Christmas week in the City of Sin

By Royal M. Hopper III

 You gotta love the Japanese. In Japan the idea of Merry Christmas is a two for one special at KFC and yet they still find a way to smile politely and say Merry Christmas to employees of casinos they are visiting on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
The Las Vegas Strip was full of Asian tourist this week as the Christmas season drained the wallets of those who practice the holiday and drove them home to sleep off the hazardous traumatic drama of “holidays” with the family.

Japan is one of places on my must see bucket list . Anyone who can smile politely walking through a Vegas casino and say Holiday greetings to strangers practicing a holiday they don’t honor or likely understand is okay by me. According to CNN the Japanese most associate Christmas with Kentucky Fried Chicken because in the past tourist visiting Japan in the past have hung out at KFC because there are no turkeys in Japan and they settled on extra crispy chicken for their holiday feast.
Now as a southerner born and bred this makes perfect sense to me but might seem a little strange to those from other parts of the United States where they eat turkey and ham and stay home for the holiday.
“What do you mean you don’t have cold slaw and chicken strips for Christmas dinner …What are you German…? “
I suppose that means people visiting Las Vegas for Christmas will most associate the holiday with bad smelling slicksters handing out flyers advertising pink haired prostitutes named Bambi, cocktail waitresses named Bambi with mountainous breast implants, free liquor and guys dressed like Snow White or pretending to be statues posing for pictures with confused tourist from Canada who wake up from a three day binge and remember where they are just in time to avoid a state wide manhunt.

Two City of Sin Tourists show off the stuffed animals they won at a local casino….Photo R.M. Hopper
I cant tell you how many health and welfare checks I have been a part of where the concerned friends spouts where were you we were worried sick and the party in question just spouts lebr e alonderg which in drunkese ( the international language of drunks) means, “I have a hangover and if you don’t stop talking I’m going to vomit on you”
“Oh and incidentally if you are playing slots or table games or just sitting there in a Vegas casino and someone asks you ..  ‘Is that your dollar, purse wallet or whatever, don’t bend over and take your eyes off your property. This is probably a distract team and they are going to steal your stuff. Remember this is Vegas and people are evil…EEEEVVVVIIIILLLLL I tell you.
Anyway this week’s Asian invasion of the City of Sin was speckled with a horde of unique characters that barely drew a glance in this jaded adult Disney land.
There was a Japanese Bon Jovi with spiky bleach blond hair and pink vinyl boots and a blank expression apparently unaware that the 80s were 30 years ago and occurred mostly in the mid-west and parts of Los Angeles.  I spent parts of the 80s in college and part in the Army so I saw both ends of the Me decade can tell you with certain authority that it is not 1987 and never will be again and you will lose man points for looking like Jon Bon Jovi’s hair stylist.
Christmas Day there was a father and son pair and the son who was at least in his mid 20s had a stuffed animal draped over his back and a small stuffed frog in his hand. Apparently he had won the stuffed critters at Circus Circus and could not bear to part with them as he wandered around the City of Sin with his father or grandfather who appeared to be in his 60s at least.
Generally speaking when I see two grown men so close together and so close I don’t ask questions. Whether its innocent night out or something less innocent and much stranger hey what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas unless someone has a cell with a camera as three enterprising college students found out a few months ago when they passed out on the sidewalk and Vegas passersby snapped photos and posted them on Facebook before they even woke up.
There was a line of patrons dozens deep at one local Indian restaurant for the ..the the …well I cant really pronounce it but they make good burgers too from what I am told.
A belated Merry Christmas, Blessed Yule, Happy Boxing Day and all hail Fred the Wonder Goat…

Hail and Farewell From the City of Sin

Til next week

Take Care

Las Vegas is a silly Place

By Royal M. Hopper III  and yes that is my real name


First of all wish me a happy anniversary this week I have been married to the same person for 17 years  a rare thing in the modern world and even rarer in the city of Sin. We celebrated early because we both work Sunday and we celebrated with that greatest of American traditions we ate to much at a restaurant and told stories about the stupid things we had done in our 17-years together etc etc…I wrote a poem and bought a stuffed bear hugging a Rose….Rock On and on

The most wonderful thing about Las Vegas is, that under all the cynicism the City of Sin can muster and all the danger any modern city represents  it is in actuality a very silly place . It is a silly place where very silly people can for a moment or two temporarily be themselves free of the demands of social intelligence or good taste or even common sense.
They can for a time express their inner child even if,  or perhaps especially, if the inner child is a dork wearing a  polyester shirt with horizontal l blue and green stripes vintage 1970, a pair of Bermuda shorts and a big …red……Santa hat and a pair of thick rimmed eye glasses so heavy they could be issued to near sighted special forces soldiers…and could be a danger to Las Vegas pedestrians…”

Judge : “So now…tell the court why you shot this man on Las Vegas Boulevard….”
Guy who shot a guy on Las Vegas boulevard:     “He threatened me with these huge glasses…I had to shoot him …
Judge” Yes I heard the nerds and dorks are getting hostile
Guy: What kind of Judge are you….???
Judge : The fun kind wanna take a picture with me

Then there is tour group who came half way across the world to break dance in the parking lot of a Las Vegas Macdonald’s, or the old couple who jay walked across Las Vegas Boulevard at what was for them a full out sprint and for most people a slow motion jog, or the Pink Lady who returned to my favorite Las Vegas landmark with her tour group once again clad head to toe in bright neon Pink nylon, taffeta  and polyester complete with hot pink hair;  but whatever Peter Pan is alive and well in the City of Sin, although he is probably drunk and hitting on the underage hooker at the other end of the building. 

I cannot bring this subject of weird costumes up without revisiting the story of the naked lady costume fad that visited the City of Sin in the mid 90s. I know I must have told you this story before but I have to mention it with New years Eve creeping up on us and the end of the world a scant 12 months away. One year, I think it was New Years Eve, it could have been Halloween but I think it was new Year’s Eve and the place was Treasure Island. Two followers of the naked lady craze had purchased two of these rubber naked lady suits and wore them to the holiday celebration. Now this is not in an of itself illegal as far as I know but in a Vegas casino full of drunks it could be a problem.
With all that was going on these faux naked ladies evaded the attention of hotel security  but as the night went on and the patrons got drunker they began mistaking the fake naked ladies for the real thing and began making drunken advances toward them.

“Hey fellas this is going to get dicey in a few ya’ gotta put some clothes on or take them off or whatever…..

In closing I would like to ask you a question? Have you ever seen a POOL CLOSED sign inside an empty swimming pool that was surrounded by a fence. I did here in Vegas and I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me after all these years that the idea that someone here would scale a security fence walk past a sign at the Pools edge jump six to nine feet into an empty pool and somehow, if they weren’t unconscious or in a coma , not recognize the pool was closed until they saw the sign sitting in the bottom of pool. As I write this I am watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show ..for the first time..okay for the 53rd time and it strikes me that in its own PG 13 Corporate Disney kind of way Las Vegas is the Rocky Horror Picture Show of resort destinations, just as silly, just as decadent and just as brightly colored and just as memorable when you watch it with the right frame of mind. Not to mention that I have had a huge crush on all three of the starring female cast members in that show for decades and fantasies that I cant talk about even here.

Goodnight Janet, Goodnight Magenta, Goodnight Red, yeah you too Brad, Rocky and you Frankenfurter and all you unnamed freaks and further …..I’ve seen ooohhhh  blue skies through tears in my eyes and I realize I’m going home ….” 

Goodbye all from the City of Sin
Til Next Week

Take Care


I love you all and may the Muse Bless your every waking and sleeping moment with the Sacred joy of all things silly and dark
Lost in Time and Lost in Space   and meaning  Caio


Chill winds in the City of Sin and how old people play slot machines

There is something about the way people play slot machines that will tell you a lot about them and about their life, not everything but a lot you know…..

When you see the older couple sitting together and they seem to know each other so well that even they argue they don’t pay much attention to each other it is what poker players call a tell.
One of them will start to become animated clearly upset about something and the other will simply turn their head as if counting then turn back right as the other finishes ranting not having listened to any of the other’s rant but knowing from long experience when they will be finished.
When you see this dynamic you know that they have been together a long time so long that they have no need to listen to know what their partner is saying.  Long enough to where they don’t really even listen to the other just turn toward them when they know the other is done talking.  When you see them playing slots together they will even punch buttons for each other and when the waitress ask them if they need a drink they order for each other and forget they did it by the time the drink gets there.
Others, mostly the older white guys and being a white guy on his way to being older  I am allowed to say that…white guy white guy, white guy… see no thunder bolts ..anyway these guys seem to be trying to force the slot machine to hit a jackpot,  to hit something by glaring at it like it was a poodle that had just peed  on the carpet.
Still others simply stare off into the distance not even looking at the slot machine as they press the buttons, like deer who know that running across the road in front of a large truck is stupid but just can’t help themselves and stare wide eyed into the headlights of the truck as it bears down on them.
“Stop me before I spin again,” they might say if they could stop long enough to speak.
The cowboy shooters and rodeo fans and Trace Adkins fans who crowded the City of Sin this week were fairly quiet except for the man in one local casino who got so drunk he fell over while trying to sit down on the floor because an inanimate object was in the way. He literally aimed at the ground and missed…wow…

A bar in the City if Sin is decorated with a cowboy motif for this week’s cowboy invasion of the city of Sin…photo R.M. Hopper

Last week I promised I would tell you the story of Bob’s brother. Bob was a cowboy; the real kind who rode bulls and wore a big hat to cover the scars on his rodeo riding head. I was working at Treasure Island in the mid 90s when the National Finals Rodeo came to town. One night when the casino was full of hard drinking cowboys, many of whom had also likely swallowed several pain pills to ease the ache of the days riding, a tall goat roper as we used to call them in the part of Texas I grew up in walked up to me and slurred…”Have you seen my brother Bob…He’s tall and wears a hat …”
Since I knew Bob’s Brother was very drunk and would not be satisfied with a simple answer and since the casino was full of people who were tall and wore hats and since I was feeling a bit sarcastic I decided to point him in another random direction where he would hopefully fall down and forget about me. 
“He’s over there,” I said pointing in a totally random direction which in those days was simply an empty stretch of casino floor between a large bar that occupied a spot near the front of the casino and a bank of assorted slots hoping Bob’s brother would leave and allow me to finish the shift without having to call an ambulance for him or me.
As it happens who should be standing there in the exact spot I had pointed but Bob himself.  “Damn your good,” Bob’s brother said and stumbled off to where his brother stood no doubt bragging of my psychic powers to his brother Bob.
Man that guy from Texas  knows voodoo or something. Well I did once stop for gas near a bayou in Louisiana and was blessed by voodoo practitioner or else she spilled her drink and was apologizing in bad French with a southern accent I can never tell.

In other business on the boulevard two intrepid residentially challenged souls braved this week’s chilly weather to impinge on the generosity of  passersby. They stopped their entrepreneurial borrowing to pet the service dog of one pedestrian. A strip regular dressed in a stripped pajama suit carrying a sign strolled down the street as the two were collecting the odd dollar from those generous tourist and commuters ( as a rule locals don’t give handouts because it can mark them for future requests) …Was it an Armageddon warning, an ambitious member of occupy Las Vegas or advertising for a club with a really silly motif who knows.

Such is life in the City of Sin

Til Next Week

Take care

Straight Shooting Cowboy in the City of Sin or Dude Its Cold Here

by Royal M Hopper III

This week I saw a saloon girl, an outlaw, dozens of Marshall Dylans, Calamity Janes, and an entire posse of armed desperadoes and two or three turn of the century Texans a smattering of  riverboat gamblers and lots and lots of cowboys.
Between the national final rodeo and a group of Cowboy action shooters parts of Las Vegas looked like a Goat roper bar in Fort Worth or the set of a bad B-movie western made in the 50s. I don’t know if you have ever seen a character right out of a Clint Eastwood movie staring at his laptop fondling his slots tickets while toking on a Cuban cigar, then you have never been to Vegas. It’s everyday stuff here.  (Cont. after photo)



One of the Las Vegas denizens who make a living posing for pictures poses on the blvd outside of a strip casino during a bout of fair weather last week – Photo by R.M. Hopper

These aspiring B-movie cowboys dress head to toe in costumes from the Wild ,Wild West and take turns shooting single action revolvers that made the old west showdowns so famous in many many Bmovie westerns at the same time the National Finals Rodeo rolled into town.

This meant mechanical bulls in many Las Vegas bars casinos a wide variety of Wild West denizens and country and western music blaring 24 hours a day.  One song still sticks in my mind. It goes something like this.  …

The first time we did it I was scared to death
She snuck out in that cotton dress
Jumped on in and we drove to the lake
Put her hand on my knee and said I can’t wait
I had everything we needed in the bed of my truck
Turns out my baby loves to…

Fish, she wants to do it all the time
This is actually a song by a fellow named Craig Campbell …No offense Craig this song sounds like a Jeff Foxworthy routine…If you go to the lake in the middle of the night with a hot looking babe and you actually fish…and enjoy it ….you might be a redneck.
I nearly wore out my Godsmack and Ozzie Cds trying to get that ballad out of my head.
Just for the record I was born and raised in SE Texas and my maternal grandparents are from Mississippi.
One of them was apparently from Germany. He walked up to me and asked.  “Excuse me please (please insert cliché’ German accent) I think I left mine glasses in the bathroom…”   A few had English accents and still others were Canadian.

It was cold this week in the city of sin something that is somewhat counterintuitive for a desert dweller. Those of us born in warm climates (Like I said I was born and raised on the Texas Gulf Coast) tend to walk around with a somewhat mystified look on our faces. I did see one transient fellow with a brand new Clint Eastwood poncho smiling from ear to ear like a child with a new toy perhaps he was keeping up with this weeks cowboy theme in the city of Sin or perhaps he was warm for the first time in days who knows.
Many of the bundled up pedestrian looked positively bewildered.
One dude perhaps a denizen of SoCal (Southern California) one gentleman stood out in the chilly December weather in a pair of surfing shorts and a Ocean Pacific T-shirt clearly bewildered why his legs were numb and his nose was running.  He was talking on his cell phone and I believe the conversation went something like this “Dude its like totally gnarly here…my legs are like numb and stuff totally lame and like where’s the beach,”

One Vegas patron discovered it is a bad thing to get drunk and leave your motorized scooter parked with the keys in it begging to be stolen and today I helped a lady who had been stranded in the City of Sin by a friend with 50 cents and a dead cell phone. The friend apparently made off with everything she had and she needed to borrow a cell phone….to call a millionaire friend……aaahhhh well. Such is the human animal in its true form…

From this weeks City of Sin Missive

Til Next Week

 Take care

Next Week more Sin City insanity and The story of Bobs Brother

Las Vegas as an AM radio show or how hit on a hooker Herman Caian Style ….not really

 Things to say to bosses and on AM radioPhoto list of phrases you say to bosses and the onees you want to say gleaned from AM radio. Photo Metrou member RM Hopper                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Greetings from this Weeks City of Sin MissiveThe other day I did something, something very difficult, something I don’t do very often.                           I listened to AM radio. It was one of the rare moments when boredom overcame intelligence and taste and as I slowly and painfully turned the dial on the ancient gray plastic 1989 deluxe model entertainment system looking for something to listen to that was not super weird or super lame, it hit me.
Well actually it was a blind house fly that hit me in the fore heard and scared the shit out of me. Then I had an epiphany. Las Vegas is full of such weirdness precisely because of the human race is screwed up and eventually, one way or another, they all come here.
My first stop on the AM crazy train was a certain pastor Bob explaining the ins and outs of demonic possession in great detail, to a moderator who seemed to be genuinely interested in how not to be possessed by Demons. Maybe he works at Sachs Goldman who knows.
Demons it seems enter the human mind in moments of weakness brought about by dabbling in the occult. I guess that marathon of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes is out of the question,,,(,iigggghhhhh walk in the shadow I am Bragu the foot smeller) Ooops sorry about that I must have gotten possessed for a minute.
Possessed sort of like the idiots who were racing down a city sidewalk the other day in motorized scooters many genuinely handicapped people use as wheelchairs, weaving in and out of danger and running into light poles and pedestrians before standing up and walking in a nearby casino to turn their rented wheelchairs in.
The next stop on the AM dial was dedicated to amazing bits of important news such as the important revelation that illegal aliens are starting forest fires to send smoke and fire signals each other. They probably looked like the costumed gentleman dressed in the old fashioned striped prison guard with I survived Bohemian on his back and sign in his hand saying Politics sucks or something to that effect.
Still another channel put forth that occupy Wall Street protestors should be grateful to corporate bosses for drilling the oil that runs their IPODS…??????
This reminded me of the 60 year old man I saw in a casino hitting on a woman of questionable moral virtue ( okay she was a hooker a good looking one to) This idiot was dressed like a 17-year-old and was smiling like horny teenager as he tried to impress a 22-year-old working girl who was playing the slot machines. He was wearing a small barely visible religious icon around his neck and chatting up this young woman with obvious plans in mind.
From the way she ignored him I can only guess she was either on her day off or was worried about the security guards shadowing her from a few rows down .Speaking of Occupy movement I saw my first glimpse of Occupy Las Vegas this week a brave move not because Vegas is more dangerous than Oakland or New York, but because it shard to get people in this city to pay attention to you. Most likely they would think you were posing for pictures. On the way to work I saw a protestor with a sign that read honk if your tired of corporate greed. At first I thought it read. Honk if your tired and I tried to honk because I was tired bit couldn’t because I was to tired.
I don’t surf AM radio often because you know its AM radio where the Bill ‘O Reilly’s of the world hangs out and its kind of stupid but perhaps I will have to start. Perhaps listening to AM will help me get a jump on the craziness that I will face in my daily treks into the City of Sin.
These AM crazies come from all over the country on the AM dial to get drunk on the city’s streets, dress like cartoon characters, flirt with hookers a third of their age, drive while intoxicated in motorized wheelchairs, pass out in hallways, carry signs and blast 20-year-old rock anthems on their stereos to drown all that chaos of this city out.
Oh well…Til Next WeekGoodbye from the City of SinAnd Take Care

Things to say to a boss on AM radio







Thanksgiving Week in the City of Sin and speaking Drunkese with aplomb

by Royal M. Hopper


First of all  a belated Happy Freakin’ Thanksgiving for the City of Sin. It may sound odd for a guy who has seen every vampire movie  ever made, I mean my daughter’s first song was Crazy Train, but Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. It plays honestly to the appetites of the human animal without necessarily encouraging the worst of its nature something those of us who live in Vegas can appreciate. There is a certain honesty about a holiday that tells you to pig out once a year surrounded by people you care about and then feel guilty about it.


Two flyers from the same table show the dualistic nature of the City of Sin..well not really:  photo by R.M. Hopper

You know I consider myself a fairly polite person but I really must have been off my game Thanksgiving Day on my way to work in the city when I stopped at that bastion of modern capitalist existentialism the gas station/convenience store to get a tank of holiday gas.
“Good morning chimed the  clerk ( a surly looking serial killer candidate with the I’m to lazy to shave but don’t have the nerve to grow a beard  look)  and the manager, a dark haired living manikin with the Mortician Adams meets Buffy the Vampire slayer look.  Sexy….
“Good morning,” they said in unison  with a practiced commercial phoniness like two dangerous robot werewolves who were trying to lure the humans into their lair.
“Good morning and Happy Thanksgiving,” I said trying to put on my best charming polite southerner face and voice.  Now I’m not a religious person and haven’t deliberately attended Christian church in decades  but I thought I was being polite and friendly.
“From the look on their faces you would have thought I said …”good morning and by the way your mother’s a livestock loving prostitute and you smell bad ….” As I left I swear one of them was holding a voodoo doll wrapping the pocket lint I had left on the floor around the dolls head.
Later that morning  I came upon two casino guests having a conversation  in another language I need help with. “Does anyone here speak drunkese, the language of alcoholics and generic drunks alike, a language that is widely spoke in \Las Vegas and so prevalent in parts of the world  our customers come from I hear the UN is considering giving them an embassy. Imagine …..” and now the ambassador from Drunkland will address the assembly ….”  “hiccupp…Do IIII know u people ….”
Anyway during the course of this conversation I heard something about  football and how ‘we have you by the balls’ and a few other things but could not make out what she was talking about, The other guests seemed to understand her. Perhaps he spoke drunkese and with the Alcoholics anonymous group in town, perhaps he simply had experience.
“We’re from the Midwest you’d understand if you had lived there,” she said smiling the intoxicated grin the besotted often do.
The other guest an older gentleman who was by the way stone cold sober simply nodded his head seeming to understand, Perhaps the sober gentleman was simply being polite or perhaps he was a member of the Alcoholics Anonymous 45th annual Vegas Roundup and spoke drunkese fluently but whatever the case I made my excuses and walked away from the conversation not exactly sure what I had just been told.
One hotel was filled with AA alumni.
The board they post above their meetings appealing to a higher power to guide them away from their addictions and in keeping with the dualistic nature of Sin City.
The AA itinerary listed many events and apparently these sober worthies came to the City of Sin and have been coming to the City of Sin for 45 years to play golf, eat ice cream, ride motor cycles buy coffee mugs,  flirt with cocktail waitresses who can sell them anything drink  lots of coffee.
People here pray a lot sometimes in very odd places right after they’ve been rolled by a prostitute and are worried the thief will call his wife on the throw away cell phone he programmed with his home phone number in a state of drunkeness.
The dog in a bag fad is back. I thought I was hallucinating  when I saw what I thought was a stuffed animal in a bag look at me then  wag its tail beneath the bag hesitantly. It turned out it was a dog in a bag strolling around the casino with its master.  Another super genius was seen rummaging through the trash and when security approached him to see what eh was doing it turns out he “accidentally tore up a winning betting ticket and was desperately searching for it.
Another female guest decided the restroom was a good place to do the wild thing with a perfect stranger.
Lastly do you know what you see in the bottom of a swimming pool in Las Vegas when it is drained and closed for the season. The remains of unidentified gangsters maybe or the occasional losing sports betting ticket sure but I’ll tell you what I saw in one. …Coins a couple of quarters, a nickel and a penny or two. Well maybe they fell out of people pockets and then I spotted two bottles of red hot sauce. I then realized that these things hadn’t fallen out of people pockets they had been tossed in there to make a wish. That’s just crazy. I mean who throws away perfectly good bottles of hot sauce. It also turns out one of the coins was actually a washer a fake coin that once upon a time when casinos slots still used coins was a tool of slot cheaters who would use them in place of coins or tokens. It is the quintessential Vegas paradox that someone trying to make a wish in a half empty swimming pool would use a fake coin to do it.

From this weeks City of Sin Missive

Til Next Week

Take Care