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Copyright 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 by Paul Woodford. All rights reserved.

Harriers MCH3 Mash Trash: 6/1/14

There hasn’t been a motorcycle hash in Tucson since January? Really? Hella lame, you ask me.

Well, we got our stuff together today, and we’ll try to do better from now on. Our goal is to have one mash a month, usually on the 4th Sunday. At the request of new member Missed a Spot, we put last Sunday’s mash off one week. Guess who didn’t show up? Buy hey, I was there at the Triple T this morning, and so was Wankers Aweigh, so we headed out for a morning ride to Arivaca and Green Valley.

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Flying Booger in Arivaca (note Knuckledraggers shirt!)

That’s me at the Gadsden Coffee Company in Arivaca. We took back roads from Tucson to Amado, then the 29-mile curvy road from Amado to Arivaca, slowly climbing all the way. Arivaca is about 1,500 feet higher than Tucson, and halfway there you can start to feel the difference in temperature. Sitting outdoors in the shade in Arivaca is downright pleasant, and the locals are friendly.

On the twisty road from Amado to Arivaca we passed an “open range” sign. Not 100 yards past it was was a huge steer standing beside the road, hiding in the shadow of a palo verde tree, fortunately content to be where he was and not determined to get to the other side, because he would have definitely won. Half a mile farther on three Border Patrol trucks and half a dozen agents had surrounded one lone border-crosser, who was likewise kneeling in the shade beside the road. I swear, you have to be on your toes on these back roads!

We enjoyed our Arivaca coffee and a chat with some of the other customers, then hopped back on the bikes to ride to Green Valley. The steer was still on the same side of the road, but the Border Patrol was gone, along with its catch of the day.

We pulled off I-17 into Green Valley and stopped for lunch at the Triple Play Sports Pub, then got back onto the freeway for the ride home. By the time Wankers split off for west Tucson and I headed east for Casa Booger, it was over 100°F. Too bad we couldn’t have just stayed in Arivaca all day.

Next month? Don’t know yet, but we’ll ride somewhere. A couple of our members say they’ll start riding with us again, if it isn’t too hot (whiners!), so maybe it’s time for a Mount Lemmon ride. Watch our Facebook page for announcements!

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Pedalfiles Bash Trash: 5/18/14

A very small group of Pedalfiles met at the Hog Pit on Tanque Verde this morning for an early bicycle hash. Even though we all thought the hares were crazy for announcing an 8 AM start, it turned out they were right: today started out hot and only got hotter as the morning advanced. By the time we finished our 12-mile trail it was almost up to 100°.

Spot Remover was our hare, and Missed a Spot was going to ride with him, carrying extra flour in a backpack. But since the pack numbered only two, Wankers Aweigh and Flying Booger, we decided to leave the flour behind and just ride the planned trail together.

Trail generally went south along both sides of the Pantano Wash, from our start near Tanque Verde all the way down to 22nd Street, then west and north to a beer check at the Chuy’s on Kolb and Broadway. From the beer check trail continued north, then into an extensive undeveloped area near the Pantano Wash, and eventually back to the start.

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Beer check at Chuy’s: Missed a Spot, Spot Remover, Wankers Aweigh

Now if you have examined a Pima County Bicycle Trail map, you probably thought you saw paved bike trails up and down both sides of Pantano Wash, but let me tell you those trails are entirely notional. Some day, years from now, and only if the citizens of Tucson vote yes on some planned bond issues, those bicycle trails may be built. But they do not exist in the here & now, as the hare knew and as we found out: about half of today’s trail was was through deep sand, gravel, boulders, and other forms of treacherous bicycle-eating earth, with cacti snatching at our legs and arms as we passed … almost pure shiggy, and it was a good thing the hare had reminded us to bring our mountain bikes.

Of course not every Pedalfiler has a mountain bike: Wankers showed up with a skinny-tire road bike, but he tackled trail nonetheless and only went down three times. Booger almost lost it a couple of times. The hare, who had practiced trail more than once, got lost more than once, even where he’d pre-laid flour to help him find his way through the shiggy.

But hey, we all made it, and it was a great ride, a little more challenging than the ones we’re used to. We all had fun.

The only trouble with an 8 AM start is that you’re done before the pubs open, which in this town is 11 AM. Since we couldn’t go into the Hog Pit when we finished trail at 10 AM, we loaded up the bikes and drove over to Casa Spot for an hour. The hares gave us beer and coffee, and we had a short circle there. Afterward Wankers had to go home, but Booger and the Spots drove back to the Hog Pit, now open, for lunch.

A fine morning, made even better by a ride in the great outdoors, and so what if it was more of a group ride than a bash? If another Pedalfiler or two had shown up, it would have been a bash, and our only question is where the hell were you?

Speaking of which, who the hell is going to hare in June? Scheduled date is Sunday, June 15. We can start as early as you wish. We just need there to be a “you” to hare for us! Email me with a start time and location, whoever you are!

On-On to our next bash!

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PISS Hash Trash: 5/11/14

Doesn’t seem fair that I have to hare, host on-afters, and WRITE THE HASH TRASH TOO, but since when is life ever fair? Down-down for bitching in the circle, I know, I know.

Sunday dawned bright and way too early, and I was up for a last-chance trail scouting mission before the pack arrived at Casa de los Boogers. Yes, the hole in the chain-link fence … upon which the success of my planned trail depended … had not been repaired, and I was back in time to greet the pack: Pick’n'Flick, Wankers Aweigh & Hot Legs, Zorro, Zorro’s Other Mark, Burning Bush, Her Majesty’s Ho, Yoda & Appendage, Missed a Spot & Spot Remover, Communicable Disease & Tucson Slew with the newly-named Reverend Booty Call. A great turnout for an early hash!

Trail went north, then east and through the aforementioned hole, through and around the grounds of Tanque Verde High School, then over a shiggy-infested hill on an overgrown and cholla-spiked telephone line trail (see fig. 1). The pack duly noted the sign I left for them at the top: “FB Summit, elev 2754′.” Then on-down to the bottom of another hill, this one at least accessible by a paved road, and eventually back to the Casa, access to which was through our back 40, even more shiggy-encrusted than the telephone line right-of-way, and into our patio by the back gate (see fig. 2), three hilly miles in all.

I was back from laying trail before the pack returned (see fig. 3), and spent the time setting up the patio for company (see fig. 4). As usual, half the pack stayed indoors to help Pick’n'Flick set up the food line; half the pack stayed out back to supervise the mandatory grilling of the brats. The only problem with outdoors yesterday was the wind. As you can see in fig. 4 we had the patio umbrellas up; we knew it was time to go inside when the wind snapped one of the umbrella poles in half and the canopy landed in CD’s lap.

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fig. 1: FB’s Summit

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fig. 2: On-In

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fig. 3: The pack returns

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fig. 4: The former patio umbrella


We call it the Pima Independent Sunday Social Hash, and yesterday we lived up to our name. Trail started at 9 AM, the pack was in by 10:30 AM, and circle lasted less than a minute, Socializing (and eating and drinking) ensued and the last hasher left Casa de los Boogers at 3:45 PM … so you’ll understand why I didn’t get around to writing the trash until today!

What a great way to spend a sunny Sunday in Tucson, Arizona! Thanks to all for coming and hashing and making it such a fun day. Sadly, this was the last hash before our summer hibernation … we won’t start hashing again until September or October, since the summers are just too damn hot for our slightly older crowd. If it’s cool enough to start again in September, Hot Legs and Wankers will hare; if not and we have to wait until October, CD & Slew will lay us a trail.

On-on until then!

p.s. We have lost and found: someone left a water bottle in an insulated holder. We’re holding it for ransom.

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PISS Hash Trash: 4/13/14

You know you’re in a gay cruising park when you see signs like this:

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And when you’re in a gay cruising park, chances are Yoda’s setting the trail.

It was another big turnout for the Pima Independent Sunday Social Hash today, with 17 human and 4 canine hashers in attendance. Yoda, assisted by a snowbird buddy from Green Valley, set trail through the used condoms and shiggy in Greasewood Park on Tucson’s west side.

The big news today was the plethora of namings. We welcomed Zorro’s Other Mark, Detroit Pissed-On, Hula Cougar, and Doctor Booty Call to hashing immortality, along with two four-legged hashers, Pepper Pot and Booty Biter.

Here are some more photos from this morning’s trail. Click on any image to see the full-sized originals at Flickr:

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Our next hash will start at Casa de Booger on Sunday, May 11, at 9 AM. Flying Booger is haring. On-afters will be at Casa de Booger as well, with brats supplied. Everyone else, bring something to share, and as always, BYOB. Details will be announced on our Facebook page.

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SWP in Blighty: Dog-Nappers or Terrorists?

SWP (suspicious white powder) strikes again!

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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.

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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:

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?

On On,
Dank

——————–
Dear Dank,

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.

On On,
Flying Booger

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!

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Pedalfiles Bash Trash: 3/16/14

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:

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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:

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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:

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On-Afters

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!

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Suspicious White Powder … Again

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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.

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PISS Hash Trash: 3/9/14

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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