Standing at the Ball Game

Bpt Bluefishe

I was interested to read about people’s reactions across the country to athletes who didn’t stand for the national anthem. So many Americans were offended and angry by the action of these athletes. There was a time when I couldn’t stand for the national anthem either.

I remember the feeling. I was physically able to stand, but couldn’t. So profound was my anger at federal officials, who had stormed into my home in August 2005 that I was unable to stand. I had no respect for a government who had organized what I regarded as an invasion.

Much later, I recognized that legally they had a right to force their way into my home. They had all the correct documents to back up their actions. But emotion doesn’t always coincide with logical thinking.

Some time later, during a church outing to a Bridgeport Bluefish baseball game, I refused to stand when the national anthem was sung.

“Stand up,” my friend Maury said.


“You’re behaving badly,” he said. “Just stand up. You’re calling attention to yourself.”

“I don’t care, I don’t want to. I can’t.” I knew I sounded immature, flighty, not like who I really was.

“You’re embarrassing me,” he said. “I don’t want to be with you when you behave like this.”

Fortunately, the national anthem finished by the time I calmed down and everyone sat on the bench.

At the end of the game, when the group of church members walked out of the stadium, a friend asked curiously, “Why didn’t you stand up for the national anthem?”

“I didn’t want to. I’m anti-American,” I answered. I couldn’t believe I actually said that, me, with my family background of settlers who arrived on the Mayflower and my connection to Roger Sherman, signer of the Declaration of Independence. I was aware I sounded like a nut job and even more self-conscious than when Maury became annoyed with me.

“Well, we’re going to have to something about that,” she said.

How could I show respect to those federal agents, representing the United States, who came into my home and threatened me? I couldn’t separate the tradition of a song about the country some of my ancestors helped found with my overwhelming feelings of alienation and anger.

Now, at weekly Rotary meetings I stand and sing whatever patriotic song is selected. Usually, it’s God Bless American, which brings back fewer difficult memories. I rarely think of the words and instead, hope that as a group we are singing in approximately the same key.

But I remember how I felt, how nobody was going to make me stand for something I didn’t respect, the United States Government. Now, I can stand for my country that needs support and hope and hard work to save it from the dangers that swirl around and threaten us all.


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Taking the Knee

Trump had plenty to say about the NFL players who kneeled during the singing of the national anthem. Other players stood, but locked arms. Still, more sat on the bench during the singing. Trump railed against all of these football players. His words evoked strong responses across the country. Many agreed with Trump’s criticism. His twitter account lit up with his.
It was as if Trump thought he represented America and those who didn’t stand, didn’t show him respect. The President didn’t seem to understand their “taking the knee” was to protest racial inequality or to criticize him for his reaction against those who didn’t stand. So fixated on this protest, he seemed barely to notice the mass killing of 59 people at a Las Vegas country music festival. He reacted as if he was personally insulted by the athletes’ demonstration, yet not much offended by the gun violence a few days earlier.
October 3rd’s New York Times editorial headline states that in the past “477 Days, 521 Mass Shootings. Zero Action by Congress”. These facts show the world Trump’s predisposition to focus on the trivial and make it all about him, pushing aside what is important.
Our government has been doing nothing about changing gun laws for years. Every time there’s another mass shooting, we’re upset and talk about having the victims and their families in our thoughts and prayers. What we need is Congress to stand up to the National Rifle Association and actually pass gun control laws that will make a difference. I really thought that when all those children were killed in Sandy Hook, Congress would finally act. But no, the powerful NRA has too much influence.
We need to do something, which is what we say after every mass shooting. Connecticut’s Senator Chris Murphy is speaking out. Maybe he can make a difference. I know I’m interested in working with him.

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Stuart Weitzman Advertisement


Stuart Weitzman                                                                                                                                             10 Hudson Yards
Floor 18
New York, NY 10001

Dear Mr. Weitzman,

I am writing to you about your full page ad in today’s New York Times. The model appears to be wearing no underpants,

I object to this photo because it beckons men who are pedophiles. And there are a lot of men out there with this problem. The model has an innocent, childlike expression, which further entices men who are attracted to children.

I write a blog,, and some of my recent posts are about objectionable photos of young girls in advertisements that would cause pedophiles to be turned on.

Burberry had an ad in the New York Times that fell into this category of young girls in skimpy or suggestive outfits Other posts focused on Prada and Miu Miu advertisements. I haven’t seen objectionable ads from these companies in the New York Times since I complained directly to the manufacturers that created them and wrote about them in my blog.

I was always assured by the company sales departments that the photos were legal, and I’m sure they were. But the intent was blatant — to get the ad noticed in a way that a normal adult man might find slightly titillating, and a pedophile irresistible.

As the former wife of a man who was arrested for possession of child pornography and sentenced to ten years in prison, I urge you to think about tempting the many men who have tendencies to be sexually attracted to children.

I look forward to your response.


Jane E. Sherman

Posted in advertisement that attract pedophiles, New York Times Sunday Styles Section, Orlando, Stuart Weitzman, Uncategorized, Young girls in suggestive ads | 6 Comments

The Wife of the Orlando Nightclub Shooter


Noor Salman, the wife of the Orlando nightclub shooter, was arrested yesterday for obstructing the investigation into her husband Omar Mateen’s mass shooting, the New York Times reported.  She was also charged with aiding and abetting, by providing material support for the attack on the nightclub, where her husband gunned down forty-nine people.

Now, I have no idea if these charges are reasonable or not, but they bring back memories when the Feds threatened to arrest me, for obstruction of justice. I had locked my bedroom door for privacy, when I wanted to change from my nightgown into clothing. The agent in charged slammed his shoulder into the bedroom door and split it away from the frame. Then the whole group stampeded into my walk-in closet.

The Feds also attempted to intimidate me, saying I should have known what my then-husband was doing, when he received internet child pornography. They were certain I must have known what was going on in the house, where we both lived. But I didn’t.

I might have let this comparison go and not felt compelled to compare my experience with Noor Salman’s, because, as immoral as my husband’s crime was, it wasn’t murder.

Of course, those little girls, whose photos he collected were not volunteering to pose. They had been either kidnapped or sold by their parents. Every man who views such pictures contributes to the sexual slavery of these children. The owners of the photos make money from the pedophiles who view them. There’s no incentive for them to stop. It’s their business.

Noor Salman said she didn’t know what her husband was doing. After all, she was beaten and verbally abused by Mateen. I would think her efforts would have been to protect herself, not assist him. The Feds can only guess and go ahead with either the threat of an arrest (as they did with me) or actually press charges (as they have done with her).

Maybe she’s just as innocent as I was. Perhaps she just doesn’t have as good a lawyer as I did.

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Westport’s Latest Child Pornography Arrest


Car wrecks, drug sales, domestic violence, shootings. We’re used to reading reports on local news sites about such events. Some, I merely skim over and others I ignore. Unless I know the people involved, which is rare, I don’t bother reading to the end of the story.

But child pornography. That’s a whole other crime, and the memory of Federal officers charging through my front door, at 7:00 A.M. makes the subject one I always notice. Even after all this time, my heart rate speeds up.

If he’s married, I wonder if his wife was there and experienced the sudden intrusion into their home. I think about what she might have been doing and how she felt with the shock of her husband’s arrest.

The authorities usually figure out the wife was in the dark and had no idea what her husband was doing. He had to keep his pastime secretive. How else could he continue such activity? If she found out he was involved with child pornography, I would think she would leave him, or kick him out of the house. But then, I only know what happened to me, and I didn’t know.

This past week, two men in the area were arrested for child pornography. One man, a real estate agent and an actor, lived in Westport and the other was a member of Greenwich’s RTM and worked in the financial industry. This affliction involves men of all backgrounds, economic status, professions, races, religions and ages.

I wonder if the tendency is something a man is born with, or if it develops due to life experiences. Is a harsh and critical upbringing about sex education one way a man can develop this tendency?  This would be a worthwhile area of study for psychologists interested in such issues. Who knows, maybe there’s a way to eliminate such tendencies before they emerge and take over a man’s life.

Posted in child pornography arrest, federal legal system, innocent wife | 1 Comment

David Hamilton’s Art

davidhamiltonDavid Hamilton’s photo in the New York Times on November 28th shows him with a kind smile, attractive face and artistically rumpled, yet business-like suit. He looks like a kindly grandfather, a supportive mentor in whatever business he might have run.

            That impression is false, an illusion. Now that’s my opinion and I never knew him personally. But I’d heard of him even before I saw his obituary. I knew he was known for photographs of nude or partially nude girls.

The obituary reported that he committed suicide after a former model accused him of raping her when she was 13. What’s there to say about that? He was guilty and left the world because of his guilt? He wasn’t guilty and the girl misunderstood. Ha – I doubt it, but I wasn’t there.


I ‘m pretty accepting of nudity in photos, as works of art, and in films. I saw nothing alarming with Sally Mann’s nude photos of her children in books that have been much discussed over the years. The only concern I felt was wondering if the children might object to such exposure when they were older. There was nothing sexy about them.

Nude photos of children is a subject that’s always on the margins of acceptability. A picture can be seen to be an artistic creation that’s perfectly fine by one person, and at the same time, as something quite different, even abhorrent or illegal, by another. Is a gauzy, blurry photo of a prepubescent girl a work of art? Or is it pornography? So much is in the eye of the one who looks at the photo. The viewer’s attitude is affected by his or her personal experiences as well.

Long ago, I might have thought producing soft focus photos of nude or partially nude little girls was merely another way of creating art, and while I wouldn’t personally have been interested in such a photo, it was an area where I and others could legitimately question its intent.

Many photos like Hamilton’s are on the margins. Men who are inclined to be aroused by young girls, like my former husband, might easily find his pictures a turn-on. I have a different, much more critical eye than most people for this sort of ‘Art’ as a result of my experience with federal officials and the arrest of my then husband.

I believe that anything that has the power to tempt men who are attracted to little girls should be questioned. While I resist censorship, it seems actually unfair to have material so available, pretending to be “just art”, while feeding the addiction of men who are attracted to children.

It’s an area open to interpretation and the result depends on one’s past experience and one’s interest in prepubescent girls. No one can state for certain what the right way is for the public to look at such photos or the photographers who take them. It’s unlikely that, as a society, we’re going to come to any conclusion any time soon, but I know what I think about the publication of such pictures.

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Sherman vs. Held Abedin vs. Weiner



Years ago, someone should have forced Hillary to clean up her potentially disastrous choice of email servers. But that didn’t happen. Now, I wonder how many people, who are glued to every word uttered by the candidates, are thinking about Huma Abedin, Anthony Weiner’s estranged wife and Hillary Clinton’s confidential aide.

Unless you avoid salacious scandals about politicians in the papers, you know about Anthony Weiner’s issues. However, I never read a newspaper report that said               “Huma Abedin should have known about him.” Now, I wonder though, when a few emails have surfaced that appear to have been connected to Weiner, if some people will think, “She should have known and dumped him after his first sexting scandal and not given him a second chance.”

Abedin waited until this past August, after another lewd message was found, to separate from her husband. It would have been impossible for her to know he would make this second catastrophic choice, for she couldn’t foresee what he would do in the future.

Nobody knows what goes on in a marriage, what the level of love is, what the degree of trust is, what the commitment to the union is. I believe that if married people had to respond to such a question, it would be difficult to know for sure, for everyone. And it could vary, year by year, week by week – even day by day.

No one I knew ever said to me that I should have known what my husband would do after his arrest in 2003 for allegedly touching a seventh grade girl in his art class. I defended him vehemently. Not once did I doubt his denial. So positive he was innocent, I even imagined scenarios where the two girls concocted a story about him because they were bored. Today, I still believe some such situation very well was true. Nobody knows but Paul and these girls. Never would I have thrown him out at that point. I was too loyal, perhaps steadfast to a fault.

I never heard anyone say that I should have known what he was doing when he was arrested for possession of child pornography. I had kind and supportive friends.  Perhaps a few of them wondered, but seeing my loyalty to him early on, said nothing.

The Feds weren’t so reticent. They couldn’t figure out how I didn’t know what my husband had been doing. After all, we lived in the same house. How could I not have known? They bombarded me with questions and threats and didn’t believe me when I vehemently denied knowing anything about pornography.

Perhaps Abedin wasn’t aware either. She may have been just as blindsided as I was. It’s not something he’d be doing with her sitting by his side. I’m sure he was alone – just as Paul was when he sat at his desk and received photos of little girls and then saved them on the thousand CDs he hid in the dungeon that was the basement.

It isn’t Abedin’s fault that Clinton used her own server or that Abedin’s marriage broke up as a result of her husband’s rash behavior. It isn’t my fault that my husband broke the law in all the ways he did and I didn’t know what he was doing. Poor communication, an unwillingness to improve it and me working long hours provided a scenario for separate lives.

My situation occurred in the past. Abedin’s is current. I hope that people are kind to her, the way my family and church friends were to me.

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Forty Arrests for Child Pornography   


I know, I know. When you saw the title of this piece you thought, “Oh no, not again! Can’t she find something lovely to write about, like, perhaps, the changing colors of the leaves.”

But alas, that is not to be, for this blog starts with an invasion into my house, a Hostile Entry, as the name says. And while that event is long past, the memory isn’t gone at all. Whenever I see an article about a man, or a group of men, who have been accused of receipt or distribution of child pornography, even now I gasp quickly for air and hold my breath. Then, my mind slides into sympathy mode for the wives and children of these men. My decision to write about this never-ending saga comes up again and again, whenever there’s a report. Sorry about that.

I cannot understand the pull that child pornography has on some men, but I know it’s there. I’ve read numerous medical and psychological reports over the last eleven years including scientific papers on the various reactions to child pornography that vulnerable men experience.

A few times, in the past, I’ve written about individual men, who I didn’t know, but whose families lived near me. This newspaper report isn’t local or new and took place in New Jersey, but it reached the New York papers. Forty arrests were made and the police seized computers from everyone they arrested. Thirty seven out of the forty were charged with distributing the images which brings with it a much longer prison term. It’s bad enough to receive child pornography but it’s legally much worse to share or sell it.

The men arrested included a school teacher. That certainly brings back memories.

I’m able to write that last sentence now in a more detached manner. Eleven years ago, I felt beaten up. Today I feel badly, mostly for the families. I wonder how many of the marriages will withstand the legal system coming down on them. I know, mine certainly didn’t. I wanted to separate myself from being associated with such behavior as quickly as I could. I feared what stories the feds might create about me that were false. I felt terribly vulnerable.

I still run into well meaning people who say, “Well, the man didn’t hurt any child. He didn’t DO anything. He JUST looked at pictures. Really, what’s the harm in that?”

I might have believed that myself, before I thought long and deeply about the little girls who appear in the photographs. But now, I know that not one child chose to pose for a picture, or appear in a video. Those little girls were either kidnapped or sold to a pornographer. God only knows how that happened. The scenarios are too awful to imagine and in reality, we we’ll never know.

Any man who looks at, or buys, or shares a pornographic picture of a little girl is complicit. It’s not an innocent choice, to receive such photos. It’s immoral and the recipients deserve the prison time they receive.


Posted in child pornography arrest, Kiddy Porn, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

Monday Night in the Emergency Room


I remember being in the local Hospital Emergency Room with my elderly mother almost a decade ago. A couple of those visits were on a Saturday night and that was when the patients provided the biggest show in town. Drunks shouted for attention and those high on drugs often had to wait in the halls. Patients with severe mental illnesses hallucinated and argued loudly with long-dead parents.

There were always two or three beefy cops guarding someone who had run afoul of the law. I watched the police swagger back and forth while I stared at their guns and felt less safe than secure.


Almost a week after my knee replacement surgery, I was ordered by my surgeon to go to the Emergency Room. The physical therapist who came to my home to begin rehabilitation noticed I was short of breath; I needed a quick gasp after speaking only three or four words. The surgeon thought a pulmonary embolism was a possibility. So I stayed in the Hospital Emergency waiting room, this time as a patient.

Maury and I sat there for three-and-a-half hours before there was space in the actual Emergency Room. One medical technician stated that that while Saturday night might have the most drama, it was Monday night that was the most crowded.

During that time, I was able to observe antics, suffering and goings-on in the space where people waited, hoping to be seen by a doctor. A heavy-set older man was trapped in a wheelchair. I could see that a rash covered his swollen, lower legs, as he wore shorts. A cotton blanket partially wrapped around him for warmth in the frigid air-conditioning had become tangled in the foot supports, so he couldn’t stand up or move out of the wheelchair. He grew angrier and angrier at the long wait, calling out to the medical personnel behind the counter in front of the waiting room. No one helped him and he had no friend with him to assist. A few women, sitting behind the counter listlessly answered that they couldn’t help him and eventually one woman, tired of his plaintive calls, said she’d call for help from someone in the Emergency Room itself, so he could move the twenty feet or so to the bathroom. But no one came.

I also called out to those behind the counter stating that the man needed help. No one responded. No explanation was given why they couldn’t help him. Perhaps some regulation prohibited them from leaving the desk, but if that was the case, why didn’t they say so? The insult and inhumanity towards him seemed heartless and unforgiveable. With my recent surgery, limited mobility and walker, I was unable to help.

All charged up, the man seemed even more incensed and frustrated. With assistance from Maury, he removed the tangled blanket, stood up and stomped to the bathroom, his face red with fury.

Just as this drama quieted down, a child entered the ER waiting room. A boy, who appeared to be about eleven or twelve, with shoulder-length light-brown hair, pushed a wheelchair in front of him. All his attention was focused on licking a treat – perhaps a Popsicle.

The woman in the wheelchair, who looked to be in her sixties, was curled up in a fetal position. Thin and pale, she whimpered fearful sounds. The boy stood there by the hospital sign, not paying her any particular attention. He acted as if being in charge of a woman in a wheelchair was nothing out of the ordinary.

The sign where they stood announced that they should wait at that spot until the authorities invited them to step up to the counter, to check in. The boy made no signal to indicate he wanted help and no one spoke to him. He focused solely on his snack.

I stared at the two of them, riveted by what was going on, amazed that no one in authority saw a child and what appeared to be a noticeably disturbed woman.

Again, unable to keep quiet, I called out to the women behind the counter. “There are people waiting here who need your help.”

A woman looked up and with her hand, motioned them to move to the counter. I couldn’t hear what words were exchanged, but nobody seemed to be distressed that a minor was taking care of an adult woman. Perhaps they had seen her before. Maybe they knew she was seriously mentally ill. I could only guess.

Someone finally put a hospital bracelet on the woman’s painfully thin wrist. I was shocked to hear her give her birthday as 1971.They found a chair for the boy to sit. Next to him, the woman in the wheelchair, coiled up even tighter in a ball, hiding from life, from everyone there.

I never found out if the boy was her son or anything about her. The authorities seemed to treat them as business-as-usual. Perhaps they were frequent visitors to the Emergency Room. But who took care of the boy? She was in no condition to do so. I worried about them then, and still do.

I think of them often, hoping that other family members or social services were able to really help.



(It turned out that surgery had caused my shortness of breath, and my reaction – sticky lungs, or Atelectasis – was common. I didn’t have a pulmonary embolism.)

Posted in child caring for adult, drug or alcohol abuse, hospital emergency room, hospital personnel, knee replacement surgery, mental illness, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Poppies vs. Crocus – Afghanistan

crocus blooms 8.11.16

While sitting on a local Afghani bus, Susan and I bounced along and listened to goats, held securely by their owners, as they bleated from the rear of the bus. They would get off at the next town to be sold at market.

As the bus came out of a curve near a tribal village, I looked out the window and was stunned by the beauty of fields of vivid, red poppies.

“Look, Susan!” I said, “I’ve never seen such a gorgeous field of flowers. I wonder what they are.” We stared, in awe, at their beauty.

It was 1975, and my five-year-old daughter Susan and I were on a round-the-world trip. Then, I didn’t realize the poppies would be used for opium and shipped to the west as heroin. Only later, did I learn about their dangerous end-product.

We were entranced with the bright clothing worn by the tribal women standing outside one of the walled villages, protected by adobe fortifications. The bright red of the poppies matched their scarlet dresses. The women’s dark hair and eyes looked stunning next to their light skin and brilliant clothing. For one second, my eyes deeply met the eyes of one of the women. There was no time for communication, but I sensed her interest in me, as I felt for her, in spite of our completely different lives.

More than forty years later, while reading the April 11th business section of the New York Times, I was amazed to see a photograph of stunning, lavender crocus flowers spread across the landscape, with the familiar bare mountains in the distance. Unlike the poppies, the end result of the lavender beauty of these flowers carpeting the landscape is a prized spice to flavor delicious menus across the world, and not fuel the drug trade.

Ah, progress – Saffron instead of Heroin.

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