Half-Mind Weblog

portrait_3 copy A Hash House Harrier weblog by Flying Booger, a hasher living in Tucson, Arizona
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The Story of Stitch

Over the years I’ve told the story of John Wayne Bobbitt and his connection with hashing to several friends. It’s time to write it down for posterity, before Alzheimer’s sets in.

Pick’n'Flick and I moved to Nevada in 1995 and started hashing with the Las Vegas Resur-Erection H3. Later that year we were at an LVREH3 trail in the desert several miles west of town. A virgin showed up, which wasn’t unheard of, except that he’d ridden a bicycle all the way from town to get to the hash. We thought that showed commendable zeal and were looking forward to ragging him about it in the circle afterward.

We’d finished trail and were milling around at the on-in before the circle started. I noticed our daughter Green Flagger talking up the virgin. Pretty soon Green Flagger walked over to us with the guy’s credit cards and drivers license in her hand. “You’ll never guess who I was just talking to,” she said. Sure enough, the name on the cards and license was John Wayne Bobbitt, and once we knew his name, several hashers realized they’d seen his photo in the news. It was actually him.

John Wayne Bobbitt, of course, is the penis guy. In 1993, after a fight, his then-wife Lorena cut his penis off while he was sleeping, hopped in her car, drove around for a while, then chucked it out the window. Good for JWB, she felt remorse and called 911. The penis was recovered and surgically reattached to its owner. In 1993, JWB and Lorena were all over the news; the story was still getting a lot of play when we met the man in 1995.

It turned out JWB was a veteran hasher. Before he met and married Lorena he’d been a Marine, at some point stationed at a USMC base in Okinawa, Japan, where he ran with our former hash, the Okinawa H3. He served from 1987 to 1991, so very likely he was hashing with Okinawa H3 when we were (1998-1992). We probably saw him a hundred times, but didn’t know him then … there were a lot of young Marines in the Okinawa H3 in those days.

So here he was, coming off a couple of years of relative fame … a band, talk show appearances, starring roles in porn videos … and now living in Las Vegas. He was working, but he’d also made some money from the porn films, and possibly that’s what paid for his house and car. Like a good hasher, he decided to hook up with LVREH3, and we were glad to have him.

I’m not sure he would have told us who he was that day if Green Flagger hadn’t wormed it out of him. Eventually, yes, but not at his first circle. Of course we were concerned that he and Green Flagger (who was just 18 or 19 at the time) had hit it off and we tried to keep her away from him, but she insisted he was harmless. Pick’n'Flick and I talked to him at length that first day, and at a few hashes afterward, mainly to make sure he didn’t have designs on our girl. Thankfully, he didn’t.

What was he like? He came across as a nice, modest, self-effacing guy. Polite, like many young Marines I’ve met. He wasn’t reluctant to tell his story, but only if you asked him to, and he always took full blame for everything that happened. Although he was well-spoken, he didn’t come across as especially bright. He told Pick’n'Flick he thought he’d been dropped on his head as a baby. She thought he was joking at the time.

One clue we might have picked up on that first day, but didn’t, was that he made a 20+ mile round trip through the desert and up into the foothills on a bicycle just to get to the hash. We found out later he was on probation and wasn’t allowed to drive. I don’t remember noticing that he had a problem with alcohol on the first hash, but it became obvious at later hashes. He’d get drunk, really drunk, on just three or four beers, stumbling around and slurring his words, eventually almost passing out.

We later learned that under the terms of his probation he wasn’t allowed to drink. His probation officer would drop in on him at home to make sure he was staying sober. Why was he on probation? He’d gotten drunk and beat up a girlfriend. The main reason he rode all that way on a bike was to have some beer, not so much to hash. As I said, we put all this together over time. He was okay when he wasn’t drinking. You didn’t want to be around him when he was, but he was apparently only violent with women. I have to say we never saw him get violent with anyone, man or woman, but if the stories we heard were true, our initial reaction … to keep our daughter away from the guy … was the right one.

After four hashes with LVREH3, JWB signed up to hare. He laid a great trail and everyone had a good time. We ended around dusk, and as we did in those days in the desert outside Las Vegas, we built a bonfire for the circle. This was the first time we saw JWB get really drunk. After drinking just two or three beers, he keeled over into the fire and we had to pull him out. A woman had driven him to the hash, but she didn’t seem to want to have anything to do with us. She sat in her car during trail and then stood off to the side during the circle. He told us later she was a porn actress. She might have been; I honestly don’t know.

LVREH3 names hashers after their sixth trail. JWB’s sixth was coming up, so I put the word out on hash-l, the email forum hashers used back in medieval times: “Come hash with us in Las Vegas on such-and-such a date and you can help us name John Wayne Bobbitt.” And hashers came. A lot of hashers came. From Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, California. One hasher came all the way from New England. Several of them camped out at our house, including ZiPpy (may he rest in peace).

We knew about JWB’s issues by then, so our GM Pecker Checker contacted his probation officer beforehand. All his Vegas hashes to this point had been out in the desert, far from prying eyes. This one, though, was going to be in town near the Strip and we didn’t want to get him in trouble. Pecker Checker got permission, but had to promise JWB wouldn’t drink at the hash. As if.

And so it was in early 1996 that 12 local and 30 or 40 visiting hashers ran JWB’s naming trail in Las Vegas. The part I remember best was a beer stop at a neighborhood Circle K where we bought individual tall boys in paper bags to drink on the sidewalk before taking off again (kind of an LVREH3 tradition in those days). Two redneck types went into the Circle K while JWB was inside buying his beer, and when they came out we could hear one of them telling the other, “Dude, that was the dude!” And the other one said, “That Asian chick he fucked in that flick was super-hot!”

The naming? During the Q&A he told us the porn actors and actresses he worked with called him “Barbell” because that’s what his reattached dick looked like, with a big bulge at each end (you may or may not have wanted to know that). Well, we wanted to come up with our own name, and in the end I think we did him proud: “A Stitch in Time Saved Mine,” “Stitch” for short.

You know what? I just realized we never asked Stitch what his Okinawa hash name was! He must have had one, but we’d have renamed him anyway (I mean, really, how many chances do you get to name someone with a lost & found dick?), so I guess it doesn’t matter.

After the naming circle, instead of going to a bar for on-afters, Stitch invited us all to his house. It was just a regular tract house, nice but nothing special. He had a jacked-up 4X4 pickup truck in the driveway, which he still wasn’t allowed to drive. Inside, he had stacks of the porn videos he’d acted in … according to what he told us, it’s part of the compensation package; actors can sell them on their own, like authors who sell autographed copies of their books. And then he put one in the VCR and got more talkative than we’d ever seen him.

By that point the crowd was down to about 30 harriers and harriettes, sitting in front of the TV on Stitch’s living room floor while he told us inside gossip about the industry and some of the better-known actors and actresses. Then he pressed “play” and started narrating his own fuck flick. Which was cool until he got to the part where he said, “Now watch, I’m about to come.” I didn’t think I was a prude, but that was too much for me. I grabbed a couple of beers and went to sit in the driveway. The harriette from New England joined me, then a few others.

Stitch hared a few more hashes after his naming, all ending at his house for porn video sessions. Then, somewhere around the end of 1996, he moved away. He didn’t tell us he was leaving. We heard later he’d gone to Reno. Later yet we heard he’d become an evangelical preacher. As far as I know he never hashed again; I’m sure someone would have told if he had, since I was webmaster for the Half-Mind Catalog at the time and kept track of hash contacts all over the USA. Nope, he was just gone.

The link I included earlier in this post goes to Stitch’s Wikipedia entry, which seems to have at least one fact wrong. It says he moved to Las Vegas in 1998, where he worked as a limo driver among other jobs. He lived there when we knew him in 1995 and 1996, but it’s possible he came back later. It says he was a Universal Life minister for a while and did Las Vegas weddings. That sounds like something that would have happened a few years later; he wasn’t doing that when we knew him. The Wikipedia entry mentions a 1994 conviction for domestic battery; that would have been why he was on probation when we knew him. It goes on to list several later convictions, including one for the theft of $140,000 from a store in Fallon, Nevada, not far from Reno. All in all a pretty depressing story.

The last bit of news, which I saw today while looking up the Wikipedia link, is this, from the Daily Mail in November 2014: John Wayne Bobbitt Breaks Neck in Car Crash. Not to worry … the article says he’ll recover.

Wherever Stitch is today, I wish him well. He’s one of us, no matter what.

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Bitching

Here in Tucson, Arizona, I’m a regular at the PISS Hash and the Pedalfiles Bash, but I’ve fallen away from the main club, the jHavelina Hash. Even so, I still consider myself one of them and I subscribe to their Facebook page, where last week a recently-departed jHavelina posted this update:

Just wanted to say I miss my old jHavelina hash. I finally made it out to the hash here in my new town, but sadly they don’t lay live trails, they don’t ybf at all, there’s no boob or package checks, the entire trail is labeled as true trail and the ONE beer check we had consisted of a single growler to share among 15-20 people. Wow, really enjoyed that shot of beer. Oh and circle? Sad, just sad. We had a naming btw. There was no flour, no embarrassment, nothing, just a few drops of beer flicked at the girl as she chugged a shot of water. My hashing heart hurts. Can’t wait to hash with you beautiful wankers at the end of April when I come back to visit. Much love (from behind) to all you fuckers!

When I joined the jHavelinas in 1997, it was still a fairly new hash and not many of its members had hashed outside of Tucson. Over the years that’s changed; most members have by now done plenty of away hashes. I don’t know if that’s the case with the hasher who wrote this note, but anyway that’s not why I’m quoting her comments. I wanted to talk about bitching.

There’s good bitching and bad bitching. The hasher who thinks her new hash is a little lame shared her comments with members of her old hash in a private Facebook group. And that’s just fine. We all do that. I’m sure she didn’t insult her new friends by sharing her views in the circle at the other hash.

Here’s an example of bad bitching:

Booger, do you know a hasher named ________? He said he was from the Javelinas. Let’s just say he didn’t make any friends at the ________ hash last night. If drinking causes you to become a whiny dick you shouldn’t drink. His big complaint was that the hash “was 4 hours long and gonna be 5 hours and my wallet and keys are locked in your car and I’ve been a hasher since 1997 and hashed worldwide.”

We had visitors from Houston and Portland as well, no problem. Your boy also left a credit card behind. Why he would lock his wallet and keys in a stranger’s car when he had no idea how long he was going to be gone is beyond me. He was REALLY agitated and lucky the pack didn’t use that credit card to buy drinks for the house especially after he made the point to the GM and a table full of people what a consummate hasher he was.

Hashing is a small world, and word gets around.

It just seems like common sense to keep your complaints about other hashes to yourself, at least when you’re at those other hashes. It’s perfectly acceptable to talk about the strange and mysterious ways of other hashes once you’re back home, swapping tales at on-afters with your mates. But is there anything more insufferable than a visiting hasher lecturing you on all the things that are wrong with your hash?

I sincerely doubt this guy has “hashed worldwide.” He sounds downright provincial.

Go back up to the letter from the jHavelina hasher who moved away. Her new hash does prelaid trails. There’s just one trail and they don’t do YBFs or boob checks. The circle isn’t as lively as the ones she’s used to. You know what? If it weren’t for the beer check and the naming, she could be talking about a run with the Mother Hash in Kuala Lumpur, an experience most hashers would kill for.

True confession: I bitched about a trail once when I was visiting a hash. It was at a Bay to Breakers hash weekend in San Francisco several years ago, at the Saturday afternoon hash before Sunday morning’s official B to B run. Trail started at UC Berkeley, went over the mountains north of Oakland, and ended in Orinda-Moraga. It was a killer, a genuine ball buster, ten miles long and utterly exhausting. I didn’t think it was a sensible trail to lay on the eve of an actual race most of the hashers there were registered to run in. And I shared my views with a couple of friends from San Francisco after the circle.

I didn’t say anything in the circle, or to the hares or the organizers. I just bitched a little to some friends. But I’ve felt bad about it ever since, and if there was a way to go back in time and un-say my complaints I’d jump on it.

I just pray no one from the San Francisco or East Bay hashes wrote their friends the next day, asking if they knew someone named Flying Booger who said he was from the jHavelina Hash and was an obnoxious whiny butt about the epic trail they’d gone to so much trouble to prepare.

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Pedalfiles Bash Trash: 3/15/15

Guest bash trash from Pedalfiles member Hash Jive:

From a message in a brown bottle:

Dear Flying Booger:

We hope this message finds you in calm waters. Yesterday we missed you and others at the Pedalfiles Bash. It was one of those gusty days. Whirling winds, skin-peeling dust, slamming doors, hovering groceries bags, wigs blown away. Due to the weather conditions, we gave the hares a merciful 2 extra minutes for laying out the trail. Not bad considering that besides some still-standing mesquites, there were only a few safe spots to hang around. Nevertheless, we had lots of fun while waiting.

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The hares: Deep Dish & Is It In Yet?

Enter Oliver, the miniature pony that stole our hearts and made us forget that this was not going to be any miniature challenge at all. Loose Nut, Arthur Gash & F-Me, Hash Jive & Pearl of the Andes, and hares Deep Dish & 3IY gave our best, ready for windbreaking and pedaling 10 miles against a twice-to-thrice G-force putting us all out of our respective comfort zones, to say the least. But we made it! So future announcements of Bashes shall be changed to “rain OR shine OR wind”.

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Oliver, honorary Pedalfiler

Now back to business: the trail was IMHO, grrreat. Starting from Brandi Fenton Park, coincident with an antiquities fair that made us a bit confused at the arrival in search for parking, the trail headed West to Rillito River, with a smart change of riverside while crossing the bridges, entering into the tree-filled roads around the country club area, and turning to the neighborhoods of Winterhaven and Blacklidge, with three sets of false trails weaving with several ins-and-outs into Tucson Blvd., which for moments made us think that we were going in circles. Also it was evident, block after block, that the hares were running out of flour, and were switching to chalk, and ultimately to gravel for marking the arrows and directions for the left behind on the road. This was fully admitted during the beer stop, which for the pedalfilers’ relief was in a location out of winds.

We stormed into R-Place, which was quickly renamed as ARRR-Place, becoming a sort of oasis for the thirsty, sweaty, extenuated against-the-wind bashers, where we made a recount of many other fun moments in the trail.

The second leg lead us almost “chalkless” to a wavy dirt road next to Rillito road, turning around again into the bridges (with some double arrows), returning triumphantly into Brandi Fenton, not before passing through the undiscovered “Wild Honey Trail”, just behind the nursery in front of Shooters. Alas, we wish we could cross and stop again for an extra beer.

Packing up our worn out bikes but our minds and souls still intact, we were curious about the On-Afters venue. Where? I think I thought I heard “our place”, I was quick to thank Deep Dish for the hospitality. But no, wait a sec, it was R-Place revisited, it might be all this dust in my ears. Anyway, not bad for re-runs, the place will be always remembered for the chilled pints, the heavily seasoned R-Place Club, and the monumental Double-Pounder Burger Royale. Oui, mesdames et messieurs, if I spelled it right, with an over-easy fried egg at the top, which was heroically taken by Deep Dish and 3IY without leaving a trace of it. A note for the hares!

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On-Afters: Hash Jive, Pearl of the Andes, Deep Dish, 3IY, F-Me, Arthur Gash, Loose Nut

On-On
Hash Jive

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A Happy Announcement

LgoSept14Pick’n'Flick and I will be at InterAmericas Hash 2015 in Portland after all. A friend had a friend with a rego to sell so I jumped on it, hoping to find a second rego later. By an incredible stroke of luck, it turned out our friend’s friend had two regos to sell and we were able to buy both.

Our friend lives part of the year in Honolulu and the other part of the year in Bangkok. His friend is an expat Kiwi living in Manila. Who knew transferring regos would be such a complex international transaction? Still, all parties set to it with good will and by golly it worked: InterAm 2015 organizers contacted us today to inform us we’re on the official Who’s Coming list. It’s a done deal and I can finally talk about it without jinxing it.

A month or so back I worried we may not be able to find anyone with a rego to sell and wouldn’t be able to attend. At the InterAm 2015 site there’s a forum for hashers seeking regos. The newest rego seekers go to the top of the list; those who have been looking and waiting the longest migrate to the bottom, where no one will ever see their requests. This forces folks at the bottom of the list to keep sending new requests in order to stay near the top of the list. Frankly, it’s starting to look like a food fight, and it’s only going to get worse as people get more desperate.

I didn’t think much of that system then and I don’t think much of it now. Is it possible to flip the list so that the oldest requests are on top, the newest ones at the bottom? I don’t know, but I feel it would be a fairer way of doing things.

Pick’n'Flick and I were lucky: we fortunately knew someone who knew someone and were able to make a swap outside official channels. I fear a lot of hashers who want to go to InterAm won’t be as lucky. But who knows? A number of regos will come up for sale as Labor Day approaches; it always happens before a big hash event. If you’re on that list of people seeking regos, start checking it every day, and if you feel it’s necessary, refresh your request to stay near the top. When I checked the list today, for the first time ever I saw some regos for sale, so the logjam is starting to break. May everyone who wants to come to InterAm be able to find a rego!

We can’t wait to see old friends again. On On to Portland!

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PISS Hash Trash: 3/8/15

It turned out to be a pretty good day for a hash. Your humble scribe was the wily hare today, laying trail through the neighborhood around Casa Booger, taking advantage of shiggy shortcuts but staying out of the deep sand of local dry washes, looping the pack through all points of the compass and back to on-ins at la casa.

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Flying Booger

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Booger’s bag


The pack was numerous and large: Pick’n'Flick, Burning Bush, Zorro, Zorro’s Other Mark, H.M.Ho, Dead Fucking Blind, Bare-Assed-Her, Master Meat Finder, Yoda, Appendage, Wankers Aweigh, Hot Legs, Communicable Disease, Tucson Slew, Citizen 69, Satisfaction Guaranteed, and three “justs”: Just Doug, Just Linda, and Just Rikki. Not to mention a six-pack of dogs. A very good turnout indeed … this is the hash I worried was going belly up a month ago!

I led the traditional PISS Hash short circle, in which I explained the ways of the Pima Independent Sunday Social Hash House Harriers to our three virgin “justs.” After the beverages were downed an songs were sang, formalities were adjourned and we got down to the “social” part of our name. Brats were grilled, food and beverages were shared, stories were told.

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On-afters on the patio

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On-afters in la casa

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On-Afters in the bloody breezeway

Toward the end of on-afters, just as hashers were beginning to round up their dogs and pack their coolers, a few drops of rain fell on those of us partying on the patio, making it a perfect morning all around. The hash went in peace, but not before Yoda signed up to hare in April and DFB in May.

I can’t think of a better way to spend a morning, can you? On On!

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Spring Cleaning & Announcements

Have I ever told you a hasher runs the server the Half-Mind Weblog lives on? Beaver Bam Bam Balls has been hosting this and other hashing websites for years, and he is a patient man. I don’t know how many times I’ve crashed this blog by fucking up the database or trying to cram too many bytes onto my part of the server; BBBB always comes through with a fix.

This morning I noticed I’m approaching disk space limits again. For the past four years I’ve loaded hashing photos on Flickr, where I have unlimited storage: the photos you see here are actually linked from Flickr. But before that … and some of the stuff on this blog goes back to 1995 … I loaded photos directly to the server, where they take up a lot of room.

This morning I moved all those older photos to Flickr in order to free up space on BBBB’s server. For now that means there’ll be some blank spots in older posts where photos used to be. As I get time I’ll fill in the blanks with Flickr-hosted photos. The only way you’ll notice it is if you’re rooting around in the archives, so it’s probably not that big a deal to most readers.

I hate to put up a post that’s nothing but administrative qweep, so I’ll add some actual hashing news:

  • I scouted turkey and eagle trail for an upcoming PISS Hash this morning. The hash is on Sunday, March 8, starting and ending at Casa Booger. If you’re going to be in town, look us up on Facebook and come join us!
  • After I bitched about people not volunteering to hare, two bashers stepped forward to put on a Pedalfiles Bike Hash trail on Sunday, March 15. I’m bummed that I’ll be out of town for that one. If you’re visiting Tucson then, find a bike and come bashing with the Pedalfiles!
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Links Updated

Just wanted to let you know I cleaned up the links page yesterday, getting rid of dead ones and updating the ones that weren’t working. To my horror, I found that nearly all my old links to regional & national hash contact websites were broken. Well, they’re fixed now, and I promise to check them more often and keep them up to date.

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What’s In a Name?

Guess who isn’t a Hash House Harrier any more? Witness the Meetup page of the Birmingham Magic City Harriers:

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I’ll pick a few nits, if I may. Or should that be “knits”?

The Dog has complained about unfriendly hashers and hashing groups before, so I can see where he’s going with the name change. While a Google search for “World Harrier Organization” comes up dry, there are a large number of Harrier athletic clubs and Hare & Hounds clubs around the world. Harrier and Hare & Hounds clubs are definitely in hashing’s family tree, but if you visit their web sites you’ll see they’re a hell of a lot more serious about running than we are. I don’t know, but this business about “a wider and friendlier hounds and hares community as expressed in the World Harrier Organization” looks like wishful thinking to me.

Now, as to the “true original sport of live hare”: this may well be true of the original hare & hounds clubs. The earliest accounts of hare & hounds running I’ve seen date from the 1800s. Tom Brown’s School Days, published in 1857, describes a run with the Big Side Hare & Hounds that occurred in the 1830s. A New York Times article from 1883 describes a hare & hounds run put on by the American Athletic Club. Both events featured live hares. The Hash House Harriers, however — the original club, founded by A.S. Gispert and friends in Kuala Lumpur in 1938 — started out with pre-laid trails, and many hash clubs today, including the original club, still follow pre-laid trail.

In this respect — live hare trails — it does look like Stray Dog is being true to the hare & hounds concept, even if he’s making up the World Harrier Organization stuff. I hope he does manage to get a friendlier, hash-like hare & hounds club started in Birmingham. I suspect, though, that what he means by “friendlier” is something rather different from what the rest of us mean. I suspect his definition of “friendlier” is everyone agreeing with everything he says. Good luck with that!

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