Thursday, January 31, 2013

DeMolay International Airport

"Dad" Matt Blaisdell recently sent me a link to an article by acclaimed author Seth Godin (with a first name like that, what's not to like?) Godin runs several blogs, many of them concentrating on marketing and business. In one post, from January 27, 2013, Godin talks about his dislike of flying - or rather, of having to use airports to fly. His discussion actually makes points about organizations. Many of the points he hits on can relate directly to DeMolay. Let's take a look... (my comments are in italics.)

"I realized that I don’t dislike flying--I dislike airports. There are so many things we can learn from what they do wrong:

No one is in charge. The airport doesn't appear to have a CEO, and if it does, you never see her, hear about her or interact with her in any way. When the person at the top doesn't care, it filters down.

If your Master Councilor and Advisory Council aren't taking the reigns and being leaders, no one is going to understand what is going on.

Problems persist because organizations defend their turf instead of embrace the problem. The TSA blames the facilities people, who blame someone else, and around and around. Only when the user’s problem is the driver of behavior (as opposed to maintaining power or the status quo) things change.

If something goes wrong with your Chapter, man up and admit it. Finger pointing solves nothing.

The food is aimed squarely at the (disappearing) middle of the market. People who like steamed meat and bags of chips never have a problem finding something to eat at an airport. Apparently, profit-maximizing vendors haven’t realized that we’re all a lot weirder than we used to be.

At first, this one doesn't seem to fit, but think again! You need to realize who you are marketing your Chapter to. Are you interesting the young guys so that they recruit their friends, or are you only doing things that make a couple of members happy? Think about how you plan and organize things so that everyone is excited.

Like colleges, airports see customers as powerless transients. Hey, you’re going to be gone tomorrow, but they’ll still be here.

Your Chapter isn't forever. Just because the other guys in your Chapter are doing the work and recruiting members doesn't mean it'll survive. Every DeMolay has to step up to the plate to keep the Chapter moving into the future. Remember, if you stopped taking in members today, you're Chapter will, without a doubt, cease to exist in 9 years (at the maximum.)

By removing slack, airlines create failure. In order to increase profit, airlines work hard to get the maximum number of flights out of each plane, each day. As a result, there are no spares, no downtime and no resilience. By assuming that their customer base prefers to save money, not anxiety, they create an anxiety-filled system.

Just remember, sometimes cheaper isn't better. When planning your Chapter activities, keep Risk Management in mind. Going to "Joe's Backyard Paintball" may be cheaper than Skirmish, but the professionalism, safety, and experience may not be the same.

The TSA is ruled by superstition, not fact. They act without data and put on a quite serious but ultimately useless bit of theater. Ten years later, the theater is now becoming an entrenched status quo, one that gets ever worse.

As we've always said, don't just do things because that's what you've always done. It's okay to question why things are done the way they are. Improvement only comes from understanding.

The ad hoc is forbidden. Imagine an airplane employee bringing in an extension cord and a power strip to deal with the daily occurrence of travelers hunched in the corner around a single outlet. Impossible. There is a bias toward permanent and improved, not quick and effective.

If you see an issue with your Chapter that you know you can fix, then by all means, do it! While everyone should be aware of how the issue is being resolve, waiting isn't going to help some problems. For instance, if you know a chair in the Chapter room is broken, don't wait until the meeting starts to fix the issue. Be proactive and let your Advisors know. 

Everyone is treated the same. Effective organizations treat different people differently. While there’s some window dressing at the edges (I’m thinking of slightly faster first class lines and slightly more convenient motorized cars for seniors), in general, airports insist that the one size they’ve chosen to offer fit all.

This goes back to the earlier point - your Chapter has to meet the needs of its members. Not everyone is interested in the same thing. Make sure you plan events and activities that appeal to everyone - and speak up if you don't enjoy the activities being planned!

There are plenty of potential bad surprises, but no good ones. You can have a flight be cancelled, even go to the wrong airport. But all possibility for delight has been removed. It wouldn't take much to completely transform the experience from a chore to a delight.

This is a great metaphor for meetings. Don't make meetings a chore. Have some fun! Do something different! As a Master Councilor, bring a surprise to share with your members. Making meetings interesting and fun is an important aspect of our program.

They are sterile. Everyone who passes through leaves no trace, every morning starts anew. There are no connections between people, either fellow passengers or the staff. No one says, “welcome back,” and that’s honest, because no one feels particularly welcome.

Feeling welcome is the most important compliment you can give to a new member. Let them know that you're excited they're part of your Chapter and that you want their input. Cliques help no one.

No one is having any fun. Most people who work at airports have precisely the same demeanor as people who work at a cemetery. The system has become so industrialized that personal expression is apparently forbidden."

Again - if I haven't stressed this enough - have fun! If you make your Chapter events fun, then everyone will get involved and your Chapter will grow. Each Chapter develops its own personality. Some Chapters love community service, others enjoy ritual, while some are into sports. Find your Chapter's personality and enjoy it!

See you on Monday!

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Monday, January 28, 2013

What do you mean "ritual tournament?"

Over the last year or so, PA DeMolay has undertaken an initiative to improve the ritual among the Chapters in the Commonwealth. Part of this project has been to get more young men involved in ritual tournaments. However, Pennsylvania hasn't really be a "ritual heavy" state in quite some time, leaving many members scratching their heads, wondering just what these tournaments are all about.

PA DeMolay is part of DeMolay International's Region II (which has been discussed in earlier posts.) As such, we participate in the Mid-Atlantic Tournament of Champions ritual tournament and generally go by their rules and evaluation procedures. Thankfully, the MATOC Committee has published all of this information on their website at Just click the link and you'll be able to download .pdf's of all the important documents. Take some time to read and understand the rules - we know it's a little dry - but it's important to know the playing field.

In the coming weeks, we'll be discussing ritual tournaments a little bit more, and I hope to get some special guests to write pieces about their ritual tournament experience.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mind Your Smartphone Manners

Over the last few weeks I've been lucky to have our resident graphics guru, Bro. Matt Blaisdell, working beside me in the office. Matt and I have a great working relationship and I admire his talents in design. Often times, we bounce ideas off of each other and constructively critique each other when necessary.

During the holiday break, Matt was working on many different projects, including brochures, posters, and wallet cards. He often drew his inspiration for these designs from different pieces we found on the internet. As such, I'm always on the look out for interesting pieces to share with Matt, and all of you.

Recently, I discovered some great new graphics on the Art of Manliness Blog. These "posters" try to teach good cell phone manners through the use of graphics and design. When I saw them, I thought to myself "Self, these would be great to hang in a Chapter Room!"

If you are trying to curb your own cell phone habits (or if you're an Advisor trying to teach them to young men) these could be some great tools to start with. Check them out at this link:

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Inaugural Trip 2013 was a blast!

What's harder than waking up over 90 youth and Advisors of DeMolay, Rainbow and Job's Daughters at 5 am for a bus trip to Washington, D.C. for the 2013 Presidential Inauguration? Well, getting them to calm down on the bus ride home, of course! 

After spending the day in Washington D.C. with hundreds of thousands of other people all across the world, everyone who went on the PA DeMolay hosted trip either had a story or photo to share. Don't believe me? Check out these great photographs and commentaries from members, Advisors and DeMolay supporters who went on the trip! If you also have any photographs or stories to share, send them our way and we'll add them to the blog!

Vice President, Joe Biden giving Jennifer Walters (PA Rainbow) Andrew Prescott 
(DeMolay IMC) Angela Lennox and "Dad" Matt Blaisdell a friendly wave.
Photo credit to Matt Blaisdell. 

  “It was a lot of fun being at Washington DC, watching the president get inaugurated for the second time. It was a great experience and I'm glad I went. – Phil Cancilla, Templar Chapter Member
Your State Officers, Alex Rauschenberger, Isaac Holtzer. Alex Temple and Matt Maple 
and Kaitlin Nemec take their eyes upon the site seeing value of our Nations Capital!
Photo credit to Kaitlin Nemec

  “I had a great time. It was my first Inauguration and it was a lot of fun. Looking around the bus (one the ride) back, it was easy to see the camaraderie and friendships everyone had made throughout the day. It made me proud to be an American.
 – Nikki Schafer, Grand Worthy Advisor of PA Rainbow

Okay, I'll admit, it's harder to herd 90 people into a group for a photo
 than to herd a bunch of cats! Nevertheless, the results were great!
Photo credit to Matt Blaisdell
PA State Officers and DeMolay International's International Master Councilor standing for a photo with George Washington Masonic Memorial Executive Director, George Seghers with a  donation to this great monument!

 Washington D.C. was a lot of walking and a lot of fun! –Alex Faulds, Westmoreland Chapter Member
State Officers enjoying a photo in front of their "hopefully" 
soon to be  State Officer Transportation, a Douglas DC-7! 
What do you say, "Dad" Tom Labagh? Can they travel in style?
Photo credit to Kaitlin Nemec

   President Barack Obama riding in the "beast", the vehicle with one of the
   highest security known to man! Of course, he's greeting the parade goers with
  a full smile on his face! Photo credit to Matt Blaisdell.

"I thought the trip was fun even though it was really cold. Seeing the  inauguration in DC and not just on TV was a really  inspirational experience." 
- Jenny Chappell, Miss Congeniality of PA

There are plenty more photos of the trip if you want to check them out! Go to:
It was a great trip and I hope Washington D.C. is ready for the next DeMolay trip, because I guarantee, I sure am!

- "Dad" Matt Blaisdell

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Inaugural Oaths

The following was taken from the website of St. John's Lodge No. 1, Ancient York Masons, of the Grand Lodge of New York. It details the history of the Washington Inaugural Bible, which is of interest to many members of the Masonic family.

After the conclusion of the War of Independence, New York City became the first Constitutional capital of the United States, and it was there on April 30th, 1789 that Brother George Washington was to be sworn in as the first President of the United States.

On a platform erected for the purpose, in front of the then City Hall, were gathered the Congress of the United States, with George Washington and Chancellor Livingston, Grand Master of Masons in the State of New York. In front of them was an immense concourse of citizens. It was indeed a great holiday occasion; the Revolutionary War was over and peace reigned throughout the country.

Everything was ready for the administration of the oath of office to the President of the new government, when it was discovered that a Holy Bible had not been provided on which the President-Elect could swear allegiance to the Constitution. Jacob Morton, who was Marshal of the parade, and at that time Master of St. John's Lodge, was standing close by. Seeing the dilemma they were in, he remarked that he could get the altar Bible of St. John's Lodge, which met at the Old Coffee House on the corner of Water and Wall Streets. Chancellor Livingston begged him to do so. The Bible was brought, and the ceremony proceeded. The stately Washington took his oath with his right hand resting on the Bible which had been opened to Genesis XLIX and L. His head bowed in a reverential manner, he added in a clear and distinct voice, "I swear, so help me God!" then bowing over this magnificent Bible, he reverently kissed it, whereupon Chancellor Livingston exclaimed in a ringing voice, "Long live George Wash­ington, President of the United States!"

To preserve the memory of this auspicious event, a page was inserted in the Bible with the following inscription:

"On this sacred volume, on the 30th day of April, A. L. 5789, in the City of New York, was administered to George Washington, the first president of the United States of America, the oath to support the Constitution of the United States. This important ceremony was performed by the Most Worshipful Grand Master of Free and Accepted Masons of the State of New York, the Honorable Robert R. Livingston, Chancellor of the State.

Fame stretched her wings and with her trumpet blew.
Great Washington is near. What praise is due?
What title shall he have? She paused, and said
‘Not one - his name alone strikes every title dead."

The Bible has since been used at four other inaugurations: President Harding in 1921; President Eisenhower in 1953; President Jimmy Carter in 1977 and President George Bush Sr. in 1989. It was also to have been used for the inauguration of George W. Bush in 2001, but rain prevented its use. It has also been present at numerous public and Masonic occasions, including Washington's funeral procession in New York, December 31st, 1799; the introduction of Croton water into New York City, October 14th, 1840; the dedication of the Masonic Temple in Boston, June 24th, 1867, and of that in Philadelphia on May 24th, 1869; the dedication of the Washington monument in Washington, February 21st, 1885 and its rededication in 1998; and the laying of the cornerstone of the Masonic Home at Utica on May 21st, 1891.

It was also used at the opening of the present Masonic Hall in New York on September 18, 1909, when St. John's Lodge held the first meeting, and conferred the first Third Degree, in the newly completed Temple. More recently it featured at the World Fair in New York, has been displayed at the CIA Offices outside Washington D.C., and at the Famous Fathers & Sons exhibition at the George Bush Memorial Library outside Dallas, Texas in 2001.

The Bible is the King James Version, complete with the Apocrypha and elaborately supplemented with the historical, astronomical and legal data of that period. It contains numerous artistic steel engravings portraying Biblical narratives from designs and paintings by old masters and engraved by the celebrated English artist, John Stuart.

The Bible is still in active use by the Lodge. When not being used by St. John’s Lodge or on tour, it is on display at Federal Hall, Wall Street, New York.

Monday, January 14, 2013

15 Things Every Guy Should Have

Long time followers of this blog will know that I've developed an interest in how society has come to define the idea of "manhood." I also happen to have an interest in men's fashion, because it's becoming a lost art for my generation. Recently, on my way to work one day, I heard a story on the radio that piqued both of these interests. 

The story was about a man named Tom Ford, who is a highly respected authority on men's fashion. He was recently interviewed by Vogue Magazine wherein he divulged his top 15 things that all men should have. It's an interesting list that I'd like to share and give my input, mixing in some DeMolay and Masonic perspective as I do.

1. A Sense of Humor - Mr. Ford is right on with this one. Any man worth his salt must have a good sense of humor. This is also required in our fraternity. If we don't have a sense of humor about who we are and what we do, we quickly lose our perspective.

2. A Daily Read of the Newspaper - While I don't read the newspaper, I do make sure to go read news websites to get the updates of the day. More importantly, he recommends that every man read something educational everyday, and I totally agree.

3. A Sport that You Love and are Good At - I totally fail at this one, but I do support the idea. Every man should have some physical activity that he enjoys. It's good for the health benefit, plus the competitive sports can offer a good outlet for men's aggression.

4. Tweezers - What? Why tweezers? Well, the idea of "manscaping" should be taught to every guy. Take some time and work on your appearance. Tweezing those rogue hairs is an important part of keeping yourself stylish and hygienic.

5. A Good Signature Cologne - Yep! Every man needs a scent to call his own. Find something that works for you and stick with it. I have a very specific cologne that is imported from Ireland. I love it and it is certainly my signature.

6. A Well Cut, Dark Suit - Mr. Ford recommends that you have a suit constructed for you. Most of us don't have the kind of money. However, there is no excuse for a man to not take a suit to the tailor. It's perfectly okay for a man to buy a suit off the rack at a store, but do yourself a favor, and take it to the tailor. He can help correct it so it fits you even better. Never underestimate the value of a good fitting suit!

7. A Pair of Classic, Black, Lace Up Shoes - Totally! If you own a dark suit, you should also own some basic, black, leather, lace up shoes. This is a no brainer!

8. A Smart Blazer - Every DeMolay and Mason should have a good fitting blue blazer. A simple two button blazer is a must. Take it to the tailor, get it fitted, and you'll realize just how much it can become an integral part of your wardrobe as a professional.

9. The Perfect Pair of Dark Denim Jeans - One thing that many young adults realize is the value of a good wardrobe. Having a good pair of dark jeans is a total must. These pants are very versatile and can offer a lot of fashion opportunities. No, you don't need a $300 pair of jeans. Rather, just get a pair that looks nice, isn't loaded with logos or embroidery, and that fit well.

10. Lots of Crisp, White, Cotton Shirts - The basic white button up shirt is one the most important parts of a man's wardrobe. I always try to have a spare shirt, still in the package, ready to go, just in case my current one gets stained. White goes with any look and is one of the smoothest colors to match with.

11. Always New Socks and Underwear - Yes, I'm going there. While Ford recommends new one's every six months, I'm not as stringent. But, as soon as you see signs of wear, it's time to replace. It's just a matter of being clean.

12. A Classic Tuxedo - As men age, they find more and more use for a simple tux. I agree that every man should have a simple, black, two button tux, with both a vest and a cummerbund. He should also have a lay down collar tux shirt as well as a wing tip tux shirt.

13. A Day Watch with a Metal Band - Here is where Mr. Ford and I diverge. I'm not a big watch wearer. I never have been, and never will be. I don't see it as a necessity, but, I would certainly encourage all men to own a pocket watch at some point in their life. It's just a manly thing to do, plus, if you pair it with a nice chain, it's a great accessory with a tuxedo.

14. Perfect Sunglasses - Eye wear can make a great accessory to any outfit. Get some sunglasses that match your face and do the job. A simple rule for classy sunglasses is that if the frames are made of plastic, then leave them on the sports field. Stick with metal frames.

15. Perfect Teeth - My teeth are about as bad as they come, so I totally fail at this one. I also think it's sort of vain. Use your own judgement.

I hope some of my insights have proved valuable and that you will take a good look at your wardrobe and update as necessary. This is a list to aspire to. The change won't happen overnight, but if you work towards this, you're style and sense of manhood is sure to improve.

Frat! ~ "Dad" Seth Anthony 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Inaugural Trip Tips

Today's post is taken from and is in reference to the upcoming trip to the Inaugural Celebration sponsored by PA DeMolay. Keep this tips in mind if you plan on joining us!
The Secret Service this week issued a thorough and specific security plan for the 2013 inaugural activities spanning Sunday and Monday, January 20 and 21. Because the Department of Homeland Security has designated the inauguration a National Special Security Event (NSSE), the Secret Service is in charge of creating and implementing the plan. What that means is they are lead dog for the occasion, and everyone who plans to attend official inauguration events should read up on the basic dos and don’ts:
• Do not forget your ticket if you have been issued one from the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies to view the inauguration on the Capitol grounds. Tickets are distributed almost entirely through members of Congress. A ticket and valid ID are required to enter the Capitol grounds.
• Do take public transportation to the Capitol. If you are a ticketed guest, the recommended Metro exits are Capitol South, Eastern Market, Union Station, NoMa-Gallaudet U (New York Ave.), Judiciary Square, Gallery Place-Chinatown, Federal Center SW, and L’Enfant Plaza.
• Don’t plan to take Metro to these station stops, because they will be closed: Smithsonian, Archives, and Mt. Vernon Square.
• Don’t try to go to the Capitol grounds if you don’t have a ticket.
• Do, however, go to the National Mall if you don’t have a ticket. No ticket is required to view the ceremonies from the National Mall, an area that begins at Fourth Street, Northwest, and extends toward the Washington Monument. The entry points to this area are Constitution Avenue, Northwest, at Seventh, Ninth, and 12th streets, and Independence Avenue, Southwest, at 12th Street.
• Do become familiar with road closures. See the DC government’s map online
• Do be prepared for a security screening. They will definitely occur at the Capitol grounds for ticketed guests, and for the general public and ticketed guests entering the inaugural parade route, the area of the White House viewing stand, and the inaugural balls at the DC Convention Center.
• Do expect long lines for security screening.
• Don’t bring any of these items with you to the ticketed viewing areas of the Capitol grounds:
Aerosol sprays
Air horns
Alcoholic beverages
Animals (other than service animals)
Duffel bags
Explosives of any kind (including fireworks)
Firearms and ammunition (either real or simulated) 
Glass containers
Knives, blades, or sharp objects (of any length)
Large bags
Laser pointers
Mace and/or pepper spray
Pocket or hand tools, such as Leatherman tools
Portable chairs (other than those for disabled persons)
Sticks or poles
Other items that may pose a threat to the security of the event as determined by and at the discretion of the security screener
• Do note these security entry points for the inaugural parade. They open at 6:30 AM on Monday, January 21:
Second Street, Northwest, and C Street, Northwest
John Marshall Park at C Street, Northwest
Indiana Avenue, Northwest, between Sixth and Seventh streets, Northwest
Seventh Street, Northwest, and D Street, Northwest
Tenth Street, Northwest, and E Street, Northwest
12th Street, Northwest, and E Street, Northwest
13th Street, Northwest, and E Street, Northwest
14th Street, Northwest, and E Street, Northwest
12th Street, Northwest, and Constitution Avenue, Northwest
Tenth Street, Northwest, and Constitution Avenue, Northwest
Seventh Street, Northwest, and Constitution Avenue, Northwest
Constitution Avenue, Northwest, between Sixth and Seventh streets, Northwest
• Don’t bring any of these items with you to the inaugural parade route, the area of the White House viewing stand, or the inaugural balls:
Animals other than helper/guide dogs
Bags and signs exceeding size restrictions (8-by-6-by-4 inches)
Glass or thermal containers
Laser pointers
Mace/pepper spray
Supports for signs and placards
Weapons of any kind
Any other items determined to be potential safety hazards
• Do bring signs and placards to the inaugural parade, if you care to, but do make sure they are made only of cardboard, posterboard, or cloth and have dimensions of no more than 3 feet wide, 20 feet long, and one quarter inch thick. If you don’t meet this requirement, your placard will be taken away from you and not returned.
• Do not expect to debate the merits of these rules with any person handling a security checkpoint or screening area. They don’t take kindly to those kinds of debates, and you won’t win.
Our advice: For the inaugural ceremonies and parade, dress warmly with a hat, gloves, and comfortable shoes, and pack very light—be sure to have ID, tickets, some money and credit cards, your Metro card if you have one, a fully charged phone, your glasses, and your patience. For the balls, dress festively but comfortably, still pack light, remember ID, tickets, money, and, if relevant, where you parked the car or the phone number of your hired driver.
And, of course, remember to have fun and enjoy the historic occasion.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Kingdom of DeMolay Update

Today we have a guest post from Bro. Robbie Smith, who is on the PA DeMolay Committee for the Kingdom of DeMolay. He writes:

The Kingdom of DeMolay will be back up and running for current members as of 1/7/12. We ask that new members stay tuned, as your admission into the Kingdom will be soon. The staff has moved the Kingdom to better servers for better connections and in game physics. Everything will run a lot smother now, except for the few minor bugs that need worked out. Any bugs should be reported to

The next Round Table will be held on January 15, 2013. Anyone who attends will be given a free in game Flying Dragon. Please come and bring your ideas, comments, questions and concerns.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

JacquesTalk, A New Look on Education

For those know know me, I spend a lot of my time in the office or studio filling my mind with audio and video stimulation like documentaries, bazaar music and informational discussions. Recently, I turned to one of my favorite programs, TedTalks, which are a series of conferences cover a range of topics from learning and teaching to the latest electronic possibilities.

While looking though my favorite TedTalk channels, I came across a stream of videos called "Knowledge is Power", which looked at how the educational system works, doesn't work, and how it can be made better. This one particular video in that stream really drew me in, not just because of the content, but because of the speaker as well.

Fifteen year old Adora Svitak, an American child protege and internationally recognized author, presented her ideas under the discussion title "What Adults can Learn from Kids."

What was really compelling about this was that she posited that while adults have gained experience in a specific field and trust among their peers, a large part of every action decided has been from an adult, with very little youth interaction.

As Adora put it. "learning between grown-ups and kids should be reciprocal." Youth have a lot of creative ideas, with not as many social restrictions that old generations may have learned through their experiences. The goal of educating our youth is not to turn them into carbon copies of ourselves in terms of our thinking and doing capabilities, but to establish opportunities for them to do better than us.

The relation our Chapters have to this concept is that Advisors take an "Unplugged" approach to Chapter term planning. The members control their organization and, as "Dad" Tom Labagh has put it many times before, "the members support what they help create."

If you're looking to learning something new, sit down and speak to a youth and take in their ideas and opinions with an open mind. You'll walk away with a different perspective.

"Dad" Matt Blaisdell