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Sunday, April 21, 2024 — Houston, TX

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NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Commencement Speaker Rupp emphasizes global service

Thank you very much, David, for the very warm introduction, appropriate on a day when -- I don't know if you've noticed, but the word "warm" has been used by virtually every speaker so far. As David mentioned, Nancy is here with me and we are both delighted to be back on the Rice campus, and in particular to be assembled with you in this place, surely one of the most remarkable academic quadrangles in the world. I am pleased as well that y'all have decided to be here rather than in Crawford for Jenna Bush's wedding. As David has indicated, this occasion is a wonderful time to celebrate for you, the graduating students, for your families, friends who have provided support and for the faculty, staff and board who have worked with you in this achievement. So, graduating students, please raise a resounding cheer for your mentors and teachers, for your families and cherished friends. Let's hear applause for them.That was pretty limp. Again, the warm weather, I guess.


NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Marshall ousts women's tennis in C-USA semifinals

In the realm of sports, effort and talent do not always equate to success and victory, particularly in women's tennis. In this day and age, parity amongst conference rivals leads to any team having a chance of triumphing on any given day. After six hours of grueling play against No. 50 Marshall University, the Owls eventually succumbed in the semifinals of the Conference USA tournament, ending their strong season on a sour note.After closing its season with 10 wins in a row, including a 5-3 shellacking of No. 69 California State University-Northridge, Rice entered the tournament with a first-round bye and began actual play in the second round against the University of Houston. Rice was seeded third in the tournament behind the University of Tulsa and Marshall, while UH came in only at No. 6. Though unranked, the Cougars gave the team a run for its money. The match lasted for over five hours, but the Owls nonetheless pulled away in a 4-3 thrilling comeback victory.


NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

The Kooks' Konk will give you cool kicks

Sometimes, you just want a band that you know will make you smile. A band that makes you feel like you're driving to the beach with the windows down. The Kooks are that band for me. With bouncing rhythm, dreamy English vocals and catchy lyrics, they are exactly what I needed after a few days of locking myself in the library. Their sophomore album, out last month, is named after the studio where they recorded: Konk Studio, founded by the Kinks. The album is a grown-up, relaxed version of their first album. While they don't pull out any new tricks, their sound is much tighter and more pulled together. The quality of the recording has improved immensely and you can tell that the absence of their original bassist hasn't hurt them much at all. They've grown up and stayed young, and it shows.The album begins with a slow fade-in on "See the Sun," with a little acoustic guitar and Luke Pritchard on slow vocals. At first, the amusing lyrics and simple style make me wonder if I have made a mistake. Am I listening to the new Pete Doherty album? Slowly, the album builds to the Kooks I know and love. Bouncy beats, fun hooks and, oh, those dreamy accents. I'm smiling. As I listen to this album, I know it's not the best technically or the most original, but my foot is tapping, and I have a huge grin on my face. The Kooks follow with an intoxicating dance song called "Always Where I Need to Be," which is made much richer by some experimental vocals and an invigorating bass. "Mr. Maker," the third track, brings up memories of the absurd anecdotal songs of The Beatles. This might be the best track on the album. Its simplistic chorus weaves with highly perceptive verses to make it certainly notable, if not memorable.


NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Baseball clinches conference title with sweep of Houston

There were many things to cheer about as the fifth-ranked baseball team played its final home series last weekend. With a sweep over rival University of Houston, the Owls (39-11, 18-3 C-USA) secured the regular season Conference USA crown, marking Rice's 13th conference title in a row dating back to 1996. In addition to the team accolades, two players were announced to be in the running for significant national collegiate baseball awards, and three were honored for their academic achievements this semester. And with the graduations of seniors Will McDaniel and Cole St.Clair last Saturday, the team had even more cause for celebration before the contest against the Cougars.Most pressing on the Owls' minds at the moment, however, is their series against Tulane University, which opened Thursday in New Orleans, Louis., and will continue tomorrow. Tulane (36-15, 13-6 C-USA) is not likely to go down easily; outside of facing the Owls, the Green Wave have dominated conference play. Tulane will rely heavily on the arm of pitching phenom Shooter Hunt, a junior with a 1.97 ERA and 105 strikeouts in 77.2 innings pitched.


NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Baseball takes College World Series berth with win over Texas A&M

The baseball team clinched a third-consecutive College World Series berth with a 6-5 win over the visiting Texas A&M Aggies in Sunday's Super Regional game, and while the opponent and result were the same as last year, the late-game heroics were a welcome addition.With two outs and a runner on and his team's 5-4 deficit glowing on the scoreboard in the game's eighth inning, head coach Wayne Graham watched the arm of Aggie reliever Travis Starling fire a pitch towards home plate. He then watched the bat of junior catcher Adam Zornes fire it back over the left field wall for what would prove to be the game-winning home run.


NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

RDT spring show offers memorable experience

Rice Dance Theatre's spring show, "Dancing on the Edge," did not keep me sitting on the edge of my seat during the performance. Having gone to see the show on a man-date with my roommate, I recall looking over at him after the first dance after intermission and saying, "There are three dances left? Mistake."Despite the initial negative reaction I garnered from the show, however, it seems much more powerful as I look back on it a month later. The dancers moved across the stage gracefully and beautifully in most cases, and the synchronization between them was not without flaw, but it was admirable. The lighting of the stage was filled with a variety of usually deep and dark, cool colors. One dance utilized a strobe light and included a warning in the program for epileptics. The strobe light turned out to be so weak, though, that I doubt the most sensitive of epileptics could have gone into seizure, and this potentially dynamic visual just fizzled instead of adding sizzle.


NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Speaker addresses clean election reform

For this election year, political fervor may have gripped many students on campus who look into donating money to fund their favored candidate's election. But Dr. Joan Mandle, president of Democracy Matters, an organization devoted to campaign financing that has 70 chapters in college campuses across the United States, claims these donations may not make a difference for many politicians, who mainly answer to corporate interests and the privileged elite. Mandle, a professor at Colgate University, spoke April 21 in the Miner Lounge of the Rice Memorial Center.Mandle began her talk, entitled "White House for Sale? Do Students Really Have a Voice?" by acknowledging former Student Association President Laura Kelley with arranging for her to come to Rice. Kelley, a Brown College senior, began her internship with Democracy Matters earlier this semester. Mandle said students in the internship focus on reaching out to other students and enacting political change on their college campuses.


NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Commentary: Where have all the Rangers fans gone

When I first got to Texas, images of 10-gallon hats, five-pound belt buckles and 24/7 barbecuing were floating through my head. The theme song to that mental slideshow was "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone," sung by '90s-crooner Paula Cole, if only because I was in a soft-rock mood, and it had "cowboys" in the title.Of course, much has changed since then - I now know barbecues come and go as the rain pleases, and those belt buckles only really exist in the realm of Wild West dance clubs. Cole's song still comes on every once in a while, between Paul Simon and Pearl Jam, but after a couple semesters of meet-and-greet, the lyrics in my mind now say, "Where have all the Texas Rangers fans gone?"


NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

One-stop CWS coverage

The Rice Owls are headed to Omaha for the College World Series, and the Thresher's got it covered.


NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Staff Editorial:Parking proposal rejection na've

Earlier this month, President David Leebron reviewed the Parking Committee's decision for next year's parking fees. The committee, which had proposed a return to the tiered-surcharge system and cutting Greenbriar Lot's surcharge by half for students, found its work from the past year largely overlooked when Leebron rejected much of its proposal (see story, page 1). We applaud the committee's willingness to listen to student opinion; earlier this spring, committee members presented their ideas to members of the Student Association, generating positive feedback on the possibility of cutting rates to make Greenbriar Lot more affordable.


NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Fresno St. bests Rice at College World Series - June 16

Before the baseball team's opening game at the College World Series in Omaha, Neb., most analysts agreed that the Owls would have to find some way to jumpstart their offense if they were to make a serious run for the title. Nobody expected that the pitching would need to be resuscitated, too. The underdog Fresno St. was chillingly efficient in its complete dismantling of sixth-ranked Rice's pitching efforts; the Bulldogs turned 13 hits and six walks into 17 runs as they continued their rampage over nationally ranked opponents with a victory Sunday afternoon. Fresno St. has now defeated five top-25 teams in its notable postseason run.


NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

BioE professor wins award for photobiology research

The American Society of Photobiology awarded Associate Bioengineering Professor Rebekah Drezek the New Investigator Award in March. Drezek, also an electrical engineering associate professor, was awarded $1,000 and will speak about her research in June at the society's annual meeting in San Francisco. Drezek is the first bioengineer to receive this award.According to its Web site, the American Society of Photobiology gives the New Investigator Award to a young researcher under the age of 36 who has conducted a notable amount of research in photobiology and photomedicine, a discipline of biology that studies applications of light and optics in biology and medicine. The award is also open to researchers who are new to the field. Honorees are nominated anonymously and selected by a committee.


NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

LSU eliminates Rice from CWS with 6-5 comeback win

When he left the game with two outs in the fifth inning, starting pitcher Chris Kelley took a sigh of relief. He had done his job, holding Louisiana State University scoreless through more than half of Tuesday's elimination game at the College World Series. It was one of the baseball team's best performances by a starter in the postseason, and as senior reliever Cole St.Clair recorded a convincing strikeout to end the inning, Rice fans were feeling comfortable with their team's 5-0 lead.Three innings later, however, after the Tigers marched off the field with an improbable 6-5 comeback victory, that feeling of comfort had turned into disbelief.


NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

News in brief

College Way closureStarting last Wednesday, College Way in front of Autry Court began a daily scheduled 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. closure. The street will reopen next Tuesday. Construction crews are building a man hole and tying in new storm lines, Facilities Service Center Supervisor Eugene Kettlewell said in an e-mail last Friday.


NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Column: Rice blogs reveal university's potency and flaws

I love blogs. News blogs, tech blogs and such, those are nice. But the best blogs are those personal blogs: Livejournal, Xanga, etc., because it is there where you can find real information. Blogs that provide analysis and whatnot just provide a new avenue to information that is already out there. But in these more personal exhibitions, people are willing to spill information they would never, ever reveal in personal conversation. Those blogs provide true insight into peoples' characters, giving little secrets straight from the horse's mouth - or keyboard. Whatever.The best thing about these personal blogs is that people will actively list their personal associations, such as home town, interests or university. With this information, five minutes of clicking can provide an interesting cross-section of campus - Christ-o-philes, coke fiends and other traditional members of the Rice fauna. In these HTML-framed journals, Rice students spill their deepest secrets and personal beliefs. While the entries may be entertaining at times, they also paint a rather distressing picture of the student body.



NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Hercules and Love Affair anything but pretentious

Eponymous albums with Internet buzz are hot right now: First Vampire Weekend, and now the new self-titled LP from Hercules and Love Affair. The latter has been touted as a "reinvention of disco," which is sort of like reinventing New Coke or trench warfare or anything else that sucked, then died. H&LA is signed under DFA Records - the label behind !!! and LCD Soundsystem - and DFA has been known to straddle the fine line between cool and pretentious music. Doesn't it already sound like an album you won't understand?Luckily for the listeners, Hercules and Love Affair is an album that transcends the pretentious attitude of anything with a dance beat. It's everything you love about subtle bass guitar and drums fused with semi-androgynous, powerful vocals and an element of atmosphere that can only be described as, well, mythical.


NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Common Reading Selected

Those who were hoping next year's common reading would be the timely political memoir by Allen Raymond, How to Rig an Election: Confessions of a Republican Operative, may have to wait until the 2012 presidential election. This month the common reading committee reached a decision, selecting Greg Mortenson's memoir, Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace … One School at a Time, which they have since distributed to Orientation Week coordinators, advisers, resident associates, college counselors and next year's incoming class.The common reading committee met before winter recess and periodically throughout the spring, and is made up of undergraduate students, including former O-Week coordinators, a faculty member, a graduate student and Assistant to the President Matthew Taylor.


NEWS 5/15/08 7:00pm

Commentary: A disappointing finish, but more than just a two-and-out

Well, that was quick."Owlmaha" was here, but if you took a break to fret over Willie Randolph or throw out your salmonella-laced tomatoes, you returned to find Rice's College World Series presence replaced by a sickening vacuum. In our seventh CWS appearance since 1997, the Owls choked their way to the program's fourth two-and-out in seven tries, but only its first since Notre Dame bounced the Owls with a 5-3 two-run walk-off bomb in 2002.