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.

The picture was taken on July 10. Juno was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter at the time. The color image shows some of the atmospheric features of the planet, including the giant red spot. You can also see three of Jupiter's moons in the picture: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

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 veggies 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.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

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.

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After an international tribunal invalidated Beijing's claims to the South China Sea, Chinese authorities have declared in no uncertain terms that they will be ignoring the ruling.

The Philippines brought the case to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, objecting to China's claims to maritime rights in the disputed waters. The tribunal agreed that China had no legal authority to claim the waters and was infringing on the sovereign rights of the Philippines.

Donald Trump is firing back at Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after she disparaged him in several media interviews. He tweeted late Tuesday that she "has embarrassed all" with her "very dumb political statements" about the candidate. Trump ended his tweet with "Her mind is shot - resign!":


Divine Beings And Socially Awkward New Yorkers

Aug 8, 2012

Meet God, according to Simon Rich. He's a mostly nice dude — compassionate, though he gave up on listening to prayers and intervening in the lives of humans years ago. ("[H]e's really more of an ideas guy, you know?" explains an angel.) He loves golf and the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and he's not averse to enjoying a beer or two during the workday. He's easy to like, except for two things: He's planning to destroy all of humanity so he can focus on opening an Asian fusion restaurant in heaven; and even worse, he's a Yankees fan.

This depiction of the Almighty as an affable-but-oblivious overgrown frat boy probably isn't what you'd expect, especially if you happen to belong to a religion in which God does not use profanity and refer to "Free Bird" as his "jam." But that's the beauty of What in God's Name, the fourth book from 28-year-old Saturday Night Live writer Rich — it's as unpredictable as it is funny, and it's one of the best American comic novels of the past few years.

God is actually more of a supporting player in the novel, which focuses on Craig and Eliza, two angels assigned to the Department of Miracles. (Other departments in heaven include Gravity Enforcement, Peacock Production and Ice Age Prevention.) After God announces his plan to discontinue the human experiment, Craig makes him a bet: If the angels can get Sam and Laura, two pathologically shy and chronically heartsick New Yorkers, to fall in love, then God will spare mankind. It's harder than it sounds — as God points out, humans are slow on the uptake and "afraid of everything." ("Do you know how long it was before the humans tried fruit? Like, a thousand years. For a while they just walked up to the trees, poked at the apples with sticks, and ran away.")

Dante's Paradiso this ain't, and thank, well, God for that. Not too many authors could pull off a plot this gleefully absurd, but Rich mostly keeps a straight face throughout — like any great comedian, he's committed to the joke, and he doesn't break. His vision of heaven is both original and hilarious: The promised land looks less like the Elysian Fields and more like a sprawling corporate campus, complete with sad little cubicles and a depressing cafeteria (although there is a pretty awesome sushi bar). And his portrayal of the would-be romance between the Earthlings Sam and Laura is unbelievably funny — Rich has fun with Laura's good-natured timidity and Sam's alarmingly total lack of game.

But the most amazing thing about What in God's Name is its unrelenting sweetness. Comedy that mocks and insults people is the easiest thing in the world to do (see: Tosh, Daniel), but it's infinitely harder to be both funny and kind. Rich displays a real love for his characters — even the archangel Vince, who became insufferably arrogant after engineering the "Sully" Sullenberger miracle on the Hudson. The young author has an obvious affection for the underdog, and a soft spot for those who work hard at what they do. It's that sensibility that makes What in God's Name a near-perfect work of humor writing — strikingly original, edgy but compassionate, and most importantly, deeply hilarious.

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