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:
“Two conspiracy theorists die and go to heaven…” (9/11 joke) (3/26)
“Coffee: starter fluid for the morning impaired” (3/25)
“But even a bad cup of coffee is better than no coffee at all. New York has great water for coffee” (3/25)
“Life begins after coffee” (3/25)
“I pretend coffee helps, but I’m still a bitch” (3/25)
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Entry from January 14, 2009
“Out to lunch”

Entry in progress—B.P.


(Oxford English Dictionary)
out to lunch: insane; stupid, unaware; socially unacceptable. N. Amer. slang.
1955 Sci. Digest Aug. 33/1 ‘Out to lunch’ refers to someone who, in other years, just wasn’t ‘there’and he is told immediately to ‘Get with it!’
1959 She May 21/2 Out to lunch has nothing to do with social life but implies one is not in the groove.
1966 Toronto Daily Star 16 June 74/2 A girl who would be attracted to Bud’s mean streak and bad temper must be a little out to lunch.
1974 Melody Maker 13 July 13/5, I think he’s out to lunch. He’s blown outcompletely.

15 March 1953, New York (NY) Herald Tribune, “Buy It—Try It—Today!” by John Crosby (Radio and Television column), section 4, pg. 1, col. 2:
At this time, I propose only to give you the benefit of my forward thinking (or rather Madison Avenue’s forward thinking) on the subject of agency talk.

You want to dust a guy off lightly but thoroughly?  “That guy is strictly out to lunch.” That’ll put him in his place. Want to do the same thing in spades? “That guy is done for the day.” Or suppose your point of view has just triumphed over that of a rival. The proper way to say it: “We ate him for breakfast.”

When the whole staff is pooling what passes for their brains in order to hammer out some great idea like “No squat—No stoop—No squint!”, one way of putting it is: “We have got everybody in bed with this.” In the life of every ad man comes the day, sometimes a good many of them, when he outsmarts himself. “I’m afraid I techniqued myself out of it,” he will moan. Or suppose he is boasting that he’s as smart as that new man any day, including odd Wednesdays. “I can match him muscle for muscle anytime.”

Time magazine
Adults Are Barfy
Monday, Jan. 18, 1960
WHERE TKE BOYS ARE (239 pp.)—Glendon Swarthout—Random House ($3.50).
(...)
Merrit’s (The book’s narrator—ed.) prose style runs to campus slang reinforced by girlish underlining. She is frank (also Tom, Dick and Harry) about sex. “If parents think their daughters can attain young womanhood in 1958 in a state of pristinity,” she writes, “they are really out to lunch. U.S.A. today stands for Universally Stimulated America.”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityFood/Drink • (0) Comments • Wednesday, January 14, 2009 • Permalink