As the liquidators continue to sift through the wreckage of Pere grine Investments Holdings and sell off various items, we hear of one prominent fixture from the collapsed investment house that remains to be shifted. It is what else but the signature item of the organisation during its heyday: the big porcelain Peregrine that featured so often in photos with the company's former chairman, Philip Tose. For years, the big bird sat on the company's reception desk, greeting numerous bosses of red-chip companies as they sought listing after listing on the Hong Kong market during the pre-crash days. Now it is a sorry sight, sitting in the lobby of the old Peregrine office in Central. There's just one question hanging over the big bird: who actually owns it? We're not sure - but word around the traps has it that the ownership of the flighty object rests with former Peregrine management. Have you been thinking your bill from the Inland Revenue Department is a shocker? Well, we're sure that no matter how bad it is, it can only be a pale imitation of the one received by a certain US citizen named Lorie Marling. Reuters informs us Ms Marling was landed with a tax bill that perhaps even a Bill Gates or a Warren Buffett would have baulked at. The size of the payment she was being asked for? A whopping US$270 billion. Still, America's Internal Revenue Service was being generous on the terms of payment. The bill made it clear the body was willing to allow Ms Marling to repay in instalments of $90 billion each. A mere snack! Ms Marling's accountant was apparently frightened his client would have a heart attack when she saw the bill. '[He] thought I was being called upon to pay off the national debt,' she said. Before you start to wonder about tax levels in the US, we can confirm the bill was a mistake. A spokesman for the IRS revealed that - every now and then - a slightly erroneous tax notice slips through the system. We hear Ms Marling still owes some money to the IRS - but somewhat less than the sum featured on her inflated tax bill. Is there no end to the Titanic-related hype that has been running . . . and running . . . and running recently? Clearly not. The latest company to be running promotions alluding to the great sunken ship has been e-mail service provider Hotmail. Under the tasteful promotional line: 'Enough free offers to sink the Titanic!!', the service has been running electronic advertisements for a service called FreeShop. As if to underline its impeccable taste, Hotmail has been running a quaint moving graphic. A cute little caricature of the Titanic is shown to be chugging along, then running into an iceberg and sinking. Now, far be it from Lai See to make a moral judgment on the mountain of marketing hype that has popped up ever since the name Titanic came back into our lives with a vengeance. But we seem to recall that some people were killed when the famous liner met its icy fate. Good to see there's still some healthy respect running between property developers and the people who market their products, real estate agents. A colleague contacted a director of one of Hong Kong's biggest developers last week, to check the truth of rumours being circulated by property agents. Our reporter had heard from the agents that the company was about to lease out a certain building, rather than sell it, as had been previously reported. This prompted a tirade from the property developer, who left no room for doubt on where he stood regarding rumours spread by real estate salesmen. 'Those property agents are a bunch of liars and thieves. They're a bunch of yarn spinners. Some of them even admit to it,' he said. Right. But it seems those 'liars and thieves' might have been on the right track after all. Our intrepid property executive later conceded: 'The chances are we will lease.'