Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

City of Dord

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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?


Written by eyeonnorquay

22 August 2016 at 5:42 pm

Posted in Humor

Starbucks Desert

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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.

Written by eyeonnorquay

5 July 2014 at 11:13 pm

Posted in Humor, Maps

Sult Action Plan (SAP)


The scanned document that you find attached to this email was discovered in a
washroom wastecan during a recent evening of public hearings at Vancouver City
Council, cleverly secreted in a sheaf of brown paper towels.

The most likely explanation is that a disgruntled city planning employee, fearing
to make any attempt to carry these few pages past vigilant building security,
left that task to a bolder soul. But even that unnamed valiant gauntlet runner
still quailed at the prospect of making the document and its revelations public.

I therefore have assumed the burden of releasing this signal CONFIDENTIAL
MEMORANDUM to a select circle of trusted acquaintances. You in turn are encouraged
to share the contents with anyone that you believe you yourself can trust.

While much of the MEMORANDUM can be verified in external independent sources, some
of the data remains uncorroborated. The stated date of 31 May 2011 offers reason to
believe that knowledge of this unprecedented policy initiative among Vancouver's
city planners may be simultaneous with — or even lag — that of
auspiciously networked persons such as yourselves.

The plausibility of the entire attached document suggests that it merits secure
archival preservation in and broad distribution through WikiLeaks.

In all sincerity,


Personal note: After careful consideration, with recourse to humane traditions
rather than to technical expertise, I am left wondering if the writer or writers of
the Memorandum do not have acquaintances among the following worthies: Menippus,
Lucian of Samosata, Martianus Capella, François Rabelais, Robert Burton,
Jonathan Swift, Edgar Allan Poe, and Søren Kierkegaard. Indeed, some of
these persons lived in times more trying than our own.










Written by eyeonnorquay

31 May 2011 at 11:11 am

Posted in Humor