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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I Ristoranti di Firenze...The Restaurants of Florence, Italy



Osteria Vini e Vecchi Sapori
Via dei Magazzini, 3R
50122, Firenze (Florence, Italy)
Tel: 39.055.293.045
Prices:  € €  €  

We, literally, stumbled upon Vini e Vecchi Sapori while heading for the Palazzo Vecchio and Piazza della Signoria, the busiest and most famous square in Florence. The streets in Florence are made of large stones, not so evenly laid and sometimes causing tourists to stumble. I had heard of this restaurant through word of mouth and reviews on Yelp, but was not sure where it was. We almost missed it if not for my clumsy feet, hurling me toward the menu outside the door.

The menu says, in English, “NO PIZZA NO STEAK  NO ICE” and consisted of five to seven each of the antipasti (appetizers), primi (first courses), and secondi (second courses) followed by a few contorni (side dishes) and dolce (desserts). The menu changes each day depending on what the chef feels like cooking and the fresh ingredients available. The choices on our first visit were enticing, so we asked if we could get a reservation that night…WRONG!

Thomaso, the 3o something owner and front man, is thin with Harry Potterish glasses and wavy brown hair. He was extremely nice as he explained that the restaurant was sold out for the next week, so we asked for the first available table, which was seven days away on the following Saturday at 9:00PM (fairly early by Italian standards). We snatched the reservation quicker than turtle tucks his head and waited, and waited, and waited…

When Saturday rolled around, we arrived at the appointed hour and Thomaso greeted me at the door…Signor Sorrentino, welcome! Impressed that he remembered my name after only one encounter, the festivities began. The restaurant is very small in a very old building with tall (18 foot) ceilings and tile floors. Beside the five or six tables, there is only a glass refrigerator case, like you would see in a deli, a small counter, and the door to the bathroom and to the kitchen (different doors). The walls are smothered, but tastefully so, with an eclectic variety of original art and prints, making the small room, I mean restaurant, warm and inviting.

pappardelle con ragu di anatra
The restaurant sits on a short, narrow, quiet street just north of the Piazza della Signoria and has five tables or so, holding about 20 people. It reminds me of my favorite Italian restaurant in Los Angeles, Palermo, run by my old friend Tony, an immigrant from Palermo, Sicily and a warm, wonderful person. When Palermo opened back in the late 1970’s, it was just as small and quaint. Now Palermo is huge and packed every night of the week, a few blocks west of its old location. I hope that the same does not happen to Vini e Vecchi Sapori for it will lose much of its charm.

paccheri con fiori di zucca e zafferano
Thomaso sat us, then sat with us to explain the night’s menu. My wife’s dear friend Maddalena was with us and we were celebrating her birthday. We had visited Pistoia and Lucca by train that day, and had eaten foccacia con mozzarrella, prosciutto cotto, e carciofi (thin, herb covered bread with mozzarella, cooked ham, and artichoke inside) in Lucca that was larger than expected, so we decided to skip the antipasti and save room for the wonderful selection of primi and secondi. We started with the pappardelle con ragu di anatra (pappardelle are very wide fettucini-type pasta and they were covered in a rich minced duck sauce - €9) and paccheri con fiori di zucca e zafferano (yellow zucchini flowers and saffron - €8). The papparedelle con ragu di anatra was out of this world, just enough to satiate the palate for the time being, but never to be forgotten.   The paccheri con fiori di zucca e zafferano was delightfully done in a rich, creamy sauce and the pasta was thick and al dente, just firm enough to hold all of the wonderful sauce. I had never had saffron, a spice used mostly in the Middle East, in an Italian pasta sauce before, but it was creamy and dreamy. I hinted to Thomaso about obtaining the recipe, but will wait until we establish ourselves as regulars to make such a proposition.


ossobuco con piselli
Having trouble deciding whether to have the scaloppine alla pizzaiola (similar to veal parmigiana, but much better - €14) or the ossobuco con piselli (veal shank - slow cooked with peas), Thomaso decided for me, it was the ossobuco (€14) and I was not disappointed! The veal shank was cooked to perfection, not huge by American standards, and falling off the bone with a hint of marsala wine sauce. It was delicious, the best ossobuco I have eaten and I have had a few. My wife had the torta ai carciofi (artichoke omelette - €8), but she wolfed it down while I was talking to the couple from Shang Hai at the table next to us, so I did not have the opportunity to get a taste.

 Friends from Shang Hai & Jordon...Thomaso (back)
Our meal was accompanied by a litre of sparkling water (€2) and a litre of Chianti wine (€14), which was dark, rich, and flavorful with hints of berry and chocolate. Being so small, you easily fall into conversation with the table next to you. The first diners were a couple from San Francisco, she a teacher on break, and very nice, he a silicon valley marketing executive, seemingly very impressed with himself and eager to end the conversation. The next couple was from Shang Hai and it turns out that his family was from Glendale, California where I spent much of my childhood and college years, moving to Hacienda Heights after his graduation, where I had spent all of my school years. What a small world! Emma is Chinese, a native of Shanh Hai, and extremely engaging and sweet. The couple on their other side, I thought were from Holland by the accent, turned out to be from Jordon and were equally as warm and engaging. It was one of the most delightful dinners I have experienced in a long time.

Front Door & Tall Ceilings
Finally, the dessert was ordered, while I was talking to Emma about her soon to be baby (due on Christmas day), so I did not have a choice in the matter. We tasted the tiramisu (€5), which was light and refreshing and minus the coffee, which by this time in the evening would probably have kept us awake all night, and the meringato (“big meringue” with cream and chocolate - €5), which was good, but not outstanding.

The bill came to €86, but Thomaso rounded it off to €80 even, so we left a generous tip, which usually is not required in Italy. On the way out we met the chef, Thomaso’s mother, and congratulated her on her wonderful meal, telling “ritorniamo prossima Sabato” (“we will return next Saturday”) and the Saturday after that, and the one after that…


HOOAH...it's the "BOMB"!

Vini e Vecchi Sapori gets 9 BOMBS OUT OF 10 (“bombs” are good) from CombatCritic…my highest rating yet!




Trattoria da Giorgio
Via Palazzuolo 100r, 50123 Firenze 
Tel: 39.055.28.43.02
Fax: 39.055.28.43.02 
Email: info@trattoriadagiorgio.it
http://www.trattoriadagiorgio.it
Prices:  €  € €  

A hidden gem! At €13 for a 3 course, excellent dinner (€12 for lunch), wine and water included, Trattoria da Giorgio is a terrific BARGAIN! 

Diners select from a primo (first course, usually pasta or soup), second (secondo...that wasn't so hard! - usually a meat dish, but not necessarily), contorno (side dish - vegetables, salad, french fries - accompany the secondo), 1/4 litre of wine or a can of Italian beer, and 1/3 litre of water...ALL INCLUDED IN THE PRICE...NO TAX...SERVICE INCLUDED (although you should always leave a little something extra if the service was good).

Primi
Pasta and risotto dishes are moderate in size, just large enough to allow room for your secondo and maybe a little dessert. The ravioli with butter & salvia (sage, not something to smoke) was perfectly cooker light with a hint of sage and the ravioli slightly al dente as they should be.  The bigoli tartufo nero (thick spaghetti with black truffle cream sauce) were also excellent, thick and rich as you would expect from a truffle sauce. The risotto (rice) with asparagus and radicchio (not, radish, but a red cabbage-type vegetable) was of a perfect consistency and delicious while not overwhelming. The farfalle (butterfly) pasta bolognese (creamy meat sauce originating in Bologna...where else) with peas and mushrooms was outrageous and the pasta, again, cooked to perfection. 

Secondi
On our first visit, my wife and I both had the scallopini al tartufo (pork tenderloin in a cream and black truffle sauce) and it was WONDERFUL!  The pork tenderloins were medium in thickness and the sauce rich and creamy, softening the somewhat stale bread as I sopped-up what was left on my plate...not much! On our second visit, my wife had the prosciutto e melone (thinly sliced, cured (not cooked) ham, usually from Parma and white melon, similar to a cantaloupe in size and consistency, but not quite as sweet). The prosciutto was a bit dry, but delicious and the melon perfectly ripe. I, on the other hand, could not make up my mind between the insalata caprese (sliced tomatoes and mozzarella di buffala with freach basil and drizzled with extra virgin olive oil) or the scallopine marsala (thin veal medallions covered in a rich marsala wine reduction with walnuts). I love caprese and it rarely varies much in Italy, so I went for the scallopine...I was not disappointed! The veal was thin and tender as it should be and the marsala sauce was the best I have had in an Italian restaurant, and I have ordered it in many restaurants all over Italy, thick and rich....YUM! 

Dolce (Desserts)
The tiramisu, €3, was icing on the cake on our first visit, an excellent mixture of mascarpone cheese, savoiardi cookies, coffee, cocoa, sugar, egg, amaretto...and two spoons of course! We tried the pear tort, all desserts are €3, smothered in warm chocolate sauce on our second visit and were not disappointed. The tort was warm and fresh, fresher than the bread unfortunately, and the chocolate sauce equally so, tasty and not overwhelming.

Service
The service on our first visit was excellent and friendly, even though the place was packed (the place seats only around 50 diners at a time) and when the bill (conto) arrived, the extra 1/4 litre of wine we ordered and the service charge (servizio or coperto) were missing, so we left a generous tip. On our second visit, we arrived very early (by Italian standards), around 7:00 PM, and the trattoria was basically empty. The tattoo covered waiter seemed a bit overwhelmed by our arrival and spent more time surfing the internet than taking care of customers. We had to ask the chef for wine and my wife had to get up to get the dessert menu becaise our waiter had mysteriously disappeared. The chef seemed embarrassed by all of this, as he should be, but it really did not detract from our wonderful meal.

The only other disappointment remains to be the bread, while tasty, is obviously leftover from lunch, possibly yesterday's.  In any event, we will be returning again over the next month and will add menu items as we go...buon appetito da Giorgio!
Trattoria da Giorgio - Florence, Italy
Trattoria da Giorgio gets a very respectable 8 BOMBS (bombs are good) out of 10 from CombatCritic:





Abondanza...Simpatico...Buonissimo...La Vinaina is a Bargain and Treat in Residential Florence!



La Vinaina Firenze
Via dell'Agnolo, 48r, 50122 
Florence, Italy
Phone: +39.055.234.4120
Prices:    € €  


My wife and I visited La Vinaina on several occasions with the students of the University of Kansas in July 2012. Our apartment was just around the corner and we enjoyed the proximity, warm welcome, fresh ingredients, and very reasonable prices for lunch.
Being a chef and food restaurant critic, having traveled to 46 countries around the world, I have eaten at few restaurants with the impeccable quality and value as we found at La Vinaina.

The pasta and bread...always fresh; the meat and fish...always prepared to perfection; the service...always attentive and friendly. I would recommend this restaurant to anybody...on a budget, like students, to more EXCLUSIVE and seasoned travelers alike. There is something for everyone at La Vinaina!

Watch my video collage dedicated to our friends at La Vinaina on CombatCritic TV:

Watch My Video of La Vinaina and Surrounding Area on CombatCritic TV!

or read more about this wonderful cucina tipica toscana in The CombatCritic Chronicle: 

http://www.CombatCritic.blogspot.com

I have also posted reviews on Yelp, Trip Advisor, and Fousquare...search for "CombatCritic" and send a Friend request.






CombatCritic gives La Vinaina 7 BOMBS OUT OF 10...bombs in this case are good!

LIKE La Vinaina on Facebook!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Paravicini's - An Old Colorado City Favorite ... Great Food, Reasonable Prices

 Paravicini's Italian Bistro

Authentic Foods - Great Service - Quality Atmosphere

2802 W Colorado Ave, 
Colorado Springs, CO 80904-2444
(719) 471-8200 

Hours: Sun-Thu 11:30am - 9:00pm
Fri-Sat 11:30am - 10:00pm

Paravicinis.com

I have been eating at Paravicini's since they opened in 2003 and have not been disappointed once. Ted Sexton and Franco  Pisani, the owners, opened their doors, just minutes from our Old Colorado City home, to rave reviews and Franco, the head chef, deserves every one of them. The food is and always has been consistent, reasonably priced, and made with quality ingredients and the wine list robust and reasonable as well.

Appetizers include many of the Italian specialties you would expect, including calamari, fried mozzarella, mussels, bruschetta (pronounced bru-ske-ta, not bru-she-ta as many Americans mistakenly do), and assorted meats, cheeses, and marinated vegetables among others. I stopped ordering appetizers a long time ago because you can expect an abundance of food from ordering the main course including pasta (full meals or as sides), meats (veal, chicken and steak prepared in an abundance of sauces), salad (served family style - Ceasar is $2 extra per person) and fresh baked bread (keep bringing it!).



Pastas include many regulars including spaghetti and meatballs (a dish you will never see in Italy), manicotti, lasagna, ravioli, rigatoni, and gnocchi (small potato dumplings) in portions even the biggest eaters will not be disappointed by, but the meat dishes are not to be missed!

The veal dishes are the best value on the menu, just a buck or two more than the pastas and chicken dishes, served in a variety of sauces second to none. My favorites, not on the menu but available nonetheless, are the Veal (vitello in Italian) Saltimbocca (veal scallopini - medallions - covered with prosciutto and mozzarella, then baked and served in a lemon butter and sage sauce over angelhair pasta) and the Veal Capricosa (veal medallions covered with mozzarella then baked and served with sauteed prosciutto, mushrooms, and onion over angelhair). Other favorites are the Veal Toscano (veal scaloppini sautéed with garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and artichoke hearts, finished in a roasted garlic cream sauce), Veal Porcini (sautéed veal scaloppini in a porcini mushroom brandy cream sauce), and for those who enjoy hot and spicy, the Veal Giuseppe (veal scaloppini sautéed with spicy Italian sausage, onions, hot and sweet peppers, capers, olive, garlic & olive oil). All veal dishes are between $16.95 and $18.95 and served with salad, fresh, hot bread, and pasta, very reasonable for the quality of the milk-fed veal and portion sizes.  



The wine selection is moderate and varied, with glasses or bottles available at a fair price. A full bar is available for those who wish to partake.

Desserts, which I have been able to order only on a few occasions because of the robustness of the meals, are excellent and include classic tiramisu and delicious cannoli (tubular stuffed with a sweet ricotta cream), a specialty of the island of Sicily, my wife's original home.

Paravicini's, a name that is actually a bit redundant due to the fact that words ending in "i" are always plural in the Italian language, is a Colorado Springs treasure. Located in historic Old Colorado City, offers a wonderful American-style (Italians would never think of eating meat and pasta together) Italian meal with the opportunity to stroll through the historic district after dinner to digest before going on your way...buon appetito!








CombatCritic gives Paravicini's a whopping nine out of ten bombs for quality, value, and consistency ... BOMBS ARE GREAT!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Cascone's Italian Restaurant - Good, Consistent American-Style Italian Food, Large Portions at MODERATE Prices (April 2013 Update)

Cascone's (North Oak)
3733 North Oak Trafficway
Kansas City, MO 64116
(816) 454-7977

www.Cascones.com


$$$ (PREVIOUSLY $$)

Ponte Vecchio - Florence, Italy
I am an Italian-American, was raised by first generation immigrants from the hills between Napoli (Naples) and Bari on the Adriatic Sea, lived in Italy for three years on assignment with the U.S. Air Force, and married an Italian (Sicilian to be precise), so we travel there often to see family and enjoy the wonderful cuisine.

Traditional Italian food (in the old country) only resembles what we call "Italian" here and you have not lived until you have eaten a traditional Italian meal...in Italy. Dinner in Italy normally does not start until 9PM and rarely ends before midnight. Starting with the antipasto, you may have assorted fresh meats and cheeses, prosciutto e melone (cured Italian ham from Parma and melone which is Italian cantaloupe - a traditional antipasto during the warm summer months), or, my favorite, insalata caprese (fresh buffalo mozzarella with bright red tomato slices drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and topped with fresh basil leaves). Fresh homemade bread always accompanies your meal, but you may be charged a "coperto" (cover) of one or two euros for the bread and place setting. Primo (or the first dish) is next and usually consists of soup or pasta, an infinite variety of freshly made pastas mixed with an equally infinite number of sauce combinations. All the while, you sip bottled water (with or without gas...bubbles) and some of the most delicious wines in the world, usually locally made, if not on the premises. Next comes the secondo (or main dish), usually meat or fish, simply prepared and accompanied by contorni (vegetables, potatoes, and salad...yes, salad comes with the main dish, not before your meal). Italians would never think of eating pasta and meat (or fish) on the same plate, so the traditions you see in the U.S. (e.g. Olive Garden...excuse me while a vomit a little in my mouth) DEFINITELY did not originate in Italy. Finally, a digestivo, a liquor such as grappa, amaretto, or, my favorite, limoncello, is served before cafe (what you call espresso (cappuccino is never drunk after morning and is considered a woman's drink) and dolce (dessert), usually something simple like fruit and cheese or biscotti (cookies).


My wife and I have been going to Cascone's for three years and have never had a bad meal. Some were not as good as others were, but never bad. My Sicilian spouse has grown accustomed to the American version and, even though nontraditional (in her eyes anyway), Cascone's is one of her favorites. Strong praise indeed from an Italian citizen.



We inevitably arrive on Sunday evening and the soup selection (all entrees come with soup or salad and a loaf of fresh baked bread) is very limited, rather predictable, and mostly boring..chicken of one sort or another with noodles or rice.


The salad with the house dressing (an olive oil and vinaigrette) is always good, but inconsistent. Sometimes you get olives, artichoke heart, and croutons, sometimes not. I order the blue cheese crumbles on the side and get a twist of fresh cracked pepper. Very good salad and the great bread makes up for the lack of consistency in ingredients (croutons for example). ... UPDATE ... THE NEW MENU ) AS OF APRIL 2013) IS NOW ALA CARTE (AGAIN ... WE HAVE BEN THROUGH THIS BEFORE) AND SOUP OR SALAD ARE NOW EXTRA WITH A HOUSE SALAD GOING FOR AN ADDITIONAL $3.50 WITH AN ENTREE.  INSTEAD OF GETTING THE WARM LOAF OF SESAME SEED TOPPED OF WARM, CRUSTY BREAD IS NOW A COUPLE OF PIECES IN A BASKET ... BOOOOOO!

The antipasto selection is limited and non-traditional, including the "Italian Nachos" a huge concoction that looks filling, but not appetizing. With the size of the entrees and the soup/salad, you will not need an antipasto anyway. If you do, get the steamed artichoke (when it is in-season) and share it with your guest.

I love veal and their veal parmigiana is superb. Pounded thin, lightly breaded, and pan fried, you get two large escallops on a bed of spaghetti (I order the mastacioli instead, a type of large penne). I do not like that the meat covers the pasta and inevitably have to dig the pasta out to scrape enough sauce together to cover the mastacioli, sometimes having to ask for extra marinara to cover the white bits. The servers are skimpy on the hand grated parmigianno-reggiano cheese, so I usually have them fill up my bread plate and scatter the cheese as I see fit.  


... UPDATE  UPDATE  UPDATE ... 


EVEN THOUGH THE MENU HAS CHANGED TO ALA CARTE AGAIN, AND PRICES HAVE GONE UP, PORTIONS ARE SMALLER.  MY MASTACIOLI LAST NIGHT WAS NOT DRAINED WELL AND THE SAUCE WAS WATERY.  CASCONE'S MARINARA SAUCE IS VERY GOOD, BUT WATER, UNFORTUNATELY, DOES NOT ADD TO THE FLAVOR ... ANOTHER BOOOOOOO!


I have had the veal marsala and it is not like any marsala dish I have ever tried. They use green (bell) peppers and onions in addition to the more traditional mushrooms, a combination that does not quite work with a delicate marsala sauce. I would not bother with this dish if I were you.


The chicken spedieni is very good and bountiful, but everything comes with pasta and marinara sauce, so if you want alfredo or olive oil and garlic, which would be more appropriate, be prepared to pay extra.

The pasta dishes are good and my wife usually orders the tortelonni Savina Maria, large shells stuffed with veal and cheese in a white sauce with mushrooms, peas, and pieces of prosciutto (cannot tell if it is cotto or crudo). It is very good and enough for one very hungry person of two light eaters (be prepared to be charged if you share, they charge for everything not priced on the menu). She also likes the Pasta Asiago, bowtie pasta in a crème sauce with broccoli and mushrooms (and chicken if you want to pay extra). The Pasta Asiago comes with tomatoes, but my wife is intolerant to tomatoes (can you believe it, an Italian woman that does not eat tomatoes, drink wine, or cook!).  There are a couple pizza choices (two to three depending  on the menu) and are decent, being the single serving (one person) size and much smaller than their Naepolitano (from Naples, Italy) cousins...VERY DISTANT COUSINS!

I have never had room for dessert, but the choices are traditional and look good so go for it if you have room.

The wine list (and menu) change as often my brother's underwear, so do not become too attached to any particular maker or vintage. The house wines are pretty good and come in various varieties and at $6 per glass, are a relative bargain ... 


... UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE ... 


We returned for dinner on April 26th, 2013 and the menu had changed once again! THE WINE LIST IS VERY DIFFERENT ... WINE BY THE GLASS ARE NOW $8 TO $11 AND UP!  BOTTLES MAY HAVE RISEN, BUT ARE NOW A MUCH BETTER VALUE.  MANY "UPSCALE" RESTAURANTS CAN GET AWAY WITH $8 TO $11 GLASSES OF WINE, BUT CASCONE'S IS NOT THAT KIND OF RESTAURANT AND THESE PRICES ARE GOING TO HURT WINE SALES BECAUSE CASCONE'S HAS A LARGE SENIOR CITIZEN CUSTOMER BASE AND IN TODAY'S ECONOMY, FOLKS ARE NOT GOING TO PAY THE EQUIVALENT OF $60 FOR A $25 TO $30 BOTTLE OF WINE. 



As I said, we have been going to Cascone's practically every Sunday for five years, so you would think the wait staff would know us by name by now. They do not. The receptionist is quite friendly and knows us by face, but do not expect to be called by name by any of the staff, no matter how long you have been going there. Service is friendly enough and things get done on time (mostly), but they do not chit chat and seem to care less who you are. After all, I am there for food and companionship with my table mates, not to make friends with the wait staff. 


... UPDATE  UPDATE  UPDATE ...

OUR SERVER LAST NIGHT WAS WONDERFUL AND VERY FRIENDLY AND ACCOMMODATING, EVEN THOUGH SHE NEVER TOLD US HER NAME ... THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE AND EXCELLENT SERVICE ... WHATEVER YOUR NAME IS!

CombatCritic NOW gives Cascone's (North Oak) ONLY 6 out of 1o BOMBS ... BOMBS in this case are good!


CombatCritic's BOMB ratings are based on "VALUE" ... quality of the food, service, ambience compared to the prices, so the drastic price changes in the case of Cascone's dropped their score one BOMB ... SORRY FREINDS!

Cascone's Italian on Urbanspoon

On the Front Lines in the Battle Against Overpriced Food

Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston, Terrorism, the Media, and Human Nature


Boston ... Our thoughts and prayers are with the loved-ones of the two victims who lost their lives as well as those who were injured and the first responders who put their lives in peril to save others. Decoy devices are quite common among terrorists, so let's hope they have successfully cleared the area of additional IEDs.

As was the case with Sandy Hook, this event is and will receive a great deal of attention for days, if not weeks, not to mention many anniversaries to come. That is EXACTLY WHAT THE PERPETRATORS AND TERRORISTS WANT AND NEED TO EXIST!

The purpose of terrorism is, obviously, "to terrorize" and you cannot terrorize without the mass media. The mass media (TV, radio, internet) profit from these events because humans have a sick need to be entranced by trauma and gore. So disasters such as these are extremely profitable for the networks, stations, and websites because humans are innately sadistic.

Think about the times you've arrived at the source of a traffic jam only to find people rubber-necking to see if the can view some blood and gore ... even on the opposite side of the highway! I cannot tell you how many times I have been delayed on LA freeways only to find a fender fender or a flat tire miles away that people could not resist gawking at.

"Sadistic" may be a strong word, but characterizes rather succinctly the need people have to view traumatic, bloody scenes. Other examples of this phenomena are the people who hear of a tragedy (fire, earthquake, hurricane, etc.) and feel compelled to go to the scene, PUTTING THEIR LIVES, AND THOSE OF THEIR FAMILIES IN SOME CASES, IN PERIL!

Bullfights, car races, boxing, ultimate fighting, running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain and other events where there is a high probability of blood and guts being exposed are extremely popular. You have to be "a little slow" (to put it nicely) to watch 33 cars go round and round and round and round until somebody FINALLY crosses the finish line hours later, usually a rather anti-climactic event and the lowlight of the race...hopefully there were a few crashes!

Why do we humans act this way? One reason is that people are inherently curious creatures. Beyond that, there is some subconscious satisfaction in seeing others suffer. The suffering of others gives us a momentary feeling of superiority or a sense of "wow...I'm sure glad that wasn't me!". In either case, it makes it feel, on a level we are not necessarily aware of, that we are better off or safer than others and that can be very comforting. Another reason people may rush to a disaster scene is to be able to say "I was there!" ... BEEN THERE, DONE THAT, GOT THE T-SHIRT!

A woman actually canceled her Hawaiian vacation to go to Arizona TO WATCH THE JODI ARIAS MURDER TRIAL ... Are you serious ... Jodi Arias over Hawaii? Now that is sick!

I have done it myself, so even perfect people like me are not immune! I was in Paris the weekend Princess Diana was killed. We had walked by the Ritz Hotal that very afternoon on our way back to our room from the Eiffel Tower. The next morning, we woke up to a French NEWSFLASH claiming that Princess Diana had been killed early that morning. We we're planning on visiting that area along the Seine later that day (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) to visit the Hard Rock Cafe (I collect Hard Rock sweatshirts, having visited the Los Angeles, Paris, Tokyo, Budapest, Rome, Seoul, London, Edinburgh, Brussels, Munich, and many other franchises). It was two in the afternoon when we arrived at the hill next to the entrance of the tunnel and could see the doomed Mercedes as the police continued their investigation. A rather large makeshift memorial had already been erected on that very hill being comprised of hundreds of bouquets of flowers, stuffed animals, balloons, and cards from people communicating their grief and condolences. She truly was the "People's Princess" as I had observed during my three years in England. I was also in London the following weekend, visiting Buckingham Palace where the memorial extended for hundreds of yards along the fence, 50 feet deep in some places, with the same flowers, balloons, signs, and stuffed animals. It was quite a spectacle and something I will not forget soon. Even more memorable was the funeral coverage (no, I was not there) and the true heartfelt grief and sadness the people of England were feeling. It was very sad and an incredible experience...I WAS THERE!

Again, my blessings go out to the dead and many injured, physically AND psychologically, by this horrific event. We as a nation have been very lucky since 9/11/2001 and need to be prepared and vigilant for.future attacks ... IT IS INEVITABLE. And humans being humans, some will die, many will flock to the scene, and even more will find a way to profit from the tragedy. Whether it is a con artist setting up a fake website in one of the victim's names to solicit donations (to him or her) or ABC programming untold hours of coverage from every perspective imaginable. Can we really blame ABC for trying to profit from the misery of others? No, not really, because that is the business they are in and owe it to their shareholders and viewers to give them what them want or need. What the media, ABC is only an example, can and should be chastised for is giving the perpetrator or terrorist organization the publicity, the coverage they need to be successful. Whether it is for their 15 minutes of fame, satisfaction of a long held grudge, or instilling terror in the populace. Terrorism could not exist without the worldwide media where disasters can be televised around the world literally seconds after it happens and sometimes AS IT HAPPENS in the case of smartphone camera that make capturing news AS IT HAPPENS, then going viral on YouTube as all of us sadistic humans click on the Facebook link.

In conclusion, I truly mourn for the dead, wounded, and their families involved in the Boston Marathon Attacks. I have provided a psychological perspective of human nature because it seemed to be a compelling story on which to discuss the topic. I hope I have not detracted from this sad turn of events and pray I did not offend anyone because that was not my intention. I am a compassionate person, but there are times to get your message across and this seemed like one of them. I hope you learned something from this discussion because that is my only intent ... AND NO, I DO NOT MAKE ANY MONEY DOING THIS!

#PrayForVictims

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