This is really just awful. Kepler's, the Menlo Park independent bookstore and jewel of the South Bay, suddenly announced that it was closing today -- for good. Kepler's has apparently been having problems ever since the dot-com bust and the rise of discount booksellers. Despite the best efforts of Menlo Park city officials to help them negotiate a lower rent, the owner (whose father opened the store over 50 years ago) determined today with his staff that there was simply no way they could continue to operate the business.

When we worked our soulless job down in Menlo Park, the only thing that would keep us going would be sneaking out of work early, grabbing a beer and beef jerky at the Menlo Park 7-11, and then cutting across the Caltrain tracks to lose ourselves in the amazing stacks and stacks at Kepler's before our train back to civilization was scheduled to arrive. We bought some great books there.

Well, if we still worked in Menlo Park, we'd buy a beer at the 7-11 (recently reopened after the fire), walk across the tracks again, and give Kepler's a good ol' gangsta lean right by the door. Thanks for reminding us that we're more than our jobs down in the South Bay, Kepler's -- and we'll miss you more than words can say.