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MANY STRANGE things have been seen and heard in the House of Blues in West Hollywood, Calif., but what happened Monday will be remembered:

A button-down Wall Street investment banker belting out a solo rendition of "Born to be Wild."

It was part of pitch by Nomura Asset Capital Corp. to get musicians and actors to allow the sale of securities backed by their projected earnings.

The plan is patterned after the $55 million deal rocker David Bowie cut earlier this year with Prudential Insurance Co. of America, which bought up bonds guaranteed by Bowie's future earnings.

The act apparently worked.

"I think it's kind of the future," said Ron Stone, who represents singers Bonnie Raitt and Tracy Chapman. "I think that now for us it's connecting and making some sense."

Geeks act like Greeks

MICROSOFT CORP. threw a party for 1,000 people in San Francisco Tuesday night to herald the introduction of its new Internet browser, Internet Explorer 4.0.

On stage was a 10-by-12-foot prop representing the "IE" logo for the product.

At about 1:30 a.m. the prop ended up on the lawn of rival Netscape Communications Mountain View. An attached card said: "From the IE team."

Netscape, however, has its own pranksters. Company employees put their 12-foot mascot -- a green Godzilla-like foam creature dubbed "Mozilla" -- on top of the prop.

Mozilla held a placard that read, "Netscape 72, Microsoft 18," referring to recent market share data.

Wanted: Bosses who can write

IF YOU'RE a "take-charge" person who can formulate well-written prose, today's corporations are looking for you, a nationwide survey of executives found.

According to temporary staffing firm OfficeTeam, when given a choice between six skills, excluding job-related expertise, 30 percent of executives queried selected leadership and management skills as being hardest to find in job candidates.

Second place, at 29 percent, was writing skills. Problem solving abilities, interpersonal skills, organizational expertise and oral communication prowess were far down the list.

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