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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 A Heap O' Livin' by Edgar A. Guest:

Any reward we may choose Leaves the account still unpaid. But little real happiness lies In fighting alone for a prize.

Give me the thrill of the task, The joy of the battle and strife, Of being of use, and I'll ask No greater reward from this life. Better than fame or applause Is striving to further a cause.


A Heap O' Livin'
The second excerpt represents the element of Fire. It speaks of emotional influences and base passions, and is drawn from A treatise on Good Works by Dr. Martin Luther:

XX. On this is based the wonderful and righteous judgment of God, that at times a poor man, in whom no one can see many great works, in the privacy of his home joyfully praises God when he fares well, or with entire confidence calls upon Him when he fares ill, and thereby does a greater and more acceptable work than another, who fasts much, prays much, endows churches, makes pilgrimages, and burdens himself with great deeds in this place and in that. Such a fool opens wide his mouth, looks for great works to do, and is so blinded that he does not at all notice this greatest work, and praising God is in his eyes a very small matter compared with the great idea he has formed of the works

The third excerpt represents the element of Water. It speaks of pure spiritual influences and feelings of love, and is drawn from Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson:

deep water for Alan to be riding, who had no better battle-horse than a green purse and a matter of five pounds.

The luck, it seems, changed on the second day. About noon I was wakened as usual for dinner, and as usual refused to eat, and was given a dram with some bitter infusion which the barber had prescribed. The sun was shining in at the open door of the Cage, and this dazzled and offended me. Cluny sat at the table, biting the pack of cards. Alan had stooped over the bed, and had his face close to my eyes; to which, troubled as they were with the fever, it seemed of the most shocking bigness.

He asked me for a loan of my money.

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 Bureaucracy by Honore de Balzac:

pox; the lips were thick and the lower one pendent; the eyes light- blue, and his figure above the common height. Neat and clean as a master of history and geography in a young ladies' school ought to be, he wore fine linen, a pleated shirt-frill, a black cashmere waistcoat, left open and showing a pair of braces embroidered by his daughter, a diamond in the bosom of his shirt, a black coat, and blue trousers. In winter he added a nut-colored box-coat with three capes, and carried a loaded stick, necessitated, he said, by the profound solitude of the quarter in which he lived. He had given up taking snuff, and referred to this reform as a striking example of the empire a man could exercise over himself. Monsieur Phellion came slowly up the stairs,