me Sherwood, as in the Forest.
(Interview by Remy Chevalier, Lü Magazine)
On Thursday December
21st, 2006... just a few days before Christmas, and what better
Christmas gift this could have been, an unmarked truck carrying fuel
grade uranium dioxide, and also perhaps spent nuclear fuel from a
reactor in Japan, turned over on I-95 in North Carolina, possibly on its way to
Indian Point? CNN flashed the photo below for a few seconds, then
total news black out. Had it not been for the vigilance of one lone blogger,
who lives but a few miles from Indian Point, the story would have
remained buried. Instead it made its way onto
and the green bloggers strike again. So who is this man? And what
does he want? And how many blogs does he own anyway? Lü Magazine
went on the case, tracked the wooly beast down, cornered him in his
lair, tackled him to a quick and dirty interview about his past and
his anti-nuke ambitions. Basically, like us, at Rock The Reactors,
Sherwood wants the bloody thing shut down, ASAP. There's safety in
numbers, so here we come...
what's with the pen name monikers? Porgie Tirebiter, Royce
Penstinger and Pinto Bean? Are you all three?
Yes, these are all three one and the same... As I played around
with and tried to figure out the blogging world, these are three
characters I've created. Porgie Tirebiter was a
character in an old Firesign Theatre skit that I remember from my
drug induced days of being a teenager. Pinto Bean was a name I
invented when I first launched the original Beltway Pinto Beans Blog,
and Royce Penstinger was a name I invented about two months ago.
consider yourself an aristocrat? Do you hobnob with Patty, Anne,
Lydia & Amanda Hearst at Riverkeeper? How does it feel to be related
to blue blood? A "nouveau pauvre" like me?
Well isn't that special... funny how I danced so close to that
circle without getting too burned... Never quite made it into that
circle that was/is the fairy ring... what's that old adage? What you
don't know can't really hurt you.
My first wife was a part of that wheel... she was a Gerber baby in
Better Homes and Gardens way back when, and was the photographic
assistant to a famous war photographer from World War II... She
lived in New Canaan as a Saaf until she and her first husband blew
all her money... They used to board their horses at Ox Ridge Hunt
Club, she and Susan Ashe were/are best friends. She married him
after the parents of her first love broke up their relationship...
She was from NEW MONEY (Kenneth Bonham...he was a driving force with
the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy (AHP),
and his brother was a key player in Sterling Drug)... Her degree
from Parsons was in fashion illustration, and her mother Hazel
Bonham was rumored to have been the illegitimate daughter of one of the Wyeth family of painting fame.
A doctor had taken pity on her great grandmother and married her to
make things honest... said doctor was a direct descendent of the
John Wilkes Booth... I really should write a book.
Anyway, cannot remember the name of her first true love (Neil
something... it will come back to me), but he comes from a family
with more money than God, and is still sweet on her all these years
later. How did I end up driving a seven year old car in need of a
new paint job? Another one of her well-placed friends from youth was
Gail Porter who comes from a very wealthy family. Gail Porter's
father gave up his law career to become a not so famous painter and used to pal
around with a then unknown artist by the name of Picasso in
I broke a
$10.000 Picasso plate once...
Gail's father had two unknown originals on parchment rolled up on the mantle in
his home in New Canaan. She may still live there... Then there were
the Dodd's... Jonathon and Lyle of Dodd publishing fame... Used to
have coffee in Lyle's kitchen down at the end of Bartling Drive off
of Ponus Ridge Road.
You brought up Andy Warhol...
Yes, I fancy
myself a modern day Andy Warhol, as if Andy had been a green.
My current wife graduated from Sarah Lawrence... There's a story in
her family as well, but you would really need to get most of the
details from her, as she tells the story far better than I. The
skinny... Her father was a relatively semi-famous artist in New York
circles (friends of Jacob Lawrence), they used to hold court at the
family Brownstone on the Upper West Side back in the days when heroin
addicts were the norm on Amsterdam instead of chic shops and outdoor
cafes. Her half sister was born to Sheri Martinelli who was
liberally mentioned in Anais Nin's diary, and her Dad's steel
sculpture adorns the United Nations Building.
Are you almost
Does all this make me almost famous in some ordinary way... LOL, a
shadow standing just beside history as time marches on. Actually
shook John F. Kennedy's hand in Louisville Kentucky as a wee lad,
and though I don't know the full story, it's rumored that my
Grandmother on my father's side was from some fabulously wealthy
family in Boston... Seems my grandmother had tainted blood... She
was part Jewish. This person who would have been my true grandfather
was attending college (law school) at the University of Dayton when
he met her... He was told to dump that Jewish bitch and return to
Boston or he would be disowned! No real proof of all this other than
the fact that my dad's brother changed his name back to what he
claimed was his rightful one of Savage.
As a bike messenger in San Francisco, actually played backgammon
with Jerry Garcia at the no name bar just across the Golden Gate
Bridge in Sausalito.
to Rita Hayworth?
Never met her, but my Aunt was supposedly Rita Hayworth, and my
mother at one time was the understudy for Judy Garland. Odd... You
and I have certain common threads... My Grandfather in his time was
quite the magician himself on the vaudeville circuit.
Mine left me
with the Trilateral Commission to live down as a legacy... you could
call it vaudeville. So, how do we shut IP down, in three sentences
The proverbial jack of all trades here... need a set built, been
there done that. Want to organize a circle around the entire
facility, count me in. Want to organize 5,000 people in cars and
trucks to shut the road down... Count me in. I've read "No Immediate
Danger", know the truth behind the lies. In short, would love to
shut down Indian Point, would love to expose the NRC for what they
rebellious, revolutionary days...
I was if you will, the lone Don Quixote tilting at green
windmills... Or perhaps too stubborn to allow myself to plug into
any organized movement, even if it was a green one.
Way back in the 70's started a commune just outside of the French
Quarter in New Orleans, and started a small underground newspaper
for the street artists called, "Le Bull Sheet" all the while working
as a waiter to keep a roof over my head. We had fun, but alas some
things are not meant to be.
Spent late afternoons hanging out with artists at the Cafe Flore on
14th and Noe while spending two years as a bike messenger in San
Francisco... Watching the riots unfold in front of city hall the
night the Danny White verdict came down, watching the police march
into the gay bars to beat on people for no good reason changed me.
Got married in 1980... First wife was an artist, and we being naive, young
and brave decided we could make our living as artists. She was
formally taught, degrees from Parsons and New York City Students Art
League, and I with no training, but a belief in myself. In 1981
Earthbound Pottery was started in the state of Ohio, and though the
early years were full of starvation, this self taught potter and
sculptor eventually found some modicum of success with my work being
featured in such magazines as Country Living and Country Accents,
and being represented in 179 shops including the Henry Ford Museum
in Dearborn, Mich. I sold the company back in 1997, and my 40 acre
farm in 1998.
Tell me about
your environmental activism and the dumping of 600,000 tons of
Radioactive Slag into a wetlands?
When Tree Source was just starting, it was a project I could
support, so started the Guernsey County American Free Tree. I
singularly ran the organization for three years raising enough funds
to donate over 400,000 trees and seedlings to garden groups, farmers
and school children, with Quality Farm and Fleet my main corporate
The small rural community I used to live in was one of those orphan
phone communities you used to hear about where we had (for all
intents) no local phone service... It used to be a long distance
call for me to call my neighbor half a mile up the hill. There was
no negotiating with Alltel, so I did some research and filed a
formal petition with the PUCO (Public Utilities Commission of Ohio),
and with only myself acting as a pro se attorney for the cause won
local phone service for our community that amounted to a $106,000 a
year reduction in our rates.
While that was going on, Ohio Power was wanting to cut a 40 wide by
900 foot bowling alley through my woods to replace one utility pole
on the adjoining land...they had allowed their easement on that land
to degrade to a point where it was no longer accessible. When I refused, they
went in to court and got a TRO (Temporary Restraining Order) that
was going to allow them to put in the bowling alley and talk about
damages based on timber value later. I got and idea, stayed up all
night and wrote up my own legal documents (using theirs as a model)
and went into court early the next morning seeking my own TRO which
was granted and precluded them from clear cutting so much as one square
foot of my property.
Almost three years later, and $350,000 in legal fees on their part
(Ohio Power and AEP), I had them backed into a corner and they had
no choice but to settle. As far as I know unless they got the new
owners to change it, the easement I wrote as a part of the
settlement was/is the narrowest utility easement (as far as their
rights) in the United States. This particular story was briefly
picked up by USA Today who labeled me an environmental Gadfly, but
it was a real EYE OPENER, as I learned a whole lot about the
egregious destruction of canopy cover by the utility industry.
Through a twist of political fate (long story) I'd come into
possession of one share in one of those quasi government groups that
control all the key real estate in a county, and thus decide who
can and cannot come in, who can and cannot build...I opposed a
project they were wanting to push through, and used said share to
gain access to some documents they would have preferred the
community never see. While investigating the project I opposed, I
uncovered something that blew me away.
A company by the name of Shieldalloy (and their parent company Foote
Mineral) ran a steal mill just outside of Cambridge, and had dumped
over 600,000 tons of Radioactive Slag into a wetlands that drained
into our community's only drinking water supply. I was able to break
the story through the Columbus Dispatch with a reporter by the name
of Scott Powers. As I investigated further, I also found out the
company had been giving away this stuff as road and construction
fill for some 40 years, and that the NRC had actually failed to
police the licensee for 23 years.
Long and short of this... I talked Class Action Attorneys into
coming in from California...they filed a class action case that was
settled out of court about two years into it...over 200 homes were
remediated. As for the site itself... I wanted the materials removed
and hauled to Envirocare in Utah, but in the end disposal took place
onsite to the tune of $70 million dollars was the approved clean up.
So this led to
more anti-nuclear activism... and financial woes...
As one might imagine, being the driving force on the above case, I
became embroiled in NUKE issues in Ohio, and though a rebel with my
share of detractors, I was known as someone that found a way to get
Midwest Compact was wanting to site a low level storage facility in
Ohio... What stopped them, were some very embarrassing documents...
I was the one that found them. Three days after they were made
public, the Midwest Compact crumbled.
USEC, and the Gaseous Diffusion Plants... I was one of the key
people that at least held up their licensing for nine extra months,
successfully forced the DOE to over night express to me free of
charge the 53,000 page EIS on Portsmouth and Paducah.
These things took their toll... For starters, spent my life savings
on these efforts, primarily on the Shieldalloy situation. Further, I
was so involved in my environmental work that my wife and I simply
grew away from one another... Don't get me wrong, there were already
problems, but being so obsessed with my NUKE work, and friends I was
making in the Greens that I just was NEVER AROUND.
packed it up?
In 1998 I sold everything, went to England for awhile, came back and
spent time contemplating my belly button out in Moab Utah, then
moved to Upstate New York and decided in my early 40's I should go
to college. In 2000 I met my current wife on the Internet (love at
first byte), and we were married that fall and here I am.
I envy you...
I've met so many brainy beauties over these airwaves... it breaks my
heart. How can you feel the way that you do about nuclear power and
then move so close to the oldest, dirtiest nuclear power plant on
I live less than 3 miles from Indian Point, I've made a few half-assed
efforts at biting at Entergy's heels, but only recently got upset
enough to start GOING AFTER THEM. I briefly got distracted working
on getting John Hall elected to Congress, but shortly after that
started launching the blogs you see. So, at this point, think about
me as a newbie with a past life of experiences that should allow me
to bring some forces to bear they may not be counting on.
Chip Cameron with the NRC once told me that he respected me, as I
was crazy like a fox, presenting an image at one moment of a crazy
lunatic radical anti-nuke hippy, then suddenly showing up at a
hearing and being intellectually lethally deadly... Trust me, no one
can sift through an EIS for dirt like I can.
harassed on blogs by Entergy shills?
Yes, the nuclear industry is paying people to attack us online, in
short, paid attack bloggers. However, to attack us, they have to
happening to other anti-IP bloggers I know, like
You mentioned MoveOn? I have yet to see them play an active role in
the anti-nuclear movement.
I am working with a group here that came together through MoveOn
that is looking to put together a PAC. I want to use these blogs as
a means to get out the word, and several have been set up to be
co-author friendly, so if you know of any one in the various
movements looking for a soapbox, I have them.
I did a whole LOT of work on John Hall's campaign, and hoping for
good things from him, but taking a wait and see attitude. We
actually skipped our summer vacation here and stayed home so we
could put the money saved into his campaign.
See you on the
for all of Sherwood's blogs!
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~ Uranium is the fruit of Gaia's loins ~
(from a poem written to Betcee
May by an Entergy blogger on Eco-Chick)