August 7 is a date of great significance. Fourteen years ago today... August 7, 1999, my wife and I were married. It was just two years prior that we'd gone on our first date - and a mere three months after that when we'd become engaged. I'd always heard that time speeds up as you get older, but as I sit here as a 36-year-old in 2013 thinking back to that 22-year-old living in '99, I can't help but think about how much time has really flown by. While fourteen years have come-and-gone, it's the last four that have gone exceptionally fast. On August 7, 2009... our 10th Wedding Anniversary, I became "The Rock Father" when our first daughter was born. Today, our Little Addie turns four!
It's a known fact that I'm not a fan of ICONA POP. While The Rock Father might not love "I Love It," I do love COOKIE MONSTER, and today my big blue friend finally made "I Love It" worth listening to through his reworked cover, "Me Want It." The new, Cookie-centric version of the song comes from SESAME STREET Season 44 (premiering September 16, 2013 on PBS KIDS!), in which Cookie Monster has his own segment to help kids learn to practice self-restraint. Check out Cookie's new video below, along with a full playlist of Sesame Street Season 44 Previews... including the SONS OF ANARCHY riff, "Sons of Poetry," and the introduction of Sesame Street's newest resident, 'Mando!
Gardening is a part of our daily routine here at Rock Father HQ. While we've got a lot of basic maintenance-type stuff to do, we occasionally fall into an oddball project, and last month we had one. The removal of The Bush of Doom... and the rebirth of the area from which it came.
I don't know how many of you know about this since it all happened prior to my starting The Rock Father, but on February 1, 2010, I lost one of my closest friends to a single-car accident on a rural road in Southeastern Wisconsin. JUSTIN MENTELL was just 27 years old, a talented artist that excelled at everything he'd attempt. We'd met back in 2004 while working on the set of a movie called ROLL BOUNCE, and over the next six years, we'd share many adventures, collaborate on some things, and above all, have each other's backs. After moving to Hollywood for a few years to work on projects like BOSTON LEGAL and PALO ALTO, Justin moved back to Illinois after the premiere of the Disney Film, G-FORCE, in which he had a supporting role. He'd begun focusing on his painting and music, and his German Shepherd, Meisner was a constant companion. Just over six months later, everything came to an abrupt stop.
This past Friday night, I was invited to be one of a select group of Bloggers to take part in a first-of-its-kind event at American Girl Place in Chicago. It was a celebration - a baby shower of sorts - to announce American Girl's new arrival: The Brand-New World of Bitty Baby. On August 27, 2013, the newly-enhanced Bitty Baby line of 15-inch dolls, clothing, and accessories for girls ages 3+ will make it's public debut at American Girl stores, and online at AmericanGirl.com.
UPDATE #2 - Three+ Years Later: As of 2016, a new line of Sofia the First Toys are being created and sold by Just Play Toys, thus negating this original article... unless, of course, you happen to come across old stock that could still be floating around from 2013. And, in fairness, we did eventually buy some of the later Mattel releases and they were just fine. In fact, the Royal Prep playset is still played with regularly... years later.
UPDATE: Since posting this entry, Rachel Cooper, Senior Manager of Public Relations for Mattel, got in touch. After speaking with her on the phone this evening, I can tell you that Mattel is well-aware of the problems, and that the line has gone through a "complete overhaul." This means that new shipments of merchandise should start arriving in August as part of an inline change. Families that have purchased defective or sub-standard product can contact Mattel Customer Service for a free replacement from the new batches as they arrive. Rachel made it very clear that Mattel is sorry for any issues or disappointment.
There is trouble in Enchancia. Royally-bad trouble, I'm afraid... and as a parent - and a writer - this is one of those times where I'm sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but more than happy to raise the flag to spread the word and hold accountable those who are responsible. Parents and Children across the country are discovering that there's BIG problems with the new line of toys based on Disney Junior's SOFIA THE FIRST. Specifically, the collection of 3-inch scale Dolls (action figures?) by Mattel, and all related accessories, including the "Magical Talking Castle."