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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 his weekly AARP blog. The former Los Angeles Times columnist riffs about aging, current events, who he is, who we are and everything else. At 82, he's got more than a few things to say.

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Al Martinez'sPosts

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 …

Golden Days, Quiet Memories

Posted on 10/30/2013 by | Latino Life | Comments

Your LifeThe leaves of the maple trees have turned an iridescent gold along the Oregon coast and in the inland woods, suggesting that each leaf shines from an inner glow generated by the sun. Among them in perfect harmony are the deep reds of the amber leaves, adding to the chromatic mix that creates the beauty of nature’s clock, ticking off the days to winter. It is autumn, after all, and the beauty is but a hesitation between seasons, when the …

Chasing Time Through California

Posted on 10/23/2013 by | Latino Life | Comments

Your LifeThere is a sweetness to the distance that intersects with time and necessity to call one to the open road. It comes from beyond the mountains and the far side of the widest rivers, just a whisper at first and then a summons that mimics the lure of the fictional island of World War II’s Bali Hai that called the sailors to “Come to me, come to me …” Sign up for the AARP Health Newsletter Cinelli and I heard …

So Do You Come Here Often?

Posted on 10/9/2013 by | Latino Life | Comments

Your LifeI was in an L.A. restaurant the other evening with a circular bar big enough to accommodate the full crew of an aircraft carrier when I noticed Shorty and his girlfriend. I figured it wasn’t his wife because Shorty had to be in his 70s and she was maybe 32, and he was nuzzling her. Men of Shorty’s age rarely nuzzle their wives in public and they nuzzle them at home only if they want something. Shorty caught my attention …

Living Long and Loving it in America

Posted on 10/2/2013 by | Latino Life | Comments

Your LifeIf you are wondering why I am standing on a chair raising my fist and shouting “Right on!” it’s because someone has finally come up with a formula for human longevity that makes sense. If you want to live longer, part of the formula goes, eat out alone at a different posh restaurant every night—and that doesn’t mean a Burger King. The advice was contained in a story from The New York Times that carried an interview with a 103-year-old …