Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Grand Lodge of DC shuts down over membership and dues conflict

Washington, DC -- Tensions among competing factions within the Grand Lodge of DC came to a head over the weekend when, in trying to force a vote on instituting regularly scheduled One Day Classes, another group vowed to hold up the vote until the Grand Lodge approved a dues increase. Having reached a stalemate, the Grand Master was compelled to force a Grand Lodge shutdown.

The seemingly empty Grand Lodge building during
the recent shutdown
"It's sad, very sad, that some of our esteemed members can not think past their own agenda, said RWB Henry Lee Gibson, spokesperson for the Grand Lodge. "We've been fighting for months to start a regular series of One Day Classes to accommodate the number of people who want to join our great fraternity, but some of our members would seem to want to keep people out."

WB Carl Shoemaker, head of the Committee on Retention, disagreed. "We can't really accommodate more Masons here without building up our aging lodges," he said. "Before we can even think about bringing in the number of members that the Grand Lodge thinks is enough, we need to improve our resources, and that means a major dues increase."
The resulting shutdown has not had as much of an impact on the Craft as either faction would have thought.

The Past Bastard asked a number of Washington Freemasons their opinions, which most agreed to give anonymously.

"What do you mean, 'a shutdown'?" asked one confused member. Another added "How could you tell?"

"Oh, our lodge is all for it," a past master told us. "Anything that keeps those purple apron guys from visiting is great. It allows us to do our work without them looking over our shoulder.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Masonic-themed dating site debuts

San Francisco, CA - A local San Francisco Lodge member is looking for love, and has figured out that the best place to begin is right in Lodge!, the only online dating site "by Masons for Masons," made its debut earlier this week. The site, riding on the success of other affinity-based online dating services such as,, and, offers compatibility screening based on a complex algorithm that matches brethren with potential mates based on a variety of preferences including appendant body membership, stance on traditional observance Masonry, and preferred dues price point, among others.

The Past Bastard met up with Bro. Joe Snow, Senior Warden of Amorous Ashlar Lodge No. 31 and founder of, to get the inside scoop on how came into being: "I came up with the concept of after breaking up with my most recent boyfriend. He wasn't a Mason, and was jealous of all the time I spent at Lodge. It was a bad situation. After everything calmed down, I realized that we Masons should really be looking for that match within Masonry! Think about it--when you and your partner spend time together at Lodge, you no longer have concern over someone in the relationship keeping secrets. Besides, don't get me started about how amazing it would be to have my boyfriend refer to me as 'Master' during my year..."

Bro. Joe trailed off for a bit and when The Past Bastard began listening again, he decided to tell us about how the site works: "Well, you see, we've got a 33-point compatibility scale--I know, right?--that we test each new member against to find matches. We test everything from whether a member wears his ring points in or points out, to how a member feels about Traditional Observance Masonry, to a member's preference for green beans over corn during Lodge dinners. We've tried to take the guesswork out of the most contentious parts of the Masonic experience so our members don't have to worry about getting matched up with someone who will drive them nuts at the outset."

The Past Bastard inquired as to whether or not Bro. Snow would be opening MasonsOnly up to women Masons and appendant bodies, but Bro. Snow sees no need for that at this point: "We're called MasonsOnly for a reason. We have to keep some semblance of regularity to preserve harmony among our members. If people want a co-ed Masonic dating site, I'll happily direct them to Le Droit Humain. We're not marketing to appendant bodies either as the Shriners already have their own dating site. While we aren't interested in opening membership up to women or other appendant bodies, we are working diligently to market this site to our Prince Hall brethren! More to come on that angle down the road."

Bro. Snow also told The Past Bastard about his plans to partner with other Masonic endeavors to expand the services that his site offers: "We're looking to partner with the good men over at Amity to expand the scope of Soon, our members will not only be able to see perfect matches nearby, but the matches' Lodges will factor into our compatibility algorithm. I always say you don't marry the brother, you marry the Lodge!"

-SK Bro. Mason Buhrmaster

Monday, January 1, 2018

Lodge offers lowest dues in country; switches to service-based pricing model

Dallas, TX - A local Lodge is making waves by offering the lowest Masonic dues rate in the entire country and switching to a fee-for-service or microtransaction business model popularized by corporations like Southwest Airlines and Electronic Arts. Bro. Joe Snow, Worshipful Master of Parsimonious Lodge No. 10, spoke to The Past Bastard about his radical new plan to make Masonry available to and affordable for everyone: "It's simple. You pay for what you want. Our dues are a flat $5.00 per year. If you want to come to meetings, you pay a fee per meeting. If you want an apron at that meeting, it's an extra fee. If you'd like to get priority seating in Lodge, there's an upsell for that as well. You pay for what you want. No More."

When The Past Bastard asked Wor. Bro. Snow how the Lodge intended to track all of the transactions that would be taking place, he replied that the Lodge would be taking inspiration from Starbucks' business model: "It's easy, really. Starbucks has a 'gold card.' Parsimonious No. 10 will have a 'blue card' coded to each individual member. Members can pre-load it with money or link it to a credit card or paypal account--as an extra upsell, of course. Members will conduct all their transactions off of that card. We'll still let them pay the secretary directly, but that option will cost them."

Wor. Bro. Snow was kind enough to pass a full Parsimonious Lodge No. 10 service list to The Past Bastard. It has been reprinted below:

Parsimonious Lodge No. 10 Offered Services*

Annual Dues - 5.00 USD**
Parsimonious No. 10 Blue Card, Pre-loaded with 50.00 USD - 65.00 USD
Blue Card Link to Credit Card/Paypal (per account) - 10.00 USD
Secretary Direct-payment Fee (per occurrence) 5.00 USD
Dues Card - 1.00 USD
Dues Card Mailed to Residence - 4.00 USD
Meeting Fee - 10.00 USD
Masonic Education/Speaker Meeting Upsell - 10.00 USD
Guest Apron Rental (per meeting) - 5.00 USD
Tiler's Protection Fee (per meeting) - 2.50 USD
Chaplain's Divine Blessing Fee (per meeting) - 2.50 USD
Lodge Attendance Register Book Usage Fee - 0.50 USD
Master's Administrative Oversight Fee (per meeting) - 1.50 USD
Steward's Cleaning Fee (per meeting) - 7.50 USD
Brotherly Fellowship Fee (per meeting) - 2.00 USD
Lodge Stairwell Usage Fee (per occurrence) - 0.25 USD
Lodge Elevator Usage Fee (per occurrence) - 0.75 USD
Dinner Fee - varies
Cutlery/Utensil fee - 5.00 USD
Trestleboard (electronic) - 1.25 USD
Trestleboard (mailed) - 5.00 USD
Coat Rack Fee (per meeting) - 2.50 USD
Bathroom Usage Fee (per occurrence) - 1.50 USD
Bathroom Usage Fee (per occurrence on Chili Night) - 10.00 USD
Priority Lodge Entry (per meeting) - 15.00 USD
Priority Lodge Seating (per meeting) - 10.00 USD
Name Recorded in Lodge Minutes - 25.00 USD
Copy of Secretarial Correspondence (electronic) - 2.00 USD
Permission to Speak in Lodge (per occurrence) - 1.00 USD
Permission to Speak in Lodge (per occurrence, if member is irritating) - 5.00 USD
Permission to Make Announcement in Lodge - 1.00 USD
Permission to Make Announcement in Lodge (if recruiting for appendant body) - 10.00 USD
Cell Phone Ring Fee (per occurrence during meeting) - 25.00 USD
Lodge Lapel Pin - 10.00 USD
Lodge Name Badge - 15.00 USD
Photo with Lodge Officers - 10.00 USD
E-mail Address on Lodge E-mail Distribution List - 5.00 USD/year
Access to Lodge E-mail Distribution List - 30.00 USD/year
Access to Lodge Restricted Facebook Group - 5.00 USD
Event or Announcement Highlighted on Lodge Public Facebook Page - 10.00 USD
Picture Tag in Facebook Post (per photo) - 1.00 USD
Selfie with Grand Master During Grand Lodge Visitation - 50.00 USD
Grand Master Autographed Photo During Grand Lodge Visitation - 100.00 USD
Shake Hands with Master (per occurrence) - 2.50 USD
Name on Officer Election Ballot - 5.00 USD Credit to Blue Card
Election as Officer - 30.00 USD Credit to Blue Card
Birthday Phone Call from Master - 5.00 USD
Birthday Text from Master - 1.50 USD
Transportation to/from Lodge - 1.00 USD/mile

*Price subject to availability. List not exhaustive.
**Dues fee includes one Secretary-initiated correspondence with the Grand Lodge of Texas denoting member as a Mason in good standing.

This writer for The Past Bastard would have wished the brethren of Parsimonious Lodge No. 10 the best in their future microtransaction-driven Lodge experiences, but Wor. Snow informed him that doing so would incur fees.

-SK Bro. Mason Buhrmaster