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There must be a school out there, some sort of Hogwarts-inspired academy where columnists go to learn the art of lousy column writing. It can't just be a coincidence that our worst sports columnists, people such as Woody Paige, Jay Mariotti and this week's featured guest, Bud Poliquin, are all seemingly cut from the same cloth — overly negative in approach, painfully flowery in execution. Ten words where two will do. It takes them seemingly forever to get to the point, going on and on when the paragraph should have been ended sentences ago, droning on about ... dang! Now we're doing it! On to the vital statistics.

Name: Bud Poliquin.
Born: Chicago, Ill.
Columnist: Syracuse Post-Standard.
Nicknames: The Old Man, The Big Wind.
Most often heard on: WHEN 620-AM "Bud and the Manchild".
Best description of his writing style in a blog: "A talentless hack ... an inept asshat who should have been fired years ago." [Something's Gone Wrong Again]
Most resembles: Johnny "Sack" Sacramoni (Vince Curatola) from "The Sopranos."
Disturbing rumor: Often wears the Orangeman mascot head while mingling with fans in the Carrier Dome to hear what they might be saying about him.

There's no law that says a small-town columnist can't suck ... Poliquin proves that. In fact, we're puzzled as to why he hasn't hit the big time. How could ESPN not gobble him up with column leads such as the following, on Jacqui Frazier-Lyde:

"She should have been Ali's kid. She has the smile, the mirth, the ability to light up a room like a heavy chandelier. And talk? Joe Frazier's daughter can talk, all right. Like a chatty barber, she can talk. Give her a piece of string, and she'll give you 20 minutes on it."

A heavy chandelier? And why string, of all things? You read something like this and you know there's going to be trouble later. Others have deconstructed Mr. Poliquin more completely, however. We found this on a message board:

"I looked at Bud's column from Monday and ran it through the Flesch-Kincaid readability statistics. As much as he tries to use the big words and keep us interested, his readability grade level is a 7.6 (seems high to me) and his Reading Ease is 67.2. Back to school, Bud."

Bud Poliquin Archive []