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Thursday, April 30, 2009

His Bark is Better Than His Bite

Not all can always be sweet in Candy’s Land. Macon City Council Member Erick Erickson had a feather-ruffled response to my posting “Things That Make You Go Grrr: If it Ain’t Broke, a Naysayer Wants to Fix It” and “P.S. A Penny for Your Thoughts.”

To be fair, Mom had the opportunity to preview Erick’s response before it went to print in the 11th Hour (her previous FTJ) and had a couple of days to think about how - or if - she would respond. The last thing she wants to do is cause an embarrassing Elaine vs. Erick-like tinkle match.

But she still has one question – does Erick Erickson need another spiral-bound, well-tabbed 2008-2009 marketing plan the Macon-Bibb CVB hand-delivered to him and all members of Macon City Council long before he wrote his original 11th Hour column?

Maybe the CVB’s biggest mistake is they should have provided him with a digital version . . . Regardless, the offer still stands to loan him our hardcopy. It’s an extensive, organized, informative read that could answer a lot of Erick’s questions.

But I think I know what he would say to my offer: He shouldn’t have to read it [given his position the community]. Well, given this female dog blog’s shiny new spotlight, I want to make sure I'm not just another cute face with the Walden name on my pet tag. I’m reading the marketing plan from front to back . . . . and back again. It should be dog-earred in no time.

There are days when Mom admits she feels like everyone wants something from her. Or her wheels are spinning. Or she gets frustrated with her own talk and no action. And then she thinks it could be worse – she could hold public office. It takes a special kind of person to carry the weight of the entire community on their shoulders . . . when the sake of the city is still running through your mind after closing your eyes at night and the first thought of the day when you wake up. Not everyone realizes City Council’s level of commitment. It’s not just a semi-Tuesday night gig. Their committee obligations alone could swell a daily calendar. Public service is a 24-hour job, in addition to full-time jobs, families and what little life of their own is left. So, as a registered voter, she has utmost respect for those who have made this kind of investment. She just hopes this particular city council member shares that same respect for the members of the community he’s investing so much hard work in.

Here's his response published today in the current issue of the 11th Hour (found at over 300 locations throughout Central Georgia):

A Female Dog Does Not Like Me

I normally do not write responses to those who write responses to me. I have a bigger soap box, so it is generally only fair to let the other side have their say in an unadulterated manner. I did, however, get a good laugh over a particular female dog last week.

Sitting at my desk on a conference call organizing key lieutenants in the vast right wing conspiracy, a friend sent me a link to a French website that had a blog post about my last column on the Convention and Visitors Bureau. The English translation made no sense. It turned out to be a website that steals blogger content and translates that content into French. For me, it then translated the content back to English. Still, the dual translation made more sense than the original.

The original, it turns out, was Macon originated from the blog of a female dog named Candy. It is actually Jessica Walden’s blog, but she writes under the guise of her dog. Jessica did not like like CVB column and, rather than address the substance, decided it was preferable to go after me directly.

She began, “[I wish] this Ward V Post 3 point person would shut his Mac and actually look interested in the public’s forum.” Never mind that she has no idea what might actually be on my computer — like a property map of a parcel being discussed, a PDF version of legislation to save paper, the IRS 990 records of a potential grant recipient, etc.

Then she rambled on, “Step away from his wireless world and actually ask (in-person) the questions that got him elected.” I have no idea what she is talking about. Maybe her dog vomited on the keyboard there. But she then continued, “And visit to the physical address instead of the web one.” That, of course, pretty much makes my point — the online address should be representative of the physical address. It should be informative, easy to use, easy to navigate, and easy to find. It is actually neither. The only thing more pleasant about it than dealing with the actual CVB is that it does not have Little Richard pretending to answer the phone.

She goes after me again writing, “Mom’s never met Erick. She’s sat beside him a couple of times in WMAC’s studio, but other than adjusting his mic and eating a chicken biscuit, she’s never seen him without his finger on his touchpad. Or even raise an eye from his Apple. Maybe she’d have better luck introducing herself in a chat room.” I have noticed there is a certain class of old school Maconite, the type that typically cause the problems in Macon, who like mocking my work and computer instead of actually dealing with what I write. It makes them feel self-important. Meanwhile, they remained mired in their world of doing the same thing over and over because that is the way they have always done it. It is also much easier to go after me than what I write, given that I’m right.

But here is the heart of her high society naiveté: Jessica Walden thinks the CVB works well because people at the CVB kiss her butt. Keep in mind writing this that it reads like Screwtape writing to Wormwood, as it is in the guise of her dog writing about her. “When she needs the CVB’s help in promoting an attraction or event, she goes directly to them and asks for specific, customized help.”

One would expect the CVB would fall over backwards for the Music Hall of Fame. One would also expect the CVB would fall over backwards for Ms. Walden because of her last name. If she thinks otherwise, she is mistaken.

The reality is the CVB works hard for those that it knows and those that it has worked with historically. It is not open to anything new, is filled with stale ideas, and goes through the motions. That is fact, not opinion.

Given her diatribe against me that is best summed up as “Erick Erickson knows nothing about anything because he won’t get away from his computer” Ms. Walden should conclude, rightly, that I am giving voice to many, many people other than myself —people without the last name Walden who do not work for the Music Hall of Fame and so do not get fawned over by the nearly two dozen employees of the CVB (more than double the size of the Memphis, TN CVB’s employment roster). In fact, many of the people most concerned about the CVB are some of the more prominent people in the community who actually want to go beyond what we have always done. Now at the point of wanting to innovate for the sake of the community’s survival, they see what they have not seen before, i.e. a convention and visitors bureau in need of new blood and new ideas, not just additional blood and additional ideas.

Jessica concluded her post writing, “we’ve got a CVB that is a Macon landmark in itself.” And what do landmarks have in common? They are old, unmoving historic edifices. That anyone would consider a Convention and Visitors Bureau to be a landmark gives further proof to my point.

On a final note, thanks to City Councilman Erick Erickson and the 11th Hour for taking the time to come to Candy's Land. No matter what is said, just remember: Candy Lou loves you!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Cheap is Chic Chat: Salvation Score!

There are some weeks when a little retail therapy is more required than others. This was one of them. So how much did Mom spend on such therapy? $2.50 at the Salvation Army Thrift Store on Martin Luther King, Jr., Blvd.

Her purchase? A brand new Marc by Marc Jacobs sundress ($1.99) and a "vintage" 1954 paperback copy of Homer's The Iliad (.50).

It doesn't get more therapeutic than that.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Wanted: A Few Good Men

Calling on the lionhearted - Candy Lou wants you. Mom got an update from June O’Neal today that there are currently 48 unmatched male protégés on the Mentors Project of Bibb County waiting list.

Mom, who’s been a mentor for almost three years, says if you want something done, ask a busy person. So I am seeking the busy people, especially men, to set aside four hours a month to try to change a teen’s life forever. That’s right, only four hours a month. It’s as easy as a lunch break in the school cafeteria; attending an event hosted by the Mentors Project; homework after school; a drink at the local coffee shop; a ballgame; a walk on the Ocmulgee Heritage Trail. It’s investing a little time for a growing mind in a mean old world.

You’ve got a lot to give, but the most valuable is your time. You know the Supertramp song . . . give a little bit. Call the Mentors Project of Bibb County to find out more: 478.765.8624.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Weekend Wrap-Up: Where Else?

It was another three-ringed circus this wonderful weekend in Macon. On Saturday afternoon, Mom went to the Pan African Festival where she managed a snow cone and caught Mark Brooker's last public performance with the Soul Proprietors (sadly, he's moving to AZ). Later that evening, it was dinner at Luigi's with family and friends before a quick change into a vintage 1930's before heading to the Party of the Year with Honey Shot.

The Historic Macon fundraiser set up a speak-easy in the old Karsten-Denson space with low lights, black ties and the live music of St. Francis piping out the plate glass windows. Never in a million years did Mom think she'd find herself all fancy in the same place that always smelled of fertilizer and where she saved pennies to buy biddies to live at her father's former Round Oak cabin.
As the Party of the Year wound down, Mom, Honey Shot and Lil' Miss Bibb hiked up their dresses to walk a couple of blocks to the Hummingbird for Bring Your Blankets. She got more than her five canned goods worth, catching roaring performances of City Council, Roly-Bots and Floco Torres and Al K!ng at the end of the night.

Sunday was meant to be a little lazier. Mom took me with her to a noonish picnic brunch on Coleman Hill with two of her fellow Monthlies. She followed it with a ride through the country to the aforementioned cabin (just to re-visit from the outside) with Shuga D and the windows down. The day ended with a homemade spaghetti supper with quite the cast and crew, currently filming in Macon and coming soon to an indie film festival near you. Only in Macon, is what Mom says. How can you not love this town?

Eye Candy: Countdown to Cone Removal

Say a little prayer for me . . . Dr. Hudspeth says my bandages might come off this week. If that's the case, so goes the cone. And as you can see from the video below, I'm over the medically necessary accessory.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Simply the Best

Congratulations to Imedia Group, home of Mom’s FTJ (Full-time Job) on being named among the recipients of Central Georgia’s “#1 Best in Business Award.” To celebrate the corporate-clinching, I’m giving away Consumer Savings Cards in association with the awards that offer all types of discounts, including free food (pizzas, chips, cookies, appetizers) and discount services, including car washing, dry cleaning, chiropractic consultating, hair cutting . . . you know, the basics to the corporate persona. My tail is wagging over Welch’s Country Smokehouse (across from Brass Pro Shop) where you can buy three Jerkeys, get one free. Just send me a Candygram to get your savings card!

And in honor of the achievement, enjoy one of Mom and her horse Miss ProBo’s favorite music videos.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Playing for Change

If this doesn't make you want to hug your Global Community closer, I don't know what will.

Setting the Bar

When Mom was a little lass, she never had a blankie. Or a binkie. Or any stuffed, tattered and ears chewed/eyeball missing, moldy what-not she hauled around for extra security. But she did have imaginary friends . . . Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Spanky, Darla, Froggy, Stymie, Butch, Fatima – you get the theme here.

On Saturday, the Bring Your Blankets movement is doing it again at the Hummingbird Stage and Taproom. Bring either five canned goods or make at least a $7 donation at the door, and it all goes to Macon’s Loaves and Fishes. The good-for-your-soul fun starts at 4 p.m. with a back porch beach party that will have the grill fired up and frozen drinks churning. The music starts at 7 p.m. and features some of the heavy-hitters of Macon’s music scene: Citizen Insane, Oh Dorian and City Council. Mom and Shuga D were cranking City Council last night. And Oh Dorian (Heather Kemp) recently cut a demo of “Buttercup” in Mom’s parlor room on her infamous Otis piano. Even in its roughest draft on an out-of-tune piano, Heather’s song struck all the right chords.

There will also be a $5 bar tab raffle with first prize taking $500 (everyone gets a round!), $250 for second (can I buy you a drink or three?) and $125 for third (hit me again, bartender). The money made from the raffle will also be donated to Loaves and Fishes. You don’t even have to be present to win.

So Mom might not actually be bringing a blanket, but she will save a seat for Alfalfa.

In Memory: Phil Walden, Jan. 11, 1940 - April 23, 2006

It was three years ago today that the music industry lost a hero, the South lost a favorite son and a family lost their patriarch.

“That's the old American way – if you've got a good thing, then overdo it."

- Record Executive Phil Walden

Pictured is Phil Walden, Alan Walden and Atlanta Rhythm Section drummer Robert Nix at the Capricorn Barbecue and Summer Games held at Lakeside Water Park, Macon, Ga., circa 1978.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wednesday Weekend Forecast: Opportunities for Discovery and Last Chance to Eat Something on a Stick!

Time is almost up on the latest Macon Discovery Challenge. The shutterbug scavenger hunt where you click pics at some of Macon's most noteworthy, fun worthy and get-to-know worthy locations officially comes to a close on April 27, with the winners announced on May 3 at the Macon Symphony Pops Concert at Wesleyan College. Don't miss out on your chance at the $1000 grand prize!

Shuga D, HB Mustache (David Higdon) and Miss Chitlin' (Lindsey Rogers) did it last year under the lawnchair guise of "Sir Real Blues," taking home an award for Best Use of Props. Speaking of Shuga D, check him out on the Macon, Discover It website while you're there.

Among the Challenge Clues is #11: Find a Festival in Macon and "Eat Something on a Stick."

This weekend, the Tubman Museum hosts the Pan-African Festival's "Weekend in the Park," a culimination celebration of the museum's week-long annual festival. The FREE event takes place in Central City Park all weekend and features live music, dance, cultural demonstations, arts and crafts vendors, a Children's Village and food vendors from around the world . . . including those who can provide something for you to eat (on a stick).

Other challenge clues include:

  • Act out at Macon State College Amphitheatre
  • Get in the swing of things at Henry Burns Park.
  • Get carded at the Lanford Library branch.
  • Locate a hero at the Historic Linwood Cemetery.
  • Get your feet wet at Washington Park.
  • Find your roots at Fort Hawkins.
  • Salute a veteran at Rosa Parks Square.
  • Go fetch at the Macon Dog Park.
  • Hold court at the John Drew Smith Tennis Center.
  • Did you know (insert your photo) this is in Macon?
Also on board this weekend is NewTown Macon's Downtown Walking Tour of Historic Commercial Buildings. Meet at 3 p.m., Sunday, at the NewTown office (479 Cherry Street) and follow historic preservation consultant Maryel Battin to discover a building guarded by four cast iron angels, a business founded by a reputed descendant of Hans Christian Andersen, a newly restored c. 1872 faade uncovered after 40 years behind ceramic tile and the history of numerous other early downtown buildings and businesses. A $5 donation to NewTown is suggested. You can bet Mom will leave the high heels at home for this one.

Don't forget about Fired Works. Georgia's largest ceramic sale is coming to a close on Sunday. Mom and Shuga D made their heirloom-worthy purchases at the Preview Party. But Mom's going to try to put in another perusing for an early start on one-of-a-kind Christmas gifts.

Candy Hearts the Guide Girls

These cheeky ladies are living their green dreams! Check out the Guide Girls . . . Saving the planet one slap-stick at a time!

Lunch and Learn: Signed, Sealed and Delivered

I may be a Blogutante, but despite the tiara social media is taking these days, I don’t dismiss the classic appeal of marketing to a real deal mailbox. Tomorrow the American Advertising Federation – Central Georgia is hosting the lunch seminar “Multi-Channel Marketing: How Direct Mail Can Work for You.”
Talking points include:
• Learn how about the innovative new Direct Mail designs
• Find out how to effectively blend Direct Mail with various advertising channels to boost customer acquisition and retention.
The special guest is Kathy Earl, a sales specialist for the United States Postal Service. She has worked in the mailing/direct marketing industry for 15 years and has 20 years sales experience.The luncheon (featuring a build-your-own sandwich bar!) takes place at the Cox Capitol Theatre from 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m. Tickets are $15 for AAF members, $25 for non-members and $10 for students. To RSVP, email

By the way, shout out to
Imedia Group for sponsoring!

©2000 Denise Van Patten - Doll Collecting at

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Go Green, Young Girl

You don’t have to tell me twice that Earth Day is every day. But in honor of its Hallmark designation, April 22 is the day we take the time to reduce, reuse, recycle and recognize.

President Obama said earlier this month that the U.S. is “now ready to lead” on climate change. Last Friday, I saw Mom do a happy dance when she heard on the radio the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases pose a health risk, a landmark statement that could impact climate change regulation. According to the
AFP, under pressure from the Obama administration “to show the world that Washington is making advances against climate change,” Congress will debate a “clean energy” bill this week.

Politics aside, green isn’t just a color in Candy’s Land. It’s a way of life. Mom jokes about the first time she went to Shuga D’s house and saw his recycling bins. “You know the way to a girl’s heart is through recycling,” she said. Today, Mom is one of the lucky ones in the city limits who have been given the big blue bin for a plastic and metal catch-all recycling (test) run. So far, so good, and her garbage remains half-full.

But before there was a blue bin, Mom was already a regular recycler. Sure, it wasn’t always easy to haul her recyclables to the nearest center. But it wasn’t impossible either. Just put a few bins in your pantry, garage, shed, back porch. When they are full, haul them to your nearest center.
Macon Iron has a central location with easy access and a clean facility. Because Mom’s bin doesn’t do glass, she takes all of her glass recyclables to Jones County’s recycling center on Gray Highway. For her, it’s simply a stop on the way to feed her horse.

We’re also a big fan of the Green Bags around here. You can never have too many and you can always keep them in your trunk. Mom thinks they are easier (and cleaner) than toting around a grocery basket, and she has fit a full buggy of groceries into two bags. We’re actually lacking plastic bags around here because we’re such fans of the totes. Now if they can just come up with a flushable, bio-degradable dog poop bag, we’d be in business.

Mom is also weaning herself off plastic bottled water. Her sister Georgia Girl gave her a Sigg bottle for her 30th birthday, and it’s been one of the most useful gifts she’s ever received. Mom used to be a bottled water snob, but then became aware that words like purified, filtered, spring and distilled were more selling points than reasons to drink from the fountain. Now she’s back on the Brita, and the water never runs dry.

She also can’t get enough of Aveda’s nature-based, environmentally-friendly cosmetic line. She recently purchased their
re-usable compact from the Vineville Salon, so she can now just buy the pressed powder inserts, instead of throwing it away each time.

And before I forget, there are things I can do as a dog to make my impact on the planet easier. I am now saying no to pesticides in my flea and tick treatment. Mom is a fan of
Sergeant's Nature's Guardian spot treatment and spray that uses tea tree oil, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and other natural derivatives to keep the fleas off me. It works, and it smells great . . . just be careful where you put the stuff. Cinnamon and cayenne don’t feel so “hot” on our vulnerable areas. If Mom finds a flea on me, she always reaches for Capstar. The nicotine-based pill is like an internal flea bath and kills the critters in 30 minutes. It's the same as the old country trick her dad taught her where she fed her nanny goat cigarettes to de-worm her. We’re also going to try something new this summer by putting garlic powder in our food. I hear it keeps the blood-suckers away.

Finally, there are several events in our community throughout the week celebrating how easy it is to be green:

TUESDAY 4/21, 7-8 p.m.:
"Let It Rot" - Compost Seminar
with Dr. Bowman-Cutway
Mercer Biology Department
Lecture Hall, Willet Science Center

4:30-8 p.m.:
"Shindig on the Green"

Tattnall Square Park In Partnership with Macon-Bibb County Parks & Rec Department
Event will feature: Try a Bear Bike, Recycling, Compost Demo, Flower Planting, Yard Games, Tree Planting, Vendor Tables, Raffle

Lights Out @ Jittery Joe's

The house lights will be off all day and candles will be lit at night. 10% discount for all customers who request a non-disposal cup or plate. Jittery Joe's will also compost coffee grounds and recycle for the entire week!

8-10 p.m.:
Movie on the Patch, "Into the Wild"
Porter Patch, Mercer University

FRIDAY 4/24, 8-10 p.m.: Screen on the Green: Disney's "WALL-E"
Tattnall Square Park

Girls’ Night Out, Shuemu-Style

Remember when Salt n’ Peppa taught the ladies how to Shoop? Well, for whatever reason, Mom can’t get it out of her head when she puts the Shu Uemura shampoo on it.

She admits it’s a splurge. But there is a reason Shu Uemura is the Bentley of the bathtub. This stuff is good . . . In fact, it downright spoils your hair follicles rotten – an ultra-clean, glossy, smell-fantastic, body-building kind of rotten. It’s a hallelujah for the hair. Their shampoo is champagne. Their conditioner is caviar. And their hairspray? Yes, hairspray, something that makes Mom back away faster than pepper spray. The Shu Uemura hairspray shouldn’t even be classified as such. It is the holy grail of good, natural hold. And it’s been a BFF during those April showers.

Vineville Spa and Salon is hosting a Girls’ Night Out this Thursday from 5-9 p.m. They’ll be serving Plum Spritzers alongside make-up consultations, microderm spot treatments, hand re-surfacing and, with an appointment, a Shu Uemura Ceremony Treatment. Call 478.742.3322 to set up your appointment for you and a friend or just drop-in to enjoy the night out.

Shoop, shoop, ba-doop, shoop, ba-doop . . .

Monday, April 20, 2009

P.S. Penny for Your Thoughts

We're not the only ones getting our fur fluffed over the CVB sucker-punch. The email below has circulated to CVBs from Lubbock, Texas to Norman, Oklahoma. It was authored by Berkely Young, a research partner with Judy Randall, of Randall Travel Marketing fame:

Just so you don't think you are the only ones with political challenges in your community...This is an editorial from Macon, GA. It was written by City Council person who is in his first term.

Recently the City proposed a 1% increase in bed tax to fund local museums. The CVB
President opposed the tax because it was not in keeping with statewide funding guidelines that prohibit such uses of bed tax dollars. So now the CVB pays for standing up on principle. This is the challenge of public leadership.

As a CVB/community leader, you must continually deliver solid return on investment for your community while taking shots from others who want your money for other purposes. Don't take it personally, it's politics and it always will be. Stick to your plan and focus on driving increased economic impact for your community and make sure that those who support just that!

Berkeley W. Young
Young Strategies, Inc.

Even though Mom supported the potential of the penny tax, she doesn't believe the CVB deserves potshots for doing their job, and doing it well. So, Macon-Bibb CVB, Candy Lou Loves You!

Things That Make You Go Grrr: If it Ain’t Broke, a Naysayer Wants to Fix It

Macon City Council member Erick Erickson’s “Seeing Red” column in the recent issue of the 11th Hour chose to circle its rouge lipstick around the Macon-Bibb Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), and I swear I saw the hair on the back of Mom’s neck stand up.

"With eighteen employees and millions of dollars, surely the CVB can do better than it's doing . . . "

Oh really?

Mom has never worked for the CVB, but during her four years at the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and subsequent years up to her elbows in community projects, she’s worked with them. And she’s pretty sure she knows more about the organization in her pinky than the big finger Erick’s wagging at them.

In fine journalism form, Erick admits, “Now in writing this, I did not call the CVB and talk to them. That may make the CVB mad, but the point is simple: I shouldn’t have to. Given both my position in this community and the fact that I live here, I should know what the CVB is doing besides the slogan and billboards.”

This, Mom says, is coming from an elected official who rarely looks up from his laptop during actual city council meetings. She wishes this Ward V Post 3 point person would shut his Mac and actually look interested in the public’s forum. Step away from his wireless world and actually ask (in-person) the questions that got him elected. And visit to the physical address instead of the web one.

Mom’s never met Erick. She’s sat beside him a couple of times in WMAC’s studio, but other than adjusting his mic and eating a chicken biscuit, she’s never seen him without his finger on his touchpad. Or even raise an eye from his Apple. Maybe she’d have better luck introducing herself in a chat room.

She also concludes he’s never read the cover story in address Macon that explored the ins and outs of the CVB, which said, “Seasoned leisure travelers know a convention and visitors bureau is an informational gold mine – the first call when planning a trip, and perhaps, the first stop upon arrival when they need help navigating the local landscape.” In other words, that cater to Macon's VISITORS. Which makes Mom conclude Erick must not get out much, locally or leisurely . . . but then again, he shouldn’t have to, given his position in the community.

For those who think the CVB is the name of a sorority of tour guides – think again. Macon’s CVB is a well-oiled machine of executive promoters whose keen focuses include specialized facets like family reunions, motor coach tours, travel media, technology, and of course, attracting conventions. Erick was still chasing grasshoppers when the CVB was busting balls just to secure a decent convention hotel. And since he rarely looks up from his computer, he probably hasn't noticed its progress. Ask the folks in Atlanta. Mom spent Macon Day with her Leadership Macon Class where she heard time and time again that Macon’s tourism officials are among the most heralded in the state. Janice Marshall may be 5’4 in the highest heels, but she has set an exponential bar for other CVBs’ CEOs throughout the country.

It’s difficult for some “leaders” to wrap their head around the CVB because the CVB's tangible work is done outside of Macon - interacting with tour operators or meeting planners, attending leisure travel shows, sales missions and trade shows all over the Southeast, and competing with cities like Savannah, Athens and Augusta in asking for business.

All elected officials are hand-carried copies of the CVB marketing plan and invited to hear the results of that marketing at the CVB annual meeting. Was Erick there? Has he even opened that marketing plan? Mom has a copy if he needs another.

Since Erick seems to be a fan of pushing buttons, he’d probably have a good time with the technology in our new downtown welcome center. Wonder how many times he’s be there or even considered being a realistic, not virtual, tourist in his own hometown.

Mom has been frustrated before over this issue. When she needs the CVB’s help in promoting an attraction or event, she goes directly to them and asks for specific, customized help. She knows who they are . . . and who they are not. She knows they are not a free-for-all public relations agency. But she knows if she gives dates and descriptions, they will upload them to an excellent online calendar. She knows if she provides rack cards, they will be distributed at the welcome centers. And she knows if she keeps the lines of communication open, travel writers will be directed to her. She also knows they aren’t a hotel booking agency. If she wants a block of hotel rooms for a local festival, her chances are greater if her organization negotiates, first-person, a sponsorship. This is not the CVB’s job. Of course they want heads on beds, but they are too busy bringing in business to be making the beds for us.

Of all CVBs to criticize, this isn’t the one. Macon can have a little pride in the fact that while our attractions have faced embarrassment, our crime rate catches criticism and we have a city council with at least two members who fight (via email, nonetheless) like kids at camp who blame each other for wetting the bed, we’ve got a CVB that is a Macon landmark in itself. Find another bone to pick.

Mother Wanted me to Come out in a Kimono So We had Quite a Fight

One of Mom's favorite things on the screen of all times is the
Maysles brothers' documentary film "Grey Gardens." There is really no telling how many times she's watched it. And no matter the times, there is always something new she notices. Mom is like a missionary when it comes to the documentary, sharing the gospel of Big and Little Edie to anyone who'll take the time to watch it with her.

Her descent into Grey Gardens began with her former boss Lisa Love, who was recommended the film by her friend, writer Stanley Booth. Lisa couldn't shake some of the scenes the day after watching it - corn on a hot plate, the cat pooing behind the portrait, the incredible, incredulous fashions of Little Edie - and Mom was hooked before she had a chance to add it to her Netflix que. She ended up watching it four times before mailing it back. Luckily, her good friend Spiro (aka Neely O'Hara) gave Mom her own copy on her 30th birthday. It also included the "Beales of Grey Gardens" archival footage that was never seen until recently. And again, Mom can't get enough of it.

The documentary was produced in the late seventies, but the Beales' story is a timeless treasure. The philosophies and insights of the eccentric mother and daughter are far more than fodder. For Mom and those who "get it," it's an un-duplicated, un-adulterated peek into humanity at its sheerest. Mom loves the Edies as if they were her own ancestral aunts (outside her own Great-Aunt Edith, of course). She even has a petite Bantam hen named Little Edie, a true survivor, she keeps at her father's house (and Edie's eggs are among the best!).

A couple of years ago, Mom was lucky enough to catch the Broadway musical based on the documentary. She described it as bringing such a stoic quality to these often crazy-classified women's lives. Mom says it wasn't hard to notice the die-hard Grey Gardens fans in the audience; they were all bringing tissues to the corners of their eyes.

She admits she was a little nervous when she heard HBO was doing a movie on it. She's known about it for several years, when news first leaked that Drew Barrymore had been cast as Little Edie and was the executive producer. But when she first saw the trailer a couple of months ago, those Broadway tears returned, this time with goosebumps.

So, it was only natural that Mom threw a small screening party to welcome its debut. The dress was Edie-inspired or 70s garden party attire. The beverage was High Life. The food was tuna salad served out of the can (cat food and liver pate were not options), Edie's eggs and corn simmering from a hot plate in the living room. Lil' Miss Bibb brought a catty dessert, complete with portrait-worthy poop. Mom served it with butter pecan ice cream, licked from knives. The decor was scattered newspapers, tangles of vines, a copy of Zolar's "It's in the Stars" and a candle lit dilapidated dollhouse, salvaged from Mom's past. The girls, all good sports, arrived in revolutionary costumes. And the movie? Drew and Jessica Lange captured the good, the bad and the ugly of the Edies with the beauty and dignity of true S-T-A-U-N-C-H women.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Speaking of Singing Your Hearts Out

Mom is getting ready for her Grey Gardens movie viewing party tonight, which we'll have much to say about later, but this clip from last night's concert in Atlanta is just too much not to share. This ain't singing. It's straight-up sangin'.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dedicated to the Underdogs of the World

Mom is among the tear-induced tissue tokers whose day was made by Susan Boyle. After reading the Plum-esque writings of Lil’ Miss Bibb (Ashley Smith) paying a heartfelt tribute to Dame Boyle in the recent Toast of the Town, she immediately looked a sister up. Within minutes, there wasn’t a dry blue eye to be found.

Mom has seen some of the greatest musical talent go unnoticed in today’s relentless industry. And heaven knows, we’ve both been underdogs a time in our life or two. Mom was the shy, skinny-legged, awkward girl who even though she couldn’t run worth a flip, tried her best to keep up with the pack. Luckily, the day came when she grew up, gained her confidence an
d was recently classified as one of the four “outgoing” yellow personalities in her Leadership Macon class. These days she doesn’t follow the pack . . . or even travel in one. Life in Candy’s Land is about forging your own march to a much more independent drum. And life couldn’t be sweeter. So here’s to all of us underdogs of the world. Sing your heart of gold out!

Pictured is young
Mom, Granddaddy Alan and St. Bandit Walden (RIP) in Washington Park, circa late eighties.

Get Fired Up!

Mom is attending the Fired Works Preview Party on Friday night. For $25 per ticket, patrons can enjoy burgers from Market City Café, complimentary beer and wine, a jazz performance by the EKC Quartet and the opportunity to browse and buy the pottery artistry before the sale opens to the public the next day.

Presented by Macon Arts, the Fired Works Regional Ceramics Exhibition and Sale will take place April 18-26 in the Round Building at Central City Park in downtown Macon. Fifty-eight artists will show and sell more than 2,000 pieces of decorative and functional pottery, making the 4th Annual Fired Works the largest ceramics show and sale in the state.

Fired Works officially opens on Saturday, April 18, and runs through April 26; on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Sundays from 1-4 p.m., and weekdays from noon to 6 p.m. Daily admission is $5 per person.

Unfortunately, this cone is keeping me from drinking from Mom’s favorite pottery mug.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday Weekend Forecast: Four Ways to Support Macon Music

I’m going to borrow a line from a special man in Mom’s life, her dad, 2003 Georgia Music Hall of Fame Inductee Alan Walden who likes to say, “If you love Georgia music like I love Georgia music, lemme hear ya one time!”

I can’t hear you. Let’s try this again. If you love MACON music like I love Macon music, lemme hear ya one time . . .

I still can’t hear you.
That’s because all ears aren’t always on us. In fact, our local music sometimes falls deaf on oftentimes local ears. Not to say Macon doesn’t have its music advocates. Look around and you’ll see the same scenesters and supporters at just about every show. God bless them.

And not to knock North Macon, but here we go: unless it involves imported cover bands of kitschy cowboys or double-shots of baby’s love, the treasures of the local music scene remain unnoticed unless Marco’s or Grey Goose Players Club starts booking these bands on a regular basis. If only the Local 478 could get a showcase at the IHCC.

We’ve spent enough time fretting how to attract the elusive North Maconite. In Mom’s opinion, we’re wasting too much effort on standing water, when their horses don’t want to drink. For her, the real question is how do we create a music scene that isn’t confined to a weather vane? Notice how we tend to capitalize North Macon as if it’s a region. Well, people like music in East Macon, West Macon and South Macon, too. Let’s not just focus on building a music community, but a community of music.

With that said, there remains an under-utilized audience that Mom has high hope will come around soon. Thanks to the efforts of the College Hill Corridor Commission, NewTown Macon and Mercer University, there are at least three events this weekend that should be big red circles on intercollegiate calendars. The best part is they are targeted at Townies, too.

1. Macon’s Midnight Rider on Friday: The first of a monthly trolley pub crawl begins its route at 8 p.m. and runs until 2:30 a.m. For $5 you get unlimited trolley rides throughout the night. Participating establishments are Wagers, CJ’s, Powerstation, BJ’s Billiards, Red Eye Tavern, Hummingbird, Rookery, Cox Capitol Theatre, Shamrock, Club Synergy and Envy. Macon’s new D.D. sensation Zingo will offer the flat rate of $20 with a trolley wristband. Two trolleys will run – one begins at Wagers and the other starts in downtown.

2. Bearstock on Saturday: Presented by Quadworks, the Campus Activities Board of Mercer University, the second annual all-day concert festival begins at noon on Porter Patch on the Mercer University campus. The event is free and open to the public. This year’s headliners are Gym Class Heroes and Chester French. With two stages going all day, other acts include Needmore, the Vettes, City Council & the Paper Street Band, The Key, oh dorian, Rolybots, The Less, Floco Torres and Al K!ng, Abby Owens, Ocean is Theory, Copacetic and Gran Trizz. You can find all of the music on Myspace Music.

3. Gospel Brunch on Sunday: You’ve heard me preach about this before (see “Can I Get a Witness?” in archive). It usually takes place on Second Sunday, but due to Easter, it was held over to this Sunday. From noon to 2 p.m., bring your blanket, chair, picnic basket or all of the above to the waterfalls of Washington Park. Michael’s on Mulberry will be selling bloodies and mimosas, as well as $5 boxed lunches. This Sunday, St. Francis, the new outfit of Macon musician Scott Baston, will perform. Usually, I’m there with my tail wagging, but since I’m in bandages with a lampshade around my head, we may have to wait until next month. But you can bet your bottom dollar Mom and Shuga D will be there singing its praises.

And now for the fourth. The finale. Actually, the encore:

4. Otis Redding: I’ve Got Dreams to Remember: After a successful year-and-a-half run, the award-winning exhibit will close at the Georgia Music Hall of Fame on Sunday, April 19. The exhibition features many Redding personal items, including family and performance photos, hand-written lyrics and more. Some of the favorite items Mom marveled over are a handwritten press release issued by her late uncle Phil Walden, an Asian-scripted album cover and a photograph of her cousin Philip in a sailor suit, skipping alongside the Redding sibs. The exhibit was already extended once, so if you haven’t had a chance to see it, or if you need to go back and soak it in, this is your last chance. It will soon be replaced by Nashville Portraits: Photographs by Jim McGuire (

Above is a picture of a young Otis Redding with his whippersnapper managers brothers Phil and Alan Walden.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Candy Gotta Brand New Bag!

I am official! You can now find Candy's Land at Please bookmark me, follow me and share me. Candy Lou loves you!

Nah-Nah-Nah-Nah, Hey, Hey, Hey, Good-Bye!

The lowest time of my life was behind bars at the City of Macon Animal Shelter. Because my original owners never spayed me, I got knocked-up after my first heat, not even a full year old. I was turned in because I was pregnant, and I shudder to think of the thousands of dogs before and after me who were surrendered for the same reason and never made it out alive.

My short time at the shelter was enough to let me know something unnatural was happening to the abandoned pets there. Mom has shed tears as City Council members Rabbi Larry Schlesinger recalled his witnessing of the gassing of several dogs, and the haunting sounds they made as they painfully died in the chamber.

Thanks to the perseverance and leadership of City Council members Schlesinger and Nancy White, as well as the dedicated animal advocates in Central Georgia (shout out to Donna Conaway who helped me find my forever home) who spearheaded the Central Georgia C.A.R.E.S. fundraising efforts (, the City of Macon Animal Shelter has officially switched to the more humane lethal injection for euthanizing the thousands of unwanted animals in our city.

That does not mean that Macon is not without a major problem. We’ve got to change our “all creatures great and small” culture. Our shelter is still going to euthanize eight to 12 potential pets a day.

We must spay and neuter our pets – pets like me who are proud to be fellow fixed bitches. For all you boys out there, nuts get you nowhere . . . but in trouble. Life is easier on male dogs without them. They can actually use their brain to think.

That also means that with our exploded animal population, there are thousands and thousands of unwanted pets out there. Don’t shop when you can adopt. Look at me – I’m a designer mutt that a breeder would put a $300-plus price tag on any day. Mom paid a nominal adoption fee from Heart of Georgia Humane Society and brought me home already spayed and with shots. Modesty aside, I am darn near perfect.

If you can’t tell, Mom and I have our heart and soul on our sleeves with this. Before I came into her life, Mom, Texas T, Bright Blue and Honey Shot produced a PSA on pet adoption that aired on our local stations. Here you’ll see my sister mutt Miss Kitty and cousin Ollie, both adopted locally. Howl it from the rooftops: Adopt. Spay and neuter. Support.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Kiss Me Baby on an Easter Sunday

Mom and Shuga D were a bit Easter-orphaned this year. With Mom's two little brothers hunting eggs in the foothills of Tennessee and the Florida beach, respectively, and with Shuga's little nephew not arriving until next week, Easter Sunday just wasn't the same without the pitter-patter of sugar-buzzed bunnies. However, even though I'm still not much company with a cone around my head, Mom and Shuga D spent their day discovering these golden eggs:

1. Sunday Service at Centenary Church: Traditional hymns sung amongst Grateful Dead and Pete Townshend diddies under a steeple shared by all was an opportunity to witness the Resurrection alive and well.

2. Brunch at Luigi's: There was a special menu for this special Sunday, but other than ordering a Bloody Mary and Mimosa, they opted for menu mainstay tuna steak with spinach and mashed potatoes side. Mom had declared it one of her favorite plates in town - especially since it's a deal at under $13.

3. Riding through the country with the top down: Shuga just happened to score a convertible for the day. The weather was near perfect, so they cruised around the sticks of Dry Branch, saw turkey and agile three-legged doe and found a sign that seems to be sent from above.

4. Margaritas before Milkshakes: Actually, it was a raspberry margarita from El Azteca before a scoop of Jamocha Almond Fudge from Baskin-Robbins. Both sweet deals with outdoor seating.

5. Sunset drive home: Mom's convinced there is no better place to be on a Sunday evening, and considering that's where I was waiting for her, I agree.

Annie Get Your Microderm . . . And You Can Get Yours

When Mom found out the Fountain of Youth does exist, her Rosacea-proned skin tickled pink. But not for long. That’s because Mom has begun a series of microdermabrasion sessions with Anne Bragg at the Vineville Salon. In addition to evening her skin tone, she’s hoping to rid a glowering sun spot, shrink her pesky pores and smooth out a few fine lines that she finds a little premature.

Anne doesn’t just own one of the few medical microderm machines around, she is a firm-faced believer in it. She isn't the only one. Oprah’s doc, Dr. Oz, has been singing its praises. And Cindy Crawford recently told the ladies of “The View” that microderm is what she invests in for keeping her multi-million dollar face out of line(s).

There’s a lot of science behind microderming, and considering Anne has been offering the process since 2001, she is far better to explain it. With over 800 treatments under her Italian leather belt, she is the one Mom chose to trust to whip her face into shape. And speaking of face, Anne’s speaks for itself. I’m not telling any lady’s age online, but Anne Bragg has the right to brag about hers anytime, thanks to her own microdermabrasion handywork.

Medical it may look amongst the spa comforts of Vineville Salon, but when Mom met the microderm, she was eager and at ease to begin the facial rewind. One down; two more to go. So, the question everyone has asked – does it hurt? Mom compared it to the extended version of a brow waxing. Not the most pleasant but definitely tolerable. With Anne’s veteran experience, the uncomfortable suck-and-sandblasting feeling lasts 10 minutes max (as compared to the early days of 30-flat). And what about sensitive skin? Well, Mom says what about it? Considering she keeps Dove Sensitive Skin Soap bars in business, her never-to-tan fair skin freaks out easier than a man-handled gardenia. She was more than surprised to find the aftermath of the microderm minimal at best. The redness subsided quick enough for Mom to get groceries after leaving the salon and not feel like a freakshow. Lately, she’s been told she has a special glow. No uterus, just epidermis . . . smooth as a baby’s butt.

As Mom goes through the transformation, which I’ll be chronicling here, you can also see and feel for yourself. Send me a Candygram (, and I’ll send you a coupon for a free microdermabrasion spot treatment, which can also be used for $25 discount on your first treatment (regularly $80) or 15% off your series of three (reg. $175). Just put “Spot” in the subject line. And soon, you’ll see Spot gone.

Grits are Groceries, but Cupcakes are Forever

Texas T turned 31 on Saturday, so the Little Creative Crew (LCC) got together for a laidback evening of wieners and Wii at the spring-tuned Dunwody (Appletini and Boots) abode. But even low-key, there is never not a jaw-dropping moment with the LCC. The surprise of the evening came when Texas T was coaxed into the dining room for the big reveal . . . Where there stood Mark Ballard behind the candle glowing tower of his blissful birthday cupcakes, homemade especially for her. Yes, Mark Ballard’s cupcakes may be the way to just about any sweet-tooth’s heart. But if there was ever a recipe for such a sweet gesture, Mark knows it well and baked it into every lovely bite. It’s amazing what simple swirl of icing can do for the soul! Macon needs a Ballard Bakery. Mom says the cupcakes alone could boost Macon’s economic development because they are better than Magnolia and less baggage than Manhattan!

Since it was a covered-dish affair, Mom cooked up a pot of Texas T’s Chili-Cheese Grits. Here is the basic premise:


Chicken Broth

Can of Campbell’s Cheddar Cheese

2 cans of diced chilies

Small container of sour cream

½ stick of butter

Pack of shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Chili powder

Salt and Pepper

Cook grits according to directions (4-8 servings). Mom mixed 50/50 chicken broth and water to get it started. When the juice came to a boil, she liberally salted before stirring in grits. As the grits came together, she stirred in ½ stick of butter, can of cheese and two cans of diced chilies, juice and all. Once the cooking was done, she stirred in the entire container of sour cream, the entire pack of cheese and a hearty shake of chili powder and pepper. This was low fat in no way, but grits are so messy to cook, than when Mom does, she goes all out. She made eight servings, so there’s a heap of leftovers, which she looks forward to later frying into grits cakes with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Below you'll find Texas T's booty.

The Scene of the Crime

I didn’t even recognize Mom after she gussied up for the White Trash Party held at the SoChi Gallery on Friday, April 10. From what I heard, there weren’t too many who did, at least at first, when she sashayed her way around the pork skins, spray cheese and killer tunes, that included everything from play-me-some-Skynyrd to pour-some-sugar-on-me beats. Mom reported with sheepish glee that she made the top five finalists in the “best dressed” contest . . . whether that’s a source of pride, my jury is still out.

Shuga D was under the weather, so he was glad to know Mom had the vigilante protection of Appletini and Floco Torres flanking her bleachey-haired, Bambi shirt, scrap of a skirt, ripped-pantyhose and bikini-and boot-sportin’ sides. Bright Blue, Texas T and Just Jill were also there, and like Mom, truly a sight for sore eyes. If you want to know where parts of their trashtastic ensembles came from, look no further than the 89-cent Beauty Store on Mercer University Drive.

The day after the party, Mom’s dressing room looked liked the insides of a trailer after a meth explosion. Not a lick of evidence was touched before these pics were taken. It doesn’t get any trashier than this.