Newspapers nationwide, including the Seattle Times , have long treated the Saturday editorial page as a weekly opportunity to mail it in before the big,


Costner Watch!

TNT outcraps the P.I. in the daily quest for hipness.

Newspapers nationwide, including the Seattle Times, have long treated the Saturday editorial page as a weekly opportunity to mail it in before the big, bad Sunday edition. But not the P.I. Perhaps because they don't have a Sunday edition to call their own, the P.I. gleefully trot out its "Saturday Spin" in place of actual staff editorials every seventh morning. Here, we are treated to chopped, pissy little kiss-offs from aging editorial board members (still love ya, Copeland) under the banner of "Snark Attack," an extra dose of Horsey in the middle of the page, and the one-two punch of "star" editorial columnist D. Parvaz and the Jeff Green to her Kevin Durant, Cathy Sorbo.

Meant to come off as sharp and sassy, Saturday Spin teeters regularly into self-parody, and Parvaz's dated (this week there's a drunken Bush twin reference), armchair blogger observations make Nicole Brodeur look like Mike Royko. So consistently off-key is Saturday Spin that I absolutely have to read it each week to see if Parvaz & Co. can out-'tard the prior Spin's effort. I'm hooked on you, Saturday Spin; take it as a backhanded compliment.

But look out, Saturday Spin, there's a new turd in town. To wit, I'm sitting at the Poodle Dog Restaurant in Fife this morning, rehydrating after a night of Billy Ocean and black jack at the Emerald Queen Casino (a visit to this tribally exempt nicotine cauldron will make everyone appreciate the smoking ban a little more). As I welcome a plate of corned beef hash to the table, I open the Tacoma News-Tribune's South Sound section, and there, below the B1 fold, is a tiny mugshot of Kevin Costner. Accompanying said mugshot is a detailed account of the Bull Durham star's mystery visit to the Tacoma area over the weekend, along with a tipline urging readers to call in any and all Costner sightings.

The TNT's Costner Watch evidently began the previous day, when the actor and his wife (or was it his wife?) landed at an airstrip in Gig Harbor before visiting the Emerald Queen and a Starbucks in DuPont. Totally devoid of anything so much as a cursory investigation of why Costner was actually in town (getting the brush from his pilot doesn't count), the TNT's coverage instead expends column inches speculating that maybe Costner was golfing or checking out the EQC showroom as a potential venue for the Kevin Costner Band (actually a pretty plausible explanation; too bad no one at the TNT bothered to try and substantiate it).

Look, I've got no problem with the TNT making a big deal out of a Hollywood star parachuting into T-Town. Doesn't happen too often; I get it. What I've got a problem with is: (1) the tipline--that's so Gawker, and (2) crap like the following exchange masquerading as actual reporting in an otherwise very respectable (John McGrath rocks) mid-market newspaper: "I was standing there and kind of heard them coming," she said. "He said, ‘Hi there.' I said ‘Hi.' He smiled." As the group moved toward the cars, Eppler stepped out of their way. Costner said "Sorry" and smiled, she said. Eppler liked his politeness. "I thought, am I seeing things or what?" she said, adding that he "looked like he needed a little shave."

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