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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 Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath by H. P. Lovecraft:

that which your fancy had fashioned, and vowed that henceforward no other spot should be their abode. "They are gone from their castle on unknown Kadath to dwell in your marvellous city. All through its palaces of veined marble they revel by day, and when the sun sets they go out in the perfumed gardens and watch the golden glory on temples and colonnades, arched bridges and silver-basined fountains, and wide streets with blossom-laden urns and ivory statues in gleaming rows. And when night comes they climb tall terraces in the dew, and sit on carved benches of porphyry scanning the stars, or lean over pale balustrades to gaze at the town's


The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from Story of an African Farm by Olive Schreiner:

now I have only this meat; it is my dinner meat. Please, my Father, send fire down from heaven to burn it. Thou hast said, Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou cast into the sea, nothing doubting, it shall be done. I ask for the sake of Jesus Christ. Amen."

He knelt down with his face upon the ground, and he folded his hands upon his curls. The fierce sun poured down its heat upon his head and upon his altar. When he looked up he knew what he should see--the glory of God! For fear his very heart stood still, his breath came heavily; he was half suffocated. He dared not look up. Then at last he raised himself. Above him was the quiet blue sky, about him the red earth; there were the clumps of silent ewes and his altar--that was all.

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

admit of a more distinct interpretation than a musical composition; and every reader may form his own accompaniment of thought or feeling to the strain which he hears. The Symposium of Plato is a work of this character, and can with difficulty be rendered in any words but the writer's own. There are so many half-lights and cross-lights, so much of the colour of mythology, and of the manner of sophistry adhering--rhetoric and poetry, the playful and the serious, are so subtly intermingled in it, and vestiges of old philosophy so curiously blend with germs of future knowledge, that agreement among interpreters is not to be expected. The expression 'poema magis putandum quam comicorum poetarum,' which has been applied to all the writings of Plato, is especially applicable to the Symposium.

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 War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy:

and one of the Apsheron regiment went forward past the Emperor.

As this Apsheron battalion marched by, the red-faced Miloradovich, without his greatcoat, with his Orders on his breast and an enormous tuft of plumes in his cocked hat worn on one side with its corners front and back, galloped strenuously forward, and with a dashing salute reined in his horse before the Emperor.

"God be with you, general!" said the Emperor.

"Ma foi, sire, nous ferons ce qui sera dans notre possibilite, sire,"* he answered gaily, raising nevertheless ironic smiles among the gentlemen of the Tsar's suite by his poor French.

*"Indeed, Sire, we shall do everything it is possible to do, Sire."


War and Peace