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.

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“What do you call bread with your toe jam spread all over it?"/"Toest.” (7/21)
“Some days you’re the pigeon, and some days you’re the statue” (7/21)
“Is a frozen watermelon still a watermelon or is it now an icemelon?” (7/21)
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Entry from October 13, 2006
“He couldn’t hit a bull in the butt with a banjo”

"He couldn’t hit a bull in the butt with a banjo” is said about someone who’s drunk, or an athlete who isn’t having a good day. It’s not certain if this phrase originated in Texas. The phrase dates to at least the 1920s, but the word “butt” is a recent addition.


Google Groups: alt.sport.paintball
From:  Kenneth R. Gilder
Date:  Sun, Jun 2 1996 12:00 am

Then again, it’s not the gun - it’s the player behind the gun, and there are people who play this game that could have the finest barrel made, and still couldn’t hit a bull in the butt with a banjo.

22 July 1929, Reno (NV) Evening Gazette, pg. 7:
Then came another letter in argument in which the wise crack was pulled that Wanninger wasn’t near the shortstop that Ford is and that he couldn’t hit a bull with a bass fiddle.

11 January 1932, Los Angeles Times, pg. 9:
When S.C. went into a shell, leading 3 to 0, the boys opined that the Trojans “couldn’t hit a bull in the nose (or some such word) with a banjo.” As the game progressed and California’s chances of victory dwindled to practically nothing, the inebriated chaps began to suspect that their team wasn’t doing so well. “Why, Nibs’s boys can’t hit a bull in the nose with a banjo,” said one of the fellows sadly. Maybe Nibs had his boys out yesterday practicing swatting bulls with banjos.

27 July 1937, Los Angeles Times, pg. A9:
To make this situation even worse, none of the Seraphs can hit a bull in the ear with a paddle—especially when there are runners in scoring position.

17 August 1941, Washington Post, pg. SP3:
Sammy Baugh, who can hit a bull in the ankle with a forward pass, and Ki Aldrich, obtained by the Redskins from the Chicago Cardinals, joined their teammates here.

24 October 1941, Los Angeles Times, pg. 11:
“The only thing that saved our lives,” said Stowe, whose ship was a target for stukas, “was the fact the Nazis didn’t seem to be able to hit a bull astern with a bass fiddle.”

13 April 1971, Washington Post, “Proxmire Seeks Cut in Arms Spending” by George C. Wilson, pg. A16:
Navy Aircraft Carriers—In war, he said, they would be as easy to hit as a “bull in the butt with a bass fiddle.”

5 December 1971, Washington Post, “The U.S. Navy Fighter Jet That Shot Itself Down, and Other Pentagon Lemons” by Sen. William Proxmire, pg. 242:
As one senator said: “It is as easy to knock them out as it is to hit a bull in the butt with a bass fiddle.”

27 December 1975, Lincoln (Neb.) Star, pg. 11:
Dan Kush, a 5-9, 175-pound junior, kicked field goals of 27, 33 and 29 yards just 24 hours after his father claims “he couldn’t hit a bull in the butt with a handful of popcorn.

27 September 1998, North Hills News Record (Warrendale, PA), pg. B1:
Kordell Stewart. This guy couldn’t hit a bull in the butt with a banjo. He’s constantly throwing into coverage. The Stillers aren’t gonna win with this guy.

Uncle John’s Bathroom Reader
Plunges Into Texas
by The Bathroom Readers’ Hysterical Society
San Diego, CA: Portable Press
2004
Pg. 251 (The Texas Phrase Book):
About someone who’s staggering drunk:
“He couldn’t hit a bull in the butt with a banjo.”

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • (0) Comments • Friday, October 13, 2006 • Permalink