May 26, 2010 at 5:00 am

Is this the publication you’ve been waiting for? Beats me. I don’t even know what it’s about. Its title hardly provides a clue — just a characterization. It’s eccentric.

I once referred to a political candidate as eccentric, and I meant it in a very positive sense. Unfortunately, he didn’t accept the compliment graciously. He thought I was dubbing him weird. What I had intended was to describe him as a unique thinker, as someone who tended to view issues and events from an unusual perspective. In short, I was trying to say that he was a candidate of fresh air. He lost in a landslide.

LEO Will Be Different! If there is anything I can say with certainty about this publication, it is that you have never seen anything like it in this community.

If the community’s initial reaction to the announcement of this publication is any indication, LEO is in for a long run. Do I think there’s a need for LEO? That would be a bit presumptuous. I do think there is always a need for intelligent and articulate discussion of the condition of our lives. We certainly promise to try to provide that. But a need? Highly questionable.

On the other hand, I do believe a significant segment of the community wants to read another source of commentary and opinion. At least that’s what we have taken to be the meaning of your enthusiastic response to LEO’s creation. Of course, you’ll be the ultimate judge of how well we fulfill our promises — and our promise.

The issue you are holding is a sampling of what you’ll be seeing every two weeks beginning this fall. Each of the writer/owners — Schulman, Saunders, Caldwell, Crum and myself — will appear in each issue. Our syndicated columnists such as Dave Barry and Charles Osgood, will appear with others who will be added as we progress.

But don’t think the roster will be static. What we hope and believe will happen is that many of you will be inspired to write for LEO, that LEO will be a community forum in which ideas can be exchanged and debated in a FREE medium. In pursuit of that goal we are establishing several format devices to attract your musings. Besides the standard “Letters to the Editor” column, we will be featuring guest columnists (and I do mean featuring), who will be accorded the same prominent exposition as our writer/owners. There will also be a regular column in which you may tell the world about your “pet peeve” in brief and vociferous language. We’ll make sure you keep it clean.

What else, you might ask? Well, there will be extensive dining and entertainment listings. For the first time since the former “City Paper” there will be FREE personal advertising available in Louisville. That means those of you who wish to seek love and/or companionship through our pages will be able to do so.

To all of this add reviews and criticism of music, movies, theater, the visual arts, dining, and other aspects of local living that may or may not help you. That’s what LEO is all about.

But those of us who decided to embark on this experiment are committed to promoting LEO’s dynamism. We intend for it to evolve and mature as it ages, so don’t think that what you read this year will be all that LEO ever is. It’s FREE (both in literal and figurative senses) and independent, and as Jean Henderson, one of the designers who did such a superb job in creating LEO’s look, said, “There are no rules.”

Actually, there is one rule, and it’s one that all of us at LEO have vowed to repeat at least twice a day: “It has to be fun!” We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and we know the world already is saturated with media and politicians and a lot of other people who take themselves much too seriously. So if we seem a little eccentric at times, please have patience — we’re trying to be eccentric all the time.


P.S. The public announcement of LEO’s creation included Billy Reed among the writer/owners. Billy has since joined Sports Illustrated on a full-time basis and has decided he cannot become involved in LEO. He has promised to be a regular reader. We thank him for his contribution to LEO’s concept and wish him well.

LEO Founder John Yarmuth penned this column for the paper’s first issue, which hit the streets in November 1990.