Dear Blackbirds Bar

Dear Blackbirds Bar,
I wanted to like you, I really did. Even though you had yet to acquire that patina of age and that feeling of really being a cool neighbourhood bar, you had promise. So many kinds of beer, so much good food. A dart board. Hell, the sports fans even seemed to appreciate me yelling out “Go local sports team” whenever they got excited about a football basket.

I spent the better part of four months of Sundays in your establishment. It was the only regularly-scheduled item on my agenda every week. Whatever kind of craziness my week brought me, I was in Blackbirds on Sunday eating hot wings between 1:30 and 2:00 PM. Did I mention your hot wings are the best in Astoria?

But about a month ago things went bad. So let’s imagine this, shall we? I enter your establishment at around 1:30 PM. I’m dressed in black pants, a camouflage jacket, and a hoodie. The hoodie has flames on it, by the way. Strangely this time around the bar seems full, but the tables are empty, which is the reverse of how it normally goes. Okay, so I take off my coat and sit down at a table. I forgot to mention, I’ve got a big, fat copy of the New York Post on me.

So I sit down with this copy of the New York Post, crack it open and begin reading. One of your friendly waiters comes over to me and asks what I want. I tell him “I’ll have a Peroni, and an order of very hot wings well done.”

This is really where my day turned to absolute shit. Look, I know there are starving people in Zimbabwe and I understand that the overrun of certain areas of Pakistan by elements of the Taliban is a problem; however, on Sunday at a sports bar I expect wings.
I hope you’ll understand that that’s why what your waiter (who was very nice) said to me next was so baffling.

“We don’t have the regular menu today because we’re serving brunch.”

I gave him a blank look and he, to his credit, looked a tad sheepish.

“You see, all the stuff for brunch takes over the kitchen, so we can’t cook the regular menu.”

My look now was a little less blank, but I’ll give your waiter (who I mentioned was really nice, didn’t I) a little less credit for his next statement.

“Would you like to take a look at our brunch menu?”

No. No I don’t want to take a look at your brunch menu. I’m a guy in a camo jacket with a copy of the New York Post. Do you see me with anyone else? Brunch is for couples. It’s something guys do when they’re with girls because the girls like it and maybe the food’s okay.
Or it’s something you do when one of your “bros” is in from out of town and you want to go check out the cute waitresses and feel okay getting trashed at 11AM. It’s not something a lone guy who looks like an escapee from the Montana Militia is going to do.

No, Jeremy is here for wings. Which, as I was putting my coat on and leaving, your waiter (who’s still friendly, regardless) said he would communicate to you. On my way out (without spending a dime), I noticed an omelet station.

An omelet station. In a sports bar. There were a couple of hot plates and a dude in a silly hat. Really. Here are a couple of better ideas for a station in your bar:

1. a gimlet station
It sounds about the same and makes more sense for a bar to have. “I’ll have a gin gimlet, hold the emasculating bullshit.”

2. a wing station
See, you have a guy out there cooking the wings you can’t make in your kitchen now, apparently. Everyone wins. “I’ll have a dozen very hot wings. Then I’m going to read about the destabilization of the Zimbabwean dollar because of Robert Mugabe’s regime.”

You know, even though I’m some fancy music industry dude, I don’t make a lot of money. But, I was willing to part with $20 – $30 every Sunday for you guys. Because seriously, those wings are killer.

You know what I do now instead of going to your bar? I spend an extra $15 to take a train up to the Peekskill Brewery in Westchester. There, I can get a lovely view of the Hudson River, I can choose from four times as many beers as you have, and I can get some really good hot wings.

No, they’re not as good as yours, but at least Peekskill has figured out how to serve brunch and bar food at the same time. What, your grill can’t handle a burger and truffle oil grilled cheese sandwiches with added estrogen at the same time?

Look, I know it’s not football season and you’re not going to do the wings special cheap anymore. I don’t even care about football. I don’t even know what downs are. I just want hot wings on Sunday and I want them six blocks from my house.

So fire up that deep fryer and get your act together. ‘cause brunch is really bumming me out. And I’m starting to tell my friends.

Yours truly,

Jeremy Rosen

Letters: Clauduary 2008

Written Correspondences from Good Natured Gentlemen Who Have Read Our Previous Installments and Wish to Comment on Some Aspects Thereof

Hi Axes & Alleys,
Thanks for the nice words and cool idea. I love a good zine. When the movie hits maybe we can get the live-action Cassie Hack actress on your cover. Would love to be a part of a rad zine in some way.
Todd Lincoln

Axes & Alleys,
Go ahead! 🙂 Haha. So awesome. And kinda hot. Thanks for the advertising.
Tim Steely

Note- The “Go head” in the above correspondence was an affirmative answer to our request to have Ms. Hack appear as our cover girl. Ed.

THE TROTSKY RED PUPPET MOVEMENT is on the move along the Eastern Front. We are just now infiltrating the 900 block of B’way. YIELD TO YOUR FATE before it is too late! As our leader said in his lugubriously persuasive manifesto: ‘Papier Mache forever! We give the finger to the lie.‘
Dmitri Tolteca
Trepassey, Newfoundland, Canada

To the Editors,
Your characterization of Dothan, Alabama is atrocious (Volume 456-BR8, Issue 10)! As you could no doubt tell if you had bothered to visit our city’s fine web site (, you would know that we have an entire section of the site devoted to tourism. In fact, that section has sub-divisions. Yes, it’s true, we have murals! In addition, the “advertisement” included in your magazine does not contain an authorized promotional photograph of Highway 231.
Pat Thomas, Mayor
Dothan, Alabama

Dear A&A,
Mud flaps. That’s right, I said it. Mud flaps.
Lacey Mosley
Arlington, Texas

To Whom It May Concern,
We must endeavour in these darker modern ages to take stock of the cultural enigmas passed down to us through the generations. Why have we stopped at only six simple machines? Why not have seven? As cartographic technology becomes more precise, why are border check points not moved accordingly by inches? When it is merely an artefact of artistic Darwinism and the accidental happenstance of overtones, why is most
popular music entirely tonal? When it isn’t, why is it that it’s always the successful popular musicians who are experimenting with drugs at the time who take a non-tonal or semi-tonal approach to their compositions? I was just wondering.
Russ Bertie
Cookie Monster, UK

Axes & Alleys,
How come your covers never feature a wispy English girl with light brunette hair? I mean, I’ll keep buying the magazine and all, this isn’t a threat. I’d just like to see a very thin young woman from the British Isles with the aforementioned hair. Maybe just this side of cute, but you know, leaning toward the pretty. like you talked about in your “Cute, Pretty, Beautiful” article (Volume 456-BR8, Issue 01).
Dan Simmons
Colorado, United States

Dear Axes & Alleys,
I’ve written to you several times this year under various names. I just wanted to point out that your Clauduary issue contained letters written entirely by me! Thanks!
Jane Moist
Knightsbridge, UK

Axes & Alleys
With over 7 million albums sold, we feel that we should be reviewed or appear in your magazine. Over a century of issues and yet not a single mention of us at all. Sales that high should count for something.
Various Artists
Hollywood, USA

To the Editors,
Hi Editors. Ja, we are writing to announce the German Shame Parade here in New York City. You see, every type of person gets their own parade of pride here, but we Germans cannot because we are ashamed and a shameful people. We would still like a parade, however, so we have created this one to celebrate our shame. Don’t be fooled by the smiles; we are deeply unhappy.
Lars Halter, General Chairman
German-American Steuben Shame Parade
New York, NY

Dear Editors,
Is this some kind of sick joke? Do you honestly believe that you can get away with it? I’ll get you. I’ll get every last one of you.
Katie Stalin
“Queens”, New York

Letters: Maine 2008

Dear Axes & Alleys,
It has come to my attention that a number of businesses are touting “green” not as an adjective to describe physical appearance, but as an adjective to describe the level to which said product affects the environment. This makes no sense. Plants are green because of chlorophyll. But the environment is made up of more than plants. 70% of the Earth’s surface is blue, and of the remaining 30% only a portion is green. There are white glaciers, brown deserts and mountains and gray rocks. Even many plants are mostly brown, such as the amber, not green, waves of grain. Perhaps the Green Party should change its name to the Gabbgaw Party, since it really represents green, amber, brown, blue, gray and white. This would provide a more honest view of environmental issues. Thus we would not call hybrid gas-electric cars green or say that they are “less green” than solar cars . We would instead say that a solar car was more gabbgaw than a gasoline powered car. We could even go a step further and quantify gabbgaw. I, for one, would love to see a car ad and know that this year’s model features 23% more gabbgaw. It makes sense to me.
Vice President Alfonso “Al” Gore, NL.
Nashville, TN

Dear A&A,
It would be a lot of fun to take a boat ride one day. If I could take a boat ride with any five people living or dead, my choices would be Geoffrey Chaucer, Horatio Nelson, Jesus, Amanda Marble and Moon Unit Zappa.
Tricia McGulley
Harper’s Ferry, WV

To the Editors,
I really don’t understand this religion called Zoroastrianism. Sure, Zorro was an interesting character, I guess, but I don’t think that any amount of swashbuckling swordplay would defeat Angra Mainu and Azhi Dahaka the Dragon King.
Ikpot Thompson
Montreal, Canada

Dear Axes & Alleys,
I once telephoned David Lowery from a pay phone in the South. I can’t divulge how I came across his number, but I didn’t reach him anyway. No, instead I got on the other end of the line his estranged wife. We proceeded to have a six minute conversation about what a jerk he was and also how their apartment had a leaky bath tub. I suggested she use some caulk to fix that up.
Batty Mountbaten
Blimey, NY

I was wondering the other day why more people didn’t use the word spangle, except when they talk about the national anthem of the United States of America. Well, it turns out that the national anthem could really use a hyphen. For the longest time I thought it was spangled with something else while the stars were bannering. It’s also kind of redundant. A spangle is a small glittering object. Stars are small glittering objects. They could have just had it be “A Banner” and been done with it.
Clem Hartley
Corso, Portuguese Bavaria

Editors, Axes & Alleys,
Do you think you could make your magazine in the shape of a trapezoid? I think it would be easier to hold.
Jimmy “Five Fingers” Jackson
Pistol Grip, NH

Dear Axes & Alleys,
I really don’t like Sticker Page. Every time I try to cut a sticker out for my own use, I end up ruining yet another laptop screen. I never even get a chance to staple the pages together.
Tom Today
New York, NY

Axes & Alleys,
I have a few suggestions for your magazine. First, I think you should include a section for letters from your readers. Next I think you should report on a big news topic. Maybe something of global import. After that you might want to include a regular report on something technological or scientific. I always like those. A classifieds section would be great so that readers could conduct commerce with one another. Having a page that could be printed out for stickers would be fun for the children and mentally infirm. I would absolutely love a travelogue column and perhaps an advice column written by an historical figure. Various and sundry other articles could be included, too. Ooh! You could even have a front and back cover. I don’t read your magazine, but I thought these would be some pretty awesome suggestions. Let me know.
James Whitmore, Jr.
Sunnydale, CA

Dear Axes & Alleys,
I am writing to complain about your Axes & Alleys brand fluegelhorn valve oil. No one told me it was flammable.
Kerry Absalom
Pinter, WY

The Treader Family is deeply disappointed in your discontinuation of the scratch and sniff issue. We recently relocated to the Czech Republic and were enjoying this new way to experience the magazine. The new burn and sniff edition is not a satisfactory replacement.
The Treader Family
Prague, Czech Republic

Dear Axes & Alleys,
When are you going to publish that chicken paprikash
recipe I sent in back in August of 1968?
Wolfgang Puck
Amsterdam, Austria, UK.

Letters: Vespril 2007

Dear A&A,
Were you aware that page 12 of every Axes & Alleys issue between 2005 and 2007 is 0.0025% thinner than the other pages? I think this is on purpose. Maybe a disgruntled janitor in your printing facilities is twisting the page thickness dial at the plant. Maybe it’s a coded government message. I’ll put on my Sam Houston, Private Eye exclusive fan club trench coat and get to the bottom of this for you. Don’t you worry.
Nouri Al-Maliki
Baghdad, Iraq

To the Editors,
A few days ago I injured myself using your Sticker Page. Please place a warning sticker on it in the future.
Roy Comport
Hollyrood, CA

Dear Customer Service,
I just got my A&A nipple covers in the mail, but the As are backwards. Please send replacements with rightways As on them as soon as possible. I have an important business dinner next week.
Lem Stanczwyk
Free City of Danzig

Dear Axes & Alleys,
Your magazine is obviously intended for right-handed people only. Why, just look at it; all the page ends are on the right side. Oh wait, though, you say, the words go from left to right. Well great, but you forgot one thing: I’m not left-eyeballed, I’m left-handed. Please publish a leftie-friendly version of the magazine or I’ll be forced to surrender Fort Necessity. It’s no skin off my teeth if you don’t believe me.
G. Washington
Trenton, NJ

I recall rumours of there being a secret hidden issue. This was maybe a couple of years back. Well, I went out to find it right after I read about it and I’ve only just gotten back from my voyage.

I’ve been to Xizang Autonomous Province, India, New York, Israel…all over. After two years in the field I can tell you the secret issue is not out there.
Steven Spielberg
Irvine, CA

Dear Reader,
If you’ve gotten this far, we would like to remind you that you, too, can send letters for inclusion in Axes & Alleys magazine. It’s easy to do. We have a handy email address, comment forms on our web site and much more in the way of daguerreotype and telegraph technology.
The Editors
Astoria, NY

Dear Axes & Alleys,
I’m very upset that your pneumatic delivery system, to which readers can subscribe for an additional $300 per quarter, does not live up to its advertised capabilities. My last issue arrived mangled and missing several pages, while there were also pages from other magazines mixed in. Very offensive magazines. For instance, there were two pages from YOLK love. Yuck! Please fix this immediately.
Tommy Nemec
Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada

I enjoy boxes.
Jim Tewerson
Beckinsale, FL

Dear Axes & Alleys,
Last time I ordered food, the local Chinese take-out place screwed up my order. When I complained, they were rude about it. But, I will give them one more chance. Usually, I would just never go there again, but when I watch Babylon 5 and see G’Kar’s spiritual journey, I realize that people, aliens and yes, even Chinese restaurants can change. It’s just one more thing I’ve learned from snake people on cult 1990s Sci-Fi TV shows.
Dakota Bester
Bellingham, ND

Letters: Tiberium 2007

Dear Sirs,
My cell phone company claims to offer me “unlimited calls” each month. However, it takes me at least two seconds to pull up or dial a number, and often two or three seconds more for the signal to go through. Factor in half a second of actual call time, plus another half second to hang up and you get roughly a six second minimum per call. If I did nothing but this, I could make no more than four hundred and thirty two thousand calls in a month. That’s hardly unlimited, is it? And, if I wanted to sleep, go to work, or actually talk to the people I called I doubt I could top even fifty thousand calls a month. Who are they trying to fool with this so called “unlimited” plan? Only God can make truly unlimited calls and to say otherwise is an abomination unto the Lord.
Good day,
Milo T. Huckenfoll
Grasping, WV

To Axes & Alleys,
I have noticed that Jodie Applegate of Good Day New York is a rather attractive woman and that Weather Authority Mike Woods is a rather attractive man. Together, they would produce some beautiful children. Could you please help me with my Fox 5 eugenics program? I would also like to see Linda Lopez and Ron Corning get together.
Melissa Foch
Staten Island, NY

Dear A&A,
If I could have one thing in the world, it would be a cornea that wasn’t all scratched up by sandpaper. If I could have two things in the world, it would be to have two corneas that weren’t all scratched up by sandpaper.
John Chesterford-Bradley
Boston, MA

I am incensed by the decline in the quality of your publication. Why, the current issue just seems rushed. Almost as if you had other things to do. I would prefer next time that you simply leave the pages blank and let me guess what might’ve gone there.
In distress,
Mary Bluepoint
Selden, NY

Axes & Allleys,
Yes, I’m sorry I spelled your name with three “l.”
Penny Grumlin
Grumlin, OH

Dear Axes & Alleys,
The advertisement for Happy Goat Brand goat hangars is utterly distasteful. I don’t appreciate your use of a dead and decapitated goat’s head. In fact, it made me vomit while reading it. Next time please use a live decapitated goat’s head, instead. They have tubes and pumps for that sort of thing these days.
Shimmy Lanhorne
Oak Bridge, WY

Hey Guys,
I’ve been trying to figure out where your magazine fits into the grand scheme. Are you post-Dadaist? Para-dimensional? Pre-Modern? Anti-Futurological? Another hyphenated term? I just can’t seem to place you.
Marisol McWhorter
Puerto Rico, America

To the Editors,
I am deeply upset by your sticker from this month’s issue (Sticker Page, Volume 456-BR8, Issue 08). The yellow pentagon claiming “My Other Personality is Hot” values people only as objects of intellectual desire. Is that all we are, minds? There is such a great variety of bodies out there and yet your sticker slights them by its very existence. How dare you!
P.B. Ribbon
Milwaukee, WI

Dear Axes & Alleys,
I don’t like that you haven’t featured Matisyahu in your pages yet. Not only is he a novelty act, but he makes really good music, too. I’ve never liked Reggae before in my life, but his God-centered stylings make me yearn for the Lord. Why can’t you put him in your pages?
Stone Gossard
Olympia, WA

Dear Axes & Alleys,
Please tell me the history of popcorn. I want to know!
Tina Von Diesehn
Wurtemburg, Nebraska