To Wait for Wings… or Not?

Posted on: 09/13/10 12:12 AM | by Jonathan McKee

I must be getting old and tired… because when I found out that I didn’t have to spend the night on the sidewalk tonight… I was very happy!

Most youth workers are pretty resilient. We can sleep on a gym floor, survive on pizza and warm coke, and even fix a carburetor with pocket lint and toenail clippings! That’s why me and my buddy Kevin (the junior high pastor at my church) were both willing to stay the night on the sidewalk outside of the brand new Buffalo Wild Wings (BWW) by my house to be one of the first 100 customers (and get free wings for a year).

For those of you are lost… you might want to read my previous blog on Friday where I told you all about the new BWW restaurant opening by my house tomorrow (Monday). In that blog, I told you about two fun BWW experiences planned for this weekend. First, I had received some VIP passes for a free meal at their “preseason event” where they train their staff for opening day. I brought the family to that event Saturday night and it was even better than expected. We felt guilty about how much food they provided: appetizers, wings, burgers and sandwiches… even dessert. We were stuffed! All free.

But in that blog I also mentioned that I was going to drive by Monday morn at 5AM and see how big the line was for opening day (Monday at 10AM). Those plans changed when we noticed that there were already 10 people in line Saturday night (yes, 2 days in advance) for the grand opening.

So this evening (Sunday) at about 6PM I drove by to see how long the line was. About 35 people were now in line, all sitting in chairs playing dominos, working on laptops, etc. It was like the “male version” of a Twilight premier.

I called up my buddy Kevin (who had planned on going with me bright and early Monday) and asked him his thoughts. Neither of us wanted to give up our Sunday evening with our wives (because we’re smart!)… but we agreed that I’d go by before midnight and take a count, and if there was less than 100, we’d get in line and spend the night on the sidewalk.

So at about 11 tonight (it’s still Sunday night as I type this) I drove by and started counting. There were about 120 people standing in line. I breathed a sigh of relief and texted Kevin. “Abort mission. 120 people already here.”

Funny… I definitely would have had a fun time hangin with Kevin all night and then getting the free wings for a year. But something else inside of me was pretty dang happy when I got to drive home and spend the night in my own bed! 🙂

Well… I gotta go. I have to finish writing my Youth Culture Window article on tonight’s MTV VMA’s! It will be up by tomorrow afternoon!

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VIP Wing Passes

Posted on: 09/10/10 4:27 PM | by Jonathan McKee

For the last few weeks I’ve been asking Lori, “Anything in the mail from Buffalo Wild Wings?”

I was like a kid, waiting for my Captain Crunch super secret decoder ring.

Today it came!

Sorry… I’m so excited. Let me back up a minute and explain.

I’ve been waiting 20 years for a good wing place to come to my city… and next Monday a Buffalo Wild Wings opens right by my house!  That’s why I’m pretty excited about the VIP passes I just received in the mail for this weekend! More on that in a minute!

If you live where I live, in the Sacramento area of California, then you have NO idea what I’m talking about. Because in the Sacramento area there are slim to no wing places.(I’m proof reading this right now… this sounds like an infomercial! Ha!) We have a couple Wing Stops– decent wings, not much in the area of atmosphere. We also have a family owned place in a rough neighborhood called Granites… really good wings, but you need to know martial arts just to get to your car.

That’s why I almost did a back flip when I found out that the national chain Buffalo Wild Wings (BWW) is coming to two locations in the Sacramento area… one just 4 minutes from my house. (This has really bad ramifications. I’m really skinny comparatively right now… this might just change things!)  🙂

Some of you might be wondering… why the fetish over wings? It’s my wife Lori’s fault. She grew up eating wings with her family and friends in the Phoenix area. It was something they always did as a family. And sure enough, the Phoenix area (Mesa, Chandler, Tempe, etc.) has a bunch of really good wing places. Sacramento… nope! So Lori got me hooked when we first started dating. I don’t know why. There really isn’t much meat on the little wings and legs… I think it’s more of a social thing. Most of these wings places are like pubs-plenty of good social time with friends and family over food.

So as I’ve traveled over the years, one place I could always count on for good wings has been BWW. This place is always a good sized sports bar, plenty of flat screens with every sport imaginable playing, open late, fun family atmosphere. Not to mention… great wings. (and these really tasty sliders too!). They actually have 17 different sauce flavors… from mild to “Blazin” hot. They even have a contest where if someone can eat 12 of their “Blazin” hot wings in just 6 minutes… they get a t-shirt and their name on the wall. (I’ve tried one before… it made me cry!)

So when I heard that BWW was coming to town, I strolled into the restaurant while it was still under construction (wearing one of my BWW shirts- from a BWW in Nebraska). I introduced myself and let her know that I had been emailing corporate asking them to bring a BWW here! She put me on a VIP list and told me that she’d mail an invite to one of their “Pre-season events” the weekend before they open (to train their staff for opening day).

And so I’ve been waiting… and waiting…

Today they came in the mail! Lori said I acted like I just won the lottery!

The pass instructed me to call and RSVP if I wanted to attend. I called and RSVP’d the whole family for tomorrow’s event. I can’t wait.

In addition… I’m driving by on opening day Monday at about 5:30 in the a.m. If the line isn’t big… I’m going to get in line. The first 100 people get free wings for a year! (Oh man… I can taste em’ now!) (So I might be sitting in line all morning with my laptop, writing my Youth Culture Window article on the MTV VMA’s on the night before.)

Now if I could just get Giordano’s Pizza to come to town!

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Doctors Advise No TV in Teenagers Bedrooms

Posted on: 09/8/10 6:53 PM | by Jonathan McKee

Two questions that doctors are being encouraged to ask teenage patients:

1. How much time do you spend daily with entertainment media?

2. Is there a TV set or Internet access in your bedroom?

Hmmmm. Perhaps these are important influences to consider.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) just released (August 30, 2010) their brand new study titled, “Sexuality, Contraception, and the Media.” This report examines media messages teenagers are absorbing and how those influences affect their well being. In other words… when kids watch the music video for the #1 song Teenage Dream and watch Katy Perry getting her clothes torn off by a guy… does that really affect our kids? That’s what the AAP sought to discover.

The results of this study? Pretty scary. (I’ll definitely be including some of this in my upcoming parent workshops.)

Here are some of the elements that jumped out at me:

  • More than 75% of prime-time programs contain sexual content.
  • Only 14% of these incidents mention any risks or responsibilities of sexual activity.
  • Talk about sex on TV can occur as often as 8 to 10 times per hour.
  • Between 1997 and 2001 alone, the amount of sexual content on TV nearly doubled.
  • American media makes sex seem like a harmless sport in which everyone engages, and results of considerable research have indicated that the media can have a major effect on young people’s attitudes and behaviors.
  • The media may function as a “superpeer” in convincing adolescents that sexual activity is a normative behavior for young teenagers.
  • Listening to sexually degrading lyrics is associated with earlier sexual intercourse.
  • Out of nine longitudinal studies seeking to answer whether sexy media contributes to early sexual activity, seven of these studies have shown that exposure to sexual content in TV and other media in early adolescence can as much as double the risk of early sexual intercourse.
  • Early exposure to sexual content doubled the risk of teen pregnancy.
  • Bedroom TVs are associated with greater substance use and sexual activity by teenagers.

They summarized their findings well: “Clearly, the media play a major role in determining whether certain teenagers become sexually active earlier rather than later.”

The good news from the report:

  • Teenagers whose parents control their TV-viewing habits are less sexually experienced
  • Adolescents whose parents limit their TV-viewing are less likely to engage in early sex.

The messages from this report are loud and clear. Media affects our kids. So parents, help your kids make good media decisions. Pretty simple.

The report actually words it like this: Pediatricians should counsel parents to recognize the importance of the media, exert control over their children’s media choices, keep their children’s bedrooms free of TVs and Internet connections, and avoid letting their children see PG-13– and R-rated movies that are inappropriate for them.

Interesting that someone is finally chiming in about PG-13 movies. I’ve shared my two cents on that and provided a few examples here and here.

This isn’t the AAP’s first report on the subject. Last year the AAP released similar reports on the effects of sex and violence in the media. We wrote a Youth Culture Window article detailing the results of those reports, urging parents to monitor their kids’ media and help them make good media choices. This month’s AAP report conveys much of the same, but with even more current data revealing exactly how dire the situation is becoming.

Click here for the whole report. (Warning… some of you aren’t going to like the conclusions the report makes about abstinence only sex education. I encourage you to not throw out the baby with the bathwater.)

Burning My Book

Posted on: 09/7/10 2:52 PM | by Jonathan McKee

I never thought I’d live to see one of my books burned, but on a recent trip… I saw about 30 of them burned!

It’s not what you think. They weren’t protesting (I swear, I didn’t say the word “Jackass” in the book)…

Let me back up just a bit.

A year or so ago when my CONNECT book first came out, there was a misprint. I blogged about it at the time, but the short of it is, someone who worked for my publisher hit a wrong button before the final print and the text came out like gobblygoop. The cover looked fine, certain pages look fine, but once you dig in… a total mess!

My publisher recalled the whole batch… and two weeks later I received a couple boxes of the misprints that had shipped to me separately. They told me I could keep those. So I just threw them on a shelf in the garage.

So… fast forward to recently when my family and I went camping with a bunch of other families at our church. I was packing all our camping stuff in the garage and began looking for some kindling. I didn’t realize that I was so short on kindling… and that’s when I saw a box of those misprints of my book!  🙂

4 hours later we’re unloading camping gear and my son asks me, “Dad… why do you have a box of your books here?”

I simply told him. “Those are the misprints. Put them over there by the firewood.”

He got a huge smile on his face.

When nightfall arrived (or did it “fall?” …I’m not sure), it was time for a campfire. Several of my kids’ friends got wind of the “book burning” and I had about 10 teenagers asking me, “Can I burn some of your books?”

How do you say “no” to that?

So next thing I know a bunch of kids are gathered around a fire throwing my CONNECTs on as fuel!

No worries… until… some of the kids started commenting, “Hey… look at his face burn! Cool!” My book has my picture on the back by my bio. Before long, about a dozen kids are laughing at my picture burning in the fire!

I walked over to my own kids who were laughing hysterically. I said to my son. “Et tu Alec?”


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Adult Texting on the Rise

Posted on: 09/3/10 11:02 AM | by Jonathan McKee

Maybe it’s because we’ve finally figured out how to type on that miniature keyboard… or maybe it’s just so we can talk with our kids. Either way, adults are using their cell phones for texting more than ever before.

72% of adults send and receive texts now, according to a September 2, 2010 Pew Internet study. This is up almost 10% from last year.

Do adults text as much as teenagers? Ha! Nope. Teenagers text about 5 times as many messages per day as adults… and teenage girls age 14-17, who, as I reported in this blog a while back, average 100 messages a day, text 10 times as many messages as adults. (I know… I have one kid of my own kids in that category!)

Some interesting tidbits from that Pew study:

  • Adults who text typically send and receive a median of 10 texts a day; teens who text send and receive a median of 50 texts per day.
  • 5% of all adult texters send more than 200 text messages a day or more than 6,000 texts a month.
  • 90% of parents are more likely to have a cell phone than adults without children under 18 at home (78%).
  • 72% parents have slept with their phone on or right next to their bed, compared to 62% of non-parents.
  • The average adult cell phone owner makes and receives around 5 voice calls a day.
  • Women tend to make slightly fewer calls with their cell phones than men
  • African American and English-speaking Hispanic adults are slightly more likely than whites to own a cell phone
  • African American and Hispanic texters typically text more on average than white texters

Click here for the whole report.

3 Minutes a Day

Posted on: 09/1/10 10:26 AM | by Jonathan McKee

This week’s Youth Culture Window article on our web site revealed some good news… and some sad news.

The sad news is that the typical father spends less than three minutes per day alone with his own teenager. (I’ve blogged about the decrease of “family time” before) The interesting twist on this, what I call “good news,” is that kids actually want to spend time with parents.

Here’s just a snippet of the article:

And this shortfall of face time couldn’t come at a more crucial—or ironic—moment. In a landmark study by the Associated Press and MTV, performed in 2007, researchers discovered that a whopping 73 percent of teens said their mothers and/or fathers made them “happy.” (No, that’s not a typo.) And when asked, “What one thing in life makes you the most happy?” the most frequent answer given was “spending time with family.” (Nope, that’s not a typo, either!)

You might be thinking to yourself: “Yeah, but that was three years ago. The iPhone was invented, and reinvented, several more times since that research was performed. Kids don’t want me around; they want stuff, entertainment, and whatever else my hard-earned money buys.”


In a brand new survey by Family Circle, 25 percent of teens claimed they wanted more time with their parents. In fact, one 16-year-old guy actually said, “I think it’d be cool if my parents worked less, just because I’d get to see them more.”


After reading these studies, I admit, I asked myself some tough questions: “Jonathan, are you really spending good quality time with your kids?” “Are you really much better than 3 minutes?”

It’s scary if you really track your time and write it down… because we’re busy, right? We all can probably list out excuses (let’s see, kids go to school, then water polo, then homework…). But busy schedules don’t trump the need for “face time” with our kids. We’ve gotta make it happen. Period.

I’ve blogged about the importance of “family dinners” before. In that blog I cite a September 2009 report revealing that teenagers who have fewer than three family dinners per week are more likely to get C’s and are more likely to smoke, drink and use drugs. Poignant stuff.

No excuses.

Parents, we need to make connecting with our own kids a priority. We need to be pro-active about it… or we’ll just be another statistic.

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