The Devil Queen

How my wife and I sold our souls to the Queen Anne Victorian we tried to save.

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Location: Crow Mountain, Arkansas, United States

Synopsis: This is a cautionary tale. A seriously disturbed couple find the charming, old ruin of a Queen Anne Victorian in Russellville, Arkansas, and buy it for $1.00. They tore the roof off, cut it in half, and had it moved to some land they owned sixteen miles away because they didn't know any better. Since then, they have hired and fired contractors, had all of their tools stolen, re-wired, re-plumbed, insulated, and essentially rebuilt the entire house. Their only problem is that after four years it still isn't finished. Now they are tired, broke, and wonder what in the hell it is they've done to themselves. And, it's haunted.
(Last updated on April 3, 2008)

Press: Russellville Courier Article - December 2003, HGTV website article, AP story - October 2006, and Victorian Homes Magazine - February 2008 (link coming soon).
Art: From time to time, I receive requests for my art. If you would like to look at more of my art, go to The Failed Artist. If you would like to buy my art, email me. I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It’s The Economy Stupid

I came across an article in Der Spiegel today which caught my interest. It was written by Bob Herbert with the NY Times regarding the U.S. presidential elections. The election wasn't nearly as interesting to me as the underlying demographics. I'm not sure how it ended up in Der Spiegel, but here are some excerpts:

"The youngest of these voters, those ranging in age from roughly the late teens to the early 30s, are part of the so-called millennial generation.

This is a generation that is in danger of being left out of the American dream -- the first American generation to do less well economically than their parents. And that economic uncertainty appears to have played a big role in shaping their views of government and politics . . .

A number of studies, including new ones by the Center for American Progress in Washington and by Demos, a progressive think tank in New York, have shown that Americans in this age group are faced with a variety of challenges that are tougher than those faced by young adults over the past few decades. Among the challenges are worsening job prospects, lower rates of health insurance coverage and higher levels of debt.

We know that the generation immediately preceding the Millennials is struggling. Men who are now in their 30s, the prime age for raising a family, earn less money than members of their fathers’ generation did at the same age. In 1974, the median income for men in their 30s (using today’s inflation-adjusted dollars) was about $40,000. The figure for men in their 30s now is $35,000.

The landscape is changing before our eyes. Younger voters struggling with the enormous costs of a college education, or trying to raise families in a bleak employment environment, or using their credit cards to cover everyday expenses like food or energy costs are not much interested in hearing that the government to which they pay taxes can do little or nothing to help them."


If you're interested in the full article, click here.


So, what do you think? Based on your own experiences, do think Mr. Herbert has got it right?
I'm 34 years old or younger - yes, I agree.
I'm 35 years old or older - yes, I agree
I'm 34 years old or younger - maybe? I don't know.
I'm 35 years old or older - maybe? I don't know.
I'm 34 years old or younger - no, I disagree.
I'm 35 years old or older - no, I disagree
Free polls from Pollhost.com

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9 Comments:

Blogger Greg said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

7:49 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

I see this as a problem. The tough question is: Is it a long term trend or a short term problem due to the last few decades of a society based on greed and immediate gratification, and a political culture of "trickle up" economics. There is no doubt we have some major problems in this country. Everyone faces problems. The question is, can you over come them.

Yes we can!

7:49 PM

7:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can neither agree nor disagree as a Canadian.

However, I do dispute the article's statement that this is the first generation to do less well than its parents. I believe the Gen Xers were the most recent example of a "generation" that emerged from college with debt and found out that there were no jobs for them.

Janine

12:30 PM  
Blogger John said...

Greg,

Personally, I think it is both a long term problem and "a society based on greed and immediate gratification, and a political culture of 'trickle up' economics."

Every generation certainly faces its own challenges.

I found this article on Salon.com today which goes in to a lot of these issues in greater detail than the article I referenced in the original post.

The biggest issue I have with the current state of things is the whole college sham. When I was in high school, everyone told me that a college education would ensure that you got a good job. It certainly worked out that way for my parents. I feel that all college ensures for you now (baring a few high dollar fields like IT, law, nursing, etc) is crushing debt. That really stacks the deck against you for everything else once you graduate.

I'm not sure what the answer or answers are to the current state of things. While we haven't always made the right decisions or been smart with our money, I feel like we haven't gotten much of return from the things we have done right.

Janine,

The Generatioin X designation is a bit tricky. According to most of what I've read, I'm on the very tailend of Gen X, my wife may or may not be, and my little sister, a year younger than my wife, probably is Gen Y or whatever they want to call it. In any case, I think you are right, most of Gen X and the generations that followed have a different set of rules and expectations to master than their parents or grandparents.

I may take some of these issues up again in a future post. In the mean time, I'd love to hear more comments from you, our dear readers.

This all may seem tangential to the Devil Queen, but the fact is that once we signed a construction loan for this project, we signed over a majority of our financial freedom as well. Everything Scarlet and I have been doing since then is damage control. This is probably the root of my obsession with this topic.

7:54 AM  
Blogger Lenise said...

It's telling that the statistic is based on men's income. I'm quite confident that women's income has increased by well more than men's has decreased by. Greg's comment about instant gratification is insightful, I think- everybody wants a new car, a big new house, new doo-dads for baby, and it's rare that an intact family gives a second thought to having 2 full-time incomes (though they say that trend is reversing). The bottom line is, there are more youngish college-educated folks in the labor force due to the fact that there are few full-time homemakers, which makes those qualities less valuable.

I was an econ major and a PhD student in economics, so I could go into a treatise here.

Greg (I think) also alluded to artifical inflation of the minimum wage as trickle-up economics. This is also a prescient observation. Nobody wants to argue against minimum-wage hikes for fear of being labeled anti-poor, but frequently (possibly primarily), minimum-wage hikes artifically inflate the income of high school students and pensioners who aren't dependent on the income from these jobs in any case. Does the benefit from this outweigh the higher prices we pay at Wal-Mart, McDonald's, and for food in general (all of which hit the poor harder than they do the rich)?

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