Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for February 2022

My Thoughts Regarding Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine

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Folks, I am not an international relations expert. But I have thoughts regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and wanted to share them.

First, the fact that Russia’s invaded Ukraine at all (beyond the war they’ve had with the eastern provinces for the past eight years) is so awful, I have no words for it. Even the word “reprehensible” isn’t strong enough.

I’ve heard some people say that since Russia had been fighting with Ukraine over those eastern provinces for eight years that this shouldn’t be a surprise. Perhaps not. But it still was, and I still don’t understand it.

Vladimir Putin, Russia’s President, said something about the need to get rid of Nazis in the Ukraine. That was his reason for going in there, officially, as best I can tell.

My second point is this: as far as I know, there are no Nazis in Ukraine. Period.

Now, are there fascists there? Possibly, because fascism is on the rise worldwide. But are fascists in control of Ukraine? No.

My third point is, I have both read about and seen the stiff resistance the Ukrainians are giving Russian troops. I’m very glad they’re fighting for their country. And I’m also glad they’re so far keeping Russia from taking Ukraine as easily as they’d wanted to (and probably hoped).

But it is all so very sad. People are dying who didn’t need to. People are having to take on roles they’d never thought about. Dancers are now shooting guns. Musicians are now laying mines. Bridges are getting blown up. And every available person from teenage years to sixty are now doing everything they can to stay alive and push Russia back out of their country.

My fourth point is this: Russia is a huge country. Ukraine, geographically, is not. But so far, little-by-comparison Ukraine has given Russia a big black eye.

I keep trying to parse the conflict, and these are the only things that come to mind to say at this time.

Oh, yes…except for this: We in the United States once fought for our country against oppressors. I hope we can send Ukraine some sort of help, even if it’s just additional weapons and/or ammo, as I can’t see Putin or the Russians stopping with just Ukraine. (Can you?)

What are your thoughts on Ukraine? Let me know, if you would…I’m tired of the talking heads on TV being the only ones discussing this, and would like some other thoughts beyond “this is terrible” and “if it bleeds, it leads.”

Figure Skating’s Black Eye, 2022 Edition

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Folks, I’ve written about figure skating before. I love the sport. At it’s best, it can be both artistic and athletic; it also can transport in the same way as music, dance, or literature.

So I don’t enjoy writing posts like this. But it must be said.

Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva, who’s all of fifteen, failed a recent drug test before the Olympics started. However, this only came out in the past week.

After several days of dithering, the various places that debate such things — as a fifteen-year-old has less responsibility by rule, apparently, than an older person — have decided that she should still be allowed to continue to skate at the Olympics despite her failed drug test.

Now, Ms. Valieva is the best female skater in the world at the present time. She has a few quadruple jumps — four revolutions in the air after takeoff — and is also excellent artistically. She’s someone who doesn’t need to cheat, in other words, and when the word came out about her positive drug test, most people were shocked.

The drug she tested positive for is a heart medication. She’s fifteen and does not need this medication. Supposedly, taking it will give her greater endurance than someone who isn’t.

Have I mentioned yet that she doesn’t need to cheat?

Anyway, her coach, who I will not name as I am disgusted with her, is known for pushing her young athletes too hard. The young Russian skaters basically are used up in four or five years. They have multiple injuries and skate anyway. Some, including Julia Lipnitskaya, end up retiring in their teens with numerous bone breaks. Lipnitskaya herself, along with the bone breaks, also has apparently had depression and a serious eating disorder. (The heavier you are, the more difficult it is to jump. That’s the excuse given to force these young skaters to eat almost nothing; that it is true at base, but wrong as we all need to eat, just makes me even angrier.)

Quite a number of athletes, including former US figure skaters (and Olympians) Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski (herself a former Olympic gold medalist), have come out and said this decision is flat-out wrong.

See, Russia, in general, has had doping scandals before. That’s why Russia, the country, is not allowed to compete. Instead, it’s the “Russian Olympic Committee” that’s competing.

Same coaches. Same skaters. Different name.

And, unfortunately, the same old outcome, which is this: Ms. Valieva gets to skate, will almost certainly win the gold medal, and her other Russian compatriots — also very young, with quadruple jumps in their skating “arsenal” — will probably be second and third.

That is not right. That is not just. And it should not be allowed to stand.

It cheapens the sport of figure skating. It cheapens the entire Olympics.

And it does look, as track athlete Sha’Carri Richardson said today on CBS TV, as if there is a different standard for Caucasian athletes than Black ones. (She was held out of the Olympics for testing positive for marijuana. That’s not a performance enhancer in any way. She had extenuating circumstances in that her mother died, and she was grieving, and she smoked around that time. It didn’t matter; she was out of the Olympics.)

So, where is the justice here? I, for one, don’t see it.

I have sympathy for Ms. Valieva. She is young. And I’m sure that she didn’t cheat on purpose.

That said, she still cheated, and she should still be out of the Olympics.

Anything else is flat-out wrong.

When Love Disappoints, What is the Point?

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How could it be five long years since CHANGING FACES came out?

Well, it has been, and I wanted to highlight that fact. Plus, this post talks about what love is, at its base value, so what could be better for Valentine’s Day?

Enjoy!

Barb Caffrey's Blog

img_8906The title, above, is the main question at the heart of CHANGING FACES, my new fantasy romance set in modern-day Nebraska featuring a bisexual and gender-fluid woman, Elaine Foster, and her heterosexual boyfriend, Allen Bridgeway. These two have overcome much to find each other, fall in love, and now want to get married — but Elaine’s been keeping her gender-fluidity secret, as she’s desperately afraid Allen will not be able to understand it.

The problem is, when you don’t have open communication, love has no way to grow and becomes less sustaining and fulfilling. Ultimately, if you are holding a big secret inside, as Elaine is at the start of CHANGING FACES, it starts to poison your relationship…that secret has to come out, or you end up with the question I posed above: when love disappoints, what is the point?

See, you need to share all of yourself…

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Written by Barb Caffrey

February 11, 2022 at 1:30 pm

Posted in Uncategorized