Monday, March 20, 2017

Job's Daughters International issues new trademark infringement lawsuit

Papillion, NE - This week, the leadership of Job's Daughter's International, still bitterly waging a litigation war against a clothing designer in Washington State, announced its intent to serve a summons to none other than the Great Architect of the Universe (GAOTU)--known colloquially as "God"--for trademark infringement due to the Biblical story of Job. Sources close to JDI Supreme Headquarters, who spoke to The Past Bastard on the condition of anonymity for fear of being shunned and summarily expelled from the order without just cause, stated that the JDI leadership has their eyes on the Bible for quite some time: "Job's Daughters leadership is well aware that the Bible printing industry is the most profitable book industry in the world. They feel that, as trademark holders to the Job name and story, they should receive their fair share or, if all else fails, get the Book of Job removed from the Bible altogether. They find it offensive that God is profiting off of their intellectual property, and they want to put an end to it."
The Past Bastard reached out to the JDI Supreme Headquarters in Nebraska for comment. Bro. Joe Snow, spokesperson for the JDI Supreme Headquarters, remarked: "This case is quite clear. Job's Daughters International owns all trademarks and copyrights to the name and story of Job. It doesn't matter if God had the story written down first; the fact of the matter is He didn't copyright it and we did. I'm afraid He really doesn't have a leg to stand on."

When asked about the Job's Daughters' desire to remove the Book of Job from the Bible, Bro. Snow explained: "Of course we don't want to eradicate the story of Job. We simply want to limit the availability of unauthorized versions. The myriad different translations of the Bible that exist today dilute the true story of Job and really make it difficult for our girls to memorize their ritual. After this mess is behind us, we here at Job's Daughters promise that anyone who wants to read the Book of Job will be able to purchase the Official Licensed Edition(TM) from our e-commerce site!"

-SK Bro. Mason Buhrmaster

Monday, March 13, 2017

GL of Ohio to honor 300th anniversary of Freemasonry by streamlining ODC degree ceremonies

Dayton, OH -- In a bold and controversial move to honor of the 300th anniversary of the formation of the first known Grand Lodge in 1717, the Grand Lodge of Ohio is not only planning their biggest ever "Grand Master's One Day Class;" but the degrees themselves will be "streamlined" in order to accommodate the incoming members.

"We've done a lot of one day degrees, probably more than any other state, and we found that a lot of the guys coming in were losing attention with all the stuff we were throwing at them," explained RW Steve Garvey, the Grand Lodge Publicity Spokesperson. "By the end of the day, they hardly retained anything. Half, maybe three quarters of them always have that 'deer in the headlamps' look, so we figured that the best thing to do would be to cut out the unimportant parts and just have one big degree."

The Past Bastard questioned RW Garvey on shortened degrees.
Grand Lodge of Ohio at the Dayton Masonic Center

"We all know that there's a lot of repetitious stuff in the degrees, and that there's some stuff that doesn't really add anything," he told us. "What we did was remove some of the longer lectures, like that staircase thing. Nobody really listens to the whole thing anyhow. Then we realized that there was no sense in having three different obligations, so we're just giving them the Master Mason one. And we're combining all the working tools into one big set that we call 'The Working Toolbox.' And if we're only giving them one obligation, there's no sense in having them walk around three different times, so we're going to settle on circumnavigating just three times."

The Grand Lodge figures that by consolidating the rituals and ceremonies into one big degree, they can save between two and three hours on the One Day Class.

"If this works out, then we're going to look at possibly having a morning session and an afternoon session for our next Grand Master's One Day Class," said RW Garvey. "Our goal is to make things easy enough so that a lodge never has to put on their own set of degrees again."

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, March 6, 2017

Grand Lodge of Texas grants charter for new "Affinity Lodge;"

Fort Worth, TX - Affinity lodges -- lodges in which the members share a particular interest outside of Freemasonry -- have long been common in the UK and are recently growing in popularity in the US. In many states, it's not unusual to find affinity lodges in which the members go to the same university, work in the same field, or share common interests such as motorcycling, music, cigars, or Crossfit®. One such lodge is currently being formed in Texas.

"I was talking to a couple of other brothers that I had met in my area, and we realized that we had a lot in common, and we started exploring the idea of starting a lodge just for guys like us," said WB Lee Carrington. "We wanted a lodge where guys who were 60 years old, conservative, gun-owning, patriotic, and who enjoyed beer and barbecue could go and just be themselves, know what I mean?"

And with that simple precept in mind, the idea for a new lodge was born.
Republican Lodge (U.D.) prepares for their first meeting,
and  hopes to attract new members with
similar interests.

"You know, a lot of Freemasons are young, tech-savvy computer jocks, but we wanted to have a lodge for older guys who aren't hip to all that computer stuff. We just like the simple things, like target shooting, fixing up our cars, and having a pig roast on the weekends," explained WB Robert "Bobby" Ewing. "When we met up with a few other brothers who had the same interests, we thought 'Why not?' and started checking with our Grand Lodge. Fortunately, the District Officers all happened to be like minded, and offered to help out as much as they could. I think that a few of them might end up joining once we get our charter approved."

The Past Bastard followed up with district officer RWB Richard Channing.

"At first it seemed like an unusual request, but then when we thought about it, we thought that maybe it would help promote some brotherhood. So, we gave them our blessing, and they've done a great job in getting it set up and organized."

WB Carrington is pretty excited about the new lodge. "Right now we're just 'Republican Lodge UD', that means 'Under Dispensation.' We'll have a year to get our act together, and try to attract the minimum amount of  24 members. I'm hoping that with such a narrow range of interests it won't be a problem," he said.

--Conte Calvino Gliostro


Monday, February 27, 2017

The Masonic family that plays together, stays together

Piscataway, NJ -- While many Masons have a difficult time explaining to their wives that they are headed out yet again for another lodge function, Peter Johnson has no such problem. In fact, he thinks that he's found the solution to those family squabbles.

"Yeah, a couple of years after I joined and was made Junior Warden, my wife started giving me a hard time about how often I was down at lodge, you know? But, hey, degree practice, building committee meetings, district meetings, plus Scottish Rite, Chapter meetings, and all that other stuff adds up, you know? I mean, it's not like I planned to be out four of five nights a week, you know? But after a year or two of nagging, I figured that I had to take some drastic steps to save my marriage, you know? So I had this idea, right? I got my wife to join Star."

Peter convinced his wife Dottie, that if the both of them joined the OES chapter that met in his lodge on Thursday evenings, that they would have a lot more time to spend together. However, as she progressed through the ranks, Dottie found herself at home less frequently, and was often out on different nights than Peter.

"I really hated to complain about Peter being out so often as I started working my way through those chairs, and the next thing you know, I was so involved that neither of us were ever home on the same nights," she said. "I started to feel guilty about the kids, so we got Howie involved with the DeMolay chapter that met at the lodge on Tuesdays, and convinced Gabriella that she needed to join the Rainbow Girls chapter that met on Wednesdays."

While many families would have had concerns about being out so frequently, Peter and Dottie came to realize that their infrequent home life was having a positive affect on their marriage.

Representation only, as the Johnson family could  not be
photographed together for this article. 
"I mean, you'd think that we would have been arguing more, you know? But me and Dottie both noticed that we were fighting a lot less, what with not being around each other, you know? And the kids! Turns out that the kids started doing better in school, mainly because they were around other adults and peers who could help them with their homework, you know?"

While neither Peter nor Dottie recommend this a solution for everybody, the both of them agree that it's worth trying for at least a few months, especially as guys get more involved into the appendant bodies.

"I was just made Grand High Priest, and Dottie is now Grand Worthy Matron," said Peter. "Between that and the different Rainbow and DeMolay visits, we haven't all seen each other in almost seven months. Doing things separately has made our family a lot stronger, you know?"

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro








Monday, February 20, 2017

Grand Lodge pulls recognition from Cuba after negotiations stall over "clandestine" cigars

Havana, Cuba - Relations between the Grand Lodge of Cuba and the Grand Lodge of Florida are on the rocks again as the Grand Lodge of Florida last week rescinded recognition of the Grand Lodge of Cuba, reportedly due to stalled negotiations on the quality of Cuban cigars delivered to the Grand Lodge of Florida as part of the original terms for recognition. Sources close to the Grand Lodge of Florida, who spoke to The Past Bastard on the condition of anonymity, stated: "Well, the Grand Lodge of Florida only recognized them [the Grand Lodge of Cuba] in the first place because they promised to provide a steady influx of Cuban cigars for our Grand Lodge Smoker events. Lots of money to be made with high-class Smoker events. But when our first 'shipment' arrived, it was full of counterfeit cohibas that were clearly made in Florida and tasted like wet cardboard. The Smoker event was a disaster. We ran out to get some backup cigars, but Swisher Sweets just don't pair well with Glenlivet."

Brethren who attended the Smoker event have reportedly taken to labeling these goods as "clandestine cigars." Brother Joe Snow, spokesperson for the Grand Lodge of Florida, stated that the Grand lodge simply didn't see any option besides pulling recognition: "Ultimately, we had to cut our ties with the Grand Lodge of Cuba. We've been dealing with these so-called 'clandestine' Cuban cigars here for years. Part of our negotiation with the Grand Lodge of Cuba was that we wouldn't have to worry about conterfeit cigars ever again, because they'd be supplying us with a steady supply of the real thing. After the first botched shipment, it was made clear to us that the Grand Lodge of Cuba has no intention of assisting us in shutting down these clandestine fumatory activities."

With the restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and the island nation of Cuba that occurred in 2015, many brethren hoped that years of fraternal amity might follow. Unfortunately for now, those hopes seem to have gone up in smoke.

-SK Bro. Mason Burhmaster

Monday, February 13, 2017

Grand Lodge of Nebraska directs Masons impoverished by dues increases to seek state aid

Valentine, NE -- A per-member fee increase by the Grand Lodge of Nebraska, and subsequently passed on from the lodges to the individual members, has impoverished so many Freemasons in the state that the Grand Lodge is now working with the Nebraska Department of Social Services in order to expedite state aid for those Masons who are near bankruptcy from the added financial burden.

"Those idiots down at Grand Lodge must think that we're all Rockerfellers or something," complained WB John Wayne Stacey. He took a sip of his frappaccino and stared off into the distance for a moment. "I'm a five time Past Master of my lodge," he said. "I swear to God Almighty that this ain't right! Somebody needs to look into how those Grand Lodge guys are frittering away our money."

WB Stacey was among several hundred Nebraska Freemasons who swarmed district NDSS offices to apply for state aid, in hope of staving off home foreclosures, bankruptcies, and repossessions in the wake of the dues increases across the state.

The Past Bastard caught up with RWB Israel Johannson outside the Prairie Ridge Mall. We sat on the tailgate of his 2016 F350 "Dually" and sipped some Zipline micro-brew ale.

"You know, I've been paying $48 a year since I was raised," he said. "I'm coming up on my 25 year pin this August, and springing an increase like this on us, without no warning, is just unfair."

Ostensibly to pay for maintenance, repairs, and some office supplies, the Grand Lodge passed a $10 per capita increase, which could either be absorbed by the lodges, or passed on as a dues increase. Many lodges, facing their own need for building upkeep, took the opportunity to add yet another $5 for that purpose, and passed the entire $15 cost onto the lodge membership. The shock of such a large and unprecedented dues increase has caused many members to consider leaving the fraternity altogether.

Indeed, so many Nebraska Freemasons claimed that such exorbitant increases would leave them destitute, the Grand Lodge contacted the Department of Social Services to expedite financial aid to the Craft. We talked to one brother who was leaving his local office, paperwork still in hand.

"Our lodge was already one of the ritzier lodges at $65 a year," said misty-eyed WB Will Hosmer. "I'm the fourth generation of Freemason in my family, but if I've gotta pay $80 a year, I may have to really think about whether it's worth that expense."


--Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, February 6, 2017

Grand Lodge of Arkansas announces travel ban on foreign jurisdictions

Hermitage, AR --  Citing concerns that visitors from outside the state might inform the membership of unusual or unacceptable Masonic practices elsewhere, the Grand Lodge of Arkansas has announced a temporary hold on visiting Masons.

"I don't care what you've been hearing, it's not a ban on Oklahomans," explained Roger "Gabby" Johnson, Grand Lodge Media Affairs spokesperson. "The Grand Lodge, and in particular, the Grand Master, himself, has become aware that visitors from other, foreign jurisdictions have been telling our members about the odd customs practiced elsewhere. We have a responsibility to our membership to maintain the purity of our ancient Craft Masonry here in Arkansas, and we do not want them to become confused by the practices of foreign jurisdictions."

Instead of sending out the list of banned foreign jurisdictions to their lodges, the Grand Lodge found that it would be easier to mail a list of the acceptable jurisdictions.

"Right now we've limited acceptable visitors to those hailing from the Grand Lodge of West Virginia," said WB Johnson. "We're pretty sure that we will be adding those from the Grand Lodge of Georgia, the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, and possibly the Grand Lodge of Hawaii."

When The Past Bastard questioned the Hawaiian visitors, "Gabby" explained, "It's because those guys usually bring pineapples. Pineapples are great with the ham dinners."

--Conte Calvino Gliostro