(1) It took a while, but I believe I'm up to date (so far) on the notes of kindness y'all have sent over the past two weeks. It was especially moving to have heard from those who had hung with NotW for much of the entire run. In fact, I feel much worse, in some ways, because the high-IQ reader base was so affable, yet I was so, umm, uncommunicative. Should've had more pen pals. Missed opportunities. I'm very sorry. (Plus, if I had imagined how warmly you regarded NotW, I could've saved a lot on those pesky co-pays for SSRIs.)
(2) However, I must-must acknowledge the people most instrumental in helping NotW through the years, even though I'm already sad at having to leave out so many others--not even counting the more than 300 acknowledged by name in my five NotW paperbacks (published during 1988-1996) nor the 27 who finished out serving on my Board of Editorial Advisors. But I could not possibly have done NotW, especially early on, without the help of novelist Paul DiFilippo of Providence, R.I. ("Stand back--I'm about to clip weird news"), Barbara McDonald of Columbia, Mo., Myra Linden in Albuquerque, Jim Sweeney in Washington, D.C., and the professor Paul Music in Oklahoma. Also, Geoff Egan of Edmonton, Alberta, Chip Rogers of Athens, Ohio, Ivan Katz in New Haven, the great Kenneth Anger, his protegee Barbara Tyger, my paperback co-authors John J. Kohut and the late Roland Sweet, and the wordsmith Christine Van Lenten. Universal UClick editor Sue Roush saved my kiester on numerous occasions. The savant-journalist Jack Shafer midwifed the column. News of the Weird's DNA was shaped and formed by the 1970's-era sage, Bob Maslow.
(3) A brief history:
When I worked for the feds in the 1970s in Washington, D.C., I had (like many people) an office door that "branded" me cool--taped clippings of "weird" news from the daily papers. My brand also included Gary Larson's "The Far Side" and Hustler's Dwaine Tinsley, with a bit of The New Yorker's Jack Ziegler and Playboy's Gahan Wilson. So--what if I collected these clippings, offset-printed them, and sent them out, several times a year (violating all sorts of copyrights), to my cultivated list of (far too many) acquaintances and colleagues?
The result was a "zine" (View from the Ledge), which eventually caught on big-time. The Atlantic Monthly profiled me (as did lesser-gods of media), and the local alternative newsweekly (Washington's City Paper) syndicated me to others. Then, big-time hit: I signed on with top-of-the-line Universal Press Syndicate (which, synchronicically, also syndicated "The Far Side," thus making me a "colleague" of Gary Larson!).
A "weird news era" had earlier been created by the National Lampoon True Facts--but with the departure of its creator, P. J. O'Rourke, it was foundering, and, in 1988, in stepped News of the Weird. Yr Editor was in demand--TV, magazines, newspapers, radio, everybody!
However, initial greetings were ominous. Matt Groening, in his 'toon "Life in Hell," listed "weird" as one of the "forbidden words" of 1991; in 1993, Jay Leno debuted "Headlines" on "The Tonight Show"; and that same year, Lorena Bobbitt cut off her husband's schlong . . . which had been done by others before, of course, but not within the news-service area of the Pulitzer-celebrated Washington Post, which made it front page news and gave cover to a thousand daily newspapers previously timid about "penis" stories above the fold. Thus, "weird news," or at least underground "weird news," died in 1993. After that--mainstream! Along came the Internet--Fark.com, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and who knows what's next.
Fortunately, I (thanks to Universal Press Syndicate) had quite a few clients who had become accustomed to having News of the Weird in their pages, and I continued to make a nice living off of it (and would have, longer)--except I ran out of brain cells and now "retire" at age 72 . . . to live in Florida, where I aspire, of course, to keep out of the way of the many left-tail'ers who live here--avoiding them long enough to proudly depart this life on the very day that the Atlantic and the Gulf swallow the state! Yes!
weirdnews at earthlink dot net (through 2017); P. O. Box 18737, Tampa FL 33679 (permanent)