I have read the man page several times, it still seems to do the same thing as most other system monitors.
The reason I'm curious about the CPU information is because I've long understood it as showing each CPU's status. Funny, I was using "l" instead of "1" ... which caused the confusion. Whoops.
Interesting bit about the memory, I didn't realize that's how it worked.
Running free -m, I get
[root@rh-mysql-prod cganders]# free -m
total used free shared buffers cached
Mem: 16203 16190 12 0 137 14025
-/+ buffers/cache: 2026 14176
Swap: 1983 0 1983
Which still says 16 of 16 GB of memory is in use. But I suppose subtracting the cached portion matches the 2GB that the System Monitor reports. I still don't like how that's labeled.