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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 August 2014


Summersweet (Clethra alnifolia) for Difficult Growing Conditions

Don’t let heavy shade or damp and clay soil stop you from gardening. Consider adding a Summersweet, Clethra alnifolia, to your landscape.

This North American native can be found growing in swampy woodlands, marshes, along stream banks and seashores. This suckering shrub has dense branching and grows 3 to 6 and occasionally 8 feet tall and 4 to 6 feet wide. It is hardy in zones 3 to 9.
 
The fragrant white flowers attract butterflies and bees, while brightening the landscape for 4 to 6 weeks in July and August. But the show doesn’t end there. The green leaves turn an attractive yellow in the fall. Plus, the tidy appearance makes it a nice addition to the winter landscape.
 
It grows best in full sun to part shade and moist to wet soil.
 
Use summersweet in rain gardens, shrub borders, narrow spaces and perennial gardens where its four-season beauty can be enjoyed.
 
A bit more information: This versatile shrub, also known as Sweet Pepperbush, is generally trouble-free. The cultivar Hummingbird is more compact, slow spreading and grows about 3 to 4 feet tall. Sugartina is even smaller at 30 inches with clear white flowers. Pink Spire has pink buds that open into pinkish white flowers.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Dragon and Damselflies – Nature’s Prehistoric Insect Hunters
Attract a few of nature’s prehistoric insect hunters, the dragonflies and damselflies, to your garden. You’ll enjoy their beauty, acrobatics and fewer insects thanks to their eating habits.

Dragonflies and damselflies eat mosquitoes, flies, gnats and other insects. A few strategic plantings and a water feature can help you attract them to your landscape.
 
If you have a nearby population of these beneficial insects, it will be easier to get a population started in your own yard.
 
Add a water feature with varying depths to provide a variety of plants these insects need to live and multiply. The immature nymphs live in the water. They need the habitat provided by plants growing in at least 2 feet of water. Plus, this depth protects them from predators like raccoons. The adults need reeds and other plants that grow in shallow water for laying their eggs.
 
A bit more information: Add a few shrubs around your water feature. These plants provide perches for the adults, giving them a great vantage point for hunting other insects. For more information on attracting these insects into your landscape, visit:

http://www.nwf.org/How-to-Help/Garden-for-Wildlife/Gardening-Tips/Attracting-Dragonflies.aspx
http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/arthropoda/uniramia/odonatoida.html
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
 
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Late Season Bloom, Moisture Tolerant Turtlehead


Add some late season color to your garden with the versatile turtlehead perennial plant.
 
A close look at the flowers will reveal the source of its common name. The clasping petals look like a turtle’s head. The botanical name Chelone comes from Greek mythology. A nymph named Chelone insulted the gods and was turned into a turtle.
 
These North American natives typically grow along stream banks, in bogs or moist woods. You can find cultivated varieties such as Hot Lips and Black Ace at some garden centers and nurseries. Use turtleheads in rain gardens, moist areas and for added late summer through fall color.
 
The deer tend to leave these alone, but the butterflies find them attractive.
 
Plants grow in full sun to shade, moist soil and are hardy in zones 3 to 8 or 9, depending on the variety. Plants growing in shade may need some staking or strong upright neighboring plants for support.
 
A bit more information: Hot Lips turtlehead has rosey-pink flowers and dark green leaves that have a bronze tinge as they emerge in spring. Black Ace has a blackish tint to the leaves and white flowers. Click here for more information.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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You Can Plant Cucumbers Next to Pumpkins
 
The old adage “don’t plant your cucumbers next to your pumpkins” is not true.  You can plant pumpkins next to other squash, melons and cucumbers.
 
When we purchase and plant a seed of one of these tasty vegetables; that seed grows into fruit we desire. If the bees carry pollen from one plant to another, cross-pollination can occur. This affects the seeds, not the fruit you’ll eat.
 
If you save the seed from these plants and use them in next year’s garden, you may be in for a surprise. The offspring might be a yellow and green acorn squash, yellow spotted zucchini or pumpkin with green warts.
 
And even if you didn’t save and plant seeds, you may find a few surprises in the compost pile or garden. Cross-pollinated fruit added to the compost pile or allowed to decompose in the garden leaves a few cross-pollinated seeds behind.
 
A bit more information: Cross pollination occurs within close members of this family. The female flower of the plant will only accept pollen from closely-related members. So a squash and cucumber cannot cross pollinate. But an acorn squash can cross with the more closely related zucchini or gourd.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Disease Resistant Major Wheeler Red Honeysuckle Vine
 
Add a spot of red to the garden and help bring in the hummingbirds.
 
Major Wheeler honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens ‘Major Wheeler’) is a cultivar of the North American native honeysuckle vine.  It has been called the best red by many growers and is resistant to powdery mildew. Gardeners and growers report clean, mildew-free leaves even when plants are overcrowded or growing in droughty conditions.
 
The red flowers appear in late spring and repeat throughout the summer. Remove the first set of blooms as they fade to increase the intensity of summer blooms.
 
Grow this twining vine up a trellis, over an arbor, on a fence or climbing over a rock wall.  The stems grow 3 to 8 feet long. And the plant is hardy in zones 4 to 8.
 
You’ll have the best results growing this plant in full sun and moist well-drained soil. It is heat and drought tolerant once established and will tolerate a bit of light shade.
 
A bit more information: Try growing this and other vines in a container. It is a great way to add vertical interest to your container garden or a colorful accent on a patio or deck.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Build a Bee House
 
Convert scrap lumber into homes for native bees to raise their young.
 
Native bees are important pollinators needed for plants to produce fruits, seeds and berries. Planting native flowers such as asters and beebalm and trees like lindens will provide food to help attract bees to your landscape and keep them healthy.  Providing housing will also help attract these visitors to your garden.
 
Drill holes into, but not through, any size block of untreated wood. The holes should be about 3 to 5 inches deep and 5/16th an inch in diameter for Mason bees.  Insert straws into each hole to make cleaning easier. Paper straws are good for nesting but glass or plastic reduce the risk of mold formation.
 
Mount the bee house on the south side of a fence or building. Keep your bees safe by eliminating the use of pesticides on or near the bee house. Better yet, use bee-safe insect control methods in your garden and landscape.
 
A bit more information: No construction skills? Don’t worry - you can use hollow stemmed grasses and reeds as the nesting cavities. Place these in a bucket or bundle them together to create a bee house.  Click here for more information on building bee houses.
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Blossom Drop and Fruit Rot on Vegetables
 
Don’t let blossom drop and fruit rot reduce this season’s harvest. A few adjustments in your garden care can help reduce the risk.
 
Many vegetables will drop their blossoms when temperatures and soil moisture fluctuate. Extreme heat and cold nights can cause peppers to drop their blossoms and tomatoes to stop producing. Use floating row covers to keep things warm on cool nights or during heat waves wait for cooler temperatures for the fruit to form.
 
Be sure to water thoroughly to encourage deep drought-tolerant roots.  Mulch with shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other organic matter to keeps roots cool and evenly moist.
 
Even soil moisture also insures the uptake of critical nutrients. A lack of calcium can cause blossom end rot on tomatoes and other fruit. Adjust your watering and mulching before reaching for the fertilizer.
 
A bit more information:  Products like Blossom Set will help with tomatoes, but not peppers. The fruit will be smaller, but at least you’ll have some. This will not work with peppers since they drop their blossoms during extremely hot or cold temperatures.
A few diseases can also cause fruit rot. Remove the squash blossoms as they wilt to reduce the risk of damage caused by these diseases.  And be sure to mulch the soil to reduce the risk of soil born diseases from infecting blossoms and developing fruit. Melon and Squash Cradles from Gardener’s Supply Company help elevate your fruit off the soil further reducing disease problems.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Controlling Ragweed, the Allergy Sufferers Nemesis

 
If you suffer from a runny nose, stuffed up sinuses and itchy or watery eyes, the culprit may be hiding under your shrubs, next to your flowers or along a nearby roadway.

Ragweed is the main cause of allergy and pollen asthma in North America and Central Europe. Common ragweed is an annual with ferny leaves that flowers in August and September. Giant ragweed has larger less dissected leaves and can reach heights of 8 feet. Mowing and removal not only eliminates the pollen, but also the 30,000 to 62,000 seeds that each plant can produce. Removing one plant means thousands less to weed next season.
 
Keep your lawn mown, gardens weeded and replant ragweed infested areas with native and ornamental plants suited to the growing conditions. Proper selection and soil preparation will help your desirable plants crowd out this weed.
 
A bit more information:  A single plant can release as much as one billion grains of pollen throughout one season. And that pollen can travel more than 400 miles. Enlist friends, families and neighbors in the cause. The more we control this pesky weed the better for us all.
For more information, click here.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Leaf Browning, Scorch, on Hostas and Other Shade Plants

 
Brown leaf edges are common on hostas and other shade lovers when the temperatures rise or the sun is too intense.

Brown leaf edges, known as scorch, occur when the plant loses more water than is available or faster than the plant is able to absorb. Reduce the risk of this problem by growing shade lovers like hostas in shady areas free of hot mid-day and afternoon sun.
 
Add organic matter to the soil to improve the water-holding ability of fast draining sandy soils. Water the plants thoroughly and often enough to keep the soil slightly moist.
 
Mulch the soil with shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other organic matter to keep the soil cool and evenly moist. Yes, I know, this also creates the perfect environment for slugs. If a slug problem develops, capture these slimy pests with beer in a shallow can.
 
A bit more information:  If slugs are a problem considering planting more slug-resistant hostas. These tend to have thicker leaves like the 2014 Hosta of the Year “Abiqua Drinking Gourd.” For more information, listen to my audio tip on Eco-friendly Slug and Snail Control.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Sneak Some Zucchini on Your Neighbor’s Porch Night

Once again it’s time to celebrate Sneak Some Zucchini on Your Neighbor’s Porch Night.  August 8th, National Zucchini Day, inspired Pennsylvania gardeners Tom and Ruth Roy to encourage gardeners to share their excess zucchini with neighbors.
 
If you’ve grown zucchini you know it can create an abundance of fruit. Harvesting when the fruit is 6 to 8 inches long gives the best flavor and keeps the plants producing.
So after you’ve enjoyed those first dozen or so zucchini on relish trays, stir-fried or in baked goods you may be looking for ways to “share” the harvest.
 
After friends and family refuse your offering of this tasty veggie you may decide to join the fun and leave a few zucchinis on your neighbor’s front porch. Just include a few recipes if you want to keep them as friends.
 
Or better yet, take your surplus vegetables, zucchini and all, to a nearby food pantry.
 
A bit more information: Many seniors and children benefit from the flavorful and nutritious surplus vegetables donated by generous gardeners. Visit Plant-a-Row for the Hungry’s web site at or call 1-877-492-2727 to find a food pantry near you.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Love-in-a-Mist Flower Growing Tips

 
Add a little love and beauty to your garden with Love-in-a-mist. The fine foliage, white, pink, blue or lavender flowers and attractive seedpods provide season-long beauty.
This annual grows best in full sun and moist well-drained fertile soil. The flowers float above the dill-like leaves on plants 15 to 24 inches tall and 12 inches wide.
Harvest a few of the long-lasting flowers to enjoy in a vase. Remove the foliage as it tends to wilt much more quickly than the blossoms. And harvest a few of the seedpods to use in crafts and dried arrangements. Pick when the purple or bronze stripes are visible on the balloon shaped pods. Hang in a warm shaded location to dry.
Love-in-a-mist is self-seeding. So once you have a plant growing and flowering in the garden, just leave a few seedpods on the plants, don’t disturb the soil and you’ll be rewarded with lots of new plants each year.
A bit more information: This plant is known botanically as Nigella damascena. It does not transplant well. So buy new seeds or collect seeds from existing plants when you want to start this plant in a new location in the landscape.
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
 
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Joe-Pye Weed for you and the Butterflies to Enjoy

 
Add some bold beauty and butterfly appeal to your garden with Joe-Pye Weed.
 
This summer through fall blooming perennial is hardy in zones 3 to 9.  It grows best in full sun to part shade and moist fertile soil.  The leaves will scorch - form brown edges - if the soil is allowed to dry.  So be sure to mulch with shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other organic matter to keep the soil consistently moist throughout the season.
 
Joe Pye weed grows 5 to 7 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet wide. The leaves give off a hint of vanilla when crushed. The small purple or white flowers form large clusters known as panicles 12 to 18 inches across.
 
If this sounds too big for your landscape, don’t fret. Shorter varieties like Gateway at 4 to 6 feet tall and 3 to 5 feet wide and Little Joe at 3 to 4 feet tall and wide may work for you.
 
A bit more information: The Chicago Botanic Garden recently evaluated the various Joe-Pye weeds and their relatives. They looked at plants as short as 17 inches and as tall as 90. See the results of their comparative study by clicking here.
 
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Celebrate National Watermelon Day with Proper Harvesting of Watermelon
Take a break and enjoy a refreshing slice of watermelon as you celebrate National Watermelon Day on August 3rd.
 
This tasty fruit is high in Vitamins A, B6, C and potassium. It contains even more lycopene than tomatoes - the red pigment thought to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease and age related eye disorders.
 
Eat it fresh, blend it into a smoothie, create a cocktail, add it to a salad or pickle the rinds. And don’t forget to save the seeds for a seed-spitting contest.
 
If you grow your own watermelon, harvest it when fully mature. This is when the curly tendrils near the stem turn brown and dry, the side touching the ground turns from light green to yellowish-cream, the rind turns dull and is hard to penetrate with your thumb nail.
 
Or visit your local farmer’s market and buy a few to enjoy. Then plan on adding one to next year’s garden.
 
A bit more information: Watermelons can be grown in a pot or trained up a trellis to save space. Allow vines to crawl over the deck or patio to add greenery at ground level. Or train the vines up a trellis to save space. Support the fruit with a cloth sling to prevent it from breaking off the vine.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com

 
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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?  
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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?    
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"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
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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.  
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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
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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.  
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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?  
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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."  
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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.
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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."  
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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.  
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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
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"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?  
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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.  
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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.  
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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.
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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
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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
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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.
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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
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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.  
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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.   pic.twitter.com/rm7kL37Bj2 — 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
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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!)  
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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....  
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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...  
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