I give up on [La]TeX. I've found the i-Installer packages for TeX and dependencies, or the source distributions of tetex and tetex-texmf. I've tried the front-ends of TeXShop, iTexMac or LyX. I've read Kevin O'Malley's brief introduction to LaTeX. It all kind of makes sense now, but none of it works very well, a lot of it is out-of-date, and the whole process is totally obscure.
What I want: