Monday 16th August, Marseilles, France.

What's Marseilles like, you ask? Well, I don't know and I don't care. My nephews and I have been busy throwing frisbee and playing detectives, and reading The Lion King. We've been watching Tarzan and Obelix videos. I've been boring my nieces with stories from my travels, and taking them to the shops to buy chocolates and potato crisps. I even took the girls shopping for jewellery and clothes. Man, do girls shop differently to guys!
"I loooove these trousers, but, like, they don't go with any of my tops."
"What a great excuse to buy some new tops!"

Andrew and Helene..Flynn and Joseph.

When I arrived, there was a 'Welcome To France note on my bed, along with some gifts. Five year old Flynn had made out of Playdough a pair of interlocking hearts and a 'bonbon'. With help from Mummy, he had written me this note: "I made this for you. The heart is so you can remember that I love you. The lolly represents nothing."

Estelle..Yesica.

My nieces have grown a year older and smarter since I last saw them, and are now able to completely put it over their poor old uncle. They know what I'm going to say before I say it, and they often beat me to the punchline of my own jokes. "You're soooo predictable, Uncle Stephen!" It's scary when you're outsmarted by a couple of skinny little kids. During our first dinner together here, fourteen year old Estelle piped up with this comment: "Hey Uncle Stephen, how come each side of your head is all bald at the front and there's just a bit of hair in the middle? IS THAT NATURAL OR DID YOU DO IT LIKE THAT?" Yes, sweetheart I go to great effort and expense to achieve the look of a balding, middle aged man! Sheesh! Gimme a break. When they left Australia, all the boys in Yesica's class skipped a drama lesson and spent that time in the Domestic Science room, making chocolates for her as a farewell gift. Apparently, there are broken hearts all over that town since she left.

Estelle has shared with me some of the poetry she's written recently. I don't mind admitting that her writing brought a tear to my eye. Of course I'm biased, but I felt the poems were worth sharing with you. Click here to read some of Estelle's work.

People have emailed me a few interesting bits and pieces lately, but this is the first chance I've had to share them with you....

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This is an interesting look at the corporate world, through bovine eyes...

DEMOCRAT

You have two cows..
Your neighbor has none.
You feel guilty for being successful.
Barbara Streisand sings for you.

REPUBLICAN

You have two cows.
Your neighbor has none.
So?
Go out and get a job and buy your own cows.

SOCIALIST

You have two cows.
The government takes one and gives it to your neighbor.
You form a cooperative to tell him how to manage his cow.

COMMUNIST

You have two cows.
The government seizes both and provides you with milk.
You wait in line for hours to get it.
It is expensive and sour.

CAPITALISM, AMERICAN STYLE

You have two cows.
You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.

DEMOCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE

You have two cows.
The government taxes you to the point you have to sell both to support a man in a foreign country who has only one cow, which was a gift from your government.

BUREAUCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE

You have two cows.
The government takes them both, shoots one, milks the other, pays you for the milk, and then pours the milk down the drain.

AMERICAN CORPORATION

You have two cows.
You sell one, lease it back to yourself and do an IPO on the 2nd one.
You force the two cows to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised when one cow drops dead. You spin an announcement to the analysts stating you have down sized and are reducing expenses.
Your stock goes up.

FRENCH CORPORATION

You have two cows.
You go on strike because you want three cows.
You go to lunch and drink wine.
Life is good.

JAPANESE CORPORATION

You have two cows.
You redesign them so they are one tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk.
They learn to travel on unbelievably crowded trains.
Most are at the top of their class at cow school.

GERMAN CORPORATION

You have two cows.
You engineer them so they are all blond, drink lots of beer, give excellent quality milk, and run a hundred miles an hour.
Unfortunately they also demand 13 weeks of vacation per year.

ITALIAN CORPORATION

You have two cows but you don't know where they are.
While ambling around, you see a beautiful woman.
You break for lunch.
Life is good.

RUSSIAN CORPORATION

You have two cows.
You have some vodka.
You count them and learn you have five cows.
You have some more vodka.
You count them again and learn you have 42 cows.
The Mafia shows up and takes over however many cows you really have.

TALIBAN CORPORATION

You have all the cows in Afghanistan, which are two.
You don't milk them because you cannot touch any creature's private parts.
Then you kill them and claim a US bomb blew them up while they were in the hospital.

IRAQI CORPORATION

You have two cows.
They go into hiding.
They send radio tapes of their mooing.

FLORIDA CORPORATION

You have a black cow and a brown cow.
Everyone votes for the best looking one.
Some of the people who like the brown one best, vote for the black one.
Some people vote for both.
Some people vote for neither.
Some people can't figure out how to vote at all.
Finally, a bunch of guys from out-of-state tell you which is the best looking cow.

CALIFORNIAN

You have a cow and a bull.
The bull is depressed.
It has spent its life living a lie.
It goes away for two weeks.
It comes back after a taxpayer-paid sex-change operation.
You now have two cows.
One makes milk; the other doesn't.
You try to sell the transgender cow.
Its lawyer sues you for discrimination.
You lose in court.
You sell the milk-generating cow to pay the damages.
You now have one rich, transgender, non-milk-producing cow. You change your business to beef.
PETA pickets your farm.
Jesse Jackson makes a speech in your driveway.
Cruz Bustamante calls for higher farm taxes to help "working cows".
Hillary Clinton calls for the nationalization of 1/7 of your farm "for the children".
Scharwzenager signs a law giving your farm to Mexico.
The L.A. Times quotes five anonymous cows claiming you groped their teats.
You declare bankruptcy and shut down all operations.
The cow starves to death.
The L.A. Times' analysis shows your business failure is Bush's fault

Here's something that should stir up a bit of hate mail for me...

How many men does it take to open a beer?
None. It should be opened when she brings it.
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Why is a Laundromat a really bad place to pick up a woman?
Because a woman who can't even afford a washing machine will probably never be able to support you.
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Why do women have smaller feet than men?
It's one of those "evolutionary things" that allows them to stand closer to the kitchen sink.
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How do you know when a woman is about to say something smart?
When she starts a sentence with "A man once told me.."
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How do you fix a woman's watch?
You don't. There is a clock on the oven.
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If your dog is barking at the back door and your wife is yelling at the front door, who do you let in first?
The dog, of course. He'll shut up once you let him in.
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What's worse than a Male Chauvinist Pig?
A woman who won't do what she's told.
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I married a Miss Right.
I just didn't know her first name was Always.
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Scientists have discovered a food that diminishes a woman's sex drive by 90%.
It's called a Wedding Cake.
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Why do men die before their wives?
They want to.
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In the beginning, God created the earth and rested.
Then God created Man and rested.
Then God created Woman.
Since then, neither God nor Man has rested.
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Also, you might remember the story of the orphanage in India. Many months ago, I posted a plea for warm clothes and bedding on behalf of a reader who sponsors a child in an orphange in India. Some time later, I heard back via that reader that the orphanage had received a generous package of winter supplies from someone who said she heard about their plight on none other than The Savage Files. That gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside, kind of like after I've had four or five shandies, so I decided to push my luck and see if anyone can help the kids this time. They really need a generator so they can provide light at night, and so children can study and learn to use a computer. They also really need warm WINTER (wool) clothes, blankets, shoes, socks, gloves, hats, etc, school supplies, and sponsors. Spare a few minutes to check out their newly established website at www.manjushreeorphanage.org and if you feel like helping in any way, the contact information is there.

I have been forwarded a copy of a letter written by a guy who sponsors a child there;

Hi,
Best wishes from Tawang and all the children.
Didn't meet Lama Thupten because he had an unplanned appointment somewhere else.
Was shocked about the new buildings.
No progress in finishing them because a lack of money.
Class I and II are given in a big plastic tent.
It looks like a Bangladeshi refugee camp.
But the teachers are doing a great job over there.
The children have increased to the number of 85 so the sleeping rooms are getting really stuffed.
You hear a lot of coughing and other unhealthy sounds from the children.
Yep, I'm really feeling pity.
If you want to stay there in October 2005 that's possible.
The sleeping room for guests looks nice and clean.
I didn't use it because I wanted to have private time too.
Had a great meal together with all the children.
Yeah, that was one of the highlights.
But in October 2005 you can see it by yourself.
I'll going in Mai or June again to India.
My godchild Naba was living in the flooded area.
I think you saw it on the news.
It was a big hassle to meet him.
But we had some nice days together.
Need some time to think about everything what happened.
Sometimes it looked like being in the middle of a war.
Greets, Leon

I'll leave you with a couple of wise sayings...

"People create the results they believe they deserve"

"If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got."

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