Friday, June 30, 2017

Music Friday: 'You Were a Shining Pearl in a Broken Shell,' Sings Thomas Dolby in 1992's 'Cruel'

Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you awesome songs with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, the brainy British performer who blinded us with science in 1982, returns with "Cruel," a deeply personal song about a one-sided love affair. Thomas Dolby, in a haunting duet with honey-voiced Eddi Reader, uses jewelry imagery to tell the story of an unrepentant boyfriend who refuses to change his ways.

He sings, "You were a shining pearl / In a broken shell / Under moonlight / And I was cruel."

Dolby and Reader trade verses throughout the song, but join voices in a line about chasing false hope.

Together they sing, "But when my tears are washed away / You'll still be blind / Skin-diving / For jewels."

"Cruel" was released in 1992 as the second track from Dolby's fourth studio album Astronauts & Heretics. Although the song hardly achieved the success of his biggest hit, “She Blinded Me With Science," Dolby told in 2008 that "Cruel" was one of three songs that best defined him as an artist.

When asked by what he wanted to be remembered for, he answered, "My more obscure songs like 'Screen Kiss,' 'I Love You Goodbye' and 'Cruel.' I think it’s inevitable when you have hits as big as I had with “She Blinded Me With Science” and “Hyperactive,” that still get played on the radio 20 years later, people will tend to assume those songs define your music. But in my case, the music I really care most about is my quieter, more personal side."

He told that he was pleased that his big hits gave people an inroad to discover the rest of his music, but lamented that his record label wouldn't take the risk of releasing his "quieter" songs as singles.

Thomas Morgan Robertson was born in London in 1958. The son of an internationally distinguished professor of classical Greek art and archaeology, Dolby sang in a choir at age 11 and learned to sight-read music shortly thereafter. The artist's stage name is a nod to Dolby noise-reduction cassettes. His schoolmates teased him about the Dolby cassette player that he carried everywhere.

Dolby is primarily known for synthpop, a subgenre of new wave music that first became prominent in the late 1970s. Dolby said he "got his hands on a kit-built synthesizer and never looked back." Early in his career, he promoted himself as a kind of a musical mad scientist. Later on, he would become a technology entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. Today, he's a Professor of the Arts at Johns Hopkins University.

Please check out the audio track of Dolby and Welsh songstress Reader singing "Cruel." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

Written by Thomas Dolby. Performed by Dolby with guest vocal by Eddi Reader.

Cruel - what a thing to do
I've been cruel to you such a long time
And how can I hide my shame
'Cause there I go again
At the wrong time

And I know that it was just the fear of flying
And I know it's hard to keep myself from crying

But when my tears are washed away
You'll still be blind
For jewels

You were a shining pearl
In a broken shell
Under moonlight
And I was cruel

And I know that it was just the fear of flying
And I know it's hard to keep myself from crying
But when my tears are washed away
You'll still be blind
For jewels
Cruel - I've been such a fool
And I'll be missing you
Such a long time
I was cruel

Credit: Image by Arthur Mouratidis from United States [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Israeli Schoolchildren Unearth Trove of 900-Year-Old Jewelry at Ancient Crusader Fortress

More than 2,500 Israeli schoolchildren helped unearth a trove of 900-year-old jewelry at the Givat Tittora excavation site in Modi’in, about 20 miles northwest of Jerusalem. Among the items found were bronze and silver rings, bracelets and earrings dating from the Crusader period.

Local students from the fourth to 12th grades got a chance to learn about history while literally playing in the dirt. Over the past year, the students and other volunteers from the community have successfully exposed the inner courtyard of a Crusader fortress, where its occupants cooked and baked for hundreds of years during the Middle Ages.

“It seems that the cooks of the time were not sufficiently careful with the jewelry they wore while cooking and baking, since numerous pieces of jewelry have been found in the excavation, some made of bronze and silver,” explained Avraham Tendler, excavation director for the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Other artifacts found at the site included clay ovens, cooking pots, jars and serving dishes. They also identified food remains, such as olive pits and animal bones.

Nine-year-old volunteer Kinneret Goodman told the Times of Israel that participating in the dig was "as good as going to the beach."

Said the fourth grader, "You get to find things and then you can take pictures and remember the time that you found things from hundreds of years ago, and even more."

Tendler said that the excavation site has yielded artifacts left behind by a long line of inhabitants dating back to the Chalcolithic period (c. 6,000 years ago). The hilltop site has been a popular settlement due to its strategic location on the route from the Mediterranean coast to Jerusalem, as well as its proximity to fertile valleys, which were able to support food production.

The cultural-educational archaeological program is jointly sponsored by the Israel Antiquities Authority and the municipality of Givat Tittora. The program gives local students a unique opportunity to work alongside professional archaeologists in an historical setting.

“The enthusiasm begins with the younger generation, with activities carried out by the Israel Antiquities Authority in the schools, and makes its way into the homes, to the parents and the extended family," noted Vered Bosidan, project coordinator for the Israel Antiquities Authority. "It is there that the seeds are sown that result in the development of an awareness of antiquity preservation.”

The Israel Antiquities Authority anticipates that the Givat Tittora project will continue for many years as local schoolchildren and residents carry on the task of peeling away ancient layers, exploring its treasures and being connected to them in an exciting, hands-on way.

Credits: Images courtesy of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Monday, June 26, 2017

5-Year-Old Gets a Heart Necklace Moments After Her Mom Gets a Diamond Engagement Ring

Grant Tribbett swept two ladies off their feet in late May when he popped the question to his girlfriend, Cassandra Reschar, and then, moments later, asked her five-year-old daughter, Adrianna, if he could be her daddy. Both ladies said, "Yes."

While the 29-year-old Tribbett proposed to Reschar with a traditional diamond engagement ring, Adrianna received a heart necklace to symbolize the permanent piece of his heart that she will always have with her.

"I knew proposing to Cassandra [meant] that I also would be committing to a lifetime of fatherhood. So what better way to ask the love of my life to marry me than to ask her beloved daughter to get the honor to be her daddy?" Tribbett told ABC News.

Reschar, 26, gave her account of the momentous event on "How He Asked," the Instagram page managed by The Knot: "After proposing to me, Grant got back down to propose to my daughter. He said, 'Adrianna can I be your daddy, to promise to love and protect you for the rest of your life?' As soon as he spoke those sweet words, I once again broke down in tears. Not the cute kind of tears either, the bawling type tears. My little heart could not take so much love! Adrianna replied, “YES!” and then screaming with joy she said, "I FINALLY GET A DADDY, MOMMY, I FINALLY GET A DADDY!'"

Reschar concluded, "My daughter and I both got our fairy tale ending..."

The heartwarming two-for-one proposal took place on a picturesque bridge inside Ritchey Woods Nature Preserve in Fishers, Ind. Tribbett had arranged for his photographer friend, Mandi Gilliland, to hide near the bridge so she could capture the moment. The resulting photos are spectacular. You can see the series at "How He Asked." Click this link.

The future groom recently moved from St. Louis to Westfield, Ind., to be closer to Reschar and her daughter. The couple will be hosting 125 guests at a barn wedding in December.

Credits: Photos via