Hey, don't do what I did

If you're in San Francisco and see a fellow who appears to be loitering outside a post office, he's probably Shawn Gemen-tera. And if he's still there the next day, and the day after that, it's for good reason: He'll be serving part of a criminal sentence. The 20-something was caught - and confessed to - raiding other people's letterboxes. That's a federal crime, and so the judge in his case ordered him to stand for 100 hours near the entrance to one of the city's post offices wearing a sandwich board on which are the words: "I have stolen mail. This is my punishment."

... and the flees are terrible

Speaking of getting what's coming to him, an Orange, Texas, resident may soon find himself in the doghouse - literally. That would be part of the penalty he'll pay for pleading guilty to abuse of his stepson, including a report (since disputed) that he forced the boy to spend his nights in Fido's shelter. In addition to a fine and eight years' probation, prosecutors offered him a choice: 30 days in jail or 30 nights you-know-where. The deal still requires a judge's OK.

2003 big-business cheer:
Gimme a W! (as in Wal-Mart)

The biggest company in the US and indeed, the world, is now America's most admired as well. Discount retailer Wal-Mart jumped from third place in 2002 to the top spot in the latest annual survey by Fortune magazine of 10,000 business leaders and analysts in 66 industries. Five-time No. 1 General Electric fell to fifth place, and there were three new arrivals. Fortune's 10 most admired firms in 2003, and their ranks last year (in parentheses if applicable):

1. Wal-Mart Stores (3)
2. Southwest Airlines (2)
3. Berkshire Hathaway (5)
4. Dell Computer n/a
5. General Electric (1)
6. Johnson & Johnson (7)
7. Microsoft (4)
8. FedEx (8)
9. Starbucks n/a
10. Procter & Gamble n/a

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