thNorth Carolina photographer Eric Pickersgill was in a café when a family’s non-togetherness spooked him deeply.

The father and two daughters were on their phones while the mother looked out the window, seeming “sad and alone in the company of her closest family.” Ultimately she gave in and took out her own phone.

From this Pickersgill found the inspiration for a photo series called “Removed,” a series of pictures that were semi-staged, yet all too real. Pickersgill would ask device-users to hold their poses while he removed the tablets and cell phones from their grasp.

The result is, well, the same sort of thing we see all the time in public places: People ignoring everything around them to fixate on handheld pixel-makers. But its static nature – men, women and children staring blankly into empty space – makes the exhibit deeply unsettling.

A few examples:


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thThe other day I had a massage, my last one with this practitioner because she’s moving out of state. On the landing by her door was a small stack of cinder blocks. I asked if she’d found a buyer and they were waiting to be picked up.

No buyers, she replied. “I’d give them away at this point, just to get rid of them.”

Guess who now has eight cinder blocks, even though she has no particular plan for them? Not right away, that is. But I figured you can never be too rich, too thin or have too many cinder blocks.

Part of me wondered whether this were a hoarder’s rationale. It could be.


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th-1The lovely and talented J. Money has apparently had enough. In a blog post called “What haters are like,” he details some of the bummer-speak he’s encountered with regard to finances.

Stuff like:

I just paid off my debt! (You shouldn’t have had any to begin with.)

I just invested in my first stock! (You need to diversify more.)

I just saved for retirement! (Why? YOLO!)

I just bought a used car! (It’s gonna break down, you know.)

I just bought insurance! (You would have been better off saving it.)

I just saved $20.00 doing it myself! (My time is worth way more than that.)

As the kids say: Srsly????


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th-2My recent “Tell me about yourself” post produced some very interesting responses. One of the commenters, Michelle, asked whether I’d answered the questions myself.

I guess I could do that. But another thought crossed my mind: Since I got to ask you guys questions, maybe it’s your turn to ask me some.

How does that sound? Here’s how I propose to do this:


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thThe response to my early-June reboot of “Surviving (and thriving) on $12,000 a year” was humbling. It was great to see reader comments about the impact this piece had on their lives.

When the post originally ran (January 2007) it got more response than anything else MSN Money published that year. The editor immediately said, “Write another one.” So I did.

The headline I chose was the one you see above; it got changed to “Living ‘poor’ and loving it.” (I refrain from comment.)

I’ve decided to re-boot the second piece as well, again in its original format vs. the MSN-edited version. Once again, asterisks indicate that updates can be found at the end.

Comedian Dick Gregory grew hungry and cold in an impoverished home. Yet his mother always assured the kids, “We ain’t poor, we’re just broke.”


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