They’re Everywhere!

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I have stated many times that I am horticulturally challenged. I think I’ll die that way as I really have little interest in flora. Fauna is another story entirely – I love animals, except for rattlesnakes (and I’m not overly fond of a few other species like spiders and cockroaches.) But that doesn’t mean that I can appreciate a flower when I see one. I just don’t need to know what it is called.

Here in Georgia, there are lots of wildflowers that grow along side of the road. I think some of them are daisies, some are little blue things…and then every now and then you see a stand of flowers like the one in today’s photo. They just seem to grow in bunches in the ditch or on the roadside. I may regret saying this, but I think this is some kind of daylily. Perhaps some of you who are more knowledgeable than I about flora can tell me.

Why post a picture of a flower on the Fourth of July? I thought it somewhat resembled an orange burst of fireworks. Besides, I love the color orange.

I hope you have a safe, sane and enjoyable holiday as we celebrate our country’s birthday!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: no, I’m not going to post about the 4th. That would be too obvious. So instead, know that Marilyn Sheppard was beaten to death inside her suburban home in Cleveland, Ohio. Her husband, Dr. Sam Sheppard, claimed to have fallen asleep in the family’s living room and awakened to find a man with bushy hair fleeing the scene. The authorities, who uncovered the fact that Dr. Sheppard had been having an affair, did not believe his story and charged him with killing his pregnant wife.

Creating a national sensation, the media invaded the courtroom and printed daily stories premised on Sheppard’s guilt. The jurors, who were not sequestered, found Sheppard guilty. Arguing that the circumstances of the trial had unfairly influenced the jury, Sheppard appealed to the Supreme Court and got his conviction overturned in 1966. Yet, despite the fact that Sheppard had no previous criminal record, many still believed that he was responsible for his wife’s murder.

The Sheppard case brought to light the issue of bias within the court system. Jurors are now carefully screened to ensure that they have not already come to a predetermined conclusion about a case in which they are about to hear. In especially high-profile cases, jurors can be sequestered so that they are not exposed to outside media sources. However, most judges simply order jurors not to watch news reports about the case, and rely on them to honor the order.

Sheppard’s case provided the loose inspiration for the hit television show The Fugitive, in which the lead character, Richard Kimble, is falsely accused of killing his wife, escapes from prison, and pursues the one-armed man he claimed to have seen fleeing the murder scene.

In 1998, DNA tests on physical evidence found at Sheppard’s house revealed that there had indeed been another man at the murder scene. Sheppard’s son, who had pursued the case long after his father’s death in order to vindicate his reputation, sued the state for wrongful imprisonment in 2000, but lost.

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: On July 3, 1776, John Adams wrote his wife, Abigail, that he thought fireworks should be used to celebrate America’s independence from England. Americans have been celebrating their independence with fireworks ever since. During the 4th of July, Americans light about 175 million pounds of fireworks, which is equivalent to about 100,000 lightning bolts.

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