By Mary-Hedda Liddell-Lambe and O. Felix Kulpa
Epigraph: “‘Clinton Inc.’ is the wrong term. ‘House Clinton’ — like House Lannister in ‘Game of Thrones’ — is closer to the mark.” --Jonah Goldberg
Alpha. “Esperanto continues to give me something I find nowhere else, an irrational sense of directly belonging to the world.” --Jorge Camacho
Beta. “The single most important thing about trading — aside from the other single most important things — is learning emotional control. Discipline. Objectivity. The ability to confront error. The ability to see that what you’ve done is not correct and to adjust accordingly.” --Bruce Kovner
Gamma. There’s a new pneumonia vaccine out that covers new viruses, so even if you have had your “lifetime” pneumonia vaccine, you may need this new one, too. Or not: there’s a reason they call pneumonia “the old man’s friend.”
Delta. “The power of ideas is the greatest power. As Keynes said, we’re all slaves to some dead economist.”
Epsilon. “The best travelers have no fixed plans and are not intent upon arriving.” --Zen saying
Zeta. “Faith and reason are two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth.” --John Paul II
Eta. “But when partner next bids spades, the situation changes again. Your hand becomes worth an additional three or four points in distributional values, and you show this by jumping to four spades to inform partner about the improved nature of your hand.” --from “Learn Contract Bridge the Fortune Cookie Way”
Theta. Ancient Greek had some unnecessary letters like xi (the name is usually pronounced in English like “sigh” or “zigh”). The letter represented the sound [ks], which could just have easily have been represented by a kappa and a sigma, the correlatives of [k] and [s].
Iota. To have great ideas, have a lot of ideas. The flow of ideas is in some contexts (aptitude testing) called “ideaphoria.” You can get your ideaphoria measured. Everybody has at least one great idea a year. Geniuses have seven or eight a day.
Kappa. Zippy gets lots of ideas on a regular basis: “A rubber band powered car -- yes!” He says ideas are in the air: “I’ll put all my IRAs into tattoo removal!” Asked where the ideas in the air come from, Zippy says, “I’m having a light bulb moment -- Cincinnati!”
Lambda. One feature of a good personal organization system is that when you fall off the wagon, you can get back on at any time without having to “catch up” on all your delinquencies.
Mu. Never expect gratitude, but be good to others anyway. When others are good to you, feel and display gratitude. In other words, be a mensch.
Nu. The Yiddish word “nu” means many different things in different contexts, and it would be fun to say that the one thing is doesn’t mean is “[What’s] new?” But it can mean approximately that, or maybe more nearly “out with it!” or a friendly “what have you to say for yourself?” or even "So?"
Xi. “I have no riches but my thoughts, yet these are wealth enough for me.” -Sarah Josepha Hale, writer and editor (1788-1879). She'd be fun to have a beer with.
Omicron. The temptation to give these posts clickbait headlines is strong. I resisted the impulse to title this one “New Zoning Plan Puts ‘Red Light District’ Near Each School.” I don’t expect gratitude. (Or deserve it -- why give plaudits for common decency?)
Pi. “The tracks of failure end only at the graveyard gate.” Screwing up over and over and over is a sure sign you’re alive, so cheer up.
Rho. “Cheer up! Things are getting worse!” This deep saying is for pessimists -- if things are getting worse, then this moment is the best of all remaining time, so rejoice this very instant.
Sigma. When the first snow falls before the leaves are all down, you know that Murphy lives and laughs.
Tau. A mature red fox trotted briskly across my front yard this morning. What’s your hurry? I thought.
Upsilon. Farmer friends (husband and wife) lost a dozen cooped turkey poults overnight a couple of months back, without a sound or a trace. Their best guess was a snake. For some reason, the event haunts me.
Phi. “If there’s prune juice, why is there no raisin juice?” --Jarna Shrile
Chi. “Chi” is not only a Greek alphabet letter pronounced [ˈkī], but under a different pronunciation [ˈchē] a “vital energy that is held to animate the body internally and is of central importance in some Eastern systems of medical treatment (such as acupuncture) and of exercise or self-defense (such as tai chi).
Psi. To some, the “p” in “psi" is silent, as in “pshaw,” but I like to pronounce the “p,” lest anyone think I am sighing and feel sorry for me. I don’t want their pity.
Omega. Sheldon Kopp said, “If you have a hero, look again: you have diminished yourself in some way.” No doubt he’s right in some way, but that saying rings hollow to me. I have lots of heroes and they’re like oxygen to me. One is: Barbara Miller, who ran the “I Have a Friend Youth Center” for 21 years in Middletown, retiring and closing the place December 31, 2014. "Barbara Miller is just a fantastic woman. She's been running this basically on her own with a few volunteers," City Youth Services Coordinator Justin Carbonella said. "She's devoted her life to this. It takes a really motivated person to do what she does." Sister Mary McCarthy, president of Mercy High School, said that Miller “is totally committed to providing everything those kids need for a better education." http://bit.ly/2ejUwMk. And guess who another of my heroes is: Sr. Mary McCarthy. Happy Halloween.