Tabs on Writing

The Business of Business Writing by John Tabellione, Principal at

More of Clement Moore

Posted by John on 11 December 2016 | No responses

‘Twas not a creature stirring on Christmas Eve;
Not even a mouse under any house eave.

When out on the lawn there arose such a matter,
I sprang from my bed as I grew all the madder.

Away to the window I flew like a flash, all a-shudder;
Then threw up the sash after opening the shutter.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear but Santa Claus;
And eight tiny reindeer, prancing about on their cloven claws.

He was dressed all in fur trimming his bright red suit,
and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

On his back, a bundle of toys stuck out, e’en a bicycle pedal.
Opening his pack, he looked like he was about to peddle.

Laying a finger aside of his nose, giving a nod, he arose up the flue,
Sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle and like the down of a thistle away they all flew.

But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove his steeds like a knight:
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night.”

With credits owed to Clement Moore for this ode.

That’s Par for the Course

Posted by John on 23 November 2016 | No responses

My brother-in-law, Charlie, is in town for Thanksgiving, so I included him when our men’s golf group from church took to the links yesterday at Cobblestone Golf Course in Acworth.

It has a Four Star rating by Golf Digest, a spot on the (2011, 2012, 2013) “Top 100 Courses You Can Play” by Golf Magazine, and “2011 Best Municipal Courses in The U.S.” by Golfweek. The course was in great shape, even though we did have to sit out a one-hour frost delay.

This challenging, 18-hole venue along the shores of Lake Allatoona took its toll on just about everyone, but every few holes, or so, Charlie and I were able to tear into one and each smack a good drive. That’s the good news.

Trying to hit off the many mounds and out of the deep bunkers, and having to putt on Cobblestone’s large, multi-tier greens, was nearly impossible, however, as I personally experienced the old golf adage: ‘Drive for show; putt for dough.”

I won’t be shedding a tear if we don’t return to that course anytime soon.

Trump Election Firsts

Posted by John on 10 November 2016 | No responses

The recent election of Donald Trump as President-elect set a precedent as he was chosen to be the country’s first to enter the Oval Office without any political OR military background. Not to mention, none of the others who preceded him had a reality television show. You might even say he’s now “the apprentice.”

In addition, Trump, at age 70, will become the oldest to enter the White House. With a net worth of $3.7 billion, he is also the wealthiest elected Chief Executive.

Like all of the other U.S. Presidents since Franklin Roosevelt, Trump will soon be measured upon what he accomplishes during his first 100 days in office, as he must determine what takes precedence under his administration.

Meanwhile, the country will need to get ready to sound the trumpets and strike up the military band to play “Hail to the Chief” on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017.

How to Acquire New Words for Your Vocabulary

Posted by John on 5 November 2016 | No responses

I may be preaching to the choir here, but you’re never too old nor too young to add to your list of vocabulary words, and crossword puzzles are a great source to acquire them.

Yesterday I got stumped while trying to complete the Wall St. Journal Saturday Crossword Puzzle. It’s a great challenge, especially if you can accomplish it without the use of Google or a dictionary. The clue called for a 6-letter answer as such: “There are 20 in a ream.” Inquiring minds want to know…

One-twentieth of a ream of paper is a quire, so the answer was quires.

As a teacher once told me a long time ago, use a word three times and you own it.

P.S. As my wife was completing a word game (Red Herring) on her phone this morning, guess what word popped up out of nowhere: yep…quire.


Siri: When is the First Game between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians?

Posted by John on 24 October 2016 | No responses

Folks, this is serious: either the Cubs or the Indians will make not just baseball history this next week or so, but it will also be a slice of Americana. As most fans already know, the Cubbies haven’t WON a World Series since 1908, nor have they even played in one since 1945.

Meanwhile, the Indians last Major League Championship occurred in 1948. Both teams have been serial losers for decades.

Fox Sports will televise the games, starting Tuesday evening, October 25th at 8:00 p.m. Eastern, while MLB.TV will stream the baseball extravaganza.

Finally, you can also listen to the Series on ESPN Radio, or on the following SiriusXM station: SXM 80.

BTW, did you know that Cubs star first baseman, Anthony Rizzo has his own cereal called RizzO’s, available exclusively at all participating Jewel-Osco stores in Chicago? A portion of the proceeds benefit the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation, which raises money for cancer research, and provides support to children and their families battling the disease.



Olympic Gold Medal Swimmer Takes His Master to School

Posted by John on 16 August 2016 | No responses

Olympic Gold-en boy, Michael Phelps, had to settle for “one-third of a Silver Medal” last Saturday in the Men’s 100-meter butterfly stroke event, as he and rivals Chad le Clos of South Africa and László Cseh of Hungary finished second in a dead heat after swimming two laps in the Olympic pool in Rio.

Makes you kind of wonder if Phelps may have had a mental lapse during the race when he realized that a protégé was competing and could possibly beat the master himself.

Back in 2008, the winner of the event, Joseph Schooling of Singapore, met his then idol, Phelps, as the U.S. Olympic team was training there prior to the Beijing Olympics. Schooling’s coach asked the American swimmers and coaches to take a look at the eleven-year old swimming a few laps and give their opinions. After a lapse of a few years, Schooling moved to the U.S. for better coaching, and then went on to the University of Texas to study and to join their swim team.

Truly a stroke of genius on Schooling’s part.


A Paul Bunyan-esque, Really Tall Tale

Posted by John on 13 July 2016 | No responses

An Atlanta area lumberjack got more than he bargained for recently when battling a massive white pine with his chain saw.

After making the proper notches, and as he was completing his circumnavigation around the base of the tree, the arborist had to flee for safety in the piney woods of Georgia as a “barber chair*” crack suddenly appeared. Sounds like a Paul Bunyan tall tale.

Folklore tells us that the massive Bunyan, among his many other outlandish achievements, created the massif known as the Grand Teton Mountains simply while playing around with Babe, the Big Blue Ox.


*Various reasons why it’s called a “barber’s chair.”

Advice of a Founding Father of America Lives on to this Day

Posted by John on 4 July 2016 | No responses

Benjamin Franklin, one of our nation’s Founding Fathers, is known for his many achievements other than as a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was an author, printer, postmaster, inventor, diplomat and a scientist, perhaps best known for his experiments with electricity and lightning.  Note that spelling of a thunder bolt synonym versus what happens when “the sun will come out tomorrow:” it will cause a lightening of the dark skies.

Franklin’s experiments led to his invention of the lightning rod. In particular, one such rod that “was constructed and grounded to Franklin’s exact specifications,” according to the Governor of Maryland, saved the nation’s oldest State House, which was hit by lightning Friday evening, minimizing damage.

Nothing surprising, after all, since the brilliant Franklin did live during the “Age of Enlightenment” (1785-1815).


Independence Day 2016

Posted by John on 29 June 2016 | No responses

The words independence and dependence have been in the news quite a bit lately, obviously because of the upcoming 4th of July holiday commemorating the 1776 break from England by the 13 American colonies.

And, of course, the United Kingdom itself has declared its dependence upon the European Union as being no longer desired. Also, did you read where the latest version of the movie “Independence Day,” got panned by critics.

Lastly, in light of the recent terror attack in Istanbul, I noticed that Reuters news service, based in London, has reported that 670 American military “dependants” (sic) are being evacuated for security reasons. Guess that depends upon whether the reporter is from the U.K./Australia/Canada et al, or from the U.S., where we spell those family members as “dependents.”  The British use the dependent spelling alternative as an adjective, but switch to the rare version of dependant (sic) when using the word as a noun.

When you come across such an unusual variant as this one in an article, as well as the many others that exist between American English and what’s spoken across “the pond,” (click here) it’s almost enough to make you go off the “deep end.” 



It’s Official: Spieth is Back, Earns 8th Career Victory

Posted by John on 29 May 2016 | No responses

After Jordan Spieth faltered in the final round of the 2016 Masters, so many of the doubting golf pundits and experts wondered if and when he could ever recapture that martial spirit he had last year when he fought to win two majors, tie for second in one and place fourth in another. In addition he had three other wins, including the Tour Championship for  a total of 10 top ten finishes.

On Sunday at the Colonial Championship in Ft. Worth, Spieth bounded back with a vengeance, shooting a sparkling 30 on the back nine to win for the second time this year. The victory gives him the second most wins by a professional golfer before the age of 23, surpassing Tiger Woods, but not quite as many as Horton Smith (14).

While he made some great 20-30-foot putts for birdies, Spieth also had a bit of luck going for him, thanks to a tournament official. On the 16th hole, his drive was headed for the trees, when a volunteer marshal inadvertently had the ball bounce off his foot back into the fairway. That advantageous lie for Spieth led to a shot off the green from where he then proceeded to chip in for yet another birdie.

As for the official, Spieth gave him an autographed golf glove on which he wrote, “Thanks, Jordan Spieth.”