EVEN AFTER 16 YEARS MEAT LOAF IS STILL A DELICIOUS TREAT

by JoAnn Stephens

Contributing Writer

It could be said that MeatLoaf, like fine wine, is best after being aged a few years. In MeatLoaf's case it's more like 16 years.

This infamous cult artist is back on tour since his debut recording <I>Bat Out Of Hell<P> in the early seventies.

MeatLoaf's popularity seemed at an all time high as he entertained a crowd of 6,000 plus at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion last Wednesday night. The crowd, whose medium age was about 35, anticipated MeatLoaf's visit since early April when he had cancelled his concert date in Houston due to illness.

Cheap Trick opened for the "Meat" 40 minutes before the posted ticket time to a barely seated pavilion. They opened with songs off their new album <I>Waking Up With A Monster<P>. But it wasn't until the band broke into classic Cheap Trick, and concert-goers started trickling in, that things really took off. The group played about 50 minutes until they broke to make way for the headline act.

As the sun's last light dispersed, fake fog rolled over the first few seats and MeatLoaf finally came on stage to a set that look more like the dungeons of hell than a stage singing the title song off his <I>Bat Out Of Hell II: Back Into Hell<P> album.

This crowd was wild. At times MeatLoaf was barely audible, it was more like a sing-a-long than a performance when he broke into his most popular hits, "I Would Do Anything For Love" and "Two Out Of Three."

MeatLoaf's popularity might stem from the fact that he can sing it all. He went from the headbanging "Bat Out Of Hell" to the slow crooning ballad "Heaven Can't Wait."

But the highlight of his performance was the cult favorite "Paradise By The Dashboard Lights." It was his closing song and it seemed to be on the cutting edge of a theatrical performance.

This good ol' boy from Dallas stopped the concert in mid-performance to give his following a heart felt thanks of appreciation. MeatLoaf is humble about his popularity after two decades of seclusion.

It is no wonder that MeatLoaf has such a loyal following and can rise back to the top after his 16-year absence. He has what few rock artists have, a refined singing voice and the knack for dramatic musical performances.

 

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BAYLOR TAKING PART IN STUDY FOR CONTRACEPTIVE

by Rebecca Becerra

Contributing Writer

The Baylor College of Medicine has been chosen to take part in the United States' first study of the Organon one-rod contraceptive implant.

The contraceptive is similar to the Norplant contraceptive. Evident by its name, the one-rod implant contains only one rod, unlike the six rods found in the Norplant and is effective for two years.

Embattled Norplant manufacturers will be sued by a group of female complainants who allege complications resulted during removal procedures or arose while patients had the implants. Many women, like those who received silicone breast implants, also complain of averse reactions and side effects.

The implant, like the Norplant, contains only the male hormone progesterone. This means little or none of the side effects which are usually caused by the hormone estrogen are present.

Dr. Alfred Poindexter, a graduate of Meharry Medical School in Nashville, Tennessee, is the principal investigator for the study. Certified by the Board of Endocrymology and Fertility, Poindexter was chosen to participate in the study by Organon, creator of the one-rod implant.

Poindexter will be involved in studying the effects of the implant on healthy, sexually active women between the ages of 18-40.

Women interested in the implant will go for an initial visit to review information on the contraceptive, participate in a complete physical examination and lab studies and sign a consent form if approved to be a part of the study.

Women approved for participation will have the one-rod contraceptive implanted on the first day of their five-day menstrual cycle. After the initial implant, participants will be monitored every three months for two years and asked to keep a diary of any side effects and/or bleeding patterns caused by the contraceptive.

Alice Harmon, RNC at the Baylor Population Program, said it is normal for women to have no menstrual cycle while the contraceptive is in place. "The bleeding patterns that the implant will cause vary with the woman. Some will have no menstrual cycle, others will and many women will have spotting occur," Harmon said.

Little to no side effects are expected by the implant. "This is not a new drug, just a new delivery," Harmon said.

TheBaylor College of Medicine was originally contracted to take 25 women for the two-year study. The overwhelming response by Houston-area women may cause that number to increase due to the low response in other testing areas.

Compensation for participation is $155 disbursed in increments over the two-year period of the study.

After the initial study at Baylor College of Medicine, it is likely other studies on the one-rod contraceptive will occur, placing the possibility for public availability several years down the road.

 

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ECK SOCIETY SAYS DREAM ON

by Marlene Yarborough

Contributing Writer

Overcoming fear through soul travel was the topic at a book discussion hosted by the Texas Satsang Society recently on the University of Houston campus.

The discussion was devoted to covering Harold Klemp's book, <I>The Dream Master<P>. Topics discussed pertained to dreams, soul travel and reincarnation.

TSS is a chartered affiliate of ECKANKAR, the religion of the light and sound of God. Klemp is the living ECK Master. Referred to by members of this religion as Sir Harold Klemp, he is the spiritual leader of the ECKANKAR religion.

Bob Hayes, a teacher of the religion, and Marcela Rosemblun, an ECK student, organized the meeting. Hayes, dressed in a blue sweatshirt and jeans, gave a brief explanation of the ECKANKAR religion. ECK denotes the Holy Spirit and ECKANKAR is the pathway to the Holy Spirit.

Dreams tell people things about their lives, Hayes said. He said people need to find the energy to face their fears so they can begin to deal with them. "A lot of dreams come out of our past lives," Hayes said.

Audience members randomly shared their dreams and their personal analysis of them. Each participant then shared how their interpretation helped them in areas of their lives.

People were asked to participate in an exercise, which began by humming HU. "HU is a love song to God," said Hayes.

Hayes began a narrative as he sat at the front of the room. He looked out at the group from behind his lightly-tinted, metal-rimmed glasses. He spoke in a quiet voice, asking the audience to envision a stream on a sunny day. Among the birds beside the stream, there is a spiritual master, he said.

Next, individuals were asked to enter the green-colored stream that had a small whirlpool. Participants were asked to release their physical problems into the stream. As they did, Hayes described the stream turning pink.

Then emotional fears were to be released. The whirlpool increased in speed in this vivid narrative and the waters became copper tinted. Hayes asked people to let go of their painful memories of the past and allow them to flow down the stream. As the river turned blue, mental clarity was to come to all who participated.

Hayes described the exercise as purifying, claiming that purple waters purify the subconscious. As the waters turn golden, it is at that moment souls are a true spark of God, said Hayes.

The soul travel was ended by asking session attendees to return to the physical world. Rosemblun recommended participants try this at home before going to sleep.

The exercise briefly touched on each of the seven levels upon which the religion is based. According to ECKANKAR beliefs, there are five material planes and two spiritual planes.

Rosemblun said, "The material planes are the way God manifests in the physical world. We have a physical body but we are not only a physical body."

Hayes said, "It is in these worlds that you take the journey from self to God-realization." These seven levels are the initiation process into the ECKANKAR religion.

Material planes progress from the physical body plane. Each plane is associated with a color, the physical being green. The astral plane is the emotional plane, which is pink in hue. Next is the orange, causal, or memory plane. Hayes said this plane is where the seeds of all past lifes lie.

The mental blue plane is in control of the mind. "This is where Einstein went for his formulas," said Hayes. The final material plane is the etheric. This is a purple plane of the subconscious.

The soul plane is the first of the two spiritual planes. It is a yellow plane where people originally come from, Hayes said. Finally, the top white plane is the pure positive world of spirit. Hayes said it is at this level that the soul has the ability to come and go on any plane it pleases.

Hayes said once a person has completed all planes, they have finished the ECKANKAR process. He said most members choose to remain in the religion to help others find their way.

 

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FIVE DAY WORK WEEK MAY CHANGE

by Erika Schiche

Daily Cougar Staff

The five-day work week could be altered for University of Houston staff and others if the results of a soon-to-be-released survey indicate proactive measures need to be taken to solve the pollution problem.

Houston is ranked second to Los Angeles, which has had an exacerbated problem with smog and like Houston has an environment plagued by excessive automobile emissions.

The average passenger occupancy during peak traffic periods, from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., is 1.17 per vehicle. Harris County officials have the responsibility to improve that figure by 25 percent to 1.47 occupants per vehicle.

A reduction in the number of automobiles scooting along the highways could lessen the impact of emissions.

UH Director of Parking and Transportation Gerald Hagan said several measures could be implemented within the next two years to help alleviate the situation that threatens to further harm the atmosphere.

Results of a survey recently conducted by the department to ascertain the needs and concerns of faculty and staff members with regard to commuting and environmental issues have not been made public.

Nevertheless, Hagan said the fact that 94 percent of the 5,500-member non-student UH community responded to the survey is an indicator people have concerns about the situation.

"We'd like to focus attention on the reduction of auto emissions," Hagan said.

The Clean Air Act of 1990 mandates the institution of proactive measures to solve the problem of pervasive fuel emissions.

The Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission advocates an alternative known as telecommuting. This alternative to commuting five days a week entails home-based work situations and communication for work purposes via the information superhighway.

Hagan said many employees could potentially save an entire trip to the office by linking up to the main office via computers. Such a measure would apply to those who write reports, conduct analysis or do accounting or administrative work.

Another fuel-emission-reduction mandate that could be implemented would involve a compressed work week. Such a preventive measure could mean the elimination of one workday per period, whether the base time span be one week or one month .

Hagan said employees could be required to work 10 hours per day, four days a week and be permitted to take the fifth day off. Or employees could work 80 hours in nine days, taking a day off every other week.

Hagan said parking incentives and price incentives could also be utilized to encourage commuters affiliated with the university to carpool or take advantage of what he hopes will be an eventually improved public mass transit system.

He said the dearth of direct bus routes and park and ride routes is one problem that should be resolved.

"The big problem is everything is geared to downtown or the Medical Center," Hagan said, reiterating his point that an egregiously small number of bus lines connect commuters with the outlying suburban areas on a frequent, consistent basis.

He says the department will begin advocating carpooling and van-pooling within the next fiscal year.

The commuters who travel in groups would also have access to the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes, which have a much lower rate of fatal and non-fatal accidents, and facilitate negotiating highway lanes. Although the CAA does not apply indirectly to students, Hagan said any measure implemented for the faculty and staff would be a likely optional measure for the students.

He suggests an educational awareness program would be an effective way of curtailing the fuel-emission problem. A reduction in the number of vehicles equals a reduction in the amount of fuel emissions.

Compressed natural gas, propane and electric vehicles are considered acceptable, whereas such dangerous agents of pollution as fuel combustion and gasoline emission are deemed unacceptable.

Methanol, which is produced from grain materials, is not categorized as a completely alternative fuel.

UH will have to comply with the standards set by the Clean Air Act. Faculty and staff members may opt for the four-day (10 hours per day) work week, which could eventually result in classes being conducted four days a week.

 

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DANCERS BARELY GET BY

by Jenalia Moreno

Daily Cougar Staff

The emcee announces your name and hundreds of voices scream over the blaring music. You saunter onto the stage and seductively dance as you undress until you are wearing only a g-string. The crowd goes ecstatic. You are their fantasy.

They stuff money into your g-string. They hug you, dance with you or ask for a table dance but that is usually all they want. Male strip dancing comes with no strings attached. Women come to La Bare at 6447 Richmond to see attractive men dance, but they don't touch.

"Sex in the '90s is a whole different thing. Watching is safe," La Bare dancer Don "Don Juan" Schwarz said. "In the day and age we live in casual sex is stupid."

Women go to La Bare because they can relax and not worry about their husbands or boyfriends watching them while they tip the dancers. Men are only allowed into the club on New Year's Eve, if they are escorted by a woman.

"A lot of women are apprehensive about coming in," Eric Capistran, La Bare head waiter and UH junior said. "A lot of women come in for the atmosphere, so they won't get pestered around town and so they won't get hit on."

Capistran tried dancing at La Bare and said it was not for him.

"I think I just applied here because I didn't know if I had what it took to work at La Bare," Capistran, whose girlfriend at the time was a topless dancer said, "It was more of a challenge."

The club is not like a topless bar, La Bare employees said. Men wear g-strings that can be worn on the beach, thus male dancing is not a sexually oriented business, unlike topless dancing.

"I think the difference is that when women come out it's much more of novelty, like bachelorette parties, special events, occasions," Schwarz said. "You hear the women screaming and laughing. I think when men go to a topless bar it's more of an obsession, to a certain extent."

There are over 160 topless bars in the Houston area, while La Bare is the only heterosexual male strip bar in Houston. Cover charge is $3 to $5 and over 700 women visit the club on a weekend evening. Women must be 18 to enter the club and La Bare manager Chris Domangue has a stack of fake identifications to prove how many teenagers cannot wait to see the La Bare dancers.

However, on weeknights, "It's like pulling teeth to get women out because you've got all these other clubs that are giving away the world," Domangue said. "If I give away the world to women all I'm doing is giving away the world."

Other clubs can afford to give women free drinks and free admissions on weeknights because men follow the women into the clubs and spend at least $30 on drinks.

"They (women) have men to buy them drinks at other clubs,"Domangue said. "Here they realize they are self supporting."

Women must buy their own drinks and pay for their admission into the club. However, the most money they spend at La Bare is on tips.

Waiters at La Bare make over $15,000 a year and dancers make between $25,000 to $80,000 a year.

"I never expected to make good money at something I had never learned how to do," Domangue, who was a La Bare dancer before he became manager, said.

When Domangue was a dancer, almost 20 years ago, dancing was much more of a novelty. Dancers did not have to be as in good a shape as they have to be now.

"If you had the guts to get up there you were going to make money," Domangue said.

Now, the men have to be tanned and in good shape.

"I would like for the ladies to come in and see something they wouldn't see at home or on the beach," Capistran said. "At the same time I have to find somebody who is a good waiter."

Because the dancers must be in good shape to make money, the drug problems that affect many topless clubs do not affect La Bare, Domangue said.

"Most of the guys are on this health kick," Domangue said. "The only drugs that occasionally come around are the steroids."

There is not a problem with prostitution at La Bare either, Domangue said.

"They (the dancers) can never live up to their (the womens') fantasy," Domangue said. "Put on a good show, that's what they came here to see."

La Bare strippers perform choreographed routines and wear the same costumes each time they perform. They are known by their costumes, such as the fireman, Mr. Rogers or the mailman.

Many of the dancers are aspiring actors, singers, dancers and models and have been dancing for several years. They are very competitive about making the most money, putting on the best show and spending the most time on stage.

"People who are here come from all over the country and some of the best male entertainers in the world are working at this club because of the competitiveness," Schwarz said. "If you are not perceived as being good at what you do then you don't make much money."

Schwarz, 32, has been dancing for almost 14 years. He had his own travelling road show for years, but said that business was not as lucrative as it used to be. He plans to dance for at least another four years.

"It's like breathing to me, going out here and dancing," Schwarz said.

The women do flirt with the dancers and waiters at La Bare, but the employees who have worked at the club for over six months know how to handle the attention.

"They put you on this pedestal they make you larger than life," Domangue said. "Once I started working here I was the same person, I was just doing a job and because of that job women just throw themselves at you."

Often the women who go to La Bare tell the dancers they are going to go home and tear their husbands clothes off.

"I hear so many (pickup lines) they just go in one ear and out the other," Schwarz said. "I'll be thinking about a ball game or something while they're tipping me half the time."

La Bare is expanding male dancing entertainment by offering a video of five dancers. The video will be shown on some cable channels and may be marketed through home shopping networks. It costs $29.95 and can be ordered at La Bare.

 

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COTTON BOWL TO FALL BY WAYSIDE IN '96

Tier I snub leaves historic SWC game looking for different participants

Cougar Sports Service

The disease which will kill the Southwest Conference in 1996 has claimed another victim: the Mobil Cotton Bowl.

Commissioners who met via conference call last Thursday to decide the three bowls which would claim Tier I status in the new bowl alliance decided on the Orange, Sugar and Fiesta bowls.

After the '95 season, these bowls will rotate the privilege of choosing the top two available teams to play each other.

Available teams would come from the Atlantic Coast, Big East, Big Twelve and Southeastern conferences, as well as Notre Dame and other at-large teams. In '95, the SWC and Big Eight will be among the Tier I conferences.

The Rose Bowl will continue to feature the Big Ten and Pac-10.

The Cotton Bowl now falls to Tier II status with numerous other bowls. The next vote on the Tier I alliance will take place in 1999.

However, the commissioners can exercise an option that would leave the current alliance in place until 2001.

Speculation on the future of the bowl coming into Thursday's vote lay in a potential sharing of a Tier I spot by the Cotton and Fiesta.

That scenario did not occur, reportedly due to the cold weather Dallas normally experiences in late December and early January, when the bowl alliance would take place.

The Fiesta is held in arid Tempe, Ariz. in direct contrast to the Cotton, which is held in Fair Park at Dallas, which has no protection against the weather.

Cotton Bowl commissioners had considered moving the game to partially-covered Texas Stadium in Irving. The proposed move died on the table.

So far, talk of future Cotton participants has been limited to Big Twelve teams. The Big Twelve, currently known as the Big Eight, will expand in 1996 into two divisions with the arrival of four current SWC teams.

The breakup of the SWC, with Texas A&M, Texas, Baylor and Texas Tech moving to the Big 12 in '96, means the Cotton will no longer be able to rely on the SWC champion's participation.

The Cotton is reportedly a candidate to host a game between the two divisional champions or simply a Big Twelve team against another major conference opponent.

Big Twelve athletic directors have said they desire a playoff game in Texas. The Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, an indoor game, is thought to be another possibility for Big Twelve postseason play.

The Cotton Bowl has been affiliated with the SWC since 1941. It was started in 1937 by Dallas oilman J. Curtis Sanford.

In 1988, the Cotton became affiliated with the Mobil Corporation in a long-term sponsorship agreement, making it known as the Mobil Cotton Bowl Classic. The agreement gives the bowl $1.3 million a year through 2000.

However, Mobil has an escape clause in its contract which is contingent on the Cotton no longer being a "major" bowl.

CBS will televise the Orange and Fiesta bowls after next year's games, which will be on NBC. After losing NFL television rights to Fox, CBS will now have the national championship game in college football two out of every three years starting in '96.

The Sugar Bowl will continue to be televised on ABC.

The average payout per Tier I team per year will reportedly be $8.5 million.

 

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RECRUIT TO TRY, TRY AGAIN ON ACTs

Cougar Sports Service

UH basketball recruit Adrian Taylor will not attend junior college or community college in the upcoming fall semester, head coach Alvin Brooks said recently.

Taylor, a 7-2, 320-pound center from Washington, was unable to meet NCAA requirements on his ACT exam in June. He will continue to take the exam, hoping to pass and become eligible for the spring semester.

January is the earliest Taylor could enroll for classes.

Drabek, Hendricks at Bookstop

Former UH and current Houston Astros pitcher Doug Drabek will be at the Bookstop on Shepherd and Alabama with agent and author Randy Hendricks at noon Tuesday.

Drabek and Hendricks will sign copies of Hendricks' new book <I>Inside the Strike Zone<P>.

Drabek pitched at UH from 1981-83. He holds the school record for career victories with 27.

Noble fills out coaching staff

Head baseball coach Rayner Noble has announced the hiring of Tim Peters as assistant coach.

Peters, an all-Southwest Conference selection as a pitcher at Arkansas, will assist with the pitching staff.

"He'll handle the pitching duties, which will leave me free to concentrate on hitting and defense and other duties," Noble said.

Peters coached at Texarkana Junior College last year.

Smith not likely to make Oilers

Former Cougar Sherman Smith is not being given much chance to make the cut after being invited to training camp as a free agent by the Houston Oilers.

Smith broke his thumb in the first week of practice, putting him out of action. Reports say he will have to try to make the practice squad.

 

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BREAM, VERES, MOUTON MAKING DOME HOME

Strike won't take away three newest Astros' contributions to great season

by Adam King

Contributing Writer

As Sid Bream, Dave Veres and James Mouton will tell you, all first-time Astros are not alike. In fact, the only similarity might be the color of their uniforms.

Bream, 34, is a grizzled free agent veteran who left behind two World Series trips with the Atlanta Braves to find a starting spot at first base with another team. Nobody bit, so he's been relegated to Jeff Bagwell's backup and pinch hitter duty, which he has done admirably.

His .344 batting average in 61 trips to the plate has shown he is valuable off the bench, though he is currently on the disabled list.

But the transition has been hard to accept. He went from a hero--he scored the winning run on a close play at the plate in Game 7 of the 1992 National League Championship Series on Francisco Cabrera's two-run, two-out single--to an expendable asset when the Braves acquired Fred McGriff from San Diego in 1993.

"It's tough going from starter to scab," said Bream, who is playing in his tenth season. "It's a tough transition and it's something you've got to live with.

"I try to have as much fun as I can but as (Astros outfielder Kevin Bass says, 'You can't have fun when you're not playing'."

Bream is a fighter, though. He refuses to quit until he truly believes he doesn't have any more opportunities to reach a World Series, provided his body holds up.

"When you're the old man in the group and you see all these younger people around, you start to notice gray hairs on top of your head and feel your body every day," he said. "I've been to the World Series twice and still haven't won. I'd like to win it sometime.

"It's hard to think about it once your career starts to fade out."

The Astros are Bream's fourth team after stints with Los Angeles (1983-5), Pittsburgh ('85-'90) and Atlanta ('91-'93). Injuries in 1989 and '91 limited his playing time and despite four trips to the NLCS, Bream said it could have been better.

"I don't feel I've had the one great year Sid Bream could have," he said. "I know I'm better than what I've been. Don't get me wrong. Tomorrow I'll be back in here (the clubhouse) enjoying myself and things will be rosy."

Eventually the screen will fade to black.

"An old friend of mine said, 'When the game ceases to be fun, stop playing it.' I know it's coming to that point."

The fun has just begun for Veres.

He is a rookie reliever on a magic carpet ride, who spent eight uncertain years in the minors before his promotion from the Class AAA Tuscon Toros. At age 27, it came none too soon.

"I was telling my wife before I was called up that it's everybody's dream to play in the big leagues, but I never thought I'd get the chance," Veres said. "I always thought I could pitch here. I feel like I'm 23 again. I wish I was."

He might never have made it to the professional level if Brian Williams hadn't struggled this season. Veres' contract was purchased by the club on May 9 when Williams was sent to Tuscon that same day to regain his 1993 form.

"You don't wish for someone to get hurt or do bad, but that's what it took for me to get out here," Veres said. "I remember one day in the outfield during practice, (Astros manger Terry) Collins was saying he'd still like to have (former Astro turned San Francisco Giant) Mark Portugal, but I was kind of glad he wasn't here because I wouldn't be here if he was.

You don't make the Astros' roster by mere luck of the draw, though, The righthander from Gresham, Ore., has posted a respectable 3-3 record with a 2.19 ERA, and he earned his first save as a pro Saturday night in an 8-7 victory over San Francisco when he collected all three outs in the ninth.

He first caught Collins' eye at Tuscon where he struck out 19 batters in 24 innings.

"He's done a great job," said Collins, a rookie manager himself. "He moves up to the major leagues and throws strikes."

Inducing strikeouts is the only goal Veres hopes to accomplish in the short or long term. The more consistent he is with strikes, the longer his dream career continues.

"Getting here was my biggest accomplishment," he said. "Knock on wood, I've never been on the DL (disabled list). I just want to throw strikes. I'm not overpowering. I can't get any batter with a two-out fastball down the middle. At least I know I can throw strikes and handle the pressure.

"I'm pretty proud of the way I've been pitching. I haven't buckled."

What concerns Veres (pronounced "veers") most is that the imminent players' strike will bring the walls of his golden experience crashing down.

"I'd be real disappointed because it's my first year up and because I wouldn't get paid," he said. "But aside from that, it could hurt baseball. There's some universal records that could be broken. (Seattle's Ken) Griffey Jr. or (the Giants' Matt) Williams could hit 60 or more home runs. Jeff Bagwell could win the triple crown."

And Veres could earn his spot on the roster for another year if he had more time. The strike is set to begin Friday and there seems to be little hope of the owners and players reaching a compromise.

With the Astros entrenched in a first-place battle with the Cincinnati Reds, a run at the World Series is a strong possibility. But only if the Astros can catch the Reds for first or the Braves for the wild card spot in four days, provided the season resumes in time for the playoffs.

Walkout or no, Veres intends to enjoy every day as a professional.

"Why should I worry when I have no control. I can't worry what's going to happen next year or next week. I try not to think about it."

Unfortunately, Mouton has had a lot of time to think lately.

He started well enough with a superb offensive game in his debut, but things quickly soured. Mouton said he tried to do too much in his eagerness to dominate and it cost him the lead-off spot in the batting order and a starting role.

"This year I came in with a desire to contribute more than I had to," he said. "The first half (as a rookie), you don't want to start at all, ever. You don't just come up and manhandle pitchers."

Still, it's no surprise that he was in the opening lineup.

Mouton, 25, ascended quickly through the minors in three seasons and had nothing left to prove after only his first year at Tuscon. He plowed through AAA in 1993 with a .315 batting average and led the Pacific Coast League in hits (172), runs (126), doubles (42) and at-bats (546).

He impressed Collins by moving back to the outfield during spring training from his second base position, where the Astros' brain trust had formerly decided he should play.

Now some five months and a mid-season's worth of experience later, Mouton shakes his head in bewilderment over his career turns. However, he is confident he will be needed by the Astros for years to come.

"I think I've got the knowledge and experience to come out and make an impression the rest of the season," he said. "I look to all these cats. The veterans -- (Craig) Biggio, (Steve) Finley -- they've seen it at its best and its worst.

"You're expected to learn what people are trying to do to you (at the plate) and figure out how to adjust. It's all a chess game."

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CALI'S MISS ALANS DON'T MAKE TOO MANY MISTAKES

by Tom Turner

Daily Cougar Staff

"A maelstrom of slithery vocals, spiraling guitars, graceful rhythms and intriguing lyrics." With a description such as this, The Miss Alans have caught the attention of many music followers across the country. The Zoo recording artists have just released their major label debut, <I>Blusher<P>.

The California based group has been viewed as a "cross between the Pixies and the Velvet Underground." The Miss Alans "pop-rock" style tends to stray from many of the more common bands on today's musical chopping block. They maintain a "pop-rock" sound without moving towards lyrically impaired songs.

The 14 tracks on <I>Blusher<P> travel from flowing, light rhythms to original, solid rock. Nearly all of the tracks included on <I>Blusher<P> have a particular quality that displays the fairly good overall sense of originality that the band possesses. A few of the songs that tend to stand out include "State Of Grace," "Vapor Black Cherry," "Half A Child" and "Eldorado."

The Miss Alans are lead by Scott Oliver, on rhythm guitar and vocals. Backing up Oliver are Manny Diez on guitars, Jay Fung playing bass and Ron Woods on drums. Oliver stated that the album has "a moody undertone to the music, but there's a sort of prettiness to it as well."

The Miss Alans also have two previous releases entitled <I>Smack The Horse<P> and <I>All Hail Discordia<P>. <I>Blusher<P>, produced by Tracy Chisholm (Belly), is yet another step forward for the quartet.

With <I>Blusher<P>, The Miss Alans have a good deal of potential with its unique approach to "pop-rock" music.

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