but as I looked straight back at him directly into his face, he let me see for those brief moments a tiny part of the agony he himself is going through, and the weariness. He finished the conversation by putting his hand on my right shoulder, almost as if it were the close of a commissioning, but affectionate too in a brotherly sort of way. 

People were pressing in at this point and almost knocking the four of us right into Bush. Many of them were the Chinese staff who work for Paul, who would not have understood ANY of that conversation; but others caught snippets and came afterwards to ask me WHAT we had been talking about. The President moved on. Needless to say, the whole experience was unforgettable. I cannot begin to tell you how deeply it has affected me. Certainly, I do not think I have ever prayed for a leader or government or nation (or world!) so extensively has I have done since then. It was really quite an unusual and unexpected and powerful encounter. 


If you took more than a minute, you cheated. Now let's see how you did. 

Question 1: You are competing in a race, and overtake the runner in second place.
In which position are you now?


If you answered that you're now first, then you're completely wrong. You overtook the second runner and took their place, therefore you're second.

Question 2: If you overtake the last runner, what position are you now in?


Last place. If you answered second-last, once again you're completely wrong. Think about it... How can you overtake the person coming last? If you're behind them then they can't be last. The answer is impossible!! 

Question 3: Take 1000. Add 40.
Add another 1000.
Add 30.
1000 again.
Plus 20.
Plus 1000.
And plus 10.

What is the total ?

Answer: 5000??? Wrong again!!!!

The correct answer is 4100. Try again with a good calculator. Today is clearly not your day!! Although you should manage to get the last question right...

Question 4: What is the name of the 5th daughter?

Marie's father has five daughters:
1. Chacha
2. Cheche
3. Chichi
4. Chocho
5. ????

Answer: Chuchu??? WRONG!!!!!

It's obviously Marie!!! Read the question properly, you moron!!!!!

If you missed any of the questions, you are clearly the weakest link....

Contributed by Gary Richardson

A couple was getting married, and it was only three days before the wedding. The bride calls her mother with some bad news. 

Mom," she says, "I just found out that my fiancι's mother has bought the exact same dress as you to wear to the wedding." 

The bride's mother thinks for a minute, then asked, "Does she know I have the same dress?"

"No, I didn't."

"Well, good, then don't worry," she tells her daughter. "I'll just go and buy another dress to wear to the ceremony." 

"But mother," says the bride, "that dress cost a fortune. What will you do with it? It's such a waste not to use it." 

"Who said I won't use it?" her mother asked. "I'll just wear it to the rehearsal dinner."

"What is greater than God, more evil than the Devil, poor people have it, rich people
need it...... and if you eat it you will die. What is it ??" 
Answer: Nothing. Nothing is greater than God, nothing is more evil than the Devil, poor people have nothing, rich people need nothing, and you will die if eat nothing. 

Anyhow, there is little bit more to this story. Legend has it that 80% of a class of Stanford students got this wrong, and 80% of 4th graders got it right. When I first tried to solve the riddle in 1998, I think Amanda just added this to make me feel more stupid. It worked. I am so stupid that not only did I not have a clue what the answer was, but that I had the nerve to assume I was as smart as a Stanford student because I got it wrong just like they did. 
Amanda then pointed out that just because I got it wrong doesn't mean I am as smart as a Stanford student because their wrong answers were probably smarter than my wrong answers. Now you know why Amanda has not received much in the way of promotions in all these years.


Classes begin the week of Sunday, August 4th. 


SWING ACROBATICS II will be taught on Sundays in August at 4:30 pm. Taught by Paul Foltyn & Melanie Jones, this special class is offered ONCE a year. It covers amazing patterns that are tricky to learn and awesome to see!! Partners ONLY. 

Judy Archer brings LATIN CARNIVAL to Sundays at 4:30 pm. This is a chance to learn 4 famous Latin dances - ChaCha, Samba, Bossa Nova, and Rumba - in a 4-week period.

BALBOA SWING comes to SSQQ on Sundays taught by Gloria Sanchez. It is an 8-count shuffle danced very close together moving back and forth. Many Balboa dancers do Swing, switch to Balboa periodically, then move back to Swing. Very cool dance.

INTERMEDIATE WESTERN WALTZ is back! We will offer this wonderful dance on Sunday evenings. Judy Archer will cover all the details for the legendary Western dance of romance. ! 

HIP HOP STREET JAZZ has made it to SSQQ on Mondays at 6 pm. Michele Franzwa is on the dance team at Texas Tech and a performing Hip Hop team in Houston. This is your chance to learn the secrets of this fascinating dance style! Teenagers welcome.

One of the toughest and rarest of GHOST TOWN LEVELS, GT 10, will be taught in August by the soon-to-be-married Tracy King and Jeff Perry. Come learn some of the fanciest moves known to man on Sundays at 7 pm!

August brings the opportunity to join the ranks of the finest dancers in the city with SUPER-ADVANCED WESTERN WALTZ. And by special request, Sharon will offer the first-ever Waltz Level 5 in September. Don't miss either class!!

BEGINNING NIGHT CLUB TWOSTEP begins anew on Fridays with Susie Merrill, the lady who got the entire studio dancing Night Club to begin with! Night Club is a very graceful dance that works beautifully to the many romantic Western ballads that were once 'undanceable', but which are now a joy to dance to. The popularity of Night Club just grows and grows!


On Saturday, AUGUST 10, we will have a Swing and Latin party here at the studio known as "LATIN SWING THIS, BABY!" The Swing dancing will be in Room 1 and the Salsa dancing will be in Room 4. 

Our 7-9 pm Crash Courses include: 

CUMBIA - Linda
SWING ACROBATICS - Bryan and Lise (cpls)

Dress Mambo King or Jump, Jive, & Swing!!

On Saturday, AUGUST 24, we will have our annual BEACH BALL PARTY. We will have Western dancing in Room 1 with Whip/West Coast Swing in Room 4. 

Our 7-9 pm Crash Courses include:

DIRTY DANCING - Wil and Rachel (cpls)

You West Coast Swing dancers will DEFINITELY want to take my HOT HOT HOT WCS PATTERNS CC because these moves are Sleazy Bar Whip caliber moves in August. Imagine the skimpy outfits these women will be wearing as we teach them how to gyrate their sweaty bodies to these delicious, provocative, heat-producing illusions. 

Dress Hawaiian or You'll Leave Cryin'!! This means wear a shirt or dress so loud you can't hear the music…

The Beach Ball Party features the historic Balloon Race. The SSQQ Staff Team is still undefeated after all these years. However this year it appears the infamous Margaux Mann intends to break the mysterious curse of the Balloon Race. She and her husband Carl have been busily training on a daily basis with their son Nicholas and their daughter Emily to take on the SSQQ juggernaut at this party. Three years ago the SSQQ Staff kept its incredible streak alive by pulling out an amazing come-from-behind victory. Two years ago it was pretty close too. Margaux sat out last year to nurse her wounded pride, but this year she promises to be back with a vengeance. 

If you are actually insane enough to desire more details on this crazy event, be my guest and click here: http://ssqq.com/information/advent28.htm

The Balloon Race is a very entertaining event and the 2002 Beach Ball promises to be a Rockin' party! Circle it on your calendar and join us!



August 25 - September 1

As of Tuesday, July 30, there are only 15 cabins left of an original 1,000 - if you want to go, make your move today!! You do not need a roommate - we will find you one. Call Anne Adams at 713 957 1705. 

Note - Volleyball player extraordinaire (she hits the ball harder than I do and jumps higher too), Swing dancer, and Brown and Root engineer Wee-Sim Teoh, 29, would like to go but needs a roommate. Any ladies out there who want to go who also need a roommate?? Let me know and I will hook you up. dance@ssqq.com 

SPECIAL ONE-MONTH TO SAILING NOTE (posted July 16, Rick Archer):

Sometimes in life you do get a second chance. Many people from SSQQ passed on this year's trip when they looked at the original price. Well, things have changed dramatically.

You have been given a last-chance opportunity for the time of your life! If money has been your obstacle in signing on to the cruise list-poof-this problem has magically disappeared. The cruise prices have dropped from a dramatic $180 to $260 per cabin on this trip since it was first announced back in March. 

Apparently the cruise line overestimated the demand for a traditionally slack time of the year - back to school - and badly overpriced their tickets. Now they have caved in and are desperate to fill their ship. 

You now can cruise for a mere $75 a day!!! Where else can you have luxury lodging, limitless meals, and nightly entertainment all included for this ridiculously low amount--- not to say the chance for Slow Dance and Romance on the High Seas!?!?!

On a day per day basis this year's cruise on The Rhapsody of the Seas now COSTS LESS than last year's cruise on Carnival. (A year ago you paid anywhere from $105-$125 per day.) No more whining about the expense associated with the luxury digs; you now have the chance to take advantage of all the benefits of a luxurious four-star ship and pay less than a moderate line! 

This is last call for you to be included in all the FUN!!! We set sail on Aug. 25 for 8 days filled with sun, fun and adventure and 7 nights that we leave only to you to imagine and make a reality…. 

And one more note - As I have told you men repeatedly, there are 20 more women on this trip than men. In my two previous Newsletters I have simply alluded to this effect, but now as the moment for sailing grows nigh I realize there is no further time for subtlety. I can hint no longer so let me simply spell it out: 

Cruises drive women temporarily insane. No one can fully explain why, but folklore abounds with anecdotes to this effect. Without Mother Earth to ground her, a woman's resistance to the advances of men weakens and her heart finds a way to care that the mind is unable to dispel. For some unfathomable reason the memory of all the rotten things men have done to her magically dissipates and she suddenly decides against all the odds to give love another chance. All you have to do is be in the right place when the dreaded Love Boat Phenomenon strikes these women blind and renders them completely open to your charms. And let me add a couple Margaritas generally help to nudge this miracle forward as well…

If you got the money and you got the time, you guys need to get on this boat NOW. Do not miss this chance!!!! DO NOT DO NOT DO NOT MISS THIS CHANCE. 713 957 1705

PS - Quick reminder to the 63 people already signed up, we will have a pre-trip get-together at the studio on Sunday afternoon, August 11, at 2:30 pm with our travel agent Anne Adams. She says she has many cool prizes and surprises for all of us. I didn't get any last year so I am definitely due!


Susie Merrill's Heartbeat Western Swing dance team returned from their performance in New Orleans over the July 20th weekend. Rumor has it the team did very well but I will never know since no one ever bothers to tell me anything. 

You see, the Heartbeat Dance Team can dance up a storm, but not one of them has even the slightest ability at writing. Good feet, no hands. As a result of their complete lack of even the simplest communication skills, no one who isn't dating someone on the team has even the slightest clue how well the Heartbeat Team or anyone else did at the competition. It is tough to write a Newsletter without reporters. 

I know for a fact that Coach Susie can write, but I also know that every time she comes back from a competition she has to work furiously to catch up at her job which she has neglected horribly for the month or so before the competition while she gets her team ready. My guess is Susie becomes too busy to concern herself with publicity which is a shame because the rest of us would really like to know more about the team. I can't blame her since she doesn't make any money as coach so she needs to work occasionally to keep her real job.

Now I know at least one team member who apparently never actually works any more since he/she manages to find a way on a daily basis to waste my time with back and forth emailing without actually saying anything. You would think this particular person could stop wasting his/her time with useless email drivel and start doing something socially productive like working or at the very least writing about the Dance Team, but no, he/her would rather spend all day emailing Newsletter writers some total nonsense like famous song names. 

It's too bad because a little gossip about how the team did would really boost attendance at their events and create more interest in what they do. Plus the team members would enjoy all the fuss they would get from Dance Team groupies and the what-not. Oh well. 

Here is what I do know about Heartbeat:
1. They get almost all their team members from SSQQ students. 
2. They train at SSQQ. 
3. They have a lot of fun. 
4. They get tired of practicing all the time, but apparently they need to. 
5. It takes a lot of commitment to be a part of a dance team.
6. They become a family. 
7. They are preparing to go to the World Championships. 
8. They are looking for one new lady to join the team. It would help if she can dance.

Email to Susie Merrill if you are interested in joining the team. She would love to start training her new lady immediately! SMerril2@owenhealth.com Men can email Susie too if they look good in a wig… just kidding. And if you have any writing skills, you better hide this fact or you probably won't make the team.


It has become obvious that the Newsletter has become much too big to email in its entirety. From now on I will email all the articles related to the business of running SSQQ plus snippets of the other columns contained in the larger SSQQ Newsletter. 

The Newsletter has been very helpful in many ways, but its usefulness was never more apparent than in June when we decided to offer two classes - Advanced Salsa Mambo Level 8 and Beginning Hip Hop - that were not on the printed schedule. Both classes were huge hits despite offering them at the last minute. Which reminds me - this month in August we are offering a previously unscheduled Balboa Swing class on Sundays at 4:30 with Gloria Sanchez!

(Editor's Note: This article appeared in last year's July Newsletter. It is an absolutely fascinating article devoted strictly the subject of human stupidity. You will not regret reading this story, I promise. In fact, at some point you will become so incredulous you will suddenly discover drool dripping from your mouth because it is so wide open!)

As any long-time Newsletter reader knows, one of my favorite sayings is Experience is a comb that Life throws you after you have already lost your hair. 

Everyone makes mistakes. The difference is some of us live to talk about it and manage to get a little wiser in the process. 
When I was nine years old, I had a Border collie pup named Terry. He had so much energy!! But Terry had not learned to respond to my voice commands at all. 

As we took a walk, I saw a truck coming. I screamed at Terry to stop, but he ran right out in the street in front of an oncoming Sears delivery truck. The truck screeched to a halt, but machines that big don't stop on a dime. The front wheel clipped Terry pretty good and knocked him spinning. The poor little dog rolled like a log down a hill a dozen times before he came to a stop. I was screaming bloody murder the whole time. Fortunately Terry wasn't hurt, but rather bruised and scared out of his wits. He got up, realized he was alive, realized all his body parts still worked, then shot home like a bullet. I found him hiding under a bush by the front door. Terry and I had been very lucky. And thank you Sears Man wherever you are for trying so hard to stop… you saved the life of my dog!

Terry was a very adventurous dog. He loved to get loose and go for explorations, a habit that drove me crazy because he was the love of my young life and I didn't want him anywhere out of my sight. One day I came home from the sixth grade at school only to discover Mom had left the gate open and Terry had escaped again. I got on my bike and went out looking for him. 

About five blocks later I spotted Terry. He was pretty far away, but it was obvious he was heading home since he was coming towards me. On a lark I hid behind a tree to watch. When he got to the street, he stopped. Terry looked both ways - exactly as you train a child to do! - then carefully crossed the street. It was then that I realized Terry had learned a very good lesson from his accident. If it doesn't kill you, the opportunity is there to grow and become stronger. 

As Terry and I grew up together, I never saw Terry fail to stop at any street crossing again. Smart dog. In this case Life threw Terry the Dog a comb before he lost his hair.

I did a web search to see what people have to say about mistakes. Here are a few gems: 

1. Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make all of them yourself.
2. When you realize you have made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
3. A life spent making mistakes is not only most honorable but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.
4. A well-adjusted person is one who makes the same mistake twice without getting nervous. 
5. An error is not a mistake until you refuse to correct it. 
6. It is a mistake to allow any mechanical object to realize you are in a hurry. 
7. Computers let you make more mistakes faster than any other invention in human history, with the possible exception of handguns and tequila.
8. On why NY lost the 1960 baseball series to Pittsburgh: "We made too many wrong mistakes." - Yogi Berra.

However not everyone learns from their mistakes. Some people do lose their hair or worse. This article is about Stupidity. 
The quote that sums up everything you are about to read perfectly is: "Mistakes are often the stepping stones to utter failure."
In a moment I will give you the link to one of the most amazing sections of the entire SSQQ Web Site, the MASSIVE STUPIDITY page. 
1. For a warm-up exercise, you will have a chance to read about an airplane crash in Africa that you will find very amusing. 
2. After the African airplane story you will be primed for a great story contributed by Lesa Myers. This incredible tale covers the antics of a couple of Continental airplane mechanics who make the guys in the movie "Dumb and Dumber" look like Mensa candidates.
3. But nothing in your experience can ever prepare you for the stunt labeled the stupidest thing anyone has ever done and lived to talk about it. In fact the amazing Larry Walters even managed to get interviewed on the Johnny Carson Show. 
"Larry the Moron" is a story of inconceivable stupidity. It is about a stunt so ridiculous you will never believe it really happened. Then you will look at the pictures and start to think, "Yeah, maybe this really did happen. Nah, No Way!!" Well, guess what, it really happened.
You MUST visit this site. After visiting this page, even the most cynical among you will be startled to find you can still become even more cynical about the stupidity of the human race. Just when you thought you have become as disgusted with other human beings as you possibly can be, this article will prove beyond a doubt that your opinion can still get lower. Isn't that nice to know?

Contributed Pat Roberts

This month's picture deals with every mother's worst nightmare - why fathers make lousy babysitters. Unless you are a Mom, this is a very funny picture!


PS - SSQQ TRIVIA QUESTION (for a free Practice Night)

First person to identify an obvious trend on the Joke Picture Page listed above gets a free August Practice Night. Email your guess to dance@ssqq.com 



Sunday, June 30, 2002 5:54 PM

"Hey Rick. 
You can add Tommy Lollar and I to the statistics of engagements. We met at the studio in March and are now engaged to be married next March." 

Cheryl Cato, perpetual ssqq student

(Editor's Note: Congratulations to both of you!)


Thu 07/18/2002 2:41 PM

"Hi Rick,
Yes that rumor about me getting married is very true...I met her in Salsa practice class about two 
years ago. Her name is Ulrike (Uli for short) Lange. She was working here in Houston as a 2nd grade teacher on an exchange program from Germany. At the time she was taking Tango and decided to come to practice class. 

I asked Uli to dance and later we became friends...but we never became a couple because we were each involved with someone else at the time and also she was scheduled to return to Germany in June of this year and she wasn't sure if she wanted to live here in the United States. 

I guess I managed to convince her otherwise and she consented to be my wife on my birthday April 26th. We were married on July 6th in our garden at our home. 

We are very happy and we continue to Salsa together...I'm teaching beginning and Intermediate salsa on Tuesday nights and she is one of my assistants. So I guess you can add us to your list of happy couples. In all honesty I started salsa about 4 years ago primarily to meet someone. Since then I have had a really good social life and now I have the ultimate...a beautiful wife who also enjoys dancing. So that's our story and it really is as romantic as it sounds."

Jim Coulter

(Editor's Note: There are a seven SSQQ instructors who met their husband or wife here at SSQQ and 20 instructors who are seriously dating someone they met at the studio. These are the ones I know about. My guess is approximately half our staff of 60+ people met their current significant other here at SSQQ. If you want to improve your love life, join the staff.)


Tue 07/23/2002 4:32 PM

"Dear Rick,
I have some great news -- Jeff and I are running off to Colorado next month to get married!! 

It's almost like we are eloping except we have been planning it for quite a while, and our immediate family will be there.

On August 16th we will have a small outdoor ceremony at Lily Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, near the town of Estes Park. 

We are a little worried about potential wildfires. There is a fire burning now just south of Estes Park, but the area seems to have had recent and abundant rain. We are sure that our day will be blessed no matter what happens.

As you know, Jeff and I met three years ago at SSQQ. He was a student in the very first class I taught (we call it my rookie class) back in the Fall of 1999. It took a few months of flirting before we actually went out on a date, but we have been together ever since.

We will email pictures when we get them--we are expecting the backdrop to be beautiful.

Oh yeah--we won't be teaching on Sunday, August 18th but we have arranged for our buddies Ann and Brian to substitute."

Love, Tracy

(Editor's Note: Tracy has been like my kid sister for many years now. I am so happy for both her and Jeff. They have been acting like a married couple for some time now so this special moment in their lives comes as no surprise to me.)


On Saturday, August 17th, Daryl and Jo Anne Armstrong celebrate Jo Anne's birthday with their 6th Annual Tattoo, Leather, and Lace Party. 

I visited this party last year and found it to be quite fascinating. Although everyone is proud of their tattoos, most of them are so obviously fake that it is hard to feel too intimidated. Plus Daryl is so ridiculous in his Hawaiian leather outfit. I mean really, is there no end to it, Daryl?

All kidding aside, there is plenty of room for dancing and misbehavior at Rocky Kneten's pad on West 34th Street about a half mile west of North Shepherd. SSQQ DJ Mitch Istre will be there to spin his tunes and all of Daryl and Jo Anne's decadent friends as well. 

Everyone is invited. Rocky's place is in a pretty strange industrial area, but it is roomy and quite comfortable. Last year Daryl had a police officer overseeing the activities which was nice and there was a beer keg to keep the spirits high. However BYOB is not a bad idea.

Everyone who participates is expected to sport TWO visible tattoos, wear some leather, and show some skin. I saw one girl who had no tattoos, but she showed a lot of skin in the right places, so Rocky persuaded the policeman to let her in. These are reasonable people.

Red underwear is optional. I had a great time last year. This is a fun party!!
Directions and more information at:

(Editor's Note: Since we are on the subject of Daryl Armstrong and his infamous Leather and Lace Tattoo Party, I am reminded I wrote an interesting story about Daryl about a year ago. I think anyone who has ever met Daryl has noticed he has an amazing sense of humor. If you agree with me that Daryl is one of the world's unique personalities, you will thoroughly enjoy my story about him.) 

On a recent Saturday evening in July 2001, SSQQ instructor Daryl Armstrong and his fabulous wife Joanne escorted about 30 SSQQ Faithfuls on a trip to 5 different venues in search of the Perfect Margarita. Yes, I admit I was with them. There are too many pictures floating around to deny it. Sure enough, after the third stop it was pretty much '1 Tequila, 2 Tequila, 3 Tequila, Floor' for most of us as we made total fools of ourselves. 

In addition to the story about the Margarita Tour, there are some things I have wanted to tell the world about Daryl Armstrong for a long time and this article gave me my chance me to get some things off my chest. There are very few people at the studio I admire and respect more than Daryl. He is truly blessed with immense talent. 

In fact it is this incredible talent that irritates the heck out of me and after you read this story, you won't blame me one bit for my petty jealousies.
This is one article that is a "Must-Read". 
We have 25 classic jokes ready for you to read on our August Joke Page. 
Here is a great joke from the August Joke Page that has long been one of my favorites.
August CS 01 : A Marriage Maid in Heaven 
submitted by Hieronymous Anonymous 

A guy dials his home to speak to his wife and the maid answers. She says that the lady of the house is busy right now. 
The guy insists that she go get her anyway and reminds her he is the Boss.
The maid, embarrassed, says that the misses is very busy. 
The husband, sensing something in the maid's voice, presses on. Under strong questioning, the maid finally blurts out the misses is upstairs with her lover in the bedroom!!
At this revelation, the guy goes ballistic and tells the maid to listen very carefully. "Go to the basement, get my rifle and then go to the bedroom and shoot them both." 
The maid stutters that she can't do that, but finally agrees after the guy tells her she's fired and will be deported otherwise. 
Fearing the man will do exactly as he threatens, she puts the phone down. The guy listens and a few moments later he hears: BANG! BANG! The maid comes back on the phone and says that it's done.
Much calmer now, the guy says, "OK, now listen carefully once more. Drag the bodies downstairs and dump them in then pool." The maid stutters her disapproval. 
The guy says, "Listen, you're fired if you don't do what I say." 
The maid says, "But sir, we don't have a pool!!"
The guy says, "Is this 302-872-1286 ?"

Contributed by Jane Downs
THRENODY : noun (THREN uh dee) n. pl. threnooodies (From the Greek) 
also threnodial or threnodic adjective; and threnodist noun. 

A poem or song of mourning or lamentation.

Example: The full church rang with nenias and threnodies for the wonderful lady we had been graced to know.
(Editor's Note: As always, Jane contributes a word that I had no clue previously existed. How she does this month in and month out is beyond me.)


(Editor's Note: The Blue Side Jokes are one of the great undiscovered secrets of the SSQQ web site. Anyone who is on the SSQQ Registration List is welcome to have access. All you need to do to subscribe is email me from the email address you use to register for classes and request it. dance@ssqq.com This month there are 25 August Blue Side jokes. Below is one of my favorites!

August BS 14 : The Bakery 
- Judy Walsh A general store owner hires a young female clerk with a penchant for wearing very short skirts and thong panties. One day a young man enters the store, glances at the clerk, and glances at the loaves of bread behind the counter. Noticing the length of her skirt (or general lack thereof) and the location of the raisin bread he has a brilliant idea. "I'd like some raisin bread, please," the man says politely. 

The clerk nods and climbs up a ladder to reach the raisin bread, which is located on the very top shelf. The young man, standing almost directly beneath her, is provided with an excellent view, just as he had surmised he would be. Once she descends the ladder he muses that he really should get 2 loaves as he is having company for dinner. As the clerk retrieves the 2nd loaf of bread, one of the other male customers notices what is going on. Thinking quickly, he requests his own loaf of raisin bread so that he can also enjoy the view. With each trip up the ladder the young lady seems to catch the eye of another male customer. Pretty soon each person is asking for raisin bread, just to see the clerk climb up and down. After a few trips the clerk is tired and irritated and thinking that she is really going to have to try this raisin bread for herself. Finally, once again atop the ladder, she stops and fumes, glaring at the men standing below. She notices a elderly man standing amongst the throng staring up at her.

Thinking to save herself a trip she yells, "Is yours raisin too?" 

"No," croaks the feeble old man...."But it's startin' to twitch.


The 6 super-intelligent people who solved last month's SSQQ logic puzzle are: 

Barbara Benavides
Mary Tu
Tim Crist
Verondia Nevil
Carol Armand
Vic Anwar

Congratulations to all!


Take me out to the Ball Game! SSQQ is sponsoring another logic contest this month called "Who's on First?" It is a clever Baseball Logic puzzle that all you smarty pants people out there will thoroughly enjoy. The first ten people to solve the puzzle get a free Practice Night in August. Anyone after that will have to settle for the glory of seeing your name in the Newsletter next month. 

You can try your luck at this puzzle at 


Thu 07/25/2002 2:11 PM

It has been twenty years (July 1982) since I took my first dance lesson at SSQQ--beginner twostep, of course. Since that time I have learned a few more steps and met a lot of people who love to dance. 

Thanks for all the fun! 

Best regards, Roger Lee

p.s. I think I may have a few more years of dancin' in me. 

(Editor's Note: Roger is one of the few people who might remember I had brown hair once. Hmm. My studio has been around so long that students who met at SSQQ in the 80s and got married are starting to send their kids to me. Hmm. Now that I think of it, why is Roger's hair brown and mine isn't? Hmm. Thank you for the nice note, Roger!)


Has anyone noticed since the advent of hand-held camcorders that can fit under the seat of your car that we have had a lot of Rodney King-type videos filmed, but not one video of UFOs? I wonder why not? 

Poem contributed by Patty Jones

Girl Poem
A poem for us....

I shave my legs,
I sit down to pee.
And I can justify
any shopping spree.

Don't go to a barber,
but a beauty salon.
I can get a massage
without a hard-on.

I can balance the checkbook,
I can pump my own gas.
Can talk to my friends,
about the size of my ass.

My beauty's a masterpiece,
and yes, it takes long.
At least I can admit,
to others when I'm wrong.

I don't drive in circles,
at any cost.
And I don't have a problem,
admitting I'm lost.

I never forget,
an important date.
You just gotta deal with it,
I'm usually late.

I don't watch movies,
with lots of gore.
Don't need instant replay,
to remember the score.

I won't lose my hair,
I don't get jock itch.
And just cause I'm assertive,
Don't call me a bitch.

Don't say to your friends,
Oh yeah, I can get her.
In your dreams, my dear,
I can do better!

Flowers are okay,
But jewelry's best.
Look at me you idiot...
Not at my chest????

I don't have a problem,
With Expressing my feelings.
I know when you're lying,
You look at the ceiling.

DON'T call me a GIRL ,
a BABE or a CHICK .

I am a WOMAN.

Get it?, you DICK!?!

submitted by Judy Walsh

President Bush and Colin Powell are sitting in a bar. A guy walks in and asks the bartender, "Isn't that Bush and Powell sitting over there?" 

The bartender says, "Yep, that's them." 

So the guy walks over and says, "Wow, this is a real honor. What are you guys doing in here?"

Bush says, "We're planning WW III". 

The guy says, "Really? What's going to happen?"

Bush says, "Well, we're going to kill 140 million Iraqis this time, and one blonde with big boobs.

The guy exclaimed, "A blonde with big boobs? Why kill a blonde with big boobs?

Bush turns to Powell, punches him on the shoulder and says, "See, smart ass!?! I told you no one would care about the 140 million Iraqis!"


I would like to compliment the following three men - Mark Young, Jason Heise, and Kevin Lee - for winning the SSQQ Jim Bowie Award for being the last men standing at our annual Sadie Hawkins Manhunt. 

Our most predatory woman this year was the incomparable Lisa Perkins who managed to nail 5 ½ men. The half-man of course was left screaming, but Lisa didn't care. She laughed her way to the bank. 

You see, this year there was a dollar bounty on each man. Before the big chase, one day I asked my Newsletter assistant Jill Banta why she never chased any men at these events. Jill answered that men are basically less than worthless. I asked her what men would be worth if I paid a dollar for each man caught. Jill did some math and said most men would then be worth about 25 cents because they start out less than worthless, but at least they would finally be worth something. So I told the ladies each man they captured would bring them a buck. 

Once the men were worth something, the women came out of the woodwork to chase them! 

Leaving off the last names to protect the guilty, Heather caught David, Susie caught Tim, Wendy caught Dennis, Cassandra caught another Tim, Jan caught Michael and Carl, Pham caught Willie, Joe, and Gareld, Diane caught Darren, Don, and John, Ann caught Mike and Tony, and Lisa took out out Gary, Jim, Richard, Mark, Jason, and half of Kevin. 

Gee whiz, Lisa caught all three of the winners! Without Lisa, they still might be running!

Contributed by Donna Ruth

(Editor's Note: For those of you who do not know who Dennis Miller is, he is a former Saturday Night Live humorist who now has his own HBO show. He specializes in political humor. His humor tends to be so heavily acidic that I have trouble enjoying him at times, but he hit the nail on the head with this one about the Pledge of Allegiance controversy.)
Hoorah for Dennis Miller!! He said recently on his show, regarding the judges who declared the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional: "So, Your Honor, the Pledge is unconstitutional because it says 'Under God'. Guess that means when you were sworn in with your hand on a Bible, and at the end of your oath repeated, 'So Help Me God' that makes your job unconstitutional, therefore you have no job, which means your ruling doesn't mean s---."


Wed 07/31/2002 12:59 PM

"I came by the studio to see what the place was like and to see how your classes are taught before deciding to register for a class at your facility. Instead of being greeted with courtesy as I expected, I was informed by some door Gestapo that I would not be permitted to see a class without your permission. 

Well, I don't need your permission because I am pretty sure I can find a better place to learn to dance than the hostile environment you have created. You need to learn to be nice to people, not to push them around.

Name Withheld"

Rick Archer's response: 

"Sir, I see your point of view clearly. Yes, it would be nice to sit and watch a class. I agree. However not everyone enjoys having people sit there and watch. 

For example, this past Monday some man sat down in Room 2 about 30 minutes before class started. He spread his laptop out so far over the couch that no one could sit next to him without asking him to move his computer. In order to sit and watch the TV, I had to get a chair. 

After class was ready to start, to my surprise the man was still there. I had assumed he had come early from work and would go to his class at 7 pm like everyone else. When he didn't move, I decided to ask him what he was doing there. He said he was waiting for his daughter to finish her class. 

I mistakenly assumed she was in the 6-7 pm Hip Hop class and was changing clothes in the lady's room. I decided to let him sit there and began my class. 

At 7:30 pm I was annoyed to notice him again because his legs stuck out so far that a student actually tripped trying to switch to another partner. I wondered what he was still doing there. 

This man eventually put his laptop away. Since he had nothing else to do, he sat and watched my class. We have a very firm 'no watching' policy, but I decided there was no reason to embarrass the man by confronting him in front of all the students. I made a conscious decision to let him stay. 

I wish I hadn't. He stared at the women. He smiled to himself at various times and I wondered what he found amusing. Personally speaking, I don't know if any of my students cared whether he was in the room or not because I minded his presence. He was a distraction to me. He was an alien presence. What was he doing there??

Class ended and he still sat there. I reminded myself to look for the alleged daughter. Unfortunately as always someone asked me a question and I got distracted. The next time I looked he was gone. 

Although there might be a logical explanation, I found it curious that a man showed up 30 minutes before class to wait 2 ½ hours for his daughter. Where was his daughter before class? Obviously they didn't come together. My point is this: I found myself wondering what he was up to the entire evening. His story didn't make any sense at all. I didn't appreciate being watched one bit. His presence bothered me. I doubt he would appreciate it if I came to his office and watched him work for 2 hours. 

We are a teaching institution. People pay to learn. They don't need to be observed by outsiders. The distractions need to be minimized in their room so they can concentrate. In my case, the instructor doesn't need to be distracted either. SSQQ is not the Houston Zoo. 

I respect your desire to watch, but in this situation your individual needs are superceded by the needs of the group. 

If I have not made myself clear enough on this sensitive topic, visit our Policy Page on Watching: 

I am sorry you got upset. However the Hall Monitor was just doing their job. There is no reason for you to single them out for your wrath by insulting them. 

Rick Archer

submitted by Anita Williams

Two lawyers had been stranded on a deserted island for several months. The only other thing on the island was the tall coconut tree, which provided them their food. Each day, one of the lawyers climbed to the top of the tree to see if he could see a rescue boat coming.

One day, the lawyer yelled down from the tree, "Wow. I can't believe my eyes. There is a girl out there floating in our direction."

The lawyer on the ground was most skeptical and said, "I think you're hallucinating and you should come down right now."

So, the lawyer reluctantly climbed down the tree and told his friend that he had just actually seen a naked blonde woman floating face up headed toward their island. The other lawyer started to laugh, thinking his friend had surely lost his mind. But within a few minutes, a naked blonde woman floated up to their beach, face up, and totally unconscious.

The two lawyers went over to her and discovered, yes she was alive.

One said to the other, "You know, we've been on this island for months now without a woman. It's been a long time. Do you think we should, you know....screw her?"

The other lawyer glanced down at the totally naked woman and asked, "Out of what?"


Jill Banta is our lead Registrar. She asked me to remind everyone to register using our On-Line Registration system. https://www.crystaltech.net/e-cats/index.cfm

Although we are taking several aggressive steps to speed up Walk-In Registration for July, the truth is you can save yourself a lot of time if you register in advance using the Internet for your classes. 

One gentleman pointed out he was afraid of getting his credit card number stolen using the Internet. Frankly I am just as superstitious as the next guy and I understand this point of view. But you may be worrying needlessly about this problem.

Here are three facts:
1. We are now entering our 12th month of On-Line Registration. In a year's time, we have not had one report of credit card theft. This is the absolute truth. 
2. When you bring your credit card to the studio, we send the same information over the Internet from our computers that you would be sending using your computer. In other words, it is no riskier using your Internet connection than it is using ours… and we have not had an incident yet. 
3. I would estimate we have had about 5,000 successful credit card transactions without a report of theft so far. I am not saying it is impossible because I do not understand hacking enough to guarantee anything. I am simply saying so far things have gone without a hitch. 

If you are going to take a dance class in August, please use the On-Line system. It will get you through the door much faster!!


One of the reasons SSQQ moved to a computerized Registration system is to keep a better tab on the size of classes. This helps us prevent overcrowding our rooms. 

As a feature of our On-Line system, we now have a Bulletin Board called "Special Announcements" on the first screen of On-Line Registration. 

In June, this Bulletin Board allowed us to announce that several classes had been closed including Judy's popular new Salsa Level 8, Sharon's Intermediate Western Waltz, and Beginning Salsa on Thursdays. In July we closed all Salsa classes on Tuesdays.

It also allowed us to explain which classes were closed to a particular sex. In other words, when a class had 8 more men than women or vice versa, we closed that class to whichever sex would make the imbalance worse. We still allowed couples to register, but a single man or a single woman without a partner was asked not to enter in the second week if this would make things worse. Using this trick we were able to improve the boy-girl ratio of several classes.


The salesman stopped at a farmhouse and went up to the porch where an old farmer was sitting. He started making small talk with the farmer.

He happened to notice that there was a pig with one leg missing laying down on the porch. The salesman asked "What happened to your pig?" 

The farmer smiled and said, "Let me tell you about this pig! I was plowing in the field one day and hit a rock and the tractor fell over on me. I was trapped! Well, this pig got out of his pen and ran to the house and squealed until my wife heard him, he then ran to where I was laying and led my wife there! This pig saved my life! Then one night the house caught fire and this pig pushed open the door and ran to the bedroom and woke us up and we got the fire out before it did any damage. And if that ain't enough, just last week, he stopped a burglar from getting in the house by lying down in front of him and tripping him. By the time the burglar recovered, I had my shotgun on him."

"Goodness" said the salesman, "Is that how he lost his leg?" 

"No, of course not. This pig is practically invulnerable", said the farmer. 

"Well, then, how did he lose his leg?"

"A pig like this, you don't just eat all at once!"


The following ad appeared in a recent Houston singles magazine:
"SBF" (single, black, female) seeks Male companionship.
Age and ethnicity unimportant. I'm a young, svelte, good looking girl who LOVES to play. I love long walks in the woods, riding in your pickup truck, hunting/camping/fishing trips. I love cozy winter nights spent lying by the fire. Candlelight dinners will have me eating out of your hand. Rub me the right way and watch me respond. I'll be at the front door when you get home from work, wearing only what nature gave me. Kiss me and I'm yours. Call xxx-xxxx and ask for Daisy!"
The phone number was the Humane Society and Daisy was an eight week old black Labrador Retriever.
They received 643 calls in the two days the ad ran.
They say the Heart is a Lonely Hunter. Be it personal ads in the paper, dating services, or Internet dating sites, the risk of meeting frauds, lunatics, or men looking for a little meat on the side seems to be incredibly high. Despite the obvious dangers, it is apparent many people persist in giving these venues a try. In response to my request for some Internet dating stories, I received eight very interesting stories. 

1. This is in response to your Internet dating inquiry. First, let me say that I have made some friends from the Internet, both men and women, who continue to be friends. There are a lot of nice NORMAL folks out there. But there are others who are not so nice, and even dangerous.
I'm a single mother with a responsibility to be CAREFUL for the sake of my children. 95% of the people I have looked up on this site are honest and are who they represent themselves to be. But below are three examples of the other 5%.
I go to two sites:
1) Whitepages.com (free site) and 2.) PublicData.com ($25.00 / year)

Once, a year ago, a man represented himself as single. Gave me his phone number. Whitepages has a link: "other people at this address". Imagine my surprise to see "Mrs. Smith's number listed as living at the same address.. I emailed Mr. Smith, him asking who "Mrs." was? He replied "Ok, you got me, but I'm unhappily married" HEY.. NOT MY PROBLEM!
But the real reason I bothered to send this is because of two recent events. One man, who appeared very docile from his writings, actually has a string of convictions (2 for assault, four others for DWI) dating from 1992 to 1998.
The other story is a case of NOT following my own advice. I didn't run a check on a man from another town in Texas. Our emails progressed and we talked on the phone twice. The conversations were pleasant. Then, I started getting "I love you" emails of a nature which I found VERY unsettling! So I ran a check. The conviction was 17 years old, but it was there non-the-less. He had served 3 years in prison. I found out just how very unstable he was when I wrote him to say I would no longer be corresponding with him. I did not mention my findings, but rather that I just didn't feel comfortable w/ internet dating. I received 5 emails within two days. Each one a little more ominous than the last. I blocked him from my email, but he does have my phone number should he decide to use it. So far, thankfully, he has not. 
You did mention that if the story sounded too bizarre or unbelievable that you wouldn't include it. If you want it, the data is there to verify. I believe that if people (especially women) are going to use the internet to date, they should also know what data is available out there on themselves and others. These "others" are sometimes very unscrupulous people.
I know that searching these databases may seem like stooping to a low level, but it is only a tool. When you meet someone IN PERSON, you can tell more about them from their body language and the WAY they say things, than by WHAT they say. Over the net, you are much more handicapped in picking up these "vibes" others. 

2. I've been enrolled on a dating website for approximately six months. In that time, six ladies have contacted me, and I've contacted one. Things have worked out well with the lady whom I contacted. I've been dating her exclusively for about two months, now.

Of the six who contacted me, I actually had dates with four. All four were sweet. Some had a lot in common with me, and some didn't. That intangible "romantic chemistry" was missing with all four, and we all stopped seeing each other after 1 to 5 dates.

On the whole, I find the internet to be a painless way to find a date, but an inefficient way to find romance. It is said that finding romance is a numbers game - you have to meet lots of people to find one with romantic potential. Meeting people one-at-a-time is inefficient, time-consuming, and expensive. Group activities (e.g. taking dance classes at SSQQ) is a superior way to screen large numbers of people.

One of the ladies I dated had contacted eight guys from the website! I was her first date. If she had one date with each guy, she'd be investing eight evenings to meet only eight people! Imagine the cost of eight dinners-for-two, if a guy were to contact eight ladies!

The two whom I didn't date had some sort of "fear factor" going. Remember, they contacted me first! One established a nice e-mail rapport with me, until I asked her to dinner. Then the e-mails abruptly stopped.


The other provided me with an interesting tale to tell. We also established a fine rapport via e-mail. She had recently earned her Masters degree, and her messages were warm, clear and coherent - until I asked her out to dinner.

We both have busy schedules, and the first day we were both open was about two weeks later, on a Wednesday evening. When she accepted, she wrote, "Just shoot me an email or call when we get a little closer to determine when and where." I felt that working out such details is best done by phone, so I then requested her phone number. I heard nothing for a week and a half.

On Monday night, two evenings before our scheduled date, my (listed) phone rang. When I answered, the caller refused to speak. Upon arrival at work the next morning, I found an e-mail message, which she sent two minutes after the silent phone call. In it , she wrote, "Okay - that was me who just called - its been a little crazy since over the last several days...." and "If Wednesday is not good for you anymore, maybe we could do lunch sometime?" (Our offices are nowhere near each other!) She also provided her phone number.

Sensing that something was amiss, I replied, "'Glad to hear from you! I was beginning to wonder if you'd gotten 'cold feet!' I'm still looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. If other concerns have gotten in the way, I'd be glad to reschedule. I'll call you this evening, at home."

She replied "Actually, just considering since we haven't even really exchanged much
information about each other, it might be better to do that first prior to meeting?" After interpreting that cryptic message, I concluded that she wanted to talk to me on the telephone.

I placed two widely-spaced telephone calls to her number that evening, and left two messages. My calls were not returned. The next morning (the day of the scheduled date), there were no e-mail messages from her, either. At midday, I sent her a message, requesting confirmation that I'd dialed the correct number. She immediately responded, "Sorry - right number - home - I was out last night until about 9:45pm - too late to call."

By this point, I'd received several cryptic and curt messages, plus the phantom phone call. I wrote, "I've got the impression that you'd rather not meet me for dinner tonight. Is
my impression accurate?"

That's when she unloaded, "Yes. I've had a few 'bad date' experiences recently - I just think it's maybe a little safer if we talk first, don't you? Or are you naturally such a risk

To anyone who knows me, the notion of me as a "risk taker" is laughable! This lady had two weeks to communicate with me, by e-mail or telephone, and she filled that time with avoidance and bizarre behavior. Then she fabricated a wildly inaccurate idea about my character, based on what she perceived in others. A dinner-date, on neutral ground, is hardly a risky activity, and a face-to-face encounter is far more informative than scores of e-mails and telephone calls could ever be! (How can one sustain correspondence with a total stranger, in the absence of shared experiences?) In a final message, I told her that I was not interested in a virtual relationship, and that, since I'd been placed in a defensive position, I wouldn't be comfortable on a date with her.

From this experience, I learned a lesson about internet dating. This lady did not have a profile posted on the website. In her initial overture, she explained that she was newly-enrolled, and hadn't yet had a chance to post a profile. Now, months later, her profile is still not posted. The proprietor of the website has a word for members without profiles. She calls them "lurkers," who usually have something to hide. In the future, I will likely avoid any "lurkers" who contact me.


I've also had a remarkable dating experience through the Personals ads. One day, I was using the personals section to protect my kitchen table while using its surface to perform a small repair. One of the ads caught my attention.

I responded, and we arranged for a delightful dinner-date. This lady was stunningly beautiful, and her personality was vivacious! She had been first-runner-up in a national fitness competition, and she had appeared in a nationally-distributed fitness magazine, and in the most prestigious lingerie catalog around (You know which one!) At dinner, she suggested that we extend the date to go nightclubbing. Even though nightclubs and late hours are not my thing, the evening was memorable.

'Sounds too good to be true? It was. We had about a dozen dates in a five-month period. While we did have some nice times together, the following became apparent:

· When this lady ordered a drink in a bar, she would always order a beer and a brandy together. On every Friday and Saturday night, she would place exactly three such orders. This is a lot of alcohol in a tiny woman. When she drank, her personality became transformed. She became scowling and loud. She prided herself in never having to buy her own drinks. There were always an abundance of men in the bar who were eager to buy her drinks. When on a date, she expected her date to buy all those drinks.
· Shortly after we started dating, she hit me up to "sponsor" her in a fitness competition.
· While an industrious hard-worker, she had difficulty staying within her personal budget. She twice borrowed money from me. She did eventually pay me back (by borrowing from other men), but I learned that mixing banking with dating results in a degraded dating experience. Our "relationship" was extended longer than it should have been, simply because of an outstanding debt.
· She was overly cautious regarding men. For the first three months, she insisted that all dates begin and end in brightly-lit parking lots. (How romantic!) After three months, she was amenable to meeting at my home. I was never allowed to pick her up at her place for a date. I suspect that she was ashamed of her apartment, for she had been married to a tycoon in a prior life.
· She had requested, and obtained from a prior beau, a loan for a new car. She was then surprised that he objected to her seeing other men. After she dumped him, he repossessed the car.
· Her dream was to own her own fitness studio. She planned to accomplish that goal by marrying a man who would buy her a studio. She also wanted him to manage the studio for her, so she could focus on the fitness aspects of the business.
· She spent most of her leisure time with a cadre of gay male friends. Dates could not be arranged more than two days in advance, because she wouldn't know if plans with her friends might materialize. She would cancel dates when her friends beckoned.
· With one exception (a lady who was moving to another city), she would not allow me to meet her friends.
· She refused to go to movies. They put her to sleep.
· When we went to the opera, she requested that we leave during the second intermission.
· After five months of patient dating, I arranged for a romantic evening: dinner in a chic, trendy restaurant, followed by dancing in her favorite posh, live-jazz nightclub. At the end of the evening, I asked her for a "real kiss." She said "No!" When I asked her why, she replied, "I don't want our first kiss to be in your car!" I inquired, "Where would an appropriate place be?" She responded by rattling off a list of Caribbean islands and tropical paradise locations!

Needless to say, she'll have to find another guy for that Caribbean vacation!

3. Hi Rick,

Now to give you the info on some of my Internet mishaps.
I dated one guy for almost a month before he told me he was married (on my birthday no less!). Fortunately, I had already made plans to go swing dancing with a friend from the studio who provided a sympathetic ear, as well as a good dance partner. However, it took me a while to convince the married man to leave me alone. He called me, emailed me and even sent me flowers, begging me not to break up with him.
I met one guy for breakfast at Le Peep near the Galleria. We talked for 2 hours, and had a great time.
He told me he liked to dance, and paid me many compliments. I got up to go to the bathroom, and came back to an empty table. He had eaten a huge breakfast, and left me with the check (about $20). I was pretty peeved, until a friend pointed out that some women get suckered for $20,000.
Another guy that I went out with, turned out to be very arrogant. I wasn't sure if we'd have anything in common, but he enticed me with the statement that he was a ballroom dancer. At dinner, he made sarcastic remarks about the medical profession (after I told him I was a nurse), Houston (he'd been living in Hawaii and didn't like the fact that he couldn't go canoeing in an outrigger), my style of dancing (when I innocently asked if quickstep was anything like 2step).
Needless to say, I ate quickly, but I didn't go to the bathroom until he paid the check. After I came back from the bathroom, I didn't even sit back down. I told him I needed to go home and go to bed (it was about 8:30 pm).
Most of the men that I met were very nice, but there was no spark. I did date a few of them for 2 weeks to 2 months. As with any kind of dating, there are creeps out there. 
One guy wanted to meet me for coffee. He showed up in a muscle shirt with some very large muscles on display.
Unfortunately, he was only in good shape physically. He kept telling me that he needed a massage. Since I'd known him all of 10 minutes, and wasn't particularly attractive, you can guess his chances of getting that.
I finally told him he needed to hire a masseuse, drank my coffee (quickly) and left.
Another guy met me at a Starbucks next to a Barnes and Noble, but never offered to buy me a cup of coffee. I felt bad just taking up a table, so I finally told him I was going to order a coffee. He came with me to the counter to order tea. He then proceeded to show me one of the new $100 bills (with the larger picture) and commented on how fake it looked. He was relatively humorless, but thought he had a good sense of humor.
His ad when I answered it read "No Republicans and no C&W" (this was pre-SSQQ for me). I saw his ad in for months after that, but he later added "No vegetarians".
On another "meeting date", at a different Starbucks, I met a very youthful looking man in his mid-30s (he looked about 20). He was pleasant enough, even when describing his psychotic episodes in college. Of course, a different diet and vitamins had helped him keep them under control. I already knew that we weren't a match because he told me he never could understand what the big deal was about sex. He found it "kind of irritating". !!!! I'm a SCORPIO!! I might be able to overlook psychosis, but not asexuality - that's really perverse.
I'll keep thinking about them and see what else I can come up with. Some were nice but boring, others were only interested in a quick screw. Luckily for me, I have a sense of humor and adventure. I just looked on all of it as a learning experience, and made sure they didn't know where I lived.

4. I will never consider Internet dating, and I'll tell you why. I discovered my husband trying to pick up women on the Internet. This was the nail in the coffin of our marriage. He was doing this, spending hours on the computer, and it was costing us per hour back then. We could scarcely afford that, and he didn't care. Nor did he care to take care of our children, spend any time with them, or goodness knows, do anything around the house to help out. He continues to be very self-absorbed. He eventually did find someone desperate enough to get married. She moved from California to do it. At least she's nice to my boys...when they can afford to (feed them) and have them for the weekend. They still never have money. So sad. You probably won't want to include this story!

5. Hi Rick,

I don't have a dramatic Internet story to tell - just some experience to share that might help someone who is considering using it as a venue for meeting someone. If you can use it, cool - if not, my feelings won't be hurt! :-) 
I picked the Internet because I worked at a company with 10 people, attended a church of less than 100 people and had a circle of friends who didn't know any single guys. My places to meet guys were pretty limited.
I began looking a a web site that specialized in friendships and pen pals (friendfinder.com) and moved on to matchmaker.com (the best one in my experience), singlesheaven.com, love at aol (the oddest people) and other similar web sites including a Christian singles web sites (the poorest pickin's of them all) and accidentally went to adult friendfinders (all I can say is wow - this is the place where the murderers must hang out ..... or voyeurs ... very strange place where people post naked pictures of themseves - do they LOOK at those pictures before they put them up there - certain parts of the anatomy just don't look that good with a zoom lens-but that's a different article for your newsletter! )
As for safety, I think you have to exercise good sense and caution on all dates. Who is to say the guy you met at the church social or the supermarket is any less or more an axe murderer than the guy you meet on the Internet?
Good Rules of ANY Dating for me are:
· Get as much info as possible but minimum info. Full name, a phone number (work, home, mobile), address if you can, work place if you can. Men seem to be a lot less cautious than women and would give me their home and work number before ever meeting me. Then give that info to one of your friends.
· Never give out any phone number other than your mobile number. Never give out home address or allow someone you don't know well to pick you up at home.
· Meet in a public place in daylight for a first, brief encounter (i.e. coffee). It stinks to be on a bad date for 3 hours in the dark.
· Take your own car. Don't meet in a parking lot and get into a car with someone you don't know well.
· Arrange to call a friend when you get home to let someone know you made it back OK.

Pros of Internet Dating
· You really can get to know someone very well before you decide to go out if they give you accurate info. Saves spending 3 hours talking to the guy and realizing he loves WWF wrestling and muscle cars and you like walks on the beach and art museums.
· Lots of variety and lots of people to pick from.
· It can be a lot of fun
· There are a lot of normal people out there just like you looking for a friend or date.

Cons of Internet Dating
· People lie. Darn! But they lie in person too - it's just in person they can't post a picture of themselves 20 years ago and get away with it.
· You can't see their eyes and read the chemistry until you meet them. I've had great email and phone conversations with a guy for a month only to meet them and yuck! - not enough chemistry for a friendship. On the flip side I've had average email conversations with men that ended up with great chemistry in person.

I learned the things to watch out for:
· Guys who fall in love with you quickly - run quickly - they want someone and if you are reasonably nice, you will be their someone
· Guys who are still wrapped up in griping about their ex or paying child support. Puh... leeese. I'm a single mom raising 2 sons on my own. I can listen to 1 or 2 stories about your ex and then drop it. Otherwise, go to counseling and stop using me as your therapist. It's a date - not a couch session with your shrink. Not a problem limited to internet dates by the way.

Be smart, take precautions and realize that the person on the other side of the email may be just as normal as you are....or not. But you're smart people - use your brain, try internet dating and have fun. If you end up dating Ted Bundy, you didn't use your brain and shame on you!

P.S. I met my significant other of 2 years at SSQQ after giving up on dating (internet and otherwise) because I got tired all the games people play on the dating game. We became friends first and then after a group outing one night with a bunch of SSQQ friend, I got a surprise kiss in the parking lot ... and the rest is history. Go SSQQ! :-)
6. I was just reading the newsletter and the section about internet dating. I have used that method, I do not have a particular story to share good or bad but I found that meeting women via the internet is no different than meeting them any other way. To me, the internet is just another method you can use just like joining a "common interest" club, a church singles group, or taking dance classes. 
My experience with meeting women via the internet has been positive. Sure, there were bumps in the road such as one woman who totally lied about her appearance (this was before photo profiles became prevalent) and another woman who stood me up without a good explanation for it. However, I simply just chalked those up for experience, laughed it off, and moved on to the next one. Life is way too short to let that get to you. You just never know when that special someone might walk into your life and, if you are too busy mourning over what went bad, that opportunity will pass you by.
I presently have a profile on Match.Com; On their site, they have a section devoted to guidelines to follow when responding to someone who has expressed an interest. I do not want to sound cruel, but I would be willing to bet that if that woman with the airline pilot had followed some of those guidelines, she could have saved herself a lot of grief. Sure, the pilot may have been a smooth operator who could cover most of his tracks but there is no way he can cover them all. 
Thanks for reading.

7. On a personal level, things are sort of the same. I'm still single. I've had one or two dates but haven't met anyone I wanted to see again. I know, I know, I think I must be a little too picky. After all I do require that the men I date at least have teeth :) I think I just must have needed a break for a while in the relationship/dating area. I don't worry about it. I do miss having someone in my life at times. As a matter of fact I have just signed up on the Internet. This is not the first time I have given this a try. I have tried it off and on for the last 3-4 years. I have not ever met anyone I dated more than 3 times but have made some friends. I know you were asking for some stories. I do have maybe one or two stories, one was a guy I went to lunch with that had 2 cell phones and talked on both of them almost the entire time! The Internet dating thing has improved though. When I first signed on people did not have pictures. I figured I could stand anything for an hour and I guess I was right but I would hate to go through that again. You would write back and forth getting to know one another and then arrange to meet. Most of the time their writing skills far exceeded other attributes and it was a disappointment. Perhaps I gave up too easily because after 1 or 2 of these meetings I would take my profile off. Nowadays, if no pic...no email. I won't bother. I have always had difficulty turning someone down in person so, most of the time I'm ashamed to admit I would say "yes" when they asked me if I would see them again. Then I would get home and fret about what I was going to say to get myself out of this. It usually went something like this....I'm afraid I haven't been totally honest with you or myself. "After our _______(lunch or dinner) I realize that I am not ready to start dating after the ! breakup from my boyfriend." Isn't that pitiful? I have a few other excuses. I have even tried the truth. The other day I replied to a man who was 6'5", lives on 2 acres in Tomball, and to top it off he looked like a big ol redneck. I wrote him a polite note thanking him for taking time to write but since we live on opposite ends of the earth and I'm a city girl, that perhaps we both just pass on this one. Well, he got all bent out of shape and wrote me a note...hang on, I'll see if I can find it...By the way, my username is Ihaveeyebrows....you are supposed to pick an attribute or hobby and I wrote the profile in a hurry and every username I tried was being used so...Ihaveeyebrows came to mind. Anyway, this is his initial email to me and what I replied follows:

My name is Bobby,Live in Tomball Tx 2acres been single 1yr,married once long time ago no hang ups of past or now,Oh Im the one standing up in boat,do not have long side burns now if that scared you(smile) been in business for self all my life.Im Italian/German can cook REALLY no BS,one woman man two are too much trouble(smile again)if you don't SPIT CUSS KICK,THROW THINGS BITE to HARD (------) do I have to write smile again? Drop a line Luv BOBBY

Part of their profile is usually attached to their email and here is his:

Iam 6'5" 219lbs good build blue eyes,brown hair,not ELVIS almost HA ha,really Iam easy to look at to be with.I will listen,try to understand your feelings always,will not argue but will always talk when needed to you and I like to make you happy and keep that smile and gleam in your eyes.Iam down to earth honest very fun loving,passion,love joy peace of mind are very important to me.Iam self secure financially not real rich not poor,been in business all my life.Married once no kids but helped raise four from my past realations and it is all behind me,no hangups no regreats.Like the wind,water,stars,not a couch tater a good movie is ok.Iam Italian/german family of doctors,father side,Mother Italian,yes I can cook.I let you have your own space.Not to good at typing,My picture will be posted next week,Iam the one standing up,was deep sea fishing in Maui. WRITE ME I have never done this before. LOVE BOBBY 

So, after receiving his email and reading his profile and looking at what looked like a 1970's pic of a man with Elvis sideburns, I wrote the following:

Hi Bobby,

Thanks for the complimentary and funny email.

I'm also glad to hear that you too have eyebrows :)

I can see though that we live millions of miles apart. I live in Sugar Land but at this point would rather live smack dab in the middle of Houston. I am definitely a city girl. I don't think we are a very good match...besides I bite really hard!

Good luck to you in your search.

Take care,
Ms. X

I thought it was polite enough but apparently he took offense to this and wrote back:

Thanks for writting back with your very informed judgement,based on your knowledge and great experience you have in putting on your eyebrows and the rest of your face.Hope you also have luck with your hook in hooking your Sugarland fish,keep on selling it is safer than deep sea fishing,my dear!! Im going to eat a piece of fish and go to sleep--GOOD NIGHT!

So, I wrote back:

You just can't be nice to some people. 

Sorry you took my not being interested in you so hard. I was trying to be polite. I thought you deserved the courtesy of response with an explanation but perhaps no response is better if there is not interest for whatever reason.

Then I blocked him from contacting me again. Seems like a little too much work doesn't it?

8. Hi Rick,

Place me on the horror story side of your Internet dating article . . .Stay clear; evil lurks.

The experience I am writing of begins with an early evening drink on New Years Eve.
His name was Sonny. His story was that he was divorced three years with custody of a 12-year-old son.

I was divorced a little over three years and had sole custody of my 11-year-old daughter.
We were both professionals making a good living . . . Oh I forgot to mention he was very attractive, not the gut wrenching kind, but definitely cute enough to be interested. We had a pleasant phone conversation where he informed me that he had just broken off an engagement. He was emphatic that honesty and openness was essential to building a strong relationship. I told him that I thoroughly agreed. We shared a lot of small chat, and then decided it was time to go to our respective homes. He kissed me goodbye-3 small, short kisses . . .My initial feeling was that I left him thinking I wasn't interested, but I received a phone call while I was out with my daughter that evening. He asked me out for the following evening-New Years Day.

By end January I felt the relationship was growing readily . . .I now was very attracted to him. He did all the 'right' things. We saw each other a couple times each week and he phoned frequently. He was very affectionate and attentive. At this point we took the relationship to the physical level. Big mistake. Once Sonny got what he wanted, things quickly fell apart. 

He had a ski trip scheduled with his son in early February (this was planned prior to my appearance in his life) - he assured me he would call from the trip and he made a date for the Sunday evening when he returned. Well, no phone calls and no date.

For the next couple of weeks he kept making and breaking dates, the entire time sounding like everything was fine between us when we spoke. Mid February we finally got together, including my daughter.. He gave me a story about his mother falling and breaking her sternum . . .Original you must admit! I felt like I was getting more excuses than anything else . . .But I was so comfortable and enjoyed him tremendously so I hung in there. He asked me to take a day off from work the following week, so we could spend the whole day together alone. I rescheduled my appointments and cleared Wednesday. He called and told me that his Tuesday meeting was rescheduled to Wednesday, but he could get free by 1 p.m. and was looking forward to being with me.

On Tuesday evening (March 1) he left a message saying that Carol (his ex fiancι who was living in California) would be in town Thursday and staying for a couple of weeks. He sounded very 'funny'. He said he would call . . . I didn't hear from him again. On March 23 I phoned him . . . His attitude was cold and aloof. He stated that he was marrying Carol and quickly ended the conversation. 

The conclusions I have gathered from this experience were that he was looking for someone to fill his needs temporarily until his fiancι was able to be with him. The whole honesty bit was just a line to get in my pants. This experience did not turn me into a man-hater, although I do believe that most men are untrustworthy. Sorry, Guys!

I have had several other Internet dating experiences as well. I always asked a lot of open ended questions to see what kind of responses I would get. If we connected on line, I would suggest a phone call and continue the 'interview' process. If there was chemistry on the phone, I would take it to the next level---a brief meeting in a public place either mid day or early evening.

Boy, there were a couple of surprises-I learned the hard way to always ask for a pic. After a nice phone conversation, I agreed to meet one of my Internet contacts for lunch. Not only was this man the most physically unattractive individual I ever encountered, in person he had no personality as well. It was the briefest lunch in history. . .recalling a scene from Cyrano de Bergerac, I was convinced I had talked to someone else on the phone and got this guy in his place. 

Another time, I was invited to meet a guy for drinks. I hired a babysitter and away I went. I drove for an hour all the way across town to meet at Pappasitos. The tightwad made me pay the one dollar for a beer (it was Happy Hour), but I wasn't happy. I didn't stay for the second beer. What an unbelievable waste of some valuable free time. I know they say you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your prince, but this experience was ridiculous. It was about this time during my Internet dating phase where I concluded there had to be a better way to meet better men. Thank goodness for the dance studio.

I guess my overall recommendation would be to explore all the other alternatives first. Use the Internet as a last resort for dating and tread carefully. The world is full of predators and some men even come in the guise of 'nice guise'. Whatever you do, get a picture first, agree to meet in a public place and make damn sure he matches his picture before sitting down. Then at least if something happens the police will have something to go on…


Business has been very good for SSQQ this year. Although everything could change again in the blink of another terrorist attack, for now the numbers at our studio have been very healthy. 

This July we hit a huge upward growth spike. We had 200 more students in July than we did in June. And June was a pretty good month. 

Was July 2002 a record attendance? Maybe. There were a couple months back in early 2000 where we had huge numbers of students. It was the intersection of two 'eras' - the "Zoot Suit Riot" Swing era was still going strong and the "Living La Vida Loca" Salsa era had just begun. Unfortunately back then we did not have a way to keep track of attendance, but my gut tells me attendance was a bit larger in those Spring months of 2000. It doesn't make a whole lot of difference. Either way this past month was so crowded it seemed there were nights when we could not fit another human being in the studio. 

So I suppose you all think I am deliriously happy? No, not really. There are a lot of problems that come with success. Obviously I would rather deal with the problems of success than those of failure, but a headache is still a headache. 

Problem Number 1: Over-Crowding of Classes

Here are two recent emails: 


We have been taking swing, salsa, and tango classes at SSQQ for about two and a half months now, and we have a couple of requests for you.

Each of the levels that we advance to seem to have the same problem: Too many people in each class! Your instructors are great, but they are having difficulties both providing a high level of information, as well as being able to complete the curriculum in a timely fashion. They give it their best, but they are very much out numbered. This also causes several of the students, including both of us, to be stepped on and run over regularly due to the lack of room.

Are you considering a limit to the class size? Or maybe opening the rooms up and reducing the number of simultaneous classes? Please let us know."


I'm taking beginning swing/jitterbug. The Saturday class is too large. We're bumping into out neighboring couples too often. It is also difficult to see and hear the instructor. I feel like it takes away from my learning and enjoyment experience both. 

Actually the Monday class is also quite crowded. The Sunday class is large, but we get by okay. 

How about limiting the size of the classes or opening more sections?"

It may come as a surprise to many of you, but we actually do have room limits. The problem is they are difficult to enforce. It is pretty easy for students to make class transfers behind our back.

Incident 1: On Tuesday, July 9, a woman came in with a Beginning Salsa receipt from Leisure Learning. I personally took her registration. Later when I went to find my daughter, I saw the same woman in Intermediate Salsa as I walked through the room. I asked her if she was in the wrong class and she said no, she had registered with LLU because she had a credit coming to her, but since 'Intermediate Salsa' wasn't offered in their catalogue, she had been forced to sign up for Beginning Salsa instead. So she switched. If you think this woman is the only one pulling this trick, guess again. 

Incident 2: On July 16, our Registrar turned away 8 people trying to register for Salsa classes on Tuesday in the second week of class. 

Our Internet Bulletin Board had already warned these classes were full, but not everyone knows to look there yet. Of course this obstacle didn't stop everyone; a woman signed up for a Salsa class on another night instead. Using her Thursday receipt she bypassed the Tuesday hall monitor. The registrar specifically asked her what she was doing; she replied, "I am going to tell my ride what I am doing tonight." The registrar made a point to notice that she indeed went ahead and participated in her class.

In other words, here were two specific moments when we tried to enforce the limits, but a student cheated to get their way. Sounds just like the contraflow scofflaws! Maybe we need to set up an SSQQ 'Hero' program to turn them in!! (just kidding).

Possible Solution: We can do away with Parallel classes. As an example this would prevent someone from Thursday from sliding over to Tuesday for extra practice. Is this what our students want? If you note in the second letter above, the Swing student is coming all three nights a week and complaining about the crowding at the same time. 

Apparently everyone wants it both ways - pay for one class, come all three nights a week, and not have it crowded. 

Who ever said running a business was easy?

Problem 2: People walking through classes

I cannot tell all of you how unbelievably bad some of our students have become about walking through classes while they are in session. For starters, it has become very common to dance in Room One during Break, then use the restrooms after Break is over. On some nights Room 2 isn't clear of people till 10 minutes after Break ends. 

In addition I see 3 to 6 people a night use the restrooms during class even though this often means walking through three different rooms one way, then walking through those same three rooms on the way back to class. The disruptions are ridiculous. 

Take Room 5. A person decides they can't wait for Break or the end of class. This person disrupts Room 5 by opening the door and leaving the room. He or she disrupts Room 4. He or she disrupts Room 3. If it is a woman, then she continues on to to the restroom in Room 2. Then she returns to her class. Back through Room 2. Open the door to Room 3 - disrupt them. Back through Room 4. Open the door to Room 5 and disrupt them. Now multiply this behavior by 3 to 6 people a night. 

An 'emergency' is one thing, but these people don't appear to be in pain. Basically they decide their needs justify disrupting the attention of 150 other students as they stroll back and forth. My favorites are the ones who dry their hands on the way back to class and dump the towel in the trash can of one room before entering their own room.

And don't get me started on cell phones. Ring ring ring. So out of embarrassment they don't answer it. Two minutes later, same phone. Ring ring ring. I told you not to get me started…

Problem 3: Not enough parking. 

Parking is a bit of a mystery at SSQQ. Once upon a time we had plenty of parking. We still have enough parking down on First Street, but unfortunately on crowded nights it involves more of a walk than in the old days. 

Here is a recent email question:
"Where does one park on Wednesday night if 100 people are in the waltz class?"
First Street used to be completely open for parking on both sides of the street. Now one half of the street has become restricted with 'no parking at any time' signs. I called the City of Bellaire. It seems there were some complaints from families in the neighborhood to the City of Bellaire. This is what caused the street to be restricted. The restricted side is the business side, not the residential side. This makes little or no sense since the residential people complained. I also wonder why Southwestern Bell doesn't protest since many of their employees used to park on the street. 
It has to be infuriating to the SSQQ students who walk past a totally deserted street wondering why no one is allowed to park there. Well, now you have your answer. 
I have considered talking the Bellaire City Council, but I admit to a little fear when it comes to 'fighting City Hall'. If things get any worse, I may have no choice. 

Here is an interesting email - which I appreciate since it gives me an insight into the problem.
"I too have received a parking ticket. About a year and a half ago I found a spot on the street that was almost big enough for my car. My front end was perhaps a foot onto someone's driveway, and some kind officer at the Bellaire PD left me a present. I paid the fine, mailing my check to the court clerk. On the memo I wrote "for a good blowjob." A little juvenile perhaps, but I felt it was warranted.
Later, I received a message on my answering machine from the court clerk. It turned out the judge wasn't too happy with my comment and would not accept the check. I decided it was best to call off the fight and send a new check with no comment on it."

Actually I understand entirely the desire to fight City Hall. I have felt the same urges many times. But I think the roots of our parking problem stem from friction between a few of our students and the people who live in the neighborhood. Let me remind everyone that if it comes down to a fight between people who vote versus people who are just passing through, the voters are going to win every time. Furthermore I wouldn't be a bit surprised if someone like the judge mentioned above passed a complaint over to the Street Zoning committee after an incident like that.

Incident 1: On Monday, July 8, I went to park in the dentist's office parking lot across the street from the studio. There was an angry man blocking the driveway, so I found another place to park. 
Curious, I looked again the following week on July 15. This time there was a truck blocking the driveway with the same angry man sitting on the sidewalk. After parking my car elsewhere, I crossed the street to talk with him. 
He was angry with SSQQ for a number of reasons. He said our students leave empty beer cans all the time. He said once he came by late one night and found a man and a woman having a screaming argument in his parking lot. He said another time he came late to treat an emergency patient and neither of them could park there because the whole lot was taken up with cars from our studio. He added another time students cursed at him when he told them to go park somewhere else. He basically hates our studio. 
My guess is the same problems this dentist complained of were the reasons the Door Warehouse decided to tow our cars. I will never forgive the Door Warehouse for their hypocritical behavior - they still park in our parking lot every day - but at least I can guess why they decided to act so callously. 
So as a result of rudeness on the part of a few SSQQ students, half of First Street has been taken away, the Door Warehouse parking lot has been taken away, and now the dentist's office across the street has been taken away too. 
The fact of the matter is that there is still enough parking for SSQQ, but sometimes you are just going to have to walk. You walk a similar distance at crowded malls or movie theaters, so hopefully you won't mind doing the same at SSQQ. 
We have to walk because a few members of our group have acted poorly towards people in the neighborhood. We have firm rule against taking drinks out of the building, but I know many people do it anyway. Each night when I go home I see my own parking lot full of cans that our students have littered it with. Well, the consequence of rudeness and disrespect is that the people of the neighborhood now hate us. As a result we have less parking. 
Imagine how this makes me feel. 
I doubt that writing about this problem in the Newsletter is going to solve much. My guess is the majority of the people who cause the problems aren't terribly interested in our Newsletter. But at least it helps the rest of us understand better what is going on around us. 

Send your comments to Rick Archer, dance@ssqq.com I will keep your name confidential.


Tue 07/30/2002 9:29 AM

"Hi. I have read through your website and am very interested in taking classes. The thing is that because of the times that you are offering, I am concerned about safety. I am considering coming alone (I really want to learn how to dance) but I am worried about safety. Do you have security or someone who is able to escort me to my car?

Thanks, Martha" 

Rick Archer's response:

"We have been open for 25 years and have never had an incident involving safety. Our studio is located in a very nice neighborhood of Bellaire which is patrolled and protected by an excellent police force.

Although there is danger everywhere and I admit I look over my shoulder just to be on the safe side when going to my car at night, I cannot think of a safer spot to be. 

Ask someone from class to escort you. There are many people at the studio who will be happy to help."

Contributed by noted blonde SSQQ instructor Anita Williams who asked me to explain it to her…

It was snowing heavily and blowing to the point that visibility was almost zero when the blonde got off work. She made her way to her car and wondered how she was going to make it home. She sat in her car while it warmed up and thought about her situation. She finally remembered her daddy's advice, that if she got caught in a blizzard she should wait for a snow plow to come by and follow it. That way she would not get stuck in a snow drift. This made her feel much better and sure enough, in a little while a snow plow went by and she started to follow it. As she followed the snow plow, she was feeling very smug as they continued and she was not having any problem with the blizzard conditions. After quite some time had passed, she was somewhat surprised when the snow plow stopped and the driver got out and came back to her car and signaled for her to roll down her window. The snow plow driver wanted to know if she was alright, as she had been following him for a long time. She said that she was fine, and told him of her daddy's advice to follow a snowplow when caught in a blizzard. The driver replied that it was OK with him, and she could continue if she wanted, but he was done with the Wal-Mart parking lot and was going over to K-Mart.


Classes begin the week of Sunday, September 1st. 


Maureen Brunetti and Neal Pellis will teach their wonderful SWING CHARLESTON course on Sundays in September at 4:30 pm. Swing Charleston patterns are flashy, eye-catching patterns that are fun to learn and awesome to see!! This course has not been offered in over a year. I promise you Swing dancers it is a definite treat. 

Judy Archer brings ADVANCED SALSA MAMBO NUMBER 5 to Sundays at 4:30 pm. This is a chance to learn some great Salsa patterns and to avoid the big crowds. 

SHAG comes to SSQQ on Sundays at 7 pm. Taught by Judy Archer, Shag is similar to West Coast Swing. It is the beloved dance of South Carolina. Shag is a Very Kool dance where the man is the star of the show, not the lady. When we watch WCS tapes & we can't take our eyes off the men, it is often because the man is using the eye-catching Shag footwork. The footwork & syncopations make this a tough course. Recommended for advanced East Coast & West Coast dancers only. 

BACHATA comes to Tuesdays in September at 7 pm with Linda Cook. It isn't very easy to describe a dance in writing. It is sort of like explaining the color red to a blind man. That said, the Bachata is an emerging Salsa dance that is distinct from Merengue and Salsa Mambo. If Mambo is known as the Sexy Dance and Merengue is known as the Walking Dance, I call Bachata the "Accordion Dance". You know, Bachata is similar to Zydeco accordion to Jill Banta. Bachata is similar to Bossa Nova accordion to Judy Archer. If you can't dance to a salsa Song, then it must be a Bachata song accordion to Linda Cook. And if you want to take an interesting class, take Bachata accordion to me. 

INTERMEDIATE BALLROOM featuring FOXTROT AND WALTZ returns on Tuesdays in 
September. Learn more about the lost art of Formal Dance with advanced patterns! 

Here it comes! After many requests, Sharon Crawford and John Jones have put together SSQQ's first-ever ADVANCED WESTERN WALTZ LEVEL 5 for September. This course brings the opportunity to learn the patterns the professionals use in their competition dance routines. This course will not be offered again soon, so it's now or never!! Do not miss this class!!

GHOST TOWN 7 on Wednesdays will be the final course taught by Amanda Keiser. She is leaving to take a sabbatical. Amanda is considered by 'those who know' to be one of the finest instructors SSQQ has. Be sure to give her a hug!!

INTERMEDIATE NIGHT CLUB TWOSTEP will be the final course taught on Fridays by Susie Merrill, the lady who introduced Night Club to SSQQ (Susie moves to Wednesdays in October)! Beg Night Club drew a big crowd on Fridays in August, so expect another big class for Susie's finale in September as well! The popularity of Night Club continues to grow!


On Saturday, AUGUST 24, we will have our annual BEACH BALL PARTY. We will have Western dancing in Room 1 with Whip/West Coast Swing in Room 4. 

Our 7-9 pm Crash Courses include:

DIRTY DANCING - Wil and Rachel (cpls)

You West Coast Swing dancers will DEFINITELY want to take my HOT HOT HOT WCS PATTERNS CC because these moves are Sleazy Bar Whip caliber moves in August. Imagine the skimpy outfits these women will be wearing as we teach them how to gyrate their sweaty bodies to these delicious, provocative, heat-producing illusions. 

Dress Hawaiian or You'll Leave Cryin'!! This means wear a Hawaiian/Tropical shirt or dress so loud you can't hear the music…

The Beach Ball Party features the historic Balloon Race. The SSQQ Staff Team is still undefeated after all these years. However this year it appears the infamous Margaux Mann intends to break the mysterious curse of the Balloon Race. She and her husband Carl have been busily training on a daily basis with their son Nicholas and their daughter Emily to take on the SSQQ juggernaut at this party (although as we go to press there are signs they are chickening out.) Three years ago the SSQQ Staff kept its incredible streak alive by pulling out an amazing come-from-behind victory. Two years ago it was pretty close too. Margaux sat out last year to nurse her wounded pride, but until recently she promised to be back with a vengeance. Will she show or is it blow? Find out Saturday!

If you are actually insane enough to desire more details on this crazy event, be my guest and click here: http://ssqq.com/information/advent28.htm

In addition to the Balloon Race, we will learn a flashy line dance called 'The Beach Ball Cha Cha' which you will enjoy gyrating your hips to. The 2002 Beach Ball promises to be a Rockin' dance party! Circle it on your calendar and join us!



SLOW DANCING - Marty and Adele

9:15 - Midnight

Better dress Kool or Go Sit on the Stool!!

The idea behind the Kool Kat Klub party is to assume you are a Kool Kat, male or female variety, on your way to a night of hot Swing dancing at the Koolest dance club in Harlem. As most of you know, Harlem was the epicenter for the birth of Swing music in the 20s and for the Lindy Hop at the same time. Harlem later became the home of some of the most famous Jazz artists in history. 

It's your job to dress Kool. Anyone who doesn't have a clue how to dress Kool doesn't deserve to come to a party as Kool as this one. Swing Nerds stay away. Hot Kitties and Bad Cats only. 



9:15 - Midnight

Dress Dude or Be Treated Rude! 

Everyone has at least one hot Western outfit in their closet. Find it. Put it on. Wear it. Don't be afraid to take a fashion risk. Look your very sharpest. The Dude Ranch Party is about dressing sharp and looking good. Dancing is an afterthought. Image is everything.

August 25 - September 1

Bon Voyage Day is Sunday, August 25. At this point we are up to 85 people as our numbers have grown dramatically. Even Gary and Betty Richardson are going!! Gary told me to put this in the Newsletter so all his dance partners at the Longhorn wouldn't be so disappointed on Tuesday. 

Believe it or not, there are cabins still left. If you got the money and you got the time, you can still go on this trip. Guys need to get on this boat NOW. We have 17 more women than men. Do not miss this chance!!!! Anne Adams is the travel agent. 713 957 1705


For some unknown reason, Linda Cook felt like I didn't understand a thing she said to me about the well-known Latin dance Bachata. Here is her email:

Wed 08/21/2002 4:09 PM

Hey Rick,

lets go over this again.........there is a rhythm called "Ibo" that I teach in Beg Merengue. It is 123kick, 123kick. It has a basic 8 beat count. Now as I teach this I tell the group that this is the salsa you refer to in this class. When they dance Ibo's to salsa it's usually in a closed basic and to very slow salsa, this is their romantic dance and they don't do much. Then we take these same steps and put them to Merengue music and add exciting moves and speed. Now we can do the same thing to Cumbia, because this is what they call these Ibo's in Mexico. Zydeco has the same steps and now Bachata, but to make it more sexy they step, step, step, hip thrust and on again on the other foot. It looks sexy like Lambada but is totally different. I usually tell them with this one rhythm they can dance to all these different types of music and if we have time I demonstrate this fact. Does this help?

Kick or hip we are ready for this class, it's fun either way. Our crash course was lots of fun and laughing. 

Linda Cook

contributed by Judith Williams

3 salesmen check into a cheap motel. The man behind the desk said the room costs $30. Each man pays $10 and goes to the room. 
A while later the clerk behind the desk realizes the room was only $25, so he sends the bell boy to the three men's room with $5. 
The bell boy stops and wonders how he will split $5 evenly without having to exert more than the minimum necessary effort so he pockets the $5, pulls out 3 One Dollar bills. Then he goes to their room and hands each man a one dollar bill. 
This means each man paid $9 for the room which totals $27. Add the $2 that the bell boy kept which makes $29. 
Where is the other dollar? (Answer at bottom of the page)

Written by Rick Archer

(Editor's Note: Ted Weisgal along with his wife Kathy own Leisure Learning Unlimited. These two people have been instrumental in the success of my dance studio over the years. The story of LLU is literally a modern rags to riches tale full of hard knocks, exploitation, betrayal, and the most satisfying revenge imaginable. For anyone who has ever been in business for themselves or contemplated doing so, the story of Leisure Learning serves as a marvelous testimony to the power of hard work and perseverance. I hope you like it.)

Tuesday, August 20, 2002 9:00 PM
Letter from Ted Weisgal to Rick Archer

As much as I appreciate what you've written, I'm sorry I come across as so serious. You've opened my eyes to the way I come across to others. Hopefully some people see me in a different light. Thanks for the story. I hope what you've written will inspire me to do more of what you claim I do. 

Wed 08/21/2002 10:55 AM
My Response to Ted

You seem to be concerned about your seriousness. For what you accomplished, I think your intensity and focus has served you very well. You found the perfect job to match your nature. Your intensity is a gift. You have it; other people don't. Your force of will is something to behold.

I knew Alex and Donna pretty well. I meant it when I said I thought they were talented. Alex had immense personal charm. His political abilities were the best I have ever seen. Donna was very creative, very bright, very poised, and unlike Alex pretty committed herself. You were a huge underdog.

Yet you beat them both and put their programs out of business. Both Alex and Donna underestimated you. They didn't see what you had inside - your heart, your willingness to work 24/7. You left them both shaking their heads saying "how in the hell did he do it?"

Let me tell you something - Donna had lost weight and was starting to lose her hair from nerves by the time she packed it in. She was a nervous wreck. That move to Washington DC was a classic face-saving exit. She didn't want any part of you by time it was over. You humiliated her - and she deserved it.

So quit picking on yourself for being serious!! It is a strength, not a weakness. I doubt you would have succeeded without your amazing drive. You are the embodiment of the American ideal - that hard work pays off!!

Considering the head start both programs had on you, your come-from-behind victories are a testimony to your own considerable talent. My girlfriend Marla, no slouch at business herself, proof-read my article. When she finished, she smiled in acknowledgement and said your story impressed her a lot.

I have admired your drive for twenty years and I finally decided to tell the community you serve about it.

So embrace your seriousness!! Keep up the good work and quit worrying about your image. You are starting to sound like Alex... ;-) I will take your substance over his style any day.

And one more thing - As far as Recreation majors go, I nearly went back to graduate school to get a recreation degree. We are both perfectly suited for the businesses we are in.

Rick Archer"


Contributed Judith Walsh and Jill Banta

This month's picture is a dog that looks like a bath towel. Or maybe it is a bath towel that looks like a strange dog. You decide!!


Contributed by Maureen Brunetti

Boudreaux and Thibedoux are visiting their brother in the Texas State Prison in Huntsville. 
As they walk down Houston street they see a sign that says "Suits--$5. Trousers--$2.50/pair, Shirts $2."

Boudreaux's eyes light up and he gets and idea. He says, "See that Thib, these Texans don't know nothing. These clothes will sell for ten times this price back home!! We done gon buy a bunch of dese clothes, and when we get back to Lafayette, we make a fortune." 

Thibedoux concurs.

Boudreaux goes on, "Now when we done go in dere, you don say nuthin, and I gon put on my best Texas accent. If dey think we be Cajuns, dey gon try and swindle us." 

Thibedoux concurs.

So they enter the store. Boudreaux swaggers over to the counter. "Say there, podner, how 'bout stakin' me out with, say, 200 of those suits at $5, 100 of those trousers at $2.50, and 200 shirts at $2."

"You boys are Louisiana coonasses, aren't you?" the guy at the counter asks.

"Goddamn. How you done guess 'at, now?" Boudreaux asks with great surprise.

"Because this is a dry-cleaners."


The dynamic duo have not resurfaced yet at the studio. All I know is they got Ann Bush and Brian White to substitute for them last Sunday and they didn't report to work. I suppose they were off getting married and shirking their teaching duties. Here's all that I have so far: 

Tue 07/23/2002 4:32 PM
"Dear Rick,
I have some great news -- Jeff and I are running off to Colorado next month to get married!! 

It's almost like we are eloping except we have been planning it for quite a while, and our immediate family will be there.

On August 16th we will have a small outdoor ceremony at Lily Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park, near the town of Estes Park. 

We are a little worried about potential wildfires. There is a fire burning now just south of Estes Park, but the area seems to have had recent and abundant rain. We are sure that our day will be blessed no matter what happens.

As you know, Jeff and I met three years ago at SSQQ. He was a student in the very first class I taught (we call it my rookie class) back in the Fall of 1999. It took a few months of flirting before we actually went out on a date, but we have been together ever since.

We will email pictures when we get them--we are expecting the backdrop to be beautiful.

Oh yeah--we won't be teaching on Sunday, August 18th but we have arranged for our buddies Ann and Brian to substitute."

Love, Tracy

(Editor's Note: Tracy has been like my kid sister for many years now. I am so happy for both her and Jeff. They have been acting like a married couple for some time now so this special moment in their lives comes as no surprise to me.)

We have 18 classic jokes ready for you to read on our August Joke Page. 
Here is a great joke from the September Joke Page. As an old man, you can easily understand why I am so attracted to this joke. 

September CS 14: Aesop's Fables
Submitted by Jill Banta

A farmer goes out one day and buys a brand new stud rooster for his chicken coop. The young rooster walks over to the old rooster and says, "Ok, old fellow, time to retire." 

The old rooster says, "You can't handle all these chickens .... Look at what it did to me!"

The young rooster replies, "Now, don't give me a hassle about this. Time for the old to step aside and the young to take over, so take a hike, you old geezer."

The old rooster says, "Aw, c'mon . . . just let me have the two old hens over in the corner. I won't bother you." 

The young rooster says, "Scram! Beat it! You're washed up! I'm taking over!"

The old rooster thinks for a minute and then says to the young rooster, "I'll tell you what, young fellow, I'll have a race around the farmhouse with you. Whoever wins the race gets domain of the chicken coop."

The young rooster says, "You know I'm going to beat you, old man."

"Well, okay, yes, you probably will beat me, so just to be fair, why don't you give me a little head start so it's more of a challenge. If I beat you, we can race again even steven."

The young chicken smiles at this. Now he has nothing to lose. They line up in back of the farm house, get a chicken to cluck "Go!" with the old rooster at the door and the young rooster at the back of the coop. 

They round the front of the farm house and the young rooster is only about 5 inches behind the old rooster. The young rooster starts to nip at the old rooster's tail feathers to irritate him even more. He is gaining fast!

The farmer, sitting on the porch, looks up, sees what's going on, grabs his shotgun and BOOM!, he blows the young rooster to bits.

He sadly shakes his head and says, "Damn, that's the third gay rooster in a row I've bought. Maybe I'll just stick with the old guy for a while longer." 

The moral?.... The Treachery that comes with old age can overcome youth, skill, and innocence.

Contributed by Jane Downs
ACUMEN (AK-yuh-muhn), nou. Quickness of perception or discernment; shrewdness shown by keen insight. 

Using her sharply developed sense of business acumen, Henrietta offered free hair cuts as a ploy to lure customers away from her competitors. 

(Editor's Note: Jane usually contributes a word that I had no clue previously existed. I am pleased to announce for the first time ever I have actually heard of one of her words.)

MINACITY (mih NAH sih TEE) noun. Disposition to threaten (From the Latin minae, meaning 'threats') also minacious adj.
The terribly aggressive man had a minacious personality. 

(Editor's note: OK. Ouch. You got me on this one, Jane.)


(Editor's Note: The Blue Side Jokes are one of the great undiscovered secrets of the SSQQ web site. Anyone who is on the SSQQ Registration List is welcome to have access. All you need to do to subscribe is email me from the email address you use to register for classes and request it. dance@ssqq.com This month there are 16 August Blue Side jokes. Below is one of my favorites!

September BS 02: The Explanation
Submitted by Gillian Tilbury

A little girl asks her Mom, "Mom, may I take the dog for a walk around the block?" 

Mom says, "No, absolutely not. The dog is in heat." 

"What does that mean?" asks the child. 

Exasperated and saddled with a million chores, Mom says, "Go ask your Father to explain. I think he's in the garage." 

The little girl goes to the garage and says, "Dad, can I take Susie for a walk around the block? I asked Mom but she said the dog was in heat and that I should ask you." 

Dad says, "Don't worry about it. Just bring Susie over here." He takes a rag, soaks it with gasoline, and scrubs the dog's butt with it. Satisfied with his good work, he says, "Ok, you can go now but keep Susie on the leash and only go one time around the block." 

The little girl nods with understanding and leaves, but soon returns a few minutes later with no dog on the leash. 

Dad says, "Where's Susie?" 

The little girl says, "She should be here in a minute. Susie ran out of that gas you gave her halfway down the block and there's another dog pushing her home."


Take me out to the Ball Game! SSQQ sponsored another logic contest this month called "Who's on First?" It was a clever Baseball Logic puzzle that obviously was a stumper since only 4 people got it right as opposed to 6 the month before. And there were no repeaters from July to August. 

The August winners are: (drum roll please)
1. Linda Chechura
2. Danny Sohn
3. Sara Fielder
4. Jordan Kossack

Pretty smart group of people!


Here's a goofy Word Puzzle quiz for you. There are 48 pictures that depict phrases. They vary in difficulty. For example:

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii i

Answer: Private Eye. Tricky, right? Did you get it without my help? If so, this quiz might be right up your alley. Most of them are pretty easy, but there are definitely some chin-in-hand eyebrow furrowers. 

Email me your best answers for the 48 pictures by Friday morning 9 am, September 13. 

The top 3 finishers will each get a Crash Course for two people for free. The next 7 will get a free Practice Nights. I will list the winners in the next SSQQ Newsletter and tell the world how smart you are. PS - you must get over half-right to get a list of the answers. 


Contributed by Red Draper

A woman gives birth to a baby, and afterwards, the doctor comes in and says, "I have to tell you something about your baby." 

The woman sits up in bed and says, "What's wrong with my baby, doctor? 

What's wrong?" The doctor says, "Well now, nothing's wrong exactly, but your baby is a little bit different. Your baby is a hermaphrodite." 

The woman says, "A hermaphrodite...what's that?" 

The doctor says, "Well, it means your baby has the...err...features...of both a male and a female." 

The woman turns pale. She says, "Oh My God!! You mean it has a Penis....AND a Brain?"

Contributed by Crista Reuss

Before I lay me down to sleep,
I pray for a man who's not a creep,
One who's handsome, smart and strong,
One who knows I'm never wrong.
One who thinks before he speaks,
When he says he'll call, he won't wait weeks.
I pray that he is gainfully employed,
And when I spend his cash, won't be annoyed.
Pulls out my chair and opens my door,
Massages my back and begs to do more.
Oh! Send me a man who will make love to my mind,
Knows how to reply to "How big's my behind?"
One who'll make love till my body's a twitchin',
In the hall, the bathroom, the garden and kitchen!
I pray that this man will love me no end,
And never attempt to shag my best friend.
And as I kneel and pray by my bed,
I look at the dickhead you sent me instead.

I pray for a girl with nice tits.


Monday, August 05, 2002 1:34 PM

Some students and I have been wondering whether SSQQ could hand out the syllabus at the BEGINNING of the Class instead of at the END of the class. We believe that we can follow the syllabus better after the 4 weeks of class if it was given at the BEGINNING of the Class. Thanks.

Rick Archer's response: 

"No, sorry, giving out syllabuses is a huge headache. We have 1500 students a week and satisfying the syllabus needs of this many people is a full-time job. We have tried your suggestion in the past only to be asked for another copy every week ("I lost mine." "I left mine at home" "I wasn't here last week. Can I get one?"). 
Ever since we switched to handing them out in the final week, the constant demand for syllabi has virtually disappeared. No other studio even gives them out.
Rick Archer"

(Editor's Note: I am willing to open this question up to the student body. I will let my staff hand out syllabuses one week a month PERIOD. Call it SYLLABUS WEEK. Week One is a lousy idea because we don't know how many copies we need. Week Two is a possibility. Week Three is a possibility. Week Four is a possibility. How fair do you think it is to charge $0.50 for a syllabus request in the wrong week?? Send your responses to dance@ssqq.com RA)


One of the reasons SSQQ moved to a computerized Registration system is to keep a better tab on the size of classes. This helps us prevent overcrowding our rooms. 

As a feature of our On-Line system, we now have a Bulletin Board called "Special Announcements" on the first screen of On-Line Registration. 

In June, this Bulletin Board allowed us to announce that several classes had been closed including Judy's popular new Salsa Level 8, Sharon's Intermediate Western Waltz, and Beginning Salsa on Thursdays. In July we closed all Salsa classes on Tuesdays.

It also allowed us to explain which classes were closed to a particular sex. In other words, when a class had 8 more men than women or vice versa, we closed that class to whichever sex would make the imbalance worse. We still allowed couples to register, but a single man or a single woman without a partner was asked not to enter in the second week if this would make things worse. Using this trick we were able to improve the boy-girl ratio of several classes.

Contributed by Chris Holmes

A couple of rednecks are out in the woods hunting when one of them falls to the ground. He doesn't seem to be breathing, his eyes are rolled back in his head.

The other guy whips out his cell phone and calls 911. He gasps to the operator, "Bubba is dead! What should I do?"

The operator, in a calm soothing voice says, "Just take it easy. I can help. First, you need to make absolutely certain that he's dead."

There is a silence, then a shot is heard.

The guy's voice comes back on the line. He says, "OK, he's dead. What do I do next?"



This article was published in August, but we had two more excellent submissions since then which I added to the list. The 9 stories were submitted by SSQQ Newsletter readers. There is plenty of room for more if you have a good story to add. 

The original 9 stories detail their various adventures and misadventures with Internet Dating. They make for compelling reading. This entire article is also a practical guide for anyone who is recently single again and contemplating a plunge into the world of Cyberspace Romance. 

Marlane Kayfes was nice enough to submit an interesting article from the Houston Chronicle entitled "Rules to capture the Heart of Mr. Right in Cyberspace" which I added in. 



We have just completed our first full year of On-Line Registration. I am pleased to report there has not been one incident of credit card theft. It is reassuring to know there is little danger. 

It would save everyone a lot of time - you, us, and your fellow students - if everyone registered on line, but of course we will keep walk-in registration. 

If someone were to ask me the major drawback of the On-Line system, it is not easy for you to change your mind. As I have pointed out before, On Line Registration is a tar baby. Once you register for something, you can't change it yourself and we can't change it without your physical credit card in our hand. This is the truth. 

My online credit card company does not allow for online refunds. This may change someday, but right now that's the way it is. 

So for now we have to use the old-fashioned 'swipe machine' at the studio for returns, but 
here is the some good news - if you make a mistake or change your mind about something, email us ( dance@ssqq.com ) and we will send you written permission to make whatever adjustment is fair to you and fair to us.

Unless you expect you might change your mind, I promise you On-Line Registration is the best to go. 

For the On-Line Anniversary, I asked David Schroeder, the designer of the system, to comment on his experience over the past year and any changes in the industry. Here is what he said:

Wed 08/21/2002 2:46 PM


Thanks for mentioning it. I found that my customers are moving away from in-house servers and towards the Internet as their database server.

Since I put up your site I have built or bid on other sites similar to yours. I found that people do not want to spend big bucks to buy an expensive server for their company's database applications. They see it is more practical and less expensive to use the Internet.

With your Online Registration you have access to a powerful server and its database that would normally cost $60,000 to buy, plus pay the salaries of three full-time employees to maintain it. Instead you paid a web designer to build the web site plus $50 per month to the Internet Service Provider to maintain it.

Besides costs, security is another important factor to consider. Since the Internet Service Provider has more at risk they work harder to make their sites secure. Their secure sites and databases make it almost impossible for a hacker or virus to invade them. If you were to do it in-house you would find yourself hiring a full-time Systems Administration just to keep up with all the latest security threats.

In summary, it does not make sense to buy an in-house server when you can pay a web designer $10,000 to $25,000 to build you a web application, and then pay the Internet Service Provider $50 per month to maintain it. 

Besides Online Registration a person could use the Internet for Human Resource Documentation for Employees and Managers, Online Specification Sheets for Field Workers, Product Specifications and Photos for Salespersons, Real Estate Listings, etc.

David Schroeder

(Editor's Note: if you are a businessman with a need for help with a database, I recommend David highly. His work for me has been amazing. Contact David at schroeder@e-cats.com )


Is anyone else as disgusted as I am about the K-Mart parking lot raid at 12:30 am on Sunday morning, August 18?

278 children, ages ranging from 10 to 21, were herded up like sheep and thrown in jail for essentially having the terrible luck to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when some hot-head police captain decided to give them a taste of his misguided sense of justice. 

Many of these children had receipts!! They showed the police they had a reason to be there and they were still hauled off to jail. 

Another child, age 10, was somehow separated from his father in the frenzy of 50 cops chasing 300 teenagers around the parking lot. Did HPD try to locate the father? No, they arrested the kid and threw him in jail too. Nice police work. 

Many of the cars were towed to the tune of $100 a pop. And what was the legal justification for that? If a business is open, isn't it customary for its patrons to have a right to park in the parking lot? 

Some parents spent the entire night in a panic not knowing where their child was. They spent countless hours in tears because their child did not come home. I am sure they would have felt much better had they known their child was safely locked up in the Houston police jail with prostitutes, drug addicts, shoplifters, homeless psychos, and drunks at their sides.

You are supposed to have a reason to arrest people. Whatever happened to warnings and restraint? 

These kids were charged with trespassing. You gotta be kidding!! A K-Mart parking lot?!? Since when is it against the law to be in a K-Mart parking lot? Is this a new law that has been passed? Does it only apply to teenagers? This is so ridiculous I won't even begin to argue the stupidity of the reasoning used by the police.

Being arrested and booked had to be the most frightening, humiliating punishment imaginable. Most of these kids had never been in trouble their entire lives. 

Mark Aguirre was the captain in charge who had the inspiration to order 50 policemen to round up everyone who was standing outside the 24-hour Kmart Super Center or eating at the Sonic Drive-In next door. 

Apparently Aguirre had pulled this same stunt the night before at a James Coney Island as a warm-up exercise. Apparently this high-scale operation was accompanied by a police helicopter on the look-out for potential escaping hot dog eaters. From the Houston Chronicle, here is what one of the felons had to say about the experience:

Monica Coello, 36, had purchased hot dogs at James Coney Island. She was finishing a meal in the parking lot with her 
brother, sister, sister-in-law and 2-year-old niece when she was arrested. 

"We were almost ready to leave when all the patrol cars came in and started blocking the entrances and exits," Coello said. "I wanted to lock my car, and they would not let me. They told me to shut up and walk to the back." 

Coello's sister-in-law and niece were left behind, stranded. Police took Coello, her brother and sister to jail. Eventually, their mother shelled out $900 in bail, and the three siblings were freed. 

"I don't see how they can call it trespassing when we were eating at the restaurant," she said. "We kept trying to explain that to police but they would not let us." 

I feel safer knowing the streets of Houston are being cleared of felonious hot dog eaters and I know our Newsletter readers feel better too. Aguirre seems to be the mastermind behind this operation too. 

In regards to the infamous K-Mart Teen Scene Round-up, from what I read between the lines in the Houston Chronicle's account of the incident, many policemen were embarrassed beyond belief at being forced to be involved in this fiasco. Normally the police are reluctant to speak candidly, but in this case several of them could barely wait to give Aguirre's name to the media. 

Apparently this brilliant operation had been weeks in planning and involved dozens of officers. This is scary in itself. Surely there are some rational people who should have seen a disaster in the making. Apparently not. Then came the big night. Several of the officers involved said that when no drag racers were found, instead they were ordered to arrest the 278 people there.

One of the police officers who participated in the raid had this to say, "I couldn't believe we were being told to arrest all those kids. It was just utterly, utterly senseless." Apparently this policeman violated department policy by discussing the arrests and spoke on condition of anonymity. My guess is he took quite a chance to speak up. I hope he doesn't get busted for exercising his constitutional right to free speech. 

Most of you are parents. Can you imagine how furious you would be if this happened to your kid? 

The Houston Chronicle is not known for its hard-hitting exposes on our police force, but in this case the editors were so appalled that the only compliment they could give HPD was a thumbs up for not taking anyone out back and shooting them in cold blood. 

The K-Mart incident is simply a pathetic example of the damage an out-of-control cop can do when left unchecked. As the Chronicle alludes, it could have been much much worse. 

Did it ever occur you could be shot to death by the Houston police in your own home??

In case you have forgotten, in 1998 a man was shot to death by the Houston Police as he lay in his own bed sleeping at night. 

In a drug raid, the police got the wrong apartment. The man, Pedro Oregon, was sound asleep when narcotics officers burst into his home and into his bedroom with guns and rifles drawn.

Frightened out of his wits, Oregon thought he was being attacked by gang members. He pulled out his gun - Texas law allows you to defend yourself in your own home - and got shot to death in the process. 

A shot was heard - apparently it was a policeman's gun, not Oregon's - so the rest of the police opened fire. 

More than 30 shots were fired in the confined space, 12 hitting Oregon, mainly in his back and from above. The 22-year-old father of two died. No drugs were ever found in his apartment. 

The police said they were sorry for the mistake. 

Only one indictment was ever filed in this case and the charge was something ridiculous like unlawful entry. An innocent man was shot to death. Because he was poor and unimportant, nothing apparently has been done to right this appalling mistake.

The Oregon story is a worst-case scenario, but out-of-control Houston police are not as rare as you might think. There is a woman at the studio who told me a story that made me gasp in disbelief. 

One afternoon she was at her desk in the bedroom paying bills when she heard an odd beeping sound come from her back door. Her daughter was curious too and got there first. As the woman walked into her living room she was astonished to see a Houston policeman pointing his loaded revolver directly at her 17-year old daughter's face ordering her to freeze. 

To make a long story short, he was investigating a burglar alarm… but got the wrong address. 

Without any warning he had walked into the house silently through an unlocked back door. As mentioned, the simple beep from the door alarm alerted the daughter and the mother who then walked straight into the shock of their life. 

In front of them was a 6 foot uniformed policeman pointing a dangerous revolver straight at their faces. How were they to know who he was, why he was there, and if this wasn't a police imposter? 

From the cop's point of view, facing him were two 5 foot women dressed in gym shorts, hair curlers, teeshirts, no weapon, and obviously no place to hide a weapon. There they stood barefoot and defenseless in the living room scared out of their wits. It was broad daylight in the middle of the afternoon. Did the policeman relax his vigilance? No. 

Unable to grasp the absolute stupidity of the situation, he continued to point his weapon at the women while he barked at them to produce IDs on the spot. Like they carry IDs in the pocket-less gym shorts they always wear whenever they rob the various neighborhood homes. 

The fear turned to anger as the policeman interrogated them in a highly aggressive manner while continuing to hold a loaded weapon. They were treated as criminals in their own home. As I said, he had the wrong address. They told him this, but he would not believe them. He said that was a trick criminals commonly play when caught. Plus he had to hold them at gun point in case there was a third party with a weapon hidden behind a closed door. 

Finally the woman got the cop to agree to take the investigation outside the home. After twenty minutes of intimidation questions, the policeman finally drove off. 

Yes, she filed a report. But how much good do you suppose that did? 

I wonder why did this cop not have backup. Isn't it odd that a cop enters a home with a suspected burglary supposedly in progress without backup? This is a potential life and death situation - an officer was shot to death in this exact situation when a gang opened gunfire. This story sounds very suspicious. The woman may have been luckier than she previously realized. 

This could happen to you. 

I know this for a fact because something similar happened to me. In 1981, I was at the studio late one night watching dance videotapes. As I sat there fast-forwarding a tape, I looked up to see Bellaire Policeman standing in the doorway with his pistol pointed at me. Behind him were two other officers who also had their weapons drawn. 

Why were they there? There had been no alarm. Apparently one of them was driving through the studio parking lot on patrol and noticed my car. The door was unlocked and there were no obvious lights on from the entrance. It was the unlocked door that bothered them. The officer called for back-up and together they entered the dark building with guns drawn. 

I was in the office at the time. Where this story differs from the one above, in my case the policemen involved lowered their weapons quickly and gave me the chance to prove I was a law-abiding citizen before they treated me like a criminal. 

The Bellaire Police acted like total professionals. Most police officers are just as professional as these men were. Unfortunately those ones who are out of control do so much damage that we end up fearing all policemen. 

I have had the privilege to get to know on a personal basis 3 men who are Houston police officers. These men are intelligent, decent men. Unfortunately these three men are forced to work with a lot of incompetent people who are angry sociopathic bullies. 

I realize a policeman's life is tinged with danger. I am aware that a policeman faces tremendous stress that can affect his judgment at times. This is why I admire good police so much and try to cut them slack when I read stories of abuse in the paper. I also contribute regularly the "100 Club" that gives money to the families of slain policemen. Let me add that other than a couple of arrogant rude police who have enjoyed intimidating me as they wrote traffic tickets, I have never been the victim of any brutality. 

But I am still afraid of all police. They are given way too much power and some of them cross the line far too often when it comes to judgment. 

A bad cop is incredibly dangerous because they literally know they can get away with murder. How often do we hear of an example of where a lawman in Houston has been held accountable for his or her mistakes? Help me out - I will print whatever you send me. 

Why do we have to fear the people we have hired to protect us??

As I write, it has been 5 days since the K-Mart incident. It is under investigation. It doesn't need to take this long, does it?

If I am the Police Chief, I am out in front of City Hall with every reporter in the city watching. I look straight at the cameras and I tell the entire city of Houston that a grave mistake has been made. Then I add that steps will be taken to make sure the people responsible for this incident will be punished. Then I say that steps are being taken to assure this will not happen again. And finally I vow to reimburse every one of those kids for the towing costs, the legal costs, and the most sincere apology possible. 

But let's not hold our breath. I'm sure the lawsuit-fearing city lawyers told Police Chief to shut the youknowwhat up. It ain't gonna happen. 

(Editor's Note: let me know what you think. I will publish your response anonymously if you wish. 
dance@ssqq.com )

Contributed by Rick Archer

(Editor's Note: The Einstein Puzzle is a logic riddle supposedly written by the great genius himself. It is said that only 2% of the world's population is smart enough to solve it. I have the Einstein Puzzle listed on my web site if you want to give it a try.

Over the years many people from around the world have written me asking if I would confirm their answer. I get an average of 8 requests a week since my Einstein listing is pretty high on various Internet search engines and people from everywhere stumble across it as they surf the Net. 

A few weeks ago I got the most curious letter. By chance an Irish lass contacted me about the correct solution. She was nervous because her answer was different from everyone else's. I saw she got it wrong while everyone else got it right. But she was so cute in her letter I didn't want to tell her she was the one who was wrong. I teased her that I would change the answer so she could win her office bet. 

That thought gave me the idea to help her play a trick on the people in her office. They were confident since only one person had gotten a different answer. Why not turn the tables on them?

So I sent Hegarty two different letters - one explaining my trap and the second one setting the trap. 

Now the girl who was the office pet was right and everyone else was wrong. So what do you think happened? Did the trick work? Could Hegarty bluff them successfully? Would she even give it a try? 

Here's the story. By the way I changed the nationalities in the story just in case some of you decide you want to work the Einstein puzzle yourself. RA)

1. Wed 08/14/2002 10:09 AM
Letter to Rick Archer

First thing this morning I decided to circulate Einstein's puzzle around the office..... LOL
Little did I know the impact it would have....not a scrap of work has been done all day (as if that makes a change).

Everybody has come up with the same Answer...everybody keeps getting the 'Italian'. But i do believe the correct answer is the 'Russian'...if so can u give ur reasoning.

Tanx Much, 
Hegarty Edel

Wed 08/14/2002 10:34 AM

Hegarty, what a great laugh you have given me this morning!! - 'as if that makes a change'
With my big grin in mind, I am strongly persuaded to reward you and let the Russian be the answer, but this would be far too mischievous. The arguing and the peer pressure upon you to change your mind would drive you nuts. Sadly, the Italian is the correct answer. 
However as I write to you, I fear I have been letting my imagination have a little too much freedom and now I want you to be my partner in crime. 
If you wish to have some major fun, I will send you another email that confirms your answer is the right one (even though you know and I know that it is the wrong answer). You need to pass my second email around your office and drive everyone crazy. 
Then you should irritate everyone with your smugness at being right while all them are wrong. If you really want to make them mad tell them they should definitely check their work!! When you are ready, you can share my second email and let everyone know you and I set them up.
I love being a conspirator. All I ask in return is an anecdote or two to see if my evil suspicions were right!!

Have fun!

Wed 08/14/2002 10:40 AM

Hegarty, your answer of the Russian is right on the money!! Good for you!
Just between you and me, you need to tell all your co-workers that if they are going to goof off and get paid for it, then they could at least exercise their brains a little harder. ;-)
Actually it is not uncommon for people to get the wrong answer. It is a very tricky puzzle. I would estimate only half the people who contact me asking for the correct answer get it correct. What you might do is offer to help them with their work.
Have a great day!!

THU 08/15/2002 1:17 AM

The answer to the Einstein is Italian, yes? There seems to be a bit of disagreement here we need to clear up. Please clarify.

Pedraig O'Connor
Shipment Supervisor,
Retail Systems
Tramore Road, Cork

Thu 08/15/2002 09:42 AM

Mr. O'Connell, the Italian is the most common 'incorrect' answer I receive. The Einstein puzzle contains many deceptions that invite obvious but false conclusions. If you decide to try again, pay very close attention to the clues that deal with the order of the houses. It is here the hidden information to solve the puzzle will be revealed. 

If you continue to be stuck with the wrong answer, the next time you email me I will tell you the answer. 

Rick Archer

THU 08/15/2002 4:27 AM

Rick u are such an evil lad! How did u know my entire office would hate me? everyone insists that the italian was the answer, but i claimed that Einstein's answer was the 'russian' and i could prove it. then i showed them ur letter. their mouths dropped open w shock. They read ur letter again and again in disbelief. now they are checking their work. They go nuts with worry that simple simon me could be right! 

i tell them i will help them work it out and they give me a look of pure mean!
i shud hope they won't hate me 4 long....my little heart couldn't tkae it LOL i love to see them so miserable!
Can't procede with the liitle game much longer tho, as most of the office happened to catch on when i started to laff too hard. Don't worry I made them all doubt themselves 4 the longest time! 

But i just cant lie very good... they see thru me too easy. I make them wait till de end of a very unproductive snigger day.... when I showed them ur second letter it almost brought tears to thier eyes poor little mites...so be happy in the fact that ur little plot has worked!

and now that's 2 days wasted for Mr. Einstein. we never od much work here anyway. No matter. even my boss was doing einsten. its slow. we work when we have to. Do u have another puzzle? Terrible we might have 2 work otherwise.

PS rick don't come to visit. They let me off the hook but they all want to hurt u now. They talk about a collection to send u a ticket. This was 2 much fun my sides hurt from laffing thank u!!

Hegarty Edel
Retail Systems,
Tramore Road, Cork

Thu 08/15/2002 09:42 AM

Hegarty, I am so proud of you for pulling off my swindle! I wish I could have been a fly on the wall to watch all the frowns and frustrations and hear the bad things they said about me. I imagine they may try to get you back so watch out!

Thanks for being my partner in crime!
Rick Archer

Contributed by Patty Jones 

1. It is important to find a woman that cooks and cleans

2. It is important to find a woman that makes good money

3. It is important to find a woman that likes to have sex

4. It is important that these three women never meet under any circumstance.


(Editor's Note: Now that you have had a good chuckle at 'The Secrets of a Successful Marriage' above, let's consider the possibility of having several wives. It is of course a dream of many men to have all the women he can handle right at his beck and call. The thought of a sheik's harem or perhaps famous athlete having all the women he wants any time he wants them makes many guys drool with envy. 

On the other hand, some of us think even having one wife is more than we can handle. The clever expression of this line of thought is attributed to Oscar Wilde.

"Bigamy is having one wife too many. Monogamy is the same." Hmm. 

Interestingly, few of us guys have ever sat down and really thought out the logical consequences of having several wives at once. Here in all its sobering glory is the life of a Mormon polygamist laid out for all to see. Enjoy. RA)

Written by Rick Reilly 
Sports Illustrated Magazine

Olympics? Polygamist Timothy Wadlow doesn't have time for any Olympics. He's got three wives, three houses and 28 kids to juggle. You sure they don't give a medal for this kind of thing?

Wadlow (all names have been changed) is one of 30,000 dirty little secrets that Utah would very much like to keep hidden during the Salt Lake City Games. That's how many polygamists are estimated to be living in the state. And their number is believed to be growing, despite that polygamy is condemned by the Mormon Church and illegal in Utah. 

So even though the Wadlows live not five miles from one of the busiest Olympic venues, they won't be going to the Games. "The state of Utah doesn't allow us to be open and public," says one of Wadlow's better fourths, Donna, who speaks for the family. "So we'll watch them on TV."

Besides, the Wadlows practically stage their own Olympics. At tone of their homes they have six snowmobiles, a quarter-mile long lighted sledding hill, basketball and volleyball courts, and snow cone and popcorn machines. Since they're 32 strong - more participants than 54 nations have in Salt Lake City - the Wadlows always have enough for a football game. "our children don't want to become pro athletes," says Donna. "they want to dedicate their lives to their children, just as their father has done."

Still, wouldn't it be cool if someday a polygamist NFL star looked into the camera and chirped, "Hi, Moms!"

If you want to try this at home, be warned: Polygamy is not a Penthouse letter brought to life. "everybody thinks it's about sex and orgies," says Donna, who came from a family with 35 children and three mothers, breaking the record set by Shawn Kemp. "it isn't. We're not in this for romance, sex, money or status. We're in it for spirituality. We know this is what the Lord wants."

As Fundamentalist Mormons, the Wadlows believe the founder of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Joseph Smith, had a revelation from God to reinstitute the Biblical practice of polygamy. Some believe Smith may have had as many as 84 wives before he died at the hands of a mob - not believed to be the 84 wives.

Nowadays, most plural marriages, as polygamists like to call them, work better if the wives live separately. The Wadlow so-called sister-wives all keep their own kids under their own roofs until Sunday, when the whole gang gets together for prayer, play and a supper large enough to buckle Mrs. Osmond. 

As to which roof the husband sleeps under each night, "two nights for each wife and then move on," says Jack Miller, a former polygamist who lives about 20 miles south of Salt Lake City. 

O.K., but what happens when one wife gets jealous of another? "That happens," says Jack. "I had a wife tell me she deserved more nights because she had more kids than the other wives." Who hasn't been in that argument, huh?

Oh, and adding wives isn't quite as simple as adding, say, Dolby Surround sound. "In my case," says Alice, the one wife Jack has now, "it was Jack's (first) wife who kept telling him about me, trying to get him interested in me. Finally, he invited me over to supper at their house. It was awkward at first, but then we all just clicked." 

Honey, great news! I slept with Alice!

To a lot of monogamist guys the truth about plural marriages is a little bit of a buzz-kill. "There's no sexual thing between the sister-wives," says Alice, "and a husband's intimate relationship with each of his wives is completely private. That never gets shared between the wives."

If you think polygamous husbands are luckier than Brad Pitt, you'd be wrong. "For a man in a plural marriage it's a greater commitment," says Donna. "Instead of taking time for sports or his golf game, my husband's total focus is his wives and children."

In other words you'll be lucky to get the remote. 

But in a plural marriage the husband is definitely king of his castles. "A man is chief of the household," says Jack. "He's not beholden to anyone. Hold on a second…"

Jack was gone from the phone for 30 seconds.

"Hey, can you take out that 'chief of the household' thing?" he said meekly. "My wife didn't like the way I said that." 

O.K., so maybe it's not that different. 

Contributed by Marlane Kayfes in August 2001

Associated Press, PANAMA CITY, Fla.

Oh, what a feeling. Toy Yoda! 

A former Hooters waitress has sued the restaurant where she worked, saying she was promised a new Toyota for winning a beer sales contest. Instead, she said, she won a new toy "Yoda" - the little green guy from the "Star Wars" movies. 
Jodee Berry, 26, won a contest to see who could sell the most beer in April at the Hooters in Panama City Beach. She said the top-selling waitresses from each Hooters restaurant in the area were entered into a drawing and her name was picked. 
She believed she'd won a new car. 
She was blindfolded and led to the restaurant parking lot, but when her blindfold was removed she found she was the winner not of a Toyota, but a toy Yoda doll. 
Inside the restaurant, the manager was laughing, Berry said. She wasn't. "A corporation can't lead their employees on like that," Berry said. "It's not good business ethics. They can't do that to people." 

Berry quit the restaurant a week later. She sued Gulf Coast Wings, Inc., owners of the restaurant, alleging breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation. Her lawyer, Stephen West of Pensacola, said he was also looking at false advertising statutes. She's seeking as compensation the cost of a new Toyota. 

Stuart Houston, a spokesman for the company, said it hadn't been served with the lawsuit and he could not comment. 

Berry said restaurant manager Jared Blair told his waitresses he didn't know what kind of Toyota it would be-a car, truck or van-but told them the winner would be responsible for the tax on the vehicle. Blair, reached at the restaurant Saturday, said he had no comment.

May 9, 2002

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (AP) -- A former waitress has settled her lawsuit against Hooters, the restaurant that gave her a toy Yoda doll instead of the Toyota she thought she'd won. 

Jodee Berry, 27, won a beer sales contest last May at the Panama City Beach Hooters. She believed she had won a new Toyota and happily was escorted to the restaurant's parking lot in a blindfold. 

But when the blindfold was removed, she found she had won a new toy Yoda -- the little green character from the "Star Wars" movies. 

David Noll, her attorney, said Wednesday that he could not disclose the settlement's details, although he said Berry can now go to a local car dealership and "pick out whatever type of Toyota she wants." 

After the stunt, Berry quit the restaurant and filed a lawsuit against Gulf Coast Wings, Inc., the restaurant's corporate owner, alleging breach of contract and fraudulent misrepresentation. 

The restaurant's manager, Jared Blair, has said the whole contest was an April Fools' joke.

Contributed by Lynn Bevis

Now as I lay upon my bed thinking about you, I cannot forget last night. 

You came to me as I slept during the summer night. What happened in my bed still leaves a tingling sensation in me. 

You appeared from nowhere and saw how vulnerable I was to your attack. Without conscience you shamelessly laid upon my naked body... you sensed my drowsiness and without any guilt or hesitation you started to nip at the most sensitive, most intimate places on my body. I awoke slowly as I felt my body stir at your every nibble. Then I felt your stinging bite that made my blood rush. Now my senses came alive! 

Now fully alert and aroused, I went crazy - every part of my body began to explode with burning! I wanted you so bad!! In my frenzy I frantically clutched for you with an uncontrollable desire to squeeze you and hold you tight… but once you had your way with me you vanished into thin air. I searched the house for you to no avail. You took me and you left me showing no trace of how you entered or departed. 

Finally I gave up and returned to bed. I wanted you to return… thinking of what you did to me I feverishly tossed and turned until the wee hours of the morning when I drifted off to a tormented sleep. 

This morning when I awoke, I wondered if it was only my imagination. Could it have been a dream? Then my eyes set upon the bed - the sheets and pillows strewn everywhere bore witness to the nocturnal events of my darkened room. 

Then I looked at my body. I was certain now as I studied the marks you left upon me. I remembered the bite that made it impossible to forget you.

I want you to come for me again tonight. I pray for you to come to me again tonight.

This time I will remain awake waiting for the sounds of your approach.... 

And then I will slap the shit out of you, you goddamn mosquito.

PS: Answer to the ONE DOLLAR Brain Teaser:

The price of the room was switched from $30 to $25 so you can't use the $30 any more in the math. Use the $25 figure instead. The bell boy kept $2 for himself. The men paid $27. $27 - $2 = $25 which is the new price of the room. The men overpaid by $2 due to the bellboy's shady handling of the refund. 

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