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.



Danny Kaye liked to hang around doctors and operating rooms. My parents admired Danny Kaye because he could dance, sing, and do impersonations — plus the medical stuff.  My parents wanted me to be Danny Kaye — the medical part.

But I didn’t go to med school. I became a journalist. I once researched and wrote an article on open-heart surgery. I watched surgery for that article, and I tried surgery. The docs let me. It took two years for the patient to regain her health. Plus, I suffered significant financial losses. A lawyer called me a “kidnapper” as if I took the patient – call her Karen – into the operating room and held her against her wishes for eight hours. (The surgery was nine hours, actually.)

Afterward, I told Karen, “The good news is you’re alive, and I have your aortas – two of them – 90-percent clearer. The bad news is your other aortas are controversial. Also, any sudden outburst by you, and you might die.”

Karen screamed but she didn’t die. She sued me.

Danny Kaye featured Herman’s Hermits on the Danny Kaye Show in 1965 to get more baby-boomer viewers. The regular viewers preferred Imogene Coca and Jim Nabors. Danny Kaye was a terrific dancer, comedian, mimic, singer and medical enthusiast. My parents liked him more than me. I operated on Karen so I wouldn’t have to endure any more of my folks’ diatribes about my suspect career path. They said,  “Son, you write for a suburban weekly. That’s not a living to support a family.” So I took up the knife. The cold rejection of my parents. Walk in my bloody booties for a second. I’m decent at surgery — maybe not Cleveland Clinic level — but I’m OK. I’m as good as Danny Kaye.


fiction. A version of this first appeared here 10/30/13.


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1 Mark Schilling { 04.05.17 at 10:37 am }

Your parents liked Danny Kaye better than their own flesh and blood? BTW, the film movie I ever saw was Kaye’s Hans Christian Anderson. I remembered walking into the theater in Columbus with my aunt Laura and being knocked out of by the smell of the popcorn. My fate was sealed.

2 David Rowe { 04.06.17 at 9:40 am }

Wonder what kind of operator this guy in high school was with the girls.

3 Ken Goldberg { 04.06.17 at 11:27 pm }

I was going to mention my great uncle, Harry Bestry, being Danny Kaye’s but I see I already shared that when you wrote about the same blog in 2013 (no wonder it’s so l0ng). This uncle is mentioned in this, besides in many other Kaye biographical information pieces:

4 Bill Katz { 04.12.17 at 2:53 pm }

Growing up in the Bay Area, we used to go into the city to eat at Johnny Kan’s. Known for more than just its cuisine, it was often the choice of celebrities visiting town. I don’t know that I ever saw anybody famous there but I do remember it was where Danny Kaye plied his passion for Chinese cooking. Walter Cronkite was introduced to him there as the chef of Cronkite’s diner one night. Maybe he cooked one of ours.

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