The Softer Image Catalog
Following his arraignment on charges that he'd videotaped himself having sex with a minor, R. Kelly last week released a single, "Heaven, I Need a Hug," proving the age-old axiom that if there's one thing that can remove the taint of child-sex allegations, it's hastily produced R & B. But Kelly's work is just the beginning; we at the Softer Image are proud to present a full line of celebrity-endorsed products that say, "I'm not guilty," or, at the very least, "You can't prove anything." A sampling of our summer lineup:
Martha Stewart's "Silly Goose" Bouquet: A gorgeous arrangement of tulips, irises, and poppies, presented in a charming ceramic goose. What sort of an insider-trader would arrange flowers in a ceramic goose? None we know! Yes, you say, but what about the telephone calls between her and ImClone's then-CEO, Sam Waksal? And Merrill Lynch's suspension of Stewart's broker? And the congressional investigation? To which we say: Look at the goose! Isn't it the most adorable thing you've ever seen? Price: $36.99.
Scott Sullivan's MemoryBlast 9000: In this fast-paced board game, the just-fired CFO of WorldCom challenges players to memorize long strings of random digits. The game starts off easy, with two- and three-digit numbers, but quickly escalates to bigger numbers. By the end of a round of MemoryBlast, you'll see just how confusing 10-digit numbers can be!
"Magic Bullets": In this series of documentaries, Robert Blake and executive producer Oliver Stone examine shootings throughout history—from Clyde Barrow to JFK to Biggie Smalls—to make the case that, when someone has been shot in a vehicle, it's always wise to look beyond the usual suspects. Price: $12.99 per video.
The Inferior Domestic Wine of Wrath, by Linda Lay: In the fearless tradition of John Steinbeck, Linda Lay exposes the wrenching agony of thousands of displaced corporate executives whose holdings have dwindled to a mere handful of millions. We follow a family of four as they pile into their M-Class SUV and join their spiritual kin in their long, brave drive to the West, where they plan to visit their property in Vail.
The Boy Who Cried Wolf, a combination storybook-audiocassette presented by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Our nation's most respected clerical leaders present the classic fable about the unreliability of children's eyewitness accounts. Price: $14.99.
Winona Ryder Pays for This Stuff: In this direct-to-video motion picture, written, directed by, and starring the gamine-like Miss Ryder, we see her selecting items of clothing, bringing them to the cash register, and paying for them. Over and over. For three and a half hours. She also shares her shopping tips, including the importance of seeing what clothing looks like without any tags on it, and how to make sure that your purchases travel well. (Hint: Some people may find it odd, but the only way to test whether an item of clothing is prone to wrinkling is by tossing it in a bag or backpack and carrying it around for a while!) Price: $24.99; be sure to ask about our five-finger discount.
Tim Carvell is a senior writer at Entertainment Weekly.