At Newsthinking.com, news writer Bob Baker is challenging other writers to avoid using the words "passion" and "passionate" on April 10, which he has proclaimed to be National Originality Day. Baker searched several thousand publications to see how often those words came up on March 22, 1996, and March 22, 2006. Turns out there was a 198 percent increase in the usage of "passion" and a 144 percent increase in the usage of "passionate."
Baker guesses the reason why is because "something snapped in our no-holds-barred culture and a word normally associated with sex began percolating into other areas."
Perhaps Baker should search for answers at Microsoft, which seems to favor the word "passion" almost as much as "Windows" and "Office." I did a search on Microsoft.com for "passion" and found 7,685 results. A search for "passionate" returned 3,057 results.