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June 6, 2006
Building A "Foundation House" for Kids in San Francisco: So Urban Youth Can Thrive!

Once in awhile an opportunity comes along where there is no other response than "I must grab it." With other opportunities, they grab you. The following story is of the latter ilk.

But before I get started I must address the 600,000 monthly visitors who had been coming to Rugged Elegant Living on a regular basis and must be wondering where I went for the past nearly four months. A special expression of thanks to Wes, who took the time to pick up the phone and call to make sure I was simply o.k.

I told Wes that I hadn't been writing because I had gone through surgery, that we had been working on the e-commerce side of our business, and that my husband and I had bought a new house. However, what I wanted to tell him is what I am about to tell you now. The most significant reason I have gone offline is that I have been working on a project that has grabbed my heart, my soul and my attention, and now I am finally ready to tell the world about it.

I hope if this story touches you in any way, you will think about the resources you have that you can bring to the table. Whether you have creative ideas, financial means, mainstream media contacts, experience in this arena, or practical knowledge you'd like to share, we are all ears.

Building A "Foundation House" for Youth ... So They Can Thrive

Having unexpectedly bought a new home and moved our Rugged Elegance headquarters further west of the city near what is called "Land's End," Tim and I began the process of selling our previous home through a traditional real estate agent.

Until this week, we thought it was likely that this fabulous property, located in the center of the city, would have gone to another single family. Perhaps eventually, it will.

For the past year, we were getting prepared to remodel our home to better serve the needs of our own two children. However, friends kept telling us that if we were planning to invest a significant amount of money in our current property, we should first look at what else is on the market. As far as I was concerned, this house could have been "it" for our family, forever. It had plenty of space for our two children, our dog and our lifestyle media business. It has a pool, which is very unusual for San Francisco. The roof deck offers a 360 degree panoramic view of the city. We just needed an inside space from which to enjoy that view. One of the best features is that the house is located in an unpretentious part of the city, on a street we call our "Two Block Secret Neighborhood."

While we would have rather not moved, we nonetheless heeded our friends' advice. One weekend in February, we went out to a neighborhood called Sea Cliff and took a look at one, and only one property. By the end of March we owned it. That same day we hired an innovative architect by the name of Bernardo Urquieta of BRU Architects.

At that same time, our home in the Anza Vista / Western addition area was formally put on the market.

However, before doing so, our friend and trainer Anthony Thier of HealThier Fitness, came to us and suggested an alternative path to selling the house to a private party as a single family home.

He suggested we instead turn the house into a creative haven for under served kids in the city.

My immediate reaction?


During the fifteen years we lived in the neighborhood, we had always wanted to find an effective way to reach out to the kids living in the Pitts Plaza development, a block away.

From the moment Antony recommended we make the house into a place where kids come together from all walks of life to be taught positive life skills, not only were we sold, nearly everyone we spoke with about it said they wanted to help.

Antony's first thought was to create a unique place for kids to hang out with their mentors where together they can cook, swim, work out, as well as create art, music, theater, etc.

We first met Antony in September when he became our three-times-a-week personal fitness trainer. Over the past year, he has also become our kids' ski instructor. After four trips to Tahoe this past season, the girls are now proudly tackling Black Diamond runs. In addition, Antony has inspired all four of us to get into biking. Before we know it, we'll all be doing triathalons together.

Having someone like Antony in our lives is especially significant because we have two children with Type 1 Diabetes. As a result, we are always looking for ways to stay healthy. Having been a professional chef, Antony is both a guide and an inspiration when it comes to good nutrition.

Needless to say, he has quickly become an uncle figure in our kids' lives.

So, when Antony came up with this generous idea for our house and then added, "I would even consider becoming the live-in director," my immediate reaction was, "I'm even more sold!"

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Posted by jck at 11:59 AM
February 6, 2006
Bono's Song of Songs Sermon: A Call to Action at Davos & the 2006 National Prayer Breakfast

On February 2nd, 2006, U2's front man Bono (Paul David Hewson) spoke at the U.S. National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C.

I did not know this until our minister here in San Francisco, Fred Harrell, sent me a message suggesting that Bono's "sermon" might be an appropriate post for our Rugged Elegant Living audience.

Rev. Harrell, who has quoted Bono on occasion during his own sermons, referred to Bono as a prophet.

After you read his remarks from last week, you may agree.

Certainly, you will agree that while one of Time Magazine's People of 2005 (Bill and Melinda Gates were the others) likes to look through rose colored glasses, he does not do so when it comes to the issue of poverty and AIDS in Africa.

Upon introducing Bono to the crowd, President Bush said:

He's a doer.

The thing about this good citizen of the world is he's used his position to get things done.

You're an amazing guy, Bono. God bless you.

Here is the full text of Bono's speech in Washington along with Bush's response to Bono's call to action:

Bono's 2006 National Prayer Breakfast Remarks

If you're wondering what I'm doing here, at a prayer breakfast, well, so am I. I'm certainly not here as a man of the cloth, unless that cloth is leather. It's certainly not because I'm a rock star. Which leaves one possible explanation: I'm here because I've got a messianic complex.

Yes, it's true. And for anyone who knows me, it's hardly a revelation.
Well, I'm the first to admit that there's something unnatural...something unseemly...about rock stars mounting the pulpit and preaching at presidents, and then disappearing to their villas in the south of France. Talk about a fish out of water. It was weird enough when Jesse Helms showed up at a U2 concert...but this is really weird, isn't it?

You know, one of the things I love about this country is its separation of church and state. Although I have to say: in inviting me here, both church and state have been separated from something else completely: their mind.

Mr. President, are you sure about this?

It's very humbling and I will try to keep my homily brief. But be warned - I'm Irish.

I'd like to talk about the laws of man, here in this city where those laws are written. And I'd like to talk about higher laws. It would be great to assume that the one serves the other; that the laws of man serve these higher laws...but of course, they don't always. And I presume that, in a sense, is why you're here.

I presume the reason for this gathering is that all of us here - Muslims, Jews, Christians - all are searching our souls for how to better serve our family, our community, our nation, our God.

I know I am. Searching, I mean. And that, I suppose, is what led me here, too.
Yes, it's odd, having a rock star here - but maybe it's odder for me than for you. You see, I avoided religious people most of my life. Maybe it had something to do with having a father who was Protestant and a mother who was Catholic in a country where the line between the two was, quite literally, a battle line. Where the line between church and state was...well, a little blurry, and hard to see.

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Summaries of Other Recent Posts
January 2, 2006
Warren Miller Entertainment High-Def Movie Takes Skiers to Higher Ground

Skier Jeremy Bloom Photo Credit: John Schwirtlich When I get to Heaven I want to be in a Warren Miller movie. Until then, I'll have to join the thousands of other adventure buffs on the planet and live vicariously through professional skiers, snowboarders, jumpers, and fly-like-a-bird mountaineers by watching the likes of reigning World Cup mogul champion and NCAA football player turned Olympic Gold Medal favorite turning NFL hopeful Jeremy Bloom, Ski-BASE jumping innovator Shane McConkey, the sport's hot-dogging... more

December 25, 2005
Christmas 2005 in America & Around The World

Merry Christmas 2005! Christmas each year begins in our household with the selection of a jingle bell. Some are tiny. Others are as big as an orange. A few are on a strand. We then get in a single-file line, with my father followed by the host or hostess of the house at the front of the line. This year, the line will be 16 deep. The merriment then begins. Following a long family tradition, we all sing "Jingle... more

December 9, 2005
Rent Movie Soundtrack Becomes Favorite for Kids Who Don't Get To See Chris Columbus' Broadway-to-Big Screen Film

Chris Columbus' new movie, Rent, starring Adam Pascal, Anthony Rapp, Jesse L. Martin, Taye Diggs, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Idina Menzel, Rosario Dawson and Tracie Thoms, is rated PG-13. While Tim and I did not hesitate to take our seven and ten year-olds to see Harry Potter IV -- which is also rated PG-13, we're not ready to introduce our kids to the implied drug use, suggestive dancing, rough and crude language, and the anti-establishment lifestyles portrayed in Rent --... more

November 27, 2005
Reading C.S. Lewis' "The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe" Before Seeing Walt Disney's "Narnia"

Picture this. The kitchen is clean. The dishes have been put away, and the Thanksgiving tables -- which served eighteen on Thursday -- have been taken down. On Saturday, Tim and Jessie were privileged to fly with Randy Dilena and his ten year-old daughter, Amanda in one of Randy's two Cirrus planes to Monterey for the day (However, The Rugged Elegance Inspiration Network: The Cirrus SR22-G2 Aircraft: Flying & Fun in Northern California" href="">that's another story). Niki and I... more

November 7, 2005
Harry Potter Stars Rain Magic in London at "The Goblet of Fire" World Premiere

On Sunday, November 6th 2005, while my seven year-old daughter finished reading The Rugged Elegance World Marketplace | Items : List " href=",0439139600">J.K. Rowling's seven hundred and thirty-four page book for the first time, British moviemakers rained magic on central London, as they headed to the world premiere of Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire. Rupert Grint, Emma Watson & Daniel Radcliffe, 11.6.05 The filmmakers in attendance at the Odeon Leicester Square theater screening included Daniel Radcliffe (Harry),... more

November 3, 2005
Ahoy Their Mate! New England's Tall Ships Are Ready To Set Sail With Your Youth

On November 1st 2005, if you had been lucky enough to be out at sea off the New England coast you might have caught a glimpse of the rainbow shining about the 'Stavros S Niarchos' Tall Ship. Better yet, if you had been really lucky, you would have been one of the kids sailing that ship.... more

October 27, 2005
Four-Year-Old Chinese Acrobat Performs in International Wuquiao Festival

The makers of China's Loncin Motorcycles will be getting some free advertising this week, when four-year-old Tu Yuncai performs her acrobatic tricks in the 10th China Wuqiao International Circus Festival. She will be riding her LX125 bike. The CWICF competition, known as the "grand game field for oriental acrobatics," begins on October 29th, 2005 in Shijiazhuang China's Hebei Art Center. Tu began to learn acrobatics at the age of one-and-a-half. She will be the youngest performer during the festival,... more

October 13, 2005
The Arkansas 18: Cheaper By The Dozen & A Half

"Sweet 16" is not Michelle Duggar's age. It's the number of children she has given birth to with her husband, Jim Bob. The Duggars' sixteenth child was born on October 11th at St. Mary's Hospital in Rogers Arkansas. The baby's name is Johannah Faith. Johannah joins fifteen siblings who share at least three things in common: The same mom, the same dad, and a name that begins with "J."... more

October 12, 2005
Sergey Brin & Larry Page Launch Google's Philanthropic Heart, Soul & Arm

Google showed their primary colors in a new light today when the company announced the launch of serves as the philanthropic heart, soul and "arm" of the world's best, free search engine. Sergey Brin at Web 2.0 2005 Conference in S.F. Google founders, Sergey Brin & Larry E. Page, whose harvest has been bountiful, said: We hope that someday this institution will eclipse Google itself in overall world impact by ambitiously applying innovation and significant resources to... more

September 8, 2005
Soulful Europeans Teach Us Hard-Driving Americans How To Vacation

It was twenty years ago this summer that I started BioSpace. From 1985 until 2000 when I unwillingly departed as co-CEO, the only significant break I took from work during those fifteen years was to give birth to my other "two babies" -- Jessie and Niki. And now, for the past five years, we have been busy building Rugged Elegance. Summer 2005 represented a first. For the first time since adulthood, we took six weeks off just for the... more

July 14, 2005
Usher's New Look Garners Andre Agassi & Quincy Jones' Support: First Kids Attend Camp in Atlanta

Twenty-six year old, Grammy, Soul Train & Billboard award-winning, record-breaking R&B singer, Usher Raymond wants to put a smile on a disadvantaged kid's face, the way he is smiling. On July 8th 2005 in New York, the all-in-one musician, actor, film producer and minority NBA owner, hosted a fundraiser for his new non-profit organization aimed at giving aspiring yet disadvantaged youth a new outlook on life through education and real world experiences. Usher's foundation is called the New Look... more

July 8, 2005
Rudi, The S. Korean Chimp Plays Golf at Everland: Move Over Tiger, V.J. & Phil

Monkeyin' around in Youngin Korea this week was seven-year-old trained chimpanzee, Rudi, who is learning how to play golf during 'the animal wonder stage' at the world famous Everland Amusement Park. South Korea's major amusement park launched a new animal show in July to attract more guests. Rudi is not only attracting more guests, he's attracting thousands of viewers on the Internet. Reuters photographer You Sung-Ho has captured one of the most popular photos in Yahoo.... more

July 5, 2005
Live 8 Global Music Concerts: Who Was Inspired to Perform to the Beat of Fighting Poverty in Africa?

On Saturday, July 2nd 2005 an estimated 1 million people attended the ten Live 8 concerts in London's Hyde Park, Paris, Rome, Philadelphia, Barrie (near Toronto), Berlin, Tokyo, Johannesburg, Moscow and Eden Project. The one-day festival was organized worldwide by Irish rocker Bob Geldof and the Make Poverty History campaign., a partner in the venture, reported that more than 5 million people watched the concerts live online at,, or More than 175,000 simultaneous video streams... more

June 26, 2005
Kids' Neopet 25M Member Adventure Site Acquired by MTV Networks

There is only one "adventure" game on the Internet my kids care to explore regularly. It's called is the world's largest and fastest growing social youth network on the Web. My girls (Jessie, 10 and Niki, 7) are two of twenty-five million members of the Neopia virtual world community who own and care for fictional digital pets. As parents, who are also entrepreneurs and world travelers, we find it a safe site that teaches kids how to... more

June 21, 2005
World Vision Asks Americans to Call on President Bush to Make Poverty History at G-8 Summit in July

World Vision is asking Americans to call on President Bush to Make Poverty History at the upcoming G-8 Summit beginning July 6th 2005. World Vision is a Christian relief and development organization dedicated to helping children and their communities worldwide reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty. Their assistance extends to all people, regardless of beliefs, gender, or ethnicity. They believe that at the G8 Summit, President Bush has the opportunity to make an historic commitment... more

June 11, 2005
Venice at Sunset on The Eve of La Biennale di Venezia 2005, the 51st International Contemporary Art Exhibition

Rugged Elegant Photograph of The Day Four summers ago, Tim and I took our family to Italy for the first time, which included a train ride from Verona to Venice. I remember the train ride well because my daughter, who was six at the time, read Harry Potter to me all the way to Venice. Upon our arrival, Tim looked at the clouds overhead and then said, "We have approximately fifty seconds to get across that bridge and under... more

May 25, 2005
U.S. Stem Cell Bill Passes in The House

Christopher Reeve, or Super Man as we all knew him, would be proud. So would President Ronald Reagan, Michael J. Fox, and any parent with a child, or two - like we have - with Diabetes. We are! 238 of the 432 U.S. GOP-controlled House of Representatives who voted to support the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act and defy President Bush's veto threat are Super Men and Women in their own right. At least they are in the eyes... more

March 22, 2005
Opening DVD Day: As Good, If Not Better, Than A Blockbust Film's Release in Theaters

Do you know how much Jamie Foxx's Ray generated after twenty weeks on the big screen? $75.3 million. Do you know how much Ray brought in after Week 1 on DVD? $75.2 million. Certainly, the fact that this Best Picture Oscar-nominated film has a DVS Blind & Low Vision Enhanced Widescreen Edition version has got to help the numbers. The truth is: Opening Day of DVD movie sales can often exceed that which is earned on the big screen.... more

March 19, 2005
Dad of Diabetic Daughter Wins Big; As Do Millions with Diabetes and Amylin Pharmaceuticals

Once upon a time there was little girl named Rachel Andersson who had Type I Diabetes. Her daddy was a savvy investor who found a little company in San Diego's Biotech Beach area called Amylin Pharmaceuticals that had a great diabetes product but not enough financial backing. In 1992, the company went public and began trading on NASDAQ. In 1999, Rachel's dad Allen led an "angel round" by investing $6 million along with a number of key shareholders in... more

March 13, 2005
Peter Pan Grows Up & Becomes Captain Pan: British Author Geraldine McCaughrean Wins Right to Write JM Barrie Sequel

Before J.M. Barrie's ownership rights expire in Europe in 2007, London author Geraldine McCaughrean, 53, will put pen to paper to write the sequel to the story of Peter Pan and Never Never Land. McCaughrean (pronounced mih-KAWF'-rin) has won the right to author the "official" sequel to one of the best loved childhood fantasies. The current working title of the new story is Captain Pan. McCaughrean was picked from hundreds of candidates from around the world. The British author... more

March 1, 2005
Celebrating Life Using Photos, Music, a Mac, Apple's iLife Tools & A Touch of Soul

Today my brother, John Bradford King, turns forty. To celebrate this monumental birthday, his wife, Pamela Jean pulled off the most amazing surprise last week. Last Wednesday, over fifty close family and friends gathered at the hip hotel in West Hollywood called The Mondrian for a celebration of Brad's life -- beginning with drinks at the SkyBar and retreating to Gallery A on the 1st floor for a sit-down dinner, roasts and amazing toasts. My gift? A "boast" --... more

January 31, 2005
Sharon Stone Follows 'Basic Instinct' at Davos 2005: Actress Raises $1.4M in 5 Minutes

American actress, Sharon Stone followed her "basic instinct" last Friday at the Davos 2005 meeting in Switzerland. During the annual World Economic Forum's plenary session on poverty, Stone was moved to take action on the issue of malaria. She was also moved to rally her fellow delegates at the meeting. In the middle of the session, Stone stood up, offered $10,000 and asked if she had any supporters. In a matter of minutes, Stone raised over $1,000,000. Her goal:... more

December 9, 2004
City of Boston U.S. Marines Corp Charity: Parking Tickets Traded for Toys for Tots

I loved living in Boston. But I absolutely hated getting parking tickets. Who doesn't? This holiday season, those who live in Beantown, or Genetown, as we dubbed the Massachusetts biotech-rich city, had less to rant and rave about last week if they got a ticket. Parking violators who were issued a ticket on December 1st, 2nd or 3rd, were instead allowed to pay their tickets with holiday toys. This new form of payment was a welcome gift for the... more

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