Ned Gallagher in Havana.

Ned Gallagher:
What I’m Up To


Spring Break 2024

“Who are the violets now / That strew the green lap of the new-come spring?”
- William Shakespeare, Richard II



Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

In a very atypical stretch, I am nearing the end of a couple months in which I found myself traveling far from home every single weekend:

Choate students outside the Capitol, January 2024
At the end of January, I led a three-day field trip to DC with my government students: this is an annual pilgrimage that entails meeting with members of Congress, officials in the Executive Branch, and political strategists; visiting the Supreme Court; and hosting an alumni dinner, this year with a panel discussion of national security issues.

The Alaia resort in Ambergris Caye, Belize
I made a getaway to Belize over the school’s winter Long Weekend break. No real agenda for this trip other than some welcome down time broken up by a few pending administrative tasks, a lot of reading, and a few good meals. I can report the warm sunshine of Central America was restorative.

University of Chicago campus in Hyde Park
In mid-February, the University of Chicago hosted me at an Educator Fly-in Weekend with about 30 other teachers from around the country. My invitation was a by-product of the Outstsanding Educator Award from a few years back. UChicago covered airfare and accommodations and meals and treated us to sessions with a couple of stars in its Economics Department as well as a presentation on the university’s free speech principles. I also had a welcome chance to connect with a handful of former students now attending UChicago.

U2 on stage
I treated myself to a jaunt to Las Vegas to catch the U2 show at Sphere, the brand new video-intensive performance space just off The Strip. I have seen the band perform live at least a dozen times since The Unforgettable Fire tour in 1985 and this concert was a highlight. Achtung Baby is my favorite U2 album, and it was played in its entirety. The show made terrific use of the innovative visuals and the impressive sound design. Well worth the surgical strike to Sin City!

squash in the Arlen Specter Center
At the end of February I tagged along with the Choate girls’ and boys’ varsity squash teams as they competed in the High School Nationals at the Arlen Specter Center in Philadelphia. Having run end-of-season championships in the sport for more than three decades, I enjoyed being merely a spectator and cheerleader this time around. And the Specter Center, which I had not experienced in person before, is truly an amazing facility.

Kralendijk, capital of Bonaire
Last weekend I became a member of the Century Club! At the outset of spring break, I visited my 100th county with a few days in Bonaire, one of the “ABC islands” (with Aruba and Curaçao), former Dutch colonies just north of Venezuela.

tennis complex at Sandpiper Bay Resort
As I write this, I am in Port St. Lucie, Florida, for a week of training with a dozen tennis players from school, an annual spring break tradition.

Next weekend, after returning from Florida, I head to New York City for an afternoon on the final day of spring break to see the third of three plays in this year’s Brian Friel Festival at the Irish Rep. Fittingly, this trip will fall on St. Patrick’s Day!

Happily, all of this travel was accomplished without missing significant work commitments (classes, coaching, or dorm duty) nor my ongoing graduate work at St. John’s College or University of Chicago.



What I’m Reading

Working On Now:

  • Tim Alberta, The Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory: American Evangelicals in an Age of Extremism
  • Jared Cohen, Life After Power: Seven Presidents and Their Search for Purpose Beyond the White House
  • Donna Tartt, The Secret History
  • John A. List, The Voltage Effect: How to Make Good Ideas Great and Great Ideas Scale

Recently Finished:

  • Geoff Dyer, The Last Days of Roger Federer: And Other Endings
  • Louise Glück, Meadowlands
  • Alex Robinson, Too Cool To Be Forgotten
  • Gary J. Bass, Judgment at Tokyo: World War II on Trial and the Making of Modern Japan
  • John Scalzi, Starter Villain
  • Jeff Lemire & Max Fiumara, Doctor Star and the Kingdom of Lost Tomorrows
  • Taína Caragol and Kate Clarke Lemay, 1898: Visual Culture and U.S. Imperialism in the Caribbean and the Pacific
  • Damien Cave, Parenting Like An Australian

On Deck:

  • Garry Wills, Henry Adams and the Making of America
  • Paul Dunscomb, The Crisis in Pro Baseball and Japan’s Lost Decade: The Curious Resilience of Heisei Japan
  • Jonathan Haidt, The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness
  • Jeffrey Rosen, The Pursuit of Happiness: How Classical Writers on Virtue Inspired the Lives of the Founders and Defined America

For Courses I’m Taking This Spring:

  • Plutarch, Lives
  • Tacitus, Annals
  • Gibbon, Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
  • Herman Melville, Benito Cereno
  • Frederick Douglass, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
  • Rita Dove, Selected Poems
  • Cormac McCarthy, Blood Meridian
  • Willa Cather, Death Comes for the Archbishop
  • poetry of Wallace Stevens
  • James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
  • August Wilson, Fences
  • Reinhold Niebuhr, The Irony of American History
  • Virgil, The Aeneid
  • The Bible: Books of Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deutoronomy, Joshua, and Judges

For Courses I’m Teaching This Spring:

  • Beowulf
  • Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales
  • William Shakespeare, Antony and Cleopatra
  • John Milton, Paradise Lost
  • Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely, All-Star Superman
  • Albert Camus, The Stranger
  • Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmen
  • Bernard Schwartz, A History of the Supreme Court



What I’m Watching


  • coverage of the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, CA (Tennis Channel)
  • The Regime (Max)
  • Shōgun (Hulu)
  • The Reluctant Traveler with Eugene Levy, season 2 (Apple TV+)
  • The Bureau (AMC+)
  • Masters of the Air (Apple TV+)
  • The Woman in the Wall (Showtime)
  • Star Wars: The Bad Batch, season 3 (Disney+)

Recently Finished—Television:

  • Loudermilk, seasons 1–3 (Netflix)
  • Criminal Record (Apple TV+)
  • Australia’s Open (ABC Australia)

On Deck—Television:

  • 3 Body Problem (Netflix)
  • Mary & George (Starz)
  • Star Trek: Discovery, season 5 (Paramount+)
  • live match play from the Miami Open and various tennis tournaments in Europe (e.g., Monte Carlo, Madrid, Rome, Paris) this spring (Tennis Channel, TennisTV)

Recently Finished—Films:

  • The Boy and the Heron (d. Hayao Miyazaki, 2023), cinema
  • Rope (d. Alfred Hitchcock, 1948), DVD
  • Shadow of a Doubt (d. Alfred Hitchcock, 1943), DVD
  • Saboteur (d. Alfred Hitchcock, 1942), DVD
  • Perfect Days (d. Wim Wenders, 2023), streamed iTunes rental
  • Bicycle Thieves (d. Vittorio De Sica, 1949), streamed on Max
  • Beau Travail (d. Claire Denis, 1999), streamed on Max
  • Battleship Potemkin (d. Sergei Eisenstein, 1925), streamed on Criterion Channel
  • Mulholland Drive (d. David Lynch, 2001), 4K Ultra HD
  • Night Train to Munich (d. Carol Reed, 1940), Blu-ray
  • The Lady Vanishes (d. Alfred Hitchcock, 1938), Blu-ray
  • Dune, Part Two (d. Denis Villeneuve, 2024), cinema
  • Rebel Without a Cause (d. Nicholas Ray, 1955), iTunes
  • Casablanca (d. Michael Curtiz, 1942), iTunes
  • Man with a Movie Camera (d. Dziga Vertov, 1929), streamed on Criterion Channel
  • Singin’ in the Rain (d. Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly, 1952), streamed on Max
  • Larry David: Curb Your Enthusiasm (d. Robert B. Weide, 1999), streamed on Max
  • The Greatest Night in Pop (d. Bao Nguyen, 2024), streamed on Netflix
  • Poor Things (d. Yorgos Lanthimos, 2023), cinema
  • I.S.S. (d. Gabriela Cowperthwaite, 2024), cinema
  • American Fiction (d. Cord Jefferson, 2023), cinema



What I’m Listening To


  • Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life
  • Billy Joel, “Turn the Lights Back On”
  • Ella Fitzgerald, Oh, Lady Be Good! Best of the Gershwin Songbook


  • Served with Andy Roddick
  • Someone’s Gotta Win
  • Fifth Column



What I’ve Been Attending

  • Japanese Baseball: When You Come to the Fork in the Road, Take It, East Asia Resource Center, University of Washington [NCTA online seminar], March
  • U2:UV—Achtung Baby Live At Sphere, Las Vegas, February
  • 1898: U.S. Imperial Visions and Revisions exhibition, Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC, January
  • Aristocrats, Irish Repertory Theater, New York City, January



Where I’m Traveling

Recent Trips:

  • Port St. Lucie, Florida, March
  • Ambergris Caye, Bonaire, March
  • Philadelphia, February

Upcoming Trips:

  • St. Patrick’s Day in New York City, March
  • Santa Fe, New Mexico for a mid-April weekend with fellow Graduate Institute students at St. John’s College
  • Spring Long Weekend break in Dublin, Ireland, April



What I’m Learning

  • lots of ancient history, care of Herodotus and Thucydides



What I’m Looking Forward To

  • tennis season
  • weather in which I can use my back patio



Thanks to Derek Sivers for his concept of the /now page.
Revised: 13 March 2024