Russ Batenhorst Thinking of Clancy on dark, stormy night

So far we’re a few days into it and I don’t think the federal government shutdown has hit me yet (at least I think I’m safe in assuming that in the 36 hours between when I write this and when it’s published, they haven’t compromised yet).

I know for far too many others it hits right away with a loss of income or disruption of plans, but, for some, life goes on. It would be interesting for some statistical geek to do a study: How many days into a federal government shutdown is it on average before a person is directly affected? Again, for some it hits right away. For others, not so much.

So, what is the average?

I can’t wait to pay less taxes next year since we didn’t have to pay to run the government for a little bit this year.

Thinking of Tom Clancy

When it comes to reading books, my habits are sporadic at best. It seems I’ll go through a phase where I might read with a little consistency. Here lately though (and by lately I mean last five years or more), I haven’t read many books.

At one time when I was reading a little more, I, like many other people, had my Tom Clancy phase.

I’ve read a few of his books, and not even those you might think. I haven’t read the “Hunt for Red October” or “Patriot Games” or any of the others that were made into hit movies. I even have trouble remembering the titles that I’ve read, but I enjoyed them all.

Clancy died earlier this week at the age of 66, with yet another book finished and due to come out a little later this year. It will be his 29th.

If it hits the bestseller list, it will be his 18th to do so. Most of his books had to do with espionage and the military or spies and such.

Back in January, we had to write down goals for the year, both professional and personal, for one of those human resources-inspired exercises at work.

One of mine was to read more books. I even put a number on my goal: six.
I’m still 4 1/2 short, so I’m really going to have to get after it these next three months. However, I don’t think I’ll be able to pay tribute to Clancy by reading one of his books. They tend to be a little long. I may not have enough time left.

Maybe in January I’ll finally pick up the hardback book by him that I bought off a bargain rack years ago. You could prop the car up to change a flat tire with it, it’s so long.

That’s why I told my wife after she informed me that Clancy had died that I hope he didn’t write his own obituary before he left us. It probably wouldn’t fit in the newspaper.

She also pointed out that I’ll probably be lost to her for two-hour periods of time within the next month. When someone like Clancy dies, TV networks will often run features in which they were involved.

If I’m ever flipping through the dial and happen to find a station running “Hunt for Red October,” I’m in.

I have to watch. It’s one of my favorites. So, odds are it’s happening again soon. Tom would have wanted it that way.


Things I’m Glad I Have Even When I Didn’t Realize I Had It #842: I was 90 percent finished with this column when the power went out for not much more than a second during a thunderstorm. It turned off the computer. I hadn’t saved my work yet. Thank goodness for auto recovery.

I didn’t know I had it, but I’m sure glad I didn’t have to write the whole darn thing over again. So, it was saved, and I put a flashlight next to me.

Educational reading

One last thought on books and my goal to read six this year. I plan to brush up before a vacation later this year by speed-reading a small paperback of “How to Win at Casino Gambling.”

Do you suppose I could count that one? 

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