Thursday, April 18, 2019

Department of Fraternal Societies releases new study

Springfield, IL -- The Federal Department of Fraternal Societies recently released a report that, in accordance with most government funded studies, will surprise nobody. The Past Bastard obtained a copy of the research, and contacted head researcher, RWB Mike Pole.

"The essentials of the study are this: Masons in the craft for about five years spend most of their time complaining about other Masons, usually those in their own lodge. However, that seems to switch, so that by the time they hit the ten year mark, those Masons now complain most frequently about their Grand Lodge."

The Past Bastard questioned Bro. Pole on this.

"We think it's because when Masons are new to the craft, they aren't exposed enough to the quirks and contradictions of their Grand Lodge, nor do they have much exposure to how they may compare to the Grand Lodges in other states; they spend most of their time complaining about things nearest to them. However, by the time they have been in the Craft for a bit, perhaps even served in a few chairs, they've learned that issues with brothers are just minor annoyances, and that the real problem with getting anything done lies on the weird, nonsensical, and seemingly arbitrary rules that their Grand Lodge makes up, often just as politics or ego building."

Federal Department of Fraternal Societies Building
Bro. Pole then went on to point out other parts of the research.

"The trends, however, seem to flip for those Masons who, themselves, become Grand Lodge officers. New Grand Lodge officers will sometimes themselves complain about the seemingly arbitrary rules of their own Grand Lodge. However, after serving for several years, usually in more advanced capacities, those Grand Lodge officers tend to shift to complaining about other Masons -- usually about how those Masons at the blue lodge level just aren't doing the things that they should be, which screw up their vision for what Freemasonry should be."

The Past Bastard asked Bro. Pole if there were any way to get the groups to see eye to eye.

"Sadly, it doesn't look like there's any way for them to meet on any kind of level ground," he told us. "For our next phase in the research, we're planning to have some focus groups, team building, and some meet-and-greet events. We'll let you know how we make out."

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Young Mason collects pictures of Square & Compasses, instead of lapel pins

Barlow, KY --Some Masons collect bumper stickers, car decals, lapel pins, or other such paraphernalia. However, one Mason in this small Kentucky town is collecting something else.

"Oh, I'd say that I should hit the ten thousand mark pretty soon," said Mark Masters, of Paducah-Kroger Lodge. "I've got an online photo album where I've got them cataloged by area, type, and a few other factors."

Brother Mark collects pictures; more specifically, pictures of Masonic emblems that he has run across in his travels as a delivery driver.

"They're all labeled and numbered so I don't accidentally list the same one twice.," he told us. "That happened a few times when I first started this, and it made me so mad."

Brother Mark got the idea when he noticed how may times he would drive by a car with a square & compasses decal, or a similar design on a building, or on a statue.
It's easy to spot Masonic decals like this on
the backs of many cars.

"I started to just take pictures of them, you know? Like, I'd be driving down the street, and I'd spot a square & compass design on a building, so I'd pull over and take a picture. Or I'd be sitting at a light, and see a car with a "To be one ask one" bumper sticker, so I'd take a picture. One time I was at a funeral, and I saw a while bunch of gravestones with them. I got a lot that day," he told us.


So, why does he take pictures instead of buying a lapel pin?

"Oh, it's way cooler to see these things out in the wild," he told us. "Like, it's the surprise factor or something. You're driving along, just listening to some tunes, and out of the corner of your eye you spot one. It's like bird watching or something, only better."

"But I have to admit, though, that it does get more difficult to find new ones. It's like I'm exhausting the supply, or something. I'm hoping that I don't have to move to another part of the state," he said.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Flip This Temple: Chris Hodapp to host new show on A&E

Fudge Ripple, IN - - Chris Hodapp, the ninth most popular Masonic author, known primarily for his fifteen year old book "Freemasons for Dummies," is also one of the most prolific Masonic bloggers still active. Brother Hodapp's books, blog articles, and speaking engagements have reached dozens of Freemasons around the globe. 

As fellow Masons, we are happy for Brother Hodapp's continued success, which is why we reached out to him when we heard about his latest endeavor: Flip This Temple - A television series in which he will feature various lodge buildings around the US, as the lodge members decide to renovate the old buildings, and either keep them or sell them off.

TPB: Chris, first we want to thank you for all the work that you do as the unofficial Masonic News Network. We understand that "Flip This Temple" grew out of some of your reporting.

Chris: Yes, I believe that you mentioned that every other blog article seemed to be about some great, historic lodge building that was either being sold off, or was in a terrible state of disrepair. I got the idea while watching TV one night with my wife, and saw that those old "Flip This House" shows have morphed into things like "Flip This Condo", or Trailer or RV, or other things. I made a joke about how it would be nice if we could see such energy with some of the Masons I know remodeling their own lodges. From there, it just sort of... took off.

TPB: House flipping shows are really popular for couples to watch, because it gives them ideas for things to do in their own houses. What's the audience draw for remodeling a Masonic lodge?

Chris: We think that it's going to appeal to the younger Masons, the 30 to 50 year old crowd who are tired of the old, fake walnut 1970s paneling and the linoleum tiled floors, but who get a lot of pushback from the older past masters who can't imagine spending forty or fifty bucks on some new paint.

 TPB: So, we understand that the first show will be an old lodge building in Rhode Island or someplace in New England? 

Chris: That's right. I can't give you any more details, but it's an old building with parts dating back to the late 1700s, that was donated to the lodge in the mid 1800s, and probably hasn't been changed since, except maybe to add electricity and indoor plumbing. 

TPB: You could be describing half the lodges in New England, right there. 

Chris: True enough. Anyway, the producers managed to get some free supplies from various advertisers, and the younger lodge members had a couple of months to work on it. Walls were painted, windows were replaced, old carpeting torn out, and fake masonite paneling was burned. After it was finished, the guys then had to decide if the building was still worth keeping, or if they should sell it, take the money, and rent from a lodge with more modern facilities on the other side of town. 

TPB: Well, so what did they do?

Chris: Sorry, can't tell you that. You'll have to wait until it hits the cable channels next season. 

TPB: Fair enough. Can you tell us about any other upcoming shows?

Chris: For the first season, we're just hitting a few smaller lodge buildings in the northeast US, a couple in the mid-west, and we'll end up the season with something out in the northwest US. 

TPB: Any of those big, multi-lodge buildings in the cities?

Chris: While I'd love to tackle some of those old, art deco buildings that take up half a block, the producers have decided to wait a season or two to gauge the interest. Part of it, too, is getting more advertisers and sponsors behind it. Freemasons, as you know, are not noted for spending money on their buildings. Or much else, except their personal jewelry, I might add. 

TPB: Well, it certainly sounds like a hit, and we wish you the best of luck. 

Chris: Thanks, guys, I really appreciate that. 

"Flip This Temple" is in post-production, and we expect to see it on A&E in the next season. 








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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Massachusetts to get hundreds of new members in one shot. Unfortunately, none of them will pay dues.

Boston, MA -- Citing the opportunity to improve tourism, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has announced that they intend to make every man who fought in the Revolutionary War a Mason-At-Sight.

"Oh, yes, it was a very controversial decision, yes indeed," said Worshipful Brother Ronald Maroon, spokesperson for Grand Lodge Posthumous Affairs. "We argued about this at the Grand Lodge officers level for weeks and weeks. Ultimately, of course, the money won. It always does."

By "money," RW Maroon was referring to the idea that publicly identifying hundreds of early American patriots would increase public curiosity, visits, and perhaps even some new petitions.

"Oh, yes, it's pretty obvious that we Yanks love our early Patriots. We already get mobs of tourists here, especially when school lets out, who love to prowl around those old graveyards, or buy those souvenir tri-corn hats, or wave their Air-soft muskets around," he explained in an interview with The Past Bastard. "Our intention is to increase the public awareness of how closely those patriots are tied to Freemasonry."

Making someone a "Mason-At-Sight" is still a controversial practice even on living people. Several Grand Masters have made famous (dead) figures Masons-At-Sight, claiming that they probably would have become Masons had they lived long enough. But the Massachusetts decision has rocked the Masonic world.

"Simply put," RW Maroon told us, "We figured that all of the patriots fighting for freedom were on our side. Since some of them were already Freemasons, it's obvious that those men had the same ideals and principles. Yes, they died in the war, but if they hadn't, the probably would have moved back to the Bay State, started a little farm, become good citizens, and joined one of the local lodges. It's a totally reasonable assumption."

"By making a public declaration, we hope to increase the curiosity among the public, so when they visit Massachusetts, they will come to associate 'patriot' with 'Freemason.' Oh, and that they'll buy some merchandise with our branded 'Square and Compasses', of course. There's no downside!"

"Well, except," he admitted, "that none of those new members will be paying dues."

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Rhetorical Voices: Trendy or traditional foods in lodge?

The Past Bastard interviews random members from random lodges on random topics of Masonic importance.

Question: What do you think about the former Grand Master of West Virginia resigning over his mother lodge serving trendy foods instead of baked chicken and green beans?



Bob Hoskins, Treasurer, Steinbeck Lodge No. 118
"Well, personally, I'm a health nut, and I only eat paleo, so I wouldn't be eating those potatoes, donuts, noodles, pizza, or anything else that actually tastes good. And if you can't go to lodge and enjoy a dinner, then what's the point? Might as well sit at home posting memes on Facebook."

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Larry Sotero, Past DDGM, Chantilly Lodge No 9

"Those damn liberals screw up everything, you know that? The poor bastard, excuse my French, just wanted to go to lodge and have a meal with his brothers, and they took away one of the few wholesome things about Freemasonry - the Festive Board - and they expected him to eat California food? It's a wonder the entire lodge hasn't lost its damn charter!"
================================================

 
Barnard Saundars, Junior Steward, Plank Lodge No. 312: 
"It's really too bad that the poor guy felt the need to resign because he couldn't have his fix of animal flesh. I wish I had the opportunity to have him try some good vegetarian dishes, like zucchini steaks or lima bean burgers, which are so much better not only for your person, but for the entire planet."

Friday, March 8, 2019

Masonic world rocked as former Grand Master resigns

Charleston, WV - Anonymous sources inside COGMNA (Conference of Grand Masters of North America) have leaked information to the effect that a prominent Past Grand Master has just tendered his resignation to his Grand Lodge. This is not a demit, but an actual resignation from the fraternity.

The Past Bastard has obtained a copy of the letter of resignation, which has been partially redacted. We are reprinting it here:
*******
DECLARATION OF RESIGNATION FROM ANCIENT FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONARY

Know all men  by these presents that I, the undersigned [redacted], Past Grand Master, and member of good standing in [redacted] Lodge, being of sound mind and labouring under no disabilities, legal or otherwise, do hereby voluntarily declare:

WHEREAS: The dinner served to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ at the Last Supper was baked chicken, green beans, and boiled potatoes, and

WHEREAS: All regular and well maintained Masonic Lodges should emulate the examples of the One True God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and

WHEREAS: All regular and well maintained lodges are erected to the Glory of God, and

WHEREAS: Dinners at said well maintained and regular Masonic lodges should be served, and

WHEREAS: Said dinners should rightfully consist of backed chicken, green beans, and boiled potatoes, and

WHEREAS: My own mother lodge, [redacted] has taken to serving trendy hipster foods such as Italian pizza, Japanese bento boxes, Thai curry, Vietnamese Pho, Greek gyros, and other such foreign and blasphemous foods, and

WHEREAS: I desire to remain true to the Holy Scriptures,

NOW, THEREFORE: I resign from the Grand Lodge of West Virginia, owing no money to any brothern, nor having other obligations.

"For me and my house, we will serve the baked chicken." Sarducci 19:79

SIGNED: [redacted]
 *******

The Past Bastard will continue to monitor the situation. 


Thursday, February 28, 2019

MasoniCare in Connecticut to offer assisted living facilities for divorced couples.

Hartford, CT -- Faced with a growing number of aging boomer members with more complex family arrangements than generations in the past, MasoniCare -- the Grand Lodge of Connecticut’s Masonic Hospital and Care Facility -- has announced that they have remodeled a large number of their assisted living apartments to accommodate elderly divorced couples. Children of these couples (Freemasons are given preference, although MasoniCare told The Past Bastard that the facilities are open to all) can arrange to have their parents housed in the same unit, but living within separate apartments in order to make it easier for them to visit and care for their aging and estranged parents.
Workers remodeling the existing assisted care apartments
to accommodate divorced and estranged parents. Many
apartments are being split into two smaller units.

“It has become increasingly difficult for people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s to care for their elderly parents,” said MasoniCare Director Jean-Luc Dicard. “Many of them are still working, and do not have time to help maintain a house in which an elderly parent is still living. When you consider how many older adults are divorced or separated, it’s a nightmare for the children to figure out how to care for not just one, but two parents.”

Director Dicard told The Past Bastard,“That is why we here at MasoniCare have come up with the idea of splitting some of our assisted living apartments into two smaller apartments, each with a bedroom, a small sitting area, a kitchen, and some very nice soundproof walls. Our clients can now put both of their parents in the same unit, and those parents won’t have to hear, see, or deal with each other.”

The Past Bastard asked about the rest of the facilities in the area.

"Oh, they are well known throughout the country," Director Dicard told us. "If the residents are feeling up to it, they can go on bus trips, play bingo, go to concerts, or go shopping in town. We even have an Eastern Star chapter if mom is interested, and of course, there's a lodge that meets in the daytime for dad. Most of the residents are quite happy here, and their children can easily see how well everyone is cared for."

“Now the children of these parents will no longer have to worry about household maintenance, since that would be included in our care facility program,” Dicard said. “And even better, they can visit both parents in one trip, should they so choose. They can have lunch dad, and then an early bird dinner with mom, and get home in time to watch their evening TV shows..”