One Less Bard
In the aftermath of Allen Ginsberg's passing, we are reminded of something he said a few years ago at a book-signing here in the city. Someone asked him what it was like to be a literary icon. Ginsberg replied that he never considered himself an icon. "I'm just like everyone else -- a coward and a jerk." ... One of Ginsberg's last appearances is on the new Kerouac -- kicks joy darkness CD from Rykodisc, a spoken-word tribute-with-music to Jack Kerouac that also features Morphine, Juliana Hatfield, Johnny Depp, and other confirmed hip people. It's not really clear why this recording was made -- is there a new Kerouac sales boom we don't know about? -- but the access to stars and attention to audio quality are undeniable, courtesy of producer Jim Sampas, who is also Kerouac's nephew. (At least Sampas says he is Kerouac's nephew, and when he was seen socializing at a wedding brunch recently, without ever realizing that his pants were unzipped, it became clear that, gosh, maybe he is related to Kerouac.) ... Michael O'Brien checks in with a Ginsberg-related sighting that should be on a postcard -- a tourist on a street corner in North Beach, suitcases at his feet, nose buried in a copy of Ginsberg's "Howl," standing directly in front of the Deja Vu Showgirls strip joint.
Just a Little Off the Top
Far and away the most sobering piece of literature this space has seen in months, the NOCIRC Annual Report is guaranteed to satisfy your one-stop shopping needs for those anti-circumcision products and information.
Published by the National Organization of Circumcision Information Resource Centers, located up north in San Anselmo, this newsletter positions itself as required reading for the Original Genital Movement, whether you're interested in eradicating those tribal female genital mutilations we've been hearing so much about, putting a stop to the trim job of the male member, or you're wondering what in the hell to do about your own infant.
Along this path of circumcision enlightenment, many little-known facts emerge that you may now circulate freely. Who knew the existence of the Sultan of Circumcision, an obviously prolific Istanbul man who has performed 2,000 circumcisions in one day and allows his patients -- some up to 9 years old -- to wait their turns on a merry-go-round? Who knew of the special NOCIRC T-shirts for newborns, cotton garments apparently designed to help "protect your baby from an 'accidental' hospital circumcision"? Who knew that a growing, eager young prepuce might benefit from an application of betamethasone cream in order to reduce paraphimosis?
Readers also may peruse news updates from the world of circumcision, from state legislative action on female genital mutilation in North Dakota to a New York motel that filed bankruptcy over a $1.2 million settlement from an accidental penis-severing. Circumcision-related books are available (The Joy of Being a Boy and Man Naturally among them), and, of course, there are the circumcision-related Websites, such as NOHARMM (National Organization to Halt the Abuse and Routine Mutilation of Males). The Washington Post has hailed NOCIRC as "the largest" anti-circumcision group in the world. See what all the fuss is about by requesting your copy from PO Box 2512, San Anselmo, CA 94979-2512.
Advertising Below the Belt
Continuing in this same vein, thanks to Jo-Carol Block for passing along a brochure from the 11th annual American Hair Loss Council Symposium earlier this month at the Hyatt Regency, in which an organization called NUFA advertised itself -- perhaps unwittingly -- with the snappy slogan "A Kockout Image is Everything." Well, it sure can be, if you're not careful.
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By Jack Boulware