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4A • February 17, 2017 • Seaside Signal • seasidesignal.com
In case of tsunami,
enter the pod
story went by on the radio when I was other-
wise involved but realized too late that it was
interesting. Some of the true details escaped me.
Essentially, it was about a couple in their nineties who
versary of about SCENE & HEARD
75 years. Soon
and in a matter
of a few hours,
his wife followed. This often happens when people have
been married a long time. They become halves of the
same where — as God intended and when one dies, it’s
like an amputation that won’t walk. If the remaining
spouse doesn’t follow quickly, he or she may become
rudderless and inconsolable. The pain of loss is so ex-
quisite that continuing is impossible. I imagine divorce
after a long marriage could cause the same reaction.
The year is still new and though I often falter over
resolutions for self-improvement, I have resolved to
make two lists. Things I want and things I have for
which to be thankful. Actually, there are few wants any-
more. Time is short and health is paramount. But when
I awaken at night with a dry mouth and throat from
medications to keep me alive, I give thanks for cold,
clear water to drink. Just a sip of clean, cold water is a
wonderful thing, which many people don’t have. Thank
you; thank you.
During the inauguration, I was somewhat anxious
over all the steps the women had to navigate in high
heels. A stumble would be so easy and there were no
handrails anywhere. P.S.: They all did marvelously.
Something new for me in the military contingent
was the way the Navy did their white hats. They looked
sort of like lemon or orange fruit juicers and of course I
prefer the old style.
My son is often home on a Tuesday and when he is,
we lunch at Dooger’s. Not only did we have lunch on
the last day of January, he washed the outside of my
windows, did a little pruning and drove me to my week-
ly shopping venue. It was a productive overnight stay.
He also brought me a new little phonograph and I heard
— after a long dry spell, several dusty records — Billy
Vaughn, Waylon Jennings, Charlie Rich, Gordon Light-
foot, The Village Stompers — even some bird songs.
Last week I watched a Nick and Nora show with
Elissa Landi as one of the actors. Elissa Landi is so 20th
century, but it was nice to remember her. It was akin to
suddenly remembering the lyrics to a 1928 recording by
Paul Whiteman called “Pickin’ Cotton.”
They’ve done it again — at least twice again, actu-
ally. When will the print media understand that there
is no main drag in Seaside called Broadway Street. It’s
Broadway, Broadway and Broadway. We who are old
time residents do not appreciate newcomers changing
names of established places; whatever is, is!
We’ve had some uproarious blasts from the wind
lately. My trees were bending and ﬂ ailing with branches
going in all directions. Don’t put away your long johns
yet. “Who has seen the wind? Neither I nor you, but
when the trees bow down their heads, the wind is pass-
ing through.” Thanks to Dale McDowell for our func-
tioning light at 3rd and Holladay. To be really nitpicky,
it is crooked and one’s impulse is to give it a whack.
R.J. MARX/SEASIDE SIGNAL
Pete Riedel brought two RescuePods to Seaside. Could they hold the answer for tsunami survival?
R.J. MARX/SEASIDE SIGNAL
Traveling with tsunami pods in tow outside the Seaside
Civic and Convention Center.
Yes, Pete Riedel is in this tsunami pod as it goes over Husum
Falls in Klickitat, Washington.
ou can run but you can’t hide. But maybe you
can ﬂ oat your way away.
By some strange synchronicity, this is the
year of the tsunami pod.
A basic two-person 300-pound spherical pod
built by former Boeing engineer Julian Sharpe, similar to the
size and interior of the
Gemini space capsule,
costs $13,500; the
SEEN FROM SEASIDE
sells for $17,500.
The Survival Capsule
can be tethered via a
100-foot steel cable
connected to a concrete plug in the ground, essentially turn-
ing passengers inside into a buoy.
On the same day the local and national news proﬁ led
the Survival Capsule, Pete Riedel of Reliable Emergency
Shelters LLC came to Seaside with his two-seat RescuePod
in tow to see “who’s interested and who’s not.”
Like Sharpe, Riedel said he hopes to provide a way out
for residents and visitors of coastal communities threat-
ened by the quake and subsequent tsunami expected in the
Cascadia Subduction Zone. “I’m sticking my toe in the water
seeing who could be our strategic partners, who wants us in
town and who doesn’t.”
The RescuePod sells for half of what you’ll pay for a
Survival Pod, listing at $6,500. It can ﬁ t two adults weighing
up to 300 pounds each.
“In a pinch you could put small children or animals in
there, too,” he added.
RescuePod Inventor Randy Harper of Camas, Wash-
ington, was inspired by a request from a Seattle billionaire
with a Paciﬁ c Island home, Riedel said, to develop the best
apparatus to survive a tsunami.
The pod is not airtight. Rather, it has closable vents on the
top and a ballast at the bottom so the vents are always up and
the hatch toward the sky. “It will act like a weeble-wobble,”
Riedel said. “It will always land upright.”
With 10 cubic feet of ﬂ otation foam and high-density
polyethylene, the RescuePod can ﬁ ll up entirely with water
and won’t sink. The pod, in Day-Glo orange, has Lexan win-
dows with holes in them. Spin the glass and the vents open;
spin them again and they close airtight.
Riedel, a former ofﬁ cer with the Oregon National Guard,
has a handshake that could crush limestone. He told me of
his test ride as a passenger cascading off Husum Falls in
Klickitat County, Washington, which drops 12 feet along the
“It was pretty scary, but it wasn’t that bad,” he said.
“You’re in a ﬁ ve-point harness racing seat. You don’t feel the
shock as hard. The round base on the bottom absorbs quite a
bit of the shock.”
The pod, Riedel said, is intended for homeowners or
people in the tsunami zone. I asked him if he could envision
selling it on a larger scale, to cities or municipalities in the
tsunami zone. After all, for example, if the Seaside School
District had bought tsunami pods at $6,500 for each of their
1,000 or so students, they could have provided safety for
$6.5 million rather than the $99.7 million required to move
David F. Pero
‘With 10 cubic feet of flotation foam
and high-density polyethylene,
the RescuePod can fill up entirely
with water and won’t sink. The
pod, in Day-Glo orange, has Lexan
windows with holes in them. Spin
the glass and the vents open; spin
them again and they close airtight.’
Success is never permanent. Failure is never ﬁ nal.
schools out of the tsunami zone.
Jon Rahl, the assistant general manager of Seaside’s visi-
tors bureau, said this week there are about 1,350 hotel rooms
in Seaside. If every hotel came with a pod to match the
number of rooms, the lives of many visitors could be saved
for about $9 million.
That’s a lot less than estimates for bridge replacement,
which run to $35 million or more for the city’s most vulner-
“Once we get more economies of scale, we offer dis-
counts for people who want two of them,” Riedel said. “I
would love to see it come down another $2,000 if that’s
Is the pod worthy of serious consideration?
“Why not?” geologist and Seaside City Councilor Tom
Horning said. “Work the numbers and see.”
Those seeking shelter could ride out the wave, which,
Horning said, would subside in between two to four hours
near the epicenter.
But, he added: “I’d rather see a bridge. The thing is,
you’re trusting luck with these things. You give up all control
when you get in it. If we had an east wind down, it would
blow you out to sea, and then …”
His voice drifted.
Nevertheless Horning invited Riedel to come back to
Seaside for a public demonstration. “Let the seller test it.
Have him throw it in the Cove and see what happens. I’d be
open to the idea.”
So is Riedel. I told him of Horning’s interest and he’s
willing to make a go of it.
“I ﬁ gured we would get someone with a jet ski and tow
us out the channel to the south and out to the break, have it
go through the big waves and end on the rocks on shore and
have it worked a bit on the rocks from the waves,” Riedel
said this week. “I will need to put together a safety crew,
someone willing to help tow us out into the surf and have the
So if you see something bright orange ﬂ oating along the
Cove, it’s not the latest exotic marine mammal swept up
from the tropics. Maybe it’s something we’ll all be buying
one day. Just in case.
John D. Bruijn
Who’s ‘stuck on stupid’?
As an afﬂ iction, it affects more people world-wide than
any pandemic since procreation began. For its survivors, re-
covery takes years, if not decades.
I call this planet-wide plague “youth,” with “stuck-on-
stupid” its predominant symptom. Because our kids don’t
know to look, they stupidly don’t peer around corners. And
because our stupid kids can’t calculate consequences cor-
rectly, they fail to factor in the “forever” costs.
In truth, with all its cluelessness, anxiety and angst —
youth is the age not just of scholarships and proms. Youth,
at its cell level, is the age of stuck-on-stupid — a natural
phenomenon that occurs of its own accord. This means
stuck-on-stupid is inherent, i.e. a preordained phase kids
can’t outrun, but can outgrow over time.
What isn’t preordained is the way in which our stuck-
on-stupid kids are shackled for life with felonies imposed
by dispassionate police, prosecutors and judges. Courtesy
of Arizona’s law enforcement community, consider the fol-
lowing case in point:
All the common markers of youth were at their apex
when the boy in this example, a gentle giant and paciﬁ st,
pedaled past a crime scene crawling with police.
For months, the kid had been grappling with the illogi-
cal, i.e. arbitrary nature of life. A sports injury had cost him
his college scholarships, together with his shot at playing
pro-ball. He had been grieving bitterly. The abrupt loss of
a dazzling bright future had been the “last straw,” and the
dispirited boy was heartbroken.
Teenage angst was oozing from his pores. And, as only
a stuck-on-stupid kid can get, the boy had become so “fed
up;” he was “ready to blow.”
When Arizona police accosted him for no apparent
reason, the kid who was characteristically “classy” got
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