From the e-mails and voice mails:
FUNNY MONEY -- Last month, Chris Hanson of Spokane, Wash., came to Modesto to handle the estate sale of her deceased aunt's belongings. Juanita "DeDe" Goodwill died in July.
Hanson recruited the help of Goodwill's neighbor, Ruby Hansen (different spelling, no relation). As they sorted through the stuff, Chris told Ruby she wanted to pay her for her efforts. That wasn't necessary, Ruby said. But Chris insisted, and handed her a Civil War-era Confederate States of America $100 bill from Goodwill's belongings. Turned out it was a replica -- hardly evidence of the South rising again. They all got a good laugh out of it.
When the two-day sale ended, Chris really did reward Ruby by giving her one of the two $100 bills (U.S.) that they took in during the sale. Something didn't feel right about it, Ruby said. And when she tried to pay for something with it, a store clerk used a felt detection marker on it. The mark came up black, meaning the $100 bill was bogus. She took it to her bank, which is sending it to the U.S. Treasury Department for inspection.
"I called (Chris) and said, 'Thanks a lot. You're bound and determined to get me into trouble,' " Ruby said.
That was when Chris Hanson learned the bill was counterfeit and took the other $100 to her bank for inspection. It, too, was phony.
"People having yard sales -- we're not experts (on currency)," Chris said. "They're a great place to get rid of cash like that. Both came on the first day of the sale, early in the morning."
The moral of the story?
"Tell people doing yard sales to watch it," she said. "If (customers) try to give you $100 bills, tell them to go get change."
Preferably, the legitimate stuff.
COMMON DENOMINATOR -- Dave Boring, owner of Never Boring Design, knew several other current or former Modesto business owners for several years before realizing they all shared an Oct. 23 birthday. So, three years ago, they began meeting to celebrate. The group has grown to 10, its members being Boring, Norm Porges (Prime Shine Express), Donna David (MOCSE Credit Union), Gretchen Peek (Clayton's), Stan Azevedo (formerly of the Tree Frog Tavern), Frank Lacy (formerly of Michelle Lacy Interiors), Modesto Mayor Jim Ridenour, Colleen Wallace Myrtakis (State Farm), Kim Westphal (Valley Glass) and Sandi Cain. They even created a logo for the group. This year, they'll reunite Oct. 16 at Del Rio Country Club.
THE POLITICS OF SCOUTING -- The Girl Scouts of America are supposed to be a neutral, nonpolitical organization. That didn't come through in the fall edition of a teen magazine published by the Rancho Cordova-based Girl Scouts Heart of Central California and received by valley scouts.
A graphic was supposed to explain the differences between the Republican and Democratic parties, and their respective candidates, Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama. A Girl Scouts official told me the chart was created by a teen intern, one who added her own slant. She listed McCain's style as "Conservative (Traditional)" which is accurate. But she listed Obama's as "Liberal (Radical)." Radical? Aren't there radical elements within both parties? The Democrats have members that are hard to the left, but they also have conservative Blue Dogs. And didn't McCain have to sell the hard right-wing Republicans -- some of them pretty radical in their own right -- that he's conservative enough?
Then, the intern compared "What to expect if this party wins the 2008 election," claiming both plan to end the Iraq war. McCain has criticized Obama for his plans to end the war quickly, claiming he's naive. Obama has blasted McCain for claiming the United States could maintain a presence for the next 100 years.
The next thing you know, she'll be telling you the shortbread cookies are better than the thin mints.
PEARLS OF WISDOM -- Contrary to previous reports, including one in this column, the San Joaquin chapter of the Pearl Harbor Survivors didn't disband because of a lack of membership. It simply moved its meetings from Angels Camp to Modesto, member Leon Pitts said. They'll next meet at 11 a.m. Saturday at J.C.'s Cafe, at 500 Kansas Ave., in Modesto. Pitts also is a member of the Modesto Purple Heart recipients' group, which meets at 10 a.m. the last Saturday each month, also at J.C.'s Cafe. The Disabled Veterans chapter meets at 10 a.m. the second Saturday of each month at the home of George Cunha, 5736 Meyer Drive, in Modesto.
HAVE IT YOUR WAY -- In August, I wrote about Dan Talley, a 62-year-old disabled Modestan upset because the McDonald's and Jack in the Box restaurants on Oakdale Road refused to let him to use their drive-through lanes in his motorized wheelchair.
He made it clear he wasn't going to sue them. He just wanted them to save him the hassle of going indoors. But it's clear he's not the only one demanding accessibility from the fast-food chains.
Miguel Casteneda, a 45-year-old quadriplegic from Contra Costa County, is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed Sept. 10, charging that Burger King has violated state and federal disability access laws.
The lawsuit claims Burger Kings in California pose physical barriers to those, like Talley, who need motorized wheelchairs and scooters to get around. While there is no mention of allowing disabled customers to use the drive-through, the lawsuit asks the company to remove roadblocks such as inaccessible restrooms and dining areas, along with sidewalks that are too narrow or steep for wheelchair users to negotiate.
There's also a lawsuit pending in Nebraska, filed by a hearing-impaired woman who claims McDonald's is violating her rights by refusing to let her order at the pick-up window because she can't hear the squawk box at the start of the drive-through lane.
Jeff Jardine's column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in Local News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2383.