In case anyone was wondering: I ran my AVG anti-virus several times on the laptop; finally after searching Google for solutions, I saw that somebody suggested running Ad-aware or Spybot after the virus-scan was done. That combination got rid of the pest. Those are all free programs, by the way; and recommended by some of the wisest computer techs I know.
The virus I had was a Trojan by the name of Spyshredder. It disguises itself as an anti-spyware, anti-virus program, and it lied, telling me I had dozens of dangerous things on my hard drive. Every time we turned on the laptop, it would pop up and start doing a fake scan. The only way to get out of it was to click and buy an upgrade (oh yeah, I want to give MY credit card number to somebody who invents a trojan virus) or use ctrl/alt/del. Needless to say, I'm doing a happy dance now that it's gone.
In my daily Bible reading, I finished Genesis today: I find it interesting that Genesis starts with a grandiose "In the beginning, God...", and creeps quietly out with "a coffin in Egypt". To me, that's sort of a description of the beginning and end of a human life.