Crackup.com? Documentary's Chief Executive Driven but Doesn't Succeed

Stupid Executive Tricks: In the documentary movie "Startup.com," notes Philippe Brieu of Westwood, "the CEO is shown driving his SUV on a one-lane undivided road with an open book on the steering wheel (apparently turning pages)."

Sure enough, adds Brieu, "the movie ends with a crash--of his company."

Speaking of questionable business strategies: Beatrice Frankel of Upland found a bank that seems to admit it doesn't have much energy (see accompanying).

Now if the ad was talking about a tiered account, that would be different. . . .

Next time just get him a tie: In San Francisco, Examiner columnist P.J. Corkery has been having fun at the expense of Executive Editor Phil Bronstein of the rival Chronicle, who was attacked by a Komodo dragon at the L.A. Zoo the other day. The in-the-cage visit had been a Father's Day present arranged by Bronstein's actress-wife, Sharon Stone.

"Editors of San Francisco newspapers have been shot at, pistol-whipped and lynched," Corkery wrote. "This is the first time an editor of a San Francisco newspaper has been bitten by, yes, a dragon."

Dragon quiz: A reader sent this note to Corkery: "Answer: 'Basic Instinct.' Question: 'So why did the Komodo dragon bite Phil Bronstein?' "

Fish story: The incident got me to thinking about harrowing experiences of L.A. editors with critters. The best I could recall was a 1947 barracuda attack on an L.A. Herald Express city editor inside the Herald building.

It grew out of reporter Aggie Underwood's anger over a last-minute assignment to work Christmas Day.

"One of the mail room guys had brought me this barracuda and I put it in a tank of cold water in the photo lab so it would keep until time to go home," she later recalled.

She had a few drinks with colleagues in the photo lab, who egged her on to extract some revenge. So she grabbed the fish, ran into the newsroom and slapped it across the face of City Editor Lou Young.

"Lou jumped up and ran around behind the desk," she said. "If he had run for the door, I wouldn't have chased him. But he got himself trapped. . . ."

She belted him several more times, stopping when--to her horror--she noticed that she was being watched by the paper's managing editor.

Her fate? A few months later, she was promoted to city editor. Young joined the paper's staff of editorial writers, who were less prone to fish attacks.

miscelLAny: Sue Breternitz of Marina del Rey sent along a snapshot of her friend Brian Lustgarten and his wife, Suzanne, celebrating his graduation from a school for physician assistants. She wonders whether the restaurant that prepared the cake had a problem with Lustgarten's name or was commenting on his high marks.

Steve Harvey can be reached at (800) LA-TIMES, Ext. 77083, by fax at (213) 237-4712, by mail at Metro, L.A. Times, 202 W. 1st St., L.A., 90012 and by e-mail at steve.harvey@latimes.com.

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