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Friday, August 31, 2012

Matt Taibbi Explains Romney's Wealth

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 6:58 PM

... and what it means. This is a breathtaking well-written must-read.

Last May, in a much-touted speech in Iowa, Romney used language that was literally inflammatory to describe America's federal borrowing. "A prairie fire of debt is sweeping across Iowa and our nation," he declared. "Every day we fail to act, that fire gets closer to the homes and children we love." Our collective debt is no ordinary problem: According to Mitt, it's going to burn our children alive.

And this is where we get to the hypocrisy at the heart of Mitt Romney. Everyone knows that he is fantastically rich, having scored great success, the legend goes, as a "turnaround specialist," a shrewd financial operator who revived moribund companies as a high-priced consultant for a storied Wall Street private equity firm. But what most voters don't know is the way Mitt Romney actually made his fortune: by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back. This is the plain, stark reality that has somehow eluded America's top political journalists for two consecutive presidential campaigns: Mitt Romney is one of the greatest and most irresponsible debt creators of all time. In the past few decades, in fact, Romney has piled more debt onto more unsuspecting companies, written more gigantic checks that other people have to cover, than perhaps all but a handful of people on planet Earth.

...

[Mitt has] been right with them on the front lines of the financialization revolution, a decades-long campaign in which the old, simple, let's-make-stuff-and-sell-it manufacturing economy was replaced with a new, highly complex, let's-take-stuff-and-trash-it financial economy. Instead of cars and airplanes, we built swaps, CDOs and other toxic financial products. Instead of building new companies from the ground up, we took out massive bank loans and used them to acquire existing firms, liquidating every asset in sight and leaving the target companies holding the note. The new borrow-and-conquer economy was morally sanctified by an almost religious faith in the grossly euphemistic concept of "creative destruction," and amounted to a total abdication of collective responsibility by America's rich, whose new thing was making assloads of money in ever-shorter campaigns of economic conquest, sending the proceeds offshore, and shrugging as the great towns and factories their parents and grandparents built were shuttered and boarded up, crushed by a true prairie fire of debt.

John Koster Spends Big Money on an Anti-Gay Campaign Manager

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 5:49 PM

Call me crazy, but if I was a consultant for the GOP, I'd have some advice for John Koster, the Republican running in Washington State's new 1st Congressional District: You shouldn't have Larry Stickney as your campaign manager.

Stickney ran Protect Marriage Washington, a statewide campaign to repeal domestic-partnership rights for gay couples in 2009, a campaign that was extremely dishonest, a campaign that operated in conjunction with an out-of-state tax-evader, and a campaign—with Stickney as the head man—who used every anti-gay trick in the book and claimed to espouse family values despite the fact that Stickney was thrice married and faced allegations from an ex-wife of domestic abuse.

Now Koster has paid Stickney $148,000 in wages and other receipts in the 2010 and 2012 campaigns, according to records from the Federal elections Commission, including $3,250 monthly salary as the campaign manager. Meanwhile, his family is in on the act. Among Greta, Matt, and Pollyanna Stickney, they've hauled another $36,000.

Why is Koster so cozy with an anti-gay bigot who flamed out in an election failure?

Koster didn't return my call today. But if it gives you any solace, Stickney has a track record of defeat. I can't calculate what, exactly, the voting trends were inside Washington State's new 1st Congressional District in when voters approved Referendum 71, despite Stickney's efforts to defeat it, because the new district didn't yet exist in 2009. But it stands to reason that many key voters approved gay rights. And they'll be inclined to vote against Koster, particularly if they know he's got Stickney in tow.

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How Much of Their Advertisers' Money Is Poster Giant Going to Spend?

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 5:03 PM

That's my question.

We've been watching the war between activist group Grrl Army and Poster Giant—the promotions company that uses public spaces as its own, private advertising venues—for over a week now. This wall outside our office is ground zero and the stakes have escalated, with the rivaling sides covering each others' posters with more elaborate works with increasing frequency. In the latest salvo, even before 9:00 a.m., a man was out there this morning using a shovel to dismantle Grrl Army's installation of coat hangers (a statement about illegal abortions and preventing new posters from being put up).

Here's shovel bro:

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Then Poster Giant slapped up some posters, which were up for—what—an hour? They weren't there long. A woman not affiliated with Grrl Army came by and slathered pink paint across the wall. Here's the result:

Continue reading »

Men Crying in Front of Paintings

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 4:42 PM

Christopher Martin Hoff, The Lee Shore, 2010
  • Courtesy Linda Hodges Gallery and Herbert Hall
  • Christopher Martin Hoff, The Lee Shore, 2010

After the Bumbershoot art preview today, I got a phone call from one Herbert Hall. He wanted to talk about Christopher Martin Hoff, whose paintings and life are the subject of a memorial exhibition I wrote about in this week's Bumbershoot guide.

Hall is the proud owner of a triptych that's included in the show. The triptych is called The Lee Shore (see above).

A lee (or leeward) shore is the one you're on if you're standing facing the sea and the wind is blowing at your face; if it's blowing at your back, you're on the windward shore. Hoff's painting was part of his series inspired by Moby-Dick (he talks about why in this interview with Joey Veltkamp). Melville titled the 23rd chapter of his book "The Lee Shore," and it includes a meditation on the dangerous thrill of being unmoored and at sea.

"Isn't that beautiful?" a man asked Hall when both of them were standing in front of The Lee Shore at the preview today at Seattle Center.

"Yes, I know, that's why I bought it," Hall said.

The man started to cry. It was Hoff's father.

I recommend visiting Christopher Martin Hoff this weekend, along with Elvistravaganza, the exhibition about "what life might be like if we lived in the sky," This Is Glass's counterpoint to Chihulyism, and Record Store (scroll all the way down to see descriptions).

Hoff's legacy continues, meanwhile. Hall began his own plein air painting practice after a class Hoff taught at Gage Academy, and Hall will have his own show of paintings at Caffe Zingaro in November.

When Hunger Strikes at Bumbershoot

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Before/during/after a long, hard day of Bumbershooting, you’re hungry and overwhelmed by the options in/around the Seattle Center. Don't panic—try these, and trust us, we know what we’re doing:

Crepes at Citizen.
  • Kelly O
  • Crepes at Citizen.

Inside, at the Center House (now called the Armory):
· Pie makes pies you can wander around with while your blood sugar level normalizes.

· Eltana has simple and tasty bagels and spreads.

· You can get meat at Skillet or Quincy's.

· Go to MOD if you must have pizza.

· The Confectional makes blasphemy-inspiring cheesecake.

Outside the gates:
· 5 Point Cafe on Cedar is open 24 hours so it’s okay if you don’t know what time it is.

· Citizen on the west east slope of lower Queen Anne has crepes and wine by the people, for the people.

· Finally, relax in the Sitting Room and reward yourself with a cocktail.

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PAX Repping Hard Downtown

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 4:24 PM

My commute was made brighter last night and this morning by the lovely visible nerdery of hundreds of PAX attendees wandering downtown. If you commute through downtown, or work there, you should take a moment to appreciate it. Things I've seen in the last 24 hours: Harry Potter cosplayers, a Walking Dead shirt, a TMNT shell backpack, a comic book purse (too far away to see what comic it was, sorry!), a Halo messenger bag/man purse, so many lanyards, sweatshirts with animal ears, a "CRANK THAT SHIT UP" shirt from PAX two years ago, a dude in a banana suit (unrelated?), a lot of male ponytails, a dude strumming a ukulele while walking up to the convention center, a ton of neon pink and green, and a shirt that said "I NEED TICKETS." Have fun, y'all!

Now Open: A Bunch More Bars and Restaurants

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 4:02 PM

We've already covered Rione XIII and Essex here on Slog, but there's lots more new places for stuffing faces over here.

Speaking of Duck Vaginas

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Duck gang rape is common and often ends in the death of the victim...

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Sex (and Summertime) in the City

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 2:49 PM

One of the pleasures of summertime in a city like Seattle, where many apartment-dwellers spend an entire season with their windows wide open, is walking down the sidewalk and occasionally hearing someone having a loud orgasm. (The orgasms I hear always seem to come from women. Maybe men have quieter orgasms. Or maybe, as a heterosexual dude, my ears are more pricked—so to speak—for the lady-orgasms than the man-orgasms.)

That sounds a little pervy and prurient on its surface, but the pleasure is more like watching a person get a present and seeing in their eyes that they really, truly appreciate it. It's just nice to be reminded that someone nearby is, if only for a moment, genuinely happy with life.

If Rob McKenna Wants More Debates, Here's Another Possibility

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 2:11 PM

Yesterday I noted that Republican candidate for governor Rob McKenna wants more debates. "We need more of these," he said at his debate with Democratic candidate Jay Inslee in Vancouver on Wednesday. "It's such a great opportunity."

Which is weird, because McKenna's campaign turned down multiple additional opportunities to debate Inslee before the November election. I mentioned two in yesterday's post. Today Matt Landers, spokesman for the Greater Seattle Business Association, adds one more:

Eli,

Regarding yesterday’s Slog post, if Rob McKenna is looking for another debate or forum, perhaps he’d like to reconsider his decline of the Candidate Forum being sponsored by the Greater Seattle Business Association (GSBA), this region’s LGBT Chamber of Commerce. GSBA is holding its annual Candidate Forum on September 14 and invited Rob McKenna, offering a number of different dates, to be a participant in our Forum; however his staff replied that he would be out of town and unavailable on each of the suggested dates.

Landers notes Inslee did accept the invitation.

Playing Catchup on "Legitimate Rape"

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 2:00 PM

I finally clicked on the Funny or Die "Legitimate Rape" satire video that's been making the rounds this week and wow!

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Overheard in the Office

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 2:00 PM

"If you think kangaroo vaginas are fascinating, you should try looking into duck vaginas."

101 of Mitt Romney's Acceptance Speech Lip Smacks

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 1:53 PM

More annoying than the speech itself? Less annoying?

Thanks, Jed!

Beauty Marks and Dirty Bath Mats: The Fashions of John Waters

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 1:52 PM

The divine John Waters and John Waters's Divine.
  • The divine John Waters and John Waters's Divine.
John Waters's films are sleazy and weird, with pileups of horrors and whimpering laughter, and lunatics everywhere, casually befouling things. The costuming is terrific. Characters appear so consistently marred and cheap, these looks represent the condition of their souls. In the early years, John writes in his book Shock Value, stylist Van Smith harvested "clothes found in trash bins outside the Salvation Army," dressed faces in dirt, and boiled wigs to encourage a dry, matted effect. Van's "only beauty hints are a lack of sleep, alcoholism, or drug addiction, and he stresses, 'Most importantly it helps if the actor has embraced misery as a lifestyle.'"

Van was also singly responsible for creating Divine's image, writes John. (Divine worked as a hairdresser before he got famous, and "his specialty was exaggerated, ridiculously complicated bouffant hairdos.") Costume highlights include Divine's ferociously pouffed wedding gown in Female Trouble—constructed of see-through lace, it reveals his pubic hair. And during the filming of Multiple Maniacs, Divine took a break to meet John's mother for the first time: "He was dressed in heels, wig, full makeup, and... a one-piece woman's bathing suit covered in blood."

Continue reading »

John Waters: This Filthy World: Filthier & Dirtier happens Sat, September 1, at 8:30 pm at the Bagley Wright Theater. See all our Bumbershoot coverage here!

Rep. Pollett and Toby Nixon Send Sweeping Records Request to Port, Searching for Conflicts in Port CEO's Lucrative Second Job

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 1:39 PM

A Democrat and a Republican have teamed up to scrutinize Port of Seattle CEO Tay Yoshitani's controversial second job by filing a records request looking for conflicts of interest. And in doing so, they look squarely at the CEO, the port's lawyers, and even the port commissioners who approved the CEO's employment contract in the first place.

The request was filed by Democratic representative Gerry Pollet and Republican former legislator Toby Nixon, president of the Washington Coalition for Open Government (which is known for filing sunshine lawsuits). I've posted their full records request after the jump.

By way of background, Port of Seattle Commissioner Rob Holland and Gael Tarleton have asked port CEO Tay Yoshitani to either resign from his $367,000 government job or his $230,000-a-year job on the board of shipping logistics firm Expeditors International.

Speaking to Tarleton yesterday, she told me "I want to have an executive session next week," which is a private meeting of port commissioners, about this issue. (Final decisions about taking action, such as a resolution asking Yoshitani to resign one of his jobs, must occur in a public meeting, Tartleton explains.) But because this brouhaha concerns a personnel matter, she says, the port's commissioners can't discuss the issues in public. She says that the port commissioners met in executive session last year when they first discussed an employment contract that would allow Yoshitani to take a second job.

But given that we got into this mess by talking in private—and now lawmakers are trying peer into this process—it seems like this is the sort of meeting that needs to happen in the open air.

Continue reading »

Tap Water Fights Back

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 1:36 PM

According to the LA Times, New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, chairman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, has slipped some home-state bottled water onto the 2013 inauguration menu.

And, because it's never too early to fight about what will be poured down gullets as the next president is sworn in:

The head of the District of Columbia’s water agency is calling on planners of next year’s presidential inauguration to serve local tap water, saying it is a way to show support for the nation’s drinking water systems...

George S. Hawkins, general manager of the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority, said in a letter to Schumer on Thursday, "If you choose to provide costly, environmentally harmful bottled water, we encourage you to at least provide attendees with a choice and also offer local DC tap water.’’

The bottled water vendor, Saratoga Spring Water Co., says: "We don’t appreciate the claim or the position the DC water officials are taking against bottled water."

What It's Like to Be Trapped with 50,000 Republicans at the RNC

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 1:22 PM

[This is an online-only, totally-must-read feature by Paul Constant called "Stuck in a Room with Mitt Romney" about the last four days in Tampa, Florida. — Eds]

Thanks to the RNC, the streets of Tampa now resemble the interior of the Tampa Bay Times Forum.
  • Thanks to the RNC, the streets of Tampa now resemble the interior of the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The Tampa Bay Times Forum is basically one gigantic roach motel. You can get in, but you can’t get out. And once you’re inside, there is nothing intuitive about where you should go. One narrow escalator provides service to the whole sixth floor. The elevator banks are small and make strange connections between floors—you can go from the third level to the fifth level on one set of elevators, but you have to walk in circles to find an elevator that will take you the extra flight up to the sixth level, where the print journalists have been stashed, far away from the view of cameras and delegates. Some stairwells end in flat concrete expanses with no doors at all.

So I’m wandering around this place, in the first days of the Republican National Convention, where Mitt Romney will soon accept his party’s nomination to run for president.

Along the walls of the convention center, you’ll find the usual concession stands (a hot dog and fries costs $11, and if I told all the Republicans who grumbled about the high price of food that this was pure capitalism at work, I’d probably have my eye blackened a dozen times over) and bunkerlike bathrooms and gift shops you’d expect in an environment like this. But for the Republican National Convention, management has added a feature to the stadium: prayer rooms. Big signs out front trumpet the PRAYER ROOM, which is protected from the echo of the hall outside by a flimsy curtain. Inside, it’s just a boring room, with a card table and some seats, some depressing fluorescent lighting, slatted walls that were probably meant to hold sports team merchandise, and bright blue carpet adorned with the White Power–looking logo of the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team.

One man inside the prayer room looks at me expectantly when I poke my head in. He’s a bit deflated when he sees that I’m not the leader of a parade of believers. “I thought there’d be a bigger group in here,” he says, shaking his head. “There was a whole prayer group here yesterday, all day long.” Now it’s just he and I.


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This Weekend at Bumbershoot: The Head-Bending Pleasures of Cherdonna and Lou

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 1:12 PM

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  • Nark

The first thing you'll notice about the campy dance duo Cherdonna and Lou is their incredible heads. Cherdonna's announces itself first, with riotous blasts of blush and lipstick, and the theater of her eyes extending up, Divine-like, past her natural brows to make a glittery show of most of her forehead. Above the eyescape sits the classic Cherdonna Shinatra hairdo: a jet of dark hair-sprayed bangs rubbing up against a huge, swooping blond hairpiece. Compared to Cherdonna, Lou looks possibly sedate, even when wedged in an American-flag bodysuit, his pompadour bubbling upward, a thin line of facial hair lining his upper lip and running along his jaw, natural in all respects until you realize it's made of deep-blue glitter.

Cherdonna and Lou burst onto the Seattle dance scene in 2009, when dancers and friends Jody Kuehner and Ricki Mason came together to make a dance to Olivia Newton-John's "Xanadu" for a Velocity fund-raiser. After the piece's rapturous reception, Kuehner and Mason made things official with a name. "I knew I wanted to be Lou Henry Hoover, after the first lady," says Mason. "I told Jody, 'Pick a name that sounds good with Lou'...."

Read the whole thing here.

Any Wikipedia Editors in the House?

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 12:31 PM

The entries on Washington State's congressional district are old, old, old. Old like Oregon Territory. Old like that movie Cocoon. Old like Slade Gordon drinking a Metamucil smoothie and giving himself a placenta facial.

They're so old that the maps in those entries still show the old district boundaries—see the 1st District and 9th District—from before the state got a new district and all the old distrct were radically redrawn on February 1 of this year. That was sixty-hundred-zillion internet eons ago. Whoever fixes them wins the internet forever (and a free placenta facial).

Koch Sucker

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 12:26 PM

A few weeks back I pissed off some people for refusing to celebrate Jeff Bezos' $2.5 million contribution to the marriage equality campaign. Well, today we learn that piece of shit Republican kajillionaire David Koch supports marriage equality too (not to mention my favorite PBS program, NOVA)!

So, if Koch were to back up his support of gay marriage with a multimillion dollar donation, should I drop my criticism of him too? Or am I allowed to support marriage equality while still believing that there are some issues that are more important?

SL Letter of the Day: Marriage, Maybe?

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 11:12 AM

I'm on hiatus while working on a manuscript for a new book. In the meantime, please enjoy these classic Savage Love letters pulled from previous columns. I will be back October 1st, when the book is finished. —Dan

I am a 31-year-old gay male and have been with my 27-year-old boyfriend for a year. It's been absolutely amazing. He's everything I've ever wanted. We've had some issues concerning trust because our previous relationships failed due to infidelity and being lied to, but we've been working on that in therapy.

Where it gets complicated is that he proposed on our one-year anniversary. I told him that I thought it was too soon and that I wanted to resolve any and all trust issues before committing to marriage. Needless to say he was hurt, but he said that he would get over it and would ask me again in a year. My question: Is it possible that I have done irreparable damage to this relationship? Should I have said yes (as I do see myself marrying him someday)?

Did I Make A Mistake

My response after the jump...

Continue reading »

If Kangaroo Vaginas Could Talk, They'd Scream

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 10:52 AM

I always suspected kangaroos thought they were better than me. Now I know why: Three vaginas.

This set-up is shared by all marsupials – the group of mammals that raise their young in pouches. Koalas, wombats and Tasmanian devils all share the three-vagina structure. The side ones carry sperm to the two uteruses (and males marsupials often have two-pronged penises), while the middle vagina sends the joey down to the outside world.

So they've sprouted three vaginas (GREEDY) and taught them to juggle. But before you get all jelly of marsupials, human ladies, check this out:

With its complicated reproductive set-up, a female kangaroo can be perpetually pregnant. While one joey is developing inside the pouch, another embryo is held in reserve in a uterus, waiting for its sibling to grow up and leave. Indeed, a mother kangaroo can nourish three separate youngsters at a time – an older joey that has left the pouch, a young one developing inside it, and an embryo still waiting to be born.

'Becoming a Republican kangaroo' just topped 'sticking my boobs in a woodchipper' on my list of Things to Avoid this Labor Day Weekend.

Thanks and shudders to Slog tipper Velho.

Mastering Eastwooding

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 10:48 AM

I think I have it down...

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If Karl Rove Is Found Mysteriously Murdered, Don't Look for My Whereabouts!

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 10:42 AM

Normally I'd be a bit wary of posting a headline like this because people can take things the wrong way. Also, generally, joking about murdering somebody isn't really in very good taste. Nor funny.

But if it's good enough for Karl Rove, it's good enough for me:

On the final morning of the Republican National Convention, Karl Rove took the stage at the Tampa Club to provide an exclusive breakfast briefing to about 70 of the Republican Party’s highest-earning and most powerful donors. During the more than hour-long session, Rove explained to an audience dotted with hedge fund billionaires and investors—including John Paulson and Wilbur Ross—how his super PAC, American Crossroads, will persuade undecided voters in crucial swing states to vote against Barack Obama. He also detailed plans for Senate and House races, and joked, “We should sink Todd Akin. If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts!”

Then Rove pleaded with his audience for more money—much more.

Hilarious! Also, apparently, an effective fundraising technique among certain audiences.

Of course, if Akin was found mysteriously murdered, the joke would be on Rove! Ha! But, you know, if that happens, don't look for my whereabouts!

Dan Savage and Lindy West, Tomorrow at Bumbershoot!

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 10:41 AM

The book looks like this, but bigger (click to enlarge).
  • The book looks like this, but bigger (click to enlarge).

Yes, indeed, it's Dan Savage and Lindy West, plus a couple other people, doing a slide show to celebrate Our Great Nation and our book, How to Be a Person: The Stranger's Guide to College, Sex, Intoxicants, Tacos, and Life Itself!

It's tomorrow, that is, Saturday, at 7 p.m. at the Leo K. Theater at Seattle Rep (aka the Words & Ideas stage) at good ol' Bumbershoot.

The slide show/discussion, entitled "The Stranger's Guide to America," is loosely based on chapter 4 of the book, written by Lindy West, which is extremely hilarious. To be discussed: moose wrangling, clogged arteries, Tom Hanks, earthquakes, glue-huffers, Oprah Winfrey's most recent movements, more, more more!

Also, bonus material: We made some mistakes in the book—here are the ones we've found so far. THEY ARE ALL DAN SAVAGE'S FAULT!

The First 2016 Presidential Straw Poll!

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 10:13 AM

I'm already bored with the 2012 presidential election, so I can't help looking ahead to 2016.

My Favorite New Piece of Public Art

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 10:03 AM

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Pine and 11th, outside the Comet.

The Ballad of Adam Welch and His Exploding Table

Posted by on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 9:59 AM

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It started with an email from the man himself:

Hi Dave, I am a huge fan of your "Last Days" section in The Stranger. I have a bizarre story that I thought you might be interested in. Last week, my glass dining room table spontaneously exploded. I posted pictures on Facebook and was surprised to see how much interest they generated. That coupled with the fact that the manufacturer was being unresponsive led me to give the story to King 5 News. I thought there was a 1/1000 chance they would pick it up. Not only did they, but they used it as a teaser twice during Dr. Phil and another show, played it both at 10 and 11, and then did a follow-up story this week. Also, the Huff Post and a slew of other media have picked it up. (Just Google "adam welch table exploded.") The reason I'm reaching out to you is because what's newsworthy about this story is how un-newsworthy it is. I'm baffled.

Here's the original KING 5 report:



Adam Welch's summary of the above: "KING 5 Calls Obvious Homosexual 'Seattle Man.' In Other News, Seattle Man's Table Spontaneously Explodes."

Having never known anyone who got internet-famous because their table exploded, I decided to interview Adam Welch about his experience. Q&A after the jump.

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Go Fuck Yourself, Rmoney

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This Is Irene

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

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The Cult of Capital

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Triumph of the Willard

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