Thanks again for your help mtmckinley and nem (This is great, I'm in NYC getting advice from England and Mississippi)
Problem #1 - Turns out I wasn't careful in selecting my objects. Just because you have an object chosen and highlighted in the Hypergraph, doesn't mean that's the choice when you right-click it in the workspace to select it's attribute window or some other property. Must pay attention to objects names.
Problem #2 - Mtmckinley, posting an image is beyond me at this point, as I'm quite computer illiterate. (I know that sounds beyond hopeless, but then again I've animated for Disney and Warners, Frank Thomas is a friend, so I like to think I'm not completely useless!)
Rendering an image of the problem hand results in the un-shaded objects not showing up on the image, while the others are fine. It's probably easier for me to figure this out than to post an image of it here
While I've got your attention, any ideas on how to convert curves (like those drawn with the Pencil Curve tool) into an object that could be translated and such? Also how to draw curves in 3D space - they always come out flat normally.
Thanks in advance - I'll post these questions on another thread!