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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 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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"I Think She Lost Her Mind in the Hollywood Madness"
So, this is interesting. The other night, on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Miley Cyrus threw on a wig, big glasses and a business suit, and pretended to be a reporter from Australia. She grabbed a camera crew and went out onto Hollywood Boulevard to interview people about Miley Cyrus. It's actually pretty funny, and it ends the way you'd sort of expect a Miley Cyrus bit to end. Give it a look...  
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Knock Me Over With a Feather
When the Ashley Madison scandal broke, a lot of people looked to Noel Biderman, the company's CEO who co-founded the "cheating" site with his wife, for answers. In an interview that broke just this past weekend in which he was referred to as the King of Infidelity, he said that he and his wife did not practice the company motto: "Life is short. Have an affair." (The folks at Huffington Post Canada have the interview, and a video about it.) In a 2013 interview, Amanda Biderman had this to say about what would happen if Noel cheated on her: "I would be devastated if (Noel) did it to me. But I would not blame a website. Ashley Madison is not creating cheaters. It is servicing a need that is there, that exists. And unfortunately, it exists. It's sad.'' Well, guess whose emails got leaked as part of the data breach and have now been made public? And guess who's allegedly been having affairs? None other than the CEO himself. I wonder if Amanda has logged onto DivorceLawyer.com yet...?   Ashley Madison CEO's emails reveal he lied and had multiple affairs http://t.co/dkTim2w25U // guy creating cheating site cheats. surprised? — gavin richardson (@gavoweb) August 27, 2015
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No More Anchor Babies!
Anchor babies. It's a term that's been tossed around like a hot potato early in this presidential season, especially among the Republican candidates. It's the way they've been describing children born in this country to illegal immigrants. Constitutionally, that grants the children automatic US citizenship, providing an "anchor" to which the parents will cling in hopes of being allowed to stay here. Many Republicans say that has to stop, no matter what the Constitution says. Finally, the folks at Funny or Die have found a way to explain why that should happen. And not one moment too early...   America Under Attack: Anchor Babies from Funny Or Die
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The Most Unlikely Duet of All
Taylor Swift sold out five shows in Los Angeles. Throughout the run, she brought up a bunch of her friends to sing with her, to the delight of all in attendance. Folks like Selena Gomez, Justin Timberlake and Lisa Kudrow. Yes, Lisa Kudrow. She joined Taylor on stage to sing "Smelly Cat," a song she sang as Phoebe on Friends. Not only did Taylor know the song, so did the crowd. Check it out.
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"There's Been an Awakening"
The geekosphere erupted yesterday when the Disney folks released a teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens. It's all of 15 seconds, and available exclusively on Instagram. And it doesn't really show anything new, except for a guy holding a blue light saber, going up against the guy with the red Game of Thrones-style broadsword light saber. Which prompted all sorts of discussions and theories that will keep the Star Warriors busy until the next teaser trailer. Check it out.     There has been an awakening... #StarWars #TheForceAwakens A video posted by Star Wars (@starwars) on Aug 27, 2015 at 10:00am PDT
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Betty White's Next TV Gig
Betty White could well be the hottest actress on TV right now. She's done all sorts of guest spots on all sorts of shows, and she just wrapped up a six-season run of Hot in Cleveland on TV Land. Now, she'll be guest starring on Fox's long-running Bones as a squintern. Don't worry, I had to look it up too. Squintern is the word Booth (David Boreanaz) uses to describe the people who assist Doctor Brennan (Emily Deschanel) in the lab. The folks at TV Line report that Betty White will play Dr. Beth Mayer,  an accomplished, sharp as a tack squintern who is brought in to assist in a murder linked to fantasy football — which just happens to be one of her many areas of expertise. With a half century of work under her belt, Dr. Mayer is considered the world’s most experienced forensic anthropologist..." You'll have to wait until the end of October for Betty to make her appearance. And no, they won't be renaming the series Old Bones. That would be wrong. Meanwhile, here's the incredibly sappy promo Fox created for the show's upcoming season...  
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"Oh, I WILL Take This on the Plane"
Some people are silly, I guess. Like this woman who tried to get on board a flight at Beijing Capital International Airport with a $200 bottle of Remy Martin XO Excellence cognac. When the airport security folks told her she'd have to leave it behind, she did what any logical human would do She drank the entire bottle. And got so drunk - fall-down drunk, in fact - that she wasn't allowed to board the fight. I guess she showed them, huh?
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"See a Bus, Don't Move"
Deva Dalparto runs a web and YouTube site called MyLifeSuckers.com, dedicated to the moms of the world. But you don't have to be a mom, or even a parent, to enjoy the videos and blogs she posts. Her latest - just in time for Back to School Season - is "Bus, Don't Move," a parody of the 80s hit, "Bust a Move." It's pretty funny, and it also carries an important safety message to motorists: when you see a school bus, don't move.  
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Les Miserables = Less Miserable
You don't have to be a fan of Les Miserables - either the Broadway show or the movie - to appreciate this flash mob. The West Des Moines School District (in Iowa, of course) was holding its district-wide welcome to school meeting for teachers. And to put a little zest into the day, some teachers put together a teaching-oriented parody of one of the show's biggest ensemble pieces, "One Day More." At first, no one knew what was happening. But as more and more teachers stood up to sing their parts and join the others on stage, the rest of the audience really got into it. When it was done - and done quite well - the performers earned a standing ovation.  
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Ashley Madison, the TV Show?
One of the biggest data breaches going these days is the one involving AshleyMadison.com. That's the site where you can sign up and arrange an extra-marital affair if you're so inclined. Like they say, "Life is short. Have an affair." Now, a team of Hollywood producers has revealed they're working on a fictionalized show based on the website, about a single mom who launches the site as a way to make ends meet. Why now and why this, you wonder? “Anytime 30 million people are doing anything, it becomes worthy of a real discussion,” one of the producers told US Weekly. So, let's see if this ever makes it to air. The show is tentatively titled Thank You Ashley Madison. Meanwhile, the folks at Entertainment Tonight talked about what the breached data shows about the least- and most-faithful states in the USA. You might be surprised! 
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The End of SuM&Mer
I'm not in any hurry to get to fall, but apparently, the M&M people are. They just announced their newest flavor, and it has "fall" written all over it. New Pumpkin Spice Latte M&Ms, featuring the brown M&M on the packages wearing a scarf and holding a cup of latte. I'm sorry, it's too early. Take them back, M&M people! Just another month. That's all I ask. One. More. Month! Meanwhile,watch this hilariously awkward amateur food-tasting review about the new M&Ms posted to YouTube at the beginning of the week...  
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Space Oddity in Space
File this in your #TBT drawer: it's a video from a couple of years ago. I missed it, maybe you did too. Astronaut Chris Hadfield pulled a tour aboard the International Space Station in 2013. He was known as being media-savvy, steadily tweeting and doing other entertaining things. Like this little gem: performing David Bowie's "Space Oddity" in space. He tweaked the lyrics a bit - since space travel has changed a bit since Bowie recorded the song in 1969. The floating guitar and the floating singer really make this work. And Chris has a pretty decent voice.  
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Kim's Biggest Problem
The newly crowned queen of Instagram might have trouble in her kingdom. According to Star magazine - and you know they'd never lie! - Kim Kardashian has gained 65 pounds in her second pregnancy, and Kanye West is not at all happy about it. Kanye believes, according to the tabloid - and you know they'd never lie! - that Kim is gaining weight because she's using her pregnancy to binge on donuts and ice cream. And he wants her to lose the weight before she has the baby. If any of this is true, sounds like Kim's biggest problem is not the weight, but the maroon her got her pregnant.     RP: @carladibello GOOD MUSIC, GOOD TIMES! A photo posted by Kim Kardashian West (@kimkardashian) on Aug 23, 2015 at 10:30am PDT
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The $1.5 Million "Ooops!"
Before we go any further, let me just say, I feel bad for the kid, okay? And now, the story. A 12-year-old visiting a museum in Taipei, China tripped and fell. No big deal, except he used a painting worth $1.5 million to break his fall. And in the process, he managed to punch a hole in the painting. Watch the video. And tell me this kid's face isn't on a warning poster at museums around the world by now.  
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"Go Back to Univision"
When it comes to freedom of speech, it sounds like Donald Trump believes it applies only to him. Okay, so maybe that's a broad statement to be making based on one little incident, so you decide. The Donald's holding a press conference in Dubuque. A reporter from Univision - a Spanish-language television network aimed at America's Hispanic population - tried to ask a question. The Donald told him to sit down, as he hadn't been called. The reporter persisted, and it turned into a bit of a verbal tennis match, which involved The Donald telling the reporter to "go back to Univision." Then The Donald made a duck-lips face to his security team, and the reporter was removed. What do you think? Freedom of Donald Speech? Watch the video - decide for yourself.  
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No Sex in the City for Sarah Jessica Parker?
So, here's an interesting revelation. Originally, Sarah Jessica Parker did not want to play Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City. She reluctantly filmed the pilot and forgot about it. And when she found out the series had been picked up a few months later, she begged HBO to let her out of her contract. The story comes from a Broadway actor who recently spent some time doing a show with SJP and hubby Matthew Broderick in Massachusetts. HBO prevailed, as we know. But imagine if they hadn't. It's hard to picture anyone else playing that role. Of course, that's always difficult in retrospect. I don't think it would have been the same, do you? In case you've forgotten the show, here's a trailer for the first movie that the series spawned...  
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The Guy Who Got a Whole Lot of Things Right
I just stumbled on this trailer for what appears to be an epic documentary about Walt Disney. The folks at PBS are presenting Walt Disney as part of their American Experience series. They call it an unprecedented look at "the life and legacy of one of America’s most enduring and influential storytellers." Watch the trailer. It looks fascinating. And mark your calendars for the premiere on September 14 and 15.  
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Looks Like the Devil Went Down to Congress Instead
County music legend Charlie Daniels posted an open letter to the Congress of the United States yesterday. To say he's not a happy camper is a darned accurate statement. He writes about how the courage that our country's leaders have shown in the past, and bemoans what he sees as the loss of that courage... "The courageous politicians that once championed this nation have been replaced, for the most part, by a breed of milksop, politically correct, scared of their own shadow, pushover, pathetic excuses for public servants who are supposed to be representing a constituency of citizens who have to live with the circumstances of their timid folly." Not happy in any way. He thinks the members of Congress should just pack up and go home, as he doesn't hold them in high esteem. "You're no longer men, you're puppets, you're caricatures, jokes, a gaggle of fading prostitutes for sale to anybody who can do you a political favor." Charlie's got an awful lot to say. Check it out, if you like, on his Facebook page. You can even react to it, if you like.  
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So This is a Preview? Not in Your Wildest Dreams!
So Taylor Swift tweeted a 15-second preview of her newest tune, "Wildest Dreams," on Sunday. It shows a variety of shots of animals running or flying, Taylor getting up close and personal with a guy, a biplane flying into the sun, and a close-up of Taylor's eye. And that's it. Guess what it doesn't feature. Music. Shouldn't a teaser for a music video feature - oh, I don't know - music? Want to see the full version - perhaps with music included? Tune in to the Video Music Awards on August 30.   Wildest Dreams music video preview. Full video debuts VMA night. Get ready. #WildestDreamsMusicVideo pic.twitter.com/qfye9qMDW5 — Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) August 24, 2015
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Welcome to the Legion of Honor
Three Americans were praised and awarded France's highest honor on Monday, as thanks for their actions in thwarting a gunman aboard the high-speed train from Amsterdam to Paris last Friday. France's president, Francois Hollande, awarded the Legion d'Honneur to the three - two of whom are servicemen - plus a British citizen who helped in the takedown. "We are giving you the highest distinction of the country to show you how much we appreciate what you did. So this Legion d'Honneur is representative of your courage and also your incredible act of humanity … to save those also on the train." Pretty amazing story...  
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We Had Karate Kid All Wrong!
Thirty-one years ago, The Karate Kid made a bit of a splash in the movie world. Since then, it's become something of a classic. But, according to this retrospective, we've had the whole movie wrong all along. Daniel (played by Ralph Macchio) is the villain here, not the victim. "Wax on wax off" will never be the same again...  
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"Cain't Nuthin' Happen to You!"
Over the weekend, a video surfaced showing former Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Chris Carter speaking to the 2014 NFL freshman class. Ordinarily, no big deal. Veteran passing on his knowledge to a bunch of rookies. Until... "Just in case y'all gonna decide not to do the right thing, if y'all got a crew, you got to have a fall guy in the crew." That's right. If you're new to the NFL and you're going to do something you shouldn't be doing, make sure you've got a hanger-on who'll be happy to say he did whatever it was so that you're off the hook. Wow. Just wow. Chris has apologized since the video hit. So far, the NFL says they don't condone that - but notice the logos on the walls behind Chris - and ESPN, where Chris works as a commentator, says it doesn't involve them. So he gets off, without even having a fall guy.  
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Meet the Creepy Meat Guy
So this is one of those weird stories. Residents of an apartment complex in Gastonia, North Carolina reported seeing a mysterious cloaked figure lurking in the area, possibly dropping raw meat near playgrounds. Police are investigating - so far, no clues. People are scared - and not just because he looks like the Emperor from the early Star Wars trilogy either. The computer-generated voice with this video makes it even creepier...  
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Hurry Up and Don't Panic?
Yesterday was not a good day for the global economy. The major stock markets took a major hit, thanks mostly to China's economic distress. So, why not take that as a sign of the financial apocalypse? That's what a former advisor to England's former prime minister did yesterday, offering three bits of advice to anyone biting what he was tweeting: Get hard cash in a safe place Stock up on bottled water, canned goods enough household essentials for a month Agree on a spot where you and your loved ones can meet in case phones and other bits of infrastructure break down This is what happens when you go to sleep watching Fear the Walking Dead and wake up to an instant 1100-point plunge on the Dow Jones. I love this reply to his third point... @DPMcBride So, is this happening in the next hour or so, or should I still get lunch? — Hank Single (@Hanksingle) August 24, 2015
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A Friendly Instagram War
Last week, Hugh Jackman posted a video to Instagram that started a war. A friendly little war. It showed Hugh imitating Jim Carrey. Specifically, Jim's "smokin'" line from The Mask...     #JimCarrey mate trying my best to do justice! Clearly, I should stay in my own lane. A video posted by Hugh Jackman (@thehughjackman) on Aug 17, 2015 at 8:12pm PDT It took only a couple of days for Jim to react, posting a picture of himself as Wolverine...   Nice move @RealHughJackman Now watch me make a meal out of your biggest role. ;^> pic.twitter.com/GUfHB2RR4L — Jim Carrey (@JimCarrey) August 20, 2015 This could escalate. Let's hope so!
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