Chris Holmes
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Meet Chris Holmes!

Written by Rick Archer
January 2006

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 that. 

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 door.

He opens it and there is a big, bearded man standing there.

"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 bring?"

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.

October 2005
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 history?

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.

May 2005
I've Got A Secret!!
Contributed by Noted Troublemaker
Chris Holmes

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.

February 2005
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 Holmes.
For example, read my email exchange with one of our students.

 -----Original Message-----
From: Paul H
Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2006 9:59 PM
To: Rick Archer
Subject: goofing around, found out photo was faked

Hi Rick,
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 burned out.

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 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!


 -----Original Message-----
From: Rick Archer
Sent: Wednesday, January 11, 2006 8:57 AM
To: Paul H
Subject: RE: goofing around, found out photo was faked

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,, 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
New Orleans 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.

There 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 hear it.

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 Antonio?

A true American and friend to all in uniform!

This story warrants as wide a distribution as we can create.

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 (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 previously. 

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.

Date: THU 06/02/2005
Section: B
Page: 5
Edition: 3 STAR

Star fulfills vow to Fisher House / Washington, wife make `significant' gift, will serve on the military family foundation's board


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 said.

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 for injuries.

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
January, 2006


Here is how Levees are used in England to prevent water from flooding London.  Looks like they take the problem pretty seriously.


Here is the solution in the Netherlands to protecting a nation that mostly rests below sea level.

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.

United States

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 also
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 earth, USA, 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.

Rick's Note:

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 lane.

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

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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