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The Hess Toy Truck has been a holiday tradition since 1964, but in 1998 the vehicles spawned something... smaller. 2018 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Hess Toy Truck Mini Collection, launched in 1998 as a way to pay tribute to the holiday Hess Toy Trucks from the past. Of course, the Hess Toy Truck isn't always a "truck," but sometimes a different type of vehicle or a hauler of some type. To celebrate two decades of the minis, the 2018 Mini Collection is a limited-production set of three highly detailed, small-scale versions of classic holiday Hess Toy Trucks – the 1970 Hess Toy Fire Truck, the 1977 Hess Fuel Oil Tanker, and the 1988 Hess Toy Truck and Racer. Thanks to the folks at the Hess Corporation, we got our hands on a set early to have some play time and a photo shoot here at Rock Father HQ. Let's take a look...

Rube Goldberg Machine ContestIf you've ever seen Back to the Future, played a game of Mouse Trap or watched a recent OK Go video (particularly "This Too Shall Pass"), then you've seen a Rube Goldberg Machine. These creations are elaborate, generally ridiculous machines that are crafted for the purpose of accomplishing a mundane task... like brewing a cup of coffee or feeding your dog. Rube Goldberg has been called "the grandfather of S.T.E.M." due to the enduring legacy of his iconic illustrations. Goldberg was a Pulitzer Prize-winning engineer and cartoonist, and his "invention cartoons" were the blueprint for countless contraptions that now bear his name. In 1988, things became official with the start of the RUBE GOLDBERG MACHINE CONTEST®, originally as a college competition. Three decades later, the annual contest encourages student inventors from across the country to create the best machines that they can, and for the 30th Anniversary, the 2018 contest came to a conclusion in Chicago.

As Lucasfilm's Solo: A Star Wars Story comes out of hyperspace to land in theaters, the marketing partnerships, collaborations and thematic tie-ins are hitting full swing. Over at AMC Theatres, their MacGuffins Bar & Lounge continues to roll out some creative cocktails inspired by some of the biggest theatrical releases of the year, and for Solo they've got a good one. Toplined by Dan Aykroyd's Crystal Head Vodka, "The Scoundrel" is a beverage that looks exactly like something that Lando Calrissian would be whipping up in his bar aboard the Millennium Falcon (yes, it has a bar!*). Between blasting bounty hunters, ducking gangsters and avoiding the law, being a scoundrel is thirsty work. Satisfy your thirst with a mix of Crystal Head Vodka, blue curacao, house-made lemonade and a splash of Chambord...

Movies and snacks go together like Han and Chewie, and with the release of Lucasfilm's Solo: A Star Wars Story, the folks at popchips have a snacking suggestion. A special package arrived in my mailbox here at Rock Father HQ this week - one that contained a bag of popchips Galaxy Puffs and pair of tickets to see Solo: A Star Wars Story at the local Regal Cinemas. It's said "Hey James! This is the box you're looking for!," and contained a note to emphasize that "great movies deserve great snacks," and that they've delivered "the best snack in the galaxy" to "take your taste buds to hyperspace." Now I'm sure that "best snack in the galaxy" is subjective, as Jabba the Hutt tends to prefer a jar of those little frog-like creatures, the Ewoks will forage for just about anything, and who knows what Wuher is serving-up at the Mos Eisley Cantina these days. But these aged cheddar puffs are pretty good - and it's said that they're "Popped with The Force."

Just because your chickens live in a coop doesn’t mean they – and more likely – you, can’t appreciate a few touch ups. Backyard chicken keeping expert Lisa Steele has been sprucing up her coop creating Pinterest-worthy DIY touches you’ll want to copy for your own feathered friends’ humble adobe. Her books (available through Amazon - an affiliate of The Rock Father™ Magazine) and website have been a constant source of inspiration for flock masters everywhere, and this fall that library grows with the release of 101 Chicken Keeping Hacks, due out in September. Here's just a few ideas for a Pinterest-worthy coop...

I'm not exactly the most fashionable guy, and that's something that I've been known to admit on an increasingly frequent occasion. When it comes to just about anything, I'm more interested in solving a problem... accomplishing a task and making sure that things do what they claim to do. I get pitched a lot of products here at Rock Father HQ and what you see in the midst of these virtual pages is just a tiny percentage of what comes in. Tech and fashion share a lot in common in that a lot of the pitches that come in just don't serve any real purpose - they're just more... stuff. And when it comes to the ever-growing world of phone accessories, much like fashion designers always seem to be borrowing "inspiration" from someone or somewhere else, I don't see a lot of innovation and that bores me to the point of losing interest, hence I don't cover a lot of it. There are exceptions, and one recent product that arrived here for review and cut through the clutter is Monet. So what exactly is a Monet? 

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