Ok, this is what I want to do, and I can not figure out how:
1- "Home" page that has no posts (zero). All it has is introductory text.
2- "Blog" page that has just the single most recent post.
3- Links to these pages appear in the sidebar.
4- Multiple post excerpts appear on archives and categories pages.
I know there must be tons of ways to do this and I almost have it working, but not quite: http://TheMillennialPedestrian.com
I can get into the code and change things if needed. I have a plugin running that makes the page you name 'home' into the home page. I can turn it off. I can create home.php if needed. I have a pluging that allows you to include php in the content of your pages. That's how the current Blog page is working (I have my own non-WP query producing the content).
I guess what I'm missing is the big picture logic of how to do this. It's my first WP installation, so I guess I have an excuse, but I've been trying a while to get this to work, and I am just stymied.
Any guidance is GREATLY appreciated!