Sitting Pretty

June 28, 2011

Green Catbird, Mt Glorious, SE Queensland

In The Catbird Seat


In a superior or advantageous position.


This is an American phrase – which is unsurprising as the grey catbird which is the probable source of the phrase is a North American species (there’s also an Australian catbird). It’s one of a group of birds called the mimic thrushes. They include mockingbirds and, as you might expect, they are adept mimics. The catbird is named for its ability to mimic the sound of a cat’s miaow.

Catbirds seek out the highest perches in trees to sing and display. The allusion to that is most likely to be the derivation of the term. It may also be the source of an earlier term with much the same meaning – ‘sitting pretty‘.

The phrase appears to have originated in the American south, although the date and circumstances are uncertain. There’s certainly an association with the sport of baseball, and most of the early citations of the phrase mention the game. That includes the first mention of it in print, in James Thurber’s 55 Short Stories from New Yorker, November 1942:

“She must be a Dodger fan. Red Barber announces the Dodger games over the radio and he uses those expressions… ‘sitting in the catbird seat’ means sitting pretty, like a batter with three balls and no strikes on him.”

Text Picked From: The Phrase Finder

Bouncing back after fires in The Grampians, Victoria

Image Sourced: The Wilderness Society ~ for life on Earth

Sabian Symbol Correspondence

Gemini 29: The first mockingbird of spring

Theme: Bounce back.

 Inspiration: Powerful ideas and communications tend to continually return.

 Today: The idea of the ‘continual return’… a mocking bit of cheek from some inebriated philosophy grads… was not intended as a version of boomerang dynamics. It was more about how a good idea just cannot be held down, it will return… although without determinate principles necessitating regularity or predictability.

 The dynamic today is a natural continuing of yesterdays ‘bankruptcy’. Anything lost or broken can, or could, bounce back.

 Convincing communications may mark the day. Persuasion is a power proffered potently: parents of adolescents beware.

 Listen for the quick comeback in lively exchanges.

Source: Blain Bovee ~ Sabian Symbologist

Gypsy Rose Lee and her Royal American beauties joined other Cotton Carnival midway attractions on Front Street when the 15th annual event got underway on 7 May 1949.

Photo Credit: Charles Nicholas


Thanks to Elsa.Elsa for her story about being in the “catbird seat” as a bartender in her youth, that inspired this post.  Not an expression I was aware of when I was bartending in my youth ~ we called it the “firing line”.

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