Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category
Upon reading the following brief account of the ghost word dord, it immediately struck me that we in Vancouver have the misfortune to live in the City of Dord. As a particular delight, the story includes the fear-inducing word planned. Further expatiation will follow presentation of this bright nugget, latched onto only as a discerning crow might treasure a piece of tinfoil.
The most famous ghost of the twentieth century appeared in Webster's Second New International, published in 1934. Webster's included many abbreviations in its wordlist, and the compilers planned to include the abbreviation for density, usually D, though sometimes a lowercase d is used. In July 1931, one lexicographer — Austin M. Patterson, special editor for chemistry — typed a 3 × 5 card explaining the abbreviation: he headed it "D or d" and provided the explanation "density." But when it came time to transcribe the card, someone misread it and ran theletters together without spaces, producing "Dord, density." It took five years for aMerriam editor to notice the strange entry, supported by neither etymology nor pronunciation. After investigating — no one could find any evidence for a word dord — he realized it was a mistake. He made an annotation: "plate change / imperative / urgent," and the printer removed dord from the next reprint, filling the otherwise empty line by adding a few letters to the entry for doré furnace. Pages 152-153 from "Of Ghosts and Mountweazels," Chapter 10½ in: Jack Lynch. You Could Look It Up: The Reference Shelf from Ancient Babylon to Wikipedia. New York : Bloomsbury Press, c2016
The suggestivity of this passage could prove as boundless as the heights to which a Babylonic tower might aspire.
To start with, notice the astounding textual homology: a foolish mistake ran the letters together without spaces. Think of thin streets. Think of plazas plundered, both before (Westbank at 2220 Kingsway) and after (Cadillac Fairview at Pacific Centre) those plazas ever see the light of day.
Next, appreciate how the dictionary publisher could fix the density mistake after a mere five years with a plate change. The beset residents of Vancouver promise to become far more beset when a tectonic plate change restructures the City of Dord.
Finally, revel in thinking about the conjunction of “ghost” with “density.” The incongruity of the two notions emblematizes the future that Bob Rennie has infamously promised to Vancouver. An overall proportion of ever more dwellings for ever fewer residents, as global wealth runs amok. From another angle, ponder how the wraithlike nonsubstance of ghosts has no truck with concentration of matter.
Here is a conundrum for the apostles of density:
How many ghosts can float around in one microsuite in the City of Dord?
Some time ago, Eye on Norquay attempted to do a freedom of information request, to retrieve the planning criteria that led to Norquay being fixed in City of Vancouver crosshairs for the second “neighbourhood centre.”
All that came back was an offer to charge about $500 to make the attempt (and likely return three sheets of paper with everything blacked out).
Chad Skelton’s recent visualization of the Starbuckification of Vancouver promised to offer insight into this ongoing Norquay mystery. And all for free — excluding the labor of dropping a Norquay outline onto the mapping.
The effort confirmed the intuition. Norquay is a pinkish-to-red Starbucks desert. See?
Conclusion: Planners decided that any area of Vancouver that was so Starbucks-starved must need fixing. Like a wary cat, whether it wanted fixing or not. Thus did Norquay get mass rezoned for a “neighbourhood centre” against its will.
Guess what? Four years onward, there still isn’t a Starbucks. Here’s betting that particular incursion will be a long time coming. And that’s OK, since Starbuckification is a synonym for gentrification.
By the way, it’s looking more and more like Westbank miscalculated by trying to plop its product at 2220 Kingsway. Surprise, surprise.