Thursday, February 7, 2008
In David Michaelis' brick-sized biography of Charles Schulz, Schulz and Peanuts, Michaelis notes dramatically that young Sparky Schulz, growing up in Saint Paul, Minnesota, would frequently have to venture out on his own in arctic weather: "For Sparky on the way to school, thirty degrees below zero, with a whip-like wind making it feel another twenty degrees colder, was an 'ordinary' temperature."
Thirty below! I grew up in Chicagoland, which gets plenty cold in the winter but never once, as I recall, hit thirty below, much less on an "ordinary" basis. Not Saint Paul either, apparently: According to this site, the record low in Saint Paul is only 32 below zero, and that was set in 1996. The average low temperature in January is a tolerable six degrees above zero. (As I type this, it's a balmy 18 degrees in Saint Paul.)
Schulz and Peanuts is just jam-packed with facts, most of which I can't check on the Internet. (The absolutely perfect jacket design, by the way, is by Chip Kidd.) I'm just afraid that Michaelis will soon tell me that Charlie Brown was named after a wide receiver for the Redskins.