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 the AARP blog. The former Los Angeles Times columnist riffs about aging, current events, who he is, who we are and everything else.
Fading memory
I was absolutely certain we were in the right neighborhood, on the right street, in the right city of the right county and in the right solar system, but I was wrong.
Toddler having tantrum
I was in Von’s the other day shopping for cat food and cheap wine when the wild screeching of a toddler  pierced the afternoon boredom. It sounded very much like a kid going through the “terrible twos,” perhaps stimulated by a mommy who has had it up to here with him and was beating him with a loaf of sourdough bread.
Man gazing out sad profile
A few years ago, I wrote about a lawyer in his 40s who was in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s Disease. We met for lunch at an oceanside restaurant  and watched a restless surge of waves breaking in eternal conversation with the man about to lose his history.
Happy family portrait
Through the din of restaurant conversations while at dinner with friends the other night, a question emerged. It was offered in a hushed tone of shock and disbelief, one woman asking another: “Did you know that Donna is going to marry a Negro?”
Grandmother reading to grandchildren
Calling all grandmas, calling all grandmas, they’re after you again, the people who have babies but don’t or can’t actually raise them. You are being tested once more on your ability to care for the children of your children in an age that is altering the dynamics of family at the speed of a thunderclap.
Pregnant Nicole with husband Adam
We were sitting around the dinner table on a warm Topanga evening looking very much like the family of cops on TV’s Blue Bloods, digging into the best Irish stew ever served in America, when suddenly Nicole, still chewing, said, “Guess what? I’m pregnant.”
Sleep monitoring device
I have just returned from an all-night study of my sleep habits that should have been called an all-night study of my awake habits, because all during the study there's no getting any sleep.
Lavender blooms
My wife and I took a nature walk on the southern slope of the Santa Monica Mountains shortly after a brush fire had ravaged the earth and turned the blackened branches of the laurel sumac trees into hands that clawed at the darkening sky. It was a scene right out of Dante's Inferno, tempered by the life that lay on the other side of the hill.
Bill Joel Plays At Fenway Park
If you're among America's 40 million "older adults" troubled by insomnia, you probably suffer from depression, memory deprivation, frequent falls, constipation and a tendency to repeat the same old stories over and over again.
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I apparently have had diabetes for many years but haven't paid much attention to it other than maybe not eating the third slice of pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving and using less than a cup of salt on my french fries. Today, I know better.
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