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Small-ticket Lessor seeking an experienced accounting professional for a full-time position. Successful candidates should have prior experience in the equipment leasing industry. Knowledge of LeasePlus accounting software a major plus. E-mail: recruiter@gen-cap.com.
[Job Description]

About the Company: Genesis Commercial Capital, LLC; Irvine, CA; www.gen-cap.com

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


Classified Ads---Asset Management
    Correction---Odd Couple at Main Street National Bank
            2.25% as Fed Raises Benchmark 5th Time
Survey: Lenders Pessimistic on Loan Demand
    Telecom Agent Association Position-by C.Menkin
        Weekly Bulletin Board Complaint Report
            UCC Gimmick Continues in Fax Campaign
National Penn's Chairman Named to Philadelphia Fed
    Financial Federal Initiates Quarterly Cash Dividend
        Fitch Ratings affirms GATX Ratings
Universal Express Capitalized in Excess of $25,000,000
    American Pallet Leasing, Inc. on Track to Achieve Goals
        CapitalStream/ North Fork Consolidate Biz Lending
FinanceCenter Integrates Info & Automates
    GE Com. Fin. Energy /Kyle to Lead Capital Markets
        News Briefs----
            Sports Briefs---
                "Gimme that Wine"
                    This Day in American History
                        American Football Poem

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



Classified Ads---Asset Management

Austin, TX.
20+ years exper. lease/finance. P & L responsibility, strong credit & collection management, re-marketing& accounting. Computers, construction, auto & transportation. Both commercial/ consumer portfolios.
Email: kmalone@austin.rr.com

Bloomfield Township, MI.
15+ yrs experience asset management and credit analyst. Leadership and training skills. Audited returns, max residual, lease end and resale negotiator. E-mail: cmcozzolino@msn.com

Chicago, IL.
MBA, 15+ years exp. Long history of success in maximizing residual position through outstanding negotiation skills & lease contract management. Third party re-marketing, forecasting etc...
Email: jgambla@aol.com

Princeton, NJ.
Asset management/credit/collection
20+ years experience in equipment financing. Last five years in Asset Management including remarketing, end of lease negotiations, equipment and market evaluations
E-mail: bgaffrey@earthlink.net

Wilton, CT.
18 years exp. in IT and High Tech leasing industry. Residual forecasting, workouts, off-lease sales, mid-term restructures, auctions, all aspects of remarketing and equipment management.
Email: charrer@hotmail.com

Full list of all 88 classified ads at:



Correction---Odd Couple at Main Street National Bank

Thomas J. Depping, Sierra Cities office, holding a can of diet Coca Cola. We asked for a more current picture, it appears he likes these from about five years ago.

Thomas J. Depping did not personally put in $21 million, but raised it. Sorry for the error. We were also informed ex-Sierra Cities salesmen and brokers are calling in great numbers, wanting to get on board. What Main Street is allegedly offering is not the lowest rate in town, but more points for those involved in making sales. With the break up on American Express Business Finance, timing could not be better. Reportedly Main Street National Bank is still in the process of setting up leasing, and Thomas J. Depping will grant an interview, but requests it “in person.” While your editor visits Houston, Texas, from time to time (Sue's daughter is in her fourth year of residency at the University of Texas medical hospital,) we are presently looking for a representative who would conduct a “fair and accurate” interview. Our first choice is Bruce Lurie, president of Douglas-Guardian. Editor

While we did not get an interview to hear the other side, perhaps this from leasing guru Bob Rodi, CLP, will clarify some of the questions we had:

“I have a comment on your Main Street Bank story, specifically the issue of "broker protection". What is broker protection, anyway? There is no such thing in my experience. This is, and has been an every man (or woman) for themselves business for years. If you do get some ridiculous agreement "in writing", what does it mean any way? Do you honestly want to lead "young" brokers in this business to believe, that there is someone out there, at the top levels of management, that will honor any such agreement? What advice would you give anyone about the "cross selling" initiatives that are underway at every bank and independent finance company with data mining software. We receive solicitations from the banks we do business with all the time because we borrow from them as well as selling or assigning small portfolios. This is not just direct mail, but actual phone solicitation. This is not going to stop simply because a third party originator has an "agreement" with the indirect lending group at some bank.

“As far as your comments about Bob Fisher, if he doesn't want to say anything in his own "defense" then allow me to say something on his behalf. As far as I'm concerned, Bob will bring a level of integrity to that operation that is sorely needed. The best thing that could happen would be that "management" will let Bob deal with the actual customers. If they are smart, they will give him the tools he needs to be successful and then get out of his way. I did a lot of business with Bob Fisher and I have known him for many years. While I don't know anything about Main Street Bank if I was approached by them to do business without Bob Fisher being there, I probably wouldn't give them the time of day. The fact that they chose to associate with Bob Fisher provides me with a hint that Depping and other former Sierra Cities people want to repair their image and take a different path this time around. Only time will tell but I would find it hard to believe that Bob Fisher would engage in any activity that wasn't honest, ethical and above board.

“Beyond that let's be realistic. Any new funding source has to be given the benefit of the doubt. With interest rates going up and the small business outlook improving, the money people, that have been sitting on the sidelines, appear ready to get back in the game. Brokers want protection? Let's get back to the days when we had 10 funding sources for every deal and watch how much protection you suddenly have!

“It appears that we may be entering another cycle where the pendulum will be swinging back to favor the originator. I hope that we have all learned something (third party originators and funding sources) from both recent events and the history of the past five years. If you want to give honest advice to "young" brokers, tell them not to fall prey to the short term, "last deal" mentality that always seems to be so pervasive in this business. Funding sources should heed the same advice. Look ahead, plan ahead and always, always, have a contingency plan. That is the best protection you can ever have as third party in this business.”

Bob Rodi, CLP
LeaseNOW, Inc.
1-800-321-LEASE (5327) x101

(Leasing News has never said that Mr. Depping did anything unethical in his running of Sierra Cities. He was a very tough boss, just as others have been at GE, CIT, to name a few. When you are the boss and make a decision, often your promote one over the other and eventually you make more enemies than friends. The issue of “broker protection” did not involve Sierra Cities itself, but the companies they purchased, as there have been no complaints about that brokers who did business direct with them had their clients called upon. In the matter of RW Professional, it may be as Bank of New York was mislead ( and CIT and others, too,) the same happened to Sierra Cities. We never heard Mr. Depping's side of the story, and perhaps in his sale he signed agreements not to discuss certain matters for legal purposes. As we reported on several occasions, we have never heard directly from him, only his detractors.

Robert J. Fisher, CLP

As for Bob Fisher, he is perhaps one of the best, if not the best, credit persons in the industry and above re-approach when it comes to ethics. We did not mean any harm in asking for an interview. In the military, we learned never to fool around with a US Marine.

To sum it up, Leasing News certainly agrees with Bob Rodi that Bob Fisher is the best person for the job at Main Street Business Bank. We wish him the best of success. If we had wanted to give him a hard time, we would have printed the following picture. editor)

Bob in the Winter of 2000, promoting the Orlando United Association of Equipment Leasing Conference at Disneyland ( there was nothing he wouldn't do as president!)





2.25% as Fed Raises Benchmark 5 th Time

Fed Panel Lifts Rates and Says More Increases Are Probable




Survey: Lenders Pessimistic on Loan Demand

US Bankers Weekly

For the second consecutive quarter, lenders' expectations for domestic loan demand dropped, according to Phoenix Management Services' quarterly survey on the lending in America. Only 32 percent of 99 lenders responding to the survey expect corporate lending demand to rise, down markedly from the 55 percent, who said the same last quarter. More than half of lenders (56 percent) predicted that loan demand for middle market and small business customers would rise, down from 70 percent last quarter.

Most of the lenders participating in the survey downgraded the economy's future performance to a “C.” “This marks the second consecutive quarter that lenders' confidence in the economy has dropped,” said E. Talbot Briddell, managing director of Phoenix Management Services. “As the economic recovery gained traction, we had six quarters of slowly but steadily increasing optimism in the economy. This downturn in outlook suggests a new level of concern. In lenders' eyes, the economy has suffered a relapse. What's unknown is whether it is a significant back slide or a temporary blip.” When asked which potential result of the Fannie Mae crisis concerned them the most, one-third of lenders said they feared that taxpayers might have to bail out Fannie Mae, similar to the S&L crisis of the 1980s.

Some 15 percent said their biggest concern was that homeowners would have less access to affordable mortgage loans, while 12 percent feared that swings in U.S. interest rates could be exacerbated as Fannie Mae hedges against rate increases. Ten percent said the most worrisome potential outcome of the crisis was that it could launch a new round of corporate scandals.



Your One stop solution for training and reference material for the Leasing Professional

Visit our website by clickng on the logo above

122-A Foothill Blvd., Arcadia, CA. 91006
Voice 626-305-1053 . Fax 626-305-0019 .



Telecom Agent Association Position

by Christopher Menkin

Reportedly NorVergence main source of funding came from leasing companies who paid it more than $200 million up front for the right to collect customers' lease payments.

Based on discussions with several state deputy attorney generals, Leasing News believes they are just starting to learn about equipment leasing, and they do believe there was criminal deception by the principals of NorVergence corporation, along with several leasing entities. They are investing time and money to go all the way. Pennsylvania was the first to go after the principals of the company.

One of the interesting items is they keep referring to “lessees” as “consumers.” ( I should comment, that the people who contact leasing news regarding a Bulletin Board Complaint and a leasing company on other matters, refer to themselves as “consumers.”

I don't really understand as they are commercial transactions, in fact, there is very little equipment leasing to consumers in the United States ( perhaps rental yards for machinery are an exception, but I think the majority of readers will agree with the statement these telephone leases are commercial transactions to businesses ( not individuals, although they may guarantee the transaction with a personal guarantee as a principal of the business.)

In addition to speaking with law enforcement agencies, we also speak with the many, many attorneys across the United States, who are suspicious of our motivations, but our goal is to be helpful, meaning directing them to:


In addition, explaining about:

Directing them to books to read:

I also recommend to them the tome “Equipment Leasing,” edited by the late Jeffrey Wong, Esq. ( up-dated annually )

The fact is there are many leasing companies that cannot afford to take a “hit” that may be minor to GE Capital. As a matter of fact, the Wall Street Journal in yesterday's edition gives GE Capital the recognition for holding the airline business together with their financial support.

One of the things Leasing News is discussing with its Advisory Board
(they do not review individual stories, but they are consulted whether we are going to make a stand, an editorial, on the NorVergence situation,) is our position of leadership on this situation that may change the equipment leasing industry as we know it today.

It is easy to say that each leasing company should make its own decision. Many may have a good case; others appear that there are several improprieties and “due process” not practiced. The “private label” program is highly vulnerable, in my personal opinion. Even the Equipment Leasing Association sent a contingent to the New York Attorney General's office regarding “contract law” and stated they have never seen such a situation in twenty-five years.

In addition, I have been told the courts in the City of New York have the strongest “hell and high water” contracts in the business. Yet GE made a settlement, deciding to take their losses before it got worse. Being right or wrong was overcome with making a better business decision.

The question is how does Leasing News support the best interest of essentially the entire industry as well as the business public. After all, they are the leasing customer, and the first word out is “ customer service.” Do we sue them and call this “customer service,” meaning taking care of our customer by taking care of our self first. GE Capital evidently didn't think that way.

NorVergence was forced into bankruptcy by two leasing entities who had become “wise” to what was actually going on. They were bundling the leases, selling them off in portfolio's, and learning about the problems from lessees, and NorVergence evidently not living up to its “representations and warranties.”

In the major of the incidences, leases were not put together by salesmen or brokers, but allegedly marketed by Robert J. Fine to banks and other financial institutions, under the alleged direct supervision of Alex Wolf, director of operations for NorVergence.

This leases were marketed directly and perhaps brokers being involved, or direct salesmen, may have seen through the deception.

It appears more and more a very smart business decision by GE Capital to make a settlement in the State of New York to resolve the controversy with their lessees. I don't mean to be redundant about this, but what should Leasing News position be on this. If we are to live up to our “mission,” we need to make a stand.

Many of the NorVergence lessees want more than the lease payments removed, but also remuneration, and as important, retribution. The Florida attorney general is suing the leasing companies in his state, while other

state deputy attorney generals are learning how “equipment leasing” works. I can tell you it has been a “foreign” world to them.

There reaction is the lack of regulation.

Here is a copy of the Telecom Agent Association legal filing on the matter:



The Leasing News mission is printed here:


and the essense is:

The Mission of “The World” newspaper

“An institution which should always fight for progress and reform; never tolerate injustice or corruption; always fight demagogues of all parties; never belong to any party; always oppose privileged classes and public plunder; never lack sympathy with the poor; always remain devoted to the public welfare; never be satisfied with merely printing the news; always be drastically independent; never be afraid to attack wrong, whether by predatory plutocracy or predatory poverty.”

October 30,1911 Frank J. Cobb, editor, “The World”  His statement is a quote from the publisher Joseph Pulitzer's retirement speech on April 10,1907.

World Leasing Yearbook 2005

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Pages: 524
Edition: 26th
Directory Contacts: 4,354 Companies

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The only annually-updated international reference book for the asset financing and leasing industry available. The new 26th edition includes the latest market trends, over 100 authoritative articles and reports on the leasing software and IT market, an exclusive ranking of the top 50 leasing markets by size worldwide with feature profiles from Africa to Venezuela PLUS a directory of over 4,354 companies.

To order call +44 (0) 20 7779 8999 or toll free in the US +1 800 437 9997 to receive your 10% discount. You can also order on line at
to order online.



Weekly Bulletin Board Complaint Report

by Kit Menkin

1) Union Capital, Irvine, California has two bulletin board complaints posted. Leasing News received a third, and now a fourth.

” Union Capital solicited for a lease for equipment. Talked to AJ with Union Capital. Company did credit check everything was great. Requested $1,462.44 on 11/02/04, then lease would be funded in 3 to 5 days.

” After check had cleared the bank, the delays began. After requesting every possible piece of paperwork there was one delay after another. It went on til now. I had to get funding elsewhere and when I requested a refund due they would not return phone calls or e-mails. I am still trying to get my money back. I have not signed any contract with them. I have filed a complaint with BBB. I sent them my money in good faith and what they gave me is a bunch of grief. If you need any more information you may contact me via -mail at jimrider1130@hotmail.com

--- Customer information ---
Name = Jim Rider
Address = 3523 Eldron Avenue
City = North Port
State = FL
Zipcode = 34286
Phone = 941-423-2298
Fax =
Email  =jimrider1130@hotmail.com

When you type in the name of the company with city and state, the Leasing News Bulletin Board comes up second and third in Google.

We have received e-mail from potential customers who have found this, and/or have visited bbb.org for the Better Business Bureau report.

Leasing News has asked for a comment from Union Capital, and received the following:

“It is extremely unfortunate that the James Rider transaction has resulted in complaints to Leasing News and BBB. We actually went out of our way to get Mr. Rider's deal done. I think Mr. Rider has not been forthcoming about all the details he provided to you regarding his transaction and complaint. Yes, we did take some time to get the final approval, but due to the fact that Mr. Rider is in business for himself,

( for privacy sake, some of the other issues are not included. editor )

“These were some of the obstacles that we had to overcome in order to get the final approval for his transaction. We did get a final approval for Mr. Rider and at his request provided lease documents that were sent to him at two different email addresses on November, 15. Please review the attached email response to an email received from Mr. Rider, which he sent probably because he was unaware that final documents had been sent to him via email, even though he was called and left numerous voicemail messages.


“Mr. Rider later informed Union Capital that he was going to have his attorney review the documents before signing, and then never tried to reach us regarding the matter. We would not have spent so much time and effort on this transaction if we would have known that Mr. Rider didn't really want to go through with the deal. We never intended to do anything short of fund Mr. Rider's transaction, but he has proven to be a very difficult individual to deal with. He just seemed to complain at every step when we tried to obtain information to prove to our lenders that he was indeed in the construction business like he stated on his application.

“Our position is to fund transactions and use approvals we obtain. It would seem that he has no intention of using the approval so at this point we would have no problem with refunding him minus a small admin fee, but since he has complained to the BBB we need to resolve that in order to put this transaction to a close.”


Leasing News is trying to resolve the issue between both parties, but at this time, it does appear as a legitimate complaint to be posted on the bulletin board.

2)  The vendor called saying he had not been paid for a piece of

equipment, and should have followed the Better Business Bureau on this company located in Southern California. The company located in Tennessee signed the contract on November 22, and stated to the Leasing Company that they check in amount of $10,406.86 “...cleared my bank on December 2 nd. I do not understand why your company would ask for more information after accepting a deposit.

This is simply not good business...I do have another leasing company who is ready to finalize the lease with no further information. Therefore, I feel that I have provided a sufficient amount of information for your company to process the transaction. It is in the best interest of my company to respectfully request a full refund of my deposit, if your company cannot the lease finalized by 5pm eastern time today. I expect the refund to be sent Fed Ex next day air as this was the method used to have it sent to your company.”

The vendor wanted to ship the equipment on the new leasing company's word the lease was approved. After receiving a copy of the lease contract, Leasing News informed both the vendor and “applicant.” if they withdrew from the transaction, the lessee would lose his deposit. It was quite simple and spelled out. If the lease did not go through, the lessee was entitled to the money back ( it said.) There also was a provision regarding providing financial information, and as important, not a time period for the transaction to be completed. The vendor wanted to sell the equipment to someone else and then he thought the “applicant” would get the deposit back.

I told him that was not covered and most likely would result in a civil dispute with venue in California that would cost more than the deposit to just get started.

We asked for a minimum of three days and a maximum of ten to get to the bottom of the complaint, as our history shows when we contact the president it often takes time him to find out what is happening, and review with his staff, salesmen, credit person, and perhaps legal.

The vendor has called several times saying he should have read the Better Business Bureau report before sending an invoice to the leasing company in question.

3) “Nothing has been returned from the (Florida leasing firms) or the Broker from my former office...but the broker, as I said before, does not talk to me and the Parkers really don't know me except by way of the wire I sent to their bank (******* in Ft. Lauderdale for $47,500) and my partners wire (******).

“I have spoken to the FBI and an attorney representing someone who lost $240,000, who has talked to the United States Attorney's office in FL (I need to call the attorney for an update).

“I still have not mailed you any info yet, but quite frankly believe you won't be able do much based on our previous emails........”

I am afraid your are right. Now if you told the Florida AG this was a NorVergence transaction, maybe you might get some act-schion right away.



UCC Gimmick Continues in Fax Campaign

“If termination requirements are not administered correctly and in a timely manner, an automatic lease renewal clause and lien continuation my be triggered. This will cause an extension of the lease, the requirement of additional payments and delay in your receipt of a clear title.”

This is in the first paragraph of a fax to a lessee along with the UCC particulars, including federal ID, creditor, assignee, debtor, and looks quite official, from Lease Administrators, Walnut Creek, California.

For a fee of $125 they will have the UCC lien removed. In most instances, the UCC's expire after five years, and in most states, the fee for taking care of this can be done on line. In California the fee is usually $10, and at top, $20.


If your customer calls you regarding this, you may wish to send them a copy of our story:



National Penn's Chairman Named to Philadelphia Federal Reserve Board

U.S. Banker's Weekly

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia has appointed Wayne R. Weidner, chairman and CEO of National Penn Bancshares, Inc., to its board of directors for a three-year term beginning in January. Each of the 12 reserve banks has a nine-member Board of Directors, which oversees bank operations. Weidner also is chairman of National Penn Bank.

National Penn Bancshares is a $4.3 billion financial services company headquartered in Boyertown, PA. The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia serves depository institutions in eastern Pennsylvania, southern New Jersey and Delaware. The bank supplies cash to the banks and thrifts, supervises them, collects and processes about five million checks daily, wires money and securities nationwide, and participates in setting monetary policy.

( National Penn Leasing is a subsidiary of Penn National Bank.


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

Financial Federal Corporation Initiates Quarterly Cash Dividend

NEW YORK----Financial Federal Corporation (NYSE:FIF) announced that its Board of Directors has declared its first quarterly cash dividend of $0.10 per share of common stock. The dividend is payable on January 31, 2005 to stockholders of record at the close of business on January 7, 2005.

Paul R. Sinsheimer, Chairman and CEO, commented: "We are pleased to enhance shareholder value by starting to provide a cash return. Our current and projected levels of liquidity and leverage enable us to pay a cash dividend and to continue to grow our finance receivables portfolio at a sound pace."

This document contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Readers are referred to the most recent reports on Forms 10-K and 10-Q filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission that identify such risks and uncertainties.

Financial Federal Corporation specializes in financing industrial and commercial equipment through installment sales and leasing programs for dealers, manufacturers and end users nationwide. For additional information, please visit us at

Financial Federal Corporation Steven F. Groth, 212-599-8000

Fitch Ratings Affirms GATX Financial; Outlook to Positive


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

NEW YORK---Fitch Ratings affirms GATX Financial Corp.'s
(GATX Financial)

ratings as follows:

-- Senior debt 'BB';

-- Commercial paper 'B';

Fitch has also revised GATX Financial's Rating Outlook to Positive from Stable. Approximately $2.8 billion of debt are covered by Fitch's actions.

GATX Financial is the principal operating subsidiary of GATX Corp. (GATX), a specialized equipment finance and leasing holding company. To eliminate the impact of double leverage, Fitch analyzes GATX Financial at the GATX level.

GATX's rating strengths center on the company's significant amount of contingent liquidity, improving capitalization and declining financial leverage, demonstrated asset knowledge and good market position in selected equipment sectors, and management's willingness to make difficult decisions for the long-term benefit of the company. Rating concerns focus on the economic cyclicality inherent in the company's businesses, the timing and the magnitude of future lease rate increases and resultant improvement in core profitability, and the ability to cost effectively fund business in the unsecured debt markets.

The Rating Outlook revision reflects the initiatives that management completed in 2004 to strengthen GATX's balance sheet and the general improvement in the company's core markets: railcar and aircraft leasing. In terms of the balance sheet, the company's quarterly common dividend was cut to 20 cents a share from 32 cents in January 2004. Although painful, this was the right action as management had, in 2000, repositioned GATX as a specialty finance company, a business in which internal capital formation is crucial to support growth. Previously, GATX was a diversified transportation company. Also, on June 30, 2004, GATX sold GATX Technology Services (GTS) to subsidiaries of CIT Group, Inc. for net proceeds of $246 million, of which $31 million was yet to be received as of Sept. 30, 2004. While Fitch is comfortable with the vendor-neutral information technology business model, GATX may have been disadvantaged to others due to a lack of scale. In exiting this business, GATX was able to reduce its financial leverage while redeploying capital to business units where better prospects exist.

In contrast to the improvement in its balance sheet, GATX's operating results remain mixed. For 2004, the company is likely to report its best operating results since 2001. However, similar to the financial results reported over the past four full years, the company's 2004 results will be affected by nonrecurring gains/losses. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2004, GATX realized approximately $58 million in nonrecurring gains from an insurance settlement ($48 million) and a reversal in loan loss reserve ($10 million). Taken together, these two gains equate to approximately $38 million after-tax income for the nine-month period ended Sept. 30, 2004. The good news about the company's operating results in 2004 is that asset impairment charges have been modest. This suggests, along with management's public commentary, that the equipment demand in the company's end-markets has begun to strengthen. GATX's rail and aircraft utilization rates at Sept. 30, 2004 were 97% and 100%, respectively, which were their highest levels over the past five years. While these equipment utilization levels are not reflected in the company's lease revenues, if demand remains strong, GATX will continue to be able to selectively raise lease rates as existing contracts expire, but the impact of increased lease rates probably will not be clear until 2006.

GATX's asset quality has also evolved into a good story for 2004 and has helped propel earnings. Given the physical collateral nature of GATX's assets and increased demand by its customers, the company, through Sept. 30, 2004, reported significantly improved asset quality relative to full-year 2003. While the sustainability of asset quality at current levels will be difficult, Fitch does not expect credit costs to rise to the levels reported in 2002 and 2003. However, as the company shrinks its Specialty Finance business, the denominator effect could result in credit losses, in percentage terms, being artificially inflated relative to previous periods.

All measures of capitalization and leverage have improved in 2004 due to improved earnings retention and asset shrinkage. The capital base is solid, with goodwill representing less than 10% of common equity at Sept. 30, 2004. Similarly, financial leverage also improved. While financial leverage, measured as total on-balance sheet debt plus off-balance sheet operating leases (managed debt) divided by tangible equity, remained high, for an operating lessor, at Sept. 30, 2004 at 5.06 times (x), this was a substantial reduction from the 7.59x that was reported at year-end 2002. Fitch notes that at Sept. 30, 2004, GATX' unrestricted cash balance was unusually large, at $143 million, due to the proceeds received from recent asset sales.

Tracing its roots to 1898, GATX Financial is a wholly owned subsidiary of GATX. GATX Financial operates through three business segments: GATX Rail, GATX Air, and GATX Specialty Finance. Through these businesses, GATX Financial combines asset knowledge and services, structuring expertise, partnering, and risk capital to provide business solutions to customers and partners worldwide. GATX Financial specializes in railcar, locomotive, and aircraft operating leasing.

Fitch Ratings, New York Philip S. Walker, Jr., 212-908-0624 (CFA) Matthew D. Gallino, 212-908-0218 Kenneth Reed, 212-908-0540 (Media Relations)


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

Universal Express Capital Division Capitalized in Excess of $25,000,000

NEW YORK------Universal Express, Inc. (OTCBB:USXP), today announced as per its contract signed October 27, 2004. Capitallance Financial Services, LLC has capitalized USXP Capital with over $25,000,000.

"Shareholder distribution shares and filing schedules for USXP Capital will be forthcoming from Capitiallance Financial Services, LLC," said Mr. Altomare, Chairman & CEO of Universal Express, Inc.

About Universal Express

Universal Express, Inc. owns and operates several subsidiaries including Universal Express Capital Corp. (USXP Cash Express & Leasing Division), and Universal Express Logistics (Luggage Express and the Virtual Bellhop). These subsidiaries and divisions provide its private postal trade association, (Universal Post) customers, and couriers with value-added services and products, logistical services, equipment leasing, and cost-effective delivery of goods and luggage worldwide. For more information visit www.usxp.com.

Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: The statements contained herein, which are not historical, are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements including, but not limited to, certain delays beyond the Company's control with respect to market acceptance of new technologies, products and services, delays in testing and evaluation of products and services, and other risks detailed from time to time in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Investor Relations: Equitilink L.L.C. Ron Gardner, 877-788-1940 toll free
858-824-1940 International or local www.equitilinkpr.com


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

American Pallet Leasing, Inc. on Track to Achieve Goals

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa------American Pallet Leasing, Inc. (APL), a vertically integrated manufacturer and logistical supplier of pallets, and wholly owned subsidiary of Literary Playpen, Inc. (OTCBB:LYPP) announced today that the execution of its business plan is on target. Since the September 22nd reverse acquisition that created American Pallet Leasing, Inc (APL), Company management has initiated several activities designed to achieve the young company's stated goals.

Prior to the reverse acquisition, APL purchased its first operating entity, G&G/Cherokee Wood Inc., a saw mill in Blackburg, S.C., which currently is generating revenue for the Company. The purchase marked the first round in APL's acquisition strategy to "roll up" the industry, composed of more than 3,500 pallet manufacturers, and to acquire strategic lumber mills in order to better facilitate customer requirements. The Blackburg facility is the first hub in the Company's Hub and Spoke national logistics concept. Other hub facilities that have been identified in Nebraska, North Carolina, Tennessee, Illinois and Texas are in the process of being acquired.

On Nov. 3, 2004 APL announced the hiring of its new Chief Financial Officer, Byron Hudson, a veteran accounting and financial management expert with more than 30 years experience, including 5 years at KPMG, 4 years as vice president/controller (chief accounting officer) of Belk Stores Services, and 6 years as chief financial officer of Pic 'N Pay Stores, Inc. More importantly, he has served as a financial manager of several entrepreneurial companies and has 20 years experience as a certified public accountant (CPA).

Also in November, the Company began construction of its Midwest Regional Headquarters in Rock Valley, Iowa, which will house a new 25,000 square foot facility for manufacturing wood/steel pallets. Situated on 12 acres of land the facility will employ some 60 local residents. To date, the footings have been poured and the plumbing and electrical conduit has been roughed in. The building is on schedule to be completed in early 2005 with manufacturing commencing in February.

APL Chief Executive Officer, Timothy R. Bumgarner, said that he is pleased with the progress the Company has made so far. "We believe we have a sound business plan and we are executing it well. We are building an excellent management team and our working Board of Directors brings a wealth of relevant experience that can assist us through business challenges from financing and acquisitions to manufacturing and sales."

"In addition, we are negotiating a number of contracts that involve other acquisitions as well as logistical services sales. We are looking forward to the next several months and are confident that we will be fulfilling our first logistical services contracts later next year," Mr. Bumgarner said.

About American Pallet Leasing Inc.

APL is a vertically integrated manufacturer and logistical supplier of pallets. The Company is engaged in an acquisition roll-up of strategically located wood pallet manufacturers and saw (lumber) mills. Management's goal is to create a "Closed Loop Distribution System" by transforming the $1.6 billion-per-year pallet business from a commodity industry into a logistics management enterprise that will supply and manage the pallet requirements of manufacturers and distributors. APL currently owns one saw mill and intends to acquire other saw mills as a means of sourcing cheap lumber for its wood pallet manufacturing operations. APL also holds patents on proprietary galvanized steel pallets and intends to commence the manufacture of its patented steel pallets subject to the receipt of additional capital. The Company intends to enter into management and logistics contracts with manufacturers and distributors pursuant to which APL will supply and manage all of the customers' pallet needs. So far, all of APL's revenue has come from its sawmill operations, but the Company currently is in negotiations to procure its initial management and logistics contracts.

About Literary Playpen, Inc.

Literary Playpen, Inc. acquired APL on September 22, 2004. Literary Playpen, Inc. is a publicly-traded non-operating corporation that had insignificant assets as of the close and has not generated significant revenues over the past few years. Literary Playpen is considered a development stage company as defined in Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 7.

American Pallet Leasing Inc. Timothy R. Bumgarner or Byron Hudson, 864-936-7000 or EPOCH Financial Group James Kautz, 678-574-5615

CapitalStream Helps North Fork Bank Consolidate Business Lending on a Single Platform


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

FinanceCenter Integrates Information and Automates Decisioning

SEATTLE, WA - CapitalStream, a leader in front office automation solutions for commercial finance operations, announced that North Fork Bank has successfully consolidated business credit origination and decisioning onto a common Web-based solution using CapitalStream's FinanceCenter. North Fork Bank, a $58 billion multi-bank holding company headquartered in Melville, NY, implemented FinanceCenter, CapitalStream's front office automation platform to streamline its loan processing services for business lending and improve process flexibility to handle expansion.

North Fork Bank replaced its existing application processing systems by deploying FinanceCenter to automate application entry, credit bureau integrations, decisioning and workflow processing while also deploying straight through processing directly to the back end servicing system. These improvements will provide significantly greater flexibility in the integration of the company's business processes related to loan and credit processing in its small business lending operations.

``With CapitalStream's front office automation solution, we can take an application, gather all the required information, make a decision, and respond quickly back to the customer,'' said Nancy Foster, senior vice president, Small Business Financial Services at North Fork Bank. ``Branches have secure and easy access over the Web to application, credit and status information. It's an important step forward in increasing throughput and improving responsiveness.''

FinanceCenter provides business credit origination and workflow automation in a single solution that delivers real-time, collaborative decisioning, document management and process automation capabilities. CapitalStream's integrated front office solution automates all business credit processes from application, submittal, and schedule creation to the generation of a credit offering memorandum, automation of the credit approval process, and the uploading of funding/booking information to the servicing system.

``North Fork Bank is among the leading financial institutions investing in technology to streamline business lending operations, increase revenue and improve customer service with more integrated products and services,'' said Kevin Riegelsberger, CapitalStream's president and CEO. ``CapitalStream's FinanceCenter solution is designed to automate the various processes and link the various systems to provide a complete, easy-to-use front office platform. In today's business lending climate, automation and integration is absolutely essential to remain competitive.''

About North Fork

North Fork Bank operates 350 branches in the New York metropolitan area. The Bank provides a variety of banking and financial services to middle-market and small business organizations, local government units and retail banking customers in the greater New York metropolitan area. The Company's other subsidiaries offer financial services and related products, such as asset management, securities brokerage and sales of alternative investment products. For more information, visit: (http://www.northforkbank.com/NorthForkHome.asp) http://www.northforkbank.com/NorthForkHome.asp

About CapitalStream

Established in 1995, CapitalStream provides software and consulting services that enable commercial banks and finance companies to collaborate, integrate and operate more effectively across their front office operations. CapitalStream solutions streamline data gathering, deal structuring, credit analysis, document generation, booking, account monitoring and ongoing risk management to more effectively originate transactions and manage commercial relationships. CapitalStream transforms the paper-based operations of mid market, small business, equipment leasing and commercial real estate groups by reducing costs, risk and processing times to grow their portfolios without increasing headcount. For more information, visit us at (http://www.capitalstream.com) www.capitalstream.com

CapitalStream contact: Sandra Sick Tel: 206.548.1703 (mailto:sandras@capitalstream.com) sandras@capitalstream.com (http://www.capitalstream.com) www.capitalstream.com


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

GE Commercial Finance Energy Financial Services To Arrange, Intermediate Debt; Kyle to Lead Capital Markets Growth Initiative for Expanded Debt Products Unit

STAMFORD, Conn)----GE Commercial Finance Energy Financial Services is accelerating its growth strategy of arranging and intermediating energy debt. To pursue this effort, Don Kyle, a veteran capital markets and energy finance expert has joined the business' Debt Products unit as Managing Director and Capital Markets Leader.

"The buildup of our debt capital markets capabilities is a key component of our growth and a natural way to leverage our credibility and relationships in the energy financial space," explains Tony Shizari, Managing Director and leader of GE Commercial Finance Energy Financial Services' Debt Products group. "Don Kyle will help us broaden our role as an equity and debt investor to include advising, underwriting and arranging energy debt. Don's capital markets and industry expertise make him well qualified to lead this ambitious effort for Energy Financial Services, working closely with our customers and partners as well as the GE Commercial Finance Capital Markets team."

Kyle joins GE Commercial Finance Energy Financial Services from Societe Generale/SG Gowen Securities, where he was Head of Project Finance Debt Markets, responsible for origination and execution of debt placement transactions in the bank syndication and public and private capital markets for project finance, power and energy and infrastructure sectors. Prior to Societe Generale, Kyle held positions in project finance, syndications and capital markets at UBS and Citicorp. During his career, he has arranged over $80 billion in debt transactions in the energy and project finance sectors.

Kyle holds a BA in Economics from St. Lawrence University and an MBA from UCLA.

About GE Commercial Finance Energy Financial Services

GE Commercial Finance Energy Financial Services, based in Stamford, Conn., invests about $3 billion annually in the world's most capital-intensive industry, energy. With more than $11 billion in assets under management, EFS offers structured equity, debt, leveraged leasing, partnerships, project finance and broad-based commercial finance to the global energy industry from wellhead to wall socket. For more information, visit www.geenergyfinancialservices.com.

GE Commercial Finance, which offers businesses around the globe an array of financial products and services, has assets of over US$230 billion and is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, USA. General Electric (NYSE:GE) is a diversified technology, media and financial services company dedicated to creating products that make life better. For more information, visit www.ge.com .


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


News Briefs---

Dollar Slips Against Yen

GE Expects Profit Rise of Up to 17% Next Year

Gifford retiring early at Bank of America

Airline industry may break even in 2005

National Venture Capital Association Predictions for 2005

October Trade Gap a Record, Up 9% in Month

Student loan ABS: the wildcard

Directors Approve Sprint- Nextel Merger

Las Vegas Sands prices its IPO at $29

Emperor Norton's name may yet span the bay S.F. board endorses plan to rename Bay Bridge after 19th century eccentric

Court Rules RIM Infringed on Blackberry—2 Million Subscribers may be affected

Google to digitize millions of books



Drudge Reports: An apartment near the World Trade Center site that former Police Commissioner Bernard B. Kerik used to engage in an extramarital affair with publisher Judith Regan, was originally donated for the use of weary police and rescue workers who were helping after 9-11! One bedroom faced the pit of ground zero... Regan would visit it while Kerik was police commissioner, meaning between Sept. 11 and Dec. 31, 2001. Kerik refused to answer any questions Tuesday regarding the apt... New York Times top front page questioned

Kerik alleged Mafia connections:



Sports Briefs----

NHL faceoff still frozen

SF 49er Coach Erickson may bolt Coach, Ole Miss discuss opening


Barlow angered by loss of starting job with Niners


“Gimme that Wine”

Quirky comedy Sideways

Paul Giamatti (l) plays a divorced teacher and failed novelist was named the best film of the year by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.


Wine Books by NY Times Eric Asimov

Chilean Grapes for Great Wines

Wine Tourism: Another Way of Traveling

Remembering Brother Timothy



This Day in American History

    1791-The first 10 amendments to the US Constitution, known as the Bill of Rights, became effective following ratification by Virginia. The anniversary of ratification and of effect is observed as Bill of Rights Day. The constitutional amendments were drawn up by James Madison and were declared in force this day, having been passed by both houses of Congress and ratified by their required number of states. The first of them established religious freedom, freedom of speech and press, the right to assemble, and the right to petition the government. The amendments were submitted to the states by the First Congress on September 25,1789. The first state to ratify was New Jersey, which acted on November 20,1789. Originally both houses passed 12 amendments, but two of them---on the proportion of representatives and on compensation—failed to secure the requisite number of states and ratifications.
    1792-The first life insurance offered by a general insurance company was offered by the Insurance Company of North America, organized in Philadelphia, PA with a capital of $600,000 on December 10 th . The first policy was issued this day. Only six policies were written in five years, and in 1804 the life insurance feature was a discontinued. The first president was John Maxwell Nesbitt. He was a co-founder of the Bank of North American with Robert Morris, who both helped finance the revolutionary war.

    1814-Twenty-six “Federalist party” Delegates from Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont, who opposed the War of 1812, met to plan secession from the United States. Known in history as “The Hartford Convention,” it lasted until January 5, 1815. They voted not to secede




    1839 - The first of triple storms hit Massachusetts Bay. The storm produced whole gales, and more than 20 inches of snow in interior New England. There was great loss of life at Gloucester MA
    1854-The first street-cleaning machine of importance was employed by Philadelphia, PA. This was a historic event, as most city streets were quite dirty, which not only hampered transportation but was quite unsanitary. According to a contemporary account, it consists of “a series of brooms on a cylinder about two feet six inches wide, attached to two endless chins, running over an upper and lower set of pulleys, which are suspended on a light frame of wrought iron behind a cart, the body of which is near the ground. As the cart wheels revolve, a rotary motion is given to the pulleys conveying the endless chains and a series of brooms attached to them; which being made to bear on the ground successively sweep the surface and carry the soil up an incline or carrier plate, over the top of which it dropped into the cart.”
    1869 -- Norton I, Emperor of the United States & Protector of Mexico, & the greatest American ruler in history, leaves San Francisco to seek his yearly tribute from the legislature & lobbyists. He inspects the new capitol during the gala ball celebrating the buildings' inauguration.
    1874-The first child abuse prevention organization was the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, founded in New York City by Henry Bergh, Elbridge Gerry, and James Wright. Initial funding was provided by Cornelius Vanderbilt. Bergh had earlier founded the American Society for the Prevention Of Cruelty to Animals in 1866.

    1874-The first reigning king to visit the United States was David Kalakaua, King of the Sandwich Islands(Hawaii), who was elected king on Fe3bruary 12, 1874, by a vote of 39-6. He embarked on the USS Benicia on November 17,1874 and was received at the White House, Washington, DC, by President Ulysses Simpson Grant. Congress tendered him a reception on December 18. He arranged for a treaty of reciprocity, which was concluded on January 30,1875. He returned to his country on February 15 on the USS Pensacola.




    1890-Sitting Bull is murdered by soldiers after he had surrendered, then claimed he was trying to escape. Famous Sioux Indian leader, medicine man and warrior of the Hunkpapa Teton band. Known also by his native name, Tatanka-yatanka, Sitting Bull was born on the Grand River, SD. He first accompanied his father on the warpath at the age of 14 against the Crow and thereafter rapidly gained influence within his tribe. In 1886 he led a raid on Fort Buford. His steadfast refusal to go to a reservation led General Phillip Sheridan to initiate a campaign against him which led to the massacre of Lieutenant Colonel George Custer's men at the Little Bighorn, after which Sitting Bull fled to Canada, remaining there until 1881. He later joined the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show and toured the US and Europe. When the government tried to take more land from the Indians, he became active again. A copy of the days newspapers about his death is noted below, and this is from Don Russell, “The Lives and Legends of Buffalo Bill(Norman, Okla, University of Oklahoma Press, 1960., page 132:) “At the outbreak of the Ghost Dance War, the War Department ordered the arrest of Chief Sitting Bull. Although the Sioux chief was , by 1890, quite old and had lost much of his power within the tribe, the army still feared him as a great anti-white leader. Forty-three Indian policeman, with the backing of two troops of the Eight Calvary just three miles away, were sent to make the arrest. “ An hour before dawn the Indian police arrived at Sitting Bull's cabin. At first the old chief offered no resistance; but when a few policemen tried to speed things up by dressing him roughly, he became angry. A crowd of Sitting Bull supporters gathered. Almost ready to leave, the chief demanded that the Indian police saddle his horse. “Sitting Bull's was no ordinary horse, but an equine from the staged, show time West. It had belonged to Buffalo Bill, and Sitting Bull had performed special tricks with it when the Indian had traveled with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. When Sitting Bull left the show to return to the Indian nation, Buffalo Bill, in friendship, gave the trick horse to him as a gesture of the showman's gratitude. “As the Indian police dragged and pushed Sitting Bull from his cabin, words were exchanged between the chief's supporters and his abductors. Suddenly, Sitting Bull announced that he was not going. Shots rang out, and with the first volley Sitting Bull was struck dead, one bullet entering from the front and another from behind. Both bullets were fired by the Indian police. “Oddly, when the shooting started, Sitting Bull's horse took the cue for his act in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. With bullets flying everywhere, Indian police and Sitting Bull partisans scurrying for cover, the horse began to perform his tricks. Right in the middle of the newly anointed battlefield, he sat down and raised one hoof. Terror-stricken, some of the Indian police thought Sitting Bull's freed spirit had entered his horse and made the animal do the act. The battle continued for thirty minutes. Fourteen people, from both sides, were killed. “ Sitting Bull's horse, incredible, was not injured, and an Indian policeman rode him to Fort Yates with news of the battle. Eventually, the chief's horse was returned to Buffalo Bill, who put him back to work in the Wild West Show. In 1893, at the Chicago Columbian Exposition, the Wild West Show's cavalry standard bearer rode Sitting Bull's old horse.”




    1895-birthday of composer Any Razaf, Washington, DC, died February 3, 1973,Los Angeles


    1896—Breaking all records, 1,096,509 shares of stock were traded at the New York Stock Exchange; over one million shares of stock.
    1897-Birthday of trumpet player Ed Allen, Nashville, TN
    1911-Bandleader Stan Kenton born Wichita, Kansas “Salt Peanuts!”

    1925-Birthday of trumpet player Jimmy Nottingham, Brooklyn, NY


    1927-Birthday of sax player Gene Quill, Atlantic City, NJ

    1929-Birthday of pianist Barry Harris, Detroit, MI
    1932-Birthday of vocalist/song writer Jesse Belvin, San Antonio, TX
http://www.electricearl.com/dws/belvin.htm http://www.vh1.com/artists/az/belvin_jesse/bio.jhtml l
    1934-Birthday of Trombonist Curtis Fuller, Detroit, MI


    1935-Birthday of drummer Dannie Richmond, New York City

    1939 - The epic film "Gone with the Wind" had its world premiere in Atlanta, introduced by its producer David O. Selznick.
    1941 - On Victor Records, Lena Horne recorded the classic torch song that became her signature: "Stormy Weather".


    1942-Dave Clark, musician (leader of the Dave Clark Five, "I Like It Like That"), born London, England.

    1943-Battle of San Pietro: A German panzer battalion inflicted heavy casualties on American forces trying to take the 700-year-old Italian village of San Pietro, before withdrawing from the town. San Pietro was reduced almost entirely to rubble. The American movie director John Huston, serving as an Army lieutenant, filmed the battle for the military. So graphic was the film that it was described as antiwar by the military brass at the War Department. The film was cut from five to three reels before censors allowed it to be released in 1944. It was later re-edited for the television series "The Big Picture."
    1943-The first Marine officer of Chinese descent was Wilbur Carl Sze, commissioned a second lieutenant. He was born in Washington, DC, and at the age of five went to China, where he remained for 11 years before returning to the United States.
    1943-King Cole Trio records,” Sweet Lorraine.”
    1944-Glenn Miller, 40, crashes in the English Channel
    1944-Invasion of Mindoro, Philippines. After the usual barrage from naval guns, the US 24th Division landed on Mindoro, the largest of the islands immediately south of Luzon (the most important island of the Philippines). American soldiers easily advanced eight miles inland, took the perimeter of their beachhead and started construction of an airfield. Japanese kamikaze counterattacks, however, sank two motor torpedo boats and damaged the escort carrier Marcus Island, two destroyers and a third motor torpedo boat, making Mindoro a more costly conquest than the island of Leyte had been.


    1944-The first US Army generals to wear the five-start insignia were Henry Harley “Hap” Arnold, Dwight David Eisenhower, Douglas MacArthur, and George Catlett Marshall, who appointments were ratified by the Senate this day. The grade of General of the Army was established by act of Congress on December 14, 1944.
    1944-The first US Navy admirals to wear the five-star insignia as Admirals of the Fleet were Ernest Joseph King, William Daniel Leahy, and Chester William Nimitz, whose appointments were ratified by the Senate this day. The grade of fleet admiral of the Navy was established by act of Congress on December 14, 1944. 1949-Birdland opens in New York City


    1945 - A record December snowstorm buried Buffalo, NY, under 36.6 inches of snow, with unofficial totals south of the city ranging up to 70 inches. Travel was brought to a halt by the storm.
    1954-“Davy Crockett” premieres on TV. This show, a series of five segments, can be considered TV's first miniseries. Shown on Walt Disney's "Disneyland" show, it starred Fess Parker as American western hero Davy Crockett and was immensely popular. The show spawned Crockett paraphernalia, including the famous coonskin cap (even after we found out that Boone never wore a coonskin hat). 1962 - The first album to make fun of a United States President became the United States' #1 LP. The album was Vaughn Meader's "The First Family", which stayed at #1 for three months.


    1954 -- Kirk Douglas/James Mason movie "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" released.
    1958- In its year-end survey, Billboard rates the top pop tune of 1958 as Domenico Modugno's "Volare," the top R&B tune as Chuck Willis' "Hang Up My Rock & Roll Shoes," the best selling LP as the original cast album of "My Fair Lady" and the best-selling EP as Elvis Presley's "Jailhouse Rock."
    1959- The Everly Brothers record "Let It Be Me" in New York City, the first time they've recorded outside of Nashville and the first time they've recorded with strings
    1962 - The Boston Celtics' Bob Cousy set a National Basketball Association record as he scored his 5,926th field goal. His career highlights included the NBA's 1957 MVP Award, and the record set on March 21, 1953 for 30 free throws in one game when the Celtics played the Syracuse Nationals. Four of the free throws were made in overtime.

    1967- Beatles release "Christmas Time is Here Again"

    1967-The Beatles' "Magical Mystery Tour" LP goes gold.
    1968- Grace Slick, performing with the Jefferson Airplane on the "Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," appears in blackface and raises a black-leather glove in the black power salute at the conclusion of "Crown of Creation." The incident is one of several which leads to the show's cancellation the following season.
    1971-The firsts secret Service agents who were woman were Laurie B. Anderson, Sue A. Baker, Kathryn I. Clark, Holly A. Hufschmidt, and Phyllis Frances Shantz, former agents of the Executive Protective Service.
    1973- American Psychiatric Association declares homosexuality is not mental illness.
    1973-Sandy Hawley became the first jockey to win 500 races in a single year when he rode Charlie Jr. to victory in the third race at Laurel Race Course in Maryland.
    1974-Pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter was ruled a free agent by arbitrator Peter Seitz who decided that Oakland A's owner Charley Finley had not fulfilled the terms set forth in Hunter's contract. Hunter later signed to play with the New York Yankees.
    1974 - Baltimore Colts quarterback, Bert Jones, set an NFL record by when he completed seventeen consecutive passes in a game against the New York Jets.


    1978 - United States President Jimmy Carter announced he would establish diplomatic relations with China from January 1, 1979, and break off relations with Taiwan.
    1979 - Chris Haney and Scott Abbot invented the game "Trivial Pursuit".

    1980 - Dave Winfield signed a ten-year contract with the New York Yankees for a paycheck between $1.3 and $1.5 million, making him the wealthiest player in United States team sport history. It was said the total package for the outfielder was worth over $22 million.

    1982 - Paul "Bear" Bryant announced his retirement as head football coach at the University of Alabama after 232 victories and only 46 losses.
    1983 - The remaining 80 United States combat soldiers in Grenada withdrew. -- just over seven weeks after the United States-led invasion of the Caribbean island.
    1986- CIA director William Casey suffers a cerebral seizure.


    1986 - In New York City, violinist Isaac Stern arrived in a horse-drawn carriage to cut the ribbon on the renovated Carnegie Hall.

    1986 - Kenny Rogers cut a 17 million dollar deal with the Dole Food Company, to become the highest-paid celebrity pitchman.

    1987 - A major winter storm hit the Great Lakes Region, intensifying explosively as it crossed northern Illinois. High winds and heavy snow created blizzard conditions in southeastern Wisconsin. Winds gusted to 73 mph, and snowfall totals ranged up to 17 inches at LaFarge. The barometric pressure at Chicago IL dropped three quarters of an inch in six hours to 28.96 inches, a record low reading for December. Up to a foot of snow blanketed northern Illinois, and winds in the Chicago area gusted to 75 mph. O'Hare Airport in Chicago was closed for several hours, for only the fourth time in twenty years. High winds derailed train cars at Avon IN. Light winds and partly sunny skies were reported near the center of the storm, a feature typical of tropical storms.
    1988 - High pressure in the Pacific Northwest and low pressure in the southwestern U.S. combined to produced high winds from Utah to California. Winds gusting to 70 mph in the San Francisco area left nearly 300,000 residents without electricity. Winds in Utah gusted to 105 mph at Centerville.
    1989 - A couple of low pressure systems spread heavy snow across the northeastern U.S. Up to two feet of snow was reported along Lake Erie in northeastern Ohio, and up to ten inches was reported in Connecticut. Heavy snow squalls developed over Michigan for the third day in a row. Three Oaks MI reported 25 inches of snow in two days. Twenty-six cities in the north central U.S. reported record low temperatures for the date. The low of 10 degrees below zero at Wichita KS was a December record for that location.
    1993 - Delegations from 117 countries approved by consensus a GATT trade treaty aimed at opening up international markets.
    1993 - Called "a beautiful film about the holocaust horror", Steven Speilberg's haunting black-and-white film Schindler's List opened in United States theaters. Starring Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes, and Caroline Goodall, the film won many awards, including Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director.
    1995 - The United Nations Security Council authorized NATO to take over peacekeeping operations in Bosnia in a resolution spelling the end of one of the United Nations' toughest field missions.
    1995 - Southeast Asian nations signed a treaty banning the possession, manufacture and acquisition of nuclear weapons and created a nuclear arms-free zone from Burma and Vietnam in the north to Indonesia in the south.
    1995 - European Union leaders christened their planned new single currency the "Euro."
    1997-Mike Gartner of the Phoenix Coyotes became the fifth player in NHL history to reach the 700-market in regular-season goals scored. Gartner tallied at 10:41 of the first period against the Detroit Red Wings in a game that ended in a 3-3 tie.
    2002 -- Indianapolis wide receiver Marvin Harrison catches nine passes for 172 yards and two TDs to break Herman Moore's single-season reception record (123). Harrison finishes the year with 143 catches.

American Football Poem

Dear Santa

All I want for Christmas is a pair of nice young men,
A football team . League or Union . I don't mind,
A determined man with plenty of gysm,
Broad shoulders. Hairy chest. And a tight behind.

Dear Santa,

I promise that I won't hurt them,
I just have a few games I'd like to play,
They'll be well fed and cared for. Truly appreciated,
And I'll return them to you on New Year's Day.

But Dear Santa,

If you can't provide any of the above,
Dear Santa. You've got such a kindly face,
Just harness up your reindeer to your sleigh Dear,
And drop on over . I'll be waiting at my place.

Copyright; Robyn Scott

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