Nothin' says lovin' like something from the oven, so if this Valentine's Day requires more than flowers and chocolates, stop by Le Bakery Sensual for a pair of Janet Jackson's breasts.
Capitalizing on Jackson's very public Super Bowl breast-baring, the confectionery that specializes in sexy, penis-shaped cakes, among other treats, has added to its repertoire a cupcake bearing its own set of marzipan knockers -- one with an exposed nipple, the other with a starburst breast shield.
"We're exploiting Janet's unfortunate defrocking because that's what we do," says cake-maker Natalie Schumacher. "Whenever somebody exposes themselves, we get orders for it."
Past bestsellers include cakes shaped to resemble Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky and a replica of John Bobbit's severed penis. "That one was pretty graphic," Schumacher recalls. "It was disgusting.
"The Janet Jackson boobs have been very popular," she adds. "We've been getting a lot of calls and people just dropping by to see them."
The diva cupcakes can be ordered in any flavor for just $5.50 -- Justin Timberlake's grabby hand not included.
Plumber cracks: In Welcome to Mooseport, comic Ray Romano plays a small-town plumber who runs for mayor. That got Off Limits to thinking: Is there any plumber in Denver who could give Hizzoner Hickenlooper a pun for his money in 2007?
Larry Killingsworth and Tom Bratland, please stand up.
The two plumbers/standup comics appear regularly at the Comedy Works on open-mike Tuesdays. As performers, they have little in common -- big-haired, bearded and bulky, Killingsworth plays a cerebral straight man; Bratland's an acerbic angry guy, usually carrying a Budweiser as well as a chip on his shoulder out on stage. But they do share one funny trait: They both steer clear of potty humor, dirty or clean.
"Someone once asked me why I don't have any jokes about plumbing, and I told him, ŒComedy is tragedy plus time. At the moment, plumbing is just tragedy,'" says the 36-year-old Bratland, who's been working the mike for three years. On stage, Bratland sports plumber-style jeans, work boots, tools and sets of keys dangling from his belt loops -- but otherwise he leaves his job in the can and out of the spotlight.
Among other reasons, he worries that it might quell his chances of scoring. "I do comedy as an artistic expression, and sometimes to meet girls," Bratland says. "And girls do not dig plumbers. That only happens in porno movies."
And sitcoms. Killingsworth, who teaches a class on standup at Colorado Free University, is working with a local production company to develop a TV show; he also travels the regional comedy circuit, road-tripping to Gillette or Cheyenne and occasionally performing in prisons and homeless shelters. That's soul-satisfying work, but the pay is crap. So the fifty-year-old plumbs on.
"I think when people see comics, they think that's all they do," he says. "And on the other side, my plumbing clients are surprised to learn that I'm a comic. I've got this truck-stop look to me, but when I open my mouth, I've got more of a white-collar sensibility.
"I never try to tell jokes when I'm on the job," Killingsworth adds. "People would be like, ŒWhat are you doing? You're here to fix our toilet!' For the same reason, I don't go on stage and call plumbing inspections."
Adds Bratland: "I read an article in a trade publication once that said, 'Face it, folks: We deal with doodoo.' But really, if you look at the code book and all the regulations, it's really complicated, what we do. Doodoo is only a small part of it."
Toxic avenger: If anybody in Jefferson County government figured they'd heard the last from outraged former insider Mike Zinna, they were outrageously wrong.
Last fall, a judge threw out Zinna's complaint that the county had reneged on a deal to allow him to develop parcels of land near the Jeffco airport. In court filings, Zinna claimed to have recorded conversations with county commissioners Michelle Lawrence and Richard Sheehan, in which the two allegedly boasted of their power over other officials and warned him not to cross them.
Zinna has vowed to appeal the case. But in the meantime, he's set up a caustic website, www.jeffcoexposed.com, that's pumping out jaw-dropping gossip, hilarious broadsides and biting commentary about alleged public and private misdeeds of the county's leaders. Judging from the number of hits Zinna says the site is now receiving -- around 50,000 a month -- it's become required reading at Golden's Taj Mahal.
"The history of this country is littered with people who just got pissed off and had enough," Zinna says. "I'm one of those people. I've been victimized by these folks personally. In the course of pursuing my lawsuit, I've uncovered some startling information, and it was time to go public with it."
Aided and abetted by his German shepherd, Fonzi, anonymous tipsters and a slew of open-records requests, Zinna has produced an online screed that combines old-fashioned muckraking with generous helpings of personal invective. He claims to have uncovered hushed-up sexual-harassment complaints, doctored or missing official documents, and even one extramarital affair involving a married commissioner and a divorced state official, which he says is being conducted during taxpayer-funded out-of-town trips and conferences. He's also railed against his opponents' bad hairdos, bulging waistlines, "man-boobs" and, in one case, a purported tendency toward flatulence.
Last month, Zinna began posting county cell-phone records that he maintains are evidence of "booty calls" between the alleged trysters. His efforts to document a Tracy Baker-type scandal fell short, though, when county attorney William Tuthill squelched his request to obtain e-mails between the pair, telling Zinna that the county would charge $85,000 to reconstruct any possible messages from backup computer tapes.
County spokesman John Masson calls the site "an incredibly obscene and very personal" exercise in sour grapes, although he declines to respond to specific Zinna allegations. According to Masson, the county is producing some e-mails in response to Zinna's requests, even though it has cost taxpayers "tens of thousands of dollars" to retrieve them.
"It's a very time-consuming, costly harassment process that Mr. Zinna has embarked upon," Masson says. "Where does this end?"
The county's reluctance to fulfill his records requests in a timely and reasonable fashion is one of Zinna's chief beefs. "Tuthill has a long and somewhat despicable history of concealing documents," he says. "He has repeatedly violated the Open Records Act. I've caught him many times claiming that documents don't exist when I already have them."
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Although Zinna says some officials have complained privately about the harsh scrutiny they've received, that hasn't altered his approach. "I do inject a fair amount of humor and satire," he admits. "These people think they're better than everybody else, so I take shots at 'em. They didn't hesitate for a second to publicly smear me and humiliate me in my case. They're upset because I take pokes at Bill Tuthill's waistline? Forget it. I'm just finishing the fight."
And the fight keeps getting dirtier. This week, Zinna learned that the Jefferson County Republican Party rejected an ad for jeffcoexposed.com that Zinna wanted to run in the program for the party's annual Lincoln Day dinner. A party official called the ad "divisive" and "inappropriate," Zinna says. "I'll bet they wouldn't say that to the Rocky Mountain News."
Ride 'em, cowboy: Does no one in this town want to get into Denver City Councilman Doug Linkhart's pants? In the December 18 Off Limits, we transformed Linkhart from a dowdy former legislator into a Teddy Roosevelt-worthy rough rider -- with a little help from Steve, Jack A. and Jack B. Weil over at Rockmount Ranchwear. And then we offered up Linkhart's photo-shoot jeans to the reader with the most compelling need for the pair of size 33s that Linkhart -- originally from Arizona -- had worn with such authority.
But while Linkhart's wife, Dorothy Norbie, bought the councilman the snap-button Rockmount shirt -- deep purple with yellow floral embroidery -- that he'd worn in his makeover, so far no one's jumped at his jeans. And unless we get a compelling request before Valentine's Day, we're donating those pants to charity.