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.”