Well, sometimes I am an idiot. I jumped through major league hoops that were totally unnecessary in getting my WiFi dongle to connect with my Wireless router. I looked for help on the web, Found a lot of guidelines that were a bit involved, but not atrocious.
So I started doing what they asked. Got my system plugged into the router via ethernet cable. Update the Raspbian install, check for chipsets, add drivers.
But it was confusing, because it said all this stuff had been done.
Finally, I looked at the desktop in the X-Window window manager, and “fuck me, there is an icon for WiFi Config” right there on the desktop.
Shit, 2 minutes later, I am connected, got an IP address, and am all set.
That was hard. But I am posting this from the minimal browser in the system, and all is well.
Having fun doing some hobbyist hacking around in linux.