Monday, October 12, 1987

Not sweet paprika, but cayenne

I have been through some rough times. First Fessor Pro has been threatening me with this fat manuscript of uneven quality. It all climaxed one Thursday, with me surrounded with many steaming and burning pots and pans and spices, pushed into a corner by certain Paladin, who insists on teaching me the correct multifractal formalism. Everything in sight is boiling and burning and he is shoving at me pieces of paper covered with old computer code, between lines of which he scribbles integrals over tangent spaces (ie Lyapunovs), with q meaning Chicago tau, s(mu) meaning P(lambda), and everything Bowen-Ruelle-Sinai and indescribably rigorous. As I am nodding in exasperation I note that the spice which I am copiously pouring over the
brew is not sweet paprika, but cayenne, and so on and so forth.

So I fed them cous-cous and they loooooved it and so we proceeded to the Royal Ballet where all was all very cultured and deadly boring. And I am as good as dead. But Romeo and Juliet ballet was a good preview for what followed: we had a 5 (yes, five!) days of a superstrings symposium here, and I went to the lectures in the same spirit as to Romeo and Juliet; I wanted to see strings dead, I wanted to see them all die. But no, it is like Mercutio. He gets stabbed, he falls down and you think it is over. He gets up; dances and falls down. Over? No - here he hops up again, piruets and keels and falls over. And so it goes - on, and on, since Regge poles through duality through extended supergravities to this. When is the s#!t going to die? It is frightning - a whole bunch of bright kids seem set onto making this a life career; oh, die, please die gentle death! The world around us is asking us infinity of fascinating questions - do we have to lobotomize all this young talent?