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Spiders and moths and death, oh my!

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Spiders and moths and death, oh my!

Greetings Strange Fam,

I haven’t bloggity-blogged it up in a while because I’ve been up to my bloodshot eyeballs in work.  However, so much is happening in my life and in the world that I need to address it  in one big swoop.

1) RIP to Michael Jackson.

MJ was the biggest star any of us will probably ever know. The reason we’ll hear about him until the day we die is because his impact spanned so many generations. Thriller is the first tape my mom ever bought me. I played that tape front to back more times than I care to admit. I was at my house rehearsing with B. Dolan when the news broke. We were both in shock as we sat in front of the television in a total state of “What…the…fuck.”  I could go on and on about MJ, but I’d rather not get lost in a tangent. There is a song about him that’s been sitting in my notebook for years. Since I never could figure out how to finish the song, I’ll just share the one line that keeps repeating in my head (in reference to his plastic surgery):

“It had less to do with race, and more to do with removing traces of his father from his face.”

I guess that sums up the whole purpose of the song. No need to record it now.

The day after MJ’s death, B. Dolan and I were greeted with Tech N9ne’s tour bus at Chicago’s “Rock the Bells” concert.

promo gone wrong

promo gone wrong

It should be known that this album title and image was created 6 months before MJ’s death. I don’t want people thinking it was a spur of the moment decision to capitalize on a tragedy. Tech N9ne is the homie.

2) RIP to Walter Cronkite.  He raised a bar that journalists should aspire to match rather than just play limbo with. Lets see one of these robotic talking heads we now see on TV every day earn the title of “The Most Trusted Man in America.”

3) RIP to Anne R. D’Antuono.

Not many people know of her as her story isn’t on every news channel (or any news channel for that matter.) She was my 5th grade teacher and she died at the age of 83. Her obituary mentioned the basics of her life;  birth date, death date, relatives, and nothing else. That’s not a proper send off.

Mrs. D’Antuono seemed to come straight out of a black and white movie. She was tall and lanky, often sporting a trench coat and bucket hat. If you were chewing gum in her class she would stick it on your nose. If you weren’t paying attention she would put her nails to the chalk board. To put it plainly, she was a no-nonsense mofo. Mrs. D’Antuono was a stickler for the English language, cramming sentence diagrams down our throats almost every day. In fact, I found myself in accelerated English classes for the rest of my scholastic career because of it. Most of the kids in class, including myself, were scared of her.  There were also sweet and endearing moments throughout the year, all of which stick out in my mind much more than the ruler being slapped against the desk.

Our 5th grade class was the last she would ever teach. When she announced her retirement I wondered if it was because we pushed her over the edge somehow. It’s unlikely, but I do think that we were ushering in a new generation of kids who lacked the discipline and attention span that her particular teaching style required. She wasn’t there to baby sit. She was there to teach. Her retirement must have weighed heavy on my conscience, because on the last day of school I wrote her a poem and slipped it onto her desk without anyone noticing. Just a little show of appreciation for her hard work. She photocopied it, laminated it, and sent it to my mother…so…ya know…I’m pretty awesome. And I’m probably going to heaven.

The only reason I learned of her passing this past weekend is because my Grandmother was her bridge partner. I attended the wake and had the opportunity to tell her family about the lasting impression their mother had on me. I’d post a photo, but none exist online. This is just a heart-felt shout to an unsung hero. You were a bad ass, Mrs. D! May your red pen strike me down whenever I end a sentence with a preposition.

4) SFR’s CD manufacturer is based in Texas. Boxes are delivered to my driveway in Rhode Island. The last large shipment of boxes was Sleep’s “Hesitation Wounds” album. As I was carrying one of the boxes to my van a spider fell out of it. It was large, hairy, and it tumbled down my body onto the ground. I tossed the box I was holding and hyperventilated for a minute while I stared at this nightmare of a bug.

This picture is the best I could take with my phone, but it doesn’t do the traumatic experience any justice.  Listen…I live in RI. I’ve never seen a fucking bug like this ever. It wasn’t as big as the tarantulas that I see in horror movies, but it was hairy and huge. As you can see, it was on its way to eat my cat when I mustered up the courage to take this photo.  I then scooped up my cat and ran into the house. I apologize for introducing this creature into RI’s ecosystem. Good luck with that.

5) In other Stephen King-esque news, I was sitting in my living room tonight when I heard something knocking against my door. I opened up the door and was greeted by a moth that was the size of a baby bird. What the fuck is going on here? It’s the biggest god damn moth I’ve ever seen in my life.

big ass moth

big ass moth

Again, my camera phone is not doing this thing justice.  The picture below includes my finger in order to give perspective.

What is that, a little baby finger next to a regular sized moth? Nope, it’s actually my fat sausage finger next to a monster sized moth.

I picked it up by its wings and tossed it away from my door but it keeps coming back. If I need to save this Jurassic beast in a jar for scientific study I hope someone tells me soon.

6) I’m not a particularly spiritual person, but sometimes I get caught up in superstition. It’s shameful, really. But as I encounter these creatures that belong in the Guinness Book of World Records, I start to wonder if they’re omens.  I haven’t even mentioned the big toads hopping around my lawn, but they’re there.  So I start obsessing over these encounters with strange nature beasts and then I connect them to things that are happening in my life.

The other week I woke up and my eye inexplicably looked like this.

Did someone fart on my pillow? Did that big spider lay eggs in my eyelid? No…it’s a stye. It went away after two days with no treatment. As soon as it went away I had gland pains in my neck. It  hurt to speak and it hurt to turn my head. Once that went away I had so much pain in my right arm, wrist and fingers that I couldn’t sleep. So, OK, my body is going crazy. I’m recording my new album and there’s a spiritual war going on in my arteries. That’s what the doctor told me anyway…after taking my blood and shipping it off to the government for testing.

I’ve been sworn to secrecy, so if you’re looking for an explanation then you’ll need to wait for my autopsy.

“That’s the way it is.”

-Francis





Jul 17

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