Ned Gallagher in Havana.

Ned Gallagher:
What I’m Up To


Thanksgiving 2022



Settling In

My new house is starting to feel like home. Since moving in mid-summer, I’ve gradually been acquiring furniture, obtaining rugs, and assembling new bookcases, among other projects. There still are a few things to be repositioned, boxes to be unpacked, and some art to hang on the walls. But with the downtime I will have over the upcoming holidays, I expect to be more or less done with the transition in time for the New Year. I also have an outdoor grill in my backyard now, a hand-me-down from my parents’ house in South Windsor, though it will be at least a few months before that gets much use, I think.

A few quick takes on other developments since the last update:

  • The writer Ian Fleming supposedly said, “Never say ‘no’ to adventures. Always say ‘yes,’ otherwise you’ll lead a very dull life.” Last spring, I was asked by a former student (who is now almost 30 years out of school) to hold the date of November 20 for something special. In keeping with the sprit of Fleming’s advice I blocked off the weekend on my calendar. A couple months ago, I was asked for some personal information so that airfare could be booked. I knew that I would be flying to Los Angeles on Saturday the 19th, and coming back east the following Tuesday in time for Thanksgiving, but beyond that I had no idea what was in store for me. A few days before leaving, however, I noticed that Disney+ would be airing a live concert from Dodger Stadium on the night of Sunday, the 20th--Elton John’s final North American appearance on his Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Farewell Tour--and I wondered if this indeed might be the mystery event. Sure enough, it was. We settled into rooms at the Chateau Marmont and had the whole City of Angels to explore for a long weekend, highlighted by a stellar performance by Sir Elton and the band and their special guests. The entire escapade was a treat, and a much-needed escape at the end of a busy fall term at school.
  • In recent weeks I have been enjoying the hell out of streaming two very different series: Andor on Disney+ and Slow Horses on Apple TV+. The former has been described as “a Star Wars show for people who don't like Star Wars” and the latter is a gripping British spy thriller about MI-5 agents who are considered liabilities.
  • On a somber note, I lost someone close to me a few weeks ago. A mentor and colleague and dear friend, Tom Generous, passed away in late October. As I wrote to his daughters, Tom pretty much gave me the life I’ve been living since 1985. He was the consummate schoolmaster: a brilliant teacher, an inspiring coach, and a fully engaged house adviser--a “schools person” through and through. He was truly a Renaissance man: multi-lingual, a musician, a former naval officer, and a terrific story teller. Add to this his impressive record of scholarship (a PhD. from Stanford in history and multiple published books) and tremendous charisma and you will begin to get a sense of the man. As a colleague once put it, Tom was “a great spirit.” He meant the world to me personally as well as professionally. We first met when I was still in college, a teaching intern assigned to work with him in the summer program at St. Paul's School, luckily landing there when Tom decided to spend six weeks away from Wallingford for a change of scenery. We hit it off from the start. Subsequently Tom and his wife Diane and their family took me under their wings in so many ways when I arrived at Choate. In fact, he was really the reason I chose to come to the school, though he advised me against making the decision on that basis. (In explaining his concept of “the algrebra of happiness,” Scott Galloway writes, “Don't stay loyal to organizations, stay loyal to people”--a notion I’ve found increasingly on the mark). Over the ensuing years Tom and I shared so many things--teaching history and coaching squash prominently at the top of that list. My first time outside North America was a four-week jaunt around Europe with Tom in 1990; the trip was centered around World War I and World War II historical sites but ended being so much more than that. I picked up so much history just from sharing a car with Tom for hours on end that August. Though I was never enrolled in a course of his, I can say without hesitation that Tom was the greatest teacher I ever had. I count myself lucky indeed to have had Tom Generous as a mentor and friend for over 35 years and I shall miss him fiercely.



What I’m Reading

Recent Additions to the Bookshelf:

  • Haruki Murakami, Novelist as a Vocation
  • Bob Dylan, The Philosophy of Modern Song
  • Bob Batchelor, Stan Lee: A Life
  • John Irving, The Last Chairlift
  • Stuart Galbraith IV, The Emperor and the Wolf: The Loves and Films of Akira Kurosawa and Toshiro Mifune
  • George William Van Cleve, We Have Not a Government: The Articles of Confederation and the Road to the Constitution
  • G.B. Trudeau, Former Guy: Doonesbury in the Time of Trumpism
  • Edward White, The Twelve Lives of Alfred Hitchcock: An Anatomy of the Master of Suspense
  • Peter Baker and Susan Glasser, The Divider: Trump in the White House, 2017-2021
  • Paul Cartledge, After Thermopylae: The Oath of Plataea and the End of the Graeco-Persian Wars
  • Garry Wills, Font of Life: Ambrose, Augustine, and the Mystery of Baptism
  • Akira Kurosawa, Something Like An Autobiography
  • Herbert J. Storing, What the Anti-Federalists Were For: The Political Thought of the Opponents of the Constitution
  • Ivan Brunetti, Cartooning: Philosophy and Practice



What I’m Watching


  • Mystic Quest, season 3 (Apple TV+)
  • The Sex Lives of College Girls, seasons 1 and 2 (HBO Max)
  • The White Lotus, season 2 (HBO Max)
  • Titans, season 4 (HBO Max)
  • The Crown, season 5 (Netflix)
  • Stargirl, season 3 (The CW)
  • Star Trek: Prodigy, season 1 (Paramount+)
  • Derry Girls, season 3 (Netflix)
  • Slow Horses, seasons 1 and 2 (Apple TV+)

Recently Finished—Television:

  • Guardians of the Galaxy Holiday Special (Disney+)
  • The Lincoln Project (Showtime)
  • Tales of the Jedi (Disney+)

On Deck—Television:

  • His Dark Materials, season 3 (HBO Max)
  • Gossip Girl, season 2 (HBO Max)

Recently Finished—Films:

  • The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent (d. Tom Gormican, 2022)
  • Bones and All (d. Luca Guadagnino, 2022)
  • Chasing Amy (d. Kevin Smith, 1997)
  • The Fabelmans (d. Steven Spielberg, 2022)
  • Werewolf By Night (d. Michael Giacchino, 2022)
  • Ran (d. Akira Kurosawa, 1985)
  • Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (d. Ryan Coogler, 2022)
  • High and Low (d. Akira Kurosawa, 1963)
  • Seven Samurai (d. Akira Kurosawa, 1954)
  • The Banshees of Inisherin (d. Martin McDonagh, 2022)
  • Ikiru (d. Akira Kurosawa, 1952)
  • Black Adam (d. Jaume Collet-Serra, 2022)
  • Risky Business (d. Paul Brickman, 1983)
  • Goodbye Mr. Chips (d. Herbert Ross, 1969)
  • Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (d. Gareth Edwards, 2016)
  • Foreign Correspondent (d. Alfred Hitchcock, 1940)



What I’m Listening To


  • Bruce Springsteen, Only the Strong Survive
  • The Beatles, Revolver [Super Deluxe edition]


  • Bono, Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story (Audible)



What I’ve Been Attending

  • My Fair Lady, Schubert Theater, New Haven, October
  • Measure for Measure, Chicago, October



Where I’m Traveling

Upcoming Trips:

  • a few days in south Florida a week before Christmas, using up some hotel room rewards before they expire at year’s end
  • Boston over New Year’s weekend



What I’m Learning

  • becoming more skilled in the kitchen as I am cooking my own meals more often



What I’m Looking Forward To

  • family time over the holidays
  • boys’ JV squash season


Thanks to Derek Sivers for his concept of the /now page.
Revised: 29 November 2022