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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Your response to "Seeking Peace and Quiet in New Jersey" isn't going to cut it. She complained that her husband, Jerome, spends too much time in front of the TV and not enough time with her. You said she should declare a "TV-free zone" at least once a week.

I recognize Jerome's symptoms. I am a "recovering TV-holic." Fortunately, my TV was destroyed in an apartment fire a few years ago. I decided to go "cold turkey" and not replace it. Abby, the results were miraculous. My previously mushy brain cells have regenerated because I now get my news and entertainment from the Internet -- or from those old standbys: newspapers and radio.

I strongly recommend that Jerome and his wife consult a counselor for his addiction. -- BROTHER MIKE IN MASSACHUSETTS

DEAR BROTHER MIKE: It's certainly worth considering. Perhaps it will clear the static in the lines of communication between the spouses. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: Jerome's wife should enjoy watching TV with him. My husband also watched TV for hours. I used to threaten to name the TV in our divorce. Eventually, however, I learned to speak in three-minute segments -- and lovingly covered my husband when he fell asleep watching his favorite shows.

I competed with the TV set for 30 years, but if I could have my husband back, I'd never complain again. It's much too quiet since he died. -- MISSING MY REMOTE IN FLORIDA

DEAR MISSING: Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your husband. Sometimes it's only after a loved one is gone that people can put their faults into perspective.

DEAR ABBY: My husband watched TV every night for hours until we had a "mysterious" blackout. The truth is, unbeknownst to my husband, I periodically flip the main circuit breaker to the house, leaving us in the dark for the entire night. Once he calms down, it's fun having a romantic dinner by candlelight and relaxing by the glow of the fireplace. The kids enjoy it, too -- and my husband hasn't caught on yet. -- WHATEVER IT TAKES IN INDIANA

DEAR WHATEVER: Let's hope he doesn't -- but be warned. In November 1965, a famous New York City blackout occurred. There was no power, and workers and residents found themselves in darkness with a lot of time on their hands. Nine months later -- August 1966 -- there was a record number of babies born. A word to the wise ...

DEAR ABBY: My beloved sister passed away a year ago. We always got along beautifully. Now that she's gone, her husband has expressed an interest in me and would like us to be a couple.

I have always regarded him as a brother, and he has treated me accordingly. However, I must admit that he has a special place in my heart.

Would it be wrong of me to encourage him, Abby? We'd both appreciate your opinion. Please do not use my name. -- HER SISTER ON LONG ISLAND

DEAR SISTER: I see nothing wrong with you having a future with your former brother-in-law. You have years of shared history in common, and that can be the basis of a very successful union.

CONFIDENTIAL TO MORTON B. AND PAULINE IN BEVERLY HILLS: Warmest wishes on your 63rd anniversary -- to the dearest parents in the world. -- LOVE, JEANNE

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