Angelina Jolie has everything—a successful career, a romance with Brad Pitt, a crew of cute kids and millions in the bank—except for the one thing she really needs: friends. “Angelia is hungry for normal moms to be around,” a source close to the star, 34, tells Hot Stuff. “She feels like she lives in a bubble.” She’s also having trouble managing stress, says a second insider, who notes that Jolie “has been overwhelmed lately with the children. She has nannies, but she likes to do it all herself. She’s very hands-on—but she’s exhausted!”

Us Weekly, January 4, 2010


Dear Angelina,

I’m writing today in response to the above-referenced piece in Us Weekly’s “Hot Stuff” section, which I read as a cry for help.

Let me begin by saying that, as a “co-parent” to two lovely children, Dominick, 5, and Prudence, 3, I totally understand what you’re going through. It’s hard enough making friends with other mommies and daddies, but for someone as in the public eye as you are? Wowsers.

Put it this way: if my only option for parental peerage consisted of Katie Holmes and Victoria Beckham, I’d live in semi-isolation, too. Who wants to go to all those soccer games?

The truth is, other than your choice of profession—and the movie-star good looks—you have little in common with most Hollywood moms (Kendra and Kourtney? Kome on). Your slender physique and great beauty belie the fact that you are quite the heavy. You’ve got gravitas, girl. And that must take its toll. Between the visits to Third World countries, the U.N. Goodwill Ambassadorship, Beyond Borders, and Notes From My Travels—not to mention a slate of roles in particularly downer films (A Mighty Heart, Changeling)—you, my dear, are desperately in need of a little sunshine.

And I know just the person to provide that sunshine, not to mention the sororial bonding you need from another in-the-trenches mommy: my wife, Stephanie.

I think you and Steph would, like, totally hit it off. I mean, you have a lot in common: You both had reluctant C-sections. You both lost your mother to cancer. You’re both of French-Canadian/Native American stock. You both like Atlas Shrugged. You’re married to two of the sexiest bohunks alive, both of whom are repped by the same film agency. You’re the same age (OK, Steph is a tiny bit older than you, but she’s still way younger than Brad). And you know how you’re a political lefty but your dad voted for McCain? Same with Stephanie!

Because she lived in the East Village for fifteen years, my wife won’t be wowed by your enormous celebrity. She went to school with Taye Diggs, she has friends who write for SNL, her best friend played Marius in Les Mis on Broadway. (Plus, not to toot my own horn here, but she shares a bed with the author of Totally Killer and the senior editor of the hottest literary site on the Web). In fact, other than the time she accosted Matthew Broderick in the health food store and told him she thought he was “the best comedic actor ever” before turning tail and fleeing in shame, Steph is totally chill when it comes to hobnobbing with the rich and famous. She knows that what Us Weekly says about stars is bang-on true—they’re just like us!

What else you might like to know is that Steph is both a talented musician and a graduate student pursuing a masters in mental health counseling. So not only can she serve as a sounding board/therapist and help you manage the stress we read about in said magazine—and frankly, it’s refreshing to hear that movie stars feel stress about their children that doesn’t involve finding discreet babysitters so they can stay out all night with other movie stars—she can also belt out a killer rendition of “Wheels on the Bus.” Plus, she’s really funny, and she does a top notch Scarlett Johansson impression.

Me, you’ve obviously heard of, because of my affiliation with this fine online magazine and because I drew a standing-room-only crowd at my reading with Duke Haney at Book Soup in West Hollywood a few weeks back. What you may not know is, I’ve spent the last five years as a sort-of stay-at-home dad, eking out a living doing freelance work. Sort of like you with Kung Fu Panda, but with a much smaller paycheck. Also, I’m an astrologer, so I can do your chart (assuming the birth time on IMDB is accurate, I already know that you’re a Cancer Rising and that Venus conjuncts your Ascendant, which means, if you will forgive a technical horoscopy term, that you’re hot).

Brangelina, meet Grephanie

Brangelina, meet Grephanie

We live in New Paltz, a charming and crunchy college town in New York’s Hudson Valley. I know you spent time in Albany while filming your upcoming blockbuster Salt. Let me assure you: this ain’t Albany. Unlike the state capital, New Paltz is a place that tourists actually want to visit. Mohonk Mountain House is here—many movies have been shot there, as you are no doubt aware—plus we have Huguenot Street, the oldest residential street in North America. Brad will like that, because he’s an architecture buff.

You know who else is an architecture buff? Our son, Dominick. He just turned five, and he spent all afternoon reading A Field Guide to American Houses, which American Libraries cleverly calls “the definitive field guide to American homes.” He knows the subtle differences between the Beaux Arts and Second Empire styles, and he really wants to visit Cleveland because of all the lovely historic homes there. More to the point, there’s a girl in his dance class who sort of looks like Zahara, and he really likes her. This bodes well for playdates.

As for our daughter, Prudence and Shiloh are the same age, and they both have awesome names. (Let me take a moment to compliment you on your good taste in that department. Maddox, Zahara, Pax, Shiloh, Knox, Vivienne…not a clunker in the bunch. No Apples, no Moseses, and no Olives, because Olive Pitt doesn’t quite work.) If Shiloh enjoys riding tricycles, belting out tunes at the top of her lungs, and playing non-competitive games of hide-and-seek, she’ll get along with Prue just fine.

While it’s true that New Paltz is quite a distance from Los Angeles, New Orleans, Paris, Berlin, Phnom Penh, Namibia, and other places where we think you might maintain residences—and, while we’re on the topic, might I suggest that, exhilarating as globe-trotting must be, especially under the imprimatur of the United Nations, it might be easier for both you and your children to make friends if you commit to a single locale—we are right down the road from Woodstock, so it’s not like we’ve never seen celebrities before (although so many of our citizens support a mandatory death sentence for television that it’s entirely possible that you could accompany Stephanie to Bacchus for a few Fin du Mondes and TMZ would never be the wiser).

Another thing: Stephanie already has a really great circle of mommy friends. These are ladies you would really dig. Liz, who has four kids—including twins, like you—is really funny and down to earth and has great taste in music. S.L., like you, has lots of tattoos and tastes that run Goth; I don’t think she’d wear her husband’s blood in a vial around her neck, but the idea wouldn’t repulse her. And check this: Elizabeth and her husband Tim have two adoptive children from Guatemala, and next month, they’re getting two more, this time from Rwanda. That’s right—Rwanda. Plus, Tim’s car runs on vegetable oil. I bet even Leo’s car doesn’t do that.

Oh, and there’s this. I’ve heard the rumors that you and Brad occasionally run into conflict because from time to time you like to—how shall I put this?—put the “XX” in sex. (I’m guessing that’s what you meant when you told Das Neue last week that you “doubt that fidelity is absolutely essential for a relationship.”) Assuming these rumors are legit, and not a feeble attempt by your Foxfire co-star Jenny Shimizu to resuscitate her career, let’s just say that in these parts, we tend to be quite liberal when it comes to that sort of thing. We’re down with bisexual OPP.

True, Stephanie and I have never broached the subject. But say you guys were hanging out, availing yourselves of the drink specials while grooving to the Big Shoe show at Oasis, and one thing led to another…who am I to deny the happiness of the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Refugee Agency?

The point is, you’ll find my wife and I very supportive of your lifestyle choices. Like, we think it’s really cool that you guys won’t get married until marriage is a universal right. In fact, one of the reasons we moved to New Paltz is because our then-mayor, Jason West, performed gay marriages at Village Hall. Like I said, this ain’t Albany.

If you’d rather not relocate from sunny Los Angeles to a place where the winters are cold and slush-filled and the Subarus outnumber the Porsches just to cultivate a friendship with a woman you met by reading a letter her husband wrote on a Web site whose influence, while mighty, was insufficient to convince Janeane Garofalo to boink a handsome and debonair Aussie fifteen years her junior…hey, I understand. I won’t take it personally. But if you’re willing to give it a shot, have “your people” call “our people,” and let’s set up a playdate. You won’t be disappointed.

Hope to hear from you soon.

Best regards,

Greg Olear


We have a jumpy castle.

TAGS: , , , , , , , , ,

GREG OLEAR is the Los Angeles Times bestselling author of the novels Totally Killer and Fathermucker and founding editor of The Weeklings.

180 responses to “Mr. & Mrs. Smith & Mr. & Mrs. Olear”

  1. James D. Irwin says:

    Awesome. Just awesome sir.

    Except: soccer games are awesome, and the US are a pretty strong team now.

    I love the PS. If Angelina is still on the fence by ‘best regards’, then that will totally swing it!

    • Greg Olear says:

      Thanks, man.

      I understand the appeal of soccer, but when they run the photos of Tom at the kids’ games in US, no one looks all that happy, high-voltage smile notwithstanding.

      Also: Brad & Angelina are all soccer fans. Maddox likes Liverpool. So I might have miscalculated that line…

      The jumpy castle is fun, that’s for sure…

      • James D. Irwin says:

        soccer is at it’s most fun when not played competitively. and it’s only really enjoyable to watch when it’s being played well.

        I didn’t know that Brad and Angelina are soccer fans, but I’m glad I do. It means we’ll have something to talk about on the set of the almost inevitable ‘Cactus City Blues’ film adaption…

        I wish I had a jumpy castle. My neighbours are five and six and have a trampoline. I look out of the window with considerable envy…

        • Greg Olear says:

          The older you get, alas, the easier it is to hurt yourself on such equipment. I went sledding down my hill three weeks ago. My tailbone still hurts. Remember that when you feel envious.

          I want a part in the CCB movie!

        • I’m fairly prone to injury myself… I’m like a 45 year old man trapped in the body of a 80 year old alcoholic disguised as a 20 year old…

          Everyone wants a part in the CCB movie!

          Actually, this piece has inspired me to re-write and post the letters I wrote to various Hollywood stars— including Brad Pitt…

        • Greg Olear says:
          Brad Listi Presents

          In Association with She Shoots to Conquer Media

          A TNB Films Production

          of a film by Kimberly M. Wetherell

          Duke Haney

          Zoe Brock

          “Cactus City Blues”

          with Simon Smithson

          Megan DiLullo

          Zara Potts

          and Greg Olear as “The Man”

          Written by James D. Irwin, based on his novel


        • have I mentioned that there are many references to TNB writers and readers in CCB?

          I named a character after two TNB writers and as a result now have an accidental reference to Sherlock Holmes…

        • Greg Olear says:

          I love me some meta-text.

  2. Jim Simpson says:

    Oh man, this cracked me up. Great way to start the morning (“Olive Pitt”! “Grephanie”!). Well done, sir; this is sure to get the intended response, more so than Sir Simon’s letter to J.G.

  3. Kimberly says:

    Can I come play on your jumpy castle?

    (Why does that sound wrong??)

  4. Alexandre says:

    ahahah, hysterical

  5. That’s a brilliant post. I’d be very surprised if Brangelina and Grephanie didn’t hook up. You make a tremendously appealing case. I’m sure you’d all make a very intelligent, sexy couple-couple.

    • Greg Olear says:

      Thanks, David. I think Ange would like you, too…certainly she’s been to enough impoverished lands to speak intelligently about the state of the restroom facilities the world over. ; )

  6. Amanda says:

    I would imagine you’d have had her at “jumpy castle”.

  7. Sirje says:

    Can I be Stephanie’s friend? She sounds awesome.

  8. Elizabeth Collins says:

    Olive Pitt. I am still laughing. Also, “Kome on.”

    You sir, are a great humorist. Enjoyed it as usual.

  9. Erika Rae says:

    Hahaha – a jumpy castle. But Greg, you had me and Grephanie! Hell, *I* want to move to New Paltz, now. You’re going to have to hire some security to weed out the riff-raff trying to set up playdates now. My newly sixed 6-year-old would love your Prue, although Elia is a bit of a diva as far as singing at the top of her lungs is concerned. I’m sure they could work something out.

    • Greg Olear says:

      Thanks, Erika.

      Prue actually has issues with sharing the mike. She doesn’t do well with singalong…she prefers to be the star of the show. Were we different people, we would so be grooming her to be a child star…she actually looks quite a bit like Drew Barrymore.

      Happy birthday to your newly-sixed six year old.


  10. Rachel Pollon says:

    Very funny. Angelina would do well to take a private jet up to New Paltz and hang with the Olears. In the movie version of this scenario I envision Sarah Silverman playing Stephanie, Paul Rudd playing Greg, and Gwyneth Paltrow playing Angelina. With a cameo by Javier Bardem as the beleaguered Brad Pitt. I’d go see that movie.

  11. Matt says:

    Ah, brilliant. What a nice read to wake up to this morning. Jolie is a fool if she doesn’t take you up on this offer. And just think–she could take you and the kids on international playdates! Dom and Prue will grow up to be so cosmopolitan.

    Like the others, Olive Pitt made me snort, but personally, I think I’m going to walk around saying “Mohonk” all day. It just keeps making me giggle.

  12. Brad Listi says:

    I’m pretty sure Angelina and Brad have a “jumpy chateau.”

    But still.

    I think this is a match made in heaven.

    • Greg Olear says:

      Jumpy Chateau…Isn’t that an Elton John album?

      Ah, but do they have multiple jumpy chateaux? I bet they left the good one in Namibia.

      Speaking of, wasn’t it cool that she had the baby there, and used the Namibian army (!) to keep the paparazzi away? That was amazingly smart, I thought.


      Not enough has been made of the fact that you and Pitt have the same first name. Next time I dust off the Photoshop, I’m giving you his new braided goatee.

  13. Gloria says:

    ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

    Man, I hope she responds.

    But wait…what’s this about liking Atlas Shrugged? I’m not sure I can like Angelina anymore. Your wife is seeming a little dodgy too. I hate that book – and Ayn Rand – to the point that when I speak about it I get frothy at the mouth and my words become incoherent.

    The rest though: good show.


    • Greg Olear says:

      Fear not, Gloria. Stephie liked the book in the same way I did — as a fun read, in the same manner as, say, Twilight or Harry Potter. She’s not, like, an objectivist or any of that. She’s not even a libertarian. I was just searching for common ground, is all.

      Your friend,
      John Galt

      • Gloria says:

        That’s just it, though: It’s not a fun read. While mechanically sound, there is not a single redeemable character and the theme is obnoxious. Then again, I could say that about Twilight, too – except for the mechanically sound part. But not beloved Harry Potter. That there is quality.

        • Greg Olear says:

          I read it when I was 19 and found it a compelling story…I was duped, as most readers are, into imagining that I’d be one of the smart/chosen ones. I doubt I’d like it if I read it now.

          See, I can’t stand the Potter books. I’m in the minority there, I realize…Stephie loves them and gives me crap about it, but they just don’t grab me. Harry is so dull.

        • Gloria says:

          You know why Harry is dull? Because Rowling was smart enough to know that making him glitter like diamonds in the sunshine was tripe.

          Stupid Stephanie Meyer. 🙂

        • Greg Olear says:


          I think he’s dull in the same way Superman is. Squeaky clean. Yawn yawn.

          Those books are an inferior knock-off of Ursula K. LeGuin’s excellent Earthsea series. I don’t know why more people don’t call Rawling on the mat about that.

        • Gloria says:

          As an interesting sidenote, Ursula LeGuin lives within a five minute walk of where I’m currently sitting.

        • Greg Olear says:

          That would locate you in Portland, right? If you bump into her in the supermarket, ask her how she feels about Harry Potter. If she’s cool with it, I’ll let it rest… ; )

        • Gloria says:

          Aye, it does. And I will – just as soon as the classless squealing, pointing, and incoherent gibbering comes to its own natural end. While I’m being escorted out by security, I’ll rush in the question about her feelings on Rawling/Potter.

          Actually, now that I think about it, I doubt that I would be able to pick her out of a lineup. We writerly folk aren’t known for our good looks.

          I do know what her house looks like, though. It’s purple.

        • Gloria says:


          Wow. She’s really old.


          Herein she talks about HP:

          UKL: I have no great opinion of [Harry Potter]. When so many adult critics were carrying on about the “incredible originality” of the first Harry Potter book, I read it to find out what the fuss was about, and remained somewhat puzzled; it seemed a lively kid’s fantasy crossed with a “school novel”, good fare for its age group, but stylistically ordinary, imaginatively derivative, and ethically rather mean-spirited.

        • Greg Olear says:

          Thanks, Gloria, on all counts.

          There’s a blurb for the cover: “stylistically ordinary, imaginatively derivative, and ethically rather mean-spirited”


          Have you read The Left Hand of Darkness? One of the best SF novels of all time.

        • Gloria says:

          I have not read The Left Hand of Darkness, but will add it to my queue. It sounds, well, dark. I’m currently on a funny-only kick and am reading everything Christopher Moore ever wrote. Right now I’m reading Fool. Brilliant. Hilarious. When I’m ready for something heavy and soul-sucking I’ll get over to the dark list.

        • Matt says:

          And how. That’s a book I often give to people who claim they don’t like or don’t get sci-fi as serious literature, thinking it’s all just Star Wars-y type stuff. I’ve never had anyone be disappointed.

        • Greg Olear says:

          Gloria: It’s not THAT depressing. But it’s really good.

          If you want funny, try The Financial Lives of the Poets.

          And thanks for the Moore rec.

          Matt: ditto. Stranger in a Strange Land is also good, as is the Orson Scott Card stuff.

        • Gloria says:

          I like Orson Scott Card. And I like Ursula LeGuin. And your suggestion has been vetted by Matt, who I also like. So, I’ll move it up in my queue.

          Re: Moore. If you’ve never read Moore, you really have to start with Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal. I about pissed myself with laughter a few times. Moore is Dave Berry, David Sedaris funny. No, funnier. He’s a satirist. Lovely.

        • Greg Olear says:

          The title made me laugh out loud. And the concept is excellent. Will check it out. Biff. Ha!

        • I feel like Julia Roberts in Steel Magnolias when her blood sugar crashes
          and they have to force feed her orange juice and she screams through her
          horse sized lips, “Don’t talk about me like I’m not here!” (anyone? anyone? anyone know that scene or am I going to be judged for quoting Steel Magnolias as harshly as I’ve been
          for reading Ayn Rand in my early 20’s and Happy Potter in my early 30’s?) Usually people judge me for my reluctant C-Section, not the book I read 20 years ago.

          But it’s ok – I’ll live. I guess we won’t be inviting you to the Ayn Rand Beer Bong party Angie and I will be having in the jumpy castle once we become fast and furious buds.

        • Greg Olear says:

          That made me think, Stephie…if it doesn’t work out with Angelina, I bet Julia’s twins can use some company in Taos…should we write her a letter, too?

        • Greg Olear says:

          How about you just write a song called “Hazel Moder”? In the style of Fugazi? Just a thought.

        • Gloria says:

          I was kidding about you being dodgy. I’m sure you’re lovely. People have judged me, too, for breastfeeding my twins until they were two (but! they can talk!) and for being a rabid Stephen King fan.

          Can we be friends? Please?

          Really, I just want to be invited into your bouncy chateau…

        • Gloria says:

          Also, I love Steel Magnolias. Dolly Parton, Sally Field, Olympia Dukakis, and Shirley MacLaine all in one movie? Sign me up. Even Julia and Darryl didn’t bug me.

        • Jim Simpson says:

          Speaking of tripe (Gloria, you did mention it waayyy up there somewhere) check out the “overwritten and tragically flawed” The Lap of Uxory by Roger Gale.

          On the flipside, Jess Walter’s Citizen Vince was an excellent read, as is FLOP, so far.

        • Oh Gloria (g.l.o.r.i.a) – of course – I’m sure you’re lovely too!
          I’m just really sensitive – which is why I always make a good friend to other
          sensitivo’s or the overthinker. Which is why I’d be a good mommy friend to
          Angelina, I think. And if I were her friend, I’d make her eat a little bit more.

          And my colors are blush and bashful, mama!

        • Greg Olear says:

          Gloria — Open invitation to the jumpy castle.

          Jim — Roger Gale is the worst writer of all time. Thanks for mentioning him. ; ) I have to get more Walter. Love that guy.

          Steph — She could use some more BBQ, but she looks better now than she did last year. Must have been the filming in Albany. Nothing to do there but eat.

  14. Sources are reporting (oh, okay, Perez Hilton and Gawker if you simply must know) that Brad has just purchased Huguenot Street….. nicely done, Greg, nicely done.

  15. Ronlyn Domingue says:

    What a cogent, amiable treatise. Who could resist the allure of the Olears after that?

    • Greg Olear says:

      Thanks, Ronlyn.

      Have you ever spotted them strolling the streets of the French Quarter? I’d think they’d be a fixture at Commander’s Palace and Galatoire’s, if they really did live there for any length of time.

      • Ronlyn Domingue says:

        I haven’t visited New Orleans for quite some time, but I’ve heard tell that the city is indeed one of their homes. Surely by now, though, they know where the locals go for great food at frugal prices.

        • Greg Olear says:

          Why did I think you were in New Orleans? I guess I was thrown by your latitude/longitude byline over at TNB 2.0.

          OK, checked…Red Stick is Baton Rouge, I take it. So I’m not THAT crazy…

  16. Zara Potts says:

    Dear Mr and Mrs Olear,
    I’m no Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Aniston even, but I would like to formally apply for the position of ‘friend.’
    I like bouncy castles and super slides and sitting on porches talking shit. I also can fold a dollar bill into a pixie boot and am a whiz at sending presents with hidden spiders. (That’s much more creepy than a silly old necklace vial of husband’s blood, doncha think?)
    I am not a good will ambassador or anything fancy like that, but I do give money to charity and food to the homeless.
    I don’t have any children with interesting names but if I did, you can be sure I’d call one of them – ‘Flower’ or maybe even ‘Stainless Steel’.
    Thank you for your time.
    Yours Faithfully
    Zara Potts

    • Greg Olear says:

      Hmmm…it never occurred to me how much fun could be had with your last name…just as I didn’t think of Olive Pitt until I was typing it. As long as you don’t name a kid Pol, I think you’re OK.

      Your presence on our porch is requested — nay, demanded — this June. And your box is coming.

      Your friend,

      • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

        Zara’s presence is demanded on quite a few porches this spring!
        We have a place saved for her right here in sunny Miami Beach!

        • Greg Olear says:

          We really have to work on the TNB convention…

        • Zara Potts says:

          June! June! Let’s have a convention in June. I’m so happy I have so many porches to sit on. xx

        • Greg Olear says:

          [running his fingers through his imaginary Brad Pitt-style beard]

        • Stainless Steel just made guffaw and snort – please please
          can we name someone that now?

          Zara – you do not need to apply because you so are already in like flynn – though our box is late to you – you must understand how much we discuss what we’ll be putting in it and how often we talk about how we must get it to the post office – I swear more energy goes into making your package the best in the land, than say, the effort I put into all of the holiday cards I sent out all together.

          And do you know how much we are living for June?

          Well, do you?
          Yours forever,

        • Zara Potts says:

          Dearest Grephanie,
          I too, am living for June! I cannot wait.
          I am also very excited about my box (although that sounds weird now I look at it)
          I’m so glad that you have accepted my application for lifelong friendship. I will name my firstborn ‘Stainless Steel Pol Grephanie Potts’ in honour of you.
          Love love love and New Year hugs,
          Yours eternally,
          Zara xx

        • Greg Olear says:

          Right back ‘atcha, my dear. Love, New Year’s hugs, June, porch, etc.

          “Smoke” would be another good name for you to use…

        • Irene Zion (Lenore's Mom) says:

          First name “Cast” Middle name “Iron”

          First name “Iron” Middle name “Clad”

          Stop me. I could go on forever.

        • Zara Potts says:

          Cast Iron Potts!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAH
          I need to get me a baby.

        • Greg Olear says:

          Cast Iron Potts. Done and done. But Irene, do go on all day…

  17. Angela Tung says:

    this is hilarious.

    that is all.

  18. Oh shit! I just misfired the frittata type thing I was consuming onto my computer screen.

    Grephanie? And your goth-esque mother friend?

    What do they burn in the fireplaces in your neck of the woods?

    Another “Totally Killer” piece, Greg.

    • Greg Olear says:

      Ha! Thanks Megan. You’d love our Goth-esque mother friend, for sure. Although she reminded me that she actually only has two tattoos, and that I was getting the ink confused with the piercings.

      And what do they burn? Weed, I think…

  19. Oh my God! What was Taye Diggs like in high school?

    If only I could think of a clever segue of how much I Digg this letter, Greg. Something intelligent, like giving it Tayen out of Tayen.

    Damn it. I got nothin’.

    Now I need a wife, so I can get in on some of that bouncy castle action of yours (wow. That really does sound… unseemly). Because then it could be Mr. and Mrs. Smith and Mr. and Mrs. Olear and Mr. and Mrs. Smithson (it would have to be me. My parents aren’t bouncy castle kind of people).

    • Greg Olear says:

      Thanks, man.

      She went to college with him, not high school. His real name is Scott. And I’ll let her take the rest.

      Unseemly? Tsk tsk, sir. The jumpy castle is not intended for use by anyone over the age of ten. It would be for Maddox, Pax, Dominick, Zahara, Shiloh, Prudence, Knox, and Vivienne (to list them in birth order). No shoes, no more than five at a time, and no entry via the slide. We also have a cardboard house, a swingset, a basketball hoop, and a friendly cat.

      • Hmm. I would imagine we would therefore need some kind of jumpy palace for those over ten? Possibly designed by a jumpy architect.

      • Yes Taye Diggs and I were – hold onto your hats – musical theatre majors
        together at Syracuse University. He was a year behind me in the program – (which makes
        him an ancient 25 – hhhaaaahhhaaa hhhhaaaaa)

        And here’s the other thing I will add – he was – hold onto your seats – not hot.
        He was kind of geeky. And not good geeky. Like say, Totally Killer Greg book smart
        geeky – he was musical theatre geeky.

        • When you say musical theater geeky you mean screaming queen, right?

        • Gloria says:

          On the fourth of July here in Portland this year, I and a couple of friends happened upon a street party with a bouncy castle for adults. I was frightened of all of the potential fluids that were in that place. A bunch of hipster, trustafarian, post-teens, all of them drunk. No thanks.

          My advice: don’t allow alcohol on the adult bouncy castle. Not unless you hose it down every evening.

        • Hi Megan,
          I actually don’t mean that – I mean – there is a brand of
          guy that the musical theatre world tries to seduce – the actual
          straight male actor who can carry a tune and “move” (ie: not dance).
          Taye (real name Scott) was one of these rare straight musical theatre dudes.

        • Greg Olear says:

          Gloria – Trustafarian post-teens? Ha!

  20. Phat B says:

    I love non-competitive games of hide and seek. I usually choose to hide on the couch. Brad is a big time stoner, so you can try to work that into the equation as bait. He also has a thing for El Pollo Loco. You need more kids if you’re gonna make this work. Remember that fateful day the universe blessed us with the Jenner-Kardashian Marriage? I’ll never forget.

    • Greg Olear says:

      It’s really funny to watch them play hide-and-seek at this age, because they don’t really get it. They always hide in the same places, and they fight over who gets to count. And I’m with you — I choose spots based on how comfortable they are and how long I can remain in the prone position.

      I won’t comment publicly on the stoner thing, but I think we can work with that, wink wink nudge nudge (my own smoking is confined to cigars, as you know…pot just makes me sleep). We don’t have Pollo Loco, but New Paltz has excellent restaurants. The Culinary Institute is right across the river.

      Two kids is where we draw the line, but the key is having more than one.

      Also: How do you feel about the whole Lamar Odom thing?

      • Phat B says:

        The addition of Lamar Odom to the Kardashian Klan is a blessing from Jesus. Lamar is well known for his media breakdowns and excessive marijuana konsumption. He has a few tear filled press konferences on the books after failing NBA drug tests. Khloe one upped Kim because Lamar has title rings, while Reggie Bush rides the pine in New Orleans. Khloe got the better black athlete. I think Kim is going for Tiger Woods now, putting the nail in the coffin before the pregnant Kardashian ( Kourtney) one ups both of them by bagging Michael Jordan. Kourtney and Khloe have their own show! New season of KUWTK! AAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!

    • Matt says:

      The more I hear about them, the more I’m really, really, REALLY happy I have no idea who these Kardashian people are.

      • Phat B says:

        Kim Kardashian had sex with Ray J (Brandy’s brother, from “For The Love Of Ray J” television fame) and it was posted to the internet. She also has a huge ass and rack, and is quite stunning. Her father was Robert Kardashian, famous Los Angeles Defense Attorney who worked the OJ Simpson case, amongst other high profile cases in Hollywood. He died of a heart attack, and former olmypic champion Bruce Jenner married Robert’s Widow, and now they have a show, and it’s fucking great. And it all takes place on E! Entertainment television!

        • Matt says:

          Wow. So glad I don’t have cable.

        • Greg Olear says:

          Phat: Well said. I think we should add that to her Wikipedia page…

          Matt: She IS stunning. It’s one of those objective truths.

        • Phat B says:

          And Brody Jenner of “The Hills” fame is totally Bruce Jenners son! You can watch at my place if you want.

        • Greg Olear says:

          I love that Brody has that huge tattoo on his arm that says JENNER. In case, you know, he forgets…

        • Matt says:

          Just did a Google Image search. Meh.

          And what the fuck is this “The Hills” shit? I hear people say this and it means nothing.

        • Phat B says:

          Oh MB (can I call you MB?). You’re gonna have to come to Grephanies screening room, and we’ll sit down with them and Brangelina and start you with a few episodes of “The O.C.” Then we’ll move you slowly into “Laguna Beach: The Real O.C.”, and then you’ll be ready for “The Hills”. In between viewings Greg will read you excerpts from US Weekly while Brad and I go burn one in the jumpy house.

        • Phat B says:

          Only when we feel that you are truly ready will we move you onto “Keeping Up With The Kardashians”. It would be foolish to jump in to soon. Like a fine wine, the complexities of vapid reality television really open up with time and repeated consumption.

        • Matt says:

          I think I’d rather just find one of the bars where the cute university coed girls hang out, and tell them some California stories of my own. Either that, or go to the New Paltz central library. I’ll bet they’ve got some totally killer books in there.

        • Gloria says:

          Just googled this Kardashian lady. Had to see what “stunning” meant in 3D terms. She’s okay, if you like chiseled-from-stone good looks. Like, if you’re into that kind of thing and whatnot.

        • She looks kind of scary without makeup and since she’s been working out,
          she’s not as curvy, which I think was her biggest ASSet.
          Why do they all end up shrinking down to nothing when it’s the something
          that makes them special?

        • Greg Olear says:

          Well said, Stephie. She was prettier when she was curvier.

          The Sports Guy reports that in person, Kim K. is even better looking than in the magazines.

          And Matt, Phat is right — there is something to be said for bad reality TV (although I don’t watch very much of it…I prefer to read about it in US). You’re missing out on a certain je ne sais quoi here. Not that you should stop reading high quality literature to keep up with the Kardashians.

          Phat — How do you feel about Heidi?

        • Phat B says:

          I didn’t care for Heidi’s spread in playboy. Would it kill these celebs to show some bush? They did the same thing putting KK on the cover, and all you saw were her titties. Back in the 70’s a celebrity playboy spread meant something, like seeing the personal grooming habits of televisions Charlies Angels. And I never watched Heidi’s show, except for that one in the jungle where Jon Salley kept trying to have sex with her. I just like the Kardashians and COPS. And Intervention. It doesn’t get realer than intervention. And The Soup. God bless the soup. Why waste 30 minutes watching “For The Love Of Ray J” when you can just tune in to find out if she smashed the homie? Jersey Shore? How bout that one? I’m loving it myself. I had to check the tint setting on my TV to make sure they were supposed to be orange.

        • Greg says:

          Jon Salley does moonlight as a stand-up comic, so there’s that.

          Heidi did Playboy already? Shit. The career path to destruction is getting faster and faster these days. I guess now it’s time for Ray J to make a tape with her and Spencer.

          Jersey Shore is brilliant, but, alas, a bit too close to home. The highlight of our family vacations down the shore was the one time that week we got to go to the boardwalk at Seaside Heights (ie, “Sleazeside”). Even back then it was sketch…

  21. Tawni says:

    I loved reading this, Greg. Angelina is a fool if she doesn’t jump at the chance to be best mommy buds with Stephanie. A fool, I tell you!

    Let us know how it turns out.

    • Greg Olear says:

      Thanks, Tawni. You would also be a great mommy bud for Stephie, of course, should you ever decide to relo from OK.

      And yes, if they make it up here, I will post a View From Your Phone…

  22. Marni Grossman says:

    Greg- if Dominick would like to tour the historic homes of Cleveland, he’s more than welcome to stay at my sister and brother-in-law’s house there, gratis. He will, unfortunately, be forced to participate in Sondheim sing-a-longs. But everyone needs something to tell the therapist, right?

    • Greg says:

      Thanks, Marni. Very kind of you. I wasn’t joking about that — heck, I wasn’t joking about anything, except for the part about me being a bohunk — he really does want to see Cleveland. “Send In the Clowns” is a small price to pay…plus, Stephie loves Sondheim.

  23. Damn, Greg. I might not be Angelina, but I wanna come play in your jumpy castle.

  24. If this fails to find Angelina at your door by the end of the week, there is consolation in the probability that if you invited the Jersey Shore kids to have a reunion in your backyard winter wonderland, they will be all over your jumpy castle. Though they will likely leave Italian flag graffito and syphilis behind, so I guess it’s a mixed bag. Celebrities.

    • Greg says:

      Thanks, Cathy.

      Brangelina in Highland this weekend would make your choice of B&B quite prescient.

      Re: the JS kids (some of whom clearly went to my high school). That’s why God created penicillin.

  25. D.R. Haney says:

    What? No mention of your manny? Aside from the SRO business, I mean.

    • Greg Olear says:

      I want them to buy the film rights to BFL. But you raise a good point; they can probably use some manny help, too…

      Take note, Brangelina: Duke is a man of many talents.

      • D.R. Haney says:


        I’ve heard it said that Irina, as described, brings to mind Angelina. Actually, they’re exactly the same age, only much of BFL is set ten years ago, so in terms of casting, they’re a decade apart.

        Foiled again. But I like and appreciate your line of thinking, as I also do with your proposal of Zoe as a co-star.

        Meantime, I never heard what you have about Brangelina’s alternative lifestyle. Can it really be true? Wishful thinking on the part of tabloid writers, I would tend to think.

        Where’s my funny bone today? Here, funny bone!

  26. I think I may have a problem sharing my manny but if that’s what it takes
    to get this playdate off the ground, then fine.

  27. josie says:

    Great letter Greg. Angie would be crazy to pass up an invitation like this. I’m thinking about adopting a munchkin just so I can come hang with Stephanie and the kids!

    Can I play in the jumpy castle?

  28. Jessica Blau says:

    Love this! Grephanie! I think that anyone reading this, mother or not, would want to drive through the ash-colored slush to New Paltz, strip down to Uggs and undies, and bounce around that Jumpy Castle with you and your greatly-appreciated wife any winter day!

    • Greg Olear says:

      Thanks, Jessica.

      Uggs & undies…a capital idea! I shall propose it to them when they get here–they’re in NYC doing reshoots for Salt, so I’m thinking they should get to New Paltz any day now–and I’m sure they’ll be down with it. Will Brad go with boxers or briefs, I wonder, or with red Speedos, like Jerry O’Connell did in that People magazine shoot? I’ll let you know via View From Your Phone.

  29. rachel schinderman says:

    I very much enjoyed that! Thank you!!!

  30. This just made my night, Greg! Considering I’ve spent the past 36 hours riding a bus from Queretaro to Mexico City, flying from MC to Charlotte, flying from Charlotte to Dayton, Ohio, sleeping for a scant few hours, waking up to gather all my kids’ crap from their grandparents house and load the 3 of them and all their baggage–plus our Mexican luggage–into our car and then driving almost 7 hours home, so as to throw them all into baths and unpack/clean/feed people for the rest of the night, while also returning to about 347 emails . . . well, well done, sir. There is now a smile on my previously tense face, and I will come play in the jumpy castle anytime. I won’t wear my blood vial, lest it spill while I’m doing some kind of in-air splits and fall all over the kids like a scene out of Carrie.

    • Greg Olear says:

      Thanks, Gina. You are, of course, always welcome at the jumpy castle. And I’m sure Angelina would totally love you (although she’d be jealous that your dad is so much cooler than hers).

      Speaking of jealous…all that driving was worth it, though, to get away for a week, right? Because I’m unspeakably jealous of your trip. Steph and I want so badly to bail for a week over the holiday break…we don’t need to go to Mexico; anywhere remotely warm would do. And “warm” could just mean the hotel thermostat cranked up.

      I bet Angelina really dug “Carrie” when she was a kid…

  31. […] 5. Mr. & Mrs. Smith & Mr. & Mrs. Olear, Mr. Olear […]

  32. Quenby Moone says:

    I’m so very, very late to this one I can hardly believe it. But I just want to throw my hat in the ring. I’m no Angelina as I’m barely five feet tall, but I saw Allen Ginsburg naked in my living room once, so I too have had my brush with fame!

    Also, our best friends are called “Geophanie” so we already have the moniker thing worked out! Grephanie, meet Geophanie. They are similarly awesome, and we could just throw all the kids into the bounce house together while we have cocktails on the veranda. Or whatever you have. I’m not picky.

    Yours, Quenby

    • Greg Olear says:

      We have a very lovely porch. It’s not as lovely now, it being January and all, but it is most lovely the other three seasons. And you are welcome anytime.

      Re: Ginsberg (and see Steph’s comment below): So he saw the best minds of his generation destroyed, you saw the best minds of his generation buck naked, and Stephie saw the best minds of his generation with a foot of brown water in their crappy apartments. It’s all so confusing…

  33. Hi Quenby (greatest name ever?),

    Ok – we’re like soulmates because I used to live two floors down from Allen Ginsburg
    and was there when he passed. His lover went crazy from missing him afterward and moved out
    not long after a pipe burst and rained down all sorts of brown water on all of our apartments.
    I never saw him naked though. We’ll have to discuss deets while the kids are bouncing and we’re drinking on our porch which is better than a veranda, I think anyway.

    Truly, Ephanie

    • Quenby Moone says:

      You must know my roommate at the time named Peter, if not personally at least by sight, as he was Allen’s personal assistant for years! He was also there when he died, not surprisingly since he was at his side for just about everything right up til the bitter end.

      He’s still working for the legacy in some capacity; editing or something–but he was my roommate with whom Allen was staying when he flashed us! Dropped trou for me and my boyfriend in a moment of bonding and joie de vivre!

      You can read the poorly written but entertaining tale here. I’ve been meaning to re-write it forever and never got around to it. Now you may have forced my hand…

      Damn. It is a mighty, mighty small world. And yes, porches are always better than verandas.

      • Whoa – that was great! I wonder if he wanted to join you guys?
        Maybe. I remember seeing him alot of our “mail room”
        which was really just a place where the legless pimp in a wheelchair
        would let the crack whores from the ‘hood “pay” him. We’d just get our mail
        and walk on up to our pads. One of our front door locks was broken, so we often
        had “extra tenants”. But he’d be dressed in his tweed suit and we’d say hi and pass the
        goings on as if it were any old day. Ah, youth. For me. Not him, clearly.

        I wonder if the lover that I referred to who went crazy after his death is indeed your old
        roommate – sounds just like him.

        Thanks for the link to your site – I’ll keep reading – I’m really enjoying it.

        • Quenby Moone says:

          I think the lover who went crackers was the other “Peter” in Allen’s life, Peter O. I vaguely remember my old roommate Peter telling me about it.

          Which brings me to another strange point: I think I’ve been in your building! Maybe you had already moved on, but Allen’s office and Allen’s apartment were on the same floor, right? About six or seven years ago I was in NY and met Peter, who at that time was finishing up gathering and editing a bunch of Allen’s poems for a posthumous collection. I think they had just sold all his poems to a university for a foundation and he was overseeing the process; anyway, I met him at Allen’s old office before we went to get drinks, so I’ve walked your hallways, perhaps even passing your legless pimp! Unless of course he too had shuffled off this mortal coil. Or it was a different building. Though I think Allen lived there forever.

          Every building needs a legless pimp and crack whores rifling through the mail room. It toughens you up for a host of other adventures!

          So I’m not sure if I was in your building, but I like to think I was because, wow. How unbelievably random and strange. I really think I’m ready for that beer on your porch after this!

        • Quenby Moone says:

          Crap! You were there when he died, so OF COURSE it was the same building! Too freaking cool. We really are like the soul mates of Allen’s weird synchronicity engine. That is awesome.

        • Was it 12th street b/t 1st and ave A? I think it was 237 East 12th -can’t be sure though – I moved out in 1997 – actually remember my landline phone number but not my building number. I didn’t have a cell phone or a computer in those days. I would sit in my apartment and write songs. Those were the days. I used to call my street Fecal Way, because there always piles of shit all over the street – mostly human. Of course now, it’s all clean and lovely – the neighborhood has changed alot. I get really nostagic for those days.

          I’m going to go and read everything you’ve written now.

        • Fecal Way… I love it. Stephanie, you are brilliant!

  34. Thanks Megan!

    We had other names to for our street as well,
    Shit Road, Bowel Boulevard, Diarrhea Drive, but Fecal Way was what stuck.

  35. […] time ago, in my post “Mr. & Mrs. Smith & Mr. & Mrs. Olear,” I mentioned my friends Tim and Elizabeth […]

  36. […] books—a piece that, for reasons beyond my understanding, was not as widely read as the one about how Angelina Jolie should hang out with my wife, or the one in which I summarize the various personalities at TNB—I politely disagree with both […]

  37. […] This post originally ran at The Nervous Breakdown on 29 December, […]

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