Monday, November 17, 2014

Did Not Play - The DNP Podcast or A View Of Sports From A Room.

I'm an unashamed fan of the internet podcast. Have been for as long as I've had a high speed internet connection and knew how to use it. In my journey through the landscape of internet broadcasting I've come across many fine programs covering many fine topics but, there is no doubt that comedy remains my go to for entertainment, enlightenment and relaxation. 

There is a certain brilliance in comedy that is done well. Sure, it can be laugh out loud funny or razor sharp witty but the comedy that I find most appealing is the type that is thought provoking. When you come away from a comedic performance laughing your tookus off - that is a worthy investment. When you come away from a performance that stays with you long after the curtain has fallen, that is something special. 

You might wonder then, whether a comedic podcast that combines the best elements of performance and wit with an examination of American sporting culture can achieve that alchemic zenith of lingering, thought provoking observation. It can be done and it has in the form of the DNP Podcast. 

The DNP Podcast, a bi-weekly comedy talk radio show, takes its name from a well worn sporting acronym meaning "Did Not Play".

The brain child of Chicago comedians Dean Carlson and Victor Marinier, the DNP Podcast observes and documents American sports in real time. From American Pro-Football, North American Hockey, American Basketball, Baseball and MMA, Dean and Victor review the week within each sporting code, discuss the defining moments from each sporting code and they preview the upcoming rosters and offer their predictions. But it is not simply a clinical dissection of the sports that they admire or the teams they cheer for.

Dean and Victor - bro-time.

Sport can often be seen as a reflection of life. Thus, employing their considerable comedic skills, Dean and Victor extend their observations into a wider discussion about life - particularly life as a sports fan. Their astute and wickedly funny discussions about sporting achievement and sporting failure and how each of those influence us in our day to day is where the genius of this show lies. I have said elsewhere that the DNP Podcast turns the mirror back on this most human of endeavors and pulls it's pants down. 

Further though, their independence from the mainstream media allows them a freedom to explore sporting culture in far more depth than would otherwise be possible. The net result from this is a far more engaging show that is laugh out loud funny but also thought provoking. 

Dean Carlson.

Dean Carlson has been involved in the Chicago comedy scene since he was 15 years old. He has trained with Second City in Chicago (from high school into his adult years) has performed with his own sketch/improv troupe Tortilla Moustache and has been performing regular stand-up throughout Chicago and across the Midwest United States for the past decade. As an acerbic and astute observationalist, Dean brings to the DNP Podcast a keen eye for the minutiae of sporting psychology. 

Victor Marinier.

Victor Marinier has been a fixture of the Chicago Comedy scene both as a performer, writer and editor, collaborating with a number of notable performers including Dean Carlson, Brendan McGowan, Mike Stanley and Mike Bridenstine. Victor brings to the DNP Podcast an encyclopedic knowledge of sporting statistics as well as love of popular culture. 

The DNP Podcast broadcasts bi-weekly across the internet and is available for podcast download from the official site as well as iTunes. 

Connect with the DNP Podcast here.

Subscribe to the DNP Podcast on iTunes here

Connect with Dean Carlson here

Connect with Victor Marinier here


Catch the Interview - Dean Mayes one on one with Tania Elizabeth - live now.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Heart of a Dove by Abbie Williams.

Heart of a DoveHeart of a Dove by Abbie Williams

Scheduled for world wide release on December 9th, 2014 from Central Avenue Publishing.

The Civil War has ended, leaving the country with a gaping wound. Lorie Blake, a southern orphan sold into prostitution at fifteen, has carefully guarded her aching soul from the disgrace forced upon her every evening. Two years have passed, leaving her with little hope of anything more. Meanwhile, three men – longtime friends – and a young boy with a heart of gold are traveling northward, planning to rebuild their lives in the north and leave behind the horrors of their time as soldiers in the Confederate Army.

Fate, however, has plans of its own, causing their lives to collide in a river town whorehouse. Forced to flee, Lorie escapes and joins them on the journey north. But danger stalks them all in the form of a vindictive whorehouse madam and an ex-Union soldier, insane and bent on exacting revenge. At last, Lorie must come to terms with her past and devastating secrets that she cannot yet bear to reveal.

Heart of a Dove is the first book in a gripping, sweeping romantic saga of pain, unbearable choices, loss and true love set against the backdrop of a scarred, post-Civil War America.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars*

(*disclaimer - Dean was provided with an advanced copy for the purpose of this review.)

Abbie Williams is an author who excels at the romance genre. Her Shore Leave Cafe series is a show case for her ability weave a contemporary tapestry, complete with rich characters, vivid settings and seductive moods. With Heart of a Dove, Williams takes those ingredients and deposits them into an historical back drop - in this case, the American Civil War - crafting an epic story that is her most accomplished work to date.

Author Abbie Williams. 

The effects of the War are evidenced in Williams cast of characters - all of whom have been damaged in some way by the conflict. Not the least of which is Lorie Blake, a unique heroine whose young innocence is shattered by forced servitude at the hands of a callous brothel madame.

Her situation seems helpless until she is rescued by a rag tag quartet of young men, lead by an enigmatic veteran in Angus, a mysterious stranger in Sawyer, a dependable horseman in Boyd and a precocious boy in Malcolm. They are as much veterans from the war as they are orphans because of it. And because of this, each man has a distinct sense of justice and an intolerance of those who seek to abuse it. All of them have a unique experience and, for me, I became as much a student of history through their eyes as I was a reader of this sweeping romantic drama. Williams attention to history is impeccable and yet she doesn't labour the story with it. 

Her romantic elements - so much a signature of Williams writing - shine in Heart of a Dove as it moves softly in places and urgently in others. There is an erotic energy to the tome that is tastefully drawn and an emotional power that is honest and heart felt.

With Heart of a Dove, we are quickly drawn into what is a rather lovely place and time to be and I had a difficult time wanting to leave.

It is a singularly beautiful story - a fine achievement for Abbie Williams.

Heart of a Dove is scheduled for a December 9, 2014 release from Central Avenue Publishing in both print and digital formats. 

Minnesota based writer Abbie Williams says she has been addicted to love stories ever since first sneaking her mother's copy of The Flame and the Flower. "Since then, I've been jotting down stories of my own in notebook after spiral-bound notebook. Well, that is until I got a computer that was equipped with Word, one fine day."

Abbie spends her days with her own true love, their three daughters, and a very busy schedule. She says she is most happy when she can sneak in a few hours to write and indulge in visiting the characters in her stories. 

When Abbie not writing, teaching or spending time with her family, she can be found listening to her favorite music: Alison Krauss and Union Station, the Wailin' Jennys, and The Be Good Tanyas. If there's time in the evening, she might watch a few episodes of Hell on Wheels and eat a jar of crunchy peanut butter.

Visit Abbie Williams here

Connect with Abbie Williams here.

Tweet with Abbie Williams here

View all my Goodreads reviews


Monday, November 3, 2014


Running the brush through my 4 year old's pony tail this morning, separating each strand, enhancing each one, I marvel at how soothing this act is for both of us. No matter what may be happening in the world, at this moment, there is just us. 

How did her hair get so long in such a short time?


Her grasp of the world around her constantly amazes me. More-so are the questions that confound me. 

"Dad - What is metamorphosis?" 

I can't remember if I ever even pondered such questions when I was her age. Mind you, I can't remember if I had a second cup of coffee this morning. 


Accidental art while painting balloons for Halloween. She sneezed. This happened...

Sure - she was proud at first but then we freaked each other out as the face on the plate started to move. 


From 6AM on Sunday morning, my 8 year old was at the living room window. 

"It doesn't look like rain Dad." 

6AM... I am not supposed to be awake yet. 

"It doesn't look like rain." 

I have my doubts. He has his tears. Those tears break me every time.

We go. Raise the mast. Hoist the sail. And launch. By the time we're on the water, the sun shines down - almost as if he has willed it himself. 

Look at him will you...

The sail was filled - as if by his own hand. 

How could I argue with this?


This may seem disconnected but, this morning, I am reminded of a scene from the movie "Raiders of the Lost Ark", when Indy and Marion are bidding farewell to Sallah on the dock in Cairo. 

In a final moment between friends, Marion draws Sallah close and kisses him on the left cheek...

"That is for fire," she whispers softly. 

She kisses him on the right cheek...

"That is for your children...and this is for you..."

Her final kiss is a long and tender one, placed upon his lips with affection and gratitude...for a passionate man. A passionate father. A passionate human...


I am nothing without my children.