As in real-life storms, they clear quickly, often leaving damage in their wake.
While I am not yet sure what emotional damage this recent storm caused, it has indeed cleared.
I came into the computer room, montior cable in hand, as I had taken it with me to Best Buy to have it tested in hopes that it was the culprit in my computer woes. Best Buy tested it, and it did work, so I just assumed the problem would be one beyond fixing.
So, as noted in my last narrative, I purchased the MSN-TV, came home, and set it up. It worked SLOWLY. So slowly, it was painful to watch. Anyway, as I was saying, I'm in the computer room, and it strikes me as the thing to do to reattach the monitor cable for one last check before stacking the computer in the closet.
Lo, and behold, it works!
I may never know what was wrong with it, and have no idea if the problem will occur again. But for now, I'm happy to have my computer back...with a careful eye on the sky.