A Key West opening today.

Two significant historical facts to share.

Two of the most popular tales involving Key West concern Carl Tanzler and Elena Hoyos Mesa. Weird, but true.

On this day in 1934 at age 22, Elena Hoyos Mesa died due to tuberculosis. At the time, a Carl Tanzler was deeply in love with her. Carl worked in the Key West hospital at the time.

Soon after Elena’s burial and in the dark of the night, Carl stole Elena’s body from the cemetery. Took her to his home. Lived with her body for 7 years. The same bed and who knows what else.

Carl was finally caught. Never convicted of any crime. there was no crime on the books at the time regarding living with a corpse. The cemetery theft got lost along the way.

Carl’s actions an example of true love. I guess.

At different times in its history, Key West was a booming town. Always a particular industry stood out. After a number of years, died off and disappeared.

Cigars an example. On this day in 1923, there were 25 cigar factories in Key West producing 60 million cigars a year.

Can’t argue with those numbers.

No cigar plants in Key West today. Only a solitary man sitting here and there on Key West streets rolling cigars for tourists.

Many military battles of historical significance. One is the Charge of the Light Brigade at Balaclava during the Crimean War. The Brits against the Russians.

The battle occurred on this date in 1854.

The Russians were secure on a hill top. The top a gradual rise from a valley below. Russian guns on top and both sides. Suicide to attack up the hill.

The British did. The attack was by mistake. Some how orders got fouled up.

The Brits were led by Lord James Cardigan.

British casualties 40 percent.

Britain won an impossible battle. England rejoiced. Cardigan a hero, the surviving British soldiers acclaimed, the dead honored.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson was Poet Laureate at the time.

He read of the battle in The Times six weeks later. He wrote the narrative poem The Charge of the Light Brigade. The poem was published on December 9.

History tells us it took Tennyson “only a few minutes” to write the poem. It was immediately popular.

Lord Cardigan who led the British cavalry also derived fame beyond a hero’s status.

Over the years, Cardigan noted when British troops fought in certain areas, it was not always warm. The troops needed something extra to keep them warm. He devised/invented what has become known as the cardigan sweater for them to wear under their uniforms.

Tennyson’s poem has always excited me. His mixture of words just right. I share certain portions with you. Note the excitement: “Half a league, half a league,  / Half a league onward….. / Into the Valley of Death / Rode the six hundred….. / Theirs not to make reply, / Theirs not to reason why, / Theirs but to do and die….. / Cannon to the right of them, / Cannon to the left of them….. / Back from the mouth of hell, / All that was left of them, / Left of the six hundred. / When can their glory fade? / O the wild charge they made! / Honor the Light Brigade, / Noble six hundred!”

Yesterday could have been a bad day at black rock for Syracuse. They stood against the mighty Clemson.

Clemson a 45 point favorite.

Syracuse did lose, but not by 45 points. Only 26. The final score 47-21. Actually,  Syracuse was in the game till close to the end of the third quarter. Then it was Clemson’s game to the final gun

Enjoy your Sunday!


  1. Lou. Thanks for the account of the charge of the light brigade. It reminds me of a battle 1400 years earlier when a small force of Greek Spartans held off a huge army of Persians for three days in the mountain region known as Thermopylae. A different time and place, but a similar story of men vastly outnumbered but willing to die for their cause.

  2. The same thing happened all the time in Nam, usually a couple of VC holding off some Yanks, sometimes even with us Yanks having vastly superior resources. Ever wonder why we eventually had to give up and run? Difference is the VC didn’t have any poets to write about their heroic feats.

    • True. History is written by the winners.

      There are many other accounts of a small force defeating a much larger one. How about the Taliban attack on Combat Outpost Keating in Afghanistan, where 50 guys from the 4th Infantry fought off more than 400 heavily armed Taliban that had completely surrounded the outpost from high ground. Two men were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for their actions that day – Staff Sgt.Ty Carter and Staff Sgt. Clinton L. Romesha. Eight men died.

  3. I watched “60 Minutes” last night and have to say Trump’s little stunt and wall to wall complaining about it all week was totally uncalled for and as far as I am concerned only brings his own house down around him. – and I’m a Republican who was only going to not vote this year, now I think I will actually vote for Biden.

  4. It’s true, and I will bet I am not alone with this. Real Republicans do not vote blindly, even if there are not many of us true (real) Republicans left any more.

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