🌊 Uhh, It’s M**my

Lawyers fight back on facial recognition, Squid Game injuries in Britain, and Roca Roadtrip: Food Poisoning for Christmas

Quick shoutout to the new oldest person in the world, María Branyas Morera. She was born in San Francisco in 1907, closer to Napoleon Bonaparte's rule than Napoleon Dynamite's release. She credits "order, tranquility... and staying away from toxic people" for her longevity. Glad she got through 2 World Wars just to hear "Baby Shark."

In today's edition:

  • Lawyers fight back on facial recognition

  • Squid Game injuries in Britain

  • Roca Roadtrip: Food Poisoning for Christmas

🔑 Key Stories

Madison Square Garden Blacklisting Lawyers?

New York state’s top prosecutor is probing Madison Square Garden’s (MSG) use of facial recognition technology to blacklist lawyers from its stadiums

  • MSG is one of New York City’s most famous arenas. Its parent company also owns Radio City Music Hall, a famed NYC performing arts center, and other venues

  • NY’s top prosecutor accuses the company of using facial recognition cameras to identify and deny entry to lawyers involved in lawsuits against it. The prosecutor says doing so could violate their rights

  • MSG admitted to “excluding a small percentage of lawyers,” but claims it’s in compliance with the law

Dig Deeper

  • "MSG instituted a straightforward policy that precludes attorneys pursuing active litigation against the company from attending events at our venues until that litigation is resolved," company representatives said. New York state legislators are currently considering a bill that would prohibit stadiums from denying lawyers access to their venues

US, Allies Sending Ukraine Tanks

The US and its allies will give Ukraine battle tanks

  • Since Russia invaded Ukraine last February, the US and its allies have given Ukraine billions in aid, but never Western-made battle tanks. Ukraine says those are necessary to break through Russia’s line

  • Several European countries wanted to send their German-made tanks, but required Germany’s permission to do so. Germany initially resisted, but reportedly agreed once the US said it’d send its own

  • The US will send 31 M1 Abrams tanks, which it will pay to have built instead of taking them from existing stocks. They’ll take months to reach Ukraine

Dig Deeper

  • The US said its biggest concern is the tanks' complexity: "Each system on the tank... is complex, requiring numerous intricate parts to function properly," said one security analyst, adding that they run on jet fuel, not more traditional fuels. Nonetheless, the Abrams is widely considered the best of its kind, and Ukraine applauded the news

Lebanon’s Ex-PM Charged w/ Murder

Dig Deeper

  • Many consider Lebanon a failed state: It hasn't had a functioning government in months, it's experiencing runaway inflation, its banking system is near collapse, and armed groups, including Iran-funded Hezbollah, rule most of the country

Don’t Say M**my?

3 top British museums will drop the term “mummy”

  • British colonists brought mummies back from Egypt, where mummification was an ancient tradition. Some of those mummies are displayed today at British museums

  • The museums will swap “mummy” for “mummified remains,” saying the former term is linked to curses, monsters, and colonialism, and is dehumanizing

  • The British Museum – which is one of the world’s most most-visited museums and will drop the term – said it wants visitors to know mummies were “people who once lived” and aren’t “supernatural”

Trump Returning to Facebook, Instagram

Meta announced that in the coming weeks, it will allow former President Trump back on Facebook and Instagram “with new guardrails”

  • Meta suspended Trump indefinitely after January 6, 2021 citing his “praise for people engaged in violence at the Capitol”

  • Now, Trump will be allowed back but will face “heightened penalties for repeat offenses.” Meta says it will limit posts that are technically allowed but “[delegitimize] an upcoming election or is related to QAnon,” including by blocking them from showing in feeds while leaving them on his page

Dig Deeper

  • Twitter reinstated Trump months ago, but he has yet to post there. Trump originally said he would reserve his social media presence for his own social media platform, Truth Social, but recently reversed that to say he'll return to Twitter and more

Dudes Apparently Love These Things

Together with Public Rec

That’s what GQ said about our clothing, and we couldn't agree more. Guys want clothes that are comfortable and stylish

  • It’s that simple. That's why Public Rec set out to make a more stylish alternative to sweatpants and a more comfortable alternative to jeans

  • The All Day Every Day Pant is perfect for everywhere, whether you need something casual for the office, comfortable for the golf course, or just need to upgrade your old sweats

  • Plus with over 10,000 5-Star reviews (and counting!), you know you'll be in good company

Dig Deeper

  • The best part: Public Rec is running their annual Archive sale, which means you get up to 40% off! So, don’t wear clothes the old way. Wear them the Public Rec way

🍿 Popcorn


  • Geaux auditors: LSU auditors learned they accidentally paid head football coach Brian Kelly an extra $1M last year. They are working to retrieve the extra money

  • Lights, camera, ambulance: Several actors suffered minor injuries in the filming of a real-life Squid Game game show in England

  • "Uber Eats for Sister Jean?" An Uber Eats delivery man walked onto the court during the Loyola Chicago - Duquesne game to deliver food, bringing the game to a halt


  • "Nobody LOLs like I do": Former President Donald Trump is reportedly a texter now. For years, he withstood pressure from friends and family to text

  • Curious case of Bryan Johnson: A 45-year-old tech entrepreneur spends $2M every year to regain his youth. He claims to have the skin of a 28-year-old

  • Rough week for Dallas: The Dallas Zoo is falling under scrutiny after a vulture died of a suspicious wound just a week after one of its clouded leopards went missing

👇 What do you think?

Today's Poll

How many hours do you sleep at night? 😴

Login or Subscribe to participate in polls.

Today's Question:

Have you ever had a supernatural experience?

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 earlier this month. Frost will be writing about it here in the coming newsletters.

After my second day in Ethiopia, Roca writer Alex Norris met me in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian capital. For this trip, Norris would be playing the role of videographer. And, as it turned out, caretaker.

The morning after he arrived, I woke up at 6 AM with horrible stomach pains. I’d end up spending the next 24 hours in and out of consciousness, throwing up 4 times. I pleaded with Norris to find me popsicles, but an hours-long search yielded nothing. Ice pops are yet to reach the Ethiopian capital.

Writer with food poisoning

Frost on Christmas Eve morning

Miraculously, I woke up entirely better the next day. That was fortunate, because we had plans to celebrate Ethiopian Christmas.

Ethiopia uses its own calendar, which has 13 months – 12 with 30 days and one with 5 or 6, depending on the year. The New Year starts each year on September 11, and Christmas happens on January 7.

Standing on our highrise Airbnb balcony Christmas morning, we saw a group of men dragging a cow down the street. We went out to see what they were doing.

Just as we approached, they began hacking the cow in front of us. It was for the community slaughter, one of the men told us. 6 families in the neighborhood would be sharing the cow for their Christmas feast.

The group had hired an expert who they claimed was one of Addis Ababa’s best cow killers. Switching between an ax and knives of various angles and sizes, the man deftly dismembered and skinned the cow in front of us.

Then, as the butcher flayed the animal, another man from the neighborhood approached with his own knife. He sliced a hunk off the leg of the cow – still breathing 10 minutes prior – and dropped it into his mouth. He did so again, smiling at us, then offered us a chunk.

In Ethiopia, raw meat is a delicacy. Sometimes it’s spiced and seasoned; other times it’s served straight up. We politely declined his offer.

Goats at the market

A goat market on Christmas morning. Wealthy Ethiopians slaughter cows and goats for Christmas feasts

We had plans to celebrate Christmas with the family of an Ethiopian immigrant I became friends with in Washington, DC. My friend’s sister still lived in Addis Ababa, and she invited us to celebrate Christmas with her, her husband, and their children.

The family was upper-middle class. The father had worked in logistics, bringing imports into Ethiopia; the 3 sons were an engineer, doctor, and accountant, respectively; the wife and daughter didn’t work. The 4 children – between ages 27 and 32 – all lived at home. The house was large, situated behind a wall with a balcony and courtyard. Our hosts’ language was Amharic, but they all spoke English, the men especially well.

Ethiopian family

The family that hosted us for Ethiopian Christmas

As soon as we walked in, a feast was on the table. To help me recover from my food poisoning, they poured me a kind of home-brewed Ethiopian vodka, which they said doubled as stomach medicine. Accompanying that was a homebrewed beer, made from a plant grown in their garden.

Along with the drinks, the food came endlessly.

Ethiopian food is served with injera, a kind of circular, spongy bread. A roll of injera is spread out on a plate, with the dishes – stews, vegetables, meats – served on top of it. Using the right hand – the left is considered dirty – you rip a piece of injera and use it to scoop up the dishes.

Ethiopian Orthodox Christians don’t eat animal products for 40 days before Christmas. Making up for that, the Christmas feast was all meat: Chicken stew, spicy sheep, toasted beef, spicy grilled goat, grilled goat served over hot coals, spiced raw beef, savory sheep. We were forced to eat plate after plate, chasing each with homebrewed liquor.

After dinner, we had an Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

Coffee originated in Ethiopia, and it is arguably the culture’s core social ritual today. If in the US coffee has been made as bland and commercial as possible, in Ethiopia, it couldn’t be more the opposite.

The ceremony starts by roasting raw coffee beans, then grinding them, either with a mortar and pestle, or an electric grinder, if the person has the means. They are then mixed into water in a clay vase-esque pot, which is placed over coals. As that cooks, the coffee preparer lights incense, which you breathe in while drinking the coffee. When the coffee is hot enough, it is poured into small cups over sugar.

Then you repeat: Coffee ceremonies are rarely performed once; most people repeat them 2 or 3 times. In that period, they catch up on the gossip, the day’s events, life, politics. Most families do this daily.

A traditional Ethiopian coffee pot, cup, and incense

Our hosts spent hours telling us about Ethiopian society and culture. If there was one takeaway, it’s that in Ethiopia, the community is king.

Each neighborhood has an elected leader and neighbors chip into a fund each month, which covers funeral costs whenever someone dies. Groups of neighbors also regularly contribute money into a fund, which a community member has the right to draw from each month. That allows people to start businesses, make down payments, and more, without having to pay interest to a bank.

They asked me if we have anything similar in the US. I was a bit ashamed to say that I don’t even know my neighbors.

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

🌊 Roca Clubhouse

Yesterday's Poll:

Better “S” word?

Serendipity: 32%

Shenanigans: 68%

Yesterday's Question:

If you had to pick a person to represent your generation, who would you choose?

Mike from South Carolina: “Aaron Judge, He is a multi generational inspiration, who never has or had bad press.”

David from DC: “Keanu Reeves - He might have just missed Generation X (born in 1964), but he represents Generation X much more than a Boomer. He's humble, celebrity without the celebrity baggage and his life over time represents the Generation X persona.”

Spencer from Florida: “Millie Bobby Brown and/or Nick DiGiovanni. They represent the wackiness and eccentricity of Gen Z to a tee.”

🧠 Final Thoughts

A HUGE thank you to the many of you who sent in your thoughts about yesterday's Ethiopia Wrap. We love hearing from you and seeing those responses. Please keep them coming!

The weekend is just about here. We hope you finish the week strong and cruise into a great weekend!

–Max and Max