UH IN SEARCH OF HISPANIC LIT

 

By Andrea Ratto

Contributing Writer

In their maple-paneled offices nestled above the Cullen Performance Hall, groups of mostly Hispanic students can be found hunched over their desks, reading microfilm.

The students are involved with UH's Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project, commonly known as the Recovery Project, which aims to recover, index and publish all obscure literature written by authors of Hispanic descent between 1808 and 1960.

Although much of this literature was originally published in Hispanic newspapers, some of it can be found in book form or even in the original manuscript format.

The Recovery Project is the largest project of its kind. It was established in 1993 by Nicolas Kanellos, UH professor of Modern and Classical Languages and president of UH-based Arte Publico Press, the oldest publisher of Hispanic literature in the United States, to make Americans aware of Hispanics' rich literary heritage.

The project, currently funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Mellon Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation, eventually intends to produce a CD-ROM anthology of Hispanic literature and make it available to college, high school, elementary school and public libraries nationwide.

In addition, project leaders plan to issue a printed bibliography of 1400 Hispanic American periodicals published between 1808 and 1960 by 1996.

The eight research assistants and three student assistants, who work for the project, said they are very enthusiastic that their product will be make available to Hispanic K-12 students, who they say desperately need to learn to value their own heritage.

"This is United States literature. It is to be taught and known, just like (the) Early Colonial literature (that is commonly taught in schools)," said Liz Hernandez, a Venezuela native who is currently pursuing a master's degree in Modern and Classical Languages and who has worked an average of 20 hours per week for the project since June 1993.

Although much of the literature that will be included in the anthology was written in Spanish, some of it was written in English or even in other languages, such as French. The anthology will also include one of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's famous speeches that was published in a Hispanic newspaper.

"(Although this speech wasn't written by a Hispanic or for Hispanics), it shows the interest Hispanics have in mainstream American culture," Hernandez said.

Currently, project members are working on Phase I of the project, which involves recovering and compiling all Hispanic literature written between 1808 and 1960. This phase is expected to be completed in 1996.

It shouldn't be surprising that it will take the 11 staff members this long to complete the project's first phase, some project members said.

The Bibliography Team must first use OCLS (a worldwide on-line library card catalog) to locate every issue of every Hispanic periodical written during the time period covered by Phase I.

Hernandez and other literature evaluators must then read the microfilm versions of each of these periodicals page by page, column by column, searching for poems, feature columns, short stories, editorials, letters to the editor and anything else that might qualify as literature.

Much of the literature evaluators' work is exhausting. "I get a lot of headaches," Hernandez said.

When a literature evaluator finds an article that could potentially be included in the anthology, he or she jots down the appropriate identifying information and presents the article to the scanning team, which makes a hard copy of the article for inspection by a group of literary scholars headed by Kanellos.

If the group of literary scholars decides that the article is indeed worthy of inclusion in the anthology, the scanning team uses a scanner to enter the article into a microcomputer data base system.

By working on the Recovery Project, Modern and Classical Languages graduate students receive a solid grounding in the historical, political, social and cultural aspects of Hispanic literature.

As a direct outgrowth of the project, Modern and Classical Languages will be able to offer its doctoral students a new concentration in U.S. Hispanic Literature – the first program of its kind in the nation – by fall 1995 (pending Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approval). The Recovery Project also benefits undergraduate students.

Every other spring semester, students in Kanellos' Mexican American Literature class tour the project facilities in E. Cullen and receive hands-on practice in literary research.

 

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UH EYES RANK OF UNIVERSITIES BY MAGAZINE

by John Darbonne

Daily Cougar Staff

The demand for funding and student enrollment at UH have increased the pressure to place well in an annual ranking of colleges and universities in the U.S. News and World Report.

U.S. News & World Report's college ranking is considered to be one of the most influential reports due to its large circulation.

Mel Elfin, who is in charge of the ranking, will be one of several guest speakers at the fourth annual Scholarship and Community Conference on Sept. 28.

His topic is "Accountability: the External View," and will be delivered before the Faculty Senate.

Ernst Leiss, president of the Faculty Senate, said Elfin was picked because UH wanted someone with a national presence who was familiar with the topic. Leiss added that because Elfin is in charge of the report, UH wanted him to be aware of what the university was doing.

"Clearly, his affiliation with the report had some bearing on his being chosen," Leiss said, "but his being familiar with the topic, his national presence and his reputation for being articulate was the primary reason."

Elfin was very willing to come, Leiss said, and will not receive an honorarium. However, he will be reimbursed for his expenses from a fund set up by the Faculty Senate to cover conference expenses.

The ranking in U.S. News & World Report is determined by surveys, completed by universities, which are used to gather statistical information. The schools are then compared within the categories in which they are divided, and a ranking is achieved. The survey covers 1,400 universities nationwide.

Robert Morse, director of research at U.S. News & World Report, said the categories for ranking include student selectivity, faculty resources, financial resources, graduation rate and alumni satisfaction. This is used as a mathematical formula to determine rankings.

"Two or three college officials come to us each week, but they understand that their visits have nothing to do with their rankings," Morse said, "because it is determined entirely by mathematical formula. The schools that are traditionally considered the most prestigious do not lobby at all."

Geri Konigsberg, director of Media Affairs at UH, said UH does not lobby for ranking in these reports and added that UH just fills out the questionnaires and returns them.

However, Cydney Mackey, associate director at the UH Office of University Relations, said the university puts a great deal of effort into the questionnaires. She said UH targets the reports with a large circulation, such as U.S. News & World Report's.

Mackey added that the reports help to shape public perceptions and can influence enrollment.

Instead of spending large amounts of money to lobby magazines, UH actively publicizes its programs, Konigsberg added.

"It is an inefficient use of time to lobby one publication," Konigsberg said, "because there may be an area at UH that U.S. News & World Report may not be concerned about, but another report would be."

She said the Office of Media Affairs targets local, national and international media to promote the university.

This year, UH received coverage from the New York Times, CNN, the Today Show and was the focus of a PBS program.

"UH also made the cover of U.S. News and World Report this year when the Health Law Policy Institute at UH ranked No. 1," Konigsberg said. "We rely on the quality of our people and programs instead of public relations."

Konigsberg said she believes the reports are important in that they allow what is available at the university to be seen, but that they give an unfair advantage to larger schools that want to spend time and money on lobbying.

 

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SA SENATE FALLS SHORT ON BUDGET

 

by Tanya Eiserer

Daily Cougar Staff

Tensions ran high at the Students' Association Senate meeting Wednesday night as senators struggled, but failed, to pass a budget.

SA leaders had hoped to pass the budget because SA cannot spend funds until a budget is passed, and Sept. 30 is the deadline for submission. The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 28.

SA senators decided to send the budget back to Internal Affairs after it was revealed that certain line items had changed to account for the $5,500 SA must spend on payroll taxes for compensated student leaders.

Last week, Internal Affairs passed a budget out that called for $97,417 in expenditures. The new draft calls for $97,490 in expenditures.

The new draft raises the amount in the executive reserve, which are funds the SA president can designate for activities, and the general reserve, which are funds the senate can designate for special-project reserves. The rest of the line items stay the same.

John Moore, vice chair of Internal Affairs, said IA carefully reviewed the previous draft, line item by line item, and found nothing wrong with any of the budgetary calculations. Moore indicated the new draft was likewise acceptable, but he wanted IA to look at it one more time.

Jeff Fuller, SA Senate speaker, said the new draft of the budget was more itemized and more exact than the one passed out last week by IA.

Some senators had wanted the budget postponed anyway until SA receives formal written notification from Elwyn Lee, vice president for student affairs, confirming that SA can get the 1994 carry-over funds back. SA leaders are looking to get $2,500 back to cover the payroll taxes the IRS is now mandating.

Consuelo Trevino, director of Campus Activities, said she had received verbal approval from Lee.

Before the meeting even started, it took almost 40 minutes before enough senators were present to make quorum.

The senate has been plagued by absenteeism. Fuller said he will not put up with senators who do not show up to meetings. He added that he will kick them off and replace them with people dedicated to serving the student body.

Fuller said three SA positions are now vacant and that five to seven senators are in danger of losing their seats due to absences.

Senator Jennifer Zuber from the Law Center also admonished the senators to be careful what they say to members of the press.

"If you were not present at the (SA) meeting, the (Daily) Cougar will prey on you. If you do not know the answer, do not tell them anything. They will probably misquote you anyway," Zuber said.

Zuber also added that senators who are at an SA meeting should remember their dignity and not use profanity.

"It really makes us look bad," she said.

Zuber's comments came in reaction to a story that appeared in the Daily Cougar in which a senator made an inflammatory comment.

 

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UH POETS MAKE LIST

by Angela Raley

Contributing Writer

Three UH English professors were recently named authors of the greatest literature of all time by well-known literary critic Howard Bloom.

Edward Hirsch, Richard Howard and Adam Zagajewski are accomplished poets and teach in UH's Creative Writing Program, as well as in other English courses.

Bloom's new book, <I>The Western Canon: Books and Schools of the Ages<P>, consists mainly of 21 essays in which he studies those writers whose works he feels should be in the canon of Western literature.

At the end of the book, however, are lists of books that Bloom considers the greatest literature of all time. Hirsch, Howard and Zagajewski are listed here.

Hirsch has written four books of poetry, including <I>Earthly Measures<P>, named in the book, and has received numerous honors for his work.

Poet Laureate Howard has written 10 volumes of poetry and admits he can't remember which two of his books were included. He has also received other numerous awards, including a Pulitzer Prize.

Zagajewski, who is presently in Paris, was included for his book of poetry, <I>Tremor<P>.

Hirsch said he is pleased that he was included in the lists and appreciates the fact that Bloom embraced so much poetry. Hirsch added that he feels the works named are indispensable to us as humans.

"It's not that they make us better people, but that the fundamental idea of what being human is is expanded by our reading of Shakespeare, or Dante, or Milton, or Blake, or any number of inescapable authors," he said.

Bloom has received much criticism pertaining to who he included and who he left out. Hirsch explains that he believes the lists were never meant to be exclusive. No other writer, said Hirsch, would come up with exactly the same list, adding that the lists are meant to be a guide for directing people to a momentous body of work, rather than a final word on what to read.

Hirsch said it concerns him that the lists seem to distract readers from the body of the book. He said he considers the central structure of the book far more significant and the lists negligible by comparison.

Howard voiced similar concerns. In his opinion, the lists should have been left out altogether.

"My feeling is that the entire venture of the lists and of cataloguing people as to their likeliness to survive in the canon is a mistake," Howard said. "I feel that the lists at the back of the book are an unfortunate and rather sensational device of no interest, or at least of no importance."

Both men said, however, that they are unanimous in their praise of Bloom's critical essays, adding that they are a substantial contribution to literary studies.

"The book is wonderful. The essays on the masterpieces from Dante to Ibsen and even up through Proust and Beckett are among the finest essays ever written on those figures," he said. "They are full of energy and inspiration, and I love them."

In spite of his objections to the lists, Howard said he thinks highly of the rest of the book. "The true purpose of literary criticism is to lead us to enjoyment and appreciation of masterpieces, and I feel that Harold Bloom has done this," he said.

Hirsch shares this sentiment. "I think one of the things we do as teachers in the Creative Writing Program is to point students and young writers to those books we care passionately about," he said.

Hirsch said the central issue of the book is that Western literature is endangered, adding that he fully agrees with Bloom on this crucial point.

He said he, too, is convinced that literature itself, and especially poetry, is imperiled today. Not only is literature in jeopardy, but the passion for literature and the understanding of literature are as well, he said.

"I don't think there's any question that the written word is in danger. What is meaningful is that those of us who care about books are beginning to seem like a small sect in a very large culture that doesn't prize what we prize," Hirsch said. "That aspect of Bloom's idea of the canon is important to me."

Furthermore, the notion of the literary canon has almost completely evaporated in our culture, according to Hirsch. Bloom's book is critical in that it attempts to reaffirm the pivotal nature of this body of work, he added.

 

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UH DONS WELCOME MAT

Businesses snag free publicity, students get free goodies during two-day event

by Joey Guerra

News Reporter

Some of the best-kept secrets on campus were on display Wednesday and Thursday as sponsors from various groups and organizations took part in the University Center and Satellite Welcome '94.

Sponsors set up tables around the UC on Wednesday and handed out free information highlighting their services and products. Free samples were furnished by Pepsi, Kellogg and Pillsbury. KRBE FM-104 also participated in the event.

"Primarily, this is a big thank-you to the students," said UC Assistant Director Grace Blair.

Representatives from the Students' Association were on hand, distributing brochures and fliers for Campus Dining Services, the UC Games Room and Cougar Byte.

"I think it's a chance for students to get to know the stores and various departments," said Alicia Contreras, a representative from the Art Stop, located in the UC Underground. "A lot of people don't even know about the art center."

The main event took place at noon when students crowded on the first floor of the UC and tried to land paper airplanes on designated targets on the lower level.

All the planes that hit targets were awarded prizes, most of which were donated by sponsors. Grand prizes included two round-trip tickets to anywhere in the continental United States and a "Demolition Man" pinball machine.

Students had their fill of snacks, as sponsors dished out an array of free cookies, cereals and Pepsi. Campus Dining Services offered breakfast and lunch specials for only $1.

Radio station KRBE FM-104 provided music throughout the day while students were offered the chance to take a spin in the Gyroscope, a contraption that spins a person around in three dizzying directions.

Many students also waited in line to become a human bowling ball, which consisted of being encased inside a large sphere and rolled toward a set of large pins.

The UC Satellite offered much of the same on Thursday. Students took part in a variety of competitions, including basketball hoop shoots and a 9-ball pool tournament. Prizes for these contests included a mountain bike, pool equipment and a weekend for two at the Doubletree Hotel.

"It's something for the students that is free and that they deserve," said Savannah Villery, a representative from the Satellite.

Angyl Moreau, a member of the national co-ed fraternity Sigma Phi Nothing, said the exposure received by this type of event helps students realize there are many groups on campus that can be both informative and fun.

 

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PIÑATA BOOKS BREAKS BARRIERS

by Gale Lunsford

News Reporter

Arte Público Press has launched Piñata Books – the first publishing company dedicated to the publication of children's and young-adult Hispanic literature.

The books feature traditions, customs and themes unique to U.S. Hispanic culture in an authentic and realistic fashion.

"There really has not been material available for young people that accurately reflects U.S. Hispanic culture," said Marina Tristán, assistant director of Arte Público Press. "What is now available either depicts Latin American culture or Spanish culture or material that intends to reinforce stereotypes that are not really authentic portrayals of U.S. Hispanic culture."

Arte Público Press started the program due to the continual demand by teachers, librarians and parents for children's books that characterize U.S. Hispanic culture in positive, nonstereotypical ways.

"Teachers or librarians – they're clamoring for this material because it just does not exist. They want to give their students a positive sense of themselves and their culture in the United States," Tristan added.

The first four books, appropriate for ages 11 and up, were printed and released in English on Sept. 1.

The titles include: <I>Juanita Fights the School Board<P>, the first book in Gloria Velásquez's <I>Roosevelt High School Series<P>, which describes a young girl's struggle with discrimination and her resolve to fulfill her dream of graduating from high school; <I>Walking Stars<P>, a collection of tales by Victor Villaseñor that correspond with his familial autobiography, <I>Rain of Gold<P>; <I>Mexican Ghost Tales of the Southwest<P>, by Alfred Avila; and <I>Hispanic, Female and Young: An Anthology<P>, edited by Phyllis Tashlik, which contains writings by New York City teenagers and more-established writers about their experiences during their formative years.

Arte Público Press will release its first bilingual picture book on Nov. 1. <I>The Desert is My Mother/El desierto es mi madre<P>, written by author/poet Pat Mora and illustrated by Daniel Lechón, tells of the relationship between nature, Hispanics and Native Americans.

"I think it's important that we're all more aware of other groups. It's only through awareness and understanding that we're going to be able to promote tolerance and respect for each other," Tristán said. "Hispanic culture and U.S. Hispanic culture – they're two different things."

The Hispanic Students' Association, along with La Raza Student Alliance, plans to promote the Piñata Books throughout the fall semester in order to help reduce stereotyping of Hispanics. Russel Contreras, HSA president, says Piñata Books will set a precedent.

"We always seem to be depicted as gangsters or farm workers. I think Arte Público is one of the first to put us in a positive light."

Piñata Books is supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Lila-Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Arte Público Press, the oldest publisher of Hispanic literature, will publish eight to 10 Piñata Books each year and will continue to publish 25 to 30 other books annually.

"This was our mission long before multicultural literature was the buzzword or popular or sexy … promoting our writers will continue to be our mission long after the word 'multicultural' loses its charm," Tristán said.

Público's <I>In Search of Bernabé<P>, by Graciela Limón, and <I>The Indian Chronicles<P>, by José Barreiro, are two of the five finalists for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction this year.

 

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MATTRESS MAC SET TO EMCEE 3RD ANNUAL GOURMET GALA

Event to benefit HRM college; auction planned

The Houston Restaurant Association will present "Gourmet Gala 1994" on Saturday, Oct. 8, at the UH Hilton. Proceeds from the third annual event will benefit the university's College of Hotel and Restaurant Management.

Jim McIngvale of Gallery Furniture has agreed to serve as emcee for the evening, and Michael Chipchase, head chef at Robert Mondavi Vineyards in California's Napa Valley, will create a special dessert for the evening.

The gala features a variety of gourmet cuisine items and appearances by Houston chefs Charlie Newman (The Confederate House), Clive Berkman (Charley's 517), Monica Pope (The Boulevard Bistro), Bruce Molzan (Ruggles) and Chai Rapesak (La Strada). A silent auction and cooking demonstrations will be featured.

The HRA Gourmet Gala begins with cocktails at 6:30 p.m., followed by a seven-course gourmet dinner at 8 p.m. Tickets cost $75 per person and can be purchased by calling 802-1200.

Sponsors for the event include the Houston Restaurant Association, the College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, the Houston Post and Rice Epicurean Markets.

 

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BRANDED

Temporary tattoos give buyer way out

by Ivana Segvic

Daily Cougar Staff

They're found in music stores, tattoo parlors and convenience stores. They can last from three days to two weeks and will transform a person into a rebel for that amount of time. One found its way onto Mel Gibson on the cover of US magazine. It's hard to believe that something so temporary can be such a fixture in today's fashions.

Temporary tattoos have become the ideal for weekend rebels. They are much cheaper than permanent tattoos, which can cost hundreds of dollars, and aren't branded for life. Temporary tattoos only cost from $3 to $6 and are there when you want them, gone when you don't. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors. They may be the typical roses, butterflies or the classic dragons, swords, eagles and "mom" tattoos.

However, Jon Wayne, who founded Highgate Products, a temporary-tattoo company, wanted to add more creativity to tattoos. He is bringing in Looney Tunes. Now Tweety Bird, Bugs Bunny and Wile E. Coyote will become a part of the branded biceps. He is also introducing a rock 'n' roll line, perfumed tattoos, bracelet tattoos and even tattoos of the AIDS ribbon. However, the coolest line is Harley-Davidson, and the simple rose is the best seller.

Wayne became interested in temporary tattoos when he was in a gift shop and noticed the cheap items, and knew he could change them into fashion giants. He found the company in London that printed the tattoos, improved the product by adding more color and making the tattoos more realistic, then formed his own company, Highgate Products, named after a famous cemetery in London.

His target audience became men in their 30s who are weekend rebels, but are not willing to commit to the lifestyle year-round. He wanted to remove the tattoo taboo by creating a more stylish and sophisticated look to the temps. The tattoos are advertised with gorgeous, but not sleazy-looking women, children and white-collar hunks.

However, tattoo parlors are beginning to use the temporary tattoos on men who come in with one too many and want "Lisa" tattooed on their hairy behind for life. It saves those who want the tattoo from waking up with a one-night affair tattooed on them for life, and it keeps the parlors from having to turn down enraged, drunken customers.

Highgate Products estimates that the total sales for this year will total between $16 million and $18 million, with sales peaking in two years. This trend only shows the huge impact temporary tattoos will have in the fashion world and the obsession with short-lived, temporary lifestyles of the 1990s.

 

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COOGS WHIPPED 16-0

Missouri pass rush too explosive for OL as Houston drops to 0-3

by Daniel Scholl

Daily Cougar Staff

Due to the inability to protect the quarterback or run the ball consistently, the Houston Cougar football team dropped its third straight game as the Missouri Tigers pitched a 16-0 shutout Saturday at the Astrodome.

A crowd of 18,310 saw the Cougars amass only 171 total yards of offense as the Tigers (1-2) earned their first shutout on the road since 1977. The Cougars (0-3) hadn't been shut out since 1987.

"It was one of those whippin's you put in the back of your mind and hope someday you pay it back," Cougar head coach Kim Helton said.

The "whippin' " didn't start until the second quarter, when the Tigers broke both teams' lethargic offensive efforts by scoring a touchdown with 3:31 to go in the first half.

Missouri tailback Joe Freeman, who led the Tigers with 131 rushing yards, started up the middle and cut right, barely beating UH cornerback John Brown to the corner to make the score 6-0. Place kicker Kyle Pooler put the ball through the uprights for the point-after.

On the ensuing Houston drive, the Cougars were forced to punt with 1:56 to go in the half after gaining no yards on three plays. The critical play in the series came when Houston quarterback Chuck Clements was sacked for a 6-yard loss on third-and-four.

Going into their two-minute drill, the Tigers raced down the field, eating up 64 yards and using only one minute and 37 seconds off the game clock.

With 19 seconds to go in the half, Tiger quarterback Jeff Handy hit tight end Lamont Frazier in traffic in the back of the end zone for the score.

"That was just a heck of an athlete making a play," Tiger head coach Larry Smith said. "(Frazier) wasn't the intended receiver, but when the ball's in the air, you don't stand there and worry about whose it is."

The 6-5 Frazier played four years for the MU basketball team and had a key role on last year's Final Eight squad.

The Tigers took a 14-0 advantage into the locker room at intermission.

The Cougars actually had the opportunity to score first.

Midway through the first period, the Cougars saw their drive stall at the Missouri 9-yard line. On fourth-and-two, the Cougars elected to try a 26-yard field goal. Deep snapper Rusty Foster's snap was high and Trace Craft's kick hit the left upright and bounced back.

"It was very frustrating to move the ball down the field and get in the position to score and then come up empty-handed," Clements said.

The Cougars did not see a real scoring opportunity again until the end of the game.

The second quarter was the worst 15 minutes the Cougars had all game.

With Chuck Clements getting sacked four times that quarter, the Cougar offense had a net rushing total of minus 1. Clements was sacked for a loss of 26 yards during the period. For the game, the Tigers sacked Clements five times for a loss of 32 total yards.

"Offensively, the problem has to do with pass protection," Helton said. "When it gets to fourth-and-six, which it does about 10 times a game, you have to execute."

After the Tigers scored 14 points in under four minutes, their offense did not see the end zone again. The Cougar defense kept the Tigers off the scoreboard the entire second half, except for a blocked punt which led to a safety.

With 9:55 to go in the third, the Cougars had a fourth-and-14 on their own 24. With Jason Stoft back to punt, Tiger free safety Demontie Cross blocked the kick and watched it roll out the back of the end zone.

The Tigers had not recorded a safety since 1984.

While the Houston defense was able to keep the Tigers scoreless for most of the game, Missouri was able to rack up 393 yards of total offense. The attack was balanced, with 209 yards coming on the ground and 184 through the air.

Despite the Cougars' 10-game losing streak (their last win came against Baylor Oct. 2 of last season), Helton said he did see some positives on the night.

"I do see improvement," Helton said. "Our young defensive team continues to get better. They kept us in the game.

"The University of Houston is going through a rebuilding process. I'm happy with the people we're rebuilding with. They're all playing right now."

Whatever Helton saw, it may have been the last positive thing he will see for awhile, as the Cougars face two tough opponents the next two games, Ohio State and Texas A&M.

"We'll get teed back up," Helton said about next week's game against OSU. "This team is going to change, and it's going to learn to win."

But offensive tackle Billy Milner may have put it best when he said, "I don't think we have any losers on this team."

 

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VOLLEYBALL TAKES THIRD AT KACHINA CLASSIC

Cougar Sports Service

The Cougar volleyball team bent, but didn't break this weekend at the Kachina Classic tournament in Flagstaff, Ariz.

After losing their first two matches Friday to California-Northridge and Northern Arizona, the Lady Cougars rallied for a win over Memphis Saturday. The victory gave the Cougars a 1-2 match record in the tournament, 4-3 overall.

Houston swept Memphis 15-5, 15-2, 15-11. Sophomore Emily Leffers had 11 kills and nine digs in the match. Senior All-America candidate Lilly Denoon-Chester was held to 10 kills and nine digs.

Both Friday's matches were heartbreakers. Cal-Northridge opened the day with an 8-15, 15-5, 11-15, 15-11, 15-13 win, overcoming a 24-kill, four-block effort by Denoon-Chester.

Northern Arizona triumphed 18-16, 8-15, 16-14, 16-14 late Friday night.

Head volleyball coach Bill Walton pointed to Northridge as the biggest test of the team's ability before the tournament, saying the Matadors' schedule most resembled UH's in terms of quality.

 

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CONNICK WOWS FANS

by Valérie C. Fouché

Daily Cougar Staff

Harry Connick Jr. played the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Tuesday night to an enthusiastic crowd, strolling out onto the stage at roughly 9 p.m. wearing black jeans, a black T-shirt and black boots. He opened with the title track from his latest release, <I>She<P>.

Those who went to see Connick croon like his namesake were in for a big surprise as the show basically consisted of blues numbers from <I>She<P> and some famous New Orleans Bourbon Street jazz.

He did not play any of the Frank Sinatra cover songs which escalated him to stardom.

Connick was backed by a six-piece band that included former Neville Brothers bassist Tony Hall, trumpeter Leroy Jones and rhythm guitarist Jonathan Dubose.

Connick, well known for his piano and voice, showed off some of his other talents when he played rock guitar during "Honestly Now."

He returned to the piano to play another song, "Trouble," from his current album. The song appeared to have been lengthened for his concert performance.

Halfway through the show, Connick wowed the audience when he took them on a journey back to his childhood in New Orleans. The entire band left Connick alone to perform when a piano ascended from underneath the stage.

Connick sat down and chatted with the audience before playing blues and boogie to an obviously entertained group of fans near the stage.

He was later joined by trombonist Lucien Barbarin in a dedication to the late guitarist Danny Barker. They played a jazz funeral arrangement, "St. James Infirmary," which was actually performed at Barker's funeral.

The full band returned to the stage to belt out a Mardi Gras medley featuring Connick on the drums in "Big Chief" and a piece he wrote, "Here Comes the Big Parade."

Even though Connick did not croon his well-known renditions, he did manage to bring the house to its feet with his energetic jazz and his nice-guy demeanor.

 

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ADEQUATE RELEASE MAKES HALL WORTH GETTING TO KNOW

 

by Jim Presnell

Daily Cougar Staff

The album title comes from an Emily Dickinson poem, the artist comes from the legendary (and sadly defunct) Austin rock ensemble Wild Seeds, and the album itself comes out of far left field.

Cary Baker, a record executive from I.R.S. and Capitol Records, said of Wild Seeds when it disbanded in 1989: "Wild Seeds (RIP) was (the) U.S.'s greatest rock 'n' roll band."

Having seen them play an exceptionally fine live show myself in their heyday, I'd have to say Cary hit very close to the mark. But that's history.

Michael Hall has created three solo albums as of this release. On <I>Adequate Desire<P>, his quirky, satiric songwriting amuses while an occasional underlying concept knocks the listener flat on the floor.

He reminds me more of Richard Thompson or Joe Ely, but Dejadisc's press crap talks him up as the new Lou Reed, Neil Young or Tom Waits. Similarities seem to emerge, but not so many of you would call his style derivative of any of the last three.

This guitar-driven pop rock album takes some very twisting byways. Songs such as "Hello, Mr. Death" and "Merry Christmas from Mars" expose societal conventions as transparent frauds. Character and descriptions of situations stand out as on "I Can't Stand It" in which "Margaret never eats her bread / Pieboy never makes his bed / Teddy never ever tells the truth ... ."

The recording quality is quite good, more major-label than boutique-label quality. It's especially rewarding with headphones on the wah-wah guitar of "Hello Mr. Death" and the initial shock of stereo left-and-right channel effects at the start of "I Just Do."

Not earth-shattering by any stretch of the imagination, but it's a credible effort by Hall to crystalize pop sensibilities with obscurely poignant sentimentality. It's worth getting to know him.

 

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A GOOD MAN A BAD MOVIE

By A. Colin Tangeman

Contributing Writer

Evelyn Waugh wrote novels that were terse, intelligent, absurdly funny and deftly satirical. With Waugh as his inspiration, William Boyd proceeded to write the critically acclaimed English farce <I>A Good Man In Africa<P>.

Now, in collaboration with Australian director Bruce Beresford, Boyd has transferred the novel to the screen. Unfortunately, the humor Waugh perfected and Boyd successfully imitated has been inexplicably lost in the transfer.

What has managed to amble its way into theaters is a film full of comic anti-climax, forced dialogue and adolescent bathroom humor. In the past, Beresford and Boyd have successfully worked together on a number of films, including <I>Stars and Bars<P>, and the Oscar-winning <I>Driving Miss Daisy<P>. So what went wrong?

As story lines go, <I>A Good Man In Africa<P> is simple and straightforward. It follows the exploits of Morgan Leafy (Colin Friels), a mid-level diplomat in the modern West African state of Kinjaja.

Leafy is only one of a host of morally bankrupt characters whose sole interest in life is drinking, women and finding the quickest way out of Kinjaja.

In order to expedite his departure, Leafy becomes embroiled in a game of political corruption. Ultimately, this involvement finds Leafy blackmailed and forced to bribe the incorruptible Scottish Dr. Alex Murray (Sean Connery), who is perhaps the only good man in Africa. As a premise, this is a fine one, but by the end of the film, it is scarcely possible for the audience to believe the fantastic leap from moral irresolution to certainty that Leafy makes.

From the outset of the film, Leafy's character proves himself to be an obsequious, chauvinistic, prig who can't control his own arrested Don Juanism. The changes Leafy undergoes are primarily influenced under the auspices of the good doctor. Sean Connery is a great model to go by, but the sentiment that is expected to accompany Leafy's transformation is nonexistent.

In one curiously inept scene, Leafy sits in a drunken stupor and talks pathetically to himself over his misbegotten life. Is this the man beneath the corrupt exterior? If so, who cares? The climax of the story is just as misguided and falls far short of the film's much- desired catharsis.

To support this skeleton of a movie, the producers incorporated the assistance of a handful of well- known and usually enjoyable actors. Heading the list is Sean Connery, who is given top billing yet appears in less than a third of the film.

Connery's acting is the best of the lot, but even he can't overshadow John Lithgow's painfully contrived performance as the inept British high commissioner. Louis Gossett Jr. and Joanne Whaley-Kilmer are also featured and give competent, although forgettable performances.

Besides the misfired sentiment and lapses in credibility, <I>A Good Man In Africa<P> is also woefully humorless. This is supposed to be a comedy full of sharp wit and clever banter, not childish one-liners and lame sight gags. If <I>A Good Man In Africa<P> succeeds at anything, it's the revelation that great books don't necessarily make great movies.

 

 

 

 

 

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