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Scott Couch's - Piece of My Mind

Cuts Like A Razor

As a newscaster, I shave a little more than some guys and that may be why this really gets my goat.  Whenever I pick up a new package of blades for my razor I am blown away by how expensive they are.  Fifteen bucks for five blades, twenty eight for ten.  Really?  I can't even begin to understand why they cost so much.  I mean they're not gold-plated.  They don't last forever.  I was actually in for blades the other day and walked out without making a purchase because I was so put off by the price.  I wasn't completely out so I decided I'll just wait.  I suspect they'll be just as expensive when I have to buy them but the symbolism of walking away made me feel good if only for a minute.  Not much to complain about I know, just saying.
Scott Couch, scouch@fox17.com, Twitter:  @scott_couch


Scott Couch
Dateline:  Nashville

 It has been an intense week covering the passing of country music icon George Jones.  He's in a class almost by himself in country circles certainly.  We have given it our all, producing a half hour special the night George died and dedicating much of the broadcast to his life and career.  The days that followed saw exclusive interviews with peers and Nancy Jones, the singer's wife of 30-years.  She has been so gracious to us during the most trying to times.  I was glad to see so many fans and stars at the Opry House on Thursday to pay tribute to George and celebrate his life.  Like so many of them, I have special George Jones memories that include him being very kind to me both personally and professionally.  In the early 90's the first president Bush and the first lady came to Nashville to attend the CMA awards show.  This considerably younger reporter at that time thought it would be a great idea to show the president around some of the spots in town using the camera as my guest in the president's absence.  My photographer and I made the rounds and wound up on music row where we see a nice car with the license plate "NO SHOW 2" on the back of it.  A lot of the news folks who cover country music as I do from time to time know that's one of George Jones' cars.  We waited by the vehicle and were greeted warmly by Ms. Nancy a few minutes later.  I told her our scheme and she called George who quickly joined us.  George picked up the ball and ran with it, relating and speaking to the camera as if it was the President of the United States.  To say it made my story that night is a great understatement.  It's one of several nice memories of George Jones I have tucked away over the years.  All those memories came rushing back when I learned of his passing.  I was honored to be a part of the coverage of his death and subsequent public memorial.  This job affords me a front row seat to history and this was a significant life and death in the annals of country music.  After a storied life filled with very public challenges, mutual friends tell me when he died George was assured of his place in heaven.  If nothing else, George Jones' life is a reminder to the rest of us, when you fall down -- get up, dust yourself off and try to do better.  Thank God for forgiveness and thank God for George Jones.  Rest in peace and thanks for the music and my memories.

The Blue Mist: You Can Take The Boy Out Of KY

By:  Scott Couch
Dateline:  Nashville

Brace yourselves for the invasion of Wildcat fans who will start trickling into town over the next few days.  The SEC men's basketball tournament begins on Wednesday.  Kentucky, who finished second in the conference this year behind Florida, will play its first game on Friday.  By then there will be enough representatives of "Big Blue Nation" in Nashville, fans from virtually every other school in the conference will think they're in Lexington.  Because of all the Wildcat fans who live near the Tennessee-Kentucky border and the fact that people from the Bluegrass State love their UK and aren't afraid to travel, Music City has long been almost like a home game for the Cats.  That said, Wildcat fans travel just about anywhere in the SEC to represent.  The allegiance fans feel that that team no matter who's playing or coaching is hard to explain.  It's one of those things that just "is."  I grew up in Lexington, lived there from age two to fourteen.  During those years I was washed in blue.  Watched the Cats on tv, listened to them on the radio, read about the in the Lexington Herald-Leader.  I moved to Glasgow, KY after my freshman year of high school to find folks there were just as fanatical about Kentucky basketball.  I live in a border county and know all the stations that carry Kentucky basketball games so I can catch them on dinner breaks at work.  While I appreciate other team's traditions and players who play the game the right way, I will forever be a Kentucky fan.  This one and done business in recent years has made it harder to feel a strong connection to some of the great players but no matter where they go after Kentucky, they are a part of the lore and legend.  Some have said to me people from Kentucky are crazy about the Wildcats because they don't have anything else to be excited about.  As a native, who has now spent more time in Tennessee than I did in Kentucky I know both states have much to be proud of.  As much as I love the people of the Volunteer state and the local sports teams, when they're playing a basketball game against the University of Kentucky there's no conflict for me.  You can take a Wildcat fan out of the Kentucky but you can't take the Wildcat fan out of them.  With all due respect to every other team playing, "Go Big Blue."

The Air Castle of The South

Scott Couch
Dateline:  Nashville

I was at the Grand Ole Opry a few nights ago for the Nashville Sports Council's Annual Awards Celebration.  I go "past" the Opry House all the time but it had been several years since I had been inside.  After I did a few live shots for the news I wandered into the grand hall just to take it all in.  The house lights were down but the lights were still on the stage and that famous circle made with wood from the Ryman Auditorium, the Opry's most famous home, was illuminated.  I love all music but I'm a big country music fan.  To me the Opry represents the best of country music.  It's past, it's present and it's future.  My first full-time job was in the newsroom at WSM Radio.  Those call letters are special to me and so is the stage of WSM's most famous show.  I listen to the Opry regularly on Saturday night on the radio.  I've got to get back there soon for a live show.  As Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs often says after a great performance, "are there any questions?"  Not for me.    

Pat Postiglione Calls It A Career

By Scott Couch
Dateline:  Nashville

  After thirty two and a half years with metro police, most of it in the homicide unit, Detective Sergeant Pat Postiglione has retired.  During his tenure, Postiglione cracked or hand a hand in solving some of Nashville's most talked about murder cases in the past two decades.  If you're reading this you know the cases:  Marcia Trimble; Perry March and Paul Reid just to name a few.  When I interviewed Pat the day before he retired I asked him about the cases he was most proud of solving.  The first case he mentioned was one very few people will remember.  The victim's name is Donna Baycott.  The suspect who is serving a life prison sentence is Michael Magliolo.  He's a confirmed serial killer.  Magliolo killed Donna Baycott inside room twenty three of a now demolished motel on Dickerson Road in Nashville.  It stands out in Postiglione's mind he told me because it was the first case he was able to solve with the help of DNA evidence.  They recovered DNA they believed was the killer's at the scene but had nothing to compare it to -- no suspect to attempt a match until Postiglione was able to link the case to Magliolo.  It would be the first of many cases the famed detective would crack thanks to DNA.  Just like the shows you see on tv, crime scene evidence gathering has become the most important link in the chain connecting crimes committed by unknown suspects and their arrest.  Pat Postiglione used the technology to the public's advantage but so many of those high profile cases would not have been solved without good, old fashioned police work.  Postiglione is blessed with a God-given instinct you can't learn at the academy and heart for crime victims and their families.  Referring to the passing of the torch in the music business, an old George Jones song asks "who's gonna fill their shoes?"  I don't know who's going to fill Pat Postiglione's shoes or if they will be filled in my lifetime.  I do know this, Postiglione left some big shoes to fill. 

Twitter: @scott_couch 


About this time every year people come out of the woodwork with resolutions to eat better, get more exercise, curse less or visit relatives more often in the new year.  I'm not preaching here but the only New Year's resolution I can ever remember making is never to make a New Year's resolution.  That's not to say I don't need to do everything I just mentioned in  my own little list.  I don't start watching what I eat at the first of the month or wait until Monday to start that new exercise regimen.  I believe each new day represents an opportunity for change, for calls to be made and visits to be planned.  This way, when you fall off the wagon and eat something you said you wouldn't, it's a short-term problem.  The very next day, dust yourself off and get back on the path.  One of my former employers used to say "If you don't know where you're going any road will take you there."  I didn't appreciate it at the time as much as I do now.  I believe we're blessed to live in the greatest country in the world.  I believe you can overcome whatever obstacles that are before you if you want it badly enough.  I believe YOU can do it -- whatever it is.  Decide what you want, dedicate yourself to getting there and take a step in that direction.  If you lose sight of your vision for a day or two, give yourself permission not to be perfect.  Dust yourself off, get you bearings and resolve to take the next step toward where you want to be.  If you're on the road to where you're going, you'll get there as long as you stay on the path.
Scott Couch, scouch@fox17.com
Follow Scott on Twitter @scott_couch

Remembering Singer-Songwriter Joe South

Hearing the lyrics and melodies of songs from my childhood transport me back in time.  I had one of those moments this week as I was writing the obituary for singer-songwriter Joe South.  He may not be a household name everywhere but I'd wager many of you are familiar with his songs.  The 1960's and early 70's were a fertile time for South as a performer and a writer.  When I learned of his passing of a heart attack at the age of 72 this week at his home near Atlanta, the lyrics to one of  Joe South's many hits began running through my mind.  Remember this one -- "Don't it make you want to go home?  Don't it make you want to go home? All God's children get weary when they roam -- Don't it make you want to go home?  It's a song about longing to be back in a place of comfort when life has beaten you down.  South acknowledges in his lyrics, however, home is never quite the same as we remember it.  It seems time only stands still in our memory.  Joe South won a Grammy award for a similar anthem "The Games People Play."  Hearing that song again as part of the research for the story on the evening news had me envisioning the faces of my parents in the late 60's.  My father's thick black eyeglasses were so real in the little tv screen in my mind along with my mother's shoulder length hair curling under at the bottom.  If those songs don't stir up any memories for you, perhaps "Rose Garden", the Grammy winning song South penned for Lynn Anderson, will.  It was a monster hit that topped both the country and pop charts.  It became Anderson's signature song.  His body of work also includes Billy Joe Royal's 1965 smash "Down in the Boondoocks."  Those songs speak to me.  I think they're just as relevant today as they were when Joe South first shared them with the world.  South was a southern poet with an ability to tap into the human condition and turn the truths he found into catchy pop and country songs.  I hope the conversations about his passing and the songs he leaves behind help introduce Joe South's music to a new generation of young people searching for their own truths.

Scott Couch, scouch@fox17.com 
September 7, 2012

"Games People Play" Joe South

The King and I, Remembering Elvis

  All the talk about the anniversary of Elvis Presley's death this week reminded me of where I was when I heard the news.  I wasn't born when John F. Kennedy was assassinated but I remember where I was when Elvis died in much the same way people a few years older recall learning of our late President's death. 
  Elvis died August 16-th, 1977.  I was living in Lexington, KY at the time with my family.  My father was self-employed and I was at work with my dad that day when the report was broadcast on one of the local radio stations.  Elvis was someone my folks listened to regularly.  I can remember playing some of my mom's old 45's of Elvis when my older sister and I were little.  The King's passing stands out in my memory more than some because he was scheduled to perform at Rupp Arena, the local basketball mecca, the Sunday after he passed.  There were ads on the radio and tv and a friend of mine had tickets to the show.
  I always had a knack for latching onto song lyrics and I knew every word to a half dozen Elvis tunes by the time I was 12 which is how old I was when Elvis died.  I don't know why but that memory is a vivid one for me.  I can see the large picture windows at my father's business and looking out them, heart sick over the passing of a man I knew only as a voice on the stereo.  In the decades that would follow I would have a chance to cover the Tennessee Medical Board stripping the license of "Dr. Nick" Elvis' personal physician from Memphis.  Dan Warlick, the investigator for the Shelby County Medical Examiner's office at the time of Elvis' death, would go on to become a Nashville attorney with whom I would become well acquainted.  A couple of decades back I was in Memphis for Elvis week covering the unveiling of the Elvis stamp.  I remember his ex-wife and daughter Lisa Marie making an appearance and standing shoulder to shoulder with the international media in town to cover the event.
  They are my small connections to a man whose voice and singing career fascinated me as a child and still does.  He was 42 when he died and in bad shape from years of unhealthy living.   But the Elvis in my memory is the one dressed in black leather for a now legendary comeback concert.  Young, larger than life and in spectacular voice, that's the Elvis I remember.  Long live the King.
Scott Couch, scouch@fox17.com                                                                 August 15, 2012

Parking Peeve

  Everybody has quirks.  One of mine is I hate to pay for parking.  I'll walk three or four blocks out of my way to keep from taking one of those little tickets denoting the moment the money clock starts ticking.  Last year I was downtown for the mid-south Emmy Awards.  It was February and pretty chilly.  I could have valet parked but I almost never do that.  I could have parked in a lot in front of the symphony center or in the underground parking garage across the street, but no!  I end up walking a couple of blocks from over near the new downtown convention center site where I found a spot on the street.  Last week I was downtown with my family celebrating my daughter's sixteenth birthday.  In addition to my wife and teenage daughter we had a half a dozen teenage guests in tow.  This was clearly no time to scour the downtown area looking for a place to park not one but two cars.  I swallowed hard and decided to park in the underground garage right beside the metro courthouse.  We had a wonderful evening and returned to the cars about three hours later.  I gave my wife a $20 to cover the cost of parking her car.  I climbed in my car and made my way to the exit.  I get to the window.  The attendant couldn't have been nicer.  Then he tells me what I owe him, a whopping three dollars.   For both cars it cost me six bucks.  I'm sure there are more expensive places to park downtown but what a pleasant surprise.  It's been so long since I actually paid to park downtown I totally dismissed the possibility there was a good deal to be found.  I'm going back downtown again soon and I've already decided I'm going to get one of those little time-stamped tickets at my new favorite place to park downtown after hours.
Scott Couch, scouch@fox17.com                                                        June 19, 2012  


  When I got off work the other night I reached for a snack.  Not wanting to eat anything heavy late at night I grabbed a couple of peppermints out of a bag in the pantry.  I couldn't believe how tiny these mints were.  I mean I had to grab three of them to equal what a good old fashioned mint would have looked like when I was growing up.  Then it hit me.  These mints are like everything else you buy at the store these days.  The package looks the same and it costs about the same as it used to, but now the item is smaller or there are fewer of the item in the package or both.  I used to buy ten mini candy bars for about a dollar.  Now I get eight for a little more than a dollar.  When I buy a half gallon of ice cream, I'm really only getting 1.75 quarts.  I think my Oreo cookies have shrunk too.  There ought to be a law.  I think there are fewer of them too but I wouldn't swear to it, just saying.  To be fair, I love cookies and it could be I'm just eating too many and only wish there were more.  Everybody has a weakness.  Now you know mine.
  It's not just at the grocery store either.  I've noticed the same thing at certain restaurants.  The price is roughly the same but now the portion is smaller.  They used to put my vegetables on the same plate as my entree.  Now they put them in individual dishes, I'm convinced to make it all look just a little larger than it really is.  I may be all alone in the wilderness here but I want my cookies, mints, meals, mini candy bars, chips and everything else back in their original size.  If you have to charge me a little more do it, but stop giving me less of everything and trying to make it look like old times.  I get it.  Prices go up.  Time marches on.  Nothing remains the same.  That said, if those mints get any smaller I'm going to have to start eating them a handful at a time like M and M's. 
Scott Couch, scouch@fox17.com  

I Apparently Snore (Sometimes)

  It's not usually breaking news if a person snores.  In fact, you're usually the second to know.  If you're married, your spouse is the first and he or she is generally quick to share the news.  At my house, we have made fun of my father-in-law for years.  When he visits, he occasionally takes a nap and we get good laugh when we hear him sawing logs from another floor.  Not long ago, my children informed me I snore too.  I don't know if I'm loud enough to knock my father-in-law out of the box but this was something of a revelation.  I've been married for 24-years and my wife has never once complained.  For the record, my wife Dana is hearing impaired.  In this instance, it's apparently a blessing in disguise.  God didn't want me to bother anybody so he sent me a wife who I wouldn't keep awake. 

Unlikely Parothead

  Like a lot of you I grew up listening to Jimmy Buffet songs on the radio.  He's the guy who sang all those fun tunes like:  Changes In Attitudes, Changes in Latitudes, Cheeseburger In Paradise, Come Monday and Wasted Away Again In Martguerita-ville.  Buffet was nothing if not laid back.  When I was about thirteen I came to have a deeper appreciation for the man and his music.  One of my friend's father managed horse farms in and around Lexington, KY where my family lived at the time.  That's how I became a hired hand.  My job was to mow grass, paint fences, fill water buckets etc.  It was a job where I got to drive trucks on the farm I could not legally drive on the highway.  In the truck I had access to was a cassette with Jimmy Buffet music.  I'd never been to the islands, had no particular affinity for boats or the ocean, did not drink or most of the other things Buffet sang about but Jimmy had my ear.  In the years that followed I started my own Buffet collection.  At one time, I had every album he had produced either on cassette or on vinyl which I special ordered from a tiny electronics store near my home.  I knew every word to every obscure song, "She's a railroad lady, a little bit shady, spending her life on a train" and "who's gonna steal the peanut butter, I'll get the can of sardines, running up and down the isles of the minit mart sticking food in our jeans" and "wish I was somewhere other than here, down in some honky tonk sippin' on a beer cause that great fillin' station hold-up cost me two good years."  In the years that followed, Jimmy Buffet hits were fewer and farther between on mainstream radio but the artist never seemed to change.  Buffet continued to produce his own brand of poetry with lyrics that painted pictures in my mind of places I'd never been and would likely never go.  His legion of fans includes a lot of modern day country artists who pay homage to Buffet in their Summer anthems.  If he allows himself, I have to believe Buffet is flattered his music continues to speak generation after generation.  I'm reminded of an album he put out about a year after Hurricane Katrina battered New Orleans.  Buffet's advice through music on a cut aimed at coming to grips with the devastation, "If a hurricane doesn't leave you dead It will make you strong.  Don't try to explain it just nod your head, breathe in, breathe out, move on."  I've never seen Jimmy Buffet play a live show but it's on my bucket list.  Even-so, I feel like I have some small insight on the man through the music he has shared with me over the past three decades or so.  To quote another of Buffet's songs, "part of it's magic and part of it's tragic but I've had a good life all the way" made richer by a pirate-poet who continues to make it look easy.
Scott Couch, scouch@fox17.com

Whiskey Country

As someone who has lived in Tennessee virtually my entire adult life I have a sense of how people in other parts of the country and world perceive us.  That sense was turned upside down a few years ago when I was in England for work.  Nashville International Airport had just begun non-stop flight service to London.  My charge was to find out what people there thought about Nashville and Tennessee and how eager they were to visit.  County music being the magnificent entertainment export it is, I assumed that's what they would mention first when I told Londoners I was from Tennessee.  To my surprise, upon learning where I was from nearly everyone said the same thing, "whiskey country."  I'm thinking, what?  When I asked them to explain they were quick to point out in their mind Tennessee equals Jack Daniels and George Dickel whiskey.  I've since learned more whiskey is consumed overseas these days than here in the states.  So in spite of what I think is our most famous export, Tennessee's reputation outside the United States may well be rooted in that other famous export. 
Scott Couch, scouch@fox17.com

Meat and Threes, Little Slices of Heaven

I like a nice meal at a fine dining restaurant as much as the next guy but my favorite lunch is a different story altogether.  I'm not so heavily traveled that I can tell you with authority that "Meat and Threes" are unique to Tennessee.  I do know they don't have them everywhere and that makes me a little sad for everyone who's not here.  I've spent nearly all my adult life in middle Tennessee.  That said, I took a 3-year detour to Paducah, KY a few years ago and it was there I discovered one of the many things I missed about Tennessee.  Within spitting distance of just about every town square in the volunteer state is a locally-owned restaurant where you can get some great fried chicken or a nice portion of meat loaf or the equivalent and your choice of vegetables, corn bread and that nectar of the Gods we call 'sweet tea" for somewhere in the neighborhood of five or six dollars a plate.  Call me what you will but that's one of the little things that makes life worth living.  In these establishments I often find an interesting cross section of people coming together in this unique time and place to enjoy a meal.  When I was in Western Kentucky I looked for places like this but never really found one that reminded me of all the little places I have come to know and love in middle Tennessee.   For me, these restaurants, the people who run them and their customers are part of the fabric of the very special place we live and raise our families.  I will likely never be accused of having a sophisticated palate.  That's ok.  Just give me a slice of meat loaf, green beans, some pintos and a glass of sweet tea and we'll agree to disagree on the definition of a good lunch.