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Daily Goodbye

As a cartoonist, John Callahan, 59, drew panels that frequently drew criticism for their cynical perspective on the world. No critic, however, took exception to his scraggly handwriting. It was a wonder he could even use his hands at all after a car accident left him with a severed spine.

To some Texas resident, Harry Freeman, 72, was the no good owner of the late night establishments House of Babes Cabaret in Fort Worth, Showtime in Kennedale, and Flashdancer and Fantasy Ranch in Arlington.

To others, Mr. Freeman was a staunch defender of small business owners.

"You have the right not to like me, and I have the right to maintain my business," Mr. Freeman told the Star-Telegram in 2001. "But you can't pass an ordinance just to put me out of business, and that's what they're trying to do."

One of Gino L. Lazzari's jobs as an FBI agent in the organized crime division was to listen to hours of wiretapped conversations between members of the mafia.

Because of his own Italian background, he had a particular understanding for the mob's use of jargon and vernacular in conversation.

One day, he thought he heard one of the don's say: "I rose and lost." He and the other agents had a good laugh at Mr. Lazzari's gaffe.

What the don had actually said, and what Mr. Lazzari had misunderstood, was "la cosa nostra," an Italian phrase that meant "our own thing," and often used within the mafia to identify themselves.

By T. Rees Shapiro  |  July 26, 2010; 8:12 AM ET
Categories:  T. Rees Shapiro , The Daily Goodbye  | Tags: mafia, mob, strip club  
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