Maureen Dowd columnist for The New York Times plus a subsequent search of Wikipedia provided a series of surprising learning moments for me. It turns out that Steve’s birthmother Joanne had an affair with a Syrian man John Jandali who was in the states studying for his Ph.D. Her parents disapproved so she gave Steve up for adoption. Joanne then went on to marry her Syrian lover after her parents died and had a daughter Mona Jandali by him. John and Joanne divorced after several years and Joanne remarried. Mona took the name of her stepfather. When Steve was 32, Mona invited Steve to a party where he learned for the first time that she was his sister. Sister and brother became best friends and, according to Steve, chatted at length every other day. Mona herself, less well-known than her brother perhaps, is a very successful author, a professor of English at UCLA and a chaired professor at Bard College. She was married to a film writer Richard Appel who wrote for The Simpson’s show. Since his wife’s name just happened to be Mona Simpson, Mona became the name of Homer’s Mom! As Maureen Dowd comments, how is it that this strange union between John Jandali and Joanne Schieble should produce two such amazing children.