Random thoughts while sitting on a Hà Nội bus – #96

When you spend upwards of two hours per day sitting on a succession of buses your mind tends to wander a little. A commute like this, therefore, is a good opportunity to defrag your brain, to open the wardrobe doors, let everything fall out, sift it and then replace the neatly folded remains.

So what spilled onto the floor recently? Let’s see, in chronological order, what burning questions and disjointed flights of fancy didn’t make it back into my mental wardrobe.

Rain forest
Could this be an abridged ‘rain for the rest of the week’?
It’s an interesting thought. I have been trying desperately to think of other examples but have drawn a blank so far.

Cancelled out?
With the compelling evidence of both climate change and an impending Ice Age, could they cancel one another out in some parts of the world?
This question rather begs another. How pissed will all the people predicting global mass extinction be when they don’t have the ability or opportunity to tell anyone, “I told you so”?
Could they be over compensating for this eventuality by becoming vegan and reminding the whole world via Twitter of their dietary decision at every meal time?

Asteroids
Talking of imminent human extinction, this whole nudging-potentially-Earth-threatening-asteroids-out-of-the-way business has me a little worried. Could a little prod a degree to starboard mean a direct hit on Earth two thousand years later on its next pass? (Assuming we are still around and haven’t blown ourselves up thanks to two clowns taking part in a dick measuring contest, or succumbed to autonomous AI killer robots speaking a self developed machine language.)

And, before we need to change the collision course of an asteroid for real, I would like to see a few practice runs beforehand. For who wants to be the person who gave the order to fire on the incoming asteroid that turns out to be hollow and rains towards Earth in a thousand football stadium-sized pieces?

Earth
Back on our home planet, and possibly a more pressing issue, is why is Vietnamese for lighthouse hải đăng? Why not nhà đèn? I would have put money on it being the latter.

Coming first
Another question requiring a satisfactory answer was “Which band took to the Thames on a boat first, the Sex Pistols or The Clash?”
Had to Google this in the end. It was the Sex Pistols in June 1977 to promote ‘God save the Queen’. The Clash followed in their wake some two years later.

Friends
Meanwhile, I also discovered three Irish friends – well, two actually. Nick O’Teen, never had the pleasure, always thought he was an unhealthy influence.
Rick O’Shea, noisy and unpredictable, and his belligerent pendulum-like brother with a dodgy French accent, Treb O’Shea.

Plurals
There are no plurals in Vietnamese and sometimes in English it’s not simply a case of sticking on a ‘s’ at the end e.g. sheep and geese. But why do we say congratulations? Or regards? The action is only happening once.
(Someone will witter on about uncountable grammar things now.)

Prison talk
And finally, how long would you need to spend in prison in Vietnam in order to emerge a fluent Vietnamese speaker? How many regrettable prison tattoos would you end up with as a result of this extreme language immersion course? Maybe blurry tattoos would be the least of your concerns on being set free? Not to mention immediate deportation to a country where most likely you will have almost no one to speak in Vietnamese to face to face. This one hasn’t been thought through very well. Until now.

 

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