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Friday, May 30, 2008

Clint Walker, actor, born Hardford, ILL, May 30, 1927,
best known for TV show “Cheyenne,”
107 episodes, 1955—1962.
My father Lawrence Menkin wrote many of them.
Walker also known for his role in
“The Dirty Dozen.”


Founding Father NAELB to have Triple By-Pass
    Classified Ads---Syndicator
        FDIC: Bank earnings drop 45 percent
    Cartoon---Asking for a loan
Galloway out as head of LEAF Specialty Finance
    Leasing Rates --by Christopher Menkin
        Tygris acquires USXL Express Leasing
Classified Ads---Help Wanted
    Dell—In the News!!!
        Leasing companies named in New Destiny BK
Dash leaves for 4th tour in Middle-East
    June 2nd Luncheon, Washington, DC
        Textron Financial Names Shelley Wilson Sr. VP
    Alter Moneta-Hires Andrew Kocovic
European healthcare Potential Leasing Biz
    Investors Press Lenders on Bad Loans
        John Deere files $1.27 million suit over leasing
            World Bank $1.2 bln funding for food crisis
    Costco profit surges 32% 3rd Q (food sales)
News Briefs---
    You May have Missed---
        California Nuts Brief---
    Sports Briefs---
"Gimme that Wine"
    Calendar Events
        Snapple Real Facts
Today's Top Event in History
    This Day in American History
        Baseball Poem
Daily Puzzle
        Weather—Local and National
News on Line---Internet Newspapers
Green Bay, Wisconsin

######## surrounding the article denotes it is a “press release”


Founding Father NAELB to have Triple By-Pass

Jim Borland, 67, President of U.S. Energy, Conyers, Georgia, will have a triple by-pass surgery at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia, this Tuesday. Often called the “Founding Father” of the National Association of Equipment Leasing Brokers, he was their first president in 1992.

He was one of the five top brokers for Leaf in 2007.  He also was one of those companies acquired by First Sierra, but despite that, has gone on to be very successful. He presently lives on beautiful lake where he and his staff of Seven do their business.

His web site ( states:
Since 1983 USEC, previously known as “All American Financial Services”, has been a leader in providing attractive loan programs to one of the country’s most capital-intensive markets; the retail petroleum and convenience store industry. Special programs were designed and implemented for major oil companies, such as:

  • Texaco
  • Shell Oil
  • Star Enterprises
  • ConocoPhillips
  • Mobil Oil

His company is also part of One World Leasing, a leasing co-op.

In a telephone conversation, he told Leasing Newes that he is retiring, has four suitors of which he will make a decision next week on who to sell his company. While he is nervous, he said over 90% who have this operation remain in good health after five years, and there is a 95% success ratio in the operation, so he is optimistic.

Saint Joseph's Hospital • 5665 Peachtree Dunwoody Road, N.E. • Atlanta, Georgia 30342 * 404-851-7001

“Saint Joseph's in the Top 100---
For the sixth year, Saint Joseph's Hospital was named in Modern Healthcare as one of the nation’s Top 100 Hospitals for performing angioplasty and heart bypass surgery as well as caring for patients with acute heart attacks and congestive heart failure”



Classified Ads---Syndicator

Overland Park, KS

Top Syndicator from single deal to portfolios. 20+ yrs exp. Available for contract work or full time position. Nationwide contacts.

Westchester County, NY
7+ years in pricing, credit, and syndications.  Strong credit skills and marketing experience at VP level.  All collateral.  MBA in Finance.

For a full listing of all “job wanted” ads, please go to:

Leasing Recruiters:

To place a free “job wanted” ad here, please go to:



FDIC: Bank earnings drop 45 percent

Banks insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)
earned 45 percent less than the first quarter of last. 2007 the first quarter saw a $35.6 billion profit, but subprime mortgages, commercial and consumer loans affected by the changing real estate market saw a drop to $19.3 billion for the first quarter of this year.

"To sum up, while we may be past the worst of the turmoil in financial markets, we're still in the early stages of the traditional credit stress you typically see during an economic downturn," said FDIC Chairman Sheila C. Bair.

This was the lowest quarterly profit since 1990. The FDIC also stated that they are finding noncurrent loans continuing to increase at a pace they did not expect with banks’ earnings being seriously
effecting by the requirement of higher provisions for loan losses.

Commercial banks and savings institutions insured by the FDIC set aside $37.1 billion in loan-loss provisions in the first quarter, more than four times the $9.2 billion set aside in the first quarter of 2007.

Just over half of banks reported on-year declines in quarterly earnings, the report said. It was also noted that the larger banks too the biggest hit in the decline of earnings. Almost two out of three institutions with more than $10 billion in assets reported lower net income in the first quarter, the FDIC said.

In other bad news, the FDIC also reported the number of banks on its "problem list" rose to 90 from 76.

Last week, John C. Dugan, Comptroller of the Currency, said, ““…banks need to be more aggressive in reserving for potential losses.

"I can't stress enough how crucial reserves will be in helping the industry manage its way through this situation," he added.





Dwight Galloway out as head of LEAF Specialty Finance

(photo: LEAF Financial)
Dwight Galloway, CLP

According to several reliable sources, Dwight Galloway, CLP, co- founder of Republic Leasing which became NetBank Business Finance, along with co-founder Charles Randall, is out as head of this unit of Resource America’s LEAF Financial Corporation, who won the OTS bid last April. A formal announcement is to be made today on the management change.

According to several reliable sources, Randall only comes in occasionally since LEAF purchased the company. LEAF Financial recently closed the Oregon based former Alco Leasing that it had purchased from its founder Jim Harris.

May 9, 2008, Resource America announced, “On April 22, 2008, our subsidiary LEAF Financial Corporation ("LEAF") completed the transfer of a portfolio of leases and loans that were acquired in the NetBank acquisition by the sale to LEAF Equipment Leasing Income Fund III, L.P.,”

Since purchasing the company, LEAF has moved more of the operations to its headquarters in New Jersey. Billing was sent to OSG Billing before the event. In addition, other administrative changes in funding operations have been made, including rates, with the latest a 75 basis point raise on Financial and Commercial rates
(these are reportedly in the $300,000 and up range.)

Galloway most likely does not have a covenant not to compete with LEAF, although one may exist with NetBank and perhaps NetBank Business Finance. At 56, he is too young to retire.
Perhaps he may stay on in Columbia, South Carolina.

(When I called the ex-US Airborne paratrooper to confirm or deny what Leasing News was told, the message on his telephone said he was out of the office, but expected back on Friday.  I left a voice message that he has a job at Leasing News if he wants one.  He'd make an excellent columnist on many subjects.  The pay isn't that great, but there is a lot of freedom to do whatever he wants to write about. editor)

Kit Menkin, editor/publisher

(I’m jumping out to join Leasing News,” says Dwight Galloway)



Leasing Rates

by Christopher Menkin

This is basically to set the record straight on rates, in noting the 75 basis point raise (bps) in financial and commercial rates by LEAF in the story above. A copy of the LEAF Specialty announcement is at the end of this article.

With the news the Fed will not be lowering rates for quite some time due to inflation, and possible positive signs in the economy, interest rates to lessees and borrowers will not only remain the same, they are going up.

Swap rates* have increased 75 bps in the last 60 days and are probably going to continue to go up. The whole financial services industry is widening spreads to cover increasing perceived risk due to the economy. From the head of OTS to others in government regulations, banks and other financial institutions are not only being warned, but told to increase their reserves.

While the politicians talk about new programs for those having mortgage problems, the reality is the foreclosures continue to be high, and cost of living due to high oil prices and food demands
across the world, are continuing to put the squeeze on spendable income.

While the prime rate has been dropping, finance and leasing rates have not. In fact, some have risen, such as LEAF. Several bank leasing companies have raised rates as well, specifically changing changed credit criteria of their viewpoint of what is an “A-B-C-D” applicant.

In the micro ticket, under $20,000, rates vary from 9% to 10% for better credits, and remain at 18% for fair credits, to 28% to 32% for tougher credits. The average rate is around 12% to 14%
for smaller lessors.

There are many companies who keep in the 12% to 14% up to $100,000, while the average varies from 9% to 8.25%. This also means that many companies remain in the 8% “buy rate”
at $50,000.

Operating leases and other programs are affected by the residual, resulting in a lower monthly payment or “stream of payment” as it is often called.

While most companies, salesmen, and brokers have each others rates, collected at leasing associations, from current customers, vendors, and each other, there is a great variety in the market place. They are all quite different, not only back to their “cost of funds,” but their viewpoint of A-B-C-D credits. Leasing News’s article on the subject has brought up a lot of controversy on the definitions.

It is also difficult to pin point “buy rates” of funders of leases as often they are affected by volume (a higher volume gets lower rates), type of credit, type of equipment (used, higher risk-problems), and then, as mentioned, there is the different interpretation of A-B-C-D credits.

When the fee or commission is added, it is called the “sell rate,” left up to the person making the sale. This adds another dimension to what is your rate?

It seems the cost of money is being affected by not only the swap rate,* but higher loss reserves, expected increase in costs due to government regulations and requirements, as well as requirements by investors and other institutions.

Dan Dyer, CEO of Marlin Business Services was criticized for his oft repeated comment in the telephone conference call regarding the company’s performance and their plans for the future. In retrospect, it may have been a prognostication for many banks, finance and leasing companies: "Better Quality, Higher Yield"

LEAF Specialty Finance notice (note the cross sell of business loans):

* Definition of Swap:



Tygris acquires USXL Express Leasing

With seemingly perfect timing to enter the marketplace with ample funds behind them, Tygris Commercial Finance Group yesterday completed the acquisition of US Express Leasing, Inc. (“USXL”), an equipment finance company headquartered in Parsippany, NJ, from DLJ Merchant Banking Partners in an all-stock transaction.

Frederick “Rick” Wolfert, Tygris CEO

Tygris CEO “Rick Wolfert was excited James D. McGrane, Chief Executive Officer of USXL, joins Tygris’ management team as President of Small Ticket Leasing. They both go back to US Leasing days. Wolfert, who was instrumental in the start of Key Corp. small ticket, GE Heller, and vice-chairman of CIT commercial finance, says he was so impressed with the USXL platform, they took a “deep dive” and will back up this operation with ample low cost funds to make it more successful.

He noted they were doing $400 million a year. He said they have a very impressive team and Tygris did their homework in acquiring this enterprise.

“We welcome Jim McGrane and the entire USXL team to Tygri, “Wolfer said. “  USXL provides the foundation upon which Tygris will develop a leading franchise position in small ticket equipment finance and leasing,”

James D. McGrane, CEO, USXL

“We are thrilled to join Rick and his highly respected team as part of this well-positioned new company and its significant access to capital,” USLX CEO said.  “Tygris’ ‘back to basics’ strategy of service and transparency is perfectly aligned with the way we do business. This is a very positive development for our customers and employees.”

Wolfert says USXL brings to Tygris significant underwriting and originations expertise in five segments: Commercial & Industrial, Graphic Arts, Healthcare, Office Equipment, and Technology.  Formed in 2004, the company ranks among the 100 largest equipment finance and leasing companies in the U.S. according to Monitor magazine, a leading industry publication with very high readership.  USXL will play a key role in Tygris’ mandate of providing liquidity and growth capital to middle market companies throughout North America. 

USXL will continue to operate under its own name.



Leasing Industry Help Wanted

Leasing Sales Representative

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Outstanding Back Office Support
High Commissions – Up To 80%
Elite Training Program Access to many Major Funding Sources with the ability to obtain approvals not available elsewhere

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Dell—In the News!!!

Dell shares soared 10% in after-hours trading Thursday after the company reversed its recent slide with much better than expected quarterly results.

Sales rose 9% to $16.08 billion, $400 million better than analysts expected, and earnings per share of 38 cents were four cents ahead of estimates. Notebook sales jumped 43%, storage was up 15% following the acquisition of EqualLogic, and services revenues grew 13%.

Emerging markets sales grew nearly 50%, even as America's commercial unit growth was up just 3%. The company said U.S. corporations continue to be cautious, but said the spending environment isn't getting worse.

The company cut 3,700 jobs in the first quarter, for a 7,000 total headcount reduction in the last year.

CEO, Founder, Michael Dell
(Photo: Dell)

Michael Dell 's pledge to trim $3 billion in labor and manufacturing costs may be winning back shareholders after his personal-computer company's stock posted its worst performance in seven years last quarter. Perhaps guiding the surge was the leak of a new low cost mini-lap top that Michael Dell was seen carrying, as well perception that New York Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo appeared to be seeking publicity as the former NY Attorney General Eliot Spitzer often did. Maybe the young Cuomo has his eye on the governorship (Don’t go to the Mayflower Hotel in Washington!)

“For too long at Dell the promise of customer service was a bait and switch that left thousands of people paying for essentially no service at all,” Mr. Cuomo said.

He reported 700 complaints against Dell when the lawsuit was filed in May 2007 and has received more than 1,000 since, a spokesman, John T. Milgrim, told the news media. The number was never in the “thousands.”

“We don’t agree with the decision and will be defending our position vigorously, “Jess Blackburn, Dell Corporate Affairs, told Leasing News.”. Our goal has been, and continues to be, to provide the best customer experience possible. We believe that our customer service levels are at or above industry standards. We're confident that when the proceedings are completed, the court will determine that only a relatively small number of customers have been affected.”

Blackburn also told Leasing News there were no commercial accounts in the complaints, meaning no leases, although there may have been financing in the consumer account. He added that it was less than 1% of their business in New York.

An estimate in the years covered, 2003 to 2006, Dell had over six million transactions in New York.

Dell had instituted selective recording and auditing of sales representatives, and noted many technical support or on-site service needs further determination on parts needed for replacement.

In the meantime, Customers can apply at a new Web site for restitution from Dell Inc.

Whether Dell appears the decision by the court has not been made at this time, Blackburn added.

Dell was once the leader in the PC market place, taking the title away from IBM. HP became the number one, which lead to a management shake-up and Michael Dell returning to lead the company he started. In the last quarter, Dell eliminated 2,200 workers, changed it's goal of opening stores as Apple has done, and has gone back to innovation to get its market share back.

The new min-top laptop reportedly has:

Dell customizability
Microsoft Windows Vista
Core Solo/Duo/Duo+ processor
1 Gbyte memory
60 Gbyte hard drive
Optional 3G service
A discrete graphics card from Nvidia
2-3+ megapixel camera
DVI or HDMI connections, with a 7.1-channel speaker system
A flash card reader
Windows SideShow support

(Leasing News editor uses a 17 inch Dell XPS M1730— a gift from the publisher)



Leasing companies named in New Destiny BK

The Memorandum Opinion on the Motion to Dismiss in the Southern District Court of Texas, Houston by US Bankruptcy Judge Marvin Isgur allowed the bankruptcy trustee to include leasing customers as a “contributor” to Destiny New Day, one of the several companies by Michael Day, Max O’Day, Chaz Robertson, Joshua Smith ,Jared Day where automated telephones “predictive dialing equipment” recognizing “live connections” were sold to doctors and dentists with a marketing plan and scripts to bring in new patients. Fraud was involved and 280 customers made complaints totally $11 million. allow customers to file a claim as “contributor” against the lenders. The term “lenders” refers to financial institutions, other lenders, and leasing companies.

These companies instead of being “creditors,” are now claimed as “contributors” and responsible, should the trustee prevail, as part of the assets of the bankruptcy to be divided by those who have made claims in a specific program.

If these companies had been signed up for Lease Police notification,
they would not be in this precedent situation:

Advance Credit Leasing
AEL Financial
Bankers Healthcare Group, Inc
Bankers Leasing Company, Iowa
CFC Investment Company
Citicorp Vendor Finance
Crest Capital
Eastern Funding, LLC
Financial Pacific Leasing
General Electric Capital Corporation
Greater Bay Capital, Inc.
Hewlett Packard Financial Services
Irwin Commercial Finance
Leaf Financial Corp
Lyon Financial Services, Inc. d/b/a U.S. Bancorp Business Equipment
Finance Group
Pioneer Capital Corporation
Puget Sound Leasing Company
Sterling National Bank
Susquehanna Patriot Commercial Leasing
Tiger Leasing LLC
U.S. Bank Portfolio Services

Objections to claims were filed before May 12, 2008, and here you have the amended complaint on May 26 with defendant responses to be made by June 2,2008.

Leasing Companies named as “Lenders”'s_Destiny_1.pdf

Exhibit “A”'s_Destiny_2.pdf

Exhibit “B”'s_Destiny_3.pdf

Exhibit “C”'s_Destiny_3.pdf

Exhibit “D”'s_Destiny_5.pdf

Exhibit “E” ( 32 pages, 3.28mb download )'s_Destiny_6.pdf

Exhibit “F”'s_Destiny_7.pdf

Exhibit “G”'s_Destiny_8.pdf

43 Pages Memorandum:

Names of creditors/debtors/customers

* Dates set down by Judge Marvin Isgur

Order denying motion to reconsider



Dash leaves for 4th tour in Middle-East

My son Dashiell is leaving for his fourth tour in the Middle East.

My son “Dash” on the right with his buddy “Heff.” USS Preble (2004)

One of my favorite pictures ( 2001) graduating
Great Lakes Naval Training School

He prefers not printing anything else as if they are captured, the enemy has the ability to look up everything about him on the internet. He volunteered for this fourth tour is all I can report at this time. He is part of a Riverene unit, which also includes land duty.

Kit Menkin



*** Announcement**********************************

Luncheon to address how exports keep U.S. out of recession.

Scheduled for June 2, Roundtable Luncheon will discuss current economic trends in manufacturing, export and financing of U.S. goods, how U.S. exports are keeping economy growing, and strong role financing plays in enhancing U.S. competitiveness. While housing market contributes 4% of GDP, U.S. exports account for 13% of GDP. Meeting will also address outlook for capital goods exports in remainder of 2008.

WHO: Emily DeRocco, President, The Manufacturing Institute and Senior Vice President, NAM Dave Huether, Chief Economist, NAM Mary Andringa, President and CEO, Vermeer Corporation (medium-sized manufacturing company in Pella, IA) The Honorable Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr., President and CEO, Equipment Leasing and Finance Association James J. Ambrose, President, Equipment Finance, GE Healthcare Financial Services and ELFA Chairman-Elect

WHEN: Monday, June 2, 2008 12:30 to 2:00 p.m. (Lunch will be served.)

WHERE: NAM Headquarters 1331 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW - 6th Floor Washington, D.C. (Enter on F Street, N,W, between 13th and 14th Streets)

RSVP: Bill Canis (202) 637-3109 or

The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association is the trade association that represents companies in the $600 billion equipment finance sector, which includes financial services companies and manufacturers engaged in financing the utilization and investment of and in capital goods. For more information, please visit ELFA is also the premier source for statistics and analyses covering the equipment finance sector. To access ELFA's comprehensive industry information,
please visit

The National Association of Manufacturers is the nation's largest industrial trade association, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NAM has 11 additional offices across the country. Visit the NAM's award-winning web site at for more information about manufacturing and the economy. The Manufacturing Institute is the research, education and workforce arm of the NAM.
Visit its web site at



### Press Release ###########################

Textron Financial Names Shelley Wilson Senior Vice President of Marketing

Providence, RI Textron Financial Corporation, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, names Shelley Wilson to the position of senior vice president of marketing effective June 1, 2008. In this role, Wilson will plan and direct all aspects of the company’s marketing policies, objectives and initiatives, as well as oversee the management of positioning and promotional activities for the company’s products and services. She will also collaborate with divisional marketing and sales managers to develop and implement business plans and strategies. Wilson replaces Adele Suddes, who is joining Textron Inc. as executive director of customer leadership. Wilson will report to President and Chief Operating Officer Jay Carter and serve as a member of Textron Financial’s Executive Committee.

“Shelley is an exceptional leader with broad marketing experience,” said Carter. “As a strong strategic counselor, she also has a keen focus on understanding and anticipating the needs of the customer. These skills are well-suited for continuing to develop the strength of the marketing function throughout Textron Financial and helping us to build upon our strong record of customer satisfaction and loyalty.”

With more than 20 years of marketing experience, Wilson joined Textron Inc. in 2005 as director of customer leadership, where she assisted multiple Textron businesses in marketing strategy projects that included customer segmentation, positioning, and value pricing. Her efforts with Textron Financial specifically have led to a dramatic improvement in the strategic impact of the company’s annual marketing plans. Other projects have resulted in comprehensive competitive analysis tools and initiatives that increased service revenue and customer satisfaction.

Wilson also has extensive experience in the technology industry. Prior to Textron, she held leadership roles with Check Point Software Technologies, Inc., Oblix, Inc., and Symantec Corporation. She is a graduate of the Stanford/AEA Institute for the Management of High Technology Companies.

Wilson has a BA in Communication Studies with an emphasis on public relations and marketing from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. She is a certified Textron Six Sigma Green Belt and has attended Textron’s Executive Leadership Program at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, as well as the company’s Growth Leadership Program at the Ohio State University Fisher College of Business.

About Textron Financial

Textron Financial is a diversified commercial finance company with more than $11 billion in managed receivables. It has core businesses in Aviation Finance, Asset-Based Lending, Distribution Finance, Golf Finance, Resort Finance, and Structured Capital. Textron Financial also provides financing programs for products manufactured by its parent company, Textron Inc.
Additional information about the company is available at

About Textron

Textron Inc. is a $13.2 billion multi-industry company operating in 34 countries with approximately 44,000 employees. The company leverages its global network of aircraft, defense and intelligence, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, Fluid & Power, Textron Systems and Textron Financial Corporation. More information is available at


### Press Release ###########################

Alter Moneta-Hires New Sales Professional: N. NJ/ Staten Island

Buffalo, NY, --- The U.S. headquarters of Alter Moneta in Buffalo New York recently announced the newest addition to its sales team, Andrew Kocovic. Previously employed by several major financing companies including, GE Capital Corp and Associations Commercial Corp/Mitsubishi Motors Credit of America Kocovic joined Alter Moneta as a district sales manager. “This new opportunity represents an expanded offering to my clients in a competitive industry where decisions need to be made quickly, products and service needs to be exceptional, and pricing must be aggressive. Alter Moneta has a reputation for providing all this and more, which is why I am thrilled to be part of a company that is poised to assist in their customers shared goal of growth” said Kocovic.

He will be located directly in greater New York and will focus solely on Northern New Jersey and Staten Island. He is charged with offering innovative financing solutions in a direct role to end-users in the construction, transportation, manufacturing, and waste sectors. His experience in the financing industry began over 20 years ago after completing his Bachelor’s of Business Administration at Lehman College, Bronx, NY.

Kocovic’s experience lends itself directly to the wide variety of products offered by Alter Moneta including revolving lines of credit, equipment loans, consolidation and commercial leases for a variety of assets. He reports to Thomas (Tom) Greco, vice president of Eastern US Direct Sales. “Andrew,” commented Greco, “brings a successful sales history with him in our product areas and services and I am confident his contribution to both the customer base and to Alter Moneta will be immediate.”

Kocovic’s appointment is a testament to the company’s vision of doubling their workforce by 2012. Over the past year Alter Moneta has grown exponentially in their work force to offer premiere financial services. Alter Moneta, established in 1998, is one of the fastest growing independent financial services firms in North America, with significant market presence in both Canada and the United States. The company provides funds to purchase or lease new and used revenue producing equipment for middle-market firms in trucking, warehousing, construction, passenger transport, manufacturing and waste management industries. Through its Vendor Finance group, Alter Moneta also provides financing programs for manufacturers and dealers. Its Lutex subsidiary in Quebec provides auto-leasing services.
For more information visit


### Press Release ###########################

News Briefs----

Potential for efficient employment of capital in European healthcare

Investors Press Lenders on Bad Loans

John Deere files $1.27 million suit over leasing

World Bank approves $1.2 bln funding for food crisis

Costco profit surges 32% in third quarter, tops forecasts (food way up)

Rockwall rolls out red carpet for Jason Castro



You May have Missed---

19,000 hourly workers leaving GM as automakers regroup



Sports Briefs----

Missed opportunity: Spurs blow lead, bow out to Lakers



California Nuts Briefs---

Report: SF Tourism Industry Thriving

Visitors to S.F. in 2007 set record for spending



“Gimme that Wine”

Homemade wine contests to be legalized

The new cults: Upstart wineries shoot for Screaming Eagle status

Americans drinking more domestic wine

Summit fire over, wine festival on

Louisiana vineyard struggles for recognition

Wine Prices by vintage
US/International Wine Events
Winery Atlas
Leasing News Wine & Spirits Page
The London International Vintners Exchange (Liv-ex) is an electronic exchange for fine wine.



Calendar Events This Day

Hug Your Cat Day

Loomis Day
To honor Mahlon Loomis, a Washington, DC Dentist who received a US patent on wireless telegraphy in 1872(before Marconi as born). Titled: “An improvement in Telegraphing,” the patent described how to do without wire; this patent was backed up by experiment on the Massanutten Mountains of Virginia.

Memorial Day (Traditional)
This day honors the tradition of making memorial tributes to the dead, especially remembering those who have died in battle. Observed as a legal public holiday on the last Monday in May. About remembrance, playwright Thornton Wilder once wrote, "The greatest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude."

Saint Joan of Arc: Feast Day
French heroine and martyr, known as the “maid of Orleans,” led the French against the English invading army. Captured, found guilty of heresy and burned at the stake in 1432(at age 19). Innocence declared in 1456. Canonized in1920

Trinidad: Indian Arrival Day
Port of Spain, West Indies. Public holiday.

Water a Flower Day

Saint feast Days



The average home size in the United States is now 2,200 square feet, up from 1,400 square feet in 1970, according to the National Association of Home Builders.



Today's Top Event in History

1922- Lincoln Memorial Dedication. If you haven’t seen it in person, it is well worth the trip. The memorial is made of marble from Colorado and Tennessee and limestone from Indiana. It stands in West Potomac Park at Washington, DC. The outside columns are Doric, the inside, Ionic. The Memorial was designed by architect Henry Bacon and its cornerstone was laid in 1915. A skylight lets light into the interiors where the compelling statue “Seated Lincoln,” by sculptor Daniel Chester French, is situated


This Day in American History

    1498 - Christopher Columbus set sail with six ships from Sanlucar in Spain on his third voyage of exploration to the Americas. In reality, he never discovered the main land, only a group of islands in the Bahama’s that he thought were islands off of India, thus he named the natives he found on these islands: Indians. And why we call the native American Indians this name. The scuttlebutt of the time was that these natives were the lost tribe of the Hebrews (I am not making this up. Read your history.)
    1539-Hernando DeSoto, Spanish governor of Cuba, landed at Tampa Bay with 600 soldiers, animals, and equipment as he prepared to scour the southeast in search of gold and valuables.
    1734- Benjamin Franklin published the first American Masonic Book. The Masons were a strong movement for several centuries in America.
    1783- The Pennsylvania Evening Post became the first daily newspaper published in the US. The paper was published at Philadelphia, PA, by Benjamin Towne.
    1806- Dueling was common in early America. Future president Andrew Jackson shot and killed Charles Dickson this day at Harrison’s Mills on the Red River, Logan County, KY. The proud and volatile Jackson, a former senator and representative of Tennessee, called for the duel after his wife Rachel was slandered as a bigamist by Dickinson, who was referring to a legal error in the divorce from her first husband in 1791. The combatants stood 24 feet apart. Dickinson fired first. The shot broke a couple of Jackson’s ribs and grazed his breastbone. Despite the injury, Jackson fired and killed Dickinson. It was one of a hundred duels and brawls in which Jackson is said to have participated. Jackson served as president of the United States from March 4, 1829, to March 3, 1837.
    1818-May 30 Douglas and Lincoln not allowed to speak at funeral
    1814 - Navy gunboats capture three British boats on Lake Ontario near Sandy Creek, NY.
    1822-- House slave betrays Denmark Vesey conspiracy (37 blacks hanged.) Fear of salve insurrections was common in the South in the early nineteenth century. Many were forced to wear slave
medals with curfew hours. While there were few actual instances of trouble, a serious uprising took place in Charleston, SC. It was led by a free black, Denmark Vesey, who had purchased his freedom in 1800. Over the years, Vesey had organized a plot to seize control of Charleston, but word leaked out in June. Militia and federal troops were called out, many slaves were arrested, and Vesey and 35 others were executed. Some estimates put the number of slaves involved as high as 9000.
    1848- William G. Young of Baltimore, MD patented the “ice cream freezer.” A record of a purchase for a “cream machine for ice” is contained in George Washington’s expense ledger under date of May 17, 1784, and there were such machines dated earlier, but this is the first patent and production manufacturing of it followed for two centuries.
    1854- The territories of Kansas and Nebraska are created by the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Signed this day by Pres. Franklin Pierce it brought the country closer to civil war. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Stephen A. Douglas, Democrat of Illinois, created two new territories and provided what Douglas called "popular sovereignty," also called "Squatter sovereignty." This means that those who settled in each territory would have the right to decide whether the territory, when admitted as a state, would be free or slave. In the North some people were infuriated because the law had the effect of repealing the Missouri Compromise of 1820, which said that there would never be slavery north of the southern boundary of Missouri, except for Missouri itself. Douglas was harmed politically by his sponsorship of the bill.
    1868 - Memorial Day was observed for the first time in the United States -- at the request of General John A. Logan, the national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic. It was first called Decoration Day because the General had seen women decorating graves of Civil War heroes.
    1868--ASTON, EDGAR R. Medal of Honor
Rank and organization: Private, Company L, 8th U.S. Cavalry. Place and date: At San Carlos, Ariz., 30 May 1868. Entered service at: ------. Birth: Clermont County, Ohio. Date of issue: 28 July 1868. Citation: With 2 other men he volunteered to search for a wagon passage out of a 4,000-foot valley wherein an infantry column was immobile. This small group passed 6 miles among hostile Apache terrain finding the sought passage. On their return trip down the canyon they were attacked by Apaches who were successfully held at bay.
1879 - A major outbreak of severe weather occurred in Kansas and Western Missouri. Tornadoes in Kansas killed 18 persons at Delphos and claimed 30 lives at Irving where two twisters struck within minutes of one another, reducing the small community to rubble. The second tornado was perhaps two miles wide and exhibited multiple vortices.
    1886-Seeing eye dog creator Dorothy Wood Eustis born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a widow she moved from the U.S. to Switzerland where she continued her experiments in breeding German shepherd dogs of great intelligence and easy dispositions. Her dogs were soon in great demand all over Europe for police work. A school was developed in Europe to train the intelligent dogs for what we know today as the Seeing Eye dogs for the blind. She returned to the U.S. to establish the Seeing Eye movement, setting up a training school for dogs and owners. At her death her school had trained more than 1300 guide dogs for the blind - all based on her breeding acumen.
    1902-birthday of actor/comedian Stepin Fetchit, Key West, FL Died, Woodland Hills, CA. 1985,+Stepin
    1903-birthday of African-American poet Countee Cullen, Baltimore, MD
    1905-birthday of trumpet player Sidney DeParis, Crawfordsville, IN
    1909-Benny Goodman’ birthday
    1909 - A very narrow but intense tornado, rated f4 on the Fujita Scale, cut across the sleeping town of Zephyr, Texas shortly after midnight. 34 people were killed and 70 were injured. Many homes were literally swept away with nothing left on the sites, just vacant lot after vacant lot.
    1910-birthday of African-American Ralph Metcalfe, Olympic gold medal sprinter born at Atlanta, GA. Metcalfe set world records in the 100 years, 100 meters and 200 meters between 1932 and 1936. At the 1936 Berlin Olympics he finished second to Jesse Owens in the 100 meters and won a gold medal as a member of the 400-meter relay team. After World War II, Metcalfe was very active in Democratic politics, serving as a convention delegate, first Illinois Athletic commissioner, elected four times to the US House of Representatives. He founded the Ralph H. Metcalfe Youth Foundation which provided athletic and educational programs for youth. He was named a member of the President’s Commission on Olympic Sports in 1975. The federal building at 77 W. Jackson in Chicago was named for him when it was dedicated in 1991. Died at Chicago, IL, October 10,1978
    1911-The first Indianapolis 500. The race was created by Carl Fisher, who in 1909 replaced the stone surface of his 2.5-mile racetrack with a brick one—hence the nickname “The Brickyard.” The first long-distance race was won by Ray Harroun, 29 years old, who drove a 16-cyclinder Marmon Wasp over the 2.5 mile oval course for a distance of 500 miles in 6 hours, 41 minutes, 8 seconds, an average of 74.7 miles per hour. Only 38 of the 44 cars entered completed the race. One contestant was killed in an accident. The race was witnessed by 85,000 spectators.
    1912-During the second running of the Indianapolis 500, driver Ralph Mulford was told he would have to finish the race to collect 10th-place money. Mulford did so, but it took him eight hours, 53 minutes, more than 2 ½ hours longer than the winner. He stopped for fried chicken several times along the way, and the rule was changed the following year.
    1922- Lincoln Memorial Dedication. If you haven’t seen it in person, it is well worth the trip. The memorial is made of marble from Colorado and Tennessee and limestone from Indiana. It stands in West Potomac Park at Washington, DC. The outside columns are Doric, the inside, Ionic. The Memorial was designed by architect Henry Bacon and its cornerstone was laid in 1915. A skylight lets light into the interiors where the compelling statue “Seated Lincoln,” by sculptor Daniel Chester French, is situated
    1923 - Howard Hanson's 1st Symphony "Nordic," premiered.
    1927-- Birthday of actor Clint Walker , Hartford,IL
( My father Lawrence Menkin wrote many of the TV show Cheyenne series that Clint Walker starred in.)
    1932-Birthday of American composer Pauline Oliveros, Texas.
U.S. avant-garde and electronic music composer of theatrical pieces, often with mixed media, co-founded the San Francisco Tape Music Center, rose to full professor at UC, San Diego, at the Center for Musical Experience. She won the Beethoven prize for her city-music piece Bonn Feier.
    1935-Tommy Dorsey splits from Jimmy after disagreement on tempo on “I’LL Never Say Never Again Again” at the Glen Island Casino, New Rochelle, NY. They would not talk to each other until the 1950’s, playing only one more time together on a television special.
    1943-Battle of the Aleutian Island. The islands of Kiska and Attu in the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska were retaken by the US 7th Infantry Division. The battle (Operation Land grab)began when an American force of 11,000 landed on Attu May 12. In three weeks of fighting US casualties numbered 552 killed and 1,140 wounded. Only 28 wounded Japanese were taken prisoner. Their dead amounted to 2,352 of whom 500 committed suicide.
    1943-birthday of Gale Eugene Sayers, pro Football Hall of Fame running back, born Wichita, KS.
    1950-Top Hits
My Foolish Heart - The Gordon Jenkins Orchestra (vocal: Eileen Wilson)
Bewitched - The Bill Snyder Orchestra
It Isn’t Fair - The Sammy Kaye Orchestra (vocal: Don Cornell)
Birmingham Bounce - Red Foley
    1956-African-Americans in Tallahassee began a bus boycott in that city. They were protesting the system of segregation that required non-whites to ride in the back of busses.
    1958-Top Hits
All I Have to Do is Dream - The Everly Brothers
Return to Me - Dean Martin
Do You Want to Dance - Bobby Freeman
Just Married - Marty Robbins
    1963 - No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit: "It's My Party," Lesley Gore.
    1964- Wynonna Judd birthday, U.S. country western singer who won the Grammy 1985, 86, 87, 89 She was voted top female country artist award in 1994.
    1966-Top Hits
When a Man Loves a Woman - Percy Sledge
A Groovy Kind of Love - The Mindbenders
Paint It, Black - The Rolling Stones
Distant Drums - Jim Reeves
    1967 - Daredevil Evel Knievel jumped 16 automobiles in a row in a motorcycle stunt at Ascot Speedway in Gardena, Georgia.
    1968-The Beatles begin recording "The White Album."
    1971 - The spacecraft Mariner 9 was launched in the direction of Mars. It became the first craft to orbit another planet, returning many images of Mars. The images revealed what appear to be riverbeds on the surface, suggesting the presence of water on Mars at some point in the past. Mariner 9 photographed the entire surface of Mars.
    1973 - No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit: "My Love," Paul McCartney & Wings. The song is McCartney's first No. 1 song with Wings, a group he formed after the breakup of the Beatles.
    1974-Top Hits
The Streak - Ray Stevens
Dancing Machine - The Jackson 5
The Show Must Go On - Three Dog Night
No Charge - Melba Montgomery
    1975 - Alice Cooper received a gold record for the romantic album, "Welcome to My Nightmare". Alice’s real name was Vincent Furnier. He changed his name to Alice Cooper in 1966 and was known primarily for his bizarre stage antics. He appeared in the film "Prince of Darkness" in 1987 and had 11 hits on the pop/rock charts in the ’70s and ’80s, including a pair of million-selling singles: "I Never Cry" and "Poison.”
    1980-Though many say disco is deader than a door nail, "Mickey Mouse Disco" turns platinum.
    1982-Top Hits
Ebony and Ivory - Paul McCartney with Stevie Wonder
Don’t Talk to Strangers - Rick Springfield
I’ve Never Been to Me - Charlene
Just to Satisfy You - Waylon & Willie
    1977-- "In company with the first lady ever to qualify at Indianapolis -- Gentlemen, start your engines." So began the 1977 Indianapolis 500, and the lady in question was the American race car driver Janet Guthrie.

    1985 - ABC-TV announced that every game of the baseball World Series would be played under the lights for the biggest baseball audience possible.
    1985 -The temperature in Oklahoma City reached a sizzling 104 degrees, making it the highest ever for so early in the season. Also, this marked the very first time the temperature had reached the 100 degree plateau in the month of May at Oklahoma City.
    1986 - Hanford, Washington hit a scorching 104 degrees, breaking the all-time record high temperature for May for Eastern Washington. Yakima, Washington hit 102 degrees, a record high for the month of May for Yakima. Records also fell at Boise and Reno.
    1988 - No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit: "One More Try," George Michael.
    1990-Top Hits
Vogue - Madonna
All I Wanna Do is Make Love to You - Heart
Hold On - Wilson Phillips
Walkin’ Away - Clint Black
    1992-Charles Geschke, president of Adobe Systems, is rescued after kidnappers held him hostage for four days. Geschke's generous philanthropy had attracted the attention of two would-be kidnappers in Silicon Valley. The two abducted Geschke at gunpoint in broad daylight, blindfolded him with duct tape, and kept him chained and handcuffed in a rented house.
The FBI nabbed one of the kidnappers during a ransom drop and rescued Geschke on 30 May 1992. Ironically, a neighbor of Geschke's had noticed a man, who later proved to be one of the kidnappers, rifling through Geschke's mail several days earlier. She had written down the license plate number; however, not knowing Geschke was missing, she never gave the number to the police until after Geschke had been returned.
    2001-- Barry Bonds hits career homer No. 522 passing Willie McCovey and Ted Williams to move up to #11 on the all time list, and making him the number one lefty home run hitter in National League history. The round tripper is the 17th hit by the Giant outfielder in May breaking the record set by Mickey Mantle (1956) and Mark McGwire (1998).
    2002-World Trade Center Recovery and Cleanup Ends. A solemn and mostly silent ceremony marked the symbolic end of recovery operations t Ground Zero, the former site of the World Trade Center, after the September 11, 2002, terrorists’ attacks. The last standing steel girder was cut down on May 28. An honor guard carried an empty stretcher draped with an American flag to represent those victims who were not recovered from the ruins. Members of the NYPD, NYPD and city, state and federal workers, as well as family members and Ground Zero recovery teams, participated in the ceremony.



Baseball Poem

It Ain't Over .. .

Baseball is something
like love. There's an elegance
about it—a fine tension.

Fielders pluck comets
from thin and glorious air.
Pitchers make solid spheres
disappear. And batters smash meteors
with matchsticks.

But fielders also topple
over fences, sprawl empty-handed
in the dust. Pitchers throw wild.
And batters sometimes tilt
at windmills.

Yet they lean in—watch—wait.
They risk looking foolish
in order to be brilliant.

Written by Louise Grieco in “Line Drives”
“100 Contemporary Baseball Poems”
edited by Brooke Horvath and Tim Wiles
Southern Illinois University Press




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