SWP (suspicious white powder) strikes again!
Hmmm. Looks like a hash mark to me. And of course that’s exactly what it is, as explained by representatives of the Bicester Hash.
You can click on the graphics to see the full items. The first one, the Facebook post about dognapping, is worth reading for the comments posted by alarmed neighbors and friends. The second one, the newspaper article, provides some additional detail, and ends with this:
A Thames Valley Police spokesman said: “We are aware the running club were responsible for some of the markings.
“However, there’s still an on-going investigation into some markings.”
Lest we all start ROTFL’ing at these British bed-wetters (who, over there, are called “Bangers and Mash”), let me remind you that marking homes and businesses for future retribution or violence is a real thing. If you’ve been following the news from Crimea and Ukraine, for example, you might have seen stories about chalk marks being placed on the doors of Kossack homes, presumably to help fascist thugs terrorize their targets later that night or the next day. The stories were probably false, but it’s not like there isn’t a precedent for such things (think Nazi brownshirts in Germany, who marked Jewish residences and shops in preparation for Kristallnacht).
In a previous post I wrote about the residents of a black neighborhood in Dallas, Texas who thought the chalk marks left on the sidewalks outside their homes by hares were meant to identify their homes as targets for racist violence, and how the police took their fears seriously and launched an investigation.
So the Thames Valley Police took these residents’ fears seriously, too. It is to be expected.
Still, though, pretty funny.
And now for something completely different …
Dear Flying Booger,
Just came across the Running for Brews Social Running Club in Tampa FL. They say they’re also in Tempe AZ as well which I think is in your neck of the woods. Should the hash community take notice? Should we feel slighted or proud that a group is jocking our style? If we feel ripped off should a group of half minds crash one of their trails, hijack it and divert the pack to somewhere we could circle them up and crash indoctrinate them to our ways? Or just lead them off onto MLK blvd and into a swanky strip club with queen sized ebony up next?
What say you hash elder?
Wow, I’m sorry I missed your message … I was on a motorcycle trip for several days and just got around to checking my hash mail account. I looked at the group’s website and like you have negative feelings about outside groups co-opting the hash, especially commercial entities, but don’t know what realistically can be done. Besides these guys there are running/walking events in many cities sponsored by downtown restaurants & bars, meant to get people out & spending money afterward. This group, despite a head nod to charity, is clearly meant to benefit local microbreweries. And similar quasi-commercial groups have started to stage red dress runs.
OTOH, the organizers know about hashing and what they’re doing is a tribute to the hash. We could recruit new members at these events. I personally wouldn’t attempt to hijack their trails … but I might talk next week’s hares into laying trail over parts of an upcoming Running for Brews route, then arranging for a few hashers to run the event in hash shirts and answer questions.
p.s. I wonder if they mark their trails, and if so, what kind of material and marks they use. Maybe you can get them busted for terrorism!
A small group of dedicated bashers met at the corner of Harrison and Broadway on Tucson’s east side this morning: Wankers Aweigh, Hot Legs, Spot Remover, Flying Booger, Pick’n'Flick, and Zorro. Flying Booger, the designated hare, left shortly after, laying trail north toward Speedway. You can get some idea of what was ahead for the pack from this small-scale map, and perhaps understand the Mogadishu Death March reference better if you realize that everything pointing toward the top of the map — north — is downhill, while everything pointing to the bottom — south — is the opposite:
Flying Booger’s Mogadishu Death March Trail
Once at Speedway, trail went east to Freeman, then south up the long long hill to the top at Old Spanish trail. It was such a punishing climb, the hare used up most of his 20-minute head start grinding up it in low gear; if the hill had been much longer Wankers would have caught him. But the hare made it to the visitor center at Saguaro National Park East, point #8 on the map, moments before Wankers and the rest of the pack arrived. Pick’n'Flick, our heavenly beer angel, was waiting for us there with mimosas, PBR, and bottled water.
Flying Booger bought a mountain bike two years ago specifically to use for laying Pedalfiles trails. You’ll be happy to know that bike is still serving the bash … here’s the hare and his flour-coated bashing bike about to leave Saguaro National Park East for the second portion of the trail:
Flying Booger & his Hare Bike
What the hare giveth the hare taketh away, and since it was time to head north again, the remainder of today’s trail was downhill back to the start. Total trail length was about 14 miles, and since there were no long false trails or back checks, no one had to ride much farther than that … the long uphill on Freeman was punishment enough.
Back at Harrison and Broadway, we assembled at Buffalo Wild Wings for on-afters. Master Meat Finder, whose feeble excuse was her Sunday-morning duties as host for some authors visiting Tucson’s annual Book Fair, was able to break away and join us for on-afters. Here we are enjoying some well-earned refreshment:
No, it wasn’t a huge pack, but it was twice the size of recent Pedalfiles packs, and we decided there may be some life left in our little bashing club after all. So we’re going to continue bashing on the third Sunday of every month, and what do you know, we even have a hare for the next bash on Sunday, April 20: Missed a Spot, perhaps assisted by Spot Remover, who wasn’t able to join us today.
Keep an eye on our Facebook page for April bash announcements!
Well, yay, I have two recent incidents to add to my Suspicious White Powder files. The first comes from a Tucson hasher, who passes on an email posted to her neighborhood listserv about a month ago:
Good morning Neighbors,
Does anyone know what the white powder that is on the ground all over the neighborhood is? It is in little piles in random places all over. I’m worried because my dog got a lick of one of them. Please share any info if you have any.
The second was posted today to a hashing group on Facebook. It comes from a Birmingham, Alabama hasher, who linked to this online news article:
White powdery substance left at downtown buildings not harmful
Birmingham Fire and Rescue Service gave the all-clear after a morning probe into a suspicious substance found along 2nd Ave North.
Jerry LaSuer, who lives along Second Avenue, said he saw the substance when he left his downtown home this morning to walk his dog. The groupings of powdery substance are about the size of a softball or a little bigger, and are in front of doorways to downtown homes and businesses.
LaSuer said his partner first spotted the substance late Tuesday night. LaSeur saw it again today and called police.
“It looks like talcum powder,” he said. “And it looks like it was deliberately placed there.”
(click the headline to read the whole article)
Regular readers know I have a thing for suspicious white powder scares. Sometimes the incidents I write about are funny, sometimes they’re not. When they’re funny, it’s because non-hashers turn into bedwetting ninnies when they see flour on the ground. When they’re not funny, it’s because the bedwetting ninnies turn out to be the authorities, who then come after us once they figure out we’re the ones who left the flour. And believe me, sometimes the consequences are serious.
It’s not just because of 9/11 and the anthrax attacks that followed. Suspicious white powder scares go way back. The first case I ever heard about was in Dallas in the early 1990s. It started when hares laid trail through a black neighborhood. Residents saw these short-haired white guys running through the hood, ducking into alleys and leaving flour and chalk marks here and there, and took them for skinheads. Worse, they assumed the flour marks and chalk symbols they left behind were signals for other skinheads, similar to the chalk marks brownshirts would leave in front of Jewish homes and businesses in Germany back in the day. They thought they were being set up for hate crimes and the police were inclined to agree with them. Local hashers had no idea what kind of trouble they’d stirred up until the story hit the papers, and then of course they contacted the police and tried to defuse the tension.
I don’t think any Dallas hashers got in trouble over that incident, so it probably went in the “funny” column at the time, but now that I think back on it, were the people who lived in that neighborhood justified in their fears? If there had been a record of racial incidents or hate crimes in that part of town, they probably were.
My point is, we need to be mature enough to understand why non-hashers and authorities misinterpret what we see as innocent trail marks. Sometimes there’s a reason people over-react.
No, I don’t know what the answer is. Immediately after 9/11 and the anthrax attacks, some hashes switched from flour marks to chalk arrows in urban areas, since chalk arrows were less likely to be mistaken for little piles of weaponized anthrax. Or cocaine, or whatever. Other hashes started adding food coloring or tempera paint power to their flour. Some hashes started calling local police and fire departments on the day of the hash, telling them what neighborhoods they’d be running in.
I don’t know if any of these techniques really work. Non-hashers and authorities still over-react from time to time, and probably always will. When I’m haring, I try to use common sense. There are places — shopping malls and school campuses are two examples — where flour marks might be a red flag, and when I lay trail through areas like that I use arrows instead. When I’m out in the shiggy, though, I go through flour like a madman, ’cause who’s going to even see it? Situational awareness, I believe, is a hare’s best friend.
But hey, tomorrow I might read a story about suspected satanists in running clothes marking the sidewalks with chalk pentagrams and broken-cross symbols, so who knows?
I’m a hasher, and one way or another I’m going to keep on marking trail for my friends. I’ll try to use situational awareness and not get my friends — or myself — in trouble with the Man. Sorry, bedwetting ninnies, but that’s the way it is.
Wankers Aweigh and Hot Legs called the Pima Independent Sunday Social Hash House Harriers together near their west side home this morning, out near Silverbell and Grant. Here we are in the parking lot at Robins Elementary School, our starting point: Pick’n'Flick, No Bone Go Home, Appendage, Hot Legs, Wankers, Yoda, Zorro, and virgin No-name Keith. I’m out of the frame taking the photo, which brings the total to nine stalwart hashers.
The pack at the start
Well may you notice the absence of four-legged hashers. Knowing the terrain on the west side to be hilly, rocky, and covered in cholla, we decided to leave Low-Flying Booger and Red-Over-Red Booger home. Half an hour into today’s trail we were glad we did, because otherwise we’d have had to carry them.
At ten after ten Wankers announced his departure and asked for a 15-minute head start. To our surprise and dismay, he climbed into his Subaru to autohare, but since he couldn’t get it started had to leave on foot instead. Damn, that was a close one for the pack!
After a bit of pavement, with many checks and false trails, trail headed into the Sonoran shiggy, and the pack, led by Pick’n'Flick, followed.
Pick’n'Flick breaking trail
Before long, we entered a dry wash with loose, ankle-deep sand and pebbles with the consistency of kitty litter, and settled in for a long, arduous slog. This is the point at which hash doggies would have had to be carried, and even though they’re mad at us for not taking them today, if they understood what we saved them from they’d thank us.
After a mile and a half of plodding, with many stops to dump sand and gravel from our shoes, we climbed out of the wash onto harder ground, where we found Hot Legs and Appendage manning the mid-trail mimosa check.
Mimosas with the autohashers
I wish I did not have to tell you this, because it is frankly shocking, but Yoda and No Bone left the mimosa check with Hot Legs and Appendage in the car, finishing trail on four wheels. Pick’n'Flick and I, along with Zorro and sacrificial virgin No-name Keith, were left to finish trail on foot.
But finish we did, finally catching up with the autohashing contingent at the hares’ home, where we were joined by Master Meat Finder, who didn’t bother with trail at all, let alone autohash it with all the other wankers!
And there, at Wankers’ and Hot Legs’ home, we found a lovely feast waiting for us: cake, pastries, beef stew, meatballs, and salad, and all was forgiven, all was eaten, and everyone was so happy we forgot to do down-downs!
Next month Yoda threatens to start our hash at Greasewood Park, so everyone be sure to bring condoms! Directions & details will be announced on our Facebook page.
Talent in the hash, who’d a thunk it? Here’s a harrier with an artistic bent who illustrates his mates’ hash names. This is his interpretation of Cherry Splatterpuss:
Click on the image to see the artist’s Tumblr, which contains several examples of his work.
It might have been the blizzard-like conditions in southern Arizona this morning, with temperatures of twenty below, or perhaps it was the torrential rain. Then again, the earthquake could have frightened people off. Maybe those pesky rumors of a plague outbreak in downtown Tucson did it, or the unreasonably early 2:30 AM start time. But for whatever reason, Pedalfile bashers stayed home in droves today, and there were as many hares as there were members of the pack.
Literally. Here are the hares, Deep Dish and Is It In Yet? at the start in Himmel Park, along with Pick’n'Flick, who was half the pack (the other half, moi, was taking the photo).
Between them, Deep and 3IY had two 10-pound canvas duffel bags of flour, but given that there were only two of us to appreciate their efforts, we decided to forego trail and take a ride together through downtown Tucson instead. The four of us looped through some old neighborhoods, rode through the U of A campus, detoured down 4th Avenue to check out the new trolley tracks, stopped at No Anchovies on University for a beer and pizza check, then pedaled back to the start.
Here are a couple more photos from this morning. Click on the thumbs to see the full-sized photos on Flickr.
A pleasant morning, a nice bike ride, and good company. If only a few more bashers had shown up, it might have been a bash too!
Seriously, ‘sup, Pedalfiles? Riding conditions were perfect. The hares are known for setting great trails. Does no one want to bash in Tucson any more? Do we need to keep this bash going, or what?
We’ll give it another shot in March. I’ll hare on Sunday, March 16. I’m planning an east side start at 10 AM, location TBA. Vote with your bikes, peeps … if you show up in March I’ll keep trying to organize monthly bashes. If you stay home again, I’m done. Fair enough?
Pack at Mimosa check # 1
Members of the Pima Independent Sunday Social Hash House Harriers made the long trek to Itty Bitty Member’s & Tastes Like Chicken’s place near Benson, Arizona this morning for what has become an annual shiggy trek across parts of the old J-Six Ranch, closely monitored by the resident herds of cattle still living on the working parts of the property. Who was there today? It’s a long list, so get ready:
The hares: IBM & TLC. The pack: Flying Booger, Pick’n'Flick, Yoda, Appendage, Communicable Disease, Tucson Slew, Dead Fucking Blind, Bare-Assed Her, Wankers Aweigh, Hot Legs, Zorro, and a bunch of NHNs: Linda, Jack, Matt, Shirley, Larry, Victoria, Rick, Sally. The dogs: Low Flying Booger, Red over Red Booger, the Other White Meat, the Other Red Meat, NHN Pepper, and the little white one whose name I can never remember. A respectable crowd, even for the wildly-popular PISS Hash!
After a quick chalk talk for our four virgins, IBM took off and laid a check directly in front of the house. We all went left, since past trails had gone in that direction, but we quickly ran out of trail and after much bumbling around finally realized trail went right. A long slog up a paved road later, trail finally went into the shiggy, where we followed a dry wash through incredibly spiky and grabby desert scrub to the first of two mimosa checks manned by TLC and Appendage. Mimosas were consumed in front of a herd of curious cattle lined up against a nearby barbed wire fence, and then IBM took off again.
We followed the second leg of the trail through a combination of old jeep trails and dry washes, and along the way one of our virgins picked up part of the skeleton of an unidentified creature, which became an honorary guest at mimosa check # 2. The last leg of our 3-mile trail took us down another dry wash and finally on-in to the hares’ house, much to the relief of Low Flying Booger, who does not like loose sand, thank you very much.
You know it’s been a good trail when blood flows freely. At least three members of the pack can confirm trail’s excellence: Zorro, NHN Rick, and Flying Booger.
The hares had prepared a great green chile beef stew for us, and with the pack’s side dishes we had a short feast before our traditional short circle. The hares were honored for a truly shitty trail, and we even managed to work in a couple of namings. Our Peruvian guest hasher NHN Victoria, who came with DFB & Bare-Assed Her, is now Perusing America. Our occasional visitor NHN Rick is now Cums Once a Year. Songs were sung, lusty pulls pulled lustily, and formalities terminated, the pack returned to Sunday socializing.
A wonderful day, a wonderful outing, and a great hashing experience all around. Here are a few more photos (click on the thumbs to see ‘em larger on Flickr):
Boogers on trail
Clearing the check
Pack on trail
Mimosa check # 2
DFB, Perusing America, IBM
The next PISS Hash will be on Sunday, March 9, at 10 AM, Wankers Aweigh & Hot Legs hosting and haring.
About a year ago most of Stray Dog’s Hash House Harrier web empire went down. The cover page is still up, but it’s all out of date and none of the links work. It appears he’s turned his back on the entire project.
Hashers have been trying to get in touch with SD for various reasons. Since they believe I’m in intermittent touch with him, they sometimes turn to me in their attempts to contact him. Sorry, but I don’t know much more than you do. Here’s what I do know:
SD has started a business in Mobile, Alabama. It’s a diner, as you see in the graphic to the left. Click here to visit the website, or click on the graphic. Good luck contacting SD through the website, though … it doesn’t contain a contact link or address. I wonder what hungry people in Mobile do? Call information? If anyone out there really needs to get in touch with SD, perhaps to get rego money back, that’s what you’re going to have to do.
By the way, the only reason I know SD’s new diner is in Mobile, Alabama is because a friend of his told me. The website doesn’t contain even that bit of crucial information! Oh, Stray Dog, for someone who tells everyone he’s an expert on website design, you sure don’t seem to have a grasp of the basics!
But here’s the point: I wish SD well in his new venture. I hope it’s a success. If I’m ever in Mobile I’ll swing by for breakfast and a cup of joe. I’m happy he’s no longer sowing confusion and anger in the hashing community, but I have a forgiving nature and will not file this post under the “douchebaggery” category where I filed previous Stray Dog posts. Christ, I’m noble, ain’t I?
I’m about to begin my eighth year of sobriety. It’s going well. I’m still hashing, and not once in seven years have I been tempted to drink, even when I’m in the circle or an on-after bar, surrounded by hashers who are drinking.
I would have said I’m over the hump, but then I read that Philip Seymour Hoffman relapsed after 23 years of living straight. Now I’m kind of frightened. Then again, if I make it 23 years I’ll be well into my 80s, and who’ll give a shit if I take a tipple on my deathbed? So there’s that.
Anyway, every now and then I get email from fellow sober hashers (and a lot of email from hashers who plan to get sober), and I wanted to share one with you:
I’ve come across your Half-Mind publishings years ago while reading up on Hash history. Just now I found your blog, and have been checking out your rants.
Your Hash history is much deeper than mine (I started in 2001) but we have much in common. I’m a former Air Force pilot, RA for the ________ H3, Founder, GM, Chief Cook & Bottle washer for the ________ H3, and an alcoholic. I’ve been sober for 2 1/2 years and am still an active hasher. It’s been interesting, but all my friends in the ________ hashes have been very supportive.
I thought I’d drop you a line, those of us who’ve sobered up but still enjoy the hash and its camaraderie are a bit rare.
Well, hey, it cheered me up. What can I say? Here’s to all the sober hashers out there!