Doctor Eclectic

Doctor Eclectic
Doctor Eclectic

Monday, January 7, 2013

Paul Harvey

Before I became what I call addicted to NPR (if you took NPR and the WSJ away from me, I would have nothing to talk about), there was Paul Harvey.  Actually, there was radio, and Paul Harvey was only one of several programs I listened to on almost a daily basis.  As I was growing up it aired at noon and in Mason City Iowa was either preceded or followed by the Farm Report, which I actually understood.

My favorite Paul Harvey memory came in my third year of college, at Saint Mary’s (then) College in Winona, Minnesota.  I had been banished to that particular Catholic boy’s school, because my first two years at the University of Iowa fell short of my father’s expectations.  His solution: take away my car, my check book, and send me to Saint Mary’s, where his brother, as Bishop of the Diocese exercised a certain amount of respect.

Paul Harvey kept me grounded with the outside world and I remember one morning (for some reason it aired at a different time than I was used to) I heard Paul say, “Well, they’ve finally done it!  They have made life.”  He then went on to describe an experiment where some detergent was put into process that allowed the inorganic compounds to become not only organic, but divisible.  Wow!

I told everyone I knew about this great find and waited to read more about it in the paper. I waited.  And waited. But nothing was ever said about the experiment.  I suppose that was when I lost my innocence about what is news and what is sensational.

Somewhat ironic to have Paul Harvey my Zen Guru, because in his more than fifty years of syndicated news and commentary, his signature was religious conservatism.  When Mary and I married we jokingly imagine a time when he might introduce us to his audience as a couple married for, the then barely imaginable period of fifty years.  Harvey and his wife, Angel lived together for sixty-seven until she passed away at the Age of 92.  We have logged fifty-two to date.

Several of Paul’s close friends define both his politics and his religious beliefs.  They included former Senator Fred Harvey, J. Edgar Hoover, and Billy Graham.  He was known for bringing humor or surprise to many popular stories and legends in his featured The Rest of the Story.  Although some of these trod on the truth a bit, they were so popular that no one really cared.  He also had some recurring stories; two of the more popular being “Things I wish for You” and “IfI were the Devil”.  This latter was originally broadcast in 1996 but remains a popular YouTube connection to this day.

I was reminded of my Paul Harvey story recently when the WSJ published a story about a Massachusetts Biotech firm that is seeking approval to advance studies to make stem cells out of adult skin cells, thereby averting all the controversy about embryonic cell study.  The story was couched with words like “further study”, “promising”, “clinical trials”, "contaminents", and “mice not being human”.  And, although not specifically mentioned as a caution, the article did not encourage buying shares in Advanced Cell Technology.

In some ways I’m sorry to see that.  I like to think that maybe in some small college there is a boy, or girl, who would read that story and, with the innocence of youth and the curiosity we all need to make discoveries, would say, “Well, they’ve finally done it.”

That person may make the na├»ve comment that, “My friends tell me I’m gullible, but I don’t know if I should believe them.”  Whatever, if it encouraged them to look deeper into the science, that is a good thing.

My next post will explain my life long experience with Port and Starboard, and why that’s relevant in my life today.  Please come visit.

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