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.



Seltzer is a major player in my house.  My wife, Alice, bought stock in seltzer, SodaStream, and I drink a fair amount of La Croix and occasionally Klarbrunn from Costco. I stick to lime and lemon. I should try peach. I was at a party — on a gig — where the host had all the La Croix flavors, but I wasn’t thirsty so I didn’t open up the various cans and sip.

Jack Stratton, 2011, with  SodaStream

Jack Stratton, 2011,
with SodaStream

There used to be seltzer delivery guys. I never saw one. My friend Shelly had home delivery.  My parents didn’t. My mother was big with Diet Rite Cola, though. My son Teddy favored Hank’s Root Beer.  Alice used to be a diehard Diet Coke proponent.  My son Jack loves SodaStream.  My daughter, Lucy, doesn’t drink much.  That’s the story of carbonation in my family.

Alice gives SodaStreams as gifts. She hopes her purchases will increase the stock’s value.

I know people who can distinguish club soda from seltzer water, and can expound on the level of fizz in SodaStream versus canned seltzers.  My wife is one of those persons.  She is Seltzer Girl.

seltzer girl

Check out “Mississippi Albert” in Belt Magazine. It’s about my “roots” in Mississippi.  When I taught blues harmonica, I told the students my mother was from Yazoo City, Mississippi.  I wasn’t lying!  Here is the story.   I traveled to Mississippi. This photo, below, is from Cleveland Heights, 1977:

blues harp brochure 1977 hts adult ed

One more photo . . . from Mississipppi, about 1926. My mother, Julia Zalk Stratton, age 6, on R; her older sister, Bernice Zalk Golden, in back; and baby sister Celeste Zalk Kent (who is now 87) in the high chair; and a cousin on far L:

mississippi about 1925  julia on far R

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1 Ken Goldberg { 11.12.14 at 9:16 am }

I never had even heard of the company [SodaStream], but get the kiwi strawberry [LaCroix].

2 Gerald Ross { 11.12.14 at 9:39 am }

When I was a kid in Detroit in the early sixties we had a seltzer delivery guy making home deliveries in my neighborhood.

3 David Korn { 11.12.14 at 12:46 pm }

I feel like I went out to buy one thing and ended up with two because they were just what I needed — And such a bargain! Bert, Fizzy Water and Ole Miss are great. Stories make a difference — I now will savor my Soda Stream products more.

4 Seth B. Marks { 11.12.14 at 4:11 pm }

In the late sixties and early seventies, I collected a few of the seltzer bottles that had beautiful etched glass drawings on them. You still see them occcasionally at house sales. Cotton Club was big in this area but there were earlier competitors around. Seltzer generally has bigger bubbles, (as does SodaStream) and a more mineral taste. The bubbles also seem to dissipate faster. As a major league burper, I prefer the smaller and longer lasting bubbles in San Pellegrino. straight and to use in alcholic drinks…Costco periodically has it on sale and I’ll pick up a case.

5 Jack Valancy { 11.12.14 at 4:32 pm }

We had seltzer delivery in our apartment building in Brooklyn, NY in the 1950s.

6 Ken G. { 11.12.14 at 5:33 pm }

I used to hear what’s “pop” in Rochester (or Cleveland) is “tonic” in Boston, “soda” in NYC, and “fizz” in the South.

7 Marc Adler { 11.13.14 at 2:11 pm }

Totally off subject, my son Jonathan will be on TV the end of January on the show “King of the Nerds”. This is a reality show on TBS where 12 contestants compete to win a $100,000 prize. They filmed over 4 weeks this summer.

My son had to sign a confidentiality agreement. He can’t say who won and other things until after the show airs. It will be shown on 8 Friday nights.

8 Dave Rowe { 11.15.14 at 7:59 pm }

For a while I, Dave Rowe, was sort of a sidekick of this Bert Stratton character. He introduced me to several worthwhile things, but not once did he offer to show me how to play blues harmonica. I play guitar and can blow harp along with it, but nothing Sonny Boy Williamson would need to worry about.

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