DVD: GOLF FOR DUMMIES
Straighten that slice with this instructional video that covers the golf game from covers the golf game from tee to green. CBS commentator Gary McCord designed the program to benefit everyone from beginners on up.
ESPN'S series about a fictional pro football team is so gritty that the NFL forced the network to drop it. Catch up with this three-disc set.
BOOK: 27 MEN OUT
by Michael Coffey ($25)
Coffey delves into the fascinating story of the first 14 big-league pitchers to throw perfect games, from Sandy Koufax to the forgotten Len Barker. (Randy Johnson threw the 15th perfecto on May 18.)
For everyone who still believes in miracles, this pitch-perfect retelling of the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team's improbable victory over the Soviets is an experience to savor.
BOOK: CADDY FOR LIFE
by John Feinstein ($25.95)
The story of Bruce Edwards, caddy to Tom Watson for 30 years, is the guy version of a four-hankie weepie. Stricken with Lou Gehrig's disease, Edwards faithfully stuck by Watson's side on the links even after doctors told him he had one on three years to live.
AUDIOBOOK: WHY I LOVE BASEBALL
by Larry King ($18)
The king of CNN goes back, back, back, reading his own book with memories of meeting such greats as Jackie Robinson and Stan Musial.
DVD: FIELD OF DREAMS
Kevin Costner's baseball diamond in a cornfield remains as magical as it was in 1989, and now the film comes in a two-disc special edition with a documentary and chats with a documentary and chats with real ballplayers.
BOOK: THE WICKED GAME
by Howard Sounes ($25.95)
Muckraking author Sounes digs up the dirt beneath the fairway in a gossipy history that looks into the sport's lengthy history of racial and gender discrimination and charges top players with skirt-chasing.
BOOK: THE OLYMPIC GAMES
Just in time for the second Athens Olympics (the other one was the modern era's first Games in 1896), this sumptuous volume is stuffed with hundreds of color pictures as well as charts with final scores and medal winners for every Olympic contest ever.
BOOK: TED WILLIAMS
by Leigh Montville ($26.95)
Can a jerk be a hero? Montville's evenhanded bio peels back the layers of an indifferent husband and lousy dad who was the last man to bat .400 and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame with a then record 93 percent of votes cast. He also put the game aside twice, to serve in World War II and the Korean War.
DVD: CLASSIC COLLEGE CLASHES
A series of 19 DVDs (sold separately) revisits such memorable battles as the 1998 Orange Bowl, in which future NFL MVP Peyton Manning quarterbacked his last game for the Tennessee Vols, the 1979 Indiana State-DePaul NCAA basketball semifinal featuring Larry Bird, and the 1984 Duke-North Carolina regular season game that would be Michael Jordan's swan song as a Tar Heel at Chapel Hill.
BOOK: DOUBLE PLAY
by Robert B. Parker ($24.95)
Throwing the fans of his Spenser series a change-up, Parker turns to historical fiction, conjuring up the tough-guy bodyguard of Jackie Robinson at the time he becomes Major League Baseball's first black player in 1947.
DVD ALI: DIRECTOR'S CUT
Will Smith (left) pulls no punches as the Greatest in this reverential biopic set in Muhammad Ali's prime. This disc adds six minutes of intriguing new footage plus behind-the-scenes shots of the real and faux Ali.
FOR THE Active Fan
Sure, Dad has snickered at the Anaheim Mighty Ducks' nickname all these years, but is he man enough to skate with them? The team's Aug. 23-26 fantasy camp ($2,100, 714-535-RINK) gives fans a chance to take the ice with real NHL players and get tips from the team's head coach, Mike Babcock. If Pop isn't up for being body-checked, he can take a 30-lap spin around the Walt Disney World Speedway in Orlando via the Richard Petty Driving Experience ($1,249, 800-BE-PETTY). Meanwhile, anglers out there can stay in a country cabin for a week and take a program in how to build their own fly-fishing reels, then use them in Willowemoc Creek in upstate New York ($1,200, 845-439-4810).
CD BOX SET: THE ROLLING STONES SINGLES 1963-1965
He may not always get what he wants, but if he's a Stones fan, Dad needs this collection of 12 CD replicas of Mick and crew's early 45s and EPs, complete with original artwork and B-side. Among the gems: their first studio release, a cover of Chuck Berry's "Come On."
CD: THE GIRL IN THE OTHER ROOM, Diana Krall
Making her songwriting debut with husband Elvis Costello on six tunes and covering songs by Joni Mitchell and Tom Waits, jazz sensation Krall delivers a dozen beguiling often personal songs.
CD BOX SET
ALL GOOD THINGS: JERRY GARCIA STUDIO SESSIONS
The Dead's head brought his plaintive guitar style and yearning vocals to blues, rock, bluegrass, jazz and genres of his own making in these five solo discs and a CD of outtakes.
by the Editors of Rolling Stone ($29.95)
The Man in Black was so cool that everyone from Bono to Al Gore lined up to contribute reflections to this lavishly illustrated book of essays about the patron saint of outlaws, who died last September at age 71.
CD: THE VERY BEST OF JACKSON BROWNE
Seventies California singer and songwriter Browne rocked when he mused. Introspection never sounded so muscular as on these 32 gems like "Doctor My Eyes," "Redneck Friend" and "Fountain of Sorrow."
CD/DVD: SEAL IV DELUXE
This combo package, an expanded surround-sound edition of Seal's soulful latest disc, includes videos for "Love's Divine," "Get It Together" and "Waiting for You." Sweeter than a kiss from a rose.
CD/DVD BOX SET
GEORGE HARRISON: THE DARK HORSE YEARS 1976-1992 ($132.98)
This handsome retrospective includes six CDs as well as a DVD featuring commentary from Harrison. Best is alive disc of Beatles hits and tracks from his pre-Dark Horse All Things Must Pass LP.
THE MAGIC HOUR, Wynton Marsalis ($18.98)
Drenched in the blues and saturated with swing, the trumpeter's latest features a new quartet and guests Bobby McFerrin and Dianne Reeves.
PRINCE (Through Sept. 9) The purple reign continues on this tour, which will supposedly be the last time Dad will be able to hear Prince play hits like "Kiss."
STING/ANNIE LENNOX (June 27 to Oct. 13• The former chief of the Police teams up with the ex-Eurythmic when these British '80s icon invade the States.
TIM MCGRAW (Through Aug. 6) Faith Hill's hubby takes his country cross-country with a 34-city trek featuring his longtime band, the Dancehall Doctors.
VAN HALEN (Through Sept. 29) Eddie Van Halen and Sammy Hagar reunite for what will be one of summer's loudest tours.
(All tickets: ticketmaster.com and local outlets)
FOR THE HISTORY BUFF DAD
BOOKS AND DVD
MASTER AND COMMANDER: Collector's Pack ($39.98)
Relive Russell Crowe's turn as Capt. Jack Aubrey with this Barnes & Noble-exclusive set, which includes the two novels on which the film was based.
BOOK: ALEXANDER HAMILTON
by Ron Chernow ($35)
This fascinating bio explores the spectacular rise (from illegitimacy on a West Indies island) and infamous fall (after calling Vice President Aaron Burr "a dangerous man," he died in a duel with Burr) of the Founding Father who created the nation's banking system.
DVD: WORLD WAR II COLLECTION GIFT SET
Commemorate the 60th anniversary of D-Day with this four-disc set, including a new release of Steven Spielberg's stunning 1998 film Saving Private Ryan and the documentaries Price for Peace (about the war's Pacific battles) and Shooting War (combat photographers).
BOOK: SHARPE'S ESCAPE
by Bernard Cornwell ($25.95)
Prepare to have your buckles swashed: the bestselling novelist's 20th entry in a series about derring-do in the Napoleonic Wars finds British Capt. Richard Sharpe battling those sneaky French in Portugal.
DVD: HERMAN WOUK'S THE WINDS OF WAR
The blockbuster 1983 Robert Mitchum-Ali McGraw miniseries, based on Wouk's book about the events leading to Pearl Harbor, storms in on an eminently watchable six-disc set packed with glimpses behind the scenes.
DVD: THE FOG OF WAR
In this startlingly relevant Oscar-winning documentary, former Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara looks back on his involvement in Vietnam and the 1945 firebombing of Japan. The disc adds 24 scenes of McNamara footage.
BOOK: MEMORIES OF WORLD WAR II
Black-and-white photos from the Associated Press, including some of the most famed images of the war, capture courage, destruction, honor and finally victory in this coffee-table volume with a foreword by former senator and veteran Bob Dole.
Pack Your Sword
If your favorite dad's DVD collection is making him act out some of Tom Cruise's moves, why not treat him to his very own movie-inspired adventure? Asian Pacific Adventures (800-825-1680) offers the Samurai Legacy Tour for those who loved Tom Cruise's epic film The Last Samurai (also just out on DVD). Brush up on your Bushido with a 15-day, $4,880 excursion (see picture, right) for nine people that includes a sumo tournament as well as a yabusame, or mounted archery festival. Price excludes airfare. Closer to home, take part in one of several Experience Cold Mountain packages (800-280-0005) starting at $199 that retrace steps of the Civil War era around Asheville, N.C.
FOR THE FANTASY FAN DAD
DVD: SPIDER-MAN DELUXE EDITION
Fans of the kinetic 2002 film will appreciate the extras on this three-disc set, which includes a glimpse at the upcoming sequel, making-of features and a ticket to the new Spider-Man 2.
THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING ($29.95)
To bring his trilogy to an exhilarating close, director Peter Jackson saved the best for last. This two-disc set also contains three behind-the-scenes specials.
THE DARK TOWER VI: SONG OF SUSANNAH
by Stephen King ($30)
The freaky, apocalyptic time-travel series ricochets to its second-to-last volume with an appearance by King himself, who tells a character the project "was gonna be my Lord of the Rings, [but] it didn't take me long to see that it was just too big for my little brain."
Ben Affleck tries to recover his erased memories in this futuristic thriller directed by John Woo.
STAR TREK: VOYAGER SEASON TWO ($100)
This seven-disc set finds Captain Janeway and her crew really beginning to hit their stride. Trekkies will dig extras on the show's visual and makeup effects.
GRAPHIC NOVEL: IT'S A BIRD
by Steven T. Seagle and Teddy Kristiansen ($24.95)
On the surface it's a story about a comic-book writer getting the plum assignment of writing the Superman series. But this remarkable genre-bending work also details a son's search for his missing father and a writer's struggle to tap his creative impulse.
DVD: ROBOCOP TRILOGY
Think Arnold was the best cinematic cyborg? Don't forget about Peter Weller's resurrected Detroit cop in this brutally violent but pointedly satiric 1987 film, packaged here with its two sequels.
THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: 500 COVERS 1962-2003 ($49.99)
See what your favorite neighborhood wall crawler looked like before the movies got him in this sumptuous full-color volume that collects every cover of the monthly comic book since it began in the '60s.
TREK: THE TRIP
Boldly go where many have gone before: Las Vegas. This time, though, Dad will face a force even more merciless than the slots. The Borg, those inimitable Star Trek baddies, are busting loose in the new $70 million Borg Invasion 4D tour at the Las Vegas Hilton's Star Trek: The Experience ($29.99, 888-G0-BOLDLY). The trip begins peacefully, but visitors are soon attacked by the Borg and rushed into a space shuttle, where they're immersed in a lively 3D film and special-effects show. There's also a museum of Trek props. In other words, more than enough stuff to indulge your inner geek.
Hottest Video Games
RALLISPORT CHALLENGE 2
Squeal around a curve at 90 mph or power-slide through the Australian Outback in one of 40 vehicles. Watch for the startlingly realistic crashes. Definitely more fun than Dad will have in the minivan.
FLIGHT SIMULATOR 2004
This interactive pilot school will put Pops behind the controls of everything from a 747 to the original Wright Flyer. With 24,000 landing strips and weather effects based on real-time data, the only thing missing is the aviator pin.
MEGA PARTY GAMES
Each puzzle—and there are hundreds of them—requires one specific action: Shoot the alien ship, cut off someone's hair, put the finger in the nostril. Up to four players can play in this hilariously addictive video bash.
TIGER WOODS PGA TOUR 2004
(All platforms, $19.99-49.99)
It won't improve Dad's swing, but teeing up with Tiger could strengthen his course management: Tips are built into every shot. The "game face" feature makes the duffer onscreen look like the one on the couch.