#296: Found Free Lost

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #296, on the subject of Found Free Lost.

I first encountered Found Free when they played at Gordon College, probably in 1975 or ‘6.  I was in the cafeteria (I have previously mentioned that Gordon did not have an auditorium, and the chapel was not large enough to hold the entire student body, so large gatherings were always in the cafeteria or the gym) in advance of the show, while they were setting up, and I approached their guitarist, Wayne Farley.  I approached him because he was playing what I still on some level consider the “Holy Grail” of instruments, an electric guitar that sounds like an acoustic when amplified.  I asked him what it was, and he gave me an unfamiliar brand name; I believe he said it was from Australia.  I failed to remember that information, partly because on my paltry budget everything was too expensive to consider.

My good friend Jeff Zurheide walked out of that concert, and I understand why, although it might be said that he lacked patience.  The band had a well-organized and well-performed show designed for college campuses generally which began with covers of secular oldies coupled with nostalgic reminiscences to draw in the audience, and then eventually shifted to delivering the gospel message with a few Christian covers and originals.  Jeff was not interested in hearing a secular music concert, and did not anticipate the shift; I stayed to see what they were going to do, although I don’t know why I expected something different.  They were talented.

A couple years later I was out of school and out of work, and I heard they were auditioning for a guitarist.  I arranged an audition.  I had lunch with David Michael Ed, keyboard player and vocalist, and then played for him and vocalist Keith Lancaster, but my fate was sealed at lunch when they learned that I was married–it had been their plan to find someone who could share an apartment in the city with Keith, and so keep expenses down.  They said that my playing and singing were certainly good enough (although I am not at all satisfied myself that I could have replaced Wayne Farley, whose departure from the band had occasioned this opening), but they couldn’t afford my wife.

I often wonder what might have been, but I doubt I could have saved them, as sad as that is.

They did give me a copy of their recently released Greentree Records album Closer Than Ever, saying that I apparently did not know what they sounded like at that point (which was correct, as they had changed significantly in the couple years since I’d heard them).  It was a well produced album with good but not great songs, and the vocal work was very impressive.  I remember many cuts from that disc, but not many of them have been preserved on the web.  Ed’s song I Won’t Turn Back was a gentle opener, but Stone Heart exemplifies the processed sound typical of the LP.  Lancaster’s Do You Want Him? is a gentle call, and Starlight Praise has been described by someone as “brassy gospel swing”.  Touched by Love closes the first side with a bouncy touch, and the B side opens with the title track, smooth and a bit schmaltzy.  Farley contributed the track Still Up Walkin’, a song that prefigures his complicated compositions which appear later elsewhere.  I always liked Lancaster’s Stained Glass Window, but I don’t remember the closing song If You Know by Ed.

I know a few facts that come next, but not the sequence in which they came.  David Ed and his wife Joy separated, and both left the band.  They never actually found a guitarist to replace Farley, but instead found a new bass guitarist and shifted their former bass guitarist to guitar.  I think Lancaster took over on keyboards, and they put together an impressive array of musicians that filled the stage.  I managed once again to catch them in concert, as they released another album–sort of.  They had apparently lost their contract with Greentree, and it was pretty obvious that Sparkal Records was a vanity label, that is, they had produced their own album and paid to have it pressed.  We had a copy at the radio station, and I had my own copy, and it was a superb album throughout, under the title Specially Purchased, Individually Wrapped.  However, it failed to find national marketing, and was the last gasp for the band.

Still, I remember some great songs from it, including Front Lines, I Need You Lord, Just Like a Child, Don’t We Need to Know, and of course the title song, Individually Wrapped, about being who God made each of us to be, instead of trying to copy what someone else is doing (in which they humorously copy several other artist styles in the midst of a group rap).  Not a one of those was found in online video, which is sad because I think it some of their best work.

On an only loosely related subject, I would later try out for a guitar and vocals spot in a band called Daybreak.  They lived together and worked out of a farmhouse somewhere in Pennsylvania, and became the go-to people for festival sound systems, but they never told me why they didn’t take me.  They were so insignificant that their discography isn’t published online that I could find (there’s another band of the same name around the same time), but the song I most liked from them was the a capella novelty title track from the one album I ever saw, You Can’t Stand Up Alone, and it appears that there must have been an earlier LP, from which the title track After the Rain is online.  I don’t know–I think I could have helped them, but I am impressed with their vocal work on other videos.  Probably I’ll never know what they didn’t like about me.

*****

The series to this point has included:

  1. #232:  Larry Norman, Visitor;
  2. #234:  Flip Sides of Ralph Carmichael;
  3. #236:  Reign of the Imperials;
  4. #238:  Love Song by Love Song.
  5. #240:  Should Have Been a Friend of Paul Clark.
  6. #242:  Disciple Andraé Crouch.
  7. #244: Missed The Archers.
  8. #246: The Secular Radio Hits.
  9. #248:  The Hawkins Family.
  10. #250:  Original Worship Leader Ted Sandquist.
  11. #252:  Petra Means Rock.
  12. #254:  Miscellaneous Early Christian Bands.
  13. #256:  Harry Thomas’ Creations Come Alive.
  14. #258:  British Invaders Malcolm and Alwyn.
  15. #260:  Lamb and Jews for Jesus.
  16. #262: First Lady Honeytree of Jesus Music.
  17. #264:  How About Danny Taylor.
  18. #266:  Minstrel Barry McGuire.
  19. #268:  Voice of the Second Chapter of Acts.
  20. #272:  To the Bride Live.
  21. #276:  Best Guitarist Phil Keaggy.
  22. #281:  Keith Green Launching.
  23. #283:  Keith Green Crashing.
  24. #286:  Blind Seer Ken Medema.
  25. #288:  Prophets Daniel Amos.
  26. #290:  James the Other Ward.
  27. #292:  Rising Resurrection Band.
  28. #294:  Servant’s Waters.

#295: Does China Pay Tariffs?

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #295, on the subject of Does China Pay Tariffs?

In trade disputes with China, President Trump has been raising tariffs.  Critics claim that such tariffs are not paid by China, but by the American Consumer, and they are right–sort of.

A tariff, of course, is a tax on imported goods.  According to sources, Trump has recently raised them from 10% to 25%.  A ten percent tariff means that if a computer comes into San Francisco harbor from China with a factory price of one thousand dollars, the shipper has to pay one hundred dollars to offload it onto the dock.  When the wholesaler comes to pick up the computer, the shipper will charge him the one thousand dollars for the computer, plus the one hundred dollars for the tax, plus whatever the price of shipping is said to be.  That means the wholesaler paid one thousand one hundred dollars plus shipping, and the retailer will have to pay that much plus the wholesaler markup, and the customer has to pay all of that plus the retailer’s markup.  So a computer that might cost a thousand dollars in China costs considerably more in the United States.

When we increase that tariff to twenty-five percent, the tax to offload the computer goes from one hundred dollars to two hundred fifty dollars.  This then gets passed through the same hands so that the retail shelf price of that same computer is now one hundred fifty dollars more than it was–and the person who wants to buy the computer pays that money.

So in that sense the critics are correct:  China does not pay the tariffs, Americans who buy Chinese-made computers pay the price.

That’s not how tariffs punish foreign nations.

Because American workers demand and receive (and in fairness need) higher wages than Chinese workers, and American businesses have to pay higher costs for environmental concerns and raw materials and even real estate, American products cost more to produce than Chinese products–and generally by enough that it is cheaper to buy products in China and ship them here than to make them here.  What tariffs do is raise the end user cost of foreign-made products so that they are more expensive to buy.  Yes, that means that a consumer can’t buy a computer as cheaply as before, because to get the same cheap Chinese-made computer he has to pay an extra one hundred fifty dollars–but that increase does not apply to computers made in America.  Therefore as the price of Chinese computers rises, American computer prices become more competitive, and more people decide that the American computer is a good choice, putting money in the pockets of American computer manufacturers and American workers.  The number of computers delivered from China declines, and China suffers from reduced sales of its manufactured goods.  This impacts the Chinese economy reducing manufacturing output, employment, and tax revenue.

Additionally, the tax money that is still collected on imported Chinese goods helps reduce the national debt at least a bit, which is good for our economy.  Further, a tariff against Chinese goods does not have any effect on computers made in Taiwan or Japan or Singapore or elsewhere in the world, so cheaper computers are still available–only the Chinese computer market is affected directly.  Demand on these other computers might increase retail prices some, but not nearly as much as the increased price from the tariff.

So it is true that tariffs increase consumer costs in America, but that doesn’t mean that China doesn’t pay.  They pay in their lost retail market, the fact that it now costs more for consumers to obtain their goods and so demand for them decreases.  And the benefits to America are found in increased sales of American-made goods (labor likes tariffs, in the main) and more tax money in the government coffers.

Does that mean that all tariffs are good?  Certainly not.  Import tariffs ultimately do increase consumer prices (just as export tariffs depress overseas sales).  Foreign countries usually retaliate with their own tariffs against American goods, which makes it harder to sell our products overseas.  There is a valid argument against tariffs.  But simply saying that China doesn’t pay them misunderstands exactly how they penalize China.

#294: Servant’s Waters

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #294, on the subject of Servant’s Waters.

I have this story fairly reliably from the mouth of one of the band’s founding members.  They were one of the Christian rock bands of the day, going from church to church and religious rally to religious rally in their tour bus.  One day on their way to somewhere the bus broke down.  They limped it into the first parking lot they found, which happened to be a bar.  Using the phone there (remember land lines?) they informed people that they were stuck and determined that they could get someone out to repair the bus the next day, but were just going to have to stay where the were for the night.

The proprietor suggested that as long as they were stuck there anyway, he would pay them something to play in the bar that night.  They weren’t going anywhere, and a bit of money toward fixing the bus would certainly be welcome, so they accepted his offer and set up their equipment on his stage.  They opened their set with the one secular cover they knew–I’m afraid I don’t now remember whether it was Johnny Be Good or Sloop John B, but it was the only non-original song they knew.  Having finished it, they kind of stared at each other for a moment, and decided there was nothing for it but to push forward with their all-original Christian rock repertoire.

They were well received.  They continued on their tour the next day, but they had discovered something, and they began shifting what they were doing to take them more and more into secular venues, places where people actually needed to hear the message.

I didn’t know all of that, but I knew that Servant was one of the legends of the time, taking Christian rock music into secular venues.

Their album Shallow Water reached the radio station shortly after I did, and I would not have guessed it was their first; it is, at any rate, the earliest to appear on official discographies.  It is well constructed and well performed throughout, sounding more like the work of seasoned artists who know what they’re doing than a debut.  The opening title song set the tone for a ministry that challenged Christians to give up comfortable lives in favor of radical ministry.  Other songs on the same theme included the somewhat gentler Rich Man, and the powerful and memorable Cup of Water.  It closes with the upbeat Fly Away.  Throughout the mix of multiple vocals with powerful rock instrumentation gave them a distinctive and powerful sound.

I have fewer memories of Rockin’ Revival, which came out two years later, but Ad Man attacked the dangers of modern commercialism (“The ad man is the prophet of the century, making all his profit off of you and me”), and it closes with the fun and encouraging I’m Gonna Live.

They did it again with World of Sand, with songs like New Revolution, but the favorite song on this was the gimmicky tribute to Christian rock music, Jungle Music, whose insider references in the closing dialogue montage included people like Larry Norman, Resurrection Band, Daniel Amos, DeGarmo & Key, Barnabas, Petra, Fireworks, Sweet Comfort Band, and themselves.

When they released Caught in the Act of Loving Him, I had the opportunity to see them live.  They not only put on a dynamic musical performance, they put on a complete show.  The lights were synched with the music, including flash pots and lasers.  The male lead vocalist trained as a gymnast and was in constant motion including standing flips on stage.  They were engaging on every level.  Meanwhile the songs continued to challenge, including the memorable Now Is the Time and perhaps my favorite, the album opener Burning Bridges (“…give me light”).  Critics suggest that with this album Servant was transitioning from headbanger rock to new wave, which is more than I know.  I only know that they continued to be one of the best acts in Christian music, and one of the most challenging music ministries out there.

I never heard anything from them after that, but their discography shows only two more albums, the last in 1985.  There was also an album in the midst of this entitled Remix, and when I asked them about it in an interview they said please don’t buy it, as it was released by a record company that they had just left who decided to try to profit from their popularity by doing (often poor) remixed versions of a number of their songs and putting them on a new album just as World of Sand was hitting the market.

Apart from that one album, I never heard anything from Servant I wouldn’t recommend whole-heartedly.  It’s easy to forget just how good they were.

*****

The series to this point has included:

  1. #232:  Larry Norman, Visitor;
  2. #234:  Flip Sides of Ralph Carmichael;
  3. #236:  Reign of the Imperials;
  4. #238:  Love Song by Love Song.
  5. #240:  Should Have Been a Friend of Paul Clark.
  6. #242:  Disciple Andraé Crouch.
  7. #244: Missed The Archers.
  8. #246: The Secular Radio Hits.
  9. #248:  The Hawkins Family.
  10. #250:  Original Worship Leader Ted Sandquist.
  11. #252:  Petra Means Rock.
  12. #254:  Miscellaneous Early Christian Bands.
  13. #256:  Harry Thomas’ Creations Come Alive.
  14. #258:  British Invaders Malcolm and Alwyn.
  15. #260:  Lamb and Jews for Jesus.
  16. #262: First Lady Honeytree of Jesus Music.
  17. #264:  How About Danny Taylor.
  18. #266:  Minstrel Barry McGuire.
  19. #268:  Voice of the Second Chapter of Acts.
  20. #272:  To the Bride Live.
  21. #276:  Best Guitarist Phil Keaggy.
  22. #281:  Keith Green Launching.
  23. #283:  Keith Green Crashing.
  24. #286:  Blind Seer Ken Medema.
  25. #288:  Prophets Daniel Amos.
  26. #290:  James the Other Ward.
  27. #292:  Rising Resurrection Band.

#293: Versers Relate

This is mark Joseph “young” blog entry #293, on the subject of Versers Relate.

With permission of Valdron Inc I have previously completed publishing my first four novels, Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel, Old Verses New, For Better or Verse, and Spy Verses,  in serialized form on the web (those links will take you to the table of contents for each book).  Along with each book there was also a series of web log posts looking at the writing process, the decisions and choices that delivered the final product; those posts are indexed with the chapters in the tables of contents pages.  Now as I have posted the fifth, Garden of Versers,  I am again offering a set of “behind the writings” insights.  This “behind the writings” look may contain spoilers because it sometimes talks about my expectations for the futures of the characters and stories–although it sometimes raises ideas that were never pursued, as being written partially concurrently with the story it sometimes discusses where I thought it was headed.  You might want to read the referenced chapters before reading this look at them.  Links below (the section headings) will take you to the specific individual chapters being discussed, and there are (or will soon be) links on those pages to bring you back hopefully to the same point here.

There is also a section of the site, Multiverser Novel Support Pages, in which I have begun to place materials related to the novels beginning with character papers for the major characters, giving them at different stages as they move through the books.

This is the sixth mark Joseph “young” web log post covering this book, covering chapters 61 through 72.  Previous web log posts covering this book include:

History of the series, including the reason it started, the origins of character names and details, and many of the ideas, are in those earlier posts, and won’t be repeated here.

Chapter 61, Kondor 146

I couldn’t really see a chapter describing Slade’s slow walk through a fight in which he was only an observer with a few occasional contributions to be all that interesting.  The only interesting part would be confronting the fire beast, and that wasn’t going to be a big deal in the pattern I’d anticipated; we’ve seen Shella bury opponents before.  It would be more interesting, I thought, to have the reactions of the others in the team to the description of that, and I needed to go to Kondor’s arrival anyway, so I wrote it this way.


Chapter 62, Hastings 153

Lauren’s earliest memories surrounding the crib are mine, pretty much verbatim.  I also had the experience of my friend, who in my case was Ricky (I never could spell his last name) who lived two doors down across the street going to a different kindergarten session, only he was morning and I was afternoon.  The neighborhood kids are roughly modeled on my elementary school neighborhood, Maria replacing Anne Profumo, who was two years younger than me but did have two older brothers who babysat and an older sister with a birth defect.  The kids across the street from her were sisters, and I do not remember their names and never was sure whether one was older than the other; I moved away from that neighborhood after elementary school.  Ricky’s older brother called him Dinky; I asked why once, but he didn’t want to talk about it.  The rest is a pastiche of things I remember doing as a child.

The Ob-Gyn is my wife’s story; we traveled quite a distance so she could see her doctor there, and my kids were all born in that hospital because that’s where they had their practice.


Chapter 63, Beam 16

It would make no sense to give the original outline notes for this chapter, as they assume that much has already happened that has not happened yet.

I wrote myself into a corner here, and had to get Kyler to help me out.  The problem is that I had just recently realized that when you have complicated plans your characters are going to use, either you don’t tell them in advance but just let them unfold in action, or you tell them and then have something go wrong.  The particular details of this plan needed to be told in advance, complete with backups, but then I wasn’t sure what could wrong—or how to fix it.  Kyler gave me information I had not known about his character Dawn, and I put together the details of why they failed to get through the gate from there.

I decided on a ritual spiel in Spanish, of which I speak very little but Kyler a bit more, and used Google Translate to get exactly what I wanted.  I also recognized that listening at a door with a cup works well if your mind can work out the words, but you can’t really clearly hear all the consonants, so Beam wouldn’t get what they needed.  Neither, then, would Bob, who is listening not to words but to thoughts.  That means once the gate closes, they don’t know how to open it.


Chapter 64, Brown 170

I was mostly concerned with wrapping up the scenario and getting back to the palace.  I knew I was going to have them teleport back, but recognized that they had left the wagon and two men several miles away and had to retrieve them.  Derek was the logical choice for correcting that.


Chapter 65, Kondor 147

I pondered for at least a day or two just what the Caliph would give them to express gratitude.  Finally I recalled that the gift offered by my example middle eastern rulers in the Book of Daniel was promotion to an important position.  The Caliph wasn’t going to make anyone third ruler of the nation or anything so grand, but he would give some kind of title to Slade, and the logical one was Royal Advisor.  That left me with the question of whether he would just ignore the contributions of the others, which I decided I didn’t want, so I decided that since Royal Advisor would probably include some kind of badge of office, a gold chain with a medallion was a good choice, and the others could receive similar gold chains without the medallions.


Chapter 66, Hastings 154

I pulled a lot of this from my own memories of my own neighborhood and elementary school years, but made a lot of changes as well.

I had wanted to cover several sessions in this chapter and push toward the moment she versed out, but I realized when I substituted a Mexican dinner for the Hawaiian luau I remembered from my own elementary school days that Mexico probably would not exist in a world where they had never heard of New Jersey, and that diverted me into her talk of geography and how different her “imagined” world was from the real one.  Thus I wound up filling the session, and the chapter, with a lot of useless world detail and a still confused psychiatrist and a theory of the multiverse.  Hopefully I’ll be able to pick up the pace next time.


Chapter 67, Beam 17

I was really pleased with this.  I went into it with no clue how Beam was going to get the cloak and shoes, and came up with the answer while he was asking his team for suggestions.  I knew that Dawn could kill them both, but didn’t want that.  The original story had the hero distracting the two with the idea that they should race to decide who would get it, and then vanishing with the cloak and shoes while they were running, but not only did I not want to take that idea, I knew it wouldn’t work for four.  I needed a way for him to outsmart the pair, but they weren’t that bright, so I did it.

I’m several chapters behind the outline, but happy with how it’s going; if necessary, I see that I can move Beam chapters tighter within the story frame.


Chapter 68, Brown 171

I had originally labeled this a Slade chapter, but forgot, and thought of a good idea for Derek before I started writing it, so I changed direction.


Chapter 69, Slade 147

I decided that I could move more quickly through Derek becoming part of the entourage of the princess if I put it in Slade’s perspective, and decided that Slade has started worrying about things that aren’t necessarily problems.


Chapter 70, Hastings 155

I didn’t see a way to get around Lauren explaining the whole verser thing to Doctor Conway, but I hadn’t really covered it perhaps for a couple of books, so I decided it wasn’t going to bore readers badly.  It was important to have that as part of his perception of her delusions.

I was at this point printing the first draft of each chapter and delivering it to Kyler.  When he read this one, he immediately suggested that Lauren would read the mind of the psychiatrist, to know what he is thinking about her.  We discussed it, and I thought yes, this is something she will do, but at the end of this chapter she is lost in her thoughts of family and won’t do it until some time in the next session, or whenever I get to the place where she arrives in Philadelphia and reads Gavin’s mind.  That would cause her to decide to read the doctor’s mind.


Chapter 71, Beam 18

I saw the transit with the boat as something of a comic moment, as Bron grabs one of the thwarts inside the boat and tells the boots to take him to the other side, only to have the boat lift partly from the water, holding him down and tilting such that he can’t see where he’s going.  I’m afraid much of it is lost in the telling, but the appearance of the boat might convey it at least to some readers.

In the original fairy tale, of course, the hero gets the girls away from the princes, gets them under his cloak so that they can see that their suitors are demons, and returns them safely home after escaping.  The world as published in Multiverser:  The Second Book of Worlds has that as a plausible outcome.  However, one of our objectives here was to create a relationship between Beam and the efriit, having decided that these were actually efriit and not demons, and it seemed reasonable to bring the story to a quick resolution by having them arrive too late to stop the weddings.


Chapter 72, Slade 148

I was going to make this a Kondor chapter, but I kept coming back to a conversation between Slade and the Caliph about Derek and the Princess, so it had to be a Slade chapter.


This has been the sixth behind the writings look at Garden of Versers.  If there is interest and continued support from readers we will endeavor to continue publishing the novel and these behind the writings posts for it.