Highlighted in RED below is the PROBLEM statement, followed by the solution in bold.
Here is the link to the latest thread on the APPLE support community page that solved all my issues in one go...
This link is the source document for deleting/reseting Finder Preferences. This was not the final solution for me but is useful to know about for all kinds of buggy behavior:
Mac OS X Troubleshooting and Terminal Commands
This is my "Manual" or Log of solutions. These are copy and paste-able into the TERMINAL app. It's not long or terribly comprehensive, but should grow with time and your contributions... (copy and paste the highlighted portion EXACTLY as it is...)
delete finder prefs
delete launch services plist (this was my magic bullet)
INSTRUCTIONS: Launch the Terminal app in /Applications/Utilities/, copy & paste in this one-liner, hit the return key, quit Terminal, and restart:
/System/Library/Frameworks/CoreServices.framework/Versions/A/Frameworks/LaunchServices.framework/Versions/A/Support/lsregister -kill -r -domain local -domain system -domain user