By David Bauder
Friday, November 28, 2008
NEW YORK -- Each night after watching Brian Williams deliver the "NBC Nightly News," an English teacher in Ohio is moved to go to her computer and write -- about what Williams wore around his neck.
The Brian Williams Tie Report Archives isn't the weirdest thing you'll find online, but it's up there. It's a snarky, occasionally appreciative and flat-out funny read that will have you looking at Williams as never before.
"People must think 'This poor woman must be one of those stalker freaks,' but it can't be any further from the truth," said Nance Donnelly, author of the blog, who will only say she lives in northeast Ohio.
She's always found ties slightly ridiculous. Donnelly used to notice Cleveland Cavaliers Coach Mike Fratello's neckwear, but after he left the team she transferred her attention to the usually impeccably dressed Williams.
The report has a sense of history, from Williams's "Mango Madness Episode" in summer 2007 to the memorable week Donnelly caught him wearing the same tie twice in four days.
She liked Williams's purple tie of Nov. 17, saying it was "almost a whispery confection of a cravat . . . a tie which looks like sugared violets adorning the tops of fancy cupcakes served to Ladies Who Lunch or the tiered cake of a Southern bride whose wedding breakfast is held at a gracious hotel."
The navy blue tie with silver stripes he wore Nov. 14 "is the cardigan sweater of ties, the Grandpa of Fashion, the warm mug of cocoa in a world of fancy schmancy soya lattes with no foam. And in these uncertain economic times, we need a Rock of Gibraltar-esque cravat."
Three ties she despises are in Williams's "Axis of Evil." A pedestrian tie worn too frequently is "TWSNLBRAINDTM," or Tie Which Shall No Longer Be Reviewed And Is Now Dead To Me.
Donnelly is still recovering from the orchid tie Williams wore on Nov. 10. She wrote:
"Those Crayola blue stripes that seemed to run and blur at the right edge of this unholy cravat gave the whole broadcast a weird, Dali-esque vibe, and I kept watching and waiting for the rest of his tie to start melting and running off his shirt and onto the news desk into a puddle of purple and blue."
Williams seems particularly fixated on purple and stripes, she said.
"He only has one green tie," she said. "That's a serious fashion gap."
Silly? Of course. That's what makes it fun. She's also teaching her students by example that if you want to be a writer, write every day.
Williams knows the site.
As a former Catholic high school student, ties are second nature to him. Ask most days what he's wearing, and he'd have to look down to check. He buys most of his ties, and his wife buys some.
"I'm flattered that nice people -- viewers of ours -- would find anything about me interesting enough to write about at great length and with great passion," he said. "But with all due respect, I've got to keep my eye on the ball."