1. It’s Tuesday, January 19, 2016.
2. At my age, time usually passes quickly. But no matter how old I get, January drags. In 62 Januaries, I have never said “Gee, that went fast.” It never does.
Why am I so cranky? It could be that it’s 19 degrees on the 19th. It could be that we’re looking at 10 inches of snow this weekend. It could be the untimely death of my garage door opener. It could be that I woke up to discover Donald Trump is still running for president.
3. I get why Americans dislike Iran. If you’re not old enough to remember the hostage crisis that began in November 1979, you’ve gotten a good feel for it from “Argo.” And there have been plenty of reminders in the 36-plus years since that Iranians hate us, including the year and a-half imprisonment of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian. The Iranians’ grudge holding is even deeper than ours – they’re still blaming us for thwarting the overthrow of the Shah in the 1950s, even though Eisenhower and Dulles have long since died.
But this weekend was good. The United Nations affirmed that Iran is abiding by the terms of the nuclear agreement it signed last year, and the West lifted economic sanctions. And there was a swap of prisoners, with Rezaian and three other Americans getting out and seven Iranians going home in return.
And yet, there are those in both countries who would like nothing better than a war to settle things once and for all. They complain about the prisoner swap, with American killjoys saying we gave up too much and Iranian jerks doing everything they could to foul things up at the last minute.
The whole incident involving the American sailors who might have strayed into Iranian waters captures this problem in a nutshell.
The fact that they were captured at all, and that the Iranians made a video of the sailors with their hands behind their heads and on their knees, shows that there are factions in Iran eager for a fight with the U.S.
The fact that a relatively quick release was negotiated, that no harm was done to the sailors, is seen by the Ted Cruzes of the world as a sign of weakness instead of the maturity to negotiate and tamp down the tension.
I suspect Cruz and others would be more than happy to send American troops, none of whom are his children, to rescue the sailors. I suspect there are Iranians who would have derived satisfaction from a show trial of hapless young Americans with a faulty navigation system.
Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are trying to be the grownups, while a lot of petulant children clamor to rassle. Anybody who thinks peace is a better alternative to bloodshed and shouting should be on their side.
4. Glenn Frey is the second rock icon to pass this month. The Eagles’ singer and guitarist fought a whole bunch of afflictions as hard as he could before succumbing yesterday.
We should have been tipped off when the Eagles, who were slated to receive a Kennedy Center honor last month, asked out of the ceremony because of Frey’s illness. That’s one of those things you usually don’t skip.
“Take It Easy” was the first big Eagles hit, in 1972. It’s not one of my all-time favorite songs – or even my favorite Eagles song.
But I remember it fondly because one of the times I heard it on the radio was while my family was passing through Winslow, Ariz. Alas, I did not see a girl in a flatbed Ford, and even I did, there was little I would have been able to do with my parents and younger siblings with me.
The other song I’m associating with Glenn Frey this morning is “The Heat Is On,” one of his solo efforts during the 14-year estrangement with the rest of the Eagles. One reason is that the heat is not on this morning. Which makes sense. Rest in peace.