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

Monday, January 23, 2017

MSA to take aim at Fake News websites

Washington, DC -- Spurred on by the increasing number of Freemasons using the Internet, the Masonic Services Association joined forces with the US Office of Masonic Affairs to draft a guideline for Freemasons who appear to be continually taken in by what the media is now calling "Fake News."

"One of the many issues that we see with Freemasons who have recently discovered social media like MySpace, Buzz, and Xanga, is that may of them fall for pretty much anything that's published. They seem to have this mindset that if it's on the internet, then it must be true," said Lee Wayne Tracey, Director of Online Research at the Office of Masonic Affairs. "They then copy and paste the information into their emails and send it all over the Information Superhighway, where it ends up in chain letters, bulletin boards, and sometimes lodge newsletters."

But why now?

"Our concern is that the fake news stories are being spread too quickly, so our plan is to put up a list of websites to be aware of. If a brother is copying a link from a website, they should check that website against our list of sites known for spreading fake news."

The Office of Masonic Affairs explained that the list would contain information site, as well as sites run by web loggers, or "bloggers," who are becoming a common source of fake news for many internet using Freemasons.

"First on the list will be the well known website of Chris Hodapp," Brother Tracey explained. "While Brother Hodapp claims to have had verification for his stories, the fact that he does not release names of these anonymous "brothers" from which he gets most of his inside news indicates that some of those news items are probably fabricated or at least exaggerated."

Tracey went on to describe how one can spot fake news by using the Freemasonry for Dummies website as an example.

"Sharp readers will notice that most of his news stories take place in just a few states, like, Georgia, Arkansas, or Tennessee; states where there are very few Masons to begin with. That means that he could easily fabricate stories about events there, and nobody would ever know."

Brother Tracey hopes that the new website will soon become a common resource for Freemasons.

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, January 16, 2017

Grand Lodge of Alabama drops 'Progressive Line'

Gadsden, AL -- Emboldened by the current political climate, the Grand Lodge of Alabama voted to drop its practice of a "Progressive Line" and has urged all constituent lodges to do likewise.

"The Grand Master announced it the other day, and the rest of the officers immediately jumped onto it because it seemed so patriotic," said RW Gordon Levine, media spokesperson for the Grand Lodge. "With the recent national elections, we're seeing a return to good old conservative values, and we're taking the opportunity to clean up the progressive part of our own house."

"It's obvious to us that the 'progressives' have done nothing but raise taxes, enforce political correctness, and have resisted any objections to their philosophy," RW Levine explained. "That's why we have decided to raise our Grand Lodge per capita dues - to double them, in fact - and to use part of that money to send out little cards to all the members so they properly understand how to address our officers. We initially had some objections, but as it happened, most of those went away after we suspended the members responsible."

The Past Bastard tried to question RW Levine on their definition of "progressive," and wondered how it would affect future Grand Lodge elections.

"I don't see anything changing at all, except that after this year, we're going to call it a 'conservative line," he said.

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Monday, January 9, 2017

Scottish Rite Research Library under fire for hoarding books

Washington, DC -- How much control should a library be able to retain over its books, and when does that control become detrimental? That is the question being raised by a number of new members of the Scottish Rite, who have charge the Scottish Rite Research Library, and its curator Arturo De Hoyos, with hoarding books instead of allowing them to be promulgated throughout the Masonic community.

"Honestly, we're not trying to start any trouble," said Brother Don Wayne Stacy of Cheddar Lodge 522 in Cracker, Wisconsin. "It's just that I've been a Mason for two or three years now, and I've been a 32ยบ SR Mason since last summer, and there's just nothing left to read for guys like me to develop a more esoteric understanding of our Craft. All we're asking for is that the Scottish Rite start releasing copies of those thousands of books that they have, so we can do our own reading and research."

Some other members of this movement for a more transparent Scottish Rite have a different take on things, though.

"Yeah, some guys are convinced that the library curators are hoarding the old books, but there are some of us that are now questioning whether the Scottish Rite even has those kinds of books to begin with," said Brother Joseph Nieves of Deer Dressing Lodge 288 in Deliverance, Tennessee. "I mean, we're always hearing about all these rare and esoteric books and stuff, but nobody has actually, you know, seen them. Some of us are beginning to think that those claims are all just smoke in order to keep the rest of us in awe of the old guard power structure. I mean, you've got all these guys in my chapter who talk about Brent Spiner and Art De Hojos like they're some kind of religious figures. But what if there aren't any of those old books, you know?"

The Past Bastard reached out to WB De Hoyos, who responded "With all the guys complaining about their dues as it is, there's no way we could hire a full time staff to transcribe these old works, let alone translate the ones from German or French, and get them all out to the local lodges and chapters. As it is, we're way behind in our plan to have statues of Albert Pike in all 50 states, and once that's done, then it will be time to look at some major repairs on the Washington facilities."

He then added, "If those 2 or 3 year Masons want to volunteer some of their vacation time to come to Washington and transcribe a book or two, we could probably have all this done in a couple of years. I'd talk more on this, but I'm on my way to the gun range, where I'm sighting in a new Russian Dragunov."

Some of the new Scottish Rite members remain unconvinced, though. "What if all the Scottish Rite books are just, you know, nothing but old books and not really esoteric at all?" they have asked. "What if the Scottish Rite is just one more body to take your money and give you titles and bling and stuff, but offers nothing in return?"

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro



Monday, January 2, 2017

Massachusetts lodge sets new record


Agawam, MA -- The members of Moriah Lodge were excited to learn that they had set a new record at their last meeting for the length of time spent introducing Grand Lodge officers. The record was officially confirmed by the International Office of Masonic Affairs.


“It started out as a typical evening, and we hadn’t set out to break any records or anything,” said WB Arlo Brockton, Master of the lodge. “But all these Grand Line guys started showing up, along with Past District this, and Very Worshipful that, and by the time we got them properly lined up and started introducing them, we were passing the 30 minute mark.”
Grand Lodge officers waiting outside the lodge to be
properly introduced before a degree. 


The record for lodge introductions was set in 2007 by John Brown Lodge No. 322 in Virginia, running to 48 minutes of introductions for a regular stated communication.


“When we were around the 40 or 45 minute mark, we figured we were about done, but suddenly a whole gang of past and present Grand Lodge guys from Connecticut showed up, along with their entourage of District Deputy Grand Masters, and whatever else they have down there. That surprise pushed us well past an hour and twenty minutes. After that, our Secretary thought it would be a good idea to send in the statistics to be considered.”

Moriah Lodge had originally planned to perform an Entered Apprentice degree; however, they decided to reschedule when they realized that after the introductions there would be no time for the candidates, not to mention a lack of room for circumnambulation.

"We tried to explain to the candidates that it was a historic moment for them, but we aren't sure if they quite understood. Hopefully things will go a little more smoothly in a few months when we have the next set of degrees scheduled.


-- Conte Calvino Gliostro