Sergeant Tony's Blog

Butterflies Are Free to Fly — Sgt. Tony Ludlow, blog post for 7/16/2014

Wednesday, Jul. 16th 2014 4:18 PM

Thank you, Weird Al, for releasing your parody of “Blurred Lines” and turning it into grammar/English usage instruction masquerading as a parody called “Word Crimes.” And even though you’re wrong about the Oxford comma, I salute you, sir!

In honor of this new spotlight on grammar, I give you this essay which many of you may remember from a few years ago.

I loved school.

I wasn’t one of those kids who looked for excuses not to go to school. I never faked being sick. I thought school was fun, usually! And that’s coming from someone who got sent to the Principal’s Office on my very first day of first grade. True story. I got into a fight on the first day of first grade. Over a girl. And my mother, bless her heart, had just gotten home from taking me to school on my first day of first grade when the big black rotary-dial phone rang at my house.

“Hello, Mrs. Ludlow? said the school secretary.

“Yes,” said my mother.

“This is Sutton Elementary School,” said the secretary.

“Oh, my!?? Is everything OK? Is my Tony all right?” asked my mom with alarm.

“Well, he’s fine,” said the secretary, with no hint of concern about my welfare. “But he’s been in a fight and you’ll need to come back up to the school to talk to the Principal,” informed the secretary.

“Oh, I see,” said my mom, with less alarm.

By the time she got back up to the school and heard the whole story from the Principal, her alarm was gone and Tony was in deep trouble. As I sat in the outer office I could hear my mom in the Principal’s office apologizing and promising him that “Tony will be a perfect student from now on, I PROMISE you that, sir.”

Well, despite the shaky start, I loved school. But in the 8th grade I ran into a bit of an academic snag. Algebra and English were conspiring against me. They were evil twins dishing out misery and torture of the worst kind and I hated them. I was awful at Algebra and even further awfullering about to the grammaring.

Mrs. Holman was my 8th grade English teacher. And she was the first adult black woman I ever had a conversation with. Or rather, “the first adult black woman with whom I ever had a conversation.”

She was a middle-aged woman who wore big jewelry, very distinctive perfume with a powdery scent, and she spoke with an adorable Southern accent, right out of some fancy finishing school. If she said, “Young sir, you need to go to the barber shop.” It would sound like, “Yunng suuh, you need to go to the baahba shop.” Think refined Southern like Scarlett, not trailer park Southern like Reba.

Of the six or seven 8th grade English teachers on faculty at Darby Junior High School in Fort Smith, Arkansas, Mrs. Holman had the reputation for being one of the toughest.

Perfect, just perfect. (More like present imperfect.)

Our first one on one conversation occurred because I had to see her after school early in the first semester. I was tanking her class in a HUGE and grotesque manner. The first semester was all grammar and the second was all literature and writing.

My apparent goal during that first semester was to establish a new level of failure in her grammar class. As it turns out, I was doing a particularly splendid job of doing that. Transitive verbs, indirect objects, conjunctions, subjects of prepositions, past pluperfect verbs, subordinate clauses, diagramming sentences … none of it was sticking. It was only slightly less horrible than algebra.

So a couple of days a week, instead of going to football practice after school, I had to go to Mrs. Holman’s classroom for remedial grammar. I was not happy about this and I had a fairly good sized chip on my shoulder. Of course I blamed Mrs. Holman. And as you would expect, my coaches were furious because I wasn’t at practice and I was afraid of losing my position on the team. (Which I lost.)

By the end of the first semester I had raised my F- to a solid C. And my bitterness towards my teacher had actually turned into something of a crush on Mrs. Holman. She was so charming and she took such an interest in all of her students. She was absolutely irresistible. I started working hard to impress her, and to get back to after school sports.

By the end of the first semester I was no longer having to get extra help after school and the literature and writing of the second semester were way more fun.

Everything was going just fine, that is until Mrs. Holman did something terrible. She slipped some poetry into the mix and I took an immediate dislike to it.

Poetry? Are you kidding me?? Little girls writing horrible little lines about rainbows and butterflies. Crap.

My grades started to tumble again. It seemed like poetry wasn’t very manly or compelling for a young lad hoping to be a real man one day. I had to start going back to her classroom after school for more help. I complained to her that poetry seemed so feminine and sissified. I just couldn’t relate to it. I was sure, I told her, that none of the male members of my family read such stuff. She just shook her head and smiled.

One afternoon as I was struggling to figure out what some stupid poem about daffodils or kittens meant, she handed me a small book.

“Tony Ludlow, you will delight yourself in this book immeasurably, or I am no judge of such matters,” she declared in the wonderful way that she spoke. I took the stupid book from her and dreaded having to open it up to read more crap about subjects that were of no interest at all in a style of writing that seemed pretentious. “This ain’t deep stuff,” I thought.

The book she gave me was a short collection of poems written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson. She had placed a bookmark inside and told me to open to that passage.

“I want you to read this poem and a week from now you will give me a report. I want you to tell me what it means.”

I would have been more excited about a root canal or raking leaves.

The poem she assigned to me was “Ulysses.”

And everything changed.

And it changed my views on poetry forever.

Mrs. Holman started giving me other poems to read that weren’t assigned to the rest of the class. They were poems about life from a man’s perspective. One of those was “Dulce et Decorum Est,” the most famous poem of World War I, written by a soldier named Wilfred Owen. It was the last poem she ever assigned to me. And it was the last poem Owen ever wrote. And it brought me to tears.

On the last day of 8th grade, Mrs. Holman went around the room saying good-bye and good luck to each of us. When she got to me, she shook my hand and smiled. I said, “Thank you for everything, Mrs. Holman!” And she looked straight at me, paused, leaned in closer, and then said in a low voice that was almost a whisper so that others wouldn’t hear what she said, words I’ve never forgotten … “Tony Ludlow, I expect greatness from you.”

You expect WHAT??

What was I supposed to say to that? What was anyone supposed to say to that?

“Yes, ma’am,” I said, as if I could run right out that afternoon and perform “greatness.”

I was an average student, a completely ordinary, skinny, knucklehead kid with a smart mouth and tons of irreverent goofiness, with absolutely no visible means of greatness. I was a very average boy, from a very average family, living in a typically average Arkansas town. Why did she say that to me? I didn’t hear her say that to anyone else! Why did she burden me with such an assignment? Greatness! Greatness? Good lord …

Over the years I’ve never believed, despite all of my feigned cockiness and false bravado, that I’ve ever achieved greatness. The “burden” that Mrs. Holman gave me that day was intended to serve as a compass marker, a way to orient the map, a process by which to plot a course, a direction in life. A push. I don’t think she intended it to be an anchor, or a hardship, or even a destination.

Greatness travels with passion and has nothing to do with your zip code or bank balance. I find that passion may be the single most attractive thing in a person. An average looking woman with a passion for something (anything!) is infinitely more attractive than a beautiful woman with nothing that energizes her life.

A passion for things, a lust for life, and a positive attitude are magnetic and winsome in any person! Be those things and the world will find you! Be the opposite, and the world will avoid you.

You can be awesome … and extraordinary … and incredible! You can!

I don’t think I’ve ever achieved greatness, despite my boasting, but I know that Mrs. Holman did. Hers was a life well lived. She was greatness!

Thank you, Weird Al. And thank you, Mrs. Holman.

“…To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

— 30 —



That’s 1/2 boot camp exercise and 1/2 cardio ala carte.


by Staff Sergeant Ashley Holloway, Registered Dietitian, LDN

(A Registered Dietitian has a BS in Food Science, followed by a one year internship through an accredited university, and then with the recommendation of the internship program’s supervisor, a national examination is required. After that, an RD must have continuing education units annually in order to remain active and registered. An RD is an expert, not a hobbyist or a “food enthusiast.”)

Should you go Low Carb?

Low carbohydrate diets have you give up most fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and milk products. It also means severely limiting breads, cereals, pasta, pizza, and potatoes (unless they’re they special “low carb” types). You’ll be encouraged to eat foods high in protein (that are also high in fat) like steaks, hamburgers (without the bun), cheese, bacon, and eggs. Proponents of the low carb craze say that you will lose weight quickly
and never be hungry. They also say that eating carbohydrates creates an increased appetite, an addiction to sugar, high blood sugar levels, increased body fat, and insulin resistance.

Carbohydrates are sugar, natural and/or added. Foods that contain natural sugar are important for good health – they contain substances like antioxidants and phytochemicals, along with fiber, calcium, and vitamins and minerals that can help prevent aging and many chronic diseases like Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and some types of cancer.

And if you exercise, carbohydrates are extra important. Eating carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, milk products and legumes can be the key to increasing your endurance and can make your workouts seem easier.

Carbohydrates, protein and fat all have their place in your diet, but carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, milk products and legumes should be the foundation of the your training diet. That is because carbohydrates provide fuel for our brain and nervous system, help in the breakdown of fat, and help to spare our bodies from using protein from our muscles or our diets for energy. The metabolism or breakdown of carbohydrates requires less oxygen than either protein or fat metabolism, so carbohydrates provide a quick energy source for our bodies during exercise.

When we eat carbohydrates, they are broken down in our bodies as glucose to be used right away or can be stored in our liver and our muscles as glycogen to be used later. When we run, our bodies turn the stored muscle glycogen back into glucose to be used as fuel by our muscles and the liver also converts its glycogen back into glucose and is sent into the bloodstream to control and regulate our blood sugar levels.

How long and how hard you exercise determines whether your body will use mainly fat or carbohydrates for fuel. At rest and during low-intensity exercise such as light walking, fat usually supplies most of the energy you need; this is because you are able to take in enough oxygen which is key to the breakdown of fat for fuel. When you start to increase the intensity of exercise, your body has trouble consuming enough oxygen to breakdown fat for fuel so your body begins to use more stored carbohydrates (glycogen) as fuel and less fat. With very high intensity exercise your body relies almost exclusively on glucose as fuel. When you run more slowly and for longer durations, more of your energy needs (about 60-70%) can be met from fat.

Remember the saying, “Fat burns in a carbohydrate flame.” Some carbohydrates are needed for fat breakdown, so even though you have ample fat sores to run or exercise slowly for hours and hours, once your body runs out of glycogen, your body starts to shut down.

When your muscle glycogen stores become depleted you will start to fatigue and will ultimately be unable to continue exercising at your current pace. When your liver glycogen stores (which help maintain your blood sugar levels) run low, you can experience symptoms such as irritability, disorientation and lethargy.

This is why your training diet is so important. The amount of carbohydrates you eat is directly related to the amount of glycogen you store in your liver and muscles. If you do not eat enough carbohydrates your muscle glycogen stores will only be partly replenished. If this happens day after day your exercise will definitely suffer. That sluggishness or stale feeling that you think is overtraining may actually be related to low muscle glycogen stores due to your low carbohydrate intake.

There are four main ways to make sure your muscle glycogen stores are adequate. First, make sure to eat a carbohydrate-rich diet daily. Second, be sure to load up on carbs before exercise. Third, be sure to consume sports drinks or other high-carbohydrate foods during exercise when the exercise session will be longer than 60-90 minutes. Lastly, be sure to replenish muscle glycogen stores by eating a high-carbohydrate snack within 30 minutes “carbohydrate window” of exercise when your muscles are most receptive to replacing muscle glycogen.

Carbohydrates are an efficient fuel that can keep you full of energy and increase your endurance. Remember, a daily diet that supplies key nutrients and is high in carbohydrates, just may be your best training friend.


MAKE A $&(#&@^#!*% FACE!!!!



What you get out of the workouts is determined by you.

How much do you work? How much effort you put into trying to do all of the repetitions with proper form and how much weight you’re using will determine what you get out of each workout.


It’s time for you to go up in weights … that’s what I’m thinking!







Members of the Sub-7 Club are Boot Campers who’ve run the mile in under 7 minutes under my observation and timing.

Congratulations to the following members of the Sub Seven Club:

Corporal Lee Chase,
Corporal Chris McLelland,
Staff Sergeant Patrick Moore,
Staff Sergeant Rob Johnston,
Staff Sergeant Andrew Stolnicki,
Gunnery Sergeant Bart Thomas,
Staff Sergeant Dory Sellers,
Gunnery Sergeant Henry Kenworthy,
Master Sergeant John Winford,
First Sergeant Matt Green,
And Sergeant Major Andrew Forsdick.



Are you coming up on promotion? Let me know! If you’ve been in the program for 6 months straight, you should be on the roster!

Every Wednesday is our Official BOOT CAMP T-SHIRT DAY! You can wear your rank insignia shirt anytime you‘d like, of course, but always every Wednesday!


Under 6 months is a Private

Private First Class is more than 6 months but less than 1 year.
– Mallory Raffensberger 8/2013
– Ashley Bowles 8/2013
– Greg Gaston 8/2013
– Steve Pike 9/2013
– “El” McCain 11/2013
– Angela Moore 12/2013
– Jenn Bonner 12/2013
– Brett Bonner 1/2014
– Riki Jackson 1/2014

Over 1 year is a Lance Corporal
– Pam Torres – meritoriously promoted 12/2012
– Teresa Reed 2/2012*
– Emma Crystal 5/2012
– Megan Collins 6/2012
– Maria Wyatt 6/2012
– Susye Clark 7/2012
– Lora Gubanov 8/2012
– Orli Weisser-Pike 9/2012
– Morgan Johnson 10/2012
– ShaWanda Upshaw 10/2012
– Chuck Miller 11/2012
– Diane Gorney 12/2012
– Lexie Johnston 12/201?
– Ashley Summers 2/2014
– Ben Summers 2/2013
– Sam Lee 2/2013
– Louise Biedenharn 2/2013
– Jay Biedenharn 2/2013
– Ragan Washburn 2/2013
– Mary Holland Doan 4/2013
– Kay Barkoh 4/2013
– Melissa Campbell 4/2013
– Gina Tice 4/2013

Over 2 years is a Corporal
– Jeremy Harris 1/2009*
– Courtney Phillips 2/2011
– JD Dombroski 4/2011
– Carrie Schule 5/2011
– Bevan Lee 5/2011
– Mary Bauer 6/2011
– Lee Chase 7/2011
– Tait Keller 8/2011
– Heath Alderson 9/2011
– Lindsey Stanfill 9/2011
– Tara Ingram 11/2011
– Rachel Phillips 2/2012
– Jean Maskas 2/2012
– Keith Renard 4/2012
– Alan Compton 4/2012
– Steve Havard 5/2012
– Beth Stengel 2/2012
– Chris Kelley 6/2102

Over 3 years is a Sergeant
– Ashley McClure 7/2010
– Falana Scott 7/2010
– Jenni Harris 8/2010
– Anne Marie Wyatt 8/2010
– Tim Romanow 8/2010
– Paul Bauer 11/2010
– Robin Scott 3/2011
– Chris McLelland 3/2011
– Randal Rhea 4/2011
– Cindy King 4/2011
– Sherri Thompson 4/2011
– Melissa Thompson 5/2011
– Michelle Moss 5/2011
– Becky Lawler 5/2010*

Over 4 years is a Staff Sergeant
– Jonathan Phillips 10/2008*
– Robert Hunt 8/2009
– Cameron Mosley 11/2009
– Karen Massey 11/2009
– Cecelia DeLacy 2/2010
– Malinda Miller 3/2010
– Jay Mednikow 3/2010
– Ashley Holloway 4/2010
– Beth Mills 5/2010
– Emily Melonas 6/2010
– Keith Renard 6/2009*

Over 5 years is a Gunnery Sergeant
– Albo Carruthers 8/2008
– Anne Kenworthy 8/2008
– Patrick Moore 9/2008
– Jessie Flanders 1/2009
– Andrew Stolnicki 1/2009
– Paul Tronsor 3/2009

Over 6 years is a Master Sergeant
– Anne Mead 2/2005*
– Beth Rehrig 7/2007
– Matt Prince 6/2007
– Frank Jemison 10/2007
– Patty Dougherty 3/2008
– Oscar Adams 3/2008
– Alan Schaeffer 5/2008
– Mike Ryan 5/2006*
– Dory Sellers 6/2006*

Over 7 years is a First Sergeant
– Megan Warr 8/2006
– Rob Norcross 8/2006
– Kay Ryan 10/2006
– Michelle Crockett 3/2007
– George Rose 5/2007
– Henry Kenworthy 5/2007
– Leslie Garey 6/2007

Over 8 years is a Sergeant Major
– Louis Glazer 3/2005
– Gary Thompson 10/2005
– Scot Bearup 10/2005
– Kay Shelton 1/2006
– Leesa Jensen 5/2006

Over 9 years is a Warrant Officer 1
– Andrew Forsdick 9/2004
– Melissa Moore 2/2005
– Matt Green 5/2005
– Mike Barta 6/2005*
– Anne Emmerth 6/2005*

Over 10 years is a Chief Warrant Officer 2
– Buddy Flinn 7/2003
– Amy Singer 9/2003
– David Townsend 1/2004
– Hank Brown 3/2004

Over 11 years is a Chief Warrant Officer 3
– Pat McGhee 1/2003
– John Whittemore 1/2003
– Peter Pettit 5/2003

Battalion Executive Officer
Major Richard Bourland, 9/2003

* broken time



We should be!


You should totally do that!



If you set up an automatic payment at your bank (Boot Camp mailing address is 4888 Southern, Memphis 38117) you can subtract $10 off your fee!

(This is not in conjunction with other discounts and is not an automatic bank draft that I set up with a voided check. This an automatic payment that you yourself set up yourself with your bank usually online and easy as pie!)



0530 Monday through Friday
(First and second Tuesday of the month are M-16 Workouts at CUMC. Third and fourth Tuesdays are Mt. Fuji Workouts at the U of M)
5:45 PM: Monday through Thursday, 5:30 on Friday.



First of all, find me on Facebook and make me your friend. (Also, be sure to “like” USMC Fitness BOOT CAMP on Facebook.)

Here’s how the discount works!

It’s simple: 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, (there are fake boot camps out there) you can take $2.50 off your next 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.


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!


Q. How can I get up in the morning on a consistent basis?A. Contrary to what many think, I am NOT a morning person. I have to be “dynamited” out of the bed! Here are some tips to help you get going in the morning:
1. Use two alarm clocks. I have a snooze alarm that starts going off several minutes before I intend to get up. Then I have a “Last Call” alarm clock that is located across the room. This alarm clock is set to go off when I MUST get up.
2. Once the last call alarm goes off, the bed becomes OFF LIMITS! Get moving!
3. Get out of bed, turn off the alarm clock, and start turning on lights all through the house. Turn the TV on!
4. Lay out your clothes the night before. Don’t go wandering around the house in the morning trying to find your left shoe and your favorite shorts. So, have things ready the night before.


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

To your optimum health and fitness!



Sergeant Major Tony Ludlow

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

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