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What a pick: PETA wants Green Bay Pickers


© St. Petersburg Times, published July 16, 2000

But first, the news:

Says here the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals want the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League to change their name because Packers conjures visions of slaughter houses and meat packing and thereby only encourages the eating of animals.

PETA suggests they be re-dubbed the Green Bay Pickers. Lotsa luck on that idea, PETA. One of the oldest teams in the league and up to its chin straps in tradition, the Pack says it has no intention of changing its hallowed name. Seems to me, all that can come of the suggestion is that PETA comes out looking silly. It can only weaken their next suggestion.

The Pickers? My Green Bay gridders standing on stepladders to pluck peaches for their little baskets, or maybe gathering flowers for a nice bouquet? How could they face the jeers of brutes like the Bears, Giants, Rams or Lions? They wouldn't dare come out of the locker room.

Better they should be the Puckers, with kissy lip prints on the sides of their helmets. Or the Pikers, too cheap to invest in a helmet emblem. Or the Porkers, with a boar rampant on a field of green. Or the Peekers or the Pokers or the Pukers. But Pickers? What are you thinking of, PETA?

Besides, the argument seems a little weak. You don't have to pack meat, do you? If you're a packer, you might pack anything from citrus to machine parts. You can pack a court. You can pack a tooth. You can pack a telephone booth. You can pack a lunch. You can pack your bags. You can pack a gun. You can pack a peck of pickled peppers. You can pachyderm. You can pack up your troubles in your old kit bag. You can pack it in. You don't have to pack meat.

I also wonder if PETA overlooked the Dallas Cowboys. Cowboys herd cattle, you may recall, and not to take them in for shearing. There's a reason they call them beef cattle. So, obviously, we'll have to rename them the Dallas Farmers. If we're going to make fools of pro football, let's be even-handed about it.

I wonder if this sensitivity to team names is a carry-over from the complaints we've been hearing about the likes of the Braves, Indians, Warriors, Warhawks, Seminoles and Redskins -- names intended in tribute to the noble heritage of American Indians, but scorned by those who feel such monikers only serve to stereotype them. I don't quite get that complaint, either. Take away everything a people is famous for and what have you got? A very dull people.

Speaking of sensitive, the fancy flourishes in Coca-Cola's classic 100-year-old logo caught the eye of some touchy types in Egypt who thought they found Arabic symbols in the lettering that insulted Muslims. Right. I'm sure, 100 years ago, that was the first order of business for the founders of Coke. "Let's sneak an insult to Muslims into our logo. A century from now we might not get away with it."

I don't know who the sponsor was, but one Friday last month was designated Take Your Dog to Work Day, although I didn't see Dog One here at the newspaper. I'm certain that idea went over as big with office bosses as Pickers did with the Packers.

Greater recognition than he got is due bubble-gummer Adam Feagley of Hudson, who won the National Bubble Blowing Contest with a whopping 17-incher. (How do you measure a thing like that without busting it?) Atta way to blow for the gold, Adam.

Forget the Mace, Ace. This bulletin just in from Canada: Two masked men sprayed a Halifax shopkeeper with Silly String in a stickup attempt, but the owner returned fire with an aerosol spray can of air freshener. Faced with such awesome firepower, police said, the would-be robbers fled.

If that's their idea of crime up in Canada, they may as well disband the Mounties. Ski masks? Well, I should think so. I'd be too embarrassed to show my face, too. We all know most of our valued Canadian visitors are good and law-abiding, but I'm keeping the holster unsnapped on my can of Rediwhip, just in case.

It's okay. I have a permit.

Granite Falls, Wash., a very small town, is celebrating the opening of its first public restroom with a rollicking two-day Toilet Festival. That is, they will celebrate its opening soon as someone comes up with a quarter for the pay slot.

I see in the paper that British scientists are developing a tiny, pill-sized camera that patients will be able to swallow to give doctors a living-color tour of the digestive tract as it passes painlessly through the body. That's one movie I won't be renting, thank you. It's six hours long, for one thing. And worse, I know how it ends.

Tsk! Kids nowadays. Says here that 80 percent of college seniors who took part failed a high-school level American history test. Well, I guess educators will just have to try harder -- as Washington did at Gettysburg.

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