SHALOM, DAMMIT! Here’s Rabbi Sol Solomon

BRUCHIM HA’BAIM to the digital home of Rabbi Sol Solomon, founder and spiritual leader of Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York.

Brilliant, prolific, and kinda cute, Rabbi Sol has appeared off-Broadway in his one-man show, SHALOM DAMMIT! AN EVENING WITH RABBI SOL SOLOMON, and he created 10 episodes of the groundbreaking program, SHALOM DAMMIT!, which aired on Long Island television in 2007.

Rabbi Sol’s mini-sermons, called RABBINICAL REFLECTIONS, air on the Dave’s Gone By radio program, which broadcasts and streams Shabbos mornings on http://www.uncradio.com.

So this is your portal to all things Solomonic, including video of his stage show, his TV programs, and the text/audio of his Reflections. We welcome you to the life and mind of the one, the only, the Jewish, Rabbi Sol Solomon.

Visit our ABOUT page or surf the menus above to get fully Solomized!

Rabbi Sol Solomon in "SHALOM DAMMIT!" Live - March 13-17 in NYC

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Rabbi Sol Solomon’s Rabbinical Reflection #141 (11/6/16) – ELECTILE DYSFUNCTION

Airs Nov. 5, 2016 on Dave’s Gone By.  Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cX5zCpfhuk&feature=youtu.be

Shalom Dammit!  This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of November 6, 2016.

Well, my friends, this is it.  In three days, we drag ourselves to the local junior high school, sign our names in a guest book, hold our collective noses, and pull the lever to choose which nightmare we wish to endure for the next four years.

On one side, we have Hillary Clinton: experienced, resilient, hardworking, honest as the day is long.  At the South Pole.  If you ask this woman, “what color is the sky?”, her answer’s gonna be, “Well, depending on the time of day and the light refracting away from various planets, we could be somewhere in the azure-like spectrum.  But until I’ve done more research, I have to reserve comment on that.”  Hillary Clinton gets a memo with a giant “C” on it for “Classified,” and she thinks the “C” stands for, “Come, put this on your home computer — where you haven’t updated Norton Utilities in three years.”

And two-faced?  This woman has more faces than Mount Rushmore in a hall of mirrors.  She tells rich fatcats she’s for open borders, but then she tells middle-class Democrats she’s for protecting trade.  She bashes her opponent as a sexist pig but persecutes any woman who humped her husband.  Which is a full-time job, by the way.  Hillary promises to get tough on America’s enemies, but when was Secretary of State, the Middle East turned into Terrorist Disneyland.  Heck, Hillary Clinton wouldn’t even be the nominee if Debbie Wasserman Schultz and her party apparatchiks didn’t treat Bernie Sanders like a naughty puppy who was soiling the carpet by lifting his leg to the far left.

For all his faults, people still love Hillary’s husband, Bill.  He’s got the twinkle, he’s got the polish; he’s got another box of cigars at the ready.  But that popular love just doesn’t transfer to Mrs. Clinton, who’s been in the political game too long to ever be a real person again.  Even people who don’t dislike her understand that if she’s elected, the country will stay the same.  The economy will still grow at a pace that makes photosynthesis look like the Indy 500.  ObamaCare will put more people in hospitals . . . with heart attacks after they see their premiums.  And America will still lag behind the rest of the world in everything except obesity and unwatchable cable TV channels.

And yet, of the two candidates running for the two major political parties, Hillary Clinton is the better choice.  I know that’s like saying a bowl of chocolate-covered horse radish is preferable to a dish of month-old sheep vomit, but if you had to pick, you go with the maror over the moron.  No question, Donald Trump is a wildly successful businessman.  He’s successful, and he’s wild.  I like that he has balls, but then again, what else do you shoot with a loose cannon?

Now, I don’t hold against Donald Trump that he’s gone bankrupt a couple of times.  It takes a savvy entrepreneur to pick yourself up, dust yourself up, pay your creditors two cents on the dollar, and start all over again.  And I don’t mind that he hasn’t paid any taxes since the Hoover administration.  If I could find a legal way not to pay sales tax every time I bought a pastrami sandwich, I’d be owning Trump Hotel.  Which would be especially ironic since neither of us owns it.  For all his building development, Donald Trump does not own most of the buildings he has his name on.  But I don’t hold that against him, either.  After all, if my last name were Parkinson, would I want my name on a disease?

What I do begrudge The Donald are his deals with the devil.  When The Orange One first announced his candidacy, his whole shpiel was about being an outsider.  He wasn’t a lifelong politician and therefore took no money and owed no favors.  That’s tremendously appealing, especially when you’re also plain-speaking, pro-Israel, and promising to play by your own rules.  Had Mr. Trump gone with a third party or created his own party—and I don’t mean the kind of party where he offers a supermodel $10,000 to polish his cornerstone—I mean Ross Perot-ing it.  Saying “shtup you” to the Pelosis and the Paul Ryans, because he could.  Between his bank account and grass-roots support among the kind of white people who think Canadians are as exotic as foreigners should be allowed to get, Donald Trump could have funded a truly “outside” campaign.

Instead, he gets in bed with the elephants.  The same people who gave us eight years of George W. Bush, not to mention Fox News, Richard Nixon, Sarah Palin, Strom Thurmond, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  So the Republicans think they can corral Trump, Trump thinks he can streamroll the G.O.P., and I think they should both go down in flames.  Trump wants to build a wall to keep out Mexicans?  Who’s gonna pick my etrogs for Sukkos?  He’s gonna give tax credits to the ultra-wealthy so their money will trickle down?  Wanna bet it trickles down into their yachts, their jewelry, their private islands . . .  Trump wants to pick Supreme Court justices who will protect the Constitution.  The Constitution doesn’t need protecting; it just needs an annotated edition with color pictures, a worksheet, and an interactive website.  Actually, the Torah could use that, too.  I’ll have to tell that to God next time we talk.

Anyhoo, Donald Trump says, “What have you got to lose?”  Everything stinks; maybe I’ll stink less.  Of course, the last guy who said that was Ralph Nader, and we all saw how well that turned out.  So for what it’s worth, I endorse Hillary Clinton for President in 2016.  It is not a ringing endorsement.  In fact, it’s more of a thudding endorsement.  But look at the alternatives: the Trumpster fire?  The Libertarian guy who thinks Aleppo is a tiger with spots?  The independent party run by a dude named “Joe Exotic?”  Look him up.  He’s got eight rings in his ear, a Fu Manchu moustache, and a mustard-yellow leisure suit that should be kept 1,000 feet from any building and detonated.  Or the guy from the Legal Marijuana Now Party — because, of course, the most urgent problem facing our nation today is finding a place to get your mellow on with some sweet bud?  Or the guy from the Nutrition Party, whose sole claim to fame is inventing the Muscle Maker Grill?  I mean, I like George Foreman, but I wouldn’t want him negotiating with North Korea.  Except about barbecue, and even then, kimchi would be a dealbreaker because who the hell wants to eat that?  Seriously.

So we come to the long-awaited end of this contentious, obnoxious, unfathomable election cycle in America.  A cycle that had one candidate call a war hero a coward and another whose every private email makes the New York Times bestseller list.  Meanwhile, the rich get richer, the bridges are crumbling, the schools are stupid, the terrorists are multiplying, and Steven Tyler is making country music.  We’re in big trouble.  But vote anyway because if we’ve gotta choose between an egotist with a messiah complex or a liar who understands complexity, I’ll take the one who isn’t relentlessly battling crucifixion.  Let’s face it…what Rabbi wouldn’t?

This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches, in Great Neck, New York.  Vote early, vote often, try the veal.

(c) 2016 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.

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Rabbi Sol Solomon’s Rabbinical Reflection #140 (6/12/16) – TONY AWARDS 2016

Airs June 11, 2016 on Dave’s Gone By. YouTube link:  https://youtu.be/RghaoMma4aU

Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of June 12, 2016.

Lovers of the theater — and by that I mean geeks, shut-ins, homosexuals, and the desperate — rejoice! The time has come once again to celebrate Broadway — the talent and creativity that bring a bissel fun and sanity to this increasingly meshuggenah world. Huzzah for the Tony Awards.

Now, it is hard to deny that Broadway has become a playground for the rich, a parcel of real estate increasingly off limits to working people who just crave two hours of tits, tunes and tears. But remember: many places offer discount tickets and two-fers — trust me on this, I know from bargains. And even if those prices are beyond your purse, for three hours this Sunday night, you can sit in front of the TV and watch the dazzle of 42nd Street unfurl before your glazed, lower-middle-class eyeballs.

You can’t get into Hamilton? Alexander Hamilton couldn’t get into Hamilton. But Sunday, June 12th, you get a digital front-row seat to the cast of Hamilton doing a song . . . and then winning every Tony Award known to man. Actually, they won’t, they can’t. They have 16 nominations — a record! — but they have multiple nominees in some categories, and not every race is a shoo-in. So Mel Brooks’s The Producers will likely remain the all-time Tony Award winner. Ah, if only I’d bought 112 shares of that show. Quel dommage. But there are other reasons to watch the Tony Awards either in person at the Beacon Theater or on CBS, whose viewership is so old, they should be nicknamed The Yahrzeit Network.

Seriously, though, what I love to do most of all this time of year is look through the Tony nominations and find the Jews. There’s generally a batch of them, this being theater and all, and it’s a point of pride when my people are being recognized for their brilliance — and for briefly escaping Equity’s 95 percent unemployment rate.

First and foremost, let us exult that Fiddler on the Roof is back, and this time, they have a Jew playing Tevye! He’s Tony-nominated Danny Burstein, who starts off as a modern guy who comes onstage reading the stories of Sholem Aleichem. Then he takes the jacket off and turns into Tevye the milkman. This has confused some matinee audiences. I guess when you get to a certain age, it can be hard to make the mental leap of: no jacket, 1910 Russian village; yes jacket, 2016 Sears men’s department. How these audiences survive Tom Stoppard is beyond me.

By the way, in the lead-actor category, Danny Burstein is up against Zachary Levi for She Loves Me. Now, this truly is confusing because Levi has a Jewish name, but he’s a gentile. Worse, in recent interviews, the Welsh actor said he was turned down for parts in Hollywood movies because he looked too Jewish. Levi said, quote, “I guess they were looking for more of a corn-fed, white boy look. My family is from Indiana, come on!” I feel for you, Danny. It’s like that time I auditioned for the Carolina Chocolate Drops. I nailed it; sang like an angel. But did they call? Did they write? Not a word. And don’t even get me started on how I tried to get into the Celtic Women. Actually, I almost got into one, but she found out I was married.

Anyhoo, moving on to other Tony categories . . . where the hell are my people? Where are the Cohens and the Rothsteins and the Schiowitzes and the Bermans? This year gives us names like Brooks and Nyong’o and Pigott-Smith and the erotic-sounding Sengbloh. Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for diversity. But it’s not so diverse if Jews are virtually absent.

Thank God, thanks to Hamilton, we do have a featured actor in a musical: Daveed Diggs. Yes, he’s a schvartz, but his parents gave him the Hebrew name for David because he’s half schvartz and half-Jewish. So I’d let him marry half my daughter. And speaking of halvsies, hooray for Sophie Okonedo, the celebrated British actress who already won a Tony for A Raisin in the Sun two seasons ago. Yes, she looks black, but there’s cholent under the chitlins! Okonedo’s mom is a Jewish Pilates teacher, and her parents were emigrants from Eastern Europe who spoke Yiddish! As Wikipedia notes, Okonedo’s father took a powder, and her single mom raised her in unavoidable poverty, but, says the actress, “We always had books.” If that isn’t Jewish, I don’t know what is. Well, a synagogue is Jewish; that kind of is. And Hebrew. And mezuzahs, but you know what I’m saying.

The wonderful lesson that we take from Daveed Diggs and Sophie Okonedo is that we can integrate, we can intermarry but not lose the spark of Yiddishkeit. We will no longer look the same or sound the same. And we will probably have better hair. But Jewish upbringing, connection, and belief need not go by the wayside, even if our people are far away from Bayside.

And so, on Tony night, when Lin-Manuel Miranda is giving his 32nd speech about inclusion, please remember that we are not as ex-cluded as it might first appear. Just look at the best-musical nominees: Hamilton, School of Rock, Shuffle Along, Waitress, and Bright Star. Hamilton deals with money, which Jews are always worried about; School of Rock concerns education, which is sacred to us; Shuffle Along is what every Jew over 70 does, and Waitress is what we all holler in a restaurant. As for Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s Bright Star, who’s to say it isn’t six-pointed?

This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches, in Great Neck, New York. On with the Tony show!

(c) 2016 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.

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Rabbi Sol Solomon’s Rabbinical Reflection #139 (5/8/16) – DONALD TRUMP

Airs May 7, 2016 on Dave’s Gone By.  Youtube clip: https://youtu.be/UcZDJBjwbW8

Shalom Dammit!  This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of May 8, 2016.

Just over a year ago, I did a Rabbinical Reflection about the 2016 presidential candidates for the Republican Party.  There were a dozen and a half of them—remember?  Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Scott Walker—a veritable who’s who of who’s hooligans.

Almost as an aside, I included the candidacy of Donald Trump.  I said, and I quote, “Donald Trump, who went bankrupt three times and yet brands himself as a financial genius.  Donald Trump, who has a magnificent knack for self-promotion but spends money he doesn’t have like it’s going out of style—why isn’t he running as a Democrat?”

The idea of Donald Drumpf actually getting traction as a viable candidate, and the thought that more than a few flakes would vote for this narcissistic, self-aggrandizing Oompa Loompa was downright comical.  And even if he did ride the cult of celebrity for awhile, you had fifteen other G.O.P. hopefuls with their own deluded followers.  But then America happened.  And the people rejected Chris Christie and his highway robbery.  They rejected Marco Rubio the wind-up doll.  They rejected Ben Carson, who didn’t need anaesthesia during heart surgery because he could put patients to sleep just by talking to them.

By the time the conservative muckymucks realized that Donald Trump was not just
a fad but a movement—and I don’t just mean the kind of movement I have every other morning if I’m lucky and drink my prune juice—by the time the powers that be of the G.O.P. realized their conservative groundswell was getting dug up by a real-estate developer, it was too late to stop him.

My God, their best shot was Ted Cruz, a man who couldn’t find one person to like him—even when he was looking in the mirror.  Ted Cruz was a dyed-in-the-wool conservative, vehemently pro-Israel (God bless him for that), and seemingly in line with everything the Republican party wanted to roll back from the last eight years.  And yet, not a single soul in the House or Senate wanted to work with him.  Former speaker of the house John Boehner called Ted Cruz, quote, “Lucifer in the flesh!” and “the most miserable son of a bitch” he ever worked with, unquote.  This from Boehner, a man who always behaved like he had a stick so far up his tushie, you could see splinters on his uvula.

And yet, this loathed and despised senator, Ted Cruz, was the Republicans’ last hope of putting one of their boys into the White House.  Oh, wait, I’m forgetting about John Kasich.  Because we all forgot about John Kasich.  The past three months, he should have just changed his name to something Chinese, like: “Oh Him Too.”  Especially since his name was on ballots like those restaurants in Chinatown that keep items like putrefied eggs and pig bladders on the menu even though no one in their right minds would order them.

To be fair, Kasich seemed like he had a brilliant strategy compared to go-for-broke losers like Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz.  Why spend money?  Why knock yourself out in races you can’t individually win?  Just keep treading water, don’t make waves, and when it’s time for the contested convention, make your perfect dive.  What Kasich didn’t realize is that voters saw through his shabby chicanery with Cruz and voted straight up for the man who wasn’t endorsed by the party, wasn’t owned by the Koch brothers, and wasn’t a career politician.

So when the dust settled last week, and the delegate votes were counted, the only candidate with a clear mandate was the one with the cloudiest agenda: Donald Trump.  The clown had become the clown prince.  This despite—or maybe because of—his penchant for school-bully insults and his crazy, off-the-cuff statements about the Klan and Mexicans and ugly women and pretty women being punished for their abortions.  They used to call Reagan the Teflon president because everything stupid slid off him.  Well, Trump is Teflon sprayed with Pam, coated with goose grease, and dipped in K.Y. Jelly.  Whatever he says, his followers counter with, “He really speaks his mind” or “well, he may say one thing, but we know what he really means.”  Do we?

Look, I’m the first to admit—or, if not the first, maybe the 12,030th—to admit that Donald Trump’s wildcard, shoot-from-the-lip status has a visceral appeal.  If the two parties running, and usually ruining, the country for the past 30 years don’t approve, he must be good, right?  And being a great persuader, he appeals to our emotions—unlike Hilary, who appeals to, well, not even her husband.

But let’s not forget that Donald Trump is a man who promises a robust job market, and yet he grew famous from a TV show on which he fired everyone!  This is a man who used to be pro-choice, but when he becomes a Republican, hup!, he suddenly turns anti-abortion.  This is a man who vows to fix the country’s troubles by collaborating with the best and brightest, but he couldn’t even find enough intelligent minds to teach in a bogus university.  This is a man who wants to keep out immigrants, unless they’re six feet tall, anorexic, and look good on a bearskin rug.  This is a man who wants to help the little guy, by building casinos to take their money and hotel rooms that only movie stars can afford.

In other words, the wizard behind the curtain has done very, very well for himself.  For others?  Not so much.  For better or worse, we’ve spent the last eight years led by a community organizer who, perhaps naively, thought he could bring everyone together to solve problems.  Are we now ready, instead, for a semi-benevolent dictator who thinks he knows everything and whose answer for every crisis is, “It’ll be amazing.  It’ll be beautiful.  Believe me.”

We’d like to believe you, Donald.  We’d like to believe in something.  But 240 years of politics, not to mention the Bernie Sanders campaign, have taught us the futility of belief.  And I’m a Rabbi saying this!  So if the votes are counted on November 8th, and America chooses the bloviating, thoughtless TV star over the jilted, calumniating harridan, all we can do is what we always do every four years on January 20th: pray.

This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches, in Great Neck, New York.  .

(c) 2016 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.

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Rabbi Sol Solomon’s Rabbinical Reflection #138 (4/24/16) – SHMURA MATZOHS

Aired April 23, 2016 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip: https://youtu.be/9e-dOyy_cQA

Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of April 24, 2016.

Among the great inventions of mankind are the wheel, the lever, the polio vaccine, and the computer microchip. But let’s not leave out one of my favorite all-time creations. Something so simple yet so perfectly imperfect. Something both great and crummy — pun intended.

You take flour and water, mix them together, roll it flat flat flat—flatter than a ten-year-old’s training bra—poke the dough with tiny holes, and push it into a super-hot, dry oven. After a couple of agonizing minutes, shazam! Matzoh! Somehow, this flour-and-water combo doesn’t turn into pita bread, it doesn’t become olive loaf, it doesn’t blossom into a Pepperidge Farm cookie. It just stays matzoh, and that’s good enough for me. Almost.

See, you can get Streit’s or Horowitz-Margareten or Manischewitz and other commercial brands of matzoh, and they’ll get you through the Passover holiday just fine. You make matzoh brei, where you dip it in egg; you can crumble it and make matzoh meal pancakes, which iHop would not be remiss in adding to their international breakfasts. Dear God, they make chocolate-covered matzoh, which sounds gross, but hey, if they can do it with crickets and bumble bees, why not the bread of affliction? (Chocolate-covered matzoh is not to be confused, by the way, with chocolate matzoh, which is just a giant chocolate bar made into the shape of a matzoh. In other words, a thousand times better. Chocolate-covered matzoh is to chocolate matzoh as a gold-plated watch is to a Rolex. If you promise your grandchildren chocolate matzoh, but you give them the chocolate covered, don’t expect them to visit you in the nursing home years later.)

But I digress. Matzoh is a tasty, non-nutritional but sustaining food meant to remind us of the bread our ancestors ate when they high-tailed it out of Egypt. `Cuz when you’re leavin’ hasty, you ain’t got time for pastry.

However, my reflection today is not just about matzoh; it’s about a special version of matzoh. The platinum standard, if you will. And I will. When I’m conducting a seder, or kicking back watchin’ baseball during chol hamoed, I want me some shmura matzoh! That’s the stuff! That’s the bread of affection! It’s the same flour and water, the same procedures. But with shmura matzoh, the harvested grain is guarded from the very first second it’s plucked to the moment the Rabbi slides it and its compadres out of the oven.

Shmura matzoh is the ultimate homemade bread. No machines, no slicer cutting the edges into right angles. No opening a box where every piece looks like a ceiling tile in a suburban office. Shmuras are individually mixed, rolled, and baked. And they don’t look beautiful or symmetrical. They’re lumpy, they’re brittle, often overcooked, and the burnt parts are all over the place. In fact, shmura matzohs are so ugly, they could replace Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill.

But oy my God, are they delicious! There’s something so real and so pure about them. Everything else you get in the store is machine-pressed, dye-cut, flushed with preservatives, and so far away from actual food, you’re not even sure what the hell you’re eating. With shmura matzoh you taste three things: flour, water, and Rabbi sweat.

Now there’s all sorts of hoo-ha/doo-dah rules about using shmura matzohs. You’re supposed to eat them only at the seder and no other time — not even the rest of the holiday. I’m sorry, but at $17 a box with six pieces of bread in it, I’ll eat it on Christmas if I want to. Also, since the matzoh is utilized during the seder ceremony — including breaking it for the afikomen, the bread has to be complete, unbroken. You think it was tough for the Jews to cross the Nile out of Egypt? Try getting a one-millimeter cracker from a Brooklyn factory to a Staten Island dinner table without having a few oopsies.

Still, it’s worth it because shmura matzohs are the bomb. Yes, they’re impossible to butter, and they don’t actually break in half; they splinter — leaving shards of crumbs everywhere you look. But I don’t care; their deliciousness trumps all. I mean, on Passover, we have to eat raw horseradish, and then we have to take yummy charoset and ruin it by mixing it with horseradish, and then for eight days: no pizza, no pretzels, no ravioli, no danish, no muffins, no waffles, no wafers, no hoagies, no heroes, no oatmeal, no beer. So if I want a piece of homecooked unleavened bread that looks like a manhole cover but tastes like Judaism, I will seek no further than shmura matzohs. Mmm mmm flavorless — and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches, in Great Neck, New York. A zissen Pesach to ya.

(c) 2016 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.

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Rabbi Sol Solomon’s Rabbinical Reflection #137 (3/6/16) – ASTRONAUT SCOTT KELLY

Aired March 5, 2016 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mj5FFhOV0iY

Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of March 6th, 2016.

Lost in all the hoopla of the primaries and the caucuses and the polls and the insults—and Donald Trump having his pole insulted—is another news story: a happy one, one that should make America proud. No, I’m not talking about Cam Newton getting spanked in the Super Bowl. I’m referring to Scott Kelly, brave American astronaut, who returned to planet earth last week after spending 11 months in outer space.

Think about that. 340 days floating high up in the universe. I can’t spend an hour in TJ Maxx without wanting to bite my own face off, and this guy willingly survives a whole year living in what is essentially a shmekel-shaped motor home.

Why did he do it? Not for personal gain, not to make a million bucks, not to pick up chicks—although I’ve heard the women on Neptune are kinda slutty. No, he did it for science, for the sheer joy of exploration and education. After all, it’s not like Kelly was setting a record. The longest time orbiting away from earth was 438 days by Valeri Polyakov in 1994. And back then, spending a year and a half away from Russia was a plus! Why come home? To see Boris Yeltsin vomit on his shoes? To rejoice when the supermarket has two kinds of toilet paper?

Of course, it’s easy to make fun of the old Soviet Union. “What a country!” See? I just did Yakov Smirnov’s whole act. But we must ask similar questions about astronaut Scott Kelly. He’s been gone since March 27th of last year. What did he miss? Let’s see: The Mayweather/Pacquiao fight. An Amtrak derailment. Cops killing black people. A redneck killing a church full of black people. An Academy Awards full of token black people. San Bernadino. Planned Parenthood. Isis on the warpath, Jon Stewart and David Letterman off the TV, Mets lose the Series, Bowie goes bye-bye, Chipotle gives you diarrhea, mosquitoes give you babies with tiny heads, and Michigan water kills you. Welcome back to earth, Scott Kelly!

Remember that old song, “Eve of Destruction?” Fifty years ago, P.F. Sloan nailed it with his lyrics: “You may leave here for four days in space / But when you return, it’s the same old place.” (Although gas is a little cheaper.) The point is: after all that time in the stratosphere, Scott Kelly comes back to the same crumbling bridges, the same reality shows, the same divided country, the same big blue marble getting knocked away from the center of the universe.

And if you’re wondering just how prescient “Eve of Destruction” was, look at the other lyrics: “Hate your next-door neighbor” – No need to hate; just build a wall to keep them from becoming our dishwashers and fruitpickers. And “don’t forget to say grace”—because Evangelicals have done so much with their prayers to help and unite this country.

As for Scott Kelly, he still has to re-integrate into what we laughingly call “society.” In fact, before he goes home, NASA will study him to suss out the long-term effects of space travel on mental and physical health. The goal is to figure out what shape astronauts might have to be in to go all the way to Mars. Which again goes back to the good side of space travel. Yes, it costs bazillions of dollars that could go to boosting minimum wage. Yes, it sometimes seems the only thing NASA ever gave us was moon rocks and Tang . . . and that psycho-astrogirl who wore a diaper. But learning more about the universe is always good, even if it’s just to discover that Pluto’s been screwing with us and had no intention of being a planet in the first place. And don’t get me started on Uranus. At least not in public.

So baruch hashav, Scott Kelly! Your home state of New Jersey is giving you a ticker tape parade. No, wait, that’s Governor Christie shredding his career.

In his first interview since touching down on terra firma, Kelly said that without question, he would go back into space again. Who knows? He might stay a year, two years up there. And we still won’t have a new Supreme Court justice.

You know what, Scott? If you do go back, take me with you. I can’t cook, I don’t clean, I can’t fix equipment, and I know nothing about the galaxy. But I can count backwards from 10, I can dress as a banana—so if you’ve still got that gorilla suit, there’s tons of levity right there, and I keep shabbos, so you’d have a day of rest after all that scientific record-keeping stuff. And hey, maybe I can help you colonize Mars. After all, President Trump is gonna need somewhere to put all the refugees.

This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches, in Great Neck, New York.

(c) 2016 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.

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Rabbi Sol Solomon’s Rabbinical Reflection #136 (2/28/16) – HITLER’S JUNK

Aired Feb. 27, 2016 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NC-ixw96kNI

Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of February 28th, 2016.

Tyrant. Psychotic. Sociopath. Hypospadius sufferer. Yes, all these adjectives describe the single greatest villain of the previous century: Adolf Hitler. “What is hypospadius?”, I hear you say. Micropenis!

That’s right. The Austrian-born, German chancellor who wanted to rule the world had a teeny, tiny, itsby-bitsy, nearly microscopic shmeckel. Awwww. According to the new book, “Hitler’s Last Day: Minute by Minute”—which should be called “Inch by Inch!”—Der Fuhrer’s frankfurter was so small – “how small was it?” – it was so small, he had to pee sitting down because basically, there was no dick; there was just a hole near the base of his wang.

They call that Penile Hypospadius. Sounds like something you’d name a Greek lawyer but no, it’s a rare condition where the urethra—that little tube that sucks urine and spooge out of the bladder—the urethra opens on the underside of the winkie. In other words, if Adolf were to pish standing up, he’d just be making lemonade in his lederhosen.

And by the way, that longtime rumor has also been proven true: Hitler did have just one testicle. Well, one visible, working testicle. The other just never came down. It was up there, floating behind his belly button, kinda like a yo-yo caught in a tree.

So what does this all mean in terms of who Hitler was and the calamaties he caused? I dunno, but if I got out of the shower every day, looked down and saw a knuckle on the end of my balls, I’d hate the universe, too. It is known that Hitler had strange relationships with women and took all kinds of drugs and treatments to boost his virility. They say he’d even get injections of bull semen. Go figure; with Nazis, the blood has to be pure, but the jizz? Anything goes.

What I don’t understand is: If Hitler had a chip on his shoulder – because he had no whip on his boulders – shouldn’t he have been mad at the schvartzes instead of the Jews? He’d be jealous of Italians and black men with Howitzers in their Hanes. Why pick on Jewish guys, who aren’t exactly known for hiding salamis in their pajamis? Yes, we do have the outliers like Milton Berle and David Duchovny . . . and myself . . . but for the most part, if a Jewish guy with a boner walks into a wall, he’s still gonna break his nose.

If Adolf Hitler, The Great Dicklesstator, had embraced the Jewish nation and commiserated with them on their puny putzes, what a different world this would have been! Instead of making Jews into lampshades, he would have rolled up lampshades to make prosthetic peckers. Instead of hard labor, he’d put in the labor to get hard. Instead of herding people into gas chambers, he’d join them in therapy sessions. They’d all hug and confess to stuffing kielbasas down their pants to impress waitresses at Oktoberfest. No World War II, no Holocaust, no Berlin Wall . . . we’d still have the accordion, but you take the victories you can.

Perhaps it’s too Freudian to suggest that Hitler compensated for his wee willie winkle by building phallic missiles and having the whole country salute him by holding their arms stiff and erect. But then again, maybe there’s something to it. Look who else attacked us in the Second World War: the Japanese. We all know they’ve got nothing between their legs but broken chopsticks.

Now, causality/shmausality; we’re not giving Hitler a pass for his actions because of his inadequacy. We can, however, tell some really tasteless jokes at his expense. For example:

What did they call Adolf Hitler’s last orgasm? The final so-lotion.
What did Hitler have in common with the Jews? They both looked awful coming out of the shower.
Why was Hitler so afraid of acne? One time he got a hard-on, and a dermatologist tried to pop it.
Why was Hitler better at basketball than Jesse Owens? Jesse could run, but Hitler dribbled.
Why was Hitler a bad shortstop? Because he always started with two foul balls, one of which was out of play.
What’s the difference between Poland and Eva Braun? Hitler could get into Poland.
Why was Hitler always borrowing Eva’s tweezers? To masturbate.
Why was Hitler banned from Eva Braun’s kitchen? He got his dick caught in the spaghetti strainer.
Did Hitler suffer from polio? No, he had smallcox.
Was Hitler brutal to his mistresses? No, he was a softie.
Why did Hitler use an IBM computer? Because he didn’t have a Wang.
Why was Hitler so stubborn? `Cause he couldn’t budge an inch.
Why did Hitler buy a goldfish? So he could finally get a decent blowjob. Think about it.
Why was Robin Williams better than Hitler? At least he was hung.

Well, I did warn you that they were tasteless. But, what? You’re gonna get offended because I made fun of Hitler? Remind me not to bust out my Son of Sam jokes; they’re quite disrespectful to the poor guy.

Seriously, though, the thought of Adolf Hitler, architect of the Third Reich, feeling freakish and ashamed, sexually useless, and driven to desperate and painful measures . . . kinda gives me a stiffy. So if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna go surprise my dear wife, Miriam Libby, and give her my three magnificent inches of Hebrew National salami. I know it ain’t much, but when I use it right, she kicks up a fuhror.

This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches, in Great Neck, New York. Heil me!

(c) 2016 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.

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Rabbi Sol Solomon’s Rabbinical Reflection #135 (1/17/16) – DAVID BOWIE

Aired Jan. 16, 2016 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_goP2CmBVI

Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of January 17th, 2016.

It is time to say a sad Shalom to David Bowie, the super-talented singer, songwriter, rock star, and icon who died of liver cancer on January 10th. Most musicians find one persona in a career and stick with it: Joe Smith sings country, Edna Whatever does dance pop, Mordecai Ben David does . . . whatever he does. But David Bowie changed his look, his style, his sound more times than I change my underwear. Well, maybe that’s not the best example, since I’m kind of lazy in the laundry department, but you know what I mean. He started with twee British pop tunes like “Come and Buy My Toys” and “Love You `Til Tuesday,” songs that weren’t meant to last even until Monday. But they pointed the way towards freaky folk and post-Apollo weirdness and “Space Oddity,” the story of a man who gets completely lost in space and never comes back—like Gary Busey.

Wearing dresses and cavorting in transgender weirdness, Bowie pushed the conventions of behavior and attire—which could only mean one thing: he was destined for rock and roll. He created Ziggy Stardust, a rock idol with a comet-like trajectory and really, really tight pants. Suddenly, just going onstage and playing songs wasn’t enough anymore. You needed costumes and makeup and pyrotechnics and huge hydraulics. Long before Grizabella rose to cat heaven and Bono started singing from a claw, Bowie was ascending on a cherry picker and cavorting with glass spiders.

And when all that got too weird and dangerous, Bowie changed again. He became a Thin White Duke, white because he was basically covered head to foot with cocaine powder. But the music remained: “Rebel Rebel,” “Somebody Up There Likes Me,” “Young Americans,”—soul music for white people. And believe me, we needed it, because up till then, the closest we got to soul music was Donovan. But even Bowie’s “plastic soul” was the real thing—so real that James Brown stole Carlos Alomar’s riff from “Fame”—not the other way around. They even asked James Brown about it, and he said, quote, “(series of grunts).”

But seriously, Bowie eased off the drugs just a little to save his sanity and then moved on to yet another incarnation: krautrock. He and Brian Eno found themselves in Berlin mixing electronic music and hard rock in a delightful way that could only come out of a country that murdered 40 million people. Bowie would never reach those musical peaks again, and indeed, his most commercially popular years were filled with dance-club pop and sometimes desperate attempts to stay trendy by incorporating that 1980s sound that we all loved so much. (Insert sarcastic facial expression here.)

Did he stay there, though? Of course not. He was David Bowie. He returned to arty, experimental, and often difficult music and stayed there for another two decades. He may not have gotten on the radio with songs like “Slip Away,” “Never Get Old,” and “Fall Dog Bombs the Moon,” but anyone with iTunes and ears can find them and hear their worth.

After that, for awhile, David Bowie laid low (no album-title pun intended). He pushed his back catalogue and old concerts and didn’t tour because of a heart condition. But then two years ago, he jumped once more into creativity, secretly recording new tracks with old colleagues. He put out “The Next Day” in 2013, then started working on an off-Broadway show, then released another album on his birthday this year. We all now know the reason for this 18-month burst of activity, and it may be the biggest Bowie takeaway of all. He knew his days were literally numbered. He knew the liver he was punishing 40 years ago was coming back like Rocky for a knockout. He knew he had so much more to do and so little time. So he did it. He pushed himself because any day, he would fall to earth.

Most of us, thank God, don’t have such a diagnosis hanging over our heads. Except we do. Who knows when HaShem will send a drunk driver careening towards us on the highway? Or a Muslim with a backpack? Or a mutated cell that will turn prostates into pancakes and ovaries into rotten eggs? Every day we’re still alive is a challenge to make that day count. To bring something new into the world that wasn’t there the day before.

Maybe it’s a poem. A painting. A table. A scarf. A youtube video of your pet doing something adorable. Okay, maybe the world doesn’t need more of that, but the impetus to strike while our irons are still hot is, perhaps, the greatest function of our human DNA.

Go figure it took a space alien, diamond dog, and spider from Mars to remind us. Thank you, David Bowie. You were a musical hero for a lot more than just one day.

This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches, in Great Neck, New York.

(c) 2016 TotalTheater. All rights reserved.

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