Every year Lake Superior State in Michigan - issues a list of words or phrases that should be banned from the English language. Here's the list for 2004, along with some edited commentary:

"Metrosexual" ... describes an urban male who pays too much attention to his appearance. Frankly, there are already  enough words to describe this sort of thing.

"X" ... not really a word, but marketers have grabbed on to it to get the attention of the Generation X demographic. X-Files, Xtreme, Windows XP, and X-Box are but a few examples.

"Punked" ... as in bamboozled, duped, flim-flammed, or hornswoggled. An old noun given new life as a verb. Kill it  before it grows.

"Place Stamp Here" ... It appears on 99% of all return envelopes along with the warning that "The Post Office will not deliver without postage." Can we legitimately claim to be a superpower if we need to be reminded about where to put a stamp on an envelope? And if you can't do that, isn't actually paying the bill the least of your worries?

"Companion Animals" ... Helloooo! They're called *pets.*

"Bling or Bling-Bling" ... this once slang street term for items of luxury has become so overused your mother might  even use it, and nothing could kill the mystique of a word  faster. Bling bling? Hate it. Hate it.

"LOL" ... and other e-mail/instant messenger speak. These shortcuts to English are decimating what's left of the language. Does anyone actual laugh out loud as they type that?

"Embedded Journalist" ... as a matter of objectivity, no journalist should ever be embedded in any organization on which he or she has to report. It seems to be a "hip" way of saying "at the scene." The next time I hear it used by the media, I'm going to embed my foot in the TV.

"Smoking Gun" ... let's give the 21-gun salute to this overused analogy.

"Shock and Awe" ... I can't wait until it hits the mainstream, as in "Shock and Awe Pool Cleaner."

"Captured Alive" ... you ever hear of anyone who has captured dead?

"Shots rang out" ... shots don't ring unless you're standing too close to the muzzle, and in that case, you don't need a reporter to tell you about it.

"Ripped from the headlines" ... kicking and screaming, no doubt.

"Sweat like a pig" ... ummm, pigs don't sweat. That's why they roll in the mud. To cool themselves. Duh!!

"In Harm's Way" ... who is Harm? And why would you want  to get in his way? Nosiree....not me!

"Hand-Crafted Latte" ... This compound is an insult to generations of skilled craftspeople who have mustered the  effort and discipline to create something beautiful by hand.  To apply "hand-crafted" to the routine tasks of the modern- day equivalents of soda jerks, cheapens the whole concept  of handicraft.

"Sanitary Landfill" ... ever been to one? "Sanitary" is not the first word that leaps to mind.