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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 March 2014


Tar Spot Disease on Maples
Don’t let the black tar-like spots on your maple tree make you fret. Though one of the more noticeable, it is one of the less damaging of the fungal leaf spot diseases. 

Tar spot symptoms look as if someone dripped tar on the leaves. A European tar spot that has found its way to North America can also attack Norway and striped Maples. These spots are thinner, less tar-like and surrounded by a yellow halo. 
 
You’ll see more spotting during summers following a wet spring. The disease organism survives the winter on the tar spot infected leaves lying on the ground. Raking and destroying the leaves will help reduce the source of infection but is usually not practical. Everyone in the area must do the same in order for this method of control to be effective.
 
So be patient and wait for a drier spring and the disease to run its course.
 
A bit more information: Chemical control is not practical, nor recommended. You must treat before the spots have developed and have complete coverage. This is difficult on large mature maple trees. Proper care is the best defense against this and other diseases. Water properly and mulch trees to keep them healthy.
 
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Waterwise Vegetable Gardening
You can grow garden fresh produce while conserving water and limiting the time spent watering.
 
Water gardens early in the morning to minimize water lost to evaporation. Always water thoroughly but less frequently to encourage deep more drought tolerant roots.  Use a soaker-hose or drip irrigation to slowly place the water directly on the soil where it is needed.
 
You can create your own slow watering device.  Use old gallon milk jugs to apply water where it is needed.  Punch several small holes in the bottom of the milk jug.  Fill with water and place next to your tomatoes, peppers or other large plants. The water slowly seeps into the soil where it’s needed.
 
And don't forget to mulch with shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other organic material.  Mulching helps keep the soil cool and moist, reduces weeds and adds organic matter to the soil as it decomposes over the season.
 
A bit more information: Most gardens benefit from an inch of water each week.  Monitor rainfall with a rain gauge and supplement as needed. Apply needed water in one application to heavy soils. Make two applications of 1/2 to 3/4 an inch of water in sandy soils.  Remember to let the weather and plants, not the calendar, be your guide.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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The Edible and Ornamental Chokeberry (Aronia)
Though chokeberry is not an appetizing name, this four season beauty is making a big impact in edible and ornamental gardens.

Include this beauty in your landscape. Hardy in zones 3 to 9 it prefers full sun to part shade and tolerates moist and even wet soils. The white flowers appear in spring and glossy green leaves turn a beautiful crimson or purplish red in fall. The black fruit is edible and high in antioxidants and vitamin C. But nibble on just a berry or two as they are very tart and astringent. Or use the fruit for jams, baked goods and wine.
 
And if the flavor is a bit much for you, just wait and the birds will eventually feast on the fermented fruit in late winter.
 
Use these edible beauties as informal hedges, in mixed borders or rain gardens. Viking is a popular cultivar grown for its large black fruit and compact size.
 
A bit more Information: Chokeberries can be slow to establish, so be patient. The red chokeberry has similar flowers, fall color, but red fruit instead of black. Brilliant is an outstanding cultivar with waxy leaves, more fruit and excellent red fall color. Visit the Midwest Aronia Association’s website for recipes and more.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Easy to Grow Houseplant - Cast Iron Plant (Aspidistra elatior)
Looking for a tough as nails houseplant? Consider the cast iron plant.

This unassuming houseplant tolerates low light, temperature extremes and irregular watering. It is also known as saloon plant because it was often found growing in the dark corners of bars.
 
You may have to do a bit of research to find a local source. Most garden centers only sell the straight species with solid green leaves that grow about 2 to 3 feet tall. The variety ‘Variegata’ has white stripes while ‘Ginga Minor’ has yellow spotted 15 inch long leaves.
 
Cast iron plants produce one long strappy leaf on each short stem that arises from the soil. Propagate new plants by dividing older clumps into several smaller sections.
 
Although most people know it as a houseplant you will find cast iron plant used as a groundcover in southern landscapes.  And some claim success growing this plant outdoors year round in southern New Jersey.
 
A bit more information: So consider adding a cast iron plant to your indoor décor. Though the flowers are small, brown and not real showy, you’ll get a little greenery with minimal care. Check on-line sources if you are having trouble finding this or its more decorative cultivars at your local garden center.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Lime Tree Birth Tree for March 11 to 20
Lime Tree Birth Tree for March 11 to 20
 
If you were born between March 11th and 20th your birth tree is the Lime tree. You are said to be intelligent, hard working, hate fights and stress and can be jealous, but extremely loyal.
 
Now before you go out and invest in a citrus plant, consider that lime is the common name for Linden in the British Isles. This group of trees is also called basswood and Tilia.
 
Basswoods grow in zones 3 to 9, generally prefer full sun to part shade and moist soils.  They produce fragrant yellow flowers in summer that the bees enjoy. In fact, basswood honey with its floral scent and complex flavor is considered one of the best in the world.
 
Large linden varieties make great shade trees, while smaller ones have been used as street trees, pruned into hedges or planted along walks and roadways to create allees in the landscape and public spaces.
 
A bit more information: Lindens also have great fall color. The leaves turn a beautiful yellow in fall. The common name lime is supposedly an altered form of lind. And the word linden originally was used as an adjective meaning “made from lime-wood”.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with a Bit of Greenery
Add a bit of greenery to your St Patrick’s Day celebration with a green or purple leaf shamrock plant. You’ll find them in garden centers, florists and even grocery stores.

Grow these holiday plants in a bright location to keep them blooming and growing. Water thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil slightly moist, but not wet.
 
Newly purchased plants do not need fertilizing for several months. Use a dilute solution of any flowering houseplant fertilizer if your plants are actively growing and in need of a nutrient boost.
 
And don’t be alarmed when your plant starts to yellow and dry. It is normal for these plants to go dormant for a short period. Reduce watering frequency as the leaves start to yellow and dry. Place the plant in a cool dark location until new growth begins. Then bring it back into the sunlight, start watering and enjoy the show.
 
A bit more information: The original shamrock plant was likely a white clover. It symbolizes the arrival of spring, the season of rebirth.  St. Patrick is said to have used the Shamrock plant when he spread the word of Christianity in Ireland. He used the three leaves to symbolize the Holy Trinity, the father, the son and the holy spirit.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Sweet and Tasty Homegrown Carrots
Grow the best crop of carrots yet with proper selection, timing and care.
 
Select carrot varieties known for their sweet flavor. Dantes, Little finger, Short ‘n Sweet, Sweetness, and Tendersweet are just a few to consider.

Be sure to plant carrots early in the season for an early summer harvest, midseason for a fall harvest or fall for a winter harvest in milder climates. Carrots grow best and have the highest sugar content, giving them the sweetest flavor in cooler temperatures.
 
Proper care will also improve the appearance and flavor. Be sure to water carrots and other garden plantings as the top few inches of soil feels moist, but crumbles in your fingers. Thin carrot seedlings to provide space for the remaining plants to grow to full size.  Try several different varieties to see which tastes best to you and your family.
 
Grow short or half longs if you are gardening in heavy or rocky soil. You’ll have fewer misshapen carrots.
 
A bit more information: Little Finger baby carrots are 5 inches long and ½ inch thick. These golden orange carrots are sweet and crisp and ready to eat in 65 days. Nantes Sweetness is a bit longer and thicker but still sweet and crunchy and matures in 63 days.  Tendersweet Imperator is a long carrot with a tapered root. The orange carrot is coreless and sweet and ready to eat in 75 days.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Gardening on a Budget
We are all looking for ways to make our dollars go further. And that includes landscaping and gardening projects.
 
Buy smaller plants and space them properly. You will be amazed how quickly they will grow and fill the available space. Use annuals or perennials to fill the empty spaces. You’ll need fewer annuals each year and the perennials can be transplanted to another garden when the trees and shrubs reach full size.
 
Start fast growing annuals from seed right in the garden. Marigolds, zinnias, cosmos, nasturtiums, moss rose and sunflowers are a few to try.
 
Always buy quality plants suited to the growing conditions. They require less effort to grow successfully and live longer.
 
Use available resources. Shred fallen leaves and use as mulch. Create arbors and wattle fences from tree and shrub trimmings. Use handles from broken tools for a trellis, old grill for a planter and leaky aquarium for a terrarium.
 
A bit more information: Join forces with friends and neighbors. Share the cost and use of a weekend rental of tillers, chippers and other infrequently used garden equipment. You’ll save money and avoid storage and maintenance issues involved in owning specialized equipment.
 
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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An Evergreen Harvest – Cooking with Spruce
A long time favorite in Europe, spruce shoot syrup and beer are gaining popularity in North America. The tender new growth of spruce, pines and firs were also used by Native Americans and early settlers for food and medicine.
 
For the best flavor, harvest the tender new growth as it emerges in spring. Remove the papery brown covering before eating or processing.
 
Use them fresh to flavor fish dishes, sauce or salad dressing.
 
Or try something simple like tea. Just dry the needles and brew into tea. Or create spruce vinegar with brown rice, vinegar and pine or spruce shoots. Just place the shoots in a glass jar, cover with brown rice vinegar, seal and let it age for a month.
 
Spruce shoots are also used to add the unique flavor to the Canadian martini.
 
Ask before harvesting spruce shoots from private and public property. And only use shoots from evergreens free of pesticides.
 
A bit more information: For more tips on harvesting and recipes click here.. And for more on the history of brewing and cooking with evergreen shoots click here. If you want to skip or give them a try before harvesting and preserving your own, you can find them for sale on-line at Forbes Wild Food.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Leaf Spot on Philodendron
Philodendrons have long been considered one of the easiest to grow – hardest to kill houseplants. But even these robust beauties can suffer from too much love and attention.
 
Don’t be embarrassed if you’ve killed this supposedly indestructible plant – many gardeners have. The most common complaints are yellow leaves with brown spots.
 
Leaf spot diseases are usually the culprit and improper watering the cause.
 
Take a close look at the container and your watering regimen. Make sure the pot has holes in the bottom for drainage.  No matter how good a gardener, it is impossible to provide exactly the right amount of moisture every time you water. 
 
Move your plant to a container with drainage holes if needed. For best results water this and most houseplants thoroughly whenever the top couple inches of soil feels like a damp sponge.  Pour off any excess water that collects in the saucer.  Plants sitting in water are more subject to root rot and leaf spot diseases. 
 
A bit more information: Reduce your work load and improve your plants’ growing environment by placing stones or marbles in the saucer.  The excess water can collect in the saucer while the marbles elevate the pot and plant roots above the water.  As the water evaporates it increases the humidity around the plant where it is needed.
 
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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Narcissus, Daffodil or Jonquil, March & December Birth flower
Is it a Narcissus, daffodil or jonquil?  Whatever you call it, it is the birth flower of March and December.

The terms daffodil, narcissus and jonquil are often used interchangeably.  Narcissus is the botanical name for daffodils. Daffodil was the common name English speaking people gave to this group of plants. Jonquils are actually a type of daffodil botanically known as Narcissus jonquilla. They usually have 1 to 3 small fragrant flowers per stem. The leaves are more rounded than those of other daffodils.
 
And as birth flowers go the daffodil stands for devotion, unequaled love and the sun is always shining.
 
And if you invest in a celebration bouquet – be sure to keep these flowers in a vase all their own. The stems exude a thick sap into the water. The sap plugs the cut end of other flowers, preventing them from absorbing water.
 
A bit more information: Visit the American Daffodil Society’s website www.daffodilusa.org for sources and more information on the various types of daffodils.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to garden videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com.
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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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Christmas Services - Saturday Night Live-Style
I've been picking on Saturday Night Live a lot this season. It's like the whole show isn't living up to the standards set in the past. Sure, there's a lot of history in the show, and some phenomenal years when everything they touched was gold. This year, not so much. So, when they do crank out something that's pretty good, it's only fair to point it out. Here's a little something they did this weekend, and it hits home with a lot of casual Christians, You know, the kind who only go to church twice a year - once at Easter, and once at Christmas. Enjoy!  
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Barbara Walters' Most Fascinating Person of 2014
Prepare to scratch your heads. A woman you probably never heard of until September or so - Amal Alamuddin Clooney - has been named the Most Fascinating Person of 2014. Not that she's not interesting. But the most fascinating person on the planet? All because she married George Clooney. Which Barbara Walters refers to, with her gift for hyperbole, as one of the "greatest achievements in human history." Perhaps it's time for Barbara to hang up her microphone, huh?  
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Adorable Holiday Tearjerker?
This new ad by Apple has been getting a lot of play since it was released on Sunday. Over a million-and-a-half hits as I write this. It highlights the ability of Apple products - a Mac, an iPhone or an iPad - to "create thoughtful, emotional gifts and memories that transcend time." It's a granddaughter using computing power to create a duet with her grandmother's voice-over 45 rpm recording. Tearjerker? I'm not feeling it. Does that make me Grinchy? Honestly, I was more excited that the granddaughter had a turntable than anything else.  
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Yup, It's Genetic
Ever wonder where the Kardashian and Jenner kids get their flair for showoffmanship? Blame it all on Mama K. Proof positive is available for viewing on the website of Love magazine. They present an annual Advent calendar (completely missing the point that Advent is a particulary religious thing) that features 25 models doing strange things that have nothing to do with Christmas. Most of them - so far - are pretty young. Then there's Kris Jenner. Pushing 60. Dressing and acting like her 30-something kids, including flashing her cleavage to the camera, grabbing her lapels with the veiniest hands this side of the Cryptkeeper. Watch the video - if you dare. Be careful, though. The lyrics to the song that goes with the video are definitely NSFW.  
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The Sun May Not Come Out Tomorrow After All
The updated version of Annie hit theaters this past weekend, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, it's a hard knock watch. Starring Jamie Foxx as the billionaire and Quvenzhane Wallis as the little orphan, the new Annie was pretty much eviscerated: This one paragraph says it all: "Putting aside the grating performances, the clumsy direction, the visual ugliness and the haphazard development of story, character and relationships, the movie is hobbled by its intrinsic unsuitability for contemporary retelling." Of course, you never know with movies like this. Critics can often cripple a film - or just because of their shear nastiness, encourage people to go and check it out for themselves. So what do you think? Is it worth popping for $12 a ticket, plus the investment in the soda and popcorn and candy, to make your own determination?  
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Taylor Swift - Most Parodied Artist of 2014?
What's Up Moms is a website "dedicated to providing fast-paced videos that are not only helpful, but also fun to watch!" Every once in a while, they'll produce a good parody of pop song. Like this one - their parody, all mom-related, of Taylor Swift's "Blank Spaces." Which could very make make Taylor the most-parodied musical artist of 2014. We'll have to wait for the official tally, of course.  
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