Ok, I was able to restore the phone with /u/jstath1972's suggestion
1. I went to http://www.sammobile.com/firmwares/
and downloaded the latest 'L' firmware
2. I used ODIN to flash the firmware
3. the phone REBOOTED!!!
(once the phone rebooted, the rest was easy)
4. powered off and ODIN flashed the lastest TWRP
5. powered off and booted into recovery
6. RESTORED NANDROID so wife would stop giving me the look
7. updated baseband as suggested: http://forum.xda-developers.com/show....php?t=2526831
THANK YOU THANK YOU
side note: i wish my work was this effective in resolving technical issues (just my 2 cents)
"there is no spoon"