You may have noticed things have been a little slow around the OcPot this week, because I spent the past weekend visiting my parents in scenic Peoria, Illinois. I’m now paying the usual price for taking a couple of days off, with everything I have to do piled up to twice its normal height. It’ll be a few more days before I’m caught up enough for Ocelopotamus to resume its usual lumbering but steady pace, I suspect.
On Sunday the P’s and I had brunch at Peoria’s River Station restaurant, which was closed for a while and has recently reopened. The River Station, as you might guess, is famous for its view of the Illinois River, which is conveniently parked right outside. The Sunday brunch buffet is fairly lavish and they sure do crank out a lot of fresh delicious waffles for you to put cherries and strawberries on.
Afterwards we took a stroll in the little park along the river, whence I took this shot of the Murray Baker bridge that connects East Peoria to Peoria as you travel along I-74. It was our traditional route into town during the years I was growing up, though it’s had a makeover or two since those days.
The Wikipedia article tells me that the Murray Baker bridge “is not up to modern Interstate standards” because “it has no shoulders.” Hey, no need to get personal. I always hated doing shoulder presses myself, so I can only imagine how hard it is for a bridge.
I hadn’t actually intended to spend Pride weekend in Peoria, away from all the festivities (they don’t exactly do a parade in Peoria, to put it mildly), but I planned my trip before I realized how early in the month Chicago’s Pride Sunday was going to fall this year. Ironically, though, on Sunday evening I looked out the window of the car and saw a giant rainbow arching above the East Peoria sky. So I guess sometimes if you don’t find Pride weekend, Pride weekend will find you.
On Monday we had brunch at One World (formerly known as One World Coffee and Cargo) before putting me on the bus back to Chicago that leaves from the nearby Bradley campus. One World wasn’t around yet during my Bradley days, but since then it’s become a major campus-area landmark. (As a matter of fact, One World is on the site of the former record store I worked at one summer, and got fired from for bringing friends in after hours to dance to the new B-52′s record. Apparently a manager was driving by and saw people jumping around in the aisles when the store was supposed to be closed. I was quietly spoken to the next day.)
One World makes a mean hummus and you can get herb-roasted tofu in salads and other dishes, which is still pretty radical for Peoria, and for that matter, Chicago.
On our way into town, as we rounded a corner in downtown East Peoria, there was a man on the side of the road holding a handmade sign up above his head. No idea if it was his first day there holding the sign, or his hundred and first. Solid-looking guy, thirties or forties maybe, dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, cap and shades, smiling gamely at the oncoming traffic. Looked like he could have been an ex-Caterpillar employee, though that’s just a guess.
The sign said simply: GOT WORK?
Related: As I’m catching up on Daily Kos, I see that the Republicans in the Senate have managed to block the Employee Free Choice Act, which would have made it easier for employees to unionize without company interference.
Someone explain to me again how the Republicans manage to convince large chunks of the country that they represent the interests of ordinary working people? (That’s a rhetorical question, of course, since I think Thomas Frank has already explained it pretty well.)