• Member Since 28th Aug, 2011
  • offline last seen 4 hours ago

Cold in Gardez

Stories about ponies are stories about people.

More Blog Posts176

  • 3 weeks
    That drone strike in Afghanistan...

    After the withdrawal from Afghanistan, and in particular after the drone strike that killed an aid worker and several family members, a few people reached out to ask about I story I wrote several years ago for the Writeoff original fiction contest. It was, in fact, the first original fiction piece I'd written in years, and it dealt with the (fictional) aftermath of drone strike that went wrong. I

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    13 comments · 700 views
  • 9 weeks
    On Afghanistan

    So, those of you following the latest from Afghanistan may have seen this item, reported by CNN:

    Taliban claim to have captured provincial capital of Gardez

    From CNN’s Tim Lister in Spain

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    61 comments · 1,573 views
  • 15 weeks
    Ten years of Pony

    So, I've been looking forward to this blog post for a long time.

    Ten years and two deployments to Afghanistan ago, I ran across an article on Wired about a weird cultural phenomenon -- adult men who loved the children's show My Little Pony. How strange, I thought. And, for a lark, I decided to check it out.

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    37 comments · 990 views
  • 28 weeks
    GaPJaxie's Most Amazing Contest!

    So I'm a few days late with this, but hopefully everyone has already seen the Friendship is Optimal Writing Contest that my good friend GaPJaxie is hosting for this fandom. He approached me with the idea a few weeks back, with the offer to

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    1 comments · 477 views
  • 32 weeks
    Iron Cross, steel magnate, found nationalized in his bed. Was 58

    “You can’t just take control of an entire segment of Equestria’s economy!” Twilight Sparkle protested. “Who said you could do that?”

    “Nopony said I couldn’t do it,” Starlight Glimmer countered. “Besides, I did it humanely.”

    Twilight stared at her. “What… what does that even mean? How do you humanely nationalize an entire industry?”

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    23 comments · 1,121 views

Tastes like Turkey · 4:45am Nov 28th, 2019

In which Twilight Sparkle and Starlight Glimmer are 30s noir detectives.

“I do declare… Dinner is served!” Granny Smith knocked her hoof on the table, ringing in the Apple Family Thanksgiving Meal. A rousing cheer erupted from herd of ponies gathered around the barn. They shook the rafters with their stomps and scared the pigeons from their roosts high above. Bits of hay swirled in the lantern light, for a moment causing the wide, warm expanse of the lofts to resemble the blustery snows outside.

“Yay!” Apple Bloom shouted. “Dibs on the apple fritters!”

“Save the deserts for last, young filly,” Applejack said. She pulled Apple Bloom back to her seat and set a heaping helping of turkey smothered in gravy on her plate. “Now, eat up, ya’ll! Yee haw!”

“A-yup,” Big Macintosh said. He piled up a plate with a healthy portion of stuffing, green beans and sweet potatoes, and gave it to the visibly pregnant Sugar Belle sitting beside him, who cooed and gazed at him with eyes visibly pregnant with tears of love.

“Oh, Big Mac.” Sugar Belle’s voice was thick with emotion, ready to break at the slightest sign of more love. “I’m so glad you married me! And I get to share our first Thanksgiving together with your family!”

All around them, at the long tables set out across the barn, dozens of ponies filled their plates with the bounty of the season. Most were Apples or their kin – others friends from Ponyville and even further afield. There were earth ponies aplenty, but unicorns and pegasi, and even a zebra or two, for the Apple Family had sent their shoots wide across the lands and found friendly soil in the remotest parts of the world. The walls shook with their laughter. The fires of their love filled the hall with warmth and light, staving off the chill of the dawning winter outside.

Granny Smith had a small plate. Her appetite wasn’t what it used to be, and in any case there would be plenty of leftovers if she got hungry later. She nibbled at the turkey, had a sip of the apple brandy Apple Brandy discreetly slipped her, and leaned back in her chair to observe the controlled chaos playing out before her. Her hearing wasn’t what it used to be either, but she could make out the gist of what was going on – the laughter, the shouting foals, the cheers when Braeburn stuffed an entire stuffed bell pepper in his mouth. She smiled, and a warm, contented glow spread up from her stomach to her heart. To see her family flourish like this, so many of them, sprouting like weeds in a springtime field. This, this was the joy that accompanied a life well-lived. It was heady and delightful. For the first time in years, a true grin spread across her face.

Or maybe it was the brandy. She took another sip to make sure.

“Everything alright, Granny?” Applejack asked. She plopped down beside Granny Smith and kicked her hooves up on the table. “Yer not crying’, is ya?”

“What? Shoot, no, you darn filly.” Granny wiped her eyes with her fetlock. “Just dusty in here is all.”

“Granny Smith?” A tiny voice came from the side. It was Pear Blossom, a filly so young she was barely out of diapers. “Why are those two seats empty? Are they for ponies who haven’t arrived yet?”

“Those seats?” Granny turned, and her voice caught in her throat. At the side of the table were indeed two empty chairs, set with empty plates and upturned glasses. She swallowed, then leaned down to pick Pear Blossom up and set the little filly in her lap.

“Let me tell you a story about those seats,” she continued. “Once upon a time, there were two beautiful ponies who loved each other very much. The stallion was big and strong, with a heart bigger than a breadbox. His wife was more beautiful than the prettiest flower and as strong as any yak. Together they built this barn and this farm, and their love for each other was deeper than the ocean.”

She paused, and noticed the barn had grown quiet. Ponies all down the tables had stopped stuffing their faces and turned to listen. Beside her, Applejack’s stoic mein was broken by twin trails of tears running down her cheeks.

Applejack sniffed. “Go on, Granny.”

Granny nodded. She licked her lips before continuing – the damn brandy dried them out. Yeah, the brandy. “Those two ponies, your aunt and uncle, they were so good that… well, the angels just had to take them back to heaven, I guess. I don’t understand why they had to leave, but they did. And so, to remember them, we leave two empty chairs at every family gathering.”

Pear Blossom looked at the empty seats, then at the tears streaming down Applejack’s face. She sniffed, then began to cry herself.

“Hush, hush,” Granny said. “It’s alright. What matters is that we still love them, and we love each other.”

“I love you, Granny Smith!” Pear Blossom wailed. She tossed her tiny hooves around Granny’s shoulders and squeezed her tight.

“And ah love you both! Yee haw!” Applejack said, joining the hug.

“Sugar Belle, uh…” Big Mac blushed and rubbed the back of his neck with his hoof.

“I know, Big Macintosh,” Sugar Belle said. She leaned against his enormous, muscled form and placed a gentle kiss on the tip of his nose.


All around the barn, ponies hugged each other. More than a few cried. Braeburn kept eating because he was Braeburn and that was fine too. Never before in the history of Ponyville had so much love been concentrated in such a small place. It was heartwarming. It was beautiful.

“Hey everypony, I have an idea!” Apple Bloom said. She jumped up on the table. “Instead of having Thanksgiving every year, we should do it every month! Or every week!”

“Yeah!” somepony shouted.

“That’s an awesome idea!” somepony else echoed.

“Could… could we really do that?” Applejack asked. She turned to Granny Smith.

“Well, I reckon, if it helps our family love each other so much, then why not?” Granny Smith said. “Let’s make Thanksgiving Day every day!”

A rousing cheer went up from the assembled ponies. It shook the clapboard walls and timber roof tiles. The iron tools on their pegboards chimed in sympathy. It was, truly, a Thanksgiving miracle.

At about that point the massive barn doors burst open and the first round of stun grenades came flying in. They burst like cannons, sending bits of food flying like shrapnel and deafening everypony inside. The cheers instantly turned to screams as ponies scrambled away, pawing at their flash-blind eyes.

Then tear gas followed. It filled the hall with smoke, and the screams became choking coughs. A bright magenta field of magic swept through, clearing a path through the haze, and into the chaos strode Starlight Glimmer.

“Everybug get down!” she shouted. Her trench coat fluttered around her legs, wide-spread for balance. “You’re all under arrest!”

The changelings who could escape tried. Flashes of green flame light the dark barn as they returned to their real forms. They scrambled up the walls and out the windows, only to be caught by more ponies outside wielding butterfly nets. A few smarter changelings tried to impersonate the pony cops who poured into the barn, but being blind and deaf and barely able to breathe, they weren’t so successful.

“Excellent work, Detective Glimmer,” said Twilight Sparkle. She walked in behind Starlight Glimmer and tipped her fedora to the mare. “Looks like an entire theater troupe this time. What tipped you off?”

“Thank you, Detective Sparkle,” Starlight said. She walked over to one of the demolished tables, nibbled at a smear of blasted apple pie, and let out a quiet Mmm of satisfaction. “Oh, that’s good. And they do it every year. You see the television crew?”

Along the wall, another set of incapacitated changelings slumped beside a set of high-definition television cameras and studio lights. One bug had a boom microphone strapped to his saddle, and struggled to crawl away with it still attached. As they watched, a guardspony slapped him in manacles and dragged him outside.

“I do,” Twilight said. “Let me guess. They were filming a holiday episode loaded with so much schmaltz and shmarm that anypony who watched it would be struck with an overdose of sappy emotions so thick they’d contract diabetes. It would feed the hive for weeks.”

“They were probably going to sell it to the Hallmark Channel,” Starlight said. She shook her head and spat. “Monsters.”

“Well, not this year!” Twilight said. “The only thing on television for Thanksgiving will be hoofball, if I have anything to say about it!”

“You like hoofball?”

“Eh, not really.” Twilight shrugged. “But it’s a tradition, you know? My father and brother spent all day shouting at the television.”

“Yeah, traditions are important.” Starlight said. “Hey, you wanna help me find the real Apple family? They’re probably stuck in pods in the basement again.”

Happy Thanksgiving, team. I hope everyone is doing something to enjoy the holidays, but if not, I'm at least glad you're here and part of this community.

And that's my sentimental feeling for the year!

Comments ( 13 )

Changelings, stun grenades and tear gas. And that's what Thanksgiving is all about, Charlie Brown.

And we would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for you foals and your lousy canine-in-Pedestria sidekick!

That made me laugh!

Hope you have a wonderful day as well; if not with family somewhere then with your family here.

All of you are what I'm very thankful for.

Hah, a happy Thanksgiving to you as well. :D

“They were probably going to sell it to the Hallmark Channel,” Starlight said. She shook her head and spat. “Monsters.”

This explains far, far too much.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Cold in Gardez,
At first, I was like :rainbowkiss:, then I was like :rainbowhuh:, at the end I was :rainbowlaugh::ajsmug::trollestia:
Anyways, Warm wishes from Twilight and I to you and yours for a very happy Thanksgiving.
cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/499792629794340874/649263658005692426/20191127_084003.jpg cdn.discordapp.com/attachments/499792629794340874/649263657561227285/20191127_083923.jpg

Why is this not a story? I want to like and favorite it.

Seeing #shmaltz and #shmarm, I was lured into following all of those hashtags and seeing if there were any interesting ones... Suffice it to say, I’m not sure Starlight Glimmer is best pony.

I knew it! There was something fishy going on from the moment the Apples started passing around the turkey. But I admit not having considered that it was a changeling TV crew for the (shudders) Hallmark Network. Halloween came late, this year!

Eh, better than Lifetime with their 10,000 films about Strong Independent Women overcoming Spousal Abuse and Learning To Love Again.

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