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MIKE PESCA, host:

Welcome back to the Bryant Park Project from NPR News. We're always online at npr.org/bryantpark. All right. Enough with this straight and narrow. Let's Ramble.

(Soundbite of music)

PESCA: Joining me now is guest Ramblor (ph), the Ramblix (ph), BPP editor Trish McKinney. Hey, Trish.

PATRICIA MCKINNEY: Hey, hey. So, Mike, I have a news flash.

PESCA: Go for it.

MCKINNEY: A musician says he doesn't make any money from record sales. Now, let me repeat, Mike, this is important. A musician...

PESCA: Musician.

MCKINNEY: Claims that he has...

PESCA: Claiming.

MCKINNEY: Made zero dollars...

PESCA: No dollars.

MCKINNEY: From selling records even though he has sold a lot of records.

PESCA: How can this be? It's a seeming conundrum.

MCKINNEY: The musician in question is Lyle Lovett. He says that, in 20 years, he has sold more than four and a half million records, but he hasn't made one thin dime from the sales. Where does this money come from?

PESCA: His whole life or just the last year he didn't make money?

MCKINNEY: Over 20 years.

PESCA: Wow.

MCKINNEY: And he says all of his money comes from...

PESCA: I know. Stop, stop. From hair care endorsement.

MCKINNEY: No, from playing live concerts.

PESCA: Ah.

MCKINNEY: All right. So, this is a dog-bites-man story. Clearly, all musicians say they don't; make any money from the record sales. I don't know if that's true or not. I don't crunch numbers. But I did want to tell the story just so I could play some Lyle Lovett music. OK?

PESCA: Yeah, go ahead.

(Soundbite of song "Make It Happy")

Mr. LYLE LOVETT: (Singing) Well, I'm going to the grocery On the corner (on the corner) For to buy me a Coke and some gum (gum). Well, I'm going to the grocery On the corner. I'm a drinking, chewing son-of-a-gun (yeah).

Slap my baby on the... Make it happy. Slap my baby on the... Make it fun. Slap my baby on the... Make it happy. I'm a happy son of a gun

PESCA: Lyle Lovett, an acquired taste.

MCKINNEY: Acquired by me.

PESCA: And Julia Roberts. OK.

MCKINNEY: I think she un-acquired that taste, too. That was "Make it Happy," and he made me happy. So, there you go.

PESCA: Ixnay on the Ovettlay. Thank you. OK, when we were trolling the interwebs for some Ramblicious Ramblings this morning, our producer Dan Pashman found a headline in a veritable news source, a verifiable news source, that sounded like it was from the Onion. So, let's savor it. "Congress increasingly going through the motions." That was the headline. It turns out there are many Onion-y headlines out there. So, OK, here's a little quiz. Guess which one of the headlines isn't real. Low expectations for Congress. Congress shoots consumers in the foot. Congress shoots self in the foot.

MCKINNEY: Ah, I know the answer.

PESCA: All right. The last one we made up, the others are real, and here's the Onion's congressional headline today. "Congress struggles to come up with cool name for anti-drug initiative." So, Congress going through the motions means that some fights of the 110th Congress have lost their oomph, because everyone's focusing on elections. "Low expectations for Congress." That's from the American Thinker, a rightwing website that says public approval of Congress is so low - which is true - a few Republican optimists dream of overcoming the failures of Democrats or the structural factors favoring the Democrats, and they think - these Republicans hope they can gain. And here's another one., "Congress Shoots Consumers in Foot." A - this is about...

MCKINNEY: A credit card thing.

PESCA: A credit card thing, yeah. And the Onion thing, I direct you to the Onion.

MCKINNEY: Don't you just feel bad for Congress for going through the motions?

PESCA: No. I'll tell you why.

MCKINNEY: Why?

PESCA: Because they're my Congress.

MCKINNEY: That's true, that's true.

PESCA: And I want better action.

MCKINNEY: But I can sort of see them just kind of sitting there sighing. OK, anyway, so, we have some big news from my alma mater, Smith College.

PESCA: Ah.

MCKINNEY: It's in Northampton, Massachusetts.

PESCA: Ah.

MCKINNEY: It's an all-women college. It's...

PESCA: So, that means you are not alumnae. You are...

MCKINNEY: Alum - alum-nai (ph), we spell it with an A-E, though.

PESCA: Yes.

MCKINNEY: I don't know how you pronounce it. Anyway...

PESCA: Yeah, plural with all women.

MCKINNEY: You know, it's a beautiful place. It has a lovely manmade lake - oh, I mean a person-made lake.

(Soundbite of laughter)

PESCA: We don't like to talk about the gender of who made the lake.

MCKINNEY: Sorry.

MCKINNEY: You know, there are things like Mountain Day. There are napkin boxes, Thursday night candlelight dinner, tea time, all those nice things. Well, now there's a new honor. A Smith College bathroom is a finalist in the Best Public Bathroom in America Contest. It is a contest sponsored by a Cincinnati company, the Cintas Facility Service. I have a feeling they make restrooms. But anyway, what did they like about this restroom? It's actually in the Museum of Art. It was designed by some Smith alumnae with a water theme, including hand-painted tiles that show plant life and sea creatures. And they're having this contest online. You can go and click on some of the restrooms.

PESCA: One of the restrooms, and I did click on them, I thought some of them were unfair. They were in, like, ritzy hotels and restaurants. So, yeah, it doesn't hurt - it's really easy to have a nice restroom there, or at least easier than - right across the street at Bryant Park, they have just about the best public bathroom in New York City.

MCKINNEY: Oh, yeah, that coin-operated one?

PESCA: No, it's not coin-operated.

MCKINNEY: No?

PESCA: You go inside, and they even staged a play there last month.

MCKINNEY: Nice!

PESCA: Yeah!

MCKINNEY: I'm going in there. I didn't know.

PESCA: Another finalist for the best America's best restroom is at the 21c Museum Hotel in Louisville, and it features one-way mirror-facing urinals. So, you know what that means. That's terrible. That means as you do your urinal business, someone is looking at you - or no, you are looking at someone and you hope they're not looking back. I don't know why that would help someone with shy bladders. All right, we're going to call that your Ramble: Special Friday Edition. Links to all those stories and a whole lot more at npr.org/bryantpark.

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