It’s a palindromic number, which recommends it to me from the get-go.  It’s also a prime number, although I checked with Google before pronouncing it so, my mental multiplication tables perhaps not being quite what they used to be.

I know about palindromes and primes.  However, with 149, it’s also a member of a pair of twin primes.  I did not know about twin primes.

It’s also other mathematical things that I did not know about, and still pretty much don’t even after reading the explanations:

Not sure how the sieves play in all this.


It’s the number of a short Psalm that Emperor Haille Selassie read aloud in his first address to his Council of State, although I’m pretty sure no one has ever read it aloud to me.

It’s the number of a bawdy Shakespearean sonnet that I’m 151% sure we didn’t study in high school.


It was a designator of several US Navy ships during WW II: transport, destroyer, tug, minesweeper, destroyer escort, and a Trefoil-class concrete barge.

I did not know that there were classes of concrete barges.


It’s the title of a handful of songs I’ve never heard, by bands likewise: Slick Shoes, Steve Hackett, Kult, Armando, Jedi Mind Tricks.

It’s a song I’ve never heard of by one band that does seem sort of familiar – R.E.M. – at least with this offering.


It’s a number with a handful of other associations:

  • a road in Malaysia and one in England
  • a PanAm flight that crashed the year before I was born
  • the total number of Pokémon in the original set
  • the proof number of Bacardi 151
  • a record winning streak by a high school football team


And this year, in a one-time-only good deal, it’s Canada’s age.  With this number, I’d say we’re in good company: diverse, interesting, and somewhat odd company.

Kinda like Canadians ourselves.

No matter your nationality, I hope you’ll join me in celebrating with all the energy that 151 clearly deserves.

Canada Day celebrator with flag and sieve.
Still not entirely clear on the role of the sieve . . . but game.



  1. Jim Taylor

    “Sieve” is one of those words that I often manage to misspell. I know, “i” before “e” and all that stuff, but it never looks right. Along with “niece” and a few other non-“ie” words. But you look good in it anyway.

    Jim T

    1. Isabel Gibson

      Barbara – hahaha But seriously, folks, tin-foil hats are for protecting against intrusive telepathy or mind-control tricks. Mine is to provide the sieve needed for a lucky number. Completely different and entirely reasonable.

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