January 19, 2007

LinkNews Digest [01/19/2007]

"Hold your Wee for a Wii" Contest Winner Dead

28-Year-Old Jennifer Lea Strange was declared dead by Sacramento Metro Fire Paramedics. Strange had reportedly competed in a contest held by local radio station 107.9 'The End' earlier Friday that required contestants to drink large amounts of water without being able to go to the bathroom [in order to win a Nintendo Wii gaming console].

The preliminary investigation revealed no life threatening medical conditions to explain her sudden death. While the preliminary findings of the autopsy are consistent with water intoxication, the coroner says the final cause of death will not be available for several months.(LINK )

Canada Starts Girls' PillowFight League

On a rainy Thursday night in a decrepit warehouse space on Niagara Street, there's a fight going on. Red, white and blue banners bedeck the walls, while a gaggle of girls seated on benches stare intently at the two competitors beating the daylight out of each other - with pillows.

Welcome to the Pillow Fight League (PFL), the brainchild of local man-about-town and Tijuana Bibles drummer Stacey Case, who came up with the idea for an all-girl group of pillow fighters with bandmate Craig Daniels while on a European tour two years ago. They tested out the concept during a New Year's Eve show at the Gladstone Hotel in 2004 with local burlesque troupe Skin Tight Outta Sight in unscripted fights, and then again with scripted tussles at the same event in 2005.

"There were two girls watching in the front row who were losing their minds," Case, 38, recalls. "So we decided to have live tryouts for the league right then and there. Those two tore each other apart. That's when I knew I was on to something." (LINK via Neatorama)

China Releases Sweet & Sour Pork Stamps

Stamps released in China to celebrate the Year of the Pig taste of sweet and sour pork.

The stamps on sale in China to celebrate the country's New Year. When you scratch the front of the stamps, it smells of the popular chinese dish and when the back of the stamp is licked it tastes of the dish too.

The stamps are on sale in China ahead of their New Year on February 18, reports Metro.(LINK )

Tennessee Defends "Crack Tax"

In April of 2005, Jeremy Robbins was arrested attempting to traffic two tons of marijuana from Arizona to East Tennessee. Indicted on federal drug conspiracy charges, Robbins was soon assessed a $1.1 million fine from Tennessee's Department of Revenue. The reason: failure to comply with the state's Unauthorized Substances Tax, which requires anyone in possession of a certain quantity of contraband, in the case of marijuana, more than 42.5 grams, to buy a tax stamp from the state government and affix it on the drug.

The so-called "crack tax" applies to controlled substances like marijuana and cocaine, and also illicit alcoholic beverages like moonshine. It allows someone to anonymously purchase stamps in person from the Department of Revenue based on the type and amount of the substance ($3.50 for a gram of marijuana, $50 for a gram of cocaine, etc.) with the understanding that doing so cannot be used against them in a criminal court. Posessing drugs is still illegal, the tax works completely outside the criminal justice system. A stamp cannot provide immunity from criminal prosecution, and a conviction of possession isn't required for the Department of Revenue to assess the penalties.

Of the 726 stamps sold so far (some to collectors as novelty items), none have turned up during a seizure. The penalty for not having a stamp can exceed 10 times the original cost, and the Department of Revenue concedes that the tax was instituted with the expectation that most dealers won't buy the stamp. "Dealers can do it either way," says Assistant Commissioner for Operations Sam Chessor. "But in reality, the payoff for us is going to be on the back end, not the front end. " (LINK via TIME)

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