In the City of Bigness, it's a complicated world with the innumerable forces of millions of people acting in collaboration or opposition or in ways that bounce off each other in sometimes unpredicted ways.  In the Town of Smallness, however, there is certainty at every level.  A sole, simple explanation can be found for the complexities perceived elsewhere. 

I had the opportunity to visit the T of S over Thanksgiving, where my mom's personal beliefs about my health outweighed (in her opinion) the advice of my doctors at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.  Of greater global import, my dad let me know that the 2012 election was probably the result of a conspiracy masterminded by the entities that counted the votes.  That is, the true will of voters like him was blocked by people who, presumably, will be better at keeping secrets than General David Petraeus, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

If this conspiracy theory is true, then I hereby let the Conspirators know that your plan to secretly steal the election was almost a successful secret, in that you fooled the whole world except for my dad.  Ha!  Better luck next time.  When will I regain access to the simple truths that escape us in the City of Bigness?  One month to Christmas. 


During a recent illness, I listened to a lot of WFMT, the classical music station.  Overnight they'd play things I'd heard of already, like Tchaikovsky waltzes (great!), Chopin etudes (I was curious about those!), and many other composers I'd never heard of.  

Once, however, they played the thing I didn't need, a xylophone concerto.  I'm not going to link to one; you can seek them out yourself.  In my compromised state it sounded like a gang of preschoolers let loose in a roomful of musical instruments in a snowbound hotel overseen by Jack Nicholson and Shelley Duvall.

About another kind of music, when I was a little kid and I heard "Uncle Albert / Admiral Halsey" on the radio, I thought the words were just another one of those things I would finally understand when I grew up.  I was mistaken. 

One more music thing: In 1981 when the Rolling Stones released the Tattoo You album and came to tour in Illinois, Chicago rock radio promoted the band heavily with contests and calls from breathless fans hoping for tickets.  In a nice moment of live radio, a young man called in and asked the DJ, "Say, I know that's Keith Richards on the back cover of the album, but [voice gets husky] who's that chick on the front cover?"  The DJ answered that it was actually Mick Jagger.  There was a pause and the young man said "Oh… uh, thanks" and hung up.  I always wondered what happened to that guy.