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.

A New America: Who Says We Can’t Do It?

Who says we can’t make it? Who says that this nation of muscle and dreams, of imagination and strength, can’t last through the next millennium? Who says differences will tear us apart and pettiness will drive holes in our moral structures? Who says that different peoples with different voices will crack the melting pot we have created when their voices rise as individuals in a mass culture? Who says that men who love men and women who love women will …

Walking and Working with the Extenders

The first time I ever heard the term “extenders” applied to human effort and not necessarily to equipment utilized by the handicapped was in the office of a doctor who actually had disabilities. He redefined the word to mean that you never give up. Burdened by the ever-increasing impact of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) on my body, I had requested a wheelchair from Medicare and was told to make an appointment in Los Angeles with one Dr. Thomas Hedge, …

Take Him Out to the Ball Game

Joe 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

Parties 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

My 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

Anyone 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 …