Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 22/5/2008 (3409 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Believe it or not, at 56, I am no longer on the cutting edge of many of the new media technologies.
This fact is occasionally pointed out to me by some of my younger and less tolerant colleagues.
But I may now, finally, have been spurred on to figure out this new social networking thingie, Facebook, or whatever the kids call it.
In fact, after a conversation I had Wednesday, I want to start my first Facebook group.
It will be called: "Bring Ken Carpenter to Winnipeg!"
In case you haven't heard the name, Carpenter is an American journalism instructor who is behind a new initiative to get our city's greatest rock band, The Guess Who, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio.
No slouch himself when it comes to the new media technologies, Carpenter, a boy of 51, recently started a Facebook group with exactly this purpose.
It is called "Put the Guess Who into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame" and it has, at last count Wednesday, 199 members in the known universe.
It'll soon have 200 if I can figure out how to join.
I heard Carpenter being interviewed Wednesday morning by those old headbangers Terry MacLeod and Marcy Markusa on CBC Radio One.
Carpenter spoke with passion as to why it was a travesty of justice that Randy Bachman, Burton Cummings and the boys were not included among the 159 acts inducted into the famed Cleveland tourist attraction.
It was a tonic (and perhaps a corrective) to listen to him, because I confess to being one of those tall-poppy cutters who believes that maybe it's time Winnipeg stopped living in its so called glory days of 1969 with has-beens like The Guess Who.
I was so moved by Carpenter that I when I got to the office, I immediately sought help to log on to Facebook and find him myself.
I managed to add him to my list of Facebook "friends," now up to six, if you count my wife and daughter. But I needed Macleod to e-mail me Carpenter's cell phone number to make human contact.
"You know, it's on my list to visit Winnipeg," Carpenter told me. "I want to see the Burton Cummings Theatre, and I want to stand in front of the apartment block that's on the cover of So Long, Bannatyne."
For the past 15 years, Carpenter has taught at Valencia Community College near Orlando, Fla. But he grew up in Cleveland, on the shores of Lake Erie, where he was transfixed by the legendary rock radio station CKLW across the border in Windsor, Ont.
"You had those rules in Canada where the radio stations had to play a certain amount of Canadian music to help the industry grow," he said. "I heard it all."
Neil Young. Joni Mitchell. Blood Sweat and Tears. Lighthouse. You name 'em, Carpenter grooved to 'em. But The Guess Who were the lights of his life.
They were the first Canadian group to have a No. 1 single in the U.S. — the still-ubiquitous anthem American Woman. Cummings and Bachman wrote dozens of hit singles between them. They sold millions of singles overall. They outsold the Beatles, in fact, in 1970.
"It gets my blood boiling," Carpenter said. "For someone so good and they're not in there."
The hall of fame, installed in Cleveland thanks to the same kind of grassroots movement that Carpenter is spearheading for The Guess Who, has been dogged by criticism since the institution opened in 1995.
Some have argued that the induction process is controlled by a closed shop of music industry big shots.
If you browse through the list of inductees, you see that many are not rock acts at all. Miles Davis and Johnny Cash are geniuses. But rock acts?
Leonard Cohen and Madonna have recently been admitted. I love Cohen as much as anybody, but he's a poet, not a rock singer. Meanwhile, real rockers, like The Guess Who, get the bum's rush.
Winnipeg rock historian John Einarson thinks Carpenter faces an uphill quest.
"While the GW are certainly groundbreakers in Canada, and have received widespread acknowledgment for their accomplishments up here," he said in an e-mail, "in the U.S. they are generally regarded as a Top 40 bubble-gum band... There are more important artists denied the rock hall who should be in first."
I asked Carpenter if he knew that The Guess Who's home town is much like Cleveland. Both are working-class burgs that take guff from smart-asses in the big cities.
He understood completely. I promised him we Winnipeggers would show him a great time if he visits.
And then I hit on my idea for my first Facebook users' group: "Bring Ken Carpenter to Winnipeg."
My goal is to succeed before The Guess Who makes the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.