Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.

NPR Politics presents the Lunchbox List: our favorite campaign news and stories curated from NPR and around the Web in digestible bites (100 words or less!). Look for it every weekday afternoon from now until the conventions.

Convention Countdown

The Republican National Convention is in 4 days in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Convention is in 11 days in Philadelphia.

NASA has released the first picture of Jupiter taken since the Juno spacecraft went into orbit around the planet on July 4.

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The Senate is set to approve a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

My husband and I once took great pleasure in preparing meals from scratch. We made pizza dough and sauce. We baked bread. We churned ice cream.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped vegetables and a rotisserie chicken are the only things between us and five nights of Chipotle.

Parents are busy. For some of us, figuring out how to get dinner on the table is a daily struggle. So I reached out to food experts, parents and nutritionists for help. Here is some of their (and my) best advice for making weeknight meals happen.

"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

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School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

How should we feel about that?

Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.


A Charles Mingus Anecdote That Has Nothing To Do With Breasts

Oct 24, 2012
Originally published on October 24, 2012 2:36 pm

We interrupt this blog to bring you an announcement from the one and only Charles Mingus, the great bassist and composer:

You can hear the tune he introduces as part of a First Listen feature this week. The new seven-CD set The Jazz Workshop Concerts, 1964-65 (pre-order available here) compiles a bunch of live recordings, several of which were partially unreleased, which were recorded for Mingus' own short-lived record label. We're streaming the Minneapolis 1965 concert in full.

About that tune: "Copa City Titty," a.k.a. "O.P." or "O.P. Junior," is rarely to be found anywhere in Mingus' discography, and never in the studio — one small part of what makes this set special. As Mingus says, its original title was dedicated to Oscar Pettiford, a fellow virtuoso bassist, and specifically to Pettiford's newborn son. Though the concert here is from 1965, that dates the piece back to the late '30s or maybe the '40s.

But Mingus seems to have renamed and perhaps reworked the piece around the spring of 1961. That's when a sympathetic venue owner in Queens, N.Y., booked the Mingus band for a many-week residency at her club, Copa City. (Quick geography lesson: Mingus says "Long Island," and Queens is the northern part of Long Island closest to Manhattan.) Mingus had a habit of renaming previous compositions. For instance, "Goodbye Pork Pie Hat" later became "Theme for Lester Young," while "Meditations for a Pair af Wire Cutters" was also billed as "Praying With Eric."

At least two more things are notable about this little audio clip.

First: It's funny! Charles Mingus tends to go down in jazz lore as a temperamental, angry man, and while there's plenty of evidence documenting such behavior, even just the stage banter in this collection reveals a much fuller portrait of Mingus. As he explains, when he worked with the legendary early New Orleans trombonist Kid Ory, a "gig" was often called a "titty." Of course, he makes sure to clarify that this has nothing to do with "mammaries," which caused some amount of nervous laughter. All quite endearing.

To set this into context, this is how Mingus introduced the song preceding "Copa City Titty":

Most musicians are very serious nowadays, and they don't laugh, particularly. And so I don't mean this to make you laugh, but I don't feel too serious right now. Most of the times we play, people laugh, but this, uh [unintelligible].

The audience then broke into laughter, and Mingus started up a deliberately whimsical, carnival-esque version of "Cocktails for Two" — a piece of music which, thanks to Spike Jones' version, had already gained a reputation for whimsy.

But secondly: It's serious, too. Beneath the funny title of "Copa City Titty" is a rigorous composition with an unusual structure, as Mingus biographer Brian Priestley documents in the liner notes: "Its complete form has a chorus of 14+14+15+14 bars, followed by a 16-bar interlude that recalls 'Night in Tunisia' through being based on a 2-bar phrase repeated over changing harmonies."

And it's played somewhat loosely, almost drifting around the beat instead of hitting it with military-like precision. There's a philosophy behind this rhythmic idea which, coincidentally, Mingus first announced at the press reception for the Copa City residency. (Yes, jazz gigs in the outer boroughs in 1961 could be preceded by press conferences!) He called it "rotary perception," and elaborated on the idea in his memoir, Beneath the Underdog:

There once was a word used — swing. Swing went in one direction, it was linear, and everything had to be played with an obvious pulse, and that's very restrictive. But I use the term "rotary perception." If you get a mental picture of the beat existing within a circle, you're more free to improvise. People used to think the notes had to fall on the center of the beats in the bar at intervals like a metronome, with three or four men in the rhythm section accenting the same pulse. That's like parade music or dance music. But imagine a circle surrounding each beat — each guy can play his notes anywhere in that circle and it gives him a feeling he has more space. The notes fall anywhere inside the circle, but the original feeling for the beat isn't changed. If one in the group loses confidence, somebody hits the beat again. The pulse is inside you. When you're playing with musicians who think this way, you can do anything.

Obviously, Mingus had confidence that this band could execute the idea. Priestley writes that the Mingus band on the Copa City engagement included Lonnie Hillyer (trumpet) and Charles McPherson (alto sax), as well as long-time Mingus drummer Dannie Richmond. All three also appear on this Minneapolis concert, four years later.

To recap: "Copa City Titty" is a highly refined work of art with a bit of comic relief at once. You can see why this resonates with someone who would run a publication called A Blog Supreme.

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