Half-Mind Weblog

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Pedalfiles Bash Trash: 7/17/16

My apologies for being late with the trash. NO EXCUSE SIR!

For a hot and humid summer morning, an amazing turnout: The Other White Meat from Sierra Vista, newish members Tonka & Pimento, Arthur Gash & Eff Me, Yoda & Appendage, Citizen 69, Flying Booger, the rarely seen team of Half Hash & Hashidick, and of course our hare Loose Nut.


That’s us at at the start, the Time Market on University, getting ready to ride a mapped route with the hare. Loose Nut likes to do things a little differently, handing out maps for us to follow. The astute observer will note the map bears a date from a year ago; that’s because Loose Nut believes in recycling!

Scan 1

Your scribe kept the pack in sight until it turned into the University of Arizona campus on the first southbound leg, then took a break to wait for the other stragglers to catch up. Gash & Eff Me soon left me in the dust as well, but Citizen 69 kept me company for the rest of the route. Apparently Citizen and I missed a short loop because we came on-in before anyone else. Turns out the pack took a short beer break at Bob Dobbs’ on the portion of trail we missed.

Back at the Time Market, I helped Appendage organize a rescue party for Yoda, who managed to get himself lost but tell us something new why don’t you and except for that minor hiccup it was a nice ride through some pretty Tucson neighborhoods. Thanks, Loose Nut!

The wise Pedalfiles basher will hang on to the map for July 2017 … what the hell, let’s make Loose Nut’s map bash an annual event!

What’s up for August? We have a hare, Bumper I think, one of our newer members. We’re still settling on a date, either the second or third Sunday of August, so stand by for the announcement. We still need hares to sign up for September and beyond!


Hash Swag

13590316_10154273758782346_8746335793582958839_nThis is the ass end of Pick’n'Flick’s new car, now sporting the last hash fish in our inventory. There’s one on the car USAA just totaled (which is why Pick has new wheels), one on my truck, one on the old Lincoln Green Flagger’s driving, and one on the rear fender of my Goldwing. Before that there was one on my old truck, another one on our old T-bird, and one on the Harley I rode before the Goldwing.

If memory serves we bought a dozen hash fish from the hasher who designed them, Six O’Nine, back when he made the first batch. We gave four to other hashers and used the remaining eight on our own vehicles.

I posted this photo on Facebook and joked that since it was our last hash fish we’d never be able to buy another car. Holy shit, did a lot of hashers respond to that! Of course a lot of them had never seen one before, and wanted to know where to get one. Others knew about them and wanted me to know Six O’Nine still sells them. Even Six O’Nine weighed in, and it was good to hear he’s still at it … maybe I will order a few more.

A hasher friend from Oz told me she didn’t get it. Why a fish? She wasn’t in on the joke, how American Christians put Jesus fish on their cars and how other folks glommed onto it and started putting non-religious variations on their cars: Darwin fish, flying spaghetti monster fish, etc. They don’t have fish wars down under? Guess not.

In 2005, on this half-assed blog, I wrote about an encounter with an angry Jesus fish guy:

I’m stopped in a long line of cars, minding my own business, waiting for the green light, and suddenly here’s this elderly man tapping on my side window, having abandoned the Buick waiting behind me. I roll my window down and say “Hello.”

“What does ‘On On’ mean?”

“It’s the motto of my running club, the Hash House Harriers.”

“Your fish looks like it’s drinking a beer.”

“Yes, we sometimes drink beer after our runs.”

And he gives me a disgusted look and walks away.

I want to shout “Hey, I’m a minister!” but the light’s green.

Let the Fish Wars begin!

One thing I’d love to find, speaking of hash swag, is someone selling hash license plate frames. I have some old black ones that say On On in white letters, but the letters have faded. I can’t find any more, or any other kind of hash license plate frames.

When I ran the Half-Mind Catalog I maintained a haberdashery section. When other hashers took over the HMC and I started writing this blog instead, I kept up a haberdashery page for several years. About once every six months I’d check the links on that page to see if the haberdashers I listed were still in business. It got to where most of them weren’t, and I killed that page. It’s just too volatile … haberdashers come and go too fast to keep up with them. Like Six O’Nine, for example: I put in an online order for another batch of hash fish in late 2015, paying with a credit card. Two months went by and then one day I got an auto-reply email saying the money had been credited back to my card and the order cancelled. I assumed Six was out of business, like so many others. But now he’s back.

Which gives me hope that somewhere out there, some hasher or hash kennel is selling hashy license plate frames, and some alert reader will clue me in!

‘Cause you gotta let your hash flag fly, am I right?


Pedalfiles Bash Trash: 6/19/16


Flying Booger at the beer check.

Who knew the Father’s Day Bash was going to fall on the hottest day of the year (so far)? It’s 114°F now; about 90 when I started haring trail from Hi Corbett Field this morning; mid-90s by the time I got to the beer check; 104 when I got back to the start. A good day to stay hydrated.

The bash started at 9 AM: 8 would have been more like it, but it’s hard to find a place to get a beer that early on a Sunday in Tucson. The beer check I had planned was the Time Market on University, where you can buy a beer in a paper bag almost any time.

To get there my trail went north on Treat to Elm, through the nabe behind Tucson Medical Center, cut through a corner of the U of A, then west on University to the beer check. We had a really small pack today … no wonder, with this heat … but it was a good one: Wankers Aweigh, Deep Dish, a new harriette from the jHavelinas, Pick’n'Flick, and our grandson No Name Quentin, son of Nose Candy. NNQ was to have been named today, but here’s what happened instead:


Today’s trail: 9.5 miles

I got to the beer check and sat in the shade to wait for the pack. My phone rang. It was Pick’n'Flick. About a mile from the beer check, NNQ had taken a spill. He had road rash, and Pick was worried he might be getting heat stroke. My choice was to ride back to the start, get in the truck, and go fetch Pick & NNQ. My other choice was … wait, there was no other choice. Fortunately the entire pack was with Pick’n'Flick & NNQ at the time, so I was able to tell them I had to bail by cell phone. Bail I did, riding back to Hi Corbett field, getting the truck, and picking up the injured party and his grandmother.

In hindsight, NNQ was fine. If it had been me riding with him, we’d have finished trail. Pick probably overreacted, but hey, better safe than sorry. The original trail I scouted three weeks ago was over 12 miles without bad trails or checkbacks. Last weekend I decided to shorten it by two miles. This morning I decided to cut off a little more by making trail as straight a line as possible from the beer check back to the start, and that’s exactly what I wound up doing after Pick’s come-rescue-us call. I think the other three members of the pack rode the same trail, but haven’t heard from the survivors yet.

Planned on-afters were to be at the Wooden Nickel on Country Club. I hope the surviving three members of the pack went. Sadly, we didn’t get to join them, and NNQ is going to have to wait for another hash before he gets his hash name and joins the Booger dynasty.

Next month’s bash is set for Sunday, July 17. Loose Nut is haring as only Loose Nut can. As soon as I pry a start time and location out of him I’ll let everyone know.


Harriers MCH3 Mash Trash: 5/22/16

Casual Friday’s here for a week. Among other things, she’s a motorcyclist and member of Harriers MCH3. We wanted to work in a putt during her visit, so when our mutual friend Wankers Aweigh proposed a Sunday Harriers MCH3 mash we said hells yes. Two non-hashers, NFN Kirk and NFN Mark, came along. Casual’s bike is in Tampa, so she rode pillion (I do not like that word “bitch”).


Flying Booger & Casual Friday at the breakfast meetup, photobombed by a server


NFN Kirk, Wankers (hiding), NFN Mark, Casual, Flying Booger

Trail followed AZ Highway 83 south to Sonoita, then AZ Highway 82 west to Patagonia and Nogales. After Nogales, trail led up I-10 back to the on-in in Tucson. Both 83 and 82 are great motorcycle roads with curves, mountains, and rolling hills. I-10 is just a freeway, nothing special, but it’s a quick way home. I led our pod of four motorcycles down 83, normally deserted on Sunday. And it was … until we came around a blind curve at 65 mph and suddenly saw brake lights ahead. I managed to get the Wing stopped in time (thank you, ABS!), but Casual and I could both hear NFN Mark, who had been staggered behind us, skidding. He stopped too, just in the nick of time, but then he and his bike went down.

We’d been going around a curve with a steep canyon wall to our right, blocking our view ahead. We certainly didn’t expect to come upon a solid line of stopped cars and trucks, but that was what awaited us halfway around the curve. Not only did the road curve, it was banked: high on the left, low on the right, dropping away even more steeply at the inside shoulder. What happened to NFN Mark, once he skidded to a stop a foot from the back bumper of the tail-end car in the traffic jam, was that when he put his right foot down there was no road under it. Over he went. His motorcycle didn’t just come to rest on its right side, it wound up partly inverted, the handlebars and saddle lower than the wheels. Wankers and NFN Mark had a heck of a time getting it back upright (Casual and I watched, since I couldn’t find a flat enough spot to put my kickstand down, while NFN Kirk turned around and rode back to flag down traffic approaching the blind curve).

Turned out there was no hurry … we were there for fifteen minutes before traffic started to move, and by then we were all back on our bikes, none the worse for wear (if our newbie’s bike was damaged at all, it didn’t show .. he didn’t even break a mirror). We crawled ahead through two or three more twists and then traffic came to another stop. This time we had a good view ahead, all the way to the summit of the Santa Ritas. We were looking at a two-mile line of stopped cars and trucks, and pretty soon a line just as long behind us. At the top was a medevac helicopter, presumably loading an injured crash victim. We turned off our engines, dismounted, and visited with our new neighbors for half an hour or so.

Santa_Rita_Pileup (Converted)

At last the helicopter flew away and traffic began to move again. It was a long, slow ride to Sonoita, but after a beer check there we had the trail to Patagonia and Nogales pretty much to ourselves. I kept the lead on that leg, averaging about 70, but slowed down after I saw the first cop. He let us ride by and at first I thought, “Whew, got away that time,” but then I began to suspect another cop was somewhere up ahead and that the first cop had radioed him about us. Sure as hell there was a second cop, but luckily for us he was giving a cager a ticket. I pretty much stayed at 55 after that.


The old train station at Patagonia


AZ 82 between Patagonia & Nogales

After a photo check in Patagonia, NFN Mark took the lead, since he knew of a back road around Nogales (not that going through Nogales is any kind of big deal, but it’s always nice to find roads you didn’t know about, and this one turned out to be pretty). He stayed in front until we cleared the Border Patrol harassment checkpoint on I-19, then took the Amado exit and led us to the Cow Palace for on-afters.


Border Patrol checkpoint on I-10 south of Amado


On-afters at the Cow Palace in Amado

After on-afters I got back in front of the pack, and once we hit Tucson we split apart to take our separate ways on home. A lovely mash in the country, miraculously unspoiled by what could have been a very nasty crash, or at the bare minimum a costly ticket. Thank you, G!

Next month: Mount Lemmon, anyone?


Pedalfiles Bash Trash: 5/15/16

Your scribe failed roll call today. Arthur Gash and co-hare Eff Me said they were going to recruit new bashers, and they came through. In addition to the usual suspects … Wankers Aweigh, Subatomic Equipment, Loose Nut, Deep Dish, 3IY, Flying Booger & Pick’n'Flick, and Stella … five jHavelina hashers turned out, and the only name I remember is Just Bret. I’ll do better next time, no0bs, but in the meantime, welcome to the Pedalfiles Bicycle Hash House Harriers.


Gash and Eff Me took off at 10:15 on a warm morning from the west side of Children’s Memorial Park, near Oracle & River. The pack followed 20 minutes later. I got separated from the other bashers early and spent the next hour looping through the trailer parks and industrial zones of Flowing Wells, mostly on trail but quite often not. It wound up looking like this:

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 3.46.55 PM

That’s 16 miles, most of it ridden in temperatures at or near 100°F, searching for minuscule traces of flour, and oh, yes, there was a strong southerly wind to boot, the kind that feels like riding into the open door of a blast furnace. I was the last one into the beer check, which was at Reilly’s Irish Pub on La Cholla (an old Pedalfiles hang but one we haven’t visited for a long time).

Trail from Reilly’s back to the start was mercifully short: a quick jaunt down the bike path alongside the Rillito River (for non-Arizonans, visualize a river of sand, not water) to Children’s Memorial Park. On-afters were at BJ’s Brew Pub on Oracle & Wetmore, not far from the start. Not everyone could stay for adult beverages and food, but most of us went, and we were joined by Eff Me’s sister and her son. Jury’s still out on what they think of this whole hashing thing.


When I compared my cell phone map of the trail with that of Eff Me’s, they were amazingly different. Actual trail was closer to ten miles and a hell of a lot simpler than the loopy thing I rode. That’ll teach me to get separated from the pack. Wait, I already learned that lesson. Like 28 years ago.

Next month’s Pedalfiles bash will be Sunday, June 19. Flying Booger is the hare, and the start will be in the parking lot of Hi Corbett Field, 700 S Randolph Way, Tucson, AZ 85711. Since summertime temperatures will be fully here by then, start time will be 9 AM. As always, there’s no fee to participate in a Pedalfiles bash … just bring a bike and some money for beer checks and on-afters. Here’s a map to next month’s start:

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 4.32.11 PM


Half-Mind Interview: Hazukashii

007-hazI’ve known Ed “Hazukashii” Howell since the early 1990s. I remember someone telling me his hash name meant “bashful” in Japanese, but the word I’d use is “modest,” by which I mean he doesn’t brag on himself, even though he does a lot for hashing and hashers.

Hazukashii, “Haz” for short, ran with same hash kennels in Honolulu I belonged to in the 1990s, and I’ve hashed with him several times since at interhashes and other away events. He gets around.

After leaving Honolulu for Las Vegas in 1995, I started the first on-line international hash kennel directory, the Half-Mind Catalog. Gradually the HMC expanded to include upcoming events, a haberdashery, and articles on hashing. Sometime in the early 2000s it started to become too much for me. I was at the point of quitting and shutting the HMC down, but Hazukashii (and Likk’mm, and a few others) stepped in to help out and keep it going. I was never so proud, or so grateful. Today, the HMC is in the capable hands of Ra and better than ever, and Haz runs GoToTheHash.net, another essential online resource for Hash House Harriers everywhere.

Hazukashii is a real Yank, originally from New York. He’s been hashing since 1984, a total of 32 years. Today he’s back in Hawaii, hashing with Honolulu Hawaii H3 and Aloha H3 (of which he was a co-founder). Over the years, on different continents, he’s held every mismanagement position there is. After helping to get Aloha H3 off the ground in 1991, he went on to found or co-found several other kennels:

  • Virginia Beach Full Moon H3 in Virginia, USA (22 Jun 1994) – still active
  • Seoul Southside H3 in Seoul, South Korea (4 Dec 1999) – still active
  • Appalachian H3, a traveling hash on East Coast USA (Nov 2000) – in hibernation
  • Sumo H3 in Tokyo, Japan (6 Jan 2002) – still active
  • DST H3 in Stuttgart, Germany (7 Apr 2009) – still active

Hazukashii_2This is Hazukashii doing his last down-down with the Okinawa H3 before departing for Honolulu in 1985.

When I asked Haz to describe how he came up in the hash and what his preferences are today, he told me this:

“I originally come from the mixed hash tradition, but have since joined and hashed with several men-only kennels. I started out as a live-hare hasher and still prefer it, but I have set dead-hare trails for special occasions. I mostly did A-to-B trails but today I support A-to-A trails, mainly so hashers have easy access to their cars, dry clothes, and stuff. I always liked singing in the circle, but I’m getting a bit tired of circles on a weekly basis.”

Damned if Haz and I don’t share the same hashing background and opinions. Of course we both call Okinawa H3 mother, so it’s no wonder.

Here are Hazukashii’s responses to my interview questions:

When & where was your first hash?

Okinawa (Japan) H3 in October 1984.

How did you find the hash, or did the hash find you?

It actually found me. When I arrived on Okinawa, my coworkers mentioned this running club they did every weekend. It was my first time in a new country as an adult, and it took 3 weeks for me to get settled enough to check it out. From the very first one, I knew I was hooked. Did not miss a trail for the next year.

How did you get your hash name?

I tended to run alone, often shortcutting. So on my sixth run, it was explained to me that the two final options they voted on were Lone Wolf and Hazukashii. At the time I ran with the Okinawa H3, it was common for foreigners to get Japanese names, and Japanese to get English names. I definitely got the better name.

Where have you hashed?

A few places … 5 continents, 64 countries, and about 280 different hash clubs. Have hashed in every country in Western Europe except Scotland, so need to get up there and visit my friend “The Penguin.”

Are there places you haven’t hashed but would like to?

Have hashed in Panama, but have never been to South America, so looking forward to exploring there. Have only hit a few locations in Africa, so still lots of options there as well.

Any favorite haring techniques?

I try to keep it simple. Just the basic trail marks, but I do use lots of checks where appropriate. I have discovered over the years that on an average hash, only a handful of front runners ever actually do any checking. So more checks not only slows down the pack, but gives more people an opportunity to go search for trail.

If you could pick the location of a future interhash, where would it be, and why?

To be blunt, I don’t care any more. I attended seven in a row from 1998-2010, but don’t care to go to such big events now. Smaller events of a thousand or less is preferable. I really enjoy the regional hashes, have done 2 Pan Asias, 3 Eurohashes, 2 InterAmericas, 3 Indochina Mekongs, and an InterScandi.

What do you most love about hashing?  What keeps you coming back?

Hands down … the trail. Especially setting the trail, I love to hare. I once had a disagreement during the preparation for a regional event which I volunteered to be the trail master in Europe, and the chairperson was more concerned with beer stops than trail. My response was something along the lines of, if all you are concerned about is beer checks, anyone can put the trails together. But if you want awesome trails that hashers really enjoy, it takes some work. The terrain is my canvas and I am Pablo Pehasho. Beyond the trail, everything else is gravy, whether it happens or not, but without the trail it is just a frat party. I love a great shiggy trail with water crossings, dirt paths, and rolling green hills. I also enjoy a good city run, with lots of back alleys, parking garages, and occasional staircases. I have been known to sing songs, drink beer, and socialize, but when I go to the hash … I want trail above all else. I have had the great fortune to have run nearly 2700 hash trails, and hared nearly 500 of them.

Have your attitudes toward hashing or hashers changed over the years?

This will likely rub some people the wrong way, but in some parts of the world there is way too much emphasis on drinking, the circle, and depraved behavior. Although some people encourage the attention, I believe we chase away some good people because of a few bad apples. Some places the circles have become a hazing experience, way over the top in dousing with flour, eggs, etc. I also believe that naming is out of control in some hashes, why do the names have to be the most disgusting imaginable? I have personally seen numerous occasions that good hashers never came back after their naming.

Are there certain things you think all hashers should believe in?

Not really. Just the basic understanding that hashing is primarily a fitness event, not a drinking event. I am not encouraging the hash to become a marathon training club, as I love to drink beer AFTER the hash, but it is not a requirement. There is a growing trend of having too many beer checks on trail, the trails seem to be getting shorter and shorter, and flat … pub crawls are not really a hash.

What do you think you’ve contributed to hashing?

Nothing really. I have hosted GoToTheHash.net for nearly 20 years (and spent 5 years with you at Halfmind.com), send out regular hash event information, host several websites, but to look at the number of hashers on Facebook that have no knowledge of the basics of hashing is amazing. I have a page on Facebook as well, but it does not attract much attention as I only publish history and current events.

What’s in your hashing future?

I have always been interested in the history of the HHH, and in recent years started to do more research and write about it. I’ve published a few articles on the origins of the hashit, namings, the circle, etc. so as time permits I will continue to research and bring more of that information out. You can check it out here.

Back to 
Booger’s Half-Mind Interviews


Pedalfiles Bash Trash: 4/17/16

We didn’t have a hare for April until about a week before the scheduled date, when Is It In Yet? told me he and Deep Dish would like to do it. Great joy and a flurry of announcements ensued, and on Sunday the 17th we turned up at Capn’ Crotch’s house for a bash.


Capn’ Crotch, Deep Dish & 3IY (hares), Wankers Aweigh, Eff Me, Arthur Gash, Loose Nut, Subatomic Equipment, Flying Booger

The hares were off shortly after 10 AM, and after the requisite head start the pack rode off in pursuit. The first section of trail went through neighborhoods north of Grant, and after less than three miles we found a beer check at the Fort Lowell Pub, a thoroughly hashworthy hole-in-the-wall. We shared a couple of pitchers of beer with the hares and some grizzled old barflies in the outdoor smoking area. Here’s Deep Dish charming the socks off one of those hardcore Sunday morning boozers:


Arthur Gash & Deep Dish at the first beer check

Oh wait, that’s Arthur Gash.

Trail next took us to I Like Fat Chicks’ house, where a cooler of beer, and Fatty himself, awaited us in the back yard. So not one but two beer checks. Hares doing pretty well so far!


Beer check @ Fatty’s (far right)

The third leg brought us back to Capn’ Crotch’s house and the end, and from there we went to the Trident Grill for on-afters. Total trail was under 10 miles, one of our shorter ones, but it was a lot of fun and the hares noted that some of the neighborhoods they laid trail through were new to them. They certainly were new to me, and I’ve hashed all over Tucson the last 19 years.

Missing in action: Pick’n'Flick came to the bash with a laptop and homework, and babysat Capn’ Crotch’s cats while the pack did trail. Yoda and Appendage couldn’t make the bash but did show up at the Trident for on-afters, as did Master Meat Finder, who finally got a job and can now pay the bash back for all the beer she’s been drinking. Congratulations, MMF! Oops, almost forgot Fatty, who joined us as well.

I was supposed to remember some of the funny things that happened on trail and I done clean forgot. Maybe someone can add to this trash in the comments. Trust me though … everyone had a good time.

I do remember talking with Arthur Gash, who wants to start posting bash announcements in local bike shops. I foolishly agreed to write the posters up, and the first one will be for Gash & Eff Me’s bash next month.

Speaking of which, the next three months are booked: Gash & Eff Me are haring on May the 15th; Flying Booger is haring on June 19th, and Loose Nut is haring on July 17th. All are Sundays, with morning start times and locations to be announced. We still need hares for August and beyond.

On On, Pedalfiles!


Half-Mind Interview: Stray Dog

Veteran hashers know my relationship with Stray Dog has been a rocky one, full of conflict and mutual animosity. Newer hashers are happily ignorant of this unseemliness: he and I haven’t mixed it up in years, and Stray Dog, once a major online presence in the hashing world, has by his own choice largely dropped off the map … so much so, in fact, that I now get a steady stream of emails from hashers asking if I know what’s become of Stray Dog.

I was curious too, so I attempted to track him down. If you enter any of his former website URLs (gthhh.com, worldhhh.com, hhhweb.com, worldhashspace.com) into a browser, you’ll be redirected to worldharrierorganization.com. The new site, which superficially resembles the old ones, represents the World Harrier Organization, which Stray Dog characterizes as “a loose association of friendly groups or clubs who practice the sport of hare and hounds.” He goes on to define it as “a more universal treatment of the sport than is usually expressed in other associations of hare and hounds, such the Hash House Harriers … [w]e encourage all types of groups in our association as long as they are generally comfortable with our creed … [w]e do not, like the HHH, require any social liturgy (i.e. the Down Down) nor do we frown on hare and hounds groups who have a competitive nature.”

Well, that piqued my curiosity, as you might imagine, so I asked him to tell me about the World Harrier Organization and, while he was at it, fill out an interview questionnaire. I promised to publish his comments and remarks as written, and he agreed.

Some hashers have jokingly(?) suggested Stray Dog and I are actually the same person; that I made him up, or vice-versa. No, we are very different people, but surprise of surprises, I actually agree with much of what he says here.

Let’s get to it, shall we?

Stray Dog’s hashing biography:

  • Name: Larry “Stray Dog” McDowell
  • Where you’re from: Birmingham, Alabama, USA
  • Where you currently live: Birmingham, Alabama
  • Current hash kennel(s): Birmingham Magic City Harriers
  • Number of years hashing: 34
  • What mismanagement positions have you held? All of them
  • Have you founded any hashes? Where? Which ones?
    • Namsan HHH, Seoul, Korea (dead)
    • Huachuca HHH, Sierra Vista, AZ, USA (lives)
    • Augusta HHH, Augusta, GA, USA (dead)
    • Ozark HHH, Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, USA (dead) Rolla HHH, Rolla, MO, USA (dead)
    • Mannheim HHH, Mannheim, MO (dead) German Bashers, Germany (dead)
    • Global Trash HHH, literally held around the world (lives, now World Harrier Organization)
    • Alabama Interhash, AL, USA (lives)
    • USA Nash Hash, USA (lives)
    • Birmingham HHH, Birmingham, AL, USA (lives)
    • Louisiana HHH, Baton Rouge, LA, USA (dead)
    • Jiangmen HHH, Jiangmen, Guangdong, China
  • What hash traditions do you come from?
    • Mixed
    • Live hare
    • Both A-to-A trails and A-to-B trails
    • Singing at the circle

Stray Dog’s commentary:

Stray DogI always tended in the past to look at most of your efforts at communicating with me with caution, considering all the effort you have made in the past to trash me personally to your readership. However, forgive and forget is now my motto, as I am a different person in many ways. If my comments below to your readers, amongst whom are probably friends of mine, have the smallest impact on people rethinking the direction of hashing, which is killing this sport, it would be worth it. But, since some of your readers are the cause of the decline, I will not hold out hope.

I will answer your canned questions, below, but I first want to comment on W.H.O., since you are curious as to what happened to me.

The World Harrier Organization is not a hash organization as such, though it represents those groups in its directory as a base. W.H.O. is about hare and hounds, the “paper chase” if you will—the sport as it was originally practiced. However, I accept any hare and hounds group that finds some common ground with our creed. It is about a gathering of people who enjoy the sport of chasing a hare in an intricate web of a trail full of true and false directions, with a bit of social activity at the end. Trails once were well practiced and thought out, fun and many times surprising. Social activity was simply friends who share these 5-10 km average trails, a little refreshment, recognizing each other’s achievements and perhaps a bit of singing afterwards.

What it has become over the last two decades for a majority of the groups in the U.S., and some elsewhere, is a walking, slow jogging beer drinking club following a pre-laid trail of 1 to 3 miles as an excuse to gather for a fraternity-like hazing, adult entertainment and debauchery.

When I first began with the Okinawa Hash House Harriers, it was a family sporting event with minimal social activity, much in line with hounds and hares activities historically. My nine year old daughter and 11 year old son started with me, running the 6 to 12 km trails. I think even by the time you came on board in Okinawa it had already begun a shift to more of an adult social event, but certainly it evolved as such to the point where my last correspondence a few years ago suggested I could not hold an event there because few could support it. I was told the Okinawa Hash House Harriers group had gotten into such trouble local commanders banned it and they attend. Those comments from Okinawa came shortly after I received similar comments from Germany, so I shut down the idea of a world event and began rethinking the hash altogether. When someone decided to take out my server once again and destroy my database at the turn of this decade, I took a long break from supporting the hash altogether.

I am now, slowly, as I have time, rebuilding the site for the World Harrier Organization, dedicating it to all hare and hounds groups: hash house harriers, competitive running versions or otherwise. It is far from being completed and still needs work. However, in my efforts to rewrite the “manual,” which is what the Hash Bible started out as originally, I have decided to emphasize the historical, cleaner version of hare and hounds. That is what the World Harrier Organization is built to do—influence hashers and other harriers to return to their roots, where beer is a refreshment, not the point of the sport.

That said, like many renowned or infamous harriers before me, I no longer drink—not out of a need due to alcoholism or a medical condition, but out of choice. I am currently a seminary graduate student studying to become a Baptist minister and possibly a missionary (I know, a late move in life). So, W.H.O. better fits a lifestyle of the role I am currently pursuing. I have a past that certainly borders on many of the activities I now shun, so I will not become a hypocrite now about it. But, unlike most in the sport today, I have been friends with and interviewed several members of the old Mother hash who were active in it as far back as 1962, when it was a gentleman’s sporting event, with a little social gathering afterwards—when it had live trails per tradition. I know what G intended the sport of the Hash House Harriers to be, and believe me, most groups don’t support that vision today. Summarizing, I will paraphrase (as I do not remember the exact working) what a previous GM of the Mother Hash I spoke with told me at the IAH in Orlando, “I was somewhat disappointed coming here, but this is not how we lay trails or act back home. I really believe we need a world organization to put the Hash House Harriers back on track.” While I disagreed then and now about that, I do believe that guidance from a confederation of groups like W.H.O., while maintaining local independence, is good to reenergize the original model of hare and hounds the way the hash founder(s) intended.

The W.H.O. website has a long way to go, before it reaches the same level that the old site had. It will take me to the end of the year to complete it, due to my seminary studies (which are quite difficult). However, I hope it is a place of light, in what is becoming an ever darkening hash universe, for those who simply want to enjoy the hare and hounds sport.

You can post the above as you want, or not. I am sure it would raise a lot of eyebrows to those who like its current direction. Answers to your questions below …

On On!
Stray Dog

Stray Dog’s interview questionnaire:

When & where was your first hash?

Okinawa HHH, Japan July 1982.

How did you find the hash, or did the hash find you?

Members of my Army unit.

How did you get your hash name?

Straying from the trail five out of the first six runs attempting to catch a hare.

Did you have a hashing mentor? Who?

Ichabody Crane (later known as Uncle Milty).

When & where was your first away hash?

Belleville-St. Louis HHH.

Where have you hashed?

Member of a score of hashes on my travels, but attended over a couple hundred different groups on four continents.

Are there places you haven’t hashed but would like to?

I just run where my travels take me. You always have a friend with harrier groups.

Are there places you wouldn’t consider hashing?

Those run by dictators or cliques—don’t find them very friendly. Only the democratic groups tend to be friendly.

Do you have any favorite haring techniques?

Practice, practice and more practice.

What’s the best thing that ever happened to you at a hash?

Nothing specific, just enjoyed a lot of good friendships made over the years.

What’s the worst thing that ever happened to you at a hash?

Watching an RA belittle and badger a virgin and insult a possible new member from the Mother Hash in the same circle. The virgin was in tears later and I consoled both her and the other guy, but neither returned.

What is the most dangerous trail you’ve done?

Several night trails in Orlando with the Mosquito County HHH through swamps without a flashlight—can I say gators.

What has been your most remarkable hashing experience?

Hashing in Germany with the abundance of woods, vineyards and other trails. Certainly, it is the most beautiful area for hashing I have ever lived.

If you could pick the location of a future Interhash, where would it be, and why?

Interhash should go to the U.S. as the nation with the most number of groups, but it never will. Interhash has become a regional Asian event for the most part, and historically.  It is not truly a world event.

What do you most love about hashing? What keeps you coming back?

I enjoy the sport of hare and hounds, chasing a hare through a well-designed, intricate web of trails and false trails to the finish. But what I love most are the friends I have met along the way.

What part of hashing could you do without (if anything)?

The hazing and debauchery that the Down Down has become over the last three decades.

Have your attitudes toward hashing or hashers changed over the years?

I have decided instead of, like many disgruntled old-timers, going with the flow, I will only attend friendly events and groups along the more traditional lines. I was very pleased with I toured hashes in Southern China, Macau and Hong Kong in recent years and found the old traditions still alive and friendly. As my fellow Americans are prone to do, they have destroyed those traditions to make it into their own image, and it is not good.

Has hashing affected your personal or professional life (for good or ill)?

I have always kept my hashing and professional life separate.  I have changed my personal life and professional live most recently, thus I have changed my tastes in hare and hounds to a milder, less social, and more traditional sport.

Do you tell everyone you meet about the hash, or only people you think might become good hashers?

I used to, until it went way too far out there.

Are there certain things you believe all hashers should believe in?

Good trail, good refreshment, and good friends, the rest can take care of itself.

What do you think you’ve contributed to hashing?

Over a dozen groups and scores of events hosted/founded around the world, both hard copy and web books and resources, the largest and best directory for almost two decades, and hundreds of trails laid, and website which once had over 30,000 registered members.

What’s in your hashing future?

I have no future in hashing per se, however I am making a retry at creating a website to support them and other hare and hounds clubs through the World Harrier Organization. I hope to have it completed by the end of the year.

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