Saturday, April 21, 2012

Faux city in the City of the Crosses? And a tale of two Pegasus Corporations

Note: It turns out there are two Pegasus groups: There’s Pegasus-Global Holdings Inc. at, which is based in Washington state, and Pegasus Global Holdings (no hypen) at, which is based in Washington, D.C.
According to two sources who have contacted me, there is no connection between the two group. The websites and background of both make interesting reading for those interested in corporate future planning and impacts on all of us.

By S. Derrickson Moore
LAS CRUCES — There’s a feeling of unreality about it, in more ways than one.
A faux city in the desert, built by a corporation named for a flying horse ...
As I’m writing this, we still haven’t heard whether Las Cruces or Hobbs will be the location of the $1 billion Center for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation (CITE), a project of Pegasus Global Holdings.
What would you like to see in a model city, a testing ground for the best civilization can muster?
Sparta or Athenia? A new Jerusalem?
It can challenge the imagination, even for Baby Boomers who have been encouraged to grow up thinking far beyond our own time frame, with visions of everything from Disney’s Epcot and the Jetsons to Star Wars and Star Trek. And today’s kids, who are used to creating their own virtual realities — including cities — online.
I decided to start with an online search for Pegasus Global Holdings, and see what they’ve been up to.
I couldn’t resist a little side trip. The original winged horse Pegasus, according to the Greek myth, was the offspring of Poseidon, god of the sea, and Medusa, she of the writhing snake hair and the gorgon gaze that could turn those who made eye contact to stone. When Perseus, teamed with Athena and Hermes, killed Medusa by cutting off her head, Pegasus (and a brother, a giant named Chrysaor) sprung from her decapitated, pregnant body. (You’d have to expect a large and crazy gene pool from the jefe of the oceans, the largest ponds on the planet.) Pegasus went on to help defeat the monster Chimera, before becoming a star, or rather, lots of stars ... a whole constellation, in fact.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch and reality, there’s some intriguing but confusing info when you go searching for the website of the flying horsie’s namesake. There’s Pegasus-Global Holdings Inc. at, which is based in Washington State, and Pegasus Global Holdings (no hypen) at, which is based in Washington, D.C.
Pegagus with a hypen identifies itself as “advisors to the energy and infrastructure industries” and their clients range from British Petroleum to “24 Washington State (Indian) tribes.” They have offices in Cle Elum, Wash., near Seattle, and in Melbourne, Australia.
Pegasus without the hypen touts their “demonstrated ability to offer diverse product offerings to commercial and defense clients around the world, whilst remaining in compliance with all national laws and regulations pertaining to controls of sensitive technologies” and states that the group is “a recognized leader in telecommunications in North America and Europe. Pegasus is also a U.S. Government authorized prime vendor and manufacturer of defense equipment and technologies. Pegasus has a proven track record as experts in commercializing military technologies for the global marketplace – in strict compliance with national laws and regulations pertaining to export controls – and the militarizing of global commercial technologies.”
CITE, they state, “will resemble a mid-sized American city, including urban canyons, suburban neighborhoods, rural communities and distant localities. It will offer the only of its kind opportunity to replicate the real-world challenges of upgrading existing city infrastructure to that of a 21st Century smart city, operating within a green economy.”
I like the concept of thinking ahead, and learning from results (sometimes also known as “mistakes,” or, in the case of things like the big oil spills and Chernobyl and Fukushima, “major disasters,” that will impact future generations).
I hope we’ll think ahead, too, and consider future consequences when inquiring about what will be tested and how, and when thinking about environmental, as well as the ultimate economic and other impacts of building a faux city near the City of the Crosses.
S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at; (575) 541-5450. To share comments, go to and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style. Follow her on Twitter @DerricksonMoore.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

NMSU gets its ‘Shine On’

By S. Derrickson Moore
LAS CRUCES — Ever wonder what would happen if a bunch of scientists and artists decided to get together and put on a show?
I did, as I meandered over to the Las Cruces Convention Center to see the New Mexico State University College of Arts and Sciences’ second “Shine On” fundraiser.
It was quickly obvious that it helps if the “kids” putting on the show have the right cast and production crew.
In this case, that included a sophisticated multimedia and animation crew from Creative Media Institute, a Tony Award-winning playwright and some talented current and former faculty members and students. And those with charisma and star quality ranged far beyond the expected theatrical departments to math, philosophy, education and administration.
And history — those who have seen Jon Hunner’s programs and contributions to town and gown cooperative projects like recent centennial programs realize he knows many ways to make history entertaining. But who knew he could juggle?
There was no surprise in the entertainment chops of Mark Medoff, who, besides that Tony, has also garnered many film awards over the years, including an Academy Award nomination. But it was amazing to see him, in his seventh decade, deliver such athletic tap dances and suave gymnastics, as the ivory tower he perched on morphed into a collage of components of academia.
“This is my first time as a cartoon character,” he noted, as the impressive animation skills of CMI students and faculty were showcased on a giant screen behind him.
NMSU alum Sgt. Mike Cano, a member of the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, the official fanfare ensemble for the President of the United States, was a star of the evening. The talent that has saluted presidents and world leaders at the White House added drama and gravitas to everything from dessert delivery to a documentary series of videos. Offering their views on what Medoff described as “compelling questions about teaching, learning and life in general,” were an eclectic mix of great minds that featured deans, department heads, faculty members and NMSU-grads-who-made-good, including witty and always intellectually agile J. Paul Taylor and our own erstwhile El Paso Times editor and Las Cruces Sun-News editorial writer, Barbara Funkhouser.
“Shine On” could be considered a kind of company picnic for members of the NMSU College of Arts and Sciences, and their friends, family and community supporters. (Officially, the event is a benefit for the college’s Dean’s Fund for Excellence, which provides grants to students and faculty members).
But this was a “picnic” eight months in the planning, with a cast that I suspect involved hundreds, at least.
Instead of classic events like egg tosses and three-legged races, we were treated to multi-screen and stage productions that combined slide shows with bios of illustrious alumni, the aforementioned animation shorts and documentaries, plus pop-up Socratic dialogues, as spotlights highlighted speakers at tables throughout the convention center ballroom. It was all interspersed with some live-action feeds. I never quite figured out the technology, but figures periodically disappeared behind a screen in the corner — and appeared in Great and Powerful Oz-like proportions on a giant screen.
The impressive performances included a star-is-born turn, a recitation of all the components of the NMSU College of Arts and Sciences by young Grace Marks, identified only as “Class of 2024, major unknown,” but clearly known within the university family as the granddaughter of Stephanie and Mark Medoff.
And we know it is a family. Those of us who have spent large chunks of our lives laboring in the groves of academe ourselves and/or supporting love ones who toil there still, know that all families have their dramas. Sibling rivalries. Feuds and grudges. New heirs appearing to grapple over legacies and family fortunes, progress and traditions.
But if you can inspire the “family” with a project, a reminder of common goals, it’s amazing what we can produce: generation after generation of inquiring minds, accomplished professionals, new frontiers, builders and preservers of civilizations.
And it’s great when families come together to create a showcase that shines a light on where we came from, why we’re here, where we’re going.
Hmm. Could we take “Shine On” to Washington, D.C., for a revival production by the U.S. Congress?

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at (575) 541-5450. Follow her on Twitter @DerricksonMoore.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

‘Smokers have no conscience’

By S. Derrickson Moore
LAS CRUCES — It was a bad day.
I couldn’t decide whether it was allergies, the onset of a migraine or if I was coming down with a respiratory malady that had felled most of the newsroom.
All of the above ailments have something in common: All are aggravated by cigarette smoke.
And smoke seemed to be unavoidable that day. It started in my driveway, where smoking passersby had deposited a pile of cigarette butts.
I was stuck in traffic behind a truck with two cigar smokers, both of whom had their windows down. At stoplights, fumes and ashes drifted toward my windshield.
At work, both exits were surrounded and I couldn’t go in or out either door without suffering blasts of smoke. Instead of dissipating it, spring breezes conspired to deliver whirlwind blasts of smoke from smokers outside offices on both sides of me.
I was feeling worse by the minute. What could be better than a workout and a salad from my organic market, right? Wrong.
The dressing room at the health club reeked of cigarette smoke. Could someone have been audacious enough to sneak a smoke there, or had the smell permeated her clothing and towels? I made it through my laps and ran the gauntlet of smokers outside the health club. (Work out and stoke up, you guys? Really?)
As it happens, the back entrance to my market is right across the parking lot. There was no way I could get to the market without navigating an alley filled with employees from the health food market, all — you guessed it — puffing up a storm out back.
As my respiratory passages swelled and closed down and my migraine went from a threat to a promise of hours of misery, I pondered whether karma was at work.
I, too, once smoked, in my late teens and early 20s. Recent studies have revealed that I may have been an unwilling “smoker” for my first 18 years, too. My mom and dad each smoked several packs a day, so my involuntary secondhand smoke intake dated back to the womb.
“Smokers have no conscience,” my spiritual mentor Tenny Hale once told me.
It was my ashamed realization that she was right, along with my then-small son’s allergies and the coughs and complaints of the nonsmokers in our smoke-filled newsroom, that prompted my decision to quit, back in the days when cigarettes cost less for a carton than people now pay for a pack.
That was before the warning labels, the definitive medical studies, the advertising bans and the prohibitive laws. But when I consulted my finally-smoke-free conscience, I knew I’d always known that smoking was bad for me and those around me.
And so had my parents, even though they had grown up in an era when the “health benefits” of smoking were actually touted in ads, and my pipe-smoking physician grandfather had lots of company at medical conventions.
I knew they knew, because they always looked guilty when we three kids begged them not to smoke in the car during long drives, because they pleaded with us never to take up the “habit” ourselves, and seemed heartbroken when two of their kids became smokers. That’s how I felt when I realized the son who inspired me to quit had become a smoker himself.
Now I have become the kind of nag I hated when I was a smoker. Nicotine is one of the deadliest and most addictive drugs ever to lure and enslave humanity. And it’s a drug that can effectively sicken and poison those who don’t use it, too.
That’s why you’ll hear usually laissez-faire, liberal me pushing for more anti-smoking laws and regulations and for enforcement of those we have. (Have you ever known anyone who was actually punished for smoking when or where he shouldn’t?)
And that’s why I’ll keep nagging.
It’s true that I don’t want to develop immediate and long-term health problems because of secondhand smoke.
But it’s also true that I care about you and don’t want to see you and your kids suffer and miss you when you die, decades before your time, as my parents did.
If you’re thinking about starting or resuming smoking, please don’t. And if you smoke, set a date to quit now.
Some generation must finally end this addiction that maims and kills not only ourselves, but also innocent strangers and those we love the most. Whatever it takes, let this be the generation that calls it quits for good.

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at; (575) 541-5450. To share comments, go to and click on Blogzone and Las Cruces Style. Follow her on Twitter @DerricksonMoore

2012: The year of the beige spring

By S. Derrickson Moore
LAS CRUCES — After a few sprinkles and windblasts, we see polka-dotted cars and trucks all over town. I used to think of dusty dots as a sure-fire sign of spring of Las Cruces, but these days I’m not so sure.
Newcomers ask me when we can count on the spring windstorms ending and I have to answer, “¿Quien Sabe?”
Though those blustery Doña Anas are most common during spring and fall transitions, the windstorms can come during any dramatic weather change.
Banks of yellow wildflowers that usually ornament vacant lots and roadsides are M.I.A. this year — I’ve seen just one scrawny stunted patch of feeble gold.
By late March, I heard reports of hummingbirds arriving in Las Cruces and rushed to set up feeders, because the flowery pickings are slim this year for early arrivals.
I’ve come to think of February as the beginning of springtime in Southern New Mexico, when willows in my ’hood start to sprout green shoots. And those fabled darling buds of May in other climes usually show up by Valentine’s Day here.
Not this year, when tender green hues were late to show, or were obscured by all the dead foliage from two years of hard and longer-than-usual freezes.
Beige is not a good color for our beloved lapis-blue skies, but it does carry out a monochromic theme for spring this year, matching our dusty brown palm fronds, faded pines and bushes, the parched beds of the Rio no-longer-so-Grande and the scorched remains of what was once Burn Lake.
Just six years ago, we thrilled to lush emerald hills from here to Santa Fe and the deserts became seas of wildflowers. (Though it was far from a pleasant season for those who lived through floods in Hatch and Ruidoso, the dark side of the greening of our territory.)
The Land of Enchantment has always had interesting and colorful weather, as long as I’ve been here. And, I suspect, all through its colorful history or dramatic earth changes. The signs are etched on the land. Volcanic scars remain from the Jemez/Valles Caldera and Picacho Peak to the City of Rocks, an ancient organic Stonehenge, formed, if we can believe the park placards, by long distance lava projectile blasts, sculpted by the sandstorms of time. Chaco, Gila and Bandelier ruins show that climate change can resculpt civilizations, too.
Once, I maintained that calling the seasons was easier in the land of my birth, Michigan. Purple and gold crocus peeking though the snow drifts, giving way, finally, to cascades of wild flowers and flurries of apple and cherry blossoms in bloom.
But this year, we were having lingering freezes and snowstorms when nary a flake was falling in my native land. A few weeks ago, when I was complaining about frenetic temperature drops from the 80s to the 40s, my Midwestern loved ones were basking in record balmy temperatures.
I grew up listening to my nature-loving elders bemoaning the pollution that had sullied the air and the waters of our spring-fed lakes and rivers and decimated the wildlife of the Wolverine State. (And we sadly noted that Michigan’s official mascot was an animal not seen there since last confirmed sightings by fur traders in the late 1700s and early 1800s.)
But in 2004, wildlife biologist Arnie Karr took a surprising photograph, about 90 miles north of Detroit, of a member of the weasel family that tops the scale at just 25 pounds but is ferocious enough to fight off bears and wolves. You guessed it: a wolverine.
Internet chatter has since reported the animal’s demise and speculated that it may have been an escaped or imported creature.
But I’d like to think my old state’s namesake is restaking a claim.
And that our own beige spring, as it fast-forwards into instant summer, will somehow have a brighter side; that we, the most dangerous and destructive creatures ever to hit this planet, will wake up to what the Hopi prophets called “Koyaanisqatsi” (life out of balance) and find equilibrium.

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at (575) 541-5450. Follow her on Twitter @DerricksonMoore.