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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 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.
 
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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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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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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.
 
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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.
 
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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
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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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