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It’s okay to know your limits


by Royal Hopper 


You see a fair skinned couple stumbling down a sidewalk to where their friends are sun bathing tipsy from the alcohol they have consumed …pink from the ultra violet rays of the sun pounding their exposed skin and in danger from both the passing cars and the pedestrians who step over their sidewalk party as they pass making faces and giving stern glares as the partiers offer them a drink.


I zeked this photo of a young man and his skateboard – Photo by Royal Hopper

What do you call these people bold party animals who will drink alcohol and sun bath anywhere and consume illegal substances in plain view of _  well everybody ..

Do you call them rebels who just don’t care what you think of them? Do you see them in your dreams like fellow rebels partying til the end or do you foresee them one day waiting in the lobby of an oncologist to have those blotches on their skin looked at or in the emergency room after a drunk driver picks them off the sidewalk???IMG_2242.jpg
One of the sidewalk partiers, a young dark haired female rolls over giggling and tugging at her bikini top as it threatens to fall off and pulls her friend’s sun hat over her face apparently asleep. She has a bottle in a bag of brown crinkled paper in her hand. As she dozes off a male companion laughs and grabs the bottle out of her hand.

It is amazing what you will see just driving from place to place here if you pay attention as the cliche goes there are a million stories in the naked city ( a paraphrase of quotes used in The 50s cop show Dragnet and many more ) and a million people who think they can do things they can’t. Why do they think that?


Are they stupid ? Bold? Rebels? Are they annoying tourists about the be arrested or future oncology patients waiting to get skin lesions removed from their sun damaged skin.

One mans rebel is another’s tragedy waiting to happen. Whatever your verdict the thing to remember is every person is both things and we see what we want to see and Vegas, It doesn’t matter to the city _ the City of Sin embraces them both.
As you idle your faithful vehicle _  your foot on the brake pedal while your car is caught in a Sin City traffic jam _ one of the sidewalk partiers stands up looks at her watch and then her pinkening skin and starts to pull her shirt off her waist and slip it around her shoulders and put her sun drenched hair in a pony tail, slip her sandals on and walk away.IMG_2335.jpg

The friends she has partied with on the sidewalk with snicker at her and hand her a bottle gesturing for her to sit and party some more. What is in the bottle? You cant tell but it makes her pause and as she buttons up her blue and white plaid shirt. As she puts her hat and sunglasses on and pulls absentmindedly at her sun bleached pony tail she looks questioningly down the busy Vegas sidewalk toward whatever sanctuary her means can afford. She starts to walk toward it then she stops and sits back down handing the bottle back to the friend that gave it to her.


The traffic jam starts to move and you shift your focus to the car ahead of you thinking….
Vegas is a place of both fantasy and of hard reality you think looking down the street toward fake volcanoes and tropical islands and people holding signs asking for money and a woman strutting like a working girl which she obviously is.
If you listen to the the city it it will tell you the hard reality, the hard truth, even as it bathes you in fantasy that will blow your mind _ all the while trying to take your money and make you happy about it. These are some of the things I have learned about reality in the City of Sin since the day I arrived here in 1989 just out of Uncle Sam’s service.
The light turns red before you can make it across the intersection and you shuffle uncomfortably in your seat flipping the radio dial off the NPR segment on overpopulation in the Canadian wolf packs cruising all your saved stations finally settling on a hard rock party song that was popular when you were still skinny and young at heart ignoring the fact you were a nerd and didn’t drink all night and pass out not even once and that you drank a diet coke at your first Rock concert.IMG_2321.jpg

You look back at the corner where the party is. One of the boys in the group (maybe 40 from the look of him so not a boy) stands up and begins a little dance annoying pedestrians even more as he tried to pull one of the girls to her feet for a dance annoying one of the pedestrians enough that she pulls her cell phone put and begins to dial furiously. The boy discovers to his dismay that he cannot get the girl up to dance and grabs the bottle from her had to take a swig and then starts to stare down at the dark haired girl.

The light changes green finally and you move on your way as flashing blue red lights fill your rear view mirror as Las Vegas finest arrive to police the situation. Two blocks or so ahead you see the source of the traffic problem _ construction has blocked all but one lane and you don’t have time to wait.
With the traffic it takes you awhile to flip a u turn and start looking for a way to next street over. As you near the street where the party was you see a blue and white ambulance loading one of them into the back one of them is in cuffs and the blonde that looked at her watch ???You catch a glimpse of her watching the scene from a distance hat pulled down around her pink face sunglasses on long sleeved plaid shirt buttoned up all the way to the collar and wrist.
She stares and then as you turn toward your destination she turns away and walks to who knows where…….There are a million stories in the naked city (paraphrase Dragnet 1951 to 59)


A bird _ Photo by Royal Hopper

Vegas is a lot of things. It is a haven for personal injury attorneys ….for hustlers, bad boys, players, predators and outlaws, prey and spectators. It is a place where regular people can pretend to be all of those things and where regular people sometimes run afoul of those people or become one of them either out of design, mistake or accident .
Running into another light you turn your head just able to see the piece of sidewalk the girl was standing on _ but she is gone and time is short as it always is … It is okay to know your limits and to obey them …..
That is life in the City of Sin fellow Sinners
Take Care …Love You


The gremlins of computer land struck again and the blog I wrote for this week disappeared in a puff of digital computer virus smoke. Fortunately the virus was a light weight and the computers installed defenses removed it without damage. Unfortunately the blog was gone so here is its reconstructed version.

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File photo from 2014 ….Photo by Royal Hopper

Remember this. The City of Sin is all about the green. Everyone is there to make money. They don’t actually give crap if you are having fun. It is about paying the bills or making a fortune. You always have to pay _ you gotta pay…It is the mantra of the City of Sin….You gotta pay…


One of the century old steel railroad bridges built in the bitter cold of the Alaskan winter in a few weeks ….damn -Royal Hopper

The wages of sin or you gotta pay Frank you gotta pay

By Royal Hopper

There is an incredible line about the wages of sin from an otherwise standard action adventure old west outlaw movie (don’t get me wrong it was a great movie with great one liners but not an inspiration) made almost 40 years ago that still rings in my head every time I walk down the streets in the City of sin.
“You gotta pay Frank you gotta Pay,” said Cole Younger, played by David Carradine, to Frank James as he sat on a train bound for the James Gang’s destined and fatal 1876 showdown in Northfield Minnesota. (cinema : The Long Riders 1980)rain going around the bend.JPG
Younger had reportedly told Frank James he planned to write a book about his adventures as a gentleman and a lover and Frank replied he expected a free copy. Younger retorted “You gotta pay Frank…you gotta pay,” _ in classic old western foreshadowing.
That is something a man riding a cab on the way to a Sin City casino should have considered a when he realized he doesn’t want to or can’t pay the cabbie who delivered him to a local hotel/casino. He launched himself at the cabbie who apparently had some training in martial arts and pounded the poor unfortunate dead beat for several long seconds before casino security was able to break the fight up.

What does that mean ? Stay tuned

When I was younger I worked at the Mirage and Treasure Island. There was a man who played millions in Vegas casinos throughout the city. If the casino heard his plane was landing at a Vegas airport they would open up their high limit room and post a guard there just in case he decided to show up there and play. He ended up owing something like $60 million in debts to the various houses in Vegas and many more in taxes to the government. He went to prison and the Sin City gambling houses he owed money too went after all they could get and were more than happy to cooperate with the feds……. What does that mean ? stayed tuned ?

When I worked at the dearly departed Riviera one customer who was on a losing streak with a straight face he told me that he had played nearly $50 and had not won even once and was demanding his money back…..Seriously ….He wanted his money back….What does that mean…..and what is the Sin City mantra ….Simple ..You gotta pay Sinners …You gotta pay and their aint no refund

That is life in the City of Sin
Every action has some kind of consequence
Love You Sinners

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A cityscape from three years ago Royal Hopper


This is Vancouver Canada

Drama is in the eye of the beholder

by Royal Hopper


You stop at a red light on the way to work and sea an urban drama unfolding out of the corner of your eye.

Two men approach an intersection from opposite directions…..One looks as the saying goe like he was rode hard and put up wet. Older, little to fond of pastries and utterly unconcerned about his mode of dress _ a large tent like t shirt and a pair of faded dirty jeans.

a two eagles posing

Eagles in a tree in Alaska _ Royal Hopper

The other painfully well groomed, young carrying a skate board and looking like a jackass as he displays utterly average skate boarding skills to commutters passing by as cluesless as the other is world weary as deliberately clueless as the other is street wise and worn out.
They near the same intersection out of the way of traffic each other the only obstalce to the other.
The one is young and fresh and has an object that can be used as a weapon if need be. The other is much larger and honestly probably wouldn’t feel the first two or three blows. It seems conflict is inevitable .. In smaller more confined areas of this country conflict would be inevitable when two so evenly matched denizens meet out of sight of any order keepers or immediate consequences…… It is the way of things to tight confines of the smaller parts of this country …


This is the City of Sin on a summer’s night _ Royal Hopper

and there are a lot of both kinds of people in this city the flash and dust……the pretty people who look like a magazine and smell like a rain forest by design and a good credit card nd the beaten down, drab worn out world weary type. They are two of the primary archetypes in this city and are everywhere you look……
Grunge of the soul versus flash and glitter of the spirit……
You look up at the traffic light wondering if you will get to see the drama unfold before the light forces you to move on. You know its wrong to want to see it but the train wreck effect is in full force and you cant help but strain to see what will happen before the light forces you to move on.
They get closer and you lean forward in the seat wondering who will triumph size and pain or youth and energy. The tension in your mind builds as the light at the pedestrian crosswalk changes before the traffic light and the two prepare meet in the middle of the crosswalk.
You take a deep breath in anticipation of the coming conflict your eyes widen and your pulse quickens and then ——–


That is a boat with five people in it next to one of the small pieces of ice that was floating near the iceberg we saw _ Royal Hopper

you giggle ..The skateboarder put his board down and glides across the intersection and the bigger grungie guy barely notices him as he glides by. The conflict was all in you ..you realize as the traffic light changes and you go on your way like a good little commuter.walking the dog 2 good.JPG
This city is a dangerous place and will take your life if you let it and don’t step wisely but your conflicts of society and culture don’t mean that much to us … Sinner You leave me be and I will leave you be because that is life in the City of Sin

Love You Sinners

now here are some birds