R.I.P. Jon Swift

I've been so out of the loop that I just stumbled across this sad news this morning:
The great Jon Swift has died. That's the "blogging" angle to a personal tragedy. In reality, the voice of Jon Swift - the hilarious faux conservative blogger whose talent and passion were evident in every post - belonged to Al Weisel, a sweet and good-natured journalist who happened to be the college roommate of my once-and-future collaborator Jason Chervokas.

I didn't know him well, but Al graciously agreed to be part of my little newcritics experiment of a couple of years back and his presence at some of our New York gatherings was generous, friendly, and low key - though the humor could sometimes be appropriately biting.

Al was on the way to his father's funeral in Virginia when he suffered a sudden aortic aneurysm and underwent several surgeries in an attempt to save his life. Sadly, they did not succeed.
For those few who are unfamiliar, Jon Swift is a blogger that I have been reading since I first started out several years ago. Swift was a great guy who reached out to me personally to join the ranks of Blogroll Amnesty Day (as he was a founding blogger of that occasion). In the short time that I communicated with him, he offered tid-bits and advice about blogging, and was always quick with a joke.

Swift's blog had been noticeably absent of content for some time, and I assumed that he was busy with more pressing real-life-issues like work and family. It saddens me to hear that he has passed, as I greatly enjoyed his satirical work (yes, he wasn't a real conservative as many thought -- in fact, many folks are now saying that he was doing Colbert before Colbert).

My heart goes out to his family and all of his friends. R.I.P. Al Weisel. Modest Jon Swift will be missed...