Tabs on Writing

The Business of Business Writing by John Tabellione, Principal at

Cheeseheads in England Smile for the Camera

Posted by John on 31 May 2017 | No responses

Imagine a sport where thousands of spectators gather to watch and encourage the competitors to slip and slide way down a muddy, 200-yard embankment chasing the prize, which turns out to be a large wheel of double Gloucester (Listeni/ˈɡlɒstər/) cheese? Where else, but in Gloucestershire (pronounced: GLOSS-tər-shər).

The contest: Cooper’s Hill Cheese Rolling challenge, which dates way back to 1826. Double Gloucester Cheese, by the way, is allowed to age for longer periods than single, and it has a stronger and more savory flavor and is slightly firmer than single.

How much does the target weigh, you may ask? Nine pounds, or 126 stones in English units of mass, but as the cheese whizzes by at speeds up to 70 miles per hour, Newton’s second law of motion–Force=Mass x Acceleration (or F=ma)–applies and that impact would be hundreds of times greater.

When the race ended, what’s left to say to the big cheeses who won as they carted off their prized cakes, but “Whey to go!”



You Know What Happens When You Assume…

Posted by John on 4 May 2017 | No responses

Apparently, final exam time is so stressful at Montana State College, the students have taken to petting a donkey for therapy. They probably assume that some good fortune will result, at least the ones who major in animal husbandry.

FYI, “Burro” is the Spanish word for donkey, borrowed and used in English to differentiate between domesticated and wild donkeys. A mule, on the other hand, is the offspring of a horse and a donkey

Donkeys, when bored or just because they are donkeys, can burrow, or dig, big holes looking for roots and creating a nice soft dirt place to lay and roll.

Meanwhile, back in Bozeman, no news yet as to how the students who petted the animal fared in their exams. They most likely are intelligent students, certainly not jackasses.

Somehow, though, I can’t imagine this asinine trick of dragging a stubborn animal playing very well in any college library in a New York City borough, such as NYU, Columbia, City University of New York, or Fordham.

Mets Knuckle Under to Former Team Member

Posted by John on 27 April 2017 | No responses

With the Atlanta Braves having been in the throes of a 6-game losing streak prior to arriving in rainy New York Tuesday, and the New York Mets in the midst of their own 4-game downward spiral at the time, something had to give.

Wednesday, Braves ace, Julio Tehran, was in the forefront: allowed only four hits: walked four and struck out foot four; and he improved his record to 4-0 with a 0.91 Earned Run Average in the last seven starts he’s thrown against New York, dating to June 21, 2015.

Today, Braves pitcher, R.A. Dickey, who throws a nasty knuckleball, turned the tables on his former Met teammates. Dickey only gave up two earned runs and struck out three batters, but, unfortunately, threw out his back running to first base in the fourth, thus he was only able to last through five innings.

Dickey, an avid reader who’s written an autobiography, said he would have been an English professor had he not become a baseball player. Perhaps that is why his theme song when he comes to home plate to hit is the music from “Game of Thrones.”


Sergio Garcia Earns His Master’s Degree at Augusta

Posted by John on 14 April 2017 | No responses

Sergio Garcia and Justin Rose put on a masterful performance last weekend in the 81st Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.

The tide turned for Garcia on the 17th hole when Rose made a bogey. Both players then proceeded to par No. 18, so at the end of regulation they were tied at nine under par.

A sudden death playoff began on the 18th tee, and Garcia did a tidy job like a master mechanic, keeping his drive right in the center of the fairway, while Rose got into the trees on his tee shot and was forced to chip out. García’s approach shot was 12 feet from the hole, while Rose landed 14 feet from the pin. After Rose missed his putt and made a bogey 5, García made a master stroke for his birdie 3 to win his first career major championship in his 19th Masters appearance and 74th major championship, the most by any player before their first win.

Master of Ceremonies, Billy Payne, proclaimed Garcia the champion for his weekend masterpiece of golf.


That’s Why They Put Erasers on Tops of Pencils

Posted by John on 20 March 2017 | No responses

Whether or not anyone ever uses pencils in this digital age, grammar and spelling can sometimes be complicated, but with a few memory tricks, anyone who writes–including professionals–can erase and correct embarrassing pitfalls, which we all do make. Just don’t always rely solely on “Spellcheck.”

For example, in a recent on-line article about landscaping trends, which included properly spelled tricky words such ambience, pollinators, al fresco, and croquet, the author tripped over a proverbial garden hose when it came to the second last paragraph.  With regard to the critical, long-awaited, Pantone 2017 “Color-of-the-year,” she typed the following: “…expect to see a greater emphasis placed on this yellowish-green and other shades that compliment (sic) it.”

Whereas “complement” means to complete, or to provide something felt to be lacking–in this case, the proper hues–it has to be one of the most misspelled/misused words by business people and professional writers alike. So, think of the “e” in “complete” when using complement.

On the other hand, “compliment” means to congratulate. Therefore, try to remember the “i” in the word “like” for compliment, such as: I consider the rest of the informative content of this gardening article very interesting.


Metropolitan Neapolitan

Posted by John on 14 March 2017 | No responses

Frequent visitors to this blog may be wondering where I’ve been, figuratively and literally, since it’s been over two weeks since my previous post.

We decided to visit some friends in the metropolitan Naples area–the one in Florida–along the Gulf of Mexico. It was a 10-hour plus drive from Atlanta and down along the length of the 450-mile Sunshine State,  similar to another famous, somewhat longer, peninsula: Italy.

Having driven in the other metro Naples along the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii, as recorded in my book, Pit Stops, Pit Falls and Olive Pits, begs the question: is there a new paperback or ebook in the making?

Well, we certainly had enough stops, visits and activities along the way to compose one:

  • A few days with our Italy travel companions, vet doc, Joe, and wife, Jean, who have a boat dock at their new condo on nearby Marco Island.
  • A visit to the Naples beach pier and a city tour with our friends, Cary and Rosemary, who later hosted a cocktail party and dinner for us.
  • A stop to stick our toes in the water at Siesta Key, a beach whose sand is without peer.
  • A family reunion and dinner with a dear cousin, Carolyn, and husband, Rocky at the marina in Sarasota.
  • A Stanley Tools reunion with a couple of dozen former sales associates: plyers of pliers from 30 years ago.

Truth be told, I’m actually considering a different breadth of topic as a possible book, but don’t hold your breath: this could take a while.




“Do You Believe in Miracles? Yesss!!!”

Posted by John on 22 February 2017 | No responses

That phrase for people in their 40’s and older should immediately connote one glorious moment in sports history: February 22, 1980. On that date the U.S. Olympic Hockey team achieved the upset of the 20th century by defeating the Soviet Union team 4-3 on a third period goal by Captain Mike Eruzione, at the XIII Olympic Winter Games in Lake Placid, New York

Two days later, the young American team, composed exclusively of amateur players, earned the Gold Medal with a 4-2 victory over Finland.

To put things in perspective, it was the end of an epoch for the  highly favored, four-time defending, gold-medal winning, Soviet team. Their group of professionals had won nearly every world championship and Olympic tournament between 1954 and 1980, and had never failed to medal in any International Ice Hockey Federation tournament.

So epic was the American victory that, not one, but two movies were later produced: a television sports docu-drama in 1981, called “Miracle on Ice;”  and, in 2004, a full length feature film, entitled, “Miracle.”

But nothing beats watching the “real” thing. Watch the last minute here.

P.S. Although I had the opportunity to attend the Lake Placid Olympics in 1980 with my company, Stanley Tools, I was not there for this particular historic moment. A year or two later, however, at a Stanley national trade show reception–Tabellione met Eruzione.

You’re a Wicked Good History Buff if You Can “Remember the Maine!”

Posted by John on 15 February 2017 | No responses

On this date in 1898, the American battleship USS Maine exploded in Havana Harbor, killing 260 Americans and setting off the Spanish-American War two months later.

The decisive, main battle of the three-month long war was the Battle of San Juan Hill, during which the “Rough Riders” stormed the heights, on foot, actually, shouting the battle cry, “Remember the Maine!” Theodore Roosevelt, however, was the lone equestrian astride his steed, its mane flying in the wind. For his bravery the 28th President received the Medal of Honor posthumously in 2001.

Interestingly, today also represents the “birth” of the “Teddy Bear,” named after Roosevelt. Why? Mainly, because a few years later in 1902 when he was hunting in Mississippi, he found an old, injured black bear tied to a tree. Folklore has it that Roosevelt shot the bear to put it out of its misery, while some historians and others say he set it free. Since many of the political cartoons of the day portrayed the animal as a cub, it gave the impression that, underneath his outdoorsy, macho persona, Roosevelt was really a softie; hence, was born the concept of a “Teddy bear.”

What’s in YOUR Sup(p)er Bowl?

Posted by John on 4 February 2017 | No responses

As we eagerly await the Super Bowl clash between the Atlanta Falcons and the New England Patriots, it’s also time to get all of the snacks and recipes ready.

Among everyone’s favorites for snack bowls are nachos, sliders and guacamole. Then, of course, there’s chili, and the Food Network offers 20 steaming hot chili recipes, perfect on a chilly night anywhere.

The No. 1 fan favorite in the U.S. for Sunday’s big game, however, is wings! Hopefully, that’s a good omen for our Atlanta Falcons for them to Rise Up!

So chill out, enjoy the Super Bowl, and your Sup(p)er Bowl of snacks and recipes.


Did Phil Have it Made in the Shade Today or Did He Get His Day in the Sun?

Posted by John on 2 February 2017 | No responses

Today Punxsutawney Phil, the prognosticator, poked out his proboscis, predicted plenty of more cold precipitation,* and proceeded to prepare for a ground hog’s (or marmot’s) predilection to propagate au printemps.

Whether or not you have faith in Phil’s foreseeable weather, it’s always fun to try to fathom if our fair-weather friend has figured out the forecast to a fair-thee-well.

For more furry and funny facts about Phil’s family, follow this link.


*(Six more weeks to be exact!)