OUT FOR LAUGHS

by shane patrick boyle

Daily Cougar Staff

In a time when it is rare to find a comedy act that doesn't assault its audience with an arsenal of insults, it's refreshing to know some professional comics are bucking tradition.

Jason Stuart is part of this original new breed of comedians. He also has a secret. He's gay. (Shh! Don't tell anybody.)

Actually, it's not a very well-kept secret anymore. He told millions of <I>Geraldo<P> viewers last summer on an episode about untraditional comedians – his last step in a 10-year coming-out process.

Stuart, an actor and comedian, has performed at the Improv and other prominent venues, though until last year, he was not open about his sexual orientation in his act.

His film and television appearances include the hair-dresser who gets shot at in the beginning of Arnold Schwarzenegger's film <I>Kindergarten Cop,<P> a recurring role on the show<I>Sunset Beat<P> and an appearance on <I>Murder, She Wrote<P> last year.

His first role as a gay character was in <I>P.A.N.I.C.<P>, a play Stuart describes as "a futuristic nightmare." It is based on Lyndon LaRouche's proposed policy for handling the AIDS crisis, which entails quarantining gay men and others in high-risk categories in concentration camps.

As one might expect, Stuart's act is a contrast to the fag and AIDS jokes many comics use in their low moments to get all the drunken rednecks rolling on the floor.

Stuart says, however, that most comedians are not deliberately or even consciously homophobic. It's usually a case of "ignorance more than homophobia," he says.

But when he was in the closet, did Stuart ever tell any jokes he regretted later? His answer was "Oh no. I never talked about (being gay). I always skirted around the issue."

In his act, he tries to educate the audience about AIDS and the fact that it is not just a gay issue. "This is the '90s, ladies! Have yourselves laminated," he says in his act.

Stuart also takes an audience poll in which he asks couples in the audience if they are having sex, then asks if they are using condoms. If the couples answer "No," he says, "It's been nice knowing you."

Stuart's act also draws from his Jewish background as well as his interest in '70s television and his favorite TV show, the '60s sitcom <I>Gilligan's Island<P>. His rendition of the theme song makes quite a splash.

He also talks about his pet peeves, smokers and Trekkies – two groups of people Stuart seems to regard as the only life forms below Republicans on the evolutionary ladder.

Anyone who needs a good laugh in the middle of the week or an excuse to get out of studying can catch Stuart's out-of-the-closet comedy in his second Houston performance tonight at Rockefeller's, 3620 Washington.

 

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UNIVERSITY FURTHERS HISPANICS' GOALS

by Mike Rush

News Reporter

UH President James Pickering invited students to visit the university's 16-booth pavilion in his speech Saturday kicking off the Houston Hispanic Forum's Career and Education Day.

"Talk to the good people who are there. Find out about their programs. Get their advice and help them to learn about you so they can dream about your dreams," Pickering told thousands of students from grades 6 through 12.

The forum, held on the third floor of the George R. Brown Convention center, attracted 14,000 students, parents and teachers. It was designed to encourage Hispanic students in Houston and the surrounding areas to stay in school and pursue higher education. UH has been involved with the annual program since its inception in 1986.

"We've got to have an educated citizenry, and as the largest institution in Houston, UH has a special role in turning people on to college," Pickering said.

UH set a precedent this year with the creation of a pavilion showcasing many of the career studies offered at the university. The pavilion consisted of booths staffed by representatives from each college. UH also sponsored seminars for careers in science and health.

"The idea is simply to provide a broad spectrum of opportunities at UH for these kids," Pickering said.

Dorothy Caram, interim assistant to Pickering, helped organize UH's participation in the forum. Of the 40 institutions attending, Caram said UH was the only one to be represented in such force.

"It's the first time any university has ever put forth an effort to have a pavilion within the exhibit hall to show off (its) colleges," Caram said.

UH sophomore business major Marko Garcia volunteered his time to represent the College of Business Administration. Garcia is also a member of UH's Hispanic Business Student Association. He answered students' questions about the business program and encouraged them to join HBSA.

"We're trying to promote the University of Houston and let them know that they don't have to go to Austin or other places to get a good education," Garcia said.

Julia Martinez, a senior attending Nimitz High School, plans to attend college when she graduates in May. She completed applications at the scholarship booth and collected brochures from all of the booths.

"I think it's a good opportunity for us because we get to look at the programs that will help us be somebody in the future," she said.

Mayor Bob Lanier and three City Council members also attended the forum, along with recently elected HISD Superintendent Rod Paige. Outside the convention center, a small group of Hispanics gathered to protest the controversial appointment of Paige. They claimed the appointment excluded Hispanics from the selection process.

 

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UH REACHES SUMMIT

by Louise Yearout

News Reporter

On the eve of last month's Moscow summit, President Clinton received a Russian aid study that two UH law professors helped create.

Because "UH had become well known in the United States and abroad for having worked with the Russians extensively," the Fund for Democracy and Development requested its help, said Law Foundation Professor Jacqueline Lang Weaver. "They were trying to draft proposals and policies for President Clinton, so they asked us to help them with the policies for the petroleum industry."

Both she and Associate Professor Gary Conine contributed their petroleum law expertise for more than nine months on policies that included structuring technical assistance to Russia through foreign investment, Weaver said.

The study, "A New Strategy for United States Assistance to Russia and the Newly Independent States," was produced by a bipartisan policy panel chaired by former Secretary of Energy James R. Schlesinger and included several other prominent Americans, such as Robert C. McFarlane, former President Reagan's national security adviser, and Paul H. Nitze, former U.S. arms negotiator with the Russians, said Conine. Also, former President Nixon served as the fund's honorary chairman, Conine said.

The study is difficult to summarize; it takes a two-tiered approach to Western assistance to Russia. The first tier deals with geopolitical issues, including security issues, military relations and diplomatic matters and the second tier deals with providing aid, Conine said.

"Continued progress in legal reform is essential if Russia is going to avail itself of the tremendous amount of private investment that foreign oil companies are anxious to put to work there. The private investment could do more for the Russian economy than all government aid packages combined. Creating the proper legal framework for investment would also demonstrate Russia's commitment to do its part to help its own economy. This cooperation by the Russians is essential if Western aid is to receive the necessary political support in the contributing countries," Conine said.

The basic advice from UH to the fund, a Washington D.C. nonprofit institution, was that technical assistance should continue to the Russians, Weaver said. "(The Russians) still do not have a pipeline law or laws that govern the environmental and conservation aspects of the petroleum industry."

They did not put into their Underground Resources Code a statute on petroleum licensing law, she said. "There is nothing like a good legal system for Westerners to have confidence that, when they invest money, their profits will not be taken away from them."

The study also addressed the issue of placing conditions on giving the aid, Conine said. The general tone of the report is that Western aid-giving countries have the right to place conditions on the giving of aid to make sure it won't be wasted, Weaver said.

However, "there was some concern (in the study) that the past approach to assistance laid down too many preconditions. It was suggested that certain forms of assistance be available immediately," Conine said. But easing up on the conditions to aid in the petroleum area was not recommended, he added.

"The petroleum industry is critically important to their economy. The Russians have such vast reserves of petroleum and natural gas which can provide an enormous boost to their economy. If they can get the reserves out of the ground and into their domestic market and more importantly into the world market," Conine and Weaver said, "this could be one area (where) conditions could be attached in order to encourage them to finish the process," Conine said.

"The petroleum industry (in Russia) does not need money itself. Petroleum is like gold – black gold – under the earth. The Russians are rich to that extent. They have a very liquid source of wealth, so Gary Conine and I didn't think the Russian petroleum industry needed to be subsidized like the agricultural sector might need to be." The problem the Russians have is that they need a legal system that grants access to the wealth in an efficient, competitive manner, Weaver said.

Participation in this study is not the first time Conine and Weaver have received worldwide recognition for their petroleum legal expertise. During 1991 and 1992, they coordinated the massive, privately funded Russian Petroleum Legislation Project. Weaver served as executive director of the project and Conine served as associate director of research.

Weaver was a co-drafter of the proposed Petroleum Licensing Law. UH Law Professor William Streng also worked on petroleum tax proposals for the project, Weaver said.

UH came to the attention of the Russians because Houston is known in Russia as the energy capital of the world, Weaver said. The Soviet minister of oil and gas contacted UH economics Professor Paul Gregory, who is an expert in Soviet oil and gas economics and industry, Weaver said. Gregory then contacted Robert L. Knauss, then-dean of the UH Law Center, and that is when Conine and Weaver got involved.

The project had the greatest influence in the licensing law and underground resources law, Weaver said. It was a massive undertaking, requiring that she "coordinate 45 different people in 12 different time zones with four different drafts of hundreds and hundreds of pages to be faxed all over the world on extremely tight deadlines," Weaver said.

Weaver is a UH law school graduate and has been teaching oil and gas law, energy law and environmental law at UH for 15 years. She is also director of the graduate program in Energy, Environmental and Natural Resources at UH. Conine came to UH six years ago from a private law practice, where he specialized in both domestic and international oil and gas legal matters. He teaches oil and gas international energy transactions and economic regulation. He is now director of the Law Center's International Petroleum Program.

Currently, the UH Law Center is pursuing more Russian projects. UH is part of a team that, if called upon, will work on issues involving Russian exploration and production of petroleum and natural gas for the U.S. Agency for International Development, Conine said.

Also, the Law Center has been approached by the Gubkin Academy in Moscow – the premier institute of higher petroleum education in Russia – to help assist in creating its curriculum, devising its textbooks and training its faculty to teach the law courses needed in specialized petroleum areas, Weaver said. "Mayer, Brown & Platt, a Houston law firm, was instrumental in linking the Gubkin Academy with UH and deserves a lot of credit in getting the Gubkin Project started," Conine said.

The project has not been initiated because it is not funded yet, Conine said. UH submitted one grant proposal to the U.S. Information Agency last November and expects to submit a proposal within the next month, Conine said.

"(UH's Law Center) is trying to generate these projects as the opportunities arise," he said. "We still have a great deal of interest in the changes that are taking place in Russia. We'd like to remain involved to the extent that we have something to contribute. The great thing about it is there is an educational component to it and some real research opportunities. So from an academic standpoint, it's really quite an exciting opportunity," Conine said.

 

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TECHO-FEAR ALERT

by Mike Rush

News Reporter

Fear of technology is denying underprivileged people in America and the rest of the world the opportunity to live healthier and longer lives, a UH professor says.

In his lecture last week titled "Technophobia II: Environmental Racism or Misguided Romanticism?", UH Economics Professor Thomas DeGregori defined technophobia as an "irrational fear of technology." This fear, he said, has created a form of environmental racism that causes the poor and powerless in a society to suffer when technology is hindered by more powerful policy.

For example, technological advances made in the prevention of infectious diseases in Third World countries are being stymied by animal rights groups, DeGregori said, because the groups want to prevent animal testing. He said these tests were critical to the technologies that created chemicals, vaccines and antibiotics which have increased life expectancy by 15 years since the time of their introduction.

"You are talking about people who had the benefit of the technology who are now actively working to prevent other people from getting the same as they (had)," DeGregori said.

Doug Trowbridge, human services director at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, acknowledges advancements made with animal testing, but questions the importance of animals in experimentation.

"Every time (scientists) test something on animals, the next step is to test it on human beings ... so why not skip the animal testing and go on to the human testing," Trowbridge said.

Environmental racism also occurs when suburban residents abuse environmental laws to keep undesirable roads, toxic dumps and factories from entering their neighborhoods, DeGregori said. Ultimately, the sites are placed in lower-income areas where the residents do not have the money or organization to argue the same issues, he said.

"The affluent don't want the inconvenience of people driving through their neighborhoods, but they are quite willing to ride on those freeways that have already destroyed inner city neighborhoods," DeGregori said.

Jan Lin, UH assistant professor of sociology, agrees governing bodies often redirect unwanted sites to lower-income areas, but argues environmental issues can be linked with social issues to give minorities a voice.

"If (companies) are going to plan new freeways and industrial plants, a lot of federal regulators and courts must now decide whether there are negative environmental (consequences)," Lin said.

 

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CONTRACEPTIVE ALTERNATIVES CONVENIENT, EFFECTIVE

by Lisa Ferro

Daily Cougar Staff

Birth control innovation has come a long way in the 30 years since 'the Pill' made reproductive history. However, when most young people today begin to investigate birth control options, they are still faced with a limited number of choices.

The Baylor College of Medicine Population Program, formed in 1979 as a joint venture between several Baylor departments, has quietly been conducting birth control studies on women and educating the community on contraceptive alternatives for over 10 years.

"We do not advertise. Most girls hear about us by word of mouth," said Alice Harmon, R.N.C., clinic coordinator for the program. "For the most part, most women hear (about birth control options) from their friends and they have already made up their minds when they come see us."

The Population Program, along with clinics all over the country, is currently testing two new contraceptive methods which may prove promising – Implanon and COL 1492.

Implanon, is a progestin implant. A small flexible rod is surgically placed just under the skin of a woman' s upper arm. Once implanted, Implanon is effective for a two-year period, unlike Norplant which is effective for five years.

The shorter time frame Implanon is an advantageous method for those women who do want to get pregnant. Implanon is too expensive for most women. It costs well over $500.

COL 1492 is a contraceptive jelly whose effectiveness is being compared to that of Conceptrol, an over-the-counter contraceptive jelly available in most drug stores. COL 1492 is being tested for spermicide activity at intervals of 15 and 30 minutes, 12 hours and 24 hours after application.

Currently available contraceptive jellies claim effectiveness for only 15 to 30 minutes after application.This study should be completed in June.

FDA approval for COL 1492 is pending, while awaiting the results of Baylor's two-year study, but it is expected to be available to the general public in 1996.

Depo-Provera contraceptive injections were approved last year, largely because of pressure from the Clinton administration. The drug is another progestin-like hormone that has been prescribed by doctors for 20 years to control irregular menstrual bleeding.

Women in France, England and Sweden have had access to it for many years. Some doctors in the United States have been prescribing it for birth control, prior to FDA approval.

Studies have shown Depo-Provera injections, taken as scheduled four times a year, are 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. The cost is comparable to birth control pills.

Research on contraceptives for men has remained a low priority until recently.

"That has been the trend over the years. No one has been revolutionary enough to change that," Harmon said. "Women have been expected to be responsible (for birth control) and men have been expected to not be responsible."

The UH Health Center offers a variety of services including Pap tests, prescriptions for contraceptives and outside referrals.

Susan Leitner-Prihoda, R.N. practitioner for the health center's Women's Clinic, said that if a woman is unsure of her birth control options when she comes in to the Health Clinic, she is fully informed by the time she leaves.

 

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UNIVERSITIES ESTABLISH DOMESTIC PARTNER POLICIES

by Jenalia Moreno

Daily Cougar Staff

Colleges and universities across the nation are attempting to become a more desirable place to work by expanding benefits to the partners of gay and lesbian faculty and staff members. However, UH is not offering these benefits.

"The state of Texas does not recognize same-sex marriages and we are a state agency," said Betty Powell, supervisor of Benefits, in the Human Relations office.

UH is currently insured by the Employee Retirement Systems of Texas. UH did have its own insurance policy, Provident Life and Accident, until September of 1992.

"Higher education was allowed to have their own insurance policies, however they are still subject to the same policies (of that state)," Powell said.

Employee Retirement Systems took over insuring state employees because of legislative decisions. UT and Texas A&M were allowed to keep their own insurance policies because of their size. When UH switched employee benefits policies, Texas Tech also switched.

"Insurance was getting unaffordable and everyone felt we would be better off joining ERS," Powell said, who was not involved in the decision to change insurance plans.

Domestic partner benefits mostly provide for health insurance but often include tuition discounts and access to facilities.

"The issue is, people are being excluded and health insurance is really necessary," said Troy Christensen, coordinator for the UH Texas Center for Superconductivity.

There are about two dozen universities in the the country that have instituted domestic partner policies in the last two years. Most of these institutions are located in the more liberal Northeast and on the West Coast.

These institutions are attempting to attract students and employees who are concerned about rights for gays and lesbians.

"It's the perfect place because you're talking intellectual rather than emotional response" to an issue many companies choose to avoid instead of confronting public right-wing backlashing and boycotting of products, said George Kronenberger, coordinator of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Workplace Project.

Many U.S. businesses have also begun providing equal benefits for employees and their domestic partners, even before any colleges and universities were offering these benefits.

These companies are providing domestic benefits because gay and lesbian employees who have become more visible recently have begun demanding benefits and "to be competitive for greater human resources ... (and) to recruit the best-qualified people" who may be gay or lesbian, Kronenberger said.

Companies and institutions of higher learning have been concerned about the higher cost of adding gay and lesbian partners to health care plans, especially at a time when gays are perceived to be at a higher risk of contracting HIV.

In order for a couple to qualify for the benefits, many colleges and universities have established various guidelines.

At Stanford, same-gender couples must prove that they are not blood relatives, have lived together for at least six months in an exclusive relationship and have mutual financial obligations.

The University of Michigan requires couples show at least three forms that document joint responsibilities such as mortgages, bank accounts, liabilities, ownership of property or naming each other as primary beneficiaries in wills, life insurance policies or retirement annuities.

 

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COUGARS CHOP DOWN LUMBERJACKS

Cougar Sports Service

Houston went on the road and got back on the winning track with 1-0 and 8-3 victorys in a doubleheader over Stephen F. Austin Tuesday.

Brad Towns went the distance in the first game, tossing a two-hitter for seven-innings. He struck out three and picked up the win in his first pitching performance for UH.

Houston hitters were equally inept against SFA's Rodney Cook, who received the tough luck loss after he allowed only two hits.

One of those hits was a Tom Maleski RBI single that drove in Chris Scott in the top of the seventh inning, however.

In the second game, Houston exploded for six runs in the fourth inning to build on an earlier two run lead.

SFA touched Houston starter David Hamilton for two runs in the bottom of the fourth, but Kevin Boyd, Jason Dixon and Shane Buteaux came on to close out the last three 2/3 innings.

Hamilton (1-1) got the win and Michael Slayden, who gave up four runs in three 1/3 innings, took the loss.

Former Cougar and current Lumberjack pitcher Glen Kimble was given a rude reunion by his former teamates.

Houston roughed up Kimble for two runs on two hits in 1/3 of an inning.

Outfielder Stefen Breeding had a big day offensively for Houston, hitting 4-for-6 in the two games. He also had three RBI's and two stolen bases from the leadoff spot.

Houston leadoff batters were a combined 1-for-5 in the first three games of the season.

Houston travels to Lake Charles, Louisianna today for a 1 p.m. game against McNeese State.

 

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LADY COOGS HOPE TCU WON'T BRING A RELAPSE

by Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

The Lady Cougars hope Rice was the cure for what ailed them.

Saturday, the women's team beat Rice at home in an emotional victory, 71-51.

Today, the Coogs face the Texas Christian Lady Frogs (5-12, 1-6 in the Southwest Conference) at Hofheinz Pavilion for a 7 p.m. tipoff.

The game is free for all students with a valid student I.D., and there will be a "grab bag shootout" during halftime.

The Cougars (7-10, 2-5 in SWC) last played the Frogs in a 78-72 loss Jan. 12 in Fort Worth; TCU has not won a game since.

"TCU did a very good job in the first game," Cougar head coach Jessie Kenlaw said. "They wanted it more than we did."

She added that she believes things will be different this time because the desire will be on the Cougars' side.

"I feel good about our practices, I think we are ready. We'll be focused, we've played with a lot of intensity," she said.

Houston has a problem of numbers right now. Injuries have taken their toll on the team, leaving only nine healthy players.

This has caused the Cougars to change their game plan. Instead of running a full-court press, they have decided to trap in the half court.

"There are a lot more things we can do in the half court," she said.

Combine this with well-planned substitutions and Kenlaw said they can keep their players fresh.

Freshman Pat Luckey is leading the Cougars in scoring with 18.1 points per game.

Luckey ranks in the top three in the Southwest Conference in scoring, rebounding and free-throw percentage.

Chontel Reynolds leads the conference with a 1.9-blocked-shot average. As a team, the Cougars are second in the SWC with 2.9 blocks per game.

Antoinette Isaac had the hot hand against Rice. She set career highs in scoring (21 points) and rebounds (10). She also had eight steals on the night.

Kenlaw said she is worried about the TCU transition game. It was a defining factor in the first meeting, but she is not planning on making any adjustments to the Cougar game plan.

The Frogs lead the conference in free-throw percentage and rebounds, grabbing 45.5 boards a game. Amy Bumsted is their leading rebounder with an 8.4-per-game average.

Other than those categories, TCU ranks near the bottom in almost every statistical category, including scoring, field goal percentage and 3-point field goal percentage. The Frogs occupy last place in the conference standings, the Cougars are tied for fifth.

Last year, when the Frogs beat Houston 76-60 on March 8, the Frogs snapped a conference losing streak of 38 games dating back to Jan. 23, 1991.

The two teams split the series last year, with each winning its home game.

 

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ASFAHL SEEKING RESPECT

Heptathlete wants to be known for academic success

by Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

Carolye Asfahl can't remember the last movie she saw.

She is a full-time senior kinesiology major, engaged to be married, and an intercollegiate athlete. All her time is occupied.

She is the ideal example of what a student athlete should be. She is a member of the Cougar women's track team and on the dean's list.

Often, society holds an athlete to the "dumb jock" stereotype. Asfahl is anything but.

She runs the heptathlon for the Cougars and spends almost the entire spring and much of the fall semesters in training. And if she qualifies for nationals, she will run all the way into June.

Asfahl also has a 3.4 GPA and her goal is to someday be a professor.

She does not feel that athletes deserve special attention. She is not asking to be treated any different than the average student here. She just wants people to understand that she works very hard for the accolades she receives.

She gets up at 6:30 p.m. every morning to take a brisk walk and finish her studying before going to class.

Her classes start at 9 a.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and 10 a.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. She is in class for three hours each day, then goes to track practice.

Since track and field is such an individual sport, practice times are not regulated. Whenever Asfahl finishes her workout, she is done for the day. The practice usually lasts about 21/2-3 hours, and she usually gets to go to bed at about 11 p.m.

She practices every day except the day before a meet. That is travel day.

Track coach Tom Tellez tries to make sure the team misses as little class as possible. If the meet is on Saturdays, the team will leave Friday after class and return early Sunday morning.

This leaves little time for studying.

"You want to sleep all day Sunday, but you know that you've got to get up and study," Asfahl said. "I make myself get up at 10 and was just dragging all day."

Even though missing class is discouraged, there are a couple of weeks when a member of the team will be forced to miss class for one or two days.

"Most of (the professors) are understanding, but you'll get one or two that don't like it, but it's understandable," she said.

"I think teachers are tired of athletes getting by because other people are covering their butts. I don't believe (in) that; I think we should do our own job.

"But it makes me mad because then they get mad at me and they hold a grudge toward me because I'm an athlete and they think I'm here to get a free ride."

Actually, she is not even on full scholarship.

Asfahl just wants to compete and nothing will stand in the way of that.

There is often a fear that athletics will make it harder to make good grades. Asfahl has a different opinion.

"A teacher once told me, 'Well, if you didn't do athletics, just think what your GPA would be then,'" she said.

"I thought it would be a lot worse because I've run track since the sixth grade, and to me, it has totally given me discipline and structure. I don't think I would have any of the discipline to do as well as I do now."

Asfahl said athletics played a big part in her decision to attend UH.

"Coach T (Tellez) was one of the main reasons why I came (here). I think he was the main reason because he's such a good coach," she said.

Asfahl said she wishes others understood how hard she works.

"I can't just sit there and say I work harder than you because I know that a lot of the students here have families and work, so they really work hard too," she said.

"I just want other people to realize that many of us are really working hard. I work my buns off. It really hurts us (athletes) to hear other people degrade an athlete."

Unlike other events, track and field does not have a large following in the college ranks.

She said the average crowd at a track meet consists of parents, friends and a few die-hard track fans.

So why does she do it?

"I love to compete," she said. "If I didn't run track, I would find something else to compete in."

 

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HOUSTON LOOKS FOR REVENGE AS THEY ENTER COWBOY COUNTRY

by Ryan Carssow

Daily Cougar Staff

The Cougars face the McNeese State Cowboys in a rematch of sorts at 1 p.m. today in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Last season, the Cowboys defeated Houston 12-4 at Cougar Field to end UH's 10-game season-opening win streak.

"I'm sure they remember us," McNeese head coach Tony Robichaux said. "And I'm sure they would like to return the favor."

McNeese is 4-0 so far this season, but Robichaux said UH will be his team's first true test of the season.

"That's what (smaller schools) live for, to say they beat a school like the University of Houston," said Cougar pitcher Matt Beech. "They beat us last year, so we owe 'em one."

Beech is scheduled to start today's game for Houston. Cowboys starter Jason Gunter, who battled tendonitis through an 8-5 1993 season, will make his first start of the season. He is scheduled to pitch three innings, with Bob Howry and Brian Lott to follow.

In previous meetings, pitching was often the Cougars' problem against McNeese. In last season's contest, Houston sent six different pitchers to the mound.

"Through the years, we've had some tough games against them," Houston head coach Bragg Stockton said, "They always seem to catch us with our pitching staff down."

Last year, the problem was a flu bug that bit the team before the game against McNeese. This year, it may be tired arms.

Before the team left on its two-day road trip, Stockton was wary of how playing three games in two days would affect his pitching staff.

"Even though we've got the doubleheader the day before, I'd still like to save some of the pitchers for McNeese," he said.

Houston used only five pitchers in Tuesday's doubleheader against Stephen F. Austin. Transfer Brad Towns threw a complete game, 7-inning two-hitter in the first game.

Cougar relievers Brad Dornak, Daryl Renfrow and Jeff Schneider have not pitched since Sunday and should be able to pitch if needed today.

 

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CAFE ARTISTE OFFERS A HOME

 

Montrose café

has music, poets

and good coffee

by Shannon Bishop

Just a block away from the Menil Collection, on West Main between Alabama and Richmond, sits the restaurant of the week. What was once a dusty pizza joint has been transformed into the eclectic Cafe Artiste.

I don't normally have time to eat breakfast, but my recent morning excursion to the cafe has caused me to question my evil ways.

Everyone says breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I am beginning to believe them. Tom Meridith, owner and proprietor, has created a homespun coffeehouse with a Cajun twist and a touch of Bohemian aesthetics. The restaurant is composed of one well-lit room. Spider plants and mismatched furniture decorate the dining area, with one corner designated as the library. A patio overlooks the parking lot.

Going to Cafe Artiste feels like a good friend's house. No one waits on you. Order at the counter. Grab a cup of coffee, some napkins and silverware and have a seat. When your food is ready, someone will bark out your name and set your plate in front of you – no fuss.

The breakfast is New Orleans-influenced, but not at all like Brennan's heavy fare. It features standard breakfast food with a sophisticated twist such as the croissant su du lait – perfectly scrambled eggs, du lait (a hybrid of yogurt and creme fraiche) and a buttery croissant.

The pain deVille platte is a complicated name for a short stack served with fresh fruit. Meridith's take on pancakes includes a sprinkling of cornmeal for a delicious grainy punch.

If you have some time, order the su du lait crepe, an ethereal egg and crepe experience, featuring the aforementioned du lait served with fresh fruit. This item takes 15 minutes, according to the menu – 30 minutes in reality, but it is well worth the wait.

The omelette avec epinard et pomme de terre was also a pleasant surprise – tender eggs intermingled with fresh spinach, rolled around spicy new potatoes and Swiss cheese, served with homemade biscuits.

Don't let the French throw you off; Cafe Artiste's menu is not fancy. The portions are large and loaded with cholesterol, my favorite breakfast staple. The lunch menu pales by comparison – meat-laden sandwiches and unoriginal salads. Skip it.

If you're in the mood for a light meal, have a cinnamon roll or a bagel. They're not homemade, yet fared well alongside the coffee.

Coffee! – This is where Cafe Artiste surpasses every breakfast spot in town. The restaurant uses only Melitta coffee, custom-prepared at the "Brew Bar," the likes of which I'd never seen. They offer over 20 types of java – au lait, latte, cappucino, espresso, granita, bottomless cup and on and on. If you're not hungry, go for the coffee and the atmosphere. On a breezy spring day, go for an ice cream cone.

Cafe Artiste has refined the café concept. This is a place that strives to nourish the mind and soul as well as the belly.

It sponsors weekly poetry readings and something called mini-theater. Also featured are local art and music two nights a week. Its corner library encourages one to linger over a borrowed book.

Cafe Artiste even has its own newsletter, Artiste News. The cafe's mission, it states, is to "enrich the lives of others by sharing love, faith, knowledge and wisdom."

And don't forget the coffee.

Bishop is a senior creative writing major.

 

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EMPIRE STRIKES BACK AT CLICHES

by D. McAdams

Daily Cougar Staff

Don't let the cheesy death metal front all over their CD scare you (or fool you). Course of Empire is pretty user-friendly.

Comprised of Vaughn Stevenson on Vox, Mike Graff doing guitars, Paul Semrad on bass, Chad Lovell on drums and Michael Jerome on drums (yes, that's right, two drummers).

Course of Empire hails from the big D (that's Dallas, you nimrod). The operative phrase here is big drum work, folks. And quite frankly, it's good.

The band sounds like a cross between Gruntruck and Nine Inch Nails (or like Ministry, with a little less psychosis). The singer is tolerable (just barely), but the music rocks. Songs you should take notice of include "Hiss," "Gear," "Breed," "Apparition," "Invertebrate" and "Sacrifice."

Each of these songs has that big drum, slicing guitar feel to them. Two of the "stranger" songs (within the context of the CD) are "Initiation" and "The Chihuahuaphile." The former features six minutes-plus of experimental noise with your CD player registering that a new song is being played every 30 seconds. The latter features Spanish music on an acoustic guitar with the lead singer sounding pathetically like he's attempting a Bono impression. Singing aside, the song is good.

Go ahead and buy this at full price. On the whole, compared with a CD like, say, Soundgarden's <I>Badmotorfinger<P>, it's worth the money.

 

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MOE'S TEAM MAKES STOOGES OUT OF COOGS

HOUSTON REVERTS TO LOSING WAYS, 95-86

 

by Jason Paul Ramirez

Daily Cougar Staff

So much for a turnaround.

The Houston Cougars are right back where they were at this time last week--in the midst of a losing streak.

After pulling out an impressive comeback win over the Rice Owls last weekend, it didn't take long for the Cougars to get back on the losing track again.

The Texas Christian Horned Frogs (6-13, 3-5 SWC) handed Houston (3-16, 1-7 SWC) its seventh loss in eight Southwest Conference games as they rolled to a 95-86 victory at TCU's Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.

The Cougars were left helpless in trying to stop the Horned Frogs' 6-9 junior center Kurt Thomas, who burned Houston for 26 points before fouling out late in the second half.

"(TCU's offensive strategy) was simple. Thomas would be wherever it wanted to post the ball," said Houston coach Alvin Brooks.

Thomas was hot from the floor, hitting on 10-of-13 shots, and was a perfect 7-for-7 in the first half while registering 15 points.

But when he fouled out, Thomas got hot around the collar. He was called for a technical foul after objecting to his fifth personal foul.

Actually, the whole Horned Frogs team was hot as they finished with 68 percent shooting performance.

"It's hard to explain (TCU's) offensive outburst," Brooks said. "And because they shot so well, it was hard for us to get into our offensive flow."

In addition to Thomas' outburst, TCU's improved supporting cast exploded for 56 points.

Guards Jentry Moore and Jeff Jacobs pitched in with 17 points a piece while sophomore forward Byron Waits poured in a season-high 22.

"We knew that Thomas was going to get his points," Brooks said. "But we can't let those other guys score and hope to beat them."

Horned Frogs coach Moe Iba said, "Offensively, I thought Moore had one of his better nights, and so did Jacobs."

But the Cougars were still able to answer with their own scoring combo.

Senior guard Anthony Goldwire led all scorers with 29 points and sophomore forward Tim Moore countered Thomas with 25 points of his own before also fouling out in the game's waning moments.

"Moore is a lot tougher than what he was the first time we played (Houston)," Iba said. "What he does that makes Houston good is the fact that you have to put two guys on him and that opens up the weak side for some offensive rebounds."

Jumping out to an early 16-12 lead in the first half, the Cougars looked like they were picking up right where they left off at Rice.

But TCU's hot shooting took off and Houston never stayed aloft as the Frogs hit the locker room with a 45-36 halftime lead.

"Early on, we really contained them well," Brooks said. "But once they got into being able to drive the lane, we had trouble."

 

 

 

 

 

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