Jay McGraw knows what to do when there's no crowd: Leave.

Dr. Phil's son was at the Mall of America on Saturday, with his Dahm Minnesota wife in tow, to sign book No. 6, "Jay McGraw's Life Strategies for Dealing with Bullies." Jay arrived late for a 2 p.m. book signing. He greeted fans and family, autographed some books and was outta there by 2:30 p.m.!

"Hello, how is everybody?" McGraw said from the stage as he addressed a line of about a dozen people. "I know most of you."

Randy Geurts, community relations manager at the MOA's Barnes & Noble, said: "It's definitely the nature of this business. You never know when lightning is going to strike." There was no lightning on this day for the "#1 New York Times Bestselling Author," according to the banner printed across the top of the bullies book.

"What a wonderful man. What a wonderful message he has. We're grateful that he came out. I just wish there were more people to share that with him today," said Julie, who got a copy of the book for her 8-year-old daughter who's being bullied.

At least Jay got to spend some extra time with his mother-in-law, Donita Dahm, mother of Erica, one-third of Minnesota's only set of bubble-bathing Playboy playmate triplets. The most exciting thing that happened was Donita tripping going down the stairs. See the video at www.startribune.com/video.

Few people seemed to recognize Jay even when he was being escorted by security. Usually, MOA security guards are with celebs until they get into their limos. Not so with Jay and Erica. About one hour after he left the book-signing, they were chatting, presumably with family and friends, near a MOA entrance. Despite the throng of shoppers around again, nobody seemed to recognize this couple whose wedding was practically serialized on "Entertainment Tonight." Wonder whether Jay appreciates his anonymity?

Next time, if Jay wants to sell some books, he should do what his mom, Robin, did when she came to the MOA for a book signing -- bring Dr. Phil.

A nice Love Boat

"It was kind of a love boat, but a different kind," John Stanoch said laughing when asked where he and Tammy Lee got married.

Stanoch, Minnesota prez of Qwest Communications, and Lee, the new Minnesota-based veep of corporate affairs for Delta Airlines, got married in August on a Lake Minnetonka boat. Lee was veep of corporate communications at NWA before its merger with Delta.

Charges ensued the last time high-profile people took to Lake Minnetonka on a love boat. "Nobody was charged with anything," Stanoch said. "We were charged for food and beverages but that was as far as the charges went."

Stanoch brings an 18-year-old son, Joe, from a previous marriage into this union and is delighted that Lee's 5-year-old Lissa is part of his family. "I can raid Halloween bags again," he said, laughing again. "She came home and I said, 'What do you have in there? Oh M&Ms, I like M&Ms.'" Congrats.

Excuses roll in

"I feel like I'm writing an excuse note to the principal," KSTP-TV anchor John Mason's e-mail began.

That's right. Now that Mason understands his position, I couldn't wait to hear his reason for missing the 2008 Upper Midwest Emmy Awards. "I was out Saturday emceeing an event for the St. Francis Hospital Foundation, a previous commitment. And word is, I actually smiled a couple of times during the evening. Imagine that."

And the best part of Mason's e-mail was the subject line: "Note from a 'sour puss.'" OUTstanding!

Mason's excused, but don't have a conflict next year. An e-mail from WCCO-TV's Don Shelby was not quite as solicitous. "Shelby's Emmy No-Show" read the subject. "Washburn Child Guidance gala at the Minnesota History Center. They help families and children regain their lives."

Still awaiting explanations from other anchors. Until told otherwise, I'll assume that Mikey Pomeranz was having his teeth whitened, again, while Julie Nelson was having something unnecessary done to what once was a lovely face.

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or cj@startribune.com. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on Fox 9 Thursday mornings.