Spoiler alert. I am not writing about politics.

I can't remember an election where emotions have run this high. And the flood of passion has swamped the pundits. That sometimes carried people where they never should go.

    Everywhere I've gone today, the flags are at half-staff. A Supreme Court Justice has died. And that's a big deal.

    Nine judges. Who never stand for election. They're on the Court until they die, retire or are impeached.

    They hold so many lives in their hands as the final word on the most important, most contentious legal issues of the day. What they decide will long outlive them and the President who appointed them.

      Valentine's Day. The season when all of us think about the love we found...or the love we lost...or the love we're looking for.

      And, man, are people looking. There are over 5,000 dating websites! Including match.com, OKCupid and Plenty of Fish. Along with SeniorPeopleMeet and Farmers Only. And DateACowboy.com.

        This Sunday, Broncos and Panthers will be fighting it out.

        And some 100 million Americans will be watching it happen at Super Bowl 50. Something like one out of three Americans.

        They'll watch high-rolling, 30-second commercials that cost about 4.5 million dollars each. And gobble an estimated 1.3 billion chicken wings! On the second-largest eating day of the year.

          Governors' desks are vacant. Senators' offices are empty. They might as well have just put a sign on the door - "Gone to Iowa."

          Not now. They're gone to New Hampshire. Then to South Carolina. In the wild and crazy 2016 Presidential election year.

            Our grandson loves to take home souvenirs from visits to our house. Rocks. Shiny rocks. Colorful rocks.

            So why not a rock tumbler for him for Christmas? Today, it's running full speed ahead. Tumbling rocks. For three weeks! For goodness sake, how long does it take to turn a blah rock into a beautiful rock?

              I was expecting a great story in the record-crushing "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" blockbuster.

              I wasn't expecting to find a mirror reflecting the lives of so many people I've known.

                This Christmas season, there were two countdowns. Shopping days 'til Christmas. And days 'til the new "Star Wars" movie opened.

                Thirty years ago, my kids begged to get the first Star Wars action figures for Christmas. Now their kids are begging for the new movie's rolling droid, BB-8, and TIE fighter Legos. Three generations. Captivated by what has become a modern mythology for our times.

                  Guest blog by Brad Hutchcraft

                  There are toys, and then there are trains. Toys are fun, but trains bring out something else. Maybe it's the feeling of nostalgia, or maybe it's the delusional thinking that I could just step on a locomotive and successfully operate it. Either way, one of my favorite moments each Christmas is when we pull out the Lionel O-Gauge and set it up under the tree.

                    The news was awful. Then, I heard those three life-saving words that sounded strangely familiar.

                    A guns-blazing attack on a San Bernardino, California "holiday party." Fourteen dead, 21 wounded.

                    One of the wounded was Denise Peraza. But for the heroism of coworker Shannon Johnson, she would probably have been one of the fatalities.

                                  

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