Father's Day Gifts for the Couch Potato

June 10, 2003 -- -- — Dad's king on Father's Day — even if he spends his free time lying on his back watching TV.

This weekend, your mission is to honor the patriarch in your family, and if he's a beer-guzzling couch potato, let him know that he's the world's best beer-guzzling couch potato.

"Between work and family, when a dad has a moment to himself, a lot of the time he just wants to vegetate, and you can let him know on Father's Day that that's OK," says gift consultant Amelia Ostroff of Itsthethought.com.

"My dad is 75, and he just loves those moments when he can sit undisturbed and play his video games."

That's why a necktie — the classic Father's Day gift — sometimes serves as nothing more than a reminder of the pressure Dad faces at work.

Instead, The Wolf Files is here to cater to paternal indulgences. Want to help your pop consume more beer around the barbecue? Want to make it so he'll never have to shave again?

With the help of Ostroff and some other gift experts, here are some gift suggestions for a Lazy Man's Father's Day.

Gifts for the Lazy Man

1. For Couch Potato Royalty: A Sterling Silver Remote Control

Does your dad guard the channel changer as if it's the last box of doughnuts on Earth? Now he can surf the boob tube in style. The sterling silver universal remote control — available online from Michael C. Fina (www.michaelcfina.com) for $49.95 — works with just about any TV, DVD player and home theater.

It's just as easy to lose a sterling silver remote control, but it's more rewarding when you pull up all the sofa cushions and find the damn thing.

2. For French Fried Couch Potatoes: Electroshock TV Therapy

If Dad's just watching too much TV, maybe you need to jolt him back to normal with a booby-trapped remote control. It works just like a joy buzzer. When Dad presses the power button, he gets a little jolt — and maybe, just maybe, you can train him like Pavlov's dog.

The Shocking TV Remote Control, available online from Johnson Smith (www.johnsonsmith.com) for $9.98, isn't recommended if Dad's got a pacemaker or medical condition. But if he can handle the jolt of a AAA battery, and needs encouragement to leave the TV behind, let the electroshock TV therapy begin.

3. For the Caveman About Town: Permanent Beard RemovalWhat if you could tell Pa that he'd never have to shave again? How about giving him the gift of laser surgery?

You might think some dads would feel emasculated without whiskers. But cosmetic surgeons say men are quickly discovering the modern joys of tampering with Mother Nature — and that's why plastic surgery is a now a Father's Day gift alternative.

With three sessions of laser treatments, your dad's face will forever be as smooth as a baby's bottom. Such a procedure costs about $1,000 (perhaps a little more if he's a member of ZZ Top), and places like the Neigel Center for Cosmetic & Laser Surgery in West Orange, N.J., even offers Father's Day Gift Certificates.

Of course, Father's Day is great opportunity to talk to your dad about his uni-brow and the shag rug upholstering his backside. That's why laser hair removal is also considered a Mother's Day gift.

4. For the Guy Who'd Rather Be Watching Football: The RoboMowerOne day robots will take over the world and enslave us. But right now, for $695, you can have one mow your lawn. Best of all, these creepy-crawly vacuum-like devices look a bit like R2-D2.

Friendly Robotics (www.robomower.com) introduced this device earlier this year after a two-year run in Sweden, where the company claims to have sold more than 5,000 backyard cyborgs.

5. For the High-Tech Grill Master: A Wireless BBQ ThermometerThere's nothing like taking the simple joys in life and complicating them with electronic gadgets. Sure, it's fun to barbecue. But it's not fair if your dad's slaving over a grill while his buddies are tossing around the football and tossing back some beer. Now, however, he can do it all.

The Wireless BBQ Thermometer — available online at Radio Shack (www.radioshack.com) for $40 — lets you wander from the grill and calls you back when your steak has reached charbroiled perfection.

You can be chucking around a football, your beeper will go off, and you just tell your buddies, "Don't worry. That's not my boss. That's my grill."

6. For the Drinking Man's Appetite: A Beer Can Chicken RoasterIt's safe to say all dads love beer and barbecued chicken. Therefore, you can't go wrong with the Beer Can Chicken Roaster — a little gizmo that allows

you to stuff a chicken not with bread crumbs, but with an entire can of beer — can included — for the taste experience of a lifetime.

It's quite a spectacle to see a chicken on the grill straddling a beer can. Barbecue experts have known for ages that beer keeps the chicken moist (and the guests happy).

Now, for just $14.95, Captain Steve's Beer Can Chicken Roaster (www.beercanchickenroaster.com) allows the bird to stand elegantly on the grill, giving your dad a crisp Father's Day Salute.

7. For a Dog Day Afternoon: The Dog Fetch Assistant

There's nothing like a good romp in the park with the pooch. But Pop's arm isn't what it used to be, and Rover's getting a little bored. No worry, science has the answer — the Dog Slinger, a slingshot-like gun that shoots tennis balls up to 100 yards — the entire length of a football field — for a tail-wagging good time.

Dad won't even have to get his hands dirty when Rover returns with a saliva-soaked ball. The Dog Slinger can be reloaded without poor Papa bending over. Available for $29.95 from Good Time Productions (www.GoodTimeProductions.com).

8 For the Film Geek: A Strap-On DVD Player

Here's one way to get Dad some exercise if he refuses to leave the TV over the weekend — a strap-on DVD player.

Techno Scout (www.technoscout.com) offers this portable home theater with futuristic goggles that provide for a fantastic viewing. It's as if you're watching a 70-inch TV from 13 feet away — except you can do that while you take out the garbage.

What's more, it's perfect for hooking up to gaming consoles like PlayStation, Nintendo and X-Box. At $995, it's not cheap, but if your father ever bothers to make contact with anyone ever again, I'm sure he'll be eternally grateful.

9. For Torturing Telemarketers: A Voice Changer

Telemarketers have a radar-like ability to know when you're enjoying a TV show, a meal or a moment of peace. They probably drive your dad through the roof. Why not let him have some fun?

With a Voice Manipulator XE — a $30 device that fits over the phone from Gadgets.com — Dad can get on the line and digitally alter his voice to sound like Hannibal Lecter or Mr. T. He can be a burly lumberjack or a thin mint-selling Girl Scout, depending on who's calling.

To quote one famous TV intimidator, "I pity the fool who tries to sell him a long-distance plan while he's watching football."

10. For the Single Dad: An Ex-Girlfriend ReunionMaybe it didn't work out with Mom, and Dad's on his own. Well, the folks at MyFamily.com have a $9.99 Father's Day special, helping single dads reconnect with old girlfriends.

Imagine bringing out Dad's high school prom date instead of an ice cream cake. Before you know it, you might be buying an engagement present.

Buck Wolf is entertainment producerat ABCNEWS.com. The Wolf Files ispublished Tuesdays. If you want to receive weekly notice whena new column is published, join the e-maillist.