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 New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post.



I use the name Mordecai Ham on the Internet I post a lot of comments and don’t want cyber-nuts tracking me down.

Mordecai Ham — the actual person — was an evangelist.  He influenced Billy Graham.  Look Ham up. I know from Ham; I know fundamentalist Christianity. From an early age, I was taught in church to venerate Jews and Israel.

Yes, the Jews killed Jesus and cried out, “His blood be upon us and on our children.” But they did so out of ignorance.  It was part of God’s plan laid out in the prophesies of Isaiah 9:6, Ezekiel and Esther. The Jews suffered mightily as God rained down Inquisitions and Holocausts to beat the band.

My daddy was about hellfire and brimstone, tongue-talking and Satan-stomping.  He attended the same college I did: the Kentucky Mountain Bible College.  On my graduation I ordered neon polyester suits from the same store my daddy did: Hart, Schaffner and Marx in Chicago.

I dress less showy nowadays.  For one thing, I’m older.  Secondly, neon is out.

Where my father pastored, he had a rack of John Birch literature next to the King James Bibles in the church foyer.  Paul Harvey was our only news source.  Now I get news from all over. I know what bobe mayse means, for example.

I don’t smoke a corncob pipe. I don’t have a ZZ Top beard. (Pentecostals don’t smoke, by the way.) I’m Mordecai Ham, I am. I read the Jew York Times.  That’s what my father called it.

The Rev. Woody Allen said about the New York Times: “I want you to get an injunction against the Times.  It’s a New York, Jewish, communist, left-wing, homosexual newspaper.  And that’s just the sports section.”

My full name is Walter Terry Hamilton. Everybody calls me Sonny. I have a B.S. (Biblical Studies).

I invite you to stop by my shul, down here in the hills of beautiful Eastern Kentucky.  I’ll save a piece of kichel for you.

Shalom, chaverim.

Yes, my iPhone has a Yiddish/Hebrew-word-a-day app.

The complete fake-profiles series is here.

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1 Ken G. { 01.08.14 at 9:59 am }

Slightly bizarre – sort of a cross between Pentecostal/Born Again/basic Fundamentalist/Jew for Jesus…. I just wonder who might catch the text of this in a Google-type search and get some ideas from it…. Anyway, reminds me of several father-and-son duos on channels 12 and 16.

I call you “Sonny” too, sometimes, so there must be something to it.

2 Ken G. { 01.08.14 at 10:49 am }

I suppose this ain’t accessible through a Google search, thank G-d, so false alarm.

3 Seth { 01.08.14 at 2:09 pm }

“Like” …oh, I thought this was Facebook

4 Bert Stratton { 01.08.14 at 4:12 pm }

To Seth and Ken G.:

I don’t know if this is searchable on Google. Probably is. I’ll try right now . . .

Just searched kichel Ham kentucky stratton and this blog post popped up.

5 Steven Greenman { 01.08.14 at 5:18 pm }

You are a strange man. Keep writing.

6 Bert Stratton { 01.08.14 at 5:44 pm }

To Steven Greenman:

I’m not that strange! I got the idea for this blog post because a person named “Mordecai Ham” wrote me a fan letter. Ham liked my writing in the NY Times.

I thought, wow, “Mordecai Ham,” that’s as surreal as it gets.

“Ham” isn’t the writer’s real name. It’s Pork! Ham gave me a little background. A lot of my blog post is a direct steal from Ham’s letters to me.

My source Ham ain’t too keen on publicity apparently, so I didn’t publicly acknowledge Ham, except, sort of, right here.

7 Charlie B { 01.08.14 at 6:02 pm }
Check out the Church of Stop Shopping.

8 Ellen { 01.08.14 at 6:22 pm }

how did you know that I just happened to google kichel Ham kentucky stratton when I should’ve been meeting a deadline. unfortunately that was yesterday so I got bubkes.

but seriously, I’m writing this book about the history of the jews in wayne county and guess who was one of our famous wayne county residents way back when? Joseph Schaffner of Hart, Schaffner and Marx. He was quite a guy and was involved in a lot of progressive stuff like becoming an advocate for collective bargaining and arbitration as well as unique and progressive ideas about advertising. He was also an advocate of advanced learning and paved the way for what is now the Kellogg School of Management.

Hey. Look at me. I know stuff. Not only that, but they carried Hart, Schaffner and Marx at my grandfather’s clothing store in Iowa.

9 Ken G. { 01.09.14 at 6:36 am }

My mother was a Miriam, and she was quite observant – strict about kashruth and Sabbath, etc. My father had a tenant named Miriam Hamn. He used to think the name was hilarious – funnier than anything someone could have made up.

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