I see your point. The boards the OP is using were not meant to plug directly into each other. But that has never stopped me.
I think it points up the fact that in the near future trouble shooting will require very clear statements on the specific boards being used, the IDE being used, and the code, due to all the changes. I looked on ebay last night for ethernet shields, and didn't see any like the old wiznet I have. They seem to all be the new UNO/Mega compatable units (wiznet for ~$22 shipped, not bad!), but they didn't seem the have the POE option of the Radio Shack one.
The problem zoomkat, is you failed to fully read my OP. All that information was provided. And, as I stated, the Wicked Devices proto shield converts the BoArduino to "standard" arduino pinouts. I've used it successfully for other shields in the past. The vast majority of the published knowledge out on the Internet refers to the earlier Ethernet shields which do
use "standard" SPI pins 10-13. This, combined with the fact I completely missed the ICSP header comment here http://arduino.cc/en/Main/ArduinoEthernetShield
until SurferTim mentioned it is what tripped me up.
While I agree the ICSP is a clever way to achieve UNO and Mega compatibility, it's still an ugly hack that will likely trip up other arduino clone users (at least two of us here in less than a week). Hence my "not really a shield comment" as only a single "standard" pin is being used for SS. And to be honest, SS could have (should have?) been picked up off the ICSP header too. It's precisely weird design choices like this that drive my preference towards working with Atmel micros directly, or more recently, this BoArduino from Adafruit.
So why did I buy the Ethernet Shield? Well, that was in the OP too.
I hadn't stepped into a Radio Shack since they closed down the TechAmerica stores (which were an electronic hobbyists dream). With RS seeming to once again embrace their hobbyist roots by carrying products like Arduino, I wanted to encourage them with my wallet. Finally, I never once in this thread blamed RS for my issue. That again, is purely a comprehension deficiency on your part zoomkat.