Friday, February 10, 2017

DENNIS PURDUSKI

Dennis Purduski.  Where do I start in writing about Den?  Maybe an over view of the man might be in order.  Just a few adjectives.  Super intelligent.  Honest to a fault.  Never put up a front always being just who he was.  Outspoken.  Great sense of humor.  Practical jokester.  Athletic. Caring.  Helpful.  Insightful.  Able to read people and not be taken in.  Adventurous. A true friend that could be counted on.

I met Dennis thirty eight years ago when I started working in the engineering department of  Dit-MCO International.  We were opposites in many ways.  He was an outgoing extrovert while I was a quiet introvert.  He would speak his mind off the top of his head while I would tend to give thought.  He would do things on a whim while I liked to have a plan.  We also had a lot in common.  Our sense of humor was much the same, a little sick and over the top at times, but good.  We could be in a crowd of people and see something and look at each other knowing what the other was thinking. We clicked almost instantaneously.

For thirty eight years he was a true friend.  He gave advice and took advice.  He was part of my family.  He loved my son and my nephew while trying to stay away from kids in general.  He was indeed my son's best friend.

Den excelled at everything he set out to do.  They weren't hobbies, they were loves.  Racing karts, midget dirt track, racing remote cars, flying remote planes and helicopters, to being an aviator.  He excelled at all of these.

I have hundreds of memories of times spent with Dennis.  These memories have been filling my head over the last several hours.  These memories put together the puzzle that was Dennis.  Too many memories to write out here though.

I say "the puzzle that was Dennis" because he was a complicated person.  He had so many sides to his personality but all of them were very real and very honest.  As time went on and our friendship grew closer I would eventually come to the realization that nothing Den did could ever surprise me anymore.  He wasn't perfect, don't get the wrong idea.  He had issues.  He had self doubts at times.  He had a temper that at times he found hard to keep in check.

Dennis coming into my life added so many things to it.  When I was with Den and he decided to do something on a whim, I was forced to go along and experience the adventure along with him.  That was probably the biggest over all thing that Den gave me.  That feeling of having a thought run through your mind, speaking the thought, then following through on the thought.  No planning, no thinking about it or mulling it over .... just think it and do it.

I think that was my biggest loss personally when Den left Kansas City to go south and land in Mississippi.  I lost that push from someone to just go and do something.  We met when we were in our twenties and not a care in the world.  Now, as I turned sixty, I think about something I would like to do, and I ponder it and think about it, and let it go by.  However just because I lost Den physically from Kansas City, I never lost him as a friend.  He kept in constant contact since he moved south.

I really want to share a few memories of this person that was such a big part of my life.

When we met at Dit-MCO and found our desks next to each other, he looked around at the people in front of us and in back of us, turned to me and said "You and me?  We are going to become VERY close friends."  He was right.

He was so happy for me when Brett joined our family.  He came over to the house and I actually have a picture of him holding a one year old kid.  The kid he would later take under his wing as "Uncle Den".

He was always looking to save money wherever he could, especially on food.  We would hit the bar across the street from the office for happy hour every Wednesday night even though neither of us really drank because they would have free appetizers until early evening.  He always ordered an orange juice from the bar so he could stay and eat.  When him and Brett were racing RC Cars in Raytown, Den discovered that the laundromat next door to the race track had a popcorn machine.  Between heats, him and Brett would disappear and then reappear with a couple of bags of popcorn for dinner.

When he found out that Brett's favorite driver, Darrell Waltrip, was going to be racing in the NASCAR truck series in Topeka one weekend,  he showed up on my doorstep at about eight in the morning.  I opened the door and said "What's up?"  His reply was "Can I borrow Brett for a day?" and took Brett, who was about seven at the time, to Topeka to meet his hero and take his picture with DW.

We found ourselves behind on a project once and decided to go in on Saturday to catch up on things.  It was snowing terribly.  We sat in the office for a couple of hours watching it snow then Den said "Let's get out of here." and we left.  We didn't go home though.  We went to the Liberty Memorial and took the elevator to the top during that storm and took some wonderful pics of Union Station.  Then we headed over to "The Scout", the famous Kansas City sculpture of an Indian on a horse over looking the city.  Den climbed up on top of the base of the sculpture, about ten feet I would guess, in that snow and started talking to the Indian, telling him he was looking the wrong way and pointing west towards Kansas.  About that time we saw a police car down on Pershing Road and I heard Den say "uh oh" and he jumped off the sculpture.  We had just gotten in the car and were preparing to pull away when here came the police... slowing down... looking at us... then driving on.

One of the more touching things he did was introduce me to his mom and dad.  His mom was a lovely lady and a nice lady.  Once she got to know me, she would give me a loaf of fresh baked Povatica bread at Christmas every year.

Den tried to get on the local news as often as possible.  We succeeded a couple of times when we would go to the NBA draft or some event such as that.  We had half season tickets to the Kings NBA team when they were here and sat in a section called "The Backcourt Boozers".  It was a rowdy bunch that would make bets on scores, fouls.... whatever they could think of.  At one game, just before half, one of the Kings shot a long jump shot right at the buzzer on the far end of the court.  All during halftime bets were being placed on whether the shot hit the glass or just net, you couldn't really tell from where we were.  As halftime came to an end, Den volunteered to go find out if the ball hit glass or not.  He ran down the side of the court to Cotton Fitzsimmons, who was the head coach at the time.  Den says "Hey Cotton.... did that shot hit glass or just net?"  Cotton looked at him and smiled I am sure he figured Den was from the Boozers... "Net"  Den came back to relay the message to a bunch of happy people and a bunch of disgruntled people.

Den went with me and my family to my sister's place in Alabama for Thanksgiving one year.  Very special time and he fit right in.  That's the kind of person he was though.  He could fit into almost any situation.

I could go on and on with stories about Den and the things we did, the shenanigans we pulled.  You would tire of hearing them though even as special as they are to me.  As a lot of people and friends of mine as well as family got to know Den from being around each other all the time there started to be a pattern. If I were to start telling a story and the word "Den" or "Purduski" came out of my mouth, the listener would automatically get a small smile on their face because they knew that what was about to be disclosed would be good.

Den had a heart attack several years ago.  When I had a heart attack a couple of years later, he was full of optimism and encouragement.  When my wife came down with serious heart problems, Den would call to give her the same encouragement.  He had begun to eat healthier and to excersize everyday.  He kept himself busy with new hobbies and continuing to learn new things.

He was healthy.  In better health than he had been his entire life.

Den passed away from an apparent heart attack last weekend and a very special thirty eight year old relationship came to a screeching halt.

Den changed my life in many ways just by knowing him and I am very grateful for that.  I wrote one of my friends to relay the news that Den had passed on.  The reply back was so very true.  It said "He was one of a kind".

Thank you Dennis for the good times and the memories.  You touched more lives than you could ever imagine and you will be missed by a lot of people.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

RANT AT STOP TRUMP MOVEMENT

First things first.  This rant is not targeted at all people who do not prefer Trump as President.  I believe that the people that I am referring to are a small minority of the electorate of those that voted for Secretary Clinton in the election.  I respect the fact that everyone has a right to vote for who they think is best for the job.  It is that minority that have such a vitriolic hatred for the President-elect that they feel they have an obligation to not only degrade Mr. Trump but also degrade and offend those who do not agree with the way they see things.  I am sure that by the time I finish this it will be totally disjointed and not very well written.  I feel it will end up that way because the intensity that these folks attack goes off in several different directions and it isn't easy to tie things together nice and cleanly.  So keep in mind this is a rant, pointed at a specific group of people who feel they have to force their thinking on you and if you do not agree with them then there is something terribly wrong with you.  If I do not agree with them then I am racist, sexist, homophobic and stupidly narrow minded person that does not have a clue or have the ability to understand the issues as they state them.  Honestly, I have never seen anything like this and never expected to see anything like this happen after a Presidential election, or any election for that matter.  The Grand Jury in the Whitewater investigation drafted an indictment on Hillary Clinton but it was never released or served.  We still do not know what that indictment said.

So, where to start ....

Why didn't I vote for Clinton may be a good start.  I was not thrilled by the choice of Representative Sanders or Clinton.  Sanders' ideas and philosophy were just too liberal for me to think he would be good for the nation.  In my mind, his proposals would not be sustainable financially without raising taxes not only to the very well off, but also to the middle class Americans, of which I am one.  As far as Secretary Clinton is concerned, all I had to do was take a look at her personal history the number of legal scandals that have been targeted at her since her husband, the former President, had been Governor of Arkansas.  During her years as first lady, the Arkansas scandals followed the Clintons to Washington.  Just off the top of my head I remember Whitewater, the Travel Office, FBI files that disappeared only to show up again after the investigation had been closed   She accused of trying to steal property of the United States from the White House when they left after eight years.

Then there was the biggie.  She oversaw a breach of security while Secretary of State.  This was discovered after her office had been investigated for non action in the deaths of four diplomats in Benghazi.  The stop trump movement will say that she had been cleared of anything to do with that by anywhere from three to nine congressional investigations.  They say "Read the reports" from the investigations, which I have.  The thing is though, they don't seem to acknowledge the last report that was released by the House Oversight Sub-committee.  I have read that one as well and it does anything but clear the Secretary of any wrong doing.  The report is on the house.gov website but was kept from being published as part of the record by the partisan minority of that committee.

The House sub-committee hearing was called after discover of an unsecure server in the basement of the Secretaries house which contained classified e-mails sent to and from Clinton.  They deny this fact even though it has been confirmed by the FBI.  FBI Director Comey after an investigation into the e-mail server gave example after example of how Clinton had lied to congress and to the American people and then, amazingly in my mind, said it did not rise to bringing formal charges against her.  I sat and I watched the hearings on Benghazi and the hearings on the e-mail server.  I watched Director Comey's press briefing and his testimony before the sub-committee.  I firmly believe that Clinton acted recklessly and dangerously with our national security.  I believe that her actions put lives in danger and compromised our policies and actions around the world.  Actually, I think that it brushes pretty close to a treasonous act.

She continued to lie time after time as new facts emerged.  She lied all the way to election day.  These are not petty lies, or exaggerations or miscommunications, they are out and out lies and they put us all at risk of terror attacks around the globe.

Then there was the fact, in my mind, that she just lies about anything and everything.  The biggest joke was her lie concerning her arrival in Bosnia under sniper fire where she had to run across the tarmac ducking to evade the snipers and jump into an armored vehicle.  News footage showed this as a blatant lie and so she lied about what she lied about.  On and On it goes, lie after lie.

So the fact that she is a woman did not influence my vote.  The fact that she was a democrat did not influence my vote.  What influenced my vote was basically that I did not feel comfortable trusting her with my country, my money or my life.

The stop Trumpers started calling Trump a liar.  He might say something wrong here or there or get the facts wrong or be misinformed but I honestly believe that Trump did not intentionally lie to cover up any of his actions.  What I do not, can not understand, is how these fanatics can turn a blind eye to all of Clinton's negatives and heap those very allegations onto Trump without any hard evidence at all.

Well, then they uncovered an audio tape of Trump that took place eleven years ago making an off color remark to a reporter about women.  They jumped on this like wildfire and before you knew it, a dozen women came out of the woodwork to accuse Mr. Trump of molestation.  He was a rapist all of a sudden.  None of these accusations have been proven or followed up on because they did not happen.  They just kind of slipped off the mainstream medias charts because the stories had no legs.  But the Clinton breach of national security kept being out there.  Her habit of lying stayed out there.  I think those things stayed out there because people saw and listened to her lies and they did happen.

Let's see, I guess next would be the cheating the Clinton campaign did during the Democratic Primaries.  Seems that questions that would be asked during the debate were made available to Clinton.  Again, even though being caught red handed, lies from Donna Brazille, a CNN contributor, and from the Clinton campaign.  It doesn't matter what the truth is, we are suppose to hear the lie and then shrug our shoulders and say.. " oh... okay..".

Here is one of the oddest moments of the campaign.  Clinton was running partly on the empowerment of women.  Elect a woman President or you are a sexist.  Now the strange part of this drive to empower women, at one campaign event the singer Madonna offered a sexual favor to any men who would vote for Clinton.  Now it just may be me, but to offer sex in return for a vote doesn't really feed into empowering women.  Vote a woman into office to show all the girls coming up in the future that they can do anything ..... well, if you offer sex in return for votes.  Just kind of... I don't know, just doesn't seem very consistent.

Then there was the annual threat from celebrities that if a democrat was not elected they would leave the country.  Nothing new there, it happens every four years.  They think that they are SO beloved that the thought of them leaving the country would play a part in citizen's decision on who to vote for.  They think they are so important to the country.  Truth is, I don't think anyone would notice if they did leave.  Doesn't matter though, they never follow through with this empty threat. 

The Clinton Foundation.  Okay.  The details of this organization were released by WikiLeaks.  As the details became more and more disturbing, the Clinton campaign decided that the Russians had hacked into the campaign e-mails.   So far, there has be no proof to this, just accusations.  So I suppose it is possible that the Russians had hacked but given Clinton's track record, it is just another lie as far as I am concerned.  The emails told of a massive pay for play scheme that lined the Clintons pockets with millions of dollars to have the former President speak or to have a meeting with the Secretary of State.  One thinks slush fund?   To me it appears totally illegal and keeps in step with the reputation the Clintons have built for themselves.  I am not going to get into the incident in which Trump sarcastically told invited to Russians to keep hacking to bring the full truth out.  The Stop Trumpers use this to claim how reckless he would be with national security.  SARCASM PEOPLE.  In all fairness sarcasm is one of Trump's weaknesses but I believe he has learned from that and has toned his sarcasm down a lot.  This story goes on and on and is still on going but it put enough doubt in my mind to be another piece of the puzzle not to vote for Clinton.

That was all pre-election.  Now things get really crazy.

To the whole country, the election was pre-ordained to be Clintons for the taking.  Trump did not stand a chance.  I felt that way.  I could not believe that Clinton was a serious candidate for the presidency.   The main stream media was laughing at the prospect of a Trump presidency.  Clintons history was a non issue they thought.  Clinton was loved by everyone.  She would be the first female elected to the presidency.

Election night came and the numbers started drifting in.  Trump's narrow path to the White House started to widen.  States started to fall.  Clinton states started to fall.  Then came the big one in my mind.  When they called Wisconsin for Trump, I said aloud "whoa..."  I knew then that Trump was going to win this crazy thing.  Trump did win the election but it wasn't over.  You see, Hillary was supposed to win.  When the votes from California started to come in, Clinton took the lead in the popular vote but as far as the Electoral College was concerned, Trump had won by a wide margin.

As the returns came in there were scenes of people crying uncontrollably.  Suddenly everyone was scared for their very existence.  Universities cancelled classes because the students were too traumatized to attend class or take an exam.  Special rooms were set up for people to come and feel safe in and to cry over the loss.  Dogs were brought in to comfort those who needed comforting.  soon safety pins started showing up on shirts and clothing to let others know that the person wearing the safety pin was a "safe person" (i.e. a Clinton supporter) and they didn't need to be afraid of someone with a safety pin on.   Protest marches started in the streets of large cities, some of them turning violent and into riots because Clinton had lost.  People who had Trump stickers on their cars were dragged from them and beaten.  On social media sites, the barrage of insults were relentless as were the pictures put up and the condemning of the Electoral College.  News media called it a racist and sexist vote fueled by angry white men.  One commentator on CNN even called it a "white lashing".  It never crossed peoples minds that maybe, just maybe, people had heard enough of Clinton and her scandals and lies and did not trust her enough to vote for her.  No, if that was the case, then you didn't understand the issues, you were narrow minded, you were stupid, you were racist and homophobic ... etc etc.  As I watched these college kids cry their eyes out because their candidate did not win the only thing that crossed my mind was "This is the future of our country?  I am the one who should be afraid."

And so phase two began.

During the debates, Trump was asked if he would accept the outcome of the election.  He answered no, he was not prepared to say that.  The Clinton campaign came down hard calling him unpatriotic, going against the constitution and proof of how unfit he is to be President.  Then the shoe went on the other foot and now the question was if Clinton would accept the outcome of the election.

Jill Stein of the Green Party decided all on her own to call for a recount of three states that were suppose to go to Hillary.  She raised over seven million dollars to fund the recount in the states of Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.  The recounts started and by the time the courts called a stop to the recounts, Trump had actually picked up votes over Clinton.  (As an aside:  one million of that seven million that Stein raised went to... wait for it ... administration and consultation.  We will never know where that money really went but I have my own ideas.  Personally, I think there should be an audit of where those funds went.)  So the recount did not work and they had to find another way to get Clinton in the winners circle. By the way, the Clinton campaign who attacked Trump for saying he would not blindly accept the outcome of the election, joined the Stein recount efforts and did not accept the outcome of the election.  For a lot of her supporters, they still have not accepted the outcome of the election.

It seems that everytime a democrat loses an election, it is because of an antiquated theory called the Electoral College.  Cries from all over the stop trump movement called for the dissolving of the Electoral college.  The theory they have is that because the person who won the popular vote was denied a victory it meant that "my vote doesn't count"  So all the celebrities and the so called "Social Justice Warriors" or SWJ's began calling to amend the Constitution to get rid of the out dated Electoral College.

Just to be clear, here is my take on the Electoral College.  The Electoral College assures you that your vote will count even if the winner of the popular vote does not win.  This election gave us a classic example of how that works.  If you discard all of the popular vote of one state, in this case California, Trump would have won the popular vote.  One state.  Now Clinton took a massive percentage of the popular vote in New York and California and a sizable number in Florida, Texas and Illinois.  Not enough to actually win Florida or Texas, but she did grab California, New York and Illinois.  Now, seeing as how JUST the vote in California put her over the top in the popular vote, then add a huge popular vote win in New York, this means that in states like Iowa, Kansas, Wyoming, New Hampshire ... well without the Electoral college if you live in those states, or one of any of the smaller states in the union, then your vote really doesn't count.  Every election cycle, the President would be elected by the big five, being California, New York, Florida, Texas and Illinois.  This year as the numbers came in, everyone was looking at North Carolina, Wisconsin, and, dare I say, New Hampshire to see whose column they would fall in.  The fact is that those who voted in New Hampshire votes actually did count.  California did not elect the president.  New York did not elect the President.  It took a lot of states, with a number of electors determined by the states population, to put the President in the White House.  This is the way it should work, this is why it works and this is why it is needed.  I, for one, do not want California electing a President every four years.

Okay, so the recount didn't work.  Wait, they said, we still have the Electoral College!  The evil outdated Electoral College that discounted votes.  And so began a relentless attack on all of the Electors in each state to flip who their state voted for and vote for someone else.  This is legal in a lot of states, including my own Missouri.  They bombarded the Electors with emails, hate emails, threats, some even death threats to make them flip their vote.  Suddenly a commercial appears on television.  All of these celebrities who decried the Electoral College suddenly were lecturing us on the goodness of it.  In so many words, their basic message was something like this is why the Electoral college was created.  Our founding fathers created the college to keep someone who is unfit or unworthy of being president from taking the oath if the people were stupid enough to elect him.  So it was the Electors patriotic duty to flip their votes and put someone who is capable of being president into office.  <huge sigh>  So now the Electoral College was a good thing.

Well, yesterday the Electoral college met to cast their votes in the fifty state houses of the country and the SJW's were out in force to protest and make one last attempt at intimidating people from carrying out their constitutional duties.  Guess what happened.  More electors actually flipped from voting for Clinton than did for Trump.  Just as in the popular recount, Trump increased his total.  The outcry was typical.  A lot of crying, a lot of yelling, temper tantrums being thrown in the state houses .... AND the Electoral College is outdated and useless once again.

You know, it has always been my personal observation that when conservatives protest, it seems to be done in a calm, organized, manner,  Liberals on the other hand protest loudly, with intimidation as their goal and sometimes it turns violent.  JUST AN OBSERVATION of mine.  I may be wrong, but it just seems that way to me.

Last night I got on Facebook to see if it was causing a ruckus.  It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.  There was one comment about it being one of the worst days in American history.  Really?  Lets see, Pearl Harbor, Japanese interment camps, JFK assassination, Boston Massacre, Lincoln assassination, Gettysburg, September 11, 2001 ... many others.

I didn't address the many ways the left demonized Trump.  Just hitting a couple of high spots, he was a White supremacist because a chapter of the KKK endorsed him (Robert Byrd comes to mind) He was a rapist and sex offender because of that one quote, He was a liar... still don't know why he was labeled a liar other than the fact that they had to come up with something to balance the fact that Clinton was a habitual liar.  Doesn't really matter.  Trump will be President and to be honest, I trust him, his philosophy and his thinking much more than I would a scandal ridden Clinton Administration.

The next step is January sixth, when Vice-President Biden will have to stand in front of the United States Senate and read the results of the Electoral College.  He will declare Donald J. Trump as the next President of the United States.  Not sure if there will be protest at the Capitol that day or not.  I kind of imagine so since a chance to protest can not be missed.

We have already been assured that on January 20th, when Trump takes the oath of office, the stop Trumpers will still be fighting and will do their best to  disrupt the nomination.  It won't accomplish anything and it will show a lack of class, but they will be there in full force.

Then over the next four years, I suppose we will have to hear yelling and see finger pointing every time he ties his shoes wrong, or whatever they can find.  At any rate it will be a long four years, but in four years, if the Democrats can find someone who is better fit for office, then chances are they will have a good chance of being elected.  If a democrat is elected in four years though, don't expect to see any riots, crying rooms, safety pins or disregard and respect for the peaceful transfer of power from the conservative side.

I am not saying Trump is perfect.  He has a lot of issues and a lot to learn.  He does not know how to play the politics game.  If anything he is more honest than people are use to in their politicians.  He says what he thinks and we are not use to that and a lot of it, even though based in reality, is not what we want to hear.  I think he will surround himself with good advisers and take that advice, weigh it out, and come to decisions.

As for Secretary Clinton, I feel that she is extremely smart.  I also think she is a career politician.  With what I consider to be overwhelming evidence about her character, I find that if anyone is not qualified to be President, it is her.  What I can't understand, and this is said with all due respect and sincerity, is how Clinton supporters or even just anti-Trump people have these blinders on that refuses to acknowledge anything negative about Hillary Clinton.  In spite of all the scandals, in spite of all the evidence that exposes her lies time after time, even after film footage of the famed Bosnia tarmac landing they continue to hold her up as the best possible candidate ever to run for the presidency.  It seems like instead of looking at Clinton in a reasonable way and admitting that she has flaws, they pound you with attempts to intimidate and insult those who do not agree with them.  I sincerely do not understand this mentality when it comes to the Clintons. 

Well, that is my take ... from a racist, sexist, homophobic, narrow minded voter who does not understand the issues and am clueless. If you know me even a little bit, you know that I am not any of those things.

I expect this may upset some people.  Some friends, some family but I want to sincerely state, as sincerely as I can, that if any of this offends you, it is not intended to.  That is not what I am about.  This was a rant.  This was off the top of my head.  This was my response to being labeled as stupid, clueless, narrow minded, racist, sexist, homophobic, white supremacist, neo nazi among many other things that are designed to intimidate me and my philosophy and thinking. 

Sadly, to me, it looks like the idea of a peaceful transition of power will not happen early next year.  The peaceful transition of power is one of the foundation blocks of our constitution.  It should be respected.