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January 25, 2005

I wouldn't let him near my bagel

In one of my favorite "Get Smart" episodes, Max tells a ship's captain he suspects one of the crew in some dastardly act. The captain, indignant, retorts that his crew is "the pick of the scum of Europe."

Well, the pick of the scum of my co-religionists has to include Al Goldstein. But today's WaPo Style Section says that Goldstein went out of business as a pornographer, went through a homeless phase, and is now shilling bagels at a place called New York City Bagels.

Thanks to the Post, you almost feel sorry for the guy.

The former owner of Milky Way Productions, home of Screw magazine and the now defunct X-rated cult show "Midnight Blue," went bankrupt more than a year ago. Screw once sold more than 140,000 copies weekly and was a cash cow, thanks to ads for call girls and prostitutes, before it fell victim to Internet porn and sagging circulation.

"The Internet made pornography available for free, and I couldn't compete," said Goldstein, who now lives on Staten Island with his fifth wife, Christine, 28.

Those he befriended in the porn business, a billion-dollar industry he helped pioneer, turned their backs to him. Even his own son, Jordan, a Harvard graduate who works for a New York-based law firm, refuses to speak to him.

"My life has turned to crap," Goldstein said. "To go from being a millionaire and then living in a homeless shelter and being rejected by 98 percent of your friends is horrendous, but I'm a survivor."
Almost sorry, but not quite. I wouldn't let this man anywhere near my bagel.