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Copyright 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 by Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

Hashing? Not Hashing?

I guess I’m officially a codger now. The beer bong crowd has weighed in.

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Flying Booger Gets Mail: Hash Cash

Dear Flying Booger,

A little history about me (us), I have been hashing for a solid 3 years and some how my wife and I ended up becoming GM’s, we are loving the “job”. The previous GM’s did a great job keeping things going and we have no complaints, we are just trying to make some changes/updates/ideas as we are new and motivated, but at the same time keeping things traditional to our hash, as we are not trying to revamp the whole kennel, that is 12 years strong.

We are a kennel that chooses to have quality beer vs. lots of crappy beer, so our fee is $8 ( beer check, circle beer, water and snack). We almost always start at a bar so pre-lube beer is paid for by each hasher, if we happen to start at a non-bar location, the kennel will supply pre-lube beer via a cooler. Being new to hashing I only know how our kennel works and deals with hash cash, we each pay $8 except for the beer meister and the hare(s), the hares supply beer check beer, flour/chalk for the trail and get $2 per person in return, so most of the time it ends up coasting the hare money to lay trail…not much, but they are paying for our good time and for their effort.

Lately we have had a couple of comments about the cost of our hash (like you have mentioned most kennels are $5) and we are all ears to peoples complaints/issues. The first comment is “I pay $8 for 3-4 beers, blah blah blah”. We are not too worried about that comment as they are younger and just want to get drunk for $5 on cheap beer. The other comment was that it costs money to hare, which is a legitimate concern in my mind…I mean why would you want to hare if it cost you money? With that being said and the way things work with hash cash, the kennel does have a bit of a hash cash kitty (for events, ect.) and I think the kennel should have at least a bit in reserves.

So after all that and with all your knowledge, I was wondering if you had any insight of how a well put together kennel handles their hash cash. I believe that the hash cash is all the kennel mates money and we want to be fare about it and not make people feel like they are getting ripped off, ect. I did read a bit about hash cash on the Tuscon H3 page (might have been yous) that shed a bit of light. I understand that every kennel is different, but with all your knowledge I was hoping you might have some key points we might be missing, or you might have already wrote about this at some point and I have not found it yet.

We just want everybody to be happy. Is everybody happy? You bet your ass we are! Sorry about the long winded note.

On On,
____________________

Dear ____________________,

There are three different hash cash philosophies at work here in Tucson. The main hash does pretty much what you describe, including an allowance for the hares if they want to set up a beer check or bar stop somewhere on trail. And I think the going rate these days is $6 for a regular hash, $7 for a special one with a bar stop and pitchers provided by the hares, so your pricing is not out of line at all, especially for high-end beer.

Another hash supplies coolers of cheap beer for the circle, but if they do a bar stop it’s strictly BYO$. I think they’re still charging just $5, and any extras the hares provide are on the hares. That is not uncommon in my experience; in hashes like that there’s an understanding that everyone will pitch in and hare so that the burden is shared.

The small hash I founded is BYO all the way. No hash cash, BYOB, A-to-A trails so we don’t have to have a B-van or coolers, etc. The hares are only out for the flour and chalk they use laying trail.

Over the years I’ve seen too many hashes get wrapped around the axle over hash cash issues like the ones you describe. There are always assholes who bitch about it being too much; there are always people who will never hare; there are always a few who will try to get out of paying anything; and everyfuckingbody in the circle knows how to do it better, am I right?

That’s why I arranged my hash the way I did. Keepin’ it simple, etc. But that’s just me. I’m not saying you should change a thing. After all, as you point out, your hash has been doing it a certain way for 12 years, so obviously it’s working. Maybe try to get everyone to hare equally to even out the small cost of haring. Some hashes do that by not charging whoever the hares are on any particular day, but most hares understand the cost of flour and chalk is on them, and anyway they should be proud to pay the hash back for all the fun it’s given them.

Sounds to me like you’re doing a great job, and thank you for giving me material for another hashing blog post (don’t worry, Higgins, I’ll remove all identifying information)!

On On,
Flying Booger

Since writing the original response, I’ve thought of two other things.

There are kennels where each member pays an annual bucket fee to cover the cost of post-trail beer. I didn’t mention this type of payment scheme because it’s comparatively rare. I think it only works for small, established kennels with stable membership.

On the subject of hash cash reserves, it’s common for hashes to collect a little more than they spend in order to have extra money for annual general meetings and the like. In my experience, hashers accept this, so as long as you’re aboveboard about it, it should be no problem. The downside is that the richer the kitty, the more tempting it is to raid it. The main Tucson hash has fallen victim to at least two embezzling treasurers … something to watch out for.

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Li’l Debbie Downer, That’s Me

A good friend of mine, a long-time hasher, recently posted this to Facebook:

I don’t know if you’ve seen this but I think you’ll appreciate it. It also seems kind of apropos to a lot of hashing.

Acknowledging Alcoholism – NYTimes.com

You can click the link to read the article. Or you can just read my summary: the writer got a letter from an old drinking friend who had joined AA and changed her ways. The writer looked back at her own life and realized most of her adult memories revolved around drinking.

Several hashers commented on my friend’s post. Many were defensive about drinking at the hash, as well as their own drinking. That tallies with my own experience, the few times I’ve written about drinking and hashing. Hashers don’t want to talk about that. Some of them have even told me to shut the hell up about it.

I think what it comes down to is that drinking hashers don’t want to be nagged about drinking at the hash. The hash is the one place where they can drink in peace and not stand out from the crowd. This extends to conversations with fellow hashers (even on Facebook), the one group of people they can hang out with and not have to worry about someone starting a downer of a discussion about alcoholism.

I feel obliged to clarify that I don’t think all hashers are alcoholics, or even that most of them are. I know many hashers who drink very little, and that responsibly. I know hashers who don’t drink at all. I know there are many hash kennels where the emphasis is on the trail, not the circle afterward.

I have to say, though, that when I look back on almost 25 years of hashing … just like the author of the article my friend linked to … most of my own memories revolve around drinking. I have two photographs of myself on trail, two thousand photographs of me hoisting a mug.

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Drinkers with a Satanic Cult Problem?

Well, isn’t this interesting?

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NBC Nightly News screen grab from 6/2/14

We were watching the news last night when Pick’n'Flick said, “Hey, look at that!” I only caught a glimpse of it before it was gone, but happily the video segment was already up on NBC’s website and I was able to get this screen grab off my iPad.

Naturally I turned to Google to find out more about that mysterious, yet oddly familiar symbol. The first link I got after typing in “Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center symbol” led me to this very odd bit of information:

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Screen grab from whale.to (not linked)

You can probably tell from the verbiage at the top that the site this screen grab came from associates Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center with demonology. I cropped out the really crazy stuff, where they accuse S-K cancer researchers of killing millions in order to make money for big pharma while suppressing the truth about apricot pits, which are not only free and abundant but are a totally proven cure for cancer, just ask Steve McQueen. I’m not linking to the site where this came from, and I’ll explain why down below.*

Regardless of all that, is there anything to this Salem/Baphomet stuff? I don’t know what you think of when you read the words Salem and Baphomet, but I think of witch trials and one of Satan’s better-known demons. Here’s what I found out about the ”Baphomet Cross“:

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Yeah, I have to say that’s a shaft with three crossbars. Put an arrow on one end and it’ll be a true trail mark … or the symbol used by the Sloan-Kettering Memorial Cancer Center. Well, what does Sloan-Kettering have to say about their symbol?

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Sloan-Kettering spokesperson’s comment on Facebook

former-pg-logoRemember the ginned-up scare stories about how the Palmolive “man in the moon” logo was some sort of satanic symbol? It’s pretty clear to me that the assholes trying to associate a cancer treatment center with demonology are up to the same tricks. No doubt they’ll find true believers. I hope they all choke on apricot pits … but not before they realize the apricot cure is bullshit and didn’t really cure their cancer.

In other words, I believe the Memorial Sloan-Kettering spokesperson’s explanation: the symbol has nothing to do with Baphomet or Salem or anything shady at all. It’s an upward-pointing arrow, punching through the poison of cancer into the clear space above. If there’s a devil in this story, it’s cancer itself.**

But what about Sloan-Kettering’s symbol being the same one Hash House Harriers use to mark true trail? Is there a connection? Which came first? And is there any satanic connection with the hash version of the symbol?

These are probably unanswerable questions, but I’ll put links to this post on hash email lists and forums and see if anyone knows. Sloan-Kettering says they’ve been using their arrow symbol since 1960. I’m pretty sure Mother didn’t use symbols on trail back in the day, or even if they do so now. And there weren’t any other hashes back then. Clearly, Sloan-Kettering started using the symbol long before any hasher ever thought of it.

My main question to the hashing world is this: who first came up with the arrow with three crossbars … which hasher, which kennel … and when? Was it intentionally copied from the Sloan-Kettering symbol, or is it just a coincidence it looks the same? And here’s the most important question of all: is our symbol, unlike the one used by Sloan-Kettering, based on demonology? Hashers need to know!

*I posted the NBC News screen grab to Facebook last night. Ten minutes later I posted the second screen grab … the one from the looney tunes site accusing Sloan-Kettering of being in league with the devil … and made the mistake of including the whale.to link so that people could read the whole thing if they wanted. Apparently whale.to is a forbidden site. I was summarily ejected from Facebook and my account shut down for about 30 minutes. When I was finally able to log in again, the link was nowhere to be seen, and I had to read and clear a stern message from Facebook about complying with their terms of service. I think I’m on probation now.

So here’s the link, spelled out: whale.to/cancer/memorial_sloane_kettering.html. You can copy it into your browser address window if you really want to read the craziness there. I personally recommend you stay the hell away from whale.to. Once bitten, twice shy.

**Got word last night that a Tucson hasher’s cancer is no longer being treated, and that he’s been placed in hospice for his last remaining days. He hashed with the men-only traditional kennel I founded several years ago, as well as the main mixed Tucson hash. Hasn’t been seen for years, and apparently only a few hashers even knew he was sick. I didn’t know until last night. So if I sound a little defensive about shit-stirrers who want to bash cancer researchers and doctors, perhaps you’ll understand.

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Harriers MCH3 Mash Trash: 6/1/14

There hasn’t been a motorcycle hash in Tucson since January? Really? Hella lame, you ask me.

Well, we got our stuff together today, and we’ll try to do better from now on. Our goal is to have one mash a month, usually on the 4th Sunday. At the request of new member Missed a Spot, we put last Sunday’s mash off one week. Guess who didn’t show up? Buy hey, I was there at the Triple T this morning, and so was Wankers Aweigh, so we headed out for a morning ride to Arivaca and Green Valley.

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Flying Booger in Arivaca (note Knuckledraggers shirt!)

That’s me at the Gadsden Coffee Company in Arivaca. We took back roads from Tucson to Amado, then the 29-mile curvy road from Amado to Arivaca, slowly climbing all the way. Arivaca is about 1,500 feet higher than Tucson, and halfway there you can start to feel the difference in temperature. Sitting outdoors in the shade in Arivaca is downright pleasant, and the locals are friendly.

On the twisty road from Amado to Arivaca we passed an “open range” sign. Not 100 yards past it was was a huge steer standing beside the road, hiding in the shadow of a palo verde tree, fortunately content to be where he was and not determined to get to the other side, because he would have definitely won. Half a mile farther on three Border Patrol trucks and half a dozen agents had surrounded one lone border-crosser, who was likewise kneeling in the shade beside the road. I swear, you have to be on your toes on these back roads!

We enjoyed our Arivaca coffee and a chat with some of the other customers, then hopped back on the bikes to ride to Green Valley. The steer was still on the same side of the road, but the Border Patrol was gone, along with its catch of the day.

We pulled off I-17 into Green Valley and stopped for lunch at the Triple Play Sports Pub, then got back onto the freeway for the ride home. By the time Wankers split off for west Tucson and I headed east for Casa Booger, it was over 100°F. Too bad we couldn’t have just stayed in Arivaca all day.

Next month? Don’t know yet, but we’ll ride somewhere. A couple of our members say they’ll start riding with us again, if it isn’t too hot (whiners!), so maybe it’s time for a Mount Lemmon ride. Watch our Facebook page for announcements!

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Pedalfiles Bash Trash: 5/18/14

A very small group of Pedalfiles met at the Hog Pit on Tanque Verde this morning for an early bicycle hash. Even though we all thought the hares were crazy for announcing an 8 AM start, it turned out they were right: today started out hot and only got hotter as the morning advanced. By the time we finished our 12-mile trail it was almost up to 100°.

Spot Remover was our hare, and Missed a Spot was going to ride with him, carrying extra flour in a backpack. But since the pack numbered only two, Wankers Aweigh and Flying Booger, we decided to leave the flour behind and just ride the planned trail together.

Trail generally went south along both sides of the Pantano Wash, from our start near Tanque Verde all the way down to 22nd Street, then west and north to a beer check at the Chuy’s on Kolb and Broadway. From the beer check trail continued north, then into an extensive undeveloped area near the Pantano Wash, and eventually back to the start.

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Beer check at Chuy’s: Missed a Spot, Spot Remover, Wankers Aweigh

Now if you have examined a Pima County Bicycle Trail map, you probably thought you saw paved bike trails up and down both sides of Pantano Wash, but let me tell you those trails are entirely notional. Some day, years from now, and only if the citizens of Tucson vote yes on some planned bond issues, those bicycle trails may be built. But they do not exist in the here & now, as the hare knew and as we found out: about half of today’s trail was was through deep sand, gravel, boulders, and other forms of treacherous bicycle-eating earth, with cacti snatching at our legs and arms as we passed … almost pure shiggy, and it was a good thing the hare had reminded us to bring our mountain bikes.

Of course not every Pedalfiler has a mountain bike: Wankers showed up with a skinny-tire road bike, but he tackled trail nonetheless and only went down three times. Booger almost lost it a couple of times. The hare, who had practiced trail more than once, got lost more than once, even where he’d pre-laid flour to help him find his way through the shiggy.

But hey, we all made it, and it was a great ride, a little more challenging than the ones we’re used to. We all had fun.

The only trouble with an 8 AM start is that you’re done before the pubs open, which in this town is 11 AM. Since we couldn’t go into the Hog Pit when we finished trail at 10 AM, we loaded up the bikes and drove over to Casa Spot for an hour. The hares gave us beer and coffee, and we had a short circle there. Afterward Wankers had to go home, but Booger and the Spots drove back to the Hog Pit, now open, for lunch.

A fine morning, made even better by a ride in the great outdoors, and so what if it was more of a group ride than a bash? If another Pedalfiler or two had shown up, it would have been a bash, and our only question is where the hell were you?

Speaking of which, who the hell is going to hare in June? Scheduled date is Sunday, June 15. We can start as early as you wish. We just need there to be a “you” to hare for us! Email me with a start time and location, whoever you are!

On-On to our next bash!

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PISS Hash Trash: 5/11/14

Doesn’t seem fair that I have to hare, host on-afters, and WRITE THE HASH TRASH TOO, but since when is life ever fair? Down-down for bitching in the circle, I know, I know.

Sunday dawned bright and way too early, and I was up for a last-chance trail scouting mission before the pack arrived at Casa de los Boogers. Yes, the hole in the chain-link fence … upon which the success of my planned trail depended … had not been repaired, and I was back in time to greet the pack: Pick’n'Flick, Wankers Aweigh & Hot Legs, Zorro, Zorro’s Other Mark, Burning Bush, Her Majesty’s Ho, Yoda & Appendage, Missed a Spot & Spot Remover, Communicable Disease & Tucson Slew with the newly-named Reverend Booty Call. A great turnout for an early hash!

Trail went north, then east and through the aforementioned hole, through and around the grounds of Tanque Verde High School, then over a shiggy-infested hill on an overgrown and cholla-spiked telephone line trail (see fig. 1). The pack duly noted the sign I left for them at the top: “FB Summit, elev 2754′.” Then on-down to the bottom of another hill, this one at least accessible by a paved road, and eventually back to the Casa, access to which was through our back 40, even more shiggy-encrusted than the telephone line right-of-way, and into our patio by the back gate (see fig. 2), three hilly miles in all.

I was back from laying trail before the pack returned (see fig. 3), and spent the time setting up the patio for company (see fig. 4). As usual, half the pack stayed indoors to help Pick’n'Flick set up the food line; half the pack stayed out back to supervise the mandatory grilling of the brats. The only problem with outdoors yesterday was the wind. As you can see in fig. 4 we had the patio umbrellas up; we knew it was time to go inside when the wind snapped one of the umbrella poles in half and the canopy landed in CD’s lap.

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fig. 1: FB’s Summit

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fig. 2: On-In

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fig. 3: The pack returns

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fig. 4: The former patio umbrella


We call it the Pima Independent Sunday Social Hash, and yesterday we lived up to our name. Trail started at 9 AM, the pack was in by 10:30 AM, and circle lasted less than a minute, Socializing (and eating and drinking) ensued and the last hasher left Casa de los Boogers at 3:45 PM … so you’ll understand why I didn’t get around to writing the trash until today!

What a great way to spend a sunny Sunday in Tucson, Arizona! Thanks to all for coming and hashing and making it such a fun day. Sadly, this was the last hash before our summer hibernation … we won’t start hashing again until September or October, since the summers are just too damn hot for our slightly older crowd. If it’s cool enough to start again in September, Hot Legs and Wankers will hare; if not and we have to wait until October, CD & Slew will lay us a trail.

On-on until then!

p.s. We have lost and found: someone left a water bottle in an insulated holder. We’re holding it for ransom.

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PISS Hash Trash: 4/13/14

You know you’re in a gay cruising park when you see signs like this:

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And when you’re in a gay cruising park, chances are Yoda’s setting the trail.

It was another big turnout for the Pima Independent Sunday Social Hash today, with 17 human and 4 canine hashers in attendance. Yoda, assisted by a snowbird buddy from Green Valley, set trail through the used condoms and shiggy in Greasewood Park on Tucson’s west side.

The big news today was the plethora of namings. We welcomed Zorro’s Other Mark, Detroit Pissed-On, Hula Cougar, and Doctor Booty Call to hashing immortality, along with two four-legged hashers, Pepper Pot and Booty Biter.

Here are some more photos from this morning’s trail. Click on any image to see the full-sized originals at Flickr:

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Our next hash will start at Casa de Booger on Sunday, May 11, at 9 AM. Flying Booger is haring. On-afters will be at Casa de Booger as well, with brats supplied. Everyone else, bring something to share, and as always, BYOB. Details will be announced on our Facebook page.

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