Saturday, May 8, 2010

Writing Assingments for Man in the Van

Since other sites are getting their writers to write articles for free we at Man in the Van thought we'd try it out. We've added a page of writing assignments that you can choose from. Articles will be published and the money raised from the articles will be split between the publisher and the writer. The page is under the header. Man in the Van is an equal opportunity employer, all are welcome to write for us. Good luck.

Update: Don't everyone jump at once.
Update: Thanks to all who ignore the misspelled "Assingments" for a title on writing. The editors hang their heads in shame and have left it unchanged as a reminder to proofread everything. Titles don't get the benefit of the onboard spell check function.

Sustainability Fair 2010

I'd read about the Portsmouth Sustainability Fair a few times and decided to check it out, like, "Help me live more sustainably. Help!"

The fair was in the Middle School, and that alone was a trip down memory lane as I ended up in the cafeteria where three friends (including the dying Mack Wynter) and I wrote a constitution with the Articles of the Lunchtime Nation. It was a strange document only a 13 year old could write, describing certain codes of conduct for eating french fries and pizza and responsibilities including who would pick up the carton milk and throw away the trash and term limits etc. We had subcommittes and afterschool meetings and secret codes (in case of spies). Our breath stank like cheetos, I never washed my jeans and wore a ragged Red Sox shirt, my wispy mustache offended everyone, my hair was greasy. We were all naturally and justifiably beaten by bullies every day of Junior High School.

At the fair, the cafeteria was an area for crafts and arts and musical performances all broadcast by WSCA, the coolest station in the area. Having no money, I bought nothing.

Onward into the booth portion, which was in the gymnasium which has not changed at all since I left in 1984. It's still got the hard basketball backboards and the foldable three seat bleachers where we sang "Say Say Say" by Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney for "Choir".

In this gymnasium there were solar water heaters and composting toilets and rain water barrels and community initiatives and a solar trash compactor. I talked with a gentleman raising awareness on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in northeast Alaska. As many of you know I spent some time in Fairbanks and my roommate was from Arctic Village in ANWR. Ben was his name and I appreciated his company and wisdom though I was too young to ask the right questions and too puritan to smoke the "Alaska Thunderfuck" weed that he offered as was his native American right. I still thought I might be a big league baseball player and drugs would only derail my plans. (Insert bitter laughter here)

So, we talked of the threats to ANWR and lately, with the recent oil spill, the tide is turning against the oil exploration of ANWR. Obama is considering making the place a national monument, which would protect it like a national park. Ben's concern were the caribou herds which would be disrupted by another oil pipeline connecting to the main pipeline in central Alaska. He was studying tourism and while I'm sure he fulfilled his mission it is still a long long way to go to see a kid thrown in the air on a hide blanket or to watch someone carve a horn belt buckle. It's like expecting someone in 1880 Paris to take a boat to New York and a wagon to Wyoming to see a cowboy shoot a hole in a silver dollar. A lot to ask.

The attendant said right-wing talk show hosts are saying the Deepwater Horizon was ecoterrorism to justify a bad public opinion of oil. Anyone have more information on this?

So, that was the Alaska wilderness league.

Another booth promoted The Piscataqua Sustainability Initiative. Their booth had quotes from Lester Brown so we chatted about Plan B.

Like Thoreau, I am suspicious of any Plan that requires I buy something, even if that thing is Solar Powered. Lately, I believe we are in Sustainability 1.0 and while none of it is perfect, it is funding the research for 2.0, 3.0 etc. The only other option is to cease buying all together which leads to a slippery slope of cave dwelling and burning wood for fuel. Again, it comes down to philosophy. Is having an energy neutral computer a good goal or is living a life that does not require a computer a good goal. This is a central debate that is as old as time. The other debate is one I'm addressing with the Santa Cruz book...Though we must make radical changes in lifestyle to make civilization sustainable, we can not individually make a radical difference. And we can not expect to see much change ourselves. But this freezes the brain to act without the benefit of seeing results. Baby Steps is basically the answer I've been looking for and will be espoused by the Yoga Hermit Abe. Oggy will be obsessed with the big picture, Abe will be focused on the little picture. The mayor will be focused on the big picture but taking small steps. It's a spectrum study of psycho-environmental theories. That's the lesson. I guess you don't need to read it now that I've given away the lesson.

Onward to a sustainable 2010!


Just so no one should wonder why it's a tough market for writers right now I stumbled on a humor/ satire/ national lampoon type site
the site got me chuckling a few times. According to them, One of the 50 most loathsome people is YOU:

"#26. You

Charges: Based solely on Fox News and cartoon depictions of evil scientists, you think “Climategate” is a real controversy that somehow affects the truth of global warming. You think science is just another religion. You think Dan Brown writes nonfiction. You want the government to get its hands out of your Medicare. You think Dr. Oz can heal you with his palms. You believe in horoscopes. You bought a Snuggie. You’re suddenly outraged by government malfeasance because a black guy got elected, or you refuse to be outraged by government malfeasance, because you don’t want to come across as racist. You think Avatar was either the worst or best film ever and you have film chops to describe why, yet you know fuck all about how the real world works, because you’re too busy satiating yourself with junk food, internet porn and “reality” HDTV to care. It took a fucking Underwear Bomber for you to learn about Yemen. You’re proud of your ignorance and proud of that too. In other words, you suck, you know it, and your every word is a sad and futile attempt to deny it.
Exhibit A: Glenn Beck.
Sentence: Glenn Beck."

Admit it, it's funny...and they didn't mention Facebook or the other easy target, American Idol.
Anyway, this site, full of writing that's tighter, more topical, less self-absorbed, funnier and much less preachy, with good pictures and run by donations and affiliate loan banner ads. It probably loses money. The writers are all probably high school teachers who get paid $10 an article and the royalty check never arrives and they don't care. This is the reality of internet publishing. Great writing is basically given away free. And these posts of mine are not great writing. So, this is as good as it gets.

Seacoast on Blast writers should study the beast site closely as this is what you are aiming for.


The desert flower blooms with the crispness of a popcorn wrapper, dry to the touch but invested with the hidden love of an underground spring.

Full moons rise over the sage brush hills, saguaro cactus and palo d’arco, acacia in the wet valleys.

Tragedy is the song the desert bird sings, missed opportunities, abandoned plans in the rusting shell of a car that lost control on the highway.
Dust hangs in the air, on the avocado trees, beneath the dog’s paw.

The poet’s mouth is full of dust.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.