INCIDENT RAISES QUESTIONS OF DORM SECURITY

by Nita Gonzales

Daily Cougar Staff

After the alleged abduction of UH student Joseph Dustin Ruffatto by his ex-roommate, Kelly Madison Ware, a three-time convicted felon who was living at Moody Towers, questions have arisen concerning the university's housing policy.

Ahmad Kashani, UH's interim director of Housing, refused to comment on the issue. Additionally, Elwyn Lee, vice president for Student Affairs, did not return phone calls.

Ware, a 31-year-old former student, is currently being charged with aggravated kidnapping and is awaiting trial.

"I think on dorm applications, there should be something asking if you're a convicted felon or have a criminal record," said Andy Kahn of the mayor's Crime Victims office.

Applying for a dorm room should be more like applying for a job, he said, adding that applications should ask applicants if they are convicted felons or have criminal records, Kahn said.

Because there is no policy for checking on criminal backgrounds of dorm applicants, "you don't know if you're living next door to a convicted rapist," he said.

Like UH, none of the local universities like Texas Southern University, Rice University and the University of St. Thomas perform criminal background checks on dorm applicants, Kahn said.

"It only takes a few minutes," he said.

Kahn added that performing background checks is not illegal, just UH policy.

Dorm residents who feel unsafe can do criminal background checks by calling the Harris County District Clerk's Office with any person's name, birth date or Social Security number, he said.

Because UH is a state-supported school, admission standards are lower, said Larry Morales, Rice University's facilities coordinator of food and housing. Performing criminal background checks on Rice students is not necessary because the university only admits a small group of people, he said.

Out of 530 freshmen accepted into Rice, "20 percent were high school valedictorians and the rest were in the top 10 percent of their class," he said.

One former UH Moody Towers' resident assistant, Gary Gregory, said even though he felt safe in the dorms, it would not hurt to perform background checks.

"In the dorms, you're living next door to someone you don't know, or even where they come from," he said. "Freshmen are intimidated by having to trade their room at home to live in a small dorm room with strangers."

Lisa Parker, a former resident of Moody Towers and Cougar Place who is now a senior education major, said the time has come for UH to change the dorm policies to keep up with the way society has changed.

Twenty years ago, you did not need to know anyone's criminal history, she said. "In today's society, you need to know where some people are coming from. Back then, the worst thing you had to worry about was keeping your side of the room clean. Nowadays, if you mess up the room, you have to wonder if someone is going to come after you, or knife you."

Parker also added, "The school needs to take care and action. It (the university) needs to be there for the students."

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ELYSE LANIER BRINGS VISION, INFLUENCE TO REGENT POST

 

by Kevin Patton

Daily Cougar Staff

Elyse Lanier has a vision for UH, a simple vision: Tell the world about UH.

Lanier, the wife of Houston Mayor Bob Lanier, has big shoes to fill in being appointed the regent to take John Moores' place.

Moores was a UH regent and philanthropist who donated more than $60 million to the university.

He moved to San Diego in order to purchase its major league baseball team, the Padres, leaving his seat vacant.

In that seat now sits Lanier – who has a talent for disarming honesty.

"It really did amaze me when people said I was made a regent because of who my husband is – it's a great reason!" she said.

The implication is that her appointment will betroth the city to UH.

This connection could not come at a more critical time. While the Texas Legislature will decide on UH's funding in the upcoming months, the city's interest in UH will help legislators see a commitment to the all-important Gulf Coast.

With NAFTA catapulting Texas, and Houston in particular, to the forefront of a global economy, UH will benefit from any possible influences.

"UH is a wonderful asset to the city, and you have to take care of your assets," Mrs. Lanier said.

She brings to the position a wealth of experience. She has been divorced, remarried, a single working mother – she has even battled breast cancer twice.

"I've done pretty much everything," she said. "I've had experiences in both extremes (of good and bad)," she said.

"I can certainly relate to UH students," said Lanier, remarking on how the average UH student is nontraditional.

"I love life and am going to make the most of it every single day," she said.

"I might be a little more vocal, but I hope that, whatever I'm involved in, I will give all of my experience to the commitment," she said.

Yet she also concedes that there are some issues to be settled. And although she is new to the situation, she has bitten off a healthy chunk of controversial issues.

The ongoing struggle within the System, the upcoming management audit and funding from the state are all issues that have her ear.

In fact, the Dec. 19 meeting between the faculty members, administrators and the regents was her initiation onto the board.

"I enjoyed the session. (Everyone) has been very nice. I've probably been more vocal than the (board) had expected," she said.

She even went as far as to say that the public battle being waged between some members of the faculty and the System should be fought in public.

"I think things like this are better discussed in the open," she said.

"But until the internal business settles itself, the outside business won't settle itself," she said. "And once it is settled, I really look forward to building up UH."

But her main focus is still her vision.

"UH is a great university. There aren't enough people who know.

"I would love to get that message out," she added.

 

 

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UH OFFICIAL DENIES RUMORS OF INTERNAL SYSTEM AUDIT PLAN

by Bobby Summers

Daily Cougar Staff

Wendy Adair, Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement, categorically denied rumors Tuesday that the Board of Regent's subcommittee planning the system management audit voted Friday to conduct an internal audit rather than hiring an outside firm.

"This is absolutely untrue," Adair said.

The rumors that the subcomittee had decided not to hire an outside auditing firm had been fueled when it was learned that the subcommittee had cancelled a public meeting scheduled for Thursday.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the committee released a statement which said the meeting was canceled because all speakers were heard at the first meeting December 14.

UH faculty member Robert Palmer, a Cullen professor of history and law and a member of the Coalition for Excellence, was surprised to hear the meeting had been canceled.

"I didn't know they canceled," Palmer said. "My guess is that they are opting for an internal solution rather than an outside audit."

Palmer said he had also heard the same rumor that the subcommittee had opted for an internal solution.

"I think that would be a mistake. They will lose credibility unless they intend to do major restructuring. Minor changes will not be good enough. If they were convinced by what they heard on December 14 and intend to do something like collapsing the offices of President and Chancellor into one office and then scale down the system, then it would be acceptable."

Adair said the meeting was originally set up as a "contingency in case anyone who wanted to speak to the committee was not able to do so at the December meeting. They felt like everyone who wanted to speak had already been heard and had submitted their materials."

She also provided the Daily Cougar with a statement from the task force which outlines the present status of the investigation.

The statement said the Board of Regents Task Force on System Management has "agreed to move forward on Chancellor (Alexander) Schilt's original proposal for an external consultant to conduct a System Management analysis."

The subcommittee, comprised of Board of Regents Chairwoman Beth Morian and UH Trustees John Cater and Vidal Martinez, is currently working on the draft for the Request for Proposals to hire that external consultant. They will review the draft with the campuses for input into the final document.

According to the statement, the task force is now scheduling public sessions at UH-Clear Lake, UH-Downtown and UH-Victoria to receive input from faculty, staff and students.

Finally, the task force said they "intend to communicate their progress to the UH System community as it moves forward; however, no formal timetable is set for that."

The task force is scheduled to submit recommendations to the full Board of Regents on February 16.

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TALKIN' TRASH? UH GROUP TURNS IT INTO CASH

by Tawanta Feifer

Daily Cougar Staff

What campus organization took 541,080 pounds of campus waste and turned it into profits totaling $8,700.92 for fiscal year ’93-94 without touching campus funds or student fees?

The UH Conservation Committee, composed of faculty, students, staff and Physical Plant representatives, did just that with office mix, cardboard boxes and aluminum cans.

Committee Chairman Stephen Barth credited the program's success to the support, cooperation and enthusiasm of campus administration, faculty, staff and students. "The response has been overwhelming," Barth said.

Barth said the committee had already begun organizing a recycling campaign before former Gov. Ann Richards issued the April 1992 executive order directing all state agencies to reduce waste and encourage recycling and resource conservation.

He said the committee initially experienced some resistance because the campus had already been through many failed attempts at recycling. "(Campus departments) didn't think it was going to work. They would say, 'We've seen this before,' " Barth said.

He said previous efforts to recycle campus waste failed because earlier conservationist groups were headed by several different leaders with no unified goals or organized committee. "(They would) attempt to bring the entire campus on-line at once. We went one building at a time as opposed to one singular campus-wide effort," Barth said.

Each department began by simply using computer-paper boxes as desk-side bins, which were emptied into larger bins that were collected by the Physical Plant, Barth said. The committee had to rely on the cooperation of volunteers because the program was not boosted with any campus or state funding to hire anyone or purchase anything, he said.

The whole campus should be on-line during the spring semester, Barth said. He said the program is currently recycling 17 percent of campus waste and that the goal is to recycle 40 percent.

In December 1993, the profits from recycling were used to purchase a cardboard bailer, said Frank Colson, manager of University Stores. The bailer, which cost about $7,000, crushes and compacts cardboard waste into bales weighing between 900-1,100 pounds.

Because the waste is compacted, more of it can fit into each truck, saving trips to the landfill. Colson said dumping at a landfill costs about $80 per truck in addition to the costs of labor, fuel and vehicle use.

Colson, who's been involved with campus recycling efforts for about five years, said he was influenced by the environmental movement. "I know we can do far more than we're doing now. (Recycling) is a fun thing to do and gives you a sincere feeling of accomplishment," he said.

Barth said, "I see (recycling) as a way not to throw things away. I'm not one just to throw things away just because I've had them awhile. I don't see the point of filling a hole in the ground."

The university received a $4,300 grant in November when it was named an official partner of CLEAN TEXAS 2000, a program sponsored by the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission.

CLEAN TEXAS 2000 is a voluntary program designed to unite business, government, industry and communities in reducing pollution and conserving resources. The money will be used to buy more recycling containers and hire a full-time person to pick up refuse on a regular schedule, Barth said.

He said refuse collection on a consistent basis is the biggest problem the committee faces. The biggest detriment to recycling is letting material pile up because there is no place to discard it or no recycling bins available, Barth said.

"This country is really behind (other industrialized countries) in waste disposal," he said. Future plans of the committee include a joint program with the city to reduce consumer packaging, Barth said.

 

 

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RAIDERS INVADE HOFHEINZ

UH takes on preseason SWC favorite Tech tonight

by William German

Daily Cougar Staff

Ready or not, here they come.

The Texas Tech Red Raiders, a preseason lock to win the Southwest Conference thanks to five returning starters from an 18-12 team a year ago, will tip off against the Houston Cougars at 7:30 p.m. today in Hofheinz Pavilion.

Houston (3-11 overall, 0-2 SWC) is coming off a 106-92 loss to Texas Christian in which Tim Moore tied his career high in scoring (33) and set a new rebounding best (19), though few other Cougars did anything to write home about.

Damon Jones, the team's second-leading scorer and leader in 3-point field goals with 35, was only 3-of-18 from the floor, 1-for-9 on treys. As a team, Houston shot .425 and was 7-for-24 from behind the 3-point line.

Moore was on, though, hitting 12-of-21 from the field. No doubt his 11 offensive rebounds boosted these numbers.

"He's doing the things he's always done well," Cougars head coach Alvin Brooks said of Moore. "He's playing hard, he's going to the boards well.

"We're getting him the basketball in the spots where he's most effective: 12 feet and in."

Judging by the season Tech has had to this point, tonight's contest may not be nearly as ugly a matchup as it looks.

The Raiders have started their year at 6-6 overall, with stars Lance Hughes, Jason Sasser and Mark Davis mired in shooting slumps.

"They've played a very tough schedule, the toughest non-league schedule since James Dickey's been there," Brooks said of Tech, which has not won a game away from Lubbock Municipal Coliseum all year, including their conference-opening 90-80 loss to Texas A&M in College Station.

Tech recently rallied for a 95-77 victory at home against Baylor Saturday to even its conference record at 1-1. Now, with the Cougars waiting, perhaps the Raiders believe their road woes are finally over.

Or maybe not.

Tech hasn't won a game at Hofheinz Pavilion since 1986.

"It won't be an easy task against Houston," Raider head coach James Dickey said Tuesday. "They played one of their best games last year against us in Hofheinz."

That game was a 76-64 victory, part of the Cougars’ 6-4 finish. Tim Moore notched 23 points and 8 rebounds, while Tech's notorious scoring machine was limited to just .373 shooting.

This year, Tech had hoped to avoid such off nights.

"Like I told everyone, it (being the preseason favorite) is a nice compliment, but you've got to go out and play a 40-minute game every night," Dickey said.

"Our players are old enough to know no one's going to give you anything. You have to earn it."

And just to make sure the Raiders’ understanding was crystal clear, Dickey saw fit to bench Sasser (14.7 scoring average, .412 from the floor) and Hughes (14.5, .419) for a few games.

"I think Jason and Lance, Mark and Koy (Smith, the starting point guard in nine games) are more focused on what their role is, what they need to do for our team to win," Dickey said about his actions.

Davis, leading the Raiders in scoring with a 16.7 average, has reflected Tech's inconsistency. He managed only seven points in the loss to the Aggies, but snapped back with 27 against Baylor.

"You win conference championships by taking care of business at home," Dickey said. "But you've got to go out on the road and prove yourself, and we haven't done that yet."

The Cougars are hoping they'll take just a little longer.

 

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LADY COUGARS LOOK TO MATCH RAIDERS' HEIGHT IN THE LOW POST

by Jason Paul Ramírez

Daily Cougar Staff

The Houston Lady Cougars might actually have an answer for No. 7 Texas Tech.

The two teams tip it off at 7 p.m. today in Lubbock Municipal Coliseum.

Regarded as one of the toughest, most physical frontlines in the nation, the Lady Raiders' tandem of forwards Connie Robinson and Tabitha Truesdale in combination with post Michi Atkins pack a punch.

"No doubt, (Tech's) frontline is awesome," said Houston head coach Jessie Kenlaw. "They are great when it comes to running the high-lows (post positions)."

Combined, the three players averaged 33.6 points per game during the Raiders' quick 2-0 Southwest Conference start last week.

Each player has the size (6-1, 5-10 and 6-0, respectively) which has helped Tech (16-2) lead the conference in rebounding (806) and the three players have shot the ball better than any other starting frontcourt in the conference (54.1 percent).

But Houston (6-7, 1-1 in the SWC) still stands a chance.

The Cougars themselves average 44.5 rebounds of their own. During Houston's first week of conference action, junior center Rosheda Hopson and freshman forward Jennifer Jones combined to average 22.5 boards a game. Jones currently leads the SWC in rebounding average (9.8) while Hopson is in fourth place (8.1).

Of course, the Cougars' third frontcourt starter and 1994 All-SWC member Pat Luckey should not be forgotten either.

The 6-1 sophomore small forward made her 1995 debut Saturday night in Hofheinz Pavilion. Luckey scored 13 points and pulled down 10 rebounds in just 24 minutes of play during Houston's 80-58 victory over Texas Christian.

Luckey, however, admitted that she wasn't at her best and attributed her performance to being out of the UH lineup all season long.

The Raiders are still leery of Luckey's skills.

"The addition of Pat has no doubt made Houston better and we have a great amount of respect for them," said Tech assistant coach Linden Weese.

Last season, Luckey averaged 15 points and eight rebounds in two games against Tech.

"Pat just had an awesome practice (Monday)," Kenlaw said. "Her stamina is not quite there yet but she was doing a good job getting the ball down the court and was nailing the open-court 3s."

As far as tonight's defensive matchups, power forward Jones will be primarily lined up against her counterpart Robinson, but said that she would switch her coverage to Atkins at times as well.

"We want to try and move Robinson outside and make her go (to her) left," Jones said. "If we can do that I don't think she can be effective."

Small forward Truesdale can also play point guard and leads the Raiders in assists with 124 (6.9 per game).

"We won't have a height disadvantage," Kenlaw said. "All we have to do is bring (Luckey, 6-1) out on Truesdale."

If the Cougars can box out Robinson and Atkins from the low post and force them to play outside, their chances may improve since Truesdale (11.7 points) and other scorer, guard Noel Johnson (9.6), are not as consistent.

"I don't think (the Raiders) know much about us," Jones said. "That's good because maybe we can sneak up on them."

A victory, however, would be even better.

 

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YOU BETCHA!

BETTING ON THE HORSES FOR A WIN, PLACE, OR SHOW

by Christen Hanlon

Daily Cougar Staff

All over the country people look for ways to satisfy their hunger for excitement. People fulfill these needs in different ways. Shopping malls are for some a safe way to spend some money and have a little fun, but it seems to leave out adventure. Gambling may for some fulfill that need for adventure. There is something within the heart of every red-blooded American that makes us want to gamble.

What better place to fulfill these desires than to spend the day at one of the most exciting race tracks in the country? Sam Houston Race Park is bright, colorful, clean and the perfect outing for the entire family. Race fans can experience the thrill of pari-mutuel betting on exciting thoroughbred and quarter horse racing, or if preferred, a wonderful meal in the Winner's Circle Restaurant.

But all is not as sunny as it seems. Many people today have problems with compulsive gambling.

"In a theory course for doctoral students I teach a few weeks of uncertainty. One of the metaphors to teaching uncertainty is gambling," said Dan Levin, a UH professor of economics.

Remarking on financial aspects of gambling, Levin added: "Playing the lottery as an investment is terrible. However, if gambling cheers you up and makes you happy and excited and you spend three dollars a week and can afford it, then go for it."

Dr. Nat Wilcox, UH assistant professor of economics, said he felt similarly to Dan Levin. "If what most people are gonna do at the horse track is occasionally indulge for the purpose of entertainment, then I can't see anything fundamentally wrong with it," Wilcox said.

Even though gambling is a controversial topic for some, many students enjoy the opportunity away from school to relax. This feeling was evident with Deanna Kimble, a senior psychology major at UH. "I think the Sam Houston Race Track is very exciting. It's a great place to go with friends," she said.

If inexperience is keeping you away, don't be timid. Wagering and handicapping are fun and easy to learn. You can attend a free betting seminar at Sam Houston Race Park and learn all about exactas, trifectas, quinellas and more.

General admission is only $3 and Club Level is $5. There is ample free parking or choose preferred parking for $2 or valet for $5. Only adults 21 years or older will be able to wager at the Race Park. Facilities are accessible to handicapped guests. All major credit cards are accepted. Make plans now to visit Sam Houston Race Park and experience horsepower, Texas style. For general information, call 713-807-RACE.

 

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CREATING CARTOONS

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO HOWARD SHERMAN

by Ivana Segvic

Daily Cougar Staff

UH part-time student Howard Sherman isn't just frolicking around these days. He's drawing the <I>Frolicking Pebble<P>, a cartoon that he has had great success with.

"I started drawing when I was 2. With <I>Frolicking Pebble<P> I was just doodling and I came up with characters I like. I use different facets and personalities; basically I steal from everybody," Sherman says.

Sherman began his cartoon at the University of Texas paper, The Daily Texan. In the past two years, he has distributed the cartoon and even won third place in a national college newspaper contest for Best Cartoon Strip. Currently he is featuring <I> Frolicking Pebble<P> in the Daily Cougar and even has it available on e-mail (pebble@neosoft.com).

He came up with the name of the comic strip from Rolling Stone magazine. "I had a subscription to Rolling Stone and I always liked the term, the way it sounded. So I came up with <I>Frolicking Pebble<P>," he says.

Even though he changes his characters each semester, a lot of the personalities remain the same. "I like to play with it and experiment with it; not only to keep from being stale, but if it doesn't work, I learn from it."

Sherman says his cartoons really don't have any kind of serious message behind them. "It is my quirky outlook on the world. I just want to give people a chuckle, a lot of cold coffee jokes and pudgy-around-the-waist-line jokes. People can relate to that. Those are the common things in life."

He says the reason for such a down-to-earth comic is that he came from a simple, normal family. "I had a common life. I have no big stories to go on Oprah and tell. It is just an average Joe, roly-poly background and environment. I had two loving parents and a fairly normal upbringing," he says.

In order to support himself before the <I>Frolicking Pebble<P> can do it for him, Sherman teaches art classes and does a lot of freelance art work. He graduated from UT in 1993, but is thinking about going for a master's degree in education.

"I always loved to draw. At 19 I said, 'Man, I love the combination of joke writing and drawing.' I saw a lot of the other cartoons that were out there and thought, 'I can do better than that.' I am just trying to make the best damn comic strip I can," he says.

 

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NEW BOOK HAS AN <I>ANSWER<P> TO HATRED FOR EVERYONE

by Frank San Miguel

Daily Cougar Staff

There are times in all of our lives when we are bombarded by little traumas and ups-and-downs. There are times when we are hit with trials and tribulations, bad people and bad attitudes. There are times when you ask yourself the question: "Who gives a fuck?"

<I>Answer Me!: The First Three<P> is a new book which is, essentially, the first three issues of the magazine. Editors Jim and Debbie Goad ask the eternal question 'who cares?' over and over, fists and feet flying, with the simple reply, "not me." It's the only magazine that cheerfully proclaims itself to be hate literature.

Probably a handful of people have heard of the small-run magazine Answer Me! A lot more will hear of it now.

Not simply a marketing ploy, <I>Answer Me!<P>'s editors seem to hate everyone and everything. How many times have you heard nothing is sacred? Here everything is fair game -- the homeless, Spielberg, gangs, pedophilia, murder, Judaism, the Geto Boys and more.

<I>Answer Me!: The First Three<P> is an interesting retrospective of people and attitudes. At first read, it can be refreshing. It compares itself to a world where everybody worries about everyone else and wants to build a better world. The social contract has become the social insurance policy. Even the most malevolent conservative is motivated by wanting to build a more virtuous America. Almost every page of <I>Answer Me!<P> shoots the middle finger at the whole save-the-world attitude.

There is some stuff in <I>Answer Me!<P> that will make the average embittered person laugh at the world. Debbie Goad's rant, "Babies Are Dirty" is a great mockery of the romanticization and trendiness of "creature" bearing. "A newborn is the most unsettling sight you could put before me. It's a miniature monster equipped with wrinkled skin, scrunched-up features and a foul, detergent smell," she writes. "I'd NEVER ever touch one. Support its head? I'd gladly drop it and walk away."

On and on, the Goads thrash at everyone in rant piled upon rant. Essays like "I Hate Men," "I Hate Women," "People Ruin Everything," "Music Blows" and "The Homeless Can Eat Shit" state, quite simply, how much and why the Goads hate everyone and everything. Sprinkled throughout are tracts on different parts of fringe life and interviews with societal characters on the fringe, be they Church of Satan founder Anton La Vey, Church of Satan Director Ray Streckler or David Duke. You'd probably get a boot in the butt if you called it alternative, so suffice to call it dark. Very dark.

<I>Answer Me!<P> causes you to stop and wonder what's so wrong with hating someone or something and not being afraid to admit it. Even if the dislike is couched in the harshest and most brutally funny terms, it's still an admission. In the era of soft politics and polite-speak, <I>Answer Me!<P> is the big green phlegm in Mr. Politeness' face, as its editors heap abuse on the world.

"<I>Answer Me!<P>'s journalism operates from a deep-rooted mistrust of human nature. "We call it 'misanthropology.' We don't belong to any sociopolitical clubs. We're not conservative or liberal," the editors wrote in Issue #1's statement of intent. "Members of the 'counterculture' usually don't think any more originally than the powermongers and working classes they disdain. In their own way, they're every bit as dogmatic and intolerant and possibly more so...

"They also share this in common with conservatives -- they'd probably like to shut us up."

Read thrice, though, it begins to get boring. You ask yourself, "haven't I heard some rock star belch this out before?" Everyone's soooo genuine about hating everything. It sounds endlessly trendy and terribly haute to be cynical.

Pop culture, especially youth culture, today plays up the I've-seen-it-all-before pose like it was Cheerios. <I>Answer Me!<P> tends to slip into that sinkhole. The reader can thumb his nose and say that such an assertion is crap, but he ought to think twice.

Cynicism is now much less a sign of individuality; it becomes a bought-and-sold product in the Kroger of attitudes. Soak in smugness if you wish, but there's no reason to be smug, since everyone lately is traipsing over to K-mart and buying the smirk.

<I>Answer Me!<P> stays most interesting when its editors, both excellent writers, meander off into personal essays that aren't so engrossed in how they hate the world and how cool it is. Issue #3's got a hilarious essay that really digs into people's attitudes on owning guns, the "gunfolk" the "antis" and buying "the Reverend", a name for a gun.

There are also a pair of meticulously researched mini-encyclopedias of serial killers and mass murderers and another on famous and unusual suicides. Even the 1960s' mass murderer Mark Essex is here. Kurt Cobain is not listed, however.

<I>Answer Me!<P> is not for the weak of heart or for those with sensitive tummies. More than a few pages are splattered with bloody photos of murders, mutilations and assorted gore. The accompanying pieces make for, shall we say, challenging reading.

While not included in this book, the fourth issue of <I>Answer Me!<P> is dedicated to violence against women -- and you can just about bet it's anything but sympathetic.

<I>Answer Me!: The First Three<P> is a new release available for $13 from AK Press, P.O. Box 40682, San Francisco, Calif. 94140-0682.

 

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<I>BOYS<P> GETS SIDETRACKED BY PREDICTABILITY

by Jenalia Moreno

Daily Cougar Staff

When Hollywood aims to be politically correct, watch out because they are going to totally miss the mark. Once again, Hollywood, specifically Warner Brothers, has decided to address the issue of AIDS and homosexuality in <I>Boys on the Side<P>.

Herbert Ross directs <I>Boys<P>, a film about three dissimilar women who travel across country and discover they have more in common than they would have ever expected. Along the way (this is where the film gets to be totally predictable), each of the women reveal a few secrets.

Whoopi Goldberg plays a lounge singer, Jane DeLuca, who wants to go to Los Angeles to become a successful singer. Goldberg is also a lesbian who keeps wanting to be in a relationship with someone she cannot have.

Another character is Robin Nickerson, played by Mary-Louise Parker. Robin is a real-estate agent who wants to relive the nostalgic cross country trip she took with her mother and brother when she was a child. She also has a deadly secret.

Drew Barrymore plays Holly, a pregnant, irresponsible friend of Jane's who thinks that she cannot live without a man. When she joins Jane and Robin on their way to California she inadvertently becomes a fugitive.

Barrymore's character is the stereotypical blonde bimbo role. She is easily manipulated by men and does not realize the consequences of her actions. She drinks and smokes while she is pregnant and no one really warns her against doing this.

In fact, the character who is HIV-positive smokes and drinks and no one warns her about destroying her t-cell count, an important concern for people with HIV. If Hollywood wants to make audiences more aware about AIDS and HIV than maybe it should do more than just showing someone in a hospital dying of AIDS. Much like <I>Philadelphia<P>, <I>Boys<P> had a few scenes where the person who was HIV-positive visited the hospital, and that was about it.

Another problem with <I>Boys<P> was that instead of addressing the problems that homosexuals have in life, Goldberg's role in the film seems to be just to make the audience laugh at gay jokes.

Hollywood is just too afraid to make a movie where any affection is shown between gay couples. Much like <I>Fried Green Tomatoes<P>, <I>Boys<P> only hints at a romantic relationship between two women and never even shows them in an embrace.

However, trying to incorporate the whole "lesbian experience," the Indigo Girls perform two songs in <I>Boys<P> and there is even a poster of k.d. lang in a lesbian bar where Goldberg performs. The soundtrack for <I>Boys<P> is made up of top 40 artists and some of the tunes are catchy. Artists on the soundtrack include Bonnie Raitt, Melissa Etheridge, The Pretenders and Annie Lennox, to name a few.

Goldberg sings several songs in the movie, including Janis Joplin's "Piece of my Heart", Roy Orbison's "You Got It" and the Carpenters' "Superstar." Her singing is not bad and was used to emphasize some of the film's more emotional scenes.

The film achieved its goal of being a tearjerker but should have been more realistic. It is admirable that Hollywood is trying to address serious issues, but it should be more serious about the issues it addresses and not just make jokes out of topics such as homosexuality.

 

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ARTISTS MAKE SOUNDTRACK A <I>HIGHER LEARNING<P> EXPERIENCE

by Frank San Miguel

Daily Cougar Staff

The soundtrack to the film <I>Higher Learning<P> is an intense rumbling of music, not unlike how some have described of the film.

<I>Higher Learning<P>'s soundtrack convenes heavy hitters from the fields of rock, R&B and hip-hop to make some interesting sounds. There are, as you might expect, ups and downs on the soundtrack, but overall it's representative of what the film's about -- a scattering of rock and hip-hop with R&B added in to sweeten the pot.

The recording opens up with a new cut from Ice Cube called "Higher." Cube, one of the film's stars who is currently riding the charts on the success of his newest, <I>Bootlegs and B-sides<P>, tries not to slip on this, one of the recording's featured cuts. "Higher" is pretty much patterned after the characters and plot of the film but, unfortunately, it's scarcely enough to raise an eyebrow. Cube's rhyme style has floated from the old N.W.A. shouts into a nouveau <I>Superfly<P> groove, which can work when employed correctly but doesn't here. This track could have gone somewhere but sputters with slightly off-kilter arrangements.

Liz Phair's "Don't Have Time" is listenable enough, although it is nothing remarkable. The same can be said for Mista Grimm's "Situation Grimm," which follows the fairly routine g-funk sound to the letter. A gulf is hit.

Political hardcore rhymers Rage Against The Machine pick up the pace with a wailing "Year of the Boomerang." A screeching guitar sets the backdrop for the band that popularized punk-rap, as ringleader Zack de la Rocha throws out the lyrics. Indeed, Rage comes on strong with this song of myriad messages and bounding sounds. "Boomerang" is definitely a lethal cut.

Alternative darling Tori Amos checks in with a pair of decent songs. Her curious cover of R.E.M.'s "Losing My Religion" and equally meandering "Butterfly" tend to float over the musical arrangements, making them surprisingly palatable. Amos has gained a reputation for her quasi-avant garde stylings, and her piano accompaniments blend well with her rich voice.

The tracks that make this disc are performances by acid jazz vanguard The Brand New Heavies and hip-hop pioneer Me'Shell NdegeOcello. Both of these artists have garnered a great deal of critical praise for their adventurousness and their appearances here are sure to deliver the goods. The Heavies' "Higher Learning/Time for Change" is a smooth cut that glides over the music, while NdegeOcello's "Soul Searchin' (I Wanna Know If It's Mine)" puts a light bounce in the toes of be-bop music.

What always makes soundtracks so charming is the depth of artists one can include on any given release. For example, <I>Higher Learning<P> brings together bands like southern hip-hop phenom OutKast and alt-rock up-and-comer Eve's Plum. The recording is indeed strong and it's something you will want to hear again and again.

 

 

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