The Perfect Father's Day Gift and Much More

Sometimes picking the perfect gift for Father's Day can be a bit of a challenge. After all, only so many bottles of Old Spice will fit comfortably into one medicine cabinet. Thankfully the Free Spirit Spheres company is here to save the day with their "habitat for the un-tamed spirit," an intriguing description if I ever heard one, but what does it mean? They're like a cross between a tree house and a spaceship, with some cabin elements from a sailing ship thrown in. Looking a little like the home James made from the peach pit at the end of James and the Giant Peach, a little like a bathysphere, and made from wood or fiberglass, these spheroid contraptions are perfect for anyone who ever dreamed of having the best tree fort in the forest. They're environmentally friendly and can be attached as high as 35 meters. Of course if you are not entirely comfortable with heights you can put them down near the ground.

Image courtesy of Tom Chudleigh The Eryn style sleeps four in three beds and has a galley with a countertop stove, sink and refrigerator. She's also got five windows and is insulated. She's wired for heat and I hear the surround sound is simply dreamy. The only real drawback is that she has no bathroom, but hey, you're in a forest, do you really need one? Guess how you climb up to these little babies. A spiral staircase and a suspension bridge. It just does not get any cooler than that. Be sure to check out the photo gallery so you too can marvel at the sheer attractiveness of the spheres.

Good news just in for those who are headed for Bonnaroo. Last year the wait time for some of the Quality Time team was up to 12.5 hours. This year team members breezed right through the gates after a short 3.5 hour wait. The campsites are spacious and the bands are waiting.

Patti Smith's Meltdown 2005 started on the ninth and runs until the 26th. Every year a different curator shapes the direction and theme of this celebration of music, film and the arts located in London, England. The ballroom of the Royal Festival Hall has been temporarily transmogrified into "a striking lounge-style space, mixing colorful recycled furniture with literature-inspired visuals." Does that mean they picked up some old sofas left out at the curb and everywhere you look are Harry Potter busts? I suspect it is something much cooler than that.

Some of the showcased films are documentaries, mostly focusing on injustice, but some are fiction including something called Paris nous appartient that sounds quite mysterious. There will be poetry as well as literary readings. One reading is called Pages from Chaos - A Homage to William Burroughs. An event called An Evening with Richard Hell sounds terrific. This punk rock innovator will be reading from his latest book, Godlike, and other writings and then he'll "mess around". When he's done messing around he’ll do a signing. Sounds like a wonderfully well-rounded evening to me.

The musical lineup is both impressive and eclectic. Yoko Ono is performing on the 17th and the Eels, a band whose show gives new meaning to the word rocks, are playing on the twelfth. Sinead O'Connor will be part of an homage to William Blake in her first appearance since 2003. Tori Amos, Kristin Hersh, Beth Orton and Patti Smith will also be performing at this event, which takes place on the 18th. For hardcore Patti Smith fans the most exciting event has to be her June 25th performance of the entire Horses album. John Cale (of the Velvet Underground) produced this album and he and other musicians, including Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, will be supporting her. This is the 30th anniversary of the album that rocketed Patti to stardom and gained her the nickname "Godmother of Punk."

Speaking of horses, the Belmont Stakes, the last race of the Triple Crown, is on Saturday. This is the race that Secretariat won with an absolutely astonishing lead of 31 lengths in 1973. The temperature has been in the 90s at the New York track so some of the horses have been working early each morning before the heat is too terrible. Post time is 6:38 PM, hopefully late enough in the day for things to have cooled off before the grueling 1 1/2 mile race.

Giacomo, winner of the Kentucky Derby, is in the number five position with odds of 4-1. My own personal favorite, Afleet Alex breaking from the ninth position, is everyone's favorite, with morning line odds of 6-5. Afleet Alex is the horse that won the Preakness in an outstanding display of agility and fitness after Scrappy T ran into him and nearly knocked him down. Why is Afleet Alex my favorite? He's a spunky fellow who survived a rocky, bottlefed beginning and his owners are donating a portion of his winnings to pediatric cancer research. This horse is a fighter with a generous heart but most importantly, he is a fellow writer. That's right, through the wonders of modern technology, Afleet Alex has managed to become the only racehorse in existence to have his own blog. (And when I say in existence, I mean that I have personally found in my extensive travels online.) What's blog fodder to a famous equine athlete? Little jokes like he can't find the Big Apple even when he is hungry and how he is really pretty tolerant of the barn cat. He's awfully nice to the sick kids who write to him and he has a positive enthusiasm for the exclamation mark. He also seems to have a veritable lust for peppermints. I'll be rooting for him to win so that he can ably afford all the peppermints in the world.