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 is an occasional contributor to the New York Times, the Times of Israel, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and City Journal. He won two Hopwood Awards.


 
 

I HAVE A CRIMINAL RECORD

I was out of my skull.  I broke into boxcars and unloaded Cutty Sark, golf balls and tires.  On a bad night, tennis shoes.

I had tin snips that cut right through corrugated steel roofs.

This was several years ago.  Now I’m retired and live a fairly quiet life.  I’d rather not say where.

I belong to no clubs and don’t go out.  I watch sports on TV. I have an intense appetite for the Browns, Indians, sausage and hash browns.

I never got married.  I should have. There was this gal in the 1970s — Roz Falk.  She loved me, but I wasn’t ready.  I was 45.  Schmuck!  Me. 

I was in the Marines.  A lot of people don’t know that.  I couldn’t stand it.  I was in for six months. Semper Fidelis was plain bullshit to me.  Latin bullshit.

You ever notice how Italians use that kind of bullshit language?  It’s very big with them.  If you’re Italian, you’re better than the next guy.  You can be the biggest, dumbest fuck on two feet, but if you’re Italian, you’re it.

I have enough spaghetti and wine in my veins to be Italian.  Believe it.  And the goddamn hot peppers, I can eat a whole mason jar full.

Funny, I grew up in a deli — a Jewish deli — on Kinsman in Cleveland.  I remember the pickles best.  The cukes were right in the goddamn basement.  They were delicious.  And the goddamn gherkins . . .

My family disowned me after Marion.  A nice Jewish boy in the joint.  Not exactly kosher.  I did three years in Marion, then eight in Chillicothe.  I haven’t talked to any relatives in, I bet, 30 years.

When I got out — the last  time — I made a clean slate of things.  I sold stained glass to restaurants.  Completely legit. I didn’t like it.

I went back to stealing. The hardest part was carrying the loot.  I was that good.

I never killed nobody. I…did…not.  I was an accomplice, yes that’s true, but I never killed nobody. The chickenshits from Murray Hill, they did.  They didn’t have my abilities.  I did everything that took a brain, and they stood around with their hands in their pockets, except when it came to guns.

It’s all a head game — crime.  Keep your mouth shut and show your intelligence, and you’ll be fine. It has worked for me most of the time.

I’m paranoid.  That has saved me — being paranoid.    Sometimes you know a place is a death trap. It’s all trial and error.

My biggest mistake . . . You know?  Quitting high school.  I thought I knew more than the teachers.  Schmuck! Again. I could have been an engineer.

I hung with the older boys who ran a stolen butter and cigarette ring on Woodland.  An old fat Jew — the Eggman — was in charge.  I rigged him up a walkie-talkie.

I don’t have a dime anymore. I spent everything I ever earned.  I blew it all on cards, broads and racehorses — owning horses.   I couldn’t deal with the thickheaded Italians at the racetrack, so I got out, but not before I was broke.

I eat wieners and Coke.  Love that combo.  I remember when I pinched three cases of sausage from Red Barn.  I didn’t fence it.  I ate it all.

I’m in menopause — male menopause.  I’m 79. The docs talk about that on TV.

I love my TV set.  It don’t talk back to me.  Perfect.

I ain’t got nobody, just my TV.

I do have a record . . .

NAME:  JOSEPH A. MOSKOWITZ
ALIAS/NICKNAME:  JOE MOSCOW
DOB: 12-11-1933
FACIAL ODDIITES:  UNK
FACIAL HAIR:  GOATEE
SPEECH:  POLITE
COMPLEXION: MED
MISSING BODY PARTS:  UNK
GENERAL APPEARANCE:  UNKEMPT
TEETH:  UNK
SCAR/BIRTHMARK/MOLE:  UNK
TATTOO: UNK
WT:  305
HGT:  5-8
ADDRESS: UNK
CONVIC: MANSLAUGHTER, AGGRAV BURGLARY, LARCENY, KIDNAPPING, CRIMINAL TOOLS, GRAND LARCENY


This is the latest in a series of  fake profiles.  (Cyberspace needs them!)


Jack Stratton’s latest Kickstarter campaign is up.  Something about a half-Jewish German-American band, Vulfpeck.  The Kickstarter staff — as well as Bandcamp people — picked the project as a fav. Check it out here.

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5 comments

1 Ted { 03.20.13 at 11:47 am }

Did you take your meds today?

2 Bert Stratton { 03.20.13 at 12:29 pm }

To Ted:

Some Wednesday I would like to post a handful of fake profiles! Will readers allow me? Or is the package too “avant-garde,” to quote one irritated reader.

. . . I just got a call from a reader who said, “Stop sending me your newsletter. It’s crashing my Outlook.”

Maybe this did it.

3 Seth { 03.20.13 at 1:53 pm }

Bert, I loved this piece…wanted to hear more from him. If you’re feeling guilty about straying from the other format, perhaps Pope Frankie will hear yours and Joe Moscow’s confessions.

4 Jack { 03.20.13 at 3:32 pm }

Yessssssssss

5 Mark Schilling { 03.21.13 at 9:45 am }

His rap sheet contradicts his rap — brilliant.

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