The blending of shoe marketing and sports reporting was on display Sunday. Dominating the front page of both the Sun-Sentinel and the Palm Beach Post were feature stories about the same thing: The Heat's Dwyane Wade's penchant for falling down on the court. It might seem like a weird coincidence -- how could two reporters, in his case the Post's Hal Habib and the Sentinel's Ira Winderman, get the same idea at the same time on such an obscure topic?
Well, neither Habib nor Winderman got the idea. It came from Converse shoes. Last year Converse ran a commercial featuring Wade's falls on the court and, with the playoffs coming, they are running the ads again, beginning with yesterday's nationally televised game against the Bulls. And Wade, his family members (his sister and father), Pat Riley, and the rest of the Heat are more than happy to the press about it now. So Habib and Winderman, taking the path most traveled, wind up with the same story on the same day, right down to the same "fall guy" headlines. Questionable journalism, but hey, it's the shoes, man, it's the shoes.In other news of news, Fred Grimm proposes a proposal for Sheriff Ken Jenne that I can get behind. Get out of dodge, Kenny boy. Hell, I think the taxpayers will even charter a helicopter for you to climb into after you resign.
The Boy Next Door Back in my cops reporter days, I was constantly amazed at the things people would give me. I wound up with the datebook of a guy who shot himself during a game of Russian Roulette. A photo album of a guy who hanged himself on a neighbor's fence. All manner of strange tchotchkes from murders and other crimes that helped make interesting stories. So when I heard the guy in Oklahoma who killed a 10-year-old neighbor girl and planned to eat her had a blog, I had to check it out.
And the blog, titled "Strange Things Are Afoot At the Circle K," is amazingly still up and running. What is remarkable about what you find there -- and there are four years of posts -- is that this guy seems a lot like your typical Joe Nobody. A dark Joe Nobody, yes, but no worse than your typical Goth geek. Not that he was Goth -- in his everyday life he was tortuously normal. Kevin Underwood is a bored, depressed 26-year-old guy out in the middle of nowhere (Purcell, OK) with above-average intelligence and a dead-end life. I'm not going to get too far into it here, but he's got serious problems with the ladies (as in they won't have anything to do with him), he's all conflicted in regards to morals (for instance, he seems to be simpatico with the devil but is repulsed by the immoral premise of the movie Wedding Crashers), he hates living in the boonies where you have to drive to Texas to get decent porn or a tattoo, he also hates George W. Bush and is fairly politically astute, and he's scraping by at dead-end jobs at a fast food restaurant and grocery store.
Underwood obviously left out his darkest fantasies and plans on the blog, he's incredibly honest about the shitty nature of his life. Sometimes painfully -- and sometimes literally. I leave you with a passage about a day at work at Carl's Jr., the fast food restaurant where he made $6.15 an hour:
"Last night at work sucked. I had to clean the bathrooms, which is nothing new, but when I went to clean them, the men's room was completely and totally disgusting. This is also nothing new, but it was even worse than usual. Men's rooms are the nastiest, filthiest places on the planet. Usually when I go in there I have to clean snot off the wall from where people have picked their nose and wiped it on the wall while they're on the toilet. And there's often crap smeared on things, and I mean actual crap.
Last night it was even worse. The toilet had been filled with toilet paper, to the point that all the water had been sucked up and the paper had formed a big coagulated lump that filled most of the toilet. And then, since the toilet was stopped up, someone had taken a crap in the urinal, or something. It was just a piece of some crap, not an entire turd, I don't know if someone had just put it in there, or if they'd taken a crap in the urinal and got most of it to flush, or what. I don't want to know what some people do in our bathroom. Also, someone's kid had thrown up in the floor. I say it was a kid or a baby, because it was just a tiny pile, and judging from the looks of it, and the smell of the entire bathroom, it was a pile of fresh Froot Loops or Trix cereal.
I'm glad I don't have to clean the bathrooms for almost another week."
This is at least a touch of Travis Bickle in the boonies, people. Underwood was also a bit of obsessed by the numbers his blog (which is named for a line from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure) were getting -- basically a dozen visits a day or so. He's got to be thrilled today: His hit counter has shot up to 86,000 and counting. It's the most popular blog in America.