The people's voice of reason


Pleasing the clientele anywhere can be somewhat of a vexing problem, and none more vexing that at an institution where the bulk of those being served are well into their Golden Years. The chef at your humble scribe's newest abode, Elmcroft of Halcyon, can well endorse this observation as she was confronted with the following experience:

As a general rule, Gloria Crews does an admirable job of pleasing the palates of the residents.

But one day she found herself facing an insurmountable odd. A new guest of somewhat of a crotchety nature had joined the Elmcroft family. But Chef Crews saw no problem. To be on the safe side, she decided to see to it that the new guest’s gastronomical desires were met.

At the conclusion of the noon meal the chef stationed herself by the elevator as the new arrival was about to depart at the conclusion of his dinner. Smiling affably Chef Crews inquired: “And how was your dinner sir?”

Whereupon the new resident frowned and snapped: “Not enough bread!”

Determined to insure that the needs of the residents were met as is possible given the many constraints under which the chef must work, she insured herself that at the following day’s luncheon there were four slices of bread at the new guest’s place.

At the conclusion of the meal Chef Crews positioned herself in the path of the departing guest and asked: “How was your meal today, sir?”

Whereupon the new guest glared back and growled: “Not enough bread.”

Well now, thought the chef, we can’t have this. So, for the next day’s meal she insured that there were six slices of bread at the new guest’s place.

Greeting the resident at the conclusion of his meal the chef inquired: “How was your meal today, sir?”

In response to this inquiry the resident made a disapproving grimace and snapped back: “Not enough bread.”

By now the chef was at her wits end. The next day as she was shopping for incidentals the chef passed a nearby bakery. She went inside and inquired of the baker if he could bake a large loaf of French bread.

“Of course,” replied the baker.

“How long of a loaf can you bake?” responded the chef.

Somewhat puzzled at the request the baker replied: “How long do you want?”

The chef thought for a moment and asked: “Can you bake a loaf of French bread three feet long?”

The baker thought for a moment, made a mental measure of the dimensions of his oven and said: “Yes, but just barely.”

Pleased with this news the chef ordered such a loaf for the following day.

On the appointed day the chef called one of his cooks aside and said: “I want you to run down to the bakers and pick up a loaf of bread he has for me.”

The cook did so with dispatch, and upon return to the kitchen the chef placed the lengthy loaf on a table, honed up her sharpest bread knife, and sliced the loaf neatly from end to end. She then placed the loaf of French bread on the new resident’s table. This presented an interesting sight since the loaf extended well beyond both sides of the table.

Stationing herself at the elevator door at the meal’s conclusion the chef awaited the departure of the new resident. As he approached the chef smiled from ear to ear and asked: “How was your meal today, sir?”

The resident stopped, looked squarely in the chef’s eye, and with a disapproving snarl responded: “Back to two slices of bread I see.”


Ever since the current presidential campaign got underway we have been inundated with rhetoric from the various candidates with regard to what each could do for the electorate, coupled with a scathing report on the shortcomings and transgressions of his or her opponents for office. This is one aspect of public office that remains constant.

The wise voter has learned to take it all with respectable “grains of salt,” and to then make his or her own judgments. Anyone who would take any of the political blathering as real is a fool or a blind partisan—or both.

In 1948, historian Arthur Schlesinger, Sr. did a survey for Life magazine which rated the qualities of America's presidents, from George Washington on, and others have followed in his path.

Almost universally, the top in respectability were: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Thomas Jefferson limped in three times, and then the top classifications varied.

As to worst, eight presidents ranked at the bottom, consistently. These being: James Buchanan, William Henry Harrison, Andrew Johnson, Franklin Pierce, Millard Fillmore, and William G. Harding.

Lyndon Johnson ranged from 5th to 15th. George Bush didn't do well at all, while his dad did fairly well in the ratings.

Dwight D. Eisenhower ranged from 8th to 22nd place in the various surveys, and Harry S Truman was included in the top circle, ranging from 5th to 10th place; as well he should.

Barack Obama showed up in a couple of the later surveys, but he hasn't been around long enough to really make an observation.

Most of the rankings, either good or bad, may have involved a good bit of revisionist thinking, but nonetheless, they were about what one would expect.

One would have thought that Ronald Reagan and Harry Truman would have scored higher than they did, but for the most part, all the rankings were based primarily on what one could glean from the writings of historian; many of whom were revisionists.. Franklin Roosevelt was the only president of recent memory who did well. Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter, surprisingly, did not fare as poorly as one might have thought.

With all this in mind, what do we really know about the current crop of office seekers? Most of our opinions are based on our individual political leanings, and what the media tells us, and they didn't get the reputation of being “them lying news people” for nothing.


As a young lad in elementary school these many years past the mind still retains the image of George Washington, our first president, resplendent in his revolutionary war uniform. How impressive that was.

Shift time a few decades and another presidential image emerges, that of our first woman president, resplendent in an orange jump suit.

Not an image worth retaining.


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