2015 good bye and Good Riddance

Rivier sign

One of the things we lost in 2015 The Riv finally closed after 60 -years

2015 was a lot like an old car. You are grateful to have it ..but glad when you finally get a new one.

By Royal Hopper
Once a man who was being walked out of casino for not having any money and not taking a bath regularly and wearing the same clothes every day (he was homeless) paused as he reached the door of the old Riviera. Hotel/casino and looked around pensively. His expression changed from one of practiced pretend craziness to genuine sadness and nostalgia.

“I am going to miss this old place,” he said a small tear seeming to form in the corner of his eye. “I used to come here in better days,” he murmured. “You know brother. . . “ he said looking at the security guard who was escorting him out. Both the guard ..they call them officers now I guess. . . and the reprobate were old hands at the game they were playing and to them it wasn’t personal . It was the life they both chose out of necessity, bad luck and the dual vagaries of fate and morally uncertain men. They were not angry at each other it was the game.

elvis slept here2

a relic of old Vegas taken summer 2915

“Yeah man. My Mom worked here for awhile years ago,” the guard said gesturing toward the nearest door out of long habit. I used to come here a night sometimes when I was bored and play quarter mania and video games and eat at the Burger King.”

“Yeah brother,” the reprobate said shaking his head but stopping his hand from patting the guard on the shoulder knowing from experience that grabbing a guard was a no no when being escorted out of a Sin City casino.

“I will miss her too,” the guard said stepping back as the reprobate continued walking toward the door _ knowing he would be back when the guards shift was over and was once again just an anonymous dirty, poorly dressed face in a crowd.

EDC sign

EDC 2015 Photo by Royal Hopper

After the man left the guard looked around a bit stroked his red and gray goatee in thought and then keyed his radio mike and reported that the reprobate had indeed left the property. “Yeah man I will miss her to..” he said looking at his watch as if somehow the hands had sped up and were moving faster in there inevitable countdown of time.. So long 2015. You were a bitch sometimes but you had class.

blow up doll

Fair is Fair _ File Photo Royal

************************************************************************ In the larger non human sense of the word the closing of the 60-year old Riviera Hotel/Casino with all its history was a big part of the year 2015 in Sin City. Overall it was a rough year in the City of Sin. Google it We lost people We lost friends.

Google it https://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=2015+in+review+las+vegas&start=0


More than 42 million people visited the City of Sin..
Politics took certain stage in the latter part of the year with candidates of every sort wooing Sinners to their cause. The country’s biggest Rave hit town once again taking up the entertainment torch left un kept acts like the Grateful Dead were to old even for Vegas . The CES, MAGIC, Grand Prix racing and SEMA were among the Alphabet soup of conventions that graced the City of Sin in 2015.











Christmas week in Sin City

samstowm x mas show

Some of us Sinners watch the Christmas show at Samstown hotel/casino Wednesday _ Photo by Royal Hopper

The Glories of Neon Christmas or Merry Christmas Sinners

By Royal Hopper 

This Christmas I watched an animatronic bear with a Santa hat dance I ate dinner with my family. I opened presents and exchanged awkward hugs with people I love and talked about the good old days with feigned gusto while my dogs tore apart the stuffed animals we bought them.

xmas eve dinner 2 better

Christmas dinner at my house _ Photo by Royal Hopper

It was Christmas like it is in millions of households in millions of homes across the country.

The City of Sin itself was the same wonderful weird place it always has been.

Twas the night before Christmas and the casinos were full
If you think gamblers go home for X-Mas your full of Bull

I saw a man riding a skating board across a pedestrian crosswalk in an expensive suits talking on his cell. My daughter says he was a hipster. I guess it is a good thing I saw him coming and didn’t step on the gas. Perhaps I was taken by the Christmas spirit
Perhaps I remembered those times I was a wannabe cool guy _ long hair, slick shirts and blue jeans faded just right.


One of the Samstown Christmas show cast shows off his Christmas beanie _ Photo by Royal

There was another cell talker pulled over in the corner lane of a busy highway sitting on his scooter decked out in head to toe in slick black leather talking on his cell phone intently as traffic whizzed past him on the elevated highway.

I witnessed a woman walking on the sidewalk and talking on her cell loud enough so that I could hear it 30 feet away ..in a closed car with the windows rolled up and the radio playing at an audible level. I felt sorry foe the dude on the other end because he was getting a ration of pre Christmas crap from this lady and her cell. I don’t know what it was with people with people on their cell phones this week but it was weird.

That being said you could also surmise the week leading up to Christmas in Sin City was somehow different than other parts of the country_ You would be wrong.

kuma playing

Dogs love Christmas as evidenced by this 85 pound pooch dancing with joy at her bevy of new Christmas dog toys _ Photo by Royal Hopper

Mostly it is the same..Cheesy Christmas themed laser light shows, decorations strung up around the city .. Christmas parties everyone hates except the drunks ..who mostly just don’t remember why the picked the fight that got them kicked out of the party.

Walk across a casino on Christmas Day people say Merry Christmas as they throw off their coats and belly up to the bar or the roulette table or the chick named Snowball who is going to roll them later on that evening.

It is not bad movie or a bad trip.. It is just life in the City of Sin.

Rock On Sinners
Merry Christmas
Love You guys

the cow

One of the first landmarks you see upon landing at Houston International airport is this statue of a bull holding a state flag he is planting on the moon ??? _ Royal Hopper

The City is Us and my sort of vacation in my Texas homeland

By Royal Hopper

The day I left Vegas for the rustic confines of my native Southeast Texas. I drove past homeless guys, abandoned buildings , corny expensive tourist attractions and thought _ at least I will get away from this. I will miss my city but I will get away from this for a few days.

chuirch cross

One of the first landmarks you see upon landing at Houston International airport is this statue of a bull holding a state flag he is planting on the moon ??? _ Royal Hopper

Outside the Rose City Baptist church there is a sign that proudly proclaims 97 years of community service and counting. Across the street nestled among badly trimmed trees and patches of weeds green even in December are railroad tracks my 72-year-old mother picked blackberries at when a young child.  Mom or Mama as us southerners say,  reported that more than once she had to scoot off the tracks as a freight train barreled thru the rural community on their way to the myriad oil refineries in the area.
“ I was baptized here,” my mother explained telling the story of the old church sandwiched between the rural exurbs around her home town and the southeast Texas town she grew up in.
In some ways it this old church is the polar opposite of the the city of Sin and in some ways it reminded me of a casino I worked at until a few moths ago. They were both old by the standards of their environment _ full of history, leaks and mold and a feeling that this was a place people came to do things.

Of course the church didn’t smell like alcohol, dog pee , fake tan spray and weed in any of its parts which older casinos especially those who allow dogs often do.

Houston skyline

One of the first landmarks you see upon landing at Houston International airport is this statue of a bull holding a state flag he is planting on the moon ??? _ Royal Hopper

When I worked at the Riviera, when it was open,  a man left his backpack in the casino. It was full of primo weed _ a two quart jar full of it _ and he got very angry when we (and by that I mean casino security which I have done off and on for 15 years) would not give him back his weed. He actually called the police to complain about us not giving his weed back to him. I never heard what the Las Vegas PD told him as he used the phone we lent him to call the police about his confiscated Chronic but he left without his weed and threatened to sue us if he had a seizure which the Mary Jane ( ask your older friends what that means) was used to treat. Right…

sign holder

One of the first landmarks you see upon landing at Houston International airport is this statue of a bull holding a state flag he is planting on the moon ??? _ Royal Hopper

The church on the other hand smelled like hundreds of weddings and sermons and thousands of baptisms and church picnics and memorials for lost loved ones and all those things we associate with the living and celebrating of life and the mourning of its loss. It wasn’t decadent. It was just old, moldy and in need of new carpet and new appliances.

People said eloquent things in that church that day _ things mostly from the heart. I am not a religious man but that day eloquence was the watchword of the day and I learned my beloved nephew is more eloquent in speech than I have ever been and the kind of man I would want my son to be if I had one.

In Vegas _ the City of Sin there are sign holders everywhere. In SE Texas and SW Louisiana I thought for sure there would be none. Then on a rainy day driving down a feeder road in SE Texas town I saw a single lone sign holder sitting on the pavement in the one place local police would not notice _ sitting in the rain on the median in the middle of a feeder road holding a sign. The rainy haze if that days bad weather but I saw a car stop and the driver give the man a dollar. Later that week I parked at a corny but interesting tourist attraction across the river in Louisiana and saw buildings and houses that had outgrown their usefulness rotting behind a wall of brush or trees.

Peggys on the Bayou

For the record Peggys is a very nice burger joint on a southeast Texas bayou near Bridge City . This is an old sign that was laying near the newer more modern section of the old cafe – Photo by Royal Hopper

I visited a place this week on a vacation_ one I thought was very unlike my beloved city _ the City of Sin and is was different _ and very much alike in so many ways. As I have often said the City of Sin is not an aberration. Its flaws are our flaws ..It is us regardless of where you are from _ It is us _ all our flaws and issues blown up a thousand time and written across the desert skyline in huge neon letters. The City of Sin is in fact 50 years of neon greed, lust and fairy tales.

KC southern

One of the first landmarks you see upon landing at Houston International airport is this statue of a bull holding a state flag he is planting on the moon ??? _ Royal Hopper

That’s life in the City of Sin bro.
I’m back Sinners
Love you guys

now open

Now Open ?????

The Devil in Vegas or Tuesday in the City of Sin


By Royal Hopper 


A lone man waits on a Sin City street corner late last week on Tropicana Avenue. His black leather biker jacket offered some protection against the winter wind but it was his white hair and the red strip of material wrapped around his arm and the symbol drawn on it that was most noticeable to commuters and those who paid attention anyway. It is red and black and curves in opposite directions in all four of its points and represents something most sane people believe is an evil idea. Fortunately This Sin City baby and we don’t give a crap.

cityscape good

Vegas Baby – Royal Hopper

The City of Sin is not a place that cares very much about ideas. It loves money and fun and self expression. People wearing swastikas on their leather jackets on a street corner barely draw a whisper of attention in a place wear Snow Whites with beards and dentists dressed like big bird are a common sight. People carrying signs are just another sign holder in a city full of sign holder wanting donations for Karate lessons to fight the ninjas that kidnapped their karate teacher, help fighting their diabetes or just for food or just because they need a beer. We are jaded, cynical and used to a lot of bizarre things. It takes a lot to get our attention.
“Is that Elvis in his late period nice costume man.” “What costume ?” That actually happened to me.

Pizza and cokle


The City was full of Cowboys .. dressed like cowboys of course. I saw a cowboy complete with spurs and a ten gallon hat talking to a metal head decked out in black leather and studs talking about a buffet and where to get the best deal on cheap lunch or players card. They were feet away from a medieval princess and a gut dressed like he had stepped out of an 80s music video snickering at the “weirdoes” as they spoke.

If there is a Devil _ an adversary of heaven as the legends and religions say there must be ..if there is . . . and he was walking down the street as a book by an author whose name eludes me as I am writing this .. We would bare ly notice on our way to work. Someone would pose for a picture with him and his costume __ someone would throw him a $5 and tell him to get lost and security at a casino would probably trespass him for causing trouble or get him a players card and escort him to the high limit table if he had money.
That is just who we are man _ Wonderfully apathetic and hard to impress. W are not cold or evil we are Sinners and this is just life in the City of Sin.

I am going on vacation and there will likely not be a Sin City Missive for awhile ..especially since O do this for fun and don’t get paid for it . . .

So just remember “stay sane inside insanity” *( Rocky Horror Picture Show) Sinners enjoy the Holidays and Rock On every chance you get ..

Love you guys

20150822_162020 - nice cityscape

Sunset in the City of Sin _ Photo by Royal Hopper


Cold weather makes pigeons do strange things. Pigeons are slower and have worse judgment. Sometimes they fly into the air right in front of you and no matter how quickly you try to avoid hitting them they fly right into the side your truck with a loud thunk and struggle cluelessly on in spite of the fact that 6,000 pounds of Detroit steel and aluminum (its an older truck) have hit them squarely in their bird brains or body.

Innocence and Winter in the City of Sin


By Royal Hopper 

Living in the City of Sin is kind of like that. Everywhere you turn there is the stuff of life. There is always love, there is always sex there are always theft, deals being made, there are always hunters and prey and there are always pigeons who move to slow in the cold or in the casino and always get in the way when you are on your way to work.

walking to the 711

photo by Royal Hopper 

Driving down a Sin city street can be an education in and of itself. You see a social gathering _ on a street. There people act like they are at a bar exchange looks, phone numbers _ drugs maybe (okay maybe not that) and gifts. (clean socks oh you shouldn’t have)

You see the usual suspects carrying signs on the corner/ Some look genuinely desperate _ some you are certain you have seen at the mall buying curly fries and they shrug and smile as your eyes meet and hold their sign higher.

A man/woman advertises service in a not so subtle way _ He/she shrugs and smiles as you tell them to get lost. They are fine with who they are and this my friends is the City of Sin. Get over it


Sunset in the City of Sin _ Photo by Royal Hopper

I was listening to the Mamas and the Papas “Monday Monday”  on You Tube the other day Monday morning to be exact..taking note that the song was created when I was 4 – years old. The innocence of the song and the fact it was made before I was in kindergarten made me feel both young and old _ both seasoned and wise and hopelessly out of place in modern cynical, jaded materialistic world struggling to find its identity when all those things that once identified us are falling away without being replaced.

It s like the drunk who realizes he has been killing himaself over shots of cheap whiskey or gr drugs and finally throws his last bottle across the street with finality only to discover he has no idea what to do with himself without soul destroying liquid in his hand.

After a while I had to turn off the innocent sounds of the 60s and turn on something darker and harder put myself in the Sin City mindset so I don’t end up like the pigeon slowed down by cold and innocence and rushing headlong into a juggernaut of metal and/or life.
Innocence has little place in the City of Sin .. It just doesn’t fit. This City is like life _ confusing, strange and full of bumps and bruises to pigeons who don’t pay attention to where they are going.

So Sinners take not >> Be kind be cool be human bit don’t be sorry for who you are _ Live your life _ be the best version of you _ that you can and let your freak Flag Fly in the City of Sin.

Rock On fellow Sinners

Love you guys