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Father's appetite for pornography shouldn't go unaddressed

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Dear Annie: I am a 15-year-old girl. I really like going on our family computer and surfing the Internet, but I have a problem with my father. He is constantly going on pornographic Web sites. I know because I have to clean out the "cookie" files that tell where people have been, and I know for a fact that my mother and sister would not go to pages like that.
The sites don't have underage girls on them, or anything illegal like that, but it still bothers me because we are constantly getting viruses and spyware on our computer. I've been dropping hints to Dad that I know what he is doing, but he doesn't seem to get it. This really disgusts and embarrasses me, and I do not understand why he needs to look at things like that so often. What should I do? Embarrassed in Manitoba
Dear Embarrassed: It's time to be more direct with Dad regarding the porn sites. Show him exactly how you know where he's been so he can clean up his own act and not expect you to do it for him. He also could use some updated virus protection. If things don't change, tell Mom.
Dear Annie: My older sister, "Ernestine," has all the old family photo albums, as well as boxes of old family home movies. Over the years, I've made many requests for her to lend me the photos and films so I can make copies, but she has totally ignored me. I know these things are collecting dust in Ernestine's attic and that she doesn't look at them. The photos and films clearly mean very little to her, but they are precious to me, and my frustration is turning into anger and resentment.
Ernestine and I are not particularly close. She says she'll make the films and pictures available to me "one of these days," but she's been saying this for the last 20 years. She insists she doesn't have the time to search for them. She offered to give them to our brother (whom she likes more than me) so he can make copies for everyone, but he said he is not interested.
These films and photos contain the only images of me with my late parents, and it hurts deeply that my sister is preventing me from seeing them. I would pay for the duplication and will return the originals to her. How can I best articulate to Ernestine how much these images mean to me? Pictureless in Boston
Dear Pictureless: Either Ernestine is terribly lazy or she doesn't want to accommodate you. You can ask her directly, "Why won't you give me the photographs?" although she may not give you a satisfactory answer. Can you offer to go through the attic and look for the pictures yourself? Otherwise, since she is willing to give them to your brother, ask him to intercede on your behalf. If he will simply accept the pictures from Ernestine, you can then make copies.
Dear Annie: Two months ago, I was in a car accident. I slid into the back of a stopped semi-trailer on the highway. I was not buckled up. Thankfully, my airbags deployed and I was not seriously injured.
The reason I wasn't buckled up is because I am a very obese woman and the seat belt in my minivan did not fit me. After the accident, I discovered I could obtain a seat belt extender from the dealership at no additional cost. I didn't even know seat belt extenders existed. I now buckle up every time I get in my vehicle, and my children couldn't be more proud of me. Please put the word out about these extenders so more people will be safe. Bruised but Buckled in Lincoln, Neb.
Dear Lincoln: Thanks for telling those who may not know that seat belt extenders are available. You also can ask for them on airplanes. We're glad you are buckled up and hope other overweight readers will take advantage of this option.
XE-mail your questions to, or write to: Annie's Mailbox™, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611.
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