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Friday, January 12, 2007


Classified Ads -Controller/Contract Admin
    R.W. Professional Sentence at 2pm, EST Today
        Widow of CyberNET founder pleads “Not Guilty”
Funder List up-date: Bank of Ozark Leasing
    Top Ten Bankruptcies
        Placard---Who is the driver of your bus?
The Best Vs. The Rest in Leasing
    Fitch on borrowed money and time in U.S
        Denney James joins Team Equipment Leasing
Six New CLP’s--(all pass the test)
    Fortis Lease Group acquires Captive Finance
        ePlus Receives Stay of Nasdaq Delisting
Showdown on hold Le-Nature’s creditors/Wachovia
    News Briefs---
        You May have Missed---
Sports Briefs---
    "Gimme that Wine"
        Calendar Events
Snapple Real Facts
    Today's Top Event in History
        This Day in American History
            American Football Poem

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


Classified Ads -Controller/Contract Administrator

The very handsome “Nathan,” Barry Reitman’s AKC Championship bull terrier; now personnel director, Keystone Equipment Leasing *


Controller: Chicago, IL
experienced in lease accounting, operations, management, and Sarbanes-Oxley. Seeking position with equipment lessor. Would consider contract assignments or relocating.

Controller: Philadelphia, CA
CPA/CFO/Controller/Due Diligence Officer/SOX Lead seeking position.

Controller: Seattle , WA
CPA w/ Sarbanes Oxley/ 15 years management exp. as CFO/ Controller/5 yrs w/ PWC Extensive exp providing accounting/ tax guidance for the equipment lease industry. Willing to relocate.

Controller: Southeastern, MI
Controller & Management experience w/ equip lessors &broker. MBA, CPA w/ extensive accounting, management, securitization experience with public and private companies. Willing to relocate.

Controller: Uniondale, NY
I have a strong multifaceted background in all areas of lease accounting combining my years as a Controller of leasing companies and as Vice-President of Leasing for a NY Bank.

Contract Administrator

Contract Administrator: New York, NY
10+ years in equipment leasing/secured lending. Skilled in management & training, documentation, policy and procedure development & implementation, portfolio reporting. Strong work ethic.

These job-wanted ads are free. We also recommend to both those seeking a position and those searching for a new hire to also go to other e-mail posting sites:

In addition, those seeking employment should go to the human resource departments on company web sites for funders, captive lessors, and perhaps “broker-lessors.”

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

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

* “This is a recent picture of five year old bull terrier, Nathan. After winning his AKC championship in 2004, he changed careers, and became Personnel Director at Keystone Equipment Leasing. Nathan comes to work five days a week, where he has trained numerous visitors, including UPS and Fedex drivers, to never ring the bell without a cookie at the ready.

“More photos can be seen at

"’Have you ever had a bull terrier walk into your shin? Just that, bump your shin? A tank, a heavy tank, that's what these muscled clowns are....The kind of adrenalin surge that comes from a bull terrier greeting, the kind of quiet passion that one gets from a furred armored vehicle asleep by the fire...those are experiences that should be reserved....’ [from Random Thoughts About Special Dogs, by Roger A. Caras, Cavaliers and Clowns, 1987]

“The Bull Terrier Club of America rescues approximately 100 dogs each year. The combination of intelligence and sweet sensitivity that make them such wonderful companions, means that Bull Terriers in need have special requirements. A check payable to "Bull Terrier Club of America Rescue" will be a blessing. It can be mailed c/o Keystone Equipment Leasing, P.O. Box 284, Blooming Grove, NY 10914.”

Barry Reitman



R.W. Professional Sentence at 2pm, EST Today

by Christopher “Kit” Menkin

At 2pm EST, today, Friday, in the US Central Islip Courtroom, Nassau County, New York, the honorable Arthur D. Spatt, presiding judge, will sentence Barry Drayer and Stephen Barker. Barry Drayer, 68, of Wellesley, Massachusetts, Vice-President of RW Professional, who claimed he was "just a salesman," was found guilty, as well as Stephen Barker, 42, of Lake Forest, California after a criminal trial
was filed on June 27, 2002.

Lead attorney for the United is US Attorney Linda A. Lacewell with Steve Tiscione Assistant U.S. Attorney, who both are very interested in helping victims get reimbursed from any proceeds available.

After several appeals and more stalling by Barry Drayer who seems to enjoy his house arrest with internet, satellite TV, telephone, visitors, access to the kitchen, wine with dinner, and a shower all to himself where he can drop the bar of soap and pick it up without any fear, today’s the day.

A former colleague of Drayer's has a bet with me: "He will have dinner at Anthony’s Pier 11 on Friday night."

The grapevine says Barry Drayer has been trying to negotiate a deal.
He did the same with CIT, reported by an insider to Leasing News that it was settled for $500,000 to walk away; and Old Kent, where it was over a $1 million dollars and no employee to reveal the settlement (when the bank went out of business, one of the person's involved in the settlement went on the record in Leasing News about the deal.)

Supposedly Drayer also told the former head of Sierra Cities that he would give him a $1 million life insurance policy as an asset to remove his guarantee and bring the accounts into order.  American Express has a $20 million case in limbo, but then again, they sold this division to Key Corp. bank, and most likely if they can't tie in Sierra Cities officers, they will not move forward with the suit. Depends on the other community banks, too, Leasing News was told by several insiders.

While the last five years Barry Drayer has been under “house arrest,” wearing an ankle bracelet, but with the full pleasures of his house and the comfort of his own bed, Steven Barker, also found guilty, has been confined to a New York Jail with very little privileges during this time.

It is reported that there was fear he would leave for South Africa,
where he is allegedly originally from. After his conviction, he reportedly also “came clean” with how the operation really worked, showing how the software worked, how records were kept, which may help in reimbursement of money. Allegedly he may get another three years, in addition to the five he has already served.

He claimed to the end he was following the directions of Barry Drayer and thought it was “standard operating procedure.” He did receive some large commissions. There are those who know Stephen Barker who say that his claim that he was “dumb” to what was going on may be true.

Others involved reportedly made deals for turning evidence for reduced sentences and/or “financial penalties.”

Drayer’s history evidently has caught up with him. Rumor has it that he will get fifteen years. The way the formula works, he has served five years ( house arrest ) and with good behavior, would get off in seven and a half years, so that means less years than perhaps Steven Barker is going to receive.

Judge Arthur D. Spatt has taken under submission information both from the defense and prosecuting attorneys and will make his pronouncement at 2pm EST today, Friday.

Previous stories:



Widow of CyberNET founder pleads “Not Guilty”

Krista Kotlarz-Watson, 39, awaits her pre trial at the US District Court in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She has pleaded “not guilty” to charges related to a $100 million fraud case of CyberNET, in which she was an officer and her husband Barton Watson was the founder.

It is claimed she was president, vice president, director and treasurer during the course of several years of the operation.

Kortlarz-Watson lived through the suicide of her husband, who took his life on November 24, 2004 in Ada Township, just as investigators were closing in, drinking a $700 bottle of La Tache from his vast wine collection; the selling of their personal assets, including her jewelry and expensive clothing, a personal bankruptcy, and last year the birth of a child.

Reads like a soap opera: Jim Cameron, a family friend did write a book about what happened, and has a web site:

Company president James Horton, controller David Roepke, and sales vice-president Jonathan Mast have pleaded guilty to various charges. Horton, who cooperated with the government, was sentenced last year to 7 1/2 years in prison.

According to court documents, Kotlarz-Watson, her mother-in-law, Geraldine Watson, 77, and a former vice president, Paul Wright, 57, allegedly provided false records, shell companies, mailboxes and phone numbers to appear as legitimate CyberNET customers and suppliers, the government said. They allegedly made the company appear profitable when it was losing $500,000 to $7.6 million a month from 2002 to 2004, investigators say.

The scheme "required the CyberNET principals to expend a substantial amount of effort to prevent lenders from discovering they were deceived," according to court documents. In some instances, the government said, workers would put bricks into empty computer boxes before lenders inspected the equipment to be used as collateral.

"Between 2002 and 2004, CyberNET was able to fraudulently obtain over $100,000,000 from approximately 40-50 lending institutions and leasing companies nationwide," Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy VerHey wrote in court papers.

previous stories:



Funder List up-date: Bank of Ozark Leasing

A -Accepts Broker Business | B -Requires Broker be Licensed | C -Sub-Broker Program
| D -"Private label Program" | E - Also "in house" salesmen

In Business Since Contact
Leasing Association
Business Reports

Bank of Ozarks Leasing
(bank 1903/ Leasing 2003)
Scott Hastings, President
Toll Free 866.625.6690
Direct 501.448.0140
Cell 501.951.3664
Fax 866.625.6689


To view the complete list, please click here.



Top Ten Bankruptcies

(click for more info)

Bankruptcy Date

Total Assets 

Filing Court District

Worldcom, Inc.




Enron Corp.




Conseco, Inc.




Pacific Gas and Electric Co.




Texaco, Inc.




Refco Inc.




Global Crossing Ltd.




Calpine Corporation




UAL Corp.




Delta Air Lines, Inc .




The chart is from





The Best Vs. The Rest in Leasing


The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation recently released the study "Business Differentiation: How A Select Few Companies Consistently Outperform Their Peers," to determine the factors that set the leaders apart.

The research, conducted by Accenture, found that a small group of lessors consistently outpace their competitors as measured by financial performance. Over the past five years, this group's average operating return on equity was 22.5 percent compared with 12.5 percent for its peers.

These top performers' superior financial performance reflects a longer-term strategic view that emphasizes:

• customer centricity
• organic growth
• a partnership with their workforce
• operational creativity
• an external focus that encourages deep ties with stakeholders

The survey also found that leading lessors manage industry pressures on a proactive basis through economic upturns and downturns, while their peers typically operate in a reactive mode. Additionally, top performers are far more adept in adopting and leveraging key capabilities such as technology and financial performance tools.

The Business Differentiation Study will help you observe and analyze your competition and shows how industry leaders can navigate turbulent markets in both weak and strong markets. Joseph C. Lane, Immediate Past Chairman, Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation said, "The Business Differentiation study provides practical, analytical, and empirical data that will be of interest to everyone who competes in the equipment leasing and financing industry. What makes the 'winners' perform better? What are the tell-tale signs of a company that may have lost its focus? The Differentiation Study is a must-read for competitively-driven performers."

The Business Differentiation web seminar will be held Thursday, February 22nd, from 1:00-2:30pm EST. Registration information will be available soon in the Events and Training section of the ELFA website.

A copy of the study is available directly from ELFA or ELFF
( and also here:)



Fitch: U.S. Deep Speculative Grade Issuers Living on Borrowed Money, Time

Fitch Ratings-New York-10 January 2007: The U.S. high yield default rate ended 2006 at a historical low of 0.8%, down from 3.1% in 2005 and substantially lower than the long-term average annual default rate of roughly 5%. In addition, the weighted average recovery rate on the year's defaults reached a new high of 64% of par, up from 58% in 2005. Eighteen issuers defaulted on $5.8 billion in bonds in 2006 with two large defaults in the troubled automotive sector (Dana Corporation and Dura Automotive) contributing half of the year's default tally.

The historically low default rate combined with robust recovery rates produced a banner year for high yield investors in 2006. However, while Fitch believes that defaults will remain below average in 2007, the very low default rate experienced in 2006 is not sustainable and was due more to favorable funding conditions rather than credit quality gains.

In particular, the default rate among issuers rated 'CCC' or lower was unusually low in 2006. These issuers typically default at an average annual rate of 25% (based on number of issuers defaulting). While the default rate does fall during periods of strong economic growth, the 2006 default rate for these issuers of 4.5% (also issuer based) was the lowest in 20 years.

The easing of defaults among issuers rated 'CCC - C' was not due to a contraction in the number or volume of low rated issues. In fact, at the end of December, the pool of bonds rated 'CCC' or lower was $117 billion (16% of market volume), a level surprisingly high and above than the $105 billion outstanding at the end of 2005. The persistently large volume of 'CCC - C' rated bonds in combination with a historically low default rate suggests that liquidity more than fundamentals kept defaults in check.

For perspective, the risk of default among issuers rated 'CCC' or lower is high due to their precarious financial profiles. At the end of the third quarter of 2006, for example, Fitch found that the median ratio of EBITDA less CAPEX divided by Interest Expense was just 0.6 times (x) for a sample group of 'CCC - C' issuers, compared with a median of 1.9x for companies in the 'B' category and 3.5x for 'BB' issuers. In other words, 'CCC - C' issuers are generally only able to service their significant debt burdens by tapping external funding and have no cushion to sustain them if business or borrowing conditions soften.

In recent years, the insatiable demand for yield product among both traditional and more importantly, non-traditional fixed income investors, including hedge funds and structured vehicles, has clearly helped these companies get access to external capital with unprecedented ease and that has enabled them to avoid default.

'Without such optimal funding conditions and absent improving fundamentals, these deep speculative grade companies would have few options other than to restructure their debt', said Mariarosa Verde, Managing Director of Credit Market Research.

Fitch believes that given expectations for slower economic growth in 2007, the environment will prove more challenging for these issuers going forward and that their default rate will move more in line with historical experience which will push up the overall default rate. The most compelling evidence of a less favorable climate in 2007 comes from the most recent Federal Reserve's Senior Loan Officer Survey, which showed risk receptivity among bankers shifting to neutral in the latter half of 2006, a retreat from an earlier strong bias toward looser lending standards.

However, the outlook for the U.S. economy is still quite positive. Higher rated companies continue to report good financial results and enjoy strong balance sheets, and the market is still flush with cash, which Fitch believes will keep defaults overall below average. This outlook is very much dependent on Fitch's expectation for GDP growth of 2.4% in 2007, lower than 2006 but in a range that should keep defaults contained.

The outlook for 2008 is more cloudy as the business cycle continues to mature and the more aggressive deals brought to market in recent years begin to season, hitting that critical three- to four-year mark when post-issuance default rates for high yield issuers tend to peak. Fitch believes there will be a meaningful increase in defaults in 2008.

The 0.8% 2006 default rate marked the third consecutive year of below-average default rates. The default rate was 3.1% in 2005 and 1.5% in 2004. In addition, recovery rates on defaulted bonds have been running above the historical long-term average of 40% of par since 2004.

'The strong economic climate and general scarcity of distressed paper has boosted recovery values and this has further depressed the impact of defaults', said Paul Mancuso, Senior Director of Credit Market Research.

2006 Default Highlights:

--The par value of high yield bonds affected by defaults in 2006 totaled $5.8 billion, down substantially from the $22.8 billion recorded in 2005 (a year-over-year decline of 75%). The par value of bonds affected by defaults was the lowest volume tally since 1997's $4.1 billion. (In 1997 the U.S. high yield market was roughly a third of today's market size of $730 billion.)

--The number of issuers defaulting on their bond obligations contracted to 18 in 2006 from 33 in 2005.

--The year's largest default was the bankruptcy filing in the first quarter by auto supplier Dana Corporation which affected roughly $2 billion in bonds. In the fourth quarter, the bankruptcy filing by another auto supplier, Dura Automotive, added $811 million to auto- related defaults, bringing the sector's default rate to 6.5%.

--Defaults in 2006 were both low and showed no particular bias in terms of year brought to market. The average time to default for the small pool of 2006 defaults was five years, similar to 2005.

--The very low default rate in 2006 pushed the long- term average annual default rate down to 4.9% from 5.3% in 2005.

Fitch's complete analysis of 2006 default activity will be available in February on the Fitch Ratings web site at '' under the 'Credit Market Research' link.

Contact: Mariarosa Verde +1-212-908-0791, Paul Mancuso +1-212-908-0225, or Eric Rosenthal +1-212- 908-0286, New York.

Fitch's rating definitions and the terms of use of such ratings are available on the agency's public site, ''. Published ratings, criteria and methodologies are available from this site, at all times. Fitch's code of conduct, confidentiality, conflicts of interest, affiliate firewall, compliance and other relevant policies and procedures are also available from the 'Code of Conduct' section of this site.



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

TEAM Equipment Leasing Hires New Credit Manager.

January, 2007. TEAM Equipment Leasing, a C-credit funding source for the broker community, hired Denney James as their new credit manager.

Denney, originally from Victoria, Texas, graduated with a finance degree from Southwest Texas State University. While attending school Denney did bankruptcy work for CitiBank.

After graduation, Denney spent three years in the auto retail credit industry in Dallas. Upon returning to Austin, he was a finance manager at a local utility company before making the move to TEAM.

Denney is engaged to be married this coming May.

About TEAM: TEAM is a C-credit funder that provides a unique alternative to credit scoring. We fund new business start-ups and older businesses with weaker credits when we roll up our sleeves to understand “their story”. Leases are approved and funded based on common sense, the Lessee’s potential for positive cash flow and the Broker’s input.

Congratulations, Denney, on the upcoming nuptials and your recent addition to TEAM.

For more information please contact Whitney Oldfather,


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

Six New CLP’s---(all pass the test)

The Board of Directors of the Certified Lease Foundation (CLP) is very pleased to announce that before the close of 2006, six CLP candidates completed the CLP Program and successfully passed the CLP Exam. Our congratulations go to the following new Certified Lease Professionals:

Trini Abaya-Wright, CLP
Auto & Equipment Leasing Company of Hawaii
Honolulu, HI

Joseph W. Emory, CLP
Regional Leasing Sales Manager
First Niagara Leasing
Albany, NY

Doris Mueller, CLP
Senior Vice President Operations
Susquehanna Commercial Finance, Inc.
Pottstown, PA

Kevin P. Prykull, CLP
Credit Executive and Senior Vice President
PNC Equipment Finance
Pittsburgh, PA

Kyra Siverly, CLP
Vice President Finance/Operations
Chase Industries, Inc.
Grand Rapids, MI

Donna M. Wesemann, CLP
Vice President of Sales
Susquehanna Commercial Finance, Inc.
Pottstown, PA


The CLP Foundation is the official governing body for the Certified Lease Professional ("CLP") Program. The CLP designation sets the standard for professionalism in the leasing industry. This designation identifies and recognizes individuals within the leasing industry who have demonstrated their competency through continued education, testing and conduct.

We invite you to visit our web site -- for detailed information about the CLP Foundation and the CLP Program. For further information about our Mentor Program and Anonymous Test Taking Program, please contact Cindy Spurdle at 610/687-0213 or

Cynthia W. Spurdle
Executive Director
CLP Foundation
PO Box 302
Wayne, PA 19087
PH: 610/687-0213
FAX: 610/687-4111

(Why I became a CLP...series: )


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

Fortis Lease Group acquires Captive Finance Limited,
thereby gaining a noteworthy presence in
seven new countries in Europe and Asia

The transaction, worth approximately EUR 32 million (HKD 327 million/USD 42 million) is an important milestone for Fortis Lease Group in its strategy to build a truly international network in the leasing sector. It gives Fortis Lease Group a foothold in seven new markets (Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Sweden), bringing its presence to a total of 22 countries.

Captive Finance is a well-established, independent finance company specialised in vendor lease financing with strong positions in the technology sector. It has developed a unique concept focussing on managing the entire equipment life cycle, from financing to remarketing. The company has a workforce of 58 FTEs.

Philippe Delva, CEO of Fortis Lease Group comments: “Captive Finance is different from a traditional leasing company. Besides giving us access to seven new countries – each with tremendous growth potential – it has strong remarketing capabilities for the leased equipment.”

Bengt Sjoberg, Chairman of Captive Finance comments: “Fortis Lease Group will allow Captive Finance to broaden the current scope of its business beyond the technology sector. We also gain access to a wealth of knowledge generated through Fortis Lease Group’s integrated, pan-European network of lease companies. By joining forces with Fortis Lease Group, we can extend our value chain and enlarge our product offering.”

Philippe Delva continues: “After the acquisition of Global Leasing last month in Romania, this transaction marks another major step in the roll-out of our international network in regions which are key to Fortis, where we have already established a presence and have strong cross-selling ambitions with our network of Business Centres.”

This acquisition will have no material impact on Fortis’s solvency or net profit per share in 2006 and is expected to meet Fortis’s investment criteria. It is subject to the approval of the Luxembourg and Norwegian regulatory authorities.

About Fortis

Fortis is an international financial services provider engaged in banking and insurance. We offer our personal, business and institutional customers a comprehensive package of products and services through our own channels, in collaboration with intermediaries and through other distribution partners. With a market capitalisation of EUR 42.1 billion (31/12/2006), Fortis ranks among the 20 largest financial institutions in Europe. Our sound solvency position, our presence in 50 countries and our dedicated, professional workforce of 59,000 enable us to combine global strength with local flexibility and provide our clients with optimum support. More information is available on

About Fortis Lease Group

Fortis Lease Group, headquartered in Luxembourg, ranks among the top five European cross-border leasing companies. The company’s strength lies in the cooperation between banking and leasing within Fortis, which includes the possibility of offering European-wide vendor solutions to equipment sellers. With European Vendor Leasing (EVL), we have made a unique selling proposition of the fact that we offer a framework agreement throughout Europe.
Fortis Lease Group currently operates in 15 countries, offering tailor-made leasing solutions to internationally active medium-sized and large companies. We are currently present in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Romania and the UK. Our products are specifically adapted to meet the needs of the pan-European market. A dedicated Fortis Lease Group account manager is based in most of the Fortis Bank Business Centres.
Fortis Lease Group employs 749 enthusiastic men and women full time. Born of the merger between European leasing companies, the group started its full international expansion in 2000 by means of acquisitions and new local start-ups. This growth strategy turned Fortis Lease Group into a major European leasing provider with a portfolio of EUR 8.1 billion. In 2005 the group wrote new contracts totalling EUR 4.9 billion. In October 2006 we reached a portfolio of EUR 10 billion.

Press Office:
+32 2 565 35 84
+31 30 226 32 19
Investor Relations:
+32 2 565 53 78
+31 30 226 32 20


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

ePlus Receives Stay of Nasdaq Delisting

HERNDON, VA – – ePlus inc. (Nasdaq NGM: PLUS – news), announced that it received a letter from the Nasdaq Listing and Hearings Review Council (“the Listing Council”) stating that the Listing Council has determined to stay the delisting of the Company’s common stock. On January 4, 2007, the Company notified the Nasdaq Listings Qualifications Panel (“the Panel”) that the Company would be unable to file its Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2006, its Forms 10-Q for the quarters ended June 30, 2006 and September 30, 2006, and all required restatements, by the January 15, 2007 deadline set forth in the Panel’s October 17, 2006 decision letter. On January 5, 2007, the Panel informed ePlus that it was unable to grant a further extension because it had already granted the maximum extension it had discretion to grant under Marketplace Rule 4802(b).

On January 11, 2007, the Company was informed by the Listing Council that it had determined to call the Panel’s January 5, 2007 decision for review, as contemplated by Nasdaq Marketplace Rule 4807(b), and had also stayed the delisting of the Company’s common stock pending further review by the Listing Council. The Company may submit in writing additional information for the Listing Council’s consideration by March 2, 2007.

About ePlus:

ePlus is a leading provider of Enterprise Cost Management solutions to information technology, finance, procurement, operations, and supply chain professionals who want to reduce the costs of finding, purchasing, managing, and financing information technology goods and services. Our Enterprise Cost Management solutions provide sourcing, procurement, spend analytics, supplier management, document collaboration, asset management, professional services, and leasing to ePlus’ 2,000+ customers. The company was founded in 1990 and is headquartered in Herndon, VA with more than 30 locations in the U.S. For more information, visit,
call 888-482-1122 or email


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

News Briefs----

Showdown between Le-Nature creditors/Wachovia on hold

Bahrain Bank raises $100 million for leasing in U.S. New Website Lease Financing Possible; Providing Financing For All Start Up Costs

Singapore Aircraft Orders 40 Airbus, Boeing Planes

China may lift decade-long ban on commercial banks' investment in financial leasing companies

Bank of England stuns markets, raises rates near 6-year high

Maserati North America and CNH Capital Debut Maserati Financial Services

The future of railroad safety

Boeing bounces back against odds

Jobless claims fall to lowest level in nearly 6 months



You May have Missed---

Wages, CLRA, Productivity



Sports Briefs----

Which Grossman will show up?

Experience at QB often makes the difference—Ira Miller

Feinstein moves to thwart 49ers in possible move

Divisional playoff weekend: Top football weekend



“Gimme that Wine”

Silver Mountain 2004 Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands, Tondré's Grapefield; had some of this wine, courtesy of the wine maker Jerold O'Brien: delicious

Warming Up in California Wine Country

Zinfandel — America's wine — takes center stage

Indiana Winery closes up shop

585 Wine Partners Introduces Russian River Valley Wine Brand

Rising Star in Sonoma: Dry Creek Valley

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

Lee-Jackson Day in Virginia
Friday in January that precedes Martin Luther King Day. To commemorate the January birthdays of Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan “Stonewall” Jackson.

Catholic Saint Feast Days this date:
· St. Tatiana
· St. Arcadius
· St. Caesaria
· St. Martina
· St. Anthony Mary Pucci
· St. Bartholomew Alvarez
· St. Victorian of Asan
· Bl. Vincent de Cunha
· St. Zoticus
· St. Zoticus
· St. Tatiana
· St. Tigrius & Eutropius
· St. Salvius
· St. Satyrus
· Ephesus Martyrs
· Bl. John Gaspard Cratz
· St. John of Ravenna
· St. Martin of Leon
· Martyrs of Ephesus



Top-performing companies are called "blue chips" after the costliest chips in casinos.



Today's Top Event in History

1949 - In his State of the Union address, President Truman labeled his administration the "Fair Deal."


This Day in American History

    1588-Birthday of John Winthrop, American colonial governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, born at Edwardston, England. Governor Winthrop kept a diary of events in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, published nearly two centuries later (in 1825-26), titled The History of New England from 1630 to 1649. Died at Boston, MA, Mar 26, 1649 (OS).
    1737-Birthday of John Hancock, American patriot and statesman, first signer of the Declaration of Independence. Born at Braintree, MA, he died at Quincy, MA, Oct 8, 1793. Because of his conspicuous signature on the Declaration, Hancock's name has become part of the American language, referring to any handwritten signature, as in "Put your John Hancock on that!"
(lower part of: )
    1773 - In Charleston, South Carolina, the first public museum in America was organized at the annual anniversary meeting of the Charleston Library Society. The first curators of the museum were the diplomat Charles Cotesworth Pinckeney, the politician Thomas Heyward, and two physicians, Alexander Baron and Peter Fayssoux. Eventually the building was torn down, and the collection was moved to the College of Charleston. On August 29,1850, the city council ratified an ordinance “to provide for the appoint of a Curator for the Museum of the College of Charleston.” Francis Simmons Holmes was elected to the post on November 25, 1880, and was appointed professor of geology and paleontology at the college on December 28.
    1777- Mission Santa Clara de Assis, a California mission built by followers of Father Junipero Serra to educate the Indians. In the 1850s the mission became Santa Clara University, the oldest university in California. The current building, used by the University as its chapel, is a replica of an older building that was destroyed by fire in 1926. The first two sites are located one block from my former office. They were destroyed in floods. The third and existing Mission is at the University of Santa Clara, about five blocks from my office (higher ground). In 1819, a fourth mission was established and is part of the existing site. In 1926, a fire destroyed the chapel, and a replica was rebuilt, which is very popular for marriages and ceremonies in Santa Clara Valley. San Jose has taken steps to curb the flooding of the Guadalupe River, but as recently as twenty years ago there was a major flood in the area, down Firsts Street, which the city is just getting around to building major storm drains along Trimble road, not far from my office.
    1853-The first university on the Pacific Coast was Willamette University, Salem, Oregon. It was organized on February 1, 1842, as the Oregon Institute, offering only elementary work, and opened on August 13,1844, with five students. On January 12, 1853, it was chartered as a university by the Oregon Territorial Legislature. The Oregon Institute was continued as a preparatory school.
    1856 -- American artist John Singer Sergeant born Florence, Italy. Although he lived much of his life in England and was buried there, he refused knighthood in 1907 because he still considered himself an American citizen.
    1851--In San Francisco, California, William Walker, editor of the "Herald," dueled on Mission Road with W.H. Graham. Graham was upset with article in newspaper. Walker was shot twice in the leg but survived.
    1852--In San Francisco, California, Ex-Governor McDougal and A.C. Russell, editor of the "Picayune," engaged in a duel today. Russell was hit in the hand and slightly wounded.
    1876-Birthday of Jack London (real name: John Griffin Chaney,) American author of more than 50 books: short stories, novels and travel, stories of the sea and of the far north, many marked by brutal realism. His most widely known work is The Call of the Wild, the great dog story published in 1903. London was born at San Francisco, CA. He resided in the Glen Ellen area for many years of his life. His ranch is a popular tourist visit, now a famous historic park, and is not far from the famous Glen Ellen winery. Contrary to popular belief, he did not commit suicide but on November 22, 1916, Jack London at the age of 40, died of gastrointestinal uremic poisoning.
    1888 - A sharp cold front swept southward from the Dakotas to Texas in just 24 hours spawning a severe blizzard over the Great Plains. More than 200 pioneers perished in the storm. Subzero temperatures and mountainous snow drifts killed tens of thousands of cattle.
    1890-Birthday of Black educator Mordecai W Johnson, born Paris,
Tennessee, First African-American president of Howard University
for more than three decades

    1893- Representatives of 21 mission boards met in NY City to discuss common concerns. Soon becoming an annual event, by 1911 the convention was known as the Foreign Missions Conference. In 1950 it became a constituting member of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA, serving as its Division of Foreign Missions.
    1896-The first X-ray photograph was made by Dr. Henry Louis Smith, professor of physics and astronomy, Davidson College, Davidson, NC. Smith obtained the hand of a corpse, fired a bullet into it, and then took a 15-minute exposure which, when developed, revealed the exact location of the bullet.
    1904-Guitarist Fred “Mississippi” McDowell born Rossville, TN, died 1971.

    1905-- Singing cowboy Woodward Maurice (Tex) Ritter was born in Panola County, Texas. He was one of the first to follow Gene Autry into films as a singing cowboy, and became of country music's most popular stars in the 1940's. Ritter won an Academy Award in 1953 for his version of the theme song from "High Noon." He died of a heart attack on January 2nd, 1974, at a jail in Nashville where he was arranging bail for one of his band members. In yesterday's Jeopardy, the last question was the name of the movie musical that starred Tex Ritter in 1943.
    1910-Guitarist Gussie “Blind” Nesbitt born Spartansburg, SC, most popular song,
“Ain’t Nobody’s Business.”
    1912-Birthday of trombonist Trummy Young, Savannah GA,,512734,00.html?artist=Trummy+Young
    1912 - The record low temperature for the state of Iowa was set at Washta. The temperature fell to 47 degrees below zero (this record was tied in February, 1996).
    1915- The US House of Representatives rejected a proposal to give women the right to vote. Women gained the right to vote in 1920
    1916-Pianist/band leader Jay McShann born Muskogee, OK
    1922-Birthday of Ira Hayes, one of the six US Marines who raised the American flag on Iwo Jima's Mount Surbachi, February 23, 1945, following a US assault on the Japanese stronghold. The event was immortalized by Oakland Tribune Photographer, working then for Associated Press, Joe Rosenthal. The picture was posed, after the first flag was raised, but it became a symbol, in fact is on the Marine War Memorial monument at Arlington, Virginia. Hayes was born on a Pima Indian Reservation at Arizona. He returned home after WWII a much celebrated hero. A hero to everyone except himself, Hayes was unable to cope with fame. He was found dead of "exposure to freezing weather and over-consumption of alcohol" on the Sacaton Indian Reservation at Arizona, January 24, 1955. Scientists report the Indians, as a race, are born with a “chemical trigger” in their brain that makes them very susceptible to various diseases of addiction, especially alcoholism. This is also a common trait among alcoholics and other addictions in other races. It is a medical disease and not psychological based in the great major of those with addictions.
    1926-Drummer Ronald Shannon Jackson born 1926 Fort Worth TX
    1928-- Russian-born pianist Vladimir Horowitz made his US debut with the New York Philharmonic under Sir Thomas Beecham in a performance of Tchaikovsky's "B Flat Minor Concerto." Horowitz would become the most celebrated pianist of the century, renowned for his enormous sound and technical command of his instrument.
    1932-Hattie W. Caraway, a Democrat from Arkansas, was the first woman elected to the US Senate. Born in 1878, Caraway was appointed to the Senate on November 13, 1931, to fill out the term of her husband, Senator Thaddeus Caraway, who had died a few days earlier. On January 12, 1932, she won a special election to fill the remaining months of his term. Subsequently elected to two more terms, she served in the senate until January, 1945. She was an adept and tireless legislator (once introducing 43 bills on the same day), who worked for women’s rights (once cosponsoring an equal rights amendment) and supported New Deal Policies. She died December 21, 1950, at Falls Church, VA. The first woman appointed to the Senate was Mrs. W.H. Felton in 1922 who served for two days. The first woman to be elected to the Senate without having been appointed first was Margaret Chase Smith of Maine, who had served first in the House. She was elected to the Senate in 1948.
    1936 -- A. D. Winans born San Francisco, Frisco, California. Part of the Beat movement.
    1939 - After five year playing together, the Ink Spots gained national attention when they recorded "If I Didn’t Care".
    1944-Birthday of Joe Frazier, former boxer, born Beaufort, SC.
    1946-Less than a month after the Cleveland Rams won their first NFL title, the league gave owner Dan Reeves permission to move the team to Los Angeles. In approving this franchise shift, the NFL became the first major professional sports league to put a team on the West Coast. Fans in Cleveland quickly embraced a new team, the Browns in the new All-American Football Conference which lasted until the two leagues merged in 1950.
    1946-Pianist George Duke born San Rafael, Ca.
    1948-US Supreme Court decision gives Blacks the right to study law at state institutions. The U.S. Supreme Court ordered the State of Oklahoma to provide Ada Lois Fisher, a Negro, with the same education is offered white students. Five days later the Supreme Court of Oklahoma ruled the state must establish a separate but equal law school for Fisher who had been barred from entering the University of Oklahoma Law School because of her color.

    1948—Top Hits
Ballerina - Vaughn Monroe
Civilization - The Louis Prima Orchestra
I’ll Dance at Your Wedding - Buddy Clark with the Ray Noble Orchestra
I’ll Hold You in My Heart (Till I Can Hold You in My Arms) - Eddy Arnold
    1949 - In his State of the Union address, President Truman labeled his administration the "Fair Deal."
    1949 - On CBS-TV, "Arthur Godfrey and His Friends" was first seen in what would be a seven year run on the network.
    1949 - The Chicago-based children’s show, "Kukla, Fran and Ollie", made its national debut on NBC-TV. Fran Allison was hostess.
    1951-Birthday of political commentator, sometimes sports commentator, Russ Limbaugh, talk-show host ("The Rush Limbaugh Show"), born Cape Girardeau, MO.
    1954-Birthday of radio and television personality ("The Howard Stern Show"), born Queens, NY.
People say they “dislike” his humor and antics, but he remains one of the most popular personalities,
even after his “not so famous” divorce.
    1955 – Our neighbor, he lived down the street from us, Rod Serling, began made
a television breakthrough the production of the hour-long drama, "Patterns". Within two weeks, the struggling author earned 23 other television assignments.
    1956—Top Hits
Memories are Made of This - Dean Martin
The Great Pretender - The Platters
Lisbon Antigua - Nelson Riddle
Sixteen Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford
    1958-Two-Point Conversion: The NCAA football rules committee make the fist change in scoring rules since 1912 by introducing the optional two-point conversion. Under the rule, teams could kick for one point or run or pass for two points after a touchdown.
    1959-“The Bell Telephone Hour” premiered on TV, bringing great musical performances. NBC's musical series ran semi-regularly for nearly 10 seasons. The Bell Telephone Orchestra was conducted by Donald Voorhees.
    1959-- Berry Gordy borrows $800 from his family to start a record label and rents an eight-room house on 2648 W. Grand Blvd, the future home of Motown Records.
    1960-Schayes Score 15,000 points: Two years to the day after he became the NBA’s leading career scorer, Dolph Schayes of the Syracuse Nationals becomes the first NBA player to score 15,000 points. He finished his career in 1963-64, with 19,249 points.
    1961-The Chicago Cubs announced that they would forsake the traditional manager system and instead have a team of eight coaches lead the club, with several taking turns at the top. The experiment lasted two season during which the Cubs finished 64-90 and 59-103.
    1963--"Please Please Me" by the Beatles was released in Britain. It was the first Beatles' single to top the British charts - it did so on February 16th. The song, written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney, was not released in North America until 1964. "Please Please Me" reached number three on the US charts.
    1963-- On his way back from Italy in a search for estranged girlfriend Suze Rotolo, Bob Dylan records the radio play Madhouse on Castle Street in London for the BBC.
It features his first recorded rendition of "Blowin' in the Wind" and his only recorded version of the original "Swan on the River." In the drama, Dylan plays a folk singer.
    1963-- The Cascades' "Rhythm of the Rain" enters the pop charts
    1963-- Steve Lawrence's "Go Away Little Girl" hits #1
    1964—Top Hits
There! I’ve Said It Again - Bobby Vinton
Louie Louie - The Kingsmen
Popsicles and Icicles - The Murmaids
Love’s Gonna Live Here - Buck Owens
    1965-- The NBC television pop music show "Hullabaloo" made its debut. An answer to ABC's successful "Shindig" show which ran for two years, "Hullabaloo" tried to attract a wider audience by booking both rock music and Las Vegas-type acts. The host was pop singer Jack Jones, and the guests on the first show included the New Christy Minstrels, Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Zombies and Woody Allen.
    1966—“Bop,” “Biff,” “Bam” the television show Batman premiered on television. I never missed an episode. ABC's crime-fighting show gained a place in Nielsen's top 10 ratings in its first season. The series was based on the DC Comic characters created by Bob Kane in 1939. Adam West starred as millionaire Bruce Wayne and superhero alter ego, Batman. Burt Ward co-starred as Dick Grayson/Robin, the Boy Wonder. A colorful assortment of villains guest-starring each week included: Cesar Romero as the Joker, Eartha Kitt and Julie Newmark as Catwoman, Burgess Meredith as the Penguin and Frank Gorshin as the Riddler. Some other stars making memorable appearances included Liberace, Vincent Price, Milton Berle, Tallulah Bankhead and Ethel Merman. The series played up its comic-strip roots with innovative and sharply skewed camera angles, bright bold colors and wild graphics. "Batman's" memorable theme song, composed by Neal Hefti, can be heard today with some 120 episodes in syndication.
    1967 - After 8 years off the network schedule, "Dragnet," one of broadcasting’s greatest hits, returned to NBC-TV. One of my high school best friends father, Harry Morgan played Jack Webb’s sidekick in the renewed series.,+Harry
    1968-- The Supremes guest-starred on a "Tarzan" TV episode. They played nuns.
    1968- The Doors' second album, "Strange Days," goes gold. Highlights are "People Are Strange," "Love Me Two Times," "Moonlight Drive" and "When the Music's Over."
    1969-Jets Win Super Bowl III: Overcoming their status as a17-point underdogs, and living up to quarterback Joe Namath’s bold prediction, the New York Jets upset the Baltimore Colts, 16-7 in Super Bowl III. The Jets got a touchdown from full-back Matt Snell and three field goals form Jim Turner to become the first American Football League team to snatch a championship from an NFL team.
    1971-Congressional Black Caucus organized.
    1971-“All in the Family” premiered on television. Based on the success of the British comedy "Till Death Us Do Part," Norman Lear created CBS's controversial sitcom "All in the Family." The series was the first of its kind to realistically portray the prevailing issues and taboos of its time with a wickedly humorous bent. From bigotry to birth control, few topics were considered too sacred to discuss on air. Ultra-conservative Archie Bunker (played by Carroll O'Connor) held court from his recliner, spewing invective at any who disagreed with him. Jean Stapleton portrayed Archie's dutiful wife, Edith. Sally Struthers and Rob Reiner rounded out the cast as Archie's ultra-liberal daughter and son-in-law, Gloria and Mike "Meathead" Stivic. All three characters often fell victim to Archie's zinging one-liners and insults.
    1972—Top Hits
Brand New Key - Melanie
American Pie - Don McLean
Let’s Stay Together - Al Green
Would You Take Another Chance on Me - Jerry Lee Lewis
    1974-- Steve Miller's "The Joker" hits #1
    1974-- Jim Croce's album You Don't Mess Around with Jim hits #1
    1975-Pittsburgh Wins Super Bowl IX: The Pittsburgh Steelers defeated the Minnesota Vikings, 16-6 in Super Bowl IX,. Led by their famed “Steel Curtain” defense, Pittsburgh held the Vikings to only 17 yards rushing. For the Steelers, it was their first Super Bowl victory and the first of four they would win over a six-year period.
    1979-- drummer Aynsley Dunbar joined Jefferson Starship. He had previously played with such groups as John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, the Mothers of Invention, Journey and his own Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation.
    1980—Top Hits
Escape (The Pina Colada Song) - Rupert Holmes
Rock with You - Michael Jackson
Do that to Me One More Time - The Captain & Tennille
Coward of the County - Kenny Rogers
    1981-The very popular TV show “Dynasty” premiered as a three hour movie. The popular ABC prime-time serial focused on the high-flying exploits of the Denver-based Carrington family. The series had a weekly wardrobe budget of $10,000 with many elegant costumes designed by Nolan Miller. In addition to the juicy storylines, many tuned in worldwide to view the palatial mansions and lavish sets. John Forsythe played patriarch Blake Carrington with Linda Evans as his wife, Krystle. Joan Collins played Alexis, Blake's scheming ex-wife and arch business rival. Other cast members included Kathleen Beller, Pamela Bellwood, Diahann Carroll, Jack Coleman, John James, Heather Locklear, Pamela Sue Martin, Ted McGinley, Michael Nader, Catherine Oxenberg, Emma Samms and Gordon Thomas. Notable guest stars included William Campbell, James Farentino, George Hamilton, Charlton Heston, Rock Hudson, Billy Dee Williams and many others during the soap's long run.
    1981 -35ºF (-37ºC), Chester, Massachusetts (state record) Ironically, The state's highest temperature on record was reported here on Aug. 2, 1975, at 107 degrees.
    1982 - A low pressure area on the Gulf spread snow and freezing rain over the central and southern Gulf states. Amounts were generally 5 inches from northern Louisiana into northern Florida. Atlanta, GA was paralyzed by snow and freezing rain. Vegetables were destroyed as far south as Homestead, where the temperature fell to 29 degrees, and citrus was damaged at Orlando, where the mercury fell to 23 degrees. Amounts were generally 5 inches from northern Louisiana into northern Florida. Atlanta, GA was paralyzed by snow and freezing rain.
    1982 -- New England defeats Miami 3-0 in the infamous "Snowplow Game." Mark Henderson uses his snowplow to clear a kicking surface on the Sullivan Stadium turf for John Smith's 33-yard game-winning field-goal.
    1984- Cholesterol is linked to heart disease after 10-year study by the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute.
    1985- Commodore Roberta Hazard, becomes the first woman commander of the nation's largest naval training facility, the Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, Illinois.
    1985 - After a record setting 24 weeks as the United States' #1 album, Prince's "Purple Rain" slipped to the #2 spot. Bruce Springsteen’s "Born In the USA", finally took over the top spot after 24 weeks in the #2 slot while "Purple Rain" ruled
    1988—Top Hits
So Emotional - Whitney Houston
Got My Mind Set on You - George Harrison
The Way You Make Me Feel - Michael Jackson
I Can’t Get Close Enough – Exile
    1990 - Gale force winds produce squalls with heavy snow in the Great Lakes Region. Totals in northwest Pennsylvania ranged up to eleven inches at Conneautville and Meadville. Barnes Corners, in western New York State, was buried under 27 inches of snow in two days.
    1991- The US Congress passed a resolution authorizing the President of the US to use force to expel Iraq from Kuwait. This was the sixth congressional vote in US history declaring war or authorizing force on another nation.
    1991-- Janet Jackson's "Rhythm Nation 1814" became the first album to generate seven top-five singles on the Billboard Hot 100 when "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" reached number four. It would rise to number-one the following week.
    1991-- Johnny Paycheck is released from prison after serving two years of a seven-year sentence for a barroom shooting. Ohio Governor Richard Celeste had commuted his sentence upon leaving office.
    1992-This date is incorrect on the birthday of “Hal,” computer in 2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke, "born" Urbana, IL.
    1993-- The Eighth Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies are held in Los Angeles. Inductees include Cream (who reunite on stage for the event), Ruth Brown, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Doors, Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, Etta James, Van Morrison, and Sly and the Family Stone.
    1994-—Top Hits
Hero- Mariah Carey
All For Love- Bryan Adams/Rod Stewart/Sting
All That She Wants- Ace Of Base
Again- Janet Jackson
    1995-- The Tenth Annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremonies are held in New York. Inductees include The Allman Brothers Band, Al Green, Janis Joplin, Led Zeppelin, Martha and the Vandellas, Neil Young, and Frank Zappa.
    1996 - the fourth and final in a series of snowstorms to strike the east coast in only ten days dumped 36 inches of snow at Oakland, PA, 26 inches at Franklin, NY, and 25 inches at Montrose, PA. Another 4 to 6 inches fell in the Washington, DC- Baltimore, MD area. The 10.8 inches at Harrisburg, PA raised its monthly snowfall to 38.8 inches -- the city's snowiest month ever. After this snowfall, many places had over 40 inches of snow on the ground, including Grafton, NH (50 inches), Danville, PA (49 inches), Jaffrey, NH (46 inches), and West Granville, MA (43 inches). Oddly enough, this deep snow cover would be completely eradicated in most areas over the next two weeks from warm temperatures and heavy rains, setting the stage for major flooding.
    1997- HAL becomes operational (2001: A Space Odyssey); this date was given as January 12, 1992 on screen, but 1997 is the date used in both the novel and screenplay.
    1998-The Harlem Globetrotters, the most popular basketball attraction in the world, played their 20,000th game, defeating their perennial foils, the New York Nationals, 85-62, in Remington, IN. The victory brought the Trotters’ overall record to 19,668 wins against only 332 defeats. The Globetrotters, originally known as the Savoy Five, were founded in 1926 by Abe Saperstein. They played before their first paying crowd in 1927, adopted their new name in 1930 and played their first game on foreign soil in 1939. In the nearly six decades since, they have played in 114 countries before an estimated total audience of 100 million.
    1998 - At a ceremony in Manhattan's Waldorf-Astoria, Carlos Santana became the first Hispanic to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Santana said he was pleased about the honor, and felt a little like Jackie Robinson. Also inducted that day were The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, The Mamas and the Papas, and Jelly Roll Morton.
    1999-—Top Hits
Have You Ever?- Brandy
Nobody s Supposed To Be Here- Deborah Cox
I m Your Angel- R. Kelly
...Baby One More Time- Britney Spears



American Football Poem

"Some time . . . when the team is up against it, when things are wrong and the breaks are beating the boys - tell them to go in there with all they've got and win just one for the Gipper. I don't know where I'll be then, . . .. but I'll know about it, and I'll be happy."

spoken by Pat O'Brian about George Gipp, played by Ronald Reagan
Knute Rockne--All American [1940]




The object is to insert the numbers in the boxes to satisfy only one condition: each row, column and 3x3 box must contain the digits 1 through 9 exactly once. What could be simpler?



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