The Truth about West Virginia

Posted on: 06/7/10 8:38 AM | by Jonathan McKee

I’m going on the record: West Virginia is the friendliest state in the U.S.

This past weekend I did my second visit to West Virginia in the past six months. I’ve probably been there once or twice a year in the last ten years, and my experience is always the same: beautiful scenery, incredibly nice people, and a few chuckling moments.

You see, if you visit any state near West Virginia, you’ll hear them make fun of the state. “They’re backwoods hicks!” “Watch out for those banjo players!” You get the idea.

Yes, West Virginia has it’s share of ‘good ol’ boys,’ and even a handful of folks who seem to be a few fries short of a Happy Meal… but they are the nicest bunch of people you’ll ever encounter.

Allow me to summarize my observations:

1. Plenty of good ol’ boys: There’s a big difference between a ‘good ol’ boy’ and a ‘backwoods hick’ with three teeth! I’ve met plenty of good ol’ boys in West Virginia. I’ve met more backwoods hicks in Rio Linda (about 20 minutes from my house in California). This weekend I was hanging out with a youth worker named Chris. Chris was definitely a ‘good ol’ boy.’ We were starting to unpack some boxes and I asked him, “Isn’t this where a good ol’ boy would have a knife in his pocket to open up these boxes?” He smiled, pulled out a pocket knife and began cutting open the boxes. I laughted and told him, “I knew it! I knew you’d have a knife!” He smirked and said, “You know what we call a man without a knife around here?” I shrugged my shoulders and nodded– no idea. He folded his knife and put it back into his pocket, flashing another smile at me. “A woman!”

2. They know their reputation, and aren’t all bent up about it: I spoke at a conference in Pennsylvania a while back and someone on stage made a comment about “Even some people from West Virginia are here!” The West Viriginia group whooped and hollered. They were West Virginian and proud. People made West Virginian jokes all weekend and no one got worked up about it. Most of them would simply retort, “We’re hicks, and we’re proud of it.” I remember even joking about ‘road-kill’ at the conference. One guy at that conference came up and told me, “You know, they just passed a new law in West Virginia that if you hit  a deer with your truck, you can take it home and cook it!” I told him that it had never been a temptation for me.

3. They actually have manners: In California if you bump into someone in a store (particularly this younger generation), they will probably give you a hard look, maybe even flip you off and bark obscenities. In WV, they say, “Excuse me sir.” and smile. I was in Charleston, WV a while back and I was lost. I pulled up to a sidewalk and asked a guy for directions. This guy was ready to hop in my car and show me how to get there! Nicest people you ever will meet. I stopped by an Arby’s to grab a quick bite on the run this past weekend. Let’s be honest. Arby’s isn’t exactly a fine dining establishment. A teenager was walking in the door just before me. He stopped, held the door, then chatted with me about the weather when I walked in. Then the person working the counter smiled, called me sir, thanked me… it was amazing! In California there is only one place that treats you like that: In and Out Burger (They are trained that way). In West Virginia, everyone is like an “In and Out” employee.

If you haven’t been to WV… give it a try.

Don’t believe the hype. They’re not inbred, backwoods hicks. They’re incredibly friendly, they’ve got pocket knives, and they’re ready to cook you up fresh venison at any moment (just don’t ask them where they got it!)

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Wow… just $7

Posted on: 06/3/10 2:15 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Okay… and I thought I had a good price.

Youth Specialties just pumped one of my books this week, DO THEY RUN WHEN THEY SEE YOU COMING?, on sale for just $7 bucks!

That’s an awesome deal. (I love it when YS runs those slammin’ deals!)

The sale is only through Monday, so I encourage you to grab a few of them.

If you haven’t read this book, it’s my second book, a book about reaching out to the rapidly growing number of “unchurched teenagers” in this younger generation. This book actually won an award in 2006 for “Best Outreach Resource” by Outreach Magazine. I have tons of youth leaders who take their leaders through this book as a training tool.

Good deal.

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The PG-13 Epidemic

Posted on: 06/2/10 1:02 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I am growing to hate PG-13 movies.

Just give me straight R… at least you’re being honest with me about what I should expect. Don’t give me this false expectation that this content is okay for 13-year-olds somewhere.

Last night my wife and I rented the fairly new to DVD/Blu Ray movie, Valentine’s Day... rated PG-13. The preview for this film looked pretty good. It’s a Gary Marshall film and it has an all star cast. Seriously… you’ll be surprised how many stars are in this.

So we gave it a try– just me and Lori, no kids.

I got a sour taste in my mouth about 12 minutes into it. Name it: hooking up, talk of threesomes, phone sex…

Now, I realize that not all “date flicks” are totally clean. I really like The Notebook… and that’s got some pretty steamy moments. I like Big Fat Greek Wedding, and that has premarital sex. I like Say Anything… again… premarital sex. But Valentine’s Day was in another league. I guess they are targeting all these women that love Sex and the City.

I guess that’s why I wrote the article years ago: Why I Allowed my 12-year-old to See Rater R… but Not PG-13!

You can catch my official review of Valentine’s Day on our movie review page here.

World Cup Unites the Globe

Posted on: 06/1/10 3:58 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Last week a youth worker from South Africa emailed me letting me know that the last lot of World Cup tickets were going on sale… hoping she’d get some. That would be so cool! (Hoping you get them Laura!)

I’m so jealous!  🙂

If you haven’t seen the Nike commercial for it…be careful… if you watch it, fan or not, you might actually fall in love with the sport.

My local Sacramento Bee chimed in on this spectacular event coming just around the corner. The opening line of that article: “Most Germans prefer watching their World Cup soccer team to having sex.”

LOL (Sorry, I’m not that dedicated to soccer.)

A snippet from that article, World Cup Unites the Globe:

Thursday, the South Wales Argus reported that Welsh police are girding for spikes in domestic violence between June 11 and July 11 – when a global audience will be riveted by the World Cup.

Last December, the New York Times ran a story with the headline: “A Nation’s Shaken Ego Seen in a Soccer Loss.” It told of a national malaise in Egypt after its team failed to qualify for the World Cup, which starts in two weeks in South Africa. Some Egyptians compared the indignity to the 1967 military rout of Arab armies by Israel.

And if past World Cups are any indication, somebody will commit suicide when his team is eliminated next month.

It happens every four years. Some Americans wonder why, but it’s very simple: With soccer, the most desperate kids from Sudan share the same passion as affluent kids in the United States.

So cool! I can’t wait!

(ht to my mom for that article)

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