Sam’s House of Hofbrau, for years one of the best downtown lunch spots, has been closed for more than a month. Initially there was a hand-written sign in the window that said “Closed for vacation.” A week or so later, a new sign said “Still on vacation.” Now the only sign says “Closed.” The place is dark; the chairs are stacked on the tables. Someone is picking up the mail and piling it on the cash register counter. The phone service is still on, but messages left on the answering machine have not been returned. I’ve asked some city staff people what they know, and they only shrug their shoulders and share their general disappointment that the place is shuttered. If indeed Sam’s days are done, that’s a big loss for the downtown lunch seekers hoping to avoid the swarms of high-school kids who buzz through town just after noon. Sam’s served as a sort of sanctuary for the older folks.
The rumor that singer Willie Nelson and presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich (pictured) would appear together on the campus will not be coming true. Their respective schedules made it impossible. Speaking of Kucinich, a Chico State student named Brennan Purtzer offered me a story covering a Kucinich speech in Oakland. He also offered us a compact disc with photos he’d taken of the speech. But it was important that he get the disc back, he said in a yellow Post-it Note stuck to the CD case, because besides the Kucinich photos the disc also had pictures of his “dead chinchilla” (also pictured). Brennan, thanks. Didn’t use the story—we covered a speech he gave last May in Grass Valley—but the photos of your late chinchilla are safe.
Jason Ross, a former Chico News & Review contributing editor, was part of the team of writers for The Daily Show that won an Emmy for best writing for a comedy or variety show last Sunday night. Ross, who now lives in New York City, is the son of retired Chico State University professor and former CUSD Trustee Bob Ross and his wife Sharon. It was strange (and sort of disturbing) to walk into the room and see Jason on my TV, standing behind Jon Stewart. I’d like to say I taught him everything he knows about writing, but I won’t.