Friday, February 16, 2018

Rhetorical Voices: What did you think about the BBC article on women Freemasons?

The Past Bastard interviews random members from random lodges on random topics of Masonic importance. This week, we explore green beans, a staple at all Masonic lodge dinners. 

Question: What did you think about the BBC article on women Freemasons that's been making the rounds on FaceBook recently?



Drew Mallet: Past Master, Intemperance Lodge No. 420: 
"Wait, women Freemasons? Oh, hell, no! Know what would happen if we let women become Masons? My wife would join, and that would totally ruin my party time. I keep taking all these Secretary gigs to get out of the house; think I want my wife yammering at me every night?"


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Katie Wood: Princess Marshall, Sha-Na-Na Temple, DoN:
"Oh, I don't really do that Facebook thing, except to look at the cat pictures and cute videos. Did you see the one last week with the kittens trying to climb the couch? That's my new favorite. And isn't BBC some kind of English Channel? Oh, that's funny -- English? Channel? Get it?"




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Maury Steinberg: Grand Scribe, Lost Key Chapter, No 78:
"I remember women from college. We used to have things called 'mixers' and they would bus the girls in from Bryn Mawr or something, and they acted all snooty, and would only dance wiht the jocks, while we engineers got ignored. You say they want to join our fraternity, now? I'm thinking that our fraternity is doing just fine without them. And if that Jane from Smith wants to join, well, you can tell her that she can just keep walking, you get me?"

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Rhetorical Voices: Does your lodge serve canned or frozen green beans with dinner?

The Past Bastard interviews random members from random lodges on random topics of Masonic importance. This week, we explore green beans, a staple at all Masonic lodge dinners. 

Question: Does your lodge serve canned or frozen green beans at your lodge dinners?

Antonio D: Past Master. Corinthian Lodge No. 357: 
"We used to serve frozen green beans, but then the freezer broke back in 2008 and old Bob Dobbs, remember him, right? Oh, yeah. Well, Bob was going to donate the freezer that he had in his basement, but then he died, right? And then his kids took the freezer, so we just never got around to replacing it."






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Kathy C: Worthy Matron, Naomi Chapter No. 24 OES:
"I'm glad you asked, because one of  our members, Clara, accidentally bought a case of canned green beans from Costco, and it looks like after three years we're finally going to be using them up by the end of June. I guess we'll have to take a vote on whether we're going to go with canned or frozen again, and we'd better start planning now."


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Kirby V: Senior Warden, Fudge Ripple Lodge No 4332:
"Yeah, umm, I don't remember since I never touch the green things on my plate, anyhow. I mean, I'll pretend to eat green beans at home when my wife cooks, but hell, the reason I go to lodge is that I get to do those unhealthy things that I can't do at home, know what I mean?"

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Grand Lodge of DC shuts down over membership and dues conflict

Washington, DC -- Tensions among competing factions within the Grand Lodge of DC came to a head over the weekend when, in trying to force a vote on instituting regularly scheduled One Day Classes, another group vowed to hold up the vote until the Grand Lodge approved a dues increase. Having reached a stalemate, the Grand Master was compelled to force a Grand Lodge shutdown.



The seemingly empty Grand Lodge building during
the recent shutdown
"It's sad, very sad, that some of our esteemed members can not think past their own agenda, said RWB Henry Lee Gibson, spokesperson for the Grand Lodge. "We've been fighting for months to start a regular series of One Day Classes to accommodate the number of people who want to join our great fraternity, but some of our members would seem to want to keep people out."

WB Carl Shoemaker, head of the Committee on Retention, disagreed. "We can't really accommodate more Masons here without building up our aging lodges," he said. "Before we can even think about bringing in the number of members that the Grand Lodge thinks is enough, we need to improve our resources, and that means a major dues increase."
The resulting shutdown has not had as much of an impact on the Craft as either faction would have thought.

The Past Bastard asked a number of Washington Freemasons their opinions, which most agreed to give anonymously.

"What do you mean, 'a shutdown'?" asked one confused member. Another added "How could you tell?"

"Oh, our lodge is all for it," a past master told us. "Anything that keeps those purple apron guys from visiting is great. It allows us to do our work without them looking over our shoulder.


Monday, January 8, 2018

Masonic-themed dating site debuts

San Francisco, CA - A local San Francisco Lodge member is looking for love, and has figured out that the best place to begin is right in Lodge! MasonsOnly.com, the only online dating site "by Masons for Masons," made its debut earlier this week. The site, riding on the success of other affinity-based online dating services such as FarmersOnly.com, DiaperMates.com, and ChristianMingle.com, offers compatibility screening based on a complex algorithm that matches brethren with potential mates based on a variety of preferences including appendant body membership, stance on traditional observance Masonry, and preferred dues price point, among others.

The Past Bastard met up with Bro. Joe Snow, Senior Warden of Amorous Ashlar Lodge No. 31 and founder of MasonsOnly.com, to get the inside scoop on how MasonsOnly.com came into being: "I came up with the concept of MasonsOnly.com after breaking up with my most recent boyfriend. He wasn't a Mason, and was jealous of all the time I spent at Lodge. It was a bad situation. After everything calmed down, I realized that we Masons should really be looking for that match within Masonry! Think about it--when you and your partner spend time together at Lodge, you no longer have concern over someone in the relationship keeping secrets. Besides, don't get me started about how amazing it would be to have my boyfriend refer to me as 'Master' during my year..."

Bro. Joe trailed off for a bit and when The Past Bastard began listening again, he decided to tell us about how the site works: "Well, you see, we've got a 33-point compatibility scale--I know, right?--that we test each new member against to find matches. We test everything from whether a member wears his ring points in or points out, to how a member feels about Traditional Observance Masonry, to a member's preference for green beans over corn during Lodge dinners. We've tried to take the guesswork out of the most contentious parts of the Masonic experience so our members don't have to worry about getting matched up with someone who will drive them nuts at the outset."

The Past Bastard inquired as to whether or not Bro. Snow would be opening MasonsOnly up to women Masons and appendant bodies, but Bro. Snow sees no need for that at this point: "We're called MasonsOnly for a reason. We have to keep some semblance of regularity to preserve harmony among our members. If people want a co-ed Masonic dating site, I'll happily direct them to Le Droit Humain. We're not marketing to appendant bodies either as the Shriners already have their own dating site. While we aren't interested in opening membership up to women or other appendant bodies, we are working diligently to market this site to our Prince Hall brethren! More to come on that angle down the road."

Bro. Snow also told The Past Bastard about his plans to partner with other Masonic endeavors to expand the services that his site offers: "We're looking to partner with the good men over at Amity to expand the scope of MasonsOnly.com. Soon, our members will not only be able to see perfect matches nearby, but the matches' Lodges will factor into our compatibility algorithm. I always say you don't marry the brother, you marry the Lodge!"

-SK Bro. Mason Buhrmaster

Monday, January 1, 2018

Lodge offers lowest dues in country; switches to service-based pricing model

Dallas, TX - A local Lodge is making waves by offering the lowest Masonic dues rate in the entire country and switching to a fee-for-service or microtransaction business model popularized by corporations like Southwest Airlines and Electronic Arts. Bro. Joe Snow, Worshipful Master of Parsimonious Lodge No. 10, spoke to The Past Bastard about his radical new plan to make Masonry available to and affordable for everyone: "It's simple. You pay for what you want. Our dues are a flat $5.00 per year. If you want to come to meetings, you pay a fee per meeting. If you want an apron at that meeting, it's an extra fee. If you'd like to get priority seating in Lodge, there's an upsell for that as well. You pay for what you want. No More."

When The Past Bastard asked Wor. Bro. Snow how the Lodge intended to track all of the transactions that would be taking place, he replied that the Lodge would be taking inspiration from Starbucks' business model: "It's easy, really. Starbucks has a 'gold card.' Parsimonious No. 10 will have a 'blue card' coded to each individual member. Members can pre-load it with money or link it to a credit card or paypal account--as an extra upsell, of course. Members will conduct all their transactions off of that card. We'll still let them pay the secretary directly, but that option will cost them."

Wor. Bro. Snow was kind enough to pass a full Parsimonious Lodge No. 10 service list to The Past Bastard. It has been reprinted below:

Parsimonious Lodge No. 10 Offered Services*

Annual Dues - 5.00 USD**
Parsimonious No. 10 Blue Card, Pre-loaded with 50.00 USD - 65.00 USD
Blue Card Link to Credit Card/Paypal (per account) - 10.00 USD
Secretary Direct-payment Fee (per occurrence) 5.00 USD
Dues Card - 1.00 USD
Dues Card Mailed to Residence - 4.00 USD
Meeting Fee - 10.00 USD
Masonic Education/Speaker Meeting Upsell - 10.00 USD
Guest Apron Rental (per meeting) - 5.00 USD
Tiler's Protection Fee (per meeting) - 2.50 USD
Chaplain's Divine Blessing Fee (per meeting) - 2.50 USD
Lodge Attendance Register Book Usage Fee - 0.50 USD
Master's Administrative Oversight Fee (per meeting) - 1.50 USD
Steward's Cleaning Fee (per meeting) - 7.50 USD
Brotherly Fellowship Fee (per meeting) - 2.00 USD
Lodge Stairwell Usage Fee (per occurrence) - 0.25 USD
Lodge Elevator Usage Fee (per occurrence) - 0.75 USD
Dinner Fee - varies
Cutlery/Utensil fee - 5.00 USD
Trestleboard (electronic) - 1.25 USD
Trestleboard (mailed) - 5.00 USD
Coat Rack Fee (per meeting) - 2.50 USD
Bathroom Usage Fee (per occurrence) - 1.50 USD
Bathroom Usage Fee (per occurrence on Chili Night) - 10.00 USD
Priority Lodge Entry (per meeting) - 15.00 USD
Priority Lodge Seating (per meeting) - 10.00 USD
Name Recorded in Lodge Minutes - 25.00 USD
Copy of Secretarial Correspondence (electronic) - 2.00 USD
Permission to Speak in Lodge (per occurrence) - 1.00 USD
Permission to Speak in Lodge (per occurrence, if member is irritating) - 5.00 USD
Permission to Make Announcement in Lodge - 1.00 USD
Permission to Make Announcement in Lodge (if recruiting for appendant body) - 10.00 USD
Cell Phone Ring Fee (per occurrence during meeting) - 25.00 USD
Lodge Lapel Pin - 10.00 USD
Lodge Name Badge - 15.00 USD
Photo with Lodge Officers - 10.00 USD
E-mail Address on Lodge E-mail Distribution List - 5.00 USD/year
Access to Lodge E-mail Distribution List - 30.00 USD/year
Access to Lodge Restricted Facebook Group - 5.00 USD
Event or Announcement Highlighted on Lodge Public Facebook Page - 10.00 USD
Picture Tag in Facebook Post (per photo) - 1.00 USD
Selfie with Grand Master During Grand Lodge Visitation - 50.00 USD
Grand Master Autographed Photo During Grand Lodge Visitation - 100.00 USD
Shake Hands with Master (per occurrence) - 2.50 USD
Name on Officer Election Ballot - 5.00 USD Credit to Blue Card
Election as Officer - 30.00 USD Credit to Blue Card
Birthday Phone Call from Master - 5.00 USD
Birthday Text from Master - 1.50 USD
Transportation to/from Lodge - 1.00 USD/mile

*Price subject to availability. List not exhaustive.
**Dues fee includes one Secretary-initiated correspondence with the Grand Lodge of Texas denoting member as a Mason in good standing.

This writer for The Past Bastard would have wished the brethren of Parsimonious Lodge No. 10 the best in their future microtransaction-driven Lodge experiences, but Wor. Snow informed him that doing so would incur fees.

-SK Bro. Mason Buhrmaster

Monday, December 25, 2017

LOCAL COMMANDERY BLACKBALLS JESUS OF NAZARETH; CITES CHRISTIAN ONLY RULE

The Past Bastard has been busy with those stupid year end lodge activities that we can't foist off on our interns: elections, installations, parties, hangovers, and holiday shopping. Not necessarily in that order.

We will be back to publishing actual content after the New Year. In the meanwhile, here's some holiday themed posts to keep you entertained.

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Ash Grove, OH - Ash Grove Commandery No. 65 of Ash Grove, Ohio rejected the petition of of Jesus of Nazareth, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, citing the rule that a petitioner be a "firm believer in the Christian Religion."

“We really wanted our dear Lord, the Redeemer of the World, to have been able to join us, but he is Jewish,“ said Eminent Commander Jim Sampson, “The petition form is clear. A petitioner must be a ‘firm believer in the Christian Religion.’ That comes right from Section 177 of the Grand Encampment’s Constitution. That would have to be changed at the Triennial. We just can’t do anything about it.”
 
“I’d love to sit in lodge with my Savior. I pray to Him each day, the day He has made for me. In fact, I would love to be in any Masonic body with Him,” Sampson continued. “Commandery is different. And let’s face, He, being Jewish, probably wouldn’t get much out of it.”
 
The Word Made Flesh, who continues to serve as a High Priest of Heaven and Earth, did not wish to comment on Ash Grove Commandery’s decision to exclude the Lamb of God from its membership. His spokesperson, Pastor Jim Neville, local minister of Ash Grove Presbyterian Church and Sir Knight, declared, “this is outrageous! They do realize why we are even Sir Knights, right? What’s next? We just stop talking about him altogether?”
 
“I know that my Lord and Savior is disappointed in not being allowed to join our work, “ Sampson continued, “but the rule is the rule. He’s more than welcome to attend the public Christmas Observance; it’s his birthday after all.

-- RF

Monday, December 18, 2017

Santa Claus won’t be coming to this Masonic Lodge in Southern California, but it’s not for the reason you might think.

The Past Bastard has been busy with those stupid year end lodge activities that we can't foist off on our interns: elections, installations, parties, hangovers, and holiday shopping. Not necessarily in that order.

We will be back to publishing actual content after the New Year. In the meanwhile, here's some holiday themed posts to keep you entertained.

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Santa Monica, CA -- Members of Crossfit Lodge No. 787 -- one of the newest “affinity” or special interest lodges that have been springing up around the state -- have a most unique problem that has cropped up this holiday season. They don’t have any members who can play a convincing Santa Claus for the upcoming children’s Christmas party.

Formed last year as a special interest lodge in which the members are typically dedicated “primal fitness” aficionados, the lodge meets in a “box” (the Crossfit® term for their indoor gym) that doubles as their workout space. Worshipful Master John “Jack” LaLane presides from a weight lifting cage, and the Wardens (Senior and Junior “Spotters”) assist while seated on a rowing machine, and an L-sit station, respectively. Members push a bench press station to the center of the box for their altar, and during the meeting, sit on the supply of truck tires strewn about the room. Festive boards and libations generally consist of Clif bars, Gatorade, and Muscle Milk.

When asked about membership, WB LaLane told us that the members are charged $49.99, payable monthly, and billed to their credit cards. “We started with about a dozen guys last year,” he told us, “but we’ve almost doubled in size already.” He paused, “That is, we’ve got twice the membership. Size-wise, we’re actually down an average of 8 pounds per person.” When asked about how new members are brought in, he winked, “We usually have them hooked up to the seated cable machine. You know, because of the cable *rows,* get it?”

“Our biggest problem is that we decided to have a Christmas party for the kids of the members, and we realized that nobody here could play a convincing Santa Claus,”  WB LaLane told The Past Bastard. “It’s crazy, right?” he said  “I mean, every lodge has a cadre of old, fat, bearded guys who could play Santa at the drop of a hat. But our lodge so far only has younger, fit guys. We don’t know what to do.”

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro