Pillsbury Doughboy kidnapped
By John Breneman
In a brazen act of culinary-political terrorism, masked intruders
armed with razor-sharp butter knives kidnapped the Pillsbury Doughboy
from the heavily guarded Pop "n" Fresh compound in Crescent
No group has claimed responsibility for the abduction of the Doughboy,
the cherubic, flour-white baking industry icon who is the sole heir
to the vast Pillsbury fortune. But a ransom note scrawled in chocolate
frosting at the scene demanded that four dozen unmarked fudge brownies
and $50 million be deposited in a Danish bank account.
The FBI reportedly is investigating several leads -- including
whether Pillsbury archrival Duncan Hines is in any way involved.
A source close to the Doughboy said he was in possession of a new
secret recipe for a no-calorie bundt cake at the time he was snatched.
According to an anonymous FBI informant known only as John Dough,
other possible suspects include Betty Crocker, a Pillsbury subsidiary
whose own line of mouth-watering baked goods was often overshadowed
by the ubiquitious Doughboy. Federal investigators are also looking
into a possible connection between the Pillsbury kidnapping and
the nearby heist of an armored Brink's truck filled with dough.
The only witness to the abuduction was one of the Doughboy's bodyguards,
who reportedly saw a dark, late-model sedan racing away from the
Pillsbury compound and thought he heard plaintive, high-pitched
squeals of "Hoo, hoo!" coming from inside the vehicle.
Wheaties proven to enhance sex life
The call came in just as I was finishing my 7:15 a.m. bowl of Wheaties.
It was from a Mr. Benny Crocker, assistant vice president for satirical
projects at General Mills, parent company of my favorite cereal.
I practically choked on my last spoonful of toasted whole-grain
goodness when he told me I had been chosen to appear on a
Wheaties box as part of their new "Obscure Journalists
of the 21st Century" series. My spoon clanged to the
floor, nearly killing a malnourished ant.
"We were looking for a real nobody," Mr. Crocker
told me, "and when we read your five-part series on 'The
Benefits of Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil as Part of
a Balanced Diet,' we knew we had found our man."
I was stunned. My carbohydrate-enriched mind could scarcely
comprehend what I was hearing. But once I digested the news
along with 50 percent of my recommended daily allowance of
niacin, Vitamin B12 and zinc I vowed that if the "Breakfast
of Champions" wanted me to appear on their hallowed box
then I was ready to accept the challenge, and the responsibility.
It was time to "do my homework," as they say in
the fast-paced, high-fiber world of semiprofessional journalism.
First I called Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Mary Lou Retton
for some friendly advice on what to expect as a Wheaties box
icon, but they weren't able to get back to me in time for
this article. Bruce Jenner was in a meeting and John Elway's
people suggested I do something unpleasant with my spoon.
No problem. By surfing the Internet I found a wealth of information
about Wheaties, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary
this year. Lou Gehrig was the first man to appear on the box,
and Babe Ruth has graced the carton against the familiar bright
orange background, along with sports heroes throughout the
Why, ever since Charlie Chaplin was first seen eating them out
of a battered leather shoe in the 1924 film classic "Will Work
for Milk," Wheaties have been an all-American favorite enjoyed
by paupers and presidents alike.
But what I didn't realize was that so many great 20th century leaders
and thinkers have been inspired by the mythical, medicinal toasted
flakes of wheat.
Wheaties played a pivotal role in the Allied victory over the evil
non-Wheaties-eating Hitler in World War II, when Roosevelt, Churchill
and Stalin polished off a box prior to the Yalta Conference in 1945.
Few outside the U.S. intelligence community are aware that J. Edgar
Hoover always kept a box in a drawer next to a sock puppet he called
"Mr. Wheat," or that Neil Armstrong smuggled two ounces
of Wheaties aboard Apollo 11 in a small orange pouch marked "Space
Legendary tycoon John D. Rockefeller was said to be a Wheaties
man, and Microsoft's Bill Gates reportedly won't make any major
business decisions without first taking a "Wheaties break."
Sources close to Gates say key advisers had to talk him out of naming
Windows 95 "the Operating System of Champions."
After a brief period of sagging sales in the 1950s when Joseph
McCarthy claimed that many Communist operatives ate Wheaties, the
cereal surged to new heights of popularity in the late 60s when
celebrity chef Julia Child delighted the American public with televised
recipes for Wheatie Tetrazzini, Carmelized Long-Grain Wheaties in
Sweet Cream, and her delectable Swedish Wheatballs.
Several leading medical journals have recently published startling
reports about the cereal's therapeutic properties. One study asserted
that consuming two servings per day can prevent rickets, curvature
of the liver and cardiac worms.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have found that aggressive treatment
with a Wheaties-based pharmaceutical cocktail has proven successful
in curing everything from Riboflavin Deficit Disorder to skeletal
dry rot. And Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richard is said to have
visited an exclusive Wheaties clinic to beat a debilitating addiction
The National Enquirer is reporting this week that a Hindu mystic
who ate 24 bowls of Wheaties a day for seven months has evolved
to a higher-protein consciousness and achieved cholesterol-free
oneness with a God-fearing family of wheat farmers from Chafftown,
I believe it. Since becoming an unlikely Wheaties cover boy, I've
decided to milk the experience for all it is worth and have upped
my daily intake to six or eight bowls a day. The results have been
I feel more alive. What little non-Wheaties food I eat tastes better.
And my imagination has become a robust 62 percent more bizarre than
it already was.
Warren Beatty has called to feel me out about being his running
mate in the presidential race and I've received lucrative endorsement
offers from Nike, Schlitz and Triple-Action Gold Bond Powder.
And best of all, there is virtually no scientific evidence
linking excess consumption of Wheaties with delusional behavior
among humor columnists.