A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

Recent entries:
“You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world & there’s still somebody who hates peaches” (7/21)
“All I ask is the chance to prove that money can’t make me happy” (7/21)
“How to sleep faster: Decorate your bedroom to look like a classroom” (7/21)
“Mixing cannabis with cod liver oil is bad for your joints” (7/21)
New York State: New York State of Opportunity (slogan) (7/21)
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Entry from October 15, 2006
“He ain’t fit to tote guts to a bear”

"He ain’t fit to tote guts to a bear” is a disparagement of a cowboy cook. The origin of the phrase is uncertain.


3 October 1956, Burlington (NC) Daily Times-News, pg. 7:
One Florida soldier wrote: “Our officers are not fit to tote guts to a bear.”

16 July 192, Valley Morning Star (Harlingen, TX), pg. C6:
Sunday breakfast prepared by the survivors among the apprentices. It should be noted that those malcontents in our chapter who have said that our caterer is not fit to tote guts to a bear are unnecessarily unkind.

30 September 1976, Chicago Tribune, “The great chili debate” by Carol Rasmussen, pg. D1:
As for the cook who makes chili without beans, (H. Allen—ed.) Smith snorts that it reminds him of an old Texas saying about any range cook whose grub was consistently miserable—“He ain’t fit to tote guts to a bear.”

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Sunday, October 15, 2006 • Permalink