"Beholden to no Human Co**sucker": A New Gold Rush

ELLSWORTH: I tell you what -- I may have fucked my life up flatter'n hammered shit, but I stand before you today beholden to no human cocksucker and working a paying fucking gold claim.
Life imitates Deadwood.

Panning for gold is back in vogue, the New York Times reports. It's an odd little story -- half leisure, half business. Many of the self-styled prospectors profiled in the piece are clearly hobbyists having a bit of retro fun in their local creek beds and river washes.

My mom and granddad were active in the Port Moody Rock and Gem Society -- so I know how much fun it can be to go out into the wilderness and find pretty rocks. Sure, you can probably buy better specimens from a dealer for less than the gas money you'd spend getting out there, but that's beside the point.

The rock hounding hobby skews old, so our club had hundreds of years of combined amateur and professional geological experience. Nobody had any illusions about making money. In fact, the best way to piss off a rockhound who brings home a nice piece of jade or a fire opal is ask him how much it's worth.

According to the Times, there's a growing subculture that is approaching small-time gold panning as a source of income:

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