We have a couple of woman riders in our group, by which I mean women who ride their own motorcycles, but we’ve never actually seen them on their own bikes. By way of encouraging them I sent links to a cool web site run by women riders, along with a notice about today’s ride, promising back roads and minimal traffic. And what do you know, one of the women emailed back to say she was coming. Since I couldn’t promise good weather (it rained all day yesterday) I told her we’d cancel by email early today if it was still raining. She emailed back with her phone number, asking me to cancel by text instead since she doesn’t always check her email. Okay, can do.
So it dawned chilly and partly cloudy this morning, but the rain was gone and the forecast good. I rode to the designated start, a truck stop on the south side of Tucson, and found Wankers Aweigh waiting there. But no girl rider. So I texted her, asking if she was coming. No answer. We dawdled in the parking lot, but fifteen minutes after the agreed start time, still with no answer or acknowledgment from our missing rider, Wankers and I took off by ourselves.
Halfway to Sonoita, on the promised back road with minimal traffic, a motorcycle came speeding up behind us and I thought “here she is,” but it was just some dude on a sport bike. We let him pass, and then two more came up from behind. Ditto dudes, not our girl. We followed them into Sonoita and parked next to them because we wanted to check out their bikes: the first guy had a new Suzuki, ho hum, but the second guy had an old Honda 750 Four, and the third was riding a Norton Commando. Some class shit there, so I made Wankers take my photo with the Norton. Click the thumbnails to make ‘em bigger:
After our photo break at Sonoita, Wankers and I rode on to Patagonia for lunch at the Velvet Elvis, then continued in a loop through Nogales and back to Tucson. When I got home several hours later I checked my phone again. No call. No text message. Guess she got a better offer at the last minute. Would have been nice if she’d have taken the trouble to text me, or text me back when I asked whether she was going to make it. After all, she did insist I text her.
I herewith taunt Brazilian Stacks (for that is her hash name): we do not believe she rides at all, or even has a motorcycle. She was just stringing us along. If she wants to prove otherwise, she can show up at the next Harriers MCH3 mash. On time, on her own ride.
But hey, Wankers and I had a great putt. It was 45°F when we left the truck stop, finally getting up to 55°F by the time we were back on the outskirts of Tucson. Hardly any traffic, great roads. It’s the best time of the year to ride in southern Arizona.
Next mash will be just before Christmas, on Sunday, Dec 22. Unless someone else wants to put a ride together, I will, and will get the word out by mid-month.
I do not get it. It’s the absolute best time of year to be outdoors, whether hashing or bashing or just walking the dogs, and only three of us showed up for the bash this morning. What the hell, people?
Since Deep Dish, me, and our hare Redheaded Woodpecker were the only ones to show up at Shooter’s this morning, we dispensed with the formalities of trail and just rode together for while instead. Deep Dish took the lead and led Woodpecker and me north to the Racquet Club and onto the south side of the Rillito bike path. We were only on the pavement a short time before she veered off into the dirt and shiggy by the path, and we didn’t get back onto pavement until the footbridge at Mountain, where she took us over onto the north bank. This proved to be crowded with civilian pedestrians and riders (good practice for next week’s El Tour de Tucson, at least), and we got back into the shiggy as soon as we could. We eventually crossed south again on Dodge near the JCC, where some skulls caught our eye and we stopped for a photo op.
We didn’t get a pack, so we decided to get some head instead
After a short 8.5 mile ride we returned to Shooter’s for Bloody Marys. Okay, technically not a bash, since we didn’t insist on Woodpecker laying trail, but still a nice ride and very hashlike.
I just wish I knew where all the other riders have gone … did we do something to piss them off?
Well, we’ll try again next month. Rumor is Woodpecker may put on a special bash on the first Sunday of December, and Deep Dish and 3IY might hare the regular scheduled bash on the third Sunday. Those dates would be Dec 1 and Dec 15. I’ll post details as soon as I know more.
The Pima Independent Sunday Social Hash House Harriers has officially gone to the dogs: one of the hares had three dogs on trail, Pick’n'Flick and I had two; Communicable Disease and Tucson Slew brought along two more. Some of them even had hash names!
But you’re probably more curious about today’s human hashers, so here’s the roll call:
- Hares: Master Meat Finder and Redheaded Woodpecker
- Pack: CD & Slew, Pillow Talk, NHN Matt, Flying Booger & Pick’n'Flick, Yoda & Appendage, Half Hash & Thor & Son of a Beach, Illegal Entry, Zorro
Trail began and ended at MMF’s house in northwest Tucson and was confined to the area shown in this aerial view:
Today’s trail venue
You may think that’s not a very large area, but in fact trail was around three miles long (a respectable length for the PISS Hash) and included a ton of shiggy and hills. The cluster of buildings at the very center of the map is the northwest campus of Pima Community College, built on steep bluffs overlooking the dry riverbed running from top center to lower left. Trail took the pack down the riverbed, through the campus, past the pool and community center above and slightly to the right of the college, then up to a hilltop park where we found the beer check. Or rather, I should say, where Low Flying Booger found the beer check, she being the FRB for that part of the trail.
LFB leading us to the beer
Most of the pack, human and canine, at the beer check
The return portion of the trail went just a bit off the top of the map, then returned to the start in the triangular cluster of houses at top left center. Pick’n'Flick got a hare snare on Redheaded Woodpecker very near the end, I believe her first hare snare ever, over which there was much rejoicing.
The circle and on-afters were held in MMF’s back yard. Flying Booger sermonized, and then the hares passed out traditional hash awards: Illegal Entry was honored with the Hash Shit for auto-haring and in most egregious manner possible (she drove past Flying Booger & Low Flying Booger near the college campus, backed up, rolled down her window to ask for directions to the beer check, then drove off without offering us a ride); NHN Matt, Pillow Talk’s son, was given a virgin down-down and performed admirably.
Circle at MMF’s
Oh yeah and one other thing: our other dog became a named four-legged hasher today and shall no longer be known as Maxie — henceforth and forevermore she shall be known to hashers as Red over Red Booger.
Red over Red Booger, home from the hash
Hey, I write the hash trash, I get to write about our hash dogs!
Next month’s PISS Hash will be on Sunday, December 8, at 10 AM, and will be hared by CD & Tucson Slew. Details, including the start location, will be announced on our Facebook page.
Most hashers know the accepted history of the early days of hashing, how the first H3 club was established in Kuala Lumpur in 1938, went inactive during WWII, reformed in 1946, and eventually began to give birth to other chapters. For as long as I’ve been hashing (I started in 1988), hash historians believed Mother’s first child was Bordighera H3, founded in Italy in 1947 by a pre-war KL hasher named Gus Mackey, and that the second child was Singapore H3, founded in 1962 by a post-war KL hasher named Ian Cumming.
Until recently this was the accepted version of hash history. Magic Hughes, who back in the day was the acknowledged world hash historian, believed it, or at least accepted it as being true. Later, when hashers like Zippy and me started putting hash history on line, we passed along the same version of events. You can see the same history on Wikipedia.
British hasher Amnesia has been claiming for a couple of years now that the Bordighera H3 story is a hoax. I initially resisted Amnesia’s arguments. To be honest, I thought he had an axe to grind and wasn’t being completely objective. But now he has published his research, and I am convinced: it didn’t happen the way we were told.
Click here to read a PDF file of Amnesia’s report on his investigation of Gus Mackey and Bordighera H3.
I had heard some of Amnesia’s points before, and dismissed them. This time around, however, he offers strong evidence that Gus Mackey did not exist — and if you take Gus Mackey out of the picture, the entire story crumbles.
Gus Mackey doesn’t appear in pre-war Mother Hash records; the British military never heard of him; no one with that name was ever a POW in Italy; stories of him settling in Bordighera after the war are hearsay (as are the stories of of Mackey’s Italian wife, Anna Marie); neither husband nor wife appear in Bordighera or Milan municipal records. The 1940s are not ancient times; the British and the Italians keep records.
Ian Cumming, on the other hand, does definitely exist, and I am proud to have met him.
I say it’s time to revise “official” versions of early hash history to give pride of place to Ian Cumming and the Singapore Hash House Harriers, Mother’s first child.
Note: None of this is to say we will ever get hash history exactly right: some time back, an old-timer claimed to have run with an established Hash House Harriers chapter during a temporary work assignment in the Solomon Islands — in 1957! I wrote about it on this blog. If the story is true, it would significantly change hash history. I said at the time that I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that Mother had some undocumented babies between the time it reformed in KL in 1946 and the time Ian Cumming started Singapore in 1962. After WWII, not all the original members returned to KL. Some of them no doubt wound up in other parts of the British Empire, and who knows whether or not some of them started small hashes here and there?
I guess what I’m saying is that while I’m now certain the Bordighera story is a hoax, I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that during the decade and a half between 1946 and 1962 other chapters didn’t briefly exist in various far-flung parts of the world.
That’s my story (for now) and I’m sticking with it (ditto).
A query posted to Facebook’s Hash House Harrier page:
I am thinking of starting a hash house harriers without beer but only vodka and wine. Is this allowed?
Several hashers left comments, most along the lines of “no rules, do what you want,” but a few said that beer should always be present since it was part of the charter of the Mother Hash in Kuala Lumpur. You know, the charter that includes these immortal lines:
- To promote physical fitness among our members
- To get rid of weekend hangovers
- To acquire a good thirst and to satisfy it in beer
- To persuade the older members that they are not as old as they feel
I don’t know how wise it would be to make large supplies of hard liquor available to thirsty hashers. Sure, alcohol’s alcohol no matter what form it comes in, but many drinkers react differently to the hard stuff. Probably because they drink more of it than they think, but there is a difference and anyone who’s been around drinkers knows that to be true.
Sometimes new hashers come to us who are already alcoholics. It happens, but it’s fairly rare. We usually grow our own, and most of us know hashers who turned into alcoholics at the hash. One of the depressingly familiar symptoms is “graduating” from beer to liquor.
I’ve had many a long talk with veteran hashers, and like me they all know harriers and harriettes who should not have taken up hashing, who started drinking too much, who became alcoholics, who got DUIs, who got into fights at the circle, who left wrecked marriages and ruined careers in their wake. Would they have turned into alcoholics without the hash? Probably. But still.
Why encourage it?
Spoken like a true recovering alcoholic, eh?
One of the hashers who participated in the vodka and wine discussion above left this interesting comment:
Come visit Okinawa: military personnel aren’t allowed to drink off base and that is most of our pack. They get soda and water down downs.
Wow, have things ever changed at the Okinawa Hash! When I got there at the end of 1988, packs of almost 200 hashers, 90% of them active duty military, participated in the hash every Saturday morning. We ran all over the southern end of the island — always off base — and at the end of every hash we opened up coolers packed with ice and beer purchased on base by our beermaster, who during the week kept the beer on ice in a giant outdoor reefer behind the chow hall on one of the Marine bases. When I became GM in 1989, we even bought a new Toyota van and had it painted up with the Okinawa H3 logo, and drove it on and off military bases as we moved our stockpile of coolers, beer, and ice from one hash start to another. And no one gave a shit. A two-star Marine general was hashing with us at the time, and several senior officers and NCOs from different branches of the military.
Just before I left the island the hash got in a bit of trouble for running through a wealthy Japanese neighborhood on a night trail, then making too much noise in the circle afterward. The USMC two-star was over in Desert Storm by then, so we had lost some of our protection, and I started to hear some grumbling about how it was technically against the rules for us to buy beer from the military and then serve it to civilian and Japanese hashers.
After I left the island, there were a couple of scandals involving hashers in Okinawa and Korea, and commanders started taking an interest in the hash. Some of them wanted to shut it down entirely, and for a while they did. I came back and hashed in both Korea and Okinawa in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and the hash was a shadow of what it had been, smaller and way more underground. But at least they still had beer!
That comment about military personnel not being allowed to drink off base really floored me. I think that all started the night we made too much noise in that wealthy Japanese neighborhood on Okinawa, I really do. I’ll just have to count my lucky stars and be thankful I was there in the good old days!
Here’s a request that was posted to Craigslist Phoenix earlier this week. I had to size down the screen cap to make it fit this blog, so if it’s too hard to read just click anywhere on it and it’ll take you to the original Craigslist posting. I think you’ll find it interesting:
Basically, if I’m reading it right, a group of runners in Phoenix wants to try hashing by staging a red dress run on Thanksgiving. Now I know hashers are starting to get worried about all the civilian groups who are slowly stealing our RDR traditions from us, but this one doesn’t seem like much of a threat to me.
In some of the other cases, civilian running groups were making money off the RDRs they put on, undermining the give-whatever-we-make-to-charity tradition we have with our own RDRs, and hashes in certain cities have actually taken legal action to stop for-profit groups from co-opting our trademark event. I think that in some cases we’ve been able to stop these groups, but that in other cases we haven’t.
This one sounds like more of a lark to me, and I’m okay with it. I am able to report that a Phoenix hasher saw the notice and got together with them. He’s going to help them lay a proper trail, and some Phoenix hashers will be there to recruit new members.
But whoever thought we’d ever see ads like this, huh? Pretty cool.
Craigslist Tucson, Personals, Missed Connections (m4w)
Okinawa HHH Sticker on Your Car
Safeway parking lot, Tanque Verde & Catalina Hwy
Parked next to your black Ford Fusion at Safeway this morning and saw the Okinawa HHH decal on your rear window. I wanted to move my car so it was in front of yours so that you’d see the hash fish on my tailgate, but some jerk pulled into the spot before I could. Then I was going to wait by your car until you came out so I could introduce myself as a former Okinawa HHH GM, but after waiting 10 minutes I noticed security staring at me, so I went into the store to do my shopping instead. As I entered the sliding door I saw your reflection in the glass as you got into the car. Not only did you turn out to be a woman, but you were really hot: short brown hair, about 5’4″, fit looking. I tried to run back out to catch you but wound up tripping some fat lady on crutches and had to help pick up the groceries that fell out of her bag. By the time I looked up again you were driving away. Oh well, you probably would have thought I was a creep or a stalker. Anyway, on-on, and I hope to see you at a hash some day!
p.s. If you want to meet at the coffee shop next to Safeway, I’ll be there Saturday morning at 8. I’ll be the guy in the hash T-shirt.
When I lay trail, my inclination has always been to stay away from tricky stuff, to keep things simple. Two, maybe three checks per trail, no more than two BTs per check. And that’s about it. Of course I don’t always honor my own inclinations, and every now and then I’ll lay a checkback.
Not all hashers are familiar with checkbacks, and not every hare uses them. The idea is to lay a section of trail that looks like the continuation of the trail you’ve been laying. You’ve picked out a turn point, but you keep laying flour beyond that point, basically straight on from the direction you’d taken up to that point. As you go you count your marks, and when you think you’ve gone far enough you whip out your chalk and write CB 6, as in the photo above, meaning “go back six marks and look for trail going off in another direction.” It’s one of many ways to slow down a fast pack.
Here’s the problem I have with checkbacks: almost every time I lay one it causes problems for the pack. Sometimes they don’t count right and go back either too far or not far enough. More often, though, they don’t see the CB and wind up running right past it.
Last Sunday I hared a bicycle hash. I decided to lay a fairly long checkback. I passed the side street where true trail was going to go and continued straight on, tossing down flour ten times. Shortly after making the tenth mark I jumped off my bike and wrote CB 11 on the street with chalk (in our hash, the CB itself counts as one of the marks). Then I rode back to the side street and started laying trail again, this time in the direction I wanted trail to go. That was my one trick for the first half of the trail … I planned to lay another checkback on the second half of the trail, about two miles past the beer check.
So I finished laying the first half of the trail and arrived at the beer check, where I waited. And waited. And waited some more. Finally part of the pack rode in and I got an earful. When it was all sorted out, what had happened was they’d ridden past the CB 11. Not one of them had seen it. They wound up riding through neighborhoods for about 20 minutes before luckily picking up trail again, and then only because one of them made a lucky guess as to where the beer check was.
I went ahead and laid the second checkback, this one a bit shorter, between the beer check and the on-in, being careful to write CB 9 in really large letters. My second CB was a success. It was on top of the only steep hill in the neighborhood, and everyone rode all the way to the top, saw it, cursed me and the day I was born, and rode back down the hill while counting marks back to where trail turned off. Good but not good enough … a 50% success rate just doesn’t cut it.
Here’s the deal. If the pack misses a BT or YBF and runs past it, eventually they figure out they’re not on powder and do the smart thing: double back to the last check and try another direction. If the pack misses a check back, what do they do then? There’s no last check to run back to. CBs are, in that way, just a little too tricky, a little too high-risk. Maybe other hares have better luck with them, but every time I try to use them I wind up screwing the pack.
And I don’t like to screw the pack. The idea, at least as far as I’m concerned, is to slow the pack down a little so they don’t catch me, not get them hopelessly lost. Checks and BTs should be more than enough to slow the FRBs down. Next time I hare I’m going to pay more attention to my inner voice. When it says “Don’t be so tricky,” I’ll listen.
As of today, checkbacks are no longer in my bag of tricks.
Ra, editor and publisher of the renowned (ahem) Half-Mind Catalog, started a new site dedicated to hash history. His purpose is to collect and share founding tales, stories of how hash kennels around the world were started: who did it, when, and why. A few spoilsports on Facebook were quick to point out that there is already a hash genealogy site listing founders’ names and dates by kennel, but those are merely bare-boned facts. Ra’s after stories. Stories are what make hash history interesting, and I support his endeavor.
Ra’s new HHH History website
Since I founded three hashes and was involved in the founding of a fourth, I sent Ra some stories for the new site. After he got them he told me it was the sort of thing he’s looking for, so I’m going to share them here … not to blow my own horn but to give you an idea of the kind of information you can email to him if you’d like to share your hash founding stories.
Here are my founding tales:
- Motorcycle club for hashers founded July 1998 by Flying Booger in Tucson, Arizona USA.
- Motorcycle hash founded September 2009 by Flying Booger in Tucson, Arizona USA.
As originally set up, Harriers MCH3 was (and remains) an international club for hashers who also ride motorcycles. There’s no actual kennel; I maintain a Harriers MC page online (originally on the Half-Mind Catalog; today on HashSpace). Membership numbers about 235. I send new members an Excel spreadsheet of other members, showing locations and email addresses; members are encouraged to contact other members when on the road, and any rides that result are considered Harriers MCH3 rides.
An American motorcycle hash kennel, the Corpus Christi TX-based Knuckledraggers H3, grew out of the original Harriers MCH3, and I’m some kind of honorary founder but don’t have details. I’ve ridden with the KDH3 a couple of times. They’re great hashers, and I’m proud to be a member.
In September 2009, borrowing from the example set by the Knuckledraggers H3 (actually jealous that they had an actual kennel with actual monthly rides), I founded the Tucson chapter of Harriers MCH3, and we’ve been riding monthly ever since. We ride on the 4th Sunday of the month. Membership numbers around a dozen. As the Knuckledraggers learned before us, we realized that marking trails with a hare on a motorcycle is neither feasible nor safe, so we either ride together with a hare in the lead, or go point to point as determined by the hare, who will hand out maps or photographs to show the riders where the next point is in the ride. Mashes, as we call them, are typically two to three hours long, 100-150 miles, followed by lunch at a pub. Everything is BYO, no fees.
I’m GM of both the international club and the Tucson chapter. I hope to hold hash elections to appoint a new GM for the Tucson chapter this winter, but will continue to serve as POC for the international club probably until I die.
Pima County Traditional H3
Men-only hash founded February 2000 by Flying Booger in Tucson, Arizona USA.
Having hashed with traditional men-only kennels in Hong Kong, Thailand, and Washington DC, I decided to start one in Tucson. We run one Monday evening each month. PCTH3 is BYO, no fees. The hare provides all the beer and snacks; I started the bucket by haring the first hash and purchasing a large Igloo cooler to be passed on from each month’s hare to the next. All members take turns as hares, thus ensuring the expenses even out. Membership is by invitation only, and prospective new members are discussed and approved in the circle first. We don’t have a policy on hash names: most of our members come from other kennels and already have names. Normally we lay A-to-A trails.
Occasionally we stage joint hashes with Tucson’s women-only kennel, the Desert Divas H3. I think our last joint hash was in December 2010. We are currently inactive, but I still have the cooler, and we’ll get together again, probably sometime this winter.
Tumblin’ Bill Panton hashed with PCTH3 once and pronounced it good. I’m awfully damn proud of that.
I like to think we don’t have mismanagement, but really it’s me.
Pima Independent Sunday Social H3
Family hash founded February 2003 by Flying Booger and Pick’n'Flick in Tucson, Arizona USA.
My wife and I founded the PISS H3 to provide a family-friendly hashing alternative for Tucson hashers. We hash monthly on the second Sunday. For the first few years we hashed in the PM but at some point migrated to AM hashes. The setup is BYOB, no fees. We hash A-to-A trails so that members will have access to their cars and coolers afterward. Trails are supposed to be stroller friendly but that has somewhat fallen by the wayside … in fact the PISS H3 has morphed into an adult hash, pretty much, though there are a couple of regulars who sometimes still bring their kids (long out of strollers, fortunately). We’re sort of the kindler/gentler Tucson hash. No rules, hash names if we feel like it, hares lay live or dead as they prefer. Membership totals 30; usually we get 10-12 hashers per trail.
I appear to be GM for life. Have tried to pass the torch, but no one wants it!
Bicycle hash founded October 2006 by Bimbo by Day and Casual Friday in Tucson, Arizona USA.
I’m not a founder but have been a member since the founding, and am contributing what I know because both founders have moved away.
Bimbo and Casual knew about bicycle hashing and wanted to try it here, so they set up the Pedalfiles H3 to meet on the third Sunday of every month. We ride trail in the morning: A-to-A, typically 12-16 miles, BYO for the circle, on-afters at a pub designated by the hare. No membership fees. Trails are road bike friendly so that any hasher with a bicycle can participate. Most members come from other kennels anyway and already have hash names, but we have named a few bicycle-only hashers, typically after they do something notable. The two founders were co-GMs until they moved away. I have been RA since the beginning; the current GM is Redheaded Woodpecker. We have a membership of around 25 bashers, with 6-10 typically showing up for the monthly bash.