Almost a hundred and fifty years ago, they enthralled a certain writer
with a distinctive mustache -- who had the good fortune to publish his
very first story in their honour. And, to this day, they enthrall
thousands of people from all over central parts of California, and the
world beyond, even.
But now, the
celebrated Jumping Frogs of Calaveras County have captured the
imagination of a most strange group of fellows, from Rhode Island,
These herpetologists, seems, love to look at frogs. Real close-like.
stick their noses at their legs, their backs, their feet, an' even
their warts. No doubt, if they get the chance, they cut 'em open to look
at their innards, tho' that's something I can't sanction, being
sanctimoniously opposed, as I am, to vivisection.
the best recorded distance ever "officially" jumped by an American
Bullfrog -- that's the breed favoured by those folks competing at the
Calaveras County Fair and Frog-Jumping Jubilee -- is four feet, four
inches. And that, those scientists figure, is about as far as a frog
could possibly hop, given all that analysis of the frogs' legs -- and
the innards, no doubt -- along with their knowledge of physics and frog
bio-mechanics and all.
the folks at the Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee figure
that's a lowball, seeing as their frogs, who jump three times in a row
at the competition, can cover twenty-one feet in their triple-hops,
which, by my mathematical reckoning, means an average jump of seven
feet. Not four feet, three inches.
to determine whether the frogs are jumping that far for real, or just
making what you might call a leap of faith, these herpetologists set up
some pretty fancy cameras at this year's Calaveras County Fair and
Jumping Frog Jubilee.
with those cameras, they measured those frogs up and down and around,
and in the air, and on the ground, and came up with some pretty firm
conclusions about the actual distance travelled in those jumps.
And guess what.
Turns out the frog handlers weren't lyin' after all.
One frog, they caught him jumpin' seven feet, two-and-a-half inches. And he wasn't even the furthest overall jumper.
now, these herpetologists from Rhode Island got a problem, 'cos it
seems these frogs jump a lot farther than they're s'posed to. Something
about breaking the laws of physics got them scientists all up in arms,
or legs even.
writing papers and going to conferences an' tryin' to figure all this
out. Why it is that these frogs only jump that far at the Calaveras
County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee, but nowhere else -- even Rhode
But I can tell you what it is: the bettin'.
as everyone knows, cash on the line, so to speak, is a terrific
motivator. And from them frogs's perspectives, it's simple:
You catch more flies with money.
here's a little story, read by Chris, from a book called The Celebrated
Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. It's called The Celebrated Jumping
Frog of Calaveras County.
DALET: READING: THE CELEBRATED JUMPING FROG OF CALAVERAS COUNTY