Here are a few things in news, sports, entertainment and pop culture that we’ve been talking about lately.
■ NASCAR and ESPN search for ways to pump up declining auto racing ratings. Possibilities include running races clockwise, having Danica Patrick drive in a fireproof bikini and making four-time Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson compete in a tricked-out Yugo.
■ The Vatican’s official newspaper asserts that Homer Simpson u25B6 is Catholic. D’ohminus vobiscum.
■ The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas unveils its new TV ad. A little bit ’80s Calvin Klein, a little bit "Eyes Wide Shut" and a whole lot of "What the … ?"
■ A Starbucks in Seattle adds beer and wine to its menu. And nightly entertainment, too, when boozy tipplers start to pick fights with oh-so-mellow cappuccino sippers.
John Przybys (firstname.lastname@example.org)