Thursday, May 1, 2008

Welcome to the Las Cruces Dust Think Tank

By S. Derrickson Moore
Sun-News reporter
Copyright 2008 S. Derrickson Moore
LAS CRUCES — I’d like to announce the formation of the Las Cruces Dust Think Tank.
It all started when I was writing about the 2008 Spring Showcase of Homes, which should have generated a desire to hit the big time by selling publication and movie rights for the two manuscripts gathering dust in my home office closet, so I could afford one of those killer casas.
But instead, I found myself longing to retreat to my modest little adobe abode and get rid of more stuff. I’m in a Zen, minimalist phase that’s growing as fast as things accumulate. With the exception of the occasional irresistible piece of art, lately, I’m happiest when I’m giving stuff away.
I know most spiritual traditions teach us that the goal is to be without desire. Every time I dust and clean all the stuff I once desired, I feel closer to those ethereal ideals.
But I don’t want to get too lofty, since Madonna and I are still material girls, living in a material world.
So recently, I spent some time brainstorming about material goodies that I could still work up some enthusiasm about.
I find that mostly, I long for things that would make life easier, most of which exist only in my dreams, or the imaginations of people like Gene Rodenberry, creator of “Star Trek.”
When I was trying to book air flights for my summer vacation, for instance, I realized what I really want is access to the teleportation devices that were everyday appliances for Captains James Kirk and Jean-Luc Picard.
And speaking of transportation, I have some ideas about what I’d like to have in my garage. And I’m not talking hybrids or vehicles powered by ethanol, hydrogen or even water, which may soon become more precious than gas, the way things are going.
Nope. I want a car that runs entirely on wind or solar energy. Or how about both? No matter what global climate changes lurk, it seems likely that we’ll always have an adequate supply of sun and gusty blasts here in high desert country.
I have some artistic goals for my vehicles, too. I was looking at a Santa Clara Pueblo pot the other day and thinking how nice those matte and shiny black-on-black designs would look on the right car. Or how about an auto paint job inspired by wonderful white, black and brown Mimbres, Hopi or Acoma pottery? With no energy costs to worry about, I would think there would be a lot of latitude with auto design, too. Why not cars in the shapes of pueblo pottery?
And speaking of designs, I’m tired of waiting for Ralph Lauren to come up with this, so I might as well share my concept with the world. I want real art on my sheets, pillowcases, comforters and other household linens. How about some of those pueblo pottery designs and Mexican talavera motifs to match my tiles, dishes and pottery? C’mon designers, get with it.
And if I must go back to acquiring stuff, I would like better stuff to maintain it, please.
I want a self-cleaning indoor pool.
And that little round Roomba vacuum is a start, but what I really want is a dusting robot that climbs shelves and is able to leap to the tops of ceiling fans in a single bound.
I want a year-round heating and cooling system that keeps everything at my preferred temperature without seasonal change-outs or irritating and wasteful water run-off problems. I know, I know: Such systems probably already exist. I want to be able to afford them, and come to think of it, they should also be solar- and wind-powered, okay?
I’ve watched “Star Trek’s” counselor Deanna Troy order hot fudge sundaes in her starship food replicator, but I’m not sure about that. I think I’d rather have a system (again, wind- and solar-powered, please) that will grow organic fruits, grains and veggies in a pretty little patio garden, maybe with a robotic component that will then harvest, make it all into salads and casseroles, and serve or freeze everything for me.
And let’s contemplate some truly down-to-earth goals. I think I’d like to become the George Washington Carver of dust. GWC, you may recall, was the genius scientist who developed over 145 products based on the peanut. I just did a little online research and discovered he is also credited with creating 60 products based on the pecan, and managed to develop about 100 products from the sweet potato and (this shows my dust aspirations are within the realm of possibility); he created a “brilliant” blue and several other dyes from clay soils in Alabama.
Clearly, the world could use a dust genius about now, especially since it’s one commodity that the world in general, and southern New Mexico in particular, has in opulent abundance. And think of all the kinds of dust we can boast: Rio Grande River bed dust, mountain dust, prairie dust, defunct mine dust, cave dust, pecan dust, spicy chile-enhanced dust, Spaceport dust, vintage radioactive dust from the Trinity Site, and even, coming around to an earlier theme, pueblo pottery dust, some of it from prehistoric shards.
Hailing as I do from Mt. St. Helens country, I’ll start off the list with household cleaners, and exfoliating cosmetics based on volcanic dust (remember where pumice stones come from).
If you are tempted to scoff, keep in mind that silicone and dust are pretty close cousins. In fact, silicon dust could be the future of microtechnology. We could become the Dust Valley center, economic hope of the new millennium. And what could be more in tune with the timeless natural order of things? Ashes to ashes, after all, and dust to dust.
Now, let’s get our Dust Valley Think Tank going. Class of 2008, I have a theme song for you: “Dust In the Wind.” I think there may be the ultimate power source in there somewhere. Work on it and get back to me.
S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at

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