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This Disney Movies Under the Stars Backyard Theater feature is presented in collaboration with The Walt Disney Company

The Walt Disney Signature Collection has been bringing movie fans all-new editions of some of the biggest classics from Walt Disney Animation Studios. Launching with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Beauty and the Beast and Pinocchio have also received the Signature treatment, and the latest to appear is the 1942 classic, Bambi. We have a strange relationship with that film here in our house... quite simply, my wife won't watch it. Still, that didn't stop us from making that our second film in our latest run of Disney Movies Under the Stars in our backyard theater here at Rock Father HQ with the Bambi Anniversary Edition.

Brought to you in collaboration between The Rock Father™ and Grand Central Publishing

From the page to the screen, JASON BOURNE is one of the most popular and compelling characters in contemporary fiction. Originally created by bestselling author Robert Ludlum, the Jason Bourne series continues with stories by New York Times bestselling writer Eric Van Lustbader, and this month ROBERT LUDLUM’S THE BOURNE INITIATIVE, the 14th book in the Jason Bourne series hit bookstores. To celebrate its release, The Rock Father™ is giving you a shot at winning a hardcover copy of THE BOURNE INITIATIVE along with a $50 VISA Gift Card good toward an "initiative" of your choosing. Are you ready for action?

If you're looking for something on the noisier side of the spectrum to kick off the week, check out "Seizure and Desist" - the new music video for the second single from the forthcoming self-titled debut from DEAD CROSS, which premiered via Loudwire. Along with the video comes the announcement that the band featuring Dave Lombardo (ex-Slayer/Suicidal Tendencies), Justin Pearson (Retox/The Locust), Mike Patton (Faith No More/Tomahawk) and Michael Crain (Retox, Festival of Dead Deer) will be joined on tour this summer by SECRET CHIEFS 3, featuring Patton's former Mr. Bungle guitarist, Trey Spruance.

Brought to you in collaboration between The Rock Father™ and Universal Pictures

On June 30, 2017, Universal Pictures will bring Illumination Entertainment's DESPICABLE ME 3 (get tix via Fandango) into theaters nationwide. To celebrate the third chapter of Gru's epic saga (which finds him teaming-up with brother Dru), Universal and The Rock Father™ have teamed-up to give you a shot at winning a cool DESPICABLE ME 3 Soundtrack & Toy Prize Pack. One lucky reader will receive the DESPICABLE ME 3 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack featuring Original Songs and Themes by Pharrell Williams, and a Despicable Me 3 Mini Music Mate from Thinkway Toys

This Disney Movies Under the Stars Backyard Theater feature is presented in collaboration with The Walt Disney Company

It was last year that something finally happened that I'd been hoping to do for a very long while... we finally put together a backyard theater here at Rock Father HQ. In partnership with Disney, we started an outdoor movie series right in our own backyard - and it was awesome. Movies are best enjoyed in a group, and while a great cinema experience is fantastic, there's something special about seeing a movie outdoors. Drive-in theaters are the best, and of course there's movies in the park - but now technology has caught up to the point where it's affordable for families to host some screenings at home. First up for our 2017 season? Disney's live-action reimagining of Beauty and the Beast!

May 25, 2017 officially marked the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars, but the birthday celebration continues as we head toward the December release of Rian Johnson's new film, Star Wars: The Last Jedi. With all the great products out there that pay tribute to a galaxy far, far away, some of the coolest aren't toys or apparel, but wall art for your home or office. The folks at EntertainArt have been making pop culture decor for ages, and Star Wars has been a big part of that for awhile. When they asked me to take a look at their special collection of Star Wars 40th Anniversary prints, one in particular immediately grabbed me and I knew I had to have it... "Darth Vader Lives." It's an exclusive design that you won't find anywhere else, digitally-printed in a 16"x20" recessed box. So why did this particular design grab me? Because I had it once before... in fact, I wore it.

This #RockFathersDay™ feature is brought to you in collaboration between The Rock Father™, Life of Dad and Pampers. #ThanksBaby!

Eight years ago this August... and again five years ago this past Thursday, babies were born, and so was "The Rock Father™" - It's a tale that I've told before, but when Father's Day rolls around, it's one that's always worth telling again...

My wife and I were driving south on I-94 outside of Chicago in November of 2008. We were on our way to a Thanksgiving gathering that was happening pre-Thanksgiving, and she turned to me very quickly and said "I think you knocked me up." That was the moment that I first realized that I'd soon become a Father for the very first time. The weight of things didn't really hit me, but I remember smiling ear-to-ear and just thinking, "OK - let's do this!" She was afraid that I'd be unhappy about the news - especially because just the night before... I'd been on the phone with my Mom, who was shopping at Target with a couple of my step-brother's kids - and as they were acting out and being naughty - I made some quip about "this is why we don't have kids!" Funny thing is, I've always been good with kids - but there's also definitely an "old me" versus the man who I've become. On August 7, 2009 - our 10th Wedding Anniversary - our first daughter, Adalyn, was born. We liked the experience so much that we prepped a sequel, and were back at the hospital four years ago today - June 15, 2012, for the release of our second "Rock Daughter," baby Finley! The personal change that I've experienced as a father is undeniable, and both I and my wife have our girls to thank for it.

I tend to be notoriously hesitant when it comes to crowdfunding efforts*, but once in awhile something hits my radar that I'll share here on the site. Tertill: The Solar-Powered Weeding Robot for Home Gardens is just such a project, and it's one that sorta breaks two of my barriers - crowdfunding and home robotics. I have no interest in owning a Roomba to vacuum for me, and when it comes to lawn-mowing robots, that's just terrifying (they look like Battlebots, so I figure they'll attack children) and of no interest since I love mowing my lawn. One thing I don't like? Weeding our gardens. In our raised beds here at Rock Father HQ, we have a major weed problem, and the girls and I can't keep it under control. It's a huge pain, and that's where a little guy like Tertill can come in. Check this out, and watch the pitch video below.

I've been talking about it for months, and now Disney•Pixar's Cars 3 has officially come racing into theaters! The latest chapter in the Cars saga finds an aging Lightning McQueen faced with a turning point in his life and career as a new breed of "next-gen racers" have burst onto the scene, with newcomer Jackson Storm leading the pack. With the help of racing trainer Cruz Ramirez, McQueen sets out to get back on track. Before you head out to the theater, take a look at the latest clips from the film, along with LOU - the latest Pixar short, screening just before Cars 3. Get tickets now via my affiliate, Fandango.

When I think of the toys of my childhood, there's a few that have pretty legendary status. There was a time when some of the best playsets were made of little more than cardboard, and because of that, not many of them survived. One such playset was one of my favorites - the G.I. Joe Cobra Missle Command Headquarters. Originally offered as a Sears exclusive back in 1982, this was one of the first G.I. Joe playsets that I had, and I played with it until it fell apart. While I still have the figures that came with it, the set is a memory (I might have some Super 8mm film of it), but now it's all coming back. Next month, Hasbro will issue a reproduction of that playset as an SDCC exclusive, complete with modern figures. Check this out...

The Rob Morrow Band, featuring singer/guitarist Rob Morrow, are set to play the Eyes To The Skies Festival in Lisle, IL, on Sunday July 2, hitting The VanKampen Main Stage at 6:45pm, for a 90-minute set, just before country superstar Cassadee Pope. Reverend Horton Heat and Foghat will headline the other two nights of the festival which will also offer sunrise/sunset hot air balloon rides, 40 unique crafters selling their wares, 50 food vendors, 100 activities for kids, and a carnival of rides and games provided by Wilson’s Family Show.

It wasn't necessarily a secret (in fact, I mentioned here that it was in-development), but ABC's THE TOY BOX is coming back for a second season. The network made it official today, announcing on Instagram that production is underway and that some "brand new toy inventions will be unveiled soon" 

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) play is hot right now, and looking ahead it's a category that will only continue to grow. For some toys placed in that category of hands-on learning, not all are necessarily "new," but sometimes new spins on some old classics. Marble play is pretty timeless, and I even had a Marbleworks set some 30-40 years ago, one that I believe my mom might still have. Likewise, my wife and I have played with some similar things with our own kids, and one recent offering is the Techno Gears Marble Mania Catapult set, sent to us for review by The Learning Journey, along with their new Techno Gears Bionic Bug.

Angry Birds has evolved... and you might even say that it just got weird. Rovio, the creator of the legendary Angry Birds, has just launched Angry Birds Evolution - a completely new spin on the game. Along with eastern-style RPG mechanics and promising "console quality graphics" on mobile, the birds are completely reimagined and redesigned to collect, train, and evolve... you could even say that "these birds are not to be flocked with." Rovio, in co-operation with Chimera Entertainment, have created over 100 new birds with multiple evolution states (some look suspiciously familiar to certain 80s action legends and comic book heroes). The dastardly pigs in never ending fauna swine conflict are led by the evil(ish) Don Bacon, who plans to turn the idyllic Bird Island into a hotel chain. Check out the launch trailer and a character featurette that looks quite PREDATOR...

Thursday, June 15 2017 00:00

Coffee & Rock: Ready to Roll for Father's Day

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This #ShouldBeOnACoffeeMug feature is brought to you in collaboration between The Rock Father, The J.M. Smucker Company and Life of Dad.

June is an important month around here, but it’s also a slightly weird one. Being that Father’s Day sits around the mid-month mark, that’s usually a signal for a huge influx of pitches I start getting from companies looking for some last-minute coverage in hopes of reaching families before the annual celebration of Fatherhood. Most of those don’t resonate with me, and some are fairly ridiculous -- many of them coming from folks I don’t hear from during the rest of the year. It’s almost like having a second birthday.  You see, I don’t need a “day” to celebrate what I am and always will be, but Father’s Day does hold some additional importance here - significance well-beyond selling greeting cards, novelty ties and coffee mugs (but remember that last one). I flipped the switch on this website on Father’s Day seven years ago. And our youngest daughter was born on Father’s Day weekend back in 2012. In life, there’s certain things that are ever-present, and for me, coffee is one of those things. Yes, coffee… and there’s familial importance. You could say that there’s “coffee in my blood,” but the more accurate a statement would be that it’s actually in my DNA. A close relationship with coffee has a lineage in my family, and that’s something that I’ve written about before. My great grandfather… my father’s grandfather, my grandmother’s father… he was a coffee taster by trade. My first name was his middle name.

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