Michael Masterov, 1968-2008

In Memorium

I met Michael via his Outer Limits BBS in 1983, when I was 12 and he
was 15. Mike's 'handle' or alias, was 'Senator Joseph McCarthy'.
The BBS had a (C)hat feature, wherein the sysop could be paged for a
live terminal chat. I remember the away message being "Senator
McCarthy is busy prosecuting communists"
We went fishing on a few occasions in upstate New York, when Mike was
16 and only had a learner's permit and no driver's license. He and I
found it thrilling to 'thumb our nose at the man' in this little act
of rebellion.

I remember our attempt at building a wooden boat, which we worked on
for 3 days, only to be told by Mike's father, Boris, (who was once a
merchant marine) that our design was fatally flawed, at which point we
promptly gave up. We then moved on to mixing up small amounts of an
explosive mixture using iodine, a coffee filter and ammonia, which we
detonated by shooting the dried crust with a BB gun.
He was a member of Mensa, which he reminded me was a Latin word
meaning 'table', but which inherited the term over time and several
pervasive misspellings of its members during correspondence.

Mike's room was a typical mad scientist disaster area; complete
disarray, plates of food in various stages of putrefication, stacks
and heaps of nondescript electronics and plastic junk. I recall his
computer was a Zero-One corporation model, for which he wrote the
software for his BBS. It had a 1 MB hard drive and a 10 inch floppy
drive. He told me Zero-one was a small company which had long since
gone out of business, but he raved about its build quality and hacker-
friendly design.

Most, if not all, of our misadventures involved some sort of overly
technical fabrications to achieve simple tasks, sort of Rube Goldberg-
Much of our time was also spent debating the existence of a Creator,
and theology as well as theocracy.

Mike had 2 nicknames for me; Genius and Idiot. I was either one or the
other, as in, "Where did I put my pencil?"
I'd say, "Check behind your ear."
To which he would grace me with, "You're a genius! Thanks."

But more often it would be more like me saying, "You know, the Chinese
word for boat involves a picture of 8 persons on an ark!"
To which he would respond, "You're an idiot!"

We remained friends until he was preparing for college, about 1987-
1988, when I lost touch with him.
-- Jules Pitsker

Michael mother.
-- Bella Masterov

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Masterov,

I'm very sorry to be introducing myself to you under these
circumstances. Lonny (my wife) and I were friends of Michael and we
were deeply saddened hearing about his accident.

Even though we were not the closest friends, Michael had a positive
influence on my life and his passing is very painful. He had many
talents and interests and he frequently had a unique and refreshing
way of looking at things.

While we were living in White Plains, Michael dropped in on us a
couple of times when he was in the area seeing you in NJ. One time,
we were able to go flying together and he signed my logbook for
instruction given.

We also saw him during our trips to the Pinckneyville fly-in.
Michael's advice helped Lonny and me in purchasing our first (and so
far only) airplane, a 1974 Piper Arrow which made it possible for us
to attend the fly-ins.

On one of the trips, we did some minor upgrade to the Arrow, which
Michael signed off as the mechanic. Both his mechanic and instructor
certifications were all the more impressive since neither were his day
job. He had the interest to pursue both and the generosity to share
what he learned.

Mostly, I remember Michael's many insightful thoughts and comments on
the aviation forums of Usenet. Michael was a very thoughtful person
with many ideas and always presented ideas in a logical and clear
fashion. He was a natural teacher.

We will miss him very much. We hope that the happy memories that you
have of Michael will comfort you and give you strength to carry on.

Morris Bernstein
-- Morris Bernstein

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