Monday, January 25, 2016

Scottish Rite to Unify for "Scottish Rite Day" in November - Separate but Equal No More

Washington, DC—Valleys all over the United States are starting to send out notifications to their membership regarding the first ever Scottish Rite Day, which will take place on November 12th, 2016. In this historic move the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction and the Southern Jurisdiction will come together for a day of celebration and unity. This event represents a significant shift in atmospherics in the Scottish Rite given the often unmentioned tensions which have historically existed between the two “separate but equal” organizations.

There will be many amazing things happening that day, the least of which will be a series of statewide 32nd degree conferrals and a new Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Jewel which features no delineation between either jurisdiction. 

The Past Bastard reached out to the PR reps for both organizations, who explained: “…the jewels were initially struck when the organizations decided on a policy of mutual forgiveness. The Northern Masonic Jurisdiction forgave the Southern Jurisdiction for not using the word “Masonic” in their title, and the Southern Jurisdiction forgave the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction for existing altogether. This act of mutual forgiveness spawned a plan to unify the bodies into one.”

Negotiations for a larger unification effort reportedly fell apart when members on both Supreme Councils “realized there could only be one Sovereign Grand Commander.” However, in true brotherly fashion, the Scottish Rite jurisdictions brought order from chaos when they decided to keep the date anyway and notionally celebrate the Scottish Rite as a whole. A spokesperson for the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction commented: "We couldn't just drop the event altogether because we have a contract with Netflix to produce a documentary on the unification effort. Nonetheless, this event is a good way to 'test the waters' and gauge interest for a greater unification effort."

While these jurisdictions might not ever see eye-to-eye, The Past Bastard is certain that this first stab at unification is sure to be a completely underwhelming event with an attendance somewhere in the tens in valleys all over the country.

Worshipful, Dr. Chaz Nagler, Esq. 49˚

Monday, January 18, 2016

Past Masters Disappointed That New Masons Lack Knowledge of Freemasonry

Watsumi, FL -- After enacting a number of initiatives to attract younger new members, the lodges around Central Florida are beginning to see results. Men in their 30s are beginning to join the lodges in small, but increasing numbers. This has led, however, to some unforeseen issues in many lodges. 
Older Masons are frustrated that new members don't understand
Freemasonry, and lack the resources to teach them.
“Yeah, we’re getting all these new members, and all, and the Grand Lodge said that we should take the time to get to know them, and to see of they have any ideas on how to improve the fraternity,” said WB Pat Vigoda of Citrus Lodge No. 588. “But so far, all these young guys have hardly said ‘Boo’ in lodge. All they do is keep asking us questions.” 
Indeed, that has been among the biggest complaints coming back up the hierarchy to the Grand Lodge officers: the new members don’t know anything about Freemasonry, and end up having very little to offer the Craft.  
“You know, it wouldn’t be so bad if they just sat there and kept quiet, and all,” explained WB Bob O’Reilly of Sunlight Lodge No. 842. “But they’re so green that it’s a drain on our resources. They keep asking questions about Masonry, and we need to have all these guys available to teach them stuff. What was the Grand Lodge thinking when they tried advertising to get them in here?”
The Grand Lodge of Florida has declined to comment on plans to remedy the situation. 
-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Lodge Vandalism Takes a Sweet Turn Due to Misinformation Campaign

Axis, AL -- Investigators may have discovered the reason behind the recent spate of acts of lodge vandalism across the state. Over the past two months, lodges across the state of Alabama have been vandalized by unknown parties smearing donuts, pizza, and other forms of junk food across lodge door handles and other parts of the building, and on Wednesday, investigators found the source: a misinformation campaign enacted by the fraternity's own members.

John Wayne Newton and Newton Wayne Johnson, both members of Horizontal Lodge No. 179, had reportedly been reading news stories about actors who had vandalized mosques and synagogues by splashing pig’s blood on the steps or leaving uncooked bacon on the door handles--pork being viewed as an "unclean" animal not fit for consumption according to both religions. In light of the recent spate of acts of lodge vandalism across the US, the brothers embarked on a misinformation campaign on Instagram and Facebook to spread the rumor that Freemasons abhorred junk food to as many people as possible.

Their plan paid off when members of local independent Baptist churches--many of whom consider themselves to be fundamentalist Christians generally opposed to the presence of Masonic lodges in their communities--began leaving donuts on the door handles of local lodges, or the occasional pizza on the front steps. “It seemed like such a good idea at the time,” said Bro. Newton. “I mean, there ain’t that many temples or synagogues ‘round here, so the local fundamentalists--or 'fundies,' as we call 'em--were happy to spread the hate around since they don’t get much opportunity otherwise.” 

“And obviously, cleaning up a box of donuts or scarfing down a pizza is much more fun than wiping down pig’s blood,” agreed Bro. Johnson. “We had no idea that it was going to get so far out of hand.”

Both men are presumably facing disciplinary hearings from their lodge, although spokespersons could not confirm that anyone was particularly upset by their actions. “After the past few months, we’re about sick of the donuts,” said Lloyd Wayne Garrison, the lodge secretary. “We’ve been donating them to the local police station.”

Suspicions that the lodge brothers are trying to spread rumors that Freemasons are against barbecued chicken have gone unconfirmed.

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, January 11, 2016

Local Sir Knight Declares War on ISIS

Middleworth, AR - In response to the attacks on Paris, rampant violence in Syria, Egypt, and the threat of attacks on the United States of America, Sir Knight Jim Nelson has declared war on the Islamic State. Noting that he is committed to a campaign against the most active and dangerous terrorist organization in the world, Nelson, a squat, rotund
knight aged 53, stated: “I’ve been training for this day since I completed my Order of the Temple at the Commandery in a Day conferral two years ago. Nowhere else in Masonry is the military precision of the Knights Templar found. We are constantly exhorted through not-so-subtle hints in our national publication, the Knights Templar Magazine, to fight. Whether it’s the inundation of patriotic quotes by Reagan or the suggestion that we exact specific partisan political change, in full contravention of our obligation as Masons, the Magazine inspires us to pick up our swords and fight against Islam. And let’s not forget the Facebook groups dedicated to the York Rite filled with Crusader memes and warmongering messages posted by other men of similar age and stature to my own. It’s really a beautiful thing to see that kind of messaging across so many platforms.”
Drawing his blade and bringing it to a carry position, Nelson excitedly proclaimed, “I know so many ways to win this war. I can carry and present, deposit my chapeau, and form the arch of steel better than anyone in my Commandery. And I have, for as long as I have been in Commandery, attended every meeting, so I know how to run a crusader state once we boot those killers out of Syria and reestablish control of the Holy Land! We are just the best and strongest force to take care of these vermin.” 
When The Past Bastard last spoke to SK Nelson, he was was making plans to purchase tickets to Turkey and packing his dress sword, Class A uniform, chapeau, polished shoes, and 100 count bottle of Lipitor for his journey. There is no word on whether or not fellow Sir Knights will answer his call to arms, but The Past Bastard will provide updates as this story progresses.

- The Honorable Reginald Farquar, XVI°

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Freemason Graphic Designers Form Guild to Promote Redundancy

Pine Mountain, KS -- Faced with an ongoing crisis of creativity, combined with a long-standing issues of idea plagiarism, several hundred Freemasons who are graphic designers and/or artists have formed a union in hopes to settle their differences, and get back to the business of trying to sell more products to an already saturated market.

Modeled on the old craft guilds, the union will have two classes of members, Guildmasters and Craftsmen. At this point, all of the members are Guildmasters, but that will change as other artists or designers join.

“We realized that there are only so many ways that you can put a Square & Compasses on a tie, a pin, or a T-shirt and pretend it’s original,” said GM Erroll Robertson. “We found that we spent so much time squabbling over little details that didn’t actually matter. Instead of arguing over who is stealing who’s design, we’re going to focus more on just marketing redundant designs to the rest of the Craft. If nothing else, marketing the same thing over and over again is a lot easier than trying to come up with something new and innovative. And let's face it--most of the Craft really won’t know the difference anyway.”

“Also, it’s getting more difficult for one person to come up with original pin ideas,” said GM Carlos Flynn. “We’re hoping that by pooling our talents, we can recycle a bunch of brothers' ideas for square & compasses lapel pins, two-ball canes, and all those other things that lodges like to give out to new Masons."

But the guild isn't shying away from all innovation. GM David Vivaldi, added: “We like innovation when it's easy and lucrative. Our first collaborative, innovative project is to come up with a list of Freemasonic mottos that sound deep and profound, but don’t actually mean anything after you think about them. We want to flood the market with these sayings so nobody has time to really give them any thought. Facebook seems to love those things, and they lead to a lot of T-shirt sales.”

The union, tentatively named The Freemason Graphic Designers & Artists Guild, will be announcing their mission statement as soon as they can all agree on a design for their website. GM Marvin Berry said, “It’s only been under development for a few months now, but hopefully we’ll reach some kind of agreement next year.”

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, January 4, 2016

New Years Initiative: Lodge Offers $1.00 Dues to Men Who Just Want the Association

Seattle, WA - Newberry Lodge is among a few in the district who are offering a new initiative. While lodge dues are going up all over the nation, Newberry’s are going down…for some. In a landmark move Newberry is offering $1.00 dues to men who have been long time members but do not attend.

John S. Ward, Worshipful Master said “We know they're out there, and we know they value the membership, but they don’t attend. So why make them pay for all the amazing things we’re doing in a lodge? They just want the membership, so they can pay for the $1.00 version.” Members taking on the $1.00 membership will of course get what they paid for, that being email notifications, robo-calls and a special dues card which signifies their member status or tier.

The idea of tiered Masonry is somewhat of a new concept that's being put in place. Members on the $1.00 plan will have restrictions, for instance; they must donate the required amount before eating, are not invited to special dinners and can not visit other lodges. “Folks complain about the dues being high, but they aren’t here to see what we do, so if they don’t see the value, they don’t want to pay for it. This solves it.” said WB. Ward.

Some members have complained that this is "unbrotherly", the idea of a tiered system, but when the lodge invited them to come out for the vote, they didn’t show.

Worshipful, Dr. Chaz Nagler, Esq. 49˚