About Dr. StrangeJob

If you want to know what happens when the Peter Principle collides with Kurt Vonnegut and Stanley Kubrick then you found the right place.

The Dearth of Dr. StrangeJob (2015-2017)

After a long and courageous battle with incompetents, Dr. StrangeJob succumbed to the view that nepotism, cronyism, treachery, and incompetence will always overcome decency, humility, honesty, and competence. He has been passed over and is now living with the angles.

Dr. StrangeJob forced himself on the world on February 27, 2015 with the following simple but pathetic prophetic tweet: This is what happens when the Peter Principle collides with Kurt Vonnegut and Stanley Kubrick. Since that humble beginning, he unleashed a wrath of blogs, tweets, and Facebook comments the likes of which the world has never seen. In fact, at last count, very few have seen. To be honest, without the prudent use of the “refresh” key, even fewer have actually seen.

In search of a home with transparency, he found little solace in a city of opacity. In life, he sought to bring light to the dearth of competence in local politics. In passing, he hopes to safeguard his legacy in the annals of the literary world, rather than becoming a mere footnote in the anals of satirical literature.

In recovery, he fought against incompetence but had to do it stunned.

As a recovering incompetent, he lived his life one gaffe at a time, cherishing the comfort and support received from fellow travesties in Incompetents Anonymous, the world’s first 12+1 self-help group. Throughout life, he sought through pen and mediation to thwart those that ruled through fear and intimidation. In passing, he hopes the heroes he leaves behind will continue to shed light on inequality by continuing to fight the good fight.

In typical Incompetents Anonymous fashion, no arrangements were made for his passing. As in life, in passing he raised just enough stink to force authorities to address the issue. In life, he often found himself on the wrong side of a burnt bridge, and so, in passing, he has also been burnt. A special thank you goes to the kind folks at “Garbage Haul and Burn” for their expeditated service.

He leaves behind friends in the IA Fellowship, enemies in local politics, and survivors in spirit in CBLA-InComps. A celebration of his strife may take place for those touched by his satirical pen, but he expects no societies of social justice to be created in his name.

Like his social media sites, there will be no visitations. In lieu of donations, feel free to send free t-shirts here, Facebook likes here, or Twitter followers here. Online condolences may be made at www.drstrangejob.ca.

Dr. StrangeJob

In the name of the blog, of the Twitterverse, and of the worldly web. – Blessing of Dr. StrangeJob

Find Dr. StrangeJob on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/drstrangejob
Follow Dr. StrangeJob on Twitter at https://twitter.com/drstrangejob
Learn more about Dr. StrangeJob at www.drstrangejob.ca

THEY vs THEM – InComps Episode 6

Dr StrangeJob worries about his little brother Psycho Sam. Sam has not been heard from since he begrudgingly agreed to a date with Ms Lied-Toomey two weeks ago. To make matters worse, Ms Lied-Toomey does not answer the Doctor’s text messages and all attempts to contact her at work receive “Out of Office” replies. Apparently, Ms Lied-Toomey called in sick the morning after her date with Sam, and nobody has heard from her since either.

A tired and troubled Dr StrangeJob attempts to relax on his front porch listening to Matt Minglewood and falls asleep, dreaming of superheroes…

What if InComps became a superhero group charged with thwarting evil wrongdoers of Cape Breton? Who would they be?

That’s easy. Capers always end their grumblings by asking for the same group of heroes to come to their aid. Eavesdrop in any Cape Breton tavern or coffee shop and you will hear the same response to any problem:

Unemployment – they need to do something about it.

Health care – they need to fix it.

Poverty – they need to help.

Crooked politicians – they need to deal with them.

Any other problem – they need to address it.

So, it’s obvious that the superhero group are THEY (The Heroes Everyone Yearns), but who exactly are THEY? They are an elite subgroup of InComps members who use their special powers to thwart evil. Their special powers, however, are not unearthly superpowers, but powers based on individual characteristics.

Zippy, for example, becomes Flash, with his ability to temporarily blind villains using his high-intensity camera flash. Miss Mackie is The Eye, with power to freeze politicians in mid-lie, forcing them to tell the truth with The Look she developed over a 50-year teaching career. Grant, a newer InComps member, is a blacksmith and iron worker who serves as the group’s Ironman. Sir Joe Spam-Alot is the Real TweetHeart and continues to get the word out in 140 characters or less, continues to get the word out in 140 characters or less, continues to get the word out in 140 characters or less …

Doctor Spinolee, Riddler, annihilates bureaucratic policy through logical inquisition. Andre, The Green Thumb, beats swords into plowshares for green spaces. In other cases, the hero’s name is self-explanatory: Madi (Shit Disturber) and Dan (Bullshitter) are collectively known as the InComp-poops. Wayne, another new member, is the Libel-Libertarian, he has survived death and is willing to follow suit in support of the cause.

All superheroes oppose a supervillain group. Again, listening to tidbits of Timbit-fueled Caper conversation we glean the name of the true villains of Cape Breton:

It was them.

It’s them damn politicians.

Oh, them again.

Them dirty little buggers.

Them’s to blame.

So, it’s clear that our villains are THEM (The Hateful Elite Mongers), but who exactly are THEM? Well, we all know who they are, don’t we?

We are THEY, THEY have seen the enemy, and the enemy is THEM.

Screeeeeeeech!!!

This episode has gone more off kilter than Mr. Robot’s Season 2 Episode 6 sitcom parody or that insane musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I mean, come on, a superhero group! Has Dr StrangeJob run out of story ideas or has InComps lost their way?

Besides, Cape Breton already has a set of superheroes fighting for truth, equality, and transparency: Mary Campbell and  The Cape Breton Spectator fight for transparency; Madonna Doucette makes us proud; and the Three Wise Women of Council keep a watchful eye on the CBRM Mayor and Administration. These are only a few examples of the many workers, volunteers, neighbours, and dedicated grassroot organizers standing up for Cape Breton justice.

Stand up. Stand up for justice and break the tyrant’s hand…” sings Ken C., breaking into song at the mere mention of the Mayor, forcing StrangeJob to relive the events of KaleFest 2017 and Psycho Sam: A Flash in the Cam.

“No, No, not the kilt, not the kilt,” mutters Dr StrangeJob, startled from his dream state as Officer Richard (Dick) Less pulls into the driveway.

 “Not you again,” says StrangeJob. “What are you going to arrest me for this time?”

“I am not here for you,” says Officer Dick Less. “Ms Lied-Toomey asked me to drop by with Sam’s laundry and pick up his mail.”

“What!” exclaims StrangeJob. “We have been worried sick about him, and you show up to collect his mail. Where is he?”

“I am not at liberty to say,” says Dick Less, handing a laundry sack to StrangeJob. “But he was smiling the last time I saw him, which reminds me, where can I pick up his asthma medications?” 

Dr StrangeJob accepts the laundry, opens the front door and shouts, “Hey Ma, that psycho son of yours has fallen in love again, and Dick Less wants his mail.”

“Stop picking on your little brother,” replies Miss Mackie. “It’s not his fault that the girls you fancy fall for him instead.”

Meanwhile, Alan “Fritz” Smithee, reviewing footage from the hidden camera attached to Psycho Sam’s kilt, contemplates his next film project.

… end of InComps Volume 1

InCompsLOGO

Competence is our final frontier. Join the farce and support the journey of the CBLA-InComps. Their mission: to expel incompetence, to seek out the competent, and to boldly go where Caper heroes have gone before. We are legion. We know who you are. We are going to the Legion.

 

Find Dr StrangeJob on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/drstrangejob
Follow Dr StrangeJob on Twitter at https://twitter.com/drstrangejob
Learn more about Dr StrangeJob at www.drstrangejob.ca

Psycho Sam: A Flash in the Cam – InComps Episode 5

“Thanks for travelling all the way to Donkin Donuts for today’s special meeting,” says Dr StrangeJob. “I’m on recon for our pending mission on unsafe mining conditions, so I thought a field trip would lighten the group’s mood and get us out of the pits.”

“Well next time, count me out,” grumps Miss Mackie. “Police pulled me over on the way and gave me 39 safety citations for the car.”

“Are you still driving that old Ford Pinto?” asks StrangeJob. “Didn’t those cars have a problem with exploding fuel tanks?

“You got a car that blows up!” exclaims Psycho Sam. “Cool, can I get a drive home with you?”

“Don’t be silly,” replies Miss Mackie. “Who in their right mind would put themselves in an exploding chamber without proper safety protection?”

“What did they cite you for?” asks Madi.

“Minor things,” says Mackie, “no emergency brake, leaking radiator, no seatbelts, missing spare tire, lost documentation, and a few other safety issues that didn’t stop me from getting here.”

“So, you are driving an unsafe vehicle, a potential health hazard for passengers!” quips Zippy.

“Well, when you say it like that, yes,” replies Mackie, “but that didn’t stop you from hitching a free ride.”

“You’re lucky they didn’t revoke your permit,” says Madi.

“Permit?  inquires Mackie. “That’s just government cover your ass paperwork. Besides I drive too fast to get rear ended anyway.”

“Let’s get back on topic,” says StrangeJob. “Today’s special meeting was called to present the inaugural InComps Member of the Year Award. I am proud to present the award to my little brother, Psycho Sam.”

“Psycho Sam?” questions Zippy.

“I didn’t apply for any award,” says Psycho Sam.

“NEPOTISM!” exclaims Madi. “What was the selection process for this award?”

“Was seniority counted as a factor in the selection process?” asks Miss Mackie.

“Didn’t you get Dan’s memo?” StrangeJob asks, bewildered. “I had Dan send the group a note highlighting the seriousness of Psycho Sam’s next mission. The award is an incentive to encourage Sam to accept the mission.”

“Well, we all received a stupid PowerPoint attachment from Dan,” snarks Madi, “but nobody pays attention to his boring PowerPoints. Next, you will be giving him the communicator of the year award. Hell, you might as well just pat yourself on the back.”

“Ok, it’s fess up time,” says StrangeJob, deciding to come clean with the group. “We weren’t arrested at KaleFest 2017 only because I made a deal with Ms Lied-Toomey. CBRM will not pursue charges against Andre Le Pouce Vert, and have also agreed to return the thumb drive I left at City Hall.”

“What’s our side of the deal?” asks Madi.

“Well, that’s where Psycho Sam comes in,” explains StrangeJob. “It appears that Ms. Lied-Toomey, a huge Outlander fan, was impressed with the security footage of Psycho Sam at KaleFest 2017.  All she wants in return is a date with Sam.”

“I don’t do dates!” exclaims Psycho Sam.

“I’ll do it if he doesn’t,” interjects Zippy.

“Sorry Zippy, Ms. Lied-Toomey was clear that she wants Sam, I mean she really, really wants Sam!” says StrangeJob.

“Does anyone have a picture of Ms. Lied-Toomey?” asks Psycho Sam.

“You can’t just send him on a date without any support,” says Madi.

“Well, I thought of that,” says StrangeJob. “I discussed training options with a teacher who recommended an online place called Duck University. Duck U has a certificate in Lifestyle Coaching that might be helpful.”

“Duck U?” asks Miss Mackie. “Is that the place selling bird courses on DVD for teachers to upgrade their licence? I don’t want anything to do with that outfit.”

“No, Duck U is the sister university of that one,” says StrangeJob. “Duck U has a co-op option, and I am arranging to have an intern from their Lifestyle Coach certificate do a work placement with Sam.”

“Can I get a copy of the DVDs?” asks Zippy.

“Let me get this straight,” says Madi. “You are getting a Duck U intern to help Psycho Sam with a date!”

“Duck University Intern?” puzzles Zippy. “Sam needs a DUI to go on a date?”

“And you question my driving!” says Miss Mackie. “I never had a DUI! The occasional glass of wine, but never a DUI.”

Psycho Sam, looking more panicked, shouts, “Maybe I don’t want to date Ms. Lied-Toomey!”

“Don’t worry Sam,” consoles Dr StrangeJob. “You know I wouldn’t ask you to do anything that I would not do myself. It’s just a date. The DUI will help, and Alan ‘Fritz’ Smithee said he would hook you up so we can communicate as necessary.”

“You mean I am going to be hot?” asks Psycho Sam.

“Well, Sam, that’s the general idea,” chuckles StrangeJob, “but just to be sure, I ordered the first two seasons of Outlander for you to binge watch as homework.”

Meanwhile, back in her Outlander décor bedroom, Ms. Lied-Toomey develops plans for a CBRM Outlander Theme Park. Situated in a refurbished P3 school, the Park will target cruise ship visitors while mining Federal and Provincial funds. It will be an easy sell. Early projections suggest the need for a third birth just for the additional cruise ship traffic, and, besides, it’s not like the Mayor has ever had trouble coercing Council into supporting an outlandish project.

“So, little brother, will you accept the date, or do I tell mom who really stole her kale?” asks StrangeJob.

… to be continued

InCompsLOGO

Competence is our final frontier. Join the farce and support the journey of the CBLA-InComps. Their mission: to expel incompetence, to seek out the competent, and to boldly go where Caper heroes have gone before. We are legion. We know who you are. We are going to the Legion.

 

Find Dr StrangeJob on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/drstrangejob
Follow Dr StrangeJob on Twitter at https://twitter.com/drstrangejob
Learn more about Dr StrangeJob at www.drstrangejob.ca

Cape Breton Kale-Lee – InComps Episode 4

While Dr StrangeJob was discussing future InComps episodes with Madi, he received a text message from Andre Le Pouce Vert.

“Andre has about 30 kale-for-the-picking bins ready to go,” reports StrangeJob. “Looks like we’re ready to execute operation Let Them Eat Flowers.”

“No, we need to abort that mission,” says Madi. “Didn’t you hear? CBRM workers replaced the Mayor’s beautification flower-baskets with kale-for-the-picking bins all over town!”

“What?” blurts StrangeJob.

“Yeah, and their kale-for-the-picking bins look exactly like the prototype we put up in front of City Hall,” says Madi. “They even distributed the original flower baskets to local senior citizen complexes, just like we had planned.”

“I bet I know what happened,” chuckles StrangeJob. “At my meeting last week with Ms Lied-Toomey, I learned she obtained a leaked a copy of our Let Them Eat Flowers plans and forwarded the plans to the managerial brass at City Hall as a high priority item—I guess they took her literally and executed the plans for us.”

“Well, on to our next adventure then,” says Madi. “But I feel bad for Andre. He puts his heart into providing healthy food choices for folks, and now he has 30 bins of kale going to waste.”

“I have an idea,” says StrangeJob. “Let’s have a Kale-Lee!”

“Do you mean ceilidh?” asks Madi.

“No, not a ceilidh. I mean a good old fashion Cape Breton Kale-Lee,” says StrangeJob.  “You know, kind of like Sydney RibFest, but with kale instead of ribs. The vegans will love it.”

“Cool. And there’s a cruise ship in port this afternoon, so why don’t we set something up for later today?” says Madi.

“Ok, I’ll text Andre to deliver the kale to the Big Fiddle and buy us some time to organize an event,” says StrangeJob.

… three hours later

Andre had his kale-for-the-picking bins strategically arranged around the Big Fiddle with an hour to spare. Since that left ample time for a quick 5K run before KaleFest 2017, he started a warmup routine just as a Port Authority security guard approached him.

“Excuse me, sir, but what are you doing with all of that green stuff?” asks the guard pointing to the 30 kale-for-the-picking bins.

“Ils sont ici pour le Kale-Lee cet après-midi,” says Andre, continuing his warm up.

“Pardon?” asks the guard.

“Tu ne parle pas le français, n’est-ce pas?” says Andre, stepping up the pace of his stretches and jumping jacks.

The guard, showing obvious signs of distress as Andre accelerated his squats and flailing arm movements, asks, “Do you speak English?”

“Pardon, je ne parle pas l’anglais aujourd’hui,” teases Andre as he starts running on the spot.

The guard speaks slowly into his walkie-talkie, “Central, we have a problem! There is a wild and crazy dude down here speaking a foreign language. I’m backing off, call the police.”

… one hour later

KaleFest 2017 was in full swing: Miss Mackie had just arrived with her industrial sized cooling fan to keep the kale from wilting, Madi’s “kale chewing” contest was a hit, tourists lined up at Zippy’s photo booth to pose with a kilted Psycho Sam, and Dr StrangeJob dropped off singer/songwriter Kenny C (not G) to perform a set of Cape Breton Protest Songs Volume 1 and Volume 2.

Kenny tunes up with a rousing chorus of, “Stand up. Stand up for justice and break the tyrant’s hand…”

“So, did Security give you any trouble setting up the kale?” StrangeJob asks Andre.

“No b’ye, I just spoke in French with my Quebec dialect and scared him off,” responds Andre. “I bought us some time, but I bet the cops will be here soon.”

“Hey, who are those two guys with the movie camera standing next to Zippy’s photo booth?” asks Madi.

“Oh, that’s Alan ‘Fritz’ Smithee and his sound guy Clappy from the CrapDance Channel,” says StrangeJob. “They’re doing a documentary on InComps.”

“Too bad they didn’t get you on film when we were stuck in the trunk of Miss MacKie’s car,” says Madi. “That was a crapdance moment if ever I saw one”.

Kenny, sings in the background, “Stand up. Stand up for justice and break the tyrant’s hand …”

“Hey, that guy is pretty good, but didn’t he sing that song already?” asks a tourist to one of Kenny’s fawning groupies.

“Well, like yeah, someone must have mentioned the Mayor’s name again,” replies the groupie. “I mean like, don’t you know that Kenny C always sings that song whenever he hears the Mayor’s name, Duh!”

… things continued well with KaleFest 2017, that is, until someone hit the fan.

Zippy was snapping photos of the kilted Psycho Sam posing with a family of international tourists when Miss Mackie plugged in her industrial sized cooling fan. The resulting image of Psycho Sam with kilt blown from under set a wave of shock and awe through KaleFest 2017.

At this exact moment Officer Richard “Dick” Less arrived to deal with the “wild and crazy dude” running around scaring the bejeezus out of tourists. “Dear God!” gasped Dick Less, as the image of Psycho Sam channeling Marylyn Monroe’s blowing white dress implanted permanently in his brain. Poor Dick Less, he never felt SO, So, so inadequate.

“Tell me we got that on film!” exclaims director Alan ‘Fritz’ Smithee to Clappy.“ I just got an idea for my next movie.”

“Can you tell me how to get to the Mayor’s office?” a stranger asks Kenny, who breaks into another chorus of, “Stand up. Stand up for justice and break the tyrant’s hand…”

Pandemonium ensued by the Big Fiddle: tourists ran around snapping photos; Kenny’s groupies swarmed Zippy’s photo booth; Miss Mackie fainted; Madi’s dog, Kali, charged Psycho Sam’s kilt, and Dr StrangeJob received an unexpected text message from Ms Lied-Toomey.

Apparently, Ms Lied-Toomey, a huge Outlander fan, had been monitoring KaleFest 2017 via the port security camera ever since the guard called about the “wild and crazy dude.” The vision of an up-kilted Psycho Sam was too much for her to handle. After repeated pause/play of security footage and a few deep breaths, Ms Lied-Toomey knew what had to be done and sent the following text to Dr StrangeJob.

“Can you hook me up with Psycho Sam?”

Dr StrangeJob was considering his response to Ms Lied-Toomey’s when Ken started his third encore.

“We went on a march to the government, so do whatever it takes. You gotta do whatever it takes. You gotta do whatever it takes…”

Inspired by Kenny’s song, Dr StrangeJob looked at his little brother Psycho Sam, smiled mischievously, and replied to Ms Lied-Toomey’s text.

… to be continued in Episode 5: Psycho Sam Takes One for the Team!

InCompsLOGO

Competence is our final frontier. Join the farce and support the journey of the CBLA-InComps. Their mission: to expel incompetence, to seek out the competent, and to boldly go where Caper heroes have gone before. We are legion. We know who you are. We are going to the Legion.

Find Dr StrangeJob on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/drstrangejob
Follow Dr StrangeJob on Twitter at https://twitter.com/drstrangejob
Learn more about Dr StrangeJob at www.drstrangejob.ca

Cape Breton Post-Truth – InComps Episode 3

Dr StrangeJob, just escorted into the office of CBRM’s Secretary of Disinformation, plans to take full responsibility for the unscheduled sewage dump in Sydney Harbour and finally put that whole crappy episode behind him. Unfortunately, Ms Lied-Toomey has other plans.

“Thank you for coming to this meeting,” says Ms Lied-Toomey.

“Meeting! I wouldn’t call being arrested and dragged here by Dick Less a meeting,” retorts Dr StrangeJob.

“The Mayor is unaware of this session—oh wait, sorry—you’re talking about Officer Richard Less,” says Lied-Toomey.

“Aren’t you supposed to inform people of meeting dates and give some notice?” asks StrangeJob.

“This is not a public meeting. Consider it in-camera,” states Lied-Toomey.

“You just can’t hold in-camera meetings willy-nilly without letting anyone know,” says StrangeJob.

“Well, actually, it is the prerogative of the head of the Department of Disinformation to decide when and where to hold such meetings,” claims Lied-Toomey.

“Doesn’t the Municipality Act prevent you from misinforming the public like that?” asks StrangeJob.

“You might be confusing my department with my sister’s department, the Department of Misinformation,” states Lied-Toomey.

“What?” says StrangeJob.

“To clarify: my sister, M.T. Promise, is head of the Department of Misinformation. The Department of Misinformation tracks down valuable misinformation that we at the Department of Disinformation vet and forward through appropriate channels,” says Lied-Toomey.

“So, the Department of Misinformation finds or creates lies, and the Department of Disinformation spreads them,” says StrangeJob, “so what did you drag me down here for?”

“I brought you in because there is something we want you to do for us,” explains Lied-Toomey. “We want you to stop taking responsibility for the unscheduled sewage release in Sydney Harbour.”

“But it was me, it was all my fault, and I want to be accountable for my actions,” pleads StrangeJob.

“Look, we know you did it. Not only do we have security footage, but we also have the thumb-drive you left behind,” says Lied-Toomey. “We just don’t want you raising any unnecessary stink around the Port file.”

“So, this is about me trying to take responsibility for the sewage dump at yesterday’s press conference?” suggests StrangeJob. “Well, perhaps the Mayor shouldn’t have had me thrown out of the conference!”

“Yesterday’s incident was bad timing. That snoop from the Spectator upset the Mayor by asking too many sensitive Port questions, and then you started in with your it was my fault bit,” says Lied-Toomey. “The Mayor gets a tad sensitive when challenged.”

“Well, that didn’t give him the right to tell her to go FOIP herself, or to have me forcibly removed,” says StrangeJob.

“Look, I just brought you in for a friendly chat with the hope that you would come on board, but that does not appear to be working. So, simply put, I insist that you keep the sewage episode to yourself,” says Lied-Toomey, “Else we will release what’s on your thumb drive and blame you for the leak.”

“Are you calling me a leaker? I am no leaker!” retorts StrangeJob. “Perhaps at my age I am a bit of a dribbler, but I am certainly no leaker!”

“Believe me, you don’t want the data on your thumb drive leaked,” says Lied-Toomey, “So let’s simplify matters. We issued a press release to the Caper Post-Truth and local radio outlets explaining that the pungent smell was from the landfill site and was caused by the unseasonably warm temperatures and an excess of compost at the dump.”

“Alternate facts are fabricated lies, and the only thing I smell here is bullshit,” snorts StrangeJob.  “I’m out of here!”

“We’re not done yet,” warns Lied-Toomey. “We know about your Let Them Eat Flowers plan, and that’s just not going to happen on my watch!”

“I have no idea what you are talking about,” states StrangeJob.

“We have a PowerPoint presentation that begs to differ,” replies Lied-Toomey, “and, in fact, we have already forwarded copies of those plans to all appropriate CBRM management as a high priority item.”

“Excuse me for a second. I just remembered something I forgot to do,” states Lied-Toomey, pressing the intercom button on her desk phone.

“Helen Waite, Special Communication Assistant to the Director of Disinformation, how may I help you?” answers the intercom.

“Helen, this is Betty, did you remember to disable the Mayor’s Twitter account?” asks Ms Lied-Toomey. “He has been emulating his hero Trump again, and we need to reign him in a bit.”

“I guess you would call that a downside of the Trump bump,” interjects StrangeJob sarcastically.

“Yes ma’am, and I have also been monitoring Council member feeds per your request.” says Helen.

“You’ve been monitoring the Councillors’ accounts?” queries StrangeJob.

“You were not supposed to hear that,” stammers Lied-Toomey. “Helen, please strike that last statement from the official minutes and have a non-disclosure agreement made up for Dr StrangeJob to sign on his way out.”

“I am not signing any confidentiality agreement with City Hall, and the next time you want to talk to me, send me a text,” says StrangeJob, getting up to leave.

“If that’s the way you want to play it, then to talk to me you will need to follow proper channels by going through Helen Waite,” states Lied-Toomey. “That’s our official procedure for communicating with CBRM taxpayers, so it should be good enough for you.”

Once outside, Dr StrangeJob puts on his headphones and whispers, “Hey Zippy, did you get all of that on tape?”

“Sure did, and it sounds like she took the bait,” says Zippy. “By the way, what’s on the thumb drive?”

“That’s a story for another day,” replies StrangeJob.

…. to be continued

InCompsLOGOCompetence is our final frontier. Join the farce and support the journey of the CBLA-InComps. Their mission: to expel incompetence, to seek out the competent, and to boldly go where Caper heroes have gone before. We are legion. We know who you are. We are going to the Legion.

 

Find Dr StrangeJob on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/drstrangejob
Follow Dr StrangeJob on Twitter at https://twitter.com/drstrangejob
Learn more about Dr StrangeJob at www.drstrangejob.ca

Let Them Eat Flowers – InComps Episode 2

Dr StrangeJob was relaxing on his deck listening to Buddy and the Boys when Officer Richard (Dick) Less pulled into his driveway in an unmarked police car.

“Hello, Doc, sorry to bother you but I was asked to escort you downtown. They want to talk to you about the incident at the Mayor’s press conference.”

“Oh, by incident you must mean where I was forcibly thrown out of the session for trying to take responsibility for the unscheduled sewage dump in Sydney harbor,” retorts Dr StrangeJob.

“Hey, I am just following orders,” replies Officer Dick Less. “We can do this the easy way or the hard way–your call.”

“Fine. Just let me leave a message to where I am going.”

Dr StrangeJob sends a quick text message to Dan, requesting that he attend the afternoon’s CBLA-InComps meeting to seek group approval for operation Let Them Eat Flowers.

*****

CBLA-InComps hold their meetings at various coffee shops around town. Attending today’s session at Doktor Jule’s Luke’s in downtown Sydney are Dan, Doc Spinolee, Madi, Con, Psycho Sam, and Zippy.

Dan opens the meeting by forwarding a copy of his PowerPoint lecture notes to the group.

Digression: PPT Syndrome, a rare communication disorder, thwarts open dialogue and limits both the afflicted and affected to Microsoft PowerPoint presentations. Although rare, PPT Syndrome is often associated with educators who exhibit an over reliance on publisher-supplied support materials.

“Ok, the first three slides provide background for our next mission,” says Dan, as the group fumbles with their phones.

“What’s the wifi password for this place?” asks Madi, the group’s Communication Officer.

“Espresso,” says Zippy the techie.

“No thanks, I already have tea,” replies Dan, “So let’s begin the presentation.”

Slide 1: CBRM budgets $100,000+ annually to hang flower baskets on telephone poles throughout downtown CBRM.

Slide 2: One-third of CBRM children live in poverty.

Slide 3: CBRM seniors are living in cramped housing and could use some cheering up.

“This next slide is very important, so please pay attention,” states Dan.

Slide 4: “Our next mission, Let Them Eat Flowers, involves replacing CBRM flower baskets with food-for-the-picking bins and distributing the original flowers to local senior citizen complexes.”

“Ok, so that’s the plan. Any Questions?”

“Can we just blow up the existing flower pots?” asks Psycho Sam.

“No, Sam. Our goal is to raise the issue of CBRM’s allocation of limited financial resources, not to destroy public property.” says Dan.

“So, we help feed the hungry while cheering up senior citizens, rather than hanging flower baskets in support of potential cruise ship visitors,” suggests Zippy, “I can get behind that.”

“I agree as well,” says Madi, “but after the stink we raised with our last escapade, we need to be more careful with this mission.

“That’s true Madi,” replies Dan, “And that is why we asked Doc Spinolee to ensure that all InComps missions follow ethical guidelines for civil disobedience. I turn the floor over to Doc Spinolee.”

Doc Spinolee begins a PowerPoint free discussion on the ethical implications of civil disobedience and concludes, “From the utilitarian perspective, the potential for greater good derived from feeding our hungry and supporting seniors will outweigh any possible harm incurred by removing the original flower baskets.”

“So, what you are saying is that we are good to go on this one?” asks Zippy.

“Yes.” replies Doc Spinolee.

“But should we consider opposing arguments just to be safe?” interjects Madi.

“Well, I guess we could consider Kant,” says Doc Spinolee.

“Can’t!, What do you mean can’t, you just said the mission was good to go,” says Zippy.

“No, I did not say can’t, I said Kant,” states Doc Spiniolee.

“I’m confused,” says Madi, “Are you saying we can or can’t do this mission?”

“All I am saying is that Kant provides an alternative view as to the possible ethical implications for this particular mission.” says Doc Spinolee.

“There you go with the can’t again. Hell, let’s just blow something up.” moans a frustrated Psycho Sam.

“Let me clarify: I am not saying can’t, I am saying Kant!” replies Doc Spinolee.

“Christ, I feel like I am in an Abbot and Costello movie,” says Dan.

“Who?” reply all patrons of Doktor Jule’s Luke’s under the age of forty.

…. Fifteen minutes later

“Ok, now that we have that settled, let’s get back to business,” says Dan. “We will need someone with a green thumb to create the feeder bins. Any suggestions?”

“I know Andre Le Pouce Vert. I bet he will help.” says Madi.

“Was he the dude that planted food gardens around his neighbourhood last year?” asks Zippy.

“Yeah, I remember reading about that. OK Madi, see if you can get him on board,” says Dan.

“What are these food baskets going to look like anyway?” asks Zippy.

“Well, actually that brings me to my last slide,” says Dan. “This slide shows the prototype food bin that Madi and I swapped out in front of City Hall.”

Slide 5

City Hall Kale Slide

Con, staring at Slide 5, blurts, “Looks like the kale stolen from my garden!”

“Well, you weren’t home at the time, so Madi and I liberated your kale.” says Dan.

“Wait, you just can’t do that!” exclaims Doc Spinolee.

“Are we back discussing that Kant dude again?” asks Zippy.

“No, I did not say Kant, I said can’t,” replies Doc Spinolee.

“Let’s not go down that road again,” states Dan “Let’s speak one person at a time.“

“So, who’s on first?”

….. meanwhile, Dr StrangeJob has been escorted into the office of Ms Lied-Toomey, CBRM’s Secretary of Disinformation.

InCompsLOGO

Competence is our final frontier. Join the farce and support the journey of the CBLA-InComps. Their mission: to expel incompetence, to seek out the competent, and to boldly go where Caper heroes have gone before. We are legion. We know who you are. We are going to the Legion.

Dr StrangeJob

Find Dr StrangeJob on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/drstrangejob
Follow Dr StrangeJob on Twitter at https://twitter.com/drstrangejob
Learn more about Dr StrangeJob at www.drstrangejob.ca

CBLA-InComps Episode Zero – The Writer’s Cut

Note: This is the original version of Episode 1 – The Port Menace. I prefer this version because it is actually closer to my own sense of humor. The final cut missed the plot absurdity, Doc Spinolee, and reference to some local characters.

*****

“Don’t press that button,” shouted Madi, “we’re in the wrong building!”

Too late! Rather than releasing CBRM’s confidential Port documents into public waters, Dr. StrangeJob dumped CBRM’s excess sewage into Sydney Harbor.

It was supposed to be a simple plan: Break into City Hall, find the confidential Sydney Port documents, and release the files to the public. What could go wrong?

… but then again it was the group’s inaugural mission

Their mandate: To save Cape Breton. Incompetence runs rampant in all areas of the beloved Island especially the political, educational, and business sectors. Cape Breton is in near ruins as a result of incompetence. Without action, this could be the end of Cape Breton as we know it.

The Cape Breton Liberation Army – Intelligence and Competence Squad (CBLA-InComps) formed to strike at the heart of incompetence. CBLA-InComps will become Cape Breton’s freedom revolutionaries bringing transparency, integrity, and honesty back to the good citizens of Cape Breton.

CBLA-InComps first mission focused on transparency issues raised by many CBRM residents concerning a proposed multi-billion dollar container port shrouded in secrecy, exclusivity contracts, backroom deals, non-disclosure agreements, and in camera meetings. Believing that good decisions must also be informed decisions, CBLA-InComps sought to release all secret port documents to the CBRM citizenry for public scrutiny. What Snowden was to the CIA, the CBLA-InComps would be to CBRM.

… but something went wrong. Something went very, very wrong with the mission!

Under cover of night, the CBLA-InComps team mistakenly broke into the local sewage treatment facility assuming that they were sneaking into City Hall. It was an honest mistake. Ali, an international student studying engineering and global positioning systems (GPS) at the local university, volunteered to lead the team to their assigned target. English was Ali’s second language, so he may have taken Dr. StrangeJob’s directive too literally when asked to, “get us into the big building on the waterfront where we can release all the shit we can find on the Port file.”

It wasn’t all Ali’s fault. As the leader of the group, Dr. StrangeJob should have known he was in the wrong building. Unfortunately, the Doctor doesn’t get out much and has no sense of direction. In fact, the last time he was in the actual city hall dated back to the mid-70’s when the drunk tank was housed in the basement. Also, Ziggy, the group’s techie, had warned the Doctor that if he couldn’t find hard copies of the Port files, he would need to take a dump – it did kind of smell as he was in the right place.

Madi, the group’s Chief of Intellectual Guerilla Activities (IGA) and Interim Communications Office (ICO), first realised they were in the wrong building. Madi has a tendency of putting her contact lenses in the wrong eyes. Fortunately, her poor vision had heightened her remaining senses so that the pungent smell of the sewage and the excessive noise of the machinery alerted her that they were in the wrong building, but alas, it was too late.

“Let’s get the hell out of here,” shouted Dr. StrangeJob as he, Madi, and Ali bolted from the sewage treatment plant and stumbled through the dark on their way back to the getaway car.

Con was appointed getaway driver because she happened to have a car, a valid driver’s licence, and lots of gas (the car that is, but then again, she is a 93-year-old vegan). No traffic cop in their right mind would suspect anything nefarious from a 93-year-old recently retired schoolteacher. Still, as an extra precaution, the three defenders of political transparency travelled back to CBLA-InComps headquarters stowed away in the trunk of Con’s Pinto. It was a bumpy ride.

“So, did you get the files,” asks Con, as the three bruised and battered passengers climbed from the trunk of the car.

“No, we broke into the sewage plant by mistake and released the excess sewage into the harbour”, explains Dr. StrangeJob as he fills Con in on the details.

“So, that explains the stink then,” replies Con, holding fingers to her nose.

“No, that smell has more to do with the three of us being scared shitless while stuck in thed trunk of your car,” the Doctor replies. “BTW, next time please be more careful driving over potholes and railroad tracks.”

Dr. StrangeJob then asks Madi to call the CBLA-InComps executive to an emergency debriefing meeting and rushes off to the nearest bathroom.

*****

To maintain secrecy and avoid suspicion, the CBLA-InComps hold their clandestine meetings at various coffee shops throughout the area. The George Street TimBits, for example, is so noisy that the group is relatively safe from any form of eavesdropping. The CBLA-InComps executive members huddle inconspicuously in a corner booth, meticulously camouflaged as a group of 12 steppers holding an after-meeting group discussion. Just another bunch of anonymous caffeine addicts gobbling sugar treats.

In attendance are Dr. StrangeJob, Ali, Madi, Ziggy, Con, and Doc Spinolee (retired professor and intellect of the group).

“Let’s open our meeting with a moment of silence followed by the Competency Prayer,” whispers Dr. StrangeJob, as those around the table silently nibble on timbits.

The executive quietly mumbles in unison, “The Competency Prayer:  Grant me the patience to deal with the incompetent that cannot or will not change, the courage to challenge those that can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

“Well, at least we can say we raised a bit of stink on our first mission,” jokes Dr. Strangejob, “but      seriously, we could find ourselves in a pile of crap if they pin this on us.”

“Maybe we should just wait for the whole thing to blow over,” suggests Ali.

“No, we need to be proactive and make sure this doesn’t stick to us,” says Con.

“I’ve got an idea,” says Doc Spinolee. “Has anyone seen the story in the Spectacle about cruise ships dumping sewage waste outside of the ports they are visiting?”

“Is the Spectacle that online blog everyone down at City Hall talks about?” asks Ali.

“No, the Spectacle is not a blog! The Spectacle and the LocalXpose are the only real journalists left in this place.” exclaims Madi.

“Ok folks, let’s stay focused,” says Dr. Strangejob and asks Doc Spinolee to continue.

“Well, I was walking along the harbour last evening and noticed that the cruise ship docked in town was owned by a company fined for dumping waste,” explains Spinolee, “and perhaps we can use that to our advantage.”

“That might work,” suggests Madi, “especially if we use social media to get the word out that the cruise ship caused the stink.”

“Good plan. Let’s use Twitter and Facebook to draw attention to both the Spectacle story, and the fact there is a cruise ship in town owned by a company charged with dumping waste,” suggests Ali.

“Right, then anyone who complains about the stink would infer that it was because the cruise ship dumped their waste in the harbour,” agrees Zippy.

Doc Spinolee, obviously upset over the current proposal declares, “No! it would not be ethical for us to misinform the public. We are not the Mayor’s office.”

“I agree with Spinolee on this one,” states Dr. StrangeJob, “but maybe we can still use the idea somehow.”

“Wait, I think I have it!” exclaims StrangeJob. “Let’s do the Twitter and Facebook thing, but only target sites we know are monitored by City Hall. If City Hall gets wind that citizens are raising further stink over the port file, then they will sick their “If not the Port then what else” team on it. That should keep them distracted until the stink blows over.

“That might just work,” suggests Madi, “but to be safe, let’s expand our communication team and bring in extra help on the social media side. Does anyone know Sir Joe Spamsalot?

… two days later

The plan worked. City Hall’s Secretary of Disinformation took the bait and announced plans to investigate the source of odours emanating from the local garbage dump. As reported in the local rag, The Caper Post-Truth, an excess of compost and unseasonably warm temperatures caused the odour. When contacted at a speaking engagement in China, the Mayor emphasised that the odours were not Port related and mumbled something about not taking anymore crap from the cheap seats.

It looks like the CBLA-InComp are off the hook on this one. Or are they?

… news flash

Snoopy, an intrepid investigative reporter from the Spectacle, contacted Dr. StrangeJob. City Hall’s Secretary of Disinformation, Ms. Lied-Toomey, inadvertently added Snoopy to a private email list that circulated a security camera photo of a sewage caper suspect. Although not a member of the CBLA-InComps, Snoopy is familiar with the group and tracked the original photo to Dr. StrangeJob’s Facebook page. Smelling a scoop, she challenges Dr. StrangeJob to confirm or deny his involvement.

… to be continued (?)

secure cam

Competence is our final frontier. Join the farce and support the journey of the CBLA-InComps. Their mission: to expel incompetence, to seek out the competent, and to boldly go where Caper heroes have gone before. We are legion. We know who you are. We are going to the legion.

Cape Breton Independence & CBLA-InComps

The Cape Breton independence movement suffered a serious setback in 1846 (yes, we have been talking about independence for at least 171 years) when the Privy Council decreed that the inhabitants of Cape Breton were not permitted to establish their own government. Why? Because by the latter part of the 19th century, 40% of the provincial income consisted of royalties from Cape Breton coal mines. Yes, the mainland has been bleeding our Island dry for quite some time.

After listening to local historian Jim St. Claire discuss Cape Breton independence on CBC’s Information Morning, it struck me that not only does Cape Breton have a long history of being screwed over by mainland politicians, but also that the Island’s own politicians have done little to support the cause. Halifax is becoming a boom town while Cape Breton suffers in poverty: children commit suicide, emergency rooms close, population declines, schools shutter, poverty increases, drug use escalates. Meanwhile, our local politicians smile all the way to the bank.

Cape Breton independence has been discussed across the island from beer halls to academic institutions. Heck, even Wikipedia has an entry dealing with the 2000 movement for an independent Province of Cape Breton.

In 1846, privy was an adjective for council, but privy is also a noun for toilet, and it’s time to flush. Capers must rise again and demand fair treatment from the province, but who will take up the mantle to make Cape Breton great again?

The CBLA-InComps are willing to do whatever it takes to protect our island. They are a meek non-violent group whose plan is to use social media and creative civil disobedience to shed light on injustices plaguing our island. Although “seeing the light” can be an effective motivator, CBLA-InComps believe that a combination of “seeing the light” and “feeling the heat” works even better. Shame is a great motivator, especially if votes are at stake.

CBLA-InComps first mission was not a success and did not raise the stink that it had hoped, but the group is determined to continue the good fight. Stay tuned for the new serialised Foibles and Follies of CBLA-InComps coming soon to a social media inbox near you.

Dr. StrangeJob

Find Dr. StrangeJob on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/drstrangejob
Follow Dr. StrangeJob on Twitter at https://twitter.com/drstrangejob
Learn more about Dr. StrangeJob at www.drstrangejob.ca

One Gaffe at a Time – Step 5

Step 5: Admitted to senior management, to HR, and to all fellow employees the exact nature of their wrongs.

My Incompetence Anonymous (IA) recovery process is taking too dam long. The initial plan was to whip through two or three steps a week, declare myself cured, and start a speaking tour. Six months later and I am still working on Step 5 without a book deal in sight. There has to be a better way.

I am doing everything I am supposed to do, hell, I even took the geographical cure. For the uninitiated, a geographical cure involves moving to a new city, town, country, or hemisphere with the promise of a fresh start free of incompetence. In my case, I didn’t technically move but simply stopped travelling to work. By not going to work, I eliminated exposure to the clear majority of incompetence in my life.

I did, however, find completing the resentments inventory rather easy. I mean, how difficult is it to list all of the people, places, and things from your past that did not live up to your expectations or treat you as expected. Hell, I have been developing that list for years. I have always been ready to remove all defective characters standing in my way and can honestly say that I don’t hold resentments to any of those assholes I used to work for.

Keep in mind that Step 5 may be the last chance you get to impress your peers with all of the crazy stuff you did when you were an active incompetent. Agreeing to go to a few meetings may be worth the price of a free pass for all of that shit you got away with as a practicing incompetent. It’s like being assigned “special projects” status at work. Everyone knows you messed up, but your friends in power keep you on the payroll anyway.

Sure, it can be tough sharing a moral inventory with another human being, especially when they start crying after meticulously listing their deficiencies. I even had someone take a swing at me for telling them what their spouse was really up to on meeting nights. Apparently, their spouse fell for an initiation prank dealing with the need to give it away in order to keep it, but hey, I almost fell for that one myself.

Still, I need to find a more efficient way to finish up these steps. Perhaps I will take the advice of an AA friend who found themselves in a similar situation. They declared themselves agnostic and stated that any AA step concerning a higher power was not applicable to their individualized recovery and eliminated seven of AA’s twelve steps. I wonder how many IA steps I can eliminate if I declare myself competent?

Ok, perhaps, maybe, I could be missing the point of Step 5.  After all, we are not cured of incompetence. What we have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our competent condition. I will continue to keep coming back one gaffe at a time.

Dr. StrangeJob

Future columns will discuss my continued journey through the IA recovery process. Until then, feel free to view the inaugural IA meeting, learn about Incompetents Anonymous, read the Audacity Prayer and 12+1 Steps, or become familiar with IA’s additional support groups.

Find Dr. StrangeJob on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/drstrangejob
Follow Dr. StrangeJob on Twitter at https://twitter.com/drstrangejob
Learn more about Dr. StrangeJob at www.drstrangejob.ca

Joint Custody: A misplaced stash of marijuana and a complex father

A repost in honour of Father’s Say.

Dr. StrangeJob went to high school in the mid-seventies. Coincidently, that was the same time that marijuana became the recreational drug of choice for many in his age group. To suggest that the Doctor was a pothead would be a tenuous overstatement, but he does concede there were a number of purple haze high-school daze not totally accounted for. Yes, he inhaled.

Arriving home from school one day, he was confronted by his mother in an extreme state of agitation, waving a baggie of pot that she found in the laundry basket. To be fair, she may have been quite calm at the time. To be honest, since the Doctor was slightly buzzed, what he saw was more like the Tasmanian devil on crack gesticulating a baggie full of weed and pointing accusatorily.

He told her that it was not his pot, but to no avail. They decided to wait until his father arrived home from work to continue the conversation, but she assured the Doctor that there would be hell to pay.

The Doctor’s father was a welder at the local steel plant. He put in a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay, so he was both tired and startled when met at the door by his wife still waving the baggie of marijuana. His father was always quick on his feet, but the side-glance he gave to his son was most telling. Two things became abundantly clear: First, it was the father’s weed that was found in the laundry. Second, the father was about to be in bigger shit with his wife than his son could ever possibly be with his mother. The look on his face said it all, but what happened next surprised father, mother, and son.

The young Doctor, in an Oscar worthy performance, admitted the pot was his and took full responsibility for his actions. The father, in another Oscar worthy performance, provided a sternly worded sermon on the ills of drug use whilst handing out punishment that appeased his wife, but not overly chastised the son.

The father took the son aside a few days later and provided him with a learning script that he follows to this day: If you are being thrown out of town, then get in front and make it look like a parade in your honor. The Doctor was grounded for two weeks. The father, on the other hand, had to flush his weed down the toilet.

Happy Father’s Day. I am not sure where you are, but here’s hoping that you are happy and high.

Watch my standup version of this routine from 2016.

Follow Dr. Strangejob on Twitter at https://twitter.com/drstrangejob
Like Dr. StrangeJob on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/drstrangejob