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Today's Stichomancy for Donald Rumsfeld

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

retribution of him who errs is that he should be set right. Wishing, then, to speak truly in future concerning the generation of the gods, I pray him to give me knowledge, which of all medicines is the most perfect and best. And now having offered my prayer I deliver up the argument to Critias, who is to speak next according to our agreement. (Tim.)

CRITIAS: And I, Timaeus, accept the trust, and as you at first said that you were going to speak of high matters, and begged that some forbearance might be shown to you, I too ask the same or greater forbearance for what I am about to say. And although I very well know that my request may appear to be somewhat ambitious and discourteous, I must make it nevertheless. For will any man of sense deny that you have spoken well? I can only

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Agesilaus by Xenophon:

all the rest of his troops deserted him; whereat the monarch took flight and retired in exile to Sidon in Phoenicia, leaving the Egyptians, split in faction, to choose to themselves a pair of kings.[39] Thereupon Agesilaus took his decision. If he helped neither, it meant that neither would pay the service-money due to his Hellenes, that neither would provide a market, and that, whichever of the two conquered in the end, Sparta would be equally detested. But if he threw in his lot with one of them, that one would in all likelihood in return for the kindness prove a friend. Accordingly he chose between the two that one who seemed to be the truer partisan of Hellas, and with him marched against the enemy of Hellas and conquered

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Albert Savarus by Honore de Balzac:

provinces are regarded as bigwigs. Each man represented on an average six votes, but in estimating their values they said ten, for men always begin by exaggerating their own influence. Among these twenty- seven was one who was wholly devoted to the Prefet, one false brother who secretly looked for some favor from the Ministry, either for himself or for some one belonging to him.

At this preliminary meeting, it was agreed that Savaron the lawyer should be named as candidate, a motion received with such enthusiasm as no one looked for from Besancon. Albert, waiting at home for Alfred Boucher to fetch him, was chatting with the Abbe de Grancey, who was interested in this absorbing ambition. Albert had appreciated the

Albert Savarus
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 Melmoth Reconciled by Honore de Balzac:

like?" she would answer, "Why, this is the nicest!" Love never counts the cost, and Castanier therefore always took the "nicest."

When once the standard had been set up, there was nothing for it but everything in the household must be in conformity, from the linen, plate, and crystal through a thousand and one items of expenditure down to the pots and pans in the kitchen. Castanier had meant to "do things simply," as the saying goes, but he gradually found himself more and more in debt. One expense entailed another. The clock called for candle sconces. Fires must be lighted in the ornamental grates, but the curtains and hangings were too fresh and delicate to be soiled by smuts, so they must be replaced by patent and elaborate fireplaces,