A fan asked Yoda creator Frank Oz if 'Star Wars' is 'boy stuff.' Jedi wisdom ensued.

Muppets and Yoda co-creator Frank Oz is having a party on Twitter, and everyone is welcome.

The 74-year-old director and puppeteer is a living legend. He's the creator of beloved characters like Miss Piggy, Bert (of Bert and Ernie), Cookie Monster, and, of course, Yoda.

Oz has been tweeting up a storm in 2018, engaging with fans and talking about his new documentary "Muppet Guys Talking," in which he and the other Muppets founders talk about how they helped create the historic family of beloved characters.


Sometimes he's funny; other times he's a little more serious. But, in all cases, Oz makes it clear that his stories and characters are for everyone.

When one parent asked him about her 7-year-old daughter wanting to wear a "Star Wars" T-shirt but fearing a backlash, Oz had a clear-cut response.

Gender inclusion is a huge issue in fandom, and Oz's tweet matters.

There has been a lot of progress with inclusion in film, particularly when it comes to fantasy and science fiction films.

Three of the last four "Star Wars" films have led with female protagonists, but the genre is still heavily dominated by men. Even behind the scenes, every "Star Wars" film has been directed by a man, despite Lucasfilm being run by Kathleen Kennedy, a woman.

And then there's the issue of gendering products. The "Star Wars" brand is enormous, so having one of the franchise's most famous voices speak out in favor of greater inclusion sends a hopeful message of inclusion.

Oz never wanted to get on Twitter. But now he can't stop.

"I never liked social media. I didn't like Facebook at all. And I didn't know what Twitter was," he says in an interview.

After some nudging from his wife, Victoria Labalme, Oz signed up for an account shortly before the premiere of "The Last Jedi" in December 2017. Labalme says he treats his tweets "almost like little poems," giving time and thought to fans who take the time to send him thoughtful questions.

"It's become more personal for me. I really enjoy talking to them," he says.

After his gender inclusion tweet, another fan thanked Oz for being so generous in his interactions with fans. The fan added a self-deprecating tone to his tweet, but Oz was having none of it:

Leave it to a "Muppet Guy" to remind us that Twitter can still be a force for good.

Oz knows what it's like to feel vulnerable. Countless people have connected with his characters, but he never saw himself as the center of attention.

"I was a very shy person. I was internal. To a great degree, I still am introverted," he says. "The puppets protected me from being rejected."

And for nearly 60 years he's been returning the favor to boys, girls, and anyone else who wants to join in the fun.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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4 minutes of silence can boost your empathy for others. Watch as refugees try it out.

We could all benefit from breaking down some of the walls in our lives.

Images via Amnesty Poland

This article originally appeared on 05.26.16


You'd be hard-pressed to find a place on Earth with more wall-based symbolism than Berlin, Germany.

But there, in the heart of Germany's capital city, strangers sat across from one another, staring into each other's eyes. To the uninitiated, it may look as though you've witnessed some sort of icy standoff. The truth, however, couldn't be more different.

This was about tearing down walls between people.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."