Monthly Archives: June 2014

Twisting Words

Twisting Words

There are those who, when they don’t like something, start twisting words to make others join in their contentious cause.  Such is the case in today’s victory for religious rights.  Today the Supreme Court upheld Hobby Lobby’s right to follow their conscience.  Reading the “Opinion of the Court” it become apparent the ruling was to protect the owners of Hobby Lobby and their religious freedoms.

Unfortunately, there are those who make this all about a “woman’s reproductive rights”.  One such group went so far to post a meme on Facebook showing a picture of Viagra and a caption stating “covered”, and a picture of birth control pills stating, “not covered”.  Both statements are incorrect.  Most insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act do NOT cover male enhancement drugs.  All plans are required to cover birth control pills.  (Note:  Today’s ruling only allows companies to opt-out of cost sharing for practices or drugs that are contrary to their religious beliefs.  An analysis today by the Kaiser Foundation made it very clear that this ruling does not effect those covered.)

In addition, many are twisting this ruling to be an assault on women.  Even Justice Ginsburg attempts to make this about women, and her dissenting comments seem to ignore the opt-out section of the ruling, and this clause in the ruling:

The most straightforward way of doing this would be for the Government to assume the cost of providing the four contraceptives at issue to any women who are unable to obtain them under their health-insurance policies due to their employers’ religious objections. This would certainly be less restrictive of the plaintiffs’ religious liberty, and HHS has not shown, see §2000bb–1(b)(2), that this is not a viable alternative.

If anything, the ruling was a slap to Congress for not taking care to protect people’s religious beliefs.

Some claim the Greens (owners of Hobby Lobby) are forcing their religious beliefs on others.  Well, they should read the ruling.  Here why it is not…

  • Although the Greens believe life begins at conception, and thus are opposed to abortion, the Greens are not going to fire or not hire someone because they had an abortion.  In fact, it would be illegal for them to ask.
  • As previously quoted, the court is urging Congress to provide the contraceptives.
  • There is no mention of Hobby Lobby’s employees to embrace the owner’s beliefs.

If anything, this was a very libertarian approach to fixing an authoritarian law.  Any law that forces someone to do something against their will, that has nothing to do with the safety of the public, is authoritarian in nature.

I applaud the Supreme Court in this ruling.  It was the right thing to do.


I took some more pictures at the hill.  The stage is progressing nicely.

copyright 2014 db walton

Hill Cumorah Stage Setup

We’re having a heat wave currently.  Hopefully, this will break before pageant starts.


Salad Again

Salad Again

I love variety in my diet.  My wife loves repetition in hers.  So, it is very rare that we would have salad again after serving salad last Sunday.  Yes, I made basically the same Asian salad today that I made last week.  I guess the big difference is we had different dinner guests so they wouldn’t know.  Elizabethe liked that I made the same things.

After church I photographed some Primary children for an assignment.  The request was for children holding pictures they had colored (which pictures were printed off  You can print the pictures here: .)

The assignment was short and sweet.  I had all boys volunteering for the picture.  They were wonderful and cooperative.


The church issued a statement yesterday, and it comes on the heals of the excommunication of Kate Kelly.  Here’s a link to the statement:

I think the key statement in this release is, “Apostasy is repeatedly acting in clear, open, and deliberate public opposition to the Church or its faithful leaders, or persisting, after receiving counsel, in teaching false doctrine.”

Back when I was in 9th grade, I remember a seminary lesson about apostasy.    I amazes me when someone claims to have been an active member of the same church I belong to, but has such different and twisted interpretations of its teachings.  I am further amazed when they continue to teach that their belief is what the other members believe also.  I am even further amazed when they go about trying to convince others they are right, and everyone else is confused.  I’m not suggesting this is the case with Kate Kelly, but I am suggesting it is a common practice among many apostates.

Speaking of church…

During our last hour we had a combined meeting and presentation about Faith, Family and Religious Freedom.  You owe it to yourself to watch this video…



I’m just outraged that a nation that was founded on religious freedom would allow one of its own agencies to do such a thing. It’s not only sad, but frightening.

Small Town Events

Small Town Events

Large cities lack several things, but one are small town events.  The community of a small town offers so much that you cannot get in a crowded city.  Some large cities have a few close-knit neighborhoods, but even those lack the closeness of a small town.

Today I attended an event in Macedon.  Macedon is Palmyra’s neighbor to the west, and Palmyra and Macedon share the same school district.  Both villages are on Route 31 and the Erie Canal, and at one time, Macedon was part of Palmyra.  The event was to honor a man from the village of Lyons (about 15 miles east of Palmyra) for his community service in Macedon.  (For those who do not understand what Western New York is like… Western New York consist of many small hamlets and villages, with very few cities.  A town, by the way, is short of township, and it is a subdivision of the county.)

This event was somewhat ad hoc, and that is what I liked most about it.  It wasn’t like the Village of Macedon had some big shindig at the Village Hall.  No, this was a small gathering with some pot luck food items, held in a pavilion at the park.  They had a few people tell some stories about the man being honored, and then they presented him with a certificate of appreciation.  The man in turn, presented the village with a birdhouse his grandson and he made.

copyright 2014 db walton

Mayor Marie Cramer Presents Certificate to Mark DeCracker

It was a small thing, but it is the small things that count.

As a result of attending, I found out about a lot of small things happening around Macedon.  In a couple of weeks, there is going to be a play presented at this pavilion.  Yes, it will be during pageant, but it is being offered several evenings (I believe 3, the 17th, 18th and 19th of July) so someone can attend pageant one night, and the play another.

I do think that small towns can use the help of everyone to spread the word about events like this.  We have social media, but unfortunately, because Facebook operates on popularity of posts, events with small followings get shoved aside in favor of silly viral videos.  So, when you find a small town event on Facebook, share it with EVERYONE.


I also took a drive out to the hill to get some photos of the stage set up progress.

copyright 2014 db walton

Stage Construction

In a few days, this high-tech stage will be fully assembled, and next week, participants will begin practicing.

If you have never seen Hill Cumorah Pageant, and you live anywhere in Western New York, you owe it to yourself to see the most spectacular outdoor play.  It has been running for over 75 years.

For more information, visit

Brand Development

Brand Development

I’ve been working with the Macedon Palmyra Walworth Chamber of Commerce on brand development.  We’re resurrecting the chamber and we’ve been working with the Ad Council to come up with a brand identity.  It is an amazing process, and one that every business owner should go through.  (Yeah, one of the benefits for having volunteered to be on the board of the chamber of commerce.  And, we’re looking for more volunteers!)

Early in the process we came up with a new brand and a brand promise.  This is all starting to come together as we define customer touch-points and work our branding in to those touch points.  It’s all good marking knowledge put in to practice.

On the way home I stopped at the Hill Cumorah to take a few pictures.  The work crews were on a lunch break, but I could see the framework for the stage starting to go up.  I’ve never seen it at this stage before.  (Pardon the pun.)

copyright 2014 db walton

Hill Cumorah Stage – The Beginning.

When I arrived home, Elizabethe had Dust Bunnies (a local cleaning company) at the house doing a thorough cleaning of the kitchen.  Wow, did they do a great job!  I’ll be happy to connect anyone with JoJo of Dust Bunnies.  If you want every nook and cranny cleaned, she’s the best.

Once they were done cleaning, we locked up the house and headed to Chili’s for dinner.  One of my daughters had given me a gift card for Father’s Day, so we enjoyed a dinner for two as my Father’s Day gift.  We both had the 2 for $20 fajita special.  It was more than enough and we brought home leftovers for tomorrow.

It was a busy day, so we came home and retired for the evening.

Free Presentation

Free Presentation

Perhaps free presentation sounds like there might be some catch.  I admit, in some cases, that is the case.  Our chamber of commerce is struggling to grow and improve.  They need support.  Tonight was a great example.

Tonight we had a presentation by one of our commercial members about retirement.  It was great.  Elizabethe and I were able to ask some very specific questions and the speaker had the answers.  And, to top it off, he didn’t try to sell anything to us, or get us to come to his office.  It was very professional and the type of informational presentation that many people would pay to hear.

The sad part about the evening was it was attended by 4 people (5 if you count the speaker.)

How do you get the word to people about stuff like this?

The Macedon Palmyra Walworth Chamber of Commerce is rebuilding.  We have a few dedicated board members who are working to make the chamber a valuable business resource.  These Business After Hours, as we call them, are great for networking and we’ve decided to make every other Business After Hours an educational presentation.

For the $65/year for an individual business person to join, you definitely get your money’s worth, but like anything, there needs to be some support.  Thus, if the chamber offers a great presentation about retirement, what value is it if you don’t attend?

It’s the old adage that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.  Only, in this case, you can get them to the spring so they can drink!

My point is this… if you own a business, take advantage of the chamber of commerce and networking opportunities.  They will provide you with the best return on your investment.



I spent a good portion of the day dealing with landlord stuff.  There is sure a misconception among some renters that (a) landlords are “rich”, and (b) the money they pay for rent goes directly in to the landlords pockets.

Nothing could be further than the truth.

Let’s take a hypothetical situation based on some real numbers…

The landlord owns property in a repressed income area, but an area where there is a shortage on housing.  In other words, there are not a lot of rentals available, but the people looking to rent don’t have a lot of money either.  This is a difficult case.

The landlord’s mortgage payments, taxes, and insurance total $1000/month (and assume this is after any tax breaks, if any, the landlord receives).  However, for this neighborhood, the average rent runs about $900/month, and because it is an economically repressed area, there is little appreciation on the property.

So, I ask this about the landlord’s choices.  Does the landlord…

a)  Charge $1000/month and break even and take a loss on any repairs, or not repair the building?
b)  Does the landlord charge $900/month and take a loss on rent and repairs, or not repair the building?
c)  Does the landlord charge $1100/month and break even?
d)  Does the landlord charge $1200/month, and set the extra $100 aside for repairs and building maintenance?
e)  Does the landlord sell the building hoping to recover his initial investment, and let the new landlord deal with it?
f)  Other ideas?

The ideal answer is d) Charge $1200/month, and set the extra $100 aside for repairs and building maintenance.

The other landlords in the are in the same predicament, and if they ALL did it, it bring in tenants who can afford the rent for that neighborhood.  In other words, part of the repression problem is you have renters who are attempting to live above their means.  The other part is you have landlords who let them get away with it by taking a loss, or letting their building fall in to disrepair.

It is a tough scenario.

Going back to my original premise, not all landlords are “rich”, and some may not be making a lot of money on the income from rent.  Most are hoping to get a small windfall when they sell the property, but in the mean time, the cash-flow isn’t a huge amount.  Of course, the idea is that in the long run, the property will make them money.

Another part of the “rich” fallacy is that the assets of a landlord are liquid.  Many non-property owners do not realize that if you have, for example, $100,000 in equity, you cannot simply walk in to the bank and say, “I want to take $20,000 out to repair my home.”  What happens instead is the bank offers a line-of-credit, which you apply for just like any other loan, and then the building becomes collateral.  Thus, your $100,000 in equity now drops to $80,000 because you borrowed $20,000 against it.  You also now have a monthly payment on the $20,000 loan.  Thus, it is possible for a person to be “asset” rich, and “cash-flow” poor, and as long as those assets are in a non-liquid form, they can remain cash-flow poor.

What many renters who have never owned property don’t realize is this…

Most rent, if not all, goes directly back in to the property.  Here is a very realistic example…

Amount owed:  $120,000
Property value:  $155,000
Mortgage + insurance + taxes:  $800
Rent received:  $1000/mo
Annual Repairs:  $1000/yr

In this example, if the landlord were to sell, they would pocket about $29,000.  But, that $29,000 is not available for them right now.  They may not even consider selling the house for 20 or 30 years.  So, let’s not look at that right now.   Consider that $29,000 their retirement fund (which isn’t a lot for retirement.)

This landlord is getting $200/mo over and above the rent received.  But, they have about $87/mo in repairs.  Thus, they are getting about $113/mo “profit”.

Can you live on $113/month?

Can you make your car payment on $113/month?

Now, let’s assume they own 4 homes they rent, and all 4 are the same scenario.  Can you live on $452/month?  5 homes?  Can you live on $565/month?

There are a lot of landlords who own property as an “investment”, hoping to make their money when they sell the properties.  30 years ago, that was a big motivation to invest in property, however since 2008, that bubble has burst and it has become more risky in certain markets, and it has become more difficult to receive a mortgage loan.

I guess my point is this…

It’s a long-term investment, and it isn’t easy, quick money.  It is hard work, patience, and a lot of hope that the market is in your favor when you go to sell.  And, although there are land barons who are rich, that is not the case for all landlords.  Many are hardworking, do-it-yourselfers, who rely and that extra income, as small as it might be, to pay a few bills.  In the mean time, the equity in the property is their retirement fund.

Freedom Ring

Freedom Ring

“Let freedom ring,” was heard as Mark, Bruce, Chris and I practiced for Sunday’s Sacrament meeting.  We’ve been asked to sing My Country ’tis of Thee for Sacrament meeting.  Sacrament Meeting as at 9am if anyone wants to come hear us sing.

Next Sunday will be the last Sunday before people start to arrive for Hill Cumorah Pageant.  Sunday the 6th and the 13th will be packed meetings.  Our attendance during those two Sundays will be about triple what it will be next Sunday.


Referral Network

Wednesdays is my Rochester Referral Network meeting.  I don’t understand why more businesses don’t jump on the opportunity to join a networking group.  They are fantastic vehicles for finding new clients and also learning about businesses that can help you in your business or personal life.

I hear business owners complain about a lack of business.  I would ask…

Well, are you willing to do what it takes to get more business?

Since you’re complaining, obviously, what you are doing is not working.  What do you plan to do differently?

One thing they can do differently is to come to a networking group.  If you’re ready to receive an adrenaline shot for your business, let me know and I’ll invite you to one of our networking meetings.


Hill Cumorah

We are getting ready for Hill Cumorah Pageant 2014.

For those who have never been, let me explain what it is…

  • Hill Cumorah Pageant is a play that is performed annually for the last 75+ years.
  • There are about 600 people in the cast, as well as hundreds of people who help with security, costumes, sets, and other logistics.
  • The play is about the Book of Mormon (not to be confused with the vulgar Broadway production by Matt Stone and Trey Parker the Creators of South Park.)  This is a play that actually summarizes the 1000 year history covered in the Book of Mormon, which is an abridgement of ancient records from ancient prophets who lived on this continent.
  • It is outdoors in a venue that seats thousands, and one of the sites talked about in the Book of Mormon.
  • Food concessions are sold by local charities to raise money for their groups.

Let me now explain what it is not…

  • It is not a venue where you will be preached at.
  • You will not be required to give out personal information.
  • There is no charge.  Seats are first-come/first-serve.
  • It is not for Mormons only – anyone can attend.

I try to go at least once every year.  It is awesome.

copyright 2014 db walton

Hill Cumorah Pageant – Opening Scene



There is so much misinformation about excommunication in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I read today that Kate Kelly, the organizer of Ordain Women, has been excommunicated for apostasy.  It is important to note that we will only hear her side of what happened.  Such excommunication proceedings are confidential, and since she didn’t attend her own excommunication, she cannot even comment on what was said in the proceedings.

It’s a sad chapter in this story.  To me, the sadness is she doesn’t understand the church or the priesthood, and she chose to continue in her fallacies rather than learn and grow.

Someone who truly believes in what the church teaches realizes that the priesthood is not controlled by man.  It is controlled by revelation.  I have no doubt whatsoever, that the brethren have prayed about the matter, and the teachings we’ve received in Conference reflect the will of God.

Someone who truly believes would take their petition to God, in prayer, and not lead a campaign in the media and through picket lines.  God doesn’t work that way.  A good example would be God’s dealings with Sodom and Gomorrah.  Look how many times Abraham petitioned the Lord to save those cities. Or, look at what happened when Joseph Smith kept going to the Lord about the 116 pages.

The logical part of my mind says Kate Kelly would, if she truly believed in what the church teaches, repent.   To quote from their own web site:

Debra Jenson of Ordain Women said, “We are deeply saddened by this news. As Mormons we recognize the gravity of this action. We follow the directive of Mosiah 18:9 and will mourn with our sister as she mourns. We regret that there is no way to predict how local leaders will react to conversations about gender inequality in the Church—-many have been supportive in these discussions, others have not. Ordain Women will continue.

(Color added for emphasis.)

One would think a penitent attitude would be to teardown the web site and disband the movement.

It’s not that Kelly believes that women should hold the priesthood.  Albeit a misunderstanding of the priesthood and womanhood in the church, it is how she has gone about her movement.

The irony of the whole thing is quite simply this…. If someone believes the church should change in this regard, that very church would cease to be the same church as we know it.  They are talking about a doctrinal, not administrative, change.  The leadership of the church does not have the ability to change doctrine.

Anyone in doubt should go read the talks of the last General Conference of the church.  (It can be found at

I don’t know what type of person Kate Kelly is in real life.  She may be an absolutely delightful person.  There are indications from some of the things that have been posted on Ordain Women’s web site that she’s not an active member of the church.  (By that, I mean she doesn’t attend regularly.)  Again, I don’t know, but her comment to her bishop where she says her bishop doesn’t know her leads me to believe she didn’t attend much.  But, my conclusion may be wrong.

That said, I do not sympathize with her movement.  Those involved appear to have a gross misunderstanding of how the church operates and the roll of the priesthood.   I will admit that there are some individuals in the church who are on the other end of the stick who don’t understand how women should be treated (in or out of the church), but that is totally separate (and opposite) of church teachings and doctrine.


I managed to get my 4 images off to the Master Artist part of IPC.  I’ve decided, starting now, the entire year will be spent in preparation for next year’s IPC.

It is also good to know that others are very dissatisfied with how the Northeast competition was judged.  And, from some of my critiques, it sounds like some of the judges are imposing their own agenda on images.  I’m hoping IPC will prove me right on this.  If it does, I’m registering a complaint with PPA.


When it comes to technology, some people… trying to say this nicely… are so ignorant.  Based on their assumptions, DiVinci was a bad artist because he didn’t use a Mac, and Ansel Adams was a bad photographer because he wasn’t using a Nikon D800 or a Canon 5D Mk III.  (Of course, neither of those existed when they were alive, but I want to make the point obvious.)

It doesn’t matter!

Someone asked me, “Don’t you want to use the best tools at your disposal?”

Well, if I could afford them.  But, those tools only offer more options, and those options are not necessarily (a) going to be used and (b) going to affect the quality of the final product.

Aye, yi, yi.

So, the next time some one asks me if I’m Mac or PC, Canon or Nikon, the answer will be to show them an image and say, “Neither.  I’m an artist.”

copyright 2014 db walton



I’m surprised at the ethics in politics these days, or should I say the lack of ethics.  Perhaps I’m harsh on politicians because we see it also in the media and entertainment too.

I remember quite well the political surroundings of Watergate.  As a teenager I was intrigued and watched it unfold closely.  I read All the President’s Men and every magazine article I could get my hands on.  I watched as impeachment drew near, Richard Nixon resigning as president.

Tonight I read a comment by a house member who said the reason she isn’t for impeachment of President Obama is because it would harm her political career.  Never mind because it is the right thing to uphold the constitution and laws, but because it would harm her political career.  The same report quoted another house member who said he didn’t want to appear to be petty.

Wow, never mind doing what’s right, courageous or honorable, but don’t tarnish how you look.

Personally, I just want to know the truth.  Who knew what, what was their involvement, what laws were broken, if any, and if there were, what consequences should be faced.  That’s what impeachment is about.  It’s like a trial where the facts are presented then a decision is made.  It doesn’t necessarily mean they are “convicted” and forced to leave office.

In the case of Bill Clinton, for example, he was impeached.  Although he was not forced out of office, many facts and details and points of character came out.  Two charges, obstruction of justice and perjury, were voted on.  Even then, I found it disturbing that except for a few of votes, all were down the party lines.  To me that says even then most Congressmen lack the ability to be impartial (regardless of what the outcome was).  We should have seen more of a slant one way or another in spite of political party.

Again, never mind doing what is right, just don’t look bad to your political party.  Impeachment should never be about politics any more than a criminal trial should hinge on the political party of the defendant and jury members.


A few days ago I wrote about the differences in 4 ideologies:  liberal, conservative, authoritarian and libertarian.  Since then, a few people who read that have approached me in person.  Let’s put it this way…

Along that x-axis you have liberal on the left and conservative on the right.  This access could be labeled “change”.

Along the y-axis you have libertarian at the top and authoritarian at the bottom.  This access could be labeled “control”.

Thus you could define the 4 quadrants as:

1) Lots of change with a little control
2) Little change with little control
3) Lots of change with a lot of control
4) Little change with a lot of control

When it comes to God’s laws, we are told they are Eternal. Hence, no change is needed. We are also told, “Therefore, cheer up your hearts, and remember that ye are free to act for yourselves…” (2 Nephi 10:23) Hence, God imposes few controls. Thus, I would place God’s laws and form of rule in quadrant 2.

When it comes to Satan’s way, those ideologies change all of the time. He’s a game changer. And, we know from the scriptures his plan was to come and force man to live the way he defined. That puts him in quadrant 3.

I think if we used this little graph to make decisions about who we vote for and the ideologies they support, the world would be a much better place if we voted for those who were at least in quadrants 1 and 2, and the closer to 2, the better.

Salad Greens

Salad Greens

I think Elizabethe and I are going to be eating a lot of salad greens this summer.  Not only are we growing a lot of them, but the CSA we belong to is supplying us with a lot of greens.  And, because some of them are not suitable for cooking, it leaves us having salad.

There’s nothing wrong with salad, but I don’t find it very filling.  After eating a leafy salad, you’re hungry again in just an hour.  The water component of the greens leaves very little solids in the belly to trigger that “full” feeling.

You can only guess what I fixed for dinner.  That’s right, I made a salad.

We had two of the sister missionaries for dinner, and I made an Asian salad with greens mostly from our garden, as well as some chicken, cashews, mushrooms and some coconut rice.  I even got all fancy and garnished the rice with a swirl of oyster sauce and sriracha sauce.  One of the sisters asked if she could take a picture of it, and the other one said it’s like eating in a restaurant.   Both were welcome comments.

We had enough rice and dressing left over that I think we’ll probably eat this again tomorrow night.


Our speakers at church today was a family who lives in a nebulous area of our ward.  (i.e. the ward boundaries aren’t real clear)  Because their daughter will be going to a high school next year that has other LDS students, and none from our ward, they found it best for her that they transfer records to the neighboring ward.  I think that is the first I’ve ever heard of that happening, but I’ve always lived somewhere where the boundaries were quite clear.

They all gave great talks about gratitude.  I needed to hear the things that were said.  It’s not that I’m not gracious for what I have, I just sometimes whine about what I don’t have.



More Grandin Pics

More Grandin Pics

I was asked to go take more Grandin Pics.  (I can’t wait to see what they are doing with these.)  So, I hiked on down to the Grandin Building, asked to borrow the sister’s blue copies of the Book of Mormon, and I got the requested images.

copyright 2014 db walton

Book of Mormon and Bible

That filled a good portion of my morning because I also had to process and upload the photos when I returned to the studio.  (By the way, processing a digital image means correcting the color, contrast, brightness, sharpness, cropping, etc.  Basically, the stuff that would have been done in the darkroom before, except today we do it on a computer.  It doesn’t include image manipulation or “Photoshopping” as some people erroneously call it.)

Once that was done, it was off to assist a friend at a wedding.  He happened to hit me at a time when I had an open slot.  It was kind of nice being the “other” photographer at a wedding.

Speaking of weddings, I would like to say a few things about wedding etiquette…

To the guests:  It is rude to bring your camera to a wedding and to stand and start taking photographs unless the bride specifically asks you to do that.  Let me repeat… it is rude.  You’re a guest, not a worker, and you should behave like a guest.  Although it is considered somewhat okay for people to bring cell phones and tables in our culture today, but that too can become rude if you stand during the ceremony and start taking video or pictures with your phone.  The best thing to do is leave your electronics in your car or at home.  The wedding is their special day.  Please don’t ruin it for the bride and groom or other guests.

To the bride:  When you hire a photographer, ask how to handle people with cameras.  Many weddings are requesting “no electronics” because some guests just don’t have a social-filter in their head and will come with the video camera or still camera and disrupt the events of the day.  Your photographer should have some good tips.  (One such tip is to mention it in your invitations, and another idea is to place a sign at the guestbook table that says, “No cameras or phones.”