read the sign man... The dude needs food _ photo Royal Hopper

read the sign man… The dude needs food _ photo Royal Hopper

The Logic of being a Sinner in Sin City

by Royal Hopper 

A shirtless man holding a sign walks down a line of cars getting a dollar or two from some of them. He spots you to his left with your window down playing with the radio and the camera you sometimes bring with you to take photos of the neon jungle and saunters toward you.

He stands in the window as if expecting something and then says something to the effect of “ I want you to know I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t have a good reason. I wouldn’t be doing this if not for my Dad .and something about Prostate cancer.”

I suppose in retrospect I could have handled it better and said something like sorry dude I got nothing for you or suspended my usual Sin City cynicism and fished a buck out of my wallet for the dude.

But _ it had been a long week and I didn’t react well. I am as progressive as someone working the job I work in the city I do it in can be but as a rule I don’t allow strangers to stick their head in my window when I am driving home or anywhere else.

“Look _ “ I said putting on my best Vegas security guard voice err security officer voice I mean, I have no beef with you man,” my voice steady and firm from long practice, “but you need to get out my face.” I don’t remember if I cursed or not but the point was made.

A 7 foot tall can of beer graces the side of a busy highway near the Utah Nevada border Thursday _ Photo Royal Hopper

A 7 foot tall can of beer graces the side of a busy highway near the Utah Nevada border Thursday _ Photo Royal Hopper

“You are a wonderful guy,” he said sarcastically as the light changed and I drove away. Honestly the sarcasm should have bothered me more _ but it didn’t. The City does not suffer suckers lightly and I don’t like to be played. I don’t like people up in my face demanding things I had to work for.

When you live in the city you get used to desperate, bold people but living here doest make you like them anymore. One of the reasons I heavily favor government or at least government managed health care is because I know some of the people who ask for it do need it and they should get it without having to beg
Yes it is an unfair burden on Sinners like me to determine who is and who isn’t in need but that isn’t the point. . . To live in the City of Sin you have a mental wall up at all times _ you have to have that Sin City edge or you look like prey to the denizens who abound here .

Its not tragedy or comedy ..

Just because the shot perfect _ photo Royal Hopper

Just because the shot perfect _ photo Royal Hopper

It is life in the City of Sin baby

Take care Sinners including you shirtless panhandling dude _ even you

Daisy Lady moving on down the road _ Photo by Royal Hopper

Daisy Lady moving on down the road _ Photo by Royal Hopper

A bird in a tree at a Utah National Park _ Photo by Royal Hopper ...

A bird in a tree at a Utah National Park _ Photo by Royal Hopper …

a cloudy day in Utah. Sue me I like landscapes _ photo by Royal Hopper

a cloudy day in Utah. Sue me I like landscapes _ photo by Royal Hopper

The couple that wheels together _ Royal Hopper

The couple that wheels together _ Royal Hopper

Pool players and Fashionistas

By Royal Hopper 

A model, a fashion designer and a writer walk into a Vegas café and sit down by three pool players and hobo named Phil. It sounds like the beginning of a bad joke..but that really happened in the City of Sin this week.
In fact three things happened in the City of Sin last week. It rained. Hordes of style hungry fashionistas 50,000 strong (blows my mind too) traded in photo shoots and fashion shows for scalped tickets to the nations biggest showing of samples and designs. The City of Sin temporarily developed a real sense of style. (No I don’t believe it either but hey lets spin this the best we can huh.)

The sign says Hungry please help _ Royal Hopper

The sign says Hungry please help _ Royal Hopper

These fashion saavy drama queens competed with a horde of pool playing bar flies for drama and the right to show off in the City of Sin; and people talked as people will.

“My buddy got hustled by a prostitute,” went one piece of a conversation that abruptly got quiet as fellow tourists, passersby and native Sinners alike began to listen. It was a week of conventions and conversations in the City this week.

Try it sometime. Walk through a casino or just down “The Strip” when it’s busy and really listen to the pieces of conversation occurring around. You may be surprised at the blunt honesty of the content.

“There is a lot of this crap in Vegas..” went another
“I’m afraid of boots,” yet another Sinner said _ and no I didn’t ask.

For some reason when they come to the City of Sin people feel like they can tell complete strangers things they normally tell their friends after several free drinks.

“I just didn’t take the shot I didn’t follow through and drive it home,” said one plaintive Sinner who I presume was talking about making a difficult billiards shot.

The after shopping walk home _ Royal Hopper

The after shopping walk home _ Royal Hopper

Two cousins found each other in a City of Sin convention center after 30 years apart and stood in the lobby of a Sin City hotel catching up and waiting for the buzz of a day’s worth of cheap alcohol to wear off. They smiled and laughed and talked to strangers like old friends.

The City of Sin is the most human place in the USA. It is not nice or classy or filled with life lessons that will make you a better person anymore than any other place. It is what it is. Underneath the themed neon landscape, the blackjack tables and half naked burlesque is a cross section of human failing, human triumph and human nature. As I have often said this city does not create the demons that haunt us or the angels that lifts us up or anything else for that matter. That is not its nature. The demons and angels you have with you here are the ones you bring with you. It is a tough city that does not suffer fools lightly _ but The City of Sin is not a monster. It is us _ at our worst and best.work online shot
That is life in the City of Sin brother.
Take Care fellow Sinners.
Love you all

The actual joke goes something like _ A model, a fashion designer and a writer walk into a Vegas café and order a carrot, a vodka a bag of marijuana and a girl named Cherry Pie. I never did hear the punch line ..

Invisible Friends and aholes with cell phones

By Royal Hopper

You see them every day

Summer in the City of Sin _ Royal Hopper

Summer in the City of Sin _ Royal Hopper

in the city of sin. People who talk to invisible friends are every where. The man on the street talking to giant elephants named Henry or the invisible President of Venezuela who they are sure is there to take their magic beans or lucky playing cards. There are very respectable people who give names to slot machines and throw curses at them like a witch doctor.

We all look for Boogie men in everything we do. We try and make the things that vex us into some kind of powerful mysterious force of nature _ like the gambler who was caught unleashing a stream of curses at a slot machine and calling it by the name he had given it.

Everybody shops some time _ Royal Hopper

Everybody shops some time _ Royal Hopper

The demon Fredericka, as he dubbed the slot machine, was trying to take everything he had. It is not that he had a gambling problem and was spending his beer money on a machine designed to take his money. No, it is the machines fault. The machine is a demon. The flaw lies not in the monsters we create. It lies in us. It is just life in all its glorious imperfection.

It is kind of like the way people blame their cell phones for their being stupid self absorbed drama queens.
A man stands in the middle of the road eyes wide open one hand on his cell phone the other gesturing at the voice on the other end.

Then there are the aholes with cell phones

He looks right at the vehicle approaching him and leans in its direction as if the desire to see something down the road is more important than perhaps being hit by a 3 ton pick up truck.

walking in the city - Royal Hopper

walking in the city – Royal Hopper

Maybe he is a really dumb car jacker or someone attempting an insurance scam who has never tried crossing the street in the City of Sin or maybe he is just one of a growing Sin City class of annoying clueless pedestrians talking on their cell phones secure in their superhuman immunity as they cross into busy traffic in a city famous for being drunk, stoned crazy or just apathetic. Some of the walking Cell Phone Dead are definitely smooth operators so caught up in their schemes that they are clue less o the danger surrounding them.

Yet later in the week a man is screaming at someone on his cell phone so loud even the 260 pound body builder walking by cringed a little. The phone is dead. The person on the other end gave up talking some time ago _ but the angry man keeps screaming because _ I guess it seems right..

.. . . . . Later still a well dressed man stops in the middle of a cross walk so intent on continuing his conversation the cars sounding their horns as he blocks traffic do not phase him a bit.

Moonrise in the City of Sin early August - Royal Hopper

Moonrise in the City of Sin early August – Royal Hopper

We all are who we are. Technology and culture just gives us the opportunity to realize who we are..
An ahole with a cell phone is still an ahole. Life in the City of Sin is still life in the City of Sin.

Love You Sinners
Take Care

This City is one big backyard garden _ Royal Hopper

This City is one big backyard garden _ Royal Hopper

Getting gas in the City of Sin _ Royal Hopper

Getting gas in the City of Sin _ Royal Hopper

Everybody has a meeting in the City of Sin

by Royal Hopper 

Buddha Pest rampaged across the City of Sin this week, and Amina Acid and 315 Zombies were right behind them as hometown denizens of Sin City the aptly named Sin City Roller Girls prowled the hallways and asphalt byways of the City of Sin. Roller Con made its annual journey through the city Elvis, Bugsy, Big Bird and company.

Where the hell did I put that thing --Royal Hopper

Where the hell did I put that thing –Royal Hopper

About this time of year in the city of Sin the streets and hotels fill with costumed characters, multi colored Mohawks and skates as the Roller Derby spent the week in its natural home The City of Sin.

In case you havent figured it out yet Las Vegas is the place people go to let their freak flags fly, to wear red Mohawks and leather kilts and dress like psychopathic Cupie Dolls strolling through a casino arm in arm and this was the week for that kind of stuff.

People come to the City of Sin for all kinds of reason but one of the most common reasons is to hold a meeting of some kind.

Driving past an intersection on Tropicana on the daily commute I spotted one of the not so secret unofficial underpass meeting places of the city’s denizens.

They could have been a group of sign holders waiting for rush hour to garner donations or a group of commuters who found a place to meet or buy grass or talk about their favorite soaps. Whatever the case this group of concrete loungers had gathered in the dead space between the apartment/commercial zones on Tropicana and the fast food shopping jungle of the suburbs. They were lounging in the shade on the concrete a few feet from Sin City commuters hurried to or from work or errands on a hot summer day.

Even in Vegas - Royal Hopper

Even in Vegas – Royal Hopper

Tough pony tail football jersey chick sat next to seen his better days weird hat guy and across from them sat back pack guy and random down on his luck guy waiting for his next shift at the Mini Mart so he can afford a cheap apartment guy.
The minutes of the meeting were held with high fives and fist bumps as the traffic light turned green and observers went on their way.

Miles away in the safer confines of a local casino a similar meeting takes place with similar archetypes. This time the meeting takes place at a local bar inside the casino.. Tough pony tail guy calls the meeting to order with a bad joke, seen his better day guy puffs up at the punch line making the starched creases on his 40 year old company blazer stand up as he bristles at the joke, weird hat guy gestures with his hat, random down on his luck guy borrows a $20 for the waitress and waiting for his next shift guy realizes he is on vacation.

Vegas Baby - Royal Hopper

Vegas Baby – Royal Hopper

Everywhere you look in the City of Sin someone is having a meeting. Some meetings decide the fate of millions of dollars, some the distribution of left over weed and a random $20. Whatever the case it is always life in the City of Sin.

Take Care Sinners

A street side conversation  in the City of Sin _ Royal Hopper

A street side conversation in the City of Sin _ Royal Hopper

It’s not for the Money

By Royal Hopper

It is a typical week in the City of Sin. The sun was hot. The tourists plentiful and the weirdness all around.
As you drive down the sinful streets of Sin City you notice a considerably overweight man striding down the boulevard shirtless ..his purple and gold jogging pants hanging down well below his generous waistline showing off to public eyes what none of them want to see.

Mickie Ds in the afternoon in the City of Sin_ by Royal Hopper

Mickie Ds in the afternoon in the City of Sin_ by Royal Hopper

Later in the week a woman with wrapped up like a Bedouin stood outside a Las Vegas complex occasionally looking at her watch like an impatient commuter while an SUV with Arizona tags drove down the boulevard with a camera on a stick ..poking through the sun roof as publicity shy City of Sin Citizens (Sinners) suddenly began slowing down top avoid the camera.
Gangs of tattooed tough women filled the City of Sin in preparation for this years Sin City Roller Derby Tournament.. . . And then there was L.

Lets talk about Ella and the dream of peace and prosperity.

Picture a place where there was daily fighting between armies desperate to kill each other _ where finding bodies in pieces on the ground from the previous nights fighting was a routine thing.
That is the place in El Salvador, a woman I recently talked to in a Sin City hotel _ lets call her Ella _ ( not her name and not even close) said she grew up and the reason she came to the City of Sin.

Just because the light was perfect _ Royal Hopper

Just because the light was perfect _ Royal Hopper

L told me she remembers the way her grandfather, a colonel in the army of this far flung exotic land, looked and smelled in his uniform. He warned her to stay away because when the alarm sounded it meant the enemy was coming.

She never said what became of her grandfather but she made it to the US a her dream of working in a grand hotel in a land of relative peace.

Aside from keeping her daughter out of a local gang, a fight so intense it nearly cost her the custody of children. The trip to the City of Sin was worth all the heartache and trouble. She is proud to be an American and a Sinner ( Las Vegan) proud to work hard for the people who helped her stay here where the dream came true and where her children are living the American dream thanks to a hard working, fearless mother.

After listening to her story as she walked away I determined that Ella was the quintessential American dream or one of the best Bull Shi* artists. I have heard in a long time.

Standing a reading. The latest Sin City craze ??? by Royal Hopper

Standing a reading. The latest Sin City craze ??? by Royal Hopper

Either way she is a perfect for the City of Sin a city that welcomes survivors, drama queens and BS artists with equal facility.
Sometimes we herein the City of Sin forget how lucky most of us are. That’s life in the City of Sin.
Take Care Sinners
Love you all

Father and son shopping????by Royal Hopper

Father and son shopping????by Royal Hopper

There is an old saying that goes something like Vegas is where old acts go to die. There is something about the City of Sin that makes people relive their glory days and sometime makes them believe they are in the glory days. If you pay attention you see it everywhere. Performers made up with inches of make up, gamblers dressed in the clothes of their youth and tourists dancing to tunes that were old when 

Sunny afternoon in Vegas - Photo by Royal Hopper

Sunny afternoon in Vegas – Photo by Royal Hopper

Van Halen was a hot new So Cal Rock act.

The energy of drama and looking good in desert sun

By Royal Hopper

You see a man walking down the street with a broad brimmed straw hat, head bent down under the glare of the oppressive desert sun _ his colorful black and yellow Hawaiian shirt flapping in the blast furnace summer wind of southern Nevada.
The man’s back is bent perhaps from a lifetime spent on his feet and his cargo rigged shorts haven’t been “In” since 1987 or so. Walking is an effort. He is not homeless or desperate just one of the millions of Sin City denizens. The man, lets call him Hawaiian shirt guy, is tired and worn down. He has seen better days.

Walking down the road of life. There were better days - Royal Hopper

Walking down the road of life. There were better days – Royal Hopper

Most days Sinners (residents of Sin City living her by choice) like me would barely notice a guy like this as we make the daily commute to work but something about him on this oppressive summer day catches the eye of bystanders.

The man stops perhaps suddenly realizing people are watching raises his hand to look at his stylish watch and then looks around confirming that passersby are watching him.

He straightens up with some effort and begins walking picking up his pace as he steps onto a crosswalk at an intersection. You can almost hear the obsolete golden oldie dance tunes playing as Hawaiian shirt guy shaking his head and body to some half remembered tune from his glory days steps up the pace of his dancing walk.

If only for moment he looks years younger soaking in the momentary attention as he “Be-bops” down the sidewalk of a Sin City back road. The light changes. Commuters step on the gas and continue on their to or home from work. Pedestrians turn their heads back down the sidewalk and continue on their way.

Hawaiian Shirt guy slumps as he realizes the attention he put the show on for is gone. He takes a deep breath stands a little straighter and continues on his way. The brief moment in the sun has energized him. For a moment he is again that man who drew every eye in the room to him when he walked in and the memory has made his day.

Vegas baby - Royal Hopper

Vegas baby – Royal Hopper

Vegas is full of drama queens who live for the attention of their fellow Sinners, those that live vicariously through them and those that serve as the audience. Who just take it all in. Who drink in the sights and sounds of the neon jungle that is Sin City sigh and go to work every day in the City of Sin.

Ciao Sinners

Love you guys

discarded barbecue grill _ Royal Hopper

discarded barbecue grill _ Royal Hopper

Summer is here Sinners _ Royal Hopper

Summer is here Sinners _ Royal Hopper

The Liver is Evil or Noise Bright Lights and Nervous Dogs

By Royal Hopper

“The liver is evil,“ read the saying on the T-shirt of a man sitting at gaming table with a drink in his hand.. . .

“The liver is evil,” the T-shirt said. “It must be punished.”

You look like you need a hug Sinners. This guy did.._ Royal Hopper

You look like you need a hug Sinners. This guy did.._ Royal Hopper

Shortly after that a woman skipped across the floor of a local casino with a beer in each hand.

On the 4th of July People drank, gambled, swore and had rendezvous with people they did not know sometimes got into fights. In other words it was a lot like any weekend in the City of Sin. It was business as usual.

There is no city in world that has a more casual attitude to the juice of fermented fruit and grain as the City of Sin and no more fans louder about stating their love of the chemical known as ethanol.

I once had a conversation with a man who had a drink in each hand. He stepped up to me with an intense and questioning look on his face forming a question in his mind. As is proper in the modern customer service oriented business environment in the City of Sin I asked.. “My name is Royal. How can I help you?”

Remember this guy Sinners _ Royal Hopper

Remember this guy Sinners _ Royal Hopper

The man who was wearing an oddly mismatched collection of clothing including what I hope was his wife’s tiara and his sons cartoon T Shirt ( Big Bird I think) looked at me with an intensity difficult to describe.

“I.m sorry I didn’t catch your name,” I asked fully prepared for the classic junior high comeback ..”That’s because I didn’t throw it.”

Instead the man waved his finger a bit at me and then shook his head in triumph as if he had scored some big points in the debate he was certain we were having.

“I have to go. If there is something I can do just let me know. Have a good man ..good luck,” I said being as helpful as his limited conversation would allow.

“All right then,” he muttered shaking his head in triumph at the debate that had apparently occurred in his head. A few minutes later the man was seen a drink in each hand staring at another guest who looked over at me and shrugged.

I shrugged back and smiled in the universal Sin City sign language for “I don’t know.. . .tourist Bro’”

Sidewalk drama in the City of Sin--Sinners _ Royal Hopper

Sidewalk drama in the City of Sin–Sinners _ Royal Hopper

I have three dogs..One is called Reddy. Reddy hates holiday fireworks so much so much she jumped in the shower while it was running to escape the noise she hates and fears.

She is a lovable, slightly neurotic Emo red head mess. Because she has a circle of black fur around her eyes we call her our little Goth Dog. Every noise _ every stranger makes her bark and when the firework for this July 4th. She actually jumped in the shower when it was running as my wife was showering before work She refused to lave the safety of the shower. Kuma is a dopy, happy American Bull Dog we saved from a local shelter. She is afraid of nothing and utterly clueless about the dangers around her.

In the dog world Kuma is the winner because she is too clueless to be worried. Reddy is adorable and loving pet but she is a mess in the dog world. In the City of Sin Reddy is a survivor because she notices everything and warns it away.

A Sinners takes a walk _ Royal Hopper

A Sinners takes a walk _ Royal Hopper

In a way July 4 is the perfect holiday for the City of Sin. Bright colors loud noises and lots of alcohol. Now that this year’s Fourth is fading from the alcohol laden minds of a City known for its short memory. Not a damn thing has changed.

It just life in the City of Sin Bro’ every day
I hope you had a glorious or serene July 4th whatever suits your inner Sin,,,,, Sinner.

Take care Sinners

The City of Sin on a summers day _ Royal Hopper

The City of Sin on a summers day _ Royal Hopper