I did the usually stuff to fix priviledges, and check files, but that yielded nothing good. I didn't find much good advice about this problem on the Net. Using Terminal and Netscape to look at and occasionally delete plists, Cache directories, didn't change make any difference. The dumps in the Finder crash log didn't help because they gave no clue as to what file was being processed when the finder crashed. Then used Console and saw a message about a failure in reference to a plist belonging to a copy of Safari that was in my Trash. I remembered that this started soon after I installed a new version of Safari and trashed the old one. So I manually deleted the contents of my .Trash and now everything works fine.
What do ordinary mortals do? The standard advice is to reinstall the OS. Had I done that it wouldn't have made a difference since the problem was do to an application that I had installed. Although Safari is an Apple Ap, it is special and doesn't get recognized by Software Update - at least that is true for this machine.
All's well that ends well - and particularly since RedSox are back in first place after a spectacular comeback win over Milwaukee Saturday, and easy win Sunday as well as two Yankee losses at Wrigley. Yesterday's loss was the first Cubs win over the Yankees who had swept the Cubs in the 1932 and 1938 World Series. Kevin Millar (Sox) hit a spectacular pinch grand slam homerun on Saturday and two on Sunday. The announcers joked that they should rename the Milwaukee ball park from Miller Park to Millar Park.