World's Cutest Bat, Best Song Fifty-two seconds of video on a fetching city bat, and a listener's pitch for Marnie Stern's "Every Single Line Means Something."
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World's Cutest Bat, Best Song

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World's Cutest Bat, Best Song

World's Cutest Bat, Best Song

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  • <iframe src="" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Laura Conaway. Can we get Laura's music? Get this show back on track.

(Soundbite of music)

STEWART: Laura Conaway, of course, is our Web editress, resident genius, keeps us going online 24/7. So, Laura, what's going online 24/7?

LAURA CONAWAY: Well, yeah. I mean, it's interesting you should have this segment about what your bosses want, because what my bosses decided they wanted this week was a lot more of this bat who's taken up residence in a wall in Washington, D.C., and they decided that maybe we should have some video of this bat.

So I called someone in D.C. to see if they could shoot it. And the people in D.C. said, excuse me, you want us to go out and shoot video of a thing that doesn't move.


Wait. Was that - I heard one-half of the phone conversation you were having this week, and it was the most odd thing I'd ever heard. Was that about trying to get the bat videotaped?

CONAWAY: It might have been. Yeah, it's like, look, I - you can get a minute of something that doesn't move, and it would be wonderful. It would just be great Web. But we have it, and I have to say, my bosses were right. Actually, they were right, and it's really - it turns out to be the cutest video of a thing that doesn't move you ever saw. It's a little silver-haired bat. Thank you, Hill Henry from Tennessee for identifying it. And it's really - it seems to be about the size of, like, a walnut or something.


CONAWAY: And it has a cowlick. Check it out. People in D.C. are walking by this thing all day and not knowing it, and it's sitting there with his little cowlick.

STEWART: Oh, so the video will be up in a little bit?

CONAWAY: No, it's up now.

STEWART: Oh, it's up now? I'm going to look.

BURBANK: In those pictures, those pictures are - if you haven't checked on the pictures…

STEWART: The pictures…

BURBANK: …they're great. So I can only imagine the video is also awesome.

CONAWAY: Yeah, it's pretty cool.

So the other thing we have is actually something that's coming up. I just want you guys to know, BPP listeners, you don't have to go into sound without pictures. We have the pictures that are coming out of Iowa from this group called The Stumping Grounds.

There are four photographers, each one of them sent us three pictures, and if you go on and take a look right now, it's up there. It's a slide show, it's absolutely hacked together, but it is there and you can see them. And they're really, they're worth the click.

STEWART: Oh, the first one is priceless.

BURBANK: Is it the lady smoking, the Clinton lady?

CONAWAY: It's a lady smoking.

BURBANK: Oh, yeah…

CONAWAY: And then right underneath that, the world's cutest bat.

STEWART: You're right. That is the cutest video I've seen a long time.

CONAWAY: It's the most viewed video. I mean, it's a bat with a cowlick. Over than that, there's no motion. But it's truly incredible. I have to give props to my colleagues Bill Chappell, whose name had been mispronouncing all week long.

BURBANK: Oh, no, then you made do it, because I was calling him Chappell.

CONAWAY: Well, he let me call him Bill Chappell the whole time I've known him. But, anyway, it's not. It's Bill Chappell, and Wright Bryan who went out and shot this thing.

STEWART: Oh, very nice. Well, thanks, Bill and Wright. We appreciate it, Laura. Oh, he moved a little bit. I'm watching the video right now.

CONAWAY: It's the cowlick.

BURBANK: And, Laura, you're sticking around, right?

CONAWAY: Sticking around, yeah. We're actually going to change the music here. We're going to switch over to, in just a second, the best song in the world today, which a listener of the BPP, Will Gerhardt, sent over and said, not only do I think I know what the best song in the world today is, but I'm going to get on the radio and tell you about it. And this guy is an incoming junior. He's transferring into the Pennsylvania State University, and he's picked out a song by Marnie Stern called "Every Single Line Means Something." And I'll just tell you, the name of the album says a lot. It's called "In Advance of the Broken Arm."

(Soundbite of song, "Every Single Line Means Something")

Ms. MARNIE SERN (Singer): (Singing) And then it comes to me that every single line means something. You see it's up to me to drag myself into the ocean. And then you come to me. You come to push down on our shoulders. You say that one is three. And no one makes it up and over. And then you wonder why…

CONAWAY: So, you know, it's kind of - it's one of those songs, it - break your ears. It'll break your heart, break your arm. "Every Single Line Means Something." It's big, you know. And Will Gerhardt, I've got to tell you, he really gets in there and tells you why it's such an important song.

Let's hear him.

Mr. WILL GERHARDT: There is something about this song that, to some degree, almost, at least to me, has a little bit of a resonance of the human condition and through the nature of the problems in the world today and - oh, God, it sounds - I going to sound horrible on the radio. You know, you can imagine that if you were listening to this five years from now, it would still be incredibly enjoyable to listen to.

In addition to that, I think that the best pop music oftentimes - and especially this piece does a very, very good job at capturing sort of a little bit of the moment, a little picture, a little - a screenshot of our day and of the world we live in and our - not simply the country's predicament or the society predicament, but something about our humanity and what it means to live in the 21st century right now, right here.

CONAWAY: So, first I just want to say, Will Gerhardt, you sound great on the radio.

BURBANK: Absolutely.

STEWART: I agree.

BURBANK: Hey, they're going to be hiring a new co-host, starting tomorrow. Will, get your application in.

CONAWAY: That's right, Will. It's not too late. We'll have a little bit more to say about this song, and I'm just going to just let him - he's so good. Let's just let him go. What do you say?

Mr. GERHARDT: It makes you feel - it sort of stimulates something in your brain, or it may stimulate something in your thoughts which you don't normally hear in a normal pop song, or a normal rock song, for that matter.

CONAWAY: So, you know, I don't know what more I can really say about Marnie Stern in "Every Single Line Means Something," except that it definitely is significant.

STEWART: And, you know, what else you say? It's the best song in the world today.

CONAWAY: It's the best song in the world today. So maybe we could just turn it on and, you know, hear it.

STEWART: Thanks, Laura. Thanks, Will.

(Soundbite of song, "Every Single Line Means Something")

Ms. STERNS: (Singing) And then you wonder why, why everything falls. And then you wonder why. And then you wonder why. There you are. Here you lie.

STEWART: Coming up on THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT, you've seen the debates. You've read the coverage. Now, see some amazing moments captured in photographs. It's the photographers of he Stumping Grounds, are coming up on THE BRYANT PARK PROJECT from NPR News.

BURBANK: And I don't want to scare you, but we'll probably be dead by the end of the show. Meteors are bearing down on the earth, even as we speak. You going to want to stick around for that.

STEWART: I love this bat video. He's so cute.

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