LIVERS EXHUME BODY

 

by Frank San Miguel

Daily Cougar Staff

Bluegrass is one of those arts lost to the popular culture, but the Bad Livers look to exhume the body – with a feisty twist.

<I>Horses in the Mines<P> is the new release from the Austin trio, a follow-up to the magnificent <I>Delusions of Banjer<P>. It's the group's fourth release and signals a new stage in the band's growth.

First, a little background on the Bad Livers for the uninitiated. While the group's base is in the underground sound – its members have worked with the Butthole Surfers, Blood Oranges and others – the music itself is a hillbillified mix of country and bluegrass. The result is an often raucous variety of tunes, ranging from sublime spirituals to punchy ditties like <I>Banjer<P>'s "Shit Creek."

It unfortunately puts the Bad Livers in a bad position. Country radio doesn't want a rootsy, but still thrashy band, and rock fans often can't deal with a group deeper than Pantera. Thus, the Bad Livers has toiled in obscurity.

For the band, <I>Horses in the Mines<P> is a return to the more traditional bluegrass sounds, not unlike one of the group's earliest tapes, <I>Dust on the Bible<P>. Songs such as "High, Lonesome, Dead and Gone" and "He Didn't Say A Word" capture the rustic swing of bluegrass, while minstrelsies like "Turpentine Willie" are groovy foot-shufflers. The Livers are still true to the game.

A reprise of mountain music doesn't mean the Bad Livers are shy about kicking out the jams though. "Where They Do Not Know My Name," the opening track on <I>Horses<P>, is a flat-out rocker any way you slice it. Danny Barnes' banjo work on this one absolutely rips up any washboard, Jew's harp and jug band ideas you might have about bluegrass.

Likewise for "Old Folk's Shuffle," which is so well-structured as a folk-bluegrass song that one would hardly be able to guess the group's punk rock roots.

In fact, the Bad Livers' chemistry makes for a great record. The primary pairing is Barnes and Mark Rubin, who has done stand up bass for the band for many years. Ralph White III is the drummer this time around, but he's toured with the group before and played at various points in time, so he's no slouch here. The vocals all-around are great north woodsy; you can feel them come through on every song like a big wind.

Another aspect of <I>Horses<P> one has to appreciate is the willingness to experiment with bluegrass and take it to the primarily alt-rock audience. "Blue Ridge Express" is most definitely country-tinged. "Shot at A Bird, Hit Me A Stump" has a hint of swing to it. The influences are so varied that one often has to pay close attention to what's coming next.

<I>Horses in the Mines<P> is a nifty record, no doubt about it. Even if country or bluegrass is not your scene, the Bad Livers is definitely the group to catch. The crew also does great bluegrass-tinged Misfits covers live, but that's another story.

 

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STATE SENATOR ADMITS UNIVERSITIES NOT ATOP LEGISLATIVE FUNDING AGENDA

by Niki Purcell

News Reporter

Higher education has to come to the realization it is not the only need in town, said state Sen. Rodney Ellis Tuesday in a discussion with students at UH.

If the state government is not going to raise taxes, Ellis said, then secondary public education, not higher education, should be the only system to receive funding benefits.

"Public education comes before higher education," he said.

He also added that formula funding penalizes UH because it is hard to justify a formula that "just goes in and deals with the problems of a university, even if it is in the largest city in the state."

Formula funding is a way of determining the least amount of funding an institution can receive from the state. The components of formula funding consist of building square footage, the number of total credit hours by discipline and level, student head counts and other factors.

Ellis said he hopes the Texas Legislature will do something to aid people attending community and junior colleges, those who do not attend college, and those who have a hard time getting out of high school.

Ellis said his School-Work Transition Program, which covers nontraditional means of education, such as working while attending school, would be most effective.

"This will give people a sense of belonging," Ellis added.

Assuming the current governor and lieutenant governor are still in office when the State Legislature goes into session, he said he believes the proposed School-Work Transition Program will receive the necessary funding needed for its implementation.

However, many students at UH work AND attend school – the main reason for the state funding debate of which Ellis is a part.

If the bill passes, UH will stand to lose $11.4 million during the 1995-1996 school year, ranking it 37th out of 37 state-supported institutions of higher education that receive funding.

As a result of last year's session, UH lost $8.5 million in funding for the biennium.

"The dedicated funds are why Texas funding is hurting now," Ellis said.

Dedicated funds consist of the money allocated for a specific purpose or project, such as state highways or the state prison system.

Ellis, a two-term member of the Texas State Finance Committee, said 45 percent of state funds are already spent by the time the Finance Committee goes to work.

"Many of the funds come directly from the Texas State Lottery Commission," said William-Paul Thomas, Ellis' chief of staff.

Ellis said the state money is put into something similar to an office petty cash pot (called state funds). From there, it is earmarked for specific purposes, like the highway system. Then the rest of the money is used for higher education, other educational needs and grants for women- and minority-owned businesses.

"I'm trying to do my best with a difficult situation," he said. "The best we can do is to work toward creating more public support for funding higher education."

The 73rd Texas Legislature session opens in January 1995 for 140 days and will be voting on the funding bill during this time.

Ellis said constituents could write to him and voice their opinions. He and his staff can be reached at 440 Louisiana, Suite 575; Houston, Texas 77002.

 

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COLLEGE COURTS POTENTIAL MATH, SCIENCE MAJORS

by Patricia Davis

News Reporter

In an effort to draw quality students to UH, the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics will continue its outreach to area high schools through its Open House program.

Today at 3 p.m. in the lobby of the Science and Research 1 building, the chemistry and physics departments, along with the Texas Center for Superconductivity and the Space Vacuum Epitaxy Center, will play host to 300 area high school students.

Department of Physics Chair James Benbrook said the Open House is about bringing students to see and hear what science is all about. He also said the open house would be a good recruiting tool for the university.

John Bear, dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, agreed, adding, "We want to establish a partnership with the high schools. We want to see more majors in the sciences."

Bear said the problem with the sciences is that there are fewer minority students and students planning to stay in America entering those fields of study.

"Our relationship with the teachers and the kids has not been good in the past, and it's haunting us now. We want to hire minority faculty, but there's none out there," Bear said.

Benbrook said that due to inadequate funding for programs and scholarships at UH, many students choose to go elsewhere.

"If you're a National Merit Scholar and score 1350 on the SAT, do you want to go to Stanford or Cal Tech on scholarship, or do you want to go to UH?" Benbrook asked.

"We're making changes, but it's a slow process,"Bear said.

UH has found one program that has enjoyed considerable success to draw and retain students in high-risk classes like physics, calculus and chemistry – those classes with an inordinate amount of D's, F's and withdrawals.

The Scholar Enrichment Program, directed by Sylvia Foster, visiting assistant professor of mathematics, is designed to help those students in high-risk classes attain success and obtain a degree.

"The program targets ethnic and minority students, especially marginal students," Foster said.

Mentors, tutorials and study skills are also addressed.

She said the program has definitely had an impact and is 90 percent effective. "Many have had a turnaround," Foster added.

This year, the program has initiated a teacher-and-curriculum aspect.

Two teachers from Jack Yates High School and one from Charles H. Milby High School will sit in and work with professors in order to hone their skills.

"This is the first year (of the program), and we are emphasizing excellence," Foster said.

Bear said university and area high schools need to form a partnership – a better relationship with both teachers and students – to improve the quality and number of students in the sciences, "so that everyone can be successful," he said.

Also on the program of events will be 1979 Nobel Prize winner in physics, Sheldon L. Glashow, who will lecture on "The International Conspiracy of Science" at 5:30 p.m. today in the UH Hilton. Glashow is a Higgins Professor of Physics and Mellon Professor of Sciences at Harvard University.

The lecture will be followed by a reception.

 

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TEXTBOOK SERVICE MIRED IN SA MUCK

by Marlene Yarborough

Daily Cougar Staff

The Students' Association has delayed implementing a textbook exchange program it approved last fall and allocated $1,000 in seed money for in February. The program could save students hundreds of dollars, supporters say.

The data base system, known as Textbook Resale Information Services or TRIS, was passed as SA Bill 30003 and was expected to start in time for the 1994 spring semester, said Justin McMurtry, a former SA senator and author of the bill. However, SA officials now state they do not have the money for the program.

The computer data base was designed as a free service for students with SA paying the bill. Eventually, it might have cost students $1 per entry, McMurtry said.

The data base was designed so people could come in and enter information for each textbook they wanted to sell, including the book's title and asking price, along with the student's name and phone number. The data base would be printed out and posted weekly around campus, McMurtry said.

TRIS would not be in violation of UH's contract with Barnes and Noble because it would not buy or sell textbooks.

"The idea came because the only buy-back available to students was at the Barnes and Noble bookstore, and they pay very little for the books and resell them at an excessively high price," McMurtry said.

"Students complained they were not getting enough money back without having to put up fliers, which can be a pain and is against regulations," he added. "TRIS seemed to be an easy and better way."

SA cannot afford to run the program, said SA President Angie Milner, and the equipment SA has is insufficient for running it properly. SA does not have a computer that is able to hold the amount of information TRIS would require.

SA Bill 30012, officially passed on Feb. 24, allocated $1,000 for the start-up of TRIS.

Milner said there was not a line item set up and that it was just proposed to be set up.

"The $1,000 was never there to allocate. It was said in the bill that we needed to run the program, but it did not say with what computers and how to pay for it," Milner said.

However, if TRIS were to fall under a line item currently in the SA budget, Milner said it would most likely be "promotions," which covers newspaper advertising as well as "cost promotions," like banners.

SA has researched other universities that already have successful similar programs. Initial start-up expenses would be approximately $800, which does not include the software and a person to run the program, Milner said.

At tonight's SA meeting, Milner said $500 will be requested for the initial startup of TRIS.

"Who was going to enter the data base information confused SA," she said. McMurtry said SA, at the time the legislation was passed, was to appoint one person to run the program.

"Around March, a woman, Catherine Trusty-Rese, called and wanted to volunteer to run TRIS. She was invited to the next Senate meeting," McMurtry said.

"She showed up with her husband and son, after driving a long distance, and SA didn't make quorum. The meeting was canceled and she never came back."

Milner added, "We will have to pay someone or have a campus member volunteer to enter the information for free. If we could find a volunteer, we would implement the program now."

SA needs volunteers to cover 20 to 30 hours per week, Milner said.

Milner said she thinks TRIS is an excellent idea, and a way the students can see SA is giving something back to them. SA plans to begin a pilot program for the spring.

"I think it's in the best interest of the student body for SA to decide one way or another if they are going to do it," McMurtry said. "If not, quit waffling and give someone else on campus a chance to run it. If so, do it now."

 

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CHAVEZ READING

Writer/actress/playwright and former UH visiting Professor Denise Chavez will read from her debut novel, <I>Face of an Angel<P>.

Chavez's previous works include <I>The Last of the Menu Girls<P> and <I>Women in the State of Grace<P>. She also recently appeared in Vanity Fair magazine. The reading is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Brazos Bookstore, located at 2421 Bissonnet. For more information, call 523-0701.

 

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WOMEN DISCOVER STRENGTH IN CYBERSPACE UNIVERSE

Part 1 of 2

by Fazia Rizvi

Contributing Writer

Cyberworld. Information underworld. Cyberspace. These are just a few of the names used to describe the Internet.

Many Internet denizens agree that the most onerous of these monikers is "information superhighway"– a buzzword that actually refers to a joint government and commercial project, but has become synonymous with the Internet itself.

To many of the "unassimilated," the Internet is either dark and mysterious or a cacophony of information that seems too vast to understand. Others are turned off by what they perceive as a highly technical and techie-oriented community.

But to one group of women, it's definitely something else entirely. They call themselves the Star Fleet Ladies Auxiliary and Embroidery/Baking Society and know the Internet as a cyber-community. They are a group of 50 women who communicate daily through an e-mail list. Unlike the usual e-mail lists on the Internet – which are simply forums for discussion on a particular topic – the SFLAaE/BS grew out of a "net pen-pal" kind of relationship among female fans of <I>Star Trek<P>.

When the circle of friends grew larger, they gave themselves the tongue-in-cheek name. A mailing list was created to make communicating easier, and new members were added until it was agreed that the list members couldn't handle much more e-mail. The average volume is about 100 messages a day.

Julie Kostaka says, "All I have to do is speak my piece, hit control-z, and suddenly I'm part of one of the longest-running slumber parties in history. That's what this is – it's an electronic slumber party that never ends."

The list is both fun and serious as the topics range from <I>Trek<P> to sex to sexism to religion. In the course of some discussions, the members have created new words like "squidge," "bloosh" and "bibbling" and have sometimes used these words outside the net group, with some humorous reactions.

One particular example is the word "bobbiting," which was used jokingly as a synonym for "some of message deleted" when replying to another person's e-mail message.

The group has been empowering for its members. A few are pursuing doctoral degrees they had not dreamed they could earn before, and at least one member was able to leave an abusive marital situation because of the generous support of her "net friends" ("Net.freinds" in Internet slang). Others have mentioned that the communicative atmosphere of the list has helped them become more outspoken and sure of themselves.

"I've learned to speak out like I could not do before," says Sienca Teng, an associate member of the group. "I can share my thoughts without 'tailoring' them to a certain audience. I can say things that I couldn't to other people. I know the ladies would understand. At the same time, I've learned a great deal about other cultures and religions that are so different from my own.

"We like each other for what we are – to hell with socio-economic status. I never have to pretend to be something I'm not around the ladies; I am always comfortable with myself and my appearance when I'm talking to them. I'm not afraid to be downright WEIRD in front of them."

Another associate member, Maria Rightly, says, "Unlike corresponding by normal mail, you get feedback from the group members much more quickly." The sent e-mail message appears in every auxiliary member's mailbox within minutes, often seconds. Responses can often be just as fast.

"This is advantageous in that if you were asking a question, you don't have to wait forever for a reply. If you really need to be cheered up and you post a message to that effect, it's often just a few minutes before a response comes back, and that can be remarkably heartening when you're down!"

The result is that sending a message can feel like a phone call that always gets picked up and never gets a busy signal. The immediacy of the messages can also have particularly amusing effects, especially when the topics turn to sex, chocolate and certain <I>Star Trek<P> characters. The subject lines of the e-mail messages could read "The latest episode on TNG," "Health Insurance" or "Mmmmmmmm."

The demographics of the SFLAaE/BS are wide-ranging. "Our group has members who are Protestant, Jewish, Wiccan, Pagan, Muslim and those who simply worship a sense of cosmic wonder. We are all abilities, all sexual orientations, all looks and sizes and races," says group member Janis Cortese.

 

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COUGARS TO BEGIN SEASON WITH TRAVEL

Cougar Sports Service

The Cougar men's and women's cross country team will open its 1994 season when it hosts the Houston Open today at 7 p.m. The meet will be held at the Texas National Golf Course in Willis.

The meet will begin when the women start their 3.1-mile race at 6 p.m. The men's five-mile race starts at 6:30 p.m. Both races will be scored individually, and there will be no team scoring.

Willis is located about one hour north of Houston. Take I-45 north and exit Seven Coves. Turn right and drive to Highway-75, then turn left. Turn right at the stoplight and the course will be on the left.

 

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COUGARS FAIL DEFENSIVE TEST, TRY AGAIN

Louisiana Tech looms large as Houston tries to stop run, even record, get defensive

by William German

Daily Cougar Staff

With Louisiana Tech looming on the horizon and a load of young starters on defense, head coach Kim Helton can't help but be a little worried.

If the Kansas game was a test of the Cougars' run defense, the test would have to be considered a failure.

The Jayhawks totaled a whopping 346 yards on the ground against Houston. Kansas needed only 57 carries to reach that total, making for a 6.1 average.

Those numbers are hardly encouraging with Tech's impressive young running back Jason Cooper ready and waiting.

Though Cooper rushed for only 590 yards last season, he has 2,153 in his college career and will be shooting for the school career-yardage record in his senior year.

"Defensively, we're going to stop the run," Helton said. "We can't play football and be successful, win a championship, if we can't stop the run."

Leading Houston in tackles through one game is strong safety Gerome Williams, with an unbelievable total of 15. Ten of those takedowns were unassisted.

While that figure speaks well of the 6-0 junior, it does not complement the Cougar defensive line. Several of Williams' tackles came a little further downfield than desired.

This week, things will be different.

Before the Kansas game, Helton moved 280-pound offensive lineman Dave Roberts to defense to give the front-four some bulk. This week, there will be no such changes.

"There's really no adjustments we need to make," Helton said. "We have a seven-man front, (we can go with) an even front or an odd front.

"It's not a matter of alignment, it's a matter of (whether the players) can get old enough to play football on the college level."

Safety Thomas McGaughey concurred things would have to be different this time around.

"Last game, the defense didn't wake up until the second half. We can't allow them (Tech) to get a 21-0 lead."

 

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45-21 COLTS? THIS 'JINX' WON'T GO AWAY THAT EASILY

by Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

From Left Field

"Don't worry," everyone said. "The Rockets have finally broke the jinx. Their success will spread to the other sports. The floodgates will open."

Yeah, right.

After years of pain and frustration, Houston sports fans finally thought they could be like New York, Los Angeles and Chicago. After all, we were the next largest city; we should be as successful on the playing fields.

Instead, the team Houstonians hate to hate loses not only its first game in the era of world champions, but at the hands of the Colts. The Colts!

Who plays for the Colts? Nobody, except for Marshall Faulk, who may have just had his career made by the Oilers, not by the pad-the-stats rushes made after the game (and the season?) was over. Maybe the defense should get a bonus when he signs his next contract.

Now I realize there may be some die-hard Oiler fans out there. And right now they may be saying the Colts are not as bad as they used to be. After all, isn't that what free-agency and the salary cap were all about, parity?

Yes and no. If you get enough top-five picks, you're going to get some better players: Quentin Coryatt, Faulk ... well, you'll get a couple.

And of course, they have Jim "I-didn't-mean-to-call-an-audible" Harbaugh at the helm. Yes, the Oilers were certainly up against a better Indianapolis team. Good thing they're going up against a team in decline next week: Dallas.

Let's face it, the Oilers suck.

And I don't just mean on the playing field. Although suck they certainly did. A 45-21 opening-game pasting by the lowly Colts ranks right up there with ... well, the list of Oiler embarrassments is too long to set to ink. But I digress.

The real Oiler problems lie in the front office. More accurately, in the owner's office.

Bud Adams may have helped forge the AFL and brought professional football to Houston, but ever since, his resume has gone downhill.

His list of accomplishments includes firing the most popular coach in Oiler history, forcing the city to tear down the famed bull-with-flags scoreboard, and getting rid of Warren Moon, someone owners should want to retire in their organization.

Now his latest <I>faux pas<P> is stuffing a new doomed, er domed, stadium down Houstonians' throats. Well, I guess it's all par for the course. I hope they go to Montgomery County. Hell, I hope they just go away.

Scholl is a true sports fan tired of the Oilers.

 

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COUCH NAMED NEW BASEBALL ASSISTANT

Cougar Sports Service

Trip Couch, a former student assistant to the Cougar baseball team, has been named an assistant coach by head baseball coach Rayner Noble.

Couch has been serving the UH athletic department in the marketing department as coordinator for football and baseball since February.

While attending UH from 1989 to 1990, he was a student assistant and bullpen catcher. He was an assistant coach at Southwestern Louisiana from 1991 to 1992.

 

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CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, celebrates the 100th anniversary of the world's oldest film studio, running through Oct. 30 at Brown Auditorium.

<I>Gaumont: A Century of French Cinema<P> features 23 comedies, dramas, operas and murder mysteries. All films have been restored and will be shown on 35 mm prints. Silent films will be presented with live piano accompaniment.

<I>La Passion de Jeanne d'Arc<P>, the story of Joan of Arc's trial, will be shown at 8 p.m. Friday.

Contact 639-7515 for a film schedule. Admission for students is $4.

 

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