Calvino's serio-comic galactic overview (Cosmicomics -- 1968) descends, in these three long stories; to an erratic exploration of human institutions and the priorities of allegiances, which, with a tilt or two, produce some unusual results. "The Watcher" is Communist party man Amerigo, a poll watcher in a highly conservative church district of hospitals, asylums, and convents where Italy's misfits and recluses have the vote thrust upon them. Would not an idiot's vote cancel his? And while Amerigo's mistress bombards him by phone throughout the day with unreasonable, disturbing irregularities, including pregnancy, Amerigo ponders the regenerative nature of order and institutions, with a gloomy dialectic amid the gossipy bustle of the election workers. In "Smog" a city dweller experiences the solid celebration of industrial power in an increasingly dangerous cloud of soot. The last story, "The Argentinian Ant," again examines a phenomenon dealing with the powers and principalities of a sacrosanct establishment -- in this case a giant, destructive horde of ants, fed mindlessly by a government agent. An amusing, lightly sardonic, barbed assault on self-perpetuating, self-sustaining establistments built by men but now attaining the untouchable elevation of a divine law.