guy on a bike.JPG

Everything is for sale

By Royal Hopper
“Baby Sale,” says the sign on the side of the road way as you drive down the road in the Sin City suburbs toward the distant neon jungle on your daily commute to pay the mortgage. We all need cash to live and to do things and own things.


A view of the London Bridge from a restaurant near Lake Havasu _ Royal Hopper

“OMG they are selling babies!!!… So it’s come to the selling babies,” you mutter quietly snickering under the cover of the loud dark metal blasting from your car stereo confident the heavy metal din will cloak the vision of you talking to yourself and laughing snickering at your own joke from other motorists and pedestrians.
It is kind of like the political process in this country. Everybody is selling something in an election and everybody is looking to buy something either with their votes or their donations. Some peddle anger and resentment hoping to buy your loyalty with populist performance art everybody knows is an illusion. Some peddle steadiness and fear of the very resentment that empowers the other salesman and in the end you buy the product that is least dangerous. The lesser of evils or the lesser of cons.DSCF0954.JPG
In politics some want to buy a voice with their votes. They want a fellow traveler,  a stern father _  a tough guy to fall in line behind and who will beat up the bad guys who are so different from us. Take us back to the good old days whether they existed or not.
Other voters seek to buy a flawed but enlightened and equally stern grandmother who will protect them from the bullies they see lined up on the other side and make the bullies play fair.DSCF0913.JPG
In much the same way Politics sells myth casinos sell the Vegas illusion _ the Vegas myth _ the opportunity to indulge your inner hedonist _ the inner child who doesn’t have responsibilities or bills to pay. Many, many times I have seen young healthy people get run out of hotel stairwells where they were sleeping because they didn’t have any more money left for a room.
To paraphrase an old adage you pays your price and you takes your chances.


They are selling estates. What next _ Royal Hopper

In politics and life you buy with your votes and sell with your support but the choice doesn’t own you unless you let it. Raise your voice to the salesmen and their supporters. Use your brain _ educate yourself. People will study like madmen to discover the kind of car they want to buy. They will spend days on end scrolling through hours of critiques and testimonials and technical articles before buying a car but will not spend one day looking past the sales material peddled by salesman in politics, society and life.


Under London Bridge from last weekend’s trip. That is not us in the water _ Royal Hopper

In this city ..nearly everything is for sale. If you have a poison it is here somewhere.
But things do not own you and neither do people. You own you.


A bird on the shore _ Royal Hopper

You buy and sell like always _ like you have to _ It is a part of life..but it_  the selling and buying _ the process doesn’t own it doesn’t own your decisions or life you unless you let it…

That is not a fairy tale .. It is life in the City of Sin because us Sinners understand that everybody is in it for something. Take Care Sinners. Love You guys


These motorcycle enthusiasts poured into the City of Sin last week for events held on the outskirts of the city. Admire the Rebel … Despise the Idiot _ Royal Hopper

You Admire the Rebel and Despise the Idiot at the Same time

 by Royal Hopper

On your way to work in the City of Sin you spy an idiot with no shirt hot dogging a motorbike down a busy commuter roadway in your city— The City of Sin.


Just two guys walking _ Royal Hopper

Suddenly the riders guns the bikes engine and raises its nose in the air balancing the steel and plastic two-wheeled death rocket  on its rear tire and standing on the seat as it roared down the Sin City byway surrounded by vehicles that outweighed it by 2,000 pounds.
Now your first thought and don’t deny it something like this …”What an idiot.. I hope he crashes and scatters his organs all over the road.” You know its true. He is kind of like the pigeon your 80 pound American Bull dog almost ate and you almost stepped on because he was bathing in a puddle of run off near your suburban home. That pigeon was just not going to move and part of your admired him for it.


Two people talking on the street _ Royal Hopper

In this city all bike riders are potential organ donors and the genius hot wheeling his crotch rocket down your road is trying desperately to reach that lofty plateau early in life.  But as you grimace at the daredevil goosing his built for speed Japanese crotch rocket into a death defying wheelie and standing on his seat…There is also part of you that admires him and you know it…
Even as you utter curses under your breath at this adrenaline junkie’s antics ,,, a small part of the fearless adventurer buried deep in your psyche admires the bravery and even the cluelessness it takes to do such a thing.


A guy holding a sign “Baby” _ Royal Hopper

“Oh to be , brave enough and stupid enough and clueless enough of consequences to do such a thing. Even as you wish for his demise ..part of you wishes to stop your daily commute long enough to sheer on this clueless tempter of danger ,,,to feel that happily clueless that fearless and that unafraid of consequences.
Part of you hates him for his display and you know it. Part of you admires him for it and you know it….
Up ahead the light changes to green before you arrive and you depress the gas pedal to get through the light on your way to pay the mortgage. You roll your eyes, sigh heavily, grimace again and curse idiot as you roll through the traffic light and the daredevil disappears into the sandy, hot jungle of suburban Las Vegas and as he passes out of sight your inner adventurer smiles a little and wishes him well.


For my daughter _ Royal Hopper

He is kind of like the pigeon you almost stepped on and kind of like you were so many years ago when you remember being goaded into jumping a ditch on your Schwin so many years ago and how stupid you felt as you flew through the air and how wonderful it felt when you hit the ground.
Its not a fairy tale. It is just life in the City of Sin.
Love You Sinners


A guy walking _ Royal Hopper


To Walk and Chew Gum: The Sin City Dilemma

By Royal Hopper
Instead of the usual story telling and observations I would like to make a statement about something very relevant tp modern life. With all that has happened in this country …_ in Tulsa …in Charleston _ It is important to say that things. In all things it is possible to walk and chew gum at the same time to see all sides of an issue or a grapefruit.

Even in the fall. The sun here causes a terrible glare _ Royal Hopper

Think about it
You can for instance have a love/hate relationship with the City of Sin. It is possible to know that people need a place where they can cut lose and understand the destructive effect of gambling and alcohol. You can see the all the house notes and car notes the jobs it generates pay and the trail of ruined lives it sometimes leaves.
After more than 16 total years in the City of Sin seeing a man dressed like a woman or seeing two men or two women holding hands doesn’t give me the slightest pause. I am much more open minded because of living in this city _ but I’m also much more cynical and have perfected my “I’m a local leave me be,” glare _ the one that keeps  charity seekers and sign holders are bay. The one I give when I know someone is going to have to leave my casino and that there can be no debate about it.


Out for a walk _ Royal Hopper

I have rediscovered my love of Heavy Metal and Rock and Roll again and learned to let others be in their choice of music. Listen to what you like ..what moves your heart is my motto.
You learn them both in this city _  the glare and the open mind.. They are survival traits here.
As a casino security officer and small town police beat reporter. I have met many worthy men and women who wore the blue and kaki of law enforcement and also reported on questionable activities they have indulged in. I understand that as a rule they are honorable people who do a difficult, thankless job. I also know that when those 10 percent who are bad apples do something wrong it is serious business.


This is one from last week. I thought it bore repeating _ Royal Hopper

It is possible to see that at times it is only the dark reputation of the keepers of order that keeps this town from falling into chaos and to see that all power corrupts and must sometimes be checked. I can tell you from personal experience that it was only the movie of the week inspired possibility that they would be bounced off a wall on the way to the door that keeps order in our casino.


The City of Sin

Think about it
It is possible to be sad when a good cop looses their life in the line of duty and to be outraged when someone dies in police custody who shouldn’t have… You can do it.. I can and have mourned the loss of a brave order keeper and been outraged by the lives lost when they shouldn’t be ….
Think about it when you are inspecting a fruit for purchase you don’t just look at one side or even two.. You look at the entire fruit for flaws and virtues…
That is what life in the City of Sin Teaches you
Take Care Sinners

The very moment you step outside the doors of your house in this city you make a decision, followed by another decision followed by another. They chart the path of your day and either way you turn there is an exiting wrong decision to be made and a boring right one.


There is nothing like jamming to your favorite tunes when your holding a sign on a street corner _ Photo by Royal Hopper

Do I rage or do I stow

by Royal Hopper

You are preparing to change lanes in your 13-year-old burgundy truck and out of the corner of your eye you spot another truck a shiny gray one heading for your right rear bumper.
Impatient and younger, with all that implies, the gray truck hit the gas as you begin to change lanes and speeds around you to the exact spot you were headed toward.


Someone’ a little dyslexic maybe _ Royal Hopper

Horns blare steering wheels are jerked and the combined 6 tons of Detroit steel miss each other by inches probably by less than the length of the average man’s   errr foot ..yeah that’s it foot. The traffic light ahead catches both trucks and they both have to stop.
The next few moments are tense _ a potential road rage incident as both drivers stare at each other through the dark green tint of their tired old for wheeled work trucks _ each seeing only an outline of the other and each grabbing the steering wheel of your truck trying to make a decision.


A street corner conversation in the City of Sin _ Photo by Royal Hopper

It is Monday and you are just not in the mood.  .. Do you sit there in impotent rage and let the SOB drive on… Do you ease up on the trucks brakes and let it surge forward and tilt the wheel so it angles toward the other guy do you throw a rock at him ????
It is Monday and you drive to the entrance of your subdivision/ complex or whatever and stop for a second. Really not eager to drive where you are going.
Do you drive the most direct way down the back roads past the airport _ avoid most of the worst traffic and sign holders and tourists? Of course it does go right by a school so there will likely be a short traffic jam at the school zone.


A sale _ Photo by Royal Hopper

Go the other way the scenery is better and there are fewer speed traps …more red lights but fewer people rushing to get to the airport ..more stops but more sights to see..  A dozen decisions to make _  left or right, highway or roadway each decision has a consequence and adds another choice to the menu. Do you drink a caffeinated beverage that will wake you up but give you the jitters and make it harder for you to not to run over the idiots who run into traffic because crosswalks are for wussies.
You eventually decide on the direct way _  the way you usually go _ because it is you know the way you usually go which leads you to where you are now staring at the other truck through the dark tint of your truck windows and the darker tint of your cheap sunglasses trying to make a decision.
Do you roll down the window and hurl insults and the convenient plastic water bottle at him ? Do you point your wheels at the other vehicle and pretend to be ready for ramming speed?
or Do you sit in impotent rage curse a little a turn up the radio and wait for the light to turn. Of course you do nutbag.  The other stuff is stupid and dangerous in this city.
It is not a war zone genius. It is just the daily commute ..It is just life in the City of Sin.


There were yard sales, big yard sales, and then there are multi-family yard sales. This one took place on a Sin City residential zone in April _ Royal Hopper

There is always a yard sale in the City of Sin

by Royal Hopper
On any given day as you start down the road to work and see the signs.  Stop says the first sign. At the first intersection you see a man standing in the road with a sign that says Hungry Anything Helps and one hand-written sign that proclaims yard sale in bright neon letters. Not to be outdone the next sign says Big Yard Sale ..that way > Because a big yard sale is always better than a small one.


This sign stood at the entrance of the old Riviera Hotel/Casino last May. The Riviera was demolished last month after more than 60-years as a Sin City Land Mark- Royal Hopper

Remembering the signs he held before that proclaimed “ Ninjas kidnapped my family and I need money for karate lessons” and the ones that read why lie I need weed you drive on.
From casinos peddling overpriced adventures in false hedonism to stores peddling       under-priced Colas and Beer to sell overpriced aspirin and bread, and fellow Sinners looking to unload the worn out toys they have collected, people in this city have a lot of left overs they need to get rid of. As we have talked about before signs are the bright, neon, cliché overcoat of this city.


It’s Elvis and Vegas –they kind of go together. This sign advertises the Elvis Exhibit that closed a few months ago – Royal Hopper

They say more about it than anything you read on the internet or see on television. If you want to know the cultural wardrobe of the City of Sin or any other city drive down the streets, walk down the sidewalks in all parts of the city  and read the signs.
“Gas $2.54 a gallon” says one. “Beer $6.99 says another. Coca Cola 89 cents and hotdogs $2.39” say the signs clustered around one intersection within sight of a 50 foot tall sign of a supermodel advertising jewelry and neon towers with spelling out the names of casinos in 12 foot tall letters.


Jimmy played here about two years ago _ Royal Hopper

There are political signs of every ideological bent down one road _  politicians begging to keep their jobs and some seeking a job on the public trust and weird one that says Logic : For Rent. You would think they would sell it outright Logic being in such desperate demand.


This bold gentleman proudly proclaimed his beliefs to passersby in a Sin City intersection in March 2012 _ Royal Hopper

Hit the highway and there are lawyers for sale : “No Fee Unless We Win,” and another proclaiming “We win,” and another selling sandwiches proclaiming a Warm Welcome for all who come to eat their Capriotti sandwiches, Billy Ocean says another advertising a concert.
Then suddenly you realize at the completion of your drive there is a rule about signs in Las Vegas. The rule is there are signs everywhere and everybody has a sign of some  kind…In the city of Sin everybody is selling something to somebody…
It is life in the City of Sin
Love You Sinners  bye

Trendy Burritos, cheap food  and being an ahole

It is always the weeks when nothing happens that make you the most sure something is about to happen…

By Royal Hopper
Once upon a time Vegas was a very obvious place dedicated to very obvious pass times with obvious costs. It was like a trip to a saloon in the old wet.. It had cheap food that was actually cheap and gaming tables and machines that were not and people who would hurt you if you didn’t pay your bills.


I just Thought this one looked cool. The water on the street and the weird trick the light was playing that day. This is a stretch of Sin City street late last week _ Royal Hopper

Modern Las Vegas is kind of like a trip to a trendy Yuppie Burrito joint. You walk in expecting a cheap meal and easy odds and end up paying through the nose because they charge for everything. The half ounce container of dressing, the less than half ounce of sauce and cheese they put on your burrito and that extra three piece of chicken the size of a dime  _ cost extra.
                                                                                                                                                                    Nothing in the City of Sin is actually cheap anymore. Although there are deals to be found the days of the .49 cent Westward Ho Breakfast buffet are long gone as are the days of behave or we will break something. In modern parlance it is fairly common to be ahole these days. It is the way it is now.

cute black chick

A young woman out for a walk in the City of Sin _ Royal Hopper

 That being said there are still rules. There are still obvious situations that should be avoided even in the City of Sin whether you are at a trendy burrito joint or a Sin City casino.  If you take a dump in bath tub with the commode just feet away. You are not a rebel or a party animal. You are an ahole. Someone who works for a living has to clean your crap up before the room can be rented  again you nasty SOB.  One more time. You are an ahole if you crap in the bath tub.


Not just any yard sale a “Big Yard Sale” _ Royal Hopper

When someone lends you a few bucks and then you steal their keys and then their car. You are an ahole. Even thieves should have some manners.  When you and four buddies go on a long night of drinking and carousing and they ditch you in the lobby of a local hotel when you are so drunk you cant remember your room number and have to be rousted out of their rooms by casino security to come and get you –  they are aholes… Ditch them for good.
Now for the trendy If you ask a customer if they want sauce on their burrito and don’t tell them each dose cost a dollar you are an ahole because someone who works for a living just paid $25 for two burritos instead of $16 which is still to much.
It’s not a fairy tale. It’s a fact
It is life in the City of Sin
Take Care Sinners

It is always the weeks when nothing happens that make you the most sure something is about to happen…

guy sitting in shadows

A Las Vegan (Sinner) hides from the heat of a summer day. Oddly in rained shortly after this was taken _ Royal Hopper

Blast furnace day

by Royal Hopper
It was 108 in the City of Sin Yesterday.
You could cook an egg on the sidewalk at 8 a.m. and by 10 the roadways  were hot enough to cook the bacon that goes with it. It was a great week for indoor sports as the 16,000 pool playing bar flies who came into town for their annual championship tournament can testify.

a right lane must what

The Right Lane Must ???? Royal Hopper

It was the kind of blast-furnace day that made even the pigeons work enough courage to try and fly indoors when a car window was opened. I saw two fight over a spot by the air conditioning vent where cool water was leaking out by the cup full.
The normally timid urban pigeons seemed so reluctant to vacant that patch of shade near the leaky vent that they stood up to a dog that was trying to eat them for several seconds before deciding that being eaten was a worse fate than being exposed to the summer sun.
It was the kind of day where you could cook a chicken by leaving it on the hood of your car for a couple of hours or make jerky by leaving your turkey sandwich on the dashboard while you were taking a nap to escape the heat.

carrying water

Water for s hot summer day _ Royal Hopper

It was the kind of arid heat that makes you look at the tourists stumbling down the sidewalks in their brightly colored ill advised shorts or equally ill advised suits and jackets and wish for them to stumble and fall in a nearby pond out pf mercy. No matter where you are from you are never ready for the desert.
It was the kind of week when you went voluntarily with your significant other and your female off spring to the trendy Swedish based big box store for an a hour of shopping because you were bored and it was to damn hot to go outside for long periods. It was one of the days when you actually feel a little sorry for those holding signs asking for money on the sun baked avenue.

somebodys screwed

Do you get the feeling someone’s yard sale is screwed _ Royal Hopper

It was hot..!
The desert is a beautiful place full of challenging vistas and stark dray dangerous beauty. When you are not staring at a neon sign the whole place looks like the set of a sci fi b movie about beautiful but dead alien planets full of strange lifeforms. (Just go downtown on a Friday night and you will see) They say  it is hottest right before it cools off and begins its brief warm version of winter and weirdest right before things get normal. (which they never do here)
Getting used to the heat in the desert is like getting used to snow in Greenland. It isn’t a decision it is just something you do or you do not do and you move to Idaho.
The heat isnt cruel or sadistic. It does not seek out the meek or the strong. It does not seek challenge or prey. It simply is or it isn’t. It is just life in the City of Sin.
Take Care Sinners