Town Without Pony


I am currently working with to find content partners that would be interested in posting a quality on-topic post to their site with a link back to

Our writer is top-notch and the content will be exclusive to your site only. If you are interested please let me know and I can have a custom article written for your site within a week.

Dorothy Gibson

Dear Ms. Gibson:

Thank you for the offer. I have reviewed the web site and am enthralled by the prospect of a post regarding Destin, Florida. Destin seems to embody all the qualities I've come to associate with Florida: peace and tranquility, good judgment, and shirtless people.

One issue remains. My careful search of the many activities featured on the Destin, Florida promotional web site reveals no pony-related recreation. This is not a problem: this is a unassailable prerequisite to associating Popehat with the site. Can you please confirm that Destin is pony-free, to a level of confidence of at least .9 PPI (Pony Probability Index)?

Thank you. I eagerly await hearing more.


Hi Ken,

You need not to worry about pony-related recreation. Destin is pony free.




I am thrilled, relieved, and more than a little inappropriately agitated to hear it.

Would a guest post extol the virtues of Destin as a recreational locale? That might make a very pleasant change of pace. We write about grim things, Dorothy. Ours is not a place of carefree beach frolic. No, we write about injustice and censorship and brutality and violence and ponies and racism and corruption. Beware, this is a place for tears, as Scarpia says to Cavaradossi in the course of the latter's regrettable encounter with the Italian court system. So: a post about happy people doing happy things in a happy place would be like a refreshing zephyr, with adjacent condominiums and entertainment venues.

However, my concern is that a guest post about Destin would be a little too cheerful, a little too bright. The transition from one of my posts about wrongful convictions or one of Clark's posts about the impending overthrow of the United States government into a post about sunny Destin might be abrupt and jarring for our readers. So I was thinking: could your top-notch writer start the guest post with something ugly and sordid and low about Destin, and then ease in to the nice things? Like maybe if someone recently found a vacationing podiatrist from Duluth dead in the jacuzzi at the Hyatt and there was some unpleasantness, you could start with that, and with a discussion of what a pain in the ass it is to drain the jacuzzi so the water doesn't taste like dead podiatrist any more, and then you could segue naturally from there into Destin's beaches and pool opportunities and famous umbrellaed drinks and thus-and-such. That would be easier on our readers. Some of of them don't deal well with change, Dorothy, I don't mind telling you.

Anyway, I look forward to hearing from you again, and learning more about the pony-free beaches of Destin.

Very truly yours,


[no response]


My dear Dorothy:

May I quote what you said to me, Dorothy?

"You need not to worry about pony-related recreation. Destin is pony free."

There was a time when I could believe, Dorothy. There was a time when I had faith. There was a time when I had trust.

This is not that time.

I should have seen your crafty wordsmithing, Dorothy. I should have seen that "you need not to worry about pony-related recreation" might simply mean that the ponies would be upon me without warning and that my end would be swift. I should have seen that, rather than "pony-free," you wrote "pony free," smugly signalling a place where ponies obey no law of God nor man.

You deceived me, Dorothy. I choose to look at this as a learning experience.

Game on, Dorothy.


Last 5 posts by Ken White


  1. says

    > I am relieved and more than a little inappropriately agitated

    I see you're in the same mood when dealing with her as you've always been when dealing with me.

  2. Kilroy says

    So what happens when the guest post is submitted as requested? Will you actually post it?

  3. Alan Bleiweiss says


    You're my hero!

    People think it's acceptable to get articles about their site posted anywhere, regardless of relevance, all for the SEO link. What total crap. But your willingness to rip it so eloquently, well, that just makes my heart sing!

  4. Alan says

    Having been to Destin, I can say that this woman is ideally suited to promote it, as she and the city are very similar. Both are nice on the surface but overly commercialized, vapid, and undoubtedly full of sand.

  5. Alan D. says

    I lived in Destin. I will tell you the ugly, sordid truth about Destin. It is right next to the Navy EOD school. I appreciate those guys, I really do. But it turns out their training is late at night. Their training involves blowing stuff up. All night long. Walls shake and pictures rattle. Dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria.

  6. Ken in NH says

    Liar! I have been to Destin several times and they most certainly do have ponies there. I will grant that they are not employed in recreation, but that just makes them more dangerous. Ponies in and of themselves are bad enough, but ponies without gainful employment are just a disaster waiting to happen. They say that Ivan was a hurricane, but I have it on good authority that it was a pony.

  7. naught_for_naught says

    Hello, I am currently working with… like a lamb to the slaughter, a lamb too lazy to do its homework, a lamb that now has to live with the shame of being a pony denier, cuz they got ponies.

  8. TheOtherLisa says

    Hey Naught – I looked at that site and in the stables gallery, one of the "ponies" appears to actually be a rock. Maybe they are confused about what ponies are and therefore got the answer wrong.

  9. Nate says

    Dorothy is clearly a pony and this was just another trick in their plan for world domination. Keep fighting the good fight. :)

  10. says

    Hi Ken,

    I saw this a few pages after reading this post and thought of you.

    The Groupon Guide to: Pony Names
    If you don’t name your pony, how is anyone supposed to feel sad when it dies? Here were Horse & Girl Magazine’s top pony names for 2010:

    1) Sprinkles
    2) Cloudburst
    3) Daffydil
    4) Trotsky
    5) Thunderhoof
    6) Wonderhoof
    7) Rainbow/Lightning (tie)
    8) Clompenstein
    9) Cassandra (it was a pony name before it was a human name)
    10) Professor Cinnamon
    11) Miniature Horse Designate Alpha-494
    12) Sprinkles Jr.

    Just in case you want to start asking for specific ponies. ;)

  11. says


    The Scarpia reference slays me. SLAYS me.

    The dead podiatrist moves me not at all, but the off-hand suggestion of habitual drinking from the jacuzzi? That's worth at least half a dozen internets.

    Beautifully played.

  12. En Passant says

    Mike De Lucia wrote Apr 5, 2013 @6:45 am:

    I'm dying. :D

    You have my deepest gratitude for that warning, on behalf of all Duluth podiatrists seeking the Jacuzzi cure(tm) for pony infestation in Destin. Your sacrifice has already saved many lives. It isn't just baloney what a town without a pony can do.

  13. says

    I'm deeply saddened that your response didn't contain a single reference to SMT.

    Standards, people. Whatever happened to standards?

  14. naught_for_naught says


    You are making it tough, but I have to go with Miniature Horse Designate Alpha-494. It rolls of the tongue like poetry as you beckon him from the back porch to come and get his sugar cube.

  15. Lucy says

    Maybe when the settlers of this place were coming up with names, they wanted outsiders to think of it as a destination, but every time I read the name I think of diaper cream.

  16. Nicholas Weaver says

    Ken, I think you owe Dorothy an apology.

    Destin Florida is pony free. Its the heathens next door in Fort Walton Beach and Santa Rosa Beach that are harboring the evil equines. Would you blame Jordan for terrorists in Iraq?

    Yes, there are too many evil equines in the general area: you have to travel through one of two decidedly NOT pony free zones to reach Destin. But Destin itself is sufficiently protected that, once inside the Green Zone, with .9 PPI, you are safe from Ponies.

  17. R. Penner says

    I don't think you're safe even with a Walther PPI. Floridians regularly sleep under pony-tents, structures designed to collapse and wake you in the event of a pony coming in the middle of the night to suck out your precious blood sugar.

  18. James Pope says

    Destin is not pony free. I was raised in the area and ponies, and explosive ordinance, are both available in excess there.

  19. says

    Y'all ain't native floridians, so you cain't be blamed for not knowing this. But them's not ponies, them's donkeys waring pony suits.

    Don't tell any yankees, y'hear?

  20. mcinsand says

    Ken in NH:

    First, the most important question: is Smuttynose Pale Ale the best brew in the world, or what?!?!? I did a literal happydance when I saw it at my local specialty beer/wine shop!

    Next, the following quote from your comment has me thinking:

    >>I will grant that they are not employed in recreation,…

    Something is amiss here. Have the ponies been hit by the ongoing financial crisis? Is Destin under-reporting the unemployed ponies just to make unemployment numbers look better when trying to attract people to the area? I have some friends with the state unemployment agency here, and I will be sure to ask how much of a problem we are having with keeping accurate counts of unemployed ponies. Could it be that Dot Gibson is not properly dotting her eyes and crossing her
    tee's, or maybe vice versa.

  21. Alan says

    Under Things to Do, the is ominously silent on the pony issue, not even a hint of a reference to the required anti-pony patrolling required to certify a PPI index of .9.

    However, they are very open about opportunites for Water Sports, so much so that they list that first in a much larger font before droning on about less potentially interesting things like snorkeling and kayaking. If Water Sports is your thing, the pony danger could potentially add some additional spice to a sex tourism vacation.

  22. James says

    We should bring the lack of ponies to the attention of small horse lovers everywhere. They could start an e-mail (DDOS?) campaign insisting that the local tourism board not rest until the have recruited a suitable pony related business.

    This is clearly discrimination against pony lovers under the Americans with Disabilities Act since the lack of ponies limits one or more major life activities of such individuals.

  23. Hasdrubal says

    An Iron Range podiatrist dying under mysterious circumstances linked to pony denial? This sounds like a job for Guy Noir!

    Actually, now that I think about it, this really does sound like an episode of Guy Noir. I can hear the sound effects now…

  24. Malc says

    I am concerned that the anti-pony sentiment is spilling over into general anti-equine distrust.

    For the record, horses and miniature horses are NOT ponies, nor are donkeys or mules.

    Handy Guide to Equine Recognition:

    All measurements are the height to the withers.

    1. Less than 34 inches (8 hands 2): Either Miniature Horse (NOT Pony), OR Juvenile Horse (NOT Pony) OR Juvenile Pony (CAUTION!)

    2. Between 34 and 58 inches (8h2 to 14h2): Either Juvenile Horse (NOT Pony) OR PONY (CAUTION!)

    3. Over 58 inches (14h2): Horse.

    4. Very long ears: Donkey-based lifeform, NOT Pony.

    Recommendation: A short-eared equine less than 58 in high at the withers MAY BE A PONY.

  25. George William Herbert says

    Look. Ponies will not overcome an Explosive Ordnance problem, but EOD will certainly overcome a Pony problem.

    With sufficient explosives, no doors are locked. With sufficient explosives, walls aren't.

    Just don't crimp the caps with your teeth.

  26. mcinsand says


    When we start to see "general anti-equine distrust," then we definitely have a societal crisis. General distrust of any group is irrational, unless members of that group are potential salesmen, attorneys, or (worst of all) members of Congress.

    On a note of seriousness, only two prejudices were allowed in my house growing up: salespeople and adjustable wrenches. Getting rid of my prejudice against salespeople took some years of working closely with salespeople. I have long been a closet user of adjustable wrenches, although I think my Southern Baptist father would have had more trouble with knowing that there was a Crescent wrench in the house than alcohol or pornography ("Boy! Either get the right-sized wrench for the job or don't waste your time!")

  27. dan says

    New to this blog, whats with the mini-equine distrust? Did something tragic happen to Ken involving hooves?

  28. Myk says

    Dan – it's not something that is discussed in polite company. Suffice to say, Ken once had a sparkle in his eye, a glint of cheer and mischief in his rosy-cheeked visage. Now his eyes are dead; empty, dark pools that speak of the horror he has seen. Memories of that day torture his soul and wake him, breathless and unable to scream, at 3.27 each morning. And no-one mentions that 'Tosca' is also a popular pony name…oh dear; sorry Ken.

  29. David Schwartz says

    @Malc: Your guide would be helpful except for two things. First, I have no idea what "withers" are. Second, I am not brave enough to put my hands anywhere near the withers of something that might be a pony, regardless of which pony part withers are. (Unless it's some part of a pony that is several hundred feet away from the dangerous parts of the pony. But if any pony that had parts several hundred feet away would likely be too dangerous even to be several hundred feet away from.)

  30. nlp says

    And to think there was a time on this blog, back in our days of innocence, when ponies were demanded! And not only were ponies demanded, they had to be awesome ponies that flew and breathed fire! How far we have come from those innocent days of yore. Ken, I can only thank you for pulling the wool from our eyes. I don't dare think of how much peril we were in when we longed for ponies.

    (The withers are the part of a horse or pony where the the neck meets the back. There's a little rounded spot, and that's the withers).

  31. Malc says

    @David, the withers are near the whiches and heretofores, close by the henceforths.

    In other news, has anyone else spotted the alarming conspiracy evident between Matt "The Oatmeal" and Ken "The Popehat who bears animus"?

    I offer you

    Quite. All will be revealed, I'm sure, on May 2nd in the San Francisco when, I am sure, Charles Carreon will unleash a devastating response to NastyPeaple(tm)

  32. Shay says

    "Destin seems to embody all the qualities I've come to associate with Florida: peace and tranquility, good judgment, and shirtless people."

    Not to mention meth labs.

  33. says

    The equid-identification schema presented heretofore is dangerously misleading. Not to mention:

    5: striped, often seen killing zookeepers, withers whither it feels like: zebra
    6: half-striped, dead, withers typically removed from skin before it was tanned or stuffed — quagga
    7: long-eared, throws lethally-heavy rocks long distances — onager
    8: presumably long-eared, domesticated, known mostly by spoor in other peoples' blogs — equus asinus sapiens

  34. Black Betty says

    Whoa, Ken…

    If Destin has explosive ordinance and shirtless people, then I'd say that qualifies for a write up. Especially if those shirtless people are hot EOD guys. Please get on this story right away. And include pictures. LOTS of pictures. I mean you can't really tell that kind of story without pictures.

  35. That Anonymous Coward says

    I second Black Betty's call for pics of hot EOD guys… What?
    Damn hetero-normative people…

  36. babaganusz says

    mmm… dead Duluth podiatrist.

    IANA connoisseur of pony riding – you're welcome – but something tells me 10+ miles (towards Destin, no less) is not a reasonable distance to expect any customers to lead their hired ponies. (unless they find out you're visiting.)

    the subduction as to "pony{ABSENT HYPHEN!}free" was the killing stroke.

    i particularly adore how she doesn't recommend a sample of their "top-notch" writer's work. i mean, what does The Goddamn Popehat know about writing?

  37. AlphaCentauri says

    Lol, I'm with TAC and Betty. Just because I'm not personally interested doesn't mean I can't look at someone and say God done good when he made that guy. Everyone likes looking at Michaelangelo's David, and someone resembling a shirtless EOD guy had to be the model for that.

  38. That Anonymous Coward says

    @AlphaCentauri – and I feel bad for that model… it musta been hella cold in the studio. :D That or 'net porn has ruined my expectations.