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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

A Second Chance for the Woodcarver

Posted on 06/12/2013 by | Latino Life | Comments

Your LifeA ruptured aortic aneurysm is known to cause death almost instantly. Basically a tear in one’s main artery, it pours out blood at a heartbeat tempo and leaves a lifeless victim in its wake.  The mortality rate from a burst aneurysm is 90% even if you make it to the hospital. Only a few survive. One of the survivors is Barry Lysaght, a master woodcarver who lives in the Santa Monica Mountains just north of Los Angeles in a small …

When the Brain Stops Working

Posted on 06/5/2013 by | Latino Life | Comments

Your LifeWe were in a movie theater watching a long and boring subtitled foreign film when it suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t know where I was. Literally. I had been slumped down in my seat day-dreaming about sex and money when the realization flashed into my head like a light globe in a cartoon illustration: I’m lost. I turned to my wife, the perceptive Cinelli, and whispered “Where are we?” She whispered back, “At the Laemmle,” which was the …

A Time to Remember

Posted on 05/29/2013 by | Latino Life | Comments

Your LifeI had not seen Rose Toren for almost 15 years, until last weekend, when I decided that if anyone deserved tribute on this special holiday of memory and celebration, it was she. Memorials apply to many sorrows. She had just reached the age of 90 and, beset by failing health, seemed frail and detached, paying the price of time and grief in a prevailing mood of sadness that had deepened over the years. But, despite that, one could also clearly …

All the Lonely People

Posted on 05/22/2013 by | Latino Life | Comments

Your LifeI received word the other day that a long-time acquaintance had died. We had worked together in the beginning years of my newspaper career, and while we hadn’t been that close, he nonetheless had represented a link in a circle of friends that was growing smaller every year. I was losing my history. Join the discussion: Grief and Loss — How do you cope? We were a hard-drinking, cigarette-smoking, fun-loving bunch back then, not eating right or exercising or generally …

A Senior Nursery Rhyme: And We All Fall Down

Posted on 05/15/2013 by | Latino Life | Comments

Your LifeI did not gather you here today to form a circle and lead you in a child’s game of Ring Around the Rosy, at the end of which we all fall down. It was fun when we were kids and could bounce up off the play yard like balloons, laughing and clapping in delight. Well, it ain’t so much fun anymore. The death and injury rate among seniors who take spills has risen steadily over the years to become the …

Fire in the Wind, Heroes in the City

Posted on 05/8/2013 by | Latino Life | Comments

Your LifeIt is raining this morning, May 6, over greater Los Angeles. It began tapping at our rooftop shortly after midnight and was still coming down as night blossomed into a gray and gloomy day. I felt like cheering. The rain, with its accompanying low temperatures and high humidity, meant that a fire that had burned through almost 30,000 acres of brush and timber in the mountains 40 miles west of the city had been beaten. We had come through another …