Small talk: NYC camping, Portland water, elk lips

Rows of tents set up in New York.

Kai Ryssdal: This final note to close out the week. A chance to take a break, ignore the big news of the past five days and catch up on the fun stuff. It comes courtesy of Brendan Francis Newnam, Rico Gagaliano, and the rest of the Marketplace staff.


Brendan Newnam: Stacey Vanek-Smith, senior reporter for Marketplace, what story are you going to be talking about this weekend?

Stacey Vanek-Smith: Well, it's actually kind of cool. They are creating a huge camp ground here in New York City, kind of near JFK.

Newnam: Oh, just like we have here in L.A., except we call it Skid Row.

Vanek-Smith: Kind of. There will be eventually 600 sites -- they'll have a campfire and a picnic table, and yeah, people can camp in the middle of New York City.

Newnam: Well I imagine in that insane market, this may actually be a viable option for a place for people to live.

Vanek-Smith: That's true. Soon you won't be able to get a space without an agent.

Newnam: Studio apartment in Brooklyn -- rustic.

Vanek-Smith: Great natural light and a lot of charm.

Rico Gagliano: Mitchell Hartman, entrepreneurship reporter up in Portland, what are you going to be talking about this weekend?

Mitchell Hartman: Urination, believe it or not.

Gagliano: That sounds like great dinner party fodder.

Hartman: Um, a guy goes up to the reservoir in Portland, where the city draws its drinking water, and he peed into it. It was caught on video tape. So they are draining the entire reservoir -- 8 million gallons of water, they're pouring it down the sewer.

Gagliano: Is that really necessary?

Hartman: They say health-wise it's not. But there's this gross factor. Nobody is going to want to drink the water, so they're pouring it out.

Gagliano: Very quick question: When they drained the reservoir, did they find like a giant, puck-shaped freshener at the bottom?

Hartman: I certainly hope not.

Newnam: Deb Clark, senior producer for Marketplace Money, what's your story this weekend?

Deb Clark: Elk lips.

Newnam: Go ahead.

Clark: I was just in China, where apparently there's a huge appetite for all kinds of animal bits. So a bunch of elk lips were part of a seizure on the Russian border. There were 26 of them in this huge pile of exotic animal parts. They weighed, by themselves, 143 pounds.

Newnam: Ah, the famous Jagger elk.


Ryssdal: There is more where that came from. It's all on a podcast Rico and Brendan call "The Dinner Party Download."

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