Sunset of the Caribbean…Photo by Royal Hopper
It rained this week..poured …like a Gulf Coast thunderstorm after a week of scorching and for a few sacred hours it was sultry warm and moist in the City of Sin…a bone chilling 90 degrees bad pun intended…..
The Sun changes everything
by Royal Hopper
This time of year in the desert is the time of unforgiving heat high winds and dry, dry air. taking a walk here is a little like living under a giant blow dryers. When those Santana winds start blowing the spaces between all the neon palaces scattered around this bastion of decadent artificiality becomes hostile enough to even put a dog off eating scraps….Here is what I mean.
My dogs all three of them will eat anything on the ground ..week old hotdogs …chicken wings that have been lying in the shrubs for days ….a piece of a hamburger she stole from a pigeon ..anything edible mind you …. One of the most raveneous of my three canine friends came upon a pile of leftovers laying on the asphalt while out on one of our daily walks …….someone probaly in a drunken state and simply dropped their lunch on the ..then ground and left it days before. It had baked in the desert sun for days of 100 plus degree days on the asphalt … Reddy, the dog’s name, took a brief sniff of the petrified food sniffled, growled a little ..sneezed a little and walked away …
When its 112 degrees in the desert and you can fry a 12 ounce Porterhouse on the hood of the derelict Toyota parked and ten minutes outside makes you feel like moving to Canada for the summer…it tends to take the romance and mystery out of living in the City of sin.
“Frozen” on a cruise ship Oasis of the Sea_ Royal Hopper
When a pigeon normally so shy you cant get within five feet of it before it flies away raises its wings and arches its back like its going to fight you for the spot of shade it has found
Dogs seem to have a philosophy like the old joke…If you cant eat,, screw it or talk to it ..if it smells bad and hurts you when you chew on it and makes you sneeze ..piss on it and walk away….
What does all this mean.. It means its the desert and it gets hot in the summer genius …thats all ..
A pigeon with a bum leg begging for food from tourists in the Bahamas ..Royal Hopper
Thats life in the City of Sin
Love You Sinners
you know its hot ….
There is an old saying that goes something like and please forgive my language on this … you never bullshit a bullshitter …
This iguana photographed on the docks in St Thomas seems to be saying and I aint moving – Royal Hopper
The cruise, the bait’and the lesson
by Royal Hopper
Its probably something a young French woman on the Carribbean island of St Maarten might have done well to remember.
Long story short..The wife and I went on a Caribbean Cruise in the you know Caribbean. It was a wonderful once in a lifetime vacation …One of the stops was an Island called St. Maarten. Its half Dutch and half French if you can believe it. That is something like something being half in New Jersey and half in Montreal but it works I guess….
Private Stock the ships rock band on the Oasis of the Seas pays tribute to Elton john during a show on board -Royal Hopper
She was quite fetching this young French beauty ..if she even was French as we were on the Dutch side of the Island. She had the tan of a professional beach bum the kind of tan caucasion people only get when they live on the beach. Her clothing was just corny and tie dyed enough to set you at ease…
I live in Las Vegas and when the young woman walked up to me and my wife and began her promotional pitch I had already heard it so many times from time share salesman and hos and con men I could have repeated from memory without rehearsal because the pitch of a con man and and a salesman is very similar. She even managed to flutter her eyes at me flerting without taking her eyes off my beloved. She was good this one….
Here take these scratch offs she said and we did and scratch off all the card …and low and behold one of the cards was a grand prize…..
Frozen takes to the ice on Oasis of the Seas Caribbean tour_ Royal Hopper
“If you go to the presentation you get a prize and I get a commission,” she said This young woman in sales and con man parlance is called the greeter or the meeter or the bait some such thing. The greeter gets their attention and some kind of gimic and gets then to go to a sales meeting selling time shares or condos or to get robbed. She kept repeating how she was practicing her English.
“No thank you,” we said handing the cards back to her. She looked downtrodden and wondered what she was goign to do with the cards.
“You can give them to someone,” we said putting on our best air of Sin City indifference as we walked on.
Had we taken the appointment we would have gone to the second step of the sales/con process… The Setter ..teh set up man etc etc ..The person who sets the couple up for as sale nd then the closer the person who closes the deal ….the sale or who takes your down payment and runs off with it …
Remember that folks ..the greeter or Bait followed by the Setter followed by the closer and when your instincts tell you its a con listen to them …We did
Thats life on a Caribbean Cruise in city of Sin and everywhere
Love you Sinners
Here is a woman paying the bills by braiding hair and the beautiful woman sitting down is my wife- Royal Hopper
and there is always the poor
A dude and his bike _and let me emphasize these are random photos from the city not friends or actors….. Royal Hopper
In this city something a simple as a drive to work can be a mystery in the making
You pull up to one corner on a sun baked Sin City byway and the first thing that catches your eye is a man bent over by age and exahaustion bending over his walker un-moving and unaware.
No one in the lane of cynical jaded Sinners seems to notice the not moving elder holding on to his walker bent at the waist his body leaning down well below the top of his metal framed skeleton of the device that helps him walk.
Is he even alive ?????
The light turns and you move on
Taking care to look over as you do
A little further down the road a young woman in purple with a long skirt walks down the side of the avenue holding her dress to her thing with one hand as if she isnt wearing anything under it ..her hair is done up in a purple ribbon ..her make up thick and obvious and afternoon sun and the dry heat of the desert wind are givign this chick hell as she tries to make her way down the road ..
Who is she what does she do ??? Should you stop to help……?????
The light turns and you move on
Taking care to look over before you do
You see a man sifting through a trash bin with an intensity usually reserved for grade B action movies …He comes upon one treasure and tosses it aside and his intensity increases as he gets deeper in the trash can .. he looks positively dangerous as he nears the bottom of the bin looking for something …Food ???? Cans ????clothes ????whatever ????
Still further you see a man moderately well dressed lying face up legs pointed in opposite directions exspenive sunglasses at an odd angle covering his eyes and half his face. …..He looks gone for sure …
The light changes and you drive on ..taking care to glance over as you do
What happens in the end….?
As you look over each time you see the man in the walker wakes up when the light changes and he is clear to walk across the road. You see him a few days later holding his sign at the same corner checking his watch for the next nap time perhaps???
Who is the woman in purple. Maybe she is a cocktail waitress in a sleazy bar on her way home to care for her 12 kids..maybe …maybe shes a member of the purple club on her way to the monthly meeting ….or shes a Ho ..taking a brake in the action
Before you move on down the road the man in the trash bin finds something holds in the air triumphantly puts it in a bag and walks back to his car ..?? You got me ??? WTF
As you pull away from the well dressed man …One of Las Vegas finest saunters up to him and nudges him awake ..Seeing that the nudger is a Las Vegas cop he stumbles to his feet waving his hand as if to say yeah ..yeah Im moving and stumbles down the road …..
That is life in the City of Sin and everywhere else ….What does it mean .?? Like the Ozmann sayeth Don’t ask me….. I don’t know …
Just another denizen of the City of Sin crossing the street – Royal Hopper
Faith is for Lovers Priests and Poets
by Royal Hopper
Faith is a wonderful thing for lovers, priests and poets but it has little place in the every day functions of normal life and almost none in my City the City of Sin…The Jedi are wrong about this Knowing is almost always better than feeling and adapting is almost always better than hoping in this bizarre city and I suspect in most of the world…
Always ask questions and always seek the answers that true not the ones others want to tell you or the ones you want to hear
I once heard of tour group leader who frustrated by his groups tardiness to their points of departure and arrival always told them all his bus was going to leave at a much earlier time than it was scheduled to depart. One tour member objected pointing out that he and his wife had reservations for a show that was due to let out 30 minutes before departure time and he didn’t want to miss the show. After much debate the tour leader finally admitted the tour would indeed leave at the scheduled time and the guest could go to the show….Question Everything …but with logic …. . Try to know why and when and where things work not just how…..
So many times I seen people ditched in this City because they trusted to much or had faith in the wrong person…If you cant trust a person with your life..don’t trust them with your money your time or breakfast cereal.
If you cant turn your back them ..don’t…
I can still remember the man who came to the security podium at the old Riviera complaining about the girl (in other words the Ho) ho had rolled him. “I thought she was a nice girl,” he said shuffling his feet and looking at the floor. “I thought she was attracted to me,” he tried to say. “Dude was older than me.” I managed not to giggle and say you have known better…..
These machines are called bandits in old Vegas slang – Royal Hopper
Its easy to be taken in by the obvious in this city ….You see a woman showing to much skin with a drink in her hand and studded leather jacket and you think Ho..but be careful there are soccer Moms who dress like Hos and Hos who dress like soccer Moms ..the smart ones anyway ……The point is appearances can be deceiving don’t trust them.
That is life in the City of Sin and elsewhere
Love You Sinners
Cityscapes -Royal Hopper
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..
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.
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.
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
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.
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 .
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
to see whats going on in the
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).
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 .
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.
“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