Jessica Shaw offers a handful of alternatives to devoting all your energies to that little movie... ''Harry Potter''
Luke Wilson, Gwyneth Paltrow, ...
Credit: The Royal Tenenbaums: James Hamilton
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5 entertaining ways to spend the holiday weekend

I know what I’m about to say is going to raise the hair on your neck, but hold that hate mail. I’m going to say it loud and proud: I have absolutely no desire to see ”Harry Potter.” That’s right. Didn’t read the books. Don’t know (or care) what a wiggle, wuggle, Hermione, or Hogart is. Even turned down free advance tickets to see the flick without lines or screaming children.

Oh, close your mouth. There’s more of us out there than you think. And for all of you secretly smiling as you read about my Harry hatred, I would like to offer a few alternatives to Potter-mania. To honor Thanksgiving, I’d like to look back to our nation’s history and discuss reasons why I’m thankful. Just kidding, don’t worry. But I would like to mention five entertainment topics to be thankful for and to consume your mind while everyone else you know is donning fake black round glasses at the multiplex to see ”Harry Potter” for the gazillionth time.

Ethan the soccer player With a Thanksgiving episode of ”Survivor” it allows us even more time to reflect about the absolute perfection of this contestant. Is it possible that there never has been a true mensch on ”Survivor” before? He speaks his mind, though gently. He succeeds at tasks, even when inexperienced with them. He is the first one out there pulling his weight, even though several members of his tribe have more brawn. He’s hot enough to have his own TV series (I can see it now…”Ethan Scores!”…about a professional soccer player who falls for the daughter of the opposing team’s coach) but he’s not stupid like Colby. This ringleted babe makes ”Survivor” worth watching.

Alias” Since the release of this new show, I am most thankful for Sunday night, especially this one. The tryptophane will have worn off. The pumpkin pie will be a faint memory. What better way to deal with your anger about your dysfunctional relatives than by watching Jennifer Garner kick major booty? The show was so great last week that I found myself actually praying it wasn’t over yet. Sydney is in the insane asylum, while her best friend tries to figure out why her boyfriend was murdered. A disappeared mom and a secretive ? and potentially evil ? dad? Honey, you’ve got nothing on her family drama.

Zwan Sure, it’s a little obscure to be thankful for a band that’s only doing a few club dates over the next few weeks, but for some reason it gives me hope. The Smashing Pumpkins’ frontman Billy Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlain are flitting from teeny show to teeny show trying out some new material. Now, the end of the ‘N Backstreets has been predicted for a while now and I’ve toasted many times to the demise of Jessica Simpson’s career, but I haven’t been hopeful about new music — until a friend told me he caught the Zwan show in northern California. What a relief to know that truly creative people older than 22 who actually write their own music and lyrics (omigod!!!!) are braving our teen-saturated eardrums to bring us something worth listening to.

Gwyneth and Luke I could be thankful for Wes Anderson’s upcoming film, ”Royal Tennenbaums,” which stars these two, but that’s so a month away. In the meantime, and while everyone I know is doing that holiday season break-up, I’d like to focus on the union of G & L. She’s dated too many pretty boys. He has never gotten the credit he deserved. What a relief these two found eachother on the ”Tennenbaums” set. (No doubt Luke’s stock was way up since his brother Owen cowrote the script). Gwynnie looks somehow deeper for dating a guy with less-than-perfect features. And Luke may finally become a household name thanks to those tabloid shots of the two lovebirds basking in the Majorca sun. I have no doubt this relationship will go the way of other on-set romances, but for now they’re a hell of a lot more interesting to talk about than Sarah Michelle and Freddie.

Lord of the Rings” I read the book when I was 9. At this point in my life, it resonates about as much as a ”Lord of the Dance” show. Still, I have blissful weeks before all the ”Ring” freaks start bugging the rest of us with their lingo and minutia, and for that I cannot be more thankful.

Happy holiday everyone!

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