J.A. Stein


Still Within The Sound of My Voice

September 12, 2013
Still Within The Sound of My Voice

Sometime after 1989, I conspired to run away from home with Linda Ronstadt.  Though the singer herself was unaware of my plans, I drew inspiration from her single “Adios,” a valediction to a lover of her youth.  “We never really made it, baby / but we came pretty close,” she warbles in the song’s...
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A Weaver’s Lover

April 9, 2013
A Weaver’s Lover

When Laura Nyro retired from the music business in 1971, she had produced five studio albums.  She was also 24 years old.  A piano-tuner’s daughter with little classical training, in 1967 Nyro found a manager in an upstart promoter named David Geffen.  She recorded albums in the iconic Brill Building in Manhattan, collaborated with...
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Lighting Up

March 5, 2013
Lighting Up

I hate smoking.  I also find it really difficult to hate smoking.  The reasons to abjure from it are well known; whereas, there is hardly a single benefit to the activity.  Therefore, the fact that so many people smoke requires some explanation. My grandmother was a smoker.  At her peak she probably smoked about...
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Silly Theory

November 20, 2012
Silly Theory

Some years ago, I found myself at 24-hour vegetarian diner in a California college town, breakfasting with a dear friend.  We had ordered coffee, but the main course was psychoanalysis.  “You can’t read Lacan without Hegel,” I assured her earnestly.  She broke into a grin, paused for a brief, dramatic moment, and then sang...
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Ad Phallum

August 22, 2012
Ad Phallum

Among the many excellent and impassioned objections to Missouri Republican Todd Akin’s horrible comment about “legitimate rape,” I have yet to see someone say what seemed so obvious to me: this phrase is an insult to the very concept of legitimacy.  I understand, of course, that legitimacy hardly requires defense.  Defined, according to my...
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How the Past Ended

July 3, 2012
How the Past Ended

My best TV-watching decade was the 1980s, though this was by no means the best decade of TV.  Indeed, not much was innovative, and looking back now, with the compression of memory and in view of the many rather more interesting things I’ve seen since, that entire decade of TV-watching might be emblematized by...
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