Have you guys heard about the Charles and YaVaughnie billboards? I've been following the story on Gawker. It's unfolding to be a strange story, or at least all the mystery surrounding it is making it seem momentarily fascinating.

Here's the basics of the story-- someone noticed a new billboard on 49th St. and 7th Avenue of a canoodling couple with a web address, the mouthful "CharlesPhillipsandYaVaughnieWilkins.com." Gawker then quickly got on the project of figuring out what this was. The website, now "unavailable" was a collection of pictures (of them with a young boy, on vacation, sometimes without clothes), love notes (a lot of apology notes too), and YaVaughnie's writing, spanning eight years-- set to the dulcet tones of a karoake version of "Ain't No Mountain" sung by who else but Charles and YaVaughnie.

The first theories were a couple searching for their fifteen minutes, trying to get on a reality show, or an over-sized apology. Then another billboard popped up. And then another. And there are two apparent, though undocumented, billboards in San Francisco and Atlanta.

And then someone identified Charles Phillips as the president of Oracle, if the website was his creation, wouldn't the website look a lot nicer? And why did it boast a "subtle plug for Windows Mail, made by Oracle arch-rival Microsoft"? Strange, sure. Illicit? Not yet.

Illicit came when someone reported that Charles Phillips was very married, and not to YaVaughnie Wilkins. There seem to be a lot of positions on this, some say married, some say separated, some say separated by together for work and society events and some say divorced. The young boy in the photos was revealed to be Phillips' young son and photos were found on New York Social Diary of Charles and his wife Karen from the past year.

New speculations suggest that the billboards, boasting the phrase "You are my soulmate forever," are the work of a scorned YaVaughnie. Maybe she is either trying to force Charles to make a move from his wife, or is tired of the charade and wants to go public. So very, very public.

There's something about the use of money, technology and public space that fascinates me in this story. Who ever did this did it very intentionally, placed private life in a very public space by no mistake. I'll be staying updated, and keep you appraised of anything interesting or revealing!

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