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La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
   Now in our fifth calendar year
    PCR #244  (Vol. 5, No. 48)  This edition is for the week of November 22--28, 2004.

Will's Miami Madness, Part 1
 by Will Moriaty
 by Mike Smith
"National Treasure"  by Nolan B. Canova
Creature Feature Database Update....I’ve got “Vertigo”....Marc Almond recovering....Remake Raimi....Gina Vivinetto - New Wave ally
 by Andy Lalino
Ron, The NFL Thanks You And So Do I....How To Dismantle The Music Industry....Travel Survey Results Are In....Gayest Moments In Music
 by Brandon Jones
A Diamond In The Rough
 by Matt Drinnenberg
Happy Turkey Day....Radio Shack and Sandwich Mary....Passing On....And So It Begins....Happy Birthday....Meet The Beatles, Part 44
 by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Archives 2004
Archives 2003
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Archives 2001
Archives 2000
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Will's Miami Madness -- Part One

If there was ever a perfect place for a psychic fair, the Coral Castle would have to be that place!
Ah yes, the last week of October 2004 was approaching and that could only mean one thing - - the South Florida Airline Historic Association's annual collectibles show in Miami!

This year I would drive the trip alone for the first time. The trip was not without its event - - as I went to fill up the Nightstalker at the Race Trak station in Plant City I discovered that my debit card was missing. Rather than jumping onto the westbound I-4 on-ramp at Thonotosassa Road, I found myself having to visit my local bank to report the card missing.

After an hour of phone calls to credit card services, I finally removed the T-tops of the Nightstalker and began a glorious sun drenched trip down to Miami.

First Stop, All Native Garden Center Nursery and Landscapes, Ft. Myers:

By 1 P.M. on Thursday October 28th I exited I-75 onto Colonial Drive east of Ft. Myers. Destination - - the All Native Garden Center Nursery Landscapes center. As impressive as the nursery was, nearby Page Field, which used to serve as Ft. Myers commercial airport prior to the advent of the Southwest Regional facility east of I-75, was also impressive. I could picture PBA-Naples DC-3's, National 727's and Eastern DC-9's making low finals over US 41 to the field some thirty years earlier.

"You Will Be Seeing Unusual Accomplishment. Ed" No truer words were ever engraved on coral as you enter the gate into the Coral Castle (much of which was actually originally known as "ROCK GATE' and located in nearby Florida City).
Anyway, I was in search of some South Florida native plants that I would later plant out at the Sunshine Skyway, and All Native did not fail to deliver on helping me meet that objective. With possibly the finest collection of South Florida native plants in Southwest Florida, I purchased three Jamaica Dogwoods, one Fiddlewood, one Mahogany, one Varnish Leaf, three Yellow Elder, one Satin Leaf, one Bay Cedar, one Strangler Fig, and one Sea Lavender. I would be coming back on Saturday to pick them up after the collectibles show.

If you have an interest in South Florida's native plants and are in the need for purchasing them at a retail level, All Native comes most highly recommended.

Blasts from the Past

Miami never fails to amaze.
Ed's Polaris Telescope is 25 feet tall, weighs 40,000 pounds, and when viewed properly, affords the observer s direct view of the North Star, Polaris. The structure, located 20 feet outside the wall of the Castle was erected in 1940.
By 4:00 P.M., as I was traveling east along NW 36th Street heading toward my hotel room at the Red Roof Inn on Le Jeune Road, an Arrow Air DC-8-61 thundered into the sky from Runway 9L belching thick black smoke out of its four 1960's-era fan jets. The sight could just as easily been replayed in an era four decades earlier when names like Gleason, Godfrey and Hope were still common fixtures in the Miami celebrity scene!

After a twenty-minute rest, I suited up in my jogging shorts and started a three-mile run along River Drive, LeJeune and Abraham Road. As I was on my second pass next to the airport parking facility and Ted Baker Aviation School an even more amazing aerial sight flew over my head. Like a prehistoric forgotten bird, a World War II era Beech B-18 conducted a low sweep to the southeast, having just lifted off of Runway 9L.


The Coral Castle Revisited
My last trip to the Coral Castle in Homestead was with Greg Van Stavern in the mid 1990's. Always worthy of a visit when in the Greater Miami area, the facility's post card best summarizes this unique Florida archaeological site:

This was Ed's tower and living quarters. Built of 4 to 9 ton rocks, the total weight of this structure is over 240 tons. Ed conducted experiments with electricity and magnetic currents in the bottom portion of this incredible work. Don't forget - - that entire structure (along with every other structure at this facility) was excavated, carved, transported and erected by one 100-pound man using the simplest of tools!
Nestled between the Florida Keys and Miami is astounding monument to one man's determination. Often referred to as America's Stonehenge, the Coral Castle has baffled scientists, engineers and scholars since its opening in 1923. How could a five-foot tall, 100-pound man single handedly carve and move such incredible amounts of coral rock? How could he make used hand tools to create a nine-ton gate so perfectly balanced it swings open with a touch of a finger?..."

On Friday morning October 29th I was Blessed to again visit the Hallowed Halls of Ed Leedskalnin weirdness, and after a brief rain shower, found myself with camera in hand to take these pictures that will hopefully described in a little better detail, the magnificent and mysterious works of this incredibly eccentric man.

Next week we will wrap up the series with a visit to the Fairchild Tropical Garden and a visit with some Miami legends in their own right.
Located within the east wall is the 20' tall Crescent Moon of the East, which weighs over 23 tons. Ed moved the carving from Florida City. - - Ed claimed to know the "secret" of the Pyramids. Adjacent to the structure is the planet Mars and the planet Saturn. Known as the Florida Table, this massive structure is surrounded by ten chairs that weigh 1,000 pounds apiece. Since coral is very porous, concrete lines the bottom of the water bowl that represents Lake Okeechobee, so that the water does not percolate through the petrified marine life.

"La Floridiana" is ©2004 by William Moriaty.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.