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.



At a Detroit wedding, the bride came down the aisle to Barbra Streisand recordings. She paused several times to read from her childhood diaries. She had 109 journals. She didn’t read from them all. Eight years later, the bride emailed me and asked if I remembered her. Yes, and I remembered the bridal dance, too, and how we were followed by a soul band, and how I announced the bridal party participants by name. One groomsman was Billy Wisse.

I pronounced it correctly, like Billy Weiss. I said to him, “There’s a Ruth Wisse, a Yiddishist and professor at Harvard. I’ve heard the name pronounced before.”

“That’s my mother,” Billy said.

I asked if he was a professor. I knew his uncle, David Roskies, was a prof as well. Billy said he wrote questions for Jeopardy.

“That’s a job?” I said, taking out a pen and jotting down Billy’s email address. My son Teddy –then a college student — would love a job at Jeopardy on graduation. Teddy was on Brandeis’ Quiz Bowl team.

Two years later, Brandeis Quiz Bowl team played in Los Angeles for the national championship, and I handed Billy’s email to Ted. It turned out Ted and his Brandeis teammates met Billy Wisse for breakfast at Canter’s Deli.

Two years after that, 2004, Ted got a call from Sony, which owns Jeopardy. Sony offered Ted a slot on Jeopardy and sent him a contract via FedEx. One paragraph read something like “Do you know anybody from Sony or Jeopardy? If so, you cannot be on the show.” Teddy did not know anybody on Jeopardy. Teddy and Billy Wisse ate breakfast together two years ago.

Alex Trebek, the Jeopardy host, wore a cast on his wrist. I was in the peanut gallery. Trebek told the studio audience he had fallen off a ladder. Billy Wisse stood by a computer at the edge of the Jeopardy set. This was in Culver City, a suburb of Los Angeles.

Ted did particularly well in the category of “Our Lady,” about Catholic shrines. He knew Our Lady of Czestochowa (Poland), Our Lady of Gethsemane (Kentucky) and several others. A Brandeis education! The Final Jeopardy category was Fictional Children, and answer was “This boy, introduced in a 1902 book, flew away from his mother when he was 7 days old.” I felt like I was watching my kid line up a 50-yard field goal at the Ohio State-Michigan game with one second left on the clock. This is the weird part about being a parent — all that collateral joy and pain.

A player, an editor from Boston, answered, “Who is Peter Pan?”

Right. She went up to $10,900.

Teddy said, “Who is Peter Pan?” He went up to $13,399.

The champ, from Tennessee, said, “Who is the Little Prince?” He went down to $7,900.

Alex Trebek said, “The new champion, Ted Stratton, a reporter from Cleveland Heights, Ohio!”

Look it up.



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1 Ken Goldberg { 11.22.17 at 10:41 am }

A Thanksgiving tale retold….

2 MARC Adler { 11.22.17 at 3:14 pm }

My son a few years ago was a contestant on reality TV TBS show King of the Nerds. He lived on campus in Pepperdine California for a month. He won $100,000 and met his future wife, another contestent. He just had his first child, the prince.

3 dave rowe { 11.24.17 at 10:35 am }

Being on Wheel of Fortune – the opportunity to access Vanna White – would probably be more fun.

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