The Kaiser’s Wife

November 10, 2012 at 6:19 am (short stories, Web Publishing) (, , , , , , )

/well, he’s got it up…

..,The next item on my agenda is a short piece, unfinished, which would fall under the category of ‘Proto-Mystery Shopper Tales.’ This is the only fragment still extant from the adventure so related, and, in fact, does predate my current biographer and general teller of tales, Stanley.

This bit, actually, was composed by my former business partner in an old import/export concern we operated decades ago by the name of Shurt Blessing (someone, I’m sure, I’ve mentioned somewhere before now, hmm).

If you take a look at the title list for not only stories, but poems through that link, you will likely recognize any number of titles I have mentioned, or parts of works, over the years. Reason  being, they’re my stories! HaHa-

Yes, those were tales I’d formulated, some from imagination, surely, but others from Honest-to-God experiences, and regaled my partner with many a day and night at our old warehouse as we processed & catalogued shipments of spiced netting, bamboo snorkels or tiki doll umbrellas.

And he’d always had a good ear for a ripe story. Took that with him after we’d amicably sold our business and went our separate ways; me, ultimately into the ranks of the ‘Guardians of Commerce’, the Mystery Shoppers… and he, onto the open roads of the world as an itinerant minstrel and vagabond global citizen.

In any event, I had reason to receive a much appreciated post card from him recently, and we’ve re-opened lines of communication which prompted me to post the re-visitation of this old caper (at least, in part) once he informed me he’d get up the part he still had.

[[[Update: one of the features of this story, as it had changed a good deal over time, was that it would be an historical adventure featuring the now-defunct ‘Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth’…I’ve recent news that some materials I had not wanted made public were going to be done so in a manner that did not have my sanction (but not by Shurt–by another). I’ve gotten that project temporarily blocked– but some other material about that Olde political entity, while not sanctioned, was to be included in that unauthorized project as well. In keeping with this thread, I’m reminded of it now because of events taking place in our world and recognize how much the way things go around, come around:

Protests Erupt In As ‘Fortress Europe’ Rises To Replace Open Borders

Re: Joe Lopp

Re: Joe Lopp 7 minutes ago

I wonder if maybe things could be expedited if Hungary, Poland, the fmr. Czeckoslovakia… and maybe the Baltic countries shouldn’t just leave the EU and form their own Union. Based perhaps on the old Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. They do not seem to be at all happy w/ the EU, and Russia to the east of them is an ever-present threat as well.

For safeties sake, in numbers, a collective arrangement like that may provide the freedom from demographic pressures they seek, as well as security to ‘do their own thing.’]]]


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Micro Memoirs

January 3, 2012 at 1:41 am (Love) (, , , , , , , )

Now that it is the New Year, let’s get a head start on V.D., shall we?

At certain times and under particular conditions it is helpful, if not incumbent upon ourselves, to take such exercises as are necessary for the release of stress and to act as a laxative for the mind and consciousness, purging away those emotional indigestibles so contrary to peace of mind … not to mention bodily function.

In light of this, I thought it might be fun to take a look at one such ‘session’ I undertook in the guise of an alter-ego of some history and nostalgia in my own frame of reference.

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you, Billy Ray Lester:

“In his younger days he had adopted the personae of such characters as Billy Ray Lester, complete in a wife beater, tight jeans, and cowboy boots … He stretched, flexing his bare arms in a sleeveless t-shirt which had a 7-Up slogan on the front: ‘Never Had It, Never will,’ he was particularly fit back then, “You wanna get outta here? Kinda slow tonight.”

“You a perv or something?” I edged away.

“No, I’m Billy Ray.” He stuck out his hand, “Billy Ray Lester.”””

That outtake was courtesy of my apprentice’s ‘maiden tale’ about me entitled ‘The Mystery Shopper’. Well, that is how he recalls our initial contact, though I daresay he was pretty much right on the money (I’m a tad embarrassed to admit).

Now then, these micro memoirs (also known as Six-Word Memoirs), deal with subject matter in the category of relationships, and in particular under the sub-heading of ‘pain’, or if you prefer more specifically: breakups.

Not to belabour, so I will give you one of mine that you may experience some of the anguish I was trying to work through at a critical point in my life:

“Remember me from the carpet burns…”

‘What was the cause?’ You may be moved to query. Well, I’ll leave it again to my trusty apprentice to spell it out:

“A woman strolled over, hair piled high above plucked eyebrows, heavy mascara, and ruby red lipstick. She was nearer Joe’s age than my own, if appearances didn’t deceive. Dressed in a black leather miniskirt, low cut blouse exposing abundant cleavage, stiletto heels, she appeared to me a streetwalker. Joe was painfully unprepared for this. But it was too late for an evasive course of action.”

And that is pretty much how it went down. And he was correct, it was over before it started, only I didn’t know it. In such circumstances, the only course of action left after the wheels come completely off your little red wagon (and with hot to trot operatives like the one just described, they most assuredly will), is to get yourself on the road to recovery ASAP!

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A Wicked Who’s Who

December 9, 2011 at 8:55 pm (Who's Who) (, , , , , , , , , )

Doubtless you’ve seen these before:

Reminds me of a certain poetry scam I’ve mentioned in a post before which nearly ensnared my doorman, Teffer. That particular party I take to be now defunct, and justly so, though these ‘Who’sWho’ outfits are a Who’s Who of Calumny.

But, as the showman and eminent peddler of the absurd to the unwary, P.T. Barnum, once noted, “There’s a sucker born every minute‘. And so it is with those suckered into shenanigans such as this. Vanity Press one and all!

I’ll freely admit I’ve doggedly pursued inclusion into the authentic Who’s Who … with unsuccessful results, to date. That aside, it occurred to me that what would make a splendid Who’s Who entry for one of these devious rackets would be to mire them down with a personage more suitable to their chicanery & temper.

In light of this revelation on my part, I selected an individual of dubious reputation from a charming little collection of biographies, of the series entitled: ‘A Wicked History’.

Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, I give you Leopold II, late King of the Belgians & ‘Emperor’ of the Belgian Congo (wherein most of his troubles were mired, as it were). Herein was the root of Conrad’s famous story, Heart of Darkness, from which the equally famous  film Apocalypse Now spawned from.

And, should there be any question of his bona fides, re: his inclusion in my Wicked Who’s Who, here is a piece from the time period penned by none other than Mark Twain venting his approbation of the ghastly monarch. And when Mr. Clemens stuck a fork in you, you were well and truly roasted.

So then, on to the particulars & how good ol’ Leopold’s entry might read if included in Who’s Who:

Leopold II, Leopold Louis Philippe Marie Victor, (“odd”, “funny”, “birdlike”), King of the Belgians (“I am King of a small country and small-minded people,” he complained.): December 17, 1865, b. 1835 of Leopold I and Queen Louise-Marie of Orleans, m. August 1853, Archduchess Marie-Henriette of Austria-Hungary (a marriage between “a stable-boy and a nun”, he was the nun), two s. two d., also m. Delacroix, Blanche Zelia Josephine (a prostitute)  December 14, 1909, Attempted to gain a colony from China, Dutch Borneo, Portugal in Timor, Mozambique, and Angola, Spain and the Philippines, New Guinea, French Indochina, and two islands off the coast of Turkey (all deals fell through), International African Association formed in 1876: Chairman (purported aim to end slavery, real aim to obtain the King a colony), 1878 set up International Association of the Congo (hired Stanley to set up a base and secure him “a slice of this magnificent African cake.”), May 1885, Leopold II became ruler of the Congo (“Congo Free State” nothing could be further from the truth), 1890 tribal leaders are co-opted & ivory is acquired by force (“The Congo Free State is certainly not a business,” he claimed, while also declaring, “Time is money”), 1891 Congo Free State claimed all natural resources, 1900 the Force Publique had put down numerous rebellions (brutally), 1895 reports of abuses come out publicly (‘he said he was shocked’…Shocked!), 1896, formed a Commission for the protection of the Natives (LOL), 1901 Morel, set up West African Mail, seeks to “expose and destroy” Leopold’s regime in Congo (Leopold tries to bribe him), 1903 English parliament investigates, 1904 British Consul Casement issues report (“The country a desert,  no natives left.” Morel, “the most gigantic fraud and wickedness which our generation has known.”), 1904 Congo Reform Association (goal: end Leopold’s rule), Nov. 1905 Commission of Inquiry report confirms abuses, Dec. 1906, Leopold II agrees to hand over the Congo to the Belgian Government (“The Belgian people are tired of me,”), 1907 the King rode around on a huge tricycle (increasingly eccentric), Dec. 1909 Leopold II becomes sick & dies, 1919 Belgian government  report: there were 10 million less people in the Congo than when Leopold II assumed control (Brit. diplomat, King was always trying to “squeeze money out of the people.”)

I’ve met many a scoundrel in my time & in my line of work in the mystery shopper industry, misers and Grinch-hearts to put Uncle Scrooge to shame—but this guy takes the cake, and all else to boot! Happy Holidays, All…..


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Q Scores. Who needs ’em?

October 3, 2011 at 12:49 am (Mystery Shopping, Q Scores) (, , , , )

Who’s got ’em? And most importantly, what do they mean for you?

Since their introduction in the early sixties, the Q’s (as they are known in the trade), have been instrumental in assigning value to brands, etc…(see link for full-on details).

Now, Q’s are not for everyone … sadly for them. Due to the ever increasing importance on account of proliferation of advertising (and I’ve seen this grow from the inside-out for decades), it is imperative to know where your brand, etc. stands on the totem pole of the world of perceptions.

Now, to those I’ve just referenced as it being ‘not for everyone’ (agents, marketing), there is a simple industry name for them =  Agent Spaz. So, in light of this.. don’t be a Spaz!

Well then, here I’ll post a sample Q report I’ve filled out just for the purposes of this exercise:

Now, if you look at the rating system, you’ll instantly notice I’ve made some modifications to their rather straight shot scale. I’ve always been of the mind that more variety not only brings more options, but (and this is most important) additionally, that is a good thing.

So, these additions I’ve devised through many years of trial and error, are as follow — and you can compare to the sample form to see how they have been applied:

<, > – a nose on a straight line, 1, 4, ex. indicates the company should turn the category one way or other – depending on direction.

🙂 – this is on an angle, but a right side up smiling face with both open eyes = good, a bit above what is allowed.

😉 – same, right side up winking smiley = c’mon, good but can do better.

😦 – same again, right side up both eyes open frowny face = unsavory business practices (of one type or another, usually specified in full report form, attached).

😦red frown, right side up, with both eyes wide and 2 horns above eyes = going out of business soon.

Red Star – single = hot merchandise or sales folk (further stars indicate same, but in multiplication, obviously).

Blue Star – lukewarm, heat it up!

Blue moon – crescent = soothing experience with product.

:-/ – right side up = WTF?

? – self explanatory.

Red Check – like #10 but w/ Oomph!

Red Pitchfork – abysmal.

Blue Halo – heavenly.

Gold Lightning Bolt – out of this world.

Incidentally folks, the very highest rating achievable under my enhanced system of ‘weights & measures’ is … yep, I’ll bet you’ve guessed it = the Q*bert. This is for those special, flawless experiences when such a brand/experience  has no peer.

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Ye Olde Mystery Shoppe

December 1, 2010 at 9:08 pm (Home Page Layout) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

That was the name, in days of yore, when I had my full team around my person (and even though a ‘motley crew’, they were the tops), we were able to accomplish so much more. Some frivolous and rather pointless in a cul-de-sac manner, yet at the time quite fun and indeed different to scurry about these new paths — much as I would take this jaunt, now, down another lane of memory with you.

Some of these names will be new to you .. or perhaps not, you may have caught a gander of them listed here or there, but what they came up with was this (and keep in mind, please, these are only some fragments I happened across stored in nearly lost html files):

Heh: Queueworld – well that brings back the memories. For the record, Toole was my page (he may have served as clerk, but I think those were duties Stan ultimately took over), and WOW! Bethanny & Snarfles are flashes from the past, for sure…

I believe it was Messt, Toole’s comrade, who liked to use these ‘endorsements.’ Interesting ploy, never felt it particularly necessary myself. But to each their own wants…

Oh Dear, Gemini and its founders *sigh*, and here we were endorsing them .. even. I’ve a sample of their work above my desk even as I type this. Unfortunate what happened there…

And the Proclamation is set forth! Ha-ha, I’ve not a clue as to what we were proclaiming back then, support of something or other, but as I’ve said these files are fragmentary. At any rate, this was just a bit of a peek behind the curtains of my operations of Olde. Hope you enjoyed..

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The Arms of Lopp

October 20, 2010 at 9:10 pm (geneaology) (, , , , )

See what other Lopps are saying!

‘Fringe’ Event: I’ve said it before and will do so again … We Are Legion!

Well, maybe not quite so many but Stanley caught the gist of it when he wrote:

“Joe bald, but his mother somewhat less so. And, this is the truly odd thing about them, they both resemble the late thespian Sydney Greenstreet (a.k.a. Kasper ‘The Fat Man’ Gutman), of Maltese Falcon fame, to a startling degree.”

And what do I find while watching an episode of the TV show Fringe? Why only THIS:

“Peter: Apparently Mr. Gordon thought he was the actor Sydney Greenstreet, and went around quoting Casablanca. That’s funny.
Olivia: What?
Peter: He looks a lot more like Peter Lorre. That’s a joke.”

Ha-Ha, good ol’ Lorre. At any rate, it is still an acquired taste, to be sure, nonetheless Check It Out for yourselves…

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Cartoon Caption Contest … Fie!

September 7, 2010 at 6:54 pm (humor) (, , , , )

Here is the cartoon, with my caption entry:

Now, honest question: would you prefer my entry to go along with the above cartoon, or these?

And this winner IS (for those not clicking, it is the first one). IDK, I just thought my entry was topical to today’s currents, witty (perhaps presumptuous on my part), and actually more germane to the visuals of the ‘toon pic. The other 3 dogs? Well, somewhat less so. Oh, granted, the winner isn’t entirely dregs, only somewhat.

I suppose now I can join Stanley in the miasma of self-pity that is dejection due to rejection … a big, hearty thumbs down, way down to the judging panel, interns all…!


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Investigative persistence & possible Extortion

July 23, 2009 at 10:23 pm (fanmail) (, , , , , , , )

Current mood:betrayed

From time to time I like to present some of my fanmail when it contains items of particular interest. Could be anything, often is, but in this particular instance we have two, possibly conjoined, bits of information which I would bring to your attention, good readers.
First off, a point of professional reference which I think highly relevant to any and all who seek to pursue my line of work (or one in a related field, but all the same ‘industry’, after all). Here is the content of the comment I’d received some time back, am only now getting to it (becoming lazy, old Lopp? haha):

‘Not sure about that, are you saying you’d rather not have ‘3rd World’ and China looked at at all? Doesn’t the light need to be shined into every nook and cranny, every crevice and crack, and down the blouse or up the skirt of any and everyone who may be hiding something aggressively uncivil?
I certainly think it does…’

The above comment, actually, came in regards to an entirely off-topic subject, yet I must commend the author for their thoroughness and, dare I say, ‘aggressiveness’ in investigative technique. This is JUST the kind of doggedness which is absolutely essential in all the investigative sectors. Never lose sight of that! Leave no stone unturned, and, as stated above, no blouse of skirt unsearched. If you do that, you’ll not go wrong. Trust me.

Now, to the second bit of info, and one of far more concern to me. You may be wondering why I would bring up such personal matters … well, you shall see. The above post came from one Rebgoblin, whom, after some detective work, I managed to trace to the link provided (you’ll find the comment I pasted above under the storyline: ‘Amnesty’s grim global report/Taking on the sins of the world’).
But it is not that which is of concern, if you’ll scroll up, to certain comments under storylines such as: ‘Soaring gun sales/Planning for the worst’ or ‘Sarah Palin stands down as governor of Alaska/An Alaskan mystery’, you’ll note a familiar refrain … that is, if you’ve followed this blog at all.
I believe the ‘goblin is none other than Mangle Blue Palin (of whom I’ve posted before), who has hounded me for some time w/ outrageous claims of patrimony in relation to a certain well known politico. I bring this up as a cautionary tale to all who may achieve some measure of success in this life, but be warned: there are those out there who will stop at nothing to get a piece of you! They are tireless, and they are seemingly everywhere. One must be ever vigilant against them.

To M.B., if that is indeed you, you will get no alimony, or palimony, or any other kind of mo-ney, or anything else out me, EVER! If you want a handout, I suggest you pursue your so-called ‘mother’, maybe she’ll give you some mamamony … then again, I’d wager she’ll spurn your advances as thoroughly as I’ve done. Whichever, and whatevs, be gone with you, sir…

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