Sergeant Tony's Blog

What Would The Duke Do? — Sgt. Tony Ludlow, blog post for 3/3/2016

Thursday, Mar. 3rd 2016 3:33 PM

“The world is full of guys. Be a man. Don’t be a guy,” said Corey Flood in the movie “Say Anything,” a totally awesome movie, by the way.

What is a man?

And where are they?

And who is raising them and how are they being raised? If you’re the parent of a son, what kind of man are you insisting that he be?

Hold that thought.

After a decade overseas, living twelve time-zones from Memphis, I returned in the late 1990s and walked out of the airport and into a country I didn’t recognize; I instantly morphed into Rip Van Winkle … or Tom Hanks in “Castaway.” Adrift in my own land.

Reverse culture shock. The struggle is real and I can’t overstate the reality of it.

Think about how you’ve felt when you revisited a place you lived a long time ago? How odd that felt? It’s like time travel. The past and the future have a familiarity, but they’re different.

After I returned, I had to learn the many varied ways that America had changed in the 10 years I’d been wandering the streets of Japan. The American version of English had changed while I was gone. There were new words. New slang. And cultural references I didn’t get. Humor had changed. Music had changed. Fashion had changed. Cultural norms and social interactions were different, maybe evolved, but who could tell. I was lost.

Everyone who played professional sports when I left the country had retired and new names—unknown names—had taken their places. There were no familiar television shows. The landscape of politics, religion, gender roles, entertainment, and literature had changed … even the feel of the national consciousness was different. There was an unfamiliar sound and cadence to everything. And there was so much noise.

I was frustrated and out of step.

After my first couple of blurry and confusing weeks back in the States, I wanted to buy a one-way ticket back to Japan. I fantasized about it everyday. For months. I was homesick for my old America, the America I’d left, the one I’d remembered. And I was homesick for Japan, the last place I felt normal.

Of all of the changes that baffled me, none was so puzzling as the role of men in America. On television and in the national dialog, there seemed to be an absence of men. Real genuine men. Oh, there were plenty of males, lots of guys. Few men.

On television, I didn’t love Raymond. I found no friends on “Friends.” And while I thought, and still think, that Jerry Seinfeld is a comic genius, neither HIS show, nor any others, offered up much substance if you were looking for men or male role models. Ross? Kramer? Joey? Chandler Bing? George Costanza? What kind of men were these?

The men on television were portrayed as morons, crybabies, buffoons, cowards, and imbeciles. The male characters of that dreadful show, “Yes, Dear” were disgraceful. They were little boys, insecure, and indecisive. They were in constant need of a woman to direct them and run their lives. Were it not for their wives and female friends, the men in these television shows were colossal failures, pitiful imitations of what I’d grown up believing a man should be.

Where were the examples of real men on television and in film?

I was struck by how embarrassed I was to be male. I had never been embarrassed to be male in my life. The average American male, as reflected on television, was a passive boy-child, clearly in need of adult supervision and guidance! Personally, I didn’t feel the need to have anyone, male or female, validate my life or help me make decisions. I didn’t feel the need to have a female “project manager” or a “boss” giving me direction or making alterations in my personality or my way of living. I didn’t need anyone to lay out my clothes for me. I didn’t need anyone to pack my luggage. I didn’t need unsolicited advice. I didn’t need to live my life “by your leave.”

I met a woman who had as one of her prerequisites for a potential husband, “must not wear blue jeans, ever.” She would only date guys who wore khaki pants. (Did television do this?) What kind of prerequisite was this? She ended up marrying a guy who didn’t even OWN a pair of blue jeans and was the most passive guy I’d ever met. Seriously! You can’t make this stuff up.

Don’t get me wrong about the value I place on women. Well, certain kinds of women, to be sure. I love women and am happy to have a lot of female friends whom I love and admire and appreciate. I value women. I admire women. I sometimes place them on too high a pedestal for my own good. You can blame my mom and my sisters for that. Spectacular women are a source of awe and great admiration.

But it looks to me that as men started to be less men and more little boys, women were forced to step up. It’s hard to know if the world of entertainment influenced reality or if reality influenced the arts. Did the arts give men permission to become idiots or did idiot men start to outnumber real men and that was reflected in the arts? I don’t know.

When I was a kid we had actors like Charles Bronson, Clint Eastwood, and John Wayne to look up to. The men those actors portrayed were real men. I remember being in a clothing store one time in high school and holding up a shirt and thinking “would Charles Bronson wear this shirt?”

What would The Duke do?

I had a lot of real men in my life when I was growing up; men in my family, teachers, and coaches who’d fought wars and rebuilt countries and lives. Men who’d stepped up and answered their country’s call for service, and then, when it was over, had turned their swords into plowshares. Men who weren’t afraid of hard physical labor and getting their hands dirty! I was mentored by men who were preparing me to take my place in the company of similar men.

When I left the country in the late 80’s, there were real men on TV. Funny man Bill Cosby, as Dr. Huxtable, was making us laugh, but still giving out tough love and wisdom on The Cosby Show. There was Tom Selleck’s character, a Vietnam vet sporting Hawaiian shirts and a bushy mustache, who was funny AND cool … and honorable. And Jack Arnold, Kevin’s wise dad, was helping his son navigate the coming of age in The Wonder Years. And there was Captain Jean-Luc Picard taking the Starship Enterprise to a new universe in a new generation.

And then somehow men disappeared and boys took over.

But I think something happened after our country was attacked on September 11, 2001. Our culture and consciousness started to shift.

In the years that followed, men made a comeback on television and in the movies! (Thank you Jack Bauer, Coach Eric Taylor, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Jason Bourne, Frodo and the Kings of Middle Earth.) It was easier to find men on television and in film with whom I could identify. I think it was easier after 9/11 because the call to service was being answered by men (and women, of course) who, despite the Chandler Bings, stood up and said “NO!” to those who’d chosen to attack us! (Unfortunately, the call to service was to the wrong country. But that wasn’t the fault of our warriors.)

After a hiatus, men are back! It’s OK to be a man who isn’t afraid of being a man, who isn’t waiting for someone to give him instructions or permission and who isn’t paying $200 for a pair of blue jeans with fancy stitching on the butts (why, the very idea!) … and who owns a pair of boots that have already been broken in.

Not long ago I heard a young woman bad mouth her boyfriend. Over the course of several days she revealed that he wasn’t very smart, not very assertive, not very ambitious, blah, blah, blah. Then she married him. I’m not sure why. I felt sorry for the guy. Not because he wasn’t very smart, or very assertive, or very ambitious—I never actually met him—but because his girlfriend, and now his wife, spoke about him in such demeaning ways. She seemed to have such a low regard for him. I guess she’s the type of young woman who wants such a man … to control … or criticize … or boss around … or just to humiliate.

On the other hand, a young female friend posted an article on Facebook entitled, “13 Ways to Know You’re Dating a Grown Ass Man.” And judging by the comments posted, a lot of young single females would like to date, and presumably marry, one of those kinds of men. (The list is a good start, but hardly enough.) I’d probably want to tell those females to be the kind of lady who’d attract such a man. So, clean up your Facebook page — and maybe your lifestyle — and get rid of your soft-core porn selfies with your boobs half out and your duck face pics taken while you parade through yet another bar. (For the record, you don’t need bigger boobs, you need to read better books.) Few men — even scuzzy ones — are going to see you as anything but a brief physical distraction on their way to someone else. And a real man of decency and character will be looking for a woman of class and substance who’ll win their hearts and minds, and to whom they’ll pledge their souls. And feel free to wait productively patiently for such a man. The wait’ll be worth it.

If you’ve got a real man in your life, an awesome man, be thankful. He’s an American classic! He sailed the ocean in a wooden ship for months to carve out a new country out of the wilderness. He forged out of nothing a country and a government that has become the envy of the world. And he’s stood up, time and time again, to do violence to any who would take away the liberties of our land, yet is compassionate enough to take a child into his arms. And he’ll protect you when the lights go out, when things rattle in the night and others run the other way.

Here’s to the men in our lives.

— 30 —


80% OF YOUR WEIGHT LOSS SUCCESS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH EXERCISE. If someone tells you otherwise they’re either misinformed, or selling you something. Or both.


by Gunnery 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.”)

Whole-grain nutrition

To keep our muscles fueled for our USMC Fitness Boot camp workouts, long runs, and bike rides, we should consume 60 to 70 percent of your daily calories in the form of carbohydrates. A good way to get those carbohydrates in is by eating foods from the grains group.

We need from 6 to 11 servings from the grains group each day, with at least three or more of these servings being whole grains. Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, corn or another cereal is a grain product. Unfortunately, not all grain products are alike.

The two main types of grain products are whole and refined. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel – the bran, germ and endosperm. The bran, or “outer shell,” protects the seed and contains fiber, B vitamins and trace minerals. The endosperm provides energy from carbohydrates and protein. The germ provides nourishment for the seed and contains antioxidants – vitamin E and B vitamins.

Examples of whole grains are brown rice, oatmeal, whole-wheat flour, bulgur and popcorn. Refined grains have been milled – the bran and germ are removed, which also strips the grains of much of the fiber, B vitamins, iron and dietary fiber found in the whole grain.

Some examples of refined grains are white rice, wheat flour and white bread. Refined grain products are sometimes enriched, which means that certain B vitamins such as niacin, riboflavin, thiamine and folic acid, along with iron are added back after processing. Unrefined or whole grains provide our bodies with fiber, antioxidants, minerals, phytochemicals and other health-protective compounds.

Even though whole grains are so healthy, an estimated 80% of Americans eat less than one serving of whole grains a day. Not good, because studies show that people who eat diets high in refined grains have higher incidences of chronic ailments such as heart disease and diabetes.

One reason for our low intake of whole grains may be because figuring out just which products are whole grains can be quite confusing. You would think that foods labeled with the words “multi-grain,” stone-ground,” “100% wheat,” “cracked wheat,” and “seven-grain” would be whole-grain products, but these foods are usually not whole grain.

The color of foods may also be misleading. Just because a grain food is brown in color doesn’t mean it is whole grain. Breads may contain molasses or other ingredients that give it a brown color. You also cannot rely on the fiber numbers to find whole grains. Whole grains are usually higher in fiber than their refined counterparts, but some higher-fiber breads, especially “light breads,” may have added processed fiber from peas or other foods which may help prevent constipation, but the antioxidants and phytochemicals that come from the whole grain is missing.

To know for sure that the food you are eating is actually whole grain, be sure to check the ingredient label. The words “whole” or “whole grain” will appear before the grain ingredients name, for example “whole wheat’ or “whole oats.” Wheat flour, enriched four, and degerminated corn meal are not whole grains.

To make it easier to spot whole grain foods, some have the following health claim on their labels: “Diets rich in whole grains and other plant based foods and low in total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol may help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.”

Bran cereals are not technically considered whole grain since both the germ and endosperm are missing, but is still a healthy choice since the bran is usually missing from refined products. Wheat germ is also a good choice since the germ is also missing from most refined grains.

As you can see, it may take a little more detective work to find whole-grain products, but the benefits from whole grain nutrition are worth it. To help you get in your three servings a day of whole grain foods, try this tasty granola as a great post-workout treat.

Healthy Homemade Granola

4 cups old-fashioned oats
½ cup toasted wheat germ
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup ground flax seeds (optional)
½ cup toasted, chopped nuts
1 tsp cinnamon
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
4 tablespoons honey
½ cup water
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup golden raisins or other dried fruit

– In a large bowl, combine the oats, wheat germ, flax seeds, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, nuts, brown sugar. Mix well.
– In another bowl, mix the oil, honey, water and vanilla.
– Pour the liquid mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well.
– Spread over a jelly-roll pan sprayed with nonstick spray.
– Bake at 300 degrees for 50-60 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
– The last 10-15 minutes add the raisins or dried fruit.
– The granola will brown as it cooks.
– Cool in pan on wire rack.
– Store in an airtight container. Makes 24 servings.


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

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