When lazing by the swimming pool in a pool of blood, do you ever think about how your family’s gene pool is kind of a cesspool?

Until I get a social life, I’ve been rewatching my Alias season one DVDs. In that season, Sydney Bristow is a double agent, so she’s always getting missions from an evil, fake CIA and then going back to the virtuous, actual CIA with this question: “What’s my countermission?” I kind of like the word “countermission.” Maybe because it would be fun to lie constantly, betray my colleagues, and destroy my employer from within. That would really pass the time.

The redundancy of the week: “alcohol-induced hangover.” As opposed to what, an alcohol-induced pregnancy? Or a sledgehammer-induced hangover?

Two of my favorite euphemisms for taking a shit are “laying an egg” and “dropping the bomb.” I guess I like that sweet, motherly feeling of giving life, and also that God-like, fatherly feeling of snuffing it out. Both are cool.

I always wanted goons, but I’d settle for minions.

Rage seems to be all the rage these days, as various folks have seriously used the terms “zoo rage,” “tax rage,” “Bible rage,” “golf rage,” “sidewalk rage,” and “salad bar rage.” I hope that this trend continues and we’ll soon read about or experience “bunny rage,” “cheese grater rage,” “altar boy rage,” “panda rage,” “bowling shoe rage,” “tranquilizer dart rage,” “liquefied chicken manure rage,” and maybe even “sponge bath rage.”

I wonder how many “people who take the short bus to school” (stupid people) “drive the porcelain bus” (vomit) while “riding the magic bus” (tripping on acid or ‘shrooms). More than few, I expect.

While talking with my friend Tina in a coffee shop, I heard a barista shout, “Tall virgin on wheels!” Though I soon learned that these words referred to a medium decaf coffee to go, I had two immediate thoughts: 1) Hello to the imagery! and 2) our more barbaric ancestors would surely have appreciated a tall virgin on wheels; you could just wheel her right up to the volcano and — ploop — drop her in.

Outside of limericks, very little English literature contains the words “Nantucket” or “Lewinsky.”

Next time you’re trying to describe something that’s neither horrific nor terrific, try one of these real words I found with Google: spider-iffic, hair-iffic, sitar-iffic, horror-iffic, lobster-iffic, scooter-iffic, allergy-iffic, prankster-iffic, cholesterol-iffic, birdcage-iffic, monster-iffic, terror-iffic, gore-iffic, Hitler-iffic, ogre-iffic, toddler-iffic, boner-iffic, blister-iffic, poseur-iffic, weather-iffic, scare-iffic, Cher-iffic, odor-iffic, mediocre-iffic, dinosaur-iffic, wanker-iffic, squid-er-iffic, mosher-iffic, twister-iffic, clunker-iffic, murder-iffic, whore-iffic, terrier-iffic, and vampire-iffic.

How did the waffle get associated with waffling? Is it somehow less steadfast and true than a pancake?

You can say, “The new Star Wars movies suck” around more people than you can say “The new Star Wars movies blow,” even though “suck” and “blow” have about the same meaning. I guess “suck,” because it’s so popular, has been more thoroughly rehabilitated and drained of filth. It also doesn’t help that “blow” is one half of “blow job”; that’s just a little too reminiscent of what the phrase actually means.

I worked in a nursing home as a maintenance man one summer, and one of my colleagues uttered these words, which I still live by: “Medical waste… it’s not good to taste.”

If a bleeding heart liberal and a compassionate conservative saw a five-hanky chick flick in the nosebleed seats together, would they drown in their own tears and blood?

The words of the week:

10) Smurf

9) Buttmunch

8) Piggy

7) Smegma-free

6) Skankspionage

5) Ninny

4) Dweebitude

3) Phlegm

2) Vulva-savvy

1) Diddle

A great moment: While walking between work and a sushi place, I overheard three batshit-loony-looking dudes on the street having a debate over whether “paranoid” and “schizophrenic” meant the same thing. God bless America.

Wordluster Mark Peters wants to hear your thoughts, jokes, and questions about language, including favorite words, memorable goofs, trenchant observations, and other word-ish material. Email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. By Mark Peters

If you haven’t played hide the ferret with the dog of God since the hog ate grandma, then you haven’t had sex with a polar bear in a long time.

Using the word “torture” to describe any unpleasant experience, such as athlete’s foot or waiting in line at the bank, is a little more uncomfortable since Abu Ghraib, isn’t it? Our good ol’ American boys and girls reminded us what torture really means, making it feel just a little wrong to say things such as, “This movie theatre is a torture chamber, and Robin Williams is showing no mercy.” Now that I have some perspective, I have to admit that even my neighbors probably haven’t violated the Geneva conventions lately.