(I'm headed to San Fran, but ...) If you're out in the chilly Christmas weather and down by the White House around F St, Yannis at Maxim's Restaurant might help you ... try some nice vodka. It's fun to hear Russian spoken around the holidays, and there's usually plenty spoken there. I've been going there for over a year, on and off with injuries. The food is good and meaty and they offer the largest selection of vodka in the area, the review says 90 but the last I checked it was more like 140, MAXIM'S.

[I went to the Veterens' Hospital today for a check-up appointment. I noticed some signs in the waiting room letting Operation Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom veterans know how to get coverage. About an hour later I noticed another sign that said the estimated waiting time was 20 minutes. When I finally saw the nurse she was the only one talking. While I was trying to tell her my problems she was half-listening, telling me about her daughter's toenail fungus. Her computer was on a stack of boxes next to her desk. She asked about my service record; and gave me the creeps like the woman in the movie Misery. "They want us to take an extra-close look at all the recent veterans," she said. And then asked me about nightmares, she brought it up! I swear she wanted me to have Post-Tramatic Stress Syndrome. Well, at least maybe they'll find my missing meningitis records. After that visit I needed a vanilla vodka and Coke.]