America's Cleanest Restrooms

iStock
iStock

We're not huge deal spotters here, but we just couldn't resist telling you about this penny-saving quick pick: You have less than seven hours* to bid on your own automated public toilet.

While the units cost the city of Seattle $1 million to install and maintain, you can apparently get one for as little as $89,000. So, what's included? These self-contained restrooms are complete with hand-washing and drying capabilities. Plus, automatic floor jets and disinfectants clean all surfaces after each use. The truth is, it may sounds like a bargain, but Seattle had to shutter the automated toilets because maintenance was so expensive.

WILL THE REAL CLEANEST TOILET PLEASE STAND UP?

If you're trying to scout out the best public toilets in the country, there's only one place to look: Check out the finalists for America's Best Restroom. Voting is open through the end of July. And in addition to bathrooms in hotels, restaurants, and a spa, two high-volume public restrooms have actually slipped their way in as finalists.

I don't remember New York City's Grand Central Terminal being a restroom destination, but apparently others do. The terminal's recently renovated bathrooms were noted for their "Bottocino marble walls, terrazzo seamless flooring, stainless steel doors, Stony Creek granite partitions and sustainable light fixtures."

Walcott's Iowa 80 Truck Stop is the other mass public bathroom to earn commendations. (The massive trucking rest area also features a laundromat, 24 showers, a dentist's office, and a barber shop.) As for the stalls themselves: an estimated 5000 people each day enjoy the restrooms' themed decorations and custom tiles.

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

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No Squawking, Please: A Backyard Bird Library Is the Star of This Livestream

Bird Library, YouTube
Bird Library, YouTube

Many people discovered backyard birding when they were quarantined in their homes at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even if you have a vibrant wildlife population in your area, the Bird Library webcam is worth checking out. As Atlas Obscura reports, the bird feeder at the focus of the livestream resembles a tiny library where feathered guests can misbehave.

Librarian Rebecca Flowers and woodworker Kevin Cwalina were inspired to build the Bird Library in 2015. Located in a backyard in Charlottesville, Virginia, it features a miniature reading chair, bookshelves, and a reception desk. The decorations are even updated to match the seasons; the feeder currently sports a banner that says "Summer Reading." The main differences setting it apart from a real library are the bird seed scattered on the floor and the avian visitors.

The Bird Library attracts a diverse collection of patrons. Sparrows, cardinals, and mourning doves have been recorded perching on the librarian's desk and checking out the reading materials. The occasional squirrel has also been known to stop by.

Live video of the feeder streams on the Bird Library's YouTube page and website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can play the video below to check in on the current guests. If the backyard Bird Library has inspired you to find birds closer to home, here's some gear for beginner naturalists.

[h/t Atlas Obscura]