Ned Gallagher in Havana.

Ned Gallagher:
What I’m Up To


Spring Break 2022



Onward To Spring

Well the calendar suggests that winter is officially behind us at this point. Despite the ongoing woes of the world—war in Ukraine, a global pandemic, the climate crisis—the increased sunshine and warm weather are restorative to the soul.

I feel lucky to have evaded COVID-19 thus far. I’ve stayed on the cautious side of things, getting fully vaccinated and boosted and endeavoring to stay masked and distanced when appropriate. No tennis trip for my team this spring break, unfortunately, as none of our usual destinations has a 100% vaccination policy (which is the school’s standard to run such a sponsored trip) in place at this point. While the pandemic is still far from over, most statistics locally and nationally—globally is another story, sadly—are very much on the upswing, and here on campus we anticipate a relatively normal spring of masking-optional classes and a full schedule of spring sports.

I can say I have been to drama school now, sort of. I took an online course for a week at the end of February with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA), focusing on the sonnets of William Shakespeare from a performace perspective. It was great fun and allowed me to appreciate this poetry through new eyes.

I signed up for a film course (again, online) at Stanford for the upcoming spring quarter, to coincide with my recently rejuvenated interest in all things cinematic. I recently bought a portable Blu-Ray player which is light and travel-friendly for the road, and I also can connect it to my living room television when at home. (I have been using a PlayStation 3 as my primary Blu-Ray player until now.) Earlier this winter I worked up a syllabus for the spring term for a handful of students interested in a deep dive into cinema studies, but the proposal was not approved. I am pretty proud of my course design nonetheless; you can check it out here.

I have just one more term left in my four-year Basic Program curriculum at the University of Chicago, and I look forward to actually meeting in person the others in my cohort, come June, for our “graduation” festivities.



What I’m Reading

Working On Now:

  • James Joyce, Ulysses
  • Arthur C. Brooks, From Strength to Strength: Finding Success, Happiness, and Deep Purpose in the Second Half of Life
  • Ward Farnsworth, The Socratic Method: A Practicioner’s Handbook

Recently Finished:

  • Claire Keegan, Small Things Like These
  • Haruki Murakami, The Strange Library

On Deck:

  • Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
  • George Packer, Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal
  • Hanya Yanagihara, To Paradise
  • Jeremy Asher Dauber, American Comics: A History
  • Philip Roth, The Human Strain

For Courses I’m Taking This Spring:

  • Plato, Phaedo
  • Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France
  • Toni Morrison, Beloved
  • William Langland, Piers Plowman
  • Everyman
  • The Second Shepherds’ Play
  • Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene
  • Edgar Allan Poe, short stories
  • Nathaniel Hawthorne, short stories
  • Giovanni Boccaccio, Decameron
  • The Sagas of Icelanders
  • Mark Cousins, The Story of Film (Revised Edition)

For Courses I’m Teaching This Spring:

  • 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


  • Severance (Apple TV+)
  • The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show On Earth, Season 7 (Showtime)
  • Our Flag Means Death (HBO Max)
  • Picard, Season 2 (Paramount+)
  • The Gilded Age (HBO Max)
  • Superman and Lois, Season 2 (The CW)
  • Raised By Wolves, Season 2 (HBO Max)

Recently Finished—Television:

  • The Righteous Gemstones, Season 2 (HBO Max)
  • Euphoria, Season 2 (HBO Max)
  • Peacemaker (HBO Max)

On Deck—Television:

  • Endeavour, Season 8 (PBS Passport)
  • Super Pumped (Showtime)
  • Ladhood, Seasons 1 & 2 (Hulu)
  • COBRA, Season 2 (PBS Passport)
  • A Discovery of Witches, Seasons 1–3 (AMC+)

Recently Finished—Films:

  • The Outfit (d. Graham Moore, 2022)
  • Lucy and Desi (Amazon Prime, d. Amy Poehler, 2022)
  • tick, tick . . . BOOM! (Netflix, d. Lin Manuek-Maranda, 2021)
  • Cyrano (d. Joe Wright, 2022)
  • The Siege of Jadotville (Netflix, d. Richie Smyth, 2016)
  • The Ornament of the World (PBS Passport, d. Michael Schwarz, 2019)
  • Mrs. Miniver (d. William Wyler, 1942)
  • Last Night in Soho (d. Edgar Wright, 2021)
  • The Lost City of Z (Amazon Prime, d. James Gray, 2016)
  • The Tender Bar (Amazon Prime, d. George Clooney, 2022)
  • The Last Duel (HBO Max, d. Ridley Scott, 2021)
  • Forbidden Planet (d. Fred M. Wilcox, 1956)
  • After Yang (Showtime, d. Kogonada, 2021)
  • The Batman (d. Matt Reeves, 2022)
  • Seven Days in May (d. John Frankenheimer, 1964)
  • The Tragedy of Macbeth (Apple TV+, d. Joel Coen, 2021)
  • The Worst Person in the World (d. Joachim Trier, 2021)
  • The Hand of God (Netflix, d. Paolo Sorrentino, 2021)
  • Free Guy (Disney+, d. Shawn Levy, 2021)
  • Icahn: The Restless Billionaire (HBO Max, d. Bruce David Klein, 2022)
  • Uncharted (d. Ruben Fleischer, 2022)
  • CODA (Apple TV+, d. Sian Heder, 2021)
  • Flee (Hulu, d. Jonas Poher Rasmussen, 2021)
  • The Power of the Dog (Netflix, d. Jane Campion, 2021)
  • The Hustler (d. Robert Rossen, 1961)
  • Death on the Nile (d. Kenneth Branagh, 2022)
  • The Lost Daughter (Netflix, d. Maggie Gyllenhall, 2021)
  • Parallel Mothers (d. Pedro Almovodar, 2021)
  • Drive My Car (d. Ryusuke Hamaguchi, 2021)
  • The Squid and the Whale (Amazon Prime, d. Noah Baumbach, 2005)
  • American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story (d. Jon Erwin & Andrew Erwin, 2021)



What I’m Listening To


  • Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures


  • Your Undivided Attention

Audiobooks/Radio Dramas:

  • The Sandman, Act II (Audible)



What I’ve Been Attending

  • online RADA course on Shakespeare’s sonnets
  • performance of “Tosca,” Metropolitan Opera, New York City, March
  • Jacques-Louis David exhibit at The Metropolitan Museum (took advantage of the free access for Bank of America cardholders the first weekend of every month), New York City, March
  • visit to Disneyland, Anaheim, California, March
  • PNB Paribas Open, Indian Wells, California, March



Where I’m Traveling

Recently Completed Trips:

  • four days in the Florida Panhandle in early February, staying in Destin and visiting the planned community of Seaside
  • recent weekend in New York City, meeting former students for lunch downtown and consuming some culture
  • a week in California (Los Angeles, Newport Beach, and Indian Wells/Palm Desert) and then a week working my way across Florida (Tampa, Naples, Winter Park, Melbourne, Hobe Sound, West Palm Beach) including a few appearances at alumni functions in the Sunshine State

Upcoming Trips:

  • an overnight visit to Washington, DC, in late March to see a production of The Merchant of Venice
  • celebrating Shakespeare’s birthday—April 23—with a long weekend jaunt to London and Stratford-upon-Avon, catching a couple of the Bard’s history plays at the RSC; this will be my first trip out of the country in over two years!



What I’m Learning

  • guitar



What I’m Looking Forward To

  • the days getting longer
  • the weather getting warmer
  • (I finally got a haircut, so that gets crossed off the list after two years without a visit to the barber)


Thanks to Derek Sivers for his concept of the /now page.
Revised: 20 March 2022