Twenty-one. That doesn't sit quite right on the page right. Just a number. Imagine it said with a pinched kind of vague Eastern European accent. Twantee wahn... Better. Twenty-one candidates running for Chicago mayor. Treated with respect by my colleague Fran Spielman at the Sun-Times. I marvel how she can do that. Me, a story about 21 mayoral candidates could be titled "Invitation to Wack-a-mole." It really makes you want to roll out the old rhetorical chain gun and start blasting away. I mean, there were only seven dwarfs in "Snow White," and even that was way too much. Twenty-one is way too many for a field of candidates. Add one more and they can divide up and play a game of regulation football. It's better to view them as a mass, The Chicago 21. Start to view them as individuals and, well, it's endless. Besides, they'll cancel each other out, eventually, and we'll be left with Toni Preckwinkle and Garry McCarthy. We don't have to criticize, we don't even have to learn their names. All we have to do is wait. Which is not to dismiss the rest. Amara Enyia, an intriguing candidate, her second bite at the mayoral apple given a boost by Chance the Rapper. Hope that election cash can come from more people than Ken Griffin and J.D. Pritzker. Or Gery Chico, an actual adult who doesn't spend the years in between mayoral runs in deep freeze storage. But Paul Vallas? He's hardly worth the breath to ridicule. Really, do you need me to explain why Bob Fioretti is a joke? Because I'm reluctant, in part because the last time I did, it upset one of his unbalanced supporters so much he writes to me continually. It all goes to spam, but still, every so often, when I gaze into the spam filter the way a man will open a handkerchief after a healthy blow to examine the result, I'll spy this guy, and it's like one of those science fiction movies, where the monster is contained in some kind of special pressure device, all steel and bolts and thick shatterproof glass. And you can see the thing, pressing against the little window and the containment vessel vibrates a little, and you can hear it shrieking through the seals. It's unsettling. So let's leave Bob alone. If I thought there was a chance he could become mayor I would go down to City Hall, dressed in a white jerkin, dowse myself in gasoline and set myself on fire. Metaphorically, that is. I'd rather focus on the attention on Bill Daley. Last I looked, he was going to go on a listening tour, visiting senior centers and stuff, trying to find some ideas because he hadn't any. How's that working, Bill? Get some good ones? Well, let us know.... Dorothy Brown. Let's end with her, because this isn't a proper column, just some monstrosity I'm disgorging to keep you occupied on a Tuesday. I would be loath to describe Brown in a dry, journalistic way, because, times being what they are, I'd be accused of treating her unkindly because she's black, or a woman, ignoring the fact that Toni Preckwinkle is both and I think she's swell. The Republican Party might be laid low by a plague of irrationality, but the bug can be found elsewhere. And to be honest, I don't have to castigate Brown, all I have to do is check my files. Pointing out Dorothy Brown's flaws is practically a full-time job. We should have a Dorothy Brown Flaw Reporter. I'll limit myself to two: From March 10, 2004: What would be coming out of the clerk's office if Dorothy Brown hadn't ordered her employees to keep their mouths shut? As it is, they're dishing dirt like frenzied ditch diggers. Two great accusations came zipping my way: a) that Brown has her security detail empty out elevators before she uses them, and b) that this same security detail also pulls her boots on for her. Devoted to the requirements of the form, I ran this by Brown, who responded a) no, she uses the judges' elevators and b) no, they don't. At this point I thought the fair thing to do would be not to print these baseless charges. I checked with two editors here, who said: a) "Why start being fair now?" and b) "It's election season." See, it isn't just me. From Sept. 3, 2006: God bless Dorothy Brown. She's the perkiest person I have ever met in politics, bar none. The Cook County Circuit Court clerk has more spunk than an Olympic gymnast. She makes Katie Couric seem like Eeyore. Have you met the woman? Imbued with energy, excruciatingly well-mannered and the grace of God flowing from her like glow off a light-bulb. Her cringing subordinates might paint a different picture, but that's how she comes across during her visits to the newspaper. Of course, she can't run her own department, never mind run the city, not that she'll get the chance: Mayor Daley will crush her like an egg. Still, while she lasts, she should provide an interesting contrast to the morose Saul sulking on the fifth floor of City Hall: Daley, the sourest, most visibly unhappy man to hold elective office in America since Calvin Coolidge retired to Vermont, vs. Dorothy Brown, who seems about to bust out into song at any given moment. I'd like to pretend she'll give the mayor a run for his money and he'll only get 70 percent of the vote this time. But I doubt it.