BILL STRUEVER is Baltimore's big idea man when it comes to reusing old buildings, so I wouldn't presume to tell him what to do with Fort Carroll, now that he's taken a lease on the place and has ideas about buying it. But such dream-hatching is irresistible.
Fort Carroll has been sitting out there, a long-abandoned, rat-infested, manmade island in the Patapsco River just south of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, waiting for a new life. Someone wanted to put a casino there once upon a time. I've heard people say it should be a restaurant or hotel. It would probably make an extremely cool location for an office building in Baltimore's developing "Digital Harbor."
Struever doesn't have immediate plans for Fort Carroll, according to the City Paper.
But if I may, here are my suggestions for "adaptive reuse" of Fort Carroll:
1. Location of Zurab Tsereteli's colossal statue of Christopher Columbus, the 500-ton, 31-story, multimillion-dollar "Birth of the New World" that, until recently, no one in the world has been willing to take. Puerto Rico has expressed interest, but there's still time for Baltimore to make a move.
2. The world's only pit bull refuge and rehab center.
3. Sail-up movie theater. Like Bengie's but with docks and boats.
4. Location for Calvert School expansion.
5. Permanent home for Bohager's.
My work is done here. Other ideas are welcome.
The top gun nut
Charlton Heston, who played Moses in "The Ten Commandments" and now struts his stuff as president of the National Rifle Association, calls the 2000 presidential election "a holy war." And he says this election is the most important one "since the Civil War."
That Chuck - so deft with understatement.
"Freedom has never seen greater peril or needed you more to come to her defense," Heston told a get-out-the-vote rally in Pennsylvania this week.
Did this guy miss World War II?
He says that, if elected, Al Gore will appoint Supreme Court justices who will "hammer your gun rights into oblivion."
Oblivion. Nice Biblical term.
Up in Michigan, Heston even suggested that a "lynching mob" might be the best response to Gore's gun-control fervor. Whoa. Time to check Mr. Heston's medication.
Anyone who thinks "gun nuts" is a derogatory term should remember what the NRA's top guy has been spouting on behalf of George W. Bush.
Speaking of Dubya ...
Gun nuts' top friend
Brian Wendell Morton, Baltimorean and spokesman for Handgun Control in Washington, says there's no question the NRA can count on a big friend at the White House if Bush is elected.
NRA Vice President Kayne Robinson, also head of the Iowa Republican Party, was caught on videotape last winter saying as much: "If we win, we'll have a president - with at least one of the people who's running - a president where we work out of their office."
Handgun Control used that Robinson sound bite, recorded at an NRA meeting in California in February, in an anti-Bush television commercial that aired recently in several states.
"The NRA's chief lobbyist told the New York Times back in August that he couldn't think of a single thing on which the governor opposed them," says Morton. "When previous governor Ann Richards vetoed concealed weapons legislation, she was surrounded by Texas law enforcement. When Bush signed a law striking down Texas's 125-year prohibition on concealed weapons, he was surrounded by the gun lobby."
Blast with a brogue
Suggestion: The next time the Baltimore Blast have a game - OK, I won't make you look it up: it's tomorrow night, against the Detroit Rockers - and, if you can't get there, tune into WCBM-AM, 680 on the dial.
Veteran announcer Art Sinclair does a solid job with play-by-play, but his partner, former Blast player Bobby McAvan, steals the show with a Scottish brogue and colorful comment. "Cabral let goo a cahnnon of a short that time, he deed."
I shouldn't limit my praise of McAvan to the strength of his Jackie Stewart-meets-John Madden voice - his comments enhance Sinclair's description of the action - but the accent does transport one's imagination to a rowdy pub in Dundee (McAvan's hometown). It's a genuine treat for the listener.
We were sorry to report in this space a while back that Apicella's, longtime grocery store and delicatessen in Little Italy, had closed.
But the other night, as the locals argued over rolls of the bocce ball next door, we noticed the lights on again.
The business at High and Stiles reopened recently as Apicella's Osteria, featuring brick oven pizza, focaccia, deli sandwiches and Apicella's homemade sausage and mozzarella. (I'm especially happy to hear they're making the mozzarella again, but wondering if the woman in black velvet who used to work the register, who once rang up our order while reading a Marguerite Duras novel, will return.)
Young blood has taken over - Stephanie Apicella, 27-year-old granddaughter of the original owner, Al Apicella, and her partner, Dominic Greco.
Police in Woodlawn are chuckling about the suspect who recently agreed to provide them with more information about a crime, "but only if I can be monogamous."
TJIDan@aol.com is the e-mail address for Dan Rodricks. He can also be reached at 410-332-6166 or by post at The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore 21278.