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. So maybe he’s really Klezmer Landlord.

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 New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.



I run a bar mitzvah-party think tank.  It’s the only one in the world.

I have clients — mostly DJs.  I supply them with explosives, lyrics and games.

Some of my games are free, just to build up website traffic.  For instance, take my humiliation game: the bar mitzvah boy stands on the dance floor surrounded by searing sterno cans.  We throw napkins at him.

My best-selling games: Twine Fun, Narcissism Express, Beach Sand Saturation, Toxic Candy, Enjambment and Trunk-like Bodies, which is shooting darts at kids hiding in potted plants.

I have very few klez-band clients.  Wake up, Jews, I have Jewish-themed stuff!  Bottle caps are cool.  The kids wear bottle caps on their heads, and the last kid to lose his “yarmulke,” wins.  Lots of body contact.

My best-selling game is Trash Floating in Punch.  We throw chicken bones, children’s books from the centerpieces, and empty plastic wine glasses into the punch bowl.  Kids reach in and fish for prizes.  Nobody loses.  And it’s ecological.

I strained my back.  Bingo, new game . . . The Grandpa Shuffle.  Kids walk like old men and mutter creative Yiddish curses.  It’s shameful, yet stunning to see teenagers limp and spew: “Zol er krenken un gedenken.” (Let him suffer and remember.)

Irwin Weinberger, regional distributor of toilet slime.

Of course, I have normal games.  I have laughing gas, toilet slime kits, photo booths, giant inflatables and partisans.

We’re full service.


Does the KlezFiction piece, above, bug you? A reader dismissed my previous KlezFiction pieces as “avant-garde.” Here is something more concrete . . .


My rabbi criticized me for mispronouncing a word — not a Hebrew word either.  I mispronounced “Route 66.”   I said Rout 66.  My rabbi is from St. Louis and takes Root 66 personally.  The road and the song.

I like roads, borders and boundaries. In Ohio it’s Rout.

In college I honked whenever I crossed the Michigan line into Ohio on U.S. 23.  All hail The Buckeye State.

Michigan was The Water-Winter Wonderland for many lame years.  The Great Lake State is better.

I was in Seligman, Arizona — on Route 66 — last week.  (The road sign says “Historic Route 66.”)   Every tchotchke shop in Seligman had Route 66 gear.  Thirty Japanese motorcyclists in black leather pulled into the tchotchke shop.  (I wasn’t there.  I heard about it.)  Seligman is named after a Jew.  I just learned that.  So two tchotchkes in this paragraph is OK.

I would like to see 30 Japanese guys on Harleys pull into Cleveland Heights.

Suburban boundaries are locatable by checking street-sign colors.  For instance, Cleveland Heights signs are green; Cleveland, blue; and Shaker Heights, white.

Northern South Euclid — the area — perplexed me as a kid.

Cormere Avenue in Cleveland is a street to ponder.  It’s near Shaker Square.  Carl Stokes lived there.  Many locals mistake Cormere for Shaker Heights.  Shaker Square is in Cleveland too, not Shaker Heights.

Last week, when I was at the Grand Canyon, a Californian called me “Iowa.”  He called me “Iowa” even after I said “Go Bucks” to him.

He was from Anaheim.  Just say “I’m from L.A.,” please.  Same for Orange County.  Say “L.A.”  I saw a lot of Californians in the Grand Canyon.  One was from Atascadero.  What?  I’m weak on California.

Ohio is my strong suit.  I built a plaster of Paris model of the Ohio Turnpike for my 8th-grade Ohio History project.  My wife built the Terminal Tower in 4th-grade Ohio History.  (She’s from Columbus, Ohio.)  Ohio has 88 counties. Not many states have that many counties.  [Wrong. Twelve states have more counties than Ohio.  Texas leads with 254; Georgia, 159; Virginia, 134.]

Nobody cares there are only 3 people left in the city of Cleveland.  The question is, How big is the metro region? Cleveland-Akron is the 17th biggest TV market.  I mistakenly told several Grand Canyon hikers that Cleveland is the 30th largest market.  I didn’t know Cleveland is that big.

I like rankings and a certain amount of order.  I like boundaries.  I like to know where I am.

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1 Charlie B { 04.18.12 at 10:48 am }

Is it the “Great Lake State” or “Great Lakes State”? There are five: H.O.M.E.S. Anyway, it’s all given way to the “Pure Michigan” tag line, a mere $25 million campaign price tag. What’s so “pure” about something as imperceptible, contrived and illusory as “Pure Michigan”?

2 Bert Stratton { 04.18.12 at 11:03 am }

To Charlie B:

It’s “Great Lake State.” Here’s a 1979 Michigan license plate for sale:

“H.O.M.E.S.” had me stumped for a minute. Huron/Ontario/Michigan/Erie/Superior.

3 Kenny G { 04.18.12 at 11:55 am }

You must really enjoy travel, Bert, as you’re all over the place in Side B….

Actually, VA has only 95 counties and 34 “Independent Cities,” including Roanoke where my nephew and wife live.

I memorized numbers of counties in 5th grade. Also state sq. miles, populations, capitals, largest cities, and much NYS county info…. 6th grade was Presidents.

Have you seen the all-Lego Terminal Tower at the Shaker Historical Society? It’s “awesome” (to use the much hackneyed young-person word).

4 Bert Stratton { 04.18.12 at 12:37 pm }

To Kenny G:

Yes, I’ve seen the Lego Terminal Tower at the Shaker museum.

5 Ted { 04.18.12 at 2:02 pm }

You went off the deep end again.

6 Ted { 04.18.12 at 2:03 pm }

Speaking of counties, you were in the second-largest county in the U.S. last week — Coconino County, AZ.

7 Marc { 04.18.12 at 2:29 pm }

One of your best blogs yet.

8 Bert Stratton { 04.18.12 at 3:54 pm }

To Ted and Marc:

Ted, counties annoy me, on some level. They’re just another layer of bureaucracy, sandwiched between city and fed.

I wonder what the biggest county is. Maybe some place in Alaska. I could Google the info. But that’s your job!

Marc, are you countering — with your “best blogs” comment — Ted’s “You went off the deep end again”? That’s the way I read you, Marc, you KlezFiction junkie.

9 Steven Greenman { 04.18.12 at 5:07 pm }

Where can I order more “Toilet Slime?” We just cleaned and I’m running low.

10 Kenny G { 04.25.12 at 9:52 am }

As everyone knows, San Bernardino County, in California, is the largest county in the U.S. – over 20,000 sq. miles…. Alaska has “Divisions,” not counties.

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