Secret Ceremonies
Thank you, Patricia Calhoun, for reporting the hush-hush national antigay conference hosted by Colorado for Family Values this past May in Colorado Springs ("This Means War," July 6). Shame on the major daily papers for not covering this important meeting.

Regardless of one's sexual orientation or religion, we all need to be concerned when a group of political and religious leaders meets without press scrutiny to map out a strategy for changing our lives, whether we agree with those changes or not. The speakers quoted at the conference in the Springs clearly understand how easy it is to gain power by exploiting ignorance and fear of gay persons.

It's time for people who identify themselves as Christians to stop letting the CFV fearmongers speak for them. And it's time for the press to pay closer attention to influential people in our midst who see political opportunity in the divisiveness of a holy war.

Rob Coldwell
Fort Collins

If someone published secret tapes of Westword meetings, Patricia Calhoun would probably be the first to complain about breaches of privacy. Admittedly, I don't agree with many of the things that apparently were said at the Colorado for Family Values meeting, but these people should be able to speak freely--and in private. Perhaps Ms. Calhoun was just upset that she didn't get her own formal invitation to the conference.

Andrea Parrish

Washington Perq
Regarding Patricia Calhoun's "Feel the Burn" in the July 13 issue:
Thank you, thank you, Westword, for telling us of the city's plan to use Washington Park Recreation Center as one of the SafeNight sites. We have worked hard to improve our community and don't appreciate having such a major policy change being sprung at the last minute!

I don't want people to get the impression that the people who object to this plan are all a bunch of white yuppies who don't understand urban problems. This is a community of people who care about the city and its problems. If we didn't, wouldn't we all live in the suburbs? We just feel it is our right to have input on the major issues. Thanks again for giving it to us straight.

Susie McDonald

From Calhoun's hysterical tone in her latest, I can only assume that she's a Washington Park resident--and has a severe case of the NIMBY (Not in My Backyard) syndrome she so enthusiastically criticizes in her articles and on that Channel 12 show. (Specifically, I remember her championing the plan to put the homeless at Lowry.) Am I right?

Ed Mills

Editor's note: No. But she does live just a few blocks from one of the other SafeNight sites--in a neighborhood that invited the program to locate there.

Quit Dumping on Kenny
Kenny Be's July 6 cartoon on wilderness pooping was typically outlandish but also included some pretty sound advice.

Granted, I've never heard of a critter choking on used toilet paper or tampons, and I have just a bit of a problem with Kenny's hilarious suggestion that used tampons be tied "high in the boughs of pine trees." Also, Kenny didn't mention that you should never do your business within a hundred feet of a waterway. But Kenny was right on the mark, so to speak, in suggesting that toilet paper be used sparingly, if at all, outdoors.

Kenny mentioned flat rocks or smooth sticks, and there are several other perfectly adequate natural substitutes for man-made TP. Soft sagebrush is good, as is hard, chunky snow. However, cactus, pine needles, sand, poison ivy leaves and pinecones are not recommended.

An entire book has recently been written on the arcane yet important subject of backcountry fecal etiquette. It's called How to Shit in the Woods, is available at many area bookstores, and makes for a surprisingly entertaining read.

Rolf Asphaug

If people thought Kenny Be's camping cartoon was so disgusting, I have just one suggestion: Turn the page!

Joel Edson

In His Cups
Regarding Bill Gallo's "Alive and Kicking" in the July 13 issue:
While he had to get in the usual American sportswriter's digs about Americans' not caring about soccer (not true!), I thought Bill Gallo's piece on the World Cup generally captured the essence of the sport that has such a grip on the rest of the world and in certain hotbeds of soccer in this country.

I can attest to Gallo's assertion that one simply must be in the company of Italian soccer fans to appreciate the passion the sport engenders. I flew to Boston to take in the Italy-Nigeria game and spent two hours before the game outside the stadium mingling with a few hundred soccer-mad Azzuris, their faces painted either blue (the team color) or green-white-red (their flag's colors), and waving flags and banners, tooting horns, banging on drums, whistling on whistles, and generally getting whipped into a pregame frenzy. It was a spectacle as exciting as the game itself, making Bronco Mania appear tame by comparison.