Would You Like To Swing On a Star?


I don’t have a star. But I do have a couple of used swings.

Forty plus years ago when I was in college a professor handed out a mimeographed cartoon of a series of five swings in ‘various stages of dysfunction,’ and a sixth swing which I will write more about in a bit.

Each cartoon had a caption beneath it.

It is hard to read the 40 year old mimeograph paper below.


From left to right it goes like this:

“As the Curriculum Study Committee requested it.”


“The Board of Education approved it.”


“As the Education Specialists designed it.”


“As Administration implemented it.”


“As the teachers instructed it.”


“What the students wanted.”


It is a picture fable of how what the students (customer) wanted Vs  what various levels of the school system (designers) thought they wanted.

I laughed at the education fable I got ‘lo those forty years ago. I laughed reading it again today. It was so true of our education system. Sadly, still is.

A website called said it best:

The famous tree swing picture……… illustrates the pitfalls of poor product design, or poor customer service, and the dangers of failing to properly listen to customers and interpret their needs. The tree swing also demonstrates the dangers of departmental barriers, and failures of departments to talk to each other, and to talk to customers. As such, the tree swing is perfect for training these areas of quality, communications, customer care and inter-departmental relations.


I wanted a good and better copy of this picture fable to share with you so I did an internet search.

To my surprise there are dozens of versions of my mimeographed swings from many different types of professions and businesses. They are often used by management and companies who give training to professionals to illustrate and teach how to listen and how to ask the right questions to know what people REALLY want.

In fact, there is even an official name for it- Tree Swings. And, it seems they are making a come back.

If you want to know more about Tree Swings you can click the following links: Encyclopedia Britannica and/or

They are both interesting reads as they trace the history of Tree Swings and both sites show you some old ones and some new ones for many different kinds of businesses.

I guess we never learn.

Does a tree swing come to mind for anything in the news a lot today?

Does a swing tree come to mind for the roll out of a huge brand new program in America?

The news about health care and health insurance in America the last three or four months got me to thinking and remembering Tree Swings for the first time in ages.

I think we may need to go back to the drawing board and start over.

A quote at is classic and sums it up up best:

 ‘It’s just what I asked for, but not what I needed….’ emphasizes the importance of interpreting customer requirements beyond perceived ‘wants’ so as to understand precise ‘needs.

Featured Recipe        White Sloppy Joe’s


I have seen several recipes in cook books and on the internet for White Sloppy Joe’s. Basically they are not tomato based. I always liked the concept but not the taste. There was none!!! They were often bland, tasteless blobs. Or they had so much sour cream in them they were super messy too. Sloppy Joe’s are supposed to be sloppy. But they doesn’t mean they have to be so messy and runny you can’t eat them at all. A soup spoon was in order for some of the recipes I tried.

So I played around with the concept for years, mostly just trying to add more flavor to them.

I think I have come up with a super duper, quick and easy,  kid friendly, and cheap, cheap, cheap recipe that is sloppy but not messy yet is tasty too!

This is what you will need for 6 sandwiches:

1 pound ground chuck

6 ounces of a can of French Onion Soup

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon dry mustard

A good splash of Worcestershire Sauce

1 can cream of onion soup

6 slices Swiss cheese *

A few slices of red onion – optional

Salt and pepper to taste

Hamburger buns

* Use any cheese you like.


Here is what you do:

Partially brown the chuck in a large skillet. Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat. The remaining fat will add flavor.


Add the 6 ounces of French Onion soup, brown sugar, dry mustard, Worcestershire Sauce, and salt and pepper.


Mix well and simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally………


…………..till most of the soup is evaporated and the chuck is cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.


Color me happy! I can smell the aroma of a tasty sandwich already.

Then mix in the Cream of Onion soup and heat till hot. If the mixture is too thick, add more French Onion soup a teaspoon at a time till desired consistency is achieved.



If using, peel and slice the red onion.


Place some of the meat mixture on each bun and then add a half or a whole slice of the Swiss cheese, and the red onion.


Serve with some fruit and/or potato chips.


Yum. Yum. Your kids of all sizes and ages will love you. You will love you too.

Food does crazy things like that.

Bon appétit!!!


1 pound ground chuck                    $4.29

6 oz. of French Onion Soup             $1.58

1 tablespoon brown sugar               $0.05

1 teaspoon dry mustard                  $0.17

A splash Worcestershire                 $0.04

1 can cream of onion soup              $1.58

6 slices Swiss cheese *                  $1.52

A few slices of red onion                 $0.28

6 hamburger buns                          $0.89

Salt and pepper to taste

Total cost = $10.40
Cost per sandwich = $1.73

Quote of the Day

Liberty is to the collective body, what health is to every individual body. Without health no pleasure can be tasted by man; without liberty, no happiness can be enjoyed by society.

Henry St. John


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