Friday, August 27, 2010

Highlighting Misery

For busy, harried or distractible readers who have the time and energy only to skim the opening paragraph of a review, I'll say this as quickly and clearly as possible: "The Death of the Adversary" and "Comedy in a Minor Key" are masterpieces, and Hans Keilson is a genius. As Darkness Falls, Francine Prose

In spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can't build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery and death. Anne Frank

I have a Kindle, and one of the many really good things about it, is the ability it gives you to "highlight" and tag parts of the text when reading.

I hadn't used the feature much - until I read "The Death of the Adversary" by Hans Keilson. "The Death of the Adversary" is the story of the inner life of a young boy - from his early school days to his early adulthood - during the period when the Nazis were gaining ascendence in Germany, last century.

I finished the book today. It left me devastated. Unable to move on to another novel, or even quite ready to walk back from lunch at the diner where I'd turned the last page, I did a cyber flick-back through the book to see my highlights, and was surprised to see that I could see not only what I had highlighted, but the highlights of other the other Kindle readers as well. And not only was I surprised at this discovery, but at the fact that what I had highlighted had been highlighted by the others.

"They turned into wolves and devastated cemeteries at night. But however much they tried to appear like wolves, they were not animals. It was not just a question of what they did and said, but also of what they had to keep silent about."

- Thoughts of the protagonist after spending an evening with young Nazis.

In "The Death of the Adversary" the "adversary" and his followers are not named. The adversary is merely referred to as "B", and his followers as his followers. Similarly the central character is not labeled by himself as Jewish. Merely as "other".

And so when we read of him being outcast by the other children when he was very young, and about how his mother takes him by the hand to lead him back to the children to ask them to please play with him, the effect is even sadder than it would have been, had its circumstance been explicit. 'There,' my mother said, and tried to loosen her stern, serious face into a smile. 'He's a child like you. You are all children, play with one another."

For some reason, perhaps because I had never completely comprehended the real horror of it before - the effect of the persecution of the Jewish children in Germany, Poland, Czech ...., I was struck by this scene, where the child feels only humiliation and anxiety when the children turn reluctantly to play with him. His short time with them is filled with his anxiety and their cruelty.

"My former pleasure in playing games was dampened by the constant fear that I might be excluded."

Sadder even than when they took the old people away.
My father carried his rucksack on his shoulders.
My mother wept.
I shall never see them again."

Yes, I've read The Diary of Anne Frank, and seen "The Pawnbroker". I've read and seen countless other novels and films set in Nazi-occupied Europe. But for some reason I'd never looked upon the particular tragedy of the effects of persecution on children.

Anne Frank was a child. Only ever a child. But Anne retained her sense of joy and hope. The child Keilson describes is a sad little boy and one's heart goes out to him, but it goes to him without hope.

In Wikipedia I read that Keilson, " is a Jewish German/Dutch novelist, poet, psychoanalyst, and child psychologist who wrote about traumas relating to what happened in Europe during WWII. In particular, he worked with traumatized orphans."

What else can one say? Oh yes, there's this -

Hans Keilson is a 100-year-old Holocaust survivor. "The Death of the Adversary" is autobiographical.

Read it.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dingle Dangle Jingle Jangle

Hampstead Heath, UK 100 Years Ago
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
I’m not sleepy and there is no place I’m going to
Hey! Mr. Tambourine Man, play a song for me
In the jingle jangle morning I’ll come followin’ you. Bob Dylan 1964

"We have free dongles," the voice on the other end of the phone Midland-drawled.

It (the voice, not the dongle) belonged to the owner of the sole computer store in Buxton, Peak District,  Derbyshire, England, UK,  Earth,  Solar System, Milky Way, the Universe, as we used to write in the pre-texting olden days when I was at school.

So that's what I will do to get on the internet when I vacation in Buxton next month.  Of the solutions I wrote about in "Opposable Thumbs" I have chosen the dongle aka (in polite circles) as mobile broadband USB stick.

I am going to Buxton to meet up with my old friend D, who I have known since we were both 14.

I nearly called the trip off, after another old friend, Maggie, referred me to a new dentist. I had decided that I needed a new dentist as my old one had reached his use-by date.

Maggie is a great source of information. My new dentist is a Manhattan celebrity dentist. I will not make you jealous by disclosing who I have met in the waiting room.

American Dongle in a Condom-Like Wrapper
Not that one spends much time in his waiting-room. This dentist is punctuality itself. And he even has his own currency. The base unit is "the crown" which is worth $1,700 at the current exchange rate.

Yes, there is nothing but the best for Maggie's friends. When I told her I'd have to spend 20 crowns on my teeth in the next 24 months, her response was, "At least you won't have to spend so much money on clothes; I understand he's nowhere NEAR Saks."

Did I ever tell you that Maggie is a very intelligent woman?

But I do her an injustice - there really IS a logic behind her recommending my new dentist. Maggie logic.

Maggie's reasoning is based on my past post-dental behavior. My old dentist's rooms (omg, I'm sounding English already and I haven't even arrived there) were in the Rockefeller Building on Fifth Avenue almost opposite Saks. Whenever I go the a dentist I need nitrous oxide to relax me, as I tend to worry about the cost. Nitrous oxide has a weird side effect on me. I become a compulsive shopper for four hours after its administration.

This has made dental visits very pleasant. Nitrous oxide and lots of clothes. What more can a girl want?

So Maggie chose for my new dentist, a man whose rooms are in the dead midtown of Manhattan. Not a clothes shop in site.

Such a thoughtful woman is Maggie.

Maggie also lives in England. Perhaps we'll be able to meet up there. She lives near Bath. I suspect this is because she has a crush on Mr Darcy.

But back to traveling and dongles. On my way to work today I got to thinking about my upcoming trip. I wondered how many times I have been to England. And I had no idea. I know it is more than one and less that ten times. But that's as close as I can get.

Thinking about this tonight I had a traveler's epiphany. The definition of a well-traveled woman is one who has no idea how many countries she has visited how many times.

I am world-traveler Kathleenwng and I approve this message.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Opposable Thumbs

for best results stick it in the fridge" Information label on Glacéau vitamin water

While e-mail was revolutionary for their parents, today's college freshmen find it terribly slow, instead choosing to use their opposable thumbs to send dozens of text messages a day on their smartphones, which they use for telling time rather than strapping on a watch and surfing the web. CNN report - E-mail is too slow and wristwatches are pointless for college freshmen

In Hunter-Gathering Blackberries last year I wrote about evolution and opposable thumbs.

Monkeys don't have opposable thumbs and so cannot easily hold objects in one hand. The evolution of opposable thumbs has lead to the advanced grasping-capable human hand, and in turn, to the ability to walk on two legs. I postulated that our opposable thumbs would evolve into longer, narrower, tentacle-like thumbs, as texting became more and more popular. That was last year.

Watching kids in the street, on the subway and buses I think it's already happening. How else are they able to text so quickly, using only their thumbs? I just can't do it. A thumb is fatter than a cell phone key. There must be something that I'm missing here.

I'm thinking of starting a new trend and using my little fingers to tap the key. Of course I'd have to hold the phone in a different way. Or perhaps I could hold the phone in one hand and use the index and little fingers of the other hand to tap away.

On the subject of technology, even though every week there seems to be a new development, there remains one area that is I think, neglected.

The area I'm thinking of is not under-developed for reasons technical. I'm sure it is possible. It must be being held back because of the vested interests of communication carriers - domestic telecommunication companies.

I'll be travelling to the UK soon and so I looked around for a solution that would enable me to take only my cell phone and iPad. My iPad does not have 3G as when I decided to buy it I could not see the need. I have a 3G cell phone, a Samsung Vibrant.

But when I go overseas, using it for email/internet is not viable as although I can access both, the costs are prohibitive. It'll be good for emergencies only.

So I surfed around to see my options. I could by a "dongle" - horrible word. Essentially a USB stick that you can use to connect to the net. But to get this service one has to have lived in the UK for three years AND have a credit card with a UK address. A bit silly for travellers from non-UK countries!

Then I could get a SIM card for my phone and use it for local calls and local data plan. Again I need to have lived in the UK for three years and to have a UK address on my credit card.

Not that it's any better the other way around. I found a Novaltel MiFi which gives you your own "hotspot" or wireless connectivity. It's not cheap - around $250 BUT - there's one for the US and one for Europe - why???? Apparently the European one works in the US, but not very well. So I called the distributor and asked for the meaning of "not very well". "Well, " she told me, "it doesn't work inside."

More promising was Huawei's MuFi - but unfortunately there state-of-the-art products are only available in Hong Kong.

Now obviously the technology is there. I cannot see any good reason as to why there cannot be a reasonably priced service for world travelers. Even an expensively-priced service would do ... IF it were available without having to have a three year residence in the country you are passing through.

No doubt it will come. I cannot imagine the teenage texters putting up with ATT&T or T-Mobile's global roaming.

But maybe they don't "roam". In fact why roam when you can experience all the joys of life chez vous.

Or can you?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Don't Read This If You Didn't See "2001: A Space Odyssey"

It can grant up to three wishes, even if one of those wishes is for an iPhone Computer store sales rep trying to sell an HTC Evo to a cartoon person who wants an iPhone

Patients Take Over Asylum, Google Wants To Look Like Bing! Ron Schenone in his The Blade

It had been a hard day. But at last I was home. After doing the obligatory tasks - checking my snail mail, my voice mail, my email that might have arrived between me getting off the bus and getting into the apartment, I sat down of the sofa to play with my latest toy.

My new cell phone - a Samsung Vibrant Galaxy. Or Galaxy Vibrant. Whatever. It does everything. It even prints money. Well, it tries to I think. I put it down next to me. Also on the sofa was my Kindle, my iPad, the TV remote and my VoIp phone.

I was reading the manual for the Vibrant. The manual is the size of a postage stamp, smaller even than the cell phone that it supposedly describes. Should I get my glasses and read it, I mused. No. I could manage. The user interface is meant to be intuitive. Isn't it?

I looked at the phone. I felt like the monkey-humanoid at the beginning of Kubrick's "2001 a Space Odyssey" when she makes the first step towards civilization, gaining the knowledge of tool use with the thigh bone of a bison.

I turned the cell phone around in my hands - in wonder. Where was the "on" button? How could I dial a number? Was it really a phone?

Suddenly the television went on. How could this be? I looked at the cell phone. A passive black. I looked at the remote. It was too far away for me to have accidentally pressed the "on" button. There was no one else in the apartment.

I froze. This could not be. I turned the phone around. I held it upside down. The channels changed.

Was there a monolith in the house?

I was well and truly spooked.

I found the phone's "on" button and pressed it. The television went off.

I checked my gadgets. They looked harmless enough. The remote was lying where I'd put it earlier. The iPad was next to it. The Kindle was just being a Kindle. Or so I hoped.

I decided I'd set up my new cell phone later. No rush. I could watch telly instead. Or could I?

How would I change channels?

I began to long for a life pre-technology. When women lived in caves and men protected them. When the only music available was Strauss's The Blue Danube Waltz. When "interface" wasn't even a word. And people spoke in complete sentences.

To when Arthur C Clarke wrote the basis of "2001" in "The Sentinel" - where the most intelligent computer was called "HAL". Pre-IBM - HAL was a three one-letter right-shifts from "IBM".

At the end of the Space Odyssey HAL is disabled. What if they all were?



Friday, August 13, 2010

On Reclaiming Frequent Flyer Miles

I don't spend a nickel, if I can help it, unless it somehow profits my mileage account. Ryan Bingham (played by George Clooney) in "Up in the Air"

To the City of Chicago,
As the evening shadows fall,
There are people dreaming,
Of the hills of Donegal. City of Chicago

I was checking my frequent flyer programs earlier this year. I thought I'd use some of them - I am in half a dozen programs - for some useless piece of clutter that they have in their cyber stores. Something that I can end up throwing out, or storing in the broken microwave above the stove. Like the breakfast-maker that simultaneously poaches toast and toasts eggs.

I came upon one program where I had been sure that I had heaps of miles. Perhaps I could get a LED TV, I was thinking.

And so I was horrified to see that I had accumulated well over 77,000 miles, but only had 435 that I could actually use. I called the airline's frequent flyer club - let's keep it anonymous - I'll call it "BB Rewards" - and asked why was this - why were my most of miles unavailable?

The customer service rep was quite helpful (she wasn't called Jason) and explained that your mile-points become inactive when you haven't flown BB for X amount of time. She told me I could get my mile-points back. I could either apply for a BB credit card that had a $85 annual fee, or earn X more miles before the end of the year.

Well I wasn't born every minute so I told her I'd try to fly BB, hopefully this year.

Chicago, June 2008
As luck would have it I had occasion to go to Chicago a couple of times between May and July. New York to Chicago isn't very far, and a bit of arithmetic told me it was not enough to re-gain my points.

But I didn't give up. I decided to get BB Advantage to make an exception. I was going to make whoever I was dealing with, want to get rid of me ASAP.

I prepared carefully. I practiced some bad grammar, and saying 'lady' instead of 'woman' and not talking in complete sentences. Then I phoned.

Once connected to the BB Advantage rep I explained that earlier in the year I had checked and found most of my miles were gone. While the rep was looking up my file I prattled on like a fool.

"Where d'you think the miles went?" I asked. "When I called earlier this year like a nice lady said if I took a few trips with BB I could like get my miles back, and so I did. I did what she told me to. I went to Chicago twice like - specially to get my miles back but they are still like gone. I don't understand," I babbled.

I could hear her sighing, but I have to give her credit. Her patience was commendable. She explained the system and then said that going to Chicago twice didn't earn me enough miles."

"Oh," I responded, "does that mean I have to go to Chicago AGAIN?"

"No," she said. I noticed she was speaking very slowly, as if I were deaf, or just plain stupid. "I will make an exception and make it so you have enough qualifying miles. I am doing it right now?"

"Thank you," I said. "But I have like another question. How will the miles like know that you added more to them and how will it happen that they will like turn into real miles? Like."

I knew I was stretching it, but I couldn't help it. I wanted to hear her sigh again.

Which she did.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

A New York Weekend

The rhythm of the weekend, with its birth, its planned gaieties, and its announced end, followed the rhythm of life and was a substitute for it. - "The Crack-Up", F. Scott Fitzgerald

Middle age is when you're sitting at home on a Saturday night and the telephone rings and you hope it isn't for you. Ogden Nash

Children's Party,  East 93rd Street Manhattan
I'm reading The Slap. It's by Australian writer Christos Tsiolkas and I highly recommend it.

The Slap is set around the social lives and group dynamics of a group of Australians spanning three generations. The fact that it is set in an area where I spent much of my life - the inner suburbs of Melbourne - isn't the only aspect that leads me to identify with it's characters. They are so like the people I have known and know in Melbourne, that it is hard to keep the smile of recognition from my face as I read it on crowded New York buses on my commutes to and from work.

The "The Slap" people have firm, lifelong friendships. Solid friends that compose set groups of six to eight people who have been together since their formative years. Friends they are but in each group, whether it is the group of children, thirty-somethings, or aging Greek immigrants, there is conflict. Yet never enough conflict to completely tear the group apart. Until the slap. It is a great read and I recommend it highly.

Reading The Slap has made me wish that I was back in Australia, and at the same time to be thankful I am so far away. For as well as the close friendships, I remember the conflicts, the jealousies, the secret lunches and intrigues, the fights over child-rearing philosophies, the political disagreements of the left ...

Quite different than life in New York. Contrary to popular belief, New Yorkers are so "nice". Polite, honest and for the most part, hard-working.

Indigenous Australians - Beswick, Northern Territory
Take this weekend for example.

On Saturday morning a New York friend phoned to let me know there was an Australian movie on television. Another called to invite me for lunch on Sunday. Of course the person in question being my friend-person who rarely follows through, I didn't take the offer seriously - I accepted at the same time knowing it wouldn't happen. Still it was a nice thought and it meant I had a lunch date that would require no effort or expense ... A minimalist New York lunch.

A little after that a couple of friends dropped by. The male half played and sang Buddy Holly songs on his guitar. His wife consumed a bottle of shiraz and asked me about "the pygmies who live in Australia" and told me that white people had lived in Australia centuries longer than white people had lived in America. When I told her the facts she replied, "Oh well you should know Americans are geographically challenged!" Americans are so predictable.

Every now and both husband and wife went out in the hundred degree heat and smoked strange-smelling cigarettes on the balcony. By the time they left they were really quite vague and couldn't remember the way to the elevator.

It is now Sunday afternoon. As predicted, lunch date didn't call. New Yorkers are oh so predictable. I went to the store and when I got back listened to voice mail from my friend who'd called the day before about the Australian movie that had been on telly. She told me she hadn't watched the whole thing because it was so strange. Later I'll call her and leave a message that I thought it was strange too. We New Yorkers are so efficient.

Two Australians - Halls Gap, Victoria
I'd barely put my ten-yogurts-for-$5 (New York is so inexpensive) in the fridge, than the doorman buzzed me. Someone had handed my wallet in. Apparently I'd left it on a bench when I'd been shopping. It had all my credit cards and $200 in it. They were all still there when I picked it up from the lobby. New Yorkers are so honest.

I asked who had handed it in but the doorman didn't know the person. I thought about my friend who thought pigmies lived in Australia. She too had lost her wallet - earlier this year - and hers was handed in by a man called Ed Thundercloud who was a native American. Well that's what she told me at the time. After the pygmy remark I have my doubts.

A few weeks ago I had an email from a friend Paul, in Melbourne who said he'd been at a dinner party there and that I had been discussed, and that people had said how isolated I was in New York and how boring a life I lived there.

Yeah Paul! Are you reading this? BECAUSE, It just goes to show

A: that Christos Tsiolkas is oh so right in his novel The Slap about the Melbourne friendship scene and

B: how wrong you are about my life in the Big Apple!

My name is Kathleenwng and I approve this message.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The Men - Part 2

But did he smoke grass and watch sexy movies? Did he want to chuck it all in and travel the world like the other Dutchmen? No, not he. He wanted to stay at home and renovate the house. In a leafy suburb. A domestic Dutchman - The Men Part 1

I'm like my mother, I stereotype. It's faster. - Ryan Bingham played by George Clooney in "Up in the Air"
Some months ago I wrote about "the-finding-atypical-men-syndrome" in The Men Part 1 I'd been thinking about how the men in my life were all atypical of their national stereotypes.

I did the Brit, the Aussie and the Dutchman and promised to write later on the other two - the American and the German.

Now later has come around, and as I am a woman who is true to her word, here goes.

The American. Although he has become a blur I can still remember that part of him that was atypically American. His teeth. Americans are obsessed with even white teeth. When I go to my dentist in New York, he is always aghast at the state of my teeth. Actually I'm simplifying - I have three professionals who I classify generically as dentists - my dentist, my periodontist and my endodontist. Yep it is taking three highly paid, highly educated professionals to try to make passable my Australian teeth - teeth that suffered from the happy-go-lucky-let's-fill-every-crevice Victorian state school dentists 100 years ago.

We didn't have much in common, my American and I - except for our teeth. Our crooked, over-filled far-from-white teeth.

How can it be? How can a middle-class waspy American have bad teeth? Once I even asked him. He claimed that unlike his siblings, his parents didn't send him to the dentist. "They didn't like me," he explained. "How could this be?" I thought. How could ANYONE not like him? But with time comes wisdom. I know now ...

Then the American, like the Brit, the Australian and the Dutchman before him, journeyed into THE PAST. And along came ... a German. Actually the German is now legally Australian, but he spent his formative and early adult years in Germany, and has German parents. As the Jesuits have been known to say, "Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man."

I met my German in Australia and I remember that after we'd become a unit, calling my friends to tell them the news. Relieved the American was out of the way they were keen to find out about the new man.

"He's German," I told my friend Katrina. "Well there's one good thing," she replied, "at least he'll be tidy." How wrong she was.

I am now married to the world's most untidy German. At times I think I'm married to the world's most untidy human being.

He's even more untidy than my good friend B. I'll always remember finding out that B was vacationing in Anglesea (Australia) - seaside town not far from where I was then living. Anglesea is a small town - around 2,000 people, although in the summer tourists boost the population to perhaps double that.

I wanted to drop in on B, but all I knew was the name of the street - and it was a LONG street.

Still, I was confident I'd find her. I put the kids in the car. I'd recently changed the oil and the spark plugs, (I was then married to the atypical Aussie) so it was running well.

Once in Anglesea I found the street and starting at one end drove slowly along, looking right and left into the front yards of the houses.

"Ah, there's her house," I told the children, and stopped the car. Kids's clothes and toys, towels and sleeping bags were strewn about. Their jagged trail started at the driveway where her car would have been parked, and ended at the front door which had been left ajar.

I found a $10 note on the ground amongst fish and chip wrappings and empty Coke bottles. We went inside to wait for B and her kids to return.

"How did you know where we were?" B asked when she returned.

"I just looked for the messiest house in Anglesea," I confessed.

At that time I thought that B was the most untidy person I would ever know. But I was wrong.

The German had yet to arrive.

I can't understand it. How can it be? Do I seek these people out? Am I fascinated with their idiosyncrasies?

I don't think that's it, because in the case of the German, I didn't know he was untidy for some time. And the American - I met him on the internet so had no idea about his teeth.

I intend to do some serious thinking. I am thinking of getting a new aim in life. I think I'll package my thoughts into a pop psychology book.

I can see it all coming together. The interviews. The photo sessions. The book signings.

Next you'll be seeing me on "The View".

Stay tuned.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Peel me a Mandarin, Botox Baby

Plans are under way for a Muslim house of worship, topped by a 13-story cultural center with a swimming pool, in a building damaged by the fuselage of a jet flown by extremists into the World Trade Center. The opening date shall live in infamy: Sept. 11, 2011. The 10th anniversary of the day a hole was punched in the city's heart. Andrea Peyser - Mosque madness at Ground Zero

If the United States needed to build a consulate at Hiroshima, would we build a building that would stick out in the immediate neighborhood of the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park? New York Times Reader - Letters to the Editor Debate Heats Up About Mosque Near Ground Zero

I just came back from my corner store. I'd asked the man behind the corner to peel me a mandarin. He looked at me blankly. So I asked him again. No go.

What did I get wrong? Because that's what New York corner storekeepers do. Well that's what Australian Julia Baird writing in the Melbourne Age believes. Yep, I just checked again. In demonstrating how "weird" America is she states that in Manhattan "corner stores peel mandarins for you." (An everyday mockery of democracy in land of the free)

Ms Baird finds plenty of other "weird" things in America. Somehow she has the idea that in Manhattan women use Botox to shrink earring holes. In other parts of the nation she has discovered "testicle festivals, smelly sneaker competitions and towns that speak their own language and print their own money." I love the way she puts things in perspective. Forget the major events of the century - Iraq, Afghanistan, the BP oil spill, Obama's health reform. Ms Baird's commentary is on testicle festivals and deep fried Oreos. Or maybe her understanding of this country has to do with the people she hangs out with.

I googled Ms Baird and discovered she is Deputy Editor of Newsweek. Now I wonder why she didn't publish her article there? Does she think it would not go down well with the American readership? And does she not realize that newspapers and magazines are no longer local in their distribution? Or does she NOT think? That is more likely.

"Americans have always exploited the freedoms granted in the constitution", writes Ms Baird. Huh? What are they meant to do with their freedoms? Ignore them?

The rest of the article drones on about Peter Carey's new novel, Parrot and Olivier in America. I've read a number of Carey novels, though not this. I'm interested in it because it is long-listed for the Man Booker prize. But did Ms Baird actually read the book? I doubt it. She seems to have a very strange take on it.

The book is about America of the early nineteenth century as seen through the eyes of a working class Englishman and an aristocratic French man.

I've read a number of reviews but can't see the novel as a "mockery" of American democracy and modern American "weirdness" that Ms Baird has found in it. Certainly it does not deal with twentieth and twenty first century America,

Let's hope that Peter Carey, who has lived in New York for the past 20 years, puts her straight.

On the Proposed Mosque Near Ground Zero

Manhattan officials are bowing to demands by a group called the American Society for Muslim Advancement — a 13-story shrine to Islam in the shadow of World Trade Center skyscrapers that Islamic terrorists turned to ashes in the name of Islam.

I'm opposed to the building of this mosque, as are many New Yorkers.

Even if the intentions are good - if the people in charge of the mosque are peace-loving - we know that they cannot or will not control the fanatics.

I live near a Manhattan mosque. Its iman preaches against terrorism, but outside the brothers of the "Revolution Muslim" are spreading a different message. Protected by the constitution of the country they detest, radical Muslim converts like Yousef al-Khattab and Younes Abdullah Mohammed stand just outside on 96th Street, preaching that the killing of Americans is justified. In their thinking, so were the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

My take is, that if the American Society for Muslim Advancement is sincere in its call for peace, why cannot they see that building a mosque so close to ground zero will, like the mosque on 96th Street, also attract Islamic fanatics? If the iman at the 96th Street mosque cannot control them, how will the iman of the Ground Zero mosque do so?

And how can the American Society for Muslim Advancement not see, that erecting a mosque so close to Ground Zero will appear insensitive to many Americans.

But Pat Condell says it so much better that I. Listen to him.