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Al Martinez


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.

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Al Martinez'sPosts

Take Him Out to the Ball Game

Posted on 01/8/2014 by |Latino Life | Comments

Your LifeJoe Price had just rolled back into town, looking weary but still possessing the excitable manner of a guy who might burst into song at any moment. He had just completed half a year on the road visiting 104 minor league baseball parks in 40 states, where he had sung America’s national anthem to start their games. It was a labor of love and academic duty. Price, who is 64, is a professor of religious studies at L.A.’s Whittier University, …

When the Conversation Turns to Hatred

Posted on 12/19/2013 by |Latino Life | Comments

Your LifeParties aren’t always fun, even during the Christmas season. Sometimes late in the evening, when only a few remain, the conversation can become both serious and revealing. It was that way for us last Saturday night. Among the few who remained, one was an African American woman whom I will call Miriam whose academic credits in the field of education are legendary. Articulate and profound in many ways, she could converse with wit and knowledge, but was quieter this night …

Driving and Surviving in the Dark

Posted on 12/11/2013 by |Latino Life | Comments

Your LifeMy long-time friend, multi-talented comedian and actor Shelley Berman, 88, was the first person to alert me to the difficulties involved in older people driving at night. He became lost in the Santa Monica Mountains trying to find our house after dark and yelled at me on his cellphone for living in such a remote and inconvenient place. Confusion and frustration, both of which make for a bad driver, are elements of the syndrome that makes driving difficult at night. Berman, also a …

Redford, Loneliness and the Ocean

Posted on 12/4/2013 by |Latino Life | Comments

Your LifeAnyone who has never been in the middle of an ocean surrounded by an eternity of waves can ever imagine  how lonely it can be. Time has no meaning and distance is a dream on an empty sea, whether you’re on a cruise ship, a troop ship, a battle ship or a canoe. It’s all the same in a cosmic vision. The ocean is a metaphor for loneliness. Robert Redford, the actor who once seemed to offer little more than …

Thanksgiving: the Music of Memory

Posted on 11/21/2013 by |Latino Life | Comments

Your LifeWe sang with a muscled verve never to be denied. It thumped through the small Oakland house like the drums of an anthem—and in a way it was. The song was “The Three Caballeros,” and we were three indeed, a soldier and two Marines, and we were brothers. We sang it on Thanksgiving Day. >> Sign up for the AARP Leisure Newsletter That first rendition was offered on the holiday Thursday sometime in the late 1950s. Eddie, who had been …

COPD Trouble Along the Way

Posted on 11/6/2013 by |Latino Life | Comments

Your LifeSo we’re rolling back from Oregon over a Siskiyou Mountain pass into California on a day as bright as heaven, with only small wisps of fog and a few stringy clouds to intrude on a scene that is otherwise right out of a Magritte painting. The pass rises to over 4,000 feet and as we come down toward Yreka, heading home to L.A. after a two-week road trip. I notice a funny feeling in my chest. My breathing has become …