Latino Life

Al Martinez, Pultizer Prize-winning journalist, author and recently
annointed "Bard of L.A.," brings humor, wisdom and a sometimes quirky perspective on life to the AARP blog. The former Los Angeles Times columnist riffs about aging, current events, who he is, who we are and everything else.

News Flash: Great-grandpa on the Way

We were sitting around the dinner table on a warm Topanga evening looking very much like the family of cops on TV’s Blue Bloods, digging into the best Irish stew ever served in America, when suddenly Nicole, still chewing, said, “Guess what? I’m pregnant.” Everyone gulped down their food simultaneously except for Nicole, our granddaughter, who seemed to float in a space of serene detachment. The moment was still-life for a tick in time. No one knew how to react. …

Wake Up and Go to Sleep

I have just returned from an all-night study of my sleep habits that should have been called an all-night study of my awake habits, because all during the study there’s no getting any sleep. You lie there as tense as death, hooked up to 17 electrodes that in turn are hooked up to electronic devices that study exactly how your body and your inner organs are doing while you are struggling to go to sleep, a struggle that keeps you …

Fire and Rain: Beauty and Good Health From the Ashes

My wife and I took a nature walk on the southern slope of the Santa Monica Mountains shortly after a brush fire had ravaged the earth and turned the blackened branches of the laurel sumac trees into hands that clawed at the darkening sky. It was a scene right out of Dante’s Inferno, tempered by the life that lay on the other side of the hill. On that “other side,” stretched out before us were acres of lavender blossoms belonging …

Rock-a-bye Grandma: The Insomnia Song

If you’re among America’s 40 million “older adults” troubled by insomnia, you probably suffer from depression, memory deprivation, frequent falls, constipation and a tendency to repeat the same old stories over and over again. I haven’t included hearing problems in which you say, “What?” or “Huh?” 200 times a day, because that’s a category all its own. But I will offer the advice that if you’re one of the aforementioned, you need a big dose of Billy Joel. He is not …

Danger: The Power of Salt, the Allure of Sugar

I apparently have had diabetes for many years but haven’t paid much attention to it other than maybe not eating the third slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and using less than a cup of salt on my french fries. Today, I know better. Now if Señor Salt rides into our dining room like a South American gaucho, I am to ride my own horse the hell out of there. If Mademoiselle Sugar, the enticing French beauty, were to step …

Sweet Dreams for Grandma Marty

I began hearing the dog’s squeaky bark after a few days of being transferred from West Hills Hospital to the nearby Topanga Terrace complex for physical therapy. I was to undergo a healing program after a bout with pneumonia and other potentially fatal problems. It was a faint yap that emerged out of the dim shadows down the hall at about 2 in the otherwise muted sounds of a quiet morning.  The slightest noise awakens me, especially unexpected disturbances, and …