Weird Universe


SOCCKET (Energy-Producing Soccer Ball)

It sounds like a nice idea. The "SOCCKET" is an electricity generating soccer ball. So children in impoverished communities, whose parents can't afford electric light, can play soccer during the day to charge the device up, and then use it at night to power a small lamp to read by.

Plenty of money was raised to produce these things and ship them worldwide. Unfortunately it seems that the gadget wasn't field-tested very well, because reports are that most of them promptly stopped working after a few days. So a lot of kids now have an overpriced soccer ball. []

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Apr 13, 2014 | Comments (5)
Category: Inventions, Sports

Supporting his father

Back in 1932, 14-year-old Charles Highfield was promoted by his father as being the strongest boy in Great Britain. In the first picture, that's the father standing on his son's neck. The Coventry Telegraph has a bit more info about Charles's brief career as a strongman.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Tue Mar 11, 2014 | Comments (8)
Category: Sports, Teenagers, 1930's

12th Street Rag

Speaking of possible Olympic events, how about one where the Big Band leader has to race around like a nut and take a turn at every instrument in the band?
Posted By: Paul | Date: Mon Mar 03, 2014 | Comments (4)
Category: Music, Sports, 1930's

Surfing as an Olympic sport

Indoor wave machines make it possible. And Rob Dougherty of The Inertia outlines some more reasons:

In addition to the improving wave pool technology, surfing has lots of other attributes that almost ensures its success at the Summer Games. First, it’s a sport pursued by people all over the world. The Volcom Pipe Pro in January, for example, featured surfers from seventeen different countries. Surfing already has a structured judging system in place that looks for and rewards tactical surfing like carves, barrel rides and airs. While the judging is far from perfect, the same can be said for any sport with subjective scoring. Third, surfing is more popular than ever, and has ties to lots of adjacent sports like body boarding, body surfing and even SUP’ing that the Olympic committee should also consider.

Personally, I'm hoping that one day competitive eating will be given its rightful place at the Olympics.
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Mar 01, 2014 | Comments (11)
Category: Sports

The Texas All-Girl Track Club, 1964

The Texas Track Club is celebrated on two counts—its athletic achievements and the uncommon beauty of its girls, who compete in dazzling uniforms, elaborate makeup and majestic hairdos. These hairdos, which are either bouffant or flip if at all possible, may not be aerodynamically sound and may be "out" east of the Hudson, but they are an unqualified sensation at a track meet. "They are our trademark," says Jeanne Ellison, the coach's 16-year-old daughter. "Bouffant is easier to run in because the wind doesn't blow your hair in your face."

Source: Sports Illustrated - Apr 20, 1964
Posted By: Alex | Date: Sat Jan 25, 2014 | Comments (4)
Category: Sports, Hair Styling, 1960's

The SkiBee

Invented by Detroit resident Donald Steeg, circa 1970. The SkiBee had an eight-horsepower engine with a 24-inch propellor that served as a propulsion unit for motorized skiing. Anyone who was willing to wear this thing on their back, could enjoy skiing without having to find a slope to go down. During the summer, it could also be used as an outboard motor on a boat.

[Hutchinson News - Feb 6, 1970]
Posted By: Alex | Date: Thu Dec 26, 2013 | Comments (7)
Category: Inventions, Motor Vehicles, Sports, 1970's

Donkey Lifting

Instead of lifting weights in Ukraine, they lift donkeys. [nydailynews]

Posted By: Alex | Date: Sun Dec 22, 2013 | Comments (3)
Category: Sports

East German Rally, 1950

"Rally posters contrast U.S. girl wrestlers with pure and healthful communistic sports."

I wonder how many people at this rally were thinking that the U.S. girl wrestling looks a lot more fun.

Posted By: Alex | Date: Fri Dec 20, 2013 | Comments (6)
Category: Sports, Wrestling, 1950's

Mutton Busting

Posted By: Paul | Date: Tue Dec 10, 2013 | Comments (9)
Category: Animals, Sports, Children

Uphill Skiing

Instead of going down the slope, you go up it, using a parachute to drag you. The inventors of this sport call it "wind mountaineering". And they're trying to raise money to help them commercialize the idea. Their site is

Posted By: Alex | Date: Thu Dec 05, 2013 | Comments (4)
Category: Sports
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All original content in posts is Copyright © 2008 by the author of the post, either Alex Boese ("Alex"), Paul Di Filippo ("Paul"), or Chuck Shepherd ("Chuck"). All rights reserved. The banner illustration at the top of this page is Copyright © 2008 by Rick Altergott.