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Today's Stichomancy for Steve Martin

The first excerpt represents the past or something you must release, and is drawn from Pivot of Civilization by Margaret Sanger:

MIND IN THE MAKING will find it very reasonable to define a civilization as a system of society-making ideas at issue with reality. Just so far as the system of ideas meets the needs and conditions of survival or is able to adapt itself to the needs and conditions of survival of the society it dominates, so far will that society continue and prosper. We are beginning to realize that in the past and under different conditions from our own, societies have existed with systems of ideas and with methods of thought very widely contrasting with what we should consider right and sane to-day. The extraordinary neolithic civilizations of the American continent that flourished before the coming of the Europeans, seem to have got along

The second excerpt represents the present or the deciding factor of the moment, and is drawn from Stories From the Old Attic by Robert Harris:

many months, until, in the fullness of time, it could be concealed no longer. At that point she resolved to throw herself on the mercy of her mistress, the king's daughter, to whom she was a lady in waiting. She took her newborn son to the princess and begged quite pathetically for her help.

The king's daughter, knowing that he was a hard man who had never hesitated to crush, kill, or otherwise persecute anyone who offended him in the slightest, realized that she could not tell the truth or say simply that the child had been found during one of the princess' walks, because the king would then send it to a harsh life in an orphanage--and that would be if she found him in a good mood. She

The third excerpt represents the future or something you must embrace, and is drawn from The Goodness of St. Rocque and Other Stories by Alice Dunbar:

"Niggers! niggers! Kill 'em, scabs!" chorused the crowd.

With muscles standing out like cables through their blue cotton shirts, and sweat rolling from glossy black skins, the Negro stevedores were at work steadily labouring at the cotton, with the rhythmic song swinging its cadence in the hot air. The roar of the crowd caused the men to look up with momentary apprehension, but at the over-seer's reassuring word they bent back to work.

Finnegan was a Titan. With livid face and bursting veins he ran into the street facing the French Market, and uprooted a huge block of paving stone. Staggering under its weight, he rushed


The Goodness of St. Rocque and Other Stories