Monday, May 22, 2017

Grand Lodge Announces "Celebrating the Kraft"

Northfield, IL - Not to be outdone by the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction, which held its annual "Celebrating the Craft" event--a combination telethon and talent show, slapped together with the special effects and charisma of a rerun of the "700 Club"--this past weekend, the Grand Lodge of Illinois has announced its very own annual celebration. Entitled "Celebrating the Kraft," this event reportedly showcases that which truly makes Masonry great--its food. Bro. Joseph Snow, spokesperson for the Grand Lodge of Illinois, spoke to The Past Bastard on this historic undertaking: "We've partnered with the Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction to celebrate Freemasonry in our own way. We realize that most Masons really show up because of the food, and Kraft dinners are a staple cuisine served at Blue Lodge and Scottish Rite functions across the state."

"After all," Bro. Snow continued, "Freemasonry's really about coming together to break bread with your brethren, regardless of what those 'observant' types tell you. If we can celebrate the Kraft dinners that bring our brethren together and make a buck or two for charity at the same time, then I'd say we've got something great going!"

The inaugural event is reportedly being planned for early December, to coincide with the founding of the now-defunct Kraft Foods Inc. company back in 1923. "Preparations are already under way!," Bro. Snow continued, "We've partnered with Illustrious Brother Alan Foulds, editor of The Northern Light, on a new book project that will be ready by December, and available exclusively to those who participate in our inaugural 'Celebrating the Kraft' event. Tentatively titled 'Observing the Kraft,' Bro. Foulds will be presenting his best practices for Lodge dinners by cobbling together Kraft Foods recipes from across the country! Remember, if it isn't Kraft, then it's just a distraction."

-SK Bro. Mason Buhrmaster
-Knight Kadeuch, Kennedy MacFaulty, 69˚ of the Mediocre Elu

Monday, May 15, 2017

PAID ADVERTISEMENT: What to do with bored Freemasons? Send them to a week at Camp Pike!

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Wives, girlfriends, mothers, and significant others - is your little Freemason bored? Tired of seeing him mope around? Would you like to get him out of your hair for a while?

Send him for a week at CAMP PIKE, the adventure camp for Freemasons!

Located in the scenic Appalachian Hills in Virginia, CAMP PIKE has become the premier summer vacation site for Freemasons of any and every age.

Below is a sample schedule. Your little Freemason will be thrilled to share these Freemason activities with other Freemasons:


Sunday
Arrivals and Sign In 
Cabin Assignments
Free Time: Explore the Camp, and
Meet Your Bunkmates
Dinner
Evening Discussion:  Are Grand Lodges Obsolete?

Monday
Full English Breakfast
Free Time
Group Swim
Lunch Break
Daily Seminar: Craft, Chapter, and Council Degrees
Group Swim
Dinner
Evening Discussion: Clandestine Masons
Bonfire

Tuesday
Full English Breakfast
Choice of Crafts (painting, carving, sculpting)
Lunch Break
Daily Seminar: Scottish Rite Degrees (SMJ)
Exercise (calisthenics or rock climbing)
Dinner
Evening Discussion: membership retention
Bonfire

Wednesday
Full English Breakfast
Nature Hike
Lunch Break
Daily Seminar: Appendant Bodies
Exercise (calisthenics or free weights)
Dinner
Evening Discussion: Youth Groups - Are they worth the trouble?
Bonfire

Thursday:
Full English Breakfast
Crafts: Pottery or Candle Making
Lunch Break
Daily Seminar: AMD & Those Other Weird Degrees
Exercise (calisthenics or free swim)
Dinner: Haggis & Scotch Tasting
Evening Discussion: Open Discussion (No Religion or Politics)
Bonfire & More Scotch Tasting

Friday
Continental Breakfast*
Free Time
Lunch Break
Daily Seminar: Memphis-Misraim & those other degrees COR has locked up
Exercise: Free Swim
Dinner
Evening Discussion: Dues: How and When to Raise Them
Bonfire

Saturday
Full English Breakfast
Pack up for dismissal
Lunch
Final Goodbyes

Bunks are limited, so sign up soon for your week at CAMP PIKE, the premier summer camp for Freemasons! 

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Grand Lodge California Allows State Pen Lodge U.D.

Avenal, CA- In a move to deliver Masonry to an untapped market, the Grand Lodge of California has granted dispensation to Avenal Prison Lodge U.D. The move comes in the wake of a nearly 5% loss in membership year over year. "In a state where the the prison population eclipses 200,000, we would be foolish not to put our stake down as the premier fraternal organization for correctional officers and prisoners." Duane Canfield, RWDGM. In some jurisdictions, felony convictions do not bar a man from joining the Freemasons. Duane explained "That is left up to the lodges to decide. And besides, we can all think of one or two Masons who should be expelled but who's indiscretions have managed to skirt the public eye. Where's the harm?"

Since granting the dispensation to meet, APL has seen an unprecedented number of petitions and are on track to Raise more than twice the amount of Master Masons as the next closest lodge this year. "I don't much like basketball or lifting weights but I look forward to bringing my single letter key into the yard to brush up on my Senior Deacon's lecture." says inmate Brother James Hall, who’s currently serving 15 years for violating parole and felon possession of a firearm. "I could request an early release on good behavior but the green beans are great and I hope to learn all the lectures so that I can sit for my exam once released." James is currently serving as Junior Deacon in the progressive line of APL and hopes to sit in the East before his sentence is up.

The Grand Lodge of California believes that, in addition to the per capita boost it will receive, it is providing a much needed relief to those working in California State Penitentiary system. Both the guards and inmates relish the opportunity to meet upon the level. "I come to work with a sense of safety knowing that my Brothers are all watching my back." admits Lt. Antonio Caballero. "Handing the gavel to an inmate really teaches us a much needed lesson in humility and subordination." Brother Antonio has donated the entire collection of Manly P. Hall's writings which now comprises the largest of such collections in any penitentiary library the world over.

When asked, do we let just anyone in? the Right Worshipful responded "Of course not! According to the ancient landmarks of the Fraternity, the lunch ladies are not eligible for Masonic membership but we are in discussions with the OES to establish a sister chapter." (Quote) "We believe the next step is establishing an DeMolay in the youth facilities will be beneficial to the Craft." APL is hosting it first Pancake breakfast at the end of the month to raise money to fund the startup of the youth organizations at "CHAD" in the fall.

--Worshipful Dr. Chaz Nagler, Esq 49˚

Monday, May 1, 2017

Grand Lodge of Rhode Island turns to virtual worlds to increase membership


Cranston, RI - Faced with declining memberships and higher costs, the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island has issues that are familiar to many other Grand Lodges across the United States and Canada. However, with only two dozen active lodges, they are hit particularly hard by the drop in resources. But now, after several years of trying various ideas to increase membership, Rhode Island may have come up with the perfect solution. 

"You see, a lot of the younger guys that might be interested in Masonry are doing something else with their time," said WB Mike Teavee, as we sat in his lodge at the outskirts of Cranston. "And for most guys my age, that 'something else' is playing video games. So, with the permission of the Grand Master, I've been recruiting online." 

In Facebook, MySpace, or Google Plus groups?

"Oh, not at all," explained WB Teavee. "We've gone on to the next level for online Freemasonry, by chartering lodges in the various online game universes. We started with Minecraft because, well, I run my own server. We now have a dozen lodges, and the membership is increasing at almost ten times the rate as our real life lodges."


This reporter for The Past Bastard was surprised that they could get enough interest from gamers to attend, but WB Teavee claimed that since many gamers spend hours each night, digging or wandering around (virtually,of course), that it's actually relaxing to spend fifteen or twenty minutes at a lodge meeting once in a while. 

Only fifteen minutes?

"Well, sure, you don't think that we waste a half hour reading the minutes and all that, do you?" WB Teavee explained that they had dispensation to skip the minutes, the opening introductions, and the closing remarks from the DDGMs. "Do you realize how much of a time suck just those three things are? We discovered that an actual lodge meeting, unless you have a degree, is about ten, maybe twenty minutes, tops." 

When we asked if they weren't concerned about other Grand Lodge encroaching on their territory, WB Teavee explained "The virtual world is essentially infinite. And if Minecraft starts to get crowded, we're thinking about setting up some lodges in No Man's Sky," he said. 


Monday, April 24, 2017

Masonry fuels his passion... for collecting

Latrobe, PA - Carl "Crackers" Graham knows all about the need to subdue one's passions. But it's obvious he ignores that. 

"Collecting Masonic memorabilia is my life," he told us. "It's a great way to connect with people across distance and time."

Carl became interested in Freemasonry after going through his grandfather's effects after his passing several years ago. "I found all these pins and badges hidden in a box, and discovered that they all had something to do with Freemasonry. So, I joined the lodge here in town, and right after I was raised, I started collecting my own set."

Over the last five years, Carl, who has never been an officer, has collected sixty three different rings. "The most I've been able to wear at one time was thirteen. I know it's an odd number, but my fingers were starting to swell up." He has also managed to collect three hundred and fourteen Grand Master's pins from forty six different states. "You'd think that Alaska or Hawaii would have been the hardest, but they were pretty cool. Arkansas and West Virginia didn't respond to any of my emails, I'm not sure why." 
A portion of the basement storage
for Carl's collection of
Masonic items. 


He has also managed to collect a variety of Masonicly marked pendants, golf ball markers ("I can't believe there would be so many different ones."), pens, paper weights ("I'm guessing these were more common before the days of air conditioning."), and surprisingly, a stapler. 

The Past Bastard asked him about clothing. "Naw, I don't bother with that. Hoodies, tee shirts, jackets, those are pretty common. I mean, I have a Loyalhanna No. 275 polo shirt, but that's because they give those to you when you join. I prefer to keep my collecting to less common items."

Carl says that he spends a lot of time, energy, and of course, money on collecting Masonic trinkets. "Yeah, I estimate that I've spent about eight, maybe nine thousand dollars on all these items," he said as he showed us his basement full of storage cabinets. "I spend a few hours on Ebay every night, looking for odd things. And I probably spend several more hours every weekend, unpacking cataloging, and filing those things away."

Ironically, with the amount of time and money spent on his hobby, Carl rarely attends lodge anymore. "Yeah, the last time I went, a couple of years ago, it was to protest a fifteen dollar a year dues increase from $75 up to $90," he told us. "I mean, do those guys think the rest of us are made of money?"


-- Conte Calvino Gliostro 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Journal of Masonic Research publicly calls out rival publication, incites feud

Alexandria, VA -- In an unprecedented breach of propriety, this month's issue of the Journal of Masonic Research carried an article that calls out the Masonic Research Journal for "failing to advance actual Masonic research in favor of publishing opinion pieces by the latest celebrity Freemasons."

The long-simmering feud between the older and more established Journal of Masonic Research, and the newer Masonic Research Journal began several years ago when the Masonic Journal of Research began soliciting articles by authors in the Traditional Observance and Masonic Restoration movements. The Journal of Masonic Research contends that the Masonic Journal of Research articles tended to take vaguely derogatory swipes at the more traditional practices of American and even English Freemasonry. The Masonic Journal of Research, on the other hand, has contended that traditional practices have been the cause of the slow decline in the quality of Freemasonry in the US and UK.

The article, written by the publishers for the April issue, takes aim at what they term "the speculative opinion pieces" by such authors as Bob Listener and Clayton Mallet for having no actual research behind them, and are simply "advancing a cult of personality for the purpose of more book sales."

Many Freemasons have taken to online forums to express surprise that the Journal of Masonic Research would "air their dirty laundry in public" by allowing their differences to surface in print.

"Sure, there have always been differences and disagreements in how we think Freemasonry should be approached," reads one anonymous comment. "But when they start taking shots at each other in public, then they are acting like cheap AMORC students."


No word if the Masonic Journal of Research will respond in kind.

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, April 10, 2017

"Error in printing" causes confusion in the craft of Connecticut, ends in election of new grand line

Norfolk, CT -- Over two hundred Connecticut Freemasons descended on this small town in the hilly northwest corner of the state to convene the 228th Grand Lodge Annual Communication, held at the Infinity Hall - a historic, old building in the center of town. This would have been of little note, except that the actual Grand Lodge Communication was to have been held at the newer, centrally located Infinity Theater in downtown Hartford, in the capital city.

Connecticut does not have a Grand Lodge building that is capable of hosting any events of this size, and the Annual and Semi-Annual communications have always been held at other venues, ranging from larger Masonic temples in the state to hotels and convention centers. In what is being blamed on "an error in printing," the notices sent out to the various lodges, members, and committees inexplicably listed the historic building in Norfolk as the venue for the 2017 Annual Communication.

"Oh, sure, some of us were a little miffed by it," said Past DDGM Chester Cabot. "I mean, not that Connecticut is a huge state, but Norfolk is about as far from civilization as you can get. The guys from Thompson and Stonington took almost three hours to get there."
The historic Infinity Hall in Norfolk, Connecticut, was the
venue for the 2017 Grand Lodge Annual Communication
at which an entirely new Grand Line was elected.

Complicating matters is that the Grand Lodge officers and a few staff members were, themselves, waiting at the Infinity Theater in Hartford, while delegations from the Order of Eastern Star inexplicably ended up at the Xfinity Convention Center in downtown Hartford.

When nobody else showed up by 8:30 am for the 9:00 am start time, the Grand Master asked the other officers to start making some phone calls. Unfortunately, the hilly and sparsely populated corner of the state made for almost non-existent cell phone reception.

With no actual Grand Lodge officers present by 9:00 am, the lodge members in attendance decided to convene the Grand Lodge anyway.

"I hate to say it, but this was probably the most efficient Grand Lodge Communication we've ever had," said Norton Rockefeller, Past District Ritualist. "Without needing to spend an hour introducing the Grand Poobahs, and visitors from other states, and especially all those Grand Eastern Star ladies, we were able to open the Grand Lodge and get down to business in no time."

The first order of business was to elect a new Grand Line, most of whom were Past Masters, and a couple being Past DDGMs. The biggest surprise, however, was the almost unanimous election of Peter Edwards, a fairly new Master Mason from New Haven.

Infinity Theater in Hartford, which was the original
venue for the Grand Lodge Annual Communication
"I'm honored by the confidence that all of my brothers have in me," said MWB Edwards afterward. "I want them to know that I'm going to rescind a lot of those rules and regulations that we've built up over the years, and we're going to get back to old fashioned Freemasonry." Grand Master Edwards also declared that he would move the Grand Lodge offices to New Haven, to be closer to his law practice.

The previous Grand Line officers have reportedly said that they will contest the election, but have not returned any calls or emails from The Past Bastard writers.

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro