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Today's Stichomancy for Billy Joel

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Rescue by Joseph Conrad:

tongue of flame; and a sudden dreadful gloom fell all round the stunned d'Alcacer, who beheld with terror the morning sun, robbed of its rays, glow dull and brown through the sombre murk which had taken possession of the universe. The Emma had blown up; and when the rain of shattered timbers and mangled corpses falling into the lagoon had ceased, the cloud of smoke hanging motionless under the livid sun cast its shadow afar on the Shore of Refuge where all strife had come to an end.

A great wail of terror ascended from the Settlement and was succeeded by a profound silence. People could be seen bolting in unreasoning panic away from the houses and into the fields. On

The Rescue
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from The Red Inn by Honore de Balzac:

"God has made us all frail beings," he said firmly. "If you love the heiress of that crime, marry her; but content yourself with the property she derives from her mother; give that of the father to the poor."

"But," cried one of those pitiless hair-splitters who are often to be met with in the world, "perhaps the father could make a rich marriage only because he was rich himself; consequently, the marriage was the fruit of the crime."

"This discussion is, in itself, a verdict. There are some things on which a man does not deliberate," said my former guardian, who thought to enlighten the assembly with a flash of inebriety.

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Timaeus by Plato:

compound figures which are formed out of either, the plane equilateral quadrangle has necessarily a more stable basis than the equilateral triangle, both in the whole and in the parts. Wherefore, in assigning this figure to earth, we adhere to probability; and to water we assign that one of the remaining forms which is the least moveable; and the most moveable of them to fire; and to air that which is intermediate. Also we assign the smallest body to fire, and the greatest to water, and the intermediate in size to air; and, again, the acutest body to fire, and the next in acuteness to, air, and the third to water. Of all these elements, that which has the fewest bases must necessarily be the most moveable, for it must be the acutest and most penetrating in every way, and also the

The fourth excerpt represents the element of Earth. It speaks of physical influences and the impact of the unseen on the visible world, and is drawn from Vailima Prayers & Sabbath Morn by Robert Louis Stevenson:

and the recitation in concert of the Lord's Prayer, also in Samoan. Many of these hymns were set to ancient tunes, very wild and warlike, and strangely at variance with the missionary words.

Sometimes a passing band of hostile warriors, with blackened faces, would peer in at us through the open windows, and often we were forced to pause until the strangely savage, monotonous noise of the native drums had ceased; but no Samoan, nor, I trust, white person, changed his reverent attitude. Once, I remember a look of surprised dismay crossing the countenance of Tusitala when my son, contrary to his usual custom of reading the next chapter following that of yesterday, turned back the leaves of his Bible to find a