Saturday, August 27, 2011

Corn Festival

Today was the 31st annual Corn Festival in Shippensburg, PA (read about the history of the festival here). They block off King St. from Spring St. to Prince St. and basically hold a big, overgrown street fair with crafts, food, and musical entertainment. It was definitely a mob scene today...

There were plenty of craft and food booths to look at...

After several hours of wandering the booths and waiting for people to clear away in front of several of my favorite views, and after a good lunch (a chicken wrap and fresh-squeezed lemonade), the first outlying band of Hurricane Irene made an appearance, and I decided it was time to go home...

Of course, those of you who are regular readers of this blog know that I took a lot more pictures than these few, but I couldn't do justice to them in this format. There were shots of the musical and dance groups, more crafts, the wool spinners and the blacksmith, and even the Corn Clown. So I put together this slide show and backed it with the "Hoedown" movement of Aaron Copland's Rodeo. You definitely get a better idea of the scope of the festival. Enjoy!

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Monday, August 22, 2011

A Drop-Dead Gorgeous Day

A cold front blew through yesterday and took all the heat and humidity with it. Today is just a drop-dead gorgeous day - blue skies, puffy white clouds, clear blue distant mountains.

Fall is coming. Can you smell it in the air?

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Wildflower Portraits

A few things seen walking around on the Dykeman Walking Trail and in the Dykeman Wetlands Park today.

White Campion

Unknown but very photogenic flowers



© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Trial by Public Opinion?

It appears that the furor over the jury's verdict in the Casey Anthony trial continues, especially on the Internet. Popular opinion is running strongly in favor of the theory that because most of us find her distasteful she deserves to be punished, and the jury should have factored in that dislike. I even saw one person in a comment thread on Facebook write that public opinion should have more of a place in the judicial system.

I don't think I've ever seen or heard a more ignorant opinion! Our jurisprudential system works on the rule of law, not on mob rule. You're tried by a jury of your peers, and that jury comes to its decision based on evidence presented by both the prosecution and the defense. And if you don't like the jury's decision you can appeal to the next higher level in the appellate system.

In the case of Casey Anthony, the jury decided that the prosecution didn't make its case. They didn't declare her innocence, they declared that the prosecution failed to prove she killed her daughter. The lack of evidence as to the cause of Caylee Anthony's death cast reasonable doubt on the prosecution's case that she was deliberately murdered by her mother. This is how cases in the United States are tried: on the evidence. Not on wishes, hunches, and wannabes, but on provable, observable evidence. Cold, hard facts. Public opinion has no place in the courtroom, only evidence.

People have been hysterically keening that our judicial system is broken because Casey Anthony has gone free. On the contrary, this case proves that it works very well indeed. William Blackstone, in his Commentaries on the Laws of England (1765 - 1769), considered the backbone of judicial philosophy and practice in Great Britain and North America, wrote what has since become known as Blackstone's Formulation: "...better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer." This in turn derives from 12th Century legal theorist Moses Maimonides' exposition on Genesis 18:23 - 32, where he states (referring to God's promise to spare Sodom and Gommorrah for the sake of ten righteous men), "it is better and more satisfactory to acquit a thousand guilty persons than to put a single innocent one to death." This legal philosophy guarantees that care is taken to approach each case with a fair and balanced mind. That someone some of us think is guilty occasionally slips free is only further proof that Blackstone's Formulation is in operation and the system is far from broken.

For those who seriously think that public opinion should carry some weight in a court case, consider how badly that approach has worked throughout history. The most famous is the case of a certain itinerant rabbi in 1st Century Palestine, one Yeshu'a ben Yosef; he wandered throughout the area urging the people to be better neighbors, to feed the hungry, care for the sick, house the homeless, forgive those who offend you, etc. Unfortunately there were people who considered this rabbi a threat, and during the Passover week blindsided him and captured him, taking him to their Roman overlord, the procurator Pontius Pilate, accusing him of treason against the Roman Emperor. Pilate examined the evidence and came to the conclusion that the rabbi was guilty of nothing more than annoying some pompous religious leaders. But those leaders were adamant that the rabbi be punished. So Pilate decided to put the question to the people, in this case the crowd gathered in Jerusalem for the Passover holiday. And they, pumped up by those offended religious leaders, shouted "String 'im up!"

Mob rule declared Yeshu'a ben Yosef, who we now know as Jesus, guilty and decreed his execution. An innocent man was killed because the existing judicial process was abandoned for public opinion, and that ruling has resonated down through history.

Now... Do you really think public opinion should have any place in a courtroom?

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Folk Meteorology

Folk wisdom has it that sitting cows means rain coming. These cows last Saturday had it exactly right. And they must be sitting again because it's raining again. After the hot and dry July we had, this is good news.

© 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Heartland in High Summer

I took a walk down the other direction on Possum Hollow Road this morning before the heavens opened up and we got some much-needed rain.

The Amish farm across the road

A panoramic view of South Mountain

The train crossing on Possum Hollow Road, with South Mountain in the background

Cornfield and rail-side grain depot

And what better song to go with this than Peter Ostroushko's "Heart of the Heartland", here played live by Peter with the Guy's All-Star Shoe Band on A Prairie Home Companion in 2004.

Photos © 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger

PS: I also just put up a post on Duke Ellington's "Caravan " on the Just A Song blog. You are cordially invited to check it out!

Monday, August 01, 2011


I was pretty sure this one would work as a black & white.

And here's some appropriate music - "The Carousel Waltz" from Rogers & Hammerstein's Carousel:

Photo © 2011 by A. Roy Hilbinger