How to "Strike 'er Rich" Without Knowing Shit About Gold Mining
(HE made me do it!)
Yep. I'm gonna do it. I swore I wouldn't again but the demon inside me keeps prodding my aging ass with a pitchfork. So I'll ignore the downside potential of "defamation of character" legal threats (yes, I've received those in the past from certain attorneys) once again and spew my guts about certain reality television gold mining "stars." But since I'm closing down shop with Bedrock Dreams in a few months I'm throwing caution to the winds and taking my chances. That's just how I roll.
Of all the clueless numbskulls that ever traipsed down the gold mining pathway Todd Hoffman and his dad Jack have to take the cake. I haven't watched "Gold Rush" in a few years now but in its early seasons I was absolutely appalled by the lack of basic mining and prospecting knowledge displayed by Todd, Jack, and the Hoffman "crew" in general. I literally squirmed on the couch trying to restrain myself as this bunch of blind-leading-the-blind wannabes stumbled over one another trying to find good gold in Alaska, the Yukon, and South America. Sampling? Who needs that? How to prospect? What's prospecting? Gold under the waterfall? There ain't any you idiot!
It's a Given
Oh sure, once the Hoffmans moved up to the Yukon and were ensconced on proven gold ground and given big Tonka toys to play with they found gold and, at times, lots of it. Like I said before...you could take a monkey onto ground like that and that simian will turn up color somehow, someway. Or your aging Granny. Show her how to run a skip loader and feed a wash plant and it's a done deal. I still believe you could take Todd or Jack or any single member of the Hoffman crew and give them basic prospecting tools, dump them in a gold-bearing arroyo in the desert or along a small, high mountain stream and say "Now find some color," and they wouldn't be able to find their collectives asses with their own hands. They aren't small-scale gold prospectors or miners...that's a given. And as commercial miners or TV "stars"? Well, that depends on your point of view.
("What's that? A show about gold mining. I'm in!")
Strikin' 'er Rich!
But all this trash talk on my part is simply more pissing into the onrushing wind. You see, you don't have to know ANYTHING about gold mining to "strike 'er rich." Nope. Nada. Nothing at all. As of 2015 Todd Hoffman was paid $50,000 (USD) per episode and his nasal-whine-voiced dad Jack $25,000 per episode. Well hell's bells people! That means Todd makes a cool $500,000 per year (10 episodes of "Gold Rush") for stumbling over his own you-know-what and Jack makes a quarter million dollars for minding the gold mint behind closed tent flaps...does that fact ever make you wonder...just a bit? Some of the lesser entities on the Hoffman crew make anywhere from $25,000-$15,000 per episode (this comes from a very reliable source). It's two years since these figures were last quoted, so there's an outside chance these stumble bums are making more than that. Quien sabe? All for knowing diddly squat about mining and prospecting in the broader sense. By Golly, thar's gold in them thar hills! So let's all tap our hard hats together and make a show of praying to God for more gold.
("We got this Pops!")
Speaking of Hats
I may have called Todd and Jack Hoffman numbskulls but one thing I will never do is call them stupid when it comes to making money. They're the ones who "cooked up" the idea for the "Gold Rush" show and went door-to-door to TV production companies until the Discovery Channel said "Swell! Let's give it a try." You have to admire that sort of pluck...at least I do. Todd and Jack Hoffman may not know shit about gold mining (just think of their fiasco in South America) but as entrepreneurs they're priceless! And isn't that what it's all about? Turning a buck? Especially turning boo-coo bucks out of nothing but an idea...like a magician pulling a rabbit out of his top hat. Speaking of hats...mine's off to the Hoffmans for getting this job done. That takes smarts and it takes cojones too. Do I like them because of this fact? Hell no. And I never will...they aren't my sort of folks.
Not so Much...
Oh, did I mention that arrogant snot-nosed shit Parker Schnabel? I didn't? I know he's not part of the Hoffman crew but he deserves honorable mention here too since he also collects a cool half a million dollars per season of "Gold Rush." One thing I'll say about Parker is that he knows his mining. After all, he was taught by the best...Grandpa John Schnabel. Unlike his "my-shit-doesn't-stink" grandson who bullies and threatens his workers, Grandpa John was a true gentleman and a fine man. Not to mention being a terrific small-scale gold miner of the old breed. He was held in very high regard by many a TV viewer...his offspring and protege Parker? Not so much...
(Ever know an arrogant smart-ass that needed his attitude adjusted? Just askin'...)
Anyway, I'll sit back now and see if I get any "cease and desist" orders from the lawyers. Or not-so-thinly veiled threats of physical violence via e-mail from certain folks who feel I'm out here gunning for their TV heroes.
God forbid that should happen, right?
(c) Jim Rocha 2017
Questions? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org