Well, it didn't seem to make any difference with the TZ file being in place... So I did an upgrade to the newest version... still no change in the errors.
I went ahead blew away the database again and starting moving it back, little by little running calibre-server without options except the path, and it continues to work. This leads me to believe that it must be something in the content of the books loaded.
Oddly enough, if I add the --daemonize option, the server does not run (no errors either). Any way to get a log of what is going on?