Just have sex, people, and enjoy it.

Written by my wife, Jodi. The account she posted under didn’t get migrated.

Men, you don’t need to have a porn star penis. There, now that that’s done we can all just move on right?

I wish.

I had a great conversation today with a friend that started by me relating a story about once having sex with a guy whose penis was large enough that he hit my cervix. It was a painful experience and has always stuck in my mind as a counter point to ‘bigger is better’. My friend and I agreed that society’s obsession with men needing to have larger penises than they have (right up to gigantically huge don’t-you-dare-stick-that-in-me size) is both frustrating and a little sickening.

First of all, there is just no need for it. Penises of all shapes and sizes can satisfy, particularly if both participants know what they’re doing. People shouldn’t make assumptions about whether a man and his equipment can satisfy based solely on the measurement of said equipment. It’s like assuming you’ll enjoy how that new car handles based on the width of the door. Seriously, stupid. Secondly, this crazy giant penis ideal has severely damaged many men who are perfectly well endowed enough to give any woman immense pleasure. It has made these men think themselves inadequate and kept them from being sexually healthy members of society. In case you got lost there, that’s bad.

A point was made that the case is similar to women obsessing about breast size, which is a good point. Except it sort of isn’t. There has been much push-back in recent years to let women know that it doesn’t matter what size or shape their breasts are. In fact there is endless movement to embrace women as they are, and for them to embrace themselves no matter their over all body size or shape. We have tried really hard to save ourselves from this nightmare of self esteem issues and yet men are still being told they need to live up to this ridiculous image of a giant penis. Why is no one talking about this and trying to fix it? Men need to be happy and healthy psychologically in order to be good sexual partners, why are we making this so hard for them?

At the back of my mind there is always a little voice which is usually very unhelpful and I often ignore it but in this case I will address its concerns.

Soo … what about the people who really do prefer an 8 inch penis? What about the people who really do prefer a playboy figured woman? What about the people who actually have/are these things? Well, I don’t know.

Actually I do know. They should have sex the way they like, with whom they like and be happy about it. They just shouldn’t be held as the ‘standard’ or ‘ideal’ in society. In fact, I guess what I’m trying to say is that we should all just have sex the way we want with the types of people we want and *enjoy* it, because enjoying it makes it awesome.

Just have sex, people, and enjoy it.

How Thunderbird’s Lightning color scheme under Ubuntu pissed me off (and how to fix it)

This is a bit of a UI complaint, moreso than a coding one. Fair cop. Most programmers aren’t designers, and most programmers have a mistaken idea that all programmers can do design.

Mozilla Thunderbird is an excellent e-mail client, though with the advent of very good webmail clients, the e-mail client is slowly moving into the cloud and becoming a thing of the past. In the business world, though, e-mail clients are still a virtual necessity — not the least reason being that people have press-ganged the venerable e-mail technology to do just about every business function, from meeting invitations to calendar management to file transfer and even instant messaging. The e-mail client has become your personal information manager, with notes, to-do lists, address books that go well beyond the simple “name and e-mail address” functionality they began with. They have become the central repository for shared business contacts with remote address directories like LDAP and Active Directory (a Microsoft LDAP extension). And the ability to synchronize your handheld personal information manager (née: cellular phone) has become a virtual necessity for businesses today.

I have been using Thunderbird in defiance of the corporate de facto standard of Microsoft Outlook for the five years I’ve been with this company. With the addition of the Lightning calendar extension, which can do meeting requests and accept invitations in a manner compatible with Microsoft Outlook, nobody’s known the difference. So I get to keep my Linux desktop, and I won’t even get forced into installing MS Office under WINE. Win-win for all involved — company doesn’t have to shell out the extra $500 for MS Office Pro, and I don’t have to subject myself to that inferior proprietary software. (What auto junkie wants to buy a car with the hood welded shut?)

However, there was one minor issue after I changed my laptop’s desktop theme. I made the sin of daring to change something unrelated, and suddenly Thunderbird’s to-do list became completely unusable — it was displaying all my tasks in light-gray-on-white. After playing around with some of the other themes available under Ubuntu 10.10’s stock set, I realized what was going on — the to-do tasks were being displayed using the application menu’s font color, rather than the window’s font color. You know, that application menu that says “File, Edit, View” — that one. Not exactly the most intuitive color choice in the world, given that the window background is not usually the background a menu item is rendered against — the menus have their own background color, so themes won’t make menus unreadable accidentally.

Under Windows, those colors probably can’t ever be different. In Linux, under Gnome at least, they most assuredly can. My system menus were configured under the Shiki-Human color theme to match the title bar, so that the application proper starts below where the menus were. It is quite aesthetically pleasing — all the OS bits are dark, and the main application is light, meaning you can focus on one or the other but not both at the same time all that easily.

So, despite tasks being very obviously not menus, Lightning decided to set the rendering for them to something that, in most of the dark-based themes in my collection, would be completely unreadable — nearly invisible in fact — on a white background. This is not a choice the UI designers had to make, in any respect. The fact that the menu color is usually only rendered against the menu background color in themes, means it may never have been tested for contrast against the window background color, or it could intentionally be very close to the window background color. It is not a set of colors that were ever supposed to render against themselves.

Granted, I’m happy that Lightning has switched to using system colors at all — in its earliest versions, all the colors were hard-coded, so no matter what Thunderbird theme or system theme you configured, you’d end up with the same unskinnable (and rather ugly) user interface. So kudos for picking system-based colors at all. However, guys, you definitely picked the wrong ones in this case.

So how to fix it? Luckily, that’s pretty simple, actually!

Continue reading “How Thunderbird’s Lightning color scheme under Ubuntu pissed me off (and how to fix it)”

How Thunderbird’s Lightning color scheme under Ubuntu pissed me off (and how to fix it)

25 blasphemous quotes

It’s quite illustrative to note that quote number one was said by the character Jesus Christ in the New Testament, the famous fan-fiction of the Jewish Torah (thereafter known by Christians as the “Old Testament” and by Muslims, who wrote their own fan-fiction, as “The Divine Book”).

I also have a fondness for quote number 24 for illustrative purposes. Tell me there’s not a double standard going on here. Anything anyone says can be construed as blasphemous to anyone else, but pointing out flaws in others’ ideas is not tantamount to trampling that person’s right to believe those ideas. Blasphemy laws are ridiculous and antithetical to human rights. Sure, protect people from harassment, mistreatment, etc., on the basis of their religion. But the religion itself must absolutely not piggyback on that protection.

People deserve respect, ideas do not. If we could agree on that, maybe we could move on past this childish notion of blasphemy. And yeah, that knife cuts both ways. Anyone who disagrees with that statement will have my support in their right to say so, but most assuredly will not have their ideas supported in the same way.

25 blasphemous quotes

A baby Trilobite enters this world

Glendon Mellow, the Flying Trilobite, updated me via email:

Dear Everyone-We-Know,

The evolutionary legacy of an upright posture,
a clever mind
opposable thumbs,
acute visual sense,
a talent for pattern-finding
and a love of metaphor
Has been passed down through
an exploded star,
a planet,
to chordates,
to mammals,
to apes,
to humans,
to Michelle and Glendon,
and finally, on December 28th 2010 at 1:06am to Calvin George Follett Mellow.

Calvin Mellow has entered the universe’s history at 7lb 11oz , to the
delight of his family and has all the potential in the world to be a
tool-user, a thinker, a metaphor-maker, an artist, a scientist, a poet
and most likely, a source of surprise.

Oh – the important part- pictures soon.

Glendon Mellow
Art in Awe of Science

Wonderful news. My heartfelt congratulations to Glendon and Michelle.

A baby Trilobite enters this world

The Pope is NOT a moral authority.

Not after this statement:

In his traditional Christmas address yesterday to cardinals and officials working in Rome, Pope Benedict XVI also claimed that child pornography was increasingly considered “normal” by society.

“In the 1970s, pedophilia was theorized as something fully in conformity with man and even with children,” the Pope said.

“It was maintained — even within the realm of Catholic theology — that there is no such thing as evil in itself or good in itself. There is only a ‘better than’ and a ‘worse than’. Nothing is good or bad in itself.”

What is this? I was always taught that absolute good and absolute evil existed in the form of God and his commandments, and Satan and his lures and machinations. And I was raised Catholic. So, the Pope is arguing that morals are entirely subjective? Does that make our present set of morals — the ones that say sexual predation of children is horrible and immoral — are superior to those morals of the 70s wherein people ostensibly accepted pedophilia as “in conformity with man and even with children”? Because I’d like to think that that’s the case, that we as a society have evolved our morals over time to protect the weak from those in positions of power. (As a side note, I’d like to see any theory originating from the 70s saying that kiddy-fiddling is just fine. I’m seriously skeptical that any such position was ever postulated.)

Though religious nutbags like to complain about being forced to conform to society’s set of morals, they are always more than happy to claim that atheists are incapable of emotions like empathy or love, both of which lead directly to the morals we rely upon for society. Since we have empathy for other human beings, and we understand that as children sexual advances would empirically harm if not destroy a child’s psychologial state, it seems obvious that we’d endeavour to protect these children from these acts with or without some deity’s say-so.

The Pope is supposedly the arbiter of what’s wrong and what’s right — the emissary of God on Earth. He’s supposedly got a direct line to the big man himself. Why not ask him whether pedophilia is, was, or even should be, wrong?

Either way, the Pope has all but admitted that morality is subjective. I disagree with him on the salient point about whether pedophilia was acceptable or accepted in the 70s, and consider it tangential at best to the point that these priests were in positions of power over children, and they abused that position in order to put the kids into other positions. Is that abuse of privilege not sufficient, when coupled with the fact that these priests have vowed celibacy, to prove the whole practice immoral and counter to the foundation of his religion? Why equivocate, or obfuscate, or outright lie, about these acts, if they are so subjective, and were subjectively moral at the time they were committed?

Fuck this Pope. Fuck all the popes, but fuck this one in particular. If you have such moral paucity you’re incapable of standing strong against these acts, especially when you once actively covered them up in your past (and in the same time frame you’re referring to), you really ought to shut the fuck up and just let this scandal disappear down the memory hole. You know it will happen, if you just stop reminding your sheep over and over about how immoral a fuckwit you are. I mean, seriously. I have a fraction of a percent of the audience you do — no matter how loudly I scream about it, your feeble protestations that child rape is acceptable does more than I ever could to prove you immoral and incapable of moral judgement.

The Pope is NOT a moral authority.

The real issue right-wingers have with DADT’s repeal

If you’ve been following the recent fallout from the recent repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, you’ll know that the vocal fringe of the right-wing has said some pretty absurd and hateful things about the potential results of allowing openly gay soldiers in the army. Specifically, that doing so will “pussify” or make effeminate the otherwise manly army. Because skirts are incapable of killing brown people, I guess. Or something. I don’t know.

Anyway, the real issue here is less to do with how effeminate the army is as a result of allowing people into the army who prefer penis to vagina. Rather, the issue is whether the right-wing are allowed to demonize homosexuals as a matter of faith. That’s right — it’s not about human rights, and it’s not about the capabilities of the army. It’s a certain sect of people that demand the right to go on discriminating against some outgroup. It’s clawback at the inconvenience of losing one more excuse, one more bludgeon, with which gays can be beaten back into their closets.

[J]ust one month ago [Washington Post “On Faith” blogger] Sekulow wrote in the same pages, “If DADT is repealed, the American Center for Law & Justice is committed to advocating for the ability of military chaplains to do their job according to the dictates of their faith. The ACLJ has a long history of defending military chaplains.” And he had previously told readers, “Take your head out of the sand and recognize that the teachings of the Christian faith direct America’s opinion of homosexuality.”

This is, as I’ve said, being spun as the religious homophobes having their rights revoked — their rights to revile and demonize people for their in-built genital preference. This war against the “homosexual agenda” is nothing but a pretense — it is a fight for the right of those fundamentalists that take the Bible literally at one verse in Leviticus even while they ignore the remainder of the chapter. Sarah Posner goes on:

At its core, the war against the “homosexual agenda” pits the rights of LGBT people against the “Christian nation” mythology. Since we are a Christian nation, the argument goes, our laws must reflect that Christian theology condemns homosexuality. Despite being on shaky ground both theologically and historically, religious right legal organizations — claiming the need to counter the ACLU and its advocacy for both LGBT rights and the separation of church and state — have attempted to transform this culture war argument into a legal one.

To make my position perfectly clear: you do not have the right to deprive others of rights due to your own bigotry. This is not a right being taken away from you. This is a right being restored to another human being. If it has the side-effect of putting you at odds with your religious faith, then there’s a distinct possibility that your religious faith does not have humankind’s best interests at heart. There is the distinct possibility that if you cannot reconcile what you feel to be just and humane to other humans, and what your religious commandments tell you to do, that your religion is wrong.

The real issue right-wingers have with DADT’s repeal