Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Fracking is booming, but a friendlier name couldn't hurt. Drill, baby, drill!

The word of the year? Our money (and yours) is on "fracking," the shortened term for "hydraulic fracturing," a practice that shook neighborhoods (in some cases literally) around the country this year, and has fueled the oil and gas boom in northeastern Colorado. But if energy execs really want to drill deep into our collective consciousness in 2012, they should consider changing the term "fracking" to something a little less invasive...and a lot more friendly.

According to, "In a hydraulic fracturing job, 'fracturing fluids' or 'pumping fluids' consisting primarily of water and sand are injected under high pressure into the producing formation, creating fissures that allow resources to move freely from rock pores where it is trapped." There, that doesn't sound so bad, does it? All fracking needs is a kindler, gentler name -- and here are our top ten nominees.

10) Smooching.

9) Cuddling

8) Wooing

7) Cajoling

6) Fluffing

5) Persuading

4) Spooning

3) Stroking

2) Hugging

and the number one choice?

1) Tickling

Frack you! Governor John Hickenlooper lavished some love on fracking in 2011. Read Alan Prendergast's"Fracking lovefest blooms from John Hickenlooper's gas play" here.

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun