Flood-churned Falls Park brings onlookers, extra caution
Video couldn't capture the explosions of mist that gusted up over her, the musty smell of the Big Sioux and the thunderous sound of the falls. "I already called and told him there's no way I can do it His first memory of Falls Park is coming down
The Dark Side of Apple Pie, Baby Food, and Bunnies
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Everything is not always as it seems—it's usually worse. With The Dark Side of Apple Pie, Baby Food, and Bunnies, you'll have a light that shines on the evil underbelly that corrupts even the most innocuous places and things. From cute and cuddly kittens that carry parasites to the cotton gin sealing the fate of American slaves, you'll find a fascinating look into the flippin' flip side of life that is as hilarious as it is horrifying. Even the warmest and fuzziest things have a dark side—and this book guarantees you'll never look at anything the same way again.
To say this place has a bad reputation is putting it mildly. The Gatwick Private Hotel, a decaying, three-storey 1930s mansion at 34 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, is considered to be Australia's dirtiest and most dangerous boarding house. Also known as "The Ghetto", "Hotel Hell" and "Hotel of Horrors", it has been the scene of four homicides in the past decade alone, while police and ambulances visit here, on average, about five times a week. The Gatwick was built to house navy personnel between the world wars. Today, it's a privately owned hotel that gives shelter to 90-odd people at any one time who can't find anywhere else to live: the mentally ill, the sex workers, the Indigenous and indigent, the drifters. Each resident has his or her own room, but bathroom facilities are shared. It is, wrote one journalist after a murder here in 2011, "A festering flop-house and flea-pit. where cockroaches, junkies and jailbirds go to social-climb among regular down-and-outs, living from pension day to dole cheque via soup kitchens, charity handouts and week-long benders. I am standing outside the old gal on a bright-blue, sunny day, with the surrounding oak trees in full bloom and a clutch of lorikeets screeching overhead. I've decided to spend a month here to see what daily life is like for Australia's underclass. I want to find out how somebody comes to live in a place like this and just what goes on in the nation's most notorious boarding house. This will be a challenge in more ways than one: the place is also a notorious drug den and I'm a recovering crystal-meth addict. I'll just need to keep telling myself what my Queensland drug counsellor told me: "Don't feed the cat. The more you feed it, the more it will come back wanting to be fed. The first thing I notice is a musty, dank smell: imagine your grandparents' house if nobody cleaned or opened a window for six months. In the lobby, a man wearing make-up, football shorts, a poncho and long lady fingernails on one hand says hello to me. He also has two plastic bags tied to his left arm. "I'm here gathering information for the government," he explains. "Can I get a room. " I meekly ask the small, Italian-looking woman behind a reception desk surrounded by a leadlight glass screen. We take anybody here," she says, explaining she only has one double room available at $300 a week, but she'll happily give it to me for $200. On my way out of the office, I notice a crucifix and a sign that says, Live your life with passion. It was here in 2011 that 50-year-old Neville Morrison attacked 66-year-old David Rodakis, wrongly believing him to be a paedophile. Morrison stomped on Rodakis's head and body 13 times. Rodakis was reduced to a vegetative state and died 13 days later. Just a few months later, 31-year-old Craig Douglas – a man who'd be shot dead by police three hours later – forced his way into a room occupied by two female residents and began stabbing one of them. My room is on the third floor , where most of the long-term residents live. some of them have been here for 40 years. " She takes me into my room, which is big and clean. There are fresh sheets on the bed and the window is open, so it smells a bit better in here. It has a big mirror, a double bed, a foam couch, a fridge, a TV and a large, store-bought framed photo of a soaking, cranky-looking cat titled "Bert's Bath". It looks out onto a street with new, middle-class apartments on the other side. I take my first trip to the bathroom down the hall, where a sign says No defecating (pooing) in the shower. On the way out, a big, burly guy dressed in a tracksuit sees me and guesses correctly that I'm from Queensland. I explain to him that I'm a journalist. He says his name is Wally and he puts his arm on my back and says, "You poor bastard, living here at the Gatwick. I'll help you, brother. I'll help you write a story. You and me, we'll write this story together. You'll be out of here in no time. Wally comes into my room and sits by the desk at the window. I get out my pen and paper and, without flinching, he begins his story. He had an extremely violent father and the father was extremely abusive towards him and his mother. One day, when the child was 12, the father shot the boy's mother in front of him and then shot himself. He fought in 22 amateur and professional fights and won 18 of them, including three by knockout punch.
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