Life with Bob

As I stood looking into that crafty face pocked by shrapnel wounds, lined by many wars, some of which Bob has been to, I began to recognize the horrible truth. SOF is not phony exactly—the staff members really do the things they say they do—but neither is any of it exactly real. The magazine is a playground for half-assed adventurers, and Brown was having fun, that was all. I had come to work in Colonel Kangaroo’s Paramilitary Theme Park: Step right up, hit the Kewpie doll with a throwing knife and win an Oriental garrote for taking out those troublesome sentries. Cotton candy at the next booth—in camouflage colors, of course—and…. That was the key to understanding SOF—realizing that Bob is not in the business of putting out a magazine. He is in the business of being Bob. He likes being the international mercenary publisher, likes playing Terry and the Pirates, and the magazine is merely a justification. Trying to understand SOF as journalism merely leads to confusion.

Fred On Everything

A Rare Peek Inside Amazon’s Massive Wish-Fulfilling Machine

The Amazon warehouse–known in company jargon as a “fulfillment center,” or FC–is a uniquely 21st-century creation, a vast, networked, intelligent engine for sating consumer desire. The FC is the anchor of Amazon’s physical operations, the brick and mortar behind the virtual button you tap on your phone to summon a watch or a shirt or a garden hose or Cards Against Humanity or just about anything else to your doorstep