Personal Anthem (Phoenix Jones and Last Fan Standing)

Because, well, everybody needs one.

All of song blogging is anthem writing, in a sense. Anthems for events and times and people. Taking topics uncommon, maybe even corny, to song writing and trying to find the kernel of real passion and humanity. Where is the glory and the grit in the story and sh!t?

From Diana Nyad to Work to Ride, the all black polo team, to Dallas Wiens, the face transplant survivor, I’ve been writing theme songs for years, even as I was just attempting to cover the people and stories, of the news, in art. And by “art” I may mean reconstructive surgery raps.

Most famously, the Phoenix Jones theme song:

Phoenix Jones was recently profiled in this ESPN expose. He was previously a regional MMA fighter. Apparently, it gets a little slow around Bristol after football season and before the NBA playoffs.

His ex-colleague in crime fighting and domestic abuse prevention heroin, Purple Reign, had these kind things to say about the anthem:

purple reign facebook
There are two takes. That we overuse hero or that there’s a little bit in all of us. I break slightly toward the latter. Of course, by contrast to Jones, my entire career in heroing consists of a broken arm jumping off a porch, caped, at four and rescuing my cat from the sewer. And, what little Superman I had in me has recently all been evacuated. I feel a lot like this:

So here’s to Phoenix Jones and the imperfect hero in all of us. You have a Personal Anthem. Your day has a soundtrack. Your show has a theme song. Your crew has a battle hymn. I just maybe haven’t written it yet.

In other anthem news, I am happy to officially announce that I have recorded the theme song to Bruce Campbell’s game show, Last Fan Standing, to premier on ConTV, the television adjunct to the famous Comic Cons.

Last Fan Standing Key Art

The show begins next week and the song is available now at iTunes and Amazon and can be streamed on Spotify. Search “Last Fan Standing.”

The real irony of the show is that people have spent a gob smacking number of hours actually sitting to be the fan, last standing. Celebrating the nerdist in each of us, today’s blong below.

Performed by sintax.the.terrific. Music produced by Sir Chamberlain.

Lyrics here.

Last Fan Standing (Official Game Show Theme)



That’s how old Diana Nyad is now, as she makes her 5th attempt to swim the 103 miles from Cuba to Florida. She’s nearly there. I expressed my infatuation with her last year, here.

I had so much fun at the turn of the millennium that I vowed, with the aid of bio-engineering and blood doping, to make it to 2100. (For a second, right at midnight, I thought that the entire power and technology grid had gone down, as forecasted, and prematurely yelled, “This is the greatest millennium ever!” As it happened, my father-in-law had cut the lights. Funny guy.)

In 2100, I’ll be 125. I believe 123 is the modern record. So, with advances in technology and cheating this is totally realistic.

Diana’s repeated attempts remind us to keep moving. To the end, there are new things to do and accomplish. Change your diet. Take a class. Move to a new country. Adopt a child. Become a pantomime. (Can you imagine waking every morning in a fake tug-of-war?)

I’m not even a third of my projected, albeit genetically modified, life expectancy. The fact that by 2100 I’ll only be legally 6% actual human (83% android, like Darth Vader, and 11% bovine), doesn’t mean I won’t be “alive” and expectant.

I love an opportunity to recycle my favorite blongs. So, here’s to Diana. Again.

diana nyad crying

Performed by ipoetlaureate. Music produced by djclutch.

Today’s retread blong here:

Surf and Turf


Amen Corner

I’ve been going all Ryan Lochte at the neighborhood pool. Giant chains. Monster tires. Ice grill. I even tried to trademark “Pah-shhh!

In Lochte fashion, I can also swim four 25 meter laps. In a row. Without stopping. Well, maybe one stop. But, very short. And a nap. With only one snack. And I might walk the last 25 meters, water aerobics style. With floatable hand weights (2.5 kgs). In goggles. And a scuba mask. Two tanks. Only one flipper, though. Otherwise it’s exactly how Ryan does it. Except slower. And, less swimming. More swim trunk. But a good bit less swimming. But, I’m like the 5th fastest at the McCarter pool in my age demo. Just saying. A lot of the lifeguards think I could have been pretty good if I had learned to swim as a kid. So I’m pretty decent.

103 miles. Do you know how many 25 meter laps of your neighborhood pool that is? 1 Trillion. 1 Trillion laps. That’s what Diana Nyad is doing. Right now. While I’m song blogging in an Ed Hardy Snuggie, she is swimming from Cuba to FLORIDA. What?? Not canoeing. Or jet skiing. Or wake boarding behind a Disney cruise liner. Or hydra-foiling. Or even hydroplaning. Swimming. Like one-arm-in-front-of-the-other, legs-kicking-up-and-down swimming. Not to be confused with “watching swimming” or “reading swimming books” or “not swimming from Cuba to Florida” swimming. Swimming.

I’ve been infatuated with Diana for what feels like about 20 years now, although I don’t think it can be more than about 2. She is a long-distance swimmer (has there ever been a more wild understatement?). She set all sorts of long distance records in the seventies for similar caliber swims to what she is now attempting and, in fact, tried to swim from Cuba to Florida in 1978 as a 28 year old. Strong winds apparently took her too far off course to continue.

She is now 62.

I’d like to end the post there. That number says it all.

103 & 62. The only details that matter.

Oh. And the sharks. And the cramps. And lightening bolts. And Poseidon, God of the Sea. And the 3 day sleep deprivation. And the 30 foot swells. And probably like a flock of snapping turtles. And hypothermia. And 25 mph squalls. (Whatever those are.) And the Box Jellyfish.

For all my life, it was the Portuguese Man of War. But, apparently, those are like firework sparklers compared to the Box. The divers intrusted with protecting and rescuing Diana were put out of commission by one, during her failed attempt last year. (Oh did I forget to tell you this is her third attempt post-60? If I can raise a spoon thrice to my mouth after 60 I’ll consider it an upset.) She, however, suffered multiple stings AND KEPT SWIMMING THROUGH THE NIGHT.

I’ve taken a half day from work for too much static cling.

Augusta National Golf Club the home of arguably golf’s fines tournament, The Masters, invited for the first time in its history, two women to become members: Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore. Among many more notable accolades, Moore is from my home state of South Carolina and the namesake of the nationally recognized School of Business at the University of South Carolina. I’m just saying. We’re amazing. (Let me double check. Nope. No Clemson gals were invited.)

Anyway, it’s a pretty big deal. The exclusion of women, in the 21st Century, from such a high profile club was this really strange juxtaposition. Even after some pretty serious heat for the policy, starting in the early 2000s, the club seemed unlikely to cave. And, they were facing relatively modest consequences. But, it’s not any kind of secret that women remain on the outside to a certain extent in business and politics, when they can’t get in the clubhouse or out on the course.

So you’d like to celebrate the reversal. But, it feels just sort of like a “duh.” Not super courageous or progressive or even polite to get around to inviting women in 2012. Mostly just a late pass.

Augusta National is known for many eccentricities, none more famous than a trio of holes beginning with the second shot on 11 through the tee at 13, called “Amen Corner” that require spectacular heroics to survive. Sort of like Diana’s swim. And, almost certainly like the advancement of women through these many centuries. Patient. Perilous. Precocious.

When I got up this morning I intended to write about a really special swimmer, exhibiting the highest sort of personal courage. By the end of the day, the story was even more profound for the symmetry in the two events. Diana’s outrageous refusal to quit. And the unrelenting patience of women to be accepted in the Club. The wallet and the purse. Surf and turf.


Performed by ipoetlaureate. Music produced by djclutch.

Today’s song blog here:

Surf and Turf