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Today's Stichomancy for David Letterman

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Unseen World and Other Essays by John Fiske:

of "John." Those best acquainted with the results of modern criticism in Germany will perhaps be most surprised at finding such speculations in a book written many years before either Strauss or Baur were born.

But such results, as might have been expected, did not satisfy the pastor Goetze or the public which sympathized with him. The valiant pastor unhesitatingly declared that he read the objections which Lessing opposed to the Fragmentist with more horror and disgust than the Fragments themselves; and in the teeth of the printed comments he declared that the editor was craftily upholding his author in his deistical assault upon


The Unseen World and Other Essays
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Jerusalem Delivered by Torquato Tasso:

And cried to the Duke as near he drew, "Behold of thy strong hand I come to die, Yet trust to overthrow thee with my fall, My castle's ruins shall break down thy wall."

CXXXIX This said, forth spurred they both, both high advance Their swords aloft, both struck at once, both hit, His left arm wounded had the knight of France, His shield was pierced, his vantbrace cleft and split, The Pagan backward fell, half in a trance, On his left ear his foe so hugely smit,

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Cruise of the Jasper B. by Don Marquis:

dignified, smiling easily and kindly, three plain business men looked at him; respectable citizens, commonplace citizens, a little smug; faces that spoke of comfort, method, regularity; eyes that seemed to wink with the pressure of platitudes in the minds behind them; platitudes that desired to force their way to the lips and out into the world.

Yes, such was the genius of Wilton Barnstable that he could at will impose himself upon people as the apotheosis of the commonplace. He did it often. It was almost second nature to him now. His urbane smile was the only visible sign of his own enjoyment of this habitual feat. He knew his own genius, and

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 Allan Quatermain by H. Rider Haggard:

I at the stern, and the other two lay down and went to sleep. For three hours all went well, Sir Henry only finding it necessary once to push us off from the side; and I that but little steering was required to keep us straight, as the violent current did all that was needed, though occasionally the canoe showed a tendency which had to be guarded against to veer and travel broadside on. What struck me as the most curious thing about this wonderful river was: how did the air keep fresh? It was muggy and thick, no doubt, but still not sufficiently so to render it bad or even remarkably unpleasant. The only explanation that I can suggest is that the water of the lake had sufficient air in it to keep


Allan Quatermain