Half-Mind Weblog

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The Worst Ever?

From Facebook, posted today by our friend Vodka Splite.

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Click on the image to go to the article in The Guardian, or just click here.

So, is it the worst article about hashing ever? Hardly, I think. For that you need to go back a few years to the Great San Diego Witch Hunt of 2010, when the son of a hashing couple murdered some poor girl in a park and the hash was dragged kicking and screaming onto front pages and breathless scare-mongering “Are your children safe from hashers? News at 10!” television broadcasts. I covered all that back then, and I think the links in my original blog post are still good, so click and read if you feel like getting depressed all over again.

Hashers drink! Hashers get naked in satanic rituals! Children exposed to such behavior can’t help but grow up to be murderers! Here’s the hashing couple’s address, go torch their house and run them out of town!

What, you think I’m exaggerating? Like I said, click and read if you’re unfamiliar with this ugly bit of HHHistory.

IMO, newspaper articles that fixate on the slightly misleading “drinking club with a running problem” quote pale by comparison.

When it comes to articles about hashing, I want to note one thing, even if it’s at the risk of tooting my own horn.

In 1995 I wrote a pretty good general interest article about hashing. Hawaii RacePlace Magazine published it that year, and it was one of the first things I posted online to my then-new hashing website, the Half-Mind Catalog.

A few years later I read a newspaper article about hashing. It seemed oddly familiar, and I gradually realized I was reading my own article, quoted without attribution by some lazy newspaper reporter who’d copied it from Hawaii RacePlace or my own website. I was to get used to that over time, especially after someone (not me, honest … I suspect it was Stray Dog) copied it into Wikipedia in 2003 as the original entry for the Hash House Harriers (here’s the link to the original 2003 Wikipedia entry, which you can compare to my original hashing article from 1995)

That Wikipedia entry has been altered and improved many times since then (here’s the link to the current version), but the skeleton of my original article is still visible underneath, as it is in The Guardian’s hashing article, the one Vodka Splite linked to on Facebook this morning. No doubt The Guardian’s reporter did some factchecking on Wikipedia!


Half a Mind: Older than Previously Thought

Here’s a quick summary of my previous post, to save you the click:

Many hashers (including me) were brought up with the knowledge that a hasher named Phil Kirkland coined this famous quote about hashing: “If you’ve half a mind to join the hash, that’s all you need!” The story was he said it to a newspaper reporter in 1978. I found the original newspaper article and the quote is there, but Phil Kirkland didn’t say it—it was the motto of the Hong Kong Hash House Harriers.

Last night Manila H3 hasher Squatto, who started me on this research in the first place, forwarded copies of the first two pages of the Hong Kong H3 1975/76 yearbook, and there it is in black & white:

Screenshot 2017-07-23 07.53.17 copy Screenshot 2017-07-23 07.52.08

Now, as to who coined Hong Kong H3′s motto in the first place, that bit of hash history remains to be written.

By the way, Phil Kirkland, aka Thrill Furkhand, may be one of the hashers in those photos. Do any old-timers recognize him?


Half a Mind

Believe it or not, there was a time when newspapers didn’t lead off articles about the Hash House Harriers by describing us as members of a drinking club with a running problem. Back in a kinder & gentler age, you were far more likely to see this instead, a quote attributed to a hasher named Phil Kirkland:

If you’ve half a mind to join the hash, that’s all you need.

You don’t see the quote that often today, but we still call ourselves half-minds, and that’s where it comes from. When I started the Half-Mind Catalog in 1995, I put Kirkland’s quote on the front page, and it’s still there today (although I see now I didn’t get it exactly right).

Last night, a friend and fellow hash webmaster forwarded this email, thinking I might have some additional knowledge:

Squatta here, Manila H3 archivist, hashtorian, onsec, scribe and general factotum … since 1983. Do you know the full citation for the 1978 interview with Phil Kirkland that popularized the “half mind” epithet for hashers?

All I knew in 1995 was what I’d been told, that Phil Kirkland said it to a newspaper reporter who was writing a story about hashing. I decided to do a little digging. I still don’t know much, but here’s what I have so far:

The newspaper story, published by the Los Angeles Times on Sunday, October 16, 1977, was titled “Harriers Out for Run and a Good Thirst.” The dateline wasn’t LA but Hong Kong, and it was about running with the Hong Kong H3. I couldn’t access the full story, but I was able to scan these two paragraphs, the second one containing the quotation:

The harriers welcome all races and nationalities, but find that Europeans and Australians far outnumber the Asians in their ranks. “The Chinese are just too serious-minded for us,” a Hong Kong member said. Women runners, no matter how able, are shunted off to a women’s auxiliary, the Hash House Harriets. The ostensible reason for the segregation is that women can’t run as far or as fast, but there may be some misogyny involved. “The club constitution clearly states that dogs, women and other pets are not permitted on runs,” an Australian growled. The women, for their part, bridle at the suggestion that they’re not as good. “Every time the men and women have a joint run, some of us finish far ahead of the men,” Cynthia Chin, a Hong Kong Harriet, said.

Most Hong Kong Hashers are so devoted to the club that they run rain or shine, even when typhoon warnings are hoisted and sensible citizens are quaking indoors. What brings them out every Monday, they say, is the camaraderie plus the chance to escape the pressures of business. “I look forward to this all week,” Phil Kirkland, an Australian executive, said. “This is the only place in Hong Kong where people don’t talk business.” Others suggest that if you want a reason for the popularity of hashing, you need look no further than the club’s motto: “If you’ve half a mind to join the hash, that’s all you need.”

I recall reading somewhere that Phil Kirkland doesn’t remember saying “If you’ve half a mind to join the hash, that’s all you need,” and now I know why—he didn’t. According to the Los Angeles Times story, it was the motto of the Hong Kong H3, and I don’t know who originally said it. If anyone does, please contact me and I’ll update this post.

Whether Phil Kirkland said it or not, hashers who know the quote have always been told he did, and after digging up the original newspaper story, I got curious about the man himself. Here are a few things I learned, along with a couple of things I’m not sure about (perhaps his friends can help fill in the blanks):

Phil’s full hash handle is Thrill Furkhand, Furkhand for short. He’s an Aussie, and though I can’t find a citation, I believe his mother hash is Sydney H3. We know from the newspaper article that he ran with Hong Kong H3 in 1977. I found a reference to him running with Beijing H3 in 1979 (and another reference listing him as a co-founder of Beijing H3). He was active with Sydney H3 in 2009.

I use the present tense when referring to Phil, but think he’s been hashing with G since 2010. I can’t find a definitive citation, but the Sydney Herald has a memorial page for a Philip Kirkland who died in 2010, and a Thrill Furkhand Trust was set up in Sydney in 2017.

I found one other reference: Phil Kirkland’s son was hashing with Sydney H3 in 2011.

So far I have not been able to find a photo of Phil Kirkland. And yes, you know I checked: he’s not on Facebook.


Pedalfiles Bash Trash: 7/16/17

It’s July, so it must be time for the Third Annual Loose Nut hareless bash. Yes, we still follow the same map he handed out in 2015:

Scan 1

Loose Nut’s map

The pack was small but convivial, actually a good turnout for what promised to be a hot morning in Tucson. Here we are on the patio of Time Market on University Avenue:


On-afters (Candy Man was there too, taking photos)

For a summary of the trail, I’ll paraphrase the writeup from 2015:

… a pleasant 11-mile ride on bicycle-route streets with a beer stop at Bob Dobbs’, a Tucson hashing landmark, then back along a the shaded Aviation Bikeway to on-ins back at the Time Market.

What made 2017 different? Barbecue Cock’s Curse. She didn’t even get out of the Time Market parking lot at the start—her derailleur and chain got eaten by the spokes of her rear wheel and her bike was down for the count. Three hashers named Mike helped her load it in the back of a car, and one of the 3M gang gave her a ride to the beer check and later to the end.

But the Curse wasn’t done with her. After the bash one of the Mikes drove her and her bike to a bike shop so she could see about getting it fixed, where—in a different parking lot—someone drove over her bike and smashed the frame.

Yet to be determined: does Barbecue Cock’s Curse apply to bicycles or parking lots, or both, or to Barbecue Cock in general? We’ll see when she shows up for her next bash on a new bike.


Curse Strike #1

Curse Strike #2

Upcoming events:

No word yet on the August bash, scheduled for sunday, Aug 20.

In September, our GM Arthur Gash wants to get a group together to go to the Crank Wankers bash in Phoenix on Sunday, Sep 10, then to the Monthly Cycle bash in Sierra Vista on Sunday, Sep 24. Of course we’re hoping Phoenix and Sierra Vista bashers will join us in Tucson for our Pedalfiles bash on Sunday, Sep 17, hared by Arthur Gash.

October will mark the 11th OnOniversary of the Pedalfiles, and yours truly will be haring.

More information on these upcoming events is coming.


“Hash Run” Not a Smash in Weldon

I don’t know … last time I went by a weekend tent revival, it seemed very loud to me, and I’m not at all sure the people who came to it had the “proper conduct expected for people who come in for the weekend.”
—Flying Booger

From the Roanoke Rapids NC Daily Herald:

“Hash run” not a smash in Weldon

by John Dixon
July 9, 2017

Members of the Tidewater Hash House Harriers make their way through knee deep water in the undated photo courtesy of Facebook

• Hash run held in Weldon

• Attendees of run did not show “proper conduct,” official says

• Town officials voice displeasure

Weldon officials harbor uneasiness toward the July 1 “hash run,” which had 10 Sycamore Street as a meeting point for attendees.

The weekend group in Weldon is a spin off and the worldwide group the Hash House Harriers, which bills itself as a social running group that’s a “drinking club with a running problem.” Leaders of an event, known as “Hares,” are given the task of marking a trail to direct runners, throwing in some dead ends and forks as challenges.

A web page for the July 1 event promised a “weekend full of beer, food, beer, giveaway, beer, trail, beer, tubing, beer…” that overlapped on the same day with Weldon’s own Independence Day celebrations.

“The hash run, as far as it was discussed in our work session (this past week), had to do with the group who came during the 4th of July weekend,” said town Commissioner Stanley Edwards. “I understand it’s been in the Weldon area at one point. People in the area had great concerns about the many people who came in and didn’t have the proper conduct expected for people who come in for the weekend.”

The hash run was part of the multi-day 19th annual Tubing in the South event organized by the Tidewater Hash House Harriers, an offshoot of the Hash House Harriers.

Weldon Mayor Julia Meacham said the town has seen several similar events in past years but expressed a negative view of this year’s.

“I went by the location over the weekend and it seemed very loud to me,” she said. “I don’t think this is the type of event that helps Weldon in any manner.”

Meacham added, however, that the hash run did not interfere with the Independence Day celebrations to her knowledge.

When the Weldon Board of Commissioners meets Monday on a long agenda for its monthly meeting on, the hash run will be discussed, as well as talk of other events past and present. A Garysburg church has requested the use of River Falls Park for a five night tent revival.

Edwards said, “The request had to do with having a tent revival on the ball field portion of the park,” Edwards said.

Meacham said the town has seen “three or four” revivals in past years.


Random Updates from Hashland

There have been so many “suspicious white powder” confrontations between hashers and the Man I’ve pretty much quit tracking them, but this one stands out.

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Click image for story

Why? Because it happened in Singapore, a city/state smaller even than Hong Kong, and like Hong Kong home to several active hashes (including the second-oldest kennel, Singapore HHH, founded by Ian Cumming in 1962). You would think Singaporean authorities, if not the general public, would be familiar with hashing, hashers, and hash trail markings. Actually, I’m sure they are. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that laying trail through a subway station, in other countries a prime terrorism target, was a less than stellar idea. Civilians became alarmed, and my guess is the authorities—probably knowing all along the marks were left by hashers—were put in a position where they had to respond.

This time it looks like a bit of a crackdown is taking place. According to this follow-up article, the Singapore National Parks Board wants hashers to stop marking trails in areas managed by the board. Specifically, they will not allow chalk or flour: ”Only toilet or tissue paper are allowed to be used as markings, and they must be cleaned up immediately after the event.”

We’re used to chalk and flour in the States, but hashers in Asia often use shredded paper. I’ve hashed paper trails in Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Japan. Many of those trails were quite long, and I have a hard time imagining the hare who, after a well-lubricated circle and on-after, would willingly go back over the trail to clean up the paper.

I can think of a few occasions where police have forced American hares to go back over their trails to sweep up flour and scrub chalk marks away, which is far harder than picking up paper. How many of us would be willing to hare if we had to clean up afterward?

Better to keep a low profile and not get caught, I’m thinking. And rethink laying trail through areas where civilians might freak and put the authorities into response mode. As I’ve said many times, hashing is an underground thing, and we need to keep it that way.

Here is my favorite bike hash photo ever, taken by a fellow Pedalfiler in Tucson, Deep Dish:


And last, this. The final case on the list is still in litigation, and that is why I will not be releasing my tax returns.



Pedalfiles Bash Trash: 3/19/17

On a beautiful and warm Sunday morning the pack—which included a large contingent of Monthly Cycle bashers from Sierra Vista—assembled at Serial Grillers on River Road for a bash trail laid by Spin Cycle and Just James.


Group grope at the start

Trail looped west and north from the start and after a little uphill led us to a beer check at a neighborhood park, where the refreshments included lime Eegees infused with Patrón tequila, in fitting with the green St. Patrick’s Day theme.


Selfie at the beer check

The second half of the trail was a bit shorter than the first because the hares decided at the last minute not to do a planned loop on the Rillito Bikeway, but instead take us on-in to the end. Before we repaired to Serial Grillers for on-afters, GM Arthur Gash formed a circle in the alleyway out back so that we could do something about Just James’ deplorable lack of a hash name. Behold our newest named member: Correctum Officer!


Namings: good clean fun!

At on-afters I heard Spin Cycle confess that she and Correctum Officer scouted trail beforehand, and that they put some thought into the best ways to get bashers across heavy car traffic on River Road. I want to include a note of thanks for taking the time and trouble to make sure we had an excellent and fun trail … good haring really shows.

Pick’n'Flick got on Facebook afterward to whinge about the tradition of beering and flouring in the naming circle. She was probably thinking about the time she went to work without noticing the crusted beer and flour in her hair, left over from a hash the day before. If only she’d soaked her head a little longer!


Hashing Straight, Ten Years Later

leprechaun-drunk-iconI gave up drinking ten years ago this month. Not sure if today’s the exact day, but marking the on-oniversary on Saint Patrick’s Day seems appropriate, so I’m going with it. Erin go bragh!

I came to hashing as a member of a profession with tight camaraderie and similar drinking and singing rituals, flying fighters for the USAF, and felt at home right from the start. As fellow hashers, I’m sure you’ll understand when I say that when I decided to quit drinking my biggest worry was whether I’d have to give up hashing.

Happily, once I quit the desire to drink went away too, and I was able to keep hashing. Being around alcohol is a huge problem for many recovering alcoholics; believe me I’m thankful it hasn’t been a problem for me. I quickly realized I didn’t like being around drunks, though. Not because they’re contagious, but because they remind me of my former self. So I came to a compromise: I still hash, but you won’t find me at the circle.

Non-drinking hashers are the exception, but we exist. Please think of us when you stock the coolers (I’ve been to some hashers where the only options were beer and beer).

I’ve noticed that most hashers my age drink a lot less than they used to. Over the past ten years I’ve gravitated to daytime hashes where there’s less of an emphasis on drinking. Currently I’m in a bicycle hash that meets and rides in the morning. After the rides we go to a pub for food and drink, strictly BYO$, so there’s no keg, no circle. It’s the perfect kind of hash for a non-drinking hasher. Matter of fact, there’s one tomorrow morning, and I’m looking forward to it.

One thing I know better than to do is to lecture my fellow hashers about the evils of drinking. We all have to find our own way on-in; I’m happy with the trail I’ve chosen and wish you well on yours. Happy Saint Patrick’s Day, everyone!