Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hawaii 2007

Just got in from our 50th state. Incredible. I'll have more tomorrow. Right now I must sleep.

Note to Ryan - they only made one of my wife. Sorry, no clones available.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Douglas Adams

23 May 07

I am off to Hawaii. Don’t be a hater.

Before I go, I want to share something with you. Years ago, I heard someone say how much they loved the internet, because, with nothing to do, you could find yourself in a new an unexpected place and be fascinated. The math geek over at xkcd.com did a comic about it recently called The Problem with Wikipedia where he researched the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and ended up three hours later looking at Batman and a wet t-shirt contest.

Today I had a little time to kill. One of my favorite activities is looking at famous quotes. In fact, when I started this little blog, I tried to include good quotes at the end of each post.

Fasten your seatbelts. I’m gonna post a bunch of Douglas Adams (11 March 1952 - 11 May 2001) quotes. He wrote the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy among many other great works. Enjoy.

I'd take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day.

I think a nerd is a person who uses the telephone to talk to other people about telephones. And a computer nerd therefore is somebody who uses a computer in order to use a computer.

In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.

Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job.

Let's think the unthinkable, let's do the undoable, let's prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.

The door was the way to... to... The Door was The Way. Good. Capital letters were always the best way of dealing with things you didn't have a good answer to.

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.

The impossible often has a kind of integrity to it which the merely improbable lacks.

It was his subconscious which told him this - that infuriating part of a person's brain which never responds to interrogation, merely gives little meaningful nudges and then sits humming quietly to itself, saying nothing.

"A suffusion of yellow." (A calculator's response to the question of any math problem with an answer larger than four.)

It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.

For Children: You will need to know the difference between Friday and a fried egg. It's quite a simple difference, but an important one. Friday comes at the end of the week, whereas a fried egg comes out of a chicken. Like most things, of course, it isn't quite that simple. The fried egg isn't properly a fried egg until it's been put in a frying pan and fried. This is something you wouldn't do to a Friday, of course, though you might do it on a Friday. You can also fry eggs on a Thursday, if you like, or on a cooker. It's all rather complicated, but it makes a kind of sense if you think about it for a while.

(On Religion) Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?

And finally, three quotes on Learning:

You live and learn. At any rate, you live.

A learning experience is one of those things that say, 'You know that thing you just did? Don't do that.'

Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Shut Up and Deal

22 MAY 07

I’m re-reading Shut Up and Deal by Jesse May. The pages are literally falling out of the book. This is due to a combination for poor book binding and the fact that I’ve read this damn book 4 times. It’s a good story and an interesting read, mostly because it’s written as if someone was speaking into a tape recorder. If you can get past the loose style you find two things:

It’s a good read.
It’s a GREAT instruction book.

Here is the partial review from Amazon:

May's speedy, coming-of-age debut unfolds in the insular, all-male world of high-stakes professional poker, where staying in the action is everything and money is just a way of keeping score. Narrator Mickey, who joins the pro circuit at the age of 21, is surrounded by a large cast of eccentrics with stereotypical nicknames like Vinnie the Greek, Fresca Kid and Uptown Raoul.

I know that calling this an instruction book seems silly, especially given that instruction was not the intention. There are plenty of other books that talk about how to play specific hands and calculating pot odds. What’s different here is that you get to hear how a professional thinks. You learn about identifying leaks, whether they be in the “pit” or in your own generosity. You learn that all pros get broke and what they do to recover. You learn about what it takes to make it in this world. It’s dirty and raw and exciting and gut-wrenching and surreal and you just want more.

I’ve tried to do some research on the author, Jesse May. The book is written in the first person perspective of Mickey, the protagonist. If you click the link above, you go to the Wiki entry on Jesse, which says that he actually played in a televised episode of Late Night Poker under the pseudonym of Mickey Dane. Apparently, Jesse is now (or at least was) the host of said show.

I played a little medium stakes poker at the Borgata and the Taj in Atlantic City, and I had a copy of the book with me. Several players spotted it and said they not only knew Jesse, but that he played in there occasionally. I wish he was there to ask him how much of the book was personal experience and how much was made up.

If it was mostly made up, then it’s one helluva tale. If it’s all from first hand true experience, it’s even better.

Friday, May 18, 2007

War as a Vacation?

18 MAY 07

I’m headed to Iraq. This is old news by now.

In the meantime, I was asked to take over as the chief of staff for my department. The prior chief of staff (my boss) is currently in Iraq, and I will replace him when I go.

Being the chief is a big job. I have so many balls in the air, it’s a wonder no one has called for my head. If you let it, this job will get to you.

I just got an email from the prior chief. Here is an excerpt:

Sorry I haven't been more communicative, there just isn't much news. The security situation is very, very secure so long as one remains on [the base], which is a huge complex. So far no indirect fire. The pace is very, very laid back -- I actually have time to get a few hours in at the gym every mid-day. I do work 7 days a week, but even with the gym break over lunch I'm still out of the hospital by about 1400-1500. And it's very nice to just be a clinical guy -- no particular extra leadership responsibilities and when I go home at the end of the day, it's not with the feeling that I've left some project, issue, or task that will be waiting for me to tackle when I return. You can't put a price on that. It's a nice little Sabbatical.

No indirect fire? Working 7 days a week? Sabbatical?

Sign me up!

Oh wait, they already did.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Dr. Chako’s Dad Explains Everything

17 MAY 07

Editors Note: I’m letting out a poorly guarded secret here. The radio host, author, occasional commenter and guest poster Hunter Silvastorm is also my dad. Here he responds to my post from yesterday regarding child rearing. Enjoy.

Dear Dr. Chako,

Guilt, Corporal Punishment, Family Values, Child Rearing, Priorities, and Jerry Falwell. One has to admire the diversity that you manage to cram into a single blog.

The folks who respond to this blog might, therefore, represent an equally diverse mind set. I wouldn't be surprised to read comments from psychologists, Baptists, secular progressives, clergy, teachers, Ellen Degeneras, Neils Bort, Terence Satherwaite (creator of the Tele-Tubbies), Rosie O'Donnell, Rudi Guiliani, and Martin Sheen.

However, if you were to tier this list into a hierarchy of "who-might-come-closest-too-hitting-the-Bulls-Eye," I would have to place myself at the top of the heap. My reason, of course, is simple.

I am your Father and, by extension, the Grandfather of Jared, who, to remind the readers, is the young man who was subjected to the humiliation of having to call home to explain his classroom disruptions.

Similar to a belt, a switch, or locking a child in a closet for 3 days, humiliation is just another tool of discipline. Although the child may view it as a fate worse than death, it is far more effective than physical torture. (Just look at the poor Muslims of Abu Ghraib Prison who were forced to disrobe in front of a woman). Far from The Rack or the old Buried up to your Chin in the Ant Hill routine, psychological punishment is still most effective. Consequently, my grandson learned a valuable lesson without the need for Band-Aids, stitches, or emergency organ replacement.

And speaking of psychological punishments, I would like to share a tale of my child rearing experiences that involved the author of this blog, Dr. Chako.

When he was merely six-years old, he broke one of my Rules of the House. Specifically, he missed a dinnertime curfew by one full minute. Hence, I needed to come up with an appropriate punishment. I thought about locking him in that special part of the root cellar, the one with the really big spiders and their funnel webs, but I knew that his blood curdling screams wouldn't do much more than keep me up through the night. I thought about hog-tying him and hanging him upside down from one of the rafters on our front porch, but that would only serve to upset the neighbors. Ultimately, I made the decision to let 6-year old Dr. Chako decide his own fate.

"Do you have any idea what's going to happen to you now," I said sternly.

"No," blubbered Dr. Chako, tears streaming down his face.

"Well," I said, "you go into your room, close the door, and think about what sort of punishment I should give you."

Nodding his little head, he went into his room and closed the door. In a few minutes, there were heart-wrenching wails of deep anguish coming from his room. I, of course, nodded confidently, knowing that this psychological tactic was perfect. Soon, he emerged and stood before me.

I said, "Have you decided what punishment I should give you for being late for dinner?"

He nodded affirmatively, but was crying so hard that he could not yet speak.

"Then tell me. What should I do to you?"

Mustering up all his strength and trying desperately to stop his frightened quivering, he said, "You're just going to have to kill me, Dad."

Putting Jerry Falwell aside for just a moment, perhaps we should think twice about the long term effects of psychological punishment. Of course, if you have read Dr. Chako's blog, and his sister's comment, you will also wonder about the long term effects of a father's mantra, "School is the single most important thing you have to be concerned with."

Hunter Silvastorm

P.S. to view a photo of Dr. Chako, his family and his sister, go to or click on the following website:


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Can’t You Just Hit Me with a Stick?

16 MAY 07

Perhaps this is something best left for the parents over at Joe Speaker’s new digs Don’t Forget to Flush. As a proud Republican (neglecting for the moment the passing of Moral Majority leader Jerry Falwell, who attributed 9/11 to God’s punishment of the U.S. for our immorality), I am a proponent of shame as a useful tool for discipline. There may be plenty of Democrats out there who share this belief, but it seems to fit more with the core values of Republicans. It has to because we can’t use corporal punishment anymore. Unfortunately, a few wayward folks actually liked beating kids and gave the rest of us a bad name.

Fast forward to yesterday. There is a message on my answering machine:

Female Voice: Hello, Dr. and Mrs. Chako? This is Ms. Harvey, Jared’s 4th grade teacher. He has something to tell you.

Sound of phone transferring over to a distraught 9 year-old.

Jared (sobbing): Mom and Dad? I was being very disruptive in class. I was not paying attention in reading group and I didn’t stop when Ms. Harvey asked me too. This is really bad for me and it keeps others from learning. I’m really sorry.

The phone transfers back to Ms. Harvey

Ms. Harvey: If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to call.

Now that’s what I call discipline, and led me to the title of this post. How terrible it must have been for my son to leave that message.


Of course, this leads to a whole other problem. When Mom and I had the stern talk with our son last night, I was forced to quote my dad:

Son, school is the single most important thing you have to be concerned with.

For those of you not related to me, that quote certainly must seem like sage advice. If you happen to be from the Chako clan, that quote will give you shivers and may make you hurl. We heard this as kids more times than you would believe. I SWORE I would never repeat it to my kids. I’ve used variations in a lame attempt to saying something close, but not exact.

So much for that. You can’t change the perfection of a simple, concise message. Thanks a lot, Dad.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Ultraloose Play

15 MAY 07

First off, my trip to New Jersey was excellent. Montclair and West Orange have a… feeling – you know what I mean? While it doesn’t hold an appeal to me, I can certainly see why people are drawn there and call it home. I guess being from a similar town in upstate NY gives me that perspective.

I got to see my favorite cousin Jarel (see image), but it was only briefly. He’s starring in a play called The Nerd (about my life?) in Binghamton, NY and had to leave right after the Bat Mitzvah to get back to the theater. I cannot imagine the life of a working actor. It’s awesome that he’s pursuing his dream. Too bad I didn’t get to ask him if he’s experiencing a similar mid-life crisis. He turns 40 in October.

There is nothing like family to make you feel special. Everyone knew about my upcoming deployment to Iraq and were full of praises for my military service and genuine concern for me and my family.

Anyway, enough about me. You came here for the awesome poker content.

You are at an extremely loose 10/20 LHE table. There are two very aggressive players at opposite ends of the table and a bunch of pissed off players in the middle hell bent on busting those assholes. There have been at least four 6-way capped pots preflop and you just got here. Unfortunately, you got caught up in it when your set lost to a runner-runner rivered straight from a guy holding 3s-5d, and now you are nursing a dwindling bankroll.

You look down at As-Kd under the gun. Knowing it’s gonna be ugly, what is your play here? Do you limp knowing someone else will raise? Do you just raise anyway?

Does anyone fold here?

Friday, May 11, 2007

New Jersey Bound

No post today. I'm off to a Bat Mitzvah in Joisey. It will be good to get back to my roots.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

We’ve Gone to the Dogs

10 MAY 07

The title of this post incidentally refers to my poker game, but it also means we have a new addition to the Chako family. My sister is on her way to Korea with the Air Force (good luck, sis!) and so we are watching her dog, Macy. Macy is a mean, viscious, snarling, nasty dog who hates kids.

Look out! She’s gonna attack!

I’ve got him right where I want him.

And yet, my kids still want to jump for joy.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


8 MAY 07

I have competing interests. Recently, I began an aggressive weight loss program and have been relatively successful. One thing that helped was joining a racquetball league, which meets Tuesday nights.

My son, who is 9, just joined a basketball league, which, you guessed it, also meets on Tuesdays. I thought about having him change teams, but his buddies are also on the team and he really likes his coach.

Combine this with two other recent things that seem minor, but really aren’t. Jared asked me to play wiffle ball yesterday. He actually said, “I want to hang out with you. Can you pitch to me?”

Add this to my evening ritual. Every night I give my kids a choice between having me read a story or sing a song. For months now, my 4 year old wants me to read and my 9 year old wants a song. He’s been on a Dan Fogelberg kick lately (Leader of the Band), but I do a pretty good rendition of Cat’s in the Cradle.

My son turned ten just the other day.
He said, "Thanks for the ball, dad, come on let's play.
Can you teach me to throw?" I said, "Not today,
I got a lot to do." He said, "That's ok."
And he walked away, but his smile never dimmed,
He said, "I'm gonna be like him, yeah.
You know I'm gonna be like him."

So much for racquetball.

Monday, May 07, 2007


7 MAY 07

I was in a foul mood until I read my horoscope:

Aries March 21 - April 19
Your drinking is beginning to drive your friends and loved ones away from you, making you wish you'd thought of it much earlier.

God, I love The Onion.

Donked around in a tournament this weekend with my buddy Andrew. 60 players and we both made the final table. If it wasn’t for our last-longer prop bet, I might have been out sooner. Unfortunately for him, he made an aggressive raise, only to be called by the chip leader with stupid cards. Out he went in 8th. I was right behind in 7th. That same chip leader called a big raise from me earlier with 7s-6d and flopped the nut straight. Oh well.

Didn’t feel like driving out to the ‘shoot, so I sat in a 6-12 game at Freddie’s. Played extra tight because I was hoping they’d start a bigger game. No such luck. Finished dead even. Too bad I pissed away $100 at 4/8 waiting to get into the game. I have no business playing the lower limits. I lost three consecutive hands to 2-4, 2-5 and 3-6. All off-suit. You'd a thought I was playing against myself!

Friggin’ donktastic.

Dr. Pauly just published the WSOP schedule. I know I could look it up on the official site, but I’m lazy. Man, there are some juicy events. Who's going?

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Truckin's Up!

6 MAY 07

What the hell are you doing reading me on a Sunday?! Go check out the latest issue of Truckin’. It’s a better way to spend your time.

Oh yeah. Don’t forget that Mother’s Day is right around the corner. I’m thinking of this.

Note to the wife (an occasional reader) – don’t click on the link. You’ll ruin the surprise. Seriously.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Dr. Chako Cures Knee Pain!

5 MAY 07

Today you will get the benefit of knowing a poker-playing Army doctor. In honor of shaving 30 seconds off of my three mile run this morning, I want to share with you something I learned from the Army training guide. Back when I was enlisted and doing PT (physical training) 3 to 5 days a week, the sergeant in charge would line us up and run us through a series of stretches before our exercise. Some of the stretches hurt, so I knew they were working. Others, like the stretch below, didn’t feel like they were doing anything.

If I could give you one stretch to do every day, it would be this one.

Here is the simple explanation. The VMO (Vastus Medialis Obliquus) is not exercised in normal walking and running. This stretch not only loosens the ankle and knee ligaments, it targets the VMO. This provides balance to the muscles surrounding the knee.

Balance is good.

Editors Note: I just read the Wiki page linked above, which seems to refute my claim about the VMO. All I know is, this exercise works. It also may combat Chondromalacia and Patellofemoral Syndrome.

Oh yeah – happy Cinco de Mayo! Gotta love a holiday that celebrates beating the French.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Happy Tilt

4 MAY 07

I was pissed yesterday. I was trying to pull into traffic after taking my dog to the vet. Some blue-haired bitch in a Lexus could have easily let me in, but instead she chose to pull her car right up to the bumper of the car in front of her. She actually lifted her nose in defiance!

I started honking my horn at her. She had plenty of room to back up. Wasn’t happening.

Finally, I got her to turn her head and look at me. I gave her the biggest smile I could and started waving like some happy maniac. To be honest, it was my complete intention to get her to smile and then switch my face over to the, “I’m gonna kill your whole family" look and start cussing and spitting at the window.

But I found a better solution. She looked perplexed. I could hear her thoughts. Do I know this guy? Did I just cut off one of my clients? Does he know my husband?

I had her right where I wanted her.

I finally got behind her and was able to catch up. I pulled right along side and kept up my wave-and-smile bit.

Here is my thinking. If I cursed her out, somehow I feel she would have driven away feeling superior and chalked up a win in the Lexus vs. BMW contest. Now, I think she’ll be bothered by this all week. And who knows, maybe next time she let me in.

I win!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


1 MAY 07

In honor of the day and the title of this post, I was thinking about tilt. For once, acknowledging tilt saved me money. I was playing last night and got up early at a 10/20 table featuring a couple regulars in the 50/100 game. You can be sure there will be many multi-way capped pots, and they didn’t let me down. I played good, solid poker and let the cards do the work until two consecutive opponents won big pots with the exact same hand.

9 4 off-suit.

I turned to LV, a regular and also active duty Army (like me) and remarked how I donked away a bunch of chips the last time morons sucked out like that. I noted that I failed to adjust my strategy for the table-tilt, and I vowed I wouldn’t do it again.

I walked away up a buy-in.

How can it be that the pros don’t tilt? Surely that’s what separates the men from the boys,* right?

It turns out, even Daniel Negreanu goes on tilt.

* You know how they are always talking about what separates the men from the boys? I’ll tell you what separates the men from the boys. The sodomy laws. – George Carlin

Editors Note: Apparently, the Card Player link died when Daniel put up a new post. Here is a link to the same tilt-related post on his FCP website. Sorry, but it may not be accessible from your work computer. I sure can’t get it on mine, so I’m posting this from home.