Why do people continue to confuse Azerbaijan with Kazakhstan?
The difference, it seems to me, is obvious: one is a repressive, corrupt regime weighed down by the shackles of its Soviet past; the other is an oil-rich emerging market that has just staged one of the world's most spectacular extravaganzas.
Certainly the Astana Economic Forum, which I attended last week, was spectacular. Billed as the Davos of Central Asia and hosted amid the dazzling architectural smorgasbord of the Kazakh capital, the forum took your breath away in terms of intellectual pomp and circumstance.
The Eurovision Song Contest final, held in the Azeri capital of Baku, was also breathtaking.
My in-laws, who are native Bakuvites, had kept me filled in on the progress of the preparations for the annual kitsch fest, but even so I was stunned at the new glitz and glamour the city self-confidently showed off.
No wonder they call it the Dubai of the Caspian.
Why do people continue to confuse Engelbert Humperdinck with Tony Blair?
The difference, it seems to me, is obvious: one is an ageing crooner who travels anywhere to sing any song the audience wants as long as he gets handsomely paid; the other had the biggest sideburns in pop music.
Both, however, were below par recently. Mr Humperdinck was thrashed in the Eurovision, holding the coveted "nul points" ranking for some time before Ireland, ludicrously, gave him a big score. That old "yes sor" mentality is hard to shake off, for sure.
He ended up well behind (in points, if not in years) the Russian babushkas, who I reckon should have won hands down over that gloomy Swedish techno-dirge.
Mr Blair, meanwhile, was billed as the star turn at the Astana Economic Forum. The former British prime minister was due to speak in a "dialogue of world leaders" that marked the end of the event. But would he actually show up?
There has been much controversy in the muck-raking British press recently about Mr Blair's association with Kazakhstan. Some think it wrong for such a committed parliamentarian to be involved with an "emerging democracy" like Kazakhstan.
I don't have an opinion on it really. "He who pays the piper calls the tune" has always been my motto, but there was enough doubt about Mr Blair's show or no-show in Astana that one of his closest advisers, speaking the day before in the faux-Dubai splendour of the Rixos hotel, said definitively: "He won't be here".
He was wrong, although right down to the wire it was touch-and-go. The audience in the Palace of Independence in Astana was looking anxiously at the clock as the hour came and went. No sign of Mr Blair.
Eventually the chairman announced Mr Blair was running behind schedule, and soon after, in he walked, 30 minutes late, without so much as a by your leave.
Once on stage, his performance was as faltering as Mr Humperdinck's. On the big issue, the euro-zone crisis, his opening line was: "We're entering an era of uniquely low predictability," which I guess means he doesn't have a clue what's going on.
I reckon the Kazakhs, who pay Mr Blair's firm a reported US$13 million (Dh47.7m) for his advice, are entitled to something more insightful.
Why do people continue to confuse Dubai with Abu Dhabi?
The difference, it seems to me, is obvious. But not to the Kazakhs. At one of the side events in Astana, I was cornered by an earnest young woman who worked for a Kazakh oil company.
"There are no poor people in Dubai, no? How do they do it? We have oil too, but there is also much poverty. Can you explain the Dubai oil contracts to me, please?" she asked.
I explained instead that Dubai oil revenue was really not that big any more, maybe 3 per cent of GDP, and that the real energy wealth was in Abu Dhabi.
She looked kind of offended, as if I'd told her that Santa Claus didn't exist, and walked off.