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Small talk: Roads, soup, Christmas

Marketplace Staff Jun 19, 2009

Small talk: Roads, soup, Christmas

Marketplace Staff Jun 19, 2009


KAI RYSSDAL: This final note today, which comes with the observation that it is a Friday afternoon. And as such, we’re going to let Rico Gagliano and Brendan Newnam loose with their survey of the news of the week that didn’t make it onto the big broadcast. Y’know, something you might talk about at a dinner party.

Rico Gagliano: Amy Scott, New York bureau chief, what story are you going to be talking about this weekend?

Amy Scott: Well hard times have prompted several counties in Michigan to turn some of their paved roads backed in gravel.

Gagliano: Is that safe?

Scott: I don’t know if it’s safe, but it’s cheap. Apparently, it costs about 10 times more to re-pave a road than to just tear it up and put down gravel. And you know, some of these counties are broke, so…

Gagliano: Oh man.

Scott: It’s kind of sad.

Gagliano: But on the other hand, why not? The companies that made cars for the roads have also turned to gravel.

Brendan Newnam: Bill Radke, host of the Marketplace Morning Report, what story are you going to talk about?

Bill Radke: OK, so near Harrisburg, Penn., this Vietnamese immigrant, John Pham says, hey, if you’ve lost a job in this recession, come to my restaurant. I’ll give you a bowl of pho, which is Vietnamese soup, for one penny.

Newnam: That’s so generous of him.

Radke: Exactly.

Newnam: Here’s the thing though: with pho in particular, they give you a bowl of broth and this pile of other stuff. You actually have to work for your soup, like you’re tearing basil leaves…

Radke: That’s true, it’s not a handout at all, is it? You actually burn more calories sorting through pho than you get taking it in. True story.

Gagliano: Stacey Vanek-Smith, senior reporter, what is your story this weekend?

Stacey Vanek-Smith: Boston sold Christmas.

Gagliano: To Harvard?

Vanek-Smith: No. Boston normally has this 8,000 foot enchanted village that it sets up. But it doesn’t have the money to do that, so it auctioned it off.

Gagliano: What is going on? Like, Michigan destroyed its roads to save money, now Boston is selling Christmas. What other nice things can we get rid of? Is Vermont going to sell its fresh mountain air?

Vanek-Smith: Los Angeles could buy that, except we don’t have any money.

Gagliano: That’s all right, we’ll sell Keanu Reeves.

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