Let’s Talk Dodgers

With the Dodgers having their best season in terms of wins and losses in more than two decades, there is no shortage in coverage and analysis among columnists and bloggers. Most Dodger blogs have quite a blogroll of other Dodger sites, but with the popularity or availability of sites such as Ustream and Stickam, you just might find yourself curious enough to check out any Dodger coverage on video blogs.

One such video blog, Let’s Talk Dodgers, with co-hosts and brothers, Randy and Lynn, provides their take on Dodger baseball, complete with sound bytes and plenty of baseball banter. They can also be found at Facebook, at Let’s Talk Dodgers Fan Page.

Check out their recent video.

Life Advice From Old People, Mort The Peanut Guy

I found a wonderful entry at Seth Menachem’s blog Life Advice From Old People. Life Advice From Old People, with its charming yet straight forward title, is one of those blogs that we need more of.

Plain and simple.

In a previous entry, He’s My Kinda Guy, I mentioned how much respect and admiration I have for those who interview our senior citizens. In Seth Menachem’s recent entry, he talks with Roger Owens’ long time vending friend, Mort Rose, who is celebrating his 50th anniversary with the Dodgers. He even has a YouTube video of a quick conversation between them.

He Sells Shells

That’s the photo caption from the outstanding Sept. 3, 2009 front page article of the Los Angeles Times Sports section written by Chris Erskine about famed peanut vendor, Roger Owens. Of course, Roger sells more than just shells filled with tasty peanuts, he sells the ballpark experience like no other.

And this vendor known throughout the world, this vendor Erskine calls the “Koufax of vendors” is celebrating his 51st anniversary with the Dodgers, and according to Roger, more than 4,400 games and a guess of 2.5 million bags of peanuts sold. But if you think that’s all there is to this trick-tossing Peanut Man, then check out the article. Then, when you’re done with that, order a copy of Roger’s biography, The Perfect Pitch, a true life story that is highly original, captivating, and fascinating.

And in case you didn’t read it, check out the press release from last year about Roger’s golden anniversary with the Dodgers.

Yes It’s True, Everyone Does Love The Hukilau

Last year was the 60th anniversary of “The Hukilau Song,” written and originally recorded by Jack Owens. As you might already know from this blog, Jack was also Roger Owens’ uncle.

I found some great YouTube videos of kids and grown-ups alike singing this Hawaiian classic.

And then there’s this little virtuoso in training, not singing “The Hukilau Song,” but rather “Mary Had A Yiddle Yam.”

He’s My Kinda Guy

I have respect and admiration for people who work as engineers, computer software programmers, carpenters, and people who have to calculate every last detail or line of code to precision. And of course, I have respect for individuals who help others physically or spiritually or leave things behind to help others.

And I also highly admire both senior citizens and those who interview them, wanting to gleen any wisdom at all from the fields of history and experience. So, it’s no wonder that I completely enjoyed Tony Varela’s Dodger Stadium Blog entry, A Conversation With Dodger Vendor Extraordinaire Ronald E. Nelson.

Tony Varela is a Dodger Stadium employee who gives a unique and entertaining insider’s tale of working at the stadium.

And Ronald Nelson is a fixture of Los Angeles Dodgers baseball ever since opening day of Dodger baseball at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 1958. At 77 years young, he still can be found vending up and down stairs during a Dodger game, ranking him with the likes of legendary Roger Owens in number of years serving the fans of Dodger Blue. While Roger Owens began vending as a 15 year old, Nelson didn’t start until his late twenties, when he was working with the food union in late 1957 and decided he’d rather hit the stairs as a vendor rather than stand around preparing meals in the food stands. Together with Roger Owens, they have over 100 years of combined experience, not to mention other vendors like Richard Aller, who is retired but had 49 years, and Mort Rose, who has at least 45 years of vending experince if not more.

My favorite parts of the interview with Nelson, who by the way sells pizza for night games and frozen lemonade for warm, day games, is his story about George Apkey, and about Wally Moon, and his story of Mickey Mantle’s painting.

Whether as fans you mention Roger Owens or Mort Rose or Richard Aller or Ronald E. Nelson, what makes vendors so interesting is that they are part celebrity, part everyday union worker, a bridge of two worlds that somehow blend so easily on game day.

Thanks, Tony Varela for your insightful interview. You’re my kinda guy.

Obamicons For All

If you haven’t done so already, join the fun and try creating an Obamicon of your own. I’ve been making a few and thought I’d share some of them with you. What do you think??

A few of Roger.

Legendary
legendary

Love Your Job
love your job

Roger
Roger

And some fun and political ones.

Groucho Marx
Marxist

Karl Rove
fat chance

Dick Cheney / Mr. Potter
It’s A Wonderful Lie

America
America

Cookie Monster
me want

And one of California’s Gold, Huell Howser
Huell

Whole Lotto Love At Seal Beach Daily

Yeah that’s true. Seal Beach Daily has given “The Perfect Pitch” and The Peanut Gallery lots of love by giving away a signed copy of “The Perfect Pitch” as part of the blog’s new Book Lotto.

It was an honor to provide them with a signed copy and to be a part of their growing new blog and Book Lotto, not just because it’s about promoting reading and good books, but because Seal Beach means so much to me, having lived there for 10 years.

“The Perfect Pitch” is the second book of their lotto. Their first drawing was for the book, “My California.”

If you love the idea of small beach towns, then visit historic and charming Main St. and take a few photos. Just don’t forget to visit Seal Beach Daily and share your stories and photos, too.

Santa Claus Hiding In Your Phonograph

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking. Sounds kinda like a bad “Christmas With The Burger King” concept album.

Trust me, you’ll thank me for this little present. You can feel free to open it now. Okay, go ahead. Read on.

Well, history and music go hand in hand as you know, even here at The Peanut Gallery, and since Christmas is just a month away, I thought I’d give you an early Christmas gift by letting you know about some great, free music from the 1920′-1950’s that are in the public domain at archive.org

Whether you like blues, pop, swing, folk, or any other type of music from that era, have a look at archive.org and listen to some real gems.

There are too many great ones to highlight, so here are a few you’ll find,

I’m In The Mood For Love - Vera Lynn with the Casini Club Orchestra, from 1935 and her first commercial recording. By the way, she also appeared on the cover of Jack Owens’ first music sheet for “How Soon” in 1944, published in England. She also started her career the same year as Jack.

I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate - Virginians, from 1923. I like the Wingy Malone version better because it has vocals, and especially because it reminds me of Louis Jordan.

The Wreck of the Southern Old 97 - Ernest Thompson, from 1924. You might remember Johnny Cash’s classic version of this song, but have a listen to this early version, complete with an extra first verse not found in other covers.

Jingle Jangle Jingle - Gene Autry, from 1942. As you might have already read on this blog, Jack Owens co-wrote a song with Gene Autry in 1937, along with Jack Lawrence who first put some of the initial words together.

Marie - Mills Brothers and Louis Armstrong, from 1940. This is a beautiful rendition, just a great sound.

So how are you liking your Christmas gift so far?? Not bad for free, huh?? Better than that gift card you’re going to re-gift, don’t ya think?? Okay back to the goodies.

One you’ll be sure to play over and over for your friends is none other than one of Edison’s recordings from 1922, that great little talking number, Santa Claus Hides In Your Phonograph. Ahh yes, what’s better than Old Saint Nick explaining that he can’t come out of the phonograph to greet all you kiddies because he needs a bath first. But of course, silly Santa, what were we thinking. Perhaps that sinister laugh you belly out every few minutes would even make the Burger King run for cover.

So there you go folks. Oh, and as a stocking stuffer, since we know how popular those can be, more of these great songs can be found on internet radio at KBRDradio.com.

Nothing like old songs for the holidays.

Around The Horn

Occasionally, I’ll find some new or interesting things online that mention Roger and figure it’s worth a mention here. So let’s go around the horn with a few sites.

First, americannonfiction.com has an article by Charles Spencer, who gives a tribute to the month of October. Of course baseball has the World Series in October, and with the Dodgers doing so well this year, he focuses on who else, but Roger Owens, the Famous Peanut Man . In fact, Spencer writes,

“But do you know who’s happier than the Dodgers or the Phillies as they gear up for the NLCS series? No, not Torre…not Charlie…it’s “The Peanut Man”, Roger Owens! He’s guaranteed to be in sold-out business for at least a few more games, and as both the ultimate Dodger fan and a bonafide Indy tycoon, he is surely loving every minute of it. You don’t know the Peanut Man? Jeez, you might as well also be unacquainted with the Great Pumpkin or the Green Monster…you obviously are not an October person.”

For the entire article, read here.

Second, consider a handy site named wiseguidesonline.com that has a wealth of helpful information and reviews for stadium after stadium, from college to pro sports. Under one section of the Dodger Stadium wise guide, Experience The Park, the article points out that even Juan Pierre is no match for the peanut-launching canon of the Loge Level, even at twice his age.

And last, is a business blog entry by Joel Block, who details how someone like Roger has accomplished so much by concentrating on a specific audience.

Go Ahead And Go Nuts, Yearbook Yourself All You Want

I’ve been having too much fun with yearbookyourself.com, a site that lets you upload photos of yourself into some of the worst dressed yearbook photos of the last 50 years. And while you won’t find any of Roger on here, you can find him at MySpace and at Facebook, and on a growing number of videos on YouTube.

For his official page at MySpace, click here, and for his official page at Facebook, click here.

And thanks to Jon Weisman, of Dodger Thoughts, you can watch part of Roger’s career-making appearance on “The Tonight Show” in 1976.