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I have no idea what your problem is, but I can offer consolation in that i've been having similar troubles with KDE.
Any theme I apply NEVER changes the taskbar and Kmenu, it is forevor stuck on the plastik theme. I can't even change the fonts in the menu. All the other widgets are nice and themed but my freaking taskbar appears to be stuck on kartoonish plastik for all eternity. GRRRRRRRRRR!!
Similar glitch here. What works for me is to right-click an .mpg file (or whatever), select "properties" and then click on the little spanner icon. This opens a similar dialogue box where you can change your application priority and suchlike, and it actually seems to remember the settings.
Just a guess "in the dark": are your permissions OK in /tmp? I once managed to screw them up (owner:group all set to root:root) and KDE behaved strangely. I cleaned /tmp altogether and it worked fine again.
Try closing all instances of Konqueror (browser or file manager) after making your changes to the file associations (you'll probably have to use the process table to get rid of one of the one it keeps preloaded). I've found Konq doesn't always respond to changes in file associations until it is restarted.