Posts Tagged ‘Reston’

The Man with the Medal

Colonel Harvey Curtiss “Barney” Barnum on his saga of how he earned his Congressional Medal of Honor, and the ongoing kinship of all medal honorees.

Colonel Harvey Curtiss “Barney” Barnum

Photo By Aaron Spicer.

By Brittany Bremer • Photography By Aaron Spicer

On the afternoon of July 21, 2014, Colonel Harvey Curtiss “Barney” Barnum arrived at the White House, where President Barack Obama would soon award the Congressional Medal of Honor to Staff Sergeant Ryan Pitts, the ninth living recipient to receive the military’s highest honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan. It so happened it was Barnum’s 74th birthday that day, and he was dressed in a light brown suit, accentuated by the distinctive light-blue-ribboned medal that hung from his neck. He sat in the front row of the East Room, to the president’s left, where Medal of Honor recipients always sit, with military personnel in full dress uniform behind him. In the minutes before the ceremony got started, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel strode over to him, greeting him warmly with a pat on the back, “Barney!”

The first such ceremony Barnum ever attended was his own, 47 years ago, on February 27, 1967. Barnum was the fourth Marine to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in the Vietnam War, for “gallant initiative and heroic conduct,” as the citation reads, at the Battle of Ky Phu in 1965. But his ceremony was not held at White House. Barnum’s official citation is signed by President Lyndon Johnson, but the former president did not preside over the ceremony, making Barnum the only recipient from Vietnam to not receive the medal from the Commander-in-Chief. “I’m told that the White House, Johnson, didn’t want to decorate me because he didn’t want the publicity at that time,” says Barnum.

Instead, Barnum was decorated by the Secretary of the Navy. There was supposed to be a parade, but it was too cold that day, so they held the ceremony in the John Philip Sousa Band Hall. Barnum’s family, college friends and Marine buddies were all there. “I just remember looking over and seeing how proud my mom and dad were,” he said. The circumstances surrounding his medal and his attitude regarding it say almost as much about the man as the actions for which he received it. But living as a hero has its complications.

“It’s very heavy to wear, very hard to wear at times because people put you up on a pedestal,” Barnum says while sitting in his home in Reston. “I never used it to get orders, never used it for my own benefit. But I’d be naive to believe that it wasn’t instrumental in getting me some of the things that I got.”

For all the perks and parades and photo ops, Medal of Honor recipients are highly visible, but they are not always listened to, their advice not always sought from the politicians who court them, but that has never stopped Barnum from saying what he believes.

“It’s all about the troops,” he says. “When I was in uniform, they were paramount. And I did the same thing in government. I was not politically correct most of the time. I said what I thought needed to be said, and didn’t care how it was taken, but it’s all about mission accomplishment, goal achievement, doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason.”

Colonel Harvey Curtiss “Barney” Barnum

A glimpse into Barnum’s ‘I love me’ room where he displays momentos that remind him of all he fought for. Photo by Aaron Spicer.

Born on July 21, 1940, Barnum speaks fondly of his childhood in the small town of Cheshire, Connecticut. His mother, Ann, was a homemaker, who made clothes for him and his brother Cliff. His father, H. Curtiss, worked multiple jobs, including as a volunteer firefighter—footsteps in which Barnum followed.

Ernie Hallbach, a hometown friend who volunteered with Barnum down at the firehouse, credits Barnum’s father, “a quiet man, but very American,” with instilling values of patriotism and duty. In high school, Barnum was class president of his freshman and senior class, displaying an aptitude for leadership that was further kindled in Boy Scouts, where Barnum served as patrol leader and led trips across the country.

After high school, Barnum left for Saint Anselm College, a small Benedictine Catholic liberal arts school in Manchester, New Hampshire. Active on campus, he joined the Platoon Leaders Class, one of the Marine Corps’ officer commissioning programs, which sent him to the Marine Corps Base in Quantico for two six-week summer training sessions. He graduated in 1962 with a B.A. in Economics, as a newly commissioned second lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve.

By 1965, Barnum had accepted appointment to the regular Marine Corps and was stationed at the U.S. Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He volunteered for temporary duty in Vietnam, telling his commanding officer that as a bachelor he felt that he should be the one to go during the holiday season rather than sending a married man. Twenty-five years old and a first lieutenant, Barnum was assigned to Hotel Company “Company H,” 2nd Battalion as an artillery forward observer.

Only two weeks into his deployment in Vietnam, Barnum’s company was sent out to join the ongoing Operation Harvest Moon. Around noon, on December 18, four days into the operation, just as they were entering the village of Ky Phu, “all hell broke loose.” The North Vietnamese, well dug-in and camouflaged, had let three companies pass by. Then, as Company H was bringing up the rear, they ambushed the entire battalion at once.

“We were taken under intense fire. It was the first time I had ever been shot at. So, I hit the deck. And when I looked up from underneath my helmet, all these young Marines were looking at me like ‘Lieutenant, what are going to do?’” says Barnum.

Wesley “Doc West” Berrard, a corpsman, came running past, shouting, “The skipper’s down.” Captain Paul Gormley, the skipper, was fatally wounded and the radio operator had been killed instantly. West ran to treat the captain and was shot multiple times in the process. Barnum followed suit. “I ran out, amongst all this intense fire and picked up Captain Gormley, carried him back in my arms to a covered position. We talked, he was seriously wounded, and he died in my arms.”

Colonel James Callendar, who was Barnum’s Regimental Commander at the time, wrote the first draft of his Medal of Honor citation. In a letter he wrote to Doug Sterner, webmaster of and military historian, Callendar referred to that action, and what the battalion commander told him about it, as what had convinced him Barnum was deserving of the medal: “Harvey [Barney] was on the radio himself and called for the chopper to land on a small hill near the wounded men. The pilot responded that the hill was ‘too hot to land in,’ or words to that effect. Whereupon, Barney, with the radio on his back, walked out onto the hill and said to the pilot, ‘Look down here where I am standing. If I can stand here, by God, you can land here!’ And the chopper did, although the hill in fact was under fire at the time. Barney got his wounded out.”

But the battle raged on, and “the battalion commander talked to [Barnum] on the phone and said, ‘You know, skipper, you gotta come out. We can’t come get you. We’re in our own fight in the village. You’re own your own. If you don’t come out, you’re in there by yourself tonight.’”

Despite some casualties, they made it, against what they later learned were probably 10 to 1 odds. “We caught the enemy by surprise. No way did they think we would get up and run across that 500 meters,” says Barnum. He was the last one out.

Back at the command post after the battle, Barnum got up one morning and walked into the mess tent where the battery commander informed him that Lewis William Walt, Commanding General of the 3rd Marine Amphibious Force, had recommended him for the Medal of Honor.

In the summer of 1967, Walt was looking for a new travelling aide and he asked Barnum if he was up for the job. Aides didn’t last long with him, Walt told Barnum, but if he made it a year, he could have his pick of next assignment. Barnum accepted and headed to Washington, D.C.

When the year was up, Barnum reminded the general of his promise. Where did he want to go? asked Walt. “I said, ‘Back to Vietnam.’ He says, ‘You can’t go back to Vietnam, you have the Medal of Honor.’ I said, ‘Sir, you told me, if I last a year—it’s been 13 months—you’d send me anywhere I want to go. I want to go back to Vietnam.’”

For Barnum, it was simple: “There was a war going on. I believed in it.”

So Barnum returned to Vietnam in 1968 and became the commander of the same battery he had served in during his first tour.

Dan Hefner, 64, of Oak Park, Illinois, served under then Captain Barnum. Eighteen years old, right out of high school, Hefner says he was lucky to have had Barnum as his commanding officer. He was like an older brother. When one of his men got the dreaded “Dear John” letter, Barnum took him off duty and out for a few beers. But most importantly, he made it his “goal to make sure that each and every man that served under him got home alive,” says Hefner.

When the enemy attacked their firebase with mortars, Barnum was standing in a doorway of a bunker and was hit with shrapnel. Though not severely wounded, he was injured and subsequently added the Purple Heart, along with two Bronze stars, to his many military decorations.

After returning from his second tour in Vietnam, Barnum continued to serve in the Marine Corps, holding posts at Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Fort Leavenworth, Parris Island and the Naval War College. He served as chief of current operations of the United States Central Command. Finally, he settled in the District, where he became the deputy director of public affairs for the Marine Corps and then military secretary to the Commandant. In August 1989, he retired from the Marine Corps as a Colonel, after 27 years of service.

His days in uniform were behind him, but Barnum’s service to the country was far from over. At 49 years old, Barnum began his career in government.

During President George H.W. Bush’s administration, Barnum served as director of drug enforcement policy for the Department of Defense under then Secretary Dick Cheney. When President Bill Clinton was elected, Barnum left government for the private sector. In 2000, when President George W. Bush and Vice President Cheney were elected, Barnum was asked to return to government. As Barnum recounts, General Ray Davis, a fellow Medal of Honor recipient, visited Cheney during the first week of the new administration while Cheney was still unpacking. Cheney asked Davis what he needed and Davis replied, “Get Barney back in the administration.” They did as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy where Barnum would have oversight over the Navy and Marine Corps Reserves.

He thought this would be a pretty good “8 to 5” job, but then September 11th happened and everything changed. The Reserves, which hadn’t been called up in years, were mobilized. Barnum visited units before they deployed, made six trips to Iraq and Afghanistan and met with units as they returned. It was a job he was good at, and he loved it. “I got to be around Marines and sailors. And that’s my whole life. I dedicated myself to doing what’s good for them: If they needed something, I was their advocate,” he says.

Colonel Harvey Curtiss “Barney” Barnum

Photo by Aaron Spicer.

When President Obama was elected, Barnum assumed he’d be out with the rest of the political appointees, but Secretary Robert Gates asked him to stay on as Assistant Secretary. Barnum agreed to do the job until the new person was selected and confirmed. And for four months, he did. But he quickly grew frustrated with the new administration. He no longer enjoyed his job, and he didn’t need to work, so he quit.

Now, he watches from the sidelines in frustration. “In my opinion, we don’t have a strategy right now. We’re shooting from the hip. And our president has no clue as to our national strategy and what has to be done,” Barnum says. He admits that some things could have been handled better by the Bush administration, but that they were very supportive of the military in a way this administration is not. As he sees it, the Obama administration’s refusal to listen to military leaders is the crux of the issue when it comes to failures in Iraq and Afghanistan.

He is passionate about this topic, but insists he’s not being partisan. “I’m not saying this because I’m Republican. I’m saying this because I love my country. I know. I’ve been in government, I’ve been in the military, I know what level we can do.”

Lately, Barnum spends most of his time with family at their river house near Reedville, in the Northern Neck. He and his wife, Martha, have two children from her first marriage, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

He and Martha met in 1989 on blind date arranged by a mutual friend. Martha was a widower and Barnum a longtime bachelor at 49. They hit it off immediately, and dated for three years before getting married at the house they still live in today in Reston.

Driving past the house, you might not know that one of the country’s great heroes lives there, but for an American Flag outside and, if the garage is open, the Medal of Honor license plate on Barnum’s car.

Inside, Barnum’s personal Medal of Honor flag, light blue with white stars and yellow trim, stands tall in his living room, his official citation hangs in the den. The rest of Barnum’s many awards and mementos are tucked away upstairs in his “I love me” room; photos of Barnum with military leaders and presidents line the room, including a recent photo of him and President George W. Bush. There are shadow boxes filled with medals, framed magazines of which he made the cover and a painting of Barnum that a high school student sent him.

Actually though, the room is not just all about him. Barnum pointed out a photo of his dad on the day he retired from the volunteer fire department. And there are racks of challenge coins, small medallions that signify membership in a military unit that are traded, given and collected as tokens of friendship. Barnum’s own coin has a miniature Medal of Honor inserted in the center, identifying him as a member of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

“When I first joined the Society there was over 300,” says Barnum, who once served as president of the club. “Now we’re down to 80, so we are a band of brothers. … There’s not too many left, only seven left from World War II, but they were our mentors. Those were the people we looked up to. They were our heroes. … And hell now, I’m the gray-headed guy.”

While members of the Society don’t hope for new members, because they don’t hope for new wars, they welcome them into the small and exclusive fraternity with open arms. And so, a half hour before the official Medal of Honor ceremony started on July 21, Barnum and a few of the other Medal of Honor recipients gathered in a room at the White House to welcome Staff Sgt. Pitts, 28, to their family, and to meet his: wife, Amy, and 1-year-old son, Lucas.

In his remarks, the president paid tribute to the array of families, by blood and by marriage, forged and chosen, welcoming “those who were there that day—Pitts’ brothers in arms and those who are going to be welcoming him into their ranks—the members of the Medal of Honor Society. We are very proud of them and we are honored by the presence of the families of our fallen heroes as well,” said Obama.

Though he has been to many ceremonies over the years, the induction of a new recipient is still a very emotional experience. “To be in that room, it’s pretty special to be in the White House and then to watch as the words are spoken.”

Pitts stood, tall and expressionless next to the president, as the military aide read his Medal of Honor citation aloud. The sole survivor from his outpost at the Battle of Wanat, in Afghanistan in 2008, Pitts dedicated his medal to the soldiers who died there. “The real heroes are the nine men who made the ultimate sacrifice so the rest of us could return home,” he said, in remarks to the press after the ceremony, and proceeded to read the names of each of the men.

“He is just a fine young man,” says Barnum. “He lauded those he served with—it’s not about himself. He is going to wear the medal with pride.”

The afternoon ended with a reception in the main foyer of the White House for Pitts and invited guests. Barnum chatted briefly with the Commandant of the Marine Corps, but then he slipped out. “At that point, it was their day,” he says.

(February 2015)

18 New and Almost Open Restaurants, Breweries and Coffee Shops in Northern Virginia

Posted by Editorial / Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

New and Almost Open restaurants in Northern Virginia

Photo courtesy of 360b/

Need a new spot to nosh? Here is a list of new restaurants now open and soon-to open.

Read the rest of this entry »

Investing 101 is Not for Dummies

For millionaires or wage slaves, the rules are the same.

Investing 101

Photo courtesy of annt/

By Darrell Delamaide

With algorithms determining what books we purchase and what films we watch, it was only a matter of time before these mathematical formulas programmed into software would tell us what stocks and bonds to buy.

Read the rest of this entry »

10 Things to Do with Kids in January

Edited by Bailey Lucero-Carter

Reston Camp Expo

Photo courtesy of Mark Regan Photography.

1Reston Camp Expo
It’s never too early to look into summer camps for kids. Over a dozen local non-profit organizations will be at the Reston Camp Expo displaying their offerings. Kids are encouraged to come for activities and games provided by the organizations while parents can speak with counselors and representatives about summer programs. / Jan. 24


2Creative Cauldron: Open House
Step into a world of wonder at this second annual open house event at Creative Cauldron in Falls Church. Families and friends can participate in theatrical workshops, classes and performances for free. The performances will feature ethnic and world musicians, professional actors and puppetry. / Jan. 17-18


Cinderella’s Ball at Encorestage

Photo courtesy of pinkyone/

3Cinderella’s Ball
Join Cinderella, the Fairy Godmother and more of your favorite characters for this magical event. Attendees will waltz, drink tea and make crafts. One ticket allows one child and one parent to attend Cinderella’s Ball in honor of Encore Stage’s performance of ‘Cinderella.’ / Jan. 10


Drop-In Snow and Story at Prince William Ice Center

Photo courtesy of the Prince William Ice Center.

4Drop-In Snow and Story at Prince William Ice Center
Toddlers and preschoolers can play on the ice of the Prince William Ice Center like never before. Sleds and tricycles will be on the ice for kids to use, along with shovels and buckets for playing with snow. After, relax with a cup of hot chocolate during story time. / Through Jan. 1


Gustafer Yellowgold

Photo courtesy of Dion Ougust.

5Gustafer Yellowgold
The children’s book and musical sensation Gustafer Yellowgold makes an appearance at Jammin Java in this multimedia show. The pinecone-loving adventurer from the sun will be drawn to life on-screen while creator Morgan Taylor provides storytelling and live singing, featuring the hit single “Cakenstein.” / Jan. 10


Sugarloaf Craft Festival

Photo courtesy of Sugarloaf Craft Festival.

6Sugarloaf Craft Festival
The Sugarloaf Craft Festival returns to Chantilly with over 250 artisans, hands-on demonstrations and costume storytelling for the kids. Middle Earth puts on a show that allows children to dress up and perform as the storyteller spins a tale. With events for kids and adults, this craft festival appeals to all ages. / Jan. 30-Feb. 1


7Move & Groove with Mr. Skip
Get your kids moving to the music with Mr. Skip. Every first Monday of the month, Mr. Skip sings classic kids songs like “Old MacDonald” and “The ABC Song” with children 5 years and under. The event in Fairfax’s Old Town Hall is a musical and mobile sensation that will even have parents tapping along. / Jan. 5


8GRACE Art for Preschoolers
 The Greater Reston Arts Center has expanded its popular GRACE Art program for children ages 4 and 5. In partnership with the Reston Community Center, GRACE Art for Preschoolers teaches art appreciation to children through presentations and interactive craft projects in each of the seven sessions. / Jan. 5-Feb. 23


“Flights of Fancy” – Stories for Children

Photo courtesy of Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.

9“Flights of Fancy” – Stories for Children
Every Tuesday and Wednesday morning at the Udvar-Hazy Center, children can enjoy a storytime session with the museum staff. This month features the children’s story “My First Airplane Ride” by Patricia Hubbell. After the story, kids ages 2- to 8-years old will participate in a hands-on art activity related to the reading. / Jan. 6-27 


Charles Ross: One Man Star Wars Trilogy

Photo courtesy of The Birchmere.

10Charles Ross: One Man Star Wars Trilogy
Fan favorite Charles Ross returns to the Birchmere in Alexandria for his hilarious one-man show. Even without props and costumes, Ross performs the entire Star Wars Trilogy, complete with sound effects and all your favorite characters. For several years, Ross’ show has been enjoyed in Alexandria by audiences of all ages. / Jan. 31 


(January 2015)


AirAsia confirms wreckage; Videos of women on Metro show up on porn site

By Carten Cordell

AirAsia confirms wreckage from missing plane
(The Washington Post)

Metro’s schedule for New Year’s
(The Washington Post)

Robbers Hit Reston Bank for second time in two weeks

Videos of women on Metro show up on porn site

A Food-Inspired Gift Guide

Posted by Editorial / Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

NoVA shopkeepers reveal the hot items of the season. —Nicole Bayne & Susannah Black

Northern Virginia Magazine Foodie Gift Guide 2014

Photo by Mollie Tobias.


Read the rest of this entry »

By the Number: 225 Pounds of Powdered Sugar on Display Today at Reston Regency Hyatt’s Gingerbread House

Posted by Editorial / Friday, November 28th, 2014

Reston Regency Hyatt's Gingerbread Village / Photo courtesy of Dustin Imbesi

Reston Regency Hyatt’s Gingerbread Village / Photo courtesy of Dustin Imbesi

By Nicole Bayne

The total number of pounds of powdered sugar used as “snow” for the Gingerbread Village on display at Reston Regency Hyatt, starting today. This number does not include sugar in the peppermints, gumdrops, candy canes and crushed Oreos also used as decoration. 

In addition, Reston Regency Hyatt estimates this year they are using:
-4 cases of egg whites
-6 quarts of honey
-6 quarts of molasses
-2 cases of brown sugar
-72 ounces of baking soda
-27 ounces of ginger
-18 ounces of allspice
-18 ounces of cinnamon
-8 pounds of shortening
-6 six pounds of eggs
-50 pounds of bread flour
-30 pounds of cake flour
-1 case of each of the following: strawberry licorice, gummy worms, cherry sours, flavor rods, green gems, red gems, white gems, jelly belly Sunkist, wrapped fruit gems, spice jelly drops, starlight mints peppermint and starlight mints spearmint. / 1763 Fountain Drive, Reston

(December 2014)

Doctor Strange Love

Parting ways with my physicians left me at a crossroads.

City Sprawl By Susan Anspach  •  Illustration by Matt Mignanelli

Illustration by Matt Mignanelli.

By Susan Anspach  •  Illustration by Matt Mignanelli

I don’t like to brag, but I’ve always been good at seeing the 3D image in 3D Magic Eye posters. Look once, you see a field of zigzagging blue shards; look a second time, see something that could pass for a dolphin swimming through a field of zigzagging blue shards. It’s a skill, and it’s marketable, in beach boardwalk shops and a few very specific illusionist Pinterest boards.

I had the sensation of that strange second look the year I went off my parents’ health insurance and purchased my own, because there are a lot of good doctors in Northern Virginia. But look again, and there are a lot of bad doctors, too.

I don’t fault the insurance. I am sure there were many fine doctors on that plan, only I had never selected a doctor before. Having called the same Manassas address home for 23 years, I went to the same doctors. In that time, my doctors came to know my charts backwards and forwards. They didn’t call me by my first name; they called me by my nickname. These were the people who taught me how to put in contact lenses, to floss my teeth, to take my birth-control pill at the same time every day. In grade school, I spent every third Tuesday morning getting my braces tightened by the same man. I felt loyal to my doctors. They were loyal to me. I was my general practitioner’s daughter’s maid of honor.

Even so, I didn’t realize how many doctors I had, until I didn’t have any doctors. When I changed plans, I asked a girl at work for the name of her dermatologist. She had been hired even more recently than I had been, but she gave me a name and it was on the list. A phone call to the Alexandria office didn’t raise any red flags.

On arriving, there were a couple red flags. Gray stuffing was spilling out the armrests in the waiting room. The fish were practically panting from their low tank water levels. The lights flickered, and there were flyers advertising the lawn-work services of one of the firm’s doctors. I signed in, then called my coworker on her cellphone to ask where she had gotten the name. She folded fast, admitting she found him on the Internet and hadn’t yet met him herself. If it’s uncomfortable, she told me, get out of there. I could practically hear her other hand punching the numbers on her work phone to cancel her own pending appointment.

To myself, I reasoned that I didn’t want to be classist. I reasoned further that I’d been planning on taking the whole morning off work. Plus I had already told the front desk I was there. It would be rude to take the free lawn-work flyers thrust upon me and run.

Eventually I was called back to see the doctor, whose very watery, very protruding eyes made me feel as though my pores were magnified under their gaze, and he wasn’t any parts thrilled about it. I was imprisoned in his exam room no fewer than 90 minutes, the longest medical appointment of my life, during which I was diagnosed with six skin conditions. (I didn’t treat any of them, yet here I stand.) Now and then he managed to set aside feelings of contempt for my face to treat me to his opinions on the Democratic Party, his ex-wife and the slipshod skincare routine of the patient before me.

I spent nights awake knowing that my phone number lived in a manila folder in his office, and resolved to be more selective in the future.

The next month I needed a renewed birth-control prescription from a gynecologist. This was a more delicate search, but I didn’t want to take chances. I talked to several coworkers, plus a few friends and my roommate. I reviewed the Internet boards for myself. After the last time, I was looking for a seasoned and no-nonsense professional.

My appointment with the Reston doctor I’d selected was for eight o’clock in the morning. I signed in with the receptionist at 8:03. Hardly a minute had passed before I was whisked back to an exam room where my physician, a terror of a woman wearing latex gloves and a glower, was already waiting. She asked me if I knew how many minutes late I was, or how many patients she had scheduled to see that day. She may as well have snapped the finger of her right glove before pointing to the curtained partition where I could undress.

I wondered if I’d been coddled by my doctors until this point in my life, if knowing them all as a young girl had led them to treat me, even into adulthood, as a young girl. I thought about other times I’d had to see doctors outside my regular team. Two visits to the emergency room stuck out as memorable, one for a gash to the head when I was 6 years old, another for appendicitis when I was 25. At 6, I was treated to my choice of Tootsie Pop, for having bravely endured stitches. At 25, I got to eat cream- and gelatin-based desserts every meal, for having bravely endured laparoscopic abdominal surgery that required a diet of soft foods.

Now, overdue for a tooth cleaning, I longed for my old dentist, the same one who’d squeezed my teeth straight every three weeks for two years, a meek man whose office had consisted of only three rooms. He had worked with a single hygienist and his wife, who sat at the front desk with a stack of Highlights magazines and knew all our pets’ names.

This time, I wasn’t going to screw up. I asked everyone for the name of their dentists, then counterchecked them against “Best of” lists in magazines and tarot-card readings of the numbers corresponding to their first and last initials. I decided on a man in Chantilly who had a sterling record by all counts, then arrived early for my appointment, filling the paperwork out with handwriting I practiced first on a receipt.

I was ushered back by a punctual and smiling hygienist, who draped a bib over my shirt and made small talk appropriate to a dentist’s, asking questions I could answer with happy or neutral grunts. I began to relax and pay less attention to the assembly of metal instruments cropping out of my mouth. My mouth was watering some but I didn’t think much of it.

After a while, my hand seemed to keep getting in the way of a plastic stick bumping into it. I tried repositioning, but wherever I went, the stick, being scooted around by the hygienist, followed. Finally I understood that I was meant to grab hold of the stick and pop it into my mouth to vacuum out my saliva. Had I never used a suction pump before? I garbled apologies and explained how my old dentist had used a spit cup. The hygienist was amazed. He had last seen a spit cup, he confessed, at a conference he attended in 1980s Hungary.

Briefly, I wondered if my loyalty had been misplaced, whether my childhood dentist had been out of touch since my fifth birthday and I’d just never known better. Then the hygienist paged my new dentist, and what little I saw of him, I liked fine. We didn’t talk much, but there wasn’t much to say. My X-rays checked out. I didn’t need drill work. He checked under my top lip and praised the bright pink of my gums.

Someone, he said, really taught you how to floss.

@CitySprawlNVMag offers free medical advice on Twitter.

(November 2014)

Wavy lines on I-66 confuse drivers; Reston kart driver, 18, in coma after crash

By Carten Cordell

Wavy lane stripping causes confusion on I-66

Reston kart driver Ayrton Climo, 18, in coma in Quebec after crash
(The Washington Post)

McDonnell judge emerges as a personality in the trial
(The Washington Post)

D.C. Area Schools Braced For Influx Of Unaccompanied Minors

Seven Boozy Milkshakes to Try This Weekend

Posted by Editorial / Friday, August 22nd, 2014

By Allison Michelli

Whether stepping out for a night on the town or enjoying with burgers and fries, adult milkshakes are the ideal way to turn up while also satisfying your sweet tooth.


  • 1. FANFARE eatery, Spiked Shakes Add a shot of Kahlua, Frangelico or Bailey's Irish Cream to any regular milkshake on their menu for $4.00 more. Coming soon to their menu will be “Specialty Adult Milkshakes” like Hot Fudge Bourbon and Salted Caramel. / Photo courtesy of FANFARE eatery.

  • 2. Joe's Amazing Burgers, Bourbon Caramel Adult Milkshake A strong blend of Jack Daniel's whiskey, caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream. $10/ Photo by Jill Laroussi.

  • 3. Ray's to the Third, Shake and Bake Vanilla ice cream blended with caramel and chocolate sauce and a shot of Jim Beam bourbon. Don't forget the bacon on top! $10. / Photo by Cristian Cguilar.

  • 4. The Counter, Salted Caramel Adult Milkshake The best of both worlds: salty and sweet. Vanilla ice cream blended with Stoli Vanil, Baileys caramel and pretzels. $9. / Photo courtesy of The Counter.

Still feeling thirsty? Three more places for adult shakes.

Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, 20575 E. Hampton Plaza, Ashburn.

Ted’s Bulletin, 11948 Market Street, Reston.

Vivefy Burger and Lounge, 314 William Street, Fredericksburg.



Page 1 of 1112345...10...Last »