These words that I write, they keep me from total insanity. -Charles Bukowski

Nov 22, 2020

The 24 Inch Gauge...

 Like I said in my last post, I joined a lodge of Freemasons. Immediately upon starting the process you start to learn things. A lot of different things. A lot of esoteric things. But a lot of the things make perfect sense once you have them explained to you and sit down and think about it for a few minutes. Which I am starting to believe is one of the main goals of masonry. Getting you to actually think deeply about things, as opposed to just doing the bare minimum of thought which is so common today. Really get into things and pick them apart with your intellect.

So one of the first things we learned about was the 24 inch gauge, which stone masons in antiquity used to measure their stones and make sure things lined up properly. But since obviously I am not becoming an actual mason, I won't be making or laying bricks anytime soon if I have anything to say about it. The gauge is used as a symbol.

I assume that there's a few interpretations of the symbol out there in the ether, but I particularly enjoyed the one that I was given, not only by my lodge mentor but also by the Brother who initially introduced me to and got me interested in masonry.

The idea of dividing your time. The 24 inch gauge is divided into three sections of eight inches. Which in masonry represent the three distinct phases of your day and how they should be spent.

While on its face its a good way to divide your day, what I don't think is stressed enough is the idea that the three sections of the day are divided very clearly. There is a definite separation of your time.
  1. Service to God and worthy distressed brethren.
  2. Usual vocation.
  3. Refreshment and sleep.
This might go without saying for some, but in today's day and age I think this is a concept that needs to be impressed upon new mason's. Not to let one or two things dominate your time. I've only been in the fraternity a couple of months but have met some Brothers who take masonry very seriously, are members of several appendant bodies and have large dues commitments as well as time commitments. I could be 100% wrong, but it seems like masonry has come to dominate their lives. Which might be perfectly reasonable for them. Maybe they have no family, maybe they are retired. I am not judging what I am saying is that from my point of view it might be over the top and for me such commitments would be untenable.

Further, the clear delineation between the times in your day should teach you to put work in its proper place and not let it infect your time with your family or your time pursuing the worthy goals of masonry or your sleep, and most importantly it should not interfere with your pursuit of knowledge of the Grand Architect.

My conclusion being that at least in the limited education I've received, Masons should be encouraged to make hard lines between the phases of their day and do what they can to ensure one part does not encroach onto another.

Nov 21, 2020

Entered Apprentice...

Took the first step on a journey. A journey that I hope lasts until my death. On October 13, 2020 I was initiated as an Entered Apprentice Mason into Waymart, PA Lodge #542.

The inescapable fact of my initiation was that I had taken a step back in time. To exactly when, I'm not sure. The 1700s or 1800s for sure. And I participated in a ritual that has been performed by good men since at least 1717, most likely much much further back, but the histories do not contain enough information to say that for certain.

I was passed to Fellowcraft Mason on November 10, 2020 in the same lodge. I've learned a lot of new things and I've been exposed to many things that I am still sorting through and most likely will be doing so for quite a while. I don't know where this is going to lead and unfortunately, COVID may be delaying my third degree. But we shall see.

Regardless, at the risk of sounding too optimistic it seems that I have found a purpose that I can really sink my teeth into. There are many directions I could go with this fraternity and all of them promise to make me a better man. Which should be the goal of every man who wakes up in the go to bed a better man.

Now I look forward to sharing with you what I can. I mean there are secrets to be sure. But I assure you that a quick internet search will yield to you anything that I guard. Someone else has broken their obligation, but I will not. 

Hopefully, in time I will be able to take over the world. But I doubt it, Scientology probably has that covered...

Sep 23, 2020

Its Official, The US Is An Absolute Shit Show!

 First off, no one can challenge my love of this country. I do love it so. I defended it. I will defend it. 

Now that we've got that out of the way, let me make fun of it.

Trump is a nutjob.

Biden is a senile nutjob.

RBG was a great woman who did a lot for the law, for women and for the country. (I don't pretend to know what order those should be in) But the woman is dead. A direct quote from her, in 2016 after she was asked if the Senate had an obligation to assess Judge Garland's qualifications: 

"That's their job," she said. "There's nothing in the Constitution that says the president stops being president in his last year."

Then this year before she died, she said: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

The first she was answering a question. The second she was declaring her own personal preference.

The first was based her understanding of the constitution. The second was based on her feelings about the Orange man in the White House.

I don't give one single solitary shit how you feel about Trump. It doesn't matter how you feel. The man is the president, and as such it is his job to nominate justices to the supreme court and its the senate's job to either confirm them or refute them. I guess its refute. What is the opposite of confirm as it applies to supreme court justices?

Then we've got the riots, which have become for most of us...Tuesday. 

Political division, we've got that in droves. I especially enjoy the people taking to Twitter, which is about as American as it gets. Don't actually do anything, bitch about it on the internet.

Rioters all over the country are throwing bombs, fire and anything else they can get their hands on at cops. Rioters are being exposed for being snot nosed, fuck face rich kids who are out having fun before they run back to the gated community with the armed security guard dressed just like a cop. Who interestingly enough can only afford to live in the neighborhood that they just helped destroy.

People are stealing Trump signs out of people's yards? Yeah, this actually happens. What vapid, empty headed fucktard said, "Hey, if I grab this sign maybe I'll stop someone from voting for Trump" Do they actually think that works? If anything, it works against you. The sign owner catches you on his Ring Cam and then you're all over the internet firing up Trump supporters because they think liberals are coming to their neighborhood to steal all signs and then they'll come for our daughters. Next thing you know they're doing an interracial gang bang for Brazzers and the world as we know it is over.

Both sides have all but said explicitly that whatever the outcome of the election they don't really care. They're not conceding and there's going to be a court battle over it. Which will most likely turn in to an actual battle in the streets between the supporters of nutjob 1 vs the supporters of nutjob 2. 

In any case, we might be able to balance the budget if we set up some cameras and put this shit on pay per view. I think people all over the world would pay to watch us tear ourselves apart.

And that's the worst part, we're doing it to ourselves. We created this shit show and we've allowed it to continue and we've fed the fire and fanned the flames. Any semi-sentient being would swear we wanted this. A nation of morons yelling at each other. 

Sep 21, 2020

If I Don't Control What Happens To Me, What Is Left?

 Good question, unfortunately for the length of this post it is a very simple question to answer. The only thing that you really do control is how you react.

Doesn't matter what it is, what happened, who did it or any of that. The only thing that matters is what are you going to do with it, or about it? Its the only choice you have, how you react.

Wife/husband get in your face with some intractable nonsense that you know is complete hogwash? How are you going to react to her/him? Are you going to defend yourself vehemently and most likely make it worse? Or will you ask them what's really going on? Will you probe until you find what the real problem is? Or will you just realize that they may just need someone to vent to and they're reaching out, in their own jacked up way, to you?

Boss a dick? 

Are you going to let him get you down? Let him ruin your day? Let him ruin the day of everyone around you? Or are you going to say, he's just a guy like me, he's going through something that is making him act like this. Or will you realize that whatever he's pissed about, you did, and are you going to own up to it and make damn sure you do better from here on out?

The examples are literally endless. The alarm went off, what are you going to do? The power just went out, what are you going to do? Kids are screaming, what are you going to do?

That's the question, and that's the only thing left for you to control. 

The quicker you realize that, the better off you're going to be.

Now, will I do that? I'm going to fall on my face, no doubt about it.

Sep 17, 2020

Daily Stoic: What Am I Addicted To?

 Cigarettes, can't get away from that one.

Gambling, maybe. I do place bets almost daily, but they're for $5-10 per game. I make north of a 100 grand a year, I can afford it.

Porn. That's an iffy one because I've been fighting it lately. What's the criteria? says...

1. Preoccupation to the point of obsession with sexual imagery. Porn addicts typically spend at least 11 hours per week searching for and looking at pornography. Sometimes they dedicate double or even triple that amount of time.

2. Loss of control over the use of pornography. Porn addicts often try to quit or limit their use of porn, but without success. They may stop for a day or two, often discarding their entire collection and stopping online subscriptions, only to quickly return to it.

3. Negative consequences directly related to the compulsive use of pornography. Porn addicts eventually experience many of the same adverse consequences that alcoholics, drug addicts, compulsive spenders, compulsive gamblers and other addicts deal with.

Using those I'm going to stick with a hard no. Ha, hard no. LOL.

But you know what I really think I'm addicted to? Planning.

Not actually doing anything, but planning. Daydreaming, thinking about doing, something. Whatever it might be.

I saw a little hunting cabin nearby me today that I could live in, and obviously hunt out of and there's a trout stream on the property, it juts up to state land and there's a lot going for it. All for the low, low price of $99,000. Which around here is pretty damn good. Now will I do anything about getting the place?

Truthfully, I couldn't say for certain, but I know which side I'd bet...

Yeah, simply running things around in my mind and not committing to anything. Thinking of this, and not doing it. Planning that, and not following through. That's my biggest and most problematic addiction.

Lovely, step one is always admitting that you have a problem.

Sep 16, 2020

Daily Stoic: How Can I Keep My Mind Clear of Pollution

 Not on this planet anymore. 

I'd have to say that's about the only thing I could do to keep my mind clear of pollution. Now I am going to alter that statement just a bit and say, "How can I keep my mind as free from pollution as possible"

I mean I have to use the internet to write this bullshit, so just on the strength of that alone I've already been sucked in to a meaningless pile of human drivel that is the blogosphere, not to mention I like Twitter, cuz its funny to watch people argue with other people they've never met over shit they can do nothing about.

I like Instagram because well let's be honest there's hot women all over there.

I like Pinterest because I always want to know how to DIY my own "insert useless thing here"

Facebook? Hate it but all my friends love it so if I want to keep up with them, I basically have to otherwise they'd get lost to the ether. Maybe not such a bad thing.

Method 1: Do not pay attention to the news. There is no such thing in today's day and age. Everything is opinion. Not one of the 24 hour "news" networks does anything but spout opinion. Newspapers if you still do that are the same just a little slower and they use bigger words. I think because they have a crossword puzzle they think they're better than the TV zombies. Fuck the news. That will minimize pollution.

Method 2: Pretty much have to stop watching TV altogether. Which not many of us are gonna do. I know I'm not. But entertainment is so weird now. I mean everything is getting remade. Its like a conscious effort to rewrite history. But what do I know, I mean for heaven's sake they're going to remake "She's all that" with the guy being the ugly duckling?

Method 3: Move next door to the Unabomber's cabin and live just like him, except for any and all lunatic conspiracy theories and keep your explosives to yourself.

Method 4: The only serious one of the bunch, think about everything that you put into your mind. Don't flip on the TV and channel surf. Don't surf the internet. Get on there for a reason, do it, then get off. Don't mindlessly scroll through your phone. Don't "mindlessly" anything. Think before you let something in your brain. Think before you let a feeling change your mood. Think before you get mad at the congressional asshat that did something stupid.  Think before you believe every bit of nonsense that gets spewed out of a talking head's mouth on TV. Better yet, don't even expose yourself to it. 

Read real books. Don't read this mass produced drivel online. Don't read this. This is just me running my mouth for my own benefit. It has nothing to do with you, and if it does, I didn't mean for it to do so.

Between stimulus and response there is a gap, that little gap is freedom.

Sep 10, 2020

Daily Stoic Day 5: Who Am I And What Do I Stand For?

 Well holy hot shit on toast as my lovely wife might say. That's not a heavy question at all. Not a bit.

So let's pick it apart shall we.

Who am I?

What roles do I have? Son, citizen, father, brother, husband, soldier, employee, boss, friend, colleague, enemy, and a myriad of others that are not coming to me right now. 

Son was the one I got first. It came with the conception. Did I do a good job of it? That's a War and Peace sized book answer in and of itself. So let's go with, "it depends on who you ask". 

Which I think would be the answer to that question for all of the other roles as well. Which sounds like one giant cop out. To a point it probably is. On the other hand, it is most certainly true. I suppose what I'm getting at is it is really a fools errand to try and get at who any person really is in a blog post that I'm trying to write in a half hour session before I go to bed tonight. I'm a man, who in his life has filled many roles, has done well at times, has royally fucked them up at others, but has always tried to at least make things right in the end. 

Now the things I stand for, these are easy to come up least I thought they were until I started to think about them for a minute. Most people can think of the things that they hope they stand for. Honesty, integrity, freedom, fairness, hard work, insert whatever positive attribute or outcome you can think of and its easy to say you stand for that. Now try to think of a time you have stood for that. Now after you've done that try to think of a time that you've stood for that on your own....

This is what I'm struggling with. As I'm thinking especially now with all this BLM and Antifa bullshit going on with all these people running around basically cowing people into doing things have I actually stood up in any real way? Nope. I've written a few inconsequential words on the internet. Maybe posted a humorous meme or a clever picture on social media, but I haven't actually done anything about what is going on in the world and this country today. I'll admit, I live a fairly insulated life in a fairly out of the way place that won't get a lot of attention from anyone. So I probably won't ever be confronted with these situations, but could I go there? Sure. Will I? I sincerely doubt it. Should I? I don't know. Would there be any real point to it? 

But the question remains, can I name a time when I stood up for something that I believed in on my own? With no support, when something I knew was right was challenged, was I able to stand up to the mob, and like Captain America said, NO. YOU MOVE. 

Mighty Mighty Bosstone's Lyrics keep running through my head, "I'm not a coward, I've just never been tested. I'd like to think that if I was I would pass."

The 24 Inch Gauge...

 Like I said in my last post, I joined a lodge of Freemasons. Immediately upon starting the process you start to learn things. A lot of diff...