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 Wall Street Journal, New York Times and Washington Post.



Ask me about my bike

Ask me about my bike trip

On the Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA), I’m around far fewer Jews than I’m used to. I’m most comfortable with a 20 percent-or-more Jewish crowd in life. If the Jewish count is less than that, I get a bit uneasy, mostly because less people understand my sense of humor.

My high school was about 25 percent Jewish; my college was about 20 percent Jewish; my social scene in Cleveland is 58.7 percent Jewish; and my place of worship is 100 percent.

On GOBA, there are at most 20 Jews out of 2,500 riders.  It’s like a motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota.

Oddly, one year (2009) I pedaled GOBA with an Orthodox woman. She brought more tuna fish than Nixon took to China. She wore a skirt. There was an Amish woman with a skirt too. The Frisco Kid: Gene Wilder and the Amish thing. Maybe both women will be at GOBA this year.

In 2010 I met a Jewish doctor from Dayton, Ohio; a Jewish guitar player from University Heights; and my buddy — and fellow cyclist — Irwin Weinberger (Yidddishe Cup’s singer) played “Ose Shalom” on Friday night.  This was after a fried fish shabbes dinner at the Fraternal Order of Eagles hall in McArthur, Ohio. We made kiddush over Miller Lite, which technically isn’t brucha (blessing) material. (Tain’t a grape.)

GOBA kicks off in Mansfield, Ohio, this Sunday.

Gear shift . . .

Is there a market for a Jewish-tinged “Chosen to Ride” bike tour of the Midwest?

Day 1

We meet at Chicago Midway airport and bike to Pepe’s, a Mexican restaurant on Cicero Avenue. Traffic is crazy but fun in Chicago. Bring a helmet and a sword.

Lodging at the Beloit, Wisconsin, Holiday Inn.

Day 2

Lunch stop at the Park View Motel, Richland Center, Wisconsin, next to AgriDairy. See the Frank Lloyd Wright silo.

Dinner at the Ground Round, Dubuque, Iowa.

Day 3

Pitch tents on the lawn of the Omaha JCC and check out the exhibit in the hallway about The Bagel, the name for the old Jewish ‘hood in Omaha.

chosen to ride  bicycling

Chosen to Ride

Day 4

Dinner in Nevada, Missouri.  We’ll eat in the cafeteria at Cottey College, an all-women’s school.

Days 5 and 6

Shabbes in St. Louis. We spend time off the bikes and at riverboat casinos, where we suck cig smoke and lose a few fun bucks. Each night we’re at Ted Drewes custard stand.

Day 7

Dinner at Wabash College, an all-men’s college in Crawfordsville, Indiana. Equal rights for men.

Day 8

At the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation, we attend a concert by Gabe Kaplan and Yiddishe Cup. Kaplan doesn’t look like Gabe Kaplan anymore. He’s a million years old. (As is Yiddishe Cup.)  Kaplan’s best joke is “A widower in Miami Beach asks his date, an elderly woman, if she likes sex, and she says, ‘Infrequently.’ The widower says, ‘Is that one word or two?’”

Day 9

Our farewell banquet is at Ken’s Diner in Skokie, Illinois, a glatt kosher hamburger joint. Music by the clarinet/harp duo of Kurt and Annette Bjorling.

Think about it.


Yiddishe Cup is in Parade the Circle noon Saturday (June 14), Wade Oval, Cleveland.

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1 Ken G. { 06.11.14 at 9:22 am }

Correction: I know for a fact your social circle is 57.8999762 Jewish (at least at last count).

I also know for a fact your synagogue is NOT 100% – sorry for the disillusionment.

I beat you with the percentages at my educational facilities: my high school was about 40%, S.U.N.Y Binghamton was about 70% Jewish undergrad, probably at least 40% grad. Syracuse had the largest Hillel chapter in the world (that should count for something, anyway).

Thanks for patronizing my diner in Skokie, btw. I hope it lasts longer than Doug Katz’ will.

2 Bill Jones { 06.11.14 at 12:04 pm }

Ah yes, tuna fish and Jews. Does a greater % of the Jewish population eat tuna fish regularly, or consume more per capita, or is this an age marker in the Jewish population? As for Doug Katz diner, no one should talk about the demise of anyone’s business unless they are prescient and have some basis in fact for the prescience.

3 Ken G. { 06.11.14 at 12:40 pm }

Imho I don’t believe closing every Monday and Tuesday is a good sign. Also I believe the diner is floundering in trying to maintain a theme and has been changing its menu frequently – also not a good way to keep clientele.

4 Mark Schilling { 06.12.14 at 7:14 am }

In ny 13 years of public school education I had exactly one Jewish classmate — a guy in my Senior year French class. He was always cracking wise and I got his sense of humor immediately (unlike the annoyed teacher, I must say). I owe it to my “Mad” magazine addiction.

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