Best of "Small Talk" in 2010
Luis Tito, 6, celebrates atop the shoulders of his father, Jorge Tito, in Times Square just after the annual ball drop January 01, 2011 in New York City.
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Bob Moon: Here we are, a Friday, and the last one of the year. So here's a taste of the best bits of news in 2010 that didn't quite make the headlines, courtesy of Brendan Francis Newnam, Rico Gagliano and the rest of the Marketplace staff.
Every time around this year, it all started with this simple question.
Brendan Newnam: What story are you going to be talking about this weekend?
Amy Scott: Designer abductions. It's a new French company that'll allow people to pay $1,200 to be kidnapped.
Rob Schmitz: Well, I'm going to be talking about a library book borrowed by our President George Washington -- and it was finally returned this week, 221 years late.
Rico Gagliano: What's the return fees on that?
Stacey Vanek Smith: Well, there's a new study out that found that more than 90 percent of U.S. toddlers have an online presence, like an e-mail address of a Facebook page or something.
Newnam: This could explain Twitter.
Vanek Smith: Yes!
John Haas: India and Bangladesh have been fighting over this mile-long island since the 1970s, and a researcher was looking at satellite photographs this weekend... The island's gone.
Haas: Yeah. They assumed that because of global warming, it just disappeared back into the sea.
Gagliano: But see, now there's going to be a new war as pacifists and environmentalists fight over who gets the use of that metaphor.
Paddy Hirsch: Iceland, they've obviously been having problems with, you know, bank crises and volcanoes and stuff. So the manager of tourism asked Icelanders all around the world to e-mail everybody they knew a message about love about Iceland and what a great place it is.
Newnam: Wait, so let me get this straight: They're using spam to make themselves more popular? Way to go!
Rafael Cohen: So in Holland, some thieves waited till some inmates from a Dutch prison were let out on furlough and stole the TVs from their rooms.
Gagliano: They stole TVs from a prison?
Cohen: Yeah, it's win-win -- because if they get caught, they get to watch the TVs anyway.
Vanek Smith: This trader just got fined $100,000. He got drunk and he bought half a billion dollars worth of oil futures.
Newnam: Did that pay off for him?
Vanek Smith: Actually, his company lost $10 million. And he actually pushed the price of oil up to a record high last year.
Newnam: I think we owe this guy a great debt. Because no matter what mistakes we make while drunk, at least we didn't buy half a billion dollars in oil futures.
Vanek Smith: I know, I feel so much better about a couple of really unfortunate karaoke incidents.
Moon: Rico and Brendan have put together a half-hour-long "Best of 2010" episode of their Dinner Party Download. And we've got more year-end coverage on all the big business stories at Marketplace.