HANDS ON, BRAIN OFF

OHMIGOSH! RICHARD COHEN'S COLUMN,

"Manual Labor" {Critic at Large, November 4}, really hit home with me. Ah -- the empathy! I thought my husband and I were the only VCR owners in the world who have never recorded a program on TV in the year since we purchased our VCR. We can set the clock -- also insert and eject videos -- and that's it. We have files filled with manuals we don't understand. Just so each appliance does one basic job properly -- then we're content with our "manualphobia."

I have enjoyed reading Mr. Cohen's articles for some years, but never more than on November 4.

ANNE W. LITCHFIELD Easton, Md.

THE SOLUTION TO RICHARD COHEN'S "manualphobia" is to enlist the help of a clever child. Most of the youngsters I knew, weaned on push-button telephones and VCRs and raised on computers, would gladly try every button on Mr. Cohen's equipment and would soon be able to instruct him on the capabilities of his machines.

Today my husband took our 15-year-old son to the office so that the boy could experiment with a recently acquired computer printer and explain its secrets to his father. Last Sunday our son figured out the new fax machine (after showing us how to set back the time on the automobile clock and VCR timer). Who needs manuals?

LESLIE KAPLAN

Chevy Chase

LET'S TAKE A MEETING, OKAY?

UNFORTUNATELY, THE ADVENTURES of the Mackinaw Brothers {"The Mackinaw Brothers Shop a Screenplay," October 28} provide only a bittersweet look at trying to get a screenplay sold in D.C.

For the many talented local writers who may now believe that if you don't get a costly lunch with a Joe Fries you are doomed, we say, "Keep on plugging." If your writing is first-rate, what someone is looking for that day, and you are diligent and lucky, perhaps you will make a sale.

Robert Day makes it sound like the only places doing really well in the emerging Washington movie business are Marrocco's, Duke Zeibert's and the Brasil Tropical, since it's obvious that Powerhouse, Circle Releasing and Screenscope aren't buying.

DAVID CUTLER

JERI B. HELD

FeatureMedia Films & Books

Oakton

SHAME ON WASHINGTON (NEW YORK, Hollywood) for not snapping up someone of Bob Day's obvious wit and intelligence. Is there any doubt that he should be writing movies? Joe, Ted, Jim, Ethan, Joel, Marilyn, Hal -- wise up. The pepper's floating in the bottom of the coffee cup, already. Pick up that car phone and call the guy. Before he comes to his senses.

STEVEN F. SULLIVAN

Fairfax

DON'T DUMP ON ME

I WAS AMUSED BY "SQUIRREL TALES" {J Street, November 4} and can sympathize with the plight of the Kennedys in their struggle with Volvo- and skylight-hating rodents. I was not amused by their typically urban solution of shipping the problem to the country. We country yokels do seem to have a lot of space and should be able to accommodate five more squirrels, but I resent being dumped on.

The people in the cities send us their trash, their unwanted house pets, their mountains of sludge, their sports car rallyists who hog the back roads and their cyclists with a bad habit of dropping chewing-gum and candy wrappers. Now they engage in squirrel-dumping because of a serious "Bambi complex." I suppose the next thing will be to drop their used politicians in our back yards.

Right now I am contemplating trapping a dozen country gray squirrels and dumping them in Bethesda. After all, fair is fair.

ROGER T. BURSON

Marshall, Va.

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