SOME days you can name your controversy. Today the choice is between Donald Trump bombing the shit out of things; or microwaved tea tasting better than any other tea.
I realise these two matters of contention are not connected, although having said that, you’d like to think that someone who made tea the proper way, loose leaves, warmed teapot and all, would be less likely to resort to dropping big bombs. Ah, that’s better. I’ll just sit here for a while…
After raining missiles down on Syria, an act for which the US president earned much acclaim, even from liberal types, now Trump has dropped the biggest non-nuclear bomb ever used, this time on Afghanistan. The lack of a nuclear warhead is a blessing of sorts, although a military analyst quoted in The Sun says that the 30ft bomb would have felt like a nuclear blast.
The bomb fell on a series of tunnels said to have been used by Islamic State terrorists. Whether any passing innocents were also blasted to flesh-wasted smithereens, is not known.
Those military-minded types in the Daily Telegraph reckon the bomb was a signal to US enemies, including Syria, North Korea and Iran, that the White House was now prepared to “take action from which previous administrations refrained”.
By that reading, this is a massive display of dick-swinging by the world’s scariest man (other scary men, and indeed women, are available).
Too many headlines this morning follow a depressing furrow, glorying in the “Mother of all bombs” – and isn’t it strange the way ‘mother’ is used in such contexts, especially when referencing non-maternal ability to blast the world to bits.
I don’t know about you, but I worry about those headlines. Are we really that keen to jump aboard Trump’s Armageddon Express and join in the whopping chorus on the journey to God knows where? Trump’s sudden enthusiasm for military adventures of the type he previously cautioned against seems to be his most alarming U-turn yet, and we should worry where what his mercurial, twitching gaze will fall next.
And isn’t there a danger that this inconstant man will get a taste for flexing his muscles in this way; and if so, isn’t that an addiction to alarm the world? It’s easy to boast that you are using such power for good, but lines are soon crossed – that’s if they haven’t been blown up already.
Now for tea. According to a report in the Guardian, an Australian scientist backs up DI Hardy’s belief that the best way to make tea is in the microwave. Hardy, the irascible scowl on legs portrayed by David Tennant in the excellent Broadchurch, caused mass outrage when he suggested this brewing method last month. Now scientist Dr Quan Vuong, of the University of Newcastle, tells ABC news that the microwave produces the best-tasting and healthiest tea.
His method is as follows: Put hot water in the cup with the teabag; heat in the microwave for 30 seconds on half power; let it sit for a minute (and, if I may add: throw this tannic blasphemy in the bin and start again and do it properly this time).
To be fair, I haven’t tried Dr Vuong’s method for two reasons: one, we don’t own a microwave; two, I am not a barbarian. I shall stick to leaf tea placed in a warmed pot; sometimes I will be lazy and use a teabag; both types of tea will be made using freshly drawn water boiled in the kettle.
A small controversy, but somethings you need those to keep your mind off darker matters. The mother of all bombs and the father of all ways to make a proper cup of tea…