Friday, August 17, 2012

Music Friday: 9-Time Grammy Award Winner John Legend Performs 'Stereo'

Welcome to Music Friday when we, once again, bring you great songs with precious metals, jewelry or gemstones in the title or lyrics. Today we feature nine-time Grammy Award winner John Legend performing "Stereo" in front of a live audience at Royal Albert Hall in London. The song slowly builds to a powerful chorus that booms the (not so grammatical) phrase, "Her favorite colors be platinum and gold!"

A child prodigy, Legend began singing gospel and playing piano at the tender age of five. He attended the prestigious Ivy League University of Pennsylvania and subsequently landed a job at Boston Consulting Group. He never abandoned his musical roots, however, and continued performing in nightclubs in New York City, despite having a corporate job.

According to, Legend became an in-demand session musician and songwriter, working with such artists as Alicia Keys and Janet Jackson. In 2004, he released his first album, Get Lifted. The debut album went platinum and earned three Grammy Awards.

"Stereo" is the fourth single from Legend's second album, Once Again. It reached #47 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart in 2007. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along. Enjoy the video...


Written by John Legend, John Stephens, Devon L. Harris and Thomas Craskey. Performed by John Legend.

She's a fast love professional, crafty bold and beautiful,
Stage right, locked eyes, I swear it's magical,
Her name is Melanie, says she digs my melodies
Likes how I move, thinks I'm cool that's what she says to me
Big stage, bright light, short love, long night
Frequent flights through the skies to some stars
I come back to town, she's hangin' around
It still feels so real but it can't go too far.

Her favorite colors be platinum and gold!
She only loves in stereo! She only loves in stereo!
I should know her kind, I've seen it before,
I think I gotta let her go, she only loves in stereo!
Ohhh ohhhhhh, ohhhh ohhh..
Ohhh ohhhhhh, ohhhh ohhh..

Turn on the video, oh my goodness there she goes
Now I'm hot, seems I'm not the only one she knows
Name dropping everyday, I still want her anyway..
I like how she moves, think she's cool.. my favorite get away

Big stage, bright light, short love, long night
Deja vu, yeah, we do it again, off to the next town,
She's onto the next round,
Let it go, we both know that it's all gonna end, oh


Ohhh ohhhhhh, ohhhh ohhh..
Ohhh ohhhhhh, ohhhh ohhh..

She fell in love with the radio
It wasn't really me, so I had to let her go
Just ask any DJ back in her hometown
She likes to get around
As much as she gets down

Her favorite colors be platinum and gold!
She only loves in stereo! she only loves in stereo!
I should know her kind, I've seen it before,
I think I gotta let her go, she only loves in stereo!
Ohhh ohhhhhh, ohhhh ohhh..
She loves in stereo
Think I gotta let her
Ohhh ohhhhhh, ohhhh ohhh..
She loves in stereo
Think I gotta let her
Ohhh ohhhhhh, ohhhh ohhh..
She loves in stereo
Ohhh ohhhhhh, ohhhh ohhh..
She loves in stereo
Oh, oh oh, oh oh!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

New Study: When Women Are 'Scarce,' Men Will Make More Impulsive Financial Decisions to Win Mates

A new study reveals that when college-age men believed that women were scarce in the local population they were much more willing to spend more, save less and extend their borrowing in order to impress.

Researchers from the University of Minnesota's Carlson School of Management found that males, when faced with the challenge of competing for the few females available, acted impulsively in order to win over a potential mate.

Specifically, men who believed the population had fewer females were willing to pay $278 more for an engagement ring than men who didn't know of the lack of ladies.

Vladas Griskevicius, assistant professor of marketing and lead author of the study, drew a comparison between human males and males in the animal kingdom. "We see in other animals that when females are scarce, males become more competitive," he said. "What you find in humans is that men often compete through money, through status and through products."

Griskevicius said the men in the study were unaware that the sex ratios were affecting their financial decisions. "Economics tells us that humans make decisions by carefully thinking through our choices, but some of our behaviors are much more reflexive and subconscious. When we see that there are more men than women in our environment, it automatically changes our desires, our behaviors and our entire psychology."

In one part of the study, researchers asked male participants to read news articles, some of which stated that the local population had more males and some that stated the opposite.

Then the participants were asked how much money they were willing to save per paycheck and how much they were willing to borrow from credit cards. The men who believed that women were scarce saved 42% less and borrowed 84% more than the group who believed there was an abundance of women in the community.

In a second part of the study, participants viewed photos and were told the people in the photos were singles in their neighborhood. They were then asked whether they would like to receive $35 tomorrow or $45 in 33 days. The men who felt as if there were a shortage of women opted for the immediate gratification of taking $35 the next day – even though the more reasonable decision would have been to choose the second option.

The research, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, revealed that although sex ratios didn't affect women's financial choices, it did affect their expectations. When women believed there were fewer women in the local population, they expected men to spend more on dates, gifts and engagement rings.

"When there's a scarcity of women, women felt men should go out of their way to court them," said Griskevicius.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Auction of Elvis Jewelry Confirms He Was the Original 'King of Bling'

Tomorrow marks the 35th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley, but to many fans his spirit is very much alive – in his music, his movies and his truly distinctive style. The Heritage Auction closed the bidding Tuesday on a large caché of Elvis memorabilia, including more than a dozen pieces of stage-worn jewelry. Anyone viewing the collection would have to agree that Elvis was, indeed, the original "King of Bling" and an inspiration to a current generation of performers who love to flaunt their jewelry.

“Elvis was about bling before bling existed," Jay Gordon, the 25-year host of the syndicated Elvis radio show, "Elvis Only," told Forbes Magazine.

"He liked bright colors. He got that from black entertainers, from the black culture, in general," journalist Alana Nash told ABC News. The author of several books about Elvis said, "He liked anything flashy. He liked anything that made him stand out."

Among the Elvis-owned items auctioned on Tuesday were a number of rings, including ones featuring diamonds, turquoise, rubellite, citrine, sapphire and tiger's eye. The common thread linking them all was their "bling factor."

They seem to be especially oversized to be seen easily by Elvis' adoring fans, even the ones in the cheap seats. We also learned that Elvis was very fond of Native American jewelry.

The auction, which included 305 lots in all, took place at the historic Peabody Hotel in Elvis' home town of Memphis. Among the non-jewelry items were photos, posters, guns, police badges and even Elvis' library card from when he was a kid. 

But it was the jewelry collection that seemed to get the most attention, according to Jim Steele, consignment director for Heritage Auctions, entertainment and music. He said that jewelry is particularly popular with collectors who seek a "connection" to Elvis. “Not only did he touch it, he wore it," Steele told Forbes. “A collector can wear his jewelry and make it their own and be constantly connected.”

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

48 of 240 Tons of Silver Recovered From Merchant Ship Torpedoed in 1941

Deep-sea recovery specialist Odyssey Marine Exploration is continuing its efforts to salvage 240 tons of silver bullion from the sliced open hull of the 412-foot S.S. Gairsoppa, a British merchant steamship that was sunk by Nazi U-boat torpedoes on February 17, 1941. The exact location of the wreck had been a mystery until 2011, when it was discovered about about 300 miles southwest of Galway, Ireland.

The ship descended to its watery grave within 20 minutes of being hit, and has rested three miles beneath the surface in the North Atlantic Ocean ever since. Recent technological breakthroughs in deep-water salvage had made the recovery project viable.

“Our capacity to conduct precision cuts and successfully complete the surgical removal of bullion from secure areas on the ship demonstrates our capabilities to undertake complicated tasks in the very deep ocean," stated Greg Stemm, Odyssey chief executive officer.

The vessel's silver is the heaviest and deepest precious-metal cargo ever retrieved from a shipwreck, according to Odyssey.

Startling images from the early retrieval efforts, which started in May 2012 and will continue through October, revealed row after row of immaculate silver bricks stacked neatly as if time had stood still for 71 years. In July, Odyssey had announced that 48 tons of silver (1,203 silver bars) had been pulled from the ship using sophisticated robotics.

Because the Gairsoppa was a British merchant ship, the recovery project is being conducted under contract with the United Kingdom Department for Transport. Odyssey will retain 80% of the value of the Gairsoppa silver cargo after recovering its expenses.

According to Odyssey, during the WWII, the U.K. government insured privately owned cargo under its War Risk Insurance program. After making an insurance payment of approximately £325,000 (1941 value) to the owners of the silver cargo lost aboard the Gairsoppa, the U.K. government became the owners of the insured cargo. There may have been additional government-owned silver cargo aboard that would have been self-insured.

Photographs courtesy of Odyssey Marine Exploration

Monday, August 13, 2012

Flushed Rings Valued at $10,000 Recovered From Sewer by Sanitation Workers

Gail Wilkerson had good intentions when she took a friend's advice and removed her cherished diamond rings at a water park recently so she wouldn't lose them. She wrapped them in tissues and placed them safely in her purse. Unfortunately, the Golden, Colo., resident forgot about the rings, and when she got home she unloaded into the toilet a purse full of used tissues and flushed them.

Wilkerson didn't realize her terrible mistake until much later that night when she woke up in a panic. "I started screaming, 'Oh, my gosh! I flushed my rings down the toilet,'" she told NBC-TV affiliate KUSA in Denver.

The rings had an appraised valued of $10,000, but the sentimental value of the pair were priceless. She received one of the rings from her father on her 18th birthday, the same year he died. The other ring was assembled from a collection of diamonds her mother once wore. Wilkerson said that the rings were such an important part of her life that she didn't feel like a whole person without them.

When a commercial plumbing service couldn't find the rings after checking the lines in her house, Wilkerson's friends told her to contact the municipal North Table Mountain Water and Sanitation Department.

Even though sanitation crew members Jason Hart and Kevin Osborne estimated their chances of finding the rings as "slim to none," they still took on the challenge. They set a trap and used their jet truck to shoot a powerful spray of water down the sewer line. The result was nothing short of miraculous.

"So I was down in the manhole, kind of digging through, sifting through the debris and then I happened to find the rings," Hart told a KUSA reporter. "I was shocked. I was really shocked. I said, 'Oh my gosh, there it really is.' It was like finding a needle in a haystack."

Wilkerson was ecstatic and especially appreciative of the extraordinary effort put forth by Hart, Osbourne and their crew. "They could have given up," Wilkerson said, "and they didn't have to go through all the extra lengths."