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copyright 2008 Zervos

TITBIT. nA morsel or snippet of anything. Also Tidbit.
On this page I put short anecdotes, replies to friends and assorted stuff that cannot be categorised or placed anywhere else.
It may contain a blog, personal responses and in-messages from time to time but feel free to browse.

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nautical  kittens
lobsters  and  whisky
kitten on the keys
seeking  "chloe"
copyright  material
the real "moby dick"
country visitors
3D photography

This page regularly



The following is from an anecdote I wrote in "AFLOAT",
Australia's premier boating magazine.

The endless variety of wild life to be found on our waterways 
never ceases to amaze me.  But in my years of sailing nothing 
surprised me more than the three kittens I picked up from 
various parts of Sydney's waterways. I named them Flotsam, Jetsam and Largo.

Boaties will appreciate the names I gave to the first two fluffies, which were clinging to anything that would float, but I am often asked why I named the third one as such.

For collectors of absolutely useless trivia, I believe the now defunct word Largo is a (very) ancient mariner's term for any article of sunken treasure eventually washed up on a beach, which is where I found the bedraggled number three.  (I suspect the word Largo comes from the Latin root of largesse).

When I found each kitten it was totally waterlogged, in a very dishevelled state and quite a few short of its full complement of nine. I have long-since given them away to more competent carers but I still shudder to think of the possible circumstances that put them in the predicament in which I found them. 
Many years ago while cruising up the  east coast of Australia my propeller became entangled in a carelessly laid lobster line connected to a barely visible marker.  I hauled up the lobster pot to give the line some slack while attempting to untangle it.  Not surprisingly, it contained two lobsters which I angrily confiscated, with expectation of a hearty meal. 

While I was preparing the lobsters for cooking, my conscience kicked in. I guess it was partly my fault I became tangled; I should have been keeping a better lookout.  Still anchored at the spot, I searched around the galley and found a bottle of Johnnie Walker whisky which I kept on board for guests (I do not drink).  I placed the whisky in the lobster pot and lowered it back into the water.

I would have given anything to see the expression on the Lobster-potter's face when he pulled up his pot. I'm still not sure who won the day, he with my whisky or me with his lobsters ... SZ

* Also printed in "Afloat" magazine, January 1910 issue.
("Afloat" is Australia's premier boating magazine ... recommended for yachties).

It's not unusual for owners to give their pets exotic names, or name them after famous people from history, science or the classics.

We named our favourite kitten Beethoven because just after we picked him up and brought him home, he made his first movement on the piano.

I received an interesting message from Elizabeth W of Armidale seeking information about a painting titled "Chloe of the West" that she saw in a club during a visit to Wagga Wagga.  She wanted to know if it was a painting by her mother's cousin, the painter Joe Dainer, or if it was a copy of Lefebvre's "Chloe" that I myself had painted for a friend many years earlier.

She was kind enough to later send me a photo copy of the painting in question for identification (thank you Elizabeth) but I had to inform her that it was not the one painted by me.  My own painting of "Chloe" was storm-damaged many years ago. 

Elizabeth's enquiry remains unresolved. "Chloe" has been copied many times. Joe Dainer entered a number of Archibald Art Exhibitions but there is no knowledge of him ever having submitted, or even reproducing, a "Chloe". 

Lefebvre's painting of "Chloe" is an Australian national icon protected by
The National Trust and Heritage dept. of the State of Victoria.

The tragic story of  the young French girl, Marie, who posed for Jules Lefebvre's  original painting of  "Chloe", will be found on another page of my  website.

To Bambi Eyes, Nordic Man and others who have "borrowed" some locality images from my site and posted them elsewhere on the Net. I have no objection if you borrowed them for your own use only. I should be flattered.

But I remind you that the Tokyo/Japan  images (and most other material) are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, and they must NOT be published, used commercially or forwarded to an image resource group without my permission, which I will be happy to give (see contact page for details).

If you require other images, the Zed.Photos group has over 1500 recent original photos of Japan, Europe and other places available for commercial use.





My poem "Ahab's Whale" in the poetry pages of this website tells of the quest for a ferocious whale by a manic whaler seeking revenge for a past disastrous encounter.
I have received many emails from site visitors who had heard stories of a  similar 19th century monster whale and wanting to know if truly there  was such a creature. Yes there was, many decades before Herman Melville immortalised him in his novel as "Moby Dick".

Like Melville, my poem was inspired by a rare albino sperm whale, a massive bull with a violent temperament that lived in the early 1800s off the Pacific coast of Chile, near the island of Mocha.  The island is about 560k from the Island of Mas a' Tierra, in the Juan Fernandez archipelago, where Alexander Selkirk (Robinson Crusoe), a sometimes pirate, spent 4 years of solitary residency.

Although mostly seen in the vicinity of Mocha, the white whale had been encountered on both sides of the South American continent. The locals named him  "Mocha Dick". He is said to have been the largest sperm whale ever seen. The monstrous leviathan had a body length exceeding 28 meters (91 ft) and a huge block  head almost one third of its length, a veritable battering ram which he used against the ships of the foolhardy whalers who dared to tackle him.

Mocha Dick had enormous strength and large powerful flukes. He is said to have  killed over 100 men, sunk 5 ships and destroyed 16 whale boats. When the aged whale was finally caught by a Norwegian whaler he was encrusted with barnacles, covered in scars and carried over two dozen embedded harpoons with their lengthy retrieval lines still attached.    

Top: Chrissie and Judy
Bottom: Diane
We were happy to get a visit recently from some country friends, two of whom  we hadn't seen since they left Sydney some months ago.

Steve and Judy came down for the day from Kariong (on the north coast) and dropped in for a visit. They had their young daughters Georgia and Michala with them.  We were delighted to see the children.  We hadn't seen Georgia for a while and it was the first time we had seen Michala.  We saw Steve and Judy again about a week later when they came down to Sydney for John and Bronnie's wedding.

About a week later Brad and Diane drove down from Grafton (near the Queensland border) and popped in for a morning visit with young son Mackenzie. Chrissie and I didn't get the chance to see Mackenzie before they moved up to the north coast, but the boys had seen him many times during dinner nights at Brad and Di's.  Diane is a busy Human Resources consultant and manages her own company. There are links to her website on my other  pages.

It was good to see all you guys again.  Hasta La Vista.


3D (stereo) PHOTOGRAPHY:
To Karl and Wilma (St. Ives), thank you for your Email. Unfortunately I have misplaced  your reply details but I hope the following provides a satisfactory answer to your question.
The Sydney Stereo (3D) camera club was disbanded in the mid-90s and I don't know of any other such group in Australia at the present time.  3D (stereo) photography has always been, and still is, very popular in Europe and the USA.

The photos are taken with a special twin lens camera that has a lens separation of approximately 63.5 mm.  The transparency pairs are then mounted and projected onto an aluminium-coated screen via a twin lens projector, the coated lenses of which are polarised  at  90 degrees to each other.  The projected images are then viewed in brilliant full  colour through similarly oriented polarising filters.  The perspective can be  increased and the resultant effect is truly awesome. I won several prizes with my 3D stereographs in the 1960s. 




This is not Danii. This is
Julie taking sextant readings

Daniella  P is sailing her yacht to the French Marquesas and asked if I knew of a quick and easy way to plot her position by taking noon sights or by  celestial observations during night-time meridian transits.  She doesn't like to rely entirely on the GNSS system.

Yes Danii, as a matter of fact I do know a way.  I explained the following method in "AFLOAT" magazine in 2003.  Here is a condensed version of my article.

Take a corrected sextant reading of the sun's alt (angular altitude) at true noon (see below)   and deduct from 90 to get the Zenith distance ZD.  From the almanac get the sun's dec  (declination) and the GMT at which the reading was taken. If the sun's dec is north and you have to face north  to see the sun, or if the sun's dec is south and you have to face south to see the sun then Lat=dec-ZD.  In all other cases Lat=ZD+dec.    

A negative result indicates that your latitude is in the opposite hemisphere to the sun, North or South, otherwise it is in the same hemisphere.

To find longitude at true noon, note the GMT and get the sun's GHA (Greenwich hour angle)   from the almanac.  At true noon (see below)  the GHA will equal your longitude west. Subtract from 360 to get longitude east.

True noon is not necessarily at clock noon. True noon is when the sun is exactly on the observer's meridian and therefore at its highest point in the sky (max alt).
The difference between them can be up to 16 minutes either way from clock noon and is known as the EQT or the  "Equation of Time".

For position finding at night, use the same method when a star, planet or the moon are on your meridian. Simply replace the sun's GHA and dec with those for the celestial object.  Remember that a star's GHA=SHA+GHAY  (star's sidereal hour angle) + (gha of the first point of Aries).  Interpolate as necessary.
--- SZ