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Gooooold!

I may have mentioned the TV show Gold Fever on my blog before. If not, shame on me. It's broadcast on the Outdoor Channel, the same channel as the sublime Ted Nugent's Spirit of the Wild, and features prospecting enthusiast Tom Massie crawling through caves and tundra in search of that most alluring of elements: goooooold! (Which is, I swear, how Tom pronounces the word every time he says it.)

The show is unintentionally one of the funniest on TV. Tom's earnest, endless pursuit of gold is just about as amusing as watching Yosemite Sam chasing Bugs Bunny. I've seen Tom get lost in a cave, slip and split his pants, and fall into a creek, all the while talking 100 words per minute about gold and pitching $80 annual memberships in the Gold Prospectors Association of America (GPAA). In short, I've always pegged this guy as the good-natured, hyperactive fellow in high school who was a lot of fun to hang out with for a few hours, but a few ounces short of a pound, so to speak.

Turns out, Tom Massie is the Executive Vice President of the Outdoor Channel itself, a $40 million company. Tom and his comparatively surprisingly suave brother Perry - think of redneck versions of Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger from Twins - have owned and managed the company since the death of their father, Buzzard (no joke), in 1993, developing it into a minor media titan on the back of such shows as Shooting Gallery, Inside Paintball, and Turkey Country. So not only is Tom Massie a cornball, gold hunting machine, he's also a successful television executive in the dog-eat-dog world of cable television.

What is the moral to this story? Don't judge a GPAA book by it's cover? Scratch the surface of a ridiculous goofball and you may find gooooold? Do what you love and the gooooold will follow? I'll let you decide.

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I've discovered that the trick about quitting your job so that you'll have more time to work on your own projects (the "great American novel," a new boat, or -- as in my case -- a comic book) is that everyone that you know says, "hey, you don't have a job, why don't you come give me a hand doing >insert diversion task here< for little or no money. In my case, the activity of my social life is inversely proportional to my economic income.

On a very related note, I took to watching T.J. Hooker seasons 1 & 2 on DVD this week. Hooker represents the golden years (cue tv host Tom Massie: "GoooOOOOOoooold!") of Shatner television. The character of Hooker is somewhere between Dirty Harry and Joe Friday; a television recycling of the high-water points of previous TV cops into a confusing mess of ideology and practice. Hooker is a walking cliche: a "tough-as-nails" ex-soldier turned cop who left his cushy detective desk job to return to the mean streets of the unnamed "L.C." city as a beat cop with a rogue streak and a rookie partner. Confusingly, these beat cops spend more time solving major crimes (snipers, stalkers, gun runners, and other common television crime cases) than the plain-clothes detectives of the uncommonly mundane named "Academy Precinct." Shatner pulls it off with aplomb. If you've not seen it yet, get to it, cadet!

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To be continued...

 

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