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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!":


A Marriage Passes From Routine To Rut To Therapy

Aug 7, 2012

The act of sharing decades of your life with one person lends itself to repetition. If you aren't careful, repetition becomes routine, routines become ruts, and then, for the terminally uncommunicative, ruts dig themselves so deep that they become the sort of soul-sucking bottomless trench in which Kay and Arnold, the married couple played by Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones in Hope Springs, find themselves.

At least, that's where Kay finds herself, sleeping alone in the master bedroom while Arnold bunks in the guest room. When she makes a meek pass at him to open the film, he's largely oblivious ("Something wrong with your room?"), then full of stammering excuses when he does realize she wants to share a bed and upset a dull status quo that's sufficient for him, but crushing for her. After 31 years of marriage — a statistic that the curmudgeonly Arnold throws out compulsively, as if a single number can represent the health of a relationship just as definitively as a round of golf — Kay needs something to change. So she drops $4,000 on some intensive couples therapy and drags her miserly husband grumbling and scowling off to Maine for a week with self-help author and marriage counselor Dr. Bernard Feld (Steve Carell).

At first glance, the film seems like it could be an alternate spin on 2009's It's Complicated, a pat late-middle-age rom-com also starring Streep as a woman essentially trying to rekindle a long dead marriage. I spent the first third of Hope Springs expecting the zany plot twist, waiting for the film's buds of broad comedy to bloom into full-blown antics designed to push Kay and Arnold back together through unlikely circumstances.

That's why what followed came as such a pleasant surprise: Vanessa Taylor's screenplay is largely a subdued and thoughtful piece, a no-frills look at scenes from this marriage. Here's a couple working through the real and relatable problems of two people who have spent three decades slowly learning to take each other for granted. It's easy to imagine Hope Springs as a sparse chamber piece for the theater, particularly during the couple's conversations with Dr. Feld, which take their time and go on longer than any standard romantic comedy would allow.

The patience to let scenes like these play out serves director David Frankel well, especially given the acting talent he's assembled. Streep is dependably excellent here, portraying a woman who has spent years bottling up her emotions. An explosion is inevitable, yet Streep never overplays it; Kay is never able to let herself go completely, which is also one of the issues in her marriage. Jones, meanwhile, is given much of the early comic relief as the stock grumpy old man, but manages to find the pathos far beneath Arnold's gruff exterior. When he has breakthroughs, they feel earned; when he backslides, it feels inevitable. Presiding over everything is Carell, who never hams it up as Dr. Feld, a vision of Zen calm with a beatific grin and a voice so soothing it's like auditory Xanax.

Where the film trips up is Frankel's insistence on playing the comic moments a little too broadly, usually centered on Kay and Arnold's fumbling attempts to reignite their sex life. One scene where Kay and Arnold attempt public affection goes for slapstick yet it feels out of place, as awkward in the film as the pair are with each other. Subtle moments fit best with the overall tone, like an exercise in which Feld instructs them to simply hold each another: They tentatively put their arms around one another, leaving a large gap between them, like adolescents at a Catholic school dance forced to leave enough space for a balloon for chastity's sake.

The stabs at conventional rom-com antics, along with the overly manipulative soundtrack — Annie Lennox's "Why" backing one particularly awful montage is so nakedly on the nose that the characters might as well be singing along — undermine the film's potential, but never quite sink it. Romantic comedies are as prone to falling into ruts as marriages; Kay and Arnold go to Dr. Feld to save them from theirs, and Frankel relies on his actors to pull him out of his.

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