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13 Plush Toys Grownups Will Love

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Plush toys really don't serve any serious purpose, and are often bought just to fill a gift obligation. But if you put some thought into it, you can really impress someone with their favorite things, in a form all ready to cuddle up with. You don't even have to look, because the list is right here!

1. Tickle Me Freud
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Forget Tickle Me Elmo! Tickle Me Freud is a serious psychoanalyst until you press his foot, then he shows his real personality with an infectious belly laugh!

2. Monty Python's Killer Rabbit
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From the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this cute little bunny seems harmless, until he bares his teeth and eats you. Available in both original plush-only and electronic flashing-eye version. Run away! Run away!

3. Venereal Disease Microbes
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These toys are greatly magnified versions of the germs that cause Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, and Herpes. Available individually or as a set of four. Other microbes are available from Giant Microbes, from the flu to Mad Cow prions.

Lots more cool plushies, after the jump.

4. DRDs
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The science fiction series Farscape features little Diagnostic Repair Drones, or DRDs. These cute little robots are available in a 12 inch plush form!

5. Aliens
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You wouldn't think of the creature from Alien and its sequels as a cuddly toy, but someone did. Get an Alien Facehugger with Egg, or a somewhat more mature version of the Alien.

6. Cthulhu
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The elder god comes in many forms, including the original Cthulhu plush toy, the superhero version, a goth version, and the special Christmas version.

7. Badger Badger Badger
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A Weebl's Badger is a perfect gift for someone who has spent way too much time amusing themselves on the internet. If you're not familiar with the Badgers, click here.

8. Space Godzilla
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Space Godzilla is a clone of Godzilla, traveling through space via the power of his shoulder crystals! You may remember him from the movie Godzilla vs. Space Godzilla. Other characters from the Godzilla films are available in plush, too!

9. Celebrity Dogs
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These plush dolls are dogs that look like celebrities, from Happytails Pet Boutique. There are currently fourteen different celebrity dogs.

10. Viking Kitten
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I can never again hear Immigrant Song without thinking of kittens. If you know someone like that, they'd love to have a Viking Kitten of their own, from Rathergood. If you're not familiar with the Viking Kittens, click here.

11. Mars

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You've seen soft cuddly Earth globes, but how about Mars? This Hugg-A-Planet Mars features an accurate map of over 400 Mars locations, including the landing spots for exploratory probes.

12. Roadkill Toys
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This is so new, I'm not sure how it will go over. Roadkill Toys is starting out with a plushie called Twitch the Raccoon, who has been squashed flat, complete with blood and guts, all made from 100% polyester. Other roadkill designs are coming soon.

13. Einstein
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And this list wouldn't be complete without mental_floss' mascot, Albert Einstein. Any genius, wannabe genius, or budding genius could use him for inspiration!

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Radio Flyer
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Pop Culture
Tiny Star Wars Fans Can Now Cruise Around in Their Very Own Landspeeders
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Radio Flyer

Some kids collect Hot Wheels, while others own model lightsabers and dream of driving Luke Skywalker’s Landspeeder through a galaxy far, far away. Soon, Mashable reports, these pint-sized Jedis-in-training can pilot their very own replicas of the fictional anti-gravity craft: an officially licensed, kid-sized Star Wars Landspeeder, coming in September from American toy company Radio Flyer.

The Landspeeder has an interactive dashboard with light-up buttons, and it plays sounds from the original Star Wars film. The two-seater doesn’t hover, exactly, but it can zoom across desert sands (or suburban sidewalks) at forward speeds of up to 5 mph, and go in reverse at 2 mph.

The vehicle's rechargeable battery allows for around five hours of drive time—just enough for tiny Star Wars fans to reenact their way through both the original 1977 movie and 1980’s The Empire Strikes Back. (Sorry, grown-up sci-fi nerds: The toy ride supports only up to 130 pounds, so you’ll have to settle for pretending your car is the Death Star.)

Radio Flyer’s Landspeeder will be sold at Toys “R” Us stores. It costs $500, and is available for pre-order online now.

Watch it in action below:

[h/t Mashable]

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fun
11 Well-Drawn Facts About The Etch A Sketch
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iStock

Even if you didn’t grow up to become an artist, chances are you honed your childhood drawing skills on an Etch A Sketch. Here are 11 nostalgia-inducing facts about the classic toy, in honor of National Etch A Sketch Day.

1. IT’S A PRODUCT OF FRANCE.

While the Etch A Sketch seems as American as apple pie, it’s actually a French invention. According to lore, an electrician named Andre Cassagnes was installing a light fixture in a factory during the 1950s. The factory produced an ornate embossed wall covering called Lincrusta. Aluminum powder used in the manufacturing process made its way onto a light-switch plate that Cassagnes was installing, and he noticed that when he made pencil marks on the plate’s translucent protective decal, they showed up on its other side. Turns out, Cassagnes’s pencil had raked a line through the metallic powder, displacing the particles that had clung to the decal thanks to an electrostatic charge. Observing this phenomenon inspired Cassagnes to create his own drawing toy using a plotter and aluminum powder.

2. CREDIT IS OFTEN GIVEN TO THE WRONG INVENTOR.

Cassagnes perfected his design and he soon won a prize in a French invention competition. However, he didn’t have enough money to patent it so he teamed up with an investor named Paul Chaze. Chaze’s accountant, Arthur Granjean, helped the duo receive patents for the Etch A Sketch in both France and America. Since Granjean filed and paid for the patents, he was mistakenly referred to as the toy’s inventor for years.

3. THE ETCH A SKETCH ORIGINALLY HAD A JOYSTICK.

This was present in Cassagnes’s original designs. He later re-designed the toy to have two knobs.

4. TOY MANUFACTURERS ORIGINALLY REJECTED THE ETCH A SKETCH.

The Etch A Sketch was showcased at the 1959 Nuremberg Toy Fair, but toy companies didn’t want to pay a steep fee for the rights. Eventually, Ohio Art—who is said to have also passed on the Etch A Sketch—reconsidered and acquired the invention.

5. IT ALSO HAD A DIFFERENT NAME.

The toy was originally marketed as the “Télécran" in France, but was later called the “L’Ecran Magique,” or Magic Screen. It was eventually re-named the Etch A Sketch by the Ohio Art Company.

6. IT WORKS AS A PLOTTER.

Although the Etch A Sketch’s inner workings might seem like a mystery, they’re actually pretty straightforward. The inside of the toy’s glass screen is covered with aluminum powder, which has tiny beads mixed in to keep it from clumping. A stylus is connected to a pulley system, which, in turn, is attached to the horizontal and vertical metal rods. These rods are affixed to two knobs. When you move the knobs, the stylus is dragged through the powder, creating a line. Not happy with your drawing? All you have to do is shake the toy, and the aluminum powder will re-coat the screen and erase the markings.

7. IT FOUND A MARKET VIA TELEVISION.

Production of the Etch A Sketch began on July 12, 1960. America soon caught wind of the toy thanks to a televised marketed campaign featuring a little girl named Pernella who hides underneath a basket with her Etch A Sketch because everyone wants to play with it. She eventually emerges and announces that her favorite toy “is magic!" The ads were such a hit that, come holiday season, Ohio Art was hard-pressed to fill orders.

8. IT’S A BEST-SELLER.

In 1998, the Etch A Sketch was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame, cementing its place in history alongside inventions like the Slinky, the skateboard, and Silly Putty. In 2003, the Toy Industry Association ranked it as one of the 20th century’s hundred best toys. According to CNBC, more than 100 million Etch A Sketches have been sold since its introduction in 1960.

9. IT’S SOMETIMES TRANSFORMED INTO PERMANENT ART.

While Etch A Sketch drawings aren’t meant to be permanent, some people use the toy to create professional works of art. One particular artist, Nicole Falzone, has been referred to as the “Monet of the Magic Screen” for her detailed Etch A Sketch portraits of celebrities like Jim Carrey, Stevie Wonder, and Bill Gates. The secret to creating long-lasting drawings, she says, is to drill holes in the back of the casing and drain the Etch A Sketch of its aluminum powder. That way, the lines won’t be erased. Other notable Etch A Sketchers include George Vlosich, who drew an Etch A Sketch portrait of President Barack Obama prior to his inauguration, and Christoph Brown, who refers to himself as the “World’s Fastest Etch A Sketch Artist."

10. IT’S A POP CULTURE—AND POLITICAL—PHENOMENON.

Over the decades, the Etch A Sketch leapt from children’s toy boxes onto TV and movie screens across the world. Pixar’s Toy Story franchise features an Etch A Sketch named “Etch” who’s described by Woody as having the “fastest knobs in the West.” In the first season finale of the AMC series Breaking Bad, protaganist Walter White uses the aluminum powder inside several Etch A Sketches to create thermite. He then uses the corrosive substance to melt the lock off a door.

During the 2012 presidential campaign, Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign advisor Eric Fehrnstrom compared Romney's politics to playing with an Etch A Sketch. “You hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch A Sketch. You can kind of shake it up, and we start all over again,” he said. Thanks to Fehrnstrom’s comment, Etch A Sketch sales rose by 30 percent. Etch A Sketch responded by releasing limited-edition election versions of the toy in red and blue. Each came with a sticker depicting a donkey and an elephant playing tug-of-war on the White House lawn

11. IT’S BEEN MANUFACTURED IN RED, PINK, SILVER, AND BLUE.

The Etch A Sketch is known for its iconic red frame. However, if you purchased one in 1971, it might have came in “Cool Blue” or “Hot Pink.” For the toy’s 25th anniversary in 1985, Ohio Art released a silver model with bejeweled knobs and a hand-carved signature (the flashy toy reportedly cost a cool $3,750).

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