Suspension of disbelief is important to some genre fiction, but it’s got its limits.

Catherine Schell, Barbara Bain, Martin Landau

As I was getting ready for work this morning, I noticed “Space: 1999” in the listings — it was playing on Shout! Factory TV — and watched a few minutes of it.

“Space: 1999” was a British-made science fiction program which came out in 1975. It was syndicated in the U.S.A., but if I recall correctly, none of the Nashville stations carried it. I remember reading about it in magazines as a 13-year-old but being unable to watch it. …

Normandy United Methodist Church, April 11, 2021

John 20:19–31 (CEB)

It was still the first day of the week. That evening, while the disciples were behind closed doors because they were afraid of the Jewish authorities, Jesus came and stood among them. He said, “Peace be with you.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with joy. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. …

Remembering the days of long distance past

I was looking at the back of a Listerine bottle this morning and I noticed two telephone numbers for customer service:

The first number is an 888 number, indicated as “toll-free,” and the second is a traditional telephone number in the 215 area code, which users are invited to call collect.

It occurred to me that many younger users of the product may not have any idea what a “toll-free” number is, or a collect call.

Today, of course, many people make the majority of their telephone calls on a mobile device, and most mobile providers that I’m aware of…

What does sports mean to us? What do they mean to me?

ORU Athletics website graphic

The late George Bass, founder and long-term executive director of Mountain T.O.P., caught me wearing a Steve McNair Tennessee Titans jersey once during the days when I was on the board. George loved to provoke, to challenge, to make people explain themselves, and he started asking me why I would want to wear a jersey for a sport I don’t play bearing the name of a man I’ve never met. I had a good defense in my head, but I’m not sure I expressed it very well.

A week ago, after a historic upset by my alma mater, Oral Roberts…

I have distanced myself from televangelism, but it helped pay for my college education

Oral Roberts and me, spring 1983.

Sometimes, in blog entries or social media posts, I will refer to my alma mater as Famous Televangelist University. It’s a tongue-in-cheek, but maybe cowardly, way of distancing myself from stereotypes.

But when Oral Roberts University won a historic upset in the first round of this weekend’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament, I had to post about it — even then, I made the disclaimer that I sometimes have mixed feelings about the school.

The fact of the matter is that I had a good experience at ORU. I think I got a good education there, and the shortcomings in my…

Shiloh United Methodist Church — March 14, 2021

Ephesians 2:1–10 (CEB)

At one time you were like a dead person because of the things you did wrong and your offenses against God. You used to live like people of this world. You followed the rule of a destructive spiritual power. This is the spirit of disobedience to God’s will that is now at work in persons whose lives are characterized by disobedience. At one time you were like those persons. All of you used to do whatever felt good and whatever you thought you wanted so that you were children headed for punishment just like everyone else. However…

Yes, I’m a carnivore. But that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy meatless meals now and again….

Golden brown and delicious, as Alton likes to say.

When “Good Eats” was in its original run — and I discovered it within its first few months — one of the first Alton Brown recipes I prepared was something Alton calls “Filet O’Fu.” You cut a block of extra firm tofu into slabs, squeeze the excess moisture out, replace it with a tasty marinade, and then pan-fry the tofu in a flour-and-egg coating to give it a nice brown crust.

Tofu, of course, is not known for its delicious, stand-alone flavor. It adds protein and texture to other dishes, and absorbs the flavor of marinades or sauces. …

Steak ‘N Shake gets rid of table service in favor of touch-screen kiosks

By Ed! at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,

When Geneva Smith was mayor of Shelbyville, she personally called the headquarters of Steak ‘n Shake to try to convince them to open a location here. She was unsuccessful.

I didn’t hear about this until later, but I’d have cheered for it. I’ve loved Steak ‘n Shake since they first moved into Tennessee, and nothing would make me happier than having one here in town. The restaurant inspires a lot of loyalty. David Letterman was thrilled when Steak ‘n Shake opened up next to the Ed Sullivan Theatre. Steak ‘n Shake was a sponsor for the racing team Letterman co-owns.

I’m making plans to go to cash some rain checks, hopefully in sunny weather, at First Horizon Park this summer.

I have never been a knowledgeable or obsessed sports fan — I feel like I’m an embarrassment to my gender — but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy sports.

For a number of years, every August, I enjoyed going to see a Nashville Sounds game — first at Greer Stadium, more recently at First Tennessee Park — with a group from church, during the game for which the United Methodist conference had negotiated a block of tickets. Every year I would have a great time and say “you know, I need to do this more than once a summer.”

I’m trying to get back into using my SodaStream, but there are supply chain issues…

This is one of the current SodaStream models, the Fizzi, with a CO2 bottle and two of the proprietary drink bottles in which water is carbonated.

I had wanted a SodaStream ever since I first heard about them. A few years back, I finally bought one online.

My timing was a little off — just a few months before my purchase, the Walmart here in Shelbyville had stopped carrying SodaStream equipment and flavorings. You could still exchange your CO2 canisters at the customer service desk, but that was it. There was nowhere in Shelbyville to buy the flavor syrups, spare drink bottles, or that kind of thing.

I got around this for a while by ordering the syrup from Walmart’s website and choosing the “ship-to-store” option…

John I. Carney

Author of “Dislike: Faith and Dialogue in the Age of Social Media,” available at

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