To Snip Or Not To Snip

Hamlet didn't have his priorities straight. Then again, he wasn't expecting a baby boy, and probably the question of circumcision wouldn't have come up for him anyway. I guess I'm making some assumptions about 16th century Europe. Except for Shylock, of course, but then we'd be mixing our Shakespearean metaphors. All of which is entirely beside the point.

There was a time when this decision would have been made for us, and probably still would be in many places, but instead, it's a choice we have to make. My initial instincts are to say yes, snip it off, because that's the cultural norm I grew up with. Every penis I've had the pleasure to know has been snipped. (was that too much information?) It's been true enough of even casual acquaintances (skinny dipping and so on) that I've noticed the few turtlenecks in the crowd as standing out. But that's starting to shift - in fact, I'd say most of the little boys running around our current neighborhood, who do often run around naked, are not snipped. I'm less sure about the adults, though not at all shy about asking. So now we actually have to think about it.

The problem is that even a dip into internet research reveals people on both sides who are totally nuts, and totally convinced you are going to RUIN YOUR CHILD FOREVER if you make the wrong choice. It's a bit harder to find actual rational info on this. When I talk to people I know about their choices, it's not much more useful - they're not crazy dogmatic about it, for the most part, but don't really add anything helpful to either side. Yes, there's potential that it can reduce the risk of disease, but if you teach the kid to wash well, it's not such a problem. Yes, it's potentially unnecessary surgery, but with fairly low risk. Nobody really knows about sexual sensitivity - although one guy pointed out that he could not have handled any more of that in his teenage years! Some folks say leave it alone and let the kid decide - but how many boys or men do you know that would actually choose to let someone near them with a sharp knife? I'm not even going to get into the arguments about birth trauma and related issues from suppressed painful experiences as a newborn.

Turns out this is quite a hot-button topic, though. One interesting angle I hadn't considered until I recently read a few articles/posts/etc. related circumcision to Gardasil and our double standards for boys and girls when it comes to sex. Apparently the CDC is considering recommending circumcision as an HIV preventative. When Gardasil appeared on the scene, a vaccine for girls that helps prevent HPV (which can cause cervical cancer) the moral majority came out in force against it, claiming it would encourage promiscuity. Not once have I come across that argument about boys and le snip. There's not an exact parallel here, but it whiffs of the old slut/stud dichotomy.

Also related: for those who don't want wrinkles, there's a new injection out there for you made of baby foreskins! You can fill in your own jokes on this one.

Speaking of foreskin jokes (because really, what better topic is there? there's that one about the rabbi and the wallet that becomes a suitcase...) - I'm reminded of an old SNL fake ad for a fancy car that showed how smooth the ride was by having a mohel perform a circumcision in the back seat while driving over a bumpy road. And this is why I love the internet - I just took a detour and found the clip on hulu, which I'd link to if I knew how, but if you search for SNL fake ad royal deluxe circumcision - you, too, can enjoy that fine viewing experience.

All of which is to say, I'm still kind of where I was to start: let's do it, because it's what we know, and it looks funny otherwise. I'm helped along by a friend who shared Dan Savage's take on the matter: "Cut cock tastes better." Words of wisdom, y'all.


50 Bands I've Seen Live

(from a Facebook tag - but I'd rather post it here)
(I think there are supposed to be some rules about this, but I don't know what they are, so oh well)
(these are in chronological/associative order - meaning I'll plug in ones I'm reminded of as I go along)
(shall we move on from the parenthetical notes now, into the meat of it?)

My first concert! I was...12? 13? Only allowed to go because my brother and mother would be there too:

1. Extreme - the real reason I wanted to go, but we missed most of it because of traffic and parking issues. "More Than Words" can still bring a flutter to my aging heart.
2. Cinderella
3. David Lee Roth - he rode in on an enormous penis. I mean, microphone.

It's hard to be a young music fan. At least it was for me, though I was luckier than many. But I missed out on some shows I would have really liked because I was too young for the clubs and then too cool, once they got popular enough to play big venues. :) Red Hot Chili Peppers are the prime example.

Other shows in the high school era, mostly at the old 9:30 club. Again under the protection of my older brother at first. And my elbows, and a sports bra. Most of these shows involved mosh pits and stage diving, which was fun for me because I was little enough to be passed around and around and around.

4. Lucy Brown - recently rediscovered on YouTube, with joy, since my tapes got stolen years ago when my car was broken into in New Orleans. Then the NO PD (ha!), completely unhelpful with the theft, tracked me down in Boston and sent me a parking ticket.
5. The Toasters - pretty sure I've seen them more than once
6. Reverend Horton Heat - them too - Jimbo was pretty badass standing on his upright bass
7. Checkered Cabs
8. Skavoovie
9. Let's Go Bowling
10. The Skatalites
? - you may be noticing a ska theme at this point, and I know I saw a bunch of shows, but sadly cannot actually remember the details of who/when/where... I know I saw other shows in DC, too, but again, they are lost in the mists of teenage time. Not alcohol though, I was straight edge through all that.

Oh! One of my favorite shows ever, at WUST radio hall, before it became the new 9:30.

11. Bad Brains
12. Living Colour

Hmm. I guess that takes me to the college years, though I feel like I might have to do some research to flesh out the earlier bits.

13. The Testostertones
14. Ska King Crab
15. Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - who I remember liking on tape, but after the concert, repeatedly referred to as the "Jon Spencer Ass Explosion"
16. Fishbone
17. Maceo Parker - these last three were at one show - kind of an odd mix, no?
18. Ani DiFranco
19. God Street Wine - at Toad's Place, because Matt was kind of an insane stalker fan
20. Dar Williams - a Wes alum, she played at her 10th reunion, which was my graduation year, and again this year, at my 10th and her 20th.

Wow. I can't even remember who played at Spring Fling each year, or what other school bands I liked. Again with the research. So...moving on, post-college:

20. The Buttery Lords - crackers with soul. oh so creamy.
21. Willie Nelson - at the Colorado State Fair, and again years later at the Sandia Casino

Shows I worked in Denver and Boulder, at various venues, including the Fillmore, the spanking new Pepsi Center, Macky Auditorium. Lots of fun stories from those days. Not least because I was one of a few women in a mostly macho world, of the tattooed or old-fashioned variety.

22. Hootie and the Blowfish - though I didn't actually see much of the show, and was never a big fan. But Hootie himself (Darius Rucker) came out afterwards and shook our hands and thanked us. Classy.
23. Reba McEntire - whose show I worked again in Boston, a year later
24. Montgomery Gentry
25. Alan Jackson - I discovered, to my surprise, that I actually quite like country music. And western. :)
26. Celine Dion - I liked listening to their crew speak in Quebecois French
27. Corey Hart - who really does wear sunglasses at night
28. Kiss - really, what can I say? Fabulous! And there was a great car outside, a VW bug with a giant Gene Simmons tongue running down the top. He's kind of a shlub with no makeup or costume. But boy howdy, do they put on a good show.
29. Ted Nugent - yes he did shoot a flaming arrow through his guitar onstage
30. Skid Row, but just barely - dinner made us late, and we only caught the last song - these last two opened for Kiss
31. Bruce Springsteen - nice juxtaposition - they played after Kiss, who came with many trucks of props and costumes and giant sets and so forth, but this was a bare stage and just hours of great music
32. Limp Bizkit
33. Primus
34. Bette Midler
35. Kid Rock
36. Backstreet Boys - it was Halloween, and the tween girl shrieks were scarier than any monster

okay, I know there's more, so there's clearly going to be an update to this list. An aside: one of my favorite shows to work, though not a band, was when WCW (wrestling!) came through. I'd be listening on the headset to them swearing when the pre-rigged cage didn't come apart at the right time...got to meet Hulk Hogan...help set some serious pyro...and though it's all an act, they take some serious hits, and the blood is real. Also: The Little Mermaid on Ice was very sweet. "Everything's better, down where it's wetter, take it from me!"

Shows I worked in the Boston area, at various venues:
37. Gipsy Kings
38. Jimmy Buffett
39. Britney Spears
40. N'Sync - who asked to be rolled onto stage in laundry carts so nobody would see them, and who brought a tanning bed along on tour.
41. Boston Pops - which was a fun show to set up, on Nantucket, but because of it I missed Ozzfest.
42. Roberta Flack - who took on the Fugees with a sense of humor when she sang "Killing Me Softly"

again with the bad memory, except I do remember driving home from Foxboro Stadium on empty roads at 3 am with the country music station on loud (yes, they listen to country in New England) and hearing Kenny Chesney's "She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy" for the first time. What's not to love?

Miscellaneous shows I've seen since, or maybe in between, as I begin to remember other shows I saw earlier:
43. Olodum
44. Ozomatli - in Santa Fe and, oddly enough, at the Jackson County Fair, where I was sadly too pregnant to dance much. Such a good live show.
45. Hot Club of Cowtown
46. Blue Oyster Cult
47. John Kay of Steppenwolf
48. Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks
49. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones
50. Van Morrison
(hey! I made it to 50 without any help!)
51. Ashleigh MacIsaac
52. The Chieftains
53. Michelle Shocked
54. Devil Makes Three
55. Les Claypool
56. Son Volt
57. Cowboy Junkies
58. One Horse Shy
59. Flat Five String Band
60. The Rogue Suspects

Whew. I'm kind of exhausted from doing this. Lots of memories, and frustrating almost-memories. I'll be back with an update after doing a little research, though!


ok, I'm just going to throw down a list - thanks to those who helped me remember - still probably not complete, but better:

311, Uncle Trouble, Jethro Tull, Creedence Clearwater Revisited, John Fogerty, Kool and the Gang, Staind, Lyle Lovett, Soul Deacons, Brave Combo, G Love, French Funk Federation, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Tornado Riders, March Fourth, Medeski Martin & Wood, Michael Franti & Spearhead, and Bat Makumba.

The end.