Shoe Be Do Be

Unreal looks into the future and sees... debt and tennis shoes. Plus: a bat house for sale and a Benz full of beer.

Since late 2005, self-proclaimed internationally known sneakerographer Al Cabino has undertaken a one-man crusade to compel the Nike corporation to manufacture the gray high-top sneakers Michael J. Fox wore in Back to the Future Part II. They are, he says, "the holy grail of movie sneakers." The BTTF trilogy was co-written by University City native Bob Gale, and features a cameo by U. City's iconic stone lions.

Unreal: Why?

Internationally Known Sneakerographer Al Cabino: You've got Eddie Murphy's Adidas in Beverly Hills Cop. You can buy them. You can buy the Nike Cortez that Forrest Gump wore. You can get the Kill Bill Tigers that Uma Thurman wore. You can get Rocky's Chuck Taylors when he runs up the stairs. If you look at movie sneakers, and there are a lot of them, these are the only ones that were created for the film and they were never worn beyond the silver screen.

Dan Zettwoch

Where are the originals?

There's a pair at the Nike headquarters. And there was more than one pair created for the film, because if you've seen the movie — and I've seen it many times — he jumps in the water to get away from the bad guys, so obviously they made more than one pair.

Describe the shoes.

These shoes are futuristic, because they're set in 2015. And they're also nostalgic, because the movie came out in 1989. Maybe because of space/time issues it's impossible for Nike to reissue them now. Like, if they arrived on the planet it would upset nature or something. There's a sneaker legend that says in 2015 Nike will come out with them. This I cannot confirm to you, but someone supposedly back in 1989 wrote a letter to Nike, and the answer came from [Nike founder] Phil Knight: "You have to be patient."

Any components to your plan besides the petition?

It's strategic. It resembles chess, or that Nintendo game, Zelda. Some people have said, "You're going after the Holy Grail. Who do you think you are, Indiana Jones?" But when I was young, I always wanted Indiana Jones' hat. And when I visited Los Angeles when I was young, at, I believe, Disneyland, they were selling the hat, and I could get it. I got it.

Fun With Figures
During a speech at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport during the dark days after September 11, 2001, President George Bush employed his usual string of declarative statements to tell airline employees: "Get on board. Do your business around the country. Fly and enjoy America's great destination spots. Get down to Disney World in Florida. Take your families and enjoy life, the way we want it to be enjoyed."

Taking a spin through Disney World's Pirates of the Caribbean is patriotic? Who knew waving the ol' red, white and blue could be such swashbuckling fun!

But there's a dark side to doing your duty for your country. The killjoys at the St. Louis Federal Reserve report in the Regional Economist that while Americans have gone on a shopping offensive against the terrorists, the troops are bankrolling their mission on credit.

In 2001 median household income was $42,500, while median household debt was $41,300. In 2004 household income inched its way to $43,200, a gain of 1.6 percent. Debt, meanwhile, ballooned to $55,300 — a 34 percent leap.

"Over time, this is expected to become a serious liability for those families," warns economist Kevin L. Kliesen.

No shit, Sherlock. If we continue at the same rate, then by about 2026 the median household will have to spend its entire income paying off its debt! Just take a gander at this totally unscientific chart:

*Based on the assumption that increases will remain consistent at 1.6 percent every three years (for income) and 34 percent every three years (for debt). Also based on an interest rate of 10 percent.


Benz There, Done What?
Jim Walsh and his wife, Sue, don't get a lot of visitors at their ranch-style home in rural Chesterfield. "We're so far back from the road, we don't even get people at Halloween," Jim Walsh says. "We only get people on Sunday — they think this is the parsonage for Bonhomme Presbyterian next door."

So Walsh was a bit nervous when a stranger triggered the motion-sensor light and tried to get in the front door at 10:20 on a recent Wednesday night. When that didn't work, the man went around and tried the back door. Walsh, a retired airline pilot, told his wife it was a deer and quietly called 911.

Three Chesterfield cop cars arrived minutes later, but they couldn't find anyone in the house. Perplexed, Walsh glanced out his front door. There he saw a brand-new Mercedes S550 with a Plaza Motors sticker, its interior featuring a pile of exhausted Busch cans. Neither the car, nor the cans, belonged to Walsh.

The perp was passed out on the back patio, drunk.

"He told the police he thought he was home and wanted to go to sleep," says Walsh, who describes the man as forty-ish, white and wearing a polo shirt and a nice watch.

Walsh declined to press charges for attempted breaking and entering. The police told him there wasn't anything they could do beyond moving the Mercedes to the church parking lot and driving the drunk guy home.

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