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.



Woody, a friend from high school, is coming in from California tonight and staying at my house, and he’s bringing his Spanish girlfriend. He’s staying for a week. A week. Give me a break. Woody wants to see the leaves change. He’s a sensitive guy and a bit strange.

Even in high school, Woody didn’t care what others thought of him. He was often blisteringly inappropriate. He still is. For instance, last week in our phone conversation, he said, “I don’t give a shit about Hamas or Israelis.” I didn’t appreciate that.

In 1997, Woody showed up at my house, muttering, “My old man just told me I’d better run while I can. My father just threatened to kill me!” I think his old man had a gun. Woody grew up in easternmost Lyndhurst (goy-land), on Ridgebury Road, where you could keep a horse. Woody had a horse. His father had worked for an American construction company in Venezuela. Woody knew a lot of Spanish because he spent some time down there in his youth.

Woody was the only kid at my high school who went off to California for college. Nobody considered California except Woody. You were going to fly five hours to college? Nope. Woody wanted to get as far away from his family as possible, he said. Ultimately he became a Spanish teacher at a high school in Santa Rosa, California, and has lived there for the duration, although he spends a lot of time in Spain, and he pops into Cleve for leaves.

Here’s the problem: Woody’s obliviousness toward Israel. Maybe he’s even anti-Israel. There are only 16 million Jews in the world, and almost half are in the line of fire right now. I will tell Woody — the minute he walks in tonight — if he says anything anti-Israel, or even semi-anti-Israel, and even in jest, he’s done for. I will tell him. I can’t have a guy making jokes about Israel in my house now.

Alice took this photo of Woody in 1980, when we were all 30 years old. Smiling, charming Woody. And he’s got a mouth. Heads up, Bert.


Postscript: Woody left. He wasn’t anti-Israel. I super-overreacted. (Probably been reading too many news reports.) We even attended a concert for Israel; members of the Cleveland Orchestra performed. The orchestra was supposed to be in Israel.

Woody knows a lot about language and said he might do a “codpiece” on language. (“Codpiece” as opposed to “podcast.” He’s funny.) He told me deber, the Spanish verb, comes from the same Latin root as debit, or owe. Good to know.

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