The hottest email being swapped in cable circles these days has nothing to do with Wall St or even programming negotiations-it’s an amusing and enlightening monthly update from former Charter COO Dave Barford on life in prison. Barford’s Aug missive details a mishap with an industrial-strength floor buffer, 1:30am prison counts and the problems with prison food. "I guess I’d better stop complaining. As my good friend, Rob, always reminds me, ‘it ain’t Yale, it’s jail.’" His emails aren’t all laughs, though. "When I got here I thought I held the title for ‘guy that got screwed worst by the system.’ Well, I have found that I’m not even in the 20th percentile," he wrote. "I consider myself extremely fortunate that I’m only serving a 10-month sentence, and that I have a job and a career when I get out. I’m finding out more and more that life and happiness is about perspective, and I’m gaining a whole new perspective in here." Because Barford is in a low-security federal prison camp, he doesn’t have access to email-just pencil and paper. So Barford mails a letter to his neighbor Ray Kollar each month, who then types it out in email form and forwards it to Barford’s friends, which includes a long list of cable execs. "There has just been this outpouring from people," said Kollar, adding that he’s constantly getting requests to add new names to the list. A who’s who list of cable executives are on the email chain, including WE gm Kim Martin. "He has a really good sense of humor for all he’s going through," she said. "He’s going to make the best of it." Howard Wood, chmn of the Gilead Group of which Barford and former Charter CFO Kent Kalkwarf are managing dirs (Kalkwarf is also serving time at the prison camp), said Barford’s character is shining through in prison. "Dave’s a very fine person-a wonderful, sensitive individual that cares about people," he said. "I’m sure he takes all those things [he hears and sees] to heart. It’s not a pleasant environment." Barford was sentenced in Apr to 366 days in prison for his role in a 2000 accounting scandal at Charter, his employeer until 2002. He’s on pace for a 10-month sentence with a May 5 release.