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General Motors ( GM), which has a hard time giving future guidance, is also having trouble telling us what happened in the past. We heard again Thursday that the company will have to delay and restate earnings in what is becoming something of a tradition.

GM's accounting troubles seem to come in gross, not net. You can set your watch by GM's inability to set its.

I bring this up for three reasons. First: I was looking for a place to work in those jokes about wristwatches and gross-net. Second: Though GM lurks near a 52-week high and, if you believe the company, this particular round of revisions won't be bad, I am wary of the stock at these prices.

Which brings us to Three: an important update from the company's own conference call on what The Business Press Maven wrote Wednesday. The update came in the form of a few simple words uttered in the light of the earnings restatement. The words -- and words have a funny way of doing this -- told all.

But first let me address Wednesday's column , which elicited a lot of emails. The article dealt with how GM has made an untold number of mistakes in its quest to be the No. 1 seller of cars.

That designation and a nickel won't get you on a Ferris wheel, so why take on all those moving parts and complications in a grab for the rank? Despite all the excited reporting about being No. 1, it's not a ranking that comes tethered to the only thing that matters for investors: profitability.

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