Blow out the Candles, Chicago. It's Your Birthday.

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  Today, March 4, 2012, is the City of Chicago's 175th birthday. If it's one thing Chicago has taught me it's this:

If you can't love Chicago, you can't love anything.

Chicago is a complex that is complex: The fickle and brutal elements. The concrete. The segregation. Clout. The multilayered fiefdoms of government. The endless flat expanse. The poverty and violence and the conditions that perpetuate them. Our schools.

We, too, are the city that rose - and is still rising - from the ashes of the Great Fire. Here you find Midwest-friendly. We have the blues, jazz and house, to name just three. Lake Michigan. Neighbors working together. The summer. The skyscrapers. Not least of all, the people who give "the city that works" a pulse, a voice and a soul.

Happy birthday.