So, as it turns out, the ten days or so that we've just taken as a long-planned vacation to Vancouver and Seattle (we're visiting friends in Seattle now, flying back to NYC on Saturday morning) have been... eventful... in world financial markets.
Carrie and I have had a wonderful time on our travels, and we've certainly eaten well. :-) It has been wonderful to catch up with old friends, too (WARNING: while the text in the linked article is benign enough, the accompanying picture--and indeed pretty much the rest of the site--is absolutely, comprehensively Not Safe For Work unless you happen to work for gay pornographers. You Have Been Warned -- or incentivized, depending on your preferences.)
When we have a chance to catch our breath, expect more travelogue posts, pictures, and Google-able information about Vancouver and Seattle restaurants (this afternoon, we had an epic lunch at Salumi, the Italian-cured-meat temple and retirement project of Armandino Batali... yes, Mario's poppa.)
But there's really been only one story worth following this week: the continuing global meltdown in the financial markets, with no end in sight and only the barest beginnings of the visible consequences to come.
We've watched in growing disbelief, on Blackberries, iPhones, and hotel room televisions, as the events of the last week unfolded.
On Tuesday evening, Carrie and I watched the depressing, uninspiring, poorly formatted and ineptly moderated "debate" from our Vancouver hotel room, and we tried to get drunk enough not to mind the outpouring of platitudes from Obama and McCain as both candidates flailed about, spewing buzzwords to their respective bases and trying to produce a convincing simulacrum of actual leadership in the face of what's likely to be the biggest crisis the Western world has faced in a generation, at least.
(It didn't work, by the way -- there's not enough wine in the world for that.)
I don't think any of us can be sure about just how much trouble we're in for... but one thing we can be sure of: the world has been rudely awakened to some important, structural changes in the last week, and it will very likely not be the same again.
I've excerpted heavily, below, the thoughts of Financial Times columnist Philip Stevens.
Do go and read the whole thing; he has grasped and put into words something I've been struggling to articulate to friends and colleagues for some time now.