I finally bit the bullet and rebuilt my blog templates last night and this morning. It is not a pure css design, but the browser interface to my blog (the Desktop Website) is no longer screwed up.
To get around the problems I discussed in my last post, I enclosed the entire blog in one table - one row for the header, one row with a cell for the blog posts and a cell for the links column, and one row for the footer. Within the blog templates, I replaced as many tables as possible with css. On the external blog, the only table that should be present inside of the blog is the daily archive calendar. The browser interface to my blog (the Desktop Website) has quite a few more as a number of the pages create tables via macro calls, but I can live with that.
I pulled out the style sections from all of my blog templates and combined them into an external style sheet. Now when I want to tweak a style, I only have to do it in one place instead of 3.
Another advantage to my layout and design is that it presents the blog content first (as opposed to the Navigator Links column first). Supposedly this is good design. I used the Lynx Viewer (a text-based web browser) to verify how my blog was presenting its content. It was interesting to see how my site looked on a text browser.
I tried to validate the html code I had come up with. W3C's HTML Validator found one problem with my comment links that I fixed. Beyond that, it chokes on all the code that Radio Userland inserts into the html to make TrackBack work.
One thing I learned while I while trying to validate the html was how to break Radio Userland's WYSIWYG html editor. According to the W3C standards, the DOCTYPE in an html file is supposed to specify the full path to a DTD (document type definition) file. If such a path is specified, Radio Userland's WYSIWYG html editor no longer displays the formatting and linking toolbar at the top of the editor. (I have no idea why, but I suspect that it has something to do with the fact that the WYSIWYG editor code has an IFRAME tag in it.) It took me quite a while to figure out that this is what caused my toolbar to disappear.
I moved on to W3C's CSS Validator to see if my new css code would pass muster. Again, the validator found one mistake, which I corrected. The blog passed on the second try, so I now have the "Valid CSS" logo at the bottom of the page.
I think I'm done with the basic design for a while. I know I'm tired of messing with it (not to mention tired of reading up on html and css and trying a dozen different ways to solve various problems).