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11 Insane Aquatic Toys You Can Buy

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Forget pool noodles and squirt guns—these aquatic accessories will help take your water activities to the next level (provided you can afford them...).

1. Lake Trampoline, $1800 - $3700

Get real height on your cannonballs with this lake trampoline, which comes in three sizes: 12, 15, and 20 feet.

2. The Inflatable Water Shooting Float, $60

Bring the carnival directly to your pool with Space Shootout, which is equipped with two squirt cannons that draw a steady supply of water from the pool via flexible tubes. The goal is to displace the balls by shooting water into the cylinder; the first person to eject all six balls from their cylinder wins.  

3. Floating Tiki Bar, $160

Why leave the water to make a drink when you can buy this 7.5-foot-tall inflatable tiki bar and whip up cocktails in the pool? The bar has six drink holders and two ice storage bins; we suggest serving drinks in these floating glasses.

4. Aquaglide Rockit, $2300

This 14 foot wide, 5.5 foot high water rocker promises to provide “unlimited fun” for two to eight people. The goal is to work together, or against each other, to balance and tip the rocker.

5. Texas Hold ‘Em Inflatable Poker Set, $66

Set this table up in your pool and find out who the card shark really is. The nearly 4.5 by 4.5 foot table comes with 200 poker chips, a deck of waterproof cards and a dealer button, and has four chip storage areas, four cup holders, and four floating lounges. The lounges aren’t attached, so you can use them on their own, though one Amazon reviewer noted that “it's a bit difficult to sit in the ‘chairs’ and play cards. Everyone has to hold on to the table with one hand to keep from floating away from it.”

6. Giant Rubber Duckie, $230

The pool is your bathtub—or Florentijn Hofman display—when you buy this 8-foot-tall inflatable rubber duckie.

7. Yoga Watermat PoolFloat and Lake Raft, $600

Test your balance in tree pose/look like you're practicing Vinyasa on a magic carpet on this floating yoga mat, which can hold up to 175 pounds.

8. Floating Obstacle Course, $13,500

If you’ve always dreamed of making like your favorite GUTS contestant and running an obstacle course—on water, no less—then this raceway is for you. The 42-foot-long by 32-foot-wide raceway can handle up to 60 people at a time and sounds intense: 

Four raised, webbed rebounding platforms at each corner require nimble negotiation to avoid ejection into the water. One length of the course tests balance while walking over a 2'-wide "beam" ... while another encourages players to jump over a two-section water "pit" or descend and climb out. Twin climbing obstacles require participants to decide if climbing over their inflated beams is quicker than crawling through a handful of arches. 

Of course, to truly get that GUTS experience, you’ll need to pair it with ... 

9. Rave Iceberg Inflatable Climbing Mountain, $8000

… this 14-foot-high inflatable climbing mountain, which is basically a mini-Aggro Crag.

10. StarFighter Inflatable Squirter Float, $60

This “alien spaceship,” which can hold up to 140 pounds, comes complete with a sunroof and a water blaster—perfect for squirting unsuspecting sunbathers. 

12. Aquaglide SuperVolley Floating Volleyball Court, $11,000

Volleyball, on the water, with bounce—perfect for executing a killer spike. As a bonus, the ball is attached to a bungee so it won’t go flying, then floating, away.

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How Urban Legends Like 'The Licked Hand' Are Born
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iStock

If you compare the scary stories you heard as a kid with those of your friends—even those who grew up across the country from you—you’ll probably hear some familiar tales. Maybe you tried to summon Bloody Mary by chanting her name in front of the mirror three times in a dark bathroom. Maybe you learned never to wonder what’s under a woman’s neck ribbon. Maybe you heard the one about the girl who feels her dog lick her hand in the middle of the night, only to wake up to find him hanging dead from the shower nozzle, the words “humans can lick too” written on the wall in the dog’s blood.

These ubiquitous, spooky folk tales exist everywhere, and a lot of them take surprisingly similar forms. How does a single story like the one often called “Humans Can Lick Too” or "The Licked Hand" make its way into every slumber party in America? Thrillist recently investigated the question with a few experts, finding that most of these stories have very deep roots.

In the case of The Licked Hand, its origins go back more than a century. In the 1990s, Snopes found that a similar motif dates back to an Englishman’s diary entry from 1871. In it, the diary keeper, Dearman Birchall, retold a story he heard at a party of a man whose wife woke him up in the middle of the night, urging him to go investigate what sounded like burglars in their home. He told his wife that it was only the dog, reaching out his hand. He felt the dog lick his hand … but in the morning, all his valuables were gone: He had clearly been robbed.

A similar theme shows up in the short story “The Diary of Mr. Poynter,” published in 1919 by M.R. James. In it, a character dozes off in an armchair, and thinks that he is petting his dog. It turns out, it’s some kind of hairy human figure that he flees from. The story seems to have evolved from there into its presently popular form, picking up steam in the 1960s. As with any folk tale, its exact form changes depending on the teller: sometimes the main character is an old lady, other times it’s a young girl.

You’ll probably hear these stories in the context of happening to a “friend of a friend,” making you more likely to believe the tale. It practically happened to someone you know! Kind of! The setting, too, is probably somewhere nearby. It might be in your neighborhood, or down by the local railroad tracks.

Thrillist spoke to Dr. Joseph Stubbersfield, a researcher in the UK who studies urban legends, who says the kind of stories that spread widely contain both social information and emotional resonance. Meaning they contain a message—you never know who’s lurking in your house—and are evocative.

If something is super scary or gross, you want to share it. Stories tend to warn against something: A study of English-language urban legends circulating online found that most warned listeners about the hazards of life (poisonous plants, dangerous animals, dangerous humans) rather than any kind of opportunities. We like to warn each other of the dangers that could be lurking around every corner, which makes sense considering our proven propensity to focus on and learn from negative information. And yes, that means telling each other to watch out for who’s licking our hands in the middle of the night.

Just something to keep in mind as you eagerly await Jezebel’s annual scary story contest.

[h/t Thrillist]

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Courtesy Chronicle Books
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Inside This Pop-Up Book Are a Planetarium, a Speaker, a Decoder Ring, and More
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Courtesy Chronicle Books

Designer Kelli Anderson's new book is for more than just reading. This Book Is a Planetarium is really a collection of paper gadgets. With each thick, card stock page you turn, another surprise pops out.

"This book concisely explains—and actively demonstrates with six functional pop-up paper contraptions—the science at play in our everyday world," the book's back cover explains. It turns out, there's a whole lot you can do with a few pieces of paper and a little bit of imagination.

A book is open to reveal a spiralgraph inside.
Courtesy Chronicle Books

There's the eponymous planetarium, a paper dome that you can use with your cell phone's flashlight to project constellations onto the ceiling. There's a conical speaker, which you can use to amplify a smaller music player. There's a spiralgraph you can use to make geometric designs. There's a basic cipher you can use to encode and decode secret messages, and on its reverse side, a calendar. There's a stringed musical instrument you can play on. All are miniature, functional machines that can expand your perceptions of what a simple piece of paper can become.

The cover of This Book Is a Planetarium
Courtesy Chronicle Books

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