Small New Mexico town, about 7000 people, situated on the west bank of the Rio Grande, a few hours north of Las Cruces and El Paso. The name is not, as one might expect, the by-product of an old cowboy legend, but actually taken from a radio quiz-show quite popular in the 50s. The host, Ralph Edwards, challenged one town in America to change its name to that of the show, and little Hot Springs, New Mexico accepted.

T or C, as the locals always call it, is quite the nexus of pure, distillate, old-fashioned American weirdness. Local landmarks include, to the west, White Sands Proving Ground, home of the Trinity Site, where the world's first atomic bomb was detonated, and to the south, the grounds of the proposed New Mexico Spaceport.

This is, perhaps the whackiest scheme ever to pump money into what is, admittedly, one of the most dirt-poor areas in America. Maybe I'm just a pessimist, but the idea of a commercial spaceport in my backyard any day now just wouldn't restore my faith in Democracy and The American Dream if I were a starving local dirt farmer.

When I visited T or C, I stayed in the local IAYH hostel, which turned out to be a vaguely post-apocalyptic set of ramshackle trailers on the banks of the Rio Grande, run by a likably insane acid casualty (more on him in a bit) and full of strange, cool people. The hostel featured free set of hot mineral baths every night, which served as a focus for the little impromptu community to meet every night and discuss the adventures of the day.

Lee, the guy who ran the place, had settled in New Mexico because he was a believer in Catastrophic Earth Changes. According to Lee, in twenty years most of the United States will be under a new ocean brought on by the Richter 10 earthquakes caused when the magnetic north pole shifts from north to south. Lee also believed that the CIA had developed mind-reading and remote viewing techniques that they were using to secretly control the country, but hey, how much weirder is than than Scientology, really?

Truth or Consequences, NM is also the name of Kiefer Sutherland movie, which I'm told is quite mediocre.

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