Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Virginia Lodge blackballs a well known public figure

Alexandria, VA - Anonymous sources in the Grand Lodge of Virginia have leaked information to The Past Bastard about a particular lodge in Alexandria that has blackballed a candidate. While this bit of information wouldn't  normally attract any attention (it's Virginia, after all), further investigation showed that the petitioner, Santa Claus, was actually blackballed by XXX-XXX Lodge No. XXX.

Cute jokes about Santa Claus being a Freemason
will soon stop in Virginia, after members of a
certain lodge blackballed the petition.
Assuring confidentiality, The Past Bastard contacted several of the members about this. They agreed to meet with The Past Bastard at an undisclosed Starbucks to give us more information.

"Yes, it's true," one member admitted. "While most of our members were happy about Santa Claus joining, a few old timers were pretty against the idea.  But, to be fair, there were plenty of extenuating circumstances. For one thing, it's not clear that he's actually a resident of Virginia. I mean, we have lots of politicians who live around here, and they get a pass, but this guy doesn't seem to have any one particular address. And the address we do have for him, is, well, you know."

Another member agreed, and added, "Yeah, but that wasn't the real reason he was blackballed. The real reason was because some of the guys learned that his actual name was Niko, and he was originally from Turkey. So, they  had some concerns that he might secretly be a Muslim terrorist, and started a whisper campaign to get the others to blackball him. It's against the rules to publicly discuss someone, but we all  know that Masons can't hold a secret to save their lives."

The Past Bastard asked the group if the petitioner's long history of being associated with Christmas wasn't enough to deflect those opinions.

"Yeah, a couple of us did mention it. Quietly, you know, because of the rules and all that. But oddly, it just seemed to make it worse. I mean, the guy has no work history -- how does he afford to live on a part time job? Hell, how does he even get paid, right?"

"Yeah, and that brought up another question," another member told us. "He's got all these elves, right? That sounds to us like he's getting an under-the-table income, and paying a bunch of illegals." He looked around, and a few of the group reluctantly nodded. "I mean, I'm sorry, but that's just not a good look. We don't really want to be associated with that kind of thing, if you get my drift."

Before we parted ways, one of the members told The Past Bastard, "The sad part is that even if he gets this stuff cleared up, we'll have to wait at least a year before he tries to petition again, and I doubt that any members of the lodges around here would go for it. I wrote him a little note suggesting that he might have an easier time if he applied to a lodge in San Diego. California has some pretty lax rules, so they probably wouldn't mind a quasi-homeless guy who's friendly with illegals."

The Past Bastard notes that this would not be the first time that well known figures have been denied entry to a lodge.

Friday, December 7, 2018

BSA sees sudden spike in interest from Masonic lodges

Irving, TX - Community Services staff at the Boy Scouts of America offices have been overwhelmed with requests for information about sponsoring Eagle Scouts and other groups after a post from the Freemasons for Dummies blog showcased an Eagle Scout who replaced the dilapidated lodge sign with something more modern.

"Look at this inbox, there must be six or seven hundred emails here that we haven't even read, let alone the several hundred we've already answered this week," said Jared Morales, BSA Community Services Coordinator. "Plus dozens of actual letters. I've stopped even checking my voicemails."

Morales explained to The Past Bastard that since the November article, lodges from all over the US have been asking how they could get Eagle scouts to repair or renovate features in those lodges. "Some lodges wanted new signs like in that Dummies article, but others are asking for things like interior or exterior painting, fixing the roof, new landscaping, replacement windows... no, I'm not joking." He pulled out an email marked up with highlighter. "Look, this lodge is asking for an Eagle Scout to replace their furnace. It's crazy."

The Past Bastard contacted some of the lodges sending in the requests.

"Well, we thought that replacing a sign was a poor choice," said WB Jason Hodor, Secretary at St Elmo's Lodge in Hampstead, Oklahoma. "Sure, it looks pretty, but our buildings need some real work. That's why we asked about sponsoring a Scout to maybe get some of his buddies and replace the north side of our roof. It's been leaking in heavy rains last couple of years, and we thought it best to do something now before it gets worse."

The Past Bastard asked why the lodge members don't repair the roof themselves, or hire a local contractor.

"What, do guys think we have King Solomon's treasury or something? That kind of thing takes money, and we're barely getting by on the $55 a year dues; we don't have much extra for things like the roof."

"We don't need an Eagle Scout project," said WB Mick Mickerson, Treasurer of North Fork lodge in South Bend, Indiana. "We were really just looking for kids to mow the lawn regularly, and maybe do some weeding and trimming. The DeMolay boys used to do that for us, but after the chapter closed, nobody's been around to do that for us."

The Past Bastard asked if anyone had contacted the high school or Craigs List to see if anyone wants to pick up a few dollars for mowing the lawn."

"What, you mean, pay them?" asked Mickerson. "We didn't pay the DeMolay boys, so we really hadn't considered going that far."

"We've got a good project lined up, if we could find some young scouter kid who's not too lazy," said RWB Jake Rapper, Secretary at Beehive Lodge in Apian, North Carolina. "The summers get pretty hot and humid here, and it's making the paint come off the building. We could really use a good Eagle Scout to paint the exterior, maybe scrape some of the loose paint, do some caulking around the windows. You know, to fix the place up a bit."

The Past Bastard mentioned to RWB Rapper that, from the pictures, the lodge would need a lot of paint.

"Oh, that's no problem," Rapper explained. "All of us got some some extra paint from the times we did our own houses. We figured the kid could, you know, just combine them all and we should have about enough. We tried it a couple of years ago as a test, and it comes out a grayish brown color. It's stylish, and we'd save hundreds of dollars that way."

Coordinator Morales told us that while he was happy so many lodges were showing a renewed interest in the Boy Scouts, he was concerned that they were just looking for free labor.

"I don't know much about the Masons, frankly. I used to think that they were mainly rich, old guys, so I'm mystified as to why none of these lodges seem to have enough money to pay for maintenance and upkeep. All they want to do is to get free labor for things they could have probably paid for themselves if they had enough foresight to put a few bucks away every year. "


Thursday, November 29, 2018

Facebook glitch accidentally shuts down Freemason groups. Cause so far unknown.


Menlo Park, CA -- In a move that surprised literally hundreds of Freemasons all around the globe, Facebook temporarily shut down several dozen of the largest Masonic themed discussion groups, including Freemasonary, Some Things Masonic, Wide World of Masons, and The Windy Steps.

"I was responding to a comment from a brother who claimed that there wasn't a proper way to wear a ring," said WB Gregg Atrium, a frequent visitor to Wide World of Masons. "I had just hit the Enter key to send my response that he was actually in error, when the whole browser window went gray. I refreshed, and I couldn't find the group anymore. I finally had to go argue with people on one of the political groups."

Facebook Illuminati symbol
Facebook officials re-approved the Masonic groups, and explained that the issue had been due to a programming error. The Past Bastard contacted a senior administrator to learn more.

"For the last couple of months, we have been seeing a huge spike in 'Illuminati' scams," said Kathrine Ballou,, senior programmer at Facebook. "Because of the huge increase in reports, we decided to introduce some programming algorithms to weed out the scammers. The issue seemed to have happened because of the parameters of the algorithms."

The Past Bastard asked Ms Ballou if she could clarify what she meant.

"Well, we noticed that in many of the reports, we saw comments from men -- it was almost always men -- who sent in money to these Illuminati groups in hopes of gaining enlightenment, and to make contacts with other enlightened men. The complaints were usually that they sent in money, and then never made any contacts, nor, obviously, did they get any enlightenment." She added, "Unless you count how much lighter their wallets got."

Facebook set the parameters of their algorithms to shut down any groups in which members were complaining about having paid for enlightenment, and not having received anything in return, she said.

"For reasons that aren't clear to me, probably because I'm not one of those Freemason types, our algorithms found something in the Freemasonry groups that were similar enough to the Illuminati scams. I'm at a loss to explain it, but we hope to fine tune the parameters to keep it from happening again."

Ms Ballou then asked if we could provide any insight as to why the Illuminati parameters might have caused the Freemason groups to be shut down. "You guys talk about getting light all the time, right? Is it something to do with that? The Freemasons certainly wouldn't be scamming their members, would they?"

The Past Bastard declined to answer.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Lodge finds delicious way to deal with cultural appropriation protesters

Seattle, WA -- For several decades the members of Composite Lodge on Seattle's east side would have a Hawaiian Shirt Night, at which members would show up casually dressed in shorts and loud, floral island shirts, have a short meeting, and then enjoy a pig roast. That tradition may come to an end, however, as a relic of a bygone time.
Chanting and holding signs saying "My Culture Is Not Your Costume," dozens of protesters have stood outside Composite Lodge for the last week, demanding an end to their politically incorrect tradition. Protest organizer, and chapter head of EraseTheHate, Colleen O'Connor, explained: 


"It's terribly offensive to native Asian Pacific Island people. Those floral island print shirts are a sacred tradition, and the Masons are being culturally insensitive by trying to appropriate those cultural items, and making them into a joke."

"Umm... no, it's not," said Jason Kahale, Master of Composite Lodge. Speaking to The Past Bastard, he told us, "My grandfather came here from Hawaii in after World War 2. He, my father, and two of my uncles have been members here. I have friends and cousins from this and other lodges with similar goofy traditions. I'm pretty sure if there were something insulting going on, we'd know about it. "

Colleen O'Connor was unswayed by his remarks. "He's become too integrated with American culture to know that his native culture has been appropriated and whitewashed, and we're going to camp outside this lodge until the members are educated."

The Past Bastard will follow up with this story as events unfold.


Update:

The Past Bastard contacted Worshipful Brother Jason Kahale several days after the Hawaiian Shirt Night took place.

"Funny thing, but despite having the potential for some bad optics, it actually ended up pretty well," WB Kahale said. "Once the smells from the pig roast started drifting across the parking lot, the protestors seemed to lose interest. In fact, we cut some slices of roast pig and some pineapple and brought it over for them. That shut most of them up, and they came over to talk to us. We even got a few requests for petitions out of it, and a couple of the younger women asked about the Eastern Star chapter."


"The best way to appropriate culture is to eat some of it," WB Kahale told us. "I can't wait to see what happens next month when we start doing a Taco Tuesday."

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Masons flock to join UGLE lodge, and you'll never guess why!

Washington, D.C. - Freemasons everywhere within the United States are tripping over themselves to join Internet Lodge No. 9659, holden under the United Grand Lodge of England, for a very unexpected reason. That reason has nothing to do with homophobic Grand Lodge policies, racist Grand Lodge officers, or infighting among U.S. Grand Lodges; instead, the reason is more to do entirely with another body altogether: Order of the Eastern Star.  

The Past Bastard caught up with Bro. Joe Snow, the newest petitioner seeking to affiliate with Internet Lodge, to get his take on why he was so eager to join a Lodge across the pond:

"Well, everybody in my mother Lodge keep asking me to join Eastern Star, and I really don't wanna, but I feel like I'm letting my brothers and their grandmothers down by saying no. When I heard that the Grand Lodge of England considers Eastern Star a clandestine organization, I knew I had found the perfect excuse. Once I'm a full member of Internet Lodge, I can just tell my brothers I can't join because it's clandestine. No one can argue with that, and I don't have to worry about hurting the feelings of those nice 80 year-old ladies in white."

Bro. Joe went on to tell The Past Bastard that Internet Lodge was the perfect UGLE Lodge to join as it has no residency requirements for affiliation: "It's about the only UGLE Lodge I can join without actually having to live abroad. Believe me, I'll do just about anything I can to get out of joining the Star. I've heard their introductions alone go on for hours!"

In 1999, the United Grand Lodge of England issued a statement on mixed bodies "not directly imitative of pure antient Masonry, but which by implication introduce Freemasonry, such as the Order of the Eastern Star," declaring membership and participation in such organizations to be "incompatible with membership in this Grand Lodge."

Thursday, November 1, 2018

IOOF outpaces Freemasonry in esoteric content, and the reason will shock you!

Winston-Salem, NC - A new study commissioned jointly between the Conference of Grand Masters in North America (COGMNA) and the Sovereign Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) has revealed a shocking difference between Masonic and Odd Fellows Lodge meetings. According to the study, Odd Fellows Lodge members are 20-30 times more likely to discuss esoteric and philosophical content than Masonic Lodge members. Furthermore, Odd Fellows members are 53 times more likely, on average, to compose originals research papers dealing with symbolic interpretation and/or esoteric subjects, and debate the merits of those ideas in and out of Lodge.  



The Past Bastard met with Bro. Joe Snow, spokesperson for the Sovereign Grand Lodge of the IOOF, to discuss the study's findings: "What is quite interesting is no so much that IOOF has clearly outpaced Freemasonry as the 'thinking person's fraternity', but moreso why this is the case. It's clear: women. Once IOOF officially accepted women as Odd Fellows, our male members stopped relying on bathroom humor and sexist jokes to move the conversations in Lodge along. That alone made life as an Odd Fellow a lot better. And we know that most female Freemasons can run circles around those 'regular Grand Lodge guys' when it comes to esoterics and philosophy any day. It was the same with us. Our women members elevated our discussions to a whole new level!"

The Past Bastard asked Bro. Snow if admitting women could help curtail the rampant anti-intellectualism that has increasingly characterized Masonic Lodges over the past several decades, Joe seemed doubtful that even extreme measures would have any effect: "Judging by how most of your members act on social media and the increasingly outlandish policies many of your Grand Lodges come up with on a daily basis, I'd say mainstream Freemasonry is a bit too far gone. But hey, if you're ever interested in joining a thinking man's--and women's--fraternity, I hope you'll consider the Odd Fellows!"

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Masonic researcher discovers source of Masonic social media memes

Walla Walla, WA - - Once broadband internet access became common, social media exploded in popularity, and that attraction included Freemasons. Part of the spread of Freemasonry on sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and MySpace included the passing around of simple pictures with Masonic themes; generally such things as large square and compasses with some kind of text.

These "Masonic Memes" have become so ubiquitous that we take them for granted; however, Bart deJoyos, a noted Masonic historian, recently became interested enough to track down the origins of such memes.

"I don't really care for  them, myself," said deJoyos in an interview with The Past Bastard, "but they show up so often that I began to wonder what the deal was with those things. So, I started sifting through my own social media history, and asked my friends to send me examples of the oldest ones they could find."

deJoyos ended up spending several months on the project, when he made a startling discovery.

"You see, most of the memes have similar patterns designs, usually a stylized square and compass on a colored background, and quite often copied from one of the many designs available online. So I focused on the words of the memes, which tended to be simple, trite or maudlin, and quite often with error in spelling or punctuation. These errors were so frequent and predictable that I began to suspect they were done by the same person. "

After a number of emails and phone calls, deJoyos managed to narrow down his search to the Chicago area.

"It sounds incredible, but close to 80% of these 'Masonic Memes' that are passed around were created by one guy, a man named Adoniram Fernando. He's been turning these things out since 2003."

The Past Bastard contacted Fernando.

"Yes, I suppose it's true," he told our intern repoeter. "I had recently joined the King Hiram Grand Lodge in Chicago, but the recession hit, and I lost my job. I was working part time odd jovs, and had a lot of free time on my hands. One of the brothers gave me a bootleg copy of Photoshop, and I started doodling little designs. I'd post them on different groups, never expecting that they would have become so popular."

The Past Bastard asked Bro. Fernando about the errors in spelling that detracted from the messages.

"Well, as I said, it was a bootleg copy, and I guess the spell check part wasn't working. I never really gave it much thought."

"But it's kind of silly, you know?" he added. "I mean, some of those things are so bad, that it makes you wonder why other brothers keep passing them around."

Brother deJoyos didn't have much more to comment on this.

"I have to admit that I was hoping this would lead to another book, but I doubt anyone, except maybe Chris Hodapp, would be able to milk an entire book out of this," he told us.