Sergeant Tony's Blog

Order in the Wild West — blog post of Sgt. Tony Ludlow 3/1/2018

Friday, Mar. 2nd 2018 8:45 AM


The history of technology outpacing man’s ability to adapt to it successfully is full of mankind’s slow response.

Humans seem to develop new technologies faster than we can understand them, accept them, and seamlessly, or usefully, absorb them and put them to their maximum use. The Luddites and Neo-Luddites just reject them out of hand.

The Internet, though we’ve had it for years, still feels like the wild west.

The kind of civility we see in polite company hardly exists at times on the Internet. Our sense of propriety seems out of step with the technology. In many ways, the Internet has degraded communication and corrupted it. We’ve all seen conversation threads on social media go from casual politeness to full on rude and disrespectful in seconds … between strangers!

Not to mention the atrocious grammar and spelling!

In no other period in history has there ever been a time when so many can speak directly to so many. And with that access, with everyone having a megaphone, the yelling and lack of propriety have become dishearteningly common place. Everyone wants to argue and confront one another. Everyone is right. No one is wrong. No one is listening. Everyone is confrontational.

It’s also one of the many reasons I don’t watch cable “news” of any kind. “We’re right! They’re wrong!” Finger pointing and labeling of people. No one is listening. No one is thinking for themselves. Everyone is parroting back the talking points they heard on cable news. Everyone’s got their mic keyed. Everyone is yelling. Too many “Christians” shamefully involved.

“So little love for our neighbor.
So much hatred and anger.”

And lately we learn to what extent this kind of hatred and anger are promoted on social media by Russian operatives intent on division and deceit among us.

There’s a cartoon that shows a stick figure-we’ll call him Kevin-sitting at a computer screen and the caption goes something like this: “Here’s Kevin. Kevin sees something on the Internet he doesn’t like. Kevin ignores it and moves on with his life. Kevin is smart. Be like Kevin.”

I also try to remember that, during my life, every major change of my mind, be it theological, intellectual, political, ideological, or cultural did not come as a result of me losing an argument. It came as a result of being challenged to think.

For the most part, arguments quickly degenerate from an exchange of differing views to a defense of egos. All that we believe, we believe to be true and right. No one ever says, “I know I’m wrong about ‘xyz,’ but I’m going to tenaciously hold on to it and believe it anyway.”

I like the “Be like Kevin” advice. But it’s a little too simplistic and narrow. Sometimes things posted on social media ought to be confronted and corrected. Errors in information and misinformation, that could be detrimental to someone’s health and safety, need to be corrected.

Until the investigation into Russian meddling into the life, elections, and affairs of our country, I’d have opposed hate speech, racism, bigotry, lies, and evil. But now we see that our lives, our unity, and our elections have been manipulated, controlled, and damaged by a foreign and belligerent power.

Our First Amendment Rights have been used by Russian subversives to sow dissension, division, and hate among us and to assist certain people to political power and others to political ruin. War without a bullet being fired. Democracy duped and captured without even knowing we were in a fight.

If the current investigation by Robert Mueller and his staff have revealed anything, it’s that differences in genuine political orientation, religion, personal preferences, and opinion aren’t the things you ought to confront on Facebook with strangers. We used to tell our children not to talk to strangers. That’s wisdom for adults online today!

Similarly, let’s say my friend likes jazz but I think jazz is noise. He shares a jazz song on Facebook. I either “Like” it or I move on. I don’t comment under that song saying that jazz sucks. Why in the world would I do that? Just because we’re friends in real life or “Facebook friends,” doesn’t make it right to oppose his tastes or views on whatever he posts. His page, his rules! Irrespective of my opinions.

Ashley and I saw a movie and I posted on Facebook that we liked it. Almost immediately some guy commented, telling me I was wrong, that the movie was crap. What? Seriously? It’s just an opinion about a movie. It’s like criticizing someone for not liking chocolate ice cream or for having a preference for Nike running shoes.

Internet etiquette is either dying or in its infancy. It’s hard to know if we’re seeing the end of civility online, or we’re at the beginning of a new sense of online decorum, an unintended result of Russian obstruction.

Occasionally, a friend of mine will post something on social media that I think might be in error or something that might be factually wrong and need correction or alteration. If the correction is easy and won’t hurt anyone’s feelings, I’ll post it.

For example, if my friend posts that “Pink Floyd” is going to be in concert in St. Louis, and I know he’s mistaken, that it’s actually “Brit Floyd” who is going to be in concert, I’ll post something publicly like, “Hey man, that’s good info about the concert, but is it ‘Brit Floyd’ or ‘Pink Floyd’ who’s going to be in concert?”

And here’s a little tip that might be helpful: avoid using the second person singular pronoun “you,” when calling attention to someone’s error or fault or possible mistake. “You never listen to me!” has a different feel than “I sometimes don’t feel heard.”

In the case of “Pink Floyd,” I could use “you” without it sounding too confrontational or pedantic by saying, “Did you mean ‘Brit Floyd’ or ‘Pink Floyd’?” Even using the word “Did” as opposed to “Do,” in the previous example has a different nuance.

If my friend has shared something that I believe is in error, and I fear that any kind of public question or correction could be embarrassing to him, I’ll send him a private message if I think it’s that important. (The Marine Corps is big on public praise and private correction. So am I.)

“Hey, Bob, you posted something on Facebook about eating raw eggs, can you tell me more about that? Can you tell me how you came to this way of eating eggs?” I might write that in a private message or email. (Stephen Covey’s: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”) Rather than post on Bob’s timeline: “Hey, Bob, eating raw eggs is wackadoodle stupid thinking, man! You ain’t Rocky! You’re gonna make yourself sick!” That’s disrespectful to Bob … and probably none of my business! Now, if I genuinely want to understand the whole eating raw eggs thing, I’ll send Bob a private message and ask him about it.

We need to ask better questions.

That last statement is at the heart of good communication and relationship building: ask better questions. Seek first to understand, then to be understood.

But every day you see rude, cruel, disrespectful, uncalled for criticism and negative commentary, written for the world to see, some of it coming from complete strangers cowering behind the anonymity of a keyboard hundreds of miles away, coming from some distant friend of a friend of a friend, saying unnecessary things they think will have no consequence, no repercussion. It’s reprehensible and cowardly, at best.

And it does have repercussions and consequences in the real world.

And it’s not always strangers (or Russians) miles away. Sometimes it’s a former co-worker, a distant relative, or even some long-ago forgotten friend or classmate. But what they all have in common is that their unwanted, unnecessary, and unkind commentary is also unsolicited.

Here’s an analogy for social media that might be helpful.

Imagine that Facebook is like a nice restaurant. The people at my table (my friends) are the people I’m going to share with and with whom I’m going to interact. If I overhear a conversation in the booth behind me that I don’t agree with, I won’t interject myself into their conversation, even if one of my friends at my table knows someone at that other table (friends of my friends). I don’t correct those people at that other table, I don’t make fun of them, I don’t call them names, I don’t chastise them, I don’t even engage them. Nor do they come over to my table and do those things. Their conversation is none of my business, even if I overhear them say things I don’t agree with. If they all think jazz is great and all of them are eating raw eggs, that’s none of my business.

The online world may seem artificial, but the damage that can be done to relationships in the real world isn’t.

At my age, I’m supposed to have sage advice. So, here are my 10 Rules for Internet Etiquette, with particular application to Facebook.

Should I Comment, Or Move On?
1. Were you asked for your opinion or commentary? If “NO,” move on.
2. Were you tagged in the post? If “NO,” move on.
3. Were you mentioned by name in the post? If “NO,” move on.
4. Will your life be negatively impacted if you don’t say something? If “NO,” move on.
5. Can you “Like” that post and write something positive and helpful? If “NO,” move on.
6. Have you had interaction with this person in the past few months? If “NO,” move on.
7. Are you an expert in the subject that’s being discussed? If “NO,” move on. (A brief note about your expertise: your resume says what you’re an expert in.)
8. Is the thing you’re going to write something you’d say to that person face to face? If “NO,” move on.
9. Is the thing you’re going to write true, respectful, necessary, useful, encouraging? Should YOU be the one to say it? If “NO,” move on.
10. Would you welcome that person writing the same thing on your wall, timeline, post, etc.? If “NO,” move on.

Here’s another tip: if you’ve not interacted with a person on Facebook when they celebrated a birthday,
or when they grieved the death of a loved one
or beloved pet,
or congratulated them when they got a promotion,
or rejoiced with them when they took that long awaited vacation,
or cheered for them when they got into the college of their dreams,
or admired them when they started raising chickens,
or shared in their happiness when they bought an old classic car,
or praised them when they ran a race they’d trained for,
or expressed your love for them when they had a new baby, etc., etc. …
… then don’t blindside them with some negative or confrontational comment that will literally come out of left field from their perspective. And is sure to be hurtful and confusing.

This has happened to me.

Some person I haven’t seen in 20 years, and who I had completely forgotten was a Facebook friend, comes out of the woodwork to tell me that I’m wrong about my love of Captain Crunch or they tell me they hate Notre Dame. Both things have happened.

“Treat others as THEY want to be treated,” says the platinum rule. Build one another up. Encourage one another. And remember what my Mom (and probably yours too) said,

“If you can’t say anything nice, then don’t say anything at all.”

And I like what is written in the New Testament book of Ephesians: “And be ye kind, one to another, tenderhearted …” Ephesians 4:32 (KJV)

– 30 –



Through the years, people have been super supportive of USMC Fitness Boot Camp and all that I do through it. Almost weekly, I’ll hear from some former boot camper who’s moved away. They write saying how significant the program was to them and how much they enjoy getting these newsletters.

Some of those folks still live in Memphis but life and circumstances have “providentially” hindered them from coming back to the Quarterdeck. (This sounds better than “they got lazy and got out of the habit.”)

Sometimes, those who’ve moved away send money because they want to be helpful and to support the program. This happened just a few days ago. Sometimes these folks know that at any point in time, there are about half a dozen boot campers coming for free because they lost their job, or there’s been some other detrimental change in their finances and situation and would otherwise have to drop out boot camp.

I support different causes and organizations, like you do. But last year I started supporting two different people on a site called Patreon. It’s a way to support artists, musicians, writers, and others who produce content of a broad nature, but might not be able to continue without financial support from patrons … like how educators, artists, musicians, and others were supported by patrons back in the day.

Today, the work produced by members of Patreon is found in printed materials, blog posts, YouTube videos, face to face instruction, consultation, reviews, lectures, and any number of outlets. I support the two I mentioned because I like what they do and want to help.

I’ve been encouraged to join Patreon myself, giving folks who aren’t actively in the program (or even those who are), an opportunity to support the program in small automatic monthly amounts.

More about that later!



by First Sergeant Ashley Holloway, Registered Dietitian, LDN, MS.

(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.”)

Time for a Gut Check

As runners we train for our races. We run the hills. We run in the cold. We run in the heat. We run the long miles. We run with the new shoes weeks before the big day. All the preparation is done with the goal of having a good race day. As runners we do a great job of training our minds, muscles, and lungs. But often we fail to also train our guts.

It isn’t uncommon for me to hear a runner say that they don’t eat before they run because they are afraid of getting diarrhea or of throwing up if they run with food in their stomach. But these same people then struggle with the last miles of their long run because they are running on fumes.

Stomach and gastro-intestinal issues are pretty common. Approximately 30-50% of endurance athletes (including up to 90% of distance runners) have had gastro-intestinal issues during and after bouts hard exercise. Gastric issues such as bloating, gas, side-stitches, nausea, stomach cramps/pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and the sudden urge to run to the nearest porta-potty are all things they fear.

The reason these issues arise during long runs is because blood flow to the gut is decreased for an extended period of time and is instead diverted to places where it’s needed most, like your muscles and your cardiovascular system. The decreased blood flow, combined with dehydration, elevated body temperature, and high levels of stress hormones, can all cause your normal intestinal function to stop suddenly.

If you are a runner with a sensitive stomach, you may think that limiting your food and beverage intake, before and during your run is the way to go. No food equals no issues, right? It may temporarily stop the problem, but it doesn’t solve the problem. By learning how to properly train your gut to accept food and liquids both before and during a run can improve your running performance without the fear of needing to make unwelcome pit stops.

The good news is that our gastrointestinal systems are fairly easy to train. Think about competitive eaters. They eat enormous amounts of food in amazingly short amounts of time. World Champion eater Joey Chesnut consumed 40 and a half slices of pizza in only 10 minutes. And another competitive eating champ consumed 72 hot dogs in that same amount of time. These two didn’t just go out on competition day and eat these massive amounts with no training. They had to spend a lot of time to train their stomachs to handle these crazy amounts.
Thankfully as runners, we don’t need to aspire to that level of gut training. But in order to be fueled properly for optimum performance without the risk of stomach upset or issues, some training is needed.

Try any of the following tips from fellow Sports Dietitian, Nancy Clark, RD, CSSD, that can help you exercise with digestive peace:

Drink enough fluids. Dehydration triggers intestinal problems. Your goal is to drink enough to prevent 2% dehydration (sweat loss of 2 pounds per 100 pounds of body weight from pre- to post-exercise). If you are a “big guy” who sweats heavily, this can be a lot of fluid. For example, a 200-pound football player could easily lose 4 pounds (a half-gallon) of sweat in an hour of exercise. He needs to train his gut to handle fluid replacement during training. He could need as much as 12 to 16 ounces every 15 minutes during a two-hour practice.

Feeling “full” and “bloated” during exercise indicates fluids (and foods) have not emptied from the stomach. This commonly happens during really hard exercise, when reduced blood flow to the stomach delays stomach emptying. Hot weather and prolonged exercise in the heat can also reduce stomach emptying.

You want to dilute highly concentrated carbs (i.e., gels), so be sure to drink enough water during exercise (i.e. 16 oz. water per 100 calories gel). This will help speed up gastric emptying.

If you plan to eat a peanut butter on a bagel before you compete, you want to routinely eat that before important training sessions. This helps train your gut to accommodate fat (sustained energy) as well as carbs (quick energy).

Once carbohydrate (such as sport drink, gel, banana, or gummi bears) empties from the stomach, it enters the small intestine and is broken down into one of three simple sugars (glucose, fructose, galactose). These sugars need “taxi cabs” to get transported out of the intestine and into the blood stream.

Too many gels or chomps without enough transporters can lead to diarrhea. By training with your race-day carbs, you can increase the number of transporters.

If you typically eat a low-carb Paleo or keto-type diet and then on the day of, let’s say, a marathon, you decide to fuel with carb-rich gels and sports drinks, your body won’t have the capacity to optimally transport the sugar (carbs) out of your intestines and to your muscles. You could easily end up with diarrhea.

When planning what to eat during extended exercise, choose from a variety of carbs with a variety of sugars (i.e., sport drink, gum drops, and maple sugar candy). This helps prevent the glucose transporters from getting saturated. Too much of one kind of sport food can easily create GI problems.

Real foods” such as bananas, raisins and cereal, have been shown to be as effective as commercial sport foods. Your body processes “real food” every day and has developed a good supply of transporters to deal with the carbohydrate you commonly eat. By experimenting and learning what works best for your body, you can fuel without anxiety about undesired pit stops.

For exercise that lasts for up to two hours, research suggests about 60 grams (240 calories) of carb per hour can empty from the small intestine and get into the blood stream. Hence, that’s a good target. For longer, slower, events, the body can use 90 g (360 calories) carb per hour from multiple sources, as tolerated. Again, train your gut!

The bottom line:
Train with relatively large volumes of fluid to get your stomach used to that volume.
Routinely eat carbohydrate-based foods before training sessions to increase your body’s ability to absorb and use the fuel.
During training, practice your race-day fueling. Mimic what you might eat before the actual competitive event and tweak it until you find the right balance.
If you are concerned about diarrhea, in addition to preventing dehydration, limit your fiber intake for a few days pre-event (fewer whole grains, fruits and veggies).
Reducing your intake of onions, garlic, broccoli, apples, and sorbitol might help reduce GI issues during exercise.
Meet with a sports dietitian to help you create a fueling plan that promotes intestinal peace and better performance.



I’ve recently signed up for the messaging app called Remind. Designed with schools in mind, it is easily adaptable for groups and organizations like ours.

Signing up is free and easy. Your privacy is ensured and there will be no group text situations that makes us all crazy! I’m the only one who can reply to everyone. Any messages from you will only go to me, not to the whole group.

I’ll only utilize this messaging service to inform you of any changes to venue or times. Likewise, I’ll use it, in addition to Facebook, to announce any weather related cancellations or changes.

Just copy and paste this link into your browser to sign up:


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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