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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 Art of War by Sun Tzu:

Duke listened quietly and then said: "Who will attack the first tomorrow -- I or Bonaparte?" "Bonaparte," replied Lord Uxbridge. "Well," continued the Duke, "Bonaparte has not given me any idea of his projects; and as my plans will depend upon his, how can you expect me to tell you what mine are?" [1] ]

18. All warfare is based on deception.

[The truth of this pithy and profound saying will be admitted by every soldier. Col. Henderson tells us that Wellington, great in so many military qualities, was especially distinguished by "the extraordinary skill with which he concealed his movements and deceived both friend and foe."]


The Art of War
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte:

children of their years in abilities, they were decidedly behind them in attainments; their manners were uncultivated, and their tempers unruly. And this she attributed to a want of sufficient firmness, and diligent, persevering care on my part.

Unshaken firmness, devoted diligence, unwearied perseverance, unceasing care, were the very qualifications on which I had secretly prided myself; and by which I had hoped in time to overcome all difficulties, and obtain success at last. I wished to say something in my own justification; but in attempting to speak, I felt my voice falter; and rather than testify any emotion, or suffer the tears to overflow that were already gathering in my


Agnes Grey
The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from The Mountains by Stewart Edward White:

example: GIVEN, rice, oatmeal, and raisins. Your expert accomplishes the following:

ITEM--Boiled rice.

ITEM--Boiled oatmeal.

ITEM--Rice boiled until soft, then stiffened by the addition of quarter as much oatmeal.

ITEM--Oatmeal in which is boiled almost to the dissolving point a third as much rice.

These latter two dishes taste entirely unlike each other or their separate ingredients. They are moreover great in nutrition.

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 Warlord of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs:

upon a small door so cunningly inlaid in the shaft's base that it might have passed unnoticed by a less keen or careful observer. There was the door that would lead me within the prison, but where was the means to open it? No button or lock were visible. Again and again I went carefully over every square inch of its surface, but the most that I could find was a tiny pinhole a little above and to the right of the door's center--a pinhole that seemed only an accident of manufacture or an imperfection of material. Into this minute aperture I attempted to peer, but whether it


The Warlord of Mars