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Mending Ripping Down Fences (Updated)

The latest anthrax scare, reported by my friend Tongueless, GM of Gypsies in the Palace H3, San Francisco:

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The complaint was posted to an on-line neighborhood forum. The ensuing discussion is interesting. First, you get some insight into public perception of the Hash House Harriers (reasonably positive IMO). Second, speculation on what the vandalism might have been. Third, the answer, revealed by the woman who posted the original complaint.

Frank Tendick, Central Richmond·5d ago
Sounds like the Hash House Harriers: http://sfh3.com/calendar

Darren Zebechoszyck, NE Inner Richmond·Edited 5d ago
Does this blatant act of vandalism involve putting chalk on the trail?

Linda Bacon, Cow Hollow Central·5d ago
Yes, sounds like the Hash House Harriers

Anna Furniss, The Presidio·4d ago
Thank you for the responses! Darren, no, I don’t consider the chalk on the trails to be vandalism but I guess some people might!

Jason Danli, The Presidio·4d ago
Wait, so what was the, “blatant act of vandalism”?

Deanne Delbridge, Central Marina·4d ago
@frank + @linda – I clicked on your link, however it does not explain what ‘hash house harriers’ means. Also i don’t understand the calendar with ‘gypsies’ listed.

Catherine Linn, West Marina·4d ago
@Deanne, they are both different groups of a much larger running club. They change locations and routes every week.

Peter McKenna, Inner Richmond·4d ago
Knowing the Hashers, the drinking club with a running problem, I’d guess the blatant act was peeing in the bushes.

Nina Frankel, Central Richmond·4d ago
do we have local Hash House Harriers? The white chalk markings are the work of the “hare” who marks the path for the rest of the runners. They celebrate the end of the run with lots of beer, so not surprising if some indiscriminate leakage occurs, but they don’t tend to be that ecologically disruptive. Just raucous when drinking and singing their unifying pep songs.

Anna Furniss, The Presidio·Edited 2d ago
Nah, peeing isn’t vandalism in my book. Dog walkers (and dogs for that matter) pee in the area all the time. The runners ripped down a chain link fence to get into what’s supposed to be a secure area across from our house. The area has guards but they weren’t present when the runners came by. I think we actually saw the “Hare” earlier but he ran away (quick as a bunny) when a guard tried to stop and question him. I’m a runner and I like group games as much as the next person but it’s like, come on folks, show some basic respect.

Deanne Delbridge, Central Marina·2d ago
@anna – You sound way more kind to this group than i would have been!

Anna Furniss, The Presidio·1d ago
@Deanne – Haha, yeah, I wasn’t so nice in person but I prefer not to unleash too much online. I’m more surprised that people would think I’d go to all this trouble for someone peeing in the bushes.

Tongueless’ initial comment on the complaint was written before anyone knew what kind of vandalism the hash was being accused of.

Oddly enough no one has any idea what she means by “vandalism” since aside from everything else the Gypsies make a point of cleaning up after themselves. Fits In thinks she may have meant “obscenity” not vandalism and been referring to the reading of which i posted a video you may have seen. On top of everything else we made a point of doing the down-downs behind a very Large tree so we wouldn’t be visible from the only occupied house in the area. The police in that area know us quite well and generally show up with a wave and a smile. In the recent past when I’ve gone to talk to them they’ve said, “Hey, we got a noise complaint and since it’s Thursday we figured it was you so we took the call because we knew we wouldn’t have a problem. Beautiful dogs, have a great evening.” and this was much later in the evening. I will say that the pack was 21 strong and LOUD but she still would have been able to barely hear us from across the street and with windows closed. Aside from that the area has a dog park and people were constantly going back and forth in front of her house. It’s not quite on a par with the crap in San Diego a few years ago but it is a reminder that the hash in becoming more mainstream has more problems to deal with.

Here’s the comment Tongueless sent after he learned about the fence:

I have no idea what she’s talking about when she says a fence was torn down or for that matter where she actually lives. I thought she was across from the start but maybe not. As to the “torn down fence” we have no control over what a particular pack member might or might not have done and we didn’t see it happen.

I don’t believe for a minute hashers ripped down a chain link fence. If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a hare, if a chain link fence is blocking your way, just follow it toward the nearest cluster of homes or apartments and you’ll find a section where it’s been cut, probably by local kids making a shortcut to and from school. I’ve seen it again and again; it’s part of my bag o’ hare tricks.

Have you ever seen a fellow hasher rip down a chain link fence, or damage any other kind of fence? I haven’t.
 
 
p.s. I probably should have blacked out non-hashers’ names, but they posted under their own names to an on-line forum anyone can see, so I figure what the hell. You say it, you own it, am I right?
 
 
Update (same day, 30 minutes later): This has to be a record for the fastest update of a Half-Mind Weblog post. Almost as soon as I published it an email appeared in my inbox. It’s from Tongueless, who sadly confirms the San Francisco woman’s accusation: it was a hasher who damaged the fence after all, too impatient to go around the obstacle. Well, shit.

I wrote back and thanked Tongueless for popping my hashers-are-better-than-regular-people bubble, but truth be told that bubble popped 17 years ago, when a local hasher house-sat for us so we could go to InterHash. She threw a party at our house for all her hashing friends the night before we returned from Australia. When all was said and done, our bill for repairing torn screens, paying a cleaning crew to remove vomit from the carpeting and walls, and flushing and scrubbing out the hot tub, was several hundred dollars. In all these years Tucson area hashers have never apologized, nor have they offered any compensation for the damage they caused. If you read back that far in this blog, you’ll notice a cooling of my regard for hashers, and that’s where it all started.

I stand by what I said about finding cuts in chain link fences, though. They’re always there … you just have to have the patience to find them.

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Even Better (Except for the Headline)

Speaking of hashing and the media (the subject of several recent posts here at the Half-Mind Weblog), here’s a wonderful article about hashing with an unfortunate headline, “A Drinking Club with a Running Problem.”


Photo from article (click on it to link to the article)

What I like about it is that the author simply describes hooking up with hashers in Nice and going on a run: how it happened, what the trail was like, the people he met. It’s the first article about hashing I’ve read in years that makes me want to get out and go hashing. It’s refreshing. What a concept, just describing a hash run and some of the wonderful things we’ve all experienced on trail.

Unlike other reporters, this gentleman doesn’t copy paragraphs from Wikipedia or my own hash primer and quote them without attribution (a thing that happens all the time, and that I whinged about in a previous post). No, he wrote this from scratch, and made it real.

One of my favorite parts of the article:

During the walk-run itself, I got a look at some of the most beautifully famous (and famously expensive) real estate in the world, from vantage points most tourists never bother with. If it hadn’t been for Francis and his hashing friends, I almost certainly wouldn’t have. If my “nice little walk by the beach” had turned out to be anything but, it also turned out to be a potentially life-changing experience.

I remember trying to tell squadron-mates about the Okinawa HHH when I was stationed at Kadena Air Base in Japan. “You’ll see parts of Okinawa no other American will ever see,” I told them, thinking of runs through back alleys in Naha City where we’d passed old-time wooden homes with rice-paper panels where kimono-clad women were making tea and playing the sanshin.

At the time hashing was new to me, and the most amazing thing about it was the way trails got you off the beaten path. That aspect of hashing still shines like a beacon to me … and here’s a writer, as new to hashing today as I was in 1989, who totally gets it!

Damn, though, I wish those fools in Nice hadn’t infected his brain with that “drinking club with a running problem” bullshit.

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The Worst Ever?

From Facebook, posted today by our friend Vodka Splite.

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Click on the image to go to the article in The Guardian, or just click here.

So, is it the worst article about hashing ever? Hardly, I think. For that you need to go back a few years to the Great San Diego Witch Hunt of 2010, when the son of a hashing couple murdered some poor girl in a park and the hash was dragged kicking and screaming onto front pages and breathless scare-mongering “Are your children safe from hashers? News at 10!” television broadcasts. I covered all that back then, and I think the links in my original blog post are still good, so click and read if you feel like getting depressed all over again.

Hashers drink! Hashers get naked in satanic rituals! Children exposed to such behavior can’t help but grow up to be murderers! Here’s the hashing couple’s address, go torch their house and run them out of town!

What, you think I’m exaggerating? Like I said, click and read if you’re unfamiliar with this ugly bit of HHHistory.

IMO, newspaper articles that fixate on the slightly misleading “drinking club with a running problem” quote pale by comparison.

When it comes to articles about hashing, I want to note one thing, even if it’s at the risk of tooting my own horn.

In 1995 I wrote a pretty good general interest article about hashing. Hawaii RacePlace Magazine published it that year, and it was one of the first things I posted online to my then-new hashing website, the Half-Mind Catalog.

A few years later I read a newspaper article about hashing. It seemed oddly familiar, and I gradually realized I was reading my own article, quoted without attribution by some lazy newspaper reporter who’d copied it from Hawaii RacePlace or my own website. I was to get used to that over time, especially after someone (not me, honest … I suspect it was Stray Dog) copied it into Wikipedia in 2003 as the original entry for the Hash House Harriers (here’s the link to the original 2003 Wikipedia entry, which you can compare to my original hashing article from 1995)

That Wikipedia entry has been altered and improved many times since then (here’s the link to the current version), but the skeleton of my original article is still visible underneath, as it is in The Guardian’s hashing article, the one Vodka Splite linked to on Facebook this morning. No doubt The Guardian’s reporter did some factchecking on Wikipedia!

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Half a Mind: Older than Previously Thought

Here’s a quick summary of my previous post, to save you the click:

Many hashers (including me) were brought up with the knowledge that a hasher named Phil Kirkland coined this famous quote about hashing: “If you’ve half a mind to join the hash, that’s all you need!” The story was he said it to a newspaper reporter in 1978. I found the original newspaper article and the quote is there, but Phil Kirkland didn’t say it—it was the motto of the Hong Kong Hash House Harriers.

Last night Manila H3 hasher Squatto, who started me on this research in the first place, forwarded copies of the first two pages of the Hong Kong H3 1975/76 yearbook, and there it is in black & white:


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Now, as to who coined Hong Kong H3′s motto in the first place, that bit of hash history remains to be written.

By the way, Phil Kirkland, aka Thrill Furkhand, may be one of the hashers in those photos. Do any old-timers recognize him?

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Half a Mind

Believe it or not, there was a time when newspapers didn’t lead off articles about the Hash House Harriers by describing us as members of a drinking club with a running problem. Back in a kinder & gentler age, you were far more likely to see this instead, a quote attributed to a hasher named Phil Kirkland:

If you’ve half a mind to join the hash, that’s all you need.

You don’t see the quote that often today, but we still call ourselves half-minds, and that’s where it comes from. When I started the Half-Mind Catalog in 1995, I put Kirkland’s quote on the front page, and it’s still there today (although I see now I didn’t get it exactly right).

Last night, a friend and fellow hash webmaster forwarded this email, thinking I might have some additional knowledge:

Squatta here, Manila H3 archivist, hashtorian, onsec, scribe and general factotum … since 1983. Do you know the full citation for the 1978 interview with Phil Kirkland that popularized the “half mind” epithet for hashers?

All I knew in 1995 was what I’d been told, that Phil Kirkland said it to a newspaper reporter who was writing a story about hashing. I decided to do a little digging. I still don’t know much, but here’s what I have so far:

The newspaper story, published by the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, October 16, 1977, was titled “Harriers Out for Run and a Good Thirst.” The dateline wasn’t LA but Hong Kong, and it was about running with the Hong Kong H3. I couldn’t access the full story, but I was able to scan these two paragraphs, the second one containing the quotation:

The harriers welcome all races and nationalities, but find that Europeans and Australians far outnumber the Asians in their ranks. “The Chinese are just too serious-minded for us,” a Hong Kong member said. Women runners, no matter how able, are shunted off to a women’s auxiliary, the Hash House Harriets. The ostensible reason for the segregation is that women can’t run as far or as fast, but there may be some misogyny involved. “The club constitution clearly states that dogs, women and other pets are not permitted on runs,” an Australian growled. The women, for their part, bridle at the suggestion that they’re not as good. “Every time the men and women have a joint run, some of us finish far ahead of the men,” Cynthia Chin, a Hong Kong Harriet, said.

Most Hong Kong Hashers are so devoted to the club that they run rain or shine, even when typhoon warnings are hoisted and sensible citizens are quaking indoors. What brings them out every Monday, they say, is the camaraderie plus the chance to escape the pressures of business. “I look forward to this all week,” Phil Kirkland, an Australian executive, said. “This is the only place in Hong Kong where people don’t talk business.” Others suggest that if you want a reason for the popularity of hashing, you need look no further than the club’s motto: “If you’ve half a mind to join the hash, that’s all you need.”

I recall reading somewhere that Phil Kirkland doesn’t remember saying “If you’ve half a mind to join the hash, that’s all you need,” and now I know why—he didn’t. According to the Los Angeles Times story, it was the motto of the Hong Kong H3, and I don’t know who originally said it. If anyone does, please contact me and I’ll update this post.

Whether Phil Kirkland said it or not, hashers who know the quote have always been told he did, and after digging up the original newspaper story, I got curious about the man himself. Here are a few things I learned, along with a couple of things I’m not sure about (perhaps his friends can help fill in the blanks):

Phil’s full hash handle is Thrill Furkhand, Furkhand for short. He’s an Aussie, and though I can’t find a citation, I believe his mother hash is Sydney H3. We know from the newspaper article that he ran with Hong Kong H3 in 1977. I found a reference to him running with Beijing H3 in 1979 (and another reference listing him as a co-founder of Beijing H3). He was active with Sydney H3 in 2009.

I use the present tense when referring to Phil, but think he’s been hashing with G since 2010. I can’t find a definitive citation, but the Sydney Herald has a memorial page for a Philip Kirkland who died in 2010, and a Thrill Furkhand Trust was set up in Sydney in 2017.

I found one other reference: Phil Kirkland’s son was hashing with Sydney H3 in 2011.

So far I have not been able to find a photo of Phil Kirkland. And yes, you know I checked: he’s not on Facebook.

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Pedalfiles Bash Trash: 7/16/17

It’s July, so it must be time for the Third Annual Loose Nut hareless bash. Yes, we still follow the same map he handed out in 2015:

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Loose Nut’s map

The pack was small but convivial, actually a good turnout for what promised to be a hot morning in Tucson. Here we are on the patio of Time Market on University Avenue:

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On-afters (Candy Man was there too, taking photos)

For a summary of the trail, I’ll paraphrase the writeup from 2015:

… a pleasant 11-mile ride on bicycle-route streets with a beer stop at Bob Dobbs’, a Tucson hashing landmark, then back along a the shaded Aviation Bikeway to on-ins back at the Time Market.

What made 2017 different? Barbecue Cock’s Curse. She didn’t even get out of the Time Market parking lot at the start—her derailleur and chain got eaten by the spokes of her rear wheel and her bike was down for the count. Three hashers named Mike helped her load it in the back of a car, and one of the 3M gang gave her a ride to the beer check and later to the end.

But the Curse wasn’t done with her. After the bash one of the Mikes drove her and her bike to a bike shop so she could see about getting it fixed, where—in a different parking lot—someone drove over her bike and smashed the frame.

Yet to be determined: does Barbecue Cock’s Curse apply to bicycles or parking lots, or both, or to Barbecue Cock in general? We’ll see when she shows up for her next bash on a new bike.

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Curse Strike #1
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Curse Strike #2

Upcoming events:

No word yet on the August bash, scheduled for sunday, Aug 20.

In September, our GM Arthur Gash wants to get a group together to go to the Crank Wankers bash in Phoenix on Sunday, Sep 10, then to the Monthly Cycle bash in Sierra Vista on Sunday, Sep 24. Of course we’re hoping Phoenix and Sierra Vista bashers will join us in Tucson for our Pedalfiles bash on Sunday, Sep 17, hared by Arthur Gash.

October will mark the 11th OnOniversary of the Pedalfiles, and yours truly will be haring.

More information on these upcoming events is coming.

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“Hash Run” Not a Smash in Weldon

I don’t know … last time I went by a weekend tent revival, it seemed very loud to me, and I’m not at all sure the people who came to it had the “proper conduct expected for people who come in for the weekend.”
—Flying Booger

From the Roanoke Rapids NC Daily Herald:

“Hash run” not a smash in Weldon

by John Dixon
July 9, 2017

tidewater_h3
Members of the Tidewater Hash House Harriers make their way through knee deep water in the undated photo courtesy of Facebook

• Hash run held in Weldon

• Attendees of run did not show “proper conduct,” official says

• Town officials voice displeasure

Weldon officials harbor uneasiness toward the July 1 “hash run,” which had 10 Sycamore Street as a meeting point for attendees.

The weekend group in Weldon is a spin off and the worldwide group the Hash House Harriers, which bills itself as a social running group that’s a “drinking club with a running problem.” Leaders of an event, known as “Hares,” are given the task of marking a trail to direct runners, throwing in some dead ends and forks as challenges.

A web page for the July 1 event promised a “weekend full of beer, food, beer, giveaway, beer, trail, beer, tubing, beer…” that overlapped on the same day with Weldon’s own Independence Day celebrations.

“The hash run, as far as it was discussed in our work session (this past week), had to do with the group who came during the 4th of July weekend,” said town Commissioner Stanley Edwards. “I understand it’s been in the Weldon area at one point. People in the area had great concerns about the many people who came in and didn’t have the proper conduct expected for people who come in for the weekend.”

The hash run was part of the multi-day 19th annual Tubing in the South event organized by the Tidewater Hash House Harriers, an offshoot of the Hash House Harriers.

Weldon Mayor Julia Meacham said the town has seen several similar events in past years but expressed a negative view of this year’s.

“I went by the location over the weekend and it seemed very loud to me,” she said. “I don’t think this is the type of event that helps Weldon in any manner.”

Meacham added, however, that the hash run did not interfere with the Independence Day celebrations to her knowledge.

When the Weldon Board of Commissioners meets Monday on a long agenda for its monthly meeting on, the hash run will be discussed, as well as talk of other events past and present. A Garysburg church has requested the use of River Falls Park for a five night tent revival.

Edwards said, “The request had to do with having a tent revival on the ball field portion of the park,” Edwards said.

Meacham said the town has seen “three or four” revivals in past years.

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Random Updates from Hashland

There have been so many “suspicious white powder” confrontations between hashers and the Man I’ve pretty much quit tracking them, but this one stands out.

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Click image for story

Why? Because it happened in Singapore, a city/state smaller even than Hong Kong, and like Hong Kong home to several active hashes (including the second-oldest kennel, Singapore HHH, founded by Ian Cumming in 1962). You would think Singaporean authorities, if not the general public, would be familiar with hashing, hashers, and hash trail markings. Actually, I’m sure they are. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that laying trail through a subway station, in other countries a prime terrorism target, was a less than stellar idea. Civilians became alarmed, and my guess is the authorities—probably knowing all along the marks were left by hashers—were put in a position where they had to respond.

This time it looks like a bit of a crackdown is taking place. According to this follow-up article, the Singapore National Parks Board wants hashers to stop marking trails in areas managed by the board. Specifically, they will not allow chalk or flour: ”Only toilet or tissue paper are allowed to be used as markings, and they must be cleaned up immediately after the event.”

We’re used to chalk and flour in the States, but hashers in Asia often use shredded paper. I’ve hashed paper trails in Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Japan. Many of those trails were quite long, and I have a hard time imagining the hare who, after a well-lubricated circle and on-after, would willingly go back over the trail to clean up the paper.

I can think of a few occasions where police have forced American hares to go back over their trails to sweep up flour and scrub chalk marks away, which is far harder than picking up paper. How many of us would be willing to hare if we had to clean up afterward?

Better to keep a low profile and not get caught, I’m thinking. And rethink laying trail through areas where civilians might freak and put the authorities into response mode. As I’ve said many times, hashing is an underground thing, and we need to keep it that way.


Here is my favorite bike hash photo ever, taken by a fellow Pedalfiler in Tucson, Deep Dish:

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And last, this. The final case on the list is still in litigation, and that is why I will not be releasing my tax returns.

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