Separated at birth: These three Johns TV stars bear striking resemblances to notorious personalities.

Off Limits

After a long winter hiatus, Johns TV is back -- and the timing couldn't be better. The new season of the half-hour Channel 8 show featuring the beguiling mugs of men (yes, only men so far) convicted of pay-for-play coincides nicely with the mayoral confab that's in town through Tuesday and the final season of Sex and the City (which makes for a doubleheader of sex and Sex on Monday night, if you miss the girls on Sunday). Talk about public service!

More important, though, for cities in need of innovative irritations, Johns TV is quickly catching up with the dreaded boot, Denver's most famous export, now seen clamping cars around the globe. Although a few other cities have tried similar shows, Johns TV really took off. Detroit credits Denver with inspiring the Motor City's own Johns TV, which began airing March 3 and is already in its fourth episode.

And it all happened under outgoing Mayor Wellington Webb's watchful eye. So what better way for him to enjoy the 71st Conference of Mayors and his final days in office than by displaying his administration's most-talked-about gift to mankind (other than Borofsky's "Dancers")? As hundreds of mayors from across the country and around the world arrive today, they can ask the Adam's Mark Hotel to tune into Channel 8, where they'll get an eyeful of Johns TV's new sixteen-member, predominantly under-thirty cast. (That should help the ratings!) There's Albert Hancock, who bears a striking resemblance to Colorado's Favorite Adopted Son, John Denver; Terrence Ransom, who probably gets hounded all the time by fans wanting P. Diddy's autograph; and James Wrast, Senate president John Andrews gone bad -- very bad.

You'd think that with such famous bone structures, these guys would have no problems getting laid; it just goes to show that even celebrities have their problems.

Don't touch that dial! Yes, watching TV can be so educational, as students at Littleton's Goddard Middle School proved this spring. Over the course of several weeks, a few students managed to squeak counterfeit twenties past the hawkeyed bucket brigade in the school cafeteria. It was a good racket -- after passing each bill, the kids not only had a free lunch, but $18 in real, spendable cash -- until Bank One kicked the phonies back to Goddard.

Naturally, nobody's talking on the record; after all, who wants to admit to being duped by a twelve-year-old? But the Littleton cops were called in, a police report was filed, and the forgers responsible were "disciplined by the school," says Diane Leiker, Littleton Public Schools' community-relations officer.

And did Channel One get a stern talking-to? The national for-profit television station, which is seen in four schools across Colorado, including Goddard, broadcasts Pepsi/Coke ads and the occasional news story dumbed down for kids. One recent segment offered a virtual how-to on counterfeiting, which is how the students say they got the idea.

Maybe Channel One should have mentioned that counterfeiting is a federal offense.

Oh, Canada: The long expanse of open prairie between Colorado Springs and the southern edge of Denver's suburbs can play tricks on the eye -- especially during a drowsy I-25 drive made all the more tedious by the FM crackle between radio towers. So when an Off Limits correspondent last month spotted a man riding a horse and leading two mules packing "" signs along a frontage road just south of Castle Rock, it seemed like a mirage. Only it didn't disappear.

Okay, so we knew where Bob was. The real question: Who the hell was he?

By the time we caught up with Bob Gacke, he was holed up in El Jebel's Palomino Mounted Patrol clubhouse off of Peoria Street, taking a weekend respite from his mission: raising funds for the Shriners Hospital of North America by riding horseback from Texas to the Montana-Canada border. "I've fantasized about doing something as crazy as this for ten years," says Gacke. "The pioneer spirit is in my DNA, but I'm 49, and I realized I couldn't wait too much longer. I started out really kind of taking the less traveled route, more so for safety reasons, but it didn't take me long to realize that to get the donations, I need to go where the people are."

By the time he got to Denver, Gacke had raised about $15,000 over his Web site and through direct donations, although he prefers not to handle the money himself. (Since he's financing the trip solely on personal credit cards and generosity, he doesn't want there to be any impression of impropriety.) All he carries with him are his laptop, his wireless modem, his digital camera, a couple of cans of beans and a coffeepot, relying on curious passersby to offer him, Miss Maddie, Rooster and Ole' Bud a place to rest.

Gacke and company hung their hat and hooves in Denver for only two days. It was great, he said, but it was time to be gettin' along, north to Cheyenne.

But in the days since, Bob's Web site hasn't been updated: The last entry is still for Denver. Hey, whereisbob, anyway?

Rant of the week, part deux: We're always up for a good fight, and there's a doozie of a Colorado-Florida fashion feud brewing. Last week we printed the wit and wisdom of GMan, a visitor from the Sunshine state who thought it would "not be disappointing to anyone" if Colorado women bought some new frocks and our men shed their ball caps. His comments raised quite a bit of ire among Mile Highers who didn't want no transplant -- from Florida, of all places -- talkin' smack about our city.

But it was another Floridian turned Coloradan, Arturo Gómez, who rose up to defend his new homeland most eloquently:

I am a rare breed, a Cuban-American from Miami who has moved to Denver. From sea level to a mile high. I have been here for six weeks, and I feel great about being here, as Denver and the Rockies have a fabulous live music scene apparently all year-round. I love the numerous parks, tree-lined streets, unique neighborhoods and bikeways all around the Mile High City. I also find the people to be friendlier.

Permit me to point out a few things: The recent mayoral race was tame compared to Florida's notorious political system, which follows the beat of a different drum; I find LoDo to be far less "plastic" than South Beach and with more to offer -- of course, not counting the ocean; even with the T-Rex project, traffic is a breeze in comparison to the bottlenecks of Greater Miami, and with much less road rage. The Marlins would be ecstatic with the average attendance of the Rockies, and it is way cool to have all the major sports facilities within earshot of each other in the downtown area. Finally, it feels wonderful not to have any planned protests or radio personalities spewing hatred about the upcoming concerts of Cuban national artists coming to town over the summer.

Sometimes it takes an outsider to appreciate the attributes of one's "home town."

A ringing endorsement, indeed, even if Gómez artfully avoids discussing Denver's sense of style. But many readers apparently agree with GMan that Denver has none.

"In fact," wrote one, "I'd say that he was even being polite. I guess Westword isn't as perceptive as I thought it was. Have you been sleeping under a rock? Most people who are not Colorado natives and who have not yet been assimilated by the Colorado Lack of Fashion Borg would tell you that the overall dress code in Denver/Colorado is generally a 'somewhat-clean homeless look.' Just go to any theater, any mall or any other place and people-watch. How could you miss it? The few pictures you showed are fairly representative of what you normally see throughout Denver/Colorado. What's amazing is that even at many of the best restaurants, it is very easy to feel overdressed because of the pervasiveness of that mountainish I-have-no-clue-how-to-dress-myself look."

Is GMan right? Or should people from a place known for golf pants and pre-fab cities like Celebration keep their yaps shut? Fashion an answer and send it over to

No sex and this city: Finally, we have to give a shout-out to our colleague, Patrick Osborn. After last week's heart-wrenching tale of speed dating ("Date-a-Thon," May 29), exactly one reader offered to help him avert a potential -- and we quote -- "epic sex drought." We thought the patheticness of his situation might have inspired a little more love (although one couple did contact him about their buy-a-Thai-bride business), but Denver ladies must be saving themselves for the next round of reality-TV tryouts.

Still, one is all it takes -- and Christy thinks she's got the goods. While sexual favors weren't promised, the self-described tall, blond, 31-year-old former Cosmo cover girl did let Osborn know that she's "a better option than speed dating and Harry Potter" -- and that she'd be wearing red pants to their rendezvous. Considering the number of tall, blond, 31-year-old former Cosmo cover girls traipsing around Denver (our fashion feuders musta missed her), we say go for it, Patrick. We're just hoping those red pants are leather, not sweat.


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