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I hear the Linguini a la Larry is an, ahem, acquired taste,” guffawed the Gossipy Gastronome upon hearing that Oracle boss Larry Ellison might be planning to open two restaurants in Malibu, Calif. “Perhaps Larry’s grown tired of gobbling up only tech companies and is looking to diversify his portfolio with fine dining,” mused the Mouser. The buzz is that one restaurant would carry traditional seafood cuisine, and the neighboring establishment would offer Asian fare. “Maybe Larry himself will show up at your table, brandishing his antique Japanese swords, and supply each diner with a little Benihana-style food presentation,” laughed the Lynx.

Suddenly, the KattPhone’s new ring tone, Arlo Guthrie’s “Alice’s Restaurant,” brought forth a call from a crony in the Big Apple. The pal said Microsoft bigwig Steve Ballmer was busy pitching Redmond’s Dynamics RMS (Retail Management System) at the National Retail Federation event at the Javits Center. Although Microsoft did announce a couple of products—Point of Sale 2.0 and RMS 2.0—the pal noted that most of Ballmer’s talk concerned vapory visions of a future where smart-phone-wielding shoppers and sales staff will be as attuned to one another as the Borg Collective.

Future über-consumers will be able to perform their own inventory checks and debit their own checkouts in-store, Ballmer told the crowd. “Mmm, Ellison and Ballmer should open up a mini-mall together. Ballmer can do his monkey-boy dance to the pulsing beats at Abercrombie & Fitch, and Larry can run the food court,” tittered the Tawny Titan.

Bidding his pal adieu, Spence checked out and saw that Dell and the National Federation of Independent Business are accepting entries for their annual joint Small Business Excellence Award contest. Prizes include $30,000 in Dell products; a lifetime membership in the NFIB; and a day at Dell headquarters in Round Rock, Texas.

The Furry One soon fled the office to toss a few back at the B-Side Lounge in Cambridge, Mass., with an old tech vet who told Spence that Ray Ozzie’s former Lotus ties may have helped lure Donald Ferguson, IBM’s WebSphere architect, to leave Big Blue and become a technical fellow at Microsoft. As the two ordered a second round, the pal told the Puss that the Massachusetts tech industry seems to be on the upswing. Among such recent startups as Incipient, Sepaton and Acme Packet is new software company Akorri, whose location seems to best epitomize the Taxachusetts tech revival: Its headquarters sit where hardware giant Digital Equipment once kept offices.

Spence told the pal he’d also heard that Zink, a Bay State startup touting a “zero ink” printing technology developed by Polaroid, was set to blast out of stealth mode any day now. The pal also asked the Furry One if he’d heard that Elvis Presley Enterprises is using MySpace to try to raise awareness of the King among youngsters. “Mmm, it’s probably the first time kids have checked out an old guy on MySpace, instead of vice versa,” cackled the Kitty.