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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 Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane:


The following throng went whirling around the flank. Here and there were officers carried along on the stream like exasperated chips. They were striking about them with their swords and with their left fists, punching every head they could reach. They cursed like highway- men.

A mounted officer displayed the furious anger of a spoiled child. He raged with his head, his arms, and his legs.

The Red Badge of Courage
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Walking by Henry David Thoreau:

only beast which ruminates when walking. When a traveler asked Wordsworth's servant to show him her master's study, she answered, "Here is his library, but his study is out of doors."

Living much out of doors, in the sun and wind, will no doubt produce a certain roughness of character--will cause a thicker cuticle to grow over some of the finer qualities of our nature, as on the face and hands, or as severe manual labor robs the hands of some of their delicacy of touch. So staying in the house, on the other hand, may produce a softness and smoothness, not to say thinness of skin, accompanied by an increased sensibility to certain impressions. Perhaps we should be more

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

And wastes in luxury long winter nights, Forgetful of her fame and royal trust, Dissolv'd in ease, abandon'd to her lust.

The goddess widely spreads the loud report, And flies at length to King Hyarba's court. When first possess'd with this unwelcome news Whom did he not of men and gods accuse? This prince, from ravish'd Garamantis born, A hundred temples did with spoils adorn, In Ammon's honor, his celestial sire; A hundred altars fed with wakeful fire;

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 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne:

it must be owned was a still more astonishing phenomenon, inasmuch as it was a simply human construction.

We had no time to lose, however. We were lying upon the back of a sort of submarine boat, which appeared (as far as I could judge) like a huge fish of steel. Ned Land's mind was made up on this point. Conseil and I could only agree with him.

Just then a bubbling began at the back of this strange thing (which was evidently propelled by a screw), and it began to move. We had only just time to seize hold of the upper part, which rose about seven feet out of the water, and happily its speed was not great.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea