Tabs on Writing

The Business of Business Writing by John Tabellione, Principal at

“The Man Without a County” (sic)

Posted by John on 12 May 2018 | No responses

“The Man Without a Country,” by Edward Everett Hale, was published as a short story in the Atlantic Monthly in 1863. It depicted American Army Lieutenant Philip Nolan, who had renounced his country during a trial for treason. He was sentenced to spend the rest of his days at sea without so much as a word of news about the United States of America.

While not involved is so dramatic a situation, I am feeling a little like a man without a county (not country), since we are moving from Cobb County soon, but the closing on our new home in Cherokee County won’t be ready until later this month.

We’ve had to flex our muscles for weeks as we’ve been packing and lifting boxes into place to prepare for the movers. Fortunately, we’ve been able to stay in shape. The lingering pollen season, however, has taken its toll, causing us to sneeze and cough frequently. Those airborne flecks of dust, granules, and seeds from certain trees flying around at times appear so heavy as to be a virtual “summer snow flurry.”

With no place to call “home” we’re trying to stay flexible: kind neighbors have welcomed us as family for a few days; we’ll also be headed shortly to my 50th college reunion; and, lastly, we’ll be visiting several relatives, as well.

Eventually, we hope to be settled around Memorial Day to enjoy our down-sized, three-bedroom house (although it does contain a “flex room,” which the builder said can be used as either a fourth bedroom, or as an office/study).

“And…They’re Off…!” (but not quite just yet)

Posted by John on 27 April 2018 | No responses

A food columnist in the local newspaper, anxious to prepare some delicious hors d’oeuvres, sandwiches, mint juleps and other goodies for a Kentucky Derby party happened to be a little off reading his calendar. In the April 26th print edition, he was encouraging readers to be prepared for “this Saturday’s race.”

Oops: the horses will be in the gate for the 144th running at Churchill Downs in Lexington on Saturday, May 5th–not this weekend.

Known as “The Run for the Roses,” this exciting event will feature 20 three-year old thoroughbred horses that will navi-gate a distance of one and one-quarter miles,

To put that into perspective, the pattern of movement an animal produces with its legs is known as its gait. A thoroughbred’s gait during a full gallop will produce an average stride length of 20 feet or more. These horses are able to take 150 strides a minute which calculates to speeds upwards of 35-40 miles per hour.

And now you know why the Kentucky Derby is also called: “the most exciting two minutes in sports.”

“Eight is Enough?” Michigan Family Basks in Arrival of Newborn Male #14

Posted by John on 22 April 2018 | No responses

As the father of two boys, I tried to relate to the following story, but was somewhat taken aback by the news of a Michigan Family–the Schwandts–who just welcomed their 14th son into their tight-knit family!

The mother (Kateri) herself is one of 14 children, but her parents did not have sons exclusively.

Her family now not only has enough players to start a baseball team; if they were to move to Arizona, their basketball quintet could become the new Phoenix “Sons.”

With two parents and 13 siblings, 3-day old Finley Sheboygan Schwandt is assured that the sun rises and sets on him: the newborn son.

Lastly, it may prove interesting someday, if, and when, the oldest male, who is in his 20’s, has any offspring. He would then have his own day in the sun: father of first grand-son on the family tree.

Former Augusta State Undergrad Earns Masters Degree at Augusta National

Posted by John on 12 April 2018 | No responses

Patrick Reed, the 2018 Masters Champion, may have been born in San Antonio, Texas, and later may have learned his three “r’s” (reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

When it came time to learn how to read the greens on the golf course, however, Reed chose to play as an undergraduate at Augusta State University* in Georgia, where he led his team to NCAA championships in 2010 and 2011. Last weekend, “Captain America” earned a “Masters Degree” on the nearby Augusta National golf course as he read the greens perfectly, which put him on the iconic Masters’ scoreboard in “red” with his winning 15-under par score.

As the fiery leader of recent U.S. Ryder and Presidents Cup efforts, Reed earned the ‘Captain America’ when he defeated Rory McIlroy, 1 up, at the Ryder Cup competition at Hazeltine in 2016, in what has been called one of the best singles matches in that tournament’s history. Reed, who has been known to blow his own horn (e.g., in 2014: “I’m one of the top five players in the world”) , may now be considered vindicated with his green jacket victory to go with his international competition achievements.

The only question remaining now is what type of reed woodwind does he use when he spouts off: saxophone, clarinet, oboe, bassoon, bagpipe?


Property Brothers Have A New “Raison D’être”

Posted by John on 5 April 2018 | No responses

The indefatigable “Property Brothers” of HGTV fame–Drew and Jonathan Scott–have added yet another raison d’être, or reason for being: Habitat for Humanity. “Purchasing a home is increasingly out of reach for far too many people across the country,” Drew Scott said. “By supporting the #HomeIsTheKey campaign, we can all play a role in building more homes and more opportunities for families.”

Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International, added, “At Habitat for Humanity, we have long known that home is the key to a better life. For more than 40 years, we have helped more than 13 million people become empowered to build better lives for themselves and their families.”

Personally, the campaign seems somewhat reminiscent of “A Raisin in the Sun” subplot about the importance of a family home.

World-renowned (their programs are shown in 150 countries) for their unique ability to help couples find, buy and transform extreme fixer-uppers into ultimate dream homes, the twin real estate/construction experts have recently committed to raising the walls on two new Nashville homes as part of the start of the program.

Anyone who’s watched the brothers knows the turmoil and anxiety that goes into a major renovation, in particular, the demolition, and, sometimes, the total razing, of an original room, or an entire section of a house under reconstruction.

“We Gotta Get Out of This Place”

Posted by John on 29 March 2018 | No responses

While conducting some research today for a client, I came across a survey taken by CBRE U.S. Healthcare Capital Markets Group among real estate investors and developers. A key takeaway revealed that Inpatient Rehabilitation Hospitals saw the largest increase for acquisition criteria for 2018, up 6% over previous year.

Interestingly, we frequently say, hear, and read about outpatient surgery on a regular basis, but as for the use of the word, inpatient, less so. Rather, we simply refer to someone going in for surgery or treatment as being hospitalized.

Naturally, the person being treated typically may be quite impatient being an inpatient, and can’t wait to be discharged and head home. In other words, patients have very little patience when it comes to being in the hospital for an extended period of time.


No Way…No Howe, Nor Gretzky, Nor Hull

Posted by John on 15 March 2018 | 1 response

For whom would you vote as the greatest hockey player of all time? Naturally, most will likely choose “The Great One”, all-time scoring leader, Wayne Gretzky. Or, would it be “Mr. Hockey, “Gordie Howe? Or, how about “The Golden Jet,” Bobby Hull;” or Maurice “The Rocket” Richard?

This being the Ides of March, however, it might be a good idea to consider being on the defensive, even when it comes to hockey. Today marks the day in 1970 when Boston Bruin Bobby Orr became the first defenseman in National Hockey League history to score 100 points in a season. 

What also could have helped to ice Orr’s legacy is the fact that he won the Art Ross Trophy for the league’s top scorer; or, it could be the he won the Norris Trophy for the league’s top defenseman; or, might it have been because he received the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the playoffs; or, was it due to his earning the Hart Trophy for the most valuable player of the league? More than likely, it was because Orr became the first and only player to win hockey’s four most coveted awards in the same year: 1970.

Orr retired in 1978 at the age of 30 and will likely be remembered as the best defenseman in NHL history. Or, if you feel an obligation to put your oar in the water to debate Bobby’s place in NHL lore, let us know.


Let’s Cut to the Chase About Chastain Park

Posted by John on 6 March 2018 | No responses

The local newspaper must have hired a new out-of-towner to write content for photo captions: today’s edition featured a picture of strollers at the landmark Chasten (sic) Park. In addition to being a super venue for outdoor concerts, the 268-acre Chastain Park is the largest city green space in Atlanta, featuring jogging paths, playgrounds, tennis courts, a golf course, a swimming pool, and a horse park.

We’re not here to chasten (admonish/rebuke/punish/chide) the writer for his or her misspelling (methinks SpellCheck overrode the typist), but to point out the etymology and definitions of a few similar sounding, similarly spelled words:


These three related verbs are derived from the Latin verb, castigare, meaning “to punish” severely and physically. Today these words portend a verbal dressing-down.

Chaste, on the other hand, does not have any connection to chasten etymologically-speaking. Rather, its meaning of “celibate” or “modest” comes from the Latin word for “pure.”

Meanwhile, back at Chastain Park, who knows, those strollers photographed above may have, during the course of their walk, spotted a squirrel or two being chased by a frisky dog.

A Unique Sister Act: No One Saw This Coming…Not a One

Posted by John on 21 February 2018 | 1 response

Loyola University of Chicago’s men’s basketball team has what used to be a well-kept secret weapon that their competitors lacked and never saw coming. It wasn’t a coach, or a scout, or a player, or a pray-er. It was none (Merriam Dictionary: “not one”) of the above. Rather–she–is all four wrapped into one: Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt.

This diminutive, 98-year old former women’s basketball player back in high school, is wheelchair-bound. Nonetheless, that doesn’t deter this nun from attending her team’s home games as team chaplain since 1994. She offers a pre-game blessing for the players’ safety and for their ability to play to their potential. Sister Jean not only provides the Loyola Ramblers with prayer and comfort — believe it or not — she also offers scouting reports on the opposition, as well, from prior game observations.

While this nun, a member of the Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, may not be totally responsible for putting points up on the scoreboard, just for the record, this year the Ramblers (22-5, 12-3) are in first place in the Missouri Valley Conference.

You might say, none of the other teams has a prayer of a chance against them.

Do the Math

Posted by John on 15 February 2018 | No responses

I recently picked up a copy of an interesting biography about a brilliant Italian named Leonardo–no, not da Vinci–but the much lesser known, Leonardo of Pisa. You may know him also as Fibonacci. You know: Fibonacci.

In case you don’t, the book is entitled: Finding Fibonacci: the Quest to Rediscover the Forgotten Mathematical Genius Who Changed the World.

His biographer, Keith Devlin, goes on a 10-year search to learn and explain the genius of Leonardo. While arithmetic originated in India, Fibonacci (c. 1175 – c. 1250)  was the first to introduce it to the Western world and to explain mathematical ideas at a level ordinary people could understand. Fibonacci was long forgotten after his death, yet modern finance can be traced back to him, which, in turn, helped to revive the West as the cradle of science, technology, and commerce.

The Pisan is best known for his integer sequence, called the Fibonacci sequence, and is characterized by the fact that every number after the first two is the sum of the two preceding ones:

Meanwhile, in another part of 13th century Italy, a fashion statement was being made with the introduction of a Venetian gold coin called a zecchino being sewn onto clothes in great numbers as a decoration, and to denote wealth. This application also worked as a practical way to create a sort of portable bank account. To prevent theft, travelers would simply sew coins directly on their person and remove them as need be.

Today we know these zecchini (plural form) in English as: sequins.