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Here we are.  Year is more than half over.

Relief to some of us.

But this darn heat, huh?

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Hotter than blue blazes (and we still have the dog days of August ahead in less than a week).

Yowza!

You know, I can’t help but think about all the rich context that goes with the word “heat”.

“Hotter than Hell”, “Hot-Head”, “Heated discourse”, “Fire in the Kitchen”, “Hotter than a Firecracker” (I’ve known some gals who were like that).

Well, if I went on it would get hotter than blue blazes in here (and who wants that).

Indeed.

It is insufferable to have to deal with heat.

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My Grandfather used to admonish me with such phrases as “keep your cool, cucumber”, or “better cool off before you flip your lid”.

And ain’t that about right?

Especially in “civil” discourse.

It is vital that we keep our cool.

Not show the other guy that he is applying the heat to us.

When we discuss matters, we should always keep them on a dignified plane.

To be “on the level”, means that we do not get out of kilter.

We keep that plumb bob straight, and narrow.

No swinging too far in either direction.

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It demonstrates our base is not “on the level” – and who wants one of those houses that is all out of whack (like the one at Mystery Hill)?

No one, that’s who (whom?).

Nope.

No Siree, Bob.

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Note that the trees, created by God, are plumb.  It is the house, made with mortal hands, that is off plumb.  Speaks to the skill of the carpenter (must not have listened to the Master).

There are those who purposefully put things out of kilter.

And why?

I think it an expression of an ego that is out of whack.

Like the house on Gravity Hill.

Romans 16:17-20 ESV / 93 helpful votes

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

It is not extra-terrestrial forces that cause this.

It is a contrivance.

A contrivance, built by man to confound, confuse, and basically set everything off plumb.

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It always boils down to one or two egos that vie for dominance.

And over what?

A nutshell.

Considering oneself “king of infinite space”.

And here’s the kicker.  The nutshell?  It is of the ego’s own contrivance.

That’s right.

A house not built with skilled hands, but rather – offset hand.

Relegated to a skewed hell created by a skewed self (or sense thereof).

Untitled

An over-active sense of being.

Thinking too well of one’s self, and not well-enough of others.

Psychologists say that road rage is a product of a fragile ego whereby an individual who has no control over his personal life exerts it in places that (in this case) literally put the lives of others in danger (don’t get me started on how that affects the quality of life).

Giving them a little power behind the steering wheel of a car means you have created a Franken-driver.

Especially if they are in a Ford pickup truck (pay attention, next time you are on Pellissippi). Nothing, and I mean NOTHING worse than a FORD Franken-driver (eh, eh).

Yup.

Careening out of control, and trying to run everyone else off the road.

Like an effeminate and nut-less NAZI, over-compensating and careening way, way outta control — pure hell on the highway.  But I am sure his momma loved him.

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Makes for a hot time in the old lodge at night.

Especially when such as these are in the driver’s seat and opening up the four-barrel on the four lane.

So remember, up-and-comers – when your time in the driver’s seat arrives (and it always does; sometimes DOA) –

Oh keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel
Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel
Yeah, we’re going to the Roadhouse
Gonna have a real
A good time

-Roadhouse Blues, by The Doors

AdolphsDrivingCap_rearview

And always (even in August) – remain “cool as a kiwi”.

It is, after all, the fruit of the tree (and we all know how the world measures that one).

It is low-hanging (way, way “Down Under”).

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SATURDAY, JULY 13, 2019  Screenshot-2019-04-13-08-42-33_gonzoARLO3

On Protocols and Decorum

Hey, Arlo again!

You know, a wise sage once said “it is just as easy to say something nice about someone, as it is to say something dour”.

But ain’t it just so much fun to say the dour?

Here’s the dealio, though.

Speak course, and the world will see you for what you are.

Kindness goes a long, long way toward achieving success.

For example, you might see a comely young lass with a shawl around her shoulders.

You think “Wow!  How utterly gentile.  I’ll bet she is a real gentlewoman”.

You speed up in your gallop, to catch her on the busy street.

You want to tell her, “I am glad you are bringing back the more demure nature of man”.

But as you get closer, you realize the shawl is permanent.

That’s right.

It is INK.

“Eghads,” you think.

“I’ll be she payed a pretty penny for that one”.

But the gentleman does not articulate this.  He keeps his feelings inside.  He doesn’t make a scene.  It would not be gentle, or manly…or…gentlemanly.

The same thing applies in lodge.

You may disagree with a brother, but you do not have to call him an asshole (even if he does wear it well).

No, the gentleman keeps his thoughts to himself.

As you follow the lass down the busy street, you realize the artwork on her shoulders is  loaded with symbolism.

You admire the twisted ivy, and note that some of the stems are fashioned like barbed wire.

Entwined in one of them is a young lady, looking like the Wendy’s girl with a startled, almost terrified look on her face.

As you walk farther down the street, you encounter a man on the sidewalk who is blind, and has no legs.

She bends over, opens her change purse and hands him all the coins she has in it.

You tear up for your assessment that she was perhaps from the carnival, or fresh out of women’s prison and realize your initial assessment was truly all wet.

“How positively nice,” you think.

As she rights herself and moves on down the bustling street, you hand the fellow a crisp, fresh Franklin, to which the poor man responds”Thank you, Brother.  I am a veteran”.

You note he has a strange emblem dangling from a chain around his neck.  You think it perhaps something from his unit in the war, or some logo from a unit to which he belongs.

“Peace be with you, fellow traveler,” you tell him.

You right yourself and begin following the lass once more.

You can not help but further admire the artwork on her back.  In addition to the girl in the barbed wire, you note a blazing star, and sword through a crown.  Also, there is a soldier on one shoulder, fighting his way through a thicket of rose thorns, waste-deep in water, rifle above his head.

You begin to realize you really have the girl all wrong.

“Miss,” you inquire.

She turns.

“May I buy you breakfast ahead at the corner cafe?”.

You chat with the beautiful young red-head to mid-morning, and speak of craftsmanship, and of soldiering, speaking well of one another, and of having a good heart, a charitable mission, and a complimentary tongue.

SATURDAY, JULY 6, 2019  Screenshot-2019-04-13-08-42-33_gonzoARLO3

Perseverance in loss and magnanimity in victory

Today I buried a good friend.

He was one of those you looked up to.

As a kid, I thought him exactly like Steve McQueen.  He dressed the part, he was cool, and he was the real deal.

There was no puffery, no half-way, and no paper tiger.

He was at his essence the man’s man.

On reflection of loss, tonight I think about what it means to win.

My friend was a winner.

Life’s travail had torn at him, but through it, he stood tall.  He walked the walk.  He hung in where others might have given up.

Victory is often measured in small things.

I went through a tough time once.  It involved a tough break, and I became a little “wild” during the healing.

Sometimes I got into fights.  Some times I may have done some things that some consider (or may consider) un-Masonic.  Some might even say un-Christian.

I can tell you that they were every part human.

My friend came to me during my down time.  He grabbed me by my collar and told me he had heard about what I was up to.

He related a story to me about the night he gave up drinking.

Coming from a man I looked up to as a kid, it had real impact.

This was the brotherhood at its essence.

His story cut me to my bone.  I realized that what he said was true.

What he told me, I cannot reveal, for I am “on the square” –  and wish to remain on the level.

But it conveyed to me why I needed to get past certain things.  To let some things go.

It did not make me any less a man; in fact, it elevated me.

No longer was I “slumming with the Frey”.

He pulled me out of that funk.

And so victory…victory is measured in small things such as this.

I am but one life, and my friend too.

But together we had profound impact.  Both of us in the changing.

Life is made more grand by the sharing, by the caring, and by the blood (of which we are all borne).

So this evening I do not mourn the loss of my friend.  I know his spirit carries on in my own heart.

Just as I know the spirit of freemasonry too shall persevere.

And to my friend, God speed in that undiscovered country of which all men who are born, shall return.

SUNDAY, June 16, 2019  Screenshot-2019-04-13-08-42-33_gonzoARLO3

“On ‘Curmudgeonism’ (and Curmudgeons)”

Hello, Arlo here again and I am here to talk to you about a subject very near (and dear) to my heart.

The curmudgeon.

What is it, who is it, and what the heck can we do about it?

First.

What is it?

Well.  Think “crusty old man”.  In fact, think “Krusty the Klown” from “The Simpsons” cartoon.

A guy who may be right about most things, but is typically on the wrong side of EVERYTHING.

Just a person with their nose bent out of joint.

Often, they are witty.

Often, they have that right (what they say is often true, or “rings” true (as in in “has that “ring” of truth).

May, or may not be “true”.

Guaranteed it will be crusty.

Who is it?

It is the guy sitting next to you at the barber shop, or in lodge.

It is the road-enraged driver tailgating you on the interstate.

It is the “nudge” at church or lodge who tries ever-increasingly to push you into something (arm-twisters).

Some famous examples:

Krusty the Klown; Woody Allen; Walter Matheau; Don Rickles; Arlo (eh, eh); The Marquis de Sade; Andy Rooney; James Carville.

What can we do about it?

Not much.

Everybody and their brother has an opinion (and most everybody has the proclivity to express it).

AS IF, anyone cares (I don’t; do you?).

You know, discretion is the better part of valor.

Or, as the curmudgeon once said “you can keep your mouth shut and everyone may think you an idiot, or – open it and prove it”.

Ah silence!

It is golden.

So here’s to Past Masters and curmudgeons.  Long may they wave (and flap their gums).

Arlo OUT.

SATURDAY, April 20, 2019  Screenshot-2019-04-13-08-42-33_gonzoARLO3

“Something Interesting Happened on My Way to the East”

Hello!  It is I.

ARLO !

Here to befuddle your gentle minds, yet again.

You know, we traveling men have a tendency to, well, travel.

Other night, I had on me top hat, tails and cane in hand, I was on my way to LODGE (a happy place, free from the vicissitudes of everyday, mortal life).

Bedecked and bedazzling in me white gloves, I decided this night (erroneously) to wear my ring over my gloved hand (something one should consider vewwwy cawwwfully before undertaking).

Here is why.

An unusual “event” took place, as on my way to lodge I noted my fuel gauge was nearing the “E” for emptoi.

Man, I was running outta gas.

So, I stopped at the local station (down Montvale and Alexander way) only to be heckled while trying to simply pump my petrol.

“Hey peanut man,” the young tough yelled, “you on your way to some kinda peanut convention down in Gawja”.

How positively rude!

Obviously a rogue of low breeding.  A ruffian to end all ruffians.

“Why no, young man.  I am on my way to a Masonic lodge meeting,” I replied, trying desperately to choke back my indignation at his gruff behavior.

“Oh yeah?  My old man is a Mason,” he replied to which I thought, to myself “not much of one raising you as he did”.

But again, I choked back the response.

“No kidding,” I replied.  “How come you are not a Mason ?”.

“Well, no one has ever asked me,” the young tough harped back.

“Yes, and no one ever will”.

His eyes dropped as if I had shot him through the heart with an arrow.

“We can’t ask anyone,” I replied, now feeling sorry for the lad.

“They have to ask us.”

“Oh, I see,” came his reply.  “Can I join?”.

“Of course.  Come by your local lodge, just as you are, and simply ASK for a petition”.

I went on in to pay for my gasoline, and the beautiful young lady behind the register inquired about my ring.

“How lovely,” she said.  “My daddy has one just like it”.

“Your daddy is a fine man,” I told her.

“You seem pretty nice yourself, sir!”.

Now, finally, a youngling raised in the proper manner.

“Why thank you”.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Time went by and I began to wonder what happened to this young ruffian.

Jail, I had assumed, or worse.

Perhaps “living” in the gutter somewhere.

But, as a traveling man, I happened upon this lad yet again.

Only not in jail, nor in the gutter.

I happened to visit a lodge North of my home lodge, in a larger city “up that away”.

I was taken aback to see, in all his glory there in the East the young man, wearing a top hat and tails, gloved hands carrying a cane and doing what this Mason considers the highest and grandest privilege any man or Mason can attain — serving as Worshipful Master of a Lodge.

I paused to reflect on my own bigotry, for I had well-assumed this young tough would never make it in the craft.

But then, a memory came back to haunt me; a memory of when I had been lost in mis-spent youth and I thought “there truly is hope for us all”.

I was proud that evening.  Oh, I was not serving as an officer, and I was wearing my regular street duds.  But that night, that night I felt as though I was among the immortals.

As we left the lodge, there in the parking lot was the comely young lass I had met at the gas station.  With two kids in the back seat, she was there to pick up her husband, the Master of the Lodge.

“Hey mister, I remember you.  Fall on hard times?  Last time I saw you, you were in a tuxedo, ”  she inquired in her caring curiosity.

“No, I just no longer am required to wear the fashion of the officer. Say, it looks as if you married well,” I replied.

“Sure did.  When I met him, he was just talking about becoming a Mason, and I decided that night at the gas station, this is the man for me!”.

And there you have it!

I felt partially responsible for the path this young couple had taken.  In seeing my ring, and hearing the young tough brag about taking his first step in Masonry, the couple had fallen in love.

What a tremendous force is the ring.

It is a circle, bounded by lines and encompassing all the good that is this paltry, mortal existence.

What a grand, grand lodge is the lodge of Freemasonry!

And what a grand fellowship is the fellowship of the craft.

Let no man put asunder what God hath joined together.

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SUNDAY, April 14, 2019  Screenshot-2019-04-13-08-42-33_gonzoARLO3

“Paper Thin”

Hey, Arlo here (again).

Things are still quite quiet in the Valley of the South-by-Southwest.  My enclave is content, like the cattle on me ol’ pop’s farm.

Contentment.  It is a glorious thing on this, the Palm Sunday for we and our sweet Lord!

You know, I hear an awful lot of talk these days about, you guessed it, transparency.

You ever hear the one about the King who did not wear any clothes?

He had the finest tailor in all the land, and was promised a new suit, woven from thread so very fine that one would feel as if he were wearing nothing at all.

All the king’s horses, and all the King’s men tried to tell King Humpty that he was skipping in the nude, but the good King would have none of it.  Broke his crown in a scandal, he did.

Today he’d be arrested for lewd and lascivious behavior.

But that is another story, altogether.

You might say the old boy’s clothes were transparent (if he had any on at all).

But he didn’t.

And his people were not “yes” men.  But he paid them no heed.

Transparency does not get any more transparent than the King’s clothes. And chicanery does not get any more “chicane” than in the personage of the King’s tailor.

But, what a con man, huh?

You know, I heard an old adage once, something about wearing your feelings on your sleeves. The good King must’ve been wearing them on his wrists.

The bottom line for this “Guardian of the Southwest” is simple.

You can’t always trust those closest to you.  We are all fallible.

But when there is a chorus, telling you something is wrong…

A wise man listens to his entourage.

A wise man acts on it.

A descent man, clothes himself.

King James Bible
For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.

-Isaiah 59:17, The Holy Bible

(for more on this, see the discussion re: Ephesians 6:15).

On this beautiful Sunday morning, with storms a’comin, as I cook up my bacon and my beans, I think of just how blessed I am to have a suit to wear to church, and food on the table.

How blessed am I to have brethren surround me who give me good advice (especially when I take it).

And what a naked jerk-nut I have been for not always listening to the chorus.

But ain’t that the way it goes?

Sometimes they sing in silence.

We listen to our own hearts so very often.

We think of our past experiences with people, and we act accordingly.

But do we always “put on righteousness as a breastplate”.

We should.

And to clothe ourselves in the invisible cladding of zeal.

Spiriting away our zeal (and our celerity).  Wearing it as cloak of invisibility (but not an invisible cladding).

Yes, gentle “peeps”, we must too often perform the distasteful.

We must sometimes tell our leaders (and they their subordinates) that they are skipping around naked.

Clad not in righteousness, but in the un-wholly non-righteous.

Indignation.

She’s a cruel sister, she is.

But when she is outta control, someone has to throw a blanket over her to hide her nakedness.

Blankets are cheap.  You can pick them up at the Trading Post for mere beads.

Dignity, on the other hand – dignity comes at a supreme price.

On that, I’m going to go eat my bacon and beans, and in most-undignified fashion slurp the “renderin’s” off’n my chinney-chin-chin.

The Ladies of the Supreme Council of the High Order of the Sunday Go to Meetins will have none of bean renderin’s in beards at the social hour that invariably follows church.

Arlo, over and OUT.

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Saturday, April 13, 2019

Screenshot-2019-04-13-08-42-33_gonzoARLO3

Hello!

Screenshot-2019-04-13-10-06-17_coNO

ARLO here again.

For the record (and to repeat myself) I am not an orphan (nor the son of a singer of stiff folk songs — and I have never ridden on the “City of New Orleans”).

I am ARLO, and my place is on the sidelines, among the brethren, here assembled.

Say, you ever attend a movie theater where everyone was presumably there to ostensibly watch a movie, yet throughout the whole thing the crowd does nothing but critique the moving picture show?

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I have.

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It happens on the rare occasion that one gets to a serial movie (Star[something] – fill in the blank) on opening day and it is filled to the brim with people who are fanatics, eat up with fan-boy fandom of an extreme nature. Extreme fanaticism; extremists.

They throw popcorn at silly dialogue, complain about plot twists and whine to one another about how the director did not stick to the script, or worse (eghads!) to the original “book” upon which it is based (in most cases, there is no “book” – just a script upon which fan-boy fanatics later write books as “odes” to the story at hand).

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Fanatics.

They just detract from the movie, you know?

We go there for a couple of hours as a past-time. A nice, cool theater with popcorn, and quiet conversation during the opening adverts and up-and-coming “teasers” (wow, that one looks like it has potential).

But the whole experience is ruined by a couple (or dozen, or so) “experts” who wish to ruin the whole thing for everybody who has purchased a ticket.  It is absolutely maddening.

Essentially doing nothing more than showing what impressive derrieres they carry around with them, everywhere they go.

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Yup.

Showing their arses, to interpret for our esteemed brethren Down Under (say, is “down under” a place under the celestial sphere?  Have you seen the Southern Cross? Enlightened minds can not be one-dimensional can they? Two-dimensional?  Why the limits on enlightenment?  Why, we are multi-dimensional, Fella).

And for whom do they wiggle the moon ?

Sure did not impress me any.  I was just a fellow wanting to enjoy the movie.

And as for the movie? Well let’s just say it was never the same again.

tesla-coil

In fact, I never saw another one in the series.

I determined that the flick must somehow have some sort of scientific “brain-eating waves” that jump off the silver screen, the ruination of anyone watching the blasted thing.

Some sort of Hollywood-Government experiment gone awry.

But this is the way of these folk.

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Fanatics.

Some might call them “Demagogues”.

Dogmatic, to a triple “T”, they are purveyors of all things “absolute” (in a Universe far, far away where there are few “absolutes”).

With a sort of “my way or the highway” aura about them, they more or less simply ruin everything, and for everybody.

h7F217115

Captain’s Log, star-date Tinkelberry Jerk-whads.

We all go to the picture shows of our own accord. We pay good money to get in, and we expect a good time for what we have thrown away in terms of our valuable time, and our even more-valuable money.

But the fanatic cares not for such matters.

With him, it is all about his very own, self-stylized perception of perfection.

Perfection, bound in the nutshell that is his own skull cap.

The color of the sky, in “his” world.

Well, dream on, dreamers.

The rest of the world is going to go on about their business, with or without the demagogues.

They are going to try and enjoy a night at the movies or the theater. A momentary suspension of disbelief to be entertained (the sole purpose, n’est ce pas ?).

tenor

This is where the even money comes in.

We all pay our dues, and we expect something in return.

When we don’t get it, we simply stop going to the movies.

Cause and effect.

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So, next time ya want to go spoil a movie for someone, try doing it in your own home, surrounded by your own “peeps” (if ya have any) and watch it on your gigantic idiot box all happy and ensconced by those who agree with your warped sense of perception.

For the rest of us, we will try and simply enjoy a good story (flaws and all).

As for the dogma, we will save it for a group discussion over coffee and pie, after the show.

Spoiler alert.

ARLO Arff, over and out.

shepherd

**********************************************************************************

Saturday, April 6, 2019 Screenshot-2019-04-13-08-42-33_gonzoARLO3

Hello!

I am Arlo.

I am not an orphan (nor the son of a singer of stiff folk songs — and I have never ridden on the “City of New Orleans”).

I am ARLO, and my place is on the sidelines, among the brethren, here assembled.

Of late I have noted there is some contention among the craft that resembles idleness.

Crafty idleness.

I had a car like that once.  A REAL jewel.

tinman.gif

It would just idle, and idle (AND idle) – all until it got all hot, and bothered and everything, and then, before you knew it – BLOOEY!  The darn thing would begin letting off steam.

Steam.

I remember when I was a kid, we had steam heat in our old elementary school.  Every day I would be all hot, until about noon when the janitor would ramp the boilers down.  Let everything cool off a bit.

Good thing, because I could not think when I was all hot and bothered in the mornings.  ‘Course, by afternoon I was ready for my nap(s).

Never had to worry about wrinkled clothes, or exploding boilers (thank you, Mr. Janitor man).

But that is about aaaall steam is good for.

Without a valve, it tends to blow the cap.  Like on my old car.

Guess that is why the only one wearing a cap is the Kahoona.  We never like to see him blow his cap.  Or his whistle.  Or blow up his gavel.

I think we may have blown his mind a couple of times (and he, our’s).

Just SHOOT! (one of us needs some relief)…

Not something that is needed in a nice, safe place like a Masonic lodge. Steam.

It is all sizzle, and wafting clouds.

Nothing “blowing in the wind” here, no sirree bob-tail. Not in a Masonic Lodge.

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You know, I hear the kids today are looking for safe places.  Refuges, if you will. A place to escape the maddening crowd.

Places to find comfort.  Succor, even.

Kinda like the donuts we used to have before our meetings, succor.

Sustenance.  Safety.

Yeah, it is idyllic, fer shore.

But, you know what?  That is the beauty of this thing I belong to.

Sure, I just sit on the sidelines and gather dust these days.  But guess what?

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I am not a part of all that madness in the outside world here, here in the valley of the silent South.

Here there is no judging.  No looking down snoots because of the pants you are wearing, or the party you belong to.

Here is a place of brotherly love.

So, onward and upward.

Come back next time and I will let you know about our carpet made of feathers and sequins (or our steps, made of straw, and, (ahem!) manure).

Until next time, I am ARLO, over and out!

***********************************************************************************

Here we are.  Year is more than half over.

Relief to some of us.

But this darn heat, huh?

Screenshot from 2019-07-20 09-43-21

Hotter than blue blazes (and we still have the dog days of August ahead in less than a week).

Yowza!

You know, I can’t help but think about all the rich context that goes with the word “heat”.

“Hotter than Hell”, “Hot-Head”, “Heated discourse”, “Fire in the Kitchen”, “Hotter than a Firecracker” (I’ve known some gals who were like that).

Well, if I went on it would get hotter than blue blazes in here (and who wants that).

Indeed.

It is insufferable to have to deal with heat.

Screenshot from 2019-07-20 10-04-19

My Grandfather used to admonish me with such phrases as “keep your cool, cucumber”, or “better cool off before you flip your lid”.

And ain’t that about right?

Especially in “civil” discourse.

It is vital that we keep our cool.

Not show the other guy that he is applying the heat to us.

When we discuss matters, we should always keep them on a dignified plane.

To be “on the level”, means that we do not get out of kilter.

We keep that plumb bob straight, and narrow.

No swinging too far in either direction.

Screenshot from 2019-07-20 09-37-34

It demonstrates our base is not “on the level” – and who wants one of those houses that is all out of whack (like the one at Mystery Hill)?

No one, that’s who (whom?).

Nope.

No Siree, Bob.

Screenshot from 2019-07-20 09-47-56
Note that the trees, created by God, are plumb.  It is the house, made with mortal hands, that is off plumb.  Speaks to the skill of the carpenter (must not have listened to the Master).

There are those who purposefully put things out of kilter.

And why?

I think it an expression of an ego that is out of whack.

Like the house on Gravity Hill.

Romans 16:17-20 ESV / 93 helpful votes

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

It is not extra-terrestrial forces that cause this.

It is a contrivance.

A contrivance, built by man to confound, confuse, and basically set everything off plumb.

Screenshot from 2019-07-20 09-49-06

It always boils down to one or two egos that vie for dominance.

And over what?

A nutshell.

Considering oneself “king of infinite space”.

And here’s the kicker.  The nutshell?  It is of the ego’s own contrivance.

That’s right.

A house not built with skilled hands, but rather – offset hand.

Relegated to a skewed hell created by a skewed self (or sense thereof).

Untitled

An over-active sense of being.

Thinking too well of one’s self, and not well-enough of others.

Psychologists say that road rage is a product of a fragile ego whereby an individual who has no control over his personal life exerts it in places that (in this case) literally put the lives of others in danger (don’t get me started on how that affects the quality of life).

Giving them a little power behind the steering wheel of a car means you have created a Franken-driver.

Especially if they are in a Ford pickup truck (pay attention, next time you are on Pellissippi). Nothing, and I mean NOTHING worse than a FORD Franken-driver (eh, eh).

Yup.

Careening out of control, and trying to run everyone else off the road.

Like an effeminate and nut-less NAZI, over-compensating and careening way, way outta control — pure hell on the highway.  But I am sure his momma loved him.

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Makes for a hot time in the old lodge at night.

Especially when such as these are in the driver’s seat and opening up the four-barrel on the four lane.

So remember, up-and-comers – when your time in the driver’s seat arrives (and it always does; sometimes DOA) –

Oh keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel
Keep your eyes on the road, your hands upon the wheel
Yeah, we’re going to the Roadhouse
Gonna have a real
A good time

-Roadhouse Blues, by The Doors

AdolphsDrivingCap_rearview

And always (even in August) – remain “cool as a kiwi”.

It is, after all, the fruit of the tree (and we all know how the world measures that one).

It is low-hanging (way, way “Down Under”).

###

SATURDAY, JULY 13, 2019  Screenshot-2019-04-13-08-42-33_gonzoARLO3

On Protocols and Decorum

Hey, Arlo again!

You know, a wise sage once said “it is just as easy to say something nice about someone, as it is to say something dour”.

But ain’t it just so much fun to say the dour?

Here’s the dealio, though.

Speak course, and the world will see you for what you are.

Kindness goes a long, long way toward achieving success.

For example, you might see a comely young lass with a shawl around her shoulders.

You think “Wow!  How utterly gentile.  I’ll bet she is a real gentlewoman”.

You speed up in your gallop, to catch her on the busy street.

You want to tell her, “I am glad you are bringing back the more demure nature of man”.

But as you get closer, you realize the shawl is permanent.

That’s right.

It is INK.

“Eghads,” you think.

“I’ll be she payed a pretty penny for that one”.

But the gentleman does not articulate this.  He keeps his feelings inside.  He doesn’t make a scene.  It would not be gentle, or manly…or…gentlemanly.

The same thing applies in lodge.

You may disagree with a brother, but you do not have to call him an asshole (even if he does wear it well).

No, the gentleman keeps his thoughts to himself.

As you follow the lass down the busy street, you realize the artwork on her shoulders is  loaded with symbolism.

You admire the twisted ivy, and note that some of the stems are fashioned like barbed wire.

Entwined in one of them is a young lady, looking like the Wendy’s girl with a startled, almost terrified look on her face.

As you walk farther down the street, you encounter a man on the sidewalk who is blind, and has no legs.

She bends over, opens her change purse and hands him all the coins she has in it.

You tear up for your assessment that she was perhaps from the carnival, or fresh out of women’s prison and realize your initial assessment was truly all wet.

“How positively nice,” you think.

As she rights herself and moves on down the bustling street, you hand the fellow a crisp, fresh Franklin, to which the poor man responds”Thank you, Brother.  I am a veteran”.

You note he has a strange emblem dangling from a chain around his neck.  You think it perhaps something from his unit in the war, or some logo from a unit to which he belongs.

“Peace be with you, fellow traveler,” you tell him.

You right yourself and begin following the lass once more.

You can not help but further admire the artwork on her back.  In addition to the girl in the barbed wire, you note a blazing star, and sword through a crown.  Also, there is a soldier on one shoulder, fighting his way through a thicket of rose thorns, waste-deep in water, rifle above his head.

You begin to realize you really have the girl all wrong.

“Miss,” you inquire.

She turns.

“May I buy you breakfast ahead at the corner cafe?”.

You chat with the beautiful young red-head to mid-morning, and speak of craftsmanship, and of soldiering, speaking well of one another, and of having a good heart, a charitable mission, and a complimentary tongue.

SATURDAY, JULY 6, 2019  Screenshot-2019-04-13-08-42-33_gonzoARLO3

Perseverance in loss and magnanimity in victory

Today I buried a good friend.

He was one of those you looked up to.

As a kid, I thought him exactly like Steve McQueen.  He dressed the part, he was cool, and he was the real deal.

There was no puffery, no half-way, and no paper tiger.

He was at his essence the man’s man.

On reflection of loss, tonight I think about what it means to win.

My friend was a winner.

Life’s travail had torn at him, but through it, he stood tall.  He walked the walk.  He hung in where others might have given up.

Victory is often measured in small things.

I went through a tough time once.  It involved a tough break, and I became a little “wild” during the healing.

Sometimes I got into fights.  Some times I may have done some things that some consider (or may consider) un-Masonic.  Some might even say un-Christian.

I can tell you that they were every part human.

My friend came to me during my down time.  He grabbed me by my collar and told me he had heard about what I was up to.

He related a story to me about the night he gave up drinking.

Coming from a man I looked up to as a kid, it had real impact.

This was the brotherhood at its essence.

His story cut me to my bone.  I realized that what he said was true.

What he told me, I cannot reveal, for I am “on the square” –  and wish to remain on the level.

But it conveyed to me why I needed to get past certain things.  To let some things go.

It did not make me any less a man; in fact, it elevated me.

No longer was I “slumming with the Frey”.

He pulled me out of that funk.

And so victory…victory is measured in small things such as this.

I am but one life, and my friend too.

But together we had profound impact.  Both of us in the changing.

Life is made more grand by the sharing, by the caring, and by the blood (of which we are all borne).

So this evening I do not mourn the loss of my friend.  I know his spirit carries on in my own heart.

Just as I know the spirit of freemasonry too shall persevere.

And to my friend, God speed in that undiscovered country of which all men who are born, shall return.

SUNDAY, June 16, 2019  Screenshot-2019-04-13-08-42-33_gonzoARLO3

“On ‘Curmudgeonism’ (and Curmudgeons)”

Hello, Arlo here again and I am here to talk to you about a subject very near (and dear) to my heart.

The curmudgeon.

What is it, who is it, and what the heck can we do about it?

First.

What is it?

Well.  Think “crusty old man”.  In fact, think “Krusty the Klown” from “The Simpsons” cartoon.

A guy who may be right about most things, but is typically on the wrong side of EVERYTHING.

Just a person with their nose bent out of joint.

Often, they are witty.

Often, they have that right (what they say is often true, or “rings” true (as in in “has that “ring” of truth).

May, or may not be “true”.

Guaranteed it will be crusty.

Who is it?

It is the guy sitting next to you at the barber shop, or in lodge.

It is the road-enraged driver tailgating you on the interstate.

It is the “nudge” at church or lodge who tries ever-increasingly to push you into something (arm-twisters).

Some famous examples:

Krusty the Klown; Woody Allen; Walter Matheau; Don Rickles; Arlo (eh, eh); The Marquis de Sade; Andy Rooney; James Carville.

What can we do about it?

Not much.

Everybody and their brother has an opinion (and most everybody has the proclivity to express it).

AS IF, anyone cares (I don’t; do you?).

You know, discretion is the better part of valor.

Or, as the curmudgeon once said “you can keep your mouth shut and everyone may think you an idiot, or – open it and prove it”.

Ah silence!

It is golden.

So here’s to Past Masters and curmudgeons.  Long may they wave (and flap their gums).

Arlo OUT.

SATURDAY, April 20, 2019  Screenshot-2019-04-13-08-42-33_gonzoARLO3

“Something Interesting Happened on My Way to the East”

Hello!  It is I.

ARLO !

Here to befuddle your gentle minds, yet again.

You know, we traveling men have a tendency to, well, travel.

Other night, I had on me top hat, tails and cane in hand, I was on my way to LODGE (a happy place, free from the vicissitudes of everyday, mortal life).

Bedecked and bedazzling in me white gloves, I decided this night (erroneously) to wear my ring over my gloved hand (something one should consider vewwwy cawwwfully before undertaking).

Here is why.

An unusual “event” took place, as on my way to lodge I noted my fuel gauge was nearing the “E” for emptoi.

Man, I was running outta gas.

So, I stopped at the local station (down Montvale and Alexander way) only to be heckled while trying to simply pump my petrol.

“Hey peanut man,” the young tough yelled, “you on your way to some kinda peanut convention down in Gawja”.

How positively rude!

Obviously a rogue of low breeding.  A ruffian to end all ruffians.

“Why no, young man.  I am on my way to a Masonic lodge meeting,” I replied, trying desperately to choke back my indignation at his gruff behavior.

“Oh yeah?  My old man is a Mason,” he replied to which I thought, to myself “not much of one raising you as he did”.

But again, I choked back the response.

“No kidding,” I replied.  “How come you are not a Mason ?”.

“Well, no one has ever asked me,” the young tough harped back.

“Yes, and no one ever will”.

His eyes dropped as if I had shot him through the heart with an arrow.

“We can’t ask anyone,” I replied, now feeling sorry for the lad.

“They have to ask us.”

“Oh, I see,” came his reply.  “Can I join?”.

“Of course.  Come by your local lodge, just as you are, and simply ASK for a petition”.

I went on in to pay for my gasoline, and the beautiful young lady behind the register inquired about my ring.

“How lovely,” she said.  “My daddy has one just like it”.

“Your daddy is a fine man,” I told her.

“You seem pretty nice yourself, sir!”.

Now, finally, a youngling raised in the proper manner.

“Why thank you”.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Time went by and I began to wonder what happened to this young ruffian.

Jail, I had assumed, or worse.

Perhaps “living” in the gutter somewhere.

But, as a traveling man, I happened upon this lad yet again.

Only not in jail, nor in the gutter.

I happened to visit a lodge North of my home lodge, in a larger city “up that away”.

I was taken aback to see, in all his glory there in the East the young man, wearing a top hat and tails, gloved hands carrying a cane and doing what this Mason considers the highest and grandest privilege any man or Mason can attain — serving as Worshipful Master of a Lodge.

I paused to reflect on my own bigotry, for I had well-assumed this young tough would never make it in the craft.

But then, a memory came back to haunt me; a memory of when I had been lost in mis-spent youth and I thought “there truly is hope for us all”.

I was proud that evening.  Oh, I was not serving as an officer, and I was wearing my regular street duds.  But that night, that night I felt as though I was among the immortals.

As we left the lodge, there in the parking lot was the comely young lass I had met at the gas station.  With two kids in the back seat, she was there to pick up her husband, the Master of the Lodge.

“Hey mister, I remember you.  Fall on hard times?  Last time I saw you, you were in a tuxedo, ”  she inquired in her caring curiosity.

“No, I just no longer am required to wear the fashion of the officer. Say, it looks as if you married well,” I replied.

“Sure did.  When I met him, he was just talking about becoming a Mason, and I decided that night at the gas station, this is the man for me!”.

And there you have it!

I felt partially responsible for the path this young couple had taken.  In seeing my ring, and hearing the young tough brag about taking his first step in Masonry, the couple had fallen in love.

What a tremendous force is the ring.

It is a circle, bounded by lines and encompassing all the good that is this paltry, mortal existence.

What a grand, grand lodge is the lodge of Freemasonry!

And what a grand fellowship is the fellowship of the craft.

Let no man put asunder what God hath joined together.

************************************************************************************

SUNDAY, April 14, 2019  Screenshot-2019-04-13-08-42-33_gonzoARLO3

“Paper Thin”

Hey, Arlo here (again).

Things are still quite quiet in the Valley of the South-by-Southwest.  My enclave is content, like the cattle on me ol’ pop’s farm.

Contentment.  It is a glorious thing on this, the Palm Sunday for we and our sweet Lord!

You know, I hear an awful lot of talk these days about, you guessed it, transparency.

You ever hear the one about the King who did not wear any clothes?

He had the finest tailor in all the land, and was promised a new suit, woven from thread so very fine that one would feel as if he were wearing nothing at all.

All the king’s horses, and all the King’s men tried to tell King Humpty that he was skipping in the nude, but the good King would have none of it.  Broke his crown in a scandal, he did.

Today he’d be arrested for lewd and lascivious behavior.

But that is another story, altogether.

You might say the old boy’s clothes were transparent (if he had any on at all).

But he didn’t.

And his people were not “yes” men.  But he paid them no heed.

Transparency does not get any more transparent than the King’s clothes. And chicanery does not get any more “chicane” than in the personage of the King’s tailor.

But, what a con man, huh?

You know, I heard an old adage once, something about wearing your feelings on your sleeves. The good King must’ve been wearing them on his wrists.

The bottom line for this “Guardian of the Southwest” is simple.

You can’t always trust those closest to you.  We are all fallible.

But when there is a chorus, telling you something is wrong…

A wise man listens to his entourage.

A wise man acts on it.

A descent man, clothes himself.

King James Bible
For he put on righteousness as a breastplate, and an helmet of salvation upon his head; and he put on the garments of vengeance for clothing, and was clad with zeal as a cloke.

-Isaiah 59:17, The Holy Bible

(for more on this, see the discussion re: Ephesians 6:15).

On this beautiful Sunday morning, with storms a’comin, as I cook up my bacon and my beans, I think of just how blessed I am to have a suit to wear to church, and food on the table.

How blessed am I to have brethren surround me who give me good advice (especially when I take it).

And what a naked jerk-nut I have been for not always listening to the chorus.

But ain’t that the way it goes?

Sometimes they sing in silence.

We listen to our own hearts so very often.

We think of our past experiences with people, and we act accordingly.

But do we always “put on righteousness as a breastplate”.

We should.

And to clothe ourselves in the invisible cladding of zeal.

Spiriting away our zeal (and our celerity).  Wearing it as cloak of invisibility (but not an invisible cladding).

Yes, gentle “peeps”, we must too often perform the distasteful.

We must sometimes tell our leaders (and they their subordinates) that they are skipping around naked.

Clad not in righteousness, but in the un-wholly non-righteous.

Indignation.

She’s a cruel sister, she is.

But when she is outta control, someone has to throw a blanket over her to hide her nakedness.

Blankets are cheap.  You can pick them up at the Trading Post for mere beads.

Dignity, on the other hand – dignity comes at a supreme price.

On that, I’m going to go eat my bacon and beans, and in most-undignified fashion slurp the “renderin’s” off’n my chinney-chin-chin.

The Ladies of the Supreme Council of the High Order of the Sunday Go to Meetins will have none of bean renderin’s in beards at the social hour that invariably follows church.

Arlo, over and OUT.

************************************************************************************

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Screenshot-2019-04-13-08-42-33_gonzoARLO3

Hello!

Screenshot-2019-04-13-10-06-17_coNO

ARLO here again.

For the record (and to repeat myself) I am not an orphan (nor the son of a singer of stiff folk songs — and I have never ridden on the “City of New Orleans”).

I am ARLO, and my place is on the sidelines, among the brethren, here assembled.

Say, you ever attend a movie theater where everyone was presumably there to ostensibly watch a movie, yet throughout the whole thing the crowd does nothing but critique the moving picture show?

Screenshot-2019-04-13-10-08-37.png

I have.

Screenshot-2019-04-13-10-10-08

It happens on the rare occasion that one gets to a serial movie (Star[something] – fill in the blank) on opening day and it is filled to the brim with people who are fanatics, eat up with fan-boy fandom of an extreme nature. Extreme fanaticism; extremists.

They throw popcorn at silly dialogue, complain about plot twists and whine to one another about how the director did not stick to the script, or worse (eghads!) to the original “book” upon which it is based (in most cases, there is no “book” – just a script upon which fan-boy fanatics later write books as “odes” to the story at hand).

Screenshot-2019-04-13-10-42-27

Fanatics.

They just detract from the movie, you know?

We go there for a couple of hours as a past-time. A nice, cool theater with popcorn, and quiet conversation during the opening adverts and up-and-coming “teasers” (wow, that one looks like it has potential).

But the whole experience is ruined by a couple (or dozen, or so) “experts” who wish to ruin the whole thing for everybody who has purchased a ticket.  It is absolutely maddening.

Essentially doing nothing more than showing what impressive derrieres they carry around with them, everywhere they go.

Screenshot-2019-04-13-12-58-10.png

Yup.

Showing their arses, to interpret for our esteemed brethren Down Under (say, is “down under” a place under the celestial sphere?  Have you seen the Southern Cross? Enlightened minds can not be one-dimensional can they? Two-dimensional?  Why the limits on enlightenment?  Why, we are multi-dimensional, Fella).

And for whom do they wiggle the moon ?

Sure did not impress me any.  I was just a fellow wanting to enjoy the movie.

And as for the movie? Well let’s just say it was never the same again.

tesla-coil

In fact, I never saw another one in the series.

I determined that the flick must somehow have some sort of scientific “brain-eating waves” that jump off the silver screen, the ruination of anyone watching the blasted thing.

Some sort of Hollywood-Government experiment gone awry.

But this is the way of these folk.

screenshot-2019-04-13-10-32-49.png

Fanatics.

Some might call them “Demagogues”.

Dogmatic, to a triple “T”, they are purveyors of all things “absolute” (in a Universe far, far away where there are few “absolutes”).

With a sort of “my way or the highway” aura about them, they more or less simply ruin everything, and for everybody.

h7F217115

Captain’s Log, star-date Tinkelberry Jerk-whads.

We all go to the picture shows of our own accord. We pay good money to get in, and we expect a good time for what we have thrown away in terms of our valuable time, and our even more-valuable money.

But the fanatic cares not for such matters.

With him, it is all about his very own, self-stylized perception of perfection.

Perfection, bound in the nutshell that is his own skull cap.

The color of the sky, in “his” world.

Well, dream on, dreamers.

The rest of the world is going to go on about their business, with or without the demagogues.

They are going to try and enjoy a night at the movies or the theater. A momentary suspension of disbelief to be entertained (the sole purpose, n’est ce pas ?).

tenor

This is where the even money comes in.

We all pay our dues, and we expect something in return.

When we don’t get it, we simply stop going to the movies.

Cause and effect.

Screenshot-2019-04-13-10-44-17

So, next time ya want to go spoil a movie for someone, try doing it in your own home, surrounded by your own “peeps” (if ya have any) and watch it on your gigantic idiot box all happy and ensconced by those who agree with your warped sense of perception.

For the rest of us, we will try and simply enjoy a good story (flaws and all).

As for the dogma, we will save it for a group discussion over coffee and pie, after the show.

Spoiler alert.

ARLO Arff, over and out.

shepherd

**********************************************************************************

Saturday, April 6, 2019 Screenshot-2019-04-13-08-42-33_gonzoARLO3

Hello!

I am Arlo.

I am not an orphan (nor the son of a singer of stiff folk songs — and I have never ridden on the “City of New Orleans”).

I am ARLO, and my place is on the sidelines, among the brethren, here assembled.

Of late I have noted there is some contention among the craft that resembles idleness.

Crafty idleness.

I had a car like that once.  A REAL jewel.

tinman.gif

It would just idle, and idle (AND idle) – all until it got all hot, and bothered and everything, and then, before you knew it – BLOOEY!  The darn thing would begin letting off steam.

Steam.

I remember when I was a kid, we had steam heat in our old elementary school.  Every day I would be all hot, until about noon when the janitor would ramp the boilers down.  Let everything cool off a bit.

Good thing, because I could not think when I was all hot and bothered in the mornings.  ‘Course, by afternoon I was ready for my nap(s).

Never had to worry about wrinkled clothes, or exploding boilers (thank you, Mr. Janitor man).

But that is about aaaall steam is good for.

Without a valve, it tends to blow the cap.  Like on my old car.

Guess that is why the only one wearing a cap is the Kahoona.  We never like to see him blow his cap.  Or his whistle.  Or blow up his gavel.

I think we may have blown his mind a couple of times (and he, our’s).

Just SHOOT! (one of us needs some relief)…

Not something that is needed in a nice, safe place like a Masonic lodge. Steam.

It is all sizzle, and wafting clouds.

Nothing “blowing in the wind” here, no sirree bob-tail. Not in a Masonic Lodge.

Screenshot-2019-04-13-11-11-23

You know, I hear the kids today are looking for safe places.  Refuges, if you will. A place to escape the maddening crowd.

Places to find comfort.  Succor, even.

Kinda like the donuts we used to have before our meetings, succor.

Sustenance.  Safety.

Yeah, it is idyllic, fer shore.

But, you know what?  That is the beauty of this thing I belong to.

Sure, I just sit on the sidelines and gather dust these days.  But guess what?

Screenshot-2019-04-13-11-07-14

I am not a part of all that madness in the outside world here, here in the valley of the silent South.

Here there is no judging.  No looking down snoots because of the pants you are wearing, or the party you belong to.

Here is a place of brotherly love.

So, onward and upward.

Come back next time and I will let you know about our carpet made of feathers and sequins (or our steps, made of straw, and, (ahem!) manure).

Until next time, I am ARLO, over and out!

***********************************************************************************

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