UH PROVOST'S E-MAIL ACCOUNT BREACHED

by Bobby Summers

Daily Cougar Staff

The Daily Cougar learned Wednesday that the e-mail account of University of Houston Provost Henry Trueba was infiltrated.

Trueba confirmed that personal and confidential e-mail correspondence to a UH faculty member was photocopied and sent by inter-office mail to himself and UH President James H. Pickering.

The information came to light after Trueba revealed Tuesday to the Dean's Council that the breach had occurred. A dean, who asked to remain anonymous, reported the incident to The Daily Cougar.

Trueba told The Daily Cougar this is the second time someone has breached his e-mail security.

"It creates panic," Trueba said. "No one can say anything personal."

Trueba said he did not see any conflict between himself and Pickering. "I said to Pickering, 'I told you this face-to-face, and I wrote it. That's the end of it,' " Trueba said.

Pickering said, "It certainly is scary when you think that unauthorized individuals have access to your private thoughts and correspondence.

"This is a serious breach of our security, and I am asking that it be fully investigated."

Pickering denied he received a package of Trueba's e-mail.

The faculty member to whom Trueba originally sent the e-mail told The Daily Cougar he filed a formal complaint with the UH Police Department. UH police could not confirm that a report had been filed.

Harrell Rodgers, professor of political science and former dean of the College of Social Sciences, refused to confirm or deny it was one or more communications between himself and Trueba that were stolen. He did say he was outraged by the incident and hoped the campus police would conduct a thorough investigation.

"The Internet is not secure, and you put things in at your own risk," said Jack Sanders, interim director of UH Telecommunications and computer security director for the university.

Sanders said, "I had heard rumors to that effect. We're checking to see what might have happened. We're certainly going to look into it from our side."

He added, "At this point, we have no proof that e-mail was compromised electronically. There are other ways someone could get their hands on e-mail. If a copy was left lying on a desk or in a recycling bin, or if his computer was left on overnight, those would be possibilities.

Charles Shomper, associate vice president for Information Technology, said, "There may be a way we can track this down. There are computer records that are generated when anyone enters an e-mail account."

Shomper added that Information Technology has not determined that Trueba's e-mail was compromised by entry into his e-mail account.

According to UH Police Lt. John Heron, a breach of e-mail security is a misdemeanor if there is no damage done to the computer or the computer files.

Heron said if damage occurred during the security breach, like erasure of files or installation of a computer virus, the charge would be based on the cost to repair that damage.

According to the UH Student Handbook, a student who makes an unauthorized entrance into someone else's computer account is subject to a maximum sanction of expulsion.

The UH Faculty Handbook says, " To respect the privacy of other users; for example, users shall not intentionally seek nor reveal information on, obtain copies of, or modify files, tapes or passwords belonging to other users, or misrepresent others, unless explicitly authorized to do so by those users.

"In accordance with established

university practices, confirmation of unauthorized use of the computing

facilities may also result in disciplinary review, which could lead to expulsion from the university, termination of employment and/or legal action."

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

FACULTY SENATE PREPARES FOR AUDIT

by Bobby Summers

Daily Cougar Staff

In an effort to present a unified position in the face of the upcoming University of Houston System management audit, the UH Faculty Senate on Wednesday passed a resolution calling for the chancellor of the UH System to become the president of the main campus.

The Faculty Senate first considered a resolution prepared by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and presented to the Senate by Sen. Robert Palmer, a Cullen professor of history and law. The resolution called for the position of UH System chancellor to be collapsed into the position of the president.

"The Executive Committee felt it is important to go in with a unified position," Palmer said. "This motion passed in the Executive Committee by a vote of 5-0 with two abstentions."

After spirited debate in which some senators complained that a small group was trying to railroad this decision, Sen. Giles Auchmuty, professor of mathematics, offered the substitute resolution calling for the senior System position to be the UH president.

The substitute resolution passed by a vote of 26-1 with one abstention.

The Senate also heard a report from UH System Board of Regents Chairwoman Wilhelmina R. "Beth" Morian regarding details of an upcoming management audit of the UH System.

Morian said the three-man audit panel will be headquartered at the UH Hilton April 9-12.

Morian told the Senate that the panel was given a box containing all of the letters and recommendations the board's task force received during open meetings earlier this year. She said the box also contained as much pertinent information as she and the other board members could find, plus press clippings from The Daily Cougar and local Houston newspapers.

Morian stressed that the audit panel will be autonomous from the System administration.

"We want it to be independent," Morian said. "Alex (Schilt) has not been involved in it. We understand what your concerns are. We have our own concerns as a board."

During a short question-and-answer period, Morian said the board expects to receive the panel's report by May 15.

Sen. Steve Huber, professor of law, complimented Morian and the board for moving quickly to implement the management review. He then suggested that instead of waiting until September to begin the long-promised review of UH President James H. Pickering, the board should allow the management audit team to include Pickering's review in their deliberations.

Morian answered, "One thing at a time. As a result of this audit, there could be many changes. Hold on to your hats!"

She reiterated that the board is committed to UH being a "premier research institution. We need this to be the best place that it can be, and we're not changing that."

Morian added, "I'm not sure how I got off to such a rough start with The (Daily) Cougar. I guess Alex (Schilt) is attempting to manipulate me from behind, according to that political cartoon.

"But the board has no intention of abandoning this incredible place down here."

Sen. Joseph Eichberg asked Morian if the audit panel's report would be available to the faculty before the Board of Regents' June meeting.

Morian said, "I think that probably would be a good idea. Perhaps before the board meets on that, we could get together once again. I don't know if it would be in this forum, or whatever."

In other Faculty Senate business, the group passed an amendment to the Faculty Senate Constitution and Bylaws that changes the title of the Educational Policies Committee to the Educational Policies and Student Affairs Committee. The amendment also expands the responsibility of the committee to include that of the defunct Campus Life Committee.

Auchmuty announced that the Senate Budget Committee has formed three subcommittees to look more carefully at the Athletic Department budget and the use of Higher Education Assistance Fund money. The subcommittees will also investigate the current policies and practices of the UH Endowment.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

SELF-STUDY COMMITTEES EYE REACCREDITATION

by Jennifer Smith

Daily Cougar Staff

The 10 advisory committees of the Self-Study Plan received their assignments Monday, beginning the plan's implementation. The plan, an essential part of the university's reaccreditation process, will culminate in a peer-review visit in February 1997.

George Magner, director of the study, said he wants to present "an up-to-date, honest, candid view of the university as it performs now."

He added, "I know that (the university) is in good shape, but there are always problems (with any large, complex organization). We want to find out problems, then we will do something about them," he said.

Magner said he is not worried about reaccreditation.

He said some of the tools the study will use to find out about the university would include surveys of UH faculty, staff, students and alumni.

He also said the study "is trying to find a standardized instrument" to test students. He said, for example, a test could be given to incoming freshmen and then given again after completion of the core requirements.

He said passing the test would not be necessary for graduation as currently envisioned.

The creation and implementation of a Self-Study Plan is a requirement for reaccreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

David Carter, SACS liaison to UH, said in a formal meeting to kick off the process of the Self-Study, "I won't tell you how to do your self-study. My job is to provide information and help as well as to inform myself about you."

It is entirely UH's province to decide how to handle its self-study, though the end result has to comply with the SACS handbook, Carter said.

"The self-study is a story about who you are and what you might become. The audience is yourselves," Carter said.

The UH committee structure contains the University Planning and Policy Council as the steering committee, which will coordinate the self-study.

Magner, as the director of the self-study, is in communication with the office of Planning and Policy Analysis and the Measurement and Evaluation Center.

The 10 principal committees will gather information on all branches of UH, from athletics to funding and beyond.

All information gathered will be processed. Strengths and weaknesses will be assessed, and a plan will be made to remedy problems and support strengths.

Magner is a professor of social work who teaches health care policy and values and ethics. He is teaching part-time over the next year-and-a-half in order to fulfill his duties as director of the Self-Study Plan.

Magner also directed the last self-study. "It was complicated," he said, "but I enjoyed it. It was kind of fun."

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

 

ENGINEERING STUDENTS PLACE AT CONFERENCE

UH ASME MEMBERS TO REPRESENT REGION AT CONVENTION

by Jennifer Smith

Daily Cougar Staff

Members of the UH chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers have been selected to represent its region at the national semiannual meetings this summer and fall.

They were selected at the Students Regional Conference of ASME, held March 23-26 in Mexico City at the Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiors de Monterrey. Six UH students and a faculty member attended the conference; two students placed in separate competitions.

UH will represent all the schools present at the conference, which included A&M, UT and Rice.

The region includes Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

UH Faculty member Ross Kastor was chosen as the region's faculty representative.

Twenty-eight-year-old junior Wade Vinson, chairman of UH's ASME chapter, placed second in the oral presentation competition. He presented information about the processes involved in making beer in small breweries. Vinson was also selected as the region's student representative to the national meetings.

Raul Blanco, a 26-year-old junior, placed second in a technical poster competition. He used a piece of posterboard 43 inches-by-36 inches to explain the process of preparing items for an environment in outer space.

First place in the oral competition went to the University of Tulsa, while first place in the technical poster competition went to Texas Tech.

Vinson said, "We kicked A&M's and UT's butt. They didn't place."

Vinson said UH competed in the other competitions at the conference as well, including the design conference, in which a car that had to measure no more than 6 inches-by-6 inches-by-12 inches must be controlled in a figure eight while running on one AA battery.

UH participated in the impromptu design contest, in which competitors are given one hour to build something, using only the guidelines and some ingenuity. UH did not place in this contest, though Vinson says he thinks UH should have won.

Vinson said this year, a boat had to be built that would bear as much weight as possible. Because UH's project incorporated a plastic trash can and did not look like a boat, though it did bear three times as much weight as other projects, the UH project did not win.

"I think that they (the judges) had a perception of what they wanted," Vinson said. He said that perception was not contained in the rules, however. He said, "I think we were gypped."

The conference was a positive experience, though, Vinson said. "It was exciting. You know how in every organization, there are about 10 people who are really into it, and the rest are just there to pad their resumes? Well, imagine if those 10 people combined with several other schools' 10 people. We want to keep that electricity, recruit more people, keep it going."

The trip cost UH's ASME members no out-of-pocket money because ASME raised $2,500 from various sponsors, including SPB, the professional senior section of ASME and the national ASME organization.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

SA RENEWS LIBRARY FEE, WITH BOOK AUDIT

The 31st Students' Association Senate closed Wednesday night by blazing through three pieces of legislation, but tripping over two bills dealing with internal procedures.

Quickly dispatched were bills dealing with the library fee, emergency appointments to the University Hearing Board and a right-turn-only lane at Entrance 1.

University Bill 31004 renewed the $15 library fee that is applied to students' fee bills. The fee was voted in by students in 1992 to combat the deteriorating condition of the libraries on campus.

SA President Angie Milner said the fee is necessary for the continued operation of the libraries. "If we eliminated the $15 fee, the branch libraries, like the law, architecture and pharmacy libraries, would have to cut their hours in half," she said.

A condition attached to the fee requires that the libraries perform a book audit to determine exactly what books are on the shelves and what is missing.

"A lot of times, you'll go to the computers, and it'll tell you the book is on the shelf, and when you go to get the book, it's not there," Milner said. "They haven't done a book audit in so long, they really don't know what is there."

The bill, which must be signed by UH President James Pickering to go into effect, was passed unanimously by the Senate.

Students' Association Bill 31013, which allows the SA president to make emergency appointments to the University Hearing Board, was brought out of committee by outgoing Law Sen. Jennifer Zuber, who authored and sponsored the bill.

Zuber said Kathy Anzivino, assistant dean of students, had mentioned to her that the Hearing Board had a large backlog of cases due to a regular problem with meeting quorum. The bill allows the SA president to appoint temporary members to the board.

Sen. Justin McMurtry objected to the bill, noting that the code currently provides for five alternates.

Senate Speaker Jeff Fuller took the floor and said that despite the alternates, the Hearing Board still often did not make quorum. "The attrition rate for that board, which is one of the most important committees on campus, is really high," he said.

The bill passed, with only McMurtry voting against it.

University Bill 31003, which asks the City of Houston to consider placing a right-turn-only lane at the intersection of Calhoun Street and Entrance 1, passed easily with little discussion.

Like the library fee, the bill requires Pickering's signature. Milner said there might be a delay in Pickering's approval while the university investigates the feasibility of the project.

Two bills introduced by outgoing Sen. Clarissa Peterson brought the Senate to a standstill as they were debated and amended.

Peterson's first bill scheduled meetings for the next Senate session on Wednesday nights. The SA Code specifies that the meetings are to be held on Mondays unless the Senate specifies otherwise.

After some discussion, the Senate chose to leave the matter to the next Senate when it convenes Monday.

Peterson's second bill set new qualifications for the Senate speaker. The bill requires that the speaker either be in the Senate or a member of the preceding Senate. A heavily amended version was passed after 45 minutes of discussion and a brief recess.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

NO RING TO SWC-LEADING FROGS

UNRANKED TCU ACTUALLY AHEAD OF THREE IN TOP 25

by William German

Daily Cougar Staff

Texas Christian: The best team in Southwest Conference baseball.

Something about that statement just doesn't sound right.

After all, the conference has boasted three teams in the Baseball America Top 25 national poll all year that are <I>not<P> TCU (Texas Tech at No. 8, Texas at No. 10 and Rice at No. 16).

But, if checked, the Horned Frogs will still be atop the standings in the SWC with a 6-1 conference record, 19-12 overall. That's where they were at the end of last season, when they finished 38-22, 14-4 in the conference.

But that team, which featured 12 seniors, isn't really there anymore.

"Last year's team was a senior team," assistant coach Donnie Watson said. "You didn't have to worry about them swinging at bad pitches. It was pretty much 'Throw the ball in here and let's hit it.’

"This year's team has a little speed that mixes in with our hitting. We've gotten some key bases on balls that's gotten the motor running. We've done a lot of hit-and-runs, bunt-and-runs."

What's also different this time around is that TCU hasn't really been tested yet. The Frogs played three games against top-quality competition in the SWC First Pitch Tourney from Mar. 16-19.

Tech and Rice went down 10-7 and 5-4, respectively, to the Horned Frogs; Texas A&M survived a 15-10 shootout. But four Frog victories have come against unranked Baylor (see below).

"We've been feeling pretty good about ourselves, but we're nowhere near a championship baseball team," said Watson, who was ejected from the first game of a doubleheader versus the Bears over the weekend.

The Horned Frogs are playing eight freshmen and sophomores regularly this season, but are led by senior Jason McClure in the outfield (.353 average, .480 SWC average, seven homers, 30 RBI) and senior Kerby Smith at third base (.364, seven homers, 30 RBI).

That kind of production was commonplace on the 1994 squad, which landed five everyday players on the All-SWC Team. Unfortunately, all save McClure are gone.

On the mound, starters Reid Ryan and Clay Caruthers, together with relief aces Jeff Baker and Tim Grieve, have also left.

They have been replaced by transfer starter Toby Dollar (4-2, 3.58 ERA) and sophomore bullpen arms Jay Boehmke and Jaymie Bane (combined 21 appearances, 28 1/3 innings pitched, 3.18 ERA).

Dollar, a transfer from Miami, was 5-1 with a 2.68 ERA in 12 starts for the Hurricanes last season.

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

REPLACEMENTS LITTLE FUN, BUT, HEY, THEY'RE BETTER THAN NO FUN AT ALL

by Jeff Holderfield

Next Tuesday the major-league baseball strike will be in its two hundred thirty-sixth day, and the 1995 season will begin with replacement players.

Our National Pastime will be lead into its second, but first complete, one hundred twenty-fifth anniversary (last year was cut short, remember?).

Everyone is saying the players will be truck drivers and short-order cooks, but is that really true?

In some cases, sure. One example is the nightclub singer who is pitching for the Mets, but the Mets can use all the help they can get.

But most of the replacement players are minor-leaguers who never had a shot at playing in any level higher than Class A ball.

The replacement players have dreamed about playing in the big leagues their whole lives and will do anything to get there.

Hell, if I could hit an 80 mph fastball, which will probably be the fastest pitch thrown all this season, even I would have tried out.

For the replacement players, or anyone who loves the game, the chance to play in any major-league park would be worth all the blood, sweat and tears that they have put into baseball since they were three years old.

I have recently heard people discussing boycotting the games played with replacement players. Why?

Are they the ones that caused the strike in the first place? Are they the ones wanting to keep a $1.2 million average salary? The answer is no.

The replacement players just want to play ball and would probably waive any salary just for the chance to play in the big show -- I know I would.

The ticket prices for games played with replacement players will all be half-price, meaning the best seats in the house will be around $10.

I'll be there for that price, even if the replacement players aren't the best in the world.

It's the greedy, striking players that are causing the void in all our lives.

Thus, the fan strike should begin when the players' strike ends.

Now, I'm not saying the players who are worth the money shouldn't be able to earn it. If a player like Jeff Bagwell can get a $27.4 million contract, more power to him.

But when a player like Scooter Tucker (yes, the Astros actually had a player named Scooter Tucker), who hardly ever played, complains that he makes less than the league average -- that's where the problem starts.

Therefore, it's the scrubs who ride the pine who are screwing up the hallowed game of baseball.

Recently, I saw Luis Gonzalez, an outfielder for the Astros, in attendance at a Cougars home game.

The reason he came? Alumnus? Nope. He went to college at Alabama.

He probably came because he misses the game and wanted to watch real baseball players play baseball in probably its last pure form.

But if striking baseball players are really that hard up for the game, why don't they just end the strike?

Simple: They're too damn greedy.

Let me make an appeal to all involved (like they'll ever read this): Please end the strike and put the best in baseball back on the field -- not in a conference room.

But if the selfish "big"-leaguers (isn't that an oxymoron) won't settle with the owners, we can always go watch the replacement players for half price.

Or you can watch one of the many upcoming Cougars home games for free.

Now, you can't beat <I>that<P> price.

Holderfield is a senior finance major who wishes he could make $1.2 million for riding the pine.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

REPLACEMENTS MUST BE REPLACED BEFORE TOO LATE

By William German

The baseball strike is real simple.

In fact, I think Atlanta Braves owner Ted Turner summed it up best in a labor dispute a few years ago when he said at an owners' meeting, "Gentlemen, we have a legalized monopoly here and we're f---ing it up."

It's nice when things are consistent over the years.

As you know, the government doesn't control professional baseball. The Supreme Court ruled in 1922 that baseball wasn't "trade or commerce," giving it antitrust exemption. The ruling has been upheld twice since then.

The players gained meaningful free agency in 1975, but, thanks to the monopoly big-league owners have, the new players union only had one group of potential employers to bargain with.

Those big-hearted guys showed how committed they were to fairness by colluding to not sign any free agents in the mid-’80s. Ever wonder why Carlton Fisk only played with two teams? Wasn't tradition.

These days, the owners are just losing too much money on player payrolls. Therefore, they will not budge on issues such as a salary cap or a "luxury tax," both designed to limit players' earnings and guarantee profits.

The players aren't going to give back everything they've ever struck or been locked out to get. They want to make money, same as you or me.

As a result, we've got the worst kinds of baseball losers patrolling spring training facilities. Guys who wouldn't make it out of Double A in ten years, assuming they were allowed to play that long. Guys who couldn't get Michael Jordan out. Guys who couldn't get on base against Mitch Williams.

Losers.

People, like my co-worker to your left, say the players are "greedy." Well, hell yeah, they're greedy. Pay me $40 million over however many years, and I'll still want more, for the simple reason that I can get it.

These people's skills -- however useless in the working world they are -- are valued highly in this market, the wild economical world of major-league baseball. But their skills will deteriorate before too long.

They have to get theirs. It's just common sense. A lot of these guys went into professional ball right out of high school.

Sure, some of them want to play ball, have talked about crossing the line. Some of them are stupid.

Does anybody remember the football strike about six years ago? If you remember it like I do, you probably watched the games on television to get a few laughs, but that was <I>it<P>.

Lord knows you wouldn't have been crazy enough to get in your car and attend one of those farces, no matter how low ticket prices dropped. The price of the gas it took to drive over there would have been too expensive.

Now it's going to happen again. No one will show up, the owners will have to cave in, and the real guys will come back.

If you want a good example of what I'm talking about, players' mythical "greed," then consider the case of Cameron Drew.

A lot of you may not remember who that is, which is my whole point. Drew was a hell of a hitting prospect for the Astros in the late '80s who tore up his knee during a September call-up, ending his career.

I don't know whether Drew washes cars for a living or is a millionaire in some other line of work. But I know he would have wanted to make as much money as he could have for the brief time he spent in the majors.

Wouldn't we all?

<B>German would fight like hell for the right to make millions doing anything.<P>

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

 

"IT IS IMPORTANT TO GIVE SOMETHING BACK."

THOUGH STILL FAST, FORMER UH TRACK STAR LEWIS RUNNING FOR DIFFERENT CAUSE NOW

by M. S. Ameen

Cougar Daily Staff

Some would call former Houston Cougars track star Frederick Carlton Lewis a "pillar of the community."

And then, some would not.

A pillar is a stationary object. Therefore, it's doubtful anyone could hope to get away with describing Olympian Carl Lewis as immobile.

Aside from this silliness, however, it can be seen that Lewis works hard to support the younger generation of track athletes within and outside the Houston community.

"My responsibility is to young people," Lewis says. "I'm concerned about kids getting through college so they can create opportunities for themselves."

Lewis, a member of four U.S. Olympic Teams since 1980, has a list of track and field accomplishments that would fill this page.

But all that really needs to be said is that Lewis has brought home eight Olympic gold medals and was named <I>Track & Field News<P> World Athlete of the 1980s.

His name is not only recognized nationwide, but also worldwide. And few have brought as much attention to the sport.

As a UH volunteer assistant coach, Lewis brings more than just awards back to the community that watched and supported him as he worked to carve out his own chapter in track and field history.

"UH has given me a lot," Lewis says. "It's important for me to be able give something back."

The Olympian is in his eighth season as an assistant to Houston head coach Tom Tellez, who Lewis says is the chief variable that brought him to UH in 1980.

Lewis' experience and presence no doubt aid the continued history of success of the many UH track and field superstars.

"I'm proud to be a part of the program here," Lewis says. "But they (UH coaching staff) do all the work. I can't take any credit."

This season, Lewis is devoting the majority of his time to coaching the men's sprint relay teams. He works with the men's 4x100, 4x200, 4x400 and sprint medley teams.

Junior sprinter/long jumper Sheddric Fields, in his third season with UH, has worked with Lewis during each of those years. In training with Lewis and other Olympian volunteers (including 100-meter world-record holder Leroy Burrell), Fields says he appreciates their experience.

"They help make you better," he says. "Not only by helping your technique, but by just being out there ( at practice)."

Another example of Lewis' commitment to the future of younger athletes came in 1991, when the Robertson Stadium track needed resurfacing, a costly process.

A donation from Lewis made the new track a reality, but he is quick to modestly slight his generous action.

Anyone can give money, but the giving of time is usually what makes the biggest impact. On any given day, a trip to Robertson Stadium during practice will almost always find Lewis training and also teaching.

But collegians are not the only athletes that benefit from his paternalism.

The Carl Lewis Relays, held in Robertson Stadium on March 4, were an opportunity for younger athletes to attend a collegiate meet. Teams from 18 area high schools were all invited to compete.

"We can have a larger impact on the community and the sport in general if we invite the high schools to compete," Lewis says. "It gives the young people a chance to run on a track that Leroy Burrell and Carl Lewis train on. That's exciting for them."

Lewis was 18 when he became the youngest male athlete to make the 1980 U.S. Olympic team (although it failed to compete because of the US boycott). Despite some well-documented differences in the past with the various governing bodies of U.S. track and field, Lewis continues to work diligently. He continues to compete and expend his energies in helping future generations.

His gift is golden and he says he willingly and openly shares it. Lewis says he definitely understands that the future lies in the world's children.

"I am enjoying track as much as ever," he says. "I'm getting to work with the kids."

As for his own future, Lewis says he is feeling and training as well as ever. It is even possible he will attempt to make a fifth U.S. Olympic team.

If he does indeed make it to Atlanta in 1996, he stands to be one of the oldest competing athletes at 35 years of age.

But age does not concern Carl Lewis. He says he is well aware that, in being a part of the lives of youth, one's own life will remain youthful.

 

*******************************************************

*******************************************************

BYE BYE, LOVE

MEETING-AT-MICKEY-D'S FILM NOT TOO CHEESY

by Joey Guerra

Daily Cougar Staff

I must admit that the new comedy <I>Bye Bye, Love<P> wasn't at the top of my "must-see" movie list. The film, which stars Matthew Modine, Randy Quaid and Paul Reiser, looks incredibly cheesy in previews. The print ads, depicting three happy dads and their children, are sickeningly sweet. Even the title is sappy.

To say the movie was a pleasant surprise would be a fair statement. Genuine sweetness pervades almost every scene, and the film contains dozens of humorous sequences, such as when Vic (Quaid) comments on his ex-wife's car: "I see you're driving the child-support mobile."

Unfortunately, some of my fears about the movie were realized. Predictability, unnecessary side stories and awkward moments of dramatic tension dilute the overall success of the film.

<I>Bye Bye, Love<P> is one weekend in the lives of Vic, Dave (Modine) and Donny (Reiser), three best friends/single dads. The movie takes an often-humorous look at their relationships with their kids and their attempts to get back into the dating scene.

Vic is a father of two who holds a cynical view of relationships, which is why he's had only three dates in the past year (two if you don't count his cousin). Quaid's smarminess makes for some funny moments, such as when he tries to guess where his ex-wife is off to when she leaves town. ("Where are you going, a witches' convention?")

Quaid also is party to one of the movie's true gems, a blind date involving his character and Lucille, played by the hilarious Janeane Garofalo. Vic spends an agonizing evening with Lucille, dealing with her indecision on what to eat, a nagging hairball and her insane personality. When she is described as "<I>the<P> date" by Vic's friends, the offended Lucille retorts, "<I>The<P> date? As in <I>the<P> cow or <I>the<P> chicken?" The moment is priceless.

Also providing a winning performance is Reiser, the movie's true star. His Donny is a likable, optimistic character who wants love from a woman and from his daughter Emma, played by Eliza Dushku. The charm Reiser emits on <I>Mad About You<P> comes through in the film and almost overshadows its shortcomings.

Almost is not enough. The movie falters in various areas, beginning with a few of the central performances. Modine's Dave is supposed to be a suave ladies' man, but he comes across like a nerdy twit trying to be cool. (Maria Pitillo acts circles around him as his beautiful and too-patient girlfriend, Kim.) Modine seems hesitant with the role, and we are never really sympathetic with his character.

Equally frustrating is Dushku's performance as Donny's daughter. While she makes a decent attempt, Dushku does not possess the dramatic prowess necessary in the final third of the movie, where she inexplicably goes from shy teen to party girl in a matter of minutes. (We find out later the reasoning behind this personality switch is the usual "Your divorce is my fault" number. What a shocker!)

Another problem occurs in those dramatic scenes. They seem forced, and transplanted from another, not-as-good movie. Director Sam Weisman seems to be going for heartstrings, but all I felt was heartburn. He excels in pulling off the movie's comedic angle, but drama is not his forte.

There are, of course, other problems, such as a sidebar story dealing with Walter (Ed Flanders), a member of the McDonald's "Adopt-a-Geezer" program, and Max (Johnny Whitworth), a teenage employee who befriends Walter. The reason behind this story is obviously the parallel to the other father-child relationships, but it really is trite. Who cares about two Mickey-D's employees drawn together by their tragic commonality? Not me.

Mention has to be made of the Golden Arches themselves, which serve as the child-exchange site. "The Friday night exchange of custody, the new American ritual," says Dr. David Townsend, an obnoxious radio host played by Rob Reiner. McDonald's is also the focal point of outings and deep conversation among the three amigos.

Overall, <I>Bye Bye, Love<P> is a muddled movie with sweet intentions. The point that marriage may end but family lasts forever is made, but the process could have been sharper. Director Weisman should stay away from drama, and Modine needs a few acting tips, at least in this case. You probably won't love it, but don't say bye bye based on cheesy previews (like I almost did). You might like it.

<I>Bye Bye, Love<P>

Stars: Matthew Modine, Paul Reiser

Director: Sam Weisman

**1/2 stars

 

****************************************************************

****************************************************************

 

<I>GLASS MENAGERIE<P> A FRAGILE BUT FUNNY PRODUCTION

by David Bell

Contributing Writer

After presenting such lighter works as <I>Nunsense<P> and <I>The Royal Family<P>, Country Playhouse buckles down and tackles an American classic. <I>The Glass Menagerie<P>, a semi-autobiographical drama by Tennessee Williams, is flawed, but still very enjoyable.

The play, set in St. Louis during the '30s, opens with Tom Wingfield (John Wilson), a struggling author, introducing his painfully shy sister, Laura (Alison Burke), and overbearing mother, Amanda, (Barbara Lasater) directly to the audience. With his beautifully poetic opening and closing monologues, Tom (Tennessee's real name) acts as the narrator.

Since the father " ... skipped the light fantastic out of town ... " years before, Tom is forced to put his writing aside and support his mother and sister by taking a menial job in a warehouse. Sensing that Tom is on the verge of following in his father's footsteps, Amanda solicits Tom's help in finding his replacement: a husband to support her vulnerable daughter.

Tom invites Jim (Brian Donnell), a co-worker, to the apartment. As Amanda cleans house in joyful anticipation of the "gentleman caller," the word "terror" appears on a projection screen above the stage. Laura, who would much rather be left alone with her records and her fragile glass collection, dreads the impending encounter and nearly faints when he arrives.

As the audience becomes more and more attached to the characters, the suspense of whether or not Amanda can find a man to support her daughter heightens to the tragic climax of this emotionally moving play.

From the beginning of the play, Wilson, as Tom, forms an immediate rapport with the audience. His genteel southern accent and careful delivery are well coupled with Williams' poetic style. He is a graceful actor who succeeds in charming the audience. However, he has a certain dispassionate distance from the story. Tom has one eye on the exit throughout the play, and Wilson's portrayal often fails to illustrate those feelings.

The role of Amanda is one of the great characters of the American stage and is a challenge for any ambitious actress. Lasater meets this challenge. Her performance as the faded southern belle " ... clinging frantically to another time and place" is emotionally charged and on the mark. The audience celebrates Amanda's little victories and is saddened by her defeats. The scenes in which Amanda sells magazine subscriptions over the telephone are the acting highlights of the show.

Burke and Donnell, the two supporting performers, seem somewhat inexperienced. Although they work well within the ensemble, Alison's Laura doesn't quite convey the absolute terror of meeting Jim, and Brian's hasty speaking voice is hard to understand at times.

Director Pamela Welch's staging works well in the claustrophobic atmosphere of the tiny apartment. The relationships of the characters are well defined by their blocking.

However, there are some unusual decisions made. The absent father's photograph intermittently projected onto the screen instead of hung in the apartment, and Laura's exaggerated limp, take away from the subtlety the author intended. The disappearance of Laura's collection of glass animals in Act II, probably to create more space to move, should be avoided due to the fact that this menagerie is one of the most important symbols in the show.

Tennessee's descriptions of the sets, costumes and lights are just as poetic as his dialogue, and so the designers had a special task before them.

Lighting designer Betty Wilson succeeds in creating a dusky, blue atmosphere that is instrumental in reminding the audience that this is a memory play.

The characters look quite at home in their costumes, thanks to Carmen Sewell's designs. Laura's flowing dresses, the fabrics of which radiate her tiny trembles, are a nice addition to her character, as Amanda's outdated formal dress is to hers.

Rick Bertolett's set design adds a wonderful dimension to the play. The whole cramped apartment floats above a layer of translucent glass, indicating the fragile state of the Wingfield's current condition.

<I>The Glass Menagerie<P> is a dark, sometimes funny depiction of the dangers of living in a world of imagination. Despite the imperfections, Country Playhouse succeeds in presenting this work in an accurate and entertaining approach.

<I>The Glass Menagerie<P> plays Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. through April 8. Tickets are $12, or $7 on Friday nights with a student ID. Country Playhouse is adjacent to the Town and Country Mall at 12802 Queensbury. For more information call 467-4497.

Photo caption: Alison Burke stars as Laura, the timid glass collector, and Brian Donnell stars as Jim, her gentleman caller, in the Country Playhouse production of <I>The Glass Menagerie<P>.

 

*****************************************************************

*****************************************************************

 

OL' BLUE EYES STILL SHINES

AFTER ALMOST SIXTY YEARS IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS, FRANK SINATRA CAN STILL MAKE BEAUTIFUL MUSIC, AS PROVEN BY HIS LATEST ALBUM <I>DUETS II<P>.

Photo courtesy of Pace

by Jim Presnell

Daily Cougar Staff

Hard to fathom that Frank Sinatra encompasses six decades of great music in his career. Long one of the most notable voices in American popular music, ol' blue eyes recorded his first session way back in 1939.

After the worldwide success of last year's <I>Duets<P>, Sinatra has followed up with a second album full of quality material, <I>Duets II.<P>

This release contains Sinatra sing-alongs with some of the top artists in the international pop, rock, jazz and country-music fields.

Included this time are such luminaries as Jimmy Buffett, Neil Diamond, Lena Horne, Chrissie Hynde, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Patti LaBelle, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme, Lorrie Morgan, Willie Nelson, Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Wonder and Gladys Knight, among others.

These songs sound great reinterpreted in this fashion. With Chrissie Hynde singing duet on "Luck be a Lady," the aura of rightness comes through. The same goes for Lena Horne performing with Frank on "Embraceable You."

Interestingly enough, even the singer's son, Frank Sinatra Jr., gets into the act here; he and his father sing "My Kind of Town" together.

It's not exactly the passing of the torch, but it'll do.

 

*****************************************************************

*****************************************************************

MICHELLE MANZALES PERFORMS IN "ON FRIENDLY TERMS," A DANCE INCLUDED IN THE PRODUCTION OF <I>METAMORPHOSIS IN MOTION<P>.

 

Photo by Tricia Garcia

Dance Theater Ensemble will leave you humming

by Barry Tipton

Contributing Writer

At 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Cullen Performance Hall, the University Dance Theater Ensemble will perform its annual collage of dance styles, known as <I>Metamorphosis In Motion<P>. Even if you are not a big fan of modern dance, this show may change your mind with its diverse styles.

There is a slightly disjointed continuity to the opening piece of the show. The music ethereally flows into the audience and, along with the dancer's movements, lulls the viewer into a nearly hypnotic reverie. Like a slowly awakening entity, the piece slowly gathers momentum and begins to breathe with increasing energy.

The pieces that follow are a tangy combination of a wide variety of modern and traditional dance elements. The only constant is change. The order in which the dance numbers are performed leaves a bit to be desired; the dances may be slightly more effective with a smoother transition from the dreamlike to the violently frenetic.

The dance department is stuffed with talent this semester. Michelle Manzales stands out in the Latin numbers, adding a zesty, almost erotic, energy that is felt in the back of the theater. "The ensemble is a very strong and committed group of performers," said Joanna Friesen, head of the UH dance department.

Two pieces are especially memorable. "Where the Trees Dream" is a beautiful, surrealist dream of a mysterious forest. While the choreography is a bit awkward in parts, the dancers sail through it with panache. The hip-hop routine "If," set to Janet Jackson's song of the same name, is explosive. The energy of the dancers and the fantastic choreography of Jacqueline Nalett mesh perfectly with the music. It is likely that you will leave Cullen Performance Hall humming the tune.

Tickets are $6 for general admission and $5 for students and staff.

 

******************************************************************

******************************************************************

 

EXPERIENCE <I>THE RAPTURE<P> WITH SIOUXSIE & THE BANSHEES

by Joey Guerra

Daily Cougar Staff

"The album represents an evolving journey, of an idea or maybe a person, a journey that travels many directions, sometimes all at the same time."

The journey being described by Siouxsie and the Banshees member Siouxsie Sioux takes place on the band's fourteenth album, aptly titled <I>The Rapture<P>. With this album, the group continues to put out lyric-driven music, but also gives off a newfound sense of warmth and familiarity.

From the perky, upbeat sound of "O Baby," the album's first single, to the love-gone-wrong theme of "Tearing Apart," Siouxsie and the Banshees excel in both vocal and instrumental areas. Sioux's expressive voice reflects the hurt and anger heard in different places throughout the album, such as in the song "Fall From Grace." Jon Klein's marvelous guitar accompanies lyrics like, "Yet nothing is forever/So come nearer and confess/But like a tender bruise/Temptation waits in one caress." Songs like these have the potential to open The Banshees up to a whole new audience because of their depth and accessibility.

The second part of this musical trip takes us to a darker place. "Not Forgotten" and "Sick Child" create atmospheres of mystery with haunting drums by Budgie and excellent cello accompaniment by Martin McCarrick. The songs overflow with an aura of tragedy and tainted love. While the lyrics by Budgie are a bit depressing, the effect is undeniable. Just don't listen to these songs on a bad day.

Something you won't want to listen to at all is "Falling Down," which never really decides on a beat or tempo. The song is all over the place, and it is basically just inconsequential. Skip over track number eight.

Definitely worth checking out are "The Double Life" and "Love Out Me." "The Double Life" is another one of those darn moody pieces, dealing with the true person everyone is afraid to face inside of himself. "Love Out Me" echoes the frustrations of loving someone you wished you didn't, for whatever reason. The song pulses with an urgency and a hard-edged sound. These messages may seem a little heavy-handed, but what makes them work is a sense of sincerity. There are no false pretenses or put-on emotions around here.

Overshadowing every other song, message and idea, though, is the album's title track. Lush and beautiful, "The Rapture" takes you into its own world of "unfurling blues and greens" and a "swirling violet stream." What's so amazing about this song is that it is given time to develop. There's no push for the usual five-minutes-or-less limit. It unfolds and grows until it becomes something alive and wondrous, a spiritual and emotional description of love. Clouds, moonlight, flowing manes and swirling colors. Hey folks, we're talking more ambience than most movies.

Needless to say, Siouxsie and the Banshees have created a very unique album. Like Madonna's <I>Bedtime Stories<P>, <The Rapture<P> succeeds because of heartfelt lyrics and a sense of familiarity. This change turns out one of the best albums in recent memory by this U.K.-based group. Beginning with hope and joy and ending with a tragic goodbye, Siouxsie and the Banshees truly take us on a rapturous experience.

 

 

Visit The Daily Cougar