Ned Gallagher in Havana.

Ned Gallagher:
What I’m Up To

 

End of the School Year 2022

 


 

Ready for the Summer!

It’s been something of an eventful spring.

On the 11th of April, I hit the benchmark of solving the New York Times daily crossword for 1000 straight days. A small victory, yes, but I’m pretty proud of this constructive pre-bedtime habit I’ve established the last few years. The seniors in my dorm got me started on Wordle a couple months back, so that now also takes up a couple minutes in my nightly routine.

Also in April I left the country for the first time in over two years, visiting the U.K. for a long weekend getaway, catching some theater in London and Stratford-upon-Avon. In the latter, I was treated to a parade by the locals the morning of April 23, William Shakespeare’s 458th birthday; it is the Bard’s hometown after all!

In less pleasant news, my luck in dodging COVID-19 finally ran out in early May. My experience was pretty mild: just 2–3 days of flu-like symptoms. Though the self-isolation period meant I missed seeing my parents on Mother’s Day and had to forgo my coaching and residential life responsibilities, I was able to teach my classes remotely through it all and got back to my normal routine within the week. I certainly am glad I got coronavirus AFTER three jabs in the arm!

On the coaching front, tennis this spring was a great success. My team posted a 12–1 dual match record after two seasons without regular competition, finishing unbeaten in the Founders League to recapture the championship last won in 2018 (before the pandemic disruption) and advancing to the semifinals of the New England Class “A” team tournament.

On June 1, I purchased a new motor scooter, as my Yamaha Zuma has been out of commission for the last few years and the prospects for its repair dimmed considerably when the dealer I bought it from went out of business a while back. This model, the Vespa Elettrica, is sort of the Tesla of scooters: it runs entirely on batteries after plugging into an outlet to charge. “Vespa” means wasp in Italian—a reference to the buzzing whine of most scooter engines—but this baby runs totally silently.

The other big news is that I will be moving this summer After living in dormitories for a few decades now—really since I started college at 18—I have been assigned a newly constructed house of my own on campus. The school is building a cluster of spiffy non-dormitory houses for faculty, and I am scheduled to move into one in July. It will look like this:

For this new abode, I am splurging on some furniture purchases (guest bedroom needs, a new living room arrangement, and stuff for the back patio and front porch) as well as upgrading to a state-of-the-art oversized flat-screen television and an accompanying sound system. In the meantime, I will be packing and channeling my best Marie Kondo, trying to whittle down what I have accumulated through the years (it’s said that two moves is the equivalent of a fire!). Moving day is July 8.

I finished my program at the University of Chicago the first week of June and headed out to Hyde Park two days later for the graduation ceremony so I could meet most of the others in my cohort as well as a few of our instructors—all folks I have spent a lot of time with on Zoom over the last four years. We enjoyed a terrific social get-together the night before the official ceremony. Fortunately, much of our group plans to stay together for at least the next two years by taking an alumni course sequence called The American Tradition.

In the meantime, I will be continue to take courses at Chicago and at Stanford this summer in addition to some immersion in classical texts through two different programs at St. John’s College.

Summer break is now here. A couple of June trips in the offing: a weekend in San Francisco to celebrate my nephew hitting double digits, followed by a few days in Dublin to mark the Bloomsday festivities an even century after the publication of Ulysses. Then I’ll be back in Wallingford gearing up for the move and teaching some summer school courses.

 


 

What I’m Reading

Working On Now:

  • Simon Callow, Orson Welles: The Road to Xanadu
  • Daniel Mulhall, Ulysses: A Reader's Odysseyli>
  • David Sedaris, Happy-Go-Lucky
  • Steve Berry, The Omega Factor

Recently Finished:

  • Tripp Mickle, After Steve: How Apple Became a Trillion-Dollar Company and Lost Its Soul
  • James Rollins, Kingdom of Bones

On Deck:

  • Kendra James, Admissions: A Memoir of Surviving Boarding School
  • Mark Gosztyla, Everything Is Obvious After It Happens
  • Daniel Silva, Portrait of an Unknown Woman

For Courses I’m Taking This Summer:

  • Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin
  • Plato, “Meno”
  • Plato, “Phaedrus”
  • Plato, The Republic
  • Ron Wilson, The Gangster Film: Fatal Success in American Cinema

For Courses I’m Teaching This Summer:

  • Leon P. Baradat and John A. Phillips, Political Ideologies: Their Origins and Impact
  • James Q. Wilson et al., American Government: Institutions and Policies
  • Sophocles, Antigone
  • Aeschylus, The Eumenides
  • William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice

 


 

What I’m Watching

Ongoing—Television:

  • Obi-Wan Kenobi (Disney+)
  • Real Time with Bill Maher, Season 20 (HBO Max)
  • The Boys, Season 3 (Amazon Prime)
  • Stranger Things, Season 4 (Netflix)
  • Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, Season 1 (Paramount+)
  • Bosch: Legacy (Amazon Prime)
  • Ms. Marvel (Disney+)
  • The Inbetweeners, Season 1 (Amazon Prime)

Recently Finished—Television:

  • Moon Knight (Disney+)
  • Tokyo Vice, Season 1 (HBO Max)
  • Merlí, Season 1 (Topic)

On Deck—Television:

  • Endeavour, Season 8 (PBS Passport)
  • Merlí, Seasons 2 & 3
  • Merlí: Sapere Aude, Season 1 (Netflix)
  • Gaslit (Starz)
  • Love, Death, & Robots (Netflix)
  • The Umbrella Academy, Season 3 (Netflix)
  • What We Do in the Shadows, Season 4 (Hulu)
  • Borgen: Power & Glory (Netflix)
  • The Sandman (Netflix)

Recently Finished—Films:

  • Rebecca (d. Alfred Hitchcock, 1940)
  • Hollywoodland (d. Graham Moore, 2006)
  • Marshall (d. Reginald Hudlin, 2017)
  • What Is Democracy? (Kanopy, d. Astra Taylor, 2018)
  • A Most Violent Year (d. J.C. Chandor, 2014)
  • George Carlin’s American Dream (HBO Max, d. Judd Apatow & Michael Bonfiglio, 2022)
  • My Darling Clementine (d. John Ford, 1946)
  • The 39 Steps (d. Alfred Hitchcock, 1935)
  • Notorious (d. Alfred Hitchcock, 1946)
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (d. Sam Raimi, 2022)
  • Osaka Elegy (d. Kenji Mizoguchi, 1936)
  • The Rules of the Game (d. Jean Renoir, 1939)
  • The Public Enemy (d. William A. Wellman, 1931)
  • White Heat (d. Raoul Walsh, 1949)
  • Zero for Conduct (d. Jean Vigo, 1933)
  • Summer Days, Summer Nights (d. Edward Burns, 2018)
  • Everything Everywhere All At Once (d. Daniel Scheinert & Daniel Kwan, 2022)
  • His Girl Friday (d. Howard Hawks, 1940)
  • Benjamin Franklin (d. Ken Burns, 2022)
  • Shanghai Express (d. Josef von Sternberg, 1932)
  • Bringing Up Baby (d. Howard Hawks, 1938)
  • On The Waterfront (d. Elia Kazan, 1954)
  • C’mon C’mon (d. Mike Mills, 2021)
  • Meshes of the Afternoon (d. Maya Deren & Alexander Hammid, 1943)
  • The Lost City (d. Adam Nee & Aaron Nee, 2022)
  • Fanboys (d. Kyle Newman, 2009)

 


 

What I’m Listening To

Music:

  • Elton John, Madman Across the Water
  • English Baroque Soloists & John Eliot Gardiner, Handel: Acis & Galatea
  • Pretenders, The Singles

Podcasts:

  • Blacklisted
  • Uncommon Ground with Van Jones

Audiobooks/Radio Dramas:

  • The Sandman, Act II (Audible)

 


 

What I’ve Been Attending

  • The Merchant of Venice at the Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington, DC, March
  • Henry VI: Rebellion and Wars of the Roses at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, England, April

 


 

Where I’m Traveling

Recently Completed Trips:

  • Chicago, for my Basic Program graduation

Upcoming Trips:

  • early June weekend in San Francisco and the Bay Area
  • five days in Dublin, Ireland in mid-June (Happy Bloomsday!)
  • weekend trip to Long Island at the end of July for a high school reunion
  • a week in London, Stratford-upon-Avon, and the Channel Islands in early August
  • Teaching American History conference on the Federalist Papers and the Constitution in Pittsburgh in mid-August
  • possible visit to Montréal, to coincide with the ATP tennis tournament

 


 

What I’m Learning

  • the films of Alfred Hitchcock and Orson Welles
  • grilling

 


 

What I’m Looking Forward To

  • my new home theater
  • having a patio and a backyard
  • watching a ton of movies, bingeing a bunch of shows, and reading a pile of books

 


Thanks to Derek Sivers for his concept of the /now page.
Revised: 10 June 2022