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PCR #427 (Vol. 9, No. 22) This edition is for the week of May 26--June 1, 2008.

"The Strangers"  by Mike Smith
Book Review: Waiting For Agnes  by Joe Bullard  by Lisa Ciurro
33 1/3 Revolutions Per Monkee: The Monkees on Record, Part 1  by ED Tucker
Rays Best in Baseball ... Iraq Kicked Out Of Soccer League ... There’s No Replaying in Baseball!.. Big Brown, Triple Crown? ... Congrats Lakers Congrats Celts  by Chris Munger
So Long Harvey .... Dick Martin .... Happy Birthday New Fm .... o  by Matt Drinnenberg
Sorry We Kicked Your Ass In Softball! .... Passing On .... .... .... .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1972 Should Have Gone To... o  by Mike Smith
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FANGRRL by Lisa Ciurro

Book Review:
Waiting For Agnes
by Joe Bullard

Plot Summary:

The story of Coral Castle is fascinating. In the early 1920s, Latvian immigrant Ed Leedskalnin began building an immense stone castle in south Florida. Building a 2-story castle tower, furniture and castle walls in stone by oneself is impressive; building these structures after being diagnosed with terminal tuberculosis, without cutting the massive stones or using mortar to secure them is downright astonishing. Leedskalnin claimed that magnets were responsible for his tuberculosis disappearing, but he never answered any questions about how he moved huge stones by himself or how he came up with the idea for his perfectly-balanced, 9-ton revolving castle gate.

Joe Bullard’s novel Waiting For Agnes is not as fascinating as its subject, unfortunately. Written in a folksy, conversational tone, Waiting For Agnes mixes Leedskalnin’s tour guide announcements, interviews with his friends and neighbors, local stories and rumors, and excerpts from Leedskalnin’s correspondence with information on Edgar Cayce, Stonehenge, Atlantis, reincarnation, the Great Pyramids, the Bermuda Triangle, Hitler, the Bible, reincarnation and UFOs.

Bullard presents this mind-blowing mix of fact and fantasy through a complicated series of flashbacks, conversations, remembrances, dreams, regressions and interviews that’s difficult to follow. The first-person point of view changes from page to page. The “I” telling the story is Leedskalnin’s first love Agnes, her mother, neighbors Herman or Carl, the medium Madame Drusa, Ed Leedskalnin himself, or any number of people, depending on where you are in the book.

About the Author:

Author Joe Bullard is a Lake City resident who devoted 10+ years researching Coral Castle after first learning about it in 1987 in an episode of the paranormal investigation TV series In Search Of… You can learn more about Bullard, his book and Coral Castle at www.waitingforagnes.com.

What I Liked:

Bullard’s research is impressive and his love for this story is evident. Waiting For Agnes includes some great photographs, including the Coral Castle entrance, Ed’s hanging chair, the stone moon dial (only one in the world), the 5,000 lb stone heart-shaped table (called “the largest valentine” by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not), the 9-ton revolving gate, and Billy Idol perched in one of Coral Castle’s stone rockers, warming up before shooting the music video of Sweet Sixteen, his song about Agnes, the woman who jilted Ed and inspired the creation of Coral Castle (a rocker rocking in a rocking chair carved out of rock…it’s my favorite photo in the book).

What I Disliked:

I found this book incredibly difficult to read. I hate saying that, but it’s the truth. The back-and-forth between multiple point-of-views was very confusing and difficult to follow.

Bottom Line:
An unusual book about an unusual subject. Unfortunately, Waiting For Agnes is as confusing, mysterious and quixotic as Coral Castle itself.

Rating: C

"FANGRRL" is ©2008 by Lisa Ciurro.   All graphics, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.