Running with Bull Horns – Whassup Local

Running with the Bulls Horn

Running and drinking. Two activities most people keep separate. Not the Chicago House Harriers; a different kind of running club which may appeal to those who always wanted to compete in a triathlon but don’t like cycling, can’t swim and like to drink beer.

They meet at Simon’s in Andersonville at 7:15 with a tradition of being late.

A typical run is three or four miles long and winds through alleys, goes in circles, over tracks and through the woods. You run at your own pace. “Our runs are similar to playing kick the can or ghost in the graveyard as kids,” Batteries not included said. “It’s all about having a fun run and not taking it so serious.”

The Hare (the designated person to lead) marks the sidewalks with chalk for the hounds (runners) to follow. Turns in the trail are signaled by whistles and horns to alert the Hounds.

Before the run, a circle is formed by all the runners and everyone introduces themselves. Names like the 69 cent man, Or-g, Horney (the horn carrying member who has ran with the Harriers since 1987), Batteries not included, Just-Sharon, Sugar Nipples and Beer Stop Bob. After participating in three or four runs you are bestowed with a nickname not to your choosing. Before your nickname you are “Just – Your Name”.

This was the Chicago Hash House Harriers Full Moon Run which wound through the Andersonville area down foster and to the lake. The half way point is a special point, Beer Stop Bob Beer Stop Bob was waiting with cold (no peek in the paper bag) beers. where there was a perfect viewing of the full moon reflecting off of Lake Michigan. The break was for a few beers except for a few who chose not to imbibe. The run went full circle when everyone ran back to the bar and continued the tradition of the Hash House Harriers.

If you would like to experience something completely different the Chicago Hash House Harries run every Sunday afternoon and Thursday evening. You can visit their website or call their hot line 312-409-BEER for more information

Whazzup’s 2 pix can be found here.

Crusin’ for Booze

Crusin’ for booze

Hash House Harriers scour the streets for one reason: Cold beer

Wednesday, September 22, 2004
By Courtney Greve
Staff writer

More than an hour into their run, 11 members of the Chicago Hash House Harriers are gathered around a picnic table in a Beverly back yard throwing back Miller Lite.
Eric Oliver, a Chicago police officer and the “hash” host, quiets the crew to dole out trail tips before the second half of the weekly romp.
“There’s a spot up here you can’t shortcut,” he says. “It’s not dangerous, but no skipping.”
When the cans are emptied, the runners — “hounds” — set off to follow the chalk symbols marking the Chicago neighborhood’s sidewalks, trees and railroad tracks.
A bit more sluggish than before the beer stop, the hounds slow down when they reach the northwest corner of Beverly Park. The arrows point over a fence and through a sprinkler.
“Anything that’s not a war zone is considered acceptable,” said Bill Wojtas, who is known as “Rearloader” because he piles cargo onto airplanes.
Wojtas and the other pack leaders jump the metal barricade and get a welcome shower on a sticky night.
Then a 29-year-old photographer from Chicago’s North Side Lakeview neighborhood takes the slick surface at full speed, loses her footing and lands on her face. Stunned, she stands up and blood oozes from her mouth and lips.
“I’m OK, really,” she says to the concerned pack as she moves in the direction of the end-of-trail party.
“If she thinks she’s all right, she’s all right,” says Tom Leeds of Oak Lawn. “Hashers are troopers. We’ll talk about that for the next few months.”
Welcome to the weird world of hashing, an international phenomenon that’s jokingly described as “a drinking club for those with a running problem.”
Hashing traces its origins to the late 1930s, when the British occupied Malaysia and a group of runners modified the old English school game of hares and hounds.
The story goes that a group of expatriates looking to hasten their hangover recovery from the weekend would meet on a Monday to run it off. An enterprising pub owner started meeting them at the end of their runs with beer in his car trunk, which gave birth to the idea of combining the two activities, according to Jay “Hops” Hopkins, editor of Half-Mind Catalog, an Internet hashing magazine.
There are two types of hashes: live hare and dead hare. In live hare, the hare sets out just before the hounds.
The hash through Beverly was a dead hare because Oliver set the trail — which weaved through alleys, around a cemetery and over the Rockwell Street train tracks — ahead of time. The goal is to follow the symbols to the beer, avoiding those signs that lead to false trails.
While beer figures strongly in hashing, camaraderie is the real draw.
Just ask Amy Kozy. The 29-year-old started two years ago at her boyfriend’s recommendation.
“He’s not in my life anymore but this stuck,” she said. “I like this group more than I liked him.”
For Oliver, hashing reunited him with a high school crush. While a sophomore at Mount Carmel High School, Oliver went on a blind date with Maura Lux to a St. Ignatius turnabout dance.
“He ditched me,” said Lux, a 32-year-old flight attendant.
“I should’ve told the story,” Oliver said, laughing.
“Seriously, we were 15 and didn’t have driver’s licenses,” she said. “He went south and I went north on the Halsted Street bus home.”
They never saw each other again until they met at a hash four months ago. Distance is no longer a factor.
The drive to the Beverly did prevent a large turnout for Oliver’s hash, only the second on the South Side this year.
Wojtas, who lives “as far north as you can go and still be in the city,” pretended to be surprised that Oliver had indoor plumbing.
“Very funny,” Oliver replied. “It’s the South Side, but we don’t have outhouses.”
There are three “kennels” in the Chicago area, one of which caters to suburban hounds, but hashing doesn’t have the prominence on the South Side that it does on the North Side.
“There are family-friendly hashes and college-frat party ones. We’re kinda in the middle,” said Wojtas, who started hashing while in Japan with the Marine Corps.
Athleticism isn’t a requirement, but determination is. Oliver said he enjoys running, but the drinking aspect keeps him hooked.
“It’s like one step up and two steps back,” he said.
The group is fiercely noncompetitive, so anything goes. Chugging is required for the leaders as well as those who bring up the rear.
Solange Zangiacomo has been hashing on and off for five years and has proudly never come in first.
“I hate running,” she said. “I’m the kind of harriet who walks more than runs.”
Horn-E is a 19-year veteran with some 1,300 runs under his sweatband and at least that many hashing stories to tell.
“I’ll run anywhere there’s a hash,” he said. “(Hashing) is a chance to let your hair down once a week and get away from the rigors of the world.”
Horn-E declined to give his name because he’s known in hashing circles only by his given nickname.
From now on, the photographer who slipped in the sprinkler will be known only as “Bloody Lips.” After the hash, between bawdy songs and drinking beer (known as a “down-down”), the hounds held a naming ceremony.
“We normally sprinkle you with beer to christen you, but we won’t do that since you’re going to the hospital,” says Michael Bendas of Bridgeport, the group’s religious advisor. “You will do a down-down next time.”
Somehow, through a swollen mouth, Bloody Lips says, “Here, here!”
For more information, visit or the Half-Mind Catalog at
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Courtney Greve may be reached at cgreve@… or (708) 633-5983.
© 2004 Associated Press — All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

Hashing gives real meaning to beer run – Chicago Tribune

Hashing gives real
meaning to beer run
Here’s sport that lets Old School
types act like college kids, get
exercise and have fun

By John Keilman
Tribune staff reporter
Published August 1, 2004

For two sticky hours, Dean Giannasi joined a pack
following a trail of chalk marks through the alleys
Northwest Chicago, blowing whistles, shouting
nonsense and scrambling to overcome wrong
turns. By the time he reached the finish line, he
sweat-soaked and primed for the reward that marked
the end of his first hash run.

“Everyone keeps their eye on the ball, which is the
beer,” said the 37-year-old Chicago firefighter, gripping a
cold one. “I’m very proud to be associated with it.”

Of course, that was before his fellow runners
started drinking out of a bedpan.

The night was a bracing introduction to the weird
world of hashing, a phenomenon that is equal parts workout,
treasure hunt and frat party.

Hashing sends runners along winding, intentionally
misleading paths and repays the effort with ritualized
debauchery at the finish line. It’s a formula that
has caught on from Brazil to Burkina Faso and spawned at
least four hashing groups in Chicago.

“I like running. I like beer. It struck me as
ingenious to combine the two,” said Dawn Klingensmith, a
30-year-old freelance writer who runs with the
Chicago Hash House Harriers.

Some accounts say hashing began almost 70 years ago
in Malaysia. Bored British expatriates, meeting at a
restaurant they dubbed the Hash House, decided to
put a twist on a schoolboy game in which a lead runner
left a trail of shredded paper for his comrades to

The expatriates’ innovation was simple but
revolutionary: At the end of the path was a tub of cold beer.

Tami Hoffman, 44, a Chicago attorney and experienced
hasher, said pairing a respectable sport with a bit of
decadence opened a new social realm.

“You have your grown-up life but can get together
with your buddies, act like you’re in college for four hours,
then go back to your old life with–hopefully–no
repercussions,” she said.

Most hashes begin with a course designer, known as
the hare, laying down chalk arrows or other signs to
direct runners along the trail. Chicago hashers used
flour until 2002, when authorities found the white powder
markers and evacuated the Lincoln Park Zoo in a
bioterrorism scare.

Deception is part of the game–split arrows send
runners in two directions, and only one is correct–and
solving the puzzle is a group effort that equalizes
faster and slower runners and keeps the focus on
socializing. For an extra dose of harmony, a beer
stop usually waits halfway through, and a full-blown party
comes at the end.

The Chicago Hash House Harriers run on Monday
nights, advertising the meeting spot on the Internet. One
recent outing began at an Albany Park bar, where 25
people, ranging from lawyers to the unemployed,
gathered for the start.

Most followed the custom of adopting hash nicknames,
many of which can’t be printed in a family newspaper.
E Foertsch, 63, a lean and ponytailed Chicagoan,
called himself Horn-E, ostensibly for the makeshift bugle he
totes along on runs.

He was a 19-year veteran of the chase and sported a
medallion proclaiming him a grand master. He said he
had hashed from Atlanta to New Zealand, developing
along the way a fondness for red-dress runs in which
participants must wear red dresses.

“I’ve been to 15 of them,” Foertsch said. “I’ve got
more red dresses at home than any girl out there.”

The runners started en masse but quickly dissolved
into small packs. They darted through the garbage funk of
alleyways, across the emerald lawns of North Park
University and past a pickup cricket game behind
Roosevelt High School, all the while shouting “On,
On!” or blowing whistles as signals that they had found the
right path.

The commotion puzzled onlookers, including a driver
who leaned out of a pickup truck to ask why everyone
was running. The answer–“Beer!”–prompted him to
hoist a can.

“Hey, I got beer right here,” he said.

The group took a break mid-course at a bar for a
quick drink, then resumed the pursuit. But by the end of the
roughly 4 1/2-mile path, with the chalk marks nearly
impossible to see in the gathering gloom, many slowed to
a defeated walk.

Finally, the hare drove past and pointed stragglers
to his nearby Irving Park back yard, which served as the
finish line. That’s when the party started, but like
so much in hashing, it came with rules and rites attached.

Mike Bendas–also known as Mudsucker–a 55-year-old
retired Army colonel and one-time congressional
candidate from Bridgeport, called the participants
into a circle and heaped earthy but good-natured abuse on
most of those present.

The penalty for drawing his scorn was chugging a
small cup of beer, a convention known as the “down down.”
The daring took their gulps from a bedpan, serenaded
by naughty songs borrowed from rugby teams.

While alcohol and rude language are typical in
hashing, they’re not universal characteristics. Jay Hopkins, 43,
a Northern Virginia hasher who helps run a Web site
dedicated to the hobby, said many runs are
family-oriented. “The athleticism, the camaraderie
is there, but you don’t have the silly names, you don’t have
the bawdiness,” he said. “That’s not an integral
part of hashing at all.”

Even the Monday night hashers, with their proud
tradition of intemperance, said that what they most enjoyed
was being with their friends and discovering the
hidden side of city neighborhoods. And besides, Bendas
said, other hashes are much crazier. “You go down to
Texas, those guys are wild,” he said. “We have a
reputation for being conservative.”

Running Under the Influence – The Tap

The Tap
Volume 1, Issue 12
Running Under the Influence

by Rima Rantisi Photos by Callie Lipkin
“We’re having fun when we’re running. For many other people, running is simply a respectable form of sadomasochism,” says 69-Cent Man, the “Pubic Relations Director” of the Chicago Hash House Harriers (CHHH). We’re at the Map Room (1949 W. Hoyne), waiting for the rest of the Hashers to arrive for the three o’clock run. Fifty-two years old, 69-Cent Man is a thin man with a handlebar moustache, high cheekbones and a calculator watch around his left wrist.

Although he is a real-life lawyer, Virtually Hung also happens to serve as the “Religious Advisor” of the CHHH. (He doles out penance at the post-run festivities.) Matter-of-factly he tells me about his participation in a recent HHH Red Dress Run—a running event in which everyone runs in a red dress, of course. At this, I unfocus my eyes to envision this tall, freckled man jogging in a red dress—with hundreds of others—and, strangely, a rush of adrenaline washes over me.

Meanwhile, the arriving Hashers animate the bar: Bushwacker stretches; Virgin Banger flashes his very straight teeth; Full Term says he’s “going back to England foreva;” Horn-E sips beer out of his powder horn; Rotten Whore screams about a play in the Chiefs-Packers game. Finally, Hare Mayor McTick—the leader of this particular Hash—strides in wearing a t-shirt with Yoda on it. Except, upon closer look, Yoda’s face is some strange human’s.

It was a chilly Sunday in November when I joined the Hash House Harriers for a run and a drink. I started with a water and ended with many beers. And, I came to understand how, in the same way, thousands of people across the world will go on one run with the HHH and eventually become full-fledged members. It’s difficult to pick one component of Hashing and call that its raison d’etre. No, it’s the all-inclusive package that keeps Hashers running, drinking, singing, cursing, drinking, flirting, laughing, drinking, dramatizing, playing and drinking. They love the game.

It all started in 1938, when a British man named Albert Stephen Ignatius Gispert, who was working as an accountant in Kuala Lampur, became bored. He gathered several expatriates, most of whom he met at the Selangor Club—a house where many expatriates lived and/or dined, nicknamed the “Hash House” because of its poorly prepared food—to “paper-chase.” This was a hunting sport played in times and locations where sporting game was sparse. Game was substituted with men, hounds were substituted with runners and the natural scent of the trail was substituted with strategically scattered paper. Gispert had a special fondness for the game.

After their chase, his group of men would meet in the jungle for an escape from their serious lives. They would fill a pisspot (“piss” is now a Hasher term for “beer”) with ice, pour beer and soda water over it, dip their cups and drink the stiffness of the week away, singing songs and doing what drunken men do.

Eventually, the government found out about the club and required its members to register. To fill out the registration form, the men needed a name. Combining the nickname of the place they met with the nature of their game, they christened themselves the Hash House Harriers.

After 117 runs, the members of KLHHH were forced to unlace their sneakers with the beginning of WWII. Sadly, Gispert was killed in fighting on Singapore Island on February 11, 1942. Nearly 12 years after the end of the war, the survivors of KLHHH finally reassembled. In 1962, a second chapter of the HHH was founded in Singapore. In 1973, one of the founders of KLHHH, Cecil H. Lee, wrote: “[Gispert] was a splendid fellow and would be happy to know the Harriers are still going strong and are as merry and bright as ever—or more so.”
Today, the Hash House Harriers has evolved into a running and drinking club with 1,500 chapters and a presence in almost every major city from Cardiff to Sidney.

The time is now 3:15 and we are about ready to begin the run. Canned Pussy—a petite veterinarian with arched eyebrows—collects Hash Cash (six dollars) from each runner for club costs. Meanwhile, Hare McTick, a former mayor in Michigan, calls everyone outside; about 25 of us form a lopsided circle around him.
The “Hare” has an especially important job for each run. He or she must set the trail. This means that the Hare must have an astute knowledge of the area as well as a trick in his or her hop to make the trail interesting. The Hare must also plan the start and end points (bars, usually) and ensure that there is a beer stop partway through the run.

Hare McTick begins marking the sidewalk with chalk and bellowing out the rules of the game.
“You’ll see some of these.” Arrows. “And, you’ll see some of these.” Circle with X through it. “And some of these…”

As I watch McTick bend and mark the sidewalk, I am completely confused. Experienced Hashers around me ooh, aah and boo according to the marks drawn. That’s okay, I think, I am a Virgin—the name given to first-time Hashers—so I anticipate that my romance with the trail will grant me clarity.

Next, McTick draws a numeral three—no, boobs—on the sidewalk: “Boob check. If you’re a man, you must wait for a woman to reach you to find the trail. Men are not allowed to advance until this happens.”
“Sexist!” a British accent hollers.

McTick counters this playful accusation by drawing a penis: “Dick check. Same rules apply.”
Standing straight and dusting his hands of chalk, McTick tells us all “that’s it.” The Hashers are not happy. They boo and mock cry. At this, he bends down one last time and marks “BN”—“Beer Near”—onto the sidewalk, at which the Hashers uncoil with a roar of delight. The ambiguous rules finally announced, everybody shouts out their “name” in turn, Horn-E blows his horn, cries of “On! On!” (definition: “This way!” “Let’s go!”) are sent up and we’re off.

“Crap,” I mutter to myself when we reach the first checkpoint: split arrows. Hashers are running east and hashers are running west. I choose neither. Instead, I stand at the corner where some others wait as well. Full Term, a thirty-something particle physicist, explains that we’re waiting for word on which arrow points toward the trail set by Hare McTick. Full Term partied hard last night because his friends, including fellow hashers, threw him a going-away party for his upcoming return to England. As he stares off hungover, a whistle rips through the Chicago smog and “On-ons!” jolt the small group of us. Time to shake a leg.

Jogging at different comfortable paces, we move in a loose group and are led off the pavement, up a slippery mud hill. Now we’re getting dirty (never, ever wear new shoes to a Hash) and finding hidden spots in the city. At the top of the hill, we meet a broken fence that leans and bends before a deserted railroad track that stretches out of sight. Lining the track are trees and shrubs. The shrubs slap against our pants as we pound rocks and broken glass and slip on the matted leaves on the ground. We dodge tree branches from which yellow leaves hang lazily, dampened by the first snow of the fall last night. It’s beautiful and serene and I’m huffing through it.
Now Rotten Whore’s fiery red head is bopping next to me. This sweet Peg Bundy look-alike got her wretched name because she owns a Rottweiler and because she’s a lawyer. She’s been hashing since June 2002 and she believes “[Hashing] makes sense. I like to run and I like to drink and my husband doesn’t.”

The HHH provides her an outlet. However, the trail we’ve been following for a good 15 minutes doesn’t. In front of us stands a fence, which brings us all to a halt. To pass it, we must step around the side of the fence where we are only inches away from a 20-foot drop. I figure hey, if I fall, I can sue.

One by one, we slip around the fence like participants in a Survivor episode and continue our run until moments later when we are faced with a dead end. We turn around and put our noses to the ground in search of arrows that will lead us into a bear’s mouth or something. Startlingly, someone screams; another says she’s terrified. I look to see hashers standing at the bottom of a small hill facing a nine-foot leap, and others, already having made the jump, standing with arms open for flying hashers. Okay, I guess we have to jump. I hate heights. I throw myself onto Bushwacker below without a thought, to squelch my fear. He catches me on his belly and brings me safely to the pavement.

Now “fucks” are flying through the air. Menage Twat, a blond 53-year-old, is pissed. She is recovering from a stress fracture in her femur and jumping off a nine-foot drop is just not smart. The gentlemen-in-waiting try to coax her down while she flips this way and that, trying to figure out a way to climb down to safety. Rotten Whore hangs a leg over the edge, then pulls it back. While these two cluck and cringe, other hashers are slipping down the wall like eggs out of their shells. Then, like two crows sweeping in after a kill, the two virgins besides me, both dressed in all black, finally reach the hill and sigh, “This is an experience.”

When everyone has made it down, we take off again, winding through an alley and under a viaduct. I look over to see Virgin Banger giving me the eye. We soon hit another checkpoint on Ashland. Hashers dash across the street to look for arrows, paying no mind to the oncoming traffic. Next thing you know, our voices are echoing off the walls of a tunnel and our legs are taking us up stairs to a train platform. And here we find the boobs.

69-Cent Man is hollering at everyone, waving back all the men who ignored the boobs. He blows his whistle and chases after people to come back. Oddly, pretty much everyone trampled over the boobs, probably propelled by the thought of beer hiding somewhere along this trail. Take Bloody Thighs, a grade school teacher, for example. She got her name after one day in the woods—she was attacked by a tree during a Hash.

“I needed stitches but I had to get to the beer instead,” she says. “Some things you just have to forgo.”
Especially if you’re Horn-E. This 62-year-old, pony-tailed handyman (“I only fix what widows can’t fix themselves.”) started hashing in 1985 and hasn’t stopped since—even now his lower back burns from a bad wrench he first suffered in India a month before, during the World Wide Inter-Hash. In his hand, he holds his powder horn. I ask him if he wants me to hold it for him (as if the 10-ounce weight of the horn is just too much for his back).

“Oh no, I balance with this,” he says, smiling, and gives it a toot. I can’t help it, so I reach out to touch his horn, to take the horn out of his hand, and to my surprise, his grip fastens tight on it. Virgin blunder.

Jogging along Armitage, it’s been a little over an hour now and night has swept the sky. Hashers stop to window-shop. 69-Cent Man trots up to me out of nowhere and proclaims: “This is a game where there are no winners, only survivors.” Then he disappears ahead of me. As I catch up with the two window-shoppers—Canned Pussy and Bloody Thighs—a voice in the distance yells, “Beer Near!” I wonder aloud if I heard right and Bloody Thighs clarifies, “Well, they said it, but you can’t always believe a Hasher. You can only believe it when the beer meets your lips.” Then she lowers her voice, and with a dreamy look in her eye, she breathes, “But it just gets you salivating. It’s like ringing the bell for the dog.”

“Beer Near” materialized into a mid-run beer stop. Holding a beer in one hand, a hot buttered rum in the other and standing inches away from the pristine Chicago River, I admire the situation. Hare McTick and his girlfriend had this outdoor bar set up while we ran. Everyone is talking, laughing and enjoying the break. Someone throws a pretzel into the water for hungry ducks and everyone is happy. I’ve seen more secret parts of the city today than I have in any one day in the past five years of living here. Although I couldn’t tell you where in the hell we are, I know that I’m feeling good—endorphin high, liquor buzz, fresh air, fellow quirky folk. I’d like to call it a Hash Haze.

After everybody crushes their empty cans and cups into the garbage, we run a few more miles. Our total running distance is somewhere between five and six miles, apparently a much longer run than usual, according to the moaning Hashers. As for me, I would be fine, but the beer and rum put a little lead in my shoes. This running and drinking thing is definitely an acquired skill. Finally we reach our destination—Lottie’s (1925 W. Cortland)—where it’s about to get serious.

Hashers form a large circle, taking up a big section of the bar, and the Religious Advisor—Virtually Hung, of course—stands in the middle and leads the ceremony. First he asks for any announcements. 69-Cent Man rattles off an announcement about a Turkey Testicle Festival and others yell out news in between gulps of beer.

Virtually Hung then asks whom they haven’t seen for a while. Bushwacker and Soar Balls step into the circle. Suddenly the place bursts into song:

He’s the lamest, he sucks the horse’s anus.
He’s the lamest, he’s a horse’s ass.
Ever since he found it, all he does is pound it.
He’s the lamest, he’s a horse’s ass.
Drink it down, down, down, down…
“Down, down, down” is repeated until the offenders chug their beers to the last drop and flip the cup upside-down over their heads to prove they haven’t cheated.
Now they yell for the virgins. Before joining the other virgins in the circle, I make sure to pour myself a full glass of beer. As I walk in, I hear shouts of “Anne Slanders!” After grilling the other two virgins, Virtually Hung turns to me.

“Who are ya?!” he demands.
I say my name, almost inaudible to myself, and go to take a sip of my beer whereupon Horn-E grabs my arm and tells me that would be an offense of premature drinking. He also takes my hat off, another offense in the circle.

“Who made you come today?!” again, he demands.
I decide to bust out the editor of the Tap, who is trying to look inconspicuous outside the circle. I point at him and all the Hashers turn their heads to look at him hiding behind their sacred circle. They coax him into the circle, sing him a juicy one, and he chugs his beer like a champ and retreats.
And now it’s the virgins’ turn:

Here’s to the virgin
She’s true blue
She’s a hasher through and through
She’s a pisspot, so they say
She tried to go to heaven but she went the other way.
Drink it down, down, down…

And while I sip my full beer down, a lovely lady yells, “No one told her not to bring a full one!” I silently bless her as beer drips down my chin and my throat burns.

“Welcome to the Chicago Hash,” Virtually Hung says. “You’ll never have to do a ‘down, down’ again.” But, of course, that’s a lie. As long as you’re a Hasher, you will do “down, downs.” I’m on to you, Virtually Hung.
The circle of yelling, shouting and singing continues while my “down, down” buzz moves me to sing “Imagine” out loud. Mudsucker, the president of the CHHH, gets an earload of my voice and advises me to not become a singer. Mudsucker is a kind, round fellow with black hair and a moustache to match. He believes in the power of the HHH to bring people together. People of all different trades, races and general interests come together to delight in a life away from life.

“People are real here,” he says. I agree to what a beautiful thing that is, but what’s with the names? “All the names have double innuendos,” he says. And then brightly, “You’re potentially a Dear Flabby.” Oh, that’s nice. After smoothing out the sides of my sweatshirt and clenching my butt cheeks I ask:
“Mr. President, do you have any final words?”
He gives me a jolly smile and says, “Come back.”

I did go back—for a Christmas run. I got lost downtown and I kept running until I found the Hashers back at Mother Hubbard’s. I got some gifts from the Hash grab bag (an alien pen, a Turkey Testicle Festival cup and a hand-held M&M dispenser) and a few more gifts in a pint glass.
For those of you who wish to join the HHH for an afternoon or evening for the first time, don’t panic if you don’t have a clue as to what’s going on. And don’t be discouraged if you haven’t run since ‘82. Hashers are friendly and can be just as lazy and hungover as you. It’s not a competition. You’ll find your own enjoyment in Hashing, or not. If you think you’re too uptight, maybe you should try a Hash—loosen your ass up. Or tighten it, depending on how you want to look at it.

On! On!

To learn more about
the Chicago Hash House Harriers:
Hash Line: 312.409.BEER

Chicago Police Find Flour Is Not Anthrax – WBBM 780

Chicago Police Find Flour Is Not Anthrax

Wednesday, December 25, 2002, 8:45 a.m.

Associated Press Writer

CHICAGO (AP) — Authorities closed a five-square-block area of the city’s North Side as well as the Lincoln Park Zoo Tuesday after the discovery of a suspicious substance outside the zoo that turned out to be harmless white powder marking a running course.

More than 100 police officers and firefighters, some wearing special suits to deal with hazardous materials, were called into the area.

Streets were blocked off. Several entrances and exits to Lake Shore Drive, one of the principal highways in the city, were closed. The zoo, which is normally open every day of the year, was soon closed. The public was warned by authorities to stay away.

Field testing equipment gave readings indicating that the substance “could be anything in the anthrax areas,” said Fire Commissioner James Joyce.

“But they were false positives,” he added.

“It’s a completely inert substance,” Joyce said at a news conference. “It’s scattered over a three- or four-block area.” Members of a running club had used the powder to paint arrows to show the runners where to go, he said. Wind blew the markings so that they no longer looked like arrows, and a Chicago Park District worker alerted authorities.

Fire Chief Dennis Gault said authorities secured the area and prevented people in the zoo from coming into contact with the substance. Zoo officials did not immediately return calls from The Associated Press, but a reporter who tried to enter the zoo discovered it was closed hours early.

Tuesday’s scare began shortly after 9 a.m. and was not resolved until about 1:20 p.m.

Asked if, in the current security atmosphere, people should be putting flour on the ground to mark things, Joyce said, “How about red flour?” Then he added, “This will alert them that they need to think about what they are doing.”

“We’re satisfied with the results,” Joyce added. “We do what we have to do. We respond and protect the citizens.”

Eric Dawoudi, 26, a DePaul University student whose apartment overlooks a zoo entrance, said he heard on the radio that the substance was harmless.

Nevertheless, a police officer would still not allow him into the neighborhood.

“I told him I heard on the radio that everything was okay. He “I told him I heard on the radio that everything was okay. He said, ‘You believe everything you hear on the radio?”‘

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

How I Helped Solve Zoo Mystery – Sun-Times

How I helped solve zoo mystery

December 25, 2002


Though the Hash House Harriers may dress a little eccentrically and run around the city following trails of flour, they are not terrorists.

I know. I’m one of them.

So when I got the call Tuesday morning from my editor to start the day investigating the evacuation of the Lincoln Park Zoo– prompted by the discovery of a mysterious white substance–I had a sinking feeling that instead of reporting on a story, I might become part of it.

“It’s probably the Hashers,” said my wife, Dawn Klingensmith, referring to the running club we had joined a year ago.

Our concern grew after a call to the “grandmaster” of the running club, Mike Bendas. He confirmed they had run next to the zoo Sunday and had used flour to mark part of the trail.

You see, the Harriers is a group that plays a version of “hounds and hares,” a game where a designated “hare” lays a trail and others try to follow it.

Started by the British in Malaysia during the late 1930s, there are 1,500 chapters running in every major city in the world.

In Chicago, they mostly use chalk to mark the trails. But when the trail runs over grass or dirt (and it frequently does), it is marked with white flour.

My wife and I had run with the club in many neighborhoods, including Lincoln Park. Though we didn’t make this run, we knew it was possible that the unknown substance causing the alert could be “hash” marks.

When I arrived at the park, it was, well, a zoo. Police and fire emergency vehicles were flashing lights everywhere and firefighters were breaking out hazmat suits. Cops wouldn’t let anyone east of Clark Street. This was all triggered after a zoo employee found one of the piles of powder outside the zoo that morning.

Though reporters aren’t supposed to get personally involved in a story, after talking with Bendas, we decided the cops needed to know what we knew.

Approaching Cmdr. Michael Chasen, I told him the story and he had another officer interview Bendas over the phone. He put police in touch with two other hashers who actually ran the trail.

One hasher, at O’Hare Airport waiting for a flight, marked the trail on a detailed map printed out on a police computer at the airport. The other was picked up by detectives; he gave them a personal tour of the route. When the accounts of these two sober citizens matched, authorities concluded it was indeed flour.

A complicating factor was that some mobile testing equipment initially gave what Fire Commissioner James Joyce termed “false positives,” for a substance “in the anthrax area.”

When Joyce was asked if, in the current security atmosphere, people should be putting flour on the ground to mark things, he said, ”How about red flour?” Then he added, ”They will have to certainly think about what they are doing the next time.”

Bendas said that at the height of the anthrax scare a year ago, the club notified police in advance of using flour, but had trouble finding someone in authority to listen. “We would love to have an official point of contact in the future,” he said.

For now, Bendas said the club is “Looking into other methods, including red flour.”

False Alarm Unnerves Lincoln Park – Chicago Tribune

False alarm unnerves Lincoln Park
Bioterror scare turns out to be harmless powder

By Matthew Walberg, Liam Ford and David Heinzmann, Tribune staff reporters
Published December 25, 2002

Christmas Eve and there’s white powder scattered on the ground across Lincoln Park–a quintessentially beautiful Chicago scene.

Unless the powder isn’t snow and no one knows what it is for nearly four hours. Then it’s a potential disaster that evacuates the Lincoln Park Zoo and Conservatory and shuts down a grid of North Side streets, sending emergency crews into overdrive and wreaking havoc on some last-minute shopping efforts.

The piles of white powder that Chicago Park District workers found Tuesday morning turned out to be a harmless mixture of chalk and flour intended to mark running lanes for a foot race that took place in Lincoln Park on Sunday.

But from a little after 9 a.m. to a little before 1 p.m., fire, police and hazardous materials crews treated the powder as if it might be a bioterrorism threat.

When it was over, city officials took a better-safe-than-sorry view of the false alarm.

“We prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” Fire Department spokesman Dennis Gault said.

Trouble began when a Park District employee doing some maintenance discovered a number of white powdery marks on the ground and called police, Fire Commissioner James Joyce said in an afternoon news conference near the zoo.

The substance was scattered in spots in a three- to four-block area within Lincoln Park.

More than 100 firefighters responded during the incident, which was raised from a Level 2 hazardous materials call to a Level 3 when the Fire Department’s new testing equipment at first indicated the powder might contain a dangerous substance, Joyce said.

“We got a series of false positives,” Joyce said.

Gault said later that the equipment worked properly, indicating materials present in the powder that could have been dangerous but not in the state or mixture used. He said he did not know what those materials were.

A wide range of substances will alert the testing equipment, Gault said.

“Things that normally occur in nature also can be used for negative purposes,” he said.

Under closer scrutiny from fire, Health Department and Environmental Protection Agency technicians, the substances were determined to be harmless, Gault said.

When officials learned a foot race had been held, they contacted the head of the running club, who said his group had used the powder to mark arrows to direct runners through the park.

The club leader walked the entire course with emergency workers to confirm the scattered patches of powder were their markings, which had been smudged and withered by winds.

Authorities believe “it’s a completely inert substance,” Joyce said.

In addition to firefighters, dozens of police officers in squad cars, on foot and on horseback fanned out across the southwest end of Lincoln Park. Yellow police tape surrounded the entire northwest corner of the zoo at one point.

Pedestrian and vehicle traffic could not get east of Clark or west of Lake Shore Drive, and police kept people from going south of Diversey Parkway and north of North Avenue.

“It scared the hell out of me,” said Marian Altersohn, 83, of the 2100 block of North Lincoln Park West. “My apartment faces that area, and it started quite early. I wondered why the Fire Department was there. Then I saw all the police cars and I thought, `Jeez, this is getting pretty bad.’ I didn’t know what it was all about.”

When Altersohn left her apartment around 11 a.m. to have her hair done, “no one knew what was going on and we were free to leave,” she said. “But I did hear that later, people were not allowed to go back into their homes. Someone came into the beauty parlor and said, `I can’t go home. They won’t let me in.’ I just went to a restaurant and had coffee and made it last as long as I could. I didn’t want to go home.”

Bernice Bork, who lives in the same complex, said she heard at first that the commotion was about a suspicious package in her building.

“I stayed in, I didn’t go down because … I was hesitant about using the elevator,” she said. “I didn’t know if I’d be heading for trouble or away from trouble because at that point I still thought it was a package in the building.

“I would appreciate if the [media were] a little more accurate, that they would wait to get it right before scaring the hell out of people. I’m just glad it turned out well.”

About 25 conservatory visitors and seven or eight staff members were sent home when authorities responded, and most Zoo employees also were sent home.

By about 1:30 p.m., both the zoo and the conservatory were reopening, though zoo buildings were kept closed because most staff had already gone home, said Kelly McGrath, a spokeswoman for the zoo.

Despite the outcome, Joyce said fire and police officials were better off for the experience.

Emergency crews and police officers were able to practice responding to such incidents and got to use the equipment for the purpose it was intended.

“We’re satisfied with the results,” Joyce said. “We do what we have to to protect the citizens.”

Copyright © 2002, Chicago Tribune

Suspicious Powder Closes Portion of Lincoln Park Neighborhood – WBBM 780


Tuesday, December 24, 2002, 2:15 p.m.

Associated Press Writer

CHICAGO (AP) — Reports of a suspicious white powdered substance caused police and firefighters to close down a five-square-block area of the north side and evacuate the Lincoln Park Zoo Tuesday.

But the substance turned out to be a harmless flour or similar powder used to mark a jogging course, the city’s fire commissioner said.

More than 100 police officers and firefighters, some wearing special suits to deal with hazardous materials, were called into the area.

Streets were blocked off. Several entrances and exits to Lake Shore Drive, one of the principal highways in the city, were closed. The public was warned by authorities to stay away.

Field testing equipment gave readings indicating that the substance “could be anything in the anthrax areas,” said Fire Commissioner James Joyce.

“But they were false positives,” he added.

“It’s a completely inert substance,” Joyce said at a news conference. “It’s scattered over a three- or four-block area.” Members of a running club had used the powder to paint arrows to show the runners were to go, he said.

Asked if, in the current security atmosphere, people should be putting flour on the ground to mark things, Joyce said, “How about red flour?” Then he added, “This will alert them that they need to think about what they are doing.”

“We’re satisfied with the results,” Joyce added. “We do what we have to do. We respond and protect the citizens.”
(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

More on the story…

The Lincoln Park Zoo grounds were reopened after being closed during the hazardous materials alert, according to a news release from the zoo.

All the buildings, however, will remain closed Tuesday, the release said.

The zoo will reopen for business as usual Wednesday morning, with both the grounds and animal houses open to the public, according to the release. All fire personnel had left the scene by 1:45 p.m., and all roads had been re opened.

The area closed to traffic by the police and fire activity Tuesday afternoon included the perimeters Fullerton to North avenues, and Lincoln Park West to Lake Shore Drive. As of noon this also included the ramps from LSD to North Avenue and Fullerton, as well as northbound Clark Street at Armitage Avenue, Cannon Drive and Stockton Drive, according to the City Department of Transportation.

Emergency workers first responded to the park at 9:22 a.m., with the Level 1 Hazmat upgraded to a Level 2 response at 10:39 a.m. and a Level 3 response at 11 :29 a.m., said fire media Chief Dennis Gault.

“We received a call from the police department relative to a suspicious substance at the Lincoln Park Zoo,” Gault said of the original report.

‘Suspicious’ Powder Just Trail Marker – Sun-Times

‘Suspicious’ powder just trail marker

December 24, 2002


Reports of a suspicious white powdered substance caused police and firefighters to close down a five-square-block area of the north side and evacuate the Lincoln Park Zoo Tuesday.

But the substance turned out to be a harmless flour or similar powder used to mark a jogging course, the city’s fire commissioner said.

More than 100 police officers and firefighters, some wearing special suits to deal with hazardous materials, were called into the area.

Streets were blocked off. Several entrances and exits to Lake Shore Drive, one of the principal highways in the city, were closed. The public was warned by authorities to stay away.

Field testing equipment gave readings indicating that the substance “could be anything in the anthrax areas,” said Fire Commissioner James Joyce.

“But they were false positives,” he added.

“It’s a completely inert substance,” Joyce said at a news conference. “It’s scattered over a three- or four-block area.” Members of a running club had used the powder to paint arrows to show the runners were to go, he said.

Asked if, in the current security atmosphere, people should be putting flour on the ground to mark things, Joyce said, “How about red flour?” Then he added, “This will alert them that they need to think about what they are doing.”

“We’re satisfied with the results,” Joyce added. “We do what we have to do. We respond and protect the citizens.”

Eric Dawoudi, 26, a DePaul University student whose apartment overlooks a zoo entrance, said he was blocked from his home by a police officer.

Nevertheless, a police officer would still not allow him into the neighborhood.

“I told him I heard on the radio that everything was okay. He said, ‘You believe everything you hear on the radio?”‘

Copyright 2002 Associated Press.