11 Father’s Day Gifts for Every Type of Dad

iStock
iStock

Scrambling to find a last-minute Father’s Day gift? You’ve come to the right place. Whether your dad enjoys playing board games, grilling outdoors, or all of the above, there’s likely something for him on this list.

1. FOR THE DAD WHO WANTS TO START A FAMILY BAND.

Black Fender acoustic guitar.
Fender

Buying your dad a time-consuming new hobby is one way to show him how much you love him. This Fender acoustic guitar looks great, and once your dad learns how to play some real chords, it will sound great too. The CD-60SCE includes a built-in tuner and an "Easy-To-Play" neck, making it the perfect gift for beginning to intermediate level musicians.

Find it: Fender, $300

2. FOR THE FASHIONABLE DAD WHO’S IN TOUCH WITH HIS WILD SIDE

Plaid flannel with wildlife lining.
Pladra

If your dad can name his spirit animal without hesitation, this shirt is for him. The inside of this plaid flannel is lined with fabric depicting scenes from nature. In case your dad isn’t a bear person, there are other shirts emblazoned with fish, eagles, turkeys, and seals.

Find it: Pladra, $119

3. FOR THE ADVENTUROUS GRILLER DAD

Ribs cooking on a Himalayan salt block.
Amazon

Even master grillers can learn new tricks. After 20 minutes on the barbecue, this Himalayan salt block becomes a sizzling hot surface that imparts natural salt to whatever it cooks. What a steak cooked on the slab lacks in grill marks it makes up for in flavor.

Find it: Amazon, $18

4. FOR THE DAD WHO’S A CRAFT BEER FANATIC

Collection of craft beer bottles.
Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club

Though your beer-loving dad would probably be happy with a six-pack for Father’s Day, you can do better. Leave the beer selection up to the experts and buy him a membership to the Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club. Each month, members receive a dozen 12-ounce bottles from two boutique microbreweries in the U.S. The package includes a newsletter with tasting notes, potential food pairings, and profiles of the breweries.

Find it: Microbrewed Beer of the Month Club, $27.95 per month

5. FOR THE ACTIVE DAD

Ear pods mold to fit your ear.
Decibullz

Working out is hard enough—the last thing fitness fanatics need is a loose earbud disrupting their gym flow. That’s not a problem with these custom-fit earphones. Before popping them in, wearers must first run the thermoplastic molds under hot water and attach them to the pods. The pliable material is then ready to conform to the unique shape of any ear. So whether your dad does cardio to '90s hip hop or heavy metal, an uncomfortable listening experience won’t be an issue.

Find it: Decibullz, $35

6. FOR THE ASPIRING ASTRONOMER DAD

Handheld telescope with built-in star chart.
Amazon

With this gift, a clear night spent star gazing can quickly turn into an astronomy lesson. The handheld device can identify over 1500 stars. After setting the latitude, date, and time, users peer through the Stellarscope to study an accurate star map superimposed over the real night sky. It’s the perfect way for your dad to entertain himself while sitting by a campfire this summer.

Find it: Amazon, $33

7. FOR THE DAD WHO LOVES BOARD GAMES

Cover of the board game 'Wit's End.'
Amazon

At the next family game night, give your dad a chance to show off his intellect. Wit’s End remixes the traditional trivia board game format by phrasing questions as puzzles and brainteasers. Players race around the board navigating subjects like history, popular culture, geography, and science. The questions get tough, so don’t be surprised when your father’s competitive side starts to show.

Find it: Amazon, $29

8. FOR THE DAD WHO’S A PALEONTOLOGY NERD

Before and after shots of heat-sensitive disappearing dinosaur mug.
Amazon

If you can’t afford to get your dad an annual museum membership for Father's Day, this mug is a good alternative. At room temperature, it depicts a Tyrannosaurus rex stalking its prey. After the hot liquid is added, the dinosaurs fade into lifeless fossils in an exhibit.

Find it: Amazon, $15

9. FOR THE UTILITARIAN DAD

Inside of leather wallet iPhone case.
Amazon

The leather exterior of this iPhone case will appeal to your dad’s simple taste. But inside there’s a secret: The case comes with built-in pockets for holding bills, cards, or anything else that goes in a wallet. It also features a magnetic seal that opens easily and snaps tightly shut to keep contents secure.

Find it: Amazon, $17

10. FOR THE ECO-FRIENDLY COMMUTER DAD

Bike helmet with built-in safety lights.
Amazon

While your dad is out saving the environment by biking to work each day, make sure he doesn’t neglect his own safety. This tricked-out helmet will protect him on the road without compromising his style. The integrated turn signals connect to detachable handlebar controls and the red brake light illuminates automatically when the bike slows down. The gadgetry is also water-resistant, so your dad can keep up his eco-friendly habits rain or shine.

Find it: MoMA Store, $179

11. FOR THE DAD WHO LOVES BASEBALL

Wool cap knit from the yarn inside baseballs.
UncommonGoods

A piece of MLB history is knitted into each one of these beanies: the wool yarn used to make them comes from the insides of baseballs used in professional league games. All hats come with a story card detailing the game in which the ball appeared. So if all goes well for your dad’s favorite team this season, he’ll be superstitiously wearing the cap to ball games by October.

Find it: UncommonGoods, $225

11 Facts About French Bulldogs

iStock/carolinemaryan
iStock/carolinemaryan

These cute little dogs are enjoying a serious comeback. Here’s the scoop on the fourth most popular dog breed in America. 

1. FRENCH BULLDOGS HAVE ROOTS IN ENGLAND.


iStock/malrok

The French bulldog’s origins are murky, but most sources trace their roots to English bulldogs. Lace makers in England were drawn to the toy version of the dog and would use the smaller pups as lap warmers while they worked. When the lace industry moved to France, they took their dogs with them. There, the English bulldogs probably bred with terriers to create bouledogues français, or French bulldogs. 

2. THEY WERE BRED TO BE GREAT COMPANIONS.

Frenchies are affectionate, friendly dogs that were bred to be companions. Although they’re somewhat slow to be housebroken, they get along well with other dogs and aren’t big barkers. The dogs don’t need much exercise, so they are fine in small areas and enjoy the safety of a crate.

3. THEY CAN'T SWIM.


iStock/ginastancel

As a result of their squat frame and bulbous head, French bulldogs can’t swim, so pool owners should keep a watchful eye on their pups. Keep in mind that if you plan a beach vacation, your furry friend might feel a little left out. 

4. FLYING IS A PROBLEM FOR THEM, TOO.

French Bulldogs are a brachycephalic breed, meaning they have shorter snouts than other dogs. These pushed-in faces can lead to a variety of breathing problems. This facial structure, coupled with high stress and uncomfortably warm temperatures, can lead to fatal situations for dogs with smaller snouts. Many breeds like bulldogs and pugs have perished while flying, so as a result, many airlines have banned them. 

Luckily there are special airlines just for pets, like Pet Jets. These companies will transport dogs with special needs on their own flights separate from their owners. There's a human on board to take care of any pups that get sick or panic. 

5. THEY MAKE GREAT BABYSITTERS.

When a baby orangutan named Malone was abandoned by his mother, the Twycross Zoo in England didn’t know if he would make it. Luckily, a 9-year-old French bulldog named Bugsy stepped in and took care of the little guy. The pair became fast friends and would even fall asleep together. When Malone was big enough, he joined the other orangutans at the zoo. 

6. THEY'RE SENSITIVE TO CRITICISM.

Frenchies are very sensitive, so they do not take criticism lightly. If you scold a French bulldog, it might take it very seriously and mope around the house. French bulldogs respond better to positive reinforcement and encouragement. 

7. THEY'RE A TALKATIVE BREED. 

French bulldogs might not bark much, but they do like to “talk.” Using a complex system of yawns, yips, and gargles, the dogs can convey the illusion of their own language. Sometimes they will even sing along with you in the car. 

8. THEY HAVE TWO STYLES OF EARS. 


iStock/IvonneW

Originally, French bulldogs had rose-shaped ears, similar to their larger relative, the English bulldog. English breeders much preferred the shape, but American breeders liked the unique bat ears. When a rose-eared bulldog was featured at the Westminster Kennel Club in 1897, American dog fanciers were very angry

9. THIS CONTROVERSY LED TO THE FORMATION OF THE FRENCH BULL DOG CLUB OF AMERICA.

The FBDCA was founded in protest of the rose-shaped ears. The organization threw its first specialty show in 1898 at New York City’s famed Waldorf-Astoria. The FBDCA website described the event: “amid palms, potted plants, rich rugs and soft divans. Hundreds of engraved invitations were sent out and the cream of New York society showed up. And, of course, rose-eared dogs were not welcomed.”

The somewhat catty efforts of the club led to the breed moving away from rose-shaped ears entirely. Today, French bulldogs feature the bat-shaped ears American breeders fought to showcase. 

10. MOST FRENCH BULLDOGS ARE BORN THROUGH ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION. 

Due to their unusual proportions, the dogs have a little trouble copulating. Males have a hard time reaching the females, and they often get overheated and exhausted when trying to get things going. As a result, a large majority of French bulldogs are created through artificial insemination. While this measure makes each litter of pups more expensive, it also allows breeders to check for potential problems during the process. 

French bulldogs often also have problems giving birth, so many must undergo a C-section. The operation ensures the dog will not have to weather too much stress and prevents future health complications.

11. CELEBRITIES LOVE FRENCHIES.

Frenchies make plenty of appearances in the tabloids. Celebrities like Lady Gaga, Hugh Jackman, and The Rock have all been seen frolicking with their French bulldogs. Even Leonardo DiCaprio has one—aptly named Django. Hugh Jackman’s Frenchie is named Dali, after the way the dog’s mouth curls like the famous artist’s mustache. 

This article originally ran in 2015.

12 Festive Facts About A Christmas Story

Warner Home Video
Warner Home Video

Which Oscar-winning star wanted to play Ralphie Parker's dad? Which actor went on to have a seedy career in the adult film industry? Can you really get your tongue stuck to a metal pole? On the 35th anniversary of A Christmas Story's debut, here are a few tidbits about the holiday classic to tide you over until TNT's 24-hour Christmas marathon.

1. JACK NICHOLSON WAS INTERESTED IN PLAYING RALPHIE'S DAD.

Though Jack Nicholson was reportedly offered the role of The Old Man Parker, and interested, casting—and paying—him would have meant doubling the budget. But director Bob Clark, who didn't know Nicholson was interested, said Darren McGavin was the perfect choice for the role.

2. IT OWES A DEBT TO PORKY'S.

What does Porky's—a raunchy 1980s teen sex comedy—have to do with a wholesome film like A Christmas Story? Bob Clark directed both: Porky's in 1982 and A Christmas Story in 1983. If Porky's hadn't given him the professional and financial success he needed, he wouldn't have been able to bring A Christmas Story to the big screen.

3. RALPHIE SAYS HE WANTS A RED RYDER BB GUN A LOT.

For anyone keeping count, Ralphie says he wants the Red Ryder BB Gun 28 times throughout the course of the movie. That's approximately once every three minutes and 20 seconds.

4. THESE DAYS, PETER BILLINGSLEY SPENDS HIS TIME BEHIND THE CAMERA.

Peter Billingsley, a.k.a. Ralphie, has been good friends with Vince Vaughn since they both appeared in a CBS Schoolbreak Special together in the early 1990s. He doesn't do much acting these days, though he has popped up in cameos (including one in Elf, another holiday classic). Instead, Billingsley prefers to spend his time behind the camera as a director and producer. He has done a lot of work with Vaughn and Jon Favreau, including serving as an executive producer on Iron Man (in which he also made a cameo).

5. YES, YOU CAN GET YOUR TONGUE STUCK ON A PIECE OF COLD METAL.

Mythbusters tested whether it was possible to get your tongue truly stuck on a piece of cold metal. Guess what? It is. So don't triple dog dare your best friend to try it.

6. ONE OF THE YOUNG ACTORS MOVED ON TO A CAREER IN ADULT FILMS.

Scott Schwartz, who played Flick (the kid who stuck his tongue to the frozen flagpole), spent several years working in the adult film industry. In 2000, he turned his attention back to mainstream films. His most recent role was as "Disco City Hot Dog Vendor" in the 2017 TV movie Vape Warz.

7. RALPHIE'S HOUSE IS NOW A MUSEUM.

Next time you're in Cleveland, you can visit the original house from the movie. It was sold on eBay in 2004 for $150,000. Collector Brian Jones bought the house and restored it to its movie glory and stocked it up with some of the original props from the film, including Randy's snowsuit.

8. THE IDEA FOR THE FILM CAME TO BOB CLARK WHILE HE WAS DRIVING TO PICK UP A DATE.

Peter Billingsley, Melinda Dillon, Darren McGavin, and Ian Petrella in A Christmas Story (1983)
Warner Home Video

Director Bob Clark got the idea for the movie when he was driving to pick up a date. He heard Jean Shepherd on the radio doing a reading of his short story collection, In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash, which included some bits that eventually ended up in A Christmas Story. Clark said he drove around the block for an hour until the program ended (which his date was not too happy about).

9. IT PARTLY INSPIRED THE WONDER YEARS.

The Wonder Years was inspired in part by A Christmas Story. In fact, toward the very end of the series, Peter Billingsley even played one of Kevin Arnold's roommates.

10. YOU CAN STILL BUY A RED RYDER BB GUN.

The real Red Ryder BB Gun was first made in 1938 and was named after a comic strip cowboy. You can still buy it today for the low, low price of $39.99. But the original wasn't quite the same as the one in the movie; it lacked the compass and sundial that both the Jean Shepherd story and the movie call for. Special versions had to be made just for A Christmas Story.

11. THE LEG LAMP CAN ALSO BE YOURS.

Peter Billingsley and Melinda Dillon in A Christmas Story (1983)
Warner Home Video

While we're talking shopping: you know you want the leg lamp. Put it in your window! Be the envy of your neighbors! It's a Major Award! You can buy it on Amazon (there's a 40-inch version, as well as a 20-inch replica). If you're not feeling quite so flamboyant, they also make a nightlight version.

12. IT SPAWNED A TRIO OF SEQUELS.

A Christmas Story led to two little-talked-about sequels. The first one was a 1988 made-for-TV movie, Ollie Hopnoodle's Haven of Bliss. Jerry O'Connell played 14-year-old Ralphie, who is excited about his first job—as a furniture mover. Of course, it ends up being awful, and it might make him miss the annual family vacation at Mr. Hopnoodle's lakeside cabins.

My Summer Story, a.k.a. It Runs in the Family, debuted on the big screen in 1994. Kieran Culkin plays Ralphie, Mary Steenburgen is his mom, and Charles Grodin is his dad.

And in 2012, the direct-to-video sequel A Christmas Story 2 picked up five years after the original movie left off, with Ralphie attempting to get his parents to buy him a car.

An earlier version of this story appeared in 2008.

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