Real Music & Real Estate . . .

Yiddishe Cup’s bandleader, Bert Stratton, is Klezmer Guy.

He knows about the band biz and – check this out – the real estate biz, too.

You may not care about the real estate biz. Hey, you may not care about the band biz. (See you.)

This is a blog with a gamy twist. It features tenants with snakes and skunks, and musicians with smoked fish in their pockets.

Stratton has written op-eds for the Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post.



I employed a custodian whose family was “a bunch of  burglars,” according to the investigating cop.  Why the cop had waited so long to tell me, I don’t know.

All along, the custodian’s kids had pilfered tools and lawnmowers, but I couldn’t prove anything and, besides, I liked the custodian.  He was a hard-working “hillbilly”— his term by the way.

I was his “little bitty buddy” — and his kids were crooks.  They took the master key and broke into an apartment across the hall.

Then they committed a botched burglary down the street and confessed to that, plus my break-in.

My custodian and his family had to move out.  “See you in the funny papers.”  That was my custodian’s sign-off.  Six years with me, then bye because his kids were crooks.

“I’m getting better by the numbers.”  He said that too.  I never did figure that one out.

Twenty-four years later: A different custodian, Speedy: the hardest working man on earth.  Speedy climbed many a ledge and ladder for me — and upped my workers’ comp.  He fell off a lot of ladders.  And he had some crook relatives and friends.

One relative, his so-called niece, was a prostitute.  The niece took the master key and entered a neighboring apartment and stole the tenant’s checkbook, ID and ring.

At first I thought the burglar was Speedy’s “nephew” Dave, a felon.   But then my plumber  reported seeing a new woman around, Amber, sleeping on Speedy’s couch.  “A black guy is pimping her,” the plumber said.

I told the police about Amber.  The detective said, “Amber Carney.*  She’s a known druggie and thief.” [*Not her real last name but close enough.]

Amber, the “niece,” got caught at the bank, forging checks.

The victim — my tenant—was more upset about the stolen ring than the stolen money.  She said it was an Irish ring.  It was fenced.  It was gone.  She asked if I was Irish.

“No, I’m Jewish,” I said.

“Funny, I’m Palestinian,” she said.

No problem— for her.   She was, as my father used to say, one cool customer. Most females would have been out of that burglarized apartment in a day.  I changed the lock and she stayed another year, pressing charges against the whore.

Amber, the prostitute, went to jail.  Speedy moved out and took a job at an adult bookstore.  I know because I received updates about Speedy’s employment through his workers’ comp lawyer, who kept sending me claims — for years— about Speedy falling off ladders back in the day.
1 of 2 posts for 7/22/09.  Please see post below too.

Yiddishe Cup concert: noon Sun., July 26, Little Mountain Heritage Festival, Painesville, Ohio.

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1 Teddy { 07.22.09 at 3:24 pm }


2 Bert { 07.22.09 at 4:31 pm }

Teddy, glad you were amused. Funny, this post didn’t “feel” funny when I wrote it. Felt more like a tough-guy cop novel riff.

3 Mark Schilling { 07.23.09 at 8:06 am }

Elmore Leonard comes to Cleveland! You can’t make up this stuff.. The secret of EL’s success is that he plays it straight — but his straight is also funny. And it all comes from the characters — their goofy criminal deeds and the wacky-but-true way they talk. Who’d think that a real “hillbilly” (his description) would really say “little biddy buddy”? But he did, right? More, more!

4 marc { 09.02.15 at 1:32 pm }

The beauty of your profession is that you get to deal with all classes of society.

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