Sunday, November 30, 2008

My policy on comments

I welcome comments on my postings. I have a very liberal policy, and I publish nearly all comments received, both pro and con. Most posters use their real name (or handle). Some individuals choose to post anonymously.

I will post all comments that I deem appropriate. Racist, vulgar, and obscene remarks will not be published. Libelous and slanderous remarks will not be published. Anonymous comments will be published, if and only if the comments will be of interest to the readers of this blog.

When I first started the blog, I had an "open comments" policy and all comments were published. The comments quickly got obscene and racist, so I had to begin moderating comments.

I will not publish any comments that are in any way opposed to Masonry, and the appendant and concordant bodies of Masonry. There are many other venues for people to vent their spleens about Masonry. Do not waste time, telling me that Masonry is "pagan" or "satanic".

So- Keep it on point, or else.

About Masonry

I received an anonymous comment:

"Masonry is so fantastic, and I have always enjoyed it, no matter where I am."What, exactly, is so "fantastic"? BY the language and tone you use to express yourself, it would sound as if Masonry is a festivity.What, exactly, is so "fantastic"? How are you "participating," and what exactly does "participating" mean? "

This is an interesting posting, and it sounds like the individual is interested in Masonry. I have lived all over the world- Germany, Mozambique, France, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan. I have worked from Maine to California. I enjoy Masonry, in virtually every place on earth. My participation varies- some locales have no organized lodges. I attended a German-speaking lodge in France, and I attended a Russian-speaking lodge in Moscow. Anywhere on this planet, I am welcomed as a brother.

Is Masonry a "festivity"? Well, in some instances it is. Many lodges have a "festive board" which is where they serve refreshments. This can be anything from barbecue sandwiches on paper plates, to a four-star gourmet meal, served in a Paris restaurant. To fellowship with good and decent men, from many economic and social backgrounds, is indeed a festivity.

The level of participation varies widely, depending on my personal situation and the means available to participate in Masonry. I lived in Columbus, Ohio for one year. While there, I went to Masonic lodge meetings only a couple of times. I did however, participate in the Shrine. I was in five Shrine clubs, and president of one of them. I was doing some Shrine activity every weekend.

I lived in Al Asad, Iraq for one year and four months. There was no working lodge there, but I did start a Masonic "Square and Compasses Club" ,where we met twice a month, and discussed Masonry, and we fellowshipped. We did not do any degree work in the club, but we did assist several of the Marines and civilians, with locating lodges back in the USA, so that they could pursue Masonry, upon their return.

When I return to the the USA in 2010, I intend to participate in Freemasonry, and the appendant bodies. I will join a lodge near my residence (Alexandria, VA), and I will participate in the Alexandria Scottish Rite Valley (chapter). I also intend to re-activate my Shrine membership. I was made a Shriner, at Kena Shrine Center in Fairfax VA in 1988, and I have always had a fond memory of the Shrine there. (The Shrine is NOT a Masonic organization, but it is a a club of men who are Masons.)

I also plan to establish an "affinity lodge". I want to set up a "Lodge of the Arts" patterned after a similar lodge in Seattle, Washington. I plan to set up a lodge that meets on Saturdays at noon. We will stress education in the arts, and the arts in education. We will hold fund-raisers, and support various arts programs in the Northern Virginia area.

Masonry is like the "ink-blot" test you take in the psychologists' office. You see in it what you want to see. If you wish to learn more about Masonry, and how much fun it is, I suggest you contact your nearest Masonic lodge.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Saturday night

I will never get used to this country. Today it was fair and pleasant. Warm enough to wear short pants. I have been through two winters in Afghanistan, and believe me, they are cold. I have to fly up to FOB Tillman, and do an installation, then fly on to Orgun-E. I spent ten days at Orgun-E in October 2007. What a dump. No quarters for transients, and I had to sleep on a cot. A decent chow hall. The Chaplain there was terrific, plenty of free time, we would chat about various stuff.

Went to the chow hall for lunch, could not look at the food. No appetite at all. I just got a small spoonful of spaghetti, with some meat sauce, drank a soda, and ate a cookie. Went back to the tent, and watched a couple of movies. One good thing about this job, is that you are traveling a lot, and you do not have to spend much time with any one person.

When I worked in Iraq, I had my own trailer, a 75 foot paradise, wall to wall carpet, and cable TV. Shower house next door. fabulous. Here I am in a tent , and it is 200 yards to the shower house, and then climb up the stairs.

I would like to participate in Masonry in this country, but the opportunities are not there. Most of the FOBs (Forward Operating Bases) have no lodge, and the few lodges that are operating here, are not recognized by Kentucky. I see no reason to antagonize anyone. I have never attended a clandestine lodge, and I never will. If I go and have a plate of fried chicken with some American heroes, someone will "fink" on me. Best to just leave Masonry alone in Afghanistan.

I intend to participate very much, when I return to the USA. I want to get back in the Shrine as well. Masonry is so fantastic, and I have always enjoyed it, no matter where I am. I wish the Grand Lodge of New York would issue a charter for LSA#1, but the Grand Lodge of New York doesn't even answer my mail.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Took some muscle relaxers to help me sleep. They helped, I had a peaceful night. Got up this morning, and had a peanut butter sandwich, using the bread that I made in the bread machine. I am still sore from falling down, lips first in the gravel. My knee had about 5 square inches of skin scraped off, and my left shoulder is bruised. I hit that gravel square on the lips, and my upper lip is sore.

I have been watching some educational video disks, I sure like to study about the American West, and the pioneers. I have a mini-series of John Adams, on the way, I like to study the American Revolution as well. I am reading a book about the war in the pacific "Eagle against the Sun". I lived in Germany 1976-1978, and I visited many of the WW2 battlefield sites, like Bastogne. I used to have my hair cut, by a former SS tank commander, who fought in the Battle of Stalingrad.

The WW2 battles in the pacific are fascinating. This conflict here in Afghanistan, will intensify. I think the new administration, will not pull us out overnight.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Back at Salerno

I was able to secure a seat on a C-130 flight back to Salerno (My home base). I was carrying my luggage, and wearing my helmet and flak jacket. While walking back to my tent, I tripped on a cable, and went flying down, face first into the gravel. I smashed my knee and shoulder, and tore some skin off my knee. I went mouth-first into the gravel, and my lips are sore.  I do not have enough strength to even go get a shower. I am going to rest, and try to get some strength back in my knee, so I can walk. I am going to see the medics tomorrow.
More Later!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Stuck at Bagram

Unable to get on a chopper yesterday. Next flight maybe Friday, so I will sign up on Thursday. With luck, I can get back to my home base of Salerno Friday. I sure need some clean clothes. At least here, I have a decent bed, and a good chow hall. All I can do is "cool my heels"!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Stuck at Bagram air base

I have been stuck here at Bagram air base. I am flying to Salerno, my home base, as soon as I am able.