I think George Clinton ought to be called in to do a P-Funk concept album of how Campus Partners and Ohio State want to de-funkify High Street.

  Remember the good old days when South Campus was one huge block of rough'n'tumble bars, carry-outs and hip clothing stores? A virtual Wild West red light district practically, so popular Thursday through Saturday nights cops had to put up the super-strength industrial wire stretching from phone pole to phone pole, keeping the drunk kids from falling into High Street there were that many thousands of revelers. Papa Joe's alone pumped a Niagara Falls of beer every night while every drinking establishment hosted a squad of football players getting in extra-curricular blocking and tackling practice as bouncers and doormen.

  Ah, the hourly debauchery. The teenage drinking age. The good times and the bruises to show for 'em. How are kids gonna learn if they aren't allowed to get hurt once in awhile? Long live the plastic scaldings from the old toy Vacuu-Form.

  Thus we have seen what happened to the best square acre of entertainment in the midwest. Zzzzz. Kids don't want safer playgrounds, believe me. They're no fun. Semi-supervised drinking is. Or was.

  So Campus Partners wants to buy three more large blocks of High Street and turn it into re-purposed gentrification from 14th to 17th? OK, but with one condition: OSU buys every bit of land between High Street and Parsons Avenue, thereby making North High its showcase and then allowing Parsons to be...Parsons. Pawn shops, gun shops, liquor stores and toothless redneck whores--what's not to like?

  It's only the most interesting street in the city. If you don't believe me, take a drive, just don't stop--for any reason. Even at stop lights.

  Obviously a bunch of totally white people are behind this make-over of High Street and yes, it is racist white privilege. Why? I'll tell you why, my fellow honkies: they are trying to de-funkify High Street. No grungy, grouchy independent dealers of anything will be allowed to set up shop, only vested corporate interests as we see on our sadly neutered, thoroughly boring South Campus “Gateway.”

  They want High Street to be the Bed, Bath and Bodyworks of major corridors in Columbus. They want the street's raucous, harsh sounds and colors and untamed weirdness (what little is left) further whitewashed with white suburban corporate sensibilities. As America gets browner and browner, the elites want to protect their first world image of bland safety, a gauzy Oceania of predictable, useless commerce without a hint of America's true, sometimes ugly passions. No loud music for one thing. The place will be lucky if it has any cultural pigmentation whatsoever. Can you tell I have my Cleveland love of ethnicity still? I dig the American melting pot when its human chunks collide on the way to merging. Makes for a fabulously more engaged existence.

  By the way, nearly every single bar back in the day on south campus had a live band most nights. It's was like Austin in that respect.

  I expect my Parsons Or Bust plan to fail. I expect my record store won't make the cut unless I offer free wi-fi in the bathroom. I know I'll be put on some sort of reservation where my memories of my wild extra-long youth will be the equivalent of a herd of buffaloes.
  Time to move to Cuba, before it succumbs to Campus Partners.


  Found out a good friend of mine and I have both had very similar experiences when it comes to Yoko Ono. He found himself in a Facebook argument with a young woman who said, basically, any criticism of Yoko was “racist” and “sexist.” Now this kid I know is one of the most ardent progressives I've ever met. I mean, from FDR to the current White House occupant, he is one true believer. No matter. I know him and his heart is in the right place, especially when it comes to, say, Duke Ellington and Clark Terry.

  And Yoko Ono. See, he don't like her, neither do I.

  On my end, I found myself defending my hero John Lennon to a husband-and-wife tag team who maintained John was a bad husband and father not only to his first wife and son but to Yoko, too, something I have never read. If anything, he indulged the manipulative and preposterously overrated non-talent to an embarrassing degree. A wife shouldn't be allowed to bring her huge bed into the recording studio, simple as that.

  But my opposites wouldn't let it go, the woman more than her husband, to be fair. She judged and judged and judged John Lennon and found him wanting, found him guilty of being undeserving of reverence. I guess being one of the planet's premier music and pop culture stars in his early 20's and a flawed husband and parent is worthy of condemnation 45 years after the alleged fact.
  As for his alleged mistreatment of Yoko...well, I'd like to maintain that that is an undocumented fiction. I think the opposite is true: the broad has a huge resume of her own idiosyncrasies, enough to gag a maggot.

  I do expect to recant my views when sent to Yoko Ono Re-Education Camp. I'll probably have to write an essay everyday until I get it right that her live Plastic Ono Band opus "Don't Worry Kyoko (Mummy Is Only Looking For Her Hand In The Snow)" is actually a really good song, worthy of a B-52s' remix. And that her songs on Double Fantasy aren't shitty.

  Moral of the story: defending John Lennon's Japanese wife and attacking him is a sign of end-times. Yoko Ono for Supreme Court justice, I say. Let's just get it over with and destroy everything else we hold dear.


   Another good pal of mine recently got Dylan's Sinatra tribute album as well as Marilyn Manson's new one, "Pale Emperor."  Her verdict: Bob is unbearably unpalatable; Manson's kicks ass and is Marilyn's best in years. Just watching her pained face explaining what it was like to listen to Bob said it all. Complete opposite when it came to Pale Emperor--she lit up like a kicka-poo joy juice factory.

  I have been trying to fantasize Sinatra doing Dylan: with a swinging Nelson Riddle arrangement, all things are possible, no?

  I can see it now: "Swing With Me and Bobby D," as the Chairman of the Board rips through Like A Rolling Stone, etc. And why not a Frank version of Lay Lady Lay? Or even a completely ill-advised foray into conceptual-ism with a version of Sad-Eye Lady of the Lowlands?

  Uh, yeah, why ask why not?


  You know me, I ain't no liberal-hearted, progressive-minded pinko. I'm a Ted Nugent-loving conservative troglodyte. But when it comes to this white privilege bullshit concept, I think you freaks are on to something.

  Though I would call it entitlement issues.

  What I'm getting at is this: about 18 months ago here at my lovely, dying, soon-to-be-sacrificed-in-the-name-of-yuppie-progress record store, I bought a coupla/three exceptionally large and valuable jazz and rock LP collections, lots of good stuff, some many handfuls of collectibles in 'em.

  Pretty much I sold most all of  'em with the winning formula of finding similarly conditioned ones online, and then charged, say, 15 percent less than the cheapest listed. Worked like a charm, made a lot of people happy.

  But not everybody.

  About every other week I found myself in hard, un-fun negotiation with ball-bustin' passive-aggressive white guys who seemed determined to deal heaping helpings of humiliation and distinct I-win/you-eat-shit philosophical ramifications. I mean, I love negotiating but it doesn't have to hurt.

  But time after time, while the majority of cats were happy with their deals, there always was a guy who obviously felt the need to bite you with fangs dipped in shit. Why is that? Is that why the rest of the world hates our guts? Do we as a culture produce these pricks and put them in positions of power and thus empower alienating dickheads of the first order.

  During that sideways Saturday snowstorm last month, I found myself dealing with a middle-aged white guy who had the same shit-eating Jack Nicholson/Dennis Quaid grin over a magnificently well-preserved, mint six-LP Buddy Holly box set from 1979. Explaining to him it was from a personal collection and was un-priced because I believed the condition and sentimental value warranted a perhaps higher-than-usual price, he and his son nevertheless started out insultingly low.

  Fine. I just smiled and said, nah, this thing to me is the most valuable item in the store, even more than my inflatable Led Zeppelin promo blimp hanging from the ceiling AND my Black Sabbath carnival prize mirror. They never got higher than forty bucks which I tried to tell them wasn't even in the ball-park for a minimum bid--nicely. And again I politely said it was the kind of thing that would have to command an unusually high price. How much I'd leave to the true lover of Buddy.

  I knew what they wanted: they wanted the opportunity to scoff in my face. I know these types. What I didn't tell them was at that point they've could've offered me four times what I would've charged a real Buddy Holly lover but I wouldn't let it go to a pair of obnoxious white fuckheads who were more interested in getting their egos fulfilled than loving perhaps the single sweetest box set I've ever owned.

  As they got ruder and ruder, never passing over forty bucks but insisting I tell them a price (so they could spit on the floor in response), I turned totally Buddhist, put my half-smile back on my face and said, negotiations closed, gentlemen. Gently. With a smile.

They jammed their Fleet Foxes vinyl upside down in the wrong crate and walked out in a huff.

  Moral of this story? You can't always get what you want, but sometimes, you just might find, you just might find...Buddha's got a dick as hard as yours. Now get the fuck outta here.