The answer is as plain as the pearly whites in Deanne Lane's smile or the padded shoulders in Steve Savard's suits:
Every single great idea in St. Louis has been hijacked by Bob Cassilly.
You know Bob: mad genius sculptor-turned-impresario who gave us Turtle Park, the great white shark at the zoo, the City Museum and other really, really cool shit.
You've read about Bob's exploits in these pages. You may even have armed yourself with a stiff drink and slogged your way through a story or two about Bob in the local daily seed catalog.
But what you haven't read yet -- and will see here for the first time -- are details about his most stupendous and reckless project yet, an attraction that'll make Six Flags' Screamin' Eagle seem like a bluehair-packed bus ride to Branson.
Here's the skinny: Bob Cassilly is drawing up plans for a giant catapult, mounted on an enormous lazy Susan bolted to the roof of the City Museum. He's borrowing from basic Roman design -- springs made from bundles of animal sinew stretched tight and twisted, powering a giant bowstring constructed from future remnants of the Century Building.
The plan, sources say, is to hurl patrons in all directions from the roof of the ten-story building. Preliminary engineering estimates indicate that a typical Cardinals fan (i.e., a 325-pound man sporting a wife-beater and boxers) could soar a mile-and-a-quarter when dispatched from Cassilly's contraption -- almost enough to land beneath the Gateway Arch, provided the trajectory is correct and the hurlee doesn't strike the Old Court House on the way.
Cassilly has yet to secure the necessary permits, and the Worm hasn't heard him say squat about the plans. But knowledgeable City Hall sources attest not only that the proposal is genuine but that the state's Division of Weights and Measures, a secretive government branch staffed by fire-eaters and prognosticators, is deeply involved. A further sign the project has legs: Downtown-development financial guru Steve Stogel is said to be busy finding a way to get residents of Hayti, Missouri, to pay for the project.
The Worm's so excited about the idea, he's coming up with a list of people who should be lobbed all the way to Illinois.