Farewell, Apple. Hello Linux Mint!
That's right, I packed it in. My MacBook Pro is now on the shelf. In a while, it goes on Craigslist -- not because it's been obsoleted by the latest version of Mac OS -- Mountain Lion as mine will work okay (some MacBook Pros will not). Instead, there's a cushy comfort zone that's dangerous for a product reviewer to fall into.
I decided on Linux Mint 12, the Gnome/Debian version, as the base. Windows 7 or 8 would probably live in a virtual machine, as well as other virtual machines I already use.
That's the best way to do it! Linux on the desktop, Windows in VirtualBox.