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Author: Joe Dillingham (page 1 of 161)

Donald Trump is Cancer

Today, I had a brief moment of insight and recognized what I am—and have been—feeling about Donald Trump becoming the President; this whole process has felt a lot like watching a loved one die of a terminal disease. In fact, as I think about it more, the metaphor and emotional arc I’ve experienced extend to pretty much the entire campaign process, so let’s go through the whole thing together.

Donald Trump’s rise through the ranks of the already-toxic GOP was difficult for me to watch and impossible for me to stay level headed about. All the warning signs were there: the lies, the hate, the malice. Trump has been cartoon evil the entire time, a smirking villain in a group of otherwise unremarkable Republican contenders dominated by Tea Party whackos and members of the old guard who just couldn’t compete for the attention of America’s bible-thumping red state voters. He climbed through the ranks on the backs of more qualified men, and then stole their thunder with wild boasting and impossible promises. Never ready to openly embrace the darkest aspects of the American electorate, but also never willing to publicly separate himself from them, Trump didn’t go away like any sane person wanted him to, but grew in influence and became more serious. So serious that the soreness and aches could no longer be ignored, and suddenly there was blood in the urine which definitely required a trip the doctor.

While you hoped for a mundane response from the doctor, a bruised kidney or maybe dehydration or stress or some other manageable thing, the news was more dire than you would have ever feared. The doctor had ruled out all other possibilities and Donald Trump became the Republican presidential nominee. The bad news pulled people together to fight the spread of disease, but people couldn’t decide how it should be treated, so they bickered and argued and some people decided that abstaining from treatment was the right choice. And the good doctors all tried their hardest to fight the spread of the Trump cancer, but spread and grow it did.

We all struggled and we were angry. Trump was wildly unqualified for the job the Republicans put him up for. He was a vile, reprehensible man in both his public and private lives and this was the person the GOP thought should run the country? It seemed so insane to everyone. How could this happen? Why us? This couldn’t possibly be real, could it? But it was real. Incredibly real. Yet, we were assured that he wasn’t going to win, that it was almost a certainty that we would beat this monster and we would continue on with the grand American experiment the way we had for the previous eight imperfect but incredible years under the stewardship of Obama. Everything was going to be fine! People would never actually vote for that monster. Why would anyone want cancer to spread?

Suddenly, there was an unexpected turn for the worst, and Trump won the Presidency with 3 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton. It was a devastating blow. Spirits were crushed. The future felt dark. For me, Trump winning was that moment you watched your loved one being admitted to the hospital with very little possibility of leaving. Sure, you hoped that something would turn around, that he would have been impeached or that this business with Putin would have had some effect. You read and you researched, and some information elicited hope and some inspired dread. Yet, you couldn’t turn yourself away from the reading, from the discussions, from trying to figure out how to fix the problem. Surely there must be some solution. You racked your brain and you were filled with anxiety and sleep eluded you. And when everything was boiling inside you, you screamed into the void and you pled with the heavens. But deep, deep in your heart, you knew that this was always a one-way trip. Your loved one will not see the outside of a hospital again and Donald J. Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America.

On January 20th, 2017, you watched the light in your loved one’s eyes fade and Trump was sworn in to the highest office in the land.

And it was sad, but, in a lot of ways, it was also a huge relief.

The death of someone you love is an unparalleled loss, but watching them suffer and erode is much worse. Terminal disease robs people of the people they are, and by the time they actually pass, you feel like you can finally stop holding your breath. You can finally stop worrying. You can let go. That person is gone and absolutely nothing will change that. No more unknowns, no more worrying. Now, you mourn, you celebrate, and you rebuild your new, different life.

That feeling of relief is what I recognized in myself today and it took me a moment to understand where I’d felt it before. But when I figured it out, the last year was suddenly thrown into stark clarity. Of course! these feelings are like when my little brother was sick and died, but on a more abstract, macro scale. With Nicky’s dying, it was pointed and sharp and very personal. With Trump’s presidency, it is broad and formless and everywhere, but the feelings—the loss, the anger, the anxiety, the fear—are exactly the same. And now that the wondering is over, I feel prepared to get on with it. And that doesn’t mean giving up. It means that my energy can be focused free of crippling anxiety. Trump is death and he has arrived, so we no longer have to worry about dying.

I suspect that a lot of Americans are feeling the same way this weekend. The Women’s Marches across the country and the world are sure indicators. Sarah is down in DC today for the march on the capital. I am proud of her for that. Lots of women I know are also in DC for the march, or in various cities for local marches. I am proud of all of them, too. I am proud of every American woman, man, and child who is out across the country raising their voice to help us all rebuild after our devastating loss. This is a positive first step and a strong statement that the desire for progress is real. The message is love and equality and acceptance. The message is hope. The next four years are going to be rocky, unsure, complicated. Now it is time to rebuild our new, different life as Americans to battle the poisons spilling from the Trump regime.

Mountain Dew – Drone Hunting

At the end of last year, I cut this spot with some cool dudes from BBDO here at Wax and it was just finally released. It’s the moving, emotional story of a bunch of kids chasing a tiny helicopter with nets. It was a fun challenge to cut something fairly different than my usual comedy work and I think it came out pretty cool.

If you are a lover of motorbikes, teeny helicopters, Chile, dust, Mountain Dew, nets, trees, grass, or all or none of those things, check out the spot and enjoy the hell out of it.

GoGurt Garage with Bob Vila 2 – Brodie Smith

Bob Vila is back. This time he’s endorsing GoGurt with Brodie Smith, of Youtube Frisbee-trick fame. It’s pretty awesome this time around, too. Give it a watch and then be sure to tell me how funny and handsome I am for editing this magnificent piece of content.

THANKS.

Jerry Rice and Shannon Sharpe Party Fail Study

Remember when Joe Flacco threw a party? Well, the good folks at TracyLocke and I are back with the sequel, this time starring Hall-of-Famers Jerry Rice and Shannon Sharpe. Football!!!!

It’s funny! We did a good job! Jerry Rice is bad at virtual reality!

Go watch it. Enjoy it. Tell your friends. Share the link. Make it super popular like the last one—Joe Flacco has 12.5 million views as of this writing—and help keep The Black Laser alive* by helping me continue to have a job**! Cool!

* The Black Laser is in no trouble of disappearing.
** I am not at risk of losing my job.

Recipe: Wingin’ It Cottage Pie (Whole30 compliant)

I cook a lot, and I have been cooking with a heavy paleo bent for a long time. And, since Sarah and I are doing the Whole30 this month, I thought it might be fun to share some of my recipes with you all. Note: if you are looking for precision in your recipes, buy a cookbook. I’m just going to tell you how I do it, and you can make it work for yourself.

Cottage Pie is a generic term for a dish using leftover meat topped with mashed potatoes which is then baked again. It’s a pretty solid and filling meal-in-a-bowl and it holds up to reheating perfectly so you can make a bunch and eat it throughout the week. The dish is also commonly referred to as Shepherd’s Pie, but I’ve always understood that to be mutton-based (shepherd = sheep, obviously). I’ve also heard the dish referred to as Chinese Pie when made with ground beef instead of mutton or lamb as a reference to Chinese immigrant laborers building the railroads who didn’t have access to mutton, but did have access to beef. But, Cottage Pie is more common (and less potentially racist?) so Cottage Pie it is.

This is also a good recipe since it’s not precise at all. And I mean AT ALL. You can take my ideas here and adapt them however you like. I cooked this thing according to the ingredients below recently, but next time it will be different. As long as you follow good cooking practice, you basically can’t fuck this up.

Wingin’ It Cottage Pie

Ingredients:
4 or 5 biggish sweet potatoes
1.5 lb ground beef
1 mediumish carrot
2 or 3 celery spears
1 medium onion
4 tomatoes on the vine or roma tomatoes or other tomatoes about that size
1 14oz can crushed tomatoes
Garlic cloves as per your preference
1 box low-sodium beef stock
Ghee
Spices: salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, cumin, paprika, coriander, oregano, thyme, garlic, parsley, whatever the hell you want, really.

Steps 1, 2, and 3-6 can sort of be done at the same time. There’s a lot of waiting to be done, so multitask.

1) Peel and cut your sweet potatoes into similarly sized chunks. Not too big, but don’t waste your time making them super small either. It’s more important that they are all about the same size since they will cook more evenly.

Throw those bad boys into a big stock pot and add some salt. Maybe like a teaspoon per sweet potato, kind of like salting pasta water (but pasta is right out on the Whole30 so don’t even THINK about it, bro). Whatever. The amount of salt isn’t super critical. Use your best judgment.

Fill the pot with water so there’s an inch or so of water on top of the sweet potato chunks. They should be floating a little.

Cover the pot and stick it on the stove on high. When it comes to a rolling boil, reduce to a simmer and let simmer for like 30 minutes. Should be totally good after that. After 30 minutes, drain the pot. Then drizzle the potatoes with a little olive oil if you like (or don’t) and salt and pepper and mash the shit out them. They should be nearly pureed. If you want to stick them in a food process or something you can, but that’s a ton of extra dishes and not at all necessary. Just use a potato masher like a grown-up.

Cover the pot and set aside.

2) Dice your tomatoes into smallish chunks. Again, actual size isn’t that important. Like big chunks? Leave them big! Like small chunks? Dice the hell out of them! Don’t like tomatoes at all? Fuck it! Omit this step completely!

Get a pot, like one of those 3 quart guys, and get it hot. Add a little bit of ghee and sauté the tomato chunks until they look pretty cooked. Add some red pepper flakes because they are good. Salt and pepper too, of course.

Once the tomatoes are pretty cooked, stir in half the canned crushed tomatoes and set the rest aside for a little bit. Bring the sautéed tomato/crushed tomato mix to a simmer and then cover and reduce to super low. We don’t want it to cook, just to stay warm.

3) Dice your carrot, celery, and onion. I like a small dice, but do whatever the hell you like; it’s your life. Also dice up a couple cloves of garlic, but keep it separate from the carrotceleryonion mix.

Heat a large, high-walled pan (a dutch oven works great for this) over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot add a tablespoon-ish of ghee (full disclosure: I have no idea what a tablespoon looks like, I just eyeball it based on experience) which will melt within 20 seconds. Add in your garlic and let it cook for not too long. We don’t want it to burn, just to open up a little.

Once the garlic is slightly browner, add in the carrotceleryonion. Salt that shit. It helps draw out the excess water and makes it more delicious. Cook those guys together over medium-high heat until the celery is soft and the onions are fairly reduced in size. Keep stirring. The carrots will still look raw because carrots are jerks and you can’t trust them. Once they’re nice and cooked (5 to 7 minutes, maybe less, probably a touch more) take them out of the pan and set them aside for now.

4) Add another dollop of ghee to the pan and, once it melts, toss in your ground beef. Salt it and raise the heat to high.

Cook your beef until it’s cooked. I don’t know how long it’s going to take. Just keep stirring that shit until it’s done. You’ll know because it will be brown, you know, like cooked beef.

Lots of recipes will tell you to drain the juice at this step, but I say bullshit to that. Leave the juice in the pan. That shit is delicious. Juice drainers can go to hell.

5) Add the cooked veggies from Step 3 to the cooked beef from Step 4 and mix those guys together. Yum! It smells good! Reduce the heat to medium for now.

Time to add spices. I like to use cheap-shit paprika as a base. It gives a nice color, the cheap stuff isn’t spicy, and it kind of goes with everything. I also add salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, parsley, and whatever I mentioned above. It doesn’t really matter that much. I like these ones so this is what I use. Use whatever spice combo you like. Ground beef is basically like a blank flavor palette, so follow your joy.

Add all your spices to a bowl and stir with your fingers. This agitates the spices and opens them up a little and gives you a good sense of your balance.

Protip: when you think you’ve added enough of a spice to the bowl, add more. More spices = more delicious. This dish is not about subtlety. It’s about heartiness and flavor and making you feel warm on the inside. Add more spice. One exception: salt. You can always add more salt later, but you’ll never be able to take it out.

Stir the spice mixture into the meat veggie mixture. I also like to add a couple heavy dollops of the canned tomatoes I set aside early. I use the “Eh that feels like enough” metric, so add as much or as little as you like.

Once the spices are well integrated, add beef stock until the beef is a little wobbly in the pan. Increase the heat to high and let the stock reduce. This blends all those flavors together and increases the deliciousness of your food big time.

6) Preheat your oven to 375 or 400 while the beef stock is reducing. Whatever.

7) Once the beef juice has reduced to the point that it just looks like thick-ish sauce (but should absolutely NOT be dry), turn the stove off. Your elements are prepared! AWESOME!

Get yourself an 8 x 13 casserole dish. Or you can use two smaller dishes if you want. It literally does not matter at all. Fuck, if you want to do this in the dutch oven you used earlier, you totally can, but it might be a little hard to serve.

Spoon the beef into the bottom of the dish and spread so it’s a nice even layer. Cool! At this point, I like to give it another splash of beef stock since we’ll be putting it under heat again and dry meat sucks ass.

Next, take your tomato mixture and spread that on top of the beef in an even layer. Nice!!

Finally, scoop your mashed sweet potatoes on top of everything else. Gently spread it into a roughly even layer. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just more or less even. Be careful when applying pressure as the beef base is not a very stable foundation. Wow!!!

Once it’s all assembled I like to finish it with a sprinkle of something delicious on top. The time I did this in the photograph I used Maldon’s sea salt flakes and maras pepper because they are wonderful and you should have them. But if you don’t, regular black pepper and kosher salt will be fine. Put a bunch: you have to remember that you have a giant layer of basically unspiced sweet potato mash to contend with.

8) Stick the now-assembled cottage pie in the oven for like 30 minutes. The actual time doesn’t really matter. You’ll know it’s ready to eat when you see the beef liquid bubbling at the edges. 30 minutes will definitely do it.

That’s it! Let it cool for a minute and then eat the thing!

Leftovers go in the fridge and can easily be reheated in the oven and be just as delicious as the first time.

GoGurt Garage with Bob Vila 1 – The Slow Mo Guys

Guys! I did more work! I am literally working all the time! I never stop! EVER!

So, I did this funny video with some folks at Saatchi NY for GoGurt’s GoGurt Garage promo. It stars Bob Vila, the world’s second most famous Cuban, and the Slow Mo Guys, a couple of English guys with a slow motion camera who like to destroy stuff, as they try and empty out tubes of GoGurt. It’s messy. There are explosions. And power tools. You should watch it.

Here’s the trailer I cut for it:

And here is the video The Slow Mo Guys created for the project:

If you are a crafty teenager, go enter the contest and win one of the awesome trophies. They are pretty awesome and ridiculous.

Hamburger Hummus: Episode 7 “#BLESSED Day Ever”

“#BLESSED Day Ever” is the seventh and final film in the Hamburger Hummus septology. We follow Judy through Jerusalem as she seeks to connect with her spiritual side. Also, Deedra is hungover. Batman!

Now that you’ve seen all the films, which was your favorite? Did you have as much fun watching as I had editing them? I bet you did. And if you didn’t just keep it to yourself. No one wants your negativity here.

Hamburger Hummus: Episode 6 “Earthright”

The sixth film, “Earthright”, is in your eyes and ears right now! Awesome! Check out all the hippies! What do they smell like? We’ll never know! (But we can probably guess.)