More seasoning for Phelps' mom

April 12, 2009|By LAURA VOZZELLA

Debbie Phelps has cast off the mantle of "America's Mother" for something a little more Sir Thomas More.

Henceforth, the world's most famous swimming mom is to be known as "A Mother for All Seasons." That's the title of her memoir, which hit bookstores last week.

Why not invoke the saint who stood up to Henry VIII in a tale about a single mom who raised an Olympic phenom? Only Phelps doesn't lose her head, even in the part - page 272 of the 274-page book - about Michael Phelps' bong picture.

Not that the word bong or pot or marijuana ever appears in the post-Beijing epilogue, which also fails to mention Caroline Caz Pal, the Vegas cocktail waitress Michael brought home for Thanksgiving. That would be too indelicate, even for a book billed as a warts-and-all look at the family's "roller-coaster ride."

The Mother for All Seasons refers only to "the media deluge stirred by a British tabloid photograph of Michael taken at a college party."

She does offer a bit of insight into her reaction.

"I was, as Michael expressed to a reporter, 'Not happy,' " she writes with the assistance of co-author Mim Eichler Rivas. "Let me quickly add, however, that as the mother for all seasons that I'm committed to being, I could not have been more proud of how Michael dealt with the onslaught, taking full responsibility for his actions, not blaming anyone but himself. Michael has not only taken his lumps, recommitting himself to the sport he loves, but has gone even further by promising never to repeat the mistakes that have let his admirers down."

The Recent Unpleasantness has even inspired Mama Phelps to take on a new cause.

"As one of the next projects I intend to undertake - with a note to myself not to limit my own possibilities - I'd like to do more to energize our Olympic movement not just to train our athletes to become champions, but also give them opportunities after victory to find structure and focus in arenas other than the field of competition."

So there it is: an acknowledgment, however oblique, that after all the years of eat, sleep, swim, her son is rather lost when he's at loose ends on dry land.

The day the book came out, the allegedly chastened Michael was in New York, where he found his way to the club Marquee, The New York Daily News reports. He reportedly stuck to a legal drug - alcohol - though in quantities that didn't scream "recommitted."

"He was drinking straight from a bottle of Grey Goose, and when the deejay started playing M.I.A.'s 'Paper Planes,' he got up, started dancing like a loon and kept on yelling, 'Shots!' " the paper reports.

Phelps was at the club with Pal. The Mother for All Seasons was nowhere in sight.

Turns out she was in New York, too. That's because bright and early the next morning, mother and son had a date, on the Today show, to promote the book.

Gussying up the Hon Bar

The Hon Bar is getting a makeover, but not to worry. The lounge area of Cafe Hon, epicenter of Hampden kitsch, isn't going all Harbor East on us.

"We're not going to bring in new shiny marble glass tables and all that," designer Steve Appel of Nouveau Contemporary Goods assured me.

Expect leopard fabric on one wall. Some new, leopard-upholstered seating. Lots of hot pink and fuchsia accents.

The idea is to make the area more comfy and inviting for dining, because more and more people are eating in the bar, Appel said. It will look more pulled together and more upscale, but not too upscale, he promises.

Hon owner Denise Whiting said it will be "kind of like the grown-up version of Hon."

Connect the dots ...

My column about the upside-down-and-backward apostrophe in the Orioles' logo prompted this from reader Larry Eubanks: "Look closely: it's not an apostrophe, it's a tear drop for all the seasons of futility." ... Just as I get up on my grammatical high horse about that apostrophe, I'm forced to dismount. In a recent column, I wrote, "one in the same." A reader set me straight: it's "one and the same." Don't you love it when the grammar scold and the grammar goof-up turn out to be one and the same? ... Spotted Thursday night at Red Star in Fells Point: the aforementioned Mr. Phelps and Ms. Pal. Though The Daily News had the pair partying hard and making out at Marquee, they were low-key two nights later in the hometown bar. "They weren't quite canoodling, but they were holding hands as they left," a spy tells me. Both were said to be friendly , chatting up members of an adult kickball team who happened to be there. ... MSNBC's Rachel Maddow had Martin O'Malley on the other day to talk about his attempt to ban the death penalty. She introduced him as the frontman for O'Malley's March. "As far as I know ... he is the only sitting governor who's also been the lead singer of a band this cool." Has she heard the new CD?

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