Film a biting drama

by Aaron Dishman

Daily Cougar Staff

The dictionary defines Lycanthropia as "a madness proceeding from a mad wolf, wherein men imitate the howling of wolves." The first audience in Houston to see Mike Nichols' new thriller <I>Wolf<P>, defines it as Jack Nicholson.

Brimming with wit and vivid freshness, the entire cast deserves recognition for this contemporary folktale. Set in New York, Jack Nicholson is his usual diabolical self, with one twist. In this role his character is likable. The same Jack who tempted the witches of Eastwick and stalked his own son in <I>The Shining<P> commands sympathy. His character is almost brought to tears after killing a wolf with his car. His tears are immediately interrupted as the wolf suddenly awakens just in time to maul Will Randall's (Nicholson) wrist. From then on Randall is a new man.

His senses are keener, his sex-life is better and his instincts are as sharp as a knife. Indeed, Randall has been born again to turn the tables on the parasites who fed off of his kindness. But, as with everything else, his awakening has a price.

Complying with this movie's departure from the traditional werewolf flick, Nicholson does not play the typical werewolf victim. He seems completely ready to believe his plight from the beginning, and is deeply regretful when his talents reveal their darker side.

While Nicholson gives a crisp, nail-biting performance, by no means does he steal the show. A cast boasting of such talents as Michelle Pfeiffer, Christopher Plumber and James Spader would never allow such a thing to happen. Pfeiffer is as smart and sexy as always and Spader (<I>Pretty in Pink<P> and <I>Sex, Lies, and Videotape<P>) is a perfect weasel once again.

Perhaps the most interesting of the supporting actors is Christopher Plumber. For him, the 'less is more' award is appropriate. His intense ability is wonderfully toned down and the weak billionaire Raymond Alden is given just enough energy to make him absolutely disgusting and completely believable.

The special effects are just impressive enough to keep the movie in the realm of reality and the makeup is not grotesquely overdone. Looking at Nicholson's face, it seems hard to believe that no one noticed the wolf before this picture. His expressions are his makeup, and his eyes are expressive enough to make the fur and latex of earlier interpretations obsolete. Pfeiffer's features are angular and seductive, truly lending her all the motivation she needs.

What is not explicit in the actors or the effects are the social questions that this movie brings to bear. It is quite clear that director Mike Nichols (<I>The Graduate<P> and <I>Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf<P>) has chosen to shoot his characters in a series of cages. Randall's office seems itself a cage. There are oppressive bars on the building that houses the publishing company that betrays him. Even the bed that Randall shares with his wife has bars for the headboard (truly showing the nature of their relationship). The prospect of his future with his company seems in itself a most inescapable cage. Indeed Randall's life improves when he starts to recognize his cages.

Nicholson and the producers have stated that they were not trying to make a movie that glorified the transition of man to wolf. By the end of the movie I was not so sure I agreed with them. See this film for yourself after thinking of your own cages, and see what you decide.






by Naruth Phadungchai

Daily Cougar Staff

Last month, China received an extension of the Most Favored Nation status from the United States. That's good news for the Chinese leadership, which had embarked on a program of economic reform since 1978.

It is also potentially good news for American businesses. Referring to countries with good business opportunities, Assistant to the President for Economic Policy Bob Rubin said, "China ranks number one or number two--right at the top of anybody's list."

Last year, United States companies did nearly $8 billion in business with the Chinese. With predictions indicating China could surpass the United States and Japan to become the world's biggest economy within the next quarter century, that number is certain to increase.

On the flip side, however, are the problems that come with trying to combine capitalism with socialism. In its desire to combat the resultant high inflation, the government has periodically reversed its policy in an attempt to regain centralized control of the economy.

Angela Chen, a Chinese-American living in Houston said, "People I know want to go back to China with investments. But people are afraid of the political atmosphere--they're afraid that the government will reverse its economic policy."

Another major drawback is the spiralling corruption. The government last summer swept through the bureaucracy looking for the unscrupulous. It netted some 60,000 crooks, both low and high in the ranks. Some were convicted of embezzlement; others for taking bribes.

Few Chinese would disagree that stealing from government coffers is wrong, especially when it hampers economic reform and their prosperity.

The problem with bribery, however–at least in China's case–is that it looks very much like a tradition of gift-giving.

Chen is familiar with that tradition. She and her family came to the United States in 1985. "We waited five-and-a-half to six years [to come over]," she said. Along the way, her family had to provide gifts to officials whenever they needed help to navigate through the bureaucracy.

In China, bribery isn't called bribery; it's called gift-giving. Chen, with some disdain, said it's a "tradition."

"When we needed something we would give them [the officials] cigarettes or bottles of wine," Chen said. Such acts are so prevalent that it is unspokenly expected. Chen said people needing help from officials would give them gifts "even if they don't ask–it's building a relationship."

That relationship is important for people who want to get things done. Chen explained, "For emigration, if they [her family] didn't give money, they wouldn't have gotten it done." She added, "People are into making money more than anything else."

The sentiment reflects the general mood of the people as China pursues its economic reform. China must learn to reconcile old ways with what's good for the country.

It is a dilemma that may be hard to solve completely. Chen explained the problem when she expressed her view towards gift-giving. She said, "In a way, it's a courtesy, but it's a big burden to the citizens."

Beijing is determined to resolve the conflict. Yet, despite the government's crackdown on corruption and its severe punishment–execution, at least when it comes to bribery, said Chen, "it's not going to go away shortly."






by Tiffany Vaughner

Daily Cougar Staff

Faculty Senate demanded answers from Glenn Aumann, acting senior vice president for academic affairs, about the future of M. D. Anderson Library and the UH administration's attitude toward inadequate library funding during Wednesday's meeting.

A report filed by Faculty Senate Budget Committee Chair Giles Auchmuty during the May 11 Senate meeting focused on the library funding, which was raised during the Spring Faculty Assembly. Questions arose pertaining to how the library was funded during the meeting. In the report, Robin Downes, director of libraries, is quoted as saying that UH President James Pickering had allocated additional money for the library budget, but not the full amount.

In the report, Pickering said the library has received the largest increase in budget of any department on campus since 1986. The budget committee reported UH provided support for the system amounting to 36 percent of the library budget in 1986. In 1993, that percentage increased to 109 percent of the library budget. Much of the library budget comes directly from student service feesm, and various other sources

In the report, Downes also said he cannot say the administration has lived up to its agreement with students.

During the open forum, Aumann admitted to the existence of a "chasm" between the needs of students and faculty, and the administration's ability to meet those needs.

"Our problem is always that we have too many number one priorities and somebody has to make a decision out of all of those important things as to how far we are going to go. There is and there probably always will be a difference of opinion on whether that (the library) is the one single thing we should take right off the top of the budget," Aumann said.

In reference to the May 25 issue of <I>The Chronicle of Higher Education<P>, in which the Association of Research Libraries ranked UH 101 out of 108 university libraries, Aumann said too much time was spent scrutinizing rankings–he said the data is not reflective of the university as a whole.

Associate Professor of Art, Angela Patton said, she did not understand the administration's lax attitude toward academic concerns.

"It's a little hard for me to hear what [was] just said about, 'Do we have to have a number one library?' when we're so quick to say we're gonna have a number one football team. It really bothers me when you consider how many more people visit our library in terms of ex-student body. We have 325 student athletes and we don't think they visit the library very often, given that, this attitude is a little hard to take," Patton said.

She said she realized the scarcity of funds, and that there exists an overabundance of items for which budgetary provisions can be made. Patton said she thought the problem is many faculty members would rather have money allocated to their respective departments than to the library.

Senator Judy Myers, associate professor of library studies, suggested supplementary funding for the library could be derived from Higher Education Assistance Funding (HEAF) monies (funds set aside by the state for universities to use for capital improvements). Myers said money from this fund could be utilized as early as 1996 and could generate about $1.2 million in extra funds.

Aumann asked senators to focus on the big picture and how the library fits in to that picture.

"It's a matter of deciding out of the total amount of money how best you can meet the mission of the institution. How I look at it, is as if we're treating the library as a commons, and that somehow if you hold it up as motherhood and flag – which it very well may be – it's extremely important. And I don't think anyone is going to argue that point, but then what is its relative importance to all of the other things you need to do on the campus," Aumann said.

Michael Gorman, associate professor of physics, expressed his displeasure with the administration's rhetoric on being "a premier urban research facility," and its apparent inability to support those claims.





By Mark Miertschin

News Reporter

A new service available to University of Houston students and alumni gives them the competitive advantage they need in their search for placement in the job market.

JOBank VoiceLink, the new service available at the Career Planning and Placement Center, facilitates communication between prospective employees and employers via a telephone-accessed job information bank.

JOBank VoiceLink is a 24-hour, 365-days-per-year accessible service of current job information.

The user dials a phone number, enters their social security number as a password to enter the system and the job listings become available immediately. The listings are recorded in the employer's own voice, and there is no limit to the amount of job listings the user can access.

"I think the service is easy to use and more convenient," said Vinh Nguyen, a senior finance major. "You don't have to come up here in order to get the information you need."

Under the old JOBank system, the student or alumna had to come to the university, look up a job listing on a bulletin board, then enter a code from the listing into a computer to get information. The user was limited to five listings at a time. If users wanted to get more than those five listings, they had to come back the next day.

VoiceLink also offers advantages to employers. They receive the same access as the students and alumnus. The service costs $20 per listing, which is cheaper than newspaper ads and employment agencies. The university is offering the service free of charge to employers until Aug. 5. The listing can be as descriptive as possible, and as soon as it is completed, it becomes available to job candidates.

The service was installed late April and has been on the market since June 9. It cost $21,000 to install, and the money for the program was allocated by the Student Service Fee Committee. VoiceLink has already received over 2,000 calls from students and over 200 from employers. "We are the 10th university in North America and the only career center in the Southwest to have VoiceLink," said David Small, assistant vice president of student affairs. "The service is expected to pay for itself in three years."

The service is free to students and costs $15 for alumni. Graduates receive one free year of service after graduation.

Students and alumni must come by the Career Planning and Placement Center to complete a registration form to use the service. They will be registered to use the service the next day. A person who wants to use the service on the day of registration can ask for the daily password and use one of three direct phone lines in the center.

University officials could augment the number VoiceLink features in the near future. Resumaker, a self-help resume maker, will allow the user to vocally enter their resume into a database of VoiceLink which will allow the employer to retrieve the resume upon hearing the message. The first version should be available at the end of June.

"With VoiceLink we want to try to cover all the range," said Calvin Chen, associate director of student services. "With more support and technology, we will be able to do more in the future."







by Tiffany Vaughner

Daily Cougar Staff

Controversial Princeton University professor and noted philosopher Cornel West, said he considered himself a "prisoner of hope" even in the face of constant assaults on African American character, intelligence and morality by white supremacist American ideals.

West spoke to a capacity crowd about his latest book, <I>Race Matters<P>, which deals with the problem of race in the United States on Thursday in the UH Hilton Hotel Grand Ballroom.

"I stand here this afternoon as a very small part of a great and grand tradition. It's the tradition of struggle, the struggle for decency and dignity. The struggle for freedom. One can not help but be humbled and dwarfed when one thinks of Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells-Barnett... Marcus Garvey. But I want us to keep in mind the standards of vision, courage, service and sacrifice that they set," West said.

He posed the question of how people can keep the spirit of struggle alive in a society plagued by institutionalized racism.

"How does one keep alive this particular tradition in light of our present moment? For me, it is a tradition that began with my encounter with the absurd–being black in America. The sheer arbitrariness and capriciousness of being judged by skin pigmentation," West said.

He went on to say that blacks have the added misfortune of having the "unasked question" loom over their heads as well.

"You all know what that question is. How does it feel to be a problem? The strange experience of being a problem. How does it feel to be a problem people rather than people with problems? Big difference. Problem people, black people as undifferentiated blobs. Black people as monolithic and homogeneous conglomerate with the same sensibilities, orientations, viewpoints and values. Only need to ask one to know what the others think. Because they're all interchangeable and substitutable," West said sarcastically.

He discussed how W.E.B. DuBois' "double consciousness" metaphor applies to black people in contemporary American society.

West also discussed the "white supremacist perennial assault on black beauty." He said blacks are made to feel they have undesirable bodies: thick lips, the wrong hair texture, and the wrong skin pigmentation. West said this vilification of the black body makes racism "visceral, not simply a matter of ideas and ideologies. It is felt at the deepest levels of one's being, if one is living in a culture and civilization in which your very body and bodily parts are degraded and devalued."

West said no discussion of blackness could be complete without discussing whiteness because it is through white America's perceptions of what it means to be white that the social construct of blackness is defined.

"When we talk about race, we can not talk about blackness without talking about whiteness– both are constructs. One has to become white. The Irish didn't know they were in solidarity with the British until they arrived in the states. They had survived over 500 years of vicious British colonialism perpetrated against Irish brothers and sisters, but they decided they had more in common (with the British) when they saw people of African decent in the U. S. A. Similarly, so did the Sicilian peasants in the Southern part of Italy, who had lived lives of degradation and exploitation vis-a-vis the North. They were first and foremost Sicilian, but they were told at Ellis Island: 'no you are white now'," West said.

West said slavery and the subsequent "institutional terrorism" of Jim Crow laws systematically stripped blacks of their ties to the past and their right to lay a blueprint for posterity. He said this emotional and cultural larceny has left blacks a "dangling, rootless" people. West called this phenomena "the problem of namelessness and invisibility."

"What does it mean to be nameless? To be caught in a situation in which distant from one's history, one's hope is called into question and one's sanity is permanently unsettled. I believe in the fact that black rage and black madness, linked to black spiritual health and mental health, is a fundamental theme for black folk," West said.

West's speech was part of the Tenneco Distinguished Lectuer Series.






By Suzie Tyson

News Reporter

Once again, University of Houston's School of Theater is dazzling young audiences with its Children's Theater Festival productions.

The summer season is underway, and the CTF is offering parents an opportunity to get the kids out of the house and into the theater with plenty of enthusiasm.

The Children's Festival Theater is in its 18th season at UH. Director of UH's School of Theater, Sidney Berger, Ph.D., is one of the co-founders of the CTF. He started the production because of his desire to fulfill the theatrical needs of young children.

"I have always thought children's theater to be a stepchild in this country," Berger said.

"I thought the dramatic literature for children was awful and not at all well written." He also said he is dedicated to cultivating the next generation of theater goers, so he enlisted the aid of several well known writers.

He has had plays written by such writers as Charles Strauss, author of <I>Bye Bye Birdie<P> and <I>Annie<P> and Ntozake Shange, known for the Broadway play <I>for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf<P>.

Houston's kids are obviously thirsty for good theater, because the performances are continuously increasing to meet the needs of the younger patrons. More than 35,000 children and their families attend the CTF productions each summer season.

Although extra shows are being added, the curtain continues to rise to nearly sold-out houses.

Families, day-care centers and church groups throughout the Houston metropolitan area are packing the campus to be entertained.

Mothers Lou Ann James and Kim Galley are excited about the festivals. They said the shows offer new adventures for their 3-year-olds Justin and Rebecca.

"We like to get them out of the house to do some different things, and this is an excellent way to do it," said James.

The CTF is not an academic show and is not open to UH students. The actors are all professionals and have to audition through open casting.

"I like performing and I'm glad to have the chance to be in a purely professional show," said Jim Parsons.

The actors come from different parts of the country and different backgrounds, but they all agree on one thing, "Children are a great audience and they're very receptive," said Dave Pantry of Jamaica.

Trisha Cox, who plays Cinderella, agrees with her castmates, "I love that the children are so absorbed in the show. They are always so thankful when you do a good job."

This summer's productions are <I>Cinderella<P>, adapted by Berger; <I>Hansel and Gretel<P>; and <I>The Pied Piper<P>. The season began June 7 and will run through August 14.






by William German

Daily Cougar Staff

Squirrels on campus may seem friendly and harmless, but Chief Nurse Jennifer Nguyen, of the UH Health Center, warns that treating them as your pet can be dangerous.

The Center treated five victims of squirrel bites from April 18-22, and Nguyen is concerned.

(The squirrels') teeth are very sharp, like the points of a knife," Nguyen said. "They may not even mean to bite students."

The wounds, which Nguyen described as "minor," were found on the thumb, index and middle fingers of the patients' hands.

Nguyen said, that the bite wounds were the result of students' trying to feed squirrels by hand rather than laying food on the ground and watching the animals eat.

"People want to feed them and try to play with them," Interim Director Gayle Prager said of the squirrels. "The best thing to do is leave them alone."

Though it sounds like a small inconvenience, Prager and Nguyen agreed that a squirrel bite can be a bit more complicated and expensive than one thinks.

The first step in the treatment procedure is to get the wound dressed, Nguyen said. After that, the patient must get a tetanus shot, followed by a visit with a physician who prescribes antibiotics to prevent infection.

All these services are available at the Health Center, but will cost students roughly $18-30, if needed. That rate is "dirt cheap" by medical standards, according to Prager.

Another problem is the potential for rabies in any animal, which requires the Health Center to report the bite to the City of Houston Health Department, Nguyen said.

However, she added that squirrels are "low-risk" for the rabies virus.

The Health Center treats any student currently enrolled at UH or visiting the campus. It is located between the Student Services Center and the A.D. Bruce Religion Center.






by Chad GoGan

Contributing Writer

The Silverdome was the place to be on Saturday. The place to be if you thrive on pressure, that is.

Playing in the first indoor game in World Cup history before 73,425 expectant onlookers, the U.S. soccer team played Switzerland to a 1-1 tie in its opening game.

It was the first time many of the U.S. players had been on the field together. It was apparent throughout the match that the U.S. team's timing was off.

On the brink of going into halftime down 1-0, the U.S. team put on its most impressive charge of the match. U.S. midfielder John Harkes was taking the ball back to the middle when he was fouled.

With less than a minute to go in the half, U.S. forward Eric Wynalda placed the penalty kick off of the cross bar and into the net.

Switzerland scored first in the 39th minute of the first half. Swiss midfielder Alain Sutter broke up the middle of the U.S. defense and was tackled from behind by U.S. midfielder Thomas Dooley.

Taking the penalty kick for the Swiss, George Bregy placed it over the outstretched hands of U.S. goalie Tony Meola.

Both teams would miss opportunities to score in the second half, leaving the final score at 1-1.

Each team received one point in its group standings. In order to reach the second round, a team must finish in the top two of its group, or be one of the top four third-place finishers in the tournament.

While a win would have practically assured a second round position for the U.S., a tie still leaves open the door.

The U.S. now faces the necessity of winning at least one of its last two first round games. This means they must defeat either Colombia or Romania.

Neither will be easy to beat. Colombia came into the World Cup as a possible favorite to win the championship.

Romania is a strong, up-and-coming team that is quite capable of upsetting the favorites. This was made very evident by their stunning 3-1, first-round thrashing of Colombia in Saturday's match at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.

In other first-round matches, defending champion Germany triumphed over Bolivia 1-0 on Friday at Chicago's Soldier Field. Also on Friday, South Korea rallied to a 2-2 tie with Spain on a last-minute goal at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas.

In perhaps the biggest upset of the Cup so far, 1990 host and 1982 champion Italy lost to Ireland 1-0 in the first round at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. on Saturday.






Jefferson places fifth in nation, leads six other Coogs in Knoxville


by Olivia Clark

Contributing Writer

Sprinter Sam Jefferson finished fifth in the 100-meter dash at the USA/Mobil Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Knoxville, Tenn., which started last Wednesday and came to an end Saturday.

Jefferson and six other Cougars had successful championship runs. It was a fitting end to their season.

Jefferson, running for the Santa Monica Track Club which includes such greats as Carl Lewis and Leroy Burrell, finished well.

A false start at the beginning of the race left him waiting in the starting blocks, he then had to come from behind and finished with a time of 10.28 seconds.

The event was won by Dennis Mitchell in 10.13 seconds, which equals Jefferson's career best.

Jefferson finished eighth in this event last year. Although troubled with illness at the beginning of the season, Jefferson won the NCAA Outdoor 100-meter Championships and is a two-time Southwest Conference 100-meter champion.

Cougar sophomore and SWC long jump champion Sheddrick Fields also competed well to finish sixth. At his first appearance in these championships, he jumped 25 feet, 11 1/2 inches against a world class field.

In the women's long jump event, Dawn Burrell finished seventh with a jump of 21 feet, 1 1/2 inches.

Burrell, who also competed in the 100-meters hurdles but failed to make the finals, will be a senior next season and play a major part in the Lady Cougars' bid for the SWC title.

Burrell's teammate Drexel Long competed in the 400-meter event. Long, the SWC champion, failed to make the final; however, ex-Cougar Michele Collins came in fifth.

Ubeja Anderson, who qualified for the 110-meter hurdles, and Vincenzo Cox also competed in these championships. They reached the preliminary rounds, but failed to reach the finals. Both are sophomores however, and have gained invaluable experience.

Senior Edwina Ammonds competed in the heptathlon event, consisting of seven different events over two days. She finished 13th.

Although the track team has lost Jefferson after four years of eligibility, the experience gained at these championships should strengthen both the men's and women's programs and lead to an exciting season in the fall.






Game 7 easier task with home-floor advantage

by Jason Paul Ramirez

Daily Cougar Staff

On the Home Front

As the final seconds ticked away at Madison Square Garden on Friday night, Houston Rockets fans couldn't have been more pleased -- or relieved.

The New York Knicks had just handed our "Clutch City Crew" a second straight defeat, 91-84, in the NBA Finals which put Houston behind for the first time in the best-of-seven series, 3-2.

But the Rockets and Knicks have come back to Houston, and the only thing wrong with that is that Spike Lee has tagged along.

But now we know that <I>if<P> the Rockets are to win their first-ever World Championship, they will do it in front of the home folks.

And rightfully so.

Houston fans haven't had a whole lot to cheer about since... well, never. This city has never won any kind of "major" championship.

I know I may have just upset a bunch of loyal old Aero fans, but so what if Gordie Howe played here. That Aero team wasn't a part of the NHL.

The 1960 Oiler team wasn't a part of the newly-merged NFL. If they were, they would have played in a Super Bowl before there was a Super Bowl.

But these Rockets are a part of the real NBA. And <I>if<P> they are to win it, it would only be fitting to do it in front of the same fans who have watched our teams try and fail for years. That way, Houston fans can say, "I was there. I know what it felt like when we won our first title. I celebrated it with them."

Had the Rockets closed out the series in New York, fans would have had to hug their waitresses, dogs or, even worse, nothing, to relish in the triumph.

Besides, it was never any fun going to the Bennigan's Tavern located on I-59 and Kirby after a Rockets' victory and not seeing Vernon Maxwell, Kenny Smith, Mario Elie or Sam Cassell to celebrate the victory with.

For years, Houston fans have waited for this moment. These next few days will be the most critical, most anticipated period in all of Houston sports history.

And whatever happens will decide whether the Houston bandwagon is to be full or empty for the duration of eternity. It will also decide if we should expect lots of traffic downtown in preparation for a victory parade in a couple of weeks.

But is this finally the team that is going to bring Houston its first championship? Or is this a town that will forever be labeled as "Choke City, Texas?"

I have always said that all it would take is one championship. Just one, even if that championship was won by the Houston caterpillar-racing team. But then, that team wouldn't be a part of a "real" league either.

But I have always felt that one title by any of the three major teams would take a lot of the pressure off everyone else.

As we all know, this city is not very good at handling pressure. Therefore, if the Rockets win the title, for example, the Astros and Oilers could perform with a "we don't have to be the first" attitude while thinking the city is devoted to only the Rockets.

It's amazing that the Rockets can still win the '94 championship despite everything that has happened in this series: Houston's shooting woes (just over 40 percent), Robert Horry's bruises and the numerous rumors revealing that Cassell may have "partied" with Madonna.

Nevertheless, Houston can still come out on top. With the final two games at the Summit, they will be favored to do so. And 18 straight home teams have prevailed in a Game 7. The last time it didn't happen, Julius Erving was still in his prime in 1982.

Hakeem Olajuwon once told me that in the playoffs, "it's important that you treat every game as your last."

Whether the Rockets treat Game 7 as such is up to them, because it will definitely be their last game.

There is no doubt, however, that Wednesday's clash could be the last game for Houston fans as well.


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