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This Country is regressing. Despite all the "talk" of moving forward, creating a brighter future for our children and embracing a World where there is equality and freedom for everyone - The United States is in rapid decline, and there is little to show me otherwise. Here in Illinois, Chicago has taken the stage as becoming "the wild west" once more - a place where crime pays and the bullets fly early and often. Since the installation of Rahm Emanuel as Mayor, Chicago has fast-begun reverting to the ADVENTURES IN BABYSITTING depiction of the City - a dirty and ominous place where you have to question whether it's really safe to take the kids. If it's "keeping up appearances" that create a first impression, The Windy City is also failing - from burnt out lights on the welcome sign to NAVY PIER (the City's top tourist destination), to decaying Christmas decorations at O'Hare airport (saw plenty of half-lit wreaths still displayed as of February 13!) or signage where "Mayor Richard M. Daley" has been hastily painted-over rather than being replaced with the new regime. While I could go on about the plight of Illinois and Chicagoland in general, it's the "news" that brings to light the further regression from other States, and each day brings forth another head-scratcher. What the hell is wrong with Kansas?

Published in James' Journal

Jelly BellyAnd who says that jelly beans are just for kids and Easter baskets? One of my earliest jelly bean memories was hearing about how much Ronald Reagan dug 'em back in the early 80s. So, you could say that they're a certified "grownup" snack, and one worthy of Presidential consumption. Knowing that, the folks at Jelly Belly have long made some unique, more "grownup" flavors, and this week they've rolled out another. Introducing, the Draft Beer Jelly Bean...

Published in Food and Drink

In all areas of media, there are certain companies that operate just on the fringe of good taste, principle... and intellectual property laws. Much like those companies that put out similarly-titled and plotted films that land on DVD racks just to confuse good-hearted grandparents (I'm looking at people like Engine 15 Media, with their dubious CARS & TOY STORY knock-offs; and whoever the makers of CHOP-KICK PANDA are), there's long-been some occasional similarities in the toy department from major and minor players alike. Such is the case with "The Toon Studio of Beverly Hills" (aka United Trademark Holdings) and their "Junior Elf Fairy PRINCESS" line, which I'm sure is meant to look nothing like the famous DISNEY PRINCESS collection. Nor is their "Original Cars" line supposed to evoke images of Disney-Pixar's CARS... their "Original Monsters" supposed to resemble UNIVERSAL MONSTERS... or the "Original Fairies" supposed to be anything remotely similar to Disney FAIRIES. So what of this new FAIRY TALE HIGH collection of dolls that showed up at Walmart and Toys "R" Us this past month? Nah, they're not similar to anything else out there right now.

I don't like when news hits my desk at 9pm on a Wednesday night... when I already have a game plan laid out for things to cover. But, when the news involves two Kindie Rock Superstars sucked into an animated world... cruising the land on motorcycles straight out of EASY RIDER... jamming some tunes as... toons, I'm ok with it. TODD McHATTON and MISTA COOKIE JAR have teamed-up for TODD AND COOKIE'S CATAPULT OF DESTINY, "a mystical, magical, rock & roll adventure for the whole family," that will unfold as songs, cartoons, and webcomics every three months, beginning on September 24. Check out a preview...

Published in Family Music

Earlier this year, a package arrived here at Rock Father HQ containing two ShtankOut! Plush Toys. But were they really "toys," or are they a deodorizer? It's a strange concept that brings a few different elements into a new product, self-described as an "adorable plush clip-on toy that doubles as an odor eliminator – Perfect for smelly sports bags, lockers, backpacks and more." So what's the reality as experienced here in The Rock Father's State-of-the-Art Toy Testing Facility (our house)?

Published in General News
LEGO Brand RetailIn what certainly seemed like a bad April Fools' joke, many news outlets have reported today that "LEGO is pulling their Jabba's Palace Playset following a Muslim Controversy." Yes, there were some people that made a stink about nothing. Yes, the LEGO set will end production this year. No, the set is not being pulled due to any controversy, but it will end production in 2013... just as all LEGO sets eventually do. In fact, you can still order the set right now from the Official LEGO Shop.
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