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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 Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli:

people hostile, or if he has had the people friendly, he has not known how to secure the nobles. In the absence of these defects states that have power enough to keep an army in the field cannot be lost.

Philip of Macedon, not the father of Alexander the Great, but he who was conquered by Titus Quintius, had not much territory compared to the greatness of the Romans and of Greece who attacked him, yet being a warlike man who knew how to attract the people and secure the nobles, he sustained the war against his enemies for many years, and if in the end he lost the dominion of some cities, nevertheless he retained the kingdom.

Therefore, do not let our princes accuse fortune for the loss of their


The Prince
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Faraday as a Discoverer by John Tyndall:

by its rapid rotation between the poles, might probably be fused. We may easily dismiss this experiment by saying that the heat is due to the electric currents excited in the copper. But so long as we are unable to reply to the question, 'What is an electric current?' the explanation is only provisional. For my own part, I look with profound interest and hope on the strange action here referred to.

Faraday's thoughts ran intuitively into experimental combinations, so that subjects whose capacity for experimental treatment would, to ordinary minds, seem to be exhausted in a moment, were shown by him to be all but inexhaustible. He has now an object in view, the first step towards which is the proof that the principle of

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz by L. Frank Baum:

Post-hole, which I thought would make my fortune. I manufactured a large quantity of these post-holes, and having no room in which to store them I set them all end to end and put the top one in the ground. That made an extraordinary long hole, as you may imagine, and reached far down into the earth; and, as I leaned over it to try to see to the bottom, I lost my balance and tumbled in. Unfortunately, the hole led directly into the vast space you see outside this mountain; but I managed to catch a point of rock that projected from this cavern, and so saved myself from tumbling headlong into the black waves beneath, where the tongues of flame that dart out would certainly have consumed me. Here, then, I made my home; and although


Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz
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 The Cavalry General by Xenophon:

between the ears of his charger, which in proportion to the distinctness given to the weapon will rouse terror, and at the same time create a vague idea of multitudinousness.[8]

[3] {tas pompas}. See A. Martin, op. cit. 147, 160.

[4] Celebrated in March (Elaphebolion).

[5] Or, "by dancing roundelays in honour of the gods, especially The Twelve"; and as to the Twelve cf. Aristoph. "Knights," 235, "Birds," 95; Plat. "Laws," 654; Paus. i. 3. 3; 40. 3; viii. 25. 3; Plut. "Nic." 13; Lycurg. 198.

[6] Or, "it would be a beautiful sequel to the proceedings, in my opinion, if at this point they formed in squadron column, and