Archive for June, 2012


Second Level


I am done, finished. Finished what? Well I just finished second level education. The final hurdle of which was to take the leaving certificate examinations, which test, well, what really?
Do they test intelligence? Well no, not really, since it takes two years to learn anything and the most common definition of intelligence is the ability to process and understand information quickly? How about aptitude in a particular field of study important in later life? Ancient Greek, enough said.
I have talked about this before, the crushing meaninglessness of an exam that tests very little other than memory. I could complain that it is sexist, geared very strongly towards girls, who generally outpace guys in memory tests. Or I could complain that it is pointless. Or I could even accuse it of teaching false truths of life skills.
I could even say that it kills. It does that, Google it and you will even see a film about that as the top result, or who can forget the poor girl a few years ago. That’s what happens when you teach people for 14 years that school is life, and then tell them that they failed school.
I talked to Hank about Education, I would advise you to look back over that (Click here.) I do stand by my musings from then. Education is a broad and very vague word, and every country has a different meaning for it. This world has a lot of challenges, but do we really gain much from the subjects we learn?
So many people will agree that the subjects are pointless, but argue feebly that this is balanced by the importance of the social aspects of school, hardly an apt argument considering we can easily keep those and remove the bad subjects.
I wouldn’t mind hearing some of your thoughts; any of you just finished your leaving certs? Just remember, there is a lot more to life than the first 18 years.


The Disney College Program


Do you drink from a Mickey Mouse cup in the morning? Do you cry every time you watch Fox and the Hound? Do you avoid watching Bambi at all costs because you know you’ll cry? You are not alone. And while others might prescribe growing up and aversion therapy, I say dive into the addiction!

If anyone is a follower of my rantings, you know that I completed the Disney College Program last fall. Now, I will be applying again for the Spring 2013 term. The application date is rumored to begin in early September. Knowing full well that the first time I was accepted that I had to decline the offer solely because I did not have the initial payment of $875 (For California), I figured it best to do this article well before the application date. This way if any of our readers are interested, there would be plenty of time to save up the money.

What is the program?

The DCP is a paid internship. You can live in apartments ($137 a week for went. $550 a month) or you can live elsewhere if you’re in the area. There are college accredited classes made available and a million opportunities awaiting the participants. Both professionally gainful and simply enjoyable events are held for the interns. While this program is fun and usually taken by those who are just in need of work experience or a semester to keep there “student” status, it is also highly recommended for those who wish to work for The Walt Disney Company as a career.

What would I do?

The participants of this program (CP’s) would work with the company. Anything from churro cart cashier to working as a desk clerk in one of the Disney hotels, CP’s will paid in variance to their role. Once a week there is a required Disney course that may require the purchase of books. The Walt Disney World program offers far more classes and opportunities, but however is in Florida. Nothing wrong with Florida, but I like my Disney “land” style, not “world.”

I realize this is less Nerdfighter related than some of the more recent articles. And definitely less heavy than some. However, this is by far one of the most Awesome opportunities for college students. Thousands apply, and no one is guaranteed a spot. I want to encourage our readers to research the program and possibly apply. There is a huge following of Disney lovers and this where they gather when it’s time to grow up. DFTBA and may the Mouse be with you!


DCP Graduate: Mousters

My Disney Blog:


Religion Is Important In Our Time


I feel that I probably came down quite strongly in my earlier article against the Catholic Church. I do not apologise for this. Do I think that the Catholic Church is a force for good in this world? No, I do not. Sure, they are the largest charity, but this is achieved through the insinuation that if you do not give large percentages of your earnings to the church you are sinful. One need only look at the repeated abuse of power or children to see that the Catholic Church is not at all a great model for how religion could be, should be even.

However, does this mean that I think that the Catholic Church can NEVER be a force for good? No, again, I do not. As a Catholic I honestly hope that in ten years time, maybe even less, that I could stand before anyone and say yes, the Catholic Church is not only a force for good but that it is the best force.

As part of this discussion of religion I have decided to argue that our world needs a guiding hand of religion. I argue for it not necessarily because I think that it is a perfect solution but because I think that solutions must be looked at, that there is too much wrong in the world at the moment.

I’m sure so many of you are turning off now, perhaps unsubscribing, but don’t. I’m going to try and argue this in a way that does not mention God. Religion is about belief, and nobody in the world is stupid enough to be certain about what they believe in, faith requires questioning. I will even go into how I think that secular morality, as a faith about what is and isn’t right, can be as big and as important as religion, and far more important than governments.

The Catholic Church needs questions, as do all the churches. That is something that many within them have forgotten, and it has lead to the problems of the Catholic Church in the modern day. However, religion has served so many purposes throughout history. The same things can be served through Atheism.

What humans need is moral guidance. For thousands of years this has come in the form of religion. These are bigger than countries, holding influence over many of them, guiding the leaders towards peace and attempting to include everyone within all of these countries. Surely those important traits should not be lost. Why can’t atheism have a moral leader, indeed in many ways it does. Some call Richard Dawkins the “pope” of atheism. To be honest I could not think of a more perfect embodiment of how church-like atheism has gotten. Too bad that Dawkins represents the same antagonistic popes that are tearing apart what religion means for churches. More obsessed with making people believe what he believes regardless of how belligerent he is acting Dawkins sums up in many ways the modern churches all over the world, playing a game of faith-based top trumps.

And yet, I think that it is possible to have forms of moral guidance that aren’t so belligerent, and that can guide countries. In this world where there are connections superseding the sizes of nations we need the church more than ever. With science changing what it means to be human constantly we need that moral guidance and assurance that can only come from a church. I am a Catholic, praying for change in my church. But if you are a Muslim, Jew, Buddhist, Hindu or any other religion, hope that you church has the strength to guide the modern world.

If you are an atheist? Long Live the Atheist Church, Dawkins and all.



Colm on the role of the Catholic Church


“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike like your Christ” – Mohandas K. Gandhi

When I was given the opportunity to debate my editors on the issue of the role of the Roman Catholic Church in contemporary society, two men immediately sprang to mind. The first was Father Charlie Burrows, an Irish priest working on behalf of the people of Indonesia. Father Burrows is the paragon humanitarian, for years he has lived in Indonesia where he studied for a degree, allowing him to establish his own bank which he used to give affordable loans to local Indonesians to set up farms and businesses. His continued and enlightened efforts have led to the foundation of countless schools and the endowment of as many farms. The ramifications of this sustainable charity work has bolstered the economies of entire regions. Father Burrows once said that ‘The Catholic Church has been responsible for a lot of bad, but it can also do great good”.

The second man who came to mind was one, the Archbishop of Canterbury at a time when the Church of England was still a wing of the RC Church. The historical backdrop is the Bubonic Plaque which ravished the population of Europe. The Archbishop observed that those who prayed to God and led good lives seemed to be afflicted by the disease to the same extent as rogues and robbers.

What do both of these men have in common?

Read the rest of this entry ?


The Book Report: 13 Little Blue Envelopes


“13 Little Blue Envelopes” by Maureen Johnson

So I tried reading “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.” Now as an English major, I am accustomed to difficult reading. But that book reads like a legal document. I understand that this is a very popular novel, but after a hundred and fifty pages I was out. And therefore I moved on to the girliest book on my “Haven’t read yet but really should get on it” shelf. Maureen Johnson writes young adult fiction focused mainly towards an audience of teen ladies. And every now and then a girl just needs a good story! So don’t blame this gal. Anyway, Maureen Johnson should be a familiar name to you Nerdfighters. So the novel “13 Little Blue Envelopes” takes place just about everywhere. It focuses on the travels of a young lady by the name of Ginny. Her “runaway aunt” has recently passed and has left quite the gift for her dear niece. Ginny is given a series of letters addressed to her from her late aunt to be opened at the completion of whatever task dubbed to her in the last one. The letters take her from London to Rome to who knows where else with just enough spending money to get around. Ginny not only explores the world outside her door but what lies outside the walls of her own mind. By the end of the novel you will want to pack up and leave on the next plane to anywhere.
And being that most of us are getting out of school and are probably in need of something as far away from “collegiate” as we can get, I recommend this novel highly. It is not poorly written by any means. It’s a wonderful and inspiring read that will keep you reading without making you feel as if you never left the classroom.
Please read and enjoy “13 Little Blue Envelopes.”

Faith in our Society


When most people think of religion they usually have a reaction of  acceptance and understanding or one of annoyance and disgust.  There is a third less spoken about reaction that is one of understanding and  annoyance.

The United States was founded the ideas of religious  freedom and tolerance. This was a far different from the norm in Europe  during the 18th century when the national religion seemed to be what  ever the King or Queen of the time found most appealing.

Still  because this was the norm most of the people who founded the US had deep seated beliefs that held them to a mostly generic code of conduct that  helped to generate the laws of the land.

Now days there is a  movement to completely remove religion from our society.  If we remove  the belief of a higher power then we start down a dangerous road.  Most  people are in agreement that power corrupts and if you take away the  fear and/or worship of a higher power that puts all of the power in the  hands of man.  If there is no other higher power than that of man all  that power goes to his head and begins to corrupt.

Shephard Book from Serenity said two things that I think are applicable in this context.

“Why when I talk about belief, why do you always assume I am talking about God?”


“I don’t care what you believe in, just believe in it.”

There is a lot to be said of belief in a higher power. If ones higher power  is God, Allah, Buddha, any of the more generic ones, or just a base code of conduct that is used to keep one in check when nobody is looking  then I would say its the right way to be.

Without parsing any  words the idea of our society without faith scares me.  I don’t think it would be good for our society for everybody to be prancing around with  the exact same belief system but I do believe that faith in something is what keeps our society running in the general direction of good.





New Idea for DFTBA News


Ireland has never had a proper hurricane. Sure, we had the tail end of Hurricane Charlie, which buffeted the island for a few days. However we have never seen that awesome power of nature, no natural disasters. No uncontrollable change wrought by destruction.

It is surprising then, that Ireland has changed, changed by no natural disaster, but one man-made. Throughout the world the Catholic Church have been buffeted by the destructive winds of change, tearing at anything not perfect pure, but nowhere is that more felt than Ireland. Forty years ago, one third of the Irish population, 1.25 million people turned out to a large park in Dublin for a papal mass given by John Paul II. Forty before that 500,000 people turned out for the closing mass of the 1832 Eucharistic Congress.

These gatherings were symbols of the power of the Catholic Church in Ireland, a land where 90% of us still claim membership of the church. However no number near that was seen with this congress. Perhaps to give us a sense of what was to come, RTE, the state broadcaster cut the footage of the opening mass for a football game (not that anyone watched the mass.)

A disappointing week for the church was shown with the near empty stands of a relatively small stadium that they held the mass in. In a land that claims such a connection to the church, the former land of saints and scholars, I cannot help but think that there must have been a hint of sadness in the eyes of Cardinal Sean Brady as he surveyed the scene. (Not that we care.)

So what happened, what massive hurricane of change ravaged the church, simple, abuse. Abuse of children, of power, but more importantly of trust. Ireland is a young country, one who had put so much faith in the Catholic Church, but that faith was betrayed.

But DFTBA News is a positive source for news. I do not mean to dwell on these stories. I merely write this to introduce a new project for us. This coming weekend several of us will, instead of our regular posts, be giving our opinion as to how church and state can work together, or not as the individual opinion may be.

I invite you all to write your own piece to be included in this. I promise to post everything that is well thought out and respectful. I understand that some may want to defend the church, or any one of them, I would love to have people with honest opinions say them. If anyone wants to respond to this article go ahead as well, DFTBA News wants to open discussion, and we need your help with that.