FRESHMEN GET NOD

Burton, Shaw, Fricke find spots at top of depth chart due to solid skills

by Hiren Patel

Daily Cougar Staff

Traditionally, only those football players who have outstanding skills as they enter their collegiate careers start the first game of the season.

This year's football team has three such players in Ryan Burton, Ben Fricke and Chad Shaw.

Burton, a freshman running back, had suffered a sprained right foot at the end of summer practice.

However, head coach Kim Helton said Burton was in good playing condition to participate in the Cougars' season opener against the Kansas Jayhawks tonight at the Astrodome.

Helton was unsure of whether Burton will start or come off the bench, but he said Burton can expect to see a lot of playing time against Kansas regardless.

During summer practice, Burton spent as much time in the backfield as any Cougar running back, rushing for 1,405 yards during his senior season at Berkner High in Richardson.

Fricke, a freshman center out of Austin Anderson, was penciled in as a starter until he suffered a bruised Achilles tendon. He will not be able to play tonight, and his status for next Saturday is unclear.

Senior Jack Hansen will replace Fricke as the starting center. Hansen, a transfer from Chaffey Community College in 1993, was the starting center until bumped to left guard by Fricke Aug. 19.

"I think we will be a lot better," Hansen said about the team. "We're more confident because we had practice in spring and fall to learn the offense and defense.

"I feel good and confident," he added. "I have the pre-game jitters, just the normal thing."

After missing his senior year at Fort Worth Haltom because of injury, Shaw is starting the game at the weakside linebacker position. During his junior year of high school football, Shaw made 112 tackles.

"It makes me feel good to be playing," Shaw said about starting. "It's good to know that the coaches have enough confidence in me to let me be a starter.

"I don't feel different than the rest of the guys here because I want to win like the rest of the team."

Although freshman running back Jay McGuire is not a starter, he could see considerable playing time as a reserve. McGuire starts his college career after rushing for 1,973 yards and 16 touchdowns at Silsbee High School.
 
 

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FACULTY SENATE REBUKES PICKERING

By Bobby Summers

Daily Cougar Staff

The Faculty Senate voted 30-4 on a resolution condemning the controversial dismissal of former College of Social Sciences Dean Harrell Rodgers and demanding his reinstatement.

UH President James Pickering said Rodgers was not "reappointed" because he was not a team player. Many professors claim he was "fired" because his views strongly opposed those of the president.

The resolution was introduced by Senator Robert Palmer, professor of history, at the request of 72 of the 102 members of the social sciences faculty.

Palmer, quoting a request from the social sciences faculty, said the resolution was the result of "a dismissal that violates the principles of shared government and due process."

Palmer suggested the move to dismiss Rodgers was a public relations move on the part of Pickering, rather than a move to improve the department. He also questioned the manner and timing of the action.

"The administration, in this instance, attempted to avoid accountability by having the outgoing provost fire Rodgers on the final day of the acting provost's term," Palmer said.

"A decent administration would not have made such a controversial decision during the summer and at the end of the provost's term, nor would they have tried to cover it up with the goodwill accompanying a new provost.

"The style of management advocated by this administration is one we should oppose at every step," Palmer added.

"Good decisions should be applauded, and I will so do. But attacks on people who have criticized the system and found fault with the administration and who have been strong advocates of quality within the system cannot be allowed to pass."

Palmer compared the appointment of a new social sciences dean without a formal search to last year's appointment of Pickering, saying the university has "embarked on a totally repugnant administrative practice." He said the lack of formal searches for these positions had the effect of discriminating against ethnic minorities and women, who might be interested in applying for the position.

Also speaking in favor of the resolution was Senator Kent Tedin, professor of political science, who pointed out that the dismissal of Rodgers was a departure from tradition and the bylaws of the school.

"The tradition at this university and at the college is that the term runs for five years. Our own bylaws say the term is for five years," Tedin said. "Rather than letting Rodgers fill out the last year of his term, allowing the normal process of setting up a search committee to take place, lo and behold, six weeks before school starts, he is told he is out."

Both Palmer and Tedin expressed confidence in the new dean, psychology Professor Richard Rozelle, but felt that it was incumbent on the Faculty Senate to take a strong stand in this situation.

Some senators said it was well within Pickering's rights to make administrative changes as he sees fit. Other senators said they didn't have enough information to make a decision at this time.

After a small amendment was made to the wording of the resolution, Faculty Senate President Ernst Leiss called for a vote.

Pickering, contacted late Wednesday afternoon, said the Faculty Senate was free to debate and pass resolutions as they please. He declined to comment on the criticisms leveled at him by Rodgers.

In other business, the Senate heard from Assistant Dean of Students Edgar Berry, who discussed the university's Excel program, which includes four mentor programs and two college networking programs. Berry encouraged members of the Senate to find out more about Excel and to participate in the program.

The senate also heard from Parking and Transportation Director Gerald Hagan. Recent changes in state-mandated rules governing employee transportation methods were presented. Hagan is responsible for implementing a plan, including carpooling and van pooling, which will reduce the number of vehicles coming to the campus each day.
 
 

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UH FACULTY COALITION NOT GIVEN POSITIVE OUTLOOK AS LEGISLATIVE FUNDING BATTLE HEATS UP IN AUSTIN

by Tanya Eiserer

Daily Cougar

Richard Murray, one of UH's most renowned political scientists, said the university needs to engage in a "full-court press" to keep state funding at its present level.

UH lost $8.5 million in state funds in the last biennium, and UH advocates worry the university may take an even bigger loss in the next session.

State Rep. Talmadge Heflin, R-Houston, who sits on the Appropriations Committee, predicted UH was in for a bitter fight to maintain even level funding.

In June, Murray appeared before the Board of Regents with three other representatives from the Coalition for Excellence to present his game plan.

Coalition members, who are angered with UH's supposed failure to garner enough state funds have chosen Murray, who specializes in Texas politics, to speak for them on the issue.

Murray's plan focuses on pressing for permanent formula adjustments because the formulas tend to short UH.

Texas is a formula-driven state, which means funding levels are determined based on the number of per-semester credit hours.

"We brought it on ourselves ­ to say that the state whacked us is wrong. Our loss is enrollment-related," said Skip Szilagyi, vice president for planning.

If the enrollment goes down, then it follows that funding goes down, Szilagyi added.

"In 35 years of formula funding, the formulas have never been fully funded," he said.

"You can talk about legislative efforts all you want, but as long as Texas is formula-driven, you get money from student credit hours," Szilagyi said.

UH President James H. Pickering echoed Szilagyi's sentiments that the main problem is declining enrollments and the Legislature's refusal to fund formulas fully.

Murray and coalition leaders see the formula itself as the main problem. Coalition members contend that UH leaders neglect the political realities that budgets and formulas can be changed.

Murray said the formula penalizes UH because the university has significantly more seniors than freshman, yet UT and A&M have opposite student populations.

"It costs a good deal more to educate junior-seniors than freshman- seniors," he said.

It is less costly to educate freshmen and sophomores because of larger classes, which can serve more students, and teachers' assistants, who receive less pay.

In addition, UH students tend to be older and part-time, which means they do not take as many credit hours.

Szilagyi also pointed out that $6.6 million of the losses was enrollment-related, $1.7 million was due to Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board changes in the formula and $900,000 was due to doctoral cap reductions.

The state Legislature puts a 130-hour cap on doctoral students after which the university is denied money for that student.

Kent Tedin, political science chairman and coalition leader, views the UH advocacy process as fundamentally flawed.

State Rep. Debra Danburg, D-Houston, a UH graduate, disagreed, saying, "UH does an excellent job of explaining itself. I don't think that a magic bullet will solve the problem."

She added that spending money to lobby the Legislative Budget Board and the Appropriations Committee is not the answer.

"When we lobby the Legislature, only a few are UH alumni. We can't do it the same way as UT and A&M and I would not recommend it," Danburg said.

Murray proposes UH hire some big-time lobbyists to work to sell the university to legislators.

"It's a well-known pattern ­ that is how lobbying works in Austin," he said.

He wants to create a "Friends of the University of Houston" to raise private funding to employ this professional lobbying team.

The city of Houston spends $260,000 for its lobbying team, headed by Stan Schleuter, former chair of House Appropriations.

This team was able to get a change in the transportation formula so the city received $85 million in additional funds.

Another main plank includes bringing out the big guns like UH Regent John Moore to fund-raise for politicians and at the same time gain friends for the university.

"Legislators do not see much reward for supporting the university. The university is not disliked, but it is not a high priority," Murray said.

Szilagyi points out that several state legislators turned out to attend the first round in the state funding process. If UH is not a high priority, then they would not have been there, he added.

Murray also said Houston provides the biggest source of statewide campaign financing, but that UH has not mobilized those community resources behind the university.

Many UH alumni, business and community leaders do not see any benefits careerwise in supporting UH, he added.

Murray also complains that UH is hindered in that everything goes through the UH System.

"The System does not have any grass roots ­ no faculty, no alumni and no students," he said.

Murray pointed out that Houston Mayor Bob Lanier said no one from UH ever contacted him to assist the university during the 1992-1993 funding battles.

Grover Campbell, UH vice chancellor for governmental relations, can't possibly reach 181 house and senate members, Murray added.

Campbell disagreed with Murray, saying UH's efforts in Austin have been worthwhile.

We have done better than UT and A&M in special line-item funding," Campbell said.

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UH LOBBIES LEGE FOR PARITY IN FUNDING

by Tanya Eiserer

Daily Cougar Staff

Houston's legislative muscle came out in full force Wednesday to support UH's and her sister schools' battle to obtain level or increased funding in the next biennium.

At the first round of hearings on their Legislative Appropriation Requests, UH Chancellor Alexander Schilt and the four UH System university presidents presented their reports.

The hearing board is composed of members from the Legislative Budget Board and the Governor's Office.

"Education is the highest and best goal. UH is penalized by formula funding in ways that we should be rewarded," said state representative Debra Danburg, D-Houston, an outspoken UH graduate.

Formula funding is determined by the number of credit hours taken rather than the amount of students enrolled.

Danburg said UH students are typically older, married, working and upperclassmen. Because of these factors, UH students are typically part-time and take fewer hours.

Funding formulas reward schools like UT and A&M, who have high percentages of full-time freshman and sophomores.

"We must as a minimum be funded at a level that is really equivalent to this year's funding. Real level funding is what we seek," Schilt said.

The Legislature appropriated $277 million for the UH System for fiscal year 1994-1995.

Schilt said this funding level required the UH System to transfer money from formula-funded money to cover the state's mandated 3 percent salary increase, $18 million in holds harmless and 3 percent in annual inflation.

A hold harmless, in effect, means the state agrees to give the institution money the state can later take back.

State Rep. Talmadge Heflin, R-Houston, who serves on the powerful Appropriations Committee, which determines funding, said UH will get hammered again in the funding battle.

"We have got to protect our interests. We wanted to let the LBB know we have an interest," Heflin said.

He said the problem arises because UT and A&M have the ear of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Pickering's address detailed the "UH story." He explained that UH is home to many research projects and centers.

Highlights included UH reaching its $60 million "benchmark" in research money," an almost five-fold increase from $13 million in 1983, and the Creative Partnerships campaign in which UH has raised $215 million of the $263 million goal.

Board members also questioned UH's success in trying to reshape the university.

Pickering said the Office of Administration and Finance had saved $1.9 million, or 7 percent, of its budget by a careful review of its functions, resource levels and activities.
 
 

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SPADE

Daily Cougar artist forges his own publishing base

pg.6 The first issue of <I>The Spade Phillips Adventure Hour<P>, created by UH anthropology senior Matt Kowalski.

pg.7cutline Barkmulch starring in a sample of Matt Kowalski's comic strip, <I>Spade Phillips, P.I.<P>, which premiered in Texas A&M University's Battalion and runs in The Daily Cougar.

by shane patrick boyle

Daily Cougar Staff

Last month, <I>Spade Phillips, P.I.<P>, leapt out of the confining panels of the Daily Cougar comics page into his own bimonthly comic book.

Creator Matt Kowalski self-publishes the adventures of the cynical, Guiness-swillin' detective and his sidekicks under the Rocketship Comics logo.

<I>The Spade Phillips Adventure Hour<P> No. 1 made its debut last month, but Kowalski explains that the character's history goes back even before his run, which began earlier this year in the Daily Cougar.

Spade first appeared in Texas A&M's newspaper, the Battalion, while Kowalski was a student there. Spade's sidekicks (Barkmulch the talking duck, Spade's unsupervised sons and others) soon followed.

"When I first started doing Spade (for the Battalion), I didn't know anything about reproduction (of comic strips) The first strip I turned in, I drew the size it would appear and did it in pencil on notebook paper and the editor said. 'You might want to ink it,' so the next one I turned in was inked with a ballpoint pen and drawn the size it would appear, and the editor called me and said, 'You know, we can reduce these and also you should ask some of the other cartoonists what kind of pen they use,' " Kowalski says.

By trial and error, Kowalski worked the bugs out of the system and carried Spade through three years of adventures.

During this stint, Spade regularly crossed paths with Tubularman, a character created by Boomer Cardinale, another A&M cartoonist.

After transferring to UH, Kowalski revived Spade to fill the vacancy created when Dalton Webb discontinued his comic strip, <I>Nattering<P>.

Within the pages of the Cougar, Kowalski brought back the traditional crossover with Tubularman, creating possibly the first inter-campus comic strip crossover.

Tubularman became such a permanent fixture in Spade's world (they frequent the same bars) that he also appears in the first issue of <I>The Spade Phillips Adventure Hour<P> and will spin off into his own bimonthly comic beginning in November by Cardinale (published by Kowalski's Rocketship Comics).

Kowalski says self-publishing a comic book requires a different approach than doing a comic strip.

"A comic strip is like a sit-com, where you set up a series of situations ending with a joke and put these together to make a story, and a comic book is more like an hour-long show," he says.

Kowalski's work also appeared in the backup section of <I>Cerebus Biweekly: Church and State<P> No. 15, but he gained most of his insight on the industry working as an intern for the Seattle-based Fantagraphics (publishers of comics, graphic novels and industry journals).

He says one of the major challenges of producing your own comic is marketing.

In order to be successful at creating and selling a comic, "you have to be an introvert and an extrovert," he says, adding, "you can't expect to make a living at it until you have a circulation of 10,000 and can go monthly (so far, he has sold half of his print-run of 3,000 copies)," and says "persistence" is the key to becoming an established publisher.

With new publishers entering the market and fairly-new publishers going out of business every month, "this is a bad time to enter comics publishing," he says, but he advises anyone who is serious about it to "do it anyway."

Kowalski says positive response has greeted the comic book thus far. The first issue merited a "hot flash" (a designation for recommended titles) in <I>Advance Comics<P>, a catalog of comics distributed by Capital City.

He says, however, that the book is catching on slower locally, but he is trying to rectify the situation by making personal visits to local shops. So far, it is only available at Phoenix Comics, Bedrock City Comics and Cards and Legends on 1960.

On Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., Kowalski will be doing a signing at Phoenix Comics (3806 S. Shepherd). The comic can be purchased at the signing.

With his newfound recognition, Kowalski joins former Daily Cougar cartoonists Travis Baker, D.T. Moore, Martin Wagner and Jzink, who have also carried their characters beyond campus comics.

<B>Art © 1993 Matt Kowalski<P>
 
 

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RAW

Vast market eats up sushi

cutline: Sushi is prepared using various species of fish, including mackerel, sea trout, and sea bream.

by Ivana Segvic

Daily Cougar Staff

Hemingway's old man was starving after being at sea for three days and nights. To save himself from starvation, he caught a fish, sprinkled salt-water on it and let it dry in the sun.

Did he know he was eating a delicacy the Japanese pay up to a few hundred dollars for to eat, or was it just raw fish to him?

Sushi, raw fish placed on top of rice, is a representative dish of Japan that has become well known all over the world. In Tokyo alone there are between 10,000 and 15,000 sushi shops. However, the unavailability of fish and materials has led to a tremendous rise in price for the dish.

One fresh tuna at the Tokyo fish market can cost thousands of dollars. The price for four servings of sushi is usually over $25; however, $100-a-person is not unusual.

The infatuation with sushi, not only in Japan, but also in other countries, deals not only with the taste, but the sight, decor and performance of the "sushi master," and even the bill.

Sushi, which originally was a way of preserving fish, is considered best when eaten before noon. A must for sushi is that it be fresh. A sushi master usually prepares the dish before the eyes of the customer and does it with such ease and so quickly that it appears to be quite easy; however, it is an involved form of art.

For this speed, sushi has been called the first fast food.

Locally, Kazy's Gourmet is a popular stop for sushi lovers. Unlike in Japan, sushi dinners in the United States range in price from $3.75 to $9 for the most expensive dish of sushi. Most dishes come with two pieces of fish, with rice on the bottom. Tuna sushi is the most popular, with Hamachi, or yellowtail, and Tai, or red snapper, ranking a close second and third.

Kazy's Gourmet owner Jeff Liao says making sushi at home is not difficult, but the price for making it usually comes to $30. Books on how to make sushi can be purchased at any bookstore; however, the materials are usually harder to find. Kazy's Gourmet not only serves sushi, but also has all of the materials and books needed to make sushi at home.

In America, sushi has become a vast market. "It is getting bigger and bigger. It is growing dramatically fast," Liao says, adding that the main reason for this trend is the small amount of calories and fat in sushi, plus its high nutrition.

"Sushi is low-fat and it tastes real good. Once you try it, you won't ever stop," he says.

Those interested in trying to taste sushi for the first time, or enjoy something other than oily hamburgers and fries (and something that is actually healthy) can go to one of several restaurants in Houston. Kazy's Gourmet, Miyako and Tokyo Gardens are only a few of the restaurants in Houston that serve sushi.
 
 

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KANSAS GOOD FIRST TEST FOR COOGS

GAME STRATEGIES MYSTERY UNTIL KICKOFF

by Jason Paul Ramirez

Daily Cougar Staff

Kansas Jayhawk head coach Glen Mason doesn't know what to expect, and Houston coach Kim Helton is not telling.

Though Kansas is a 14-point favorite over Houston in tonight's regular-season opener (7 p.m., Astrodome) for both teams, there could be a lot more surprises in store for the former rather than the latter.

"I don't really know what we're going to (see from Houston tonight)," Mason said. "They were 1-9-1 last year, but I don't think we'll see the same type of team because they've got some good players.

"You're always worried about (what you're going to see) in your first game, but more so when you're facing a team with a brand-new coach or a situation like they've had in Houston where they've tried to develop into a new (offensive) system."

The Jayhawks are coming off a 5-7 record in 1993 and a fifth-place finish in the Big Eight Conference with a 3-4 mark.

"Kansas has been one of the better offensive teams in college football over the last two or three years," Helton said. "Their guard combination will probably be in the National Football League next year, and they have an excellent tailback."

Helton spoke of perennial All-Big Eight candidates John Jones and Hessley Hempstead on the offensive front, with June Henley leading the way in the Jayhawk offensive backfield.

Henley led the conference in rushing last season with 1,127 yards on the ground, scoring 12 touchdowns. Jones and Hempsted are just two of four starters returning from an impressive offensive line.

Kansas may run often. Last season, the team averaged just over 48 rushing attempts a game as opposed to 21 passes.

Starting quarterback Asheiki Preston threw only 159 times in 11 games for 1233 yards in 93.

In summation, if Houston's defensive line is to get an early-season test this year, tonight's contest will be it.

"We can't wait to play," said junior left defensive end Otis Grant. "Kansas is a really good team, but we have a good feeling about this game."

However, while Kansas' offensive line looks fairly strong, the same cannot be said about its defensive front.

Two of the Jayhawks' starting defensive linemen for tonight's game, tackles Sylvester Wright and Darnell Britt, combined for 9 tackles last season.

That could mean immediate production for the Houston running game, which is expected to finally carry much of the 1994 Cougar offensive load after seven years of the Run-and-Shoot being used exclusively.

"We're going to try to (run on Kansas)," Helton said. "But Kansas always has enough eight-man fronts where they can make you throw anyway."

And speaking of throwing, whether the Cougars are forced to pass or opt to air the ball out to open up the running game, a talented Kansas secondary awaits any opposition.

Kansas' starting defensive backs, Tony Blevins and Gerald McBurrows, take the field tonight after a stellar 1993 campaign in which the two combined for 112 tackles, three interceptions and 12 passes defensed.

"Our team morale is very high right now," said Cougar sophomore quarterback Chuck Clements. "Everyone is ready to put last year behind them and get this year started."

Defensive back Alfred Young, fullback Tommy Guy and linebacker Tywon Guy will all miss Thursday's game while appealing NCAA suspensions.
 
 

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PRE-GAME FESTIVITIES 'RED'DY TO GO

Cougar Sports Service

The UH "See Red" campaign will be footing the bill for its first party this evening ­ a tailgate party, that is.

Section N3 of the Astrodome parking lot will become "Tailgate Alley" from 5 to 7 p.m. today to celebrate the Cougars' football season opener. Admission is free.

Featured will be Miss Texas USA, the UH Band and the Cougar Dolls.
 
 

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I.C.U. DOESN'T CUT IT

by Tom Turner

Daily Cougar Staff

Radical Records' Intensive Care Unit has released its latest album, <I>Defy<P>.

I.C.U. is touted as being a Sex Pistols for the 90s. Sounds good in a press kit, but back here in reality, I.C.U.'s <I>Defy<P> doesn't cut it.

The 14 tracks display the numerous musical styles of the group. A few of the tracks that add a few rays of hope include "HERe On IN," "Dead Wrong," "I.C.U." and "Radioactive."

The band's so-called specialty is "swirling, droning, hard-hitting pop/rock tunes with gnarly female vocals." Somehow, I don't think "gnarly" is exactly the best word choice, but in some way or another, it seems to fit.

Overall, nearly all of the tracks display some sense of originality both musically and lyrically for the group. This is not saying that it's great originality; it's just plain originality.

Throughout the course of the album, it becomes apparent that there are some tracks that just don't seem to fit in with a majority of the other songs. <I>Defy<P> appears to be an album that most will either love or hate, simply due to the distinctness of the band's music.

I.C.U. is led by the interesting, if nothing else, singing and wailing of Perry Masco. Mark Laramee, on guitar; Eunice Holland, on bass; and Danny Sykes, on drums round out the group.

The four members mesh together to produce a sound that is an odd concoction of pop, punk and rock. The overall sound of I.C.U. can fall somewhere among the ranks of bands like Siouxsie and The Banshees, Babes in Toyland and L-7. This is seemingly a group of high standing bands to be thrown amongst; unfortunately, I.C.U. is not able to match their talent.

<I>Defy<P> is at best only a decent album. There are the occasional sparks that pique interest, but this soon fades into what becomes annoying layers of vocals that end up sounding like cries for help. Along with this, the guitar frequently seems to wash over the entire sound of the rest of the band.

<I>Defy<P> is not something that I would recommend. It's hard to recommend an album that I wouldn't even spend my dough on, as the only result would be disappointment.
 
 

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NOTHING SWEET ABOUT SUGARTOOTH'S NEW RELEASE

Photo by Mark Leialoha/Geffen Records

by Tom Turner

Daily Cougar Staff

The all-too-familiar motto that new musicians can't sound too happy or be considered pop seems to be floating around the music industry lately. This is the theme to which Geffen recording artist Sugartooth attempts to cling.

It seems nearly every band trying to bust through into the "big scene" wants to pull off an image of anger along with a difference from the norm.

With the band's self-titled debut release, this is what Sugartooth attempts to prove with it's so-called self-proclaimed style of dark, heavy, hypnotic, extremely groove-oriented music.

Wow, let me be so impressed with the false image that the record company gives about the band's music.

The 13-track release is a fairly decent debut album for the group. The band works off of a guitar-driven sound with a fairly solid rhythm section. However, much of the work seems to be a reworking of what many other groups have already done long before now, leaving nothing terribly outstanding or impressive.

On this release, there are several tracks that tend to rise above the mediocrity of the other songs. "Cracks in the Pavement," "Third-Day-to-Forever," "Sheffield Milestone" and "Sound of Her Laughter" are some of the stronger tracks on the album. On the whole, this release is only an average stab at any sort of originality.

The four-member band is led by Marc Hunter, lead vocals and guitar; Timothy Gruse, guitar; Josh Blum, bass; and Joey Castillo on drums.

Sugartooth confesses that it is focused on music and not the image that is portrayed. Well, I guess statements from press releases like "I'm looking forward to being depressed about being too famous" really support this concept.

I really don't think the members of Sugartooth will have to face this dilemma any time in the near future.

This debut is a fairly decent arrangement of songs. If you have nothing better to do with a few extra bucks, pick this release up at your local used-CD store and save your nickels and dimes for something else.

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GAMERS GAMBLE THIS WEEKEND

by shane patrick boyle

Daily Cougar Staff

If you're trying to decide what to do this weekend, roll some dice.

Beginning today and ending Monday, Nan's Games and Comics Too hosts Nancon at the Ramada Hotel Northwest, 12801 Northwest Freeway.

Billed as Texas' premier gaming convention, Nancon is now in its 16th year.

Professional game designers will be there to share their insight on the industry, sign autographs and maybe even let you hang out with them.

Confirmed guests are Michael Stackpole, free-lance game designer and author of <I>Bred for Battle<P>, and Barwin Bromley, president of Mayfair Games (maker of the DC Heroes role-playing game).

If you don't have anything for them to sign, check out the dealer's room. Merchants from all over the country will be peddling games, gaming books, zines, modules, miniatures, dice, dice-carrying bags and more.

Whether you are a beginning gamer trying to figure out where to start, a veteran gamer trying to expand your hobby, or a long-time addict trying to support a habit, you'll find a dealer who can set you up.

There will be space for you to set up your own games or jump into someone else's game.

Games played will run the gamut, including fantasy, war, historical, futuristic, space, mutant and superhero games as well as various hybrids.

So while your friends spend their Labor Day weekend getting sunburned at a crowded beach, you can be storming the beach at Normandy, slaying troglodytes in a medieval dungeon, stockpiling nuclear weapons, saving Gotham City, battling Klingons in the Neutral Zone or exploring other possibilities in infinite universes without exposing your skin to harmful ultraviolet rays.

For serious role-players, there will also be sanctioned role-playing tournaments and, for those who would rather watch than participate, the convention also features a 24-hour animation-viewing room.

The convention begins at 4 p.m. today and ends Monday at 6 p.m., but attendees are not required to be there the entire time (though some Advanced Dungeons And Dragons campaigns have been known to run on much longer than four days). Four-day, nontournament passes are $25 and one-day nontournament passes range from $6 to $10 depending on what day you go. For tournament information, visit Nan's at 2011 Southwest Freeway.

Make your plans now for Nancon. Remember to bring your dice, your imagination and your credit card.
 
 

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STEREOLAB FIZZLES OUT

by Chris Stelmak

Contributing Writer

With four albums behind them and an appearance at Lollapalooza, you might expect Stereolab to have a smooth sound and a well-done album. However, their newest release, <I>Mar's Audiac Quintet<P>, the second for Elektra Records, was not that great.

At Lollapalooza, a couple of hundred people gathered around the stage during Stereolab's set. They had a great live sound that just seemed to flow out through the crowd.

<I>Mar's Audiac Quintet<P> had a slow mellow sound to it. This album was good overall if you like pop rock. The rhythm is kind of slow, yet has a good sound to it. You may notice yourself tapping your foot while listening to the album.

However, the lead singer, Laetitia Sadier, was the main drawback on the release. Her voice has an annoyingly high pitch. The album gets old quickly.

I found the first several songs to be pleasant and original. The music was good and the singing was not bad. However, it seemed that the quality of the music got worse as the album progressed. It became less original and less complicated.

Stereolab was great at Lollapalooza, so catch them in concert if you can get cheap tickets. However, I would not waste my money buying <I>Mar's Audiac Quintet<P>.
 
 

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