Girl Pants

•May 13, 2008 • 5 Comments

Unless one is an actual cowboy, one simply does not wear fitted jeans on the rez.  I learned this lesson fast and hard.  Mostly it came in the form of comments such as these, and usually from small children:

“Mr. Hays…wearing girl pants, enit?”

“Mr. Hays’ girlfriends all slapped him up and stole his lady pants.”

You get the point.

Such comments notwithstanding, I have continued to wear my lady pants, if occasionally with some reservations.  Today, however, I may have learned a profound lesson: sometimes persistence in the face of ridicule (even from small children) pays off.

I pass on to you a dialogue reported to have occurred between a very precocious first grade student and another teacher at our school:

Teacher: Are you falling in love with Mr. Hays?

Student: I think so.

T: What do you love about him?

S: …I think I love his girl pants.

T: What if he didn’t wear girl pants anymore?  What would you love about him then?

S: (befuddled silence).

I rest my case.  The girl pants stay.



•April 8, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I’ve been hearing a lot about Lars von Trier lately.  Love his films or hate him, he seems to have caught the collective attention of TFA South Dakota.  Up to a few moments ago, I felt unable to fully participate in this important dialogue, given the fact that I did not actually attend the recent LVT film festival.

Friends, all that has changed.  While browsing movies available for download off the iTunes store, I recognized a title: Dogville.  More importantly, I realized that the director of this movie was none other than Mr. von Trier himself.  I watched the trailer and found that yes, this was the movie I watched several years ago.

And now let me waste no time in adding my voice to the debate.  As to the question of whether LVT’s movies suck worse than a day with indoor-recess and no PE, my answer must be a resounding “yes.”  From what I remember, this was simultaneously the oddest and most unbelievably depressing and disturbing movie I have ever seen.  I watched this movie with one Michael Seguin (at his suggestion, unsurprisingly), and he can attest to its awfulness.

Sorry, Lars von Trier and all fans thereof: I have judged the man and his entire artistic corpus on the basis of my fading memories of a single movie, and they have been found wanting (the man and his artistic corpus, not my memories…).

Ponies and Semi-Trucks

•April 4, 2008 • Leave a Comment

This just in: Shetland ponies and semi-trucks are a bad mix.  This according to one of my students, who just related the following:

“Mr. Hays, have you ever had a horse?”


“Mr. Hays, have you ever had a Shetland?”


“I used to have a Shetland.  But it got hit by a semi.”

Is it wrong to think this situation would make an incredibly popular youtube video?

Awesome, also defined.

•April 3, 2008 • 1 Comment

Awesome (n): watching a fourth grade student charge through the Iliad like it’s his job (even if it is, technically, a retelling and not an actual translation).

Frustration, defined.

•April 3, 2008 • 1 Comment

Frustration (n): watching a student who reads at a mid-first grade level attempt to read two whole pages of fourth grade level text in order to answer comprehension questions on a high-stakes, standardized test. (See also: defeating, cruel,  pointless).

On Snow and Probability

•March 31, 2008 • Leave a Comment

My friends, I am happy to report that it is now snowing.  Or, in other words, there is a 100% probability that it is, at this very moment, snowing outside.  As to the foreseeable future, I admit that there is a very high probability of snowfall occurring over the next several hours.  I still contend, however, that there is NOT a 100% chance of snow.  It is still possible (though not altogether likely) that South Dakota will experience a sudden warming trend due to the presence of several good-size dragons arriving in the atmosphere and breathing heavily.
In other news regarding snow and probabilities, there is currently a 100% chance that I will not have to teach today.  This is because there is a 100% chance that our school district suddenly came to its senses and called off school.

There is also a 100% chance that snow days, as I often say, is tight.

On Science

•March 31, 2008 • 1 Comment

Though not normally one for confrontation, I admit that I often enjoy calling people on certain of their assumptions. By far my most favorite target is science. In general, conversations go something like this:

Science Person: Science is awesome. Anything anyone would ever conceivably want to know about reality may be discovered by science. I want to have Richard Dawkins’ babies.

Me: Science has replaced the Church as the unquestioned cultural authority in the West. Science is every bit as vehement in silencing dissent and heterodoxy as the Church ever was. Science can keep me alive longer, but it can’t tell me what to do with all that extra time (and never will).* *

In any case, what got me thinking about this whole science rag again was the filthy, lying liars (not to mention their filthy lies) at NOAA. They are predicting a 100% chance of snow tonight in the relevant area (my home). Put on your philosophy caps, kids: a 100% chance of snow – think about it. The only logical conclusion that may be drawn is that the good people at NOAA, undoubtedly scientists of some sort, have perfected time-travel. Not only that, but they have perfected time-travel AND used this newfound ability to check on the weather conditions during the early-morning hours of March 31, 2008. In South Dakota. That, my friends, would be the only epistemological warrant I can think of for claiming that there is a 100% probability of some future event occurring. A 100% chance does not mean, “we should be very surprised if it did not snow tonight.” Nay, “a 100% chance” means “it is absolutely certain that it will snow tonight.” This, I’m afraid, is a completely preposterous claim, and displays an understanding of probability somewhat akin to the average fourth-grader (I should know).

Additionally, I should note for the record that NOAA has SEVERAL TIMES indicated a 100% chance of snow. On this information I have more than once gone to bed resting in the assurance that it would, beyond all doubt, snow, only to find the next morning that the filthy, lying liars at NOAA had failed me again.

**Disclaimer: I have never actually had a conversation with a “science person” that went anything like this. All of my conversations with science persons, to date, have actually been quite cordial. None of them has ever expressed any desire whatever to conceive, carry, or birth (I suppose they rather go hand-in-hand, but whatever) Richard Dawkins’ babies. None of them has ever claimed that science can uncover every truth about reality that’s worth knowing (though I still secretly suspect that they believe so, and judge them accordingly).