Kentucky Bunbury?

Tomorrow the Kentucky Derby will be held. At this time last year my then roommates and I were curious about the origin of the word “derby.” If Wikipedia can be trusted, we owe it to Edward Smith-Stanley, 12th Earl of Derby:

At a dinner party in 1778 held on his estate “The Oaks” in Carshalton, the Earl and his friends planned a sweepstake horse race, won the following year by the Earl’s own horse, Bridget. The race, the Epsom Oaks, has been named after the estate since. At a celebration after Bridget’s win, a similar race for colts was proposed and the Earl tossed a coin with Sir Charles Bunbury for the honour of naming the race. The Earl won, and the race became known as the Derby Stakes. Sir Charles won the initial race in 1780 with his horse, Diomed; the Earl himself won it in 1787 with Sir Peter Teazle.

Had the coin toss gone differently, we might be celebrating the Kentucky Bunbury tomorrow and the world would be a slightly sillier place.

This is the same Stanley family, by the way, that later gave ice hockey the Stanley Cup, making them uniquely successful at naming sports championships.

Also related to the Kentucky Derby: how to never, ever make a mint julep.


The first casualty of spring


As warm, sunny weather arrived in D.C. today, I (not having a real job) went out with John Taylor (also not having a real job, but productively pursuing a Masters in Economics) to toss the Aerobie on the National Mall. Alas, today was the last day of flight for this particular Astonishing Flying Ring. After nearly a year of use — skimming across the fields of Vanderbilt, Rice, Brown, Georgetown, and Seattle University — its hardy inner ring finally gave out. We gave it a few last throws, for even a shattered Aerobie will still fly true, but now it’s time to put this one down to rest. Ashes to ashes, polycarbonate to polycarbonate.


United-MetroStars recap


Score: United 3, MetroStars 2

This afternoon I headed out to my first Major League Soccer game, courtesy of one of Court’s good friends. The photo is from our great seats: United keeper Nick Rimando flies in to punch an incoming ball out of the goal box.

While I don’t share my flatmate’s wish to turn all baseball parks into soccer fields, I’m pleased to say that the game makes a great spectator sport (even though I’ve played and refereed it for years, I wasn’t entirely sure of this). The continuous flow of the game makes it go by much faster than football, baseball, and even basketball with those sports’ constant stoppages of play. Plus, the fact that the games are almost always close makes them interesting up to the end. Long story short: D.C. taxpayers could save a lot of money if instead of building a new baseball stadium they just learned to appreciate soccer and provided a small subsidy for hooliganism.

Next game: D.C. (11-10-9) at New England (11-12-7) in the first game of their playoff series.

[Entry format shamelessly lifted from Chad Wilcox.]