The A to Z of Father's Day

Last updated 14:42 03/09/2008

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With Father's Day coming up this Sunday,the Tempo team thought it timely to put together this ode to dad,including the A to Z on fatherhood.  

a is for... aspirin. Poor old Dad. After the kids wake up at 6am and throw themselves on the bed, using dad's belly as a bouncy trampoline, it might be wise to add an aspirin to the breakfast in bed tray.

b is for... Bill Cosby. He was the ultimate daddy role model in the late 1980s on his iconic TV series, The Cosby Show, playing Dr Heathcliff Huxtable. A likeable, funny but sometimes strict father-figure, most comic storylines revolved around Cliff dealing with his five children; Sondra, Theo, Denise, Vanessa and Rudy. The award-winning show ran from 1984 to 1992. As for Cosby, he is now 71, and although he continues to write, suffered a father's worst nightmare in 1997 when his youngest son Ennis was shot dead while changing a tyre on an LA freeway. The show is still in syndication and makes us laugh about the trials and tribulations of fatherhood.

c is for... cardigan. Yes, we know most Kiwi males will roll their eyes and fold their hairy manly arms in displeasure, but cardies for blokes are the must-have fashion item for dad. No longer for nerdy, library-card carrying fellas, the humble cardigan has gone from catwalk to fashion stores. It's not news, with all the usual suspects, from David Beckham to Jude Law spotted in their cardies. They look cool with jeans and polo, or a suit. A UK survey earlier this year found 72 per cent of women found men in cardigans sexy, so there must be something in it. Single men wanting to settle down might want to sport one, as 54 per cent of women said a guy in a cardie was seen to be "reliable husband material".

d is for... deep voices. According to a Harvard University researcher, men with deep voices tend to have more children than those who speak at a higher pitch. The finding is based on a groups of Tanzanian hunter-gatherers, where men who hit lower notes as they talked had about two more children, on average, than squeaky speakers. Although the reasons were unclear, the researchers said it fits with observations that women find masculine voices attractive.

e is for... escape. For Father's Day, it's a great idea to plan a get-away with Dad. There are also good deals to be had, if you know where to look. Websites such as www.travelbug.co.nz and www.ezibed.com have some good last minute bargains on accommodation. Tempo found a great midweek deal for Rotorua recently online, at a flash lakefront hotel for half the usual price. It was perfect for exploring town by foot, and just three minutes' walk to the Polynesian Spa, where the Kiwi bloke's blokey facade crumbled as he succumbed to the lake-side deluxe hot pools and a hydrotherapy spa treatment.
For a guy who usually stays as far away from beauty products as he can muster, Tempo's bloke loved being massaged by a swimsuit-clad lady under hot jets of water with coconut oil, and swanning around in his towelling robe, watching the sun set over the lake. It cost $80 each for a half-hour spa therapy treatment and access to the deluxe hot pools, which was a great deal. The outdoor deluxe pools are similar in design to a Japanese style onsen, with four rock pools ranging in temperature from from 36C to 42C, surrounded by native New Zealand flora, and overlooking Lake Rotorua.
There are other pools, including family pools, more affordable at $13 for adults and $6 for kids (or $32 for a family of up to four children). See www.polynesianspa.co.nz for more information.

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f is for... family fun. And board games are a great way to get kids young and old together, having a laugh. Tempo is a big fan of Cranium, which is guaranteed to make everyone look silly. They have released a new adult version called Cranium Wow, with 600 new cards, and cute new characters.
You work in teams to sculpt objects out of purple dough, or sketch or mime or hum clues, while your teammates try to guess the answer. There are also challenging multichoice questions and word puzzles, which makes the game more appropriate for teenagers and adult families. Although we thought there were a few too many US-oriented questions that Kiwis wouldn't know, the new game gets the thumbs up from Tempo. It's $79.95 from The Warehouse, Farmers, Toyworld, Kmart and other toy retailers.

g is for... groovy gadgets. If you are looking for a Father's Day gift, electronic gadgets or tools are likely to go down a treat. There are all sorts of new and amazing things on the market. Some of the latest Tempo loves include the Panasonic Toughbook notebook computer, from $3699 plus GST, which are perfect for the outdoorsy working bloke. They are designed for builders, sailors and farmers, and are water-resistant and hard wearing, to withstand dings, drops, shocks and spills. Although not cheap, the Toughbooks were designed for the Emirates Team New Zealand sailors to use during the last three America's Cup challenges. Check out www.toughbook.panasonic.co.nz for more information.

h is for... handmade card, because Dad really isn't too fussed if you don't spend money on a gift. It is all about the love, and a chance for kids to show their creativity. Get out the crayons, the colour pencils or the paint, and paint a portrait of Dad. It may not be a masterpiece, but it'll be worthy of the fridge, and a treasure in Dad's eyes. Or print out a favourite photo of the kids, and glue it on cardboard to make a personalised handmade card he will love.

i is for... inspiring stories. Get Dad a good book he can sink his teeth into. Some that caught Tempo's eye recently, and are recommended by Whitcoulls, involved racing, adventure and tragedy - and all are good yarns.

First up is On the Edge: My Story by TopGear presenter and stuntsman Richard Hammond, who writes about the high-speed car crash that left him with a serious brain injury. Reviewers have called it "absolutely compulsive reading". It's published by Hachette Livre, and retails in bookstores for $29.99.
Earthrace by New Zealand skipper Pete Bethune, about his attempt to break the round-the-world speed record in his biofuel-powered speedboat, is published by Hachette Livre, $39.99.
Another offering real-life adventure from a modern hero is Alan Sefton's book, The Last Great Adventure of Sir Peter Blake (Penguin, $29.99), on what was to be his last voyage. Passion, adventurousness and the sheer beauty of the environment make this a stunning read, say reviewers. See www.whitcoulls.co.nz for more book ideas.

j is for... jerseys. Get Dad a nice jersey, top or tee shirt, to add to his wardrobe. These basic fashion staples are always needed, and it is a chance to get something a bit special. With the weather (finally) heading into spring, go for lighter weight wools for jerseys, or cotton tees - pieces that can be dressed up with good jeans or pants, for a special lunch or dinner with the family.

k is for... kisses from the kids. Give Dad a hug, he deserves it on Father's Day.

l is for... looking good. There are plenty of grooming products on the market for men, and Father's Day is a good chance to get something special. It could be a cool range of facial or hair products, especially designed for men's skin. Or a handy set of grooming products, to keep him looking sharp.
Tempo loves the VS Sassoon i-clip automatic hair clipper, $149.95, which is a snazzy wee device with 33 different cutting lengths. It also self-lubricates, which means you don't have to oil the blades. The device itself might look like a hi-tech taser, but it's quite clever, and also has an integrated thinning system for textured and tailored looks.

Another one we like is the Metro Personal Grooming System, $34.95, which is good for getting the stray whiskers, sideburns and trimming beards and moustaches. It comes with a comb, cleaning brush, multipurpose trimmer and specialist attachments to tackle the neck, nose, ears and even eyebrows, and comes with a sleek storage stand.

m is for... mansize breakfast in bed. Get the kids helping out, and make dad a large breakfast, full of his favourites. Don't scrimp - go for the best bacon (we like Freedom Farms, which crisps up well and is free-range), sausages, steak, free-range eggs, and perhaps some mushrooms, tomatoes, spaghetti or baked beans. Ask Dad what he wants in advance, plan the menu, and serve it up with the newspaper, and hot coffee, on Sunday.

n is for... no jobs to do today. The kids will do them for you. Let the littlies mow the lawns, wash the car, clean up the dog doo doo, and cut up the firewood (under your supervision, while you lounge around in a deck chair, beer in hand). Of course, that might make mum or Osh mad, so perhaps just insist they wash and dry the dishes.

o is for... old fashioned barbershop shave. It's the ultimate man treatment, with a tradition that stretches back centuries. There are several barber shops around the Waikato specialising in shaving with a cut-throat razor. We called The Barbers Club in Alexandra St, Hamilton, who told us that a shave there cost $35, and featured a hot towel compress, shave cream and the use of two different cut throat razors to get a smooth shave, wielded by an expert. If you are after a haircut as well, they have a deal on Mondays and Fridays, $48 for a haircut and shave.

p is for... prodigious, and some dads really like to spread the love. The most prolific father of all time, according to Guinness World Records, is believed to be the last Sharifian Emperor of Morocco, Mulai Ismail (1646-1727). In 1703 he was reported to have fathered 342 daughters and 525 sons (presumably to lots of different women) and by 1721 he was reputed to have 700 male descendants. Guinness also notes it can be hard to record the number of descendants in polygamous countries.
Another bloke who did quite well at spreading his oats in more recent times was American Samuel Mast, who died aged 96 on 15 October 1992. At the time of his death the Pennsylvania man had 824 living descendants, including 11 children, 97 grandchildren, 634 great-grandchildren and 82 great-great-grandchildren.

q is for... quirky statistics about Kiwi dads. Last year on Father's Day, 142 fathers received special presents with 145 babies born that day, according to Statistics New Zealand. Among those, there were three sets of twins.

The demographics of fathers and families are changing in New Zealand. The average age of new fathers has become older - now it is 33, making these blokes, on average, five years older than their own fathers when they were born. Kiwi parents are also having fewer kids, on average, than 50 years ago. In 2007 the total fertility rate was 2.2 births per woman, compared with four in 1957.

r is for... Ronnies. In fact, there are two of them. Tempo's dad is quite a fan of the un-PC pervy old Two Ronnies, the British tall (Ronnie Barker) and short (Ronnie Corbett) comedy duo who were popular during the 1970s and '80s. Their witty and absurd dialogue and gags still get a chuckle, and those double entendres are often downright dirty, but the limericks, puns and silly skits seem to appeal to a certain generation of blokes. Although Ronnie Barker died in 2005, some of their earlier material has been recently released on DVD. The two-disc six-episode The Two Ronnies in Australia, from footage from 1986, has just hit the stores, and is a side-splitting watch which might be a good gift for Father's Day.

s is for... supporting the team. If Dad is a farmer and loves rugby, we've found the perfect gift to make him look cool in the cowshed. Line 7 clothing has designed dark navy PVC aprons featuring the wearer's favourite rugby province emblazoned in team colours across the chest. Line 7 milking aprons are available at rural stockists only and retail for $24.95. For all Line 7 stockists call 09 308 7700.
And if your dad is mooloo mad, there is a Waikato v Counties Manukau match on this Father's Day at Waikato Stadium. Kickoff is 2.35pm, and there is a Father's Day pre-buy special on. Normally $33, it is just $19.50 to get a covered seat in the Wel Networks stand, as well as a hotdog, and beer or coke. Available through normal outlets and www.mooloo.co.nz.

t is for... tools. For handyman dads, tools may be on the wish list, but one local bloke suggests it is better to go for one single good quality tool rather than getting a five-in-one pack on special. There is nothing worse than having a set of a couple of dozen screwdrivers which snap. Ask staff at hardware stores such as Bunnings or Mitre 10 for advice.

u is for... undies and socks, because although it seems like a lame idea for a present, Dad can never have too many. Socks go missing, there are mismatched pairs, and far too many undies with holes in them. Avoid white Y-fronts, they scream uncool.

v is for... vasectomies. It might have been wise for the aforementioned Moroccan emperor to get the snip, if the operation had been around in his day. The dirty nappies alone must have been a nightmare for palace nannies.

w is for... whiskey or wine. Get dad a nice drop of his favourite tipple, something to enjoy. Ask the staff at your local liquor or wine store for advice, or raid the cabinet to see what his favourites are.

x is for... xcellent xessories. Okay, so we struggled to come up with something starting with X. But it is true that accessories make the man, and can add a stylish touch to outfits. Get Dad a cool belt or scarf, to jazz up his wardrobe, and there are some good affordable basics in most stores.

One New Zealand label Tempo admires is Huffer, which has some funky and wearable fashions for guys and girls. Their blue and brown checkered trilby hat and cheeky cap, from their Spring/Summer 2009 collection, add eye-popping colour with great style, and the handyman bag, covered with graphic hand prints, is another Tempo loves for hip young dads.

y is for... yearly ritual. Father's Day comes around once a year, so start a tradition in your family for Dad. Go out for a family lunch, gathering all the kids (and grandkids together). Or if you are watching the budget, bypass cafes and restaurants and have a fun family lunch at home - a picnic outside or in a park, or a Sunday roast around the kitchen table. Part of the tradition could be taking a family photo - it's a great chance to document your family on an annual basis.

z is for... zonked out with an afternoon nap. Let Dad have a nice snooze: a bit of rest and relaxation might be the best gift of all. 

- Waikato Times

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