CUMMING'S ARTISTIC VISION COMPLEX

by Rosario Peña

Daily Cougar Staff

The works of Robert Cumming are not as simple as they look.

On Feb. 26, witness for yourself as the Contemporary Arts Museum presents "Robert Cumming: Cone of Vision." The exhibit will display 79 works, including photographs, sculptures, doodles, paintings, an interactive installation and a 17-foot inflatable work.

Through Cumming, ordinary objects such as a light bulb become transformed into dual images. In "Orbit Down, Eyes Round" (1990), eyes and teeth are added to that familiar object, the light bulb, and it becomes a sinister skeletal specter.

In another art work, "The Big Dipper, West Suffield, Ct." (1978), everything is not as it appears to be. A closer observation of a bentwood chair in a living room reveals the broken line shape of the Big Dipper.

Cumming challenges audiences to redefine mundane forms and objects to the extraordinary and to seek similarities in unrelated shapes. The exhibit will be in Gallery One at The Contemporary Arts Museum through May 15.

The museum is open Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and weekends, noon to 5 p.m.

<I>Robert Cumming:

Cone of Vision<P>

When: Feb. 26-May 15

Where: Contemporary Arts Museum,

Telephone: 526-3129.

Cost: $3 for adults, $1 for seniors 62+ and full-time students with I.D., and children 12 and under and CAM members are admitted free.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

PROF CONDEMNS 'AFRO-SAXONS'

 

by Tiffany Vaughner

Daily Cougar Staff

African Americans should acquire a more Afrocentric base of knowledge through the study of Afrocentric literature, said Morris Graves, associate director of African American Studies.

In a lecture on Afrocentrism held in the UC Tuesday, Graves discussed the duality of African Americans, who he called, "African by nature and European by nurture."

Graves separated the philosophies of American blacks into two groups: the Afrocentrist and the Afro-Saxon and offered definitions of both.

"The Afrocentrist is one that labors to develop a knowledge of his or her Africanness. Afrocentrists are committed to study, first and foremost. You cannot be a C student and be an Afrocentrist. Not a C student in terms of your grades, but in the commitment to your studies," he said.

The term <I>Afrocentrism<P>, Graves said, means to be centered in an understanding of African culture in antiquity. He also said Afrocentricity could be used as a means to solve social ills by "(understanding) phenomena and (defining) reality."

Graves said some theorists in the black community do not believe in Afrocentric thought as a way to study phenomena, but only as a way of showing self-pride. Graves said this is true, but it is also through the study of the past that African Americans can gain the knowledge of themselves they need to succeed.

To underscore this, he pointed to the history of African Americans and slavery in the United States.

"The African American is the direct descendant of the strongest African people to populate this nation. Your history didn't begin in America, but you as African Americans began in America because you are a combination of your African ancestry and your European training. But your ancestors were able to withstand one of mankind's most severe forms of racism. You are the descendants of a people who were able to withstand the tortures, humiliations and so forth which should make you strong. There should be no obstacle that gets in your way. The knowledge of that fact alone should bring pride to every one of you," he said.

Graves said he calls most African Americans today <I>Afro-Saxons<P> because they have been taught to see the world from a European point of view.

"We have been educated in a system that has taught us to see the world through the eyes of a European. But only when we make the conscious decision that we want to move beyond that can we move toward Afrocentrism," Graves said.

He said African Americans have been socialized into a culture that is foreign to them and that this fact makes them see each other as strangers. He pointed to the continued rise in black-on-black crime as evidence of this.

"Eurocentrism has always presented history, culture and other human endeavors from a hierarchy organizational structure at the expense of other cultures. The Eurocentric model places value on every aspect of human activity; however, Eurocentrism makes a quantitative leap and proclaims superiority over all societies that are different.

Graves went on to say that Eurocentrism also makes value judgments on other cultures and teaches that its values are superior to any other.

Graves' lecture is part of the Black Student Union's Black History Month celebrations.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

UH PROJECT GROWS WHERE NO MAN HAS GROWN BEFORE

by Kevin Patton

Daily Cougar Staff

After claims that the Wake Shield program was unsuccessful, the project, which returned from space Friday, may yet have achieved most of the objectives scientists wanted.

UH scientists at the Space Vacuum Epitaxy Center will retrieve the five 3-inch-wide wafers of semiconductor material from the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Fla., later this week, said Alex Ignatiev, director of the Wake Shield program and a UH professor of physics.

The wafers were produced by suspending the Wake Shield craft from the space shuttle's 50-foot arm.

Because the experiment had to use the arm and could not use its own navigation and communications systems, many are calling the mission a failure prematurely.

The experiment had called for the Wake Shield to produce seven wafers while free-floating in space, but a glitch in the attitude control system, the computer that directs the Wake Shield, prevented it from moving into orbit away from the shuttle and confined it to the shuttle's arm.

"We had our adrenaline flowing the whole week; we went from somewhat disappointed to ecstatic," Ignatiev said.

The mission was 85 percent successful, he added.

Because the objective was to create these thin-film wafers contaminant-free and the shuttle contains some contaminants, the ultimate success of the mission will not be determined until scientists have characterized, or determined the quality of, the wafers.

"Once we pick (the wafers) up, we can characterize them," he said.

But Ignatiev already considers the mission a success.

"It's a winner," he said. "We didn't compromise our science."

The Wake Shield is a stainless-steel disk, 12 feet in diameter, used to determine whether the ultra vacuum of space can enhance the production of contaminant-free thin-film material used in semiconductors and some magnetic materials.

The instrument that failed, the attitude adjustment control, is a purchased computer that has been on 50 missions before.

"It was because of its space pedigree that we purchased it," Ignatiev said.

The experiments, although first proposed five years ago, are just getting under way with four more flights scheduled. The next Wake Shield flight will be on Feb. 23, 1995.

The $13.5 million experiment, Ignatiev said, was extremely cost-effective.

"Another project like this would have cost (someone else) hundreds of people and hundreds of millions of dollars," he said.

The UH project used only 25 to 30 people at a time.

A NASA grant, a business consortium (facilitated by the UH Space Vacuum Epitaxy Center), government labs and NASA's Johnson Space Center helped fund the program.

"We've opened up a major door for additional projects," Ignatiev said.

"I think it's important to note the first-time scientific achievements and that this has never been done before," he said.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

LIFTING OF EMBARGO DRAWS FIRE

by Teri Jefferson

News Reporter

President Bill Clinton's recent decision to establish a liaison office in Vietnam and lift the trade embargo placed on the Southeast Asian country has drawn mixed reactions from interest groups.

"The president's decision ... was a serious disappointment," said Ann Mills Griffiths, president of the National League of Families of Prisoners of War/Missing in Action.

In a statement reflecting the group's disapproval of Clinton's decision, she said the group was in the midst of arranging a trip to Vietnam for a firsthand assessment of their cooperation with the U.S. government in finding POW/MIAs.

The group was invited to the White House for a briefing on the decision, but the statement indicated members decided not to attend due to a combination of "outrageously inaccurate briefing materials" and the president's disregarding "of earlier pledges not to take this step until he was personally assured that Vietnam was cooperating fully."

More than 2,200 soldiers declared as POW/MIAs are unaccounted for.

Bich-Thuy Huynh, a senior biochemistry/biophysics major, said she somewhat agrees with the lobby group's statement. Huynh said, "For me, I find it difficult to understand that after 19 years, they (Vietnamese government officials) would facilitate the findings (process) or speed up the process."

Huynh said she wished Clinton would have taken more time to gauge receptiveness in the Vietnamese community before lifting the embargo.

Huynh said the decision to lift the embargo is also an emotional topic because some Vietnamese could think they have been forgotten as a result of the decision.

"If this decision was (made) purely for the MIAs, he's going the wrong way," she said, "but both countries will benefit from the trade."

Trang Phan, director of the Council of Ethnic Organizations at UH, said she has mixed emotions on the decision. She said if the decision was made only for business reasons, the U.S. government officials needed to also consider humanitarian issues. She said, "Things aren't run the same over there. You can't turn your cheek for a dollar."

Phan said businesswise, Clinton's decision would benefit both countries. U.S. businessmen can tap into resources such as natural gas and such industries as leather manufacturing. In reference to how the Vietnamese will benefit, she said, "When the Americans go back, tourism goes up, and that's money."

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

STRANGE NEWS CARTOONIST DRAWS ON COLLEGE LIFE

Campus Celebs

Valerie Fouche

The first thing one notices about Leonard M. Cachola is his long, black hair. He has pulled most of it back into a ponytail with a few strands hanging in his face. He is dressed comfortably and has an easiness about him. Leonard is a lighthearted guy with a silly laugh and warm smile. It is easy to see how he won a popularity contest in his senior year in high school, being elected "Most Artistic Student."

Leonard is a Studio Art/Graphics Communications major who works for the Daily Cougar as a cartoonist and production assistant.

How do you pronounce your last name?

<I>I don't know (he laughs). It’s Ka-cho-la. It rhymes with ... actually it doesn't really rhyme with anything. Maybe <P>Coca-Cola<I>?<P>

So how long have you been at UH?

<I>Too long! This is my fourth year.<P>

And you're a junior? What year do you anticipate graduating?

<I>Yeah. What year is it? I think it will be 1996 by the time I'm done.<P>

Tell me about the classes you're enrolled in this semester: Color, Intro to Graphics, Traditional Western Landscapes, Art History and American Literary Cultures.

<I>I'm basically just taking art courses right now, I'm getting back into art after a two-year absence.<P>

What would you say is your favorite course taken at UH and why?

<I>That would be History of Animation with Dr. Musburger. You got to learn how the makers make them (cartoons) and the history from the early 20th century and so on. It was a history class basically, but about cartoons.<P>

Did you study current comic strips like <I>Calvin & Hobbes<P> or <I>Cathy<P>?

<I>No, more like Disney, Warner Bros. Studios, MGM. Cartoons such as Tom & Jerry, Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny.<P>

And who would you say is your favorite professor at UH?

<I>Dr. Kent Tedin, a political science professor. Because he was the first teacher who was actually able to get me interested in government. Before I thought "yuck" government! He made it interesting and was very entertaining. His class was challenging, yet he didn't make you feel left behind. He pushed you intellectually and made you think. Dr. Tedin presented both sides of government issues, and interjected with a bit of humor every now and then. <P>

Where is your favorite campus hangout?

<I>The Satellite Hill. It's a nice place to lay around, sleep or daydream.<P>

How would you change UH if you could?

<I>Why would I change such a perfect school?<P>

Everyone has at least one complaint or suggestion.

<I>I guess I would like to see an increase in campus involvement for people who live on and off campus. Also, I would add better dorms or apartments. The Towers really isn't a place I'd move to.<P>

You're a cartoonist and production assistant for the Daily Cougar. How long have you been doing your comic strip for the paper?

<I>Almost two years.<P>

Tell me how you got into cartooning and a little bit about your strip.

<I>I started cartooning back in my freshman year at UH. There were a couple of girls in my English class who egged me on to continue the strip after they saw my work.<P>

So it was an ego thing?

<I>Um, yes and no. I wasn't sure if I could do it. I suppose I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it.<P>

Where did you come up with the idea for your comic strip and the characters in it?

<I>Well, let's see. One of the characters, Veronica, she was one of those girls from my English class. The other characters are based on different parts of my personality. When I first developed the strip, it was about a group of friends working at a high school newspaper, which was called "Strange News." The concept changed after I was hired at the Daily Cougar to a group of friends going to college and living in the dorms. <P>

Do the things that happen to you influence your characters?

<I>The strip is a combination of everything, conversations with my friends, the news, books, radio and movies.<P>

What is in the future for your strip?

<I>I would like to keep doing it until I graduate.<P>

What about your editorial cartoons? Do you prefer doing your own comic strip or editorial cartoons?

<I>That's rough. They are two different monsters. The cartoon strip is more like what I want to write about, whatever is on my mind, or just something on a whim. The editorial cartoons are pretty much generally covering news items and are based on facts.<P>

Do you see this as a career? Would you like to be published in the Post or Chronicle?

<I>That would be nice! However, I can't really see it as a career. Maybe it would be something I do on the side.<P>

So what would you like to be when you grow up?

<I>Six feet tall.<P>

Are there any current news issues on your mind?

<I>Besides Bobbitt or Harding?<P>

We can talk about them or any other issue that has piqued your interest.

<I>I think the Bobbitt and Harding stories are ridiculous. They have been overdone and over-covered. The media has blown it way out of proportion. Aren't there other things in this world that are more important? Like the bazaar they blew up in Sarajevo? I'm glad to see Yugoslavia on the front page. It kinda bothered me when it wasn't. I don't think it should be that far out of American consciousness.<P>

What do you think American college students should be conscious about? If not Bobbitt or Harding, then what?

<I>The economy -- where we're going ... which I think most people are concerned about. I just think the media covers the wrong things sometimes.<P>

Do you have any helpful hints on surviving college life?

<I>Bring an umbrella and don't park where it floods. Be careful when walking on the gravel sidewalks when they're wet. I guess that's about it.<P>

Is there anything you've learned the hard way at UH?

<I>Yeah, there are very few good drinking fountains on campus.<P> They usually have gum stuck all over them?

<I>No, that would be the chairs in class.<P>

Briefly, tell me about your family.

<I>They were alive and well, last time I checked. <P>

Do you have any brothers or sisters?

<I>No, I'm an only child.<P>

That's interesting. Did you like growing up as an only child?

<I>Hell no! It's too lonely. I was spoiled rotten though.<P>

So where do you plan on going after you graduate?

<I>I guess I would like to go into publishing or anything related to art. Well, as long as it's not sculpting! I'm not much of a 3-D artist.<P>

Any famous last words you'd like to add?

<I>Actually, that relates to my funniest campus story. The day after Labor Day, at the Daily Cougar, when we were ready to go to print, mine was the only comic strip turned in. Normally we run four, but since only one was in, we ran it the size of all four combined. It was huge. Big! So we ended up running this really stupid cartoon. My character Veronica, a real slut-like person, is telling another character, J.D., her philosophy on life: "Breed, swallow, or get out of the way." And this thing was printed HUGE! I had all sorts of people coming up to me the next day saying "Breed, swallow, or get out of the way!" It was like two months before they stopped.<P>

Is there anything else you would like to add?

<I>One plus one?<P>

Fouché is a junior communications major.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

GROUPS HOPE TO EXTEND YEAR OF THE WOMAN

by Edward Duffin

News Reporter

Local female public servants hope to continue the trend established during "The Year of the Woman."

The same year President Bill Clinton was elected, the number of women in the Senate rose from two to seven. About 40 women serve in the House of Representatives.

A recent political fund-raiser titled "Task Force 2000" gave a plethora of diverse women candidates seeking office the opportunity to showcase themselves. Some attendees included Dist. 18 congressional candidate Sheila Jackson Lee, Dist. 25 congressional candidate Dolly Madison McKenna, Republican Harris County Chairwoman Betsy Lake, Dist. 136 State Representative candidate Beverly Woolley, and many others.

Some participants said women have been only recently welcomed into the political arena. "Traditionally, women have been discouraged from entering into any kind of politics, but now I think women are being welcomed," said Sandra Peebles, 312th District Court judicial candidate.

Woolley said, "Women are not discouraged from entering into politics anymore. We are seeing more and more women becoming active."

Position 4 City Council member and congressional hopeful Jackson Lee said, "Entering into politics requires support. You're always fighting to prove yourself. But fortunately, people can look at your record and see your accomplishments."

Other candidates said blatant discouragement does not occur, but obtaining financial backing is tougher.

Dinah Bailey, candidate for the 311th Family District Court, said women have a harder time getting campaign donations. "To run a really strong, hard campaign in Harris County costs more than $100,000," Bailey said.

In 1992, McKenna ran for Congress against Democrat Mike Andrews. "Money is the key to political success in a lot of ways. In the past, it has been harder for women to raise money for their campaigns and they are just now getting to where it is possible," she said.

"I ran against someone who was so entrenched and had over a million dollars in the bank when I started. When I started out, I had not been working in local politics. I'd been in business and doing a lot of volunteer work, so people did not perceive me as a political person. I was just a business person," said McKenna, former vice president of Chemical Bank, New York.

Lake also acknowledges women face more fund-raising challenges than men. She said women judicial candidates in particular face funding problems. "I've found that with the candidates I've worked with, the big law firms tend to support men," Lake said.

"I personally have had to overcome a group of extremist-right Republicans who are adamantly opposed to women being in any office because they are opposed to women and believe a woman's place is in the home. Fortunately, they represent a small minority in the Republican party," Lake said.

Bailey, a UH Law Center graduate, said, "In this campaign, women are looked at as being potential winners. I'm a Democrat, but I heard the Republicans were actually looking for women to run."

McKenna said women supposedly, according to poll results, have a two- to five-point advantage over men. "I think generally it is perceived that women are not part of the old boy, smoke-filled-room type of ethic. People want that. They perceive women as more independent and more straightforward," McKenna said.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

A&M WALKING TIGHTROPE IN SWC

by Jason Paul Ramirez

Daily Cougar Staff

All season long, the Texas A&M Aggies have lived on the edge.

That was, until Saturday when the Texas Longhorns reached out and pushed them right over it.

During the first half of Southwest Conference play, the Aggies didn't have one blemish on their record. But what should have been noted was that five of those victories were won by a combined 21 points.

That's an average margin of victory of just over four points a game.

But in an 85-68 loss to Texas over the weekend, just about every weakness that almost cost the Aggies in their previous seven contests was revealed.

"(The Texas game) was the first major contest for us and, obviously, we didn't respond to the pressure," said A&M coach Tony Barone.

Now the Aggies (14-6, 7-1 in the SWC) must face the Houston Cougars (4-16, 2-7), who are still beaming after their 76-64 knockout over Texas Tech Saturday.

The two will square off today at 7 p.m. in College Station's G. Rollie White Coliseum.

One of the Aggies' slim victories this year came the last time these teams met in Hofheinz Pavilion on Jan. 19.

The Cougars and Aggies were neck-and-neck for most of the game until Houston encountered a scoring drought with just over four minutes left. A&M pulled away for the victory 67-60.

The loss increased the Cougars' losing streak, which has so far been long forgotten, to nine games.

After watching its streak reach 13, Houston has snapped out of its spin to win two of their last three contests.

"Houston is playing great defense and they're being very aggressive," Barone said.

Sophomore forward Tim Moore continues to be the story. He is averaging 18.9 points per outing and has scored at least 20 points in six of the last seven ballgames.

"(I believe) that Moore is the top newcomer in the league," Barone said.

What remains to be seen, however, is how Moore's performance the rest of the season will be affected by a trial set for March 15 concerning misdemeanor charges.

According to Harris County Criminal Court records, Moore has been charged with assaulting former girlfriend Tywaniquekya Mackeyin, allegedly choking and striking her during an argument the two had at Moore's apartment on July 4.

But first thing's first. The Cougars are coming off a hot-shooting afternoon against Tech in which they shot a season-high 52 percent and must go up against the league's second-ranked defense (71.3 points per game).

Senior guard David Edwards has been one of the reasons for A&M's stingy defense, and he leads the conference in steals, averaging 2.9 per game.

The Aggies also play an effective full/half-court press in which they have given opponents fits all season, averaging almost eight steals per outing.

"We'll be ready (come Wednesday night)," said Houston head coach Alvin Brooks. "We're playing with a lot more poise and experience.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

UH TENNIS SERVES UP NO.1

COOGS "OUTCLASS" SAM HOUSTON, GET FIRST 1994 VICTORYUH

by Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

The Houston tennis team played at home for only the second time this season and it must have felt mighty comfortable.

Tuesday, the Cougars won their first match of the year, 9-0 against Sam Houston State, to improve their record to 1-3. The victory came off losses to Northwest State, Utah and No. 17 Brigham Young.

The Bearcats (0-1) were clearly outclassed.

Seniors Catherine Bromfield and Cecilia Piedrahita led the Cougars to victory.

In singles, Bromfield won 6-1, 6-1 and Piedrahita coasted to win 6-1, 6-0.

The triumph means much to a team searching for victories.

"I hope this got them back in gear. We have a tough weekend coming up," said coach Stina Mosvold.

Tuesday's match was the first game of a six-game homestand, the longest of the season. The Cougars do not go on the road again until Southern Methodist in Dallas March 9.

The homestand is important because it gives the Cougars a chance to become more acquainted with their temporary facility at the Chancellors Racquet Club.

"It's nice to get the feel (of the courts), Mosvold said, when speaking of what the homestand means to the team.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

DON'T BRING THAT STUFF IN HERE

BASEBALL TEAM LOOKS FOR REVENGE AGAINST UT-SA

by Ryan Carssow

Daily Cougar Staff

The Houston baseball team received some good news Tuesday as it prepared to take on its nemesis, the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners, in a 1 p.m. doubleheader today at Cougar Field.

Outfielder/relief pitcher Shane Buteaux was named the Southwest Conference Player of the Week for the week ended Feb. 13.

Buteaux is batting .321 this season, with three home runs, eight RBIs and four steals. He has also struck out four while recording an SWC-best three saves.

"The team is 7-1 right now," Buteaux said when asked for his reaction to the news.

UT-SA comes into today's game with a 4-0 record after an 11-4 win over the Texas Southern Tigers at TSU's MacGregor Park Tuesday.

The Roadrunners are 2-2 against Houston since their baseball program began in 1992.

"They're a bunch of overachievers," said senior Ricky Freeman. "They're not gonna overpower you. They sneak up on us.

"We've got to go out and show those guys that they don't own us."

UT-SA has been a thorn in the Cougars' side since the teams' first meeting, an 8-6 UT-SA victory in 1992. The Roadrunners also beat Houston 6-5 last season.

"They (the Roadrunners) were making these diving catches," Houston head coach Bragg Stockton said of UT-SA's victory last year.

"In places, we played well enough to really wear them out."

Stockton also said he remembers one UT-SA outfielder robbing Carlos Perez of a grand slam home run. Buteaux remembers a homer he missed.

"The only thing I remember is this guy hitting this incredible home run last year to beat us," Buteaux said. "The coaches had been telling us to play this guy short."

That guy was outfielder Chance Barnett, who did not return this season. UT-SA did return Mickey Perez, who hit .364 against Houston last year and had 25 stolen bases for the season.

Stockton will start two junior college transfers against UT-SA who have yet to start a Division I game. Bo Hernandez will start the first game and Jeff Schneider will get the nod in the second.

Shoulder problems have hampered Hernandez's development this season.

"He came in to be our Friday night pitcher," Stockton said. "We'll see how he does for an inning or two. I still don't think he's really ready."

Hernandez said he feels confident he is ready.

"It's definitely healing up," he said. "I expect to have a good outing. I want to prove I am able to be a good starting pitcher for this team."

Schneider has impressed Stockton in his limited pitching time this year.

"Jeff Schneider is a guy who could pitch in the big leagues some day," Stockton said. "He's got the size and the loose arm."

Schneider said he is looking forward to his first start because he is not used to pitching in relief.

"I think tomorrow will tell if he wants me to start," Schneider said. "I haven't done too well out of the bullpen."

The junior has never relieved since he began pitching at the end of his senior year at Grapevine High School.

"(Stockton) has told us that (UT-SA) whipped us pretty often in the past," Schneider said.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

LADY COOGS TO FACE AGGIES WITH ONLY 8 HEALTHY PLAYERS

by William German

Contributing Writer

After a 2-0 respite from an otherwise disappointing season, the Lady Cougars (8-11, 3-6 in the Southwest Conference) returned to reality Saturday, losing to Texas Tech 86-59.

The rough road may not have ended for the Cougars, who play the first-place Lady Aggies today at 7 p.m. in Hofheinz Pavilion.

The Aggies (16-4, 8-1 SWC) are finally alone in first place after a win over Rice at Autry Court and Texas' upset loss to SMU.

Texas A&M, who beat the Cougars 92-62 at College Station, is having a history-making season and is headed for its first SWC title and best season ever under coach Lynn Hickey.

The Cougars hope to make them stumble.

"It won't be hard for the girls to get motivated playing at home," Coach Jessie Kenlaw said. "They realize there are only two more (home) games left. We'll be giving it an all-out effort."

The game at Texas Tech destroyed whatever momentum the Cougars had built up in their previous consecutive blowouts of Rice and TCU. The Cougars shot only 41.1 percent against the Lady Raiders, way down from their 60 percent clip against TCU.

"The atmosphere and the 8,100 people hurt us," Kenlaw said. "We hurt ourselves with shot selection, and two people who normally score for us did not have a good night shooting."

Point guard Michelle Harris, normally reliable against conference opponents, was 6-of-20 from the floor. Post Chontel Reynolds took only three shots and scored eight points after a career-best 14-of-18, 30-point night vs. TCU.

Another factor will be the performance of freshman marvel Pat Luckey. The Cougars are 3-1 when she has taken 20 or more shots from the floor. Against the Raiders, she managed only nine, scoring 12.

Defensively, the Cougars will have to deal with one of the SWC's best all-around players in the Aggies' Lisa Branch, who leads the SWC in assists, steals and free-throw percentage.

Branch also leads the Aggies in scoring with a 16.1 per-game average. Other contributors include sophomore centers Martha McClelland (13 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and Kelly Cerny (10.9, 5.5). Both are 6-4 and above, creating a potential height problem for the Cougars.

"A&M is a very balanced team. They are big and physical inside, but have a lot of quickness on the perimeter, too," Kenlaw said. "We feel if we can make it a half-court game and keep the ball out of the middle, we can win."

The biggest problem Houston has had this season, however, has been its catastrophic injuries. Houston lost freshman guard Niki Washington to a stress fracture in her leg Saturday, reducing the roster of active players to eight.

"It (the injuries) has definitely affected our style of play," Kenlaw said. "We know we have eight players to finish the season, so we have to do a lot more in the half-court."

Kenlaw also said the injuries have affected the transition game and the full-court press of the Cougars more than any other areas, making them more of a half-court team.

Of course, that strategy could be the winning one against a team like A&M.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

IN ITALIAN, IT'S PREGO

RICE VILLAGE RESTAURANT IS AMONG THE CITY'S BEST

 

by Shannon Bishop

 

I'm a little reluctant to tell you about my favorite restaurant in Houston. It's crowded enough already, but in my commitment to enlightening your taste buds and your heart, I'm compelled to share Prego with you.

<I>Prego<P> means "You're welcome" in Italian and I always feel welcome in this cozy Village dining spot. Prego is a roomy, split-level restaurant with a bar area in the front. The walls are decorated with bright murals reminiscent of Matisse paper cuts. The kitchen line is open and visible from the dining room – something I always find reassuring. The chairs are comfortable and the tables are unfussy with a bottle of extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper grinders – a thoughtful table accessory in a world laden with shakers.

This place always smells of garlic and grilled food and is usually bustling with guests. The Prego crowd is difficult to type, however. Despite its location, the clientele is not all yuppies or Ricers. I felt right at home.

Although the menu at Prego is in Italian with English explanations, the food is a surprising combination of regional American and Italian. Chef and proprietor John Watt creates dishes that showcase fresh ingredients. The menu here changes often – every month or so.

Last week, I tried a new appetizer, <I>oystricas alla prego<P> ($5.95). In my dinner companion’s words, they are "kick-ass. I didn't think oysters could taste this good."

These oysters are covered in cornmeal and romano cheese, fried and served in a citrus butter with nicoise olives and steamed asparagus. Every element of this dish is perfect. The oysters are both crunchy and tender, not greasy.

One small, but impressive note is that the plates accompanying the appetizer arrived warm. Perhaps they had just been removed from the dishwasher, but I'm easily pleased.

In addition to the oysters, I'd also recommend the <I>taleggio con polenta e funghi<P> ($5.95) – creamy cornmeal with bleu cheese and grilled portabella mushrooms, or the <I>ravioli gigante con salmone<P> ($5.95) – pasta stuffed with smoked salmon, served in a rich vodka and roasted pepper sauce. All of the appetizers are generous enough for two to share.

Prego salads are also perfect beginnings for a meal, or nice light meals in themselves. With dinner, I like the <I>insalata di portabello<P> ($6.95) – arugula and radicchio tossed in an apple-walnut vinaigrette with oranges, goat cheese and grilled portabella mushrooms. The <I>insalata di toscana<P> – grilled tuna, white beans, greens, asparagus and tomatoes or the <I>insalata Susan<P> – focaccia, tomatoes, canelli beans, talaggio cheese and balsamic vinaigrette make great light meals.

The menu at Prego offers many choices for a main dish: pizza, pasta, risotto and piatti forti. The pizzas are made to order with fresh ingredients ranging from the familiar four-cheese variety ($9.95) to the interesting <I>anitra<P> ($9.95) – smoked duck, fontina cheese, wild mushrooms and pesto.

The pasta choices are, for the most part, very unusual. The one I often dream of is the <I>ravioli di funghi<P> ($9.95) – homemade mushroom-stuffed ravioli in a creamy marsala sauce with mushrooms, tomatoes and artichoke hearts.

If you're not in the mood for mushrooms, try the <I>penne con melzane <P> with tuna($12.95) – tube pasta with vegetables and grilled tuna. The <I>capellini adolfo<P> ($8.25) may look boring on the menu, but is the perfect combination of thin, firm pasta, fresh and dried tomatoes, garlic, basil, olive oil and white wine.

The risottos are a great choice if you're craving something homey and filling. They come in two versions -- <I>risotto con funghi<P> ($10.95) and <I>risotto di mare<P> ($12.95), combining perfectly creamy arborio rice with either mushrooms or shellfish.

I like Prego's pastas so much, I have only had experience with a few entrees. The restaurant offers a daily fish special, often snapper with a nut, Parmesan or potato crust, on a bed of delicious spinach, perfectly sauteed with garlic and pine nuts, served with a side of capellini. The fish is consistently fresh and delicious. The <I>piatti di verdures<P> ($9.95) (that's <I>vegetable plate<P>) rivals Ruggles' in variety and originality – those famous grilled portabellas, Parmesan mashed potatoes, the aforementioned spinach, baby carrots, steamed asparagus and sublime, savory fennel, baked in cream, with a crust of Parmesan cheese.

Prego's wait staff is terrific, casual in dress and attitude, without being overly familiar. Thank god, no waiter has ever approached my table and said, "Hi, I'm -blank- and I'll be your server this evening," as though I need more names to remember. The waiters here are all knowledgeable, obliging and (most important) discreet.

Orders can be split between two or more, without so much as a whimper from the server. They aren't fussy about turning tables either, so it's perfectly proper to linger.

Do linger over dessert. The selections change regularly, but you can count on the vanilla-y, creme brulee with raspberries on the bottom, or the airy, chocolate orange mousse. Prego has good caffe latte as well – lots of froth. It's made with one of those cool old copper machines – la bella machina.

You can't help but feel groovy sipping the latte while checking your reflection in the big machine.

Bishop is a senior creative writing major.

Prego

Where: 2520 Amherst

Telephone: 529-2420

Hours: M-Th., 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Fri., 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sat., 5 p.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., 5 p.m.-10 p.m.

Accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

SABBATH'S NEW RELEASE UNGODLY AWFUL

by Ryan Carssow

Daily Cougar Staff

Black Sabbath, one of the originators of the demonic, morbid, macabre sound of heavy metal music, is dead.

Or at least its music is.

The band's (or what's left of it) latest release, <I>Cross Purposes<P>, is a sad departure from the classic Sabbath albums of the 1970s.

The two remaining original members, guitarist Tommy Iommi and bassist Geezer Butler, should be ashamed to put their names and their riffs on this album. Perhaps they witnessed former lead man Ozzy Osbourne's success throughout the '80s and early '90s and thought they could duplicate it.

Keep dreaming fellas because this album is truly on the Road to Nowhere (and coincidentally nowhere near as close to Sabbath's roots as the last Ozzy release). As the Siskel and Ebert of heavy metal criticism, Beavis and Butt-head would put it this way: "Huh huh, this sucks; what is this crap?"

It's not clear whether the band knows what it is or what it wanted it to be, either.

The album starts out with a fast and hard guitar riff in the first cut, "I Witness," that brings you in and leads you to expect better things to come. But halfway through "I Witness," the album's problems become evident.

The bridges and choruses are plodding and uninspired with few changes or innovations, and the voice simply has no business on a Sabbath album.

Tony Martin loaned his vocal skills to three previous Sabbath albums plus this one(<I>Eternal Idol<P>, <I>Headless Cross<P> and <I>TYR<P>). You would think it would have become apparent by now that his voice doesn't fit the band's style of playing or the band's former image. He sounds like the lead man of Warrant or any other glam rock, wannabe metal band.

His voice is not bad, actually above average for a less-intense form of music (Firehouse or Mr. Big come to mind), but it ruins some decent work by Iommi and Butler on this album.

Four songs on <I>Cross Purposes<P> – "Virtual Death," "Immaculate Deception," "Cardinal Sin" and "Evil "Eye" – show promise and sound basically like the classic slow, dark, morbid Sabbath riffs that made the band famous. Once Martin attempts to actually sing over these riffs, the song itself is ruined.

His vocals are pathetically out-matched for this type of music, and the lack of uniqueness or vocal range shows. When he attempts to downplay his own voice for the sake of the instrumental in "Deception," it sounds better, but not awe-inspiring.

Sadly, the promising riffs are brought down to the same level as Martin's vocals, rendering the overall package nothing more than a bad attempt to mimic old Sabbath.

And these are the good songs.

The rest of the album is generic glam rock at best and miserable Poison-like shit at worst.

The best cut on the album is perhaps "Dying for Love," a slow metal ballad. Iommi and Butler slow down and let Martin catch up, producing a better merge between instrument and voice. It is just another generic metal love song, however, and nothing more. But every modern metal act must have a wimp song, right Beavis?

"Heh heh, yeah; wimp songs suck."

Hard rock fans who don't know or like old Sabbath might want to give this album a try. Metal fans who instinctively bang their shoulder-length-hair-covered heads to the Sabbath classics "Iron Man," "Paranoid" and "War Pigs" should stay away. The edginess is gone.

The best bet for old Sabbath fans is the ninth cut on disc two of the <I>Ozzy Osbourne Live and Loud<P> twin-CD set.

It is a live recording of what will probably be the last time the original members of Black Sabbath play together. It was recorded in Costa Mesa, Calif., at the final show of Ozzy's "No More Tours" farewell tour, when the original members were invited to play in Ozzy's supposedly final live show.

It was the last dying gasp of breath for the original metal act that inspired Judas Priest, Metallica and countless other bands.

The copies are now better than the original.

<I>Black Sabbath plays in Houston March 9 at the Bayou City Theater<P>.

 

 

Visit The Daily Cougar