The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 3, 2012

Mike Pound: Making the most of climate change

By Mike Pound

— On Sunday afternoon, in between watching football, I smoked a brisket.

My football-watching and brisket-smoking wardrobe consisted of a pair of shorts, a Captain Tony’s T-shirt and a pair of Jimmy Buffett flip-flops. It was pretty much my typical attire ... if it were May.

I don’t recall ever smoking a brisket while wearing shorts, a T-shirt and flip-flops in December. I may have done that in December but I doubt it. In fact, I’m not sure that I’ve ever worn flip-flops outdoors in December. It’s just not something that you think about doing in Missouri.

My wife is a bit conflicted about the warm December weather. She likes it but she also misses the cold a bit.

“Do you realize we haven’t had to light a fire in the fireplace yet?” my wife asked me over the weekend.

I told me wife that I was aware of that.

“And are you aware that we had to turn the air conditioning back on again?” my wife asked.

I told me wife that I was aware of that.

“Are you aware that we haven’t had one school snow day yet?” our 14-year-old daughter, Emma, chimed in.

“Are you aware that I’m trying to watch a football game,” I said to my wife and Emma.

I’m not a fan of cold weather. My personality is better suited to sunny days, shorts, T-shirts and flip-flops. I’m sort of laid back, and warm, sunny days are made for laid-back folks. Bitterly cold temperatures, blustery winds and mounds of snow are not the sort of stuff that laid-back folks seek out. It’s hard to be laid back when you’re freezing.

But even a laid-back, shorts-and-T-shirt, flip-flop wearing guy like me understands that 70 degree December days are not normal and might even be a bad thing. See, I’m one of those people who puts quite a bit of stock in the whole “climate change” thing. I understand that not everybody puts stock into climate change and I guess I can see that. But to me it seems pretty obvious that something is going on with our weather that probably isn’t right.

So, as much as I like warm weather in December, I’m not sure it’s a good thing. I guess warm weather in December would be a good idea if I lived in Florida, but I don’t live in Florida, I live in Southwest Missouri.

I don’t want to say things are out of whack, but the other day I saw a squirrel walking up our street. The poor thing looked horrible. He had bags under his eyes, and he looked exhausted.

“It’s too hot,” he said. “I can’t sleep and since I stored up on acorns all fall, I’m fat and none of my clothes fit anymore.”

I think that’s what happened. Or maybe I was hallucinating because of the heat.

The reason I decided to smoke a brisket Sunday was because of the warm weather. For some reason some of my typical Sunday meals for December didn’t appeal to me. A hot pot of chili, for example, just didn’t sound so good, while a smoked brisket sounded very good indeed.

On Saturday I fixed a dry rub and applied it to the brisket and put the whole thing in the refrigerator. And then, on Sunday morning I took the brisket out of the refrigerator and put it on the smoker at around 11 a.m. Then I sort of kicked back.

That’s the great thing about smoking a brisket: It’s not exactly a labor-intensive project.

Other than occasionally checking the fire, most of my time Sunday was spent watching football and listening to my wife and Emma complain about the warm weather.

Yep, it was a pretty typical Sunday.

If it were May.