Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Lodges turn to multi-level marketing to increase revenue (Repost)

(Note: The Past Bastard writers are currently recovering from injuries sustained during their hot goat yoga sessions. We are republishing some of their favorite articles until they return. -- the unpaid interns)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

--Conte Calvino Gliostro

Thursday, September 12, 2019

COGMNA DECLARES RED SKELTON FLAG PIN TO BE 4TH GREAT LIGHT (repost)

(Note: The Past Bastard writers are currently undergoing colonic irrigation therapy. 
We are republishing some of their favorite articles until they return. -- the unpaid interns)




Burbank, CA -- The members of the Conference of Grand Masters of North America voted to adopt a new symbol of Freemasonry for the entire North American continent, based on a recent lapel pin seen on Facebook.

The pin, designed on Etsy earlier this year, shows Brother Red Skelton in his Klem Kadiddlehopper tuxedo on a background of an American flag. The words "One Nation Under God" are displayed in a banner above his head.

"We can't think of a more fitting way to signify what Freemasonry stands for," said WB John Lee Hooker, media spokesperson for the 2016 COGNMA conference. "The pin is meant to evoke Brother Red's speech from his 1960s television show - you know, the one where he goes through the entire 'Pledge of Allegiance' word by word and explains how patriotic and religious it is to the audience. There probably isn't a lodge in existence that doesn't use a video of that for one of its Masonic Education programs."

Indeed, the writers at The Past Bastard are intimately familiar with the video, having seen it multiple times over the years. However it did raise some questions, which we presented to WB Hooker.

"Well, yes, we did  have some pushback on making this symbol for the entire continent," he admitted, "More specifically, a few of the Canadian provinces and Mexico had some objections to making this an official symbol, but they were heavily outvoted by most of the Grand Lodges of the US."

Most of the members?

WB Hooker explained "Well, California also objected, but you know how they are out there. I think that Oregon might have objected, and surprisingly New York, as well. I don't understand it, but the overwhelming number of states and provinces voted for the symbol, so we expect to be rolling it out for 2017."

Wait, provinces?

"Oh yes, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick voted for adopting the pin, and so, I think, did Prince Edward Island, which is essentially part of Maine, anyway."

The 2016 Conference of Grand Masters has been drafting up a number of regulations and position papers, which they expect to be presenting at the upcoming 2017 conference on how the symbol and pins should be displayed, and whether they should augment or simply replace the Square & Compasses.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

GRAND LODGE OF FLORIDA REMOVES SYMBOLS OF MORTALITY TO APPEASE AGING BOOMERS (repost)

(Note: The Past Bastard writers are spending an undetermined time in a coma for tax reasons.
We are republishing some of their favorite articles until they return. -- the unpaid interns)

The Villages, FL -- Faced with membership rolls full of post-war "boomers," most of whom are not happy to be finding themselves nearing the end of their natural life spans, the Grand Lodge of Florida is rolling out a re-tooled ritual that avoids references to death and dying, in an effort to make their aging members less uncomfortable during degree work.

"We came up with the idea a couple of years ago when we noticed that a lot of the sixty five to seventy year olds stopped coming to lodge," said RW Dick Johnson, Chairman for the Grand Lodge Committee on Aging and Retention. "Oh, sure, guys stop coming to lodge all the time, but generally, in the past, the older Masons tended to show up more often.  We started talking to them, and discovered that the degree work, especially the Master Mason degrees, were starting to scare the old timers from showing up."

Many aging baby boomers are uncomfortable with
symbols of mortality, so one Grand Lodge is removing
those images from the work.

RW Johnson explained to The Past Bastard that his interviews led him to believe that the boomer generation never felt like they had any obstacles, and had generally been happy to do what they wanted without repercussions, generating debt that they figured would just get paid off later, and enjoy their retirement years in the warm Florida sun. However, as their health began to fail, and as some watched their friends die off, they had little idea of how to handle the changes.

"As Boomers have been hitting retirement, images of death have become triggering for them," he told us. "It's gotten so bad for many of these guys that we've spent some time re-writing the rituals to remove such imagery, so they don't have to think about it."

The Past Bastard interviewed several anonymous Master Masons around Florida for some perspective.

"I never really thought about it before, you know?" said a 68 year old past master, originally from Tacoma, Washington. "I mean, yeah, you got all these death symbols, but I never took them seriously. I mean, 'Father Time' with a scythe? An hourglass? That's, like, so cliche, you know?"

"Our lodge never did those etching board things," said a 73 year old brother from Hackensack, New Jersey. "So I never got the old guy imagery thing. But looking back on it, that thing where the guy gets killed, and he doesn't come back to life? That's just like what happens in real life. That's scary when you think about it." He added, "Which I try not to."

"The part that really gets to me, is that you can't leverage your way out of it," said a 67 year old Past District Deputy Grand master from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. "I've always been able to get enough funds together to shore up some stock, or to tide me over until the next mutual fund flip. But no matter how much you pay the damn doctors, all the seem to do is give you some pills to make you feel better. They aren't actually slowing down the aging process, are they?"

RW Dick Johnson told The Past Bastard that these responses were pretty typical. "It's sad, when you step back and look at it. Those guys had no obstacles in their way, and now they don't know how to deal with this gracefully. That's why we're going to replace the hourglass with a digital watch, and the scythe with a Ginsu knife, and we're going to reword things to make the idea of mortality less threatening."

The Past Bastard asked about the Master Mason degree.

"Oh, yeah, that one was surprisingly easy to work out," he said. "In our version, Hiram is knocked unconscious, and has visions about the ruffians while he's out. In the raising ceremony we just wrote it so that he wakes up and realizes that it was all a dream, and that he's still a king. It's much less frightening or depressing that way."

Thursday, August 29, 2019

PAST MASTERS DISAPPOINTED THAT NEW MEMBERS HAVE TOO MANY IDEAS (repost)

(Note: The Past Bastard writers have accidentally locked themselves into sensory deprivation tanks.
We are republishing some of their favorite articles until they return. -- the unpaid interns)

Santo Alberto, CA -- After a number of initiatives to attract younger, new members, the lodges around Central California are beginning to see some results. Men in their 30s are beginning to join the lodges in small, but increasing numbers. This has led, however, to some unforeseen issues in many lodges.

Members of Temperance Lodge No. 9744 don't understand
how to handle newer members with ideas. 
“These new kids are driving us nuts,” complained WB Ron McArnold of Temperance Lodge No. 9744.  “All they do is talk about stuff. They talk about Freemasonry. They talk about fellowship. They talk about all sorts of ideas. We can’t keep up, anymore.”

Indeed, that has been among the biggest complaints coming back up the hierarchy to the Grand Lodge officers: the new members are obsessed with Freemasonry, and their constant stream of ideas are getting on the nerves of the older, more established members.

“They’re constantly asking if they can try some new thing. One week it’s emailing the newsletters. Another week it’s having guest speakers in lodge. Another week it’s getting a blood drive at the lodge,” agreed WB Juan Flavian. “It’s crazy. I don’t understand why they can’t just sit there and just do things like we’ve always done them. What was the Grand Lodge thinking when they started trying to get all these new guys in here, anyway?”

The Grand Lodge of California has not responded to inquiries about these issues.

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

PAST MASTERS DISAPPOINTED THAT NEW MASONS LACK KNOWLEDGE OF FREEMASONRY (repost)

(Note: The Past Bastard writers have not paid their cable/internet bill, and have been shut off. 
We are republishing some of their favorite articles until they return. -- the unpaid interns)


Watsumi, FL -- After enacting a number of initiatives to attract younger new members, the lodges around Central Florida are beginning to see results. Men in their 30s are beginning to join the lodges in small, but increasing numbers. This has led, however, to some unforeseen issues in many lodges. 
 
old-teaching-young.jpg
Older Masons are frustrated that new members don't understand
Freemasonry, and lack the resources to teach them.
“Yeah, we’re getting all these new members, and all, and the Grand Lodge said that we should take the time to get to know them, and to see of they have any ideas on how to improve the fraternity,” said WB Pat Vigoda of Citrus Lodge No. 588. “But so far, all these young guys have hardly said ‘Boo’ in lodge. All they do is keep asking us questions.” 
 
Indeed, that has been among the biggest complaints coming back up the hierarchy to the Grand Lodge officers: the new members don’t know anything about Freemasonry, and end up having very little to offer the Craft.  
 
“You know, it wouldn’t be so bad if they just sat there and kept quiet, and all,” explained WB Bob O’Reilly of Sunlight Lodge No. 842. “But they’re so green that it’s a drain on our resources. They keep asking questions about Masonry, and we need to have all these guys available to teach them stuff. What was the Grand Lodge thinking when they tried advertising to get them in here?”
 
The Grand Lodge of Florida has declined to comment on plans to remedy the situation. 
 

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

REPORT: USAGE OF NOSTALGIA OUTSTRIPPING SUPPLY (repost)

(Note: The Past Bastard writers are currently undergoing OSHA training for unsafe work practices. 
We are republishing some of their favorite articles until they return. -- the unpaid interns)


Arlington, VA -- The Federal Department of Fraternal Societies has just released a status report, noting that the demand and usage for nostalgia has been increasing faster than the availability.

FDFS Chief, WB Chris Anderson gave The Past Bastard a statement.
“While it’s typical to see members of fraternities and other organizations going through older books and articles for inspiration -- we call it ‘mining’ -- the fact is that in the last decade we’ve seen such an increase of authors doing this that in another eight to ten years, there may not be anything left to mine.”

When we asked if he had any explanation for the upswing in demand, WB Anderson offered his opinion.
“I blame the internet,” he said jokingly. “Not the internet itself, but twenty years ago, it was difficult to mine and spread nostalgia except through print. Masons, in particular, passed around bit of Al Pike or Carl Claudy through those little MSA pamphlets, copied on ditto machines, or later, on office copiers. When email became more freely available, so did the spread of quotes and paragraphs bemoaning the loss of how things were in ‘the old days,’ but there was so much Masonic nostalgia built up over the years, that the supply was never in danger.”

The problem surfaced when blogging became popular,” he continued. “Literally hundreds of Masons were blogging passages from Pike, quotes from Claudy, meanderings from Mackey, and pretty much any other old Freemason they could find. The nostalgia supply began dwindling, but we expected older Masons to be replenishing the supply. Unfortunately, there aren’t any current authors who write their own original ideas anymore.”

WB Anderson cited the FDFS report, saying “The number of brothers passing maudlin bits of nostalgia along on Facebook isn’t helping. True, most of them are very short snippets because Freemasons don’t read as much as they used to. But the sheer number of them doing so means that whatever nostalgia is left will be used up by the next decade, after which we’ll be be forced to endlessly recycle ‘The Old Tyler Talks,’ or ‘Red Skelton’s Pledge of Allegiance’ until the next generation begins to mine old blogs for material.”
-- Conte Calvino Gliostr

Monday, August 5, 2019

MOVPER IS ON THE MOVE; GROTTO REBRANDS "POOR MAN'S SHRINE" IMAGE (repost)

(Note: The Past Bastard writers are currently being sued for unpaid Mexican hospital bills, and have decided to stay off social media for a short time. We are republishing some of their favorite articles until they get back. -- the unpaid interns.)

Damascus, OH -- Explaining that they no longer want to be considered “the poor man’s Shrine,” the Mystic Order of the Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm, informally known as the Grotto, has been busy making some fundamental changes to their organization. 
All the Fez and none of the BS


“We have a new official motto that’s going to be going up on billboards and bumper stickers: ‘All the tassel and none of the hassle’,” said spokesman Ken White, “although we also have an unofficial motto that we’ve kept to ourselves: ‘All the Fez and none of the bullshit.’ Please don’t print that, okay?”


White said that the mottoes reflect the new mission of the Grotto. Long thought of as the red-headed stepchild of the appendant bodies, the Grotto is trying to look more relevant to younger, and less affluent Masons by giving the fact that they do not have the resources of the Shriners a new spin.


“Guys get tired of coming into an organization, getting hit up for a few hundred bucks in fees, dues, pins, and all that stuff, and on top of it getting hit up for even more money every time they come to a meeting. We want to be the ‘anti-Shriners:’ Come down, have a good time, and we won’t hassle you for money every week.”


When asked about continued support of their current charities, White confessed that he wasn’t exactly sure which charities were currently being supported, but promised to look into it. “It’s not just the charities that will be cut back,” he said, “but we’re also not going to bug you about joining the side things. Nobody is going to have to buy bagpipes, little cars, or dress like clowns. Most younger guys today just don’t want to be involved in that kind of thing, and I don’t blame them. I just want to relax with the guys, and enjoy a scotch and cigar or some beer and pizza.”

-Conte Calvino Gliostro

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Grand Master Finds New Masons are Disillusioned with Titles (repost)

(Note: The Past Bastard writers have been hospitalized from stomach infections as a result of eating tequila worms. We are republishing some of their favorite articles until they return. -- the unpaid interns)

Knockemstiff, OH - Illustrious and Most Worshipful Grand Master (MWGM) of Ohio Masons Bobby Bill, Jr., 33°, Knights of the York Court of Honour (KYCH), Knight Commander of the Court of
Honor (KCCH), Past Imperial Potentate (PIP) of the Oriental Shrine, Past Grand High Priest (PGHP) of Royal Arch Masons in Ohio, Past Right Eminent Grand Commander of The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon (aka Knights Templar), Chief Adept of the Ohio College of the Societas Rosicruciana in Civitatibus Foederatis (SRICF), Most Illustrious Companion, Past Sovereign Grand Master of the Allied Masonic Degrees, Sovereign Grand Commander of the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction, Past Worthy Grand Patron of the Ohio Grand Chapter of Order of the Eastern Star, Supreme Imperial Turtle Emeritus of the Ancient and Honorable Order of Turtles, Past Grand Chancellor of the Grand College of Rites of the United States of America, First Grand Master Mason of the the Worshipful Society of Free Masons, Rough Masons, Wallers, Slaters, Paviors, Plaisterers, and Bricklayers (The Operatives), Provincial Grand Master of the Masonic Order of Athelstan, KSM, Past Sovereign Grand Preceptor of the Sovereign Order of Knights Preceptor, Honorary Past Commander-General of the Masonic Order of the Bath in the United States of America, Past Provincial Grand Master of the Royal Order of Scotland, Past Grand Preceptor of the Grand College of America Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests (HRAKTP), Past Director of Muskingum Court No. 66 Royal Order of Jesters (ROJ), Past Grand Master of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF) Grand Lodge of Ohio, Past Grand Monarch of the Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm (MOVPER), Past Sovereign Grand Master of the National Sovereign Sanctuary Ancient and Primitive Rite of Memphis-Misraim for the United States and Jurisdictions, Past Grand Royal Patron of the Order of the Amaranth Grand Court of Ohio, Past Supreme Tall Cedar of the Supreme Forest Tall Cedars of Lebanon of North America, wonders why new Masons are disillusioned by titles.

 - Knight Kadeuch Kennedy MacFaulty, 69˚, of the Mediocre Elu


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Two and a half years found turning point for Masonic newb-ness (repost)

(Note: The Past Bastard writers were accidentally swept up in an ICE raid, and are currently enjoying a vacation in Mexico. We are republishing some of their favorite articles until they return. -- the unpaid interns)

Choctaw Falls, AR -- Researchers at the United States Chamber of Freemasonry have released the results of a study which shows that the average amount of time when a new Mason thinks he knows everything is about two and a half years.

“Yes, it will vary from lodge to lodge,” explained Bro. Ledge Porter, “but generally speaking, sometime between two and three years, a Mason will suddenly believe himself to know just enough to start feeling a bit superior to the new candidates.” 


We asked about the paradox that contrasts the results of the study to the truism that Freemasonry is a lifelong learning process.

“Oh, no doubt that many of the guys don't’ actually believe that they know *everything.* But once they hit that critical juncture, they develop certain feelings of smugness that they are well advanced; in fact, enough so that they can even start making moral judgments on a new member’s behavior.”

Noting that many Masons are asked to join the officer line within their first few years, we wondered if there might be a connection.

“We haven’t seen a solid causal connection,” Porter said. “That is, we haven’t figured out if being a new officer makes one a bit of a moralizing ass, or if it takes two years in order to internalize the Masonic culture to the extent that one feels comfortable in making public corrections to the new guys.”

Porter added, “Of course, the smug satisfaction of correcting a newb in public is something that sticks with Masons throughout their Masonic career, so we don’t expect this research to lead to any cure. However, we think that this may have some usefulness, because some of those who hit this juncture are not only making judgments about new candidates, but also about older officers. We think that it may be possible, by examining such individuals, to identify future Grand Lodge officers.”

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Grand Lodge of California Announces Rebranding Initiative; Drops Square & Compasses Entirely (Repost)

(Note: The Past Bastard writers have been on a microbrew tour around the US. We are republishing some of their favorite articles until they get back. -- the unpaid interns.)


San Francisco, CA -- Following the announcement that the UGLE had a  “re-branding” of the fraternity, along with a modernized S&C logo, the GL of CA announced their own rebranding initiative. 


“Let’s face it, Freemasonry has an old fashioned image that we will never shake, unless we do something drastic. The UGLE had some good ideas, but they didn’t go far enough. Our initiative is looking forward to 2117, not just 2017,” said Grand Lodge spokesperson Nelson Riptorn. 


Always on the avant garde edge, The California Freemason reported that a team of social theorists, organizational behaviorists, cultural anthropologists, and graphic designers worked together to create a more forward-looking logo, designed to pair with their initiative to attract and retain a younger membership. Realizing that the new UGLE logo still retained trace elements of the out-dated Square & Compasses, the California initiative strove to come up with a design that balanced the stability of the past with the need for appealing to future generations of Freemasons. 
SC-New-1.jpg 
“By eliminating the old fashioned Square and Compasses altogether,” Riptorn explained, “we can finally shake off one of the aspects that’s been holding us back. In a few months, our new logo will be available on pins, bumper stickers, decals, and car emblems. By this time next year, we expect to have replaced those old lodge signs, too, after the Grand Master’s edict. We expect that it will be a short time before the rest of the Grand Lodges around the US will follow suit.”

“We’ve had three hundred years of looking to the past,” said Riptorn. “Let’s turn that around and start looking toward the future.”

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

Thursday, May 23, 2019

UGLE and GOdF confirm rumors of recognition

Milton Keynes, UK - Some of our readers that are active on social media have undoubtedly run across the barely disguised rumors of recognition between the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) and the Grand Orient of France (GOdF). This week, The Past Bastard overcame the eight hour time difference, and tracked down the Very Worshipful Nigel Thornbury, Assistant to the Provincial Undersecretary in charge of recognition and amity. VW Thornbury confirmed that, while there is some discussion, at this point the two different orders of Freemasons are still  working out the details.

"I say, it's pretty exciting that we're working on this in my lifetime," said Thornbury. "The UGLE dropped their recognition of the Grand Orient before my grandfather was born, back in Edward's time, if I recall correctly. They've had their differences, but I'm glad that the two oldest and most recognized orders of Freemasons are at least coming to some terms of understanding, if you take my meaning."


The Past Bastard asked Very Worshipful Thornbury for a little background.

"Well, as with a lot of Masonic history, the details are a bit sketchy, but from what I gather, the Grand Orient did something that the Grand Lodge considered to be not cricket, if you take my meaning. That began a series of claims and counterclaims of legitimacy, until the Grand Lodge decided that the Grand Orient was personna non grata, or I guess, loge grande non grata. Nobody ever thought to reconcile because, quite frankly, the lodge cultures are too different."

The Past Bastard asked Very Worshipful Thornbury if he could give us any details of the recognition.

"Well, this is all preliminary stuff, and may, of course, be subject to change, but here's what we've worked out so far. First of all, obviously this is just recognition talk, and there's not even a hint at a merger or anything like that. We're simply too different, and the Grand Orient now has a long history behind it that they won't want to give up. And naturally, there's to be no dual or plural membership. You join one body only. Everybody has agreed on that part."

Thornbury continued. "Second, there's to be no visitation between the lodges. As in, none at all. The only communication would be at the grand level, by email or messenger. None of the lodge members are allowed to talk to each other."

"In reference to the talking part," Thornbury continued, "no only are they not allowed to talk to each other, but they aren't even allowed to acknowledge each other. In fact, someone has asked for a caveat that if a Grand Lodge member is walking down the pavement, and spies a Grand Orient member, that he should cross the street so as not to chance any communication."

"Obviously, such arrangements preclude joint affairs, such as dinners, charities, beanos, and anything like that," he explained.

The Past Bastard observed that, except for a written agreement, it sounds like there wouldn't be any change at all in the status, and any recognition would be essentially invisible for ordinary Masons.

"Oh, quite right," said Thornbury. "Admittedly, it did seem a bit odd at first, but baby steps, and all that, you know. However, the Yanks that came up here from a couple of your southern states to help us draw up the details said that this is how it's frequently done across the pond, so I'm sure that they all know what they're doing."

The Past Bastard will continue to update this story as details become more available.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Freemasons open forgotten time capsule


Dateline: Philadelphia, PA. Year: 2206 - Work crews repairing earthquake damage on the Old Pennsylvania Grand Lodge building uncovered a metal box, which they turned over the the Grand Lodge. The East Pennsylvania Grand Lodge Historian realized that they were looking at a time capsule that had been buried in 2005, and presumed lost.

Officers held a semi-public ceremony to open the box and display the contents, which presented an interesting view on the daily lives of early 21st century Freemasons.

"I have to admit, there are quite a few items here that we aren't quite sure what they were used for," said Roberto Crabs, Very Worshipful Grand Historian for the Grand Lodge of East Pennsylvania. "For example, many of these items appear to be some kind of device that we assume would help them with their ritual. We found several things called 'Palm Pilots,' which look to be a primitive ebook reader used for storing ritual. Sadly, none of them are working - they appear to run on some kind of electrical storage cell."

VW Crabs pulled out another item. "Here's another thing that Freemasons must have used a lot of. We figure it had something to do with the Stewards and food preparation because they had the name 'Blackberry' on top. Possibly devices for letting the Stewards know when the dinner was ready."

Digging through the various pins, medals, and aprons, VW Crabs told us that the pins were fairly similar to those of modern times, with the exception that they were rather static. "These old lapel pins didn't change color, play music, or do anything," he told us. "They just kind of sat on your clothes."

He showed us a thin, flat box with the words "Dell Inspiron" on the top. It opened along one hinge and had a number of alphabetical keys that reminded us of those antique cell phones in the movies. "We think that the Secretaries read the minutes from these devices," Crabs told us. "Minutes back in those days were very lengthy, so they probably needed such large and heavy storage devices for them." Then he chuckled. "Apparently not much has changed in the last few centuries."


Thursday, April 18, 2019

Department of Fraternal Societies releases new study

Springfield, IL -- The Federal Department of Fraternal Societies recently released a report that, in accordance with most government funded studies, will surprise nobody. The Past Bastard obtained a copy of the research, and contacted head researcher, RWB Mike Pole.

"The essentials of the study are this: Masons in the craft for about five years spend most of their time complaining about other Masons, usually those in their own lodge. However, that seems to switch, so that by the time they hit the ten year mark, those Masons now complain most frequently about their Grand Lodge."

The Past Bastard questioned Bro. Pole on this.

"We think it's because when Masons are new to the craft, they aren't exposed enough to the quirks and contradictions of their Grand Lodge, nor do they have much exposure to how they may compare to the Grand Lodges in other states; they spend most of their time complaining about things nearest to them. However, by the time they have been in the Craft for a bit, perhaps even served in a few chairs, they've learned that issues with brothers are just minor annoyances, and that the real problem with getting anything done lies on the weird, nonsensical, and seemingly arbitrary rules that their Grand Lodge makes up, often just as politics or ego building."

Federal Department of Fraternal Societies Building
Bro. Pole then went on to point out other parts of the research.

"The trends, however, seem to flip for those Masons who, themselves, become Grand Lodge officers. New Grand Lodge officers will sometimes themselves complain about the seemingly arbitrary rules of their own Grand Lodge. However, after serving for several years, usually in more advanced capacities, those Grand Lodge officers tend to shift to complaining about other Masons -- usually about how those Masons at the blue lodge level just aren't doing the things that they should be, which screw up their vision for what Freemasonry should be."

The Past Bastard asked Bro. Pole if there were any way to get the groups to see eye to eye.

"Sadly, it doesn't look like there's any way for them to meet on any kind of level ground," he told us. "For our next phase in the research, we're planning to have some focus groups, team building, and some meet-and-greet events. We'll let you know how we make out."

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Young Mason collects pictures of Square & Compasses, instead of lapel pins

Barlow, KY --Some Masons collect bumper stickers, car decals, lapel pins, or other such paraphernalia. However, one Mason in this small Kentucky town is collecting something else.

"Oh, I'd say that I should hit the ten thousand mark pretty soon," said Mark Masters, of Paducah-Kroger Lodge. "I've got an online photo album where I've got them cataloged by area, type, and a few other factors."

Brother Mark collects pictures; more specifically, pictures of Masonic emblems that he has run across in his travels as a delivery driver.

"They're all labeled and numbered so I don't accidentally list the same one twice.," he told us. "That happened a few times when I first started this, and it made me so mad."

Brother Mark got the idea when he noticed how may times he would drive by a car with a square & compasses decal, or a similar design on a building, or on a statue.
It's easy to spot Masonic decals like this on
the backs of many cars.

"I started to just take pictures of them, you know? Like, I'd be driving down the street, and I'd spot a square & compass design on a building, so I'd pull over and take a picture. Or I'd be sitting at a light, and see a car with a "To be one ask one" bumper sticker, so I'd take a picture. One time I was at a funeral, and I saw a while bunch of gravestones with them. I got a lot that day," he told us.


So, why does he take pictures instead of buying a lapel pin?

"Oh, it's way cooler to see these things out in the wild," he told us. "Like, it's the surprise factor or something. You're driving along, just listening to some tunes, and out of the corner of your eye you spot one. It's like bird watching or something, only better."

"But I have to admit, though, that it does get more difficult to find new ones. It's like I'm exhausting the supply, or something. I'm hoping that I don't have to move to another part of the state," he said.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Flip This Temple: Chris Hodapp to host new show on A&E

Fudge Ripple, IN - - Chris Hodapp, the ninth most popular Masonic author, known primarily for his fifteen year old book "Freemasons for Dummies," is also one of the most prolific Masonic bloggers still active. Brother Hodapp's books, blog articles, and speaking engagements have reached dozens of Freemasons around the globe. 

As fellow Masons, we are happy for Brother Hodapp's continued success, which is why we reached out to him when we heard about his latest endeavor: Flip This Temple - A television series in which he will feature various lodge buildings around the US, as the lodge members decide to renovate the old buildings, and either keep them or sell them off.

TPB: Chris, first we want to thank you for all the work that you do as the unofficial Masonic News Network. We understand that "Flip This Temple" grew out of some of your reporting.

Chris: Yes, I believe that you mentioned that every other blog article seemed to be about some great, historic lodge building that was either being sold off, or was in a terrible state of disrepair. I got the idea while watching TV one night with my wife, and saw that those old "Flip This House" shows have morphed into things like "Flip This Condo", or Trailer or RV, or other things. I made a joke about how it would be nice if we could see such energy with some of the Masons I know remodeling their own lodges. From there, it just sort of... took off.

TPB: House flipping shows are really popular for couples to watch, because it gives them ideas for things to do in their own houses. What's the audience draw for remodeling a Masonic lodge?

Chris: We think that it's going to appeal to the younger Masons, the 30 to 50 year old crowd who are tired of the old, fake walnut 1970s paneling and the linoleum tiled floors, but who get a lot of pushback from the older past masters who can't imagine spending forty or fifty bucks on some new paint.

 TPB: So, we understand that the first show will be an old lodge building in Rhode Island or someplace in New England? 

Chris: That's right. I can't give you any more details, but it's an old building with parts dating back to the late 1700s, that was donated to the lodge in the mid 1800s, and probably hasn't been changed since, except maybe to add electricity and indoor plumbing. 

TPB: You could be describing half the lodges in New England, right there. 

Chris: True enough. Anyway, the producers managed to get some free supplies from various advertisers, and the younger lodge members had a couple of months to work on it. Walls were painted, windows were replaced, old carpeting torn out, and fake masonite paneling was burned. After it was finished, the guys then had to decide if the building was still worth keeping, or if they should sell it, take the money, and rent from a lodge with more modern facilities on the other side of town. 

TPB: Well, so what did they do?

Chris: Sorry, can't tell you that. You'll have to wait until it hits the cable channels next season. 

TPB: Fair enough. Can you tell us about any other upcoming shows?

Chris: For the first season, we're just hitting a few smaller lodge buildings in the northeast US, a couple in the mid-west, and we'll end up the season with something out in the northwest US. 

TPB: Any of those big, multi-lodge buildings in the cities?

Chris: While I'd love to tackle some of those old, art deco buildings that take up half a block, the producers have decided to wait a season or two to gauge the interest. Part of it, too, is getting more advertisers and sponsors behind it. Freemasons, as you know, are not noted for spending money on their buildings. Or much else, except their personal jewelry, I might add. 

TPB: Well, it certainly sounds like a hit, and we wish you the best of luck. 

Chris: Thanks, guys, I really appreciate that. 

"Flip This Temple" is in post-production, and we expect to see it on A&E in the next season. 








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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Massachusetts to get hundreds of new members in one shot. Unfortunately, none of them will pay dues.

Boston, MA -- Citing the opportunity to improve tourism, the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts has announced that they intend to make every man who fought in the Revolutionary War a Mason-At-Sight.

"Oh, yes, it was a very controversial decision, yes indeed," said Worshipful Brother Ronald Maroon, spokesperson for Grand Lodge Posthumous Affairs. "We argued about this at the Grand Lodge officers level for weeks and weeks. Ultimately, of course, the money won. It always does."

By "money," RW Maroon was referring to the idea that publicly identifying hundreds of early American patriots would increase public curiosity, visits, and perhaps even some new petitions.

"Oh, yes, it's pretty obvious that we Yanks love our early Patriots. We already get mobs of tourists here, especially when school lets out, who love to prowl around those old graveyards, or buy those souvenir tri-corn hats, or wave their Air-soft muskets around," he explained in an interview with The Past Bastard. "Our intention is to increase the public awareness of how closely those patriots are tied to Freemasonry."

Making someone a "Mason-At-Sight" is still a controversial practice even on living people. Several Grand Masters have made famous (dead) figures Masons-At-Sight, claiming that they probably would have become Masons had they lived long enough. But the Massachusetts decision has rocked the Masonic world.

"Simply put," RW Maroon told us, "We figured that all of the patriots fighting for freedom were on our side. Since some of them were already Freemasons, it's obvious that those men had the same ideals and principles. Yes, they died in the war, but if they hadn't, the probably would have moved back to the Bay State, started a little farm, become good citizens, and joined one of the local lodges. It's a totally reasonable assumption."

"By making a public declaration, we hope to increase the curiosity among the public, so when they visit Massachusetts, they will come to associate 'patriot' with 'Freemason.' Oh, and that they'll buy some merchandise with our branded 'Square and Compasses', of course. There's no downside!"

"Well, except," he admitted, "that none of those new members will be paying dues."

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Rhetorical Voices: Trendy or traditional foods in lodge?

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

Question: What do you think about the former Grand Master of West Virginia resigning over his mother lodge serving trendy foods instead of baked chicken and green beans?



Bob Hoskins, Treasurer, Steinbeck Lodge No. 118
"Well, personally, I'm a health nut, and I only eat paleo, so I wouldn't be eating those potatoes, donuts, noodles, pizza, or anything else that actually tastes good. And if you can't go to lodge and enjoy a dinner, then what's the point? Might as well sit at home posting memes on Facebook."

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Larry Sotero, Past DDGM, Chantilly Lodge No 9

"Those damn liberals screw up everything, you know that? The poor bastard, excuse my French, just wanted to go to lodge and have a meal with his brothers, and they took away one of the few wholesome things about Freemasonry - the Festive Board - and they expected him to eat California food? It's a wonder the entire lodge hasn't lost its damn charter!"
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Barnard Saundars, Junior Steward, Plank Lodge No. 312: 
"It's really too bad that the poor guy felt the need to resign because he couldn't have his fix of animal flesh. I wish I had the opportunity to have him try some good vegetarian dishes, like zucchini steaks or lima bean burgers, which are so much better not only for your person, but for the entire planet."

Friday, March 8, 2019

Masonic world rocked as former Grand Master resigns

Charleston, WV - Anonymous sources inside COGMNA (Conference of Grand Masters of North America) have leaked information to the effect that a prominent Past Grand Master has just tendered his resignation to his Grand Lodge. This is not a demit, but an actual resignation from the fraternity.

The Past Bastard has obtained a copy of the letter of resignation, which has been partially redacted. We are reprinting it here:
*******
DECLARATION OF RESIGNATION FROM ANCIENT FREE AND ACCEPTED MASONARY

Know all men  by these presents that I, the undersigned [redacted], Past Grand Master, and member of good standing in [redacted] Lodge, being of sound mind and labouring under no disabilities, legal or otherwise, do hereby voluntarily declare:

WHEREAS: The dinner served to Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ at the Last Supper was baked chicken, green beans, and boiled potatoes, and

WHEREAS: All regular and well maintained Masonic Lodges should emulate the examples of the One True God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, and

WHEREAS: All regular and well maintained lodges are erected to the Glory of God, and

WHEREAS: Dinners at said well maintained and regular Masonic lodges should be served, and

WHEREAS: Said dinners should rightfully consist of backed chicken, green beans, and boiled potatoes, and

WHEREAS: My own mother lodge, [redacted] has taken to serving trendy hipster foods such as Italian pizza, Japanese bento boxes, Thai curry, Vietnamese Pho, Greek gyros, and other such foreign and blasphemous foods, and

WHEREAS: I desire to remain true to the Holy Scriptures,

NOW, THEREFORE: I resign from the Grand Lodge of West Virginia, owing no money to any brothern, nor having other obligations.

"For me and my house, we will serve the baked chicken." Sarducci 19:79

SIGNED: [redacted]
 *******

The Past Bastard will continue to monitor the situation. 


Thursday, February 28, 2019

MasoniCare in Connecticut to offer assisted living facilities for divorced couples.

Hartford, CT -- Faced with a growing number of aging boomer members with more complex family arrangements than generations in the past, MasoniCare -- the Grand Lodge of Connecticut’s Masonic Hospital and Care Facility -- has announced that they have remodeled a large number of their assisted living apartments to accommodate elderly divorced couples. Children of these couples (Freemasons are given preference, although MasoniCare told The Past Bastard that the facilities are open to all) can arrange to have their parents housed in the same unit, but living within separate apartments in order to make it easier for them to visit and care for their aging and estranged parents.
Workers remodeling the existing assisted care apartments
to accommodate divorced and estranged parents. Many
apartments are being split into two smaller units.

“It has become increasingly difficult for people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s to care for their elderly parents,” said MasoniCare Director Jean-Luc Dicard. “Many of them are still working, and do not have time to help maintain a house in which an elderly parent is still living. When you consider how many older adults are divorced or separated, it’s a nightmare for the children to figure out how to care for not just one, but two parents.”

Director Dicard told The Past Bastard,“That is why we here at MasoniCare have come up with the idea of splitting some of our assisted living apartments into two smaller apartments, each with a bedroom, a small sitting area, a kitchen, and some very nice soundproof walls. Our clients can now put both of their parents in the same unit, and those parents won’t have to hear, see, or deal with each other.”

The Past Bastard asked about the rest of the facilities in the area.

"Oh, they are well known throughout the country," Director Dicard told us. "If the residents are feeling up to it, they can go on bus trips, play bingo, go to concerts, or go shopping in town. We even have an Eastern Star chapter if mom is interested, and of course, there's a lodge that meets in the daytime for dad. Most of the residents are quite happy here, and their children can easily see how well everyone is cared for."

“Now the children of these parents will no longer have to worry about household maintenance, since that would be included in our care facility program,” Dicard said. “And even better, they can visit both parents in one trip, should they so choose. They can have lunch dad, and then an early bird dinner with mom, and get home in time to watch their evening TV shows..”