Games and the Consequences We Never Predicted

Posted on: 10/30/09 11:45 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Do you remember “Hold your wee for a Wii?”

In January of 2007, a Sacramento radio station had a contest where several contestants drank as much water as they could without going to the bathroom. The winner would get a brand new Wii- back when the availability of those consoles were rare. I’m sure the radio station never predicted that one of the participants, a 28-year-old mother of three, would die of water intoxication later that day.

I wrote an article about the incident back then, asking youth workers, “Can games get out of hand? Can creativity trump safety?” (I cited a long history of feedback we’ve received on our website including an article that World Magazine wrote about us) I encouraged youth workers to think about games and their unforeseen consequences. The mentality of “it’s easier to get forgiveness than permission” seems a little shortsighted when safety is involved.

The Sacramento Bee ran a front page article today– the first I’ve seen on the subject since January of 2007. A Sacramento jury just awared the woman’s family 16.6 million dollars for her death. Here’s a snippet of the article:

A Sacramento jury set an eye-popping standard Thursday on the cost of radio station contests that kill and the resulting loss of a mother’s love and a wife’s companionship.

The tab for Entercom Sacramento LLC came to $16,577,118 in the water-intoxication death of Jennifer Lea Strange in a contest put on by radio station KDND “The End” (107.9 FM).

Such was the award rendered by a Sacramento Superior Court jury of seven men and five women in the trial to settle a wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of Strange’s survivors. The 28-year-old woman died Jan. 12, 2007, after she participated in KDND’s “Hold Your Wee for a Wii” contest.

Something to think about.

Heroes Also Goes Bi-curious

Posted on: 10/28/09 11:13 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Same sex experimentation is ‘in.’

Last Monday, NBC’s Heroes jumped in the same bandwagon as… well… everyone else with a “same-sex” kiss between Claire and her college room-mate. Secular media critics seem to agree that it’s a slumpbusting publicity stunt.

Media producers such as the money behind Heroes are realizing that it’s not just sex that sells… but two girls kissing sells even bigger! Threesomes? Even better!

Look at popular songs and music videos of late. Britney’s “3” (her song about a threesome) hit #1 two weeks ago. The music video of Black Eyed Peas’ #1 hit I Gotta Feeling featured several shots of girl on girl kissing. Cobra Starship’s Good Girls Go Bad (also in the top 10 a few weeks ago) ends with a girl on girl kiss. No need to go on- it’s everywhere on the music scene.

It’s not new to TV either. MTV’s Real Cancun not only had a threesome in one of their episodes, but also provided a front page teaser for the download so viewers could watch it again and again. Gossip Girl is trying to create buzz about their upcoming “threesome” in an episode on November 9th. interviewed Gossip Girl’s Michelle Trachtenberg (sadly, I remember her from watching Ice Princess with my daughters) about the upcoming threesome and she says, “It’s worth waiting for.” The interview is sad, really. The interviewer asks her, “If you had to be in a threesome with two other characters in the show, who would be your pick?” Michelle replies, “All of them!”  (in 10 days our Youth Culture Window page will be featuring an article about this new trend).

Heroes ratings have been dropping and they needed a boost. What better boost to create buzz in today’s world than some girl on girl action. And if you have any doubt about NBC’s intentions, then ask yourself, why is it that they released pictures of the kiss and tried to create buzz about it before the episode even aired? News sources talked about the possibility as early as July. In early October geek sites and numerous other news sources released photos of the kiss, referring to it as a “perfect ratings slumpbuster.”’s Tim Surette writes:

Let the show’s hottest female character make out with her female college roommate. Bam! Genius! And just so we don’t forget that the kiss is coming next week, they’ve released a still photo.

Genius? Really?


I would tend to agree with this perspective from the National Post:

Two weeks ago I suggested that Claire’s kiss with Gretchen was a transparent publicity stunt designed to bring salivating teenage geeks back to the show. At the time I thought, mistakenly, that the kiss was a one-off destined for the regularly emptied dustbin of television history.
Instead, it seems that Heroes’ writers have chosen to elongate this college experimentation cliché in order to dangle the possibility of future Hayden Panettiere lesbian love scenes in front of the aforementioned geeks, seemingly unaware that google and PVRs have long since made actually watching the show a requisite for seeing such action.

It’s not that all lesbian storylines are somehow inherently cynical, they’re not; it’s just that in this particular context the same-sex narrative is about as dramatically credible as the recent lesbian kiss in Megan Fox’s movie Jennifer’s Body. The Claire kiss even received a pre-show publicity blitz similar to one for Jennifer’s Body centred on the promise of a topless Sapphic scene featuring the Transformers starlette. That scene ended up being an unfulfilled promise (left on the cutting room floor), and the geeks saw right through it, kind of like how we can all see through this sad and vaguely offensive attempt to keep Heroes interesting.

I used to enjoy Heroes. The truth of the matter is, the show lost my interest long ago… and Claire’s kiss didn’t bring me back.

Nice try!

Chris Brown + Lil Wayne = Same ol’ Trash

Posted on: 10/27/09 5:00 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Chris Brown is back, and he’s not alone.

I guess Chris’ mom never warned him to be careful who he hangs out with, because after a long period of silence since pleading guilty to assaulting Rihanna, Chris has now joined forces with a guy with a little legal trouble of his own-  Lil Wayne – for a new song and video called, I Can Transform Ya.

Watch the charts, because this one will move up fast!

Today it is the #26 most downloaded song on iTunes and #16 on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop chart (but watch, it will be moving up the Hot 100 very soon!) Kids are downloading this one like mad, and if parents only block songs deemed explicit, then this song will slip under the radar, because it’s not explicit… it’s not clean either.

Instead of whining about the “rating system” just do a quick Google search for the lyrics. You’ll find this:

hehe, i take you to wherever its warmer,
then i gotta rip off your dress like a warm up,
hehe, but Im just getting warmed up…

cos her form puts me in a trance,
i transform smaller and she puts me in her pants,
Swiss on the Beat, Chris move ya feet
and we can transform a good girl to a freak

Nice Chris! See what happens when you let Wayne in on your material?

If you’re curious what your kids will be seeing, you can check out the video for yourself on in this article about the premiere of this video. I don’t see the video on iTunes yet (which, by the way, has quite a few clean videos in the Top 10, including David Crowder’s How He Loves at #7, Owl City’s Fireflies at #9, and Taylor Swift’s Fifteen at #1. Pretty cool. Just don’t look at videos 11-20… all but one are pure trash. Funny how the rankings turned out today.)

(ht to Tom B.)

Taylor Swift Hype

Posted on: 10/26/09 6:57 PM | by Jonathan McKee

She’s country, but she gets mainstream airplay, she’s clean (wow!)… and four of her concerts just sold out in two minutes!

19-year-old country singer Taylor Swift has only become more popular in recent months, with songs continually in the top 10 of Billboard charts, and winning MTV’s best female video (having that moment swiped by Kanye).

On Friday, tickets to four of her 2010 Fearless tour dates sold out in literally two minutes! According to this article, she was the best selling artist of 2008 and will play 37 shows in the US and Canada and seven down under.

Today, Taylor is all over the charts:

  • Her album Fearless is #1 on Country Albums, and actually #7 on the Billboard 200 album charts (it peaked at #1)
  • Her title album (Taylor Swift) is #13 on the Country Albums chart (it peaked at #1)
  • Her song You Belong With Me is #10 on the Billboard Hot 100 (it peaked at #2)
  • Love Story is #9 on the Adult Contemporary chart (it peaked at #1)
  • Fifteen is #11 on the Country Songs chart, #67 on the Hot 100 chart, and #53 on the Radio Songs chart

Keep your eyes on this girl. Our kids are watching her.

Lil Wayne Pleads Guilty… but Doesn’t Feel Guilty

Posted on: 10/24/09 10:20 AM | by Jonathan McKee

It’s so hilarious to me, it’s hard for me to even report.

Here it is, in a nutshell: Lil Wayne gets pulled over AGAIN because the police smelled Marijuana emanating from his tour bus (not the first time this has happened). When authorities entered the bus, they saw him throw a Louis Vuitton bag to the floor… a bag that contained a .40 caliber.

My words of advice to Lil Wayne:

1. Don’t carry a gun.

2. If you’re gonna carry a gun, don’t brag that you always carry a gun, like in your foul song, Always Strapped

3. If you’re gonna carry a gun, don’t also brag that you carry a gun AND are “ducking the law,” like in your song, F**k the World, or your song She Feelin’ Me where you say “f**k the police” and then describe that your gal hides weed in her… (Well… I just don’t think I should dive that deep into a woman’s anatomy in this blog- peek at the lyrics for yourself if you’re curious) … but Wayne, you’re just daring a cop to pull you over!

4. If you’re gonna carry a gun, brag about carrying a gun, AND badmouth the police, don’t carry a gun in New York, where in 2006, they passed a bill, that then-Governor George Pataki changed into law, where mere possession of a loaded weapon in New York State is a felony, whether you planned to use the gun or not.

5.  If you’re gonna carry a gun, brag about carrying a gun, badmouth the police, AND get pulled over in New York, then don’t whine that you’re treated unfairly and act like such a victim. You got caught. Face it. Do your time like T.I. and shut up about it. After all, this isn’t your first run in with the law:

  • In August, 2006 you were arrested in Atlanta for possession of a controlled substance. During your stay at the Twelve Hotel, management smelled marijuana and called the police, who found two illegal drugs. (Yeah, you eventually beat those charges.)
  • Out on bond, you got arrested in Boise in October 2007 for a felony fugitive charge linked to your Atlanta arrest (Yeah, you beat those too.)
  • In January 2008 your tour bus was stopped in Yuma, AZ where border patrol agents found marijuana, cocaine and ecstasy. (You still have to stand trial for that one next March. Beat that one!)
  • Those arrests don’t even include your legal suits like the one you settled with The Rolling Stones for sampling their song, and the two suits by concert promoters for taking advances and not performing (you’re obviously a real man of integrity!)

But Wayne… I’ve gotta give you props for being smart enough to plea on this New York gun charge. You’ll probably only do 8-10 months, where if you wouldn’t have plead, you’d have been looking at 3 and a half years if found guilty by trial.

Thus endeth my advice to Lil Wayne.

Perhaps Wayne is finally going to eat his words. He talks pretty big in all his lyrics, in songs like, F**k You, where he said, “Murder ain’t nuttin’ but a misdemeanor.”

Well too bad gun possession is a felony!

Even though Wayne is finally going to be held accountable for his actions, it’s interesting that in this country, it looks like he never will be held accountable for his words. This week’s plea by Lil Wayne is rather timely, only days after the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released their report that “the effect that popular music has on children’s and adolescents’ behavior and emotions is of paramount concern.”

Then I wonder what effect the lyrics of Lil Wayne’s hit song Lollipop had on our kids, a song that adults gave him a Grammy for, the song that rode the number one slot more than almost any other song last year, the song that was the #3 most downloaded song last year.


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Does Media Violence Affect Kids? AAP Report Too Late for This Student

Posted on: 10/22/09 6:25 AM | by Jonathan McKee

AAP‘s “Media Violence” report was released Monday, a report that claims that the truth of the effect of media on our kids is falling on deaf ears. Two days later, a CSUS student beats his roommate to death with a baseball bat.

Are you listening?

My city has been in the news quite a bit this year. First, a California State University Sacramento (CSUS) student auctions off her virginity for 3.7 million dollars, then the cheerleading coach at my son’s high school poses for Playboy… both stories making national news. Now yesterday, a CSUS student allegedly beat his roommate to death with a baseball bat, “delivering the fatal blows before he was shot and wounded by campus police.” (Sacramento Bee)

CSUS police shot the 19-year-old student after he charged at them with a knife. His roommate, the beating victim, was pronounced dead Wednesday afternoon… the kid who swung the bat is in stable condition, even after being shot by campus police.

Where does this aggression come from?

It’s ironic that this violence happened literally just 2 days after the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) released their report- a policy statement- on Media Violence, concluding that the associations of media violence and aggressive behavior are, and I quote, “nearly as strong as the association between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.” (you can download the whole report as a PDF here)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been hearing people dismiss these kinds of reports for decades, labeling them pure conjecture. Apparently the AAP feels that resistance to the truth, verbalizing this frustration in their report:

“The weight of scientific evidence has been convincing to pediatricians, with more than 98% of pediatricians in 1 study expressing the personal belief that media violence affects children’s aggression. Yet, the entertainment industry, the American public, politicians, and parents all have been reluctant to accept these findings and to take action. The debate should be over.”


The AAP released two reports early this week. The above mentioned on Media Violence, and another on Music, Lyricis, & Music Videos. Both reports contain the same conclusions. Media affects kids big time, and parents have a huge impact as a moderator of these influences. Next week, our Youth Culture Window article looks at these reports in depth. (Oh, what the heck. You can click here for a sneak peek at that article! It will be on the front page of our site next week.)

Owl City at #1

Posted on: 10/21/09 10:01 AM | by Jonathan McKee

“Who the heck is Owl City?”

That’s what I wondered when I saw them in the Top 10 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and at #4 on iTunes early this week. Imagine my surprise yesterday when I opened up iTunes and saw their song “Fireflies” at #1.

Here’s the bizarre part of all of this… Owl City has the reputation of being G-rated. The lyrics are clean, they’ve toured with Relient K… I’m curious if we might have another clean band in the Top 10! Wouldn’t that be cool. (It’s actually pretty sad that I’m getting this excited about something clean making it to the top 10. I guess that reflects on what usually is in the Top 10.)

Apparently Owl City basically consists of Adam Young, a guy who started making music in his parents’ basement. Young’s songs became the buzz on MySpace, reaching play counts in excess of 10 million at the end of 2008. Young/Owl City’s album Ocean Eyes was released on iTunes on July 14, 2009, and debuted at #27 on the Billboard 200. Somewhere along the way, he produced Relient K’s song “Terminals.”

I don’t know much about Young. Some articles refer to him being “upfront about his strong Baptist faith,” and his lyrics never veering “anywhere near objectionable territory.” 

Currently the song is #1 on iTunes (that’s HUGE), knocking three biggies down a notch: The Black Eyed Peas song Meet Me Halfway, Miley’s Party in the USA, and Britney’s trashy little number, 3.

Pardon me for cheering outloud real quick.

Anyone know anything about this guy? I wanna know more!


Miley in ‘Sex and the City: The Movie’ Sequel

Posted on: 10/19/09 4:11 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I’m DONE sharing my two cents about Miley- I’ll just report the facts. Last time I defended her, she showed up the next day at the Teen Choice Awards… uh… well… just click here if you don’t know.

And now, Miley seems to have made another “interesting” decision, the decision to cameo in the sequel to Sex in the City: The Movie (The MPAA gave the first movie an ‘R’ rating “for strong sexual content, graphic nudity and language”)

Let me back up. Back in 2008 Miley shared with her fans (dare I remind you- girls aged between 6 and 14) that her favorite TV show is HBO’s Sex and the City and she wished that her own Disney kids show could be more like it. (read her exact words here)

Last month, rumors began surfacing that Miley might show up in a cameo in the Sex and the City: The Movie sequel. Now those rumors are confirmed. Miley is going to be in the film as herself, showing up on the red carpet wearing the same dress as Kim Cattrall’s character in the show, Samantha.


Nice collar!

Okay, okay. No other comments from me about that.

I just think that youth workers and parents need to keep in mind that this young lady is definitely a role model to our kids, specifically our young girls. As I type this, her “Party in the USA” song has made it to #1 yet again on iTunes. Miley’s influence is only growing.

She’s in the limelight. The question is, “What are our kids seeing in that light?”


A Bible for the Digital Generation

Posted on: 10/16/09 10:57 AM | by Jonathan McKee

It’s always interesting to see what new ideas people are coming up with to try to capture the attention of this young “digital” generation.

Enter the GLO Bible, stage left.

Glo’s YouTube ad says, “God’s Word is sacred and perfect. But with Glo, it’s amplified.”

Check it out:

(click here for the video if you don’t see the video above)

Interesting. They’re really marketing toward the fact that, ‘times have changed.”

It’s funny. I wonder how different this is than many of the Bible software that’s already out there. I admit, the maps, and the hours of HD video look pretty cool.

This “Guardian” article quotes the GLO Bible creator Nelson Saba, a former aeronautical engineer and banker:

“There is nothing wrong with the Bible but we have two generations which favour interactive media. Unless you put the Bible on that media you won’t connect with them. It’s not about mimicking paper. It’s about offering an experience.”

The article goes on to talk about some of the ways they, and I quote, “put a fresh spin” on scripture. 

Hmmmmm. It will be interesting to see.

(ht to David R. Smith, youth culture guru)

Running for You

Posted on: 10/15/09 2:44 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Last Saturday I ran 10 miles… for you!

Saturday was one of our ministry’s fund-raisers, a little event called ENDURE. People either biked 100 km or ran 10 miles. I opted to run, because that only takes 90 minutes, and riding would take 4 hours!  🙂

As a blog subscriber, you probably are familiar with the fact that those of us at love to provide you with truly free resources, articles and training ideas. So last Saturday, I did something to make that happen. I ran to keep the resources free.

The run was fun. I had been training for it and had worked up to 10 miles, even running 10 miles a few times just weeks before the race. But race day was a little harder, probably because I had spent a ton of time loading and unloading for the event just hours before. My legs were tired! Regardless, I finished at an average of a 9:01 pace. (I had hoped to beat 9:00)

For those of you that are just hearing about this for the first time… you can still help!

I sent out an email to our EZINE subscribers (that’s a free weekly newsletter that highlights the new resources and articles on every week) asking them for their help. I wanted to give you an opportunity as well.

I know that there are literally tens of thousands that use our free resources that have no budget. We want to be able to keep providing to those people. So for those of you that have the means to help out just a little, jump onto this page: and make a tax deductable donations via VISA/MC. You can make it a general donation, or you can sponsor me; either way the money goes 100% toward the free resources, articles and training ideas we provide.

It can be $10, $25, $50, or $100. Just do whatever you feel. I ran the 10 miles… you just run your card through!  🙂

I thank you for the important work you do as youth workers and parents. You truly are the reason I do what I do. Thanks for allowing Christ’s love to work through you!

God Bless,

Jonathan McKee, President,

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