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Jun 2, 2010

The Show Notes

You missed your calling...
Wrong quote attribution
Ms.Info at Balticon
Trebuchet is at the printer
The History Chunk
    ...for June 2nd
You know Richard Saunders?!
PFA & Indian Drummers
Interesting Fauna
     - Invisible Sharks from Jordan Umstatd & Chris
     - Hand Fish from Adam Lessek & Jason Schmidt
Owner of a Lonely Heart
’nother contest
Show close


Mentioned in the show

Philadelphia Funk Authority

Owner of a Lonely Heart video

Hand Fish at National Geographic

Balticon and the Balticon Podcast


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Ms. Information sez: "Nehru jackets?" ... and...: "The Maestro's home is anything but bland"

Rob Tarr
over fourteen years ago

Interesting hypotheses about the song, but they are all too literal. Clearly this is about playing cards.

The "Owner of a Lonely Heart", being one who was attempting for a flush (in a suit other than hearts) has a lone heart in his hand, foiling his flush.

The narrator is sarcastically comparing his predicament of the foiled flush to that of a Hearts player who has been forced to break hearts, thus the "Owner of a Broken Heart".

In truth, the foiled flush is far worse than simply breaking hearts, but the poker player's misery is so great he is in denial.

For proof of this, one need only look to the album's track listing. The 9th track, titled "Hearts", is the most obvious indication of the truth of this theory, but other song titles also point towards card games:

"Hold On", "It Can Happen", and "Changes" - no surprise these appear together, as together, they make up the Gambler's Creed. That one more spin, one more roll, one more hand, can turn one's luck around.

"Cinema" is wordplay on "Sin am I", "Sin" being shortened from "Sin City". Clearly this gambler spends much time in Vegas. This is also evidenced by the fact that much of this song is written in 7/4 time, with 7 being the most common lucky number.

"Leave It" is a paraphrase of "Let it Ride". A gambler who is winning will leave the money on the table, so that it can grow further on the hot streak.

"Our Song" describes the gambler's journey from Vegas, "Toledo was just another..." Though he escapes Vegas, he cannot escape his gambling. He goes from one location to another, finally ending up in...

"City of Love". This song, more than any, describes the utter depravity of the gambler. He has made it all the way to -- not Paris -- not THAT City of Love, but Ashgabat in Turkemistan. "Ashgabat" translates to "City of Love" and is the only city in Turkmenistan to allow gambling. He has been barred from the 24-hour Grand Casino, so he is "Waiting for the night" so he can enter Ak-Altin Casino to feed his habit.


It's all rather tragic, really.

over fourteen years ago

I must respectfully disagree with the several learned analyses of the song "Owner of a Lonely Heart" presented thus far. The question of whether it's better to have a lonely or a broken heart is not really at issue: for the singer, the question has long ago been decided in favor of Tennyson. Rather, the question is how will a second person, addressed by the singer, transition from his or her lonesome state of fear and alienation to a joyful state of courage and self-discovery.

Indeed the first verse is entirely in the second person, and imperative to boot: "Move yourself," "Prove yourself," "Shake yourself." "You're every move you make" (the fundamental existentialist paradigm) and so on.

When we come upon the refrain, then, we are not being shown a glimpse of the singer's mind. Rather, he is laying open for inspection the mind of the every(wo)m[*]n, of every person ever caught in a state of deep alienation and inauthenticity because he/she/it lacks the courage to try to be fly.

"Owner of a lonely heart / Much better than a / Owner of a broken heart" is a description, not a proposition. It's an example of what the fearful, inauthentic being says to itself in bad faith to convince itself that it will be better off if it doesn't take a risk. It's the high, proggy, girly voice of freedom and destiny taunting the cowardly, daring the fearful to come out and play.

The rest of the song scolds the every(wo)m[*]n for yielding to this false bargain of security for happiness, and encourages him/her/it take a chance and work hard for the money, as the poet said: "You betta work!" And thus, "You've got to work to succeed."


Professor Carrie P
over fourteen years ago


I would agree that the hypothesis of the song is: "Is it better to be the owner of a lonely, or broken, heart?"

However, to get the answer to this we must figure out exactly is meant by "lonely" and "broken."

Whelan postulates that "lonely" means "transplanted heart," and broken means "poorly functioning heart."

Sutton suggests that "lonely" means "alone, and remaining so" and "broken" means "having loved and lost, and feeling the pain from that."

I disagree with those meanings. Having analyzed the lyrics using my dustrag-I mean, BA in English- I have concluded that "lonely" means "alone, but receptive to love," and "broken" means "loved and lost, but still fixated on the object of loss and thus unable to move on."

The song is all about the author repairing his heart, from "broken" to "lonely," and becoming receptive to take the risk of falling in love again if he so chooses.

If you're "broken-hearted," You are still pining over the one you lost. You might not be terribly functional, you might, for example, sit in your dorm room, skip classes, and watch Terry Gilliam's Brazil (hypothetically speaking of course). You want the person you love back but you know it's not gonna happen and it hurts.

A lonely heart, however, is receptive to love. It implies longing for some connection. Lonely does not mean alone, forever.

A line-by-line analysis to support my thesis will follow. Possibly not today, but sometime before next 'cast posts.

(Yes, I literally have nothing better to do with my time today, and this engages my brain in a way that my day job does not.)

Terry Whelan
over fourteen years ago

I read, with interest G.E.Sutton's analysis of 'Owner of a Lonely Heart". Unfortunately he falls for the same rhetorical trap as many who attempt to interpret the lyrics of the song.

The song as about heart transplant surgery not romantic longings. The donor (lonely) heart is an improvement over the poor functioning (broken) heart of the recipient.

The verses can also be understood in this context but the margin is too narrow to contain it.

Supporting evidence is that the author of the song -- T Rabin -- is from South Africa, where the first heart transplant took place.

OTOH: "its a song you green blooded... Vulcan. You don't analyze it"

(Geo, Yes, Fermat and Star Trek in one rambling post. I need to de-geekify).

G. E. Sutton
over fourteen years ago

I commend you on your success in distracting the less skeptical of you audience with your musical Easter egg hunt; however, I must call you out.

While I acknowledge you are not the originator of the proposition, you nonetheless endorse it by your imitation. That is, you posit: “the owner of a lonely heart is better than the owner of a broken heart”, while it has been proposed since 1850 in Alfred Lord Tennyson's famous unproven theorem: “…'tis better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all” suggesting quite clearly that the owner of a BROKEN heart is better than the owner of a LONLY heart.

As the proponent of a proposition so completely counter to accepted wisdom, I am sure that you will not object to a challenge to site research from accredited peer reviewed journals to support your proposition. If you cannot, I would ask that you proffer your own report to substantiate your standing and allow us to serve as your peers in reviewing your findings.

Thank you,

YAG (Yet another George)

J. D. Mack
over fourteen years ago

I haven't made it all the way through this week's podcast yet, but I wanted to jump in and say that the audio clip you played from the Indian wedding was freakin' awesome! It was like - I don't know - "Bitches Brew" on steroids or something. I wish they would play music like that at the weddings *I* attend.

J. D.

Ken Stoeffler
over fourteen years ago

I'd love to put your album in my feed. What do I need to do?

I also have a question, Did you ever work at Wall to Wall sound record store?


Terry Whelan
over fourteen years ago

I admit defeat. Thanks Geo for the wonderful video.

Yes are playing here in a few weeks I am sure it will be 'the best day of my life'

George Hrab
over fourteen years ago

You guys are all close... but no one is there yet. Heart of the Sunrise and Shock to the System are NOT quoted. Tic tic tic...


Rob Tarr
over fourteen years ago

And You and I
Shock to the System
And You And I
Sound Chaser
Tempus Fugit
Revealing Science of God
Siberian Khatru


over fourteen years ago

The video for the song was really cool. I'm amazed at when you can get up to when you're bored.

Something weird: I have a tendency to look at people's mouths when they're singing, and your mouth in the video reminded me of Peter Gabriel's mouth in the "Sledgehammer" video.

Another cameo found: Krusty the Klown from "The Simpsons" on the box of Krusty-O's cereal.

over fourteen years ago

Be prepared that I will ask you for the song as a separate file after the rewind button on my iPod dies.

Terry Whelan
over fourteen years ago

I got some help from a real guitarist (thanks Craig)
we have:
And You and I
...still do not know this one...
And You and I
Tempus Fugit
Tempus Fugit
Heart of the Sunrise
Siberian Katru

7 or 8.

Terry Whelan
over fourteen years ago

I guess I do not know my Steve Howe that well all I can hear is:

tempus fugit
siberia katru

3 of 8?

over fourteen years ago

Mmmm, fresh, sweet, juicy, early smack. Nom.

over fourteen years ago

We need a download of that cover! Plz?

Gov. Jennifer Granholm
over fourteen years ago

Michilimackinac is a native word, but pronounced in the french way. "michelin mackinaw" is close.

With love from Michigan