Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The challenges ahead

As the country joins together to recover from Katrina, many challenges await the workers.

The first and foremost seems to be the fixing of the breached levees in New Orleans. As an engineer, tales of how they will stop the flooding are riveting.

Will New Orleans ever return to normal?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

A Katrina Disaster

Tonight our hearts go out to those who have lost their home or are struggling to conquer the elements they face after the devastating Hurricane Katrina.

Sadly, there are those taking advantage of the situation:

Denise Bollinger, a tourist from Philadelphia, stood outside and snapped pictures in amazement.
"It's downtown Baghdad," the housewife said. "It's insane. I've wanted to come here for 10 years. I thought this was a sophisticated city. I guess not."
Around the corner on Canal Street, the main thoroughfare in the central business district, people sloshed headlong through hip-deep water as looters ripped open the steel gates on the front of several clothing and jewelry stores.
One man, who had about 10 pairs of jeans draped over his left arm, was asked if he was salvaging things from his store.
"No," the man shouted, "that's EVERYBODY'S store."
Looters filled industrial-sized garbage cans with clothing and jewelry and floated them down the street on bits of plywood and insulation as National Guard lumbered by.
Mike Franklin stood on the trolley tracks and watched the spectacle unfold.
"To be honest with you, people who are oppressed all their lives, man, it's an opportunity to get back at society," he said.
May justice find those who need it.

Monday, August 29, 2005


Congratulations to Mrs. Westy today. Yesterday she completed her first triathlon by placing 25th in her class (out of over 125)!
We started the day early by arriving down at the Accenture Chicago Triathlon by 5:30 and she prepared her spot in the transition area. Her wave began at 7:01 and she was off. Approximately an hour and a half later, she finished the sprint distance. You can view a video of her crossing the finish line here.
It was a great day to be out and enjoying a premier event in a great city. We had fun. Again, congratulations, you did well!

Sunday, August 28, 2005

A tragedy

This sad story from Russia outlines a calamity in our modern world.
There are more abortions than births in Russia. Between that and a high infant mortality rate, children are lucky to survive past infancy. This story is a reminder of the continuing struggles for people throughout our world today.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Mirror, mirror, on the wall...

...who's the greatest two guard of them all?

If you were ranking the best shooting guards in today's NBA, who would you put at the top of the list? There's plenty of talent to choose from: Tracy McGrady, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, etc. (Remember, AI played point last year, so you can't pick him!)

Mike Kahn at has weighed in on the subject. What do you think?

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Addicted to the Sun

Do you tan on a regular basis? If so, do you miss it when you skip it? Research now shows that tanning can be addictive. Now that I think about it, it doesn't surprise me. It does seem like some people are obsessive about staying dark, and I guess this explains it.

It again makes me question, though; why does our culture regard a tan as attractive? This is the opposite of some Asian cultures. And I must admit, I feel like I look better when I have 'some color'. Women spend millions on makeup to make their face appear as if they do. Does our culture affect what we find attractive? If so, what does that say about how we choose who we marry and date? Would we not have been attracted to the same person if we had been raised in a different society?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Environmental Responsibility

So, if you're a Christian, is it one of your responsibilities to be a steward of the environment? Newsweek profiles Allen Johnson, who says it is.
What should a Christian's behavior towards the environment be? Should they use 'green' technology whenever possible? Is it right to drive a car with low gas mileage?
In another bookI'm reading, there is a call to live a simple life--using as few resources as possible.
Is this the right answer?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Taped on location in Kirkuk

Interestingly enough, there is a reality TV show attracting large audiences in Iraq that is modeled after the American show COPS.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Wild on the Range

Here's quite the idea some folks, including Ted Turner, have come up with. They want to bring wild animals from Africa to live here in the Great Plains. The endangered animals would then have a home allowing them to be more closely monitored and be protected within the United States from poaching. This would in their eyes increase the chance for these creatures to gain population and diversity.
I'm not sure everyone would think this is a good idea. But I have to admit, I think it would be pretty cool and I'd be up for it. At least the idea should be explored further.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Walken in '08?

Spend no more time following presidential politics. No need to. The 2008 candidate to vote for has already declared.

Please join me in supporting Christopher Walken in 2008.
Honestly, wouldn't he make a great president? It seems almost to funny to be true.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Country vs. Rap

Dear Valued IJAB Reader,

In order to better understand our target audience, we will be asking you questions periodically. By answering these questions, you will be helping us improve our ability to meet your blog-reading needs.

As we get to know your tendencies, tastes, dreams, and fears, we hope to tailor our posts to connect with the very core of your being. So, while taking into full consideration the seriousness of this matter, please take a moment to answer this week's question:

Do you prefer country or rap?

Thank you for your time.

The IJAB Quality Assurance Department

Monday, August 15, 2005

Chip Design

Somewhat big news today in the world of computer processor design.
Intel announced that they will be launching a new platform for their next generation of computer chips. I'm not gonna spend a lot of time analyzing that, but what it makes me think of is how far we've come.

Ten years ago, we were eagerly anticipating the release of Windows '95. We were using Windows 3.1. Remember that? Think of the things that are commonplace now that weren't then.

Had you heard of ICQ let alone the idea behind it (IM'ing)?
How about your cell phone?
Have one of those in '95? What e-mail address were you using? Wait, you didn't HAVE an e-mail address? PDA? No, that wasn't a mass movement yet either. In fact, you still were probably using DOS for many of your programs. It's hard to remember. There are tons of examples, though, if you care to turn the way-back machine to 1995.

And what it makes me think about is what ten years can bring. What might the next ten years bring? Voice recognition cell phone/MP3 player/pda's as powerful as today's laptops? What else is on the horizon?
How about twenty years? Thirty? Time will tell, but it's exciting, eh?

Saturday, August 13, 2005


Intelligent Design. A concept that has become the latest buzzword in the 'discussion' between liberals and conservatives.

In this piece the author is outraged that only 28% of Americans believe in evolution while 68% believe in Satan. I'm saddened that only 68% do.

He says,

Ignorance in this degree, concentrated in both the head and belly of a lumbering superpower, is now a problem for the entire world.
What awful effect could this have on the "entire world"? Is it a bad thing that many people disagree with him? I guess I'm just kind of frustrated that he doesn't entirely seem to understand the face of Christianity. He states,
Whether a person is religious or secular, there is nothing more sacred than the facts. Either Jesus was born of a virgin, or he wasn't; either there is a God who despises homosexuals, or there isn't. It is time that sane human beings agreed on the standards of evidence necessary to substantiate truth-claims of this sort. The issue is not, as ID advocates allege, whether science can "rule out" the existence of the biblical God.

There are an infinite number of ludicrous ideas that science could not "rule out," but which no sensible person would entertain. The issue is whether there is any good reason to believe the sorts of things that religious dogmatists believe -- that God exists and takes an interest in the affairs of human beings.

He's right, there are facts. There is only one right answer. However, in the truth that is, God does not despise homosexuals any more than he does you or me. In fact, God despises sin but loves us (Romans 5:8). The sad thing is, from the tone of the article, I don't think anyone's ever made this clear to the author.

Intelligent design will be an issue that brings to the forefront each person's intellectual leaning. One will need to remain logical and rational in order to reach correct conclusions.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my wife TODAY!

We celebrated by taking in a Cubs game and going out to eat twice. Very fun.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

I have no idea about Ms. Sandiego's whereabouts, but I do know where this guy (at right) lives. If you know who this guy is and what he does, then you might view the above picture in a whole new light.

If you don't know who this guy is or what he does, then consider this a puzzle for the inquisitive mind. (I'd give you a hint, but this guy insisted that I keep you in the dark.)

Also, you might like to check out a bigger version of this map that includes North America. It's simply dazzling.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

On the road again.

Great news for my industry today. President Bush signed into law SAFETEA:LU (that's short for a mouthful: Safe, Accountable, Flexible and Efficient Transportation Equity Act-Legacy for Users). This federal transportation bill will provide funding for all transportation-related planning, design, and construction over the next five years. President Bush signed the bill right here in Montgomery, IL.

The location was of course no coincidence as it's in the home district of House speaker Dennis Hastert. And of course, Denny came home with funding for his pet project, the Prairie Parkway.

Critics of the bill charge that it is filled with pork. Obviously I'm biased, but I think this is a great bill for America. Transportation spending is sorely needed and, in my opinion, money well spent.

Now sure, there is some pork to be had in the bill (especially for Alaska-- thanks to Donald Young), but again, most of the projects are needed, and will provide people like me a job. Now, how's that a waste of money?

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Homeward Bound

The Discovery space shuttle is scheduled to land on earth at 4:46 am EST tomorrow morning (Monday). It's going to be very emotional for many people, especially the families of the 2003 Columbia tragedy.

It's all on the line, and the stakes couldn't be higher. Let's bring 'em home safe...

EDIT: The space shuttle landing was delayed due to weather. Scheduled landing is now 4:07 Tuesday morning.

EDIT: Picture says it all...

Welcome Aboard

Speaking of Greg (the guest blogger I mentioned below), I'm proud to announce that he will be joining "It's Just A Blog" as a contributor as of today! Greg is a college friend of mine, a wonderful writer, and full of fantastic thoughts, and so I invited him to join my effort here. I am confident you'll enjoy his work. I'll leave him to introduce himself further if he desires, but watch for his contributions soon.
As well, my wife (aka SheWesty) will also soon be adding her own posts. Between the 3 of us, I hope you stay entertained/informed.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Short Term Service Trips-- Worth It?

I saw an interesting post recently by one of my college friends (who was guest blogging on another's site) on the topic of whether short term service trips by [typically] well off citizens of the world to less-fortunate countries are worth it.
It's an interesting discussion, and one that causes me to at least stop and think about the trips I've personally been able to make. I think it is important for a person to examine where their own mind and heart are at when they choose to embark on a trip such as this. But in my case, I do feel confident it was a trip of value.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Joy in Sorrow

A sad story this week from Virginia.

A brain-dead mother delivered early a healthy baby girl. She then died the next day. Long story short, Susan Torres had succumbed to melanoma, however, not before adding to her legacy by carrying her child long enough for it to survive. Truly it was a bittersweet week for dad and son as they welcomed a new baby girl into the family while they said goodbye to their wife and mom.

Her family decided to keep her alive long enough to give her baby the chance at survival. What I don't get is why was this controversial? Wouldn't any family in this situation have done the same?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


The largest trade in NBA history went down tonight. Twelve players and five teams were a part of it.

Involving such players as Eddie Jones, Jason Williams, and Antoine Walker, this trade will definitely have an impact on the Eastern Conference playoffs. Will Miami be the favorite in the East?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Eureka Springs

I'm back from our quick little trip down to the Arkansas Ozarks and figured I'd share with y'all at least one of the cool things we saw there.
I was quite impressed with the town of Eureka Springs, AR. It's an historic town with a very picturesque downtown that's been almost completely restored. Read more about it here.

If you were ever to be in the area, I'd recommend staying in this town at one of the many Victorian bed & breakfasts. A very cool locale.