Friday, July 24, 2015

Music Friday: Dion Helps Us Celebrate July's Birthstone With His 1963 Hit, 'Ruby Baby'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring nostalgic tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Dion helps us celebrate July's official birthstone with his 1963 hit, "Ruby Baby."


In this song of unrequited love, Dion croons about a girl who may be out of reach. He sings, "I got a girl and Ruby is her name / She don't love me, but I love her just the same / Ruby Baby how I want you / Like a ghost I'm gonna haunt you / Ruby Baby when will you be mine?"

Written by the dynamic hit-generating duo of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, "Ruby Baby" ranks a close second to the Rolling Stones' "Ruby Tuesday" on our list of the most famous "ruby" songs ever.

"Ruby Baby" was originally recorded in 1956 by The Drifters, who watched it rise to #10 on the R&B charts. By when Dion released his version in 1963 it zoomed to #2 on the broad-based U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and remained in the Top 40 for 11 weeks. The song brought Dion worldwide fame.

Dion DiMucci, who celebrated his 76th birthday last week and continues to tour, launched his career as the frontman for Dion and the Belmonts in the late 1950s. The group's name was derived from the fact that the four singers all lived on or near Belmont Avenue in the Bronx, N.Y.

Dion would go on to have a successful solo career that has transformed him from a handsome teen idol to a widely respected grandfather of Rock & Roll. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1989.

We hope you enjoy this clip of Dion performing "Ruby Baby" on Late Night With David Letterman. The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Ruby Baby"
Written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. Performed by Dion.

I got a girl and Ruby is her name
She don't love me, but I love her just the same
Ruby Baby how I want you
Like a ghost I'm gonna haunt you
Ruby Baby when will you be mine?

Each time I see you baby my heart cries
I'm gonna steal you away from all those guys
From the sunny day I met you
Made a bet that I would get you
Ruby Baby when will you be mine?

I got a girl and Ruby is her name
I'd give the world just to set her heart aflame
Got some lovin' money too
Gonna give it all to you
Ruby Baby when will you be mine?

Images via (Dion's official website)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Infographic Reveals Where Couples Spend the Most — and Least — on Engagement Rings

Couples living in the states of Montana, Nevada and Washington spend the most on their engagement rings while their counterparts in South Dakota, Arkansas and Nebraska spend the least, according to figures just released by Ritani.


The high-profile designer of custom engagement rings reveals in a neat infographic the wide disparity in purchasing habits. Segmented by the states in which the couples live, the findings certainly caught us by surprise.

According to Ritani, the blingiest brides-to-be reside in Montana ($9,523), Nevada ($9,478) and Washington ($9,173). On the opposite end of the spectrum are South Dakota ($1,251), Arkansas ($3,176) and Nebraska ($3,835), where couples seem to be more frugal.

Ritani's state-by-state figures seem to align with the national stats reported by The Knot, which pegged the average engagement ring expenditure at $5,855.

The Knot's report, which was based on a survey of 16,000 newly married brides, also revealed that overall wedding budgets are on the rise, with the average tab in 2014 coming in at $31,213, up from $29,858 in 2013. By far, the biggest part of the wedding budget was dedicated to the venue, with the reception hall costs tallying $14,007. The engagement ring ranked as the bridal couple’s second-highest expense.

In Ritani's infographic, the dark purple color represents the states in the second-tier range of $7,500-to-$8,999. They include Minnesota ($8,853), Indiana ($8,763), North Dakota ($8,616), Massachusetts ($8,574), New Hampshire ($8,556), New Jersey ($8,427), Alabama ($8,062), California ($7,991), New York ($7,789) and Illinois ($7,753).

The infographic also includes Ritani's "5 Tips Before Ring Shopping."

Under "Know Her Style," Ritani notes that although 57% of diamonds purchased are round, couples can still step out of the box and design a custom ring based on her personality and style.

Regarding "Know Your Budget," Ritani emphasizes the importance of couples knowing what they're comfortable spending before entering the design process.

"Know the 6 Cs" points to couples being knowledgeable about a diamond's cut, color, clarity and carat weight, while also taking advantage of expert consultation and certification.

In the section "Know How to Spot a Fake," Ritani recommends that couples review its online guide and to ensure that they are buying a GIA-certified diamond.

When making a surprise proposal, the guy will want to "Know Her Ring Size." Ritani recommends using a a ring she already owns to estimate her size and, when in doubt, go slightly larger.

Here's the complete alphabetical list of the average engagement expenditures, by state, according to Ritani...

Alaska: $5,353
Alabama: $8,062
Arkansas: $3,176
Arizona $6,347
California: $7,991
Colorado: $6,938
Connecticut: $6,971
Delaware: $4,684
Florida: $7,128
Georgia: $6,099
Hawaii: $6,896
Iowa: $6,056
Idaho: $6,794
Illinois: $7,753
Indiana: $8,763
Kansas: $5,955
Kentucky: $6,677
Louisiana: $5,754
Massachusetts: $8,574
Maryland: $7,331
Maine: $4,105
Michigan: $5,605
Minnesota: $8,853
Missouri: $6,908
Mississippi: $6,065
Montana: $9,523
Nebraska: $3,835
New Hampshire: $8,556
New Jersey: $8,427
New Mexico: $5,131
Nevada: $9,478
New York: $7,789
North Carolina: $6,762
North Dakota: $8,616
Ohio: $5,546
Oklahoma: $4,835
Oregon: $5,525
Pennsylvania: $5,726
Rhode Island: $4,821
South Carolina: $4,868
South Dakota: $1,251
Tennessee: $4,535
Texas: $7,233
Utah: $4,537
Virginia: $6,024
Vermont: $2,665
Washington: $9,173
Wisconsin: $6,395
West Virginia: $5,196
Wyoming: $6,355

Source: Ritani.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Self-Proclaimed Nerd Proposes With Engagement Ring Made Entirely of Legos; She Says, 'Yes'

Michael Thousand, a self-proclaimed nerd and Lego enthusiast, proposed to his girlfriend at Boston's Legoland Discovery Center with an engagement ring made entirely from the wildly popular interlocking plastic building blocks.


The lovely, but equally nerdish, Allison Donlon screamed "Yes" after her beau got down on one knee and delivered his proposal in front of a crowd of 250 Lego fans.


The surprise proposal took place a week ago during Legoland's Adult Night, when — on the third Wednesday of each month — fully grown Lego loyalists get to take over the Lego paradise with like-minded friends.


At the end of the night, master model builder Ian Coffee announced that Thousand and Donlon had won the big mystery prize. What Donlon didn't know was that her clever boyfriend had rigged the results, and the prize was actually a "diamond" engagement ring made completely of Legos.

“We’re just big Lego fans,” Thousand told “I knew that a standard, boring, out-to-dinner kind of thing wasn’t going to cut it.”

Donlon showed off her slightly larger-than-scale plastic ring as if she were a Hollywood celebrity amidst the flashbulbs of the paparazzi. The proud bride-to-be posted the proposal photo to Facebook with the caption, "I SAID YES! — with Mike Thousand at Legoland Discovery Center Boston." The line included an emoji of a diamond ring.


“We’re complete nerds,” Thousand told “We can’t deny that.”

Before making any judgments about the appropriateness of proposing marriage with a plastic engagement ring — no matter how cute and sentimental — please note that Thousand did follow up the Lego ring with a real diamond ring.

The couple from Chelmsford, Mass., which is about 30 miles northwest of Boston, had planned to move to Michigan by the end of July due to Thousand's new job opportunity. He wanted to demonstrate his love and commitment before they headed west.

Legoland Discovery Center Boston gave the couple a shout-out on its Facebook page: "To top it all off, the night ended with a proposal!! We gave him a Lego ring and he gave her a diamond one! Congrats to the newly engaged couple and thanks to everyone who made it yet another fantastic Adult Night!"


A favorite exhibit at the Discovery Center is this city scene, which recreates 20 of Boston's most famous landmarks using Lego bricks.

Images: Facebook/Legoland Discovery Center Boston

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

French Bulldog Gobbles Owner's Engagement Ring; Docs Use Endoscope to Pull It From the Belly of the Beast

Mischievous French Bulldog, Tux, is always getting into trouble. So, when Miami resident Jessica Farah heard a crunching metallic sound coming from the dog's mouth last Wednesday she casually assumed he was chewing on his brother's collar, something he does all the time.


However, later in the day, she noticed that her loose-fitting engagement ring was not on her finger and she started to fear the worst.


"I look at my hand, and I think, 'Oh no,'" she told a reporter from television station WSVN.


French Bulldogs lack a discriminating palate and are notorious for eating what should not be eaten. The breed's wide mouth and voracious appetite make it a consuming machine, often ingesting items as bizarre as cat litter and bite-sized plastic children's toys. They also seem to like jewelry.

Farah traced her steps and tore through the house, but the ring was nowhere to be found.

“[Then] it dawned on me. Well, I guess it wasn’t the brother’s collar. It was my ring," she said.


Early the next morning, Farah rushed Tux to the local animal clinic, where a simple X-ray confirmed her suspicions. The ring was clearly visible deep within the belly of the beast.

The bad news was that the dog had swallowed the ring. The good news was that the digestive process had not yet moved the ring into the dog's intestine.

“What was important was that it didn’t move on,” noted veterinarian Robert Ferran, “because if it had moved on to the intestine, it certainly is a harder thing to try and fetch it.”


There are generally three options when an animal swallows a valuable object, such as a ring. Do nothing and hope that it passes naturally. Extract the ring surgically. Or, use a flexible endoscope to enter the dog's stomach through the mouth and try to grab the ring using the endoscope's pincer. The minimally invasive endoscope has a light source and camera so the doctor can see inside a patient's body.


Doctors at Miami Veterinary Specialists decided to go with the endoscope option, and by the end of the procedure the ring was back on Farah's finger and Tux was perfectly fine.


"I'm never taking it off," she said of her cherished engagement ring. "Showering, gym, everything. It's never coming off."

Tux actually played an important role in matching Farah with her fiancé. Farah met the love of her life when Tux went missing last year. Her now-fiancé made a great first impression when he volunteered to help find the pup.

Images: Screen captures via; French Bulldog by tanakawho, [CC BY 2.0} via Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Asteroid Packing $5.4 Trillion in Platinum Shoots Past Earth; Space Mining Company Sets Sights on Celestial Treasure

A space rock containing $5.4 trillion in platinum flew within 1.5 million miles of the Earth last night, sparking speculation about the future of space mining.


The flyby of asteroid "2011 UW-158" was presented live via the Slooh online observatory, which used a team of telescopes in the Canary Islands to track the half-mile-wide, Rice Krispie-shaped chunk of celestial bling. Providing commentary and answering Twitter-generated questions were host Eric Edelman and Slooh astronomer Bob Berman.

The Slooh feed provided two live shots, one with the asteroid centered in the viewing window and the second showing the asteroid moving across the viewing field. Due to its size in relation to its 1.5 million-mile distance from earth, the asteroid appears as a tiny white dot.


The relatively close proximity of 2011 UW-158 — about six times farther than our Moon, but 30 times closer than our nearest planetary neighbor, Venus — prompted renewed interest in the viability of space mining.


Planetary Resources, an asteroid mining venture with financial backing from Google chiefs Eric Schmidt and Larry Page, has its sights set on 2011 UW-158. The company believes the asteroid's core contains 100 million tons of platinum worth $5.4 trillion. The company is also tracking similar asteroids in our solar system. Planetary Resources president Chris Lewicki provided realtime commentary during the live feed.

“It’s always fun when an asteroid whooshes past our world,” Berman said in a Slooh announcement. “What makes this unusual is the large amount of platinum believed to be lurking in the body of this space visitor. Can it be mined someday, perhaps not too far in the future?”


Officials from NASA believe that asteroids can be captured and brought into orbit around our Moon. Once captured, space miners would be able to collect valuable resources. NASA is confident this futuristic mining could be a reality by the year 2025. NASA says the elements present in asteroids — including rocket fuel and water — could be harvested by future generations in the quest to explore and colonize our solar system.

A spectrometer, measuring the intensity of light reflected from 2011 UW158, was used to determine the platinum composition of the asteroid. After last night's show, 2011 UW158 is not scheduled for another flyby until 2108.

Images: Screen captures of Slooh video feed; Planetary Resources.