From The Hutch
Well, there’s been a fair bit going on this week and I don’t even know where to start.
So we’ll ease into it with alcohol, tobacco, firearms and sexual services.
The reason these things are relevant at the moment is because of the Melbourne Cup.
And the Department of Internal Affairs specifically bans all of them as prizes in a workplace sweepstake or raffle.
What sort of twisted imagination comes up with these rules?
I mean really? How many workplace sweepstakes include a prize of whisky, cigars, shotguns and strippers?
Given there are only 22 horses in the race, those tickets must be horrendously expensive.
And this is shocking at the other end of the scale as well.
Quite frankly, if consenting adults want to receive a bottle of wine as a prize, what the hell has it got to do with the Department of Internal Affairs?
Just stay out of our lives and stop making stupid rules.
Getting the whip out
One jockey found out the hard way about breaking the rules during the big race on Tuesday.
Apparently you are allowed to whip your horse, just not too much.
Now, what on Earth is that all about?
It turns out you are only allowed to whip a horse five times in the race, prior to the last 100 metres. You can then whack it as many times as you like as you dash for the line.
The rather over-excited jockey Kerrin McEvoy struck his horse Tiger Moth 13 times before the 100 metre mark.
The result: A $50,000 fine.
This is what Winston Churchill would refer to as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma” because either you should either be allowed to whip the horse or not allowed to whip the horse.
It all gets a bit confusing. Racing types say it doesn’t hurt the horse. And the whips are padded.
What – a padded whip that doesn’t hurt? It’s hard to see the logic in that and it’s almost as strange as padded boxing gloves.
The Melbourne cup isn’t the only thing happening overseas that Kiwis follow with keen interest, without having the foggiest idea of what’s going on.
At the time of writing this, the US elections were undecided. They probably still will be for a while yet I suspect, for the same reason we still don’t know the outcome of our own election.
However, I do feel a lot of sympathy for ex-pats trying to defend their electoral system.
Every four years, I get onto my favourite search engines and news sites and figure out who is who and, importantly how it all works.
Without knowing this stuff fairly well, watching the results flowing in is completely baffling.
And through all of this you are usually scratching your head wondering how these two people could possibly be the most competent contenders for arguably the most important job in the world.
But it is their election, not ours and you could argue it is actually a lot less strange.
In New Zealand we have essentially elected an all-powerful dictator for three years. The only way we can stop our government from doing something completely crazy, is to wait three years and then vote them out again.
Fortunately, we don’t tend to elect extreme people but it’s not ideal if Jacinda picks up Kim Jon-un’s autobiography and finds it a good read.
In the US, the president still needs a bunch of things to fall into line before they can do much of anything.
However, what we need to remember is that it isn’t our country and they can elect who they like.
Now, last week, a clean-shaven group of us at Sun Media decided to grow moustaches to raise money for men’s health – both the physical and the mental kind.
We have lots of whiskers and cool names like Choppa and the Fur-minator, but very little cold, hard cash.
We are a free news service, so usually we don’t ask for money but if you did want to help the cause then search for ‘The Sun Mo Stars’ team on the official Movember site or follow the link https://nz.movember.com/team/2373683 and give a dollar to a very worthy cause.