Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘Thunder Road

Tuesday Links! Just for You

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* My review won’t appear in The New Inquiry for a couple weeks, but Liu Cixin’s Death’s End is finally out today. I read it this summer and it’s great. Go get it!

* A local talk I’ll be giving this Saturday afternoon at the Milwaukee Public Library: 150 Years of H.G. Wells in Milwaukee.

* Elsewhere on the Milwaukee Public Library beat! Milwaukee Public Library to forgive fines for patrons who visit the library.

* CFP: Flannery O’Connor and Popular Culture. CFP: Modern Fiction Studies: The Anthropocene: Fiction and the End(s) of Human Ecologies. CFP: Essays on the Evil Dead Anthology. CFP: ICFA 2017.

Star Trek: Discovery Has Been Delayed Until May 2017. I never saw how they’d make January, even before it was nearly October and they didn’t have a cast yet.

‘It’s like hitting a painting with a fish’: can computer analysis tell us anything new about literature?

Good News Liberal-Arts Majors: Your Peers Probably Won’t Outearn You Forever.

* Professor Cottom’s Graduate School Guidance.docx

How to Do a Better Job of Searching for Diversity.

Too Much and Too Little: A History of David Foster Wallace’s The Pale King.

With outcomes so uneven, it is no wonder that MFAs are the bastard children of English departments.

* Victory at LIU.

* Saint Louis University must pay $367,000 in damages to a former professor who alleged she was denied tenure because of her gender. That’s what a Missouri court decided late last week following a trial by jury. The university says it’s “disappointed” in the verdict and is reviewing its options.

Dozens of higher education institutions in New York state will stop asking applicants whether they have past criminal convictions.

What does it cost to run a department at UCLA for a year? or, who will pay the salary of the English department?


This book is dedicated to the Soviet Space Dogs, who played a crucial part in the Soviet Space program. These homeless dogs, plucked from the streets of Moscow, were selected because they fitted the program’s criteria: weighing no more than 15 pounds, measuring no more than 14 inches in length, robust, photogenic and with a calm temperament.

New York’s Attorney General Has Opened An Inquiry into Donald Trump’s Charity.

Haitian-American Roxane Gay Becomes First Black Woman Writer for Marvel Comics.

* From 2014: The Future According to Stanisław Lem.

* Parenting and moral panic, 2016.

If You Change a Baby’s Diaper in Arizona, You Can Now Be Convicted of Child Molestation.

* “Very pessimistic.” The idea that they could actually somehow manage to blow the lead they’d built up over the summer is horrifying.

* It Sure Seems Like Hillary Clinton’s Tech Guy Asked Reddit for Email Advice.

* The law, in its majestic equality: Defendants who can’t afford bail more likely to plead guilty as a way out, studies show.

Police Accidentally Record Themselves Conspiring to Fabricate Criminal Charges Against Protester. After court threat, state of Michigan removed Flint’s power to sue. WashPost Makes History: First Paper to Call for Prosecution of Its Own Source (After Accepting Pulitzer). 37 Years in Solitary Confinement and Even the State Can’t Explain Why. Nation’s largest police union endorses Trump. And right here in Milwaukee: An Inmate Died Of Thirst In A Jail Run By A Loudly Pro-Trump Sheriff.

* A Prison Literature Syllabus.

* The total U.S. budgetary cost of war since 2001 is $4.79 trillion, according to a report released this week from Brown University’s Watson Institute. That’s the highest estimate yet.

How the failed politics of “humanitarian intervention” were born in 1980s Afghanistan.

Neither Zuckerberg nor the Pope, but international digital socialism.

* Twilight for C.M. Punk.

* The Fall of Chyna.

* Romeo and Juliet in Wisconsin.

The strange story of how internet superfans reclaimed the insult ‘trash.’

“I await an apology from Chancellor Dirks, and Dean Hesse,” explained Hadweh. “The university threw me under the bus, and publicly blamed me, without ever even contacting me. It seems that because I’m Palestinian studying Palestine, I’m guilty until proven innocent. To defend the course, we had to mobilize an international outcry of scholars and students to stand up for academic freedom. This never should have happened.”

I Published My Debut Novel to Critical Acclaim—and Then I Promptly Went Broke.

* The Woman Who Is Allergic to Water.

* Feral Cats and Ecological Disaster.

* Never talk to journalists.

The name of the character in the excerpt, GBW Ponce, comes actually from the Ponzi scheme, among other things. There’s a Thomas Frank piece that I once read somewhere (I think it was Harper’s), where he said that civilization is basically a gigantic ponzi scheme. With our obsession with data and with predicting the future, it’s as if we were trying to cancel the future and its uncertainties, in order to make the present feel safer. The IMF has projections for the growth of EVERY economy on the planet which stretch to two-three-four and even more years: why let reality run its course when we can model it and predict it, right? So, the idea behind that character was that by “scientifically” predicting every inch of life, it’s as if we borrowed against our unknown future to live the present with fewer uncertainties and anxieties. But that’s precisely what causes more anxiety, this idea of a life that could fit entirely in an Excel spreadsheet.

Moderator Announces Topics for First Presidential Debate.

* Definitely, definitely, definitely aliens.

All 314 Bruce Springsteen Songs, Ranked From Worst to Best. Shame to get all the way through 312 and then swap #1 and #2…

* Elsewhere in the numerical sublime: Every He-Man and the Masters of the Universe action figure, ranked.

* Teach the controversy! “Peter Thiel Would Make A Great Supreme Court Justice.”

* Booze against pot.

The Bonkers Real-Life Plan to Drain the Mediterranean and Merge Africa and Europe.

Someone Removed The Music From ‘Dancing In The Street’ And I Can’t Stop Laughing.

* Run it like a sandwich: After Texas high school builds $60-million stadium, rival district plans one for nearly $70 million.

The luxury suites in modern stadiums are reminders that capitalist society values elite consumption over public enjoyment.

Class size matters a lot, research shows.

Is Artificial Intelligence Permanently Inscrutable?

* Page B13: Arctic death spiral: Icebreakers reach North Pole as sea ice disintegrates.

* Don’t tweet your heroes.

* And never forget that the Monkees are DCU canon.

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September 20, 2016 at 8:32 am

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When the Change Was Made Uptown and the Big Man Joined The Band

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We Were Gonna Take It All and Throw It All Away

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Springsteen song of the night: “The Promise,” the sequel to “Thunder Road,” which gives its name to an upcoming documentary on the Boss.

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August 9, 2010 at 5:33 pm

More Bruce

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There’s more video of Springsteen in Philly yesterday at this blog, including “Promised Land” and a very nice acoustic “Thunder Road.” I hadn’t realized how much stumping he was doing; apparently he was in Ohio today, doing it all again.

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October 6, 2008 at 3:30 am

On the Organ, Mr. Dan Federici

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On the organ, now you see him, now you don’t, Phantom Dan Federici. YouTube has the video from his last performance: has more, while MetaFilter has started to collect versions of “Thunder Road” in memoriam.

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April 18, 2008 at 3:39 pm

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USA Today has a long and rather excellent profile on America’s greatest living folk hero, Bruce Springsteen. Here he is on his work as it relates to the 2008 presidential campaign:

But while he won’t endorse Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama yet, he specifically praises the latter, who cited Springsteen as the person he would most like to meet in a recent interview with People.

“I always look at my work as trying to measure the distance between American promise and American reality,” Springsteen says. “And I think (Obama’s) inspired a lot of people with that idea: How do you make that distance shorter? How do we create a more humane society? We’ve lived through such ugly times that people want to have a romance with the idea of America again, and I think they need to.

“The hard realities and how things get done are important, too, but if you can effectively convince people that it’s possible to make things better, they get excited.”

The Wikipedia articles on Born to Run and Darkness actually make this point about the distance between promise and reality in a very nice way:

In terms of the original LP’s sequencing, Springsteen eventually adopted a “four corners” approach, as the songs beginning each side (“Thunder Road”, “Born to Run”) were uplifting odes to escape, while the songs ending each side (“Backstreets”, “Jungleland”) were sad epics of loss, betrayal, and defeat. (Originally, he had planned to begin and end the album with alternative versions of “Thunder Road”.)


In terms of the original LP’s sequencing [for Darkness], Springsteen continued his “four corners” approach from Born to Run, as the songs beginning each side (“Badlands” and “The Promised Land”) were martial rallying cries to overcome circumstances, while the songs ending each side (“Racing in the Street”, “Darkness on the Edge of Town”) were sad dirges of circumstances overcoming all hope.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 29, 2008 at 3:27 am

The experience of visiting an alternate universe to attend an alternate-universe Springsteen concert

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I’ve linked to a version of “Wings for Wheels,” the proto-“Thunder Road,” before, but I think this one from Brynn Mawr on 2/5/1975 is even more striking. (UPDATE: I’ve just found out that this is actually the first time the song was ever performed.) It’s not only a truly great performance in its own right, but its marriage of familiarity and difference is also as close as anyone who loves Bruce is ever likely to come to the experience of visiting an alternate universe to attend an alternate-universe Springsteen concert.

Thanks for Justin for giving me the whole bootleg on CD—there’s also a really nice version of “Incident on 57th Street” with a serendipitous police siren passing by the venue at exactly the right moment, right at the end of the song. Don’t take my word for it—you can find it for yourself out there in the series of tubes.

Written by gerrycanavan

February 16, 2008 at 8:16 pm

Wings for Wheels

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It’s a town for losers, and baby I was born to win. Tim responds to the “Thunder Road” video below with “Wings for Wheels,” the vaunted proto-“Thunder Road” that I’ve listened to a few times but never actually linked to, as far as I can remember, anyway. Bruuuuuuuuuuuuce.

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December 13, 2007 at 10:32 pm

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This is a land of peace, love, justice, and no mercy

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There was this Robert Mitchum movie. It was about these moonshine runners down South… I never saw the movie, I only saw the poster in the lobby in the theater. I took the title and I wrote this song. I didn’t think that there was ever a place that was like what I wrote this song about. I didn’t know if there was or not… We were out in the desert, over in the summertime, driving to Nevada, and we came upon this house on the side of the road that this Indian had built. Had a big picture of Geronimo out front, said ‘Landlord’ over the top… Had this big sign said “This is a land of peace, love, justice and no mercy.” And it pointed down this little dirt road that said “Thunder Road.”

Capitol Theater, Passaic, N.J., September 19, 1978. The whole entire legendary show is available here.

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December 13, 2007 at 8:55 pm

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