FACULTY STRIVES TO ELIMINATE POOR PERFORMANCE

by Jennifer Smith

Daily Cougar Staff

UH President James Pickering met with the University Planning and Policies Committee, Monday to receive recomendations from a six year plan that includes the reshaping of the university.

Reshaping, has been underway for two years and focuses on the university better using its resources, building new academic and administrative programs and cutting out ones that do not work.

The six year plan has six goals, which include, among others, the enhancing of research and scholarly activities, providing students with an excellent education (with the best faculty and resources), and UH's outreach to the community.

The committee divided itself into smaller groups, each of which examined a goal. Two groups reported Monday: the faculty issues group and the community outreach group.

The community outreach group's report dealt mainly with the vagueness of objectives and goals. The committee said the outreach program has in the past reached out mainly to schools, but should examine reaching out to other programs like the mental health care system. They also talked about the importance of faculty participation in these programs.

The Faculty Issues group presented a report that provoked discussion about tenure. Tenure, the group said, was intended to protect academic freedom, not to shield poor academic performance. Some faculty pointed out that it is possible to fire a tenured faculty member for incompetence.

George Magner, the chair of UPPC, said in the past tenured faculty have been terminated for reasons like sexual harassment as well as for not doing their jobs.

The UPPC agreed that what they were calling for was increased accountability of professors.

President Pickering commented on the possibility of having a committee for three-year faculty reviews. If there were a way of catching poor performance before it became a problem, he said, it would reduce the probability of termination.

Other issues discussed in the report included library funding.

According to the report, compared to the funding support of other research libraries, M.D. Anderson Library is now down to 75th from 50th in the mid-eighties. The report suggested that funding to provide library resources be increased, and also encouraged the initiative for library construction, possibly with the use of 95-96 HEAF funds.

The report also built on goals like the improvement of scholarly excellence and the improvement of graduate fellowships/scholarships to make them more competitive.

The UPPC will meet on April 25 and again on May 9 to receive the refined outreach report and the other four reports.

 

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NO SKATEBOARDING ALLOWED IN EMPTY CULLEN FOUNTAIN

 

by Mike Rush

News Reporter

Plagued with pump and waterproofing problems, the Cullen Fountain is once again empty, just eight months after the completion of its $1 million renovation.

On March 19, the weekend before spring break, the fountain was drained of its 300,000 gallons of water so construction workers could make repairs on it.

The fountain had just undergone a renovation of its floor and plumbing system last summer.

James Berry, UH associate vice chancellor for facilities planning and construction, said a failing pump was detected about six months ago when water in the fountain was not completing its rotation cycle.

Berry said the pump was not priming properly, leaving the pump cavity dry. Without water in the cavity, the pump was unable to take in water from the fountain to start the continuous flow, Berry said.

In an effort to correct the problem, minor adjustments were made to the pump's controls, but the attempt failed, Berry said.

He said the only alternative was to drain the fountain and reconstruct the priming scheme.

"We added a piece of pipe that keeps the pump primed," Berry said.

While the fountain pool was empty, Berry said the fountain floor was re-treated for waterproofing in areas that had been leaking.

"The waterproofing membrane liner did not adhere to the concrete below in some small spots," Berry said.

Representatives from Williams Development and Construction Inc., who replaced the pipes and pumps in the renovation, declined to comment over the phone about the recent problems with the fountain, but Berry said the work is covered under warranty by the company.

Howard Rose, UH manager of building maintenance, said the repairs are complete, but he is waiting to replace some light bulbs, lenses and gaskets before he fills the pool.

"While the pool was drained, we took advantage of that time to do some preventative maintenance on the lighting," Rose said. He said the fountain should be running by the end of the week.

Until then, Rose asked that students avoid skateboarding or walking on the dry fountain floor. "All they are going to do is damage the surface of the pool again, causing us to have to repair it again," Rose said.

Since its construction in the fall of 1971, the fountain has had its share of problems. Through the years, shifts in the earth caused cracks in the fountain's foundation. Broken valves, deteriorating water pumps and leaking pipes forced university maintenance to drain the fountain in 1990.

It remained empty until November 1992, when John and Rebecca Moores allotted $1 million of a $51.4 million university donation to repair the Cullen Fountain.

 

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THE 'RIGHT ONE' OR THE 'REAL THING' IN VENDING MACHINES?

by Kelly Caughlin

News Reporter

The biggest talk on campus lately has not been about the new SA president, the war in Bosnia, or even Madonna on Letterman. Instead, what UH students really want to know is why they can't buy a coke from the vending machines.

In the latest battle between "the right one" and "the real thing," all UH vending machines will feature Pepsi Cola bottling company soft drinks and juices, pending UH Regents approval of a contract at an April 20 Board of Regents meeting.

The change from other beverage services to Pepsi Cola will transpire May 1 and mark the beginning of an exclusive contract term period, which is a five-year agreement with Pepsi. The contract should net an estimated $260,000 annually to the university.

"The university began the bid process for soft drink and snack food vending last July. By offering exclusivity in soft drink vending, we felt we would receive more of a partnership committment from the vendor. In fact, this is what happened," said UH Senior Vice President for Administration and Finance Dennis Boyd.

Garth Jowett, a professor in the School of Communications, along with many students, says the contract takes freedom of choice away from students. He said students should be allowed to decide what they want to drink. Although Coke products will be available at all ARA campus dining service locations, including Coogs Cafe, Deli Corner, American Cafe, Satellite cafeteria, Moody Towers, Oberholtzer Hall and Etcetera's convenience stores, this doesn't help students who want a coke from a machine -- or who might want a Diet Coke for a late night study break.

There are no coke products available on campus between 11 pm and 6:30 am under the new contract, leaving stranded Coke afiacianados late at night in the library and residence halls.

Susan Dillard, a senior journalism major, said, "God forbid if they ask us what we want, I think it's common courtesy. We are the ones paying the money."

The contract in the past for both food and drink vending machines has been with Service America. The contract expires April 30, therefore, proposals were distributed to companies for both the food and drink machines.

"The main goal is to find a company that will offer the most to our students," said Marcia Gerhardt, director of Administrative Services.

The process of replacing old vending machines began April 1. Gerhardt hopes Pepsi and Canteen officials can start moving machines on campus May 1. There are 80 drink machines that will be replaced overall.

The proposals for the drink vendors were extended to the Coca-Cola bottling company, Pepsi-Cola bottling company, Service America and Dr Pepper bottling company.

The new contract makes provisions for participation from minority or Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) contractors in the supply area. A percentage of sales will be subcontracted by Pepsi to a HUB vendor.

Service America, which has been filling the machines for at least the past three years, wanted to raise the cost of the drinks, said Gerhardt.

"Pepsi's package had so much to offer the students outside of just the drinks," said Gerhardt.

The Pepsi-Cola package includes an internship program through Pepsi and several scholarships.

The internship will begin this summer, paying $7 per hour. Pepsi will hire one or two students each summer to do work with their company. More details will be given if the contract is approved. The internships will be worth a total of $75,000.

The scholarships will be set up to offer qualifying students $10,000 per year. The total amount of the scholarship fund is $50,000 over five years.

 

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FERGUS WINS TEXAS TOUR BY 6

Former Houston golf coach Keith Fergus, who resigned to play competitive golf a little less than a month ago, won the Ninfa's Texas Tour $20,000 Hearthstone Open Tuesday.

Fergus shot a 69 in the first round and a 5-under-par 66 the final day at the 6,548-yard Hearthstone Country Club course to take the $4,000 winner's purse. His were the low rounds each day for a 7-under 135 total.

Fergus held only a one-stroke lead after the first day. When the second day was over, he had pulled away for a six-stroke lead over runner-up John Dowdall of Kingwood (141).

On the PGA Tour he won three titles -- the Memorial in 1981 and the 1982 Georgia-Pacific Atlanta Classic and Bob Hope Desert Classic.

 

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CAN RAH-RAH EX-SOONER RUN AMERICA'S TEAM?--NO WAY

by William German

Daily Cougar Staff

Are you tired of seeing Barry Switzer?

He's all over television these days, just grinning, raising his arms and yelling some rah-rah stuff.

I think it has something to do with his being the luckiest man on the face of the earth.

Tell me how. Tell me how a guy, who wasn't exactly on the fast track to the pros four years ago when he lost his last job (Oklahoma), can inherit a team like this.

The guy actually said at the press conference to announce his windfall, "We've got a job to do and we're gonna do it, baby!"

Do it, baby?

These are the Dallas Cowboys. They have won the last two Super Bowls. They have contributed to the perceived decline of the NFL, as much as anything has, by making the rest of the league look positively puny.

The only thing they don't have is a kicker, and they always seem to find one that does the job. They've had some free agents leave, but we know how the Cowboys do in the draft.

Their biggest loss they've had has been their supposed gain.

The self-titled "bootlegger's boy" went down in flames in 1989, and coaches who go down in flames -- Woody Hayes, Wimp Sanderson, John Jenkins -- are supposed to <I>stay<P> down.

They're not supposed to resurface five years later as the head of the best team in football.

Barry Switzer has made a deal with the devil. He is football's Dr. Faustus, and I'm sure he will have to pay for it. I'm sure of it because if I wasn't, I wouldn't be sure of the law of gravity, the color of the sky or my face in the mirror.

This hiring just doesn't seem real. If you'd asked me two years ago which was least likely, (a) Switzer becoming head coach of the Cowboys, (b) the NFL adopting a two-point conversion or (c) Daryl Johnston making the Pro Bowl, I think I'd have answered (a).

Of course, all those things have happened now, but come <I>on<P>. I didn't expect to see Switzer coaching in the Arena Football League.

The jokes about Switzer's offensive "philosophy" have already started. What was it Troy Aikman was reported as telling Michael Irvin -- "Don't worry, we'll be throwing the ball at least three or four times a game next year"?

Aikman isn't the only ex-OU player to have a problem with his former coach. It took former Sooner defensive lineman Tony Casillas a couple of days after the announcement of Switzer's hiring to decide he wanted to play somewhere else.

I wonder if Switzer made a phone call to dissuade him? Probably. That ought to tell you something about his influence on the team.

It used to be unarguable that the Cowboys were the best team in the game and that Jimmy Johnson was the best coach. Remember those days? Any doubters need only watch one game, the last one of the season.

Then again, it was once undeniable that the Bulls were the best in basketball, before Jordan left.

Please don't think I'm a Cowboy fan. That has become far, far too easy. I personally root for whomever Dallas happens to be playing, most of the time.

Cowboy fans can be so smug. Before now, Dallas has seen exactly two coaches in their team's history.

No Jerry Glanvilles. No coaches imported from Canada. No nice old men in ten-gallon hats and cowboy boots losing their jobs after 11-5 seasons.

If you live in Dallas, all you've ever known has been the Hat and the Hair.

And it has all worked. Until now.

That seemingly unremarkable state of Arkansas has had some decade so far. It's given us Nolan and the Hogs, Bill and Hilary, and now Jerry and Jimmy, minus one. No, I won't bash Jones. Even a sportswriter needs a challenge sometimes. But it seems to me he genuinely believes it doesn't make any difference who's in charge.

A coach is a coach to Jerry, just like a place-kicker was a place-kicker to Jimmy Johnson. Funny thing, Johnson was right.

It didn't matter if the Cowboys had Ken Willis, Lin Elliott or Eddie Murray kicking for them, the ball always went through the uprights when it had to. Dallas never lost a big game on a kick during the Johnson era, even though they never had the best possible guy out there to boot it.

Soon we'll find out if Jones is right too.

 

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HOUSTON SEEKS MOMENTUM VS. RICE

by Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

The Houston women's tennis team is looking to go into the Southwest Conference tournament with momentum when it takes on Rice today in what will be the final regular season match.

The Cougars (6-12, 1-5 in the SWC) are playing host to the 45th-ranked Owls (12-4, 5-1 in the SWC) in what will be the Cougars' final match at Chancellors Racquet Club. The new tennis courts will be ready by next season.

The Owls are second in the SWC behind defending national champion Texas. The Longhorns handed the Owls their only loss of the season.

Jackie Brown is Rice's only nationally-ranked player. She is their No. 3 player and is currently No. 103 in the country.

The Cougars' star, senior Catherine Bromfield, is now fully recovered from a pulled hamstring and has played well in her last two matches, Mosvold said.

Mosvold added that her team will be a competitive foe for Rice.

"I think we have a shot," she said. "If we play to win, we should do well."

Owl head coach Paul Blankenship agreed.

"We have the upmost respect for their team," he said. "I don't think they're a one-and-five team."

He added that he has impressed this upon his athletes, and they will not look past the Cougars.

"We play them one match at a time," he said.

Mosvold said although she would have liked the team to have done better, she is pleased with where it stands. The Cougars have already improved upon their play of last season when they finished 0-8, last in the SWC.

This season was highlighted by a six-game win streak that ended against Texas April 10. The Cougars have not won since.

Since this is the regular season finale, the team will recognize the two seniors, Bromfield and Cecilia Piedrahita, at 1:15 p.m. The match begins at 1:30.

Rice will host the SWC tourney April 22-24 at Jake Hess Stadium in conjunction with the SWC Outdoor Championships for track and field. Mosvold said that the six, seven and eight spots in the league race will be the ones up for grabs by the Cougars. But she remained focused on the match against Rice.

"We need to play this match first then take what is next," she said.

 

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ORB IS SPAWN OF SATAN

by D. McAdams

Daily Cougar Staff

People will buy anything.

One turns on the television and sees a plethora of advertisements for what are seemingly some of the most useless product ideas to have ever sprung forth from the human mind. Salad Shooters, Thighmaster, the Bodyslide (that ridiculous blue pad one gets with special socks included so that one may "slide" away all those excess pounds), hairspray paint, Blueblocker sunglasses and a million other sad products come to mind when one listens to Orb's <I>Live 93<P>.

This is, without a doubt, some of <I>the<P> worst techno to ever have soiled this reviewer's ears. This CD is awful. Worse than that it's awful and it lasts 2 hours and 35 minutes (there are two CD's enclosed in the case).

Songs average 9 or 10 minutes. Imagine, 2 hours and 35 minutes of bad, Euro-trash techno. Two hours and 35 minutes of crashes, clanks and the occasional synthesizer blare. Imagine Front 242 gone bad, or Depeche Mode in their "New Life" days sans rhythm, melody, harmony or a clue.

Even Orb's biography is annoying, "Calling all Orbanauts, this is Flight Sergeant Aardvark with an urgent message from home base..." The bio goes on to describe how Fluffy, the cute little stuffed sheep on the cover of <I>Live<P> was kidnapped by the, "...Evil Bro in Leicester," and Flight Sergeant Aardvark's mission is to get Fluffy back.

It appears that the inhabitants of "Planet Evil the 39th Planet in the galaxy" have kidnapped Fluffy because they do not have, "the pleasure of hearing such beautiful sounds as you do with the Orb <I>Live 93<P>."

If that's the case, Evil Bro, y'all must live on some crappy ass planet 'cause this music bites!

What's even more incredible is that the monstrosity was recorded live! That means people actually paid their hard earned duckets to hear this garbage. People will buy anything.

The one redeeming quality <I>Live<P> has is an Indian woman who chants bits of Hindu wisdom in what one suspects is sanskrit throughout the CD.

Other than her, all the other witless samples that are found in <I>Live<P> are horrible.

But this CD isn't totally useless. If you like torturing your younger siblings, grab them, tie them down and force them to listen to one Orb song (any more than one and they'll die of old age, or insanity).

If you're a drug addict, throw your copy of "Fantasia" away and get Orb <I>Live 93<P>. You'll be able to see "the colors" twice as good.

If you're into masochism, <I>Live<P> is for you. Throw away your bondage devices and slip this baby into your CD player. You'll be using your "safe word" quicker than you can say, "Harris County Mental Health Center."

Do you have neighbors you absolutely hate? Stick in <I>Live<P>, turn up the volume real loud, hit the repeat button and take a two day trip.

That'll show em.

 

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BALL FILMS GO OUT OF PARK

In the Can

Glenn R. Wilson Jr.

When it comes to pastimes, we Americans have developed a few that we just can't live without. I list below the three biggest:

1) Sex

2) Suing other Americans

3) Baseball

Basically, two of these three involve one American screwing another, and while that might make for an interesting festival at a later date, I will instead concentrate on the third pastime as this week's subject matter.

Appropriately enough, I have dubbed this week's festival the "Batter Up Film Festival!" (Notice how readily it could be applied to the other two topics. Cool huh?)

Right off the bat I have to go with my favorite baseball movie of recent times, <I>Bull Durham<P>.

This comedy spends as much time in the bedrooms of its characters as it does on the ball field, therefore encompassing two of the above listed pastimes and I ain't talking about nobody suing nobody!

Susan Sarandon plays an obsessed fan of a minor-league ball team who every season takes on promising newcomer under her wing (among other places) and helps them reach their potential. This year's catch is "Nuke" La Loosh (Tim Robbins), a pitcher with "a million dollar arm and a five cent head."

Kevin Costner plays the aging catcher hired by the team to do the same thing Sarandon is trying to do, only with less physical contact.

All three performances are perfect, especially Robbins who makes his screen debut a very memorable one. <I>Bull Durham<P> is a baseball movie for people who don't normally like baseball movies.

Next up and continuing in the comedy vein is <I>Mr. Baseball<P>, starring Tom Selleck.

Granted there are no deep meanings or superb performances to highlight this little movie, but I found it immensely entertaining.

Selleck is an American player traded to a Japanese baseball team. Unfortunately for the Japanese, along with his clothes he brings with him the extra baggage of a bad attitude.

The culture clash which ensues provides for some good laughs and somehow the film makers even managed to squeeze in a romantic sub-plot.

Selleck is an amiable actor who has always been in search of the perfect big screen role to go along with his perfect small screen role of Thomas Magnum. Here he gets a little closer to the mark, but I don't think this is the role he wants to forever be associated with by movie fans.

The third film on the list is another recent baseball movie. <I>A League of Their Own<P> is a funny movie at times, and it tells a story that really deserves telling. I only wish director Penny Marshall had chosen not to try and forcibly yank so damn many tears from my eyes.

Tom Hanks gives a brilliant display of overstated understatedness (If that makes any sense to you, then perhaps you should be writing this column) and John Lovitz practically steals the movie with his all-too-brief appearances.

But the real stars are Geena Davis and the film's writers Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel. Davis is an engaging actress with good comic timing and Ganz and Mandel (<I>City Slickers<P>) give her and the other characters great dialogue to play around with on screen.

When it's funny, <I>A League of Their Own<P> is very funny. When it's being overly sentimental, it's just plain sad.

Last up is a serious baseball movie that actually tells its story around baseball and not about it.

<I>Field of Dreams<P> is a touching story of a grown man's inner desire to reconcile with his estranged, but dead father. And how this desire creates an unbelievable situation around him, provoking a strange serious of actions leading to an unforgettable climax.

I know that description is a little vague, but I really don't want to give away any part of this well-made film.

Director Phil Alden Robinson (<I>Sneakers<P>) lets the sentiment get a little sappy occasionally, but for the most part he is remarkably restrained considering the prospects this story offered for goofy, sugary emotional outbursts.

Kevin Costner makes a repeat performance in this week's festival, but Amy Madigan as his wife steals the movie as far as I'm concerned.

This vague, sentimental, baseball fantasy will either annoy you or charm you. I certainly hope it's the latter of the two.

Wilson is a postbaccalaureate student studying history and government.

 

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MERGER ONTO THE INFORMATION SUPERHIGHWAY

Cougar Press Services

The information superhighway is coming, but don’t hold your breath.

That was the message Wednesday from four men deeply involved in their companies’ preparation for that superhighway.

All four said they’re convinced that the technological advances coming with stunning speed will change their operations significantly, and will have a major impact on the lives of consumers of entertainment, news and other information.

However, they agreed, substantial obstacles remain to be overcome in terms of cost to industry, cost to consumers and access by the public.

The four spoke at a symposium in the School of Communication that drew an overflow crowd. Oscar Saucedo, from the San Antonio headquarters of Southwestern Bell, argued strongly for major changes in state and federal regulations affecting phone companies.

Scott Marshall of TCI, the cable industry giant, suggested that media hype was pushing companies involved in many aspects of communication to publicize their efforts to an extent that may mislead the public about the timetable for sweeping changes. For example, he noted that TCI now has the ability to bring all kinds of information into the home through a single box atop a TV set, but that consumers won’t see the product immediately because of the difficulties in mass-producing the equipment.

Phil Grant, news operations manager for Channel 13, raised questions about the ability of the TV viewing public to pay several hundred dollars for equipment to make their TV sets interactive, plus additional charges for participating in the interactive programming. And Paul SoRelle of the Houston Chronicle expressed similar caution about the feasibility of soon making available to the public all kinds of information that already flows into the newspaper.

There was wide agreement, however, that the nature of the communication field is changing rapidly and that the industries they are involved in must change, too, or risk major economic losses.

Professors David Donnelly and Ted Stanton of the School of Communication moderated the session and a question-answer session that ran an hour past the allotted time.

 

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THE EXAMINED LIFE OF A PHILOSOPHICAL PROFESSOR

Campus Celebs

Valerie Fouche

It is a pleasure when a student finds a professor who actually enjoys teaching and who will go to almost any length to get their point across. One such professor at UH is Justin Fritz Leiber, professor of philosophy. During his class one might find him wildly running across the auditorium while throwing his keys against the wall, reenacting a piece from Plato, or watching his adorable red headed daughter, Casey, singing Memories from Cats. And you thought philosophy was boring.

Your middle name, Fritz, is a family name. You reference your family in your lectures. Were they a great influence on you?

Well actually is goes this way... My father died in September of 1992 and I had quite a lot in common with him, so I knew I would have some thing’ to work through. So what I decided to do, a typical philosopher’s reaction, was teach a course about him.. I was teaching Intro. to Philosophy for the first time in years and I decided to structure the course around my father’s death or death in general, how to react to death, and ways of surviving death. I was aided by Plato’s dialogues, in which death is an important subject and connected with the issue of what the human mind is and is there any possibility of immortality. I told my class that this was a one time deal out of respect for my father, but found that the class encouraged me to continue using him in my lectures. Possibly a reason for that was that I made myself into a family man, the class sees me as a son, father, and husband.

What does it mean to be a professor of philosophy?

Actually, I wrote a column for the Daily Cougar which addressed this very question. People in the field of Philosophy are almost reluctant to say "I am a Philosopher", unlike those who are involved in chemistry and say they are chemist. Typically what they’ll say is "I teach philosophy" or "I do philosophy." Part of the reason is that when someone says "I am a philosopher" you suspect that you’re in a bar that should have closed a little bit earlier.

In fact, there was a time when I felt quite proud to say I am a philosopher. One afternoon I was in downtown Chicago in a old coffeehouse waiting on a friend. There was no one there but a guy and a waitress, and he was trying to convince her to play a game of Nim (a match game). She was reluctant to play and I, knowing an algorithm to solve the puzzle, showed interest in playing the game with him. We took turns and when he realized he was about to lose, he asked, "Are you in computers too?" and I replied, "No, I am a philosopher."

This last weekend I watched the Great Prophecies, which was kind of scary because they predict that the world is going to end on May 5, 2000. You lecture about death. Do you think this event will happen?

Well, I would suggest first not to be scared. That reminds me of a similar thing that people have done with the works of Shakespeare trying to find out who he was through his writing. Some people said that if you turn around a few phrases here and there that you could come up with "I am Frances Bacon." As a matter of fact there was a man who wrote a book on how you could prove that you wrote the plays of Shakespeare by manipulating the words around. I think that in the case of prophecy, the prophets that get remembered are the ones whose words can be twisted around so that whatever target date or event you have in mind can be achieved. Of course it is very natural that during the turn of the century people think big things are going to happen. The same thing occurred during the beginning of the 1900’s.

What is the difference between religious beliefs and philosophical beliefs? Do they have any common ground?

There is a relationship between them in the sense that our philosophical beliefs do extend to a sort of ultimate belief, that is ground for beliefs about what is real and what life is about. Religious beliefs also try to make sense of human life. Where they depart company is that philosophy is committed to logic and reason, trying to formulate things that survive rational testing. I think the core of religious beliefs is the idea of faith, which says "I believe through an act of faith, not through a rational belief." Part of having faith is sort of taking the view that I will believe in this no matter how improbable it is from the outside. There was even an early Christian thinker that said "I believe because it is impossible."

Do people perceive philosophers as being a non-religious group?

I think philosophy is affected by the context of the times. If you go back during the time of Descartes, you could get killed for saying you were an atheist or that you didn’t believe in the Christian God. So most philosophers during that time had enough prudence not to challenge this and found a place for God in their system. If you happen to be a philosopher in the United States today you would be very loath to say to other philosophers that you believed. One member of our department took up going to a Unitarian Church and made a point of saying "Of course this doesn’t mean I believe in God." There is only one American philosopher, Albert Plantenger, who would actually come out and say that is reasonable to believe that there is a God. The chair of our department had a clash with Plantenger in which our chair said to him that "it would be just as reasonable to believe in the Great Pumpkin as to believe in the Christian God."

Was Houston and UH what you expect when you moved here back in 1978?

I hadn’t owned a car for ten years before I came here. I did own a motorcycle. So I came here expecting this to be a major transition -- after all, there are sidewalks here. Then I discovered that the cougar was our mascot. I have loved cats all my life, so the idea of actually being with a cougar was enormously attractive to me. They let me join the Cougar Guard after I showed that I could go into the cage and put her collar on her. I had just a wonderful experience with Shasta, she would do cartwheels when I came to see her and would purr. I just loved that animal. This actually lead to my being invited to participate in a primate study, they figured that if I could get into a cage with a cougar, I could probably get close to a fair-sized chimpanzee.

Have you done any of your own research?

I mentioned earlier my first book on Chomsky, I tried to develop my own sort of philosophical interpretation of his work. Then I went on to my second work, a book on structuralism as a general view into the cognitive sciences, in which I cast Chomsky’s work as a particular form of this general view. When I first got down here (to Houston) I actually started writing my novel, Beyond Rejection.

This novel was an attempt to sort of visualize what might be true if the general cognitive science taken was legitimate.

An example would be the computer comparison, the idea that the mind is sort of like the software of the hardware brain. I wrote a novel in which I imagined that you could upload this software and then load it onto another mind. The novel started with this idea in that the protagonist woke up in a hospital room remembering a male body but now finding itself in a female body. It turned out that the novel because of it’s philosophical possibilities of cognitive and computer science, the first five chapter were collected and used in a book called The Mind’s Eye.

Is there anything you would like to see changed here at UH?

Yes, I would like to see a cougar around here again! I feel that the politically correct combined with the sympathy of animal rights activist lead to the abolishing of the cougar on campus. But I feel the fact is that the cougar we had on campus had very good lives. Of course there are those who would say, "How can you tell they have good lives?" The answer I would give is, "How do you tell?" You think that the animals living in the wild are happy, but there was a case with some bears in a park that were eating out of trash cans. The park officials banned trash cans because they wanted the bears to be natural. So then where did the bears go? The bears left the parks and went looking for farms and people having picnics. Bears don’t know natural from unnatural. Another thing I would like to see changed is the Cougar High attitude. I think the faculty and students here are under some kind of unnecessary depression about this place. The faculty, by in large, got their degrees from more prestigious universities and don’t see the students here as their successors

If you are a professor at Harvard, you see your students as potential colleagues. And I think it is important to foster that kind of relationship with your students.

Is there a motto or saying that you live by?

(He ponders this thought for some time) There are some obvious answers, but I would like to think of a real zinger.

However, I think I will just quote Plato in saying "a life unexamined is not worth living."

 

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DEFENDING THEIR TOURNAMENT HONOR

Cougars use 8-stroke turnaround to win AAII 2nd year in a row

by Adam King

Daily Cougar Staff

The Houston Cougars have a knack for surprising others and sometimes even themselves.

Sitting in a tie for sixth place after the first two rounds, the Cougars scorched the 12-team field in the third round at the All-American Intercollegiate Invitational in Richmond to claim first place and successfully defend their 1993 title at the Old Orchard Golf Course.

Houston’s 8-under-par 280 third-round total was the lowest of the tournament and gave the Cougars a final 6-over-par 870, five strokes better than second-place Baylor (11-over, 875).

"Today they put it all together," said interim head coach Rookie Dickenson. "It was a tremendous comeback they made today."

Stephen F. Austin, on the other hand, buckled under the pressure of holding a three-stroke lead after two rounds and shot 12-over in the final round, settling for a tie for fourth with Tulsa (16-over, 880). Texas A&M finished third at 14-over (878).

The win marked the 21st time in the 39-year history of the AAII that the Cougars have won their own tournament.

Kory Bowman of Baylor added a third tournament title to his crown this season after shooting a 211 5-under-par. He survived a 74 in the first round and closed with a 68 and 69 in the second and third, respectively.

He is the first player from Baylor to ever win the AAII title.

SFA sophomore Brian Harper was tied for second at 3-under 213 (71-70-72) with Marco Gortana of Texas A&M (69-72-72).

Cougar Dean Larsson fired a final-round 68 to finish fourth at 2-under, and teammates Anders Hansen and Eric Bogar had closing 69s to boost Houston’s rapid-fire finish.

"They’re capable golfers that have just been inconsistent," Dickenson said. "But to go out and shoot eight-under, that’s good golf.

"They don’t give up even when they’re not shooting well, but they scrap."

Dickenson said the victory, coupled with the team’s third place finish at the Border Olympics in Laredo, "should cinch a bid to the NCAAs for them."

"The win was a confidence builder for them," he said.

Of the previous 38 teams to win the AAII, 17 of them have gone on to win the NCAA Championship in the same year.

Hansen finished tied for fifth and Bogar (6-over, 222) was tied for 21st. Senior Brad Montgomery was tied for 30th at 9-over 225 and senior Mark Franklin (tied 44th) had a 15-over 231.

For the Cougars’ final surprise, former golf coach and legend Dave Williams, who led Houston to 16 NCAA titles, presented the tournament trophy to the UH squad.

Houston closes out the spring season at the Perry Maxwell in Ardmore, Okla., May 9-10.

 

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2 TO INTERVIEW FOR UH GOLF COACH

by Adam King

Daily Cougar Staff

A former UH player and a local pro will be interviewed today for Houston’s vacant golf coaching position, assistant athletic director Bill McGillis said.

Tom Jenkins, who played with the Cougars from 1969-71, and Jim Murphy, the head pro at Sweetwater Country Club, are the first of several scheduled interviews for the position that opened March 10 when Keith Fergus resigned to resume a professional career.

"No one else has been scheduled, but we intend to do some others in the next week," McGillis said, adding a new coach should be named within the next three weeks and possibly sooner.

Jenkins was a member of two NCAA Championship teams that included future PGA greats Bruce Lietzke, John Mahaffey, Jim Simons and Bill Rogers.

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