Off the Record

• Last week, I visited Lawrenceville, Va. for the first time. It’s an interesting place and worth the short trip if you like exploring small towns. But mostly I was reminded of the time in college I witnessed East Carolina beat Saint Paul’s College 80-74 in men’s basketball. Saint Paul’s, which called Lawrenceville home for 125 years, was a member of the Division II CIAA then before the school closed its doors in 2013. I remember thinking, “Where is Saint Paul’s and why is this game so close?”

• If you’re wondering - and I’m sure you’re not - ECU is 8-8 in men’s hoops this year, which means the Pirates will likely miss the NCAA tourney for the 28th consecutive year. They did, however, upset No. 5 Houston earlier this month. That’s something.

• In other basketball news, Zach LaVine moved into second place for most 45-point games in Chicago Bulls history. LaVine has tallied 45 points on four separate occasions for the Bulls. The guy in first place, Michael Jordan, did it 73 times. Only 69 more to go, Zach.

• Michael McDowell won the Daytona 500. He is not to be confused with Michael McDonald of the Doobie Brothers.

• Michael McDowell could walk into the Lake Gaston Gazette-Observer office tomorrow, with his fire suit on, and I would be unable to identify him.

• Thanks to the ice storm, I was reminded over the weekend how useless I am without fully-functioning internet. It’s sad, really.

• But still not as sad as me waiting 15 minutes in line at the South Hill 7-Eleven for coffee as I did on Saturday. I had been searching for hot food. So were hundreds of others. The wait at Papa John’s would have been an hour and a half. The drive-thru lines at Sonic and Bojangles were unimaginably long. A man in front of me in the 7-Eleven line ate two fruit cups before he paid for them. It felt like the apocalypse!

• One question I should have asked the Vaughan Elementary teachers: Do kids still work on writing in school - as in pen and pencil? At what point will we just stop writing out things altogether?

• Steel-point pens weren’t mass produced until the 1820s. The ball began rolling and in less than 200 years, we were making instantaneous, obnoxious comments on Facebook. Maybe we should have stuck with quill.

• On Sunday, Bill Gates told CBS’s “60 Minutes” he spends $7 million per year offsetting his personal carbon footprint (electric car, plant-based jet fuel, solar power, etc.). He’s investing billions of dollars in the fight against global warming and recruiting his billionaire friends to do the same. I’m not making a point about climate change here. I just want to be able to spend a billion dollars.