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La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
   Now in our tenth calendar year
    PCR #464  (Vol. 10, No. 7)  This edition is for the week of February 9--15, 2009.

2008 Was A Year to Forget, But--December was a Month to Remember! Part 3  by William Moriaty
"Friday the 13th"  by Mike Smith
The Yellow Submarine Chronicles Part Seven: Many Years from Now  by ED Tucker
Top 20 Albums of 2008 part 1: #20-11  by Terence Nuzum
The Encyclopedia of Horror Movies  by Chris Woods
A-$$-hole .... This Time It’s 4 Real .... Jagodzinski Likes McCown  by Chris Munger
Michael Phelps .... Christian Bleeping Bale .... Movie Notes .... Where's Your Messiah Now? .... Owning History .... My Favorite Films, Part 2 by Mike Smith
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2008 Was A Year to Forget, But--December was a Month to Remember! Part 3

Plus, A Special Message From Charlie Carlson

Off To See the Wizard
On the morning of Saturday December 27, 2008 I journeyed eastward to visit the Wizard - - not the Wizard Oz, THE Wizard, Florida's own Mr. Magic, a.k.a. Sanford's native son Harry Wise.

It is not often that I see Harry anymore, what with the on-going housing problem I've been experiencing. Where I made it point to visit Harry once a month back when gas cheaper and I had only one address and not two, I am lucky to see him once every four to six months now.

But see him I did on that warm late December morning! The main reason for our get together was to pay respects for a recently fallen Florida Folk Hero and environmental warrior of the highest order - - Dottie Diehl Carlson. Back in late September of 2008, Dottie was admitted to the hospital complaining of flu-like symptoms. In the span of two short weeks Dottie passed away on October 6, 2008 from lung cancer. Her death was a shock and a surprise to all of us, including her husband, noted Florida author, Folk Hero and "Man In Black" Charlie Carlson.

Florida's "Man in Black" Charlie Carlson starts the memorial dedication for his recently deceased wife Dottie. In the background is the memorial tree, plaque and Lake Dot.
As a response to her passing, I contacted Seminole County's Memorial Tree Program and had a 15-gallon Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) planted, along with a plaque bearing her name installed, at Lake Dot Park immediately south of Sanford. Once the County informed me that the tree and plaque were installed, I contacted Charlie Carlson and it was determined that Saturday December 27, 2008 at 10:00 A.M. was the best time for family and close friends to dedicate the planting of this tree in her honor.

Longleaf Pine and Lake Dot a Natural
It was by no accident that I selected the Longleaf Pine as the tree of choice and Lake Dot Park as the planting location of choice. The Longleaf Pine was symbolic of the type of forest cover found in the gopher tortoise habitat that Dottie defended do valiantly, even to the point of putting her own life and limb at risk. When developers building a new hotel on Florida's east coast began burying gopher tortoises as a part of the earth moving process, Dottie, like an enraged mother bear, literally stepped in front of the bulldozer, defying its operator to bury one more creature. After a prolonged stand off, Dottie won and the dozers retreated -- that time anyway. The planting location for this Sanford County native was a natural for obvious reasons - - Lake Dot Park!

Environmental Activist and Actress
In addition to her many environmental activities with her own organization, ECARD, Inc., as well as the Sierra Club, and the Volusia-Flagler Environmental Council, Dottie started to get into show-biz by playing the role of Kat Jones in the Gary Lester film "Harry Blackheart is Dead" by Blue Heron International Pictures, LLC. Dottie had a brief appearance in PCR #329, and in addition to all of her other activists, raised and rescued thousands of abandoned and abused animals of all kinds.

The Dedication
A group shot of the memorial tree planting attendees. L-R: William Moriaty; Harry Wise; (crouched) Vinny Best; Charlie Carlson III; Joyce Carlson; (boy in red shirt) Charlie Carlson IV; (boy in blue shirt) Andrew Carlson; Charlie Carlson II, Christine Kinlaw-Best; Dottie's Longleaf Pine tree; Don White; Pam Winchester; (crouching) Owen Sliter; (green shirt) Robert Bradberry; Donna Sutter; (standing, sunglasses) Steve Sutter; (blond girl) Shannon Sutter; (crouching) Dr. Daniel Harrigan; Scott Marlowe; (brunette, no glasses) Unknown; Robert Reese; Michael Houliss; Erika Carlson; Barbara Herrin; Walt Smith; Bobbi Houliss and photographer (Unknown).
As Harry and I pulled off of US 17/92 into the post World War Two neighborhood where Lake Dot Park is located, he pointed out to me that he and his father painted a house there in the 1950's. Charlie Carlson would later add that it was one of Sanford's first planned communities and that its developer ran for the Senate. It definitely had that South Tampa look of being built as part of base housing in Florida - - asphalt streets that steam after summer rains, wood frame mid century modern houses and the buzz of military aircraft activity that were the hallmark of such neighborhoods from the 1950's to the 1970's. But it is now a new century, and most bases around Florida are now closed or much more limited in activity - - the Sanford N.A.S. was no exception, having been closed decades earlier. And today, on this relatively silent December 27, 2008 day, we were to pay homage to a person dedicated to preserving a Florida that existed long before the post World War Two neighborhoods it was held in.

As Harry and I pulled up to the dedication area where the tree was recently planted, there was already a large crowd. All told, 27 people attended Dottie's memorial tree planting dedication during this Christmas Holiday Season. Charlie Carlson was the first to present a dedication speech about Dottie followed by me. A table with items pertinent to Dottie's life was set up not far from her memorial tree. After the speeches, the crowd mingled and reminisced about the life of one incredible defender of the defenseless - - Dottie Diehl Carlson...

Head East Young Man
Harry Wise and Dusty Smith pose at the Mt. Arrarat Cemetery in Daytona Beach.
After the memorial dedication, Harry and I decided that we were up to seeing our good friend Dusty Smith (see PCR #337) over in Daytona Beach. After first viewing the wreckage and destruction occurring at what we have affectionately referred to as "Harry's Haunted Packing Plant" outside of DeLand, we drove eastward on US 92 until we found ourselves at one of our favorite dining establishments in Daytona, Hampton's Restaurant. Once there, Volusia County's foremost paranormal researcher Dusty Smith joined us and was kind enough to give me a signed copy of her latest book "Haunted DeLand and the Ghosts of West Volusia County". After our stellar meal at Hampton's the three of us headed south to an area across the street from the Daytona Beach International Airport known as the Mt. Arrarat Cemetery. The cemetery is one of many that Smith maintains under the guise of another organization she belongs to know as the International Association of Cemetery Preservationists. Last year the three of us took in an outstanding sunset from this cometary that is located on a ridge located east of the airport.

William Moriaty and Harry Wise pose at the Mt. Arrarat Cemetery in Daytona Beach.

Head West Young Man
As Harry both found out we didn't have the stamina to hang around for the sunset, we posed for some pictures and decided to watch the sunset from one of our favorite sunset vantage points at Lake Jesup. Harry and I bid Dusty adieu and made it in time to see another stellar sunset over Lake Jesup. After sunset we drove the streets for another hour to look at the Christmas lights in Sanford.

It was a magical close to a day, and a magical close to an otherwise forgettable year!
Another brilliant sunset at Lake Jesup.Florida's Mister Magic, Harry Wise poses next to "The Nightstalker" after taking in another halcyon sunset at Lake Jesup

A Special Message From Charlie Carlson
Wonderful article, Will. To clarify a couple of things, Henry Blackhart was actually the last of Dottie's showbiz ventures. She and I owned traveling carnival attractions in the 80s, and she also performed in my illusion shows on many occasions, playing vintage theaters like the Lincoln Theater in Decatur Illinois. She was one of two assistants in Harry's last big magic show that I produced for him a few years ago in Seminole County. Her showbiz side was little known, usually she always used the stage names of Dot Diehl or Casey Collins. I think her political adversaries were shocked that they did not know this side of her life.

The housing area where Lake Dot is located, was indeed the first such development, spurred by Navy families from Sanford NAS creating a market for homes.

As an added note, Dottie posthumously was awarded the 2009 Blue Heron Humanitarian Award at the annual Blue Heron International Picture's independent film breakfast in Daytona which was attended such personalities as Carole Ferrill, president of the Florida Motion Picture and Television Association.

Her organization, ECARD, is still going strong and currently engaged on several fronts in court cases. Her legacy continues.

Thanks again, you're a true friend,


"La Floridiana" is ©2009 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 ©2009 by Nolan B. Canova.