Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Sideswipe

By Ana Samways

Even more publicity for C4 ... Isaac Hayes has quit South Park, saying he can no longer stomach its take on religion. An outspoken Scientologist, Hayes has played the ladies' man/school cook in the show since 1997. The 63-year-old soul singer says although there is a place in this world for satire, "there is a time when satire ends and intolerance and bigotry towards religious beliefs of others begins". But South Park co-creator Matt Stone said Hayes' decision to quit is about his own religious faith - Scientology. "He's cashed plenty of cheques from our show making fun of Christians." So why the sudden change of conscience? Last year South Park had a go at the Church of Scientology in an episode called Trapped in the Closet. In the episode, Stan, one of the show's four mischievous fourth-graders, is hailed as a reluctant saviour by Scientology leaders, while a cartoon Tom Cruise locks himself in a closet and won't come out. Stone said he and co-creator Trey Parker "never heard a peep out of Isaac in any way until we did Scientology. He wants a different standard for religions other than his own, and to me, that is where intolerance and bigotry begin". (Source: Associated Press)

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You're in Speights territory now, boys: while in Greymouth for a gig, an unnamed New Zealand band wandered in their usual attire (jaunty hats and op-shop jackets) down the main drag. A couple of local fellas drove slowly past and through an open window said in a reassuring drawl, " Don't worry, mate, Calvin Klein lives here too."

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Reader Vasanti reckons it's not just the hoodie that gets unwarranted police attention. "I was standing outside my house contemplating life, the universe and painting the house when a policeman pulled over. He walked up to me and as he got closer, and saw I was female, he started apologising. He thought because I was wearing a hoodie (and I've got brown skin) that I was a burglar."

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Maybe headwear in general sparks suspicion? Another reader was followed by a police car for three blocks. "When I finally stopped at my destination the officer also stopped and wanted my name and contact details, which I provided, asking why they were required. He said because I was wearing a hat. He was apparently following a lead on a recent burglary, where the offender was also said to have been wearing a hat. Go figure ... "

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A Greymouth freight company has been ordered to pay almost $15,000 to former driver Hamish Timmins, sacked after sending a text message saying he was too ill to work which simply read: "2sick". Mr Timmins became ill with a head cold and earache on March 14 last year and his doctor wrote him a medical certificate excusing him from work until March 21. He worked on March 14 and 15, but sent in his text the next day. He was sacked, but the Employment Relations Authority ruled absenteeism was not grounds for dismissal, and the reasons for the sacking were unclear. A letter outlining the reasons for Mr Timmins' firing, including incompatibility with other staff members and mood swings caused by suspected drug use, was not written until April 18. The authority found Mr Timmins was unjustifiably dismissed and ordered his ex-employer, Aratuna Freighters, to pay him $5000 for humiliation and loss of dignity, and $9795.50 for three months' lost wages. (Source: NZPA)

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