Off Limits

Roses are red, violets are blue, Colorado's bachelor is now one of two!

It's been a tough contest on The Bachelorette, with The Bachelor veteran Trista Rehn forced to choose between a variety of hunky guys fighting for her favor (and, not incidentally, fame and fortune). But last Wednesday, Vail firefighter Ryan Sutter emerged a survivor (oops, wrong reality-TV show), one of the last two men standing.

Among the weapons in his wooing arsenal: a cool dog and a gift for doggerel, such as this introductory poem:

Great care must be taken,

Words chosen pertnently[sic].

In this time marked with bewilderment,

More so than certainty.

For every romance, fairy tale,

Even TV production,

Must begin with a fabled

And proper introduction.

I'm Ryan from Colorado

Firefighter and lover of life.

I have the most beautiful dog,

But no kids or a wife.

Of course there's much more,

Twenty-eight years of history.

But for now I think it best,

left nestled in mystery.

So my fate's in your hands,

At least on this show.

Just for the record,

I'd much rather stay than go.

Take this poem like a handshake,

A hug, kiss on the cheek,

That you can keep with you

And read in a week.

Or a day, or a month,

Or a year, or a...

You can read it just once,

Or a plethora.

I'll leave you with that

And bid you good-bye.

May the night bring sweet dreams,

And the morning blue sky.

With that poem, Sutter outlasted a plethora of other bachelors -- giving him the chance to show Trista his home town (and vice-versa) on a romantic date in Vail. And, of course, he had a poem fit for that occasion, too:

Imagine a place fit for angels

Where laughter fills the air.

The whole place fresh and clean,

Smells like it just washed its hair.

Flowers paint the landscape,

Waters run crystal clear.

Gentle summer breezes,

Whisper music in your ear.

A place where dreams come true,

Every wish is granted.

Days of active splendor,

Moonlit nights enchanted.

Imagine this place of endless beauty,

And know that it doesn't compare,

To the moment I stepped out into the night,

And saw you standing there.

Call 911! This firefighter's hot!

Some like it hotter: Colorado gets another plug Thursday night, when ABC's Are You Hot? reportedly will feature a Denverite. But the show's producer didn't think "Mile High City" was a hot enough description for our fair town, and so the head hothead contacted the Denver Chamber of Commerce to find out if we had a nickname with "hottitude."

You know, like Chicago being dubbed "Chi-town" rather than the retro "Windy City" on the show.

Chamber director of communications Chris Power Bain offered up "Denver, a city with altitude and attitude," which struck a spark with the show's heat censor, er, sensor.

Whole lotta (animal) love: Michael Brewer, legal director of the GLBT Community Center of Colorado, recently offered his opinion about the legislature's proposed animal-companion bill (HB 1260), which would elevate pets' status from "property" to "companion." The measure would also allow owners to sue veterinarians or anyone else who abuses animals for up to $100,000 for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.

In a casual remark, Brewer said he was "going to write a letter to the Post about how many senators support the idea that a pet owner can sue for 'wrongful death' of a pet but vote to kill a bill that would give a longtime partner the right to sue for 'wrongful death.'"

By that afternoon, however, bill sponsors Representative Mark Cloer and Senator Ken Chlouber had heard variations on the theme that the "gay community" intended to protest the bill.

But they were barking up the wrong tree. There are no plans for a rally, Brewer says, adding, "I'm all for pet owners' rights. I'm a pet owner. I just think it's ironic."

He needn't have bothered with the Post, anyway. The next morning, its editorial writers slammed the bill on their own, noting that animals shouldn't be treated by the courts in the same way as a non-marital partner.

Despite all the static, the bill, which is also being sponsored by Senator John Andrews (yes, really) and Representative Lynn Hefley, has to gain approval of the House Business Affairs and Labor committee on Valentine's Day. The Republican champions are hoping for a little sugar from their colleagues, but love -- animal or otherwise -- could sour along traditional party lines on tort reform. Republicans have shown a lack of attraction to things that can raise tort amounts. Recently, Business Affairs and Labor embraced a measure protecting developers from homeowner lawsuits and eliminating treble damages. And since that is essentially opposite of what the animal-companion measure does, legislative animal lovers may have to woo hard.

The prospect of a jilting won't sway one lovestruck legislator who wants to press on, regardless of stereotypes.

"I think it's just nonsense," Chlouber says. "That's just some idea of what a Republican should be. I come to work every morning and try to make it a better Colorado."

Can't you feel the love?

Up and running: After a two-year hiatus, the original Hard Rock Cafe in Empire is again slingin' the hash. The former eatery of hard-rock miners (thus the name) burned in an electrical fire but has since been renovated, and Gary Trujillo leased the restaurant from the city, which has owned it and the name since 1934. He's been serving locals and the ski crowd since the first of December.

"Everybody who's ever worked here or owned it has come by," Trujillo says.

So far, though, nobody from corporate Hard Rock Cafe headquarters has stopped by to try the new bar menu or dine après-ski. Even if they had, both the city and Trujillo, who also owns Main Street: A Restaurant in Idaho Springs, intend to continue with the time-honored tradition of ignoring threatening letters lobbed their way by the chain.