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.



Every once in a while I go full Harvey Pekar. Like yesterday, when I spent half the day running bummer errands and waiting in lines. I had three missions: new driver’s license, new passport, flu shot. Wait, it gets interesting. Slightly. For example, I took an envelope from the Huntington Bank ATM lobby and the envelope had a $30 check in it — payable to the Ohio Treasurer from a tailor, dated a year ago. My son Ted took the check to the tailor shop, and the guy was happy to get it.

Bureau of Motor Vehicles. I registered online, so I got to cut in front of the 30-or-so people waiting in line on the sidewalk, social distancing. On my way out, I told everybody, “In and out — A to Z — in 30 minutes. Go home and sign up online.” Nobody moved.

Flu shot. CVS couldn’t pull up Medicare on its screen so I left. I went back to the bank. The line was still long there, so I slipped my dough in the night drop. I had cash, which is a bit risky to “drop,” but so far no problems — and “so far” for me means the last four decades. I wouldn’t slip 5K cash in a night drop, but I’m pretty sure plenty of retail merchants do.

CVS reprise. The Medicare computer connection was now working. I told the shot administrator he had the voice and demeanor of a doc, and he was flattered. I thought he was a clerk. No, he was a doctor of pharmacology. “Did you go to Ohio Northern?” I asked. Bullseye. He said, “How’d you know that?” Ohio Northern = pharmacy.

My passport photo doesn’t look so good, but hey, I’m 70, and the government doesn’t let you wear glasses now. My wife got hers, too, and she said hers is worse. I told the passport-photo taker, “I guess I’m not 35 anymore.” Like a lot of old guys, I like to BS with clerks. I hit it off with everybody yesterday but the BMV ladies. I bragged to a BMV clerk, “This is an original social security card from 1961.” She didn’t care. My dad had gotten the card for me when he bought me two shares of GTE in 1961. (GTE eventually became Verizon.) The card is crisp and has never been in a wallet. It’s got my childhood address and postal zone (as opposed to ZIP code) on it. Did you read this far? Pekar would have gotten you this far.

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1 Mark Schilling { 10.14.20 at 9:19 am }

I still have my first (and only) SS card, issued in 1964 when I got my first job — stock boy at a drugstore in Ellwood City, PA. My boss was a deacon at the church we attended. I caught him slipping mags from the rack into his briefcase and slipping them out again when he had finished reading them. He fired my ass after a month or two because I was terrible at swabbing floors and washing windows. I considered myself lucky to escape.

2 Bill Katz { 10.14.20 at 11:25 am }

BMW or BMV? I know some BMW guys but not any ladies.

3 Bert Stratton { 10.14.20 at 12:25 pm }

Thanks for the correction, Bill Katz. Now reads “BMV.” [had been, erroneously, “BMW.”]

4 Kenneth Goldberg { 10.14.20 at 12:53 pm }

“I can’t believe I read the whole thing”…. It wasn’t Peter of Peter’s Tailor Shop by any chance, was it?
You should donate your s.s. card to the Smithsonian, or at least the Maltz, and request a fresh new one!

5 Kurt Bjorling { 10.14.20 at 5:09 pm }

“Did you read this far?”
Yes, I did.

6 Charlie B { 10.15.20 at 11:31 am }

Here in Michigan the drivers license place is abbreviated SOS (Secretary of State). It needs help big time. It’s nearly impossible to renew a DL…online appointments
Or otherwise. IMPOSSIBLE Another pandemic dividend.

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