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Stories That Touch Our Souls
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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Posted by jck at 5:55 PM
November 25, 2005
Jewish Holocaust Survivor Is Reunited with Her Christian Rescuer For First Time Since 1944
Ruth.Gruener.1940s.jpg Ruth Gamzer Gruener as a Child

Sixty-one years ago, Ruth Gamzer Gruener was eight years old and living in Lvov, Poland (now part of Ukraine). For eight months, during the Holocaust, Joanna Szcygiel Zalucka's parents allowed Ruth to hide in their daughter's bedroom, behind Joanna's trunk or under her bed. As a result of the Szcygiels care, Ruth survived the Holocaust. In 1953, Ruth and her parents moved to Brooklyn. Ruth and Joanna did not see each other again until Wednesday, November 23rd, 2005.

Thanks to the Manhattan-based Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, Gruener and Zalucka were reunited for the first time since 1944.

Joanna, 82, of Wroclaw, Poland met Ruth at JFK International airport in New York on Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. The two women, who share an extraordinary bond, will both be honored at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel on Tuesday, November 29th.

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Summaries of Other Recent Posts
November 4, 2005
Glamour Magazine's Top Ten College Women of The Year: 2005 Student WOTYs

Nina Vasan The annual The Rugged Elegance Inspiration Network: "Glamour"ous, Rugged Elegant Women of the Year Honored at 16th Annual 2005 Conde-Nast WOTYs" href="">"Glamour" WOTY awards took place in New York this past week. In addition to known celebrities and heroes like Goldie Hawn, Christiane Amanpour and Mukhtaran Mai, Conde-Nast's Glamour Magazine is celebrating ten other young women the world should know about and watch for in the coming years. Their names are Kelli Ann Wolf (21, from Missouri... more

October 28, 2005
Jerry Saxton & Katie Heiner Found Priceless Love Through A Multi-Millionaire Match-Making Service

"Rugged Elegant Living" Exclusive - Part One of Two 1 Multi-Millionaire + 1 Match-Made-in-Heaven Maven = 4 The 4M Club She's beautiful, talented, healthy and accomplished. He's talented, attractive, sauve and debonair. Oh, and did I say rich? They met through a magical matchmaking service and found love. After six months of dating, they were married this past weekend. Jerry Saxton of Dallas, Texas and Katie Heiner of Salt Lake City, Utah credited Christine Stelmack's 4M Club during their... more

October 18, 2005
Play-By-Play of Geena Davis on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" - Plus 7 Other Inspirational Women

On Monday, October 17th 2005, ABC aired The Oprah Winfrey Show, which introduced Oprah's audience to eight of the world's most inspirational women. Oprah gave fellow celebrity friends an assignment. Identify a woman who "rules" in your opinion and/or a girl who is inspiring. Journalist Diane Sawyer picked one of her favorite women in the world, Cynthia O'Neal. Alicia Keys was given the privilege of introducing Oprah and her audience to a young African American poet, a survivor of... more

July 24, 2005
Discovery's Lance Armstrong Wins 7th & Final Tour de France on His Trek: Alexandre Vinokourov Wins 21st & Final Stage in Paris

Lance Armstrong Makes World History with 7 Championships One of sport's greatest tales of all-time was written into the history books on Sunday, July 24th 2005. The Tour de France 2005: Stage 21 bicycle race from Corbeil-Essonnes, France to the finish at Champs-Elysees in Paris ended with 155 cyclists out of 189 who entered the race three weeks and one day ago. Alexandre Vinokourov powered it out at the end of the 21st & final stage. The champion of... more

June 27, 2005
Steve Jobs' Commencement Speech to Stanford's 2005 Graduating Class: Three Inspirational Stories

On June 12th 2005, Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and CEO of Pixar Animation Studios spoke to Stanford University's 2005 graduating class. In his commencement speech, he tells three inspirational stories. Here is the full text of his address. Steve's First Story I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a... more

February 16, 2005
2005 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Models & Couples: A Site, DVD & Magazine For Sore Eyes

For those, like me, who hustled off to my favorite newsstand yesterday to pick-up Sports Illustrated magazine's world famous annual swimsuit edition, but came home empty handed, there is another alternative. This year, SI brings their coveted publication to your nearest computer screen. The launch of their 2005 web site came on Tuesday, February 15th, the same day the hard copy edition hit newsstands. After our annual SI subscription lapsed during the downturn in the economy, we put it... more

February 13, 2005
Sarah Scantlin's Valentine's Gift To Her Parents: The Ability To Say "I Love You"

Twenty years ago at the age of eighteen, Sarah Scantlin survived a hit-and-run but was left brain damaged and unable to speak. This week, the thirty-eight year-old, who has spent most of her life in a coma, could not wait a few more days to give her parents their Valentine's Day gift. Her gift: The ability to finally say "I love you."... more

February 12, 2005
Nine Ways To Create Love & Romance This Valentine's Day & Every Day: The Feng Shui French Style

On Saturday morning, February 12th 2005, French artisan, Yasmine Ahmed hosted a spirit-filled workshop at her Mill Valley boutique led by Feng Shui expert, Terumi Leinow -- just in time for Valentine's Day. Maison Reve was filled this morning with single and married Feng Shui-hungry students interested in learning how to use Feng Shui principles to bring more love and romance into their lives. Terumi Leinow began the workshop with a sentence by Mahatma Gandhi. She encouraged everyone to... more

February 5, 2005
Who Needs TiVo's Michael Ramsay or Marty Yudkovitz When You've Got Debra Messing, Oprah & NBC?

This week on The Oprah Winfrey Show Emmy award-winning "Will & Grace" actress, Debra Messing paid a visit to Harpo Studios as a way of dealing with a lifetime fear: Speaking in front of a large, live audience. Her task, in an effort to conquer this fear, was to introduce the rules of Oprah's show to Ms. Winfrey's audience before taping began. In addition to giving them the appropriate guidelines before taping, she asked: Who TiVo's Oprah? When only a... 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

January 6, 2005
Baileys Survey Inspires Working Women Toward "Life Simplication" in 2005: Turn Off The Phone & Stay In

Baileys, The Original Irish Cream, one of the only liqueurs I indulge in other than Port, revealed the results of a recent survey regarding British working women. Their findings revealed that "information overload" is a major cause of stress in women's lives. In 2005, "Life Simplification" will be the key to inspiring a healthy, more adventuresome, soulful, "sane" life. More than 1,000 women aged 18 and above were questioned by Bailey's about their work and leisure habits. Two thirds -... more

January 2, 2005
$2B from 44 Nations for 12.26 Tsunami Victims: The Largest Disaster Relief Response in The History of The World

The unimaginable disaster in Asia on December 26th 2004 has resulted in the largest disaster relief response in the history of the world. "International compassion has never been so high," said Mr. Jan Egeland, the UN undersecretary-general in charge of emergency relief. In one week, $2 billion from 44 nations and the World Bank has now been pledged to meet the needs of 5 million survivors in 11 countries. That's $400 per person. Japan's Pledge The highest single donation... more

November 16, 2004
IBM Introduces 'World Community Grid;' Public Invited to Donate Idle Computer Time for Global Humanitarian Effort

Yesterday, The Rugged Elegance Inspiration Network: Australian-Scottish Stem Cell Sciences Offers Researchers Free Global Access to Embryonic Stem-Cell Line" href="">a biotech company in Australia announced they would be sharing their line of embryonic stem cells to an "open source" research community -- for the good of mankind, at no cost. Today, IBM, along with representatives of the world's leading science, education and philanthropic organizations, today launched World Community Grid, a global humanitarian effort that applies the unused computing power of... more

November 11, 2004
57 Year-Old, Aleta St. James, Becomes A Mother to "Miracle of God" & "One Who Loves Freedom"

Just a few days before Aleta St. James' birthday, she gave birth for the first time in her life to twins. Yesterday, at Mount Sinai Medical Centre in New York, the Manhattan mother introduced her two children to the world. Tomorrow, Aleta celebrates her fifty-seventh birthday. America's oldest new mom said, "This is Francesca, which means 'one who loves freedom and this is Gian, 'miracle of God."' Francesca and Gian were born by Caesarean section. Their birth makes Aleta... more

November 9, 2004
The Wall Street Journal 2004 Special Report: 50 Women to Watch from Winfrey to Watchdogs ...

On Monday, November 8, 2004, The Wall Street Journal's senior editor, Carol Humowitz and a team of journalists reported on 50 women who are making their mark as leaders of corporations around the world. "The time has come when we can look around the world and across industries and see women who are rising to the top of their chosen fields," said Karen Elliott House, publisher of The Wall Street Journal, and senior vice president of Dow Jones &... more

November 1, 2004
Survival of The Most Optimistic: Dutch Study Reports That Optimism Lowers Risk of Death

To be or not to be, that is not the question. The question is "How optimistic are thee?" Or in other words, "Do you live life thinking the glass is half empty or half full?" 1,000 older adults involved in a nine-year Arnhem Elderly study, led by Dr. Erik J. Giltay, of the Delfland Psychiatric Centre in the Netherlands, were questioned in 1991 on their health, self-respect, morale, optimism and relationships. The participants, who were men and women between... more

October 26, 2004
Green & Black Tea Boost Memory, May Help Treat Alzheimer's Says Newcastle University

Looking to boost your memory? Follow what the Brits have been doing for over 350 years, the Japanese for 1,200 years and the Chinese for over 5,000 years. Drink tea. A team from the Medicinal Plant Research Centre at Newcastle University in northeast England makes this recommendation about both green and black tea. Their research found that tea inhibits the activity of key enzymes in the brain associated with memory. The researchers hope their findings, published in the Phytotherapy... more

October 18, 2004
Happy Birthday Wynton Marsalis & The New Rose Jazz Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City!

If I could snap my fingers and be in one place tonight it would be my birthplace, New York City. I'd be at the Frederick P. Rose Jazz Hall inaugural celebration, six blocks south of Lincoln Center to be exact. And I'd be listening to jazz purist Wynton Marsalis, the founding artistic director of the city's new grand, yet intimate home of jazz. After a sixteen-year $128 million campaign, Marsalis will play his trumpet on his 43rd birthday at... more

October 7, 2004
ABC's The Bachelor Byron Velvick Needs A Credible Matchmaking Sponsor Like eHarmony

The Bachelor, Byron Velvick Tonight on ABC's The Bachelor, professional Bass fisherman, Byron Velvick narrowed the field of beautiful women and prospective brides from twelve to eight. The producers of the show decided to add a twist by bringing back two women from previous shows. One of them got a rose. One did not. When the two women were first introduced during Byron's Mystery Date, Byron didn't know who they were because he had not watched The Bachelor II... more

October 4, 2004
An Inspirational U.S. Report of President Bush's Efforts in Iraq - Thanks to Army National Guard's Ray Reynolds

A message of inspiration from the United States regarding President Bush's efforts and our soldiers' progress in Iraq... Ray Reynolds, a Denison Iowa firefighter in civilian life, from the SFC Iowa Army National Guard, 234th Signal Battalion wrote an email to thirteen friends and family this April. It is the first positive report I have read since the war began. Sgt. First Class Reynolds wrote: As I head off to Baghdad for the final weeks of my stay in... more

June 26, 2004
CDC Reports Cancer Survivorship in The U.S. Triples while British Medical Journal Reports Results of 50 Year Study on Smoking

Cancer Survivor Lance Armstrong After His 2003 (Fifth) Tour de France Win More and more Americans are surviving cancer, a disease that was previously perceived as a death sentence for those diagnosed with it. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease. The four top cancer killers: lung, colon, breast and prostate. The American Cancer Society claims that cancer accounts for one in every four deaths in the U.S. More than 1,500 lives... more

June 15, 2004
Google Invests Further in Chinese Search Engine Market By Buying A Stake in Baidu

Google, the fourth most trafficked Internet site in the world, has bought a minority stake in the seventh most trafficked site in the world, Baidu (Source: Alexa, 6/15/04). is China's leading Internet search engine serving up a database of over 300 million web sites. Google, Inc. co-led the investment with Draper Fisher Jurvetson ePlanet Ventures' Asad Jamal, who is based in Redwood City, California. Additional participants in the financing were current investors Integrity Partners (Danville, CA) led by... more

June 14, 2004
A Fit Baby Equals A Fit Toddler Equals A Fit Child Equals A Fit Teen Equals A Fit Adult SEATTLE, Washington (AP) -- Lucy Brown somersaults backward down a ramp, leaps over a mat, rolls across a platform, jumps a series of hoops, squats into a yoga pose and hops over a row of cones. And all with her diaper intact. The cherubic, grinning 2-year-old was one of eight toddlers stretching and puffing their way through yoga poses and aerobic exercises at a recent toddler fitness class at the Seattle Holistic Center. As the country's population of... more

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