A great day

Note the date at the head of this post. Nov. 4th. A great national day of decision. A great race will be decided. Millions will watch the outcome. And the outcome will make many jubilant while others will be sad or indifferent. I am referring, of course, to the Melbourne Cup, Australia's premier horserace and the one race of the year for which everyone stops in Australia. They flock to their nearest TV or glue a trannie (transistor radio) to their ear. Businesses stop. Schools stop. Factories stop. Offices stop. And even Presbyterians have been known to bet on the outcome. Due to the peculiarites of timezones, however, the race will be run on Nov. 3 in America. And what happens in America on 4th, will happen on 5th in Australia.

My Presbyterian background is still a strong and valued influence and I basically never gamble but I will today enter a "sweep". It is early morning as I write this. In a sweep, you put in money to draw the name of one of the horses out of a hat. If "your" horse wins, you get all the money. It is probably the world's fairest gamble -- but it won't make you rich. There will be sweeps in almost every office and workplace in Australia today. It is a great day! Below is a good comment written by an American last year:
On the first Tuesday of November, most people in Melbourne get the day off for the public holiday. What holiday you ask? Is it the Queens birthday? Boxing Day? Australia Day? No friends, today is a holy occasion where a little over 100,000 people dress up, get drunk, and bet on a bunch of horses as they run around a track. Basically, everyone gets the day off for a race that only lasts minutes.

This is actually a big deal here. Someone told me that teachers in grade school have the kids do "play bets" on what horse they want to win. Women seem to especially love this day as they dress up all pretty and wear funny hats as you see below. There are several contests as well at the cup including "best hat" and "best overall dressed". Today a horse named "Efficient" won the cup and the owner won a prize of $5 million dollars. I know what you are asking me now, "well who won the best hat!?!" Well, I scoured the internet and couldn't find the winner of best hat, which is the thing I was really interested in. Again, what a fun and great country. I'm in Brisbane and so didn't get the day off, but I still got to enjoy a city full of pretty girls wearing funny hats.

Posted by John Ray. For a daily critique of Leftist activities, see DISSECTING LEFTISM. For a daily survey of Australian politics, see AUSTRALIAN POLITICS Also, don't forget your roundup of Obama news and commentary at OBAMA WATCH (2). Email me (John Ray) here

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