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Monday 30 March 2015

Frank O'Hara: On Dealing with the Canada Question


Homeland Security sells a 3D printed drone for $1,100. Enter coordinates and it drops stuff "like in Hunger Games": photo Shane Bauer via Shane Bauer @shane_bauer, 7 September 2014

Untitled: photo via innersalts (Considerable Sacrificial Rituals)

Amazon Canada drones site

Amazon employees look to the skies at the company’s secret Canadian drones site somewhere in British Columbia, only 2,000ft from the US border: photo by Ed Pilkington for The Guardian, 30 March 2015

Amazon tests delivery drones at secret Canada site after US frustration: Exclusive: Guardian gains access to unnamed British Columbia site where tech giant’s roboticists and engineers, stymied by American regulation, are now developing their unmanned domestic delivery service: Ed Pilkington, The Guardian, 30 March 2015
Amazon is testing its drone delivery service at a secret site in Canada, following repeated warnings by the e-commerce giant that it would go outside the US to bypass what it sees as the US federal government’s lethargic approach to the new technology.

The largest internet retailer in the world is keeping the location of its new test site closely guarded. What can be revealed is that the company’s formidable team of roboticists, software engineers, aeronautics experts and pioneers in remote sensing –- including a former Nasa astronaut and the designer of the wingtip of the Boeing 787 –- are now operating in British Columbia.

The end goal is to utilise what Amazon sees as a slice of virgin airspace –- above 200ft, where most buildings end, and below 500ft, where general aviation begins. Into that aerial slice the company plans to pour highly autonomous drones of less than 55lbs, flying through corridors 10 miles or longer at 50mph and carrying payloads of up to 5lbs that account for 86% of all the company’s packages.

Amazon has acquired a plot of open land lined by oak trees and firs, where it is conducting frequent experimental flights with the full blessing of the Canadian government. As if to underline the significance of the move, the test site is barely 2,000ft from the US border, which was clearly visible from where the Guardian stood on a recent visit.

The Guardian was invited to visit Amazon’s previously undisclosed Canadian drone test site, where it has been conducting outdoor flights for the past few months. For the duration of the visit, three plain-clothed security guards kept watch from the surrounding hills.

Amazon’s drone visionaries are taking the permissive culture on the Canadian side of the border and using it to fine-tune the essential features of what they hope will become a successful delivery-by-drone system. The Guardian witnessed tests of a hybrid drone that can take off and land vertically as well as fly horizontally.

Amazon said that by the time the FAA approved a licence to test-fly a prototype drone for its planned Prime Air service the aircraft was already obsolete
: photo by Zuma/Rex via The Guardian, 24 March 2015

In Joe’s deli the old lady 
greets me Sonny     the man with  
the rolls is my son, Sonny, how 
are you today in the cold out? fine  
and coffee too and Camels
a saucepan smells of eggs soft sour 
Tanya.......the Barone Gallery  
tomorrow.............the light broke  
before I even got out of bed  
and then it got put together again  
you discard your jacket
  ...........................and go  
sweatered into the afternoon 
wait for me
  ...............I’m staying with you 
fuck Canada

Frank O'Hara (1926-1966): from Variations on Saturday, 10 December 1960, in Love Poems (Tentative Title), 1965

Camel Cigarettes ad, girl in pool
: photo by Nickolas Muray (1892-1965), 1956 (George Eastman House)

Vancouver riot 'kiss' couple

A couple are seen in the middle of the Vancouver riot after the Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup decider: photo by Rich Lam via The Guardian, 15 June 2011

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The Halo Drop Drones vendor got nervous about us taking too detailed of pictures, in case we wanted to duplicate them: photo Shane Bauer via Shane Bauer @shane_bauer, 7 September 2014

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A drone company is set up at an Urban Shield site, but the county is waiting for FAA permission to use them: photo Shane Bauer via Shane Bauer @shane_bauer, 7 September 2014

Drones for cops at Urban Shield: photo via Shane Bauer photo Shane Bauer via Shane Bauer @shane_bauer, 7 September 2014

Lets do it Sweden #FuQCanada: image via Daniel James Hoeffel @Hoeffs_11, 21 February 2014


Nin Andrews said...

Love the O'Hara poem. Those drones seem like one of the dumbest ideas out there. I bet they're loud, too. But then, what do I know?

TC said...


They sound like this.

Very er... soothing?

Perhaps not so much for the birds, though.

Hazen said...

Oh, Canada . . .

I can see the headline now: Amazon Provides Free Aerial Targets for Gun Owners.

TC said...


Yes. So now it's come to this.

Had Buck Rogers only known -- the stinking air of the future thick with buzzing and humming predator craft disguised as "neutral" Canuck blade-running air-rights-peddling money-grubbers (no disguise really necessary, mercenary money-grubbers everywhere are looking more and more alike every day).

Rumour in the industry has it Amazon only had to pay $52.7 million for exclusive air rights to British Columbia, in perpetuity. A slam-dunk bargain. Take that, Uncle Sim! Right there in your surveillance monitor!!

Let's hope calmer minds prevail before Jeff Bezos unleashes swarms of dronebot attacks on the Homeland. You'd think that having sucked $4,320,000,000 in profits out of the US -- this month alone mind you -- the fellow would have learned a bit of respect. But what am I saying?! Amazon and respect in the same sentence??!!

John Kerry will be no help in this one. Nor will John Boehner, nor all the Dumb and Dumber Republicans you can fit on the head of a pin the size of the The Horsehead Nebula.

And Fox News?

Won't know what hit 'em once The Incredibly Polite Canadian News Team touches down on the field of battle.

billoo said...

"delivery-by-drone system"

Er..I think that's what the military has been doing in my country for a while now. Hmm.

TC said...


Yes, and that's the sound they make -- "Hmmmmm" -- in the carrying out of their deliveries of terror, as well as crap commercial product, from what was once the sky.

Delivered "safely", and of course "surgically" (Americans worship surgery, even if it's just another name for chancey but profitable bloodletting -- your blood, your risk, somebody else's profits).

In fact it's hard to distinguish amazon from the government any more -- except that, in this case, even government showed a bit more restraint, when it came to licensing the carte blanche obliteration of the sky by these monstrous machines.

Toy, delivery wagon, or weapon -- one way or the other, surely the heavens of the future will be blotted out by these wretched abominations.

And nobody seems to care.

Though soon enough the robotic desire for product and the robotic delivery of product, as also the conditioned desire for wars at a distance and the robotic delivery of such wars, are bound to converge, in a perfect union of venal cowardly American triumphalist engorgement with itself.

The #1 world vendor of drone systems, by the way, is Israel.

billoo said...

Yes, wasn't Sheikh Yassin one of the first?

of course, it's probably no use talking about firsts in times of a self-willed amnesia. But, yes, Mike Davis on car bombs..

TC said...

The murder of the blind, deaf, paralyzed Yassin in his wheelchair, by Israeli missiles fired from an American-made Apache, as he left a mosque, was a personal project of Sharon, who had tried more than once to take him out.

I suppose that incident served both as a model for more such "pinpointed" assassinations (though with that one, not untypically in the history of such attacks, many others died along with the "pinpointed" victim), and, logically enough, as incitement to those who had respected him, and whom he had indeed represented.

It's not much mentioned that Yassin was actually a constraining figure, a relative moderate, within the Palestinian struggle against the illegal Zionist occupation.

The paradigm of cowardly "heroism" was thus put in place by Sharon, who directed the operation in comfort from his ranch in the Negev.

Sharon, the prototype of the bully-coward killer.

Hymns in his memory are sung even now by scores of murderous drones, in memoriam to a ruthless killer.

Jeff Bezos should be so good at what he does. Just make money. And don't get in his way, yeah?

erin said...

hey, a new teller was hired at my bank the other day. it's a small town. we know everyone, if not by name, then at least by sight. she seemed really nice. (huh, it's been a long time since they hired.) she asked if i wanted to set up on-line banking. i looked at her and asked if she was crazy. huh? - she reeled. i asked, isn't that kind of like saying, hey, we both know you don't really need me here.

and they blink

it was a year ago i heard about the possibility of drones delivering shit, er, um, i mean helping to streamline commerce. i guess it was already too late then. like the year i heard about 3-d printing personalized mugs, cute ones for grandparents for christmas. i looked up and said to james, shit, they're going to 3-d print guns.

now it's all sewn up.

remember passenger pigeons? no, me neither.

i feel sick. really. really. sick.

just read "Trilobite" by p'j pancake last night. it was an airplane which flew over in his story. where is p'j hiding these days? where can we hide?

TC said...

Now erin -- Blinking. That's some darn suspicious behavior right there.

It's now come out that anybody insane enough to fly on an airplane is being watched with extreme vigilance each moment while in the airport by these crews of whacko government agents, checking for signs of suspicious behavior.

Possibly they're watching for these same tell-tale signs in the bank as well.

Yawning. Complaining. Throat-clearing. Wide open eyes. Inappropriate attire. Whistling. Looking down. Grooming. Signs of having shaved. Rubbing your hands together.

Do any of these things in an airport and you're under suspicion.

Do more than one of them, and you may never leave that airport.

"The checklist is part of TSA’s controversial program to identify potential terrorists based on behaviors that it thinks indicate stress or deception — known as the Screening of Passengers by Observation Techniques, or SPOT."

Pseudo-science at work, keeping the unfriendly skies even more terrifying than you already thought they were.

The New Normals will spot people like you, James and me the minute we walk in the door.

Even if it's merely the cave door or den opening.

And here we thought were were safe in the protection of our home!

And as soon as we're spotted, what will we do?


Blink, fidget, yawn, whistle, scratch ourselves, fall over.

"Fidgeting, whistling, sweaty palms. Add one point each. Arrogance, a cold penetrating stare, and rigid posture, two points."


Damn, here they come with the cuff-tie thingies. Don't look down or whistle -- for heavens' sake, above all, don't whistlel!! You could be suspected of -- OMG -- being happy!!

TSA's Secret Behavior List to Spot Terrorists