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Too Much News, Too Many Cats

Every morning at about 5 a.m. the cats start pounding around the house, scuffling, yowling, hissing, but most of all stalking me, waiting for me to wake up and feed them. In the hazy twilight of half-sleep I sense that I am being watched. There's the old biddy cat, Phoebe, who is the queen of the hissy-fit; the fat boy, Mac; and the lunatic, Pip. Pip is semi-feral and believes that life is a great struggle against Imminent Starvation.

Thus when I finally rise and try to get the media empire going here, and check the news and make my lists of things I won't do today, I also have to contend with an environment overrun with felines, an excessively catty place. It's like the news itself: Restless, unnerving, full of malign intent, selfishness and desperation. I begin every day behind on the cats and behind on the crime news.

Robert Blake got off? I guess the victim must have committed suicide. I should have followed that case closer, so I could know precisely what to do with, and where to focus, my outrage. But fyi on the radio they played the clip of Blake responding to a reporter's question about who, in his opinion, killed his wife. "Shut up!" he said. We might infer that he is not going to spend a lot of time trying to track down the real killers.

I should also have paid more attention to the Scott Peterson case, which always seemed like a place-holder for the Sensational Legal Drama niche of the media universe, that mini-industry spawned by the OJ trial, currently occupied nicely by the Michael Jackson case. At the Atlanta airport I tried writing a column on my laptop as the CNN monitor overhead blared, at brain-frying volume, the minute-by-minute details of Peterson's sentencing. Where was Marc Fisher with his TV zapper when I needed him? The most interesting detail was the San Quentin cellblock captain (warden? some prison guy) who said that Peterson will be a marked man, and will likely be routinely assaulted by other death row inmates. Clearly we need to get a hidden camera on him and turn the whole thing into a TV show: Scott in Oz. The industry won't be happy until it captures his violent death on video, so that it can be replayed again and again, in slow-motion.

[Wolfowitz to the World Bank? Does that mean we will invade poor countries pre-emptively, BEFORE they can default on their loans?]

The Jackson case is intriguing because of the growing sense that he will get off (or so my sources hint), and do so by making the accuser and his family seem weirder than Jackson. Good lawyers can pull off anything! I'll try to get Stuever to blog on this.

But how can I keep any of this straight when surrounded by all these gamboling, ravenous, pouncing cats? It's an unfortunate and irreversible fact of life that kittens become cats. And what is a cat, but a predator, a carnivorous hunting creature that will not rest until it has caught some Fancy Feast and devoured it. I feel some affection for these cats, but increasingly I view them as not entirely decent entitities. Heck, let me say it straight: I think they're all criminals.

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 17, 2005; 6:44 AM ET
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