Change it.

Dear NFL:

Cut the crap and change the mascot. For the love of everything that’s holy, this is the 21st century, not the 19th. No one should have to be told, in 2014, that it’s not OK to use a racial slur as a team name. There is no legitimate argument in favor of keeping the name. NONE. Change it and move on.

And fans: If you’re more attached to the name than the players wearing it, I really have to question how serious you are about your love of either the team or the sport it plays.

While we’re on the subject, I’d like to have a word with Bud Selig about a couple of MLB teams. Chief Wahoo and the Tomahawk Chop need to go. If baseball fans in Cleveland and Atlanta are afraid games won’t be as much fun without offensive caricatures and obnoxious hand gestures that misrepresent people who have already endured way more than their fair share of bullshit for the last five or six centuries, perhaps they need to take a few field trips to find out how other fans manage to enjoy a ballgame without the help of condescending cultural appropriation. I’d recommend an evening screaming your head off at Coca-Cola Park with Noise Nation, an afternoon tossing back opponents’ home-run balls with the Bleacher Bums at Wrigley, and a few innings letting Cardinal Nation educate you on the finer points of the game at Busch Stadium.

Speaking of baseball: To hell with the groundhog. Spring training starts in 10 days.


Eco-Saturday: Replace your showerhead

A fast, easy and inexpensive way to cut your hot water consumption — which saves both water and the energy needed to heat it — is to replace your showerhead with a low-flow model. Prices vary, but you can get a good low-flow showerhead with a flexible hose (which comes in very handy for bathing pets, rinsing hair, and cleaning the walls of the shower stall) for about $20. Wall-mount models may be a little cheaper, or you can spring for a hybrid system that includes both handheld and wall-mount heads for about $50.

For my purposes, a handheld model with some type of on/off switch is perfect: cheap, practical and easy to install. Look for something in the $20 to $30 range; anything above that is a waste of money, and anything below is likely to wear out quickly.

You do NOT need any special plumbing skills or fancy tools for this project. You really need only two things:

1. Low-flow showerhead.
2. Teflon tape (available for less than $2 at most hardware stores if your showerhead doesn’t already have some in the package).

You’ll have to read the instructions to make sure there aren’t any goofy quirks with the model you bought, but in general, this is how you do it:

1. Unscrew the old showerhead from the wall.
2. After wiping down the threads, tear off about a four- to five-inch length of teflon tape.
3. Wrap the threads with the tape.
4. Screw the mounting bracket onto the threads.
5. Wrap another length of teflon tape around the threads on the mounting bracket and screw on the flexible hose.
6. Wrap the threads on the showerhead with teflon tape and screw it onto the other end of the flexible hose.
7. Mount the showerhead on the bracket.

Here is how simple this is: After we moved, I procrastinated on installing a new showerhead until the morning Songdog threw up all over his crate, necessitating a 5 a.m. bath. You have not lived until you have tried to bathe a 50-lb. collie mix with a standard showerhead, so once I got him cleaned up, I went straight to Wal-Mart, picked up a handheld model, and installed it as soon as I got home. Despite my general stupidity at 6 a.m., I had that showerhead out of the package and on the wall in under 10 minutes.