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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," was published this fall by the Penn State University Press. His columns for Statecollege.com won first place in the Commentary-Non Daily category of the Society of Professional Journalists Keystone Chapter 2017 Spotlight contest. 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

Bring on the Tiny Human!
Column
Bring on the Tiny Human!
1 week ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
My granddaughter is a spaghetti squash. Last week she was a carrot. Next week she’ll be a large mango. Why, I remember when she was no bigger than a lentil. Thus do we track a fetus’ growth in the 21st century. [Read More]
In Memory of My Father, on Passover
Column
In Memory of My Father, on Passover
3 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
I rarely plan these little essays much in advance but I decided a while ago that I would write about my dad on April 16 to commemorate his 100th birthday. Now I don’t want to wait that long because it’s Passover, a time of year when I think about the old man even more than I usually do. [Read More]
Mixed Messages at Bellefonte High
Column
Mixed Messages at Bellefonte High
5 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
I’m afraid the “valuable lesson” the kids who walked out of Bellefonte Area High School learned is that the adult response to school shootings is just as muddled now as it was before Parkland, before Newtown, before Columbine. [Read More]
One Good Thing About Getting Old: Knowing a Thing. Or Two.
Column
One Good Thing About Getting Old: Knowing a Thing. Or Two.
7 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
In any event (as my dad would say), The New York Times seems to know I’m getting long in the tooth (as my dad would say), so I may as well tackle the question raised by that last item on The Times’s list: Is it true that getting old is a blessing? [Read More]
It’s Time to Change the Script
Column
It’s Time to Change the Script
9 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
It’s as if somebody has finally turned on the lights in a dark kitchen and we’re seeing the cockroaches that have been scurrying around all along. The kids at Sandy Hook were too little to reach the light switch. The kids at Marjory Stoneman Douglas are taller. But they need help from the news m [Read More]
Cheaters Are Prospering. Let’s Not Let Them.
Column
Cheaters Are Prospering. Let’s Not Let Them.
11 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
Hasbro’s takeaway from its survey is that Monopoly players consider cheating part of the game, maybe even think it spices it up a bit. And so, coming this fall: Monopoly: Cheater’s Edition. If that isn’t a sign of the times, I don’t know what is. [Read More]
The Women’s March: Notes from New York
Column
The Women’s March: Notes from New York
13 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
The encouraging thing for the marchers and those who agree with their messages is that if people were motivated to march the day after Trump was inaugurated, and if they remained motivated to march a year after Trump was inaugurated, they now seem that much more likely to stay motivated right on thr [Read More]
Bomb Cyclones, Tweetstorms and Cabin Fever, Oh My
Column
Bomb Cyclones, Tweetstorms and Cabin Fever, Oh My
15 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
One week in and we’ve already got a contender for word of the year: bombogenesis. Bomb cyclone appeared more frequently in news reports, but I like bombogenesis better, because it captures the beginning-of-the-end zeitgeist occasioned by President Swamp and Little Rocket Man bragging about their n [Read More]
Sweep out the Old, Sweep in the New
Column
Sweep out the Old, Sweep in the New
17 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
So here is what l’m thinking on this dark, damp early winter day. I start with the belief that our lives are precious and if precious, sacred. One ramification is that since there’s no reason to believe that our lives are more sacred than anyone else’s, we must treat everyone as if their lives [Read More]
A Shaggy Dog Story
Column
A Shaggy Dog Story
19 weeks ago - StateCollege.com - Russell Frank
Bop used up his allotment of dog years in 2004, but I became his avatar last weekend when, armed with only a rake, I strode into my flower beds and emerged an hour later bristling with burs. From the top of my head to the tip of my tail, if I had one, I was speckled with Virginia stickseed. [Read More]
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