OK, so I admit I'm no financial genius. I'm in the wrong business to cultivate that talent.
But I think if I was worth $3 million more than I owed, I'd be deliriously happy. I'd do something crazy and frivolous, like filling up my gas tank.
Rumors had been circulating for quite some time that Tim Shelnut was in financial trouble. The rumors were confirmed last week when word came out (pretty belatedly, as it turned out) that the millionaire former owner of this newspaper had filed for bankruptcy back in June.
In the filing, according to the story in The Chronicle the other day, Shelnut listed $9.18 million in assets and $6.49 million in liabilities.
Even I can do that math: That leaves $2.69 million.
Help me out here, CPAs. Or heck, even third-grade math teachers. If after paying off everything you owe you still have nearly $3 million left, is that bad?
Packs of Scouts
Speaking of millions, I think I counted nearly that many Cub Scouts this past weekend.
While comparison-shopping for a new microwave oven, it seemed every place we went had a little herd of blue-clad boys out front, selling their fundraising popcorn.
I sure hope they make a lot of money from it. That stuff isn't cheap.
I am, though - which is why I still don't have a new microwave. And only one tin of popcorn.
Maybe if I had an extra $2.69 million lying around...
Appealing for votes
Lots of folks have asked about one of the obscure races on the ballot: the contest for the seat on the Georgia Court of Appeals.
A close legal adviser gives this guidance: Bruce Edenfield and Michael Meyer von Bremen are the most qualified; the rest, to varying degrees, not so much.
Von Bremen served for 10 years in the state Senate as a Democrat, which in part explains the recent meet-and-greet held on his behalf by Augusta attorney and Democrat David Bell.
Edenfield, meanwhile, is being supported both by former Democratic Gov. Roy Barnes and former Republican Attorney General Mike Bowers.
Let them eat pie
Finally, since the world these days seems morbidly obsessed with anything and everything related to the presidential races:
Someone sent me a link the other day to a Barack Obama speech in Philadelphia, where he told a long story about getting a slice of pie. The edited video counted each time he said "pie," and he said it repeatedly.
What it reminded me of, in a creepy sort of way, was an extemporaneous speech I once heard Ed McIntyre give at Paine College's Gilbert-Lambuth Chapel.
Jesse Jackson was to be the featured speaker, but he was characteristically late. Very late. So the assembled VIPs on the stage had to fill the void.
McIntyre, himself quite a speaker, was in his element. To loud and repeated "amens" from the packed audience, he talked about how his election as Augusta's first black mayor represented a turning point for political and economic power for the black community.
"You wanted a slice of the pie," McIntyre intoned, "so you elected the pie-cutter."
It was only a few months later, of course, that McIntyre got his hand caught in the cookie jar and was sent to federal prison for soliciting a bribe. I guess we could say he got his just desserts.
Years later, with our nation's economy in a tailspin and taxpayers hoping to keep a grip on whatever change remains in their pockets, I'm just a little chilled now to hear Obama talking about "pie."
(Barry L. Paschal is publisher of The Columbia County News-Times. E-mail comments to barry.paschal at newstimesonline.com.)
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