"What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote
in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all. But what does happen is that he votes
his own self-interest as he sees it... which for the majority translates as 'Bread and Circuses'."
- Robert A. Heinlein

In Roman times, free Bread and Circuses entertained the masses. I hope you find your time
here both entertaining and informative.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Brewing Apparel

As many of you know, I am also a homebrewer. I have designed a few products for homebrewers and those who like real beer, please let me know what you think.

How to Make Your Own Hard Cider

Hard Cider is a British tradition, a tasty apple-based alcoholic drink. It's simple and cheap to make. Check out this article about how to get started making Cider at home.

How to Make Your Own Hard Cider

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Masonic Myth: A Book Review

The Masonic Myth

I have reviewed The Masonic Myth by Jay Kinney. This is the first in a series of book reviews that I will be writing about books every Mason should read.

Future books in the series will be:
Freemasonry for Dummies by Chris Hodapp
Born in Blood by John Robinson
The Origins of Freemasonry: Scotland's Century by David Stevenson
Solomon's Builders by Chris Hodapp

Thursday, May 26, 2011


So currently trending on Twitter is "Everymanshouldknowhowto."

In that vein, a quote from Robert Heinlein

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

-Robert A. Heinlein

Ryan Giggs: Man-whore, Crybaby, and Aspiring Censor of the Internet

First of all, some background for those who aren't on Twitter or don't follow UK news. Footballer (soccer player) Ryan Giggs obtained an injunction prohibiting UK newspapers from revealing that he was the Man United player alleged to have had an affair with Imogen Thomas. People on Twitter then tweeted his identity, and now he is demanding Twitter turn over personal details of people who may have breached the injunction.
Info from Wikipedia

Then the UK's Guardian newspaper had the testicular fortitude and incredible stupidity to post this article arguing, wait for it... the imposition of a 5 second delay on all tweets, and that Twitter be required to screen every one of the 50 million tweets sent every day.

Here's my response:

This has to be one of the most laughable articles I have ever read. British privacy injunction law ranks up there with the UK's tortured libel laws as glaring examples of a western free society trampling the right to speech.

The author of this article might as well suggest that the UK require a 5 second delay on all mobile phone conversations and texts, because someone might mention Ryan Giggs in a phone conversation as easily as they do on Twitter. Should we allow Giggs to sue 3, Orange, O2, and other mobile providers for not using voice recognition software to mute the words "Ryan Giggs" from conversations? Perhaps he should sue the Royal Mail to determine if anyone said anything nasty about poor Mr. Giggs in the post.

As the author points out, Facebook has 500 million members, and Twitter 175 million. The sheer scale of content defies attempts to regulate it, and proves how backward UK injunction law is when you attempt to apply it to social media. Twitter alone has surpassed 50 million tweets per day. Even if you automated it to screen for pre-selected words, you would need to employ an enormous amount of staff to monitor the screening. And then people like me would start tweeting things like "bRYAN eGiggs" to avoid the censors. Or using Leet speak or other internet languages. Who pays for this screening? Thin skinned celebrities like Giggs?

Furthermore, to describe Facebook and Twitter users as "citizen journalists" is disingenuous. Facebook and Twitter are not, first and foremost, news sites, nor do they position themselves as such. I use a mobile phone, and I often discuss what's happening over that phone connection, but that does not make me a citizen journalist, it does not make every phone call I make a news report, nor does it make my service provider in the business of news.

In the United States, a court can order parties to a case not to comment on it but has no authority to stop unrelated reporters from reporting on a case. Furthermore, I doubt Giggs will have any success bringing an action against Twitter, because here in the States we are rather tetchy about a pesky little thing called the First Amendment. Twitter is an American company, protected by the American (written) Constitution, and as such any "tweets" that it sends out, after receiving them from users, even if based in the UK, are protected communications.
The judge in the suit has apparently ruled that Twitter itself, despite being a US company, must follow UK law. I would refer his lordship's attention to quote attributed to the American President Andrew Jackson: "John Marshall has made his decision now let him enforce it."

To be fair to the Guardian, they also posted this article arguing that Ryan Giggs is an "enemy of web freedom." Which he absolutely is, as well as being an insufferable moron, an arrogant wanker, and a crybaby.

*EDIT* Thanks to this blog post, A Twat in a Hat, for correcting the initial impression created by that awful Guardian article that Twitter was being sued. I have edited my introduction. Great points made as well, check it out.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Other Great Masonic Products on Zazzle

I recently found this great store on Zazzle with a wide range of Masonic products. Have a look!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hand Drawn Square and Compass from Zazzle.com

New Hand drawn square and compass design. Soon to be featured on many more products. Check back to see the full line. Thanks to Lace9 for her excellent design, check her out on Cafe of the Muse also Hand Drawn on Twitter and lace9lives's Store at Zazzle

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Journey of a Young Freemason

For the past year and a half I have been a Freemason, having been raised to the degree of Master Mason in March of 2010. The stated communication after having been raised, I was sitting in the Junior Master of Ceremonies chair. I am now Senior Master of Ceremonies, which is a position I really enjoy.

I especially like that during degrees, the Masters of Ceremonies get to spend most of the "down time" with the candidates. It brings back some of the excitement of when you were a candidate, not sure what to expect, and lets you see the degrees afresh all over again. Because there is not much ritual work that you have to memorize as a MoC, I've supplemented this by being the "go-to-guy" in my lodge for Questions and Answers. I also assist the other officers during degree practice by being a combination prompter/fill in for other chairs that may not be present at every practice. This has given me the very rewarding opportunity to really get steeped in the ritual, and hopefully improves my knowledge and makes me a better Mason. I am the youngest member of our lodge by at least 15 years, so it's great to see the older members come and complement me on a job well done after doing Q&A after a degree. It's a great opportunity to learn from some Brothers who have been Masons for 50+ years.

The Master of our lodge when I was initiated was serving his second stint in the East the year I was born. Cricket is a great friend and a wonderful mentor. One of the best parts of a normal lodge night (when we don't have a degree on the Trestle Board) is to stop for a drink or two afterwards with some of the guys. There's great camaraderie and conversation, and it's a great opportunity to learn.

Masonry in America is at a crossroads. Membership has dwindled since the boom days of the 1950s, and many lodges are aging faster than they can replace their members. One thing our District Grand Lecturer said to us once which has always stuck with me is a story he told about an elderly Mason he knew who lay dying. His friends, family and close lodge brothers were visiting with him, and one of them said to him "how are you going to replace yourself?" The elderly Mason looked at him quizzically, "I don't know many young people." The Brother replied "Don't you have any younger family?" The dying Mason replied "Well, my son-in-law is a good man, but why would he listen to me?" His friend looked at him, raised an eyebrow, and said "You're on your deathbed. He'll listen to you." The family and friends were dismissed and the elderly man asked for his son-in-law to be called in. They talked for twenty minutes, and at the end of their meeting the son-in-law had agreed to petition the lodge. The elderly Mason died a few days later.

Some friends have asked me why I would want to spend 2 nights a month with a bunch of older guys. I reply that they have a wealth of wisdom and experience that I can draw from. Before our society became so stratified into age groups, where everyone believes that those older than them do not understand them, and those younger have nothing to offer, generations mixed, mingled and socialized much more freely. I have been lucky to be in a lodge where the older members freely accepted me into lodge, even when I had a Mohawk. They treat me like an equal and a brother, and I believe for them I represent the future of The Craft. I hope any Mason reading this would be encouraged to seek out those younger men he knows who he believes would be a good fit for Masonry.

I hope to use this blog to chronicle my journey as a Mason. We all know we are ever engaged in the process of understanding the Ritual, The Craft, and the true meanings of Masonry throughout our lives.

I will also from time to time be reviewing a few books. I love reading, and this enthusiast extends to Freemasonry.

New Masonic Products on Zazzle

Now available, Masonic iPad cases, posters, prints and postage.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Masonic T-shirt for the Ladies!

Though Freemasonry is exclusively male, we all owe so much to the supportive ladies in our lives. Show your appreciation (or ladies, show your love for that special Mason in your life) with this cute ladies shirt.

I (Heart) My Mason Shirt