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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? 

Part of a series of features from The Rock Father™ celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Hot Wheels.

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Hot Wheels, Mattel is throwing things back to where it all began... to May of 1968 when a 1:64-scale Spectraflame blue Chevrolet Camaro first hit stores. Elliot Handler, who co-founded Mattel with his wife, Ruth, wanted to do something big. He wanted to create a toy car that was better than anything else out there at the time. It had to look cooler. It had to perform better. And, with a rocket scientist and the help of Harry Bentley Bradley, a designer plucked from General Motors, an icon was born. Famously stating "Those are some hot wheels!," the "fastest metal cars in the world" now had a name and 15 more would join that blue Camaro to become known as the original "Sweet 16." These rides have become highly sought-after, so for Hot Wheels official birthday (May 18), Mattel has unleashed the Hot Wheels 50th Originals Collection. The assortment includes replicas of five Hot Wheels from the Sweet 16, each presented with legacy graphics, detailed Spectraflame paint, Redline wheels, and just like the originals, they come with a collectible button packed alongside the car on reproduction blister packs that look just like they did back in 1968!

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