Public Educations Fails

Public Education Fails

When public education fails, it hurts society.  This opens the argument whether it is the government’s role to educate our children.  It’s not, and this Nation’s Founding Fathers knew it.

There isn’t an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that says people have a right to a free education (at the government’s expense.)    While knowledge is free, a teacher, tutor, instructor, trainer, should get paid.  Some might say if everyone had to pay for instruction, then only the rich get educated.


From 3rd to 12th grades, public schools failed me miserably.  They were going to hold me back in 4th grade, however, my parents fought it.  They were wise.

Both of my parents taught school.  They gave me so much latitude at home I pursued what interested me.  I knew what our household income was, and it wasn’t much back then.  They didn’t have a lot of money, but what they did have was a love for learning.

Where School Failed Me

Here’s what I didn’t learn in public school…

  • I didn’t learn math in school.  Learning it at home from books we had in the house, and later from books bought at K-Mart’s clearance table, I was pretty much self-taught until I reached college.  (Which also explains why I aced every math class from junior high school all the way through college.)
  • I didn’t learn grammar in school.  My mom was a grammar Nazi — a junior high school English teacher.  While she taught me a few basics, such as how to choose the proper pronoun, I didn’t pick up a lot from her.  Everything I know about grammar, beyond reading and hearing others speak, was learned on-the-job when I started writing for a newspaper.

Those are the big ones.  History, chemistry, electronics, photography, were all learned through self-discovery based on the opportunities my parents provided.

Now, before you say, “Oh, but your parents could afford to buy you expensive electronics kits,” here’s how that worked…


It started with an old watch.  My dad handed it to me and said, “Here!  Take it apart and figure out what makes it tick.”

Cost – nothing.

Next, it was a wood burning kit someone gave me for Christmas.  I discovered it could melt solder.  I soon got my hands on a broken radio.  I knew nothing about electronics except for if you connect the hot and neutral you get a big spark.  To me, they were just the black and white wires.  I didn’t even know they had a name.  Soon I was receiving broken TVs, radios, oscilloscopes, and all sorts of electronics with the instruction, “If you can fix it, it is yours.”

I dissected frogs, took apart lawn mowers, tried to repair a broken toaster, and many other things.  The stuff didn’t cost anything because it was junk people were discarding.


Public educations fails today in so many ways.  I look at the examples I see on social media.  When a man who appears (looking at his photo) to be in his mid to late 40s writes like this, “God’s dont exist cuz man made them up,” you have to ask yourself what went wrong in his education.

I will admit I still have a long ways to go in spelling and grammar, however I’ve known for a very long time that an apostrophe “s” is possessive, and “don’t” requires an apostrophe because it is a contraction of “do” and “not”.

It’s not just grammar, it’s math, science, history, civics, and everything else they should have learned in school.

And, before someone jumps all over me regarding how great the schools are wherever they live, teach or send their children, you have to admit.   Parents are not taking the role they should be taking in educating their children.

Public education fails when it tries to assume the role of a parent.  I’m old enough to remember adults saying, “You’re going to school to learn reading, writing and arithmetic.”  (And, I used to crack up with they called them the Three Rs.)  Today, schools attempt to teach social morals, political indoctrination, and many other topics that are best left to parents to handle.

Oh, I know why.  It’s because too many parents see school as a place where you send your child all day and hope they come home smarter.  They then get upset when public education fails their child.

One Last Comment

God does exist.  He created man.  You won’t learn that in school.

Spending Too Much

Spending Too Much

One of the things Elizabethe says she loves about me is that I’m frugal.  One of the things that gives me great anxiety is spending too much.  Believe me, I agonize over spend… regardless of the amount.  Call me “cheap”, if you will, but I take great comfort in known I have a financial reserve – a liquid financial reserve.

We dropped Jennifer and kids off at the airport, and since we were down that way, I went to Harbor Freight Tools to use a couple of coupons.  Mentally trying to keep track, I went over my self-imposed limit.  Oh, that wasn’t good.  While I can afford what I spent, the agony of spending more than I wanted to eats at me.

That Did It

That did it for me.  In my mind I was planning on stopping at a couple other stores for some last-minute gifts.  Nope.  I spent my budget.  This needs to do.  No more spending money today.

See what I mean?


Wendy’s has those little key tags you can purchase.  If you buy anything, you can get a free Jr. Frosty.  So, for lunch I got the 4 for $4.  That’s way too much food for someone in their 60s.  The next time I’ll see if Elizabethe wants the burger, I’ll take the chicken nuggets and we’ll split the fries.  Besides… we’re getting a Jr. Frosty for dessert too!

They make kid’s meals.  The should make senior meals.  Smaller portions in a little box.  Instead of a toy, they could package something us older folks could use.  How about a 3-pack of wet wipes?  Or a small package of antacids?   A package of flossers?  Hearing aid batteries?

After all, the Baby Boomers are coming of age… old age.

Almost Here

Christmas is almost here.  I think I’m set with gifts.  Oh, I forgot two I told Elizabethe I’d take care of… Later.

Birthday Coupon

Birthday Coupon

I used my birthday coupon at Golden Corral today.  It’s not my favorite place to eat, but the price was right. Once you know what they do well and what you like, you can have a tasty meal.  However, there are times the clientele leaves something to be desired.

We then hit Harbor Freight Tools.  I had 2 25% off coupons burning holes in my pocket.  Hmmm… I could say the same things about HFT as I did GC.  It must be those coupons.

Action Figures

My brain has been turning with ideas about photographic action figures.  They have their pros and cons when using them as models.  The pros are:  They are never late for appointments.  They hold their pose very well.  You don’t have to pay them.  The cons are:  They only have one expression.  You have to change their clothes for them.

Before I closed shop for the night, I set up a counter-high table.  Tomorrow I will photograph the Book of Mormon figures one at a time to create knock-outs for composite images.  I plan to build a toolbox of figures in various positions so I can drag-and-drop as I create a story.

My first project – 2,000 stripling warriors.


55 Plus Interview

55 Plus Interview

Paul and I were interviewed for 55 Plus Magazine — a magazine devoted to those over 55.  It was a fun interview.  We’re told our story will be in the January 2018 issue.  You can darn well bet I’ll be sharing links to it when it comes out.  I felt our 55 Plus interview went quite well.

Prior to the interview I was searching photos from the trip.  I didn’t look at all 40,000 images.  I selected certain days I knew contained good human interest images.

Cheap Dates

Elizabethe and I are cheap dates.  We went to Burger King and used a 2 for 1 coupon.  Two Whoppers, two fries and two drinks for the price of one.  And, if that wasn’t being cheap, we then went to Wendy’s and used our keytags for our free frosties.  (You must make a purchase, but cookies are only a buck.  A cookie and ice cream for $1.  You can’t go wrong.

After Thanksgiving Sales

I didn’t go to any stores or malls today.  I hate shopping crowds.  Instead, I waited for my favorite camera store — B&H to e-mail me.  They had 64GB SD cards for under $20.  And, they had 8TB drives, like the ones I use on my server, for $160.  So, I stocked up on storage stuff.

A photographer can never have too much backup space.

Cheesecake Factory

Cheesecake Factory

We order gift cards as our credit card rewards.  Often you can get more dollars for your points that way.  So, I ordered a $100 Cheesecake Factory card.

I took it today to buy a cheesecake for Thanksgiving dessert.  Asking if I could mix and match, I got the shock of my life… “Yes, but you will pay the per-slice price.”

Hmmm… $8.50 to $9.50 per slice… 12 slices per cake… there goes my $100.

She then added I could get half a cake of one and half of another.


Elizabethe likes plain, and I like something more exciting.  So I got 1/2 plain and the other half pecan chocolate turtle.  That’s about 1/2 the price of buying by the slice.

Early Taste

After dinner tonight both of us took an early taste of the cheesecake.  It’s not like we’re going to run out tomorrow especially since it will just be the two of us.  In fact, we might have cheesecake for dessert on Sunday when we feed the sister missionaries.

The pecan turtle cheesecake was really good with one exception… the pecans don’t taste very fresh.  It’s not worth the drive back to Pittsford to ask for an exchange.  But, I will mention it the next time I’m there.  When you spend that much for a cheesecake, you expect it to taste fresh.

Wegman’s Bakery

The Wegman’s bakery had a pretty nice cake.  I think the next time I’m in the mood to splurge for a dessert it will be their cake that is half cheesecake and half ultimate chocolate cake.

Temperature Drop

Temperature Drop

Blame it on La Nina, but the temperature drop last night was significant.  We got our first snow of the season (see my season watch).  I didn’t take a picture of it because it’s lack luster.  In a picture you’d think it was a heavy frost.

Tim Horton’s

We went to Tim Horton’s for lunch because I had a gift card for the place.  I’ve been a couple of times for doughnuts.  We decided to try it for lunch.  I’m not impressed, and neither was Elizabethe.

If given the choice between Dunkin Donuts and Tim Hortons, I think I would go to Wegmans for donuts, and Burger King for lunch.   I know coffee drinkers who like one or the other.  However, since I’m not a coffee drinker I can’t find anything at either donut shop to draw me in.

A few years ago Burger King and Tim Hortons merged.  I can’t say I’ve noticed much of a change in Burger King, and I wasn’t a big enough fan of Tim Hortons to say if anything changed there.

Well, that was our date for the day.

Shoot Tomorrow

I need to get ready for my shoot tomorrow.  I’m going to set the heater tonight so that it will be warm for the morning.  The shoot is first thing in the morning.

Elk Where?

Elk Where?

There are elk where?

Elizabethe and Jennifer headed to a Relief Society meeting, and I got to spend the day with two of my grandchildren.  After breakfast they convinced me to take them to see the elk.

copyright 2017 db walton
Playing a Game with Grandpa
copyright 2017 db walton
That Smirk
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Coloring His Pen

They have no idea where this elk reserve is, so I said, “Hello, Google.  Give me directions to the nearest elk reserve.”

Google responded with directions, and I followed them.  It took us to a state park, and the children said, “This isn’t it.”

The kiosk at the state park had a map titled, “ELK PARK”.  I picked it up.  Because this map talked about the elk reserve, I figured it would lead us there.  After all, we are in Elk County, Pennsylvania.

The Drive

The drive was fun.  We talked about all sorts of stuff stuff.  We quizzed each other on some fun math story problems.  But, most of all, we had fun being together.

Finally, we found the Elk Reserve.  The kids wanted to hit the gift shop.  Dragging them out of there was another thing.  They had to pick up every item and note, “That’s too expensive.”

copyright 2017 db walton - Elk
At the Elk Reserve

We made it out and walked to a viewing blind.  Once there we scanned the area below and didn’t see any.  I’m not sure what the likelihood of seeing one is, but today it appeared to be zero.

The Drive Home

The drive home was equally as fun as the drive there.  Once we got to Johnsonberg we hit the local Chinese Take-Out.  I swear these places get their menus from the same place.  As a result, it was like looking at a Happiness Garden Menu.

copyright 2017 db walton
Drama Over Ordering

The two of them started arguing over orange chicken, sesame chicken and sweet and sour chicken.  Consequently I stopped the argument by saying, “You pick what you want, and you pick what you want.  We have enough money that you can both get what you want.”

We brought the food home and enjoyed a nice meal.  About the time we were cleaning up, Jennifer and Elizabethe arrived.  They showed us the cool paintings they made at Relief Society, however, it was time for Elizabethe and I to leave.

Back to New York

Elizabethe and I are heading back to New York.  It’s been a fun visit.


Rio Tomatlan

Rio Tomatlan

I wrestled with where I wanted to go to dinner tonight.  Remembering seeing this restaurant in Canandaigua, I suggested to Elizabethe we try Rio Tomatlan.

The service was great, the food tastes good, but I wasn’t wild about the decor.  Elizabethe had a chicken quesadilla.  I had chicken mole.  However, it wasn’t a $50 meal for two.  (Yeah, they are a little high-priced for Mexican food.)

We ordered guacamole and chips for a starter.  The guacamole was too hot for Elizabethe to enjoy.  (They should really offer a “mild” version – especially in this area where people aren’t used to Mexican food.)

Mission Presidents Seminar

In the afternoon I photographed the North America North East Mission Presidents, their wives and a few General Authorities.  Working quickly is important on a shoot like this.

Before their bus arrived, a couple of sister missionaries stopped to visit.  Sister Packard and Sister Murdock caught the golden light just right.  As a result I am able to test my lighting at the same time.

copyright 2017 db walton
Sister Missionaries Prepared to Give Tours

The mission presidents arrived.  I got the group shot, and then I packed everything back in to the car.

copyright 2017 db walton
North America North East Mission Presidents



It’s Friday the thirteenth of October.  How funny is that.  For a day when superstitious people are supposed to stay in bed, there are a lot of people on the road.

We went to Longhorn for lunch with our friends Ron and Mary Harris.  The traffic to and from there was horrible.  Horrible for this area, that is.  NY SR 96 near the mall, as a result, was a parking lot.


For the first time I had a dish at Longhorn that I was disappointed with it.  Their brisket nachos is nothing to write home about.  As a result I won’t be ordering that again.  (It also reminded me around midnight with a bad case of reflux.)

What was wrong with it, you ask.  Bland, and too much fats and oils.  It was also sparse on the meat and pico de gallo.    The meat, which takes first billing in the name, was like a garnish.  The same with the pico de gallo.

From now on I order beef.


I’m torn.  I wonder if I should get the Wacom Clintiq monitor.  And, if I do, should I upgrade my desktop.

I’ve got to get rid of old technology too.  It’s starting to pile up.  However, what does someone do with a 100GB disk drive?  Does anyone even use such a dinosaur?

That reminds me!

I should measure my desk to see what fits.  No use getting a monitor you can’t use because you don’t have the space for it.

20 Wonderful Years

20 Wonderful Years

Elizabethe and I have been married 20 wonderful years.  She is the love of my life and supports me in my crazy pursuits.  (Like driving Route 66 for 5 weeks.)

We celebrated with lunch at our favorite restaurant with our favorite waitress.   Stephanie at Longhorn in Victor always treats us well.

Elizabethe ordered her usual.  I had a coupon for a burger, fries and a drink for $10, so I went for the Kobe burger.  (It was GOOD.)  Because it was our anniversary, they brought us dessert (on the house).

Evening at the Temple

We are spending the evening in the temple.  I had a wonderful experience (not suited for posting publically).  The evening was busy, as a result time passed quickly.  It is my last shift before my Route 66 trip.

Other Preparations

Preparing for a 30+ trip is exhausting.  Looking for misplaced items is the bane of my existence.   I search everywhere.  It makes me crazy.

I am missing a pouch that carries 2 batteries.  For the life of me, I cannot figure out where it is.  Looking everywhere, I am ready to give it up.

Wildey Children

Elizabethe watched the 3 Wildey children this morning so their mom could go to the temple.  She excitedly prepared checklists for them.  The children are excited too.