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.

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. and read his Wordlust of the Day blog at http://wordlust.blogspot.com

By Mark Peters

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.