Tabs on Writing

The Business of Business Writing by John Tabellione, Principal at

Gimme a Break!

Posted by John on 23 May 2019 | No responses

We recently purchased a serving cart for our screened-in porch as an extra table and staging are to place food and drinks in order to better serve our guests. The rattan unit, complete with casters, storage area, and a metal cooler for wine, beer and soft drinks, was imported from China. The assembly directions were illustrated primarily, with just a few paragraphs printed in English, but not necessarily the King’s English.

One of the features of the high quality cart is that it can be wheeled on casters, two of which the directions say come with a break (sic). (Granted, I can’t read or speak a word of Mandarin, but then, again, all I need to know is what’s on the Chinese restaurant menu so I can order by pointing to my selection.)

Not only does that misnomer have a negative connotation of something being broken, the misspelling of the word brake furthermore points out the need in the business world for professionalism in understanding and using correct grammar and spelling .

Bottom line: at least now we’re able to better serve our guests any and all meals on our porch and patio, including breakfast.



Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide (for Spelling)

Posted by John on 18 May 2019 | No responses

On this date in 1873 English writer Dorothy Richardson was born. Richardson is regarded as the pioneer of “stream of consciousness” narrative writing. The irony lies in that she was likely not conscious of the fact that her writing was anything unusual; that’s just the way her mind operated and then she proceeded, almost simultaneously, to apply pencil to paper for her novels.

“Stream of consciousness”  is a narrative writing device (coined by philosopher and psychologist William James)  that tries to be the equivalent of a character’s thought processes, as in a loose interior monologue or in connection to his or her actions. It’s characterized by associative leaps in thought and lack of some or all punctuation.

The following authors are among the famous writers whom Richardson influenced: James Joyce, William Faulkner, Marcel Proust, Virginia Woolf, and Fyodor Dostoevsky. When they wrote, however, they were apparently quite conscious of their writing process and prowess.

For those of us who write, blog, edit, and create other prose and poetry, though, we need to be more conscientious of our technique and—a word to wise—review/reread our manuscripts and not rely upon spellcheck only.

So, let your conscience be your spelling/grammar guide and do not be unconscious to what’s being published.





Veteran European Driver

Posted by John on 5 May 2019 | No responses

When I resided in Germany during the time I was an Air Force vet, I accrued extensive European auto travel there and in France, Austria and Luxembourg.

In more recent years, after several trips accumulating thousands of kilometers of driving experience along the Italian peninsula,  I wrote a travel memoir—Pit Stops, Pitfalls & Olive Pits—about what it’s like to drive through scenic Italy.

On one of our vacations we drove with our dear friends, Joe and Jean, and had an amazing time maneuvering the Amalfi Coast, visiting my wife’s relatives as well as mine, and enjoying the delectable flavors of the old country.

One day in Rome, Joe, a veterinarian, learned that the Italian word for a vet, is the similar-sounding: veterinario.

By the way, over the course of our road trip with Joe and Jean from Rome to Pompeii, and all around Sicily, we put about 1,500 kilometers on our cherry red Alfa Romeo four-door sedan. While the car rode well, we can only imagine what the experience might have been like if we had rented an Italian sports car such as a Ferrari, Lamborghini, or Maserati.

For that matter, even an American car such as a Vette.

By the way, did you know that an Italian company actually manufactures a corvette? That is, the type of corvette that travels on water, nonetheless:  traditionally, it’s the smallest class of vessel considered to be a properly rated as a warship.

The manufacturer—Fincantieri S.p.A., based in Trieste, Italy—happens to be the largest shipbuilder in Europe, and the fourth largest in the world.

Best Thing Since Sliced Bread? NASCAR Driver Joey Logano’s Nickname

Posted by John on 1 May 2019 | No responses

Yes, NHL All-star Wayne Gretzky was appropriately nicknamed “The Great One,” and all-time champion boxer, Muhammad Ali, will always be “The Greatest,” but NASCAR winner, Joey Logano’s unique moniker is a tad more subtle: “Sliced Bread,” implying he’s the best thing to come along in history since, well, since sliced bread.

Born and bred (for a brief time) in my home state of Connecticut, Logano and his family somewhat mimicked my life journey by eventually moving to Georgia, where the stock car racer figuratively and literally grew in stature.

The reigning Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Champion began his racing career in 1996 as a 6-year-old quarter midget racer living in Connecticut, and among his many racing achievements, the fact that stands out is he has consistently been the youngest to accomplish so many of these feats:

  • Youngest driver to win a Nationwide Series race at 18 years, 21 days old
  • Youngest winner in Cup Series history when he won the 2009 Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway at 19 years, 35 days
  • Youngest winner in two of NASCAR’s three top divisions
  • First NASCAR driver born in the 1990s who has competed in NASCAR’s three major divisions
  • Second-youngest Daytona 500 winner in 2015

Logano and his wife, Brittany, have received the honor of the 2018 Comcast Community Champion of the Year award in Miami for contributing over $3 million to organizations that provide second chances to kids and young adults in crisis.

It’s also interesting to note that a majority of his crew has returned for the 2019 season and most of the team members have been together since 2013.


Logano certainly knows what side his bread is buttered on.

Don’t Quake in Your Boots Over Faulty Grammar

Posted by John on 18 April 2019 | No responses

Today—April 18th, 2019—marks the 113th anniversary of the great San Francisco earthquake, a tremor powerful enough to be recorded thousands of miles away in Cape Town, South Africa. The ensuing fire, which lasted for four days, was equally devastating to the city: over 28,000 buildings were completely destroyed; the city suffered more than $500 million in damages;  700 people were killed; and 250,000 people became homeless.

To this day, reporters and writers are still shook over how to describe the earthquake, sometimes also referred to as a trembler, not to be confused with the Spanish word, temblor, which is an accepted word and spelling in English, as well.

Strictly speaking, grammatically, that is, tremblor, however, is a misspelling that conflates the English word, trembler, with the above Spanish spelling of temblor.

More than the grammar challenge, though, I tremble at the thought of ever being caught in an earthquake.



Sandwiches That Can’t(on) Be Beat

Posted by John on 10 April 2019 | No responses

Canton, Georgia, founded in 1832, serves as the county seat for Cherokee County. Canton also serves up the best sandwiches this side of the Appalachian Trail at the R & M Hoagie Shop on West Main Street, an institution for nearly 50 years. It’s just about a five-minute walk from the bustling county courthouse where they mete out justice daily to the R & M shop where the DeLuca family and their crew mete out 5-star meat sandwiches.

Whenever our golf group plays in the Canton area, we always make it a point to meet at R & M for their super, Boar’s Head brand meat sandwiches, whether they be Reuben, Gyro, Italian, Steak, Turkey, Pastrami, Prosciutto, or Ham, as well as for other deli delights, such as tuna salad, veggies, soups, etc. The sizes are humungous, the prices, reasonably bite-sized, and easy to swallow. No wonder the tiny, narrow storefront, sandwiched between other competing establishments, invariably has an order line practically going out the front door.

Unfortunately, the Cantonese citizens and visitors to this city of 27,936 in northwest Georgia can’t believe that they are on the verge of losing a slice of Americana, as the son and daughter of the founders want to retire and turn over the business to another party.

Can’t wait to meet the new owners to see if they can live up to the DeLucas’ high standards and reputation. If not, losing R & M Sandwich Shop could very likely take a bite out of Canton’s local economy.


(Full disclosure: The author has not received any compensation for this blog post.)






New Theme at Magic Kingdom

Posted by John on 4 April 2019 | No responses

A “flash mob” of two–a young father from Connecticut, accompanied by the pianist at the Grand Floridian Hotel in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom–recently received rapt attention from his little daughter and several passersby. The girl had politely asked the piano player if her father could sing, and he agreed to accompany Justin Gigliello for Schubert’s world renowned composition: “Ave Maria.” (see video)

As the little girl looked up at her father adoringly, Gigliello wrapped up the rhapsody, and spontaneous applause acknowledged his beautiful performance. This was not just an off-the-cuff rap rendition: Gigliello began voice lessons at age 15 and later studied at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee.

Here’s a case of someone not relying on just a wing and a prayer, so to speak.

Try Using Spellcheck for a Spell Now and Then

Posted by John on 25 March 2019 | No responses

While spellcheck is certainly not perfect–think of all the homophones on this blog that have different spellings for the same sounding word, e.g., their, there, they’re–anyone serious about proper writing and grammar should at least use it as a starting point, especially with a word that’s “Greek” to them.

That advice goes for ad agencies as well. Let me amplify my point: this past weekend one of the features highlighted in a local newspaper advertisement for an active adult development was the community’s ampitheater (sic).

While an alternate spelling for amphitheater may be the English variation–amphitheatre–and while such an open-air venue may indeed have an orchestra pit, spellcheck wouldn’t have let this incorrectly spelled word get past the copywriter or the editor.

By the way, ever wonder how the Greek and Roman actors held their audiences spellbound and were able to present their lines so clearly–even to those sitting in the top tier–without requiring amp(ere)s?

Georgia Tech researchers discovered the secret behind the precise acoustics of ancient amphitheaters: it wasn’t the slope, nor was it the wind — rather, it was the limestone seats at Epidaurus in Greece, which happened to form an efficient acoustics filter. Epidaurus is considered to be the most perfect ancient Greek theatre with regard to acoustics and aesthetics. This filter hushes low-frequency background noises, e.g., the murmur of a crowd, while reflecting the high-frequency noises of the performers on stage off the seats and toward the audience.

Sounds loud and clear to me.

Front Page News in Ireland May Cause St. Patrick to Roll Over in His Grave

Posted by John on 17 March 2019 | No responses

Vandals invaded St. Michan’s Church in Dublin, Ireland recently, and had the effrontery (shameless boldness or insolence) to decapitate and abscond with the head of a revered mummy called “The Crusader,” which had lain at rest there for about 800 years. They further profaned several other corpses, including that of a nun dating back 400 years.

These despicable actions were such an affront (a deliberate offense) to common decency and respect, Archdeacon of Dublin, David Pierpoint, commented, “These are people who have been lying at rest for years and years and to have them desecrated in such a sacrilegious way is so distressing and disturbing. I can’t put it in words, I’m quite disgusted.”

Pierpoint added a request for the vandals: “I would appeal to those responsible to examine their consciences and return the head of “The Crusader” to its rightful place.”

St. Michan’s, founded in the year 1095, is a major tourist attraction, and contains five crypts that are home to the mummified corpses of several prominent Dubliners dating back from the 17th to the 19th century. This crime has caused tours to be cancelled, and because the vault had been broken into, authorities now are concerned that the open air conditions may further damage the mummies.

May they all rest in peace both in heaven and on earth.

Professor Teaches “Baby-Sitting 101”

Posted by John on 10 March 2019 | No responses

Students at Morehouse College in Atlanta thought they were attending a special algebra class to review content for an upcoming mid-term exam. Little did they realize that the professor, Nathan Alexander, would teach them a valuable life lesson simultaneously.

Because one of his students, Wayne Hayer, was unable to get a baby-sitter for his five-month old daughter, Assata, and because of the importance of that particular class session, he had to bring the infant with him to school. It turned out that Mrs. Hayer needed to pick up their daughter’s birth certificate that day and Hayer didn’t want her to have the hassle of carrying the baby on public transportation by herself.

Professor Alexander had previously mentioned that Hayer could bring the baby to class, so he took him up on his offer, but didn’t expect that he (Alexander) would hold her for the entire lecture and even stay after class to answer students’ questions. The courtesy extended by the prof not only helped to lessen his overall stress of the review class, Hayer’s hands were then freed up to take copious notes.


P.S. Who knows, since Hayer majors in kinesiology (the study of the principles of mechanics and anatomy in relation to human movement), perhaps having the professor present a lesson, write formulas on the board, answer questions–all while carrying the baby around the classroom at the same time–could add a new dimension to that particular field of study.