January 10, 1998 in Features

Don’t Mess With Hal

By The Spokesman-Review
 

Your computer might try to kill you on Monday.

Consider yourself warned.

No, it’s not a scary new software virus. And it’s not some Microsoft plot.

Monday, Jan. 12, is the birthday of the HAL 9000 computer. You know, the astronaut-offing cyber system in “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Sure, that was just a movie. But don’t kid yourself. Lots of real computers have heard about HAL. And don’t think they haven’t considered picking up where he left off.

So here are a few warning signs to look out for on Monday.

1. Mysterious appearance of “Delete User” key. (Don’t touch it. Just back away slowly.)

2. Your computer keeps calling you “Dave.” (Play along until you can unplug the unit.)

3. Your machine refuses to open the pod bay doors. (Go to manual override.)

4. You discover that your life support system (refrigerator) has been switched off without your approval. (Make a run for it.)

5. Windows keep popping up on your screen requesting that you click on “OK to jettison user into the dark void of space.” (Hit “Escape.”)

Sticks and stones: We must say we don’t approve of this new practice of substituting the words “from Spokane” for the admittedly tired “from hell” to describe everything from disappointing blind dates to sour job-performance reviews.

Rewrite: It’s tempting to blame the unimpressive box office performance of “The Postman” on some sort of Inland Northwest curse. But we suspect that the fact it was partly filmed in this region has less to do with its problems than a fuzzy storyline and an uninspiring title.

Still, we don’t like to criticize without also offering helpful suggestions. So here are some titles (and implicit plot shifts) that might have made the project a winner.

1. “The Realtor.”

2. “The Garage Mechanic.”

3. “The Tanker Pilot.”

4. “The Lab Tech.”

5. “The Outside Consultant.”

After reading the promotional blurb, we decided not to request a free issue of this new men’s magazine: “MAXIM helps you look and feel your best. Healthier. Happier. Stronger. Less stressed out. More energized. Full of spunk and the kind of saviour-faire that turns chicks on.”

As Lou Grant once said to Mary Richards, we hate spunk.

< Today’s Slice question: This area isn’t exactly the center of the motion picture industry. There’s not much of a modeling scene. And we’re not overrun with rock stars and professional athletes. So we wonder.

What are Spokane’s glamour jobs?

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Photo

MEMO: The Slice appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098. Statistics suggest stockbrokers suffer the fewest workplace injuries.

The Slice appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; fax (509) 459-5098. Statistics suggest stockbrokers suffer the fewest workplace injuries.

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