Whooops... i hadn't understood what a "hard reboot" was.. i finally did and my PW is back in business.. wish i could host a beer for all of you.. ;-)
I also was able to replicate the steps which caused the PW to hang.. here goes:
1. ran KUAL
2. ran KindleExplorer
3. navigate to root directory
4. try to open /etc directory by touching it
5. BAM.. PW hangs..
Should this be flagged as a bug in KindleExplorer? Or as a warning, caution, admonition to others..?
Once again, my heartfelt thanks to all.. especially NiLuJe.. for the hard reboot tip.. :-)
will keep away from further fiddling for some time.. :-P