Ned Gallagher in Havana.

Ned Gallagher:
What I’m Up To


New Year 2024

“Joy, gentle friends! Joy and fresh days of love accompany your hearts!”
- William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream



Back To School

sunrise over the Choate campus

Today the winter quarter at University of Chicago begins, so I have a new class on The Aeneid and the Book of Job this morning and then both a tutorial and a seminar in the American Tradition sequence getting underway tonight. (First on tap: Edgar Allan Poe and William James.) Tomorrow morning, holiday break is officially over at Choate and I will resume teaching my own classes. And then next Monday the new term at the Graduate Institute at St. John’s College begins with the first meeting of my history seminar. In the meantime, this week I have been taking an online mini-course on The Brothers Karamazov with St. John’s, filling two hours each afternoon.



“What Happens in Vegas . . .”

U2:UV Actung Baby

Looking forward to seeing U2 live on stage in mid-February in the Sphere, the innovative new arena at the Venetian resort in Las Vegas. Achtung Baby is far and away my favorite album by the Irish quartet. In spite of that, when the band’s residency was first announced, I wasn’t planning to make the trip, having seen at least a dozen U2 concerts over the years. But the reviews of this show and of the new facility have been so positive that when additional dates were announced in November, I pounced. So I am scheduled for a getaway to Nevada on a rare weekend when I do not have any coaching responsibilities.



In Case You Are Counting

New York Times crossword

As of this writing, I have completed the New York Times crossword puzzle 1631 consecutive days. In yesterday’s Times, a profile of puzzles editor Will Shortz indicated there are only a few hundred people with a current streak of this length (that they know of, anyway—I find it hard to imagine the paper has any way to track those who finish the analog version each day) so apparently I am in more elite company than I would have thought. I do the Mini every time as a quick warm-up as well, and most days I play Wordle and Letter Boxed, too. I usually do the weekday crosswords in The New Yorker and sometimes those in The Washington Post.



What I’m Reading

Working On Now:

  • Robin Lane Fox, Homer and His World
  • Mark Edmundson, The Age of Guilt: The Super-Ego in the Online World
  • Ichiro Kishimi, The Courage to Be Disliked: The Japanese Phenomenon That Shows You How to Change Your Life and Achieve Real Happiness
  • Richard V. Reeves, Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do about It
  • Greg Lukianoff, The Canceling of the American Mind: Cancel Culture Undermines Trust and Threatens Us All―But There Is a Solution

Recently Finished:

  • Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

On Deck:

  • Mick Herron, The Secret Hours
  • Steve Berry, The Atlas Maneuver
  • Maggie Bullock, The Kingdom of Prep: The Inside Story of the Rise and (Near) Fall of J. Crew
  • Pierce Brown, Red Rising

For Courses I’m Taking This Winter:

  • The Bible: I and II Samuel, I Kings
  • Herodotus, The Histories
  • Thucydides, Peloponnesian War
  • William James, Pragmatism and Other Writings
  • The Education of Henry Adams: An Autobiography
  • Zola Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
  • Edgar Allan Poe: The Dover Reader
  • Henry James, Selected Tales
  • Ernest Hemingway, The Complete Short Stories
  • Collected Stories of William Faulkner
  • Flannery O’Connor, The Complete Stories
  • Homer, The Odyssey
  • The Bible: Book of Job
  • Martin Luther, The Freedom of a Christian
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Social Contract

For Courses I’m Teaching This Winter:

  • Mary Zimmerman, Metamorphoses: A Play
  • Ovid, The Erotic Poems
  • Dante Alighieri, The Inferno
  • André Gide, The Immoralist
  • Franz Kafka, The Metamorphosis
  • Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway
  • Gautam Mukunda, Picking Presidents: How to Make the Most Consequential Decision in the World



What I’m Watching


  • A Murder at the End of the World (Hulu)
  • Brassic, season 1 (Hulu)

Recently Finished—Television:

  • The Crown, season 6, part 2 (Netflix)
  • What If . . . ?, season 2 (Disney+)
  • Wellington Paranormal, seasons 3 and 4 (Max)
  • Fisk, season 2 (Netflix)

On Deck—Television:

  • Break Point, season 2 (Netflix)
  • Monsieur Spade (AMC+)
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm, season 12 (Max)
  • Criminal Record (Apple TV+)
  • Echo (Disney+)
  • Tokyo Vice, season 2 (Max)

Recently Finished—Films:

  • The Trial (d. Orson Welles, 1962)
  • Ferrari (d. Michael Mann, 2023)
  • Radical Wolfe (d. Richard Dewey, 2023)
  • Anatomy of a Fall (d. Justine Triet, 2023)
  • The Pigeon Tunnel (d. Errol Morris, 2023)
  • The Boys in the Boat (d. George Clooney, 2023)
  • The Killer (d. David Fincher, 2023)
  • Wonka (d. Paul King, 2023)
  • Maestro (d. Bradley Cooper, 2023)
  • The Dead (d. John Huston, 1987)
  • Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom (d. James Wan, 2023)
  • Rebel Moon, part 1 (d. Zack Snyder, 2023)
  • Leave The World Behind (d. Sam Esmail, 2023)
  • Rustin (d. George C. Wolfe, 2023)
  • May December (d. Todd Haynes, 2023)
  • Godzilla Minus One (d. Takashi Yamazaki, 2023)



What I’m Listening To


  • Peter Gabriel, I/O
  • Harold López-Nussa, Timba a la Americana
  • Owain Park & The Gesualdo Six, Morning Star: Music for Epiphany Through the Ages


  • Awakening from the Meaning Crisis

Audiobooks/Radio Dramas:

  • James Joyce, Dubliners [narrated by Andrew Scott]



What I’ve Been Attending

  • online mini-course on The Brothers Karamazov, St. John’s College Winter Classics, January
  • As You Like It, Shakespeare Theater Company, Washington, DC, December
  • Baroque Christmas concert, Handel & Haydn Society, Boston, December
  • Boston Tea Party Reenactment, Boston, December
  • Christmas in Medieval England concert, Blue Heron, Cambridge, MA, December
  • Drunken History: Handel’s Messiah, Boston, December
  • South Windsor House Tour, December
  • Festival of Lessons and Carols, Seymour St. John Chapel, Choate campus, December
  • Translations, Irish Repertory Theater, New York City, December



Where I’m Traveling

Recent Trips:

  • Washington, DC, for a Beatles-themed take on Shakespeare’s As You Like It

Upcoming Trips:

  • day trip to New York City for another Brian Friel play at the Irish Rep
  • annual three-day sojourn to Washington, DC, with the school’s government students
  • visiting Belize for Winter Long Weekend
  • a weekend in Las Vegas



What I’m Learning

  • re-engaging with my electric bass guitar



What I’m Looking Forward To

  • days getting longer
  • visiting country #99 (Belize) next month
  • seeing U2 perform in the Sphere in Las Vegas in February
  • new car shopping in 2024 (not sure if I am exactly looking forward to this, but when I had the 125,000 mile service performed on my Audi Q5 last week, I was informed it was probably the last time I would be getting major work done on the car, given the state of its frame; it’s a 2010 model, so it’s about time for a replacement)



Thanks to Derek Sivers for his concept of the /now page.
Revised: 3 January 2024