February 29, 2012

Hey Hey...

Like many people who see more of themselves than they'd like to admit in the protagonist of High Fidelity, I have a bulging iPod and a brain full of ridiculously useless detail about its contents.  One of the quasi-contrarian arguments that is popular among my kind is that The Monkees were, in fact, pretty interesting.

Yes, they were most certainly The Prefab Four; yes, they were hired to sing and do a comedy show.  Yes.  Given.

Well, the formula worked, didn't it?  The Monkees entered my life when I was a little girl, when Nickelodeon somewhat inexplicably started rerunning the TV series in the '80s.  The loopy physical humor of the show and the catchy pop tunes captivated me, as it had kids a generation before.  Before long, I had cassette tapes (NB: Shut up.) of the complete back catalog.

I also developed a crush on the diminutive, floppy-haired charmer with the soulful eyes.

PICTURED: It, going on.
WAIT!  That was much later.  Also, damn.  Also, holy crap, we're all a lot older than we were in 1992, aren't we?

Anyway.  No, it's true.  I had a terrible crush on Davy Jones when I was a little girl, thanks to the magic of reruns.

I could write about how The Monkees exposed me to great songwriters like Harry Nilsson and Carole King and Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil; I could point out the undeniable caliber of the musicians who laid down the tracks...  Stephen Stills, Dr. John, Glen Campbell, Neil Young, just to name a few.  However much of a cynical marketing move the concept was, some fantastic pop tunes came out of the commercial enterprise known as The Monkees.

(It seems tasteful to save the "Mike Nesmith's ludicrously brilliant and unsung solo career" post for another day.)

I know perfectly well that Davy Jones was a technically mediocre singer and, by many accounts, kind of a jagoff.  It's a bit silly to have lingering affection for someone on account of the fact that he was kinda cute (and had pretty decent comic timing) in 1966.  But there you have it.

Permit a bit of nostalgia today, won't you, on the part of us former little girls? Allow us to have a moment of mourning for one of our more harmless illusions.

February 28, 2012

Weaning Process

So, as we left Downton Abbey last week, everything was so satisfyingly wrapped up that the whinier corners of the internet began complaining almost instantly. I'm not sure how anyone got through two seasons without realizing that OF COURSE IT'S A SOAP OPERA, PEOPLE.  Nerdy people have fantasy lives, too.  In Nerdvana, there are huge gorgeous libraries and the hot guy's spinal injury miraculously reverses itself and someone is kind enough to bring you a new wine with every course AND Maggie Smith brings a steady supply of irreproachably genteel smackdowns.  

Anyway, it's over for now, so SMLTS is proud to present a few links to soothe your withdrawal symptoms.

  • To be sure, Downton is some of the best house porn going.  Sate your Great House curiosity with this intriguing look at a folly rehabbed some years ago by the curator of the Treasure Houses of Britain exhibition.  (A "folly" in this context means a whimsical outbuilding on a large estate, and by "whimsical," I mean "more elaborate and architecturally interesting than anything on Amberson Avenue.")

  • YES, you recognized some of those costumes!  While some of the dresses are indeed original to the show, some of them have been kicking around theatrical wardrobes for decades.  Recycled Movie Costumes documents clothing repeats in a wide range of television shows and films.  Absorbing--if difficult to navigate--plan on getting lost for a while, especially if you're big into classic British TV.

  • There's just something about Downton Abbey that begs remixing.  (Perhaps because it's a more successful Upstairs, Downstairs reboot than the ACTUAL Upstairs, Downstairs reboot?  They've got Nigel Havers and everything.)  Behold the majesty of Downton Greendale and the less-consistent-but-still-funny Arrested Downton.

  • And, of course, the internet will figure out a way to put cats into anything.

February 25, 2012


I don't know if any political phenomenon has ever been so simultaneously frightening and hilarious on a sustained basis as Rick Santorum's primary run...

Anonymous headline writer, I salute you.
via Second Front, plus a shout-out as well as mad props to Aaron Read for FB'ing this.

Breathing: It's A Good Thing

As you have probably inferred by the rate with which posts are going up, it's been an insanely busy week, mostly for the good.  (There's probably some dissent on that last point here at Castle Secondmost, owing to the fact that I've not been home in time to cook dinner several evenings.)

But I'm getting a bit of a breather today, or at least some time to get caught up on chores and such.  I couldn't possibly recommend more highly the experience of grocery shopping during a minor but flashy Saturday morning snowfall.  I could have been bowling in the aisles, and probably would have knocked over exactly as many pins as I would in a real bowling alley.  Projectile-based recreation and I have never really gotten along.


If I had to boil down the essence of what I learned this week, it is this: God doesn't close a door without opening a window.  With any luck, He thinks highly enough of you to make it a ground-floor window.

For Those Of You Suffering Mythbusters Withdrawal

You think you kids invented gratuitous controlled explosions?  HAH!

Twenty-thousand pounds of highly dangerous metallic sodium head for destruction in Lake Lenore, Washington.  The government surplus chemical ignites and explodes when wet.  The alkali lake is devoid of fish and forms an admirable disposal spot.  A 3,500-pound container of sodium hurtles into the lake and crashes through a foot of ice. As the water seeps in, smoke rises through a series of muffled explosions.

The acrid clouds billow several thousand feet over the steep sides of the lake. Disposal of the chemical by the War Assets Administration is made necessary because no public carrier will accept it for transportation to a purchaser.  One after another, with varying effects, the containers go up with spectacular results as water and sodium meet.  

A once lethal war chemical becomes a peacetime pyrotechnic display.

February 22, 2012

Quick Chore To Clear Up On The Way To Your Job At The Fiction Department

Hey, wanna clear out your Google history while the clearin' is good?  Check out this easy-peasy how-to from the fine folks at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

And here's the link that shows who Google thinks you are.  (Prior to my opt-out, they had my age range right but believed I was an office-supply obsessed dude.)

February 21, 2012

Streets Ahead

I don't care that it's still February, I love spring 2012 already.  (Of course, it's the fresh potential as yet uncrushed by the vicious world that I love about spring in the first place.  That, and the mint juleps.)  Anyway.  Never mind that we're already looking at a new John Irving novel, a new Springsteen album (which, everybody breathe a sigh of relief, so far seems to be angry/stompy rather than whistle-y/synth-y), and the return of potentially shirtless Jon Hamm Mad Men... we finally have a return date for Community: March 15.

Celebratory blanket forts all around!

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

It's Mardi Gras, that wonderful day that serves to remind us of the value of moderation in all things--especially moderation.

I give you Dr. John, in full Night Tripper regalia, with bubbles yet.  

February 20, 2012

Happy Presidents' Day!

SMLTS proudly presents these respectful, reverent artistic meditations upon the highest office in the land.

February 19, 2012

On Honor

I've always tried to be cognizant of my responsibility to write in ways that are respectful of the privacy of others.  Simply having walked into my life doesn't mean that a person has consented to become a character in a blog post.  Life doesn't occur in a vacuum--my story is also someone else's.  There's a line somewhere.  Classic writer's problem.

I've started a couple of posts on aspects of trust, and either found them too painful to finish or thought better of it because of those privacy issues.

I think about the guy who tried to leave the scene when he struck me with his car, who later presented what the (awesome) cop memorably described to me as a "cock and bullshit story" that I'd walked into traffic.  (This despite the half a dozen witnesses who independently described my assailant accelerating after having stopped at the red light.)

I think a lot about smaller dramas, ways I've been hurt--often quite tangibly--by thoughtless behavior.  Where that is truly unintentional, when a flare of misdirected meanness has come from that person's own hurt, I think that's the sort of thing friends absorb from one another.  Still hurts like hell, more so for coming from a loved one.  But we protect the people we love, sometimes from themselves, sometimes at the expense of our own sense of fairness, often at the cost of our own self-interest.

The kind of abrogation of trust that truly hurts, truly angers, truly harms is not necessarily one of mere cruelty, or greed, or stupidity.  It's promising to do one's bit, and then backing out on that commitment; causing someone else to make plans and take risks based on the assumption that they're dealing with a person of honor.

I thought of that this morning as the handle on the toilet broke.  Such a small thing.  But when it's another broken thing in this disastrous house, it seems so much larger.  It feels like I will never stop paying for having trusted too much.  

You assume that the law protects you if you buy a home and the seller does something asinine like, oh, installing duct tape flashings on the chimneys.  What you find out--when your roof leaks and your second-floor bathroom turns out to have been plumbed with automotive parts, roofing tar, and plastic Giant Eagle bags--is that you are legally and God knows morally in the right, but you are screwed.  Your potential recourse is to take money you don't have to pay a lawyer and, yes, likely get a judgment, which the people who screwed you over will be able to evade easily.  You cannot afford moral victory after you completely rebuild your roof and re-plumb your home.

It's not fair.  It's not something you asked for.  It's not something you entered into without taking standard precautions.  (In Pennsylvania, you don't generally get a second professional home inspection after any repairs specified in the sales agreement are performed.  After my hell, I would never let a friend purchase a home without doing it.)

So you sit in your house, thinking wistfully of how the biggest problem you expected to face was taking down the insanely ugly drop ceilings, realizing that selfish people really will destroy you for a few thousand bucks.

Nobody lives in a vacuum.  Our actions, our stories, our obligations and hopes all intertwine with those of others.  The people who need to learn this are, sadly, the ones who will never care.

February 18, 2012

Good Eats

  • I scored a passel of fresh berries during this morning's sojourn to the Strip...  many of them are destined to be served with some of this glorious stuff for this evening's dessert.  

  • This is a really fabulous lemon curd recipe, with a gloriously tart lemon tang well-balanced by the fatty, milky goodness of the butter.  As always, if you're worried about calories and cholesterol n'at, use the real stuff and practice portion control.  Trans fat and pointless deprivation will kill ya.

  • Lemon Curd (adapted from Ina Garten's recipe)

  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 stick salted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • zest of three lemons
In a food processor, pulse the sugar and lemon zest; add the butter and process until thoroughly combined.  Add the eggs, process until smooth.  Finally, incorporate the lemon juice.
Transfer the mix into a saucepan.  Cook on medium heat, stirring constantly, until the curd reaches 170 degrees. (It will visibly thicken.)  Cool and refrigerate.  Lemon curd is all acidic and stuff, so it'll keep for a while...  but don't expect it to languish undisturbed in the fridge for too long.   

Separated At Birth?: Cheap Publicity Stunt Edition

Dear Raquel Welch,

Am in receipt of your assertion that Mae West was a drag queen owing to the fact that she looked kinda rough as an elderly woman and also once lost a press-on nail in your presence.  Wish to direct your attention to institutions we call "bingo halls," in which you will find much of same.  Anywho, since it's totally classy to spread obviously bullshit rumors about a dead person, I'm sure you won't mind my pointing out your current strong resemblance to RuPaul, in addition to the fact that your primary activity in recent years has been selling wigs.

Frankly, Raquel, I just, like, get a vibe about you.

Plastic surgery victim and wig vendor Raquel Welch

...and obvious muse (and infinitely classier human being)

February 15, 2012

Wednesday Update

  • John Hodgman and his amazingly not-a-joke facial hair will be guest starring on an upcoming episode of Community.  This is not to imply that anyone knows when Community is coming back.  And yet Whitney stalks the primetime schedule.  I will stop ranting now because I can actually hear the Firefly fans telling me to stop whining.
  • Speaking of Whitneys...  if there one thing you can count on after a celebrity death, aside from Dr. Drew getting more airtime on CNN, it's that a flurry of ill-advised tribute merchandise will flood Etsy almost instantly.
  • Also homebrewed, but charmingly so, Western Pennsylvania's own Cigar Box Guitar Museum is having a grand reopening this weekend. Until proven otherwise, I choose to believe that adorable woodland creatures will be performing the celebratory concert. 

SMLTS proudly presents the latest installment
in the ongoing series
Gratuitous, Non-Seasonal Emmet Otter References

February 14, 2012

Five Songs: The Chemicals Are Wearing Off

Careful readers of this blog understand, I hope, that my utter disdain for Valentine's Day truly is directed towards the marketing juggernaut which feeds therefrom.  I have grown extremely cynical about the odd, off-tasting, placeholder emotions associated with, oh, socially mandated tacky jewelry; I have no use for I Can't Believe It's Not Romance. (Comparing something to margarine is just about the worst insult I have in my arsenal, by the way.)  But I'm not cynical about actual love, amazingly, all considered.  When all goes right, 'tis like butter.

But today, we celebrate Valentine's Day in the Secondmost manner, whining mightily about empty commercialized sentiment while fondly anticipating the deeply-discounted candy of February the 15th.  In our so-contrarian-we're-idealist way, SMLTS presents some great breakup songs.  Hope you're not there today, but we've all been there.

Ben Folds 

To put it mildly, the Ben-Folds-songs-about-relationship-disasters bench is deep.  And no wonder...  if suffering breeds art, and the erstwhile Mr. Folds is on his fourth marriage, it's pretty obvious that dude has some material to work with.  This entry from 2001's Rockin' The Suburbs packs some spiky emotion in lovely, soft, melodic packing material.   (Sorry about the ad--you should be able to skip it pretty early on.)

Duke Ellington Orchestra with Rosemary Clooney

An ode par excellance to the "you'll be sorry!" phase of a breakup, written by Pittsburgh's very own, very extraordinary Billy Strayhorn.  Another tough call, but I'm picking the version from the wildly unappreciated Blue Rose album.

"Me Around"
Michael Penn

"The fire that this town can see/ Is me alight in effigy/ I suppose baby don't want me around."  Can't put one past this guy, huh?

Two minutes of sheer poppy bliss.  Really.

Sylvie Lewis

No luck finding this on YouTube, but hey, fun bar bet: Did you realize that MySpace still exists?  I'm embedding the player; I have a feeling that it's not going to play nice with NoScript, so here's a direct link if that doesn't work for you.

Anyway...  sit tight through the slow start--once this gets rolling, it's another delightful dollop of hurt wrapped up in nougat and dipped in chocolate.  (Sorry, distracted again by the thought of imminent half-price chocolate.)

Starsong…what became of us

"You're A Cad"
The Bird and the Bee

A tribute to a well-known definition of insanity.

February 13, 2012

Today's Linkdump: Monday The Thirteenth

  • Today's nostalgic, K-Tel collection of Allegheny County politics of yore...  Sophie! Jeep!  Maglev!  You knew Sophie would outlast 'em all.   Maglev's assets are being sold off.  If you have an insanely large disposable income and basement to match, consider this your cue to start building yourself the world's most bitchin' train platform.

  • Here is another thing I wish I'd written, from a really very good review of--of all things--The Thorn Birds: "Honestly, I don't know why anyone bothers to write sweeping cross-generational sagas of forbidden love about any other group of people. We Irish have it all: massive guilt complexes, promiscuity, addictive personalities, and a complete inability to ever let anything fucking go, ever. It makes for good copy."  (Well, I dunno.  Just because I have checked the obituaries literally every day for the last three and a half years looking for this one guy who was insanely rude to me in late 2008 doesn't mean I bear unhealthy grudges.)

  • Here in Castle Secondmost, we DVR'd the Grammys so we could watch Bruuuuce and fast-forward through the bits I don't care about, including Nicki Minaj, who I had sort of vaguely heard of previously but assumed was a Real Housewife.  In other "pop" news, Whitney is dead, Karl Lagerfeld is a jackass, and thank God technology offers so many many many worthy alternatives to Top 40 radio.


    ...richer, but still doomed, Lavinia Swire.
    Poor doomed Hazel Bellamy...
    You know how the guy in the red shirt always dies on Star Trek?  The good-hearted ginger batting slightly above her social league will die of the Spanish Flu in any given period drama.  But the odious Sir Richard is in fine fettle.  Bleh. On the upside, Matthew Crawley's naughty bits appear to be headed toward full functionality! On the downside, he's getting too emo to do anything with them. On the unmitigated plus side, OMGprettydresseswantwantwant.  (Recap here.)

    February 11, 2012

    Far Too Soon

    Spoiled--though disconcerted--by this mild-to-date winter, it seems odd to watch the world being tucked in under a fluffy white blanket.  As if Nature continued to clap in time after the song ended.

    Frankly, I welcome a little encouragement from the weather to gear it down today.

    The blessing and the curse of a startup nonprofit is that there is always something to do.  And for the most part, that suits me down to the ground. Working, and learning, and just generally keeping the ol' neurons well-polished. But it's insanely difficult to just rest, because...  well, there is always something to do. So I'm tired. Very tired.

    And then there is Facebook.  The blessing and the curse of Facebook is that it keeps you in touch with people you haven't seen in years.  And so it was yesterday, when I got the word that a childhood friend had passed away in his sleep, completely unexpectedly.

    I remember this guy from, well, forever.  He was a dear, sweet, genuine person who made the world a better place.  I can't remember him not smiling.  And while I hadn't seen him in years--not since graduation--I was always happy to get good news about him.  He'd recently married another old friend of mine, and they looked so very happy.

    My class has had its share of fatal car wrecks (seems to me more than its share), and at least one OD... not to minimize the tragedy of these deaths, but they were the kind of passings that are terribly sad but somehow expected.  It's different, qualitatively, to start losing people to those innocuous-sounding Natural Causes.  Especially someone who so fully deserved to live a long and wonderful life, who made other people happy, who was unfailingly kind and gentle.

    Tomorrow, I'll be running from pillar to post pretty much all day.  But today, I am going to pause for a bit.  Just to be.

    February 10, 2012

    More Unbridled Sentimentality

    Uh, "valentine(s)"?  
    "You know, assuming you can even keep an accurate count anymore..."

    Persons taking this advice will be glad to know that Giant Eagle also carries a wide selection of pain relievers to deal with the back and neck discomfort that often follows a night spent sleeping on the couch.    

    February 8, 2012

    The SMLTS Valentine Shopping Guide

    Let's be honest: Valentine's Day is much like Halloween in that it stops being genuinely fun after you leave elementary school.  Sure, you still get to get dressed up and go out, and there's likely free candy involved, but it all comes with the faint odor of kabuki makeup, not to mention an implied COD slip.

    It's the time share of holidays: Kind of a scam, but once you're roped in, you can't really escape it, so you have to pretend to enjoy it.

    So, might as well make the best of it!  Rather than spring for a dozen overpriced, tired roses, why not consider these original tokens of chronologically-dictated lurve?

    1. His/Her Very Own PT Boat

    From Hammacher Schlemmer, the always-reliable purveyor of impulse purchases for The One Percent, comes a truly novel gesture: The beginnings of a small but very real private Navy.  Yes, you can purchase an honest-to-goodness PT boat for your love, who can then proceed to prowl the Mon nonstop whilst emoting randomly in a terrible Pixsburgh/Hyannis accent and casting vaguely threatening looks at Herr's Island.  At least that's what I'd do.
    Heah we go, Steelahs, heah we go...

    And rest assured, this cream puff of a pre-owned vehicle is indeed still armed "with a single .50- and two twin .50-caliber Browning machine gun stations, an aft 20mm Oerlikon cannon, four tubes that each housed a Mark VIII torpedo, and two depth charge launchers."

    It is not considered good form to attempt to forcibly board The Majestic using your recreational warship.  Just FYI.

    2.  The Retinas Of Your Beloved's Enemies, Or Indeed Of Any Unfortunate Passers-By

    With a spare DeLorean and some elbow grease, you can give your love the gift of inherently reckless driving with their very own mirror-polished stainless steel car!  This is a real thing that people do!  There's no doubt that on a sunny day, other people attempting to share the road will be in awe of your beloved's awesome sense of style, right until the point that they crash into the nearest overpass!  Remember, if the result looks sufficiently awesome, you are absolved of the moral consequences of your actions!

    3. A Fitting Tribute To The Greatest Film Of All Time

    If the above suggestions are too rich for your blood, consider giving the gift of obscure pop culture references made delightfully tangible.  Gloriously, somewhere in the world, there exist bobblehead dolls of the protagonists of top-quality MST3K fodder The Final Sacrifice, Troy MacGregor and Zap Rowsdower.
    Zap Actions-dower! (right)

    Sadly, as far as I can tell, it looks like these fantastic dolls are one-offs...  but maybe you could contact the artist and make a generous offer, backed with a heartwarming tale of how, after all, it's for your valentine  <3 .

    February 6, 2012

    Slice Of Life

    I'm in the habit of getting big bags of whole chicken breasts in the Strip.  Break 'em down, marinate some, freeze some, make broth from the trimmings.  Well, it's a bit fiddly, but it's first-rate meat and you can't beat the price (often under $2 a pound).  And it makes me feel terribly pioneerlike, if you ignore the fact that I didn't actually wring any necks.  (Though, trust me, I have a list.)

    The cognitive dissonance did not escape my notice, back in my old apartment with the leafy backyard, that cheery wild birds tweeted happily out on the back porch as they munched on the seed I'd bought for them whilst I took poultry shears to the corpses of their larger cousins.

    I used to feel rather monstrous in those moments, but only for a moment.  After all, I grew up in the country and I know how incredibly stupid chickens are. ("Dumb cluck" isn't just a rhyme handy for use in polite company, should you run into any of that.) On the whole, I'm kind of OK with the dead chicken concept.  You know, the bird's undoubted utility in converting lower energy sources into something palatable and nutritious to humans...  the Circle of Life... and I ain't kidding, if there's a being totally devoid of an internal life, it's a chicken.

    But I appreciate the way that my small acts of controlled butchery keep me in touch with the fact that I have taken on a certain responsibility.  I consider it an ethical imperative not to make crappy food, because I consider it a moral failure to have indirectly caused a death for no good reason whatsoever.

    Like so many things in life, it seems healthy to confront the slime and the nasty bits and the unpleasant reality...  and then do what you have to do.

    February 5, 2012

    The Work Of Art In The Age Of Mechanical Reproduction

    I know, I know, it's the Big Day, and we're all eager to relieve the suspense: Can fate really have been so unutterably cruel as to deprive England's women of Matthew Crowley's junk?  (Also, there is a football game, so I hear.)

    In other matters of grave importance...  there was a pretty decent bit on SNL last night* regarding the remarkably unremarkable Lana Del Rey (which is Spanish for "trust fund baby who should have stuck to the karaoke machine**").

    If you have missed the Internet's collective hategasm due to your recent coma or employment providing humanitarian relief in a Third World refugee camp--well, good on you, welcome back!  Here is some really bad sing-a-mifyin' for ya:


    Ouch.  This is why God gave us showers to sing in.

    *Not that I actually saw the broadcast; I was enjoying an adult beverage with Walter Benjamin.  When you look forward literally all week to curling up on Saturday night with the works of an extremely dead German philosopher-critic, you have officially relinquished any claim to being a "cool kid," or indeed "cool," or indeed a "kid". 
    **Her real name is Lizzie Grant, which derives from the Saxon meaning "But, let's be honest, still not anywhere near as bad as Ashlee Simpson."
    ***This footnote is not attached to anything.  Just wondering if you're paying attention.

    February 2, 2012

    Important Public Service Announcement

    Several thousand people gathered in the woods of rural Pennsylvania in the wee small hours of the morning to be led in traditional songs (you know, like "YMCA" and "Love Shack") by a guy in a top hat.  Then some more guys in top hats harassed a largish rodent.

    We're going to pretend that this is somehow different than every other day in rural Pennsylvania.

    Anyway, there's great joy to be found in watching people dance as though nobody's watching.  If you missed your chance, PCN is rerunning its coverage of this morning's festivities in Punxsutawney at 4 and 9PM.  Unbridled silliness is good for the soul.

    Although you have to wonder what the groundhog makes of it all...

    My prior deep thoughts on the subject of Punxsutawney Phil can be found here:  The Prognosticator Of All Prognosticators

    February 1, 2012

    2/1/12: Happy Palindrome Day!

    TMBG!  OMG!  

    Young Dave!  Young Paul Shaffer!  A full-size CD longbox!

    While we're in the "classic late night" headspace....  note that this originally aired in May 1992, the month that Johnny Carson retired from The Tonight Show.  (I know it's hard to believe, children, but there was a time when The Tonight Show was hosted by a likeable, genuinely funny man.  Honest.) 

    Uh, I dropped twenty years around here somewhere.  Lemme know if you see 'em, OK?

    Adam West Called. He Wants His Utility Belt Jokes Back.

    At the risk of swallowing the blogger bait, there's a story in Pop City today about a local firm developing an item called the LikeBelt.

    And really, you must go read the article, especially in the unlikely event that you're a writer for "Arrested Development" looking for a new Gob Bluth scheme*.

    See, the LikeBelt has this large plastic disc on it that looks like a chichibooboo "wet floor" symbol, with little Amorphous Floorbound Fellow rendered in a hue just a touch more orange than 2012 Pantone Color Of The Year Tangerine Tango.  The disc is wired up to the internet (I would assume through your smartphone, though I am FAR too busy snarking about it to check), and will allow you to register "Likes" on your Facebook account.

    The idea is that businesses, as well as other people lacking fashion sense or dignity, will have also discs.

    So, what you do is, you find something you like and then grind your pelvis into it to register your approval.  As far as proof of concept, one could note that similar methodology seems to work for Snooki**.  Anyway, as the article explains it:

    For example, if you're in your favorite bakery and there's a Like tag at the counter, a pelvic thrust could save you a few calories.

    "It's a proximity system," Miller says. "Sort of like slapping high-five or humping."

    (And we all know that humping is way more satisfying than clicking.)

    Times are tough all over--sometimes, the second entendre is just another victim of budget cuts.  Anywho.  As much as I want to believe that this is a deliberately silly publicity stunt...  uh, they're hiring.  Seriously.  Three engineers.

    Well, I bid good luck to you, LikeBelt folk.  You're going to get some good stories out of this experience, though I can't honestly imagine that there's an untapped market for electronically-assisted counter humping.

    Also, I don't want to have to worry about whether my dress material falls flatteringly under a big plastic disc.  Hmmm, have you thought about cuff bracelets?

    *And if that would happen to be the case, no pressure or anything, but the ENTIRE INTERNET will hate you if the new eps suck.  OK?  Cheery bye.
    **I have never seen an episode of "Jersey Shore" and yet find myself completely unable to leave that joke on the table.