Friday, December 21, 2018

Featured: The Most Connected Lodge in the World

Palo Alto, CA -- "We are probably the single most connected lodge in the US, if not the entire world," said Berkley Mosaic, Worhipful Master of Gateway Lodge No. 502, deep in the heart of Silicon Valley. "While other lodges have a DC, or Director of Ceremonies, we have a Director of Communications.."

WB Mosaic told The Past Bastard, "A lot of our members are tech users, and have moved in and out of the area as the work changes, and we want to keep the members informed and, more importantly, engaged. That's why, years before most lodges even had an email address, we already had a T1 line, optical fiber, and our own web server right in the second floor office. Our original web page was hand coded by some of the guys that actually contributed to the early Hypertext Markup standards, although now we just have a Wordpress template because it's easier to maintain from our mobiles."

The server closet houses the high tech equipment that
allows the members of Gateway Lodge No. 502
to remain in constant contact with each other.
The Director of Communications, WB Steve Case, told us,"Personally, while I don't mind the web page, it's static media. People don't communicate that way. Over the last ten or twelve years, we've been very heavy on 'push' information: we have automatic SMS and WhatsApp messages for reminders and meeting updates. We maintain a Google Hangout group for the building committee, and some of the guys abroad keep updated with our WeChat account. Naturally we have a Facebook page for listing meeting highlights, events, and stuff like that. One of our guys, Nathan Motif, built a social media aggregator that will send out the notices onto Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Tumblr, LinkdIn, Foursquare, Xanga, Instagram, MeWe, Google Plus, Vero, and LiveJournal."

"Nobody can possibly miss a notice with all this going on," WB Moasic added. "In fact, we have a voice transcription of the minutes, so right after the meetings, brothers get a PDF copy, and a link to a SoundCloud file where they can actually hear the minutes being read."

WB Mosaic went on to tell us, "Last year, we installed webcams at all the officers stations, plus near a few other seats in the sidelines, and set it up so that brothers elsewhere could connect on a digitally secure line, and watch the meetings in real time. It was great for some of the old-timers, too, who don't get out much anymore."

The Past Bastard asked WBs Mosaic and Case how much all the enhanced communication has increased attendance.

"Umm, yeah, that's the odd thing," WB Case said. "We don't quite understand it, but the attendance at meetings has actually dropped off. We thought it was a seasonal thing, but over the last couple of years, we hardly get anyone but officers attending, and sometimes they just Skype in from their home."

"Some people have suggested that giving the guys so much information has made it, well, unnecessary for them to even come to meetings anymore," said WB Mosaic, "but I find that hard to believe. We're writing up a SurveyMonkey to explore it this weekend."

Monday, December 17, 2018

Rhetorical Voices: Does your lodge have a Xmas tree?

The Past Bastard interviews random members from random lodges on random topics of Masonic importance. 

Question: Do you have a Xmas tree in your lodge?

Dexter Wigglesworth, Junior Warden, Intemperance Lodge No. 420: 
"A Christmas tree? Ugh, please educate yourself. The Christians stole the traditions of the pagans in the areas in order to force their orthodoxy on the people they were conquering. Please don't call it a Christmas tree; it's a Yule celebration of the equinox, symbolizing how life carries through beyond death."
Diana Prince, Worshipful Master, Amazonian Lodge, HFAF:
"Well, we wanted to, especially since we now have a real lodge space, and we don't have to rent that room over the truck stop anymore. The problem is, Brother Sarah picked one up from the Home Depot store, but when we got it here, none of us could lift it up the stairs. So, right now, it's sitting in the lobby until we can get a decorating committee together, which probably won't happen until January because everyone's so busy at this time of the year."
Mary Steinberg, Past Worthy Matron, Nile Chapter, OES:
"Your'e kidding, right? I mean, don't you know we had that fine last year from the state fire board or whatever? Can't have live trees in public buildings anymore, 'cos the potential fire hazards, you know? Oh, sure, we might have gotten a nice artificial tree from Target, but no-o-o-o, that harpy Nancy Winters had to put up a fuss over it. "Oooh, it's too much plastic fumes, I can't breathe, it'll give me a migraine!" Yeah, that shrew smokes a pack a day, but she has chemical sensitivity around a plastic tree? Puh-leeze."
Hudson Hawk, Past Master, Shibboleth Lodge:
"You damn liberals screw up everything, you know that? An EX-Mass tree? Hell, no, it's a God damned CHRIST-Mass tree, ya hippie! I'm so tired of you liberals trying to take the Jesus out of the holiday. "

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Virginia Lodge blackballs a well known public figure

Alexandria, VA - Anonymous sources in the Grand Lodge of Virginia have leaked information to The Past Bastard about a particular lodge in Alexandria that has blackballed a candidate. While this bit of information wouldn't  normally attract any attention (it's Virginia, after all), further investigation showed that the petitioner, Santa Claus, was actually blackballed by XXX-XXX Lodge No. XXX.

Cute jokes about Santa Claus being a Freemason
will soon stop in Virginia, after members of a
certain lodge blackballed the petition.
Assuring confidentiality, The Past Bastard contacted several of the members about this. They agreed to meet with The Past Bastard at an undisclosed Starbucks to give us more information.

"Yes, it's true," one member admitted. "While most of our members were happy about Santa Claus joining, a few old timers were pretty against the idea.  But, to be fair, there were plenty of extenuating circumstances. For one thing, it's not clear that he's actually a resident of Virginia. I mean, we have lots of politicians who live around here, and they get a pass, but this guy doesn't seem to have any one particular address. And the address we do have for him, is, well, you know."

Another member agreed, and added, "Yeah, but that wasn't the real reason he was blackballed. The real reason was because some of the guys learned that his actual name was Niko, and he was originally from Turkey. So, they  had some concerns that he might secretly be a Muslim terrorist, and started a whisper campaign to get the others to blackball him. It's against the rules to publicly discuss someone, but we all  know that Masons can't hold a secret to save their lives."

The Past Bastard asked the group if the petitioner's long history of being associated with Christmas wasn't enough to deflect those opinions.

"Yeah, a couple of us did mention it. Quietly, you know, because of the rules and all that. But oddly, it just seemed to make it worse. I mean, the guy has no work history -- how does he afford to live on a part time job? Hell, how does he even get paid, right?"

"Yeah, and that brought up another question," another member told us. "He's got all these elves, right? That sounds to us like he's getting an under-the-table income, and paying a bunch of illegals." He looked around, and a few of the group reluctantly nodded. "I mean, I'm sorry, but that's just not a good look. We don't really want to be associated with that kind of thing, if you get my drift."

Before we parted ways, one of the members told The Past Bastard, "The sad part is that even if he gets this stuff cleared up, we'll have to wait at least a year before he tries to petition again, and I doubt that any members of the lodges around here would go for it. I wrote him a little note suggesting that he might have an easier time if he applied to a lodge in San Diego. California has some pretty lax rules, so they probably wouldn't mind a quasi-homeless guy who's friendly with illegals."

The Past Bastard notes that this would not be the first time that well known figures have been denied entry to a lodge.

Friday, December 7, 2018

BSA sees sudden spike in interest from Masonic lodges

Irving, TX - Community Services staff at the Boy Scouts of America offices have been overwhelmed with requests for information about sponsoring Eagle Scouts and other groups after a post from the Freemasons for Dummies blog showcased an Eagle Scout who replaced the dilapidated lodge sign with something more modern.

"Look at this inbox, there must be six or seven hundred emails here that we haven't even read, let alone the several hundred we've already answered this week," said Jared Morales, BSA Community Services Coordinator. "Plus dozens of actual letters. I've stopped even checking my voicemails."

Morales explained to The Past Bastard that since the November article, lodges from all over the US have been asking how they could get Eagle scouts to repair or renovate features in those lodges. "Some lodges wanted new signs like in that Dummies article, but others are asking for things like interior or exterior painting, fixing the roof, new landscaping, replacement windows... no, I'm not joking." He pulled out an email marked up with highlighter. "Look, this lodge is asking for an Eagle Scout to replace their furnace. It's crazy."

The Past Bastard contacted some of the lodges sending in the requests.

"Well, we thought that replacing a sign was a poor choice," said WB Jason Hodor, Secretary at St Elmo's Lodge in Hampstead, Oklahoma. "Sure, it looks pretty, but our buildings need some real work. That's why we asked about sponsoring a Scout to maybe get some of his buddies and replace the north side of our roof. It's been leaking in heavy rains last couple of years, and we thought it best to do something now before it gets worse."

The Past Bastard asked why the lodge members don't repair the roof themselves, or hire a local contractor.

"What, do guys think we have King Solomon's treasury or something? That kind of thing takes money, and we're barely getting by on the $55 a year dues; we don't have much extra for things like the roof."

"We don't need an Eagle Scout project," said WB Mick Mickerson, Treasurer of North Fork lodge in South Bend, Indiana. "We were really just looking for kids to mow the lawn regularly, and maybe do some weeding and trimming. The DeMolay boys used to do that for us, but after the chapter closed, nobody's been around to do that for us."

The Past Bastard asked if anyone had contacted the high school or Craigs List to see if anyone wants to pick up a few dollars for mowing the lawn."

"What, you mean, pay them?" asked Mickerson. "We didn't pay the DeMolay boys, so we really hadn't considered going that far."

"We've got a good project lined up, if we could find some young scouter kid who's not too lazy," said RWB Jake Rapper, Secretary at Beehive Lodge in Apian, North Carolina. "The summers get pretty hot and humid here, and it's making the paint come off the building. We could really use a good Eagle Scout to paint the exterior, maybe scrape some of the loose paint, do some caulking around the windows. You know, to fix the place up a bit."

The Past Bastard mentioned to RWB Rapper that, from the pictures, the lodge would need a lot of paint.

"Oh, that's no problem," Rapper explained. "All of us got some some extra paint from the times we did our own houses. We figured the kid could, you know, just combine them all and we should have about enough. We tried it a couple of years ago as a test, and it comes out a grayish brown color. It's stylish, and we'd save hundreds of dollars that way."

Coordinator Morales told us that while he was happy so many lodges were showing a renewed interest in the Boy Scouts, he was concerned that they were just looking for free labor.

"I don't know much about the Masons, frankly. I used to think that they were mainly rich, old guys, so I'm mystified as to why none of these lodges seem to have enough money to pay for maintenance and upkeep. All they want to do is to get free labor for things they could have probably paid for themselves if they had enough foresight to put a few bucks away every year. "

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Facebook glitch accidentally shuts down Freemason groups. Cause so far unknown.

Menlo Park, CA -- In a move that surprised literally hundreds of Freemasons all around the globe, Facebook temporarily shut down several dozen of the largest Masonic themed discussion groups, including Freemasonary, Some Things Masonic, Wide World of Masons, and The Windy Steps.

"I was responding to a comment from a brother who claimed that there wasn't a proper way to wear a ring," said WB Gregg Atrium, a frequent visitor to Wide World of Masons. "I had just hit the Enter key to send my response that he was actually in error, when the whole browser window went gray. I refreshed, and I couldn't find the group anymore. I finally had to go argue with people on one of the political groups."

Facebook Illuminati symbol
Facebook officials re-approved the Masonic groups, and explained that the issue had been due to a programming error. The Past Bastard contacted a senior administrator to learn more.

"For the last couple of months, we have been seeing a huge spike in 'Illuminati' scams," said Kathrine Ballou,, senior programmer at Facebook. "Because of the huge increase in reports, we decided to introduce some programming algorithms to weed out the scammers. The issue seemed to have happened because of the parameters of the algorithms."

The Past Bastard asked Ms Ballou if she could clarify what she meant.

"Well, we noticed that in many of the reports, we saw comments from men -- it was almost always men -- who sent in money to these Illuminati groups in hopes of gaining enlightenment, and to make contacts with other enlightened men. The complaints were usually that they sent in money, and then never made any contacts, nor, obviously, did they get any enlightenment." She added, "Unless you count how much lighter their wallets got."

Facebook set the parameters of their algorithms to shut down any groups in which members were complaining about having paid for enlightenment, and not having received anything in return, she said.

"For reasons that aren't clear to me, probably because I'm not one of those Freemason types, our algorithms found something in the Freemasonry groups that were similar enough to the Illuminati scams. I'm at a loss to explain it, but we hope to fine tune the parameters to keep it from happening again."

Ms Ballou then asked if we could provide any insight as to why the Illuminati parameters might have caused the Freemason groups to be shut down. "You guys talk about getting light all the time, right? Is it something to do with that? The Freemasons certainly wouldn't be scamming their members, would they?"

The Past Bastard declined to answer.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Lodge finds delicious way to deal with cultural appropriation protesters

Seattle, WA -- For several decades the members of Composite Lodge on Seattle's east side would have a Hawaiian Shirt Night, at which members would show up casually dressed in shorts and loud, floral island shirts, have a short meeting, and then enjoy a pig roast. That tradition may come to an end, however, as a relic of a bygone time.
Chanting and holding signs saying "My Culture Is Not Your Costume," dozens of protesters have stood outside Composite Lodge for the last week, demanding an end to their politically incorrect tradition. Protest organizer, and chapter head of EraseTheHate, Colleen O'Connor, explained: 

"It's terribly offensive to native Asian Pacific Island people. Those floral island print shirts are a sacred tradition, and the Masons are being culturally insensitive by trying to appropriate those cultural items, and making them into a joke."

"Umm... no, it's not," said Jason Kahale, Master of Composite Lodge. Speaking to The Past Bastard, he told us, "My grandfather came here from Hawaii in after World War 2. He, my father, and two of my uncles have been members here. I have friends and cousins from this and other lodges with similar goofy traditions. I'm pretty sure if there were something insulting going on, we'd know about it. "

Colleen O'Connor was unswayed by his remarks. "He's become too integrated with American culture to know that his native culture has been appropriated and whitewashed, and we're going to camp outside this lodge until the members are educated."

The Past Bastard will follow up with this story as events unfold.


The Past Bastard contacted Worshipful Brother Jason Kahale several days after the Hawaiian Shirt Night took place.

"Funny thing, but despite having the potential for some bad optics, it actually ended up pretty well," WB Kahale said. "Once the smells from the pig roast started drifting across the parking lot, the protestors seemed to lose interest. In fact, we cut some slices of roast pig and some pineapple and brought it over for them. That shut most of them up, and they came over to talk to us. We even got a few requests for petitions out of it, and a couple of the younger women asked about the Eastern Star chapter."

"The best way to appropriate culture is to eat some of it," WB Kahale told us. "I can't wait to see what happens next month when we start doing a Taco Tuesday."

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Masons flock to join UGLE lodge, and you'll never guess why!

Washington, D.C. - Freemasons everywhere within the United States are tripping over themselves to join Internet Lodge No. 9659, holden under the United Grand Lodge of England, for a very unexpected reason. That reason has nothing to do with homophobic Grand Lodge policies, racist Grand Lodge officers, or infighting among U.S. Grand Lodges; instead, the reason is more to do entirely with another body altogether: Order of the Eastern Star.  

The Past Bastard caught up with Bro. Joe Snow, the newest petitioner seeking to affiliate with Internet Lodge, to get his take on why he was so eager to join a Lodge across the pond:

"Well, everybody in my mother Lodge keep asking me to join Eastern Star, and I really don't wanna, but I feel like I'm letting my brothers and their grandmothers down by saying no. When I heard that the Grand Lodge of England considers Eastern Star a clandestine organization, I knew I had found the perfect excuse. Once I'm a full member of Internet Lodge, I can just tell my brothers I can't join because it's clandestine. No one can argue with that, and I don't have to worry about hurting the feelings of those nice 80 year-old ladies in white."

Bro. Joe went on to tell The Past Bastard that Internet Lodge was the perfect UGLE Lodge to join as it has no residency requirements for affiliation: "It's about the only UGLE Lodge I can join without actually having to live abroad. Believe me, I'll do just about anything I can to get out of joining the Star. I've heard their introductions alone go on for hours!"

In 1999, the United Grand Lodge of England issued a statement on mixed bodies "not directly imitative of pure antient Masonry, but which by implication introduce Freemasonry, such as the Order of the Eastern Star," declaring membership and participation in such organizations to be "incompatible with membership in this Grand Lodge."

Thursday, November 1, 2018

IOOF outpaces Freemasonry in esoteric content, and the reason will shock you!

Winston-Salem, NC - A new study commissioned jointly between the Conference of Grand Masters in North America (COGMNA) and the Sovereign Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) has revealed a shocking difference between Masonic and Odd Fellows Lodge meetings. According to the study, Odd Fellows Lodge members are 20-30 times more likely to discuss esoteric and philosophical content than Masonic Lodge members. Furthermore, Odd Fellows members are 53 times more likely, on average, to compose originals research papers dealing with symbolic interpretation and/or esoteric subjects, and debate the merits of those ideas in and out of Lodge.  

The Past Bastard met with Bro. Joe Snow, spokesperson for the Sovereign Grand Lodge of the IOOF, to discuss the study's findings: "What is quite interesting is no so much that IOOF has clearly outpaced Freemasonry as the 'thinking person's fraternity', but moreso why this is the case. It's clear: women. Once IOOF officially accepted women as Odd Fellows, our male members stopped relying on bathroom humor and sexist jokes to move the conversations in Lodge along. That alone made life as an Odd Fellow a lot better. And we know that most female Freemasons can run circles around those 'regular Grand Lodge guys' when it comes to esoterics and philosophy any day. It was the same with us. Our women members elevated our discussions to a whole new level!"

The Past Bastard asked Bro. Snow if admitting women could help curtail the rampant anti-intellectualism that has increasingly characterized Masonic Lodges over the past several decades, Joe seemed doubtful that even extreme measures would have any effect: "Judging by how most of your members act on social media and the increasingly outlandish policies many of your Grand Lodges come up with on a daily basis, I'd say mainstream Freemasonry is a bit too far gone. But hey, if you're ever interested in joining a thinking man's--and women's--fraternity, I hope you'll consider the Odd Fellows!"

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Masonic researcher discovers source of Masonic social media memes

Walla Walla, WA - - Once broadband internet access became common, social media exploded in popularity, and that attraction included Freemasons. Part of the spread of Freemasonry on sites such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and MySpace included the passing around of simple pictures with Masonic themes; generally such things as large square and compasses with some kind of text.

These "Masonic Memes" have become so ubiquitous that we take them for granted; however, Bart deJoyos, a noted Masonic historian, recently became interested enough to track down the origins of such memes.

"I don't really care for  them, myself," said deJoyos in an interview with The Past Bastard, "but they show up so often that I began to wonder what the deal was with those things. So, I started sifting through my own social media history, and asked my friends to send me examples of the oldest ones they could find."

deJoyos ended up spending several months on the project, when he made a startling discovery.

"You see, most of the memes have similar patterns designs, usually a stylized square and compass on a colored background, and quite often copied from one of the many designs available online. So I focused on the words of the memes, which tended to be simple, trite or maudlin, and quite often with error in spelling or punctuation. These errors were so frequent and predictable that I began to suspect they were done by the same person. "

After a number of emails and phone calls, deJoyos managed to narrow down his search to the Chicago area.

"It sounds incredible, but close to 80% of these 'Masonic Memes' that are passed around were created by one guy, a man named Adoniram Fernando. He's been turning these things out since 2003."

The Past Bastard contacted Fernando.

"Yes, I suppose it's true," he told our intern repoeter. "I had recently joined the King Hiram Grand Lodge in Chicago, but the recession hit, and I lost my job. I was working part time odd jovs, and had a lot of free time on my hands. One of the brothers gave me a bootleg copy of Photoshop, and I started doodling little designs. I'd post them on different groups, never expecting that they would have become so popular."

The Past Bastard asked Bro. Fernando about the errors in spelling that detracted from the messages.

"Well, as I said, it was a bootleg copy, and I guess the spell check part wasn't working. I never really gave it much thought."

"But it's kind of silly, you know?" he added. "I mean, some of those things are so bad, that it makes you wonder why other brothers keep passing them around."

Brother deJoyos didn't have much more to comment on this.

"I have to admit that I was hoping this would lead to another book, but I doubt anyone, except maybe Chris Hodapp, would be able to milk an entire book out of this," he told us.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

"The Daily Hiram" service to replace Masonic education

Philadelphia, PA - Brothers who need an extra inch or two on their 24 inch gauge, who don't have time for lodge or lodge activities, or who are no longer inspired by boring meetings can take heart: A new service being developed by the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania will soon be sending Masonic-themed inspirational memes right to your smartphone.

"We've been working on it for a couple of years, and we're finally ready to bring it to the market," said Worshipful Brother Ben Frankel, who heads up the Masonic Education Committee. "It started off as a little fun project we were doing for ourselves, and a few of the guys thought that we could help raise Masonic awareness all over."

The service will send several items a day to subscribers via SMS or WhatsApp, each item being something to help provide  inspiration, thought provoking discussion, or a little Masonic education.

"We know that a lot of Masons simply can't make it to lodge so our aim is to provide them with little tidbits that they might otherwise miss," said Frankel, "or, well, let's be honest here: most lodges provide little or nothing in the way of education. Our aim is to replace what those lodges don't provide with our service, and keep Masons from feeling guilty about not attending lodge."

The service, at this time dubbed "The Daily Hiram," will start soliciting subscribers early next year, and will offer three, five, or seven educational or inspirational messages per day.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

New Mason disappointed by lack of interest in his collection

Wheeling, WV - Like a lot of new Freemasons, Brian MaCoy immediately started collecting pins, rings, and other paraphernalia related to the gentle Craft. Unfortunately, his wife failed to share his enthusiasm, so he generally brings them into lodge to show the other guys his latest acquisition.

"I found this pin on some Ebay store," he explained to The Past Bastard, "It's a copy of some pin that was popular in the late 1960s, early 1970s, although you can tell it's not original, 'cos the gripper things in the back ain't real brass, they're just some kind of cheap metal that's been plated. The real ones had brass,' cos they were still being made here in the states."

"Anyhow, I brought this pin into lodge last Tuesday to show everyone, and it was like nobody even cared,"  Bro. MaCoy said. "That is, a few of the guys were polite and all, and a couple of them picked it up and looked at the back, but it was like it was just another pin or something to them, you know? Like, I tried to explain about the detailing on the enamel, and how the original had an embossed instead of raised scale on the square, but I could tell that none of the guys really cared about that."

The intern reporter for The Past Bastard mentioned to Bro. MaCoy that it must have been a disappointment.

"I've been trying to bring a few things to every meeting for the last couple of years" Bro MaCoy said, "and I try to go into as much detail as possible about the history the design, and even the manufacturing if I can. Everybody seemed real interested at first, but now they kind of, you know, just act polite for a few minute, and then wander off to get more coffee and donuts."

Bro. MaCoy wasn't entirely discouraged, though.

"I guess some of these guys just ain't interested in pins, anymore," he told us. "That's why I've been collecting old Tyler swords, and I'm about ready to start bringing some of those things in. I'll bet everyone will be just dying to learn about all the differences between the Wilkinson and the Toledo blades."

Bro. MaCoy began explaining the differences in sword manufacturing to our intern, but our intern claimed that his phone battery was on 3% and had to cut the call short.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Mississippi lodge first in US to go vegetarian

Lafayette, MS — Citing the increasing number of younger Freemasons who have turned to vegetarianism, a lodge in Mississippi is making a point to welcome the new brothers by becoming the first all-vegetarian lodge in the state, and possibly in North America.

“A lot of other lodges would have complained, or made fun of the new kids, or just sent out for pizza,” said Beau Lyons, the Junior Warden of Lafayette Lodge. “Not us, though, we’re up for a challenge, especially if we’re fixin’ to keep our boys fed.”

WB Lyons had noticed that for the last couple of years, a number of the newly raised members, mainly younger men in their 20s, had been asking for vegetarian options for the festive boards or the pre-meeting dinners. He took his concerns to WB Lyle Beauregarde, the master of the lodge, and outlined his menu for the upcoming year.

“Since them boys don’t want any meat in their diet, I’m planning on making a lot of Spanish paella, ‘cos we got plenty of shrimps and crawdads that we could be adding to all that tasty rice. And so the other guys don’t get tired of rice dishes, we’ll turn our annual Surf & Turn night, into a vegetarian delight, with chicken and fried bass, instead of steak. We’ll add some potatoes mashed in real butter, too.”
Paella with shrimp, mussels, and chicken is an
excellent choice for vegetarians.

“Oh, and even though it might not be quite as tasty, I’m gonna forgo adding bacon, or cooking things in bacon grease. Instead, I’m just going to use some of that unflavored lard that my wife uses for pie crusts,” he added.

After hearing these menu plans, The Past Bastard mentioned to Bro. Lyons that “vegetarian” usually means an absence of all meat products.

“Why, chicken ain’t meat, everybody knows that,” Bro Lyons assured us. “And eating shrimp and crawdads is just like eating grasshoppers, crickets, and other bugs like that. Nobody would ever confuse that stuff with actual meats. We’re gonna do our best to make all the brothers feel welcome.”

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Past Master group petitions Facebook to keep Masonic groups private

Wichita, KS -- Arguing that allowing the public to see Freemasons discussing Freemasonry on Facebook paints an unrealistic picture of who Masons are and what they're about, The Low Twelve, a group of Past Masters around North America and Canada, have petitioned Facebook to have those Facebook groups forced to be private; that is, hidden away from non-Masons and the general public."None of us have ever like the idea that just anyone could go online and have Masonic discussions, but back in the old days, hardly anyone went to those old online boards. Now that Facebook has literally dozens, perhaps hundreds of groups for Masons, each of them with thousands to tens of thousands of members, it's all too easy for anyone to see just how Masons act," said Worshipful Brother Frank Booth, Master of the Central District Low Twelve chapter. "I mean, every day it's a new argument on those Facebook groups. Today it's people calling each other names over how to wear a ring. Yesterday it was guys insulting each other over whether to serve meals or coffee before lodge. Tomorrow it'll probably be a bunch of morons getting all sarcastic with each other over laser etching the Square and Compasses on their ARs. Next week it will be a slugfest over lodges that allow casual dress instead of suits."

The other members of the chapter agreed.

"Oh, and don't even get me started on the arguments over the women, the fa... err, the gays, or the trannies," added chapter secretary Jeff Beaumont. "All you gotta do is just ask a stupid question about women joining, and immediately two hunnert Masons are yelling at each other, and displaying the worst possible image of our craft. And since the moderators won't ban those guys like they should, we've decided that the only way we can preserve our image is to not allow anyone else to see how we act."

Other chapter members agreed. "One of them groups has spent the last two weeks arguing about why they don't recognize the Prince Hall masons. There's been name calling, insults, and a lot of unmasonic stuff happening," said Stanley Livingston. "And no matter how much I complained, none of them mods will shut it down. Hell, never mind the regular public, even regular Masons shouldn't be reading about that stuff all the time."

To that end, the Low Twelve members have put together an online petition, which reads, in part:

"The constant arguing, insults, sarcasm, name-calling, threats, and other hurtful behavior displayed by tens of thousands of Freemasons online every day has had a detrimental effect on our potential membership. We believe that, in order to preserve the reputation of our gentle, sacred craft, nobody should see these kinds of interactions between brothers until after they have joined."

"The horse has left the barn," said WB Booth. "We can't turn back the clock and forbid those groups on Facebook, so we've gotta take the next step and not allow anyone to see what really goes on."

Facebook administrators have not commented on the request.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Panel of Past Masters Holds Confirmation Hearing on New Grand Master

Grand Lodge New York  – In a long and arduous hearing which took place today, a panel of over two-hundred Past Masters took their seat early this morning to hold a hearing related to the election of the state's newest Grand Master. The hearing started off with an announcement that Bro. Joe Snow had gun raffle tickets, and anyone interested should see him after lunch. The official opening consisted of the Pledge of Allegiance in the style of Red Skelton, and was followed by the Job’s Daughters in Exile’s exemplification of the “Living Cross”.

At 9 am, each of the Past Masters were given an opportunity to make statements regarding how their year went when they were Master, and the challenges they faced while trying to adhere to the previous Grand Master’s edicts while they were in the East.

Shortly after the opening statements, the committee called from labor to refreshment for a 10-minute break and retired to the dining room for coffee. 35 minutes later, the confirmations continued. The panel of Past Masters then asked the candidate for Grand Master a series of questions relating to how he would rule the craft. Questions largely focused on the candidate's record on the charities he supported. WB John Smith was sharply critical of the potential Grand Master’s record of giving. As a former Eagle Scout, the Grand Master was asked if he would support the DeMolay, even though his record has been on the side of the Scouts.

The Grand Master Elect reaffirmed he would not stray from the precedent of giving to the DeMolay. His personal charitable giving has no weight on how he would choose to delegate Grand Lodge charitable funds. A heated debate raged over questions posed to the Grand Master Elect with regard to his past statements about the other Grand Jurisdictions; and if confirmed, he was urged to keep his proverbial nose out of the business of other states.

The hearings were interrupted at one point by a group of T.O. brothers who insisted on trying to uphold the integrity of the hearings by urging those present to practice proper decorum. Chairman of the Past Master Committee had the Tiler to remove the T.O. brothers, citing their disruptive appearance in tuxedos and white gloves.

By the end of the day the panel of Past Masters confirmed the new Grand Master, largely on the count of the candidate’s ability to follow precedent and not make waves.

--Dr. Chaz Nagler, Esq. 49˚

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Shrine subgroup experiences surge in membership interest from an unusual source

Fenton, MO - The Past Bastard has learned that an invite-only Shrine subgroup known as the Order of Quetzalcoatl--Q for short--have received a surge of membership interest from an usual source. According to sources out of the Order of Quetzalcoatl headquarters in Missouri, since late 2017 public inquiries into the Order have increased tenfold from an unlikely source: right wing conspiracy theorists concerned with deep state conspiracies against U.S. President Donald Trump. Joe Snow, Master Artisan and spokesperson for the Supreme Q, expressed his confusion in an interview with The Past Bastard: "I really don't understand it. We get all these calls from Trump supporters asking us if we're QAnon. I mean, yes we're the Q and we don't publicly post our membership rosters so I guess we're somewhat anonymous if that's what they mean. When they press us for more information, we try to tell them that membership is by invitation only and they usually start going off on some deep state conspiracy to bring down the Trump White House."

Joe Snow finished his interview with The Past Bastard by stating that, regardless of whether or not outsiders are propagating a case of mistaken identity, the Q are grateful for the surge of interest in their organization: "One thing that these 'QAnon believers,' as they call themselves, are always interested in is worldwide child trafficking. We're always happy to talk about that because our organization's major philanthropy is the transportation fund that helps our Shriner kids get to and from our hospitals. It makes me feel good to know that even conspiracy theorists are interested in helping kids get the care they need."

QAnon is a conspiracy theory which began with an October 2017 post on 4chan by someone using the handle "Q." The theory details a supposedly secret conspiracy by a "deep state" against President Trump and his supporters. The conspiracy theory has falsely accused numerous Hollywood actors, politicians, and other high-ranking officials of engaging in an international child trafficking ring.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Traveling Freemason upset to discover lodge with no American flag

Like many Freemasons, Worshipful Brother John Gozer travels for business, and enjoys stopping in at lodges when he's out on the road. This past, week, however, a visit to a lodge left him confused and upset. He contacted The Past Bastard to let us know about it.

"We just opened up some new sales territory, and I was up there for a few days. I found a lodge that met right near my hotel, so I stopped in early to meet the members. They were all nice, very polite and welcoming. We had some snacks, the Master and the Tiler checked my dues card against the list, and we went up for the meeting. We opened, but something felt 'off,' if you catch my drift. I couldn't put my finger on it until partway into the meeting."

That's when WB Gozer realized that the lodge had not said the Pledge of Allegiance during the opening.

"At first I thought it was just an oversight, but after I settled in, I started really looking around. That's when I discovered that the lodge didn't even display the American flag. That was really disconcerting, you know? I mean, I've been visiting lodges all over the place for the last twenty years, and I've never run across that before. Sure, every lodge has different customs, but there are some things that you can't overlook, or it's not a masonic lodge, know what I mean?"

Though shaken, WB Gozer did not want to make a scene, and decided to not mention this oversight in front of the lodge.

"I mean, what was I gonna say, right? Sure, I was a little mad, but I didn't think it was my place to say anything. I will, however, write an email to my Grand Secretary and let him know, and maybe our Grand Master can let their Grand Lodge know that they've got lodges that aren't displaying the American flag at their meetings."

"Maybe the next time I'm in that sales territory I'll bring up a nice flag for them to properly display," WB Gozer added. "Or maybe I'll just have to hunt around for another lodge. I checked the Grand Lodge website, and there seemed to be a few others in Toronto that I can visit, instead."

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Citing popularity of "Masonic Pride Day," Grand Lodge seeks other means to profit off of cultural appropriation

Nashville, TN - On Saturday, August 18th, Masons from across the country gathered together--metaphorically speaking--to wear raise awareness for Freemasonry by wearing Masonic apparel and proclaiming that they were "out and proud" to be Freemasons. In light of the tremendous success of Freemasonry's first "Masonic Pride Day," one Grand Lodge is hoping to find other ways to raise awareness, and ultimately membership numbers, for Freemasonry by appropriating so-called "best practices" from other cultures.

Bro. Joe Snow, spokesperson for the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, spoke to The Past Bastard on how the idea for Masonic Pride Day first originated: "Well, those boys up in Illinois had the initial idea for the event. We just bonused off of it. I mean, it's brilliant. The gay community has pride events all the time. They dress up and march in parades, a lot like we Masons used to do, and it always generates a lot of interest for their cause. And I thought well hell, just cause we won't let gays into the fraternity doesn't mean that they don't have some great ideas we can use. I'm just sorry we didn't think of doing our own 'pride day' first!"

Bro. Snow continued, explaining that he had seemingly found the panacea for all of Masonry's woes: "What we need to do to save Masonry is be more culturally literate. You know, show that we understand other cultures exist outside of Masonry. We're working on a bunch of new Grand Lodge initiatives to that effect. You could say that cultural literacy is my new spirit animal. Anyway, we're gearing up for a great Cinco de Mayo festival next year that is sure to raise a lot of money for some good charities. It'll be open to everybody, as long as attendees provide proof of citizenship at the door. Can't have any of them illegals getting in, know what I mean? We're also taking some ideas from that degree team in Oklahoma. I don't know any native Americans myself, but several of us here at the Grand Lodge just ordered a bunch of headdresses and faux peace pipes to hand out to our education committee for use in degree work. We think it'll be a rip roarin' good time!"

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Grand Lodge of Louisiana withdraws recognition from Knights of Columbus

Red Stick, LA -- The Masonic world was in a state of agitation this week after Most Worshipful Martin J. Reinschmidt, Grand Master of Louisiana, issued an edict in which the Grand Lodge of Louisiana withdrew recognition from the Grand Convocation of the Knights of Columbus.

Although the details are sketchy, rumors on Masonic social media suggest that the issue originated with Supreme Grand Commander, Sir Knight Francesco "Fat Frankie" DiBennodetto, who MW Reischmidt accused of conduct unbecoming a Mason earlier this year. 

Adding to the confusion in the online temple is the fact that the Grand Lodge of Louisiana does not, in fact, recognize the Knights of Columbus. The mixup seems to originate from the similarity of the name and dress to the Masonic Grand Encampment of the Knights Templar.

(see this article from The Past Bastard on the Knights of Columbus).

"Well, dadgum it, all those guys look the same, you know what I mean?" said MW Reinschmidt when asked about the withdrawal of recognition. "All those buttons and plumes and everything,. You'd think they got all those uniforms from the same place or something."

The Past Bastard reached out to the Grand Lodge of Louisiana to see if the Grand Master would rescind his withdrawal, since under the circumstances, there was no recognition between them in the first place.

"Absolutely not," was the answer from a Grand Lodge spokes person. "Just like the Pope, the Grand Master's decision are infallible."

The Past Bastard will continue to report as more information becomes available.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Amity proving useful for travelers seeking friendly lodges

Little Rock, AK -- Frustration with trying to find a lodge while traveling on business, and tired of the constant questions on social media of which lodge is good, recommended, or possibly unrecognized or clandestine, gave some brothers the initiative to develop Amity, an app that lists mainstream, recognized lodges in North America and Canada.

User support has been strong, and the list of recognized lodges has been growing. However, there's been some support from an unusual source: Freemasons from Arkansas.

"Oh, gosh, no, our Grand Lodge can barely use the fax machine; our Grand Secretary would never use this," said a brother who would only be identified as "Hiram." He explained "Our Grand Lodge has had so much infighting and arguing that lodges in neighboring states pretty much stopped letting us traveling men in to visit."

"Hiram" told The Past Bastard that a small number of the "normal" Arkansas brothers use Amity to find out which lodges in Oklahoma, Texas, or Missouri still allow Arkansas Masons into their lodges.

"It's been great for us, because a lot of times we get to a lodge just before it opens, meet a few guys, and then they hear where we're from, and you see the look on their faces. We just want to travel, like other Masons, you know? Why should we have to suffer just because our Grand Officers are a bunch of... well, you get the idea," he told us.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Masonic Social Media Movement Highlights Member Disappointment

A small but growing movement in Masonic social media is calling attention to a problem that Freemasons have long swept under the tessellated carpet. Under the hashtag #MMeToo, writers on Twitter, Facebook, Gab, and other sites have been detailing their disappointment in having been recruited simply to keep the membership numbers up, either in their lodges, or in the other bodies. 

The Past Bastard has been following these for the last few months. Here are some of the more heart-wrenching examples.
"He was like an uncle & I looked up to him. The night I was raised, he gave me a pin and a petition for the YR "to get the true word." I went right into Chapter but never saw him after that." #MMeToo
"The old timers are always talking about how they need "fresh blood" for the lodge. I used to think vampires were fiction, but now I know better. I'm 26 and they're all in their 70s. I was recruited for my youth." #MMeToo
"I remember thinking he was so cool, with his stories of top secret clearance and those crazy card tricks. At first I was proud to feel like he had taken me under his wing. But then he started pushing me to join his Scottish Rite Consistory. I spent two years chasing down degrees all over my state, but now he's got some new guys to impress. Haven't talked to him in years."
"I used to go to events at the lodge when I was a kid, so I trusted those guys. But after a few years in the line, I felt like all they wanted me for was to do the heavy work of moving the fish fryer and pancake grill."
"Joined for the Wisdom of the Ancients. Got stuck with the Bitching of the Old Guys." #MMeToo
"I thought the OES ladies that met in my lodge building were just being helpful by trying to fix me up with one of the younger girls. We started getting serious, and before I knew it, I was being drafted as a Worthy Patron to her Worthy Matron. We went to every stupid function that year, and it cost me a fortune in travel expenses. She broke up with me after that year was over." 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Grand Lodge announces policy of "inclusivity"

Alexandria, LA - In today's volatile and polarized world, one Grand Lodge is making a stand for greater diversity and inclusion within Freemasonry. Earlier today, the Grand Lodge of Louisiana announced its new "policy of inclusivity" that will govern Lodge business dealings across the jurisdiction to ensure the widest participation in Louisiana Freemasonry possible. The Past Bastard caught up with Bro. Joe Snow, spokesperson for the Grand Lodge of Louisiana, to get his thoughts on this groundbreaking new policy. "We here at the Grand Lodge have looked carefully at how Freemasonry has changed over the past several years. With all of these younger Masons, everyone is starting to communicate electronically over e-mail and social media and the like, and we're concerned that this move to electronic communication stands to greatly disadvantage our older members who don't have access to computers or e-mail. That's why, starting today, all electronic Lodge communications--whether they be trestle boards, e-mails from the Master, facebook event invites, and the like--must be mailed as hard copies to all members. We can't risk alienating our older members who might not have access to this new technology. They're the backbone of our organization, after all, and they need to be just as informed as their more technologically-minded brethren."

When The Past Bastard cited the sheer cost associated with such a policy, Bro. Joe shrugged it off: "We know it'll add an expense, but that's what bulk mailing services are for. If lodges are really concerned about the added expense, we have a number of fundraising best practices listed on the Grand Lodge website that lodges can use to offset the costs. A Master could also choose to save postage by mailing out event invitations on postcards. That way, our brethren can put them on their refrigerators to jog their memories, making them more likely to attend lodge functions. Otherwise, we would encourage the Masters of our lodges to consolidate their lodge communications instead of sending out scattershot updates whenever they feel like it. This will make it easier for everyone to find out what's happening in their respective lodges without the burden of searching through weekly e-mail updates and social media sites."

Thus far, it appears the Grand Lodge of Louisiana's push for inclusivity is limited to ensuring its Luddism-predisposed members remain well-informed. When The Past Bastard asked Bro. Joe about the Grand Lodge's willingness to advocate for other forms of inclusivity, to include expanding the organizations racial demographics and acceptance of LGBT persons, Bro. Joe responded: "I don't know if our older members would appreciate adding those demographics into the organization. I mean, that's what Prince Hall Masonry is for, right? And as far as those 'alternative lifestyle' people are concerned, well the Bible's very clear on that. I'm sure we'd be happy to have them join if they ever choose to reject their lifestyle and live a moral life consistent with our organization's values instead. For now, let's just focus on making sure the bedrock of our organization stays plugged into what we're doing so they can continue to guide us into the Freemasonry of the future!"

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Masonic accolades to be given out solely based on attendance

Springfield, IL - One Grand Lodge is streamlining its awards process to focus on what really matters: attendance. The Grand Lodge of Illinois issued a statement earlier this week stating "...As the antient institution of Freemasonry is suffering from declining membership and member participation, and the Grand Lodge wishes to encourage increased member participation at all levels of Freemasonry, let it be known that all Grand Lodge awards and accolades from thenceforth will hereby be awarded strictly based on the attendance record of the recipient without respect to other member qualifications, moral or otherwise." 

The Past Bastard caught up with Bro. Joe Snow, spokesperson for the Grand Lodge of Illinois, for his comments on the new Grand Lodge policy: "The fact of the matter is Freemasonry's in a right bad state if you ask me. We don't have enough members, or at least enough members who are willing to show up, to fill the seats at the Grand Master's dinners, special events we've arranged to raise money for the Grand Master's charity, or the Grand Master's special 'Ladies Nights' events. It just makes us all look bad when we're trying to raise money for a good cause and we can't fill the chairs. That's why we decided to take a hard look at what we really need from our members, and award them accordingly. From here on out, we don't care about how you conduct yourself as a Mason, how you've furthered the Craft, or how you've used your leadership abilities to better the organization. We care about how much you show up." 

Bro. Joe Snow continued, stating that the Grand Lodge has been passively implementing this policy in other areas for years: "We've been doing this with our District Deputy selection process for years, and it has worked quite well. GAOTU knows we need those guys to show up to everything, so why not just give the District Deputy title only to the guys who show up in the first place?"

When The Past Bastard cited concerns that the new policy might lead to the Grand Lodge honoring those whose behavior or conduct might otherwise preclude them from honorifics, leading to further decreased morale and member participation, Bro. Joe seemed confident that this new policy would be successful at increasing participation across the jurisdiction: "Look, the fact of the matter is we need more people to show up. You want an award or a District Deputy slot? Start showing up. I don't want to hear some newly raised brother whining about 'Oh, Bill's crass demeanor and bad attitude is the reason why I don't come to lodge anymore, and they made him District Deputy and gave him an award!' If you stop showing up to events because you don't like how another brother is acting, you're the one being unmasonic."

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Freemasons have a difficult time transitioning to summer schedules

Lodi, CA -- In a holdover from bygone days before air conditioning, many Masonic lodges in the US close, or "go dark" for the summer, as some jurisdictions refer to the practice. In the pre-modern times, many men used this time for maintenance work on their farms or homes: repairing loose boards, fixing leaky roofs, digging wells, or other labors that kept them physically occupied. However, as modern Freemasons tend to have office jobs and do the same thing year round, the transition to a "summer mindset" can be difficult.

Masonic wives around the US have been writing into The Past Bastard to share their stories.

Susan Blackboard writes: "My husband Charles is the, I don't know, the Deacon's Warden or something like that. Do they change titles every year? Anyhow, dinner time is the worst. Whenever me or one of the kids says something, he raps the table with a spoon and tells us to make a sign or something. It's really getting on my nerves."

That sentiment was echoed by Gloria Birdseye, whose husband is a member of Widow's Peak Lodge. "My Carl is some kind of sheriff or marshal or deputy or something. He's never home, even on weekends. When summer comes, he really has no idea what to do with himself. I've caught him staring out the window, mumbling to himself. He'll be like this until August."

Some Freemasons are unable to cope with the free
time over the summer, and create lodge-styled
man caves for themselves. 
Not all Freemasons have a difficult time leaving the lodge, though. Some, like Juan Nieves, manage to bring their lodge home with them. His wife, Maria, explains. "Oh, he built himself this 'man cave,' except that he calls it his 'summer lodge.' I'm not exactly sure what he's got in there, since he covered up the windows, but he told me that no girls are allowed inside because it destroys the sacred tranquility, or some nonsense, as if I really care. And if the kids want him to do something, they have to knock three times on the door. He even found some old, rusty knocker thing at a barn sale and hung it up."

For some Freemasons, the summer becomes a way to re-connect with their family.

"It takes my husband almost the entire month of July to stop saying 'Fire all cannons' at the dinner table," said Janet Hammersmith, whose husband Jason is the Worshipful Master of Ungunquit Lodge. "Oh sure, I get it. he's out four or five nights a week, so being home every night all summer takes some getting used to. But after six years of this it's annoying as hell."

"I can't wait until summer is over, and he goes back to lodge, again," she added.

Friday, June 29, 2018

COGMNA committee urges Grand Lodges to stop using family men for leadership spots

Topeka, KS - Speaking at a small gathering after the recent Conference of Grand Masters of North America and Canada (COGNMA) Subcommittee on Increasing Masonic Service, Wil Hosmer, Past Associate Grand Master of Arkansas shocked some of his colleagues by suggesting that the best way to get more involved Masonic leadership was to recruit from the ranks of divorced men.

"I know it's not politically correct to mention this, but hell, we've all been thinking it, so it's about time that we finally admit to it. Going after family men hasn't panned out for us," Hosmer said to a crowd composed of past and present officers and Grand Lodge officers from various jurisdictions around North America and Canada. "Those guys are always needing to take time off to spend with their wives or families. It's always 'Oh, but it's my wife's birthday,' or 'I can't go, it's our umpteenth anniversary,' or 'I gotta watch my kid's soccer game.' Like anybody needs to watch another kid's soccer game, right?"

"That's why I'm proposing that we drop the pretense of looking for good family men, and instead, let's start encouraging masonic leadership -- hell, Freemason membership, in general -- as a good place for divorced guys with a lot of free time on their hands."

WB Hosmer's remarks were surprisingly well received by the crowd.

"There's a lot of sense in what he says," remarked John Tyler, Past Grand Senior Steward of Idaho. "I can't tell you how many times one of our guys has said that he's been out four or five nights a week, and that his wife keeps complaining that she feels like a widow."

Jim Stewards, Past Associate Grand Marshal from Georgia agreed. "I guess I had been afraid to say anything like that out loud, but it's true. I been divorced for the last six years, and my own Masonic career took off; I tend to think it's 'cause I got a lot more free time to spend on committees and stuff now."

Jesse Marshal, Grand Junior Warden of Alaska offered his opinion. "Back in granddad's time, we didn't like divorced guys because we didn't want anyone who might be tainted with a morality issue, of you know what I mean. But now, seems like half the guys have had at least one marriage, so maybe it's a good idea to keep an eye on the guys with, you know, ongoing marital problems and get them into a committee or put them up for a Grand Lodge spot as soon as they're separated."

"Well, I don't think Worshipful Brother Hosmer has gone far enough. Our fraternity needs guys who can make a commitment to the time and energy it takes to be in a leadership position," said Jacques Wardens, Past Grand Junior Steward of Manitoba. "Instead of sitting around hoping to grab some guy who might happen to get divorced, maybe we need to start, you know, quietly start encouraging guys, if you know what I mean. Like, you know, start pressing his wife to join Eastern Star. If that doesn't push them over the edge, I don't know what else would."

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Nevada Freemasons to bring the MasoniCHIP up to the next level

Crystal Springs, NV -- For the last ten or fifteen years, many Freemasons around North America have been participating in a program that helps to identify children who have been kidnapped or lost by taking pictures, DNA samples, and tooth imprints. This year, the Freemasons of Nevada have decided to take that one step further in a program that, while controversial, has certainly been effective in trial runs. 

"Well, first of all, we have to both curse and thank the guy who came up with the name CHIP for the Child Identification Program," said NevadaCHIP director WB Carlos Allende. "The cursing is because it was such an astoundingly poor choice of acronym, considering how so many of those conspiracy nuts think that we're connected to some kind of Illuminati world government thing, and that we were implanting tracking chips in the damn kids. Really, it made people distrust us from the start. An amazing lack of self-awareness," he added.

A prototype sample of the new microwave/radar
activated Child Identification Chip developed
by the Grand Lodge of Nevada at their
Groom Lake headquarters.
The Past Bastard interviewed Worshipful Brother Allende near the Groom Lake NevadaCHIP headquarters.

"However, we have to also thank whoever it was, because it gave us the reason to drop the pretense and take this child ID thing seriously. You know, next level, kind of thing. That's why we're proud to be the first ones in the country -- hell, in the world, as far as I know -- to dispense with the tooth prints, finger prints, pictures, and all that stuff, and just give the kids an actual microwave enabled tracking chip, right in their necks."

According to NevadaCHIP, the new Child Identification Program would be tested for the next year or so before being offered to the other MasoniCHIP participants.

WB Allende explained that the chips were similar to the RFID tags that are often implanted into pets or livestock, each with a unique code that can be read when passed near a radio scanner, and that the distance factor would make it possible for search helicopters to pinpoint lost children down to a meter wide area, even if they are running through the woods at night.

"Our units are much more enhanced than those other chip readers you've seen, because we have access to, umm, special technology that makes it possible," he explained. "Our chips can be activated and read by a device that uses a combination of longer range microwave beams combined with radar, which means that we can be as much as a mile or more away from the subjects... err, kids, and still be able to target... err, find them." 

The Past Bastard declined the offer to be "chipped" with a test model.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Grand Lodge of Illinois to Require Registration of Masonic Bling

Peoria, IL -- The Grand Lodge of Illinois has hit on a novel, but controversial idea to raise revenue. All Masonic "bling," that is, jewelry, rings, pins, etc., will need to be registered with the Grand Lodge, and members will be required to pay a tax on them.

"The idea came up when we were talking about how out of control all the jewelry had gotten," said RWB Jonathon
B. Goode, who is on the newly formed committee that will be overseeing the licensing and taxing. "You should see these guys; they show up to lodge wearing four or five rings, sometimes even earrings. And the pins. Good Lord, some of the guys, you can't even see their lapels because they're covered in pins. Grand Master pins, Royal Arch pins, Consistory pins, Shrine pins, you name it. We decided that the only fair way to do this would be to license them on an annual basis. Five dollars per item should cover it, and we'll keep a register in case somebody sells a piece to another Mason in a different lodge."

The Past Bastard questioned RWB Goode on the idea of licensing and registering Masonic jewelry.

"Admittedly, it's a hard idea to wrap your mind around at first," he told us. "But we look at it this way: in order to be a member of the Grand Lodge of Illinois, then you have to abide by the rules and regulation, and that includes appropriately displaying the logo... err, I mean, the emblems. We, the Grand Lodge, own the rights to the membership, and we can pass regulations on how members can display our signs and symbols."

"I will say this, though, that the idea of compiling all of this bling and other jewelery and stuff in a register might be a little off-putting to some of our guys," Goode admitted to us. "But ultimately we think that it will help to keep the brethren honest, which is the important thing."

The Past Bastard wondered if the annual licensing fee might not be a little steep.

"Nonsense," said Goode. "We figure if these guys can come up with the money to buy all this stuff, then they can afford another five bucks to be allowed to wear them."
RWB Goode told The Past Bastard that the money would go directly to the Grand Lodge General fund, and there are no plans at the moment for its use.

"Right now, we're just trying to get all the guy registered so we can start issuing the licenses. We aren't going to plan on spending anything until we know what we're working with," he said.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Comcast network outages force Freemasons to pay attention in lodge

Worshipful Brother Jason Forbin probably captured it best when he said, "I've never experienced anything like this in my life. Completely changed my perspective, it did."

The Past Master of Quintaspunkin Lodge No. 468 was speaking about the widespread outages that have left many people in various parts of the US without phone, and in some cases, internet service this week.

"That is, most of the time I go to lodge, I say hi to everyone, then sit on the sidelines and check my emails, check what's happening on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Grindr. By the time I've updated my Google calendar, old Charlie, the secretary, has finished reading all the minutes, and we're well into the discussions," he said. "I mean, sure, if there's anything really important, I poke my head up and join in, but usually I don't need to say anything."

Other Freemasons have had similar reactions.

"At first I was thinking about just playing one of the games that doesn't need an internet connection," said Jacob Aaron, a new Master Mason from Greyskull Lodge No. 154. "But then I started paying attention to some of the old guys that were talking, and I even got to join in and be part of the conversation. It was pretty cool, and I'm going to try that more often," he said.

Not all Freemasons were so enlightened by the situation, however.

"It's funny, but we did a degree the other night, and I had to pay attention to the entire thing because there wasn't anything else to do," said Rick James, Past Master of Corinthian Leather Lodge No. 421 "I heard every little mistake, every skipped word, and every 'err' and 'uhh' those guys were making," he told us. "I'm thinking that I need to become a more active member by correcting their mistakes."