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.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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!":

Pages

'This Will End In Tears': Soundtracks For Down Days

Aug 11, 2012
Originally published on September 1, 2012 3:31 pm

Even the strongest among us get the blues: You can't get out of bed, you don't want to talk to a single other humanoid, and you just want to close the curtains and turn on the music. The songs you choose for those miseries have to be just right.

Adam Brent Houghtaling is something of a connoisseur of the melancholy moment. Perhaps to cheer himself up, he's put that expertise to use by producing a kind of encyclopedia of the best soundtracks for lonely days and nights. It's called This Will End in Tears: The Miserablist Guide to Music.

The book highlights the many components of a sad song — harmony, melody, tempo, lyrics and more. But Houghtaling says what's most important is how those elements interact.

"I think it's a number of factors, but none of those things necessarily by themselves create a sad song. There's certainly lots of happy songs with lots of minor chords in them," he says. "Certainly, lyrics play a big part. I think in narrative song, just like reading a novel, there's an opportunity to plug your own experiences into the song. I think that really helps create a connection with sad music."

Houghtaling says that's a special connection that should be celebrated and cherished. At the time he started writing, he says, that opinion wasn't popular.

"A lot of books were being released about happiness, and people were talking about a happiness industry, and about how happiness was our national obsession," he says. "I spend just as much if not more time in a kind of melancholy, ruminative state, and I wanted to kind of celebrate that that's good. We don't always need to be searching for happiness."

As part of a conversation with NPR's Susan Stamberg, Houghtaling selected three sad songs discussed in This Will End in Tears, and provided a little context for each one.

Stina Nordenstam, 'Everyone Else In The World'

"She has a very fragile, wispy voice that's very similar to Rickie Lee Jones or Blossom Dearie or Bjork. And she's pretty reclusive — she doesn't perform very often or give too many interviews. But her music melds a lot of jazz and folk and ambient pop all together."

James Carr, 'These Ain't Raindrops'

"He was the first person to record 'The Dark End of the Street,' and he's one of the best Southern soul singers ever. There's a lot of stuff I love about his work. His first hit was 'You Got My Mind Messed Up,' which is a personal favorite."

Max Richter, 'On The Nature Of Daylight'

"Very contemporary — he was a co-founder of a contemporary classical ensemble called Piano Circus, and he's worked with some avant-garde electronica groups like Future Sound of London and a drum-and-bass act, Roni Size. A lot of people know him from his 2004 album, The Blue Notebooks, which was based on Kafka's Blue Octavo notebooks — the eight notebooks that he did that kind of took the place of his diaries for a number of years. And that's also the album that has his most popular piece of music on it, 'On the Nature of Daylight.' "

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The times when even the strongest among us get the blues. You can't get out of bed, you don't want to talk to anybody, you just want to close the curtains and turn on the music. The tunes you choose for those miseries have to be just right. NPR special correspondent Susan Stamberg tell us there's a new book designed to help with such sad choices. "This Will End in Tears: The Miserablist Guide to Music" is Adam Houghtaling's encyclopedia of soundtracks for lonely days and lonely nights. Here's Susan's report.

SUSAN STAMBERG, BYLINE: Adam Houghtaling says there's a good chance he was mildly miserable when he put the book together. It includes some fairly obvious choices: "Lush Life" - the lyric life is lonely again and only last year everything seemed so bright, and I get along without you very well, except perhaps in spring, but I should never think of spring for that would surely break my heart in two - you know, songs like that. But Adam Houghtaling's book, "This Will End in Tears," has some pretty esoteric stuff too.

ADAM HOUGHTALING: One that I would recommend would be a Swedish singer, Stina Nordenstam. She has a very fragile, wispy voice that's very similar to Rickie Lee Jones or Blossom Dearie or Bjork. And she's pretty reclusive. She doesn't perform very often or give too many interviews. But her music kind of melds a lot of jazz and folk and ambient pop all together. My favorite is "Everyone Else in this World."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EVERYONE ELSE IN THIS WORLD")

STINA NORDENSTAM: (Singing) You had to stand perfectly still. You have to close your eyes. And when I am finished, I don't care. Believe you can go. Everyone else in this world...

STAMBERG: Oh, bless her. You know, I want to hug her or do something to cheer her up. Say her name again.

HOUGHTALING: Stina Nordenstam.

STAMBERG: And she is Scandinavian.

HOUGHTALING: Yeah, she's Swedish.

STAMBERG: This would not cheer up that part of the world.

HOUGHTALING: Probably not, no.

STAMBERG: Yeah, yeah. Something a little bit peppier but nonetheless esoteric.

HOUGHTALING: There is an R and B singer that a lot of people probably know his most famous song but may not know him very well, which is James Carr. He was the first person to record "Dark End of the Street." And he's one of the best Southern soul singers ever. There's a lot of stuff that I love about his work. His first hit was "You Got My Mind Messed Up," which is a personal favorite. But I also really love "These Ain't Raindrops in My Eyes."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THESE AIN'T RAINDROPS IN MY EYES")

JAMES CARR: (Singing) Oh, right now, these ain't raindrops in my eyes, baby, that I wipe away. If you tell me you love me, everything will be OK. You (unintelligible) if you never left me, I would wait, I would wait a million years. These ain't raindrops in my eyes. These ain't raindrops...

STAMBERG: Raw emotion indeed. James Carr. But, you know, there's something. That's sad but it's aggressive too. I mean, in a good way.

HOUGHTALING: Yeah. He's got a big voice.

STAMBERG: Adam Houghtaling, you've clearly studied what makes a good miserable song. So, what can you tell us? Is it a matter of language, a juxtaposition of notes, or the key in which something's written?

HOUGHTALING: None of those things necessarily by themselves create a sad song. There's certainly lots of happy songs with lots of minor chords in them. And certainly lyrics play a big part. I mean, I think a narrative song, just like reading a novel, there's an opportunity to kind of plug your own experiences into the song. I think that really helps create a connection with sad music.

STAMBERG: Um-hum. It's not enough just to sing I'm so lonely I could die, although that has certainly been done.

HOUGHTALING: Exactly.

STAMBERG: I get the feeling that you think being unhappy may be a part of life, which we need to celebrate in some strange way.

HOUGHTALING: Yeah. That was really one of the reasons I wanted to write the book. A lot of books were being released about happiness and people were talking about a happiness industry and about how happiness was our national obsession. And, you know, I spend just as much, if not more, time in a kind of melancholic ruminative state and I wanted to kind of celebrate that that's good. We don't always need to be searching for happiness. It's good that we're melancholic sometimes. And the music helps us.

STAMBERG: Do you think that if we get it right being sad that that can actually make us happier, be cathartic in some way?

HOUGHTALING: Absolutely. You know, there's a lot of thought that maybe listening to sad music maybe helps drive us deeper into our sadness and therefore helps us find a focus to help us recover from it, so.

STAMBERG: Yeah, yeah. OK. Obvious question but got to ask it: what is your go-to miserable song?

HOUGHTALING: You know, one that I really, really love is called "The One" by Lambchop. It's on their 1996 album "How I Quit Smoking." And I was in Boston in college and it was just snow and rain and walking around the city with my headphones on. And this song specifically makes me very sentimental - for the time.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE ONE")

LAMBCHOP: (Singing) Best of all are the things that's in this world that's worth a look. And make it hard when I'm with you, scary sight, all the things that haven't happened but just might. But they get over so quickly, look around...

STAMBERG: Oh, my. Really, Lambchop, "The One." I'm in near tears over that one, but what is it about it that gets to you?

HOUGHTALING: I love Kurt Wagner's kind of gravelly voice, and he's just barely above a whisper. I just love it.

STAMBERG: Great. Well, thank you so much for helping share all this melancholy with us. Adam Houghtaling. His book is called "This Will End in Tears: The Miserablist Guide to Music." Thank you, Adam.

HOUGHTALING: Thank you so much.

STAMBERG: I hate leaving on such a sad note. I am going to lift our spirits. Here's a little something from "Bye, Bye Birdie."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PUT ON A HAPPY FACE")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Singing) Gray skies are gonna clear up, put on a happy face. Brush off the clouds and cheer up...

STAMBERG: What do you think, Adam?

HOUGHTALING: I love it. Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PUT ON A HAPPY FACE")

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: (Singing) Take off the gloomy, master tragedy, it's not your style...

STAMBERG: I'm Susan Stamberg, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "PUT ON A HAPPY FACE")

SIMON: Buck up. This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.