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









Monday, April 3, 2017

Order of DeMolay takes step toward transgender equality

Kansas City, MO - In an attempt to keep pace with the Boy Scouts of America, who earlier this year opened their membership to transgender boys, the Order of DeMolay this morning issued a proclamation as its first step toward transgender equality by unilaterally declaring that, effective immediately, boys and men in the Order will be allowed to wear kilts to all DeMolay-sponsored events. Bro. Joe Snow, Director of Membership for DeMolay International, spoke to The Past Bastard about this landmark policy: "We here at DeMolay realize that the world is changing. The absolutes that we've held to since time immemorial aren't quite so absolute, at least to everyone, anymore. While we must tread this new ground cautiously as to not go against the good Christian principles upon which the Order was founded, the leadership here has judged that young men can indeed be taught to be better persons and leaders whilst not wearing pants."

When The Past Bastard asked Bro. Snow how wearing a kilt, a piece of Scottish garb traditionally worn by men, would further transgender equality in the Order, Bro. Snow replied: "It's all about opening our membership up wider than we are right now. These people who are confused about their gender might not be comfortable wearing men's clothing all the time. We want to welcome them regardless of their fashion tastes and let them know we're open-minded as an organization and brotherhood."

While many Masons and DeMolay members were supportive of the Order's proclamation of openness, some were blindsided by the now-apparent connection between kilt wearing and transgender equality. Bro. Jonathan Doe, member of Tuxedo Lodge No. 20 in Kansas City, remarked:  "I just thought figured Masons who wore kilts to Lodge were just weirdos. I didn't realize they were making a blasphemous statement against God-given traditional gender roles! I'm boycotting Burns' Suppers from now on."

When asked if females who identified as male and were taking steps to transition could join the Order, Bro. Snow replied: "Of course not! DeMolay is for men. They could always join the Order of the Eastern Star instead if they wish. I can get them a petition!"

-SK Bro. Mason Burhmaster

Monday, March 27, 2017

British Freemasons disappointed that "A Day Without A Freemason" did not go as planned.

York, England - Hoping to capitalize on the publicity of similar recognition days, such as "International Woman's Day," and to also generate publicity for the upcoming 297th anniversary of Grand Lodge Freemasonry in the UK, The Provincial Grand Lodge of Yorkshire planned and organized "A Day Without A Freemason" to help the public understand just how vital Freemasons continue to be in our modern society.

"We thought that if we had a day with no Freemasons around, that people would see the impact, and from there, maybe have some understanding of who we are, and how many Freemasons they probably know but aren't aware of," said Very Worshipful Jack Gyllenhall, Provincial Grand Master at Yorkshire. "So, we picked a day in March, I think it might have been the 14th, and we tried to get the word out for all of us to take the day off. And it probably would have had more impact, if Danny boy had gotten those postcards out."

VW Gyllenhall was referring to the Provincial Grand Secretary, Daniel Chalmers.

"You know, I've got about as much work as I can handle already, what with all these reports that they make us file, and the ledgers that we need to turn in, and whatever else they expect us to be doing with no help around here," said RW Chalmers. "If he wanted them mailed out in March, he should have given them to me back in January, he should."

The other organizers managed to contact other members via telephone and emails, and asking those members to spread the word. Some of the younger members with cell phones even started a Twitter hashtag: #ADayWithoutAMason

"Oh, a bunch of us stayed out, we did," said VW Gyllenhall. "The trouble started the next day when people asked me if I had been out on holiday, and not to worry because they had shifted my office work to one of the interns, who had actually done a great job of it. Then my boss asked me into his office and mentioned that I was getting to the age where I needed to start thinking about retiring."

The Past Bastard interviewed several other sources in the Yorkshire area, most of whom hadn't realized that the Freemasons were not out and about that day. And while it might seem that the event had been a waste of time, it seems that it wasn't all for naught.

"Oh, yes, we noticed there wasn't any of the usual chaps," said Reggie Barrows, manager of the Freemasons Arms Pub in Nosterfield."Usually we can count on draining a couple of bottles of the better stuff on a lodge night," he told us."But last Tuesday we sold nary a drop. I think we even sent some of the girls home early. Not having Freemasons around sure makes a difference to us."

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

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