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Monday, August 24, 2009

Suck it, Bloodsuckers

So, this whole vampire trend kinda freaks me out. Tweens and teens are tweaked out over Twilight. Cougars are choosing fangs over claws in hopes of finding their own eternally baby-faced Robert Pattinson. And the whole vamp-inspired fashion is forcing Goths everywhere to seek different hues of nail polish and clothing, such as lavender, marigold and peony.

Even Mom and Shuga D became suckers when they started watching HBO’s “True Blood” last season. Not only is Macon’s own Carrie Preston among the cast of crazy-eyed characters, but it’s so awesomely Southern gothic that Mom and Shuga start to drawl when they talk about it. They’ll both tell you it’s the show’s killer soundtrack that’s the clincher. Their iPods are earning new tunes after every episode.

In the meantime, while all you humans are pining over blood lusters, let’s take this Monday to address the ones that could survive a nuclear attack – fleas.

There are four mutts in our dog-friendly house, so the chance of a flea circus pitching a tent in our home is scarier than a Fellini flick. However, Mom is not a fan of pesticides. Especially the kind that can be rubbed off on pillows and cushions and just about anywhere else she lays her head. And with four of us, many of those vet-issued treatments can suck your wallet dry. With that in mind, she developed our own natural flea regiment that keeps the little bloodsuckers as elusive as Bill Compton in daylight savings time.

First off, the old adage is true. Bloodsuckers don’t like garlic. So, she sprinkles just a little garlic powder (not garlic salt) in our dry food everyday and mixes it up. Just a little goes a long way, as long as it used consistently. Mom also uses this in her horse’s feed and hasn’t had a fly problem all summer.

Mom still uses a monthly spot treatment on us. But this one is completely natural, cheap and makes us smell good. For around $10, you can purchase a four-tube supply of Sergeant’s Nature’s Guardian spot treatment. The flea, tick and mosquito preventative contains yum stuff like peppermint oil, tea tree oil and cayenne. Mom finds it at the Pio Nono Kroger. Just put a squirt in between our shoulder blades (stay away from the base of the tail – ouch!) and be sure to wash your hands afterwards. The stuff comes on strong at first, but think of it like incense . . . let it die down and in a couple of days (and for the rest of the month), that doggy smell is masked in a light, pleasant, peppermint-like scent. Mom got the ultimate dog owner compliment the other day when Texas T asked why we didn’t smell like dogs!

So, bloodsuckers beware. My breath smells like a bread basket and my hide is covered in cayenne and peppermint oil. All natural, cheap and effective.

Bite me.

Candy Lou

Friday, August 21, 2009

Loud and Proud

With the dark circles under her eyes this morning, it looks like Mom got hit in the face with cast iron skillet of greasy rock and roll. And considering I caught her cocking her head to the side a couple of times like I would do if you blew a silent dog whistle, her ears must still be ringing. My conclusion: the Drive-by Truckers show at the Cox Capitol Theatre was a rip-roaring, drink-spilling, balcony-vibrating success.

You know it had to be when the tickets sold out at 600 and there was still a line out the door. Or when the bar tapped out of most draft beer before the opening act jumped off the stage and went unplugged on the floor.

And speaking of badass bitches (and remember, this is a dog blog, being one myself, I say it with utmost affection) - two words: Shonna Tucker. You know the proverbial question, "If you could have drinks with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?" For Mom, the high top table is now reserved for Miz Tucker, Etta James, Otis Redding, Judge Judy and just about any of the dead Kennedys. Seriously, it's too bad Mom wasn't around when her own dad was living and working in Muscle Shoals (with David Hood, among others, nonetheless). She and Shonna might have been BFFs by now!

To see the Cox Capitol Theatre swelled to capacity makes many a downtown-lovin’ hearts swell, too. Congrats to Wes Griffith for taking the steering wheel on booking the Truckers.

As Patterson Hood said last night, “Thank you, Macon. It’s been too damn long since we’ve been back.”

The same can be said about our live music scene. But if last night was any indication, Macon is making up for lost time.

Hail, Hail Rock n’ Roll,

Candy Lou (loves you)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Cattle Call

You know how corporate life can be. You’re either herding cattle or part of the herd. Either way, the alarm clock goes off and all you want to do is moo. But then one day lunch comes around and you think – to heck with this, I’m going to milk it for all it’s worth.

So you and your favorite work associate mosey on over to the newly re-opened Texas Cattle Company and order a couple of cold ones. Yep, on their lunch break. And I’m not saying who it was or what they ordered . . . but there definitely wasn’t dairy involved. Except, of course, for cheese.

As in melted Monterey Jack smothering the ultimate Texas Cattle Company comfort food: Wok This Way. Fresh sautĂ©ed veggies and slices of medium rare filet on a bed of rice to mix it with and fork it all up, right before washing it down with the aforementioned cold one. And let’s not forget the order of wings – refried, if you want them, just like they used to do in the good ol’ days on Riverside Drive.

The brand-spankin’ redeuxed Texas Cattle Company is located on Houston Road, just off Hartley Bridge Road in the southern and newly developed realms of Macon (note, we’re talking Houston Road, not Avenue, although both have a Fincher’s BBQ). In addition to the bovine fine art atmosphere, there is plenty of seating, both cozy and large party accommodating, including a room for private gigs.

Just don’t tell the boss man about the cold one. He might get jealous he wasn’t invited.

Moo Over,

Candy Lou

p.s. Pic was taken undercover on the clock, so excuse the cell quality!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pick a Pepper

You want to get fresh? There’s a way to do it, cheap and easy. Go to the produce section. Pick some peppers. It can be any peppers. For Mom, she chose to go rainbow in her recipe – one red, one yellow, one orange and one green. And with that, she made a hearty meal for her and her sweetheart that fed their bellies and her need to wind down from a Monday. Here’s what she did:

Peppers of Assorted Colors

Ripe Mango

Bunch of Scallions


Can of Black Beans (Kroger has cheap organic!)


Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sour cream

Various seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder, jerk seasoning, chili powder, cumin, coriander – whatever you’ve got in the spice cabinet)

Chop peppers length-wise into thick wedges, discarding the seeds and rib core. Place peppers in oven dish, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper, jerk seasoning and/or garlic powder and roast at 375 for at least 20 minutes. In the meantime, chop up the scallions and cube the mango into small bites. Make your rice. Warm up your can of black beans, seasoning with cumin, coriander, chili powder or whatever else you desire and stir in a hefty dollop of sour cream (as well as a little hot sauce). Add the mango to the finished beans. Make a bed of rice. Spoon the black beans into the center. Add an assortment of peppers around the sides, sprinkle with scallions and give it a little squirt of lime.

Not sure whether to credit Pacific or Caribbean influences, but it tasted as good as something tropical. And by picking a couple of peppers, it was just as easy to get fresh as it is after having too many of those paper umbrella drinks.

Hang Loose,

Candy Lou

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sweet Soul Music for the Soul

It was a weekend of singing along with unsung music heroes here in Candy’s Land. First up was Friday night at Chuck Howard’s newly opened Midtown Key Club, a.k.a. “Jazzplex II.” The house was packed with birthday celebrations, among them bartender Leroy who is still serving drinks with style (even though he’s partly retired). And Macon’s own Bo Ponder was also turning a number that night, doing what he does best – singing with earnest soul and bringing the house down with the crowd to their feet.

Arthur “Bo” Ponder is truly a Macon music treasure. He was there during the days of Otis, doing the same thing that brought the Big O fame. When Bo Ponder and Friends cover some of the favorites, they bring with them more original soul in their pinkies than what their contemporaries know what to do with today.

Other highlights of the evening include a hug, kiss and “How Sweet it Is” from another music hero with a sweet spot in Mom’s heart, Macon’s very own Satellite Papa. Satellite said he is craving fresh fish (never eats it frozen or store-bought), so he and Shuga D are making plans to cast their lines soon.

Another Key Club highlight . . . complimentary Miller Lites for Mom and Shuga from Councilman James Timley, who proved that even though he opposed Bragg Jam’s open container, he’s not opposed to sharing a toast to live Macon music.

Shuga D gets a serious gold star for Saturday. He and his childhood friend (and artist extraordinaire) Charles Ladson journeyed deep into the woods of the Walden compound in Bolingbroke to help Mom’s pop with some seriously needed storage shed cleaning. They made a good time of it, jamming out to tunes that are some of the reason there was so much junk in the storage shed to begin with! Five hours of serious manual labor later, Shuga and Charles returned home filthy and exhausted, but had done a good deed for the day that will be forever appreciated.

He didn’t have much time to rest before he and Mom were dressed up and out the door for the Taste of Music fundraiser for Macon Arts. They stayed long enough to taste, meet, greet and score some pretty awesome auction items – pet sitting, Tarot card reading, energy healing and lake living, all for a good cause.

Then they made their way from downtown to dockside at the Fish n’ Pig, just in time to catch some serious heart and soul playing loud and proud at the Georgia Legacy Foundation-sponsored birthday for Newt Collier. Mom took her seat at a picnic table and marveled at the good tunes and in-tune audience. Black and white. Young and old. Soulsters and soul-searchers. This is what a true music scene is made of. By the way, shout out to Mom’s surprise of the night – a visit to Macon by old friend, former co-worker and fun/mischief co-hort, Mixmaster P.B.!

All in all, it was a weekend of appreciating the soul legends among us. As Newt likes to say, “Those who played but never got paid.” Whether they ever made the radio airwaves doesn’t make a difference. When it comes down to it, they set the stage for music today. And continue to prove time and time again that they still own the stage when they take it today. Have you ever seen Sammy Blue play with the guitar behind his back like he did at the Fish 'n Pig on Saturday night? You should. We all should.

Hug your unsung music heroes and hire one today. Macon needs to help sustain some of our veteran artists, and the best way to do this is by booking them for special events and private parties. If you’re interested, send me a Candygram at, and I’ll put you in touch.

Keep it Soulful,

Candy Lou

P.S. The pics aren't that great (since they came from the cell), but check out Bo Ponder at the Key Club and Sammy Blue at the Fish n' Pig!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Macon's Soul Man Celebrates

The weekend forecast continues to shine. Although Mom and Shuga D aren't quite sure how they are going to pull it all off, they've got one party where even if they have to HOLD ON! They're coming! Macon's favorite soul man Newton Collier is celebrating a birthday. And he's got quite the group of old school soulsters to celebrate with him.

Headlining the show will be the "Crown Prince of Blues" Sammy Blue and the Georgia Legacy All-Star Revue. Other special guests will include Harvey Scales, Rita Graham and Mom's friends the Buckeye Band - among others!

The celebration takes place this Saturday, August 15, at the Fish n' Pig Restaurant on Lake Tobosofkee and will start around 6 p.m. and go on to 11 p.m.

If you don't know a thing about Macon music history, then Newt Collier is the one to ask. Want to know who drove the brass section on the road with Sam & Dave and their horn-driven hits such as "Soul Man" and "Hold On, I'm Coming"? Look no further than Newt. In fact, look closely at their historic performance on the "Ed Sullivan Show," and you can see the lanky young Collier leading the dancing sidemen charge on the slide trombone.

Newt has rocked, rolled and souled all over the world with some of the best of them -- sharing the stage with everyone from the Beatles to Duke Ellington, Stevie Wonder and Otis Redding. He's played for the Queen of England. He's performed in Japan, Africa and some of the greatest nightspots of the U.S. He is as much of a music relic, as he is a survivor, and to Mom, he's one of Macon's most humble heroes.

Happy Birthday, Uncle Newt! Candy Lou (and Mom) love you!

Keep it Soulful,

Candy Lou

Is There a Doctor in the House?

Actually, there will be quite a few. And when they tell you to open wide, it will only be to put some of their best appetizers, entrees and desserts they’ve created into your mouth.

Macon Arts’ Taste of Music “Docs Who Rock” is among our local annual events that truly put the fun in fundraiser. Tickets are $40 and include all the food, beer and wine you can handle in one evening (and if you do over do it, there will be no shortage of MDs to assist). In addition to the stations of food and beverage, there will be a live music performance by Alternative Medicine. And don’t forget the well-stocked silent auction that includes original ceramics and fine art, tickets to events, vacations, luxury services and more.

All proceeds from the Taste support Macon Arts’ education programs and community outreach. It all takes place this Saturday, August 15, from 7 to 10 p.m., at the Blacksmith Shop. To purchase tickets in advance, call or come by Macon Arts, 486 First St., weekdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. or Saturdays, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., or call 478.743.6940. A limited number of tickets will also be available at the door the night of the event.

Among the celebrity chefs of the evening is our own Just Jill, representing the local Komen affiliate. Since she is not an actual doctor, we’re trying to talk her into dressing as a candy striper.

Support Macon Arts. Buy a ticket. Stuff your face. Chase with wine. Doctor's orders.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Soldier On

With the presidential election next week, violence continues to mount in Afghanistan, and our soldiers are being caught in the crossfires. Just this week, 29-year-old Capt. Matt Freeman of Richmond Hill, Ga., was killed. He was a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and engaged to be married. After Mom spent the day with the 48th at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, she developed an entirely different appreciation and awareness of the men and women soldiers' sacrifices. And like many of us, she now has family there with her own cousin Joel Kimsey serving in Afghanistan.

The Middle Georgia Association of Realtors has adopted the 48th Brigade of the Georgia National Guard and will be mailing hundreds of care packages this fall to the 2000+ soliders of the 48th who are serving in Afghanistan. This Saturday, August 15, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., the association will hold a "Soliders' Closet" sale at the old Lipson Fabrics space in the Riverside Plaza Shopping Center. Professional clothing will be sold at the sale, and the proceeds will fund the cost of mailing these care packages.
You can help them with this noble effort in the following ways:

*Donate clothing: Lipson's Fabrics space will be open from Tuesday through Thursday, 3-6 p.m. and Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to receive your donation.

*Attend the sale on Saturday and make a purchase.

*Make a monetary donation to the cause by making your check payable to: The Middle Georgia Association of REALTORS(r), Soldiers Closet, c/o Denny O. Jones, Fickling and Company, 2960 Riverside Drive, Suite 200, Macon, Ga., 31204

And just to give you an idea of the bravery, heart and soul of our brothers and sisters serving in Afghanistan . . . Mom's Leadership Macon class advisor Carla Vento shared this letter with Mom. It was from her cousin Second Lieutenant Malachi Bennett, who is in charge of the 3rd platoon (infantry), to his father:

Man, it would have been nice to hear Tom Watson won, but I'll take a GT grad instead. I bet the Joe Cocker concert was great; I think about the Alan Jackson concert every now and then. It is good sometimes to get away mentally and think about the good times. Among many other things I'm learning over here, life is precious. Not enough time to get upset about things that just really don't matter. I sometimes laugh at the problems I thought I had in the past, they just don't compare. War is a terrible thing; the things we go through I hope no one ever has too, but at the same time that's why we do it, so the next generation doesn't. I wouldn't trade where I'm at now for anything. It is an honor to serve with these men and we're proud to fight over here so our families don't have to back home. Pops, I love you and I hope everything is going well. I know you guys are worried, but take the time to enjoy this life and the liberties we have. If you don't there would be no reason for us to be here. Malachi

Tonight, when you hit the hay in a comfy bed, under a real roof, built under a freedom-loving sky, let's all take a moment to send our prayers to this area of strife in our global community, where brave men and women like cousins Malachi and Joel are over there doing the best they can, under unfathomable circumstances, so we can go on living like we do.

Peace and love,

Candy Lou

P.S. Pictured is one of Mom's pics from Media Day in Indiana with the 48th. Even though it was a simulation, this solider is currently doing this for real these days, every day, in Afghanistan.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Drunken Pot Roast: A Working Girl and Hungry Man's Meal

I've been tortured with the smell of the slow cooker for the past 24 hours. Mom put a pot roast in the crockpot around 2 p.m. yesterday with some Vidalia onions, carrots, celery and beer . . . yes, beer.

Here is the recipe (and remember, Mom doesn't measure):

Layer bottom of slow cooker with chopped Vidalia onions. Put in pot roast, fatty side down, that has been rubbed with dried or fresh dill and pepper seasoning. Add chopped celery and carrots. Pour entire carton of vegetable broth (Mom uses organic with no MSG). Add packet of onion soup mix. Pour in almost entire bottle of beer. Cover and cook on low for at least 24 hours.

And that's just what she did. It was already smelling like home-cooking after just a couple of hours yesterday. By the time Mom and Shuga got home this evening, the entire house smelled like somebody had been slaving away at the stove for us all day. And me and my brother and sister mutts were salivating at the kitchen counter.

And now, for the gravy on top:

Mom ladeled out some of the juice into a saucepan, adding a scoop of flour and cranking the heat until it came to a boil, all the while whisking away. She added a couple of spoonfuls of sour cream, as well as a palmful of dill, and up from the sauce pan bubbled a creamy gravy goodness that went along well with the traditional (deli) mashed potatoes and peas.

We would have taken a picture, but the ultra-tender meat meal was consumed before the flash.

Yum, Yum,

Candy Lou

And Now for Some Redemption

Since Second Sunday was spent sweatin' it out in Washington Park with a couple of cold beermosas (cold beer + cold OJ = frothy good, seriously), I thought it be fitting that I make up for it this Monday by taking Candy's Land to church.

Thumping on the bass is Shuga D's co-worker Willie Manson and his father's show-stoppin', foot-stompin' gospel group James Manson & the New Piney Grove Singers. The straight-to-your-soul music starts really jamming for Jesus around the 2:00 minute mark. And stick with it until around 5:00 to be a witness to a preacher who knows how to take it out with style.

For booking info, send me a Candygram ( and we'll get the groovin' gospel players in touch.


Candy Lou

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Second Sunday Hosts a Hellraiser

Hell, fire and damnation, the College Hill Corridor Commission landed Jason Isbell for the Second Sunday Gospel Brunch! Now, if that don't make you want to swear on Sunday, I don't know what will.

Maybe one day we'll get to the point where we'll quit saying he's a former Drive-By Trucker and instead, confine him to his solo career . . . I mean, Johnny Cash was once in a band, but we quit talking about that ages ago. Until then, that's where this song-spittin' Alabama boy came from, and there are still many a Truckers fans who will swear on their mamas' graves that Isbell wrote some of the band's best music to date.

His solo work has shown he's grown beyond the nitty-gritty. The boy's a crooner when it comes down to it, and his Southern roots are just as much of a gentleman as they are a hillbilly. And while you can never take the hellfire out of a Trucker, put him on a small stage and you've got a simple man's southern soul. "Cigarettes and Wine" anyone?

Go to church that morning and save up your sins for later. The music starts at 6 p.m. with Random Family Records' elegant yet edgy Oh Dorian opening the show. Get there early because with this being a free show with such a high cotton touring artist, Washington Park is going to be packed.

I'll be there . . . swearin,' spittin,' sayin' amen and singin' along.


Candy Lou

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

First Friday's Gonna Make You Pant

Paper fan in sweaty hands

Shooing flies away

Reflections on a porch

A shelter from the scorch

When dog days come around . . .

-Atlanta Rhythm Section’s “Dog Days”

Forget the fan. Get off the porch. What better shelter from the scorch than our own downtown Macon? Everyone is getting in on the dog days of summer. Even First Friday. In keeping with theme, First Friday will host Dog Days of Summer featuring AC Pup, mascot of the Macon Animal Control and Central Georgia CARES. Not only will downtown Macon be alive with music, art exhibits, shopping, food and more, it will also shed some light on the under- privileged animals looking for homes (like me before I found Mom!). Pets that can be kept on leashes are invited to get in on the action . . . just don’t forget to clean up after us.

Central Georgia CARES Inc will have a kissing booth in front of The 567 CafĂ© at 567 Cherry Street from 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. where AC will offer kisses for a small donation. Proceeds collected from AC’s kisses will go towards the purchase of kennel beds for the animals at the shelter. Central Georgia CARES will also have information on animals available for adoption at the City of Macon Animal Control.

You can bet your bottom dollar (donated to CARES, of course) that I will be waiting in line for my kiss with AC. This week alone, AC’s Facebook page reported seven adoptions happening in one day! That is big news when pets are being surrendered in record numbers lately. Visit AC Pup’s page on Facebook so you can see his other furry friends looking for good homes.

Also, the newly opened Second Street Ceramics and Art (362 2nd Street - next to the Mulberry Street Lane and Cox Capitol Theatre) will feature artists' work from the Bragg Jam Arts and Kids' Paint-Out competition. The gallery reception takes place from 5:30 to 8:30 and will welcome guests with wine and appetizers.

And how could I not love another queen named Candy? This First Friday, Candy O’Hara will be putting on a show outside of Club Synergy at 7:30 p.m. I wag my tail to the fine folks of Synergy for pulling back the curtain for the sidewalks of our downtown. There’s still a law in the city books about wearing red high heels on Cherry Street, but that ain’t going to stop the Synergy queens from doing their thing and doing it so much better than those who do it everyday. Work it, ladies. And maybe you’ll succeed in coaxing the scared straight and narrow to open their minds, come inside the downtown dance club and see that drag queens don’t bite . . . that hard.

I hope to see you on the sidewalks. If not, I hope to see you dining in one of downtown’s restaurants, checking out the art at on of the galleries, making a sidewalk sale purchase or going into a venue to hear live music. So, guys and gals, kiss off the law and let those red high heels of yours pound the the pavement of Cherry Street this Friday. Afterall, what good are the dog days if you can't pant in public?

Pictured is the one and only AC Pup - pucker up!


Candy Lou

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mountain Jamming

It was about time Mom and Shuga D made a break for it and headed to the hills. To continue decompressing from their post-Bragg Jam stressing, they booked a weekend at cousin Little Phil’s cabin, nestled in the incline between Dillard, Georgia and Highlands, North Carolina. Peace at last, they thoroughly enjoyed not having AC, TV, internet or even cell signal when up in the cabin.

It still didn’t keep them from staying busy. Saturday morning, they woke up early enough to eat breakfast family-style at the Dillard House. Since Mom spent many a trips there, she knew what to expect. She couldn’t help but laugh at the site of Shuga’s saucer-size eyes as their breakfast of mountain champions was laid out – bacon, eggs, two kinds of sausage, country friend chicken, ham, sausage gravy, red eye gravy, grits, apples, biscuits and I’m sure a few things I forgot as a I continue to lip my chops.

After breakfast, the stuffed lovebirds ventured to the Dillard Stables where Shuga D took Mom for a ride over the river and through the woods . . . as part of his anniversary present to her. It was a first for her to see Shuga in a saddle, and he and big Jake made quite a handsome pair. Their hour-long trail ride took their horses belly deep into the Little Tennessee River, one of four rivers in our country that flows north (according to their guide). They were both grinning from ear to ear as their horses splashed back and forth and kept everyone cool by “misting” them with their tails.

The only downside? We don’t have any room in Candy’s Land (yet) for the baby goat Mom could have brought back home. The good news is that room for a kid – as in the goat variety – is at the top of our family’s goals!

Since it was a weekend away, Mom’s going to keep it that way. But she was twitter-pated enough to Twitter when she got a cell signal in town. Check it out in the Twitter feed in the left column. Let’s just say Shuga is a man who ain’t afraid to ask for directions, and he does a darn good job following them . . . even if they include miles of dirt road, obsolete road markers and more than a few stop signs were you’re supposed to turn one way or the other. At the end of it all was the best watering hole – some shoals of the Chattooga just over the South Carolina line – and later a fruit stand with locally grown green apple goodness.

Mom also managed to pick up another mountain treat on the way back to the cabin, which is what you see here. She ordered some smoked trout spread to-go from a little restaurant near the base of their hill, where you can bring your own trout in for them to clean and cook. She figured it was best to be enjoyed on the screen porch of the cabin, with a couple of cold beers and an approaching sunset.

The weather could not have been better. In fact, it made them question if they were still in the South! It was barely 70-something during the day at the cabin, and the nights were cool enough for long sleeves. Sunday, they woke up to a chilly rain on the tin roof, where they spent the remainder of their vacation reading and listening music (and the rain, of course). If there ever was an appreciation of simple pleasures – this weekend was chocked full. Sometimes you just have to work hard to find them.

Night Owls Unite!

I’ve never been one to shy from the spotlight, but I’m not afraid of the dark, either. They say there are some dogs that tuck their tail and run. I’m the kind of gal that grabs a big stick and runs after it. Don’t let my size fool you. Still, even with four dogs and a whole lotta barking in Candy’s Land, Mom likes to play it safe. She’s a fan or porch lights – of the eco-friendly variety, of course – and as much as she likes to conserve energy, she takes a cue from Motel 6 and likes to leave a light on. It just happens to have a pink poodle vintage lampshade.

So Tuesday, August 4 is National Night Out, and neighborhoods across the country are hosting special events to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships and send a message to criminals that neighbors are looking out for each other.

Well, the Candyland crew that we are, we’ll be splitting out time between several ‘hoods. There will be a 5:30 rally at City Hall, followed by a downtown neighborhood celebration, sponsored by CityWatch, on the top level of the parking garage at 475 Poplar Street. Participants are encouraged to bring picnic baskets and enjoy live hip-hop music by Jowin and Al K!ng of Random Family Records, face painting, bouncy castles for the kids (just don’t bounce too far!) and good ol’ downtown unity. Parking for the event will be available on the first two levels of the parking garage.

We’re also going to try to get in on the Pet Parade that goes from City Hall to Tattnall Square Park. At the park, there is going to be live music by the Whittles and the Barrel House Ballers, $1 food and drink specials by Francar’s and Jittery Joe’s, activities for the kids (including FBI fingerprinting) and a flick on the outdoor movie screen.

All of the National Night Out activities will be in full swing in neighborhoods across the community (including Corbin Aven in the Vineville Historic District) by 6:30 p.m. Even if you don’t want to get out, you can still participate by leaving your front door lights on for the evening and “light up the night.”

And for those of you potential perps out there, you’ve been warned. Don’t make me go McGruff on your hide and take a bite out of crime.