Another Valentine…

February 14th, 2014

In spite of commercialism of this day, it’s always a good idea to let people you love, know it.

valentine michele harper roohani

“Today we are obliged to be romantic

And think of yet another valentine.

We know the rules and we are both pedantic:

Today’s the day we have to be romantic.

Our love is old and sure, not new and frantic.

You know I’m yours and I know you are mine.

And saying that has made me feel romantic,

My dearest love, my darling valentine.”

by Wendy Cope (1945 – )

rifle paper michele harper

Or as Oprah says “Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right!”

new year 2014 Dordaneh michele roohani

It’s the first day of spring and the Persian new Year of 1392 starts with Noruz (No: new, Ruz: day):

Norouz 2013 michele roohani

We are celebrating in Paris with a newly converted Venus,

Noruz 1392 haft seen michele roohani

I have extensively written about the Noruz (or Nowruz, Norooz) before in my blog, so if you’ve been with me in the past 4/5 years, you must know all about the items that go on the Noruz spread.

haft seen persian norooz michele roohani

The famous “haft seen” of 7 S’s:

Nowruz goldfish samad michele roohani

My fish, Samad (his name has nothing to do with the S’s… ;) ), has been with us since two Noruz’s ago and he is happy to play his role this year with the famous Haji Firouz , the politically incorrect Persian messenger of the New Year:

haji firouz nowruz 1392 michele roohani

Haji Firouz’s face is covered in soot and he is wearing bright red clothes and hat. People consider it only as a face paint and there is no racial implication.

Nowruz-fish-michele-roohani1

Do you remember  Samad on my previous year’s Noruz card?

One of the S’s is Sekkeh or coin; the last Shah of Iran is overthrown even in my Haft Seen…

coins sekkeh nowruz michele roohani

It was raining in Paris on the first day of spring:

paris roofs michele harper

but I didn’t care because a bunch of hyacinths can bring the spring to your room.

hyacinths michele harper

Happy Noruz and,

Norouz paris venus michele roohani harper

happy 1392 to all of my Persian friends!

michele dordaneh roohani1392 persian new year

Some links to my previous Nowruz posts worth your time (I promise):

Nowruz 1390 here

Nowruz 1389 here

Nowruz 1388 here

My most visited blog post (and most used images without my permission) Haft seen here

Just decided to add this photo of myself (3 months old) on my mom’s lap having my first Noruz and not terribly impressed…

dordaneh first haft seen michele roohani

Happy New Year Everyone!

“The age of US dominance in the Middle East has ended and a new era in the modern history of the region has begun. It will be shaped by new actors and new forces competing for influence, and to master it, Washington will have to rely more on diplomacy than on military might.” Richard N. Haass

Bourguiba Square in Tunis, Tahrir Square in Cairo, Azadi Square in Tehran , Pearl Square in Manama are witnessing a collective awakening of the Middle Eastern world and this means a major American policy shift in the region.  Now that the Arab world is being remade from within, European policy must change too.

I am both thrilled and scared by the middle eastern earthquake…

An Egyptian Valentine

February 12th, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day everybody! I hope not to regret this image on Valentine Day 2012…I too believe that “The army exists to defend the nation, not a regime.”

My super romantic Valentine 2010 here

My 2009 Valentine post here

My 2008 Valentine post with the amazing Gaelle Boissonnard here

Pharaohs are trembling

January 29th, 2011

Egypt is awakening…Pharoahs are trembling…Pyramids are cracking…and I am hoping for more Cleopatras than the Muslim Brotherhood…

From Maureen Dowd (a few days after my blog got published):

Egyptians rose up at the greatest irony of all: “Cleopatra’s Egypt was modern in ancient times and Mubarak’s was ancient in modern times. The cradle of civilization yearned for some civilization.”

Wary of over-sharing but eager to tell my friends: I am going to Europe for a couple of months tomorrow and you can follow me on my blog; these are uncertain but exciting times…

afternoon chair micheleroohani

Every summer, we somehow expect to see Red looking out our windows in Southern California…Only Dante can describe this Inferno…

painting by gronk la tormenta michele roohani

The world witnesses Angelinos running away from wildfires one more time with the very similar images being (again) broadcast all over the world; my friends call me from everywhere to make sure that I am not one of the “evacuees”.

Karen Fratkin los angeles wild fire century city mcihele roohani

Every year’s fire seems more dangerous and more capricious; the picture above is taken from west Los Angeles with the fire mushrooming in the background (the red building on the right is the Die Hard building).

L.A. fire downtown latimes

Just look at the downtown above…

wayne smith ny times los angeles fires 2009

You somehow never get used to the fire’s anger and unpredictability; after 30 summers in california, they still scare the hell out of me!

L.A. fire  latimes

My eyes have been burning from the ashes and smoke all day and I am not even near the fires but my green mood is turning into red because of the wild fires.

Are we ever going to learn how to prepare for inevitable disasters and calamities?…

edouard manet berthe morisot a l’eventail michele roohani

And of course we blissfully close our eyes to the fire dangers for another year and act surprised the following summer when it comes back; if you don’t believe me, read my posts on the subject for the last two years:

This is my post from two years ago.

This one is from last year. I still believe on what I wrote then: Southern California fires are pretty democratic, they hit the mansions and trailer parks and everything in between with the same cruelty… The current definition of a Californian is still “did or did not escape the fires?”

An expression that can mean anything means nothing; when you want to please everybody, you please nobody.

fermi paradox aliens michele roohani extraterrestrial ET

Enrico Fermi, the great Italian physicist, killed all the aliens in 1950 by asking this simple/innocent question: “if extra-terrestrials exist, where are they?” This question has become the Fermi Paradox.

Even though I am a science fiction fan I do agree with the skeptics that, Houston, we have a problem:

a) the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) program to detect radio transmissions from other civilizations has been a failure.

b) the question of the Great Silence remains unsolved; if life is common, why don’t we detect their radio transmissions?

Today is the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing (July 20, 1969).

25th anniversary of first moon landing stamps michele roohani stamp collection

I remember the thrill of hearing about it on a hot summer day in Iran; the moon has not looked the same since!

Unlike my father, I am a lousy philatelist (postage stamp collector) but I was able to find the above page I bought in 1994—on the 25th anniversary of “the big step”—among my loose leaves.

andre demir stamps michele roohani

The Drake Equation—an attempt to estimate the number of extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way with which we might come into contact— is still fascinating to me but I see its light getting dimmer with every “silent year”…

N = R* × fp × nE × fl × fi × fc × L

This once serious equation looks more and more like this cartoon from this very funny site:

the drake equation cartoon michele roohani

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s historic walk on the moon, Google is offering Internet users a virtual trip to the moon.

I empathize with Fermi’s passion for clarity. I am simply unable to let things be foggy. The Drake equation is literally meaningless because “an expression that can mean anything means nothing.”

Related and Suggested Posts and Resources:

Carl Sagan explaining the Drake Equation.

Google earth lands on the moon.

Other Life not likely to be intelligent.

The new Drake Equation by Susan Blackmore.

The SETI Institute.