Thanks! To clarify, a WordPress.com account is hosted by WordPress. Kind of like a standard Ning account. My actual WordPress address is networksboise.wordpress.com but I use an actual domain name (networksboise.com) and direct it to the wordpress site. You could do the same with Ning or, for $4.95/month, you can use your actual domain name. WordPress has a similar option.
WordPress.org is actually an open, still free, version of WordPress. The difference is that you must use your own domain name and you or a third party need to host your site. They make the .com version more restrictive as it sits on their (wordpress) computers and they do not want untested stuff on their servers. As you host, or pay somebody to host, your site with a .org account, they don't care. FYI, I have a number of posts on my WordPress.com site regarding ... Wordpress.com :)
Thanks for the tips on the Ning master and the book! I may go on Amazon and get it.