The bibliomancy meme redux

I’ve been tagged by Michael Zimmer with a bibliomancy meme. Regular readers know that I am a sucker for bibliomancy and “webomancy” of various forms. I was happy to participate in this theme’s grandfather over four years ago, and even created a script that did blogomancy.

So, the instructions are as follows: “grab the nearest book, open to page 123, go down to the 5th sentence and type up the 3 following sentences.” Simple enough, right?

Well, my office is a mess, and I have books strewn over my desk. Several of these are due for “discard,” as the libraries say, and other are related to my lectures for this week:

Try #1: Three Country Language Phrase Book: Japanese, English, Nepalese. Printed by the Toyama Prefecture; no date, but probably sometime in the 1980s. But it doesn’t have 123 pages.

Try #2: Defense Intelligence Agency, Warsaw Pact Ground Forces Equipment Identification Guide: Artillery, Rockets, and Missiles, February 1982. This is a great book to have around when watching Red Dawn , but since that happens very rarely, it’s not very useful. Page 123 contains a fuzzy photo of what appears to be a DDR soldier with an AT-3/Sagger armor-piercing missile. The caption reads “Ground mounted. Note the conical nose.” Which encourages a certain degree of ambiguity, since the soldier’s nose is indeed prominent and a bit round. But no 5th sentence.

Try #3: W. Cleon Skousen, The Communist Attack on US Police, Salt Lake City: Ensign Publishing Co., 1966. Too short by a single page.

Finally, by the fourth try, I actually managed to get my three sentences. This week, students from my course are reading from Michael Schudson’s Discovering the News. The quote:

Walter Lippman, in Public Opinion (1922), had begun to knock the “public” off the perch that the rhetoric of democracy had built for it. In The Phantom Public (1925), he was still more severe and critical of democratic ideals. “The private citizen today,” he wrote in the book’s opening sentence, “has come to feel rather like the deaf spectator in the back row, who ought to keep his mind on the mystery off there, but cannot quite manage to keep awake.”

I guess that’s cheating a little, since it sneaks in the first line of another book, but there it is.

And now I am supposed to tag others to do the same, but I do so half-heartedly; I will suffer no slight and you no misfortune if you do not carry this forward. Tagged: purse lip, square jaw, Kevin Lim, Adam Pacio, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, and Jason Nolan.

Update: I also retroactively tag Eszter Hargittai.

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One Comment

  1. Posted 2/11/2008 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Thanks, now I can play legitimately.:-)

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