Matt, I'm glad to hear directly from you, and I appreciate the detailed reply.
The reason behind my recent frustration with WP's dynamic vs. static file approach is that I can't seem to find a host that will let me focus on just "the content", as you put it. It seems that web hosts love to blame WordPress as the reason the web server is overloaded, or why the site has gone down. Naturally, that sort of thing would make one wish for the ability to generate static HTML files, which scale much better as traffic grows, and make it harder for the web host to find an excuse.
I used 1and1 in the past, then experienced significant outages and moved to Media Temple. Now (mt) blames my WP install as the reason the mySQL server is overloaded and goes down, and they're suggesting that the WP tables aren't properly indexed, and that the queries aren't optimized, or that my site's too slow, not properly configured, etc. I've heard all sorts of "suggestions" from them in a recent case, which prompted me to do some research and find out that others are frustrated with WP's perceived server load as well.
At any rate, I would really love to not have to worry about the best caching method for me, or why my site keeps going down, or why my web hosts always go into CYA mode, and just publish content, which is what I love to do. I'm not getting huge amounts of traffic like the big sites, and keep wondering why I can't seem to find a web host that will not offer excuses but just keep my site up.
If you'd like to help me tune my WP install a little, I'd love to work with you or one of your team members on that and learn how to keep WP humming along. I believe I've already done a fair bit of tuning to my site, but I'm always glad to learn more. I'd also be glad to document the findings for the benefit of others. Btw, I also sent a message to the host feedback email (seen here http://wordpress.org/hosting/) detailing my most recent problem.
Many thanks for your reply!