Sunday, March 01, 2009

Stand By For News!

I first learned of Paul Harvey about 17 years ago when I worked for a carpenter who would always time our lunch breaks around Harvey's radio broadcasts.

The saws would stop and the hammers would go back in the tool belts, and my boss would say, "Paul's on." It was never, "Lunch time," or "Take a break." Always..."Paul's on."

And as soon as his 15-minute broadcast was over, with his trademark, "Pauuul Harvey. Good day!", so was our lunch break, and it was back to pounding nails.

Harvey was unique. From the way in which he'd pronounce syllables in certain words to the product ads he'd read during his broadcast to the eclectic angles he'd find from which to tell a story. He was opinionated, and those opinions rarely coincided with my own. But he was still a fun listen.

I didn't work for that builder for very long, and soon after that job, my lunch breaks had more and more minutes in them and less and less of Paul Harvey. But over the years I still found myself taking my hand off the radio dial if I ever heard his distinct voice as I was buzzing around the stations.

Paul Harvey died on Saturday at the age of 90, news that spread quickly around the interwebs and Twitter. He'd trimmed his broadcast schedule in recent years, but reports say that he was broadcasting a week before he died.

So no more searching around the radio dial for his familiar opening: "Hello Americans! This is Paul Harvey. Stand by for news!!"

Good day, Mr. Harvey.
Good day.

"In times like these, it is helpful
to remember that there have
always been times like these."
—Paul Harvey


  1. So there you have it...

    "The rest of the story."

    Rest in peace Mr. Harvey. I will miss you.

    Nice tribute Gregg. I truly enjoyed Paul's "take" on things. His style of reporting seemed so old fashioned, yet so current/ accurate/ poignant...I can't find the right words.

    His legacy will live on.

    I was glad to see the appreciation for this fine man didn't exist only in my small mind. This post will probably stick with me as one of my favorites.

    Thanks pal.

  2. What is a Policeman?
    By Paul Harvey

    A policeman is a composite of what all men are I guess, a mingling of saint and sinner, dust and diety. Culled statistics wave the banners over stinkers, underscore instances of dishonesty and brutality because they are news. What that really means is that they are exceptional, they are unusual, they are not commonplace. Buried under the froth are the facts and the fact is les that one-half of one percent misfit that uniform and that is a better percentage than what you'd find among clergymen.

    What is a policeman? He of all me is at once the most needed and the most wanted; a strangely nameless creature who is "Sir" to his face, "pig" or worse behind his back. He must be such a diplomat that he can settle differences among individuals so that each will think he won. If a policeman is neat, he's conceited. If he's careless, he's a bum. If he's pleasant, he's a flirt. If he's not, he's a grouch. He must make instant decisions that would require months for a lawyer. But if he hurries, he's careless -if he's deliberate, he's lazy. He must be first to an accident and infallible with a diagnosis. He must be able to start breathing, stop bleeding, tie splints and, above all, be sure the victim goes home without a limp. Or, he must expect to be sued. The police officer must know every gun, draw on the run and hit where it doesn't hurt.

    He must be able to whip two men twice his size and half his age without soiling his uniform and without being "brutal". If you hit him, he's a coward - if he hits you, he's a bully. A policeman must know everything and not tell. He must know where all the sin is and not partake. The policeman must, from a single human hair, be able to describe the crime, the weapon, the criminal, and tell you where the criminal is hiding. But if he catches the criminal, he's lucky; if he doesn't, he's a dunce.

    If he gets promoted, he has political pull. If he doesn't, he's a dullard. The policeman must chase bum leads to dead ends, stakeout 10 nights to tag one witness who saw it happen but refuses to remember. He runs files and writes reports until his eyes ache to build a case against some felon who'd get dealed out by a shameless shamus or an honorable who isn't honorable. The policeman must be a minister, a social worker, a diplomat, a tough guy, and, of course, a genius, for he has to feed a family on a policeman's salary.

    (Paul Harvey's own father was a policeman, who was killed by a bootlegger on Christmas Eve when Paul was a little boy.)