Friday, April 13, 2018

Seattle Lodge weighs impact of controversial membership requirement

Seattle, WA -- The members of Starbuck Lodge No. 1971 had a weighty decision to make, and are now dealing with the impact.

"It started out when one of us realized that we were replacing those canvas tarps -- you know the ones, I mean -- every two, maybe three years," said Les Gibson, Worshipful Master of Starbuck Lodge. "And we have to buy them from the Grand Lodge, because the insurance regulations won't allow us to use ones with repaired handles, just in case somebody falls through, you know?"
The lodge is located on Pike Street, an area with old
buildings that do not meet modern weight load codes.

WB Gibson pointed to a pile of canvas tarps with ripped handles, some hanging on literally by a few threads.

"So we were talking about it, and one of us made a joke that we should impose a new membership regulation, that in order to join, you had to have a BMI in the normal range. Then people started pulling out their phones and looking things up, and the next thing you know, we're drafting a by-law change. So now, in order to be initiated into this lodge, you have to be a man, of legal age, with a belief in a higher power, and a BMI of 35 or less."

The Past Bastard asked if this would affect existing members.

"Right now, it's only affecting new members," said Gibson, "But eventually that will work into the current membership. Not only were we going through tarps, but this is an old building, and the people downstairs have been complaining about the noise, not to mention the plaster cracking on their ceiling. So over the next five to ten years, we expect that we're going to get the BMI of all members down to under 35, and we expect, through attrition, that we'll eventually get it down to under 30."

Emails to the Grand Lodge have gone unanswered, but anonymous sources told us that there was some concern that if other lodges adopted similar by-laws, that it might spell the end of Freemasonry in Washington, and perhaps most of the United States.

"What do they expect, that we're going to replace pancakes with rice cakes? I've tried, and no matter how much Mrs Buttersworth syrup I put on them, they still taste like cardboard."

Thursday, April 5, 2018

AASR SJ valley petitions SGIG to build wall to stop NMJ member emigration

Guthrie, OK - A recent wave of attempted Scottish Rite member emigration out of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction to the AASR Southern Jurisdiction has one SJ valley concerned and ready to take action. Fueled by disillusionment sparked over the inability of NMJ members to gain entry to -- or pronounce -- the NMJ's Hauts Grades Academy, and resentment over the new NMJ baby boomer recruiting strategy, brethren have been attempting in record numbers to leave the cold, video degree-laden NMJ for the warm embrace of Pike intellectualism that pervades the Southern Jurisdiction. But not everyone wants to welcome these "Scottish Rite dreamers" into the SJ fold. The Past Bastard has learned that the brethren of MAGA (Make Aasr Great Again) Valley, Ancient & Accepted Scottish Rite in Oklahoma have formally petitioned their SGIG to stem the influx of SJ hopefuls.

The Past Bastard spoke with MAGA Valley's Personal Representative to the SGIG, Ill. Bro. Joe Snow, 33°, to gain his insights into the evolving concern over illegal AASR immigration: "Well, the fact of the matter here is that there's not a lot of opportunity for the younger guys to get their KCCH or 33rd degree Inspector General unless some of the old timers kick the bucket. These guys put their hearts and souls into one day getting a shot at an honorary title, and then all of these NMJ brothers come flocking in from everywhere to gobble up their honorary slots! Our 32nd degree brethren have a right to be upset. These NMJ undesirables are stealing Inspector General slots that rightfully belong the true blue, 'born and raised' SJ members!"

When The Past Bastard asked Ill. Bro. Snow,  33°, about the valley's petition to the SGIG, he explained plainly: "Our valley has sent a petition to our Sovereign Grand Inspector General for the Orient of Oklahoma requesting he petition the Sovereign Grand Commander to build a wall delineating the borders between NMJ and SJ jurisdictions. That oughta keep the undesirables out." Ill. Bro. Snow, 33°, continued: "And that's not all! We've even got a plan to get the wall paid for! We're going to make the Supreme Council, Northern Masonic Jurisdiction pick up the tab! After all, we're saving them a boatload of dues revenue by denying their members entry into our jurisdiction. It's a win for both sides." 

The Past Bastard mentioned to Ill. Bro. Snow, 33° that a physical wall would likely have minimal effect on NMJ brethren attempting to join the SJ (you know, in the age of e-mail and all), but Ill. Bro. Snow, 33° remained confident that his valley's plan would succeed: "We've got it all worked out. You can't just leave a wall unguarded. We've already arranged to have our Knights of St. Andrews and members of our local Oklahoma Knights Templar Commanderies patrol the wall once it's built. They need something to do anyway." 

Requests for comment directed toward the Sovereign Grand Inspector General of the Orient of Oklahoma were not immediately returned.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Rhetorical Voices: Which way do you wear your ring?

The Past Bastard interviews random members from random lodges on random topics of Masonic importance.  

Question: Yes, it's a common question, but which way do you wear your ring?

Bob Hoggler: Secretary, Will Rogers Lodge No. 536
"What kind of question is that? When I was raised,and my grand-daddy gave me his ring, my worshipful master told me that all Masons everywhere wear it with the points just where you see mine right now. Naturally, I never questioned what he said because I figured being the Worshipful Master, he would obviously just know, right? I mean, jeez, why would anyone, anywhere else, would do it differently than how I've got it on right now?"


Derrick Talc: Senior Deacon, Ditchwater Heights Lodge No. 1667
"Funny you should mention that, because I'd been thinking about it for the last week, ever since I dropped my ring on the floor and accidentally stepped on it, 'cos I didn't have my glasses on when I was looking for it -- ever do that? Like, you know, look for something without your glasses, because you don't know if you've found it, right? Like, it should be second nature to put your glasses on, but sometimes you don't even know you don't have them on, so you just start doing something and you can't even see what you're doing, but you keep doing it anyhow, 'cos you just can't remem... I'm sorry, what?"


JR "Larry" Storch, Inner Guard, Candida Falls (Ont) Lodge No 9. 
"Oh, yeah, I gave a talk on this last month at Hamilton Lodge, just north of here. Nice bunch of guys, eh? I had some Timmie's with me on the drive up, and when I got there they had some caribou steaks and some home made poutine. Man, those boys really know their hospitality, eh? Can't wait to visit on up there again, after it warms up and thaws out a little."

Thursday, March 22, 2018

SR NMJ to communicate entirely by Twitter

Seacaucus, NJ -- Hinting via videos that there were going to be "major changes coming to the Scottish Rite in the upcoming months," the Scottish Rite NMJ announced that by the end of  this year, all official communications will be made by Twitter.

The soon to be empty SR Auditorium where the NMJ
records their video degrees to be mailed to candidates.
"It was the next logical progression," said David Glattly, 32ยบ Sovereign Grand Commander for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction told The Past Bastard during a recent Google Hangouts interview.. "We're trying to position ourselves as the more progressive version of the Scottish Rite. The past couple of years have shown  us that Twitter is the new way to communicate, especially since they doubled their character limit."

We asked Commander Glattly if he really thought Twitter would be enough to communicate their messages.

"Most people don't have time to read any long messages anymore, so Twitter is perfect. And if we need to get into any more depth, we can easily write up a script and have one of our guys do a video. Millenials love videos."

The Past Bastard noted that the Southern Jurisdiction seemed to be doing well doing things the more traditional way, and that some NMJ members have complained about the NMJ turning itself into something very different from the original Scottish Rite

"Nonsense, the members love this," said Commander Glattly. "I mean, we're already livestreaming meetings, and we have DVDs of degree work. Our expectation is that by the end of my term, we should be able to run without any human interaction at all."

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Maine Masons disciplined for failure to display lights

Bangor, ME - Anonymous sources have been reporting that the Grand Lodge of Maine has been disciplining Freemasons who have not been prominently displaying bumper stickers, hats, belt buckles, shirts, hoodies, jackets, and other Masonic paraphernalia.

"There's no code or regulation saying that we're supposed to," said Fred Regis, SW at LL Bean Lodge in Rockport. "In fact, there's nothing anywhere in writing, but the DDGM came into our lodge the other day and started giving everybody what-for because only half the cars had some kind of square and compass bumper sticker. Kept going on about our fraternity dying and it's up to us to get the word out there."

The Past Bastard tracked down Mark Trail, DDGM for the southeastern district. He explained that while it's not a requirement, the Grand Lodge has recently invested heavily into a public relations campaign, and had hoped that all current members would want to be on board.

"It's not like this was a surprise to the members," explained RW Trail. "The Grand lodge kicked this around for three, maybe four years, and they voted to put literally hundreds of dollars into this state-wide publicity push for new members. We're counting on the current members to help that along by displaying the square and compasses every change they get on their cars, jackets, jewelry, and any other place they can think of. With the amount of stuff available, there's no reason why every Maine Mason can't be displaying a few items."

Masons like Ed Bauer from North Face Lodge in Abercrombie disagree, however.

"It's not like we don't want new members," he told us. "The thing is, this used to be called 'The Quiet Fraternity,' and most of us who don't wear purple aprons are a little uncomfortable with these guys telling us to wear that square and compass on our lobstah bibs, or where-evah."

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Masonic Facebook groups agree to moratorium on ring posts

Prineville, OR - After several months of negotiation, the largest Freemasonry oriented Facebook groups have agreed to stop allowing members to post anything about their rings.

"This will include questions about buying rings, pictures of your grandfather's ring, some ring that you picked up from a pawn shop, and especially, questions on how one should wear those rings," said Juan Valdez, admin at The Broken Column.

"The problem with those rings posts," explained Chuck Harpy, admin at All Things Freemasonary, "is that they quickly devolve into name calling threads, with guys slinging around the 'clandy' label, and other accusations. Invariably, within several hours, we have to shut down a thread because of the unmasonic behavior. Masons who are gentlemen in the lodge room can be absolute jerks online, you know."

The Past Bastard asked what the members of these groups thought about this agreement.

"There ended up being surprisingly little disagreement after everybody thought about it," said Art Vandelay, member of the Masonic group. "Ring questions take up a lot of valuable time that could be spent discussing really important Masonic topics, like fundraising, raffles, dinners, and things like that."

"I'm all for it," said 'Sandpaper' Housatonic, who describes himself as the resident gadfly on World Wide Freemasonry. "Besides, I'm sick of all the arguments about which way to wear your rings. Everybody knows it's points in, and anyone who disagrees is probably not a real Mason."

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. 

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?"


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?"


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?"