Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

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

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.

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.


You've Got To Have Friends: How Curated Families Shook Up TV Comedy

Oct 15, 2012

This week at Monkey See, we're looking at friendship in pop culture. We begin with a consideration of how half-hour comedies shifted away from being almost exclusively family- or work-focused.

Until the late 1980s, television comedy assumed that there were two kinds of social groups that really mattered to a person: her family and the people she worked with. So you had family shows (The Cosby Show, Father Knows Best, All In The Family) and workplace shows (The Mary Tyler Moore Show, MASH, Taxi). Shows about groups of friends existed, obviously, but they took the form of workplace shows, for the most part, or they were structured just like family shows, like Three's Company or The Golden Girls, with all the action around the kitchen table.

Beginning in 1989, Seinfeld got lots of credit for being a show about nothing, but it was also a then-rare example of a show that wasn't about a family and wasn't about people who worked together or went to school together. The Facts Of Life is structurally a workplace show, after all. It wasn't even about people who were pushed together because they favored the same bar. It was just about a bunch of friends.

And then in the fall of 1994, Friends itself premiered and the gates seemed to open. Not just all the Friends rip-offs, but Sex And The City, and How I Met Your Mother, and now the terrific Happy Endings all follow this model. It's a little different from the traditional workplace sitcom full of goofy characters who had home lives and families you rarely saw. These are people who don't have another primary connection they go home to; they are people who, while they may couple up from time to time, are primarily connected to their friends. Those are their most emotionally intimate relationships.

It makes a certain amount of demographic sense. People move away from home well before they're married. They change jobs, they get married later and divorced more frequently. Many of us, for some part of our lives, will be relying not on our families of origin and not on the families we form with partners or long relationships with people we work with, but on one of these assembled collections of people picked up along the way. Not a birth family or a married family or a fortuitous work-based family, but a collected and curated family.

Building a show around friends has some structural advantages; friendships are precious specifically because they are fragile. You're not bound to these people by law or by blood (in most cases), and you don't share a home with them or share your stuff with them (again, in most cases). You have to keep choosing them every day, and on any given day, you could just ... not choose them, and that would be that. I once had a friend very tentatively, in hushed tones, acknowledge that there is a way — one particular dimension, one kind of sense of intimacy — in which your closest friends are closer than family, and I think that's what was meant. You don't have to file anything to dump your friends; the barriers to exit, you might say, are very low. Your mom is supposed to like you; your friends just do.

Chandler and Joey's friendship cracked a couple of times on Friends (remember when Adam Goldberg moved in?), and Barney and Ted's did the same on HIMYM. You would never have believed that, say, Alex and Mallory Keaton were really going to stop seeing each other at dinner; it's not really something families like that do. But friends? Friends do sometimes step substantially away from each other, which means that if your show likes to do character stuff, the stakes can be paradoxically higher with friends than they are with family. Bad stuff can happen; it all matters.

With that said, my favorite friendship show right now is indeed Happy Endings, which doesn't mine the fragility of its friendships as much as it does the fact that the entire group seems to exist in one absurdist world that nobody else can ever even really visit. Dates, bosses, people on the street — they don't really live where the rest of the group lives. Their references are shared, their history is so integrated that they seem to have been born at adjoining beds in the same hospital, and they're all deeply, deeply weird in the same way. The deeply silly tone of the show binds them, just like the antisocial vibe of Seinfeld joined those characters in crass and selfish honesty.

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