World Cup 2010, here we come

The biggest party on earth is starting amid all the problems that are plaguing the world! The World Cup, worshipped by billions, halts wars and brings humanity together for a short time. Soccer is indeed the big democratizer, the best equalizer and I am rooting for Africa this time.

Maybe for a short month we can have fun (with most people on the globe) without forgetting the general calamities that burden the planet. Call it Football, Futbol, Fussball or Soccer madness…Its accessibility makes it the most popular sport in the world.

I have found the best World Cup calendar online! It’s easy to use and gives you the schedules, national teams, groups and stages and the cities and stadiums where the games will take place.

I will repeat my predictions for the first round and I would love to hear from you as well (especially all the people who challenged me after my Group of Death post on December 6th!)

Ever since I remember I have rooted, like most Persians,  first for Brazil and then Germany. My favorite game of all time remains Italy 4-3 West Germany in 1970—I am keeping a grudge against Italy ever since.

I found out from Roger Cohen: ” the game is written in the blood of only a few nations, who have stamped their genius on it, and then there are the also-rans. Of the 18 World Cups played, half have been won by just two teams — Brazil and Italy. Another three went to Germany.”

Cohen cites Jean Paul Sartre also: “In football everything is complicated by the presence of the other team.”

My favorite soccer players of all time here

Check out the coolest world cup calendar here

Watch a couple of minutes of my favorite game Italy 4-3 West Germany in 1970

2010 World Cup Draw and the Group of Death

The 2010 World Cup draw was two days ago and I watched it for the first time live on Swiss TV; I am a big soccer fan and it was exciting to see the world gasp waiting for the final draw in Cape Town.

world cup draw 2010 groups michele roohani

There is as usual a group of death:

Group G
North Korea
Ivory Coast

where 3 of the 4 teams are known to have formidable soccer players.

These are my picks for the first round and yes I am brave enough to put my name on it!

world cup 2010 draw and michele roohani picks

The five time champion, Brazil, faces Portugal, Ivory Coast and North Korea in this very strong group G.

One of my most popular blog posts has been  “Gerd Muller, where are you?” and I labored over these images of my favorite childhood soccer players like Muller himself:

gerd muller michele roohani world cup 2010 draw

and the prince, Beckenbauer, then and now:

franz beckenbauer michele roohani 2010 world cup

“I don’t understand/like baseball and I tolerate American football only when my alma mater, USC, is playing but soccer stays close to my heart…There is a hierarchy of course like in any sport: we have princes and kings, Brazilian Gods and black pearls and panthers,  even a black spider (the Russian Yashin)!

There is  hand of God (Maradona) and real God (Pele):”

pele 2010 world cup michele roohani


jairzinho micheleroohani 1020 world cup

George Best,

george best micheleroohani 2010 world cup

the Charlton brothers,

the charlton brothers world cup 2010 michele roohani


eusebio world cup 2010 soccer mcihele roohani

and last but not least, Michel Platini,

michel platini world cup 2010 micheleroohani

who would certainly give a red card to Thierry Henry after his handball disqualified the stunned Irish team at the qualifier match for the World cup  which would be from June 11th through July 11th in South Africa.

Thierry Henry handball world cup 2010 mcihele roohani

To see my favorite post, “Gerd Muller, where are you?”, go here.

To see the full schedule on FIFA’s site go here.

A week with Usain and Hussein and the digital divide

Usain and Hussein have been on my mind in the past week; the lightning Bolt—aka the fastest man alive—and Hussein Obama. I made this image for my son who wanted a poster of Obama using a photo by Callie Shell of Time magazine:

obama paradigm shift michele roohani

“A Paradigm Shift is  a change from one way of thinking to another. It’s a revolution, a transformation, a sort of metamorphosis. It just does not happen, but rather it is driven by agents of change” according to Thomas Kuhn; he believes that Change is difficult and that human beings resist change— awareness is prerequisite to all acceptable changes. A Paradigm Shift is when a significant change happens—usually from one fundamental view to a different view. In most cases, some type of major discontinuity occurs as well. Khun thinks that “a series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions cause one conceptual world view to be replaced by another view”.

My question for you boys and girls is that what makes one cling to the atrophied McCain—aka the off-line American—over the uber-eager Obama? I didn’t vote for Obama in the primaries but neither can I  imagine voting for mister “I want to relive vietnam ad nauseum”…

obama blue red michele roohani double poster

What are these posters from the good senator’s camp? Martin Luther King, the second coming? I frankly like my version better.

Another paradigm shift came this last week of the Olympics with the other Hussein or Usain:

usain bolt huffington post michele roohani

What can I say? the man can run! Look at him here on cruise control going the 100 meters on 9.68 seconds; this guy with all his antics was a breath of fresh air.

Gerd Muller…Where are you?

Gerd Muller…Where are you? Beckenbauer, Pelé, Jairzinho, Eusébio, George Best, Gordon Banks, the Charlton brothers and captain Cruijff…These were my childhood heroes and I miss them; I got hooked watching the 1970 anf 1974 world cups with my dad in Tehran like most soccer crazy Persians (well maybe not the mullahs). Number 13, 10 and 7 were sacred numbers…


gerd mueller michele roohani

Watching Euro 2008,  I am constantly reminded of these great champions I admired as a little girl. I felt nostalgic today and put together these images  just to have these guys in the same place one more time – even if it’s only in my blog.


franz beckenbauer michele roohani

I knew der Kaiser since he was a mere prinz  beckenbauer (above)!

I don’t understand/like baseball and American football is only tolerated when USC is playing but soccer stays close to my heart…There is a hierarchy of course like in any sport: we have princes and kings, Brazilian Gods and black pearls and panthers,  even a black spider (the Russian Yashin)!


There is  hand of God (Maradona) and real God (Pele):

pele michele roohani

There was Jairzinho,


jairzinho michele roohani

The Charlton brothers,


charlton brothers michele roohani

The beatle George best,


george best michele roohani



eusebio michele roohani

The great Platini (aka the sun king in cleats):


michel platini michele roohani

Watching today’s players is exciting but they come and go or become media’s pretty boys while bending it like you know who…

My favorite team is Germany (after Brazil of course) – I don’t like the cheating Italians/Argentines – the British exasperate me with great national clubs but poor national teams and the French are annoying with their inconsistencies – I like great soccer and whoever plays best is my champion.


kaiser and the prinze michele roohani

Beckenbauer and Muller  are mere children in the above  picture. It took hours to put these images together but it was a labor of love…

Delahaye, Hispano Suiza, Kurtis 500, Bentley, Ferrari, Bugatti

With these shameless gas prices, it’s less painful to look at cars than driving them. I went to an auto show today and two hours and 100 pictures later, I was about to over-dose on beautiful antique cars, gorgeous vintage sports cars and even the vulgar Ferraris and Maseratis…

race cars michele roohani

I’ve never seen so many shades of red outside the cosmetic counter’s lipstick section! A good name for a shade of lipstick would be a “Ferrari red” – a “Corvette carmine” for a nail polish:

corvette carmine michele roohani

Amazing tires:

car tires michele roohani

Lovely 1956 Chevrolet Bel Airs:

blue chevrolet belair michele roohani

Great interiors and fins:

red chevrolet belair michele roohani

It was Rolls Royce galore in Rodeo Drive today but that will be for another post.

This 1938 Dubonnet Hispano Suiza is out of this world:

hispano suiza michele roohani

or this Delahaye:

Delahaye michele roohani

To see more about fast cars, go here. Happy Father’s Day!

haute wheels hat michele roohani

Fast cars for dummies

The Bugatti Veyron is the most expensive car in the world and it is street legal. The price varies between $1,200,000 to $1,500,000 (by the time I finish this post the falling dollar will make this European made car even more expensive). With a maximum speed of more than 400 km per hour, the Veyron is unmatched in the super sports category and offers a total of 1,001 hp; it is the fastest accelerating car reaching 0-60 in 2.5 seconds.

bugatti expensive car micheleroohani

I took the above picture in Berlin a couple of years ago (the only one in this post I actually took) and decided to do some “soft” research about the subject to share with friends who can be as clueless about this as I am – try not to roll your eyes every time I am stating the obvious. Fasten your seat belts and get ready for testosterone galore:

Stock Car: a souped up version of a factory car that is only allowed to reach top speeds of approximately 187 mph (301 km/h) – the most prominent championship in stock car racing is the NASCAR championship. The 700 horsepower engines of these cars have been altered from their original factory design.

stock car Jacom Stephens

Daytona 500 is one of the most watched events on American television and the most important race in the NASCAR series – it is a 200-lap, 500 mile (805 km) race held annually in Daytona Beach, Florida. Even I have heard of Dale Earnhardt (both father and son)…

Formula One car: a single-seat, open cockpit, open wheel race car with substantial front and rear wings and engine positioned behind the driver. It’s made out of composites of carbon fiber, light but extremely strong. By regulation the cars use rear wheel drive and can handle 900 horsepower (in comparison my car has around 250 hp). The top speed of these cars is around 230 mph (370 km/h).

formula one mark evans

Formula One race, is the highest class of open wheeled auto racing . The “formula” in the name is a set of rules which all participants and cars must meet. The F1 world championship season consists of a series of races, known as Grands Prix. The big name in this category is Michael Schumacher and his Ferrari. The Indy Racing League is essentially the American version of F1.

Pit Stop: “in motorsports, a pit stop is where a racing vehicle stops in the pits during a race for refuelling, new tires, repairs, mechanical adjustments, a driver change, or any combination of the above” but what is interesting and not so obvious to the non-initiated, is that pit stop work is carried out by up to twenty mechanics (pit crew) and that pit strategy is one of the most important features of the race.

So, this wasn’t that bad, was it? The next step for me would be to actually watch a car race on tv and witness the thunder of roaring engines beating their chests…