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Nov 14, 2008 03:35 PM

Abbreviating California [split from Hunting thread]


(Note: This post was split from another thread at: -- The Chowhound Team).

CaliFORNIA (!!!!!@

sorry Sam, i know my tend. to abbrev. loooong words like california is irritating to you-- i also abbrev. other oft-used (by me) place names: ny, mn, mpls, sf, nola-- i'm not doing it to be annoying on purpose. :)

do you prefer CA to cali, as an abbreviation? or are both equally bad? (cuz i think i could try to retrain myself to use CA when typing, tho i'll likely still use cali in vernacular, like lots of folks my age)

  1. Ms Ten (or is it Srta Sou?), thanks. Yes, I'm becoming a rigid old fart. It is just that I was born and grew up in California, but now live in Cali, Colombia, and would like to be fair to this city founded in the 1520s and now with a population of 2.7 million people. The food scene here has improved enormously over the past 15 years; and I would hope that more Calenos would join in as Hounds! Anyway, CA sounds good. When I was growing up referring to San Francisco as "Frisco" was thought to be guache. I guess that is no longer the case (?).

    74 Replies
      1. re: ricepad

        Yes, and the rigid old farts there are the reason we can't call San Francisco "Frisco".

      2. re: Sam Fujisaka

        Sam, i've decided to apply myself and work on this (use CA as abbrev, not cali). i certainly meant no disrespect toward cali, columbia or any of its denizens. bear with me :)

        1. re: soupkitten

          The only problem is, CA is also the abbreviation for Canada. So, for example, is a State of California website, but is a Canadian website. That throws me occasionally if I'm not paying attention. Actually, I think "Cal" is perfectly acceptable as short for California (Go Bears!).

          1. re: Ruth Lafler

            i must admit that canada is what i'm really thinking of when i see or type CA-- but then, i can walk into a convenience store here in msp and use canadian change(coin) to pay, and the cashier will accept it same as u.s. currency and not bat an eye. if i try that in other states, they look at you like you're trying to pass off monopoly money :)

            any thoughts on "cal" as an acceptable abbreviation, Sam?

            1. re: soupkitten

              After I posted that, I was thinking that the alternative to "CA" in addresses is usually "Calif." Although I wouldn't use it verbally, I find it acceptable in writing. It's just one more letter than "Cali." But Sam is right "Cali" is an abbreviation that's never, ever used.

              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                "Cali" as an abbreviation for 'California' is a hip-hop expression, I believe. I don't think LL Cool J was talking about returning to Colombia!

                1. re: ricepad

                  omg this post is never gonna make it thru the night! LOL! suffice to say nobody in america under the age of 35 has NOT used the *word/hip-hop expression/whateveryawannacallit* "cali," even if it's just because they were singing along with the radio:


                  and i'm SO not trying to get into east coast/west coast here. . . most people just think cali and california are synonyms/short forms of same. in the past 10 years, as language has evolved, cali has also pretty much become a vernacular prefix, to describe/locate a word which follows it. like, uh. . . cali-carrots-- would be carrots which originated in california. ahem. okay, now that i've blown any intellectual cache i ever had on chowhound. . . (tho i don't think chowhounding and hip-hop are mutually exclusive). . .

                  1. re: soupkitten

                    Well, now I've really learned something. I was aware of the hip-hop but didn't know about the evolution to widespread acceptance of "Cali". I've been away for too long. Had I known I never would have brought it up! Thanks soup.

                    1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                      Sam, a lot of folks try like hell to be hip; thus, "cali." Some are just naturally cool; thus, rigid old CA Native fart in Cali. But SoCal buddha-heads are way cooler than FAT Boys... :)

                      1. re: bulavinaka

                        Just to be persnickity I'm going to start calling my home state a slightly abbreviated version of alta nuevo Cal and baja nuevo Cal (instead of norcal and socal) from now on. As in: "So, how come the folks in alnucal don't seem to like us friendly folks in banucal?" ;-D

                        1. re: Servorg

                          LOL... sometimes I wonder if it's more appropriate to switch the "l" and "n" for our friends to the north... :) Just kiddin', alnucal folks... Love the food up there, hate the Giants not as much now that Barry the Sham is gone...

                    2. re: soupkitten

                      >>> most people just think cali and california are synonyms/short forms of same. in the past 10 years, as language has evolved, cali has also pretty much become a vernacular prefix, to describe/locate a word which follows it. like uh. . . cali-carrots <<<

                      You can choose use that, but on the SF boards that will immediately 'tag' you as a tourist.

                      It is NOT used here. I live in one of the most ghetto ridden part of the Bay Area, and I have never even heard the gangs here call it cali, let alone people under 35.

                      While I do not even remotely run with gangs, I do shop at one market deep in the ghetto ... hey, good prices ... so I hear the common language ... also I'm a block away from a high school that has a permament police patrol car parked outside and know the kids in my neighborhood.

                      I swear to God, this story is true. Sometimes my knee goes out. I'm shopping at this grocery store. The car next to me has this kid who has the two biggest pit bulls I've seen in my life. So I'm limping back to the car, contemplating the dogs, and the kid ... wearing colors ... says to me ... "can I help with your bags" ... and he did.

                      So those are my ... uh ... street creds

                      Anyway ... maybe it seems cool in the midwest, but it just isn't used ... well sometimes in the suburbs ... I once giggled in a corporate meeting when this really, really, uh, caucasian ... guy used a term my friend's son who lives in Newark NJ used ... ten years before ... it had finally filtered that far. Didn't make me popular with him

                      So feel free to use it. Just know people will be rolling their eyes ... and know you are not from ... cali.

                      1. re: rworange

                        I see and use Norcal and Socal on a fairly regular basis.

                        1. re: rworange

                          correct. cali is used as a synonym for california *only* by people who do not actually live in, or are not from, california. i don't think we disagree at all.

                          1. re: rworange

                            LL Cool J had a song called "Goin back to cali" out about 20 (yikes) years ago. I think Biggie Smalls had one too. There's your hip hop connection.

                            1. re: rworange

                              I love your story about the gang banger helping with your groceries. But I wonder what would have happened if his car had been filled with fellow gang members? Interesting to contemplate. It's nice to think they might all have helped. Hey, I like half full glasses, okay?

                              I'm not sure why (obsessive compulsive disorder?), but I hate being misunderstood (which, unfortunately, happens more than I would like on these boards) so I rarely use abbreviations. Or maybe it just comes with being a writer. Fifteen years or so ago, when the internet was new and slooooooow, I still used capitalization, proper (or fairly proper) punctuation, paragraphs, double spaces between sentences. Boy, did I get yelled at about my "bandwidth!" But I'd rather be yelled at for my bandwidth than to be musunderstood.

                              Content usually indicates when people are talking about California, as opposed to Cali, Colombia. But when it takes more than one reading to figure out what someone is talking about -- not necessarily California or Cali -- I just figure they're not talking to me and move on.

                      2. re: soupkitten

                        I think we used Cal when I was growing up. When I see msp I think monosodium plutamate.

                        1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                          okay, we'll go with cal-- tho i think of cal as a man's nickname, it seems to be the best compromise. what do you use monosodium plutamate in?

                          1. re: soupkitten

                            This thread is going to get removed, but Cal refers to UC Berkeley, not California!

                            I use norcal and socal all the time, as a native Angeleno who has lived in San Francisco for several years. Cali is definitey something I only hear from friends who aren't from California.

                            1. re: Pei

                              Yep ... so removed ... sorry for the temproary insanity and contributing to hijacking your pig hunting thread which I find fascinating ... btw, Dittmars in Mountain View will process your pig for you.

                              I don't know why stuff like that is annoying to locals ... terms like San Fran or SFO. Frisco doesn't bother me so much ... but I wasn't born here ... only adopted the place ... so I was once an outsider too.

                                1. re: rworange

                                  Nicknames indicate a degree of familiarity. When you use the "wrong" nickname you demonstrating the falseness of your familiarity. For example, if you have a friend named Kathryn and everyone who knows her calls her "Kate" and knows she hates being called "Kathy" and someone comes up to you and starts talking about "Kathy" then you know that person is a phony.

                                  I'm a Bay Area native:

                                  SF -- preferred
                                  San Fran -- acceptable
                                  Frisco -- never
                                  SFO -- refers to the airport; important mostly because if someone uses it, then someone has to ask for clarification on whether they mean the airport or not (because some people *do* mean the airport). Besides, what's the point of using SFO when you can use SF?

                                  I use "socal" -- since I live in "norcal" I tend not to use it -- I'd use something more specific, but I don't have a problem with it.

                                  Now, to relate this to the hunting topic, soupkitten asked "do folks in cali/sf area eat a lot of game, not so much, or none at all?" and the answer is "yes." California is a very large and diverse place. Parts of it are heavily urbanized and people who live in urban, suburban and ex-urban areas -- especially if like many Californians they come from other places -- tend not to be hunters and not to have much access to or experience with game. But there are also huge rural and semirural areas where lots of people hunt. If you live in those areas or have friends who live in those areas then you're more likely to have access to game.

                                  1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                    Thanks Ruth. You nailed it. You, too, Sam.

                                    I've had my previous snarky objections to "Cali" excised from the board, so I'm gratified to see the message is getting thru.

                                    1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                      "Frisco" was good enough for Jean Renoir.

                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                        Ruth, my response to you below seems to have been axed along with your response to me. it can't be overstated that folks who use the word "cali" are not trying to "fit in" with californians, or "pass" as a californian. just exactly the opposite: using the word "cali" is a strong signifier that the speaker is NOT from california.

                                        indeed, in the real context of how this word is used, folks who will use the term "cali" within a few minutes of meeting a stranger (remember, this will be in chi-town (pronounced shy-town), nyc, or other environs, NOT california) are clearly stating, if i may translate: "i am NOT from california. i don't have any issues related to californians. if you have any of these issues, i have no beef with you."-- then bla bla bla, the rest of the whole feeling each other out, delicate politics, who knows who, etc, follows that. so in this case, it's more about where someone is NOT from rather than where someone IS from. does anyone hear me at all?

                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                          I hear you! *imagining the sound of a flurry of tippity-tapping on the keyboard in between stirrings of soup*

                                          But, the point you make in your most recent post (confession--I haven't actually read the whole thread, except Ruth's Go Bears part and a few other select parts that appealed to some Cal-triotic part of my brain) does make me wonder. I haven't really ever heard anyone, even in the Twin Cities, refer to it as Cali in front of me. I assumed it's because I'm too old or un-hip (or whatever it is that the hip people call the un-hip these days...) but, maybe it's actually because no one feels the need to communicate to me that they AREN'T from Cali...because, of course, I can already tell.


                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            i hear it kind of regularly, i guess. it's more popular with younger people in their 20s and early 30s-- i'm about to turn 34 in a couple months, and i'm pretty non-hip at this point. when i asked the warehouse worker where the peppers were from on friday she said "cali." you know, exactly like any normal working-class person would say "jersey" instead of the formal "new jersey" or "philly" instead of "philadelphia." (i imagine the californian-and-proud-of-it folks are thinking that people are saying "cali" in some type of sneering tone or something. it isn't like that, if it's any consolation)

                                            i heard the term "cali" much more often when i worked in bars, and i suppose that's where i picked up the habit of using the word. it's used among kitchen workers a lot-- there always seems to be one person, or a cadre, of folks from california and it goes back and forth, it's lighthearted. i did hear it used constantly among my classmates (from all over the country, canada, and rest of the world) when i was in college, this would be right at the height of the east coast/west coast feud-- but i didn't use the term then-- listened to *only* classical music, and after i dropped out of conservatory, punk rock. i've never been very into the hip-hop scene, though i've bartended at my share of shows, & i like a lot of current local stuff and can sing along with the old school tracks---i probably can count the hip-hop albums i own on my fingers--dh, would be a different story, but he doesn't even have that much any more. i really thought this was all common cultural knowledge-- i must really underestimate how the "normal" microcosm of a bar is so *not* the actual normal-- but then thinking about it, it's probably more normal than the microcosm that is chowhound(?).

                                            i certainly don't hear ceos, doctors, lawyers saying "cali" in common speech-- i would probably join the left coast folks in sniggering at them, if i did.

                                            1. re: soupkitten

                                              Actually that is the most helpful answer, narrowing it to a blue collar and/or age-specific term. Every generation has its slang. I can often guess exactly how old someone is and where they are from by specific terms that are used.

                                              It puts a different spin on the handful of posts that show up on the SF board using 'cali'. Just slang from a specific group. Helpful in that unless there more info than the usual ... "Coming to cali, what are the best restaurants", I'll suggest age-appropriate restaurants.

                                              I guess it hasn't had truly widespread distribution through the media because ... well,many movies are made in California ... and we don't use it

                                              Left Coast ... sigh.

                                              1. re: rworange

                                                and-- i did not think about movies all being from california. that sure would explain a bit of why you haven't heard this term used more.

                                                i think it would be a mistake to assume that someone is young if they use the word "cali," or make other assumptions about them (except of course that they are not a california native) based on the use of the word. it really has been around for about 20 years, that's plenty of time to gain traction in common parlance, with young & old alike, and i do hear older folks using it.

                                                prior to this thread, i would have thought that any person who would have a problem with the term "cali" or see it as a "diss" was either a murderous thug-gangster, or more likely a fourteen-year-old wannabe thug-gangster, and i would have been dead wrong.

                                                i remember when people were getting shot over the use of the word, and when kids were being shot through the windows of their cars for playing "east coast" or "west coast" music in the wrong neighborhood. the fact that ten years later, everyday folks of all ages now casually use the word "cali" in banal conversation is sort of wonderful to me, and i thought that the term was no longer "loaded" for anybody.

                                                1. re: soupkitten

                                                  Yes, but keep in mind the urban dictionary reponses. It is not wonderful to some and it just labels the people who use the term. Sorry, I will make assumptions since I really don't think it is as widespread as you say. Per your own words someone who is a professional would not use the word anymore than they would use other slang terms. When I go home to Connecticut to my working class neighborhood, I hear terms that I haven't heard for years ... and yes, you can hear those words world-wide, but it classifies anyone using them.

                                                  1. re: rworange

                                                    I'm a SoCal native and have never ever heard the term, "cali," used by fellow natives. But hey, it could be a generational thing, or even maybe our little group is just totally out of it. Whatever... :)

                                                    1. re: rworange

                                                      i didn't say that a professional would never use the term. your assumptions, and your need to feel superior to anyone who would use the term "cali" might also be a liability later on, and i'm just trying to tell you-- you are misreading my *concern* about this. example: if a 45 year old wealthy manhattanite entertainment executive asked for recs on the sf board, but used the word "cali" as an authentic expression of who s/he is and where s/he comes from, and the folks on the sf board applied their interesting definition of the word, assuming s/he's some rube midwestern teeny bopper whose whole existence is to annoy them. . . well, i can foresee a problem happening with the social interaction.

                                                      same goes if a californian were to visit brooklyn and share their opinion of those who would use the term with the locals there. that person would be guilty of 1) coming to someone else's house and talking trash 2) being "ignorant" 3) disrespecting the dead. also potentially a very bad situation, embarrassing, disrespectful to hosts, bad etiquette and all these things which most chowhounds appreciate are not good manners at all.

                                                      what's most troubling to me: someone on a rant about the superiority of one coast while dissing the language coined by the representative artists of other coast, in the cultural context of the east-coast west-coast hip hop war--- yeesh. . . *seriously* looks like they are trying to reignite a bunch of old tensions and start the war up again, which i'm nearly positive is not your real intent, but i think you don't know enough about the origin of the term to realize how it looks. look at tupac and biggie. these guys are dead, and a bunch of other people, and it's a lot of wasted lives and wasted talent. they **died** because of words and egos and people's arrogant sense of their own superiority, talking trash between the coasts new york is better, no, west side is the best side, how would you know, you don't know how we roll, b*^(^-- back and forth for years escalating the violence until the best-loved and most talented people were shot for their troubles-- it's the great urban parable of our time, for fuck's sake-- and i thought we all learned something from it. there was a sea change after these guys died, it was like a whole bunch of people all woke up at once to the horrible crime they'd all played their small part in, and the whole world wanted peace and not feuding. the industry changed. the media was reexamined. collaboration increased. people stopped idolizing thug-gangsters and the violence they represented. everything got dialed down and the random violence stopped. intelligent and emotional hip-hop emerged from the ashes of the gangbangers, and that's what the kids these days are thumping and emulating. am i the only one who was paying attention when the l.a. riots happened in 1992? and remember how bad the diss-war in hip-hop got after that, the constant trash-talking, the media circus, how it affected regular people, especially kids? perhaps i should attach links to hip-hop songs from the nineties so that everybody can remember the cultural climate, & what i am talking about? been there, done that, don't want to go back.

                                                      the thing is, if a person has never even heard the term as it's actually uttered, does not listen to hip-hop, and doesn't know when, where, or the context in which the term was originally coined, it isn't surprising that an interpretation of the term would be a little off-base. this term has been around longer than compact disks-- since the late '80's. everybody think about where they were in the 80's-- what they were wearing, what restaurants they were eating in. . . that was a *long* time ago. the meaning of the word is different than it was in 1995. nobody who doesn't have a huge chip on each shoulder applies any baggage to it, i guess i should say, "outside of california." i'm not saying nobody should try to go out and eradicate the use of the word "cali," but to many folks, you'll look like you're a little late to the party. kinda like saying nowadays: "okay, let's get rid of the phrase 'soul-brother,' that's so square."

                                                      thanks for this frank chat, i've learned a ton, i've said my piece, and i'm done now.

                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                        A number of times this has been said this is insulting to some people. .Trying to legitimize is is not better than trying to legitimize any number of unacceptable terms.

                                                        As mentioned there is context. If someone gave specifics on what they liked or disliked and used the word 'cali', I wouldn't steer them away from Chez Panisse or Ubuntu and toward burritos. I might mention, if no one else did, that unless they want to be singled out ... like the tourists on Fishermans Wharf wearing shorts in January, flashing cameras and fanny packs ... or people who inappropriately use "San Fran" or "SFO" that the term would mark them as outsiders. This would be a courtesy. As a local, I know I can get different treatment based on certain signals.

                                                        Ya know, even as someone not that interested in hip hop, I coudl rattle off the major artists. However, the minutia of in-fighting and wars, just isn't something that filters down to the majority of the country, regardless of age.

                                                        I like food a lot. I like Chowhound .Yet when I get outside of the food-centric community, a lot of people are just unaware of what so many here take for granted. I get stopped dead sometimes when I'm talking to a non-foodie and they are so unaware of something I think is common knowledge.

                                                        So it goes with your assumptions about the general knowledge of the the minutia of hip hop. Just as food isn't a big part of a lot of people's lives, neither are the details of hip hop ... or any specialized interest.

                                                        It has nothing to do with west coast vs east coast wars ... who knew? There were a bunch of gangter hip hop artists who were wasted .. that's what filters out.

                                                        I find the arrogance of (espeically) male hip hop artists as a real turn off. The phony 'artistic license' argument leaves me cold.

                                                        The argument about the acceptability of the term is similar to so many of the arguments I've heard from these same people trying to legitamize other unacceptable social behaviour.

                                                        If there is now peace within that group based on the term 'cali' being widespread within that community and whatever stigma there was being removed ... well good. I'm for peace anywhere.

                                                        As I said, your discussion gave me insight and left me less annoyed when I see someone using the word cali ... I have a better understanding of where that comes from ... however, it still categorizes them for me. I don't dislike like them. I just have a better understanding of where they are coming from.

                                            2. re: soupkitten

                                              Yeah. I'm just scratching my head at the idea that being from California is somehow controversial: that people feel the need to announce that they aren't from "Cali" and that there might be "issues" if they were; that there are "delicate politics" involved. Now I'm starting to imagine that when I travel people are talking smack about me behind my back, which I, as a clueless Californian, am blissfully unaware of.

                                              1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                Well, in the Midwest it's behind your back. :) In NYC, it's to your face. I'll never forget when I was walking with a friend in Manhattan one time being my normal smiley self and some scowly person sneared as they brushed past, "California Girl." I wasn't sure whether to be more surprised that it was so obvious or that it was apparently such a terrible thing to be.

                                                But, just like some Californian have pre-formed opinions about Midwesterners that may or may not be fair, accurate or flattering, some Midwesterners have pre-formed opinions about Californians that may or may not be fair, accurate or flattering.


                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                  no, no-- i'm sure this is nothing you would ever have to worry about, Ruth-- as i understand it (zero gangbanging cred here), this is, like-- the handgun in the pants-type politics, and what color your bandana is, and whom you are coming to visit locally, with your posse. that is, gang activity in one city/area of the country will be very different than in another, but sometimes there are visits, and everybody tiptoes around each other, hey we're cool. . . and california happens to have some of the most, and most-violent gang activity, & therefore dudes from california might just be nobody to mess with, so the locals generally want to identify themselves to said bad boys and to each other right freaking off the bat so that everybody knows how to behave.

                                                  locally to me, in the minneapolis bar i used to work at, you'd see these exchanges with guys who were local and guys who came up from chicago to hang out and lay low for a while--- same as al capone and many other chicago gangsters have historically done. everybody needed to see who was affiliated with whom, who was the big dog in the room, everybody's intentions (generally it was you don't diss me i don't diss you, buy me a drink and let's all relax-- is that your sister or your girlfriend?) and then they'd all adjust the social dynamics accordingly. couple of the guys should have been u.n. reps.

                                                  okay, here's some history, if anyone's interested:

                                                  hence my tongue in cheek "tupac is dead" reference below. as in: "to most of the country, the violence associated with biggie smalls going, going, back, back, to cali, cali--- is ***over***"
                                                  so now, the use of "cali" has become quite mainstream, though it still signifies that the person who says it is not a native californian--whether that person is a gangbanger or a sorority chick, or whether anybody cares, has to do with the rest of the social scene.

                                                  1. re: soupkitten

                                                    Soooo ... after reading all that ... it is a term of disrespect ... just socially approved in a certain segment of the country.

                                              2. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                Ruth, do these 'rules' only apply to written abbreviations? Which ones translate into spoken abbreviations?

                                                For example, when I lived in San francisco in 2006, I noticed a lot of people wrote SF, but I never heard anyone say, "I come from SF"!

                                                Although I did hear outlanders saying 'San Fran' a lot...

                                              3. re: rworange

                                                You'll probably find that the "locals" who express such indignation over "Frisco" are people who moved here from Milwaukee five years ago. I don't consider myself "local" but have lived here 46 years (43 in SF proper) and "Frisco" sounds just fine to me.

                                                1. re: Xiao Yang

                                                  I dunno...I was born in the East Bay, and aside from a short time during/just after college, have lived in Northern California all my life...and as a devoted Herb Caen reader, I think he got it right: Don't Call It 'Frisco'.

                                                  1. re: ricepad

                                                    wow are the mods on vacation?-- well it looks like i missed some fireworks that were deleted from last night. that's okay, roast chicken is better than fireworks. once again folks, the majority of people in america and around the world who have ever used the word "cali" as short-form california are not trying to tick off californians. they don't think they are cool-- we're talking about little old vietnamese ladies on the bus, british george-harrison looking dudes, average new yorkers, boring mitten-wearing compost schlepping midwestern middle aged business owners like myself (really-- if i want to remember when i even thought i was "cool," i gotta get a picture album out ;-)). everybody knows not to use the term in california or around californians-- despite the fact that everyone uses the word innocuously as you'd use "lip balm" or "greenland"--it is an extremely commonly used term--we know californians are apt to freak out. they say wars never end for some people. btw i'm always careful, when californians are present, to say "tupac is *presumed* to be dead" rather than "tupac is dead." if CA, cal and cali are all unacceptable for various reasons, what the heck kind of shorthand can we use for california, since "nocal plus socal" isn't any shorter, plus it seems more confusing to me. sorry for all the ruffled feathers--never my intention-- and y'all can cut out the cheap midwestern shots already.

                                                    the only time i've heard "frisco" used, apart from the old gene wilder movie, referred to a really yucky looking ham sandwich at the pretty-much now defunct "hardees" chain. i have no idea what they thought was "frisco" about it, but it sorta counts as food. and i am aware that there is a frisco, colorado (town) and a frisco, texas (town)-- and there may be others for all i know.

                                                    1. re: soupkitten

                                                      Keeping this "chowworthy" Marie Callendar's has had their "Frisco" burger on the menu for as long as I can recall.

                                                      1. re: soupkitten

                                                        I must admit every time I see the term "Cali" my brain automatically fills in "cartel." (Sorry Sam, I'm a news junkie and that phrase was just too common a few years back). But then I'm also irked by the overuse of abbreviations in general and texting shorthand in particular. In my admittedly curmudgeonly opinion using them is selfish and discourteous - it may save a few seconds for the typist but wastes untold amounts of time for untold numbers of readers trying to figure out what they actually mean. IMHO. YMMV.

                                                        1. re: soupkitten

                                                          re: soupkitten >>>if CA, cal and cali are all unacceptable for various reasons, what the heck kind of shorthand can we use for california<<<

                                                          F ... add the eff ... calif

                                                          I'm sorry sk, I don't buy cali as being a part of the common vernacular except for certain pockets of the country. If so, you would hear it all over the media, on tv shows, in movies

                                                          According to Urban Dictionary .. which has a dozen hilarious definitions ... I pullled this one out for sam ... more in the link ... warning it IS urban dictionary so the language can get raw

                                                          1)"One of the most important cities of Colombia, AKA The capital of Salsa ...

                                                          2) An annoying name for California.
                                                          -I'm travelling to Cali this weekend.
                                                          -Great, I heard they make the delicious pandebono there. "

                                                          So misuse of cali insults citizens of two locations in one swoop.

                                                          Cali is a name just as is Cal. It also stands for Computer-Assisted Legal Instruction ... hmmm ... can I sue for cali abuse?

                                                          Seems like a lot of central country use, even businesses like Cali Juice

                                                          My guess is that just as you rarely get good food at a place with "mom' the name, the furthest thing from authentic California food is anything named 'cali'.


                                                          Now while one must appreciate the surfing burrito ... truly ... truly ... no burrito like this is served in California

                                                          The Nepenthe
                                                          falafel, rice, black beans, pickles, tahini sauce

                                                          These people claim they lived in California for 10 years ... and yet they use no lard. Even worse ...

                                                          "Concerned About Carbs?
                                                          Save a tortilla, do a bowl!
                                                          All the ingredients in a burrito without the toritilla"

                                                          A burrito ... bowl ... oh, the humanity.

                                                          1. re: rworange

                                                            urban dictionary is a good resource-- since it is "the dictionary you wrote," a lot of the definitions written by real folks are by people who have a lot invested, for one reason or another. then other folks give the def a thumbs up or thumbs down. people who don't care one way or the other, eh-- they probably never check out the def or weigh in with their thumbs. the def RWOrange referenced got: 365 thumbs up, and 95 thumbs down. the most popular definition:

                                                            "A name that non-native Californian's use when refering to California and trying to seem like a real Californian.
                                                            Typical of an East coaster"

                                                            this got 560 thumbs up (wonder where they're all from :)) and 128 thumbs down. the def correctly nails the origin of the term "cali" as east-coast, but the "trying to seem like a real Californian" bit is imho pretty incorrect. fwiw, the definition that states that cali is "the next mexican state" got 63 thumbs up and 94 down.

                                                            here's the link for anyone who wants to check out the definitions, or the other words with cali-prefix which are in use. i have heard some of these, but not others, used in regular conversation in the kitchen where i work.


                                                            1. re: rworange

                                                              Worange, that urban dictionary was hilarious and I found that I'm not alone in my aversion to "Cali" for "California".

                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                More likely these days to see a lengthening to "Californication" ;-D

                                                    2. re: Pei

                                                      Correct, there is only one CAL and it's in Berkeley. :) Revealing my complete and total Norcal bias.

                                                      I think context is everything, here. When I put out a long string of references, MN, WI, IA and CA--I assume the folks reading along notice these things all appear to be the the codes the US postal service recognizes as states. However, frankly and shockingly, a lot of people think MN is Maine or Montana or whatever, so, if I'm using a string of state abbreviations and think MN won't be recognized as MN, I actually revert back to MINN and CALIF--the old, old postal abbreviations. But, I guess that makes me old, old, too.

                                                      Usually, when I'm using a long string of country abbreviations, I usually use the first two-digits of their ISO currency code. US, CA, MX...and so on.

                                                      But, if I'm not sure everyone is following along, I just spell the dang things out. San Francisco, California, Minnesota, it' just just not that bad. Okay, I'll admit, Minneapolis is a bit of a pain to spell out. :) Revealing my complete and total Saint Paul bias.


                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                        You've hit on the problem, Dairy Queen - abbreviations only make sense where EVERYONE KNOWS what the abbreviation stands for.

                                                        I still remember applying for a social security card as a student in the US, and getting very panicky when the lady behind the counter kept on insisting the country code for South Africa was SA. While South Africans often abbreviate South Africa as SA when they write or speak, I can promise you that our international country code is ZA, and that SA is the international country code for... Saudi Arabia. Totally not what I wanted on my social security card less than one year after 9/11...

                                                    3. re: soupkitten

                                                      <"what do you use monosodium plutamate in?>"

                                                      Phinese phood.

                                                    4. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                      Yup. Then the Post Office (NOT the U.S. Postal Service!) introduced two letter abbreviations for states, along with zip codes. Back when I was young and you were younger, Sam, life was MUCH less complicated!

                                              4. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                There used to be a law on the books imposing a fine on anyone using the term "Frisco" to refer to San Francisco.

                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                  It's still San Francisco or The City, not Frisco or San Fran. There used to be a restaurant - in the Fillmore I believe, named "Don't Call It Frisco." Rigid old farts say call it what you will. You just label yourself a tourist; nothing wrong with that :) I also use Calif. when posting or writing someone who likely doesn't know where I live.

                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    Call me what you will, but I've lived in San Francisco for 46 years and in the same North Beach flat for 31. I can recall when the old timers you'd meet in waterfront bars and even DT places like Shanty Malone's and Earthquake McGoon's, the same oldtimers that still pronounced Kearny St. "Carny" street, were entirely comfortable calling San Francisco "Frisco" and did so lovingly. They could care less what the effete Herb Caen was peddling. HC appeared to the transplants, people from the hinterlands who were grasping for what would make them sophisticated. They just didn't know any better.

                                                    1. re: Xiao Yang

                                                      I didn't know that. Thanks for sharing. I moved to SF in 1976, probably knew I wasn't going to be sophisticated :) and just listened to others. Now that I know better, I'll no longer think the Frisco-ers are necessarily tourists. But can I still say no to San Fran?!?

                                                      1. re: c oliver

                                                        I've definitely heard life-long residents of both The City and The Town use the term "Frisco", although not often. "San Fran" feels like fingernails on a chalkboard and I've *never* heard the term when in the Bay Area. At least, not said in a California accent.

                                                        1. re: tmso

                                                          Well, yeah. What we natives actually call it is "the City, " as in "I'm going to the City for dinner" or "I'm staying in the City over the holidays" or "I used to work in the Valley [Silicon] but now I work in the City" -- but I'm well aware that comes across as rather provincial to people for whom there is more than one city.

                                                          And of course things change. The population of the Bay Area has doubled in my lifetime, which means there are a lot of people here who either aren't from here or are from a completely different generation and who are unaware of local traditions or have made their own.

                                                          1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                            More than one city? Next you're going to tell me there's more than one town, or even that Oakland isn't a town at all! :-)

                                                            1. re: tmso

                                                              Ruth May want to know that Jasper Hill Farms in VT retails their cheese at Farmstead Cheeses and Wine in "St. Alameda, CA".


                                                              Actually "St. Alameda" has a nice ring to it, especially for an old North Beach Liar's Dice player for whom an "Alameda" meant "zero combinations".

                                                              1. re: tmso

                                                                One day many moons ago (must have been the spring of '92), I got on the elevator on the 21st floor of the office building where I was working in downtown Oakland and saw a man who looked vaguely famliar. After a few moments I recognized him as Rep. Richard Gephardt, who was then running in the presidential primaries and had been at a fundraiser in the penthouse of my building. I overheard him say to one of his entourage "are we heading back to town now?" As a native Oaklander, I was insulted -- how dare he come to Oakland, take our money, and then diss us -- so I turned to him and said, reprovingly, "OAKLAND is a town." He looked rather taken aback and mumbled a sheepish agreement.

                                                                My one brush with fame in an elevator. Nowhere near as exciting as a friend who was once alone in an elevator with Mikhail Baryshnikov in his prime (when I told my mother that, she remarked that it was a wonder he survived).

                                                                "St. Alameda" is pretty funny. I'll have to tell the folks at Farmstead. FYI, "alameda" isn't even a person's name -- roughly translated it means "place of trees."

                                                                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                  Richard may have been subconsciously thinking of the famous (infamous?) line by Gertrude Stein "there is no there, there" when speaking about her former childhood home (which had been torn down) and came to be applied to the city of Oakland, (and about which so many people incorrectly assume to this day was written about my dear old birthplace, La La Land).

                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                    I've used that line to describe many places, people and things. It's so correct, isn't it???

                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                      It's the flip side to another of my favorites: "Wherever you go, there you are"

                                                                    2. re: Servorg

                                                                      Yes, in recognition of that famous line, the sculpture in the center of the Oakland City Center complex is called "There" -- so there's definitely a "There" there!

                                                                      1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                        LAUGH OUT LOUD!!!!! Next time we're in "The City" (ha) we'll make a trip to Oakland to check it out. Too funny.

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            Nope. Predates Mayor Moonbeam by quite a bit.

                                                                            1. re: Ruth Lafler

                                                                              Totallly off topic, but it's funny to see that he's aged like the rest of us. He seemed to belong to one era only then he moved to others. But he's aged well, I think :)

                                                            2. re: Xiao Yang

                                                              Xiao Yang, my involvement with The City goes back 75 years, and there was a time (including but not exclusively the era you're talking about) when what a resident called The City was a strong indication of their neighborhood and/or profession. North Beachers and folks who lived along the Embarcadero, or seamen and their families, called The City "Frisco." Nob Hill to the Pacific residents called it "San Francisco." If my memory isn't off roller skating, seems to me East Bay residents also called it "Fisco," while Peninsulites mostly called it "The City" or "San Francisco." I have no idea what the vernacular was in Marin County and parts north.

                                                          2. Soup! Our two great minds have gotten together and engendered this, A NEW THREAD that could make it into the show about nothing proposed by Jerry and George in Seinfeld. Let's all thank the mods for letting us have a bit of fun.

                                                            And you are all invited to the city of Cali in Colombia.

                                                            3 Replies
                                                            1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                              And hopefully we'll see you soon in Norte Califas.

                                                              1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                agreed, Sam. and i would like to apologize to poor Pei, for hijacking the other thread. Pei, if you are reading, i am sorry. i honestly assumed this whole conversation would be "gone with the wind" pretty quickly. maybe i've inadvertently been ticking off the mods with my abbreviating habits and they want to see the issue resolved as well. :)

                                                                1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                  This has been fascinating to me! I'm 61 yo and totally uncool about current music. I am embarassed to say I wouldn't know a hip-hop song if it came up and bit me. Didn't know there was an E. Coast W. Coast music war. Blah blah blah. Now I know a little about all that. Special thanks to soupkitten. You've done a great job of explaining. And, yeah, thanks to the mods for letting this go on.

                                                                2. I really don't want to get this thread started again, but I strongly disagree that the term "Cali" is only used by outsiders or denotes an outsider. I graduated from El Cerrito High in California, in 2002. The diverse student population consisted of not just of kids from El Cerrito, but neighboring cities as well (namely Richmond). Hip hop was very popular amongst the student body (someone pointed out the connection above) and I can't even begin to count the number of times I heard the term "Cali" used in those hallways.

                                                                  While the terms NorCal and Socal are much more commonly used now, the term "Cali" was once perfectly acceptable amongst at least a portion of Californians.

                                                                  1. 48 replies about CA, Cali, Cal, Calif., California... You peeps need to loosen up a bit. Cali, as mentioned, has been used for 20 years and it's slang, started by a hip hop rhyme. It's just a riff on the full word.

                                                                    Could the use of Cali denote someone not from California, sure, but who really cares? If people outside of California want separation, fine by me. I use Cali on occasion...and I'm not offended and my family has pretty deep Calif roots...real 49'ers, not football players.

                                                                    I also don't mind ES EF. If someone uses Frisco, sure I know they're probably not from the Bay Area, but biggie. So what if you know that The City means ES EF to locals. Sure it's good to know but it doesn't make you better or better educated, smarter, cooler, unless of course you think so.

                                                                    Language is culture and thus like yogurt, it's alive and ever-changing. If you want to hold onto the old stuff, go can however get chunky and sour.

                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                    1. re: ML8000

                                                                      Good points, but I'm still stuck in a fairly large city named Cali that has an emergent food scene, such that it would be good to have more Calenos on these boards; and it would be good to have hounds eventually visit more places in South America outside of Buenos Aires (shudder)!!!@)

                                                                      1. re: Sam Fujisaka

                                                                        There was a great article a few weeks/month back in the NY Times (?) about Columbia's surging culinary scene. I did a search but couldn't find it. If I find it I'll post it.

                                                                        1. re: ML8000

                                                                          One of Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" episodes is about Colombia. An exceptional episode! In my area, it has played a couple of times on the Fine Living Network over the last couple of months. Worth looking for. Sam, I hope you've had the opportunity to see it.

                                                                          1. re: Caroline1

                                                                            Yes, thanks! I miraculously saw that episode on my trip before last to Washington, DC. Watched it with beef weiners, sauerkraut, and rice plus Jim Beam rocks!

                                                                            And I must mention that applehome sent me a great care package / liferaft of DVDs of food and related programming!!!

                                                                            Its fun being a hound.

                                                                      2. re: ML8000

                                                                        Figured out why the use of 'Cali' bothers me. It feels like an affectation.

                                                                        ...and I don't believe changing a place name for the hell of it has anything to do with keeping from it going 'chunky and sour ' , but hey, great use of a food analogy! :)

                                                                        1. re: toodie jane

                                                                          Sure "Cali" can feel like an affectation, but in certain contexts it works. Then again, many words or phrase can feel like an affectation.

                                                                          Ever hear anyone say, "Lets go with the cab", when ordering wine?

                                                                          Or how about, "The 40 year old Fonseca sounds exceptional!"

                                                                          Both are perfectly normal statements...but add in some inflection or add a word, and you can have affectation, to da max!

                                                                      3. The original comment has been removed