business news in context, analysis with attitude

Regular readers of MNB know that we are afflicted with a joke reflex, the instinct to make a joke out of almost anything…if only to lighten the mood a little bit.

Our kids tell us that we are only half as funny as we think we are. Yesterday, apparently, we wrote something that led at least some of you to think that our kids have vastly overrated us.

We made brief mention yesterday of the death of Gerry Thomas, who created the TV dinner while working for the Swanson Co. in 1952, at age 83. We noted with due respect that more than 8.4 billion TV dinners have been sold since their invention, but then made a little joke in our commentary, saying that we were "working to check out rumors that he will not be buried or cremated, but rather frozen with his body kept in an aluminum container complete with tasteless meat, some kind of brown sauce and a gelatinous dessert impossible to identify."

The operative words here, it seems, are “little joke.”

One MNB user wrote:

Boy … are you gonna get letters !

But on the up side your article sparked a 10 minute conversation in our work area regarding the TV dinners that we used to LOVE and look forward to when we were all kids. Salisbury steak with mashed potatoes and peas was my personal favorite. And make sure you keep the “apple cobbler” compartment covered to prevent burning. And how about the Banquet Chicken Pot Pies ! Especially on “babysitter night”. Then finish it all off with some Jiffy-Pop popcorn after the Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom show. Ah memories, … you’ll never take those away from us.

As a special celebration we all decided to go out and get some TV meals for lunch today to celebrate. We’ll miss you, Gerry Thomas.

MNB user Glenn Harmon wrote:

Your comment on the death of Gerry Thomas, creator of the TV dinner, was in poor taste. No pun intended.

Another MNB user wrote:

Pretty tasteless comment on your part.

MNB user Damian Dotterweich wrote:

“Tasteless” also describes your attempt at humor in this story. Give the man credit for his innovation, don’t take potshots at him when he just passed away.

MNB user Bruce MacDonald wrote:

I am guessing that your mailbox will be filled by tomorrow.

Disrespect is likely being generous. An apology to Mr. Thomas's family and the entire board of people you have just insulted is not even enough to cover your remark regarding the death of Gerry Thomas.

What achievements have you brought to the food industry?

MNB user Bob Bartels wrote:

An inappropriate comment.

Okay. Maybe we went a little far.

For the record, these are all the critical emails we got about our comment…which means that the other 13,000+ people who get MNB each morning either didn’t object or didn’t write in.

Also, you should know that you can make inappropriate jokes about us whether we are dead or alive. We dish it out, so we can take it.

There was, by the way, one MNB user, Jeff Green, who got the joke:

I appreciate your sense of humor and never cease to be surprised when some people take your obviously off-beat statements seriously.

Don't change.

We probably won’t. For better or worse.

Here’s the philosophy, in the words of the great Monty Python:

    Always look on the bright side of life.
    Always look on the right side of life…

    For life is quite absurd
    And death's the final word.
    You must always face the curtain with a bow.
    Forget about your sin.
    Give the audience a grin.
    Enjoy it. It's your last chance, anyhow.

    Always look on the bright side of death,
    Just before you draw your terminal breath…

Grinning yet?
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