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Confuse (d) Copy Editor

I rise to your defense, Rosie. A reader complains about you writing of "other esoteric means of communication" (May 25 and June 1). The writer seems to consider that electronic communication, whether TV, telephone, cable or Internet is not mysterious to the average used, and therefore does not fit the definition of esoteric. I am a retired professional communications engineer who specialized in radio and television. I have more than passing knowledge about the how and why of electrons that race through wires, cable and air to convey intelligence. According to the new Oxford Dictionary I am one of the privileged who understands mechanics of the system, therefore the system for me is not esoteric. My friends understand how to push telephone buttons, turn TV knobs and send messages fia Internet, but have no understanding whatever aboaut happenings within their magic boxes. Esoteric? Yup.

Sanford T. Terry

Dear Rosie

"Hello Central, give me a line." Do you remember that one? I go all the way back to telephones that had magneto cranks used to ring a bell at the other end. At my age I have a heap of stories to tell about the old manual phones and the Central Office. I grew up in Ashland. The central office was on the seond floor of Town Hall, above the fire engine garage. One of the duties of the telephone operator was to turn on the fire siren. Upon arrival of the first volunteer she opened the from window and dropped him the door key.

In the era before dial telephones, back in the 1920s, Richmond had three exchange areas. They were names Randolph, Boulevard and madison. Subscriber phones had only digits. My number would have been something like Randolph 3844

Sanford Terry


I just read your column of 1 Jun 99. Concerning the replacement of "PROBLEMS" with the use of the term "ISSUES," I offer the following:

Like you, I believe our language is in large part a reflection of the overall culture. Currently I have been involved in some unfortunate personal legal work. Not being a lawyer, I have had to do some serious reading in the legal arena. What I have noticed, but did not fully realize until reading your article, was the increased use of "ISSUES" in my own personal communications.

In court, and in other so-called legal proceedings, our attorney establishment frames our "PROBLEMS" as their "ISSUES". Given the mass and seemingly unstoppable proliferation of lawyers and their jargon in our modern culture, is it any surprise that their use of "ISSUES" has infiltrated our everyday language?

That's my two cents worth; now I must get back to my ISSUES.

Jack Turner

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