Thursday, November 14, 2019

Springfield, MA -- Massachusetts has always been on the forefront of innovation in Freemasonry, so it was no surprise when the Grand Lodge announced that they are ready to release a modernized second section, or "staircase" lecture for 2020.

"See, everybody knows that Masonic historian and lecturer Ezra Pound added the staircase lectures to the Fellowcraft degree as a way to add some educational material so the new merchant class members could have some idea of what the more educated brothers were talking about," said Grand Lecturer RW Jeff Kroger. "So he added some basics, like Architecture, Grammar, Astrology, things like that. Those might have been important in the old days, but now that everyone pretty much has the same liberal arts education, we've decided that it's time to make the educational staircase lecture more relevant. More high tech, you know?"

RW Kroger went on to explain that the entire lecture was not being changed. "No, see, it's just the really outdated stuff that we're changing," he told The Past Bastard. "For example, nobody needs any of that astrology stuff, since you could just look it up on Google sky view or whatever. So, we're going to take that out and replace it with this cool esoteric piece about computers. I mean, learning about computers is a lot more useful than learning about the stars and planets and stuff, isn't it?"

The Past Bastard asked how much of the old lecturers were going to remain.

"Oh, a lot of it's still there," RW Kroger told us. "I mean, like that grammar stuff is still there, 'cos it's pretty important to be able to speak right. Oh, and music is still there, although we snuck in a little bit about Elvis, mainly because the Custodians of the Work are fans. Let's see, we're keeping the Geography stuff in there, 'cos we Masons are totally about geography, right? But we decided to replace rhetoric with something about home economics, since we decided that it's more important to know how to grocery shop, cook, pay bills, things like that. "

"Oh, and we're not changing the classical architectural columns stuff," he told us. "But we're thinking about adding something about Bauhaus, since postmodernism is still a thing, and nobody uses Composite columns anymore. They're far too ornate for refined contemporary tastes."

Friday, November 8, 2019

Grand Lodge of PA to offer DIY insurance for lodge improvements

Altoona, PA - The proliferation of YouTube videos and other online tutorials have encouraged a growing number of Freemasons to take on basic and even some advanced building improvement in and around their lodges. However, noting the increasing numbers of mishaps in the last several years, the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania has worked with a well known commercial insurance group to offer lodges coverage on what many are calling "Bro-bono Contractors."

Dressing up a room with some new woodwork is usually one
of the first things that brothers will try on their own.
"Just because YouTube says that you could," said WB Al Borland, of the Grand Lodge of Pennsylvania Financial Services Committee, "it doesn't mean that you should. No offense to many of my well meaning brothers, but some of these lodges get together for a work party, armed with a few cases of beer, some old tools, and an internet connection. It doesn't always end well."

"We've had stories about some of the lodge improvement projects that should have been easy, like painting or fixing a broken window, and turn into month-long projects as brothers with make-shift tools end up making things worse. Last week we  had some guys blending together some old paint that they had found in their basements. Naturally they ended up mixing oil based paint with latex, and the walls actually had to be town down and new sheetrock put up."

Many lodges give their kitchens an update with
some inexpensive cabinets from the home stores.
The Past Bastard asked if the Grand Lodge shouldn't try to discourage some of these brothers, instead of offering insurance. Doesn't that just encourage them?

"Well, nothing will discourage some of those guys. Their dues have been $65 a year since Jimmy Carter was president, and if they had to actually pay for an electrician or plumber, it would take a three month long argument, several dimits, and an attempt to have a car wash or bake sale to cover the cost. The more independent minded would just offer to do it themselves, and that's who we're looking out for."

WB Borland told The Past Bastard that for a small fee, the insurance policy will pay for a licensed, non-Mason contractor to finish or repair a job that the brothers start. "We're mainly concerned with things like electrical work, plumbing, and light remodeling," he told us, "But we also have a higher class of policy for those doing more physically dangerous things like replacing a roof."

Most members feel empowered if they can
modernize a light switch or outlet.
The Past Bastard asked why the policy coverage pays for non-Masons to do the work. "Oh, Masons are notoriously cheap when it comes to looking out for their own," WB Borland said. "If a lodge had a brother Mason coming by to do some contracting work, they would guilt him into doing pretty much the entire job at cost. And then they'll take six months to even pay the guy because some past mater will complain about some little detail, and then there will be some kind of feud. You know how they get."

Freemasons around the US should look for their own Grand Lodges to offer similar policies in the coming years.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

GL Connecticut becomes first mainstream GL to lose PHA recognition

Hartford, CT - Thirty years ago, the Grand Lodge of Connecticut became the first of many US Grand Lodges to extend mutual recognition to their state Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge counterparts, ending a two hundred year divide and paving the way for mutual recognition in most other US states. This year, in an ironic twist, the Connecticut Prince Hall Grand Lodge dropped their recognition of the Grand Lodge of Connecticut, in what looks to be the first of  more such actions around the country.

"Oh, yes, I remember how proud we all were back then," said MWB Louis Minefield, Past Grand Master of PHA in Connecticut, recalling the early days of recognition. "I was just a Junior Warden in my lodge at the time, but all of us were thrilled with the prospect of becoming the first of what we hoped would be a domino effect of mutual recognitions. Unfortunately, none of us foresaw what the state of Freemasonry would become."

The Past Bastard contacted representatives from the PHA in Connecticut, and learned that for the last several years, PHA Freemasons around the US have become concerned with the application process of the mainstream Grand Lodges; specifically at how easily they accept new members.

Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge in Hartford, Connecticut.
The first PHA Grand Lodge to be mutually recognized by the GL of State
counterpart has now become the first to suspend that recognition.
"When I was interested, do you know how long it took me to become a Mason? Almost two years," said RW Curtis Bullock. "Before they even allowed me to submit the application, I had to go to dinners, meet the brothers, and have them come to my house. They asked for my employment history, where I went to church, where my mom went to church, you name it. Almost two years! But this guy I work with, he joined the state lodge in his town, right? It didn't take even two months from getting that blue paper to his initiation. I honestly thought he was joking with me when I heard that. Two months? How do you even know what kind of guy you got joining your lodge?"

RWB Bullock isn't alone in his concerns. Many PHA Freemasons in the northeast US have expressed similar concerns, causing them to doubt the legitimacy and integrity of what they call the "Grand Lodge of State" Freemasons.

"And another thing, never mind that it's only a few months between the petition and the initiation," said WB Will Wooten. "Those guys pay so little for dues that they can't possibly care about their lodge. I mean, my neighbor belongs to a lodge across town, and he pays like, ninety five dollars a year. He said it was seventy five, and when they went up last year, half the members threatened to demit. Ninety five dollars? My lodge is six hundred dollars a year, plus I gotta volunteer time to the upkeep and cleaning and stuff. We've all got pride in our lodge. How do those state masons have any pride when they threaten to quit over twenty dollars?"

"My lodge meets in a state lodge building," said WB Calvin Thompson. "I've stopped in at a few of their monthly meetings, and I've seen guys dressed in jeans, tee shirts, sneakers. One night a brother showed up in hospital scrubs. I mean, seriously? Like, you can't throw some clothes in the back seat  of your car before work, and change when you get to lodge?"

MWB Minefield told The Past Bastard that, based on the concerns raised by so many members of their organization, Grand Lodges of State have lowered their requirements so much that Freemasonry is only a ghost of what it had been as little as a century ago. "The brothers of Prince Hall simply felt that we could not continue, in good conscience, our relationship with a jurisdiction that doesn't take Freemasonry seriously. So we voted to suspend our recognition of them until such time when they get their act together, and start acting like proper Freemasons."

The Past Bastard asked MWB Minefield about the Prince Hall Grand Lodges in other states.

"I'm not really at liberty to speak for anyone else," he told us. "But I can tell you that our neighbor directly north is already discussing it. Did you know that the Massachusetts state grand lodge has billboards and TV ads? Actual ads on television, to attract more members! Man, if our founders had known this was the direction Freemasonry was headed, they would have demitted and turned in their charter."

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

GL of California Committee on Social Responsibility bans plastic straws, plates, utensils

San Francisco, CA -- Citing a need for Freemasons to become more socially and environmentally conscious, the Grand Lodge of California announced this week that beginning in 2020, lodge buildings were no longer allowed to have single use plastic straws, utensils, or plastic or foam plates.

"Yes, we expect some pushback, but as Freemasons, we believe that it's our social responsibility to be at the forefront of social change," said RWB Craigg Wall, chair of the newly formed Committee on Social Responsibility. "There's no reason for lodges to have dinners on paper or styrofoam plates and just toss them out after one use. After 2020, lodges will have to decide whether or not to use china and install a dishwasher, or will have to find some other way to have dinners, festive boards, and table lodges."
Festive boards in California will no longer be allowed to use
plastic tableware after 2020.

The Past Bastard contacted RWB Wall, and asked if he thought that the increased use of water and energy to clean the dishes didn't offset the amount of plastic and waste disposal.

"We think that at first, there will be some adjustment," he told us, "but we also expect that as some lodges -- especially the larger ones -- get tired of washing dishes every week, that more of them will opt to have festive boards at neighborhood cafes and restaurants. Or they can have a food truck stop by after the meeting, which will help support the local economy."

The Past Bastard also noted that the Committee on Social Responsibility did not seem have a ban on plastic cups, leading us to wonder if this was an oversight, or if the Grand Lodge was getting some kind of kickback from the industry. Inquiries to the CSR on that point have remained unanswered.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

GL Kentucky undertakes emergency ritual training when lodge discovered to be passing down incorrect word

Madisonville, KY -- The Custodians of the Work of Grand Lodge of Kentucky have announced emergency measures for retraining the last several generations of Freemasons in some of the lodges in the western end of the state, after it was discovered that virtually all of the members have been passing down the wrong "Master's Word." 
Friend corn bread, sometimes called
Indian Bread or Corn Pone is a popular side
dish in the southern and midwestern states.

"I realize that it's a big state, and our own Grand Lodge has to take some of the responsibility here," said Very Worshipful Buck Hatfield, District Director of Ceremonies.  "We don't get out to the rural lodges as often as we should, so nobody ever really noticed this. Fortunately, Bob McCoy happened to figure it out, so we can at least work to correct the problem."

Hatfield was talking about Right Worshipful Robert McCoy, DDGM in one of the western districts. The Past Bastard reached out to RW McCoy. "I was just making one of those routine lodge visits in... well, I suppose I shouldn't mention the lodge. But anyway, they served up a nice fry-up before the meeting, and I was up at one end of the table, and I said to the fellers at the other end, 'Hey, would you pass me the corn pone?' All of a sudden, everything got real quiet. A couple of old timers dropped their forks, and everybody just swiveled their heads to look at me. "

Over the course of the dinner and subsequent meeting, RW McCoy determined that for at least the previous thirty three years, and possibly longer, lodge members had been passing down a regional name for corn bread, instead of the correct version of the "Master's Word."

The Past Bastard asked how this could have happened. 

"That's the problem with the lodges out in the sticks," VW Hatfield explained. "Not only don't we get out there as often, but frankly, some of them are so small that we forget about them. Hell, the lodge we're talking about is only fifty miles as the crow flies from Madisonville, but it's literally a four hour drive to get there -- which nobody even wants to attempt in the spring or fall rainy season, so probably nobody checked on this lodge since Reagan was president."

The Past Bastard asked what the resolution for this situation was going to be. 

"Well, the secretary, he's calling all the old lodge members, which ain't easy because most of them are in Florida now," VW Hatfield told us. "The Grand Master gave them a dispensation to ask them for the word over the phone, and to correct them if they heard it wrong. From what I understand, that's not going well, either. But in the meantime, we're sending more guys out to the smaller lodges in the surrounding area to check, and hopefully retrain them."

"The members of this lodge were playing a thirty-odd year long game of Telephone," added RW McCoy. "Fortunately, it's only that one word they got wrong. At least they didn't pass down the other words 'Bows Ass' and "Sherbet Test' wrong, too."

Thursday, October 10, 2019

E-Juice Company To Market Vape For Freemasons

Irvine, CA -- Nationally known e-juice (aka "vape juice") maker Black Note has teamed up with the Grand Lodge of California to create a line of vape scents specifically for Freemasons.

"As a lot of lodges adopt a 'no-smoking on premises' policy, it's alienating some of the existing members. Not only that, but as we get an influx of new, younger members, most of those guys are already vaping," explained RWB Craigg Hall, spokesperson for the Committee on Public Development. "We thought that this would be a good way to reach both the younger guys who are already vaping, plus the older guys who might consider giving up those cigars and cigarettes for something a little more upscale."

"While 'Acacia' is already hitting the shelves, those guys are already working on one called 'Pot of Incense' which will be a blend of myrrh and other herbs," said RWB Hall. "I'm not a smoker, myself, but I wouldn't mind some pleasant cedar or myrrh wafting through the lodge room during degrees, instead of the smell of pre-digested chili, if you get my meaning," he added.

Informal chats with Black Note led to the development of an acacia scented juice, which should appeal to Masons for obvious reasons. This will be followed up later in 2020 with "Pot of Incense," and later on, "Tall Cedars," a woodsy scent.

Friday, October 4, 2019

Network cancels "Dancing with the Masons"

Hollywood, CA - Freemasons around the West Coast were disappointed last week when ABC announced that it would not go forward with the proposed DWTS spin-off "Dancing With The Masons." Network spokespersons announced that preliminary showings weren't connecting with audiences, but The Past Bastard has been contacted by several anonymous sources who gave some more insight.

"First of all, you need to understand that DWTS is a very active, engaging competition, and that the guests need to be in good physical shape," one source told us. "Guests who might get winded after walking up a flight or two of stairs aren't going to manage the weeks of daily practice. Is there something about Masons that make them prone to moving slowly? If we had known that, we might have approached it differently."

Another source explained, "Also, dancing is supposed to be fun for the people watching, and for the people actually dancing. Most of your guys looked like they were doing commandery formation drills or something. Loosen up a little."

"Oh, and one more thing," added the first anonymous speaker. "Dancing is somewhat ritualistic, which is why we initially thought this might be a good fit. But when some of your guys started bringing the Eastern Star wives along, we discovered that they spent more time fighting over who would lead and who would follow, that we had to keep sending them outside to cool off. It was easier to just cancel the entire thing."

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

GL of Ohio to honor 300th anniversary of Freemasonry by streamlining ODC degree ceremonies (repost)

(Note: The Past Bastard writers are currently carb-loading and rehydrating in preparation for running the "couch" part of a "couch to 5k"  event. We are republishing some of their favorite articles until they return. -- the unpaid interns)

Dayton, OH -- In a bold and controversial move to honor of the 300th anniversary of the formation of the first known Grand Lodge in 1717, the Grand Lodge of Ohio is not only planning their biggest ever "Grand Master's One Day Class;" but the degrees themselves will be "streamlined" in order to accommodate the incoming members.

"We've done a lot of one day degrees, probably more than any other state, and we found that a lot of the guys coming in were losing attention with all the stuff we were throwing at them," explained RW Steve Garvey, the Grand Lodge Publicity Spokesperson. "By the end of the day, they hardly retained anything. Half, maybe three quarters of them always have that 'deer in the headlamps' look, so we figured that the best thing to do would be to cut out the unimportant parts and just have one big degree."

The Past Bastard questioned RW Garvey on shortened degrees.
Grand Lodge of Ohio at the Dayton Masonic Center

"We all know that there's a lot of repetitious stuff in the degrees, and that there's some stuff that doesn't really add anything," he told us. "What we did was remove some of the longer lectures, like that staircase thing. Nobody really listens to the whole thing anyhow. Then we realized that there was no sense in having three different obligations, so we're just giving them the Master Mason one. And we're combining all the working tools into one big set that we call 'The Working Toolbox.' And if we're only giving them one obligation, there's no sense in having them walk around three different times, so we're going to settle on circumnavigating just three times."

The Grand Lodge figures that by consolidating the rituals and ceremonies into one big degree, they can save between two and three hours on the One Day Class.

"If this works out, then we're going to look at possibly having a morning session and an afternoon session for our next Grand Master's One Day Class," said RW Garvey. "Our goal is to make things easy enough so that a lodge never has to put on their own set of degrees again."

-- Conte Calvino Gliostro

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


(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


(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


(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


(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. 
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


(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


(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. 
“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.