EMPIRE NEEDS IMPROVEMENT

by Shannon Bishop

For months I have awaited the opening of the Empire Cafe with great anticipation, driving up and down Westheimer, observing the metamorphosis of a run down gas station (formerly the infamous M.O.D.) into an ultra-hip, glass paned eatery.

The Empire Cafe looks cool, with its mustard colored walls, Dutch girl portraits, and sleek wooden tables. Fresh flowers adorn the walls in French tin flower sconces. The Gypsy Kings blast from the speakers, drowning out the drone of passing traffic. Each table is decorated with a tiny antique glass bottle of blossoms. Beautiful people work and dine here. The concept is great -- coffee, food, newspapers, and flowers. What more could an aesthete need?

This place is hiP, with a capital P for pretentious. I first visited the Empire Cafe on a lazy, rainy Saturday afternoon. The restaurant was practically empty, except for the six or seven employees behind the counter who were so fascinated with one another, that none could be bothered to greet me or take my order for over five minutes. First impressions are so important, especially during the first few months of business, but perhaps they were all having a bad day. The next few times I visited the Empire Cafe, during peak hours, the staff members were helpful and polite, so call it a fluke.

The Empire Cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Initially, I sampled their panini sandwiches. They looked great on the menu, fresh focaccia with assorted fillings. Smoot's ($5.95) features spinach, roasted red and yellow peppers, zucchini, olive oil and capers. It was pretty good, but a little heavy on the raw spinach and the limp, boiled zucchini strips just didn't seem to belong here. This combination screamed for a little fresh mozzarella, but I did love the liberal amount of basil and the tender homemade bread.

The roasted eggplant sandwich with caramelized onions, field greens and pesto ($5.95) is another great idea, but way too sweet in execution. Sandwiches are served with the sides of the day – this day, a coleslaw dressed in vinaigrette, and green beans, also in vinaigrette. These dishes, combined with the oil on the sandwiches gave me an overdose of grease. The operative concept, as far as the lunch menu goes, seems to be olive oil, sublime in subtle doses, but overdone here.

The margarita pizza ($6.25) was passable but heavy, the mixed green salad ($2.50), bland. The Empire Cafe's menu boasts of every single ingredient in the dishes. I hardly think one needs to itemize each instance in which "cracked pepper" is used. I'm also perplexed at something in the pollo insalata ($6.95) called "pulled chicken." Is it pulled while alive? From where is this poulet pulled?

The breakfast portion of the menu looked promising and less ostentatious, but once again was disappointing. The quatro fromaggi frittata ($5.50) arrived steaming and fluffy, but was surprisingly rubbery and lacking in cheese. It came with a wedge of stale tasting polenta and the side du jour, green beans once again. I don't like green beans for breakfast. Call me picky, but I wanted potatoes, which for $1.50 came cold and soggy to my table. The gingerbread waffle with fruit compote ($4.95) was surprisingly good as was the hot polenta with cream and almonds ($2.25). Thankfully, the orange juice is fresh squeezed and the coffee is hot.

The Empire Cafe does do the right thing when it comes to coffee. I have not had better latte since my San Francisco days, and the house blend rivals Seattle's famed Starbuck's.

The desserts, billed as "always homemade and outrageous" ($4.25), did not betray the menu's description. The Neapolitan cheesecake, was a towering, rich monument to the triple layered ice cream of childhood delight. The pineapple cream cake was crumbly and sweet. The blackberry angel food cake was perfectly ethereal with tons of not too sweet, real whipped cream.

I recommend this place for a simple breakfast or for coffee talk since most of the food is disappointing, but this place is young and apt to improve. I really wanted it to be wonderful, but as it is, the Empire Cafe is the place for a cup of joe, dessert, a PC zine or a heavy dose of attitude, not the food. Reality bites, don't it?

Bishop is a senior majoring in creative writing

 

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SWC SPLIT TO LEAVE COOGS OUT OF PICTURE

by Adam King

Daily Cougar Staff

The University of Houston made its pitch Tuesday to join the four Southwest Conference schools headed toward realignment with the Big Eight.

University President Dr. James Pickering said he was "stunned and amazed" when he heard of the apparent agreement of Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M and Texas Tech to defect to the Big Eight Conference, leaving Houston, Rice, Southern Methodist and Texas Christian to fend for themselves.

Standing in front of a posterboard sign depicting the accomplishments of UH since joining the SWC, Pickering, with athletic director Bill Carr at his side, reiterated his goal of maintaining Houston's Division I-A status.

"It has to do with Texas being an urban state where 90 percent of its population now resides," Pickering said. "It has to do with apparently a coalition forming that would remove Division I intercollegiate athletics from the population base and the accessibility of where 90 percent of Texans live.

"What kind of perceived image are we going to project of 21st-century Texas?"

Big Eight assistant commissioner Tim Allen refused to go into detail about the proposal.

"We have explained to our schools, and our schools have explained to us, that we must do what is best for the Big Eight," he said. "It is not appropriate for us to speak publicly."

The proposed move would not take place until the 1996 football season, but UT, A&M, Baylor and Tech only have until Friday to accept or reject the proposal.

That doesn't leave UH much time to convince "the powers that be," as Pickering said, that Houston should be a part of the major realignment.

That could be a tough sell because of Houston's lagging attendance at football and basketball games, a major sticking point in UH's snubbing.

All this comes at a time when UH, which joined the 80-year-old SWC in 1976 for football and basketball, is well into construction of its $26 million athletic complex and is rebuilding its major athletic programs.

"I know what's happening in our program right now, and I know the direction we're headed and I'm very encouraged by that," Carr said.

"People in this industry have taken notice of the significant strides in the Cougar program.

"We have a lot to offer. That's the reason we're here at this time, making this presentation.

"It's obviously a time of transition in this industry, and it's a time where people look to their own best interests. Our message here today is that the actions initiated by some of our peers, we think, are shortsighted, they're incomplete."

If the deal does go through as is, as many observers suggest it will, Houston will be left to find a different scenario to place itself in.

One such possibility is rumored to be a move to the Southeastern Conference by way of a Florida sponsorship. Florida is Carr's alma mater and the site of his former employment as AD from 1979-86.

Although there has been no reaction, the SEC, which already stands at 12 teams, would most likely reject such a proposal.

Pickering did not rule out the possibility of utilizing the Texas Legislature to intercede until a plan including all eight schools could be formalized.

"The Legislature certainly has a role to play in this thing, so do college athletic directors and presidents," he said. "Things work best when you work through the conference affiliation and hope that the state legislatures won't find it necessary to intervene in those types of things."

With the league split down the middle, reaction was noticeably mixed with the schools on the outside of the process taking a wait-and-see attitude.

SMU President A. Kenneth Pye said in a statement, "The situation regarding the structure of the Southwest Conference is still in flux. The institutions invited to join the Big Eight have until Friday to respond. Until those institutions decide whether to make a change and perhaps afterwards, the range of options available to SMU will be unknown."

"The proposal took me by surprise," said TCU athletic director Frank Windegger. "I thought they would wait until we finalized the TV contract."

Texas Tech AD Bob Bockrath was at first reticent to admit the invitation to his and the three other universities had even been extended but later said, "This deal will be finalized within the week. Once these things become public, it doesn't take very long."

None of the four schools joining the Big Eight are in the two major TV markets in the state -- Dallas and Houston. Thus, Pickering said he failed to understand why Houston wasn't wanted.

"In a period of five weeks, a series of Southwest Conference games were televised in Houston," Pickering said. "The two weeks in which Houston appeared on television, we doubled the number of viewers of the other Southwest Conference games. Those that say there is not a TV market for UH, they are incorrect."

Head football coach Kim Helton said he believes Houston is a commodity other schools will seek out come football season.

"I don't think we will have a problem finding someone to play us," he said. "When you take the city of Houston and you want to take it out of the state of Texas, you're messing with a lot of voters. You're messing with 33,000 students. You're messing with a lot of tradition.

"We're <I>the<P> city in the state of Texas. It's not in Waco. No offense to Waco. Our football team will always have more coverage. Our city will always have more coverage. When we draw a crowd, we will draw the world."

 

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MINORITY FACULTY RETENTION LOW

by Tiffany Vaughner

Daily Cougar Staff

Minority faculty retention at UH is constant but still remains low, particularly when compared to the retention of white faculty.

Some UH deans say the difficulty in acquiring minority faculty is often compounded by not being able to keep them.

In some colleges, white faculty out number black and Hispanic faculty 100 to 1. In Fall 1992 in the College of Natural Science and Mathematics, the total (all faculty, associate, assistant and adjunct professors) number of white faculty was 236. The total number of black faculty was 5 and the total for Hispanics was 6.

Of the colleges with the highest number of faculty, the College of Humanities, Fine Arts and Communication has suffered the least amount of losses. Blacks went up from 18 in 1991 to 20 in 1992. Hispanics had 34 faculty members in 1991 losing 4 in 1992.

Of the colleges with the lowest number of faculty, the College of Technology's number of minority faculty has not changed since 1990. In 1991 the number of white faculty was 78 and dropped to 65 in 1992. In 1991 there was one black and one Hispanic faculty member in the college. Those numbers remained unchanged in 1992.

James Pipkin, dean of HFAC, said he felt lucky not to have lost many minority faculty over the years. He said one of the reasons many minority faculty do not stay at the university is because they are lured away to larger, big name universities with the promise of higher pay.

Pipkin pointed to the leadership roles many minority faculty to enjoy in the college as one of the reasons for its success in retaining them. He referred to the <I>Arte Publico Press<P> , one of the largest publishers of Hispanic literature in United States, and the African American Studies program's Research Institute as examples of this.

Pipkin also recognized the use of placing job announcements in minority journals and periodicals and networking through other minority faculty. HFAC currently has 20 minority faculty, 11 are Hispanic, 9 are black.

Rodger Eichhorn, dean of the College of Engineering, echoed Pipkin's concern about minority faculty being recruited by bigger universities, but said that minorities are often difficult to find.

One way colleges recruit minority faculty, he said, is to hire from the graduate pool of new Ph.D.s, but even then, he said, the search is difficult.

"We're usually not able to find them. Of the approximately 80 black Ph.D.s who graduate in this country every year, half are foreign, usually from Africa or other countries. Of the 40 or so who stay here, 20 go to the industry (meaning to work in their field instead of teaching) and the other 20 go to historically black colleges," said Eichhorn.

He said the College of Engineering also works with other colleges in advertising positions in minority education journals.

Eichhorn said he didn't see losing a few minority faculty as all bad. Even though he said it was sometimes frustrating to lose a student who was trained at the university, he saw it as a great compliment to his college and to UH as a whole that its students were being actively recruited by large universities. He said he also understood why so many went to jobs in the industry because of the disparity in pay.

"A graduate fellowship here is $1500. A recent graduate with a B.S. degree can work in industry for $40,000," Eichhorn said.

 

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WAR TAKES TOLL ON BOSNIA

by Ivana Segvic

Daily Cougar Staff

The war that broke out in Bosnia in April 1992 has left at least 200,000 Bosnians dead or missing and hundreds of thousands homeless.

Monday President Bill Clinton said a diplomatic solution needs to be found. "A workable, enforceable solution that is agreeable to all sides will only be acceptable," Clinton said. But will the suffix-able words be "able" to end the savagery that has roots from centuries ago? The NATO air strike deadline passed like the wind without a single bomb being fired.

The war began when Bosnia's minority Serbs, armed by the Serb-led Yugoslav federal army, launched a violent grab for territory after the republics Muslim and Croats voted for independence from Yugoslavia.

The death toll does not even include the other countless dead in Croatia. Croatia's Vukovar and other small towns and villages were bulldozed out of existence. Only their ghosts live in the memory of their living former inhabitants.

The history of "Yugoslavia" begins long ago. In 1389 the Battle of Kosovo Polje-The field of Blackbirds-was fought between the Ottoman Turks and Serbs. It was one of the largest battles of Medieval Europe. Legend has it that birds tore at corpses for weeks. This battle marked the end of the once powerful Serbian Empire.

By 1529, the Ottomans controlled most of southeastern Europe, and by 1878 only Macedonia and Kosovo remained under Turkish control.

In 1908, a fuse was set for World War I when Austria-Hungary annexed the Bosnia-Hercegovina region that the Serbs wanted. Archduke Franz Ferdinand visited Sarajevo in 1914 and was assassinated by a Bosnian Serb nationalist. The Austrians invaded Serbia and World War I was on the way.

Plans were being made as the war was being fought for a Slavic union of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes. It was formed in 1918 and included Montenegro and Bosnia-Hercegovina. In 1929 it was named "Yugoslavia"--The Land of the South Slavs. Yugoslavia, an area of 98,766 square miles, consisted of 24 million people, 24 ethnic groups, three major religions (Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic and Muslim), and was divided into six republics (Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro).

Josip Broz Tito emerged from the ruins of World War II as President Marshal Tito and embarked on perestroika and glasnost before anyone outside of the U.S.S.R. heard of Mikhail Gorbachev. He was known for his intellect and sight into the future. He always spoke of "Bratstvo i Jedinstvo"--brotherhood and unity, something that Yugoslavia seemed to erase from its memory.

Breaking free from Stalin's eastern block in 1948, Yugoslavia became the most progressive communist country. Marshal Tito was the only man who has ever been able to keep the people of Yugoslavia together in civility.

However with Tito's death in 1980, the country knew it was sitting on a fuse that could explode at any time.

History is quickly forgotten, and only becomes simple letters on a page, in a desk, in a dusty locker. But the atrocities that occurred in Croatia and continue to occur in Bosnia-Hercegovina are pouring rivers of blood that will stain the land and generations for decades to come.

 

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LEWDNESS IN LIBRARY

by Michica N. Guillory

Daily Cougar Staff

Last week's crime was filled with student life referrals and class C misdemeanor citations for a plethora of offenses including indecent exposure, motor vehicle theft and assault.

A student was arrested along with two juveniles for breaking into a car Tuesday morning in parking lot 9C near KUHT-TV, according to police reports.

Walter Hopkins, a 19-year-old freshman, was arrested and sent to Harris County Jail. The two youths were sent to the West Dallas Detention Center in Houston, according to UHPD Lt. Brad Wigtil. "They didn't take anything because they were caught in the act," said Wigtil.

Wednesday, at 1:30 p.m., a 23-year-old senior psychology student's studying was disrupted on the fifth floor of the M.D. Anderson Library by a man masturbating in a desk behind her, Wigtil said.

"She was sitting in her desk studying when the (unknown) man sat behind her," he said. "She felt him staring at her so she turned around and he was masturbating and looking at her."

UHPD did a search of the building but could not find the suspect.

Also on Thursday, a group of students meeting in a Settegast Hall dorm room were interrupted by a student in a rain coat, according to police.

"Christopher Fair (allegedly walked) into the meeting wearing only a rain coat and was asked to leave by a (Residents' Assistant) at the meeting," Wigtil said. "(Witnesses reported that) on his way out he passed a guy in the meeting and exposed his buttocks within six inches of his face," he said.

He was issued a class C citation for disorderly conduct and given student life and residence hall life referrals, the report said.

Sunday, a student was arrested for assaulting another during a dispute about classwork.

Juan Hurtado, a 23-year-old sophomore architecture major, was allegedly accused by Mark Schatz, a 23-year-old senior architecture major, of messing with his sketches, Wigtil said.

During the argument, Hurtado pushed Schatz, the report said.

"Witnesses, friends of both parties, said Hurtado was unprovoked in pushing Schatz," Wigtil said.

Hurtado received a county citation for assault, a class C misdemeanor, and a student life referral.

 

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'KAT PITCHING COULD GET BATTY

By Chris Pena

Contributing Writer

The Houston Cougars hope to rebound from a losing weekend swing through Louisiana when they host the Bearkats of Sam Houston State at 2 p.m. today at Cougar Field.

The Cougars (9-4) shut out Louisiana Tech 6-0 on Saturday thanks to senior ace Matt Beech's perfect game, the first in school history.

But Sunday was a different story. Louisiana Tech swept the Cougars, leaving them with a 1-2 record for the trip.

Although The Bearkats (6-4) have already beaten Rice, a tough Southwest Conference team, they will come back to town with some problems that need to be addressed.

"So far we've shown up for every game," said Bearkat coach John Skeeter. "But at this time of the year, we're throwing 12 pitchers a game just to see if someone will step up and play well."

The Cougars face the same dilemma. The only two consistent pitchers this season have been Beech and first-time pitcher Shane Buteaux.

Cougar coach Bragg Stockton hopes that junior college transfer Bo Hernandez will be one of those pitchers he's been wating for.

"Bo will start (against Sam Houston)," Stockton said. "We need for him to pitch six or seven strong innings for us."

In his last outing, Hernandez pitched a strong six innings, but he tired toward the end and had to be taken out.

The Cougars are not going to take the Bearkats lightly.

"They're a very aggresive team at the plate," said pitcher Brian Hamilton. "They don't swing at great pitches, but they take their hacks."

The Bearkats' leading hitter is freshman Daniel Jenkins who is hitting .417 despite not starting until the seventh game of the season.

"At this time, our pitching is ahead of our hitting," Skeeter said. "What we need now is two more starters for our (pitching) staff."

The Cougars have had a tough time hitting the ball as well, and pitching has kept them involved in most of their games.

Senior first baseman Ricky Freeman is on a seven-game hitting streak and has been on base in nine straight.

He, along with senior center fielder Shane Buteaux, has been the Cougars' only offensive highlight so far this season. But the weekend series in Louisiana may have been the light at the end of the tunnel.

"We know our hitters are going to be there," said Beech. "They're out of it (the slump). They hit the ball well this weekend."

Sophomore third baseman J.J. Matzke, who had been hampered by an injured thumb, finally broke out of a season long slump. He hit a home run and a triple in Saturday's victory.

What the Cougars hope to do Wednesday is to put it all together and come away with a solid win.

 

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LOUNSBURY JOINS COUGAR FOOTBALL STAFF

Cougar Sports Service

Head football coach Kim Helton filled another hole on his staff Tuesday when he added Dan Lounsbury as the quarterbacks coach.

Lounsbury last coached the quarterbacks for the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League in 1993 after the same job at Wisconsin-Superior since 1991.

He was previously a wide receivers and special teams coach of the New York/New Jersey Knights of the soon-to-be-resurrected World Football League

He was a tight ends and tackles coach at Texas in 1986 under Fred Akers and followed him to Purdue from 1987-90.

 

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EIGHT IS ENOUGH AGAINST MUSTANGS

by William German

Contributing Writer

At first glance, the Lady Cougars' 10-11 record, 5-6 in the Southwest Conference, might seem a trifle disappointing.

Look again, and the Cougars are a young team rapidly on the rise in confidence and in the standings.

When Houston faces the Lady Mustangs (15-6, 6-5) at 7:30 p.m. tonight, it will do so having won four out of its last five games with the only loss coming to defending national champion Texas Tech.

"Our rebounding has improved tremendously, our defensive intensity has improved tremendously, our overall confidence has improved. The girls feel better about themselves and each other," head coach Jessie Kenlaw said.

If the Cougars are ready for prime-time, it should be clear tonight. The game will be televised on HSE in front of an expected sellout crowd at SMU's Moody Coliseum.

The Mustangs are red-hot, winning seven of their last nine games, and have moved past Texas in the overall standings. However, they are still fourth in the SWC standings, just ahead of the Cougars.

Freshman Pat Luckey is coming off a 10-of-17, 26-point, 14-rebound performance at Baylor on Saturday. She is currently averaging 18.2 points a game and 8.4 rebounds a game while shooting .483 from the floor, leading the Cougars in those three categories as she has all season.

SMU is led by sophomore forward Kerri Delaney (.517, 15.6 ppg, 8 rpg), who is following up on a solid freshman season, and transfer guard Jennifer McLaughlin (15.7 ppg).

"We're not as concerned with (SMU's players) as we are with doing what we're supposed to do," Kenlaw said.

Kenlaw was concerned with the Mustangs' transition game, especially since the Cougars still have only eight healthy players.

However, Houston has been playing very well since changing from a full-court press to a half-court press defensively.

"It's helped our stamina in that we don't have to press baseline-to-baseline," Kenlaw said. "The girls are comfortable with it, and that's what matters."

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