A Julian Bond sighting at Uncle Edgar's Mystery Bookstore was no conundrum to manager-buyer Jeff Hatfield.

"Not being a doofus and not being a stranger to the civil rights, Vietnam War dissenter and activist, I recognized Julian Bond right away," Hatfield said. "Uncle Edgar's can overwhelm the first-time visitor, so I gave him the chance to look around before asking if I could help."

"I did recognize you," Hatfield told me he eventually said to Bond. However, Hatfield did not feel he had absolute confirmation that it was the chair of the NAACP, until Bond proffered a credit card with his famous name on it.

"He said he has passed by the store a few times over the years and just made a point of coming in [Thursday]. It was a very quiet afternoon so I had a chance to talk to him," Hatfield said. Bond's first stop was Uncle Edgar's "Recommended British" rack.

"He's a fan of British police procedurals, especially in series, and was looking for a new author. I recommended new author Stuart MacBride and Mr. Bond had me ring up two paperback titles featuring Aberdeen, Scotland, detective sergeant Logan McRae, 'Cold Granite' and 'Dying Light.'"

"He was very soft-spoken and gentlemanly," Hatfield said. As always. "He was very cool." As always.

It's no mystery why Bond was spending part of holidays here: His wife has family in the Twin Cities.

The holiday mystery now is to find out why I have not received my annual celebrity sighting of "ER" actor Laura Innes. I do have one involving "Nip/Tuck" star Kelly Carlson coming Sunday.

Clay gets panty-flinged

Word has it that when Clay Aiken performed with the Minnesota Orchestra last week a woman threw lacy undies on stage with her photo taped inside.

A member of the orchestra then reportedly waited in line to get the "American Idol" alum's autograph on the panties. On Wednesday, an orchestra staffer was able to confirm only the lacy underwear portion of this item. The other details came from a source who knows how important accuracy is in newspaper reporting.

Grape expectations

Minnesota's second most famous Purple One got mentioned in USA Today's holiday edition.

Somebody asked the paper's "Ad Team" about the actor in the "Chevy commercial with the kids. He's also in an ad for an investment company."

The answer: "Wayne Wilderson is the actor in both of those ads and has been the purple grape in Fruit of the Loom ads since 2001. That's when the underwear giant brought the Fruit Guys back to TV after a 10-year hiatus. Wilderson has a long list of commercial appearances and also plays 'Bill' the friendly banker in Washington Mutual ads. The Minneapolis native has also appeared in numerous TV shows, including 'The Office' and 'The Steve Harvey Show.'"

A couple of hours before seeing this Q&A in USA Today, I ran into Wilderson's sister Fawn Wilderson-Legros and her French husband, Florent Wilderson-Legros, at Costco. She told me about recently finding an essay that a then-14-year-old Wayne wrote expressing a desire to be an actor like his big sister, who at that time was in a show at the Hennepin Center for the Arts. Now Fawn has her own readers theater, Theatre du Monde, in Minneapolis and Paris.

Tubby gets ribbed

"Tubby was down here getting tubbier," said Steve Polski, owner of Market Bar-B-Que. "I am trying to be witty, but it doesn't always work." Yeah, back to those ribs, Steven. Gophers men's basketball coach Tubby Smith and his team rolled into the Market for some ribs on Christmas Day before heading out to Las Vegas.

Dan Coleman and Lawrence McKenzie wanted to see owner Polski's son Anthony Polski, but he wasn't working. Anthony was out playing the "Promise Ring Game" with his girlfriend, Bri Peterson.

"I said, 'What's that? What's a promise ring'" Polski told me. I told Steve what it was and said that when Anthony got serious and bought a real ring, we'd talk.

C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or cj@startribune.com. E-mailers, please state a subject. More of her attitude can be seen on Fox9 Thursday mornings.