Friday, February 18, 2011

New Top 10 Simpsons Episodes of All Time

I have been giving this a lot of thought lately, as I pour over my coveted Simpsons DVDs (I bought or had purchased for me the first 12 Seasons, although I have access to all now 22 seasons.)

And I have decided that my top 10 currently excludes one of my absolute favorite Simpsons Episodes which is, "The PTA Disbands" which has such great lines such as:

Lisa: I'm losing my perspicasity
Homer: Well, it's always in the last place you look


Krabappel: We'll see about that. Especially for that Purple Monkey Dishwasher part.


Jasper: Looking out the window; that's a paddlin'. Staring at my sandals; that's a paddlin'. Paddlin' the school canoe, you bet that's a paddlin'.


Marge: It took the children 40 minutes to locate Canada on a Map.
Homer: Well, Canada is hard to find, all tucked away down there.

and many, many, More.

Thus, I hereby unveil my new favorite top 10 with their best one-liners.

1. Will always be Bart's Comet.
Lisa: The crazy thing is, that everything happened just the way Dad said it would.
Homer: I know, I'm scared too.

2. Homer the Heretic
Lisa: Dad, are you saying that you're giving up your faith?
Homer: No, no, no, no, no, no, no. Well, yeah.

3. Weekend at Burnsies
Homer *stoned*: Wow, wow. God does so much for us and asks so little in return.

4. Little Girl in the Big 10
Lugash: You girls were all great. Here is your cats back, good as new.
Girl: I had a dog.
Lugash: Is cat now!

5. Homer's Enemy
Homer: Take the out to the ball game, take me out to the ball.

6. The PTA Disbands
Soldier: Their white flags are no match for our muskets!

7. Home Sweet Home Diddily home dudily
Homer: In order to find Flanders, I have to think like Flanders... My name is Ned Flanders and I am a big four-eyed lamo who wears the same stupid sweater every day and- TO THE SPRINGFIELD RIVER!

8. You Only Move Twice
Homer: I'm gonna miss this town.
Lisa: But dad, aren't we moving because we hate it here.
Homer: Oh yeah, so long stinktown!

9. Missionary Impossible
Homer: Save me Jebus!

10. The Old Man and the C Student
Lisa: Bart, we got to get the old folks home to the Old Folks' Home!

And there you have it, a new top 10 of the longest running sitcom of all time. Simpsons gurus unite!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fantasy Football 2010

I can't believe I'm entering my 15th year of fantasy football (my dad started a league in 1987, I was attending drafts every year since 1989). My brother and I started our own league in 1996 at the ripe ages of 12 and 11.

Anyway, each year there are folks who would like to see my draft day sheets (I think the words 'cheat sheets' are dumb, since every magazine has them, and every player has them, it's not cheating). So, you can find them here on google docs:

Fantasy Football 2010

The first rule of drafting is to know your league's scoring system. If you play in a Heavy PPR league like I do, then RBs who catch the ball out of the backfield are very valuable.

The second rule is to not take the first player from a group of similar players. I color code players into tiers, so that I don't over pay for players.

Third, when you start really getting into a draft, consider the risk/reward of the current people on your roster. If you've played it safe so far, go for some risks. But if everyone you have drafted so far as a high chance of injury, then move to something else.

Last piece of advice. Unless you're in a rotisserie league, ignore the idea that you have to pay attention and draft according to bye weeks. I draft the best back-up QB available even if they have the same bye week. You can always trade. Plus, every league I've ever been in plays head to head- so having a high average ppg and a bad record does nothing. Thus, if all of your players happen to have the same bye week, you might just forfit one week, but you might just be favored in every other week as your opponent has to deal with their bye weeks.

Food for thought. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

God is Deaf

Greetings readers, happy New Year.

I did a Summer Chaplaincy last year and was asked by my supervisor to write this article. It again reminds me of the social action we all feel called to.

God is Deaf

By Daniel Pugh Jr

As the national unemployment numbers rise like water in a capsized boat, the Men's Homeless Shelter on S. Wilmington Street in Raleigh, NC is struggling for breathing room. This 285 bed shelter houses former convicts, mental patients, and drug addicts, as well as plenty of guys who are just plain down on their luck. Each of them has a story to tell of how their lives came off the tracks and their mail got forwarded to S.Wilmington Street. Surprisingly, in a summer’s worth of visits, I was overwhelmed with the optimism I encountered while sitting in the cafeteria with men who were worshiping the clock on the wall, praying for it to turn 5:30, so that their meal ticket could be traded in for sustenance. The shelter can no longer provide lunch due to budget cutbacks. “I am blessed” one man told me, “I know that I am truly blessed.” “Dis place ain’t nothin’ compared to prison,” another man explained in a thick southern drawl, “You ever been to prison, boy?” No, no I haven’t. And please, call me Chaplain.

For many, the S. Wilmington Men’s Shelter stands for a second chance at life. Here, men who are willing to join the program (which includes submitting to bag searches upon arrival each day as well as random drug and breathalyzer tests) are given the opportunity to stay for months as they get their life in order. And despite the common complaint that it is hard to sleep with all the snoring, most men don’t see the shelter as a sign of defeat, but rather a speed bump, a truck stop on the road of life. Most men have their heads held high because they believe that they will get things back to good again. Most, but not all.

It took me about two weeks visiting the shelter to find out what the story is with Pat. A tall, skinny Irish man, I had never seen Pat talking with anyone. I had never seen him participating in the various card games or discussions that happen as the clock ticks toward dinner either. Still, he struck me as a man of consistency. Pat always has his hat on backwards, a coffee cup in his hand, and always wears a t-shirt with a pocket to hold his memo pad and pen. Though he looks every bit of his sixty years, Pat carries himself with the demeanor of young police officer combined with the hard edges, tan skin, and worn features of a man recently rescued from a desert isle. A friend of Pat told me that Pat was released from 30 years in prison in 2002, the last 10 of which he spent in solitary isolation. The cell in isolation was a six-by-nine concrete cave that got hotter in the summer and colder in the winter. Some of the other prisoners would beg the guards, Pat tells me, to let them out. They would scream and cry to get out of their cell even though they knew that their pleas would always fall on the deaf ears of the guards. For Pat, this would have ironic significance. The reason I had never seen or heard Pat converse is because Pat cannot speak, nor can he hear.

In my first conversations with Pat, I spoke slowly and deliberately, but then quickly became to realize that Pat reads lips exceptionally well. When I would ask him a question like, "where were you born?" Pat would pull out his memo pad, click his pen open and write to me in all caps, "GREW UP IN BOSTON." Over a period of weeks Pat's writings morphed from fractured phrases to tell a story, his story. Pat has given me permission to tell his story and it is my hope that doing so will inspire others to reach out to not only the physically disabled in our community, but the socially disabled as well.

Pat was born deaf and mute to a Bostonian Irish-Catholic military family. By the age of eleven Pat had been beaten within an inch of his life because, “Dad hates stupid,” he told me. Realizing that his anger was rising to the surface, Pat shows me his coffee cup, then gets up and walks to the microwave. Pat returns to his seat across from me holding his warm coffee. He lets out a relaxing deep breath, and begins writing. "My psychiatrist prescribes me coffee." As if responding to my puzzled look, Pat smiles and nods. Then he begins his tedious writing again. "They gave me mood-altering drugs in prison. I will never take them again." Interesting, I thought. Although coffee is a bit unorthodox cure, it stabilizes Pat's deep-seeded anger while allowing him to keep his senses heightened.

A lot of Pat's anger stems from his family. “The last time I saw them,” Pat tells me, “they were testifying against me.” It seems that late one night, over a game of cards, Pat’s brother-in-law pulled a gun on him. Pat pulled his knife and stabbed him more than ninety times until he bled out. That landed Pat in the courtroom with his family sitting on the other side behind the prosecution. "Are you remorseful?" I asked. Pat answers calmly, "I never started a fight." His demeanor remains ice-cold, emotionally detached from his actions. I wonder if this is because of the medicinal coffee he is drinking, but I quickly dismiss that theory for another. Pat surely had endless days to go over his actions in prison, and the calm answer he gave me seems to come with an acceptance and even self-absolution of his past. "The judge gave me a minimum of nine-year sentence for self-defense, if I showed good behavior," he writes. Unfortunately for Pat, good behavior did not come easy. One day a teacher in a prison cooking class pushed Pat too far and called him “Stupid.” Out of rage for the trigger-word Pat reacted again, taking the teachers face and burning it in a deep fryer. He also seriously injured a guard.

Pat is not stupid. He writes vivid poetry and spends his days at the public library. Pat’s life is stuck in survival mode, always on the look-out for someone trying to scam him, always contemplating a scam himself. And yet, while he admits the Men's Shelter is a better life than prison, he still finds himself counting down the time left. “I’m too old to work and too young to get social security,” he tells me. There are many elderly gentlemen in the Shelter who find themselves with similar woes, men who are what I call 'socially disabled.' Since these people cannot get employed, they are destined to wander the streets, occasionally asking us for money to survive. Pat has no intentions of holding a sign for money, so he looks for work when he can, praying that someone will be willing to take a chance to hire a sixty-year-old deaf mute ex-convict. "Are you religious?" I asked. He held up one finger, saying, ‘give me one minute.’ Pat returned with his bible, bound in a protective case, with three different color highlighters. I asked if the different colors had different values and Pat wrote back, “Green= sayings, Yellow= laws, and Blue= miracles.” “What do you think about miracles?” I asked. “I don’t know,” he wrote back, “but if they are true, I'll take one!” Later when I told him that it was time for me to go, I shook his hand and told him I would pray for him, if he would like me to. His response was, “Go ahead, but God is deaf.” “Well,” I said, “If he is, then I hope he can read lips as good as you.”

I left that day contemplating what theism must look like from his world-view. So the next time I saw him I inquired, "What did you mean that God is deaf?" He wrote at an emphatic pace, "God either can't hear or he's off in a different part of the universe." I was surprised, elated even, that his words do not talk about God being angry, just inaccessible. He had a different view of the church, however. “Most of the time, church is a scam. The evangelists on TV, the Catholic Church, they’re just scams. The bible is a scam." For many of the men I had talked to, listening to their story and offering a word of hope was all they wanted from me. Pat has little use for hope. His shred of hope is tied up in the notion that God would be able to grant him a miracle. That somewhere, somehow, someone was going to forgive him his past, and offer him a job. But then again, it is hard to sell yourself to a potential employer when your sales pitch begins with fractured sentences written on a pocket-sized memo pad.

One day I asked Pat what would make him happy. "All I want is a lap-top. I don't need anything else." Once upon a time, Pat did have a laptop of his own. Last February Pat was sitting at the mall with his precious lap-top when he suffered a stroke. The EMS that arrived on the scene failed to notice his lap-top bag, and they took his inability to speak as a reaction to the stroke. Pat never saw his best means of happiness again. He has been avidly trying to brainstorm how he could procure another lap-top, but is drawing a blank. "The psychologist I got to see every day, she's trying to get me one," he wrote to me with a grin on his face. "It's through a church, they have a program for disabled people and students." "That's great," I told him, wondering if the church reaching out to him would alter his view of religion. "She [meaning his psychologist] said the application asks if I go to a church. No, I told her. But I talk to a chaplain twice a week," he added with a smile. I smiled back. "Do you think that will help?" "I don't know," he retorted. "Did your psychologist know that you talk to a chaplain?" "I just told her. She asked me if I was religious. I told her that I'm not sure about religion. I don't know if heaven is true. But if it is, if God is real, it can't hurt talking to a chaplain." When our time was done, I made the same gesture I always do, pressing my palms together in a prayer-like pose, telling Pat that I'm praying for him. He points to heaven, shakes his head, and then points to his ear. "God is deaf" he says with a smirk. Pat can't hear what I say back to him as I walk away, but twice a week he sees my lips form the words, "but it can't hurt to try."

Pat has gone his whole life feeling abandoned by a God who does not hear his pleas. Like the men who were on isolation block, begging the guards to change their situation to no avail, Pat's relationship with God is at an impasse. Pat's life for the next five years remains at a stalemate, wasting away his free years in a homeless shelter cafeteria, his only memories painful ones, his hopes and dreams becoming more and more unlikely. It is for people like Pat that I believe heaven exists.

For the people like Pat who are disabled both physically and socially, we must help to heal their relationship with a seemingly disabled God. Romans 12:5 urges us to be the body of Christ based on our talents. If God is deaf, then we are called to be God's ears. Equally true is if Pat is mute; then we must be his voice.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The New Play "Broken Rifle"

This is a very personal piece about the war in Afganistan after 9/11.

Five days after 9/11 I found myself enjoying my 18th birthday in the post office registering for the selective service. I began to wonder, if I went to war, could I really pull the trigger? Can I value my life more than someone else values theirs? Is the greatest love really to lay done one's life for a friend?

Here's the link to "Broken Rifle". Aprox read time is 55min.

"Broken Rifle" will be preformed on PLTS' campus in Berkeley, CA on April 16th, 2010.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fantasy Football '09

From time to time I get asked for input for someone's fantasy league. Here are my lists as of August 12th for the upcoming fantasy football drafts.
Different colors represent different tiers of players. The overall idea is that you don't want to take the first guy in the same tier, but get value when drafting similar players. Plus, this year there is a bonus list of the top 60 from four different sources.

Enjoy! And draft wisely.

Fantasy Football Offense

I have defensive lists, but I don't publish them. Drop me an email at if you'd like more info.