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Kidd O'Shea and Elizabeth Kay

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 November 2013


Balsam Fir Christmas Tree
The smell of a freshly cut balsam fir is a fragrant part of many holiday celebrations.

The resin blisters on this fir give it the distinct fragrance and the resin inside has quite an interesting history. It was once used to mount thin specimens on microscope slides. It was also sold in confectionary stores as a precursor to chewing gum.
 
Civil War soldiers used a resin balm to treat wounds and resin knots as torches.
 
And still today you may find people stuffing pillows with the aromatic needles. Today it is used as a festive touch to the holidays, in the past the “pine pillows” were used as a deodorant.
 
This evergreen thrives in cooler climates and prefers moist slightly acidic soil and humid conditions. So if your landscape lacks these conditions, enjoy your balsam fir for the holidays and look for a more suitable evergreen for your backyard.
 
A bit more information: As you hike through native stands of balsam you may find wildlife like moose and deer munching on the needles and chickadees, squirrels and porcupines eating the seeds. And others find cover under the fragrant branches.
 
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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The Ash Tree – November 22 – December 1 Birth Tree
If your birthday falls between November 22nd and December 1st your birth tree is an ash. You are said to be uncommonly attractive, very reliable and trustworthy.

The native white and green ash trees have long been an important part of native forests, urban landscapes and the lumber industry. The wood is used for sporting goods like bats and oars as well as furniture and flooring.
 
Unfortunately, the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) has found its way to North America and killed many native and urban ash trees. The adult beetle is metallic emerald green and feeds on the leaves. The immature worm-like larvae are the real troublemakers. They feed under the bark preventing the flow of water and nutrients between the roots and leaves. This eventually kills the plant.
 
Visit www.emeraldashborer.info to find out more about this pest.
 
A bit more information: You can help prevent and reduce the spread of this and other invasive insects. Don’t move firewood; instead buy it at your destination. Visit http://www.emeraldashborer.info for more tips on managing firewood, woodchips and other wood products. And look for local arborists, wood workers and communities converting EAB infested wood into pest-free bats, bowls and more.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Winter Care for Unplanted Trees, Shrubs and Perennials
Fall plant sales and all those tempting new varieties have many of us buying more plants than we have time or space to plant.  Protect them over the winter and reduce your workload by heeling them in until you have time to find a permanent spot in your garden.

Look for vacant spaces and sheltered areas in your landscape. An annual flower or vegetable garden, newly established planting bed or one earmarked for renovation work great.
 
Dig a trench deep enough to cover the whole pot.  Set the plants pot to pot inside the trench. Cover with soil and water thoroughly to remove air pockets and moisten the roots. Water as needed throughout the winter.
 
Add an extra layer of insulation with mulch. Cover the soil surface with several inches of woodchips or shredded bark. This helps conserve moisture and protects the plants from our often fluctuating winter temperatures.

A bit more information: No vacant space in the garden? Group plants together in a sheltered location. Cover the pots with woodchips or other material to insulate the roots and conserve moisture. Those in colder climates can move plants into an unheated garage for winter. Be sure to water thoroughly whenever the soil is dry.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Encourage African Violet Bloom
African violets are a favorite indoor flowering plant. Your mother or grandmother may have had windowsills filled with these flowering beauties. But getting them and keeping them blooming is not as easy as grandma made it seem.
 
Insufficient sunlight is the most common cause of poor flowering. Grow African violets in a warm location in front of a sunny window or under artificial lights. Avoid the intense mid-day sun if plants begin looking stressed. You will need a combination of natural and artificial light, a set of cool and warm fluorescent lights, grow lights or full spectrum lights to encourage flowering.
 
Allow the plants to become slightly potbound and fertilize with an African violet or flowering houseplant fertilizer. Water often enough to keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Use room temperature water and a gravel filled saucer to capture excess water. As this water evaporates it will increase the humidity around the plant.
 
A bit more information:  Do not use softened or highly chlorinated water. Both can cause browning of the leaves. Remove any salt buildup, the white crusty substance, which accumulates on the lip of the container. This can damage leaves and leaf stems, petioles, which come in contact with it.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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November 12 - 21 Birth Tree: The Chestnut
If you were born between November 12th and the 21st, your birth tree is the Chestnut.
 
It is an impressive tree that grew to heights of 100 feet tall and represents honesty. The American chestnut (Castanea dentata) is native from Southern Maine to Michigan and south to Alabama and Mississippi. It is the tree of holiday songs, you know, “chestnuts roasting on an open fire”. 
 
Unfortunately chestnut blight killed most of the native stands of chestnuts. Root sprouts from blighted trees may grow to 20 feet tall and a few isolated trees remain.  The American Chestnut Foundation is working to reestablish the chestnut. In 2005 they harvested what they hope will be the first blight resistant American Chestnut trees. They hope to reintroduce chestnuts to benefit wildlife and the environment.
 
The Chinese chestnut is similar and also produces edible nuts. These plants aren’t immune, but are resistant to Chestnut blight.
 
A bit more information:  A gift membership to the American Chestnut Foundation may make a great birthday gift for family and friends with a chestnut birth tree. The recipient will receive information on chestnut tree research, receive blight resistant seeds and know that they are supporting the reintroduction of their birth tree.

For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Growing Orchids Indoors
 
Add exotic long lasting blooms to your indoor garden with the help of orchids. They’re much easier to grow than you think.
 
Orchid care varies a bit with the type of orchid you are growing.  But here are some general guidelines to get you started.  Grow your orchid in a sunny window. Don’t let the leaves touch cold windows and never trap the plant between curtains and the window in winter. 
 
Keep the soil evenly moist, but not too wet. City tap water is fine, but avoid softened water that can damage the plants.  Fertilize actively growing plants when the soil is moist.  Use a dilute solution of a complete fertilizer such as a 20-20-20 labeled for use on orchids or flowering houseplants.  Avoid excess fertilization that can cause damaged black root tips, green floppy growth, and no flowers. Most orchids prefer daytime temperatures around 70 and cooler at night.
 
A bit more information:  For more detailed information and culture sheets on yours and other orchids visit the American Orchid Society website
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For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Bulb Forcing Project for all Ages and Experience
No matter your age or gardening experience - you can have a bit of fun growing your own mini bulb garden indoors. 
 
All you need is a small container with drainage holes, potting mix and a few bulbs. Short daffodils and tulips, crocus, squills or grape hyacinths work well.
 
Cover the bottom of the container with soil.  Set several bulbs, pointed side up, on top of the potting mix. Pack them in tight for an eye-catching display.  Cover the bulbs and fill the container with potting mix.
 
Now sprinkle some grass seed over the surface and lightly rake with your fingers.  Water thoroughly.
 
Set the planted container in your fridge for its 3 month chill. Make sure the soil stays slightly moist, but not soggy wet.  Bring the container out of cold storage, anytime after the 3 month chill. Move it to a cool sunny location in your home and watch the beauty unfold.
 
A bit more information:  Keep your bulbs away from apples and pears when chilling in the refrigerator. These fruits give off ethylene gas, a natural hormone that does not harm people, but can hasten ripening and interfere with flowering when susceptible fruits, veggies and flowers are stored in the same refrigerator compartment.
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For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Scale Insects on Weeping Figs (Ficus benjamina)
Falling leaves on weeping figs is common with a change of season. It’s also a common response to insect feeding. 

Take a close look at the leaves and stems of your ailing weeping fig. If you find a clear sticky substance, your plant is being attacked by one of several insects.
 
Examine the stems, undersides of the leaves and the place where the leaf stem, petiole, joins the plant stem. Check for brown bumps that can be scraped off with your finger. These are adult scale insects, a common pest of weeping figs grown indoors. Gently scrape off the scale using your fingernail or an old toothbrush. Then spray the plants with insecticidal soap or Neem to kill the translucent immature scale that are sure to be present. Continue the treatment once a week or so until the scale are no longer present.
 
Persistence is the key to successfully controlling this pest.
 
A bit more information: Aphids and mites also secrete honeydew, but are less common problems on weeping figs. Dislodge small populations with a strong blast of water. Make several applications, one week apart, of insectidical soap or Neem if needed to control these pests.
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For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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National Sweet Potato Awareness Month
Celebrate National Sweet Potato Awareness month by including these tasty and nutritious vegetables as a main course, appetizer or side in your meals.
 
Sweet potatoes, also known as kumara have long been an important food crop in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. You’ll also find the golden skinned sweet potatoes labeled as yams in many locations. True yams are starchy, drier and less sweet. They have a tough black skin with white, purple or reddish flesh.
 
The true sweet potato is a relative of the morning glory. Those with golden skin and creamy flesh have a crumbly texture. The orange-fleshed varieties are soft, sweeter and higher in Vitamin A.
 
Don’t store your sweet potatoes in the fridge – you’ll reduce their sweet flavor. Instead, store them in the pantry with your baking potatoes. Extend their storage life to a month by keeping them in a cool dry location, like your basement.
 
A bit more information: For more ideas on growing, using and the nutritional value of sweet potatoes listen to these Melinda’s Garden Moment segments: Growing Sweet Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes Tasty and Nutritious.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Take a Pass on the Tree Trunk Wrap
Skip the tree trunk wrap when planting and caring for your trees.
 
Research has shown that tree wraps are not effective at preventing sunscald, frost cracks or insect and animal damage. Some insects actually prefer the shelter of the wraps and many animals chew right through.  Plus, scientists found greater temperature fluctuations when certain wraps were used. These changes in temperature can contribute to frost cracks.
Protect your trees from animal damage with a fence of hardware cloth.  Create a protective cylinder at least 4 feet high around the tree. Sink the bottom few inches into the soil to keep out the voles.
 
Reduce the risk of frost cracks and sunscald with proper planting, pruning, and care. Plant trees with the rootflare at or slightly above the soil surface.  Water thoroughly as needed and don’t pile mulch over the base of the trunk. And when pruning, be sure to make cuts flush to the branch bark collar not the trunk of the tree. 
 
A bit more information: If you decide to wrap your tree, apply it in fall and remove it each spring. Wrapping the trunks year round or for more than 2 years can actually increase the risk of damage.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Chrysanthemum (Mum) November Birth Flower
Born in November your birth flower is the chrysanthemum often called mum. This fall beauty symbolizes cheerfulness, optimism and friendship.
 
The word chrysanthemum comes from the Greek words chrysos meaning gold and anthemon meaning flower. But this popular cut, holiday and garden flower comes in many more colors. And the flower shapes vary from small button mums to daisy shaped to the large pompom chrysanthemums and more.
 
Grow your own mums in the garden or add a few container plantings to your fall landscape display.  And pick a few blossoms to enjoy indoors. Harvest them early in the day and just as they’re starting to open for the longest-lasting cut flower display.
 
Or stop by your nearby florist and purchase a potted plant or a few flowering stems. The variety of flower shapes and long-lasting vase life have made them one of the most popular florist flowers, second only to roses.
 
A bit more information: So celebrate yours or someone else’s November birthday with a bouquet of mums.  And when you grow potted mums indoors, you’ll help improve the indoor air pollution in your home.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Croton Add Fall Color Indoors
Bring a little fall color indoors with the help of the tropical plant known as Croton.

The colorful leaves may be a combination of green, red, yellow, orange and purple. The leaf shapes can vary adding to its ornamental appeal. The colorful leaves can be broad or narrow, shaped like an oak leaf, twisted like a corkscrew, or somewhat pinched in the middle.
 
Grow crotons in a warm bright location free from drafts of hot and cold air. Water thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil slightly moist during the summer months. Cut back on watering slightly during the winter as growth begins to slow. 
 
Only fertilize actively growing plants with a dilute solution of houseplant fertilizer. Avoid cold temperatures, droughty conditions and drafts that can cause leaf drop. Just correct the problem and wait for new leaves to appear.
 
Start new plants from cuttings to expand your indoor garden or share with friends.
 
A bit more information: Add a little fall flare to your indoor garden with the help of flowering potted plants. Combine small potted mums and foliage plants in a decorative basket or sink a small pot into a large planter.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Prepare for Winter Bird Feeding
 
Fall is a great time to prepare for the winter bird feeding season. A bit of house cleaning will help attract more birds and keep your winged visitors healthy.

Clean feeders regularly throughout the season. This helps reduce the risk of disease caused by bacteria and other disease-causing organisms that can develop in dirty birdfeeders.
 
Wear rubber gloves to protect yourself and use a stiff bottlebrush or old toothbrush to clean those hard to reach places. Use a one-part bleach and nine-part water solution, commercial birdfeeder cleaner or a mild solution of unscented dishwashing soap.
 
Wash the inside and outside of the feeder, perches and feeding ports. Once cleaned, rinse and dry before refilling
 
And don’t forget to clean the area around the feeder. Remove any damp and rotten seed and fruit birds may have dropped.  Then finish it off by adding a fresh layer of mulch to cover the droppings.
 
A bit more information:  Monitor your landscape for bird-friendly plants. Look for trees, shrubs and perennials that provide food and evergreens that provide shelter. Plan to add a few more along with feeders for future seasons.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Legit, or Stunt?
Here's a chance for you to be the judge. The scenario: The Oxygen Network was in Houston recently auditioning for its show, Bad Girls Club. While women waited in line to be seen, another woman was in a conversation with a police officer who had just put a traffic boot on the driver-side rear tire of her new BMW X5. It's not really clear why the boot was put in place, or if the woman was there auditioning. What is clear is that she didn't want to be booted. So she drove off with the boot in place. Clearly, it's not the proper size boot for that car, as the wheel is able to rotate almost freely. And as she drove off to the cheers of the folks in line, the boot actually fell off. Watch the video - the wind sounds on it can't be avoided. Then weigh in. What do you think? Legitimate circumstances, or a stunt staged by the producers of the show so they've got something to show for their time in Houston?  
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And the Newest Kardashian is...
Kourtney Kardashian gave birth to her third child, again sired by her boyfriend Scott Disick. That happened last week, on December 14, on her firstborn son's 5th birthday. Over the weekend, the happy couple announced the baby boy's name. Joining brother Mason and sister Penelope is... Well, read the Instagram post. I mean, that's how we ALL keep up with the Kardashians, isn't it?     Madly in love with my little Reign Aston Disick. A photo posted by Kourtney Kardashian (@kourtneykardash) on Dec 12, 2014 at 8:36am PST
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Happy Holidays: All I Want for Christmas Done Right
After all the buzz about Mariah Carey's troubles with singing "All I Want for Christmas" at the Rockerfeller Center Tree Lighting Ceremony, here's a chance to see and hear it done right. The group is Out of the Blue - the a cappella singers from Oxford University in England. And, not only is it a good arrangement, the group is selling the single to raise money for the Helen & Douglas House, which provides hospice care for children in the United Kingdom.  
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Good to Have Support on the Home Front
Gisele Bunchen - aka Mrs. Tom Brady - posted another cute picture to Instagram yesterday, moments after her husband's team clinched a day off in the first-round of the NFL playoffs by beating the New York Jets. It wasn't a pretty victory, or an easy one either, with the Patriots limping out of the Meadowlands with a 17-16 win. Still, it was a win, and good enough for Gisele to hoist her daughter to her shoulder and post a picture of it to Instagram. File this one under #godaddy! And be sure to check out the look on the face of the dog - almost like he's saying, "Again?"     Yeeeeaaaaahh! #godaddy #gopats ❤️❤️❤️❤️ A photo posted by Gisele Bündchen (@giseleofficial) on Dec 12, 2014 at 1:07pm PST
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Cold Open, Cold Shoulder
If this weekend's cold open of Saturday Night Live is any indication, there could be some life left in the old dog afterwards. It started with a spoof of Sam Smith, the automaton with the fantastic voice, promoting his new special, A Very Somber Christmas. Suddenly, the "broadcast" was hijacked by none other than Doctor Evil - that would be one of Mike Myers' characters from the Austin Powers films. Doctor Evil took issue with North Korea and Sony Pictures for giving "evil organizations a bad name." Funny stuff - and biting satire as well.  
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Fare Thee Well, Colbert! See You in May!
On Friday night, Stephen Colbert was one of two late night comics to say farewell to the shows and audiences who'd grown to love them. (The other was Craig Ferguson on CBS's Late Late Show. More on him tomorrow.) But first, Colbert wrapped up The Colbert Report on Comedy Central in an interesting way. By turning it into a musical, sort of, with an amazing hodgepodge of singers. Starting with Jon Stewart from CC's The Daily Show, the seemingly endless list of guests included Big Bird and Cookie Monster from Sesame Street, former secretary of state Henry Kissinger, former president Bill Clinton, an astronaut from the International Space Station, Barry Manilow (who was misidentified initially by another reporter as Rod Stewart) and more. Dozens, maybe even hundreds of folks, all singing "We'll Meet Again." Check it out - and be sure to keep watching when it appears to be over. Stephen will be back in May, when he jumps into David Letterman's seat on CBS's Late Show.  
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Most Ridiculous Man of the Year
Here's a late-comer for the Most Ridiculous Man of the Year award. A professional makeup artist in Manchester, England has reportedly spent about $150,000 for plastic surgery and more to look like his favorite reality TV star. The star? Kim Kardashian. He's had lip fillers, laser hair removal and eyebrows tatooed on. Take a look at the picture to see the results. And no, it is NOT Halloween. Sooo, someone actually dropped $150,000 on plastic surgery to look like Kim Kardashian! See for yourself: http://t.co/6eSkniAajM — Us Weekly (@usweekly) December 18, 2014 And he doesn't care what he looks like, according to The Sun, London's daily newspaper. "My look is all about the shock factor. I love all the attention and stares I get in the street. I welcome the hate — it just means more attention. And if anything, it just spurs me on to get more work done." Good money chasing bad, folks. Especially since the guy looks more like the Octomom than the NorthWestmom.
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Please Define "Top"
Scratching my head just a little. US Magazine put out a list yesterday of the Top 14 Celebrity Instagram Photos of 2014.   Six of the 14 involve the Kardashians in some way - by that calculation, they're taking up 43% of the internet, which sounds right and wrong all at the same time. The rest of the list: Jessica Simpson in a bathing suit holding a golf club Macauley Culkin wearing a T-shirt with Ryan Gosling on it Jessa Duggar's wedding kiss Taylor Swift's 4th of July party Nick & Vanessa Lachey's pregnancy announcement Lauren Conrad's haircut Bethenny Frankel wearing her 4-year-old's Hello Kitty PJs The only one that really belongs - or at least makes some sense in being relevant - is the post Diem Brown's boyfriend put up after her passing, expressing his grief.     You have always been My Angel. And now you have your wings. We've been thru so much over the years. Thru the ups and downs we somehow managed to keep our promise. We never gave up on each other. Our plan to be together forever hasn't changed... it's just going to take a little longer now. And I'm going to hold onto this ring for you till we are together again. So don't worry mama, I'm not afraid. I know you will always be with me to give me your strength. You are The Love of My Life. My reason to be a better man. I Love You Always and Forever A photo posted by CT (@theofficial_ct) on Nov 11, 2014 at 8:50am PST  
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It's the Most Wonderful Prank of the Year
Jimmy Kimmel and his wife have a holiday tradition - well, sort of a tradition - with acting couple John Krasinski (from The Office) and Emily Blunt (most recently from Into The Woods). They live across the street from one another, and for Christmas, they play pranks on each other. This has been going on for a couple of years, and each year, the pranks get bigger and more out of control. Watch the clip to see what Jimmy did to them last year - the thing he thought would bring the prank-feud to a conclusion. And then watch to see watch Emily and John did to raise the bar considerably higher this year. Nice to have that kind of money to throw away, but it is sort of fun to watch.  
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"Governor, This Is Barack Obama..."
What a fun moment. Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick made his final appearance on Boston Public Radio yesterday, and got a very interesting phone call as part of his farewell. President Barack Obama called in, identifying himself as a former resident of Somerville, a suburb of Boston. The president spent some time in the state while a student at Harvard, and he's got a good relationship with the outgoing governor. So why not call in? Watch the video of the call. Seems legit to me.  
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I Really Really Really Really Really Really Want This!
Dear Santa: I know this is probably an impractical present, and that it will probably only survive one light dusting. But Santa, I really really really really really really really want one of these. A remote-control pickup with a snow plow attachment. I've been really really really really good this year too.                                                                                                          Signed,                                                                                                          Your Pal Mikey!     (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 Boji.
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Cancel The Interview, Please
Sony Pictures announced formally today that it will not now and maybe ever release the movie they'd scheduled for a Christmas debut, The Interview. The film, starring Seth Rogen and James Franco as some newsmen recruited by the CIA to assassinate the leader of North Korea, drew the ire of North Korea's current ruler, who said its release would be considered an act of war. More recently, someone hacked into Sony's servers, releasing sensitive information and threatening some drastic action if the film were released as planned. Some interesting folks are not happy at all. Like Donald Trump... #TrumpVlog #TheInterviewMovie A sad day for freedom of speech- http://t.co/eQDh4BkDHp — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 17, 2014 And Salman Rushdie... “@FinalFenwayFict: Anyone remember @SalmanRushdie? Art is supposed 2 provoke. #TheInterviewMovie” Yeah, I remember him. And: agreed. — Salman Rushdie (@SalmanRushdie) December 17, 2014 But, here's the question that everyone wants answered... Whens Dennis Rodman going to intercede and squash this whole thing? #TheInterviewMovie — Jacob Saylor (@jacobsaylor) December 18, 2014
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A Box of Poo for You
You know Cards Against Humanity, right? The makers refer to it as "a party game for horrible people" that's "as despicable and awkward as you and your friends." On Black Friday, they made an interesting offer to folks on their website: a box of male bovine excrement for a mere $6. They used a more guttural expression that we really shouldn't be using here... Now, the folks at CAH report that they sold 30,000 units. 30,000 units of genuine bull crap, amounting to $180,000. I can only imagine how popular these will be at the office Yankee Swap this year. Now if you'll excuse me. My dog just went outside, and I'm pretty sure there's a gold mine waiting to be picked up on my lawn.
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Wrapping Up a Holiday Tradition
Darlene Love came to fame with the 1960s classic, "He's a Rebel." But for close the three decades now, she's earned even more fame from her annual appearance on David Letterman's last show before Christmas to sing "Christmas" - aka "Baby Please Come Home." She'll sing it one last time tonight, on Letterman's final show-before-Christmas. This time next year, Stephen Colbert will be sitting in Letterman's seat. To get everyone in the mood, the folks at CBS put together a compilation of Darlene's appearances, blending them all together in one pretty spectacular rendition. Enjoy - and be sure to set your DVR for tonight's performance...  
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Shaking Off Hanukkah
Someone pointed out recently that there aren't any good Hanukkah songs out there. It seems that the only choice is Adam Sandler's "Hanukkah Song," and that's not really about the holiday, just about folks who might celebrate it. So along comes Six13, a Jewish a cappella group, and their parody of Taylor Swift's "Shake It Off." You'll have fun, learn a little bit about the holiday, and even how to play with a dreidel. And you might start bopping along with the tune. Win win!  
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Happy Holidays: Sheriff Santa
There's a guy in Missouri who gives away about $100,000 a year in $100 bills to random strangers. This holiday season, he got a little bit of help - from the Jackson County Sheriff's Department in Kansas City. The officers were handed a small pile of Benjamin Franklins and sent out on the street to help those who needed help. What a terrific, feel-good story...  
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Happy Holidays: The Christmas Spirit
Not everyone's ready for the holiday, right? Seems like it rushes up on you sometimes. Or maybe you're just not ready for it. Sometimes, you need a little push. Like Chris, who gets a visit and a sizeable nudge from a Jolly Old Elf. A fun short film to get you in the spirit...  
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Happy Birthday, Frankie
Pope Francis celebrated his birthday yesterday. Some folks took to Twitter to pass glad tidings, using #happybirthdayholyfather. It looks like being the pope doesn't put you above the typical birthday pranks the rest of us have to endure, like sharing photos from your early years. This one looks to be from 8th grade. What do you think?   Happy birthday Pope Francis! @Pontifex #happybirthdayholyfather pic.twitter.com/67KWJIFDJT — The Catholic Hipster (@churchhipster) December 17, 2013 Meanwhile, the pope celebrated his birthday the way you'd expect this down-to-earth guy to do it. He invited some homeless men and his household staff to sit and have breakfast with him after morning mass.   Pope Francis shared his birthday breakfast with homeless men and a dog. http://t.co/h93FMUumkG #HappyBirthdayHolyFather — Whats Up Mimi (@WhatsupMimi) December 18, 2013
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Ellen Skunks Conan
Looks like the daytime talk shows have better budgets than their nighttime counterparts. Case in point: an audience member pointed out that Ellen Degeneres gives away phenomenal gifts to everyone in her audience. It's the way she rolls. Amazing things like personal cappucino machines, one's very own MRI unit (complete with Fabio, your MRI tech), and the not-even-out-yet iPhone 9. Conan had nothing but half-a-sleeve of gluten-free Fig Newtons in his car. Not to fear. Ellen to the rescue. Check out what she gives to every member of Conan's audience. I wonder if Conan gets to keep one...?  
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New Rule: Don't Let Mom Call Into Your Talk Show Appearance
How's this for a fun time? Brad and Dallas Woodhouse are what you'd call political pundits. They're also what you'd call brothers. Brad's a Democrat, and Dallas is a Republican. This week, they appeared on Washington Journal on C-Span to discuss their new book, "Woodhouse Divided," about bipartisanship and the political divide in the United States. I'm sure it was a fun conversation, but not one that would catch my attention. Until... ... the Woodhouse brothers' mother called in, unexpectedly and unplanned, and pretty much told the both of them to settle their differences so that Christmas at the family home would be peaceful. The clip is below, and it is priceless!  
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Seal It With a Slap!
Whoever thought Jimmy Fallon and Oprah Winfrey could play a married couple? Well they did - back in the 80s - on a soap opera called Midnight Meadows. It's becoming a running bit on The Tonight Show, and it involves Jimmy and his guest running back and forth into and out of the scenes. You almost wish they'd show those transitions. From the sound of the audience reaction, that's one of the best parts.  
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Can I Get a Translator, Please?
Christian Bale's newest film, Exodus: Gods & Kings, hasn't even been out for two weeks, and already, folks are talking about his next film. The trailer for Knight of Cups was released this week, and while the film's language is English - I understand all the words - I think I'm going to have to have an interpreter with me if I plan to sit and watch it. It's not that anyone's unintelligible - there's no Stallone/Schwarzenegger component to the movie - it's just that I have no idea what's going on. Sure, trailers are supposed to tease you and even titillate you, so you'll be interested in seeing the movie. This one looks like a bad acid trip caught on film. What do you think?  
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The Holidays Are Coming!
What's Up Moms is a great group of fun moms who poke fun at themselves and their lives. Earlier this week, we featured their parody of Taylor Swift's "Blank Spaces." Today, I stumbled on this "trailer" for The Holidays Are Coming, and while it's from last month, it's especially fitting now, with Christmas Eve just a week away. Enjoy - and know you are NOT alone!  
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Emojinized Science
Bill Nye the Science Guy always does what he can to make science understandable to the Average Joe. In this day and age, what better way to illustrate one's point - or, in this case, lesson - that with emoji. Everyone knows what emoji are - so why not put them to good use. So watch Professor Nye do Professor Darwin one better by using emoji to explain evolution. I'll bet you have a Smiley Face when it's done...  
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Blistering Hot Britney
According to Women's Health magazine, Britney Spears is in "the hottest shape of her life." That's why they put her on the cover of the magazine. And according to them, she did it all without a trainer. They point to her "insane abs" and suggest that you too can achieve them with "one simple move." I hate to be a cynic, but I'll bet it's the purchase of pretty good photo-editing software. Does that make me a bad person...?   Thank you so much @womenshealthmag for featuring me in your new issue! 😘 It's on stands this week! A photo posted by Britney Spears (@britneyspears) on Dec 12, 2014 at 4:10pm PST
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