Sunday, October 31, 2004


noun. A motherfucker--inspired by Dick Cheney’s association with the request “Go fuck yourself.” Also: go cheney yourself, cheney you.

Real citation: “You are one funny mothercheneyer.”
(L.A. Broncos Fan, The Orange Mane—A Denver Broncos Fan Community,

Made-up citation: “You can call me a mother-jumper, a mother-funker, a mother-humper, a mother-pumper, a muhfuhkuh, or a mama-yama--but if you call me a mothercheneyer, we are gonna have a problem."

Saturday, October 30, 2004


verb. To make something (legislation, organs, etc.) stiffer, stronger, more beefed-up.

Real citation: “In 2001, in the midst of school shootings nationwide, lawmakers in Oklahoma used the deadly events as an excuse to stiffify laws against so-called planning of violent acts - which apparently doesn't mean actions but writings.”
(“The Last Word,” Sept. 6, 2003,

Made-up citation: “No one can stiffify a roomful of men like Catherine Zeta-Jones.”

Friday, October 29, 2004


present participle. Showing a whole lotta ass.

Real citation: “Like headliner Iggy Pop. Shirtless in plumber’s-crack-defying jeans, he never stopped flailing as his Stooges launched into the Bo Diddley shuffle beat of “1969.”
(Doug Brod, “Little Steven’s International Underground Garage Festival,” Spin, Oct. 2004)

Made-up citation: "Now that the plumber’s-crack-defying look passes for normal, and ass cleavage is here to stay, what could the next trend possibly be? Crotch cleavage?"

Thursday, October 28, 2004


noun. 1. George W. Bush. 2. Any President.

Related terms: Appointed Doofus, Chimp-in-Chief, Deceiver-in-Chief, Deserter-in-Chief, Dictator-in-Chief, Failure-in-Chief, Fundraiser-in-Chief, Holy-Roller-in-Chief, Marionette-in-Chief, Panderer-in-Chief, Pretender-in-Chief, Squatter-in-Chief

Real citation: "Now that Shrub has given up any pretense of impartiality in the Israeli-Palestinian struggle, who knows? It’s just another of the many ways in which our National Guard deserter Doofus-in-Chief has made the world a far more dangerous place for Americans than it would be if an adult were making decisions. "
(Jerry Bowles, "Just Because You're Paranoid Doesn't Mean They Aren't Really Trying to Get You," March 3, 2003,

Made-up citation: "On October 24, 2002, the U.S. Secretary of Defense announced that the title of Doofus-in-Chief would be reserved for the President, and that armed forces DINCs would shorten their title to "doofus.""

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Thongs, muffins, and absquatulations

If you wee-weed in the whiskey, I wouldn’t get my bowels in an uproar. If you peed in the cornflakes, I wouldn’t get my knickers in a twist. However, if you put a turd in the punchbowl, I would definitely get my thong in a bunch.

There’s a type of exclamation I’ve noticed, and I love it like pancakes, but I don’t really know how common it is or how to characterize it. (“Which makes it different from everything else how?” Shut up, internal voice!). The first time I heard one of these thingies was years ago, when my friend Lionel had this very delicate outburst: “Well, fuck me up the ass and call me Pinocchio!” Years later, I was watching South Park and heard puppet-wielding teacher Mr. Garrison say, “Well, spank my ass and call me Charlie!” Then, in Bill Casselman’s Canadian Sayings books, I read, “Well, suck my socks and call me Suzie!”, “Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit!”, “Well, cut off my legs and call me Shorty!”, and “Gross me green and call me Kermit!” What’s going on here? Further research is needed. If you’ve ever said or heard or read anything like this—or know where the pattern originated—please email me.

Late at night, when I’m curled up with giant reference books like The Random House Historical Dictionary of American Slang, I find many of the forgotten words that end up in this column. Here’s a great one: “absquatulate.” It means to leave, flee, or depart, and is probably related to “abscond.” If a lot of people are leaving, there’s been a major “absquatulation,” and if one dude absconds, then he is an “absquatulator,” and if I wanted to get the funk out of Dodge, I could say, “I gotta absquatulize.” Help me revive this word: if you work “absquatulate” into your next letter to the editor or personal ad, I’ll send you a free T-shirt. Ok, that’s a lie, but don’t let my lack of integrity and t-shirts stop you from using this terrific word.

Taoist philosopher Chuang-Tzu showed he had a way with words (and perhaps horses) when he wrote, “To use a horse to show that a horse is not a horse is better than using a non-horse to show that a horse is not a horse.” Based on my own inner peace and Internet research, I believe the following is also true: “To use a thong to show that a thong is not a thong is better than using a non-thong to show that a thong is not a thong.”

George Lakoff talks about how conservatives use the term “tax relief” to promote a certain view (or frame) of taxes. Within the frame of “tax relief,” taxes are a burden, they should be cut, it’s heroic and just to cut taxes, and it’s villainous and weasel-y to raise them. Lakoff wants progressive politicians to avoid this loaded language and reload the lingo a different way, and I have some suggestions: Maybe people would get the idea that taxes are important if we called a tax cut a “tax hemorrhage,” “tax decapitation,” “tax amputation,” “tax disembowelment,” “tax hematoma,” or “tax evisceration.” Then we could have a shit hemorrhage over the tax hemorrhage, and at least the headline writers would be pleased.

How many Emily Dickinson poems rhyme “yawning chasm” and “sphincter spasm”?

If a shitbag gets shitcanned by a sack of shit, who gives a crap?

Quickly rejected titles for Kill Bill: Shoot Newt, Hurt Kurt, Slice Brice, Behead Ned, Bleed Reed, Smash Nash, Fricassee Lee, Eviscerate Nate, Crucify Ty, Whack Jack.

The words of the week:
10) Attorney-bot
9) Spankological
8) Stiffify
7) Pseudo-bumpkin
6) Hugger-mugger
5) Bootknockingly
4) Flap-doodle
3) Squirrelhead
2) Googly-moogly
1) Fonda-fondlin’

A “muffin-choker” is a news story that is so bizarre it makes you spew your breakfast, and a “muffin-walloper” ­is a penis. A “stud muffin” or “love muffin” is the boy or girl of your sweatiest, most Biblical dreams. A “meadow muffin” is cow poop, and a “mountain muffin” is the doo-doo of whatever lives in the mountains. Now you can’t say you didn’t learn anything about muffins today.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004


noun. A proud champion of the most vicious (yet delicious) crustacean of them all.

Real citation: “Boozy lobster-liberator Edward Furlong signs on for the indie film Jimmy & Judy. Good to see crime hasn't slowed his career.”
(“Trade Round-up: Desperate Housewives Save ABC,” Defamer, Oct. 4, 2004,

Made-up citation: "As soon as I found out what demented, territorial pee-bags lobsters are, I decided against a career as a lobster-liberator and went into dentistry."

Monday, October 25, 2004


noun. A vehicle/weapon/god-like force that spreads far more freedom than the Batmobile.

Real citation: "There's trouble in Iraq?! Quickly! To the unilateral-invasion-mobile!"
(Don Moe, "U.S. Seeks Help in Iraq," Vol. 39 Issue 35, The Onion, Sept. 11-17, 2003, page 236)

Made-up citation: "Dad, can I have a unilateral-invasion-mobile for Christmas? Or a skateboard."

Sunday, October 24, 2004


adj. Tight as a tick; tighter than a Tokyo subway; spandex-tight.

Real citation: "Jennifer Coolidge, playing Joey's kooky agent, was doubly sabotaged with terrible dialogue and a sausage-tight outfit that seemed to be eating her alive."
(James Wolcott, "Friendless," Sept. 9, 2004

Made-up citation: "Holy guacamole! His banana hammock is sausage-tight."

Saturday, October 23, 2004


noun. Reverse-testicular fortitude.

Real citation: “Now take North Korea. The esoteric difference is that Bush favors multilateral talks, while Kerry favors bilateral talks within a multilateral framework. I'm prepared to believe there's a real distinction here--direct talks with Kim Jong Il seem a waste of time to me. But the notion that this is a clear contrast between resolve and wimpery--when Bush is actually being more multilateral than Kerry--seems strained, to say the least.”
(Andrew Sullivan, “All the Same,” The New Republic, Oct. 13, 2004,

Made-up citation: “Is it prudence or wimpery to tell the landlord--and potential cuddle-monkeys--that my pet rats are hamsters?”

Friday, October 22, 2004


present-participle. Jumping from one celebrity mega-babe to another, much like a horny, jittery bunny in the morning dew.

Related terms: actress-hopping, boyfriend/girlfriend-hopping, ho-hopping, relationship-hopping, spa-hopping, cemetery-hopping, galaxy-hopping.

Real citation: "Bring up Mike De Luca's name in conversation, at least in film circles, and you'll receive no shortage of opinions and impressions--drug-fueled hedonist, '40s-style drinker and brawler, Harley-riding tough guy, and most often, starlet-hopping womanizer whose exploits are the stuff of Tinseltown legend. Not long after one such misadventure that threatened his livelihood, even as it sealed his reputation, Variety's 1999 Showman of the Year admitted, 'Some days, I feel like P.T. Barnum, but with a better circus. And some days, I feel like Fatty Arbuckle, but with a better lawyer.'"
(Paul Cullum, "Deconstructing DeLuca: The Man, The Myth, The Movies," Fade In Magazine, Nov. 2000,

Made-up citation: "Verily, your starlet-hopping days are over, and your grandmother-boning days have begun."

Thursday, October 21, 2004


adj. Full of dog doo-doo/pee-pee, or covered in dog shit/piss, or suffused with the very essence of dog feces/urine to the highest degree possible. Also: dog-piss-related

Real citation: “Under normal circumstances, the best that could be said of a movie that opens with a pug urinating on a hardwood floor is that it has nowhere to go but up. But the timing of Breakin' All The Rules' release gives it another distinction: It's at least a better dog-excrement-intensive comedy than the recent Envy.”
(Keith Phipps, “Breakin’ All the Rules,” The Onion A.V. Club, Vol. 40 Issue 19, May 12, 2004,

Made-up citation: “I’d like your casserole more if it had less salt. Also, it’s a little dog-excrement-intensive for my tastes.”

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Smiley feces, peek-a-boob, and grim death

If you’re proud as a dog with two tails that your snugglebunny can run as fast as a bald-headed chicken-fucker, then you’re very proud that your significant other can run very fast. On the other hand, if you’re happy as a dead pig in the sunshine that your cuddle-monkey is worm food, then you’re very happy that your significant other is dead.

Just once I’d like to eat somebody’s liver without a fine Chianti.

I haven’t heard anyone say “since Christ was a corporal” since Christ was a cowboy.

Euphemism-watchers had an uber-orgasm when Justin Timberlake described Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl peek-a-boob routine as a “wardrobe malfunction,” but I wondered if those two deceptive-yet-delicious words would fade from the collective vocabulary. Well, no need to worry. Google locates 60,600 hits for the term, and it’s included on Paul McFedreis’ excellent Word Spy site, along with hundreds of other new-ish words like “Bridezilla,” “gorilla snot,” “extreme beer,” and “Viagra divorce.” Another sign that a term is catching on is the creation of similar terms, like an accidental thong-a-thon by Miss Universe being described as a “skirt malfunction” and Serena Williams explaining a fashion decision as being due to an “earring malfunction.” Heck, I guess it may have been a “footwear malfunction” when I wore a shoe and a sneaker to work last week, but when I took my pants off and swung around that pole, I have to admit I was just stripping.

If a basketball groupie played tonsil hockey with a soccer mom, how soon would they get to second base?

Here’s an expression that sounds obscene, but isn’t: “putting the goat in the garden.” (It means put someone in a position to do damage—letting the goat guard the garden is like letting the Enron executive run the company). And here’s a euphemism that doesn’t sound obscene, but is: “Putting Barney in the VCR.” (To use the language of South Park this means “putting the hoo-hoo-dilly in the cha-cha”).

For the love of pancakes, when is a band going to use the name “Painful Burning Feminine Itch” or “Erections Lasting Longer Than Four Hours”? How long, oh Lord, how long must I wait?

There are a lot of insults based on friendly dining suggestions like “eat shit,” “eat my shorts,” and “go eat a bag of dicks,” but few commands of this type are as explicit and disturbing as this old chestnut (roasting in hellfire, I presume): “Go to hell and eat rats off the devil’s pitchfork!” I don’t have much to say about this one, but I do have a few non-linguistic opinions about rats: Not all rats are evil, rat-faced, disease-spreading denizens of the sewer or hell. I have a pet rat named Yoda, and he can walk on his hind legs, pull a shoelace hand-over-hand, sit on my shoulder, and maintain a sunny disposition despite his mammoth testicles. He also has the ability to look very, very cute at all times. (I have another pet rat who has some issues, but never mind). Rats are not all the same. Keep an open mind about rats. We now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Speaking of rats, have you ever heard the expression “hotter than two rats fucking in a wool sock”? How about this one: “They’re fighting like two possums in a sack.” I’ve heard George Carlin refer to a pair of huge, unrestrained breasts as “two puppies fighting in a paper bag.” What’s going on here? I wonder if there’s some kind of built-in universal-comparison-thingy in our brains that can’t resist metaphorically throwing two of the same animal in a soft container of some kind. Have you ever heard any expressions that fit this pattern? If so, please write me—I’ll be waiting as patiently as two goliath bird-eating spiders in a pillow case.

Dishes that are best served cold: revenge, ice cream.

If all the “faces” were replaced with “feces,” would sell books with these titles: Five-minute Feces, Carving Realistic Feces With Power, Men in Green Feces, The Girls With the Grandmother Feces, Josh’s Smiley Feces: A Story About Anger, The Many Feces of John Kerry, Till We Have Feces: A Myth Retold, The Nine Feces of Christ, The Seven Feces of Philanthropy, The Two Feces of Islam, Feces at the Bottom of the Well, Young Feces of Holiness, Feces of America, Feces of Fernando, and The Hero with a Thousand Feces.

The words of the week:
10) Nonblow-offable
9) Palooka
8) Christ-onaut
7) Wazoo
6) Harumph
5) Dung-studded
4) Hick-soundingest
3) Hamster-kissing
2) Whup-tushie
1) Puppycide

Though I will someday buy the farm, pick up my harp, meet the reaper, answer the last call, walk the prank, bite the big one, kick the bucket, feed the fishes, cross the great divide, climb the golden stair, take a dirt nap, go the way of all flesh, shuffle off this mortal coil, cash in my chips, wear a Columbian necktie, awake to life immortal, join my ancestors, lay down my knife and fork, and kick the oxygen habit, I hope I will never baste the formaldehyde turkey.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004


present participle. Quoting Winston Churchill to excess—beyond the bounds of decency and well past the point of barfitude. Common among journalists and politicians.

Real citation: “A few years ago, after Bush's post-9/11 State of the Union speech sparked a wave of Winston Churchill references in the periodical media, I started keeping track of Churchill-humping among American pundits. I found that Gergen, the former Reagan communications aide, was far and away the national hack most pathologically determined to quote Churchill at every conceivable opportunity."
(Matt Taibbi, “WIMBLEHACK! The search for America’s worst journalist has begun,” New York Press, Vol. 17 Issue 40, October 6-12, 2004,

Made-up citation: “The assistant news editor won’t stop shit-eating and Churchill-humping—should I put him to sleep?”

Monday, October 18, 2004


adj. In the manner of a skeezy, disturbed, chicken-hawking uncle or other dubious older dude.

Real citation: “In more recent years, fallen Mouseketeers Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera recognized that music videos involving school uniforms and/or nude body stockings would exponentially increase fatherly, big-brotherly and creepy-uncle-y tolerance for music that's pretty much unlistenable if you're not a thirteen-year-old girl.”
(Mark Binelli, “Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen,” Rolling Stone, Issue 955)

Made-up citation: “Mmm, this bubble tea is yummy, coconutty, and creepy-uncle-y.”

Sunday, October 17, 2004


noun. A teeny-weeny, tiny-whiny, domesticated canine, probably belonging to Paris Hilton. Also: purse-dog.

Real citation: “Before we tear our hair out staring at this horrifying tableaux submitted by an alert, camera-wielding reader, we're moved to pity the skittish accessory-dog fleeing in horror from the two fluffy monsters chasing it up Melrose.”
(“Mukluks on Melrose,” Defamer, Oct. 8, 2004,

Made-up citation: “Man, my biological clock is ticking for a dog. I need a pooch soon, and I may not have room for a big dog, but I’ll claw my eyeballs out before I get a yippy, yappy, goddamn accessory-dog."

Saturday, October 16, 2004

marionette-on-marionette action

noun phrase. The kind of hot sweaty monkey sex that can only happen between two puppets.

Related terms: puppet sex, explicit muppet sex, marionette-on-marionette violence.

Real citation: “In my travels I have found one thing to be true: There is nothing hotter than marionette-on-marionette action.”
(StuddThunders, Oct. 8, 2004, Film Talk,

Made-up citation: “What do you say we get your Marge Simpson doll and my Mr. Spock action figure together for some seamy, steamy, creamy, dreamy marionette-on-marionette action?”

Friday, October 15, 2004


noun. A boner--perhaps a boner of Biblical proportions.

Real citation: "It's a man's obligation to stick his boneration in a woman's separation; this sort of penetration will increase the population of the younger generation."
(Eric Cartman quoting his favorite psalm in "Do the Handicapped Go to Hell?" July 19, 2000, South Park).

Made-up citation: "What in the tarnation? You want to put your Serbo-Croatian boneration in my Appalachian vegetation?"

Thursday, October 14, 2004


noun. A way of life or state of being characterized by equal amounts of batshit aggression and doofus-ish goofiness.

Real citation: “A mysterious pall of aggro-goofitude settled over Arcata, its first symptom being the woman who stopped her truck in the middle of Spartan Lane.”
(Kevin L. Hoover, “Arcata Police Log—May 3, 2004,” The Arcata Eye,

Made-up citation: “The President’s aggro-goofitude is not entirely presidential.”

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Horse-pucky, mama-yamas, and God's sack

Some folks have used “typo” as the model for new goof-describing words. For example, a “speako” is a verbal blunder, like when my mother says she is allergic to Pennsylvania. If Mom actually believed that the fine state of Pennsylvania was as bad for her health as penicillin, that would be a “thinko”—a more serious hilarious problem. I don’t know if “thinko” or “speako” will ever catch on in articles not about the president, but I like the concept, maybe because I’ve made a few “beeros,” “sexos,” “debtos,” and “vacuum cleaneros” in my day.

In the spirit of football season, here’s a Pittsburgh-area euphemism for shitting that’s covert, disgusting, and ESPN-approved: “taking the Browns to the Super Bowl.”

Since standardized tests are widely believed to be a fair measure of diddly-squat, they are in constant use at every level of education. My friend Lionel, a teacher in Virginia, was amused to learn that their state’s English and math exam is called the SOL test. Yes, that’s the Shit Outta Luck test, though if you worked for a Virginia school, you’d have to call it the Standards of Learning test. Well, whatever the Virginian powers-that-be were thinking, smoking, or inserting rectally when they named this one, we can at least give them credit for truth in advertising.

A colleague recently said an article of mine wasn’t full of the usual hooey. I don’t know if my work is really hooey-free, but “hooey”—a shortened version of “horse hooey,” which, like “horsepucky,” is a euphemism for “horseshit”—is a great word.

While playing stinky pinky in the spasm chasm with a fuddy-duddy and some bird turds, do you ever have a bowel howl?

In Jesse Sheidlower’s amazing dictionary The F Word, there are many synonyms for “motherfucker,” including “mother-fouler,” “mother-grabber,” “mother-humper,” “mother-rubber,” “mammy-jammer,” “mofo,” and “muh fuh.” My favorite didn’t make it: “mama-yama.” I’ve heard this word on a few TV shows, like Seinfeld, when Kramer used it a few times as a stunned exclamation upon seeing disheveled-looking women, and on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Willow referred to herself as a “hot mama-yama.” Like “fuck a duck!” and “pooper-scooper,” this little rhyme is fun to say, and it’s very likely no one will realize it means “motherfucker” when you say it, which can be a plus when writing for network television or talking to your actual mama.

If you ask most teachers a question that starts with “can”—like, “Can I remove your skull, and shrink it, and stuff it, and make sweet, buttered monkey love to it, and mount it on a stick?”—the answer will be “Yes, you may” or “I don’t know. Can you?”

On the Television Without Pity website, it’s easy to find snarky recaps of TV shows, snarky discussions of TV shows, and far too many sightings of the trendy and annoying word “snarky.” Fortunately, members of this site have developed other lingo that’s used more sparingly and is thus much fresher, such as this exclamation: “For God’s sack!” Like so many language innovations, this began as a goof—a typo that was supposed to read “For God’s sake!” The site’s lexicon says “It’s not an error; it’s a joke” but I say it’s much better than that: “For God’s sack!” could really catch on, because of its crudity and gender-specificity. Crudity and exclamations go together like reggae songs and four-foot bongs, and the notion of swearing by the Good Lord’s sacred scrotum should pass for crude in any household, making it appropriate to scream the next time you hit your thumb or offspring with a hammer. As for gender, while it’s true that some folks think of God as a woman, an invisible force, or an elephant, most people insist that the omnipotent being is a man—and a he-man’s manly, godly man at that. Since “For God’s sack!” directly names the testicular pouch of the Lord, taking His maleness for granted, it should be easy to slip this phrase into Sunday hymns, office memos, and the collective unconscious.

A person who is “khaki-wacky” is having many lustful thoughts about members of the armed forces. A “bedpan commando” is a hospital orderly, and “Admiral Apeshit” is a name for a nut. In college, there was one guy we used to call “Sergeant Skidmark,” and I used to affectionately refer to an old girlfriend as “Sergeant Shitcake” (which, in retrospect, may have not been a positive contribution to the relationship). Now you can’t say you didn’t learn anything about the military today.

The words of the week:
10) Tomacco
9) Hornswoggle
8) Glop
7) Poop-chute-friendly
6) Crotchety
5) Ferret-approved
4) Disasterized
3) Man-whore
2) Gadzooks
1) Numb-nuttery

My Jamaican friend Coleen has a great exclamation: “Jeezum-peezum!” That’s one of many euphemisms for Mr. Jesus H. Christ, which include “by crikey,” “geez,” “gee whiz,” “Jeepers creepers,” “jiminy crickets,” “Judas priest” and “Jumpin’ Jehosephat.” My favorite substitute for “Jesus” doesn’t sound anything like “Jesus” or “Christ,” but it does sound like a good breakfast: “pancakes.” I don’t know why it works, but it works: Holy mother of pancakes! What in the name of pancakes? Sweet bleedin’ pancakes! For the love of pancakes! What in the pancake-lovin’ hell? Holy jumping fucking pancakes! See what I mean? Now I just need a t-shirt that asks, “What would pancakes do?”

Tuesday, October 12, 2004


adj. Used to describe a man, woman, child, or beast with a tendency to harm actual or decorative flightless waterfowl.

Real citation: "Instead of molding my attitudes and persona to fit other historians' expectations, I put my strange, angry, genuine, penguin-abusing self out there."
(Jon T. Coleman, “Haunted by Penguins,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 16, 2004,

Made-up citation: “I’m looking for attractive singles within a twenty-mile radius who enjoy going to football games, listening to NPR, and penguin-abusing.”

Monday, October 11, 2004


adj. Having a fondness for anal sex, analingus, or at least the bunghole region.

Real citation: “Oddly, the whole maybe-he’s-secretly-gay line was another frequently mentioned reason some ladies avoid poop-chute-friendly paramours.”
(Judy McGuire, New York Press, Volume 16 Issue 18, April 19, 2003,

Made-up citation: “Mice, hamsters, bunnies, chinchillas, and Gambian giant pouched rats are fun critters, but of all the rodents, the gerbil is the most poop-chute-friendly."

Saturday, October 09, 2004


I have a new idea of how to use this blog, maintain my sanity, and pile up a bunch of writing I can do something with later:

1) Every Thursday, I will post a new Wordlust column.

2) Every other weekday, I will post a Wordlust of the day entry in a different style than what I've been doing. I'm making a dictionary of what real linguists call "nonce words"--words that have been used once (or even a bunch of times) but have never caught on. Well, I'm going to catch the ones I like. I think this will be fun.

Tune in Tuesday!

Friday, October 08, 2004

Columns, blogs, life, and underwear

Today's word is more of a sentence, and that sentence is: "Holy dog shit, this blog is killing me!"

Well, that's an exaggeration, but I am wondering if it wouldn't be better to make this more of a "Wordlust of the week" thing.

I'm an obsessive and prolific writer, but I'm trying to figure out how best to use my writing energy. Here's a list of the stuff I'm currently writing:

--Biweekly Wordlust columns
--Five Wordlust blog entries a week
--Longer articles about language for pubs like Verbatim: The Language Quarterly and The Vocabula Review
--Articles about other stuff for various pubs

One of my dilemmas is blogs vs. columns. I want to get my column in more newspapers, and I want to get it in a weekly paper. If that were to happen, I'd definitely cool it with the blog.

Then again, maybe I should just put the columns in the blog and can the column. Who gives a rat's heiny for these weekly newspapers? I should embrace the blog! Right? I don't fucking know.

A strange thing: My columns are random and blog-like and my blog entries are relatively focused and column-like. Though, in the spirit of blogging, I do spend less time on the blog.

Here's a thought: I could do two Wordlust blog/columns a week. One would be random stuff, one would be focused on a single word. Fuck the newspapers.

Then again, I love you newspapers! Come kiss me on the lips.

I don't know. I'm thinking about it. I could also write a little less and use some of that time to get a life. Nah--now I'm talking crazy.

Well, I'm going to think about it. I'll leave you today with these immortal words of Grandpa Simpson: "Whenever I'm confused, I just check my underwear. It holds the answers to all the important questions."

Squirrels, holiness, and backsplash

There’s no lack of popular expressions involving “ass,” such as “That smells like ass,” “Your ass is grass,” “He gets more ass than a toilet seat,” and “The President is a dumbass.” Here’s an old one: “You gotta bring ass to get ass.” This one comes from the boxing world, and it means you can’t do damage to your opponent without risking your own well-being. If we replace the violent, pugilistic asses with goo-goo-eyed, romantic asses, I think “you gotta bring ass to get ass” is solid dating advice as well. Another forgotten-though-appealing ass-ism is “Your ass sucks buttermilk!” This implies nothing about the suctionary prowess of a person’s sphincter and everything about their tenuous hold on sanity. Both sayings are guaranteed to make an impression on your next letter to grandma or interoffice memo.

I saw the headline “Self-snuffing butts make debut” and thought it read, “Self-sniffing butts make debut.” Since dogs are among the strongest proponents of butt-sniffing, I assumed the headline heralded a new dog breed—maybe a dog that consisted of only an ass and a nose, or a dog that could shit out of its nose. The story was actually about an idiot-proof cigarette that goes out if it doesn’t get enough suckage. In any case, The Self-snuffing Butts would make a great band name (as would Women of Mass Destruction, if any unnamed aggressive female bands are reading).

Things that can be fixed: elections, toasters, cats.

Holy things that rhyme: Holy moly! Holy macaroni! Holy guacamole! Holy goddamn almighty! Holy frikkin’ canoli! Holy mother of monkey! Holy Apostles College and Seminary! Holy trinity! Holy taxidermy! Holy matrimony!

Perhaps my total lack of musical ability can be explained by the fact that all I remember about my elementary school music teacher is her fondness for the phrase “zip the lips.”

Words with two o’s in a row tend to be kind of fun: nookie, cookie, forsooth, kerblooey, whoops, stinkfoot, moonie, lagoon, peek-a-boo, oodles, kangaroo, poontang, goo, swoon, vamoose, goober, toot, croon, wookie, stinkarooney, booboo, pooch, smooch, taboo, groovy, hootchie-kootchie, cahoots, behoove, bazooka, boondocks, vroom, doomsday, boob, much-ballyhooed, kook, woof, doodoo, poopoo, doofus, oozing, buffoon, tootsie-wootsie, fumblerooski, frankenhooker, moo. See what I mean?

“With squirrel” means pregnant. Someone who looks like they were “hit in the face with a wet squirrel” is ugly. A patient who is “riding the squirrel train” has woken up in a dazed, desperate, tube-yanking, hospital-room-fleeing state of mind. Now you can’t say you didn’t learn anything about squirrels today.

How many people can put both “death squad” and “cheerleading squad” on their resume?

The world is divided into loaners and loanees, electors and electees, flirters and flirtees, ticklers and ticklees, scolders and scoldees, stabbers and stabees, killers and killees, biters and bitees, floggers and flogees, starers and starees, muggers and muggees, shushers and shushees, shavers and shavees, lickers and lickees, bombers and bombees, pissers and pissees, blackmailers and blackmailees, and motherfuckers and motherfuckees.

“I won the battle but lost the war” is a timeless concept but a horrible cliché. I’m trying to popularize a new version: “I won the banana but lost the monkey.”

Here’s another expression I’m trying to spread like a VD: “That was about as pleasant as a lap dance from a mime dipped in shit.”

We probably all know a couple or two whose matrimony has had more acrimony than some prison riots. When trying to adequately describe these living hells, we can find many useful expressions in the plays of Shakespeare. When speaking to your beloved spouse (and hoping to avoid the popular obscenities), you might shout out, “O curse of marriage!” In the middle of a drinking binge with a good friend who meant well but married badly, you could confide, with a compassionate nod, “Wedded be thou to the hag of hell.” (When offering comfort to wives, this expression can easily be changed to “jerk of hell,” “gentleman of hell,” or “dude of hell”). And if the man or woman of your nightmares proposes marriage, just pause, wink, and say, “I had rather be married to a death’s head with a bone in his mouth.”

In New York City, I once saw a punkish-looking bum perched in a garbage can. Given his circumstances, he had a great sales pitch: “Spare some change for white trash.”

The words of the week:
10) Barbecutionist
9) Plotz
8) Backsplash
7) Splashback
5) Diddlywhacker
4) Gonococcus
3) Swanky
3) Besmirched
2) Crap-happy
1) Pope-a-palooza

I’ve gone postal, and I’ve gone mental, and I’ve gone mad, and I’ve gone nuts, and I’ve gone nuclear, and I’ve gone crazy, and I’ve gone wacky, and I’ve gone bananas, and I’ve gone bonkers, and I’ve gone bugfuck, and I’ve gone batshit, and I’ve gone apeshit. However, I have never gone ape-poopy.

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Forty ways to say "Mmmm"

  1. Mmmmmm-mmmmm....
  2. Mmmmmmmmmm......
  3. Mmmmmmmmmm yes
  4. Mmmmmmmmmm Ooooooooooo!
  5. Mmmmmmmmmm
  6. Mmmmmmm.......
  7. MMMMMM.....
  8. MMMmmm
  9. Mmmmmm, mmmm, phfmmmmm....
  10. Mmmmmm!
  11. Mmm-mmm mmmmm
  12. Mmmmmm mmm mmmmmmm...
  13. MMMMMM
  14. Mmmmm… mmmmm…
  15. MMmmm...ah...aha..ahaaa....mmm
  16. MMMMM....MMMM
  17. Mmmmm... Mmmmm!
  18. MMMMM!!!
  19. Mmmmm!!
  20. MMmmm!
  21. Mmmmm ooh!
  22. MMMMM mmmmm!
  23. Mmmmm mmm mmmmmmm
  24. Mmmmm - ooh ooh
  26. Mmmmf
  27. Mmmm? Mmmmmmm?
  28. Mmmm, mmmm
  29. MMMM, AHH!
  30. Mmmm ohhh...
  31. Mmmm mmmmn mmnmm mmm nmmm!
  32. Mmmm mmmmmmmm mmmm.....
  33. Mmmm mmmm mmmm...
  34. Mmmm > > > mmmm! > > > >
  35. MMmm ...
  36. Mmm-hmm
  37. MMHH
  38. MM, MM
  39. Mm mmmm mmmmm?
  40. Mm mm mmm mmm mmmm mm mmm mmm

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Wanted: minions

Maybe it’s the influence of our money-grubbing, commercial-licking culture, but today I’m longing for several things: Mr. Rogers-style sweaters, a turkey-bacon sandwich on sourdough bread, the new William Shatner CD—and minions. So “minions” is the word of the day.

A few weeks ago, “goon” was my word of the day, and I wistfully mentioned how nice it would be to have a goon of my own. I don’t know if “minion” is a better word than “goon,” but I think minions themselves are a better breed of stooge/underling/henchperson.

First off, “minions” seems to be inherently plural—it’s possible, but not common, to hear about a single minion. More minions means more merriment, more mayhem, and more motherfuckers. So minions seem like the way to go.

Though I have an interest in many types of minions—steel-plated, raspberry-flavored, nuclear-armed, etc.—evil minions would be particularly helpful. With 11,100 Google hits, “evil minions” seem to be in abundance. With luck, I can get some at Target.

If I can find me some minions (applications are being accepted year round) I can think of several miniony tasks for them:
  • Maintaining my stock of spicy Thai peanut sauce
  • Surrounding, capturing, and teasing my enemies
  • Developing, launching, and nurturing nanotechnology initiatives
  • Washing (that's optional) and bringing Catherine Zeta-Jones to my tent or place of employment
  • Dusting

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Sweet merciful monkey balls!

Today's word is two: "sweet" and "merciful," as in any exclamation along the lines of "Sweet merciful whatever!" All of my examples come straight from Google, though I did add exclamation points to many of them for the sake of consistency and an aesthetically-pleasing blog.

"Sweet merciful!" is occasionally found as an exclamation all on its lonesome, but there's usually a noun to go with the adjectives. By several miles, "Sweet merciful crap!" is the most common expression of this sort, with plenty of variations like "Sweet merciful crap on a stick!" and "Sweet merciful mother of crap!" I think this originated on The Simpsons episode "Last Exit to Springfield," when Homer said, "Sweet merciful crap! My car!"

Google web and group hits for "sweet merciful" and "sweet merciful crap" show the dominance of "crap" pretty clearly:

Sweet merciful--5,280
Sweet merciful crap--3,340
Sweet merciful--3,440
Sweet merciful crap--2,440

After "crap," I'd say Mr. Jesus H. Christ is the most sweet, merciful thingy or dude in the world:

  • Sweet, sweet merciful Jesus!
  • Sweet merciful Jesus!
  • Sweet merciful Christ!
  • Holy sweet merciful Jebus!
  • Oh sweet merciful Jeeezus!
  • Sweet merciful bejesus!
  • Sweet merciful savior in heaven!
  • Oh, my dear sweet merciful baby Jesus!
  • Oh sweet merciful baby Jesus!
  • Sweet merciful Jeebus and his brother Harry!
  • Oh sweet merciful Jesus on a bicycle!
  • Sweet merciful Christ on a bike!
  • Oh sweet merciful fucking Christ on the cross!

God and heaven are included pretty often too:

  • Sweet merciful God!
  • Sweet merciful God almighty!
  • Sweet merciful heaven!
  • Sweet merciful heavens!
  • Sweet merciful god in heaven above!
  • Oh sweet merciful God in heaven!
  • Dear sweet merciful God!
  • Oh dear sweet merciful Lord!
  • Oh sweet merciful god in heaven!

Non-Christian powers-that-be from Greece, Asia, a galaxy far, far away, or the North Pole are also popular:

  • Sweet merciful force!
  • Sweet merciful Zeus!
  • Oh my sweet merciful Buddha!
  • Sweet merciful gods!
  • Sweet merciful divine!
  • Sweet merciful goddess!
  • Oh my sweet merciful ferret lord!
  • Sweet merciful Buddha on a crutch!
  • Sweet merciful Santa!

Monkeys are not unpopular:

  • Sweet merciful monkey!
  • Sweet merciful monkey crap!
  • Sweet merciful monkey ass!
  • Sweet merciful monkey-god!
  • Sweet merciful mother of purple monkey!
  • Sweet merciful f***monkeys!

Nor are mothers:

  • Sweet merciful mother of holy fucking christ!
  • Sweet merciful mother of God!
  • Sweet merciful Mother Nature!
  • Sweet merciful mother of pearl!
  • Sweet merciful mother of the good Lord Yaweh!!!
  • Sweet merciful mother of cake!
  • Sweet merciful mother of Zeus!
  • Sweet merciful mother of cheese!
  • Sweet merciful mother of Pete!
  • Sweet merciful mother of anything sacred!
  • Sweet merciful mother of muppets!

And where would exclamations be without obscenity?

  • Sweet merciful fuck!
  • Oh sweet merciful fucking Zeus!
  • Oh sweet merciful hell!
  • Holy sweet merciful hell!
  • Sweet merciful shit!
  • Sweet merciful cock!

Finally, I found a heaping helping of sweet, merciful randomness:

  • Sweet merciful McGillicuddy!
  • Sweet merciful progress!
  • Oh sweet merciful Julie Chen!
  • Sweet merciful marzipan!
  • Sweet merciful Wayne Gretzky!
  • Sweet merciful spiffiness!
  • Sweet merciful Red Auerbach!
  • Sweet merciful anal sex!
  • Sweet merciful webcam!
  • Sweet merciful toast!
  • Sweet merciful water pressure!
  • Holy sweet merciful Mary McGillicuddy!
  • Sweet merciful delete button!
  • Oh my sweet merciful 7-11 nachos!
  • Sweet merciful pancakes!

Now you can't say you didn't learn anything about sweet merciful things today.

Monday, October 04, 2004

I, Evil Giant Killer Robot

In the movies and the bedroom, robots are popular household appliances--and "robot" is the word of the day.

A quick search through Google news reveals about a gazillion stories of how far robots have come from the toasters and evil giant killer robots of my childhood: I found actual stories about surgical robots, biped entertainment robots, microscopic swimming robots, bug-sized flying robots, yellow torpedo-shaped robots, cockroach-like robots, yo-yo-playing robots, robot telescopes, robot dogs, robot porters, vampire robots who eat flies for energy--and a Christ-like robot that walks on water.

Clearly, an old Onion headline ("I believe the robots are the future") is coming true, but what about the past? Who will speak of yesterday's homespun, rusty, rustic robots? Well, with a simple substitution, even traditional folk songs will sing the praises of our metallic brothers and sisters. Here's the playlist of the future:

Robots Will Guide Us
Lift Me, Gentle Robot
He’s My Rock, My Sword, My Robot
I Wish I Had Someone to Love My Robot
Did They Beat the Robot Slowly?
Bring a Robot, Jeanette Isabella
All the Pretty Little Robots
Sweet Robot of Yesterday
When Robot Eyes are Smiling
When I Was a Curly-Headed Robot
Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Robot
I Didn’t Raise My Boy to be a Robot
Have You Seen the Robot of John?
Fair Young Robot All in a Garden
The Robots are Dripping
A Horse Named Robot
I Can Feel the Sweet Robots
Hallelujah, I’m a Robot!
My Robot Says Stop
Gonna Do What the Robot Says
Goodbye to the Thirty-Foot Robot
I Get Butterflies in My Robot
Don’t Put Your Finger Up Your Robot
Ballad of Springhill Robot Disaster
Robots are Born in a Circle of the Sun
Be Thou My Robot
Dudley Pippen and the Robot
Your Daughters and Your Robots
Who’s Your Mama’s Robot?
Why Weep Ye By the Robot?
Walk in Jerusalem Just Like Robots
I’m Sitting on Top of the Robot
Roll in My Sweet Baby’s Robots
The Rich Man and the Robot Man
Sergeant, I’m a Robot
My Dame Had a Lame Tame Robot
My Robot Said Not to Put Beans in My Ears
Last Night I Had the Strangest Robot
Jesus Jesus Rest Your Robot
Robot Fill the Flowing Bowl
Follow the Drinkin’ Robot
Ah Robot Bird
Brand New Tennessee Robot
Ezekial Saw the Robot
The First Time I Ever Saw Your Robot
I Sat Down With the Robot to Tea
I Ride a Big Blue Robot
Let Us Break Robots Together
Please Tip Your Robot
Freedom is a Constant Robot

Friday, October 01, 2004

Is the pimp Protestant?

Today's word is "pimp." Though "pimp" is part of common words like "pimpmobile," "pimp-slap," "pimptastic," and "pimple," its meanings have gone far beyond the ken (and the Barbie) of a 32-year-old fogey like myself. Even through thorough academic research, I can't figure out what in the bejesus the name of MTV's Pimp My Ride means. If it doesn't mean "Sell my car into the nookie-bookie business," then I'm lost.

But the real inspiration for today's entry is something I read in the archives of In Passing--a terrific Berkeley blog of overheard conversations. Here's the passage, narrated by In Passing's Eve, that caught my wordluster's eye:

"So you think he's playing both girls?"
--Guy 1 sitting behind me in lecture this morning

"Hell yeah, is the pimp catholic?"
--Guy 2


"...Pope! Is the POPE catholic?! Dude, you got the phrase wrong."
--Guy 1

"Uh, NO. Think about it, the pope can't get any action."
--Guy 2, indignant

--Guy 1, sounding like he'd like to pound his head against the desk

I can't think of a sentence that's more worthy of spreading through the language like a VD than "Is the pimp Catholic?" Please, dear readers, do what you must to insinuate those four words into the vernacular. Use this question both to shame the clueless and inquire about ho-havin' small businessmen in your neighborhood. Or maybe you could raise other thought-provoking questions like "Is the poop Catholic?" and "Is the pump Catholic?"

By the way, according to Wordcount, "pimp" is the 32,495th most used word in English. Now you can't say you didn't learn anything about pimps today.