Mail Call

Coin Flipping

Excellent job: Thank you for the article about the coin guys defrauding the elderly ["Heads You Lose, Tails You Lose," by Todd Spivak, July 19]. You did an excellent job. I just hope everyone in the country reads your article, because my mother is still depressed over this (and she was never depressed one day of her life). It's been awful. Even forgetting about the financial damage, these guys have no idea how much emotional turmoil they have caused. Again, I thank you, because the article makes me feel better — sort of makes me feel less alone in this ordeal. Many thanks.

Tenley Carp
Washington, DC

Where's the positive? I spent considerable time with Spivak explaining the proper marketing of rare coins, the work I've done with Michael Fuljenz over the years and the excellent reputation Fuljenz has enjoyed within the rare coin industry. I am sorry that he seemed to be more interested in the amount of fees Fuljenz paid to my firm rather than the positive points I made about Mike and his company, Universal Coin & Bullion of Beaumont, Texas.

Barry J. Cutler, Esq.
Baker & Hostetler LLP
Washington, DC

An online reader weighs in:

Criminal: This article is excellent and validates a concern that I have had for a while. My father is 83 years old, and one afternoon while visiting him in the hospital, he received a phone call from a salesperson at one of these companies. The salesperson spoke loudly, so I could hear much of what he was saying. He spoke as though he were a close friend/family member, using a phrase similar to, "I know we've never met but you're like a father to me..." He even referenced my father's service in the military and said he was from the same branch and used a popular army phrase used within this special group. As soon as my father hung up I asked who it was, and he said some guy trying to get his business. It is classic Sales 101, at its lowest level, to call a sick person in the hospital, regardless of age, and try to "build rapport" in order to get the business. It is even more criminal to prey on the elderly and others who may be isolated from family members.

Comment by Lisa, July 21

Cut Up

Weenies: With all the injustice in the world, these circumcised guys are "violated" and "mutilated" ["The Fantastic Foreskin," by Craig Malisow, July 12]?

What a bunch of weenies.

Steve Markert

Online readers weigh in:

Not in America: Wow, could it be any more obvious that the writer believes circumcision is wonderful and those who are against it are loonies, making up evidence in their heads? Funny how America is the only industrialized nation that circs its baby boys at the high rate we do. Other countries seem to see the value of the foreskin. But not in America. No, no way.

Comment by SunkenShip, July 12

A medical nonissue: The reason that the medical community has not addressed this issue is because it is a nonissue. In order for the medical community to consider such a surgery, there has to be a medical need. In addition, they would have to take skin from a donor site on the person's body, which does carry certain risk of infection as well as bleeding. I would also like to see some literature from a medical source that states that a circumcised penis calcifies. The men using these devices should seek their physician's opinions on their safety.

Comment by Cary Edwards, July 12

It's the money: There is no medical reason to perform circumcision, except in rare cases of frostbite, cancer or gangrene...yet the medical community has taken a great interest in the procedure. Hundreds of thousands of adults choose cosmetic surgery for themselves every year. Doctors take an interest in them because of the financial benefits. I am certain that once doctors realize they can make money on both ends of the circumcision debacle, surgical foreskin restoration will be advertised as something every man should do, while infant circumcision will still be promoted as a way to prevent STDs.

Comment by Christi L., July 12

Restore it: The foreskin is a natural body part. Every normal natural male has one. Some men have committed suicide because of their loss. Restoration of the foreskin is a medical necessity, at least as much as breast reconstruction, for which many states mandate insurance coverage. It is not "cosmetic" — there is a functional purpose. If you study the science of tissue regeneration, you will find that new cells are grown in a process called mitosis, and yes the new tissue is very sensitive. There is also a gliding action during intercourse, which helps with dry conditions or irritations some couples suffer from. It is unfortunate that restoration is mixed up with circumcision debates. Keep them separate.

Comment by Dan P., July 13

A vote for circumcision: Having had both, I prefer circumcised! The other feels mushy and looks gunky at the tip. Yuck! The guys who are trying to put back their foreskin probably think it's going to help with their sexual performance.

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