It is with some regret but more celebration that I must report to you the passing of Art Stone to another plane of existence.
Art Stone and I have been friends for as long as I can remember. Art sprang to life in the 1980s in Detroit. We both called into the same local dialup bulletin Board systems at the same time. If you know a little Dutch/German and my middle name starts with A, the connection should be obvious.
Eventually, Art discovered AOL and wasted a lot of money on it. In 1996, Art left AOL and accepted a full time volunteer position in the Usenet group alt.aol-sucks. Art learned of this thing called Usenet when an AOL user named Art Bell (no relation) demanded that AOL make the Internet stop saying bad things. Art Stone even met Art Bell in an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel before Art ran back inside the AOL fortress.
Art Stone worked with a female doctor named DAwn McGatney who worked at John Hopkins – either that or was a middle aged balding gay guy living in Mom’s basement, or a student from Harvard trolling Usenet. We worked on her web site to build up information for people like us who decided they outgrew AOL. We were not out to encourage people to leave, just explain the path if you chose to follow. Feel free to notice a similarity to my father.
When it became legally important to know the truth about DAwn and she would not confide in Art, Art and Dawn went separate ways. Art created FindAnISP.com which lasted about 8 years and is still the funding source of StreamingRadioGuide. Art Stone was my sugar daddy.
I have said in the past that if someone walked up behind me and called out for Art Stone, I would probably turn around. That happened once, when a teenage Asian gang member in Michigan was looking for Art. He ended up driving through the lawn of the apartment complex to “send a message”, not being 100% sure if I was Art Stone.
There comes a time when the value of anonymity becomes less than the value of people knowing who you are. My sense is that people in this country are willingly becoming cowards – hoping that by hiding in the attic and keeping quiet that the police state won’t find them. Edward Snowden has proved that nobody and nothing we do is anonymous.
I now have a listed phone number again. If I am rounded up by the “sunflowers”, I believe I am safer if you know my details than if I hide in a fallout shelter.
Then again, I bought Cumulus stock – I may just be stupid. Fred Stiening expects to live a long life, or until Social Security goes broke, whichever happens first.