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AHHHH, TECHNOLOGY

COULD HE AT LEAST HAVE WORN HIS BADGE?

A police officer in Cobb County, Ga., sent a personal e-mail to a woman he had arrested. Sounds like a bad idea, and it gets worse. The e-mail contained a picture of Officer Roy Collar ... let's say, not in uniform. Collar had a reasonable sounding defense: She started it. Apparently, the woman, who was charged with DUI over the summer, sent Collar a photo "of a similar nature," according to a spokesman. After looking it up in the rule book, they realized that wasn't a viable excuse. Now its up to the chief to decide what punishment fits this crime. Collar could be fired.

3,500 feet, and the reception is fine

Leigh Lander and his friends were climbing Table Mountain in South Africa when his pals decided to take a cable car down. According to Metro newspaper, Lander, 26, on vacation from Eastbourne, England, decided to walk down the 3,500-foot mountain. But he took a wrong turn, then fell and ended up trapped on a 100-foot ledge. This could've been the end of Lander. But he had his cell phone. Not knowing who to call locally, he dialed his grandfather in England, who hopped on the Internet - ignoring the e-mails from the Georgia cop - and found the number for a South African rescue team. Five hours later, Lander was safe. "I feel silly, but I'm glad to be alive," he said.

YOU DESERVE A BREAK

'Fast food' means you have to leave

A McDonald's in London is taking its classification as "fast food" very seriously. You've got 45 minutes to woof down that burger and fries, or it gets more expensive. Way more expensive. The Surrey Mirror reports that Maria Peters learned this when she and her family lounged under the arches for 53 minutes. A few days later, she got a ticket in the mail for almost $250. "To be over by a couple of minutes, I was really cross," Peters said. The time limit is actually on parking at the restaurant, and McDonald's says that you can stay longer if you arrange it in advance.

BAD SHOPPERS

Not too smart I

Calvin Fluckes went into a Detroit-area Wal-Mart and tried to cash a poorly counterfeited check for $848. There were about 80 uniformed police officers in the store for a charity event at the time. He has to be the bravest criminal ever. "He has to be an idiot," Lt. David G. Marker said. Our mistake.

Not too smart II

Don't think a little thing like a fire is going to dissuade holiday shoppers in Mentor, Ohio. As firefighters were tackling an electrical fire in Dillards in the Great Lakes Mall, shoppers refused to leave. Not only that, but the firefighters had to block off the doors so more customers didn't come in. No one was hurt, but about $130,000 in smoke and fire damage was done.

Compiled from Times wires and other sources by staff writer Jim Webster.

THIS JUST IN

"To give you an idea of how unknown (Democratic presidential candidates Tom Vilsack and Evan Bayh) are, their Secret Service code names are Tom Vilsack and Evan Bayh."

Jay Leno, host of The Tonight Show. That's them on either side of the quote. We don't know which one's which, either. (Okay, Bayh is at right.)

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