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!":


The Pangs And 'Perks' Of High School, Revisited

Sep 20, 2012

Writer-director Stephen Chbosky's adaptation of his own 1999 novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, might just as aptly be titled The Pains of Being a Wallflower. This fable of early-'90s high school recounts (if it usually doesn't show) abundant trauma — including suicide, child sexual abuse, psychotic blackouts and a gay boy who's bashed by his own father.

Looking back on all this, however, Chbosky emphasizes the pleasures of friendship and the wisdom gained from adolescent misery. The result is sweet and lively, boosted by a score heavy on such '70s and '80s Brit-pop mavericks as David Bowie and The Smiths. Yet all this energy and likability can't sustain the movie's second half, which tries to present wish-fulfillment fantasies as realistic developments.

Charlie (Percy Jackson and the Olympians' Logan Lerman) is about to enter a Pittsburgh-area high school, after having survived a rough year whose woes will gradually be revealed. His parents (Kate Walsh and Dylan McDermott) don't seem very concerned, and his older siblings — including a sister who attends the same school — are also of little help.

Charlie confides his thoughts and troubles in letters to a friend, but that person seems to be imaginary (or perhaps dead). It appears that the boy's only real-life ally will be his English teacher (Paul Rudd), who supplies his promising student with the usual coming-of-age novels.

Then Charlie lucks into a friendship with Patrick (Ezra Miller), a senior who's taking freshman shop for what may be the fourth time. Through this connection, Charlie meets Sam (Emma Watson), who's caring and exuberant, if a veteran of reputation-blackening sexual experiments in her wayward years. Charlie initially assumes the two are a couple, but in fact Patrick is gay, and Sam is his genetically unrelated stepsister.

"Welcome to the island of misfit toys," Sam invitingly tells Charlie. Eventually, it becomes clear that the two have something in common. But that something is way too dramatic for a movie that in spirit is closer to Pretty in Pink than Cries and Whispers.

Adopted by the older kids, Charlie assists them with their problems: SATs, college applications and difficult romances, notably Patrick's with a closeted football player. In turn, the seniors introduce their new protege to drugs, hip music and role-playing at the weekly screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Here's where the movie's title begins to seem a little off. The wallflower finds himself a fill-in member of the Rocky Horror troupe, performing nearly naked in front of a full house. For all his awkwardness, Charlie reveals a very un-14-year-old gift for saying brave, articulate things at exactly the right moment. He even ends up acquitting himself well in a brawl with older, bigger boys. The misfit toy is just too much the hero for a story set in high school.

Adequately directed by Chbosky, the movie relies heavily on music and the appeal of its too-old-for-high-school cast. Miller, who played a much more troubled kid in We Need to Talk About Kevin, is impressive. And Watson, Harry Potter's former helpmate, is the heart-melting apotheosis of the pretty senior girl who nurtures gawky freshman boys.

Anthropologists have yet to determine, of course, that such a creature exists. That's the problem with The Perks of Being a Wallflower: It's populated by characters who are just too good to be plausible.

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