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

Monday, August 8, 2016

UGLE Pro Grand Master makes Journalists Masons at sight and promptly expels them for unsavory journalism

London, UK - Freemasonry made the news again this week when Bro. Dieter Clowndes, the Pro Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE), made an editor and journalist of the UK tabloid known as The Independent Masons at sight, and not more than 30 seconds later expelled them both for "conduct unbecoming of a Mason." This expulsion from the fraternal organization is reportedly in connection with an unsavory article published by the tabloid the week prior, according to sources close to The Past Bastard.

A high-ranking officer in the Metropolitan Grand Lodge Lodge of London, who spoke to The Past Bastard on the condition of anonymity, attempted to explain the Grand Master's actions: "The article published by The Independent last week was a slap in the face to all brethren wheresoever dispersed. The officers of UGLE realized they couldn't punish the paper itself for its libelous article, so they decided the best course of action was to make a public display by raising Jamol Nahan, editor of The Independent, and Madame Lush, author of the article in question, at sight and immediately expelling them from the order."

The Past Bastard's anonymous source lauded the Pro Grand Master's actions, stating: "The United Grand Lodge of England has been pursuing a policy of openness with the press leading up to the 300th anniversary of its founding next year in spite of the libelous claims of devil worship, xenophobia, misogyny, political conspiracy, and Titanic wreck coverups promulgated by the hands of the UK media. We have to take a stand where we can, and that's exactly why the Pro Grand Master's actions were warranted, and should be applauded."

The Past Bastard assumes that the look given by former Bros. Nahan and Lush at the moment of their expulsion mirrored this one.
Not everyone, however, seemed satisfied with the Pro Grand Master's actions. Fellow Masons present at the ceremony described his actions as "not cricket" as former Bro. Nahan's and former Bro. Lush's quick dismissal precluded the journalists from taking part in dinner and libations at the festive board after the ceremony. Many of the older members, however, were seen to smile briefly--for the first time in years in some cases--at the irony. 

This writer of The Past Bastard wishes the UGLE well in their continued campaign against the mainstream media in advance of their tercentenary celebration next year. As the Masonic adage goes: If you can't beat 'em, make 'em join....and then expel 'em! 

The Past Bastard declined to reach out to the former brethren at The Independent for comment as the writers felt it would be inappropriate to engage in Masonic intercourse with those who have been expelled, especially for poor journalism.

- Dionysius Bacchus III

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Grand Lodge Officer Under Fire For Improper Ritual Storage

Richmond, VA - A high-ranking officer in the Grand Line in Virginia is coming under fire after reportedly being caught improperly storing a written copy of the Virginia Masonic ritual on an unsecured server. According to a report released by the Grand Lodge Committee on Jurisprudence, Right Worshipful Brother Joe Snow, Deputy Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Virginia and presumptive nominee for the position of Grand Master for 2017, was investigated for storing one of the only written copies of Virginia's ritual known to exist on a server in his home bathroom.

Bro. Johnathan Doe, Chairman of the Committee on Jurisprudence, spoke to The Past Bastard about the rationale for the investigation: "Virginia is widely known as a 'mouth-to-ear' state where Masonic ciphers and printed copies of the ritual are strictly forbidden. We were tipped off to the existence of Bro. Snow's unsecured server by our friends in the Grand Lodge of Russia, who expressed their concern over the perceived sloppy treatment of Masonic secrets on the part of the Deputy Grand Master. Naturally, we investigated straight away."

Despite the seriousness of the allegations, it would appear unlikely that the Bro. Snow will face any serious consequences: "The committee does not recommend Masonic charges to be filed against the Deputy Grand Master," Bro. Doe continued, "the Committee on Jurisprudence conducted a full investigation and, while we have found that Bro. Snow acted in a way that was extremely careless in the handling of Masonic secrets, we did not find clear evidence that he intended to violate the laws of the Grand Lodge. In fact, we aren't even certain that the Deputy Grand Master knew how to use the personal server he was storing underneath his bath towels. At any rate, the Deputy Grand Master's staff have said that it was a mistake to use a personal server, and have pledged not to do so again. We are glad that this matter is now resolved, and we want to emphasize that the actions of the Deputy Grand Master should not be held against him during the Grand Lodge elections later this year."

When asked about whether or not the leniency extended to the Deputy Grand Master would be a precedent extended to other brethren in the jurisdiction who might be harboring contraband rituals, Bro. Doe explained, "the Committee wants to make it clear that the outcome of this investigation and the recommendation of the Committee should not be taken as a precedent for those who might possess written rituals in the future. In fact, we will also be instituting a new technology policy immediately that governs when and how to discuss Freemasonry in general and matters of Masonic ritual in particular over e-mail and the internet and institutes strict consequences for those who fail to comply." 

Looking toward the future, Bro. Doe is optimistic that Grand Lodge will utilize the lessons learned from both this unpleasant oversight and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign to make positive changes. "The Committee is actively working with the Grand Lodge of Russia to identify and harden vulnerabilities within our Grand Lodge information technology systems. With the new policy and infrastructure hardening in place, the committee is confident that the brethren in this Grand Jurisdiction will be better equipped to safeguard Masonry's valuable secrets in the future, or suffer the severe consequences that will come with not doing so."

The Past Bastard reached out to Bro. Snow's America Online (AOL) e-mail account for comment, but received an automated "mailbox full" notification in response.

- SK Bro. Mason Burhmaster

Monday, August 1, 2016

Two and a half years found turning point in Masonic newb-ness

Choctaw Falls, AR -- Researchers at the United States Chamber of Freemasonry have released the results of a study which shows that the average amount of time when a new Mason thinks he knows everything is about two and a half years.

“Yes, it will vary from lodge to lodge,” explained Bro. Ledge Porter, “but generally speaking, sometime between two and three years, a Mason will suddenly believe himself to know just enough to start feeling a bit superior to the new candidates.” 

We asked about the paradox that contrasts the results of the study to the truism that Freemasonry is a lifelong learning process.

“Oh, no doubt that many of the guys don't’ actually believe that they know *everything.* But once they hit that critical juncture, they develop certain feelings of smugness that they are well advanced; in fact, enough so that they can even start making moral judgments on a new member’s behavior.”

Noting that many Masons are asked to join the officer line within their first few years, we wondered if there might be a connection.

“We haven’t seen a solid causal connection,” Porter said. “That is, we haven’t figured out if being a new officer makes one a bit of a moralizing ass, or if it takes two years in order to internalize the Masonic culture to the extent that one feels comfortable in making public corrections to the new guys.”

Porter added, “Of course, the smug satisfaction of correcting a newb in public is something that sticks with Masons throughout their Masonic career, so we don’t expect this research to lead to any cure. However, we think that this may have some usefulness, because some of those who hit this juncture are not only making judgments about new candidates, but also about older officers. We think that it may be possible, by examining such individuals, to identify future Grand Lodge officers.”

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro