Thanks for your help guys! As it was a freshly installed distro and I didn't have much data to back up, I decided to reformat the hard drive and reinstall. Maybe a bit of an over reaction...but I was at my wit's end. I also got an assortment of rpms for c compilation-gcc, glibc-devel, bin-utils, and threw them in the mix, and things seem to work fine now.
It's boggling how many libraries and dependencies there are...you could easliy get lost tracking them all down. All part of the newbie experience I guess.
You probably know all about these pages already, but in case you dont: