Periodically people start to complain that the Internet doesn't have anything useful on it, anymore. Just YouTube and FaceBook and LinkedIn and news and mililons of pointless, semi-pointless and gloriously pointless sites celebrating everything from political, religious or philosophical positions, to sites the courteous mark NSFW that feature positions of a much different kind.
Like CNN, the Internet and its vast resources are de rigeur during times of crisis – traffic leaped on nearly every type of web site during the few days after the announcement that a U.S. military raid had killed Osama bin Laden.
It tends to be ho-hum in between. Useful or sometimes funny, but not necessarily compelling.
Though we're still in a period of crisis-micro-examination following OsamaGate, HuffPost has found a way to make a truly beneficial contribution to society: It printed a list of the best mobster-owned restaurants around the country.
Many cops or crime reporters say Mob restaurants – those that are public places rather than private clubhouses like the one John Gotti used to hang out in – are usually nothing special.
For those with the twisted looky-lou gene that causes them to be fascinated with celebrity killers and extortionists rather than with actors who became famous playing killers and extortionists, mob restaurants are like lunch at occasional celebrity-ogling sites like the Stage Deli in New York or The Palm in West Hollywood. (Here's a more wholesome list of places to go ogle show-biz celebrities, btw, rather than the criminal-biz version.)
Mafia watchers live vicariously through their counterculture counterparts, which explains a lot of the fascination.
Another thing that explains the fascination, HuffPost mentions, is that Mafia-watchers rarely get a chance to meet their idols.
It's much better to watch mobsters in the movies than meet them in person, according to an FBI acquaintance who used to chase mobsters and now chases "persons of interest to national security"( with long gray beards and second homes near Tora Bora, presumably).
Even the top organized crime guys are, for the most part, not that bright and even less pleasant than most crooks in person. You wouldn't spend much time with them if you had a choice, according to my FBI guy whose high tolerance for the anti-social and annoying finds testament in his willingness to tolerate the presence of journalists while off duty.
Some of the Mob restaurants are actually owned by mob guys; others are places a famous wiseguy got wacked; others are places where only movies about wiseguys were shot.
It's a mixed list, and heavily weighted toward the East Coast, especially New York and Philadelphia.
But if you're looking for a place to eat where the pasta is plentiful, the marinara is fresh and the chance of getting knifed gets higher with the number of iced sweet vermouths, this is the foodie resource for you.