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  School's out for summer. School's out forever! And while The Black Table gears up for a life where we no longer need pencils or books, we've compiled a list of nine essentials you're gonna need to have, or at least know about, before you do incredible amounts of nothing for the next three months.

From staying cool to staying well lubricated, here is our Guide to this Summer's Essentials.




Beach chairs suck.

They're either impossible to fold, or those criss-crossed vinyl straps dig into your flesh and you're left looking like you fell asleep on a waffle iron. But the Black Table went digging for the best in summer seating and came up with a trio of chairs that are perfect for sun-worshippers and the utterly lazy alike.

One of the biggest beach chair issues is moving the damned thing around every hour to make sure you're getting the proper amount of sunlight to cause skin cancer in three decades. Consider this problem solved. Yuppie outfitter Hammacher Schlemmer has the only folding Swivel Beach Chair, able to rotate a full 360 degrees so you can follow the sun or make yourself ill spinning in circles in 120 degree weather while drinking.

This swivel masterpiece took home the gold medal at the 2000 Inpex Invention show, weighs about 10 pounds, fits nicely in the trunk of even the smallest car and even has a canopy, if you're not in the mood to fry. It's only $90, which is pretty cheap considering Hammacher Schlemmer sells a waterproof, handheld television set for $300 that you'll probably want more.

As with the swivel chair, the Lafuma Self-Adjusting Lounger allows the very tan to be very comfortable getting that way. This lounge chair automatically adjusts to your body, eliminating the strap marks caused by crappy models, and comes with a pillow and wooden armrests. The biggest drawback is that this thing is made in France, costs $179, and only comes in three colors: white, not as white and green. Oh, and it only holds up to 250 pounds, so don't be a fat fuck.

Lastly, for those of you who want to have sex on the beach, without settling for some alcoholic euphemism or getting sand in yer britches, there's the Beach Couch. This fold-up beach monstrosity seats two people and supports up to 500 pounds. It's only $80, which is some serious bang for the buck, and comes in seven varieties, including "Leopard," "Bubbles" and "Groovy."





Summer is not the time for Ayn Rand. You need a book with fully-developed characters, stimulating plot twists, and drugs. Lots and lots of drugs. Enter Motley Crue's The Dirt: Confessions of


the World's Most Notorious Rock Band. This brazen, garish, horrifying memoir was edited neat and pretty by Neil Strauss, and is perfect for a bored summer reader to ingest over and over again. This book changes lives -- and not in a get-in-touch-with your inner self way either. It'll make you want to divorce your wife, cram John Belushi up your nose, and kick yourself in the balls for not sticking with the guitar lessons. And hey, that John Grisham guy's got some great ideas and page-turning plot lines, but can he do this?

"It was the beginning of the end as far as fun was concerned: unlimited cocaine. Tommy knew these shady characters in Simi Valley who would stop by Cherokee Studios, where we were recording Shout at the Devil and bring ounces of coke. We would stay up for three days straight making music and not even think we were working hard. Vince had taped pictures from porno magazines all over the wall, and girls were streaming in and out of the studio, getting fucked with microphones in the control room, bottles in the kitchen, and broom handles in the closet because were running out of ideas to do with them…"

No, he can't. Nobody can. This book is a rock n' roll-hangover-fuck-fantasy-freak show that makes every one's life look small. Even Jesus wants to be Tommy Lee. There's enough naughty stuff to keep you interested and but ultimately, it's Nikki Sixx's prodigious drug use, Tommy Lee's big dick dopiness, Vince Neil's chronic case of assholia and Mick Mars's Zen-bitter genius that makes this book still exhilarating even after 125 reads. Go get it. Now.



The bug zapper is a tried-and-true staple of summer fun. There's nothing quite like sipping an iced tea and hearing thousands of bugs fly to a sizzlin', cracklin' death.

But upon closer inspection, those electric blue bug battlers might not be so effective in killing mosquitoes, which why you bought it in the first place. According to a 1997 study from the University of


Delaware, only 31 bugs of the nearly 14,000 zapped in its electric traps were mosquitoes. The report concluded: "The heavy toll on nontarget insects and the near absence of biting flies in catches suggest that electric insect traps are worthless for biting fly reduction."

In other words, a bigger zapper won't cut it this summer. The Black Table went in search of the biggest, baddest, bug annhilator on Earth -- and we found the Mosquito Magnet Pro.



At $1,300 it's one hell of a killing machine and not the kind of puny zapper you'll see in the neighbor's backyard. Unlike the zapper, which uses an electrical current to vaporize bugs, the Mosquito Magnet is a huge vacuum powered by a 20-pound propane tank that emits heat, moisture, carbon dioxide and an attractant called octenol to fool biting bugs into thinking there's a snack nearby. And once they get close, this nearly silent killer sucks them into a net, where they slowly dehydrate until they die, never to spoil another cookout again.

Check out the Mosquito Magnet Pro, which weighs 70 pounds, stands nearly three-and-a-half feet high, generates its own electricity and can cover an entire acre. In a 1999 test by Florida A&M, the Pro unit sucked up more than 7 times as many bugs as that crappy zapper you have hanging near the pool. Of course, if you're not careful, the Pro will also suck up other pests, like your children.



Making generalizations about air conditioners is impossible because the amount of cooling depends on how big your room is, where the light comes in and how many windows you have.



As a general rule of thumb, if you live in a one-window studio apartment with the bathroom in the kitchen, then chances are you're going to want a 5,000 to 6,000 BTU unit. If you have a realistic sized room with an ordinary number of windows, get a 7,000 to 8,200 BTU one. And if you want to hang meat in your living room, by all means, go for one of the 9,800 to 12,500 BTU guys.

No matter what size you need, you're gonna want a brand name that makes a mean little bastard that is constantly kicking heat's ass. And it's not gonna short out the house, or suck up power or get all fucked up when it's humid. Something with a remote control, too.

Go with LG. What's an LG? Well, maybe you know them from their cell phones, or their red and white logo, or their major ad in Times Square, but they're a Korean electronics company. According to Consumer Reports, LG makes the fifth-best small air-conditioner, the best mid-sized air conditioner and the second-best large air conditioner. We're chill with that.



On a hot summer day, a sticky popsicle just doesn't satisfy, melting all over your hands, changing the color of your tongue and often times, falling right off the stick just when you're getting going. But for 56 years now, New Englanders have been hoarding one of the most satisfying, mess-free ice cream treats ever to be sold by truck, countertop or convenience store -- the ever-loving Hoodsie Cup.



Created in 1947, the year the Hood Dairy hired its first female driver, this little novelty could also be called a halfsie, featuring both chocolate and vanilla ice cream in a handy 3 oz. cup. Pushing the envelope of innovation further, each Hoodsie comes with a little wooden spoon, so you won't need to go searching for utensils. And they're only 100 calories, so you can have a couple without feeling like a slob.

Even better, Hood has expanded its line this year with the creation of the 2.25 oz. Hoodsie Sandwich, which has vanilla and chocolate ice cream sandwiched between a chocolate and vanilla wafer -- the kind of unique touch that you'd expect from the dairy that invented frozen yogurt.

According to Hood, more than 14 million Hoodsies are enjoyed each year, but you'll probably have trouble finding them nationwide. They're only available in New England, so ask one of those Cape Cod vacationing, yacht-owning, blue-blooders to stop complaining about the Red Sox and grab you a 12-pack of Hoodsies instead.




Yes, flailing around in the plastic turtle pool in your boxers with a pitcher full of Lynchburg Lemonade makes a man feel like he owns the world. But, shit, fella, if you're making a decent paycheck, you gotta upgrade. So, do it big. There's an inflatable pool made by Aero -- yes, the inflatable bed people -- that's 12-feet wide, holds 750



(750!) gallons of water and inflates in only three minutes. At $190, it's kind of expensive, but think of how many people you can fit in this thing! Entertain that kiddie pool orgy fantasy -- with enough room for the entire preschool.



While loads of people enjoy getting nut brown, slathering themselves with oil and frolicking in the warm weather, there is another class of folk with tender skin the color of skim milk who won't emerge from the house until daylight savings time ends. These shut-ins, also known as "gamers," would rather sit in front of a television pushing buttons, accomplishing sequential tasks to accomplish something in a fake world that benefits no one in society.

And who could blame them?



Lara Croft, that scantily-clad heroine from the best-selling Tomb Raider series, is back in action and she's better than ever. Sure, the last two Tomb Raider games were so embarrassingly bad even the super enhanced extra jiggle action couldn't save 'em, but in Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, the folks at Eidos have busted out the Astroglide for some hard-core action. Lara pulls a Solid Snake, gets rid of that lame "finding shit in tombs" gimmick, and kicks major ass in fifteen-thousand different outfits. Finally, Lara's boobs have been digitally mapped from real stripper routings, the game has a plot, and you won't be fighting any more bears and dinosaurs.

Real gamers know the sun is a total crock of shit. Play hard.




Woo-hah. Rollercoasters. The clackity-clak, swoop dive, and stomach racing excitement of summer coaster is invigorating. Unless, of course, it KILLS you.



In general, roller coasters are pretty safe. The good folks at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions have mapped out in explicit detail most of the myths about the perceived lack of safety regulations of rollercoasters and according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are about four roller coaster deaths per year in the United States. And most of the time, it's not the coaster's fault, it's moronic riders looking for some extra air time. So they deserve it.

You feel like removing your safety harness, hot shot? Then you'll be chucked off the coaster at 40 miles per hour and get slammed into a steel walkway. How about you? You feel like standing up on the ride? Take a 69-foot-drop the hard way.

If you lose your hat while on the coaster and ignore every single sign against retreiving it, don't


blame us when someone kicks your head off your shoulders.

Again, these are rare cases. For a comprehensive run-down and reviews of the latest coasters, check out Just don't go chasing your hat under the coaster.



Hand jobs. You know that already. And while they're also good for preventing cancer and funky looking moles and shit, do you know which lotions will take the quicky-flicky to a whole new level?

We do.

Anyway, here's some of our favorite cheap sun blocks and tanning lotions the sun and how friendly they are on the wiggly-


wig. All of these are under $8, full of UVA and UVB protection and ready to go. Who wants to start making some boy batter? Whee!

Banana Boat SPF 8 is amazing. If only this stuff was edible. I'd spread it on sandwiches, I'd pour it over pancakes, and I'd squirt it on hot dogs. Super smooth, no harsh burning, and very nice pina colada-y smell. Your lady/man/own hand doesn't even have to be a professional. Banana Boat does most of the work itself. ****

Coppertone 4 has that classic, salty, summer smell, and the aloe kick provides a very satisfying squirt. It's a little too oily and tangles the pubic hair a little too much, but overall it provides nice, fluid movement around the shaft and little chafing. ***

Exotic Blend Australian Gold SPF 15 Spray Gel is a spray and that usually doesn't fair well in this category. However, the silky sleekness of this little guy provides a memorable and gratifying snake slap. Three generous sprays should do the trick. Go get 'em, Hondo. ***