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A Memorable Trail (Updated)

gfd rescuers

Guam Hash House Harriers’ BFFs in Action

The next time your “serious” runner friends sneer at you for being a hasher, show them this:

79 Hash Runners Lost in Bush Saturday Night, Led to Safety by GFD Sunday Morning

Guam – 79 people from the running club known as the “Hash House Harriers” got lost in the bush around Mt. Schroeder in Merizo Saturday evening and had to be led out to safety by Guam Fire and Rescue.

The “Hash House Harriers” are international group of non-competitive, running social clubs.

Acting Guam Fire Spokesman FF II Kevin Reily reports the initial 911 call came in just after 9pm Saturday reporting 25 runners were lost.

Rescue 3 launched a search and soon located part of the group. That’s when they learned that there were more than 70 hash runners, says Reily, not just 25. Rescue 1 then joined in the search for the remaining runners. In all, 13 GFD personnel were involved in the search which Reily described as “exhaustive.”

Reily reports all of them were led to safety by 4:30am Sunday. 3 suffered minor injuries from abrasions and fatigue. But no one had to be transported to the hospital. 1 of the “Harriers” fell into a ravine, but Reily reports that that person was helped out by another Harrier and led to the trail-head.

The hashers told rescue personnel they started their run at 4pm Saturday.

Its the second time in less than a week that a group of people have had to be lead to safety by Guam Fire and Rescue getting lost at night in the jungle. Last Thursday night a group of young men got lost while hiking in the area of the the Pagat caves. They were led to safety Friday morning by GFD Rescue Unit 1.

Let’s review the highlights. The hash started at 4 PM. The first emergency call, presumably from one of the lost hashers, was after 9 PM, 5 hours later (Guam is very close to the Equator, so it’s pitch black at 9 PM). Although 25 hashers were quickly found, more than 50 were still unaccounted for. The last of the pack was found and led to safety at 4:30 AM, over 12 hours later.

Guam H3, this one goes into the Half-Mind annals!

Update (9/16/14): received following from a Guam hasher today. Seems the article was a little overblown (shocking, I know):

Hey Flying Booger,

The local paper didn’t get the facts straight.  The trail was on Mt. Finansanta, not Mt. Schroeder.  There were approximately 79 people that started the trail.  Most of the pack made it in without needing to be rescued, albeit after dark.  One guy tumbled down a very steep hillside, he broke some ribs, but initial reports were that he broke a leg (not sure how that miscommunication happened).  That is what prompted the call to Guam Fire Department.  He was able to hike out on his own.  There were 18 stuck on the trail that didn’t make it in until around 3:30 am.  Some, but not all, had lights so it was slow going down the mountain and down the waterfalls.  Some of the front runners went back on trail to help.  Only one of the GFD personnel was able to make it up the trail to the top of the mountain (granted they were carrying a lot of gear and trail was steep and muddy in places), and some of the hashers that went back on trail helped them carry some of the gear (myself included).  I was with the rescue party (4 hashers, one local neighbor and 3 GFD personnel) that went out to get the injured guy; we didn’t back track on trail, but made our own trail through the jungle in the dark to approach from the bottom of the mountainside – but he was no longer there because he hike out on his own…

Regrettable we were in the news.  Fortunately nobody was seriously injured.  Unfortunately there has been a rash of lost hikers in the local news lately (all the other incidents non hashers) including one death, so this is getting a lot of coverage…

OnOn
F. Tampon

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Killed on Trail

A Tampa hasher, Bed & Bucfest, died Friday night after being hit by a car while she was running a hash trail in Orlando. I didn’t know her, but I know Tampa hashers who were close to her, and I know they’re hurting. It’s a terrible thing.

I don’t know any details. Don’t know how it happened or who was at fault. I probably don’t want to know. What I do know is that having a hasher get killed on trail has always been one of my secret fears, both as a hasher and as a hare.

A number of hashers have died on trail from heart attacks and the like. That’s always sad, but if you’re a hasher, it’s the most honorable way to depart this life. Getting killed is another thing entirely. Fortunately only a few hashers have actually been killed on trail … I can think of only four or five cases, though there have probably been a few more than that.

I know I’d feel responsible if someone was killed running one of my trails, and I feel for the hashers in Orlando. I feel for B&B’s many friends in Florida and the hashing community. I’ll remember to honor her in my next circle.

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Look But Don’t Touch

This PSA has been running the rounds on Facebook and Twitter (though not, it seems, on Hash-L or HashSpace). I’ll give it a push by reposting it here (if it’s hard to read, click on it to view it full-size on Flickr):

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Anyone who has read my rants over the years knows I’ve addressed this subject again and again.

I used to think there was a special trust between hashers; you know, the kind of trust where if you’re at a special hash event, out of the public eye, men and women can get naked together in a hot tub or whatever without sexual pressure, harassment, touching, or rape.

I haven’t heard of any rapes at hash events, but the rest of it happens on a regular basis. Some frat boy type gets a boner and starts squeezing tits. Someone sneaks into someone else’s tent at two in the morning.  Some asshole takes photos and posts them to HashSpace.

When we first start hashing, we think hashers are different. Better. Cooler. With experience, we learn hashers are just like everyone else. There is no special trust.

When alcohol is present (and when is it not at a hash?), people get horny and think they can take sexual liberties. It’s mostly guys, but some girls too. And there are always consequences after. Take the alcohol away and this shit would stop happening. But then it wouldn’t be the hash any more, so what’s the answer?

No one wants to hear this, but the answer is to keep your clothes on. Women, if you’re at a camping hash, share your tent with hashers you trust. Men, the hash is not a swingers’ club. As the PSA says, look out for each other, especially your sister hashers. If you see someone getting rapey, take him aside and straighten him out.

Sorry to be such a wet blanket, but if you’re reading this sober, you know I’m right.

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Hashing Longevity (Updated)

Some of you may know Grease Monkey from Over the Hump H3 in Quantico, Virginia. I met Grease when I was posted to Okinawa in 1989. He was a fixture of the hash there, and I’ve always believed he engineered my “election” as the Okinawa H3 GM. Grease and his family transferred to Quantico in 1991 or 92, and have been there ever since. I hashed in DC once in the early 2000s, but didn’t get to see him when I was there, so it was a pleasure to get this note from one of his brother OtH H3 hashers:

Last night “Grease Monkey” of the “Over The Hump” H3 (Quantico, Virginia, south of DC) completed his 2000th trail with Over The Hump.  It was also approximately his 850th time haring trail for OTH (note that OTH has run twice per week for most of its history).

It has taken him 23 years to accomplish this.  When you stop to think of the requirements needed to accomplish such a feat ((a) Live in the same city for 23 years, (b) have a local hash that has been in existence for 23 years, (c) complete roughly 80% of all trails run over the 23–year period), it seems plausible to me that Grease Monkey may well be the first person in the USA to accomplish this.

Might you be aware of anyone else who has accomplished this feat before now, both in the USA and elsewhere?  Grease believes that there is a hasher on Okinawa who has completed 3000 runs with the same hash, but he is not sure.

Well, I don’t know, but I suspect a few other hashers have hit the 2K mark. Hashers like Moon in Philadelphia, maybe, or Mr. Jackson in Rumson. The Okinawa hasher Grease Monkey referred to is probably Rooster. He’d definitely be up to around 3,000 trails by now.

Not that hashers keep meticulous records, but does anyone know of other hashers with the kind of longevity Grease Monkey has? Let us know in the comments, of email me directly and I’ll post the info here in an update. Thanks and On On!

Update (same day): I linked to this on Facebook and a couple of hashers pointed out things I should have included here. First, I meant 2,000 or more trails with the same hash. There are several hashers who have exceeded 2,000 trails, spread between different kennels. I went over 1,000 myself years ago, and then quit counting. Second, I forgot to mention another Okinawa H3 member, Omakazae, who at last count had run around 3,500 trails with that hash. I remember Omakazae well, and wish him and Rooster many more trails in the future!

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Hashing? Not Hashing?

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

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Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 10.01.53 AM

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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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