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.



My 2019 Subaru Legacy is the safest car in the world. I know you don’t care, but bear with me. The car has many blinkers and warning signals, and that’s why I bought it. Five years ago I fell asleep at the wheel of my Ford Fusion and drifted across a two-lane road into an oncoming car. I was tired. It was 2:30. Two-thirty pm, not 2:30 am! I was going about 25 mph and hit a Greek immigrant’s car head on. The accident happened on Larchmere Boulevard, right on the Cleveland-Shaker Heights line. Efficient Shaker cops showed up. Nobody got hurt! The accident was in front of Shaker Auto Body. I just wheeled my wrecked car right into the shop. Beautiful.

My red Ford Fusion and a Greek man on his phone

I bought the 2019 Subaru with all the bells and whistles shortly after the accident. The car is good, but the battery not so good. The battery recently went dead for the second time in four months. There’s a class-action suit against Subaru for bad batteries. I’m taking the car to the dealer, or maybe I’ll pay my son Ted to take it. I can’t stand going to car dealerships.

More car talk (and some sax talk) . . .  Last month I was at a family wedding in a town halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles. (The wedding was at a winery. Nobody gets married at synagogue anymore, have you noticed? It’s always at a winery or a barn.) Uber — which my son Jack reserved ahead of time — didn’t show up at the hotel the morning after the wedding to take Alice and me to the airport. Instead, Uber sent us a message at 6 am: “Sorry.” Uber couldn’t find a driver. I should have hired a car service but I didn’t think of that. My daughter, Lucy, did, but too late, I guess. My son Ted booked Alice and me a flight out of Palm Springs because we couldn’t get to LAX on time. Ted drove us to Palm Springs and got a flat tire.  Can you believe we got a flat on the way to the airport? I lent Ted my AAA card; he hung around the  car; and Alice and I got an Uber.

Our flight out of Palm Springs was delayed, so I baggage-checked my saxophones. (My band had played the wedding. Terrific celebration, by the way.) The airlines could mangle my axes, but I didn’t care; I didn’t want to lug the heavy instruments around Palm Springs airport all afternoon.

My alto sax is student-level, so no big loss if it got destroyed. My tenor, however, is a classic, The Martin Tenor. I bought it around 1964 from a music teacher. When I first got that axe, it reeked of ciggy smoke, and its pads were brown from phlegm. That’s why I never took up smoking. At the Palm Springs airport, I plastered the tenor case with “Fragile” stickers. My clarinet, I kept in my backpack. It’s not heavy.

The saxes arrived in Cleveland about 11 hours later in fine shape. Better shape than me, actually. I’ve kept a couple “Fragile” stickers on the tenor case to remind me of my adventure.

By the way, the Subaru guys didn’t fix the “parasitic drainage” on my car battery. I might get a trickle charger. whatever that is.

shareEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter


1 Mark Schilling { 11.01.23 at 10:14 am }

I fell asleep at the wheel after a bad night’s
sleep in a tent. Yuko was playing a boring podcast that sent me into dream land. I bumped a curb, ruining a rim. The axle was OK, thankfully, but the blackout scared the crap out of me. Be alert, stay alive.

2 Ken Goldberg { 11.01.23 at 11:01 am }

That’s one of the reasons I still haven’t gotten into Uber, no matter where I’ve traveled without a car. However, it was tense getting to the airport in Syracuse last month, as I had been told in Boston the companies don’t like to arrange in advance for rides, but in Syracuse the companies were telling me I should have. When, in desperation, I asked the hotel staff about getting an Uber app quickly they were not very helpful. Thank goodness I found one cab company who came through. On more important matters, however, it’s Larchmere Boulevard, bud. A hex on those communities that don’t want to bother with including a street’s full official name on their signs….

3 Ed FitzGerald { 11.01.23 at 11:55 am }

Bert, a man of your means should immediately trade-in that Subaru and buy a Tesla Model Y or Model 3. With the $7,000 tax rebate, they’re not as pricey as you might believe. Better yet, go ahead and rent one for a week and see what you think. They’re easy to get at the airport locations. That Subaru is a nice car, but it’s full of quirks that will break your trust in it. Don’t wait until you have to add a quart of oil between oil changes. It’s coming, trust me. Once you go electric with Tesla, you’ll never, ever look back.

4 Bert Stratton { 11.01.23 at 5:12 pm }

I’ll change it to “Larchmere Boulevard,” Ken. [Had been “Larchmere Road.”]

Leave a Comment