Thanks for your help, I finally got it to work - although I do not grok all of the commands I used. I think I have accomplished the necessary tasks. basically, my machine is now on the net. After I configured eth0 properly using the network scripts (still not sure who made these). I had to change the netmask to a number where a.b where the same but c and d were different. in other words, i was assigned an ip address that was different from the gateway by the last and the second-to-last number.
question, though it seems to work I never entered the DNS server anywhere (I don't think). Was it automatically picked up?
I am not sure what a proxy server is although I have heard the term. I will look up a definition. I am just amazed that I see google on my linux box and I did it myself (with help).