turbotodd 100000388Y Visits (1924)
The last time I was in London, it was the weekend that all heck broke loose on the financial front, Sept 12-14, 2008, one in which I felt like the roulette wheel in life's casino.
I'll never forget sitting in the Admiral's Club at the Austin Bergstrom airport, trying to get some work done when I couldn't but overhear the guy next to me leaving a long-winded voicemail for his client, trying to reassure said client that he fully expected his company to be a viable and going concern the following Monday, and that his money was fine.
I'll give you one guess about the company.
Yes, it was Lehman Brothers.
That Monday, I wrote this post joking that perhaps my money would be safer in an anonymous Swiss bank account or on the "Come" line of a Las Vegas craps table.
As it turns out, option E might have served me best (sitting in a non-interest bearing PayPal account...at least then it wouldn't have had the chance to go south).
Of course, all these financial shenanigans pale by comparison to what Winston Churchill had to contend with as World War II began to emerge in 1939-1940.
I had the occasion when I landed here over the weekend to visit the Cabinet War Rooms on Whitehall, where Churchill spent much of his time during the London Blitz and where he and his team managed the war effort.
If you've visited there, you know there's one small, near-hidden room which Churchill used to make private and direct trans-Atlantic calls to President Roosevelt to discuss the progress of the war.
By today's communications standards, a single telephone link between two continents seems mundane, but that connection helped two Allies maintain an open line of communication during a very critical time.
Much as Twitter, Facebook, TOR, and other online communications capabilities have facilitated the global dialogue between the world and the people of Iran during this past week of turmoil in Iran.
No matter your position on the outcome of the election there, it's become self-evident over the last couple of weeks that try though one might to put the genie back in the bottle, the world has reached a new echelon of transparent communications.
We're now in a world where, facilitated by mobile Internet technologies, it's impossible to entirely contain the individual cells of a governing organism, and that those technologies can make vital the opportunity for those cells to restructure and reorganize in a manner that helps raise their common interests to the fore.
Regardless of the outcome in Iran this go round, I suspect this opportunity by the people to revisit and question the incumbency will create a viable precedent, the impact of which will only be heightened by future digital communications technologies.
As Churchill himself once said, a fanatic is one who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
And in Iran, the current subject seems to be the subject of change.
As to me, while in London I'll be keeping my eye on the stock market (and the final round of the U.S. Open, and the opening days of Wimbledon), and on Twitter...but I will stay far, far away from the casinos.