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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 September 2014


Vote for your Favorite Flower

There is still time to cast your vote for your favorite flower.

The American Garden Award program is your opportunity to vote for your favorite of several beautiful flowers bred for the home garden. Some of the most prestigious flower breeders have chosen their favorites to enter in the competition.
 
Celosia Arrabona Red is a plume type cockscomb and it was selected for its easy care, drought tolerance and long bloom.
 
Cuphea Sriracha Violet is heat tolerant and covered with unique violet blooms from spring through summer.
 
Illumination Flame Digiplexis is a foxglove hybrid with spikes of red-pink flowers with flaming orange throats.
 
Last but not least is Petunia Anguna radiant blue. This new hybrid has blue flowers with a white throat.
 
So visit www.Americangardenaward.com today and cast your vote.
 
A bit more information: The 2013 winner was Verbena ‘Lanai® Candy Cane’ with red and white striped blooms. Santa Cruz Sunset Begonia was the 2012 winner. This cascading begonia is perfect for hanging baskets, containers or mass plantings. This is the sixth year for this program. Check out information on previous winners and contestants at www.americangardenaward.com.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Prune Shrubs with a Purpose
Stop!  Don’t reach for those pruners without a plan in mind.
 
Prune shrubs to eliminate damaged or broken branches, control size or encourage more flowering, fruiting and improved bark color.
 
Remove damaged and diseased branches as soon as they are discovered. Disinfect tools between cuts with a 70% alcohol or 1 part bleach nine part water solution.
 
Pruning during the dormant season, when the leaves are off the plant, allows you to see the overall structure and make better pruning cuts.
 
Those in colder climates should avoid pruning evergreens in fall. Fall pruning exposes the once shaded foliage to the harsh winter environment.
 
Wait to prune spring flowering shrubs like lilac and forsythia until right after flowering. Spring blooming shrubs set their flowerbuds in early to mid summer. Pruning at other times eliminates the spring floral display.
 
A bit more information: Avoid pruning late in the growing season when you can stimulate late season growth. Make cuts at a slight angle above an outward facing bud or shorter branch. Remove a few of the older stems on suckering shrubs back to ground level.
 
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Long Blooming Digiplexis Flowers
Looking for something new and exciting in your garden? Consider growing a Digiplexis plant in your garden or container plantings.

This relatively new introduction is a hybrid between foxglove, Digitalis, and a tropical relative Isoplexis. The plant grows about 3 feet tall by 18 inches wide and blooms from mid spring through the end of summer.
 
The tubular flowers grow on spikes and are sterile, allowing all the plant energy to go into vigorous growth instead of forming seeds.
 
Digiplexis attracts the bees and butterflies and makes a great cut flower.
 
Like its one parent foxglove it contains the same toxins. These may cause a rash and can be harmful, even fatal, if eaten. So keep the plant and the water cut flowers were displayed in away from pets and children.
 
Grow it in full sun to light shade with moist well-drained soil.
 
A bit more information: Though the digiplexis is only hardy in zones 8 to 11 it makes a showy annual in other areas. In fact, it was selected as the 2012 Plant of the Year at the Chelsea Flower Show and received the 2013 Greenhouse Growers Award of Excellence.
 
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Managing Boxelder Bugs
Black and orange bugs congregated on the sunny side of your house in fall are likely boxelder bugs. They are not harmful to plants and people, but certainly are annoying.

The immature bugs feed on ground level vegetation throughout the summer. The adults move to female boxelder trees, a type of maple, and occasionally to other maples and ash trees to eat and lay eggs. Their feeding does not harm the trees.
 
The problem usually occurs when the adults seek a warm sunny spot, usually the side of your home, to warm themselves in fall. As temperatures cool they often find their way indoors through cracks and crevices. Repair and fill any crevices to keep these insects out of the house. Manage high populations by vacuuming as they congregate or spray the side of your house with soapy water. Test the siding first to make sure the soapy solution will not change the color of your siding.
 
A bit more information: Removing the tree is not guaranteed to solve the problem. Adults can fly and may find their way to the sunny side of your home. Better to seal the house to keep them out or learn to live with these annoying pests.
 
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Harvest and Enjoy Edamame (Soy)
Get the best flavor and nutritional value from your homegrown edamame, also known as edible soybeans, with proper harvesting and care.
 
Harvest soybeans when the pods are plump, green, rough, and hairy.  Check frequently and pick when the seeds are fully enlarged, but before they get hard and begin yellowing.  Waiting too long to harvest the seeds reduces the flavor and quality.  
 
Since the seed-filled pods usually ripen at the same time, you can pull up the whole plant and harvest the seeds from the pods, while sitting on a chair in the shade.
 
Use them cooked or uncooked as a snack or as a fiber rich ingredient with other vegetables and meat dishes. Many gardeners eat them right out of the pod like peanuts.
 
Boil or steam the pods for 4 to 5 minutes, cool under running water and pop the seeds out of the pods. Use immediately or freeze after cooking.
 
A bit more information: These nutritious legumes help promote overall health, reducing the risk of high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.  Plus, the high fiber in soy helps fight colon and some other cancers.
 
For more gardening tips, how-to videos, podcasts and more, visit www.melindamyers.com
 
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Add Color to the Fall Landscape with Asters
Add some color to your fall garden with Asters.
 
Brighten up your container gardens with a few of these fall beauties. Or create fall containers filled with asters, ornamental grasses and pansies.

Set them in a pretty pot on your front steps to welcome guests to your home. Or place on decks and tabletops as a seasonal centerpiece. Move them into the garden as they fade. Or add to the compost pile where they can eventually help improve your garden’s soil.
 
Use asters to replace fading annuals or fill in voids in your garden. They grow and flower best in full sun with well-drained soil.
 
Asters are hardy in zones 4 to 8, but can be grown as an annual anywhere they are sold. Leave the plants intact for winter to increase overwintering success. Northern gardeners often cover the plants with evergreen boughs or straw once the ground is frozen.
 
A bit more information: The plant taxonomists have been at it again. The plants we commonly call Aster have been reclassified and names for these new groups include Symphyotrichum, Ionactis, Eurybia, and Doellingeria.
 
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Eco-friendly Crabgrass Control

 
Reduce crabgrass problems in your lawn and garden with a few basic lawn and garden care practices.
 
Crabgrass is an annual weed grass with a small fibrous root system. The wide grass blades lay flat on the ground. Each fall they release hundreds of seeds before dying.
 
Crabgrass thrives in hot dry weather. Reduce the problem in your lawn by mowing high and often.  The taller grass shades the soil, preventing many weed seeds from sprouting. Leave clippings on the lawn and fertilize at least once, preferably in the fall, to help your lawn grass outcompete the weeds.
 
Pull the plants in the garden before they set seed. This will reduce the number of weeds you’ll be fighting next year. Mulch the garden with shredded leaves, evergreen needles or other organic material. The mulch will help prevent many of the weed seeds, including the crabgrass, from sprouting. It also helps keep roots cool and moist.
 
A bit more information: If cultural control measures have failed, you may consider the organic pre-emergent crabgrass killer made from corn gluten meal.  Apply in spring about the time the forsythias are in bloom.  These chemicals prevent seed germination.  This means both the weed and good grass seeds will be affected.  Wait until late summer or fall to reseed or overseed treated lawns. And as always be sure to read and follow label directions carefully.
 
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Starting Roses from Seed
Expand your garden and have a little fun by growing a few plants from the seeds of your favorite rose.
 
Collect the rose hips, those berry-like fruit on your roses, as soon as they are fully colored. Cut open the rose hip exposing the seeds. Soak the seeds 12 to 24 hours, drain and mix with equal parts of moistened sphagnum moss and vermiculite in a plastic bag. Seal the bag and place in the refrigerator for at least three months.
 
You can begin planting the seeds anytime after the chilling period is complete. Plant seeds in a container filled with a mixture of sphagnum moss and vermiculite. Keep the mixture warm and moist. Move to a sunny window or under artificial lights as soon as the seeds sprout. Then transplant seedlings, if needed, after they form two sets of true leaves.
 
Just remember seedlings may not look like the original plant.
 
 A bit more information:  You can also start new roses from cuttings. Take a 6 to 8 inch cutting from a healthy stem. Remove any flowers and buds. Dip in a rooting hormone and plant in a well-drained potting mix. You’ll have roots in about 3 weeks. Keep in mind you cannot propagate patented roses. These rights belong to the breeders that introduced the plant.
 
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Fall Webworm
 
As you drive through your community in late summer or fall you may spot webby nests in the branches of apple, ash, birch, cherry, sycamore, walnut and willow. These are the home of the North American native fall webworm.
 
This pest attacks more than 100 species of deciduous, those that lose their leaves in winter, trees and shrubs. The pest is a green and yellow caterpillar that spins its nest near the ends of the branch. These worm-like insects eat the leaves on the branches near their webby nest.
 
Fortunately this is a cosmetic problem since it occurs late in the season and only a few branches are affected. Keep your plants healthy and they’ll be better able to tolerate the feeding. Several natural predators and parasitoids help keep the populations in check.
 
You can knock the nest out of the tree with a stick or a strong blast of water if desired.
 
A bit more information: An organic insecticide, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), is effective against young caterpillars. Apply it to the leaves surrounding the webby nest early in the season. As the webworms eat the treated leaves they stop feeding and eventually die.
 
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Dividing Spring and Summer Blooming Perennials
Late summer through early fall is a great time to dig and divide overgrown spring and summer blooming perennials.
 
The soil is warm, air much cooler and the plants will have time to adjust to their new location before winter.
 
Dig and divide plants that have stopped blooming, flopped over, or have a dead center. Use a sharp spade shovel or garden fork to dig up the plant. Cut the clump into 2, 4 or more pieces. Remove the dead center and add it to the compost pile.
Some gardeners use two garden forks back to back to pry the clump apart. I prefer a sharp linoleum knife or drywall saw. Though some fleshy rooted plants like daylilies and willow amsonia may require a hatchet or machete.
 
You can replant one piece back in the original location after amending the soil with compost. Use other divisions in other areas or share with friends.
 
A bit more information: The old adage “Divide spring blooming perennials in fall, fall blooming perennials in spring and summer blooming perennials in spring or fall” is a good guideline. But experienced gardeners have all stretched these limits. Sometimes necessity and your schedule determine when you divide perennials. Proper post-transplant care will give your plants the best chance of survival no matter when you divide them.
 
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National Acorn Squash Day
Bake it, broil it, microwave it or stuff it– acorn squash that is. And if you didn’t grow your own, visit the Farmer’s Market and buy it.

Acorn squash is typically acorn shaped, dark green with longitudinal ridges. They are ripe when the fruit is a solid deep green and the rind is hard. Use a knife or pruners to remove the fruit from the vine. Leave an inch or two of stem attached to the fruit, if possible, for better storage longevity. And be sure to use any blemished or frost damaged fruit as soon as possible.
 
Store this and other winter squash in a cool, preferably 50 to 55 degree, dry location. Place the fruit in a single layer spread out to avoid fruit from touching. The better the air circulation the greater the storage longevity and less likely one rotten squash will affect its neighbors. If space is limited, don’t pile more than two high.
 
A bit more information:  September 7th is National Acorn Squash Day. This member of the squash family contains vitamins C, B6, A, thiamine and more. You’ll get the best nutritional value and flavor by harvesting it at its peak.
 
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Bluestem Goldenrod
Add some bright yellow to your late summer and fall garden with Bluestem Goldenrod (Solidago caesia).
 
This plant is also known as wreath goldenrod and naturally grows in open woodlands and bluffs. It is hardy in zones 4 to 8 and is native to 32 states in the continental U.S. and 3 Canadian provinces.
 
Bluestem goldenrod grows about 18 to 36 inches tall and wide and works well in native gardens, woodland gardens, borders, meadows, cottage gardens and more. The cluster of bright yellow flowers occur along the stem and attract butterflies and other beneficial insects to your garden.
 
Grow the plant in full sun to part shade and well-drained soil. Bluestem goldenrod tolerates clay soil and once established, it is drought tolerant. This fall bloomer is basically pest-free and the deer tend to leave it be.
 
A bit more information: Fireworks goldenrod (Solidago rugosa ‘Fireworks’) is a popular ornamental cultivar. It is hardy in zones 4 to 8 and grows best in full sun with moist to wet, well-drained soil. The plume-like flowers that top this 2 ½ to 3 feet high plant resemble fireworks.

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Eco-friendly Control of Thrips
Poorly developed flowers, stunted plants and silvery streaks on leaves are indications thrips may be feeding on your plants.
 
These tiny insects have file-like mouthparts they use to puncture the outer surface of leaves, stems and flowers and suck out plant sap. They are very small and difficult to detect. Hold a white piece of paper under the plant and shake. Or remove the petals of damaged flowers, place in a sealed jar with 70% alcohol and shake the jar to dislodge and detect the pests.
 
Control is difficult and often not needed as the damage is discovered after the thrips have finished feeding.

Provide the proper growing conditions and care for your plants. Avoid excess nitrogen that promotes lush succulent growth these pests prefer. And remove spent flowers that tend to harbor the insects. Manage weeds in the garden and keep thrip-susceptible plants away from weedy areas where the pest populations tend to be high.
 
 
A bit more information: Beneficial insects like predatory thrips, green lacewings, minute pirate bugs and some parasitic wasps feed upon plant damaging thrips. Invite these good bugs into the garden by planting a diversity of plants and avoiding persistent pesticides. Visit the University of California IPM online for more details on this pest.


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Enjoy Your Flight to Middle Earth
Air New Zealand gets an A+ for ingenuity with its new air safety video. It uses characters and actual actors from the Lord of the Rings movies - all filmed in New Zealand - to go through the in-flight safety speech normally done live by flight attendants. Elijah Wood - Frodo Baggins from all three films - appears in the video and sums it up. Just before Peter Jackson, the director of the films, wraps it up. Check it out... It's even better if you're an LOTR fan - or a Hobbit.  
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What Happens in Atlantic City Should Have Stayed in Atlantic City
Tom Bergeron hosted the Miss America Pageant once. Just once. He revealed in a recent interview with HuffPostLive that he wasn't asked back because of an "incident." The "incident" - which wasn't his fault, he says - involved getting a shoulder massage from one of the contestants. He told her that was a good massage - and she promised a "body massage" if she won. No big deal - until he told the story on a talk show afterwards. And just like that, his phone wasn't ringing. Turns out that HuffPostLive wasn't the first to get the story. Tom told it over a year ago for the Archive of American Television.  
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Curses, Hydra, Foiled Again!
A trailer for the 2015 film, Avengers: Age of Ultron "leaked" a little early this week. It was supposed to hit at the beginning of next week - Tuesday, to be precise, during an episode of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but instead, somehow found its way to the Internet about six days early. Oops...   The folks at Marvel Entertainment took it all in stride, and blamed it all on Hydra. Hydra's the terrorist organization for which many of the bad guys in the Marvelverse work - so why not?   Dammit, Hydra. — Marvel Entertainment (@Marvel) October 22, 2014
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Zach, Brad & 2 Ferns
Zach Galifianakis could be the most underrated fake talk-show host since Jiminy Glick. He’s had some pretty interesting guests on his show, Between Two Ferns, not the least of whom was Barack Obama. His most recent guest – who looks more like a hostage in this one – is Brad Pitt, there ostensibly to promote his new movie, Fury. Or Furry, if you’re Zach. Check it out. Pretty funny stuff.   Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis: Brad Pitt from Zach Galifianakis
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Bye Bye Honey
It's hard to believe that Here Comes Honey Boo Boo has made stars out of Mama June and her clan. It's even harder to believe the things that Mama June does. Now, TMZ is reporting that TLC has cancelled the show because Mama June is dating a registered sex offender. The guy was put away ten years ago for child molestation. And here's the worst part - Mama June was dating the guy when it happened, and she knew his victim too.  
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Put Some Pittsburgh in Your Mouth - in a Few Days
Primanti Brothers is a legendary sandwich shop in Pittsburgh. The business started as a vending cart in the 1930s. The founder stuffed all his best ingredients into one sandwich so blue-collar workers could carry everything in one hand. That was then. Now, Primanti Brothers has announced they’ll be delivering their sandwiches nationwide. Thanks to a partnership with a new gourmet delivery startup, people can go on-line and order a Primanti’s party pack. You get a loaf of fresh Italian bread, your choice of pastrami or capicola, provolone, hand-cut French fries, coleslaw, hot sauce, two tomatoes and a Primanti’s T-shirt. The T-shirt is not edible. At least, I don’t think it is. Price tag: $109. No word on the delivery time, but if you order it this morning, you will not have it for lunch today. Unless you live in Pittsburgh, and then you’re more likely to do pick-up.     (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 Goldbely.
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Whose Fault Is It Anyway?
Monica Lewinsky, one-half of the scandal that almost brought down the Clinton administration, spoke over the weekend at the Forbes Magazine 30 Under 30 Summit. As an introduction, she recapped the story of her affair with Bill Clinton. She was fresh out of college and "more than averagely romantic," as she tells it. "I fell in love with my boss – in a 22-year-old sort of way." When the story broke, "within 24 hours, I became a public figure." All thanks to the Internet and the Drudge Report. "I was patient zero," she said, "the first person to have their reputation completely destroyed worldwide via the Internet." The entire speech can be found below. It's about 25 minutes long - but interesting in a historical sort of way...  
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Lady Batman?
At first, it reads like one of those hoax articles. But then when you realize that the person they're writing about is Lady Gaga, it makes you go, "Hmmm..." The folks at ComicBook.com are reporting that Gaga boughtbought a Malibu mansion recently. One accessory unit that came with the $23 million price tag was what The New York Daily News is calling a "Batcave." Said Batcave can only be accessed by an underground tunnel, and it features a bowling alley, arcade games, a home theater and an 800-bottle wine cellar. If Gaga gets tired of it, she can always lease it out as a frat house.  
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Chestnuts Roasting Barista-Style
It's the most wonderful time for a new coffee. At least, that's what Starbucks would have you believe. Get ready for Chestnut Praline Latte. The perfect beverage to wash down those holiday meals, don't you think? It's Starbucks first holiday drink in five years, and industry experts think it's the chain's answer to the Pumpkin Spice Latte at Dunkin' Donuts. Starbucks told the folks at Fox News that their drink is "inspired by the time-honored holiday tradition of warm roasted chestnuts… with freshly steamed milk and flavors of caramelized chestnuts and spices." You can add whipped cream and praline sprinkles, if you wish. If you're salivating, grab a napkin or a bib. The drink won't be available nationwide until November 21.  
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About Face for Renee
Renee Zellweger caused a stir over the weekend when she showed up at a Hollywood function looking different. Yup. She doesn’t look the way she used to look, so that got some tongues wagging. Yesterday, Renee told PEOPLE magazine she’s glad that people think she looks different. “I'm living a different, happy, more fulfilling life, and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows," she told the magazine. She thinks the whole thing is silly, and good for her. “Perhaps I look different. Who doesn't as they get older?” And for the record, she’s starting to look a little bit like Glenn Close – which is not necessarily a bad thing.  
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Annoying Then, Annoying Now
Yes, I know, it's hard to believe, but Kim Kardashian was just about as annoying 20 years ago as she is now. Thanks to Entertainment Tonight, we all get to witness just how annoying, on the video they unearthed from ther eighth-grade graduation. "My name's Kim Kardashian, I'm the dopest on the ropest person in this class," she says on the video. "I'm dope on the rope, and you should learn my vocabulary." One of her classmates says, "Define 'dope,' Kim." And she responds, "Kim is dope." This is one of those times when jokes simply write themselves...  
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Bizarrely Funny
Shia Labeouf has had more than his share of troubles in the past several months. And now, Rob Cantor - a singer and songwriter - has penned a tune in tribute to Shia. Well, not really a tribute. More an extremely weird and bizarrely funny performance piece - featuring Rob, a couple of choruses, a troupe of dancers and what may be a partial philharmonic orchestra. Check it out - it's perfect for Halloween. And make sure you stay until the very end for an unexpected surprise.  
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Excuse Me, Sister, Like a What?
Sister Cristina, the Italian nun who won her nation's version of American Idol, has released a new single. It's a cover - well, sort of - of Madonna's 1984 hit song, "Like a Virgin." Yes, folks, a nun, singing "Like a Virgin." Sister Cristina said in an interview with an Italian newspaper that her idea to cover the song is not meant to be "provocative or scandalous." She says if you simply read the song's lyrics - and pay no attention to Madonna's interpretation - it's really a song about "love's ability to renew a person and rescue them from the past." I guess covering "Like a Prayer" would have been expected, huh?  
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The "Horror" of Modern Celebrity Culture
It's been 21 years since since legendary singer and songwriter Billy Joel has had a hit. And according to an interview in The New Yorker, that's been on purpose. He says he really dislikes the "horror of celebrity," and he's really uncomfortable with the demands it places on folks like him.  In fact, he said that all the scrutiny and second-guessing made him feel like "there was a proctoscope up my butt." Um, ouch! Seems like that would make it very difficult to sit down at a piano too.
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The Super Scientific Way
Leave it to Ellen Degeneres to get into the sports prediction business. On her show yesterday, she brought in two representatives of the two teams involved in the World Series, the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals. Okay, truthfully, it was two guys in baseball pants and hats from the two teams - the wardrobe budget appears to have run out when it came to buying the guys jerseys. But no one in the audience seemed to mind. In fact, the super scientific predictor was to send the two guys into the audience - the predicted winner would be the dancer who collected the most money in his shorts. Yes. No need to read it again - it's what happened. So hang onto this to see how good Ellen's process is...  
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Do It or Get Off the Pot!
In a new interview with GQ magazine, film star Matthew McConaughey shared the romantic story of how he decided to marry his now-wife, Camila Alves. According to him, it took her grabbing the bull by the horns, and saying, "C’mon, Big Boy, Mr. Easygoing-We’ll- Get-to-It-When-We-Get-to-It. Either s**t or get off the pot." While Matthew didn't mention it in the interview, his wife will undoubtedly be releasing her new line of matrimonial greeting cards any time now - as soon as she gets off the pot.
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Being Married to Dennis Rodman "The Worst"?
 In a recent appearance on Oprah Winfrey's Where Are They Now?, actress Carmen Electra opened up about her short marriage with the NBA's Dennis Rodman. Yes, the same guy who thinks he can solve the world's problems by playing basketball in North Korea was once married to Carmen. And as described by Carmen, it was "the worst." In her and his defense, she also said when it was good, it was "amazing." She says she remembers thinking, immediately after the wedding, "Oh God, what did we do? What did we just do?" Not a good start, no matter how you look at it...  
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Believe It? Or Not?
In Back to the Future II, Marty McFly made a quick escape on a Hoverboard - a floating skateboard that existed in the future. Remember the scene?   Well now, thanks to a company called ..., you can have a hoverboard all your own - for the miniscule setback price of $10,000. It's part of a Kickstarter project, trying to raise $250,000. If you'd like a working prototype, it's yours for $10K. A couple of things you need to know. The device can float only three centimeters off the ground, it cannot be steered, and it will only float over very special non-ferrous surfaces, like copper and aluminum. But it none of that bothers you and you have the cash burning a hole in your pocket, go for it!  
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You're Goin' Down!
Chelsea Handler is well-known for just letting fly whatever comes to mind. Some folks would suggest that her thoughts are often formed in her oral cavity instead of her cranium. The other night on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, she was working toward something when she asked Conan and his co-host, Andy Richter, whether they liked the ocean. Andy said he did - and Chelsea fumbled her way into an ill-defined and -conceived fat joke. Andy handled it perfectly, and his response put Chelsea in her place. Check it out.  
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Your Name is Neil Diamond...
Neil Diamond's kicking off a new concernt tour, and he's started on the talk show circuit. He popped into The Tonight Show to chat with Jimmy Fallon about his legendary career - he's a member of both the Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, you know. But the conversation turned to his name. "Neil Diamond" is his real name, but early on in the business, he thought about changing it. Listen to the conversation for the full story. Then play it again, but mute the video, and tell me if this guy isn't looking a little bit like Sean Connery these days.  
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Slogans Can Hurt
Ellen Degeneres is all over the Red Bull class action lawsuit. You'll recall that the makers of the energy drink settled their case recently, offering a $13 million payout to consumers who may have been duped into believing that Red Bull gives you wings. On yesterday's Ellen, viewers got to meet a man who believes most slogans, and is suing everyone from Nike to Exxon to Ellen herself. Check it out.  
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Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?
There's a company that sells giant stuffed plush versions of various microbial organisms - among them, the Ebola virus, which they call "the T. Rex of microbes." And guess what? With so much talk about Ebola these days - and by "talk," I mean "panic" - the entire stock of Ebola toys has sold out. That includes the small Ebola doll ($9.95), the gigantic Ebola doll ($29.95) and the Ebola Petri Dish ($14.95). Yup, that's exactly what we want our kids playing with these days, isn't it? The video below was made about three years ago - but check it out anyway.  
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Kooking with Kardashian?
Kris Jenner - aka Mama Kardashian - showed up on The Today Show yesterday, hawking her new kookbook. Because when you think of kuisine, your mind instantly goes to "Kardashian," am I right? In her defense, she says she's been feeding her khildren since she had Kourtney when Kris was just 22. "They give you a baby, you've gotta feed it." If that doesn't get her some sort of Mom of the Year award - well, it will just be a travesty.   Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
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Man on a Leash?
Jada Pinkett Smith showed up to audition for the role of Fish Mooney on Fox’s Gotham with a man on a leash. Her character is a shady club owner in Gotham who has relationships with a lot of underworld characters – and maybe a less than honorable relationship with some of Gotham’s finest as well. Last weekend, she told folks at the PaleyFest that she wanted to show the producers that she understood her character. So instead of talking about Fish Mooney, she decided to show them. She showed up in a short wig and a long flowing gown with a shirtless man on a leash. She says she went “method.” The dude on the leash went “canine,” I guess. She also has a strong presence on Twitter, keeping in touch with her fans by tweeting.   Happy #FishMooney Monday Gotham is off the hook 2night. One of my favorite episodes. I'll tweeting 2night at 8 pm EDT pic.twitter.com/JBw4EPeHBp — Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith) October 13, 2014
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Breaking Bad Action
A mom in Florida has started a petition to get the Toys ‘R’ Us chain to take Breaking Bad action figures off their shelves. The mom doesn’t like the message that the figures send, saying that kids mimic what their action figures do. The Walter White doll, for instance, comes complete with bags of cash and methamphetamine. The mom admits that she liked the series – even found it riveting – but she wants the figures out of Toys ‘R’ Us Bryan Cranston, who played Walter in the series, had an interesting take on the whole thing, with a fun tweet yesterday.   "Florida mom petitions against Toys 'R Us over Breaking Bad action figures." I'm so mad, I'm burning my Florida Mom action figure in protest — Bryan Cranston (@BryanCranston) October 20, 2014
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