Off the Record

• I made my first trip to Smith Mountain Lake in Virginia recently. It’s a beautiful place, but the most significant thing I discovered there is a Bojangles.

• When I lived in Williamsburg, Va. - no Bojangles. Yorktown, a good 20 minutes away, was the closest one. But in south-central Virginia? Oh, there’s Bojangles everywhere. I even saw two half-Bojangles/half-convenience stores.

• Highlight of recent Virginia trip: Driving down Route 220 from Rocky Mount to Martinsville. It’s a pleasant glide down the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains that ended for me with a peek at venerable Martinsville Speedway and a coffee from downtown Martinsville’s The Ground Floor, which opened in May.

• The other day I was flipping between coverage of the NASCAR Truck Series Corn Belt 150 at Knoxville Raceway in Iowa and a replay of the day’s happenings at the Tour de France. Racing trucks on the dirt in Iowa vs. cycling through the sloping countryside of France. I think wheels might be the only commonality here.

• I wonder what they would think of Bojangles on the Champs-Élysées in Paris.

• The NBA Finals are happening and there’s plenty for North Carolinians to keep an eye on. Raleigh’s P.J. Tucker, a hard-nosed veteran, plays a pivotal role for the Milwaukee Bucks. And the Phoenix Suns feature Chris Paul and Cam Johnson. Paul, a future NBA Hall of Famer, starred at Wake Forest and hails from Forysth County while Johnson played two seasons for Roy Williams at UNC.

• The event that took place at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was beyond “stupid” as Sen. Ruff writes. It was violent, deadly, misguided, and antithetical to what this country’s values should be. That doesn’t mean it’s not being “milked” by Democrats. Maybe it is, or maybe that’s a matter of semantics. But it shouldn’t be downplayed and should be remembered for the vile act it was along with the conspiratorial rhetoric that led up to it.

• Does anything make you feel more like a big shot, even if you’re not one, than handing someone your business card? Technology will never replace that feeling.

• Everyone seems to be upset about mega-billionaires going to outer space. If I had a few billion to spare, I’d probably go to space too. First, I’d put a Bojangles at Lake Gaston. Then I’d be off to Mars - I’d build a Bojangles there too.

• “You develop an instant global consciousness, a people orientation, an intense dissatisfaction with the state of the world and a compulsion to do something about it. From out there on the moon, international politics look so petty. You want to grab a politician by the scruff of the neck and drag him a quarter of a million miles out and say, ‘Look at that, you son of a *****.’”

- Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, of NASA Apollo 14, on looking at Earth from space