Retain Fuzzies, Stay Cool — and the Lips Can Help!

    So I used to be relatively cool. No, for real though. For instance, I used to like like the Stooges. I also liked putting weird shit in my hair. I knew someone who knew Tom Waits. I elbowed a hot path to the front row, put my hands in the air when the emcee told me so, stuffed my pockets with expensive cheeses and didn’t even think to gargle when my throat hurt.

    What’s more, I nourished the croak — running to meet whichever icy ocean break was nearest, double-doggy daring my own naked saltwater death to overtake me then, there, in one gallant fit of afterparty.

    OK, so I was also retarded. But in the coolest way possible — promise.

    Alas, that was then. At some indistinguishable point between small-town high school and the grand poetic flop that is the UCSD writing circle, I self-mutilated into a ruffled, domestic little nester with an eye for snuggly stuffed monkeys, shiny-pretty things and certainly no more patience for Unfinished Music. (Come to think of it, life was probably all downhill from that ceremonious five-paragraph butcher of Kafka’s “Penal Colony” freshman year. Since then, one too many nature haikus and long-distance relationships, I suppose.)

    Fast fact: The older, uncooler me chooses to store over 3,000 puppy photos on her hard drive. And get this. Every time it maxes out, some cuddly force within goes and deletes the longest Godspeed or Sigur Ros song it can find — gone forever in an Apple trash crinkle, all in the name of chasingowntail001.jpg. As summer turns to fall turns to winter, however, the most disconcerting of gray hairs begins to wriggle from the confines of this collegiate bun, sullying the good name of Great-Great Grandmother Electra, leaping for Baby Jesus joy at the mere opening bells of — feel free to slap me now — motherfucking Christmas music.

    Any Christmas song will do, really. From a Jackson Five-for-UNICEF tearjerker to more obscure (read: terrible) cut from Ringo Starr or, erm, Mariah Carey, nothing on Earth can set my kettle a-whistle like a jolly old holiday favorite. (I do understand that publicly airing this fact officially nulls anything snarky I want to say about music, ever again. But when Roy Orbison sends me “Pretty Paper” — shit; I could live forever pasty and happy in the glow of that comfort zone.)

    This year, at a critical stage in the La Jolla chill, there was one single solitary thing in the galaxy that could have prevented me from making my Ultimate X-mas Mix two months early.

    Good news, particularly for all you fools cozied up to my blown-out backseat speakers this holiday season: My most true-to-art prayers have been answered. Just when it looked as if my bellybutton lint would never see static again, just when I was starting to accept early onset boringhood as incurable — the Flaming Lips leaked two albums of decidedly indigestible Grinchy fluids all over the Internet last week, blowing spider-bite get-well kisses and mushy life-is-beautiful lullabies to the wind.

    If there’s one man who makes it unacceptable for any of us to feel old — but who’s been feeling a little too loverly for his own good lately — it’s Wayne Coyne. (I saw him in an airport once, Yoshimi era. His suit was so sharp my ear buds fell out.) Despite his 50 years, Coyne walks across crowds of happy people in an oversized beach ball for a living, nary a graying ringlet letting up its bounce on the comedown. But there’s been something gross and hyperactive missing, as of late — I’m sure of it now. I start to feel no youthful bliss can be true and holy without an awkward squeak like “Rainin’ Babies” on the way out.

    Look — I’m obviously just as fairy as the best of the Flamantics. More than anyone I have ever wanted to be, I have wanted to be Yoshimi. The only thing that has ever filled me with as much sheer wonder as a Christmas song is the crystallized climax of “Do You Realize??”

    At War With the Mystics was a little weirder — some much-needed sex hair — but way too half-baked Beck to resuscitate me from a critical state of soft-boned twentysomething.

    Though it may not turn these cheeks quite so holly-berry as a Beach Boys rendition of “Merry Christmas, Baby” — and really, what could? — the Lips’ new “I Can Be a Frog” is shaping up to be my new warm ‘n’ fuzzy place this season — my homecoming to the primordial mud puddle of cool, if you will. (And who would have known pop-art darling Karen O would help set me back on the path to righteousness with her finest Gila monster impression?)

    Even more thrilling is that a handful of deceptively sweet “Frogs” are Embryonic’s mere portals to the dark side, making way for free jazz and stupid, fuzzy Doors impressions and ugly-ass rebellion without a cause. Heck, if Coyne can do it, so can I. What ever is this feeling? Time to get some feedback into my life again. Though the Stooges might just have to wait ’til spring.

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