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Arnold Arboretum

The Third Policeman

October 7, 2015

Dear Reader,

There are few things so funny as the existential dread of finding oneself in a strange land unable to recall one’s name, waiting for three insane policemen to build the scaffold on which they will hang you for a crime you couldn’t have committed. That is only a bit of the strange and dark hilarity of The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien.The Third Policeman- TPIATHow does one go about explaining what this book is about? Logically, I could say that a man commits a murder and then, after encountering the ghost of the man he murdered, goes to a police station in order to get some answers. While there he meets two extraordinary policemen whose theorems about the world around them drive him madder and madder. The third policeman remains one of the main mysteries at the heart of the story, something the title initiates and the book remains mysterious on for much of its length.The Third Policeman- TPIATBut there is nothing logical about this book, although there is a lot of fantastical confabulation. The main character, who does not know his own name by the time he reaches the police station, is obsessed by a philosopher named De Selby, who is even more ridiculous than the actual characters you will meet. Footnotes about his attempts to dilute water, for instance, sometimes run over and through many pages. The Third Policeman- TPIATAnd then there are the bicycles. The whole text is riddled throughout with one of the policeman’s theories regarding bicycles. He believes that people’s atoms become intermixed with the atoms of their bicycles when they bounce on rocky roads while riding. Thus, if you are a frequent cyclist, you become part bicycle and your bicycle become part you. In order to prevent this, the policemen frequently steal at-risk bicycles and hide them. The Third Policeman- TPIATAnd if that all doesn’t sound hilarious, then believe me it is absolutely side-splittingly hilarious. It is a fairly quick read, although I felt the need to take a break every once and a while because it is just so trippy that sometimes you need to come up for air. It is also brilliant, which I perhaps haven’t emphasized enough. O’Brien has a way with words, to put it mildly. So put this one in the bicycle of your basket, cycle up to the Arnold Arboretum, grab some coffee at 7 Pond, and enjoy.

Cocktails and Butter at the Beagle

April 13, 2015

Dear Reader,

Sunday was 68 degrees my dear friends. Sundresses were donned, paths were trod, espresso was sipped in a JP cafe.Cocktails and Butter at the Beagle-The Person I Am Tonight

Where better to spend the day than in the Arnold Arboretum? Winding paths, hills, streams alongside paths covered in rhododendron-budded branches… This is where I chose to spend my Sunday.Cocktails and Butter at the Beagle-The Person I Am Tonight

The arboretum is well worth a visit, if a bit hard to get to. It is at the very tail end of the Orange Line but I suggest you do as I did and get off at Heath Street on the Green Line, then walk a leisurely hour through the heart of JP, stop for coffee along the way, and arrive in plenty of time to wander over the whole expanse without having to touch the Orange Line. After a gorgeous day there, dinner called me and my companion back to Coolidge Corner. I’ve now done brunch, lunch, and dinner at the Regal Beagle and each was a slightly different experience- yet all were incredibly delicious. Yesterday, however, was truly something. We basically ordered everything that was steeped in butter. We began with gnocchi with prosciutto and scallions.Cocktails and Butter at the Beagle-The Person I Am Tonight

We had coctails- The Aviation for him and sangria for me.Cocktails and Butter at the Beagle-The Person I Am Tonight

He had a lamb ragout that was absurd in its deliciousness.Cocktails and Butter at the Beagle-The Person I Am Tonight

I had mac and cheese because I am wholly unoriginal and totally predictable (but there was truffle oil!).Cocktails and Butter at the Beagle-The Person I Am Tonight

We were way too full for dessert (first time for everything) but some after dinner cocktails sealed up the evening.Cocktails and Butter at the Beagle-The Person I Am Tonight

And then I bought six books. What can I say? A few cocktails and I have no moderation… drunk bookshopping is not for the faint of heart.Cocktails and Butter at the Beagle-The Person I Am Tonight