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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!":


T.C. Boyle's 'San Miguel' Is No Island Paradise

Sep 20, 2012

San Miguel is the name of a treeless island off the coast of California where, in the 19th and early 20th centuries, a few nervy ranchers struggled to raise sheep. San Miguel is also the name of T. Coraghessan Boyle's chilling and beautiful new novel, which is loosely based on the memoirs of those ranchers.

It is a striking departure from Boyle's past work. In 13 satirical novels, Boyle has skewered all manner of egoists and kooks, ranging from health food gurus (The Road to Wellville) and hippies (Drop City) to Alfred Kinsey (The Inner Circle). He is skewering no one here, and it takes a solid 40 pages for a longtime fan to trust that he's put away his knives for real. He has. While the prose remains as exuberant and biting as ever, he has stripped away every trace of his trademark irony to stunning effect.

Divided into three sections, the novel begins in the 1880s as Marantha Waters arrives on San Miguel, literally gasping for breath. Wracked by tuberculosis, she hopes that the island's "virginal air" will vanquish her disease and placate her restless husband. But from the moment she sets foot on its bleak shore, flustered and cold, ignored by her more robust companions (including her husband), she understands her folly. The grim house is drafty and water-stained, overrun with mice. A newborn lamb she tries to rescue dies a hideous death in her kitchen. Her husband proudly brings home human bones — "naked and white and fissured with age" — he finds in the sand.

The savagery of nature is all around her, but also inside her, as she huddles in the bedroom coughing up blood and "sputum that was like the gristle cut from a piece of meat." (Boyle's descriptions of consumption are unsparing.) And far from healing her, the "virginal air" haunts her sleepless nights: "The wind kept beating, keening, unholy, implacable, and it was as if it were aimed at her, and her alone. As if it had come for her. Come to blow her away across the waters and force her down beneath the waves, down and down and down to the other place, darkness eternal."

The wind has other messages for Edith, Marantha's teenaged daughter, who is the subject of the book's middle section. Edith is held captive on the island by her stepfather and "at night when she lay in her damp bed — everything damp, always damp, mold creeping over the mattress like a wet licking tongue and the walls beaded with condensation — she listened to the wind, to the distant tolling of ships bells and the fading ghostly cries of the foxes that were no bigger than a cat and her mind spun away into fantasies of escape." Imagery doesn't get much more gothic than that. Edith's schemes to flee grow ever more degrading and desperate, and if the island doesn't break her like it does her mother, it leaves an indelible mark on her character.

But just when you've decided Boyle has written a horror novel, he introduces a long, tender love story that brings the narrative to its bittersweet conclusion. In 1930, newlyweds Elise and Herbie Lester arrive on San Miguel to start their lives together. While Herbie is prone to disturbing mood swings (today it's called "manic depression"), he and Elise find peace and equilibrium on the island "set down in the heaving froth of the Pacific Ocean." While Elise's first impression of San Miguel is as wretched as Marantha's, she finds and creates loveliness in its sere landscape. She and Herbie raise two daughters here, and one of the small beauties of the novel is Boyle's depiction of a calm and happy marriage distinguished by mutual accommodation and ongoing erotic love.

All idylls must come to an end, of course, as do the Lesters'. But Boyle never suggests that they — or any of these people — deserved their fate. In the past, Boyle has moved characters around like puppets to score satirical points. In San Miguel, he sets them free.

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