Thursday, October 18, 2018

"The Daily Hiram" service to replace Masonic education

Philadelphia, PA - Brothers who need an extra inch or two on their 24 inch gauge, who don't have time for lodge or lodge activities, or who are no longer inspired by boring meetings can take heart: A new service being developed by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania will soon be sending Masonic-themed inspirational memes right to your smartphone.

"We've been working on it for a couple of years, and we're finally ready to bring it to the market," said Worshipful Brother Ben Frankel, who heads up the Masonic Education Committee. "It started off as a little fun project we were doing for ourselves, and a few of the guys thought that we could help raise Masonic awareness all over."

The service will send several items a day to subscribers via SMS or WhatsApp, each item being something to help provide  inspiration, thought provoking discussion, or a little Masonic education.

"We know that a lot of Masons simply can't make it to lodge so our aim is to provide them with little tidbits that they might otherwise miss," said Frankel, "or, well, let's be honest here: most lodges provide little or nothing in the way of education. Our aim is to replace what those lodges don't provide with our service, and keep Masons from feeling guilty about not attending lodge."

The service, at this time dubbed "The Daily Hiram," will start soliciting subscribers early next year, and will offer three, five, or seven educational or inspirational messages per day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

New Mason disappointed by lack of interest in his collection

Wheeling, WV - Like a lot of new Freemasons, Brian MaCoy immediately started collecting pins, rings, and other paraphernalia related to the gentle Craft. Unfortunately, his wife failed to share his enthusiasm, so he generally brings them into lodge to show the other guys his latest acquisition.

"I found this pin on some Ebay store," he explained to The Past Bastard, "It's a copy of some pin that was popular in the late 1960s, early 1970s, although you can tell it's not original, 'cos the gripper things in the back ain't real brass, they're just some kind of cheap metal that's been plated. The real ones had brass,' cos they were still being made here in the states."

"Anyhow, I brought this pin into lodge last Tuesday to show everyone, and it was like nobody even cared,"  Bro. MaCoy said. "That is, a few of the guys were polite and all, and a couple of them picked it up and looked at the back, but it was like it was just another pin or something to them, you know? Like, I tried to explain about the detailing on the enamel, and how the original had an embossed instead of raised scale on the square, but I could tell that none of the guys really cared about that."

The intern reporter for The Past Bastard mentioned to Bro. MaCoy that it must have been a disappointment.

"I've been trying to bring a few things to every meeting for the last couple of years" Bro MaCoy said, "and I try to go into as much detail as possible about the history the design, and even the manufacturing if I can. Everybody seemed real interested at first, but now they kind of, you know, just act polite for a few minute, and then wander off to get more coffee and donuts."

Bro. MaCoy wasn't entirely discouraged, though.

"I guess some of these guys just ain't interested in pins, anymore," he told us. "That's why I've been collecting old Tyler swords, and I'm about ready to start bringing some of those things in. I'll bet everyone will be just dying to learn about all the differences between the Wilkinson and the Toledo blades."

Bro. MaCoy began explaining the differences in sword manufacturing to our intern, but our intern claimed that his phone battery was on 3% and had to cut the call short.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Mississippi lodge first in US to go vegetarian

Lafayette, MS — Citing the increasing number of younger Freemasons who have turned to vegetarianism, a lodge in Mississippi is making a point to welcome the new brothers by becoming the first all-vegetarian lodge in the state, and possibly in North America.

“A lot of other lodges would have complained, or made fun of the new kids, or just sent out for pizza,” said Beau Lyons, the Junior Warden of Lafayette Lodge. “Not us, though, we’re up for a challenge, especially if we’re fixin’ to keep our boys fed.”

WB Lyons had noticed that for the last couple of years, a number of the newly raised members, mainly younger men in their 20s, had been asking for vegetarian options for the festive boards or the pre-meeting dinners. He took his concerns to WB Lyle Beauregarde, the master of the lodge, and outlined his menu for the upcoming year.

“Since them boys don’t want any meat in their diet, I’m planning on making a lot of Spanish paella, ‘cos we got plenty of shrimps and crawdads that we could be adding to all that tasty rice. And so the other guys don’t get tired of rice dishes, we’ll turn our annual Surf & Turn night, into a vegetarian delight, with chicken and fried bass, instead of steak. We’ll add some potatoes mashed in real butter, too.”
Paella with shrimp, mussels, and chicken is an
excellent choice for vegetarians.

“Oh, and even though it might not be quite as tasty, I’m gonna forgo adding bacon, or cooking things in bacon grease. Instead, I’m just going to use some of that unflavored lard that my wife uses for pie crusts,” he added.

After hearing these menu plans, The Past Bastard mentioned to Bro. Lyons that “vegetarian” usually means an absence of all meat products.

“Why, chicken ain’t meat, everybody knows that,” Bro Lyons assured us. “And eating shrimp and crawdads is just like eating grasshoppers, crickets, and other bugs like that. Nobody would ever confuse that stuff with actual meats. We’re gonna do our best to make all the brothers feel welcome.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Past Master group petitions Facebook to keep Masonic groups private

Wichita, KS -- Arguing that allowing the public to see Freemasons discussing Freemasonry on Facebook paints an unrealistic picture of who Masons are and what they're about, The Low Twelve, a group of Past Masters around North America and Canada, have petitioned Facebook to have those Facebook groups forced to be private; that is, hidden away from non-Masons and the general public."None of us have ever like the idea that just anyone could go online and have Masonic discussions, but back in the old days, hardly anyone went to those old online boards. Now that Facebook has literally dozens, perhaps hundreds of groups for Masons, each of them with thousands to tens of thousands of members, it's all too easy for anyone to see just how Masons act," said Worshipful Brother Frank Booth, Master of the Central District Low Twelve chapter. "I mean, every day it's a new argument on those Facebook groups. Today it's people calling each other names over how to wear a ring. Yesterday it was guys insulting each other over whether to serve meals or coffee before lodge. Tomorrow it'll probably be a bunch of morons getting all sarcastic with each other over laser etching the Square and Compasses on their ARs. Next week it will be a slugfest over lodges that allow casual dress instead of suits."

The other members of the chapter agreed.

"Oh, and don't even get me started on the arguments over the women, the fa... err, the gays, or the trannies," added chapter secretary Jeff Beaumont. "All you gotta do is just ask a stupid question about women joining, and immediately two hunnert Masons are yelling at each other, and displaying the worst possible image of our craft. And since the moderators won't ban those guys like they should, we've decided that the only way we can preserve our image is to not allow anyone else to see how we act."

Other chapter members agreed. "One of them groups has spent the last two weeks arguing about why they don't recognize the Prince Hall masons. There's been name calling, insults, and a lot of unmasonic stuff happening," said Stanley Livingston. "And no matter how much I complained, none of them mods will shut it down. Hell, never mind the regular public, even regular Masons shouldn't be reading about that stuff all the time."

To that end, the Low Twelve members have put together an online petition, which reads, in part:

"The constant arguing, insults, sarcasm, name-calling, threats, and other hurtful behavior displayed by tens of thousands of Freemasons online every day has had a detrimental effect on our potential membership. We believe that, in order to preserve the reputation of our gentle, sacred craft, nobody should see these kinds of interactions between brothers until after they have joined."

"The horse has left the barn," said WB Booth. "We can't turn back the clock and forbid those groups on Facebook, so we've gotta take the next step and not allow anyone to see what really goes on."

Facebook administrators have not commented on the request.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Panel of Past Masters Holds Confirmation Hearing on New Grand Master

Grand Lodge New York  – In a long and arduous hearing which took place today, a panel of over two-hundred Past Masters took their seat early this morning to hold a hearing related to the election of the state's newest Grand Master. The hearing started off with an announcement that Bro. Joe Snow had gun raffle tickets, and anyone interested should see him after lunch. The official opening consisted of the Pledge of Allegiance in the style of Red Skelton, and was followed by the Job’s Daughters in Exile’s exemplification of the “Living Cross”.

At 9 am, each of the Past Masters were given an opportunity to make statements regarding how their year went when they were Master, and the challenges they faced while trying to adhere to the previous Grand Master’s edicts while they were in the East.

Shortly after the opening statements, the committee called from labor to refreshment for a 10-minute break and retired to the dining room for coffee. 35 minutes later, the confirmations continued. The panel of Past Masters then asked the candidate for Grand Master a series of questions relating to how he would rule the craft. Questions largely focused on the candidate's record on the charities he supported. WB John Smith was sharply critical of the potential Grand Master’s record of giving. As a former Eagle Scout, the Grand Master was asked if he would support the DeMolay, even though his record has been on the side of the Scouts.

The Grand Master Elect reaffirmed he would not stray from the precedent of giving to the DeMolay. His personal charitable giving has no weight on how he would choose to delegate Grand Lodge charitable funds. A heated debate raged over questions posed to the Grand Master Elect with regard to his past statements about the other Grand Jurisdictions; and if confirmed, he was urged to keep his proverbial nose out of the business of other states.

The hearings were interrupted at one point by a group of T.O. brothers who insisted on trying to uphold the integrity of the hearings by urging those present to practice proper decorum. Chairman of the Past Master Committee had the Tiler to remove the T.O. brothers, citing their disruptive appearance in tuxedos and white gloves.

By the end of the day the panel of Past Masters confirmed the new Grand Master, largely on the count of the candidate’s ability to follow precedent and not make waves.

--Dr. Chaz Nagler, Esq. 49˚

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Shrine subgroup experiences surge in membership interest from an unusual source

Fenton, MO - The Past Bastard has learned that an invite-only Shrine subgroup known as the Order of Quetzalcoatl--Q for short--have received a surge of membership interest from an usual source. According to sources out of the Order of Quetzalcoatl headquarters in Missouri, since late 2017 public inquiries into the Order have increased tenfold from an unlikely source: right wing conspiracy theorists concerned with deep state conspiracies against U.S. President Donald Trump. Joe Snow, Master Artisan and spokesperson for the Supreme Q, expressed his confusion in an interview with The Past Bastard: "I really don't understand it. We get all these calls from Trump supporters asking us if we're QAnon. I mean, yes we're the Q and we don't publicly post our membership rosters so I guess we're somewhat anonymous if that's what they mean. When they press us for more information, we try to tell them that membership is by invitation only and they usually start going off on some deep state conspiracy to bring down the Trump White House."

Joe Snow finished his interview with The Past Bastard by stating that, regardless of whether or not outsiders are propagating a case of mistaken identity, the Q are grateful for the surge of interest in their organization: "One thing that these 'QAnon believers,' as they call themselves, are always interested in is worldwide child trafficking. We're always happy to talk about that because our organization's major philanthropy is the transportation fund that helps our Shriner kids get to and from our hospitals. It makes me feel good to know that even conspiracy theorists are interested in helping kids get the care they need."

QAnon is a conspiracy theory which began with an October 2017 post on 4chan by someone using the handle "Q." The theory details a supposedly secret conspiracy by a "deep state" against President Trump and his supporters. The conspiracy theory has falsely accused numerous Hollywood actors, politicians, and other high-ranking officials of engaging in an international child trafficking ring.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Traveling Freemason upset to discover lodge with no American flag

Like many Freemasons, Worshipful Brother John Gozer travels for business, and enjoys stopping in at lodges when he's out on the road. This past, week, however, a visit to a lodge left him confused and upset. He contacted The Past Bastard to let us know about it.

"We just opened up some new sales territory, and I was up there for a few days. I found a lodge that met right near my hotel, so I stopped in early to meet the members. They were all nice, very polite and welcoming. We had some snacks, the Master and the Tiler checked my dues card against the list, and we went up for the meeting. We opened, but something felt 'off,' if you catch my drift. I couldn't put my finger on it until partway into the meeting."

That's when WB Gozer realized that the lodge had not said the Pledge of Allegiance during the opening.

"At first I thought it was just an oversight, but after I settled in, I started really looking around. That's when I discovered that the lodge didn't even display the American flag. That was really disconcerting, you know? I mean, I've been visiting lodges all over the place for the last twenty years, and I've never run across that before. Sure, every lodge has different customs, but there are some things that you can't overlook, or it's not a masonic lodge, know what I mean?"

Though shaken, WB Gozer did not want to make a scene, and decided to not mention this oversight in front of the lodge.

"I mean, what was I gonna say, right? Sure, I was a little mad, but I didn't think it was my place to say anything. I will, however, write an email to my Grand Secretary and let him know, and maybe our Grand Master can let their Grand Lodge know that they've got lodges that aren't displaying the American flag at their meetings."

"Maybe the next time I'm in that sales territory I'll bring up a nice flag for them to properly display," WB Gozer added. "Or maybe I'll just have to hunt around for another lodge. I checked the Grand Lodge website, and there seemed to be a few others in Toronto that I can visit, instead."