Sorry, was away from console a couple days with meetings and such. So, as it turns out, I fired up the emulator, and things worked. The trick was from a clean start, firing up android studio, launching their sample app in the emulator, killing android studio, then walking away for like a half hour. adb logcat showed the emulator running what seemed to be initial startup stuff for like 20 minutes (the ARM emulator - I can't get the faster Intel x86 emulator to run on my 2017 i7 iMac. After I came back to it this time, it worked - and the ONLY thing different about this time vs. the last several, was I gave it about 15-20 minutes to just churn without my involvement.
Dear god, what a slow ass piece of crap that is, but at least once it was finally running and fully up, and I killed the sample app, Trigger/forge would connect, load my app, and give me logging IO.
I'm now looking at alternative emulators.