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:
It is a feeble country indeed that attaches itself so passionately to a zed.
What the hell am I talking about? Well, let me tell you. My son loves this online alphabet website (Starfall.com) and we spend quite a lot of time getting to know our ABCs there. He loves the site with all its funny songs and stories and he especially loves to sing "The ABC Song", almost as much as he loves singing Raffi's "Baby Beluga" and Cat Stevens' "Wild World"... oh, and Nirvana's "Where Did You Sleep Last Night?".
Here's the problem: Whenever he sings the ABC Song with a certain type of person around you should hear the almost-deafening roar that ensues once he gets to "zee". "Zee is not Canadian!" the loud protests echo throughout our entire home, as my little guy looks around confused while making a valiant attempt to finish the song with the "Now I know my ABCs..." coda.
"Zee is not Canadian", the indignant and proud Canadian proclaims again and again. "Well, neither are the automobile, the television or the computer, but we use all of them quite regularly now don't we?", I protest. But it is pointless. My appeals to rationality are no match for the raging nationalism of the True Canadian Patriot.
"You think I'm over the hill
You think I'm past my prime
Let me see what you got
We can have a whoppin' good time"
- Bob Dylan, "Spirit On The Water"
Some might say that Bob Dylan is way past his prime and that all of his best work is well behind him, but anyone who would say such a thing clearly doesn't know much about good music. Either that or they've just been awoken from a 20-year-long coma.
"What I'm doing now, its a whole other thing. We're not playing rock music. It's not a hard sound. I don't know what it is." That's a quote from Dylan during the Highway 61 Revisited sessions back in 1965, but it just as easily could apply to the brilliant work of his Second Coming. That is, his resilient resurgence of the past 20 years, starting with the release of Oh Mercy in 1989 and continuing right on up until this fall and the release of Tell Tale Signs,
"So don't fear if you hear
A foreign sound to your ear"
- Bob Dylan, "It's Alright, Ma (I'm Only Bleeding)"
"Voices echo this is what salvation must be like after a while"
- Bob Dylan, "Visions Of Johanna"
Bob Dylan as one of the greatest singers ever? I know from many a heated discussion that this confuses, confounds and perplexes a lot of people. And even enrages a few others. But, as I've argued for years now, particularly in my earlier piece The BOB ON BOB Rave ("This Old Man"), there's just no denying the greatness of Dylan as a singer. That's right, contrary to popular perception, Bob is indeed one of the greatest singers of all time. And now I've got a major music magazine backing me up on this.
"It ain't no use to sit and wonder why, babe
If you don't know by now"
- Bob Dylan, "Don't Think Twice, It's All Right"
I've never before written two reviews of the same album, but this time, it seems, Bob's simply left me no other choice. And, yes, I know all the Dylan haters out there must be shaking their heads in bewilderment, but, as Bob himself once sang, "don't criticize what you can't understand".
The fact of the matter is, the more I listen to Bob's new album, Tell Tale Signs, the more I feel I have something extra I need to say. Something more substantial. Something more decisive. Something, perhaps, a bit more radical.
In my earlier piece, Bob's Back: Tell Tale Signs of Joy... and A Complete Lack of Judgement, I raved about this ninth installment of The Bootleg Series being a stunning classic, but, after a full month of listening bliss, I can now see that it's much more than just that. Which is why I'm now willing to go out on a limb and say that I think this 2-disc collection of 27 songs taken from the past two decades is - and this may strike some people as a tell tale sign of my own mental demise - possibly the best Dylan album of the last 20 years.
Seemingly intent on proving every last word of my recent rant (Fear and Loathing in The Heartland: Republicans' Lovefest With Ignorance) to be true and factual, senior aides to John McCain have been leaking details about Sarah Palin and, man, are they ever doozies! If these reports are true, she's somehow even worse than she seemed in those Katie Couric interviews.
I must say, I fully appreciate these McCain aides backing up my theory about Republicans being completely infatuated, if not downright in love, with stupidity. However, I'm still a little confused by their motives.
Tears of Joy
Do you really need to hear one more person tell you that last night was a historic night? I think not. But I'm going to say it anyway, because how else can you describe such a monumental event as seeing a black man elected as president of the United States just 40 short years after civil rights workers were being beaten, tortured and murdered down in the Deep South.
I can tell you right now that I've never before shed tears while watching an election result. I did, most certainly, cry tears of joy when Nelson Mandela was finally freed from prison back in 1990, but I've never cried for some regular event like an election. Not until last night. But this, obviously, wasn't an ordinary election.
"I can't understand why people are afraid of new ideas. I'm frightened of the old ones"
- John Cage
What's up with Republicans and their love of stupid anyway? First Reagan, then George W. Bush, then Sarah Palin, and now Joe The Plumber. Well, perhaps it has something to do with their constant state of fear.
Drugs, terrorists, hippies, immigrants, universal medical coverage, Muslims, gay marriage, science, God, teenagers having sex - is there anything these people aren't terrified of?
Rightwing-Dominated, Hypocritical and Riddled With Double Standards
Why is it that a nation such as Canada - with its largely liberal to left-of-center population - must endure, year in and year out, such a right-wing national media? In America conservatives complain about "the liberal media bias", but here in Canada we have exactly the opposite problem. And, unlike in America, our problem actually exists.
"Heard your songs of freedom and man forever stripped,
Acting out his folly while his back is being whipped.
Like a slave in orbit, he's beaten 'til he's tame,
All for a moment's glory and it's a dirty, rotten shame"
Bob Dylan, "Dirge"
If you want to read about someone pallin' around with actual terrorists, you need look no further than the new investigative piece by John Dinges in The Huffington Post. The article reveals, for the first time, John McCain's dirty little secret. That is, his friendly, private, undisclosed meeting back in 1985 with General Augusto Pinochet, the fascist military dictator of Chile.
What's especially remarkable is that McCain, a man who endured torture himself during his time as a P.O.W. in Vietnam, would go out of his way to meet with a dictator whose regime was known for one thing above all else: Torturing people to death.
I could go on and on about what a depressing night it's been watching the election results trickle in and facing up to the fact that we're in for more of the same from Stephen Harper and his reactionary Conservatives.
But I'm not going to.