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A scooter a lady a political sign and a red sweater in the summer _ Royal Hopper

Some things have meaning far beyond the bottom line of the price tag they bear….

 

by Royal Hopper
I remember a woman who was upset because a wine bottle opener was missing from her room.
“It wasnt expensive but it was a reminder of a special day on a special trip,” she said pointing out that all her jewelry was still there in the safe. No one seemed to understand or care about the value of the missing keepsake and what it meant to her she related.
There are always things we take care of because we have to because they are a practical benefit to our lives…….houses, cars , clothes , shoes etc etc etc..

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Suburban Las Vegas a personal injury attorney, a pool supply store and adult book store and a storage locker –Royal Hopper

But it is also a fact of human existence that there are things that mean something to us for strictly emotional reasons ..a beloved pet that reminds us of something in ourselves or gives us something to love when the world seems hateful and doomed, perhaps concert from the best show we ever saw with a beloved significant other or a memento of a better time when we were younger or happier …or just safe.
Many times over the years as a reporter or casino security I have written about things a person has lost. Almost never did they cry or rage about the $100 they kept in a sack or the Armani suit missing from the closet ……They wept or raged about a reminder or picture of a lost loved one or of a better day in their lives or that special day they don’t want to forget. The things near to a persons heart  are what they value.IMG_5047.JPG

I remember writing story about a charity started in memory of a mother who had died far to young ..She was organizing a charity to help end the disease that had eneded her mother’s life. I remember the tears that flowed as she told of the times her mother would wait for her to walk out to the family car after school and turn the wind shield wipers on because she was to sick to get out of the car and wave at her .

I remember she clutched something in her hand and would not let go of it some keepsake of her mom _ a memory she could not let go of.
I remember the closing I used went something like ..She pauses struggling to hold back the tears brought on by of a decade of hugs she missed out on, a decade of morning phone calls she used to roll her eyes at ..ten years of trips to the mall and ten years of struggling to find a good mothers day present and finally failing as the tears burst forth like a torrent as she clutched the photo like a talisman of memory.
Once I remember a guest at a hotel I worked at raging at many items missing from her room and then smiling through grateful tears after two pictures of a loved one were returned.
I remember a set of keys that a macho male guest admitted were used to unlock doors that didn’t exist anymore and the awkward guy hug he tried to give me for returning them to him. They meant somethign to him. IMG_5023.JPG

My wife has an old piece of pottery her mother made years ago before she died from breast cancer some ten years or so before. Tears still come to her eyes if she holds them long enough as the memories threaten to burst forth.
The next time you roll your eyes at someone who complains about a keep sake they have lost .think back and remember something that meant something to you…something that did not pay the bills or polish the car but none the less meant something to you ..to the emotional childish part of you that you suppress to live in this insane carnival of a world.
They are things that remind us there is more to life than things ….or status and mortgages and payments ..that once these things are paid the real living begins …that like it or not we are far more defined by those moments and things than any symbol of status or wealth….
That’s life in the City of Sin and everywhere else too

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It is an often ignored fact of existence that no matter how relatively well or poorly we are doing …Most humans stay where they are once they get comfortable with it …

The art of doubting and being comfortable

 

By Royal Hopper 

As you approach a traffic light in your worn out but well preserved old dodge on your daily commute to pay the mortgage you slow down and by reflex look to the right.
A man in a white wife beater T shirt legs bent inward stumbles forward in the loose dry dirt toward the peak of the culvert buy the roadway of the huge plain dirt drainage ditch that sits astride a Vegas back road used to get to work, avoid traffic on the strip or on the way to the airport and buy pizza and beer.

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Two guys sitting on the sidewalk Tuesday maybe looking for work ? —Royal Hopper

It is a strip of sterile dead dirt dotted with the remains of homeless bed rolls, meals drug paraphernalia and sometimes a tent. LVMPD (Metro for short) does a good job running them off but the unfortunate always come back.
This one is shaking off something as he climbs to the top of the tiny dead mound to the side of the road. He looks like a well dressed zombie extra in an appocalypse movie like he has slept for years and is just waking up.
After several moments of zombie like stumbling the man in his dirty jeans and pristine white t shirt reaches and top of the dead dirt culvert and like somebody on the set of a bad appocalypse B Movie has given a que the wind starts blowing …
Right before the light changes for a second you lock eyes ..he looks at you a shrugs and for a moment ..just a moment you are communicating. There you two are a stoned homeless guy in a white T shirt with bent knees stumbling to the top of a dusty dirt drainage ditch culvert and a older dude on his way to work to make sure he has a nice place to hang his hat and a bed to sleep in at night . IMG_4935.JPG
One finds freedom and release in indulgence and not having things that tie you down ..the other finds freedom in security and being clear minded and practical and having a permanent place to hang his hat .. both of you seem to have doubts about your choices. Sometimes one wants to run with the wind and get lost in the world and the other sometimes wishes for comfort and security but a roof and neither want to be where the other is …to achieve it …
Just for a moment there is epiphany enlightenment what ever you want to call it for a moment the world seems a little clearer….then the light changes and everything goes back to the way it was as it always does .. One spaces off and goes back into his quiet reverie as the other turns his eyes back to the road as the light changes and drives on to pay his mortgage paying eight hour appointment …
It is a fact of life that many people tend to dtsy exactly where they are because they dont know how to do anything else ….
That is life in the Cuty of Sin and everywnere else ….
Love You Sinners
take Care

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to see whats going on in the

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Being Loud in the City of Sin

 

By Royal Hopper 

We have spoken about social camouflage before. The clothing and manners that help you blend into the environment that help you make a statement true or not. Las Vegas is a place full of loud garish sights sounds and people wearing all sorts of social camouflage and uniforms that are often just s disguise. It is hard to stand out here .. You have to be truly loud in appearance and actions to get noticed..
Sometimes the easiest way to make people believe you are harmless is to pretend to be a loud mouthed clown who is pretending to be dangerous…It is an old Vegas trick…A social uniform that is all too common in this city The City of Sin… A bad ass pretending to be a clown pretending to be a bad ass. ( a variation of the theme of the old Victor/Victoria movie look it up).

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a man and his dog

That goofy guy in the big bird outfit posing for pictures or that silly chick in the short skirt flirting with your old ass or that yocal in the plaid leisure suit offering to get you change for that $100 might secretly be a bad ass waiting to spring a trap.
There is always an angle always a payday even when the players are honest.
I remember once years ago while plying my pay the bills trade as a casino security officer I was called upon to roust a 425 (thats what they call a suspicious person causing trouble in casino security speak) from an open portion of the old Treasure Island casino.
He was loud and drunk and passing out cards to to some lame ass money making scam with three of us standing several feet from him. As we were walking him out the door he was singing to himself and acting the fool and before we got to the door he handed me a card and actually pitched me his scam as he took a provocative step forward .

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Fully prerpared to kick him in the baby maker I tgook the card and had to suppress a giggle. “Seriously,” ? I seem to remember saying. He smiled dropping his loud foolish act for a moment a llittle and patted me on the shoulder ( yeah I know a mistake on my part letting him get that close) and uttered the age old excuse of many if not most bad actors…
“A man’s gotta make a living,”
Walking through any casino in the City of Sin in the middle of the night after the gamblers have gone upstairs to pass out beside the drunks who passed out hours ago if they havent been sent to jail you notice many things. You see bored cocktail waitress wandering the rows of slot machines hoping that a tipping customer is still up.
You see husbands who have argued with their wives and vice versa sitting quietly in dark corner with resentful frowns on their faces when their forever 17 attitudes have met with resistance from the grown ups in the room.

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“Look at us we are gaudy loud phonies pretending to be tough..See we are really harmless ..” says all the sights and sounds of the City of Sin.
Don’t you believe it …
Even when it is empty Las Vegas is a loud place. You can hear the bells and whistles of the one armed bandits like gaudily painted wolves demanding to be fed…..Slot machines are digital now and graced with various themes from ancient television shows to pretend fishing boats to old west ….dont fal for it..
There are hours when even the City of Sin slows down to rest and is relatively empty except for a few daring souls on different internal schedules. It should be quiet right ….Right …
There is always noise in this city and it is always part of the game. ..always

It not a fairy tale or a sitcom ..It is life in the City of Sin

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a guy walking

A man and his sheets 

A man dressed in a black T shirt with a tannish brown jacket wrapped around his waist like a suede kilt from times gone by suddenly stops in his journey down the sidewalk of a Sin City byway that is heavily traveled by casino workers and tourists alike.
He seems to stare at something in the landscaped hedges of the apartment complex he is walking by. Then he bends down stretching like a ballerina and staring at something only he can see and begins to speak.
Perhaps he is speaking to the invisible friend he spied while walking or simply talking to the hedge but whatever it is it has captured his attention. He is oblivious to stares of others on the sidewalk or the commuters staring at him from their cars or perhaps he even likes the staring for the attention it gives him. Satisfied that the invisible friend or the hedge as the case may be has understood what he is saying but whatever he stands up clearly very proud of himself and strides off into whatever world his mind had taken him too……still oblivious to what the world sees in him or doesn’t see …I’m jealous aren’t you …
I’m not sure what this means I just felt I had to tell you about it now onto to this weeks rant….maybe it has something to do with the theme of this weeks rant

To be a clueless happy Mutt or a Wise and Sad Princess

By Royal Hopper 

There is an old saying about the difference between the wise and the foolish.
It goes something like the Wise are always full of doubts and questions about the world and the direction it is going . They know they dont really know. They know they are making educated guesses about the world and have questions about their guesses.
The foolish are always full of certainity and seldom entertain the whys and hows and questions of fact that keep the wise up at night and fill them with doubts.
I suppose the same can be said of dogs….

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Petra’s little Dog faces off with the Wolf that devoured her Goose in a Puppet version of the classic Peter and the Wolf at the Smith Center last week 

I have or rather my family has two dogs a Princess named Reddy and a big lunk named Kuma …
Kuma is nicknamed the Lunk or the Lug because she is a happy go lucky clueless love bug who loves all people and hates all other dogs except Reddy who she seems to love like an adorable stoner big sister. Kuma will walk up to strange children with her tail tucked and beg to be petted. Our Nephews Girl Katie was in town with her traveling show playing at the Smith Center. She came over and Kuma instantly took to her plopping all 90 pounds of her on Katie’s lap until she got her fill of head scratches and belly rubs. When Kuma wants to cuddle she will run across the floor and jump into someone laps and beg for attention her mouth open in that huge mouthed Pit Bull/American Bull Dog smile her tongue which is as big as your face…

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Petra and the Goose at the Pond. A little grainy but it was just to good a shot to let sit

Reddys nick name is Princess Drama Nuerotica because she is so wound up so worried about the outside world we have to give her doggie calm down pills when there is loud noise or activity outside.. We also call her our Goth dog because of the ring of black fur around her eyes and her Goth attitude…She loves her people and no one else. She isnt vicious she just doesnt have any use for strangers. She litterally turns her nose up at strangers because you know shes Princess Reddy
Keep in mind anything will set Reddy off …A moto cross tourney at the Stadium across the street ….the neighbors washing machine turning on during a quiet day. A thunderstorm will make this water hating dog jump into the shower while it is running and we are in it to get away from loud noises . On the other hand she is one the smartest dogs I have ever owned ..Nothing much gets past Princess Drama ..Once she knows somethign she knows it …By dog standards she is smart ..
This begs the question is it better to be a clueless, lovable and cuddle bug who is addicted to hugs like a drug addict Jonesing for meth and never seems to worry about a thing or a Cynical nuerotic Princess who jumps into showers at the sound of thunder but is pretty smart…
Is it better to be smart and worried or stupid and happy
Such is the question in today’s mussing on Life in the City of Sin

 

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A man walks up to the dispatch podium at the old Riviera sometime in 2014 or so and asks if his cell phone has been found. The guard looks the man up and down stares at his face as if strikes a cord in his memory. The man looks like a three day drunk in the midst of a huge hangover half a sleep and longing to not be awake..
“No,” the guard says staring at the computer where the items are logged “but we did find you ID and credit card,” “My ID is missing ?” the man said with a confused smile prying his wallet out of his back pocket where it had been for days. “Oh crap,” he said pointing to the spot where his ID and card had been.
He hadn’t remembered his ID and credit card were missing but even half asleep and hungover after a three day party he realized his phone was missing….Technology and its effects on society is always changing. What we consider sacrosanct today is tomorrows obsolescence. What seems like science fiction today’s is tomorrows fact of life…..

Today, tomorrow and Tuesday or Things change Bro

by Royal Hopper
When I was 15 or so I can remember having a conversation with a conservative with teen about Star trek and the wondrous communicators they talked to each other on. We talked about the wonder of our grandmother’s rotary dial phones that you could kill a rhino with they were so heavy and the wondrous new touch tone land line phones with their array of buttons that would surely be the standard in personal communication for centuries to come.

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Three men sitting in the sun – Royal Hopper

We talked about the wonders of our parents new VCRs and how nothing would ever replace them and the 9 channel cable deal their friends parents just got for their house or the glory of bell bottom jeans and Ocean Pasific t shirts. We were both nerds from the opposite sides of the social divide and it was mostly bull but ….
After much back and forth about the futility of trying improve the human condition we both reluctantly agreed that had held devices that allowed you to talk across thousands of miles and such similar things were likely centuries away and man kind could do without such things for now and get over all you future freaks live for now…….guy bending over (2).JPG
Last week I left my cell phone on the charger at home plugged into the front USB port of my computer and quietly inside I lost my mind. Outside I was calm and cool and collected inside I was lost and felt naked and unconnected. I barely use the thing except to talk to my wife and daughter and take pictures but I felt Fng naked without it ….I remember Disco and Punk and bell bottoms and leisure suits and suede jackets and Ocean Pacific. I remember when classic Rock was just Rock. I remember making popcorn on the stove and heating up food in the real oven. I remember the day when VCRs were cool and new. I remember when van Halen wasn’t played on the oldies station I remember making sure I had a pocket full of quarters for the pay phones that were once everywhere…and I felt lost without my cell phone…a by the hour hotel.JPG

One day your phone will be the size of a watch..not linked to a watch mind you just the size of one and the boxy device you keep in your pocket will talk to our colonies on the moon or take pictures of things that happened yesterday.
Nothing is so permanent that it is forever not even the stars……everything man made changes ..everything ..every year until one day the changes are old and it changes again

Thats life in the City of Sin and everwhere else
Love You Sinners take Care

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A lonely desert highway Hopper – Royal Hopper

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The sign holder is an eternal feature of this city and of modern life -Royal Hopper

The sky is gray in the desert and you make your daily drive to your mortgage paying endeavor …It gives the gray concrete and neon on the City of sin a rare manic quality as they wonder what to do int he face of these strange gray things dropping water from the sky… This is the desert and we don’t have time for things like weather ..We are to busy chasing our tails 

 It rains in the desert you know or look for what you need not what you want

 

by Royal Hopper
You see a man ..a shaggy bedraggled man in a Guns and Roses T Shirt frowning as he leafs through the contents of a trash dumpster as the drizzle of rain assaults his antiquated but well kept form the cigarette hanging from his lips Nicki Six/Slash/ Keith Richards style bobbing up and down as his search for something intensifies.  Its not the plastic sheeting in the dumpster that he searches for and the rain intensifies and begins to soak him. The very thing that would keep him dry is not what he is looking for….

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This colorful sign on the road to Zion advertises beer wine and beef – Royal Hopper

As the light turned and the flow of traffic moves on out of the corner of your eye you can see the man having a Eureka moment perhaps finding the things he believed but it is not the plastic sheeting that could keep him dry….as the traffic slows you sneak a peek behind you at the man.. He looks disappointed and exasperated and then looks up at the sky as if he has just realized he is being rained on. As he bends down to pick up something ..perhaps the plastic sheeting ..the car behind you pops his horn a little reminding you that this is traffic in the City of Sin and you are on your way to work ….Sighing a little you drive on…homeless camp 4.JPG

As the weather lightened up homeless camps in the city exploded …with tents popping up on every inch of open land and just as quickly disappearing when it started raining perhaps moving underground or in doors.

As you near the last stretch of road before your workplace you see a homeless camp that was full of tents the week before. They are mostly gone but there is a lone man you see snuggling up next to a fence laying on the bare sandy ground preparing to take a needed nap. He notices the rain which is intensifying but not yet pounding and looks up at the sky..appears to sigh and pull something from the ground over him and go back to snuggling with the fence. bench by the tree in zion.JPG
That is the thing about this city. The thing people look the hardest for is not what they really need at the time …They will get soaked to the skin in the rare desert rain storm before they will give up the search for the the thing they want …..
a day and a half later in the morning the wife and you head out of town to go hiking in a National Park. We..you love the city ..but some times you have to get away from it ……That is life in the City of Sin

 

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A homeless camp occupies a drainage ditch off of Swenson Street in the City of Sin- Royal Hopper

For a brief few days a year Las Vegas is a pleasant calm place you can camp outdoors in
Weather wise anyway ….For a few days its not to hot or cold and there is spring.
Spring in the desert is like ..the neon of the city ..beautiful in small isolated spots ..with occasional splashes of color ..but mostly the same as it always is.
Everyone knows this especially the City’s homeless who take this rare opportunity to camp outdoors until the city’s finest or angry property owners run them off. I drive past a dry plain drainage ditch on my way to work that covers one small corner of the city of Sin. Now that spring is here the tent and sleeping bags have popped up like mushrooms on wet grass almost like a small city. This time of year before the oppressive heat of the desert literally drives them underground they come out in the open….

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Is this the perfect Vegas mascot or what. Actually this is on the Naked Pizza building on Swenson/Joe W. Brown _ Royal Hopper

Spring in this desert is like the neon of its city’s streets . Brightly colored and filled with artificial promise.

By Royal Hopper
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You Drive past a ditch an isolated patch of dirt and dust

and spot a sea of places people live when they must
have someplace and have none
Firt you notice a tent surrounded by scraps
of paper, old food , liqour, space blankets and maps
a dog, a crow and a man taking a nap
then you see a sleeping bag laying in the sand
and a bicycle loaded with booty propped up on its stand
a collection of rags flowers and newspapers next to a pack
another tent another bike
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a comforter and the ground a box of donuts with the donuts all gone
a pillow some dirt and on and on and on
A quarter mile or more in the bottom of the ditch ist sides and top
it has always been it always is so and aint never gonna stop
so just go home and let me say again
This aint a place to begin
This aint Nebraska, Canada or Belgium
This aint Paradise.. Its the City of Sin
Love You Sinners