Sugar: breakfast of champs

The Baltimore Sun

Frosted Flakes, the new breakfast of champions?

Fresh off Olympic wins in Athens four years ago, Michael Phelps joined the pantheon of great athletes honored on the Wheaties box. This time around, as he basks in even greater Beijing glory, he'll see his mug alongside Tony the Tiger's.

Kellogg's is an official sponsor of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team. As part of that deal, the cereal-maker gets to slap Phelps' picture on boxes of Frosted Flakes and Corn Flakes.

Maybe Phelps himself will sing the jingle: "Kellogg's, because your best days start with ... sugar and high-fructose corn syrup" - two of the top four ingredients in Frosted Flakes.

A 3/4 cup serving packs 11 grams of sugar, nearly three times what's in a bowl of Wheaties.

As Tony says, "They're gr-r-reat!" - just like all those obese kids out there. Boxes will be on grocery shelves, beckoning to aspiring Olympians and future diabetics, by mid-September.

There's no indication that Phelps eats the stuff. His typical post-workout breakfast at Pete's Grille on Greenmount Avenue, according to server Cindy Tighe: one Western omelette, one bowl of grits, home fries, two BLTs with eggs on top and three chocolate chip pancakes. He usually washes it down with water.

Pete's offered all that - the Michael Phelps Special - for $19.99 the past couple of weekends. "I think we might have sold one," Tighe said. "They divided it up between three people."

Clearly Phelps can afford to wolf down all the greasy-spoon fare or sweetened cereal he desires. But should he lend Olympic gold to nutritional tin?

"Athletes should be using their influence as role models to promote physical activity and healthy eating among kids," said Jeff Cronin, communications director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "It's a shame that Michael Phelps is using his celebrity to peddle junk food to children, and we hope he reconsiders.

"The fact is, most American kids aren't burning 10,000 calories a day in the pool and the gym. Phelps is sending exactly the wrong message to children: Eat sugary cereal and you, too, can achieve athletic excellence. He should be encouraging kids to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole gains."

Let's hope that farmers' markets sponsor the 2012 Games.

'Seinfeld' turns 18 yadda, yadda, yadda

What do this year's crop of college freshmen and Seinfeld have in common? Both were born in 1990.

Even by the time the sitcom wrapped up in 1998, the kids were a little young for the likes of shrinkage, master of your domain and "Mulva."

If that makes longtime Seinfeld fans feel old, it makes other people feel worse. Namely, those still trying to milk a living out of the reruns.

Which is why Sony Pictures Television went to the trouble of dispatching a 60-foot "Seinfeld-branded" bio-diesel bus containing a "mini-museum" of Seinfeld props, costumes and foods to Fells Point last night. It's part of a 26-city, cross-country "campus tour" intended to whip up Seinfeld fandom among Gen Y, Z, or whatever those pipsqueaks go by.

The bus hit Maryland before the start of the school year, so the tour settled for Sound Garden music store instead of a college campus.

Along with the bus, there was a 1,700-square-foot "Seinfeld compound" where classic carnival games got a "Seinfeld twist." ("Marine Biologist hole-in-one" putting game, for instance.)

They served up black & white cookies, Twix and allegedly nonfat frozen yogurt.

What, no Junior Mints? Chocolate babka? Big salads?

You'll have to tune in, whippersnappers, to get the references.

Public servants get to practice their yardwork

The director of Gov. Martin O'Malley's Office of Crime Control and Prevention wielded a chain saw the other day. Not in the name of crime control, but school beautification.

Kristen Mahoney was heeding Baltimore schools chief Andres Alonso's call for school volunteers. She and two other O'Malley staffers - deputy legal counsel Cassie Motz and Ashley Valis, who works in intergovernmental affairs - spent last Sunday doing "20 years' worth of weeding" in the courtyard of North Bend Elementary School on the city's west side. They worked alongside the school's new principal, Patricia Burrell, and her city firefighter husband, Aaron Burrell. They'll be back tomorrow with gubernatorial press aide Christine Hansen.

"After this," Mahoney said, "she wants us to help with the PTA."

And no, Mahoney wasn't joking. Even though she doesn't have kids, she said she's game for the PTA.

Connect the dots

Spotted Thursday: a painter, outside Martick's on West Mulberry Street. Does that mean chef Morris Martick isn't closing the place after all? No, Martick insisted yesterday. He was just getting the city off his back for a citation. So I'm never going to have those mussels or lamb chops again? "I don't think so," he said. ... Launched yesterday: a new O'Malley-Brown campaign Web site. The site,, was revamped to tie in with next week's Democratic National Convention. But it sure looks like the Gov has another race in mind. In addition to promoting Barack Obama, the site describes the O'Malley administration's first 16 months as one of "Steady Progress for Maryland." O'Malley friends and foes alike will enjoy the high school yearbook shot of the Boy Gov. ... Spotted earlier this week: Jenna Bush and her twin, Barbara, in front of the Bank of America on Light Street.

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