Ned Gallagher in Havana.

Ned Gallagher:
What I’m Up To


Arrival of Summer 2024

“This bud of love, by summer’s ripening breath
May prove a beauteous flower when next we meet.”

- William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet



Vorsprung durch Technik

Ten days ago I bought a new car.

2024 Audi Q7

I had been driving a 2011 Audi Q5 for thirteen-and-a-half years and was told by the mechanics the last time it was serviced that the vehicle was not long for this world and it would be pointless to spend any more money keeping it roadworthy. So I took advantage of some favorable Memorial Day pricing and splurged for a 2024 Q7 model, a bit of an upgrade in terms of size, with more cargo space and a third row of seating. As is typical of Audi, the car is loaded with the latest technology, too. It has a Bang & Olufsen sound system—as did the Q5—but adds Apple CarPlay functionality to link music, podcasts, maps, messaging, and calls with my iPhone. And there are all sorts of other bells and whistles in the vehicle. Though from a distance the color reads as black, the car is actually Tamarind Brown Metallic and the interior cabin is furnished in a handsome Okapi Brown.

This past weekend I drove down to Long Island for a two-day road trip—a maiden voyage or shakedown cruise of sorts—visiting the Theodore Roosevelt house at Sagamore Hill and Walt Whitman’s birthplace in Huntington, checking out my hometown of Bayport and some nearby stomping grounds, and exploring the East End, before taking the ferry from Orient Point across the Sound back to Connecticut. Happy to report I am very pleased with my new whip.


Roland Garros

Rafa Nadal at Roland Garros, 2014

I have been watching a lot of tennis the last couple weeks, as Tennis Channel subscribers now have access to virtually the entire tournament, with coverage of every court over two weeks. As a young tennis fan in my early teens, the French Open was a bit of an enigma; televised coverage was sparse (usually the finals weekend was aired by CBS via tape delay) and harder to watch, as the lower resolution broadcast technology made it more difficult to see the ball. Moreover, tennis on European red clay in that era was often, frankly, pretty boring—at least compared to the other televised majors: Wimbledon and the U.S. Open (back then the Australian Open might as well have been played on another planet!). Points were wars of attrition, characterized by lengthy baseline rallies (moonballs!) and exciting shot-making seemed to be a rarity. Changes in racquet technology have made tennis on the terre battue (as the locals call their clay courts) pretty riveting nowadays, and the most successful players must learn to construct points like chess masters. I have been lucky enough to attend the tournament in person a handful of times now and have a deep appreciation for the artistry on court as well as the spectacular setting of a Parisian June.


D-Day +80

In further news from France, this past week brought observances of the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings. It was pretty stirring to witness a handful of American veterans of that engagement—now around 100 years old!—returning to the Continent, reliving that milestone in their young lives that also was the turning point in the war against European fascism. I thought the U.S. president hit all the right notes in how he honored the sacrifices made by Allied forces, effectively linking these historical events to the challenges of our present day.

This particular magazine cover, from the archives of The New Yorker, is something made for a history teacher like myself to love: a visual narrative of the Normandy landings in the style of the Bayeux Tapestry! Having visited the D-Day beaches and landmarks like the village of Sainte-Mère-Église as well the Bayeux Tapestry on my first trip to Europe in August of 1990, this mash-up resonates with me deeply.


Summer School

detail of a window in the Paul Mellon Humanities Center

I have signed on for teaching duties once more this summer. Over the course of my career, I have taken a couple summers off entirely, but most years I have spent the additional five weeks in the classroom. I used to take on dorm duty and a coaching assignment, too, but those days are far in the rear-view mirror at this point. My daily teaching schedule has me finished around lunchtime so the rest of the day is my own. And I still have plenty of downtime in June and August to recharge the batteries and, if I choose, get far away from campus. For the record, I do not view summer school teaching as a slog. I like the courses I teach and I enjoy working with kids from backgrounds largely different from those of the students I teach in the “winter school.”

This July I also am reprising an online mini-course for alumni and parents in tne evenings, this year looking at American films from the 1980s.


The Reading Life

In addition to my teaching load this summer, I am enrolled as a full-time graduate student in my program at St. John’s College. This entails a ten-week program consisting of a tutorial that meets three times a week, a seminar that meets three times over two weeks, and also a preceptorial that also convenes three times every two weeks. That’s a total of 60 class meetings, with a substantive reading assignment associated with each session. On top of that, I am taking a course on Shakespeare’s comedies at UChicago and a cinema course at Stanford. So my nose will be buried in books (or sometimes screening a film) a few hourse every day through the end of July. Life could be a lot worse!


The 49th State

Later this week I will be heading out to Anchorage, Alaska, for a three-day Japanese history workshop. I am lucky in that the sponsoring organization is giving me a $2500 travel grant to support airfare and lodging for the trip (plus a stipend for taking the course!). This will enable me to spend a day’s layover in San Francisco to celebrate my nephew’s 12th birthday.



What I’m Reading

Working On Now:

  • Alexandre Lefebrvre, Liberalism as a Way of Life
  • Colm Tóibín, Brooklyn
  • John J. Collins, Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (Third Edition)
  • Haruki Murakami, Kafka On the Shore
  • Harry S. Ashmore, Unreasonable Truths: The Life of Robert Maynard Hutchins

Recently Finished:

  • Robert Kagan, Rebellion: How Antiliberalism Is Tearing America Apart—Again
  • Tana French, The Hunter
  • Richard Haass, The Bill of Obligations: The Ten Habits of Good Citizens
  • Kara Swisher, Burn Book: A Tech Love Story

On Deck:

  • Helena Rosenblatt, The Lost History of Liberalism: From Ancient Rome to the Twenty-First Century
  • Daniel Silva, A Death in Cornwall
  • John Della Volpe, Fight: How Gen Z Is Channeling Their Fear and Passion to Save America
  • Edmund Fawcett, Liberalism: The Life of an Idea
  • Robin Wood, Hitchcock’s Films Revisited [Revised Edition]
  • Stephen Breyer, Reading the Constitution: Why I Chose Pragmatism, Not Textualism
  • Steve Berry and Grant Blackwood, Red Star Falling
  • Nellie Bowles, Morning After the Revolution: Dispatches from the Wrong Side of History
  • Ned O’Gorman, Politics for Everybody: Reading Hannah Arendt in Uncertain Times
  • James Rollins, Arkangel: A Sigma Force Novel

For Courses I’m Taking This Summer:

  • Paul Dunscomb, Japan Since 1945
  • Richard Lloyd Perry, Ghosts of the Tsunami
  • William M. Tsutsui, Japanese Popular Culture and Globalization
  • Derek Walcott, Omeros
  • William Shakespeare, As You Like It
  • William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night
  • William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
  • Plutarch, Lives
  • Plato, Republic
  • Aristotle, Politics
  • Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince
  • John Locke, Second Treatise of Civil Government
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin and Foundations of Inequality
  • Karl Marx, The German Ideology
  • Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
  • James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay, The Federalist Papers
  • Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
  • Plato, “Meno”
  • Michel de Montaigne, “On the Education of Children”
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Emile
  • Augustine, The Teacher
  • Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Future of our Educational Institutions
  • Booker T. Washington, “Democracy and Education”
  • W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk
  • Virginia Woolf, A Room of One’s Own
  • Simone Weil, “Reflections on the Right Use of School Studies with a View to the Love of God”
  • Neil Postman, The End of Education
  • John Dewey, Experience and Education
  • Hannah Arendt, “The Crisis in Education”
  • Michael Oakeshott, “A Place of Learning”
  • Charles W. Eliot, “Liberty in Education”
  • James McCosh, The New Departure in College Education
  • Sidney Hook, “A Critical Appraisal of the St. John’s Curriculum”
  • Eva Brann, “Liberal Education”

For Courses I’m Teaching This Summer:

  • James Q. Wilson et al., American Government: Institutions and Policies
  • Leon P. Baradat and John A. Phillips, Political Ideologies: Their Origins and Impact
  • Homer, The Iliad
  • Pericles, “Funeral Oration”
  • Sophocles, Antigone
  • Peter S. Bennett, What Happened on Lexington Green: An Inquiry into the Nature and Method of History

Summer Reading for School:

  • Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Chain Gang All-Stars
  • Reginald Dwayne Betts, Felon
  • Joy Buolamwini, Unmasking AI: My Mission to Protect What Is Human in a World of Machines
  • Kate Crawford, Atlas of AI: Power, Politics, and the Planetary Costs of Artificial Intelligence



What I’m Watching


  • Real Time with Bill Maher, season 22 (Max)
  • Dark Matter (Apple TV+)
  • Star Wars: The Acolyte (Disney+)
  • Russian Doll (Netflix)
  • My Adventures with Superman, season 2 (Max)

Recently Finished—Television:

  • coverage of Roland Garros (Tennis Channel and NBC/Peacock)
  • Franklin (Apple TV+)
  • Alex Rider, season 3 (Amazon Prime)
  • X-Men ’97 (Disney+)
  • Manhunt (Apple TV+)
  • Dead Boy Detectives (Netflix)
  • Billy Joel: The 100th – Live at Madison Square Garden (Paramount+)
  • Star Wars: Tales of the Empire (Disney+)

On Deck—Television:

  • The Bear, season 3 (Hulu+)
  • The Boys, season 4 (Amazon Prime)

Recently Finished—Films:

  • On the Waterfront (d. Elia Kazan, 1954), iTunes digital copy
  • The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (d. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, 1943), Blu-ray
  • Kingdom of the Planet of the Apes (d. Wes Ball, 2024), cinema
  • Atlas (d. Brad Payton, 2024), streamed on Netflix
  • Justice League: Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part One (d. Jeff Wamester, 2024), streamed on Max
  • The Bourne Ultimatum (d. Paul Greengrass, 2007), streamed on Max
  • The Bourne Supremacy (d. Paul Greengrass, 2004), streamed on Peacock
  • The Bourne Identity (d. Doug Liman, 2002), streamed on Peacock
  • Who Is Stan Smith? (d. Danny Lee, 2022), cinema
  • All-Star Superman (d. Stan Liu, 2011), iTunes digital copy
  • Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (d. Chantal Akerman, 1975), streamed on Criterion Channel
  • Superman (d. Richard Donner, 1978), DVD
  • Vertigo (d. Alfred Hitchcock, 1958), 4K Ultra HD
  • Citizen Kane (d. Orson Welles, 1941), 4K Ultra HD
  • Challengers (d. Luca Guadagnino, 2024), cinema
  • Flora and Son (d. John Carney, 2023), streamed on Apple TV+
  • The Zone of Interest (d. Jonathan Glazer, 2023), streamed on Max
  • Tokyo Story (d. Yasujiro Ozu, 1953), streamed on Criterion Channel
  • Rebel Moon, Part II: The Scargiver (d. Zack Snyder, 2024), streamed on Netflix
  • The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare (d. Guy Ritchie, 2024), cinema
  • In The Mood For Love (d. Wong Kar-wai, 2000), streamed on Max
  • Civil War (d. Alex Garland, 2024), cinema
  • Infernal Affairs II (d. Alan Mak & Andrew Lau Wai-keung, 2003), Blu-ray
  • Infernal Affairs (d. Alan Mak & Andrew Lau Wai-keung, 2002), Blu-ray
  • STEVE! (Martin): A Documentary in 2 Pieces (d. X, 2024), streamed on Apple TV+
  • Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire (d. Adam Wingard, 2024), cinema
  • Godzilla vs. Kong (d. Adam Wingard, 2021), 4K Ultra HD
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (d. Michael Dougherty, 2019), 4K Ultra HD
  • Kong: Skull Island (d. Jordan Vogt-Roberts, 2017), 4K Ultra HD
  • Godzilla (d. Gareth Edwards, 2014), 4K Ultra HD
  • Laura (d. Otto Preminger, 1944), iTunes rental
  • Gaslight (d. George Cukor, 1944), iTunes rental
  • Strangers on a Train (d. Alfred Hitchcock, 1951), Blu-ray
  • Rear Window (d. Alfred Hitchcock, 1954), DVD



What I’m Listening To


  • The Ink Spots, Stanley Morgan’s Ink Spots in London
  • Wings, Venus and Mars [2014 Remaster]
  • Academy of St. Martin in the Fields, Mozart: Great Mass in C Minor


  • 99% Invisible: The Power Broker
  • The French Connection (NBC Sports)



What I’ve Been Attending

  • online workshop: “Teaching about Controversial Issues in Polarized Times,” Facing History & Ourselves, June
  • visit to Walt Whitman’s birthplace, Huntington, NY, June
  • visit to Theodore Roosevelt’s home, Sagamore Hill National Historic Site, Oyster Bay, NY, June
  • visit to the Mark Twain House, Hartford, CT, June
  • online workshop: “Poetry in the Classroom: Haiku by Matsuo Bashō and Masaoka Shiki,” Program for Teaching East Asia, University of Colorado Boulder, May



Where I’m Traveling

Recent Trips:

  • Long Island, June
  • Dublin, April

Upcoming Trips:

  • a West Coast swing: Seattle, Anchorage, and San Francisco, June
  • New York City, June
  • London, August
  • Cedar City, Utah, August



What I’m Learning

  • this summer I am taking a fascinating course on pedagogy, viewed through the lens of 2500 years of Great Books



What I’m Looking Forward To

  • road trips in the new car
  • watching the Wimbledon championships in July
  • time for pleasure reading



Thanks to Derek Sivers for his concept of the /now page.
Revised: 9 June 2024