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It NEVER happened! — Sgt. Tony Ludlow’s Newsletter for 26 Jan 2011

Jan. 26th 2011

Jack Lalanne, 96, died on Sunday of respiratory failure, a complication of pneumonia.

Prior to coming down with pneumonia, Jack was working out everyday.

Jack Lalanne was a role model for me and millions of others. I’ve written about Jack several times over the past ten years. He was the godfather of American fitness, giving housewives and little boys and girls an education in health and fitness through a daily TV show.

His exercise program, broadcast in black and white, was one of my mother’s favorite shows. She’d put my little sister down for a nap, and then send four year old me to my room to do the same. Yeah, right.

From my room, I could see mom turn on the Jack Lalanne Show. But instead of clearing out a little space in the den to exercise along with Jack, mom would lay down on the couch and take her own nap. But from my room I could see the TV and so I started doing toe touches and pushups with Jack. The only equipment required for Jack was a chair and a couple of thick books.

Jack was 16 years older than my parents but lived a very different lifestyle.

Mom is bedridden in a nursing home, where she’s been for the past couple of years. Her mental state is pretty good most days. On other days, not so much. I visited her a few months ago and sat by her bed for a couple of hours talking. For the first hour or so our conversation was very normal and she was sharp as could be. We talked about events and people in our family and mom was doing great. And then …

“Son, you remember when you were in 6th grade?”

“Yes, ma’am.”

“And you were in the school play … ?”

“Yes, ma’am.” I answered.

“And you wet your pants in front of the whole audience?” Mom said in all seriousness as she slipped off the reservation.

“Ma’am??” said I.

“Yes, son … you remember that, don’t you?” Mom pressed.

Well, what’s a son to do? What’s a son to say?

Now before you assume that I actually DID wet my pants in the 6th grade in front of the school play audience, you can just relax and let that one go. Never happened. No how. No way. And, “NO!” this isn’t one of those suppressed memory things.

My Dad passed away in January of 2000 after a long battle with cancer. In November of 1999 Dad started to go down fast and they called the family together. By the time we’d all gathered together, Dad had rallied. He was actually doing a little better. We found ourselves at his house just sitting around and chatting in small groups among ourselves as Dad slept in his Lazy Boy recliner.

And then suddenly Dad woke up.

“Y’all!!! Dad is awake!!” my sister Sharon announced. Everyone hushed and someone turned the volume down on the TV that was on for background noise. Dad looked around the room and then …

“TONY??!!” he asked in a loud voice, as he looked around the room for me.

Let me just say at this point that the room was full of siblings, half siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and a surreal combination of other oddball family members. And at that point, when my Dad, in front of that big crowd of family, singled ME out … well … I was damn proud!!

“Oh boy!!!” I thought.

“Yes, sir!” I said, chest out, scooting to the edge of my chair!

“BOY!!??” my Dad said in my direction … in a voice that led me to believe that he was not, in fact — contrary to what I was hoping — going to bestow the birthright on me.

“Yes, sir?” I answered, with a noticeable decrease in pride and enthusiasm.

“BOY?!! WHEN ARE YOU GONNA QUIT SMOKIN MARIJUANA AND SCREWIN THE GIRL NEXT DOOR??” asked my father in all sincerity.

And then … he fell back asleep.

My sister quickly checked to ensure that Dad hadn’t died, but had just fallen asleep. In those few seconds while she checked his condition, I prayed with all of my might that my father hadn’t just said that and then passed on to his reward. Please don’t let those be his last words!

My sister leaned over to Dad and confirmed that he was just sleeping.

“He’s asleep.” she said with a whisper, with everyone looking at Dad intently and with some measure of alarm and concern. And then everyone sort of breathed a sigh of relief … and … as if on command … all slowly turned and looked from Dad … to ME, the fornicator pot head!

In that awkward silence, and under the glare of my family (I was sure I saw a few of them slip out to go get some stones to throw at me) I tried to figure out what to say. But I was in shock!

Before I could say anything, my son Matthew broke the silence and said, “Way to go DAD!!!” and pumped his fist, grinning from ear to ear, and rescuing me from that embarrassment and those icy stares! That pause allowed me to tell them what I’m telling you now, IT NEVER HAPPENED!!

NE-VER HAPPENED!

Misinformation about things can really cause some problems. Lots of problems. My Mom thinks I wet my pants in front of the whole school and my Dad believed that I was up to some shenanigans and licentious naughtiness. (I have a theory about my Dad’s announcement that I will share with you individually after a two beer minimum at Huey’s. You’re paying.)

Mom used to watch Jack Lalanne on TV when I was little and then she’d lay down on the couch and watch Jack exercise until she fell asleep. She never exercised. Neither did my Dad.

My parents were members of their generation. After defeating Hitler and driving the North Koreans back across the 38th parallel, my parent’s generation moved to the suburbs, raised their families, and did little if any exercise. My Mom and her friends were likewise inactive. I never saw either of my parents exercise in my whole life. Not even once.

For years I tried in vain to get my parents to quit smoking, exercise, and take better care of themselves. And like most of their generation they sort of laughed at their “exercise nut” son and told me that exercise was fine for “you young people.”

My folks were wrong. And so were most of their generation. Misinformation abounded. No one advocated exercise then. Doctors and nurses smoked and led unhealthy lifestyles right along with the general population. There were few good role models.

Today is different. Great information abounds!
If you smoke, quit. Just quit! Yes, I know, easier said than done. But do it anyway! People quit everyday. Please, please, please be one of them!
Exercise! Get your heart-rate up! And when you exercise, make a face! It ought to be hard! The muscles in your face need a workout too! Eat less and move more! MOVE!!! Cuz when you quit moving, it’s over.

If my sweet little momma had done that, she might be living a vibrant life like Jack was living 16 years ago when HE was 80.

Jack lived an active life, full of richness and quality, all the way to the end. If my mom makes it another 16 years to 96 she will have spent those 16 years bedridden.

Thank you Jack Lalanne! I’ve stolen your exercises and your message (but not your unitard!) and will continue to pay it forward! If I’m lucky, I’ll live as long and as well as you and maybe one day someone will credit me for making a difference in the quality of their life … and they’ll pay it forward too.

——————————————

SPRING HALF MARATHON TRAINING!

There are at least five half marathons in the spring! There is one in Nashville, Louisville, St. Louis, Fayetteville, and Oklahoma City! (The Germantown Half Marathon is also in March. But I’m not a big fan of it. However, it IS local.)

I’ll begin the training this Saturday, January 29 at 0700. We’ll meet in front of the Visitor’s Center to begin Spring Half Marathon Training 2011!

Prerequisites for the training: be able to run 3 miles in 36 minutes or less.
Cost for the three month training: $75 for active duty Boot Campers, $125 for “Friends of Boot Camp.” All are welcome to join in the fun.

——————————–

ACCOUNTABILITY GROUP

Would you be interested in joining an accountability group of fellow boot campers?

A group to hold each member accountable for boot camp attendance, weight loss, weekend homework (1 hr of continuous cardio), and any other area of self-help-dom that might be mutually agreed upon by the group.

Does this sound like something that you’d be interested in if the meetings were set up on a regular basis and time that wouldn’t interfere with the rest of your life?

———————————–

BOOT CAMP DISCOUNTS AND FACEBOOK EXPERIMENT!
Here’s how it works!

Make a Facebook status update and get a discount!

For every status update that you make that references:
“USMC Fitness Boot Camp,”
“Sgt. Tony’s Boot Camp,”
“Tony’s Boot Camp,”
or something similar, you can take $2.50 off your reenlistment fee for each update!
You can take up to $20 off for any given month!

Your status update has to be a specific reference to USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP or to me specifically by name. And be sure to tag me.

You can do the same thing by “checking in” at USMC Fitness Boot Camp either by using Facebook “places,” Foursquare, or any of the other “check in” apps that show up on your Facebook News Feed.

So log on and start getting your discounts now!

———————————-

WIND CHILL AND INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY

When the wind chill is 29 or lower, we’ll go inside at 0530, 0830, and 5:45 PM. The 0645 class is inside from now until March.

Check with weather.com or The Weather Channel. I’ll post it on my Facebook page and the Boot Camp website Blog page (http://usmcfitnessbootcamp.com/blog/) if there’s a question. And if you’re not sure, you can text me at 901-644-0145.

What about inclement weather days?

We’ll follow the Memphis City Schools decision. If they close, we’ll stand-down. If they close in the morning but the streets are clear and good to go by the afternoon, the evening class will meet. I’ll post that status on Facebook and the Boot Camp Blog page.

————————————-

PERSONAL TRAINING!

I’ve got a few prime hours open during the week if you know someone looking for a trainer. I use the facilities at Christ Methodist and the hourly rates are standard for Memphis. Over-all fitness training, boot camp style workouts, strength training, sports specific conditioning and agility (tennis, soccer, basketball, etc.)

TonyLudlow@aol.com or 901-644-0145

———————————-

FREE MONTH OF BOOT CAMP FOR YOU!

Remember that when one of your family or friends joins the program because of your recruiting them, YOU get a free month of Boot Camp!

———————————-

THE 0830 AND THE 0645 CLASSES!!

The 0830 Class meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Don’t forget that there is child-care available at the church for this class!

The 0645 meets on MWF inside!

ATTENTION 0830 CLASS MEMBERS: please remember that no cell phone usage is allowed while you drive your car on the campus. So when you pull onto the campus, no cell phones please!

——————————————–

NEW PRICING FOR FAMILIES AND COUPLES

If you’re a part of a family (usually husband and wife) that does USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP together, ask me about it! I think you’ll like it!

———————————————-

WANT TO LOSE 20 POUNDS BY THE END OF NEXT MONTH?

Take Shape For Life is the BEST weight loss program I know of. If you’d like to lose weight talk to me. This is the program I used to lose the almost 30 pounds I gained after knee surgery. Let me help you!

You can also go to www.combatchallenge.tsfl.com/

——————————————-

TUESDAY & THURSDAY EVENING CLASSES ARE ON HIATUS

The Tuesday and Thursday evening classes are standing down until the last week in January.

However, I’ll be running at 4:30 PM at St. Mary’s track on Tues and Thursday and you’re welcome to join me for an informal jog fest!

———————————————-

CALENDAR

A calendar has been added to the official USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP website.
http://www.usmcfitnessbootcamp.com/calendar.html

For you visual learners, you’ll find this an easy way to glance at the week or month and see where the workouts will be, if there’s a venue change.

—————————————————

What would you do if money were not an issue, fear were not a factor, and failure were not an option?

To your optimum health and fitness!

SEE YOU ON THE QUARTERDECK!

Tony

Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Mailing address: 4888 Southern Ave., Memphis, TN 38117
Cell Phone: 901-644-014

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UPDATE at 0940 hrs, 21 Jan 2011

Jan. 21st 2011

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP — Evening Platoon — YOU ARE A GO! I REPEAT, YOU ARE A GO! See you at 1730 (5:30pm) inside!

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


Friday, 21 January 2011 Weather Update

Jan. 20th 2011

Memphis City Schools are closed Friday, 21 Jan 2011 for Snow-mageddon II. All USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP morning classes will stand down. The evening class may meet. We’ll see how the day progresses. Stay tuned!

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


BUCK NEKKID — Sgt. Tony’s Newsletter for 19 Jan 20111

Jan. 19th 2011

“It’ll take about two hours, Mr. Ludlow, will you be waiting on it?” asked Jason.

I handed him the keys and announced, “No, I’m going for a run.”

“Sir???”

Judging by the puzzled look on Jason’s face, that’s not a common response to that question on a Saturday morning at the Firestone in my hometown. Jason looked at me curiously and, considering that I was wearing running clothes, smiled and cheerfully said, “OK!” But the look never really faded!

This was in early September of 2008 and I’d just arrived in Fort Smith, Arkansas the night before and needed to have my Jeep’s front-end alignment issues fixed.

The weather in Fort Smith was perfect for a run: a little cool and overcast.

I started running west from the Firestone up a hill toward Creekmore Park, about two miles away. My plan was to run to the park, do a few miles around the jogging path and head back to Firestone. That was the plan.

Funny thing happened though. As I got to the park a strange idea popped into my head. “I think I’ll just keep running west.” I have no idea why that seemed like a good idea, but I took off on that spontaneous change of plans.

In no time I was in a neighborhood that I knew like the back of my hand. A neighborhood where many of my friends had lived and where I’d spent a good part of my youth, hanging out and playing football in a vacant lot. Mostly my friends and I just tried to impress the girls who came to watch us play. We thought that girls would like us better if we could clobber and tackle one another.

Further west I ran and passed a Hardee’s. (I wish Memphis had Hardee’s … wait, on second thought, it’s a good thing that we don’t have Hardee’s.) One night when I was in high school I’d participated in a little underaged drinking and we’d stopped at that Hardee’s to get something to eat. That turned out to be a very bad idea for a young lad unaccustomed to drinking. The parking lot and I got very intimately acquainted. My older and more experienced drinking buddies laughed at me doubled over in the parking lot, turning green, and losing my Hardee’s. Thanks guys. You all still suck, by the way.

As I continued running west I passed by my old high school. I loved Northside High School. It had a great faculty, awesome programs, and even more awesome friends. The street in front of the school was the setting for one of the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen. After school one day in the spring of my senior year a very rotund classmate streaked the school on a motorcycle! The word had started spreading like wild fire through the school earlier that day. “Jay (not his real name) is gonna streak after school!” (Oh, the days of streaking!) And right on cue, at the end of the school day, right there in front of everyone, in all of his huge buck nekkid pasty whiteness, came Jay on a motorcycle! Wearing nothing but shoes and a helmet, he drove up and down the street giving everyone a look at his nakedity. It was at once hideous and hilarious all at the same time!

Post script: To this very day “Jay” denies that it was him on that motorcycle. He still rides motorcycles. Big Harleys. Fully clothed. Praise be!

As I ran past the school that day in 2008, I was reminded of the countless notes I passed with the girls I managed to trick into dating me. (I over promised fun but over delivered mediocre!) (Jane, how did you like the grove? You know it was special. Still is!) No cell phones and no text messaging back then. We actually wrote letters to one another on notebook paper and passed them clandestinely back and forth. It was like we were spies passing microfilm off at secret drop locations in some remote European city. Sometimes we had to enlist couriers – agreeable friends — to pick up or deliver a note because we wouldn’t see the other person until after school. Sometimes we slid the notes into the slots of the other person’s locker doors or we secretly handed them off to one another in the hallways. The exchanges looked like drug buys on the fly. There was even an art to folding those letters that seems so quaint now.

Westward I continued to run, not really sure when I’d turn back. I passed storefronts that had been other businesses when I was growing up and a flood of nostalgia made the miles pass quickly until I was in downtown Fort Smith. A couple of quick turns and I was at Judge Parker’s Courthouse, made famous recently by the remake of the movie “True Grit.” My sister, Joni, is an adjunct history professor and had done an internship at the courthouse, now a museum and part of the National Parks program. When she was doing research there she showed me old pictures from the 1800’s of the courthouse grounds. The grounds were full of hundreds of people who had come to watch the public hangings ordered by Judge Parker, known as the “Hangin’ Judge” for a reason. (The gallows are still there on the grounds.)

Looking at those old pictures of all the people who’d come to watch the hangings I was struck by the same question, “What in the world was the attraction?”

“Hey ma, load up the young’uns in the wagon and let’s go watch ‘em hang Bob!”
“C’mon kids, were goin’ to th’ hangin’!”
“Oh boy, th’ hangin’!!”

Anyway, I continued to run west … to the Arkansas River. I crossed the bridge that put me into Moffett, Oklahoma, a good place to turn around, I reasoned. I turned around and headed east, back into Arkansas, back into Fort Smith, at a pace I’d never done before. The elevated view from the bridge of downtown Fort Smith was pretty cool. At the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, the topography is much different from Memphis. My hometown, and the countryside, looked pretty!

The National Cemetery is in the downtown area and that’s where my path took me next. My brother Jack, a Marine before me, is buried there. And it’s where I’ll be buried too, I suppose. I seldom go home without making a trip there. I ran into the cemetery through the main gate, past the flag pole, turned left, then left again and found my brother’s grave. I paused for a minute, placed my hand on his headstone, whispered a prayer, and was off again. He’d have called me a slacker if I’d spent too much time taking a break!

A mile or so later I was running past “The White Spot,” an iconic Fort Smith restaurant sort of like “Barksdale’s,” “Brother Juniper’s,” or “Pete & Sam’s.” As I ran past, my nephew Jamie walked out! “Hey Jamie!!” I said with a wave. “No time to talk … gotta run! Get it?” He did.

After a few miles, and a little meandering, I was in front of another storefront that had once been “The Ten Speed Shop,” Fort Smith’s first bicycle shop. I worked there after school and on weekends and fell in love with bicycles and bicycle racing. I guess it took. I currently own five bicycles and am considering a sixth!

Further up Grand Avenue heading east I passed St. Paul Methodist Church. One night in the sixth grade I snuck into that church with two of my buddies. Why did I break into a church?

Simple, actually.

I wanted to play the pipe organ and I was pretty sure that the church wouldn’t let me do it on Sunday morning. None of us were members of the church but we were all members of the Boy Scout Troop that met there, so we knew our way around the buildings pretty well. Once inside I went directly to the organ and started flipping switches, pulling knobs, and pressing keys. In seconds the massive pipe organ came to life and the building erupted into loud organ sounds … but not organ music. I didn’t realize that there was more to playing the pipe organ than just mashing down on random keys.

The three of us desperados successfully evaded capture by Fort Smith’s finest after the neighbors called the police to report that something wasn’t right at the St. Paul Methodist Church. Even though I never made Eagle Scout — Life Scout was as far as I got — I knew how to hide. Once the cops left after an hour or so of looking, the three of us up and skedaddled!

After running east on Grand Avenue for a couple more miles, I turned south and started making my way back to the Firestone. By that time it had gotten pretty hot and I was ready for that training run — part of my preparation for the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington (which I ran with Scot Bearup and my son, Matthew) — to come to an end.

I finally made it back to the shop and walked into the Firestone a sweaty mess.

While Jason processed my paperwork he asked about my run.

“How far did ya go, Mr. Ludlow?”
“Thirteen miles,” I said.

He looked up from his paperwork, gave me the same puzzled look again, smiled, handed me my keys, and wished me well.

Runners see the world differently. Even the place where I grew up looked different when I saw it running.

I ran the first unofficial Fort Smith Half Marathon that day!

Inspired by this story, which was originally longer and published in a local magazine in Fort Smith in October 2008, former Marines living in Fort Smith organized a half marathon! The second running of the Fort Smith Half Marathon is next month! The organizers extend an invitation to all!

Too soon, you say?

Read on.

——————————————

SPRING HALF MARATHON!

There are at least five half marathons in the spring! There is one in Nashville, Louisville, St. Louis, Fayetteville, and Oklahoma City! (The Germantown Half Marathon is also in March. But I’m not a big fan of it. However, it IS local.)

I’ll begin the training on January 29 for the spring half marathon!

Prerequisites for the training: be able to run 3 miles in 36 minutes or less.
Cost for the three month training: $75 for active duty Boot Campers, $125 for “Friends of Boot Camp.” All are welcome to join in the fun.

——————————–

ACCOUNTABILITY GROUP

Would you be interested in joining an accountability group of fellow boot campers?

A group to hold each member accountable for boot camp attendance, weight loss, weekend homework (1 hr of continuous cardio), and any other area of self-help-dom that might be mutually agreed upon by the group.

Does this sound like something that you’d be interested in if the meetings were set up on a regular basis and time that wouldn’t interfere with the rest of your life?

———————————–

BOOT CAMP DISCOUNTS AND FACEBOOK EXPERIMENT!

Here’s how it works!

Make a Facebook status update and get a discount!

For every status update that you make that references:
“USMC Fitness Boot Camp,”
“Sgt. Tony’s Boot Camp,”
“Tony’s Boot Camp,”
or something similar, you can take $2.50 off your reenlistment fee for each update!

You can take up to $20 off for any given month!

Your status update has to be a specific reference to USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP or to me specifically by name. And be sure to tag me.

You can do the same thing by “checking in” at USMC Fitness Boot Camp either by using Facebook “places,” Foursquare, or any of the other “check in” apps that show up on your Facebook News Feed.

So log on and start getting your discounts now!

———————————-

WIND CHILL AND INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY

When the wind chill is 29 or lower, we’ll go inside at 0530, 0830, and 5:45 PM. The 0645 class is inside from now until March.

Check with weather.com or The Weather Channel. I’ll post it on my Facebook page and the Boot Camp website Blog page (http://usmcfitnessbootcamp.com/blog/) if there’s a question. And if you’re not sure, you can text me at 901-644-0145.

What about inclement weather days?

We’ll follow the Memphis City Schools decision. If they close, we’ll stand-down. If they close in the morning but the streets are clear and good to go by the afternoon, the evening class will meet. I’ll post that status on Facebook and the Boot Camp Blog page.

————————————-

PERSONAL TRAINING!

I’ve got a few prime hours open during the week if you know someone looking for a trainer. I use the facilities at Christ Methodist and the hourly rates are standard for Memphis. Over-all fitness training, boot camp style workouts, strength training, sports specific conditioning and agility (tennis, soccer, basketball, etc.)
TonyLudlow@aol.com or 901-644-0145

———————————-

FREE MONTH OF BOOT CAMP FOR YOU!

Remember that when one of your family or friends joins the program because of your recruiting them, YOU get a free month of Boot Camp!

———————————-

THE 0830 AND THE 0645 CLASSES!!

The 0830 Class meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Don’t forget that there is child-care available at the church for this class!

The 0645 meets on MWF inside!

ATTENTION 0830 CLASS MEMBERS: please remember that no cell phone usage is allowed while you drive your car on the campus. So when you pull onto the campus, no cell phones please!

——————————————–

NEW PRICING FOR FAMILIES AND COUPLES

If you’re a part of a family (usually husband and wife) that does USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP together, ask me about it! I think you’ll like it!

———————————————-

WANT TO LOSE 20 POUNDS BY THE END OF NEXT MONTH?

Take Shape For Life is the BEST weight loss program I know of. If you’d like to lose weight talk to me. This is the program I used to lose the almost 30 pounds I gained after knee surgery. Let me help you!

You can also go to www.combatchallenge.tsfl.com/

——————————————-

TUESDAY & THURSDAY EVENING CLASSES ARE ON HIATUS UNTIL FEB 2011

The Tuesday and Thursday evening classes are standing down until the last week in January.

However, I’ll be running at 4:30 PM at St. Mary’s track on Tues and Thursday and you’re welcome to join me for an informal jog fest!

———————————————-

CALENDAR

A calendar has been added to the official USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP website.
http://www.usmcfitnessbootcamp.com/calendar.html

For you visual learners, you’ll find this an easy way to glance at the week or month and see where the workouts will be, if there’s a venue change.

—————————————————

What would you do if money were not an issue, fear were not a factor, and failure were not an option?

To your optimum health and fitness!

SEE YOU ON THE QUARTERDECK!

Tony

Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Mailing address: 4888 Southern Ave., Memphis, TN 38117
Cell Phone: 901-644-0145

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


Mt. Fuji Workout for Tuesday, 18 Jan 2011

Jan. 17th 2011

Attention 0530 Troops: We’re at the U of M on Tuesday morning for the Mt. Fuji workout! If it’s raining, we’ll use the ground level of the parking garage. GET SOME!

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


MLK Day Schedule — 1/17/11

Jan. 16th 2011

Regular schedule for MLK day! See you on the Quarterdeck!

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


Garden State — Sgt. Tony Ludlow’s Newsletter for 1/12/11

Jan. 12th 2011

Snooki has written a book.

Thus cometh The Apocalypse.

“Snooki,” from “The Jersey Shore” — who has admitted that she’s only read two books in her whole life (“Dear John” and “Twilight”) — has written her very own novel.

I’m thinking she had help.

The Snooki book is called “The Shore Thing,” which is, I’m sure, a complex and compelling psychological study of a person’s inner struggle for significance, discovery, and meaning juxtaposed with opulence, excess, and conformity in a time of economic upheaval in the vein of Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, or F. Scott Fitzgerald.

No, of course it isn’t.

“The Shore Thing” is a “fictional” story about two girls who love to party, loosely based on Snooki and her BFF, JWoww. (That’s pronounced “Jay Wow.”) “Loosely based” means that Snooki just changed the names of the two girls in the book so that it wasn’t completely autobiographical.

Don’t know who Snooki is?

That’s OK, Snooki doesn’t know who you are either. But don’t take that too hard. She doesn’t know who the president is, though HE knows who SHE is. She doesn’t know the capital of her home state nor which country we fought to gain our independence. Actually, Snooki is doing well to know the NAME of her home state, which, unfortunately for normal people from The Garden State, is New Jersey.

Snooki is not retarded. At least I don’t think she is. Snooki and her friends just don’t know much about much except the things they’re famous for: drinking, dancing, random hook ups with strangers met at clubs or clothing stores or bars or the beach or the car wash or the liqueur store or the grocery store checkout line or the Olive Garden, and tanning.

Snooki is a party girl with a limited vocabulary and an even more handicapped capacity for abstract thought, or thought of any kind for that matter. The other day Kathy Lee Gifford was on the Today Show giving Snooki advice. (Snooki was there to promote her book.) As I watched that interview unfold I couldn’t decide which of them was the bigger nut job. But I digress.

Nicole Polizzi, aka Snooki, is a 23 year old cast member of a reality TV show called “The Jersey Shore.” In a nutshell, the show is about a dozen or so twenty-something underachievers, mostly of Italian decent, who live in a beach house together on the Jersey Shore. They spend their time split between group discussions ranging from geo-political ideologies to advanced thermodynamics and volunteering at soup kitchens.

No they don’t.

The cast members of this show are all gifted with terminal middle school maturity and a stalled education that completely ran into the ditch as soon as they discovered tanning salons and steroids. The girls have large, and minimally covered, mammary glands and the guys, with their tanning salon glow and hyper-gelled guido hair, give Matthew McConaughey a run for his money at how often they can be on camera without their shirts on. Otherwise, the Jersey Shore boys are fond of tight black tank tops and anything from the Affliction and Ed Hardy line of fine gentlemen’s wear.

But Snooki isn’t the only published author to come from this most popular of MTV shows. (Whatever happened to the “M” in MTV?) Her fellow beach house inmate, Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino has already published a book. His astonishing work of literary brilliance, called “Here’s the Situation,” hit bookstores last November.

Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is the male equivalent of the Snooki. They are the type of intellectual luminaries for whom “Cliff Notes” were intended. (My apologies to the publishers of “Cliff Notes” and to anyone who used them in school to figure out what “The Canterbury Tales” were about.)

Several of the other members of “The Jersey Shore” have been so inspired by their housemates’ publishing fame, that they now want to learn how to read so that they can write their own books in a few months. JWoww is already hooked on phonics.

Mr. Sorrentino’s book gives young would-be-cool-guy-guidos advice and instruction on how to live the Jersey Shore lifestyle right in their own hometowns. The subtitle of “Here’s the Situation” is “A Guide to Creeping on Chicks, Avoiding Grenades, and Getting Your GTL on the Jersey Shore.”

I’m sorry, what?

Don’t know what any of that means? Me neither. I used the Urban Dictionary to decipher the subtitle. (Those are precious research minutes of my life I’ll never get back. You’re welcome.)

Now, get out your notebooks and prepare yourselves for something truly spectacular.

“Creeping on chicks” is Jersey Shore-speak for getting a girl drunk and taking advantage of her intoxication to lure her into sex. Apparently she wouldn’t be interested if she weren’t trashed. Smooth, Mike, well done, sir. You’ve got game.

“Avoiding grenades” has nothing to do with combat tactics or military service. According to Mike and his parasitic crew — young men who’d never enlist (uniforms are way too confining and all of those orders and deployments get in the way of their clubbing and tanning) — a “grenade” is the ubiquitous unattractive girl who is always found running with every group of hot chicks. Mike and his juiced up Neanderthals have strategized that none of the hotties in a group of hotties will dilly-dally with any of them unless the unattractive girl is occupied and distracted with feigned attention or hand puppets. So one of the young men in the pack must “take one for the team and jump the grenade” in order to give the other boys a chance at the hot chicks. I don’t know if they take turns, draw straws, or assign that courageous duty to the dorkiest guy in the group who’d never have a chance with the hotties anyway, but somehow a designated grenade jumper is chosen.

I swear I’m not making this up. OK, I made up the part about the hand puppets. But the rest is real.

And finally, “GTL” stands for “gym, tan, and laundry.”

Seriously.

Mike has a personal health and hygiene plan that includes exercise, tanning, and clean clothes. Awesome Mike! His mom, “Mrs. Situation,” must be very proud of her little bambino. “The Situation” believes that those three things are essential in successful creeping on chicks and other douchebaggery behavior because the alcohol can only be relied on to do so much. The cocktails won’t close the deal if you have a scrawny body, a pale complexion, and dirty clothes. I imagine that Mike and his posse hose themselves down with AX body spray before they go out creeping, creating a fragrance fog that advances ahead of them, announcing their arrival five minutes before they bust up into the club.

To be fair, I must point out that only two of the cast members of “The Jersey Shore” are actually from Jersey. Residents of New Jersey are quick to point this out. They want you to know that these TV show “personalities” are not representative of the fine residents of their state. They would want you to remember that Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen, is from Jersey, as are a lot of awesome and famous people. And of course there’s that university located in Princeton that’s pretty impressive. So I would have to concur with them. I’ve known a few Jersey folks myself and I’d have to say that they’re not like The Jersey Shore morons at all. They’re more like The Sopranos. No! No! I’m just kidding. None of the residents of New Jersey are anything like their stereotypes.

To make fun of Snooki and her fellow Jersey Shore geniuses is pretty easy. And chastising us as a culture for making celebrities of them is also pretty easy. And that’s why I’ve been doing it. It’s easy. And fun. And it’s been snowing and I’ve got time on my hands.

Actually, the whole “famous for being famous” personalities are a phenomenon of too many cable channels and too much air-time to fill. The Kardashians, all those “Housewives of Wherever” shows, and all of the spin-offs and their imitations are products of too much of a good thing. Direct TV and Comcast will give you hundreds of channels to watch, a seemingly good thing. But more choices don’t mean better choices. It doesn’t mean access to more floors at the library with more knowledge to acquire. It means that you have more freak shows on the midway to gawk at.

And that’s what it is, a midway of freak shows on your television that stretches for miles. On a huge flat screen TV. In HD.

Watching those shows is the television equivalent of rubber necking on the hi-way wanting to get a good look at the car crash. It’s the train wreck in your living room. We know that we probably shouldn’t look, but we look anyway.

Those shows might be one of your guilty pleasures. They’re entertaining in a weird “wow, I’m not THAT screwed up” kind of entertaining way. We feel normal and smart watching those whack jobs make disasters of their otherwise dysfunctional lives.

I’m not a sociologist or an anthropologist or a psychologist or a proctologist or a hairstylist, so I’m just guessing here and having fun. But I think that the voyeur in us just likes to peek in on knuckleheads acting bizarre, being salacious, and saying outrageously stupid stuff … at a safe distance. Personally, all of the petty bickering, excessive drama, and immature behavior on these shows is far too reminiscent of stuff I’d much rather avoid. (Don’t I have a book to read and a life to lead?)

Anyway, the “famous for being famous” crowd is getting rich in the process and they’re publishing! (Dear Johann Gutenberg, Sir, we are so very sorry for letting this happen. Please don’t uninvent the printing press.) So right next to the latest releases from Tom Clancy, W.E.B. Griffin, and Stieg Larsson you’ll find Snooki and The Situation. God help us, everyone.

I just saw the four horsemen on the horizon. And they’re tan and reek of cheap cologne. And they’re coming from The Jersey Shore.

——————————–

ACCOUNTABILITY GROUP

Would you be interested in joining an accountability group of fellow boot campers?

A group to hold each member accountable for boot camp attendance, weight loss, weekend homework (1 hr of continuous cardio), and any other area of self-help-dom that might be mutually agreed upon by the group.

Does this sound like something that you’d be interested in if the meetings were set up on a regular basis and time that wouldn’t interfere with the rest of your life?

—————————-

EARTHQUAKE ROCKS TURDVILLE, RESIDENTS SENT SCRAMBLING FOR THE QUARTERDECK!

Attention residents of Turdville: GET OUT! GET OUT NOW!

You have overstayed your visit. It’s time to leave the land of fat and flab. Taking your ease in Turdville has come to an end!

Here’s the bad news: humans aren’t like expensive wine getting better with age. We degenerate and decay. Doing nothing is a sure formula for yuck.

We don’t get better unless we keep moving and working and sweating. We’re like sharks. We have to keep moving.

Refugees of Turdville: The Quarterdeck of USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP awaits your return! It’ll be OK! I promise! It’ll be a little tough at first, but in no time at all you’ll start to feel like your fit and fabulous self!

——————————-

BOOT CAMP DISCOUNTS AND FACEBOOK EXPERIMENT!

Here’s how it works!

Make a Facebook status update and get a discount!

For every status update that you make that references:
“USMC Fitness Boot Camp,”
“Sgt. Tony’s Boot Camp,”
“Tony’s Boot Camp,”
or something similar, you can take $2.50 off your reenlistment fee for each update!

You can take up to $20 off for any given month!

Your status update has to be a specific reference to USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP or to me specifically by name. And be sure to tag me.

You can do the same thing by “checking in” at USMC Fitness Boot Camp either by using Facebook “places,” Foursquare, or any of the other “check in” apps that show up on your Facebook News Feed.

So log on and start getting your discounts now!

———————————-

SPRING HALF MARATHON!

There are at least five half marathons in the spring! There is one in Nashville, Louisville, St. Louis, Fayetteville, and Oklahoma City! (The Germantown Half Marathon is also in March. But I’m not a big fan of it. However, it IS local.)

I’ll begin the training on January 29 for the spring half marathon!

Prerequisites for the training: be able to run 3 miles in 36 minutes or less.
Cost for the three month training: $75 for active duty Boot Campers, $125 for “Friends of Boot Camp.” All are welcome to join in the fun.

————————————

WIND CHILL AND INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY

When the wind chill is 29 or lower, we’ll go inside at 0530, 0830, and 5:45 PM. The 0645 class is inside from now until March.

Check with weather.com or The Weather Channel. I’ll post it on my Facebook page and the Boot Camp website Blog page (http://usmcfitnessbootcamp.com/blog/) if there’s a question. And if you’re not sure, you can text me at 901-644-0145.

What about inclement weather days?

We’ll follow the Memphis City Schools decision. If they close, we’ll stand-down. If they close in the morning but the streets are clear and good to go by the afternoon, the evening class will meet. I’ll post that status on Facebook and the Boot Camp Blog page.

————————————-

PERSONAL TRAINING!

I’ve got a few prime hours open during the week if you know someone looking for a trainer. I use the facilities at Christ Methodist and the hourly rates are standard for Memphis. Over-all fitness training, boot camp style workouts, strength training, sports specific conditioning and agility (tennis, soccer, basketball, etc.)
TonyLudlow@aol.com or 901-644-0145

———————————-

FREE MONTH OF BOOT CAMP FOR YOU!

Remember that when one of your family or friends joins the program because of your recruiting them, YOU get a free month of Boot Camp!

———————————-

THE 0830 AND THE 0645 CLASSES!!

The 0830 Class meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Don’t forget that there is child care available at the church for this class!

The 0645 meets on MWF inside!

ATTENTION 0830 CLASS MEMBERS: please remember that no cell phone usage is allowed while you drive your car on the campus. So when you pull onto the campus, no cell phones please!

——————————————–

NEW PRICING FOR FAMILIES AND COUPLES

If you’re a part of a family (usually husband and wife) that does USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, a new pricing plan goes into effect in August! Ask me about it! You’ll like it!

———————————————-

WANT TO LOSE 20 POUNDS BY THE END OF NEXT MONTH?

Take Shape For Life is the BEST weight loss program I know of. If you’d like to lose weight talk to me. This is the program I used to lose the almost 30 pounds I gained after knee surgery. Let me help you!

You can also go to www.combatchallenge.tsfl.com/

——————————————-

TUESDAY & THURSDAY EVENING CLASSES ARE ON HIATUS UNTIL FEB 2011

The Tuesday and Thursday evening classes are standing down until the last week in January.

However, I’ll be running at 4:30 PM at St. Mary’s track on Tues and Thursday and you’re welcome to join me for an informal jog fest!

———————————————-

CALENDAR

A calendar has been added to the official USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP website.
http://www.usmcfitnessbootcamp.com/calendar.html

For you visual learners, you’ll find this an easy way to glance at the week or month and see where the workouts will be, if there’s a venue change.

—————————————————

What would you do if money were not an issue, fear were not a factor, and failure were not an option?

To your optimum health and fitness!

SEE YOU ON THE QUARTERDECK!

Tony

Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Mailing address: 4888 Southern Ave., Memphis, TN 38117
Cell Phone: 901-644-0145

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


KISS HIM GOODBYE! — Sgt. Tony Ludlow’s Newsletter for 1/5/11

Jan. 5th 2011

“Na na naaaaahhhh nah … HEY, HEY, HEY … GOOOOOD BYE!”

We were in the other team’s gym and the fans had started that chant (“Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye” by Steam) with 1 minute 17 seconds to play.

We were 12 points behind and 77 seconds away from a humiliating defeat.

Coach called time out.

With their gym and their fans in a frenzy and chanting … “Na na naaaaahhhh nah … HEY, HEY, HEY … GOOOOOD BYE!” …

and the other team giving each other high fives and chest bumping, Coach commanded:

“SCREW THAT *STUFF*! WE’RE GONNA WIN THIS GAME!” (His exact language was more salty than that!)

Then he explained how we were gonna win.

The other team in-bounded the ball under our goal. We stole it, shot from the 3 point range, made it, and called time out.

Down by 9.

Coach commanded again!

More “Na na naaaaahhhh’s” and “HEY, HEY, HEY’s!”

They inbounded the ball.

Repeat of the previous play!! We hit another 3 pointer!

Down by 6.

They in-bounded the ball under our goal and dribbled down court. They hurried a shot and missed. We rebounded and passed the ball down court … fast break … lay up … down by 4!

The chanting started to subside.

They in-bounded the ball under our goal and we fouled them in an effort to steal the ball. They got to shoot a free throw. They missed. They rebounded and shot again … missed again. We rebounded and raced back down court. They raced along with us and cut off the fast break. We worked the ball around their defense, shot and made it! Down by 2!

THEY called time out with 31 seconds on the clock.

Coach commanded again, “WE’RE GONNA WIN THIS ^#&%@ GAME!”

He outlined the strategy. We could feel the momentum change. The energy in that place was now resting on us!

They inbounded the ball again. We kept their offense in their back court for 10 seconds and got the ball back with 21 seconds left!

We in-bounded the ball, and passed it around and waited until there was 10 seconds left on the clock. Then we started our play. With 6 seconds on the clock we shot another for 3! The ball bounced around on the rim and fell in!

Up by 1!!!!

THEY called time out!

Their gym had turned into a funeral home. Absolute shock. You could have heard a pin drop.

The other team — completely demoralized and wilting before our eyes — in-bounded the ball, dribbled down court, threw up a weak last second shot … air ball.

WE WON! WE WON! WE WON!

It’s never over til it’s over. No matter what your adversity today. No matter what your gloom threatens to overtake you. You can reorganize, regroup, declare a new strategy … command yourself into victory!

In the last 77 seconds of that game, we played to win … they played not to lose.

PLAY TO WIN!

PLAY TO WIN!

PLAY TO WIN!

——————————-

CONGRATULATIONS HOLIDAY WEIGHT LOSERS!

This year saw the largest number of holiday challenge weight WINNERS! So many of you either maintained your weight over the holidays or you LOST weight over the holidays that I’ve got to get a part time job to recover the lost revenue! hahaha (I’m kidding!)

You guys were awesome! Keep up the good work.

——————————–

ACCOUNTABILITY GROUP

Would you be interested in a joining an accountability group of fellow boot campers?

A group to hold each member accountable for boot camp attendance, weight loss, weekend homework (1 hr of continuous cardio), and any other area of self-help-dom that might be mutually agreed upon by the group.

Does this sound like something that you’d be interested in if the meetings were set up on a regular basis and time that wouldn’t interfere with the rest of your life?

—————————-

BOOT CAMP DISCOUNTS AND FACEBOOK EXPERIMENT!

Here’s how it works!

Make a Facebook status update and get a discount!

For every status update that you make that references:
“USMC Fitness Boot Camp,”
“Sgt. Tony’s Boot Camp,”
“Tony’s Boot Camp,”
or something similar, you can take $2.50 off your reenlistment fee for each update!

You can take up to $20 off for any given month!

Your status update has to be a specific reference to USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP or to me specifically by name. And be sure to tag me.

You can do the same thing by “checking in” at USMC Fitness Boot Camp either by using Facebook “places,” Foursquare, or any of the other “check in” apps that show up on your Facebook News Feed.

So log on and start getting your discounts now!

———————————-

SPRING HALF MARATHON!

There are at least four half marathons in the spring! There is one in Nashville, Louisville, St. Louis, Oklahoma City, and Fayetteville! (The Germantown Half Marathon is also in March.)

I’ll begin the training on January 29 for the spring half marathon! More details to follow!

————————————

WIND CHILL AND INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY

When the wind chill is 29 or lower, we’ll go inside at 0530, 0830, and 5:45 PM. The 0645 class is inside from now until March.

Check with weather.com or The Weather Channel. I’ll post it on my Facebook page and the Boot Camp website Blog page (http://usmcfitnessbootcamp.com/blog/) if there’s a question. And if you’re not sure, you can text me at 901-644-0145.

What about inclement weather days?

We’ll follow the Memphis City Schools decision. If they close, we’ll stand-down. If they close in the morning but the streets are clear and good to go by the afternoon, the evening class will meet. I’ll post that status on Facebook and the Boot Camp Blog page.

————————————-

PERSONAL TRAINING!

I’ve got a few prime hours open during the week if you know someone looking for a trainer. I use the facilities at Christ Methodist and the hourly rates are standard for Memphis. Over-all fitness training, boot camp style workouts, strength training, sports specific conditioning and agility (tennis, soccer, basketball, etc.)
TonyLudlow@aol.com or 901-644-0145

———————————-

FREE MONTH OF BOOT CAMP FOR YOU!

Remember that when one of your family or friends joins the program because of your recruiting them, YOU get a free month of Boot Camp!

———————————-

THE 0830 AND THE 0645 CLASSES!!

The 0830 Class meets on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Don’t forget that there is child care available at the church for this class!

The 0645 meets on MWF inside!

ATTENTION 0830 CLASS MEMBERS: please remember that no cell phone usage is allowed while you drive your car on the campus. So when you pull onto the campus, no cell phones please!

——————————————–

NEW PRICING FOR FAMILIES AND COUPLES

If you’re a part of a family (usually husband and wife) that does USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, a new pricing plan goes into effect in August! Ask me about it! You’ll like it!

———————————————-

WANT TO LOSE 10 POUNDS BY THE END OF THIS MONTH?

Take Shape For Life is the BEST weight loss program I know of. If you’d like to lose weight talk to me. This is the program I used to lose the almost 30 pounds I gained after knee surgery. Let me help you!

You can also go to www.combatchallenge.tsfl.com/

——————————————-

TUESDAY & THURSDAY EVENING CLASSES ARE ON HIATUS UNTIL FEB 2011

The Tuesday and Thursday evening classes are standing down until the last week in January.

However, I’ll be running at 4:30 PM at St. Mary’s track on Tues and Thursday and you’re welcome to join me for an informal jog fest!

———————————————-

CALENDAR

A calendar has been added to the official USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP website.
http://www.usmcfitnessbootcamp.com/calendar.html

For you visual learners, you’ll find this an easy way to glance at the week or month and see where the workouts will be, if there’s a venue change.

—————————————————

What would you do if money were not an issue, fear were not a factor, and failure were not an option?

To your optimum health and fitness!

SEE YOU ON THE QUARTERDECK!

Tony

Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP, Commanding
Mailing address: 4888 Southern Ave., Memphis, TN 38117
Cell Phone: 901-644-0145

Posted by Tony Ludlow | in Uncategorized | No Comments »


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