1) what's RTFM?
Read The Funking Manual.
2) how do I set the refresh rate of my monitor in KDE?
You don't do it in KDE, you do it in XFree86 itself, and that washes over to GNOME/KDE/other WMs. It's not horribly simple, but I can probably walk you through it. If you're serious, post your graphics card and monitor info here, as mucha s you can find. Better - start a new thread with that info and ask just this one question.
3) how do I know what's installed where after I do an RPM install?
That's why I hate RPM. I believe RPM has an 'info' command, try 'rpm --help' and look for something like that. If you know at least one of the file names that you are lookign for, you can do 'updatedb' as root and then use 'locate <filename> to find the file.
4) what's "xmessage" and where do I get it?
You know, I'm not entirely sure. I can tell you how to find out, though. Go to http://www.freshrpms.net
and type in 'xmessage'. That should: A. Find out what it is, and B. get you a link to a version that'll work on your particular Linux. Mixing versions of the same distro is usually safe, but not recommended, and mixing RPMs from different distros is hit or miss and also not recommended.
5) how come, even after I edit fstab to mount an NTFS drive and make it user mountable, the user really can mount it, but access is denied to the mounted folder for anyone except root?
Probably a permissions issue. Do a 'man chown' and 'man chmod' for more info on the permissions setting programs.
Most likely you need a 'chown someuser /place/you/mounted'
I use 'chown forge /dos/e/', but your command will likely be different.
6) don't tell me you have to mount and unmount every time you need to insert a new floppy or CD?
There are ways around it, but you'll probably find you'll use CDs less and less, ditto for floppies. Depends on your distro, too. I personally use scripts I wrote named 'flopup' and 'flopdown' to mount/unmount my floppy. I'm always using the same options and locations, so it was easy. Make a separate post for this and I can give you some scripting basics (mostly because I'm not a master scripter myself, either!
As you can see, I spent all of 30 minutes researching linux before installing it, which is really a lot for me - especially since I really have no compelling reason to switch from Windows (other than boredom and the thrill of risking a format of my HD during the install) =P.
Sounds like you were impressed.... or bored.
Either way, welcome aboard and fire away.