Who is your hero? Hopefully not the nude girl on the building site.

November 12, 2013

Everywhere I go, I see a nude Miley Cyrus.

Not that I’m searching for such images. She seems to pop out of every screen I get near.

Music programs day and night. Morning chat shows. I looked up while doing the Cup form, in a reputable pub last Monday, and there she was. All skin and pout.

For those older folk who are trying to place the surname, and wondering what the hell I’m banging on about, let me assist. Cyrus, as in Billy Ray. King of the Mullet. A one hit wonder like no other.

His daughter is Miley. And I feel like she’s one of my own.

Regular readers will know I woke up with her on a Saturday morning. Or, more specifically, her show.

A few years back, Hannah Montana was a character every young girl celebrated. She was fun, and sassy, and goofy. Sang like an angel, and wise-cracked with the best of them.

Tears were shed in the family, when it all came to an end. It was assumed that she would become a wholesome, good looking young star of stage and screen.

Instead, she’s now twerking (they tell me that’s a rude dance) with older pop stars, and doing video clips hanging off giant wrecking balls in the buff.

It makes no sense. Is there no market for young, talented folk, without Johnny Young being involved?

I wondered what my girls would make of it all. In this multi-media age, sometimes it’s hard to work out who their heroes are. I had nightmares that The Teenager would start hanging around construction sites.

My fears were unfounded. They were both left scratching their heads. Love the song, hate the clip.

They would have watched her, whatever move she made. Because they liked her. She didn’t need to go feral, to keep their attention.

As a young bloke, I had no such dramas. My hero was Dad. No-one came close.

He worked hard, and had little. Whatever cash was in his pocket, was ours. The simple things made him happy. Good friends. Big laughs. The occasional cool drink.

He treated people better than anyone I ever saw. Made them feel important, whoever they may be.

On his building sites, he was patient, and good-humoured, even with the narkiest of clients.

If it hurt him that he couldn’t take us to nice places, he never showed it. Beers and chips with mates under the orange tree more than made up for it.

These days, I hear stories that parents have lost that gloss with their youngsters. I don’t buy it.

I know plenty of successful people who still talk to Mum and Dad every night. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

In our workplace, the running joke is that us old blokes have found a new hero. And he’s not family.

Ben Roberts-Smith keeps walking into the newsroom. Blocking out the sunlight as he does.

Forget the girls swooning. They reckon us blokes keep falling over ourselves to shake his giant hand. Too true. What a guy.

When it comes to heroes and role models, I think we’re still going ok. They don’t need to be nude starlets, or highly paid footy stars. Mum and Dad and Ben will do just fine. As long as there’s no twerking. And they stay away from those wrecking balls.

Celebrating the Cup any way you can. Important tips on how to have a winning day.

November 5, 2013

My mate declares Melbourne Cup Day a religious holiday.

He worships Flemington. Has the day off very year. Wednesday too. For as long as I can remember.

We have had some of our most enjoyable days on the first Tuesday in November. The laughs never end. And yes, cool drinks are had.

Sometimes we’re at the track. Or at lunch. That turns into dinner.

We’ve been to so many places over the years I’ve lost count. Wonderful fun, each and every time.

It’s also a day that produces stories that even I find hard to believe. Success, and hardship, and sheer bloody bad luck.

We drew Viewed in the Cup calcutta one year. Actually had it in our hands. And gave it back. How could Bart’s wet tracker win?

I stood and watched that day, in ever increasing horror. I couldn’t hear Greg Miles, but I knew those colours. Closing in with every bound.

He won, of course. It cost us thousands. We just looked at each other, shook our heads, and eventually, laughed. Once we got to the bar.

Another year, my mate declared Efficient as his bet of the day. Reckoned it couldn’t be beaten. I thought he was mad.

He won, of course. His celebration involved spilling a bucket of red wine on anyone within cooee. They took it in good humour. I think.

That same day, we jagged a trifecta in the last. It was worth a heap. And we lost the ticket.

There was a mad scramble, checking tables far and wide. Staff at the track were inspecting bins for us. Nothing.

I had to go to an office, and fill out a form, saying we were the dumbest people on track. It meant we would get paid, after 3 months. Not that we needed the cash at that minute. Much.

I came out, to find my mate laughing. He does that lots. The ticket was in his pocket. The one he hadn’t checked. It was the longest 3 months of my life.

It’s the beauty of Cup Day. Everyone will have a story to tell. Whether you’re at Flemington, or Doomben, or the local surf club, or the staff canteen. There’ll be winners, and losers, and hard luck stories.

Make sure you celebrate it. Even for just half an hour. If the best you can do is have a plastic cup of champers, so be it.

It’s an afternoon that is so uniquely Australian. No other country comes close. That roar we make when the gates open, is truly something to savour.

Good luck with your bet. For what it’s worth, I think Mount Athos will make up for last year, and get the prize. With Dear Demi as a big threat. But you’ll remember, I haven’t had a decent win on the Cup since Kiwi. When half of you were in nappies.

Enjoy the day. Watch out for flying reds. And don’t lose your ticket.

Why the rules have to change, so Bart gets to Flemington on Tuesday.

November 2, 2013

So here we are. Australia’s greatest day of racing.

But there’s a more pressing issue than finding the winner of the Derby. Which, by the way, will be Savvy Nature. Money for jam.

Unless we do something, the one and only Bart Cummings might be missing on Cup Day.

Mike Colman has been fighting this all week in the Courier Mail. And I’m with him.

Have you seen the great man lately? Bart, not Mike. Father time is within a length of him. In our mind, we still see him as he once was, tall and proud in the winner’s circle. It’s no longer the case.

It could be, that there won’t be too many more visits to Flemington on the first Tuesday of the month. So we need to act now.

His one and only hope is Precedence. He’s decided not to run him today, even though he could have qualified with a win. No, Bart won’t do that. He wants the committee to help him. And they should.

If they don’t, there’s every chance our great race will go around without the living legend. And that’s simply not acceptable.

Punters, it’s time for us to act. We need to band together, across the nation, and take things into our own hands.

The campaign must start right now, to have the rules changed. Just this once. There’s still time. Precedence must run. Sacrifices can be made.

Yes, it means connections of another horse will miss out. If they are genuine racing lovers, they’ll cop that.

It might be one of the lesser internationals. Boo hoo. Who would you rather see, a Canadian camel, or the famous Cummings colours?

Can you imagine the roar, when Bart shuffles out to the mounting yard? It will be deafening. There won’t be a dry eye in the house.

I can’t begin to think what would happen if the horse actually won. Cup chaos. The only thing guaranteed is that The Master would deliver one of the great one-liners.

Racing has a long and proud history of bending rules. Never has there been a more important time to do it.

It will send a message, that the Cup is about more than money. It’s bigger than that. It’s a part of who we are.

We owe it to Bart. It’s our race, and we want him there.

Start sending messages now. Hit Facebook and Twitter. Ring your radio station. We have until the last race this afternoon.

If they listen to us, it could be the most memorable Cup ever. The day Bart stole the show. Again.