Unrelenting LCD issue

I have a RGB LCD (16x2) hooked up to an Arduino Atmega 1280. I can't get the LCD to display anything but solid blocks all the way. The LCD is wired exactly like this (http://arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/LiquidCrystal). The code I am running is the "Hello World" example, unaltered. I have the arduino IDE (Version 1.0.3). A 10k potentiometer is hooked up so the middle wire is running to the third pin on the LCD. I am not sure on how to activate the backlight in multiple colors (the 15th pin is on +5V and the last three go to GND). Much more importantly, the LCD isn't displaying data. I thought the LCD was bad at first and got a different one. But the same issue is occurring. I've scanned many posts dealing with LCDs and none have solved the issue.

After looking a couple posts down, I'm not sure if he backlight was on. I plugged the three last pins to ground. Is that what should happen? Or hold they go to various digital pins?

a) post your wiring diagram
b) read data sheet
c) compare a) with b)

Good news! I figured it out. I have more questions now though, but I'm going to do some research and try to figure it out before posting.

would be good to hear what the problem and fix were
might save someone else the pain ...