In the English-speaking world diary-keeping has traditionally been the province of "virgins and generals." I am neither of those things. Some childhood efforts aside, I have never kept a daily record of my thoughts and circumstances.
The impulse is there, though, in some weak form. Wherever I've had work writing opinion columns, I have always included a regular diary-style column in my output.
These pieces are for the most part not personal. Some of their segments are short observations on current events, where I had not enough to say — or was not sufficiently interested, engaged, or energetic to work up enough — to fill a regular column. Others pass comment on some book I had read or movie I had seen, when no editor could be persuaded to pay me for a full-length review. Others are random — but, I hope, passingly original — reflections of the kind we all have while walking our dogs.
From December 2001 to March 2012 the outlet for these miscellanea was a monthly diary for National Review Online. I didn't actually start calling these columns "diaries" until March 2002. Earlier contributions in the same basic genre have been grandfathered in here as diaries, beginning with my China Diary of summer 2001.After I was dropped by NRO in April 2012 I tried to persuade Taki's Magazine, for whom I had been writing since 2001, to let me continue this monthly schedule. They weren't keen, but we compromised on a "Quarterly Potpourri." There were thirteen of these from May 2012 to July 2015.
In mid-2015 I retired from Taki's Magazine, leaving VDARE.com as my only regular outlet. They agreed to let me post monthly diaries. The first VDARE.com monthly diary appeared at the end of September 2015.
One fairly regular feature of my NRO diaries was the "Math Corner" at the end of most since August 2002. Sometimes this was a brainteaser, sometimes just a comment on some vaguely math-related topic. Some subset of the brainteasers seemed to me to justify a solution page of their own. Those solution pages are listed here. I have resumed these Math Corners in the VDARE.com diaries.
|4th quarter||The Age of Krapp — Spongebob Squarefree — Stupid impulse purchase of the year — Smart impulse purchase of the year — New taboo word — Woodchipper humor — Animal crackers — Who are we?|
|3rd quarter||Zero shades of gray — Forgetting how to hate — For the Engineer in Your Soul — Absimilation — Daemonical Hints of Truth — No hiding place|
|2nd quarter||You can't faze a New Yorker — Animals more interesting than celebrities — Best bathroom book ever — Americans have no clue about race — Memorizing the Constitution — Three words for one|
|1st quarter||Standing up for work — Who we are — Alternative history — What blacks are interested in — A working philosophy|
|4th quarter||Tightwad Corner — How to open a safe — Al Goldstein, RIP — Weather: the English philosophy — Planned obsolescence — Nut Kune Do — Country of the year — The war to end all wars — I guess it's great, but I still wish I'd never heard of it — Today's Army|
|3rd quarter||The disappearing middle — Mnemonicizing the Civil War — Right and wrong — Beats the band — Smart mice|
|2nd quarter||Oops, I did it again — Hank's last drive — Randomness in St. Louis — What happened in the fifties — The coming Midas Plague|
|1st quarter||Assholes — Parsifal — True worries — Hippophagy — Reactionary wisdom|