If you’ve watched the pilot episode or checked out the Web site, you already know a little about Mineral Explorers’ host, Thomas Nagin. A successful mineral dealer, he created the concept for the show to answer the many questions people have about his profession. Below, he shares a few things you probably didn’t know.
1. I’m a pescetarian.
It’s not as weird as it sounds. I’m a vegetarian but I eat fish. Once, while visiting a remote mine in Bolivia, we went to the only restaurant that was open. It was late at night and we hadn’t eaten all day. They were serving only one dish – Caldo (soup). We ordered it and, to my dismay, the only thing in it was a goat’s foot – hoof, hair, and all. Needless to say, I went hungry that night.
2. I like to drive fast.
Sometimes it scares my passengers. But after years of driving in foreign countries with few traffic laws, I’ve learned to drive like the locals.
3. My stage name is King Brillo.
In high school, I was a singer in a soul band, King Brillo and the Beaver Patrol. We were together for a couple of years and played house parties and school dances. Our guitarist came up with the name because I had a lot of short, curly hair at the time, which he said looked like a Brillo pad. He thought it would be a good name for a soul singer.
4. Quartz is my favorite mineral.
It’s the reason I moved to Arkansas in the mid-1970s. Some of the world’s best quartz crystals are found there. I have since expanded my business to include minerals of all kinds, and from all corners of the earth, but quartz will always hold a special place in my heart.
5. Spanish was my worst subject in high school.
Now I speak fluent Spanish and some Portuguese – the result of 35 years of traveling to South America for minerals. I even think and dream in Spanish sometimes.
6. I’m scared of heights.
And I guess I’m going to have to get over that. We’ve got a full season of episodes planned with visits to mines all around the world. In several of these locations, I will have to repel down quarry walls and into vertical tunnels. Whew, is it warm in here?
7. I love napping in hammocks.
I have four or five hammocks hanging around the house – in the living room and bedroom. The most comfortable hammocks in the world, I think, are made in the Yucatan Peninsula. That’s where I got hooked on them.
8. I tied Bobby Fischer in chess.
When I was a teenager, I participated in an exhibition match in Washington D.C. , where Bobby Fischer, who is considered one of the greatest chess players of all time, was playing about 50 opponents simultaneously. I was one of only two who tied him.
9. I have a miniature donkey named Hopi.
I live fairly isolated in the country, surrounded by a national forest. I also have horses, dogs, cats, and chickens.
10. Little Richard loves me.
Well, maybe “love” is a strong word, but he did kiss me on the lips once. I was managing a rock band and they were his opening act for a show out in California. He grabbed me backstage and planted one on me. I was so surprised and embarrassed, I turned totally red.