>> THE CHRISTMAS NETWORK: Time was when our favorite holiday specials aired but once a year, and every kid from Duryea to Hazleton to Sombertown knew exactly when they were on. If you missed one, you had to wait a whole ‚??nother year to see it again. For good or ill, that‚??s not the case today. Thanks to cable TV, you can check out your favorite holiday specials 65 times between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Case in point, the charming ‚??Santa Claus is Coming to Town‚?Ě is coming to ABC at 8 p.m. Tuesday. Miss it, and you can see it at 8 p.m. Friday, 10 p.m. Saturday or 2 p.m. Sunday, all on ABC Family. And that‚??s only THIS week‚??s showings.
>> HARD HOBBIT TO BREAK: In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, but a nice million-dollar deluxe hole with a built-in swimming pool in Beverly Hills that the hobbit built when he became a big-time movie star. And now, a decade after the ‚??Lord of the Rings‚?Ě film trilogy, the hobbit and all his friends are back for more ‚?? sort of like going back for a second breakfast of box-office riches. ‚??The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,‚?Ě tells the tale of Bilbo‚??s journey and how he found the One Ring that started all the fuss in the first place. The film opens Friday.
>> GOING APE FOR MONKEYS: Hey, hey, they‚??re called monkeys. And people say they monkey around. Of course that‚??s not surprising, considering their name. As a full fledged member of the human race, however, you are not encouraged to engage in ‚??monkey business,‚?Ě lest the world think you‚??ve gone bananas. That is, unless your calendar says it‚??s Dec. 14 ‚?? a.k.a. Monkey Day. To celebrate, you can get serious and raise money for primate-related issues. You can get silly and dress like a monkey. Or you can take it simple and have some bananas, some Chunky Monkey ice cream and watch ‚??King Kong‚?Ě or ‚??Planet of the Apes.‚?Ě Your choice.
>> LET THEM EAT CAKE: If you heard there‚??s a guy named the ‚??Cake Boss,‚?Ě and he runs a bakery in Hoboken, N.J., you might think he has some employees named Vinnie ‚??The Rolling Pin,‚?Ě and Sal ‚??The Spatula,‚?Ě and that you BETTER buy your cannolis from him or you might end up battered ‚?? literally. In reality though, the ‚??Cake Boss‚?Ě is Buddy Valastro, star of the TLC network‚??s ‚??Cake Boss.‚?Ě (Hence the name). He‚??s the owner of Carlo‚??s Bakery in Hoboken, and he‚??s bringing his show on the road to the F.M. Kirby Center this holiday season. It‚??s an interactive event, with holiday music, stories and, of course, lots of baking fun. Showtime is 8 p.m. Friday.
>> SMASH! BANG! POW! Nothing says ‚??Happy Holidays‚?Ě like the festive breaking of a chair over the head of your fellow man. Yes, wrestling fans, it‚??s that time of year again: The WWE is back in town. For your pleasure, they‚??ll perform such Christmas wrestling classics as ‚??It‚??s Beginning to Look a Lot Like PAIN!,‚?Ě ‚??All I Want For Christmas Is Your Two Front Teeth,‚?Ě and ‚??I‚??ll Be in Traction for Christmas.‚?Ě Well, actually, they won‚??t be singing, unless you count begging for mercy as singing. If you‚??re brave enough, the carnage starts at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Arena.