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La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
   Now in our sixth calendar year
    PCR #284  (Vol. 6, No. 35)  This edition is for the week of August 29--September 4, 2005.

Doors Opening, Doors Closing--Part Two
  by William Moriaty
"A Sound of Thunder"
  by Mike Smith
"Filthy" News .... Tampa Comic and Toy Convention....Oddservations Film Reviews: "Contact From Beyond", "The Incredible Comic Book Murder"
  by Andy Lalino
Tampa Bay Comic and Toy Convention....Hurricane Katrina
 by John Lewis
Judgement Day....Movie Notes....The Cable Guys....Sell Out....Passing On....Paging Major Healy....Photographic Memories....Jaws: The Story, Part 31
 by Mike Smith
Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review
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Archives 2001
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Doors Closing and Doors Opening
Part Two

First -- A Word About Our Best friend, Nolan Canova:
  As the old adage states, "the show must go on!"  

   Under the leadership of our currently semi-ambulatory editor-in-chief, Nolan Canova, the writers of the PCR, along with the gracious assistance of Lauré Piper, are uncompromising both in our support of Nolan at this time and in our dedication to make sure that the show does indeed go on as long as possible until his eagerly-awaited return.
     At this critical time, please take a moment to pray for our best friend as well as for all of the people affected by Hurricane Katrina.
     And now, regardless of the tragedies we are facing, enduring or witnessing, it's on with the show - - just as Nolan would want it to be!

Doors Opening: New Found Economic Prosperity;  
Due to the skills of Securities Attorney Edwin Kagan of Tampa, my wife and I prevailed in Circuit Court in Tampa in our suit against International Fidelity and Surety Ltd., the offshore operators that posted the performance bond on behalf of the PhyMed Partners, Inc. investment scam (see PCR #282).  

With this victory, we were able to secure a sizeable tax write-off through the efforts of Tampa Accountant Timothy Griffiths. Upon receipt of the check from the I.R.S., I informed my wife, Karen Cashon, "You can spend your part of this on an investment if you choose, but I choose to invest in myself."

  With this declaration, a new door was opened and a new direction was in the making.  

Doors Opening: Revisiting a Long Forgotten Ritual of Cosmic Proportions;  
Throughout the late 1970's and early 1980's, I made it a monthly ritual throughout the collegiate fall sessions to visit the St. Petersburg Junior College planetarium at the campus located at the corner of 5th Avenue North and 66th Street North in St. Petersburg.  

Although the campus had changed dramatically over the past eleven years since my last visit to the planetarium with my wife and Nolan Canova in the fall of 1993 (even the name was changed to St. Petersburg College http://www.spcollege.edu/spg/Campus/planetarium.htm),  the magic started to come back the moment I pulled into the campus parking lot and surveyed the planetarium's observatory.  

There was a brilliant orange sunset and the first chill in the air that fall as I got out of the Night Stalker and walked those hallowed sidewalks to the Natural Sciences building that October 2004 evening for my first 7:00 P.M. attendance in over a decade.  

Although the planetarium director I remembered most fondly from that much more carefree past of the 70's and 80's, Mr. Ken Perkins had long since retired, planetarium volunteer Bob Nizolek, an astronomy folk-hero I remember roaming the campus grounds since the 1970's, was still acting as the planetarium's patron saint and docent, and with a red flash light, led me through the planetarium's pitch darkness to my seat.  

Once my eyes adjusted, the sky theater was ablaze with its replication of the stars, planets and objects of the universe that I hold so dear. After years of hard work and sacrifice to build a stable home and business life, I finally made the time to invest a little time on one of my almost forgotten and most treasured indulgences.  

True to my "doors opening" policy, I made it a point to attend each monthly planetarium show throughout the fall session. I plan on keeping that door open and attending this new season, as well as all the seasons that God blesses me with.  

Doors Opening: T.R.E.E. Inc. Gets Its First Grant;
  As I now had the money to invest, I decided to finally invest in my all too forgotten brainchild and neglected stepchild, the Tampa Bay Reforestation and Environmental Effort, Inc. (TREE. Inc.), the non-profit tree planting organization that I founded over twenty years ago.  

I decided in July 2004 to pursue a grant where I could finally secure a paid staff for the first time in this twenty-year history. In order to attain this goal I spent many long nights and hours in order to submit a Request for Proposal for an Urban and Forestry Grant made possible through the State of Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Division of Forestry.  

Amidst hurricanes, sweltering heat, and week-long power outages, I still managed to get the grant application out the door by the R.F.P.'s September deadline. By December 2004, the application was awarded for a $10,000 50/50 match for paid staffing.  By December of that same year, the application was awarded and on January 19, 2005, a Memorandum of Agreement between TREE Inc. and FDACS was fully executed.  

Through this grant, TREE Inc. was able to secure Web Master Christopher Gandees and newly appointed Public Relations Director Jen Thompson, as well as providing payment for staff members for the first time since TREE Inc.'s inception in 1983. In addition, grant monies were also used to reduce mileage expenses breaking ground for trips to the Orlando area in order to promote the "Tulip Poplar Repopulation Program – Orange and Seminole Counties, Florida" initiative, as well as defraying expenses for operating costs.  

The grant will expire on September 27, 2005, but has been an invaluable asset in expanding our monetary resources and public outreach in a relatively short span of time. Like nailing down your first "real job", having been awarded a grant of this type may well open some incredible new doors of its own, offering exciting and prosperous opportunities dreamed of way back in 1983 when TREE Inc. was itself a germinating seed.  

Next Week: More new doors open as a culmination of three years of "La Floridiana" columns become the catalyst for my first book.  

La Floridiana Web Sites of a Timely Nature  

The Esurance St. Pete Beach Tree-Athalon: made possible through T.R.E.E. Inc.'s first major corporate donation from Esurance, the on-line auto insurance company, is slated for Saturday September 24, 2005.
For more information, see the Treeathon website at http://www.treeinc.org/treeathon.html
Enjoy a comprehensive interview in the August 29, 2005 edition of the Tampa Tribune with Charlie Carlson, author of "Weird Florida".  

And of Course Don't Forget These Fine Recommended Florida Books by Florida Authors!

  "William Moriaty's Florida" by yours truly! http://www.lafloridiana.com/index.htm

  "Weird Florida" by Charlie Carlson

"Breed" and "Evil Whispers" by Owl Goingback http://www.owlgoingback.com/

"La Floridiana" is ©2005 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 ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.