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Jewish World Review
Feb. 1, 2008
/ 25 Shevat 5768
Hos, Hos, Hos
We've got hos all over the place. Hos to the right of me. Hos to the left of me. Hos north and Hos south. And now, Hos west. I haven't heard so many "Hos" since Santa was around. Ho, ho, ho. But it's not the laugh I'm referring to, nor is it the slang expression for ladies of the evening - I'm talking about the place. The first time I heard the word associated with an area, it was made in reference to the section in New York City south of Houston Street - Soho. Of course the first Soho was that famous section of London. You had Soho, London and Soho, New York, but that was about all there was for the longest time.
Until one day they gentrified North Hollywood California and it suddenly became NoHo. The name sounds much more artsy and hip then stodgy old North Hollywood, right? And last week I'm reading an article in the LA Times, and in it they refer to a store located in West Hollywood, but they don't call it West Hollywood. It's WeHo.
So now we've got SoHo, NoHo, and WeHo. I'm waiting for the last shoe to drop - the next logical entry has got to be the only direction left, East Hollywood. I'm waiting for EaHo. Remember Waiting For Nemo? I'm waiting for EaHo. I don't know, I don't get around much, so maybe they're already calling the place that. I suppose the correct way to pronounce that would be with a long "E" and no "A" sound. EeHo.
So if one lives north of Hollywood it's NoHo, and west of Hollywood is WeHo, and East of Hollywood is EaHo. What if you live in the hills "above" Hollywood? Would that area be called AHo? Or would it be called HiHo because you live "high" over Hollywood? Just as the section of lower Hollywood would be known as LoHo. Some folks live in HiHo, some in LoHo and others in WeHo and EaHo and NoHo.
If you live in Hollywood and are really close to the Hollywood Bowl then you live in Hobo. If you live north of the Hollywood Bowl you're in NoHoBo. But if you live in a house in that area that isn't too special then you live in SoSoNoHoBo.
People who live north of Northridge live in NoNo. Anyone west of Westwood lives in WeWe. Folks south of Downy live in SoDown. People north of Boston live in NoBo. Lower Boston is LoBo. The section north of Hoboken is NoHoBo. Living north of Youngstown, Ohio? -then you live in NoYo,Ohio. If John Lennon's widow moves there, she becomes Ono from NoYo. Or they might call her YoNo Yoko Ono.
North Toluca Lake residents live in NoToLa. A North Hollywood bank is NoHo Wamu. It sounds like you're on the wagon if you live south of Burbank because then you'd be telling people you live in SoBur. Got a place just west of Needles, California? - then you must be in hot dog country - WeNe.
People love to shorten names of things either by using acronyms or nick-names. It happens with businesses all the time. I wonder how many people could come up with the actual full name of AT&T? Or ARCO? Or ALCOA? Nobody says the New York Police Department, it's always the NYPD. Los Angeles International airport is simply LAX. Even McDonald's has been chopped to Mickey D's, for heaven sake. Is nothing sacred?
Using initials for one's name is nothing new. T.S. Eliot, H.G. Wells and J.P. Getty all come to mind. Presidents have been referred to by their initials, at least the ones from the Democratic Party anyhow, FDR, JFK, LBJ. For some reason or another, they don't use the three initials of Republican presidents. I wonder why not.
Show biz folks have historically used the initial thing, too. D.W. Griffith, P.T. Barnum, and L.B. Mayer to name three. Even Emenem is nothing more than initials spelled out. And of course Jennifer Lopez is J Lo.
For a while I toyed with shortening my name to G Cro but my wife wouldn't go for it. It would mean that her name would be J Cro and that's unacceptable. Besides, G & J Cro sounds like some kind of inexpensive discount store where they sell overstocked and discontinued items at below cost. You know, "Hey, let's drive over to G & J Cro and pick up a case of those sliced pickled beets."
If I went by my three initials I would be GMC, but I'd rather not sound like a major automobile manufacturer, if you don't mind. Sometimes shortening a name just doesn't cut it.
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JWR contributor Greg Crosby, former creative head for Walt Disney publications, has written thousands of comics, hundreds of children's books, dozens of essays, and a letter to his congressman. A freelance writer in Southern California, you may contact him by clicking here.
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