Friday, December 13, 2019

Music Friday: Toby Keith's Wife Won't Settle for Anything Less Than a 'Christmas Rock'

Welcome to a special holiday edition of Music Friday. Today, a cash-strapped Toby Keith reluctantly agrees to visit his local jeweler in the comical 1995 release, "Christmas Rock."

In the song, we learn that Keith's wife has been spending a lot of time looking at jewelry catalogs. She knows what she wants for Christmas, and practical, household items, such as pots and pans or a long nightshirt, are not going to cut it this year. She wants "something shinin' on her hand" and it had better be a diamond or an emerald.

Keith tries to plead his case: They're on a strict budget and they have to keep their spending down. Her reaction: She sheds a "big ol' tear."

The man who complains that his "billfold doesn't have a prayer" finds himself en route to his local jeweler.

He sings, "Down to the jewelry store, here I go / Hear the clerk say, "Ho, ho, ho" / She wants a Christmas rock / But Santa's pockets ain't got no roll."

Ironically, 18 years after the song was released, Keith appeared on the cover of Forbes magazine under the headline "Country Music's $500 Million Man."

"Christmas Rock" appeared as the third track from his first holiday album, Christmas To Christmas. Over the course of his 26-year music career, Keith has produced 19 studio albums, two Christmas albums and five compilation albums, with worldwide sales of 40 million units. Sixty-one singles have hit the Billboard Hot Country songs list, including 20 chart toppers.

Born in Clinton, Okla, in 1961, Toby Keith Covel became interested in music as a youngster. His grandmother owned a supper club in Fort Smith, Ark., and the young boy would visit during the summers. Keith did odd jobs around the club and got to interact with the band members. He got is first guitar at the age of eight.

After graduating high school, Keith worked as a derrick hand in the oil fields, but also performed for $35 a night at local bars as the frontman for the Easy Money Band. The band played the honky tonk circuit in Oklahoma and Texas, but never made it big.

Nearing 30 years of age, Keith decided to move to Nashville to see if he could land a recording contract and fulfill his dreams of a career in the music business. He distributed demo tapes to record companies in the city, but there was no interest.

Keith's luck changed when a flight attendant and fan gave one of his demo tapes to Harold Shedd, a Mercury Records executive. Shedd later saw Keith perform live and quickly signed him to a record deal.

Since 2002, the singer, songwriter, actor and record producer has made numerous trips to the Middle East to support and entertain the U.S. men and women serving near the front lines.

Please check out the audio track of Keith performing "Christmas Rock." The lyrics are below if you'd like to sing along...

"Christmas Rock"
Written by Lewis Anderson. Performed by Toby Keith.

My billfold doesn't have a prayer
There's Christmas catalogs everywhere
She keeps looking at the jewelry section
Cutting pictures out of her selections

I said, "We need to hold it down this year"
And in her eye she got a big ol' tear
She wants a Christmas rock
But Santa's pockets ain't got no roll

She don't want pots and pans
Just something shinin' on her hand
With an emerald or a diamond on it
I had a budget but she's gone and blown it

Down to the jewelry store, here I go
Hear the clerk say, "Ho, ho, ho"
She wants a Christmas rock
But Santa's pockets ain't got no roll

She don't want anything from Sears
No tools or garden shears
There's something special on her mind
And I can't even afford the shine

I wish she'd settled for a long nightshirt
No, I've got to give till it hurts
She wants a Christmas rock
But Santa's pockets ain't got no roll

She don't want pots and pans
Just something shinin' on her hand
With an emerald or a diamond on it
I had a budget but she's gone and blown it

Down to the jewelry store, here I go
Hear the clerk say, "Ho, ho, ho"
She wants a Christmas rock
But Santa's pockets ain't got no roll

She wants a Christmas rock
But ol' Santa's pockets ain't got no roll

Credit: Photo by Spc. Aaron Rosencrans [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Here's Why Actress Emma Stone's Pearl Engagement Ring Is So Unconventional

When actress Emma Stone and her new fiancé, SNL writer Dave McCary, announced their engagement this past Wednesday with dual Instagram posts, Stone's adorning fan base had a hard time figuring out what she was wearing on the ring finger of her left hand. Was it a diamond? Might it be... a pearl?

The Instagram photo shows the beaming couple posing for a selfie while Stone extends her fist to the camera. While their faces are in focus, her ring is just a sparkly blur.

As the news broke, some reporters ran with the assumption that the ring's center stone must be an out-of-focus diamond in a diamond halo setting. said Stone was "flashing a diamond engagement ring with a twisted platinum band." said Stone "showed off a pretty impressive diamond ring."

But then an engagement ring expert told Us Magazine that the ring appeared to be an antique-inspired design featuring either a 3 to 3.5-carat Old European cut diamond or a 9 to 10mm pearl.

As more information became available, we learned that Stone's ring by Tokyo designer Kataoka does, indeed, feature a lustrous 8mm untreated saltwater pearl surrounded by .37 carats of diamonds in a snowflake motif. The ring's 18-karat gold band is also encrusted with diamonds.

McCary purchased the ring at a Brooklyn, N.Y., boutique called Catbird. The retailer's website features a similar ring priced at $4,780.

While style writers gushed over the pearl ring, calling it "striking," "on trend" and "the perfect winter engagement ring," jewelry-industry experts wondered if McCary's unconventional choice was misinformed.

Cultured pearls are typically not used as center stones in engagement rings because they are delicate and not suited to daily wear and tear. While a diamond rates 10 on the Mohs hardness scale (it's the hardest of all gemstones), the pearl earns a 2.5 (one of the softest). Corundum, which includes sapphires and rubies, rates a 9.

The Gemological Institute of America warns that pearls can be easily scratched or abraded, but acknowledges that with reasonable care pearl jewelry can be a lasting treasure.

Pearl lovers who insist on following Stone's lead should know the risks and responsibilities that come with owning a pearl engagement ring.

• If you wear the ring every day and work with your hands, it's very likely the pearl will get dinged over time.

• Pearls can be damaged by household products, including vinegar, ammonia and chlorine. They need to be kept away from hairspray, perfume, cosmetics, and even perspiration.

• Always remove a pearl ring when showering, swimming or doing the dishes.

• Consider keeping small ring holders in your bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and work desk so you are less likely to lose track of the ring if you need to take it off during the day.

• Be prepared to replace the pearl every so often.

Stone, 31, and McCary, 34, have reportedly been dating since the summer of 2017. McCary works as a writer and segment director on Saturday Night Live. Stone is an Academy Award winner and one of the highest-paid actresses in Hollywood. According to reports, they met more than two years ago when Stone hosted SNL.

Credits: Couple image via; Inset ring image courtesy of Catbird.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Solid and Dependable 'Classic Blue' Is Named Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year

Suggestive of the sky at dusk, "Classic Blue" has been named Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year. Consumers looking to match their jewelry wardrobes to Pantone’s calm, confident, enduring shade of blue will likely consider sapphire, blue topaz, lapis lazuli and kyanite.

"We are living in a time that requires trust and faith," said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of The Pantone Color Institute. "It is a kind of constancy and confidence that is expressed by Pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue, a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on."

Eiseman also described Classic Blue as "elegant in its simplicity."

"Imbued with deep resonance," she said, "Classic Blue provides an anchoring foundation. A boundless blue evocative of the vast and infinite sky, Classic Blue encourages us to look beyond the obvious to expanding our thinking, challenging us to think more deeply, increase our perspective and open the flow of communication."

Fine Ceylon sapphires, such as the 423-carat "Logan Sapphire" seen here, reflect the characteristics of Pantone's Color of the Year. A gift to the Smithsonian by Rebecca Pollard Guggenheim in December 1960, the gem remained in her possession until April 1971. By that time, her then-husband Col. M. Robert Guggenheim had passed away and she had married John A. Logan — hence the sapphire's Logan name. The beautiful blue stone has the distinction of being the heaviest mounted gem in the National Gem Collection.

Each year since 2000, the color experts at Pantone have picked a color that reflects the current cultural climate. Typically, Pantone’s selection influences product development and purchasing decisions in multiple industries, including fashion, home furnishings and industrial design, as well as product packaging and graphic design.

This is the first time in the history of the Pantone Color of the Year that a saturated, pure blue color has been named. In 2000, Pantone picked a pale blue-purple Cerulean Blue, followed by a pale greenish-blue Aqua Sky in 2003 and a similarly pale bluish-green Blue Turquoise in 2005. A more greenish Turquoise was selected in 2010 and the pale purplish-blue Serenity shared the spotlight with Rose Quartz in 2016.

The process of choosing the Color of the Year takes about nine months, with Pantone’s trend watchers scanning the globe’s fashion runways, movie sets and high-profile events for “proof points” until one color emerges as the clear winner.

A year ago, Pantone’s Color of the Year was “Living Coral,” a color described by Eiseman as a sociable and spirited shade of pinkish-orange.

Here are the most recent Pantone Colors of the Year…

PANTONE 16-1546 Living Coral (2019)
PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet (2018)
PANTONE 15-0343 Greenery (2017)
PANTONE 13-1520 Rose Quartz (2016)
PANTONE 15-3919 Serenity (2016)
PANTONE 18-1438 Marsala (2015)

PANTONE 18-3224 Radiant Orchid (2014)
PANTONE 17-5641 Emerald (2013)
PANTONE 17-1463 Tangerine Tango (2012)
PANTONE 18-2120 Honeysuckle (2011)
PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise (2010)
PANTONE 14-0848 Mimosa (2009)

Credit: Screen capture, color swatches via Gem photo Logan Sapphire by Chip Clark/Smithsonian.