🌊 Your New Prime-ary Caretaker
Paging Dr. Bezos! Amazon gets into health, new Sexiest Man just dropped and person of the Week: Matthew Perry
We lead with a story on Amazon the company today, but we let’s first begin with an inspiring one from Amazon the rainforest.
In a remote part of the Amazon rainforest — a part you can only get to by foot — a Brazilian man on an expedition to measure a piece of land suddenly felt a sharp pain in the back of his leg. He soon discovered that the largest venomous snake in the Amazon, the surucucu-pico-de-jaca, had just sunk its fangs into his calf, injecting ~500 mg of venom. For the next four days, he writhed in pain on the ground. He and his two companions were out of food and supplies. One of them went to town — using the coordinates an Indigenous woman gave him — to fetch some help. The victim's brother raced to the rescue with three of his own friends and carried his brother for two days through six miles of the densest of forest back to civilization. The man, a father of three, had somehow survived. A remarkable and inspiring feat, and now we move onto someone more inspiring…the corporate strategery of Jeff Bezos!
In today's edition:
Paging Dr. Bezos! Amazon gets into health
New Sexiest Man just dropped
Person of the Week: Matthew Perry
🔑 Key Stories
Amazon Prime Healthcare
Amazon is offering Prime members a discounted annual membership to join its primary health service, marking the company’s latest push into healthcare
For years, Amazon has attempted to move into healthcare. Despite several failed attempts, it has developed Amazon Care, a telehealth service, and Amazon Pharmacy, an online prescription service
Last year, Amazon bought One Medical, a chain of primary care clinics which also operates a telehealth service
On Wednesday, Amazon announced it is offering Amazon Prime members access to One Medical services for $99 a year, $100 less than its typical cost
Amazon said that subscribers would get “24/7 on-demand virtual care nationwide” and “easy-to-schedule office visits at any of One Medical’s…locations.” A company official called the program “health care that makes it…easier to get and stay healthy”
Portuguese Political Crisis
Portugal’s prime minister resigned amid a sweeping corruption investigation
Portugal is Europe’s biggest producer of lithium, a core ingredient for electric vehicle batteries, and its government has awarded large contracts for companies to open mines for it. It also separately approved other major construction projects
Police have launched a sweeping corruption probe over those contracts, which has implicated several of the prime minister’s close associates
Hours after a police raid against several of his associates, Portugal’s prime minister – a socialist who has been in power since 2015 – went on TV to announce his resignation. "There is no illicit act that weighs on my conscience, or even any censurable act," he said. But having a functioning “prime minister is not compatible with any suspicion about his integrity”
His resignation has sparked a political crisis, with Portugal’s president now tasked with deciding how to proceed. He is expected to issue a decision this week about whether the country will hold new elections or if the current government will be able to stay in power. If elections are held, the main opposition would be the country’s center-right and far-right parties which may be able to gain power
Heavy Fighting in Gaza
Israel and Hamas have given conflicting accounts of events in Gaza City, where heavy fighting is reported
Last week, Israeli forces surrounded Gaza City, the Strip’s largest city and a Hamas stronghold. Hamas is believed to operate miles of tunnels beneath it
In recent days, Israel has laid siege to the city. It claims to have killed thousands of Hamas fighters, and an official said its troops have reached “the heart of Gaza City.” It claims Hamas is barely hanging on
On Tuesday, a Hamas spokesperson denied Israel’s claims. He claimed that Hamas has inflicted heavy losses on Israel and has destroyed “many” tanks
Gaza’s health ministry claims that 10,560 people have died so far in the fighting, over ⅔ of whom were women and children. It claims thousands more are likely buried under rubble and presumed dead. Those numbers cannot be independently verified, and the ministry does not differentiate in its overall death toll between those who were civilians and those who were affiliated with Hamas
Israel claims it only strikes military targets and has accused Hamas of using human shields
Bangladeshi Garment Strike
A Bangladeshi woman was fatally shot on Tuesday amid mass protests by garment workers
Bangladesh is the 8th-most populous country. It has the world’s second-largest garment industry, which employs 4M people, mostly women. The industry accounts for 85% of Bangladesh’s exports
Bangladesh’s minimum wage is currently $75 per month. Since last week, thousands of workers have walked off the job to demand higher wages
On Tuesday, a government-appointed panel raised the rate by 56%, much less than the protesters’ demand. That caused nationwide protests in which at least one protester – a 23-year-old – was killed
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Sexiest Man alive goes to…: People Magazine named actor Patrick Dempsey its 2023 Sexiest Man Alive, succeeding Chris Evans, last year’s recipient
Stairway to Identification: A university researcher resolved a 52-year mystery by identifying the man on Led Zeppelin’s fourth album cover as Lot Long, a 69-year-old Victorian-era roofer from England
Central Park 5 to City Council: Yusef Salaam – renowned as one of the wrongfully convicted “Central Park Five” – won a seat on the New York City Council
GTA Par-tay: Rockstar Games announced the debut of “Grand Theft Auto 6” with its first trailer coming next month. “Grand Theft Auto V” — released in 2013 — made a record $800M in 24 hours
Let’s hope for a better ending…: Startup LTA Research, funded by Google co-founder Sergey Brin, began trials of Pathfinder 1, the largest aircraft since the Hindenburg
Mmm, human chicken feed: Poultry farming company Perdue will launch “Chix Mix” next Friday, a human snack inspired by its chicken feed
👇 What do you think?
Do you use public internet networks like airport Wi-Fi frequently?
Today’s poll is sponsored by Surfshark, a leading virtual private network (VPN) provider. Browse the web like a ghost!
Have you watched the TV show “Friends”?
Reply to this email with your answers!
See yesterday's results below the Wrap!
🌯 Roca Wrap
"It is very odd to live in a world where if you died, it would shock people but surprise no one.”
Matthew Perry wrote those words in his memoir, published last year. On October 28 – almost a year to the day of the memoir’s release – Perry, 54, was found dead at his Los Angeles home.
To the public, Perry was the wise-cracking, charming, and witty Chandler Bing in “Friends,” one of the world’s most-watched TV series. He kept the extent of his personal struggles secret until last November, when he released his memoir, “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing.”
That “Big Terrible Thing” was addiction.
Having nearly died on several occasions, Perry said he was plagued by a “nagging question: Why have I been spared?”
To Perry, the answer was to help others overcome addiction.
“The best thing about me, bar none, is if somebody comes up to me and says: ‘I can’t stop drinking. Can you help me?’ I can say yes and follow up and do it,” he wrote. Perry spent the last few years of his life doing just that.
Perry was born in August 1969, in Williamstown, Massachusetts.
He spent much of his young life living with his mother – a press secretary for Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau – and step-family in Ottawa before moving to Los Angeles, where his dad was an actor.
At age 14, Perry had his first drink – and his life changed forever.
Perry said his addiction started with that first sip, and four years later, he was drinking every day. He kept that addiction a secret, though, and continued to pursue his hobbies. While he initially aspired to be a pro tennis player, that gave way to a new goal: Being famous.
“Fame would change everything, and I yearned for it more than any other person on the face of the planet,” he wrote in his memoir.
“I needed it. It was the only thing that would fix me. I was certain of it.” In 1988, he made his film debut; after that, he landed roles in several sitcoms. Then in 1994, at age 24, he was cast in the sitcom that would give him the stardom he craved.
“Friends” was an instant hit and catapulted Perry and the other five “friends” to national fame.
Over the next decade, the sitcom would become the US’ most-watched TV show, and its six major actors would become the highest-paid characters in TV history. In the later seasons, each was making $1M per episode.
It was Perry’s idea to introduce what would become Chandler’s iconic cadence – “Could this be anymore…”
Castmates said Perry was the funniest person they knew offscreen, too. Yet while he appeared to have it all, in private, the opposite was true.
“I think you actually have to have all of your dreams come true to realize they are the wrong dreams,” he wrote in his memoir. Already addicted to alcohol, a jet skiing accident in 1997 left Perry hooked on painkillers.
Within two years, he was taking 55 Vicodin a day, as well as Xanax and OxyContin, and drinking vodka by the quart. “I would fake back injuries. I would fake migraine headaches. I had eight doctors going at the same time,” Perry wrote of the time.
Perry initially tried to maintain professionalism on the Friends set, but ended up coming to film with extreme hangovers and in later seasons was frequently drunk or high on set.
His castmates – all close friends in real life – tried to help him, including with an intervention, but they were unsuccessful. He later said he never watched the show because it was too painful to remember his struggles.
Perry said he drank to cure a mental illness he didn’t know he had. “My mind is out to kill me, and I know it,” he wrote. “I am constantly filled with a lurking loneliness, a yearning, clinging to the notion that something outside of me will fix me.”
“Somehow the culture all around me had taught me that drinking equaled laughing and having fun, and a much-needed escape from pain.”
While Perry said his fame imposed a certain boundary on his addiction – “When you’re earning $1 million a week, you can’t afford to have the 17th drink” – his dependencies resulted in numerous health crises, including an exploded colon, a stint on life support, two weeks in a coma, and more than a dozen stomach surgeries.
His repeated efforts to get sober failed.
With alcohol, he said he lost all restraint after the first drink; with drugs, he said, “Addiction wakes up before you do, and it wants you alone.”
Perry would spend nearly 30 years and an estimated $9M fighting to get sober, which he first did in the early 2000s. He described his relapses by writing, “I’m capable of staying sober unless anything happens,” and compared his addiction to hell: “There is a hell,” he wrote in his memoir. “Don’t let anyone tell you different. I’ve been there: it exists: end of discussion.”
Despite that, Perry declared himself sober in 2021 and appears to have remained so. Perry used his fame to raise awareness about addiction and the importance of accessible treatment.
He turned his former Malibu house into a sober living home to help others in their recovery, stopped acting, and frequently publicly spoke about addiction and treatment.
He said his memoir was also intended to help others struggling with addiction.
“Whenever I bumped into something that I didn’t really want to share,” he wrote of drafting the book, “I would think of the people that I would be helping, and it would keep me going.”
Last Sunday, Perry’s assistant found him unresponsive in a hot tub at his Los Angeles home. He apparently drowned, although the cause of death isn’t yet known.
Initial toxicology reports have confirmed he had neither meth nor fentanyl in his system, although the results of a more comprehensive test haven’t been released. Authorities have said no foul play was involved.
Despite his struggles, Perry did not give up on himself.
“Do you know what St. Peter says to everyone who tries to get into heaven?" Perry wrote in his memoir. "'Don't you have any scars?' And when most would respond proudly, 'Well, no, no I don't,' Peter says, 'Why not? Was there nothing worth fighting for?”
For Perry, helping others become sober was worth fighting for.
Let us know what you think at [email protected]!
🌊 Roca Clubhouse
Have you ever bought or owned a US Treasury bond?
Should news companies name mass shooters? Should news companies provide their manifestos? If shooters are dead or arrested, should news companies show their picture?
Kevin from Lafayette, Louisiana: “I think names and details should only be reported if it keeps the public safe. ie: a picture at a minimum and I guess the name in case he would write a check. Too often we give notoriety to the perp and nothing to the victims."
Cindy from Ohio: “Absolutely not! I agree with the professor from the University of Alabama, they are looking for fame. They want to see their picture of them. They want to know that I made news. This is me.”
Billy from Emerald Isle, North Carolina: “As a retired career law enforcement officer, I don’t think these murderers need to be identified unless they are on the run and the public needs to know their identity, for the publics safety. If the perpetrator(s) suddenly die at the scene…name only.”
Heidi from Mount Airy, Maryland: “If the shooter dies during the shooting, I 100% think that they should go down in anonymity. They do not deserve recognition. This particular situation was a bit different since his whereabouts were not known and there was concern for public safety. But in general, it's scary how criminals become celebrities. I think all "true crime" entertainment should go away. Why can't we focus on good?”
Lance from Kelowna, British Columbia Canada: “Focus on the victims, not the shooters. Let people know who has been hurt, or killed, by the shooter, (maybe give an in-depth one one victims life beforehand) while giving the shooter little to no story. If you take away the notoriety, and show compassion and stories from the people killed, and what effect it has had on the lives of those killed, it’ll have two benefits; maybe it’ll cause less shootings to occur, via no notoriety, and maybe it’ll give the public properly placed emotional responses.”
🧠 Final Thoughts
Happy Thursday Roca! We’re excited to bring you original reporting in The Current each day starting next week. Have a great day!
—Max and Max