DOWNSET RELEASE THE REAL DEAL

 

by Frank San Miguel

Daily Cougar Staff

The word "intense" is such a music cliché. Rollins is "intense." Lydia Lunch is "intense." Some clowns would say Eddie Vedder is "intense." So when the real deal comes along, you're at a loss for words.

Downset <I>is<P> the real deal. The band's newly released, self-titled debut on Mercury Records is the shit to get. Rollins looks like Peppermint Patty next to this band. Got it?

<I>"187/L.A. trademark/Don't come to the killing fields if you ain't got no fuckin' heart/'Cause Willie, Ira and Darryl will get ya – got ya/Fuck up and dead will be the way of your walk/Damn right, I hate L.A. swine with a passion, gee/'Cause my pops was killed by the fuckin' L.A.P.D./Yes, they killed my daddy/Yup, they killed my daddy/And if I don't blast 'em back, then they're gonna fuckin' kill me."<P> -- from "Anger!"

<I>"One out of 3 and they say my sisters are free/Incarcerated by hatred/Propagated misogyny/Continual ritual victimizing my sister/Physical rape is psychological murder."<P> -- from "Ritual."

<I>"Witness anger from this raised-up fist/The hood is jacked up bad, and more pain will come to exist/Well, who's fault is it and who's to blame?/I'm pointin' my finger at the ones who started this game."<P> -- from "About to Blast."

Got it?

Downset is from a working-class Chicano district of Los Angeles. After releasing a couple of tapes and 7-inch records under a different name, Social Justice, it was signed to Mercury. This release is the fruit of that agreement and, golly, is it tasty.

While the lyrics and delivery are leaning toward a hip-hop style, Downset is a hard-rock band and guitars, from Rogelio Lozano and Ares, dominate the music throughout the record. The bass and drums are no less in-your-face, making for a relentless recording.

From start to finish on this 10-cut disc, Downset is throttling, coming at the listener with heavy guitars and enraged verbage. The music is issue-oriented, yet doesn't sacrifice the sound to make a message known. It's a record sure to cross over into alternativeland as well as indieland and, ideally, more attention.

Lyrically, Downset deserves some criticism on inconsistency. In "My American Prayer," vocalist Rey Oropeza lumps together the White Aryan Resistance's Tom Metzger and the Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan, despite the almost blinding historical motivations of each and of the class consciousness of each. That comparison goes on and on throughout the song, even paralleling Native American separatists with the Aryan Nations. It ends in a limp call for unity. Yawn.

While fronting as militants at points, the emphasis here seems often on political reform, (at times) religion and the ever-ambiguous unity. It makes the message confusing, but that's indicative of the straight-edge roots the band claims. If the members are able to make up their minds politically by the time the next record rolls out, a new record should be even better, or at least more consistent.

Semantics aside, Downset produces a release that is more than the "i"-word clichés. The band proves itself loaded with purpose, but with the muscle to back it up. The disc is well worth a listen.

 

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ATHLETES ACCUSED OF CHEATING

by William German

Daily Cougar Staff

Allegations of cheating by UH football players on math exams, published in Wednesday's Houston Chronicle, have apparently left the athletic department unscathed.

So far, no evidence has been uncovered that connects any UH coaches or faculty to the alleged cheating scandal, which reportedly took place throughout the career of Linton Weatherspoon, a Cougar defensive lineman who played from 1990-92.

According to the story, Weatherspoon acted as a paid test-taker for the football team under former head coach John Jenkins and "for at least a semester" under current coach Kim Helton.

Three current football players – safety Dedric Mathis, offensive lineman Steven Williams and cornerback Delmonico Montgomery – were also implicated in the story.

Weatherspoon was caught taking an algebra final for then-freshman offensive lineman Tim Winburn in December of 1993. He was also accused of taking a calculus test for a nonathlete student in the spring of ’93.

For his actions, Weatherspoon was permanently expelled from the university. Winburn was suspended for the 1994 spring and summer semesters.

On appeal, Weatherspoon's sentence was changed to a five-year suspension.

The Chronicle story featured testimony from three former football players, all of whom alleged a ring of cheating on exams with Weatherspoon as the leader.

Winburn and Delithro Bell, a former linebacker at UH, both alleged in the story that Mathis, Williams and Montgomery had tests taken for them by Weatherspoon.

Helton acknowledged Wednesday that former and current players may have cheated. He denied any knowledge of that activity and said he did not condone cheating on exams.

"The issue is, we (the athletic program) don't condone it (cheating), we don't try to sweep it under a rug, we confront it," Helton said. "We put the athletes through the (disciplinary) process just like other students.

"Those kids that were guilty (Weatherspoon and Winburn) were found guilty through the process and they are no longer on the football team."

Asked what would happen if the cheating scandal had broader proportions involving current players, Helton replied, "(Those involved) will get processed like the guys making accusations got processed."

UH Provost and Senior Vice President Henry Trueba said Wednesday he learned of the new accusations "about a week ago."

Because he took the post June 30, he was not directly involved in Weatherspoon's and Winburn's cases when they occurred. However, he said he had investigated the past offense primarily to ensure that Weatherspoon "was given due process."

Trueba said the Math Department would need to initiate an investigation into the three players accused of cheating still affiliated with UH. That process would give the students a chance to respond to a departmental committee which would eventually report to Trueba.

He indicated he thought the athletic department was "clean" and had "no expectations" he would find any connections between the alleged cheating ring and any UH faculty or athletic staff.

Helton defended himself and his program vigorously Wednesday.

"Our program is the most honest-run football team you could have in the country," he said.

Responding to charges made in the Chronicle story that he told Winburn he would "clear up" his situation, Helton denied any such incident.

He said he learned of Winburn's problems through associate athletic director of athletic affairs Janice Hilliard and told her to "treat (Winburn) like any other student."

Weatherspoon quit football before the ’93 season due to high blood pressure. Before that, he had played eight games in 1992 as a junior, exiting spring drills as a starter.

Winburn red-shirted in ’92, but played as a freshman the next year.

Mathis, Montgomery and Williams have all declined interview requests on the subject.

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DISABLED STUDENTS SPEAK OUT

by Kevin Patton

Daily Cougar Staff

With the hiring practices of the Center for Students with Disabilities under criticism, an open forum was held Wednesday to allow students to voice concerns on the selection of a new director.

The search committee for a new director of CSD narrowed the field down to three candidates for the job, who spoke and answered questions.

"The question-and-answer process was by and large irrelevant to the process of gaining respect for disabled people," said Crosby King, a UH alumnus and disabled person active in the Houston community.

His attitude characterized much of the feelings of disabled UH students, who said they feel they have been ignored by CSD and the administration.

The controversy surrounds the hiring practises of CSD, which has not had a disabled director in 10 years and has never employed any disabled students or nonstudents for other positions.

"With the Americans With Disabilities Act and all the legislation (in support of disabled persons rights), it's about time we had someone with our face in the office," said Ila Thomas, president of the Student Advisory Board for the Physically Challenged.

The three candidates spoke on issues as varying as hypothetical situations of facing future budget cuts to how they would treat clients.

Caroline Gergely, the first candidate to speak, touched on the importance of balancing the services offered to the disabled and the functionality of the current programs.

"I hope that whoever is in the position would be able to sound out the situation," she said.

John Parker, the only disabled candidate and second speaker, focused on his experience with all levels of physically handicapped people.

"I don't think I should be hired because I'm disabled, but (I have) the ability to understand what they're going through at a high level," he said.

Debra Bossin, the third candidate to speak, has been a UH part-time employee in CSD for six months and focused on her experience as an administrator.

She downplayed her experience in the mental health field, having only a small bit of experience with the physically disabled.

"We found a strong pool of candidates. We had an internal and external search," said Sara Lee, chair of the search committee and associate director of Academic Affairs.

"I'm personally pleased that we could consider able-bodied and disabled people (for the position)," she said.

"It makes me feel that I'm a part of a more meaningful search," she said of the controversy surrounding the position.

She added that no one had talked with her personally on the topic and felt no pressure either way.

 

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IRS EYES PAID STUDENT LEADERS

by Tanya Eiserer

Daily Cougar Staff

Almost $5,500 of the Students' Association's proposed budget must now go to pay taxes for compensated student leaders. SA leaders are now feeling the budget crunch as they struggle to find the money.

In the past, compensated student leaders were contract workers and did not pay social security or unemployment taxes, but the IRS now wants the university to withhold the taxes. SA, along with all other student organizations with compensated student leaders, is affected by the new mandate.

"Compensated student leaders will be placed on the payroll, and taxes will be coming out upfront," said Consuelo Trevino, director of Campus Activities.

The Student Fee Advisory Committee initially allocated SA $95,000, but in order to keep up with the new mandate, SA needs an additional $2,500.

SA President Angie Milner said they are trying to get the $2,500 left over from last year's budget returned to SA so they can pay the difference. Milner said if Vice President for Student Affairs Elwyn Lee does not approve the transfer, SA will have to further slash the proposed budget.

At SA's first meeting last night, the proposed budget bill was introduced and sent to the Internal Affairs committee. The bill was not discussed, but a budget must be passed by next week.

"We have itemized everything to a tee. We are literally at our rock-bottom," Milner said, adding that SA had to pull money from several line items in the budget to pay for the surprise expense. The inauguration line item, which pays for the inauguration dinner for new SA presidents, was reduced from $1,650 to $1,000.

Other reduced line items included travel expenses, senate projects, office supplies, executive reserves and general reserves.

After the news that the Textbook Resale Information Services, or TRIS, would not be funded, Milner said the proposed budget now allocates $500 to fund start-up costs.

The $500 will not cover the cost of paying someone to set up the program. Milner said she hopes maybe someone in the business school can get class credit for running the program or that someone will volunteer.

Milner said she hopes a pilot program can be implemented by the spring.

On Nov. 16, SA leaders are planning a Legislator Day, in which Houston-area state representatives will be brought on campus to see the university so that in the upcoming legislative session, legislators will be aware of UH's funding needs.

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UC FEE SURVEY NETS LOW INTEREST

Jennifer Smith

Daily Cougar Staff

A recent survey of summer residents about the proposed increase in University Center fees revealed that some students are very apathetic, even about things that cost them money.

Three-hundred copies of the survey were distributed to residents in the Quad and Cougar Place. Only 48 were returned.

The subject of the poll was the UC fee increase proposal described in a memorandum from John Lee, director of the University Center and Associated Facilities. It calls to increase the UC fee to a $35 cap, up from a $15 semester rate, with the stipulation that the fee will rise no more than 10 percent a year.

The amount of annual increase depends on how much the UC asks for, and may be any amount lower than 10 percent. The worst-case scenario – if the fee goes up 10 percent every year – could result in a $21.97 fee in four years. On the other hand, the fee could go up 10 percent the first year and stay at that level for several years.

The fee increase will go into a special account, which will be used only for maintenance, utilities and renovations. The UC is directly responsible for all of that money to the Student Fee Advisory Committee. Immediate plans for the increase, if it is approved by the state Legislature, include repairing the leaky roof and old plumbing.

Participation by residents in polls and elections has been consistently low. Few residents express their opinions to their representatives, even on issues like this one, which affect them more directly than anyone else.

Clarissa Peterson, a senator for the College of Social Sciences in the Students' Association, conducted the poll. She said the 16 percent respondent rate was "not a representative sample" and that the results, which were slightly more against than for the proposal, were suspect. Also, she said not many respondents to the poll understood that the UC fee goes to both the UC and the UC Satellite facilities.

 

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TOO COLD FOR LILLIES? THIS IS A JOB FOR FLOWER MAN

Daily Cougar Staff Reports

Cleveland Turner, a resident of Third Ward, treats all flowers aesthetically. When the fierce cold fronts approach Houston, he carries his hibiscus plants in from the cold.

The home, originally white-wood-framed, is now embellished with various found items, and the front and side yards hold myriad species of foliage. The home has a kitschy look about it, celebrating Americana with the playfulness of a sideshow atmosphere.

"I always did love flowers – when I was just a baby, just coming out of my diapers, I used to help my mother with her flowers. I said, 'When I get to be a man, I'm gon' have my yard full of flowers,' " he says.

Turner – also known as the Flower Man – spends three hours a day, three days a week, tending to a garden that consists of pumpkins, sunflowers, squash, a papaya tree and corn stalks. Some of the flowers grown near the house include violets, roses and carnations. The outside of his home – dominated by such hues as pink, green, white, yellow, blue and red – is decorated with a wrought-iron guitar and sombrero.

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HOG

Vroom!

by Ivana Segvic

Daily Cougar Staff

Jon Bon Jovi, Marlon Brando, Elvis Presley, Mickey Rourke, Clint Eastwood, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve McQueen, Evel Knievel, Wynonna Judd, Jay Leno, David Lee Roth, Sylvester Stallone, Ann Richards . . . and the list goes on.

This group is an unusual combination united by only one fact: a taste for the best. From singing to acting to politics, the word, the image of Harley-Davidson never fades.

It might be the infatuation with power, the roar of an engine that cannot be mistaken for any other motorcycle, or the simple machine behind the Harley-Davidson logo that has made it the ultimate motorcycle dream machine for many riders.

<B>Milwaukee Pride<P>

But the present success and popularity of the Harley-Davidson motorcycles would not exist were it not for two pals from Milwaukee. In 1903, Bill S. Harley and Arthur Davidson decided to make a bicycle go farther and faster by constructing their first motorcycle.

Little did they know that they would create the future's only American-made motorcycle company in the world. With the help of Bill's brother, Walter –who lent his tooling skills – and Aunt Janet Davidson, who finished the black-painted machine and applied the pin-striping and original Harley-Davidson Motor Company logo on the tank by hand, the first Harley-Davidson motorcycle was born.

In 1904, Arthur's father built a 15-by-10-foot shed behind the family home for production.

The shed doubled in size in 1905.

By 1906, the factory grew to six employees and production was up 50 percent.

Shares in the company were sold in 1907, but the two families and their descendants retained a controlling portion of the stock until 1969, when the American Machine Foundry bought Harley-Davidson.

Sales peaked at 12,904 in 1913, and Harley-Davidson began exporting their Milwaukee-made products.

World War I brought a new market for the company, and troops were now being furnished with motorcycles. Over 50 percent of Harley's output was for the troops. The Harleys were painted an olive-green color, and in 1917, that color was the only one available for civilian bikes. The hue was extremely popular at first, but soon people grew tired of the army green. Still, the color remained as the only one available for 16 years.

Harley-Davidson motorcycles became famous for winning the title of first motorcycle to exceed the 100 mph barrier in 1921.

But the birth of the Henry Ford Model T brought a severe depression in sales for the company. This invention began a continuous seesaw of production. Such incidents as the import tax of 1930 in Australia and New Zealand (major markets for Harley-Davidson), the Depression, the Wall Street crash of 1929 and Japanese imports devastated the Harley-Davidson Motor Co. It was only little hopes that kept the company going.

In 1937, at Daytona Beach, Fla., the Harley won the speed title for going 136.183 mph.

Eventually, in 1953, Harley-Davidson would be the only American motorcycle company to survive after the Indian Motorcycle Co. closed down.

Japanese imports continued to be a severe albatross around Harley's neck because Japanese motorcycles were less expensive, more reliable and could outperform anything Harley-Davidson offered.

On Jan. 7, 1969, the family-run business was phased out and passed down to AMF. During the 1970s, within three years, AMF doubled production to 60,000 up from 27,000. However, because quality control was down for Harley-Davidson, Japanese motorcycles were slowly suffocating Harleys.

In 1982, being close to bankruptcy, the company asked the U.S. government to apply higher import tariffs to Japanese heavyweight motorcycles, and the government listened for the first time. In 1983, their prayers were answered, and tariffs of up to 50 percent were imposed on Japanese motorcycles.

The humble, honest and competitive Harley-Davidson (AMF) company was in good shape by 1987 and good-heartedly asked the government to lift the tariffs imposed on its competitors.

<B>Romantic notions<P>

For most motorcycle riders, there's no picture more beautiful than that of a Harley-Davidson riding off into the sunset, and no sound more sweet than the deep, harsh grumble of a Harley engine.

Perhaps it's this picture of liberation and peace that makes Harley-Davidson motorcycles the dream bikes for all riders.

Hugh Sutton, general manager at Stubbs Cycles on Telephone Road, says it's all in the image.

"It might be that they are made in the U.S., and it may be all of the slang terms that come with them, but the main infatuation with Harleys is the image," he says.

Sutton says sales of Harley-Davidsons have increased significantly.

"There has been a dramatic increase in the amount we've sold to women," he said.

Overall, the statistics on Harley owners may be surprising to some. The typical picture of a portly, tattooed, Hell's Angel is no longer the profile of a Harley-Davidson rider. Only 1 percent of Harley riders belong to the Hell's Angels end of the spectrum.

For Harley-Davidson, the customer profile is more clean- cut. The median age is 34.4 years old with an income of $35,700. Approximately 95 percent of Harley riders are male, and 57 percent are married. A close race in the occupational fields ranks blue-collar workers at 53 percent and white-collar workers at 40 percent.

Overall, 90 percent have a high school diploma, and 44 percent have some college education and/or a degree. About half of new Harley-Davidson sales are to people switching from other brands, but the one statistic that keeps Harleys on top is that Harley-Davidson owners remain loyal. About 82 percent have previously owned one or more Harleys.

Sutton says he has seen many lawyers, doctors and other distinguished professionals come in to straddle a Harley and be a rebel for the weekend. "On weekends, the lawyers and doctors come in, and you can't tell them from one of the other guys," he says.

However, the stereotypical bikers also have their chance at the dream bike. Stubbs Cycle employee Robert Godsey says he has encountered many types of customers. "One time, a guy came in with a grocery bag full of money. He had $13,000 that he'd been saving his entire life to buy a Harley. You could see fingerprints on the bills from how he counted the money over and over again. He drove off on a Harley that day," Godsey says.

There is nothing like the hum of a true American-made machine, but Godsey says Harley lovers may have the wrong image in mind. "It really makes people mad when they find out that the Harleys got more Japanese parts than a Honda." Although, Harleys are made in the United States, the manufacturers use mostly Japanese parts. "That's what makes them run," says Chuck Rogers, another Stubbs employee, with a smirk.

Those in the market for a Harley may expect prices to range from $5,000 for an 883 Sportster to $36,000 for a Fat Boy. However, the most popular bikes are Softails, which range in price from $18,000 to $25,000.

Compared with Japanese motorcycles, which run from $8,000 to $11,000, the chunk of change is quite noticeable. For this reason, for every six Japanese motorcycles sold, two Harleys are sold.

However, the difference in price has nothing to do with quality, Sutton says. "I wouldn't say Japanese motorcycles are cheaper, they just cost less money. They are not built cheap; you're just paying for the image. . .the logo . . . and the name that comes with the Harley," he says.

Buying a Harley-Davidson is not only a fantasy come true for many, but also a wise investment. Harleys appreciate in value. "They all sell for more. A lot of people who bought a Harley 10 to 15 years ago can sell it for up to 200 percent more, " Sutton says.

<B>Customers<P>

Local car dealers are one of the best buyers of Harleys. Ron Craft, Charlie Thomas and Dan Boone are only a few who own one or more Harley-Davidsons. Police officers are another market. "Almost all of the Houston Police officers (who ride motorcycles) own Harleys," Sutton says.

Houston Police Officer Tom Barnes has had his Harley since 1988. "If you're a real police officer, you ride one. Only the rookies ride the others. Harleys are bad-looking. They're American-made. When people see you on one, they're more friendly, and everybody wants to talk to you," Barnes said.

Sutton added, "I think that's part of the reason people ride Harleys – for the attention."

<B>Harleys in the Sunset<P>

Be it a Fat Boy or a Softail, Harleys have become the wild stallions of the West. Cowboys no longer wear spurs and cowboy hats, but penny loafers and stethoscopes. Silver disappeared into the clouds and now it is only the Lone Ranger and his Harley riding off into the sunset, with the wind in his hair, straddling that FLHR Road King – The Harley-Davidson.

 

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INJURIES MOUNT; FRESHMEN SHUFFLE

Cougar Sports Service

Another freshman may be joining the Cougar starting ranks this Saturday, while two freshman reserves will be missing.

Right defensive end Jason Brown sprained his ankle in Tuesday's practice and will be out for the Louisiana Tech game. Freshman Rusty Foster is listed at second on the depth chart.

Reserve safety Mike Jones and defensive lineman Leonta Rheams, both freshmen, will not play due to knee injuries.

The Cougar defense starts freshmen DeKeithron Callicoattee and Chad Shaw at cornerback and linebacker respectively.

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AGGIES, COUGARS ON HORNS' BACK

Texas' stranglehold on SWC gets first real challenge – maybe

by Hiren Patel

Daily Cougar Staff

Mentioning Southwest Conference women's volleyball in a conversation with those considered authorities immediately turns the talk to how Texas always has so much talent, pulls off wins and how phenomenal its coaching staff is.

This season, however, the conversation among coaches has turned to the darkhorses of the conference, the Lady Aggies and Lady Cougars.

After dominating the SWC as champions for the last 12 seasons, the Lady Longhorns are in for their toughest season under head coach Mick Haley.

Texas lost three of its starters in Holly Graham, Heather Pfluger and last season's national player of the year candidate, Katy Jameyson, to graduation.

"Texas always knows how to win and always finds a way to win, especially at home," A&M head volleyball coach Laurie Corbelli said.

"Texas is still going to be Texas," Cougar head volleyball coach Bill Walton said. "No matter who he (Haley) substitutes in, he's always recruited well enough to play (whatever) style of play (he wants).

"The motivation for that team (Texas) will be not to be the first Texas team to lose the Southwest Conference championship," Walton said.

Walton starts his ninth year at the helm of the Houston program after an impressive 1993 campaign in which the Cougars finished the season with their first-ever NCAA Tournament victory.

Senior All-America and SWC Player of the Year candidate Lilly Denoon-Chester sets the pace for the Cougars, both offensively and as an on-the-court leader.

The Cougars will also welcome back 1993 SWC Newcomer of the Year setter Sami Sawyer.

Sawyer finished second in the SWC last season with 11.2 assists a game. A native of Ojai, Calif., Sawyer is a strong candidate for first team All-SWC honors.

The Cougars have also introduced six newcomers to its program, including Marie-Claude Tourillon, Debbie Vokes and Christi Dreier.

Tourillon, a transfer from Montreal, played on the Canadian junior national team. She is starting at middle blocker with Denoon-Chester.

Dreier, a 5-9 senior transfer from Sam Houston State, and Vokes, who played on the Australian national team, add a wealth of experience to the Cougar reserve.

"It (Texas) lost some key players but Houston didn't lose any important players," Corbelli said. "Houston is very talented and well-coached."

"If Texas were to stumble for some reason, Houston would be its biggest challenge," Texas Tech head volleyball coach Mike Jones said.

Corbelli said A&M's biggest weakness is inexperience. Very few of this year's Aggies played last season.

"Our blocking needs to improve," Corbelli said. "By virtue of this team being taller and bigger, we already see that happening."

The Aggies were eliminated in the second round of the NCAA tournament after finishing the regular season with a 27-8 record.

Junior setter Suzy Wente and outside hitter Dana Santleben lead the Aggies as the only two starters returning.

Texas A&M's reserve squad gained a significant boost with the addition of three outstanding freshman recruits; Kristie Smedsrud, Jennifer Wells and Sarah Mensik.

"Probably a little ragged at times early, maybe losing some matches early they shouldn't," Walton said about the possible fate of the Aggies. "But (by) late October, early November, they're going to be really good."

The Lady Raiders, who finished fifth in the conference last season, return four starters and have only one senior.

"We have a real hard working, feisty team," Jones said. "Teamwork is improving, which we lacked last season. The back court defense is emerging as well."

"They are not going to be an easy team to beat," Walton said. "They had the best blocking team in the conference last season and probably are one of the top blocking teams again."

Walton was particularly complimentary of senior lefthanded setter Ginger Carter.

"They have an old setter with lots of tricks up her sleeve and they should do well with her," Walton said.

Rice, 0-10 in the SWC last season, finished with an overall record of 13-18. The Lady Owls have not won a conference game in three years.

"Rice is young with a hungry team and they are definitely going to end their losing streak," Corbelli said.

"If they can play with a lot of confidence and self-esteem, it would be beneficial," Walton said about the Owls. "Once they win early, they will be a different team the rest of the season."

Rice lost only two part-time starters to graduation. They return this season with All-SWC candidate Sammy Waldron and sophomore outside hitter Darcy Cruikshank.

"We are going to surprise people in both our conference and non-conference games," Owl head volleyball coach Henry Chen said. "The question for us is consistency.

"We need to make improvements in conditioning and overall execution on both offense and defense," Chen added. "We're improving and working very hard to maintain ball control."

As the 1994 season begins, the SWC teams possess an enormous amount of competition among themselves.

 

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QB TO WR: NO TROUBLE

Jason deGroot finds transition from high school to college football educational

by Adam King

Special to the Daily Cougar

The 1994 Houston football season has featured a few freshmen in prominent roles, but former Santa Fe High quarterback Jason deGroot has found himself in an especially unfamiliar situation.

He has gone from stardom in his hometown to relative obscurity as a backup slot receiver for the Cougars. The transition doesn't bother him because he knows the current situation is tailor-made for a freshman with his abilities.

"The main reason I came to Houston is the coaching staff," deGroot said. "Good things are going to happen pretty quick. I came in at the right time being a freshman, and hopefully, I'll get the chance to play. It looks like I'll get to contribute."

With only 65 scholarship players, many of the freshmen in Helton's first recruiting class are starting or will be expected to contribute heavily. Enter deGroot, who is making a name for himself in a hurry with Helton.

"He'll be in the game," Helton said. "He has a chance to help us because he is a great effort person. He gives you all he's got every snap. He hasn't shown any signs of struggling. He's the type of athlete you'd order at Sears & Roebuck if you could order one."

That kind of glowing description is something the 5-11, 175-pound deGroot has earned. In the Cougars' preseason Red and White scrimmage, he caught three passes, including one for a touchdown. His 4.5 speed in the 40 and general lack of mental errors make him a valuable asset.

Factor in also that at the end of this season, starting receivers Ron Peters, Daniel Adams and Julian Pitre will be graduating. If the younger players don't see action this year, the position will have a gaping hole where experience should be.

"I don't want him to be a rookie next year," says Helton, "so he's going to get some reps."

Waiting for his cue to practice is new to deGroot. As a starting quarterback, he was always first-string and on the field. Now he waits.

"I don't get all the reps all the time," he said. "In high school, you never came out (of the game). As a freshman, you have to work your way up."

The transition became harder for deGroot because he was switching positions from quarterback to receiver. He had to learn entirely new techniques.

An earlier switch from defensive back as a sophomore to quarterback in his junior and senior years made it somewhat easier. Then there are the new challenges to face preparing for a college game.

"At first, it was pretty difficult," deGroot said of the switch. "I'm starting to catch on now. Being a quarterback did help me with reading coverages. There's a major difference between high school and college football. When you get to college football, it's more like a business. There's a lot more details involved.

"You have to learn technique. You can't just rely on your athletic ability. In high school, you could. It doesn't work that way in college. You have to work to get better every day."

Until he reaches a starting role, deGroot will be rotating with Pitre and red-shirt sophomore Charles West. He said he has no regrets about becoming a receiver instead of quarterbacking a college program. In fact, he is excited about the challenges.

"Basically, I just wanted to play college football," he said. "I didn't care if I was a receiver. I'm built better for receiver. Once I work out more, I'll be able to do it better. This year, I just want to try and contribute to the team and help them win.

"I haven't set goals yet. Definitely, I want to be a starting receiver as soon as possible, but I don't know when that will be."

Thinking about entering his first college game makes deGroot shift in his chair. He only imagines what it will be like running to the huddle in the middle of the Astrodome floor or Ohio Stadium on the Ohio State campus during the fourth game of the season.

"I know I'm going to be nervous. Once the first play is over with, I'll be ready to play ball," he said. "It's a lot different than I thought. Everybody's bigger and everybody's faster."

It's a far cry from his Santa Fe days and his second team All-District 22-4A selection as a senior. He chose Houston over Sam Houston State, Baylor, Rice and his father's choice of the Air Force Academy because UH "showed the most interest," and six years in the military after four years of study didn't appeal to deGroot.

Instead, he chose to be one of the many freshmen being counted on to lead a beleaguered program from behind the shadow of a 1-9-1 season. He says he is ready.

"I like this program because we're coach Helton's first recruiting class. I like it because we're starting something new and being a part of it."

 

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OLIVER STONE, CDS, BEARS: OH MY

by Andrew Nicolaou

Daily Cougar Staff

 

As of 12:38 a.m. CDT on Aug. 30, that bastard Oliver Stone is in cahoots with the CD people, and the Coke stooges in Atlanta are lending a helping hand to the atrocity.

Flash-cut to a wild pack of baked polar bears graciously guzzling The Real Thing with arctic fervor. Correction: They are in all actuality participating in the shiny-happy-people-shared experience that is always Coca-Cola.

So you insist that you have no time to spare for such petty nuances as the evolution of a device of marketing propaganda? Unfortunate. It seems all too clear to my oft-muddled mind that the general populace is quite happy with any carcinogen-sweet aggregate of metaphorical Sweet and Lows they are handed with their iced tea that <I>must<P> be "just right."

We are being duped into forgoing our well-deserved Real Thing in both the 43-screen Cineplex Odeon multiplex and at the local Blockbuster Music, where you get fired if your hair gets a little too long for the Floridian Jesus freaks who own it.

Flash-cut to 29 hours ago, being carded at the head of a very short line at the above-mentioned moving-picture emporium. This madness transpired while trying to purchase admittance to Oliver Stone's R-rated latest celluloid pablum, <I>Natural Born Killers.<P>

The past week has seen a relentless flood of John Tesh's academically noting artiste/Christ figure Stone's groundbreaking infusion of Godard-like mixed-media images into a major studio, big-time, honest to gosh <I>real<P> movie.

No need for any nagging doubts as to the degree of your street credibility with your friends who were into Green Day back when all the <I>real<P> punks yelled about what a bunch of pussies they were. That's all because there is a charming condensed quote on an ad joyously announcing that the film miraculously aroused <I>Film Threat<P> critic David Williams' long-dormant excitement for the medium.

No problem – many of us had harbored suspicions that he was on the take. These had developed rapidly because right around that time, all the Circle K's began their metamorphoses into the jade-tinted Stop & Gos, where a man could always be assured of a 39-cent fountain drink with the mandatory extraneous syrup.

Two hours later, I had been slapped with an open hand by the clincher to this debacle. Much of the oh-so avant-garde montage elements of the film quite simply aren't <I>real<P>. It would seem that much of the visual barrage's varying effects all found their way out of the copper-wire-coated womb of some supercomputer, needless to say attached to some placenta, fashioned from dozens of Intel Pentium chips.

It is something rather than paranoia that leads one to the inescapable conclusion that Stone is offering unto the masses a film he claims lets loose much-deserved ridicule at an artificial vacuum-tube-fading-to-microprocessor television culture – and that it all is bullshit.

Who can explain Stone's apparent belief that the appropriate manner in which to convey such convictions is through the artificial whitewash found in a veritable legion of binary ones and zeroes, each one teeming with all the emotional outpouring one can expect to find within many a calculus problem?

We are being methodically bilked at an alarming proportion, while grins dance playfully on our faces. The Real Thing has definitely left the building, and it is at our own urging, my friends.

Flash-cut to the American cultural mecca that is any Orange Julius-propagating mall right this stinkin' second. A throng of people wearing stupid clothes are perusing the wares at the Sam Goody store and spending whatever minute portion of their $4.25-an-hour remains from the cost of living on CDs. Lots and lots of CDs that is – and whether or not those CDs are Lisa Loeb or J-Church really has no bearing whatsoever here.

Don't think you're going to find solace from this storm of insincerity by popping a compact disc into your stereo, no matter how fucking inconsequential and independent the label is. That's because while that Huey Lewis and the News <I>Sports<P> LP you've wisely held on to causes a record player's needle to vibrate, it produces vibrations that are converted directly to the electrical impulses that stereo speakers relate to us as music.

Your tape player, hissing like an angered asp, even does the same basic song and dance with a magnetic tape and tiny metallic particles (and here I will mercifully spare everyone a major treatise on just how fucking ridiculous Dolby noise reduction is). This is in fact God's music – analog music.

God's music is in a bit of a third-quarter sales slump. After all, it is The Real Thing.

On the other bloody O.J. glove-wearing hand, compact discs (which, incidentally, cost approximately the same amount of cash to produce as a one-liter bottle of the Real Thing in any significant quantity) are very much in fact the music of Beelzebub or some such accursed entity. Pressing the shuffle feature on a CD player after pulling away from a smoking bowl in a dorm room (goddamn polar bears!), whose human-to-area ratio suggests that the Malthusian nightmare is already upon us, has several results.

Dryly put, a CD player is nothing but a subservient automaton that translates coded data into an artificial sound wave that possesses none of the qualities that make music such a nobly human enterprise.

Not only is this sound wave completely unnatural, but if one were to stroll over to 116 PGH and ask my calculus teacher to construct a graph comparing the analog and digital sound waves, we'd get two very different creatures.

The analog graph would resemble an ocean wave, while on closer inspection, the digital wave would appear as an ascending staircase – much like shaving Damian's skull and finding the tell-tale 666 scab.

You probably don't even give a shit – what the hell does it matter? It matters everything. All the warmth, humanity and perhaps most importantly the honesty a song might originally brandish vanishes when you digitize it because no matter what you do after that point, it still is lying to you in a manner that would put Neil Bush to shame.

Sweet Jesus, forgive me for saying this as some wayward soul might misconstrue my words as a stamp of approval on some godforsaken marketing scheme aimed at a subset of the population that doesn't even freaking exist, but Reality Bites.

Reality means accepting violence and music as they are – not lavishing praise upon those who hand out cheap jewelry to beaten-down losers, jewelry so diluted with filler that it leaves a legacy of green gunk against their skin.

Damn straight the same man, who, though uninvited, convinced you his load of crap about the death of the guy who poked Marilyn was better than the load of crap you had already been fed and is now doing it again. Damn straight you won't find analog vinyl even by major labels in Camelot.

Damn straight those Georgians are opening their frost-free refrigerators wide, looking you in the eye and chirping "Always Coca Cola." You weren't really expecting The Real Thing, were you?

All apologies to the Rev. Norb, who kicks my ass each and every month.

Nicolaou is a sophomore business administration major who may or may not try OK Cola.

 

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