lady on street 2.jpg

These Things happen in the City of Sin

by Royal Hopper
Driving down a Sin City byway on your way to work to pay the mortgage, because lets face it that’s why most of us work, you see a man legs crossed head down his limp, dull dark hair hanging down over his eyes concealing his face from view.
He sits on the edge of the sidewalk, his thin legs crossed at the feet and those same feet resting on the asphalt of the busy City of Sin road. Occasionally a Sin City commuter will glance at the lone sitter wondering WTF is he doing with his feet on the road and his ass on the edge of the sidewalk but mostly they just move their cars a foot or two to the right and keep moving.

crosses on shopping cart

These two crosses hang on the back of a shopping cart odds and ends. A symbol of hope or good decorating? _ Photo by Royal Hopper

The light changes and the afternoon commuter traffic moves forward you have to move your eyes forward toward the goal of paying your mortgage and away from the forlorn looking sitter.
Who knows why he was sitting there. It could have been a wild party the night before had left his senses a bit dull and he didn’t realize his feet were on the street. He could have been a daredevil of a rebel daring the commuters to hit him.

It could have been that life was so tough he was thinking about ending it all and was trying to work up the courage or it have been he was just to stoned to notice or care. It is the City of Sin after all and these things happen.


Sunset in the City of Sin _ Photo by Royal Hopper

I have said this many times driving down a Sin City street is like looking at a cross section of malady and joy that make up the fabric of the human existence. If you actually look you will see a lot and you can tell a lot about a person just by where and how he sits.
Continuing your journey on another street you see a man sitting down on a landscaped boulder amid the landscaped bushes and trees legs crossed staring out at the fake world with a look of forlorn hopelessness. He was on the gaunt side with freshly shorn hair and three days of whiskers.

He wasn’t dirty or ill kept but he had that look of just being done with it all. Of course he may have just had a massive hangover and no pocket money for a Tylenol or another drink. Such as it is this is the City of Sin after all and these things happen.
If you actually look at stuff around you this city is like a sheet of white cheddar rolled in motor oil and honey with a coating of watermelon, dog turd, worn out cardboard signs and miles and miles of neon, concrete and fake vistas. It is chaos and order. Fun and misery. Drunken debauchery and every day paying the mortgage drudgery.

people sleeping near Catholic charities

Its just what you think it is _ Photo by Royal Hopper

It is a city like any other that wears its nature like a mask boasting of its issues like an over the hill rock star who stills sells out huge arenas but knows he is over the hill and is trying to get some attention _ to get his share of glory while it is still there to be had.
As you near the end of your journey you spy another sitter, a lone woman who looks equally lost and forlorn sitting on a corner near nothing and no one holding her cell phone in one hand her ragged jogging suit stained from the dirt she was sitting on. Beside her a scraggily mutt looking dirty and hungry and on his last canine legs.back of Sam Boyd.JPG

The tragic feeling you develop for her and the dog disappears quickly as the phone rings again and when she answers it a man pulls up on a scooter. She waves at him hangs up the cell as the dog begins yapping and goes into a spastic dance of canine welcome as the man gets off his scooter and approaches.
The man offers a small token at the return of his obviously best friend. There woman refuses shakes his hand and smiles as she points at a poster perhaps with a picture of the dog and a phone number. When they part the man feeds the dog a biscuit from his pocket and the woman jogs home. shopping cart and pigeons.JPG
You smile a small smile at the small brightest that lights up the dar world you live in because this is the City of Sin and these things happen…
Love You Sinners
Take Care

guy sitting

A guy sitting on a rock. Don’t ask me why I don’t know _ Photo by Royal Hopper

March Madness and Stuff

by Royal Hopper

A woman pauses in the middle of a phone conversation surrounded by angry intoxicated men who don’t know each other. She curses like a drunken Yankee sailor momentarily look up at the object of her wrath on a video screen more than 100 feet across and 50 feet tall, one of several on the massive video display in the huge cavernous Sin City sports book.

las vegas

Kind of self explanatory _ Royal Hopper

“&*^%ing Middle Tennessee,” she said uttering a stream of curses under her breath that would have made an old Vegas wise guy blush like 15-year- old prom date.
Once upon a time in the desert thousdands of people gathered in a town dedicated to decadence to drink, bet more than they could afford on games and teams they know nothing about and curse and scream at each other and at the results of their betting.
The Middle of March in called MarchMadness for a reason. There is no more essentially Vegas event than this orgy of betting drinking cursing and regret centered around the NCAA basketball championships. Consider the players are amateurs _ college students who do not get paid for their efforts.


A man at the U Haul _ Royal Hopper

In the City of Sin millions of dollars are bet in a single day at a single book. One gentleman was escorted to a taxi by hotel security with a handful of betting tickets in his hand the visible top two for more $7,000. He was a working man by the look of his clothes and was drunk enough that it took some convincing to assure him he was in fact in Las Vegas and not Boston as he originally thought.
There is something primally attractive to the people of this country about the phony decadence offered by weeks of betting money most of them cannot afford on amateur basketball.
In other events like the Super Bowel where million dollar atheletes get paid a years salary for one game are just an excuse to get drunk for a day scream at the screen like a child _ forget you are a grown up with bills and things to do for a few hours. Every country has a version of this controlled decadencem _ The World Cup, The International Rugby and Criket Championsips and so on …..

drive carefully 2

Comeback soon to by Royal Hopper

March Madness is something bizzarely American and difficult to explain to someone who has never been in a Sin City sports book when 64 of the nations unpaid college basketball teams play their hearts out for a trophy … strangers can bet their life savings on the games.
One wonders what the alien archeologists whp dig up our civilization for study a thousand years from now will think about this. Will they giggle and go back to their starships on their way to the weekly elightenment or will they stop by the space casino and make a parley bet on the spaceship races….
That is life in modern times and life in the City of Sin
Take Care Sinners


Took this from a corner in my subdivision about 100 feet from my house _ photo by Royal Hopper

beach seagull profile

This was taken at a beach in northern California. Sue me I like birds _ Photo by Royal Hopper


This couple was walking down the boulevard last week or so – Photo by Royal Hopper

Pretending it’s 1978 and your Young in the City of Sin

by Royal Hopper

You see a man sitting on a bicycle on a street corner in Las Vegas. He wears a loose fitting yellow and black jersey popular with Punk Rockers in the late 70s and early 80s. He could be a young man except for the gray, receding hairline cropped in a manner that would make any fan of of the let it be decade drool in authentic nostalgia and the rebellious cigarette hanging from his lips James Dean style. He draws a puff on his cigarette as if he could pull some remnant of his former younger rebellious self from its poisonous paper and tobacco contents.

Thinking about it takes you back a few years.


You have to admire a man with gray hair who has the self confidence to wear a pony tail _ Photo by Royal Hopper

Imagine it is a few years ago. You are standing at the pool of the ill fated Riviera a grand old lady of the gambling world due for demolition in a short time to make way for useful things like convention floor space and strip malls full of cheap gift shops peddling souvenirs made in Chinese sweat shops. The very air in this old Rat Pack era Leviathan smells of decades gambling, drinking decadence and other things people usually do while naked.
Everybody who was anybody played there so you know lets tear it down. You watch people file into the pool deck one by one and one catches your eye. He wears a pony tail ala late 70s Rocker kid, an Ocean Pacific T Shirt exactly like the one one you owned in 1978 and flare leg jeans and flip flops for Alice Cooper’s sake. He looked like he had stepped right out that infamous decade _ except for the long streaks of iron gray in his Rocker kid doo and 70s style stache.


What does it all mean? The man seems to say _ Royal Hopper

What does this all mean???
Vegas, the city of Sin is a place where most people go to pretend. Pretend they are younger, are lucky _ are better looking. There are a few player who genuinely profit from the City of Sin but for most of us it is just a big game of pretend because in this city you can get away with it for awhile. They put away the social camouflage of their adult hood and don the social uniforms of their youth because it makes them remember what it feels like to have the future at your beck and call.

Just awhile ..because beneath the nostalgic theater of this city it is coldly pragmatic ..It is reality waiting to bite you in the ass and remind you aint true.
Just down the road is someone with a sign, somebody dressed like big bird , someone sleeping on the street someone being 86d from a casino because they were stupid. People in cool clothes paying $100 for a steak covered in trendy pink salt.
That aint a fairy tale
It is life in the City of Sin

Love you Sinners




Donny and Marie the poster children of mainstream goody goodness for 30 years have none the less been stables of the stage in the City of Sin _ Royal Hopper

There is a line from an old Metallica song that goes ..”You just stood there screaming fearing no one would listen to you. They say an empty can rattles the most. The sound of your own voice must soothe you.”

Social cammo and the sound of your own voice

By Royal Hopper 
That must be what was happening when a man stood in a Cafe in the City of Sin shouting in his outdoor voice at the guests of the cafe pointing his finger at them and making accusations against everything and everyone apparently egged on by invisible friends he occasionally referred too in the third person and present tense. “Are we we sure. Yes. We are sure. Okay I just wanted to be sure…” IMG_0177.JPGHe looked and sounded crazy and drunk so he must be crazy and or drunk so he must be. Eventually security came to encourage him out the door and his invisible friends too.
We have talked before about the concept of social uniforms and social camoflougue. The concept means more than clothing and hairstyle. Although that is a lot of it. It also means the way you talk and what you talk about about. How loud and how often you speak up.
Once a man in his 40s sat at a slot machine shoving $20 bills into the nickle machine like a rock star on coke. He had a layered hair metal mullet with silver studs hanging from bangs and leopard skin vest and 80s rocker boots and an attitude of practiced fearlessness and cockiness.IMG_0185.JPG

A crowd had gathered around him and was beginning to cause a scene as they began speculate on what aging rock star had come to play nickel slots at their favorite casino. A few young women had sidled up to him and were purring for his attention. Shoving the promotional tickets he had been handing out minutes before in his pocket he began to speak to the young women….right about the time Mrs. Aging rock star came walking up with another handful of promotional tickets took the wig of his head and led him by the hand away from the crowd of admirers oddly not that upset that three women almost young enough to be her daughters had been macking on her “old man.” They stripped off parts of the costumes they had worn was they walked and minutes later were back in the casino just a cutsy 40 something couple in cream colored cotton dockers and denim spending a weekend in the casino. No one noticed them….


Two guys walking a baby _ Royal Hopper

If you wear the right social uniform people will notice you and assume you belong. If you use the right social cammoflougue people will assume you are part of the landscape and you will blend into the background.
Predators if they are smart never look like predators. The innocent if they are smart will try the best they can not to look innocent. In this city looking innocent and alone is a little like running naked through a sex addict support group or skinny dipping in a school of piranha. Looking normal and poor will likely get you ignored.

bike locka onm gate

A gate near Lake Havesu covered in bike locks. I don’t know what it means but it is a cool photo _ Royal Hopper

The man in the cafe was eventually led out of the restaurant and the casino in which it sat and into the tender embrace of the City of Sin’s concrete sidewalks and asphalt neon and sand.
Lets face it looks are everything in this city. How you portray yourself is how people will rememer you and how they will treat you.
What people beleive you are is what they will treat you like
Thats life in the City of Sin
Take Care Sinners Love You


Tax Season is upon us as this bald “Lady Liberty” can attest to_ Royal Hopper

The City of Sin: Many Things to Many People.  If you have the Money and the Time

by Royal Hopper 

…”When I come to Vegas the last thing I want to do is put on a suit ….” said the Canadian as he stroked his Klondike style beard and looked out at the working class couples striding into one Sin City casino in their Sunday best for a supper that will probably cost the better part of a weeks take home after bills fund.


Dancing days are here again. This Flower Child stalked the confines of Paradise Road last week _ Photo by Royal Hopper

“I just want relax and be myself,” he mused stroking his beard standing in the cool desert air in Bermuda shorts and blowing another cloud of strawberry scented smoke across the unusually wet desert air. He smiled as the smoke floated down onto the age worn dirty concrete that was used and dirty when Elvis actually waited there for his limo.
One of the men from those couples a man obviously of modest means waits for his girl outside of a bathroom likely larger than his apartment pacing slightly on the much polished marble tugging on the edges of a suit he is obviously unaccustomed to wearing and rehearsing a line I’m guessing he hopes to repeat at the dinner. He looks over to you tugs on his tie and shrugs his shoulders manly body language asking your opinion on his appearance and his one liner. Smiling slightly when you nod in the affirmative.
“You look good Holmes,” your nod says and he smiles as his girls emerges from the restroom somehow more confident because a stranger who was shaving when his mother was still in high school had nodded at him. Perhaps he has plans for later on and is now more confident that they will come to fruition.


This is a homeless camp on Tropicana Avenue late last week _ Photo by Royal Hopper

The City of Sin is different things to different people. To some it means the ability to stand in a freezing wind smoking strawberry e cigs in his shorts talking with someone whose entire wardrobe he could buy with the shoe money he keeps in his spare wallet. To some it is spending more than he really should on a dinner with his girl hoping to close the deal late that night in a suit he will wear a dozen or so times in his life…..
In the age of corporate Vegas often it is chasing your hyperactive kids across a Vegas casino as they wait to participate in their gymnastic tournament, weight lifting, Tae Kwon Do match, ballet, squirrel painting ..whatever because of course there is no better place to take your kids than an entire city dedicated to drinking, gambling and hedonism. It is  place where grown men routinely get rolled by chicks named Snow Bunny, Ivory Nettles and Wanda (Long Story) and where you can get drunk 24 hours a day _ but hey why not right?.


Two people waiting to cross the road Photo by Royal Hopper

Apparently to many people the City of Sin is chasing their kids across a casino under the baleful glares of the people whose duty it is to protect the establishment they are staying in. . I have seen a man with 400 pounds of muscle who could bench press my entire shift with little effort be so spooked by this city he insists on an escort to his limo and little old ladies so unafraid they comforted the men sent to protect them.


Just hanging out at the Pharmacy _ Royal Hopper

Lets face it ….This city is a bit of a whore ..If you have money and time it will be whatever you want it too. It will rob you blind sometimes and sometimes give you the time of your life while doing doing so. Sometimes in the City of Sin you hit a jackpot. Usually not but sometimes.
That is life in the City of Sin brothers and sisters
Love You Sinners take care


Sue me me I like birds _ Photo by Royal Hopper