Welcome to MikesAndDislikes, the home of rants and raves and traveling days.
The home of music, film, politics, culture, religion, justice and even, sometimes, Untouchables who must be touched.
Also the home of the legendary 3-year "Bob, Basketball and Beer" backpacking trip across Asia, featuring many a tale of adventure, excitement, great food and wonderful people.
So take a look around and please enjoy.
But, be forewarned, this sure ain't your mother's rants and raves site. Don't expect to agree with everything that you see.
Hell, expect to be offended at times.
But here's hoping you find more to Mike than Dislike.
MikesAndDislikes now on Twitter:
Follow all of my rants, raves, opinions and Tweets - each one short, succinct and sweet - here on Twitter:
Take a minute to vote in the latest MikesAndDislikes poll:
Then, if you haven't already, check out my own personal picks for the Biggest Dicks of The Decade: 2000-2009
#1. Pope Urban II, for having all married priests’ wives sold into slavery and their children abandoned (29%)
#2. Mohammed, for marrying a 6-year-old girl & then consummating the marriage when she became of consummating age (i.e. 9 years old) (28%)
#3. Abraham, for claiming to hear voices telling him to kill his son & then actually attempting to go through with it (19%)
#4. Socrates, Plato & Aristotle, for their daily erotic escapades with young boys (i.e. for their pedophilia) (13%)
#5. Martin Luther for his crazed antisemitic ravings & exhortations to violence, best sampled in his book "On the Jews & Their Lies" (4%)
To see the results of all previous polls, visit the POLL RESULTS PAGE
Check out my 53 most recent published pieces in The Georgia Straight newspaper:
April 8th, 2010: A goddess named Steve, a real-life Brian, and the unutterable V-word
February 19th, 2010: Fraudster Bertram Earl Jones and Canada's incredible shrinking justice system
February 5th, 2010: When women knew their place: Feminism, equality, and the National Post
January 22nd, 2010: Defeatist Democrats and the lethargic Left
January 6th, 2010: A look back at the biggest dicks of the decade
December 8th, 2009: Stephen Harper's saving grace: Canada, China, trade, and human rights
November 20th, 2009: Freakin' Fundamentalists: Stonings here, lashings there, misogyny everywhere
October 27th, 2009: It's about bloody time: Canadian support for monarchy drops dramatically
October 22nd, 2009: The Canadian justice system is so broken it's criminal
October 13th, 2009: We're number one: A positive take on Canada's dismal environmental record
September 29th, 2009: Fightback and counterattack: Vatican says church sex abuse of kids not really pedophilia
September 25th, 2009: Traditional Biblical Marriage Explained (by the great Betty Bowers)
September 20th, 2009: Bitter and bewildered: The sad plight of the disillusioned left-wing Canadian voter
September 4th, 2009: The baffling fight by ordinary Americans to defeat healthcare reform
July 31st, 2009: An ex-president like no other: Jimmy Carter, the passionate feminist
July 28th, 2009: Canadian Shona Holmes joins the great American healthcare debate
May 22nd, 2009: Freedom denied: The crushing of Sri Lanka's Tamils
March 24th, 2009: The Milk Rave: Harvey Milk, Homophobes, and Bigots
March 19th, 2009: How do you solve a problem like Pope Benny?
March 9th, 2009: Excommunicate this: The misogyny running wild rant
February 2nd, 2009: The Godless Super Bowl rant
January 20th, 2009: Bye bye buffoon: The final Bush rant
January 12th, 2009: Eight years of insanity: Bush, Israel, and the slow destruction of Palestine
December 13th, 2008: And injustice for all: Cops face no charges in death of Robert Dziekanski
December 4th, 2008: Canadian nationalism, brought to you by the letter “zed”
November 6th, 2008: The Love fest Continues: Sarah Palin on Africa, NAFTA and more
November 6th, 2008: Obama wins: The nightmare is almost over. So why am I crying?
November 3rd, 2008: A critical analysis of Republicans' love fest with ignorance
November 3rd, 2008: The Canadian media rant: Trashing the left and loving the right
October 28th, 2008: Pallin' around with Pinochet: Seeing the real McCain
October 15th, 2008: Thank you Quebec: The federal election rant (part 3)
October 15th, 2008: The Todd Snider "Peace Queer" rave
October 9th, 2008: Bob's Back: Tell Tale Signs of joy...and a complete lack of judgement
October 8th, 2008: Freedom fly: bottled horniness for the truly patriotic American
October 3rd, 2008: Reagan, Friedman, and McCain: now look at the cost of deregulation
September 19th, 2008: Federal election: What Canadians really want
September 19th, 2008: Federal election: What Canadians really need
September 5th, 2008: Republicans dig the fault lines that create America's great divides
August 10th, 2008: Driving Mr. Laden: The most hideous war crime of all
July 25, 2008: The IOC dictatorship: Let the Olympic muzzling begin
July 17, 2008: Why does Canada stay callous and cold to the fate of Omar Khadr?
July 14, 2008: Conservatism is just a sickness
June 30, 2008: Spain's triumph caps off weeks of attacking soccer at Euro 08
June 22, 2008: Take pity on the fans as the Dutch crash out of Euro 2008
And check out these six pieces on the OpEdNews.com site:
January 24th, 2010: Defeatist Democrats and The Lethargic Left
January 11th, 2010: A Look Back At The Biggest Dicks of The Decade
August 28th, 2009: Canada: Top Ten Things To Love and Hate
You can also see these four older pieces on Canadian Dimension Magazine's Blog:
January 20th, 2009: Bye Bye Buffoon: The Final Bush Rant
December 15th, 2008: And Injustice For All: Cops Face No Charges In Death of Robert Dziekanski
December 11th, 2008: The Canadian media rant: Trashing Naomi while lovin’ Mulroney
December 7th, 2008: The Nonsensical Nationalism Rant: A Nation Built On Zed
A Few Featured Rants and Raves:
You got a lotta nerve
To say you got a helping hand to lend
You just want to be on
The side that's winning
- Bob Dylan, "Positively 4th Street"
By now you've all probably heard of Shona Holmes, the Canadian woman featured in those TV ads that have been running all over American TV in recent weeks, the ones slamming Canada's healthcare system as some sort of nightmarish system from hell.
Well, the truth is now out and the fact is Shona Holmes never actually had a life-threatening brain tumor, as she's been claiming in those ads and interviews on American TV. Instead, according to the Mayo Clinic where she was treated, her "brain tumor" was actually a Rathke's Cleft Cyst on her pituitary gland and "Rathke's Cleft Cysts are not true tumors or neoplasms; instead they are benign cysts."
For those who like their villains sinister, sleazy and self-righteous, not to mention depredatory, you've definitely got to check out this article by Peter Stanford about Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, a close advisor to Pope John Paul II and the founder of the ultraconservative Legion of Christ.
Last week, in honor of Canada Day, I decided to whip off a list of The Top Ten Reasons We Here in The Great White North Should Be Both Proud and Ashamed of Being Canadian.
However, I soon realized that it wasn't something that could simply be whipped off in a few minutes, so I decided to take a few more days to think about it and here, finally, is my official list of the top ten things I love and hate about this country:
"I'll go along with the charade
Until I can think my way out
I know it was all a big joke
Whatever it was all about"
- Bob Dylan, "Tight Connection To My Heart"
Whatever one may think about the so-called "War On Terror", there are certain stories that both boggle the mind and dramatically highlight just how ridiculous this War Without End really is. One such recent story concerned the release of yet another innocent man, Mohamed el-Gharani, from America's notorious gulag down there in Guantanamo Bay.
Now, sadly, the release of an innocent man from Guantanamo is hardly a rare or unique occurrence, but this case, as you'll see, was particularly disturbing.
All you music lovers out there who have yet to watch Elvis Costello's fantastic talk show, "Spectacle", have simply got to wake up and realize what you've been missing.
As I said in my earlier piece, Attention All Music Fans! The Best Talk Show Ever: "Spectacle: Elvis Costello with...", there's never been a show quite like this one. It is - I repeat - the best talk show ever.
"Couldn't help but make me feel ashamed to live in a land
Where justice is a game"
- Bob Dylan, "Hurricane"
Imagine, if you can, a justice system where justice is, in fact, part of the system.
Imagine a country where those in a position of power and authority can actually be held to account when they abuse it. A place where cops not only can't get away with beating on innocent people, but where those innocent people can in fact fight back in self-defense without finding themselves in prison convicted of "resisting arrest" and "assaulting a police officer".
"Never, 'for the sake of peace and quiet', deny your own experience or convictions"
- Dag Hammarskjold
"True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice"
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
Having written on many hot-button topics over the years, I'm quite used to impassioned responses to my writing by now, both for and against my point of view. However, nothing I've written before - not my rants regarding religion, not my denunciations of police brutality, and not even my many pieces about Israel's crimes against the Palestinians - has ever generated such a dramatic, emotional response like the one caused by my last piece, Freedom Denied! Are We Happy Now: The Crushing of Sri Lanka's Tamils. We're talking a real shitstorm of controversy here.
"Terrorism doesn't just blow up buildings; it blasts every other issue off the political map. The spectre of terrorism - real and exaggerated - has become a shield of impunity, protecting governments around the world from scrutiny for their human rights abuses"
- Naomi Klein
"If you listen to the politicians, you might think we are all terrorists"
- Loesje (International - originally Dutch - free speech organization)
"Our position is clear and frank... We consider the military occupation of our land a terrorist act"
- Yasser Arafat
So, with the war in Sri Lanka now over and the Tamils having been crushed and brought to their knees, I'd like to ask just one question: Are we happy now? With the Tamils' decades-long struggle for self-determination quashed and their dreams of an independent homeland shattered, are we fully satisfied? Should we give ourselves a pat on the back?
Because there's no denying that this result is largely due to us here in the freedom-loving West. Specifically, I'm referring to how the governments of Canada, America, Australia and the European Union all decided to take sides in this civil war - this brutal ethnic civil war.
Not only did we impose an embargo on one side - the Tamil minority - while fully supporting the other - the Sinhalese majority - but we even went as far as to label the Tamils as "terrorists", while actively working to shut down all of their overseas funding and their ability to arm themselves. Both sides may have clearly been guilty of committing some pretty heinous atrocities, but for some reason we decided that the best thing to do was to condemn the one side, while cheering on and supporting the other.
Worst of all, we sided with the wrong side.
"The theory of the free press is not that the truth will be presented completely or perfectly in any one instance, but that the truth will emerge from free discussion"
- Walter Lippman (1889 - 1974)
A rather frightening and totally ridiculous reality, one that has been with us for many years now, is currently in the process of becoming even worse, at least down in the United States. This reality - the labeling of all criticism of Israel as "anti-Semitic" - threatens not only free speech and open debate, but the search for peace in the Middle East itself. Check out this article by Paul Craig Roberts and see if you don't agree: "The End of Free Speech? Criminalizing Criticism of Israel".
Roberts, it should be noted, is no left-wing radical. He's the former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration and he's even referred to as the "Father of Reaganomics".
We're all well aware of this idea, put forward by the pro-Israel lobby and much of the media, that any sort of criticism of Israel, no matter how deserving, is indicative of one thing and one thing only: anti-Semitism. However, it doesn't take a genius to see this argument for what it really is: A load of nonsensical bullshit and highly irrational buffoonery.
"Lily had two queens, she was hopin' for a third to match her pair"
- Bob Dylan, "Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts"
Few things in life are quite as uplifting and inspiring as the onset of an early summer - a week of glorious, sunny, warm, summer-like days right in the middle of April. Well, at least for those of us living here in the rain forest known as British Columbia. However, one thing does come pretty close in the whole uplifting and inspiring department and that's receiving - for free, no less - a $175 Bob Dylan CD. Especially one as good as the third disc of Tell Tale Signs: The Bootleg Series Vol. 8, Rare and Unreleased 1999-2006.