I posted something to the Cobalt support forum and haven't a response yet. Go figure. I was lucky this time, though in that my web hosting company had a faster response time (30 min) and physically rebooted the machine for me. Fortunately, no (or not much) corruption on the HD.
So now I've survived that and I'm starting up my 2nd mod_perl program... as darobin says, once you go mod_perl, you don't go back (to vanilla CGI). I do feel like developing with mod_perl is more of an art, or rather better utilizing my Comp Sci background. Maybe that's b/c it's new and challenging.
Oh, did I mention that our server has about 160Mb (odd # - but that's what 'top' outputs) of memory. Gonna need to ask management to upgrade that as I go more & more into mod_perl.