After some frustrating time spent looking over this circuit, I finally figured out the problem. Figure 8-1 does NOT show pin5 on the LCD being connected to GND. I'll take partial blame for this, however, because on page 172 Table 8-1 clearly shows to connect pin5 (R/W) to GND. I had to consult the data sheet to confirm that pin5 was R/W, but after doing that it was a simple matter of using a jumper wire to get it connected to GND.
Video is below - as you can see, I got the contrast to work by adding in the recommended potentiometer. That's a 5k, btw, not a 10k. Also the resistor for pin16 on the LCD is brown-black-black - a 10 ohm resistor. I got this 16x2 from Sparkfun, part # LCD 09054
So... Project 23 works... which gives me hope for Project 24 since it simply builds on this circuit a bit.