Saturday, July 2, 2011

How AMERICAN Are YOU?

Hello Fans:

Recently, I heard on the nightly news that if someone were to come in any American's home and remove all products not made in the U.S.A., every American's home would be bare.  Do you realize what this means?  Does that blow your mind, as it did mine?  If not, it should.

When you shop at the grocery store, how many of you pay attention as to where the food was processed or grown?  When you shop for electronics, how many of you check to see if that device was made in America?  When looking for a car, do you immediately go to a foreign dealership, or do you check out American-made cars?  What about the clothes you wear or the toys you buy for your children, do you know where they were made?  Odds are, they weren't made in the U.S.A.

With our economy at an all-time low, and jobs scarce, home foreclosures, healthcare next to none for some of us, American jobs being outsourced to other countries, it begs the question, just how American are we anymore?  I must admit, I own many products from other countries, but in the last few years, I've been trying to be more conscious of how much that hurts my country, and its people.

I read a report that since 2008, the last few college and university graduates are still looking for work in their chosen fields.  I have many friends that have a glowing resume with their Masters and Doctorate degrees, and some of them are working in Wal-Mart just to have some income, and to start paying their voluminous amount of student loans.   Education used to be a great field to go into, but I can't tell you how many educators are losing their positions, or those who are unable to even find a teaching job. 

I hear Americans complaining all the time about not having jobs, and the possible reasons for this.  Some blame the unions, some blame our President, some blame American corporations for outsourcing our jobs, some blame Wall Street, some blame the big corporate banks, and some blame corrupt politicians.   No matter who you blame, the fact of the matter is, as bleak as America's future appears to be, there is something you can do!

First off, if you're one of those people who complain and criticize the problems in America, make sure YOU are a voter!  And I could care less what party affiliation you belong to.  Those who don't vote, your complaints fall on deaf ears (mine, to be exact).  You have no leg to stand on when you do nothing to try and change the situation.    Start paying very close attention to what you spend your money on and who processes and makes the items you are about to purchase.  America makes a lot of great products, but how many of you even know about them?  How many of you really care?  (Please check the links below to assist you in learning what is made right here on your own soil!)

Secondly, instead of worrying about celebrities and reality-made TV stars, who don't give a damn about you, they are only interested in making more paper, while your money continues to shrink, your home or possibly many in your neighborhood are falling prey to foreclosures, public schools are closing all around you, and start paying attention to your own reality happening right in this country.  I've outlined some serious problems we have, but why aren't we partaking in our future.

Our reality works much like the scripted ones you watch on TV, with the exception there are no edit or delete buttons to push to change what we don't want people to view.   We vote for politicians, and when those people we've voted for don't do what was promised, or they make too many errors, we should vote those politicians out of office, but too often, we don't do this.  (But, we'll call an 800 number or text to vote for our favorites in a reality show).  It's so easy to point the finger at this Administration, but don't forget, three of those fingers are pointing back at YOU!  Where does your responsibility lie?  What have YOU done to make changes in this country?  How many Americans do you help to keep employed by buying those products which are made in our country?


If you want to see this country get back on top, and help avoid our country from defaulting on its loan by August 2, 2011, WAKE UP!  Start being the change you claim YOU want to see in this country.  Get involved in this REALITY~~your life, your well-being, your future, our children's future because America is at stake~~WAKE UP!  Time waits for no one, and if YOU sit back and let these situations continue to overtake us, the America we used to know will forever be erased.  Is this what we want?  I don't know about you, but I know I don't want this to happen.

America's independence will be 235 years on Monday, July 4, 2011.  Lets get it together Americans and start acting like we love this country.  Show some love to your country by participating in what YOUR country offers.  We are still the best nation in the world to live.  I wouldn't want to be anywhere else, and yet, little by little, the American dream is turning into a hellish nightmare.  So. . .what do YOU plan to do about it?  Continue to complain, or will you STAND UP for your country?  Be active in your reality~~America's future depends on it.  This is your life people, and you better start taking these issues seriously, or the America that you've come to know will die and wither away.  If you don't believe me, take a look around you.  Open your eyes!  That's reality!

So, before you make a purchase for electronic devices, food, clothing or transportation, ask yourself, who made this?  Ask the store if they carry American-made products?  When you buy American-made, you helped feed and clothe an American~~you helped keep an American in their home~~you helped that American keep his job!  Our military works hard to keep our country safe, and the least WE can do is assist them by purchasing our own products, so they have a job to come home to, and by not making their hard efforts be in vain.

Think about those things the next time you shop, and ask yourself, just how American am I?  You may surprise yourself with the answer!  Until next weekend, Keep the American Dream alive, Let Freedom Ring, and make sure YOU do your part to keep our country flourishing.  Write ON! America~~I love my country, and the men and women in the Military who serve to keep me and my family safe!  God Bless America!  Happy Birthday!
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Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/International Poet
Write ON!: http://www.kimberlyraneehicks.biz
Write ON! Blog: http://mellojune.blogspot.com
Contact: mellojune@kimberlyraneehicks.com
Here are some sites to visit for American-made products:







Sunday, June 26, 2011

Read UP!

Greetings, Fans!

As many of you know, not only do I absolutely enjoy writing~~it's literally my favorite thing to do, but my second passion is reading.  The problem for me, I find, is that I want to write, and then I want to read at the same time, but so far, technology hasn't invented a device for me to do that yet, or so I believe, and until then, I have to split my passions.

If you've never heard of a website called goodreads.com, you're really missing out.  It's a great site to document all the books you've read, meet friends, and use discussion forums to talk about the authors and books you most enjoy.  Also, on goodreads, you can purchase books, set goals for the amount of books you wish to read, and recommend books to others and receive recommendations.  And, if you're an indie author, you may post your own books, but you cannot recommend your own work to other followers.  For that, you must place ads for a small fee.  

If you didn't know by now, I am a huge fan of mysteries, true crime and memoirs.  Or, perhaps I should reverse that and say memoirs, true crime and mysteries.  No matter which, I love all three equally, and I am going to share with you a few of my favorite memoirs.  As I mentioned in previous posts, I enjoy reading my favorite celebrity's lives and finding out what path they have chosen.  I hope you enjoy my selection detailed below.

First Up, Luther Vandross!  He is one of the best, if not the most talented balladeer, of our time.  When I tell you there will never be another Luther, or as some referred to him as 'Luuufer', to ever come this way again.  I read this on one Saturday afternoon.  Not only did Luther have a distinct crisp and pureness to his voice, he was one hell of a lyricist.  There are many commercials that you enjoy today, wherein Luther wrote the jingles.  Much has been said about Luther's sexuality, and although I personally have my own views on that, it doesn't matter because he is my all-time favorite male singer, or shall I say, he sits next to my other all-time favorite, Marvin Gaye. 

I was blessed to see him live four times, when he came to Pittsburgh at the Stanley Theater, and three times at the Civic Arena (name changed to Mellon Arena now~~soon to be razed).  He put on a dynamic and awesome show.  He was a gem.  I miss him so much, and I still mourn his loss.   Gone too soon, my friend!

Second Up, the lovely and talented Miss Pam Grier.  Oh, let me tell ya something.  This woman here has a stage presence like no other.  I want to be like her when I grow up.  She's smart, sexy, and tough!  She handles it well with such class, as a lady ought to be.  I loved all her Blaxploitation films.  She had it going on, and still does, in my opinion, and didn't take any shit.  After reading her memoir, I see that she handled her personal life, much the way she handled characters in her movies.  I was very surprised to learn of her love interests in her personal life.  I won't reveal them here, but buy the book to learn all about them.

What I most respect about Pam is that she told things that needed to be said, but she did it in such a way that she didn't hurt innocent people.  This wasn't your typical tell-all type of book.  Miss Grier was very respectful and took care in the way she relayed her life to her reading audience and I applaud her for doing so.  She's just a class act all the way.  I have so much love for her.  And she looks great for her age.  May I be so fortunate. (smile)


Third Up, the legendary Rick James.  Oooh my, where do I even begin with this book.  Let me just say that Rick did a great job writing this book on his own without using a professional writer to help polish it.  He wrote his memoirs while in jail, and I must say, the stories he tells in this book were juicy.  But what I found most captivating about his life story is the way Rick became to be "I'm Rick James, bitch!"  That's a classic line that was later used in David Chappelle's comedy show on Comedy Central, but the truth is, Rick had a presence on stage and off, like no other artist. 


He kept it real with his reading audience and didn't sugarcoat any of his experiences, and more importantly, he acknowledged his own guilt and responsibility in his actions and I have to give him major kudos for that.  I felt as though I got a contact just from reading the pages, because Rick was heavily, (make no mistake) heavily into drugs, and he outlines it here, word for word, not missing one single letter.  (chuckle).  It was nice learning about his family and seeing his serious side, which seldom he revealed to most, as he states in his own words.  He definitely lets the reader know just how he felt toward his record labels, famous recording artists who also enjoyed the taste of cocaine, and his one and only truly love~~music.  I read this book in two days~~could NOT put it down.  There will never be another Rick James, and we're blessed to still have his music.  He's truly a legend in every respect!


Fourth Up, Faith Evans.  I have to admit, I was never a huge fan of Faith's music, and most of my friends think I'm nuts because of that, but I am just being honest.  Although she has a beautiful voice and is super talented, I could never feel her music, the way most of her fans do.  But, I have to say, I changed my opinion, after having read her memoirs.  What hasn't Faith gone through is what you should be asking yourself?  From growing up without a father present, to a mother that never really showed her any love, Faith truly was certainly named appropriately.  She has lots of faith, and it shows.

When she got to the chapter about her deceased famous husband, Rapper, Notorious B.I.G., I cried actual tears.  I felt her pain, and it's funny how the media portrays one image, and how Faith told it like it was.  Friends she had in the industry, or so she thought, weren't quite the friends she thought she had, and those that she least expected to be in her corner, came through as guardian angels.  After I read this book, I began listening to Faith's music, and I'm happy to say, I like some of it.  I'm still not a big fan, but I like this lady, even without knowing her personally, but I like the way she takes care of business, and looking out for her children.  This was an outstanding read.  I give it five stars.


Fifth Up, my main man, Ice-T (a/k/a Tracy Marrow).  This is a brotha that will never lead you astray.  If I had to pick one celebrity I would want in my corner on my ranks coming up in the Hollywood scene, I can think of none other than Ice-T.  Straight from the mild streets of New Jersey, forced to grow up on the West coast, he's a man that has it all, but it took many years for him to get there.  He's a true O.G., totally old school, when rapping had real feeling and real truth.

Ice details his life from being a full-time thief, a Crip for life, and how it lead him down the road to recording rap music.  I remember his first major film role in New Jack City.  He was so believable, and I suppose so, having seen the street life up close and personal.  But how ironic he'd play a police officer~~the total opposite of what he portrayed in his real life.  And to go from all of which he came to being one of my favorite characters on Dick Wolf's Law and Order, Special Victims Unit.  He's Superfly and Shaft all rolled up into one.  He's one bad motha shut your mouth.  Awesome read!

Sixth Up, the Sophisticated Lady, herself, Ms. Natalie Cole.  Truth be told, I thought this was going to be a story about her life as a singer, but I couldn't have been more wrong.  Once I learned of what this story was about, I was elated.  Natalie, as most know, is the daughter, of the late, Nat King Cole, and she is so much more than just her voice and being the daughter of a famous father.  We almost lost Natalie to Hepatitis, and due to the love of her sister, Cooke, and another special sister, that assisted in giving her life again.  I don't want to spoil it, but you must read this incredible story.  It's a very short book and can probably be read within a couple hours. 

I've always been a fan of her music, and will continue to be.  Her book is so appropriately named, "Love Brought Me Back!"  After you read it, I'm sure you will agree that it is a heart-filled story about a woman who has seen her share of ups and downs.  As Natalie so eloquently states, "God is so Good!"  Amen.


Mello and June
Seventh Up, from the author who never sleeps, yours truly, Kimberly Ranee Hicks.  Of course, you couldn't possibly think I'd push other books, and not my own.  I've got to toot my horn sometimes (beep, beep)!  This is a love story that stands the test of time.  How many people can actually say they've had a love affair that lasted over 50 years?  Well, Mello and June can most certainly say that because they've lived it.  As you read the musical Song Chapters, it jet bolts you to the next level of their stormy relationship.  From make-ups and break-ups, marriage, children, divorce, traumatic experiences and loss.

Mello is a man who knows exactly what he wants and how to get it through sexual manipulation.  June is a naive teen who knows where she wants to go in life, but has a few stumbling blocks to get over.  When the two of them meet for the first time, it most certainly isn't love at first sight.  Some of the musical chapters include, The Isley Brothers For The Love of You, Rick James Jefferson Ball, and Patti Labelle's I Don't Go Shopping.  If you love reading erotica true romance, then Mello and June is a must read! (Click on link below cover to purchase).

Silent Knight
Last, but certainly not least, another great story from the author who never sleeps, Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Silent Knight.  This urban, 70s mystery/suspense is sure to take you back down memory lane, when Afros, belle bottom pants and free love was all the rave.  Since we were all children at one time, this book is great to read because the children in this story have some tales to tell, and the one with the most to lose, or possibly gain, is the main character, Clarence Knight, the now film maker.  He's worked with the best in Hollywood, such as Will Smith and director/film maker, Spike Lee. 

Clarence wants to believe that all things are good, but it isn't until he returns home, unwillingly, to see his best friend Reggie Dunn, Jr., that everything in Clarence's world gets turned upside down.  Everything as he once knew it to be, turns out to be the exact opposite, and there are deep and dark secrets waiting to become unraveled in the fast-pace suspense novel.  Just when you thought you knew someone, your whole world becomes undone.  If you love taking a trip down memory lane, this is the book for you.  (Click on link below cover to purchase).

So Fans, these are the latest books I've read, and I hope you pick up your copies today.  I love hearing from you, so please stop by and leave a comment on your good reads, and share with the rest of us.  Until next time, Love, Peace, and Write ON! Readers!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/International Poet
Write ON!:  http://www.kimberlyraneehicks.biz/
Write ON! Blog: http://mellojune.blogspot.com/
Contact:  mellojune@kimberlyraneehicks.com

Mello and June