Saturday, January 25, 2020

Long-ago concert (spring '65)

Posted: 25 January 2020

A few days ago my old friend Rex Mitchell (since 1958 UC Berkeley days) sent me the flier and program notes to a concert he and I performed in in March 1965 in Laguna Beach, California. He had been cleaning out his old files and sent them here, rather than tossing them. Thanks, Rex.

Program notes cover

Program notes

Concert flier--outside

Concert flier--inside
This concert was produced and advertised by then Bishop Robert Perine of the Laguna Beach Ward of the LDS Church. Bob was one of my best friends and had been Sue Patchell's and my patron in our studying voice with famed Russian diva Nina Koshetz (of Hollywood and protege of Rachmaninoff). A well-known professional commercial artist, he did all the art work pro bono. 

I'll not soon forget this event. It was soon to be eclipsed by a life-changing series of events beginning the following April 23. [See:

Monday, January 13, 2020

Further reflections on Ukraine in 2020

Posted: 14 January 2020
Updated: 26 Jan 20

Liahonagrad was written about my first trip to Kiev in 1988, during the Millennial Celebration of the conversion to Christianity of the Russian Empire.

With Ukraine's central role in the current impeachment trial of  U.S. president Donald J. Trump and Russia's having in 2014 taken illegal bites out of this vulnerable, centrally located country, it is becoming more and more apparent what a delicate, but critical role Ukraine has been thrust into in international geopolitical terms. If Ukraine’s new, young president Zelensky has the personal character, courage and wit to stay the course in his reform-minded program to develop his country as democratic and independant, he has the opportunity to act as a stabilizer to an out-of-control world.

With this view in mind, I can’t help recall a few long-ago poems about my own hopes and experiences of and in Ukraine, my father’s birthplace and ancestral homeland--his "Rodina".

Pilgrim: Nov-Dec 1964 (Durham, NC)
Night: Apr 1965 (San Diego)
Forest Dream Remembered: Sep 1973 (Moscow)
Rodina: Jun 1987 (Long Beach, CA)
Liahonagrad: May 1988 (Kiev)

Russian Easter: Apr 1989 (Long Beach

Liahonagrad is the poem I wrote about my first trip to Kiev in 1988, while attending the Millennial Celebration of the conversion of the Russian Empire to Christianity in Kiev. 

To be continued...

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Good friend Ralph Stevens has gone

Posted: 3 December 2019
Updated: 8 Dec 19

Ralph Robert Stevens, Jr.
Career nuclear physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory

Good friend Ralph Stevens has gone. At age 88, he was unable to recover from severe injuries after a freak auto accident last October. I will miss him dearly, especially his fine, open mind and our stimulating far-out conversations!

I am boundlessly grateful that Ralph, as a LANL retired nuclear physicist, allowed me (perhaps with tongue in cheek!) to add his name to my uncertainty corollary to Heisenberg's classic uncertainty principle that revolutionized physics in 1925. Here are those equations that occupied many intense, far-ranging conversations and application possibilities.

The Uncertainty Equations

Origin of equation 2.
4 Dec 19. Recalling the origin of my original equation (without Ralph's subscript i), which popped into my mind in late October 1965 in response to a question that the late screen actor Eddie Albert asked me during breakfast on the backyard deck of his home in southern California. Albert and I had met the year before at Duke University in Professor JB Rhine's parapsychology laboratory, during which Albert had given me his card and asked me to call sometime. [See: California meeting was a follow up on that invitation. While enjoying the beauty of the morning on his backyard deck and garden, Albert casually asked me to explain why one side of his garden was so alive and beautiful with lush flowers and bushes, while the on the other side the plants were ugly and grotesque, even though his professional gardeners treated both sides equally. He then explained that every morning for months (if not years) he would pray, bless and love the blossoming side, then turn to the other side to rage and curse everything growing there. When my equation spontaneously came to mind in response, he immediately understood, smiled, and simply said "thank you!"  As I left his home on my way north, he shouted after me "LIVE!"

Some years later (2009), while reading physicist/psychologist friend Arnold Mindell's magnum opus Quantum Mind; the Edge between physics and psychology, I came across his description of how difficult it was for him at times to explain certain experiences to his students. On September 4, 2009, I sent him a note with my equation, to which he immediately responded:

Kovalenko says ∆Σ ● ∆E ≈ K
And he is BRILLIANT!!!
Love arny

Needless to say, I was delighted!

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Reflections on Ukraine

Posted: 16 November 2019
Updated: 3 Dec 19

Ukraine in Europe 2019

As a first generation Ukrainian-Russian American, I have a strong interest in the current international situation with Ukraine and Russia with regard to America. Especially because of what is happening within and to Ukraine this pivotal year of 2019.

My dad, Nikolai Nikolaevich Kovalenko, was born of a Ukrainian father and Russian mother in southeastern Ukraine in 1903 near the Sea Azov in the town of Melitopol. In those days the Ukrainian language was forbidden to be taught in schools by city folks, so he grew up speaking only Russian and thus considered himself Russian. It wasn't until he came to America that he began to take interest in his Ukrainian heritage in world history books and realize there was a significant difference between the Russian and Ukrainian psyche. 

Dad as boy soldier in Russian White Army, circa 1914

Dad came to America in 1922 at age 19 as a war refugee, having fought in the Russian Revolution-civil war as a boy soldier for the Russian White Army from 1917-20, leaving his homeland ("rodina") for good during the great Evacuation of the White Army from Sevastopol, Crimea in November 1920. (He was literally the last White Army soldier to leave Sevastopol during the evacuation, a story to be told later.)

28 Nov 19. Singing on Shevchenko's grave in Kanev during 1988 Millennial Celebration of conversion of Russian Empire to Christianity. 

2nd and 3rd stanzas

Dyvlyus' ya na nebo ta y dumku hadayu:
Chomu ya ne sokil, chomu ne litayu,
Chomu meni, Boze, ty krylec' ne dav?
Ya b zemlyu pokynuv i v nebo zlitav!

[I look to the heavens, my thoughts go a wandering
Why am I not falcon? Why cannot I fly?
And why did not God give me wings to try?
I'd fly from this sad earth and into the sky.]

Daleko za chmary, podali vid svitu,
Shukat' sobi doli, na hore – pryvitu,
I lasky u zirok, u soncya prosyt',
U sviti yich yasnim vse hore vtopyt'.

Bo doli shche zmalku zdayus' ya nelyubyi, –
Ya naymyt u neyi, chlopcyuha prybludnyi;
Chuzyi ya u doli, chuzyi u lyudey!
Chiba z chto kochaye neridnych ditey?..

Tak dayte z bo kryla, orlyni ti kryla,
Ya zemlyu pokynu i na novosillya
Orlom bystrokrylym ya budu litat'
I v sviti cim yasnim sebe pokazat'!
I doli shukat'!..
To be continued...

Friday, September 27, 2019

Betrayal in Berlin

Posted: 27 September 2019
Updated: 1Nov19

A year or two ago--actually it was five years ago--I received a phone call from writer Steve Vogel telling me he got my name from the CIA in Washington, DC regarding the Berlin Tunnel operation I'd participated in during the Cold War. Having been a Washington Post reporter for more than 20 years, he was writing a more in depth account of this operation and, because I was there, would I be willing to help him tell a more accurate story. I was.
On September 17, he wrote:
Hi Eugene, 
The book comes out next week! Details below. I'd like to have a copy sent to you - what's the best address to use?I'm very grateful for all your help on this, from start to finish. Hope you are doing well! 

On September 2019 the book came, which surprised me by its size. In looking through his mention of my stuff, he uses my birth name, Eugene Kregg, which was my name at the time. Of course.

The depth of Steve's historical account of the tunnel is hugely interesting to me, since it fleshes out what unquestionably was the singular event that has been at the center of my own life for more than six subsequent decades.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Visit to Swedish Embassy in Washington, D.C.

Posted: 8 September 2019

Swedish Embassy, Washington, D.C.

Me at Swedish Embassy on 5 September 2019
On 5 Sept 19, I visited the Swedish Embassy to be formally interviewed for a resident visa. Had to go all the way to D.C. for this interview, since as of January 1st this year all US applicants were required to go through the D.C. Embassy. In prior years, this process had been allowed at any number of closer consulates. I had originally planned to visit the Phoenix consulate to do this, until Sweden changed its policy. I'd been waiting almost 9 months for this appointment, which took less than an hour to take photos of me, my USA passport, marriage certificate to Birgitta, and my fingerprints. These data were then sent to Swedish Immigration in Stockholm. I was told it should take about two weeks to get a final decision, which would then allow us to move to Sweden within about six months.