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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 Montgomery-ed.org

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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Rewriting Homer, With Some Lurid Twists

Oct 24, 2012
Originally published on October 24, 2012 9:49 am

Annalisa Quinn is the Books intern at NPR.

During my senior year of college, I plowed through all 27,803 lines of the Iliad and the Odyssey in Greek, with a lot of coffee and a reasonable amount of crying in library cubicles.

I loved Homer. But the spare, plot-driven lines of dactylic hexameter left certain essential questions unanswered — was Patroclus cute? Was Helen good in bed? I had read Adele Geras' young adult novel Troy when I was 12 or 13, years before I touched Homer, and it had given me the lasting impression that ancient Greece was a smoldering pit of lust filled with golden-haired virgins. Disappointingly, in Homer, heroes tend to be simply "good," "noble" and, occasionally, "large." This meant that even as I translated the Greek, my head would supply snatches of Troy. I'd read about Zeus and pictured him with eyes "like liquid gold," per Geras' rapturous descriptions.

The Iliad is probably a better poem for never describing the size of Helen's breasts or the exact shade of Paris' hair (a "spun gold," if you believe Geras). But there is something immensely satisfying about the unabashed sentimentalism and lush prose of Geras's Troy after the cryptic sparsity of the original, in which the city falls only by implication, when its hero, Hector, dies. We never see it go down, which is both masterful and frustrating. But Troy provides us with flames, destruction and trysts among the ruins.

The novel follows various Trojan women during the siege and destruction of the city and features several love triangles, an unwanted pregnancy, and sometimes shockingly bad prose ("There's a fire burning in my body, and only you can put it out"). Xanthe and Marpessa are a pair of sisters in love with the same boy, the unsubtly named Alastor (Greek for "vengeful spirit"), and together they survive the deaths of Hector, Achilles, Priam and, eventually, the destruction of the city.

Troy is unrelated to the 2004 film of the same name starring Brad Pitt and his glistening abdominals, but in some ways the two Troys are kindred spirits, both far more focused on Eros than Ares and not above a certain amount of melodrama. That being said, Troy-the-novel has considerably more taste than Troy-the-film, although I feel confident that Geras could have captured the sinister pre-battle gleam of Achilles' hairless chest in prose better than anyone, had she so chosen. Instead, everything in Troy has a sort of vague erotic wash — never pornographic but always suggestive.

Homeric epic has spawned countless literary retellings, some magnificent (Vergil's Aeneid), some odd (Thomas Bridges' A Burlesque Translation of Homer), and some magnificently odd (Statius' Achilleid, a first century Latin mini-epic featuring Achilles in drag). But this soap opera of a novel will always be my favorite example of trashy Homeric fan fiction.

My Guilty Pleasure is produced and edited by Ellen Silva and Rose Friedman.

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