Written by Rick Archer
I don't know Chris Holmes very well. I
know he went to the University of Houston because it
is part of his email address. I also know he took
all of Sharon Crawford-Shaw's Western Waltz classes
back in 2002 and a lot of classes at SSQQ before
These days he mostly likes to
drop by the studio for Wednesday and Friday Practice
Nights plus Chris is a frequent fixture at our
Halloween Party and other parties as well.
I also know from observation
that Chris is a modest, quiet, unassuming guy who
does not seek the limelight. However to me, he is
one of the most valuable people to walk in the
studio doors week in and week out.
One of the things that makes Chris so special is his
willingness to share fascinating stories, great
jokes, and unbelievable pictures with me which I
turn around and publish in the SSQQ Newsletter.
For starters, on the SSQQ Joke Page for January
2006, Chris has six jokes in this month's Hall of
Fame. Then it dawned on me that Chris has been
sending in some of my favorite jokes every since I
began to collect them back in 1998.
Curious, I went and checked our master list. Sure
enough, Chris has 46 jokes listed, more than any
other single person by a wide margin.
For this story, I will reprint one of my favorite
Chris jokes. It currently resides in the January
section of our secret Blue Jokes site. In case it
seems familiar, I used it last year as part of my
Alaska Cruise Trip
write-up (bottom of page).
January BS 20:
Lonely in Alaska - Chris Holmes
Sam had been in business for 25 years and is
finally sick of the stress. He quits his job and
buys 50 acres in Alaska as far from humanity as
possible. He sees the postman once a week and
gets groceries once a month. Otherwise it's
total peace and quiet. After six months or so of
almost total isolation, someone knocks on his
He opens it and there is a big, bearded man
"Name's Lars ...Your neighbor from forty miles
away.... Having a Christmas party Tuesday ...
Thought you might like to come. About 5..."
"Great," says Sam, "after six months out here
I'm ready to meet some local folks. Thank you."
As Lars is leaving, he stops. "Gotta warn
you...There's gonna be some drinkin'."
"Not a problem... after 25 years in business, I
can drink with the best of 'em."
Again, as he starts to leave, Lars stops. "More'n'
likely gonna be some fightin' too."
Sam says, "Well, I get along with people. I'll
be there. Thanks again."
Once again Lars turns from the door. "I've seen
some wild sex at these parties, too."
"Now that's really not a problem," says Sam.
"I've been all alone for six months! I'll
definitely be there. By the way, what should I
Lars stops in the door again and says, "Whatever
you want, just gonna be the two of us".
In 2005, Chris sent me
many fascinating pictures including these
three TOTALLY AWESOME Picture Jokes which I
published in the Newsletter.
The Bird Thief
Contributed by Chris Holmes
Are you aware you are looking
at the picture
of one of the most devious crooks in Maryland
This bird was the ring leader of a band of
thieves that robbed a car wash of over $4,000!!
You don't believe it? Well, look for yourself.
Click the picture.
I've Got A Secret!!
Contributed by Noted Troublemaker
So can you figure out what is
so unusual or special about the lady in this
month's picture other than she is breathtakingly
pretty and pleasingly immodest?
On the surface there is nothing to notice that
gives you even the slightest hint that she is in
fact playing a very cool practical joke on
everybody. Or maybe it is on the surface.
Curious to know what she is up to?
Click the Picture and find out! Enjoy.
Bad Day at the Job
Contributed by Chris Holmes
Have you ever had a bad day where
nothing seemed to go right?
Chances are your worst day was a breeze compared
to this comedy of errors.
For a good laugh, click on the picture.
I am not the only one who gets
mesmerized by the "Picture Stories" sent in by Chris
For example, read my email exchange with one of our
From: Paul H
Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2006 9:59 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: goofing around, found out photo was
This is Paul, I've taken a few classes at the
studio but we've met only briefly a few times --
asked you Monday night whether your
sporty-looking shoes were danceable or not.
I love the jokes, thanks for collecting them and
putting them in the newsletter. They're very
nice to kill a little time when I'm feeling
Like this evening, when I was poking around with
the joke archives because I was tired of doing
real work. I especially enjoyed "Bad Day at the
Job". But I noticed that while this series of
photos is pretty funny, the last one, the coup
de grace, looked fishy.
Of course, you know
about snopes.com also, but finding the scoop
there took a little digging. Sorry to say, the
last photo is fake:
Oh well! Hope that's
not being too much of a spoilsport. You have so
much good stuff on the site that noticing when
something is faked isn't much of a loss.
And since I'm a bit reserved to offer fawning
thanks in person, let me say here thanks, thank
you and thank all of your staff as well for
making SSQQ a welcoming, comfortable and fun
place. Oh, and for the lessons too!
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2006 8:57 AM
To: Paul H
Subject: RE: goofing around, found out photo was
Your letter made me smile. At the time I first
received the set of photos, I immediately
noticed the final photo looked fishy.
Without tying up too much of your time or mine,
let's just say I completely agree with you. And
thank you for taking the time to visit one of my
favorite spots, Snopes.com, to check it out.
But since the whole point was to amuse people,
like Hollywood's tendency to fudge with the
truth 99% of the time (such as the last year's
farce about the Alamo), I decided not to
interfere with a good laugh.
Just be aware I personally did not have anything
to do with forging that picture nor do I know
who did. I just played dumb and added it in
anyway. And now you've caught me! ;-)
My point is simple: Paul and I
owe this entire humorous exchange to Chris Holmes.
Not everything Chris sends me is humorous. A lot of
what he sends me is downright fascinating. For
example, please read the next article.
Politics is one thing I steer away from to a large
extent in the SSQQ Newsletter.
A couple years ago I was of the opinion that George
Bush was recklessly taking us into war with Iraq.
Titled "Am I the Only One Who Thinks George Bush is
Moving to War Too Fast?" With it, I published a
political picture about George Bush in the
Feb 2003 Newsletter.
In turn I received so much
nasty email that I have backed off politics in the
Newsletter since and no one seems to have minded.
Nevertheless I enjoy receiving the various political
articles that Chris Holmes sends including some
great stuff about
I printed last year without naming Chris directly.
Recently Chris sent me a controversial story about
Denzel Washington. I really liked the story
although I didn't realize it was controversial at
the time. As part of my article about Chris I will
share it with you.
Denzel Washington and
the Brooks Army Medical
Center: How the Mainstream
Media Missed this story.
Don't know whether you heard about this but Denzel
Washington and his family visited the troops at
Brook Army Medical Center, in
San Antonio,Texas (BAMC) the other day.
This is where soldiers who have been evacuated from
Germany come to be hospitalized in the United
States, especially burn victims.
are some buildings there
called Fisher Houses. The Fisher House is a Hotel
where soldiers' families can stay, for little or no
charge, while their soldier is staying in the
Hospital. BAMC has quite a few of these houses on
base, but as you can imagine, they are almost filled
most of the time.
While Denzel Washington was visiting BAMC, they gave
him a tour of one of the Fisher Houses. He asked how
much one of them would cost to build. He took
his check book out and
wrote a check for the full amount right there
on the spot. The soldiers overseas were
amazed to hear this story
and want to get the word out to the American
public, because it warmed their hearts to
The question I have is why does:
Alec Baldwin, Madonna, Sean Penn,
Barbara Streisand and other Hollywood types
make front page news with their anti-everything
America crap and Denzel Washington's Patriotism
doesn't even make page 3 in the Metro section of any
newspaper except the Local newspaper in San
A true American and friend to all in uniform!
This story warrants as wide a distribution as we can
This is "More" to this story.
I relayed this email to a friend to potentially post
on his large email distribution list. Smart guy that
he is, my friend went to Snopes.com (a web site that
debunks urban legends) and checked it out.
He emailed me back that Snopes said the story was
bogus. So I went and read what they had to say.
They didn't say the story was bogus, but rather,
shall we say, flawed.
Well, I knew better. I had read about Mr.
Washington's contribution in the Chronicle a week or
So I went and read what Snopes had to say. They
confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that Mr.
Washington did indeed make a sizable contribution,
but probably not as much as the story above
claimed. You should read it for yourself. Having
found out the hard way that the Snopes people are
VERY TOUCHY about having their hard work reproduced
elsewhere, it is best that I respect their wishes
and simply share with you the link to Snopes
regarding this incident.
Denzel Washington and the Fisher House Story
Since I had personally read an
account of the story hidden somewhere in the morning
Chronicle, I went to the Chronicle archives and
snooped, not Snoped, around for it. Since my friends
at the Chronicle aren't so touchy about having their
articles reprinted, I will share it with you.
Paper: HOUSTON CHRONICLE
Date: THU 06/02/2005
Edition: 3 STAR
Star fulfills vow to Fisher House / Washington,
wife make `significant' gift, will serve on the
military family foundation's board
By JOHN W. GONZALEZ
FORT SAM HOUSTON - Months after visiting a
military hospital and promising to help families
of wounded U.S. soldiers, actor Denzel
Washington has come through in a big way.
Washington gave one of the biggest donations
ever made to Fisher House Foundation Inc., which
operates guest facilities for families with
loved ones recuperating in military hospitals,
an official at the nonprofit said Wednesday.
"Denzel and his wife, Pauletta, did send us a
check with their donation," said James Weiskopf
of Rockville, Md., the foundation's vice
president for communications.
"While we do not disclose the amount of a
donation without approval from the donor, we can
acknowledge that it is one of the most
significant received in our history," Weiskopf
Washington and his wife also accepted the
foundation's invitation to serve on its board of
trustees, he said.
The actor's involvement with Fisher House
resulted from a stop six months ago at Brooke
Army Medical Center, where many troops who
served in Iraq and Afghanistan have been treated
During the December visit, after learning Fisher
House provides inexpensive lodging and other
support for recuperating soldiers' families,
Washington vowed to help the organization.
The pledge was captured - and convoluted - by
the Internet rumor mill and within weeks a
widely circulated e-mail, which was exchanged
throughout the service ranks, erroneously stated
Washington pulled out his checkbook at Brooke
and made a huge donation on the spot.
The e-mail had a life of its own, said Fisher
House officials, who were barraged with
inquiries about the donation and how it would be
spent. Efforts to clarify that the donation was
promised and still pending often were ignored.
Weiskopf said the Washingtons' gift, received
several weeks ago, was "undesignated," meaning
the couple didn't specify how the money should
be used. That decision will be made by the
board, he said.
And my point is? Well, I have
a couple points.
Because the original story WAS indeed buried in the
paper (Second B, Page 5), I thought the original
story that Chris sent me had a strong point about
the media - Why does Sean Penn et al get all the pub
when an obvious good guy like Denzel who is helping
his country gets overlooked?
And my second point is, Chris Holmes has sent me
dozens of stories like this that always make me
think. For this I am grateful to him.
I think you have discovered beyond the shadow of a
doubt why I am so grateful to Chris Holmes. His
contributions serve as constant inspirations that
make it easy for me to entertain all of you.
As an "Encore" to my story about Chris, I will share
with you one more political story. Chris sent me a
story this very morning. I was so flabbergasted by
this "Picture Worth a Thousand Words" statement, it
served as the inspiration that made me decide to
write this article about Chris in the first place.
But before you take a look, let me say three more
words: Thank you, Chris!!
Europe's Levees and America's Levees
Contributed by Chris Holmes
Here is how
Levees are used in England to prevent water from
flooding London. Looks like they take the problem
Here is the solution in the Netherlands to
protecting a nation that mostly rests below sea
Obviously they've come a long way from that little
Dutch boy sticking his finger in the dike.
Looks like they take the problem pretty seriously.
Italy. The Italians are
intensely concerned about protecting their national
treasure, Venice, which lies basically right at or
slightly below sea level. Venice as you know is
famous for its beautiful canals, but at the same
time it's vulnerable to storm waters and unusually
strong high tides.
And then there is America's answer to the European
tradition of protecting its national treasures.
Behold New Orleans, the Mardi Gras Capital, cultural
goldmine, historically important, and the shipping
center of the mighty Mississippi River and the Gulf
of Mexico!! As we all well know, New Orleans is
basically below sea level
just like Venice and the Netherlands. New Orleans
is so low the thought of creating canals isn't as
far-fetched as you think.
So how did
the richest, most
powerful and technologically advanced nation on
and its renowned Corps of Engineers,
go about making sure this important city - home to
half a million people (most of whom call Houston
'home' now) - was protected from the danger of
hurricane like Katrina? Look for yourself.
The sad thing is that New Orleans took only a
glancing blow from Katrina, the kind of hit the
levees were supposed to withstand. However, as you
can see for yourselves in the levee picture above,
the concrete wasn't any thicker than an average
traffic barrier on the Katy Freeway Contra-flow
If hadn't been for these substandard levees breaking
in the middle of the night, New Orleans would still
be thriving today. Instead countless people lost
their lives, hundreds of thousands lost their homes,
and misery was rampant while the helpless world
watched the images of despair and depravation in
horror. Today much of the city lays in ruins.
Makes you wonder about the politics involved that
would produce such a shoddy effort. RA
And before I send you back to the Newsletter Story,
let me again thank Chris Holmes for sharing such an
interesting story. He is definitely my Muse.
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