Also part of the festivities, the celebration of two new elements being added to the Periodic Table.
1. Li – Lincecum
Date of Discovery: 2007
Discoverer: Bruce Bochy
Name Origin: From the Latin word lincecumnes (lint)
Uses: steel, batteries, starting pitching, relief pitching
Obtained From: Cape Cod Baseball League
2. Ov – Overman
Date of Discovery: 2012
Discoverer: Bruce Ferber
Name Origin: From the Latin word overmaniaculus (insane)
Uses: steel, batteries, comedy
Obtained From: Saul and Irma Overman
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
Author Interview: Bruce Ferber [Elevating Overman]
My review of Elevating Overman can be found here.
ELEVATING OVERMAN REVIEW
Bruce Ferber’s protagonist, Ira Overman in his debut novel Elevating Overman could be succinctly described as a “nebbish,” which is the Yiddish expression for someone who is dismissed by many as ineffectual, luckless, timid, bumbling and pitifully ineffectual. A character we could associate with Woody Allen or George Costanza of the Seinfeld television series, and incidentally either one would be perfect for the role of Overman, if the novel were ever to be adapted as a movie.
Overman was not always a “nebbish,” as he graduated from Columbia University with honors and initially was successfully employed as an entertainment executive for the studios, as well as positions with various management firms and talent agencies. Unfortunately, his talents were no longer needed and he is forced to accept a job as a car salesman with Steinbaum Mercedes of Calabasas, California.-a job he hates. He is also going through a mid-life crisis, and family wise he is divorced while his two children have abandoned him, blaming him for being a terrible father. His ex-wife, who remarried a sleazy doctor, is constantly putting him down. Not a pretty picture.
When Overman discovers a discount coupon in the Pennysaver for Life-Changing Vision Correction, he decides to follow it up and agrees to have Lasik eye surgery. The eye surgery is not only a great success but it also results into something he never imagined-being transformed from a useless individual to someone that now possesses super powers.
The results are immediate when he is able to defeat his obnoxious childhood friend, Jake Rosenfarb on the tennis court-a feat that rarely happened in the past. In addition, he is easily seduces the sexy Marciela, a co-worker and receptionist at his work of employment, which makes him the envy of Rosenfarb, who can’t understand his friend’s transformation and believes he has entered into some sort of alternate universe.
Rosenfarb convinces himself that Overman had been disguising himself as a failure for fifty-five years just to fool people. As a result, he sets out on a mission to find out the secret and key to his friend’s success. Moreover, he automatically takes on the role as side-kick and protector to Overman, who is not exactly enamored with this new relationship, that eventually evolves into something bordering on insanity, particularly when Rosenfarb has the crackpot idea of reshaping Overman’s life based on some famous comic book heroes. In other words, he is out of control.
With his new found powers, our protagonist now faces the dilemma of deciding where, when, why and how he chooses to use them. As he detests his self-important gasbag of a boss, Hal Steinbaum, Overman decides that he has enough of selling cars, quits his job and accepts a position as a filing clerk for someone that runs a loan sharking business but who is willing to teach him the ropes as to how to become a successful money lender.
Overman also reflects on his past life and is determined to ask pardon for something that occurred during his high school days concerning a young female classmate that had been gang raped by the school’s basketball team. Although Overman did not willingly participate in this horrendous crime, he nonetheless feels that he could have done more to have prevented it from happening.
There are many laughs in Elevating Overman and Ferber’s talents as an Emmy-nominated comedy writer whose credits include Bosom Buddies, Growing Pains, Sabrina,The Teenage Witch, Coach and Home Improvement are clearly in evidence. It is clever, endearing, intelligent and searching, presenting readers with a healthy dose of wry humor coupled with some slapstick as it ponders the age old question as to “what matters in life?” It is also an astute perceptive and moving reflection on the importance of identity and responsibility. The writing is technically skillful devoid of clichéd characters and weak dialogue.
Norm Goldman, bookpleasures.com
7:30 PM! That’s right! The author will be reading passages from Elevating Overman at Stories Books and Cafe, a fantastic neighborhood bookstore. Be there, or convince yourself that you’re still in the thick of things, shopping on Montana! Here are the details:
We hear endless chatter about how social media has changed the world, but there’s one aspect of this phenomenon that nobody’s talking about. Used to be you’d have to open the newspaper or turn on the news to find out that one of society’s luminaries had passed on, but nowadays all you need to do is look at your phone to learn that one of your Facebook friends is deep in mourning over the death of a recurring actor she used to watch on Petticoat Junction.
Social media has turned everyone into an obit writer. I, myself, waxed wistfully over the passings of Levon Helm and Doc Watson, as did many others. Afterward, I felt guilty about it. Why? Because thanks to Facebook, there’s just a glut of wistful waxing. From obscure 80’s rock bassists to politicians who spent their entire careers in the pockets of lobbyists, all of them “will be deeply missed.”
Now don’t get me wrong –I have nothing against honoring the dead. I just think there’s a difference between memorializing people we knew or the artists who truly moved us, and simply being the first to announce the celebrity death du jour. But the rabid RIP-ers seem to be in some kind of a race. The explanation — dare I speak its name? Being number one to the finish line with an RIP is a subtle form of SELF-PROMOTION, ie: “You won’t believe who died and see how much I’m missing him before you even got the chance to?”
As both a self-promoter and a hater of self-promotion, I am especially qualified to be the bearer of this awful news. I am also fully cognizant that taking this stand will discourage anyone from posting my Facebook obituary when the time comes. Nevertheless, I would now like to take this opportunity to wish a long and healthy life to all the non-original members of the re-formed Canned Heat.
For those of you who are not already aware, self-promotion is a war. Those of us pushing a new book or CD battle ferociously for precious few seconds of your attention, hoping that our pitch will somehow pique your interest in our passion. We dutifully re-configure our souls for the Facebook wall, then cross our fingers that we’ll strike a magic chord, enticing you to join us on our creative journey. But as in any war, victory cannot be ours unless we know who else lines the battlefield.
Enter the “Food Posters,” those staunch members of the Facebook tribe who need you to know everything they cooked for breakfast, or more puzzling yet, simply what they ate for breakfast. At last count, the FP’s outnumbered novelists by 100,000 to 1, which wouldn’t be so bad if it didn’t beg the question: “Is my novel as good as that French Toast? Sure, I put everything I had into creating deep and complex characters, but look at the way the butter melts into the syrup. It’s mesmerizing. Who am I kidding? There’s no contest here.”
I surrender unequivocally, declaring a TKO for the French Toast. Then, as I proceed to drown in melancholy, I suddenly remember that it is just a picture of French Toast — which has undoubtedly been eaten or is ice-cold by now. Not so my novel. This is a work that will live on in people’s hearts forever! Or at least until lunch, when somebody posts a bitchin’ club sandwich.