Friday, August 16, 2013

Music Friday: Amethyst and Sapphire Make Glittering Cameos in Wang Chung’s ‘Dance Hall Days'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you cool songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. In 1984, British New Wave band Wang Chung helped define a generation with its international hit “Dance Hall Days.” The memorable song, which continues to be a darling of Hollywood filmmakers, includes last-verse mentions of two popular gemstones — amethyst and sapphire.


Lead singer/composer Jack Hues sings: “So take your baby by the wrist, and in her mouth an amethyst. And in her eyes two sapphires blue, and you need her and she needs you.”

Hues explained the curious mouthful-of-amethyst reference in a recent interview with “Just My Show” podcast host Eric Greenberg. The song begins innocently, he said, with the line, “Take your baby by the hand.” But, by the last verse, the tone has escalated to “Take your baby by the wrists, and in her mouth an amethyst.”

“It’s all a bit more hallucinogenic in a way, how things that start off simple get complex,” he said.

“Dance Hall Days,” which charted in 12 countries and peaked in the U.S. at #16 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, put a New Wave timestamp on a slew of popular movies, including Bachelor Party, Pretty in Pink, Gotti, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, Adventureland, The Informers and The Fighter.

The band’s unusual name translates to “yellow bell” in Mandarin Chinese. Wang Chung is also the first note in the Chinese classical music scale.

Don’t miss the 2012 live performance of “Dance Hall Days” at the end of this post. The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along.

“Dance Hall Days”
Written by Jack Hues. Performed by Wang Chung.

Take your baby by the hand
And make her do a high handstand
Take your baby by the heel
And do the next thing that you feel


We were so in phase
In our dance hall days
We were cool on craze
When I, you, and everyone we knew
Could believe, do, and share in what was true
Oh, I said

Dance hall, days love

Take your baby by the hair
And pull her close and there there there
Take your baby by the ears
And play upon her darkest fears

Repeat Chorus

Dance hall, days love
Dance hall days
Dance hall, days love

So take your baby by the wrist
And in her mouth an amethyst
And in her eyes two sapphires blue
And you need her and she needs you
And you need her and she needs you

Repeat Chorus

Dance hall, days love
Dance hall, days love
Dance hall days
Dance hall, days love
Dance hall days
Dance hall, days love
Dance hall days
Dance hall, days love

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Dubai’s 30-Day Weight-Loss Challenge Rewards Successful Dieters With Gold Bullion Coins

The super-wealthy — but increasingly corpulent — city-state of Dubai is about to reward successful dieters with one gram of pure gold for every kilogram of weight they’ve lost during the previous 30 days.


The creative “Your Weight in Gold” initiative, during which “the more you lose, the more you gain,” was devised to encourage healthier lifestyle choices and draw awareness to a national crisis where diabetes cases are skyrocketing and adult obesity rates exceed 33 percent.


Last month, thousands of Dubai’s citizens signed up and weighed in at a number of sites throughout the city. Participants were promised about $19 in gold for every pound they lost during the 30-day period that ends this Friday. Medical and nutritional experts were on hand to advise people on the proper ways to lose weight.


Participants had to shed at least 2 kilograms (about 4.4 pounds) to qualify for an award, and there was no limit on the payout. The top-three dieters will get bonus gold coins worth as much as $5,400.

After three days of weigh-ins starting tomorrow, the municipality will SMS the participants with their results. Then they will be invited to attend an awards ceremony to claim their gold.


Dubai’s extreme wealth, hot climate, sedentary lifestyle, fondness for curvy figures and affinity for high-calorie American-style fast food have all contributed to the country’s collective weight problem.

Being overweight or obese is linked to increased risk for chronic diseases, including heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers. In June, the American Medical Association officially classified obesity itself as a disease, according to

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Singer Kelly Clarkson Nearly Foiled in Her Bid to Keep Rare Turquoise Ring Once Owned by Novelist Jane Austen

It looks like pop star Kelly Clarkson will never take possession of a turquoise ring once owned by novelist Jane Austen, despite having won it fair and square at Sotheby’s London auction last summer. A deep-pocketed patron of Jane Austen’s House Museum donated $155,000 toward a fund that will likely keep the ring in Britain.


Earlier this month, British officials declared the famous novelist’s turquoise cabochon ring a national treasure and temporarily blocked the export of the ring in the hope that someone locally would come forward to match the $235,000 price that Clarkson paid at auction. The Texas-born singer agreed to sell the ring if an equal offer was made.


Through their website and Facebook page, curators of Jane Austen’s House Museum made a plea for donations. The “Give Jane Austen a Ring” campaign quickly received an anonymous donation of £100,000 (about $155,000) that will take the museum two-thirds of the way toward meeting its financial goal. Representatives of the museum are confident that they will be able to buy the ring from Clarkson and put it on display in Chawton.

A post on the museum's website reads, "Total after the weekend stands at £103,200 after an ASTONISHING private donation of £100,000. Only another £49,000 to go!"


The museum, which occupies the 17th century house where Austen spent the last eight years of her life, already owns two of the writer’s jewelry items. These include a turquoise bracelet and a topaz cross.

Austen, the author of Pride and Prejudice and five other iconic novels of the early 19th century, died in 1817 at age 41 and left the turquoise ring to her sister; it remained in the family until it was sold at auction last year.

Clarkson, a longtime fan of Austen’s work, won the ring anonymously in July 2012 when she outlasted seven other bidders, including Jane Austen’s House Museum. She ended up paying five times Sotheby's high estimate for the rare ring.


Even though the writer passed away nearly 200 years ago, Austen still maintains near-rock-star status in the U.K. Her image is set to appear on the 10-pound banknote starting in 2017.

Meanwhile, Clarkson is reportedly wearing a replica of the Austen ring while the international drama plays out and she anxiously awaits the fate of her much-coveted British treasure.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ex-Rugby Star’s Romantic Marriage Proposal to Model Girlfriend Is One for the Ages; Viral Video Has 453,000+ Views

When Tess Montgomery arrived at a luxury hotel on the island of Favigana near Sicily, the Swedish-born model assumed she was there to participate in a fashion shoot. Actually, her love-struck boyfriend — former rugby star Garth Chamberlain — had set up the elaborate ruse to create the perfect venue for an unforgettable marriage proposal.


Chamberlain secretly traveled to the same hotel just ahead of Montgomery to set up hidden cameras that would document the surprise proposal. The resulting 5:47 video, which included more than 60 time-lapse clips and 100 still photographs recounting the jet-setting couple’s three-year courtship, has become an instant YouTube sensation with more than 453,000 views.

Originally from Zimbabwe and now living in London, Chamberlain worked with Montgomery’s modeling agency, MOT Models, to fake a booking that would have his girlfriend heading to one of the most scenic and romantic places on Earth — the Cas’almare Hotel in Favigana.


When Montgomery arrived on the hotel’s gorgeous terrace she expected to meet with a photographer and his crew but, instead, a hotel staffer handed her an iPad. With boyfriend Chamberlain hiding just out of site, the iPad played a video that explained in an elaborately edited montage why she is really in Italy.


In the video, Chamberlain returns to the London pub where he saw his love for the very first time. He also includes a segment where he travels to Sweden to ask Montgomery’s father, Holger, for his daughter’s hand in marriage.


As the video concludes, Chamberlain comes out of his hiding spot and joins Montgomery on the terrace. He gets down on one knee, pulls out a ring box containing a princess-cut diamond solitaire and proposes to his delighted and overwhelmed girlfriend. Of course, she says, “Yes.” A wedding is planned for New Year’s Eve 2014 in Zimbabwe.

On her blog, Montgomery commented, “I was stunned – Garth made the most romantic proposal in the world and I am one very lucky lady.”


Chamberlain revealed to how he was able to beat Montgomery to the island destination so he could do the setup: “We managed to get her over to Italy after a little stopover flight, so I could get there before her and set everything up.”

An edited version of the epic proposal is titled “What Really Happened in Italy.” The viral video is below.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Olympian Jessica Hardy Harnesses Power of the ‘Twitterverse’ to Retrieve Engagement Ring Lost During World Swimming Championships

Olympic gold medal winner Jessica Hardy harnessed the amazing power of the Twitterverse — and her 36,436 followers — to retrieve an engagement ring she accidentally gave away at the conclusion of the World Swimming Championships in Barcelona last week.


After snagging two bronze and one gold medal at the high-profile competition, the 26-year-old beauty gave the backpack she had been using during the week to one of the local volunteers. According to, it is customary for world-class athletes to give away their backpacks, apparel and trinkets to thank the volunteers for their hard work.


Little did Hardy realize that the engagement ring she had removed during her 50m and 100m breaststroke events on the last day of the championships was still in the backpack. Hardy is engaged to a fellow Olympian, Swiss swimmer Dom Meichtry.

Realizing her massive blunder, Hardy quickly turned to her universe of Twitter followers to help with the search.


"I gave away my arena backpack w my engagement ring in it," she Tweeted. "To a volunteer in blue shirt. Pls rt & help me find it. Please!!!!!!"

In a follow-up Tweet, she described where the ring was located in the bag.

Within 30 minutes, the three-stone diamond engagement ring was back in her possession.


"I GOT IT!!” she wrote. “Thank u #bcn2013 for ur AMAZING volunteers. Amazing amazing."


About 90 minutes later, Hardy posted a photo of herself posing with the super-honest volunteer, who had apparently swapped his blue shirt for a red one. The caption read, "This is who found my ring tonight. Thanks so much #bcn2013 volunteers, appreciate nice people in this world!!!"

Equally pleased with the quick recovery was Hardy’s fiancĂ©, who posted a Tweet of his own, complete with a winking emoticon.

"Thanks to everyone who helped @swimhardy & I breathe a sigh of relief,” Meichtry Tweeted. “Found the ring. Engaged twice now."

The aquatic couple will be wed in California this October.