by Ericka Schiche

Daily Cougar Staff

The abode is not labyrinthine, but a space wherein those suspended between the real world and the surreal can coexist with the living.

<I>The House of the Spirits<P>, Bille August's Anglicized/Americanized

adaptation of Chilean novelist Isabel Allende's Romantic and magical realist epic, is a film about the Trueba clan–a resilient, aristocratic Chilean family presumably modeled after Allende's.

The film focuses on the relationship between Esteban (Jeremy Irons) and Clara Trueba (Meryl Streep) and their relationship with their daughter Blanca (Winona Ryder) and his old maid sister, Ferula (Glenn Close). It also explores how a house can remain at the center of a family for five decades.

August's adaptation of Allende's novel focuses on several subplots from one involving the rise of counterrevolutionary forces against the revolutionaries who defeated conservatives. Another subplot focuses on the almost matrilineal nature of the Trueba geneaological tree within the context of a patriarchal society to the ongoing fued between Esteban, the embodiment of the vaquero ethic and Pedro Segundo (Antonio Banderas), a revolutionary working diligently towards the attenuation of the stalwart, bulky ruling class.

The magical realism embedded in the text is employed in scenes in where spheres of myth, spirituality, and imagination overlap with reality .A clairvoyant, psychokinetic Clara is responsible for the moving of a vase–without touching the object. Clara is like a makeshift fortune teller in a house that itself has an eidetic memory that dates back to the 1920s–the decade of flappers, opulence, and excess. The memories conjured are of the women who have inhabited it and become re-attached to it.

Esteban is a man of the Machiavellian mold who cultivates a menacing look and maintains the agrarian community known as the Tres Marias. He is also sartorial in that he tailors an existence, a life, and a family–cutting away excess fabric in the form of Ferula, his prudish sister who has a proprietary affection for him. He accepts the forced gaiety of the 1920s and the quotidian nature of life on a farm. Esteban, however, is at times more animalistic than humanistic–he rapes a peasant woman, Pancha (Sarita Choudhury), and when she presents the product of his violence, he doesn't acknowledge him. His hubris both builds and destroys that which he had always coveted.

Clara is first seen as an unobtrusive child, trapped at times between querying and knowing. She admires her ethereal sister of unreal beauty, Rosa Del Valle (Teri Polo) for her grace and poise. Clara retains many of the qualities of her youth in adulthood, but the patina apparently wore off when she sees an autopsy performed on her sister. She seems suspended between two worlds, but is jolted into reality by such occurrences.

Nivea (Vanessa Redgrave) and Severo (Armin Mueller-Stahl), Clara's parents are killed when their car is engulfed in flames, the result of a collision with a train in the countryside. They serve as Clara's protectors and rejoice when her impending betrothal to Esteban is announced.

The hot romance between Pedro and Blanca is part of her attempt to eschew the Chilean gentility her family represents. It is a fusing of the old world and new world; a liquid love in which defiance and rebellion ferments. Pedro is regarded generally as a dangerous, subversive, while Blanca is regarded eventually as a spoiled rich girl who allowed herself to be sullied.

August handles the juxtaposition of the aristocracy and the migrant worker class well. He paints pictures of pre-Pinochet regime Chile that are faithful to the text. He apparently chose to omit the funeral scene of the poet Pablo Neruda, but he handles Clara's funeral well.

The cinematography has that sweeping <I>Out of Africa<P> look to it–both he and Pollock, through their directors of photography, use landscapes and tight shots well.

August's controversial casting decisions–understandably not appreciated by some Latin Americans–apparently pleased Allende, who also said she would accept no director other than August, who directed the highly acclaimed <I>Pelle the Conqueror<P>. Despite a lack of accents and hokey narration of Ryder, most of the scenes in the film are well-executed.

Although Ryder's narration is weak, the rest of her performance is excellent. She communicates weariness and apprehensiveness well in the funeral and interrogation scenes. Irons is also excellent as the domineering patriarch Esteban. Close, Streep, Banderas and Choudhury also deliver strong performances.

Although there are faults, August reconstructs a house that doesn't come close to falling victim to subsidence.

three and a half

Stars: Jeremy Irons, Meryl Streep

Director: Bille August






by William German

Daily Cougar Staff

A demonstration outside the Charter convenience store on Calhoun on Sunday has resulted in construction of a ramp for handicapped customers.

The Crip Patrol, a group of handicapped students formed to make local businesses adhere to federal standards for disabled citizens, was in front of the store from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

"That's all we wanted," said Rodger Peters, a member of the six-person organization, of the construction. "Just a ramp, so we can get in."

The store entrance was bordered by a lip of concrete nearly two inches high. The lip was a difficult obstacle for those in wheelchairs.

Jeri Konigsberg, a spokesperson for University Relations, said she was alerted to the protest by UHPD.

After witnessing the demonstrators, Konigsberg said she called the Facilities Department, which controls the leases on properties around the university, including the lot the Charter store is on.

"The demonstration specifically precipitated my phone call," Konigsberg said. "They (the demonstrators) were right. It (the ramp) was unacceptable. It will be fixed."

Peters said the Crip Patrol has been dealing with the store management for four years.

"The manager assured us it would be taken care of, but that was four years ago," Peters said. "We've been bugging them ever since."

John Abshier, head of Abshier Construction Company, which built the ramp, said it was scheduled to be built May 1, according to its amount of rise.

Abshier cited difficulties complying with both local and federal standards in building the ramp as reasons for a delay in construction.

Also, he said the Charter store ramp has a two-inch rise, meaning he would normally construct it later in the year than higher, more difficult-to-build ramps.

Circle K, the company which owns the Charter store has had financial problems recently, which may also have contributed to a delay.

Bill Seeley with the real estate department of Circle K confirmed that the company plans to "exit the Houston-area market." He had little else to add on the ramp, saying that "we're not in a position where we're trying to offend anybody.

"Circle K is in the process of applying (federal) standards to all its stores, and it will be done on a town-to-town basis," Seeley said.






by Naruth Phadungchai

Daily Cougar Staff

There's something troubling going on with the current round of the U.S.-Japan trade dispute. It's more than just the threat of a trade war.

In February, Prime Minister Morihiro Hosokawa came to the United States with a message for President Clinton. The Prime Minister said he refuses to discuss the trade imbalance as long as the U.S. tries to manage his country's market.

The four products currently at the center of the dispute that brought over the prime minister are automobiles, telecommunication and medical equipment, and insurance. Later however, Hosokawa promised his government will look into plans to open Japan's market to these products by the end of March.

Pressured by Congress, early last month President Clinton reinstated Super 301, a legislation allowing the United States to put tariffs of up to 100 percent on all Japanese imports, should the Japanese fail to open their market soon.

It's not that Clinton doesn't trust Hosokawa. Rather, the president has admitted that, no matter how good the intentions of the prime minister are, the means to open Japan's market is currently held by the entrenched Japanese bureaucracy.

The New York Times reported that U.S. trade representative Mickey Kantor, Secretary of State Warren Christopher and Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen argued for Super 301, believing it to be the only way to force the Japanese to open their market. Voicing dissension were Laura D'Andrea Tyson, head of Clinton's Council of Economic Advisors, and Walter F. Mondale, Ambassador to Japan. Knowing economics and the Japanese, they believe such a move could lead to a trade war. They have reason to. The Ministry of International Trade has responded to Super 301 by threatening to sanction American products.

However, no one has yet to see that it takes more than just the politicians or the bureaucrats to open Japan's market. Most important, it takes the Japanese people. Right now, they are divided into two camps.

Look at politics for example. In recent years the old-guard politicians in Japan have been shamed with one scandal after another. In 1992, Prime Minister Hosokawa's party and others were able to wrestle from the Liberal Democratic Party its 40 years of control of Japanese politics. The new generation of politicians was helped by scandals like the one in which the aging former head of the LDP, Shin Kanemaru, received millions from a shipping company.

Many Japanese people, fed up with the corruption and a government used to doing things the old way, voted for the younger Hosokawa, who promised less but better government. Yet still a lot of Japanese voted for the LDP and the status quo.

However, when it comes to the bureaucracy, the Japanese people do not have direct control over it. Said Kokoro Nagamura, the unelected bureaucracy gets its support from the LDP, not the populace. Moreover, it has the people with the experience and talent in economics working for it.

To open Japan's market, Hosokawa needs the help of the bureaucracy. But as long as it has the support of the LDP, the bureaucracy doesn't need the Prime Minister. If it were to help Hosokawa open the market, the bureaucracy fears it would lose its influence. So it has been putting up obstacles to the Prime Minister's efforts at every turn.

Frustrated, many of the Prime Minister's advisors have resigned. But Hosokawa is not quitting. Coming to the Prime Minister's aid are the other six political parties, the biggest of which is the Socialist Party. They have joined together to fight the bureaucracy and its backer, the LDP. That's because the old party, still a potent force in Japanese politics and a longtime ally of the bureaucracy, is looking for the opportunity to regain the power it had lost. Some believe the Prime Minister may not survive the next election without a strong support at home. If he goes, so will the efforts to open Japan's market.

In the middle of this power struggle are the Japanese people. The hope is that they will turn the tide in favor of the Prime Minister. The key to winning this crucial fight is prosperity. Writes Mr. Alan Stoga, managing director of Kissenger Associates, recently in the New York Times, the Japanese have "a lower standard of living than their economy is capable of generating." The proof is evident in the most important product in Japan: rice.

Last year, the Japanese had a bad season, resulting in a shortage of rice. To compensate for the shortfall, they had no choice but to import foreign rice. The super markets in Japan began selling the new rice at the same time that the prime minister came to the United States in February.

Kazuko Oya, speaking of her mom in Tokyo, said she "has to line up at six or seven in the morning to buy domestic rice." Not only that, but her mom pays up to three times more for it than she would for American rice. "She doesn't like waiting in line and paying more," said Oya. So instead, for the first time, Kazuko's mom bought American rice.

Apparently, it turns out that the new rice is just as good as the domestic variety, to the surprise of many Japanese consumers. In fact, it's been selling very well in Tokyo and Osaka. People used to believe that "if you pay twice as much, it's got to be twice as good," said Oya. But then again, they never really had a choice.

That foreign rice was not imported before is the decision of the bureaucracy. It assumed people wouldn't want to buy anything else but domestic rice. That's because rice, for the Japanese, has a very important cultural significance. Past governments -- in other words the LDP and the bureaucracy -- had kept the rice market protected. And that, in turn, has kept prices for domestic rice artificially high.

Increasing, many Japanese are beginning to see that their bureaucracy is an obstacle to their prosperity. In much the same way that they feel about the old politicians they had just kicked out, many are beginning to get fed up with their bureaucrats. "The people are behind the Prime Minister," said someone who works with the Japanese Consulate in Houston, asking not to be named. "(There is a small but growing) movement among the media and the people to break up the bureaucracy's power," he said. Many Japanese have the will to see their market open up.

Yet equally strong a feeling is Japan's growing resentment toward the U.S.'s attempts to manage its market. Warns Hideki Hiranuma, a sociology student at UH, "the Japanese, being a homogeneous group, are cohesive in a crisis." He said if the U.S. pushes too hard, those who are now opposed to their bureaucracy will side with it against the United States.

That's the risk that Clinton was probably not aware of when he signed the Super 301 bill. By acting hastily, the United States risks more than just a trade war. It risks the Japanese people abandoning their increasing support for Prime Minister Hosokawa's efforts to weaken the bureaucracy and to open up Japan's market.

If that happens, then trade war or not, Japan's market will remain less open for a long time to come. In the end, without open trade free from government meddling, both Americans and Japanese will lose.






by Kevin Patton

Daily Cougar Staff

Northern Ireland will never have peace. Even the government of the Irish Republic, which may be the only party involved that would desire any peace, seems at wits end.

The paramilitaries want peace, but on their terms and most likely after a civil war. The British government wants peace on its terms: the subordination of the people in order to maintain their peace without a military presence and tax money.

Northern Ireland has been out of Houston newspapers since March 31, when a brief article ran about John Major, the English Prime Minister, dismissing a 3-day cease fire proposed by the Irish Republican Army, before it was announced as a public relations ploy.

The drive to create peace in a land that has been fighting, in one way or another, since 1689 (the start of fighting is even in dispute) has produced so many valid sides for argument that even the United Nations has not been involved.

There are many sides to the equation. The IRA, whose origins reach back to the mid-1800s with the Irish Republican Brotherhood, is seen as the official representative of the militant Catholics in the North. The IRA split in 1969 over the use of force creating the Provisional IRA and the Official IRA. The Provos, as they are called, are responsible for most of the violent acts Americans read about.

Their major opponents are seen as the Ulster Defense Association, the Ulster Volunteer Army and the the Ulster Freedom Fighters, the British Army, which has maintained a shoot to kill policy regarding Catholic suspects (this has been the subject of the recent films <I>Hidden Agenda<P> and <I>In the Name of the Father<P>) and the Royal Ulster Constabulatory, a raucous state-sanctioned police force.

These groups' histories can be traced as far back as the IRA's, but the Protestant paramilitary forces grew out of Orange lodges, the private good-old-boy clubs of Northern Ireland (named after William of Orange), as opposed the IRA's birth which comes from the failed political attempts at home rule.

The Protestant paramilitaries are kindred to America's Klu Klux Klan. Both conduct lynchings or pogroms, and both were created as the rulers –white Southerners in America and Protestants in Ireland – felt they were losing their rights to maintain the old system.

The KKK was established in 1865 while the Protestant militaries find their roots in 1885, only twenty years apart. Ian Paisley, the Presbyterian minister who advocates the use of Protestant military forces, received his Christian training from a North Carolina Southern Baptist school.

There is more. The Irish National Liberation Army, and the the Irish Republican Socialist Party are Marxist-backed Catholic groups that formed during the recent wave of troubles, or since 1969.

Although Marxists are non-Christian, the fight for Northern Ireland is one of culture and language. The Catholics claim their Irish heritage, while the Protestants claim their British heritage.

This fight for cultural hegemony has instigated negotiations for peace talks between Northern Irish Catholic groups, Irish Protestant groups and the British occupational forces. The governments of Ireland and England are now in a precarious position of allies, only 70 years after Ireland became independent from Britain.

The Dowling Street declaration, the first serious move to peace, by either government, made provisions to bring all sides to the bargaining table. It even made provisions for Sinn Fein, the political wing of the IRA, and the Social Democrat and Labor Party, Catholic constitutional political organization, to join the merriment.

But no one came to the table.

Sinn Fein leader, Gerry Adams, could not promise an IRA shutdown, and John Hume, SDLP leader then became the envoy to convince Catholics that peace was the solution to a fight, which some claim is 800 years old– dating back to when Ireland was made the first English colony.

But the politics become unimportant on the street. The alphabet soup of militaries and organizations turn into gang war. Entire neighborhoods are considered territory and the leaders of these organizations have the fate of entire cities in their hands. If anyone actually gets to the table, it will be perhaps the greatest diplomatic gambit in history if peace comes about.

The IRA recently bombed Heathrow airport with dummy mortars. And while the British government has called this an atrocious act that shows how unserious Sinn Fein is at forging a peace, Hume (SDLP) has said the act was a demonstration that should urge Major to the bargaining table. If they wanted to blow up the airport they could have, he said.

Things are still up in the air. A tentative peace may be formed, but when the IRA achieves its goal of the end of British occupation, civil war is the more likely outcome.

The Protestants feel abandoned, the catholics oppressed, the British people over taxed, and the Irish Republic bothered. No one wants to deal with the situation and it seems, any excuse to get out of it will do.






by Ivana Segvic

Daily Cougar Staff

In today's society, divorce seems to have become a part of every day life. Although it is difficult on the two adults involved, the worst facet is the affect on the children.

But adoption has become a way of protecting children from the unforeseen of the future, such as divorce, single parents and parents who are unable to care for the children. With this they leave the responsibility of raising a child in someone else's lap.

Mills Duncan, the agency administrator at Adoption Information and Counseling Services said that every year 100,000 people want to adopt children and 25,000 children need to be placed. In Texas 7,000 adoptions occur each year and 2,500 of these are done by licensed adoption agencies.

Adoption is not only a legal and physical process, but also a very mental and emotional process. Duncan said that the parents who wish to adopt must go through many screenings before being able to adopt. "First they must find an agency and meet the requirements such as age or religion that is desired by the birth parents. Then the social workers have to study and understand the motivations of the parents who wish to adopt," Duncan said. This is only the beginning of the cycle. He said parents who wish to adopt must know the reasons for this step. First they must be able to deal with not being able to have their own children. "A lot of scrutiny goes on," he said.

The birth mother also has many paths she must take. "She needs to understand her emotions. She needs to know what is available for her. She also needs to have the opportunity to keep the child if that is what she wants," Duncan said. Along with these many decisions she must see the legal aspect and she must seek counseling.

The birth mother has many types of adoptions to choose from. An open adoption is one in which the birth mother meets the parents who wish to adopt. They discuss their wants and needs and the entire process is done openly. Identified adoption occurs when the birth and adoptive parents come together and discuss their needs and then contact an adoption placement agency. In a designated adoption, the birth parents select the family they wish to adopt their child. A closed adoption is one that was most popular a few years ago. Everything is kept confidential.

"We have seen an increase in open adoption. The birth parents have become more involved in helping select the family," he said.

Although it is believed that most women who give their child up for adoption are teenagers who are unable to support their child, statistics prove the myth wrong. Duncan said that in his agency the average age of women who give their child up for adoption is 22.5. Most women who give a child up for adoption do it out of economical reasons. They are unable to support their child and want to give it a good home. Many times adoption is the only solution.

Adoption has been looked down upon by many people. However, progress has been made and the new involvement of birth parents has helped show that there is love in adoption, too.






by James Aldridge

Daily Cougar Staff

Some say that they're interesting and others say they hate them with a passion. But no matter how you feel about them, you'll see them emblazoned on the back of a multitude of cars. That's right, you guessed it–bumper stickers.

Whereas some bumper stickers merely advertise some sort of organization or club, such as, Join GCCA or the Sheriff's Association, ones on the UH campus carry more social messages.

Faculty members who park in lot 14A had bumper stickers that were mainly political. One said, "Philosophy= Love + Logic." While others said, "Visualize World Peace" or "One Nuclear Bomb Can Ruin Your Whole Day."

But where the student's park, there is a wide range of bumper sticker messages. Die hard fans of the stations Z107 and Majic 102 as well as 89.3 KSBJ and those proud to be KIKKers are what dominate lot 15D.

Christian students frequently park in this lot also. In addition to many KSBJ Christian music stickers in the lot, there were many stickers inviting people to go to church as well. Gulf Meadows Church and St. Francis seem to really want you to go. I've heard of TV evangelism, but never car evangelism before.

Also, people seem to love to vent their social frustration through bumper stickers as well. I read one that said, "If the People Lead, The Leaders Will Follow," and "If You Want Peace, Work For Justice."

But of course, you can't forget the barrage of anti-Clinton stickers. One said, "Don't Blame Me I Voted For Bush" and another said, "Clinton Didn't Inhale, He Just Sucks!"

But sometimes people just want to make a statement. Junior Economics major Ed Borges said, "I have a next door neighbor whose Dad got sick of seeing his neighbor with a 'My Child is an Honor Student" sticker on his car. So he went out and bought one that said 'My Kid Beat Up Your Honor Student.'"

Junior Painting major Kerry Parani had her own sticker that made a statement. Her bumper sticker said "Save the Males" instead of "Save the Whales." Parani jokingly describes herself as "just an aging woman who feels the men are going to the wayside. They are either gay or on drugs or married with children. Or they are divorced and spend their time getting taken care of by women." There's none left for herself, she said with a hearty laugh.

Parani also said that she had a '67 Mustang with a bumper sticker that said 'Seventh Wonder of the World' for the Astrodome.

"I cut off the Astrodome part so that people would think the car was the seventh wonder of the world. People would get a laugh out of it," Parani said.

Eric Niebuhr, another junior Painting major, has a bumper sticker from a place called Hoi Polloi that has symbols on it.

"It starts conversations," he said, "because people have their different interpretations of it and want to find out what it means. It's a conversational piece," Niebuhr said with a laugh.







by Jenalia Moreno

Daily Cougar Staff

"No. 976–black hair, blue eyes, small frame, enjoys writing and classical music," reads the egg donor catalog.

From this catalog, potential mothers can select how their baby will look and act. It may sound like the dating game, but this is the 21st Century style of baby shopping.

About 15 percent of couples in the United States are unable to have a baby because of fertility problems. A female factor is responsible for almost 50 percent of infertility.

"There are a lot of reasons why women can't have a baby," said Josie Veluz, R.N. in the Center for Reproductive Medicine and Baylor College of Medicine. "They may not be producing enough eggs, not stimulating enough eggs, or age may be a problem, if they are too old."

However, couples can now have a baby of their own through the process of in vitro fertilization.

In vitro fertilization occurs when a donor mother's eggs are removed, fertilized with the sperm of the potential mother's husband, and the resulting embryo is then placed in the recipient mother's uterus.

The donor of the eggs can conceivably produce anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 for their participation, depending on which clinic they go to. Some states such as Washington and California pay more than Texas does for egg donations.

The reason that women are paid so much is because, "this involves lots of medication and a time commitment and even a surgical procedure," said Dr. Huang Jaou, assistant professor of Reproduction and Endocrinology at the University of Texas Medical School in Houston.

In order to be qualified to be a donor, the woman must be 18 to 35 years old and have regular menstrual cycles.

The donors must first be interviewed and fill out a questionnaire that asks about the person's sexual, medical, marital and family history. The questionnaire includes questions about everything from favorite color to your major. Many egg and sperm donor programs advertise in college newspapers in order to find applicants who are intelligent.

If there are no problems with the questionnaire, the next step is to have a consultation with a psychologist. The person must also undergo complete gynecological tests and blood tests, which screen for HIV, hepatitis, syphilis and cytomegalovirus. The donors are also screened for genetic diseases and any other health disorders. They may also test the donor's sexual partner.

Since this field is relatively new–it came into practice about fifteen years ago–there are still many unanswered questions about its safety. The American Association of Tissue Banks Reproductive Council has set standards by which all donations, both sperm and egg, should be tested. Several states have already set up laws regulating egg and sperm banks. The FDA has begun to devise rules that will soon govern the industry.

If the woman is an acceptable donor, then she must wait until she is selected by a recipient couple.

"It's something that you really have to want to do," said Rosie Khan, who donated some of her eggs last year. "It's not something simple."

Once selected, the donor is given hormone pills to put her menstrual cycle in sync with the recipient's cycle. The first dosage of medication is injected into the donors thighs. The donor must then inject herself until her cycle is in sync with the mothers cycle.

For five days after that, the donor must inject herself with hormones to make her eggs mature. After the eggs have matured, the most painful part of the process takes place–the retrieval of the eggs.

"They told me that I would experience a minor pain," said Khan. "The procedure itself was extremely painful."

The egg recovery procedure can take 20 minutes to an hour. Most clinics use a local anesthetic to numb the cervix.

A needle is then inserted into a small incision below the navel. The eggs are then sucked out.

"It can be painful," said Terry Nichtberger, R.N. at Baylor College of Medicine. "Everybody's pain threshhold is different."

Some of the eggs are frozen and the rest are injected into the recipient mother's uterus. If she does not become impregnated the first time, she can be given the remaining eggs.

"We have some patients, after fifth or sixth cycle, the doctor tries to tell them to look at another option," said Veluz. "It's hard for them to accept that they can't get pregnant."

There are problems with in vitro fertilization. Recipients may have multiple births because about five eggs are implanted in the uterus. The national success rate of impregnating the client for fertility clinics is about 16 percent.

Physicians have criticized fertility clinics' staffs because they should not be as aggressive in treating their patients, thus decreasing the likelihood of having multiple births. Multiple births can result in babies with birth defects and low birth weights.

Physicians have also criticized the clinics because since there is no way of finding out how good a doctor is, they can charge an exorbirant amount of money. Most doctors charge the recipient about $8,000 to $10,000 for the entire procedure.

There are side effects from the surgery for both the donor and the recipient.

"It has potential problems, such as hyperstimulation," said Jaou. "The ovary becomes so big and people become dehydrated. This is very rare, about one percent "

Khan said that after the surgery, she had no side effects.

Another problem with this procedure is that the donor could develop cancer. The hormone injections cause accelerated cell growth, which could cause cancer.

"There has been a debate about it, but it is inconclusive," said Angela Thomas of the UT reproductive clinic. "It's pushing eggs very hard with the estrogen."

Khan was unsure if she would undergo the procedure again because it was so painful and she would want to do more research about the process.

"As far as a fulfilling experience, then I would want to do it again, if I were sure the procedure was 100 percent safe, then I would do it again."

Khan felt good about her donation because, "the coordinator kept telling me the mother wanted me to know how extremely grateful she was."

For those who are interested in donating their eggs, they can contact the UT reproductive lab at 794-5131 and speak with Angela Thomas. Baylor College of Medicine does not purchase egg donations. The oocytes that Baylor uses for the recipients come from family and friends.






by Ericka Schiche

Daily Cougar Staff

A mirror shard-encrusted black matte-finish hearse has no funereal purpose or destination cloaked in death.

The macabre wagon–embellished with bright-hued silk dandelions, carnations, roses, and tulips–is transformed into a corpse-carrying funmobile worthy of the umbrellas and tap dance shoes of New Orleans' second line.

37, yes, 37 yellow, orange, light green and red plastic roller skate key rings hang from each front door window.

Circa 1950s Volkswagen micro bus.

A checkered Marathon that bears resemblance to a bomb shelter or radiation zone. Remember those films in which petrified boys and girls contorted their bodies into the fetal position under wooden desks during the days of a fortified Iron Curtain?

The weird.

The campy.

The kitschy.

The cars parked at the 1321 Milam garage, also known as the Art Car Park, have motors, transmissions, fenders, mufflers, tires and just about anything else a regular old emission-regurgitator has. What separates these fiberglass demons from the others is a folksiness and quirkiness not to be eschewed.

A shrine to cult figure and Mexican surrealistic painter Frida Kahlo looks like a hybrid of a Dia de los Muertes presentation and a tribute to the el corazon sangrante-themed works. Senorita Kahlo has been commercialized, but this folksy, dark blue 1973 Fleetwood Cadillac is an example of genuine homage-paying. Votive candles and broken tiles adorn the exterior, as do images of laVirgen de Guadalupe.

The bull, a stalwart symbol of virility and fate, is not tempted by a matador. The Taurus mobile, if you will, is a mass of sinewy fabric and rubber assembled to look, for literalists, like it can charge.

How about a car that makes beer can positioning an exact science? Pabst. Pearl. Schaefer. Budweiser. Corona. The people responsible for covering the exterior of the car probably drank themselves into a stupor one night. An old television, presumably an efficiency black and white model straight out of 1974, is the epitome of tubist art. One statement emblazoned on the iridescent screen reads "Your Love Life Stinks." "Stress Can Kill," another encouraging statement, is positioned prominently above the first knob.

"Open the refrigerator for a fresh breath of air," reads a spray-painted quote of R.A. Williams.

The"American Beauty," a Jackson Pollockesque mobile is a, stars and stripes-themed '63 Karmann Ghia decorated with scantily-clad Barbie dolls that are positioned on the dashboard, and counterfeit dollar bills. This car can be interpreted as either a statement about a sexist/capitalistic/imperialist/materialistic culture or as art paying homage to the beauty, aesthetic values, and money from a Eurocentric perspective. Or a car featuring Barbie dolls and counterfeit money.

Transgressors beware! The "Sex Police" mobile is probably the property of a variation on the Keystone Cops, police officers more dangerous, more treacherous than South Central's or Compton's 5-0. No pink pigs painted on the sides. Only a two-dimensional, curvaceous naked woman lies atop the car.

A series of Volkswagen Bugs are positioned to face Milam Street. One orange car was decorated for Halloween. The day when Americans celebrate ghouls, bad vibes, candy not embedded with pins/glass, and funky costumes is given precedence over the remaining 364 days. Myriad black bats and an orange jack o' lantern are painted against a white background on the Northern wall of the garage.

As that lovely Eau de Downtown scent wafts into the chain-link fenced garage, more cars, of the plain Jane variety zooooooom past the Art Car Park. The location was once the site of a bank. The present incarnation is maintained by a man who refers to himself as "Ken." Could he be Barbie's boyfriend? He sometimes wears rollerblade skates. He has that working class/overworked Appalachian miner look. Or the light coat of motor oil on the visage, blue and white jersey, slacks and hands look.

Using the hearse for a funeral and going for a spin in these cars, even if a person knows how to hot-wire, is an offense punishable by the "Sex Police."

What: The Art Car Park

Where: 1321 Milam St.

When: Saturdays, 11 a.m.—6 p.m.

How Much: Free






by Frank San Miguel

Daily Cougar Staff

Internet has a dark side, a subculture that rallies all kinds of people on all kinds of issues, topics and tastes.

This mostly comes down in Usenet, a segment of Internet that sports what are called news groups or discussion groups. These groups are essentially electronic cafes where people share information and ideas. An estimated 2,500 groups beckon the user, so shop carefully.

On the campus’ most widely-used computer, Macintosh, a program called NewsWatcher is the easiest for helping new users navigate the net. It is available (along with documents to help you learn to use it) at 36 Heyne, the Central Site computing location in the Social Work Building. Most computers on campus are connected to the Jetson VAXcluster via phone wires, but if you’re not, the Central Site computers are open to any student with a valid student ID.

Once you open up the program and specify the News Server ( and Mail Server (, a list of groups will be presented. Now, it’s just a matter of choosing.

Groups cover a broad range of topics and there is bound to be something to hook everyone.

Want to talk about new books? is where to go. You can pick up on the newest trend, homemade publications called zines, on alt.zines. Want to talk toons? Try alt.animation. There are support groups for incest survivors, cancer patients and recovering addicts. Gays and lesbians talk about coming out on some newsgroups. Medical professionals discuss the latest innovations on treatment and health care via the bionet subgroup, which is accessed in Usenet.

Electronic fan clubs are a growing part of the Internet. There are fan groups for author Dave Barry, <I>Ren & Stimpy<P>, Rush Limbaugh, <I>The Simpsons<P>, the Simpsons’ cartoon characters Itchy and Scratchy, the shows <I>Beverly Hills 90210<P>, <I>Melrose Place<P>, <I>Twin Peaks<I>, Seinfeld<P>, soap operas and dramas.

A seedy sex and dating world gives the inclined a place to meet. For cyberdates, there’s alt.personals,, houston.personals and More exotic tastes are served up depending on your desires. There’s the all around, but if you’re into something specific, there’s alt. sex.bondage (for S&M and B&D), (if two think three’s a crowd but four’s a party) and (for writings). In addition, people looking for specific people have groups such as and (for those wanting larger individuals). There’s even and (for those with sex fantasies about Barney).

And what would a net that has sex be without politics? Do you have a conspiracy theory about JFK, MLK, CIA, FBI or LBJ? Your group is alt.conspiracy. Conservatives have and soc.conservatism. Liberals have soc.feminism and alt.radical-left. Everyone can duke it out on alt.president.clinton, alt.abortion.inequity and alt.censorship.

Music is another big area on Usenet. Want to find out dates on the Lollapalooza tour? Try the news group. Looking for the lyrics of that Metallica song? Ask someone on If you want to talk about A Tribe Called Quest, Fugees, Public Enemy and Dr. Dre, there’s alt.rap. Those with more refined tastes can chat on, alt.jazz and more.

If you’re into the college culture, there’s alt.slack and If you’re feeling cynical, check out alt.barney.dinosaur.die-die-die. If you want to be blasphemous, there’s Internet offers a lot more than groups, but if you’re looking for a chat, a row or some information, this might be a simple bet.






by Adam King

Daily Cougar Staff

With spring training beginning today, head football coach Kim Helton is already being faced with the problem of finding a replacement on the offensive line.

Marcus Vidrine, a 6-6, 255-pound sophomore center from Sulphur, La., quit the Cougars Monday.

Helton, who was one of the first to speak to Vidrine, said homesickness, a fiance in Louisiana and the demands of UH football were all contributing factors in his decision.

"Any college student goes through a period of homesickness," Helton said. "Certainly that's a strain when you're involved with a young woman and she's at home. To play football at the University of Houston now, it's a very demanding thing.

"We have to recruit kids who can stay in school and want to stay in school."

Vidrine was in Louisiana attending a funeral and could not be reached for comment.

Helton said Vidrine would transfer at the end of this semester.

"That's been our motto, 'Commit or quit,'" said junior left tackle Jimmy Herndon, who shared an apartment with Vidrine.

"If you don't want to have a winning season, then, 'See ya.' If you can't take it, then go somewhere else. I basically told him to think about it. Don't make any rash decisions.

"I wanted him to stay but what I want doesn't really matter."

Herndon said Vidrine would drive the three or four hours it took to go home every weekend.

"My first year I went home every weekend. I only live 30 minutes away," he said. "I wouldn't even want to imagine three to four hours away. After the first year, I got over it."

Vidrine, 18, started 10 games at center last year as a freshman. As one of the top offensive linemen in his home state, Vidrine was the prize high school recruit for former Houston coach John Jenkins in 1993.

Helton said he started Vidrine out of necessity, but he beat out senior Joe Wheeler for the starting role after showing he had the talent to hold his own.

"I told him the other day he's going to miss being All-Southwest Conference," said Herndon, who was second team All-SWC last season. "There was nothing stopping him from being good."

Helton was planning to move Vidrine from center to offensive guard this spring. His experience on the line, which lost first team All-SWC guard Darrell Clapp and guard Kenny Robbins to graduation, was an invaluable asset that will be hard to replace.

"Any time you've got a guy with the size and ability of Marcus you want him to stay," Helton said. "Just the competition (between players) would have been good."

Helton is optimistic about filling Vidrine's vacancy.

"We'll have Mike Fuller and Jack Hansen compete (at center). I feel comfortable in that we have two young players who can play up to the caliber of Marcus."

Those two players are Justin Hall (6-5, 280) of Westwood High School in Palestine and Ben Fricke (6-2, 260) of Austin Anderson. They could be expected to jump into the lineup as the starting guards.

Helton said all he could do was put shock behind him and move on.






Campus community also has responsibility to athletics

by Chris Pena

Daily Cougar Staff

Your attention please. This message is directed to all University of Houston students, faculty, staff, administrators and most importantly, student-athletes.

WAKE UP! You all have a task before you now, and it goes a little something like this.

Years before UH was created, teams didn't have to win to be respected. All they had to do on the court was play hard and it really didn't matter who won or lost.

Seems to me, UH has always been thought of as a second-tier, under-achieving sports institution.

But when the new athletics facility is completed, all of Cougar sports will have to walk the walk as well as talk the talk.

"Just win baby" is not only a term coined by Los Angeles Raiders owner Al Davis, it will be the only way that the Cougars can win their critics over.

So far the program is headed in the right direction.

Good things seem to happen when the leaders of a program don't have their heads where the sun doesn't shine.

The future is bright for athletic director Bill Carr, who is just winding down on his first year on the job.

The hiring of new coaches in both football and basketball shows that the administration is serious about claiming some prestige for this university.

Carr, along with football head coach Kim Helton and basketball head coach Alvin Brooks, represent UH well.

They are men who have a presence about them that can't be bought anywhere at any price.

The athletics complex is both a Godsend and a pariah in the UH community.

To the athletic department, nothing could be finer than completion of the state-of-the-art facility that should attract recruits like bees to honey.

But to many students, and the "powerful" faculty senate, the Moores gift will always stand as a symbol of what is wrong in large, urban universities today.

I don't want to perpetuate the debate that has engulfed this campus longer than Tonya-Nancygate. As a matter of fact, I'm asking for all of Cougar athletics to rise and shine.

The day of reckoning is here and you have to prove to the non-believers that not only do you belong in a top-rate Division I program, but you also deserve the largesse of the Moores.

I'm not asking for much. All I want is wins, pure and simple.

Now get those nasty thoughts out of your heads. I am not saying we have to break any rules. After all, you can only get away with that in College Station.

What I am saying is that the going just got very tough, and the only way to shut everybody up is by winning, winning big and winning nasty.

Brooks wants his team to play "city ball," and I'm all for it.

Let's run it up on all those teams that have so unfairly victimized us in the past.

Let's make up for all the losses that this program has suffered at the hands of Texas and Texas A&M.

And just in case the football team needs another year to unite, let all our other sports programs abuse every opponent they face.

The new building and baseball stadium might not solve any problems.

But they might invigorate a program that has wallowed in Rodney Dangerfield pity for way too long.

Maybe now the Cougars will get some respect.

Aside from top-flight facilities, there has also been something else noticeably absent from Cougar athletics, and that is YOU.

I'm tired of the same lousy excuses from the student body.

You read this paper every day, then you weakly justify why you can't go to the Astrodome or to Hofheinz to watch the Cougars play.

I challenge all of you to take time out and cheer for YOUR teams.

I bet your stay at UH will be so much more enjoyable.

Take it from me, I'm happy.






Fans of the Coen Brothers, who brought us <I>Raising Arizona<P> and <I>Miller's Crossing<P>, have been anxiously awaiting the release of <I>The Hudsucker Proxy<P> for almost two years. And it is well worth the wait!

Producer Ethan and director Joel Coen have always had a quirky way of viewing the world and this has been very evident in their films.

From the reformation of "hardened" criminal H. I. Mcdonough in <I>Raising Arizona<P> to the tormenting of the title character's creative soul in <I>Barton Fink<P>, their films all have an uneven edge running through them. None more so than <I>The Hudsucker Proxy<P>.

The film opens with the President of Hudsucker Industries leaping to his death, therefore leaving a vacancy on the board.

Board members, led by Sydney J. Mussburger (Paul Newman) become worried about the frightening possibilities presented by Mr. Hudsucker's stock being put up for sale on the open market to just any old fool who can buy it.

So they come up with a plan to promote a total idiot to the post of president in hopes that he'll drive the price of the stock so low that they would be able to then purchase it themselves and save their jobs.

As fate would have it, they are presented with the perfect candidate in Norville (Tim Robbins), a newly hired mailroom worker from Muncie, Indiana.

Norville it seems has this ingenious idea that he carries around in his shoe. A drawing of a circle which he claims kids will go crazy over.

After he nearly sets fire to Mussburger's office on his first day, it becomes very obvious that Norville is just the man to make Hudsucker Industries temporarily unprofitable.

Meanwhile, newspaper reporter Amy Archer is convinced that a sham is afoot and begins her undercover investigation of Hudsucker's new "Boy-Wonder" President.

What nobody expects is that Norville's idea will in fact become a phenomenon known as the Hula Hoop, and Hudsucker stock will rise dramatically because of it.

As a comedy, <I>The Hudsucker Proxy<P> would best be described as "screwball." One could easily picture Jerry Lewis in the lead role had this film been made sometime during the sixties. However, Jerry Lewis films never contained performances of this caliber by any of the actors involved.

Tim Robbins is delightfully goofy as the simple-minded doofus from Muncie who is convinced that his promotion was because Mussburger saw something in him during that first meeting which led him to believe that Norville was the right man for the job.

Jennifer Jason Leigh is appropriately sassy in her role as an aggressive investigative reporter who constantly feels that she has to prove herself to her male colleagues, even though she already has a Pulitzer Prize. Sort of Geraldo Rivera with a slight inferiority complex, and a little latent guilt.

But the film is dominated by Paul Newman as Sydney Mussburger. Newman had announced he was retiring from movies after <I>Mr. and Mrs. Bridge<P> failed at the box office, but the Coen brothers coaxed him out of retirement for this role and their efforts are repaid well by the megastar.

Newman chews through the scenery with an irresistible charisma that makes him very difficult to root against. Overall an expert performance by an expert actor.

Director Joel Coen loves symbols, but hates to explain what they mean. Who can forget the hat blowing across the field in Miller's Crossing? But don't bother asking Joel what it means because he'll deny that the scene even exists.

In this film, the symbol is the huge clock at the top of the Hudsucker building, and by the end there should be no doubt as to what purpose it serves to the movie.

If there are any reservations about <I>Hudsucker<P>, they all stem from the ending which could easily be described a copout by the cynic, and could just as easily be described as an ingenious climax brought about by skilled film makers by the optimist.

Although never one to be accused of optimism, this reporter has to give the benefit of the doubt to the Coen brothers, whose previous work is very much admirable, and go with the optimistic appraisal.

<I>The Hudsucker Proxy<P> is a can't miss comedy of invention!






by Frank San Miguel

Daily Cougar Staff

Somewhere between Freud and Hegel is Noam Chomsky.

For the student of linguistics, Chomsky is required reading. For the hardcore student of political theory, Chomsky’s thinking is among the most provocative today. Common Courage Press’ new release, <I>Letters From Lexington<P>, highlights some of the reasons why teacher and author Noam Chomsky is so revered.

In the 1940s, Chomsky revolutionized the study of how people learn language with some of the most groundbreaking research and profoundly simple questions and answers in the field. By addressing the question of how people learn language, Chomsky sealed his place in history.

Not so presumptuously dubbed lingustics' Einstein, Chomsky has bagged awards too numerous to mention. He's further redeemed by the fact that he's the eighth most-cited scholar in academic journals, clocking in between social science luminaries Sigmund Freud and Georg Hegel in citations..

It was his public opposition to the Vietnam War, however, that brought the self-described socialist-anarchist to the political fore and made his later writings essential reading in political theory.

Chomsky’s writings have been concerned with deconstructing society and particularly the role propaganda plays in manufacturing consent in America. His many books have tackled the question of propaganda, nationalism and the American mindset. He was the first major intellectual to champion the cause of the indigenous people of East Timor, who were literally wiped out by U.S.-backed Indonesian militas. In that quest for truth, Chomsky routinely locks horns with the big media, liberals, conservatives and anyone else perpetrating the Big Lie. Scrappy, incisive and intelligent, Chomsky deftly exposes press and politician doublespeak

<I>Letters from Lexington<P> is a collection of Chomsky’s articles for and letters to a progressive media watch magazine called <I>Lies Of Our Times<P>. In the book’s introduction, Chomsky notes that his contribuitions to the magazine decreased as his many commitments and work (he's completely booked up for public lectures for the next two years) prevented him from regularly writing. Still, the new book is a nice sample of his thinking.

<I>Letters<P> tends to be a bit dated at points, indicating that Common Courage might have been choosier in its selections. Regardless, Chomsky's insight on history on Costa Rica, Latin America, Israel, the United Nations and on a wide number of topics is an invaluable resource and his perspective of history puts his philosophy in a pragmatic light.

What readers look for most in Chomsky is what he delivers. Quick, punchy facts jump out at you and hit deeper than the newspaper headlines and into an issue. Chomsky’s assertions are completely fearless and on target. Whether he's putting the wood to <I>The New York Times<P>' pro-Zionist propaganda or pulling the hood from draconian policies, Chomsky is biting.

Chomsky is often criticized for his positioning as the less-than-loyal opposition – although not necessarily disloyal. He has become an icon, a symbol – something he tends to be against. Many liberals will take his points, but not to heart.

Chomsky disavows voting and capitalism, while some of his devotees are not quite the same. His power of persuasion gives the reader a great view, but how does it afford one a vision for non-coercive social interactions? Hard to say, and those questions don't get answered here, although Chomsky expunds in his many other books.

Nevertheless, <I>Letters from Lexington<P> is a good resource to Chomsky's style and thinking and a thoroughly good read. However, if you're looking to bite into some of Chomsky's major theories, it may be best to dig up another one of his books.






by shane patrick boyle

Daily Cougar Staff

Mr. Sloane is a wanted man in more ways than one.

Sloane (Travis Ammons) is a young man who accepts an offer of a room and gets a lot more in Inside/Out's production of <I>Entertaining Mr. Sloane<P> by Joe Orton.

Set in the England, the play opens with Kath Kemp (Jacqueline Jasper), a woman in her forties, showing her home to the very attractive Mr. Sloane, whom she has just met in a library.

She obviously wants him as more than a boarder and makes a poor effort to conceal her intentions. Mr. Sloane finds her very unappealing but doesn't seem to mind the fact that he will probably have to sleep with her in exchange for the room.

A triangle forms, however, when Kath's rich brother, Ed (David Rigg) stops by and meets the young boarder. He takes the same interest in him as Kath does.

Ever the opportunist, Sloane tries to please both – living with Kath and working for Ed as chauffeur.

The wild card in the game is their old man (Grant Kilpatrick), who lives with Kath and has refused to speak to Ed ever since the day he caught him committing a "felony" in his bedroom.

Mr. Kemp, whose eyesight is poor, also thinks he recognizes Sloane and knows something of his criminal past. This past could catch up and destroy Sloane's future if anybody ever takes the old man seriously.

The plot quickly turns predictable and the humour is somewhat dry – one of the highest points being when Sloane bares his bum –compared to other British comedies. You will probably get more laughs from an episode of <I>Are You More Being Served<P>.

Another shortfall is that the play has lost most of the shock value it had when it first appeared on the British stage in 1964 – Orton being one of the first playwrights to not treat homosexuality as a sickness in a time when it was taboo to even imply a character was gay.

Orton was ahead of his time for the sixties, but his casual portrayal of sexuality and criticism of upper class family in <I>Sloane<P> no longer has the bite it once had.

Still the play, directed by Bob Maddox and Penny Corden proves entertaining and, like other Inside/Out productions, features a very talented cast.

And speaking of other Inside/Out productions, this summer, Travis Ammons makes his directing debut with <I>Nasty Little Secrets<P> by Lanie Robertson, a play about Joe Orton's life.

<I>Entertaining Mr. Sloane<P>

Where: Kuumba House 3412 LaBranch at Holman

When: through April 16

Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m.

Cost: $10/$8 for students and seniors






Local Music

Tom Turner

How many times have you gone to a club or arena and noticed that there seems to be a portion of the audience who does not seem to care about actually watching the band perform? Yeah, they're the ones you kind of laugh at for a while, and then wonder why they're even doing it to begin with.

What I'm talking about here are those individuals who go to shows only to get into the pit and act like absolute lunatics and put other people's safety in jeopardy. In a way, it also refers to all of the cool kids who get to have the trophy saying of "I was in the pit and I got up so high." This happens to be a direct quote from an individual I heard at the South Park Meadows show, in Austin, with Smashing Pumpkins, Blind Melon, Red Red Meat, and Rev. Horton Heat.

Now I know I may just be spilling out my own personal gripe, but I tend to believe there are many other people who may have the same opinion.

There is a difference between having a good time at a show and acting out in an aggressive manner to a bunch of strangers. I don't mind people having fun at shows, in fact, that's great. However, the line has to be drawn somewhere when other people begin to get injured.

One point that comes to mind is the current price that most shows and concerts have. If one is going to empty one's wallet to go see the band of their choice, it seems that someone would want to see that band actually play. Is that too hard of a concept for some people to grasp?

Watching a band perform live is, in most cases, one of the greatest sights to see. Unfortunately, many people take it upon themselves to create a somewhat dangerous distraction for others in attendance. I'm not referring to those who just jump straight up and down or those who like to move to the music. It's great for people to leave a show saying that they had a great time and that they enjoyed it in whatever way – whether by just watching the band or jumping around, but not creating an environment where people can easily be hurt. This is directed to those who blatantly push, shove, and/or hit any person who crosses their path for some sort of sick gratification.

For those who venture into the pit the amount of time actually watching the band play is little at best. This is mostly due to the constant annoyance of those pushing and shoving in their little pit. Granted, some say that this is all in good fun, if you want to call it that, but it leads to another aspect of the point being made.

Many people are constantly getting hurt whether they are in the pit, pushed into it, or anywhere near it. Some people are lucky and only leave a little overheated and with a few bruises to impress their friends with.

However, many others are not so lucky and may be faced with serious injuries due to the violent nature of many of the pits. Many people have had to be carried out on stretchers to emergency rooms, due to a bad fall after a stage dive or just getting trampled on. This doesn't exactly sound like a whole lot of fun, does it?

Obviously, if you don't think you want to be in the pit you stay out, right? Not necessarily so, due to a personal example I'll share.

At the show in Austin, my friends and I were standing near the back of a large fenced in area in front of a hill. Within minutes, we were shoved, unwillingly as far as I was concerned, to a whole different area.

Half of the time the only real goal was to remain standing with some sort of balance. This was quite difficult due to the fact that many individuals seemed ready to push, shove, or hit anyone near them. An example of this was when one individual took it upon himself to give me a shove. As I turned and looked at him he told me to "lighten up, everyone else is doing it."

Sorry, that doesn't cut it with me at least. I was there to see the bands play, and I guess in my own so called uptight manner, enjoy myself by actually watching the musicians play. Wow, there's a novel concept!

In the process of the crowd whirlpool, my watch was gone, I was hit in the head with something very hard, and was basically just really ticked off.

Another thing I saw again backs up my question of why people find some sort of pleasure in a pit of what mostly turns to anger. A guy and a girl made their way up to the front of the fenced in area to the ever popular pit. Within minutes the guy was pushing his way back out with the girl in tears. I don't know exactly what happened, but I don't think she was having a particularly wonderful time after that. Well, enough of the little scenarios.

It has been said that the purpose of the pit is to provide a so called entertaining "release" of pent-up aggression. In a way, I can almost understand how this could work, because it is a release. Unfortunately, this releasing of aggression usually turns into someone getting shoved a little too hard and it just gets ugly after that. That is all the pit is as far as I'm concerned. A bunch of people who run around and shove anything they see, in what they consider their domain.

I really doubt that this is the reason why many people shell out their dough to go to a show. If this does happen to be the case, a huge number of amazing musicians are not being seen. Most of these "pit-goers" could just crank up a stereo and invite some strangers over into an empty room. Sounds like fun to me.

Next time you happen to go to a show try watching the band actually play, if you don't already. Who knows you might actually find this more entertaining and at least you won't have as high a probability of getting hurt. So, have fun at the shows or concerts you go to, but remember that you aren't the only one there.

Turner is a sophomore majoring in psyhology.






by Adam King

Daily Cougar Staff

It seems the Southwest Conference will remain intact through 1996 after all.

Athletic directors from the Big Eight Conference, Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor and Texas Tech decided to hold off playing any sports in the recently formed super conference until the 1996 football season begins.

The announcement came during a meeting between the ADs of the Big 12 – the name that will be used if the conference expands no further – in Dallas March 25-27.

That comes as good news to Houston AD Bill Carr.

"We would love to see the league remain intact for two more years," he said. "That’s a reasonable transition period to work with and we endorse that."

The Big 12 athletic directors were faced with the question of whether to begin playing basketball in 1995, which would have left the remaining Southwest Conference schools – Houston, Rice, Texas Christian and Southern Methodist – scrambling to find new conference affiliations and fill basketball schedules under heavy time constraints.

The announcement brings some stability to the situation.

"It gives us more lead time to adjust for the future," Carr said in a phone interview from his car. "It tells us our basketball schedule is intact."

But would Carr consider leaving the SWC early if an established conference made an offer Houston was dying to accept? Carr didn’t rule out the possibility.

"I can’t answer that because it’s a situation that is not defined at this moment," he said. "I just work here and there are a lot of people included in that decision making process."

UH President James Pickering is one of those people, and he left open the door for a possible break from the conference early.

"It’s certainly a dilemma," he said. "I’d have to go back and look at the actual contract of the Southwest Conference.

"If an extraordinary opportunity came along, an institution that didn’t look at that opportunity would be foolish."

Carr, though, said he isn’t interested in the ifs, ands or buts of any possible outcomes that might involve the university.

He traveled to Charlotte, N.C., last weekend to attend a meeting of athletic directors at the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament to "be among my peers and discuss this."

"I’m going to find out about their situation and let them know about ours," he said prior to leaving.

Houston’s situation is one of immediacy. Carr said this fall will be crucial in terms of football attendance and revenue for UH to be considered seriously by any prospective conferences, of which he would not name.

The bottom-line numbers reflect a minimum 30,000 attendance for football and 6,000 for basketball. Houston averaged less than 16,000 and 3,000 in the two sports, respectively, last season.

Both Carr and Pickering say a significant increase is possible this fall, despite a 1-9-1 record in football and an 8-19 finish in basketball.

"The thing that will help convince other conferences is increased attendance at football games this fall," Carr said. "We’ve got to have a demonstration of support from our campus this fall."

Said Pickering: "If you look at the real issue, people who like the athletic program have to take on more of an ownership stake, meaning showing up at the games and buying tickets.

"There has been no sense of ownership of the athletic program or the ownership hasn’t been large enough. People have to realize, if in fact we are going to continue to have major college sports, they have to come out and buy into the program.

"When people are interested in a program, they find a way and a motivation."

Both readily admit that time is a commodity that cannot be wasted. But what happens if the Cougars suffer another year of subpar attendance at the Astrodome and the minimums for joining a conference are not met?

The answers were grave.

"It depends on how the conferences look at us," Carr said. "The more attendance we have, the better our future. If you have a year like that, it is not a plus for our program."

Pickering agreed.

"If we have a very bad year in terms of attendance, that compounds our problems and doesn’t make it any easier," he said. "It’s inconceivable to me that if we were having 40,000 people go to the games, we wouldn’t be having this conversation today."

For now, though, it seems the dialogue will continue.






by Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

The Houston track and field team is making a run for the Southwest Conference Outdoor Championships, but the Texas Relays come first.

This is the last all-out meet the Cougars will compete in before they go into conference meet. Only a few Cougars will go out to California for the Mount Sac Relays April 16-17.

The team will be toning things down the week before the SWC championship meet, April 23-24 at Rice. The Texas Relays, which started yesterday and will end Saturday, will be the final chance for the Cougars to see what needs to be done.

"This should tell us where we’re at," head coach Tom Tellez said.

This will also allow sensation Sam Jefferson more work. Jefferson has missed almost all of the outdoor season with hepatitus. He has been running with the 400-meter relay team for the last two weeks.

He will run his first 100 at the Mount Sac meet. Jefferson was a early season favorite to win the national title in that event.

The topic of the conference meet has come up often this season as SWC coaches continue to complain about the early date. Tellez stands out as the exception.

"Everyone is in the same position," he said. "I don’t think it will prove any different and (the students will) have time to concentrate on final exams."

Asked if this will be a trend in the SWC, Tellez said that the question is moot since the SWC will no longer exist.

As far as performance at the meet goes, Tellez looks to the past.

"Hopefully we’ll do as good as indoors," Tellez said.

Both the men’s and women’s teams finished fourth in the SWC Indoor Championships.

"I think everyone is progressing," Tellez said. "Others come along at different times, but they’ll all be ready at conference."

Tellez would not make further predictions, but Texas has to be considered as the front-runner in both men’s and women’s.

But now the Cougars are in Austin and are using the Texas Relays as the final measuring stick. Everything should be much more clearer for the Cougars when they return.






Spring brings face-lift to gridiron; new coaches, players, offense take center stage

by Jason Paul Ramirez

Daily Cougar Staff

Much like it did last year, the Houston Cougar football team once again underwent severe changes in preparation for the 1994 season.

Four new coaches, 26 new additions and a new starting quarterback highlight the changes. Head coach Kim Helton says he hopes to improve on the team’s disasterous 1-9-1 1993 campaign.

The Cougars’ quest for improvement begins this afternoon when the team holds its first Spring practice beginning at 3:30.

"I expect to see a lot of effort and positive attitudes (from the players) towards getting better," Helton said. "I believe that our players would like to see the rewards they could receive out of working hard."

During the off-season, Helton hired four new coaches to his staff in hopes of keeping his expectations alive.

Gary Bartel (defensive backs), Tyrone Dixon (receivers) and Tony Tademy (defensive ends) replaced former assistants Melvin Robertson, Ron Shanklin and Ben Hurt respectively. Dan Lounsbury relieved offensive coordinator Neil Callaway of his quarterback coaching duties.

"I think it will be a practice season where our coaches are learning just as much as our players are," Helton said.

In addition to Helton’s new line of coaching assistants, Houston enjoyed an above average recruiting season as well.

"We expect a great deal of help to come from our recruiting," Helton said. "We have some new guys that can seriously challenge for 12 different positions."

Heading the list of the 26 newcomers include defensive end Louis Hampton of Killeen, running back Jay McGuire (Silsbee) and tight end Oscar Portales from San Antonio’s John Jay High School.

The 6-4, 230-pound Hampton was a first team Associated Press and Texas Sports Writers all-state choice in 1993, recording 91 tackles and six quarterback sacks during his senior year.

McGuire (5-11, 192) was an AP first team 4A all-state selection after rushing for 1,973 yards and 16 touchdowns last year. Portales (6-3, 260) was voted as a 5A all-city selection by the San Antonio Express-News as both a tight end and a punter (43 yards per kick).

"When (our coaching staff) was trying to pick out the top recruit of this class," Helton said, "there were six or seven different selections. That lets you know just how solid our recruiting was."

Planning on being just as solid as he was for most of last season, sophomore quarterback Chuck Clements goes into the spring as the No. 1 signal caller in place of Jimmy Klingler, who skipped his senior year to enter the NFL draft.

"I think Chuck has the most experience," Lounsbury said. "We are going to look to him to face the task and try to make his team improve."

As a freshman, Clements started three games because of various injuries that sidelined Klingler.

When he called the shots, Clements passed for 1,216 yards and four touchdowns, completed 52 percent of his passes and threw 10 interceptions.

"The more Chuck improves, the more the football team improves," Helton said. "The more the football team improves, the more Chuck improves.

"We’d love to have Jimmy back, but we’re pleased with his career decision and how he handled it."

Clements could benefit from the new offensive scheme Helton and his staff will employ this season as the offense switches to a more "multiple" game plan, finally scrapping the Run-and-Shoot.

"To win you must be able to run and pass," Helton said. "It’s also a lot easier to protect the quarterback with a two-back set than a one-back set."

Not to be outdone by the "new," the "old" will make its return as the Cougars welcome back 10 starters from last season.

Center Marcus Vidrine was supposed to return to the lineup this year, but he decided to give up football and return home to his family and fiancee in Louisiana.

As a 17-year-old freshman, Vidrine started 10 games for Houston in 1993.

Starting next week, 15 scheduled practices will be held every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday until April 30.

An intra-squad spring game will close out the season session at Robertson Stadium, replete with a tailgating party in the parking lot and prizes. The game is open to the public and admission is free.

"Without the students we are nothing," Helton said. "So all our students need to ban together and see how we will be improved."




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