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The Los Angeles Daily News, June 4, 2006

Gift ideas for Dads and Grads

ROCK ON: If Dad's idea of a great gift is front-row tickets for a Rolling Stones concert, check out Wolfgang's Vault, a Web site that offers rock memorabilia from the '60s to today, and includes vintage T-shirts, tickets, photos and posters from more than 17,000 concerts worldwide.

The Vault's holdings feature the complete archives of legendary rock promoter Bill Graham, whose headliners included Johnny Cash, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Janis Joplin, Aerosmith, Jefferson Airplane, AC/DC and Phish.

For dads about to rock, visit

PICTURE THIS: Instead of simply putting a family photo in a frame, give Dad a real work of art with help from The Web site reproduces your uploaded photo image as a painting on stretched, museum-quality canvas. Prices start at $34.95 for an 8-by-12-inch unframed/rolled canvas.

FORE!: If Dad is a golfer, it shouldn't be hard to please him this Father's Day. There are plenty of books on the subject. You might want to start with "Byron Nelson: The Most Remarkable Year in the History of Golf" by John Companiotte (Triumph Books; $24.95). The year referred to in the title is 1945, when Nelson won 11 consecutive victories on the tour. Overall he won 18 tournaments, finishing either first or second in 25 of the 30 PGA events that year.

Ken Venturi tells of his life playing and broadcasting golf in "Getting Up & Down: My 60 Years in Golf" (Triumph Books; $16.95). Venturi wrote his own story with Michael Arkush.

If Dad would rather have instruction instead of history, "Total Golf: The Most Comprehensive Guide to Golf and Golf Instruction" by Mike Adams and T.J. Tomasi with Kathryn Maloney (Triumph Books; $19.95) is for him. It contains color step-by-step photos that will help Dad improve his swing with tips from pros.

If Dad is an older golfer, he might enjoy "Golf After 50: Playing Without the Pain" edited by Terry W. Hensle, M.D., with David Chmiel (Rodale Books; $18.95). Twenty-five doctors examine the most common injuries of over-50 golfers and offer advice on avoiding injury and staying pain-free.

GUY CANDY: If Dad's been shortchanged in the sweets department, this could be his year. The ultimate guy candy might just be Pork Chocs, Sugar Free Dark Chocolate Dipped Pork Rinds. These sweet, crunchy nibbles could be a true non-guilty pleasure (they are, in fact, low in carbs) whether Dad is a redneck or not. Pork Chocs cost about $8.95 and are available through or A Bountiful Harvest Designs at

DADS ON DUTY: Real men do dust. So says author David Bowers in his new book "Dad's Own Housekeeping Book" (Workman; $10.95). This testosterone-packed guide to tidying up offers tips for guys on how to get housework done quickly, efficiently and with as little fuss as possible. It's what Bowers calls "good-enough housekeeping."

Chapters are based on Bowers' own experiences as a work-at-home dad and include topics like: "How to approach housework like yardwork, only indoors" and "How to load your dishwasher like you load the trunk of your car." There are tips for making the bed in less than a minute as well as a 30-minute emergency housecleaning that passes a "mother-in-law's approval."

Great for any man of the house who wants to sharpen his skills and have a few laughs.

RAZOR'S EDGE: Dad can shave in style with any of the latest razor grooming centers from Hommage. Each set includes an ergonomically designed razor employing a Gillette MACH3 blade and a brush made of silvertip badger hair designed to retain soap and water, open the pores and prevent ingrown hairs.

These attach magnetically to stands finished in high-gloss chrome that stylishly meld form and function.The centers start at $375 and are available at Barneys New York, The Shave of Beverly Hills, Hotel Bel-Air and Fred Segal Beauty.

HITTING THE ROAD: For the recent graduate who plans on traveling anywhere on the planet, "The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Travel" (Chronicle Books; $14.95) is a guide to overcoming his or her worst travel fears - from arriving safely to getting home in one piece. Authors Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht offer real-life how-to tasks that will make an adrenalin junkie smile and the novice traveler chuckle. Readers will learn how to stop a runaway passenger train, how to foil a UFO abduction and how to cross a piranha-infested river. Yes, this book is tongue-in-cheek, but the advice is real. Available at

TURN UP THE VOLUME: Let the new grad take out the earplugs and fill his dorm room or new apartment with his favorite tunes. Dock the iPod on a Bose SoundDock station and get rid of the old stereo. Small and sleek, it will look good on any shelf or desk. Around $300 at many sound system stores.

COLLEGE SURVIVAL: College is the next big adventure for high-school grads, but living without your parents and with a roommate can be a challenge. The College Survival Kit includes 15 essentials for freshmen: a sleep mask, earplugs, book light, book clip, privacy door sign, first-aid kit, mending kit, collapsible clothes hamper, laundry instructions, computer screen wipes, six-in-one screwdriver, poster adhesive, air freshener, caffeineenergy gum and a pizza gift certificate. $54.95 at

COMMON-SENSE ADVICE: Harlan Cohen, a syndicated columnist for teens and young adults, dishes common-sense wisdom in "The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College" (Sourcebooks; $14.95). Cohen begins the book with "Arriving on Campus" and ends with "It's Almost Time to Say Goodbye." In between, he covers homesickness, life in the dorms, the pros and cons of student groups, laundry, Greek life, sex, alcohol, cafeteria food, roommates and making it to class on time (and what happens if you don't). Each topic includes a Harlan Tip, accompanied by a true story from a college student. Cohen gives good advice in a nonpreachy tone.

A HIGH OLD TIME: Want a real getaway? Want to go where few have gone before? Then the Morton Peak Fire Lookout is an ideal choice. The lookout, in the San Bernardino National Forest, is now open year-round for overnight stays. About 10 miles from Interstate 10, the lookout - a 14-by-14-foot room with windows all around - is perched atop a 30-foot tower. Overnight guests will be treated to a self-guided interpretive experience in which they learn about the history of the lookout, the role lookouts play in spotting fires today and years ago, and hear stories from those who staffed this lookout. For reservations and availability, call (800) 424-4232.

THE NEED FOR SPEED: If you can't afford a Ferrari car for Dad or grad this year, there is another option: The Acer Ferrari 4000 notebook PC. This PC is, according to company reports, the world's first notebook to harness the cutting-edge technology pioneered and perfected in the world of Formula One and in the aerospace industry. The carbon-fiber casing conceals AMD64 bit technology. Colors are black and Ferrari red. The Acer Ferrari 4000 retails for about $2,000 and available at any number of Web sites with a search for "Acer Ferrari 4000."

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