Friday, July 15, 2016

Music Friday: Reggae Star Sean Paul Sings, 'You Worth More Dan Diamonds, More Dan Gold,' in Sia's 'Cheap Thrills'

Welcome to Music Friday when we highlight chart-topping songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Aussie sensation Sia teams up with Jamaican rapper Sean Paul to deliver one of the world's hottest dance tunes, "Cheap Thrills." Currently #5 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, the song features Paul's reggae-spiced refrain, "You worth more dan diamonds, more dan gold."

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The song follows Sia as she preps for an exciting weekend with her partner at the dance club. She states that she doesn't need dollars bills to have fun tonight, because feeling the music and dancing the night away is worth so much more.

Sia and Paul alternate lines as they sing, "But I don't need no money / (You worth more dan diamonds, more dan gold) / As long as I can feel the beat."

Penned by Sia and Greg Kurstin, "Cheap Thrills" has been described by critics as a "bouncy party anthem" and "another superior slab of on-trend ear candy."

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"Cheap Thrills" has become a viral sensation on YouTube. The lyric video, which mimics the 1960s vibe of American Bandstand and features faceless dancers wearing signature Sia wigs, has been viewed more than 362 million times. A second video highlighting Dance Moms star Maddie Ziegler has accumulated 120 million views. The 13-year-old dancer also appeared in Sia's videos for "Chandelier," "Elastic Heart" and "Big Girls Cry."

Sia fans may remember that she wrote "Diamonds" for Rihanna in 2012. That song became one of the best-selling singles of all time, with more than 7.5 million copies sold worldwide.

Interestingly, "Cheap Thrills" was also intended for Rihanna, but the artist passed on it. As reported in Rolling Stone, Rihanna's manager was looking for another "Diamonds," a song with soul and feeling. After Sia and Kurstin wrote "Cheap Thrills," Sia sensed that the song may not be a perfect match for Rihanna.

"I realized just as soon as I was cutting it that it sounded a little bit too Brit-pop for her," she told Rolling Stone. "We did actually send it to her, but they passed on it, and then I just couldn't stop listening to it in the car."

Sia decided to add the song to her seventh studio album, This Is Acting. The rest is hit-making history. The song was released in February and is still migrating its way up the Billboard charts.

Please check out the excellent "Cheap Thrills" video at the end of this post. The lyrics are included if you'd like to sing along with Sia and Sean Paul...

"Cheap Thrills"
Written by Greg Kurstin and Sia Furler. Performed by Sia, featuring Sean Paul.

Up with it girl
Rock with it girl
Show dem it girl (Bada bang bang)
Bounce with it girl
Dance with it girl
Get with it girl (Bada bang bang)

Come on, come on, turn the radio on
It's Friday night and I won't be long
Gotta do my hair, I put my make up on
It's Friday night and I won't be long

Til I hit the dance floor (Bada bang)
Hit the dance floor (Bada bang)
I got all I need (Sia)
No I ain't got cash
No I ain't got cash
But I got you baby
(Just you and me)

Baby I don't need dollar bills to have fun tonight
(I love cheap thrills)
Baby I don't need dollar bills to have fun tonight
(I love cheap thrills)
But I don't need no money
You worth more dan diamonds, more dan gold
As long as I can feel the beat
Mek di beat jus tek control
I don't need no money
You worth more dan diamonds, more dan gold
As long as I keep dancing
Free up yourself, get outa control

Come on, come on, turn the radio on
It's Saturday and I won't be long
Gotta paint my nails, put my high heels on
It's Saturday and I won't be long

Til I hit the dance floor (Bada bang)
Hit the dance floor (Bada bang)
I got all I need (Sia)
No I ain't got cash
No I ain't got cash
But I got you baby
(Just you and me)

Baby I don't need dollar bills to have fun tonight
(I love cheap thrills)
Baby I don't need dollar bills to have fun tonight
(I love cheap thrills)
But I don't need no money
You worth more dan diamonds, more dan gold
As long as I can feel the beat
Mek di beat jus tek control
I don't need no money
You worth more dan diamonds, more dan gold
As long as I keep dancing
Free up yourself, get outa control

Me and you girl, you and me
Drop it to di floor an mek mi see your energy because
Mi nah play na hide an seek
Wah fi see di ting you have weg mek me feel weak girl
Cause anytime you wine and kotch it
Di selector pull it up an pull it pon repeat girl
I'm nah touch a dollar in my pocket
Cause nuttin in this world ain't more dan what you worth

But I don't need no money
You worth more dan diamonds, more dan gold
As long as I can feel the beat
Mek di beat jus tek control
I don't need no money
You worth more dan diamonds, more dan gold
As long as I keep dancing
Free up yourself, get outa control
Oh, oh

Baby I don't need dollar bills to have fun tonight
(I love cheap thrills)
Baby I don't need dollar bills to have fun tonight
(I love cheap thrills)
But I don't need no money
You worth more dan diamonds, more dan gold
As long as I can feel the beat
Mek di beat jus tek control
I don't need no money
You worth more dan diamonds, more dan gold
As long as I keep dancing
Free up yourself, get outa control

La, la, la, la, la, la
(I love cheap thrills)
La, la, la, la, la, la
(I love cheap thrills)
La, la, la, la, la, la
(I love cheap thrills)
La, la, la, la, la
(I love cheap thrills)

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Ponder This: Are the Rio Olympic Gold Medals Really Made of Gold?

With the Olympic Games kicking off in Rio de Janeiro in 22 days, we ask you to ponder what seems to be a very silly and simple question: Are the Rio Olympic gold medals really made of gold?

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Well, the answer is "yes" and "no."

Have you ever wondered how the International Olympic Committee (IOC) could afford to give away pure gold medals? With the Rio medals weighing 500 grams, each would cost $23,668 in precious metal alone. The IOC will be awarding 812 gold medals during the Olympic games, so 24-karat gold medals at 500 grams would generate a tab of more than $19.2 million.

Yes, there was a time when Olympic gold medals were made of solid gold, but the last ones were awarded in Stockholm, Sweden, way back in 1912.

Starting in 1916, the IOC mandated that gold medals be made mostly of silver, with a 24-karat gilding of exactly 6 grams (.211 ounces). The IOC also required the medals to be at least 60mm in diameter and 3mm thick.

Interestingly, since the density of gold is nearly twice that of silver, if the committee attempted to mint a 60mm wide, 3mm thick coin in pure gold, it would weigh about 1,000 grams (2.2 pounds) and be worth about $47,000 in precious metal.

Since the Rio medals are composed of 494 grams of 96% pure silver and 6 grams of 99.9% pure gold, the total precious metal value is about $284 in gold and $339 in silver — for a grand total of $623. The IOC will spend $505,000 on gold medals this year.

Rio's silver medals are made of 500 grams of 96% pure silver and have no gilding at all. The precious metal value is about $344.

Bronze medals contain mostly copper with a bit of zinc and tin. The composition is similar to that of a penny. The medal contains no precious metal and has a value of less than $5.

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The medal's design features laurel leaves – a symbol of victory in ancient Greece – surrounding the Rio 2016 Olympic logo. According to Olympic Games tradition, the other side of the medal regularly features an image of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory, with the Panathinaiko Stadium and the Acropolis in the background.

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For the first time, the medals are slightly thicker at their central point compared with their edges. The name of the event for which the medal was won is engraved by laser along the outside edge.

The medals of Rio have been made with sustainability at their heart. Athletes who get to stand on the highest podium after their respective competitions will receive medals made from gold that has been produced according to strict sustainability criteria, from the initial mining all the way through to the design of the end product.

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The silver and bronze medals have been fabricated using 30% recycled materials. Half of the plastic in the ribbons — used to hang the medals around athletes’ necks — comes from recycled plastic bottles. The rounded cases that hold the medals are made from freij√≥ wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).

Rio 2016 published this short video showing how medals from both the Olympic Games (Aug. 5-21) and Paralympic Games (Sept. 7-18) are made...

Credits: Rio medal images courtesy Rio 2016/Alex Ferro.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Gopher Absconds With Golfer's Diamond Ring and Heads Underground to Surprise His Sweetie With a Proposal

A devious gopher, who's a spitting image of Bill Murray's nemesis in 1980's Caddyshack, swipes an engagement ring that a golfer leaves unattended and dives underground to surprise his adorable red-bow-wearing girlfriend with a marriage proposal using the stolen solitaire.

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That crazy scenario is the theme of a TV commercial promoting Farmers Insurance, a company whose agents "know a thing or two because we've seen a thing or two."

According to the company, the "Romantic Rodent" commercial is based on an actual claim that Farmers covered for its customer when an engagement ring was lost at a golf course. In a creative twist, the ad offers a fanciful account of what became of the missing engagement ring. Farmers' creative team pins the blame on a romantic rodent, who swiped the ring to propose to his love interest.

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The ad opens with Farmers Insurance spokesman J.K. Simmons walking #7-ranked professional golfer Rickie Fowler through the insurance company's Hall of Claims. The spokesman explains to the golf pro that his company has seen just about everything, so the company knows how to cover almost anything — "even a romantic rodent."

"A romantic what?" asks a baffled Fowler.

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At this point, the scene flashes to a golf course, where a female golfer has just placed her engagement ring in the cup holder of her golf cart.

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Watching the scene from a nearby burrow is a clever gopher, who makes a mad dash for the ring when the golfer leaves the cart unattended to take her shot.

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After snatching the ring, the thief dives head first back into his hole, scampers through a narrow tunnel and finally meets up with his girlfriend, who is preparing an acorn dinner in her rodent kitchen.

With Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky's "Romeo & Juliet Love Theme" playing in the background, she slowly turns to see him holding a stunning diamond solitaire ring.

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She drops an acorn as he goes down on one knee to chirp his proposal. The surprised girlfriend holds her paws to her face in excitement.

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The scene transitions back to Simmons, who states, "I'm a sucker for proposals." On the wall of the company's Hall of Claims is a plaque commemorating the Romantic Rodent claim, which is dated 4/26/14. On the plaque are two silver golf balls and a needlepoint depiction of the two gophers holding a diamond ring.

The commercial, which made its TV debut earlier this year during the Farmers Insurance Open, is part of the company's "We Know From Experience" campaign. The company's ad agency of record is Santa Monica-based RPA. The commercial has had more than 1,150 national airings. Farmers Insurance serves more than 10 million households with 19 million individual policies.

Check out the adorable commercial below...

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.com.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

2016 American Eagle Platinum Coin Earns Rock-Star Status as Mintage Sells Out in 56 Minutes

The 2016 American Eagle one-ounce platinum proof coin earned rock-star status recently when the U.S. Mint exhausted its entire mintage of 10,000 pieces within 56 minutes of the coins going on sale.

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On the Mint's website, the coins were priced at $1,350 and purchases were limited to one per household. Despite that limitation, the website processed orders at a rate of three per second until it was forced to take down the offer and replace it with the status of “Currently Unavailable.”

While these statistics surely impressed coin enthusiasts, it may be a good time to compare the American's Eagle's performance against some of the all-time quickest selling items...

• Back in 1964, The Beatles' release of "Can't Buy Me Love" generated sales of 940,225 during the first 24 hours. That's equivalent to a tad fewer than 11 singles per second.
• In 2012, pre-orders for the iPhone 5 exceeded two million in 24 hours, or about 23 per second.
• In 2013, the video game Grand Theft Auto V sold 12 million units in its first day, or the equivalent of 139 per second.
• And in 2015, the Korean boy band EXO sold out the 15,000-seat Olympic Gymnastics Arena in Seoul in 1.47 seconds. That's more than 10,000 transactions per second.

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Coin enthusiasts clamored for the 2016 American Eagle based on its beauty, collectibility and investment value. The spot price for an ounce of platinum on the day of the Mint's offering was $1,320, so the premium to obtain a limited-edition proof was only $30.

Soon after the coins were sold out, the same 2016 American Eagle .9995 platinum coins emerged on eBay for upwards of $1,895, a 40% premium over the issue price.

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The obverse features John Mercanti’s modern interpretation of Liberty, first introduced on Platinum Eagles in 1997. Inscribed in the field and along the rim are the words LIBERTY, E PLURIBUS UNUM, IN GOD WE TRUST and the year 2016.

Designed by Paul C. Balan and sculpted by Joseph Menna, the reverse depicts Liberty holding a torch of enlightenment and an olive branch of peace. On the olive branch are 13 olives, one for each of the original colonies of the United States. A bald eagle in flight appears beside Liberty. Inscribed in the field and along the rim are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, .9995 PLATINUM, 1 OZ., $100, and the West Point Mint’s “W” mark.

This past December, the 2015 version of the American Eagle platinum proof coin was offered in a very limited mintage of 3,881 pieces, which sold out within 10 minutes of its release. That coin carried at price tag of $1,200 and no household ordering limit. For the record, it sold at a rate of 6.5 coins per second.

The 2016 coin is packaged in a presentation case, allowing both 2015 and 2016 coins to be displayed together.

Credits: Coin images courtesy of U.S. Mint. Boy band EXO by Louis Kim (SMTown Live World Tour IV in Seoul) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Monday, July 11, 2016

He Tethered the Ring to His Life Vest, But This Whitewater Rafting Proposal Still Nearly Ends in Disaster

For years we've been writing about the incompatible relationship between engagement rings and large bodies of water. Despite the inherent risks of dropping the precious keepsakes in the drink, a cavalcade of can't-take-a-hint suitors keep making the same mistakes.

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Which brings us to today's story of Virginian Jesse Puryear, whose brilliant idea was to propose to his girlfriend, Alexandra Love, while careening on a raft down the white-capped Class IV rapids of Chattanooga's Ocoee River.

Puryear was aware that his well-intentioned proposal could go terribly wrong. In fact, he was extra careful to tether the engagement ring to his life vest.

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On July 2, in the midst of one of the most challenging sections of the river, the dapper young man went down on one knee and popped the question to his girlfriend with a halo-style engagement ring. In the boat were members of the future-bride's family.

"I’ve been wanting to do this for a while and wanted to do it in front of your family," said Puryear, according to TheKnotNews.com. "I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?"

As he attempted the place the ring on Love's right hand (oops!), the raft encountered a violent wave and a torrent drenched the lovebirds and the boat-mounted video camera.

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Still smiling, Puryear collected himself and continued with what promised to be one of the most momentous events of his life, but that euphoria was short-circuited when he saw nothing dangling from the leash on his vest. The ring is gone.

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His distraught girlfriend could do nothing more than continue to hold on tight as Puryear squatted down to dig for the ring at the bottom of the raft. Incidentally, the boat is designed with drainage holes in the floor, according to Puryear.

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A near catastrophe turned to triumph when, within a few seconds, Puryear located the ring and raised it to the sky. Love and the rest of her family let out a collective cheer, as their raft guide, who is incidentally Love's brother, Josh, maneuvered them all into calmer waters.

“[It was] barely holding on to the lip of a hole in the bottom of the raft," Puryear told TheKnotNews.com. "I pulled it up for a split second to double check and just raised it up in the air as high as I could. I was at a loss for words, just sheer joy.”

Instead of hitting the reset button and attempting the proposal again, Puryear handed the ring to the captain for safekeeping. The proposal would have to wait until they got onto dry land.

Puryear, who posted his experience to YouTube and Facebook, captioned his video, "How I almost messed up one of the most important days of my life."

Lesson learned.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube; Couple via Facebook/Alexandra Love.