And maybe Dr. Phil for the prize in medicine

Could there be a more American way to mark the fifth anniversary of 9/11 than this: collecting petition signatures to award the Nobel Peace Prize to Oprah? In times of national tragedy, some people look to political leaders. Some to God. And some, it seems, to the daytime talk show queen. Rocky Twyman of Rockville, founder of the Oprah Winfrey for Nobel Peace Prize Fan Club, was at the Inner Harbor a few days before the anniversary, collecting about 100 signatures and linking his crusade to the terrorist attack. At his side was a New York nurse who had treated 9/11 victims. Their message put a new twist on David Letterman's "Uma, Oprah" line: "Oslo, Oprah." Only they're not joking.

"This is a God-inspired movement," Twyman told me. "We just think she spreads good will and hope and joy, and we would just like her to be considered. She has raised the awareness of the entire world of the seriousness of homelessness, hunger, AIDS, women's equality. And these are issues that really separate the world at this time. And she encourages people to do something about it."


And the connection to 9/11? Twyman said Oprah's program "is the most popular show in the Arab world." That gives the former WJZ-TV newswoman the potential, he says, to "just bring about a glorious revolution of peace."

The prize winners are not picked based on petition signatures - yet. Twyman, a 58-year-old public relations consultant, thinks it'll be impressed by all the names he and like-minded Oprah fans have collected: 50,000. He plans to send the list to Oslo in the next two weeks, in time for the October awards.


Crab cake foodies miss the boat

Culinary tourists willing to schlep to Parma for cheese and to Perigord for truffles have a new destination: Smith Island, for Mary Ada Marshall's crab cakes. Ever since The Sun swooned for the cakes in an article last month, crab-lovers have taken cruise ships from Crisfield to Smith Island. Just one problem: When they land and ask how to get to Drum Point Market, where Marshall makes her cakes, they're told they can't get there from here.

That's because Smith Island is more than one island. The cruise ships land in Ewell, and the market is in Tylerton. The two communities are not connected by bridge, and there is no regular boat service between them. You can get to Tylerton by taking a ferry departing from Crisfield's city dock. But many would-be diners see the big sign for "Smith Island Cruises" at the state-owned marina, hop aboard and assume they're on their way.

Duke Marshall, son of the crab cake maker, thinks there's something fishy going on. He's heard that some passengers tell the cruise ship captains that they're bound for crab cakes in Tylerton and that the captains aren't directing them to the nearby dock.

"They're not telling them wrong, but they're not telling them right, either," Marshall said.

Betty Tyler, who works for the family cruise business, said she has heard complaints from some passengers but chalked it up to a misunderstanding. And she said the passengers can get their fill of good crab cakes in Ewell.

"I've never eaten one of [Marshall's] crab cakes," she said. "They could be very well over and above any other crab cake I've ever eaten. But the ones on the other part of the island, they're hard to beat."

Connect the political dots


Martin O'Malley awoke yesterday to find dozens of Bob Ehrlich signs in the median strip outside his Walther Avenue house. They were promptly pulled out by uncle-in-law and City Councilman Bobby Curran, who said the signs were illegal and "tasteless." ... The Maryland Democratic Party looks ahead and backward with a fundraiser tonight in Clarksville. Special guest: Sen. John Kerry. Tickets range from $50 for students to $2,500.