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 served an eviction notice on an artist — a tenant — who was late with her rent.  When I handed her the eviction paper, she yelled at me, “I was going to pay the rent, but not now!”

My father had sent me.  She was a painter — a real artist.

Aubrey, another tenant, wrote for an alternative weekly.  Aubrey wrote my dad:

Allow me to pull your coat, Mr. Stratton, to something. Where do you get off raising my rent?  I had to spend last winter in my kitchen because the bedroom ceiling caved in.

Would you like my bill for cleaning up the plaster?  My services do not come cheaply, Mr. Stratton.

Aubrey was a meshugener — my dad’s take.

Let me pull your coat, Mr. Stratton.  My dad didn’t know what Aubrey was talking about. My dad wasn’t Miles Davis.

My dad told Aubrey to waive his privacy rights so we could get into his apartment to fix the problem.

Aubrey wrote back: “Quite bluntly, Mr. Stratton, keep out.”

But we got in and made the repairs, and Aubrey stayed another year.

I saw the painter at an artists’ party about a year later. I didn’t say hi. She didn’t recognize me.  Good.

I never saw the writer again. Also good.

“Aubrey” is a pseudonym.


180-degree turn . . .


The Gambler

I’ve made millions in gambling. You probably know that because I’ve written about it a lot.

Nevertheless, some readers still believe I inherited my money.


I work hard for my money. I play video poker, and not at some tribal casino in Oregon. I play at Vegas casinos that offer the best margin. I demand a 99.5 JOB (jacks-or-better) edge.

I tip well and live well.

Do I play video poker all day?

Yes, and I love it.

My ex-wife didn’t love it. She tried to control my bankroll. Nobody controls my bankroll!

I’m a known quantity here in Vegas. For a while I had a radio show. I coughed so much on air, I got fired. What did the producer want? I’m in smoky casinos 12 hours a day;I’m lucky I can breathe, let alone cough.

I administer an online forum, Millionaire VP. No smoking on my site.

I used to play craps. If you play craps long enough, you lose everything. Which I did. Once was enough.

I’m filing w-2Gs totaling $400,000 for 2013. The ex-mayor of San Diego lost $13 million on video poker. Don’t be her. Be me.

Lots of royal flushes, everybody!

My website, VP Millionaire, is here.

(This post, Side B/The Gambler, is part of the fake-profile series.)

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1 Mark Schilling { 01.18.14 at 2:41 am }

Pull your coat? Hadn’t heard that one in years, since I was a dedicated student of Mezz Mezzrow, Lord Buckley and other poets of jive. Thanks for the memories…

2 Bert Stratton { 01.18.14 at 11:50 am }

To Mark Schilling:

Really the Blues. Remember it well. (By Mezz Mezzrow w/ Bernard Wolfe)

3 Pierce G. { 01.21.14 at 11:06 pm }


I’m a friend of “The Gambler,” and found Side B of this so amusing that I had to seek out the rest of your blog.

I also like craps, but don’t worry about me, I’m too cheap to lose everything, or even to lose much of anything, just ask “The Gambler,” he’ll tell you.

Speaking of cheap, this is the greatest thing I have read this year:

“I ran into the carpet foreman and asked if he had taken a dump in the basement.

“Why not ask? He was an odd guy. For instance, nearly every time I saw him, he would make an off-key remark about Jews. Jews are cheap, that was his favorite. He told tenants, ‘Stratton won’t put anything good in because that costs money.’ I got rid of him a couple times.

“But he did good work — and he was cheap — so I brought him back.”

I wasn’t emotionally prepared for that level of irony. Thank you for the best laugh I have had since I turned 30!

I’ve probably read about 25% of your blog posts so far, and expect I’ll get another 25% knocked out tonight. Looking forward to tomorrow’s new blog post. I haven’t checked out any of your music yet, but I plan to as soon as I catch up on this blog.

Thanks for all of the laughs. Your blog may be free, but it’s also priceless!

4 Bert Stratton { 01.22.14 at 8:50 am }

To Pierce G.:

I usually don’t do a thanks (i.e., thanks for reading this blog). But in your case — reading 25 percent of this blog in one night — you get a salute, sir.

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