To Tie For

The blogger dedicated to the neckwear of NBC's Brian Williams gets a surprise gift.

Nance Donnelly got a tie for Christmas, and it's way cooler than any tie you got.

Last fall, Donnelly — the Lorain County high school English teacher who maintains the Brian Williams Tie Report Archives blog — used her verbose vocabulary to promote a charity auction featuring some of the NBC Nightly News anchor's ties.

Joan's Legacy was founded in memory of an NBC Nightly News staffer who died of lung cancer. The group has raised more than $10 million and hosts an annual auction. Organizers found Donnelly's blog, which critiques Williams' tie choice after each evening's broadcast, and asked her to help promote the event.

"Let's face it: The blog is such a trivial, pointless, meaningless bit of fluff that it would be nice if it did something important, right?" Donnelly asks, a bit rhetorically.

Something important, indeed: At the auction, the half-dozen ties, including ones from Hermès and Brooks Brothers, all previously featured on Donnelly's blog and all autographed, fetched a total of $5,000. The entire auction raised $1 million.

A few weeks later, Donnelly received a package in the mail. Inside she found a note and a cravat her sons refer to as "the Cavs tie:" a burgundy field with narrow diagonal gold stripes. The auction organizer had bought one of Williams' ties for Donnelly.

"You don't realize how something so ... trivial ... something like a blog, getting on the Internet can bring you in touch with so many people and can do so much good," Donnelly says. "I had to sit down. I wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. It was a very strange moment in my life. Thank goodness it was one of the [ties] I reviewed favorably and one of the ones I actually like."

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