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Robert David Jaffee

Tommy Lasorda: The Lion in Spring

It’s a weekday afternoon late last season when I meet Tommy Lasorda in the lobby of Dodger Stadium. Lasorda has a crafty, comical and somewhat menacing air about him as he struts/waddles toward his office. He brings to mind Burgess Meredith’s Penguin from Batman, though, like a lot of tough......

One Tough Jew

“Is Kinky Friedman in there?” I ask at the back entrance of Lucy’s El Adobe, across the street from Paramount Studios.“Go in and look for the cowboy with the black hat,” a woman holding the guest list for tonight’s “Fun-Raiser” says with a Texas twang.I spot the black hat and......
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The Big Rub

I am not the first man to enter a massage parlor looking for sex. It was 19 years ago in New York City, at a time when I had liaisons with more than one call girl. But since moving to Los Angeles a decade ago, I have enjoyed a different......

The Vanishing

Photo by C.R. StecykI didn’t come to Los Angeles for the waters, as Rick Blaine says of his move to Casablanca. I came for the movies. While I consulted at Hanna-Barbera on a Jetsons marketing campaign and worked as a research analyst tracking awareness and interest levels in contemporary actors,......

Run, Rickey, Run

The Long Beach Armada’s mascot, a parrot named Arby I, pronounced thoughtfully as RBI, squirts me with a water gun. Maybe it’s because I’m sitting in the box seats behind home plate when I’m supposed to be sitting up in the press box. Or maybe it’s because the parrot knows......

The 100-Mile Man

By the pony rides in Griffith Park, the early morning scent of horse dung and grass is heavy in the air as several runners stretch their bodies before setting off through the hills on a nearby trail. This is where many of the city’s top long-distance competitors train. Among them......

The Soldier

Reuma Weizman and I entered her low-level house in Caesarea, on the Mediterranean coast of Israel, and she called to her husband, Ezer. Still strapping and barrel-chested at 65, Ezer Weizman stared out the living-room window at the Mediterranean. He seemed like a sea captain, gazing at distant shores; in......

Dr. Norman Tabachnick, Lifesaver

Photo by Slobodan Dimitrov For many years, Dr. Norman Tabachnick, a professor of clinical psychiatry at UCLA Medical School, felt different from other suicidologists. Unlike many of his colleagues, he couldn’t recall ever contemplating suicide. And although he wrote his first scholarly work on suicide in the late ’50s, he......

For Pete’s Sake

Photo by AP/Wide World“Do you know where the Pete Rose Museum is?” I ask a local. “Never heard of it,” he says, “but I can tell you where the National Baseball Hall of Fame is.” I encounter this response half a dozen times as I walk along the streets of......