Thursday, December 28, 2006

Spreading the Word.

Tomorrow, Friday the 29th of December, will see a group of blogger friends/old high school friends/hangers-on meet at Club Lago in Chicago. I think around 7ish?...Maybe?

Sadly, I will not be there, I have to work my own waiter job about four miles north of Lago.

Enjoy, and let me know if you are going anywhere else. Or come on by my place.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Quick Hits.

  • To those of you who may be in the city of Chicago this weekend. I work at a place called Jury's, 4337 N. Lincoln, on Fri., Sat., and Sunday. Lulu, knows it. We are open till 11 p.m. those nights. Come on in if you can. Ask for me, they call me Phil there.
  • To those of you who may be in Elmhurst (Spring Inn?) this week. I live there. Not the Spring Inn, Elmhurst. My cell can be gotten by emailing me at the email in my profile. Drop me a line, it would be cool to see you.
  • I've started a sport's blog, Double-Nickel. Check it out when you get the chance.

Christmas tag, Christmas tag.....Tagging all the way....

Frank tageth.

A-Available or single? Married.

B-Best Friend? Dave, the Wife, The Boys, the guy who calls me Bill...

C-Cake or pie? Neither. I made myself a shake last night after Christmas Dinner. Breyers ice cream, Hersey's chocolate, 2% milk and some chocolate chip cookies from the desert tray. I think I'm gonna try making one with the left-over lemon squares today.

D-Drink of choice? Diet Pepsi. I can't stop.

E-Essential item I use every day? My mouth, in order to decieve and misdirect those who would have me use my brain.

F-Favorite color? Red hair.

G-Gummy Bears or Gummy worms? Either, I got the sweet tooth.

H-Hometown? Elmhurst, Illinois

I-Indulgence? Most of the time.

J-January or February? They both sure can suck in Chicago. They sucked in LA too. Rainy season. Mud slides. Not good times.

K-Kids and names: Philip and Patrick. I like family names, I think it helps connect the kid, and person, to their past.

L-Life is incomplete without? Travel.

M-Marriage date: Married, June second(?), 2002. Vegas.

N-Number of siblings...2 Younger brothers. Danny & Timmy.

O-Oranges or apples? Oranges

P-Phobias or fears? Heights. Large bodies of water.

Q-Favorite quote? "Will there be someplace, where I know...wash my pants?" Dave, summer, 1996, on the phone with a school adviser, after being informed he would be living in a hotel on Michigan Ave, and not the Columbia dorms.

R-Reasons to smile: The Boys, the Wife, my family. Most of the time, it's good to be Phil.

S-Season? Football!!!!

Tag 3 or 4 people...Dave... I think everyone else has done it. If not? Do it!!

U-Unknown fact about me...Return of the Jedi, is my favorite Star Wars film.

V-Vegetable you don't like...Onions, though I'm not sure they are a vegetable.

W-Worst habit...Smoking. I still like it. I don't wanna hear it.

Y-Your favorite food? I love oysters.

Z-Zodiac? Scorpio.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

My Actor Friends Part 7. My Own Private Guffman

I apologize for the lack of new topics here, but I have found myself alittle active lately. I got cast in Greenman Theatre Troupe's production of Murder: Stage Right. They are Elmhurst's lone community theatre, been around for acouple years, their most recent productions were The Odd Couple and Waiting For Godot.

The production I am in, which also needs a stage manager and costumer if anyone knows anyone interested, is a pretty standard dinner murder mystery type thing. Tailor made for the suburban audience, when done well, these can be alot of fun to perform.

I didn't audition for the show. My buddy Mike went to school with the Artistic Director David Soria. David is also an I.S.U. theatre alum like myself, and if you knew the I.S.U. theatre department, you'd say, "Of course he is." It's a recurring theme in my life, plus we are everywhere in Chicago. I had met David previously, volunteering to help when I could. Mike helped organize the auditions, they needed more actors. Mike couldn't do it. I got the call. The show is only one weekend, rehearsals don't conflict with my schedule, so I said yes. I like saying yes, but I have occasionally regretted it. (More on this later.)

Last night was our first production meeting. The actor's, director, board members, production team, etc. all met at a house here in Elmhurst. Crackers, bread, cheese and wine were served. General introductions were made. David spoke about company rules, rehearsal locations, schedule, contracts, production needs. All standard, important stuff, that reflect a good level of professionalism. Then he introduced a gentleman in the back. He would be working on the production as a Life/Actor coach.


Fast forward an hour. First, I've participated in an introduction exercise that requires you describe yourself, in relation to the show, with single words. (I'm am an actor on the show and I am eager. I am a actor on the show and I am frightened.)

My first partner is an energetic, forty-something, teacher and mother, with an extensive dance background, who may have been stabbed in the face earlier this year by a student. I saw no visible scar and I wasn't sure if I had heard her right, so I didn't ask to many questions. She seemed exceedingly nice. My next partner is a 63 year-old grandfather. He is a big guy and teaches Latin at a prominent Catholic high school. He and his wife have decided that it is time to indulge the things they have been unable to indulge in. Acting is one of his choices, and I think that's pretty cool of he and his wife.

Next we go around the room, again using single words, to describe things that went well, or didn't,l in our last production. Often, this can become a bitch session, with everyone giving their sad story of the director that wouldn't direct, or the actor who stabbed everyone behind their backs. To our life coach's credit, he keeps it quick and on point. I've had three glasses of wine by now. My word was, commitment. I get nods of approval and understanding from around the room. We have now shared an experience, gaining a better understanding of one another. Our coach likes my word and writes it on the board which keeps our list of words. I expect we will be revisiting with board throughout the process as a means of staying focused.

We'll see.

I may sound alittle sarcastic. I've been through this before. These exercises are meant to help people find a comfort zone with others, encourage communication, open up, etc, etc, etc... Sometimes they can be very helpful. Often necessary when working with inexperienced actors, unfamiliar with each other. You can find these exercises in any professional production or basic acting class.

They can also be used to avoid the work at hand. A time burglar. You end up spending more time in a chair talking than you do on your feet working. Especially when not run by the director and in the absence of a specific acting or script problem to be overcome. One of the nice things about being an actor is the teamwork. You aren't working alone, as a writer might, relent only on yourself for motivation, or ideas. You use everyone around you. For good, or bad.

Early odds on whether I was right to say yes are unclear. Doing a show is a five week rehearsal schedule, three show, one weekend run. I'm a stay at home dad, who works three days a week waiting tables 45 minutes away. The show offers zero potential for more professional opportunities outside this company. There are only so many hours in the day.

But, I will get to work with new people, make new friends. Get in front of an audience again. Build something long term here at home.

So... We'll see. We all have to take our own advice sometime.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

My Actor Friends. Part 6 That's A Wrap.

Most of you who read this are artists. Even if you don't produce art in the classic sense, as a painter, writer or sculptor, you creatively express yourself. It may be a hobby, but it is much more than a simple pastime. Me? I'm an actor. I may not be the best actor in the world, but I am trained, and I do enjoy it.

We wrapped shooting yesterday on, Cold December. The production had been working all week, but I was only called for the last two days.

As most of you know, films can be prohibitively expensive. The financing for Cold December comes entirely from the director/producer/writer/Cameraman Brian Wright's (pictured here) pocket. When your chosen medium is movies, you can't always wait for some exec to give you forty million, so you tailor your script to what you can afford. Often, making stylistic and artistic choices due to lack of funding.

We shot with a skeleton crew of Director/Cameraman, Boom Operator and Assistant Director/Script Supervisor. Three people, more or less, essential to filming. Director/Cameraman's need is obvious. Normally, there would be a laundry list of departments, from art to make-up, costumes, props, lighting, etc.

The Script Supervisor's job is to keep track of everything that is being shot. Organizing a list of shots from close-ups, two-shots, masters, medium shots, reversals, so the director knows what needs to be, and what has been, shot. Also, for the editor (who is our director/producer/writer/cameraman, as well.) to use as a guide when editing. The Script supervisor also helps keep track of the set, where things are and what was used, in an effort to maintain continuity. It is a very difficult job, performed excellently by Annie, a recent Northwestern grad pictured here.

The Boom Operator is required for quality sound. It is a demanding position calling for very close attention to details, like sound levels, surrounding noise and actors mumbled performances of dialogue. Among other things, there is physical strain. Holding a mic above our heads for ten to fifteen hours a day is no easy task. (On the left, Mike, our boom operator, and Brian work out the challenge of shooting in a bathroom with confined space and multiple mirrors.) I boomed on a feature film in LA when I first arrived in town. I was grossly under qualified, but desperate for work. I left the shoot with a high respect for the job.

It was especially nice to work with Chris again. He trained with the same coach I did in L.A. and uses, mainly, the same techniques. One of the challenges of acting in a film, compared to performing a play, is the nonlinear schedule. There is no organic build as in performing a play from beginning to end. Actor's in films have to pay close attention to the given circumstances of what is being shot at that time. An actor must internalize those circumstances, (Which I call "prep", but it could have many names depending on the actor.) then allow that to infuse their performance, dialogue and relationships with their fellow actors characters. This is often called "subtext." or "internal monologue." The circumstances change throughout the scene. Within your "prep" is what the character "wants." The changes in circumstances can be called "obstacles," to those "wants." The best actors have a very strong "prep" and are endlessly creative when making "choices" based on it. "Choices" are what the actors use to overcome "obstacles" and also to create a full character. Marlon Brando famously sliced an orange peal and put it in his mouth, pretending to be a monster, to entertain his grandson in The Godfather. He could of done anything, but what is brilliant about that "choice" is he accomplishes a "want," (entertaining his grandson) and clearly describes his character. (Who is, in fact, a murderous, greedy monster that controls a criminal empire.)

I'm getting alittle ahead of myself. There are volumes written on acting technique by much smarter people then me. Suffice to say, I felt good about the work being done and I look forward to the finished product.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

My Actor Friends. Part 5

A script can be read, like any written piece, and enjoyed, but different than a novel or blog, it is meant to be performed. Shakespeare and Sam Shepard are wonderful writers and alot can be learned from just sitting, reading and studying their work, but like song lyrics without the music, you are only getting a portion of what they are meant to be.

One of the first steps towards performance is the read-thru. All the actors, the director and occasionally a few crew members attend. Usually, it's the actors first chance to meet one another. We had our read-thru of Cold December last Sunday. It went very well. During read-thrus actor's can occasionally focus to much on the script. Getting the lines right is important, more so in theatre than film were dialogue can be more flexible, but at this early stage you also want to establish a connection with your fellow actor. Look them in the eyes, take your time, listen. I thought, since Chris, the director Brian and I had worked together, we had extra confidence to make some stronger choices during the read. He's the lead, so he spent more time connecting. I play one of his wacky friends, so I get act like an idiot to get a laugh. Between Chris's honesty and my jackassedness we struck a good balance. Slowly, everyone started taking their eyes off the script. We had fun, the director was happy and I think we will have fun.

Monday, December 04, 2006

What's On Your Shuffle? (Does that mean my iPod only or all my music on iTunes?)

Thanks to Lulu for this one.

How many songs: 12,445

First song: Dreadlock Holiday - 10CC

Last song: SNL clip - Kevin Spacey doing Christopher Walken auditioning for Han Solo in Star Wars. (Truly inspired comedy.)

Shortest: 0:04 Who's Knocking On The Wall? - They Might Be Giants.

Longest: Symphony No. 9 - Ludwig van Beethoven 26:58

Five most played songs:

1. Catch The Wind - Joan Baez and Donovan
2. Victoria - The Kinks
3. Winnie the Pooh - Mike Curb Congregation
4. Pulled Up - The Talking Heads
5. Sweet Jane - The Cowboy Junkies

First song that comes up on "shuffle.” Welcome To The Terrordome - Public Enemy

Number of items that come up when searching for:

"sex": 58

"death": 37

"love": 653 (That's kind nice to see.)

"you": 1398 (My God, I'm obsessed with you.)

"me": 3054 (Not as obsessed I am with me. Lulu mentioned this, some of these aren't totally accurate do to things like this, (Simpsons - Homer arguing with Lisa about different meats) coming up for "me.")

"cry": 37

I Tag Dave.

Tag Again.... For The First Time.

Echo is tagging me again.

1. Popcorn or candy?
Candy, usually Junior Mints or Dots. Sometimes Raisonettes. Always with a Diet Coke.

2. Name a movie you've been meaning to see forever. Brian's Song. I'm a huge Bears fan and I've never seen this movie.

3. You are given the power to recall one Oscar. Who loses theirs and to whom? I gotta tell you, I couldn't be less interested in the Oscars. Awards ceremonies really leave me cold. Anyway... Take Costner's for Dances With Wolves and give it to Scorcese for Goodfellas.

4. Steal one costume from a movie for your wardrobe. Easy, Darth Vader.

5. Your favorite film sex scene. In the car near the end of The Ice Storm.

6. Invite five movie people over for dinner. Who are they? Why'd you invite them? What do you feed them? George Lucas, The Coen Brother's, Martin Scorcese, Spike Lee. I just think they all have some good stories to tell. We'd play Pictionary and have Pot Luck.

7. What is the appropriate punishment for people who answer cell phones in the movie theater? Just toss 'em out.

8. Choose a female bodyguard: Sandra Bullock in Ms. Congeniality.

9. What's the scariest thing you've ever seen in a movie? I still think about Jaws when standing near any body of water.

10. Your favorite genre (excluding "comedy" and "drama") is.... Westerns. Uniquely American, the good ones teach us a great deal about ourselves.

11. You are given the power to greenlight movies at the studio of your choice for one year. How do you wield this power? With cynical disregard for others.

12. Samantha or Jeannie? Have I met them?

13. Is Gene Kelly annoying because it's obvious he was so full of himself and he was about 4'8"? Sorry, Gene Kelly is the man. You stand next to acouple movie stars and you discover, alot of them are pretty short. All of them are full of themselves.

Technical Difficulties.

For some reason, I can post comments as anonymous but not as Phil. Anyone have any ideas or experience with this problem?

Friday, December 01, 2006

Snow Day, or The Frozen Tundra Of Elmhurst.

Life threatening amount of snowfall last night. Do I miss L.A.? Nah, never.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

This story reminds me of something a Simpsons writer said on one of the DVD commentaries. Paraphrasing, he said, of all the people, cultures, ethnicity's, whatever they had made fun of over the years. The Irish were the only ones who never contacted them and complained about it.

Monday, November 27, 2006

My Actor Friends. Part 4

So I got a part in a film called, COLD DECEMBER.

I'm very excited. I haven't done any acting in well over a year.

I'm also alittle terrified. I haven't done any acting in well over a year.

While in L.A. I was: taking classes, doing plays, auditioning, attending workshops, meeting agents, doing mailings. The whole thing. Like an athlete in the middle of their season, you get yourself to a point of high productivity. You are in gameshape, ready for anything. Right now, I'm not in gameshape. Unless the game is, suburban stay-at-home Dad Olympics.

We shoot during the week of Dec. 11. The script was written by Chicago native, Brian Wright, who I got to know in L.A. The lead will be played by my buddy Chris Fountain. A good actor and one hella good guy. I'm looking forward to working with him again, we get drunk together in the second act. Though his is a dark drunk of self loathing, it should be a great time. I'll keep you abreast of any developments.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Things I Am Thankful For: My Immune System.

I never get sick. Sure, I have been sick, but not for awhile. Every year when people are coughing, sneezing and miserably dragging themselves to the doctor for shots and prescriptions, I am not. I couldn't tell you the last time I had the flu, or got a flu shot. I am not allergic to anything. The changing seasons have no effect on my sinuses. I never get colds. I've never had a throat culture. Never had Strep. When I do feel any scratchiness in my throat, I just drink alot of orange juice. I always feel fine the next day. I have a half-baked theory that the less medicine I take, the less my body will need when fighting infection. Who knows?

Philip is four. He has never gotten a flu shot, never been on penicillin, never had an ear infection or the flu. Patrick, two, had a cough last winter, but I chalk that up to us moving from L.A. to Chicago. Enduring his first real winter, a cough was all he got, with no illness since. My sons seem to have inherited this from me, who I believe, inherited from Mother. My Mother never gets sick.

Mine and my families immune system is a blessing I am thankful for.

Friday, November 17, 2006

The magic "IF," probably not what Stanislavsky was thinking...

I just realized the brilliance of this idea. O.J. could write a whole series, taking unsolved murders and describing how he would have murdered the victims. Bravo, scumbag.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Flame Throwing Fifteen On Friday

Cigarettes will kill you - Ben Lee
I Just Dropped In - Kenny Rogers
Having A Party - Sam Cooke
Lullabye - Concrete Blonde
Kickball - The Kingpinz
Li'l Christine - Material Issue
What's So Funny About Peace, Love and Understanding - The Atari's Live
Can't Turn You Loose - Otis Redding Live
Bouncing Around The Room - Phish
Life In A Northern Town - The Dream Academy
No Surrender - Bruce Springsteen Live
Don't Tell Me - Madonna
Before The Next Teardrop Falls - The Riders Of The Purple Sage
Let Me Go - Cake
Love Spreads - The Stone Roses

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Stuck on 25.

Taking our eyes off the national elections and turning them to some local news. Joe Newton has been suspended by the IHSA for violating the maximum amount of contact days, 25, with athletes during the off-season. The violation occurred during his off-season camp, which lasts 35 days. The suspension also includes assistant coach Charlie Kern. The York boys cross country team they coached won the IHSA class AA State Finals on Nov. 4th. It was their fifth straight year winning and the 26th in school history, but neither of them will be listed as coaches on the team this year.

Joe Newton is the John Wooden of Illinois high school cross country. 25 state titles in 50 years; he was also a coach at the Seoul Olympics. I never ran for Coach Newton, but both my brother's did.

Here is the transcript for an interview I conducted this morning via email with Tim Hendricks, my youngest brother and Godfather of Patrick. He's a former Elmhurst resident, and strangely, still registered to vote here.

Timmy, what years did you attend York HS? 1992-1996

What teams were you on that he coached? I was on the track team 1994, 1995, 1996, sophomore to senior years and Cross Country team in 1994 and 1995, junior and senior years.

What titles or accomplishments did you or the team have? The cross country team won the state meet in 1994 and placed second in 1995, breaking our streak of 6 straight state titles. In 1995, I ran on two all-state relays, placing 6th in the 800 meter relay and 5th in the mile relay. The track team placed 3rd in state in 1996

How would you describe him as a coach? He is a motivator that demands a lot from his runners. He expected a lot from his runners and he let you and every one on the team know when you weren't performing to his expectations. He knew everyone's name on the teams, and we always had more than 100 kids on both the Track and Cross Country teams, and everyone had the same rules.

Where you taught by him outside of being coached? Gym class? I never had him in gym class.

If so, how would you describe him as a teacher? From what I witnessed of him while teaching gym he was more relaxed and he didn't really care what you did as long as you treated him with respect.

Can you describe a difference between; Joe Newton the Coach and Joe Newton the Teacher? Joe Newton the coach yelled a lot more and expected greatness from his runners. It didn't appear he expected much from his students except again to treat him with respect and in turn he would treat the students with respect.

How would you describe him as a man? He is a willful person that is driven to be the best at whatever he puts his mind to.

Was he strong? In what way?
Yes, he is a very strong person. He was in his late 60's when he coached me 10 years ago and he got up early every morning to run until he was physically unable to. So when running was to hard on his body he got up every morning to work out in the pool.

Could you take him in a fight? I doubt it, while I was running for him. Maybe now.

What nickname did Joe Newton give you? Mother Hen. The same as my older brother. (Our middle brother, Danny.) His nicknames were not always original but every one had one. (This blogger never received a nickname. I was merely, Hendricks.)

Has Joe Newton ever tried to kiss you? No.

Do you have any opinion about this suspension? I don't have any real strong opinions on the matter, I have thoughts. I think that there is to much scrutiny on amateur athletes, rules that apply to the very few and make it hard on the average athlete, who is competing because they enjoy the sport. High School Athletes can be suspended if they are found to be competing in other organizations outside the IHSA. However, rules are rules and Mr. Newton violated one. This rule I tend to agree with. I believe it is in place to protect the students from over ambitious coaches. High school athletes are not pros, they are not even college athletes, and sometimes coaches need to be reminded that their sport is not the only thing in a students life. This rule protects students from coaches demanding their players be in attendance more than they probably should be. After all, the great majority of High School athletes do not participate past the high school level and even though off- season work-outs can not be required by coaches, and are voluntary, we all know that is not the case for the best athletes.

Do I think 35 days instead of 25 days over the summer is a big deal, No. But that is the number of days the IHSA has decided on. I feel bad for Coach Kern who now has to miss the track season for the violation.

Timmy, have you ever tried to kiss Joe Newton? No.

And finally Tim, why does your fantasy football team suck so bad? Your team sucks.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

2006 Midterm Elections


I guess our vote counted for something else.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

2006 Midterm Elections

"We will win the Senate and we’ll win the House. And we’re going to win these elections because we understand the values and priorities of the American people."

So far, it looks like he was half wrong at least. Add it to the list.

Though Tammy Duckworth appears to have lost; this feels alot better than '04.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Happy Birthday Patrick!

Patrick Myles Hendricks, Glendale Memorial Hospital, 11/04/04.

It's an amazing thing when your child is born. Patrick was our second; but it is no less amazing the second time you go through it. It's one of the few things we all have in common. We all get born. A completely new, unique human being arrives on the earth. Right now he is young, but someday he will have friend's, lover's, failings and successes. He will effect people's lives for the better or for the worse. He will help and be helped. He will be taught. He will teach.

My birthday is one week before his. The day, and sad memory, of a friends passing falls in between the two. Dates such as these gives one pause, dwelling on hopes for the future, regrets for the past.

My one hope for Patrick, and his brother Philip, as they walk the difficult path of Life, is that they won't lay waste to the planet as super powerful mutants bent on making the world pay for their father's lack of love.
Jeremy & I, smoking our cigar's of celebration.

Friday, November 03, 2006

The Race For The Sixth District of Illinois. Part 4, Real Nice.

The New York Times

November 2, 2006

U.S. Tightens Medicaid Rules for Babies of Illegal Immigrants

WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 — Under a new policy, children born in the United States to undocumented immigrants with low incomes will no longer be automatically entitled to health insurance through Medicaid, federal officials said today.

Doctors and hospitals said the policy change would make it more difficult for such infants, who are United States citizens, to obtain health care needed in the first year of life.

Undocumented immigrants are generally barred from Medicaid, but can get coverage for treatment of emergency medical conditions, including labor and delivery. In the past, once a woman received emergency care under Medicaid for the birth of a baby, the child was deemed eligible for coverage as well, and states had to cover them for one year from the date of birth.

Under the new policy, an application must be filed for the child, and the parents must provide documents to prove the child’s citizenship.

The documentation requirements took effect in July, but some states have been slow to enforce them, and many doctors are only now becoming aware of the effects on newborns.

Obtaining such documents can take weeks or months in some states, doctors said. Moreover, they added, illegal immigrant parents may be reluctant to go to a state welfare office to file applications because they fear contact with government agencies that could report their presence to immigration authorities.

Administration officials said the change was necessary under their reading of a new law, the Deficit Reduction Act, signed by President Bush in February. The law did not mention newborns, but generally tightened Medicaid documentation requirements because some lawmakers were concerned that immigrants were fraudulently claiming United States citizenship to get Medicaid.

Marilyn E. Wilson, a spokeswoman for the Tennessee Medicaid program, said: “The federal government told us we have no latitude. All states must change their policies and practices. We will not be able to cover any services for the newborn until a Medicaid application is filed. That could be days, weeks or months after the child is born.”

About four million babies are born in the United States each year, and Medicaid pays for more than one-third of all births. The number involving illegal immigrant parents is not known, but is likely to be in the tens of thousands, health experts said.

Doctors and hospitals denounced the policy change and denied that it was required by the new law.

Dr. Jay E. Berkelhamer, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, said the new policy “punishes babies who, according to the Constitution, are citizens because they were born here.”

Dr. Martin C. Michaels, a pediatrician in Dalton, Ga., said that continuous coverage in the first year of life was important because “newborns need care right from the start.”

“Some Americans may want to grant amnesty to undocumented immigrants, and others may want to send them home,” Dr. Michaels said. “But the children who are born here had no say in that debate.”

Under a 1984 law, which remains on the books, infants born to pregnant women on Medicaid are deemed eligible for Medicaid for one year.

In an interview today, Leslie V. Norwalk, acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said the new policy “reflects what the new law says in terms of eligibility.”

“When emergency Medicaid pays for a birth,” Ms. Norwalk said, “the child is not automatically deemed eligible. But the child could apply and could qualify for Medicaid because of the family’s poverty status. If anyone knows about a child being denied care, we want to know about it. Please step up and tell us.”

Representative Charlie Norwood, Republican of Georgia, was a principal architect of the new law. “Charlie’s intent was that every person receiving Medicaid needs to provide documentation,” said John E. Stone, a spokesman for Mr. Norwood, who is a dentist and has been active on health care issues. “With newborns, there should be no problem. All you have to do is provide a birth certificate or hospital records verifying birth.”

But Dr. Berkelhamer of the pediatrics academy disagreed. Even though the children are eligible for Medicaid, he said, undocumented immigrants may be afraid to apply because of “the threat of deportation.” And the new policy “will cost the health care system more in the long run,” added Dr. Berkelhamer, because children of undocumented immigrants may go without immunizations, preventive care and treatments needed in the first year of life.

Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, commissioner of the Baltimore Health Department, said: “From the standpoint of public health, the new policy is senseless. It creates delays in getting insurance for children at precisely the moment when they need it most, in the first few months of life.”

Anne Marie Murphy, the Medicaid director in Illinois, said: “The new policy will be a barrier to Medicaid enrollment for citizen children. If we pay medical claims for childbirth at a hospital in Illinois, we know that the child was born here and is eligible for our program, based on income. It would be physically impossible for the child not to be a citizen.”

Doctors, children’s hospitals and advocacy groups, like the National Health Law Program, have been urging states to preserve the old policy on Medicaid eligibility for children born to undocumented immigrants.

Sara Rosenbaum, a professor of health law at George Washington University, said: “The new policy reflects a tortured reading of the new law and is contrary to the language of the 1984 statute, which Congress did not change. The whole purpose of the earlier law, passed with bipartisan support, was to make sure that a baby would not have a single day’s break in coverage from the date of birth through the first year of life.”*

I go back and forth with Republicans I know on this thing called Medicaid. I don't have enough experience studying it nor using it to make a very educated argument. It falls in the catagory of, "Entitlement program," makeing it, by default, tax money wasted by the government. Without any expertise on the subject, I'm prone to agree, entitlement programs may be a waste of money. That there are lazy, crooked people in this world taking advantage of such programs.

And the government doesn't have much money these days. Record deficit, if you haven't heard. As the atricle says, this policy is based on the Deficit Reduction Act, Bush signed in Feburay. A deficit that didn't exsist 6 years ago... But hey, split milk. We gotta make some cut's somewhere. This victory celebration party won't pay for itself.

But when it comes to basic, timely, health care for children, and not just children, newborn infants. Babies. U.S. citizens. I believe it is our job, in the spirit of improving this country for all, to provide basic, timely care for them. I won't buy the argument that the greatest, most profitable country in the world is unable to, can't, or won't. To me, that isn't an entitlement as much as it is keeping this nation healthy, strong and well.

Please, get out and vote on Tuesday.

*Thanks to I Dislike Your Favorite Team for bringing this article to my attention.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

My Actor Friends. Part 3

So I completely forgot to mention, this guy Jeremy Luc, is gonna be on CSI:NY tonight. I guess it's a big, special guest part. I think he goes by Jeremy Luke now. Jerk. Please check him out. As always, thanks for your support.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween!

Team Hendricks. Halloween, 2006.

Team Brennan & Bad Art.

Shelto & Ava

The Halloween Hendricks wagon is rollin'!!

A grumpy, Mr. Incredible.

Here's to the sunny slopes of long ago. Part 2.

My buddy Ashley passed away on Halloween, 2001.
It was sudden, shocking and profoundly sad.

Ashley had magic in him. He was a brilliant light.

Driving home from his funeral, in a car full of sad friends, silence fell over us. Behind the wheel I asked aloud, "So, where do you think Ashley is now?" Someone said, "Everywhere," to all our agreement.

Moments later, the sky above showed a brilliant light.
It looked as if God had taken a paintbrush to the night sky.

Green and orange swam above dripping towards the horizon.
Lighting our sad faces which now smiled.
Aurora Borealis confirming our conclusions.

A toast!

To Ashley Hugen and the sunny slopes of long ago!

* A thanks to Lisa for the pic of Ashley, she also remembers Ashley today.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Patrick's Baptism.

Cousin Edward and Team Hendricks
Patrick's Baptism 2006

This past Saturday, we got Patrick Baptized along with his 3 month-old cousin, Marybeth. Patrick will be two on Saturday. We are rather lazy Catholics.

My cousin Edward is a Deacon. He Baptizes everyone in our family. I like that I have a family member perform the ceremony. For me, it becomes a family celebration rather than a obligatory religious ritual. My brother, Tim, is Godfather, The Wife's sister, Karin, Godmother.

He always gives a good service. On this occasion he brought the New Testament (Christian) closer with the Old Testament (Jewish); describing how Jesus taught the Old Testament of 'love thy neighbor' second only to 'love thy God.' Later he examined the 'Our Father' prayer, focusing on 'We forgive those.' Both good, appropriate messages in these times of dwelling on overly exaggerated differences between people and religion.

There is the added pleasure of getting the family together. My Uncle, and Godfather, is a Jew named Herb. He's a big personality, loves to talk and kid. When my son Philip asks, "What's that," while pointing to the Stations of the Cross, my Uncle informs him that it's, "My cousin, Jesus." Earlier in the year, when my Grandmother O'Donnell passed, the flowers he ordered formed a Star of David, which he set in the coffin with her. High comedy.

Marybeth carries her Grandmother's name. I always get a kick out of my wife's family. Everyone is a redhead. My wife is one of six. Her aunt had twelve. Getting them together for these things, you'd think the Midwest's entire population of redheads was in attendance.

Edward is fond of telling family stories; often educating us on our history. Ed is my Grandfather's, sister's son; they were the youngest of thirteen children. Patrick carries his Great-Grandfather's name. My Grandfather's older brother's were bootlegger's in the '20's. Al Capone was at my Great-Grandmother funeral. I should really sit down with him and start a written record of our family history.

Long story short; great fun was had by all.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

3, Is The Magic Number.

Today I turned, 33.

More specifically, I turned 33 at 3:33 this morning.

My address is 333 1st street.

I am the 1st of 3 sons.

I am the 2nd of 3 Phil's living in this house.

My father served in the 3rd Marine Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division.

Today I turned, 33.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Job Part 2

With their bill in my apron, I approach table 8 asking if they enjoyed the desert. As I reach for, what I assume is her finished sundae, my customer swats my hand away. "I'm not done with that," she says in a joking manner.

She didn't injure me, but we aren't such good friends that I find this all that funny. We did just meet about forty-five minutes ago.

"Pardon me," I respond. I guess she likes cold, chocolate soup.

"You know, I just wanted to mention that my wine glass was very dirty," she states, lifting the glass for my inspection. "Some of this is mine, but alot wasn't."

The glass is rather dirty, but I have little sympathy for customers who complain after the fact. After it is too late for me correct the problem. Of course, this was unintentional, but a mistake was made and I want to correct it.

Why would you drink out of a filthy glass?

Smiling, to hide frustration, "I wish you would have told me. I'd have happily gotten you a clean glass."

"That's alright, I just wanted you to know." Great. Now I know. I hope you tell all your friends about it.

"Please Miss, in the future, tell me if there is any problem and we will fix it right away." Because, I would never drink from a dirty glass. I certainly don't expect you too.

"I don't like to waste food, you would have dumped out the wine." Well, that explains the chocolate soup.

"We could have poured it in a clean glass for you."

"That's true."

I've gotten written complaints to bosses for conversations like the one above. I've been described as rude and defensive. I've been trained to return to a table after either two bites of their entray or two minutes after it has been served. When I do I ask if everything is alright. If it isn't, tell me.

Waiting tables will teach you that, sometimes people just want to complain. That if the problem were fixed, they would be less happy for lack of something to complain about.

They did tip well, so maybe they just wanted me to know.

But... Gross.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Playtime 10-26-06

Suburban Yard in Fall.

Patrick and Max.

Philip testing his theory that, "Leaves fix my car and make it go really fast."

Only known photo of the elusive, feral, Pumpkin Boy.


Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Locations In Elmhurst That Maybe Fronts For A Government Cover-up.

Location: Elmhurst Quarry

Wikipedia alleges it is, "A 150-foot deep limestone quarry covering about 59 acres is located half a mile west of downtown along West Avenue and 1st St. A tunnel from Salt Creek diverts water into the quarry in case of a flood."

Calcite with Marcasite Inclusions found at site. Sounds like a fancy name for Kryptonite?

Another site claims, "
The rock is here well bedded (see Illustration sheet 1, fig. 16) and shows abundant traces of organisms. The strata form a gentle anticline with northeast-southwest strike, and the surface shows glaciation. Some dimension stone is quarried." What "organisms," it never says.

Yet another site offers views of the "quarry." Curiously, none of the camera's work.

Suburban teens make it their business to break into places like this. I've never met a single person that has seen the inside.

Open your eyes people.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

My Actor Friends Part 2: World's Greatest Dad.

Really. I'm a very good father.

For more info on this film visit, Monkey Come Home.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

What's The Big Deal? Part 2

I majored in acting at Illinois State University. We had a lovable acting professor named Patrick. Patrick's greatest tool as a teacher was his passion. Passion for the work. Passion for acting. Passion for the students.

He wasn't a bad drinking buddy either.

Well, Patrick has gotten himself into some trouble. Seems he's gone and kissed a student. A male student. You can read the article here.

When I attended, this would not have surprised me much. I never felt threatened, but it happened. There were some occasions when a complaint went to the head of the department, or the dean. Usually I thought this an overreaction.

College friends have written about it. You can read some here, here, here and here. Some feel that Patrick has been wronged. Some think if the student's feelings had been brought to Patrick's attention he would have stopped. Some argue, well, it is a theatre department. Behavior as a norm is a little more experimental. All, go on record as his friend.

I can't help but think that these are excuses that friends make for another friend. That if the victim had been a women and the Professor less lovable, we wouldn't hesitate to call it harassment. Even in this case, some who knew Patrick, feel he crossed the line years ago.

I made fun of Mark Foley, who I'm not sure did anything illegal, here myself and I'm embarrassed by another Congressional cover-up. I don't think we enabled a sexual predator in Patrick, but I think I should be consistent.

He's a friend.

I think his behavior was inappropriate and unprofessional.

I'd still go drinking with him anytime.

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Job.

I'm a waiter. Been doing it for years. I'm old enough now to feel no shame in it. I chose it, and I like it. I take pride in doing a good job. I enjoy showing people a good time. It helps pay for the food my kids eat, as well as their saving for college.

At it's most basic, you are providing people the food they live on. At it's best, you are a guide through a beautiful gallery of artworks that nourishes all their senses.

I work in a casual, corner bar in Lincoln Square, Chicago. There are white table clothes and lobster on the menu, but it's still a corner bar. I recommend the steaks and burgers.

Last night as I waited tables, a five top sat down. As I welcome them, they interrupt and order a bottle of Zinfandel. We have a pretty extensive wine list. Some thirty-five bottles. I'm happy to suggest a few things, discuss it with them, because the chances of me picking the right wine are small. On Sunday's it's marked half off on all bottles. I try to point out the discount wine list, adding that they may want to pick one out for themselves rather then have me pick it out. They interrupt again, saying that's all fine just bring the cheapest Zinfandel.

I brought our cheapest Red Zinfandel, showed them the label, opened and poured.

You guessed it. They meant White Zinfandel.

Trying to avoid a, "I told you so" tone, I explain that this can happen sometimes when letting your server choose things for you. That it was was partially my fault really, I should have asked which type of Zin they wanted.

I got lucky, one of the people at the table agreed to drink it and I brought them their White Zin.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I'm not a very disciplined writer. I'm not a writer at all. I rely on inspiration to write. If I'm not close to my computer when it comes, it is often lost.

The bar is set pretty high by the writers of the blogs I read. I want to produce that quality a blog myself. Now it is twisted in my head and I have no ideas.

What are some of your writing tricks? What steps do you take to remain productive?

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Do You Tag?

The Fantastic Four

  1. Waiter
  2. Boom Mic Operator
  3. Bread maker
  4. Script Proof Reader
  1. Superhero crime fighter
  2. Jedi
  3. Father Time
  4. Auror
  1. The Big Lebowski
  2. Remains Of The Day
  3. Kicking and Screaming
  4. Swinger's
  1. Normal, IL.
  2. Key West, FL.
  3. Hollywood, CA.
  4. Chicago, IL.
  1. Deadwood
  2. Lost
  3. The Wire
  4. Professional Football Broadcasts
  1. Amsterdam
  2. New York City
  3. Grand Tetons, Wyoming
  4. Gettysburg
  1. Espn
  2. The Nation
  3. Craig's List
  4. Chicago Tribune
  1. Ice Cream
  2. Dungenes Crab
  3. Jury's Burger's
  4. Jamaican Jerked Mahi-Mahi
  1. I have no allergies, so I eat anything I want.
  2. Unless something is prohibitively expensive, I eat it.
  3. Human Flesh.
  4. Human Souls
  1. PS2
  2. College Diploma
  3. Computer
  4. Ironing Board

  1. Hot tub
  2. PS3
  3. Wet Bar
  4. A Better Computer
  1. Black T-shirt
  2. White tube socks
  3. Glasses
  4. Wedding Ring

  1. Key West Fl.
  2. Amsterdam
  3. On a road trip
  4. Velvet Goldmine
  1. The Bridge of the Star ship Enterprise D.
  2. Endor
  3. Xanth
  4. Sodor

  1. Bill Clinton
  2. Michael Chibon
  3. Michael Jordan
  4. Marlon Brando

  1. Peter Parker
  2. Clark Kent
  3. Dr. Bruce Banner
  4. Prof. Charles Xavier
  1. Let's call it a party and invite everyone.

I tag Johnny Yen....

Monday, October 09, 2006

Tolerance In My Community.

Visitation Catholic Church in Elmhurst.

Every October, Respect Life Month, the front lawn of Visitation Church is adorned with little crosses. The crosses are meant to remind us of women who have died having abortions. Every year they do it.

Chris had an interesting post recently about tolerance. I'm not sure if this is, but I think it might be a good example of conflict and tolerance.

The church and I disagree.
I am Pro Choice. I drive by it everyday. Though I disagree with it, I consider it an effective method without disrespecting me.

They aren't barring my entrance anywhere. They aren't trying to intimidate me, physically or otherwise. Based on their newsletter, they approach the problem with compassion and counseling rather than guilt and condemnation.
I do think their focus is selective, but who's isn't. I do hope they preach education and safe sex, but I don't wanna get my hopes up.

We have some neighbors whose children attend school there. My kids play with their kids. Everyone gets along fine. I submit we are tolerant of one another's views.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The Password Is: Music

Echo's hands are everwhere. Tagging.

Like most people now-a-days, I have an extensive music collection. One of, I think, the best features of modern technology, along with Tivo and celebrity space travel.

1) Music That Has Changed Your Life: All the music I listen to changes me for the better, but the era of early '90's alternative music really got me "into" music. *Of course, the definitive example of this is Blockhead.*

2a) An Album That Has Stayed With You For More Than Ten Years (In a good way): Liz Phair-Exile in Guyville, Nirvana's-Nevermind, Beastie Boys-Paul's Boutique, the Pixies-Doolittle. The list is rather long.

2b) Music you're supposed to like, but you're embarrassed to say you never really did: I'm really only a casual fan of Hip-Hop. Bluegrass? Yeah, that's fun... I guess.

3) Music That Makes You Laugh: Before there was R.E.M. and U2 in the late '80's, Weird Al Yankovic was the voice of me and my generation. I still think he is hilarious. One of the best concerts I ever saw was Weird Al at I.S.U. in '94. Really puts on a great multimedia show.

4) Music That Makes You Cry: Usually this happens when a song reminds me of a time and place. If I haven't heard the song in a long time the impact is more pronounced. This happened recently when my buddy Dave made me a mix CD and on it was California by Luna. Not a great song. Not a great time in my life. But I was young and free.

5) Music You Wish You Had Written: Rubber Soul-The Beatles, O.K. Computer-Radiohead, Mutations-Beck, Dark Side of the Moon-Pink Floyd, A Ghost is Born-Wilco...etc....

6) Music You Wish Had Never Been Written: All Musac remakes.

7) Current Music You Like: I tend to be exploring the masters that I have neglected. Otherwise, Wilco. Bright Eyes. Radiohead. Beck. The Flaming Lips.

8) Music You've Been Meaning To Hear: The latest Beck album. I also want to get to know more classical stuff.

Let's see. I TAG Dave at BadArtGlobal.

*Echo, correctly, points out I neglected to included Blockhead. Corrections have been made.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Your Chicago Bulls!!!

Yeah. I'm getting excited.

For what reason?

Why haven't we been attacked again?

If you believe, like I do, that our policies and actions have made the U.S. less safe, why do you think we haven't been attacked again?

Is the plan to take the fight to the terrorists working?

I like to think, with very little evidence, that the men and women who actually fight the war on terror have learned many lessons and perform their duties with conviction. That this is the main reason we haven't seen more attacks.

But I really don't know.

I would like every ones input on this.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Honor Among Thieves and The Truth Will Set You Free.

Up until now he has been easily the most successful and high profile baseball player linked to the current steroid scandal in baseball. Maybe not so much anymore.

Jason Grimsley, a journeymen right-handed reliever who last played for the Arizona Diamondbacks, has named names after being found in possession of HGH (Human Growth Hormone), steroids and amphetamines. Each name kills the kid in me alittle more.

Grimsley getting busted was a fairly big deal. The people he is talking about now make it a much bigger deal. It also continues the destruction of an entire generation of sports heroes.

He named Roger Clemens among others. Without this scandal, Roger Clemens is one of the best players to ever play, as is Barry Bonds. If this sticks to either of them in the form of hard evidence, and Barry might already, they are frauds, liars and phonies.

Driving home from work, ESPN Gameday on the radio, John Seibel said something about Grimsley I found interesting. Without a direct quote, he claimed that if he was in Grimsley's place he would hope he kept quiet about what other people did. That naming others in his confession was a second wrong.

Why does everyone think they are in Goodfella's? Why is there some kind of expectation of honor for these people. They are in this position because they lied, cheated and broke the law for their own gain.

It is this misguided sense of honorable silence that allows crooked cops and corrupt politicians to get away with it just the same as baseball players. What would make you think that they wouldn't sing like a canary?

Why would their silence be reason for respect.

The little kid in me would like to see something. I think it would be cool if Jason Giambi, maybe the only guy to come close to admitting
publicly he used steroids, who then came back to perform at a high level even after having a brain tumor, got in front of the camera, admitted he did it and using his current success as an example, tell the kids playing ball they don't need it.

I thought I needed it and I don't.

Maf54: Cool.

Cool is right, Congressman Mark Foley.

What's the big deal?

I ask everyone the same thing.

Maf54: Do I make you a little horny?

Friday, September 29, 2006

I promised myself I'd respond to every TAG.

Dirty Tagged Me.

1) Would you bungee jump? No. I just don't think falling is much fun.

2) If you could do anything in the world for a living what would it be? Quarterback the Chicago Bears.

3) Your favorite fictional animal? A Liger.

4) One person who never fails to make you laugh? My buddy Anita.

5) When you were 12 years old what did you want to be when you woke up? A lawyer.

6) What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? go to the bathroom.

7) Have you ever gone to therapy? No.

8) If you could have one super power what would it be? For a comic book fan, this is a difficult question. Probably invinciblity, there's just something cool about takeing a bullet with no problems.

9) Your favorite cartoon character?
Another tough one, probably Bugs Bunny, despite his habit of cross-dressing.

10) Do you go to church?

11) What is your best childhood memory?
Going on vacation to Wisconsin every year.

12) Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual?
No. But I do think it's meaning is unique for everyone.

13) Do you own a gun?

14) Have you ever hit someone of the opposite sex?

15) Have you ever sung in front of a large number of people?

16) What is the first thing you notice about the opposite sex?
If they smile or not.

17) What is your biggest mistake?
Not taking better care of my credit.

18) Say something totally random about yourself...
I eat about a gallon of Breyer's Ice Cream a day.

19) Has anyone ever said that you looked like a celebrity?
Yes. Most common: Jerry O'Connell

20) What is the most romantic thing someone of the opposite sex has done for you?
Marry me.

21) Do you actually read these when other people fill them out?
Sometimes, depends on my interest in that person.

I'll tag Megan over at By & By.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Race for The Sixth District of Illinois Pt. 3

Illinois Sixth District.
The Fightin' Sixth!

Friday was the first debate between Illinois 6Th District Congressional candidates Dem. Tammy Duckworth and Rep. Peter Roska. The debate is available on WBBM 780's "At Issue." The chief topics debated are immigration, taxes, Iraq and stem cell research. Duckworth has been getting alot of heat for not being open and available to news outlets as well as voters. That may or may not be true. You be the judge, I think she holds her own nicely.

Also, Bridget in the Sixth, Wurfwhile and Soapbox/Chicago are doing great work getting info out on the various elections this year in Illinois.


C.I.A. Reqruitment Commercial

Is anyone else alarmed by this? Do they really need to run commercials advertising the benefits and opportunities at the C.I.A.
I'll admit most of what I know about the C.I.A. is limited to what I picked up from movies and T.V. I always figured they plucked the best and brightest out of the highest institutes of learning and the armed forces. Do they really expect to improve the quality of applicants by running adds on cable? If anyone is considering a career change, here is their link.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Celebrities I've Waited On.

Celebrity: Robert Plant

Date: 1998

Location: Mity Nice Grill, Chicago

Robert Plant came into my restaurant and sat in my section. I was rather excited, this being the first celebrity I had ever waited on and no minor celeb at that. He was curt, but polite, ordering a salad and coke, meeting my gaze with his own. Our mutual respect was obvious.

"Good choice, that's what I had today."
"Great, uh...thanks."

People began to realize who he was, creating an audible stir throughout the restaurant. One of my tables passed me a hundred, ordering me to pay for Robert's meal with it. Taking some pride in my new position as guest artist/collaborator on Robert's lunch; I told him I had to ask Mr. Plant. He rejected the offer out of hand. He seemed to find it silly. I silently agreed with him. This lunch didn't need guys like him, Robert.

After he had finished his meal and paid, I found myself in the bathroom with him. This being before the days of widespread cell phones, he was using the payphone. Later in the day we found he left his glasses resting on the phone. Trying them on I was a little put off by how dirty they were. How could he see out of these, I asked myself. I wear glasses. A single speck of dust on my lens will drive me insane. His had multiple thumbprints, entire areas light would have trouble passing through. How would I ever listen to "Physical Graffiti" again? He had tipped 20%, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I'd witnessed the dirty side of Rock & Roll.