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.

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 …

Thanksgiving: the Music of Memory

We 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

So 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

The 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

There 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 …