Democracy! One of its greatest aspirations is treating elected representatives and the everyday people who elected them equally -- a leveling that, once a year in Sacramento, includes California lawmakers trying to grasp slimy frogs and then dancing around and stomping to encourage said frogs to hop.
Tuesday was the 39th annual Capitol Frog Jump day, a hallowed occasion that honors Mark Twain's well-known story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County."
Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Oakdale, whose district encompasses Calaveras County, emceed the festivities.
"These frogs have a lot on the line here -- if they lose they could end up in the frying pan," Berryhill announced. A staffer told him, "We don't bite the leg that feeds us."
The results of today's festivities: A 10-foot-5-inch hop secured the longest jump title for "Notorious H.O.P." on behalf of Morgan Morales with the office of Assemblyman Eric Linder, R-Corona. On the opposite end of the spectrum was the amphibian coached by Theresa Pena of the office of Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica-- "Herkimer" managed only 1 foot, 4 inches. The Media Jump award went to defending champ Joe Michaels of Newstalk 1530 KFBK's "Christopher Ribbit II.
For the record, Capitol Alert's favorite frog names were a tie between M.C. Hopper and Betty Croaker. But enough talk, here's some videos of lawmakers and frogs.
Frog wrangler D.W. Elley was very helpful -- here he is giving Assemblyman Steve Fox, D-Lancaster, some positive reinforcement. (Elley's technique summed up: "Set him on the pad, and scare him and make him hop.")
Fox's frog, by the way, was named El Zorro. "Zorro means fox in Spanish," the assemblyman explained to Capitol Alert.
Assemblyman Ken Cooley, D-Rancho Cordova, is a freshman but has been around the Capitol for a while, so he seemed pretty confident in his technique.
Assemblywoman Cheryl Brown, D-San Bernardino, was less enthused...
...although ultimately she got into it. Her frog, Larry B., though, remained indifferent.
PHOTO CREDIT: Sadly, Assemblyman Ken Cooley -- seen here with Tenaya -- did not find his prince. April 30, 2013 by Jeremy B. White/The Sacramento Bee.