After a day's vacation from computer woes I looked again to see what else might be wrong. It's not pretty.
I seem to have systemic file permission problems in all of my data drives. All this time I thought, I still have my old Tiger system on another drive, if I absolutely must I can revert. Well, the file permission issues are pervasive and independent of OS. Tiger doesn't even see half of my data drives (I have 8 on two eSata Burley boxes, and several more inside the computer).
So much for my safety net.
Next big problem. I fired up Final Cut and a Log & Capture window to download tape from a camera. Final Cut couldn't see the camera. If I open up Final Cut in Tiger, no problem, Log & Capture works fine. It's another Snow Leopard issue.
I haven't dared to plug my iPhone into this machine yet. Something might explode. Or it will wipe all my apps and music, which iTunes wants to do anyway no matter what.