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Russell Frank

A collection of Russell Frank's columns from the past 20 years, titled “Among the Woo People: A Survival Guide for Living in a College Town," is available from the Penn State University Press. His columns for Statecollege.com won second place in the Humor category in the 2018 National Society of Newspaper Columnists writing contest. The winning columns: One Day at the Zombie Apocalypse Poultry Auction, Deux Nuits à Paris: A French Farce and A Shaggy Dog Story. Frank is a member of the journalism faculty at Penn State. Before launching his academic career, he worked as a reporter, editor and columnist at newspapers in California and Pennsylvania for 13 years. He is, by academic training, a folklorist (Ph.D., UPenn), which means, when you strip away the academic jargon, that he loves a good story. His views and opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Penn State University.

Articles by Russell Frank

For Once, They’ve Nabbed the Robbers with the Fountain Pens
Column
For Once, They’ve Nabbed the Robbers with the Fountain Pens
1 week ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
Let’s get intertextual. Matt Taibbi’s “I Can’t Breathe,” meet Caitlin Flanagan’s “They Had It Coming.” Taibbi, Flanagan, meet Woody Guthrie’s “Pretty Boy Floyd.” [Read More]
Too Many Candlelight Vigils
Column
Too Many Candlelight Vigils
3 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
I’m sick of candlelight vigils. OK, I’m not really sick of the vigils themselves. I’m sick of the need for vigils, which is to say, I’m sick of gun violence and I’m sick of a response to gun violence that never goes beyond candlelight vigils. [Read More]
In Defense of Babies
Column
In Defense of Babies
5 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
When we’re not contemplating our own demise, or the end of civilization, there’s joy, and what is a baby, if not, according to the idiom, a bundle of joy? [Read More]
Postcard from Puerto Rico
Column
Postcard from Puerto Rico
7 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
We were sandwiched between la reina and the flag dancers. As floats go, ours wasn’t much to look at – a police golf cart driven by an officer with braided hair and aviator sunglasses – but hey, when you’re on a float at the annual coffee festival in Yauco, Puerto Rico, you’ve got to enjoy [Read More]
Welcome to the 21st Century, Old-Timer
Column
Welcome to the 21st Century, Old-Timer
9 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
I’m having a Rip Van Winkle moment. This winter, while not abandoning my campus observation post, I am once again participating, in a small way, in the practice of daily journalism and gaining a deeper appreciation of how much the industry has changed. [Read More]
Of Bubbles and Troubles
Column
Of Bubbles and Troubles
11 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
We who live in Happy Valley are often told that we live in a bubble. The label conveys envy and scorn, in equal measure. And yet it’s overly literal-minded to seize on this or that tragedy as proof that our bubble is a figment. Of course there’s no actual bubble, but it’s undeniable that this [Read More]
Arsenic and Brown Rice
Column
Arsenic and Brown Rice
13 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
My granddaughter Penelope, 5 months old today, has embarked on one of life’s great adventures: the intake of gummable and eventually chewable food. So far, her adoring parents have tickled her taste buds with pureed sweet potatoes, bananas and avocados. But not rice cereal. [Read More]
It’s the Goo in the Night
Column
It’s the Goo in the Night
15 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
My left knee woke me up in the middle of the night, wanting to know if we had any Oreos and if I’d ever thought about what a weird word “knee” is. [Read More]
Time to Go Bang My Head Against the Wall
Column
Time to Go Bang My Head Against the Wall
17 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
A week from today begins what I think of as the long slog – the dark time between the holidays and the coming of spring. Here in this cleft of the Allegheny Mountains, under a near-constant cloud cover, we go about in a gray twilight with an ever-intensifying yearning for a first glimpse of snowdr [Read More]
More Light! More Light!
Column
More Light! More Light!
19 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
As best as I can recall, I stalked and slew my first Christmas tree in 1987. Before that I was a not terribly observant Jewish gentleman who had beheld the rituals of Christmas from afar. [Read More]
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