Gracie went to the 5th birthday party of a boy from school. This is what she wrote on his card.
Four months ago she wanted to marry her zebra pencil case. I was happy about this. Last month she wanted to marry her sister. I was happy about this. Now she loves a boy with all her heart. I am less happy about this.
Being a dad is hard.
Happy Birthday Gracie.
5 years old today.
I love you.
No, No more.
Tonight, on the Late Late Show, the last guest was Fiona Doyle, whose name has become well known in Ireland, and worldwide, this week after her father was granted, then denied, bail after being convicted of the serial rape of his daughter over a ten year period.
I watched the interview on +1, as I wanted to watch it alone, as I knew I couldn’t watch it with someone. Ms Doyle’s first response was in relation to her first memory of abuse, she was 3 or 4, and her father made her perform oral on him.
Her matter of fact tone, her relating of the events in a , not cold, but detached , manner, made me feel ill, a lump filled my throat until I was unable to swallow , I thought I was going to vomit and I changed the channel. I lasted 4 minutes.
When I was 13, maybe 14, I sat with my parents, watching the Late Late Show, watching Gay Byrne, a man I dislike, but am forever grateful to, interview a woman about her experience of sexual abuse. Like Fiona Doyle, she was matter of fact about it, detached, describing what she did. My mother asked me a question, I evaded it and left the room and went to the bathroom. I came back downstairs, and she asked again, my father asked again, and I told her the truth.
I’d been abused for a year, by someone trusted, not a family member, but trusted, and I will never ever forget the wail my mother made when I told her. My father handled questions for a while until the whole story was revealed. We rang an abuse line that night, my mother did, they spoke for a while, the person on the other end of the line said the number of calls was much higher than normal.
Tonight, those lines will be red hot again, as people ring, wanting to share, to unburden themselves, to finally tell someone. Fiona Doyle has done that, her daughter all week has done that, they have spoken out, they have made it a little easier for others to say something.
Fiona Doyle’s courage , her honesty, has made it a bit easier for others to speak out, to say this will not stand , to say time or family or religion or tradition or the risk of family scandal will not stop people from speaking out, will not stop people from saying “NO ! This will not stand. No longer.”
Tonight will be full of tweets, of blogs, of emails, telling someone, telling everyone, telling anyone, about what happened, told by people inspired by one woman who declined to stay in the shadows, who refused to be silenced.
Thank you, Fiona Doyle, thank you.
We brought Gracie over to school for her first day today, she started crying as we were leaving the class. Little silent tears.
I know she’ll be fine, I know she’s probably fine already, but I left my little girl crying in a room full of people she doesn’t know, and I don’t think I will ever be okay with that.
The day started okay, I was joking about where the school was, saying it was up a mountain, or in a cloud, or inside a flower, and Grace was explaining why the school couldn’t be in any of those places and I was just being SILLY , and her mother dressed her in her room, as Grace wanted to surprise me in her uniform. She looked beautiful, she looked so big, she looked so happy.
We walked over and played as we walked.
We met the lollipop lady who has a daughter called Grace so will remember my Grace. We walked passed my parents, who were parked secretly on our route to see their grand-daughter on her first day of school. We walked and we talked and we played and she held my hand and I love it when she holds my hand.
We went into her class and we got her name badge and we found her a seat and we stayed for a while and as I said goodbye she said she’d miss us and I said it would only be for a very short time and I kissed her and she started to cry and I left her. I left my baby crying.
I will see her in one hour.
And we have to do this all again tomorrow.
And tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.
Government ask Twitter to report people they think might be potential terrorists
Twitter,the social media site popular with the likes of raconteur Stephen Fry and columnist Charlie Brooker, will be asked to identify people who are “vulnerable to being drawn into terrorism” as part of the government’s redrawn counter-terrorism programme to be detailed on Tuesday.
The Prevent programme was developed to combat home-grown terrorism after the 7 July bombings in 2005.The final draft is believed to propose to “expand Prevent programmes to social media sites to draw on the expertise of internet experts”
Utilising a version of Twitter’s revolutionary, popular and incredibly accurate “Who To Follow” feature, will attempt to pinpoint those who use Twitter, known as “Twitterers”, who may, in the words of Theresa May, “be close to attempting to use the internet to spread fear and terror”.
“The Twitter ‘who to follow’ recommendations are easily the most beneficial way to use Twitter to find like minded people and by tweaking the algorithms slightly we can easily detect those who may, at some stage in the future, may intend to do harm to this country, or indeed other countries” a Twitter social media guru claimed today.
One “key message” of the document is that it is not a programme to spy on Muslim communities, but doctors will be asked to identify people who may be “vulnerable” to recruitment by terrorist groups, especially by use of popular Twitter wordplay games, using what is known as “hashtag games”
David Cameron has pushed through the change despite opposition from Nick Clegg and Charles Farr, the head of the office of security and counter-terrorism, arguing that such engagement is like “turning to a rightwing fascist party to fight a violent white supremacist movement or using Myspace to crush Bebo”.
“If we had these measures in place a few years ago then perhaps we could have arrested Paul Chambers before he blew up an airport” said Cameron in a press conference on Tuesday. When it was pointed out to the prime minister that Chambers had not actually blown up an airport, or indeed even threatened to do so in anything other than a light hearted way, the prime minister dismissed this as “mere details” which “showed the policy worked” even before it’s inception. When pressed on this the press conference was adjourned.
When the home secretary’s office was asked about using a similar policy on Facebook the official response was “We don’t do Facebook, we find their privacy policies to be intrusive.”
(Inspired by this. http://bit.ly/iU2s5r)
#BestDylanSong, The Twitter List
That’s them all I have no doubt missed a couple of votes, but I don’t think the winner matters, this is a Dylan primer for those who don’t know him, and perhaps a reminder for those who may have forgotten a few along the way.
Thanks to everyone who contributed. The Twitter search for the hashtag is here http://bit.ly/jDkWSO as it may continue for a while yet, but I have stopped counting.
Desolation Row (10)
Like A Rolling Stone (9)
Lay Lady Lay (7)
Subterranean Homesick Blues (6)
All Along The Watchtower (6)
Tangled Up In Blue (6)
Positively 4th Street (5)
Don’t Think Twice (5)
Just Like A Woman (5)
Shelter From The Storm (4)
Idiot Wind (4)
THREE VOTES EACH
To Make You Feel My Love
She Belongs To Me
Ballad Of A Thin Man
Times, They Are A Changing
The Man In Me
TWO VOTES EACH
Visions Of Johanna
One More Cup Of Coffee
Blind Willie McTell
You’re A Big Girl Now
Mr Tamborine Man
Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall
Lily, Rosemary and The Jack Of Spades
The Girl From North County
ONE VOTE EACH
Lonesome Death Of Hattie Carroll
Watching The River Flow
Blowing In The Wind
Knocking On Heavens’s Door
Rainy Day Woman
I Want You
I’ll Keep It With Mine
Masters Of War
Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again
With God On Our Side
One Too Many Mornings
You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome
Must Be Santa
Sad Eyed Lady
You Go Your Way
Baby Let Me Follow You Down
He was a friend of mine
It’s All Over Now Baby Blue
Boots Of Spanish Leather
Mama You’ve Been On My Mind
Love Minus Zero/No Limit
Gracie, on the slide, recorded using Dee’s crappy phone.