I guess I have resolved some of the problems I was having. Thanks for the help. I've spent some long hours staring at
(sometimes called 'reading') the Lincoln Stein book... and trying examples. What it boiled down to was:
1). Noob at the contols.
2). The equipment at work functions differently than the sever I was able to cook up for dev. (compounded the confusion).
3). When I use the methods in IO::Socket::INET, I can talk adequately talk to the equipment at work.
4). My local scruffed-together-server is still broken, but I'm over it.
5). The IO::Socket::INET in its basic mode is text and line oriented...which works for this program.