Growth at All Costs

Highlights from Hair Balls

Surreal Estate

For several years, complaints raged around the development of a Walmart near the corner of Yale and I-10. Certainly there was some degree of "Walmart sucks and we don't want it in our neighborhood" frustration, but chief among the legitimate concerns was what would happen to traffic at that intersection and the one immediately adjacent to it, Heights and I-10. If you have driven in that area since Walmart and all the corresponding shops have opened, you know the whole area is a traffic cluster-you-know-what, made worse by the fact that trains still halt traffic, sometimes at rush hour, along Heights Boulevard.

Add to this the exponential growth throughout the historic neighborhood over the past five years, and the worries of residents seem justified. Now comes word that developer Trammell Crow is adding to plans already in place to build a massive apartment complex on Yale just six blocks north of I-10. One complex at Yale and 7th — right near where the hike-and-bike trail crosses Yale with no signal, it should be noted — is under way, and now they want a second just a block south at Yale and 6th.

As you might imagine, folks in the Heights are not thrilled.

A story in The Leader detailed many of the concerns and what was being done to address them, which is essentially nothing:

"'Horror, shock and disbelief' are among the reactions of neighborhood residents, said Roxanne Davis, a founding member of the neighborhood advocacy group West Heights Coalition.

"A second apartment complex would likely compound any traffic, safety and density concerns the neighborhood had with the first one, she said. WHC had, for example, estimated ­Alexan Heights's 361 units would generate 500 cars following roughly the same peak commuter hours and southbound destination: I-10."

I lived in the Heights for more than 15 years, and there were always concerns about development encroaching on the historic neighborhood. For the most part, areas deep inside the neighborhood have been spared, but portions along the major throughways — Yale, Studewood and Shepherd — are starting to show signs of economic expansion, with apartments planned at Studewood and 14th, for example.

With no zoning laws on the books, developers are free to do pretty much whatever they like regardless of how it affects the neighborhood. It's ironic considering that when I moved in back in the mid-90s, people considered large sections of the Heights to be dangerous. There were gang fights at Love Park, just a block from where I lived.

As gentrification has set in, commercial enterprises have made their move as well, dropping expensive homes onto lots far too small to support them, just like what happened in West U, the Montrose, the Washington Corridor and other Inner Loop neighborhoods.

Game Time

Bringing Shame
Mark May self-righteously tells off Johnny Manziel, has difficulty remembering his own early years.

Sean Pendergast

Let me preface this post by saying that I don't know Johnny Manziel personally, but from what I know of him, I like Johnny Manziel.

I know the same things about Johnny Manziel that most of you know. I know everything that he tweets, Vines and puts up on Instagram. I know the secondhand accounts that people who come within 100 yards of him tweet, Vine and put up on Instagram.

That's about it.

I know more about Johnny Manziel than I ever would have known if he had played college football as recently as five years ago, and from what I know, I definitely think 20-year-old Sean would have liked 20-year-old Johnny.

So the carousing, the boozing, the pro player jock-sniffing, the pooning, the drunken "woe is me" tweeting, I have no problem with these things. These are all things I did or probably would have done at age 20 if I'd had access to them. Most of us would have. And for that, I not only don't begrudge, but I like Johnny Manziel.

Deep down, I, we, a lot of us at least, are probably jealous of him.

Now, if Johnny wants to damage his draft stock in the process by getting sent home from the Manning Passing Academy, that's his business. I was 20 once, and trust me, 20-year-old Sean preaching at 20-year-old Johnny would be hypocritical at best.

Mark May, apparently, doesn't see this the same way as I do.

The former Outland Trophy winner at Pitt and former offensive lineman for the Washington Redskins, now turned oft-mocked, lazy narrative-spewing screamer for ESPN's college football coverage, is not a fan of Johnny Manziel. He intimated as much in a July 15 tweet after Manziel's latest booze-fueled foibles in Thibodeaux over the weekend:

Wow, what a preachy cock.

Many of us sit back and assess what Johnny's actions mean to his future, and that's completely fair. Assessing is completely fair.

Within the context of A&M's upcoming season or the draft next April, how Johnny's off-season, his addiction to social media and his love for mixed drinks affect those things is a reasonable blog or sports radio topic, no different from his 40 time or his ability to read a disguised blitz. They are all baked into the "Johnny Football" profile, his profile as a player and as a leader.

Of course, May, a voice of reason to an audience of one (and that only when he's gazing longingly at his lips moving in the mirror), can't stop there. No, May is judge, jury and apparently the head of the "wake-up call" committee, and he deemed from on high that it was time to bring the nukes. Yep, he brought ALL CAPS on Twitter!


My rendition of May in the previous sentence is clearly a paraphrase as it is bereft of mangled sentence structure and includes proper punctuation (and by "proper," I mean "any").

But wait, there's more!

After May's over-moralizing scud detonated somewhere in the middle of the drool on his QWERTY keyboard, he learns the hard way that shenanigans that happened before the Internet age actually continue to exist in record on the Internet.

Whoa, mind blown...huh, May Day?

Come to find out that May knows a little something about BRINGING SHAME TO THE GAME!! He also knows a little something about inciting a riot, making terroristic threats, criminal mischief, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. As it turns out, in a January 1979 incident, when he was the same age Manziel is right now, May was picked up for all those things as a sophomore at Pitt. (Well, that is to say, he was picked up for them once the cops were able to drag him off the hood of whichever car he had climbed atop and was stomping on at the time.)

As it turns out, May Day stockpiled more charges in one arrest than Manziel has in his entire life. Easily.

But wait, there's more!

Apparently, the age at which said "wake-up calls" were doled out differed drastically in the '80s from today, because how else could you explain a right-thinking bastion of RESPECT FOR THE GAME like Mark May picking up not one but two DUIs as a member of the Washington Redskins?

Inciting a riot, resisting arrest, threats, multiple DUIs for the guy who thinks that Johnny Manziel's hangover at the Manning Passing Academy is going to somehow sully the game of football.

That's rich.

If the NFL Retired Players Association is looking for any more lock cinch test cases for detrimental concussion effects to bolster their case against the NFL, may I suggest they send a doctor over to Bristol, Connecticut, around the last week of August?

Eventually, word got back to May that despite its rise to prominence in the early '90s, the Internet actually is home to information from before 1993, and he was forced to respond to the deluge of tweets from Aggies and lucid thinkers everywhere about his multiple arrests. Here's what we got:

"Thats why I can critique experience"

Those six simple words pretty much sum up perfectly why Mark May is the worst. The worst analyst, the worst wordsmith, the worst punctuator, the worst kind of judgmental soul allowed a voice on a platform that matters.

He doesn't preface his Manziel judgment with "As someone who got into some trouble when I was his age and regrets it," which would have been acceptable, not to mention accountable. Instead, May sits down at his keyboard; loads his Twitter bullet chamber; puts on his self-awarded, fictitious "King of Moral Code"; crown; consults with his "SHAME TO THE GAME" committee of one (himself); and determines that Johnny Manziel must heed his cry.

Johnny Manziel, you are bad, because I, Mark May, dipshit with a microphone and four hours of air time on autumn weekends, deem it so.

And then May is exposed, exposed for the self-righteous prick that he is.

And then, backed into a corner, he realizes in a cold sweat that he is in the mouth-breathing 2 percent of Internet users who forgot you could pull old articles from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 1979.

And then May goes all "Mark May," retrofitting his sanctimonious ALL CAPS bullshit tweet into some sort of 140-character instructional sermon based on "his own personal experience."

So in one fell swoop, May went from espousing that Manziel can't get in any more trouble to May's own trouble being the cover charge that actually allows him to preach to Manziel. This constitutes "logic" in May's warped little corner of the college football world. It's pretty disgusting.

Mark May, you are the height of hypocrisy, the epitome of stupidity and the laziest kind of contrarian television screamer.

Seriously, and I think I speak on behalf of my Aggie friends and television viewers with an IQ over 80 everywhere...fuck you, Mark May.

(Oh, and see that thing separating "fuck you" and your name, Mark? That's a comma. You might want to learn how to use those. Stop bringing shame to the literacy game.)


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