Literally on a road in the middle of nowhere, New Mexico state highway 380 somewhere between Roswell and San Antonio, NM, sits the Blanchard Rock Shop and mineral store. In addition to offering guided tours to local mining sites the store sells trinitite.
Trinitite is a rare form of fused sand that was formed at the location of the first atomic bomb test known as Trinity, where a prototype plutonium 239 bomb called Fat Man exploded on the morning of July 16, 1945. This area, situated on the White Sands Missile Range, is actually open to visitors on the first Saturday of April and October every year. All the trinitite for sale to the public was removed from the test site before 1952. The green tinged glass sells for about $20 a gram and gives off low levels of alpha radiation, less than what a person would experience on a typical airline flight.
Additionally the proprietor informed me that a British movie had recently shot scenes on the highway in front of the store and that Colin Firth was a friendly person. The movie was Gambit, which stars Firth, Alan Rickman and Cameron Diaz. Gambit was written by the Coen Brothers and helmed by Michael Hoffman and is in fact a remake of a film by the same name that originally starred Michael Caine and Shirley MacLaine. Gambit comes out in the UK in November and is scheduled for a domestic release early next year.
The thing about Gambit is that the movie has a trick beginning, as opposed to a trick ending. The first and only time I saw the original Gambit was in 2000 at the Quentin Tarantino film festival in Austin (QT Quattro). Frankly I cannot wait to see the new version.
– Michael Bergeron