Boner Awards 2005 

The Scene honors the year’s worst, wildest and weirdest newsmakers

Every December, as we have for the past 17 years, we look back on the past 12 months and think, “It wasn’t really that bad a year, was it?” We drift off to sleep, secure in the knowledge that crime is down, civility rules and our public officials are hard at work protecting the common good.
The Family That Plays Together, Stays Together. In May, an East Nashville woman was indicted for contributing to the delinquency of a minor after she hired a stripper for her son’s 16th birthday party. “I tried to do something special for my son,” said Anette Pharris, 34, who described the charge against her as “a bunch of bull.” Police said that about 10 of the 30 guests at the party were under 18. Cassandra Joyce Park, who uses the stage name “Sassy,” danced for a few hours before the revelers took up a collection and gave her $150 to disrobe completely. Police might never have known about the incident had not Pharris taken pictures and attempted to have them developed at a nearby drugstore. “It didn’t harm [my son],” Pharris said. “We even had Grandpa there.” What Comes in Nashville, Stays in Nashville. It sounds about as erotic as a Tennessee Pride sausage-eating contest, but some 249 men ages 21 to 62 showed up in April at the Nashville Social Club (“For Throbbing Members Only”) for the filming of The World’s Largest Blow Bang. Promising “249 blowjobs…249 cumshots…14 hours…1 woman,” the video went for the adult film industry’s version of Olympic gold, as Sevierville adult actress Summer Nyte attempted to consume roughly a cement mixer’s worth of semen. Asked why shoot (ahem) in Music City, Nyte’s husband and co-producer, truck driver David Moore, told The Tennessean that “Nashville is a nice city.” When Snitch Meets Snatch. It’s good to be a confidential informant in Nashville. That’s because, as the Scene uncovered this year, Metro police were routinely paying CIs not just to exchange money for promises of sex, but to go ahead and complete the sex acts themselves—all part of full-service, taxpayer-financed undercover police investigations. Yes, the local vice squad was paying CIs to have three-way sex in seedy local hotels—that is, until the district attorney’s office put a stop to the sloppy police practice. “You won’t be seeing three-ways on tape anymore,” said assistant DA Tammy Meade, after what surely qualifies as the most unintentionally funny quote of the year: “This is the case that brought things to a head.” Bet They Felt a Backdraft. For some reason, this story was picked up by gay bloggers across the country. Nineteen Memphis firefighters received official reprimands for wearing department equipment without permission while performing “unbecoming” acts at a racy fashion show benefit. Investigators said a videotape showed nearly nude men who appeared to wear only soap suds onstage. Others swung badges or wore firemen’s pants, and two held women whose legs were wrapped around their waists. Only those who visibly wore department regalia got punished; the suds-clad firemen were apparently not reprimanded. Guess they brought their own hoses. Yours, Mine & Boners The “Yours, Mine & Boners” award for creative parenting celebrates those moms and dads who go the extra mile to shape young minds during those crucial formative years, thus ensuring a healthy future for the therapy and corrections industries. And the nominees:

• Alyson Brooks, 37, whose Madison home caught fire in February after her three sons, aged 6 to 12, had been left alone in the house. Brooks would have been there, but she was busy at the time getting arrested for drunk driving with her 4-year-old girl in the car. • Kecia Garrett, 34, who gave her 2-year-old son an early “Follow Mommy to Work” day in March by taking him along with her grown-up junkie accomplices on the latest of their string of shotgun robberies. Getaway driver Garrett was the only one with a driver’s license, which led Chief Ronal Serpas to deadpan, “At least she followed one law.” • Lawanda Goodner, 22, whose twin 19-month-old girls were found in a closet by exterminators looking for bugs. Goodner, who has a history with the Department of Child Services, said only that she had to leave the infants at home while she went out with her three other kids. Lucky them. • Hansel “Wade” Jones Jr., 27, who was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years’ probation for a 2003 incident in which he falsely told his boss that his 9-year-old stepdaughter had been killed in a Memphis car accident. Jones said he regretted taking the $1,118 his boss collected from co-workers, but not so much that he didn’t come back later and ask for $1,200 in funeral expenses.

And the Boner goes to...

• Daniel Christian Wade, who was pulled over on a traffic stop in Murfreesboro last May with a surprise for the police: his 2-year-old son in the backseat, waving a 9 mm handgun. Wade, who was found with marijuana and a murder suspect in the car, apparently took the toddler with him on a drug buy. There’s always a good explanation.

The Boner V.I.P. Room Try not to trip over the velvet rope as we look back on a year of celebrity quirks and missteps. And the Light Was Red and Flashing. Showing the kind of self-preservation instincts you’d expect from someone who appeared in Joe Dirt, rebel rapper Kid Rock made national headlines in February when he decked a DJ, Jeremy Campos, in an early-morning altercation at the strip club Christie’s Cabaret. Because he’d been drinking, he later explained, he ducked police officers at another club and dashed across town in his Corvette. He ended up with a misdemeanor assault charge and a million dollars’ worth of street cred. Less fortunate was Juan Moranez, the Vanderbilt police officer who pulled over the Kid en route to a friend’s apartment near the university. Instead of administering a breathalyzer test, the 13-year veteran administered an autograph request—and was sacked by campus police for the appearance of preferential treatment. The irony: Kid Rock was in Nashville for the funeral of country legend Merle Kilgore—where he sang “I Saw the Light.” Oh, Mindy. Paris Hilton was in Nashville this year, but she would have had to walk naked down Music Row with a 50-foot Swiffer to steal Mindy McCready’s tabloid thunder. In May, the singer of “Guys Do It All the Time” was charged with drunken driving—a probation violation—then beaten to a pulp days later by her on-again, off-again boyfriend Billy McKnight. “He’s the funniest, sweetest person in the world when he’s not angry,” McCready told listeners on 102.5 The Party about the man who “whipped my ass.” Two months later, she faced charges in Arizona (ultimately dropped) involving her reported acquaintance with an alleged conman. Then came a drug overdose in Florida and a probation violation that led to jail time. Then came news she was pregnant with McKnight’s baby. Then came a new single called “Black and Blue” (!) and an accompanying bio chock full of personal growth. This road could lead to only one place: Oprah’s couch, where McCready told a national audience last month all that she had learned—including the news that she still loved McKnight. Said even the nation’s queen of on-air problem solving: “You are truly messed up.” You Had Me at “Hell, No.” They said it wouldn’t last…and it didn’t. Country beefcake Kenny Chesney suddenly became the object of a tabloid full-court press on May 9, when he married movie star Renée Zellweger on the island of St. John. The pair had met at Jan. 15’s “Concert of Hope” telethon for Asian tsunami victims, and their courtship was a well-kept secret. In the absence of actual details, wags began speculating that the nuptials had been a publicity stunt engineered to boost Chesney’s profile; what Zellweger got out of it was open to debate. (Maybe she thought his tractor was sexy.) America’s shared dream of dual-star offspring was shattered in September, when Zellweger filed for annulment on the basis of “fraud,” firing up another round of the gay rumors that have long dogged Chesney. (She quickly followed up with a statement assuring us all that “fraud” is just innocuous “legal language.”) Whether or not the whole affair was engineered for publicity, by the end of the year Chesney had made the cover of People magazine—just around the time his new album, The Road and the Radio, was hitting stores. Australian for “Kenny and Renée.” Ever since he ascended to stardom, Keith Urban has made it clear in one interview after another that he has no interest in publicly discussing his personal life—he values his privacy, wants to be judged on songwriting and musicianship, etc. (Those must be some fascinating interviews.) So how does the guy ensure his anonymity? He hooks up with Nicole Kidman. Within milliseconds, the paparazzi were trailing the couple on Starbucks runs in hopes of getting the first blurry snapshot of an engagement ring, and even straight-world reporters were suddenly obliged to ask Urban about his love life or face the wrath of scoop-hungry editors. Meanwhile, the tabloids were distracted from Kidman ex Tom Cruise’s public meltdown long enough to dig up Urban’s old girlfriends and the cheesy seminude shots he did for Playgirl a few years back. How’s that “privacy” thing going? Athletic Boner Support From lockers to lakes, check out these foul balls and bad calls from the world of sports. Drop down and give us Boners! Barely Keeping Alive a 23-Year Tradition. After roaring to a 4-0 start, gaining national media attention and reaching the cusp of an elusive winning season, Vanderbilt lost to lowly MTSU, 17-15. Reverting to familiar form, the Commodores heroically drove 80 yards in the last two minutes—only to have the potentially winning field goal blocked on the game’s final play. The loss sent the ’Dores careening toward yet another losing record. Shame of the Southland. But at season’s end, there was at least one team worse than Vanderbilt. In a staggering humiliation that made the city of Knoxville feel like Ned Beatty in Deliverance, the erstwhile UT Vols got crushed in a blinding upset by the ’Dores for the first time since 1982. To make the Big Orange’s pulping even juicier, the last-minute loss tanked the Vols’ bowl chances—and on their home turf, no less. After watching hallowed Neyland Stadium turned into a black-and-gold toilet bowl, Coach Phil Fulmer declared that UT’s football program had hit “rock bottom.” (And this from a team with a backup quarterback named Jim Bob Cooter.) Before the game, one Nashville supporter had a blow-up version of UT mascot Smokey in his front yard. The next day, the inflatable hound had a black bag over its head. A New Boner Rises. Such as Our New Ethics Chairman, John Ford. The arrival of Adam “Pacman” Jones, the Titans’ first-round draft pick in 2005, signified a serious upping of the ante for Boner aspirants. Not since the heyday of the namesake of these awards has anyone in Nashville managed so many dubious achievements in such a short time: • a prolonged contract holdout; • a charge of assault on a bar owner and subsequent arrest that embarrassed the Titans organization; • a war of words in the media with Titans veterans; • sneaking onto the practice field, after finally ending his holdout, on the back of a vehicle carrying equipment and water coolers in order to avoid the media; • being so badly torched in practice that one Titans assistant coach loudly asked Pacman if he’d like the receivers to tell him in advance what plays they’d be running; • a slew of fumbled punts, including two consecutive muffs, that elicited rare boos from the normally supportive home crowd; • a lackadaisical whiff on a tackle attempt that allowed the Raiders to score a game-breaking touchdown in October—and led the Scene to dub Adam “Ms. Pacman.” Flagged for Holding. Titans offensive lineman Brad Hopkins was arrested for assaulting his wife, Ellen, in the drive-through line of a Wendy’s at Cool Springs. A witness called police after seeing a woman attempt to get out of a red Hummer. Instead, she was yanked back inside the vehicle by her hair, screaming as her feet hung outside the passenger door. Arresting officer Tom Heithcock wrote in his report that the argument started over a cell-phone call. Hopkins, he noted, approached him and said, “I wanted my telephone. She wouldn’t give it to me and tried to throw it out the window.” Strong Words for a Guy Who Toured With Van Halen. Nashville Kats defensive lineman James Baron allegedly spat in the face of the head coach of the Philadelphia Soul during an Arena League game, leading Soul owner Jon Bon Jovi to label the Kats “cheap,”  “punks” and “the dirtiest team I’ve ever seen.” Sister Sally Savagely Assailed Ashley on the Sideline. On Jan. 29, Sally Anthony—self-promoting recording artist and part owner of the American Basketball Association’s Nashville Rhythm—made every sports show in America with a loony attempt to fire the team’s history-making coach, Ashley McElhiney, in the middle of a game. McElhiney’s apparent offense was to play former Vanderbilt star Matt Freije in defiance of Anthony’s orders—despite the fact that Anthony previously had approved signing Freije to a two-game contract to lure more fans to games. Security guards removed Anthony from Lipscomb’s Allen Arena after her histrionic fit on court. Boners Popping Up in the Local Media A Tale of Two Titties. Seems like the Scene has been finding itself in the middle of law enforcement controversies a lot lately. Who knew, for instance, that the Tennessee Alcoholic Beverage Commission (ABC) enforced state liquor laws by reading this newspaper? And who knew that it was illegal to expose any breast “below the top of the areola” at an establishment where alcohol is served? (Same goes for “any portion of the pubic hair, anus, cleft of the buttocks, vulva or genitals,” according to a spicy state law.) Not the proprietors of Mercy Lounge, who were slapped with a $1,500 fine after a particularly zealous ABC enforcement agent read the Scene’s “The Spin” column in June and saw a naughty photo from a burlesque show the club hosted featuring the Panty Raid ensemble. The fine was later reduced. Local burlesque dancers’ routines are a little less risqué these days, but at least the Panty Raid girls managed to get even onstage with the Scene scribe responsible—by throwing pies in his face. If You See Kay…. Early this year, Metro Council member Lynn Williams decided it was time to take an important moral stand on an issue: the appointment of Scene food critic Kay West to the Metro Farmers Market Board. Bizarrely enough, Williams revived her personal antipathy toward West—who had privately criticized the West Nashville legislator in 1999 for trying to move the city’s Halloween observance to a Saturday night—and pleaded with her colleagues to spike West’s nomination on the grounds that it would present a conflict of interest. After weeks of mayoral meetings and impassioned pleadings, West’s nomination was approved. Revenge is a dish best served cold, but Williams apparently prefers hers half-baked. At Least Ours Are Labeled as Jokes. After about 13 years at WSMV-Channel 4, reporter James Lewis resigned in embarrassment after reporting that Metro cops arrested a McDonald’s employee when the worker sold a Big Mac to a hooker. Lewis’ package about a Metro Police Department undercover prostitution sting was a solid piece of reporting—until the live tag at the end. “In one case, they even arrested a McDonald’s employee because the police officer pressed the button and said, ‘I’m a prostitute. I want a Big Mac,’ ” Lewis said, addressing anchors Demetria Kalodimos and Dan Miller. “They sold it to her and busted her because it’s against the law to give nutrition to a prostitute.” A clearly surprised Miller seemed to sense something was wrong: “James, a little more on that. What kind of crime is that, to provide food to a police decoy? It is actually a crime?” Actually, no: in his online research Lewis had accidentally found the tidbit in the Scene’s weekly “Fabricator” column. Said WSMV news director Andrew Finlayson, who proudly announced he doesn’t read this paper, “He didn’t realize [the Scene] did joke news articles.” Let he who is without Darian Trotter cast the first stone. A Touch of Boner in the Night

Inside the Klu Klutz Klan.

Believe in intelligent design? Read on. In a story that suggested Darwin might’ve gotten things backwards, an Elizabethton man got three years for an accidental 2003 shooting that put a damper on what should have been the happiest day of his buddy’s life: his Ku Klux Klan initiation. Gregory Freeman, 45, was welcoming Karl Mitchell III to the brotherhood with the usual party games—a mock lynching, then a paintball assault with Freeman firing live rounds from his 9 mm pistol into the air for that frisson of authenticity. Trouble was, a paintball hit Freeman, causing him to bend over—at which point his gun apparently went off and shot nearby Klansman Jeffrey Murr in the head.

The Kid Stays in the Teacher. In a story that echoed the Mary Kay Letourneau case—in that the morning paper and local TV wouldn’t shut the hell up about it—Warren County PE teacher Pamela Rogers Turner, 27, was arrested on 28 sexual misconduct charges involving a 13-year-old boy at her school. Of course, the media attention had everything to do with serious allegations of statutory abuse, and nothing to do with the fact that Turner was a blond knockout who had been a Ms. Monday Nitro of World Championship Wrestling in 1997. For amusement, viewers counted how many times anchors and reporters felt compelled to point out—vainly—that the student was really a victim, not the envy of every guy in America with pubes.

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