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I drink a lot. Not in the normal sense of the word; I had to give up Demon Rum along with all the other alcoholic pleasures of life some years ago when I got the diabeetus. No, while I am still a two-fisted drinker, the fluid of choice tends to be water, or some kind of diet soda, at least in the summer. This helps flush all the crap out of my system, helps with the dieting, and no doubt has other salubrious effects on my poor abused body.

I have lived for most of my life in places with absolutely wretched winter weather, and because I prefer coolness to heat even in the winter, I shift from the diet soda to tea in that time of year. Large quantities of tea. Oceans of tea. I nuke it in latte cups and large mugs, and I suppose if I had a real teapot I'd brew it in pots as well. Since I don't, and feel weird about buying one of those electric tea brewing gizmos, I spend a lot of time standing around the microwave or finding some short task that takes two minutes to accomplish while waiting for my tea.

What sort of tea do I drink? Partially because I drink so much of it, and partially because I have low tastes formed by eating in mess halls as a treat when I was a kid, most of my tea is bog-standard black tea, the cheap stuff sold in large boxes of bags at low prices down at Wal-mart. I do indulge myself in the occasional cup of Celestial Seasonings Morning Thunder, which is five kinds of awesome. Morning Thunder is a blend of black tea and maté which has all the kick of a cup of espresso but without the stomach upset. I don't care much for the other varieties of tea; Earl Grey, Gunpowder and other such exotic brews are okay in a pinch, but don't taste quite right to me. English Breakfast is tolerable, but most green and white teas (to say nothing of those herbal messes) are right out.

Given my military background, you might expect that I take my tea as the British do, which is to say half-drowned in milk and very sweet. You'd be half right. I've had tea that way, straight from the NAAFI cart at Field Station Berlin, but it doesn't do much for me - even less now that I have to watch my carbohydrate intake. I generally take my tea black, with a couple envelopes of toxins to take the edge off.


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