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**How can I "rotate" a parabola.**

I want to take an image and make it kind of wavy to distort it (like in a capcha form the letters are distorted sometimes with a wave) . So i figure that I could translate the pixels along a parabola. So the function where y=X[itex]^{2}[/itex] would make the image curve downwards. If i want to curve it in other directions I would need to somehow rotate that parabola. I am not an expert at math so I have no idea how to do this. Im sure it is a simple thing but It would really help me alot. Thanks for any advice.