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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bye Bye Clydesdales?
Schlitz may have been the beer that made Milwaukee famous - for better or worse - but Budweiser is the beer that made Clydesdales famous.
When you think of the giant draught horses, don't you instantly think of them pulling a Budweiser beer wagon?
If you're between the ages of 21 and 27, maybe not. And you're the target market that Budweiser's after, in an attempt to regain its market share, which has been slipped steadily for the past ten years.
And the folks who market Budweiser don't think that the majestic Clydesdale is the best way to reach that demographic.
I'm not a Bud guy, but I have to admit, I'm tempted to give it another try every time I see an ad like this. How about you?
The Force Awakens Slowly
We've still got to wait another 13 months for the arrival on the big screen of Star Wars: The Force Awakens - aka, Star Wars Episode 7.
But the team at LucasFilm is already putting out trailers to pique our interest.
Two hit the internet this week. So check them out.
Will you wait to pass judgment? Or are you currently salivating like a Wookie?
"I See a Darkness in You"
The debut of Season 5 of Game of Thrones is still months away, but the folks on the production team don't want us to forget about them.
So why not tease us with a 10-second glimpse into what's to be?
This one's all about Arya, the headstrong and fiercely independent youngest daughter of the House of Stark.
Don't blink - you don't want to miss anything.
And if you sign up with the website - ThreeEyedRaven.com - you'll be able to receive further updates via Twitter as they come along.
What GOT fan wouldn't want something like that?
Follow the Three Eyed Raven. Gain the power of #TheSight: http://t.co/9fNrrJIGHG https://t.co/4RhAiTR9tw
— Game Of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) November 25, 2014
Um, Bette, Say What?
Criticism of Ariana Grande came out of left field last week, when Bette Midler had some nasty things to say about one of the world's hottest pop singers.
Bette said that Ariana's act was too sexual, and said, "You don't have to make a whore out of yourself to get ahead..."
The folks at TMZ have more on that...
But it looks like things have been patched up, with an apology from Bette...
About my screed on @ArianaGrande , all I can say is, "Spoken like a reformed old whore! She does have a beautiful voice, on a couch or off."
— Bette Midler (@BetteMidler) November 26, 2014
Even money says the two of them get together for a Tony Bennett/ Lady Gaga-style duet before Christmas.
No Thanksgiving for You!
Did you know that some people don't celebrate Thanksgiving?
Yes, it's true.
Take Seth Rogen, for instance.
Until recently, the ubiquitous movie star believed he wasn't allowed to celebrate Thanksgiving - because of his heritage.
Here. Let Seth tell you himself...
Seth Rogen's Jewish-Canadian-American Thanksgiving from Funny Or Die
Things You Didn't Know About Yesterday
The folks at Time magazine put together a little video to remind us all about the things we may not know about Thanksgiving.
Whom do we have to thank for the idea of feasting on the fourth Thursday of November?
When did we decide that Thanksgiving would fall on the fourth Thursday of November?
What president called Thanksgiving the most ridiculous idea ever conceived?
When did football become part of the Thanksgiving tradition?
Three of those four questions are answered here - plus some others too.
Study up. There will be a quiz - in another 364 days.
Insensitive or Sincere?
Some are calling this tweet from the Washington Redskins one of the more insensitive tweets of the year - maybe ever.
The team is still embroiled in controversy over its name. Native Americans find it offensive, and there's been a major push - this year, especially - to have it changed.
It's a hot topic.
So maybe this tweet they sent out yesterday might not have been the best idea, given the history Native Americans experienced with our forefathers after the first Thanksgiving.
From our family to yours, have a very safe and Happy #Thanksgiving. #HappyThanksgiving #HTTR pic.twitter.com/TZ0fBzbEm2
— Washington Redskins (@Redskins) November 27, 2014
Not so much the message - it's the graphic that some are questioning.
What do you think? Sincere? Maybe just a little insensitive? Or completely over the top insensitive?
Robin Williams, Back on the Silver Screen
We knew it was coming.
When Robin Williams passed away earlier this year, he left behind a handful of completed film projects.
One of them was Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb.
It's due out on Christmas Day, and features Robin reprising his role as Teddy Roosevelt.
Check out the trailer for a little glimpse of Robin.
One of this lines is oddly prophetic. "I think it's safe to say that we're in a bit of trouble."
How Much for That Lion in the Window?
On Monday, the costume that Bert Lahr wore as the Cowardly Lion in the 1939 classic film, The Wizard of Oz, went up for auction.
It was part of a group of memorabilia offered for sale at Bonhams auction house - "TCM Presents: There's No Place Like Hollywood."
Other items up for sale included Sam's piano from Casablanca, a gown worn by Marilyn Monroe, and Clark Gable's jacket from Gone With the Wind.
As you sit and maybe watch The Wizard of Oz over the holidays, think about this.
That outfit worn by the King of the Forest just sold for $3 million.
Barack & Meryl, Sitting in a Tree?
On Monday afternoon, President Obama presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom - the nation's highest civilian honor to singer Stevie Wonder, TV journalist Tom Brokaw, and Ethel Kennedy, wife of the late Robert F. Kennedy.
Oh, and he gave one to his girlfriend too.
That would be Meryl Streep, the actress.
“I love Meryl Streep,” the president said in front of all assembled "Her husband knows I love her. Michelle knows I love her. There's nothing either of them can do about it.”
No real scandal there. Just a nice bit of affection.
Oh, and he poked a little fun at his love too - pointing out that she sang Abba - "which, you know, that's something."
Vader Versus Batman - Who Wins?
Stumbled on this one while doing a little surfing today.
What happens when you pit the Dark Knight against the Dark Sith Lord?
An epic battle, for sure.
Check out this very well-done bit of fantasy lore, pitting Robin's best bud, Batman, against Luke and Leia's papa, Dark Vader.
Sew Watt, Its Juss a Tipo!
Maybe it's time for the signmakers in Los Angeles to invest in SpellCheck - or maybe just a proofreader.
Earlier this month, a sign sub-contractor installed a new highway marker on the northbound side of the 710 Freeway.
The sign marked the exit for Olympic Boulevard.
Except it said "Olimpic" Boulevard instead.
It took someone at CalTrans a full day to recognize the problem. A few days later, it was covered up with a black tarpaulin. And it will be replaced by the sub-contractor at no charge to the city.
Except for the cost of the embarrassment of having hung in there in the first place.
OOPS: Exit sign on 710 Freeway misspells Olympic Blvd as 'Olimpic' http://t.co/SjXYEUjVgU Pic by @shelbygrad pic.twitter.com/koDffd2usV
— Kimi Yoshino (@kyoshino) November 25, 2014
"Something Chases You, Run!"
It's the first "genetically-modified hybrid."
With those ominous words, we welcome you to Jurassic World.
It's 23 years later, and the interactive park envisioned by Richard Attenborough's character in the original Jurassic Park movies is up and running.
It's a hybrid between Disney World, Sea World and Busch Gardens, featuring real live dinosaurs - plus a new concoction, cooked up by the scientists.
That would be the "genetically-modified hybrid," and of course, it will run amok.
Check out the trailer for the film - the film will be released in June of 2015.
What do you think? Exciting and new - or just a rehash of the originals?
Hit the Mark, or Miss By a Mile?
Critics are saying this skit from last weekend's Saturday Night Live marks a return of the show's political comedy chops.
They resurrected the old ABC show, Schoolhouse Rock, and tossed in President Obama's recent executive order concerning immigration, and presented a tutorial on how things work on Capitol Hill.
What do you think: does it Hit the Mark, or Miss By a Mile. (I fall in the latter category, but I'm interested to see what other people think.)
Oh, and by the way - if you want to read how the skit is entirely wrong on the fact side anyway, check out this article by ThinkProgress.
Black Sea Devil Captured
Researchers from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute announced a fascinating find over the weekend - a video of the rare deep-sea anglerfish, also known as the Black Sea Devil.
The film was shot off the coast of Monterey, California, about 1900 feet below the surface.
The scientists were very excited, as they believe it's the first video of this species, "alive and at depth."
The narration is a little dry, and the fish is not pretty. Still, it is fascinating...
Want some chuckles, though? Check out this little video, called "True Facts About the Angler Fish," produced by the same institute.
Forget the Hail Mary - This One's the Rosary!
Okay, sportscasters are given to hyperbole. That I'll grant you.
But they may be on to something with the touchdown catch Odell Beckham Jr made on Sunday for the New York Giants against the Dallas Cowboys.
One sportcaster calls it, "Impossible!" And watching it in slow-mo, he and everyone else might just be right.
And the more amazing part, after the game, Odell told Bob Costas that he and some of his teammates practice catches like that all the time.
Your browser does not support iframes.
Did She Diss Em or Not?
Some writers are saying that Iggy Azalea dissed Eminem on Sunday at the American Music Awards.
She picked up the award both for best rap artist and for best rap/hip-hop album for The New Classic, her debut album.
In her acceptance speech, she said, "It means so much that I can stand here against Eminem and Drake and come out with this. It's amazing."
Watch and listen...
Some believe that was a shot at Eminem, who definitely took a shot at Iggy in his new song, Vegas, with a lyric that said, "Put that sh*t away, Iggy."
But she responded on Twitter after the song was released. And it really does sound like she's just letting sleeping dogs and Eminems lie...
im bored of the old men threatening young women as entertainment trend and much more interested in the young women getting $ trend. zzzz
— IGGY AZALEA (@IGGYAZALEA) November 20, 2014
Cuddle Up to Me - Professionally, Of Course
Some would call Samantha Hess's business an overnight success - but you can't stay overnight.
Samantha runs a shop in Portland, Oregon called Cuddle Up to Me - and it's a professional cuddle shop.
Stay with me now. For $60, a customer can get sixty minutes of hugging, or as it's been described, "the level of human contact that we want or need in order to be our optimal selves."
Sure, it sounds like a front for something, but Samantha says it's a great idea, one that came to her when she really needed a hug. "I was at a place where I thought paying someone to hug me and not have ulterior motives sounded like a great idea," she told an interviewer from The Independent. "I decided why can't this be a thing that we can easily and safely reach for?"
It's all on the up-and-up. Everyone stays dressed, hugs and hand-holding are the only items on the menu, and the show is open Monday through Saturday.
By the way, Samantha's been at it for a year or so. But all of a sudden, the media are getting hold of the story, and it's gone viral.
What's going on here? If you said professional cuddling… then you are correct. Only on the #RidicuList pic.twitter.com/F2Yq6LPHUB
— Anderson Cooper 360° (@AC360) November 18, 2014
The Newest Shirt Style - Graffiti!
Frankie J. Grande, the half-brother of Ariana Grande, showed up at last night's American Music Awards in a rather interesting outfit.
Skin-tight baby pink skinny jeans - check!
Black high tops - check!
Puff of pink in his hair - check!
And a stop at the local Sherwin Williams to have his shirt and bow tie painted on - check, check and check!
After the show, he jumped into a Maytag washing machine and was cleaned up in no time.
Cutest Picture of the Year?
This might not be the cutest picture of the year, but it sure is a contender.
Gisele Bundchen posted this one all over social media yesterday afternoon, as her husband, Tom Brady, led the New England Patriots to a 34 - 9 victory over the Detroit Lions.
It's Tom and Gisele's daughter, Vivian, wearing one of daddy's jerseys, watching the game.
Mega Cute to the 12th power, easily.
Go daddy go!!! #gopats ❤️💙 Vai papai vai!
A photo posted by Gisele Bündchen (@giseleofficial) on Nov 11, 2014 at 10:57am PST
Celebrity Mean Tweets Are Back!
Jimmy Kimmel's Mean Tweets series just keeps getting better and better.
Sure, it's sad that there are so many haters out there, and there's probably something sub-conscious here that encourages the haters to hate more, but...
The reactions of some of these celebrities to the nasty things tweeted about them is simply classic.
Case in point on this newest installment: John Stamos's reaction to a tweet about his "gross" belly button.
Katy Razzes Paparazzi
Katy Perry's fed up with paparazzi, especially the guys who were hounding her every step this weekend in Australia.
She's in Sydney on her Prismatic World Tour, and all she wanted was a little quiet time on the beach.
Not too much to ask, right? Except for the "perverted and disgusting" paparazzi, salivating at the prospect of a shot of Katy in her bikini that could be sold to the highest tabloid bidder.
Katy took to Twitter to fire a cannon in their direction.
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) November 22, 2014
She even posted some pictures of the offenders.
THESE ARE A FEW OF THE STALKERS: pic.twitter.com/1JtHSIVuqc
— KATY PERRY (@katyperry) November 22, 2014
Poohphobia Plagues Poland
At first glance, this story reads like something the folks at The Onion would make up.
But as you read on and look at the source, it looks like it's a legitimate story.
There's a town in Poland called Tuszyn that's looking for a mascot for its new playground.
But the town officials categorically rejected Winnie the Pooh.Why?
They say the cartoon bear is "inappropriately dressed" and his sexuality is "dubious."
You have to read the story.
It's laugh out loud funny - and sad, all at the same time.
(And if it turns out this ISN'T real - nicely played, whoever pulled this off!)
Celebrities Stuck in Traffic
Comedian impressionist Lauren O'Brien posted a video last week of fourteen celebrities stuck in traffic.
Of course, she's playing all fourteen, and some of them are pretty good!
Decide for yourself - which will be your favorite?
For me, it's a toss up between Kristen Stewart and Sofia Vergara....
Music Video or Underwear Ad?
Beyonce released a video for her new single, "7/11," over the weekend.
They're calling it homemade - it looks like it could have been shot on a cell phone, all around Queen Bey's house, featuring cameos by Baby Blue Ivy and maybe even Hubby Zee.
It's energetic, but seems to go out of its way to feature undergarments - on Beyonce and on her dancers.
If the Fruit of the Loom people are on the ball, I'm smelling a Super Bowl commercial here...