The Worst of DC’s New 52

Comic book events have been convenient ways of tricking my otherwise four-color-phobic Idle Time brethren into reading comics. Remember in 2008 when we hosted the Secret Invasion pool? Or late last year when Erik tried to organize a comics-themed podcast? (I haven’t given up on you, ghostmann) Nothing really worked. Comics is still a distant third place in the Idle Time media hierarchy.

definitely smells like something...

Then DC announced its “New 52” initiative: fifty-two brand-new number-one issues, including re-boots on iconic books like Batman and Green Lantern. Incredible creative teams were assembled. Everything was going to be fresh, and opportunity for reaching new readers had never been greater. The plan met with huge opposition from DC faithful, of course; there was even a protest organized for last year’s SDCC. But for people like me, eager to see comics attack a broader audience (just don’t mess with my Marvel books), this seemed promising. Even Uncle Isey, the Holy Bee himself, long the staunchest hold-out to the funnybooks, enthusiastically declared, “I’m in.”

So the two of us, along with Rex, who never needs an excuse to be asked to read a huge pile of comics, tasked ourselves with reading all fifty-two of the DCnU’s premiere issues. We employed our patent-pending Idle Time roulette system to rank the lot and we now know, unequivocally, which of these new series are worth picking up… and which should be used for kindling and birdcage liners. Erik “ghostmann” Hanson, a longtime DC stalwart, will be chiming in on our Top list, as will the mysterious Lazy Bear, who we’ve forced out of his eleven-month slumber with comic book homework.   We’re already five months in on many of the titles, and the first collected editions of these books hit shelves beginning in May. Now, then, is the perfect time to tell you what to read, and what to avoid. Continue reading The Worst of DC’s New 52

Julie Taymor’s Phony-Baloney Beatles Movie: A Retrospective Rant

My personalized Amazon Gold Box Quick Pick of the Day yesterday was the DVD of Across The Universe for $7.99. Man, Amazon doesn’t know me at all.

There is the casual Beatles fan, and then there’s me and Mark Lewisohn. (If you get that reference, you can join me and Mark Lewisohn.) Back in ’07 when this flick hit the theaters, about a half-dozen well-intentioned but clueless people asked me if I was going to rush out to see it, and my answer was “No, and if you go see it and I find out you did, then you and I are no longer on speaking terms.” What director Julie Taymor has concocted is a paen to “casual” Beatles fans and obnoxious, aging Baby Boomers, and a slap in the face to serious Beatles fans everywhere.

OK, that last sentence was a little obnoxious itself, but, dammit, I’m upset. So let me lay my case out slowly and clearly, simple enough for even a Doors fan to understand. Continue reading Julie Taymor’s Phony-Baloney Beatles Movie: A Retrospective Rant

Ghostmann’s Top 10 Songs From 2005

Do you remember what music you were listening to 7 years ago? Hopefully these 10 songs were somewhere in your collection. If not, well, it’s never too late to change your taste in music. Click that play button and amend your ways.

10. Bright Eyes, “Old Soul Song (for the new world order)”

January 2005 / From the album I’m Wide Awake It’s Morning Continue reading Ghostmann’s Top 10 Songs From 2005

Idle Time: A Look Back, Part 2

Uncle Isey, the official historian of our collective, recounts our humble origins in the website’s About the Institute section. Admittedly, however, some of those early tales of Top 5 tomfoolery and mixtape mayhem have been either dismissed or disregarded as a mixed bag of half-truths and hyperbole. It’s much more interesting, after all, to say that Isey ate Beau Baca’s entire seven-layer burrito without asking rather than report that he unwittingly snuck a bite before realization set in. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story, I’ve been told.

Sometimes we get lucky. Sometimes, scouring through drawers of discarded memoranda and forgotten files actually turns up something of value. An original artifact of those halcyon days of yore was recently uncovered, serving as far more than just a time capsule reminder of idle days past. This gem of a CD-R, in all its archaic glory, gives us a glance at an early music-themed Top 5…

But it also gives us a bonafide anniversary date. Continue reading Idle Time: A Look Back, Part 2

From The Google Group Vaults: Top 5 Sidekicks (March 2008)

Since our goal for 2012 is to kick-start Idle Time and keep this website jumping, it might be a good time to take a fond look back at our original website. No, not that one. That’s right, that one. The original Google Group. It’s still there and functioning, but since all Idling eyes should be here at WordPress, the old Group site is like one of those half-empty ghost malls. In its glory days (summer 2007 – early 2009), the Group page enlivened many a dull workday with debates, random thoughts, and the ever-popular Top 5 lists. As explained before, Top 5 lists were the little acorns that grew into the Institute of Idle Time. Anyone was invited to come up with a list topic, and encourage everyone to weigh in with their own entries. There is a lot of fun stuff buried in the old Group site that deserves to be re-discovered and re-read. Hence, this Encore Presentation.

In the spring of 2008, no one had yet seen Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (and thus, no one had yet experienced the crippling disappointment of almost Phantom Menace proportions), but as a tip of the battered fedora to Shia LeBeouf‘s introduction to the series, Mike Di Gino posted the topic of Top 5 Sidekicks to the group. Some of the more iconic sidekicks had already been taken by the time I weighed in (repeating items from someone else’s list was allowed in extreme cases, but generally frowned upon), so here’s what I came up with:

Sidekick Type #5: The Sidekick Who Is Not As Cool As You
Milhouse Van HoutenThe Simpsons
A walking, talking self-esteem boost for Bart, the rasping, bespectacled Milhouse would be the sidekick of choice for someone who associates with local psychopaths Dolph, Kearny, and Jimbo. Milhouse can be jettisoned at will, providing a decoy (if the bullies are victimizing Bart), or just because he’s too dorky to hang out (if the bullies are teaming up with Bart). But at the end of the day, Milhouse will always be there, usually stuffed conveniently in a locker.

Continue reading From The Google Group Vaults: Top 5 Sidekicks (March 2008)

Ghostmann’s Top 10 Songs from 2003

As you know, Idle Time’s 10 year anniversary is upon us and we have something huge planned to celebrate, so stay tuned to this website for announcements. In preparation I’ve been dusting off the old CD’s, picking my favorite songs from the last 10 years. Here are my picks for the best 10 songs from 2003. Enjoy.

10. The Postal Service, “Such Great Heights”

February 2003 / From the album Give Up Continue reading Ghostmann’s Top 10 Songs from 2003

Ghostmann’s Top 10 Songs from 2002

The Tenth Anniversary buzz is just starting to build, and all the Idle Timers have been busy plotting and planning. Following up on yesterday’s peek into ’01, here are my Top 10 Songs of 2002. Again, these are arranged in order of release, not preference. Ranking, arguing, and name-calling to come.

10. Badly Drawn Boy, “Something To Talk About”

April 2002 / From the About a Boy soundtrack Continue reading Ghostmann’s Top 10 Songs from 2002