Elijah, please shut up

The last time we heard from Elijah McGrew, the Oak Cliff activist and erstwhile city council candidate, he was making his third forlorn attempt to win the District 4 council seat. McGrew, a gadfly who gained recognition in the early '90s by crusading against topless clubs and hourly-rate fleabag hotels, ran in and lost the District 4 race in 1991, 1993, and 1999. The last loss he blames on the Dallas Observer for printing an article ("It's the money," April 8, 1999) that suggested he was a deadbeat because he wasn't gainfully employed, had a conviction for misdemeanor assault, pleaded guilty five times to driving without a license, and was evicted six times from various apartments.

Which, to Buzz's mind, doesn't necessarily make him unqualified for city council, but voters thought otherwise.

So we were surprised when McGrew called the Observer the other day to fill us in on his latest cause: helping undocumented Hispanic immigrants learn to navigate the immigration system. Next Saturday, McGrew has scheduled immigration attorney Margaret Donnelly to speak at El Nazareth, a small church in the Pleasant Grove area, on the subject of immigration law.

We asked him what prompted his new activism. He reluctantly answered, and now we're sorry we asked and suspect he's even sorrier he answered. It all began, McGrew says, when his Hispanic girlfriend, while performing an, um, presidential act on him, mentioned that she feared another boyfriend would learn of their trysts. McGrew says he became angry at hearing another man's name and admits to "slapping her around" a little.

The woman no longer speaks to him, and McGrew says he's trying to show contrition by organizing the immigration teach-in and by standing on the sidewalk near her home to "prove I'm a person," a tactic that we hear never fails to impress the ladies. We asked Osiel Aguilar, pastor at El Nazareth, what he thought of the whole brouhaha. "I don't have a side," he said, praising McGrew nonetheless. "He's a good man. He's my friend, and he tries to help."

Which, frankly, makes Buzz feel kind of bad about sharing what he told us. To make it up to him, we'd like to offer some free, helpful advice: "No comment" is always an acceptable answer; never voluntarily discuss your sex life with a reporter; and never, ever strike the person who has their teeth in the vicinity of your genitals.

Falling on a sword

From fellatio, we move to another form of entertainment dear to Buzz's heart: video games. Daikatana, the long-delayed game from Dallas computer gaming bad boy John Romero, is finally out. And we sincerely mean "long-delayed." Until Daikatana's release in late May, it was even odds which would arrive first, the game or the Second Coming.

Daikatana, whose name means "big sword"--it's a Freudian festival this week in Buzz--is the product of ION Storm, the Dallas computer-gaming company founded by Romero, one of the creators of Doom. In non-geek English, that means Romero was the hot, shining star of a multibillion-dollar entertainment industry.

Unfortunately, ION Storm was a royal mess when the Observer visited last year, rife with defections, years behind schedule for Daikatana, and hemorrhaging money. ("Stormy weather," January 14, 1999). It needed a hit.

Did Daikatana deliver? We turned to the Internet message boards to find what gamers are saying, which is best summed up in this note from someone calling himself Chief: "well it does suck." Less terse but better-punctuated reviews on gaming Web zines were not kind either.

Buzz, who buys about two dozen video games a year (who you callin' dork?), played a review copy too briefly to give you an informed opinion. Let's just say we began to lose interest at the start, when Japanese characters pronounced "luck" and "lose," "ruck" and "roose." We did explore the fetid, polluted marsh filled with lethal, giant, mutated mosquitoes that is the first-person shooter's opening level. Apparently, the game is set in Houston. Nobody wants to go to Houston in June. We stopped playing.

PC Data, a software marketing research firm, reports 5,000 copies of the game were sold May 21-27, the week it was released. That number may not represent a full week of sales, but it's well below the threshold for blockbuster games, which sell upwards of 30,000 copies a week. In 1999, an ION Storm officer told the Observer the company hoped to sell 2.5 million copies of Daikatana. Maybe they should call the Houston Chamber of Commerce for marketing help.

She's no Nancy

Michael Faircloth, the clothing designer who created all the inaugural gowns that Texas first lady Laura Bush has worn as well as the suits she wears on the presidential campaign trail, says he is already stitching the garments she will wear at the upcoming GOP convention. "We're working right now on brighter colors--greens, blues, and corals, colors that are uplifting," he says.

There is one hue, however, in which Bush will not appear. "No red," says Faircloth. Why? "Just everyone expects her to wear red."

The memory of Nancy Reagan in red may be too vivid.

Perhaps "colors that are uplifting" are a better fit for compassionate conservatism. Either that, or Bush didn't want to be confused for the woman who inspired so many hateful books by her children and presidential advisors.

Compiled from staff reports by Patrick Williams