D B Davis
2018-06-09 14:18:43 UTC
An Inet search of "callidetic" mostly points to offshoots of "The Weapon
Shops of Isher" (van Vogt). And now it'll also point to this thread.
Ted included "The Weapon Shops of Isher"  in his "RI April 2018"
thread. My read of it just began. Van Vogt uses the neologism
"callidetic" to describe the protagonist in his story. It loosely means
"Callidetic" appears neither in my _Oxford Dictionary_ nor my
_Thesaurus_. Although the later does contain a few synonyms for "lucky."
The synonym "blessed" seems to suit me best.
Here's my stab at "callidetic"'s etymology. Kallos 'beauty' + detic.
The detic part of the word remains enigmatic to me.
"Lucky" appears in a couple of other sfnal stories known to me. It's
somewhat of a psionic skill in those stories. A character named Tex is a
lucky card player in "Card Trick" (Bupp). Then there's _Ringworld_
(Niven)'s Teela Brown.
You find callidetic people in real life. Shortly after it was
founded, FedEx was on the brink of insolvency. Almost on a lark, founder
Fred Smith gambled the company's remaining $5,000 on Black Jack in Las
Vegas. He won enough to keep FedEx flying for another day. 
Black Jack always seems to work for me too. Poker doesn't work as
well because there's always a joker who wants keep the game going for as
long as it takes the loser to "win."
One of my associates believes that the roulette wheel offers the
best odds for a "double down" tactic, which is mechanically mindless.
Every time you lose, you simply "double down" your bet until you win.
Unfortunately, a string of bad luck can cause you to run out of bucks
before "double down" ultimately pans out.