God bless the fine folks at Amazon.
Kindle is now working fine AND I found another hidden menu screen in the bargain. Wild carrots to Queen Anne's Lace in 4 seconds flat.
Turns out my Kindle has the same "quirk" that my iPod does. Strangely, since day one, ye olde Nano can't be recognized for a laptop sync unless I completely reboot it before hooking it up to the USB cable. The Kindle needed to be completely rebooted in order to recognize my stuff that I downloaded after hooking it up to the USB cable one time.
So it's kind of like having two kids with the same food allergies. :)
Or, the frickin' HP laptop is a pain in the ass to everything it touches.
Easy, Jo...QAL, QAL....