Sunday, October 17, 2010



Green Hills Market, an indie grocery on the south side of Syracuse, have adopted the Alpha Troop 1st Platoon 1-71 of 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum who are deployed in Afghanistan and need items that are easily found back in the West. I saw a brochure at Imagine That in Skaneateles and was intrigued. I could buy a few things that only cost a few dollars here. I started with Best Buy brand snack crackers (compare to Wheat Thins), but there's a whole plethora to choose from:

Wet Wipes

Hand Sanitizer

Canned Goods

Soup Mix

Sunflower Seeds


Air Fresheners

Stress Relief Balls

Notepads of Paper

Word Puzzles/Crosswords



Microwave-safe plates (i.e. Chinet)

Altoids or other mints


Jelly beans

Crispy rice treats (pre-made)

Video games for Sony PlayStation

Chewing Gum

Hard Candy


Squeeze Spread

Tinned Sardines

Spices, Salt & Pepper

Microwave Popcorn

Macaroni cheese

Beef Jerky


Hot Cocoa





Razors for Shaving and Cream


Icy Hot patches

Foot Powder

Eye Drops

Paper Plates/Cups

Little Debbies

Inflatable Seat Cushions

Body Powder

Disposable Cameras

Snack Mixes

Music CDs (also see my other blog)


Playing Cards



Pasta and Sauce

Smoked Oysters


Ramen Noodles

Cereal Bars

Sewing Kit

Microwave Pasta that doesn't need to be refrigerated (Nutri-System has some)

Disposable Shower Towels

Gatorade or Kool-Aid powder

Powder Laundry Detergent and Color-Safe Bleach (Liquid is a risk en route)

Condiments in Plastic or Single Packs

Cigarettes/Tobacco (used to barter)

Plastic Knives/Forks/Spoons

Air-Activated Heat Wraps for Sore Muscles

Canned Air to Blow Dust out of Electronics

AT&T or other Long Distance Phone Cards


What not to send:


Anything in Glass


Chocolate (it melts)

You can also donate money for S&H. I doubt this can be written off your taxes due to the open nature of this appeal. Any money left goes to the families or more things.

Donation Centers:

Green Hills Market, Syracuse/Nedrow

Onondaga Free Library, Onondaga Hill

Bob's True Value

Key Bank, NY 173, OH

Purcell's Paints

Imagine That, Skaneateles

Betts Branch Library

Meachem Elementary School

Curves, Green Hills Plaza

Encore Video, Tully

Greeley's Auto


M&T Bank, Green Hills Plaza

Some items can be mailed to me if you're outside Onondaga County in Upstate NY. Address by request only.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Gananoque, ONT

OLG Casino

Sorry for the latest delay, but I haven't had anything new to put up for a while, so this time, I decided to go across the 49th parallel to Gananoque, ONT, Canada, where I'm going to the casino shown above. What gets to me is the limited retail. Should it be like Skaneateles back near me, or should it be more like the suburbs? Gananoque is a suburb of Kingston, ONT, yet it's not like Vancouver or Montréal. Gananoque is a seaside tourist town, which goes into dormancy during the winter like Alexandria Bay a boat ride away.
While Gan has Metro, Shoppers Drug Mart, a flea market, a variety store, McDonalds, BMO, Dairy Queen, and some indie eateries, the town is lacking big box and chain retail such as Walmart, Dollarama, Mr Sub, HBC, Future Shop, HMV, and other retailers typical in larger areas. Another thing lacking is enough public transport. This seems like the kind of place where you have to know how to drive to get to Kingston and Cataraqui. There's a VIA Railway station, or you can take a cab. What do the local over-60s without cars do? The ones on my side of the Great Lakes Seaway are coming into town on a chartered bus and I'm coming with them!
All of Canada deal with the winter when it's there, and there's more happening in the big cities and suburban Québec (skiing and a winter festival) than at the seaside. There must not be enough incentive for development. Maybe it's better that Gan stays small. Maybe the casino is better off small as it doesn't have to be Vegas or Atlantic City. Also, everything's within a 5 kilometre radius. The point I'm trying to make is that I'm on the fence whether Gan is fine the way it is or could use gentrification. Then again, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.