I got a great book for my birthday from my friend Matt: The Kamikaze Hunters: The British Pacific Fleet in 1945. It chronicles the growth and fighting history of the British Pacific Fleet, specifically the Royal Naval Air Service in the last couple of years of the Second World War.
Anyone familiar with the desperate nature of the war against the Japanese Empire won’t be surprised by what they endured. But learning about the equipment they used; flying deathtrap Fairies to the Seafire, lovely but fragile and then finally the beast of the east, the American Corsair was fascinating. We read about the hard training they did in Canada and Florida where they played hard while off duty. And more of them than you would think failed to keep their wings by dying in crashes on land or on the tiny decks of the British aircraft carriers. We relive the experiences of these men and women (mostly men) in a war of grinding attrition, attacking heavily defended Japanese airfields or oil refineries day after day. Pressing on and relying on luck to get them through. And then the horror of the kamikaze. Men who attacked with no intention of going home at all. An ethic so alien to the young British and Commonwealth pilots. This was pure fanaticism and it brutalized them. Fully half of the pilots that began the campaign never came home. I highly recommend this fascinating book.
I’m doing some negotiating for the school board, speaking to outside groups who may want to make an investment in a shared facility. It’s been interesting. I am not a decision maker, but I am being trusted enough to be the face of the board and school until the bean counters and cheque signers get directly involved. A different kind of job that I think I would like. Or would have if I wasn’t on the downhill. Putting people and interests together to help a community. We’ll see how it goes with these people.
Did you know that heel sizes on women’s shoes typically spike (forgive me) during economic downturns? Looking at my meager portfolio I expect to be surrounded by taller women pretty soon.
I am listening to Christmas music. Already. Jewel has an absolutely beautiful album of Christmas songs.
I am reading, well you know.
Some prose from a science fiction story I am working on:
Delin was aghast, “But thinking machines are illegal, and wrong and don’t you remember the wars? Didn’t you learn about the wars?” He remembered the footage of hovering drones, darting back and forth, raining missiles on the broken cities. And the unnaturally smooth-running and headless robot soldiers, moving through the rubble.
Have a great week!