Latest entries

2-day-old baby reminds me that miracles still happen every day

by David McElroy

Newborn baby

I met Titus late Friday afternoon. He’s just 2 days old, but he’s already a miracle.

Titus is the first child of my neighbors, a young doctor and his wife, who’s a nurse. Even though they’re both in the medical profession and understand the process very clinically, it’s been obvious how their coming child was affecting them emotionally. They were excited and I’ve been excited to watch them go through it.

Jennifer wasn’t due until Sept. 9, but she told me weeks ago that she was certain the baby would be here by the end of August. She was right.

When I saw Ben Tuesday evening, he was carrying clothes to the car. He told me that Jennifer was already at the hospital and would be induced starting late that night, with delivery for sometime the next day. He was just grabbing a few things they might need. As I watched him drive off, I found myself feeling excited and nervous for them.

They came home sometime Thursday afternoon, but I didn’t see either of them until Ben was outside Friday afternoon when I pulled into my own driveway.

He told me Jennifer was fine and that it was a boy named Titus. (They had intentionally not known whether it was a boy or a girl.) Titus was in a window when I saw hime. He had been placed into the sun’s rays for warmth.

Read the rest of this entry »

Goodbye, Charlotte (2009-2016)

by David McElroy

Charlotte on my desk

I lost my friend Charlotte Thursday evening. She was only 7 years old.

When a young feral cat gave birth to four tiny kittens seven years ago, Charlotte looked different from the beginning. It was hard to decide what color to call her. But however you described her, one thing was clear. Among the four little sisters, she was the alpha girl.

Charlotte was tiny but she was fearless. When the other cats would run or hide from unfamiliar things, she would stand her ground, typically looking on with a bored indifference that seemed to be her way of indicating lack of fear. Her only real enemy was the vacuum cleaner.

Before we knew she was a girl, an ex-girlfriend decided this kitten’s facial markings made the eyebrows look like those of a Vulcan from Star Trek, so she was initially known as Mr. Spock.

One of her sisters died very early. In the picture at the bottom of this article, they were about 6 weeks old. The gray one which was second from the left in that photo died shortly after the picture was taken. There was never any warning and I never knew the reason. The vet said it sometimes happens that there is something genetic wrong and it just catches up with them shortly after birth.

The remaining three girls seemed to love books — mostly for sleeping — so they were named for the writing Brontë sisters. As the alpha, the former Mr. Spock became Charlotte, the oldest Brontë sister. The gray one on the right in the photo was named Emily. The black one became Anne. Read the rest of this entry »

Baby girl murdered by own father is reminder to stay away from abusers

by David McElroy

Emersyn Morris

Emersyn Morris was murdered Saturday, but nobody had to go looking for the killer.

The 4-month-old little girl was killed by her own father — because she was making “baby talk” noises while he tried to watch television. Cory Morris, 21, of Minneapolis faces murder charges after hitting his daughter approximately 15 times in the face with his fist and another seven times on her chest with his fist. (See his photo below.)

Morris was alone with the baby. He had watched her alone many times. But something different happened this time and the baby’s mother — Morris’ girlfriend, Jenny Andersen — is now left grieving the death of her child and pondering the fact that she chose Morris to be her partner and the father of this child.

The most important decision you will ever make for your child is who the other parent will be. Read the rest of this entry »

11 children left orphaned by plane crash remind me how fickle life is

by David McElroy

Watching the view

It was just a routine news story. Accidents happen all the time. People are killed all the time. But still….

A plane crashed late Sunday morning in Tuscaloosa County, not far west of Birmingham. Three Mississippi couples were returning to Oxford, Miss., from a dental conference in Florida. Four of the six — including a husband/wife pair — were dental professionals. The plane had engine trouble and radioed the Tuscaloosa Regional Airport that it was going to make an emergency landing — but it crashed violently just short of the airport, leaving no survivors.

The news stories identified the six dead passengers and said they left a total of 11 children behind. Dr. Michael Perry and his wife, nurse Kimberly Perry, had three children. Dr. Austin Poole and his wife, Angie Poole, had five children. Drs. Jason and Lea Farese (in the photo below) had three children. And then I noticed what the story said about the youngest Farese child:

“The youngest just started kindergarten this week.”

For some reason, that hit me hard and it’s left me sitting here in a daze thinking about those 11 children — and somehow it left me thinking again about my own mortality and the uncertainties of life.

Read the rest of this entry »

Learning to love and accept yourself can be your first step toward healing

by David McElroy

Really messed up

“I’m really messed up, aren’t I?”

As my friend said these words to me, her big blue eyes looked at me searchingly. It felt as though half of her needed me to confirm this terrible thing she knew, but the other half needed me to tell her she was really OK.

Laura had just spent the last half hour confessing her sins and trying to understand why she was doing things she didn’t consciously want to do. She was confused. She was angry with herself. And she was hurting.

She has a boyfriend who she assures me is wonderful. (I haven’t met him, so I can’t say.) He’s perfect in every way, she says, both as a man and as someone who she would hope to marry. She admits that he doesn’t understand her (and never will) and that he makes her uncomfortable at times, but he still checks all the “husband material” check boxes in her mind.

What she doesn’t understand is why she’s pushing him away — and she doesn’t understand why she cheated on him.

Read the rest of this entry »

As we enjoyed the sunset together, language and borders didn’t matter

by David McElroy

Gerardo Alvarez-Chavez

As the red Honda pulled up behind my car, I was afraid I was blocking the road. Lucy and I were at my favorite sunset spot Tuesday evening and I had been taking pictures, so I decided I’d leave rather than be in someone’s way.

But as I opened the door to get back into my car, a heavily accented voice called out, “You don’t have to leave. It’s OK.”

I wasn’t sure at first what he meant or what he wanted, but he pointed to the sunset. And I understood he had come there for the amazing natural beauty being painted in the sky toward the horizon.

I find few people who make an effort to come watch sunsets, so we struck up a conversation about the beauty and about other spots nearby where there was a good view. He was clearly just as passionate about beauty as I am.

Gerardo Alvarez-Chavez is originally from Mexico City. He said he hadn’t had many opportunities for his future back in Mexico, so he had come here seeking a better like. He owns his own painting service, according to his business card.

Read the rest of this entry »

A muse is a crutch for an artist, but some people need a crutch to walk

by David McElroy

Artist and muse

Motivation should come from within. That’s what everybody says. You can read it in self-help books and on motivational posters. It’s what every well-meaning friend tells you.

Needing motivation from someone else is a crutch.

Ideas have always been easy for me, but being able to execute on those ideas has been trickier. I start projects and I can even know that a piece of work would be good if I finished it, but I lack the motivation to finish.

I end up staring at a blank page that never turns into a script. I look over old notes from a book project that never made it. I look at ideas I love — projects stillborn yet still full of possible life — and I feel powerless to breathe life into them. I crave a flesh-and-blood motivation — admiration, love, approval, passion — to inspire me to make my art.

I long for a crutch to help me walk.

For many years, I had wanted to make a film. I had ideas and I talked about making a first short film for a long time. But for years it was only talk — until something changed.

Read the rest of this entry »

Loving heart, willing spirit can turn burdens of parenting into happiness

by David McElroy

Father and son

The little family stood out because of the mixed skin colors but mostly because all three children were so young — enough to keep both parents constantly dealing with one or another as they ate dinner at Chick-fil-A in Birmingham on a Saturday evening.

The parents were both white and appeared to be early to mid 30s. A boy who appeared Latino was about 4 years ago. A black boy and girl were both about 2 or 3, I’d guess.

The table was a constant buzz of talk — children asking questions and wanting help, parents correcting and guiding. But it was all orderly and the tone of voice was always loving and kind. One of the boys seemed fascinated by my MacBook and he had trouble understanding his mom’s explanation that it’s impolite to stare at strangers.

After they ate, they pulled out little books and read together. Each child had a different book. I couldn’t tell what the books were all about, but I saw the younger ones pointing to cows and dogs and pigs and correctly identifying each. Both parents worked with each child from time to time.

It was like controlled chaos, but full of love and happiness.

Read the rest of this entry »

Being treated with respect changed black teen’s racial beliefs in 1974

by David McElroy

Bank lobby-70s

Larry was 17 years old in 1974. He had lied about his age to get his first job, working at a steel fabrication shop. As he approached his 18th birthday, he had been working for nearly six months. Getting a loan to buy an inexpensive used car changed his life.

Race relations weren’t great between blacks and whites in Birmingham in 1974. Larry had started his education in all-black schools and then been part of integration, something that had been very controversial and at times confrontational. It was a time and place when many black people and many white people were suspicious of one another.

Larry’s attitude toward white people was guarded and suspicious. Who can blame him for feeling that way? He knew that many white people around him didn’t want him as part of their society. His attitudes hardened because of small battles, too. When he was in high school, the principal told him he had to shave off his afro or leave the school — so he transferred to a vocational school rather than comply.

By the time Larry had that first job, he was wondering whether a young black man could get a break from a society that had been dominated by racist white men. And then he needed to buy a car.

Read the rest of this entry »

Political systems built on coercion will always produce cheats, liars

by David McElroy

Ted Cruz speaks at RNC

Ted Cruz broke his promise to support whoever won the Republican nomination.

Hillary Clinton lied regularly about the circumstances surrounding her private email server (and many other things).

Somebody on the Donald Trump campaign lifted some ideas and phrases from a speech which was performed by Michelle Obama four years ago.

Bernie Sanders spent the last year telling us what an evil candidate Clinton is and now he tells his voters to support her.

In all four cases, I say, “So what?”

I hear some Republicans today screaming bloody murder that Cruz didn’t endorse Trump when Cruz spoke at the convention in Cleveland Wednesday night. On the other hand, people who hate Trump and are eager to see him embarrassed are calling Cruz principled for telling Republicans they ought to vote their conscience. Almost everyone seems to see the matter through the lens of what he wants to happen in November.

Read the rest of this entry »


Start over here

When this site launched in 2011, it was intended as a way to find others who were sick of partisan politics and wanted to connect with like-minded people who were ready to go beyond politics and find ways of escaping. It has shifted focus in ways that reflect my own shifting thinking. I’m less interested in politics and more interested in looking at the things that make life worth living, such as love, creation, self-understanding and connecting with others. Every article I have posted since 2011 is still in my archives, but everything I write is a reflection of my current thinking. Sometimes I’m wrong — and that’s fine with me — and I don’t always end up agreeing with what I wrote five years ago. For now, you can still read what I wrote about the site’s purpose in 2011, but I should rewrite this. Read more.

Contact David

David likes email, but can’t reply to every message. I get a surprisingly large number of requests for relationship advice — seriously — but I don’t always have the time to respond. Besides, with my own romantic track record, maybe my advice isn’t worth taking. I’d like to find a wife one of these days, so maybe I should add an “application.”
I’m currently taking a break from Facebook, but I periodically use Twitter, although I have very little to say that takes 140 characters of fewer.
On Twitter, it's @David_McElroy.
You can check out pictures of my cats by following the McElroy Zoo on Instagram. I rarely post to my other account on Instagram, but if you like shots of nature, follow this account.

Watch this short film

What kind of "educational film" would the U.S. government release today to teach Americans how to be good citizens?
We're the Government — and You're Not
Official selection of 20 film festivals
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(Yeah, I was surprised, too)
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