NM and TG, Thanks for the kudos. I'm interested to hear what people think of how it's organized...
I struggled for a while trying to figure out how to get categories not to show up as links (just the sub-cats), but I've worn that topic out here on the forums ;-)
So, I just used link categories instead. Did you notice? I'm not even calling any of the cat functions at all...I've also re-written the rest of index.php, and incorporated a very abbreviated version of the nicer archives hack, so that when you click a link (sort of a fake sub-cat link), you get the post name and excerpt as an unordered list. If nothing is called as a URL parameter (no p=, cat=, m=, or s=), then you get the "Welcome" message, which is basically the end of an if-then-else. It's pretty easy, and works well.
For this type of application, I think this works great. It would be nice to be able to pass a parameter to one of the cat functions, instead of having to double up and use link cats, but that's ok...small price to pay.