You know the best thing about Father's Day? Chances are that no matter what you do for ole Pop, he'll be happy. No need to lavish a fancy brunch on him or build him a bouquet of flowers made from exotic fruits. Throw a steak on the grill, open him a cold one, give him a handmade sweater or a gift certificate to the bait shop and he'll grin like he's watching Animal House for the first time.
Still, there's nothing wrong with aiming for the fences this coming Sunday. And despite our temptation to get creative, the National Retail Federation say our Father's Day purchases will likely fall into one of five categories, which we've ranked below.
(Oddly enough, home improvement items didn't make the Top 5 list, so take that rotary saw back to the hardware store and consider tickets to the big game instead!)
While the most popular categories are fairly obvious, we're going to help you one step further. Deal Divas blogger Stephanie Hayes has offered her expert advice on unique ideas within each category. Take it away, Steph!
Compiled by Steve Spears, Times staff writer
Top 5 Father's Day Purchases (with projected 2009 spending)
1 THE BIG NIGHT OUT ($1.9 billion): "Let's be honest. Dad doesn't want elegant. He doesn't want three bites of foie gras on a banana leaf. He wants big, fatty, oozy, saucy, chompy. He wants the holy trinity — barbecue, burgers, beer."
2 CLOTHING ($1.3 billion): "Whatever you do, no belts with embroidered fish. No jean shorts (jorts). No shirts with elastic bands of any kind. If you really love Dad, you'll do the right thing."
3 GIFT CARDS ($1.2 billion): "People say gift cards are impersonal, but they lie. Everyone wants a gift card, even Dad. That way, he doesn't have to worry about you picking out the fish belt."
4 ELECTRONICS ($1 billion): "Nothing says, 'I love you, but your nose hair is out of control' like a personal grooming kit. Mom will thank you."
5 BOOKS/CDs ($548 million): "How about a book on CD? All of the pithy intellectualism, none of the work. No one at cocktail hour will ever suspect he sat on his duff and didn't crack a page."
These dads are truly eeeevil | Top 5 Bad Dads
Anybody can come up with a Top 5 Fictional Dads list. But it takes a twisted mind to conceive of this week's special list. So enjoy a few of our least-favorite dads.
1 Darth Vader: You cut off your son's hand and threaten his sister and you're gonna always land in the top spot. The force is not with you.
2 Tony Soprano: "Seriously, kids, I'm just a garbage man. And this woman, who's not your mother, is just a close family friend."
3 Al Bundy: We have no objection to his trade as a shoe salesman. But the Married … With Children dad, played brilliantly by Ed O'Neill, has got to keep his hand out of his trousers.
4 George Bluth Sr.: The patriarch in Arrested Development wrecked the family business, committed treason, escaped from prison and faked his death. No tie for you on Sunday, George (though actor Jeffrey Tambor deserves one).
5 Jack Torrance: What did we learning from Jack Nicholson's role in The Shining? All work and no play makes the last dad on our list an ax-wielding psychopath. But hey, kids will do that to you.
Top 5 weekend movies:
1. The Hangover, $33.4 million
2. Up, $30.5 million
3. The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, $25 million
4. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian, $9.6 million
5. Land of the Lost, $9.2 million
Top 5 prime-time TV shows (week ending June 7):
1. NBA Finals Game 2: Orlando vs. L.A. Lakers (ABC)
2. NBA Finals Game 1: Orlando vs. L.A. Lakers (ABC)
3. Law and Order: SVU (NBC)
4. NCIS (CBS)
5. The Mentalist (CBS)
Source: Nielsen Media Research
Top 5 DVD rentals on Netflix:
1. Revolutionary Road
3. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
4. He's Just Not That Into You
5. Paul Blart: Mall Cop
Top 5 albums on iTunes:
1. The E.N.D. (The Energy Never Dies), Black Eyed Peas
2. Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, Dave Matthews Band
3. The Ecstatic, Mos Def
4. Chickenfoot (Bonus Track Version), Chickenfoot
5. The Fame, Lady GaGa
Top 5 search terms on Yahoo:
1. Tami Farrell
2. So You Think You Can Dance
3. Swine flu
4. Claire Danes
5. Britney Spears