Our third installment of Staff Favorites turns to Mr. Ben Bowers. Second aboard the GP express and the reticent co-founder of Gear Patrol, Mr. Bowers is first and foremost an inquirer — using his battle-hardened eye of skepticism while monitoring the pulse of the internet, et al.; typically, he does so while reading a pantheon of feeds and bookmarks on his mobile device du jour.
At GP HQ, Ben is also the catalyst, and prizewinner, of often heated culture debates, where his insatiable appetite for music, movies and other media provides him with a panoply of pop-culture knowledge, particularly in early hip-hop and independent films. Beyond the walls of media and analytic thinking though, Ben’s interests are far less studious. A fair-weather sailor, patron of cocktail mixing and a die-hard Nets fan, Ben is also a proud Baton Rouge native — undoubtedly the reason behind his occasional son-of-Creole outbursts in an otherwise self-composed nature.
Vintage Omega Speedmaster Professional Chronograph
My first legitimate timepiece and probably the only one I’ll own for a while. In spite of all the great options out there in the vintage watch world, I’ve always been a sucker for Speedmaster’s connection with the moon — and you can’t exactly pull off an Astronaut suit in public.
Aperion Intimus 4T Hybrid SD Speaker System
This is one of the best investments I’ve ever made as a movie and music lover. The set packs an incredible punch in both 5.1 and two channel scenarios (epic Inception horn), without monopolizing my entire apartment. The wood cabinets are beautiful and the included 10-year warranty provides solid peace of mind.
Pioneer DJM-600 & Technic Sl-1200MKII
I don’t use this gear nearly as much as I used to — blame it on GP — but just pulling it all out of my Viking coffin case and screwing around every once in a while is still one of my favorite ways to pass the time and annoy my neighbors.
Uniqlo Slim Fit Straight Jeans
As they say, fit is everything when it comes to clothing, and I’ve yet to find another brand of denim that works so well for my frame. The fact that they sell for less than $50 is an added boon. Buyer beware, however, because they’ll bleed all over your shiny kicks if you don’t wash them a few times right off the shelf.
Wolverine 1000 Mile Boots
Beautiful, capable and made in the U.S.A. They only get more comfortable with age.
Ralph Lauren Purple Label Suit
I can’t say how it compares to the bespoke offerings of Jermyn Street or Italy’s fine showings, but it’s easily the nicest piece in my wardrobe. Putting it on is transformative, like it was sewn to instill confidence and swagger on all who wear it.
Growing up with several dogs and loads of people in and out of the house, I learned just how quickly a typical fabric couch could turn ugly. I don’t know the exact brand of the leather couch I wound up buying from the high-end retailer (for shame, I know), but it was a steal thanks to a small scratch on the lower back corner. It was my first “real” piece of furniture and still looks great seven years later.
I’ve had Homer for a couple of years now. As a “standard”-sized Dachsund, he’s bigger than the “hot dogs” most are used to seeing on the street, and pretty rare. I purchased him from a show dog breeder in Wichita Kansas of all places. He may not fit the stereotypical role of man’s best friend — so often occupied by Labradors, Golden retrievers and the like — but he’s a good size for the city and there’s a personality and intelligence with this breed that’s hard to deny. Guess I’m just as much of a sucker as Picasso, Brando, Eastwood, JFK and E.B. White were.
Sneakers could bankrupt me if I had the time to track all of the releases and stand in line to buy them. I’m a huge fan of Nikes in general and had a hard time picking between their various classic styles, but the Flyknit series gets the nod because they’re comfortable, weigh next to nothing and have a unique technical style that works with a variety of looks.
A scarring experience involving hard contacts in the early ’90s guaranteed my fate as glasses wearer. These Persols are a recent acquisition and one of my better pairs in recent memory. They’re durable and modern looking without going full on Clark Kent. Not that I’m Superman, anyway…
This addictive mix of salt, red pepper and garlic is affectionately known simply as “Tony’s” in Louisiana and is gratuitously sprinkled on everything. It makes everyday food like eggs or chicken breast taste infinitely better. Just don’t tell your cardiologist about it.
The Grail: Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 23 yr Old Bourbon
I’m a fan of all types of whiskey, but as a native southerner I have a special soft spot for bourbon. This ultra-rare offering is regarded by many spirit enthusiasts as one of the best, if not the best, bourbon money can buy. It’s won numerous awards including “Spirit of the Year” in 2010 by Wine and Spirits magazine, and I’d love to own a bottle as one of the crown jewels in my collection — the trouble is finding it. Whether I’d have the fortitude to drink it is another question entirely.