Ned Gallagher in Havana.

Ned Gallagher:
What I’m Up To


Shakespeare’s Birthday 2023



Spring Has Sprung

A few quick takes:

  • Still keeping busy with my own learning; this spring quarter at UChicago I am taking a seminar and tutorial in The American Tradition on Wednesday evenings, as well as another seminar/tutorial combination in the Middle Ages sequence on Thursday nights. This term I get to dive deeply into such diverse works as Abraham Lincoln’s speeches, the autobiography of Frederick Douglass, Walt Whitman’s poetry, the Arabian Nights, and The Canterbury Tales. Meanwhile I am also taking a Stanford course called “The Bible Uncensored,” a close reading of selections from the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament.
  • It turns out I had a lot of time to watch television shows over spring break while on the mend from some minor surgery, and there are a couple of outstanding series I can recommend. The Bear on Hulu is terrific; it’s got a diverse and talented cast, uses the city of Chicago as a character, and immerses the viewer into the world of a professional kitchen. Season 3 of The Mandalorian has been a little uneven, but at its best, it hit rare heights. Ditto Star Trek: Picard—a pleasurable sendoff to the Next Generation cast I grew to love as a young adult. And the final season of Succession has proved worth the wait, as has the last batch of Ted Lasso episodes. Shrinking on Apple TV+ was a delightfully entertaining surprise. I binged 10 episodes of the spy thriller The Night Agent on Netflix over a weekend. And I’m having fun with another show full of political intrigue that just dropped on Netflix: The Diplomat.
  • I am teaching a new senior elective, Literatures of Tomorrow, in the English Department this term, which has me shaping a course around science fiction novels, short stories, and films. It’s always a lot of work taking on a new course, but it has been enjoyable as well, as I get to read a bunch of new stuff.



This past weekend I attended a celebration of the life of Tom Generous, my mentor and dear friend who passed away in late 2022. I had lunch with Tom a year ago at this time, and I told him then that the life I have been living since I was 20 years old was all thanks to him. We met when I was assigned to work with Tom as a teaching intern in the summer program at St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire and we quickly hit it off. Two years later, I joined him on the faculty at Choate. Tom taught me how to be a schoolmaster: the pursuit of excellence in classroom teaching, balanced with being an effective coach, a compassionate housemaster, and a supportive colleague. Though I never was a student in a Generous classroom, he was the best teacher I ever had. I learned more history from Tom through following his syllabus, through sharing long drives all across Europe for a month in 1990, through traveling with boys’ and girls’ squash teams in the U.K., and through countless conversations at meals, on the squash courts, and in the history department offices than I did from any teacher or professor I ever studied under. In fact, Tom probably had more impact in shaping my life than anyone other than my own parents. He and his family welcomed me to Choate with open arms in 1987 and made me feel at home. There’s hardly a day that goes by that I don’t think of Tom Generous with great affection and gratitude.



What I’m Reading

Working On Now:

  • Zena Hitz, Lost in Thought: The Hidden Pleasures of an Intellectual Life
  • Adam Gopnik, The Real Work: On the Mystery of Mastery
  • Richard Russo, Straight Man

Recently Finished:

  • Lewis E. Lehrman, Lincoln at Peoria: The Turning Point
  • Paul M. Sammon, Future Noir: The Making of Blade Runner [Revised & Updated Edition]

On Deck:

  • Angus McFadzean, Suburban Fantastic Cinema: Growing Up in the Late Twentieth Century
  • Adam Gopnik, Angels and Apes: A Short Book About Darwin, Lincoln, and Modern Life

For Courses I’m Taking This Spring:

  • Bartolomeo De las Casas, A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies
  • Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
  • The Portable Frederick Douglass
  • Lincoln’s Selected Writings
  • The Complete Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858
  • Husain Haddawy, The Arabian Nights
  • Marco Polo, The Description of the World
  • Olaudah Equiano, The Interesting Narrative and Other Writings
  • Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
  • Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales
  • The Bible
  • Patrick Hunt, Archaeology and the Bible

For Courses I’m Teaching This Spring:

  • Kazuo Ishiguro, Klara and the Sun
  • Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
  • Tochi Onyebuchi, Goliath
  • Albert Camus, The Plague
  • Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, Watchmen
  • Bernard Schwartz, A History of the Supreme Court
  • Leon P. Baradat and John A. Phillips, Political Ideologies: Their Origins and Impact



What I’m Watching


  • Ted Lasso, season 3 (Apple TV+)
  • The Diplomat (Netflix)
  • Succession, season 4 (HBO Max)
  • Superman and Lois, season 3 (The CW)
  • Real Time with Bill Maher, season 21 (HBO Max)
  • Extrapolations (Apple TV+)
  • Murder in Provence, season 1 (BritBox)
  • Freaks and Geeks
  • The Graham Norton Show, season 30 (BBC America)
  • Schmigadoon, season 2 (Apple TV+)
  • Doom Patrol, seasons 2–4 (HBO Max)
  • I, Claudius (Acorn)
  • Dear Edward (Apple TV+)

Recently Finished—Television:

  • I consumed lots of coverage of “Sunshine Double” tennis—the BNP Paribas event in Indian Wells and the Miami Open—in March, as well as the European clay court swing through Monte Carlo and Barcelona this month, with Madrid and Rome tournaments in the weeks ahead before the next major, Roland Garros, is played in late May and June (Tennis Channel, TennisTV)
  • The Night Agent (Netflix)
  • Bono & The Edge: A Sort of Homecoming, with Dave Letterman (Disney+)
  • The Bear, season 1 (Hulu)
  • The Center Seat: 55 Years of Star Trek (Amazon Prime)
  • The Thick of It, specials and seasons 3 & 4 (BritBox)
  • Party Down, seasons 1–3 (Starz)
  • The Consultant (Amazon Prime)
  • The Punisher (Disney+)
  • Chris Rock: Selective Outrage (Netflix)
  • Robert Kirkman’s Secret History of Comics (AMC+)
  • Staged, seasons 2 & 3 (BritBox)

On Deck—Television:

  • American Born Chinese (Disney+)
  • The Other Two, season 3 (HBO Max)
  • Breaking Bad, seasons 1–5 (iTunes)
  • Better Call Saul, seasons 1–5 (Netflix)

Recently Finished—Films:

  • The Night of the Hunter (d. Charles Laughton, 1955)
  • Tetris (d. Jon S. Baird, 2023)
  • Boom! Boom! The World vs. Boris Becker (d. Alex Gibney, 2023)
  • Air (d. Ben Affleck, 2023)
  • Shazam: Fury of the Gods (d. David F. Sandberg, 2023)
  • Brightburn (d. David Yarovesky, 2019)
  • The Square (d. Ruben Östlund, 2017)
  • All Quiet on the Western Front (d. Edward Berger, 2022)
  • Luther: The Fallen Sun (d. Jamie Payne, 2023)
  • Women Talking (d. Sarah Polley, 2022)
  • Plastic Galaxy: The Story of Star Wars Toys (d. Brian Stillman, 2014)
  • Elvis (d. Baz Luhrmann, 2022)
  • TÁR (d. Todd Field, 2022)

For Courses I’m Teaching This Spring—Films:

  • Do The Right Thing (d. Spike Lee, 1989)
  • Dr. Strangelove (d. Stanley Kubrik, 1964)
  • The Matrix (d. the Wachowskis, 1999)
  • Snowpiercer (d. Bong Joon Ho, 2013)
  • Blade Runner [The Final Cut] (d. Ridley Scott, 1982/2007)
  • Machine (d. Justin Krook, 2019)
  • Ex Machina (d. Alex Garland, 2015)
  • Faces of the Enemy (d. Bill Jersey & Jeffrey Friedman, 1987)



What I’m Listening To


  • U2, Songs of Surrender
  • Elton John, Honky Château [50th Anniversary Edition]
  • Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon [50th Anniversary Edition]


  • Holy Week: The Story of a Revolution Undone

Audiobooks/Radio Dramas:

  • Brené Brown, Atlas of the Heart



What I’ve Been Attending

  • The Winter’s Tale, Hartford Stage, April



Where I’m Traveling

Upcoming Trips:

  • Rye, New Hampshire, for the USPTA New England Division annual convention, May



What I’m Learning

  • still working on piano skills



What I’m Looking Forward To

  • outdoor grilling weather
  • completing the Middle Ages curriculum at UChicago in May


Thanks to Derek Sivers for his concept of the /now page.
Revised: 23 April 2023