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Today's Stichomancy for Christina Aguilera

The first excerpt represents the element of Air. It speaks of mental influences and the process of thought, and is drawn from The Village Rector by Honore de Balzac:

what is really demanded of them; and yet their functions are the noblest in the State and demand extraordinary men.

Do not think, dear sir and friend, that I blame only the Ecole itself; no, I blame the system by which it is recruited. This system is the /concours/, competition,--a modern invention, essentially bad; bad not only in science, but wherever it is employed, in arts, in all selections of men, of projects, of things. If it is a reproach to our great Ecoles that they have not produced men superior to other educational establishments, it is still more shameful that the /grand prix/ of the Institute has not as yet furnished a single great painter, great musician, great

The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie:

clearly to blame! Inattention in such important matters cannot be too highly censured. Mop and pail again! How are the mighty fallen! Ninth month: Promoted to sweeping out wards, where I found a friend of my childhood in Lieutenant Thomas Beresford (bow, Tommy!), whom I had not seen for five long years. The meeting was affecting! Tenth month: Reproved by matron for visiting the pictures in company with one of the patients, namely: the aforementioned Lieutenant Thomas Beresford. Eleventh and twelfth months: Parlourmaid duties resumed with entire success. At the end of the year left hospital in a blaze of glory. After that, the talented Miss Cowley drove

Secret Adversary
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Scenes from a Courtesan's Life by Honore de Balzac:

almost as soon as he was recaptured, profiting by the example of the famous Comte de Sainte-Helene, while modifying all that was ill planned in Coignard's daring scheme. To take the place of an honest man and carry on the convict's career is a proposition of which the two terms are too contradictory for a disastrous outcome not to be inevitable, especially in Paris; for, by establishing himself in a family, a convict multiplies tenfold the perils of such a substitution. And to be safe from all investigation, must not a man assume a position far above the ordinary interests of life. A man of the world is subject to risks such as rarely trouble those who have no contact with the world; hence the priest's gown is the safest disguise

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 Jungle by Upton Sinclair:

Christmas marketing to do--a roast of pork and a cabbage and some rye bread, and a pair of mittens for Ona, and a rubber doll that squeaked, and a little green cornucopia full of candy to be hung from the gas jet and gazed at by half a dozen pairs of longing eyes.

Even half a year of the sausage machines and the fertilizer mill had not been able to kill the thought of Christmas in them; there was a choking in Jurgis' throat as he recalled that the very night Ona had not come home Teta Elzbieta had taken him aside and shown him an old valentine that she had picked up in a paper store for three cents--dingy and shopworn, but with bright colors, and figures of angels and doves. She had wiped all the specks off this, and was