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.

Living Long and Loving it in America

If 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 …

A Family Commune, One Year Later: Laughing, Barking, Crying, Shrieking…

The shriek of a 3-year-old can crack glass, shift a house on its foundation and register on earthquake scales 100 miles away. If you doubt that, come on over while Gracie, my granddaughter, pierces the air with a sound that is somewhere between a siren and a scream that will leave you vibrating for days. She is the primary addition to the merging of two families into one household, the smallest human member in a home that grew overnight a …

A Grandpa’s Dream, a Child’s Nightmare

There’s a tendency among us grandpas to control, or at least direct, the lives of our grandchildren, theoretically filtering into their futures what we wish we had accomplished on our own. I see it in relation to my granddaughter Nicole, a gifted painter who, at 27, is working hard to win notice in the art world. She is accomplishing that slowly but too slowly to suit me, so I’m pushing her to ramp up the tempo, to haunt the galleries, …

Attack of the Killer Sepsis

Science is once more reminding us that there are predators stalking the land no larger than a speck of dust but with the killing power of a herd of hippos. They are so small you can’t see them but you only have about a 50-50 chance of surviving their attack. They are called bacteria and the sepsis or blood poisoning they engender is killing 250,000 Americans a year. I was almost one of them. I am alerted to the danger …

Facing the Perils in Paradise

There is a place beyond imagination and beyond the rattle of the inner city, beyond the housing tracts of suburbia and even beyond the relatively distant semi-wilderness in areas around Los Angeles known informally as exurbia. We call that settlement of heavenly dreams Nowherebia. It is an area that the soul yearns for on those days that freeway traffic is jammed bumper to bumper from the ocean to the desert where crime is on the rise, where tract houses of …

Facing the Enemy Within

I was telling my wife Cinelli about a Carole King album called Tapestry I had purchased online when I was stopped by the word “album.” I couldn’t say it. I said “alume” and “abul” and “alome,” but not “album.” It just wouldn’t come out. It was not only annoying, it was eerie. “What’s going on?” asked Cinelli, studying me. By then the word had popped back into my head. “I’m trying to say album,” I replied. “There, I said it! …