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The Late Movies: "Promised Land"

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Chuck Berry's "Promised Land" is one of humanity's finest achievements. One part rock and roll creation myth and one part musical cartography, it tells the tale of "the poor boy," a Virginia kid with California on his mind, who overcomes numerous hurdles as he heads westward by bus, train and airplane through America's sonic heartland, the hallowed ground of the blues, country and zydeco. When he finally arrives in the Golden State, with the the first free moment he's had to take a breath since his journey began, he rushes to the phone to tell the folks back home that he's made it. Tomorrow the journey continues, as he presumably seeks fortune and fame in the promised land, but for now, he just wants everyone that helped get him this far know that he's alright.

(Young) Chuck Berry

There's a little bit of irony in the fact that Berry wrote the song not on one of his own cross-country tours, but in the confines of a federal prison cell, where he spent three years for transporting a minor across state lines for "immoral purposes" (he had to borrow a U.S. atlas from the prison library to plot the poor boy's journey).

Johnnie Allan

When the Cajun swamp pop pioneer released his version of the tune in 1971, he wrote to Berry about it, but got a cold shoulder. He said, "All I wanted was an autographed picture. But I never heard from him."

Meat Loaf

Michael Lee Aday replaces the verse that Allan skipped, but then skips one later on.

Elvis Presley

Elvis' driving version of the song can be heard in a scene in Men In Black, prompting a brief conversation about The King and Tommy Lee Jones' explanation that "Elvis is NOT dead. He just went home."

Dave Edmunds

Not bad for a Welshman!

(Older) Chuck Berry

When Berry was released in October 1963, on his birthday, he began recording again and put "Promised Land" on his 1964 album, St. Louis to Liverpool, and released it as the first single.

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Space
Can’t See the Eclipse in Person? Watch NASA’s 360° Live Stream
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Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images

Depending on where you live, the historic eclipse on August 21 might not look all that impressive from your vantage point. You may be far away from the path of totality, or stuck with heartbreakingly cloudy weather. Maybe you forgot to get your eclipse glasses before they sold out, or can't get away from your desk in the middle of the day.

But fear not. NASA has you covered. The space agency is live streaming a spectacular 4K-resolution 360° live video of the celestial phenomenon on Facebook. The livestream started at 12 p.m. Eastern Time and includes commentary from NASA experts based in South Carolina. It will run until about 4:15 ET.

You can watch it below, on NASA's Facebook page, or on the Facebook video app.

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Art
Cephalopod Fossil Sketch in Australia Can Be Seen From Space

Australia is home to some of the most singular creatures alive today, but a new piece of outdoor art pays homage to an organism that last inhabited the continent 65 million years ago. As the Townsville Bulletin reports, an etching of a prehistoric ammonite has appeared in a barren field in Queensland.

Ammonites are the ancestors of the cephalopods that currently populate the world’s oceans. They had sharp beaks, dexterous tentacles, and spiraling shells that could grow more than 3 feet in diameter. The inland sea where the ammonites once thrived has since dried up, leaving only fossils as evidence of their existence. The newly plowed dirt mural acts as a larger-than-life reminder of the ancient animals.

To make a drawing big enough to be seen from space, mathematician David Kennedy plotted the image into a path consisting of more than 600 “way points.” Then, using a former War World II airfield as his canvas, the property’s owner Rob Ievers plowed the massive 1230-foot-by-820-foot artwork into the ground with his tractor.

The project was funded by Soil Science Australia, an organization that uses soil art to raise awareness of the importance of farming. The sketch doubles as a paleotourist attraction for the local area, which is home to Australia's "dinosaur trail" of museums and other fossil-related attractions. But to see the craftsmanship in all its glory, visitors will need to find a way to view it from above.

[h/t Townsville Bulletin]

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