Turns out that little software glitch is actually a corrupted database, and I haven't yet found the proper tool to rebuild it. It's particularly irritating because I have backups of the files before they went belly-up, and those backups immediately fall over when put into production. Serves me right for using orphan software. I'm been trying to avoid WordPress, but it appears a painful conversion may be necessary Real Soon Now.
I'm going to aribitrarily pull the plug until next Monday, which should give me time to properly research and fix things.
In the meantime, here's a fascinating documentary about beavers: