"To preserve the reputation of the Fraternity unsullied must be your constant care."


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Holy Toledo

Many thanks to the brethren of the Toledo Valley of the Scottish Rite for their warm reception and hospitality at their Fall Reunion on Saturday. Twenty-six brethren were elevated to the 32°, but it looked to me that closer to 200 or so brethren were in attendance.

Many thanks to Doug King for his kind invitation, and to the brethren who attended my talk. It was great to meet all of you, and I look forward to coming back.

Toledo's Masonic Center is an outstanding facility, by the way. It is a relatively new complex that includes a very large public auditorium for shows and concerts, a small AASR auditorium for presentation of Rite degrees, three lodge rooms, facilities for the York Rite, a large OES meeting room, plus offices, conference rooms, a kitchen and a large dining area that can be divided into two sections. It is a beautiful, well designed Masonic center, and one the Masons of Toledo can be proud of.

I was reminded today that it is the birthday to one of my favorite authors, P. J. O'Rourke, and that he is, in fact, from Toledo, Ohio. This excuse allows me to post some of my favorite PJ quotes.

* Something is happening to America, not something dangerous but something all too safe. I see it in my lifelong friends. I am a child of the "baby boom", a generation not known for its sane or cautious approach to things. Yet suddenly my peers are giving up drinking, giving up smoking, cutting down on coffee, sugar, and salt. They will not eat red meat and go now to restaurants whose menus have caused me to stand on a chair yelling, "Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, dinner is served!" This from the generation of LSD, Weather Underground, and Altamont Rock Festival! And all in the name of safety! Our nation has withstood many divisions— North and South, black and white, labor and management— but I do not know if the country can survive division into smoking and non-smoking sections.

* The forces of safety are afoot in the land. I, for one, believe it is a conspiracy— a conspiracy of Safety Nazis shouting "Sieg Health" and seeking to trammel freedom, liberty, and large noisy parties. The Safety Nazis advocate gun control, vigorous exercise, and health foods. The result can only be a disarmed, exhausted, and half-starved population ready to acquiesce to dictatorship of some kind.

* Racism is very lower-class. Upper-class people are never racists; they're anti-Semites.

* I can understand why mankind hasn't given up war. During a war you get to drive tanks through the sides of buildings and shoot foreigners— two things that are usually frowned on during peacetime.

* One nice thing about the Third World, you don't have to fasten your seat belt. (Or stop smoking. Or cut down on saturated fats.) It takes a lot off your mind when average life expectancy is forty-five minutes.

* The Democrats are the party that says government will make you smarter, taller, richer, and remove the crabgrass on your lawn. The Republicans are the party that says government doesn't work and then get elected and prove it.

* True, you can sit outside in Paris and drink little cups of coffee, but why this is more stylish than sitting inside and drinking large glasses of whiskey I don't know.

* The interesting thing about staring down a gun barrel is how small the hole is where the bullet comes out, yet what a big difference it would make in your social schedule.

* To grasp the true meaning of socialism, imagine a world where everything is designed by the post office, even the sleaze.

* Anyone who thinks he has a better idea of what's good for people than people do is a swine.

* If we want something, we should pay for it, with our labor or our cash. We shouldn't beg it, steal it, sit around wishing for it, or euchre the government into taking it by force.

* Fretting about overpopulation, is a perfect guilt-free— indeed, sanctimonious— way for "progressives" to be racists.

* Even the bad things are better than they used to be. Bad music, for instance, has gotten much briefer. Wagner's Ring Cycle takes four days to perform while "Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm" by the Crash Test Dummies lasts little more than three minutes.

* Government subsidies can be critically analyzed according to a simple principle: You are smarter than the government, so when the government pays you to do something you wouldn't do on your own, it is almost always paying you to do something stupid.

* Idealism is based on big ideas. And, as anybody who has ever been asked "What's the big idea?" knows, most big ideas are bad ones.

* Imagine a weight-loss program at the end of which, instead of better health, good looks, and hot romantic prospects, you die. Somalia had become just this kind of spa.

* Mankind is supposed to have evolved in the treetops. But I have examined my sense of balance, the prehensility of my various appendages, and my attitude toward standing on anything higher than, say, political principles, and I have concluded that, personally, I evolved in the backseat of a car.

* Politicians are always interested in people. Not that this is always a virtue. Fleas are interested in dogs.

* People with a mission to save the earth want the earth to seem worse than it is so their mission will look more important.

* Traffic was like a bad dog. It wasn't important to look both ways when crossing the street; it was important to not show fear.

* Violence is interesting. This is a great obstacle to world peace and also to more thoughtful television programming.

* If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it's free.

* People ask me if I've ever been called a Nazi. I answer that no one has ever had dreams of being tied down and sexually ravished by someone dressed as a liberal.

* Distracting a politician from governing is like distracting a bear from eating your baby.

* There is no virtue in compulsory government charity, and there is no virtue in advocating it. A politician who portrays himself as caring and sensitive because he wants to expand the government's charitable programs is merely saying that he is willing to do good with other people's money. Well, who isn't? And a voter who takes pride in supporting such programs is telling us that he will do good with his own money— if a gun is held to his head.

* What used to be called shame and humiliation is now called publicity.

* You can't get good chinese takeout in China and cuban cigars are rationed in Cuba. That's all you need to know about communism.

* Your money does not cause my poverty. Refusal to believe this is at the bottom of most bad economic thinking.

* Giving money and power to Government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys.


  1. "I have only one firm belief about the American political system, and that is this: God is a Republican and Santa Claus is a Democrat.

    "God is an elderly or, at any rate, middle-aged male, a stern fellow, patriarchal rather than paternal and a great believer in rules and regulations. He holds men strictly accountable for their actions. He has little apparent concern for the material well-being of the disadvantaged. He is politically connected, socially powerful, and holds the mortgage on literally everything in the world. God is difficult. God is unsentimental. It is very hard to get into God's heavenly country club.

    "Santa Claus is a different matter. He's cute. He's nonthreatening. He's always cheerful. And he loves animals. He may know who's been naughty and who's been nice, but he never does anything about it. He gives everyone everything they want without thought of a quid pro quo. He works hard for charities, and he's famously generous to the poor. Santa Claus is preferable to God in every way but one: There is no such thing as Santa Claus."

  2. It's like eating popcorn. Ya just can't stop.


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