Local traditions and culture in California

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Most Viewed Local Customs in California

  • b1bob's Profile Photo

    Famous Californian: Ronald Reagan

    by b1bob Updated Jun 5, 2004

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    Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) was born in Tampico, Illinois on 6 February 1911 and grew up in Dixon, Illinois. However, he has lived a goodly part of his life in California. He served as a lifeguard during his youth and saved dozens and dozens of lives from the river. He started out as a radio personality in the Midwest, and slowly moved westward to California in the 1930's. He became a movie actor and was married to Jane Wyman 1940-1948. In 1952, he married Nancy Reagan. Reagan got his first taste of politics by doing an advertisement endorsing Barry Goldwater for president in 1964. The interesting thing is this icon of the Republican party was a Democrat through to the 1950's. He voted for F.D.R. all 4 times plus Truman in 1948, and voted Republican since Eisenhower. In 1966, Reagan ran for governor against an incumbent Democrat and won, serving from 1966-1974. He ran unsuccesfully for president in 1976, narrowly losing to Gerald Ford. In 1980, he ran much more succesfully both in the primary and the general election. In 1984, he was even more successful on reelection. Reagan's firm stance against communism is often credited for its fall in the former Soviet Union and the liberation of Eastern Europe. Five years out of the presidency, Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and is steadily deteriorating as of this writing. Regardless of that, Reagan is the longest-lived former president, living to make 93 years old when he died 5 June 2004..

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    Famous Californian: Richard M. Nixon

    by b1bob Written May 18, 2003

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    Richard Milhous Nixon (1913-1994) was born in Yorba Linda, California on 9 January 1913. He married the former Patricia Ryan in 1940. After serving in World War II, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1946. Nixon served there until standing successfully for an open Senate seat in 1950. Nixon had probably counted on a long Senate career when Dwight David Eisenhower unexpectedly nominated him for vice president in 1952. He served as vice president for all 8 years of the Eisenhower administration. He stood for president in 1960, losing to John F. Kennedy by the narrowest margin. In 1968, he won the presidency almost as narrowly as he lost it in 1960. In 1972, he won it handily, losing only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia. Unfortunately, from 1972-1974, his presidency was fixed on the Watergate scandal, where Nixon's coverups and tapes led to his resignation on 9 August 1974. Richard M. Nixon died in New York City on 22 April 1994 and is buried just a short distance from where he was born 81 years earlier.

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  • lmkluque's Profile Photo

    Putting on an Act? Time Will Tell!

    by lmkluque Updated Jun 25, 2012

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    This photo is supposed to be funny, just a joke to give us a laugh, however, the various reactions it evokes is an example of how Californians are perceived by outsiders.

    Though the Hollywood Scene and the Movie Making Industry is only a small part of California's life and economy, it seems that because of the popularity of Actors, people tend to confuse what an Actor does or says with the mind set of the average Californian, in some cases even with the mind set of the average American.

    Time will tell the true character and ability of the actor turned Governor. In any case, it is "Based on a true story." Like all well told stories, we hope there is a satisfying ending to this one.

    This photo was sent to me by a Danish friend who has been keeping track of our recent, successful, effort to recall the Governor of California, Gray Davis.

    My friend was also fascinated by the fact that we voted Arnold Schwarzenegger, an actor, into office. Of course, I reminded him that Ronald Reagan, an actor, was once Governor of California and grew-up to become President of the U.S.A.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Theater Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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  • Krystynn's Profile Photo

    One of the greatest pleasures...

    by Krystynn Written Sep 12, 2002

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    One of the greatest pleasures when you visit the United States is to go SHOPPING. Even though their sales tax is over 8% (but below 9%), it's still inexpensive to shop here.

    So, remember to bring along an extra bag in cloth material (like what I normally would do). :-)) If you're coming from Europe, Australia or Asia, buy only the American brand products. They are really, really worth it (read: CHEAP!).

    Brands like Clinique, Prescriptives, Ralph Lauren, Anne Klein, Donna Karan, Michael Kors, Anna Sui, Estee Lauder etc. are really good buys.

    I gave Calvin Klein products a miss because there are just too many imitations right now in the market (to say it's being flooded would be an understatement!). Sorry, Calvin... :-((

    I didn't buy MAC products either because it cost the same in Singapore.

    And if you're really SERIOUS about coinciding your holiday with a MAJOR sale, I can't think of a better time than the FANTASTIC 4th of July sale - yes, nation-wide.

    And for those who absolutely MUST know how cheap American products really cost in the U.S.A., here's a rough guide. Let's take the brand Clinique as an example. Their LARGEST bottle of Clarifying Lotion cost only US$15.50 (excl. sales tax) in U.S.A. That same bottle costs:-

    450 French Francs in Paris/ Nice (France).
    US$34 (S$58) in Singapore.

    O.K., I'm sure you're pretty convinced now. :-)) Happy Shopping then!

    Photos Below: Dresses from Donna Karan and Michael Kors 2000 Collection. My favorite designers.

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  • Krystynn's Profile Photo

    SHOULD YOU USE YOUR CREDIT...

    by Krystynn Written Sep 12, 2002

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    SHOULD YOU USE YOUR CREDIT CARD WHEN YOU TRAVEL?

    Yes, Yes, Yes! Using your credit card can sometimes save you MORE money than using hard foreign cash... Not kidding. (Read: Low/ Wholesale interbank exchange rates). So go ahead and use it!

    ** For more info about the using the ATM card and some insider's tips, please refer to my respective Continent i.e. NORTH AMERICA pages. **

    If you've been overcharged by a foreign vendor, your credit card company can often refund back to you (the consumer) all disputed charges.

    Many times your credit card will offer an extra guarantee or warranty when you purchase items with your card, but you?ll want to read the fine print for exceptions first. If your credit card has this 'security protection' clause where you (the consumer) will not be liable for things charged to your credit card should it get stolen, kudos to this card company. Offhand, I know Citibank, American Express and Standard Chartered offer these kinds of protection. But for the latter, you have to PAY to enjoy this service. :-( I'll choose Citibank and AMEX anyday, man.

    If you lose your card, most credit cards have a low maximum liability limit if you quickly report the card as lost.

    You won?t have to risk your safety by carrying and displaying large amounts of cash. An American Chinese pal of mine lost US$3,000 CASH in Madrid after the porter left her hotel room. It was just less than 1 minute and the money's gone... including her Chanel purse.

    If you have a Citibank credit card, I GUARANTEE you, you'd have nothing to worry about. Now I understand why this bank is world famous. Let me give you an example:

    When I was in the States some years ago, I charged something into my credit card for US$900 (just one item). At that time, we were traveling from town to town along the Californian coast. I was having lunch at Solvang (!!!) one afternoon when the waitress at the restaurant interrupted me and asked - 'Are you Ms Krystynn? There's a phone call for you from Citibank!' (it's not difficult to find me since I was the only Oriental lady at the restaurant!). My jaws dropped. The Personal Banker on the other end of the phone was really sweet and said something like: 'Wow, it's been difficult tracking you down. Ms Krystynn, we're calling to check if you signed for this purchase for an amount
    of US$900?' The minute I confirmed that it was me and that it wasn't a fraud case, the Citibanker thanked me and told me to enjoy my trip! How did they find me? Simple. By tracking the things I charged into my credit card.... and my last known destination. I was sooooo impressed with their service that to this day, NO other banks/ credit card companies (yes, even AMEX) could match up to the kind of service offered by Citibank Visa card.

    No wonder their motto is - 'The Citi that never sleeps'. :-))

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  • bruingirl's Profile Photo

    Christmas in Southern California!!!

    by bruingirl Written Jan 15, 2004

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    Christmas (Xmas) is a major holiday in the U.S. It falls on December 25 of every year and it is the day that Jesus Christ was born. Most people celebrate this holiday, even if they are Jewish or not religious. It has become a very commercialized holiday, filled with images of Santa Claus, poinsettias, Xmas trees, reindeer, gingerbread houses, wreaths, and many other things! In the US, we decorate many things in green and red which are the traditional colors of Xmas. If, under a mistletoe, you have to kiss the person who is standing underneath it with you. Gingerbread house making is also a popular past time, as shown in this picture. It's generally a good time to get together with friends and family to celebrate! Being in Southern California, we get to celebrate a sunny and warm Xmas almost every year!! :)

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  • bruingirl's Profile Photo

    Diversity!!

    by bruingirl Written Jul 17, 2003

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    CA is diverse on so many different levels. The geography, the people, the cultures, languages, religions, beliefs, lifestyles, and the list seems to go on and on!!! There are some parts of CA where most of the people are very conservative and other parts where people are very liberal. Some areas are very cosmopolitan whereas others seem like they haven't changed since the early 1900s!! On any given day, if you're in a bigger city like Los Angeles, San Francisco, Long Beach, or San Diego, you are bound to encounter some interesting people who are probably very different from yourself.

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  • WILDEFLOWER's Profile Photo

    While visiting the Missions,...

    by WILDEFLOWER Updated Sep 7, 2002

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    While visiting the Missions, please be respectful to the buildings and grounds. Some of the Monks still live or take care of the missions themselves. Don't throw your trash on the grounds. You might want to carry some tissue with you for the restrooms. The buildings take you back in time. You can almost picture what it must of been like on the west coast way back when. It's so peaceful in these places. If you can go really early before the tourists get there.

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  • raviv_ta's Profile Photo

    california has it all. from...

    by raviv_ta Written Aug 26, 2002

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    california has it all. from movie stars, to farmers. from the universal studios, to cow farms. there is the golden gate bridge, and planty of amusement parks, great beaches, but also just be there is a cultural thing it self.

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    If someone walks up to you and...

    by ..._---_... Written Aug 26, 2002

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    If someone walks up to you and calls you 'dude' this is a good thing. Being called dude by someone there means that they like you as a person. Don't be surprised if you here it more than once in the same sentence, we just like to hear the word over and over again--LOL! Also when going to the restaurants, don't forget to tip the server at least 15% of the bill. That is just standard tipping anywhere. In Cali, the government automatically records the tip even when people are too cheap to give one. The food server then has to pay taxes on money that was not made. Also, food servers only make minimum wage-- so they LIVE off their tips(and it isn't cheap to live in Cali!). If you don't tip them, they still have to pay the government for those unearned amounts. Be curtious to all in the restaurant industry and leave a few bucks. And if you are too cheap to tip, then go to a fast food joint where tipping is not mandatory.

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  • keeweechic's Profile Photo

    Sales Tax

    by keeweechic Updated Sep 3, 2006

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    Sales Tax : The tax in California is applied to almost everything with the exception of some items of food. There is an across the state tax as well as supplementary taxes which varies from county to county and from city to city within each county.

    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Trains

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  • photobf's Profile Photo

    Dumb California LawsSunshine...

    by photobf Written Aug 25, 2002

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    Dumb California Laws
    Sunshine is guaranteed to the masses.
    Animals are banned from mating publicly within 1,500 feet of a tavern, school, or place of worship.
    Bathhouses are against the law.
    It is a misdemeanor to shoot at any kind of game from a moving vehicle, unless the target is a whale.
    Women may not drive in a house coat.
    No vehicle without a driver may exceed 60 miles per hour.
    Many animals are illegal to own as pets, including snails, sloths, ferrets, and elephants.
    In an animal shelter, lizards and snakes are treated under the same guidelines as cats and dogs.
    Arcadia
    Peacocks have the right of way to cross any street, including driveways.
    Alhambra
    You cannot leave your car on the street overnight without the proper permit.
    Baldwin Park
    Nobody is allowed to ride a bicycle in a swimming pool.
    Belvedere
    City Council order reads: 'No dog shall be in a public place without its master on a leash.'
    Blythe
    You are not permitted to wear cowboy boots unless you already own at least two cows.
    Burlingame
    It is illegal to spit, except on baseball diamonds.
    Carmel
    Ice cream may not be eaten while standing on the sidewalk. (Repealed when Clint Eastwood was mayor)
    Women may not wear high heels while in the city limits.
    Chico
    Detonating a nuclear device within the city limits results in a $500 fine.
    Downey
    It is illegal to wash your car in the street. (Passed 1995)
    Hollywood
    It is illegal to drive more than two thousand sheep down Hollywood Boulevard at one time.
    Lafayette
    You are forbidden to spit on the ground within 5 feet of another person.
    Lodi
    It is illegal to own or sell 'Silly String'.
    Lompoc
    It is illegal to posses, own or raise roosters. This is considered disturbing the peace.
    Long Beach
    Cars are the only item allowed in a garage.
    It is illegal to curse on a mini-golf course.
    Los Angeles
    It is illegal for a man to beat his wife with a strap wider than 2 inches without her consent.
    You cannot bathe two babies in the same tub at the same time.
    You may not hunt moths under a street light.
    It is illegal to cry on the witness stand.
    Toads may not be licked.
    It is a crime for dogs to mate within 500 yards of a church.Breaking this law is punishable by a fine of $500 and/or six months in prison.
    Zoot suits are prohibited.
    Ontario
    Roosters may not crow in the city limits.
    Pacific Grove
    Molesting butterflies can result in a $500 fine.
    Palm Springs
    It is illegal to walk a camel down Palm Canyon Drive between the hours of four and six PM.
    Pasadena
    It is illegal for a secretary to be alone in a room with her boss.
    Prunedale
    Two bathtubs may not be installed in the same house.
    Redlands
    Motor vehicles may not drive on city streets unless a man with a lantern is walking ahead of it.
    Riverside
    One may not carry a lunch down the street between 11 and 1 o'clock.
    San Diego
    It is illegal to shoot jackrabbits from the back of a streetcar.
    The owners of houses with Christmas lights on them past February second may be fined up to $250.
    San Francisco
    Prohibits elephants from strolling down Market Street unless they are on a leash.
    It is illegal to wipe one's car with used underwear.
    Persons classified as 'ugly' may not walk down any street.
    It is illegal to pile horse manure more than six feet high on a street corner.
    San Jose
    It is illegal to have more than two cats or dogs. -Ord. 7.08.595
    Santa Monica
    You may not play percussion instruments on the beach.
    Temecula
    Ducks have the right of way to cross Rancho California St. at all times.

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  • keeweechic's Profile Photo

    Weather

    by keeweechic Updated Sep 7, 2003

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    It is said (humorously) that California has four seasons: flood, fire, earthquake, and riot. But seriously, for 6 - 9 months of the year in most of California the weather is predictable with only two real seasons - a short cool winter wet season and a long dry season.

    A lot of California doesn't see rain at all during the dry season. In San Francisco and nearby coastal areas, it actually gets quite cold in summer when the fog rolls in off the ocean

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    King of the road

    by acemj Updated Sep 15, 2002

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    Californians take their cars and their driving seriously. The great American highway system is best exemplified by the sprawling network of roadways in California. As a result of the historical progression from urban living to suburban commuting, Californians spend a lot of time in their cars and take great pride in what they're driving. It's fairly common in certain areas to see incredible cars (Ferraris and the like) and many drivers will have personalized "vanity" plates.

    Mine might look something like this.

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  • b1bob's Profile Photo

    Local smoking bans

    by b1bob Updated May 1, 2004

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    Some localities in California has some of the most stringent anti-smoking laws in the USA. I'm sure the city of Los Angeles has a smoking ban in all restaurants, including bars. I'm not sure if the ban extends to the whole of L.A. county. On top of that, some beaches have even banned smoking on them (enforced by a hefty fine). I don't smoke, but some people might find this somewhat helpful.

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