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Found it. The Android SDK wants the 32-bit version of the JDK installed. I assumed that since I was using 64 bit Windows 7 that was the correct version to install.
Actually, it doesn't really need or want the 32 bit version. It's just a dumb error in the SDK installation procedure: when you get that error message, simply click the 'back' button, and then 'next', then it WILL find the installed 64-bit version. (When installed in its default directory, not the (x86) one. No path/environment variables needed at this point).
The infuriating thing is that there is NO way to provide feed-back to the folks at developer.android.com and point this out to the SDK developers, or the SDK wanna-be users.
It's causing MAJOR headaches to tons of people, and it it requires just a very simple fix ... if only we could make them aware of it.
MAJOR fail over at http://developer.android.com .
Maybe go to a conference and ask them why they think that their code is so perfect that they do not need to provide a feedback method?