Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Other Shoe

I got a letter in the mailbox today with Disney letterhead. At first, I thought it was going to contain another one of those offers to get a Disney credit card or a timeshare in Anaheim. I was wrong.

Dear Mr. Kagel: [sic]
It has come to our attention that you have made unauthorized and disparaging comments about Disney Corporation’s practices and work in your website “I Can Write Funny,”[sic] specifically, your article entitled “Secret Disney Vacation Packages.” You neither asked for nor received permission from Disney Corporation to make statements on our behalf, and therefore have willfully infringed our rights under 17 U.S.C. Section 101 et seq. and could be liable for statutory damages as high as $150,000 for each libelous claim as set forth in Section 504(c)(2) therein.

The erroneous claims you make are as follows:
1. There are secret vacation packages Disney Corporation offers to the average consumer.
While Disney does offer special arrangements for movie stars, captains of industry, and heads of state, none of these arrangements are available to normal customers.

2. Disney employs prostitutes dressed as Disney characters.
Our character actors are highly trained entertainers and are not allowed to have sexual relations with guests on park grounds.

3. Disney employs marriage counselors to convince couples not to honeymoon in our parks.
Many couples have vacationed happily at Disney Corporation resorts and parks and only a fraction of those have become divorced as a result of their stay.

4. Disney employs “chefs.”
All our food service is provided by local teenagers, derelicts, and parolees as part of Disney Corporation’s community service program. At no time have any of our food service employees been trained in cooking or sanitation.

Disney Corporation demands that you immediately cease the use and distribution of all infringing works and all copies, including electronic copies of same, and copies of paper copies, and all electronic copies of paper copies that were once copied. If we have not received an affirmative response from you within two weeks indicating that you have fully complied with these requirements, Disney Corporation shall take further action against you and crush you like a bug.

So, my first reaction was “Holy Crap! Disney is going to sue me.” My second reaction was “How the heck did they even hear about my blog? I only have five people who read it!”

My third reaction is to call my lawyer. (Okay, he’s not my lawyer, but he’s a lawyer. I call him Peter). I’m not one to stand up to authority figures; I fold like a pet cat who has been accidentally run over by a Honda Civic, hastily filled with dead leaves, and left outside its owner’s house in a “natural” pose. (More on that in a later post.)

I’m thinking of growing a backbone. Or maybe I’ll print a retraction. We’ll see which increases my site traffic more. So, you know, tell your friends.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Secret Disney Vacation Packages

I just finished visiting Disneyland and, like most people, had a half-miserable time. Sure, there’s lots of great shows and rides, but Disneyland is a huge park to drag kids around through. Pleasing all of your children’s desires while finding appropriate food, waiting for your rides, and scheduling naps is a headache. I was considering leaving the park early and driving home when I met someone who told me about the secret vacation packages Disney has. Had I known about these packages, I would have had a much better experience. I’ve listed these options below so you can avoid what I just went through.

Mickey’s Gourmet Access Pass
Ever want to make food that is just as healthy and tasty as the food you get in the Disney parks? Well, now you can cook the Disney way! With Mickey’s Gourmet Access Pass, you get cooking classes with real Disney park chefs. You’ll learn how to make chicken nuggets, hamburgers, cheese burgers, bacon cheeseburgers, vegetarian burgers, and french fries. If you purchase the advanced pass, you’ll learn the expert cooking techniques for making macaroni and cheese from a box, assembling turkey wraps, and handing children ice cream novelties from the freezer.

To order:
Mickey’s Gourmet Access Pass must be ordered by phone through the Disney travel service. Enter option 6 when prompted.

Scrooge McDuck’s Ultimate Holiday
This package includes a week’s worth of park hopper tickets, all your photos, six collectable pins for trading, pens and autograph/photo books for character meet and greets, walking tour of the park, all meals (including character dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table), horse carriage ride, special reserved seating at nightly fireworks display, souvenir pin, souvenir sticker sheet, souvenir lanyard and ticket holder, hotel accommodations, bus ride to and from the airport, character greeting the airport, fun character wake-up-call, and a lifetime supply of Rice-A-Roni in Disney character shapes.

To order:
Available only through the Disney website. On checkout, enter the coupon code:

Minnie Mouse’s Package for Good Mommies
The Minnie Mouse package assigns you a group of “personal assistants” to accompany you through the parks for the duration of your stay. Your assistants will stand on line so you don’t have to wait for rides and shows, take photographs of you and your children at all the photo spots, secure healthy meals, and whisk your kids away to secret detention facilities at the slightest hint of a temper tantrum.

To order:
Call the Disney Travel Office and tell your operator “My children behave perfectly.”

Sleepy Dwarf’s Happy Holiday
This option will provide you with a unique souvenir pin. Whenever a ride operator spots your pin, he or she will place you as far from screaming teenagers as possible.

To order:
Go to the Costco Travel service and mention to your agent that you’ve recently been released from a mental institution and “still have some issues.”

Snow White’s Magical Honeymoon
Planning on a Disney cruise or park vacation for your honeymoon? Congratulations! This package will ensure you have a long and happy marriage. When you select this package, Disney will send over a certified marriage counselor to explain to your spouse that you’re adults now and should have a real honeymoon for adults.

To order:
Visit the Disney Travel website and click the “We’re Thrilled to Have a Disney Honeymoon!” checkbox under “Special Vacation Options.”

Mortimer Mouse Room Reservation
This package provides you with a doctor’s medical excuse not to enter the parks for a day, a private hotel room equipped with a widescreen TV, full ESPN channels, complimentary room service, and six prostitutes dressed as the Disney princesses.

To order:
Write a personalized letter to Roy Disney explaining that you’ve admired his intelligence and power for years and have always looked up to him, but don’t think you can stand another Disney vacation.

The Perfect, Stress-Free Vacation
Cancels your reservation and returns all your money.

To order:
Available through all ordering methods. Just think about what you’re getting yourself into.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Proud Father

As parents, we inherently want our children to succeed. We all want what’s best for our children, and when we see them grow and prosper it makes us all misty-eyed. I suppose it’s because their success is, in part, due to our efforts. How could a child learn to walk, or feed itself, or talk except for through some combination of our encouragement and our genes?

There are some moments when parents realize that their children will surpass them: that they’re destined for greatness. I imagine Albert Einstein’s parents had such a moment when he first started writing mathematical formulas. You can only imagine the surprise of Julia Child’s parents when she cooked her first dish. And I can only guess how happy it made Dick Cheney’s parents when they caught him waterboarding his sister. It’s these moments that make a parent shout out loud “That’s my kid!”

I had an experience like that a few months ago. My son had been with a new babysitter as my wife and I went out to have dinner. When we came back, she recounted what had happened.

Ladies and Gentlemen, my son nearly convinced her to make him a chocolate souffle.

That’s my boy!