Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sitting in the catbird seat

from www.wordsmith.org

catbird seat (KAT-burd seet) noun A position of power and advantage.
A catbird (named after its catlike call) is known to build a pile of rocks to attract a mate and sit on the highest point around. This expression was often used by Brooklyn Dodgers baseball commentator Red Barber (right) and further popularized by James Thurber in his 1942 New Yorker casual "The Catbird Seat," in which a character often utters trite phrases, including the expression "sitting in the catbird seat".

"So, Stillking Films seems perched in the catbird seat. 'Things are going very well for us at the moment,' David Minkowski says."
-- Steffen Silvis; Stillking is Still King; The Prague Post; (Czech Republic); Apr 5, 2007.

From "The Catbird Seat":
... In the halls, in the elevator, even in his own office, into which she romped now and then like a circus horse, she was constantly shouting these silly questions at him. "Are you lifting the oxcart out of the ditch? Are you tearing up the pea patch? Are you hollering down the rain barrel? Are you scraping around the bottom of the pickle barrel? Are you sitting in the catbird seat?" It was Joey Hart, one of Mr. Martin's two assistants, who had explained what the gibberish meant. "She must be a Dodger fan," he had said. "Red Barber announces the Dodger games over the radio and he uses those expressions--picked 'em up down South." Joey had gone on to explain one or two. "Tearing up the pea patch" meant going on a rampage; "sitting in the catbird seat" means sitting pretty, like a batter with three balls and no strikes on him. ... "

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