🌊 City of Brotherly L's

Another day, another balloon, McDonald's pulls distasteful ad, and in Ethiopia with the tribes, continued

Well, the NFL scriptwriters earned their dough last night. What an incredible game, and congratulations to all of you Chiefs fans! We couldn't believe that we went all 4 quarters and a halftime show without seeing a spy balloon. Ehh, maybe we'll have to wait until the next time Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots are in the Super Bowl... 

In today's edition:

  • Another day, another balloon

  • McDonald's pulls distasteful ad

  • In Ethiopia with the tribes, continued

 🔑 Key Stories

Super Bowl Recap

The Kansas City Chiefs beat the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 in Super Bowl LVII

  • The Chiefs took a 28-27 lead with 12:04 left in the 4th. After returning an Eagles punt for a Super Bowl-record 65 yards, they scored again, taking a 35-28 lead. The Eagles responded with a 45-yard pass and touchdown, tying the game 35-35

  • The Chiefs drove down the field. On 3rd & 8 with 1:54 left, they threw an incomplete pass. The refs called defensive holding, giving them a first down. They ran out the clock and hit a game-winning field goal

  • Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes was named game MVP

Dig Deeper

Arrest Warrants Over Earthquake

Turkey has issued arrest warrants for 113+ people involved in constructing collapsed buildings

  • Last Monday, 2 earthquakes shook southern Turkey. 5,700+ buildings collapsed, and 33k+ people died. The disaster is Turkey’s deadliest since at least 1939

  • Turkey’s government is facing criticism for allowing poor construction. In 2018, it pardoned 7.5M illegally-built buildings; a 2020 government report estimated that 50% of buildings didn’t meet earthquake safety standards

  • The government is now promising a crackdown on those responsible for shoddy construction. It comes ahead of tight elections scheduled for May

Dig Deeper

  • “This is a disaster caused by shoddy construction, not by an earthquake," one analyst said, citing the substandard materials and techniques used to construct thousands of buildings. Turkey's president called it the “disaster of the century"

Balloons Continue to Fly, Pop

US fighter jets shot down an unidentified flying object on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday

  • Friday’s was over Alaska; the second 2 were over Canada. The US and Canada have a treaty under which they cooperate in defending their airspaces

  • This comes a week after the US shot down a Chinese balloon it alleges was spying on the US

  • There are few details about the new targets, other than that they appear to be smaller than the first. Before the third object was shot down, US officials said the first 2 were balloons. They didn’t confirm whether or not they were Chinese

Dig Deeper

  • On Monday, China responded by accusing the US of regularly flying balloons over its territory. That's a developing story we'll follow up on tomorrow

Death Penalty Returns?

On Monday, a New York City jury will consider authorizing a death sentence. If it does so it, it will be the first time a jury in the state has since 1963

  • 23 states – including New York – have fully banned the death penalty at the state level. At the federal level, however, it remains legal in all 50 states

  • Last month, a jury convicted a man for running over and killing 8 people in an NYC bike lane in October, 2017. It was NYC’s deadliest terror attack since 9/11

  • Federal prosecutors are saying the nature of the crime merits the death penalty. The jury must vote unanimously to do so. If not, he’ll get a life sentence

Dig Deeper

  • Jurors in federal trials with the death penalty as an option must indicate beforehand that they're at least open to issuing the sentence. That means jurors in such cases aren't anti-death penalty "absolutists"

How do you Pronounce LMNT?

Together with LMNT

The correct answer is "element," and it's the electrolyte we recommend Roca Riders hydrate with for post-Super Bowl recovery and to start their weeks off right  

  • Electrolytes are essential minerals that facilitate vital bodily functions, including the conduction of nerve impulses, hormonal regulation, nutrient absorption, and fluid balance 

  • LMNT electrolytes contain just what you need – the salts – without all the other harmful additives. Just mix it with water and it’s perfect for hydrating, be it after a workout or night out 

  • Other popular electrolyte drinks contain as much as 36 grams of sugar. 36 GRAMS! LMNT contains none – NONE!  

  • Everyone from NBA, NFL, and NHL players to Navy Seals, moms, and dads drink it 

  • You can try it totally risk-free. If you don’t like it, they’ll give you your money back – no questions asked. You have nothing to lose 

Dig Deeper

  • Right now LMNT is offering Roca Riders a free sample pack with any purchase. That’s 8 single servings FREE with any LMNT order. This is a great way to try all 8 flavors or share LMNT with a salty friend

🍿 Popcorn


  • $uper Broke? Americans are projected to have spent an estimated average of $115 on the Super Bowl, per a LendingTree survey. It found that the number of watch parties surged

  • Charlie & the Tumble Factory: Mars Wrigley was fined nearly $15,000 following an incident last year when 2 workers fell into a vat of chocolate

  • It's a... clawsuit: Lobster fishermen in Massachusetts are suing the federal government after the emergency closure of fishing grounds to protect whales


  • Dying to eat it: McDonald's has agreed to remove an ad across from a crematorium in England for its new McCrispy chicken sandwich 

  • Venti mistake: An Oklahoma couple was charged over $4,400 for their 2-drink order at Starbucks last month. The since-resolved error forced them to cancel a trip

  • Bond bigger than football: A Chiefs fan donated a kidney to an Eagles fan more than 2 years ago, and the ex-Marine duo went together to the Super Bowl

👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll

What did you think of the halftime show? 🎤

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Today's Question:

The Super Bowl is like a holiday, bringing families, friends, and 100M+ Americans together for a feast and celebration. Does that tradition make you proud, or do you have a negative feeling toward it? 

Reply to this email with your answers!

See yesterday's results below the Wrap! 

🌯 Roca Wrap

Roca co-founder Max Frost and writer Alex Norris spent 2.5 weeks in Ethiopia last month. Frost will be writing about it here in the coming newsletters.

Driving through the dry, rocky mountains of southern Ethiopia, we pulled into a town at a fork in the road.

We got out of the car and went to a roadside stall, where we ordered a juice. While we waited, a group of kids ran up to us, “Pen, pen, pen, pen.”

There are a few ways Ethiopian kids greet foreigners, at least white ones.

#1: “Money money money money.” Most kids, the moment they saw us, would run up and say that. It's the most popular greeting.

#2: “Firungi, firungi!” This is the Ethiopian equivalent of “gringo.” 

#3: “You, you, you, you, you.” They just point at you and repeat that word. Apparenty it's the first English word they're taught in school.

#4: “Highlander, highlander.” Highlander is a water bottle brand. When they say this, they’re asking you to give them a water bottle, normally for water gathering rather than drinking.  

#5: “Pen, pen, pen, pen.” The kids who say this are hoping you’ll give them a pen or pencil.

While we waited for our juice – mine was a glass of thick avocado; Alex’s was one of creamy papaya – we went into a shop and asked to buy all their pens, to give to the kids. The shopkeeper handed us the box.

Obama pen
Obama pen description

Somehow, Obama-brand pens, “THANKS GOD…designed by CHINA No. 1 quality” had ended up in this remote Ethiopian shop. 

While we finished the juice, I saw a man walk by with animals and a bow and arrow. The town struck me as an interesting place that I assumed I’d never see it again.


A day later, though, we were back. 

Imagine if everything you needed – food, clothes, household items – was only available at one place; that that place was miles, maybe even dozens of miles away; that you had to travel there on foot; and that it was only open 1 day a week.

That’s market day in the Omo Valley, and market day happened in that town.

Ethiopia’s Omo Valley is home to 8 different tribes, each of which has its own language, traditions, and culture. Each tribe also has its own market town or towns, where people come from across the area to do their shopping and trade their livestock and crops. These “market days” happen once or twice a week.

Women with hay on roadside

Women on the roadside carry hay to the market

We visited market day for the Banna tribe, one of the 8 tribes mentioned above. And it just happened to be in the town where we had bought the Obama pens. 

Yet while the town had been quiet the day prior, on market day, it was crazy. Hundreds of people were running around and streaming into the town. The market itself was a large dirt area set behind a main street. Dirt paths lined with shanties lead off of it, and everywhere, people are shopping. 

Market day

The market scene

The people here were dressed up. For married women, that means soaking their hair – which is always braided and shaped to fall over their heads – in clay. Some women’s heads are so soaked the clay literally looks like it’s dripping off. They then put on necklaces – 1 if they’re the first wife, 2 if they’re the second, and so on – and sometimes bead-lined animal pelts. They also wear tops, which they don’t do in the village.

Women selling charcoal

Women selling charcoal at the market

Men wear skirts and beaded bands around their heads, some around their arms, too. As a rule of thumb, our guide said, the most dressed-up men are single – the market is their time to show off. Unmarried women and discouraged from drawing attention to themselves.

People are streaming into the market from the surrounding villages, carrying everything from bowls full of honeybees to sacks of charcoal, hay, and firewood. There are many hundreds of people. Around the market are makeshift bars, identified by a bucket hanging on a stick outside of them, serving up homebrewed beer. This is where villagers catch up on the tribal gossip each week. 

Men sitting in a circle drinking

Men drink beer by the bucket in a market "bar"

Nearby to this main market is the livestock market, where people sell and trade their cows, goats, and sheep. Once they’ve made their money, they go to the bars. 

People walk for hours and sometimes days to reach the market. Because of that, the Banna and other tribes have a signature stool: It’s made of wood, hourglassed shape, and maybe 10 inches tall. They carry it for the market journey, and it doubles as a headrest for sleeping, a chair, and a table. Most men carry them.

Driving through the town – which we later learned is called Key Afer – a day prior, it felt like the middle of nowhere. On market day, though, it was the center of the world.

Women sitting around with their goods

Traders at the market

If you have thoughts, let us know at [email protected]!

 🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Will you watch the Super Bowl?

Yes: 62%No: 38%

Yesterday's Question:

Just 20 Qs!

🧠 Final Thoughts

We hope you all had great weekends. 1 of the Maxes and another Roca employee went to Philadelphia in hopes of attending a celebration. What we got instead were riot police, threats of pepper spray, and a lot of angry Eagles fans. 

That's not to say it was boring!

Have great Mondays.

–Max and Max