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La Floridiana by Will Moriaty
   Now in our seventh calendar year
    PCR #303  (Vol. 7, No. 2)  This edition is for the week of January 9--15, 2006.

LA FLORIDIANA
La Floridiana Lite: Florida Tidbits. More Names of Counties. Charlie Carlson Update.  by William Moriaty
MOVIE REVIEW
"Hostel"  by Mike Smith
COUCH POTATO CONFESSIONS
The Case of Blight on Tampa, or Where is the Public Art?  by Vinnie Blesi
DEADGUY'S DEMENTIA
A Million Half-Truths  by Mike "Deadguy" Scott
MY MIDDLE TOE
The Coffeehouse/Tampa Film Review  by Mark Terry
THE DROW
The Cost of "Freedom"  Dylan Jones
NICHOLAS REX
Rex's Rant: Abramoff....Pat Robertson....Howard Stern...."Hostel"  by Nick King
MATT'S RAIL
Birthday Boy....The Rondos Are Here!!!...Does Jesus Christ Exist  by Matt Drinnenberg
MIKE'S RANT
Dedicated To....Passing On....Speaking of Baseball....My Favorite Films--Chapter 2  by Mike Smith
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William Moriaty's Florida
More tales from "La Floridiana" await you in "William Moriaty's Florida"! For more information simply click the book cover above!

La Floridiana Lite

"La Floridiana Lite" is a collection of Florida-related tidbits to tide you over until I turn in my next honest-to-God column (slated for the February 27th edition of PCR) - Enjoy! --Will  

Item #1: The Florida Keys: Home to the Real Playboy Bunny?
In Carolanne Griffith Roberts edition of "Florida Living: People and Places" in the January 2006 edition of Southern Living, it was reported that the Federally Endangered Lower Keys Rabbit (Sylvilagus palustris var. 'hefneri'), a subspecies of the Marsh Rabbit, is also known as the "Playboy Bunny" because research about the creature was conducted in part by the Playboy Foundation (hence the variety name of 'hefneri'). In the same set of articles, Ms. Roberts also reported that Florida Panther crossing signs were erected at the entry road to the new Midfield terminal at the Ft. Myers Southwest Florida International Airport.

Item #2: Golldiecat's Airport Page
This site features the history of four famous southeastern United States airports, Miami (Wilcox) International, Atlanta Hartsfield International, Tampa International and Palm Beach International, generally from the late 1950's to the early 1980's. The web page with links to all four sites is: http://www.geocities.com/golldiecat/index.html

  • Miami International Airport 1959-1980: The First Two Decades of Miami international's 20th Street Terminal
    This site will be sure to get a lot of sighs and maybe even some tears from Miami homeboys Davis Gandees, Bob Scheible and "Miami Mike" Hiscano.
  • Juan's Tampa International Airport "America's Favorite" Airport
    This site constitutes possibly the finest and most comprehensive collection of information found anywhere concerning the International Airport of my birth place. Juan G. (who inspired me to write my three-part series on Miami International Airport) did an exemplary job with this site, particularly with the "TPA (Photo) Gallery" that has absolutely stellar photo and postcard images of Tampa International from the 1950's to modern day. In addition, every major airline that ever served Tampa, along with their years of operations here, is listed. Incredible, absolutely incredible!
  • Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport 1961-1980: The Story of ATL's Wonderful Old Terminal Building
    I'm sure that this memorial to the busiest airport in the United States (and the known Universe for that matter) may tug even more at Georgia aviation writer David P. Henderson's heart even more than it did mine!
  • Palm Beach International Airport 1966-1988: The Story of PBI's Beautiful Old Terminal Building
    A nostalgic look at one of South Florida's most trendy looking terminal buildings. If there is a common thread that the Atlanta, Miami and Palm Beach terminals of the late 50's through mid-60's share, it is their flare for the use of Googie architecture.

    No commercial aviation buff from Florida or Georgia should book a flight off of the planet until they have visited these incredible web sites!

    Item #3: Origin of Names of Florida Towns and Cities, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties
    You may recall the alphabetized series I did from July 19, 2004 to November 21, 2004 titled "What's In A Name? A Look at the Origin of Names of Florida's Towns and Counties". Well, one of our readers (who has already reached Florida Folk Hero status in my book, wrote the following to PCR publisher Nolan Canova last week).

    This reader, who simply identified his name as "Ed" did an unbelievably outstanding job in amassing and assigning origins to the names of towns and cities in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties. Shown below are his two seperate letters to Nolan on this matter with their incredible content.

    From Ed to PCR:
    You may already have some of these, and some of these you may not find useful, but I was doing this project when I came upon your site and am just submitted all my work to you. Hope some of this is helpful. Ed

    All of these cities are in Broward County:
    Coconut Creek--The city took its name from the coconut trees that were planted in the area by early developers.
    Cooper City--The city is named for Morris Cooper, who founded the community in 1959.
    Coral Springs--The city was named for its natural spring water.
    Dania Beach--Most of the early residents were of Danish ancestry, and so they named the town Dania.
    Davie--Davie was founded by a group of settlers composed of workers from the Panama Canal Zone. This led to the original name of the town, "Zona". R.P. Davie, a developer, bought about 27,000 acres in the area and the town name was changed to "Davie."
    Deerfield Beach--The city is named for the numerous deer that once roamed the area.
    Fort Lauderdale--Named after Major William Lauderdale, who built a fort along the New River with a detachment of Tennessee Volunteers to capture Seminole agricultural lands and battle the Indians.
    Hallandale Beach--The city is named after Luther Halland, a worker for Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railroad.
    Hillsboro Beach--The town was named for the Earl of Hillsborough.
    Hollywood--The city was developed by Joseph Young, a former resident of California. He chose to name the area after the town that had once been so attractive to him.
    Lighthouse Point--The city was named for the Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse.
    Margate--The city was named for its founder, Jack Marquese, and its location as a gateway to western Broward County.
    Miramar--The city was named after a town in Cuba.
    Oakland Park--Originally named Floranada (a combination of Florida and Canada), the town was forced into bankruptcy after the hurricane of 1926. When the town reincorporated, residents chose the name Oakland Park because of the many oak trees in the area.
    Parkland--Named as such because of zoning laws that are designed to protect the "parklike" character of the city.
    Pembroke Park--the name comes from its location along Pembroke Road.
    Pembroke Pines--the name came from its location along Pembroke Road and the many pine trees in the area.
    Plantation--the area was nicknamed Plantation because many large tracts of land were purchased by city dwellers, who called them "plantations".
    Pompano Beach--named after the Florida pompano (Trachinotus carolinus), a fish found off the Atlantic coast.
    Tamarac--A millionarie named Ken Behring came from the Midwest and bought up all the land and then started to build. He originally made his fortune in the carwash business, with the dealerships called Caramat. He called his new city Tamarac, Caramat spelled backwards, and the name remains.
    Sea Ranch Lakes--named for the Sea Ranch Hotel.
    Southwest Ranches--Because the area has many horse ranches and is located in the southwestern part of Broward County, residents chose "Southwest Ranches" over many other potential town names.
    Sunrise--Originally called "Sunset," the name did not sit well with the retirees whom developers wanted to attract, so a change was made to "Sunrise."
    Weston--developed by Arvida/JMB Partners, the city is located near the western developmental boundary of Broward County.
    West Park--A large portion of the city lies west of the city of Pembroke Park, so the new city was called "West Park".

    And in Palm Beach County:
    Boca Raton--Listed on early maps as "Boca Ratones", many people wrongly assume the name is simply translated to "Rat's Mouth". The Spanish word boca (or mouth) was often used to describe an inlet, while raton (literally mouse) was used as a term for a cowardly thief. But the "Thieve's Inlet," Boca Ratones, originally appeared on eighteenth century maps associated with an inlet in the Biscayne Bay area of Miami. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the term was mistakenly moved north on most maps and applied to Lake Boca Raton, whose inlet was closed at the time.

    From Nolan Canova to Ed,
    Thanks so much for writing! The article you referenced was from a column called "La Floridiana" by author William Moriaty, published on my website. I'm sure he'd very much appreciate your input and all your work (as do I), so I'm forwarding it to him immediately for review and comment. Thanks again for reading and taking an interest in our publication, and for contributing your knowledge of Florida cities to us.
    Yours in fandom,
    Nolan B. Canova

    From Ed back to Nolan Canova
    Subject: Re: some additional entries for your "where did this name in Florida come from"
    Glad you liked it. If you or he has any questions about it, feel free to email me. I realize some stuff may contradict other information; that's how it is with history sometimes. Sometimes even a persons first name can't be found. Yesterday it was Broward, today it is Miami-Dade County. And remember, this was a project I was doing for myself, so some of the information may be totally useless for his website, but I'm sure he will like much of it. I'm just submitting all my work....its easier than trying to think of what William might or might not want.

    Miami-Dade towns and cities:
    Aventura--The city name is from the Spanish word for adventure.
    Biscayne Park--The village name "Biscayne" comes from an Indian term for "favorite path of the rising moon".
    Coral Gables--The community was named after the founder's home, George Merrick, which was decorated with coral.
    Cutler Ridge--It was really not until David Blumberg began developing the land that the area became an organized community. In the early 1950?s Blumberg and his partner, Joe Segal, convinced owner Walter Blumberg to sell him 1,400 acres of undeveloped land. Blumberg actually named this area after the town of Cutler (now located within the village of Palmetto Bay) and the limestone ridge on which the land sits. The first housing development went up in 1954 and the Cutler Ridge Mall (now Southland Mall) opened in 1960. Street names in Cutler Ridge come from holidays and the ports of call Blumberg visited as a sailor.
    Doral--The City of Doral is named for the famous golf and spa resort located within its municipal boundaries. It was originally built by Doris and Alfred Kaskel. They named it "Doral"; a combination of Doris and Alfred.
    El Portal--The village name is derived from the Spanish phrase for "the gate," after two wooden gates that once stood as a gateway to the village.
    Hialeah--The city's name is a Seminole word meaning "High Prairie".
    Homestead--gets its name from a path that was the only way to reach the area, the "Homesteaders Trail".
    Medley--The community was named after its founder, Sylvester Medley.
    Miami--The origin of the name Miami is unknown. One theory is that it comes from an Indian word for "sweet water." Another theory is that the name comes from the original name for Lake Okeechobee, "Lake Mayaimi".
    Miami Gardens--The city name comes from one of the major roadways through the area, Miami Gardens Drive.
    Miami Springs--was named after a natural spring that was found in the area.
    North Miami--Originally the town of Arch Creek, named after the natural rock bridge formation that stretched across a creek. Years later, the area incorporated as the Town of Miami Shores, which later changed its name to North Miami in 1927.
    North Miami Beach--Originally named "Fulford" after Captain William H. Fulford, the city changed its name to North Miami Beach in 1931.
    Opa-Locka--contraction of the Seminole name for the area, "Opa-tisha-woka-locka", meaning a dry place in the swamp with trees.
    Palmetto Bay--William C. Cutler owned a large portion of land in the area. After he died in 1899, his friend (William Fuzzard) applied to be the first postmaster for the area. He chose the name "Cutler" in honor of his friend. In the late 1990's, area residents wanted to incorporate their community. They took the name "Palmetto" from the Miami Palmetto High School in the nearby village of Pinecrest. The community's location along Biscayne Bay was also featured into the new town name.
    Pinecrest--Village of Pinecrest was incorporated on March 12, 1996 and adopted the name "Pinecrest" from the Pinecrest Elementary School.
    South Miami--An early land owner of the area, W.A. Larkins owned property west of Red Road and Sunset Drive. He built the first grocery store in the area, and as the community grew, a post office was placed in the community. Larkins became the first Postmaster, and the community took the name of "Larkins". In 1926, area residents wanted to incorporate their area, and because of the booming city to the north of them, they chose the name of "South Miami".
    Sweetwater--named after the pure water of the Everglades, which some residents described as being sweet.
    Virginia Gardens--In 1947, Miami Springs passed an ordinance outlawing horses from their city limits, so about 50 citizens decided to form their own city and break away from Miami Springs. Virginia Gardens got its name because many of the founding residents were wealthy transplants who named the village after their home state.

    Miami-Dade unincorporated communities:
    Biscayne--A depot stop along the Florida East Coast Railway and named after Biscayne Bay. The location of the depot would place it in a golf course of todays city of Miami Shores. Not to be confused with the town of Biscayne Park.
    Benson--A former stop along the Florida East Coast Railway located near US 1 and Howard Drive, this area got its name from one of the foremen working there in the area for the Florida East Coast Railway.
    Buena Vista--which means "beautiful view" in Spanish. Once an independent town, it was annexed by the city of Miami in 1925.
    Carol City--Originally called "Coral City" by developers, pressure from the city of Coral Gables forced a name change. The letters "a" and "o" had their positions switched; hence "Carol City".
    Coconut Grove--Edmund D. Beasley owned 160 acres bay front property, with many cocoanut trees planted on his property. In 1873, after Beasley's death, his widow rented their home to Dr. Horace P. Porter. He lived there for only a year but during that time established a post office that he named "Cocoanut Grove." Over time, the letter "a" has been dropped from the name to today's name of "Coconut Grove". Once an independent town, it was annexed by the city of Miami in 1925.
    Franjo-- John H. Earhart owned 2,000 acres near Franjo Road and Old Cutler Road where a small farming community developed. The town name was a combination of letters from his brothers name, Francis, and his own...so was born the town of "Franjo."
    Goulds--The community was named after after its operator, Lyman Gould, who cut trees for railroad ties for the Florida East Coast Railway.
    Howard--area residents in Benson were so upset by the overbearing Benson that they banded together and changed the name of the town to one of the town leaders at the time, Mr. Howard.
    Kendall--The community was named after Maj. Kendall, an executive of the British Land Company that had surveyed and mapped many areas of Florida.
    Key--a temporary town built for workers of the Florida East Coast Railway. Its approximate location would be near US 1 and S.W. 144 street. Two theories on the name--1) It was named after a Capt. Key who worked on the FEC Railroad and 2) It took its name because it was a home for workers on the railroad extension into the Florida Keys.
    Lemon City--named after the many lemon groves in the area. Once an independent town, it was annexed by the city of Miami in 1925. Due to a huge influx of immigrants from Haiti, the area is today known as "Little Haiti".
    Little River--named after its location along the Little River. Once an independent town, it was annexed by the city of Miami in 1925.
    Modello--named after the company that had a depot location along the Florida East Coast Railway, the Model Land Company. This name is common in many different locations in Florida.
    Naranja--named by G. W. Moody after the numerous orange groves in the area. He liked the sound of the Spanish word for orange, "Naranja".
    Ojus--The community name derives from Indian term meaning "plenty".
    Perrine--The community was named after Dr. Henry Perrine, who was awarded a land grant for the area in 1938. He never did get to settle in this area as he was killed by the Seminole Indians during the Second Seminole War (1835-1842). Perrine began to develop into a large town when the Florida East Coast Railroad was extended into the area. The town never did incorporate, and when the village of Palmetto Bay incorporated, Perrine was split in half. East Perrine is now apart of Palmetto Bay, West Perrine is still an unincorporated area, although some residents have discussed the possibility of incorporating Perrine.
    Pennsuco--A town that was the creation of the Pennsylvania Sugar Corporation.
    Peters--The town of Peters stradled both sides of US 1 near Quail Roost Drive, where Thomas J. Peters had a large tomato farm.
    Princeton--As a small town and depot along the Florida East Coast Railroad in the 1900's, the community was named by Gaston Drake after his alma mater, Princeton University. Many of the town buildings were originally even painted the school's colors: black and orange. That is no longer the case today.
    Redland--named after the color of the soil, the early settlers of the area purposefully named their town the singular "Redland", to distinguish their town from the plural "Redlands" in California.
    Rockdale--named after the numerous rock mining pits in the area.
    Silver Palm--named after the silver palms (coccothrinax argentata) that grew in the area. In the early 1900's, the town of Silver Palm developed near the intersection of Silver Palm Drive and Newton Road. Today, only two original structures survive: the Silver Palm School and the community general store.

    Hope you enjoyed! Ed

    To repeat Ed's sentiment: "And remember, this was a project I was doing for myself, so some of the information may be totally useless for his website, but I'm sure he will like much of it. I'm just submitting all my work....its easier than trying to think of what William might or might not want."

    All of it is of great use, Ed, and I am proud to feature the fruits of your labor on this Sunshine State endeavor in this column!

    Item #4: War of the Weirds (a.k.a. "Don't accept wooden nickels")
    Just when you think things can't get any weirder for Florida's Man In Black, Charlie Carlson, they do! On January 1, 2006 an AP article appeared on CNN and in various newspapers throughout Florida mentioning three books titled "Weird Florida". Just who is Florida's true "Master of the Weird?" Read this missive from the latest" Weird Florida Fan Club" newsletter by fellow Charlie Carlson fans and Plant City citizens Lisa Sanchez and Lisa Gilbert and decide for yourself!

    Weird Florida Fan Club
    January 3, 2006
    4000 online fans from Pensacola to Key West
    Coordinators Lisa Sanchez & Lynn Gilbert
    Happy New Year to All!!

    WEIRD FLORIDA II? YES? NO? What’s the deal? YIKES!! Breaking Fan News.........
    In an Associated Press news release on January 1st, it was reported that a new book titled Weird Florida II was being released this month. The AP article appeared on CNN and in various newspapers throughout Florida mentioning three books titled Weird Florida. Although author Charlie Carlson was mentioned as one of the writers, this new book, Weird Florida II has NO Connection, we repeat, NO connection, to our Master of the Weird, Charlie Carlson author of the real Weird Florida.

    This new book is a small paperback about bizarre crimes in Florida and contains mostly extracts from newspaper reports. Weird Florida II is written by Eliott Kleinberg, a feature writer for the Palm Beach Post. In the past two days the fan club and author, Charlie Carlson, have received 130+ emails thinking that Weird Florida II is a sequel to Charlie’s highly popular Weird Florida. We think it may be an attempt to hitch a ride on the success of Weird Florida, but it is important to fans not to buy it thinking it is written by our Charlie, because it is not!!

    First to report the weird conflict on the airwaves was the Graveyard Shift, a popular two-hour radio show on Tampa Bay’s WTAN [1340 and 1400 AM], The Graveyard Shift is like Florida’s equivalent to the Art Bell show and has a big following both on the air and internet. Following the AP article, responses to Weird Florida headquarters were immediate, coming from such personalities as Michael Gavin, feature writer for Ghost Magazine, and William Moriaty of La Floridiana on Nolan’s Pop Culture Review, and various members of www.spookhunters.com, among other fans across the state.

    Now fans are wondering if there's an Armageddon of the Weird Writers looming on Florida's horizon. Is a paranormal war, so to speak, about to break out? Will our Master of the Weird be compelled to rally his skunk apes and unseen forces in defense of his throne? Many Fans believe a weird war is brewing, and so do we at the fan club, but our man-in-black will be the victor.

    Charlie Carlson’s Weird Florida has sold 60,000 books for Barnes & Noble in only eight months, according to Lisa's calculator that's a whopping 1.2 million dollars in gross sales, plus Charlie has appeared on over 100 radio and television shows, in a multitude of newspapers and magazines, and in filmed documentaries. The greatest difference between our Master of the Weird and Kleinberg and his Weird Florida II, is that Charlie moves in the circles of the weird subjects he writes about, while Kleinberg simply writes from his Palm Beach desk. Okay, so we're a bit biased.

    WHO WAS REALLY FIRST?
    While the Associated Press article and CNN implied Kleinberg was the first with a crazy book about Florida's weird side, it was actually Charlie Carlson when he released his STRANGE FLORIDA in 1997, which sold 10,000 copies. Shortly after, Kleinberg approached Carlson’s publisher with a copy of Strange Florida in his hand. Two years later, Kleinberg released a small paperback titled, Weird Florida, containing some of the same subject matter as Strange Florida. In 2004, Carlson was a contributing writer to Weird U.S. followed in 2005 with the release of his big, full color hardback, Weird Florida, your travel guide to Florida's lost legends & best kept secrets.

    Now in the wake of Weird Florida, Kleinberg is back with Weird Florida II. What is now being made public for the first time, is Carlson is releasing “Strange Florida II” in March or April. How much weirdness can the state take? Fans are now choosing sides and waiting to see. But the important thing for readers to note, is that Weird Florida II is NOT a sequel to the Barnes & Noble best seller Weird Florida and has nothing whatsoever to do with author Charlie Carlson, who still wears the crown as Florida’s Master of the Weird.

    Lisa & Lynn
    Coming to you from Weird Headquarters in beautiful Plant City, Florida.
    Direct all inquiries for the author to indigosun@earthlink.net

    Whew! So much for "Lite", huh?


    "La Floridiana" is ©2006 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 ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.