Monday, September 25, 2017

Lodge protest ends in near tragedy

Dotage, AZ -- A proposal for an increase in lodge dues nearly ended in tragedy for several Past Masters of Adoniram Lodge, when several long time lodge members took offense to the increase.

"It was Brad that started it," said WB George Foreman, referring to WB Bradford Whitney. "I mean, the lodge dues have been sixty five dollars a year since we joined back in 1974, and none of us didn't see a good reason to raise them now. So, Brad decided to exercise his right of free speech, and 'took a knee' in the middle of lodge, like them football players been doing."

Most of the other Past Masters in attendance apparently followed suit to protest the $10 per year increase that had been proposed by the Treasurer, WB Hiram Walker. That's when the trouble started.

"After five or ten minutes of protest, I told them that we could table the motion and discuss it next year,' explained WB Walker. "That's when we discovered that those guys couldn't seem to unbend those knees, and were stuck on the floor."

Recognizing that there was a problem, WB Gabriel "Gabby" Johnson quickly closed the lodge in short form, and allowed the Tyler to call the Dotage paramedics.

The nine protesting Past Masters are all expected to recover.

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, September 18, 2017

New survey PROVES what makes a better Freemason. You'll never guess the secret.

New Haven, CT -- A new survey by leading poll researchers at Quinnipiac College proves what many people have long suspected about Freemasons. 

"I know it seems logical, but sometimes you need the data to back up belief," said RW Carmen Sandiego, Chairman of the Grand Lodge Masonic Research Committee. "We contacted one of the best known survey companies in the northeast, and pitched the idea to them. We spent maybe six months on this, and while we weren't totally surprised by the results, at least when somebody points it out, we can nod in agreement."

The Quinnipiac Survey Center contacted Freemasons in twenty different states across the US, and after they compiled the data, announced the result. 

"Oh, there's no question about it," explained Naomi Ruth, head of the newly founded Fraternal Organization Research department. "The more pins and medals one has, the more 'Masonic' a Freemason one becomes." 

She went on to explain: "There's a definite correlation between how many pins and related paraphernalia one acquires over the years, and how 'good' a Freemason you are. The best Masons have literally dozens of pins, many of which they can display right on their jackets."

RW Sandiego added, "There were a few other factors, like how many appendant bodies one belongs to, but since those bodies also supply pins, then it seemed to confirm our findings even more."

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro



Monday, September 11, 2017

Lodges turn to multi-level marketing to increase revenue

Battle Creek, MI -- Faced with dwindling or stalled membership numbers, and a resulting inability to pay for maintenance, repairs, or kitchen items, some lodges are turning to multi-level marketing in order to increase revenues without adding to the burden of increased dues and special assessments on already over-taxed members.

"I got the idea from my bother-in-law who hounds us every month to buy some kind of soap or dishwasher product," said WB Howard Jensen, Secretary of Nascent Lodge. "Eventually we just signed up to be distributors, but I don't have time for that kind of thing. It was more to get him off our backs."

But WB Jensen realized that similar tactics could be used to increase lodge revenues. "We signed up as a lodge, and started guilting the members to buy soaps, shampoos, cleaning products, and other little things. You know, the stuff that you'd be buying anyway. Eventually, most of them caved, and now we pull in almost triple what we pull in for annual dues."

WB George Stetson, Treasurer of Composition Lodge agrees. "We found that the pancake breakfasts were not making enough money after a few years, so we explored some options. I realized that my wife was always going to some 'dem party' every week, so we began to look at some of those pyramid marketing sales as a way to supplement the pancakes."

The income these lodges have been generating has even caught the eye of the Grand Lodge, which may soon look at buying into a MLM for the general fund.

With the number of different multi-level marketing companies, or MLMs (they prefer to avoid the term "pyramid")  out  there, how does a lodge pick one?

"We looked at half a dozen different companies, and spent some time trying to narrow it down to what we thought would generate small but consistent sales," explained WB Marion Kay, assistant Treasurer of Arbonne Lodge. "We decided that there would  only be so many bottles of vitamins, skin care, or plastic bowls to push on the members. That's why we went with Amway, it has a wide range of products, and is a trusted name in the business."

"Besides," he added, "we've even signed up a few of the members to sell under us, which just increases our profits."

--Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, September 4, 2017

Grand Lodge of Texas issues blanket dispensations for lodges not able to open

Mabellene, TX -- A number of lodges in the Houston and shoreline areas are flooded or literally under water this week in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and many Texas Freemasons, themselves, have taken part in the rescue and evacuation efforts during this time.

"We understand that many of our brothers are still reeling from this tragedy," declared Associate Grand Secretary, RW Wilbur O'Neal . "We wanted to reassure our members that the Grand Lodge will be issuing blanket dispensations for those lodges that can't open due to flooding or hurricane damage."

RW O'Neal did, however, remind the secretaries and masters of those lodges that they will still be required to file the paperwork with their District Officers as soon as possible. "We're trying not to cause any undue hardships, but a Grand Lodge can't operate unless all the paperwork gets properly filed. That's what Masonry is all about, you know?"

It is unclear at this time if the Texas Grand Royal Arch Chapter will issue similar dispensations.

~~~
The writers here at The Past Bastard offer our sincerest fraternal regards to our Texas brothern during this time. 

Monday, August 28, 2017

Millenial Masons get their Masonry Aude & Vide

Broken Arrow, OK -- Faced with a lack of older members in many lodges, younger Freemasons often feel like they are missing out on the proper Masonic culture that others take for granted around the US. That's why many Millennial aged Freemasons are turning to the internet for help.

"A lot of the lodges around here are filled with guys in their 20s and 30s, or maybe a few old timers who might be in their 40s. We no longer have that old-boy Masonic culture that we keep hearing about in other lodges," said WB Jimmy Dinkle. "I mean, a typical meeting here is pretty short because we've already emailed the PDF of the minutes to everyone, and most discussions about lodge business are happening over our Discord channel, so we've never had that thing about guys sitting around complaining about buying a new coffee maker or patching the parking lot or that kind of stuff."
Videos of older Freemasons complaining about
things is an important part of Masonic culture
that is on the verge of dying out.

"In order to not lose what the other guys think is an important part of lodge culture, we've been getting YouTube videos of those older guys in other lodges. You know, sitting around, having arguments over how much money to spend on the roof, complaining about how things were better in the old days, planning the fish fry dinners and pancake breakfasts. You know, Freemasonry like our grandfathers did."

WB Jimmy is in the process of starting a YouTube channel to store those videos to help other lodges with similar problems.

"It's obviously an important part of Freemason culture, and we need to do our best to preserve it," he said.

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, August 21, 2017

Scottish Rite NMJ to Fund Removal of Albert Pike Memorial


Lexington, MA—A spokesman from the Education Committee of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction announced today their commitment to a progressive society, one without the oppression and constant reminders of the Civil War. In a statement from Mike Blaterhorn, “The NMJ has for years strived to rid the Scottish Rite of the stigma and hard to understand rhetoric of Albert Pike. His old antiquated ideas and exaggerated, brainy commentary on degrees are boring and with the current situation in the country, the time has come to strike.”

This comes at a time when the United States is at odds with Neo-Nazi and White Nationalist groups which have been holding rallies all across the nation at sites of Confederate Generals and Southern War Heroes, many of which are scheduled to be removed or have already been taken down. The statue of Albert Pike which stands in Washington D.C. was a recent target of anti-fascist protest, not the first time. Whilst the city council and the mayor are in favor of the statues removal, Freemasons notably Archivist for the AASR SJ, Arturo de Hoyos, were quick to point out that the Albert Pike statue in question was not erected as a Civil War memorial. It was erected as a memorial to the poet, lawyer and promoter of Native American rights.

The NMJ spokesman was further quoted as saying, “We’ve told our members here in the NMJ to forget Pike, and that he’s no longer relevant. Even though Pike’s statue isn’t truly a memorial to a Confederate general, the public has no idea. Never let a tragedy go to waste. We’re in a financial position to erase a little more of Pike’s influence by funding the removal project. We propose melting it down for scrap metal to sell off and add some capital to our Almoners Fund.

-W:., Dr. Chaz Nagler, Esq. 49˚

Monday, August 14, 2017

Shocker! What Grand Lodge of Colorado changes "Pot of Incense" to is unbelievable!


Grand Junction, CO -- Freemasons in Colorado will soon be getting more than a "Rocky Mountain High" at lodge. The Grand Lodge of Colorado recently decided that the ancient Masonic symbol of the "pot of incense" -- a representation of prayers rising to Heaven -- will now be represented in lodge by a pot of  "pot."

"Hey, it's not grandpa's Freemasonry anymore," said District Deputy Grand Master Jackson Browne. "I'm pretty new at this, but I can tell you that I've visited a lot of lodges around the area, and a bunch of the younger guys were getting tired of sitting  around with the old-timers, drinking some cheap scotch, and talking about how much better things were in the old days. Now, at least, they come down to lodge and get mellow with each other, and leave with a lot of good and positive feeligns of brotherly love and affection. And isn't that what we're all about?"

Not everyone is so happy about the change, however.

"The millennials are killing everything," complained one old-timer who asked not to be named. "We used to come down to lodge, have a donut and a cup of coffee, then go upstairs to read some minutes and maybe have a degree once in a while. Now we have to breathe that Devil's weed smoke for an hour. GIves me a headache, it does."

The change comes along with a new title of "Lodge Dispenser," who will be in charge of acquiring the new "incense" and equipment for burning it.

The changes may be reviewed in the next year, though, because of unexpected expenses. "It's only been a couple of months," said Rocky Carrier, Junior Warden for Grand Junction Lodge, "but we've noticed a distinct uptick in our dinner costs. We may have to raise dues to cover the extra snacks that we're going through."

--
Dr. Dorian Dalton, Exalted Patron 102.5ยบ

Monday, August 7, 2017

Summer beach reading

It's time for summer vacation here at The Past Bastard media empire. Lodge, err, our offices have gone dark for the summer, and the ungrateful interns have departed for other environs. We, ourselves, have taken a couple of weeks for rest and refreshment by lazing around at the beach, in hopes to catch up on our reading and our investigation into the local microbreweries.

We're a bit peeved at one of our interns, however. He recommended reading something called "Haunted Chambers," which we assumed would be a brainless supernatural thriller. We are three quarters of the way through this book, and have finally given up hope for any decent plot. The story is very disjointed, and we are beginning to suspect that the title is supposed to be some kind of metaphor, and not to be taken literally at all. We're going to have sharp words with that intern when we get back to the office, let us assure you.

If any of you are looking for a good book for the summer, we suggest you look elsewhere. However, if you are interested in something that deals with fictional creatures, such as ghosts, chimeras, unicorns, or women Freemasons, there appears to be no end of that kind of nonsense available.

As for us, we intend to investigate as many more microbrews as time allows before we return to our labors.





Monday, July 17, 2017

COGMNA follows UGLE, drops OES

Breckenridge, CO - - One of the little known resolutions at the recent Conference of Grand Masters of North America was the agreement that American and Canadian Grand Lodges should become more like the United Grand Lodge of England.

"We've been independent for far too long," said RWB Donald Sniffgone, spokesperson for the Colorado Grand Lodge. "The different Grand Lodges around the US are starting to recognize how far apart that we have grown in terms of Masonic practices, and the only clear path is for us to give up our independent ways, and to start following whatever the United Grand Lodge of England does."

Accordingly, the Grand Lodge of Colorado has announced that the Order of Eastern Star will become a "clandestine" organization, and that the men in their grand jurisdiction will have to drop their memberships.

 "See, the UGLE doesn't recognize Eastern Star over in England," explained RWB Sniffgone. "The reasoning is unclear, but we think it's a smart move, since it keeps the men and women from mixing. I mean, ever been to a Star meeting? Or worse, one of their Grand Chapter meetings? The handful of men there all have this hollow-eyed stare, and the tension from the women is thick enough to cut with a Tyler's sword."
The Colorado Grand Lodge

The Past Bastard asked how the Grand Lodge would handle the break with the appendant order, especially since one of the requirements is that a Mason needs to be present at every meeting.

"Well, we don't expect much pushback from the men, but because of the requirement that a Mason be present at the Eastern Star chapter meetings, we've been trying to work our an arrangement with our counterparts in Larkspur. We're hoping that we can have some of their women co-masons available to sit in on those meetings in lieu of our men Freemasons."

Larkspur, Colorado is the headquarters of the newly renamed" The Honorable Order of Universal Co-Masonry," a Masonic order that is primarily women, but admits men.

"Ultimately, we're hoping that the Eastern Star women will turn their chapters into Co-Masonry lodges. Since we're not in amity, it means that our guys will be able to focus on our own Freemasonry, and not get sucked into those Star meetings any longer."

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro




Monday, July 10, 2017

Lodge turns to Clandestine Masonry for notoriety, book deals

Chicago, IL - Fueled by mainstream Masonry's high demand for speakers and authors who began their Masonic journeys in Clandestine Lodges, one lodge in Chicago is hoping to get a piece of the action by turning themselves clandestine. Duplicitous Lodge #2, now under the jurisdiction of the Most Worshipful Regular Chicago Grand Lodge Masonic Speakers For Hire, Inc, spent almost one hundred years as a lodge subordinate to the Grand Lodge of Illinois before the brethren came up with an idea to gain the lodge, and its members, more notoriety and standing within the greater Masonic community.

MW Bro. Joe Snow, former Master of Duplicitous Lodge and sitting Grand Master of the MWRCGL Masonic Speakers For Hire, Inc, gave an exclusive interview to The Past Bastard, albeit after the payment of a ridiculously high honorarium: "We here at Duplicitous Lodge realized there's a big market for mainstream Masons who started out clandestine to get paid to share their experiences. Former clandestine Masons go on podcasts, write books, and attend keynote speaking engagements at special lodge events and annual conferences worldwide. We felt that we'd have a lot to contribute to that market, so last week we formed our own Grand Lodge and took our entire lodge clandestine! We spent the past weekend doing all the things that clandestine Masons do like charging lots of money, beating each other with paddles, and scaring each other with fireworks. We're ready to come back into the regular Grand Lodge of Illinois fold, heal ourselves, and share our clandestine experiences with the world...for a small fee, of course."

When The Past Bastard asked MW Snow how he could be so sure the Grand Lodge of Illinois would accept Duplicitous #2 back into their fold, MW seemed sure an arrangement could be made: "We aren't certain the Grand Lodge even knows we're gone. Besides, the lodge brethren are all agreed that we'll be giving the Grand Lodge of Illinois a substantial break in speaker's fees over the course of the next year. It's a win-win."

-SK Bro. Mason Burhmaster

Monday, July 3, 2017

Grand Master moves to posthumously expel George Washington

Alexandria, VA - In a shocking turn of events, The Past Bastard has learned that Most Worshipful Vermin Crook, the Grand Master of Virginia, has put forward plans to posthumously expel George Washington from membership in Freemasonry. Sources close to the Grand Lodge, who spoke to The Past Bastard on the condition of anonymity, cite the strained relationship between the Grand Lodge and one of its subordinates, namely Alexandria-Washington Lodge #22, as the catalyst for the expulsion of the most famous American Freemason who ever lived: "Ever since Most Worshipful Crook busted in and took the Lodge's charter back in April, he's been trying to root out the cause of the Lodge's so-called 'deviant' behavior," said one source, "after he forcibly removed from office the AW-22 Worshipful Master, Senior Warden, Secretary, Treasurer, Almoner, Stewards, a bunch of past masters, and two non-masons who happened to show up for dinner, the Grand Master set his sights on Bro. Washington."

When The Past Bastard asked why the Virginia Grand Master felt it necessary to press charges against Bro. George Washington, our source replied: "There we two things working against Bro. Washington at that point. First, Most Worshipful Crook felt that Bro. Washington's reckless and rebellious lifestyle, as evidenced by his fighting against the British in the American Revolution, instilled a precedent for deviant behavior on the part of his future Lodge brethren. Second, Most Worshipful Crook feels that Bro. Washington should be held responsible as the founder of AW-22. We can't really blame the Grand Master for his position--these tensions wouldn't exist had the Lodge never been founded!"

"In the end," another anonymous source stated, "the Grand Lodge was left with few options. We could have suspended him and held a Masonic trial, but we all knew he wouldn't show up for it. The Grand Master decided we needed a clean break. He is looking forward to putting this unpleasantness behind him."


The Past Bastard reached out to the Grand Lodge of Virginia for comment, but the only response we received directed us to review the Grand Lodge's "Social Media, Public Relations, Information Technology, and the Internet is the Invention of Satan and You Should Never Ever Ever Use It" Policy and, to be honest, our writers had an easier time translating Morals and Dogma into Pig Latin than we did in deciphering that tome.

-Exalted Patron Doctor Dorian Dalton

Monday, June 26, 2017

Freemason University shut down by protesters

Akron, OH -- Self-described SRJWs (Scottish Rite Justice Warriors) have taken over Ohio's Freemason University, and have fielded a list of demands that need to be met before they allow the University to continue.

"First of all, there's way too much emphasis on all those dead white males in Freemasonry. We want to see more modern texts, with diverse authors," said a protester going by the name of "Hiram X." He declined to give examples or suggestions, claiming "It's not my job to educate you."

Other demands were equally as perplexing to university officials. "They asked us to stop serving green beans and potatoes with baked chicken, and to add some classes on such odd things as the history of the ritual. I mean, who thinks of crazy things like that?" asked university chairman Doug Darjeeling. "It's like they are asking us to teach that the UGLE doesn't own Freemasonry."

When The Past Bastard pointed out that the UGLE, does not, in fact, own Freemasonry, the chairman ended the interview, saying that we needed to educate ourselves before we could even think about reporting on such a story.

The Past Bastard also noted that Freemason University is an "online," or virtual learning center, a fact which did not seem to faze the protesters. "We're planning to wear our rings upside down, and to wear our aprons on the inside of our jackets, too" they told us. "If there is no one way to do Freemasonry, then all ways are good ways."

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro



Monday, June 19, 2017

He was a Mason since 2006 yet never went to lodge. The reason will astound you.

Windsor, ON -- Bro. Dick Johnson joined Stuart Lodge in the Windsor suburbs back in 2006. He has a perfect attendance record, but has never been to an entire meeting. It's not because he walks out; quite the contrary, Bro. Dick barely moves from his chair... as Tyler.
A small portion of Bro. Dick Johnson's sword collection.

"Oh, it's the greatest," Bro. Dick told The Past Bastard during an interview in the basement of his parent's suburban home outside of this Canadian city. "I mean, think about it: What other club can you belong to that would let you use a sword all the time?"

Dick Johnson is a bit of a sword aficionado, and told us that he has a different sword for every meeting of the year -- and then some.

"I can't give you a number because that changes weekly, but a few weeks ago it was almost 200. I have swords from all different eras, and while most are copies, I actually have a few historical pieces, although I just leave those in their cases and don't take them out much."

Bro. Dick has been a Tyler for his entire Masonic career.

"They asked me if I wanted to get into the officer line back when I joined. I thought about it for, like three seconds, and then asked if I could be a Tyler. He's the guy that sits outside the door with a sword, you know."  Bro. Dick became the Tyler that year. The Past Bastard asked if he had aspirations to any other position.

"Naw, none of those positions let you have swords, so they didn't seem very interesting to me. I did look into the Commandery thing, because I heard that they were Knights Templar," he told us.  "The real Templars had the most awesome swords, but those Commandery guys just have these flimsy little rapiers. They bend and they aren't very useful, and they won't allow you to use any real swords. What kind of knights are those, know what I mean?"

The Past Bastard asked Bro. Dick if he had any intention of moving into any of the other chairs.

"No, I'm not really interested in any position that doesn't involve swords, " he told us." I mean, I just really enjoy swords, you know?"

--Conte Calvino Gliostro




Monday, June 12, 2017

Caterers Confuse Local Lodge Members

Columbus, OH - Members of a local Masonic Lodge near Columbus, Ohio were left confused and befuddled last weekend when they were informed that the so-called catering company they had been using for Lodge dinners was in reality the local Court of the Order of the Amaranth, a Masonic appendant body. Bro. Joe Snow, Worshipful Master of Comestible Lodge No. 44, explained further: "We've used Amaranth as caterers for years. Nice ladies. Gave us the best price in town--we thought it was because their food, frankly, wasn't all that great. We kept them on because we all know, as long as there's green beans, Masons aren't picky. We couldn't believe it when someone told us they were actually a Masonic body. We had no idea."
Bro. Jonathan Doe, Senior Steward at Comestible Lodge, was left similarly puzzled by the revelation: "I guess it all makes sense. I mean, these ladies kept asking me to petition and I couldn't understand why I'd ever petition to join a catering company. I can't cook. That's why we outsource our Lodge dinners in the first place! I guess I'm going to have to figure out a way to remove that two-star Yelp! review I left them for the undercooked, under-seasoned chicken they served at last month's dinner."

Wor. Bro. Snow closed his interview with The Past Bastard by mentioning that this revelation, while confusing, won't likely cause him to change how Lodge dinners are run:"Look, the food is edible and those Amaranth ladies are nice enough. If anything, we'll probably have to pay them more now that we know they're connected to the Masons. We probably won't use them exclusively as they don't cook much outside of dry chicken and canned green beans. Our Senior Warden is trying to get us to branch out a bit more, so next month we're ordering Chinese from that 'Eastern Star' catering company down the street."

-SK Bro. Mason Burhmaster

Monday, June 5, 2017

Gay Masons turn to affinity lodges


Richmond, VA -- Despite being an organization that accepts men of all religious faiths, Freemasons have not been quite so accepting of men who have non-traditional sexual preferences. Facing expulsion if discovered to be "out," gay Freemasons in some areas of the US, desirous of being able to socialize together, have taken to forming affinity lodges as places where they can congregate and speak freely.

Affinity lodges have been common in the UK for years, and have recently gained a foothold in the US, with lodges forming around such interests as cars, fashion, sports, career choices, Crossfit, and other associations. With this in mind, a number of affinity lodges have been formed with the unspoken intention of attracting the handful of gay men that are in the fraternity.

"While some states are cool, we have to be careful in places like Georgia, West Virginia, Tennesee, and a few of the other states down in the Bible Belt," said Lee Beracchi, Worshipful Master of Outback Lodge in Richmond, "And of course, that goes for right here in Virginia, where about half the Grand Line wants to have us expelled. That's why we came up with the idea of creating a lodge where some of the boys can just attend without worrying about accidentally outing themselves. I knew of other such lodges in other states, so we started this one a few years ago."

The Past Bastard asked about the name.

"We picked 'Outback Lodge' because all the gay members drive Subaru Outbacks. In fact, you can pretty much count on anyone driving an Outback to be gay or lesbian," explained WB Beracchi. "It's not unusual for Subaru owners to have other kinds of get-togethers, so it was a perfect cover-up. It's kind of like a 'hankie-code' in that unless you happened to be in  on the knowledge, you wouldn't think twice about it."

WB Beracchi declined to give us details on how many members belonged to Outback Lodge, explaining that he didn't want to call undue attention to the lodge or its activities. "I will say, however, that we've got a surprising number of dual members from DC and Maryland," he told us. "So, hopefully those dues going into the Virginia Grand Lodge will be appreciated at some point, if you know what I mean."

WB Beracchi gave The Past Bastard a list of other such affinity lodges around the US, and we hope to visit and interview members as time allows.

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro






Monday, May 29, 2017

Local Tylers to get major upgrades

Phoenix, AZ - In light of recent terrorist threats against Masonic Lodges and the "to carry or not to carry" debates occurring in Masonic Lodges across the country, the Grand Lodge of Arizona has appealed to the US Air Force to upgrade and replace its Lodge Tylers...with armed drones. "We can't be too careful in this day and age," stated Bro. Joe Snow, spokesperson for the Grand Lodge of Arizona, "our tylers are obsolete. They're usually crusty, 80-year old Past Masters and all we give them for protection is a rusty old sword that they're too infirm to lift half the time. This is not a way to protect our brethren from those terrorists who seek to destroy us."

Bro. Snow remarked that the Grand Lodge had yet to receive a response from the USAF, but he remains hopeful that an agreement can be arranged that will provide increased security--both personally and fiscally--to Lodges across the jurisdiction. "If those Customs and Border Patrol types can use drones to protect our borders, I don't see why we can't use the same methods to keep off the terrorist cowans who want to steal our secrets and attack our buildings."

Cowan identified and engaged!
Bro. Snow closed his conversation with The Past Bastard by explaining that the decision to replace Lodge Tylers with autonomous drones might have fiscal benefits as well. "When you think about it, most of our Tylers don't pay dues. Hell, we even pay a handful of them. Replacing them is a logical step toward better Lodge stewardship inside and out. It's a win-win."

-SK Bro. Mason Buhrmaster

Monday, May 22, 2017

Grand Lodge Announces "Celebrating the Kraft"

Northfield, IL - Not to be outdone by the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite Southern Jurisdiction, which held its annual "Celebrating the Craft" event--a combination telethon and talent show, slapped together with the special effects and charisma of a rerun of the "700 Club"--this past weekend, the Grand Lodge of Illinois has announced its very own annual celebration. Entitled "Celebrating the Kraft," this event reportedly showcases that which truly makes Masonry great--its food. Bro. Joseph Snow, spokesperson for the Grand Lodge of Illinois, spoke to The Past Bastard on this historic undertaking: "We've partnered with the Scottish Rite Northern Masonic Jurisdiction to celebrate Freemasonry in our own way. We realize that most Masons really show up because of the food, and Kraft dinners are a staple cuisine served at Blue Lodge and Scottish Rite functions across the state."

"After all," Bro. Snow continued, "Freemasonry's really about coming together to break bread with your brethren, regardless of what those 'observant' types tell you. If we can celebrate the Kraft dinners that bring our brethren together and make a buck or two for charity at the same time, then I'd say we've got something great going!"

The inaugural event is reportedly being planned for early December, to coincide with the founding of the now-defunct Kraft Foods Inc. company back in 1923. "Preparations are already under way!," Bro. Snow continued, "We've partnered with Illustrious Brother Alan Foulds, editor of The Northern Light, on a new book project that will be ready by December, and available exclusively to those who participate in our inaugural 'Celebrating the Kraft' event. Tentatively titled 'Observing the Kraft,' Bro. Foulds will be presenting his best practices for Lodge dinners by cobbling together Kraft Foods recipes from across the country! Remember, if it isn't Kraft, then it's just a distraction."

-SK Bro. Mason Buhrmaster
-Knight Kadeuch, Kennedy MacFaulty, 69˚ of the Mediocre Elu

Monday, May 15, 2017

PAID ADVERTISEMENT: What to do with bored Freemasons? Send them to a week at Camp Pike!

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Wives, girlfriends, mothers, and significant others - is your little Freemason bored? Tired of seeing him mope around? Would you like to get him out of your hair for a while?

Send him for a week at CAMP PIKE, the adventure camp for Freemasons!

Located in the scenic Appalachian Hills in Virginia, CAMP PIKE has become the premier summer vacation site for Freemasons of any and every age.

Below is a sample schedule. Your little Freemason will be thrilled to share these Freemason activities with other Freemasons:


Sunday
Arrivals and Sign In 
Cabin Assignments
Free Time: Explore the Camp, and
Meet Your Bunkmates
Dinner
Evening Discussion:  Are Grand Lodges Obsolete?

Monday
Full English Breakfast
Free Time
Group Swim
Lunch Break
Daily Seminar: Craft, Chapter, and Council Degrees
Group Swim
Dinner
Evening Discussion: Clandestine Masons
Bonfire

Tuesday
Full English Breakfast
Choice of Crafts (painting, carving, sculpting)
Lunch Break
Daily Seminar: Scottish Rite Degrees (SMJ)
Exercise (calisthenics or rock climbing)
Dinner
Evening Discussion: membership retention
Bonfire

Wednesday
Full English Breakfast
Nature Hike
Lunch Break
Daily Seminar: Appendant Bodies
Exercise (calisthenics or free weights)
Dinner
Evening Discussion: Youth Groups - Are they worth the trouble?
Bonfire

Thursday:
Full English Breakfast
Crafts: Pottery or Candle Making
Lunch Break
Daily Seminar: AMD & Those Other Weird Degrees
Exercise (calisthenics or free swim)
Dinner: Haggis & Scotch Tasting
Evening Discussion: Open Discussion (No Religion or Politics)
Bonfire & More Scotch Tasting

Friday
Continental Breakfast*
Free Time
Lunch Break
Daily Seminar: Memphis-Misraim & those other degrees COR has locked up
Exercise: Free Swim
Dinner
Evening Discussion: Dues: How and When to Raise Them
Bonfire

Saturday
Full English Breakfast
Pack up for dismissal
Lunch
Final Goodbyes

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Monday, May 8, 2017

Grand Lodge California Allows State Pen Lodge U.D.

Avenal, CA- In a move to deliver Masonry to an untapped market, the Grand Lodge of California has granted dispensation to Avenal Prison Lodge U.D. The move comes in the wake of a nearly 5% loss in membership year over year. "In a state where the the prison population eclipses 200,000, we would be foolish not to put our stake down as the premier fraternal organization for correctional officers and prisoners." Duane Canfield, RWDGM. In some jurisdictions, felony convictions do not bar a man from joining the Freemasons. Duane explained "That is left up to the lodges to decide. And besides, we can all think of one or two Masons who should be expelled but who's indiscretions have managed to skirt the public eye. Where's the harm?"

Since granting the dispensation to meet, APL has seen an unprecedented number of petitions and are on track to Raise more than twice the amount of Master Masons as the next closest lodge this year. "I don't much like basketball or lifting weights but I look forward to bringing my single letter key into the yard to brush up on my Senior Deacon's lecture." says inmate Brother James Hall, who’s currently serving 15 years for violating parole and felon possession of a firearm. "I could request an early release on good behavior but the green beans are great and I hope to learn all the lectures so that I can sit for my exam once released." James is currently serving as Junior Deacon in the progressive line of APL and hopes to sit in the East before his sentence is up.

The Grand Lodge of California believes that, in addition to the per capita boost it will receive, it is providing a much needed relief to those working in California State Penitentiary system. Both the guards and inmates relish the opportunity to meet upon the level. "I come to work with a sense of safety knowing that my Brothers are all watching my back." admits Lt. Antonio Caballero. "Handing the gavel to an inmate really teaches us a much needed lesson in humility and subordination." Brother Antonio has donated the entire collection of Manly P. Hall's writings which now comprises the largest of such collections in any penitentiary library the world over.

When asked, do we let just anyone in? the Right Worshipful responded "Of course not! According to the ancient landmarks of the Fraternity, the lunch ladies are not eligible for Masonic membership but we are in discussions with the OES to establish a sister chapter." (Quote) "We believe the next step is establishing an DeMolay in the youth facilities will be beneficial to the Craft." APL is hosting it first Pancake breakfast at the end of the month to raise money to fund the startup of the youth organizations at "CHAD" in the fall.

--Worshipful Dr. Chaz Nagler, Esq 49˚

Monday, May 1, 2017

Grand Lodge of Rhode Island turns to virtual worlds to increase membership


Cranston, RI - Faced with declining memberships and higher costs, the Grand Lodge of Rhode Island has issues that are familiar to many other Grand Lodges across the United States and Canada. However, with only two dozen active lodges, they are hit particularly hard by the drop in resources. But now, after several years of trying various ideas to increase membership, Rhode Island may have come up with the perfect solution. 

"You see, a lot of the younger guys that might be interested in Masonry are doing something else with their time," said WB Mike Teavee, as we sat in his lodge at the outskirts of Cranston. "And for most guys my age, that 'something else' is playing video games. So, with the permission of the Grand Master, I've been recruiting online." 

In Facebook, MySpace, or Google Plus groups?

"Oh, not at all," explained WB Teavee. "We've gone on to the next level for online Freemasonry, by chartering lodges in the various online game universes. We started with Minecraft because, well, I run my own server. We now have a dozen lodges, and the membership is increasing at almost ten times the rate as our real life lodges."


This reporter for The Past Bastard was surprised that they could get enough interest from gamers to attend, but WB Teavee claimed that since many gamers spend hours each night, digging or wandering around (virtually,of course), that it's actually relaxing to spend fifteen or twenty minutes at a lodge meeting once in a while. 

Only fifteen minutes?

"Well, sure, you don't think that we waste a half hour reading the minutes and all that, do you?" WB Teavee explained that they had dispensation to skip the minutes, the opening introductions, and the closing remarks from the DDGMs. "Do you realize how much of a time suck just those three things are? We discovered that an actual lodge meeting, unless you have a degree, is about ten, maybe twenty minutes, tops." 

When we asked if they weren't concerned about other Grand Lodge encroaching on their territory, WB Teavee explained "The virtual world is essentially infinite. And if Minecraft starts to get crowded, we're thinking about setting up some lodges in No Man's Sky," he said. 


Monday, April 24, 2017

Masonry fuels his passion... for collecting

Latrobe, PA - Carl "Crackers" Graham knows all about the need to subdue one's passions. But it's obvious he ignores that. 

"Collecting Masonic memorabilia is my life," he told us. "It's a great way to connect with people across distance and time."

Carl became interested in Freemasonry after going through his grandfather's effects after his passing several years ago. "I found all these pins and badges hidden in a box, and discovered that they all had something to do with Freemasonry. So, I joined the lodge here in town, and right after I was raised, I started collecting my own set."

Over the last five years, Carl, who has never been an officer, has collected sixty three different rings. "The most I've been able to wear at one time was thirteen. I know it's an odd number, but my fingers were starting to swell up." He has also managed to collect three hundred and fourteen Grand Master's pins from forty six different states. "You'd think that Alaska or Hawaii would have been the hardest, but they were pretty cool. Arkansas and West Virginia didn't respond to any of my emails, I'm not sure why." 
A portion of the basement storage
for Carl's collection of
Masonic items. 


He has also managed to collect a variety of Masonicly marked pendants, golf ball markers ("I can't believe there would be so many different ones."), pens, paper weights ("I'm guessing these were more common before the days of air conditioning."), and surprisingly, a stapler. 

The Past Bastard asked him about clothing. "Naw, I don't bother with that. Hoodies, tee shirts, jackets, those are pretty common. I mean, I have a Loyalhanna No. 275 polo shirt, but that's because they give those to you when you join. I prefer to keep my collecting to less common items."

Carl says that he spends a lot of time, energy, and of course, money on collecting Masonic trinkets. "Yeah, I estimate that I've spent about eight, maybe nine thousand dollars on all these items," he said as he showed us his basement full of storage cabinets. "I spend a few hours on Ebay every night, looking for odd things. And I probably spend several more hours every weekend, unpacking cataloging, and filing those things away."

Ironically, with the amount of time and money spent on his hobby, Carl rarely attends lodge anymore. "Yeah, the last time I went, a couple of years ago, it was to protest a fifteen dollar a year dues increase from $75 up to $90," he told us. "I mean, do those guys think the rest of us are made of money?"


-- Conte Calvino Gliostro 

Monday, April 17, 2017

Journal of Masonic Research publicly calls out rival publication, incites feud

Alexandria, VA -- In an unprecedented breach of propriety, this month's issue of the Journal of Masonic Research carried an article that calls out the Masonic Research Journal for "failing to advance actual Masonic research in favor of publishing opinion pieces by the latest celebrity Freemasons."

The long-simmering feud between the older and more established Journal of Masonic Research, and the newer Masonic Research Journal began several years ago when the Masonic Journal of Research began soliciting articles by authors in the Traditional Observance and Masonic Restoration movements. The Journal of Masonic Research contends that the Masonic Journal of Research articles tended to take vaguely derogatory swipes at the more traditional practices of American and even English Freemasonry. The Masonic Journal of Research, on the other hand, has contended that traditional practices have been the cause of the slow decline in the quality of Freemasonry in the US and UK.

The article, written by the publishers for the April issue, takes aim at what they term "the speculative opinion pieces" by such authors as Bob Listener and Clayton Mallet for having no actual research behind them, and are simply "advancing a cult of personality for the purpose of more book sales."

Many Freemasons have taken to online forums to express surprise that the Journal of Masonic Research would "air their dirty laundry in public" by allowing their differences to surface in print.

"Sure, there have always been differences and disagreements in how we think Freemasonry should be approached," reads one anonymous comment. "But when they start taking shots at each other in public, then they are acting like cheap AMORC students."


No word if the Masonic Journal of Research will respond in kind.

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, April 10, 2017

"Error in printing" causes confusion in the craft of Connecticut, ends in election of new grand line

Norfolk, CT -- Over two hundred Connecticut Freemasons descended on this small town in the hilly northwest corner of the state to convene the 228th Grand Lodge Annual Communication, held at the Infinity Hall - a historic, old building in the center of town. This would have been of little note, except that the actual Grand Lodge Communication was to have been held at the newer, centrally located Infinity Theater in downtown Hartford, in the capital city.

Connecticut does not have a Grand Lodge building that is capable of hosting any events of this size, and the Annual and Semi-Annual communications have always been held at other venues, ranging from larger Masonic temples in the state to hotels and convention centers. In what is being blamed on "an error in printing," the notices sent out to the various lodges, members, and committees inexplicably listed the historic building in Norfolk as the venue for the 2017 Annual Communication.

"Oh, sure, some of us were a little miffed by it," said Past DDGM Chester Cabot. "I mean, not that Connecticut is a huge state, but Norfolk is about as far from civilization as you can get. The guys from Thompson and Stonington took almost three hours to get there."
The historic Infinity Hall in Norfolk, Connecticut, was the
venue for the 2017 Grand Lodge Annual Communication
at which an entirely new Grand Line was elected.

Complicating matters is that the Grand Lodge officers and a few staff members were, themselves, waiting at the Infinity Theater in Hartford, while delegations from the Order of Eastern Star inexplicably ended up at the Xfinity Convention Center in downtown Hartford.

When nobody else showed up by 8:30 am for the 9:00 am start time, the Grand Master asked the other officers to start making some phone calls. Unfortunately, the hilly and sparsely populated corner of the state made for almost non-existent cell phone reception.

With no actual Grand Lodge officers present by 9:00 am, the lodge members in attendance decided to convene the Grand Lodge anyway.

"I hate to say it, but this was probably the most efficient Grand Lodge Communication we've ever had," said Norton Rockefeller, Past District Ritualist. "Without needing to spend an hour introducing the Grand Poobahs, and visitors from other states, and especially all those Grand Eastern Star ladies, we were able to open the Grand Lodge and get down to business in no time."

The first order of business was to elect a new Grand Line, most of whom were Past Masters, and a couple being Past DDGMs. The biggest surprise, however, was the almost unanimous election of Peter Edwards, a fairly new Master Mason from New Haven.

Infinity Theater in Hartford, which was the original
venue for the Grand Lodge Annual Communication
"I'm honored by the confidence that all of my brothers have in me," said MWB Edwards afterward. "I want them to know that I'm going to rescind a lot of those rules and regulations that we've built up over the years, and we're going to get back to old fashioned Freemasonry." Grand Master Edwards also declared that he would move the Grand Lodge offices to New Haven, to be closer to his law practice.

The previous Grand Line officers have reportedly said that they will contest the election, but have not returned any calls or emails from The Past Bastard writers.

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro









Monday, April 3, 2017

Order of DeMolay takes step toward transgender equality

Kansas City, MO - In an attempt to keep pace with the Boy Scouts of America, who earlier this year opened their membership to transgender boys, the Order of DeMolay this morning issued a proclamation as its first step toward transgender equality by unilaterally declaring that, effective immediately, boys and men in the Order will be allowed to wear kilts to all DeMolay-sponsored events. Bro. Joe Snow, Director of Membership for DeMolay International, spoke to The Past Bastard about this landmark policy: "We here at DeMolay realize that the world is changing. The absolutes that we've held to since time immemorial aren't quite so absolute, at least to everyone, anymore. While we must tread this new ground cautiously as to not go against the good Christian principles upon which the Order was founded, the leadership here has judged that young men can indeed be taught to be better persons and leaders whilst not wearing pants."

When The Past Bastard asked Bro. Snow how wearing a kilt, a piece of Scottish garb traditionally worn by men, would further transgender equality in the Order, Bro. Snow replied: "It's all about opening our membership up wider than we are right now. These people who are confused about their gender might not be comfortable wearing men's clothing all the time. We want to welcome them regardless of their fashion tastes and let them know we're open-minded as an organization and brotherhood."

While many Masons and DeMolay members were supportive of the Order's proclamation of openness, some were blindsided by the now-apparent connection between kilt wearing and transgender equality. Bro. Jonathan Doe, member of Tuxedo Lodge No. 20 in Kansas City, remarked:  "I just thought figured Masons who wore kilts to Lodge were just weirdos. I didn't realize they were making a blasphemous statement against God-given traditional gender roles! I'm boycotting Burns' Suppers from now on."

When asked if females who identified as male and were taking steps to transition could join the Order, Bro. Snow replied: "Of course not! DeMolay is for men. They could always join the Order of the Eastern Star instead if they wish. I can get them a petition!"

-SK Bro. Mason Burhmaster

Monday, March 27, 2017

British Freemasons disappointed that "A Day Without A Freemason" did not go as planned.

York, England - Hoping to capitalize on the publicity of similar recognition days, such as "International Woman's Day," and to also generate publicity for the upcoming 297th anniversary of Grand Lodge Freemasonry in the UK, The Provincial Grand Lodge of Yorkshire planned and organized "A Day Without A Freemason" to help the public understand just how vital Freemasons continue to be in our modern society.

"We thought that if we had a day with no Freemasons around, that people would see the impact, and from there, maybe have some understanding of who we are, and how many Freemasons they probably know but aren't aware of," said Very Worshipful Jack Gyllenhall, Provincial Grand Master at Yorkshire. "So, we picked a day in March, I think it might have been the 14th, and we tried to get the word out for all of us to take the day off. And it probably would have had more impact, if Danny boy had gotten those postcards out."

VW Gyllenhall was referring to the Provincial Grand Secretary, Daniel Chalmers.

"You know, I've got about as much work as I can handle already, what with all these reports that they make us file, and the ledgers that we need to turn in, and whatever else they expect us to be doing with no help around here," said RW Chalmers. "If he wanted them mailed out in March, he should have given them to me back in January, he should."

The other organizers managed to contact other members via telephone and emails, and asking those members to spread the word. Some of the younger members with cell phones even started a Twitter hashtag: #ADayWithoutAMason

"Oh, a bunch of us stayed out, we did," said VW Gyllenhall. "The trouble started the next day when people asked me if I had been out on holiday, and not to worry because they had shifted my office work to one of the interns, who had actually done a great job of it. Then my boss asked me into his office and mentioned that I was getting to the age where I needed to start thinking about retiring."

The Past Bastard interviewed several other sources in the Yorkshire area, most of whom hadn't realized that the Freemasons were not out and about that day. And while it might seem that the event had been a waste of time, it seems that it wasn't all for naught.

"Oh, yes, we noticed there wasn't any of the usual chaps," said Reggie Barrows, manager of the Freemasons Arms Pub in Nosterfield."Usually we can count on draining a couple of bottles of the better stuff on a lodge night," he told us."But last Tuesday we sold nary a drop. I think we even sent some of the girls home early. Not having Freemasons around sure makes a difference to us."

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, March 20, 2017

Job's Daughters International issues new trademark infringement lawsuit

Papillion, NE - This week, the leadership of Job's Daughter's International, still bitterly waging a litigation war against a clothing designer in Washington State, announced its intent to serve a summons to none other than the Great Architect of the Universe (GAOTU)--known colloquially as "God"--for trademark infringement due to the Biblical story of Job. Sources close to JDI Supreme Headquarters, who spoke to The Past Bastard on the condition of anonymity for fear of being shunned and summarily expelled from the order without just cause, stated that the JDI leadership has their eyes on the Bible for quite some time: "Job's Daughters leadership is well aware that the Bible printing industry is the most profitable book industry in the world. They feel that, as trademark holders to the Job name and story, they should receive their fair share or, if all else fails, get the Book of Job removed from the Bible altogether. They find it offensive that God is profiting off of their intellectual property, and they want to put an end to it."
The Past Bastard reached out to the JDI Supreme Headquarters in Nebraska for comment. Bro. Joe Snow, spokesperson for the JDI Supreme Headquarters, remarked: "This case is quite clear. Job's Daughters International owns all trademarks and copyrights to the name and story of Job. It doesn't matter if God had the story written down first; the fact of the matter is He didn't copyright it and we did. I'm afraid He really doesn't have a leg to stand on."

When asked about the Job's Daughters' desire to remove the Book of Job from the Bible, Bro. Snow explained: "Of course we don't want to eradicate the story of Job. We simply want to limit the availability of unauthorized versions. The myriad different translations of the Bible that exist today dilute the true story of Job and really make it difficult for our girls to memorize their ritual. After this mess is behind us, we here at Job's Daughters promise that anyone who wants to read the Book of Job will be able to purchase the Official Licensed Edition(TM) from our e-commerce site!"

-SK Bro. Mason Buhrmaster

Monday, March 13, 2017

GL of Ohio to honor 300th anniversary of Freemasonry by streamlining ODC degree ceremonies

Dayton, OH -- In a bold and controversial move to honor of the 300th anniversary of the formation of the first known Grand Lodge in 1717, the Grand Lodge of Ohio is not only planning their biggest ever "Grand Master's One Day Class;" but the degrees themselves will be "streamlined" in order to accommodate the incoming members.

"We've done a lot of one day degrees, probably more than any other state, and we found that a lot of the guys coming in were losing attention with all the stuff we were throwing at them," explained RW Steve Garvey, the Grand Lodge Publicity Spokesperson. "By the end of the day, they hardly retained anything. Half, maybe three quarters of them always have that 'deer in the headlamps' look, so we figured that the best thing to do would be to cut out the unimportant parts and just have one big degree."

The Past Bastard questioned RW Garvey on shortened degrees.
Grand Lodge of Ohio at the Dayton Masonic Center

"We all know that there's a lot of repetitious stuff in the degrees, and that there's some stuff that doesn't really add anything," he told us. "What we did was remove some of the longer lectures, like that staircase thing. Nobody really listens to the whole thing anyhow. Then we realized that there was no sense in having three different obligations, so we're just giving them the Master Mason one. And we're combining all the working tools into one big set that we call 'The Working Toolbox.' And if we're only giving them one obligation, there's no sense in having them walk around three different times, so we're going to settle on circumnavigating just three times."

The Grand Lodge figures that by consolidating the rituals and ceremonies into one big degree, they can save between two and three hours on the One Day Class.

"If this works out, then we're going to look at possibly having a morning session and an afternoon session for our next Grand Master's One Day Class," said RW Garvey. "Our goal is to make things easy enough so that a lodge never has to put on their own set of degrees again."

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, March 6, 2017

Grand Lodge of Texas grants charter for new "Affinity Lodge;"

Fort Worth, TX - Affinity lodges -- lodges in which the members share a particular interest outside of Freemasonry -- have long been common in the UK and are recently growing in popularity in the US. In many states, it's not unusual to find affinity lodges in which the members go to the same university, work in the same field, or share common interests such as motorcycling, music, cigars, or Crossfit®. One such lodge is currently being formed in Texas.

"I was talking to a couple of other brothers that I had met in my area, and we realized that we had a lot in common, and we started exploring the idea of starting a lodge just for guys like us," said WB Lee Carrington. "We wanted a lodge where guys who were 60 years old, conservative, gun-owning, patriotic, and who enjoyed beer and barbecue could go and just be themselves, know what I mean?"

And with that simple precept in mind, the idea for a new lodge was born.
Republican Lodge (U.D.) prepares for their first meeting,
and  hopes to attract new members with
similar interests.

"You know, a lot of Freemasons are young, tech-savvy computer jocks, but we wanted to have a lodge for older guys who aren't hip to all that computer stuff. We just like the simple things, like target shooting, fixing up our cars, and having a pig roast on the weekends," explained WB Robert "Bobby" Ewing. "When we met up with a few other brothers who had the same interests, we thought 'Why not?' and started checking with our Grand Lodge. Fortunately, the District Officers all happened to be like minded, and offered to help out as much as they could. I think that a few of them might end up joining once we get our charter approved."

The Past Bastard followed up with district officer RWB Richard Channing.

"At first it seemed like an unusual request, but then when we thought about it, we thought that maybe it would help promote some brotherhood. So, we gave them our blessing, and they've done a great job in getting it set up and organized."

WB Carrington is pretty excited about the new lodge. "Right now we're just 'Republican Lodge UD', that means 'Under Dispensation.' We'll have a year to get our act together, and try to attract the minimum amount of  24 members. I'm hoping that with such a narrow range of interests it won't be a problem," he said.

--Conte Calvino Gliostro


Monday, February 27, 2017

The Masonic family that plays together, stays together

Piscataway, NJ -- While many Masons have a difficult time explaining to their wives that they are headed out yet again for another lodge function, Peter Johnson has no such problem. In fact, he thinks that he's found the solution to those family squabbles.

"Yeah, a couple of years after I joined and was made Junior Warden, my wife started giving me a hard time about how often I was down at lodge, you know? But, hey, degree practice, building committee meetings, district meetings, plus Scottish Rite, Chapter meetings, and all that other stuff adds up, you know? I mean, it's not like I planned to be out four of five nights a week, you know? But after a year or two of nagging, I figured that I had to take some drastic steps to save my marriage, you know? So I had this idea, right? I got my wife to join Star."

Peter convinced his wife Dottie, that if the both of them joined the OES chapter that met in his lodge on Thursday evenings, that they would have a lot more time to spend together. However, as she progressed through the ranks, Dottie found herself at home less frequently, and was often out on different nights than Peter.

"I really hated to complain about Peter being out so often as I started working my way through those chairs, and the next thing you know, I was so involved that neither of us were ever home on the same nights," she said. "I started to feel guilty about the kids, so we got Howie involved with the DeMolay chapter that met at the lodge on Tuesdays, and convinced Gabriella that she needed to join the Rainbow Girls chapter that met on Wednesdays."

While many families would have had concerns about being out so frequently, Peter and Dottie came to realize that their infrequent home life was having a positive affect on their marriage.

Representation only, as the Johnson family could  not be
photographed together for this article. 
"I mean, you'd think that we would have been arguing more, you know? But me and Dottie both noticed that we were fighting a lot less, what with not being around each other, you know? And the kids! Turns out that the kids started doing better in school, mainly because they were around other adults and peers who could help them with their homework, you know?"

While neither Peter nor Dottie recommend this a solution for everybody, the both of them agree that it's worth trying for at least a few months, especially as guys get more involved into the appendant bodies.

"I was just made Grand High Priest, and Dottie is now Grand Worthy Matron," said Peter. "Between that and the different Rainbow and DeMolay visits, we haven't all seen each other in almost seven months. Doing things separately has made our family a lot stronger, you know?"

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro








Monday, February 20, 2017

Grand Lodge pulls recognition from Cuba after negotiations stall over "clandestine" cigars

Havana, Cuba - Relations between the Grand Lodge of Cuba and the Grand Lodge of Florida are on the rocks again as the Grand Lodge of Florida last week rescinded recognition of the Grand Lodge of Cuba, reportedly due to stalled negotiations on the quality of Cuban cigars delivered to the Grand Lodge of Florida as part of the original terms for recognition. Sources close to the Grand Lodge of Florida, who spoke to The Past Bastard on the condition of anonymity, stated: "Well, the Grand Lodge of Florida only recognized them [the Grand Lodge of Cuba] in the first place because they promised to provide a steady influx of Cuban cigars for our Grand Lodge Smoker events. Lots of money to be made with high-class Smoker events. But when our first 'shipment' arrived, it was full of counterfeit cohibas that were clearly made in Florida and tasted like wet cardboard. The Smoker event was a disaster. We ran out to get some backup cigars, but Swisher Sweets just don't pair well with Glenlivet."

Brethren who attended the Smoker event have reportedly taken to labeling these goods as "clandestine cigars." Brother Joe Snow, spokesperson for the Grand Lodge of Florida, stated that the Grand lodge simply didn't see any option besides pulling recognition: "Ultimately, we had to cut our ties with the Grand Lodge of Cuba. We've been dealing with these so-called 'clandestine' Cuban cigars here for years. Part of our negotiation with the Grand Lodge of Cuba was that we wouldn't have to worry about conterfeit cigars ever again, because they'd be supplying us with a steady supply of the real thing. After the first botched shipment, it was made clear to us that the Grand Lodge of Cuba has no intention of assisting us in shutting down these clandestine fumatory activities."

With the restoration of diplomatic relations between the United States and the island nation of Cuba that occurred in 2015, many brethren hoped that years of fraternal amity might follow. Unfortunately for now, those hopes seem to have gone up in smoke.

-SK Bro. Mason Burhmaster

Monday, February 13, 2017

Grand Lodge of Nebraska directs Masons impoverished by dues increases to seek state aid

Valentine, NE -- A per-member fee increase by the Grand Lodge of Nebraska, and subsequently passed on from the lodges to the individual members, has impoverished so many Freemasons in the state that the Grand Lodge is now working with the Nebraska Department of Social Services in order to expedite state aid for those Masons who are near bankruptcy from the added financial burden.

"Those idiots down at Grand Lodge must think that we're all Rockerfellers or something," complained WB John Wayne Stacey. He took a sip of his frappaccino and stared off into the distance for a moment. "I'm a five time Past Master of my lodge," he said. "I swear to God Almighty that this ain't right! Somebody needs to look into how those Grand Lodge guys are frittering away our money."

WB Stacey was among several hundred Nebraska Freemasons who swarmed district NDSS offices to apply for state aid, in hope of staving off home foreclosures, bankruptcies, and repossessions in the wake of the dues increases across the state.

The Past Bastard caught up with RWB Israel Johannson outside the Prairie Ridge Mall. We sat on the tailgate of his 2016 F350 "Dually" and sipped some Zipline micro-brew ale.

"You know, I've been paying $48 a year since I was raised," he said. "I'm coming up on my 25 year pin this August, and springing an increase like this on us, without no warning, is just unfair."

Ostensibly to pay for maintenance, repairs, and some office supplies, the Grand Lodge passed a $10 per capita increase, which could either be absorbed by the lodges, or passed on as a dues increase. Many lodges, facing their own need for building upkeep, took the opportunity to add yet another $5 for that purpose, and passed the entire $15 cost onto the lodge membership. The shock of such a large and unprecedented dues increase has caused many members to consider leaving the fraternity altogether.

Indeed, so many Nebraska Freemasons claimed that such exorbitant increases would leave them destitute, the Grand Lodge contacted the Department of Social Services to expedite financial aid to the Craft. We talked to one brother who was leaving his local office, paperwork still in hand.

"Our lodge was already one of the ritzier lodges at $65 a year," said misty-eyed WB Will Hosmer. "I'm the fourth generation of Freemason in my family, but if I've gotta pay $80 a year, I may have to really think about whether it's worth that expense."


--Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, February 6, 2017

Grand Lodge of Arkansas announces travel ban on foreign jurisdictions

Hermitage, AR --  Citing concerns that visitors from outside the state might inform the membership of unusual or unacceptable Masonic practices elsewhere, the Grand Lodge of Arkansas has announced a temporary hold on visiting Masons.

"I don't care what you've been hearing, it's not a ban on Oklahomans," explained Roger "Gabby" Johnson, Grand Lodge Media Affairs spokesperson. "The Grand Lodge, and in particular, the Grand Master, himself, has become aware that visitors from other, foreign jurisdictions have been telling our members about the odd customs practiced elsewhere. We have a responsibility to our membership to maintain the purity of our ancient Craft Masonry here in Arkansas, and we do not want them to become confused by the practices of foreign jurisdictions."

Instead of sending out the list of banned foreign jurisdictions to their lodges, the Grand Lodge found that it would be easier to mail a list of the acceptable jurisdictions.

"Right now we've limited acceptable visitors to those hailing from the Grand Lodge of West Virginia," said WB Johnson. "We're pretty sure that we will be adding those from the Grand Lodge of Georgia, the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, and possibly the Grand Lodge of Hawaii."

When The Past Bastard questioned the Hawaiian visitors, "Gabby" explained, "It's because those guys usually bring pineapples. Pineapples are great with the ham dinners."

--Conte Calvino Gliostro





Monday, January 30, 2017

Scottish Rite Tensions Come to a Head Over Social Inequality

Saint Louis, MO - In the recent wake of widespread dissatisfaction arising out of the increasing disparity in social status at Scottish Rite Valleys across both jurisdictions, two activist movements have taken shape to call for better treatment for the "hardest working men in Masonry."
The Black Caps Matter movement--BCM for short--originated in Missouri by Bro. Joe Snow, 32˚, of the Scottish Rite Valley of St. Louis, who spoke to The Past Bastard about his organization's push toward AASR equality: "For years, 32˚ Masons--black caps, as we call them--have been relegated to the worst duties in all of the Scottish Rite functions. We're back in the kitchen doing the dishes with the Eastern Star ladies while the white caps walk around shaking hands and mingling with the VIPs. We never get any of the best degree parts at reunions, and being a part of the 'Knights of St. Andrews' is a pretty poor consolation prize. Black Caps Matter was formed to raise awareness for the social inequality that has arisen out of this socially accepted practice of white cap privilege. Black caps are the hardest working men in Masonry, and we should be respected as such!"

A reactionary movement hot on the heels of BCM is seeking to call attention to Scottish Rite social inequality wherever it arises. Labeled All Caps Matter, the movement reportedly originated in Washington, DC to take a "measured approach" to combating social inequality. Illustrious Bro. Albert Lance of the Scottish Rite Valley of Washington, DC, who helped organize ACM, discussed his feelings on both organizations: "I have a tremendous amount of respect for the brethren of Black Caps Matter. Social inequality in the Scottish Rite is real, and 32nd degree Masons all over the country have suffered; but the BCM movement's aims are simply too narrowly focused. The fact of the matter is that KCCH's and 33rd degree Masons suffer as well. We're at events well before the 32nd degrees show up, and we're often the very last to leave. We're held to a much higher standard for behavior, and we always have to put on a show. One misstep and we're the brunt of all the jokes at the next Knights of St. Andrews meeting. It takes a serious mental toll. The fact of the matter is that we're all culpable. Social inequality is something we can more effectively combat on a united front by telling the world that all caps matter!"

While this writer for The Past Bastard is sympathetic to the need for social equality among Freemasons, one has to wonder about the effect that this fraternal discord will have on the blue lodges of Masonry. After all, the perception that the Scottish Rite is ripping Masons away from their Blue Lodge obligations has given rise in recent weeks to the Thin Blue Lodge movement, which has no doubt been set on an inevitable collision course with Black Caps Matter and All Caps Matter. Sure,  caps matter. But they should matter just as much as your Blue Lodge 3rd Degree Master Mason. As far as titles are concerned, the highest title one should ever receive in this fraternity should be that of "brother."

- SK Bro. Mason Burhmaster