Off Limits

It's no wonder Harold Hasselback, a longtime defensive end for the Denver Broncos, didn't make the team this year -- he was too busy cooking to practice. Specifically, he was perfecting his "Come and Getty Your Shrimp, Shrimp Spaghetti." And Hasselback isn't the only ex-Bronco (along with ex-Broncos' current wives) who fed material to Recipes for a Cure, a cookbook just published by Maggiano's Little Italy (the restaurant in the Denver Pavilions where Mayor Wellington Webb hoists his favorite meatballs) to benefit the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Fullback Howard Griffith -- who suffered a probably-career-ending neck injury before the season started -- volunteered "Mama Lil's 1-2-3-4 Pound Cake" and "Pesto Allo Genovese"; Travis McGriff -- who was cut earlier in the season after underperforming -- gave up his instructions for "Ricotta-Stuffed Cornish Hens"; and defensive tackle Ma'a Tanuvasa -- who landed with the San Diego Chargers after being cut by the Broncos in August -- supplied a lasagne recipe in addition to one for "Chambellone" (a citrus-based pastry that sounds simply divine).

And Tanuvasa will have plenty of time to work on his pastry-making skills in the future, since he recently suffered a season-ending broken ankle, courtesy of...current Broncos right tackle Matt Lepsis. Maybe Lepsis was mad that Tanuvasa got two entries in the cookbook, whereas Lepsis's buddies, right guard Dan Neil and linebacker Bill Romanowski, got only one apiece ("Marinated Italian Beans" and "Chicken Parmigiana," respectively). Whatever the motive for that mauling, Lepsis, Neil and Romanowski won't be spending much on fancy ingredients and the latest cookware for a while: The NFL has fined the three players a collective $75,441 for violent on-the-field hits in recent weeks, including the one on Tanuvasa.

Then again, maybe there's something in the air at Invesco Field at Mile High that puts the punch into men who'd usually rather play with pots and pans. After all, 9News reporter Mark Koebrich -- who contributed his recipe for "Mostaccioli and Sausage" -- was ticketed by police in August for allegedly pushing or slugging one of the station's technical engineers during their coverage of the first game at the new stadium.

So, are there any current Broncos featured in the cookbook who concentrate on stirring things up in the kitchen, not on the field? Two: center Tom Nalen ("Spaghetti Sauce and Meatballs") and safety Kenoy Kennedy ("Pasta e Fagioli").

Look for them to get into a bar fight next week.

Stars, stilts and stripes: More than 2,000 job-hunters showed up at the Denver Post-Rocky Mountain News Career Fair at the Marriott DTC this past Monday -- a sign of these unemployed times -- but not one of them was nine feet tall. That's because Bill Coleman, aka Stretch, the amiable stiltwalker who was kicked out of a previous Post-News fair at the Pepsi Center, was too busy to test his luck again ("Walking Tall," July 19).

"I had other things I had to do and just didn't have time for it," says Coleman, who supplements his window-cleaning business with stiltwalking and giant-puppet performances. Coleman had arrived at the July 9 job fair wearing his nine-foot-tall, red-white-and-blue Uncle Sam outfit and looking for gigs; over the last five years, he's worked hundreds of events, including company picnics, parades and festivals, business grand openings and holiday parties. The job-fair promoters didn't appreciate his act, though, or the fact that he was handing out his resumé and business card in the Pepsi Center parking lot. They told him to take a hike -- him and the stilts he rode in on.

Had Coleman shown up at Monday's job fair, bigwigs would have been hard-pressed to boot him this time, considering that Uncle Sam has enjoyed quite a surge in popularity in the last few months. Then again, Coleman says he hasn't been promoting his Uncle Sam character too much lately, partly because he's been preparing for and recovering from stiltwalking his way through the Dublin Marathon, which took place last month. (Coleman won an award at the marathon, which benefits arthritis research, for raising the third-highest amount of money; unfortunately, the prize itself, a crystal box, didn't X-ray well and had to be hand-inspected at Gatwick Airport.) But there's another reason he hasn't been pushing Uncle Sam, he says: to avoid any appearance that he's trying to profit off the tragedies of September 11. "And this time of year, the Candy Cane outfit is more popular, anyway," he says. "No one is burning up the line looking for Uncle Sam."

Last Sunday, Coleman was dressed in a Mardi Gras-themed outfit for the grand-opening ceremonies of Littleton's new Aspen Grove Lifestyle Center, the biggest thing to hit Front Range shopping since FlatIron Crossing opened way back in 2000. Of course, the grand opening wasn't without a few fireworks -- ones that apparently sounded like gunshots. According to a November 13 news report, police received around sixty panicked phone calls from people who thought the 9 p.m. fireworks were really a gun battle.

A controversial opening? Yes. But then again, a "lifestyle center" such as Aspen Grove -- which incorporates traditional streetscapes with sit-down restaurants and upscale shops and is the hottest new trend in mall development -- is apparently a controversial concept itself. Just ask the International Council of Shopping Centers, which met in Denver two weeks ago. One confab seminar -- "Lifestyle Retail Centers: Real Value or Irrational Exuberance" -- focused on the effect of lifestyle centers on surrounding malls.

Not to mention the surrounding residents. Pop, pop goes the neighborhood.


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