Banksy Trick

Hell Yeah: Banksy Painting Immediately Self-Destructs After Selling For Over $1 Million

By Halle Kiefer@hallekiefer

This isn’t Banksy’s first time at the rodeo and even if it was, well, that rodeo would be covered in priceless graffiti. He knows when he needs to kick things up a notch, though. Like on Friday night, when Sotheby’s auctioned off the anonymous street artist’s famous 2006 work “Girl with a Balloon” for the equivalent of over $1.2 million. After the auction closed, an alarm reportedly sounded from the piece and the canvas slowly started to slide down…into a shredder mounted in the painting’s frame, ripping it into little strips, a truly wonderful Banksy moment you can see for yourself in the photos below.

“It appears we just got Banksy-ed,” Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s European director of contemporary art told the Art Newspaper. “He is arguably the greatest British street artist, and tonight we saw a little piece of Banksy genius.” Branczik also said he was “not in on the ruse,” which really takes it to that next level.

According to the Financial Times, the vendor selling the piece acquired “Girl with a Balloon” directly from the artist himself. Said Sotheby’s in a statement, “We have talked with the successful purchaser who was surprise by the story. We are in discussion about next steps.” Several outlets have postulated that the stunt required Banksy (or an agent there of) to be in the room to remotely activate the shredder. Reports the Art Newspaper, “a man dressed in black sporting sunglasses and a hat was seen scuffling with security guards near the entrance to Sotheby’s shortly after the incident.”


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I told you this was going to happen.

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Lines of Thought

Lines of Thought

The insight process is a delicate balancing act. At first the brain lavishes the scarce resource of attention on a single problem. But, once the brain is sufficiently focused the cortex needs to relax in order to seek out the more remote association in the right hemisphere, which will provide the insight. The relaxation phase is crucial. That’s why so many insights happen during warm showers. Another ideal movement for insights is in the early morning right after we wake up. The drowsy brain is unwound and disorganized, open to all sorts of unconventional ideas. The right hemisphere is also unusually active. The problem with the morning though, is that we’re always so rushed. We’ve got to get the kids ready for school, so we leap out of bed and never give ourselves a chance to think. If we’re stuck on a particular problem, it’s better to set the alarm clock a few minutes early so that we have time to like in bed and ruminate. We do some of our best thinking when we’re half asleep.

Jung-Beeman and Kounios   The New Yorker 2008


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The Path To Authoritarianism


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Amsterdam – Part 4 – Sex and Drugs

Amsterdam – Part 4 Sex and Drugs

Been a while since I started posting this last Amsterdam series. It would be hard to end without something on sex and drugs—what Red Light’s all about. Tourist come here to look, I come each year to look at people. They are interesting to watch from the front porch of Torenzicht Hotel. I constant flow or passers by reminds me of the roundabout aquarium in San Francisco—such a wide variety of life, and colors. Tour groups, mom and dads, young lovers, college kids on break, and motorcycles make their way along these crowded, narrow streets within this Disneyland of XXX.

Not much has changed this year. There seem to be fewer window hookers this year, but there are more than enough to go around. They remind me of one of Steven King’s Dark Tower series. A ghost town with robotic hookers—and we have robotic hookers now, some pretty good ones, but expensive. Getting more sophisticated every year. Soon they will be well read, and really not that different than the real thing, which turns out to be fifteen minute fantasy at best.

It’s almost scary. How long will it be before someone buys one of these $1,600 dolls and sets it up in one of the sidewalk windows?  Sex sells. Couples line up for 20 minute waits to see the live sex show at Casa Rosso.

Price of admission is 50 Euros, and the line is endless, mostly young and mostly couples, sometimes groups of giggling girls. 108 seats inside. 180 x 50 = $9,000 per show, ten shows a day. The owner seen sometimes with bodyguards. He owns a string of lesser shows like this along the street. Big money, and the coffee shops make money too, but not so many as before. I noticed three, the Bulldog, that’s been here forever.

I passed by Central Coffee shop in my way back from the Maritime Museum. First time I have ever noticed this one, on the other side of two wide avenues in front of Central Station. I had a cup of coffee and observed an endless line of customers of every age and race. Some still have suitcases in hand—first stop. They que in wait for two busy dealers. Five grams the most that one can buy, and twenty bucks the least that one can pay.

Feels Good is still here. It opened last year. Always crowded, buyers wait in line.

These are the only major places  operating in the Red Light. All the other, older coffee houses have been outsourced to more respectable neighborhoods such as Rembrandtplein. These are much less crowded, slower paced.


I love the pot names: Amnesia, Oceans 12, Master Kush, Gorelle Glue, Crystal Lady, Mango Madness and Samago, just to name a few. New forms of paraphernalia is also fascinating—and expensive.

There’s all kinds of bongs, of course.

And Hurricanes

The Hurricane’s design is different from other pipes in that its corpus is specifically designed to make the smoke swirl, similar to a hurricane. Fine punctures are made along its corpus, creating air-jets which filter out tar particles. Because the smoke rises in a cyclone-like fashion, the centrifugal force pushes the tar particles against the inner wall, where they will be collected through the air-jets. It is advertised as a double-filtered pipe because of this extra form of tar extraction. Different versions of Hurricanes vary in size, as well as in the number of air-jets they have. Having more air jets increases the velocity flow of the smoke when inhaling, which results in a quicker, faster “hit”. (Taken from Wikipedia) .

There are all kinds of vapes of course.

One can also buy a Volcano.

These run from $400 to $1000.

Volcano User

Who buys these strange devices? Seems like it would be so much simpler to simply roll a joint.  Bringing one of them home on the plane seems iffy, but whatever. I turned 80 this year. Maybe I’m just getting too damn old for these newfangled things.

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Warren Zevon

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Remembering Buckminster Fuller

Remembering Bucky Fuller


Image           It was 1957, my sophomore year at Southern Illinois University. Buckminster Fuller took up residence at Carbondale on invitation from the design department. We were told not to worry about the hours-long lectures he was known for. He had a kidney problem and would need to use the restroom frequently. It did not work out that way.

            He was a stocky little guy with glasses that seemed inches thick, secured by rubber bands around the back side of his head. His belt was hidden underneath A bay window that would melt away in later years. I liked him at once, we all did. Bucky was without pretension, smiling, energetic, eager to begin. He stood before a blackboard with a box of colored chalks and spoke three hours nonstop that first day . . . stream of consciousness. His subjects orbited around us, sometimes three or four at once…

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