In many ways Mayor Daley’s last City Council meeting was surreal. But that means it was pretty much like the others he presided over since 1989, because they were all kind of surreal—a forum where the fantastical often mixed comfortably with reality, and where truth was in the eyes of the mayor.

“It’s never been a rubber stamp,” Daley said of the council, shortly after aldermen spent an hour and a half praising him and his leadership.