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I, for one, welcome our new Masonic Media overlords.

April 1, 2017 2 comments

Many of you have already heard about this, but I figured it’s worth mentioning anyway: Most of the older blogs by Freemasons have been bought up by the growing internet news outlet, Masonic Newswire Media. You may not have heard of them, but you’ve probably heard of their more “public face” online news site, The Past Bastard.

Sometime in the middle of 2016, when the rest of us were too busy arguing over the US elections on Facebook, The Past Bastard — or rather, their parent company — quietly began making offers to buy up those older blogs. Many of those blogs were started between 2005 and 2010, and have been long since defunct, or not updated in several years. Those sold quickly, with the authors taking the quick $100 in Google Credits being offered; the agreement being that the authors will no longer re-open those blogs to publish anything.

The more active blogs, though, have also been slowly falling to the new publishing company; instead of buying those blogs outright (not that there are many actively writing anymore), the authors will be paid by the article, which would first need to pass vetting by The Past Bastard (or rather, their Masonic Newswire Media editors).

What does this mean for you, the readers?

In my opinion, very little will change. Even the more “active” blogs (for example: The Millennial FreemasonArs LatomorumOne Minute Mason) rarely publish more than a few times a year. Other bloggers tend to post less consequential fluff pieces (such as: All Things Masonic, Freemason Information, Midnight Freemasons). My guess is that very little will change in terms of frequency or content, and that goes also for my own little blog, which I suspect was purchased only for the name recognition.

So. Those being the facts at hand, let’s get on to the juicier stuff.

Rumors on the various internet boards are suggesting that Chris Hodapp’s Freemasons for Dummies is going to sell out as well, which is a little sad because Chris is the only other “masonic news blog” of any real note; I’m concerned that we are going to be in a situation in which all the Masonic news will be controlled by a small group of media specialists who would have little competition, and who would be able to spin Masonic news their way.

The question that I haven’t heard many people asking, though, has to do with the identity of The Past Bastard, and more importantly, the Masonic Newsire Media. Personally, I had long suspected that The Past Bastard was the work of the After Lodge Podcast guys, although it has recently come to light that at least several of  The Past Bastard writers are based in California. This makes sense, because in my opinion, only people from California would imagine that old blogs are worth anything. Also, who else would have the desire to build up a new media syndicate? Computer and social media guys, that’s who.

Which  brings up another question: Who is behind the Masonic Newswire Media? When I first heard about it, I figured The Onion, or Gawker, or some other online news system was just buying things up without understanding what they were getting into. But the more I think about it, I’m beginning to believe that the backers are one (or maybe several) of the larger Grand Lodges in the US. Who else would have the motivation (not to mention the finances) to control Masonic news? It’s certainly not for the advertising, as Freemasons are notoriously tight-fisted, unless it comes to scotch. Or cigars. Or rings. Or bling. Or a lot of things, with the exception of their dues.

So, that leaves us with a shadowy group of Freemasons who are trying to control the media. Is it a Grand Lodge (or more likely, a cabal of Grand Lodges), hoping to acquire enough control over the craft to sway their opinions on something? The running jokes (at least, we think that they were jokes) are that the Grand Lodge of Arkansas (which took down their own website for some time), is behind the push to control the remaining Masonic bloggers to keep any public criticisms off the internet. However, that could easily apply to a number of other Grand Lodges, some of which have published some very restrictive web and social media guidelines.

Is a group of Grand Lodges, trying to subtly push an agenda? I don’t know. All I know is that at the moment, I’m happy to take my Google Credits and start filling up my Android with some tunes from one of my favorite groups.


Published by The Tao of Masonry – A Masonic Newswire Media blog

 

The Grey Area

July 7, 2015 Leave a comment

Since everybody else is all gaga about some kind of proposed TV series about Freemasons that’s been going around lately, I figured I’d try my own hand at marketing a Freemason-themed movie based on the idea of a script from a book I haven’t written, for which I got the idea by lurking at fanfic groups.

Here’s the pitch:

A new Mason looks to the Worshipful Master of his lodge for some guidance, and ends up being asked to become a Steward – which compels him to spend his time cleaning and cooking, after which he is slowly coerced into memorizing lectures. Before he’s even aware of what’s happening, he is seduced into taking committee positions, running picnics, and planning lodge events, while the Master and other lodge members become more and more demanding of his time and energy.

The story continues following him over the next several years as he makes his way through the officer’s line and eventually becomes the Master of the lodge – during which time he mentors a new Mason by asking him to take on some simple duties…

I’m going to pitch this book idea, so I don’t want any of you people stealing this, okay? I’m going to call it:

Fifty Shades of Freemasonry.

How most Masons spend their first couple of years at their lodge.

I’m hoping to get enough donations so after I finally write the book, and then script, and then get the movie deal, we can shoot on location at such exotic places as Podunk, Connecticut.

 

The Lost Cymbal – Book Review

September 15, 2009 Leave a comment

Okay, okay, I know I promised a Brownout for the rest of the month – a Dan Brown Free zone.  But I really can’t resist posting excerpts from the Cracked book review.

Note: ‘R’-rated language and adult situations follow:

The novel begins with Robert Langdon being invited to speak at a conference in Washington by a man who will inevitably die in the first few pages. Sure enough, after arriving in the Capitol building, he discovers a gruesome murder scene laden with dense Masonic imagery and blood. Langdon then spends the next couple of pages kicking down doors and looking behind curtains, trying to find who’s fucking with him. He is pissed. “Who do you think I am, fucking Angela Lansbury?” he screams.

Still, Brown’s eye for detail and knowledge of the minutiae of famous historical sites is superb, and it immediately becomes clear he’s still a master at weaving a gripping yarn. A scene where Langdon and his companion visit the Lincoln Memorial and climb up the hollow pant leg, to discover the true Emancipation Proclamation (it’s a huge gold penis) packs more tension and interest than a dozen Nick Cage turdstravaganzas.

I won’t spoil who the true villain of the novel is (let’s just say he’s the CEO of Apple) but the antagonist who features most prominently throughout the course of the novel is a tattooed Masonic thug named Mal’akh. Throughout the novel he uses his secret Masonic powers (polishing, grout work and levitation) to stymie Langdon’s efforts at every turn.

Langdon’s romantic interest this time around is Dr. Katherine Solomon, a specialist in noetic science, which is a field I’m not even going to bother relating here. OK, I lied. It’s horseshit. Regardless of her career, like all of Langdon’s companions, her sole purpose is to ask a lot of leading questions to Langdon as they rush past important pieces of art. She’s also the descendant of King Solomon and has a map to the moon tattooed on her back–facts which may become relevant in later chapters.

The long delay in this book sparked rumors that Brown had developed a case of writer’s block. Others have less charitably suggested that, buoyed by success, Brown had developed a distaste for the formula that made him a success and was raging internally at having to write another such piece. You can see this conflict when in one early scene, a character remarks to Langdon about how much he enjoyed reading about his antics in Paris a few months ago in The Da Vinci Code. When Langdon turns his back the character makes a “jerking off” motion with his hand. Even stranger is another scene set at a cocktail party, were actor Tom Hanks meets Langdon and tells him that he likes the “cut of his jib.” Another character nearby, introduced as Ban Drown, comments: “Can you believe the sheep who keep eating up this shit?” He then shares a high five with Tom Hanks, before they drive off together in a Hummer-limo full of models.

Anybody interested in reading Chris Bucholz’s unexpurgated review can see it at the Cracked Magazine blog: A DaVinci Code Sequel Review.

Brownout

September 14, 2009 Leave a comment

I am so tired of the hype about the new Dan Brown book “The Lost Symbol,” that I have declared a “Brownout” at The Tao of Masonry this month. That’s right, I’m not going to be writing about Dan Brown or his new book for the rest of the month.

Admittedly, I didn’t write anything all summer long, but still — I’m upholding a principle.

The hype actually started back in 2006 when “The DaVinci Code” movie was released, and the rumors abounded that Brown would soon — perhaps as early as that fall — be publishing a follow-up book called “The Solomon Key.” Frankly, back then I was pretty excited. Freemasonry was getting some very public PR, and not from Freemasons themselves, nor because of some scandal. “National Treasure” was still talked about and it was looking like that dusty, old club that your grandfather used to visit a few times a month was getting a much-needed makeover. Most Freemasons waited for the next Brown book, hoping that it would continue to add to the mystique — and to draw in a few members.

Three years later, Brown is set to release the most long-awaited sequel since Thomas Harris’ “Hannibal Rising.” I’m going to avoid the temptation to compare the intriguing and complex character of Hannibal Lecter with the cardboard cutout of Robert Lang. You know why?

Because this is a No Dan Brown month at The Tao of Masonry, remember?

For weeks, Freemason bloggers and other members of the e-Mason community have been offering suggestions that our fraternity be ready for the huge tide of public interest. What are we going to tell people who ask us about Masonry? What kinds of responses will we have if Brown writes something unflattering? What will we have to offer if Brown writes something that sparks interest? Essentially, we are being told that we should turn on the porch light and bake a batch of cookies for the potential visitors — except for those who are saying that we should batten down the hatches for the potential storm.

Please.

How many movies in the last ten years had some slight reference to Freemasonry? Let’s see: Two National Treasure movies, The DaVinci Code, From Hell, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Magnolia. So, a film  every couple of years, with the more recent ones are the most referential. In fact, National Treasure has more Masonic references, and arguably a much more favorable perspective than the other movies combined.

Our Grand Lodge website has been tracking the numbers of those interested enough in the Craft to ask to be contacted. If I recall correctly (and I’m sure somebody will correct me if I’m wrong), the numbers amounted to approximately one person per day.

I think that we can handle the influx of inquiries.

Look, it’s great that some groups are printing up material that brothers can use in case somebody decides to ask them about Freemasonry. But it occurred to me after last night’s Masonic Central podcast that we are expecting people to ask questions such as “What is Freemasonry” and “Why do you have those symbols?” and “Where can I get a petition?”

As if.

In my own experience as a student of human nature, I think that the questions are going to be more along the lines of “Do you really drink blood out of a human skull?” or “What’s with the goat? Do you really have some kind of demon worship?” or “Don’t you feel silly dressing in those old-fashioned costumes?” or “What’s with the secrecy? Do you guys really stick together to fix parking tickets and stuff?” or “What’s the deal with the Holy Grail, the lost Templar Treasure, and the Denver Airport?” and of course, “Why is it that when Masons turn up in books and movies, there’s always a secret plot, and people end up getting killed?”

I’m just saying that maybe some of us might be over-preparing for the wrong questions.

Driving to work this morning, I was thinking about the Masonic Central show, and about some of the questions that co-host Greg Stewart posed, which he believed would be important for Masons to think about in the face of the possible public relations stories that might come of this. He asked things like “What is Freemasonry? What do you get out of it? How does it make you a better person? What about the fraternity has kept your interest? What good things do you see it providing?”

Fellow guest Tim Bryce had a great explanation of our fraternity, almost elegant in its simplicity:

“Freemasonry is a Brotherhood of men who share common values, and who are interested in improving themselves, their community, and the world at large.”

After hearing this, it made me think that perhaps it’s more important for us, as Freemasons, to answer these questions for ourselves. Only when we know the answers to our own questions will we be able to answer — in the most positive light — the questions of the interested and curious.

Masonic Media: Secret messages in commercial broadcasts

April 15, 2009 2 comments

I thought that the X-Files and its short-lived spin-off Millenium was the last major attempt by Freemasons to pass instructions coded into broadcast media, but as I was watching television the other night, I saw what can only be a resumption of those messages.

Amateur students of Masonic Konspiracies have most likely missed the commercial  tie-in of Burger King and Spongebob Squarepants, but it did not escape me that this is a blatant attempt to pass along coded messages, and perhaps to insinuate the hidden Masonic agendas into our youth culture.

For those who may have missed the commercials, they are an ingenious method indeed; most adults would not bother to watch commercials aimed at pre-teens, and what could be a more innocuous cartoon than Spongebob? That’s the genius of the plan.

But think about the character itself: Spongebob Squarepants is a square-shaped creature, a geometric shape to which Masons frequently refer. The commercial features the rather creepy Burger King. The term “King” is too obvious for me to reference, and I won’t go into the minutiae about how “Burger” refers to the German-Austrio Hapsberg royal house. But the tie-in itself obviously references an alignment of the Freemasons – who have notably been allied with the British House of Windsor – with other members of the European royal houses. It’s not clear if the Freemasons are severing their relationship with the Windsors, or if (more likely) there is to be a merging of the lines in preparation to a One World Order.

I’m sure that there is no need to mention that the original Illuminati were from Austria.

And it wasn’t lost on me that using “rap” music was an intentional signal. Masons frequently use “raps” of gavels in their secret ceremonies, and by co-opting an old tune by “Sir” (another clue about royalty!) Mix-A-Lot was meant to catch the attentive ears of brother Masons in the English-speaking countries.

The commercial features a number of otherwise shapely young women dancing to this “rap” music, all of them wearing square-shaped boxes in their pants, which they display – indeed, call attention to – by their rhythmic shaking. Once you look past the overtly sexual innuendo, one realizes that they are shaking their “booty”, a reference to the riches to be gained by controlling the world’s monetary supply.

Man, those pants are "square"!

The Hapsburg-Illuminati “King” symbolically inspects the trustworthiness (i.e., the “squareness”) of the offer of a merger for  economic gain (i.e., the  “booty”) proposed by the rapping Freemasons.

A secondary reference, though, is that “booty” is a term associated with pirates; pirates have been in the news lately, and alert konspiracy researchers will no doubt be aware that Freemasons may have descended from the heretical Knights Templar who escaped the purge of 1307, many of whom were rumored to have taken ships and plied the Mediterranean and southern European coasts. These ships were known to have sailed under a flag on which was a picture of a skull with crossed bones – a gruesome image with is still referenced by Freemasons even today.

And in case there are still some doubting Thomases, the 30-second commercial is really just an edit of a much longer, 2-1/2 minute message that is being broadcast through the YouTube medium. I haven’t had time to decipher the entire code, but I have managed to secure a copy of the text, which I have verified by listening to the commercial a number of times. I would appreciate any help or insights from other Masonic konspiracy experts in further deciphering what appears to be a message of callipygian importance.

I like square butts and I cannot lie
Squid and Sea Star can’t deny
When a sponge walks in, four corners and his pen
Like he got phone book implants, the crowd shouts

All the ladies stare
Dang those pants are square!

Swimming through the seaweed tangle
Is a butt with sharp right angles

Now Sponge Bob, I wanna get witch-ya
‘Cuz you’re making me rich-ah
Underwater, we keep it grungy
‘Cuz everybody knows that ‘He so spongey!’

Ooh, Rumplespongeskin
You dance, but your hips don’t bend
So groove it and move it
If you got caboose, then prove it

Sponge Bob is dancing
And Squidward is glancing
He’s hatin’… wet
He’s got Sponge Bob runnin’ his set

I’m tired of all these chairs
They don’t accommodate these squares
Take the average box tell him that
You gotta have square back

Mr. Krab! Yeah!
Patrick! Yeah!
Has Sponge Bob got the butt? Oh yeah!
Then shake it, now shake it
Shake it, now shake it
Shake that cubicle butt

Sponge Bob got back

Naw, dude, I said cubicle, not booty-ful. Don’t trip.Yeah baby, when it comes to sea life, curves ain’t got nothin’ to do with Bob’s selection.
2 by 2 by 2 square trousers, working that black belt, looking like dotted lines.
That’s how Sponge Bob like to rock them threads baby.

A word to the DC sponges who wanna get wit it
And watch Sponge Bob kick it

I gotta be straight when I say you gotta scrub ’til the break of dawn.
Bob got it goin’ on
Been known to rock him a thong
Them round butts won’t admit it
But they’d wear that gear if they could fit it

You can draw his body on paper
His waistline really don’t taper
Your girlfriend wants to squeeze him
Wanna push his pores and tease him

But Sponge Bob ain’t gonna have too much of that squeezin’
You other sponges don’t want none …

…unless you rock square buns!

To the new sponges in the magazines
You ain’t it Miss Thang
We rock them cubes, gals and dudes
Put it down at the goo lagoon

Some other box must get jealous
At the moves that come from square fellas
See Bob and they wanna get him
But Sandy Cheeks she won’t let ‘em

If you happen to wander on land
And you wanna be a square butt fan
And drive the crew right to Burger King
And give that sponge a ring

Sponge Bob got back!

It’s difficult to understand just what this message means. I’m counting on everybody reading this to share their insights so that we can figure it out.

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