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


Two young urbani pass by each other as they go about their business last week. The new generation of Sinners _ Royal Hopper

     Today I saw an older man crossing the street and when I say older remember I was born when the Beetles were still playing small gigs in Liverpool. (1962) His hair was white and he was stooped over and so frail looking it seemed like the mild desert breeze would blow him across the street like a dried out leaf or desiccated twig or insect.            
                                                                                                                                                                                    He hesitated with each step stopping mid stride regaining his balance tottering as though the effort of standing up was almost too much for him to bear and he was mustering his strength to finish the stride. He looked almost like a John Cleese parody of a man doing one of his patented silly walks  (English comedy look it up.)
   The light turned and I left the frail wisp of a man trying to cross the street under his own power. It had taken the entire light for three or four steps but he was still determined to get there. The leather jacket he sported spoke of the days when he was a force to be reckoned with. The old days were long gone for this determined street crosser and meant to hold onto them as tightly as he could.


One of the newer generation of off strip casinos catering to locals… Royal Hopper

These good old days are gone

By Royal Hopper
Most of the places that stood on the strip (Las Vegas Boulevard when I arrived her in 1989 right out of Uncle Sam’s gentle graces ( I was in the Army) are gone now. The Sands the Dunes, The Landmark, The El Morocco, The El Cortez, The Marina, The Westward Ho, The Stardust, O ‘ Shea’s and on and on and on. ( for a basic map of strip casinos in the day.)
    These Vegas icons were torn down in the Halcyon days of the 90s building boom and with them went the days of cheap food,  the days of pinstripes, and guys named after bugs and facial features. (ie Tony the Ant, Louie the nose and that lefty guy).
In the City of Sin the poor gamblers breakfast could be had for .49 cents at the Westward Ho Motor hotel/casino (founded in 1963 when this writer was 1) and hotdogs and $1 beer was the toast of the “old Las Vegas.”
    Last week I had  conversation with a man about free beer or at least he had a conversation with me. The man dressed in a collection of Roy Rogers 1950s cowboy accessories stopped in front of me and appeared to want to ask me something.  I extended my hand for a manly hand shake, offered my name and asked his the way many places of business require their employees to do these days. He stood there for several seconds not saying a word and when I politely excused myself and began to walk away he said …”Thanks for the talk I will give that beer a try.” Since I hadn’t said any such thing I can only guess that the man had_ had a serious scrap with Mr. Jack Daniels 5th or Ms. Molly Narcotic and gotten his ass kicked. Either that or he was psychic or just nuts. That is the second time that has happened to me in the City of Sin. DSCF0529.JPG
     I once told you all about the classic southern poor working man’s lunch in my native SE Texas when I was a small child in the 60s … A moon pie and an RC Cola.  The mostly marshmallow chocolate covered pastry cost a nickel or so  and the drink a dime —back in the good old days …or my Dad once told me. Those days are gone. What once costs 15 cents now costs at least $2.

RC and a Moon Pie via Bing

The same is true about Vegas. Vegas is a different and more expensive. The Strip is corporate now and likely will be for some time to come. It’s not a dream or a nightmare it’s history and life in the City of Sin.
Take Care Sinners
Love You All


The best shot I could get from the not so cheap seats at the Zombie, Korn, In This Moment.. Heavy Metal Jam on Saturday _ Royal Hopper

Zombie, Korn and a Moment in the City of Sin

By Royal Hopper
It was cool and breezy by desert standards Monday …a bone chilling 99 degrees( yes that is sarcasm) There was Rock and Roll and the usual mischief and it was hot
“I have Given you 30-years. Give me three minutes,” said the famous Goth Rocker most often known as Rob Zombie as he looked around the arena full of Metal Heads their black outfits contrasting the glow of their expensive cell phones as they filmed and snapped photos of the “Zombie” as he sang.


Part of the Rob Zombie show Saturday.. Once again the best I could get with my cell… Royal Hopper

Zombie wanted those in the crowd to turn off their cellphones. He had asked the audience to turn off their phones for one song and when many kept filming he pointed at them and said “Yes. I am talking to you who are filming me on your cellphone asking you to turn off your cell phone.”   A few listened ..Most did  not and the Zombie man was clearly frustrated. This is Vegas man and it is the 21st century.  We don’t turn off and tune in..we connect and record and post and gamble and drink while we do it. For better or worse that is the way of the world and the way of Sin City.  Outside the concert there was  fight, a Black Hat hacker convention, a working girl struggling to the food court at the end of a long night and paramedics inbound to save a life.

As you might have already guessed we saw an amazing Heavy Metal Rock and Roll show last Saturday. Aging Gothic Shock Rocker Rob Zombie put on a hell of a heavy metal show of undead supernatural attitude. (pun intended) as did his special guest Chick Metal Gothic Rocker  “In This Moment” … Nu Metal Rock Act Korn put on their usual energetic and honestly even more Gothic act with the goblin in the Korn Field intensity fans have come to expect. Korn is great live (better than studio I think) and I recommend seeing them in concert even if you are not a fan of their music.


An old Cityscape last year I think _ Royal Hopper

The Zombie took a moment to lead the arena crowd in a chorus of Happy Birthday for his guitarist John 5 and stage show was a montage of barely veiled nudity, weirdness and old B-movies. In other words it was just like any night in Las Vegas.  Now imagine this you are in the middle of stage show about zombies, bimbos and vintage undead creatures and the entire audience breaks into a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday.
Vegas is a place that doesn’t give two farts about tradition and the sense of connection.  It is loud, bright, sexual and brash like a Rock concert, and like the same, dedicated to the raw emotion of fun in the dark. But unlike Rock and Roll there is no deeper side to the City of Sin _ no story to tell other than gamble, drink, party.
Many people make the mistake of assuming Heavy Metal and  Rock and Roll are like Vegas itself but that is not true. There are similarities. Implied sex, and real sex, bright lights etc etc…. Rock always has  story to tell and a moral to relate. Sometimes the story is a simple as dance and have fun while you can or driving cars is cool.

people with blow up doll

I ran this one last year but it bears repeating You could call this the spirit of Vegas _ Royal Hopper

Other times it prays for peace or calls the brave and faithful to stand fast or relates the glories of love or tells an allegory of modern culture.  Vegas simply is what it is…It has no moral or story except what you bring to it or what those you deal with bring to it… It makes promises, implies rewards and gets you to pay for them.
They do have some things in common though. A hundred year from now somebody will be digging Rob Zombie or Korn or In This Moment record from the museum and remaking them _ 100 years from now somebody will be drinking more than they should, chasing women or men they should not, gambling money they don have and getting rolled for their trouble.

It not really all that weird .. It’s just Rock N Roll, Heavy Metal and Life in the City of Sin
Love You Sinners

Bison but

This 2,000 pound Bison was seen crossing the road as Bison that weight 2,000 pounds are prone to do_ Royal Hopper

Every tourist trap has its denizen   __ the creatures that locals and those in authority tell you to stay away from.
You see such a denizen preparing to cross the street and it was huge. Its dark brown hair all but covering its intense uncaring brown eyes and it strolled down the asphalt causing fascinated tourists to snap pictures nervously.
The denizen of this tourist trap roadway looks at the gathering crowd of suntan lotion and Bermuda shorts clad tourists and stands fast as one of the curious picture taking tourists inches closer to him to take pictures threatening to provoke this huge browned haired denizen into action.
About that time a patrol car full of authority figures rolls onto the scene points a loud speaker out of the car and says…DSCF0048.JPG
“Stay away from the Bison go back to your cars. It is mating season and the bulls are very aggressive,” the Yellowstone Park Ranger said her voice ringing with authority and some frustration with the
usual perils of tourists screwing with the local denizens. This event occurred during a vacation at Yellowstone National Park but it just as easily could have been in Vegas. Tourists are the same everywhere and every locale has its dangers whether it be 2,000 pound bovines looking for a date or muggers looking for a wallet.

myscle guy on sidewalk

A denizen of Sin City _ Royal Hopper

In another place denizens like mermaids, pirates, giant anthropomorphic Octopi people, Spongebobs,  Captain Crabby and Gilligan stalked the hallways of a local establishment. Tough, tall chicks with colored hair and scars on their tone bodies were everywhere. Dont mess with these chicks boyo …you will lose. One of these chicks carried a black bag laden with suspicious looking weighty objects…
She sets to bag down for a minute looking around to see if anybody is watching and then picks the bag up with some effort and squelches a gasp when several items fall out of the bag fall to the floor.
The tough chick looks panicked and worried as she scurries to pick up the items and local security walks over to sea what this suspicious tough chick with the multi colored hair is doing and unconsciously picks an object off the ground and hands it to the woman. ..
Who says thanks turns three shades red and takes vibrating rounded cylinder and stuffs it back in the bag along with the sports bras and pairs of skates it contained. No not guns or drugs just roller derby stuff..


A blast from the past. The old Riviera was a part of old Vegas.. Now gone the way of the dinosaurs _ Royal Hopper

We went to Yellowstone and then we came back to Vegas. What is the lesson here. Perhaps tht most tourists destinations have some things in common no matter how different they are.
So here are a few rules for visiting anywhere anytime especially the City of Sin.

Rules of Sin in the City

By Royal Hopper
“Where’s my stuff,” the man said looking around the casino with the unmistakeable look the sanity challenged often get when
their invisible friends from the Illuminati steal their magic comb while they are communing with the spirits pf Elvis and Paris Hilton.( Yes I know Paris Hilton is still alive but this gentleman was not so sure.)
“I left my stuff right here,” the man said his wardrobe of casino free giveaways soaked with flop sweat ashe realized his precious stuff was missing.
“I am with Mossad you know,” the man said looking t the security officers who had been called to corral his strange behavior.
“Where I am from people know how to treat a customer.” he said
Trabslation: I left my stuff unattended on a slot machine in Vegas while I went to the bathroom for half an hour and now I am pissed because I know I am an idiot and want you to compensate me for it…
The exchange goes on a a few minutes and finally the casinos order keeper tell the mn he has to go up to his room and cease causing a disturbnce.
“Good idea he says,” with  look of childish excitement on his face, “my stuff might be there.”
On the way up to his room the man suddenly realized his stuff was in the shopping bag he had been holding in his hand the entire time.
In the worn shopping bag nedt to assorted junk, food items and casino gaming tokens was a loaded .40 caliber pistol .
None of this is all that unusual. It is the way it is …It is life in the City of Sin
Love You Sinners Take Care
The rules are as follows.
1.. Abandoned property _ If you leave stuff alone unattended and somebody takes it is your fault and you are not going to get compensated for it.
Don’t leave credits on a slot machine while you go to the bathroom or eat lunch and while some places allow you to reserve a slot machine..
If stuff comes up missing while you are gone you are SOL. TAKE YOUR STUFF WITH YOU You will not get comped if it is gone and security has their hands full keeping the peace
and the slot attendants have their hands full running the slot floor. If your stuff is gone blame yourself.
Casino security has its hands full keeping the peace and keeping an eye on weirdos and drunks like you and doesn’t have time to baby sit you. Take Your Stuff With you or Somebody will take it. If your lucky an alert
security officer might find it first and put it in lost and found but probably not.
2. Showing skin_ If you dress strangely or show some skin you are going to get stared at get over it. Whether its in front of a bubbling geyser or a bank of slot machines if you show skin you are going to get looked at..
Note most tourist destinations will not allow you to roam around shirtless ans yes they can make you leave if you refuse.
3. Bring your freaking ID: While you are not required to show it have to have ity to be where there is gambling or drinking and security
is fully justified in telling you to leave if you dont have it or refuse to show it… That is the law in most places including most National Parks.
4. Somebodys out to get me: I promise you no one is out to get you. Dont mistake our good manners and professionalism for concern about your place in the universe. We just don’t give a crap enough
to single you out. We are not out to get you…
5. Bringing kids to Las Vegas is silly and :: Dont bring you freaking kids to Las Vegas and if you do make note they are not ALLOWED TO STOP OR HANG OUT ON THE GAMING FLOOR …NOT EVEN FOR A minute. Nevada gaming law
clearly states that you kids and anybody under 21-year of age cannot loiter where ther is gambling or drinking. It doesn’t matter who you are your kids cannot be in the casino.
6. Put everybody who needs access to your room on the room registration. If you forget your keys we will not let you in the room unless you are on it.
7. Pay for your room in advance. Rates can change $100 in a day and reservations dont garauntee price…..