Today is a big anniversary day. On this date 40 years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, TN. He was 39 years old. My grandparents' (George and Hazel Clarke) 39th wedding anniversary was also on April 4, 1968. Needless to say, their special dinner planned for that night was cancelled.
A lot has changed since 1968. Race relations are much better now than then. Hate groups like the KKK are no longer in political power (with the possible exception of West Virginia Senator Robert "Sheets" Byrd). The KKK no longer controls the governments of Colorado or Indiana. But there still is a memorial statue of KKK founder Nathan Bedford Forrest in Memphis, TN. But it probably is a good thing that a man of African heritage such as Barack Obama can be a serious Presidential contender. It is also a good thing that criticisms of Barack Obama have nothing to do with his racial heritage and everything to do with his liberal viewpoints on issues. And there may be a non-white Vice President, too- several top names for John McCain's VP list include J.C. Watts, Michael Steele, Condoleezza Rice, and Bobby Jindal.
I spent a good part of the day on the job interview circuit. I also tried googling certain names that popped up in my Prodigy Posts page. 2008 marks 15 years since I entered the online commentary and message board world. Within a week, I got dragged into an online war involving a sexual psychopath named Mark Pena and dome of his victims. By the time Pena was vanquished (late 1993), I found out about another online flamer named Mark (whose last name wasn't Pena) who also went by the name of Vito. A Fresno police detective named Frank Clark was investigating the Vito case (and was also being impersonated by Vito). And just when I thought this was too surreal, CBS News did an investigation of their own on Vito. Vito was eventually arrested, although I don't know if he was ever imprisoned for any of the charges brought against him.
With Vito out of the picture, another flamer appeared by the name of Gerald "Gerbil" Jones. Pena critic Jerry Vasilatos at first thought the Gerbil was Pena. That launched a yearlong harassment and death threat tirade from the Gerbil against me, Vasilatos, and anyone else who called the psycho out for who he was. Even after the Gerbil finally vanished, his online buddy Tommy Davis (who also went by such names as Sean Kelly and BJ Backus) continued his slime campaign for another 3 years. The last I heard of him (1997), he claimed to be a talk show host on WTTM-920AM in Trenton, NJ. That station is no longer a talk station, and if Davis ever worked for them, I'm sure he's unemployed now. Davis also claimed to be a parishioner at St. Thomas Aquinas in Flatlands, Brooklyn. My friend George Brice attends Mass there now, maybe he should investigate if Mr. Davis ever got physically abused like he claimed 11 years ago. Maybe George should also find out if their priests are willing to go to Washington Crossing, PA, to do an exorcism.
The last online war I got involved in was not with a stranger, but someone I considered a friend. It started during my days at Brooklyn College. Someone going by the AOL name of "Danihottie" harassed most of the staff of the student newspaper I worked for, the Excelsior. It took until after I left Brooklyn College (and one virused-out 486 computer and more Danihottie harassment against my sister and some friends who never attended Brooklyn College) that I found out that Danihottie was the Excelsior's supposedly ditsy editor Alyson Walansky.
I'm not sure what really happened to Mark Pena. If you Google his name, some of his posts I put on my website might pop up, but there's also an Austin-based 30something singer with that name. It might be him- after all, he did claim to work at a nightclub in Austin called Dante's. Former Prodigy member Beth Donovan has a blog on Pena that links to my Prodigy Posts page on my website. Despite the Pena fiasco and other tirades, she met her now-husband on Prodigy.
Jerry Vasilatos is still alive, and for the most part doing well. Unfortunately, a decade in Hollywood has turned the filmmaker into a raging anti-Bush leftist. I tried adding him to my MySpace friends list last year, but no response. But he probably knew beforehand that the guy he's trying to get impeached is my distant cousin.
Alyson has probably a bigger online presence than I do. But I did see a recent picture of her, and for someone who was born when I was in the first grade, she sure looks older than me. She is still friends with Scott Kuperberg (the BC Campus Democrats leader whom I often clashed with). Her Friendster page (which I knew nothing about until an few minutes ago) even jokes about the Danihottie fiasco from 8-10 years ago! There is another Danihottie that showed up on Google, but this other Danihottie was 8 years old when Alyson went on her flaming ego trip.
No one has seen or heard from Gerbil Jones since he made a brief appearance on Prodigy's Gay bulletin board in late 1995. I tried doing an "online obituary" for the Gerbil based on his "diaries", and there was also a Gerbil Jones based tirade that appeared in the Excelsior in May of 1997. There apparently is a filmmaker that goes by the name of Gerbil Jones. One Gerbil Jones is more than enough, thank you.