Off the Record

• Thank you to the Roanoke-Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department for allowing me to ride on one of their rescue/dive boats on Saturday during training. The lake was fairly busy with boats and there was a breeze in the air, making for choppy waters. Imagine having to make a real life rescue or recovery in less-than-ideal conditions like that, or worse.

• I fell asleep with gum in my mouth the other night. Had to literally pry the pieces out of the old palate. But my breath was spearmint fresh when I woke up. Don’t roll your eyes; I know this is the type of hard-hitting content you came here for.

• It appears that “Jeopardy!” has had some trouble deciding which direction to go in following the death of longtime host Alex Trebek. I think one of the problems here is that Trebek is irreplaceable. There’s no perfect solution, because no one is going to be Alex.

• The comma on my computer keyboard is broken. I wore out the comma key, which makes sense, because I am actually quite fond of commas. The comma shares this space on the keyboard with the left arrow, which I don’t think I have ever needed, but that doesn’t mean I think any less of it.

• I learned over the weekend that I’m about the exact same size/stature as Sam Darnold, the Carolina Panthers’ new quarterback. The only discernible difference between us is talent. That’s right: Sam could never do my job.

• The last time I mentioned my beloved Baltimore Orioles, they were one game behind .500 and pitcher John Means had thrown the franchise’s first no-hitter since 1991. Now, while writing this, the Birds’ record is 38-85. I’ll remind you that this organization has zero World Series appearances in my lifetime. The good news is the Orioles have the top pitcher and catcher prospects in Minor League Baseball. This is a lesson in practicing patience and optimism.

• College football starts this week. I repeat: college football starts this week. And all is well in the world again.

• Everyone around here tells me N.C. State football coach Dave Doeren has a home at Lake Gaston. I wonder if he reads “Off the Record.” I’m sure he does.

• NC town name of the week: Bahama. I especially enjoy town names that throw off TV weather people from outside of the area. This one, in northern Durham County, is pronounced Ba-Hay-Ma. WRAL-TV sports anchors said it a bunch when native Scott Riggs was racing in NASCAR. According to, the name comes from a combination of the surnames of three prominent area families: Ball, Harris and Mangum. Ba-Ha-Ma. Genius.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the judgment that something else is more important than fear.”

- Ambrose Redmoon