Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.

7/16/2008

Cool Freemasons?

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Red Herrings — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Tiger which is terribly early in the morning or 5:37 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

I am a Freemason.

I am also tragically unhip and I know it. I love my Masonic Brothers, but, honestly, I’ve never met one that is any less un-cool than I am. Well, thankfully, that may be changing, according to an article in the Boston Herald. Apparently, at least one Lodge there is attracting a slightly different kind of Brother: punk rock musicians. Now, keep in mind that the only requirements for membership is that a candidate be male, an adult (ie. usually over 18 or 21, depending on the jurisdiction), “free-born”, of “good report” (ie. not convicted of a felony and vouched for by a Brother), and have a belief in a “supreme being”. So, basically, a man who, theoretically, can make his own decisions and believes in a single deity. So, as long as they’re basically upstanding guys, who are willing to follow the rules of Freemasonry, we’re a pretty open group. Really. Not trying to take over the world at all. Honest. I promise.

Seriously, most of the Brothers I know can barely remember the punch line to a good joke, so you can pretty much forget the whole world-domination thing.
Here’s what the guys in the article had to say about it:

“It’s kind of like a history class that no one else can take,” said Dave Norton, drummer for Victory at Sea and The Men. He believes his membership in the fraternal organization will be especially rewarding when he tours Europe later this year.

and

Gary Robley, drummer for Dashboard Jesus and J. Geils cover band Blow Your Face Out, said he joined because his father was a Mason, as are many of his friends.
“There were a bunch of musicians I knew in it,” Robley said. “It was kind of a brotherhood. Musicians have always been a part of Masonry since its inception.”

Anyway, it struck me as both funny and cool that Lodge as I remember it is changing. When I was active, there was a lot of talk about how the Fraternity was hurting for members because new guys weren’t joining. Well, maybe the is the start of a cool new trend.
And, maybe, it’s about time I started looking for a local Lodge.

1/1/2006

Resolutions

Filed under: Advice from your Uncle Jim,Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Deep Thoughts,Personal — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rat which is in the wee hours or 12:08 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Crescent

Okay, I’ll make some that are serious.
So, this coming year, I’ll make a couple of more serious New Year’s Resolutions.

  1. I will stop dating married women. (Yeah, there are a couple of stories here and, no, you won’t see them on the blog.)
  2. I will stop smoking. Again. Well, cigarettes at least. Eventually. Back off! Remember I have a lighter and I know how to use it!
  3. I will have a more active social life, even if that means talking to total strangers and getting rejected over and over and over and ….
  4. I will read at least one book on Freemasonry and/or the Knights Templar
  5. I will read at least four books on spirituality and/or the history of the Bible
  6. I will talk about my crazy ex-wife less. Unless, egged on by friends who know I have a really, really funny riff about how crazy she really was and what it was like living with her like the time she told me to stop breathing. Yeah, really, no joke.
  7. I will volunteer for more charitable work, inside and outside my church.
  8. I will actually, officially, join my church.
  9. I will lose ten sixteen pounds, bringing my weight back under 180 pounds.
  10. I will make sure that Christmas and birthday presents arrive on time or early for my niece, nephews and ex-step-daughter, but I will not expect to hear that they recieved them at all, much less on time.
  11. I will get at least one more professional certificiation.
  12. I will start writing fiction for publication again.
  13. I will listen to other’s positive opinions about me more than I listen to my own negative opinions.
  14. I will pay random strangers compliments, because who can hear too many nice things about themselves?
  15. I will clean my house, ridding myself, piece by piece, of all my ex-wife’s junk.
  16. I will entertain at my clean house, inviting friends to bring friends, thereby expanding my circle of friends.
  17. UPDATE:

  18. I will learn to weld.
  19. I will weld aesthetically pleasing workout equipment for my own use.

(And, yes, I queued this up to post just after midnight while I’m out. I take that Geek moniker just so far.)


Advice from your Uncle Jim:
"A friend of mine told me once that they don't lock you up for being crazy, only for acting crazy."

9/27/2004

Review: The Freemasons: A History of the World’s Most Powerful Secret Society

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Life, the Universe, and Everything,Personal,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:05 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

I finished The Freemasons: A History of the World’s Most Powerful Secret Society by Jasper Ridleylast week.

As a Freemason myself, I found the book quite interesting. First of all, it looks at masonic history from the perspective of a what is known and concrete, not with any real speculation at all. It’s a very, very scholarly work which included a significant bibliography.
Secondly, it was written by a non-Mason. While that, in itself, is not remarkable, what is special about that is that the author maintains an even-handed look at masonic history. He sticks to the facts and was actually quite enlightening in many areas, at least to me.
Thirdly, the book covers quite a bit of history, but it completely discounts the claims that some authors have made regarding Freemasonry being descended from the Knights Templar. This is, oddly enough, unusual these days. It seems like the majority of books lean the other way. Jasper Ridley, though, maintains that the simplest explanation is, in fact, correct. That the story we’re told from the Grand Lodge is right. Namely, that the Freemasons are an outgrowth and offshoot of the original working, or operative masons, who were essentially an early trade union.
Finally, as Mr. Ridley sums up at the end, he gives the Freemasons a fairly good endorsement, which we can surely use for a change!

If you have any interest at all in the history of Freemasonry, this is an excellent place to start. I wish I’d read it first, before all the others that I’ve gotten into this past year or so. But, if you’ve only a passing interest, there are other, easier books to read. As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, this is a rather scholarly work.
(Oh, yes, this also appeared on my other blog.)

3/11/2004

Review: The Hiram Key

Filed under: Deep Thoughts,Personal,Review — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:21 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waning Gibbous

I finished The Hiram Key: Pharoahs, Freemasons and the Discovery of the Secret Scrolls of Jesus last week.

It was, er, well…. “Interesting”, to say the least. I’m not sure I agree with everything they claim, but it sure made me question what I thought I knew about my own faith and Freemasonry. In a nutshell, the authors claim that Freemasonry is the repository of the “secret” teachings of Joshua ben Joseph (aka Jesus Christ), by way of the Knights Templar. Now, the idea that Freemasonry is derived from the suppressed Knights Templar is not new, and, frankly, one I believe. Too much just fits together too well for that part to not be true. Where it starts to get a little sketchy for me is that they claim the Knights Templar got ahold of some secret, forgotten scrolls that were hidden under the Temple in Jersualem at it’s building. And, that the knowlege in those scrolls goes back to ancient Egyptian kingship rites which themselves may be derived from ancient Sumerian religious beliefs. It’s all a kind of a stretch to me, but the authors make it seem frighteningly plausable.

It’s an interesting book, but probably not the best place to start if you’re interested in Masonic history. But, since this book got me so interested in the history of Freemasonry again, I’ve set myself the goal of reading at least one Masonic book a year. So, keep an eye out for other reviews!


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