Saturday, June 12, 2010

I’ll never spare another dime for those filthy beasts. Those were the last words I ever heard Mama Precious Tuck speak. Then Uncle Tuck came across the room and smashed her upside the head with the cast iron shovel from the fireplace and rolled her inside the old rug that had lain on the floor of the parlor for five generations of Tucks. He used the shovel to strike the rolled up rug several more times where I guess he figured her head was. After that we took her out back and threw her in the bed of his pickup. He covered the rug with a tarp. He said come on. Uncle Tuck drank half of a fifth of Jim Beam on the short drive down to the chinchilla ranch. I sat in the truck and fiddled with the radio dial while he dragged the rug out. I watched him haul her across the lot and down to the pens. I rolled down the window to catch the breeze. Above the music from the radio I heard a lot of screaming and then Uncle Tuck came walking back up the hill with just the rug. He threw it in the truck and came over and got in the cab. He sat silently contemplating the view through the windshield, the barren weed strewn lot and down the hill the ramshackle structure he’d constructed to house the ranch. Did you feed her to the chinchillas, I asked. Weren’t expecting her to still be alive was all he said in answer. He reeked of liquor. And chinchilla cum.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Sunday night melted into oblivion around the fifth tumbler of chilled vodka. But what else are sunday nights good for? Perhaps you attended church services earlier in the day or perhaps you opted for turning your back on God and you spent the day lounging in the park (the park that He gave you by the way as you shit and piss on His name), regardless by the time the evening hour strikes there is little to do other than await the beginning of the work week. But that is you. That is not me. My sunday nights are my friday nights and so mayhem is called for. A mayhem that is allied by two days worth of stupid yuppies with newspapers and kindles tucked under arm smugly inspecting their fucking poached eggs. Alas, sunday night thrill seekers, our numbers are few. Who do you usually find out on Sunday nights in the bars? Alcoholics who can't let go of their weekend bender and other likeminded losers, lonely pedarists, and rogue ne'r do wells.

It used to be that sunday as a whole was a day of rest. Families came together on sundays to bond with their Lord, sing hymns and shout prayers and later gorge on home cooked meals served by black folk in uniform; belt straps were loosened and bonnets were unfastened. But then the blue laws were repealed and sunday family gatherings were guaranteed to dissolve into front yard granddaddy brawls and the inevitable brandishing of a firearm by sun down. We have lost a part of ourselves, people.

My great uncle cicero died on a sunday. He was approached by a rattlesnake but refused to cleave its head in two because it was the Lord"s day and the reptile took advantage of this pious man and struck uncle cicero twelve times til he was fat with the fatal venom. It was a terrible sight to witness. His face turned black and swelled; his tongue too grew to an abnormal size and hung out of his mouth like a slab of fatback. Before he expired he begged for water. They would not give it to him. It was too far to fetch a pail auntie coot said.

Friday, March 12, 2010

get that chinaman off my american back

I am not at all up on politics. I mean I follow things. But it seems trite. I know my place. Maybe thanks to modern devices I am granted access to information that had I lived a century ago would not have been privvy to me; regardless what does it matter? I embrace modernity. I don't want the responsibility of making a blip, but if I am aware...please. It is nice to know when the hangman is coming for you.

The bottom line is that you can talk all of the shit you want on us, being the United States of America. And therein lies the beauty. Free speech has survived. We saved it. We deserve the shit talk. We fucked up in some places. Most places. But that had little to do with the will of the people. In America you can go down to your closest street corner and you can rant dissent all the live long day.

Meanwhile those chinese bastards are feedin their babies mercury.

god bless the USA

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

You know, lo these many years ago when I first arrived at the Belvedere Estates I could barely lug a trunk of books and a soiled futon mattress up the steps into this place so how in the hell did the people who live above me manage to get a fucking piano up there last year?? Somehow they did. Do you know how I know this? Because daily I am tormented by the sounds of the contraption being banged upon. Perhaps if I had a Glenn Gould type up there blitzing through the Goldberg Variations I could live with it. Instead I'm stuck with deviant homosexuals who periodically can be heard sobbing and moaning followed ten minutes later by morose dirges played out on the ivories. Some afternoons it sounds as if there are several people up there laughing, tipping champagne flutes together, gathered around the piano belting out show tunes as if in a Noel Coward play.

I wouldn't say the music tortures me. But sometimes I like to take a nap in the midday. Just as I am about to drift off there will be a ferocious trouncing of the keys from above and I am jarred from beneath my snuggie. I suppose that I could go upstairs and complain, but I really haven't a leg to stand on when it comes to issues of bothersome neighborly distractions.

There have been times when I might have thought that the rest of the building was plotting against me. I suppose once upon a time there were regular bouts of long noisy nights but I think that the married life has cured me of that malady for the most part. Not to say that there is not a backslide now and again every few weeks. Living in the city is all about making compromises.

Let them tickle their ivories by day and I will have my nights of Bruce Springsteen's Jungleland at maximum volume.

There was a story in the building that circulated for a while about a summer afternoon when the relative calm of the foyer and halls were interrupted by a flailing screaming naked lady who ran out of the front door and up Belvedere Street. This being The Haight Ashbury one flipped out screaming naked hippie was no big cause for alarm but everyone in the building wondered from where did this woman come? It was a mystery to me until I finally realized that the time this streaking was supposed to have happened would have been when I was overseas visiting Steve and Derek in Korea. I had let my less than savory friend Glenn sublet my apartment while I was gone. I knew it had to have something to do with him. And he admitted to it without hesitation once I had a chance to ask him about it several years later.

He said that he had gotten off of work early and sat in my apartment and drank a bottle of wine. He wanted to have a drink so he went out and walked down Haight Street to Murio's Trophy Room. This is the kind of bar where you can wear a shirt with mustard stains down the front and not feel out of place. This bar smells like a million gallons of stale beer and the lost souls who sucked em down and pissed em out. Once ensconced in this bar Glen attached himself to some schizophrenic broad whom he was able to ply with cheap whisky. Somehow he managed to get her to come back to my apartment with him. I don't know maybe he told her he had a pony or something. Then the story gets vague and I'd rather not know anyway but I guess the woman was half crazy and homeless and Glenn tried to get romantic with her...although this doesn't explain the nudity...whatever. He ended up stiffing me on three months rent anyway.

Fun times. City Livin....

Monday, February 22, 2010


Marta's room is empty. Marta has moved out. Under duress. Her words. She accused me of not doing my share of the housework, of not paying my bills in a timely fashion, and of eating her expensive groceries from The Fancy Pantry when she wasn't looking. Guilty of all charges I confess. I have no patience for chores nor the build; I am unemployable, my finances are bust; and I am a remorseless glutton. I know these things to be facts so there is no illusions or spells being cast over me by an evil witch. It is simply my nature. None but a very few have the strength of will to change their given nature. Certainly, not the fuck I. We have very little time here to spend and I can't help but wonder if it is not better to accept the way nature shapes us rather than fritter away the hours and days laying fruitless siege after fruitless siege to our habits and passions however ill placed and disgusting they may be. Man cannot assail his nature with any success. It is a pointless study. But that is pure philosophy. The economics are that Marta has vacated her room. As to the charges that I have answered to, in my defense it should be recorded that Marta works at The Fancy Pantry and most of the grocery items that I ever pilfered from her shelves she had in fact absconded with herself. Not that a theft justifies a theft, but there are surely grades of guilt that are influenced by such information. Regardless the room must be rented or ruin will befall me.

Hesser fights his compulsions against my recommendations. He always has ever since I have known him which is a long fucking time. I am trying to think of a famous army that lost a lot of battles because I would like to make a comparison between the two. Hesser is a sloth much as I am. Hesser lives with his parents most of the time. Hesser is probably one of the fattest people I have ever seen. There are some fat people who when you look at them in pity you can think to yourself, what a shame he would be quite handsome otherwise. With Hesser this doesn't happen. He's just always sort of been this monster. But Hesser believes in miracles. He actually believes that by sheer force of will one day he will explode from the hulking horrible man shell within which he writhes and emerge anew from the wreckage which I can only imagine as looking like blown apart scattered piles of bacon and hamburgers and hotdogs mixed up with pizza crust, spaghetti, mashed potatoes, and candy bars.

There is an Indian restaurant in town doing an excellent lunch buffet that Hesser and I are no longer allowed to attend. He is at fault more so than I it seems to me. On the other side of the street from there is a sandwich shop where we have found shelter and succor. From our seats in the window armed with bulging hoagies, salty fries, and tall sweating mugs of fountain soda we exchange rude gestures with the Hindi when they come out for smoke breaks across the way. Fucking dot heads. I ask you, when is a buffet not a buffet? When you secure for yourself every slice of naan that comes out of the oven for a forty-five minute stretch to the audible chagrin of a grousing mob of office drones and retarded housewives? When you upend a cauldron of goat doing battle with some wizened rail thin contemporary, but not disciple, of Gandhi over the last piece of tandoori chicken? Or is it when you have quaffed a urn of chai tea and then are denied use of the restroom and you wet yourself? It deserves inquiry. Two days after I realize that Marta is no longer living in the house I am sitting eating my hoagie and having the same discussion that I have with Hesser around this time every month. The First approaches. Whereas I am scrambling to lay my hands on the finances to forestall homelessness exasperated by the situation with Marta's empty room, Hesser is laying down the battle plans for yet another campaign against his generous gut. For if Hesser is anything, he is a man who puts his faith in cycles. He believes that dates and days are important. He must begin things at the beginning or else he reckons that he will descend into the gyre. Mondays are important. The first of the month is important. A Monday that falls on the first of a month is portentous. Of course this leads to many failures and setbacks as his reasoning naturally follows that if he is somehow trounced on that first day he must wait for the next cycle to arrive before he can launch anew his doomed warfare. In the interregnum all manner of degradations upon the land are encouraged and so it is that he retreats en mass roundly defeated time and again.

Marta has played her hand well. I was oblivious to her last remaining days in the house and I was oblivious to the fact that they were indeed her last remaining days. She planned her decampment, at some point ceasing to pick up my slack in the department of house chores. Once I found her note cataloging my crimes and announcing that she had in fact removed herself and her belongings I also came to the realization that the house was a filthy dump. The garbage had piled up almost to the rafters. She must have cringed those last days having to remain in such squalor in order to spring her plot. I applaude her for that. In that state there is no way I can show the house to any decent prespective roommates. She thinks that she has forced me into a position where I will have to take broom in hand and brandish dish rag. Methinks not.

Hesser has been talking for some time now about a new plan. He doesn't know what it is exactly. That's why, he explains, it is going to be new. And as I sit in deep contemplation of the joyous mastication of my hoagie in harmony with the salty mush of french fries and the syrupy surrender of soda flowing down my gullet, it dawns on me. I will rent the room to Hesser. I will make it a sort of prison. I will imprison him from himself. We will outfit the room with a mattress and nothing else. No, and a jump rope. We will seal the windows. We will install a tremendous lock on the outside of the door. The room has its own small water closet with a sink. A small trap through which food will be delivered can be cut into the base of the door. I call this room the diet chamber as I begin to sketch out my plan to Hesser. He listens thoughtfully as he crams his sandwich into his cavernous cake hole. See those Hindi over there, I ask him, they're laughing at you. In fact at that moment they are. Two of them. One is the waiter who'd refused me passage to the bathroom, the other is the cook who had screamed at Hesser. The cook wags his middle finger at us. Fucking curry stains. Let's show those assholes, I tell Hesser. His eyes glaze over for a moment, staring out the window and across the street at his gesticulating tormentors he begins to nod in assent his heavy head.

end part one

Friday, February 19, 2010

if you spill, don't just refill.

I ain't got much decorum but I got some. I may not be a fully functioning member of society but there are some of the meetings that I am allowed to attend. A few of my pins are firing. I know how to get dressed. Leaning towards just slipping into a moo moo these days or a emptied out pickle barrel but I can assure you my street moo and my street barrel are relatively clean. Now the way I was brought up, and I think this is true of most folks, it was just natural to change your shirt if say you poured a slurpee down your front or dropped a plate of spaghetti and meatballs on yourself. If you shit your pants or peed all over yourself switching to a new pair of britches was the order of the day. Into adulthood I somehow managed to cling to these articles of faith. But of late in the course of my meanderings around the city and especially it seems in the Market Street and 6th Street corridor environs there appears to be no such compunction for quite a large swath of individuals.

I was on MUNI yesterday. Prayers were recited and good luck charms were rubbed. And yet despite these precautions in the middle of the day the driver unloaded all of his passengers at the island on Market and Van Ness because it was his turn for a coffee break and there was no one waiting to assume the wheel. What the fuck is wrong with this city? Here's an idea. Bring a fucking thermos. I have no illusions about the field of bus drivery. It must suck to drive a bus in this decaying city. There are no smiley face Thomas the Train types chugging along through bucolic landscapes here. More often than not if you dare to let your defenses down for a moment to look out upon the passing city you'll just see some bum dropping his trousers and shitting on the sidewalk. Wave, sometimes they wave back. They always seem happy. You would be too if you had abandoned civility to the point that you had no qualms about crapping in front of your fellow citizenry. Imagine the sense of freedom. You gotta take a dump? Fuck it, take a dump. None of this looking for a toilet baloney. Toilet paper? Use your hand. Hell, the Islams do it. And we know what a meritous society they've managed to create. A culture in which a man can't shake another man's hand as an act of greeting or solidarity or promise or friendship without fear of getting the other's faeces on his hand is a culture that we need to mobilize our martial forces to destroy. Oh yeah, we already are. Nothing like witnessing a smiling hobo defecating next to your doorstep to set the tone of your day. However be warned sometimes those smiles just turn out to be rigor mortis and that's the final dump you see running like a babbling brook down your sidewalk. The homeless are a tricky crew.

So. Expelled from the bus I opted to walk a few blocks down Market to see what I could see. The people that I passed were of varying stations in life. Some of them looked normal. Of course most did not. And by normal I mean at least partially clothed and capable of walking a straight line. Most looked a bit long in the tooth. Some looked downtrodden. A lot of these people had stains all over their fronts, both the bums and the semi-normal folks. Taco drippings, dried globs of mustard, burnt sheens of ketchup, slobber, boogers, these fucking people were for the most part filthy. They didn't seem to care a wit.

I have encountered the same phenomena at the offices of the DMV. And in this instance the crowd was of a much higher calibre of citizen. You have to assume that most of them had the means to own a vehicle. They didn't have as many cankers on their faces as the 6th Street crowd. And yet they looked like shit. People were lounging around in their pajamas. A woman sitting in the chair next to me looked like she had rubbed green jello into her blouse on purpose. How could you not look down and say shit I need to change my shirt? Or at least cover yourself with a jacket. Not brazenly sit there like a hussy with filth all over your front.

Hey, I'm no saint. If you know me than you know it's no leap of faith to opine that I too soil myself sometimes. Sure I've dropped a meatball out of my mouth and onto my lapels. Sure I have poured gravy all down my front. I've dropped a chicken in my lap on more than one occasion. But I feel shame. I feel terrible shame and I rush to hide my shame stain. I don't parade around out in the open with it like a badge of honor. Look everyone look how disgusting I am!! Look what fell out of the trough and all over me while I was feeding!!! Jesus. I was once caught out in the avenues stained and without a clean shirt to change into. I had been quaffing soda and eating fried rice by the bucket on Clement Street at a greasy chop suey stand and I had a small stroke. A piece of Chinese sausage got stuck in my air hole for a moment and I had a stroke. A small one. I poured Mr. Pibb straight down my front. The rice I dumped on top of a little Chinese hobbit who was unlucky enough to be sitting next to me. Once they revived me I realized I was stained. I begged a trash bag from the proprietor and he gladly obliged I think mostly to get me on my way. I punched a hole at the bottom and pulled it over my head and wore the garbage bag home. Join society people. That's all I'm saying!! Peace be with you and yours.

Monday, February 8, 2010

thoughts gathered while ruminating on an old chicken shack

I am in the process of reading John T Edge's treatise Fried Chicken: An American Story. It is a riveting portrait of an American obsession, which is the submerging of various chicken parts into vats of roiling oils of various denomination. It is a simple story that Edge manages to muck up with his philosophical ramblings on race relations. Must we? Black people make the best fried chicken. That's not racism, that's just the truth. Most white people are straight out dumb when it comes to fried chicken. They demand the breast. The breast has been elevated to a far higher position than it deserves to be. It lacks flavor and is wont to dry out. Give me a thigh or a back any day of the week and I will go happily and sit out under yonder tree and gnaw on that bone. Which tree? The one out yonder on the lawn of the courthouse.

But Fried Chicken is not just an American story; it's not just a black and white story; it's not a tale of slavery; nor a tale of the proud southern white heritage that did no wrong other than to respect the opinion of a constitutionality which afforded states with rights. No, friends, it is a universal story. Evidence the latest issue of The Economist, in an article about the present state of fragile peace in Tibet their man in Lhasa points to a newly built restaurant on the very site where a year before Tibetan rioters destroyed the building. The new establishment is a fried chicken stand called Dico's. Some of the best fried chicken I have ever had was enjoyed in the lands of the yellow peoples. The people who know not our God. Once when roughing it in a Malaysian backwater I was sustained by the sighting of a giant glowing Colonel Sanders. He stood towering above the distant tree line, seeming to know that I was a kindred soul, a fellow southerner far flung from home and hearth, who would find succor in a three piece combo meal: a leg, a wing, a thigh, some kind of biscuit thing, a crappy side of instant mashed potatoes with a brown stain that was to represent gravy. And fell upon it I did with a beastly vigor before traveling on back into the sweltering night of jabbering Majumbos and clattering hansom cabs.

But forgive me. I digress. Scholarship is a wonderful thing, Innit? Reading Edge's Fried Chicken put me in the mind to ponder the fierce regionalism that often accompanies particular foodstuffs. In North Carolina to this day people feud about which type of BBQ should represent the state. I land on the vinegar side of the debate and I will patronize Stamey's until the day they pull the cold hard hushpuppy from my dead fist. It is interesting to note that no other state's style is even bothered a mention. Memphis BBQ, bugger off. Texas BBQ, no thank you. But once again, BBQ is hardly an American monopoly. There is many a late night after the bars have called for the last round that I will load the missus into a cab and make a beeline for the avenues where you can generally stand on any corner and throw a rock and hit a Korean BBQ joint. I am much enamored by this country's supping traditions. Fill me up with firewater and I will throw just about anything on the grill. Tripe, chicken hearts, horse flesh, turkey beaks, pig ears, it's all there for the plunder. Next time I intend on eating a goat.
The Koreans know a thing or two about pickles, too. I do believe that my grandfather would have loved cabbage kimchee. He was a great eater of spicy things. He especially loved the spicy peppers that my grandmother pickled every spring and summer. They came from his garden. Every year until the day he died my grandfather planted a garden. It got smaller over the years, but in my earliest memories it consumed his entire backyard, an acre or so that rolled down a lush green hill to a brambling wood that bordered the property. In the autumn and winter it lay fallow. In the spring he planted rigorously and by summer there were rows of tomato plants, runner beans, squashes, and watermelons. He worked in it in the hours between coming home from his job at the Pfizer plant and sunset. It seemed like in the high summer it was still light out at nine in the evening. It would have cooled off by then and we would sit in the dusk at the picnic table and drink sun tea and when I was young I would chase fireflies and catch them in a jar and make a lantern. It just seemed natural to me that in the summer we picked tomatoes and corn and beans and chili peppers from the garden and what we didn't eat or give away my grandmother and great aunt pickled or canned.

Chow-chow is a decidedly southern recipe of mixed pickled vegetables sometimes spicy, sometimes not, but it has echoes of the orient in its origin evidenced in the name which seems to mimic how a besotted redneck might suppose the Chinese tongue or such to sound. My grandfather liked it spiced with jalapenos and he ate it out of the jar with a spoon. Every family has a different chow-chow recipe. Ours had okra, beans, peppers, tomatoes, and white corn. My grandparents have passed away now. The house was sold last year. The garden is gone, but I wouldn't be surprised if one of these days we came across a box of my grandmother's canned chow-chow stored somewhere in my dad's attic. I have these type of food memories sometimes late at night when I am sitting alone in the dark eating sweet sixteen powdered donuts toying with the idea of abandoning gluttony.

Which brings me finally to what I had hoped to write about tonight: the ubiquitous donut shop. The donut shop is a fixture in cultures around the world. More often than not, serving customers twenty-four hours a day, the local donut shop is a bastion of marginal characters and working class joes most days of the week and especially in the odd fellow hours. In America, Sunday mornings before and after church meetings are a different matter. In Greensboro Krispy-Kreme reigned supreme for many years. I have fond memories of having a glass of milk and a glazed donut at the counter before my mother whisked me off to church on Sunday mornings. We saw the same faces every week in their sunday school clothes. They might not be going to our church but they were going to church somewhere. Delicious morsels of dough and lard and pasteurized cow juice churned in my belly as I listened to my Sunday school teacher promise eternal life after death. Not something that has ever sounded really attractive to me, even back then. During one lesson I raised my hand to ask if we would still be able to sleep once we were in heaven. I was beaten. Later the pastor took my mother aside and asked her to keep an eye on me.

The Krispy-Kreme donut shop on Battleground Avenue was also a donut factory. From the counter you could look through a huge glass window and watch the white frocked workers manning their stations as donut batter was squirted into a coursing river of hot oil, they bobbed along like little inner tubes as they cooked before being deposited onto a conveyor belt which ran the length of the window. The travelling donuts were sprayed with glaze or topped with chocolate frosting, checked for quality, double checked for purity of form, and then lovingly either transferred into cartons festooned with the Krispy-Kreme logo to be shipped to local grocers or brought immediately still piping hot and pillowy to the front display box where they were pounced upon by the general populace. The Krispy-Kreme purist never strayed from the traditional donut ring glazed with sugar. Most likely it was paired with a cup of coffee or a glass of milk. Over the years Krispy-Kreme expanded into specialty donuts. My mom loved the lemon filled. I did, too. But my truest passion was the Bavarian cream filled donut. Man, that was something good. And yet most of the time mom came home with the classic dozen glazed. It was the healthy thing to do.

Dunkin Donuts celebrates its 60th birthday today. I am not sure exactly when Dunkin came to Greensboro to challenge the local darling Krispy-Kreme, but I am sure that there was such an outlet on Battleground Road sometime before my mother sold the family manse on Robinhood Drive and moved us out into the swinging seventies County of Guilford. I don't see how they survived. Greensboro residents were fiercely loyal to Krispy-Kreme. But survive it did and over the years when I had occasion to pass the dunkin donut shop the parking lot was usually full. If you have such a mind you may remember the seminal Dunkin Donut commercial on television which portrayed a loyal donut baker making his way to work in the wee hours before dawn with the motto: "Time to make the donuts."

Many were won over by this humorous TV ad, but not I. I continued to frequent The staid Krispy -Kreme store that was not as flashy and modern looking as the Dunkin Donuts down the road a few miles. Dunkin Donuts had scads of different donuts. Krispy-Kreme maintained the selection that they had offered for years and by god that was the fucking right thing to do. I never caught on to the ritual of church, but to this day I cherish the ritual of having milk and donuts before actually going to the pain in the ass church.

When I finally did go into the Dunkin Donuts shop on Battleground I was with Bernie, we were wandering the streets in the middle of the night, and we were high as shit on acid. That was not atypical. I don't even know why we went in there. I couldn't even see straight. I didn't need a donut. I needed a shot of Thorazine. The counter lady had downs syndrome. Or we had a collective hallucination. I have never been sure which one it was. She freaked us out. We never ordered anything. We got up and ran from the building. A couple of cops were sitting in their car in the parking lot sipping coffee. They didn't even bother with us, recognizing that we were mere buffoons out larking about without parental supervision. I guess since we didn't have a car they figured the only damage we could do would be to ourselves.

I have since embraced Dunkin Donuts. Why? Because Krispy-Kreme betrayed us. Krispy-Kreme went on the road in the eighties and nineties. It became an overnight sensation. When a krispy-Kreme outlet opened on Rodeo Drive in LA the line to get in stretched around the block. At some point some executive decided that the old Krispy-Kreme original stores looked outmoded and old fashioned. Some fucking jackass signed the order to destroy the old stores and in their place rebuild crappy fast food style buildings with drive-thru windows so you could get your donuts without getting out of your car. The bastards!!!!! They tore down the donut factory and the viewing window and they turned Krispy-Kreme into a shitty plastic corporate entity. I recently read that they are on the verge of bankruptcy. That's fucking typical. The suits were in such a hurry to get to the top of the world that they forgot their past. Dicks.

Nowadays I am philosophical about the rise and fall of Krispy-Kreme. I drink Dunkin Donuts Dark Roast Coffee and on the rare occasion that I actually want a donut, I go to Happy Donut. It too is open all hours of the night. And the Chinese own it. They make a good donut. They're partially made of card board but at least they seem to be lead free. Skip the glass of milk.