Best Of 1997

Best of Orlando-Etc.

You know you're an Orlandoan when ...
;... you leave and you miss it.
;... you say, "What humidity?"
;... you think 60 degrees is freezing.
;... you remember when there were huge live oaks downtown.
;... you are in traffic for two hours every day.
;... you stop on I-4 to gawk at disabled vehicles.
;... you don't take I-4.
;... you think the fast lane is on the right.
;... you wonder where the GreeneWay goes.
;... you see that every other car around you is a rental, and it's no big deal.
;... you're afraid to jaywalk downtown.
;... you never watch local TV news.
;... you get stuck behind a horse and carriage on Church Street.
;... you avoid Church Street altogether.
;... you don't go to I-Drive.
;... you don't have to swat mosquitoes because they die in your sunscreen.
;... a palmetto bug flies into your hair.
;... you learn to live with the lovebugs.
;... you notice all four seasons.
;... you carry a sweater in August.
;... you can tell the month of the year by what time of day it rains.
;... you have season passes to Disney World.
;... you don't go to Disney World.
;... you can't believe people actually go to Disney World for vacation.
;... you feel a cultural deficit.
;... you stick up for the Asparagus.
;... you're offended by snide comments about Orlando in movies.
;... you give directions.
;... you think Orlando is a big city.
;... you want to be in the crowd at Lake Eola on July Fourth.
;... you've been to Wally's
;... every bartender knows your name.
;... every mosquito knows your name.
;... you retire in North Carolina.
;... you'd be willing to risk life and limb just to slap the shit out of Shaq.

Best categories we overlooked

Best costume party: Orlando Frontrunner's Halloween party.
;Best charity: Centaur
;Best dinner show: King Henry's Feast
;Best drag queen: Miss Sammy
;Best Elvis impersonator: Walt Steffens
;Best urban boutique: Venus & Mars
;Best local website:
;Best arcade: Rocky's Replay
;Best comedy house: SAK Theatre
;Biggest loss: Starlite Drive-In
;Best nude beach: Playalinda
;Best bartender: Shecky, Fat Tuesday
;Best costume shop: Costumes Unlimited
;Best place to play darts: Crickets
;Best West Indian dance ghall: Gossips
;Best local magazine: Bitch Rag
;Best place to get into an accident: Making a U-turn on Northlake Boulevard

Best ballot stuffing

It's probably our own fault. Street performer Rade Zone arrived from California for a job at Disney, lost it, took his act to the street downtown where he encountered Orlando's rigid regulations governing public sidewalks, and we got a story out of it. Next thing you know, we were throwing a party and booking Rade Zone to perform. Now, we sorta understand why he lost the job at Disney. But that doesn't negate our interest in his cause -- nor, apparently, his interest in us. Rade Zone stuffed the ballot on his own behalf, and he did so in several categories. Not that he didn't try to mask it. Each ballot was carefully written out and affixed with a different name -- bogus, we assume. The tipoff was his voting in the category of Best Pick-up Line: "You ever seen Rade Zone perform?" "Don't leave until you've seen Rade Zone." "I know Rade Zone." "I can't believe we got a RadeZone-autographed T-shirt!" Rade, if you're reading, we caught you. But congratulations on getting your name in the Orlando Weekly. Again. (Are we easy, or what?)