Saturday's game between the Houston Cougars and the Arkansas Razorbacks at Fayetteville, Ark. is do-or-die for inside receiver Verlond Brown.

Brown, a Forrest City, Ark. native, will be playing in front of his family and friends.

"This is a big game for me," Brown said. "I will be playing for bragging rights. When I go back home during spring break, I want to be the one to brag."

The 6' 1" senior said he already has 18 tickets for his family and friends, but needs more.

This game will be special for Brown because he will be playing against some of his closest friends, and Head Coach John Jenkins named him team captain for the game.

"I was shocked about being named team captain," Brown said. "This is my first and last visit to Arkansas as a player. I can't wait. I'm ready for it."

Brown broke his ankle against Arizona State in 1989 and missed the rest of the season, including UH's last visit to Arkansas. Brown was leading the nation in receiving before the injury.

Brown's friends on the Razorbacks are tailback Tony Jeffrey, flanker Tracy Caldwell and cornerback Mike James.

During the game, Brown will be sure to draw coverage from James.

"He looks pretty good," said Brown about James' coverage ability. "We'll probably talk noise to each other. I hope he's on me, so I can get bragging rights on him."

While this is a big game for Brown personally, Brown realizes this is also a huge game for the Cougars.

Brown said Houston's 1-3 start has come as a big surprise to him.

"We had a good spring, a good summer practice and a great start against Louisiana Tech," Brown said. "I am shocked."

Offensive and defensive breakdowns are to blame for the Cougars' poor start, Brown said.








Old European conflicts and barriers frozen after nearly 50 years of communist regimes are now thawing, catapulting unsolved problems back to the forefront once again, Austrian Chancellor Franz Vranitzky said Wednesday.

"Many of these different ethnic groups, now that the communist regimes are being terminated, are once again coming to the surface," he said. "One of the most important messages and tasks is to stick together and educate each other."

Vranitzky described the need for a plan to bring Europeans closer together and ensure there are no barriers to prevent this closeness.

Vranitzky spoke at a luncheon Wednesday before about 26 administrators and faculty in the Shamrock Room of the Conrad Hilton Hotel.

As a pianist played in the background, Vranitzky and his wife Christine circled the room, smiling, shaking hands and speaking with the audience.

During the 1970s, he said, Europe was described as outdated and filled with romanticism and unhealthy nostalgia, which Americans and others called Eurosclerosis.

It was exaggerated, he said, but there was some truth to it.

"Today the European community has come out of Eurosclerosis and has gained more strength, developed commerce and endeavored to develop a new innovative society," Vranitzky said.

One of the most important tools used to arrive at this new model of thinking is the integration of ideas through education, he said.

"But this new thinking is not only for the young but also for the not so young," he said.

This new wisdom needs to cross borders and be transported all over Eastern Europe, Vranitzky said.

He fielded questions from the audience on tariffs, the economy and the business market.

One question posed was whether the history curriculum taught to Austrian children includes a detailed, comprehensive account of World War II and if there is a possibility of a resurgence of anti-Semitism.

Vranitzky said all Austrian youngsters are now taught modern and contemporary history, but this is in contrast to what was taught after the war.

The political will and leadership of the country have been quite outspoken against anti-Semitism, he said, noting especially the way Jewish Austrians were treated during Hitler's reign of terror.

"I, myself, will not hesitate to do anything (to fight anti-Semitism) in the future," Vranitzky said.

Before leaving the campus, Dean of the Conrad N. Hilton College Joseph Cioch took Vranitzky and his entourage of 13 on a tour of the hotel.

While in the Hilton archive room, Cioch explained the history of Conrad Hilton and showcased Hilton memorabilia.

Vranitzky thumbed through a photo album filled with pictures of Elizabeth Taylor, who's first marriage was to Nick Hilton, Conrad Hilton's eldest son.

Vranitzky said UH is a good example of a university that closely resembles practical life -- something not always present in Austrian universities.

He said he was impressed with the Hilton history and the support Hilton has given to the college.

Vranitzky will make stops in Washington D.C. and New York before he returns to Austria.









If the UH Intramural Department had a dog house, Steve Hewitt would certainly be in it.

Hewitt and his teammates, the Illegal Procedure team, participated in a fight Saturday during their football game with the Mens-Rea team.

The fight climaxed when Hewitt pushed referee Jerod Vogt into a reviewing tower bruising his arm and ribs.

"I was seriously thinking about pressing charges, but I decided to let it go," Vogt said. "They were way out of line, and I'm in the process of writing a letter to his dean."

Because of the scuffle, Illegal Procedure was suspended from further intramural football play and one member of Mens-Rea was thrown out of the game. These decisions are pending appeal.

"We do not condone this type of activity on our fields and I personally don't feel like baby-sitting these guys anymore," intramural assistant Chuck Hoehne said.

In other football news, the Asbury Jukes remained atop the "A" league with a crushing 60-0 victory over the UH Law team. The game was called with eight minutes left in regulation because the game's outcome was "worse than death," intramural assistant Terrence O'Connor said.

The No. 1 ranked Jukes will go up against the No. 4 Sleepers in this weekend's game of the week.

Despite having a defense that has yet to be scored on, the Pi Kappa Epsilon team dropped in this week's rankings to No. 3. They were replaced by the Sigma Chi team at No. 2. Voters decided the Pikes had a subpar game last week and that Sigma Chi fared better against their opponent.

Oiler wide receiver Ernest Givins was spotted video taping a friend on the "B" league's No. 1 ranked Unexpected Sex, which cruised to another victory over the No. 4 ranked Athletes in Action, 32-0.

"He likes the competitive spirit on the fields," Bankston said.

In the women's league, the Eyeliners team took advantage of a lost by last year's champion HPER, to take the No. 1 ranking. Intramural assistants agreed the team's success is due to the arm and athleticism of Kristi Gottier.

"She throws like a guy and moves really quick," O'Connor said.








The HIV infection rate at UH might not be as high as The Houston Post reported in August, said Billie Smith, M.D. and director of the Student Health Center.

The assumption that UH had one of the worst infection rates was based on the results of an HIV survey of 35 major college campuses by the American College Health Association.

In that survey, two UH students from a sample of 437 tested positive for the HIV antibody. The average infection rate, according to the ACHA survey, is .2 percent. The percentage at UH was .46 percent.

"We do not know if the number (the infection rate) is accurate or not," said Smith. "It is so small a sample. If we had one less person or one more person (test positive), it would have totally skewed the numbers the other way," she said. "We had a very small sample." These survey results probably do not reflect the HIV rate among the entire student population, she said.

The Post headline that UH had one of the worst HIV infection rates is "not really true," Smith said. "We were fifth in the state, and the city of Houston is fourth in the country." Smith called the headline irresponsible.

Many students seemed unconcerned about the Post headline.

"I am not worried about my personal safety," said freshman music performance major John Halstead. "I am not sleeping around with everyone on campus."

Junior vocal performance major George Scott said, "At first it was frightening, but I later thought that the newspaper blew things out of proportion to get a good story."

The samples taken from UH students were part of a blind study. The students did not know that their blood was tested for HIV antibodies. If students had their blood taken for any reason, an anonymous specimen was taken and labeled with demographic information. The sample did not necessarily reflect the demographics of the general student population.

"It(the survey) is interesting, but other than that, I don't think that you can attach any significance to it," said Smith.








The next time you get a traffic ticket on campus, remember that all hope is not lost.

Students who feel they were unjustly ticketed by UH police may plead their case through the Student Traffic Court in the University Center.

"It seems like every year there's a problem with parking and the situation is never resolved," said Tony Baccam, a senior political science major. "That's why I'm glad I can appeal a ticket that I shouldn't have received in the first place."

Baccam said he was illegally parked and rightly received his first ticket. After finding the ticket on his windshield, he immediately went to check into the matter, leaving his car in the same spot.

Upon returning to his car, he learned not only that it had been towed, but that another ticket was issued.

Baccam appealed the first ticket and was fined $15. He will have to appeal the second one at a later date.

A student has 21 days from the time a ticket was received to file an appeal form.

The student can choose from two options: the appeal may be written on the form and the student may wait for a mailed response, or a student may schedule a date to make a personal appearance in front of the court.

The court is comprised of a minimum of two students and one faculty member. Court members base their decision on parking rules and regulations, a copy of which is available in Room 1 of E. Cullen. The policies that govern the Student Traffic Court are stated in the Student Handbook.

Appeal forms can be picked up at the Entrance 1 Information Booth, the Parking and Transportation Office in Room 1 of E. Cullen or the new Student Information Assistance Center in the UC.

Most appeals are cases regarding instances where students park in no-parking, handicapped and fire zones. However, there is an occasional case that strays from the mainstream.

Heriberto Leon, assistant dean of students, is in charge of traffic court and once heard a student apologize and promise "to put more spit on his sucker." This appeal came after a student received a ticket because his parking decal had fallen off the car window and was not in view.








Instead of throwing away your Coke cans and Daily Cougars, bring them to the median in front of Agnes Arnold Hall today.

Between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Team Earth is sponsoring a recycling drive. Members of the organization will accept all recyclables, from bottles to batteries.

During the drive, group members will also be collecting signatures for a petition calling for the implementation of a campus-wide recycling program.

When Team Earth president Chris Kidwell presents the petition to President Marguerite Ross Barnett, he hopes it will be an effective bargaining tool.

"With the number of signatures that we'll have, we can show that there is an interest on campus," he said.

Along with the petition, Barnett and other key faculty members will receive a detailed proposal that lays the groundwork for a campus-wide recycling program. The proposal was written entirely by Team Earth members.

Kidwell believes this was necessary because, "it's our perception that nobody in the administration is willing to sit down and figure these things out."

Kidwell said he has heard rumors that a recycling program was attempted at the university in the mid 1970s.

There is a paper recycling program on campus now, though few students are aware of its existence. The current UH program accepts only paper. Those interested in participating can deposit their paper in bins outside certain departmental offices.

But Kidwell doesn't believe this is enough.

"The campus is behind in conservation and resource re-use," he said.

Team Earth has proposed a comprehensive campus program that will accept paper, aluminum, glass and just about anything else that can be recycled. By placing numerous bins in convenient places, Kidwell hopes the program can address the concern of a growing number of environmentally-concerned students.

"Let's face it," said Kidwell, "the campus is a place where people make a lot of trash."








A review of the Mommyheads release, Acorn, is overdue for Houston and the Southwest. A style such as theirs is rare in the music community of this region, and there are a great many people around here who have been awaiting something like it.

Granted, we have a lot of terrific stuff going on in this city. We have a scene that we often take for granted; but musicians like Henry Duys from Peglegasus insist that we shouldn't put it down.

"Once you get out of Houston," Henry said upon returning from an East Coast tour to Rhode Island which Peglegasus ventured upon this summer, "you realize how good the scene (in Houston) really is."

Clubs playing original music are hard to find. Even big cities with a good music scene are hardly a dime a dozen. What all cities have, big or small though, is a community of listeners.

The Rev. Dave Dove says, "there's an underground community wherever you go." And that's from a veteran Sprawl player who has performed in a barn in the middle of a corn field in Kansas and at a skate ramp in Nevada ... seriously.

Besides what we are lacking in the Southwest are songwriters.

But the lyrics aren't what's really important.I ts the attitude. Albeit, attitude is what makes up the body of Houston sound -- and I'm taking an original-music- listener's stand point.

Take your funk for example. Funk vocalists rap more that Ice T but you can't hear a word of it because the music is so overwhelming. Drives me batty for sure but the attitude's what counts and they got it.

Speaking of Rap music, now there's some wordy stuff. I consider if songwriting, very lyric heavy. But the insensitive rap we got coming out of Houston ain't worth the DAT tape its recorded on. The Geto Boys could take more than a few hints from the Enemy and less shots in the eye from their girlfriends.

The enjoyment of review writing as opposed to essay writing or news writing is that you can make your breaks anywhere.

Poetic license and all that.

But the Mommyheads released an album over a year ago called Acorn which you probably haven't heard of nor have you seen the band. At no fault of your own. Their popularity dwindles as you leave the Big Apple let alone the Tri-state region they most frequently play.

The Mommyheads moved to San Francisco this year, quite a change from their Brooklyn roots. They can groove on a beat that falls like random leaves. There's something rythmic about that. Acoustic guitar. Electric bass. Vocals, young, harmonic and on occasion falsetto -- that means high and real pleasant.

They are three, triplets a trio. Young boys Albums on Fang records. Real pleasing stuff. You can dance too, but if you're like me you'll just sway like a tree branch. When your eyes are closed and there is no one around you'll shout "yeah YEAH" yep.

Man, they're playing this weekend, Saturday, at the Axiom with Roger Manning (also from New York -- renowned anti-folk hero that he is--) and locals de Schmog headlining. Acorn may be hard to find. If you can't find it come to me, they'll approve. I talked to them on the phone, and I'll copy my copy my copying-self. Their newer stuff released with many other cool works can be more easily obtained through the newest Live at the Knitting Factory release.







Three members of UH's Fencing Club placed among the top six competitors at a Rice University novice tournament Sunday.

Craig King, a third-year computer science major, placed third in novice foil. UH club members James Ousley, a second-year computer science major, and Keith Jurgens, a third-year history major, placed fifth and sixth.

"We're hoping eventually to be organized into a UH team -- not just a club," Jurgens, club president, said. "Now we're looking for anybody who's ever had an interest in fencing to come and join.

"It was kind of surprising how well we did on our first tournament," King said. "After all, we broke three out of our five fencers."

Two Texas A&M fencers captured first and second places.








Slipping away from the lectures and computer programs dominating his studies at UH, 27-year-old Goran Radonic enters the world of his homeland -- the war-torn Republic of Croatia in Yugoslavia.

"Sometimes there is a lecture or something going on, and I just unplug myself from this world," Radonic said. "I think about how I would help or react to situations. I see pictures of bomb shelters and destroyed villages.

"When I go back, I expect to see a totally destroyed country," Radonic said. "It's a sad situation."

Yugoslavia, a country composed of strongly-divided ethnic tribes, is now a bloody visage in the wake of peaceful changes in Eastern Europe.

Partly the result of centuries-old conflicts finally ignited by the attempt of the republics of Croatia and Slovenia to gain sovereignty, the current civil war in the Balkans pits Croatian nationalists against the Yugoslav People's Army, dominated by Serbians.

Military forces have battled for more than three months and through six cease-fire attempts. The seventh cease-fire came Tuesday as the Croatian Parliament voted unanimously to cut all ties with Yugoslavia.

For Radonic, however, Yugoslavia never existed.

"Yugoslavia is now only a geographic term which describes all that comprises it," Radonic said.

"I am Croatian," he said. "We never belonged to this creature of Yugoslavia."

His civil-engineer father, school-teacher mother and college-student brother are still living in the 897-year-old capital city, Zagreb, Croatia, Radonic said. With his family in the middle of the fighting, Radonic said he finds it hard to concentrate on his studies.

"My family spends maybe 10 hours a day in the bomb shelter," Radonic said. "But, no, I do not worry. Because it doesn't help if I'm worried.

"Maybe my brother might participate in the fighting, but there are no other solutions, no other place to live," Radonic said.

Radonic said the Croatian people are struggling for their homeland's sovereignty and people in the U.S. should support them.

"Most of all, I would hope that the American people would not be so disinterested as they seem to be now," Radonic said. "This is the same planet we are living on. At the very least, people should urge the U.S. government to recognize Croatian independence, like it did with the Baltics.

"If the U.S. declares itself as one of the most democratic countries in the world, they should support us," Radonic said. "We are badly in need of any help. We need medical aid and the ability to defend ourselves."

Radonic, a graduate student in computer science, sees the high price of the war every day in the news.

Reports from Croatia have estimated more than 2,000 deaths and the existence of more than 140,000 displaced persons and refugees since the fighting began in June.

One report from the Medical Headquarters of the Republic of Croatia provided a list of more than 50 Croatian villages that had been "completely razed to the ground."

Despite the destruction, however, Radonic said the Croatian people will prevail.

"What I believe is that we are going to survive and win," Radonic said. "Even if nobody helps us, we are going to win. The price is going to be incredibly high. But, you have to believe you're going to win, otherwise you have no future."








Clear the way for the prophets of rage.

Public Enemy

Yo boy.

You best get outta the way because rap's prophets of rage, Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Terminator X and the rest of the PE entourage, are targeted to blow a hole in the Unicorn this Saturday.

And suffice it to say, if you've got a problem with hard rhymin', militant, socially-conscious, black musical anger, there is no way in hell you want to be anywhere near the joint that night.

Public Enemy is back with a vengeance and the message is crystal clear.

They don't wanna be yo niga, they ain't gonna be yo sucka and they aren't gonna stop bringing the noise until enough people start hearing what they have to say.

In 1988, PE's second album, It Takes a Nation of Millions To Hold Us Back, shot the group to the forefront of rap music and thrust Chuck D into the spotlight of controversy surrounding what many felt were disturbing and potentially volatile lyrics.

Listed as one of Rolling Stone magazine's top albums of the last 20 years, Nation showcased the incredible sampling and production talents of Hank Shocklee's Bomb Squad and featured some of the most incisive and hard-hitting rhymes in any musical genre.

Last year's Fear of a Black Planet did nothing to dispel critics' problems with PE's message and their alliegance with Nation of Islam's Minister Farrakhan. The album picked up right where Nation left off, examining social ills afflicting the black community and spewing anger primarily at whites in positions of power.

Their latest release, Apocalypse 91 ... The Enemy Strikes Black, continues with these themes. From the harsh condemnation of malt liquor sales, "1 Million Bottlebags," to a scathing indictment of Arizona Gov. Evan Meacham titled "By the Time I Get to Arizona," PE rolls through the speakers like a Sherman tank, leaving nothing in its wake.

Chuck D's voice, a booming baritone, is perfectly suited for disseminating PE's own brand of useful information. Coupled with Flavor Flav's grimly humorous vocals, Terminator X's (The Track Attacker) wicked scratching, a melange of obscure but highly effective samples and gut-wrenching lyrics, Public Enemy sets the artistic and intellectual standard in rap today.

This weekend's blowout with Primus will also include a speed metal band near and dear to PE. Anthrax, the headbanging quintet from Brooklyn, is appearing on the oddly assorted triple bill.

Don't be surprised to find Public Enemy and Anthrax on stage together for at least one song. The two bands collaborated for a remake of 1989's, "Bring Tha Noize" for the new PE album. You may have seen the accompanying video on MTV.

This could one of the most bizarre and important concerts of the year, so do yourself a flavor and get out to the Unicorn.

Public Enemy number one.








"Somebody who shirks work or responsibility" is how Webster's II defines slacker. But in Richard Linklater's movie, Slacker, the characters who inspire the title are young, self-aware philosophers who refuse to spend their time adhering to someone else's agenda.

Filmed in documentary style, the movie drops in on the lives of about 100 people whose days are spent avoiding the 9-to-5 grind. They read books, hang out with their friends and take a few classes. Many have earned their degrees, but they're not ready to use them.

"Someone says it's the ultimate college movie," says director Linklater. "It's indicative of the academic environment. The characters are early to mid-20s. They're either in college, they've dropped out or they're doing school on the 10-year plan."

The novice actors who play the film's slackers are mostly playing themselves. They range from a man obsessed with JFK's assassination to a woman who sells Madonna memorabilia, who asserts, "I may live badly, but at least I don't have to work to do it."

Linklater did his casting on the streets of Austin, Tx., two years ago. "I handed out cards to people, saying if they were interested in being in a film to call." Some of the actors are plucked from his circle of friends. Many are University of Texas students.

Filming took place "right across the street" from the university, Linklater says. It was no closer because "it's illegal here to film on campus," he adds. "Colleges are touchy about how they're portrayed."

Money from friends, family, investors and the National Endowment of the Arts funded Slacker. And the actors donated their time.

Linklater, 29, who declares that he's a slacker himself, said the casting, fundraising and filming did not require much effort. He wasn't taking a working vacation from slacking -- just having a good time, he says.

For two years, Linklater was a student at Sam Houston State University. Then he worked on an off-shore oil rig for a period before beginning his slacking career in Austin. He wasn't prospering, but he was getting by.

"Being a slacker doesn't mean not having a job," Linklater says. "It may mean working a few shifts or working sometimes and not others. Slackers have jobs, but jobs don't have them.

"Campus life is very supportive of not having money. In the real world -- corporate world -- you're made to feel like a loser."

Besides, in today's economy slacking may be the easiest job for new college grads to find, the director says. "There are less and less opportunities," he says.

"Being a slacker means being yourself, not being what the system wants you to be. It's not getting a job, having a family and taking your place in consumer America," Linklater says.

Did his slacking give his folks heart conditions? No, he says. "My parents were very supportive. I know people whose parents really make their lives hell when they're not in school or working. Mine knew I'd find what I wanted to do with my life."

Although he shunned film school because it's "market-driven," Linklater managed to learn to be a director. He has friends in film school, and he has acting experience. "As an actor myself," he says, "I felt confident I could get real performances out of people."

So he bought a camera and started shooting.

"The film's appeal lies in the novelty of its focus," he says. "It's about characters no one usually thinks are worthy subjects. I had been living in this environment for seven years, and I knew there was a movie there."

The film has been released gradualy in markets during the summer and fall.








Now that the Webster Dictionary is a full-fledged, paid member of the staff, it seems fitting for Webster to get an opportunity to do its first lead.

primus. (ML-one who is first; magnate): the first in dignity of the bishops of the Episcopal Church in Scotland who has various privileges but no metropolitan authority.

Excuse, me, Mr. Dictionary, but I don't see how that relates to this particular band. They're playing at the Unicorn on Oct 12. That's this Saturday night. Maybe you could mention something about their last album, Fizzle Fry, the one with the bulgey-eyed guy's head in the frying pan on the cover? Try that.

fizzle. 1 archaic: the act of breaking wind quietly.

No! You can't talk about that in a college newspaper! What will our readers think!

2: to make a hissing or sputtering sound.

Better, better. Frying pan, hissing, roll with it...

3: to fail or peter out esp. after a promising start; end feebly or lamely.

Wait just a minute, Webster. Just a darn minute. It was a great album. And also, the band did not peter out. The latest album, Sailing the Seas of Cheese is even stronger. Primus was even in a movie recently. Remember Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey? They played "Tommy the Cat," which features none other than Tom Waits! How can you call that feeble! If anyone has failed, it's you.

Sorry folks, if we had known... well, that's all water under the bridge now. Let's try this again.

There's this band, Primus, who's playing with Anthrax and Public Enemy at the Unicorn. It's difficult to place them in any particular category, and they don't seem to enjoy having people try.

The main problem is that frankly they're weird. And proud of it. Les Claypool has this voice that sounds like the brainchild of Mel Blanc. Yosemite Sam on some major amphetamines and sucking helium balloons.

Les must be using something. If not amphetamines, then at least something that has Black & Decker stenciled across it, to be able to play bass on songs like "Is it Luck?" or "Tommy the Cat."

Equally Black & Deckerish is Larry LaLonde's fiendish fretwork in the guitar department. Mr. LaLonde is a pupil of Joe Satriani and like Smokin' Joe is quite a scale monster indeed.

Then there's Tim Alexander. He's the leading exec and overall head of the Percussion Department, who seems to have devoted a lot of R & D into Advanced Rhthym Technologies. He has to in order to keep the beat with such an offbeat band.

Try out Sailing the Seas of Cheese and see if you can keep up with them.

Spastic should be the operative word for Saturday, so take a chance on being impaled at the Unicorn.








So you say you love your school to death. Why not take a memento of your college with you when you finally lay down for that long, dark night?

Yes, now you can be buried in a casket draped in the colors of your alma mater for a mere $2,100. Within, you can relive battles of your favorite team by merely glancing overhead at your team logo.

Ken Abercrombie, the mastermind behind this collegiate celebration of death, showed off his funeral boxes last June at the 1991 Tennessee Funeral Directors Convention.

Since then, Abercrombie has sold nearly two dozen of the higher-education coffins to Tennessee funeral directors. If the demand increases for these coffins, Abercrombie said he plans to market them nationwide.

As of now, Abercrombie has made caskets for die-hard university fans of Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn and Georgia.

An employee of Abercrombie, Wyvonia Walters, said the firm hasn't yet sold any of the colorful caskets outside of Tennessee. But since the University of Tennessee colors are virtually the same as those of the University of Texas, Walters hopes demand for his caskets from Texas alumni will soon follow.

Buddy Webb, a Houston casket retailer, said he doesn't know if such college pride will follow local people to their graves.

"You'd be surprised at what people request. A lot of people like them and a lot of funeral homes are beginning to carry them," Webb said. "I was at the National Funeral Directors Convention in Las Vegas and I saw several of them out there."

Another Houston casket retailer, Fred Esser, said he doesn't see college caskets catching on.

"Down here in the Deep South, it doesn't seem like much of that stuff sells," Esser said. "I know there are military caskets, but they aren't big movers."

Esser said he has been asked to make maroon caskets for Texas A&M alumni and has also seen fraternal caskets, but he still doesn't believe alma mater caskets will catch on.








Blindness has not kept Carlos Monsanto from seeing the problems in his native Guatemala.

On Sunday, Oct. 6, the UH Spanish professor returned to Houston after assisting in relief efforts for the victims of a recent earthquake in the country.

On Sept. 18, the earthquake, registering 5.3 on the Richter scale, devastated the towns of San Miguel Pochuta, Chimaltenango, Solola and Sacatepequez. In 20 seconds, 23 people were killed, 170 were injured and 2,000 homes -- 90 percent of the homes in the area -- were destroyed.

Landslides resulting from the earthquake have destroyed 50 percent of the area's drainage system. According to Monsanto, hundreds of more lives are now endangered by the landslides.

This is not Monsanto's first encounter with tragedy in his homeland. He also helped with relief efforts after an earthquake

in 1976,which left 27,000 dead and another 100,000 paraplegic.

"Whenever there is a need I try to help as much as I can," Monsanto said.

Monsanto was born with albanism and is legally blind, which he doesn't let stand in the way of his excursions. The only time his blindness becomes a hindrance is when he grades papers.

"I overcome (blindness) by combining my intellectual and academic skills with my musical ability. I do a great deal of artistic presentations with a marimba, a musical instrument.

"I teach culture through it to all levels of students. Very often I don't charge a penny. Of course, another way to overcome it is to work twice as hard as the average person to do the same thing," Monsanto said.

Monsanto is teaching three classes this semester in sophomore and junior level Spanish. He takes small groups of students and friends to Guatemala five or six times a year. The next trip will be to Costa Rica around Thanksgiving.

"The trips are primarily tours to show the country. But obviously when there is tragedy we have to help as much as we can," he said.

"I extend the classroom to the actual field. If you're going to learn the culture of a country, there is nothing that can substitute actually going there and seeing firsthand what is really going on," he said. "It is like an extension of my teaching."

Monsanto added that he felt the trips were the best way to combine his responsibilities as honorary consul of Guatemala with his teaching.

Due to continuous seismic activity, efforts to rebuild San Miguel Pochuta are being delayed and supplies are needed for the quake's survivors, Monsanto said.

Monsanto is coordinating a drive to provide relief supplies to the hundreds of homeless Guatemalans. Old tents, non-perishable food items, medicine and reusable medical supplies, blankets and children's clothing are needed.

All donations can be dropped off at the Bellaire Fire Station at 5101 Jessamine.


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