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The Garden Mix




Nationally renowned garden expert Melinda Myers helps everyday gardeners find success and ease in the garden through her Melinda’s Garden Moments radio segments. Melinda shares “must have” tips that hold the key to gardening success, learned through her more than 30 years of horticulture experience. Listeners from across the country find her gardener friendly, practical approach to gardening both refreshing and informative! On this page, Melinda shares some more extensive garden tips, which expand on the information provided in her one-minute radio segments.

New tips are added throughout each month, providing timely step-by-step tips on what you need to do next in your garden! Visit Melinda’s website www.melindamyers.com for more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and answers to your questions.
Posts from July 2013


Tree Problems
Cracks in tree trunks, stunted leaf growth and thin canopies are all signs your tree is struggling. Diagnosing the cause of the symptoms is the first step in improving your tree’s health.

Several factors can cause bark on trees to crack and peel. Trees planted too deep and pruned with flush cuts are more subject to frost crack and sunscald. 
 
Girdling roots can also result in stunted growth and dieback on trees.  These circling roots place pressure on the expanding trunk and stop the flow of water and nutrients between the roots and leaves. It is usually a flattened trunk, decline or other above ground symptom that indicates there is a problem below ground.
 
Physical injury to the trunk or improper pruning can also result in poor wound closure.  Proper care is about the only option at this point.   Make sure the tree is properly watered and mulched to reduce further stress. 
 
A bit more information: Consider contacting a certified arborist when these types of problems arise.  These tree care professionals inspect the tree, evaluate its condition and recommend possible treatment options, including the removal of a hazardous tree. Visit www.treesaregood.com for a list of certified arborists in your area. 
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Holes in Leaves of Morning Glory and Sweet Potato Vines
Holes in the leaves of morning glory and sweet potato vine may be the first clue your plants are infested with goldbug.


This 5 to 7 mm long bright gold beetle is also known as the golden tortoise beetle.  Both the adult and larvae feed on the leaves of all members of the morning glory family. Their feeding creates numerous small holes that often create a lacy look to the leaves. 
 
Fortunately, their damage usually does not warrant treatment.  Natural predators, like parasitic wasps and damsel bugs, will feed on the golden tortoise beetles, keeping their populations under control.  Plus, the morning glory and sweet potato vines produce enough leaves to mask the damage.
 
If you feel you must control these pests, try hand picking the beetles off the plant and dropping them into a can of soapy water. Or use one of the eco-friendly insecticides, like Neem, labeled for controlling this beetle.
 
A bit more information:  Aphids may also be a problem, especially in hot dry weather. They suck plant juices, causing leaves to curl, wilt or discolor. A strong blast of water will dislodge and control small populations. Insecticidal soap and horticulture oils can be used if needed.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Propagating New Plants from Root Cuttings
Expand your oriental poppy planting this summer. These poppies, butterfly weed, gas plants and other fleshy rooted perennials can be started from just a piece of the root.
 
Wait until the leaves have turned brown and the oriental poppy is fully dormant to start this process.  Then rake the soil away from the crown of the plant to expose the fleshy roots. Use sharp pruners or a knife to cut just a few pencil size roots.  Rake the soil back over to cover the remaining roots.
 
Cut each harvested root into 2 to 3 inch sections. Plant the root sections horizontally in a flat of moist peat moss and sand. Cover the flat with plastic to keep the mix moist and place in shaded location.
 
Shoots will eventually appear. Move to a larger container and water thoroughly. Grow in a protected site until plants are well rooted. Harden off and plant in their permanent location in the garden.
 
A bit more information: Try this technique on other fleshy root perennials. Bear’s Breeches, Butterfly weed, Japanese anemone, sea holly and pasque flower are just a few. See the University of Washington’s publication on various ways to propagate specific perennials.
 
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Eco-friendly Control of Squash Bugs
Don’t let squash bugs ruin your harvest. Incorporate an integrated and eco-friendly strategy to keep their damage to a minimum.

These slightly oval coppery gray bugs feed on pumpkins and squash. They suck plant juices and can transmit the deadly Cucurbit yellow vine disease. Start by keeping your plants healthy.
 
Remove weeds and other debris that provide great habitat for these pests. A thorough fall cleanup along with crop rotation will help reduce future problems.
 
Control small populations of the adult and immature squash bugs by knocking them into a can of soapy water.  Be sure to check under the leaves and along the stems. Crush the small (1/16th inch) yellowish-bronze eggs found on the underside of the leaves and stems. 
 
And trap the adults with wet newspaper, boards or shingles laid on the soil around the plants.  The squash bugs will gather under these. Then collect and destroy and them. 
 
A bit more information:  Exclusion is another control option. Cover squash at the time of planting with a floating row cover such as ReeMay or Harvest Guard. Secure the base to insure the squash bugs are unable to lay their eggs on your squash plants. Remove the covering as soon as the plants begin to flower, so pollination can occur.  This delays the attack and is often enough to manage the damage.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Deadheading Leggy Annuals and Perennials
Add new life to your summer landscape with a bit of deadheading, pinching and planting. 
 
Some annuals stretch out during the warm summer months. Cut leggy annuals back half way, just above a set of leaves. In a week or two you will see new growth that will soon be covered with fresh blooms.
 
Early blooming perennials will also benefit from a little mid-summer care.  Prune back the plants after their last blooms fade.  Sprinkle a little low nitrogen slow release fertilizer around the base of the plants.  Water as needed and watch the plants recover.  Some will put on a second floral display – a great reward for such little effort.
 
Replace faded annuals or poorly performing perennials with fresh new plants. Many garden centers sell larger size annuals that can be popped into these voids. Or move a thriving container into the garden. It is a great way to add height and vertical interest to a bed.
 
A bit more information:  Next year avoid the mid-summer slump with regular grooming throughout the growing season. Pinching and deadheading encourage full compact growth and more flowers.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Spittlebug
No, the neighborhood kids have not been spitting in your garden. The spittlebug, also known as the froghopper, is the culprit. 

These insects suck plant juices and secrete the excess as a clear substance. As it does this, the spittlebug uses its hind legs as a bellows to cause the secretion to form a bubbly mass that looks like spit. This helps prevent desiccation and hides the insects from predators. Spittlebugs are usually found in the leaf axil near the stem.
 
They are usually small in number so control is not needed. Some types of spittlebugs serve as a vector carrying disease from sick to healthy plants. But even this does not usually warrant control.
 
You can use a strong blast of water to dislodge these insects from the plants. Or remove the infected branch. The next step is insecticidal soap. Use natural products to avoid killing the natural predators and parasites that help control these pests.
 
A bit more information: Gather the kids and do a little detective work. Remove the bubbly mass from the plant and look for the insect below. With the help of a hand lens you will easily see the source.
 
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Blueberries – National Blueberry Month
Celebrate National Blueberry month this July by planting a few of these ornamental and edible plants in your landscape. 
 
The blueberry produces attractive flowers, tasty and nutritious fruit and colorful fall foliage.
 
The lowbush blueberries are native to Eastern North America and produce delicious fruit that lacks uniformity. Highbush are cultivated blueberries yielding an earlier crop of larger less perishable fruit. Halfhighs are a cross between the two.
 
Those gardening in warmer regions need to grow Low Chill blueberries like Southmoon or Sunshine Blue.

Though self-fertile you will have a bigger harvest if you grow two or more.  
 
These plants do best in moist well-drained acidic soils. Add organic matter to your soil and mulch with shredded leaves, evergreen needles or shredded bark to create better growing conditions. Or grow them in containers to create the ideal soil.  
 
A bit more information: Birds are the biggest pest problem. Protect your harvest by covering the plants with netting as soon as the fruit begin to develop. Or try scare tactics and repellents labeled for food crops.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Beebalm (Monarda) – It’s Not Just for the Perennial Border
Wild bergamont also known as Beebalm and botanically as Monarda fistulosa is the 2013 Notable Native Herb of the Year. Include this beauty in herb, perennial and natural gardens. Plant them in areas where you can enjoy the flowers as well as the butterflies and hummingbirds they attract.
 
This North American native is hardy in zones 3 to 9. It prefers dry to moist soil and is somewhat drought tolerant. The 2 to 4 feet tall plants are topped with uniquely shaped lavender flowers from mid-summer into fall.
 
Monarda can be used as a substitute for thyme and oregano. Flavor can vary so taste a leaf before adding it to your dish. Or use the leaves and flowers for teas or adding fragrance to bouquets and potpourri.
 
Harvest when the leaves are full size and in their prime. Cut stems early in the morning just as the dew is drying for maximum flavor.
 
A bit more information:  Most beebalm, especially the popular garden species Monarda didyma with bright red flowers, are susceptible to mildew. Monarda fistulosa, however, tends to be resistant to mildew, but may suffer some problems with rust.
 
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Propagating Snakeplants – Starting New Plants from Old
Starting new plants from old is a rewarding part of gardening and it is easier than you think.
 
Some plants, like snakeplant, can be started from a section of the leaf. This popular plant is tolerant of low light and dry conditions. It’s perfect for busy and low maintenance gardeners.
 
Start by cutting a leaf into 3 to 4 inch segments. Notch the bottom of each segment. That would be the part that is closest to the roots. This is the end that goes into the potting mix.
 
Set the cuttings vertically into a well-drained potting mix. The bottom half of the cutting should be buried in the mix. Water thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil just slightly moist.
 
A new plant will form at the base of the leaf in one to two months. Variegated snakeplants will produce non-variegated offspring. The gene for variegation is contained in the rhizome not the leaves. This makes for a colorful lesson in genetics.
 
A bit more information: Divide larger mature plants to create more plants. Use a sharp knife to cut through the rhizome, leaving at least one growing point per section. You’ll maintain all the plants genetic characteristics with this method of propagation.
 
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Elderberry International Herb of the Year
Hardy, edible and the 2013 International Herb of the Year make elderberry a great plant for any size landscape or even container gardens.
 
Elderberries flower and fruit best in full sun, but will tolerate shade. They prefer moist soil but also tolerate drought, making them great choices for rain gardens.
 
The American Elder (Sambucus canadensis) grows 5 to 12 feet tall and produces white flowers mid-summer on new growth. The flowers are used for perfumes and food. You and the birds will enjoy the fruit that appears in late summer. Though self-fruitful you will have a larger crop with several plants.
 
Cultivars of the European Elder (Sambucus nigra) provide additional ornamental value to the landscape. Black Lace has dark purple dissected leaves and grows 6-8’ tall. With a bit of pruning it can be a good substitute for Japanese maple in areas where that plant struggles.
 
A bit more information: The European Red Elder (Sambucus racemosa) grows 8 to 12 feet tall and has yellowish white flowers in May and red or scarlet fruit in June/July. One if its’ cultivars, Sutherland Gold, has gold, finely cut leaflets that fade with heat. The Scarlet Elder (Sambucus pubens) is similar to European Red and is supposedly inedible for humans though the birds love the fruit.
 
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Heat Stall: Caring for Nonblooming Annuals
As the temperatures rise many annuals slow down or stop flowering.  Don’t let heat stall stop you from enjoying your summer garden.

Look for more heat tolerant cultivars of annuals that tend to stop blooming during hot weather.  Techno and Laguna lobelia, Snow Princess and Frost Knight alyssum are a few to consider. Or plant more heat tolerant African and triploid marigolds in place of the French varieties.
 
Continue to water heat stalled flowers but do not fertilize.  Once the temperatures cool the plants will start flowering.  Trim back leggy plants as needed.
 
This is a good time to make a list of the plants that thrive in these conditions.  Use this list to help you design future gardens better suited to the dog days of summer. 
 
And consider trying a few heat tolerant flowers like celosia, moss rose, Mexican sunflower and zinnia. 
 
A bit more information: Here are a few more heat tolerant annuals to consider: cosmos, Gazania (treasure flower), lantana, sunflower and creeping zinnia.  Or add a container of cacti and succulents.  These can be moved indoors for you to enjoy in the winter.
 
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Visit a Park and Improve Your Mood
Gather family and friends and head out to a nearby park to celebrate holidays, family events or just to relax and escape the stress of everyday life.
 
July was deemed National Parks and Recreation Month in the United States back in 1995.  This designation was made to help people realize the value of parks and outdoor recreation.
 
Recent scientific evidence shows parks and green spaces can have a big impact on our health as well as the health and vitality of our communities. 
 
More and more parks are looking for strategies to improve access to healthy food through community garden programs.  Many provide walking, jogging and bike paths to encourage more physical activity.
 
In Montgomery, Alabama the parks and recreation department provided leadership and healthful activities to help that community reduce obesity from 34% to 30.9%.
 
A bit more information:  When you visit a park you will find your stress and possibly blood pressure will decrease and mood will improve. Consider joining forces with your Park and Recreation Department to help improve the quality and increase the use of your community’s parks.  
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Summer Care for Houseplants
Help your houseplants summering outdoors get the most from their vacation.  You can keep them healthy and looking their best with just a little help from you. 

Help discourage millipedes, pill bugs and other soil insects from entering your houseplant containers.  Slip the pot into the toe of an old nylon stocking before placing it inside a decorative pot or sinking it into the ground. This barrier can reduce and possibly eliminate these pests from entering the soil.  And that means fewer will be moving back inside with the plants.
 
Keep aphids and mites at bay by giving your plants an occasional shower.  Strong blasts of water help dislodge aphids and mites. If the populations increase try using eco-friendly products like insecticidal soap, horticulture oil and Neem labeled for this use.  Always read and follow label directions carefully.
 
A bit more information:  Mulch the soil with shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other fine organic material to keep plant roots cool and moist. Or use chunky style bark or stones to discourage animals from digging in the pots.
 
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Enjoy Your Flight to Middle Earth
Air New Zealand gets an A+ for ingenuity with its new air safety video. It uses characters and actual actors from the Lord of the Rings movies - all filmed in New Zealand - to go through the in-flight safety speech normally done live by flight attendants. Elijah Wood - Frodo Baggins from all three films - appears in the video and sums it up. Just before Peter Jackson, the director of the films, wraps it up. Check it out... It's even better if you're an LOTR fan - or a Hobbit.  
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What Happens in Atlantic City Should Have Stayed in Atlantic City
Tom Bergeron hosted the Miss America Pageant once. Just once. He revealed in a recent interview with HuffPostLive that he wasn't asked back because of an "incident." The "incident" - which wasn't his fault, he says - involved getting a shoulder massage from one of the contestants. He told her that was a good massage - and she promised a "body massage" if she won. No big deal - until he told the story on a talk show afterwards. And just like that, his phone wasn't ringing. Turns out that HuffPostLive wasn't the first to get the story. Tom told it over a year ago for the Archive of American Television.  
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Curses, Hydra, Foiled Again!
A trailer for the 2015 film, Avengers: Age of Ultron "leaked" a little early this week. It was supposed to hit at the beginning of next week - Tuesday, to be precise, during an episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but instead, somehow found its way to the Internet about six days early. Oops...   The folks at Marvel Entertainment took it all in stride, and blamed it all on Hydra. Hydra's the terrorist organization for which many of the bad guys in the Marvelverse work - so why not?   Dammit, Hydra. — Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) October 22, 2014
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Zach, Brad & 2 Ferns
Zach Galifianakis could be the most underrated fake talk-show host since Jiminy Glick. He’s had some pretty interesting guests on his show, Between Two Ferns, not the least of whom was Barack Obama. His most recent guest – who looks more like a hostage in this one – is Brad Pitt, there ostensibly to promote his new movie, Fury. Or Furry, if you’re Zach. Check it out. Pretty funny stuff.   Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: Brad Pitt from Zach Galifianakis
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Bye Bye Honey
It's hard to believe that Here Comes Honey Boo Boo has made stars out of Mama June and her clan. It's even harder to believe the things that Mama June does. Now, TMZ is reporting that TLC has cancelled the show because Mama June is dating a registered sex offender. The guy was put away ten years ago for child molestation. And here's the worst part - Mama June was dating the guy when it happened, and she knew his victim too.  
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Put Some Pittsburgh in Your Mouth - in a Few Days
Primanti Brothers is a legendary sandwich shop in Pittsburgh. The business started as a vending cart in the 1930s. The founder stuffed all his best ingredients into one sandwich so blue-collar workers could carry everything in one hand. That was then. Now, Primanti Brothers has announced they’ll be delivering their sandwiches nationwide. Thanks to a partnership with a new gourmet delivery startup, people can go on-line and order a Primanti’s party pack. You get a loaf of fresh Italian bread, your choice of pastrami or capicola, provolone, hand-cut French fries, coleslaw, hot sauce, two tomatoes and a Primanti’s T-shirt. The T-shirt is not edible. At least, I don’t think it is. Price tag: $109. No word on the delivery time, but if you order it this morning, you will not have it for lunch today. Unless you live in Pittsburgh, and then you’re more likely to do pick-up.     (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/all.js#xfbml=1"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk')); Post by Goldbely.
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Whose Fault Is It Anyway?
Monica Lewinsky, one-half of the scandal that almost brought down the Clinton administration, spoke over the weekend at the Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30 Summit. As an introduction, she recapped the story of her affair with Bill Clinton. She was fresh out of college and "more than averagely romantic," as she tells it. "I fell in love with my boss – in a 22-year-old sort of way." When the story broke, "within 24 hours, I became a public figure." All thanks to the Internet and the Drudge Report. "I was patient zero," she said, "the first person to have their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the Internet." The entire speech can be found below. It's about 25 minutes long - but interesting in a historical sort of way...  
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Lady Batman?
At first, it reads like one of those hoax articles. But then when you realize that the person they're writing about is Lady Gaga, it makes you go, "Hmmm..." The folks at ComicBook.com are reporting that Gaga boughtbought a Malibu mansion recently. One accessory unit that came with the $23 million price tag was what The New York Daily News is calling a "Batcave." Said Batcave can only be accessed by an underground tunnel, and it features a bowling alley, arcade games, a home theater and an 800-bottle wine cellar. If Gaga gets tired of it, she can always lease it out as a frat house.  
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Chestnuts Roasting Barista-Style
It's the most wonderful time for a new coffee. At least, that's what Starbucks would have you believe. Get ready for Chestnut Praline Latte. The perfect beverage to wash down those holiday meals, don't you think? It's Starbucks first holiday drink in five years, and industry experts think it's the chain's answer to the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Dunkin' Donuts. Starbucks told the folks at Fox News that their drink is "inspired by the time-honored holiday tradition of warm roasted chestnuts… with freshly steamed milk and flavors of caramelized chestnuts and spices." You can add whipped cream and praline sprinkles, if you wish. If you're salivating, grab a napkin or a bib. The drink won't be available nationwide until November 21.  
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About Face for Renee
Renee Zellweger caused a stir over the weekend when she showed up at a Hollywood function looking different. Yup. She doesn’t look the way she used to look, so that got some tongues wagging. Yesterday, Renee told PEOPLE magazine she’s glad that people think she looks different. “I'm living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows," she told the magazine. She thinks the whole thing is silly, and good for her. “Perhaps I look different. Who doesn't as they get older?” And for the record, she’s starting to look a little bit like Glenn Close – which is not necessarily a bad thing.  
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Annoying Then, Annoying Now
Yes, I know, it's hard to believe, but Kim Kardashian was just about as annoying 20 years ago as she is now. Thanks to Entertainment Tonight, we all get to witness just how annoying, on the video they unearthed from ther eighth-grade graduation. "My name's Kim Kardashian, I'm the dopest on the ropest person in this class," she says on the video. "I'm dope on the rope, and you should learn my vocabulary." One of her classmates says, "Define 'dope,' Kim." And she responds, "Kim is dope." This is one of those times when jokes simply write themselves...  
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Bizarrely Funny
Shia Labeouf has had more than his share of troubles in the past several months. And now, Rob Cantor - a singer and songwriter - has penned a tune in tribute to Shia. Well, not really a tribute. More an extremely weird and bizarrely funny performance piece - featuring Rob, a couple of choruses, a troupe of dancers and what may be a partial philharmonic orchestra. Check it out - it's perfect for Halloween. And make sure you stay until the very end for an unexpected surprise.  
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Excuse Me, Sister, Like a What?
Sister Cristina, the Italian nun who won her nation's version of American Idol, has released a new single. It's a cover - well, sort of - of Madonna's 1984 hit song, "Like a Virgin." Yes, folks, a nun, singing "Like a Virgin." Sister Cristina said in an interview with an Italian newspaper that her idea to cover the song is not meant to be "provocative or scandalous." She says if you simply read the song's lyrics - and pay no attention to Madonna's interpretation - it's really a song about "love's ability to renew a person and rescue them from the past." I guess covering "Like a Prayer" would have been expected, huh?  
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The "Horror" of Modern Celebrity Culture
It's been 21 years since since legendary singer and songwriter Billy Joel has had a hit. And according to an interview in The New Yorker, that's been on purpose. He says he really dislikes the "horror of celebrity," and he's really uncomfortable with the demands it places on folks like him.  In fact, he said that all the scrutiny and second-guessing made him feel like "there was a proctoscope up my butt." Um, ouch! Seems like that would make it very difficult to sit down at a piano too.
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The Super Scientific Way
Leave it to Ellen Degeneres to get into the sports prediction business. On her show yesterday, she brought in two representatives of the two teams involved in the World Series, the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals. Okay, truthfully, it was two guys in baseball pants and hats from the two teams - the wardrobe budget appears to have run out when it came to buying the guys jerseys. But no one in the audience seemed to mind. In fact, the super scientific predictor was to send the two guys into the audience - the predicted winner would be the dancer who collected the most money in his shorts. Yes. No need to read it again - it's what happened. So hang onto this to see how good Ellen's process is...  
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Do It or Get Off the Pot!
In a new interview with GQ magazine, film star Matthew McConaughey shared the romantic story of how he decided to marry his now-wife, Camila Alves. According to him, it took her grabbing the bull by the horns, and saying, "C’mon, Big Boy, Mr. Easygoing-We’ll- Get-to-It-When-We-Get-to-It. Either s**t or get off the pot." While Matthew didn't mention it in the interview, his wife will undoubtedly be releasing her new line of matrimonial greeting cards any time now - as soon as she gets off the pot.
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Being Married to Dennis Rodman "The Worst"?
 In a recent appearance on Oprah Winfrey's Where Are They Now?, actress Carmen Electra opened up about her short marriage with the NBA's Dennis Rodman. Yes, the same guy who thinks he can solve the world's problems by playing basketball in North Korea was once married to Carmen. And as described by Carmen, it was "the worst." In her and his defense, she also said when it was good, it was "amazing." She says she remembers thinking, immediately after the wedding, "Oh God, what did we do? What did we just do?" Not a good start, no matter how you look at it...  
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Believe It? Or Not?
In Back to the Future II, Marty McFly made a quick escape on a Hoverboard - a floating skateboard that existed in the future. Remember the scene?   Well now, thanks to a company called ..., you can have a hoverboard all your own - for the miniscule setback price of $10,000. It's part of a Kickstarter project, trying to raise $250,000. If you'd like a working prototype, it's yours for $10K. A couple of things you need to know. The device can float only three centimeters off the ground, it cannot be steered, and it will only float over very special non-ferrous surfaces, like copper and aluminum. But it none of that bothers you and you have the cash burning a hole in your pocket, go for it!  
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You're Goin' Down!
Chelsea Handler is well-known for just letting fly whatever comes to mind. Some folks would suggest that her thoughts are often formed in her oral cavity instead of her cranium. The other night on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, she was working toward something when she asked Conan and his co-host, Andy Richter, whether they liked the ocean. Andy said he did - and Chelsea fumbled her way into an ill-defined and -conceived fat joke. Andy handled it perfectly, and his response put Chelsea in her place. Check it out.  
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Your Name is Neil Diamond...
Neil Diamond's kicking off a new concernt tour, and he's started on the talk show circuit. He popped into The Tonight Show to chat with Jimmy Fallon about his legendary career - he's a member of both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, you know. But the conversation turned to his name. "Neil Diamond" is his real name, but early on in the business, he thought about changing it. Listen to the conversation for the full story. Then play it again, but mute the video, and tell me if this guy isn't looking a little bit like Sean Connery these days.  
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Slogans Can Hurt
Ellen Degeneres is all over the Red Bull class action lawsuit. You'll recall that the makers of the energy drink settled their case recently, offering a $13 million payout to consumers who may have been duped into believing that Red Bull gives you wings. On yesterday's Ellen, viewers got to meet a man who believes most slogans, and is suing everyone from Nike to Exxon to Ellen herself. Check it out.  
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Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?
There's a company that sells giant stuffed plush versions of various microbial organisms - among them, the Ebola virus, which they call "the T. Rex of microbes." And guess what? With so much talk about Ebola these days - and by "talk," I mean "panic" - the entire stock of Ebola toys has sold out. That includes the small Ebola doll ($9.95), the gigantic Ebola doll ($29.95) and the Ebola Petri Dish ($14.95). Yup, that's exactly what we want our kids playing with these days, isn't it? The video below was made about three years ago - but check it out anyway.  
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Kooking with Kardashian?
Kris Jenner - aka Mama Kardashian - showed up on The Today Show yesterday, hawking her new kookbook. Because when you think of kuisine, your mind instantly goes to "Kardashian," am I right? In her defense, she says she's been feeding her khildren since she had Kourtney when Kris was just 22. "They give you a baby, you've gotta feed it." If that doesn't get her some sort of Mom of the Year award - well, it will just be a travesty.   Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
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Man on a Leash?
Jada Pinkett Smith showed up to audition for the role of Fish Mooney on Fox’s Gotham with a man on a leash. Her character is a shady club owner in Gotham who has relationships with a lot of underworld characters – and maybe a less than honorable relationship with some of Gotham’s finest as well. Last weekend, she told folks at the PaleyFest that she wanted to show the producers that she understood her character. So instead of talking about Fish Mooney, she decided to show them. She showed up in a short wig and a long flowing gown with a shirtless man on a leash. She says she went “method.” The dude on the leash went “canine,” I guess. She also has a strong presence on Twitter, keeping in touch with her fans by tweeting.   Happy #FishMooney Monday Gotham is off the hook 2night. One of my favorite episodes. I'll tweeting 2night at 8 pm EDT pic.twitter.com/JBw4EPeHBp — Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith) October 13, 2014
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Breaking Bad Action
A mom in Florida has started a petition to get the Toys ‘R’ Us chain to take Breaking Bad action figures off their shelves. The mom doesn’t like the message that the figures send, saying that kids mimic what their action figures do. The Walter White doll, for instance, comes complete with bags of cash and methamphetamine. The mom admits that she liked the series – even found it riveting – but she wants the figures out of Toys ‘R’ Us Bryan Cranston, who played Walter in the series, had an interesting take on the whole thing, with a fun tweet yesterday.   "Florida mom petitions against Toys 'R Us over Breaking Bad action figures." I'm so mad, I'm burning my Florida Mom action figure in protest — Bryan Cranston (@BryanCranston) October 20, 2014
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