guys looking in charity bin

The City Has A Way

By Royal Hopper

It is early afternoon and the heat is already oppressive and the crazies and the commuter zombies are out in force. As you drive down the sun-baked half melted asphalt of the Vegas suburbs you see a man turning to vent his rage in the classic one fingered salute to anger to an empty street behind him.

As you drive further down the busy Sin City byway wrapping yourself in the suburban cocoon of rebellious music and air-conditioned comfort you see another man laying flat-out on the ground arms spread in the dirt feet away from a busy sidewalk _ maybe alive maybe not _ no one notices. decent shot guy pushing cart
Later that night you see what looks like drug dealers either speaking some bizarre code or actually exchanging recipes. I guess even scum bags like cup cakes.
You see the whores and the tourists moving like well-tailored sheep None of this bothers you. You are a Sinner _ a resident of Sin City. You mental armor is thick and not much touches your practiced cynicism. . . . .or your long mastered routine of suburban indifference as you drive down the road.

Years ago when new to the City of Sin these things would make you stare even gape in wonder _ but you are a Sinner now and the Sins of Sin City don’t even make blink anymore.
From the relative safety of your gated community your own urbanized version of Mayberry (the suburbs you mulligan) you don’t see the wonders or the darkness of the city. You zone it out as you make the daily commute to work, jamming and singing the words to your favorite tunes or listening to your favorite news the one that puts your favorite spin on the facts of life in the City of Sin.

The city of Sin however does not like to be ignored and has a way of letting you know it is here.

This is the city damn it pay attention you suburban, dweeb. Sometimes the sight that makes you look is cityscape  that’s greets you when you drive into an open space and see the high rising icons that dot the neon jungle. Like a wall of color that suddenly pops into view. Then there are the police cars surrounded by ambulances and a body covered with a sheet. Someone didn’t make it home.guy walking ion front of sign

When you live at edges of a major metropolitan population center (that’s city for those of you who didn’t waste your minor on political science) you develop mental armor. You don’t notice the angry man flipping the bird at the barber pole wind sock flapping in the breeze just as your ancient trouble prone CD player suddenly stops playing and the metal that ha insulated your brain from the city’s toxic intrusions stops playing.
Suddenly you notice the fact that the man laying in the shadow hasn’t moved an inch since you pulled up to the light. You notice the man dressed like big bird counting his tips on the corner and that the young woman dressed like Bo Peep is really a man with hairy legs at least 6 foot 5 inches tall. You even notice the half-dressed B girls after that have become

But the City of Sin will not be ignored and when you drive past the third set of police cars with flashing lights and serious men in uniforms and see more in the distance and realize there are more people on the road tonight than lived in your home town and that the person laying on the roadway probably wasn’t asleep the city has gotten your attention. It stops stomping its drama queen feet and lets you return to your insulated suburban world as the ancient CD player in you antique pick up truck suddenly begins to play again.awesome floor plans

It is not mysterious. The CD player has seen better days and is prone to stoppages but something in your deep psyche says your drama queen City didn’t like being ignored and made you pay attention to it.

Such is life in the City of Sin baby

Take Care Sinners

Love you guys
The city of sin

sin city skylineguy on bike

Special edition: A tribute to the Spazz

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The Spazz in better days - Royal Hopper

The Spazz in better days – Royal Hopper                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Once ten years or so ago I drove slowly down a hurricane ravaged road toward my double wide in the country with a heavy heart. I was worried about the damage of course but mostly I was anxious because I feared our beloved Lab Spazz had bolted before the storm and was left behind. I feared the worst but when I drove down the storm devastated back country road I was greeted with a wonderful sight. Not only was the house mostly intact Spazz was there on the relatively undamaged porch wagging his tail _ happy and ready to be fed. This incredible animal, this friend and family member we adopted from a neighbor in the east Texas bayou country was with us for years through two cross country moves and adventures. He survived illnesses and whipped the ass of dogs who outweighed him by 20 pounds.Spazz survived the hurricanes mysterious skin ailments, assorted animal attacks and multiple health scares but last week old age and kidney failure proved to be an enemy even a fearless canine warrior  like Spazz could not overcome.
Spazz, (Spasmo, Spazzi, the Spazz and numerous other nicknames) passed away Thursday at a Vets office in Las Vegas. He was 14, (95 in human years.)
This morning I was feeding lour two young rambunctious canines and by accident happened on a unused bowl sitting in the same spot it had always occupied. It was underneath the two others tucked away for future use.. I was overcome by a wave of sadness because I knew the bowl’s owner would never use it again. Spazz was gone and would not be coming back.
The house seems a little emptier now.. . . . Like something vital is missing _ something that cannot be replaced or copied..
So Long Spazzmo, Spazzi Spazz ..I will miss you were one tremendous furry pain in the ass and I will miss you everyday.

Here are a couple of blogs I wrote about Spazz awhile back

My best friend is an ahole

In light of recent events I come to the inevitable conclusion that my loveable beloved hairy best friend is not the lovable nice guy I thought he was.

Spazz the black Lab , our best friend

He is in fact quite simply a huge, fat, unrepentant short haired asshole.

For the record I am talking about my dog, Spazz a fat old black lab with an unhealthy love of stale, sun hardened hotdog buns, an impish spoiled childlike disposition and more than questionable lineage. The neighbor we obtained him from in my native SE Texas swore he was a pure blooded native born huntin’ dawg
We, however, have always believed that his spotted tongue betrays a Chow somewhere in his genetic heritage and incidentally the way I understand it Labs were originally bred in Canada to help fisherman haul their nets out of the frigid Canadian waters. So it is likely that although he was whelped in the East Texas bayou country and is undeniably a country “dawg” he is in reality Canadian/Chinese canine redneck. (Can you say Y’all want to play hockey eyyy or study Kung Fu.)
Spazz or Spazzmo as we have taken to calling him is a sweet heart. He loves people, attention, female dogs and any food he is not supposed to have, particularly things people have thrown away.
Often on walks he pounces on a dried out hotdog like he is a lion pouncing on a gazelle he had dragged down after a long chase in the wilds of Africa. Like any spoiled child, after each mischief he smiles diabolically, clearly expecting praise for his great hotdog hunting skills and like any spoiled child instinctively realizing that all he has to do is look cute, flash his big soulful Lab eyes and suck up to us for an hour and he will be forgiven most transgressions.
He once snagged the chocolate muffin my wife had set aside for breakfast and gulped it down paper and all before she could even turn around and realize it was gone. Another time he was rough housing with our other dog and broke some old pottery that was on a nearby shelf.
After that my wife swore she was going to trade Spazz to the nearest postal worker’s family for a poodle, two goldfish and a utility infielder to be named later but once again he flashed those soulful eyes, exercised his doggie Jedi mind powers and was again the sweetheart of the house.
Spazzmo loves people we never worry about him biting any of our neighbors because we know that “the Spazzmo” (kind of like the Donald) loves attention to much to harm those who lavish it on him. We joke sometimes that if someone ever breaks into the house while we are gone all the burglar would have to do is offer Spazzmo a stale ham sandwich or hotdog and pat him on the head and he would have an instant friend.

Spazz’s one problem in the world is that he is absolutely fearless and like many attention loving territorial prima donnas he does not like competition and therefore does not like other dogs. He sees it as his mission in life to fight any other dog that would challenge his ownership of the world he has peed on, plans to pee on or sees other dogs pee on. He will struggle to escape his leash even to the point of nearly choking himself. He has broken, chewed in half or snapped seven leashes and chains even breaking the dollar store choke chain he bought to keep him under control. We are investigating training techniques and we bought a “gentle leader” and double leash him on his walks and only walk him when other dogs are absent but it seems unlikely that at his age he will change.

We humans tend to see what we want to see in those we care about, and ignore, sometimes deliberately it seems, their obvious flaw until it is to late to do anything about it.

Especially those who are worthy of friendship, love and loyalty on the most basic instinctive of levels….

Cheers all

Imagine John Travolta is a dog named Spazz, and is strutting down the streets of the city just like in one of those awful disco movie sequels he made eons ago. “Staying alive, staying alive…” the pooch would sing as he strutted the avenue in his famously fashionable polyester leisure suit, gold chains flapping up and down as he announced to the world that he was indeed the world’s gift to females and the baddest boogie king on the block.
Now reverse that image and imagine my 100 pound lab appropriately named Spazz has adopted the “Tony Manetti” strut and is strolling down the streets of your city singing his version of that infamous Bee Gees song “Peeing on things“
“Peein’ on things …peein’ on things…peeeeeiin on thhhiiiiinnnngggs yeah”
If you can picture this you have some idea of what I see everyday in some form or another. I believe all pets have different theme songs that make you compare them to different movie stars and celebrities. I once had a doog nameGomer who we swore talked like a gay version of Eddie Murphy and sang walk this way while another huge female dog my daughter named Lisa with a happy disposition was like a big muscular hairy version of Marylin Monroe.
As I have already said in previous columns my dog Spazz is a simple creature. He likes to pee on things and is very territorial…He likes to walk around our apartment complex and marking his territory as he goes peeing on whatever he can get his leg near strutting with every step, head up doing the Tony Manetti stroll daring anyone to prove that he isn’t the baddest boogie king on the block.
Today I took him for his usual late night walk and as usual he walked head up stiff as a board strutting like a Kentucky show horse desperately straining at the leash to fight dogs hundreds of feet away and sometimes ones he couldn’t even see. As usual he pooped pawing the ground to proclaim his poop the most masterful in the world and then strutted as we walked back to our apartment. As we approached the corner of our block a car stopped and waited for us to move to one side or the other and I attempted to pull Spazz out of the way so the car could pass. The theme song changed from Saturday Night Fever , from Staying Alive to the theme form Dirty Harry….“Go ahead make my day” he seemed to say resisting my efforts to pull him away either eager to challenge the late model passenger car to a fight or ask for a ride to the park where all the cool lady dogs hung out.

The ultimate game of chicken. You wont hit me dude. That is a new truck. You will not hit me _ Photo by Royal

The ultimate game of chicken. You wont hit me dude. That is a new truck. You will not hit me _ Photo by Royal

A woman with blue hair, a furry animal backpack and a neo-Anime outlook on wardrobe saunters up to a crosswalk with a world weary Sin City attitude about her. She looks around at the stares she knows she is drawing and rolls her eyes Sin City style and begins trudging across the intersection.

A man who looks like his last meal was stolen from convenience store walks up to one of the last banks of pay phones and pretends to make a call.

In yet another part of the city of sin a man is poised underneath what looks like a small dumpster welded to a heavy duty shopping cart frame. Occasionally he looks up at carts like owner with a practiced eye assesses the damage the precision machinery has sustained.

What does it all mean ???? The answer in a few columns.

woman playing games and smoking

The Freaks are Everywhere and it is a good thing or Driving in the City of Sin

By Royal Hopper

You are driving down a Sin City roadway in the sweltering heat of August and you see a man standing hear one the isolated banks of ancient payphones that populate the odd street corner of Sin City. The man looks around to see if anyone in the Sin City rush hour traffic is bothering to look at a bedraggled, bearded apparently homeless man dressed in ratty, torn, dirty sweats and the turns to the payphone striding up the antique phones grabbing one with gusto and apparently beginning an animated conversation with someone on the other end.
One can only imagine what he says.
“No seriously I cant make lunch Friday. I have a corner to work. Will work for food baby. Ciao baby.”

The weather turned cooler in the City of Sin this week. In Vegas terms that means 95 degrees Fahrenheit instead of 105.

I swear to you I saw a man underneath a shopping cart loaded with stuff as if he was fixing a flat or readjusting the gears on the cart. It was a custom job with what appeared to be a small dumpster welded to the top of it. As the light changed the cart mechanic gave the owner a thumbs up indicating that perhaps the Cadillac of shopping carts/dumpster was ready to roll.
One mans broken down shopping cart is another’s Ferrari. One mans modified dumpster is another’s Sunday Honey Do list.

The Pay Phone guy - Royal Hopper

The Pay Phone guy – Royal Hopper

As you wind down the road toward the tourists corridor in the center of town the blue haired babe crosses the street with a confidence you might expect from a babe brave enough to walk around in Vegas with blue hair and a furry animal backpack.

Such things are not an uncommon thing in the City of Sin. As someone who has personally seen grown men wearing pony ears and a Snow White dress and several groups of anime characters having lunch in the 15 years off and on I have lived and worked in the City of Sin I can tell whatever it was in the days of Elvis. Las Vegas is a the Freak capital of North America.

Working men _Photo by Royal

Working men _Photo by Royal

What does it mean ???? This is Vegas baby.. The City of Sin. This is where the Freaks come to unfurl their flags _ man .. . . .

To paraphrase Shrek’s “buddy” Mama Bear “This baby Vegas Baby. Let your freak flag fly.”Says it all _ Photo by Royal Hopper

A photo of the map provided by NERT of area being investigated for pollution levels

A photo of the map provided by NERT of area being investigated for pollution levels

By 2020 Nevada officials say they will be ready for a coup de gras in the decades long struggle to clean up the remains of southern Nevada’s industrial past. Volatile chemicals have been leaching into Nevada ground water since the 40s but residents are not in danger. Levels in drinking water are at undetectable levels officials say.

NERT Officials say study, clean up Proceeding Well.

Residents not in Danger from perchlorate and chromium from old BMI complex

By Royal Hopper
Once upon a time the waste from rocket fuel manufacturing was dumped into unsealed dirt ponds in the Henderson are where it seeped into the ground water for decades.
“It is not in the drinking water,” said James Dotchin supervisor for the Special Projects branch of the state agency assigned to supervise the clean up at a public meeting in Henderson on Wednesday.
A metal called Chromium and a chemical called ammonium per chlorate are in the ground water at rates of 1 to 10 parts per million downhill from the site of the pollution and thousands per million at the site but residents of Henderson but are not at risk.
In answer to a resident’s question he added that contamination at the source of the pollution the old Black Mountain Industrial complex is in the thousands of parts per million in the ground water but has not infiltrated surrounding soil or drinking water.
Perchlorate is a group of oxidizers used in rocket fuel, fireworks, and military ordinance. He said the ground water would not effect vegetable gardens or family pets but potential home owners would have to be informed.
Dotchin detailed the history of the pollution to the audience of three dozen or so residents. The pollution comes from the old Kerr McGee plant now called Tronox and several other now defunct plants operating in southern Nevada since the 1940s.
Perchlorate poisoning can cause thyroid problems and chromium can cause dermatitis and some forms may be carcinogenic according to the Environmental Protection Agency website. There are currently no EPA standards for per chlorate in drinking water Dotchin said but the agency is working on it and the state of Nevada sets the standard at 18 parts per billion. Current levels in southern Nevada drinking water are at non detectable levels he said.

The study currently underway in the down gradient area north of the complex an east/west strip of land that includes the area around Sam Boyd Silver Bowl is being conducted by the Nevada Environmental Response Trust. This group formed around the bankrupt Tronox company formerly Kerr McGee company.
Effforts to clean up the BMI complex a 346 acre complex contained in a long north/south strip of land roughly east of Pecos and north of Lake Mead Parkway have been going on for decades and includes several ground water capture sights through the county.
“Recent groundwater monitoring results indicate significant capture and ongoing reduction of the perchlorate and hexavalent chromium plumes. Perchlorate concentrations in Las Vegas Wash have declined by more than 90% over the last 10 years of groundwater capture system operation. The GWETS continues to operate. Recent groundwater monitoring results indicate significant capture and ongoing reduction of the perchlorate and hexavalent chromium plumes. “

Click to access 2014-05-30%20Community%20Info%20&%20Involvement%20Plan.pdf
Federal standards allow for 100 parts per billion of chromium

Chemicals produced there include elemental boron, boron trichloride and boron tribromide manganese dioxide, and ammonium per chlorate.