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Tenth Rule of Cooking Club (On-On Gourmet Hash House Harriers)

Less is more.

When we planned our August culinary trail, we decided on salad Niçoise and cold soups, appropriate to a hot summer in the Southwest (gazpacho, Vichyssoise, cold ramen, and so on). The menu evolved as the date approached, but in the end we didn’t stray too far: last night’s trail started with French onion soup (hot, of course), then gazpacho, and came on-in to a light dessert of grilled pineapple slices topped with Mascarpone cheese and drizzled with port wine. And it was all fabulous. Here’s the photographic evidence:


Preparing the French onion soup: Giacomo “Hercules” Mandriano, Magret de Canard, Anitra Spezzatino

Anitra took charge of preparing the French onion soup with the assistance of Magret and Hercules. Since she didn’t want to cook all day beforehand, she brought along an Instant Pot, which, once the onions were sliced, made quick work of the onions.


Onions in the Instant Pot

Ditalini prepared the gazpacho at home beforehand, with the able assistance of daughter Escargot. There are two pitchers of gazpacho in the photo, one slightly spicier than the other. It was a draw which one everyone liked more.


Gazpacho with garnishes

Magret’s contribution was dessert. Manzo, Hercules, and Crouton attended to the grilling.


Grilling the pineapple slices

Thanks to Magret here’s a photo of the On-On Gourmet pack about to head on-out.


On On: Manzo & Anitra Spezzatino, Hercules, Crouton & Ditalini deMenthe.

We took our time with each course, with much talking and sharing of stories, and halfway through the gazpacho we all realized we were getting full. Good thing we skipped the salad Niçoise … no way we’d have even made it to the gazpacho course. Fortunately, Magret’s grilled pineapple dessert was light, and even our slowest eater, Hercules, DFL’d by 10 PM.

Thus, Rule #10: less is more (or in other words: a light repast, in the right company, is as filling as a heavy one).

The next On-On Gourmet hash will be in October, with trail starting and ending at Magret’s house. Since she’ll have just returned from vacation in Lisbon, we’re marking trail in accordance with Portuguese hash tradition.


Whatabout All the Glutens that Were Released?

Little hashing/bashing pause here while I break in a brand-new knee. So let’s see what’s up in the news.

Oh, just this, from Pennsylvania:

Man dumps a white powder on Catasauqua street and runs, and then…

By Frank Warner

A man in an orange shirt and a black backpack sprinkled a white powder Wednesday evening at a Catasauqua intersection, then ran from the scene.

Residents at Howertown Road and Liberty Street called police at 7:05 p.m. And just as police arrived, a group of eight joggers came running down Howertown Road.

“My neighbor yelled, ‘Wait, don’t go close!’ ” said Barbara Shipe, who lives at the intersection. “And one of the joggers said, ‘No, no, don’t worry.’ He said, ‘It’s OK. It’s OK. We’re part of an international jogging treasure hunt.’ ”

The joggers are members the Hash House Harriers, a group that calls itself “a drinking club with a running problem.” They said the white powder on the road was flour, which the lead runner uses to leave directions for the followers.

Borough police were satisfied with the joggers’ explanation and let them go. The runners followed an arrow, written in orange chalk amid the flour sprinkles, that pointed to Liberty Street.

“It was a false alarm,” Shipe said.

She said she and her neighbor, Felicia Moreno, couldn’t ignore the strange sight of a man dumping a white powder.

“I was concerned because there are small children here,” she said. “You don’t know what anyone is dumping. All I saw was three piles of powder. We didn’t know what it was.”

Shipe said the one jogger admitted this wasn’t the first time the group was mistaken for mischief makers or terrorists. In New York, police shut down a city block when the flour drop raised suspicions there.

She said the joggers didn’t say where they were from or where they were going. The orange arrow pointed west.

And the masked band escaped to the west.

As always, the real joy is found in the comments. Here’s the link.


Ninth Rule of Cooking Club (On-On Gourmet Hash House Harriers)

There are no rules.

Actually, that’s the first (and only) rule of the Hash House Harriers, and it probably should have been the first rule of cooking club. It’s very similar to the second rule of cooking club, which is “If it looks wrong, go with your gut.” As we learned then, and re-learned last night, recipes aren’t regulations, they’re guidelines. If the instructions don’t look right, don’t blindly follow them.

After a long beer check (nearly two years!), the On On Gourmet Hash House Harriers are back on the culinary trail. We met last night at Casa de Crouton: present were Magret de Canard, Giacomo “Hercules” Mandriano, Manzo & Anitra Spezzatino, and of course Crouton & Ditalini deMenthe. Hermana Gazpacho was to have joined us but at the last minute couldn’t come, so we ate her share of the bounty.


L to R: Anitra, Manzo, Giacomo, Magret, Ditalini

And what a bounty. Our inspiration was a now-defunct but fondly remembered Northern California family restaurant called Reuben’s Dinnerhouse, and two of its signature dishes: shrimp scampi and sautéed artichoke hearts. We added some recipes of our own to round out the dinner: rice pilaf, a watermelon & cucumber salad, strawberry shortcake for desert.

Ditilini rounded up the ingredients beforehand and prepared envelopes containing recipes for the individual dishes; when the hashers arrived she handed them out. There were actually two artichoke heart recipes: Anitra made one while Magret made the other. Giacomo was in charge of preparing the strawberries for desert; Ditalini made the pilaf and provided overall supervision; Wankers & Crouton divvied up preparation of the shrimp scampi.


L to R: Magret, Manzo, Ditalini, Anitra, Giacomo

Well, now we know why Californians loved them some Reuben’s, and why they set up websites and online forums dedicated to reconstructing its recipes. Everything was delicious!


Clockwise from 7 o’clock: pilaf, artichoke hearts #1, watermelon salad, shrimp scampi (center), artichoke hearts #2

But back to Rule #9. The scampi recipe told us to arrange the deveined and peeled shrimp in a pan, drizzle the garlic butter and lemon sauce over them, then cover the pan and bake in a 350° oven. Shrimp cook quickly, so imagine our surprise when we took the pan out of the oven five minutes later to find they were still raw. Back in they went … another five minutes, and they were still raw. In fact the inside of the pan was barely warm! The recipe instructions were misguided at best, intentionally misleading at worst, so Wankers and I made a command decision to take the cover off. Five minutes later the shrimp were cooked through, and we sat down to dinner. If it don’t look right, use some common sense, which is another way of saying: There Are No Rules!

On On to the next meeting of the On On Gourmet Hash House Harriers, Saturday, August the 18th, at Giacomo’s place. We’re going to try hot weather dishes: cold soups and a salad Niçoise.

Note: you may notice we use a different set of hash names in these On On Gourmet H3 posts. Crouton deMenthe is Flying Booger; Ditalini is Pick’n'Flick; other names have been changed as well. Why? Who knows?


Hashers in the News (Not in a Good Way)

When Pick’n'Flick and I lived in Las Vegas, we organized an invitational weekend hash. Sixty or so hashers from neighboring states made the trek, including one guy who came all the way from Canada, which was a pleasant surprise … or so I thought at first. I’d been hashing less than ten years at that point and was still laboring under the illusion that hashers were better than regular people.

What happened was that on the Thursday before our weekend hash, an Edmonton hasher named Crash Test Dummy called to say he was flying into Vegas that night for COMDEX, the annual computer industry expo. His company hadn’t told him he had to go until that very day and the hotels in Vegas were booked solid. He wondered if he could beg some floor space at our house. He’d gotten my name and number off the announcement we’d posted on the Hash List, and said he wanted to hash with us whenever his convention schedule would permit. I said sure, come on down.

He showed up late that night. We put him up in our guest bedroom and gave him a key to the house. He explained he’d be tied up with COMDEX all day Friday and Saturday, but would definitely make the last trail on Sunday. True to his word, he zipped off in his rental car at oh-dark-thirty the next two days and we had no idea when he came back to the house because we were out hashing.

Sunday afternoon, as Pick and I were getting ready to leave for the hash, the phone rang. It was a woman asking for Crash Test Dummy. I explained he was at COMDEX, but that we expected to see him later in the day. She said she was stuck at the airport, where he was supposed to pick her up. This was all news to me, and I said so, at which point she told me she was a San Diego hasher and that he’d invited her to come do today’s trail with him and spend the night at our house, and could I pick her up at the airport instead?

I won’t share the woman’s name since she’s the innocent party in all this. Long story short, I went and fetched her. She broke down crying on the drive back to our house and told the rest of the story. She’d met Crash Test Dummy the year before at InterAmericas, where he’d proposed to her. Since then, though, he hadn’t returned her calls, emails, or letters. She’d somehow heard he’d be at COMDEX and our hash in Vegas that weekend and had flown in from LA to confront him. He hadn’t in fact invited her … he had no idea she was coming.

When we got to the house Crash Test Dummy was there, changing into his running clothes. He stared at his unexpected visitor and I sensed trouble. It was already past time to leave, so I said “Look, whatever you two have to work out, please don’t work it out on our house,” and Pick and I left for the hash. The two of them must have come to a temporary truce, because they showed up at the on-out a few minutes later, did trail together, and spent the night in our guest bedroom.

No surprise, that was the last night they spent together. He’d only ever proposed to her in order to get into her knickers, and he must have done some world-class fast talking at our house in Vegas because she didn’t kill him.

A couple of years later, hashers I know bumped into Crash Test Dummy at Interhash—where he bragged about the time he snagged free room & board from some hasher in Las Vegas. Two years after that he attended his last Interhash. He had cancer, well advanced, and died shortly after returning home to Canada. I shed not a single tear.

So perhaps you’ll understand why I no longer harbor illusions about hashers. We have our share of dirtbags, just like any other group.

Yesterday a friend forwarded two news items about hashers on trial for criminal acts. He says the closed Hash House Harrier groups on Facebook discourage discussion about such things, and wondered if I’d mind passing the stories on. You know what? I’ve been hashing almost thirty years now and no longer give a shit what hashers think about me, so yeah, I’ll share the news. You break it, you pay for it, am I right?

I’ve heard way too many rumors about rapes and attempted rapes at hash events. We rarely discuss stuff like this in hashing circles and then only in hushed tones with no names named. Thanks to the #MeToo movement, the rules have changed. Here’s a charming hash rape story, from London:

Screen Shot 2018-06-06 at 9.07.22 AM
Click image for story

The guy, part of a “tight clique” of London area hashers known (to themselves, apparently) as the “Sexy Crew,” claims the young lady was drunk and flirtatious, and that the sex was consensual. She says it was rape. The hash where the two met isn’t named, but the newspaper couldn’t resist throwing our unofficial motto back in our face, describing us as ”a drinking club with a running problem.” The case is on trial in a London court. The story is dated May 22 and I can’t find any news items after that date, so presumably the court has not yet handed down a ruling. I note with caution, therefore, that nothing, one way or the other, has been proven.

On a related note, I fucking hate that “drinking club with a running problem” motto and wish it had never been appropriated by the hash. All it does is bite us on the ass whenever we make the news.

The second story reminds me of the guy who, years ago, would show up at international hash events claiming to have had his wallet and credit cards stolen while he was playing polo. He was stranded, he said, appealing to his brother hashers to front him enough for a plane ticket home, which (being a wealthy jet-setting polo-playing playboy) he would gladly repay with interest. More than a few hashers fell for his story and took up collections. Remember him? Meet Son of Polo-Playing Scammer:

Screen Shot 2018-06-06 at 9.08.22 AM
Click image for story

The story, thankfully, doesn’t mention the hash connection. According to my source, one of the six people indicted is a former Cairo hasher named (appropriately) Adrian “Bankrupt” Baron, originally from Hungary, for many years now a citizen of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

I’m sure Crash Test Dummy is up in Hash Heaven, running trail with G and ZiPpy (who was also at that Las Vegas invitational hash), and that they’ll someday be joined by the rest of us, good and bad alike, including the polo-playing scam artist and the guy from Hungary. But is it too much to hope the rapists don’t make the cut?


Yawn . . . More HHHistory

This is an older post, back on top with a fresh comment from Stu “The Colonel” Lloyd, author of “Hare of the Dog,” who is working on an updated edition for the Mother Hash 80th, later this year. For the latest wrinkle in the saga of the Bordighera H3, scroll to the end of this post. — Flying Booger, 14 May 2018

Sometimes nothing happens on the hash list; sometimes it erupts.  Such an eruption occurred today, in the wake of yesterday’s hash history post from Hazukashii (see my previous entry).  Outraged hash historians weighed in on inaccuracies that have found their way into the Wikipedia Hash House Harriers entry, driving  Hazukashii, normally a mild-mannered person, to call Wikipedia a “cesspool.”

Damn, everybody, when did we get so squeamish and picky about hash history?  Y’all are startin’ to sound like me!

As readers of this blog may remember, I reviewed the Wikipedia Hash House Harriers entry a few months back and thought it was basically sound.  That doesn’t mean it’s 100% correct, but what bit of printed or online hash history is?  Still, parts of today’s hash list discussion sounded to me as if I might be to blame for some of this inaccurate Wikipedia information, so I did some research.

The issue in question is which hash was the second hash after Kuala Lumpur.  Most hashers believe it was Singapore H3, founded in 1962 by Ian Cumming, who had previously hashed with Kuala Lumpur H3.  But most hashers also have at least heard that a Kuala Lumpur hasher named Gus McKay (or McKey) started a hash in Italy in 1947.  That hash was called the Bordighera H3, and the fact of its existence has never been in dispute.  Somehow, though, Bordighera H3, which according to the Hash Genealogy Project ran regularly from its founding in 1947 to early 1961, has gotten lost in the general hash consciousness.  I am partially at fault for that.

Here’s how the Wikipedia Hash House Harriers entry has evolved, at least the part that deals with the early post-WWII growth of hashing.  Since the original Wikipedia entry came from an article I wrote for a Honolulu running magazine back in 1995, I’ll start with it.

This is the paragraph about post-war hashing that appeared in my original hashing article from Jun 1995 (taken from the Internet Archive as it appeared on the Half-Mind Catalog in Jun 1998):

Hashing died out during World War II (Japanese occupying forces being notoriously anti-fun) but picked up in the post-war years, spreading through the Far East, Australia, and New Zealand, then exploding in popularity in the mid-70s. Today there are thousands of Hash House Harrier clubs in all parts of the world, with newsletters, directories, and regional and world hashing conventions.

The first Wikipedia Hash House Harriers entry was my article, quoted word for word. The same paragraph appears in the original Wikipedia entry, dated 26 Sep 2003, posted by an anonymous contributor  (I don’t know who it was, other than that it wasn’t me):

Hashing died out during World War II (Japanese occupying forces being notoriously anti-fun) but picked up in the post-war years, spreading through the Far East, Australia, and New Zealand, then exploding in popularity in the mid-70s. Today there are thousands of Hash House Harrier clubs in all parts of the world, with newsletters, directories, and even regional and world hashing conventions.

On 9 Mar 2006, a second anonymous contributor modified it:

Hashing died out during World War II, but picked up again in the post-war years, spreading through the Far East, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as Europe and North America. This absence of hashing continued until 1962, when Ian Cumming founded the 2nd kennel in Singapore (The Royal Italian Bordighera Hash was begun in the late ’40s, but died by the late ’50s. It was later resurrected by members of the Milan H3). Hashing really exploded in popularity in the mid-1970s.

On 16 Mar 2006, someone calling himself “SteveRwanda” changed it to:

Hashing died out during World War II, and despite a brief revival in the late 1940s in the form of the The Royal Italian Bordighera Hash, failed to take off again seriously until 1962, when Ian Cumming founded the 2nd kennel in Singapore. From then on, the phenomenon started to grow, spreading through the Far East, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as Europe and North America. Hashing really exploded in popularity in the mid-1970s.

On 10 Apr 2006, a third anonymous contributor changed it to:

Hashing died out during World War II after the Japanese invasion of Malayisa, but started again shortly after the war, when the original protagonists, minus “G” who had been killed in the Japanese invasion of Singapore, re-assembled in Kuala Lumpur. Apart from a “one off” chapter, formed in the Italian Riviera, (now the Royal Italian Bordighera Hash), hashing didn’t take off until 1962, when Ian Cumming founded the 2nd kennel in Singapore. From then on, the phenomenon started to grow, spreading through the Far East, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as Europe and North America. Hashing really exploded in popularity in the mid-1970s.

And here’s how it reads today, 3 Jan 2010, modified by who knows how many contributors, named and unnamed:

Hashing died out during World War II after the invasion of Malaya, but was re-started after the war by most of the original group, minus A. S. Gispert, who was killed in the Japanese invasion of Singapore.

Apart from a “one-off” chapter formed on the Italian Riviera, growth of Hashing remained small until 1962, when Ian Cumming founded the second kennel, in Singapore. The idea then spread through the Far East, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand, and North America, booming in popularity during the mid-1970s.

My conclusions:

I was wrong in the first place to ignore the Bordighera H3 by leaving Italy out of my paragraph about the post-war growth of hashing. But like many hashers, I had the idea that Bordighera H3 never amounted to much and that Singapore H3 was the “real” second hash.  In my article, I didn’t mention Bordighera. To be fair, I didn’t mention Singapore either.

Someone posted my article, without attribution, to Wikipedia in September 2003.  Over time, various contributors added to the post-war hash growth paragraph, specifically mentioning both Bordighera and Singapore. Apparently no one had the correct history of Bordighera: it went from being described as a hash that died in the 50s (actually it lasted until 1961) to a “one-off” hash.

Two points:

  • Bordighera H3 was the second hash, founded in 1947. It died in 1961, making the third hash, Singapore H3 (founded in 1962 and still running), the second oldest hash still running. That may be too fine a distinction for some hashers, and may well be the source of all this confusion.
  • Bordighera H3 was never called anything other than that. The various editors who worked on this part of the Wikipedia HHH entry are mistaken in calling it the “Royal Italian Bordighera Hash” — between the time Bordighera H3 died in 1961 and the founding of Milan H3 in 1990, there was no hash in the area. Milan H3 eventually became Milan & Bordighera H3, then the Royal Milan & Bordighera H3 — you can see more about that below the fold.

I’m doing what I can to correct this. I edited my original hashing article. The paragraph in question now says:

Hashing died during World War II (Japanese occupying forces being notoriously opposed to civilian fun) but came back to life in the post-war years. In time, hashing spread outward from Kuala Lumpur. Today there are thousands of Hash House Harrier clubs in all parts of the world, complete with newsletters, directories, and regional and world hashing conventions.

Now . . . who has the balls to rewrite this section of the Wikipedia article and incur the wrath of hash historians everywhere?

Below the fold: the real scoop on the Bordighera H3, courtesy of a Swiss hasher who has run with Royal Milan & Bordighera H3 many times.


Christmas in April

Actually, it’s Christmas 2016 in April 2018, but it’s been worth the wait: Pick’n'Flick finished my hash t-shirt quilt! And here it is:


This is the fourth hash T-shirt quilt she’s done. The first three were for Hasher Humper, Zippity Doo, and Upchuck & Die. They’re big things: in the photo Pick’s on a ladder and I’m on a step stool. Mr. B (who needs to go to some hashes so he can get a hash name) thinks it’s for him.

Here’s some detail: my hash biography panel and the backing. The stitching pattern is on-on feet.

IMG_5659 IMG_5698


Daytona Hashers Find Dead Body

Forwarded to me by Shakesqueer:

I’m disappointed no one mentioned the name of the “jogging club” that discovered the body. The Daytona Hash House Harriers should get some credit, don’t you think?

What’s the most interesting thing your hash has found on trail?


Construction Zone

Over the next few days (weeks?) I’ll be experimenting with a new look for the Half-Mind Weblog. There’s a lot to like about the current design, but it’s time for something different. We’ll will remain open, but there may be some construction dust … please pardon any inconveniences.