i did a lot of inspecting with the magnifying glass and bright light and not seeing anything I would recognize as further damage, except for one of the USB ports that was sitting at an odd angle and generally uncooperative: I don't see any crossed or otherwise banged up pins in it, but it does not work. its mate, right next to it, does, and the single on the opposite side works fine also. the performance, with the kbd gone, is fine best i can tell - great graphics performance for a beater.
As it turns out, now that I have worked it more carefully, the touchpad works - its tracking like it should [I am not sure what driver
is in play - a windows 7 choice], and the double-tap on the pad works. the buttons actually do work, I find now, but they are not seated properly because I have to press VERY firmly on the left button to get a response at all, the right one is somewhat easier but still not usable for a normal person. it would seem that there's not a lot of variance in how that thing sits in its locale, ... I can't account for the gimpy performance. I've looked under there and tried to spot something amiss but since this is the first of these I've ever seen, not sure what I would recognize.
all in all, its progress. I'll be very impressed if the new keyboard just works right off - I still suspect something else is at work here