So sorry for being late with this morning's regular HerbonTheStreet. So sorry for missing yesterday's Hotline. So sorry for being late with today's Hotline. I guess I got a lot of 'splainin' to do, and I was going to hold it until the end of this column, but new details have emerged (myohmyohmy), which force me to bore you with them right here right now. (Plus, let you in on the downside of someone hitting the wrong button in the world of electronic publishing!)


regular column regarding

Harley Davidson


, was delayed not because I hadn't written it; I had. But the original version said the company hadn't returned my call. I had turned it in around 5:30 p.m. EDT, and headed to my son's band concert. (A year on trumpet, and he's darn good if I don't say so myself, but now he wants to play drums! And that's after five years on piano. Kids!) Checked my voice mail before the show and I had a message from Harley; they'd love to talk.

Called my editor, told her to hold the column from publishing at its usual time of 6:30 in the ay-em. (That's something I


do if a company calls back -- even if it's late.)

Called Harley this morning, had a nice chat with Pat Davidson, head of investor relations. Got the company's side of the story. Rewrote the column to include what the company said (which is why it always pays to return my calls) and then ... someone pressed the wrong button and the original version of the column, the one


the company's comments, went up! That's bad enough, but when it goes up on our site it also goes up on

Yahoo! Finance

, and even though we immediately took it down from,

Yahoo! Finance readers could still see the original column before the new version with the company's response was published a short while later.

Within minutes, Pat Davidson at Harley called and (as polite as anybody from Wisconsin can be) wondered how in the world I could print a column that said he didn't return my call, when we had spoken less than an hour earlier. (Funny, I was thinking the same thing -- so much so that, when he called, I assumed it was my editor, with whom I was just Instant-Messaging, and the first word out of my mouth to him was, "@#$%%^&!")

Well, at least he knew I was taking it seriously ... Just as I hope you will take Part 2 of The Hotline ... coming up later.

Herb Greenberg writes daily for In keeping with TSC's editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, though he owns stock in He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. He welcomes your feedback at Greenberg also writes a monthly column for Fortune.

Mark Martinez assisted with the reporting of this column.