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The 5 Most Amazing Things Accomplished While in Prison

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Prison. The Big House. Ol' Shower Buggeryville. Whatever name you know it by, it's the same thing -- a place where we put criminals who aren't rich or famous. And sometimes innocent people who just get railroaded. And a disproportionate number of minorities. Ha ha, political humor!

Anyway, the basic idea behind a prison is to remove a nogoodnik from society for a while. Thing is, sometimes those nogoodniks manage to find a way to be successful even when they're behind bars. So successful, in fact, that it'll inspire you to rage- and depression-filled panic shits and cause you to make frustrated cries of "cockholes!" to the heavens when you see the kind of stuff some dudes are doing from the clink. That's another name for Ol' Shower Buggeryville.

#5. Running a Pharmaceutical Empire

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The greatest thing about modern society is probably Game of Thrones. Then beer, the Internet, cool cars, Xbox, microwave dinners, the circus, and so on. Somewhere on the list are boner pills. I imagine they'll rank higher on my list when I'm old and busted and weeping into my pubic thatch as I punch the little one-eyed runt in an effort to make him respond.

Knowing how important boner pills are to a large segment of society, Martin Hickman decided he'd dabble in dong turgidity and set up websites to sell Viagra and various knockoffs of the drug. Now technically you can't do that just on a whim -- there are laws in place that prevent just anyone from being a pharmacy -- but Martin was the kind of go-getter who doesn't let legalities or responsibility or the health and welfare of others interfere with his plans.

Hickman was arrested for his nefarious deeds, selling not just Viagra without a prescription but cheaper, unregulated knockoffs from abroad like Kamegra, Lovegra, and, I like to think, HalfChubegra. These pills claim to be the same as Viagra and generally come from India, but let's be honest: They're probably 50 percent Mumbai street trash and 50 percent hobo skin.

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"They offered me a bottle of Scotch to turn my gonads into Lipitor. So long, everyone!"

After being imprisoned and also fined for ignoring previous orders to stop selling drugs online, Hickman did what any reasonable entrepreneur would do when put behind bars: He kept making money. His local paper ordered some pills from his website and received them a few days later, all while Hickman was in prison, demonstrating that perhaps the police in his neck of the woods are unsure just how this whole Internet thing works.

Since that first arrest, Hickman was jailed again for a longer period, for the same crime, and assets of over $21 million were seized. So apparently selling boner pills in jail can be pretty lucrative, even if you don't get to enjoy much of the cash you make from it.

#4. Making Porno

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Being a porn star is a dream a lot of mildly dysfunctional people entertain at one time or another. You see strangers having sex on camera, you see documentaries on HBO that invariably end with a crying 19-year-old girl yelling at her mom on the phone, you see Ron Jeremy naked, and you think, "Yes, this is for me." And there's nothing wrong with that if you're not emotionally scarred by it and you're having fun. I bet there's a few porn stars out there who really enjoy what they do. I'd like to meet them and go out for some beers some time.

In prison, any dreams you have of starring in porno are probably nightmares, and the plotlines are all predictable and terrifying and don't take your feelings into consideration at all. Usually. But in this case, something hilariously different happened! I can't wait to find out what in the next paragraph!

Turns out that the U.K. prison HMP Rye Hill subcontracts to another company to hire educators. That company brought in 59-year-old British cougar (which I guess is a bobcat? I'm not sure) Beverley Van-de-Velde to teach prisoners. And teach she did. Media studies. Also media boning, when she filmed herself having sex with a 29-year-old murderer in an office.

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"Hey baby, wanna pork?"

A 17-minute DVD, complete with credits apparently, was made of the two having some couch sex, and it was found with love letters sent between the two, because some women have a really weird infatuation with murderers that's kind of hard to wrap your head around. Remember that woman who married Richard Ramirez? What the hell was that about? Ted Bundy got married in jail, too, and that dude who dressed like a clown and had a crawl space full of bodies. Ladies, you can do better. A good dating tip is, if he's a notorious serial killer, he's just not that into you.

Now of course this story comes to us courtesy of the Daily Mail, which means it's potentially as true as a genie in a lamp granting me a bottomless beer fridge and some sweet new T-shirts, but the part about Richard Francis stabbing a man in Croydon in 2002 checked out, so it seems like it would be a bizarre twist for a tabloid paper to research what, at the time, was an eight-year-old murder and use it as a small detail in a story about prison porn. I'm going out on a limb and believing that this beautifully awful story is the real deal. The real, disturbing deal.

#3. Recording an Album

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Not a lot of people know that, back in grade school, I played the oboe, and to this day I can drop a phat rendition of "Good King Wenceslas" if you're looking to spice up a Christmas party. Also please never ask me to spice up your Christmas party because that shit was a lie, I forget how to play the oboe. However, other people are much more committed to music than I and have even gone so far as to pursue their love behind bars.

Traditionally, prison music is a symphony of harmonicas and desperate sobs, but in recent years recording artists have found themselves incarcerated and still desirous of recording their latest hit single. What to do? Turns out it's not even uncommon for musicians, typically rappers (though I really hope one or two folk albums have been done this way), to record an album via prison phone.

When I first heard of this, it was literally one artist doing it, and I thought, "Well isn't that novel," and then I found an article that listed 11 songs that were recorded by artists who were locked up, including Tony Yayo. Most people can't figure out how he's allowed to record music when he's free, let alone when he's in jail.

Several entire albums have actually been recorded behind bars, and even Charles Manson has a few dozen prison recordings loose in the world, although those seem to be less music and more crazy shit that you'd expect Charles Manson to put on tape in prison, probably him accusing his own asshole of some Jewish conspiracy or calling his toilet out for attempting to usurp his authority. Remember that when people ask why your garage band doesn't have an album out yet -- you just need to rob some banks and get locked up, then call a guy with a recording studio.

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