Each week at the Toy Department, in addition to offering one of our writers the chance to endorse something they feel strongly about, we also give one of our writers a chance to dismiss something -- however unpopular that opinion may be -- in a segment we call "Dead. To. Me." Click here for previous editions.


If I were king of the forest. Not queen. Not duke. Not prince.

Like Bert Lahr in the "Wizard of Oz," the hapless, pathetic Detroit Lions have decided that if they can't play a ferocious game, they'll at least look like leader of the pack.

I'd command each thing, be it fish or fowl. With a woof and a woof and a royal growl--woof.

So the team that crafted the perfect 0-16 record last season has rolled out a new logo that features the same leaping lion, but this one with a mouth full of incisors capable of tearing an opponent limb from limb.

Each rabbit would show respect to me. The chipmunks genuflect to me.

"The evolution," explained team president Tom Lewand, "allows us to present our Lions brand and visual identity in new, versatile and distinctive ways."

This is great news to both Lions fans, who will no doubt cast off their toothless Lions gear and rush out for the new stuff, thereby stimulating the economy and saving the nation.

Unfortunately for the Detroit front office, looks can't kill.

Supposin' you met an elephant? I'd rap him up in cellophant!

By virtue of their abominable record, the Lions will pick first in the NFL draft, so they have that going for them. Other than that, though, they're likely to spend this season scaring no one but themselves.

What have they got that I ain't got? Courage!

The Lions are not alone in trying to project a more swaggering image.

I, for one, miss the smiling beak and laughing eyes of Testudo, the University of Maryland mascot.

He was cruelly ripped from us without explanation and replaced by smirking Testudo, flippers akimbo and eyes blazing yellow like a poster turtle for jaundice.

Why did the New England Patriots banish jovial "Pat," posing in his Revolutionary uniform in a three-point stance, in favor of the weird-ass, pointy-headed dude making the jump to hyperspace?

Was it really necessary for the city of Tampa Bay to transform its happy buccaneer into someone who belongs on the Amber Alert network and then do an about face and expunge the "Devil" from the Rays?

Did the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football team need to ditch the rainbow?


And by my count, the Orioles won three World Series titles and six AL pennants with the cartoon bird logo and zero without it.

I guess we can thank God the Oakland Raiders haven't decided to stoke their mentally unbalanced fan base with some Mad Max apocolyptic version of their logo.

Changes are everywhere. NBA teams switch logos as often as Lindsay Lohan switches sexual preferences, fellow Toy Department resident Rick Maese notes.

I get the need to produce more revenue. The bottom line is the bottom line. And if teams can play fans for suckers, year after year, shame on who?

It's time for fans to stand up to the promotional machine. Declare marketers Dead. To. Me.

Don't be afraid of anything.

Not nobody. Not no how!