Thor comes to the City of Sin

Thor the God of Thunder___Photo by Royal

I don’t know if any of you have ever seen a man in his mid 50s dressed like GI Joe carrying a Captain America shield or a 5 foot 4 inch Thor with a bleached blonde beard but in the City of Sin It is not an uncommon experience. We see such characters on street corner’s along with assorted Elvi and a lifesized talking statue waiting for the 4 p.m. bus. This week comic book fans converged on the City of Siin attired in assorted get ups as homage to their favorite hero, heroine or villain. Of fourse I doubt Thor ever waited in line at the ATM for gambling money and Batman probably didnt spend a lot of time arguing with his sister but there it is.

It goes without saying that in a City where people in costumes can be seen on any downtown street corner you have to go along way to get noticed and these folks did. There was the usual stuff of course. One man fell down a flight of stairs backwards after trying to start a fight and another foamed at the mouth and collapsed to the ground after the Herculean effort of getting into an elevator was to much for him.

All in all it was a pretty ordinary week in the City if Sin so in an effort to get back into practice and perhaps dig a few of my old clips out of the dusty breifcase I stored them in and put together a resumes to mail out to local newspapers I wrote the follwing like a weekend feature for the small town newspaper I used tio work for. Im not really a page designer so bear with the junior high layout. Wendy where are you when I need you. Such is life in the City of Sin. Later

Imperial fighter pilot Dan Johnson of the 501st Imperial Stormtrooper Legion keeps order at Las Vegas Comic Expo 2012–Photo by Royal

Comic Expo Brings Superheroes to Life in the City of Sin 

by Royal Hopper

In Imperial Fighter Pilot Dan Johnson’s everyday job he is a diver, a professional with a real life. He spent most of Saturday as a proud member of the 501st Imperial Stormtrooper Legion ( ) keeping order among the crowd of rowdy comic book fanatics at Saturday’s Comic Expo in the City of Sin on Las Vegas Boulevard.
“We hope to make this a regular thing,” Johnson said about the convention briefly taking off his imperial fighter pilots helmet to take a breather and say hi to Harley Quinn the evil DC Comic villain side kick fond of hitting victims with a large hammer similar to the one many of this weekend’s convention carried as a plastic prop.

Lines formed early at the convention site with convention goers who came in costume getting a free cut in line prior to opening of the gate. A portly Green Lantern, artificial six pack and all, waited patiently next to more ordinary people with spiky black dyed 80s style hairdos that are apparently making a huge comeback and a midget pair of Batman and Robin imitators.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       “I see the Black Widow Mama,” said one excited young female comic fan as she clutched her mothers hand and watched a magenta haired black leather clad convention goer saunter by.
Prices for the books carefully displayed in the booths across the convention floor ranged from a modest $3 to several hundreds to well into the four figure range for the truly rare and demanded comic books. As Michigan based comic peddlers for the Harley Lee Rare Comics company said business has been good this year. People are buying comic books and not just the classics like Wolverine and Batman. Ursa Minor a hammer bearing female werebear was one of the characters featured in comics at Saturday’s event and a host of sexily drawn female superheroes and a host of others dating back to the early 40s also graced the pulp fiction novelettes.

An Imperial Stormtrooper of the 501st Legion poses for cameras at the Las Vegas Comic Expo 2012—photo by Royal

Back outside the convention center other members of the 501st Stormtrooper Legion adjusted their gear and prepared to hold off an attack by rebel scum masquerading as ordinary comic books fans.
Nearby a Goddess of mischief traded gossip with a toxin spewing, plant loving personality called Poison Ivy, Wonder Woman and the Green Lantern lounged against a walled barricade down the hallway and storm troopers continued to pose for admirers outside what posed for a death star in the City of Sin ancient carpet an al.

Was it all a hallucination inspired by bad whiskey, a birthday party for George Lucas …an audition for dancers at the Copa Cabana. Wrong on all three counts.
The Collectors Society web site officially announced it as a revival of a comic book based convention in Las Vegas. It was the first of hopefully many Comic Expos to come.

Left a member of the 501st Imperial Stormtrooper legion poses for cameras at this years Comic Expo

Photo by Royal

Maybe the man found on the sidewalk was faking or the glory of lying in the City of Sin

By Royal Hopper
You might not admire people who lie well in the face overwhelming evidence they are full of crap but you have to respect the Chutzpah it takes to do it.


A rooftop view of the City of Sin – Photo by Royale

Cat Bath in the bathroom
“My wife kicked me out of the room for not shaving,“ one residentially challenged  man reportedly said when confronted by security guards in a casino restroom. He had spread all of his worldly possessions, a dozen or so items including a well used razor across the bathroom counter at the casino.
He was scraping the dull razor across his thick stubbly beard and continued to do so
Even when it was obvious the poor put upon grooming device had seen its better days many, many shaves ago.
 He  was attempting to take a bath in the bathroom of the casino which is something homeless people often do when security guards happened upon him and immediately came upon an explanation for his shambled appearance and odd situation.
‘I was staying at the casino next door he explained and had got into an argument with my wife,” he explained reportedly not stop for breath as he continued to fib like a pro.
The argument with his gorgeous old lady ended up with him being kicked out of his room and in need of a shave and a little sprucing up.
Maybe but in light of the fact the man had all his possessions in  a dirty shopping bag and hadn’t bathed in days at  least the gentleman was asked to leave.
When the gentleman walked away like it took effort just the stand up. Maybe he was drunk or just tired but when they found him sitting on the sidewalk with skin covered with black dusty coating. He looked like death warmed over and walked like an drunken starved, toddler like each step was an effort something he had to calculate every step so he wouldn’t fall down. I’m not sure what he told the people who were asking him to leave but it must have been a whopper because they all smiled a genuine smile.

When you should lie
A little advice …..If you come to Vegas to meet …uuhh professional women. Prostitution is illegal in Clark County where Las Vegas is located and a taxi drivers who promises you will get laid by going to a certain place he is probably taking you for a ride, literally. Being taken for a rise is a Vegas term that usually means a cabbie takes you the long way around to a specific destination thereby running up the meter or …..or the cabbie usually acting on thinly veiled questions takes them to a given place on the promise they will get ………lets say lucky.
 No working girl worth her street creds will respond to direct request for paid sex because as I said it is illegal in the City of Sin (believe it or not) and she probably thinks you are a narc or a vice cop. There are rules and protocols for everything in the City of Sin and it pays to know them and if you are going to lie do it well or don’t do it.

                 This was in a Halloween Shop in the Galleria cool huh

Come up to my room….
Now lets say you are two young women who invite two young men up to your room and then ..what ??change your mind…and then get upset when one of them apparently decides to get something out of the deal and takes some of the holiday stash you have hidden about the room and by stash I mean cash. The girls said they had invited the men up to their room and then changed their minds….and the guys tried to make off with their money out of revenge. Whose lying ??/You know I honestly couldn’t tell.
It was an odd week at once curiously slow and insanely busy. People slept on sidewalks, in chairs fully dressed in expensive suits, walked drunkenly down city sidewalks laughing as the fell in the street and lay in the gutter an approaching car skidding to a halt just a few feet from them.
What an idiot … Such is life in the City of Sin

Til Next Time

Take Care
Jogger report: This week the ambient temperature finally got below 100 degrees. It was a bone chilling 99 degrees all week and with the bone chilling  temperatures joggers became more heavily clothed. The less than hard bodied joggers and the long sleeves dark colored clothes came out of the wood work. Perhaps feeling more comfortable because wearing heavier clothes to cover up their couch potato frames  was now officially in fashion they began converging on Las Vegas boulevard.

What if all you had to eat was Cornbread

By Royal Hopper

This week I took a few days of from the City Dancing in the City of Sin and went home to the burbs to take a few days off and help my mother move back into town. In the process of catching up I had a tremendous epiphany about who my mother is and the reason she does the thing she does.
Like the way she almost always tries to shove a $20 bill into my hand or my wife’s hand as we leave despite the fact she is on social security and doesn’t have that much to spend and doesn’t feel comfortable unless she knows I have had something to eat that day, a perhaps the reason my grandmother constantly stuffed us with that greasy southern food her native Mississippi was famous for.
(Here’s a hint boys and girls I recently lost 30 pounds and still have a noticeable gut )
“Oh cowpucky,” she often said in response to something that really upset her and when I was a kid that as dirty as it got.

Mom  on left, Aunt Kathy Aunt Mary Ellen, and Grandma
My mother who rarely curses and who represents all the positive, gentle aspects of her Christian faith, my mother the person who at 69 years-of-age still says poop, who didn’t learn what certain words even meant until she  was well into her 30s with a house full of kids said asshole.
She actually said asshole after the car she and my wife was driving in and she was riding in in was cut off by a car spewing smoke and going 30 mph in the fast lane of the highway.

You have to understand hearing the words asshole coming from my mothers mouth is the closest thing to road rage I have ever heard from her. Thusly when she does actually curse people in the room usually pay attention and become concerned. My first response when my wife told me this story was to gasp slightly and ask her if everyone was okay.
“Are you all right Shirley,” friends would often ask my mother surprised to hear such words coming from her mouth.
Mom is not really a extroverted story teller like my Dad is. Dad could make a story out of stopping to take a bathroom break on a weekend fishing trip. Her stories are more straightforward like thoughts and memories she speaks out loud  when they become to powerful for her to keep inside.
Somehow the subject of eating came up and the hard times of the past and without intending to I brought up painful memories. I mentioned to my wife how there was always food at my grandparents house and how she was always trying to feed us. They always had a garden, always and my wife told Mom how much she enjoyed the black eyed peas Mom brought back from Mississippi. I remembered occasions where those self same peas were all we had to eat because the budget was so tight.
My Mom in turn remembered something she had said to her parents so many years ago that brought a lump to my throat to be honest.
“I just told them I would like something more the milk and cornbread for supper,” she said as if the memory was fresh and new instead of more than six decades old. My mother’s family was poor in the real sense of the word when she was young, not in the we have to eat sandwiches or peas and rice because the bills are due kind of way. They were poor in the all we have to eat is cornbread and milk and all we will have tomorrow is more of the same kind of way.
My grandfather and his family, among them my mother came to Texas (where I grew up)  during the oil boom and the family did well after that but it is clear my mother my mother however young she was never forgot what it was like to have nothing but bread and milk to eat and was determined that none of her children ever have to experience anything like that.
Now the purpose of this column was not to illicit any kind of drama queen tears of sympathy. My mother would be the last person to engage drama queen antics or seek pity from anyone but there are several lessons we could take from the memories.

1) When you live in a place that celebrates overindulgence it sometimes blurs the lines between need and want. Sometimes it would do us all well to remember that having enough is not all that bad and is something we seldom remember.

2) Having less of anything than you need always makes for vivid memories almost always bad.

3) How you respond to bad memories says a lot about who you are for better or worse.

4) The good old days really weren’t always that good and sometimes they kind of sucked. Lets go forward not back.


The iconic Vegas Cliche and symbol of overindulgence a 2 for 1 drink ticket

Photo by Royal

“Oh crap,” my Mom once said blushing as she spoke the awful barely audible curse words  and nibbled on the chili my daughter had made.

Two days after the retreat to the suburbs I went back to work and the City of Sin was still the same. People fell asleep where they sat, lay or fell. They drank more than they should, spent money they didn’t have paid $12 for a turkey sandwich and early that morning a woman wearing a strategically cut evening dress stumbled back to her room tired drunk and bow legged. Such is life the City of Sin.

Til Next Time


The smell of sex and conspiracy

I was listening to an Old Nirvana song the other day on the PA of a casino and one line in the song struck me like a neon two for thunderbolt…..drink ticket.                 

It struck me like a thunderbolt right about the time the 90-year-old woman, wearing a broad hat that was at least as old fashioned as I am old and a gray sun dress Jackie O (look it up) would have been comfortable in, called me over to the slot machine where she was playing slots and whispered to me as if someone who shouldn‘t know what she was saying was lurking nearby. “Hey,” she said whispering conspiratorially into my ear, “Do you smell that,” she added drawing me closer with and leaning in to tell me something important about what the unseen villain was doing.

Notice Midget wrestling, androgynous European magicians, and dancing topless girls…..

Before I go on
The song I heard playing on PA was called I Smell Sex and Candy. It is a bizarre tune about a man hanging out downtown obsessing about himself who then spots an imaginary woman who takes his fantasy about himself to the next level. In the chorus the downtown hanger outer sings about smelling Sex and Candy here and about some mystery women lounging in his chair and giving him a devious stare….and then he admits its probably a dream,  a fantasy an overblown self image you know kind of like Las Vegas itself.
Self Image and adult fantasy are two of Sin City’s most handcrafted sought after assets people could do the things they do here almost anywhere but style and image despite what some will tell you do matter and in the City of Sin they matter a lot.

Now momentarily back to the smell and the conspiratorial whisper.

“I smell it,” the woman who flagged me down said in a tone of voice that was probably considered cool when The Beatles made their US debut  and I was a toddler ….”Somebody,” she whispered again leaning as close as her fragile frame allowed “ is smoking Hashish,” she whispered winking at me and shaking her head knowingly.
 “I smell it,” she said again drifting off as she did lost in the intensity of her discovery, some memory of those glory days in the innocent 60s, or the possibility of three 7s lining up on the face of the slot machine she was playing. 
Now standing in the middle of a Las Vegas casino it might not have been such a surprise to find out somebody was lighting up a Doobie ( look it up) or that they were stupid enough to do it in the middle of the casino with security guards just feet away so I was not taken aback by the information in the woman’s conspiratorial whispering – it was the fact no was there. There was no one within 50 feet that I could see, smoking a cigarette or cigar much less the a huge fattie.  Maybe grandma was just remembering the good old days when she and the mop tops used to smoke the Chronic under the board walk or hanging out as the token fashionista in Haight Ashbury back in the day.
There is little wonder that even in casinos dedicated to decades old dance tunes play this song all the time and often follow it up with another Nirvana called Lithium which to me is about a lot of things including the insanity of the human condition _ an insanity that makes Vegas what it is.

The containers people who take daily injections for medical reasons out their needles in is called a Sharps container after the company who made them or their primary purpose or both.
Apparently people are now stealing used needles from Sharps containers in restrooms in this city for what ????reuse ???? That’s gross and dangerous, but as much as million dollar jackpots, girls named Bambi and free cigars at scotch tasting dinners and the joy of listening  to A-list has beens relive the glory days, I love Las Vegas T-shirts, fake Pirate Shows and fake Volcanoes and fake Elvi  ….as much as all that
It  is life in the City of Sin

Til Next Time et al
Take care

Jogger report: There weren’t may weird joggers in the City of Sin this week. The archetypes. The fashion jogger who spends more on their jogging outfits than most people spend on their condos. Jogging Barbies I call them. Then there are the regular guy joggers who are clearly miserable running anywhere and just as determined to prove they love to run but there was really nothing new for runners. I did see a guy riding a bicycle with hauling around a sign advertising naked women and another guy riding a burnt orange Chopper wearing a superman T-shirt and a pack of muscle bound tourist walking down Las Vegas Boulevard  flexing their pecks like cartoon characters perhaps hoping to get the attention of Hard Body Barbie who was jogging by at that minute.

Old people can’t look cool in underwear or naked guys in the City of Sin

 By Royal Hopper

There is a point in your life when you really need to stop trying to be cool. It is a fact that often seems to elude visitors to the City of Sin.

For instance streaking was all the rage back in the day. In 1975 running butt naked down the avenue was a very cool courageous thing. In 2012 not so much…like the guy who decided to strip down to his birthday suit and haul ass down Las Vegas boulevard with several of Las Vegas’s finest (who were wearing clothes) pursuing him.
No one knows why the gentleman decided to run naked down a Sin City street down the street mind you in broad day light but rumors were that he was singing a medley of Bee Gees tunes as he sprinted.
“Stayin alive…Stayin alive…Stayin aaaallllllliiiiii iiii ive woooh,”
I also saw a couple walking down the street down the street in the wee hours of the morning this week who fit that paradigm to a T. 
“I look good don’t I,” said the body language of this confused pair of walking old people following fads paradigm.

there are times in life when people should just stop

Their race, or wealth or proclivity doesn’t really matter they were my age, late 40s early 50s and really very couch potato average. The man was wearing these Capri-like plaid knee length underwear looking shorts so many guys wear these days. They drive me nuts and still make my 69-year old mother shake her head.
Now as a once proud possessor of 13 pairs of bell bottom jeans ( all totaled from age 13 to 19), three leisure suits and seven count ‘em seven Ocean Pacific Ts of all colors I don’t judge.
But I have to say it, and I say it with respect and the honesty of experience the dude looked pretty silly walking down a dark Las Vegas street sporting his knee length underwear while gesturing at the Sin City neon and standing next to his girl who was attractive and clad in normal unassuming clothes, normal and unassuming _  for a 18-year-old prom date that is.

Some people who come to the City of Sin are real butts


                             I’m an expert damn it
 There is another Sin City paradigm that was widely apparent in the City of sin. The expert. You can tell this Sin city type before you even get close. You see them at the head of a group gesturing at the surrounding buildings as if they know everything there is to know about a city they’ve been in twice in 20 years on a business trip they mostly don’t remember until waking up in a ball next to people they don’t remember meeting.
I think the young man I saw being dragged down the Strip by his elderly grandparents who were struggling to take pictures and chat about the old daze back in the 60s while their bored grandchild thought about Transformers and Spiderman and ice cream and fidgeted like spastic Dachshund staring at his 6-year old feet as the three of them wandered past the bronze naked lady statues, plastic clowns, and half naked divas and junior continued to cast an uninterested eye at the sidewalk. Years from now I can hear the conversation in 10th grade chemistry class.
“Dude your grandparents to you to Vegas…,” and junior will have to make something up and pretend to remember everything there is to know about the City of Sin.

The moral of this week’s Sin City Missive is simple. There is a point when you should stop trying to be trendy, fashionable or rad and in fact just be you even if you aren’t that interesting.
Not that I was ever part of the cool trendy crowd or that, that’s even possible in southeast Texas but I did once believe, like many young men and women do that it mattered beyond the mood of the day which it doesn’t. 
We all wear uniforms and at least sometimes dress to impress but clothes do not and never have made the man or the woman.
This week a man bicycled down the street dressed head  to toe in white
Cotton jump suit covered with graffiti honking a horn and shouting something unintelligible. I caught a brief glance and I swore the letters scrawled on the white cloth he wore read President of the World….Another man jogged naked down the street, dozens forgot where they were, many others dragged young children on early morning family outings just down the street from a working girl draped in black artificial silk was dragging her tired  over dressed behind down the road after a long night at work.

The City of Sin continues on its way the way it always does, beckoning everyone stopping for no one, simply being what it is without apology or pretense.
And as always such is life in the City..the city of Sin.
Til Next Time Take care


The Jogger report The most noticeable thing on the strip this week was large mounds of female flesh  bouncing down  the avenue attached to well endowed women as they jogged. Sue me I’m a guy. …a nice guy who has been married for 18 years but still a guy and when hordes of generously endowed women who are in danger of knocking themselves out as they run jog down the street I notice.