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* California * Illinois * Minnesota

SINCE 1995
National Account Manager

60% commission. APP only to $ 250,000. No industry/geo restrictions. Tremendous flexibility/freedom: your home office or our regional offices. 

Friday, July 25, 2008

( Photo, Feb.,2006: Matthew Perry as Chandler Bing, Lisa Kudrow as Phoebe Buffay, David Schwimmer as Ross Geller, Courteney Cox as Monica Geller Bing, Matt LeBlanc as Joey Tribbiani and Jennifer Aniston as Rachel Green.) Mathew Steven “Matt” LeBlanc, actor, ten seasons of Friends and two seasons of Joey, born July 25, 1967, Newton, MA.


Welcome Aboard New Readers—eMail
    Classified ads---Sales Managers
        Irwin to close US operation
American Funding Group is new name
    Opinions on Unsigned Addendum
        Classified Ads---Help Wanted
    New Hires---Promotions
Lease Originations up 16.7%/$8.4B
    Beige Book: Economic Slowdown Continues
        Foreclosures/Inventory of Unsold House Grows
Housing Rescue Package Will Have Global Impact
    Alliance Financial 2d Quarter Report
        GATX 2nd Quarter Results
    MicroFinancial Profits up
Fernando’s Review
3 DVD’s to Rent this Week
    Mortgage rates rise to highest level in a year
        Synovus reports 89% drop in 2Q net income
            Ford Posts $8.7 Billion Loss
        Beware of Net banking traps
    Navy cancels $20b purchase of destroyers
News Briefs---
        California Nuts Brief---
Sports Briefs---
    "Gimme that Wine"
        Calendar Events
Snapple Real Facts
    Today's Top Event in History
        This Day in American History
Baseball Poem
        Daily Puzzle
    Weather, USA or specific area
        Traffic Live----
News on Line---Internet Newspapers

Look for our new feature, every Friday:

Fernando’s Review
3 DVD’s to Rent this Week

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


Welcome Aboard New Readers—eMail

Three-quarters of our readers have us bookmarked and read us by going directly to the web site: Those who join our mailing list get notification when the “news edition”
is posted, plus “extra’s,” such as the press release from Irwin Business Finance.

We do up-date the web site, but many are not aware unless they are on our mailing list. I view the “extras” as our version of RSS notification.

It is ironic to me that the “Grapevine” collection piece was actually started because I heard on Tuesday that all the sales reps. were let go by Irwin Business Finance. I had had two confirmations, but Paul Menzel, CLP, jumping on me to be accurate about rumors came to mind, so I was looking for more information and then on Wednesday, Irwin sent me the press release as a response to my questions. It was not until later in the afternoon that I got the full story from several highly reliable sources
(in today’s edition.)

I can tell you many of Irwin’s clients and services who I contacted were not aware of the purchase of assets, nor what is being reported today in Leasing News.

Kit Menkin, editor



Classified ads---Sales Managers

Atlanta, GA
Strong sales and leadership skills; demonstrated with sales training and sales performance. Lead team in both regional and national operations and developed marketing programs.
Chicago, IL
Sales Executive or Senior Manager, with responsibility for leasing capital equipment in support of transactions based on current market values, market potential and economic trends.

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

Leasing Recruiters:

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



Irwin to close US operation

July 7 Leasing News reported that Irwin Commercial Finance, formerly known as Irwin Business Finance, was leaving the indirect leasing business.

One of the brokers affected told Leasing News, “Further, despite approval expirations going far beyond this month, they are only honoring their approvals through July 18th.”

This gave discounters 18 days, including the July 4th weekend, to get transactions through the process. Many were unhappy as they had approvals good for another month with equipment being delivered after July 18th.

Only July 22, Irwin Commercial Finance let all their sales representatives go. The US operation was closing down, with all funding to be completed by July 31, many were told. Commissions would be paid on these transactions. There would be no new transactions after this date from the United States.

A press release was issued on July 23:

“2008 Irwin Commercial Finance Canada entered into a definitive agreement to sell its assets to Roynat Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Scotiabank, subject to regulatory approval.

“The management team will continue to operate and grow the business, led by Joseph LaLeggia, President of Irwin Commercial Finance.

“It is anticipated that the operations of Irwin Commercial Finance Canada will eventually become a part of Roynat Inc.”

According to the Leasing News Funder List, Irwin started in 1990 and had 42 employees. Ironically they are also one of the twenty-six leasing companies who contribute to the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association MLFI-25. As what is occurring, the subprime mortgage fiasco is continuing to affect both the banking and finance industry.

On May 7, 2008 Irwin Financial Corporation (NYSE:IFC) announced a loss of $22.2 million.

In the May 23 Irwin Commercial Finance press release:

"Our business has certainly flourished as part of the Irwin group and this will truly be an exceptional opportunity for our company to reach new heights. The cultural synergy is a definite fit for our people," remarked Mr. LaLeggia. He added that, "The strength of Scotiabank and Roynat Inc. will allow us to expand our capabilities in new markets as well as deepen our penetration in current market segments."

What was not divulged is actually what will happen to Mr. LaLeggia and his management team. It appears to many sources their role is to take care of the current assets and operation until the operation is taken over by the Scotiabank Group at the close of the agreement.

Mr. LaLeggia had no comment to make to Leasing News and referred us to the press release for any official statement.



American Funding Group is new name

It has been verified that American Capital Group, Irvine, California and Nationwide Funding, Chicago, IL. and Irvine, California have merged, changing their name to American Funding Group. No other information has been disclosed at this time, including the financial arrangement.



Opinions on Unsigned Addendum

Leasing News asked for an opinion regarding a set of documents sent to the lessee by UPS for signature, and then at the end of the lease, when the $101 option is to be exercised, the lessee
realizes the signed addendum was never return. The lessors wants a fair market value on an NC lathe from this small machine shop.

The name of the lessor was not included, nor the fact that Leasing News has received several complaints about $1.00 purchase options becoming “fair market value” or monthly lease extensions until they realize they are “over paying” from the original return regarding the same company.

These people should be exposed! Is it justified they continue to use unethical business practices just because the companies that complain to Leasing News get resolved? The addendum not signed by the leasing company is a very simple right or wrong issue, not a legal issue. It reminds me of the book by Stephen Covey "The Speed of Trust". It's everything he talks about that is wrong. This example is just plain wrong and this example along with the trigger leads makes me sick to my stomach. Whatever happed to getting paid for adding value?

Phil Lieber
P&L Capital


The point being is the lessee claims the lessor provided the document for the signing of the lease, and the signed lease and documents were returned after the lease started. He never reviewed that the $101 addendum signed addendum was missing. Was this then an oversight of the leasing company or one of their tricks?

It’s sad that this company can continue doing deals. Makes the rest of us look bad. I have 3 guesses who this is and the first two don't count. I hope it goes to court so we can refer our customers who get solicited by them to this information so they can see who they are dealing with.

Thanks & Regards,

Stan Ragley
Leasing Resources, Inc a
OneWorld Leasing Co-Op Member
704.895.8888 Ext. 12
704.895.8856 Fax
704.641.2587 Cell


The CNC lessee entered into a contract on certain pretexts. The residual was one of those. These are the cases that get the industry in trouble. The lessor created the document - not the lessee. The document was part of a document package sent by the lessor to the lessee to entice the lessee to accept the transaction terms, it is part of the deal. That package constitutes the transaction. The lessor should not be selecting those documents it wants to enjoy and rejecting others. Just because the deal is spread over several sheets of paper does not make the additional sheets not part of the "deal."

Imagine if ten of these lessees’s banded together to sue the lessor on behalf of all lessees who were deceived or overcharged on their residuals...

David Rabinovitz
Phone (617) 281-0710


Are you kidding? A mistake? It’s part of their Business Plan.

Jay Boslin

3131 E. Camelback, Suite 200
Phoenix, AZ 85016
602.840.4044 Fax
602.750.8070 Cell


Basically, I believe that a document that should be signed by both parties should be signed by both parties (duh). If a Lessor sends such documents, it should or could sign first, request the Lessees signature and receive the completed document.

Or, if you request the Lessee to agree to terms in any document by signature, all documents drafted by the Lessor bearing only the Lessees signature should also be valid.

Surely an 'oversight' at the Lessor will not undo any verbal/negotiated/confirmed agreement? To blame it to the Lessee ('you should have checked') is, erhm, not best practice. And unless they do not bother about return business, it is bad for business.

Maybe that last point is going towards 'another one of their tricks'...

Kind regards, Sicco Jan Bier
Halfweg, Netherlands


I vote for the Lessee, not based on fraud but on simple contract law. There was an offer, the sending of the form. There was an acceptance, the Lessee's signature. Game Over.

Now maybe the Lessor says the form is forged, made up, or is counterfeit and was never sent. I would change my opinion if that was the case. But if the form was sent to the Lessee, and the story is that it was not an offer, then why was it sent? Just a teaser?

I do note, that the end of the form says, "Subject to crept approval, delivery of this document bearing a facsimile signature or signatures shall have the same farce..."

Perhaps the Lessee's argument is that this form is indeed a farce.


Tom McCurnin
Barton, Klugman & Oetting
350 South Grand Ave.
Suite 2200
Los Angeles, CA 90071
Voice: (213) 621-4000
Direct (213) 617-6129
Fax: (213) 625-1832

Visit our Web Site at

(Would like to take credit for being clever, but the difficulty in moving the PDF to a word document created that, as well as the format is not the same as the original. Thank you for catching the typo. Editor)



Leasing Industry Help Wanted

National Account Manager

* California * Illinois * Minnesota

SINCE 1995
National Account Manager

60% commission. APP only to $ 250,000. No industry/geo restrictions. Tremendous flexibility/freedom: your home office or our regional offices. 

Sales Representative

Sales Representative

We're a progressive leasing company with ambitious growth plans for 2008. If you're a proven sales rep in the small ticket arena and ready to join a winning team, contact us immediately. We offer a competitive comp plan, amazing work environment, and have strong relationships with the major funding sources.
E-mail: .

About the Company: Genesis Commercial Capital, LLC; Irvine, CA

Vendor Sales Specialists


Like selling vendor programs and large transactions?
Enjoy international financing programs?
Prefer the advantages of a commission only environment with the security of health and welfare benefits?

CLICK HERE to find out how to have fun again.


About the company: Located on the water in
beautiful Newport Beach, California.The environment is positive.

  Growing vendor based equipment leasing company
  Learn our value proposition
  2 Years Sales or Related Exp.
  College Degree Preferred
  You will work with people
that you can trust and respect
  Click here to learn more

Please see our Job Wanted section for possible new employees.



New Hires---Promotions

Craig Caldwell appointed regional sales manager for Vendor Finance, Textron. He will assume responsibility for building vendor relationships within the construction industry in New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, and Missouri. Caldwell joins Textron Financial from GE Capital where he distinguished himself by managing the Southern territory and growing originations to over $40 million annually. He has also worked for CitiCapital and The Associates, originating loans and leases for both construction and the golf & turf industry.

Tamara McCourt, CE, CLP, promoted to western regional credit manager to Pentech Financial Services, small ticket division, San Diego, California. She previously served as credit manager at Pinnacle Business Finance, and holds Certified Credit Executive and Certified Lease Professional accreditations.

Richard McClintock promoted to eastern regional credit manager to Pentech Financial Services, small ticket division, San Diego, California.

"World Leasing News is a separate entity and not affiliated with Leasing News "



Lease Originations up 16.7 percent to $8.4 billion

Perhaps as a breathe of fresh air the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association MLFI-25 report comes at the right time. With recent news of leasing companies being sold, merged, closing down the
US operation, laying people off, and banks such as Citibank, National City and even finance companies such as GATX among others reporting lower profits than previous quarters, the MLFI-25 shows improvement in booked transaction as well as employment. Beige Book Report, NACM report, OTS Report, Al Schuler, US Department of Agriculture, give a different view. It certainly is refreshing to see such good news that leasing companies are doing so well.

Credit approval ratios (76.6 percent) increased 0.4 percent when compared to the prior month
(76.2 percent).

Total headcount for equipment finance companies has been relatively stable since February 2008 showing slight increase of 1.4 percent.
according to the MFLI-25 report.

“The June MLFI-25 indicates some softening in the equipment finance originations as compared to same period in 2007 and an up tick in charge offs. That said, the second quarter ended with originations up 3.2 percent year over year after a tepid first quarter, making the year-to-date flat,” said Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr., ELFA President.

Hon. Kenneth E. Bentsen, ELFA president

“Delinquencies are holding steady and a slight increase in charge-offs notwithstanding, would indicate that investment in capital goods has at the very least held its own in an otherwise troubled economic environment,” said Bentsen.

ELFA MLFI-25 Participants:

ADP Credit Corporation
Bank of America
Bank of the West
Canon Financial Services
Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation
De Lage Landen Financial Services
Fifth Third Bank
First American Equipment Finance
Hitachi Credit America
HP Financial Services
Irwin Financial
John Deere Credit Corporation
Key Equipment Finance
Marlin Leasing Corporation
National City Commercial Corp.
RBS Asset Finance
Regions Equipment Finance
Siemens Financial Services
US Bancorp
US Express Leasing
Verizon Capital Corp
Volvo Financial Services
Wells Fargo Equipment Finance

(This ad is a “trade” for the writing of this column. Opinions
contained in the column are those of Mr. Terry Winders, CLP)



Beige Book: Economic Slowdown Continues

Loan Growth 'Restrained'

This information has application for directing sales, operations, both growth and collection efforts, including both short and long range planning.

The latest Beige Book survey revealed that economic activity continued to slow through mid-July. Loan growth was restrained across the U.S., with residential real estate and consumer lending faring worse than commercial lending.

Five eastern Districts noted a weakening or softening in their overall economies, while Chicago characterized its economy as sluggish and Kansas City noted a moderation in growth. St. Louis said activity was stable and San Francisco reported little or no growth. Cleveland and Minneapolis reported slight increases in economic activity, while Dallas described growth as steady and moderate.

New York
St. Louis
Kansas City
San Francisco

(This is a free “ad” for our good friends the Bateman’s,
proprietors of Thunder Mountain Kona coffee)



Foreclosures and Inventory of Unsold House Grows

"A eleven month supply for both new homes and existing homes remains, "according to analyst Al Schuler, US Department of Agriculture. The increase in June housing starts come from a one time instance in New York City.

Inventories today remain near 11 months of supply, both for new homes and existing homes . Existing home inventory is almost 4.5 million (single family plus condos), over half of which are vacant.

The National Association of Realtors reported that sales dropped by 2.6 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.86 million units of existing homes being sold. That was more than double the decline that had been expected and left sales 15.5 percent below where they were a year ago.

"June housing starts increased 9.1%, to 1.066 million (SAAR– seasonally adjusted annual rate). The abnormally large increase in total starts was driven in large part by the fact that NYC enacted a new set of construction codes for multifamily permits authorized effective July 1, 2008. Consequently, in June, there was a large increase in building permits issued for multifamily residential buildings in NYC to avoid the new code.

Due to the methodology used by Census in estimating housing starts (part of the estimation process for starts is based on permit data), the abnormal increase in permits also impacts the estimate of starts. Therefore, both starts and permits for total housing for this reporting period are “abnormal” and should not be interpreted as a dramatic reversal in the housing picture."

The main factor is record inventories which are driven by a combination of rising foreclosures, higher mortgage rates, tougher lending standards, and falling house prices. As foreclosures increase, there is downward pressure on prices as supply increases, and the cycle continues. Aggravating it are higher mortgage rates and rising credit criteria, which goes against the economic rules of supply and demand. It brings the market into a very serious situation.

As mentioned in last month’s report, foreclosures continue to increase and this only expands the existing imbalance between supply and demand for housing. Historically, an inventory of 4 – 6 months is considered normal, and today’s 11 month inventory just puts downward pressure on prices which in turn makes it difficult for sellers to sell and for existing homeowners to refinance, particularly if they are “upside down” on their mortgage ( owe more than the market value of the house (see realtor. Org or websites referenced above to see inventory trends).

The bulk of housing demand comes from 1st time buyers and people “moving up”. The remainder of course comes from speculative demand, demand for second homes, and replacing homes that are beyond their economic life. There are several factors that are impacting the rate at which 1st time buyers are entering the market: recently enacted, much tougher credit standards – one impact from the sub prime issue , ; rising mortgage rates*; and ( from Economics 101), when one observes falling house prices, the 1st inclination is to wait for prices to stop falling before jumping in. Existing homeowners trying to “move up” are also impacted by falling prices.

A key ingredient to any solution would be to address the foreclosure problem – this would slow the decline in house prices thus encouraging more 1st time buyers to “jump in”; and existing homeowners attempting to “move up” would have a better chance in selling their property.

The current attempts by Congress and the administration are focusing on several related issues: helping more people hold onto their homes though various measures; helping 1st time buyers qualify for a mortgage; providing additional support for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government backed mortgage finance companies who hold or guarantee about 50% of residential mortgages ($5 trillion dollars worth) in the U.S.

*Mortgage costs are a function of many factors, including inflation expectations, availability of funds, and risk. Fixed term mortgages are tied closely to the ten year Treasury bond because most residential mortgages last about ten years. Traditionally, the 30 year mortgage rate is 1 to 1.5 points higher than the T bond, but with increased financial market risk today, that spread is approaching 2.5. Furthermore, the banks are incurring increased costs to comply with more stringent federal and state lending regulations – these costs are being passed onto mortgage customers. - see table #17, page 38 .,0,3701297.story
pers. comm., J. Luppold; First Community Bancshares.


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

Housing Rescue Package Will Have Global Impact

A full one year after the credit crisis began, Congress is in the final stages of approving HR 3221, the most comprehensive mortgage and housing legislation in decades. “This will have an enormous impact in the US housing and mortgage markets, as well as every major financial market all across the world,” said Gibran Nicholas, Chairman of the CMPS Institute, an organization that certifies mortgage bankers and brokers.

Impact on Inflation, the US Dollar and Government Debt
While the short term impact of the legislation is a very positive development, what happens if it doesn’t work as planned? If home prices continue to decline, the government will likely be forced to spend taxpayer funds to shore up Fannie and Freddie and/or absorb the losses from the expanded FHA loan programs. The Fed may be forced to print US dollars to finance these losses and government expenditures. This would result in inflationary pressures that devalue the US dollar. Further, the legislation does not have any plan in place to break up Fannie and Freddie and completely eliminate their government ties. This means that these two financial institutions will retain their privileged status as “too big to fail” which could require another government bail-out at some point in the future.

Impact on US Housing and Mortgage Markets
Licensing of all mortgage originators – “The great thing about this legislation, compared to other proposals that came before it, is that both bankers and brokers will be required to adhere to the same standards,” said Nicholas. The legislation calls for background checks, testing, registration in a national database and annual continuing education requirements for all individual bankers and brokers.

Stabilization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac – The new legislation empowers the government to provide funding to Fannie and Freddie if they are unable to raise funds on the open market, effectively guaranteeing their survival and ability to fund loans. Without this legislation, home prices could have collapsed even further due to the lack of funding options for buyers in the marketplace. “This is great news for home buyers and sellers because it eliminates the risk that home buyers will suddenly find themselves out of financing options,” said Nicholas. Approx. 68% of all new mortgages originated in 2008 were purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Additionally, the legislation extends higher loan limits in high cost areas indefinitely, albeit with maximum loan sizes of $625,500 compared to the current limit of $729,750 that is set to expire at the end of 2008.

Loan Modifications – Mortgage servicers are given new authorities and legal protections to modify the loans they service. Over 60% of US home mortgages are securitized. This means that the company collecting your payment (known as the mortgage servicer) doesn’t really own the mortgage note – it is owned by a group of Wall Street investors.

“Prior to this legislation, mortgage servicers lacked authority and faced enormous legal liability from their Wall Street investors whenever they modified a mortgage,” said Nicholas. Under the new law, servicers are protected from liability so long as they take steps to ensure that the modified loan terms will net their investors the same or better result than requiring the borrower to go all the way through the foreclosure process. “This should help more borrowers keep their homes through the loan modification process as opposed to forcing them to lose their homes and asking the housing market to absorb another foreclosure sale,” Nicholas said.

About CMPS Institute: CMPS is a training, examination, certification and ongoing membership program for financial professionals who provide mortgage and real estate equity advice. Recognized for its preeminence within the industry, the CMPS curriculum represents the core knowledge expected of residential mortgage advisors regardless of the diversity of specializations within the industry. Over 5,500 financial professionals have gone through the program since its launch in 2005. For more information or to find a certified professional near you,
please visit or
call 888.608.9800.


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

(Offers equipment lease financing through its wholly-owned subsidiary,
Alliance Leasing, Inc.)

Syracuse-headquartered Alliance Financial Corporation (NASDAQ: ALNC) (“Alliance” or “Company”), the holding company for Alliance Bank, N.A. (“Bank”), announced today that its net income for the second quarter of 2008 was $2.9 million, an increase of 27.0% compared with $2.3 million in the
year-ago quarter.

Jack H. Webb, President and CEO of Alliance said, “Solid performance in all of our core business lines resulted in record profitability in the second quarter. Credit quality indicators within our various loan portfolios remained stable during the quarter; nevertheless we increased our reserve for credit losses by $467,000 in the second quarter. We recognize that there are many challenges within the broader economy and the financial services sector, however, by primarily focusing on the Central New York market and our ability to make decisions locally we have positioned our Company for continued success.”

Full Press Release at:


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

GATX Corporation Reports 2008 Second Quarter Results

--GATX Corporation reported 2008 second quarter income from continuing operations of $40.9 million compared to income from continuing operations of $43.5 million. Net income from continuing operations for the first six months of 2008 was $93.1 million compared to $80.5 million. The 2008 year-to-date results include a $6.8 million benefit from the reversal of tax reserves reported in the first quarter.

"We posted another solid quarter in the face of a weak economic environment," said Brian A. Kenney, president and chief executive officer of GATX. "As we projected earlier in 2008, it is becoming more difficult to renew railcar leases with existing customers and lease rates are being pressured. Despite these facts, the GATX rail portfolio continues to perform well. Utilization remained at 98% in the second quarter and lease rates on renewals improved 5.9% over expiring rates. High steel prices also contributed positively to income, as scrap prices are at historically high levels. Profit from our European operations continues to increase and contribute positively to our overall performance.

"Within Specialty, our marine and aircraft engine leasing joint ventures continue to perform well and the outlook through the balance of the year is favorable.

"At American Steamship Company (ASC), demand for Great Lakes shipping capacity remains high. Freight rates and water levels increased through the first six months of 2008. This has been offset by rapidly rising diesel fuel prices, a portion of which cannot be passed through to customers.

"Investment activity increased during the quarter with more than $145 million invested in rail, marine and industrial equipment assets. We did not repurchase any stock during the quarter, opting to retain this equity capital to support investment opportunities that may become available. Any further stock repurchase will be driven in part by the size and probability of any investment opportunities."

Mr. Kenney concluded, "The first half of 2008 has played out as we projected, and we continue to expect full-year earnings to be in line with our previous guidance of $3.15 to $3.35 per diluted share, excluding the aforementioned $.13 per diluted share benefit from the reversal of tax reserves."

Full Press Release at:


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

MicroFinancial Profits up

Net income for the quarter ended June 30, 2008 was $1.9 million, compared to income of $1.4 million, or $0.10 per diluted share based upon 14,129,399 shares for the same period last year.

Revenue for the second quarter

Richard Latour, President and Chief Executive Officer said, "We are pleased with our continued growth in these difficult economic times. The closing of our new bank facility on July 9, 2008, which increased our line of credit from $30 to $60 million, will provide us with additional capital to continue to execute on our overall strategic objectives. From an operational standpoint, the second quarter of 2008 produced new contract originations of $17.9 million, an increase of $5.5 million as compared to the second quarter of 2007. During the second quarter we processed approximately 16,000 applications totaling $109 million, an increase of approximately 70% and 73%, respectively, over the second quarter of 2007. Our management team will continue to focus our attention on expanding our vendor base and origination business, as well as, looking for portfolios and other opportunities.”

Full Press Release at:



Fernando’s Review
3 DVD’s to Rent this Week

By Fernando F. Croce

After “The Dark Knight” soared this past weekend to terrific reviews and record-setting box-office numbers, most DVD releases would be anticlimactic. But fear not, there are some terrific choices for new DVD releases this weekend for movie-lovers who waiting for their fill of superhero excitement or are looking for something a little less comic-bookish.

High and Low (Criterion): While samurai adventures made his name with international audiences, Akira Kurosawa had a long career in a variety of genres, most notably the social comment movie. In this exceptional nail-bitter from 1963, Kurosawa takes a simple plotline (the son of a powerful Japanese executive is kidnapped, investigators get on the case) and expands it into a tense, tightly paced account of injustice. Toshiro Mifune, best known as the grunting warrior in “The Seven Samurai,” is superb as the anxious executive.

21 (Sony): How would you like to make off with a fortune from Las Vegas casinos? The question has been asked several times in the “Ocean’s Eleven” movies, but in this breezy caper the participants are not too-cool-for-the-room thieves but undergrad students trying to get funds to attend Harvard. The story about young and gifted gamblers undercutting casino bosses may be based on a true story, but that doesn’t keep the film from supplying old-fashioned pleasures like suspense, romance, and glitzy wish-fulfillment. As the dueling poles of adulthood, Kevin Spacey and Laurence Fishburne make terrific rivals.

Vampyr (Criterion): Another priceless blast from the past, courtesy of the folks at Criterion. Tired of horror movies that offer little more than blood and guts and the occasional “boo”? In the great Danish director Carl Dreyer’s chilling classic, fear is not something that jumps at you from out of the shadows, but something that slowly but surely gets under your skin. Following a young man’s journey through a land that may be the home of mystical creatures, this is the rare film that goes beyond scaring you into haunting you.



(Leasing News provides this ad “gratis” as a means
to help support the growth of Lease Police)

News Briefs----

Mortgage rates rise to highest level in a year

Synovus reports 89 percent drop in 2Q net income

Ford Posts $8.7 Billion Loss

Beware of Net banking traps

Navy cancels $20b purchase of destroyers



Fire News

Big Sur:



Sports Briefs----

49ers' search for QB begins



California Nuts Briefs---

Controller says he won't cut workers' salaries



“Gimme that Wine”

Ruling Turns a Village of Winemakers on Itself

The revenge of Paris

When excellent wines receive low scores

Mount Pleasant Winery Bottles It Up In Branson

Canada's Wineries Seek International Niche

It's showtime for Michigan, Ohio and Long Island wines

NFL's 1st Rule of Winemaking: Do Not Talk About Winemaking
Plus, MLB Hall of Famer skips All-Star Game to tend vines, rapper Ludacris opens restaurant, UK to shrink wineglasses and California increases tasting pours,1197,4503,00.html

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

Saint feast Days

Costa Rica: Guanacaste Day.
National Holiday. Commemorates the 1814 transfer of the region of Guanacastle from Nicaragua to Costa Rica by Spain.

Culinarians Day

National Hot Fudge Sundae Day

Intern Appreciation Day

Merry-Go-Round Day

Puerto Rico: Constitution Day.
Also called commonwealth Day or Occupation Day. Commemorates proclamation of constitution in 1952.

Spain: Saint James Day
Holy day of the patron saint of Spain.
The Catholic Church states there is not proof to the legend that Saint James evangelized Spain before he died. His relics are said to be in Santiago de Compostela in Galicia (Spain). His burial town, Santiago de Compostela, is considered the third most holy town of Roman Catholicism[6] (after Jerusalem and Rome). St James suffered martyrdom [9] in AD 44, and according to the tradition of the early Church, he had not yet left Jerusalem at this time. St Paul in his Epistle to the Romans written after AD 44, expressed his intention to avoid "building on someone else's foundation" , and thus visit Spain , presumably unevangelized. According to ancient local tradition, on 2 January of the year AD 40, the Virgin Mary appeared to James on the bank of the Ebro River at Caesaraugusta, while he was preaching the Gospel in Spain. She appeared upon a pillar, Nuestra Señora del Pilar, and that pillar is conserved and venerated within the present Basilica of Our Lady of the Pillar, in Zaragoza, Spain. Following that apparition, St James returned to Judea, where he was beheaded by King Herod Agrippa I in the year 44. The traditional pilgrimage to the grave of the saint, known as the "Way of St. James," has become the most popular pilgrimage for Western European Catholics from the early Middle Ages onwards; making him one of the patron saints of pilgrimage. It is always held when July 25 falls on a Sunday. The feast day of St. James is celebrated on July 25 on the liturgical calendars of the Roman Catholic, Anglican and certain Protestant churches. He is commemorated on April 30 in the Orthodox Christian liturgical calendar (for those churches which follow the traditional Julian Calendar, April 30 currently falls on May 13 of the modern Gregorian Calendar).

Thread the Needle Day

Tunisia: Republic Day. National holiday.
Commemorates the proclamation of the republic in 1957.

Saint feast Days



Though it goes to 10, 9 is estimated to be the point of total tectonic destruction from an earthquake (2 is the smallest that can be felt unaided.)



Today's Top Event in History

1952- Puerto Rico became a Commonwealth of the United States, ratified this day. Residents of Puerto Rico possess all the rights of U.S. citizens except that of voting in federal elections.


This Day in American History

    1651- African slaves in America arrived for the first time at the Spanish colony of St. Augustine, FL. They belonged to King Phillip II of Spain. The first slaves in the English colonies in America were introduced in Jamestown, VA, in August, 1619 by a Dutch man-of-war that sold 20 kidnapped Africans to the planter colonists. They were treated as indentured servants, since slavery was not legalized in Virginia for several decades. Forms of slavery were also practiced among Native American peoples from ancient times.
    1729- North Carolina becomes royal colony. As Jews were being banished in Europe from many cities for practicing their religion, they began migrating to the New World along with many other Christian faiths who no longer wanted to follow either the Church of England or the Vatican. Although few in number, Jewish immigrants were strong contributors to the religious life of America, according to historians. The first permanent Hebrew congregation to the colonies was formed in 1729 in New York City; the next year the members constructed a synagogue on Mill Street that was described as a “solid, neat, stone Temple. “ The congregation later added the first school for Jewish children. Around this time Jewish communities were also developing Charleston, S.C., Newport, R.I.., and Philadelphia, PA, and by the time of the American Revolution, there were between 2000 and 3000 Jews in the colonies, mostly merchants and traders. An act of Parliament in 1740 allowed Jews to be naturalized, and in the colonies they found more political and religious freedom than anywhere else in the world.
    1805 - Aaron Burr reportedly visited New Orleans with plans to establish a new country, with New Orleans as the capital city.
    1814- Battle of Niagara Falls (Lundy's Lane); Americans defeat British
    1850 - Gold is discovered in the Rogue River in Oregon, extending the quest for gold up the Pacific coast.
    1851-New Mission Toll Road opened. First toll station at Third and Stevenson. The planked roadway ran from Clay and Kearny, out Third to Mission, and then along Mission to Corbett Road. It bridged the marsh between Sixth and Eighth St. Tolls were 25 cents for riders on horseback, 75 cents for two-horse wagons an one dollar for a four-horse team.
    1861 - The Crittenden Resolution, calling for the American Civil War to be fought to preserve the Union and not for slavery, is passed by Congress. The measure was important in keeping the pivotal states of Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland in the Union.Although the measure was passed in Congress, it meant little when, just two weeks later, President Lincoln signed a confiscation act, allowing for the seizure of property—including slaves—from rebellious citizens. Still, for the first year and a half of the Civil War, reunification of the United States was the official goal of the North. It was not until Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation of September 1862 that slavery became a goal.
    1863-The first Monument to commemorate the Civil War was a plain brownstone shaft designed by Nelson Augustus Moore and dedicated this day, two years before the end of the war, at a cost of $4350. It was “erected to commemorate the death of those who perished in suppressing the Southern Rebellion” and eventually carried the names of 16 men. It is still standing.
    1866-- David G Farragut became 1st rear admiral in US Navy
    1868- Territory of Wyoming created.
    1874- "The Maple Leaf Forever," one of Canada's most famous patriotic songs, was said to have been performed for the first time during the laying of the foundation stone for the Christian Baptist Church in Newmarket, Ontario. The song's composer, Alexander Muir, conducted a choir of schoolchildren. But "The Maple Leaf Forever" likely had its first public performance years earlier. An early sheet music edition of the song in 1871 said it had been "sung with great applause by J.F. Hardy, Esquire, in his popular entertainments." (sounds very much like “My Country ‘Tis of Thee “)

    1891-Heat wave at Los Angeles with 103 on the 24th and 100 on the 25th. Peak during heat wave was 109
    1897-birthday of guitarist Sylvester Weaver, Louisville, KY,,508077,00.html?artist=Sylvester+Weaver
    1898-Puerto Rico was invaded by U.S. Forces led by Major General Nelson A. Miles. The landing was made at Guanica, on the southern coast. Resistance was minimal.
    1899-birthday of coronet player Johnny Wiggs, New Orleans, LA,,509639,00.html?artist=Johnny+Wiggs
    1903- Castle on top of Telegraph Hill, San Francisco, burns down.
    1906—Alto sax player Johnny “Rabbit” Hodges birthday
    1907-Birthday of guitarist Slim Green, Bryant, TX
    1908-birthday of Pianist Henry Brown, Troy, NT
    1916-African-American Garrett T. Morgan, inventor of the gas mask, rescues six from gas-filled tunnel in Cleveland, Ohio Garrett T. Morgan
    1918- Annette Abbot Adams became the first woman District Attorney, serving as U.S. district attorney in the Northern California District from July 25, 1918 to June 26, 1920.
    1918 -Race riot in Chester Pennsylvania (3 blacks and 2 whites killed)
    1925 - Station 2XAG in Schenectady, NY became the first radio station in the U.S. to broadcast with a 50,000-watt transmitter. The station, soon known as WGY Radio, could broadcast with 50,000 watts, since it was owned by the General Electric Company. Today, WGY still broadcasts with its original call letters and is still using 50,000 watts of power.
    1930-Birthday of Maureen Forrester, one of the world's leading contraltos, was born in Montreal, Canada. She has appeared with top orchestras and choirs in Europe and North America under such renowned conductors as Sir Thomas Beecham, Leonard Bernstein and Herbert von Karajan. In 1971, Forrester was awarded the Molson Prize by the Canada Council for outstanding cultural achievement.
    1930-Birthday of singer Annie Ross, Mitcham,UK
    1934-Birthday of trumpeter Don Ellis, Los Angeles, CA. Died December 17, 1978
    1934-The first president to visit Hawaii while in office was Franklin Delanor Roosevelt; at Hilo, HI. He was officially welcomed by Governor Joseph Poindexter on board the cruiser U.S.S. Houston. Hawaii was then a territory of the United States.
    1936-Today in History salutes Federal Theatre Project (FTP) of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).
    1936- 115 acre Orchard Beach opens in the Bronx, part of Penham Bay Park
    1936-Birthday of American composer Edward Gold, Brooklyn, NY.In recent years, Mr. Gold has composed entirely on the computer and has sequenced his own music as well as the music of others, including Elgar, Schumann, Liszt, and Brahms.
    1942 - Capitol Records first number one hit made it to the top this day. It was one of their first six records released on July 1. The new company’s hit was "Cow Cow Boogie", by Ella Mae Morse and Freddy Slack.
    1943-The SS Leonard Roy Harmon was launched in Quincy, MA, the first warship named for a Black person.
    1943-Jim McCarty, drummer for the Yarbirds, was born.
    1944 –The first jet fighter used in combat (Messerschmitt 262) Toward the end of the war Germany was not only producing rockets to bomb England, but building them to bomb the US, larger and stronger tanks, working on an atomic bomb, to be put on the rockets, and were now in production of jet air craft.
    1946- The first bikini is shown at a Paris fashion show.
    1946 - Singer Dean Martin and comedian Jerry Lewis staged their first show as a team at Club 500 in Atlantic City, NJ. Actually, the two had met while performing -- separately -- at the Glass Hat in New York City and decided to try an ad-lib act -- together. Reportedly it was their wives he did not get along, who eventually broke up the partnership.
    1947-The National Security Act of 1947 was passed by Congress. The act unified the armed forces, including the newly formed US Air Force, the Navy and War Department to form US Department of Defense, creating the cabinet position
of Secretary of Defense. It also established the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency. The act was signed on July 26 by President Truman, who nominated Secretary of the Navy James V. Forrestal as the first secretary of Defense. Forrestal was confirmed by Congress on July 27.
    1948-Birthday of guitarist/songwriter Steve Goodman, Chicago, IL Died, 1984.
    1950---Top Hits
Bewitched - The Bill Snyder Orchestra
Mona Lisa - Nat King Cole
I Wanna Be Loved - The Andrews Sisters
I’m Moving On - Hank Snow
    1952- Puerto Rico became a Commonwealth of the United States, ratified this day. Residents of Puerto Rico possess all the rights of U.S. citizens except that of voting in federal elections.
    1953- GUILLEN, AMBROSIO Medal of Honor
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Marine Corps, Company F, 2d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division (Rein.). Place and date: Near Songuch-on, Korea, 25 July 1953. Entered service at: El Paso, Tex. Born: 7 December 1929, La Junta, Colo. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a platoon sergeant of Company F in action against enemy aggressor forces. Participating in the defense of an outpost forward of the main line of resistance, S/Sgt. Guillen maneuvered his platoon over unfamiliar terrain in the face of hostile fire and placed his men in fighting positions. With his unit pinned down when the outpost was attacked under cover of darkness by an estimated force of 2 enemy battalions supported by mortar and artillery fire, he deliberately exposed himself to the heavy barrage and attacks to direct his men in defending their positions and personally supervise the treatment and evacuation of the wounded. Inspired by his leadership, the platoon quickly rallied and engaged the enemy in fierce hand-to-hand combat. Although critically wounded during the course of the battle, S/Sgt. Guillen refused medical aid and continued to direct his men throughout the remainder of the engagement until the enemy was defeated and thrown into disorderly retreat. Succumbing to his wounds within a few hours, S/Sgt. Guillen, by his outstanding courage and indomitable fighting spirit, was directly responsible for the success of his platoon in repelling a numerically superior enemy force. His personal valor reflects the highest credit upon himself and enhances the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.
    1954-The "Andrea Doria" and the "Stockholm" collide off the coast of New England in dense fog. 52 people were killed
    1954 – Birthday of Walter Payton (Pro Football Hall of Famer: Chicago Bears RB: Super Bowl XX; NFL individual record-holder: rushing yards gained in one game [275], in career [16,726]; career [1975-87] touchdowns scored [110]; born Columbia, MS; died Nov 1, 1999)
    1958---Top Hits
Hard Headed Woman - Elvis Presley
Poor Little Fool - Ricky Nelson
Little Star - The Elegants
Alone with You - Faron Young
    1961-Roger Maris hits home runs 37, 38, 39 and 40 in a double header.
    1962 - The Elvis Presley film ``Kid Galahad'' premieres.
    1964- Beatles' "Hard Day's Night, A," album goes #1 & stays #1 for 14 weeks
    1964- Race riot in Rochester NY
    1964-Billboard reports England has a hot new band. The Animals debut single "House of the Rising Sun" entered the U.K. chart at #16. The next week, it's at #3 and seven days later it's number one. To promote the group in the U.S., disc jockeys were sent boxes of animal crackers wrapped with special promotional material.
    1965- Bob Dylan, backed by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, horrified the audience at the Newport Folk Festival with his new electric sound. He was booed off stage after three tunes but returned with his acoustic guitar to play two songs -- "It's All Over Now, Baby Blue” and "Mr. Tambourine Man."
    1966-In San Francisco, the Rolling Stones perform their last U.S. concert with Brian Jones.
    1966---Top Hits
Hanky Panky - Tommy James & The Shondells
Wild Thing - The Troggs
Lil’ Red Riding Hood - Sam the Sham & The Pharoahs
Think of Me - Buck Owens
    1966- Trivia for followers of Al Davis, named commissioner of the American Football League just three a half months earlier, he resigned this day and returned to his previous position, president of the general partner of the Oakland Raiders. Davis resigned two weeks after NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle announced a merger between the two leaguers. He has never been happy since. 1966 –Supremes with Diana Ross release "You Can't Hurry Love"
    1966-New York Yankee manager Casey Stengel elected to Hall of Fame.
    1966-- Red Sox great Ted Williams is inducted into the Hall of Fame. In his induction speech the 'Spendid Splinter' makes a strong appeal for the inclusion of Negro League stars at Cooperstown.
    1966 - Eric Clapton plays lead guitar for George Harrison's ``While My Guitar Gently Weeps'' on the album ``The Beatles'' (also known as ``The White Album'').
    1967- Construction begins on San Francisco Muni Metro(Market Street subway
    1969- Toronto native Neil Young joined Crosby, Stills and Nash for the first time at a concert at the Fillmore East in New York. Young and Stephen Stills had worked together previously in Buffalo Springfield. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's second appearance was at the Woodstock Festival a month later. The quartet broke up in 1971.
    1970-Chicago's "25 or 6 to 4" is released.
    1971-The Beach Boys make a return with the release of their album "Surf's Up." It hits #29 which is their highest charting L
    1972-The US admits that Blacks were used for 40 years as “guinea pigs” in the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment.

    1974---Top Hits
Rock Your Baby - George McCrae
Annie’s Song - John Denver
Rock and Roll Heaven - The Righteous Brothers
Maria Laveau - Bobby Bare
    1975- the musical "A Chorus Line" opened at the Shubert Theatre in New York after a two-month run at a small theatre in the New York Shakespeare Festival complex in the East Village. "A Chorus Line" became Broadway's longest-running show, finally closing on April 28th, 1990, after 6,137 performances. More than six-and-a-half million people paid 150 million dollars to see the show during its Broadway run. Productions of "A Chorus Line” were also mounted in more than 20 countries.
    1979-Tropical Storm Claudette produced phenomenal rainfall totals in southeast Texas. 30-40 inches fell in 24 hours around Alvin. Freeport reported a total of 30 inches. Total damage from flooding was over $400 million
    1980- AC\DC releases "Back In Black," their first album with Brian Johnson as lead singer.
    1981 - Walter Payton signed a contract to play with the Chicago Bears of the NFL on this, his 27th birthday. The famed running back earned almost $2 million over three years. “Sweetness,” as he was nicknamed (because of his disposition), became the highest-paid player in the National Football League.
    1982---Top Hits
Eye of the Tiger - Survivor
Rosanna - Toto
Hurts So Good - John Cougar
Take Me Down - Alabama
    1985 -Spokeswoman for movie star Rock Hudson confirmed he had AIDS.
    1987-Beckley, WV equals all-time high of 91, established the previous day. It marked the fourth straight day with 90 readings after it was reached just 2 times in the previous 25 years
    1990- At the time, very popular actress-comedienne Roseanne Barr, star of the TV series “Roseanne,” sings the National Anthem at San Diego Padres game . Sports fans go nuts. Boo her out of the stadium. Her popularity wanes from this event.
    1990-US Ambassador tells Iraq, US won't take sides in Iraq-Kuwait dispute.
    1990 - Comic Roseanne Barr is booed off the field after she screeches a crotch-grabbing rendition of the national anthem at a Padres baseball game in San Diego. President Bush calls the performance ``disgusting.''
    1990---Top Hits
She ain’t Worth It - Glenn Medeiros featuring Bobby Brown
Hold On - En Vogue
Cradle of Love - Billy Idol
The Dance - Garth Brooks
    1997 - "Air Force One", with Harrison Ford. Rebel Russian highjackers capture the plane. It earned $37.13 million the first weekend.
    1997- Dr. John D. Gearhart and a team of researchers at the John Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, announced they had cultured human stem cells in a laboratory, using tissue taken from aborted human embryos. Stem cells are the basic, unspecialized cells from which all other cells in the body develop during the growth of a baby in the womb.
    1999 - Lance Armstrong rode to victory in the Tour de France, capping an amazing comeback from cancer. He was only the second American to win cycling’s showcase race.
Lance Armstrong and the Discovery Channel team after the 21st and final stage of Armstrong's last Tour de France.
    1999-- Nolan Ryan, Robin Yount, George Brett, Nestor Chylak, Orlando Cepeda, Frank Selee and 'Smokey' Joe Williams are enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
    2000---Top Hits
It s Gonna Be Me- N Sync
Bent- matchbox twenty
Everything You Want- Vertical Horizon
Try Again- Aaliyah
    2001- E. Stanley O’Neil to become Merrill Lynch & Co chief executive, first African American to lead a major Wall Street securities firm.
    2004-- Paul Molitor, a member 3000 hit club, and Dennis Eckersley, who appeared in the most games of any Hall of Fame pitcher (1,071 games) are inducted into the Hall of Fame. Long time Bay Area (A's and Giants ) broadcaster Lon Simmons wins the Ford C. Frick Award and the J.G. Taylor Spink Award is won by New York Times' Murray Chass enabling both to become members of the Hall for their outstanding reporting of the national pastime.
    2005---Top Hits
We Belong Together- Mariah Carey
Pon de Replay- Rihanna
SRP/Def Jam | 004809* | IDJMG
Hollaback Girl- Gwen Stefani
Don't Cha- The Pussycat Dolls Featuring Busta Rhymes



Baseball Poem

Night Baseball, 1947

    by Mary Kennan Herbert

Enos Slaugher in left field
Musial in right field
the pitcher
warming up to the sound
of my brother’s heartbeat
my father’s voice
it is a lost July night in St. Louis
and my dress flutters behind me
as we run to catch a streetcar
after the game

“Line Drives” 100 Contemporary
Baseball Poems, edited by Brooke Horvath
and Time Wiles




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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