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Ax and You Shall Receive

Everett’s hip edge grows sharper every day. In the spring, the city will boast one of the area’s two new ax-throwing bars. Yes, ax-throwing is a new thing — one that’s being paired with an old thing, alcohol. It might sound comical or hopelessly contradictory. It might make you glance at your fingers in appreciation. But, then again, what else goes with ax-throwing? Yoga or frozen yogurt? Didn’t think so.

You grab the axes and I’ll get us a couple of IPA’s. Oddly, it works.

Before you scramble to buy stock in companies that sell first aid kits, the preliminaries. The business is called Revolution Ax and it’s slated to open sometime in April in the Village, near Night Shift and Bone Up breweries, Sky Zone, and MetroRock. The establishment will feature five areas where patrons can (what else?) throw axes at a target. Employees will teach customers the basics and supervise all throws, even those made by experienced show offs. The company is trying to secure a license to sell beer and wine.

Another place, Urban Axes, is opening this summer in Union Square, Somerville. But it’s part of a Philly-based chain, unlike the independent business opening here in Everett. Plus, we’d rather juggle axes than try to find a parking spot in Union Square. Everett’s better.

It seems that ax-throwing bars appeal to younger people who like to do something when they’re out for a couple of drinks. Think pool or trivia, only a lot more exotic. This is good. It belies the overdone stereotype that everyone under a certain age has his eyes buried in a cell phone.

If twenty- and thirty-somethings want to blow off some steam by sipping a local brew and hurling an ax, have at it. If it brings small groups of people together for some diversionary fun, great. Maybe things like ax-throwing bars, as odd as it might sound, are destined to become modern versions of bowling alleys or arcades, places where people gather and connect.

Or, perhaps, that’s way overstated. Either way, we’re all for harmless fun, even if it involves axes.

Amazon Circling?

Boston made the short list of places Amazon is considering for a second headquarters in North America. It felt like a formality, as 20 places from coast to coast made the cut.

Joining Beantown are: Atlanta; Austin; Chicago; Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Denver; Indianapolis; Los Angeles; Miami; Montgomery County, Maryland; Nashville; Newark; New York City; Northern Virginia; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Raleigh; Toronto and Washington, D.C.

There’s no word on where, precisely, the Boston bid will zero in on. Somerville’s in play, as is Suffolk Downs, both of which are more than close enough to Everett for us to take note.

Overall, the list is so large and varied that it’s hard to know what’s going through Jeff Bezos’s mind and what priorities will loom largest.

Amazon is reportedly keen on public transportation, which makes us wonder about places like Indy and Columbus (where people think mass transit is a fancy term for carpooling). Colleges and workforce are said to be important, but is Amazon seriously worried about drawing the best and brightest, no matter where it sets up a shop? Oh, and airports. Gotta be able to fly around the globe with minimal headaches. We suppose that’s good news for Atlanta, perhaps the American city most synonymous with its gargantuan airport.

Are there factors we don’t know about? If Bezos likes barbecue, Boston might as well withdraw.

Is Bezos a big hockey fan? Toronto. College football? Columbus. NASCAR? Raleigh. Snow-capped mountains? Denver. Sun and glitz. Miami or Los Angeles.

The biggest variable has yet to come into focus. Namely, what will Amazon receive from its new host city/region/state in financial incentives and tax breaks. If Boston and Massachusetts get drawn into a game of dialing for dollars, we don’t like our chances.

Our guess: Boston makes the next cut-down but Amazon eventually chooses from among D.C., Northern Virginia, and Maryland. Bezos owns the Washington Post, so he’s entrenched in that region. Plus, the metro-capitol area lacks for nothing of significance.

Pats, Pats, Pats!

Of course, Amazon’s search for Oz quickly faded from thought over the weekend as Tom Brady and the New England Patriots continued their pursuit of a sixth Super Bowl triumph.

His right hand bandaged with what looked like a strip of a tar, his team flailing to escape the chopping block, Brady once again pulled the Pats to safety. His two fourth-quarter touchdown passes to Danny Amendola lifted New England to a 24-20 victory over Jacksonville in Sunday’s AFC Championship. Jacksonville players were reduced to tears, their Super Bowl tickets having been pick-pocketed by Brady, one of those rare athletes who cools down as flames rise.

Really, it’s near impossible to say anything original about No. 12. He’s like a wonder of the world. You just stare and utter things like “Wow,” “unbelievable” and “Never seen anything like it.” He’s the best of all time, easiest to leave it at that.

His Picasso moment on Sunday came with under 11 minutes remaining in the game, his team trailing 20-10 and facing a third-and-18 from his own 25-yard line. Brady calmly slid to his left and powered a throw down the middle of the field to Amendola, who made sliding catch with a defender breathing down his back. The Pats would go on to score two touchdowns in relatively stress-free fashion, while the defense withstood a semi-scary last-minute drive by the Jags. But it was all precipitated by that third-down play; without it, we’re probably sitting here muttering, “I can’t believe we lost to Jacksonville.”

Super Bowl LII isn’t until February 4 in Minneapolis, where the Pats will meet a Philadelphia Eagles team that claimed the NFC Championship in a breeze, 38-7 over the favored Vikings. What happens next is a toss up. The Pats are awesome, but Brady and coach Bill Belichick have been to seven Super Bowls, each exhilarating or excruciating. None were cakewalks.

The breather is nice, that’s for sure. The extra week gives Brady a chance to ice his 40-year-old right arm and, we might assume, time for his stitched-up hand to heal completely. And it buys some time for bruising tight end Rob Gronkowski, who left Sunday’s game with a concussion. The Pats won last year’s Super Bowl without Gronkowski’s services. Trying to do it again sounds dicey, especially since the team is already without Julian Edelman.

But there will be ample time to go over the game in the smallest of detail. For now, relish the big stuff. The Pats are playing in the Super Bowl for the eighth time since 2001. Brady’s legend grows. Belichick’s brilliance knows no bounds. New England’s gilded age continues.

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