Finally got around to using permalinks for WP and came across a stumbling block. Everytime I uploaded the custom .htaccess file (with code copied & pasted directly from WP) I got an internal 500 server error. Phoned the delightful support team at Media Temple, and found out that TextEdit for Mac is by default saving as Rich Text Format, so not good. Changed to Plain Text under preferences, and presto. Permalinks.
They also recommended fraise as a text editor. I miss BBEdit, but will try that.
Learned: Call tech support, rather than attempting over and over to fix something that’s not working; even when you end up looking like a dope. It’s ok. That’s their job, to tell you something is proverbially unplugged.
Also learned, permalinks by default label the url by the lowest numbered category (which is the Uncategorized, here General) so don’t check the General . Only use if you forget to check the category you want.