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 wish I had been in the military. I could have been in but I didn’t go in when I could have.  I was against Vietnam.  I learned quagmire — the word — from Walter Lippmann in Newsweek.   ‘Nam was a quagmire, Lippmann wrote.

I think I can take orders, and I don’t generally sass people, and I’ve never argued with cops or umpires.

Some of my high school classmates went into the service.  Some  are on the war memorial on Green Road.  By and large, these guys weren’t in the college-prep classes.

One high school friend went to Annapolis, though. He eventually became acting head of the FBI in Cleveland.  I visited him in his office overlooking Lake Erie, and we brainstormed on ways to thwart terrorists.  I didn’t have much to contribute.

When I was about 10, I sent away to the Air Force Academy for photos, and the academy mailed me an application.  That was exciting.

I was mistaken for a military man just once, when I represented the Armed Forces at a sign-review meeting at city hall. The Armed Forces rented stores from my family.  A sign-review board member said, “You walk like a military man.”

Aten-hut! Thank you.

The Armed Forces recruiting center contained the four major branches: Army, Navy, Marine and Air Force.  The Army turned its basement area into a gym with punching bags and a Nautilus.

In 2008 the recruiters moved out; they went across the street to a newer building, and left us with three ratty sofas, a rusty Nautilus, barbells, a mini-trampoline, and a punching bag.  And that wasn’t the half of it.

I wrote to the Army Corps of Engineers, Louisville, Kentucky,  re U.S. lease W912QRM504000025:

There is 40 years’ worth of  junk in the basement: 27 chairs, a punching bag, American flag, scrap shelving, metal framing, boxes of Army of One promotional material, two bikes, six pieces of Nautilus-like weight equipment, barbells, a mini-trampoline . . .

A 1970s stereo system, file cabinet, and a lot of assorted paperwork, of which I’ve enclosed an invoice from 1991, just to give you a flavor for what’s down there.

The government paid for the hauling. That was my last dealing with the military. “Sgt. Stratton” never happened. Nor did “Private  Stratton.”  I feel a little guilty about that.   (I know, typical ex-hippie revisionist thinking.)

Yiddishe Cup and ice cream drip on the lawn at Wiley Middle School, 2181 Miramar Blvd., University Hts., Ohio, 7:30 p.m. Thurs., July 25.  Free concert and free ice cream.  Indoors if raining.


Clevelanders, go to “Hava Nagila (The Movie)”  7:30 p.m. tonight (July 17) at the art museum, Gartner Aud.  You won’t regret it.  Terrific archival footage. You don’t need to be  Jewish or a klezmer nut to enjoy it.   Helps, but not essential.  Features Harry Belafonte.

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1 comment

1 Marc { 07.17.13 at 2:48 pm }

I was actually a draft counselor in the early 70’s when I was in college. I would help people avoid the draft by telling them the law. I helped myself by knowing I had something that would get me a 4F. It was a great learning experience about dealing with the federal government.

When I went for my physical exam, the navy officer in charge turned out to be my old camp counselor from Camp Hador in Clinton, Connecticut , a Jewish camp. I was there for four weeks. He didn’t remember me. I think Herbie was a little embarrassed that as a naval officer I was treating him like my old camp counselor.

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