This archive contains April 1997 postings to the 47 Society mailing list.

Headers have been edited to conserve space.
Messages are arranged by date, with the most recent at the bottom.

Date: Wed, 2 Apr 1997 15:27:43 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Psi Upsion Epsilon Iota 47s

[here's some good ones--just in time for 4/7]

My fraternity (Psi Upsion at Rensselaer Polytechnique Institute in Troy,
NY (Epsilon Iota chapter)) is crzy about the number 47.  I don't really
know why.  Here are some I didn't see in your mail archive...

47 sailors died in a gun turret explosion on the battleship Iowa.  (This
was a number of years ago).

Chuck Toedan got 47 death threats a week in the movie "Deathrow

Silver is atomic number 47.

The international calling prefix for Norway is 47. 

Titanium is the only element with a naturally occuring isotope with an
atomic weight of 47.

Arron Burr killed Hamilton when Hamilton was 47 years old.

Katmai National Park has roughly 4700 brown bears.

Also known as Theodore Geisel, Dr. Seuss published 47 books in his life

A cubic foot of human flesh weighs approximately 47 pounds.

Of the books sold in the United States, 47% are romance novels.

Keep up the 47 collecting...

[submitted by]
David Manthey

Date: Wed, 2 Apr 1997 15:42:23 -0800 (PST)
Subject: the tao of the dow 47

When I walked by a downtown Dow Jones reader board this morning on the way
to work, the market was down 47.94 points.

[submitted by]
Peter Samson

[and this one]

I had dinner with two fellow Sagehens, Peter Joe and Matthew Haines, both
Class of 93, and as I got into the car to leave, the trip meter in my car
read 471.1, and my odometer read 4774!

[submitted by]
Roger Lai [Pomona College]'94 

Date: Wed, 2 Apr 1997 15:49:27 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 4/7 

Hi everyone,

List curator Levine here.  Another year has come and gone and 4/7 is upon
us again.  This year, I'd like to begin a ritual we used to do at our 4/7
parties.  It is simple.  Everyone tells the story of their favorite 47
from the last year.  In this virtual world we're inhabiting, send me your
stories and I'll publish them (via email) on 4/7.

OK.  So:
Send your favorite 47 of the last year to:
Do this by 4/6 so I can send out the digest on 4/7!

Your host,
Eric Levine

Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 10:02:17 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Happy 4/7 

[Hello and happy 4/7 to you all.
Here are your favorite 47 stories of last year:]

Fellow seer of 47 (and what else?)

I just got back from a hiking trip in Nevada. I'd never been
to this area before, a friend picked it. It was off highway 447,
we got there at 2:47PM, and the truck mileage ended in 47.
A similar thing happened last year in Southern California,
I got to highway 147 (or something ending in 47) at 1:47AM
and the temperature was 47F.

steve southam, Los Gatos California


I'd have to say my favorite 47 of the year came during a trip to San
Francisco.  On the drive up, the SO did his best to debunk the power of 47,
attributing my repeated sightings of same to selective memory, etcetera.
Of course, when we got out of the car at Golden Gate Park, the first people
we saw had a small child who was wearing a sweatshirt with "Old Navy 47" on
it in very large letters.  Chalk one up for the power of 47, all...

-Michaela (schlock) 


my boyfriend (who is still a skeptic, but i'll wear him down) was born at
7:47 am.

also, black 47's album, "home of the brave" has 47 tracks.  only 20 or so
of them are actual songs as far as the cd tells you, but the last one
(#47) is one of those hidden songs :)

one more: the people who organize study breaks in my residence hall chose
9:47 on tuesdays.  when i asked why, they said they picked it because it
seemed random.



This year, after a lifetime of seeing more than my share of 47s
everywhere I turn, I sent a friend an idle question about why there
are so many 47s in Trek, and she sent me to a website where I found
an entire SOCIETY of 47-lovers! I couldn't believe it. Thanks, Eric,
for providing this bizarre service.

Tracy Thomas

[you're welcome tracy]

My first 47:

It was brisk, clear fall Seattle day about 4 years ago when Joel decided
to tell me the story of 47 as known to him. I was up visiting from
Berkeley and had gone to high school and college with Joel back east. We
went way back - yet somehow he'd never told me this story.

When Joel tell the story he gets real serious - like, more serious than
about anything else. Sure, we'd been into UFO conspiracy stuff,
goverment cover ups, for years - but this was about THE number. This is
how it began.

(I will do my best to recount the tale - but will surely screw up some
minor detail.)

Joel's friend Karl had a roommate in college. One night - after
partying, in the middle of the night - the roommate wakes up screaming.
A cold sweat running all across his pale body. He was screaming the
number 47. He described the dream as a dream of fire. He remembered few 
details about the dream. Few except the horror, except the fire, except
the book, except the page 47.

This number was emblazoned into his psyche from the dream. He told the
story to his roommate Karl, who in turn told it to select others.

So Joel tells me this story, and several others involving the number 47.
I'm like - whatever dude - weird coincidence - get over it. Lets go get
some food. Joel seemed used to my initial reaction. He didn't say it -
but it was almost like he was saying, through one of his custom shitass
grins, "You'll see, just wait."

So we go out, and we actually meet up with Karl, now living in Seattle.
We go down to Pike's Market down on the Pier and we're walking around.
This is about 45 minutes after Joel has told me the story (fuck - if I
could of clocked it was probably 47!). This old Indian homeless guy is
all of a sudden in front of us. We all notice him - just cause he kinda
sticks out. He starts walking right at us. He slumbers up, lifts his
weather beaten face and says, "Can you kids spare 47 cents?"

Well, at this point it gets hazy for me. I remember it like in the shot
in Jaws when Chief Brody is on the beach when the first shark attack
begins. The world sort of became tunnel vision for a second and zoomed
in on my brain.

I stood still while Joel and Karl giggled and chased the guy who had
just kept walking past us after he asked. I stood there a little numb
contemplating the meaning of what had happenned. I think I still am ....

I think they asked the Indian guy why he asked for 47 cents and he had
no idea? "Why not?" was his response I think.

Since then I've had so many classic 47's its overwhelming. Always the
skeptic - I think I looked for another number for almost a year, 39.
Sure I saw it every now and then - but not nearly as much - and NEVER as

-Mike Levine

[and finally]

It's hard to pick a favorite 47 after crossing the country three times in
three months (yes, I had a blast) and seeing an inordinate number of 47s
along the way - license plates, truck numbers, phone numbers, mile markers
(hee hee)...

I think if I have to pick a favorite, it must be when my car mileage hit
74747 while driving through Texas on the way from Miami, FL to Phoenix, AZ
(my new home).

- Banai Lynn Feldstein

[thanks for a great year everybody!  keep sending me your 47s as you find 
them.  from your homebase at, this is eric levine 
signing off.]

Date: Tue, 8 Apr 1997 08:25:49 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: testy 47

Hi all!  I just got back a test which I got a 47 on.  Yeah, it's obviously
not great, but the prof said that everyone did about the same, so I should
be OK.  Just another 47 sighting...

[submitted by]
-- James Marshall 

Date: Wed, 9 Apr 1997 15:55:14 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: ref 47

In the film "The Ref" with Dennis Leary, the dim-witted volunteer policemen 
are trying to figure out how to work the remote control for the VCR.  One of 
them accidently hits fast-forward, and the next changes the channel to... yep,
channel 47... They don't say it, but *the* number appears in the corner of 
the television screen.

Submitted: E. F.
           Grinnell College

Date: Thu, 10 Apr 1997 13:32:08 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: bunkers and bagels

>From Micaela di Leonardo's "Habits of the Cumbered Heart: Ethnic Community 
and Women's Culture as American Invented Traditions":

"As Barbara Mikulski of Baltimore points out, the white ethnic woman in 
America is not a dingbat, however warm and humanistic may be the character of 
Edith Bunker, nor is she limited to 'tacky clothes,' 'plastic flowers', 'True 
Confessions,' and an 'IQ of 47.'"


A bagel at the Grinnell College Forum Grill costs... 47 cents.

Submitted: E. F.
           Grinnell College

Date: Fri, 11 Apr 1997 15:04:55 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 47, Spinal Tap, Trek and Me

Wow! I can't believe I found you guys. For most of my life, 47 has been
my special, magic, lucky number.  It started in summer camp when I was
about 7 or 8.  47 was just a number I was assigned to charge expenses at
the snack store. I had that number every single year at camp, my
counselors started calling me "47", I've had an unshakable affinity for
that number ever since, and it seems to follow me around and appear at
moments of great significance.  

I happened to find this website because my sister-in-law was looking at
something about Christopher Guest.  I am going to read your whole web
site right now.  Thanks for being there.

(BTW, wrote that Spinal Tap was his/her "favorite
fake band".  Fake no more.  Spinal Tap IS a real band.  I saw them
several years ago at the Warfield in San Francisco and they kicked some
butt.  My band, the Blood Sisters, covers All the Way Home and Tonight
I'm Gonna Rock Ya.)


[submitted by]

Laura Norvig

Date: Mon, 14 Apr 1997 11:40:15 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: asst'd 47s

Greetings, may be found all manner of 47-related things that I
have run across lately (not including the latest in Trek 47s, located as
always on my site).

In class last week we watched the first fifteen minutes of *The Big Sleep*
in which Humphrey Bogart tells Lauren Bacall he learned something "on page
47 of 'How To Be A Detective'..."

In class yesterday at some point, the prof discussed how a certain number
of consonants and a certain number of vowels would give you a certain
number of possible sound combinations.  He said that with more consonants
than he used in his example (his example being seven consonants and three
vowels), you could have even more than just 147 combinations...

My eternally-doubting SO opened his electronic planner the other day just
as we were having yet another little teasing session about 47 to see what
time it was, and of course it was 11:47...

I bought him a spatula for Valentine's Day (not-so-long, but weird story;
rent UHF if you're curious) which cost me $6.47...

Yesterday he and I were driving with my roommate to Tower Records.  Along
the way she got bored in the backseat and started looking through some maps
that were there.  We decided she was trying to escape to Mexico, so we told
her she was not allowed to go to Mexico to get married any longer because
what was she going to do with the other--

"Four," I said;
"Seven," he said--

husbands she already had?  (We said this at the exact same time.  It was

And while we were buying things at Tower I realized I had not been charged
$47, but the cashier to my immediate right told someone their total of
$19.47 just as the thought entered my mind...

[submitted by]
As always,
Michaela (schlock)


There were two 47s on Fox this Sunday night (4/13).  On "King of the
Lou Ann looked at her watch and yelled, "HURRY UP!  WE ONLY HAVE 47 HOURS
TILL YOUR PARENTS COME HOME!"  And then, on "The X-Files," the number on
hotel room door was 47.

[Submitted by] E. F.

Date: Tue, 15 Apr 1997 12:41:17 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: arts and schemes 47

>From my Computer Science textbook:

"Consider the following expression that evaluates to 47:
                     (+ 3 (* 4 (+ 5 6)))

The expression is evaluated using the following scheme.  First, add 5 and 6 
and get 11.  Next multiply 11 by 4, yielding 44, and then increase that 
result by 3.  Now, what is the context of (+ 5 6) in that expression?  We 
must find a procedure that, if passed the value 11, will produce 47."

--Page 516, "Scheme and the Art of Programming"

[Submitted by]
E. F.

Date: Thu, 17 Apr 1997 09:10:02 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: breakdowns and bad bills

[are these things connected?]

Is it any coincidence that my 1981 Rabbit just broke a fan belt at an
odometer reading of 114747?  I've had the car three years, and driven
it about 45,000 miles (47,000 coming up soon), and it's only broken
down twice.  I didn't notice the odometer reading the first time.

[submitted by]
-Steve Kass, Pomona College '77


Measure 47 - The Impact on City of Eugene Services
[submitted by]
Joel S. Bachar

Date: Fri, 18 Apr 1997 14:33:01 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: hey jack kerouac!

Jack Kerouac died at 47. Have a good day.

[submitted by]
scott noegel and joel bachar

Date: Tue, 22 Apr 1997 08:29:53 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: fish, cruise, and gin

[no, we're not talking about card games...]

Just a few more sightings from the front...

Yesterday night (uhh...morning) I was lying in bed half-asleep and decided
(after not looking at the clock for about an hour) to find out what time it
was.  Of course, it was 2:47.  This seems to be a point against the theory
that as it gets later in the hour, you tend to look at the clock more, and
hence see 47s more often.  I think it's just the way the world works...

Has anyone else out there been playing the (rather addictive) game from
Ambrosia Software called Bubble Trouble? (aka, The Fish Game?)  I've been
playing with an aim to getting a score onto their high scores contest.  My
current high score is: 728,247.

Incidentally, Ambrosia Software's Compuserve address is 74777,1147...

[submitted by]



In the film "Mission: Impossible," Tom Cruise accesses the Impossible
Mission Force's disavowed list.  When this list of names and addresses
appears on the movie screen, in the very center is the address "47
Overbroad St."

[Submitted by]
E. F.


Bombay Sapphire Gin is 47% alcohol by volume.  Cheers!

[submitted by]
Keld Bangsberg

Editor's Note: This is where the list became available as a digest.

47-l-digest           Thursday, May 1 1997           Volume 01 : Number 001


Date: Thu, 24 Apr 1997 14:32:34 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: odd mechanics of 47

[here's some interesting information]

Semanticist-psychologist types do typicality grids--things like "rank
these birds from most typical to least typical."  Most people see robins and
sparrows as typical, penguins and hummingbirds as less so.

Ten or more years ago I read a similar study about the oddness of numbers.
A researcher asked people which number  are "oddest" when all given
numbers are odd.  The number 5 may be officially an odd number--even a
prime number--but it doesn't feel so odd because it is used so much.

Of all the numbers from 1 to 100, the one with the "oddest" feel to it
was--you guessed it--47.

I'm suprised not to see reference to this study on your page.  If I could
remember the citation I'd give it to you, but I can't.

[submitted by]
C. Andrews-Beck

[and these two items]

This afternoon in my dynamics class we were dicussing some stuff about
relativity and how, by setting certain constants to one, you can make
mass and distance have the same units.  With this choice, when you
calculate the mass of the Sun, it turns out to be 1.47 km.
I just noticed that on the machine I'm currently working at, if I go into
the "pico" editor and accidentally hit the Insert key, "47z" shows up on
the screen.  First time I've noticed that.

[submitted by]
James Marshall


When Microsoft Excel 7.0 is first loaded, a splash screen is
displayed for a few seconds.  The logo next to the name has
several symbols in it including numbers.  The two most
prominent numbers are 4 and 7.

[submitted by]
Jeff Ross


Date: Tue, 29 Apr 1997 09:07:22 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Billie and Scary Mark

[as usual, two "unrelated" incidents:]


82 years ago today (April 7, 1915) Eleanor Gough was born in
Baltimore, Maryland. Taking the nom de voice Billie Holiday,
she would change the sound of jazz singing forever. Lady Day
was posthumously given a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in
1987 and three of her recordings -- the 1939 recording of
"Strange Fruit," the 1941 recording of "God Bless The Child,"
and the 1945 recording of "Love Man (Oh, Where Can You Be?)" --
earned Grammy Hall of Fame Awards. The 1972 film, "Lady Sings
The Blues," was based on her life and starred Diana Ross as the
fabled Lady Day.

[submitted by]


This may sound strange, but I am a huge Star Trek fan, and I just read
some of your info, noticing that my home phone number is
My new Star Trek website is not yet up and running, but it is

[submitted by]
Mark Harris


Date: Tue, 29 Apr 1997 09:30:02 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Flood

The estimated number of people evacuated from their homes in Grand Forks,
North Dakota, during the recent flooding of the Red River: 47,000.

[submitted by]
Uncle Peter Samson


Date: Wed, 30 Apr 1997 17:39:37 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Grateful Seeker 

I was so happy to come across the 47 society.  My friends and I at
school have been noticing the same strange 47 occurances.  It started
at  a audition for the musical Hello Dolly.  There is a quote "...waist
47."  Ever since then we've noticed all sorts of different 47's.  And 47
has become what we are known for.  We shout "47" whenever we see it.
Just one example, there are 47 minutes in each class at Robbinsdale
Cooper High School in New Hope, Minnesota.  I learned about the 47
society from a friend of mine who is looking into Pamona, she showed me
page 47 in her Pamona book and to my surprise someone else loves the
number 47.  Thanks for starting a great society.

[submitted by] 
Corey Anderson


End of 47-l-digest V1 #1

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