The Road Construction Project That Wouldn’t Die!

The Road Construction Project That Wouldn’t Die!

One of the things you get used to pretty quickly around metro Orlando is that we have road construction going on constantly. The project to improve I-4 is the mac-daddy one happening now. I’m not going to whine about that one, not at all. You can actually see the progress when cruising along I-4.

The one that I’d nominate for Worst Road Project in Metro O’do would be the job to widen/improve the intersection of John Young Pkwy and Sand Lake Rd. (Yeah, there should be an award called “WRPiMO”, shouldn’t there?)

It’s a major snafu. It makes it nearly impossible to get in or out of a major shopping complex used by locals and visitors alike; and it’s been going on for way.too.long.

When you cruise around this accursed intersection, you might not see any work being done. When you see that happening–or NOT happening, I should say–it can be very vexing, to say the least. Orange County needs to light a fire under this contractor.

When you do see work, it’s just one or two crews, and never more than two or three front end loaders. I’ve never seen a project inching towards completion like this one. And I’m over it. Completely over it.

I’m not daft enough to think that my rant today on this obscure blog will change anything. But I do feel better for getting it out of my system. Until the next time I have to go that way, that is!

Wherever you’re heading today, I hope it’s all sunshine and green lights! Little-to-no traffic, happy police with no quotas to fill and NO effin road construction!


“Bulldog Ben” Basile


Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

WKMG: Jamie Seh getting sports show – Orlando Sentinel

Bulldog writes: This is a very good development for Central Florida TV viewers, especially folks like me who are loyal to Channel 6. Jamie has been doing very solid work as the weekend sports anchor for WKMG for over five years and she’s definitely ready for prime time!

Ping, aka David Pingalore, was good at his craft but his shtick could get so annoying. So this is good news both because I think it’s a good move and because I had gotten really tired of Ping after ten frickin’ years! Details here on the new 30 minute show:


WKMG sports director Jamie Seh will headline a year-round sports show at 11:30 p.m. Saturdays.

Source: WKMG: Jamie Seh getting sports show – Orlando Sentinel

Orlando’s Fashion Square, one of America’s struggling malls – Orlando Sentinel

Ben writes: You may have read my posting from May 6th about how the Florida Mall on the south end of Orlando is still doing fine. Orlando Fashion Square Mall is the one whose downward spiral I have noticed most closely. I loved that place. This piece in the Sentinel is right up-to-the-minute and is worth a read by anyone who’s been here in Central Florida for a while and remembers some of our landmarks that have been around for many, many years.

Orlando’s Fashion Square is one of America’s many struggling malls, looking to reinvent itself

Source: Orlando’s Fashion Square, one of America’s struggling malls – Orlando Sentinel

Our Florida Mall in Orlando Thrives While Most Are Dying

Our Florida Mall in Orlando Thrives While Most Are Dying

Tonight I did something I haven’t done in quite a while; I cruised one of our local malls. I know that malls are really struggling in most American cities and at least three of them here in the Greater Orlando area have gone belly up or are just barely clinging to life. The Orlando Fashion Square Mall was a fave of mine. Our family watched it go up in the ’60s. So sad that the mall’s owners declared bankruptcy a short while ago…

I did notice a few months ago that The Altamonte Mall is doing pretty well and is very busy on weekends. That was good to see. Altamonte Springs is a cool town about 20 minutes north of Orlando, for those of you who aren’t too familiar with Central Florida.

So tonight I thought I’d check out the Florida Mall as I was in that part of town. And it was absolutely thronged. It just blew UP! Of course, it is a Saturday night.

That was a good thing to see.

Not only was business good, but the mall is undergoing a major renovation. I’ll have to check back in a year or so and see how that went.

In the meantime, it’s good to see that some of our malls here in Central Florida are doing just fine.

A quick attempt to fill in a bit of the history of malls around here: The Florida Mall, like the newer Millenia Mall, is very, very close to the heart of our tourist stuff in O’do. I doubt there’s a better location anywhere in the country. No, that’s not an overstatement.

So I suppose it’s not too smart to draw any conclusions about national trends. I don’t see things improving much for investors who’re heavily into a typical mall, but here we’re not doing too badly.

The photo is of the entrance to the Spencer’s Gifts at our thriving Florida Mall. Glad they’re still around, too. I don’t spend money in places like Spencer’s these days, but it’s good that they haven’t gone away.


“Bulldog Ben” Basile in Orlando


Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile


Steak ‘n Shake in the Hunter’s Creek Area

Steak ‘n Shake in the Hunter’s Creek Area

Had breakfast this morning at the Steak ‘n Shake location way down So. OBT in the Hunter’s Creek part of South Orlando. Enjoyed every bite. And the fine service. Janet is more than just a good server; her skill, experience and customer manner put her way above most who put on the apron and pour the coffee.

If you’re in the Hunter’s Creek part of the world some morning, stop in. Of course, you can stop in at any time, they’re open 24 hours! Steak ‘n Shake has some new and very tasty menu offerings. Their prices are lower than just about any eatery of that type and if it’s breakfast time, you’ll most likely have Janet as your server. Lucky you.


Steak ‘n Shake ~ 13133 So. Orange Blossom Trail ~ Orlando, Florida ~ Dial 407 240-8740


Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile


UCF knocks off Illinois, advances to NIT Final Four – Orlando Sentinel

I was on the UCF campus yesterday evening to see our Knights take on the Seminoles in softball. No. 1 ranked FSU bested the Knights by a score of 4-0. It was a good contest and I don’t think the UCF softball stadium could have held one more fan.

While that contest was going on, we all could see the crazy traffic on campus, knowing that the crowds were turning out for the Men’s BB game that was going to tip-off at 7:00. I was delighted to hear the Knights won and are now headed to the final four in the NIT. Hope they leave their mark on Madison Square Garden! Charge On!

Great write-up all about their big win here from the Orlando Sentinel:

UCF held off a late Illinois rally at CFE Arena Wednesday night, advancing to the NIT Final Four.

Source: UCF knocks off Illinois, advances to NIT Final Four – Orlando Sentinel

Golf Legend Arnold Palmer Has Passed

Golf Legend Arnold Palmer Has Passed

It’s quite possible that Arnold Palmer was the best-known golfer of all time. He had a home here in Orlando for a very long time and he was well-loved in this part of the world.

Although he was a true legend in the game of golf, he was just as well-known for being a wonderful human being and giving away vast sums of money. The Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children here in Orlando is such a part of our community. I had so many fares to or from that place in my taxi driving years. And The Bay Hill Invitational is a huge event in Central Florida. Arnie, as his friends and fans often called him, just might have been our most beloved celebrity around here; God knows we have plenty. Especially in the world of sports.

I haven’t played golf in over 30 years, but it’s such a fine sport. It’s lots of fun to watch. (I enjoy living on the seventh fairway of one of our many, many country clubs in Florida, but that’s as close as I get to the action.) Now that he’s passed, many will point out that Mr. Palmer had thousands of admirers who have no connection to the game of golf. That’s his greatest legacy. Rest in Peace, Arnie.

By the time you’ve read this, there will be hundreds of obituaries on Mr. Palmer. Here’s one that came out right away, as Golfweek pretty much scooped the rest of the world.


Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile