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

New tips are added throughout each month, providing timely step-by-step tips on what you need to do next in your garden! Visit Melinda’s website www.melindamyers.com for more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and answers to your questions.
Posts from July 2014


Wine Bottles – Out of the Recycling Bin and Into the Garden
Stop! Don’t recycle those wine bottles, instead give them a second life in your garden.

Use wine bottles to create a colorful edge along a path or around a planting bed. Set the bottle, top-side down in the ground.  Individual bottles make great hose guides.
 
Or create colorful outdoor lighting. Remove the bottom of the bottle with a glasscutter. Place over LED bulbs. Strategically place individual wine bottle lights throughout the garden or use multiple bottles over a string of lights.
 
Put your glasscutter to work creating a planter. Remove a section from one side of the bottle. Lay the bottle on its side, secure in place, fill with soil and plant.
 
Or remove the top of the bottle. Invert and place in the bottom of the bottle. The original opening is now your drain hole and the bottom of the bottle is your saucer.
 
And of course you can always place them on a bottle tree.
 
A bit more information: Convert wine bottles into watering devices. Punch a small hole into the soil of your container garden. Fill the bottle with water, invert and place into the soil. Plant Nannies are hollow terra cotta spikes that can be set into the soil to hold the wine bottle in place.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Leaf Spot on Rudbeckia
Once thought to be the answer to low maintenance perennial gardens, Goldstrum Rudbeckia’s reputation has been tarnished by several leaf spot diseases.
 
A bacterial and several fungal leaf spot diseases cause purplish-black spots on the leaves of rudbeckia. Severe infestation can totally blacken the leaves and cause the plants to dieback a bit earlier in fall.  Fortunately most of the diseases are cosmetic and the plants will continue to flower and return each year.
 
Reduce the risk of this disease by providing adequate light and air circulation around the plants.  Use a soaker hose or watering wand to apply water directly to the soil when needed. 
 
In fall, remove and destroy all diseased plant parts.
 
If disease is a yearly problem, plant more resistant cultivars like Becky, Cherokee Sunset, Irish eyes, or Prairie Sun.
 
A bit more information:  Or keep the plants and hide the diseased leaves. Plant something slightly shorter in front of the Goldstrum Rudbeckia plants to mask the discolored leaves, but allow the flowers to show through.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Crown Rot Causing Sudden Wilting and Death on Ajuga (Bugleweed)
Sudden wilting, yellowing and death of ajuga, also known as bugleweed, means crown rot may have invaded the planting.

This fungal disease is most common in warm wet or humid weather. It first appears as sudden wilting and dieback in colder climates and yellowing and death of plants in warmer areas. The stems of infected plants turn brown or black and rot. 
 
This disease can be introduced into the garden on infected plants or soil or spread by tools and water. Since the disease is in the soil it is difficult to eradicate.
 
Remove and destroy infected plants and the surrounding soil immediately. Be sure to disinfect your tools with a one-part bleach and nine-part water solution during and after the process.
 
If the disease continues to spread or has destroyed much of the planting, it is time to start over in a new location with disease-free plants.
 
A bit more information:  Reduce the risk of crown rot to healthy plantings by thinning groundcover plantings every few years or before they become overcrowded. And avoid planting crown rot susceptible plants in the bed where the Ajuga died.  Consider amending the soil with compost, peatmoss or coir to improve drainage before planting.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Cool Splash Diervilla Shrub for Shady Gardens
Brighten up the shade with a Cool Splash Diervilla.
 
This cultivar of the southern bush honeysuckle was selected for its creamy to yellow leaf margins. The variegated leaves are topped by fragrant yellow flowers in midsummer. They help attract hummingbirds and butterflies to your garden.
 
Cool Splash is hardy in zones 4 to 8 and grows equally well in full sun or partial shade with moist well-drained soil. Once established, it is heat and drought tolerant.
 
This small-scale shrub suckers, forming a dense mass of cascading branches. It eventually reaches 2 to 3 feet tall and wide, making it suitable for small space gardens as well as mixed borders and shrub beds.  Use it to mask leggy stems or visually anchor taller trees and shrubs to the ground.
 
And don’t let the common name honeysuckle fool you. Though a member of the same family, this is not the invasive honeysuckle taking over our woodlands.
 
A bit more information: Combine Cool Splash with shade tolerant perennials. Hosta, astilbe, Brunnera, coral bells and ginger are just a few. For more shade tolerant shrubs watch my Shrubs Made for the Shade video.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Smart Irrigation Month – Planning a Watersense Irrigation System

Watering our landscapes properly can save water and improve our plants’ health. And if you decide to invest in an irrigation system make sure to get the best value and water savings by doing your homework first.
 
Look for systems that include EPA approved WaterSense irrigation controllers. These are like thermostats only they’re for your irrigation system, adjusting watering schedules based on weather and soil moisture instead of the calendar.
 
Select a system zoned to water plants at different rates. Established trees require less frequent watering than annuals. Use drip irrigation or low volume sprinklers in gardens to apply water slowly and right where it is needed.
 
And consult a certified Irrigation specialist that understands how irrigation works, the local environment and will help you comply with any building codes.
 
A bit more information: Your time invested in research before investing in an irrigation system can reduce water use, repair costs and plant replacement. Experts estimate we could reduce water use by 50% just by eliminating improper watering. If you already have a system, inspect it regularly. Check for and repair any leaks, clear clogs, adjust direction and repair damaged sprinkler heads. For more information visit these web sites:
http://www.irrigation.org/Certification/Certification_Splash.aspx   http://www.epa.gov/WaterSense/products/controltech.html
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Grow Star and Heart Shaped Veggies
Add a little star power to your meals with the help of cookie cutters and veggie molds.
 
Cut cucumbers into ¼ inch thick round slices. Use a small heart shaped cookie cutter to remove the center of the rounds. Use these in salads, on sandwiches or relish plates. Save the outer ring. Slide two grape or cherry tomatoes onto a toothpick so they resemble a heart. Place them in the center of the outer ring of the cucumber and secure in place.
 
Or grow heart and star shaped fruit. Cover immature fruit with vegetable molds. Use twisty ties to hold the fruit filled mold onto the vine or support. Check the fruit regularly as some may be ready to harvest in as few as 5 to 7 days. Once the fruit has filled the mold and is fully colored, it is ready to harvest.
 
Creating heart and star shaped vegetables will dress up your meals and may encourage everyone to eat more veggies.
 
A bit more information: For more information on vegetable molds visit http://www.veggiemold.com.  And watch for postings on my Facebook page as I grow a few star powered vegetables of my own.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Less Mowing and Hand Trimming, Better for You and Your Landscape
Eliminate hand trimming around garden statues, playsets, narrow spaces and individual trees and shrubs. Invest a bit of time now to eliminate time spent on these tasks in the future.

Create mowing strips around raised beds and stonewalls to eliminate hand trimming. You can purchase and lay pavers and other edging materials or just remove a narrow strip of grass and cover with mulch. Run one set of your mower wheels on the mowing strip and cut the grass right up to the structure.
 
Connect individual trees and shrubs with mulch beds. The trees will benefit from the mulch and you will spend less time trimming around each plant. Plus the mulch bed protects the plants from weed whips and mowers that injure the plants as we try to cut the grass as close as possible.
 
And if this is too much mulch, try filling the area with perennials and groundcovers for added beauty and seasonal interest.
 
A bit more information: Mulching around trees also eliminates the frustration of surface roots. For more ideas watch Melinda’s Garden Moment video Dealing with Surface Roots http://www.melindamyers.com/Pasquesi-Landscape-Care/landscape-care/dealing-with-surface-roots.html
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Taming Floppy, Leggy and Less-Than-Attractive Annuals
Break out the pruners and groom your unsightly annuals back to their original beauty.
 
Some annuals tend to develop long leggy stems with few flowers. Regular deadheading and removing the top few inches of the stem encourages more compact growth and continual flowering.  Don’t worry if your busy schedule allowed your plants to get out of hand. Just cut back the stems halfway.
 
Try staggering severe pruning to keep your garden looking good throughout the renewal process. Do this by pruning back only one third of the plants in a flowerbed or one third of the stems on individual plants at one time. Repeat each week. By the time you prune the last few stems the first group will be producing new flowers on more compact stems.
 
Reduce your workload next season by selecting annuals bred for long bloom and compact growth. You’ll have better-looking plants all season long with less work.
 
A bit more information: Regular grooming can help keep foliage plants like coleus looking their best. Remove the coleus flowers as soon as they form to prevent leggy growth. Prune back leggy plants as described to keep these beauties looking their best.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

 
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Grow a Pickle in a Bottle
Add some mystery and fun to this season’s harvest by growing a pickle in a bottle.
 
Just like the ship in a bottle, finding a large cucumber in a clear bottle with a small opening will keep friends and relatives guessing.
 
Start by selecting a small immature cucumber. Leave it attached to the plant and slide it into a bottle. Leave your bottled cucumber tucked under plant leaves or create a little shade with cloth or newspaper to prevent it from overheating and rotting in the sun.
 
Check your cucumber regularly and watch it grow. Cut it off the vine just before it fills the bottle. Your cucumber in the bottle will only last a few days, but will provide lots of fun. Preserve it to extend the fun.  Boil 2 cups of vinegar mixed with 2 cups of hot water and 3 tablespoons of pickling salt. Cool and pour the mixture over the cucumber and seal the jar shut.
 
A bit more information: Add some more fun to the garden by scratching your name, design or a message into the rind of winter squash. Take a sharp object and lightly scratch your idea into, but not through the rind of an immature winter squash. As it grows, matures and hardens your message will become clearer. 
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Upcycle Pool Noodles into the Garden
Don’t throw away those worn out or forgotten pool noodles. Put them to work in the garden.
 
Make a lengthwise cut halfway into the noodle. Then use it to top a chicken wire or hardware cloth fence or plant cage. It prevents cuts from sharp wires and adds a bit of color and whimsy to the garden.
 
Or bend and insert the noodle into a lawn bag to hold it open. Adding green debris for recycling will be much easier, especially when it’s a one person job.
 
Cover ½ inch PVC to create colorful structures in the garden.  Stand on end and securely anchor in the ground for a trellis. Or create colorful arches for added interest or fun for the smaller gardeners in the family.
 
Or cut the noodle to the desired length and cover with ribbon, flowers, pine cones or other materials to create a wreath for your front door, garden entrance or shed.
 
A bit more information: Create a raised bed with the help of old window well sections and noodles. Bolt two window wells together. Top with a noodle to protect you from the sharp edges. Set in place, fill with soil and plant.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Plan and Plant Now for a Bountiful Fall Harvest
Now is the time to plan and plant vegetables for a bountiful fall harvest.
 
Start by looking for vacant spaces in the vegetable garden that are left after harvesting lettuce, spinach and other early maturing crops. Expand your search to other plantable areas in flowerbeds and mixed borders.
 
Sow seeds of beans, cucumbers, carrots, beets and other short season vegetables. Simply count the number of days from planting to the date of the average first fall frost in your area. Then check the back of the seed packet for the number of days needed from planting until harvest. As long as you have enough time for the seeds to sprout, grow and produce before frost, they can be added to the garden.  Or extend the season with coldframes and floating row covers.
 
Those in frost-free areas can plant longer season crops that benefit from maturing during the cooler months of fall.
 
A bit more information: Wait for the soil to cool before planting lettuce and other vegetable seeds that require cooler temperatures to germinate. Or start the plants indoors and move them into the garden as transplants. Help keep the soil cool by mulching plantings with shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other organic mulch. For more ideas and information on late plantings watch my Melinda’s Garden Moment “Still Time to Plant” video or listen to the audio tip on this topic as well as the Grow a Bountiful Harvest All Season Long audio tip.
 
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Celebration Maple

Add seasonal color and shade to your landscape with Celebration maple. This fast grower provides beauty with less maintenance.
 
Celebration maple is one of the freeman maple varieties. The freeman maple hybrids display the best qualities of each parent while minimizing their less desirable traits.  The red maple provides the better structure and fall color while the silver maple increases vigor and high pH tolerance.
 
Celebration is a more compact cultivar with good structure that is more resistant to wind, ice, snow, and storm damage.  The red flowers add a touch of subtle color to the spring landscape, while the red and yellow fall color end the season with a blaze.
 
This heat, drought and pollution tolerant tree is hardy in zones 4 to 8, and possibly 9, and grows 45 to 50 feet tall and 20 to 25 feet wide.
 
A bit more information: Celebration® Maple (Acer x freemanii ‘Celzam’) is virtually seedless, so you will have minimal seeds (also known as helicopters) to sweep off the sidewalk. And those that are grown on their own roots will not heave walks and drives.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Midseason Fertilization for Vegetable Gardens
Increase this season’s harvest with a midseason fertilization.
 
The amount and type of fertilizer needed is dependent on your soil, past fertilization practices and the type of plants you are growing.

A soil test is the best way to get the information needed to develop a fertilization program for your garden.  But until you have your soil tested, consider following these guidelines.
 
Select a low nitrogen slow release fertilizer like Milorganite to avoid damaging plants during hot dry summer weather.
 
Fertilize leafy vegetables when they are about half size.  Wait until the tomatoes and peppers start producing fruit before fertilizing them. 
 
Apply 1 pound of a low nitrogen fertilizer for every 100 square feet.  Sprinkle granular fertilizer along side or around the plants.  Gently rake it into the soil if needed. Liquid fertilizers are applied by a sprinkling can or garden hose.
 
A bit more information: Always read and follow label directions for the mixing rates and application methods for the fertilizer you select. And with proper care you will have plenty of produce for you, your family, friends and the hungry in your community. Contact Garden Writers Association’s “Plant a Row for the Hungry” program for information on donating extra produce to the hungry in your community. Call toll free 1-877-492-2727 or visit www.gardenwriters.org/.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to 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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