Following my fathers advice I put the Toy into the oven for a few hours. And now it's working just fine. (ETA: Ok, make that nearly fine. But I can live with random blackouts of the screen - which were most likely caused by taking the thing apart and loosening a cable)
*huge sigh of relief*
Advantages of a father whose work includes selling computers: He told me he would send me one of his old laptops if this would not work. Or, as he told me after I called to tell him the Toy was working again, a new HP one.
My family is crazy. They are wonderful, but completely crazy.
Positve effect of today? I learned enough about linux to get my internet connection working and install a few essential things.