Friday, November 07, 2014

Music Friday: Title and Musical Hook From The B-52s' 1989 Song, 'Topaz,' Was Inspired by a Maine Psychic

For the first Music Friday of November, we’ve unearthed a cool song by The B-52s that happens to have this month’s birthstone — topaz — as its title and musical hook. Few people know that a Maine psychic gets the credit for inspiring the song’s “topaz” connection.


“Topaz,” which was written by the group and appeared on its 1989 blockbuster album, Cosmic Thing, is a song about a fanciful city by the sea, where blue dolphins are singing, skyscrapers are winking and minds swim in ecstasy.

Group member Kate Pierson revealed to Onion AV Club that the song’s “topaz” theme is credited to a Maine-based psychic she consulted while the group was finishing up its Cosmic Thing album.

“You have two more songs that you should write before you record… and one of them is ‘Topaz,’” Pierson remembered the psychic saying. “I just see the word ‘topaz.’”

Pierson explained that the group had started writing the song that would eventually become “Topaz,” but they didn’t have a chorus.

“But after she said that, we were, like, ‘Oh, my God: Topaz is the perfect name for this new city by the sea!’”

After the song took on the “Topaz” title, band member Keith Strickland received a comic affirmation when he drove by a giant billboard promoting a Mercury automobile that read: “Topaz: The Right Choice.”

“In retrospect, it seemed so auspicious that that should happen,” she told Onion AV Club. “So we started jamming with those lyrics, and it just came together beautifully. The lyrics just make me tingle. It’s very meaningful. No matter how many times we sing it, it just feels very heartfelt. And it’s one of those songs that everyone knows, so when we play it, everybody gets up and starts shaking it a little bit.”

The B-52s were formed in Athens, Ga., in 1976 and scored their first big hit, “Rock Lobster” in 1978. Rooted in new wave, the group continues to perform with original band members Pierson, Fred Schneider, Cindy Wilson and Keith Strickland. A fifth original member, Ricky Wilson, succumbed to AIDS/HIV-related health complications in 1985 at the age of 32.

The band’s name relates to the beehive hairdo Pierson and Cindy Wilson sported during the band’s early years. The shape of their beehives resembled the nose cone of a B-52 bomber.

We hope you enjoy today’s musical treat. Scroll down for the video, and the lyrics are here if you’d like to sing along...

Written and performed by The B-52s.

New cities by the sea
Skyscrapers are winking
Some hills are never seen
The universe expanding
We're gazing out to sea
Blue dolphins are singing
Minds swim in ecstasy
Clear planet, ever free

Our hearts are traveling faster,
Faster than the speed of love
Straight through a tear in the clouds
Up to the heavens above

Bright ships will sail the seas
Starfishes are spinning
Some hills are never seen
Our universe is expanding
Moonrise upon the sea
Starships are blinking
We'll walk in ecstasy
Clear planet blue and green

Our thoughts are traveling faster
Moving beyond the heavens above

Planets pulsating, constellations creating
Voices are guiding me to the cities by the sea
Yes, I see cities by the sea

Deep forests by the sea
Skyscrapers are winking
Some hills are never seen
The universe is expanding

Photo Courtesy of The B52s

Thursday, November 06, 2014

British Pop Star Ed Sheeran Accepts Infinity-Symbol ‘Engagement’ Ring From Teen Fan Battling Brain Cancer

British pop star Ed Sheeran made superfan Katie Papworth’s dream come true last week when he accepted her infinity-symbol engagement ring and marriage proposal prior to his concert in Glasgow.


What makes this story extra special is the fact that the 19-year-old Papworth has been battling a rare form of brain cancer for the past eight years and lost her eyesight to the aggressive disease only two weeks ago.

Papworth was thrilled to meet her idol backstage, where she presented Sheeran with a ring engraved with an infinity symbol. She also gave Sheeran a painting she drew before she lost her sight, and he reportedly raved about her work.


The “A Team” singer was clearly touched by the gesture and accepted her proposal. He also signed another piece of Katie’s artwork, adding this sweet note: “Katie, lovely to finally meet my wife.”

Sheeran’s meeting with Papworth, her mother and her caregiver was made possible by the Les Hoey MBE DreamMaker Foundation, a Scottish charity dedicated to making the lives of children “a bit easier and happier as they are going through treatment.”

On Facebook, the DreamMaker Foundation acknowledged Sheeran's sensitivity and generosity: “Huge thanks to Ed Sheeran (a real Superstar ) and his fantastic team who made Katie’s dream come true last night and she even proposed and he kept her ring. Xx.”

The post has generated 1,174 Likes, 93 Shares and more than 45 Comments, including these…

Said Emma Haddow, “Didn't think I could love Ed more til now. What a guy. Lovely pic xxx.”

James Lee Wilson wrote a single-word comment: “Legend.”

Added Gillian Davie, “Tears in my eyes reading this...amazing memory for the wee girl and for her family to cherish forever x.”

Shelley Overton seemed to sum it up best: “Ed, you are a class act.”

Images: Facebook/Les Hoey MBE DreamMaker Foundation SCIO; Facebook/Ed Sheeran Music

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Victoria’s Secret Surprises Fans by Unveiling a Pair of $2M Fantasy Bras Radiating With a Combined 16,505 Precious Gems

Victoria's Secret models Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio will be wearing a combined $4 million worth of scintillating gem-embellished lingerie when they headline the company’s televised fashion show in London on December 9 — an event that will be seen in 200 countries.


For the first time ever, Victoria’s Secret revealed two bejeweled Dream Angels Fantasy Bras, effectively doubling the “wow” factor of their annual super-high-profile extravaganza. The bras were seen for the first time on Monday’s edition of ABC’s Good Morning America.


Dripping with an amazing array of 16,505 precious gemstones set in 18-karat gold, the Fantasy Bras — one red and one blue — feature a combined total weight of 9,322 carats (4.1 lbs).

The blingy bras and accompanying body adornments for the arms, legs, stomach and neck were designed by Mouwaud and took a combined 1,380 hours to fabricate by hand. Victoria’s Secret says that the designer was inspired by “the magic of faraway lands.”


The blue bra and body chains feature 10,672 precious gems weighing a staggering 6,634 carats. Incorporated into the design are 3,103 blue sapphires, 2,948 blue agates, 2,885 blue topazes, 943 diamonds, 455 amethysts and 338 London blue topazes.


The red version radiates with 5,833 precious gems, including 2,756 blue sapphires, 1,187 blue topazes, 882 red garnets, 672 red agates, 299 diamonds and 37 yellow quartzes. The gemstone total weight is 2,688 carats.

Both bras are priced at $2 million and are for sale on the Victoria’s Secret website.

Those looking to see these bras in person will get a chance from November 13-16 at the Victoria’s Secret store in Las Vegas’ Fashion Show Mall. On November 13, both Lima and Ambrosio will be on hand to take photos with fans.

Screen captures via

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Story of the Wedding Ring Accidentally Given Away With Halloween Treats Travels Around the World and Back Again

Brooklin Yazzie’s desperate plea to get her beloved wedding ring back after she accidentally gave it away with Halloween candy Friday night has been heard around the world.


What started out as a local story covered by Phoenix ABC-TV affiliate KNXV, has been picked up by numerous other TV stations, news sites and bloggers worldwide.


Yazzie, a resident of Mesa, Ariz., had taken off her gold wedding ring and placed it in a candy jar so it wouldn’t get slimy while she carved pumpkins with her young daughters. But as Friday evening wore on and the onslaught of trick-or-treaters became more intense, she unwittingly emptied the contents of the jar into a larger bag that she used to distribute candy and goodies to the neighborhood kids.


“When I first realized what had happened, I just lost my speech. I froze,” Yazzie told KNXV. “I actually had plastic rings in [the bag] too, so it wouldn’t have felt much different.”

Yazzie normally would have been out trick-or-treating with her kids, but this year she was relegated to door-bell duty due to a foot injury and a baby on the way.


The reason why Yazzie’s story has struck a cord with viewers and readers around the world is not because of the value of the ring. She said, frankly, that it would fetch maybe $50 at a pawn shop.


Far more important is the ring’s sentimental value. To Yazzie, it’s priceless. It’s the ring her husband placed on her finger on their wedding day 10 years ago, when she was barely 20 years old. They were just starting out and had settled on a basic ring because they couldn’t afford a fancier ring at the time.

“It’s my wedding ring, you know? I mean you could replace it, but it’s not the same,” Yazzie told KNXV. “I'm just really hoping that somebody has it and just doesn’t know what to do with it. They don’t know whose it is or how to find out. You know, through the hundreds of houses they went to they don’t know which house it came from.”

Yazzie and her family have been busy posting fliers throughout their neighborhood, hoping that the little kid who has a very real piece of jewelry in his loot bag will do the right thing and return it to its rightful owner.

And with the viral nature of her story, it’s unlikely the lucky kid with the gold ring will have any doubt that the ring belongs to Yazzie.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Spurs’ Championship Rings Keep Getting Bigger and Better; Opening Night Fans Take Home Replicas

The San Antonio Spurs marked their fifth NBA title by raising a new banner and showing off their massive diamond-encrusted championship rings prior to their 2014-2015 season home opener against the Dallas Mavericks last Tuesday.


Each 14-karat gold ring weighs more than three ounces and features diamonds with a total weight of 5.09 carats.


The Spurs’ big three — Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker — were excited to show off their rings during the pre-game ceremonies.


Every fan attending the opener took home a blingy one-size-fits-all commemorative ring — designed in base metal and glittering with what we assume are cubic zirconia or crystals.


Spurs fan Daniel Ortiz shared a photo on the Spurs’ Facebook page that demonstrates how the rings have gotten progressively larger with each championship. The team’s previous titles were in 1999, 2003, 2005 and 2007.


In a neat design twist by manufacturer Herff Jones, the right side of the ring has a custom feature that showcases the Spurs’ “Pounding the Rock” symbol with five sparks shooting out from the rock. Each player's ring has from one to five extra diamonds coming off the sparks, depending how many times that player has been on a Spurs championship team.


The face of the ring features a diamond-studded Spurs logo in 14-karat white gold superimposed over a 14-karat yellow gold representation of the Larry O'Brien NBA Championship Trophy. A large bezel-set diamond symbolizes the basketball of the trophy. The face of the ring includes 76 round, 10 princess cut and four baguette diamonds. An additional 42 round diamonds frame the face.

The left side of the ring showcases the player's name and number along with the NBA logo and winning year 2014. The raised lettering is in white gold against a black enamel background.


The inside of the band is inscribed with the team’s motto: “Good to Great.” The Spurs came within one game of winning the championship in 2013, but were knocked out by the Miami Heat in seven games. The motto reflects the team effort to come back from that disappointment to be better than before. In 2014, the Spurs got their revenge by defeating the Heat in five games.