🌊 A Stormy Is Brewing in New York

Plus: Netanyahu to cross Biden's line in the sand

Happy Mother’s Day, Roca moms.

To all the moms in the Roca community, happy early Mother's Day! In fact, despite their slightly worse taste in news outlets, happy Mother's Day to all moms not in the Roca community. Moms are the best, and we hope you can celebrate with yours.

Also, mom, if you're reading this...this counts as my card, right?

🇮🇱 Netanyahu responds to Biden

💸 Wall Street working bankers to death?

🇺🇸 US-themed 20 Questions

Link to this week’s 20 Questions! Can’t wait to see your answers. Last week’s 20 Questions had a couple nail-biters, but none was closer than Hagrid vs. Chewbacca. Scroll to see which furry won.

–Max, Max, and Alex


Putin at a computer

US Soldier Detained in Russia

The mother of a US soldier arrested in Russia claims his girlfriend “lured” him there as part of a setup

  • Gordon Black was stationed in South Korea. While there – and going through a divorce in the US – he began an on-and-off relationship with a Russian woman he met at a bar. While visiting her on personal leave last weekend, they got into a fight, she accused him of stealing, and he was arrested

  • Black’s mother has since said, “I knew something was going to happen. I felt like he was being set up by her…My motherly instincts told me something was wrong with her”


Green Beret Banker Dies

Bank of America (BofA) is facing criticism after a junior banker died after repeated 100-hour workweeks

  • Investment bankers advise companies on financial transactions. Junior bankers often work long hours when deals are due

  • Last year, after serving for over a decade as a US Army Green Beret, Leo Lukenas III became an investment banker at BofA. Last week, after working repeated 100+-hour weeks, he died unexpectedly of a blood clot at age 35. The coroner’s report didn’t directly link Lukenas’s death to his work, but the situation has drawn attention to the physical and mental toll of long hours on junior bankers

Dig Deeper

  • Lukenas’s death has sparked widespread criticism among investment bankers, prompting his boss to take down his LinkedIn page

  • Some bankers have considered striking to demand limits on work hours, yet such plans have been called off, reportedly out of fear of retaliation


Netanyahu and Biden

Israel to “Stand Alone”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that Israel would “stand alone” after President Biden warned of a halt to US arms transfers

  • On Tuesday – as Israel appeared to be taking the initial steps toward invading Rafah – the Biden administration blocked an arms shipment to Israel

  • A day later, Biden said, “I made it clear that if they go into Rafah… I’m not supplying the weapons that have been used historically to deal with Rafah, to deal with the cities”

  • On Thursday, Netanyahu posted a video in which he said, “If we have to stand alone, we will stand alone”

Dig Deeper

  • In March, Biden had said that an invasion of Rafah – which contains 1-1.5M civilians in addition to the bulk of Hamas’s remaining forces – would be a “red line”

  • This week, administration officials said Israel had not provided an adequate humanitarian plan, forcing them to cut arms transfers

  • Netanyahu said, “I already said that if we have to, we will fight with our fingernails. But we have much more than fingernails, and with the same greatness of mind, God willing, together we will win”

  • Separately, a hardline Israeli minister tweeted, “Hamas ♥️ Biden”


A Storm is Brewing

Donald Trump’s lawyers cross-examined Stormy Daniels

  • Trump is charged with falsifying business documents to conceal a $130k hush money payment to Daniels. Earlier this week, she testified that she had “brief” intercourse with Trump after a golf tournament in 2006

  • On Thursday, during cross-examination, Trump’s lawyers tried to undermine her legitimacy. They asked about her work as a medium – “You claimed to be able to speak with people’s dead relatives, right?” – and, referencing the 150 adult films she made, asked, “You have a lot of experience in making phony stories about sex appear to be real, right?”

Dig Deeper

  • Trump's attorneys also asked why Daniels allegedly accepted the hush money after saying that she wanted to take her story public. She responded that she was “running out of time” to get the story out before the November 2016 election

Some Quick Stories for the Office

🔫 A federal appeals court declined to dismiss gun charges against Hunter Biden, paving the way for a criminal trial to begin next month

🧠 Neuralink disclosed a problem with the brain chip in its first human patient. The company said some of that implant’s threads came out, thereby reducing data flow. Still, it said, the chip was safe and effective

👩 Miss US and Miss Teen USA stepped down in quick succession, citing personal and mental health reasons. Their resignations came a week after that of the organization’s social media director, who claimed pageant winners’ mental health deteriorated while affiliated with the organization

📱 Apple apologized for a new ad that shows a machine crushing instruments and other cultural symbols into an iPad. Prominent cultural figures criticized it, including actor Hugh Grant, who wrote: “The destruction of the human experience. Courtesy of Silicon Valley

🇧🇷 The number of people displaced by flooding in southern Brazil surpassed 160,000. The airport in Porto Alegre – a major city – was fully inundated and will be closed for 30+ days

🚔 A new video shows the fatal shooting of a US Air Force airman by a Florida sheriff’s deputy. The deputy was responding to a house disturbance and knocked on the 23-year-old’s apartment door. The man – appearing to be holding a firearm pointed at the ground – opened the door, after which the deputy shouted “Step back!” and fired several times. The victim’s family and a witness said the deputy had gone to the wrong apartment

Question of the Day

Yesterday we asked, Where was the most significant trip/vacation of your life?

Some replies:

Charlie from Granite Falls, NC:

The most significant trip of my life was my son's Make-A-Wish trip to Disney World in Orlando, FL. He survived 31 weeks of chemo and 14 rounds of radiation after being diagnosed with kidney cancer. That trip with my family was amazing in so many ways, especially as a healing point in our lives to get back to normal. I will never forget the experiences at Disney but also the kindness of the Make-a-Wish team to allow us that experience.

Summer from Las Vegas:

In 1985 I went with a boyfriend from Oklahoma City to Tulsa, OK for a party. He had friends and family there. In the very wee hours of the morning, everyone else was passed out and I was awake. I wandered outside and saw a treeline, so headed for it. I found a wild, magnificent woods along a wide, placid river that was shrouded in fog. Water baby that I am, I got as close as I dared to the water and settled down in a bed of reed and grasses well over my head. I sat a bit, just meditating and absorbing the delicious vibes of these woods, when out of the mist two magnificent swans floated in total silence, so near to me I could almost have touched them. They hovered a few minutes, bowing to each other as they do, and then floated out of sight still in absolute silence. I felt so truly, deeply blessed. I got up and made my way back to the apartment where people were stirring. Boyfriend and I drove back to Oklahoma City and he dropped me at my house. I was between jobs, and because of that between places to live. I loaded everything I owned, including a dog, three cats, and some fish into my little Datsun pickup and drove back to Tulsa. I stopped at a convenience store by the highway just inside town and bought a paper. The cashier joined me at the counter and said, "oh you don't want a place there, no, not that neighborhood, ooooo that's a good one". By the end of the day I had a rental house and a job. In Tulsa I learned and became invested in a new career, and a few years later met the boy next door - whom I've now been married to for almost 34 years. Such good friends. Such good times. Tulsa has changed a lot since then and we've moved away, moved back, moved away again, and I don't see myself living there again, but I've still got my Tulsa boy (forever) and some very special life changing memories and experiences.

Karen from Washington State:

Fall, 2011: I have airline credit to use soon and am also reeling from suicide of major friend

* look where the money will take me from Seattle and settle on San Francisco (solo)

* go for 3 nights and do amazing fun things

* return and tell people: I am going to figure out how to live there a month at a time

*make 4 more trips 2011-12 figuring this out: prices are beginning to really escalate there

*make the jump in August, 2012 [scheduling what turned out to be an illegal Airbnb sublet]

*fast forward through many events: I end up living there 3 yrs., renting my own apartment, and meeting my life partner I have now been living with for 9 yrs.

*meet an amazing group of women, most my mom's age but did not know that as they were super active, etc.

*still good friends with them to this day, visit at least 4 times a year.

* summer, 2023 I assemble and have printed a book of 200+ emails the group wrote to each other during the pandemic, George Floyd, election 2020 and Jan. 6, 2021

*many more details involved in 3 yrs., of course!

*NOTHING has ever changed my life like this trip in fall of 2011.

Thank you for your replies! There’s no question today, just 20 Questions!

Some Quick Stories for Happy Hour

💳 Employee of the month: After a North Carolina woman accidentally left her credit card open at a restaurant, an employee posted a photo of the card on social media, leading to over $2k in fraudulent charges

🌿 Ridin’ dirty: A “fully road-legal” SUV-sized Radio Flyer red wagon with a top speed of 60 MPH and ~57,000 miles on the odometer is up for auction

🥷 Rooftop Ninja looking for roommates: A Michigan woman — nicknamed the “Rooftop Ninja” has lived inside the sign of a Family Fare grocery store for the last year. Officers have since removed her

🏀 Big Baby fraudster: A federal judge sentenced former NBA forward Glen “Big Baby” Davis to 40 months in prison for his scheme to defraud the league’s healthcare benefits plan

👮🏻‍♂️ Body Armor off Temu? The Akron Police Department SWAT Unit has reportedly been using counterfeit body armor imported from China

20 Questions

Your responses to yesterday’s “where was the most important trip of your life” (plus the fact that Max T is currently in Montana) drove home to us how massive and diverse the United States really is. That, in turn, inspired us to do a United States-themed 20 Questions, although non-Americans, fear not: If you can find an almond milk latte in your country, there is a question for you.

We hope you enjoy. Here’s the link – see you on Monday!

Last Week’s 20 Questions:

1. Which world would you most want to live in?

Harry Potter world - 56.2%
Lord of the Rings world - 25.9%
Game of Thrones world - 4%
Oz - 13.9%

2. Better old wizard?

Gandalf - 62.3%
Dumbledore - 37.7%

3. Which planet would you most want to live on?

Pandora in Avatar 46.4%
Arrakis in Dune - 3.3%
Naboo in Star Wars - 50.3%

4. Which fictional food/drink sounds best?

Turkish Delight from Narnia - 18%
Butterbeer from Harry Potter - 34.4%
Hot chocolate from The Polar Express - 47.6%

5. Uglier creature?

Gollum - 88%
Dobby - 12%

6. Which fate sounds worse?

Being a lead character in Game of Thrones - 40.5%
Being defense against the dark arts teacher in HP - 10.6%
Being a sidekick to Jabba the Hut in Star Wars - 48.9%

7. Male category: Best lead character?

Harry Potter - 24.3%
Luke Skywalker - 40.3%
Frodo Baggins - 26.3%
Percy Jackson - 9.1%

8. Female category: Best lead character?

Princess Leia - 29.5%
Hermione - 25.6%
Katniss Everdeen - 26.6%
Arya Stark - 18.3%

9. Do you like anime?

Yes - 21.6%
No - 54.5%
Unsure - 24%

10. Best Star Wars heroine?

Princess Leia - 70%
Padmé - 13.1%
Rey - 16.9%

11. Favorite name of the Pevensie children in Narnia?

Susan - 8%
Lucy - 45.7%
Edmund - 29.7%
Peter - 16.6%

12. Best Harry Potter?

Sorcerer’s Stone - 22.1%
Chamber of Secrets - 8%
Prisoner of Azkaban - 19.3%
Goblet of Fire - 19.6%
Order of Phoenix - 12.1%
Half-Blood Prince - 11.1%
Deathly Hallows - 7.8%

13. Best Lord of the Rings?

Fellowship of the Ring - 44.2%
The Two Towers - 22%
Return of the King - 33.8%

14. Best original Star Wars?

A New Hope - 17.3%
Empire Strikes Back - 48.5%
Return of the Jedi - 34.2%

15. Best prequel?

I don’t do the prequels - 41.4% (“DISGRACEFUL” - Max T.)
Phantom Menace - 15.3%
Attack of the Clones - 8.8%
Revenge of the Sith - 34.5%

16. Would you rather be a jedi or a witch/wizard?

Jedi - 45.1%
Witch/wizard - 54.9%

  1. Which Wizard of Oz sidekick was the best?

Scarecrow - 41.4%
Lion man - 23.8%
Tin man - 34.8%

18. More iconic quote?

“Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore.” - 43.1%
“Luke, I am your father.” - 56.9%

19. Which house would you be in?

Gryffindor - 40.5%
Slytherin - 10.3%
Hufflepuff - 18.2%
Ravenclaw - 31.1%

  1. Hagrid or Chewbacca?

Hagrid - 49.6%
Chewbacca - 50.4%

Final Thoughts

That’s all the news for this week.

We hope you have a restful and enjoyable weekend. To remind you once again, here’s the 20 Questions. See you on Monday!

–Max, Max, and Alex