If the Acme Company from the Road Runner cartoons taught us anything, it’s that jet engines make the world a better place. Not in the same way mosquito nets or the most interesting man in the world makes the world a better place, but in a manner that inspires us all to get our asses off of the couch and start playing with fire. Most of the population seems content with letting jet engines be exactly that—engines on jets. But a select few have actuated the two dueling passions of mankind—the potential for comic injury and loud stuff that might go boom—into a delinquent art form.
8. Shopping Cart
Who likes shopping for groceries? That’s right, nobody. Who, on the other hand, would like nothing better than to crash a shopping cart at high speed? We rest our case.
If any of you reading this article thinks he might want to build his own jet engine contraption, you’re in luck. Andy Tyler built a turbo-charged shopping cart by reading a how-to guide off the internet, then dragging a used cart out of a river and spending chump change on minor details like wheels, brakes, and steering before he was good to go. The fact that he has to use a heat shield to ride it because of the 600 degree build-up qualifies him as a white-trash Zeus.
Skateboards have long chafed at the idea of being so closely associated with roller blades. Now, turn around and go ask that roller blader if he’s told his parents that he’s gay yet while we unleash engineering on this bad boy.
Using his experience at the Naval Research Lab, former officer Bob Swartz modified a simple board that rolls inches off the ground to the point where it can reach speeds of up to 80 mph. Besides being featured in the Washington Post and the Discovery Channel, Swartz has toured the country around various drag racing circuits and air shows racing real drag cars. As you can see, his jet engine skateboard works more like a luge sled, and Bob himself looks like an Austrian doubles champion in bulge-tastic tights, thereby making the above preamble a tad bit premature.
Kayaking is a rush, but hell on the forearms. All that work? Why not just take some crank and punch Katie Couric in the balls? Better to keep kids off drugs by attaching a jet engine to a kayak and offer the less destructive fix.
Deciding that his beloved sport literally wasn’t dangerous enough, kayak enthusiast Shaun Baker spent about 10 grand souping up his kayak with a 45 horsepower engine. It’s louder than a wave runner, twice the work, and you have to wear a helmet so you don’t, well, die. Sounds like fun!
Performance enhancing at the Special Olympics goes on just like any other sport, except the guys entered in the paraplegic 4X100m relay play for keeps.
Model plane enthusiast Giuseppe Cannella originally wanted to put his jet engine on a go cart, but his wife wouldn’t allow it. ‘Put it on something unusual’, she demanded, which he did. Embracing the forbidden impulse of half of all the husbands out there, Cannella strapped it to the back of his mother-in-law’s wheelchair, thereby claiming innovative innocence when the old bag inevitably goes senile and tries it out during rush hour. We just thought of a great game show idea that’s already been invented in Australia.
4. Merry Go Round
Those antiquated, boardwalk throwbacks stopped being cool for everybody at the county fair before they even learned all the cons of peeing their pants in public.
Ok, so it’s not a merry go round in the traditional sense, but the bastard-geniuses at The Madagascar Institute made what should be harmless into what should kill you at the 2009 Gadgetoff (in case the sign in the beginning of the video saying ‘Caution: This May Kill You’ wasn’t any indication). The ‘merry go round’ looks more like a training exercise NASA astronauts undergo to see if they’ll lose their shit plowing through the ozone layer.
Outhouses need a new angle if they’re going to compete with toilets and random spots in the backyard as civilization’s primary waste methodology.
Quick show of hands, please: how many of you—whilst in the throes of an awkward port-o-john shit—pondered the possibility of said port-o-john being able to scurry over ground faster than a speeding golf cart? Paul Stender’s portable can in action looks like one of the non-lethal machines from Maximum Overdrive who’s just happy to finally be sentient. Holy shit!!! I’m alive!!!! Come, fleshlings! Come and defecate in me while we tour the countryside and find tailgates!
2. Beer Cooler
Long has redneck man dreamed of the fusion of booze and fire in a manner that won’t end in mushroom clouds and bloodshed. And God gazed down upon the cooler, and saw that it was good.
Proving that necessity really is the mother of invention, New Zealander Simon Jansen asked himself a very simple question—how do I keep my beer in a shed all day long and keep it ice cold at a moment’s notice? Believing that refrigerators and ice were for Quakers and laymen, Jansen used his 1970 MGB-GT engine and transformed it into a jet engine capable of cooling beer from room temperature to 2 degrees Celsius in five minutes. Like the feeling you got after watching your first episode of Breaking Bad, you know it’s too late to start wishing you paid more attention in science class.
Tragically, no video of this epic mash up of booze and jet engine technology is available.
Long has regular man dreamed of the power of flight, and not the pussy kind with aisle seats, salted peanuts, and crying babies exactly one row behind you.
In 2005, some Finnish dude named Visa Parviainen attempted the world’s first amateur birdman flight by strapping a pair of cylindrical jet engines primed with propane and butane to each of his legs, and then jumping off of a hot air balloon platform from 7,000 ft. From the video, it’s kind of hard to tell whether he actually achieves any uninhibited flight, or is just landing with style. Either way, special agent Utah could jump after Bodie from the top of K2 and still not carry this guy’s titanium ball sack.