Sunday, January 28, 2007

AASR Valley of Cincinnati and the Brethren of Ohio


Many thanks to the kind brethren of the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite Valley of Cincinnati and their warm welcome yesterday at their "Rite reps" meeting. It was great to meet so many brothers and new friends. It was especially good to see Most Worshipful Brother Michael Himes, Grand Master of Ohio, again. GM Himes took me on a whirlwind tour of the Cincinnati Masonic center, showing me their beautiful auditorium and their unique and magnificent lodge rooms. If you get the chance, be sure to visit a lodge there. They have an outstanding, well-maintained and beautiful building of which they are justifiable proud. Thanks Mike.

I had an unusual thing happen after giving my speech. As I was signing books afterwards, Brother Vic T. came up to me and (I'm paraphrasing here) basically said, 'your speech was great, but all you did was tell us what NOT to do. How do you do things to actually make lodges better?" So, the brethren allowed me to stand up during lunch and throw out ideas that worked for us at Broad Ripple Lodge, along with our philosophy at Lodge Vitruvian.

Maybe they can work for you. Thanks, Vic.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Weight Loss Motivation


So, I've picked up a few pounds from all of this typing and driving I've been doing. Nobody's fault but my own. No problem. I'll drop the pounds again when life gets back to normal - possibly the turn of the NEXT century. Anyhow, I've now been officially classified as "portly" by the sartorial industry. This goes along with my pre-existing dwarf stature.

I go hunting some new pants online, and enter the proper clothing size terminology "portly short" in Google. So what's the very first desciption that pops up on Google?

Swear to God.

It says, The Era of Vaudeville Volume 2.

Great. A little seltzer with your baggy pants and lo-carb diet, Mr. Arbuckle?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Ed King and MasonicInfo.com


Every author, no matter what they may say to the contrary, is always jittery until they read the first outside review of their book. They peek into Amazon and lurk around discussion boards and make random searches of Google until two or three weeks after it's released when they finally hit one.

Brother Ed King, the tireless author of the MasonicInfo.com website snuck the first review of Solomon's Builders in on me last week, and I am humbled by his kind remarks.

In the acknowledgments of the book, I listed websites like the Grand Lodge of British Columbia, Phoenixmasonry, and Paul M. Bessel's extensive site as indispensable sources of arcane Masonic information that no other researchers dig up, and that Masonic students, authors and the rest of us would be lost without. The one I left out - and I don't know how I did it - was Ed King's MasonicInfo.com. I assure Ed and everyone else that it was not intentional, and this is no post-script suck-up for a kind review, either. Ed has some of the most extensive and up to date information available on fakes, myths, conspiracy theories and Masonic scam artists available anywhere.

One of the charges made to a new Freemason says, "Neither are you to suffer your zeal for the institution to lead you into argument with those who, through ignorance, may ridicule it." It has unfortunately been that admonition that has kept Masons from responding to the attacks of anti-Masonic authors, ministers, comic-book artists and other slanderous peddlers of conspiracies and hate-laden "literature." Ed King has almost single-handedly taken them on and exposed them with the facts - along with his own strong opinions. Is he "unbiased?" Nope, and proud of it. Which is what makes his website such a guilty pleasure to read through. He is truly one of the unsung heroes of the fraternity, and has labored long without the recognition he deserves.

Thanks, Ed. For all that you do.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Dwight L. Smith Lodge of Research U.D.

Dwight L. Smith, PGM and Past Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of Indiana

Indiana's own Dwight L. Smith Lodge of Research U.D. (Under Dispensation) had its first meeting in more than three years today at the Indiana Masonic Home. The long-declining health of its late Master, Wbro. Dave Bosworth had contributed to its lack of activity for the last few years. The new Master, Wbro. Andy Jackson, wants to inject new life into the lodge, and I believe we have a good group to start with. "Knights of the North" Jeff Naylor, Eric Schmitz, Nathan Brindle and myself are all on board, along with well respected brethren from around the state, like fellow Vitruvian Tim Brinkmeyer PM, former Indiana Freemason editor William Bissey, Deputy Grand Master Duane Vaught, Past Grand Masters Roger Van Gorden, John E. Grein and Michael Brumback, and many others.

Andy's paper on the "Titans of Indiana Freemasonry" was an interesting glimpse at the early days of the fraternity and the dedication of men who traveled the length and breadth of the state through the wilderness on horseback to practice their Craft.

Stated meetings are once a year, with called meetings scheduled as members submit papers. Membership is a paltry $5 plus meal cost. The occasional publication of papers in a hard-bound book called Perlustrations occurs when enough papers are submitted to warrant printing.

WM Jackson has called for papers, and he has also charged us to present educational articles for publication in the Indiana Freemason Magazine on a regular basis. For more information, contact Wbro. Jackson at arjackson@worldnet.att.net

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Shameless Self-Promotion


My proof copy of Solomon's Builders: Freemasons, Founding Fathers and the Secrets of Washington D.C. arrived last week, and it starts shipping in the next few days. I'm trying to get copies to take to two events in the next couple of weeks, and the California publisher tells me yesterday that the distribution warehouse is in Indianapolis. So how come my Indianapolis publisher's warehouse is in Virginia?

Just asking.

The new website is up at http://www.solomonsbuilders.net

Speaking of Washington D.C., Alice, Wiley and I will be attending Masonic Week at the Hotel Washington in February. This may be the last one at this venue, bringing an era to an end.