Celebrating, and Quarreling Over, Frogs
Frog jumping world is split in twain over money
Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee
California red-legged frog, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Mark Twain and American Humor
In 1865, Mark Twain was a little known journalist working in the boomtown of San Francisco. He would soon lose his anonymity upon the publication of his first short story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", a tale that brought together a compulsive gambler and his frog in a literary endeavor that was equally parts American folklore, satire, and wit. Twain wouldn't have been surprised to learn that eighteen years after he passed away that a group of central Californians would come together to start the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee, but he might have been surprised at all the fracas that has surrounded the event as of late. The dispute, as with many things of this world, revolves around money, and involves a disagreement between the Angels Camp Boosters (who have organized the frog-jumping events since the events began in 1928) and the organizers of the Calaveras County Fair. Despite these factional disputes, the events went on as planned this past Sunday and the frog "Lisa Can Do" won big at this fabled event with a triple-jump of 21 feet, 4 1/2 inches.
The first link will take users to a piece from the this Monday's Union-Democrat about the results of the Calaveras County frog jumping competition, peppered with a few quotes from the winning frog-handler, Brent Bloom of Sacramento. The second link leads to a piece from the New York Times about the monetary dispute that threatened this year's competition. Moving on, the third link whisks users away to an article from the Telegraph about both the competition and the recent controversy surrounding it. The fourth link leads to the rather fun website dedicated to the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee. Those who missed the frog jumping will be glad to learn that they still have time to make it to the upcoming Calaveras County 4-H Junior Livestock Auction Buyers Dinner, which is scheduled to take place on May 31st. The fifth link leads to a page that provides some details about the endangered California red-legged frog, which happens to be the frog featured in Twain's short story. Needless to say, this tiny frog is strictly forbidden from being utilized in competitive frog-jumping. Finally, the last link leads to a great set of curriculum activities offered by EDSITEment for teachers who wish to engage students in a discussion about Mark Twain and American humor. There are a number of nice items here, including the complete version of Twain's tale of frogs, gambling, and the Old West.