Kenny Rogers – The Gambler Lyrics

On a warm summer’s evenin’ on a train bound for nowhere,
I met up with the gambler; we were both too tired to sleep.
So we took turns a starin’ out the window at the darkness
‘Til boredom overtook us, and he began to speak.

He said, “Son, I’ve made my life out of readin’ people’s faces,
And knowin’ what their cards were by the way they held their eyes.
So if you don’t mind my sayin’, I can see you’re out of aces.
For a taste of your whiskey I’ll give you some advice. ”

So I handed him my bottle and he drank down my last swallow.
Then he bummed a cigarette and asked me for a light.
And the night got deathly quiet, and his face lost all expression.
Said, “If you’re gonna play the game, boy, ya gotta learn to play it right.

You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.

Now Ev’ry gambler knows that the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away and knowing what to keep.
‘Cause ev’ry hand’s a winner and ev’ry hand’s a loser,
And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep. ”

So when he’d finished speakin’, he turned back towards the window,
Crushed out his cigarette and faded off to sleep.
And somewhere in the darkness the gambler, he broke even.
But in his final words I found an ace that I could keep.

You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.

Songwriters: DON SCHLITZ
The Gambler lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC



People are always saying I’m courageous because I’ve survived a lot of illness. I tell them surviving is not courage. It’s instinct. That is the kind of “courage” you can find in any living thing — including an earthworm or a slug.

Flames from the Valley Fire cover a hillside along Highway 29 in Lower Lake, California September 13, 2015. The swiftly spreading wildfire destroyed hundreds of homes and forced thousands of residents to flee as it roared unchecked through the northern California village of Middletown and nearby communities, REUTERS/Noah Berger

Every living thing does its best to stay alive. To survive and continue to exist. Sometimes that’s hard, but it isn’t courageous. It may show tenacity, grit, intelligence, and luck, but courage is something else.

Courage is when — at your own personal peril — you run into the fire from which everyone else is fleeing to try to save those who are trapped.

Courage is going back to the fight because your patrol is trapped and they need your help.

Courage is going against your natural instinct to flee the danger and get to safety to save the lives of others — human or animal.

Courage is counter-instinctive. It isn’t “natural” and I am pretty sure you will never find an earthworm with genuine valor.

I’m not brave. I’m gritty, determined, persistent, and sometimes, clever. I also have been lucky. Luck is the single thing common for survivors and the truly courageous. You wish for it, but you can’t count on it.

The lucky get to hear their praises sung — hopefully. The unlucky may get a really nice funeral and a posthumous medal.


Last April, I looked out my window and there was a pretty little finch with a bright red-head on the wire. He was a very small bird on a very high branch … far away. I grabbed my super zoom Panasonic and took picture.

One red finch on a wire

A little closer …

Shooting through the not very clean living room picture window that also has a rectangular frame around each pane to a tree above my line of sight at almost a full 600 mm extension. It was no surprise that the pictures were not sharp.

Red finch and best lady friend

Two of them on a wire

I was happy to have gotten any pictures at all because by the time I get a camera in hand, there’s nothing to shoot. This time, at least I got some pictures. Not great pictures, but a lot better than nothing.

The lady on her own

The biggest surprise was discovering this was a new bird. The red finches used to be found in pet shops. They originated in the southwest, but made popular cage birds until caging wild birds was made illegal. Pet shop owners just let them go and suddenly, there were red finches all over the country. These were the first I had ever seen.

The boy again …

First there was the male with the bright red-head. Then his lady friend joined him on the wire — our cable wire — and they sat there. Chirping. Surrounded by the buds of a spring that had not yet arrived.

Close up of our lady

Today, I tried to see if i could do something to make the pictures a little less fuzzy and blurry. Better, I think.


House Finch | Audubon Field Guide – National Audubon Society
Adaptable, colorful, and cheery-voiced, House Finches are common from coast to coast today, familiar visitors to backyard feeders. Native to the Southwest, they are recent arrivals in the East. New York pet shop owners, who had been selling the finches illegally, released their birds in 1940 to escape prosecution. A few better pictures below from various other sources:


Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge

A faux horse, an old-fashioned carriage and a back road in Gettysburg. Imagine a real horse and you’re home free!

Back end of faux horse. No clean up! 

Follow the trail? Wait … that’s not a real horse! 

Almost a horse, but definitely, a carriage. Or is that a buckboard? 

Photo: Garry Armstrong Just in case, I thought I’d include a real horse. 


The subject has been on our minds lately, probably because it’s almost baseball season and the slugger the Sox need has refused to sign a contract.

“It’s not about the money,” he assured everyone. The current offer is at $125 million for 6 years, but he wants to play outfield rather than designated hitter — which is what we need. The Sox have three brilliant outfielders who can also hit, so that’s not happening. Martinez isn’t getting more money and he is definitely not getting third base.

Since no one else has made him a better offer, there’s a possibility this great player is going to wind up sitting out the season or going to Japan because he won’t sign a contract. There aren’t many teams with this kind of money to offer. The Yankees, Dodgers, and Red Sox are pretty much the big three for big money and this guy has said no to all of them.

No contract? No baseball.

Meanwhile, we are also watching reruns of “Blue Bloods.” Danny the cop with PTSD and his lovely wife Linda are going through a variety of marital issues. He says “You have to quit doing that.”

And she says “Or yeah? Or what? Eh? Whatcha gonna do about it, huh?”

And I say: “Until the new contract season comes up.” This is a rerun, so I can see the future. I know she’s going to die at the beginning of next season – belatedly — because she can’t renegotiate her contract.

That made me think about how life would be if our marriages were based on contracts and negotiations. With agents and lawyers. Lists of  requirements and assurances from the medical team that we’re okay to play five more seasons. All the things we are required to do or no renewal for upcoming seasons.

Sorry buddy. Empty out your locker and good luck in your next endeavor.

This might result in all of us getting better terms for our relationships or maybe not. More likely, a lot of lawyers and agents get richer. We get poorer, and a bunch of married people discover they have not been renewed for the upcoming season. I can see us negotiating for a five-year contract, with someone saying “Of course, this contract is based on a doctor’s assurance that you are in good health.”


Poor people would have to work month-to-month because they can’t afford an agent. We’d be lucky to even make the team. On a more positive note, there would be no need for divorce. It would be simple, matter-of-fact business arrangement.

Sorry. Your contract has not been renewed.