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Etc...

There was no e-mail then

"Now and again, a letter that has gone astray surfaces somewhere," a spokesman for Sweden's Post Office acknowledged, "but it is very unusual." Tell that to the staff of the Avallegatan retirement home in Klintehamn, a town on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland, where a postcard was delivered one day late last month. It was addressed to a woman who once worked there by a friend from Finspang - 90 miles away on the mainland - and included a reference to a lottery ticket they had pooled their money to buy. So what, you ask? Well, the friend mailed it in October 1955 ... 50 years ago.

Yes, Martha, there really is a National Tap Dance Day

For holiday-loving Americans, we have arrived at a special time of year, with Veterans Day (Friday) followed in short order by Thanksgiving, and then Christmas - and New Year's Day not far behind. As nationally observed holidays, each of these means time off from work. But if you're just looking for an excuse to celebrate and aren't particular about why, the calendar is filled with designated days honoring this or that product, phenomenon, tradition, or quirk. In fact, the online Kids' Castle newsletter (www.kids castle.si.edu), a production of the Smithsonian Institution, identifies one for practically every day of the year. Break out the party hats and cake, here is a representative sample - one from each month:

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Jan. 9 National Static Electricity Day
Feb. 28 Public Sleeping Day
March 8 Middle Name Pride Day
April 15 Rubber Eraser Day
May 2 Lumpy Rug Day
June 8 National Jelly-Filled Doughnut Day
July 14 Sodbuster Day
Aug. 13 National Left- handers Day
Sept. 10 Sew Be It Day
Oct. 26 National Mule Day
Nov. 3 National Abet and Aid Punsters Day
Dec. 21 Look at the Bright Side Day


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