Schwarzenegger Calls Marijuana a Leaf

A look at some of the most popular stories on the Net: Counting rings on mollusks; a lawsuit over the "Fighting Sioux" is settled; Obama turns up the heat on Clinton; Arnold Schwarzenegger says marijuana is not a drug; and Alison Krauss and Robert Plant score a hit with their new album.

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ALISON STEWART, host:

Thank you so much for listening to THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT.

Time for the segment we call The Most, in which we combine your gift for picking the most interesting stories on the Web with our staff's talent for being sometimes strange, sometimes a little silly, sometimes reading the Bismarck North Dakota Tribune.

(Soundbite of laughter)

STEWART: There you go. Who did that? That would be Ilya Marritz. Hi, Ilya.

ILYA MARRITZ: I don't know why I did it.

STEWART: Come closer to microphone.

BURBANK: Well, come on.

MARRITZ: I'm Manhattan born and raised. I don't know why I did it. I'm pretending that I'm from North Dakota. But, you know, I just have a thing for this state. North Dakota is the new Lower East Side. And North Dakota is so cool, and the rent is so much cheaper.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARRITZ: So this is the number two most commented at the Bismarck, North Dakota Tribune: North Dakota Board approves settlement of lawsuit over Sioux nickname - the Fighting, the North Dakota Fighting Sioux - that's the university there -are going to have to reach some kind of agreement with the Sioux tribe within the next three years about whether they can use this name, the Fighting Sioux, or not.

And this has just completely lit up the message boards there. I'll just read to you two of the comments that I think are interesting. Well, actually, I'll just read one really racist one that I think is interesting. I would not be offended - I would not be offendee - they left off with the second D - if they adopted the Fighting Whites. So this is a very active, crazy message board if you want to head over to the North Dakota Tribune.

BURBANK: Yeah. That was - actually, there was a whole backlash. I can't remember where. Remember the Fighting Whities, that basketball team? There was a…

STEWART: I got to say, I missed that one.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: There was a group of - this is sort of a couple of years back. There was a - when this other sort of Native American mascot controversy was roiling about. A group of, I think, Native American guys started, like, IMA, an intramural basketball team called the Fighting Whities to kind of make a statement, and they sold T-shirts and…

STEWART: Well, our nation's capital's football team - I won't even say - the Washington - and how do you get away with that every week?

BURBANK: I don't know. Lots of dollars. Thank you, Ilya. Rachel, from deep in the NPR News booth.

RACHEL MARTIN: Hello.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: Hi, Gandalf. How are you in there?

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: I have a story about a very old mollusk.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: Are you talking like an old mollusk to, like, make the point?

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTIN: I'm trying to make it sound very mysterious. This is a really exciting article. I don't know why, but it just intrigues me. Scientists in Iceland have dug up what they are saying is the longest lived animal, like the oldest animal ever, and it's a mollusk. And they say it's somewhere between 405 and 410 years, you know, give or take five years.

BURBANK: Sure. Who's counting?

MARTIN: Yeah, who's just counting? Splitting hairs. And this mollusk was named Ming - it's like its little nickname, because that's when it was born, during the Ming Dynasty in China, just to tell you how old this thing is.

BURBANK: Good one.

MARTIN: And so this is a big deal because it will reveal things about how life evolves, and they determined how old this was by counting the rings on its shell. Is that cool?

BURBANK: That is cool. Is it - does it say in the story if it's alive or dead? I mean, it's dead, I presume, now, right?

MARTIN: It's dead now.

BURBANK: Okay.

MARTIN: Yeah.

BURBANK: Okay.

MARTIN: But it used to be alive for a long time.

STEWART: But it had a nice - it had a good life.

MARTIN: A nice long life.

BURBANK: It had a good run.

MARTIN: Good life.

STEWART: A good run.

BURBANK: Taken so young.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: Four hundred five or 410.

STEWART: The most blogged story at the New York Times is about Barack Obama, that he is - promises a forceful stand against Clinton. That is the headline. Barack Obama gave a 53-minute interview over breakfast aboard a chartered jet that took him to Chicago, and he described to these New York Times reporters that he is going to get tough, that he's going to come down from his tower, as he's been not wanting to engage in mudslinging. But now he's accusing Senator Clinton of straddling between the Giuliani-Romney side of foreign policy and the Barack Obama side of the equation. He said that she was trying to sound her vote like a Republican on national security issues, and that was bad for the country and ultimately bad for Democrats. So maybe the debates coming up will be interesting this week. Maybe.

BURBANK: I'll tell you…

STEWART: Maybe.

MARTIN: Maybe.

BURBANK: …and if polls are to be believed, you better do something, something, because Hillary is - seems to be pulling away statistically.

We're going to talk to Jim VandeHei, by the way, after the show and put that up on el blogo, so you're going to want to listen for that political discussion.

One of the most read stories at the Seattle Post Intelligence: Arnold Schwarzenegger says marijuana - not a drug. He was being interviewed by the British edition of GQ magazine. And he was talking about a scene in a documentary called "Pumping Iron" back from the '70s which shows him lighting up a fat, fat one, and he said that's not a drug. It's a leaf.

(Soundbite of laughter)

BURBANK: And he was being interviewed by the - a guy who's also a judge for "America's Got Talent." And Schwarzenegger's press secretary said that it was - the comments were made in a light-hearted context, and that everyone should remember that he was doing interview with the host of "America's Got Talent."

STEWART: And that he was high.

MARTIN: No, he wasn't high.

BURBANK: Get down. There's is no time. It's farmer's field. That's my one line I can say like Arnold Schwarzenegger. And I think Matty Martinez has something for us.

MATT MARTINEZ: Hi.

BURBANK: Hi there.

MARTINEZ: How you doing?

BURBANK: Good.

MARTINEZ: Oh, good. I have the number two most e-mailed story right now at npr.org. I always got the npr.org stories, but, actually, this is the new Robert Plant-Alison Krauss album, and they were interviewed on WEEKEND EDITION SUNDAY. And I happened to listen to this all weekend - not the interview, the actual album. I just kept playing interview over and over and over again.

STEWART: …over and over and over again.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTINEZ: No, it's a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful album. Here's a little bit of "Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us."

(Soundbite of song, "Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us")

Ms. ALISON KRAUSS (Singer): (Singing) Strange things are happening. Every day I hear the music up above my head.

MARTINEZ: Now here's Robert Plant and Alison Krauss in an interview this weekend explaining that it was, like, no means - by no means a sure thing that the two of them could actually, you know, click and make great music together because you think Alison Krauss, Robert Plant, how's that going to work on paper? It just does not work. Here's them explaining a little bit more.

Mr. ROBERT PLANT (Singer): Well, we were kind of out there trying it out. It could have been - maybe in two or three days, it might not have worked and we'd have shaking hands and said, y'all come back now. But it worked.

Ms. KRAUSS: Come back to see us. We appreciate you.

Mr. PLANT: Yeah. And I'd have had my apple cobbler and gone.

(Soundbite of laughter)

MARTINEZ: So that's the number two e-mailed story.

BURBANK: Wow.

STEWART: We love that. It was interesting.

MARTINEZ: It was a fantastic interview.

BURBANK: Robert Plant on "Hee Haw," ladies and gentlemen. I have to say, last week - I think it was last week. I wondered aloud if Robert Plant was still alive. And he's very much alive, and making a great record.

STEWART: He was in our studio, and feisty.

BURBANK: So I take that back. Robert Plant, you're alive.

STEWART: And that does it for The Most for this Monday.

Thanks, everybody.

MARTIN: You're welcome.

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