An Examined Life

courtesy of Paul Krejci

Rudy and Paul Krejci.

Seventy years ago, almost exactly to this day, secret police spotted a young Czech publically distributing anti-communist pamphlets in his country. As a result, Rudy Krejci was forced into hiding for five years and into a daring escape to Austria.

On this Northern Soundings we pay tribute to Rudy who earned a doctorate in philosophy and eventually became a leading champion of free speech and thought at the Unversity of Alaska Fairbanks. Rudy passed away last December and a celebration of his life is planned for this Sunday from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Dog Mushers’ Hall in Fairbanks.

I had the priviledge of interviewing him two years ago for UAF Summer Sessions. Part of today’s show is taken from that discussion. He is also the subject of a wonderful short documentary by the author Dan O’Neill.

In this show, I also talk with Rudy’s son Dr. Paul Krejci, who teaches at UAF. Paul is a gifted musician who contributed piano renditions by Czech composers for the O’Neill documentary. My thanks to Paul for permission to use those pieces for this Northern Soundings.


Hands On Learning

John Profile Image

Folk School Fairbanks founder John Manthei

On this week’s show, I talk with John Manthei, one of the founders of Folk School Fairbanks. The non-profit organization dedicated to hands-on learning has a new home at Pioneer Park.

Author and reviewer Frank Soos looks at a new work What A Fish Knows that disabuses readers about the cognitive abilities of fish.

And Chris Lott is in with a folksy edition of Katexic Clippings.


Music from Jukedeck – create your own at


The Japanese Experience in Alaska

Ron Inouye Image

Educator, archivist, and oral historian, Ron Inouye discusses Japanese influence in  Alaska history and shares his family’s experience during World War II when more than one hundred thousand Japanese-Americans were put in concentration camps.

And Chris Lott in Katexic Clippings points out some Japanese terms we use in our conversations, and others that would enrich English.


Music from Jukedeck – create your own at

Accountability and the Blogger


This show, columnist and blogger Dermot Cole explains the importance of holding elected officials accountable.

Anchorage Museum Director Julie Decker is the author and editor of several volumes. She says the arts don’t get a pass on commenting about troubled times.

KUAC poster artist Guy Gaswint shares how he fell into painting through the KUAC series Into the Woods.

All that and Katexic Clippings’ Chris Lott listens in on museum lingo. I hope you’ll join us.


Music from Jukedeck – create your own at

Entreprenuerial Journalism

Hakata, Fukuoka

Zen Temple Hakata, Fukuoka by Richard Murphy Photo used by permission

This episode we explore journalism past, present, and future with Pulitzer Prize-winning photojournalist Richard Murphy who served as the Photo Editor for the Anchorage Daily News for many years.

As the Arctic grows in strategic importance, Brandon Boylan, a political science professor at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and co-director of the school’s Arctic and Northern Studies program, discusses the role of the Arctic Council and a model of the council on the UAF campus.

And speaking of strategic, UAF geography professor Cary De Wit explains how Yemen’s location has attracted regional and global players in its civil war.

And Katexic Clippings’ Chris Lott is in to politely unpack the rich history of the word “nice.”

There and Back Again


Reading has always been an important activity in my life. Of course, “activity” may not rightly describe sitting in a comfortable chair with a good book. However, it is a pleasure 32 million Americans can’t share. This episode I talk with Literacy Council of Alaska Executive Director Mike Kolasa about the organization and his background.

Speaking of books: Homer’s Odyssey is one of the enduring classics of world literature. Far from a dusty tome, it continually spurs fresh approaches and inspires new creations. UAF Professor Emeritus and writer Frank Soos, looks at several recent works that take it up, including Daniel Mendelsohn’s memoir, Madeline Miller’s fictional embellishment Circe, and Emily Wilson’s ground-breaking translation.

And Katexic ClippingsChris Lott heeds the sirens song this episode.


Music from Jukedeck – create your own at

Not Afraid to Fail


While I’ve known Greg Pacetti for years, only recently did it strike me he would make an outstanding guest on the show. Greg is now semi-retired but still produces fine stringed instruments; and he has an album of songs you can find on-line. He describes his journey from hippy artisan to luthier.

Greg’s father was a fisherman. Others often go to sea for research. One of them is Roger Topp. His day job is Director of Exhibits at the University of Alaska Museum of the North. However, Roger was originally trained as an oceanographer and is a serious writer. This past summer he returned to his roots, documenting a voyage of the research vessel Sikuliaq. Roger shared those reports on his blog.  He discusses his approach to communicating science.

And Chris Lott is in with Katexic Clippings.



Music from Jukedeck – create your own at

Nanook Brothers


Dr. Keith Champagne, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at UAF, explains why he started the “Nanook Brotherhood Project at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

Dr. Corrine Leistikow from Tanana Valley Clinic explains why today’s wellness exam differs from the traditional annual physical.

UAF Professor Emeritus and author Franks Soos reviews a recent book of essays by Jim Holt.

And Chris Lott is in with a new edition of Katexic Clippings.



Music from Jukedeck – create your own at


Caravan Refugees


In the closing weeks of the mid-term elections, Mr. Trump characterized the long line of women, children, and men trudging through Central America and Mexico as an invasion. He also claimed, without evidence, the so-called caravan harbored Middle-Eastern terrorists. Trump’s claims astounded my guest this show. Alberto Arce is an award-winning journalist who spent four years covering Central America for the Associated Press and the New York Times. Arce currently occupies the Snedden Chair of Journalism at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. He describes the daily misery and danger ordinary citizens in Honduras face and why they seek sanctuary hundreds of miles north.

Also, author Frank Soos reviews a new collection of short stories by Deborah Eisenberg, Your Duck Is My Duck.

Music from Jukedeck – create your own at