Monday, December 26, 2016

COGMNA declares Red Skelton Flag Pin to be 4th great light

Burbank, CA -- 

The members of the Conference of Grand Masters of North America voted to adopt a new symbol of Freemasonry for the entire North American continent, based on a recent lapel pin seen on Facebook.

The pin, designed on Etsy earlier this year, shows Brother Red Skelton in his Klem Kadiddlehopper tuxedo on a background of an American flag. The words "One Nation Under God" are displayed in a banner above his head.

"We can't think of a more fitting way to signify what Freemasonry stands for," said WB John Lee Hooker, media spokesperson for the 2016 COGNMA conference. "The pin is meant to evoke Brother Red's speech from his 1960s television show - you know, the one where he goes through the entire 'Pledge of Allegiance' word by word and explains how patriotic and religious it is to the audience. There probably isn't a lodge in existence that doesn't use a video of that for one of its Masonic Education programs."

Indeed, the writers at The Past Bastard are intimately familiar with the video, having seen it multiple times over the years. However it did raise some questions, which we presented to WB Hooker.

"Well, yes, we did  have some pushback on making this symbol for the entire continent," he admitted, "More specifically, a few of the Canadian provinces and Mexico had some objections to making this an official symbol, but they were heavily outvoted by most of the Grand Lodges of the US."

Most of the members?

WB Hooker explained "Well, California also objected, but you know how they are out there. I think that Oregon might have objected, and surprisingly New York, as well. I don't understand it, but the overwhelming number of states and provinces voted for the symbol, so we expect to be rolling it out for 2017."

Wait, provinces?

"Oh yes, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick voted for adopting the pin, and so, I think, did Prince Edward Island, which is essentially part of Maine, anyway."

The 2016 Conference of Grand Masters has been drafting up a number of regulations and position papers, which they expect to be presenting at the upcoming 2017 conference on how the symbol and pins should be displayed, and whether they should augment or simply replace the Square & Compasses.

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, December 19, 2016

Grand Master has a MELTDOWN for this INSANE reason.

Waterloo, IA -- The Grand Master of Iowa recently issued a six page memorandum to all Freemasons in the state to clarify the proper way to Masonically address members of the fraternity, and requested that the membership sign and return the form on the last page, certifying that they understand the rules.

"We aren't sure what prompted this," said Bro. Leon Wayne Racy, Very Worshipful Past District Tiler. "I think that somebody said something to the Most Worshipful Grand Master during his installation, and that set him off, but I'm not sure what, since I was across the room at the bar."

Other sources at the event, however, painted a different picture, and reported to The Past Bastard with a request for anonymity.

"I was standing across from the His Excellency, The Most Worshipful Grand Master at the table with the cheese and crackers, when I saw some wet-behind-the-ears kid come up to him and shake his hand. All the kid said was "Congratulations, brother," and the next thing I knew, the Most Worshipful Grand Master was getting all red in the face. I couldn't really understand what he was saying, but it sounded like the poor kid said something wrong, and it set the Most Worshipful Grand Master off."

The Most Worshipful Grand Lodge is gearing up to make sure that the members understand how important it is to properly address their Masonic superiors by making it part of the proficiency examinations.

"While most Freemasons are aware of, and may even enjoy, the proliferation of titles and other formalities," explained Bro. Jose Nieves, Right Worshipful Grand Regional Overseer of the Work. "They can be confusing to the newer members; and especially to the younger guys who have not grown up with such finer points of etiquette. It's up to us, the guys who have been in for years, to show them the right way to do things."

EDIT: Our highly underpaid (okay, unpaid) interns were too distracted with the holiday eggnog from the office party, and submitted a picture from a lodge that had absolutely nothing to do with the Most Excellently Worshipful Grand Lode of Iowa. We have replaced that picture with a more appropriate illustration. Our interns sincerely regret the error.

-- Bro. Conte Calvino Gliostro

-- Bro. Mason Buhrmaster

Monday, December 12, 2016

MSANA to roll out Masonic insurance organization for Brethren fearing discrimination

Burtonsville, MD - The Masonic Service Association of North America (MSANA) is standing up a new organization to raise funds and assist brethren who fear they might be discriminated against by their respective Grand Lodges to the point of indefinite suspension and/or expulsion from the fraternity. The newly-christened "Masonic Insurance Association," or MIA for short, is reportedly rolling out a set of insurance policies geared toward reimbursing petition fees, degree fees, dues and, in some cases, even regalia costs.

Bro. Joe Snow, Executive Director of the MIA, sat down with The Past Bastard to discuss the organization's new campaign: "It's been an unsettling year for Freemasonry in North America. As reports of brethren being removed from the fraternity due to race, sexual preference, and even internet usage are rising precipitously across the country, we here at the MIA can't stand idly by. We can't reverse the Grand Lodge decisionmaking process--or lack thereof--but we can lessen the emotional burden on a brother facing potential discriminatory penalties by giving him an avenue to recoup the money previously spent on Freemasonry. With our help, the only thing you can't get back is your time."

Bro. Snow continued by explaining that the policies would run on a sliding scale of benefits. "Naturally, one size doesn't fit all here. Different brethren suffer from different amounts of mean concern. You'll edit out that slip of the tongue, right? Anyway, we've got plans to fit everyone's needs whether you just want your petition fees or annual dues covered up to full life memberships! Under certain circumstances, we can even do a regalia rider."

When asked how the insurance premiums would be calculated, Bro. Snow explained: "The MIA takes a wide variety of factors into account when assigning premiums. Each applicant will be required to fill out a questionnaire that polls demographic data such as race, religion, and sexual preference, as well as questions on how active a presence one maintains on social media or how much one enjoys esoteric research topics. The applicant's Grand Jurisdiction also weighs heavily. As one could guess, an applicant from volatile jurisdictions such as Arkansas or Tennessee will, on the aggregate, see higher premiums than one from California or Washington, D.C. We run those factors and more through a highly trained algorithm to compute the lowest rate possible. It's all very scientific."

When The Past Bastard asked Bro. Joe about any exceptions or limitations to these policies, he reported: "Obviously we can't insure anyone for preexisting charges or conditions, and we only insure for cases of discrimination. Finally, those seeking compensation for lost life memberships need to be aware that the value of a given life membership depreciates on a quarterly basis."

- SK Bro. Mason Burhmaster

Monday, December 5, 2016

Grand Lodge of Minnesota institutes social media policy

Bloomington, MN - Following the example of the United Grand Lodge of England, which recently published a social media policy for Freemasons, the Grand Lodge of Minnesota has issued its own guidelines for members who are active online.
"We didn't really want to curtail the free speech of our members," a Grand Lodge representative told The Past Bastard. "It's just that over the last few years, as more of our brothers discovered MySpace, Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, we've discovered that a lot of Masons are, to be frank, major asshats once they get behind a keyboard."
Speaking to us on a condition of anonymity ("I'm not allowed to discuss Grand Lodge proceedings," he told us), he explained the reasons behind the new guidelines. "We've got a huge problem today. Masons across the world are connected in ways like never before, but for some reason, when they get behind a keyboard, they immediately forget every single thing they've been taught about tolerance, temperance, and propriety."
Noting that the proliferation of Masonic groups on Facebook has made it easier than ever to have an argument with people around the country, and even around the globe, our source told us, "That's why this policy is necessary. The past several years have demonstrated that the internet causes most Masons to lose all semblance of self-control and critical thinking skills; it's the job of the Grand Lodge to remind them to keep inviolable their obligations as good men and Masons as they navigate the information superhighway."
He went on to outline some of the basics of the new policy. "Some of it is basic netiquette stuff, not to mention essential internet safety. You know, things like, don't give out your personal information such as phone or credit card numbers, and especially do not give any information out to Nigerian Princes, or to cute twenty year old girls who have a one week old Facebook account. And if you see something that looks interesting, check it out with Hoax Slayers or Snopes before passing it along to the rest of the guys on your lodge email list. Oh, and most importantly, please observe Wheaton's Law."
We asked our anonymous source about letting social, or rather, social media Darwinism handle those members who weren't able to handle themselves in virtual public. "Most of our older Masons are brand new to the internet. They simply don't understand the way it works. The Grand Lodge cannot, in good conscience, suspend or expel a brother for unmasonic conduct on the internet without first giving him a policy that explains he'll be suspended or expelled for unmasonic conduct on the internet," he told us. "Plus, it keeps us from getting sued if one of our members starts committing acts of libel or selling his brethren's Social Security numbers."
He also stressed that some members could benefit from installing the West Gate browser plugin to block offensive content in case one simply cannot handle alternative viewpoints.
The Past Bastard's anonymous source closed the conversation by explaining that, perhaps, not everyone should be on the internet in the first place -- an assertion with which The Past Bastard is in complete agreement.
"On the internet, everyone has a voice," he said, "but, like in real life, just because anyone can speak doesn't mean that they should."

-SK Bro. Mason Burhmaster
- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, November 28, 2016

Local Lodge "Black Friday Deal" ends in tragedy

Seaside Heights, NJ - A local lodge's "Black Friday Membership Deal" ended in tragedy last week as several members were rushed to the hospital in critical condition. Seeking to cash in on the success of previous attempts to bolster membership on Black Friday, the officers of Dotage Lodge No. 1943 instituted a special deal on membership dues for those willing to brave the crowds.

Bro. Joe Snow, Worshipful Master of Dotage Lodge, explained the deal and its impact to The Past Bastard: "We had a great deal lined up for brethren! We told them to meet back at the lodge Friday morning at low twelve, and the first five brethren and first five prospective members through the door would get their dues for next year remitted. We thought it was a great deal, and apparently so did everyone else!"

When The Past Bastard asked about how the deal turned treacherous, Bro. Snow explained: "In a way, we were victims of our own success. Everyone wanted to get in on the deal, including our more 'senior' members who can't drive at night. That caused a couple problems in the lodge parking lot. The biggest problem, however, arose when brethren started lining up. Apparently, tensions began to run high -- as I've heard they do during Black Friday -- and, while no one got trampled or came to blows, several of our older members couldn't take the excitement and collapsed with heart palpitations. We called the ambulance straight away, and I'm pleased to report they're doing fine."

"Luckily for me," he added, "our Secretary is the one who gets to tell the hospitalized brethren that, since they stepped out of line to go to the hospital, they missed out on our deal."

Bro. Snow concluded our interview by stating: "All in all, the deal was a success! We're going to line up something new for Cyber Monday next year. Now all we have to do is teach our older brethren how to use PayPal."

-SK Bro. Mason Buhrmaster

Monday, November 21, 2016

Grand Lodge of Illinois secretly increases membership numbers. How they manage will astound you.

Joliet, IL -- While other Grand Lodges around the US have been having a difficult time initiating and retaining members, the Grand Lodge of Illinois has actually seen an increase in membership, and it shows no sign of slowing down.

"We've been, quietly, you understand, absorbing lodges from those other, offshoot grand lodges that are popping up all the time," said Steven Wayne Macy, District Deputy in the Chicago area, and director of the re-fraternalization program. "It's great for us, because instead of just one or two candidates at a time, we can get 20 or more in one shot. And we don't even need to waste time with all those degrees, since they've already taken them."

When asked if there weren't issues with bringing in men who were made irregularly, he told us, "Well, first of all, we stopped using the 'C-word' to describe these guys. They took pretty much the same degrees that we did, so in that respect, they are just as regular as you or me. I mean, sure, it's been difficult to introduce them into some of the other lodges, but we've already been giving serious consideration to switching our official work to Duncan's anyway, since there's really not much difference. "

Acknowledging that there have been cultural issues to iron out, RW Macy said "One of the more interesting things that we don't understand, is that they have lodges named after TV characters. Like, we're just finishing up the paperwork on a lodge in the next town that named their lodge after a Sesame Street character. I haven't had a chance to ask them what significance Elmo has, but it's kind of cute."

The Past Bastard asked RW Macy what benefits the incoming members saw. "Oh, it's definitely a win for both of us," he explained. "First, we get new members who come in as Master Masons, so right away they can start paying dues. On their end, our dues are usually a fraction of what these guys were getting charged, so they're happy to be getting what they see as a discount."

Apparently there are other benefits, too. "Those lodges that come over, they have bling like you can't believe. We don't have to worry about supplying them with aprons or jewels, or hats, staffs, or any of that stuff, It's a turnkey operation for us, and for them, the get lowered dues, and membership that will allow them to travel to any other lodge in the US. I mean, some of those jewels have this little key at the bottom of the square, but we're trying to figure out a way to remove them without damaging the rest of the jewel."

Naturally, the re-fraternalization process hasn't been entirely problem free. "Some of the older Past Masters from these lodges are a little miffed that they can't paddle the new guys. We hadn't realized that this was such an important part of their ritual, but we really don't want the threat of a lawsuit; it's already bad enough that once or twice a year we end up with a new Master Mason with a broken rib or something. No point adding to the risk."

RW Macy assured us that despite the handful of minor issues, the re-fraternalization program seemed to be a success. "I mean, I don't know why nobody thought of this before," he said. "We're picking up at least one new lodge every month. I can't believe that the Prince Hall Grand Lodge just let these guys slip through their fingers."

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, November 14, 2016

Illuminati switching to progressive line for next election cycle

Washington, D.C. - In the wake of the recent United States presidential election, the Illuminati overlords who are generally in charge of selecting the next leader of the free world have decided to take a different approach for future elections.

"Making it look like a democracy isn't easy," Past Grand Master Rip Tile adds. "Usually, the results of the election don't matter. I mean, think about why we keep the Electoral College around. But this time, we've been bamboozled. None of expected Donald Trump to actually win...and he's on our payroll!"

"So now we're switching to a system that has worked for hundreds of years in masonic lodges, the mechanism known as the 'progressive line'.  A progressive line ensures that our supreme rulers have the qualifications and time in the previous chairs to ensure a smooth transition. Yes, it encourages laziness and promotes nepotism, but what else are we going to do? A popular vote? We almost had a progressive line going with the Bushes in the past, but Jeb just couldn't learn his ritual in time."

PGM Rip Tile informs us that grooming of the officers for the 2020 elections has already begun.  The editors of The Past Bastard have it on good authority that Vermin Supreme has a transition plan, is working on his ritual, and is part of the audit comittee. Be prepared to "vote" for Vermin in the "democratic" "election" in four years.

-Knight Kadeuch, Kennedy MacFaulty, 69˚ of the Mediocre Elu

Monday, November 7, 2016

Grand Lodge of Tennessee to roll out new educational program

Gomorrah, TN -- Good news for Masonic scholars and researchers in Tennessee this week, as the Grand Lodge released a list of approved topics for study and discussion.

“We want to encourage the study of all aspects of Freemasonary,” said RWB Gavin Mavity. “So, the Grand Historian, the Grand Orator, and the other Grand Lodge officers got together and wrote up a list of topic categories  that we think are important for Freemasons to learn about.”

We asked why the Grand Lodge thought that there was a need to publish a study list.

“Well, we know that there’s a lot of nonsense and such about Freemasonary, so we decided that it would be helpful to give our members some guidance so that they didn’t study the wrong sorts of things,” said RWB Mavity.

Our preview of the list included items such as:

  • Anything George Washington related
  • Masonic aprons in America
  • Masonic ring design
  • Freemasonry in the Colonial era
  • Freemasonry in the Civil War era
  • Albert Pike
  • Famous Masons in US history
  • Famous Masonic actors
  • Red Skelton’s “Pledge of Allegiance”
  • John Glenn: First Freemason on the Moon
  • Albert Pike

When asked why the list was so short, WB Mavity responded, “Well, first of all, we don’t want to have our members study the wrong kinds of things. That’s how you end up with those egghead types, and the next thing you know we’ll have that whole Traditional Observance thing happening here.”
Brother Red Skelton's "Pledge of Allegiance" is one
of the most popular study topics in lodges.

But won’t the members get bored with such a short topic list?

“Well, whenever I’ve been to a lodge meeting and they have somebody presenting some kind of Masonic topic, it’s almost always something interesting like aprons, rings, George Washington, or Freemasonry in history, like around the Civil War,” he said. “We figured that those must be the most interesting topics to Masons, since they come up so often. No point in having the members study things that nobody’s heard about, is there?”

The list will be available this week to the lodges around the state by the end of the week.

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, October 31, 2016

Shriners International disbands Clown Units amid nationwide clown scare

Tampa, FL - In the wake of the 2016 "Great Clown Scare" that has left hundreds of people terrified and dozens of clowns injured across the United States, Shriners International made a public announcement this morning announcing the immediate disbanding of all Shrine-affiliated Clown Units. Noble Joe Snow, Director of Corporate Communications for Shriners International, explained the events that led to this decision: "As you all are acutely aware, since August creepy clowns have been menacing Americans across the country. In some instances, violence has ensued. We stood firm when Anonymous threatened to dox us, but things have gotten out of hand. The onus is on Shriners International  to not contribute to the rising mass hysteria. As a result, effective immediately, all Shrine-affiliated Clown Units are hereby disbanded."

As expected, this news was met with great public outcry on the part of Nobles across the United States who see the Clown Units as part of an ancient, sacred tradition. In response, Units across the country have threatened to go underground, or even break away from Shriners International altogether.

While this announcement came as a shock to many, some Shriners saw it coming. Noble Jim-Bob Snowjob, from Durka Durka Shrine Temple in Bluefield, West Virginia, made the following observation: "It makes sense to me. Many 'muricans find Shriners creepy even when they don't dress up like clowns. 'Specially them Jesters folk. Billy-Joe down the street was dressed up as Bubbles the Tramp last month for the Labor Day Parade and he got chased almost outta' town when the townfolk mistook him for one of them maniac clowns that's been terrorizing the young 'uns 'cross the country."

Perhaps most unsettling was the fact that this announcement left thousands of Shriners across the country without a suitable Halloween costume this year. During his announcement, Noble Joe Snow specifically cautioned those now-former Clown Unit members against donning their costumes and attempting to take part in Halloween festivities: "Shriners International strongly encourages all Nobles to refrain from dressing in contraband [read: clown] attire this Halloween, especially if you intend to imbibe alcohol or any other substance that might lower your inhibitions and make you a target for anti-clown mobs"

While this writer of The Past Bastard seems to have his coulrophobia in check at the moment, he wholeheartedly agrees with one thing: this creepy clown situation isn't funny.

-SK Bro. Mason Burhmaster

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Report: Evangelical cartoonist Jack Chick converts to Freemasonry on deathbed

Alhambra, CA - Jack Chick, long-time evangelical Christian, anti-Semite, anti-Catholic, anti-Muslim, anti-Mason, anti-feminist, anti-rock music, anti-kitten, anti-esotericism, anti-Harry Potter, anti-New King James Version of the Bible, anti-Dungeons and Dragons, anti-homosexual, anti-snow cone, and anti-Halloween comic book artist passed away in late October, but before doing so converted to Freemasonry, sources close to the Chick family disclosed to The Past Bastard. Josephina Snow-Chick, relative of Jack Chick, explained: "Jack's final wish was for his family to tell the world that he was right about Freemasonry all along. It is a religion, albeit one with which Jack fell more in love as he got older. At the end, he wanted everyone to know the glory of GOATU [sic]."

When The Past Bastard attempted to explain that Freemasonry was not, in fact, a religion, Ms. Snow-Chick replied: "Well, of course you'd say that! As Jack always said, 'Freemasons don't learn about Baphomet until the highest degrees!' You must just not be a good enough Mason yet."

This writer of The Past Bastard wishes Mr. Chick and his family the best during this difficult time. As of this writing, Freemasons joined together with Catholics, dungeon masters, and Lutherans to mourn his loss. Bro Jonathan Doe, former Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Oklahoma lamented: "...those Chick Tracts were some of the best promotional materials this organization ever had. It's sad to think there won't be any more. It's funny really--Freemasons spent decades trying to persuade Mr. Chick that Freemasonry isn't a religion. Given Jack's self-confessed 'conversion to Freemasonry,' I guess he got the last laugh."

-SK Bro. Mason Buhrmaster

Monday, October 24, 2016

Grand Lodge of Missouri removes recognition from states with Traditional Observance lodges

Six Flags, MO -- The Grand Lodge of Missouri announced that it will revoke recognition of other US jurisdictions that have adopted "Traditional Observance" lodges.
"It's right there in every Master and Grand Master's installation," said RWB Lee Wayne Stacey, media spokesperson for the Grand Lodge of Missouri. "You are not to allow any innovations into the body of Masonry. Yet we have a dozen Grand Masters, and who knows how many Worshipfuls of other lodges who try to introduce all these really cool sounding or awesome looking things that simply aren't part of any Freemasonry that I've ever seen."
RWB Stacey went on to point out that there was an inherent danger in introducing such elements into regular lodges. "Word gets around, and then there's all these expectations that the Freemasons are some kind of secret society, or some kind of new age brotherhood or something," he explained. "We're already seeing the fallout as new guys, and especially those millennial kids, join, then drop out when they don't see any of that stuff happening. We shouldn't be allowing none of that stuff in the first place." 
chambeofreflection_featWhile the Grand Lodge will vote on the resolution at the next Grand Convocation, the Grand Master has so far suspended relations with Colorado ("Yeah, those kooks were the first to go; I'm not at all surprised that they legalized that wacky tobacky."), California ("I don't see how any Grand Lodge continues to recognize anything west of the Rockies."), Washington, Oregon ("They're just California 'Lite', if you ask me."), Utah ("Mainly 'cos those Mormons are trying to become another branch of the York Rite, as if we need more snobby guys with titles and stuff."), and Massachusetts ("They're like the California of the East Coast; always trying something new and different."). 
The Past Bastard tried to point out that some of the arcane symbols, like the Chamber of Reflection or the Skull and Crossed Bones have been used in other jurisdictions for a long time. "Yeah, foreign jurisdictions," RWB Stacey responded. "That's my point. We're trying to keep Freemasonry all-American, just the way that the Great Architect intended." 

--Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, October 17, 2016

Disenfranchised Masons form new Arkansas Grand Lodge to right wrongs

Fayetteville, AR - A group of disenfranchised Masons sick of the horrific antics perpetrated by the Grand Lodge of Arkansas--recently dubbed the "North Korea of American Freemasonry"--have taken matters into their own hands by forming a new grand lodge to govern the grand jurisdiction of Arkansas. Tentatively named "The Regular Wheaton Grand Lodge of Arkansas," this new Grand Lodge was reportedly formed to inculcate the values of human decency and brotherly love across the state.

MW Brother Joe Snow, Grand Master pro tempore of the Regular Wheaton Grand Lodge of Arkansas spoke to The Past Bastard about his and his fellow brethren's decision to form a new Grand Lodge, and what they hope to accomplish: "The fact is we were left with no other choice. We couldn't effect change from within, and we weren't allowed to leave to promote change from without. The only choice we had left was to schism. Thus, as the Grand Lodge of Arkansas has completely departed from core Masonic values to include faith, hope, charity, and brotherly love, we have rechristened that organization as the 'Impostor Grand Lodge of Arkansas', as it clearly no longer represents Freemasonry."

When asked about the organization's name, Bro. Snow explained: "We chose the name Wheaton largely due to Wheaton's Law, as a reminder to ourselves and an admonition to impostor organizations to treat everyone with respect and human dignity. In fact, human dignity is one of our highest aims. Our very first initiative is to request recognition from the United Grand Lodge of England so that we can, in turn, offer blanket recognition not only to our Prince Hall counterparts, but also to all Prince Hall jurisdictions who are recognized by their state Grand Lodge counterparts. Our very next policy will be to extend immediate reinstatement to all former brethren of the Imposter Grand Lodge who were either suspended within the past year or elected to self-expel. Finally, we'll proudly open our doors and offer immediate membership to any current member of the Impostor Grand Lodge who wishes to heal himself by coming to our organization. We don't expect that we can right the wrongs of the Impostor Grand Lodge overnight, but we're in this for the long haul."

When The Past Bastard asked Bro. Snow about his recourse should UGLE deny his request for recognition, Bro. Snow answered calmly: "We're playing the long game here. Based on publicly available demographic data, the Impostor Grand Lodge won't have any members left inside of five years. When it collapses, we'll be there to bring Masonry back to decency."

This writer of The Past Bastard wishes the Regular Wheaton Grand Lodge of Arkansas the very best in their endeavors, and plans to pop popcorn and take a front row seat to the now-inevitable collapse of the bastion of hatred, bigotry, and idiocy that is the (Imposter) Grand Lodge of Arkansas. At this point in time, if being clandestine is wrong, this writer of The Past Bastard doesn't want to be right.

- SK Bro. Mason Buhrmaster

Monday, October 10, 2016

Grand Lodge Announces "Missionary Petitioning" Initiative; Open Doors to Atheists Who Pledge to Convert

Meridian, MS - Earlier today, the Grand Lodge of Mississippi announced its latest jurisdiction-wide initiative aimed at expanding membership opportunities to those who would normally be excluded from Masonic membership. Dubbed the "Missionary Petitioning Initiative," the Grand Lodge of Mississippi has officially relaxed the membership requirements of a belief in a Supreme Being...provided the petitioner pledges to convert to Christianity prior receiving his Master Mason degree.

Bro. Joe Snow, head of the Grand Lodge Committee on Membership (GLCoM), discussed his Grand Lodge's historic move with The Past Bastard: "We here on the Grand Lodge Committee on Membership were trying to think of ways we could expand our pool of potential members. We knew that admitting women would be a death sentence to the Eastern Star and Amaranth, but we realized that we have an untapped market in today's young Atheists. Of course we can't really go against the Ancient Landmarks of Masonry, which is why we had to leave in the conversion caveat. That, and bringing in new members to Freemasonry and Christianity is a win-win!"

When asked how the GLCoM came up with this initiative in the first place, Bro. Joe pointed back to that great fount of all knowledge--no, not The Holy Bible--the internet: "Well, we were thinking about how lost this generation happens to be, and I remembered reading something years ago on the internet about the 'Date to Save' initiative, a Missionary Dating operation in which a lovely young Christian lady set out to save young men by dating non-Christians and converting them to Christianity. The committee figured we could use her example to help turn Mississippi Freemasonry and the world around at the same time!" When Bro. Joe was asked why the Grand Lodge was emphasizing conversion to Christianity in particular vice simply pledging to profess a belief in a Supreme Being, Bro. Joe explained: "Look, everyone here in GAOTU's country knows that Jesus is God. There's no sense in leaving things ambiguous."

Bro. Joe was gracious enough to explain his plan to execute the Grand Lodge's initiative: "Well, we're already working on a very Christian-centered curriculum to add to our Entered Apprentice and Fellowcraft education programs. If they want their third degree badly enough, they'll sign an affidavit of conversion and we'll welcome them into the fraternity and friends and brothers! If not, well, I guess that Master Mason degree will just never get scheduled now won't it?"

-Exalted Patron Dr. Dorian Dalton

Monday, October 3, 2016

Freemasons nationwide laud moon landing 47 years late

Wapakoneta, OH - Over the past week, Freemasons nationwide have taken to social media to celebrate the first successful moon landing about 47 years late. What began as a simple nostalgic "Freemasons and the moon landing" post on an unassuming Freemasonry-related Facebook group soon blossomed into a full-on celebration of Masonic achievement noted on both Chris Hodapp's blog and the news portion of the Masonic Roundtable podcast, all because no one checked the date of the article being shared to assess how current the events described therein happened to be.

Posting on the popular Masonic Facebook group Almost All Things Masonic, Bro. Joe Snow announced: "Huge news! I can't believe we've actually made it to the moon! Maybe one day they'll make a movie out of these events and cast Matt Damon as Buzz Aldrin? I've heard he's a Freemason. We'll all be sitting around one day saying 'I remember where I was in 2016, the day that man (and a Freemason, no less!) first landed on the moon.'"

Sources close to The Past Bastard who spoke on the condition of anonymity asserted that this misunderstanding had reached Grand Lodge levels. "I just got out of a meeting with the Grand Master of Ohio," the source explained, "who has decided to extend an honorary membership to Neil Armstong for his efforts. In addition, our Grand Master is now deciding whether or not to charter an affinity lodge related to space travel to mark the occasion. He is thinking about naming the lodge after the Sea of Tranquility, the location on the moon where the astronauts landed."

While this writer for The Past Bastard believes that man's space achievements should most certainly be lauded, he exhorts his fellow brethren to check the dates of the articles they intend to share before passing them off as 'breaking news.'

- SK Bro. Mason Burhmaster

Monday, September 26, 2016

New Hipster Affinity Lodge Gives Masons Vintage, Organic Experience

Seattle, WA - The Grand Lodge of Washington's newest affinity lodge has been making waves across the west coast. Vintage Lodge No. 45, which meets in a spare room above a cigarette smoke-filled coffee shop in downtown Seattle, hopes to make the Masonic experience as hipster as possible. Bro. Joe Snow, Charter Master of Vintage Lodge, explained his vision to The Past Bastard over a cup of overpriced coffee and biscotti. "I think Masonry has really gotten away from what matters," Worshipful Joe explained, "the organization shouldn't be about tuxedos, boring lectures, and spaghetti dinners. Vintage [Lodge] is here to change that."

Worshipful Joe, clad in flannel, aviators, and a man bun, smiled broadly as he explained his plans for Vintage Lodge's inaugural year in between puffs of pipe tobacco: "First and foremost, tuxedos are out. We don't care what you wear, as long as you don't come clad in Abercrombie. We're about the bro--not the brand. Jeans are just fine as long as they're skinny and accompanied by your best pair of Converse All Stars. Officers are required to wear something plaid, but the rest of their ensemble is up to them."

"Say goodbye to spaghetti dinners and canned green beans," Worshipful Joe continued, "our festive boards will be all organic all the time! Our steward, Bro. James, makes some of the best tofu I've ever eaten, and Pabst Blue Ribbon will be the drink of choice each of our meals. We're trying to work out a sponsorship with Whole Foods to cut some of the food costs, but they haven't gotten back to us yet."

When asked about how Vintage Lodge would tackle Masonic education, Worshipful Joe replied: "We're going retro, baby! Today's young Masons really respond to retro-gaming culture, so we've converted our tracing boards and artwork to fit that theme. You just can't begin to fully understand a tracing board until you see it in 8-bit."

By this point in our conversation, Worshipful Joe had pulled out a ukulele and had begun to sing along to the Radiohead song that had begun to play in the background, so I felt it best to end our interview and excuse myself. Before leaving, Worshipful Joe gave me the following parting words: "You're going to get the tab, right? I'd totally pay, but I'm saving up for the new Arctic Monkeys vinyl album so we can play it in lodge next month." In retrospect, this interview was a couple of hours and $20 that this writer of The Past Bastard won't ever get back.

- Bro. Dionysius Bacchus III
- Knight Kadeuch, Kennedy MacFaulty 69˚ of the Mediocre Elu

Monday, September 19, 2016

Co-Masons to put pancakes on the menu

Golden, CO -- The Honorable Order of American Co-Masonry is considering a move to put pancakes on the menu in an effort to curb membership attrition.

“The older gals are fine with the way things have been, of course,” said RW Carey Childs, spokesperson for the Grand Lodge of Co-Masons. “The problem is the new gals. They joined expecting the kind of Masonry that their fathers or grandfathers talked about. But after they get in, and they see the lectures, the papers and presentations, and all that educational stuff, they start asking ‘Is this all?’”

RW Childs went on to explain that in the last five or six years, their membership has grown considerably, mainly women in their twenties and thirties who were drawn to Freemasonry because their family members spoke so highly of it. Prohibited from joining the male-only mainstream lodges, these women found welcome in Co-Masonry. 

Unfortunately, what those new Millennial members also found was that it didn’t live up to the expectations that they had of Freemasonry, based on the stories they heard. Many new members have been surprised to discover that, instead of joining a social club where they can have a fun evening out, that they have joined a society that encourages personal improvement, morality, and education.

“I mean, I’d always heard about the pancake breakfasts or the fish frys at my grandfather’s lodge,” said Arwyn Flanders, a new Master Mason from the same lodge as Childs. “My grandmother used to complain about them all the time, but my grandfather loved them. He was always down there on a weekend morning, mixing up batter and chatting away with his buddies. Or those fish fry dinners every other month, where he and a bunch of the other guys would spend the whole evening eating and drinking together. It always sounded like so much fun. I don’t ever remember him saying anything about trees of life or squares of virtue or any of this other stuff we’re always hearing about in our lodge.”

She added, “I mean, sure, it’s great to listen to, and I’m sure it’s helping me to become a better person. But it’s not, you know, the real reason that I wanted to join.”

RW Childs conceded that if the fraternity is going to continue to court the new Millennials, then some things may have to change. “The focus of our branch of Freemasonry has always been on self improvement through moral study, but it wouldn’t kill us to have a pancake breakfast once in a while, or maybe a wine tasting evening, or something social like that.” 

She added, “Yes, a few of the old timers are against it, but I’m afraid that if we don’t make some small changes to welcome the new breed of Masons, that they’ll end up leaving to join the mainstream OES chapters.”

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, September 12, 2016

Grand Lodge of Arkansas thanked by Grand Lodges of Georgia and Tennessee

Cracked Rock, AR -- In what is becoming a new Masonic custom, the Grand Masters of Georgia and of Tennessee have sent gifts to the Grand Lodge of Arkansas in a show of appreciation for their ability to take the public eye off of the idiosyncrasies of their respective Grand Lodges.
The Past Bastard has acquired an email (apparently referencing the situation described by noted Masonic author Chris Hodor)  from the still-hacked AOL account of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas, which read, in part:
peach and JDIn light of your efforts to turn American Freemasonary from a society of philosophical and moral studies into a quasi-religious organization with a focus on adherence to arbitrary rules from the 1920s, and for your ability to deflect public scrutiny from the peccadilloes of our own, respective Grand Lodges, we would like to present the Grand Lodge of Arkansas a token of our appreciation.
A UPS driver reportedly left several packages outside of the Grand Lodge of Arkansas building because nobody was around to sign for them -- the entire Grand Line of officers having suspended themselves last week. Local sources reported to us that the packages were a case of Tennessee-distilled Jack Daniels Whiskey, and a large container of Georgia peaches.
The Past Bastard hopes that Worthy Matron Stella Campbell (who appears to be the only office staff member left to run the Grand Lodge) enjoys them in good health. 
-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, September 5, 2016

Royal Order of Jesters announces new, family-friendly mascot to rebrand image

Indianapolis, IN - The secretive Shriner sub-organization known as the Royal Order of Jesters (ROJ) has announced its intent to return to the public eye and rebrand its image as a family-friendly organization by dropping its iconic Billiken imagery and replacing it with a new, kid-friendly mascot named "Jesterbear." Noble Richard Prick, Executive Director of the Royal Order of Jesters, gave the organization's first public interview in years exclusively to the writers of The Past Bastard." We as an organization are at a crossroads," Noble Richard explained, "Our great fraternity is shrinking more and more each day, and unless we get back into the public eye, the ROJ will ultimately cease to exist. We need to remember that, as Shriners and ultimately Freemasons first, we need to be champions of good will to all we meet. We can't lurk in the shadows any longer."

When The Past Bastard asked Noble Richard why the organization decided to do a complete rebranding initiative, his answer was simple: "We've had some serious missteps in the past, and we've wronged a lot of good people. But no more. As the old practices of this organization have died, the old brand that represented those practices needs to die as well. Mirth can still be king, but we need to extend our joy and good will to our families and friends. That's why we came up with Jesterbear, the face of the new and improved Royal Order of Jesters organization!"

Jesterbear, the ROJ's new mascot
When asked "Why Jesterbear?", Noble Richard explained: "We wanted our image to be something cuddly, like a teddy bear! Admittedly, none of us here at the ROJ National Office are terribly computer literate, but we took to the "Ask Jeeves" internet search engine to search for a good cartoon bear we could model our mascot after. We found one that fit our new image perfectly, added some ROJ flair, and there you have it! We've tested the new mascot out with a couple small groups, and one thing is clear: Jesterbear is a hit with the kids!"

Noble Richard closed out our interview by discussing his organization's next steps toward inclusivity: "We want to get out side-by-side with our the rest of the Shrine clubs. You can expect to see the Jesters marching in the local Halloween parades, or working with local Shepherds Units to transport children to area Shriner's Hospitals. In fact, I'd encourage each and every Shriner out there to take the initiative to ask your local Shrine Temple Recorder how you can get involved with the ROJ!"

The first large-scale family event the ROJ will be organizing is reportedly a fishing trip off of Lake Michigan. "If that goes well," explained Noble Richard, "we'll see if we can't get a larger one organized for a more exotic destination like Brazil. I've heard the fishing there is downright spectacular. All in all, we've been extremely blessed as an organization to get a fresh start like this. The Royal Order of Jesters is here to stay, and we're lucky to have Jesterbear to lead the way!"

- Exalted Patron Dr. Dorian Dalton

Monday, August 29, 2016

AMD in talks to develop “Royal Arch Go” to increase interest and membership

Portlandia, OR -- The Council of Allied Masonic Degrees has responded to concerns about low membership numbers with a unique way to increase interest in the various degrees.

“One of the problems is that there are dozens of little known side degrees, and the local councils simply can’t keep up, because they are so spread apart,” said Niles Rumford, Grand Overseer of the Secret Monitor. “So one of our younger members contacted a popular gaming software developer, and we are now developing a way for regular Freemasons to take the degrees in their own area.”

Based on the Pokemon Go model, Freemasons who have taken their Royal Arch degrees can download the app on their phones, then register to receive the degrees using Apple Pay or Google Wallet. Once they are in the system, they will be given instructions on how to find a team, that is, a local council, or if they desire, to start their own.

“We haven’t worked out all the details yet, but by sending them on a quest, they will be able to pick up various items in their area, ending with the actual degree. Once they unlock the last item, they will receive the code to a secret YouTube channel which will show them the actual degree ceremony, and allow them -- if they are so inclined -- to pursue the next set of degrees.”

Preliminary testing in several market areas in the US have been successful, and the Grand Council is palling a quiet roll-out to the rest of the US and Canada over the next several months. 

"By Christmas, we're hoping that we will have players... I mean, members from all over the US. We think that this will bring the Allied Masonic Degrees to be seen not just as an interesting group of side degrees, but an essential set of degrees in their own right."

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Grand Lodge of Arkansas suspends entire Grand Line

Black Rock, AR -- In a flurry of executive leadership activity over the past week, the Grand Lodge of Arkansas has suspended or expelled every member of the Grand Lodge with the exception of Stella Campbell, the Grand Lodge receptionist.  
"I really can't tell you what all the fuss was about," said Mrs. Campbell, Past Worthy Matron of Beyonce Chapter No. 737, OES. "There was some men in here, you know those grand Shrine mucky-mucks, and there was a lot of yelling and stomping around, and there were yelling about license plates, and then the phone calls started, and next thing you know my car is the only one in the parking lot, and there's a note saying 'Stella, you're in charge.'"
Relocation crews removing items from the
Grand Lodge of Arkansas building earlier this week
Vying with West Virginia for the title of "The North Korea of American Freemasonry," the Grand Lodge of Arkansas has been rife with animosity and Masonic politics for the last few years, but as the GM has issued a gag order on all Masons from that jurisdiction, few reports have been substantiated. 
Chris Hodapp has reported on various aspects of the turmoil within the Grand Lodge of Arkansas, but unfortunately has not been at liberty to discuss any of the details which Arkansas Masons have smuggled out of the state. 
With the next election of the Grand Line still some months away, Worthy Matron Stella Campbell appears to be running what is left of the Grand Lodge. "It's a good thing we installed that fax machine last year," she said. "Now I can just fax the same statement over and over. It would have been a major pain in the you-know-where if I had to tell people over the phone several times a day that all of the officers have suspended themselves."


In our rush to get this story to print ahead of Chris Hodapp, one of our interns inadvertently inserted a picture of the MWPH Grand Lodge. Since our intern was not aware that some Grand Lodges are not in amity with their Prince Hall counterparts, it was an understandable, if embarrassing mistake.
There was no intention to cast aspersions upon any of our Prince Hall brethren.

The Past Bastard sincerely regrets the error.

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, August 22, 2016

Grand Lodge to partner with Nigerian Royal Family to form relief fund

Boise, ID: This morning, the Grand Lodge of Idaho issued a statement announcing their intent to partner with the Nigerian royal family to form a new relief fund aimed at alleviating the financial distress of brethren across the world. The idea for the aptly named "Widow's Son Nigerian Royal Relief Fund" (WSNRRF) reportedly came about from a single e-mail sent to the Grand Master of Idaho's personal America On-Line (AOL) account.

Bro. Joe Snow, chairman of the Grand Lodge of Idaho Committee on Charity, explained further: "When our Grand Master received a personal call for assistance from a representative of the Nigerian royal family, he knew that our Grand Jurisdiction couldn't stand idly by. Mr. Clement Okon, authorized representative of the Nigerian royal family, had initially appealed to the Grand Master for assistance with moving a sizeable portion of the family's inheritance to the US banking system. Mr. Okon offered the Grand Master a large fee for his services, but our Grand Master seized this opportunity to spread the Masonic virtue of charity by partnering with Mr. Okon to utilize the sum to start the Widow's Son Nigerian Royal Relief Fund!"

Per the Grand Lodge of Idaho official statement on the WSNRRF, the fund will initially have a budget of $200,000, funded completely through the generosity of the Nigerian royal family. The Grand Lodge of Idaho is working to send the $5,000 required by Mr. Okon to cover the transfer costs of the rest of the sum to the US banking system, and has already convened a board to govern the use of the relief fund.

When asked if the Grand Lodge had considered the possibility that the offer on the part of the Nigerian royal family was in some way fraudulent, Bro. Snow responded: "As Masons, we have the duty show charity to all mankind. Performing this duty to the best of our abilities at times necessitates taking brethren at their word. Mr. Okon has stressed that the transactions are '100% safe,' and I think we owe it to the people of the world to trust his judgment and expertise in this case."

The Past Bastard attempted to reach out to Mr. Okon for comment, but was unable to find either his contact information or proof of his existence. The Nigerian royal family did not immediately return requests for comment.

-SK Bro. Mason Burhmaster

Monday, August 15, 2016

Lodge disciplined for leaving Junior Deacon in hot van

Breckenridge, OK - The officers of General Custer Lodge have come under discipline from the Grand Lodge for their negligence in leaving their Junior Deacon in a hot van while they were shopping for picnic supplies.
Junior Deacon Philo Wayne Norris was discovered sitting in the back of the van by customers at Costco Wholesale Club, and appeared to be unresponsive to attempts to attract his attention. Police were called, but by the time they arrived, the rest of the lodge officers, WM John Snowden, SW Newton Wayne, and SD Richard Clark had finished their shopping and were wheeling the carriages out to the van.
"We were only going in for a couple of things for the Square Club summer picnic, but you know what happens when you get into Costco," said Wayne. "Next thing you know we're looking at all the different varieties of chips, arguing over what brand of hot dog buns, and tasting all the samples at the ends of the aisles. Next thing you know, it's almost two hours later, and we remembered that Philo was still waiting for us."
Temperatures hit the mid 90º mark, which meant that inside Norris' van was probably over 120º. Police office Billy Wayne Sparrow, noting that Norris may have been unresponsive simply because he was asleep, declined to ticket the brothers, but did give them a stern warning against leaving junior officers in locked cars in the future.
"We left him with a bottle of water, and the windows were cracked a little for ventilation, so we didn't worry about Philo. We're really sorry about this," said WB Wayne.
Grand Lodge declined to comment on the disciplinary aspect, but did promise to release a safety warning to other lodges. "This time everything worked out okay," said Grand Master Troy McClure. "But the next time, a lodge could well lose an officer. We don't have so many that we can afford to be letting them melt in the sun, you know."

- Conte Calvin Gliostro 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Grand Lodge of Arkansas in meltdown after hacker releases emails

Grotto Falls, AR - The Grand Lodge of Arkansas is reported to be "in a meltdown" over the releases of several hundred emails between members of Grand Lodge and a number of district officers. 

With the Grand Lodge Annual Communication on the horizon, notorious Masonic hacker "Synonymous" released emails from the last three years, apparently stolen right from the Grand Lodge AOL account itself. 

The contents of some emails are between district officers and Grand Lodge members discussing which Masons in the districts might be eligible for nomination to DDGM positions, and which ones would be blackballed for various reasons. Many emails are between the Grand Master and several other GL members, discussing ways to get members to pay more to the Grand Lodge general fund. 

The Grand Junior Warden, who asked to remain unnamed, offered up his opinion on the matter. "We think it's California just trying to stir up trouble. We know that's where the hackers live, and they've never liked us."

The emails are currently being released on MasonicLeaks, a web site run by Synonymous, a hacker known in the tech savvy online Masonic circles. 

The Grand Master has suggested that Synonymous is working for the Grand Lodge of California, in an effort to rile up the membership before the upcoming Grand Lodge elections. Opponents have suggested that the accusations are a smokescreen to deflect attention away from the emails, themselves, which have shown the Grand Lodge of Arkansas in a very poor light. 

The most damaging emails are those showing various GL officers making fun of the WMs and other officers of various lodges around the state, and those suggesting that some Past Masters would consider paying for extra table lodge tickets in order to win the favor of the Grand Master. Members of various districts were named, showing their proposed contributions. Several email chains show Grand Officers discussing how they might get nine potential donors to be part of the Grand Master's foursome in the annual Grand Lodge golf tournament. 

"Members of the Craft have suspected for years that the Grand Officers just look down on us, and consider us to be an irritation. Now we have proof," said Worshipful Brother Ned Snowden. "You can bet your ass when Grand Lodge comes around, we're not going to be voting for the progressive line officers."

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro