Off Limits

Beef it up: The most recent anti-meat campaign by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has hit stumbling blocks--or, perhaps more appropriately, cattle guards--in several beef-producing Western states, where outdoor-advertising companies have refused to rent billboards to PETA for its "Eating meat can cause impotence" messages (pictured here).

"I imagine they get a lot of advertising revenue from the cattle-raisers, and they don't want to alienate their other clients," PETA's Bruce Friedrich says of the billboard censors. "We think the billboard is an amusing way of getting people to think about a serious topic. A fourth of American men are impotent by the time they're sixty, and impotence is preventable and it's curable--and a very good place to start is in the kitchen, with a low-fat, artery-clearing vegetarian diet. So not only are vegetarians slimmer and more appealing than meat-eaters, they're also better lovers, because eating meat is going to slow you down in and out of the bedroom."

That's bull, says Margie Joy of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association's Denver office. "It's laughable, because there is no science behind it. When we talk about beef's role in a healthy diet, we always try to base it on science." Among the Cattlemen's scientific findings: "Beef is a source of key nutrients that are important to sexual function. Zinc in not only necessary for sexual maturation and reproduction, [but] a zinc deficiency reduces circulating luteinizing hormone and lowers testosterone concentrations...A 3-ounce serving of beef supplies 39% of the daily value for zinc...approximately 70% of men ages 40-59 aren't meeting the daily value for zinc...Beef also contains an amino acid called L-arginine. Laboratory experiments have shown this is important because nitric oxide, the neurotransmitter responsible for mediating erection, is synthesized from L-arginine."

But Friedrich says the NCBA's argument is a limp one. "What it boils down to is, meat makes people fat and unhealthy, and it clogs the arteries leading to all of your organs, not just your heart. This isn't controversial. This is a hard medical fact."

The other governor's mansion: It seems that former governor Roy Romer has recovered from his public display of shock at the cost of housing in Denver. Last November, after moving out of his digs at Eighth and Logan, Romer said he was stunned to learn about the price of housing; the average cost of a previously owned home in the metro area has continued to set records for the last two years and is now more than $201,000. "It's just crazy," the former governor was quoted as saying. But he and former first lady Bea Romer just closed on a $950,000 beauty nestled among the cool shade trees, landscaped flower beds and million-dollar mansions of the historic Seventh Avenue Parkway. The two-story, three bedroom, four bathroom, orange-stuccoed home at 2775 East Seventh is less than two miles from the official governor's mansion--now occupied by Bill Owens and family--where the Romers lived rent-free for twelve years. We hope he locked in a good mortgage rate.

Nifty thrifties: Psst! Hey, kids! Wanna know where the best place to buy guns will be if Congress requires background checks at gun shows just like in stores? The daily newspapers. That's right. While the U.S. House of Representatives discusses the proposed legislation this week, the Denver Rocky Mountain News and the Denver Post--as usual--will both be running classified ads listing tons of fun guns. In fact, nearly every day, the papers carry dozens of ads for semi-automatic pistols, large-caliber handguns and powerful shotguns. Just a gun and a phone number, so it's easy for kids, felons or anyone else to buy or sell some quality hardware without setting foot in a gun store, a gun show or even logging on to the Internet. Sure, the dailies let their editorial writers and columnists grandstand about gun laws and criticize gun shows and gun lobbies in the front of the paper, but in the back--where classified ads bring in lots of revenue--their true color shows. Green. After all, guns are needed to do battle, and wars--especially the newspaper kind--have no rules.

Off Limits is compiled by Jonathan Shikes. If you have a tip, call him at 303-293-3555, send a fax to 303-296-5416, or e-mail [email protected].

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Jonathan Shikes is a Denver native who writes about business and beer for Westword.
Contact: Jonathan Shikes